The NY Times editors endorsed Hillarity! in 2008, eventually prompting a mini-revolt in the newsroom, which backed Obama. But there won't be any equivocation this time around - the NY Times delivers a comically uncritical "assessment" of one of the themes of Hillarity! 2016:
Clinton ’16 Would Give Gender More of a Role Than Clinton ’08 Did
I know what you're thinking - short of a videotape of her giving birth to Chelsea, how could Hillary possibly give gender an even greater role next time around? Well, that thought simply proves that, like me, you aren't smart enough to work for the NY Times.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The last time Hillary Rodham Clinton ran for president, she seemed torn over whether to emphasize her chance to make history, or to play down her gender and reassure voters that she was tough enough for the job.
This time there is no question: Mrs. Clinton’s potential to break what she has called “the highest and hardest glass ceiling” is already central to her fledgling 2016 presidential campaign.
And some of her longest-serving advisers are open about their intention not to repeat what they see as one of their most crucial mistakes from the 2008 primaries.
Ann Lewis, a senior adviser in that race, called the decision not to accentuate Mrs. Clinton’s gender — which ceded the mantle of barrier-breaker entirely to Barack Obama — the “biggest missed opportunity” of that primary contest. “It was not a major theme of the campaign,” Ms. Lewis said.
Not a major theme? What campaign are they remembering? Surely not the one reported on by Katharine Q. Seelye, who wrote this in May 2008 (yes, that was in the late innings for Hillary):
Live Blogging the Kentucky, Oregon Races
11:25 p.m. | Wrap Up: One big message from the night: Senator Clinton is increasingly playing the gender card to make her case. Her speech showed that her message is partly aspirational, that she is fighting to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling. It is also based in sexism, she says, that misogyny is alive and well in 21st Century America.
And here is David Brooks, writing in January 2008 before it all slipped away for Hillarity!:
But Clinton’s real problem is that she is caught in a trap, which you might call The Identity Trap.
Both Clinton and Obama have eagerly donned the mantle of identity politics. A Clinton victory wouldn’t just be a victory for one woman, it would be a victory for little girls everywhere. An Obama victory would be about completing the dream, keeping the dream alive, and so on.
Yes, and Hillary lost that duel of Affirmative Action hires. But Our Man Brooks presciently explained precisely why the gender card will be played hard again:
Fair enough. The problem is that both the feminist movement Clinton rides and the civil rights rhetoric Obama uses were constructed at a time when the enemy was the reactionary white male establishment. Today, they are not facing the white male establishment. They are facing each other.
All the rhetorical devices that have been a staple of identity politics are now being exploited by the Clinton and Obama campaigns against each other. They are competing to play the victim. They are both accusing each other of insensitivity. They are both deliberately misinterpreting each other’s comments in order to somehow imply that the other is morally retrograde.
All the habits of verbal thuggery that have long been used against critics of affirmative action, like Ward Connerly and Thomas Sowell, and critics of the radical feminism, like Christina Hoff Sommers, are now being turned inward by the Democratic front-runners.
But in 2016 Hillary (barring a rebellion in the Democratic ranks) will be facing a tedious white Republican male, so we can plan about hearing about all sexism all the time. The odds are slim that the poor guy will also be richer than Hillary and Bill, so the good news is we won't have to listen to talk about the rich white Republican candidate.
The NY Times really drills down on a few other points:
But rather than the assertive feminism associated with her years as first lady, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign message will be subtler. It will involve frequent references to being a mother and grandmother and to how her family has inspired her to embrace policies that she believes would help middle-class families.
As one Democrat close to her put it, voters have learned that she is tough; now she can also present herself as a sensitive candidate capable of nurturing the nation at a difficult time.
When did she prove she was tough? As to the nation needing nurturing, is there anything at all I can do - and I am begging now - to avoid having to spend two years listening to how I should sit in Granma Hillary's lap and tell her my troubles?
More hard-hitting journalism:
Mrs. Clinton’s advisers believe that her four years as secretary of state have only burnished her image as a leader and erased whatever doubts may have lingered about her experience and gravitas.
I'm sure the report that her advisers believe that (or at least, want the Times to print it and play along) is accurate, but does anyone at the Times want to lend a voice to alternative viewpoints? Evidently not.
I am not sure how a survey of the current world scene lends support to the notion that Hillary was an effective Secretary of State. But let's take a specific example.
Back in March 2011 Hillary got credit as being instrumental in persuading her boss to ignore Congress and undertake a more kinetic action against Qadaffi. Now, sort of like in Iraq, we have a situation where the US helped knock out an unsavory dictator with no serious plan for the post-liberation administration. And, again sort of like in Iraq, Libya has become a breeding ground and safe haven for ISIS and other terrorists groups. So even setting aside the Benghazi debacle, in which part of that process did Hillary show the sort of judgment and restraint we might hope to see in a President?
And do let me add - unlike Iraq, where Bush doubled down with the 2007 surge and created an opportunity (subsequently squandered by US and Iraqi leaders) for stability, neither Hillary nor Obama seem to be accepting any responsibility at all for events in Libya.
In preparing their report on the CIA torture program, did the Senate Democrats present an objective survey or promote their preferred narrative? We get a surprising answer from a surprising source - here we go, from the NY Times:
Did the Torture Report Give the C.I.A. a Bum Rap?
By DAVID COLE FEB. 20, 2015
WASHINGTON — IN December, when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its long-awaited report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, it seemed to confirm what I and many human-rights advocates had argued for a decade: The C.I.A. had started and run a fundamentally abusive and counterproductive torture program. What’s more, the report found that the C.I.A. had lied repeatedly about the program’s efficacy, and that it had neither disrupted terror plots nor saved lives.
And the switcheroo:
But the principal lesson drawn by countless commentators in the initial news cycle — that torture does not work — was reached before nearly anyone read the full report and responses by the C.I.A. and the Republican members of the committee. The report and responses amount to 828 pages. I’ve now had a chance to read the documents in full. And I suspect the C.I.A. was treated unfairly.
The area of dispute concerns the report’s “headlines” — namely, that the C.I.A.’s tactics did not work, and that the agency repeatedly lied about that. The report focuses on 20 prominent instances in which the C.I.A. claimed that information obtained from detainees they subjected to coercive tactics helped identify high-level terrorists and disrupt terrorist plots. The committee concluded that every such claim was a misrepresentation.
When one places the C.I.A.’s accounts of the 20 cases side by side with the committee’s accounts, however, the truth is far from clear. In each instance, the C.I.A. makes a credible case that information it obtained after using coercive tactics played an important role. The C.I.A. says, for example, that 75 percent of the information that led to the capture of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who pleaded guilty to conducting research on explosives for a potential terrorist attack, came from the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind, who was waterboarded 183 times. Information from Mr. Mohammed, the C.I.A. claims, also helped it capture several other key Qaeda terrorists, disrupting their efforts to kill innocent civilians.
Similarly, the C.I.A. maintains that intelligence extracted from Abu Zubaydah, the first person subjected to the coercive techniques, contributed significantly to the arrests of multiple terrorists, including Mr. Mohammed; Jose Padilla, an American who planned to set off explosions in high-rise apartment buildings; and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, said to have helped organize the 9/11 attacks. The committee contended that the most useful information from Mr. Zubaydah actually came while the F.B.I. was questioning him, using noncoercive tactics before he was waterboarded. But the C.I.A. points out that Mr. Zubaydah had been subjected to five days of sleep deprivation, a highly coercive and painful tactic, when the F.B.I. interrogated him.
The committee repeatedly asserted that critical information was obtained not from C.I.A. interrogations but from detainees in “the custody of a foreign government.” In detailing how the United States located Osama bin Laden, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who led the committee, cited seven such instances. But she did not even acknowledge the likelihood that the other governments, to which the C.I.A. was regularly rendering suspects for torture, used techniques even more abusive than the C.I.A.’s. Her account is hardly evidence that torture doesn’t work.
Without the underlying documents, it’s not possible to resolve the competing claims, but many of the C.I.A.’s responses appear plausible on their face. At a minimum it is possible that the C.I.A.’s tactics did help it capture some very dangerous people planning future attacks.
That conclusion in turn casts doubt on the committee’s other main finding — namely, that the C.I.A. repeatedly lied about the program’s efficacy.
Wow. Is it possible the Senate Democrats simply embraced their original talking points rather than presenting a fair report, and that the media lapped it up?
NY Times readers and no one else will be surprised.
Libya is in chaos following the 2011 ouster of Qadaffi, an effort which Hillary promoted eagerly although the US led from behind. So how in the world does Hillarity! 2016 manage to shift responsibility for that onto Bush?
Or maybe Dour John will bail her out with a UN deal, the same way our diplos have pacified Syria, because we all know ISIS is easy to talk to. I think hope is Hillarity!'s plan right now.
WASHINGTON — One day before hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants were to begin applying for work permits and legal protection, administration officials on Tuesday postponed President Obama’s sweeping executive actions on immigration indefinitely, saying they had no choice but to comply with a federal judge’s last-minute order halting the programs.
The judge’s ruling was a significant setback for the president, who had asserted broad authority to take executive actions in the face of congressional Republicans’ refusal to overhaul the immigration system. White House officials have defended the president’s actions as legal and proper even as his adversaries in Congress and the states have accused him of vastly exceeding the powers of his office.
In a decision late Monday, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, of Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, ruled in favor of Texas and 25 other states that had challenged Mr. Obama’s immigration actions. The judge said that the administration’s programs would impose major burdens on states, unleashing illegal immigration and straining state budgets, and that the administration had not followed required procedures for changing federal rules.
No mention of which President appointed Judge Hanen. Hard to believe that factoid would be omitted if it were a Dread Republican, but let's see - he was appointed by Bush 41 (who of course is the "Tolerable Republican", relative to Reagan and 43) and confirmed by a 97-0 Senate vote on May 9 2002. Hillarity! was in the Senate then, so the odds she was one of the three missing votes are slim. Yup, and now I am off to bet the ponies.
Two more people died in separate "random" attacks in Copenhagen. The Times has coverage, including the most jaw-dropping passage you will see today:
Shootings at a Cafe and a Synogogue in Denmark Leave 2 Dead
LONDON — Two attacks shook Copenhagen Saturday, with a gunman spraying bullets into a cafe where a cartoonist who had caricatured the prophet Mohammad was speaking, followed hours later by a shooting near the city’s main synagogue.
One man was killed in the cafe attack and three police officers were wounded; a man was shot in the head in the second attack and later died, and two police officers were wounded, news services reported. It was not clear if the two attacks were linked.
The latest attacks come as Europe is increasingly on edge over the January attacks on a French satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket in Paris, one of the worst terrorist attacks in France. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in Europe, and although there was no indication who was responsible for the shootings in Copenhagen, Twitter was ablaze with anti-Muslim indictments.
I know that was my first thought - gee, those poor Muslims in Europe. As to the shooting at a synagogue, well, Obama gets his information from reading the newspaper so he won't be learning of a possible threat to Denmark's Jews in this Times coverage.
However, the Danish leadership is not utterly mystified:
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt had earlier called the shooting at the Krudttoenden cafe a terrorist attack and said that the nation was on high alert. “We feel certain now that it was a politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack,” Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said.
GET ME REWRITE! The story has been substantially revised (at the same link) to reflect the news that the suspect was killed in a later confrontation with police. And the latest version, at a new link, makes some improvements:
The dual attacks in Copenhagen had a copycat resemblance to last month’s attacks in Paris, which began with gunshots aimed at cartoonists and followed with gunshots aimed at a Jewish target.
The latest violence comes as Europe is increasingly on edge after the January attacks in Paris, when 17 people died, representing the worst spasm of terrorism in France in decades. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in Europe, as are incidents of anti-Semitism.
The original version did not include the words "Jewish" or "anti-Semitism".
Bonnie and Clyde were pikers, even adjusting for inflation.
And back in Iraq:
Fort Carson Unit Headed to Possible Showdown with Islamic State
As Congress mulls America's war with the Islamic State terror group, more than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers prepared Thursday to leave Colorado for Kuwait, where they will take over as America's largest ground force in the troubled region.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team bid farewell to the post in a ceremony and will head off soon to serve as U.S. Central Command's Reserve force in the Middle East - the first soldiers into battle if a major combat force is used to battle Islamic State fighters.
The unit is Fort Carson's heaviest force, armed with M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. Many of its soldiers are veterans of one or more of the brigade's four combat tours in Iraq.
Sierra's soldiers have trained for more than a year for the Kuwait mission. They practiced skills that atrophied over more than a decade of counterinsurgency fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, re-learning the armored combat skills last used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
And some oorah:
The colonel gave the families reassurance that if his brigade tangles with Islamic State fighters, the outcome won't be in doubt.
"In the end, if we do get into fights, we win decisively," he said.
From the safety of the East Coast I can't see ISIS matching up with these guys in an armored duel in the desert. Which means ISIS will re-orient towards urban warfare and force us back into counter-insurgency. But Obama has surely thought of all this, so no worries.
The Times promotes an upcoming book by Jon Ronson by running an article adapted from "“So You've Been Publicly Shamed", due out in March.
After reprising a few recent examples of Internet takedowns of the low and powerless the author segues to a history of public shaming in colonial America, with stocks and whippings. I like this detail:
The pillory and whippings were abolished at the federal level in 1839, although Delaware kept the pillory until 1905 and whippings until 1972.
Of course, Delaware elected Joe Biden to the Senate in 1972 so the punishment was changed, not ended.
I SHOULD ADD... The Ace of Spades has been characteristically insightful on this topic many times. Here are his thoughts on Chait and civility, and earlier on the takedown of a random hot chick. From the Chait piece:
Mobs do not "argue." They intimidate or humiliate (or both). Mobs do not engage in an enlightened, reasonable dialogue. They shout ritualized chants. Mobs are not interested in persuading someone of their wrongness of their claims; they only care about shutting the speaker up, whether he's changed his mind or not.
An argument from a single author (or group acting together to write a single paper) is an instrument of reason; a mob which selects a target and then attacks that target with wolf-pack like tactics is an instrument of emotion.
Human beings are in fact hard-wired, as an evolutionary matter, to cringe before the baying mob; and they are further hard-wired to feel empowered by being part of an angry, screaming mob.
So it's not quite true that joining up with a mob is "speech" just like any other speech. The "speech" of a mob is emotionally abusive and personally intimidating -- and it is hardwired into our brains to find it such, when directed at we ourselves.
On the other hand, we're also hard-wired to really enjoy leading a mob against someone. It feels good. There is no denying that; I've felt damned good everytime I've joined up with a mob.
And it is precisely because it Feels So Good to engage in coordinated mob cruelty that thoughtful people must resist the lure and call out mobs where they see them.
Just in time for the movie the NY Times gives Emily Bazelon space to regale us with the tale of the rich young Silicon Valley guy, the beautiful Stanford coed, and their (allegedly) abusive relationship.
Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.
I'll say this - from Whitewater to Bosnia Democratic front-runner Hillarity! has the most convenient forgettery ever. When she switches to "I can't recall" mode it's hard to see how Brian Williams can press her for answers.
Of course, the fact that people misremember will itself be forgotten when it is a Republican candidate under the bright lights.
Helicopter pilot tells CNN Williams 'messed up': Rich Krell, who was piloting the Chinook that Williams was on, tells a slightly different story than the crew members who spoke to Stars and Stripes.
"Some of things he's said are not true. But some of the things they're saying against him are not true either," said Krell, who spoke exclusively to CNN on Thursday morning.
Krell explained that, contrary to Williams' comments in the past, there were three helicopters flying in close formation, not four.
"One of the birds broke down, so we were a flight of three," Krell said. "We were hauling metal bridges."
Williams was in the back of Krell's aircraft along with three other NBC staffers. Krell referred to his Chinook as the "second bird" in the formation. The "first bird," right in front of the "second bird," was struck by the RPG.
Due to his seat in the back, Williams was most likely unable to witness the RPG attack, Krell said.
All three of the helicopters were hit by small arms fire, Krell said, supporting Williams' past claims about that.
"The bridge expansions we were hauling took most of the hits," Krell said.
The three Chinooks took evasive maneuvers. Krell's helicopter dropped off its payload, then met up with the other two about 45 minutes later. That may explain why the other crew members told Stars and Stripes that Williams arrived in the area later.
Krell said of Williams, "Yeah, he messed up some things and said some things he shouldn't have. I [first] heard it a few years ago. ... Actually one of my flight engineers said, 'Did you hear him say that? Wasn't he on our bird?'"
Krell didn't seem overly bothered by Williams' revisionist history -- he chalked it up to wartime theatrics. "After a while, with combat stories, you just go 'Whatever,'" he said.
Hmm. That means this snippet of Williams' tale as told to David Letterman isn't quite so false:
Listen to what Williams told David Letterman in this appearance on the “Late Show” upon the 10th anniversary of his helicopter troubles: “We were in some helicopters. What we didn’t know was, we were north of the invasion. We were the northernmost Americans in Iraq. We were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the Third Infantry could cross on them. Two of the four helicopters were hit, by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47.”
Well, yes, his helicopter was hit and yes, RPGs and AK-47s were being fired. Of course, his most recent broadcast claim is false:
In his broadcast, Williams repeated those claims: “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG, Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armored mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
As to Frequently Unasked Questions: Why is the media Swiftboating Brian Williams? Aren't we meant to accept war stories as gospel?
[UPDATE: Pilot in Brian Williams scandal: 'I am questioning my memories'
Bottom line: this pilot is revising his story - and, because of that, I'm revising mine.
What initially looked like an account that supported some of Brian Williams' war story -- that he came "under fire" that day -- no longer appears to be true.]
OR MAYBE NOT: From the Times:
On Thursday, yet another pilot, Rich Krell, gave a different account, telling CNN that he had in fact flown Mr. Williams, and their helicopter had come under attack. Mr. Simeone and Mr. Kelly strongly disputed Mr. Krell’s account.
John Kerry rated worst secretary of state in 50 years
Entirely plausible (although I do remember the "This wouldn't be happening if Warren Christopher were still alive" jokes from the early 90's), but...
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A new survey of scholars ranks Secretary of State John Kerry dead last in terms of effectiveness in that job over the past 50 years.
Henry Kissinger was ranked the most effective secretary of state with 32.2% of the vote. He was followed by James Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Hillary Clinton, as judged by a survey of 1,615 international relations scholars.
Hillary? Based on what? And if she was so effective, how did it all go to hell so quickly under her successor?
Or, why ask why?
THEN AGAIN: Could they have meant that one day Hillary might be regarded as the fourth most effective female Secretary of State? Hey, right now she has third place nailed down!
Although Seattle coach Pete Carroll is an idiot, he is not a complete idiot:In fact, this season it was more dangerous to run the football from the 1-yard line than it was to throw it. Before Sunday, NFL teams had thrown the ball 108 times on the opposing team’s 1-yard line this season. Those passes had produced 66 touchdowns (a success rate of 61.1 percent, down to 59.5 percent when you throw in three sacks) and zero interceptions. The 223 running plays had generated 129 touchdowns (a 57.8 percent success rate) and two turnovers on fumbles. Stretch that out to five years and the numbers make runs slightly superior; they scored 54.1 percent of the time and resulted in turnovers 1.5 percent of the time, while passes got the ball into the end zone 50.1 percent of the time and resulted in turnovers 1.9 percent of the time.Bit of course these were not statistically generic teams facing each other:As I mentioned in my Super Bowl preview, this was a matchup specifically built for running the football with Lynch in short yardage. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots were the worst team in the league in power-running situations and fifth-worst in terms of stuffing the opposition for no gain or a loss. Seattle was the second-best power running team and the sixth-best team at avoiding stuffs. If there was ever a matchup that called for a team to live and die on the back of its running game from the 1-yard line, this was it. While Lynch had been stopped on an early third-and-2 and a red zone third-and-1, the latter came on a zone-read play where Wilson made a mistake (more on that later). Lynch also converted a third-and-2 from the 3-yard line earlier in the game for Seattle’s first touchdown.Well, Carroll made the call and Butler made the play so now Bradychick are certified 4-2 Super Bowl geniuses instead of 3-3 Super Bowl pedestrians.