Tuesday's Washington Post print edition ran a front-page obituary for Richard Holbrooke which closed by noting that the veteran diplomat told his surgeon "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."
Of course numerous news outlets latched onto that quote. Leftist magazine Mother Jones even made the line their quote of the day late Monday evening as blogger Kevin Drum approvingly added in a December 13 post, "That would be a fitting memorial."
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But politicizing a dying man's last words has its risks. It turns out Holbrooke's exchange with his doctors taken out of context:
A few weeks ago, just before GM's initial public offering went to the market (at the Washington Examiner; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Multi-Government/General Motors had spent the past several months shipping more cars than its dealers were selling, to the point where dealer stocks represented an unusually high number of days of dealers' sales.
GM's December 1 press release made that trend even more obvious, as month-end dealer inventory rose to 536,000 units, about 30% higher than May's level.
As seen below, the trend was already pretty obvious in October, and a vigilant press should have been alert enough to notice it and attempt to gauge its financial impact:
Here's something about which the environmentalists and car czars planted inside the Obama administration can't be pleased: as a percentage of their U.S. sales, Multi-Government/General Motors and Chrysler are selling more "light trucks," consisting of pickups, SUVS, and "crossover" vehicles than any other major manufacturer. Further, the companies are clearly emphasizing light trucks at the expense of their car models.
I wonder how a government promise to accomplish this would have been received by the fossil-fuels-are-awful media at bankruptcy crunch time last year?
You can pretty much count on this inconvenient product mix not getting a great deal of establishment press attention while it drools over the underpowered, heavily subsidized electric lemon known as the Chevy Volt and whatever toy disguised as a useful vehicle Chrysler/Fiat plans on foisting onto the market.
In an interview with Gov. Rick Perry published today, Newsweek's Andrew Romano falsely claimed that "Many Tea Partiers want to repeal the 14th Amendment, which provides for birthright citizenship." Romano then asked the recently-reelected Texas Republican, "Do you agree with them?"
Perry answered that while he believed a constitutional prohibition on birthright citizenship was "probably not" needed, he didn't address the fundamental error in Romano's premise.
While there have been suggestions by some conservatives at looking at amending the Fourteenth Amendment to ensure that children of illegal immigrants do not automatically gain American citizenship, the notion that Tea Party activists favor a full repeal of the post-Civil War amendment is a faulty liberal media meme.
We won't try to weave too much political-cultural significance into the spat that erupted on Morning Joe today. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacle as Joe Scarborough struggled to get in a word edgewise with Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation.
Scarborough was seeking to cite statistics showing that by a ratio of about 40:20, more Americans identify as conservatives than as liberals. That, he argued, makes it hard for Dems like Obama to govern from the left, and suggests that lefties like vanden Heuvel should cut the prez some slack.
Not that it justifies the horrible consequences of leaking classifed information, thereby endangering our troops, our allies, our friends, and their families (of course it doesn't), but the WikiLeaked documents being carried at outlets like the New York Times are revealing some truths that are proving quite inconvenient for Iraq war opponents.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that a post at one of Wired.com's blogs ("WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results") rnoted that "for years afterward, WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction." Add that to the already large pile of evidence that totally debunks the leftist folklore that "there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Now Andrew Bolt at Melbourne, Australia's Herald-Sun (HT Instapundit) tells us that another leftist myth about the war's impact on Iraq's general populace is getting retired to the ash heap of false history (links are in original):
After getting spanked in the November 2 election, Christine O'Donnell needs to find herself a good Christian man to submit to. Or she could open a Wiccan supply store.
Those are just two of the six mocking suggestions that Newsweek's David Graham came up with yesterday on the magazine's The Gaggle blog for the Delaware Republican Senate nominee's future.
Graham's list is just more evidence that O'Donnell seems to have inherited Sarah Palin's mantle as the conservative female politician liberal journalists most love to write arguably misogynistic screeds against (emphasis mine):
Karl Rove is a great American patriot, a genius, a statesman, even. And now he has proven his phenomenal, overflowing patriotism by setting up a secretive finance group, in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--that's right, our very own, United States Chamber of Commerce--to run sleazy political ads, funded by foreign investors. I can't imagine why all these foreign companies are just itching to hook up with Rove and influence American politics...can you?
I'm sure Klein's die-hard groupies found that wickedly witty. But even writers further to the left of Klein and the center-left mainstream media, like the folks at Mother Jones magazine, think the complaint is just plain lame.
Apparently the political death panel at Newsweek is resigned to the fact that the Democratic Congress is DOA come November 2.
Thus braced for the impact of a possible Republican congressional takeover, uber-liberal Newsweek writer Eleanor Clift donned her political strategist cap to openly advise Obama that how, "Just as Clinton did in ’94," he'll need to "reaffirm his relevance and return to his core principles."
But haven't Obama's core liberal principles been the problem that's brought about this impending midterm doom?
With low poll approval ratings and the prospect of his congressional allies in Congress taking a drubbing in November, it's hardly surprising the liberal media are looking for any silver lining for Obama that it can find.
Enter Time magazine's Kate Pickert, who on the magazine's Swampland blog yesterday claimed that a ruling upholding ObamaCare's constitutionality yesterday was a "significant victory for the Obama administration."
A temporary boost, perhaps, but significant? The ruling was at the District Court level, and the public interest firm representing the plaintiffs plans to appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Plus Pickert herself noted that there are plenty of other court challenges against ObamaCare, and they are not all bound to come down the same way District Court Judge George Steeh ruled yesterday.
What is significant is how Judge Steeh's reasoning profoundly obliterates the scope of the Constitution's interstate commerce clause to define refraining from commerce as commerce. It's an open question if appellate courts agree.
With congressional Democrats divided on how to approach the soon-expiring Bush tax cuts, reliably liberal Newsweek has taken upon itself the task of defending tax hikes, particularly those on the "rich."
In back-to-back posts today, Ben Adler sought to dismiss the stimulative effect of tax cuts while Nancy Cook profiled some rich liberals who are allegedly looking forward to their taxes going up. [click image above for full-size screen cap]
"Republicans, moderate Democrats, and even members of President Obama’s economic advisory board say raising taxes on the rich will slow the economic recovery," Adler noted in the subheadline of his story. "But that’s only if you don’t do something smarter with the money," he added.
The "something smarter"? You guessed it, shovel-ready stimulus jobs!:
"The State Department has issued a "travel alert" for Europe—underscoring the effect Muslim-bashing politicians have had on the terror threat on the continent," reads the subheadline to an October 4 Newsweek story by Christopher Dickey and Sami Yousafzai.
In "Turn On the Red Light," Dickey and Yousafzai went so far as to suggest that anti-Islamist politicians like the Netherlands' Geert Wilders actually wanted to goad radical Islamists into violent acts (emphasis mine):
On this the 24th and final day of his Election Road Trip, Time's Joe Klein availed himself of the opportunity to attack center-left blogger Mickey Kaus and conservative writer Jonah Goldberg for "distort[ing] a striking point" made by a liberal Democrat vineyard owner from California that Klein quoted in a September 27 Swampland blog post.
Klein vented most of his spleen at Kaus, a blogger for rival magazine Newsweek.
Wealthy attorney and Iron Horse Vineyards founding partner Barry Sterling had simply argued that "the current, post-Reagan tax fetishism of the Republican party is foolish," Klein insisted. "He made the point with a creative overstatement of the case--that he'd survived 70% marginal tax rates; indeed, the high rates caused him to work harder to make more money. I am absolutely certain that Sterling was not advocating a return to 70% rates, as Mickey well knows," Klein protested. The Time reporter went on a few sentences later to label Kaus as a "feckless, puerile jerk at times."
Newsweek's Ben Adler is decidedly cool to the newly-unveiled Republican "Pledge with America." No surprise there, coming from a liberal journalist. But among his criticisms, perhaps he's most off-base in his complaint about Republicans' promise to ensure that legislation must be constitutional before it is passed along to the president for his signature (emphasis mine):
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
In those three sentences, Adler betrays both his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and its imperative on all members of all three branches of government to uphold the Constitution's limits on federal power.
"The justices have not struck down a major piece of legislation, let alone a president's signature initiative, as beyond Congress's power to regulate commerce in some 75 years."
That's how Newsweek's Stuart Taylor Jr. today all but argued that, political ideology of the Supreme Court's majority aside, a Supreme Court decision declaring unconstitutional the "individual mandate" of ObamaCare is quite unlikely.
But while Taylor may be right that no signature presidential initiative post-New Deal has been declared unconstitutional by the Court on the grounds that it violated the interstate commerce clause, he neglected to mention there are two key cases in the past 15 years where the Supreme Court did set outer limits to Congress's exploitation of the commerce clause as a fountain of federal power.
I didn't know about what follows when I posted last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on Atlantic politics editor and CBS Campaign 2010 "Chief Political Consultant" Marc Ambinder's September 15 prediction that "The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging." Though drop-dead obvious, I still found it interesting that someone in Ambinder's position would admit it.
It turns out that only two days after Ambinder put forth his prediction, he proactively made it come true.
Despite the inquisitive title of his September 17 post ("Will the White House Play the Palin Card?"), Ambinder clearly believes that going after Sarah Palin should be part of the White House's and Democrats' strategy during the next seven weeks.
It's enough to make you wonder if he has already written his CBS election post-mortems. Behold Ambinder's cluelessness:
In a September 15 post-primary item at the Atlantic ("An Epic End to the Primaries: What It Means"), politics editor Marc Ambinder presented seven "different ways to look at the primaries of September 14, 2010."
His final item reads as follows (bold is mine):
7. The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging, which is that the GOP is a party full of Christine O'Donnells, a party that wants to take away your Social Security and your right to masturbate. Well, maybe not that last part, but then again, the implicit message of the party is that the GOP is about to elect a slate of hard social rightists to Congress.
The bolded text is an obvious point to anyone with even the most rudimentary powers of observation, but it's a pretty interesting admission nonetheless. That's especially true because Ambinder is a bona fide member of the media. Indeed, he's a self-admitted Journolist member who despite (or perhaps because) of that involvement has a specific assignment involving covering this fall's elections.
On Friday, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote a "White House rips Forbes" article. Dinesh D'Souza has drawn a "torrent of criticism" for writing that President Obama is motivated by his African father's "anti-colonial" views, Kurtz wrote, but emphasized how the White House is training its fire on Forbes magazine for publishing it, suggesting it's un-factual. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs asserted "It's a stunning thing, to see a publication you would see in a dentist's office, so lacking in truth and fact." (Has he read Newsweek?)
This isn't about "facts," it's about spins. D'Souza can be accused of putting the president on a psychoanalyst's couch about his father. (As if the media never did this for George W. Bush.) D'Souza shot back to Kurtz that it's simply a fact that the president had a Kenyan father. But Kurtz went into Gibbs-echoing rebuttal mode:
The facts are also these: Obama Sr. abandoned the family when his son was 2, and the future president saw his father only one more time, during a visit in Hawaii when he was 10. Obama Sr. died in 1982.
Gibbs says the Forbes attack comes at a time when there is "no limit to innuendo" against the president, including baseless charges that he is a Muslim and was not born in the United States. Forbes, he says, "left the facts on the cutting-room floor."
Appearing on MSNBC to present his magazine's feature piece critical of the "Baby Boomer" generation, James Bennet of The Atlantic named George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton as the three worst "baby boomers" who did the most harm to the country's political culture and its economy.
"It'd be hard not to point to George W. Bush as having done a lot of damage," Bennet asserted. Bush, he added, "created a lot of programs that costed us a huge amount of money, without a lot of regard for what the effects are going to be on the folks that are going to have to pay for those for many years."
Bennet also blamed President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for failed policies. However, Bennet was quick to reference the "surpluses as far as the eye could see" at the end of the Clinton administration, as a counterweight to Clinton's damage while in office. He bafflingly lauded President George H.W. Bush's tax hike as "politically brave" and which helped create the prosperity of the Clinton years.
Mr. Slater (picture at right is from his Facebook page) is the JetBlue flight attendant who reportedly "grabbed the plane's intercom and made an expletive-laced speech, grabbed a beer from the galley, opened the door and slid down the emergency evacuation chute." Slater was charged with "criminal mischief and reckless endangerment."
Three weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Associated Press writer Samantha Gross rhapsodized over how Slater's actions had fulfilled "a working man's fantasy ... rekindled memories of workers' liberation ... (and) sparked wistful excitement among workers who have long fantasized of choosing pride over pay."
Before getting to the AP's latest sympathetic piece, let's take a look at something originally associated with a magazine report about Slater that is not currently present in that story.
Secular leftists in the media don't often have use for religion, particularly Christianity, except, it seems, when biblical passages can be isolated out of context to bash religious conservatives over the head as wicked for opposing big government or for standing up for traditional moral values.
Enter Joe Klein, Christian theologian extraordinaire, who suggested in Time.com Swampland blog post yesterday that Jesus would make Fox News host Glenn Beck sweat it out a bit at the pearly gates:
If Jesus were around today, he might say that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a telecharlatan to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In a follow-up blog post from today, Klein thanked a commenter for passing along a passage from the gospel according to St. Matthew wherein Jesus taught that "when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men."
"The noisy proclamation of religiosity is usually a sign of the exact opposite," Klein preached regarding the August 28 Beck rally.
Time magazine's Joe Klein has a penchant for self-righteous bluster in his writing, particularly, it seems, when he's smacking around adherents of his Jewish faith who happen to disagree with him politically. Klein can't seem to let his wrath take a respite, as witnessed by a sabbath-day posting on Time's Swampland blog.
Klein lit into Abraham Foxman of the ADL in a Saturday morning blog post for his opposition to a planned Islamic center just blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan (emphases mine):
In the "secret" underworld of Republican fundraising, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie use "cloaked" donor lists to "dig up dirt" on Democrats and funnel campaign contributions to Republican candidates. At least that's the impression left by Politico's Jim VandeHei.
On the July 21 "Morning Joe," Time magazine's Mark Halperin challenged VandeHei's characterization of American Crossroads GPS, a Republican political organization that finances issue ads designed to promote conservative positions on policy issues.
"With all due respect to Jim and the folks at Politico, you know, they make this these shadowy donors, this shadowy group, I mean, these are citizens who, under the law, are able to give anonymously to a group like this and to fund political activity to help them win races," complained Halperin.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has responded to reports that an NPR producer wrote gleefully about his death in an e-mail message to the now infamous JournoList.
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, the Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong published some more of the liberal group's e-mail messages which included Sarah Spitz claiming that she would "Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out" as Limbaugh writhed in torment.
With this in mind, both the Washington Examiner's Byron York and myself asked Limbaugh for a response to this nonsense.
Covering the development, Time magazine's Adam Sorensen cast the appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick (pictured at right) as a blow to "hyperbolic" Republicans who hoped to make political hay out of the Harvard professor's confirmation hearings, yet Sorensen failed to carry any criticism of the Obama administration for the "unusual" maneuver or to examine how the move might bode poorly for Democrats given the public's concerns over the impact of ObamaCare on the health-care system.
Fireworks, barbecue, parades on the Fourth of July ... but hold the flags.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Although Howard Zinn died earlier this year, that was his suggestion back in 2006. And what does The Progressive magazine do this July 4th? They trot Zinn's anti-American sentiments out for their left-of-center audience by republishing his piece, "Put away the flags."
"On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blesse[d]," Zinn wrote. "Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?"
And that disgusting sentiment comes in addition to Progressive magazine editor Matthew Rothchild's immature July 3 anti-patriotism piece saying that "between God, country, and apple pie, I'll take the apple pie" suggesting patriotism is "toxic."