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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Crunchy TAC

The conservatism every thirteen-year-old girl can love.

Can't say we haven't seen the marriage of these two blog grooms barreling down the SERP aisle for some time now. Sully must feel so left out. I can't wait for the Instagram page.

"Sweeps the inside sky from east to right"

The Meat Puppets. Strange guys. Legendary drug abusers. Here's a cool tune from their best album.

The youtube video of Backwater had messed up stereo, so I opted for this tune. I have no idea what spurred the cross-dressing.

It Takes One

It's painful for me to read hand-wringing like this article about how military action is problematic for the image people have of President Obama and his poor, wittle wegacy. Excerpt:

But make no mistake: Obama’s escalation of airstrikes and the use of U.S. personnel to help “degrade and destroy” the extremist Sunni group represents a major setback for a commander in chief whose early international appeal was built on a pledge to remove the United States from “permanent war footing.”

“How did this group that came in determined to remedy the Bush administration’s overreach . . . end up embroiled in a far more open-ended conflict that has just as far-reaching consequences?” said Rosa Brooks, a former Obama administration official who served at the Pentagon from 2009 to 2011. “This is a legacy issue for him.”

Trying to be "not like Bush"—or not like anybody else for that matter—is not a successful strategy for leadership. Unfortunately that was a successful campaign strategy for getting Obama elected, and it's hard for Democrats to see the difference.

There is actually a great deal more hubris in thinking you can quit fighting a war somewhere and that will suddenly bring peace, love and a big legacy prize as an added bonus than in thinking that you better start fighting when your enemies attack you like President Bush did. That's how all this started, lest we forget. We had war declared on us.

An illustration comes to mind. I took my four oldest kids to see Indians when we got stomped by Detroit 12-1 on Labor Day. I was explaining to my 10-year-old son that the pitcher, Corey Kluber, would get credit for the loss. He responded, "I think it's the Detroit Tigers' fault that the Indians lost." He had a point. Osama Bin Laden declared war when he attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, not George W. Bush. This is not a "tango"; it only takes one to instigate a war.

Instead of responding to polls showing "war weariness" on the part of the public, I would like to see our leaders confronting the real issue. That issue is that the war against Islamic Jihad is going to require that the populace increase their fortitude and their resilience to defeat these enemies however long it takes. Wars are won or lost. If you leave, if you take your ball and go home, well, that's a loss.

Is Rod Dreher the last honest conservative?

Surly asks of her Prophet,

Are you the last honest conservative?

His leftist commenters today overwhelmingly seem to think so for his bravely taking on a Megyn Kelly broadcast probing whether George Bush was not in fact right all along about leaving Iraq too soon.

Dreher doesn't deny he was ferociously for the Iraq war himself when he was taking NRO's checks and that was the popular thing to do, before subsequently being against it when the political weathervane swung around one-eighty and threatened to clock him in the head. And because Rod lives in TAC CEO Wick Allison's Obamacon lap these days, Barack's has now become Dreher's master's voice as well.

But we don't have to drop back through too many conservative posts on cooking and American Girl dolls to find the honest conservative shaking his booty on the right side of his stage this time, swaggering fashionably tough on ISIS, albeit using liberal Christian foils as his ostrich feather dancing fans in doing so.

When we finally wade through the typical obfuscating clutter there we find ourselves face to face with the honest conservative: loudly exhorting everyone while strategically committed to nothing at all himself. By all means, somebody should do something about ISIS. He's just not sure it would be prudent to advocate it should be him, or rather, the service men and women of his country acting on his behalf. Better to blog from behind.

Someone should stop those ISIS field trip bullies from pulling Rod's pants down, but we can't possibly expect the honest conservative himself to be the one to do the stopping, can we? Grownups! Grownups! Listen to Rod's cries of calculated, reader-maximizing ambivalence and quit stepping over him in indifference!

Protect this honest conservative Rod Dreher from ever having to take a stand - on anything.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ed FitzGerald heads further toward joke territory

The Ohio State Troopers Association, a public-safety union, yanks its endorsement of Ed Fitzgerald. Excerpt:

On its Facebook page, the union said it was "the candidate's inability to give any reasonable explanation of his failing to secure a valid Ohio operators permit for years while continuing to drive on Ohio's highways that drove its decision.

"TSO noted that Troopers cite drivers for invalid licenses and for driving without a license or under suspension and the failure to secure a license is a serious breach of civic as well as the political responsibility of an elected official."

They would probably rather endorse FitzGerald than not after the SB5 fiasco which hurt Kasich with the public-safety unions to a seemingly irreparable degree. However "serious breach" is the key phrase. They really can't endorse someone who is such an incredible scofflaw. If he'd let his license or registration lapse once or twice before he held elected office it would be one thing. But the whole ten-year period coupled with the Westlake-woman-who-wasn't-wife incident is pretty hard to overlook.

My guess is that there is a lot of info on that event that hasn't been made public. But cops talk to each other.