"For the first time in a long time, it's cool to be an American."
No, that's not First Lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama, although it sounds a lot like her infamous comment from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. It's American expatriate Kit Maloney, as quoted by London-based Washington Post foreign service staffer Mary Jordan at the end of her January 16 article, "Americans, Feeling the Love."
Sharing some credit with a total of nine additional Post contributors based in London and seven other foreign capitals, Jordan's 27-paragraph story relayed the stories of Americans sharing their tales of low-grade persecution by anti-Bush, anti-American Europeans.
Rather than question the incivility or poor etiquette of said snooty Europeans towards Americans working in their countries, Jordan painted Europeans and Americans living abroad as uniformly breathing a welcoming sigh of relief at Barack Obama's inauguration next Tuesday.
It's not often that meteorology intersects with geopolitics - but Europe could be in store for another Cold War, literally.
Accuweather.com's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi observed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent cut of gas flows to Europe via Ukraine may have been done so in anticipation of a global cooling cycle on the Jan. 6 "Glenn Beck Show" radio program. Bastardi has a solid reputation among Wall Street traders for understanding weather's impact on energy commodities.
"The thing I want to bring up here - very interesting - most of the solar cycle studies that we know about and that guys like me read have come out of the Russian scientists," Bastardi said. "But when Glasnost developed, the Russian scientists, a lot of their ideas on the coming cool period that a lot of us believe is going to occur - ice, rather than fire is the big problem down the road here 2030, 2040, and the reversing cyclical cycles of the ocean - it came out of the East."
To say that President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic is not liked by Euro-elitists is a grand understatement.
European media has generally bent over backwards to give European Union politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels respect and the benefit of the doubt. If there is a voter referendum that enhances EU power, the press is for it, and those in countries like Ireland who reject its advances towards smiley-faced socialism are unenlightened.
Even France's widely disliked Nicolas Sarkozy received favorable treatment from the Europhile press during his 2008 stint as EU President.
That has changed now that Klaus, a fervent advocate of democracy and ardent opponent of statism, whatever its disguises -- including "climate change" -- has taken over that office.
David Charter, Europe correspondent for the UK Times Online, led the charge last Friday (the picture and caption above is from the Times's story page), and reported that things are getting quite testy between Klaus and the Europe uber alles crowd:
Stop me if you've heard this one: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a biased CNN journalist walk into a bar...
CNN's Jim Bittermann has been admitted into the French Legion of Honor, one of just 13 foreign nationals, including two other Americans, "Howard Mamoian, a World War II paratrooper, and John Morris, a news photographer," CNN.com is reporting.
I always thought that the best place, and most reliable to draw conclusions about the United States was to be outside. When you live, it is so beset with misconceptions about what happens that is difficult to relativize. And I always thought that Paris was a privileged observation post because, first, many French know a lot of things about what is happening in America and then, sooner or later, anyone with a little importance to the United States eventually come here, either on an official visit or just to spend a week visiting the museums. Thus, well before the Democratic convention, I knew, from Paris, how the chances of Barack Obama were serious. And I am not a case of Madame Sun.
New York Times European correspondent Dan Bilefsky bizarrely relayed the contents of a secret police file from the former Communist state of Czechoslovakia to boost his argument that Vaclav Klaus, the new president of the European Union, is a dangerously arrogant proponent of the free market. Bilefksy's Tuesday story from Prague, "A Fiery Czech Is Poised to Be the Face of Europe," read more like a cautionary left-wing editorial than a news story.
In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus's now famous arrogance.
"His behavior and attitudes reveal that he feels like a rejected genius," the agent noted in his report, which has since been made public. "He shows that whoever does not agree with his views is stupid and incompetent."
During Friday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Richard Quest predicted that the international community would react favorably if Hillary Clinton would become the next Secretary of State: "Absolutely amazed, outstanding reaction -- I’ve little doubt. Remember, Hillary Clinton is an international superstar, known around the world. There would be some reservations, bearing in mind everyone saw the bruising Democratic primary....But no question, the gravitas -- the authority that she would bring would be welcomed around the world." He later made a bizarre analogy about European reaction to the election of Barack Obama: "You’re talking about people who have been like starving men, who have suddenly been given a food [sic] and a meal and it tastes brilliant to them."
You might not be thrilled by the election of Barack Obama, but look on the bright side: it's made life a lot easier for Maya Angelou when she hangs out with her European friends. Asked by Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1 PM hour what was going through her mind as the results rolled in, the poet mentioned, among other things:
I realized, almost within the minute, I don't have to apologize for my country when I'm abroad. I can say: "I belong to a great country." And the Europeans who say: aren't you glad to be here in France where we don't have the racism you live under? Aren't you glad you're here in Britain, where we don't have -- I mean, I've been on the defensive so long. This time I can say: "I am an American: look at us, look at what we've just achieved."
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN European political editor Robin Oakley pontificated to Senators McCain and Obama on how the U.S. can be more liked by people in Europe. The U.K. native’s advice -- change the country’s policies, especially its conservative ones, so it’s more like the European Union. The best example of this came when Oakley brought up the issue of guns: "While we're on the symbolism, let me remind you how many Europeans see U.S. voters -- as a trigger-happy bunch with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.... Does either of you senators have any serious plans to reduce the number of guns available in the U.S. or even dare to suggest it? That really would impress the Europeans, that you stand for change." The editor played video of Americans shooting off firearms, especially automatic weapons, at ranges and shoot-offs, playing further on a common European stereotype of Americans.
If only the United States were more like Europe, Joy Behar laments. Recapping the previous night’s debate on the October 9 edition of "The View," the panel discussed John McCain’s healthcare plan. In the midst of the conversation Joy Behar wondered why the United States can not "solve" health care like quasi-socialist governments in Europe.
"What they haven’t discussed in any of these debates is how other countries have solved this. France has solved it, Denmark has solved it, England has solved it. Why can’t we solve it? [applause] It’s ridiculous."
But have the mentioned countries really "solved" their health care issues? Take for example Britain, which Joy refers to as "England." "The Daily Telegraph" reported in September that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is in such crisis that some doctors are "calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or lead unhealthy lives."
As we've reported at NewsBusters, the MSM have scoffed at the McCain campaign charging Sen. Barack Obama with supporting sex ed for kindergarteners. Time's Joe Klein has gone so far as to call McCain a liar for the ad, although the legislation in question would have meant 5-year-olds would be taught about STDs at the same time they were learning their ABC's.
The way the media have complained about the McCain ad, you'd get the impression the media think no one has ever seriously entertained the notion of teaching kindergarteners about sex.
Yet yesterday, ABCNews.com's World View blog reported on a controversy in the United Kingdom over an illustrated sex ed book geared to 6-year-olds. An excerpt from London-based reporter Philip Victor (emphasis mine):
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
On August 25 Patrick Donahue of Bloomberg breathlessly informed us that a recent poll showed that Germans love Barack Obama. In a week where Obama's soft polling numbers with Americans who will do the actual voting, you'd be excused if you wondered who cared, but apparently Bloomberg thinks this Obama puffing "news" is worth reporting. It's more reason to be suspicious that the Old Media is in the tank for Barack Obama, in any case.
This particular Bloomberg story has little substance and is centered on a population that cannot even vote for Obama in the first place. Interestingly, however, this story makes no effort to contrast high polling numbers in Germany with the much softer support Obama finds in the U.S.A. At least such a comparison might have served a more newsworthy purpose.
On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos seemed to buy into the idea that Georgia provoked war with Russia as he asked guest Mitt Romney, "Didn’t President Saakashvili of Georgia bring some of this on himself by going into South Ossetia?" After Romney informed viewers that Georgian troops were deployed in response to violent attacks by South Ossetians, the ABC host followed up by asking Romney to respond to charges that the push, presumably by the United States, to expand NATO and build a missile defense system was perceived by Vladimir Putin as "belligerent and aggressive." Stephanopoulos: "How do you respond to the argument that by pushing for Georgia to be in NATO, by pushing for Ukraine to be in NATO, by putting a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, this was seen as belligerent and aggressive by Putin and kind of brought him in?"
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann blamed the Bush administration for the fighting between Russia and Georgia, charging that "the U.S. knowingly provoked Moscow for years by building up Georgia's military," and asked if "the administration essentially stoked the fires of this conflict by the way we contributed to the building up of Georgia and sort of encourage its president to do something like this." The MSNBC host was also distressed at the words of "neoconservatives" who favor a firm response against Russia, and referred to "troubling neocon echoes." Guest Flynt Leverett expressed his concern that "a very powerful group of neoconservative fellow travelers in the Democratic Party" would undermine Barack Obama's "more nuanced approach" to dealing with the situation as these neoconservative "elements" move into the Obama campaign. (Transcript follows)
Warning: excessive adulation of Barack Obama is harmful to the vision and can in extreme cases cause hallucinations.
We're all familiar with how an Obamania overdose produced strange tingling sensations in Chris Matthews. A new, virulent strain of the affliction has now emerged, claiming its first victim in the person of Bob Herbert, who on live national TV saw visions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument where none existed.
The NYT columnist, a guest on today's Morning Joe, expanded on the theory set forth in his column of this past Saturday, Running While Black, that the McCain campaign ad mocking Obama as a Paris Hilton/Britney Spears-type celebrity was actually "designed to exploit" racist anxiety about black men and white women. Herbert lumped the McCain ad with the "call me" ad the RNC ran against Harold Ford, Jr. in his Tennessee senate race.
It was in describing the McCain ad that Herbert's symptoms surfaced.
In yet another example of why the west might not beat the onslaught of radical Islamofascism, Minette Marrin of the Timesonline thinks she has found a solution to the clash of cultures. Marrin details the extremism evinced by too many Muslims in England and then posits a solution: ban all religion. Talk about an absurd idea. It's as foolish as throwing out the baby with the bath water. It also discounts thousands of years of worthy and enlightened western culture influenced, guided and based on Christian philosophy.
In To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups, Marrin's wooly headed prescription also serves as a fine example of the most shallow of PC, postmodern "thinking." Famed French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré once said that, "to doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." It is a lesson in discernment and critical thinking that escapes most on the left, and specifically this prosaic, anti-intellectual Timesonline columnist.
Between now and Election Day, we're sure to see—and chronicle at NB—plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama. But between the thrills going up assorted media legs, evidence is emerging that some in the media are beginning to assess the Dem candidate in a clearer light. Take for example, Gabriel Sherman's piece at the New Republic which as its title—End of the Affair—suggests, has as its thesis that at least for some of its members, the MSM's puppy-love stage might be coming to an end.
Today comes Howard Fineman's admission, hesitant as it might be, and mitigated by his suggestion that Obama came close to hitting an absolute home run with his European trip, that yes, well, after all, the guy is—how can I put this?—arrogant.
Newsweek's senior DC correspondent was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews. The jumping off point was Obama's cancellation of his plans to visit injured American troops in Germany.
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, back from a short vacation, gushed shamelessly about Barack Obama’s week-long trip to the Middle East and Europe on Monday’s The Situation Room: "Barack Obama’s overseas trip -- it was almost flawless." He then heralded the Democrat’s enthusiastic reception internationally and how the past week was a blow to his Republican opponent: "We saw foreign citizens waving American flags instead of burning them, or having the host country’s military holding back angry protesters, and, while Obama was away shoring up his foreign policy credentials, it seems the week turned out to be devastating one for John McCain."
A minor item for a Friday night. File under: Which way is it?
ABC anchor Charles Gibson contended that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's “effusively kind words” about Barack Obama, who joined Sarkozy at a press conference in Paris, “bordered on an endorsement.” On CBS, however, anchor Katie Couric reported that Sarkozy said the French people have been following Obama “with passion” but, she noted, he “quickly pointed out that was not an endorsement.”
During a joint press conference between Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour bizarrely connected the Illinois senator with a 2005 comment by then-Interior Minister Sarkozy that French rioters were "scum." She asked the now-president of France, "And I'm wondering whether you feel, today, when you stand next to someone you clearly admire so much, and who has broken so many barriers, that you regret that term or that you wish you hadn't said it?"
Amanpour never made clear the odd link she seemed to be making between Obama and the "scum" rioters, other than to begin by stating, "Mr. President Sarkozy, you know that in France, the presence of Barack Obama and what he's done in terms of breaking the barriers in the United States has, sort of, made a resurgent black consciousness movement here." President Sarkozy deftly handled the CNN reporter's question. He began with this jibe: "Thank you, madam, for your exceptional knowledge of French political life and your contribution to friendship among peoples." Maintaining a smile, the president added, "...And I'm so glad that you should mention in front of Barack, a situation that prevailed before I became president in France."
A report by correspondent Mark Phillips on Friday’s CBS "Early Show" gave a glowing review of Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin on Thursday: "...there is a bit of a morning after feeling here in Berlin after what they're calling the 'Obama show.' But if the intent of this trip was to raise Barack Obama's foreign profile, it could hardly have been raised any higher...The stage could not have been bigger. The 200,000-plus crowd confirmed his rock star status, and his more cooperative sounding rhetoric was what the crowd wanted to hear."
On Thursday’s "Early Show" Phillips previewed the upcoming speech with the same fawning: "...preparations have been underway for a crowd that may number in the tens of thousands. Such is the anticipation of this Obama visit...Barack Obama of course isn't running for office here, but he may wish he were. Opinion polls across Europe, unofficial ones in newspapers, show that he would have a lead somewhere in the range of 80%. He has extremely high popularity in Europe and extremely high expectations." During that same report, Phillips quoted one German citizen who explained: "I have the feeling that with Obama there's something new. And we need it. Especially in Europe." Phillips then added: "Something new meaning he's not George W. Bush, whose war in Iraq drove a wedge between U.S. and European public opinion."
On Friday’s show, Phillips observed: "This was a speech about tone, not specifics. But mostly it was about showing up and being seen." He then went on to describe John McCain’s "bitterness" toward Obama’s media coverage: "Being seen too much, according to John McCain, who has complained bitterly about the coverage his opponent has received. McCain's response to Obama's Berlin mega-event was to go to a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio."
"[Europe] wants to see an [American] president committed to free trade," cautioned CNN Chief International Correspondent from Berlin, Germany, the site of a speech by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Amanpour pointed to Obama's wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as a problem for the Illinois senator. She explained why on the July 24 broadcast during Obama's visit to Europe.
"But let me tell you a word of caution. The European top trade official for instance has said, ‘Listen Barack Obama quit that crowd pleasing rhetoric and get serious for instance on the issue of trade.' You know Barack Obama as a candidate has talked about renegotiating NAFTA. Well, that does not go down well in Europe, which believes in internationalism and globalism, in globalization," said Amanpour on the morning broadcast.
Are reporters in the business of reporting fact or rumor? Andrea Mitchell, for one, doesn't scruple to circulate "scuttlebutt" that if true would be deeply damaging to John McCain.
Barack Obama's cancellation of plans to visit injured military members at bases in Germany has drawn considerable attention and criticism. On today's Morning Joe, Mitchell passed along an Obama-campaign inspired rumor that McCain used his Pentagon connections to sabotage the Obama visit.
Obama's speech today in Berlin, hailed as a "major" address, has at least one major, glaring error that shows that nether Obama nor his handlers and speech writers were thoroughly familiar with the facts. Obama's main theme was about the "walls" that separate all of us one from another. He claims that many of these "walls" have been taken down and hails that as progress. But in at least one instance he is wrong. In fact more walls have been built where Obama claimed they were taken down.
First the relevant section of Obama's misconception (my bold for emphasis):
The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.
The screencap captures it nicely: Heather Wilson, smiling. Robert Wexler, mouth agape. On this afternoon's Hardball, the feisty, brilliant [bio: high honors Air Force Academy grad, Rhodes Scholar] GOP representative from New Mexico took on the duo of the combative congressman from Florida and host Chris Matthews, and walked away a winner. The subject was Obama's Berlin speech, and by extension his presidential qualifications.
You'll find excerpts below, but they don't do begin to do justice to Wilson's brio and the coolness under verbal fire she displayed. That's why I'd strongly encourage readers to view the video. Wilson kicked off her tour de force in commenting on a clip of Obama in his Berlin speech proclaiming that various walls, including one between American and Europe, "cannot stand" and must be torn down.
CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, reporting on Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin on Thursday’s “The Situation Room,” expressed her shock that the European crowd didn’t seem to have the same mania for the Democrat that the media has: “I did ask some people as they were leaving what they thought. Everybody said good, good. But I was surprised that there wasn't this sort of euphoria afterwards, given how many people had come to listen and how much it had been anticipated.” She later stated in the segment that one unnamed political analyst talked about how “people [in Europe] want a political redeemer -- I mean, that's very specific language, and he said it's not really based on facts, the -- what they think about Obama, because they don't really know. It's based on expectations.”
During the segment, which began just after the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, host Wolf Blitzer asked Amanpour, “why do they apparently like him so much, not only in Germany, but throughout Western Europe?” She gave the standard media talking point about Obama in general: “They like him, some people say, because he is something new, he is a new generation, he's promising change, and people here are desperate for change.” Amanpour then reported on how Europeans apparently like Obama because “he is not President Bush, and they're slightly traumatized still from the last seven years of this ‘go-it-alone’ policy, which has seen so much war and has created so much division.”
Many McCain fans are no doubt bracing for the waves of European adulation that are about to break over Barack Obama, the MSM avidly reporting the scenes. With polls showing Obama with a 50+ percentage-point lead across the Old Continent [the French leading the Obamaphile way at 64-4%], the Dem candidate is assured of ecstatic crowds wherever he goes. Euro-Obamamania begins in Berlin today, with a speech by the candidate at the "Victory Column" in Tiergarten park.
But could all the adoration backfire? That emerging theme has found expression in two very different ways this morning. On the one hand, a scholarly exposition by Prof. Thomas Madden, writing at NRO—who draws parallels to the world of ancient Greco-Roman politics—and in more colloquial fashion by Joe Scarborough.
Here's how the Morning Joe host put it today at 6:34 AM EDT, in an exchange with Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. Republican strategist Mike Murphy got in a good line at the very end.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported on Barack Obama’s upcoming international tour and declared: "...Senator Obama is taking to the skies to stride on the world stage. It's a chance for Americans to take a look at how he measures up as a statesman...it's an attempt to demonstrate he has the necessary gravitas to maneuver through diplomatic minefields, especially in the Middle East."
MacVicar then explained how well-received Obama’s troop withdrawal plan would be to the Iraqi people:
...people know he has proposed to withdraw all U.S. combat troops within 16 months. American presidents have not been popular here for nearly 20 years. But Iraqis say they do want U.S. troops to go home. 'I'm for withdraw now,' says this shopper. 'The Americans have caused all our problems.' 'If Obama's plan is true,' he says, 'we bless it. We need withdraw today.'
MacVicar then looked at the rest of Obama’s planned trip: "On to Europe where many are enthusiastic." She quoted one British citizen who claimed: "If there were a vote here in the UK he'd probably win something like 5-1." MacVicar concluded her report by observing: "There's no question...that even this far away Mister -- Senator Obama, more than any other recent presidential candidate, excites great interest."
Happy Birthday to the greatest nation on this earth. After seeing the Capitol's 4th Celebration on PBS, NASCAR on ESPN2, and watching fireworks off of my patio, I was so truly proud to be an American on this day. It also reminded me of a stunning exchange I recently had with a former co-worker of mine, which left me wondering "aren't all other people proud of their own countries?"
For the rest of the article, please check it out here.