URLs du Jour


  • Rating about a 7.5 on the Snarkometer. My tweet in response to my ex-CongressCritter, but still full-time toothache, Carol Shea-Porter:

    Effective deterrence would have been far less expensive, in both monetary and human costs. Let's not forget "masterful" Joe's "minor incursion" babble, that even NPR realized needed cleaning up. And, although I don't agree with Ted Galen Carpenter's usual "blame America first" viewpoint, his analysis at Cato (from January of this year) is damning enough:

    However, there has been a noticeable change in the language that Biden administration officials use when talking about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty or the likely U.S. response if Russia uses military force against its neighbor. That change created a new wave of mixed messages. In his two‐hour video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 7, Biden spoke of “harsh consequences” if an invasion took place. However, he only warned of additional economic sanctions and vaguely of “other measures.” Tellingly, he did not caution Putin that U.S. forces would take steps to defend Ukraine.

    I don't claim to know anything about foreign policy or defense. (Other than to observe that the Smart People In Charge keep getting things wrong.)

  • Anonymous sources, what would we do without 'em? The Washington Times reports: Biden accused of pressuring FBI to fabricate 'extremist' and 'White supremacist' cases.

    Rank-and-file FBI agents are accusing the Biden administration of exaggerating the threat of White supremacists and pressuring agents to cook up domestic terrorist cases involving racist extremists. 

    Current and former FBI agents told The Washington Times that the perceived White supremacist threat is overblown by the administration. They said top bureau officials are pressuring FBI agents to create domestic terrorist cases and tag people as White supremacists to meet internal metrics.

    “The demand for White supremacy” coming from FBI headquarters “vastly outstrips the supply of White supremacy,” said one agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We have more people assigned to investigate White supremacists than we can actually find.”

    Now (of course) the "rank-and-file FBI agents" are unnamed. As are the "top bureau officials" accused of demanding cases be made against those white supremacists. Take it with a big-ass crystal of sodium chloride.

    Still, it sounds pretty similar to the IRS's aggressive scrutiny of conservative 501(c)(3) groups under the Obama Administration. I would imagine FBI higher-ups are reviewing technigues on how to unconvincingly claim emails were lost and how to selectively invoke the Fifth Amendment in front of Congressional investigators.

  • A sordid story. Jeff Jacoby looks at the latest Ken Burns documentary on PBS and it's pretty grim:

    ON JAN. 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as the chancellor of Germany. Over the next 100 days, American newspapers published more than 3,000 thousand [sic] stories about the eruption of antisemitic attacks whipped up by the new regime.

    "Bands of Nazis throughout Germany carried out wholesale raids calculated to intimidate the opposition, particularly the Jews," reported Edmond Taylor of the Chicago Tribune. "Men and women were insulted, slapped, punched in the face, hit over the head with blackjacks, dragged from their homes in night clothes. Never have I seen law-abiding citizens living in such terror."

    Taylor's story is quoted early in "The US and the Holocaust," a six-hour documentary by Ken Burns that premieres tonight on PBS and will air in three parts this week. It is cited to make the point that for Americans who cared to know what was happening to the Jews under the new German government, the information was readily available. News accounts like Taylor's fueled widespread protests. On March 27, more than 20,000 New Yorkers packed Madison Square Garden, with 35,000 more outside, to condemn the Nazis' behavior. Similar rallies were held in scores of cities across the country.

    Pressure to suppress both the news coverage and the protests was not long in coming. Some of that pressure came from Germany, where Nazi officials denied that they were targeting Jews and claimed that the negative stories were "Jewish lies." But efforts to downplay the truth, the new documentary makes clear, also came from the US government.

    I (probably) won't be watching, although I (probably) should. Jacoby notes the Burns blind spot:

    The one serious weakness in Burns's documentary is how hard it tries to justify FDR's inaction. Repeatedly viewers are told that the president could not get out in front of public opinion, which was unwilling to open the doors to refugees. But Roosevelt, despite his vast popular following, made no effort to influence that public opinion.

    Writing at the New Yorker, James McAuley critiques the other Roosevelt, Eleanor's, introduction to an edition of The Diary of Anne Frank:

    The destruction of the European Jews, in Eleanor Roosevelt’s telling, was not really about the Jews: it was a parable for right and wrong, a “teachable moment” about perseverance in the face of adversity—could there be anything more hopelessly and terminally American than that? As Roosevelt wrote, Anne’s diary was among “the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read. . . . Despite the horror and humiliation of their daily lives, these people never gave up.” Anne, she concluded, “tells us much about ourselves and our own children.” Not once did Eleanor Roosevelt use the word “Jew”; the story of “these people” was not the point. By then, the Jewish catastrophe was everyone’s to claim, and the “lessons” of the Holocaust were already in the process of becoming a strangely American form of national self-help.

    For Eleanor, Anne Frank's diary was simply teaching us that "war is bad".

  • My TV set is in danger. Because I swear I'm gonna start throwing heavy objects at it when political ads come on. Not a single one shows a glimmer of intelligence or wit. And there are still (as I type) seven more weeks of them to look forward to.

    And of course there are the outright lies. Michael Graham points out a subset of them: Democrats, Abortion, and the 'Big Lie'.

    When New Hampshire Public Radio ran a story on Thursday reporting GOP U.S. Senate candidate Gen. Don Bolduc’s sudden reversal on the 2020 election, its headline read, “Bolduc Abandons False Claims of Stolen Election, Days After GOP Senate Primary Win.”

    “False claims” is strong language for journalists writing a news story. At WMUR, news reports on Republicans questioning the 2020 results used the phrase “unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud.” At The Concord Monitor and Associated Press, their news coverage — not opinion — uses the word “lies” to describe comments by some GOP politicians regarding 2020.

    So, how will those news outlets cover the claims being made by Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas about their opponents’ position on abortion?

    Since (at least) the first debates of the GOP primary cycle, hosted by NHJournal, both [Don Bolduc] and First District Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt have repeatedly said they support states making abortion laws for themselves and oppose a national abortion law.

    And yet Hassan and Pappas are both spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads claiming the opposite.

    As I've observed before: these guys can't talk about how swimmingly the economy is going. Immigration is another unmentionable. They can't really say the country's being run by a competent president. So… abortion, abortion, abortion.