Showing posts with label andrew c. mccarthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label andrew c. mccarthy. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I leave the recap to National Review's leading torture enthusiast:

Yeah, all in all a good night. It makes me sad I didn't activate PBS yet on my Apple TV. I missed David Brooks! Well, I don't want to hurt myself laughing.

UPDATE. Don't want to miss the Washington Times' coverage:
President Obama spent much of Tuesday’s State of the Union calling for civility in politics — then taunted Republicans over his two election victories, after many of them applauded the looming end of his political career.
Obama made a so-called "joke," which is straight out of the Alinsky playbook! Quick, someone write another column about American Sniper lest we lose momentum.

UPDATE 2. Speaking of which:


Snipermania is back! Now to get some of those hipsters dressing like troops instead of 19th Century dandies. I know -- let's wreck the economy again; then, they'll have no choice but to join up!

UPDATE 3. Here to make everything worse as usual, Jonah Goldberg:
Like a lot of people, I found tonight’s speech a chore. That’s less of a criticism of Obama than it sounds. I find all State of the Unions to be tedious, particularly this late in a presidency. I do think it was better delivered than most of his State of the Union addresses. I didn’t, however, think it was particularly well-written. “The shadow of crisis has passed”? C-minus.
There are at all times lots of middle-aged white guys scratching their nuts in their Barcaloungers, seeing sumpin' on TV, and going "meh," sometimes at muttering length, without having a particular complaint beyond how comfy their junk was sitting while they watched. But only a few of them get wingnut welfare and a national platform, and among their few obligations is to pad, pad, pad 'til it looks like business. Eventually we find that Goldberg ran out of proper stuffing in the first paragraph:
More telling, the last 15 minutes amounted to Obama’s golden oldies. His real foe is cynicism. We can all work together. There are no red states or blue states. We are all our “brother’s keeper.” 
The difference is that the first time we heard this stuff it had at least superficial plausibility because the Obama presidency hadn’t happened yet. Five, six, ten years later, it’s all pretty sad. It’s sad because it shows that Obama still thinks his original material is fresh when it’s actually played out (and some of it was piffle to begin with — don’t get me started on “my brother’s keeper”.)
Yeah, Obama thinks Americans will actually go for this "brother's keeper" bullshit. Well, how can you expect a secret Muslim to understand Christians anyway. Besides ha ha Obama because Jonah Goldberg knows what Americans really want: Bar-B-Q Ranch Lime Sriracha Cheetos, and torture. You're so over! This is the age of Presidential frontrunner Ben Carson!

Oh, there's more -- e.g. "[Obama] promises all sorts of 'free' stuff out of one side of his mouth and then insists we must raise taxes to pay for it. Oh, so it’s not free, huh?" Wait'll the sheeple hear about this! -- but I warn you, it's the sort of thing that, if they handed it to Joni Ernst last night before her speech, she would have told them, "Come on, nobody's gonna go for this."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


(Here's the third installment of a year-end bottom-ten of the lowlights of 2014, culled from my archives and elsewhere. The previous installments are here and here. Read 'em and weep!)

4. The Eternal ObamaHitler. In January Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit addressed some Obama conspiracy theories: “…that the NSA may have been relaying intelligence about the Mitt Romney campaign to Obama operatives, or that Chief Justice John Roberts' sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail.”

Yeah, you might shrug, there are plenty such crazy notions out there. But Reynolds went on: “A year ago, these kinds of comments would have been dismissable as paranoid conspiracy theory. But now, while I still don't think they're true, they're no longer obviously crazy. And that's Obama's legacy: a government that makes paranoid conspiracy theories seem possibly sane.”

Reynolds’ main theme was the IRS “scandal,” one of a long series on alleged wheels-within-wheels Obamaspiracies that have not gotten the traction he and his colleagues think they deserve. But it’s his idea that crackpot theories about Obama are somehow legit because of other crackpot theories about Obama that’s really interesting. There are many conservatives on the internet who sound as if they’re writing from survivalist treehouses where they wait, gun at the ready, for UN troops to try and put them in FEMA camps; you expect such people to peddle every daffy Obama story that churns up. But Reynolds’ theory may help explain why the ones who manage to hold down jobs in the non-tinfoil world also circulate them; perhaps they do so more in sorrow than in psychotic rage, clucking (as Reynolds did recently, in a column speculating that a Congressional spending billing passed “because NSA has ‘dirt’ on John Boehner”), “Sad what this country has become under the Obama Machine.”

Or it may be that they’re just political operatives who’ll throw any shit that comes to hand. But I try to be generous.

You may know that GM had an ignition-switch problem that it handled badly, possibly causing dozens of deaths. But did you know, as PJ Media’s Bryan Preston reported, “the Obama administration may have been covering up union shop GM’s deadly ignition switch flaw”? Wake up sheeple! Fox News’ Eric Bolling went so far as to suggest that the Obama White House “bankrupted GM" -- that is, bailed them out -- " make sure that the old GM was responsible for these deaths because they knew they had a problem and the new GM could go on with business as usual and then they would look like heroes.” “Did GM Bailout Cost Lives?” asked wingnut foundation the National Legal and Policy Foundation. “Congress needs to take a very close look at this — and perhaps the newly-Republican Senate will do so after January,” said Ed Morrissey of Hot Air. Maybe they can work it in between #Benghazi hearings.

But it’s not all tyrannizing and murdering in this Obama alt-reality universe: There’s also Obama playing pool, which became a thing (“WHILE THE WORLD BURNS, OBAMA FIDDLES, GOLFS, AND SHOOTS POOL”). Also Obama saluting a Marine with a cup of tea in his hand, ditto (“speaks volumes about President Obama, not only concerning his underlying disdain for our military, but also as regards basic decency”). And that tan suit business which, Jesus, I’m looking at it now and I still can’t figure it out. And golf, but that’s sort of an evergreen with them by now.

As seen by the brethren, Obama’s villainy informs everything he says and does; it’s so complete it’s mythic, like the strength of Paul Bunyan or the wiles of Br'er Rabbit. If Obama skips a military funeral, for example, it suddenly becomes unprecedented, even though other Presidents have done it. The most outrageous statements may be attributed to Obama and they will be believed, even without evidence. When his friends celebrate his birthday, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist explains, it pollutes the very institution of birthdays (“One, it’s childish. Birthdays are for kids”). Why, he commits treason even when he frees an American P.O.W. — that’s how twisted he is!

Despite this superhuman power, it goes without saying that Obama is also wrong about everything — for example, he says “horseshit” when he clearly should have said “bullshit” (this from Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff, a master of both).

Given this view, it should come as no surprise that their rhetoric verges on the hysterical when they discuss him — see National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy (“So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality”) and Deroy Murdock (“Obama now rules by decree… Obama’s predecessors have signed executive orders and, more or less, left it at that. But Obama pounds his chest as he does so”), Politico’s Rich Lowry (“Barack Obama, American Caudillo”), the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen ("Is Obama considering surrendering to the Taliban?”), Rod Dreher ("as far as the Obama administration is concerned, traditional Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are vestiges of barbarism”), former Texas GOP Senate candidate Darren Yancy (“a 6 year reign of terror against Christianity, liberty, the Constitution, self responsibility, employment, and economic opportunity”), actual Congressmembers Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC (“he has declared war, and not just on Congress but the American people”) and Rep. Randy Weber, R-TX (“On floor of house waitin on 'Kommandant-In-Chef"'... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it 'A-Lying?’”), et alia.

Pundits like to tell us that political mudslinging isn’t anything new — look at Adams and Jefferson, etc. But with all respect to James Callender, the Founders lived in a simpler time before rapid-response teams, social media, and vast armies of citizen journalists who have turned what used to be quadrennial mudslinging into a constant, suffocating shitstorm.

3. Torture as an American value. I’m not sure how old you have to be to remember when torturing prisoners was something the United States simply didn’t do. As a lad I, like many Americans, was shocked to learn about the My Lai massacre; if I had been then told that Lt. William Calley also waterboarded and hung from chains his Vietnamese victims, whether they were Viet Cong or not, I’m sure I would have been even more shocked. Maybe Dirty Harry did that shit, but not John Wayne.

I am old and jaded now, but I must admit, when after the Senate released the torture report in December a number of Americans, including a former Vice-President of the United States, told us that torture was great and it was actually the citizens who balked at it that were anti-American, I was still a little shocked.

It’s not that I expected better of the cheerleaders. The Republican response to the Senate Report, for example, was just the kind of ass-covering that could have been predicted from members of that august Party. “The rendition, detention, and interrogation program [the CIA] created, of which enhanced interrogation was only a small part,” they said, “enabled a stream of collection and intelligence validation that was unprecedented.” That is, we haven’t been attacked since, so it stands to reason everything we did, including the 13th Century barbarities, must have helped.

And I can’t say I was exactly surprised by those conservatives who don’t belong to any Congressional committees who nevertheless jumped up and said torture, what’s the problem? Like Commentary’s Max Boot, who seethed that “the release of the Senate report will only aid our enemies who will have more fodder for their propaganda mills” — as if the torture weren’t worse than people finding out about it; as if in fact the citizens of the nations we conquered weren't already well aware and we, the American people, weren’t the last to find out.

There was the libertarian perspective from Reason’s Scott Shackford: The torture itself wasn’t the problem — the problem was Big Gummint. “Strip out the torture and terrorism and you've got any other troubled government program,” Shackford shrugged, and offered what he must have thought was a brilliant correlative: “Was the Department of Health and Human Services honest with those charged with oversight about the state of Obamacare health insurance exchanges prior to their launch, and has it succeeded in providing affordable health insurance? It's the same argument.” Obamacare is torture too, basically, but you don’t see Democrats complaining about that!

About the attempted deep thoughts on the subject by Jonah Goldberg (“In other words, we have the moral vocabulary to talk about kinds of killing — from euthanasia and abortion to capital punishment, involuntary manslaughter and, of course, murder — but we don’t have a similar lexicon when it comes to kinds of torture”), the less said the better.

There were also straight-up psychos like the person who wrote “Yes, Christians Can Support Torture” for The Federalist. (Depressingly representative quote: “Prolonged torture designed to crush the spirit of an individual is different from interrogation techniques, even ones that inflict pain.”) Probably the nadir, though, is represented by internet tough guy Steve Hayward of Power Line, who snarled at “the handwringing of the media and liberals” and suggested in future we just take the detainees (whom he took care to call “terrorists,” although a significant number of them had no proven connection with terrorism — that’s how professional propagandists work, folks) out of CIA custody and “hand them over to the Hells’ Angels,” haw haw.

The most interesting (in the clinical sense) part of Hayward’s essay addressed the reasonable conclusion that if we torture, we’re not better than other totalitarian regimes; nonsense, Hayward huffed, American exceptionalism “does not and has never meant that the United States is above or immune to the basic rules of political life, especially the basic instinct to defend itself against enemies. The fact that we do so without apology (except from liberals) is a good part of what makes the U.S. exceptional today…” So this is the conservative defense of a practice condemned by civilization for centuries: That we torture, but we’re still better because we do so with an all-American sneer on our faces.

The surprise wasn’t that these people would lie about torture and, when the lie was exposed, just laugh about it — I’ve known that about these people for a long time. I guess what shocked me was the confidence they showed that ordinary Americans would agree with them, and that their confidence might be justified.

(More later.)

Monday, December 29, 2014


(Here's the second installment of a year-end bottom-ten of the lowlights of 2014, culled from my archives and elsewhere. The first installment is here. Read 'em and weep!)

7. Impeachment for the hell of it. Conservatives have been threatening to impeach Obama since 2009. You’d think the schtick would have gotten tiresome even to them by now, particularly when their favorite impeachable offenses, like #Benghazi, keep going belly-up in their own Congressional committees.

But it’s a key part of the job of professional propagandists to tart up old schtick. In 2014 National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy, previously best known as a torture enthusiast, published Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. Impeachment, he explained elsewhere, “is not a legal matter; it is a political remedy.” The Founders left “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” vague for that reason; presumably there were no impeachments before Andrew Johnson’s because all our earlier Presidents, including national-bank-buster Andrew Jackson, were scrupulous about the Constitutional order, unlike Obama -- whom we can’t get at, sighed McCarthy, because nowadays “we put our faith in law, not judgment, and it becomes a ready-made excuse for inaction while the lawyers temporize.” Another black crook works the system!

This may be why top conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Miller and Rep. Steve King felt free to rev up the impeachotron without coherent legal justifications when Obama announced executive action on immigration last summer. When Democrats began to notice and comment on this impeachment chatter, however, conservatives changed direction, suggesting Obama was actually trying to get impeached, despite their best efforts to stop him.  This "might be the first White House in history trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president," cried GOP House Whip Steve Scalise. "Does Obama WANT to Get Impeached?" asked National Review's Rich Lowry. "Such a calculation — amnesty-by-fiat to deliberately court impeachment — is breathtakingly cynical," look-who's-talkinged Charles Krauthammer.

Fox News even recruited McCarthy to tell viewers that his book — which, I remind you, is called Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment — isn’t an argument for impeaching Obama.

Assuming this isn't a misguided effort to get Obama's supporters on board, this seems to be conservatives' way of coping with memories of the disastrous Clinton impeachment while leaving their options open. If they can pretend that, should impeachment come, it really won't have anything to do with what they actually want, maybe they won't get the same treatment Newt Gingrich got when, unable to resist their new majorities in both houses of Congress, they finally succumb to temptation.

6. The Gruber maneuver. We’re at a strange place in the history of Obamacare: conservatives hate it and insist no one wants it, but insurance-starved citizens are rushing to obtain it. Republicans are understandably scared to repeal it, and hope like hell the Supreme Court will do it for them with the mother of all nuisance lawsuits, or one of the others they have lined up.

If SCOTUS doesn’t oblige, the new GOP two-house majority may not have the balls to return America to its old Pay or Die healthcare system without serious backup. So, in the absence of a believable Republican alternative, conservatives seek ways to make the program look so bad voters won’t mind when it croaks. Most of their 2014 arguments in that line — for example, that Obamacare is bad because it lets people quit jobs they don’t want, or that the long lines of people waiting for Obamacare remind them of “Venezuelans waiting in bread lines” — didn’t get very far.

But then some guy circulated some tapes of one Jonathan Gruber referring to the role of voter ignorance in getting Obamacare passed, and the brethren hit the battlements, denouncing Gruber and convincing House Republicans to get up a committee to yell at him.

What government position does Gruber occupy? None; he’s a freelance policy expert who helped the Democrats build the ACA (and helped Mitt Romney build You-Know-Who-care in Massachusetts). But Gruber had an unofficial title — Architect of Obamacare! When the shit hit the fan, this led to the following hilarious Google News results:

If that weren’t enough, investigative outfits like dug up more connections between Gruber and the Feds — for example, “OBAMA CLAIMED TO HAVE 'STOLEN IDEAS' FROM GRUBER IN 2006.” He was practically a member of the family!

Why all this effort just to elevate an enemy consultant? I mean, even Alger Hiss had a real government job. Well, like Hiss, Gruber is a pointy-head with much book-larnin’. Plus, he had suggested, in his muttering way, that Americans were stupid, and one of the pillars of conservatism (along with tax breaks for the wealthy and persecution of minorities) is resentment against them high-toned liberals who look down on you, Mr. and Mrs. America, and your simple ways. Connect that with Obamacare and you’ve got something.

Thus, we got headlines like “Obamacare Architect: Yeah, We Lied to The ‘Stupid’ American People to Get It Passed” and “Gruber Got 24 Times the Average ‘Stupid’ American’s Salary for Obamacare Work” (he’s hoity-toity and rich — prob’ly cosmopolitan and rootless, too!). “So the left has disdain for average Americans?” said Flopping Aces. “Tell me something we don’t already know.” Ah, but soon the whole world would know, thanks to the rhetorical genius of Trey Gowdy!

Gruber testified, and for the brethren it was Watergate all over again, only this time a real bad guy was under siege. “At critical points, of course, Gruber couldn’t recall,” reported Scott Johnson of Power Line. “He couldn’t recall if he had heard his friends in the Obama administration discuss the need to conceal the Obamacare tax on health insurance… When Gruber says, ‘I honestly do not recall,’ the ‘honestly’ puts screaming exclamation points on his lying.” “For those keeping track, that is not a ‘no,’” scrupled Noah Rothman of Hot Air. Sounds like Gruber was in real danger of losing his imaginary job!

When insulted Americans did not descend on Washington with pitchforks, conservatives bitched that the press was engaged in a Gruber cover-up (“Besieged by stupid Americans, Media circles the wagons around Gruber,” headlined Hot Air), notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of videos of Gruber available on the internet. actually attacked the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column on Gruber’s testimony, not because they defended Gruber, but because they “really should have bumped their rating from 2 to 3 Pinocchios,” and offered 1,538 words in defense of this proposition.

It seems like another wash-out — but Judge Andrew Napolitano, frequent Fox News guest nut, holds out hope that the Gruber maneuver will convince someone, at least: “Now we all know this was done intentionally, and guess what?” he told NewsMax. “The Supreme Court now knows this as well… If this phrase, this admission by this professor, gets before the Supreme Court, Obamacare loses." Now who thinks other people are stupid?

5. All the free speech money can buy. In 2014, conservatives were very concerned about free speech. Not everyone’s free speech, of course — for example, if you recently protested police brutality, Rudolph Giuliani and others said at year’s end, your speech caused two NYPD officers to be killed, so shut up. No, they were mostly concerned, as they usually are, with the rights of the wealthy and the powerful.

There was a big uproar in the spring, for instance, when seniors at some colleges decided they didn’t want conservatives to speak at their commencement ceremonies. Some people might imagine that was their call to make — after all, no one has a Constitutional right to a well-paid speaking engagement before an unwilling audience. But conservatives felt differently: “Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers,” reported the Washington Times, quoting an activist who complained of “a severe bias against conservative viewpoints.” The expected follow-up, in which the Times revealed that DJs at graduation parties were biased against country music, was never published.

“Liberal bias at America’s universities is on display more than ever during this year’s commencement season,” reported Claire E. Healey at TownHall. For instance: “Robert Birgeneau, a chancellor at the University of California when police broke up an Occupy protest, refused to attend Haverford College’s ceremony to receive an honorary degree when students and faculty made objections.” The nerve of the guy!

Their biggest upset was saved for former Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was deprived of $35,000 from Rutgers University when students squawked. “Mob rule,” cried Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon; “Censorship 1, Condoleezza Rice 0,” tallied Dick Polman. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg actually compared Rice not getting the gig to the Palmer Raids of the early 20th Century, and huffed that on campus “social or administrative policing of thought crimes is all the rage.” (“Social” policing means people just don’t want to listen to you, I guess, which is Liberal Fascism farrrt.)

When both the free-speaker and the organization that didn’t want to hear it were rich and powerful, conservatives split the difference and took the side of… well, see if you can figure it out:

In April Brendan Eich was dismissed as Mozilla CEO after the company’s Board of Directors learned he’d supported an anti-gay-marriage drive. It’s not as if the brethren were saying that corporations couldn’t fire people for their speech — perish the thought! In fact, one Eich defender, PJ Media’s Bryan Preston, originally demanded that Mozilla employees who said they wanted Eich gone be “fired summarily,” before exploding with rage when the board instead dumped Eich.

No, it was the gay angle that turned Eich’s dismissal, in the eyes of some, from acceptable corporate behavior to an attack on straightness and on Christian morality itself. Imagine, firing an CEO for insulting homosexuals, which once was de rigueur for a successful exec! Why, soon they’ll be purging Klansmen from the C-suites… whoops, that already happened, or so it seemed, with the Donald Sterling fiasco in the NBA. Yes, a few dozen billionaires desired to disassociate from a team owner who had made racist statements, and once again conservatives rushed to defend the defenestratee.

You’ve probably figured it out: Conservatives reliably defend the powerful against the powerless but, when both parties are powerful, they side against the one that associates with the powerless. This, by the way, also explains the modern Democratic and Republican Parties.

(More later.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


One of the guys stepping up to defend America's recently revealed torture is Max Boot.  Like his fellow pain freak Andrew C. McCarthy, he puts quotes around "torture," because apparently the reported horrors of our Black Sites are not a big deal to him. He implicates Dianne Feinstein and John F. Kennedy, which is okay by me, or would be if he were trying to drag them down with him -- but Boot thinks the real crime is complaining about the torture, not furthering it.  He actually says, "It’s easy to denounce such brutal measures from the safety of an armchair" as if that were worse than approving them from the same armchair. He concludes:
Whatever the case, of one thing I am positive: that the release of the Senate report will only aid our enemies who will have more fodder for their propaganda mills. It is hard to see how it will serve the interests of the United States, because even if you believe the interrogations in question were war crimes, the reality remains that they were long discontinued. Feinstein’s report merely rakes up history and for no good purpose beyond predictable congressional grandstanding.
If your conscience does not respond to this, let me remind you what Boot is.

In 2003 Boot cheered the coming Iraq clusterfuck. "Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets," he said. He had no doubt of the mission's success: "With American seriousness and credibility thus restored, we will enjoy fruitful cooperation from the region's many opportunists, who will show a newfound eagerness to be helpful in our larger task of rolling up the international terror network that threatens us."

That same year he bade America take the fight to North Korea and Iran, quoting Kipling: "Taking on all of them is a big commitment, but as Kipling warned America, 'Ye dare not stoop to less.'" We'll beat those fuzzy-wuzzies in no time!

In 2005, apparently still excited by the bloodbaths, Boot reached back into history to approve the infamous Moro Massacre in the Philippines and its architect, Leonard Wood: "His scorched-earth policy sparked controversy but achieved results."

The course of action Boot endorsed has since been proven a disaster, but he has continued to yap and snarl. In 2011 he wept over America's withdrawal from Iraq -- "The issue of immunity could have been finessed," he insisted, "if administration lawyers from the Departments of State and Defense had not insisted that Iraq’s parliament would have to vote to grant our troops protections from Iraqi laws." It should be no surprise that Boot sees the wishes of elected representatives as a useless nuisance. Boot didn't want us to get out of Afghanistan either -- why, what would Kipling think?

Boot still bays for blood in Syria, Iran, and elsewhere. In 2013 he condemned Edward Snowden, whom he said "needs to see a psychiatrist or a minister rather than to be granted access to the front pages of the world to blow some of the U.S. government’s most important intelligence-gathering activities."

In short, Boot is the last person we should be listening to -- but then, he always was. It's worth asking why this moral leper still has a place in our discourse.