Sunday, March 23, 2008

Glenn Greenwald Is Super-Shrill!

Glenn Reynolds links to Instapunk a whole lot: instapunk - Google Search

This drives Glenn Greenwald into hypershrillness:

One of Instapundit's favorite blogs speaks on race - Glenn Greenwald - Just two weeks ago, Instapundit (which is, revealingly enough, one of Karl Rove's favorite blogs) promoted and praised a separate post on race by Instapunk, which proclaimed that (h/t Zack):

  • Barack Obama "is none of us";

  • "in his heart of hearts Obama understands nothing and no one, because he has never belonged anywhere or truly participated in anything";

  • "It's Michelle Obama who hates America";

  • it's feminists who have "done more to destroy the black family and promote the epidemic of children born out of wedlock than any conspiracy Jeremiah Wright could ever dream up"; and,

  • "Even though Obama is not and never was an African-American, he has always been black enough to benefit from the superannuated slave culture that forgives every corruption and hypocrisy in those who have any claim on being black."

Reynolds is promoting ugly bile of this sort for one simple reason -- because, as always, exploiting racial resentments is one of the principal tribalistic weapons on which the Right intends to rely in order to win the election. As one blogger just wrote via email:

What I don't understand is why Glenn R. continues to visit and link to a blog where such racist sentiments are permitted to be posted. He must be aware that InstaPunk is a blog that permits contributors to spout venomous racial hatred. Why doesn't he find another blog to visit? I mean, if it were me, I would not keep up an association with a blog that thinks it's okay to let a contributor be so hateful. Why doesn't he disavow this guy?

As Reynolds himself wrote the other day about Obama: "Obama is giving us a 'national conversation on race,' but mostly by letting a lot of white people realize just what circulates, unremarked, in the black community." I believe that's similar to the way that the blogs and posts Instapundit promotes "let a lot of people realize just what circulates, unremarked, in the right-wing sewers."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hilzoy Is Shrill!

Hilzoy: The fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton can't tell the difference between having an eight year old read her a poem on a tarmac and fleeing through a hail of bullets doesn't give me a lot of confidence in her grasp of military affairs...

Obsidian Wings: "We Just Ran With Our Heads Down": A few days ago, Hillary Clinton described her 1996 trip to Bosnia:

"I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the First Lady. That's where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

Even before Sinbad challenged Clinton's account, I was skeptical: as I read somewhere (sorry, don't remember where), does it really make sense to suppose that if the trip was that dangerous, the President would have sent not just his wife but his only child on it?

Now, however, there is video of Clinton running with her head down through the hail of bullets. Except for, um, the running part, and the bullets part, and the part about the greeting ceremony being cancelled. It's worth watching to see the perils Senator Clinton endured. And it does support her story in one respect: as you can see in this picture, she did bend her head down on the tarmac, to hug an eight year old girl who had just read her a poem.

Harrowing stuff. No doubt all the nonexistent bullets flying around account for the fact that none of the reporters who were present mentioned any danger at the time. Obviously, they were so terrified that they repressed it all.

Honestly: there was no need for Clinton to do any of this. She did play a serious policy role in her husband's administration (even if she didn't help pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, as she claims.) The only reason for her to inflate a trip with Sinbad and Sheryl Crow into a serious diplomatic mission, and a trip to Northern Ireland involving "a visit to a women's drop-in centre and two business parks" into helping bring peace to Northern Ireland, is that by pretending to have been more involved in foreign policy than she really was, she can pretend that while Barack Obama isn't ready to be commander in chief, she is.

Frankly, though, the fact that she can't tell the difference between having an eight year old read her a poem on a tarmac and fleeing through a hail of bullets doesn't give me a lot of confidence in her grasp of military affairs. Who knows? If she were President, she might decide that she was under attack by helicopter gunships when she was actually standing in a perfectly peaceful receiving line at a state funeral, and declare war. If she thinks the video I linked to shows her running for safety in a hail of bullets, anything is possible.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

McCain: Clueless as... as... Saying that Some Neo-Confederate Group Is Secretly Funneling Money to Louis Farrakhan

Hilzoy is the shrillest woman in the Boswash Megalopolis:

Obsidian Wings: Clueless: I didn't want to let this gem from John McCain pass unremarked:

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.

He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

It's important to be clear about exactly how clueless this is. It's like saying that some neo-confederate group is secretly funneling money to Louis Farrakhan, and then having an aide have to whisper: no, no, it's the Aryan Nation; wrong extremists! It's like suggesting that McCain is making a play for Kucinich voters, and having to be told that, no, you really meant Ron Paul: wrong losing candidate! No one who had any understanding at all of Iraq, or for that matter about the Shi'a/Sunni split and which side Iran was on, would get confused about this....

McCain gets to say silly things like this without being challenged. His reputation as a serious thinker on national security can only survive so long as people don't notice things like this....

Today we saw exactly how intelligent and nuanced Obama is. In this series of remarks by McCain (and others; it's not unique), we can see exactly how unprepared he is to win an argument against Obama.

In terms of intellect, grasp of policy details, nuance, and depth of knowledge, McCain is just not in Obama's league -- or, for that matter, Clinton's. When we have a chance to see McCain debate a Democratic nominee, I have every confidence that this fact will become painfully obvious.

Thoreau Is Shrill. Really Shrill

It is CNN's fault:

Thoreau: Suddenly I Am More Outraged than Ever: Last night, on CNN, during one of the segments the background on the screen said "Iraq: Success or Failure?" And I just exploded. Of course it's a failure. When a marketplace is so dangerous that a Senator can't even go there with 100+ heavily armed men (recall that McCain could no longer visit the same market that he visited last year and proclaimed "safe" while surrounded by heavy security), thats one hell of a goddamn failure.

And it hit me: The media doesn't invite the Flat Earth Society to "discuss the controversy" every time they show a picture of the globe. They don't invite a North Korean official to argue that his country isn't a shithole when they want to do a story on North Korea. They don't invite NAMBLA to offer an opposing perspective when somebody is accused of child molestation. And they don't give a guest column in leading publications to a cheerleader for the Libyan regime. Yet when somebody wants to show up and argue that Iraq is a success story, that torture (fricking torture!) is OK, that unchecked executive power is just peachy, they invite that person onto the show and thank him. Instead of reporting the abuses of power they treat the apologists as honored guests.

No, I don't want a partisan media. But I do want a media with a better bullshit detector, one that doesn't feel the need to bend over backwards to be "fair" whenever somebody wants to say that torture and unchecked power are necessary to defend freedom. I want a media that won't let somebody show up and defend torture, treat him as a Serious Person, and then thank him for appearing on the show. Some shit is just plain wrong, but if you don't say that, if you treat the advocates for it as another perspective deserving equal time, then the crimes that are going on are perceived as "controversies" rather than blatant crimes. And that makes it impossible to be taken "seriously" when you argue in favor of treating this stuff as crimes, and impeaching those responsible.

Well I'm done with that. No more courtesy. Yes, there are genuinely hard questions in life, and we need open and respectful debate on those issues. But just as I wouldn't waste my time holding a debate with a Klansman every time he wants to insist that non-whites really are inferior, I'm not going to waste my time treating the hawks as Serious People. They aren't serious people. They're just plain wrong. And we need to say that, instead of giving them equal time and thanking them for spewing their BS.

Mind you, I of course favor the right of anybody to say what he wants. The First Amendment says that you can say anything you like. It doesn't say that you are entitled to guest appearances in high profile forums. If somebody tried to force a hawk off the stage I'd defend his right to speak. But I'd also say that the owner of the stage is an idiot for inviting him. (And I'd insert the libertarian disclaimer that the owner of the stage naturally has a right to invite anybody to speak on his private property, but I would reiterate that the owner of the stage is an idiot for treating the hawk like a Serious Person.)

I realize that this can go in a dangerous direction. I don't want to close all minds on all things and say that everything is black and white. But, you know, some shades of gray do in fact come awfully close to one or the other end of the spectrum. If the Flat Earth folks don't get invites to Serious Forums, if our media would never think of giving equal time to the commander of an Iranian torture chamber, why would they give equal time to the defenders of American torture?

I fear where this is taking me, but at the same time I know that some lines really do have to be drawn. At some point you have to say that an idea has been sufficiently discredited that it's time to move on and stop treating its proponents like the Serious People that they insist they are. As long as the worst ideas in circulation are treated as Serious, it's impossible to hold their proponents accountable because what they do is not a crime but merely a controversial decision.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Brendan Nyhan: Chris Matthews: Ignorant about policy

Brendan Nyhan is shrill!:

Brendan Nyhan: Chris Matthews: Ignorant about policy: Despite my extremely low opinion of Matthews, this is still staggering. He's on TV every day and he has no idea what the Democrats are proposing on the most important domestic policy issue in this election. None!

To paraphrase Brad DeLong's saying about Bush, Matthews is worse than I imagined possible, even after taking into account the fact that he is worse than I imagined possible. But as Somerby (obsessively) points out, most pundits won't say anything about him because they want to go on "Hardball" and raise their profile.

Cactus: We Don't Live in a Meritocracy, Exhibit A

Cactus is shrill:

Angry Bear: We Don't Live in a Meritocracy, Exhibit A: Kudlow this morning:

I%u2019ll be sitting down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Bush later this morning in midtown Manhattan. The interview will air tonight on Kudlow & Company


We'll discuss the economy, oil prices, housing, the credit crunch, Hill-Bama and McCain, the Spitzer scandal, the war on terror and more.

It wasn't that long ago that Kudlow was prattling incessantly about how the Bush economy was "the greatest story never told", or at least a "goldilocks economy". He used both terms in the same paragraph in January. And we've had enough posts here at Angry Bear questioning GW's awareness of how the economy works.

In effect, Kudlow interviewing the President is reminiscent of a high school cheerleader interviewing the school's quarterback (who she happens to be dating) for the high school newspaper after he's been sacked five times in a game, all of which follows months of bragging by the two of them about how his footwork makes him unstoppable. I'll confess a certain morbid curiosity, but not enough to watch it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hilzoy Is Shrill!

Hillary Rodham Clinton has done it to her:

Obsidian Wings: Crossing The Threshold: However, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that [Hillary Rodham Clinton] actually believes that Barack Obama cannot "cross the commander-in-chief threshold." One of the most important jobs a President has is to defend the country. If she thinks that Barack Obama is not qualified to do that job, then she should not support him over anyone who can. Specifically, she should support McCain over Obama.

That's why I think some enterprising reporter should ask her whether she would support Barack Obama if he were nominated. If she would, then she should be asked why she would be willing to support someone she does not believe is qualified to be commander in chief.

Whatever her answer, it would tell us something we need to know: either that her doubts about Obama are so serious that she would not be willing to support the nominee of her own party, or that she would support someone she thinks is unfit to serve, or that she does not believe a word she said about Obama, and is willing to impugn a fellow Democrat's fitness to serve as President because her own interests matter more to her than her party's or the nation's.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sadly, the Shrillness Begins

Obama begins his additions to the legions at Shrillblog. From Brad at Sadly No:

Gulp, by Brad, Sadly No: Is it too late for me to take back my Obama vote?

Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.

I’ll be so depressed if he takes this “bipartisanship” nonsense seriously. Personally speaking, I’d like any Democratic candidate to spend their whole first day in office standing atop the White House roof dressed in pirate garb shouting “NOOOOOOOO PRISONERS!!!!!” at the top of their lungs. I want someone who will appoint Rudy Ray Moore as a Supreme Court justice, who will punish the Keyboard Kommandos by passing a Constitutional amendment banning Cheetos and Funyuns, and who will look into every Republican’s eyes and tell them that he drank their milkshake. HE DRANK IT UP!!!

As I’ve said before, there are more important issues facing this country than my bloody-minded quest for revenge. But even if Obama doesn’t plan on systematically destroy every Republican by using the Justice Department to slap them with bogus corruption charges, he could at the very least not appoint any to his cabinet. And while it’s true that Hagel and Lugar are some of the least objectionable Republicans out there, they are still Republicans. They bear the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored.

No prisoners, Hussein X. Please don’t disappoint me.