Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"And now it's drawn me in"

One headlight is cool, too, but I like this video better.

I think bringing down the horse might have been the only new disc I purchased in 1996. It's the only '96 release I remember listening to on disc at any rate. That the the Matchbox 20 year, remember?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This song summed up 1995 for me

It was a really weird year. I think I had 2 dates.

These people make David Byrne circa '77 seem normal by comparison.

The lyrics should discourage going to palm readers.

Hillary Clinton scrubbed Benghazi documents

Fox News has the scoop here, but for some reason I can't embed that video. Here's a related one from YouTube.

The staffer told Ray Maxwell "Those are our orders," when he questioned the ethics of what he was being asked to do. Yup; that's the mentality. Maxwell is a hero.

"Why were you visiting the Great Satan America, Patriarch?"

Nasty Local Muslim Leader Keith: Why were you visiting the Great Satan America, Patriarch?

Patriarch: Shopping. We wished to do some shopping.

NLMLK: Shopping?

Patriarch: Yes, shopping.

NLMLK: But what was this "In Defense of Christians", Patriarch?

Patriarch: It is a shopping club.

NLMLK: A shopping club? Then what is it defending you from?

Patriarch: Unseemly high prices.

NLMLK: High prices? Not persecution? I have been told you visited the Great Satan to gain relief from being persecuted.

Patriarch: No, only high prices. We do not feel you persecute us. We only visited the Great Satan for the shopping.

NLMLK: And so who was this "Ted Cruz"?

Patriarch: Nobody. We had heard he offered group discounts.

NLMLK: And did he?

Patriarch: Yes, but there were Jews involved, so we rejected his offers.

NLMLK: I see. Good. One cannot be too careful when publicly traveling to the Great Satan and shopping as In Defense of Christians. Someone could misunderstand your motives, particularly the Jews. If nothing else, they might tempt you with inferior merchandise at ridiculously low prices.

Patriarch: No one could misunderstand our reason for being there. We were scrupulously careful about whom we associated with in our gatherings. Only other shoppers like ourselves.

NLMLK: Good, Patriarch, good. Say, would you happen to know where I could get a good deal on a Samsung 105-inch 4K? The curved one.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What have we learned from Dreher & Douthat's opportunistic attacks on Ted Cruz this week?

That a mean junior high school girl faction of conservatism will do whatever it takes to sleep with the quarterback, the quarterback in this case being internet blogosphere popularity at large, measured in site clicks from any comers. Principles are now so 20th Century.

That the facts of the Cruz situation simply don't matter. In fact, the facts of the matter were not only willfully rewritten, but also in the case of the rumor Dreher launched about Cruz cynically fielding advertizing based on his encounter, invented out of whole cloth and never retracted. What matters now are imputed and projected feelings, the universal currency of liberalism, NPR, and most importantly, those wonderful cat videos.

That for its loudest proponents, "Christian" has become nothing more than a marketing tool, like "new improved Tide". Dreher, Douthat and their fellow opportunists have seldom previously given a flying f*ck about the fate of Mideast Christians, but given the chance to score some internet hits at the expense of a Senator calculated to be most widely perceived as SNL material, they weep ostentatiously like the Walrus and the Carpenter. Next week something else will be the big blog hit score, and the Mideast Christians will once again be forgotten.

That the very, very best position to take is all positions. We saw this exemplified in Dreher's blogging this week (links in my posts below), where each subsequent post was recalibrated based on both responses to his previous ones and to the buzz on the internet at large and new, nuanced talking points contradicting his previous ones introduced to capture those eyeballs who might have frowned at something previously .

Welcome to the land of conservatism beyond principle or, rather, conservatism where "principle" now means how many "likes" and blog hits you scored today.

No need for facial tattoos...

...when a prospective employer can just type your full name into El Goog along with the name of your former employer and have a post featuring these "thoughts and rantings" returned. Short excerpt:

So, I will just write the truth and tell you all what happened.

Basically, I was screwed out of a chance to work for a rather nice trucking company.

Why, you say?

Because of a baseless and vicious accusation by a black lesbian woman.

I wouldn't think the blog author would mind my labeling this bit of over-sharing "thoughts and rantings" seeing that this is the title he has chosen for his blog address.

I wouldn't spend any time on CPA, but he did call my friend Keith a "clueless blowhole" yesterday which I wanted to counter by noting that Keith is not any type of hole, nor is he clueless.

CPA doesn't appear to be clueless either, but perhaps he should read this advice.

How to be the most successful TAC blogger in history

Suggest while never actually saying so that there's no side of any issue that you don't ultimately support.

That way, no matter what someone feels or believes, they will applaud you for speaking for them. That's how you build blogosphere market share, by becoming the rhetorical form that will embrace not only whatever content happens to be trending at any given moment, but, most importantly, all sides of it simultaneously.

That guy: he said what you were thinking. And what that other guy who was arguing against you yesterday was thinking, too. And what that woman who disagrees with both of you was thinking. Why, if it didn't look on the surface like a thoughtful, passionate opinion, you might have confused it for a Friday NPR news roundup.

What is TAC's "alt-conservatism"? Well, what would you like it to be? What alt-conservative values would make you like TAC the most? Exactly: just what you suggested, that's exactly what TAC stands for, too, and why you should become a subscriber today.

That ain't working, that's the way you do it. Money for nothing and your clicks for free.

How Obama will degrade ISIS

"ISIS, you mean, shameful poopyhead peckerwoods, stop it! You just stop it right now! No Arab mother could be proud of her boys doing what you're doing. You're disgraceful. No, you're beyond disgraceful. You're horrible, just horrible! I'm not only ashamed to be talking to you, I'm ashamed to be talking about you. You're contemptible! Shameful! Disgraceful!"

Pretty degrading, if you ask me. Especially the "poopyhead peckerwoods". That's gotta sting.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Douthat and Dreher to auction beard trimmings to support Mideast Christians

Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher, whose weekly editorial pleas in support of the Mideast's persecuted Christian minority (Dreher runs a popular photo item each week known as "View From Your Persecuted Mideast Christian") have been as relentless over the past decade as they have been admirable, have just announced plans to auction their respective beard trimmings to whoever collects such things, with all proceeds going to support the beleaguered Christians in question. I'll update as more information on this remarkable dual outpouring of selfless generosity becomes available.

Meanwhile David P. Goldman ("Spengler") has this to say:

I had to read the penultimate paragraph of Ross Douthat’s New York Times piece on “friendless Middle East Christians” before the enormity of it sunk in. Douthat wrote:

If Cruz felt that he couldn’t address an audience of persecuted Arab Christians without including a florid, “no greater ally” preamble about Israel, he could have withdrawn from the event. The fact that he preferred to do it this way says a lot–none of it good–about his priorities and instincts.

In so many words: Jew-hatred among Middle Eastern Christians is so rampant that it should be ignored in the interests of saving this oppressed minority. Never mind that it is impossible to conceive of any strategic configuration on the Middle East that might help Middle Eastern Christians without including Israel; never mind that Israel’s supporters in the United States are among the first to urge America to act on their behalf; and, above all, never mind that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can practice their religion in security and safety, and that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population.

The statement is outrageous, capping a long list of inaccuracies. The problem is NOT, as Douthat argues, that “the Middle East’s Christians simply don’t have the kind of influence to matter” in American strategic calculations. The problem is that Middle East Christians threw in with (and some helped invent) a movement directly opposed to American interests in the region, namely the Arab nationalism embodied in the Ba’ath Party. I reviewed this sad history in a 2009 essay [this one] reposted on this site.

While we're all on tippy-toes waiting to see the faces of persecuted Mideast Christians weeping with joy when they receive their beard trimmings checks from D & D during the big reveal on the upcoming New York Times'-sponsored Extreme Makeover: Mideast Christians Edition, can anyone think of ways to leverage the sufferings of this oppressed minority to serve personal or partisan interests far removed from their own?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

On Cruz control, Dreher, as usual, drives into a ditch

Russian Orthodox convert Rod Dreher, currently studying Russian history (why will make more sense in a bit), managed to get in a little fundraising of his own around posts bashing Ted Cruz' reception at a recent In Defense of Christians event. But because Rod is more skilled as TAC's fundraising clickbait pimp than as a reporter, his most recent streetwalker simply gets it all wrong:

Corrected: Cruz fundraising site was not referring to this week's controversial speech

A fundraising page highlighted on Friday by Rod Dreher at The American Conservative contained a similar but different quotation – "Christians in the Middle East have no greater friend than Israel." This led many, including this author, to believe that a political arm of the Texas senator was cashing in his recent pro-Israel speech.

But here's the thing: The line cited in the supposedly questionable ad is something Cruz has actually used for several months.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told The Washington Examiner that the online fundraising page was generated by search terms involving the senator, his speech and Wednesday's event.

“The ad is something that’s completely separate from his remarks and his speech the other night,” she said. She said the ad started to appear recently on various social media platforms because of news-cycle-related search terms.

“The ad was made separate from the event. The reason it went up is because it was relevant to very high-ranking search terms that were related to Ted Cruz’s name," she added.

We know Dreher is a committed anti-Republican Obamacon, and we know he has not long ago shifted his Eastern Orthodox affiliation from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), the American branch of the historically anti-Semitic Russian Orthodox Church, effectively the state church of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

What we don't know is why Dreher objects so vociferously to what Cruz actually had to say (that is, assuming Dreher even knows what Cruz said and wasn't, as is more likely, just using the Cruz brouhaha to snag some opportunistic blog hits for TAC).

Here's what Ted Cruz actually had to say:

“Tonight, we are all united in defense of Christians,” Cruz said. “Tonight, we are all united in defense of Jews. Tonight, we are all united in defense of people of good faith, who are standing together against those who would persecute and murder those who dare disagree with their religious teachings.”

But Cruz continued even as the boos got louder: “Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”

and finally, tired of being booed for denouncing the religious bigotry of jihadist animals who behead their non-combatant captives

“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” Cruz said. “Good night, and God bless.”

What a vile snake, that Cruz. And unlike Dreher, Cruz has that rude tendency to talk straight out of the front side of his mouth.

Among Rod Dreher's persecuted Christians Cruz supposedly holds in contempt are these:

But the gathering became wrapped in controversy on Wednesday when the conservative Washington Free Beacon reported that “the roster of speakers includes some of the Assad regime’s most vocal Christian supporters, as well as religious leaders allied with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.” It said the “Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Ra├», who was scheduled to speak during the same keynote slot as Cruz on Wednesday evening, has called Israel an ‘enemy state that is occupying Lebanese territory’ and defended Hezbollah’s right to attack the Jewish state.”


In Defense of Christians’ president, Toufic Baaklini, blamed a “few politically motivated opportunists” for the furor and said they were “made no longer welcome,” according to Politico.

So while IDC's president Baaklini stands with Cruz and against those who booed him, ROCOR Rod knows better for some reason.

And, as usual, Rod's approved commenters say for him what he is practiced enough not to say directly himself:

Colonel Bogey says:

Who is a better friend of Arab Christians than Israel? That’s an easy question; the answer is “Russia”.

Hector_St_Clare says:

Re: Anyway, who else could be a greater candidate for the ally of mid-East Christians?

Um, Russia?

Well, of course. Why didn't I think of that? Sign me up for the history of the Motherland today. And let's all consider donating to The American Conservative while we're at it. After all, they're the only ones speaking out against America's blundering urges to disrupt Putin's and Assad's heroic work saving Arab Christians.

Do the folks in St. Francisville know the patriotic Christian opportunity they're missing out on here?

UPDATE (as they say): Given, as this post leads in pointing out, that dimwits like Dreher can't even grasp the hoodoo magic of search engine-sensitive advertising-serving algorithms which served up the Cruz ad in response to the blogosphere babble about the speech line used, I almost despair of also pointing out that Cruz' exit line in response to being booed by some partisan religious bigots

“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” Cruz said. “Good night, and God bless.”

after giving an entire speech denouncing the persecution of Arab Christians - was literally a line about leaving the stage and nothing more.

For pimps like Dreher though, the plight of the Arab Christians is merely another tool he can use to promote his own anti-Republican, pro-Russian interests and those of his handlers, which is probably why In Defense of Christians wisely decided to have nothing to do with Dreher as a speaker in any capacity.

UPDATE 2 (all the cool kids are doing Updates these days): Katie Gorka is alleging that Ted Cruz knew exactly what he was doing when he drew out the response he did from the Hezbollah backing sponsors of the IDC event:

But what I discovered the next day is that Cruz had known exactly what he was doing. Indeed, he had read the article that had been published about the event just that day and which essentially repeated Frank Ghadry’s allegation that the conference organizers were close to Hezbollah.

Whether Cruz ever contemplated withdrawing from the event is not certain, but what is clear is that he was keenly aware of the alleged links between the organizers of the event and Hezbollah, and he was not going to let that go untested.

This raises the question now of who the true useful idiot really is.

Certainly Dreher's blog commenters, who, unlike Dreher, didn't understand that the ads served on Ted Cruz' web site were automatically context-triggered - just like the ads on Gmail and a thousand other places.

Which leaves me in an obvious contradiction and a quandary: is Dreher a dimwit for not knowing about such ads either as I originally suggested, or, as a professional blog editor himself who has been playing inside blog baseball for decades now, a cynical manipulator who knowingly lied about Cruz' fundraising to his web site-naive readership? I just can't decide.

UDATE 3: And now, behold the martyr Dreher. My emphases:

When someone like Ted Cruz, son of a fundamentalist Christian pastor, has the unspeakable arrogance to go into this group of Orthodox, Catholic, and Coptic Christians who are facing the martyrdom of their entire communities and expect them to recite the gospel of American neoconservatism — that is, not simply to denounce anti-Semitism, which the people in that audience were willing to do, but to affirm the goodness of the state of Israel, even if doing so would put their own lives in danger once they return home – he forces the rest of us Christians to make a choice. Which is more important to them: the fate of Israel, or the fate of the Church?

Again, I support the right of the state of Israel to exist, and the right of the ancient Christian churches of the Middle East to exist. But if circumstances force us to make a choice, Christians must ordinarily choose the Church, just as I would expect Jewish Americans in most circumstances to choose Israel, and would not for a second hold that against them. If you will not be for your own people, what kind of person are you?

That choice implies a second choice: which is more important to conservative American Christians, their Christianity, or their conservatism?

If that is the choice, I know which side I am on. And if that makes me anathema to American movement conservatism, I’ll wear that badge with honor.

But here Dreher is just baldly lying, as is his habit.

Ted Cruz didn't ask anyone to swear a loyalty oath to Israel. He didn't ask anything of his audience at all, not even that they applaud him. He did nothing more than deliver declarative sentences. Anything that was wrought on the IDC members the IDC elected to do to them themselves, even if just by inviting Ted Cruz in the first place. The IDC wanted the legitimization that came from having Ted Cruz (instead of Rod Dreher) as a keynote speaker.

No, once again, this pathetic worm Dreher is only using Mideast Christians in peril as a cynical tool to promote the magazine that pays him, nothing more. Most of his time and money is actually spent filling his belly with delectable things, not doing anything to genuinely relieve their plight.

The problem is not you knowing what side you're on, Rod. The problem is anyone else knowing what side you're on, on anything you write about, no matter what it is.

And I doubt it is this suggestive but, as usual, unspecified final straw man choice you pose that makes you anathema to anyone, Rod. BTW, do you stand with the Christians who back Assad and Hezbollah? Why? Please do explain your choice in underwriting their Christian moral courage of self-preservation, as it were, at the expense of Israeli children killed by Hezbollah-supplied rockets.

No, what makes you anathema to just about anyone, Rod, is that there is apparently nothing more to you than a hollow, parasitic, sanctimonious hustler who will sell any topic, even your own dead sister, the way Offer Schlomi hawks a ShamWow.