Richard Goldstone retracts Israel genocide accusation after damage done

Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic reports that Richard Goldstone has retracted his accusations against Israel (emphases mine):

This is as shocking as it is unexpected: the South African Jewish judge Richard Goldstone, who excoriated Israel for allegedly committing premeditated crimes against civilians in Gaza — contributing, more than any other individual, to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state —  now says, well, Israel didn’t actually set out to target Palestinian civilians, unllike Hamas, whose plainly-apparent goal was to murder Israeli civilians.

It is not clear, reading Goldstone’s mea culpa in The Washington Post, that he fully understands the consequences of his work:

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted [by Israel] as a matter of policy.

Well, I’m glad he’s cleared that up. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.

This is, indeed, roughly the judicial equivalent of the New York Times making an outrageous accusation on the front page above the fold, then running a correction/retraction on page A20 months later. The damage is done and can never be wholly undone.

His retraction now may be rank opportunism or the beginning of teshuvah (repentance). Repentance (as Jews understand the concept) has three steps (actually four): (1) recognizing the transgression or iniquity; (2a) expressing remorse and (2b) trying to undo the damage insofar as possible; (3) taking steps to ensure it can never happen again. If Goldstone’s step is genuine, it is only a baby step and it now falls upon him to go out and speak everywhere with a loud, clear voice.

Jerry Pournelle on Japanese nuclear disaster

I have been too busy in real life to do more than post links to my twitter feed over the last week or so, and reports from Japan about the nuclear incident following the tragic earthquake (thus far the 5th most intense in documented history) and resulting tsunami were too conflicting and sensationalist to write about. Let me however give the word to the inimitable Jerry Pournelle (on what is arguably the original weblog, now in its 666th week):

We are now down to an absolute worst case of two Tsar Bomba fallout equivalent from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Note that we are talking about fallout only: there is no danger whatever of an actual nuclear explosion. The media are breathlessly telling of a nuclear cloud approaching the United States. NPR proclaims that no nukes is good nukes. The Union of Concerned Scientists will cheerfully furnish you with as gloomy a forecast as you’d like whether you ask for their view or not.

In fact the situation is slowly coming under control. Fukushima Daiichi sits on the coast amidst a scene of almost unimaginable destruction, in freezing weather, with high winds. Every road, water pipe, and power line is gone. Debris litters the passageways to the plant. Fukushima Daiichi was protected by a 20 foot sea wall. Most of the surrounding countryside wasn’t protected by a sea wall at all.

At reactor four the fuel rods were in a spent fuel pond: the reactor was shut down in December. The pond was on the roof of the reactor building, which seemed like a good idea at the time, and could withstand an 8.0 quake, and being on the roof had a really short path from the reactor to the storage pond. All was well, until the quake cracked the pool wall. Well, that’s all right, we pump in water. Only there’s no power because the reactors scrammed at the first large tremor. That’s all right, the diesels kick in and the water pumps start up. Only now there’s a tsunami. Well, that’s all right, there’s a twenty foot sea wall. Only the tsunami is 23 feet, and maybe there has been some subsidence of the land level due to the quake. Water rushes into the complex. Back at reactor 4: the water is flowing out of the spent fuel rod pool. The rods stand on end, 14 feet tall, with about 40 feet of water in the pool. The water is flowing out. Everyone is worrying more about the three reactors which are scrammed but which still contain the fuel rods. Those rods are really hot: they are full of just created fission products, some with half lives in minutes to hours so producing a lot of heat. Over in four all the really hot stuff — fission products — has decayed out. But the water is leaking. Temperatures are going up.

At some point the water in the four tank boils furiously near the zirconium rod containers. Superhot steam plus zirconium metal produces very fast rusting. This is also known as oxidation. Rapid oxidation is often called burning. The oxygen in the water is stripped off to become zirconium oxide. That leaves hydrogen (contaminated with some tritium since we still have neutrons and beta products coming from the radioactive decay of the fission byproducts). Hydrogen gets out into the room enclosing the spent fuel pool. It mixes with oxygen from the outside. It ignites. There is an explosion that blows off the roof of the rooftop spent fuel enclosure building. Water continues to leak from the pool.

The remedy is to get water into that pool, but we still don’t have much power for pumps, nor water supply, because we are still surrounded by devastation, and we still have the problem of the reactors that have just been scrammed and are really really hot because they have recently created fission products in them.

But we can call in helicopters to drop water into the now-exposed pool.  That ought to work only there is a 20 knot wind, so not all the water dropped can get into the pool, and much goes downwind in a televisible display plume.

And there we are. The good news is that the wind is blowing the results out to sea. The bad news is that a plume hundreds of miles long develops and in that plume are detectable — not dangerous but detectable — levels of radiation, and out there away from the destruction, not hampered by the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami, are a lot of  news people desperate for a story, and —   I leave the rest as an exercise for the reader. Detectible soon becomes potentially dangerous levels, and it’s hundreds and hundreds of miles, and a Union of Concerned Scientists expert will now tell you about it all.

I can’t say that this won’t be worse than Chernobyl, but so far we have no stories whatever of anyone off the plant site injured, which makes this a TMI story, not a Chernobyl story. And that’s the way things are at Noon on Thursday as best I can tell. Here’s the headline:

Japan nuclear crisis deepens as radiation keeps crews at bay

Race is on to restart cooling systems with emergency power after dropping water on damaged reactors has little effect

To the best of my knowledge the Japanese crews are winning the race. This will end up worse than TMI because many of those in the plant will be injured, and some may be killed: I understand that some workers have voluntarily exceeded their annual badge limits and by a lot because they thought their work was critical. At TMI there were no off site injuries, and the worst to the workers was that they exceeded their badge limits and were sent away. At Daiichi there have so far been no off site injuries, but some to many of the plant workers have exceeded their badge limits. In addition six or more have mechanical injuries, some from the hydrogen explosions, one from a heart attack. Pray for them.

Indeed. Jerry puts in a well-deserved plug to the MIT Nuclear Information Hub. weblog, which is now frequently updated with lots of relevant info. Get thee over there.

And just to give some perspective on the scale of the disaster caused by the tsunami, have a look at this video sent to me by Mrs. F2. At first the combination of new agey background music and what deceptively seems like shots of a peaceful tide rolling will throw you off, but as the images zoom in the devastation is revealed for what it is, and the continuing background music creates a chilling, Lalo Shifrin-esque emotional counterpoint.

 

NPR director caught showing true colors in sting operation

Unbelievable. James O’Keefe’s latest sting, he set up a fake Muslim Brotherhood front group, and had somebody posing as one of its directory approach senior exec Ron Schiller of NPR (National Public Radio, a.k.a. New-class Preening Radio). Video can be seen here.

A man who appears to be a National Public Radio senior executive, Ron Schiller [no relation to CEO Vivian Schiller], has been captured on camera savaging conservatives and the Tea Party movement.

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move,” declared Schiller, the head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, who last week announced his departure for the Aspen Institute.

In a new video released Tuesday morning by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving, are seen meeting with two men who, unbeknownst to the NPR executives, are posing as members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The men, who identified themselves as Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, met with Schiller and Liley at Café Milano, a well-known Georgetown restaurant, and explained their desire to give up to $5 million to NPR because, “the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”

On the tapes, Schiller wastes little time before attacking conservatives. The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

[…] Schiller doesn’t blink [when the interlocutor “reveals” his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood]. Instead, he assumes the role of fan. “I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air,” Schiller says, “it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.”

When O’Keefe’s two associates pressed him into the topic, Schiller decried U.S. media coverage of Egypt’s uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, especially talk of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on the protests and future of Egypt. Schiller said that is what he is “most disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these ideas.”

When the man pretending to be Kasaam suggests to Schiller that “Jews do kind of control the media or, I mean, certainly the Zionists and the people who have the interests in swaying media coverage toward a favorable direction of Israel,” Schiller does not rebut him or stop eating. He just nods his head slightly.

The man posing as Kasaam then joked that his friends call NPR, “National Palestinian Radio,” because, according to him, NPR is the only media outlet that covers Palestinians’ perspective. Schiller laughed.

When the ersatz Islamists declare they’re “not too upset about maybe a little bit less Jew influence of money into NPR,” Schiller responds by saying he doesn’t find “Zionist or pro-Israel” ideas at NPR, “even among funders. I mean it’s there in those who own newspapers, obviously, but no one owns NPR.”

Response in the blogosphere to Ron Schiller being caught shilling on camera, predictably, fast and furious. (H/t to Insty for most links.)

  • Roger Simon on Pajamas Media: The Protocols Of The Elders of NPR. “What this video reveals most of all is the cultural and ideological ignorance of modern liberalism.”
  • Claire Berllinski on Ricochet: The Utter, Craven Ignominy of NPR. “I cannot believe this. I can’t believe what I just read and watched.” Neither can I — if this had been a scene in a novcl I was writing I would have thrown it out as too cartoonish. ” . . . I would say I’m at a loss for words, but I’m not lost for them at all. They’re right on the tip of my tongue. I just can’t use them on Ricochet.”
  • Byron York at National Review: GOP leader amazed at ‘condescension and arrogance’ in NPR video, calls on Dems to support defunding. As one who routinely spends time among NPR types and often sees depressing displays of patronizing gentryism/elitism, I am amazed that he is even surprised.
  • NPR “Appalled” By Executive’s Comments.“I am shocked, shocked, to hear that gambling is going on in this establishment.” Or in case the revulsion is genuine, NPR should look at the “root cause” (as they are fond of lecturing us to do). In this case, the echo chamber created by New Class liberal groupthink in which ideas such as those expressed are not even exceptional.
  • UPDATE: ZOA calls upon Jews to write to their congressmen to defund NPR.
  • UPDATE: House majority leader Eric Cantor : “As we continue to identify ways to cut spending and save valuable resources, this disturbing video makes clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR […] At a time when our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, we must find ways to cut spending and live within our means […] This video [in which Schiller was also heard saying that NPR does not need public funding, Ed.] clearly highlights the fact that public broadcasting doesn’t need taxpayer funding to thrive, and I hope that admission will lead to a bipartisan consensus to end these unnecessary federal subsidies.”
  • UPDATE 2: Ed Driscoll weighs in, and singles out a pathetic attempt at damage control.
  • UPDATE 3: the Shiller also said he was proud of the way their token black commentator Juan Williams had been fired, which is not what NPR has been saying to the outside world. Williams himself, now enjoying a comfortable perch at “intolerant” archrival Fox News despite his conventionally liberal views, can barely contain his schadenfreude: “They prostitute themselves for money”. Tonight on Fox at 9 PM Eastern.

I will leave the last word to Roger Simon:

Is the explanation for this, as some have suggested, that they were just trying to raise funds at any cost? That journalistic trope goes pretty thin. I will suggest another explanation:[…] Lost in a delusional world of political correctness, the elders of NPR have forfeited the ability to think critically. They simply can’t see the facts anymore — or don’t care to. It’s too threatening to their limited weltanschauung. Hence, you get idiotic projections such as Schiller’s statement of how dumb Republicans are and how what America needs is more educated elites.

That they all sat there through the worst kind of anti-Semitic bilge that would make even George Soros and Pat Buchanan blush is as predictable as it is sickening.

What is needed now is not just the defunding of NPR, but also its marginalization. And one of the best ways to marginalize is through well-deserved ridicule. The authors of this video at Project Veritas are thus greatly to be praised. Yes, what they have done is a form of entrapment, but the fools who were trapped deserve it as much as any knave in a Moliere play. NPR and its clones are the true reactionaries of our time. They are no more liberal than Boss Tweed. Taking off their masks is a public service.

Government cyber-astroturf project

Via Insty:

U.S. Gov‘t Software Creates ’Fake People’ to Spread Message via Social Networking. “The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage “fake people” on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues. The contract calls for the development of ‘Persona Management Software’ which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.”

Un-freaking-believable. Yet the only way some phenomena I have seen can be rationalized.

Democrats go un-democratic when they lose

Via Insty:

HISTORY: Flashback: Democrats go un-democratic when they lose, and then they lose some more. “The mess in Wisconsin has happened before. In 2003, faced with a new Republican majority intent on redrawing an electoral map that preserved power for Democrats that the voters no longer gave them, the Texas Democrats fled the state. And in 2009, rather than allow a vote on an election security bill that they didn’t want, the Texas Democrats brought the state legislature to a halt — killing the voter ID bill and everything on the calendar that followed it. . . . So the Democrats are trying to bring both houses of the legislature to a full halt to kill the union bill. It may work, at least temporarily, just by running out the clock. But if what has happened in Texas is any guide, it will be a pyrrhic victory. Democrats in Texas have won very little since the 2003 run to the Red River. And after they filibustered the voter ID bill in 2009, which a heavy majority of the voters supported, they suffered an unholy beating in 2010. The Republicans now have a super majority in the House, and the man who led the filibuster, state Rep. Jim Dunnam, was defeated. He didn’t lose just because of that filibuster, but having that on his record certainly didn’t help him.”

Posted at 10:17 pm by Glenn Reynolds

See also handing out fake doctor’s notes at rally. (more here). Law professor and repentant 0bama voter Ann Althouse has videoblogged up a storm: go to her blog and keep scrolling.

And a little history lesson (via Ann Althouse): the Wisconsin Gov. finds himself in the august company of that [sarc] raaaaacist christofascist teabagging reichwinger [/sarc] Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, “I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place” in the public sector. “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”

Related: Ed Driscoll on “financial catastrophe denialists”. And the WI Deemocrats who fled to Chicago to avoid a quorum for a vote they would lose are now called “fleebaggers”. Heh.

The revolt of the masses and our ruling class

Jerry Pournelle quotes “The revolt of the masses” by Jose Ortega y Gasset:

Doubtless the most radical division of humanity that can be made is that between two classes of creatures: those who demand much of themselves and assume a burden of tasks and difficulties, and those who require nothing special of themselves, but rather for whom to live is to be in every instant only what they already are.

* * *

The mass-man would never have accepted authority external to himself had not his surroundings violently forced him to do so. As to-day, his surroundings do not so force him, the everlasting mass-man, true to his character, ceases to appeal to other authority and feels himself lord of his own existence. On the contrary the select man, the excellent man is urged, by interior necessity, to appeal from himself to some standard beyond himself, superior to himself, whose service he freely accepts.… Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence, and not the common man who lives in essential servitude. Life has no savour for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental. Hence he does not look upon the necessity of serving as an oppression. When, by chance, such necessity is lacking, he grows restless and invents some new standard, more difficult, more exigent, with which to coerce himself. This is life lived as a discipline — the noble life.

A superficial, out-of-context reading would make Ortega y Gasset seem like an elitist. However, Wikipedia (of all places) clarifies:

Ortega is throughout quite critical of both the masses and the mass-men of which they are made up, contrasting “noble life and common life” and excoriating the barbarism and primitivism he sees in the mass-man. He does not, however, refer to specific social classes, as has been so commonly misunderstood in the English-speaking world. Ortega states that the mass-man could be from any social background, but his specific target is the bourgeois educated man, the señorito satisfecho (satisfied young man or Mr. Satisfied), the specialist who believes he has it all and extends the command he has of his subject to others, contemptuous of his ignorance in all of them. His summary of what he attempted in the book exemplifies this quite well, while simultaneously providing the author’s own views on his work: “In this essay an attempt has been made to sketch a certain type of European, mainly by analyzing his behaviour as regards the very civilization into which he was born”. This had to be done because that individual “does not represent a new civilisation struggling with a previous one, but a mere negation …”

The members of the over-credentialed, under-educated US “elite” and commentariat fit the image of the señorito satisfecho to a tee.

Egypt: a letter from Salim Mansour

Salim Mansour writes the following dispirited letter to Claire Berlinski (via Insty):

Since I do not have an opportunity to write in public more than one column per week, I am limited to what I can say. Extremely distressed by the crew in Washington, and in most European capitals. Media is so corrupted by left-leaning thinking that there is not much of an analysis to be expected in the media that is now competing with facebook, twitters, etc. The dumbing down of thinking is itself a huge problem the West is facing now as it tries pathetically to undertstand/explain politics and history of other cultures when it no longer has faith in its own civilizational values. I despair, and so I follow Samuel Pepys who confined himself to his diaries while London burned and I am trying to devote my time to reading and writing of my own (that of course I might not be able to publish, and even if published few will read).

I am more convinced now, as I wasn’t when Paul Kennedy wrote about the rise and fall of great powers, that the West has gone over the tipping point in its terminal decline. That intelligent people, or people who claim to be intelligent, (I have in mind the talking heads in the U.S. media such as Chris Matthews or Fareed Zakaria) cannot make the difference between the sham of the Muslim Brotherhood talking about freedom and democracy and the generic thirst in man to be free. These are the people who have like the Bourbons learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They are glibly about to put the Lenins of our time into trains heading for [he means St. Petersburgs] of our time, they find nothing odd that they are pushing for the Muslim Brotherhood to be taken into governing when everything needs to be done to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out even as one carefully negotiate the long historic transition of Arab societies from tribal autorcracy and military dictatorships to representative rule and constitutionally limited government. I read you when I can, and I wish that you and others like you were closer to the main media control in the West, or in government.

Read also Claire’s response. Of course, the mutual gratification society (I hope that this is a more printable word than “circlej***”)  in the MSM does not truly believe in anything more than in the illusion of their own intellectual and moral superiority.

Egypt, Chris Matthews, and the changing face of prostitution as well as politics

Insty does not shy away from “risque” topics such as prostitution, and via him I found this article by Sudhir Venkatesh on the changing face of the world’s oldest profession. When I saw the name I just had to read it — Sudhir Venkatesh, now an assistant professor of sociology at Columbia, was the graduate student of Steven D. Levitt whose “embedded research” on the economics of Chicago crack gangs made for one of the best parts of the “Freakonomics” book.

Basically, what is happening is that technological change increasingly enables the “ladies of the night” to cut out the middleman and recruit clients directly. This is rendering an increasing number of pimps unemployed, and, with few marketable skills, they have a lot of trouble finding a more respectable career.

May I suggest “MSM political journo” as an alternative? On the occasion of the Ronald Reagan centennial, I cannot help quoting the Gipper: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” (Remarks at a business conference in Los Angeles, March 2, 1977)

And prostitutes are to pimps like political hustlers are to… their enablers in the MSM. Such as Chris Matthews, one of the chief pimps of B-HO, who is now finally losing his tingle over the 0bama admin’s handling of Egypt, and declared himself “ashamed to be an American” [You don’t have to be ashamed that you are an American, Chrissy — it’s enough that I am 😉 I am almost equally ashamed to say I largely agree with Chrissy on the topic at hand, if only owing to the Law of Broken Clocks.]

Of course, sadly for him and the likes of him, blogs and social media there too allow the “clientele” to connect directly and cut out the middleman…

Ann Althouse: When did the left turn against free speech?

Ann Althouse:

One of the commenters declares that my “assertion that ‘the best test of the truth is its ability to get accepted in the marketplace of ideas’ was probably the most offensive part of her argument.” When questioned about whether I really said that, he comes back with:

She cited a Justice whose name I haven’t retained, as in: “As Justice X says, …” followed by the verbatim passage I quoted.

She cited a Justice whose name I haven’t retained…. Oh, for the love of God, why doesn’t every educated person in America know the name of the Supreme Court Justice who said that… or at the very least know that it’s embarrassing not to know? As if I’d thrown out some abstruse legalistic peculiarity!

And that was part of an argument by the commenter — echoing Bob Wright — that free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways.

Remember when lefties were all about free speech? When did that change? Why did that change? Perhaps the answer is: Free speech was only ever a means to an end. When they got their free speech, made their arguments, and failed to win over the American people, and when in fact the speech from their opponents seemed too successful, they switched to the repression of speech, because the end was never freedom.

Indeed. “The only question is about who is to be master, that is all.”

Left wing climate of hate and assassination

Or, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Get this (via Insty):

[…]the apparatchiks in the mainstream media[…] may have erred in pushing the Arizona assassination attempt beyond its ideological limits last week, but they succeeded brilliantly a few months earlier in suppressing news of a nearly lethal attempt by a genuine leftist.

In September 2010 Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to speak at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City.

At some point, wearing black clothes and a bullet-proof vest, 22 year-old Casey Brezik bolted out of a classroom, knife in hand, and slashed the throat of a dean.  As he would later admit, he confused the dean with Nixon.

The story never left Kansas City.  It is not hard to understand why.  Knives lack the political sex appeal of guns, and even Keith Olbermann would have had a hard time turning Brezik into a Tea Partier.

Indeed, Brezik seems to have inhaled just about every noxious vapor in the left-wing miasma: environmental extremism, radical Islam, anti-capitalism, anti-Zionism and Christophobia, among others.

In his “About Me” box on Facebook, Brezik listed as his favorite quotation one from progressive poster boy, Che Guevara. The quote begins “Our every action is a battle cry against imperialism” and gets more belligerent from there.
And it gets richer:
Like many on the left, Brezik seemed to have found religion.

In reference to an article about Terry Jones and his proposed Quran burning, Brezik posted on the day before his planned assault, “This is now a Holy war. Scriptures have been desecrated. War U can’t handle. Make a choice and quick.”
Read the whole thing. Just imagine if, instead of being a radical leftist and apparent Islamist sympathizer, this whackjob had ever been anywhere near a Tea Party or had ever been to a hairdresser who had Rush Limbaugh on the radio. The spin-meisters among the media commentariat would have been all over the story blaming conservatives and the Tea Party for the “climate of hate”…
As the author rightly points out:
Successful propaganda is composed of equal parts deception and suppression, and the apparatchiks in the mainstream media are much better at the latter.
Or, as an ancient Dutch (and Yiddish) proverb goes, a half-truth is worse than a whole lie.

Arizona shootings and the perfidy of the Left [UPDATED]

The recent shooting tragedy in Arizona made the Left propaganda machine and the MSM establishment (OK, I am repeating myself) show their true colors again.

Via Insty:

MARK HALPERIN IN TIME: Maybe a horrendous act of violence will kill hundreds, even thousands, of Americans and thereby brighten Obama’s political future. “No one wants the country to suffer another catastrophe. But when a struggling Bill Clinton was faced with the Oklahoma City bombing and a floundering George W. Bush was confronted by 9/11, they found their voices and a route to political revival.”

And indeed, they are desperately looking for a way, any way, to link the shooter to the Tea Party. Ed Driscoll has a roundupJames Delingpole in the Daily Telegraph gives it big time to his American colleagues. At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson sees “Two Sicknesses On Display In Arizona”.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have seen this type of reaction. The meme that opponents of Obama are crazy and dangerous has been an explicit Democratic Party campaign strategy for over two years. Here is just a partial list of events in which the left-wing and Democratic Party media operation has immediately blamed right-wing rhetoric, only to be proven wrong when the facts finally came out: Bill Sparkman, Amy Bishop, The Fort Hood Shooter, The IRS Plane Crasher, The Cabbie Stabbing, and The Pentagon Shooter. The facts will come out about the shooting and murder by Loughner. Until then, we’ll be subjected to the sickness of people who seek to use the crime to their political advantage and who will worry about the facts later on, if ever.”

Ed Morrissey tries to lay bare the shame of CNN, which is futile, as Contemptible News Network has neither shame nor decency.

The assistant DA blogging as “Patterico” sees the media in a fact-free frenzy to somehow, somehow blame the shooting on Sarah Palin. He counters talk of Palin’s use of “target” metaphors for electoral campaigns with multiple similar examples on the Democrat side. (In fact, managers use military metaphors for all sorts of campaigns all the time.)

As for the shooter, Jared Loughner, himself: do you know any Conservatives or Tea Partiers who would post videos of themselves burning an American flag?! His classmates remember him as a radical leftist, although frankly, whatever passes for his political belief system is best described as Nucking Futs. The psychiatrist and retired NASA flight surgeon who blogs as “Dr. Sanity”, based on the scribblings and videos of the shooter as well as testimony by classmates, put in a preliminary diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Sometimes a nutcase is just a nutcase, full stop.

To make things even more complicated, the congresswoman targeted (may she recover speedily) was not a bete noire of the Right, being well into “Blue Dog Democrat” territory.

Fox News at one point posted a hastily written law enforcement memo claiming he was affiliated with an “antisemitic white supremacist” group called “American Renaissance” [sic], and that Gabrielle Giffords was targeted as the “first Jewish woman so prominent”. Now the actual AmRen is an organization which almost all conservatives consider beyond the pale, and which may be fairly described as racialist or “morbidly obsessed with race” — but which even SPLC [!!] absolved of antisemitism today. I won’t link to the rebuttal press release by AmRen’s Jared Taylor (quoted in part at the Politico link before): suffice to say that he vehemently denies Loughner ever  was a member or even subscribed to its magazine, cites his own record of repudiating antisemitism, points out that Rep. Giffords was never even discussed in the magazine, and brings up the minor inconvenient detail that

Gabrielle Giffords is not the “first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government.” Barbara Boxer has represented California in the Senate from 1993, and Diane Feinstein has done so since 1992. There are at least six Jewish congresswomen listed by Wikipedia as currently serving in the House.

If this is the level of fact-checking that goes into law enforcement reports, G-d help the USA. Meet the Keystone Kops of the Internet Age. [UPDATE: according to sources compiled in Wikipedia (caveat lector) Rep. Giffords has a Jewish father and an Xian Scientist mother. She is, BTW, a second cousin of actress Gwyneth Paltrow on her father’s side.]

Insty has a powerful column in today’s  WSJ: The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel. “Those who purport to care about the tenor of political discourse don’t help civil debate when they seize on any pretext to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.”

Shortly after November’s electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn [UPDATE: more on Penn here]  appeared on Chris Matthews’s TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday’s tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner’s killing spree might fill the bill.

With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s words, a “climate of hate.”

The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—”lock and load”—and talked about “targeting” opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.

There’s a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn’t derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

American journalists know how to be exquisitely sensitive when they want to be. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York pointed out on Sunday, after Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” the press was full of cautions about not drawing premature conclusions about a connection to Islamist terrorism. “Where,” asked Mr. York, “was that caution after the shootings in Arizona?”

Set aside as inconvenient, apparently. There was no waiting for the facts on Saturday. Likewise, last May New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CBS anchor Katie Couric speculated, without any evidence, that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with the ObamaCare bill.

So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

[…] I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

Where is the decency in that?

Indeed.

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: “How to turn a tragedy into an emetic“.

And while some whackjob wondered at one point whether the shooter was a veteran (in fact, he tried to join the army but was turned away as psychiatrically unfit), an actual vet tackled the shooter. (While we’re lauding unsung heroes, Rep. Giffords may actually owe her life to an intern who joined her campaign five days ago.)

UPDATE 2: at the Daily Kotz, a post by a leftist declaring “Giffords is dead to me” (for voting against Nancy Peelousy) has been memory-holed.

UPDATE 3: James Taranto has a lot more.

Official: DHS has not determined any possible ties between Arizona shooter and right wing group. And WSJ: suspect fixated on Giffords for long time, predating Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national scene. See also Don Surber.

Yet the collapsing narrative won’t stop Deemocratic group from using Arizona shootings for fundraiser.

UPDATE 4: Jeebus cripes (via Correspondence Committee).

UPDATE 5:

  • did sheriff Dupnik’s office drop the ball on AZ shooter? plenty of sign guy was dangerous nutcase http://j.mp/dY9ts5
  • AZ shooter was registered Independent. How is the Deemocrat propaganda machine going to spin this? http://bit.ly/e66fTm
  • Nobel Prize for chutzpah nomination: MoveOn launches campaign against vitriolic language — despite sordid history of using vitriolic language http://bit.ly/dNFjQG
  • Nobel Prize for jackassery nomination: Clyburn: reading constitution provoked AZ murder spree or something http://j.mp/eim0nN

UPDATE 6:

Patterico finds lots of evidence that Sheriff Dupnik had known for years something was off with the guy, but that he discouraged any action, for fear of embarrassing Loughner’s mother who works for the Parks Service. Much more here. Dan Riehl also weighs in.

Marc Thiessen, in the Washington Post, calls upon pundits to stop blaming the Tea Party.

Clayton Cramer and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Helen Smith (a.k.a. Mrs. Instapundit) blame deinstitutionalization and the way in which excessive concern for the rights of the mentally ill makes it very difficult to take preventive action against somebody likely to become violent (cfr. the Virginia Tech massacre). Benjamin Kerstein tells of his own struggles with a much milder form of mental illness (the kind we used to call “cyclothymia” in an older generation, and which the great Winston Churchill referred to as “my black dog”) and how, despite all the “shrinks” in the USA, he only got proper help after he moved to another country.

Video: “Now it’s your turn to speak out”

Via Insty. “They’ve spent the past 18 months calling you names and questioning your sanity and patriotism. But today you get to vote, and that’s all that matters.”

The InsaneStream Media

Insty:

THE INSANESTREAM MEDIA:

In today’s “the MSM is worse than you thought possible” news, one media outlet is caught on tape plotting to tie Joe Miller to child molesters, while another “forgets” to run Christine O’Donnell’s big 30-minute ad… twice. The day before the election.

Reality truly is stranger than fiction sometimes — if you wrote this kind of media bias into a script people would tell you it was too crazy to believe. And yet it happened.

Truth is stranger than fiction. And, where the nexus between “mainstream” media and political corruption is concerned, it’s worse than would be considered believable in fiction.

Remember Muggeridge’s Law: “there is no way that a writer of fiction can compete with real life for its pure absurdity”. Also the Third Law of Sociodynamics: the absolute moral nadir cannot be reached in a finite number of steps. So no matter how low the media have gotten, they can (sadly) still get lower. The Insty story is just a case in point.

Remember tomorrow, folks. Don’t get cocky. If it ain’t close, cheating won’t matter — or it would have to be so massive that the perp can never get away with it.

Operation Thoughtcrime: NPR fires Juan Williams

Tom Smith calls it punishing a thoughtcrime, and that is exactly what it is. In the course of upbraiding Bill O’Reilly about his views on Islam, 9/11, and the Ground Zero Mosque, the black maverick liberal NPR commentator and Fox News contributor Juan Williams mentioned that he felt “on guard” when he saw plane passengers in full Islamic garb. I would not wish to feed all the people — liberal or conservative — who felt that way as I would be bankrupted in seconds. (Then again, Molière’s Tartuffe had nothing on the holier-than-thou hypocrites of the American gentry left.)

Immediately Juan Williams found himself out of a job at NPR. While pressure from CAIR (whose despicable spokes-“organ” was utterly demolished by Megyn Kelly on Fox) surely contributed to this decision, there is little doubt that his appearances on Fox News stuck in NPR’s craw. (In fact, an article on NPR’s own website asserts the same.) Methinks they were just looking for an excuse to fire him. (An internal  memo about the firing is a study in self-righteousness and laughable assertions of neutrality.  Besides, the oh-so-intellectual head of NPR — a self-appointed expert in psychiatry — ought to know the difference between “principal” and “principle”. )

Fox News are of course having a field day, and the network offered him a $2M deal within hours. However, as rounded up here, NPR may have scored an own-goal (or “stepped on its own Johnson”, as they say in the South), as liberal and conservative commentators alike think NPR went too far this time. (I cannot remember the last time Whoopi Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh agreed on anything.)

Several GOP senators are calling for the defunding of NPR. I personally don’t give a rat’s backside that there is a New-class Preening Radio out there that is exactly that — but let the New Class pay for its own feelgood station.

As a parting remark, the banishment of long-time valued contributors over trivial offenses after they start contributing at rival outlets is something that… hmm, where did I last see this in the blogosphere?

UPDATE: NPR has one more journalist that appears regularly on Fox News (and, like Juan Williams, is a reliably liberal voice there). And guess what: Media Matters has started going after Mara Liasson. And guess which radical leftist tycoon is a recent big-time donor to both NPR and Media Matters? Yup, got it in one…

UPDATE 2: The NPR CEO meanwhile apologized over the psychiatry remark. See also this WSJ op-ed by a Muslim (!) who shares Juan Williams’ apprehension. Also don’t miss John Fund and James Taranto there. “Public radio vs. the public” indeed.

UPDATE 3: Via Facebook, “Ma Sands” points to a dissident “karma is a real [female canine]” view.

UPDATE 4: moderate Muslims speak out against the firing. on the grounds that forcing people to shut up is not the way to create a dialogue. Of course, this presupposes the left-liberal gentry has any more interest in dialogue than George Orwell’s “Inner Party” did.

Insty, in his roundups (see also here and here), also seems to think NPR went further than even they can get away with.

Insty quotes former CIA operative Reuel Marc Gerecht in the Washington Post: “Williams was wrong about the likelihood of a Muslim in traditional garb being a terrorist — Muslims who wear Western clothing and speak English with Marxist-Islamist vocabulary are vastly more likely to be suicide bombers in the West than a devout Muslim in [traditional garb]. But while his manner may have been clumsy, Williams was right to suggest that there is a troubling nexus between the modern Islamic identity and the embrace of terrorism as a holy act.”

TIME abandoning the sinking USS 0bamatanic?

Get this (via Jennifer Rubin):

Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise. From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November’s elections.

With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle.

Wall Street Journal editorial? Fox News? Pajamas Media? No… Mark Halperin in Time Magazine. Adds Jennifer:

The mainstream media, it seems, are cutting their losses. They invested enormous time, credibility, and emotion in bolstering their chosen candidate. But he hasn’t panned out, and new power players are headed to Washington. So it’s time to scramble back to some semblance of realistic coverage and concede that all those “accomplishments” in the past two years didn’t accomplish anything — not an economic recovery, not political ascendancy for Obama, not electoral success for Democrats, and not an era of bipartisan harmony. Just the opposite.

Now, don’t get your hopes up. As soon as viable 2012 presidential contenders appear on the stage or the GOP Congress faces off with Obama, expect the press to return to blocking and tackling for the president. But the magic is gone, the spell is broken. The press has figured out two years later than many of us that Obama is simply another liberal pol — and, as it turns out, an extraordinarily unpleasant and incompetent one.

The always pithy Instaman adds: “Hey, [the media]’ll go down for you, but they won’t go down with you. . . .” Actually, I was thinking of a different preposition to describe the relationship of the MSM with the Naked Emperor.

And let me add something. The moment the New Class/Ruling Class can produce a standard bearer for liberal left policies that is even marginally less of a disaster, they will drop 0bama like a stone and start extolling this one as a savior. Like in this song about the music industry.

American Thinker: From Cordoba to Marbella, and everything in between

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via American Thinker: Clarice’s Pieces: From Cordoba to Marbella gives an excellent summary of the insanity of the past week, from Marie-Antoinette 0bama’s Marbella trip to tge Ground Zero mosque, and everything in between. Zjust about the one thing missing is the fire-sale of Newsweek to the husband of Rep. Jane Harman.

Light blogging continues here as, in realspace,we wrap up a relocation to a new assignment.

Zombie on JournoList and “The week in racism”

Whew. This must be the mother of all Zombie posts. Get thee to the nunnery Zombie’s blog.

Obama’s “post-racial America” has not materialized. Instead, the nation has gone in the opposite direction and become race-obsessed America.

No, that’s not quite right either. We’re not obsessed with race — we’ve become obsessed with accusations of racism. Some of the accusations are true; some, not so much. But what used to be a last-ditch smear tactic used only by the most desperate political operatives, or something which as a society we’d try to ignore in the hopes that it would go away, has instead become a daily occurrence, a standard category in the 24-hour news cycle:
PoliticsSportsBusinessAccusations of RacismWeather

Just a few years ago, shortly before Obama appeared on the political landscape, I wrote this satirical dictionary definition of the word “racist”:

racist – A statement of surrender during an argument. When two people or disputants are engaged in an acrimonious debate, the side that first says “Racist!” has conceded defeat. Synonymous with saying “Resign” during a chess game, or “Uncle” during a schoolyard fight. Originally, the term was meant to indicate that one side was accusing the other of being racist, but once it was noticed that people only resorted to this tactic when all other arguments had been exhausted, it acquired its new meaning of “indicating one’s own concession of defeat.”

Oh, how times have changed, and how quickly. Not only do people now reach for the race card first in almost any political, social, or personal dispute, but sometimes the accusations are even true (or partly true), as public exhibition of racism has become more commonplace. No matter how you slice it — an increase of racism and of false accusations of racism — I see this as a huge step backward for our nation.

The Week in Racism

So many accusations of racism battle for space in your morning headlines, it’s easy to get them all confused. So I’ve created the following scorecard to help you sort it all out.

Here are the Top Ten Accusations of Racism for the last week, along with a handy “Level of Actual Racism” accuracy rating (on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being the most racist) to help determine to what extent each accusation is true, or if the accuser is just crying “Uncle” in a losing argument.

Hurry and read the rest. It’s chock-full of good stuff.

Must-read: Yoram Hazony, “Israel Through European Eyes”

Via Martin Kramer’s twitter feed, a link to an essay by Yoram Hazony that is an absolute must-read for anybody trying to understand the swing of Euro opinion against Israel and in favor of the “Palestinians”: Israel through European eyes.

Hazony references the classic of science philosophy, “The structure of scientific revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn, and specifically the concept of “paradigm shift”.

Kuhn argues that the traditional picture of science—in which scientists conduct universally replicable experiments to accumulate verified facts, which together make up the body of scientific truths—is without basis in the actual history of science. Instead, scientists are trained to see the world in terms of a certain framework of interrelated concepts, which Kuhn calls a paradigm. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the paradigm not only determines the interpretation that a scientist gives the facts, but even what facts there are to be interpreted: The “facts” that scientists consider admissible for discussion are those that easily conform to the dominant paradigm, or that can be made to conform to it by extending the paradigm or introducing minor repairs into it. Those facts that can’t be made to conform to the reigning paradigm are overlooked entirely or dismissed as unimportant.

Kuhn was famous, of course, for pointing out that things don’t go on like this forever. The history of science is punctuated by shifts in the dominant paradigm, as when Aristotelian physics gave way to Newtonian physics, or when Newton’s science was displaced by Einstein’s. Kuhn calls these shifts in paradigm scientific revolutions, and in the book he discusses tens of such shifts from the history of the physical sciences. Kuhn concludes that while most scientists are reasonable people, what we would usually consider reasonable discussion and argument only takes place among scientists who subscribe to the same paradigm. Nothing like a normal process of persuasion is involved in battles between competing paradigms. Indeed, when scientists representing competing paradigms argue, there is often no way at all that either one will be able to prove his case to the other[…]

[…]

As Kuhn points out, even a mountain of facts will not change the mind of a scientist who has been trained in a different paradigm, because the fundamental framework from which he views the world is different: The facts themselves mean something completely different to him. In fact, very few scientific paradigms, including the most famous and most successful, are able to provide the kind of decisive experimental evidence that can force scientists to give up the old paradigm.

How, then, do scientists come to change their minds? Kuhn says that in many cases, they never change their minds—and that an entire generation has to pass before the scientific community enters a new paradigm:

How, then, are scientists brought to make this transposition? Part of the answer is that they  are very often not. Copernicanism made very few converts for almost a century after Copernicus’ death. Newton’s work was not generally accepted, particularly on the Continent, for more than half a century after the Principia appeared. Priestley never accepted the oxygen theory, nor Lord Kelvin the electromagnetic theory, and so on…. And Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” [2]

He then identifies a similar “paradigm shift” in the field of international relations:

What’s the old paradigm? And what’s the new one to which the international arena is shifting?

Let’s begin with the old paradigm, which is the one that granted Israel its legitimacy in the first place. The modern state of Israel was founded, both constitutionally and in terms of the understanding of the international community, as a nation-state, the state of the Jewish people. This is to say that it is the offspring of an early modern movement that understood the freedom of peoples as depending on a right to self-protection against the predations of international empires speaking in the name of a presumed higher authority.[5] And while there have always been nation-states—the Jewish kingdom of the Bible was the most important classical example[6]—the modern history of the national state focuses on the rise of nation-states such as England and the Netherlands, and subsequently Richelieu’s France, whose self-understanding as sovereign nations was sharpened and consolidated during the long struggle to liberate their peoples from the pretensions to universal empire of the Austro-Spanish Habsburgs (that is, the “Holy Roman Empire”) beginning in the mid-1500s. […] The defeat of the universalist ideal in the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 led to the establishment of a new paradigm for European politics—one in which a revitalized concept of the national state held the key to the freedom of peoples throughout Europe. By the late-1800s, this idea of national liberty had been extended to the point that it was conceived not only as a governing principle for Europe, but for the entire world. Progressives such as John Stuart Mill and Woodrow Wilson championed the sovereign nation-state, which would have the right to defend its form of government, laws, religion and language against the tyranny of imperial actors, as the cornerstone of what was ultimately to be a new political order for humanity. Herzl’s Zionist Organization, which proposed a sovereign state for the Jewish people, fit right into this political understanding—and indeed, it was under British sponsorship that the idea of the Jewish state grew to fruition. In 1947, the United Nations voted by a 2/3 majority for the establishment of a “Jewish State” in Palestine. And the birth of Israel was followed by the establishment of dozens of additional independent states throughout the Third World.

But the idea of the nation-state has not flourished in the period since the establishment of Israel. On the contrary, it has pretty much collapsed. With the drive toward European Union, the nations of Europe have established a new paradigm in which the sovereign nation-state is no longer seen as holding the key to the well-being of humanity. On the contrary, the independent nation-state is now seen by many intellectuals and political figures in Europe as a source of incalculable evil, while the multinational empire—the form of government which John Stuart Mill had singled out as the very epitome of despotism—is now being mentioned time and again with fondness as a model for a post-national humanity.[7] Moreover, this new paradigm is aggressively advancing into mainstream political discourse in other nations as well—even in countries such as the United States and Israel.

Read the whole thing. For related reading, two essays (double h/t: Syrah @ C2) for related reading: Daniel Gordis’ “The Tower of Babel and the Birth of Nationhood.” and Lee Smith’s “Hollow Men”.

“Journalism” and Asimov’s Foundation trilogy

A commenter at Tom Maguire’s place has a priceless observation on a recent piece by Dana Milbank (sigh) in the Washington Post:

Hmmmm.

“The Arizona Guardian Web site [link] checked with medical examiners in Arizona’s border counties”

Now *that* is the kind of gung-ho investigative reporting that cost Nixon his Presidency! When facts need checking and someone has to do the digging … call someone else and hope like heck they have a clue.

Funny how news reporting now so closely resembles Empire Archeology in [Isaac] Asimov’s Foundation series.

Heh. The remark refers to a passage in the first Foundation novel where a decadent nobleman from the decaying galactic Empire, Lord Dorwin, brags about his research into the “Origin Question”, i.e., the birth planet of mankind. All of his “research” involves comparing books written hundreds of years ago, based themselves on secondary or tertiary sources.