Posts Tagged ‘Media Watch’

My Take On Foreign Policy’s Takedown of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Monday, September 15th, 2014

This piece in Foreign Policy has been making the rounds. It talks at length, in an inside-baseball manner, of how the Obama Administration’s feckless and incompetent behavior has damaged America’s interests around the world.

A taste:

The problem is that in seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that plagued Bush, Obama has inadvertently created his own. Yet unlike Bush, whose flaw-riddled first-term foreign policy was followed by important and not fully appreciated second-term course corrections, Obama seems steadfast in his resistance both to learning from his past errors and to managing his team so that future errors are prevented. It is hard to think of a recent president who has grown so little in office.

That’s why many in the right wing of the blogsphere have been singing it’s praises. And indeed, many of the criticisms leveled are devastatingly on-target. However, I have a somewhat orthogonal take on the piece, and what it’s actually trying to do.

Consider all of the foreign policy debacles either not covered by the piece at all, or else only mentioned in passing:

  • Benghazi
  • Or, for that matter, any of the embassy attacks
  • The failure to address the challenge presented by radical Islam (3 mentions of terrorism, mainly critical of Bush’s handling, and one of the Islamic State)
  • The Iranian nuclear program
  • Gaza (and, in fact, Israel is only mentioned once in passing)
  • Egypt is mentioned only once in passing
  • Ukraine is only mentioned in passing.
  • Broadly speaking, two viewpoints run through the piece, each of which acts, in their own way, as exercises in blame-shifting:

  • An inside-Foggy Bottom view of the embarrassing amateur-hour actions of Obama appointees screwing everything up.
  • “It’s not Hillary’s fault!”
  • As an example of the latter, take this sentence:

    “Concentrating power in the White House increases the likelihood of groupthink, especially in second terms like this one, when many of the stronger and diverse voices in the administration have left and have not been replaced by equally strong and diverse successors.”

    Here that, John Kerry? That’s the sound of Hillary shoving a shiv right between your ribs.

    The groundwork for most (if not all) of the foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration’s second term were laid in its first. Clinton’s emphasis on “soft power” over the military, the premature withdrawal from Iraq, the failure to obtain a status-of-forces agreement there, the counterproductive-to-disastrous regime change in Libya, the lack of any strategy for the “Arab Spring” (and subsequent failure to stem the entirely predictable turn toward radical Islamization several Arab Spring countries took), the failure to foresee a post-Mubarak Egypt, the asinine embrace of Morsi’s obviously despotic Muslim Brotherhood government, the obvious failure of the “reset” with Russia; all occurred or had their seeds planted when Hillary was Secretary of State, and all have contributed mightily to America’s global loss of prestige and respect.

    But the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton’s record is no surprise, given that the author,David Rothkopf, “joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy and Development.”

    I’m also guessing that Susan Rice was among the sources for the piece, given that he follows criticism of her for calling the German Foreign Minister a “M@therf@cker” with the softball “It is a particularly frustrating Achilles’ heel for someone who is well known among her friends as having the capacity to be very warm, humorous, and engaging,” which just reeks of assuaging a source. (Really, did any serious policy profile of any high Republican administration official every use the phrase “very warm, humorous, and engaging”?)

    I also get the impression from this and other bits of Hillary apologia that she really, really has it in for former Deputy National Security Adviser and current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (he’s the guy that looks like Lurch in that “watch us kill Bin Laden” photo). Note that I’m not taking sides in this dispute; it’s entirely possible that both of them suck…

    The piece is worth reading for showing that even the long-time deep state apparatchiks at Foggy Bottom feel embarrassed at the Obama Administration’s gross foreign policy incompetence. But it also needs to be taken with several grains of salt as yet-another piece of battlespace preparation for Hillary 2016…

    Vox.com Gives Obama Horns

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    We’ll save substantive analysis of Obama’s ISIS speech for another time. (Maybe.)

    What I want to focus on: Vox.com and/or the White House set decorator making it look like Obama should have “666″ on his forehead (click to embiggen for the full evil effect):

    Now, I’m not one of those “Obama is the AntiChrist” nuts. And I realize that what looks like horns are merely folds in the ceremonial drapes (possibly window drapes) behind him. And his eyes probably look black because someone applied a standard photo filter to the picture (some iPhoto pics come out that way after applying the anti-redeye filter).

    But combine all that with the oddness of the bags under his eyes, the overall weird shadows on his face, and it really gives Obama a sinister, malevolent look.

    That’s why I saved a local copy to my HD, since I figure Vox will realize how bad it makes Obama look and replace it with one containing 95% less Satan by weight…

    Edited to add: This one seems equally horn-arific:

    Man, I can hardly wait for the lulz when Above Top Secret and InfoWars sink their teeth into this one…

    “Wallace Hall Was Right About UT All Along”

    Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

    That’s the headline on this Dallas Observer story by Jim Schutze (who you may remember from my piece on Tom Leppert’s term as Dallas Mayor).

    The Hall piece details what members of the conservative Texas blogsphere (myself included) have been saying for over a year: Hall was right, his critics were wrong:

    When Hall began to criticize the way UT-Austin was run on strictly administrative grounds, he was roundly denounced as a sort of fifth-columnist for Perry’s assault on tenure. Later when he accused the university of corruption, he was hunted like a witch.

    A campaign launched against Hall included impeachment proceedings in the Legislature and a criminal complaint brought to the Travis County district attorney. Even the establishment press turned on Hall, whose greatest sin was doing what the press is supposed to do — ask questions that make powerful people uncomfortable. An unbroken chorus of editorial page shrieking from Texas’ biggest newspapers denounced Hall and called for his resignation.

    The dramatic denouement is threefold: Hall has been vindicated of charges he abused his role as a regent. The charges of mismanagement and corruption he brought against UT are all being re-investigated because now people are admitting he was on to something. And finally, Hall’s biggest accusers are starting to look like the biggest rats, the ones who had the most to hide.

    In fact it’s hard to recall a case in Texas history where a person so roundly denounced has been so completely vindicated.

    More:

    Williamson, the reporter at The National Review, said in an email: “The Texas dailies have fallen down on the job covering this story, mainly because reporters perceive this as a confrontation between Rick Perry and the University of Texas, and they are reflexively hostile to Rick Perry.

    “I’ve spent most of my life in the newspaper business, and I know bias when I see it: If there were a suggestion that Rick Perry were twisting arms to get family members into A&M, it would be on the front page of The Austin American-Statesman. But when the malefactors are UT administrators and the whistle-blowers are Perry appointees, reporters in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio become strangely incurious.”

    While there isn’t a whole lot new to Schutze’s piece if you’ve been following the story on this and other blogs, the fact that even lefty alternative weeklies now have the same take on the scandal as Michael Quinn Sullivan is a big step forward for justice and transparency, and I commend the entirety of the piece to your attention.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

    LinkSwarm for September 8, 2014

    Monday, September 8th, 2014

    A Monday LinKSwarm to kick off your week with:

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise: Obamacare discourages work.
  • Media: ObamaCare is fading as an issue. GOP strategists: LOL.
  • “Obama has overseen a shocking decline in America’s standing in the world. Everyone is mad at, or disappointed in, the United States.” As far as I can tell, Obama’s foreign policy is to do nothing until Americans are killed, and then to do nothing some more…
  • More on the theme:

    “Obama says what he has to say to make reporters stop asking about it.”

  • Rotherham: “The local government tolerated sexual violence on a vast scale. Why? In part, because the criminals who committed these sickening acts were Muslims from the local Pakistani community, and noticing their depravity was considered insensitive at best, racist at worst.”
  • Illegal alien “children” with gray hair enrolling in public schools since the Obama Administration won’t let school districts check their ages.
  • After more than five years of Obama, the Los Angeles Times asks “Is economic stagnation the new normal?”
  • Obama starts the latest poker round by showing Putin his hole cards.
  • Iran bans women from many university courses. Now remind me what this whole “war on women” is about again…
  • Interview with the woman who runs the only Arabic language magazine of sex and erotica. Good luck with that…
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela is now importing oil.
  • Hey, remember when Bush attended three fundraisers and a wedding during the middle of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither.
  • “However stupid the creation of the euro was, undoing it will not be easy.”
  • UC Berkley wants to make sure “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so.” “And by ‘contentious’ speech, we mean ‘non-liberal’ speech. Or, as we like to refer to them, ‘hate crimes.’”
  • Military rifles, armor, and ammo sent to numerous Texas school districts. If anyone knows why Texarkana ISD needs a SWAT team, I’m all ears…
  • In a shocking and unexpected development, I actually agree with Keith Olbermann about something. Namely the idea that it was amazingly stupid for the Huffington Post to hire Donte “9/11 Truther” Stallworth to be a “National Security Fellow.”
  • This weekend there were numerous protests to wage fast food wages. What’s behind them? $3 million in union money.
  • Huffingotn Post fooled by scam story. Clip this headline out and save it and I’m sure you’ll be able to make use of it in the years to come…
  • Mandy Nagy, AKA “Liberty Chick,” is recovering from surgery following a stroke.
  • A little fun via the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly tag:

  • Edmonton Beheading Update

    Friday, September 5th, 2014

    British police name the beheader as “Nicholas Salvadore, a 25-year-old would-be cage fighter who is believed to be a Muslim convert, who had been living a few doors from 82-year-old [Victim] Palmira Silva.”

    Seeing some reports that Salvadore is a Nigerian immigrant, but I don’t think that’s been confirmed.

    Weasel Zippers comments on possible Islamist influences. “You can be mentally ill and still be influenced by extremism.”

    I’ll Take “Because I’m An Idiot” for $4,000, Alex

    Thursday, September 4th, 2014

    I’m struggling to come up with fresh, insightful commentary on such weighty topics as ISIS or Rotherham, so instead let’s talk about a moron who spent $4,000 on a jacket she couldn’t afford.

    It’s an annoyingly discursive example (from the comments: “I think this might be the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever read”) of that most irritating genre, Essays That Seem Designed To Make You Hate New Yorkers. Most entries in that genre are about rich New Yorkers buying ridiculously overpriced garbage. But Mary H. K. Choi’s essay is particularly irksome, because she only aspires to run with that crowd.

    The well-to-do can afford status goods because they pay cash for them. Non-rich people buying expensive status goods they can’t afford tend to find themselves bankrupt.

    The first commentator on the story actually nails it: “No one else will say it, so I will. You bought a $4,000 coat that you couldn’t afford because you’re an idiot.”

    Says Choi: “The coat was the distillation of everything I’ve ever found seductive about not only living in New York but the prospect of belonging there, too.”

    And there’s your reason: I live in New York City. I’m extra-special.

    I was in London last month for the World Science Fiction Convention, where I had lunch with friends at a pub just off Saville Row. I thought to myself “maybe I should think about getting a Saville Row suit while I’m there.” Then I looked at the prices, and went “Nope!” Now keep in mind that I could pay cash for a £3,750 suit (just over $6,000 at today’s exchange rates), and all it would do is eat into my “two years of emergency jobless living” savings. But since I’m not a millionaire, movie star, lawyer or politician, I would have precious few occasions to wear it. It didn’t make any sense for me to buy a Saville Row suit.

    But common sense seems to be a commodity that Ms. Choi does not possess in over-abundance.

    Actions have consequences. People who live within their means tend to have much happier, stress-free lives compared to wastrel spendthrifts. I suspect that Ms. Choi will soon be learning this lesson, good and hard…

    In Which I Make Fun of Matthew Yglesias’ Fashion Choices

    Saturday, August 30th, 2014

    If you haven’t see Matthew Yglesias’ purple plaid sports coat and pastel plaid tie combination (which has been making the rounds for a while now), it is something to behold:

    Both Kurt Schlichter and I chimed in on it:

    It’s Labor Day Weekend, so this is what you get instead of actual content…

    The Late, Not-So-Great Wendy Davis Campaign

    Thursday, August 28th, 2014

    It’s not been a good month for people trying to pretend the Wendy Davis campaign is actually capable of winning the Governor’s mansion.

    First, during a time when Davis desperately needs media attention to have any hope of closing the gap with Republican opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Rick Perry indictment is sucking up all the media oxygen. “It’s very good for Greg Abbott because he’s up by 12-13-14 points on Wendy Davis and he has two to three times as much money as she does to close out this race in the final weeks.”

    Next comes word that Wendy Davis is actually polling 10 points behind where Bill White was at this time four years ago. And Bill White, despite running a markedly more competent and professional campaign than Davis has thus far, got slaughtered.

    Then it was revealed that Davis was trying to hide her 2013 tax returns, giving partial copies to the media “with the stipulation that the document couldn’t be shared with anyone or published in full.” A look at those returns shows why. Her 2013 tax return itself shows that out of $249,754 in gross income, Wendy Davis actually paid Uncle Sam a grand total of $788 in withholding in 2013. That left her just a wee, tiny bit short of the amount she she estimated had to pay. Namely, $60,000 short. But even that amount (which is what she sent in with her extension form) turned out to be less than the $70,252 she actually owed, which is why she paid $1,246 in tax penalties.

    Evidently, when you pull Davis’ string, she says “Math is hard!” in addition to “Abortion is awesome!”

    Finally, Davis’ laughable attack ad attempt to link Abbott to problems at the troubled Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas gets slammed by MSM fact checkers. In fact, Jerald Combs, the only person indicted in the now-closed CPRIT investigation, has not donated anything to Abbott.

    In a state as deep red as Texas, Democrats were always going to need a string, spotless candidate running a flawless campaign to have any hope of beating Abbott. Davis isn’t, and she hasn’t.

    Adventures in Badly Targeted Ads

    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

    I hit Instapundit this morning, and guess who the banner ad was attacking?

    Screen shot 2014-08-19 at 8.11.56 AM

    That’s right: An anti-Greg Abbott, pro-Wendy Davis ad on Instapundit! That’s some mighty fine use of targeted advertising, Wendy Davis campaign!

    Next up: A Jewish Defense League fundraising appeal on Al Jazerra…

    Perry Indictment Slammed as Ridiculous On Both Left and Right

    Monday, August 18th, 2014

    More and more commentators, on all sides of the political spectrum, have weighed in on the risible nature of the Rick Perry indictment:

  • Respectable lefty attorney Alan Derschowitz (who has maintained an admirably consistent commitment to civil liberties throughout his career) condemns the Perry indictment: “Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment.”
  • Patterico provides extensive legal analysis and notes: “Words truly fail to describe what an outrageous and unsupportable abuse of prosecutorial power this is.”
  • “’You can’t pay me enough to vote for Rick Perry, but this indictment is a totally corrupt use of criminal law,’ said David Berg, a Houston attorney and contributor to Democratic candidates. ‘It is clearly political, vindictive and unsupportable.’”
  • Sarah Palin notes that frivolous lawsuits to derail a Republican’s national electoral chances are now standard operating procedure for Democrats.
  • Lefty journalist Jonathan Chait says:

    They say a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and this always seemed like hyperbole, until Friday night a Texas grand jury announced an indictment of governor Rick Perry…The theory behind the indictment is flexible enough that almost any kind of political conflict could be defined as a “misuse” of power or “coercion” of one’s opponents. To describe the indictment as “frivolous” gives it far more credence than it deserves.

  • Even MSNBC says that “it’s hard to imagine sending a governor to jail for talking about why he issued a veto.”
  • In other news, check out the #IStumbleWithRosemaryLehmberg tag…