Recently, Democrats have been propagating the canard that Republicans are eager to impeach President Obama. While it’s true that Sarah Palin called for the President’s impeachment on Fox News earlier this month, it’s helpful to remember than Palin isn’t a politician anymore and that her statements are in no way indicative of the Republican Party’s intentions. The occasional Republican endorsement of impeachment has been milked by Democrats for the purpose of raising money and placing the blame for government inaction entirely on the shoulders of conservatives.
Nate Silver crunched some numbers related to talk of impeachment and found, unsurprisingly, that liberals raise the topic far more often than conservatives, both in the media and in the halls of Congress.
So far in July, there have been 10 mentions of the term “impeachment” in Congress and four others of the term “impeach.” Eleven of the 14 mentions have been made by Democratic rather than Republican members of Congress, however.
…for every mention of impeachment on Fox News in July, there have been five on liberal-leaning MSNBC.
This data comes from a Lexis-Nexis search of transcripts on each network. It counts each mention of the words “impeach” or “impeachment.” The terms were used 32 times in a single episode of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Monday. … The scoreboard so far in July: Fox News has 95 mentions of impeachment, and MSNBC 448.
David Graham of The Atlantic couldn’t help but notice all the fundraising emails mentioning impeachment that have flooded his inbox recently:
If all you were reading were Democratic email lists…you might imagine it was December 1998 all over again. The set of increasingly hysterical missives from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee presents an alternate political history of the last week.
It’s no secret why Democrats are so eager to talk about impeachment. By their own admission, it’s been a cash cow, drawing in millions of dollars in donations.
Talk of impeachment is an illustrative example of how liberals use the most outrageous utterances of Republicans as a means of drumming up hatred for conservatives, a propaganda war that conveniently serves the purpose of excusing the President’s failures.
Undoubtedly, House Republicans hold many unreasonable views, especially on economic issues. But contrary to what Democrats suggest, there is common ground between progressives and Tea Party conservatives.
Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), for instance, collaborated on the REDEEM Act, which seeks to “cut the cost and stigma of non-violent drug offenses by limiting how long criminal records stick to ex-convicts.” They also proposed an amendment, described by the Drug Policy Alliance as “groundbreaking,” that would prohibit federal agencies from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.
Earlier today, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) proposed a bill that would end NSA bulk collection. Last year, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) participated in Rand Paul’s drone filibuster, protesting executive overreach. Senators Paul and Lee also joined with Democrats Chris Murphy and Tom Udall to oppose the arming of Syrian rebels.
Reforming drug policy and scaling back U.S. military involvement overseas should enjoy Democratic support. The war in Iraq cost trillions, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and did little to stabilize a country currently in the midst of civil war. The war on drugs has resulted in a mass incarceration crisis that betrays our values and ruins the lives of countless nonviolent offenders.
While economic issues such as unemployment and low wages are certainly worth addressing, the current ideological divide between liberals and conservatives on all things fiscal makes progress on, for instance, a minimum wage hike, nearly impossible. Thus, it would be sensible for liberals to re-prioritize and focus on bipartisan initiatives that might stand a chance of succeeding. So why haven’t they?
Because President Obama’s views on drone strikes, military interventions, NSA spying, and drug policy are disappointing at best and shameful at worst. No Republican, no matter how loony, is responsible for Obama’s support of the NSA collecting and storing intimate details about the private lives of innocent civilians, or the supposedly “surgical” drone strikes that wipe out civilians, or the intervention in Libya that has left the country a war-ravaged mess, or the proposed intervention in Syria, or the imprisonment of mostly young black men for the “crime” of selling marijuana. The President supports these disastrous policies of his own accord.
Alexander Hamilton once advised that “if a government appears to be confident of its own powers, it is the surest way to inspire the same confidence in others.” President Obama and his fellow Democrats inspire no confidence whatsoever and their incessant finger-pointing won’t disguise that reality.
So this is pretty awful. David Frum, alongside a blogger named Thomas Wictor, are accusing the press of publishing fake photos that purport to showcase injured or traumatized Palestinians. In particular, Frum points to a photo of two young men in which one of them has blood on his arms. In a second photo appearing elsewhere, however, the same man no longer has blood on his arms. Q.E.D. conspiracy, amirite?
Except there’s a very easy explanation for why the young man has blood on his arms in one photo, and no blood in another:
Photographers had gathered at the building, according to The New York Times’ Sergey Ponomarev. Photos appear to have been captured and used by some of the world’s top news gatherers, including The Associated Press, Reuters and The New York Times.
While their father was admitted, the brothers, drenched in blood, were given a chance to clean themselves up. Ponomarev said, “I saw his brother take him to a nearby room and he must’ve washed him off because afterward there was no blood on his face and his hands were clean. He was sitting on the chair and seemed calmer, and that’s when I took the photo.”
So the two photos look different because—wait for it—they were taken at different points in time. The second photo was taken after one of the brothers had an opportunity to wash his father’s blood off his hands and face, which I’m sure he was anxious to get off his body.
One of the most useful skills for a public intellectual to develop is to exercise a greater degree of care when investigating stories that confirm your biases vs. those that don’t. We are already naturally predisposed to exercise additional scrutiny to stories that don’t support our political beliefs. But when we see stories that seem to confirm our beliefs, we’re more likely to accept them at face value because they feel correct.
That’s why Frum’s claim is shockingly unreflective for someone who pretends to be a public intellectual. Is it really fair to jump to the conclusion that a photo was staged because the two individuals pictured look different in each photo? Particularly when a legitimate explanation is easily arrived at? Of course not.
On another note, Frum is not the only person looking for an excuse to minimize Palestinian suffering or pretend it doesn’t exist. I wrote this morning about an article written by Avi Issacharoff, who wrote that the Israeli government’s siege in Gaza was ”nonexistent,” which is pure fantasy. I personally have a law school friend who used to jokingly refer to Gaza as “beachfront property,” suggesting that life there was not nearly as bad as Palestinian activists claim it was.
It would be one thing if this was propaganda being handed down by a tyrannical government. But it’s not. These are journalists and opinion leaders whose words have a lot of purchase in the public sphere. This is why, as I mentioned this morning, many people choose to focus on the Israeli government over more oppressive regimes in the Middle East. Nobody is pretending that the those regimes don’t oppress people, but a lot of people pretend that Israel doesn’t. And there’s no better way to erase the suffering of a people than to convince the international community that it doesn’t exist.
via Ali Gharib:
If Frum had done a little more digging, he would have found other posts on Wictor’s blog that call into question his credibility. Frum might have discovered some of Wictor’s recent free-associative rhapsodies or winding disquisitions on minstrel shows. Frum might’ve even found Wictor’s post where he thinks he has taken a photo of a “dematerializing” cat – apparently the second coming of a ghost cat Wictor knew earlier in life.
When prodded on whether the dematerializing cat thing was serious or ironic, Wictor laughed. “No, it is serious. You can present me as completely off my rocker,” he says. “The fact is I took a picture of a cat that looked like my beloved dead cat, and when the shutter snapped the cat was gone. I tend to believe that when we’re under a lot of stress and pain, we can hallucinate. Sure, why not? But I also believe that we might get signs to help us carry on.”
Reading over Wictor’s blog, it’s clear that he’s not entirely well, and that his analysis is wanting. Which all raises the question of what exactly Frum was thinking questioning a bevy of professional journalists based on Thomas Wictor’s writings.
Always a good idea to check your sources…
The Hoover Administration’s initial response to the Great Depression was to supplement private aid without creating the type of permanent public social insurance programs that would arise in the New Deal. Hoover’s goal was to maintain, in the words of the historian Ellis Hawley, a “nonstatist alternative to atomistic individualism, the romantic images of voluntarism as more truly democratic than any government action, and the optimistic assessments of the private sector’s capacity for beneficial governmental action.” As President Hoover said in 1931, much like conservatives do today, any response to the economic crisis must “maintain the spirit of charity and mutual self-help through voluntary giving” in order for him to support it.
Noble as that goal may be, it failed. The more Hoover leaned on private agencies, the more resistance he found. Private firms and industry did not want to play the role that the government assigned them, and even those that did found it difficult, if not impossible, to carry out those responsibilities. The Red Cross, for instance, did not want to move beyond providing disaster relief. Other groups, like the Association of Community Chests and Councils, had no interest in trying to coordinate funds at a national, rather than local, level. Hoover understood that private charity wasn’t getting to rural areas, yet private charities couldn’t be convinced to meet these needs.
In July 2013, No Labels held a rally where lawmakers of both parties crowded a park outside the Capitol, stood on a grandstand and one by one declared themselves “problem solvers.” The government shut down a few months later as Republicans, including some who appeared on that stage, refused to allow a budget to pass unless it defunded the president’s health care law.
Even in its own May document, No Labels claimed only one legislative victory: a bill that passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote, but which never came up for a vote in the House or became law.
Self-described centrist or “problem solving” bipartisan groups like No Labels are utterly useless for myriad reasons.
- The political center is an ever-changing place subject to the whims of establishment Democrats and Republicans.
- Bipartisanship can produce disastrous results (e.g. the Iraq War) and thus is not always desirable.
- It is sometimes best for opposing political factions to squabble with each other. That’s how ideas are debated and communicated to the public.
- If a bipartisan compromise does not benefit the public, then who cares that a compromise was reached?
- There has never been and probably never will be a time in America’s history in which opposing political factions routinely set aside their differences for the supposed good of the country. We couldn’t even get Americans to agree on slavery, which must rank as the single most obviously abhorrent policy in our country’s history. (Not to mention, the bipartisan “solution” to slavery up until the Civil War was to avoid addressing the issue.)
- One cannot discuss politics without being met with passionate disagreement. We can learn to treat those who disagree with us with respect but if we respect them, we should not ask that they abandon their firmly held beliefs just so we can all reach some arbitrary agreement and then eat cookies and hold hands.
- Many radicals were widely derided in their lifetimes but later judged to be forward-thinking and courageous. It’s good to have radicals around. They stir the pot and challenge orthodoxy.
- Some people hold views that are totally immoral. They should be met only with fierce, unyielding resistance.
Mike Boland, campaign manager for Zephyr Teachout, who is running against Cuomo in the Democratic primary for Governor.
Cuomo’s campaign sent out interns to hold signs contesting Teachout’s residency (team Cuomo says she’s a Vermont, not New York, resident). When reporters attempted to find out who these mysterious protesters were, the interns refused to identify themselves. Their shenanigans are part of a bizarre and pointless attempt to get Teachout tossed off the ballot. Because Andrew Cuomo really doesn’t like democracy all that much.