Archive for September 19th, 2008

September 19, 2008

Republicans Who Don’t Love America

Frank Schaeffer in HuffPo:

Dear Republicans: This election all Republicans who love America must vote for Obama. . . . As a former Republican activist, I appeal to your patriotism and honor. . . .
It is time for all Americans — including all you who are patriotic Republicans — to sweep away these putrid earth-consuming, family killing, government bashing “me” worshipping individualistic fools–that or to watch our country be swept away by them. We can’t afford eight more years of this willful ignorance. Obama in 2008!

Dear Frank Schaeffer: “Former Republican” being the key phrase here, eh? Good luck with that, buddy. You’re well on your way to becoming the next Lincoln Chaffee.

I hereby announce the formation of Republicans Who Don’t Love America. Our motto: “Eight More Years of Willful Ignorance!” We are emphatically dishonorable and unpatriotic, at least according to Frank Schaeffer’s definition of those terms. We support the election of government-bashing, earth-consuming, individualistic Republican fools.

UPDATE: I’m reading through Schaeffer’s screed — it cannot be called an argument — and relishing such calm, rational statements as this:

You have become a hate-filled rabble proud of your ignorance and resentful of the rest of your own country, resentment that’s exceeded only by your maudlin (and false) sense of victimhood. . . .
The smell emanating from your convention was that of a beer hall putsch circa 1930s, not anything remotely like participation in a democracy.

Evidence? None offered. These passages are part of a section devoted to the Religious Right, one of what Schaeffer calls the three “power centers” of the GOP. He concludes this section by saying that Sarah Palin (whom he has never met) “lacks any shred of decent humility, the most basic biblical virtue.” Decently Humble Frank just knows this, you see.

Schaeffer then goes on a rant against the second “power center,” namely neconservatives, whom he describes as “nothing more than an kill-all-the-Arabs, pro-Israel-at-any-cost, morally bankrupt lobby.”

Now, I am certainly no neoconservative. Many of my friends were notoriously smeared five years ago as “Unpatriotic Conservatives,” but rather than offer a critique of Harry Jaffa and pick at old scars (one of these days, I aim to write a book called First They Came for Mel Bradford), I will say that I know of no neoconservative who advocates a “kill-all-the-Arabs” policy. There seem to be, however, a frighteningly large number of Arabs who endorse a “kill-all-the-Jews” policy — which they pursue with deadly persistence — and what does Schaeffer propose to do about them? I’m not sure, nor am I sure that the solution is to elect a man who spent 20 years in the pews listening to the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright.

Having spent his fury in railing against the Religious Right and neoconservatives, Schaeffer can muster only two paragraphs to denounce “Corporate Business Interests”:

[The GOP] has propagated a laissez-faire attitude toward corporate interests and has — literally — stood back and encouraged the rape of the earth. You are the party of the earth-hogging SUV. You have literally sowed the wind and reaped the hurricanes.

Hey, Frank, I hate to tell you this, but we didn’t “rape the earth.” It was consensual. The earth was begging for it, Frank. And if you don’t mind sloppy seconds, get in line.

Seriously, I don’t have an earth-hogging SUV. What I’ve got is a low-slung Korean-made sedan, with a sweet V6, power windows, a sunroof and a nice stereo. But I bought it used and I’ll guaran-damn-tee you, Frank, I paid less for my car (the only one our family owns) than you paid for yours, you pompous Pharisee. You rich hypocrites, tithing the mint and cumin of environmentalism!

Go on Frank, go vote for the party of Al Gore and Bill Clinton and Margaret Cho and Sandra Bernhard. Vote for the party of Sandy Berger and Ted Kennedy and Kwame Kilpatrick. Vote for the party of Barbra Streisand and Harry Reid and Lynn Woolsey. But don’t try to tell me that makes you honorable and patriotic. Spare me your “decent humility,” you pathetic fraud.

September 19, 2008

FBI surveilling David Kernell?

A bit of mystery:

  • FBI Memphis office says it has been contacted by the FBI Anchorage office in regard to the Palin e-mail hacking investigation.
  • As of 3:37 P.M., according to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb — a friend of state Rep. Mike Kernell –neither he nor his son David had been contacted by law enforcement.

Hmmm. OK, so what is the FBI up to? What was the request from Anchorage? What is SOP for the FBI?

An educated guess: Establish the location of the person of interest, begin surveillance, make sure that he doesn’t go to the airport and board a plane for Rio de Janeiro. Also, watch to see if he drives to a dumpster and ditches any computer-sized packages.

The computer forensics folks at FBI HQ are the lead investigators in this case. The conclusive evidence is stored in online databases, not in Knoxville or Memphis. Until HQ has found the basis of a search warrant or an arrest, there’s not really any reason for FBI agents to question the Kernells.

If I were David Kernell, however, I don’t think I’d be discussing this situation on the telephone, if you get my drift. And I’d keep my eyes peeled for late-model sedans driven by vaguely official-looking people.

UPDATE 9/21: FBI serves search warrant?

September 19, 2008

Ace nails it

Edgy, dangerous, but on the mark:

[W]e know that Barack Obama’s surrogates are constantly calling the media to play the race card whenever an attack line rises that Barack Obama 1) views as a real threat and 2) does not wish to confront directly. He doesn’t wish to confront it — often because he has no good defense — and so calls the media to peddle his tales of racism! to get his buddies in the media to bury the story. He has no answer to the charge, so he demands the media embargo the charge entirely.

The fact that the major media are engaged in a massive surrogacy for Obama is, I think, beyond dispute at this point. The best evidence is the three solid weeks of unrelenting and unprecedented attacks on Sarah Palin, including several lines of attack that were clearly nothing more than robotlike parroting of Team Obama’s talking points.

Why? Beyond the usual liberal bias, let me offer three basic psychological reasons for this:

  • The Inevitability Factor — Political reporters live and die by access. If you don’t have friendly sources feeding you the inside scoop, you’re dead meat in the ultra-competitive elite press corps. Team Obama has capitalized on this as a weapon to intimidate reporters: “Our guy’s The Next President of the United States. You don’t want to get on our bad side, do you?” This is why reporters are falling over each other in a contest over who can most slavishly repeat Team Obama’s talking points or throw the most fiendish “gotcha” at the McCain campaign. They are trying to ingratiate themselves with The Winning Team.
  • The “Fairness” Factor — What is the most simple definition of “fairness”? Half-and-half, 50-50, even-Steven, right? OK, so we had eight years of Democratic Clinton, then we had eight years of Republican Bush, and in the infantile subconscious of many journalists, it’s the Democrats’ turn to win the next election. This is how they rationalize the absurd one-sidedness of their coverage, by thinking it would be unfair for the Republicans to control the White House for another four years.
  • The I’m-Not-a-Racist Factor — This is what Ace is driving at. If 90% of the press corps are in the tank for Obama, the other 10% are scared to death of being identified as anti-Obama, because they know darn well that the dreaded “r-word” will be permanently branded into their foreheads if they dare question or contradict the Inevitable Triumph of Hope narrative.

Go back to the Clinton years — look what happened to the reputations of Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff and the WaPo‘s Sue Schmidt after they took the lead on the Lewinsky scandal. They were branded as right-wing stooges. (Schmidt recently took an early-retirement buyout; Isikoff continues toiling away.)

Getting tarred as a Republican sympathizer is incredibly damaging to a reporter’s career prospects; to be branded a racist — and that’s what they’d risk by running negative stories about Obama — is career death.

Don’t be surprised that the dominant media narrative so strongly favors Obama. If you go out on the campaign trail, you’ll see that a lot of the reporters are very young — in their 20s or 30s — and they are naturally ambitious. If they were to publish anything negative about Obama, if they were to contradict the Inevitable Triumph of Hope narrative, they might as well call it quits and go sell insurance or something, because they’ll never become chief White House correspondent.

Many apparently puzzling aspects of human behavior become remarkably less puzzling, once you begin with the cynical assumption that most people are motivatived by very narrow and superficial considerations of self-interest. Begin by asking, “What’s in it for him?” and you’ll seldom be too far off the mark.

September 19, 2008

Video: TV news on David Kernell

Via Gateway Pundit, who’s got a wrap-up of the latest. Will update with more soon . . .

September 19, 2008

Obama’s buddy, Hugo Chavez

The Spanish-language version was included in an earlier round-up, now Team Maverick’s made it available in English:

September 19, 2008

The Great GOP Panic of ’08

Having written about the Democrats’ recent poll-driven panic, I’m dismayed to observe that some faint-hearted Republicans are becoming hysterical now that Barack Obama is up by 5 points in the Gallup daily tracking poll.

According to the new panic narrative, the GOP’s convention bounce has expired, the Palin pick has turned into a deficit, and the economic crisis is sending voters streaming into the Obama camp.

Please. Calm. Down. The relative merits of Obama and John McCain are unchanged. If Palin’s poll popularity is down, well, three weeks of relentless media negativity can have that effect, but the damage is not necessarily permanent. And excuse my skepticism, but I’m having a hard time seeing how independent voters are going to be persuaded that Obama’s vague talk of Hope and Change is the solution to the problems of the financial sector.

If the past is prologue, it is likely that the current trend toward Obama will peak in a couple of days, and a week from now the race will be back in a statistical tie going into the first presidential debate Sept. 26. Besides, we’re now at the point in the campaign where the opinions of likely voters matter more than registered voters (and the Gallup tracking poll surveys registered voters). Both the Rasmussen and Battleground tracking polls of likely voters show a dead heat.

Panic is not a strategy. Please. Calm. Down.

UPDATE: Look, if this was an honest-to-goodness GOP meltdown, the eternal pessimist Allahpundit would be all doom-and-gloom, right? He’s at least semi-hopeful, which means . . . ? Yeah. Maverick in a landslide.

UPDATE II: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Thanks.

September 19, 2008

Campaign update: New McCain ads

The past couple of days, I’ve been busy with the Sarah Palin e-mail hacking and haven’t blogged much about the back-and-forth in the presidential campaign. The big news is that Team Maverick has come out with a series of hard-hitting TV ads:

Obama-Chavez (en Espanol)

Nothing New

Jim Johnson

Patriotic Act

September 19, 2008

Pray for the Kernell family

According to Tennessee blogger Sharon Cobb, there have been death threats against state Rep. Mike Kernell. This is crazy behavior, and whoever is responsible for it should be prosecuted.

People: It’s just politics, OK? The United States is the greatest country in the world, with the greatest people in the world, and whatever happens Nov. 4 will not change that. If the result is the election of a Democrat . . . so what?

A nation that can survive LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton is a nation that even Barack Obama can’t destroy. The man has already turned thousands of Hillary Clinton supporters into ex-Democrats. Just think how many ex-Democrats he’d create if he managed to get elected.

Whoever hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail and then went online to brag about wanting to “derail her campaign” has clearly lost perspective about this election. So if the hacker turns out to be a 20-year-old chess nerd with emotional issues, and it turns out the guy’s dad is a Democratic politician, well, OK.

But death threats? What’s the point of that? Let’s leave that idiocy to the Unhinged. Besides, the media is going to go berserk on this one — check out this conviction-by-headline from the NY Post.

Look, if the FBI ends up bird-dogging on the Kernell kid, he and his family are going to go through a hell you couldn’t imagine in your worst nightmares. Ask people who’ve been through it. Being investigated and prosecuted by the feds is a soul-wrenching experience. It’s not like you’re dealing with the local sheriff and the county judge. It’s extremely impersonal. And there is no parole in the federal prison system.

Oh, and beware of the “obstruction” charge. Ever hear of a guy named Scooter Libby? He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. President Bush commuted that, but the dude still had to pay a $250,000 fine. He was disbarred.

Yesterday, somebody said David Kernell seemed to be deleting his online accounts. Bad decision. Attempting to destroy evidence in a case under investigation by the FBI? A crime in its own right. And the FBI has the best computer forensics people in the world, anyway, so you’re not helping yourself.

Don’t make death threats against the Kernells. Pray for them. I’ve got a hunch they’re going to be needing a lot of prayer in the near future. And God forbid you or anyone you know should ever find themselves at the center of an FBI investigation. Even if the Kernell kid’s perfectly innocent — mistaken identity or something — it’s going to be rough. But if the kid’s guilty . . .

PREVIOUSLY:

September 19, 2008

Obama supporter: ‘I want to violently rape’ Palin

Margaret Cho posted an anti-McCain/anti-Palin rant at her MySpace page:

But even though I would never, ever vote for Palin, I am kind of obsessed with f—ing her. She is sexy and hot in a MILF/Cougar way. . . . I want to steam up those glasses and show her what a pitbull with lipstick really needs — doggy style!

Prompting one of Cho’s fans and fellow Obama supporters to add this comment:

See, I more want to violently rape her with a turkey baster full of homosexual devil seed. I use the word rape because this woman doesn’t seem to think that women should have the right to choose whats going on with their p—y anyway. So I would like to impose my will on her vagina like she is trying to do to mine.

Via Laura Elizabeth Morales.) There is probably a thesis in political science (or abnormal psychology) to be written about the way leftists have reacted to this pro-life Republican woman. One notices many of the same themes as in anti-Malkin/anti-Coulter rants.

There also seems to be some sort of anti-marriage/anti-motherhood sentiment involved here. I note, en passant, that both Cho and her commenter “Birdy” are lesbians, but hesitate to assert a causative correlation. Not all lesbians are so insanely heterophobic. The politicization of sex is an unfortunate consequence of the feminist dogma that “the personal is political.”

UPDATE: Linked at NObamaBlog and HRCForum — thanks.

A commenter notes that the French phrase en passant (“in passing”) is used in chess to describe a certain opening move with pawns. I hadn’t even thought of that, but it’s a fact, and perhaps that’s where I picked it up. I studied French in high school, but retained very little. On va a la plage!

I also studied Latin in high school and retained little, but this brings me to a related allusion: There is a passage in Cicero’s first oration against Catiline in which he makes a very damaging accusation then says, “but I pass over this.” As in, “You’re an incestuous thief, but that’s beside the point …”

Cicero casually slips in the ad hominem, then returns to his main discourse. A very effective rhetorical tactic, prejudicing the audience while inciting one’s opponent to attack a point irrelevant to your argument.

Cicero was not only a senator, but also the leading lawyer of his era, and knew every trick in the book. Which is, of course, why the Second Triumvirate marked him for assassination in their “bloody proscription.” They simply could not hope to survive the condemnation of such an able orator, who had thwarted all the previous conspiracies of what historians have called the Popular party. Cicero was apparently not a participant in the plot against Caesar, but had opposed Caesar all along, and was likely aware of what Brutus and the others had in mind.

September 19, 2008

David Kernell under investigation

UPDATE 10/8: Kernell indicted and arrested.

UPDATE 9/21: FBI serves search warrant?

UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN): Scripps News:

On Wednesday, the FBI and Secret Service launched an investigation that includes agents in Memphis. C.M. Sturgis, a spokesman for the Memphis FBI branch, confirmed late Thursday that his office is involved.
“All I can say is that a matter was referred to us from the Anchorage, Alaska, office. An investigation at this time is being coordinated out of FBI headquarters in the Department of Justice,” Sturgis said.

UPDATE: The Washington Times:

Tennessee state Rep. Mike Kernell, Memphis Democrat, last night disputed published newspaper reports, including one in the Tennessean that said his son was the focus of the Palin hack investigation.
“I talked to David today and he has not been contacted, not a target by any federal group, any investigation,” Mr. Kernell told The Washington Times on Thursday night. He was answering phones at his office late into the evening to clear up inaccurate media reports, he said.
When asked whether his son is involved in the case in any way, Mr. Kernell said: “I can’t talk about my son. I can just tell you no one has contacted him or I about this.”

UPDATE II: Linked at Hot Air — also in headlines — and in an update by Michelle Malkin. Thanks. Memphis Flyer, Knoxville’s WLTI-TV and Nashville’s NewsChannel5 are also following the story. Keep an eye on those reporters in Tennessee. Local reporters hunting a scoop of national importance? They won’t miss a thing.

UPDATED & BUMPED: Memphis TV reporter Shane Myers has a photo of Kernell and reports that local talk radio host Mike Fleming of WREC is on the story.

UPDATED: Allah:

“Exercise caution, as it’s a serious charge and there’s no proof of guilt yet.”

OK, maybe “rubico10” was just bragging about a hack he didn’t actually do. And maybe “rubico10” is a common Web nickname, like “bi19cheerldr.” And maybe a Democrat’s chess-nerd son with emotional issues isn’t the only one who “really wanted to get something incriminating” about the GOP vice-presidential candidate. It’s all just a coincidence, no conclusions can be drawn from these random facts, and not even Andrew Sullivan would bother to do a “just asking questions” post about it.

UPDATE II: Duh. I thought the photo of David Kernell was new stuff, but apparently Ace already flaming-skulled it hours ago. It’s hard to get up-to-speed when you fall behind on a breaking story like this, and I was taking a nap this afternoon when the latest stuff started happening. Anyway, Ace is asking people to e-mail him any dirt they’ve got on David Kernell.

PREVIOUSLY: I didn’t name him earlier, but David Kernell is the guy suspected of hacking Sarah Palin’s e-mail account. Michelle Malkin notes that the Nashville Tennessean is on the story:

The son of state Rep. Mike Kernell has been contacted by authorities in connection with a probe into the hacking of the personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Kernell confirmed on Thursday.
Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin’s personal email account.

Bloggers — including Malkin, Free Republic, Gateway Pundit and Eric Dondero — were ahead of the MSM on this. Kudos to the Tennessean for the follow-up, confirming that the FBI and Secret Service have also identified Kernell as a person of interest in the investigation. (Drudge links to the Knoxville News Sentinel, which is also following up.)

Earlier today, Eric Dondero e-mailed me to ask whether I thought the Internet sleuths were barking up the right tree. From my reply:

If it is him, you’ll almost certainly be hearing more in the next few days. The Justice Department is run by political appointees and always leaks like a sieve. If the FBI birddogs on this kid, somebody will leak the word to the Washington Post or Politico. Plus, if they get a search warrant on the kid, somebody in Memphis will notice and alert the media.
My gut hunch: There will be an MSM story on the kid linked at Drudge by Tuesday.

Heh — it was barely two hours later that the Tennessean confirmed the investigation. Michelle has an entire thread about the recto-cranial inversion at the Associated Press, which seems to think that any story involving Sarah Palin must follow a “Republican scandal” narrative, but I’d like to point to the good work of the Tennessean and the News-Sentinel in defense of the American press.

Earlier, in response to my statement that “since this is a high-profile federal felony investigation, I don’t think it will be long before we have full details,” commenter Mike G in Corvallis wrote:

I think it will be a while before the facts become known to the general public. The mainstream media will be very reluctant to publicize this, in the interest of protecting his privacy. And they wouldn’t want to do anything that would adversely affect his family, you know.

The Tennessean has vindicated my confidence in the basic reportorial sense of the American press. The hacking of the personal e-mail account of a vice-presidential candidate is a crime of such proportion that the reporter who gets the story first is a stud. How often does a reporter in Nashville get a scoop on a story that big?

Trust me when I say that sources at the Justice Department are probably already fielding phone calls from reporters in Washington. You think the Washington Post wants to get scooped by the Washington Times or the Politico — let alone some hillbilly reporter in Tennessee — on this story?

UPDATE: Just wanted to add a shout-out to Glenn Greenwald, and ask him how he likes getting skunked by “the bottom layer of the right-wing noise machine.”

PREVIOUSLY: