Saturday, March 7, 2015

Open Comment Thread (2015-03)

Here's the new Open Comment thread. I know, I know... late on this. But now it's here because I found this thing the other day walking down the street.

And so I finally got a round tuit. Get it? A "round tuit", as in gretting around to it? Do you guys get it? Say it slowly if you need to. Do you get it now?

(smack, smack, smack...)

Well, that was kind of sad, seeing Pauli — who used to be funny at one time — stoop so low for a cheap laugh. Here's the old comment thread for reference.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Is Rod Dreher really only Wick Allison's Erin Manning?

That is, in the final analysis only a useful tool kept, like all useful tools, strictly at arm's length only for its utility?

Here's why I ask.

As Jonathan Carpenter had originally mentioned, Dreher was in his old Texas stomping grounds yesterday on various business, attending a secretive TAC meeting, doing a book signing for TLWORL, working his own DIY publicity tour for his Dante book, all of which writing efforts Dreher credits as originally having been birthed at TAC.

Here's the promotion Wick Allison provided Dreher for all those things on his primary D Magazine FrontBurner blog. No, your eyes do not deceive you, there's nothing there. And by all means, if I've foolishly missed something obvious somewhere, call me out on it so I can make amends.

In fact, this is the last I recall of Allison's FrontBurner acknowledging Dreher was even still alive. At least his old newspaper pals celebrate his keen journalistic skills when using his position to expose unsatisfying vendors.

But we also learn that TAC is a sponsor of Dreher's Walker Percy Weekend.

So why is Wick Allison so reticent to directly acknowledge the Allison-Dreher connection on Allison's own home turf? Dreher certainly has a history in Dallas, and the two are far closer than just remote publisher and hired writer. Allison's promoting Dreher's appearance locally in Dallas would certainly raise much broader awareness of Dreher's visit, and thus attendance at Dreher's events, and thus potentially more eyes on Dreher back at TAC in turn. Similarly with Dreher's WPW.

What seems one obvious precipitate from all this to me is that Dreher is far more a liability for Allison if seen to be connected to Allison's primary D Empire (which even boasts its own Academy) than he is an asset for Allison as the little engine that could still keep TAC alive and useful as a tax shelter if nothing else. Manning's unshakeable belief in her Catholic faith may play an analogous role with Dreher.

The other obvious takeaway is that giving Dreher the tax-deductible blog space in TAC to advertise his doings while contributing to Dreher's also tax-deductible WPW is cheaper than raising his salary.

But as much as Dreher does to promote Allison's take home revenue through TAC, one would think that Allison would at least publicly give him the time of day in Dallas rather than treating him ultimately as a potential embarrassment. I'm sure Erin Manning could commiserate.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Obama foreign policy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to Congress tomorrow to discuss the threat a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to Israel, the region and the world. But in a different historical timeline, he might not have been, putting his energies into military cleanup actions closer to home instead.

From the Zionist Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva:

Report: Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike

The Bethlehem-based news agency Ma’an has cited a Kuwaiti newspaper report Saturday, that US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Following Obama's threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.

According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel's back.

The report claimed that an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the US administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

I obviously can't confirm or document what Obama actually did or didn't tell Netanyahu, but the paper goes on to cite Zbigniew Brzezinski as the original source of the option, based on an interview he gave The Daily Beast back in 2009:

Former US diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski, who enthusiastically campaigned for Obama in 2008, called on him to shoot down Israeli planes if they attack Iran. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?” said the former national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with the Daily Beast.

“We have to be serious about denying them that right,” he said. “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a 'Liberty' in reverse.’"

Denying America's oldest ally in the Middle East the opportunity to preemptively defend itself against an existential nuclear threat not only to its own survival but but also to setting off a region-wide nuclear arms race, on the pain of physically shooting down its Air Force (and who would prevail there?) seems to me an awfully high price to pay for some watery thin porridge of Obama's personal legacy deal with Iran as currently constituted.

But a true national leader - unlike what we have - does what he has to do, so tomorrow Netanyahu will be in Washington, hat in hand, trying to convince Congress simply to strengthen sanctions against Iran rather than giving them the nuclear store.

Remember the future?

While others are retreating to cozy corners to masturbate psychologically and rhetorically, conservatives might be interested in at least two things that will decide how their lives will be shaped if they defer on making those decisions themselves instead.

Near term, King v. Burwell goes to oral argument before SCOTUS March 4 - 48 hours from now. If King wins, Obamacare immediately becomes a failed state, like Libya and Somalia. That structural vacuum will demand filling, and the first and loudest call will be for Republicans to immediately replace what was lost - exactly as it was before.

Doing nothing is not an adult option. However, there are contingency plans in the wings. Legislation to enact the best consensus option had better be ready to drop in June or whenever SCOTUS finally rules, or Republicans can probably expect a growing public PR beating to begin on both legislative and presidential fronts heading toward November, 2016.

- - - - -

If Republicans don't want to look up unexpectedly one day to find this smiling face lecturing them from behind the presidential seal, it's long past time to get vaccinated. Why Ben Carson has become the alternative boyfriend while the far more intellectually and politically estimable - and electable - Shelby Steele is not being groomed and being made ready for the inevitable ethnographic face off escapes me entirely.

Sooner or later, Republicans are going to be forced to deal a serious presidential alternative to the "old white men" slur, and the time to recognize that is before sooner gets here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's Funny How Things Are Connected

It's funny how things are connected.

Like death, sex and money. I mean, they named a documentary after those three heavy topics.

Check this out: a guy is pimping his book about another book about what happens after death and his event announcement give a nod to the famous pornographic title Debbie Does Dallas. Then the next day we find out in a comment to another book-pimping post that this guy's publisher, Regan Arts, has (somehow) pulled in a winner of a book review from Kirkus for another of its books described as a "the sex-drenched memoir" of a famous Las Vegas pimp, Dennis Hof. The memoir prominently features one of Hof's friends, Ron Jeremy, a legendary adult film actor who incidentally did his stick—I mean his shtick—in all three of the Debbie Does Dallas sequel films. Interesting....

Everyone does know that cover of the book about another book about what happens after death has undergone a revision since the original cover, don't they? I think the new one might sell better—it features nudity. Regan Arts knows their business.

It's funny how things are connected.