I don’t know about you but I’ve been fascinated by the UVA/Rolling Stone “rape” debacle. And while it is clear that Rolling Stone, in general, and the author of the RS article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely specifically, broke every journalistic rule out there, there’s a deeper story here (I’ll get to RS and Erdely later).
It’s about why the story even had a chance of being published. It’s about the combination of “narrative journalism” and an ideological agenda. It was about one supporting the other without any real evidence that what had been claimed (a gang rape by fraternity members) was true or had even happened.
The story was out there before Erdely had ever inquired about it. And you have to understand that that story had largely been accepted as “the truth” by people who wanted to believe it to be so. These weren’t just students and a couple of teachers, by the way. These were very well connected people who knew exactly where to go to push their agenda. Here’s that backstory:
As the Rolling Stone article fell apart, Catherine Lhamon’s involvement has gone virtually unmentioned. But a deeper look reveals her ties to Emily Renda, a University of Virginia employee and activist who put Erdely in touch with Jackie, the student whose claim that she was brutally gang-raped by seven members of a fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, served as the linchpin for the 9,000-word Rolling Stone article.
President Obama nominated Lhamon to become the Education Department’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in July 2013. The Senate approved her unanimously the following month.
She has served as the Education Department’s designee to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault which Obama created on Jan. 22, 2014. Renda served on the same task force.
Besides that link, both spoke at a February 2014 University of Virginia event entitled “Sexual Misconduct Among College Students.”
Lhamon has been invited to the White House nearly 60 times, according to visitor’s logs. Renda has been invited six times. Both were invited to the same White House meeting on three occasions. One, held on Feb. 21, 2014, was conducted by Lynn Rosenthal, then the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Twenty-one people, mostly activists, were invited to that meeting. Lhamon and Renda were invited to two other larger gatherings — one on April 29 and the other on Sept. 19.
It is unclear if both attended the three meetings. Renda did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Renda and Lhamon also testified at a June 26, 2014, Senate hearing on campus sexual assault. It was at that hearing that Renda cited Jackie’s story that she was brutally gang-raped by five fraternity members — a statement that was inconsistent with Jackie’s claim to Erdely that she was raped by seven men. According to the Columbia report, Renda first told Erdely about Jackie’s allegation on July 8, nearly two weeks after her Senate testimony.
During her testimony, Lhamon claimed that “The best available research suggests that 20% of college women, and roughly 6% of college men, are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault.” That “one-in-five” claim about the prevalence of sexual assault on campus has been heavily disputed.
So when Erdely showed up wanting to do the rape story, she had Renda to encourage her to do this one, because both had the same agenda:
The reporter used Jackie’s story about a gang-rape to introduce readers to what she asserted was a systemic failure on the part of universities, police, and society to prevent and investigate sexual assault.
Rape culture. Rape crisis. How else does one advance such a story except finding the perfect “rape” to feature all of those things? Bingo. The prefect story. And who was more than willing to offer it? Renda.
Now some may ask, “why do you contend that advancing such a narrative was Erdely’s motive?” For one thing, she’d done it before on another “rape” story – this one in the military (another institution that is “misogynist”). And it followed a very similar pattern. The case involved a female Navy Petty Officer who claimed to have been sexually assaulted. Leon Wolf, doing some great research, finds that Erdley did for that case exactly what she did for the UVA case – and so did the Rolling Stone editors:
The point of this story is this: the evidence is clear all over the face of this story that Erdely – as enabled by her editors at Rolling Stone – has a serial habit of reporting rapes without conducting any more fact checking than she did of the UVA story. It is facially obvious that she did not talk to the accused rapist because there wasn’t one. There is no evidence that she talked with anyone who was present at any of the bars where Ms. Blumer drank on the night before her DUI to attempt to verify even her story about meeting the three guys. And, again: the sources who spoke to RedState were clear that Ms. Erdely made no effort to contact any member of the Naval command who was involved with the investigation to get their side of the story with respect to what manner of investigation was conducted into Ms. Blumer’s allegations or what that investigation revealed.
After an exhaustive investigation that spanned a year and a half (which Erdely and Rolling Stone ignored and/or did no research into whatsoever), no one was able to produce any evidence that a sexual assault had occurred, physical or otherwise. The alleged victim herself had no recollection of it happening, did not report it to the police who arrested her, and had a ready motive for latching on to the narrative, which is that it would have stopped or possibly prevented punishment at the hands of her military superiors and possibly prevented her from permanently losing the top secret clearance necessary to keep her job.
This was an important story for the “rape culture” agenda. It was to be the cherry on the top of the narrative that says, “college men are misogynists and serial abusers who need to be punished for their actions”. That’s why the fictitious “20%” number was invented. That’s why the DoE’s civil rights division is involved. As noted, this story shows the connection all the way to the top and the narrative that was being pushed. Erdley and Rolling Stone were heaven sent to these people and they used her just as she used them. The result was shoddy journalism of the worst stripe that apparently is standard operating procedure for Rolling Stone (I have another example of precisely the same problem with another author that I highlighted February of 2011.)
Of course, as we’ve seen, the narrative, as presented by Erdley, failed spectacularly. It not only couldn’t withstand even the slightest scrutiny, it had holes in it wide enough to drive a tank through. Yet, that was precisely the narrative that had survived up until that time. Why hadn’t the school investigated it more thoroughly before accepting the story?
In December, as Erdely’s article began to collapse, Julia Horowitz, a student journalist at UVA, tried to explain why the campus newspaper had been caught flat-footed by the falsity of Jackie’s tale. She conceded that “factual inconsistencies” and “discrepancies” might exist in Erdely’s tale, but, she cautioned, “To let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.” Horowitz, exponent of this horrifying view of journalism, went on to become editor-in-chief of UVA’s student newspaper. Much of the media has been quick to pillory Rolling Stone, but Horowitz’s fear of allowing facts to overwhelm the narrative would be at home in vast swaths of our media — and government and higher education, too.
Facts shouldn’t define the narrative – got that? Now you understand why an administration, a magazine reporter and editors and a student “journalist” would let a tale like the UVA rape story exist and flourish – it fit the narrative like a glove if you didn’t look to closely. And no one did – including Rolling Stone.
As to the reputations ruined and lives tarnished by all of this? Well, that’s just collateral damage in a world where the narrative is much more important that the individual. It serves the “greater good”, you see.
A link at Insty pointed me to an excellent panel discussion on the illegality of Hillary Clinton’s email shenanigans.
“This is just staggering in the brazenness of evasion of the legal duty by everybody at the State Department, and especially the secretary,” [diGenova] said. “It is simply staggering; it’s unbelievable.”
No, it’s not unbelievable. Many of us have followed politics since the media shamelessly chose to take sides with Bill Clinton during his scandals. We know the dynamic:
- A scandal or obvious lie comes out: Bill Clinton’s perjury, Hillary’s Whitewater papers disappearance, Juanita Broderick’s rape accusations, Vince Foster’s suicide, Obama’s terrorist mentor, Fast and Furious gun-running, Harry Reid’s amazingly profitable “investments”, the IRS targets Tea Party groups, Benghazi, “if you like your doctor, you can keep him”, etc. ad nauseum.
- If the media can get away with it, they completely ignore the story.
If not, they do cursory, biased, and distorted reporting on it, minimizing and excusing the perp(s).
- If someone (e.g. Sharyl Adkisson at CBS or Lisa Myers at NBC) steps outside the bubble and actually finds something to report on, her superiors in the media spike the story, and ruin the reporter’s career if they can.
- After a few days or weeks, any attempt to raise the scandal is declared old news.
- During a Democratic administration, any illegality is studiously ignored. A faux investigation at DoJ drags out things for a few months, and then ponderously declares that there’s nothing further to investigate and no charges of consequence are ever filed. In egregious cases, someone might lose a job, but not their pension, and certainly not their liberty.
- Any attempt by a later Republican politician to re-open the investigation and really try to get to the bottom of it is declared by Democrats and the media to be “off limits”, “vindictive”, “mean spirited”, “a partisan witchhunt”, and other semantically meaningless but highly negative descriptions.
- The Republican politician is then punished by the media through a series of unflattering and often downright distorted feature and opinion pieces. This attempt to marginalize that politician forever often works, at least to the extent of shutting them up and cowing them for their rest of their term.
The choices for those wanting to punish illegal and intolerable behavior such as Hillary’s email project come down to:
1. Make some noise but don’t really do anything (heads, they win)
2. Once they have the power, push for legal punishment, be pilloried in the media for it, and probably never get enough allies to do anything because no one else wants to be pilloried (tales, you lose)
The Democrats have learned this lesson well. They can treat the media the way a perverted stepfather abuses his stepdaughter, and the media will never offer more than token protest. The media is determined to further their own leftist vision of justice and right, and that means backing the Democrats no matter how illegal or disgusting their behavior might be.
Hillary implemented her email plans knowing that she would almost certainly never pay a price for it. She knew the press and the rest of the Democrats had her back.
Our political system has devolved to the point that major players on the left know they can break the law in any number of ways, smear opponents, cover up past misdeeds, and lie outright as needed in every news conference. They can indeed “brazenly flout” laws and ethics. I don’t know what you call this system, but it’s certainly not the one they described to me in 8th grade civics class.
I’m happy that the Treasury IG discovered the missing backup IRS backup tapes.
I’m happy that we can pretend for a while there’s incriminating evidence on them that will finally allow for a prosecution of Lois Lerner and anyone else involved in using the IRS for thuggery.
Now we can put this to bed, right?
But I don’t believe a word of it.
Anyone else in IT can feel free chime in and disagree if they want.
The idea that the guys directly in charge of these suddenly found backups elected to say nothing to anyone, and waited for someone to come ask for them, like Cinderella waiting for prince Charming to show up and put the glass slipper on, is bunk. The only way that could have happened is if the IT people in at least one group have gotten up every morning for at least a year, showered, shaved, dressed, and showed up at work where they stuck their heads in buckets of mud for the entire day. It only could happen if they live in Plato’s cave when they go home at night.
It must be sweet in that department that didn’t start going over what they had for backups from day 1 when it was revealed that the IRS lost the backups. It must be awesome to work for a boss who didn’t come down and say, “so, what’s up with these backups! Because we’re being made to look pretty damned foolish! Do we have that stuff or not! I want to know ASAP because I expect to be on a bridge call by 12:00 where everyone, the Pope included, is going to be asking that question.”
But the call never came? So they just went back to their daily business? With all the news going on about missing backups? They didn’t know who to tell maybe? So they just told no one?
Anyone with half a brain, who’s had half an ounce of responsibility knows that somewhere someone was going to answer for those missing backups. And it behooves the guys who are supposed to have them, to be able to answer that they in fact do have them, if all it takes is for them to go look.
And you can bet your sweet bippy they went and looked. And they pro-actively told someone above them.
Yet we’re supposed to believe they said nothing.
For over a year.
The manager who was going to take the fire directly, checked with his people on day 1, found they had the backups by about day 5, sent an email to his boss to say that he’d looked into the matter and found they do indeed have the files in question. Because he didn’t want to be the 1st guy stuck on the trident as it came down from on high, hurled with all the anger the guy above, who wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to be the 1st guy sacrificed, could hurl it.
No, you’re supposed to believe they sat out there in the wilderness and waited, prayed for their moment, when someone would come and ask them if they had the backups so they could reveal them like the exciting twist in a movie.
Yo! Congress! Want to investigate some more guilty people? Find out who was told shortly after it was said there were no backups that there were backups. Ask the guys who had responsibility who they notified when the news went public a year ago. Someone knew, someone told someone else, and somewhere that news stopped moving up the chain. Find where it stopped and find out why.
A year is easily long enough for a small controllable group to get the backups, sanitize the emails as necessary, and overcome whatever technical challenges you need to overcome to put them back and make them appear as if they have never been touched. And if you think they’re worried about the law at this point, you’ve been sticking your head in that bucket of mud, and going home at night to Plato’s cave.
I won’t be a bit surprised if they review those emails, and find nothing very incriminating. Brilliant bit of demoralization to build up your enemies hopes, and then crush them using the very weapons they planned to use to destroy you.
I’ll assume that, if you made it to this website, you are at least somewhat familiar with the Brian Williams (growing?) fiasco, so I’m not going to provide a link. It’s all over the internet. Use your Google-fu. You have the power.
As this story continues to metastasize, more and more people will call for Williams’ head. Reportedly, Tom Brokaw is even doing so. But I say, let him stay.
Why? Well, it’s basically the same reasoning as the Basterds:
Lt. Aldo Raine: [to Wicki] Ask him what he is gonna do with his uniform when he gets home.
Pvt. Butz: [through an interperter] Not only do I intend to take off my uniform, I intend to burn it.
Lt. Aldo Raine: Nah, see, we don’t like that. We like our Nazis in uniform. That way we can spot ‘em just like that. We’re gonna give you a little something you cant take off.
Right now, Williams is tarred with the truth. That is, he’s a lying fabulist who represents legacy media and, apparently felt not a twinge of guilt about telling his tale for twelve years. Judging by his actions, Williams believed that his media buddies would back him up, even though at least some in his own organization had to know he was completely full of horse puckey. He wasn’t the only one on that helicopter after all. His crew that day new damned well they didn’t take any fire. And the NBC upper brass had to know it too. They’re all in this together.
So, I say, let him stay. Let him sit there in that chair, night after night, pretending to be the very embodiment of sober truth and empirical justice. Everyone knows who he really is. He can’t scrub that off now. After a dozen years of not just telling the same lie, but embellishing it further, the stain of that prevarication is indelible. Let him wear it, and be a true representative of the legacy media. I can’t think of a better or more apt standard bearer.
The New York Times answers another call for help and pretends to do some scolding yesterday.
A message sent out to the faithful. The President is angry, his people have let him down, though we’re certainly not going to name names, or call for heads to roll. To rip off the Saturday Night Live gag about Bush 41 “That wouldn’t be prudent” .
How refreshing. Instead of the traditional, worn out, unacceptable story that ‘he found out from the news and he’s angry!’ that has played over and over for the last 6 years, they have a new plan. Let the news tell us how angry he is. Why, he even cancelled (a fund raiser) his schedule on Wednesday to deal with this! Big Fat Hairy Deal. He was golfing on his 200th round of golf a mere 5 days ago. So, now we’re supposed to be impressed that 3 days ago he cancelled a fund raiser?
5 days ago, he could golf, but 3 days ago he suddenly realized how very very serious this whole Ebola thing was, and he had to have a meeting and we’re supposed to understand he was angry in that meeting.
“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting…He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.”
He was angry, but not panicked, is that clear? Because he’s No Drama Obama.
It’s almost as if once again all of this comes as a surprise though. Nearly a month since Thomas Eric Duncan entered the United States after the difficult task of lying on his documentation in Liberia about his contact with an Ebola infected individual there. That was our safe guard, forms, and thermometers. Oh, and a reliance on honesty. This administration in particular should know how foolish THAT is.
Our President is angry, but apparently, he’s unable, as the holder of the most powerful office in the world, to do anything about this, aside, that is, from being angry and acting calm while being angry and demanding answers and that it be ‘tight’.
At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame on the C.D.C., which provided shifting information about which threat category patients were in, and did not adequately train doctors and nurses at hospitals with Ebola cases on the proper protective procedures.
Notice, no names named, no one fired, or resigned, or reassigned, or given a transfer, or even put on extended leave pending investigation. It was, most probably, 2 interns in Cincinnati that caused all this, or perhaps spontaneous rioters reacting to an Ebola video on Youtube.
Ah, Obama theater.
Now then, how are to fix this problem? It’s been nearly a month since his assurance that Ebola would be unlikely to ever reach our shores and two weeks since his assurance that Ebola wouldn’t gain a foot hold here.
We must first understand he is alert in this time of crisis! There are many other things they must deal with you understand, because this is practically like a job, this task of having to run the most powerful nation in the world! If we make too much of this the ignorant populace might panic! Now he’s wracked, torn, possibly in turmoil. How to handle this, and still preserve his option to play a round of golf on Sunday without looking like he doesn’t give a rat’s back side.
Times to the rescue! We discover the White House had a kabuki meeting, details and quotes from which just happen to be printed on the pages of the New York Times.
The answer ladies and gentlemen…
is to appoint a political hack lawyer to be the new Ebola Czar.
This is a move surely designed to instill confidence and give the nation a sense that someone who knows what they’re doing is NOW going to take the reigns and master this runaway virus.
“On Friday, Mr. Obama took a step to both fix that response and reassure the public, naming Ron Klain, a former aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, to coordinate the government’s efforts on Ebola.
We’re appointing a lawyer to manage what the certified medical professional head of the CDC ( who’s very sorry about all these mistakes and inconveniences you know) could not.
“Part of the challenge is to be assertive, to be in command, and yet not feed a kind of panic that could easily evolve here,” said David Axelrod, a close adviser to the president in his first term. “It’s not enough to doggedly and persistently push for answers in meetings. You have to be seen doggedly and persistently pushing for answers.”
At this point I trust everyone has the sense of what the White House (I originally typed that as White Hose, and perhaps that’s not incorrect) thinks of the American public. The most powerful job in the country, probably the world, and his job is to push for answers.
Not to take action on THIS issue….no, push doggedly for answers. Pretend this is the one thing in the world, of all the other things he pretends to be master of, pretend in this case he’s at a loss about how to handle it. Even though the protocols have been in place for years, the methods of isolation for years, the disease itself, known for decades, the historical methods of quarantine known for centuries. Pretend on THIS one, they’re just all kinda stumped, but are fiercely pushing for answers.
Push for answers! Not take action.
After all, if you’re going to take action, for heaven sake do it by granting executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Do it by letting the executive agencies under your command investigate, harass and if possible destroy your political enemies. Do it by running guns to Mexico, do it by stonewalling valid Freedom of Information Act requests into various government activities. Do it by allowing the IRS to destroy documentation without so much as an angry sniff. Take action by banning flights to Tel Aviv when a mortar round hits too close to the airport. Take action by sending DOJ investigators around to see if Civil Rights have been violated only in hot button cases. Push for action by sending representatives from the White House to funerals of thugs when you can’t be bothered to send them to the funeral of Maj. General Harold J. Greene, or even a representative of the Administration to the funeral of a well respected ally leader like Margaret Thatcher.
Lord knows, let the planes continue to fly out of West Africa directly to the US. Don’t fire the head of the CDC or quietly and politely demand he resign so he can spend time with his goldfish or kids, or brush up on methodologies for handling communicable diseases like Ebola. Take action by appointing a lawyer to head up a medical crisis. That will certainly bring an air of calm to this whole sorry mess.
It’s a durned good thing most Americans, and almost all of the people I see around me in Dallas are NOT panicking, and I continue to pray that no crisis that demands a yes/no, go/no-go NOW, “you have less than 2 hours to make a decision Mr. President”, EVER presents itself. Because if that happens, the New York Times may not be around to write an excuse ridden story about how calm but angry the President is 4 weeks later.
Meanwhile, if the President wants a course on calm un-panicked anger, he should come to Dallas. There are plenty of instructors available right now.
Well, now that didn’t take long did it. I missed it by a day….And you wondered why he was so suddenly wanting to look concerned about Ebola. Valerie must have told him, no Ebola solution, no golf!
While doing a review of Rupert Darwall’s book “The Age of Global Warming”, Charles Moore does an excellent job of succinctly identifying the alarmist movement’s core origins and core identity:
The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government. It involves a fondness for predicting that energy supplies won’t last much longer (as early as 1909, the US National Conservation Commission reported to Congress that America’s natural gas would be gone in 25 years and its oil by the middle of the century), protest movements which involve dressing up and disappearing into woods (the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Mosleyite Blackshirts who believed in reafforestation) and a dislike of the human race (The Club of Rome’s work Mankind at the Turning-Point said: “The world has cancer and the cancer is man.”).
These beliefs began to take organised, international, political form in the 1970s. One of the greatest problems, however, was that the ecologists’ attacks on economic growth were unwelcome to the nations they most idolised – the poor ones. The eternal Green paradox is that the concept of the simple, natural life appeals only to countries with tons of money. By a brilliant stroke, the founding fathers developed the concept of “sustainable development”. This meant that poor countries would not have to restrain their own growth, but could force restraint upon the rich ones. This formula was propagated at the first global environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972.
Indeed, the resulting grouping was a natural one. Eco radicals out to ‘save the world’ from evil capitalism (and man) and poor countries looking for a way to extort billions from rich countries without having to do anything of note to help themselves.
The G7 Summit in Toronto in 1988 endorsed the theory of global warming. In the same year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up. The capture of the world’s elites was under way. Its high point was the Kyoto Summit in 1998, which enabled the entire world to yell at the United States for not signing up, while also exempting developing nations, such as China and India, from its rigours.
The final push, brilliantly described here by Darwall, was the Copenhagen Summit of 2009. Before it, a desperate Gordon Brown warned of “50 days to avoid catastrophe”, but the “catastrophe” came all the same. The warmists’ idea was that the global fight against carbon emissions would work only if the whole world signed up to it. Despite being ordered to by President Obama, who had just collected his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the developing countries refused. The Left-wing dream that what used to be called the Third World would finally be emancipated from Western power had come true. The developing countries were perfectly happy for the West to have “the green crap”, but not to have it themselves. The Western goody-goodies were hoist by their own petard.
The UN was the natural forum for this push and the IPCC, headed by an railway engineer, the natural “scientific” instrument. We know how that story has turned out to this point. No global warming registered for 17 years and 6 months despite all the dire, but apparently scientifically groundless, predictions. The irony, of course, is it is those who have been skeptical of all of this are the one’s called “deniers”. And the alarmists have become so bankrupt and shrill that some of them are calling for the arrest of “deniers.” One supposes since the alarmist cause most closely resembles a religious cult, the call for arrest is on the grounds of heresy … or something.
Meanwhile, “green energy” – the eco radical solution to all – continues to not be ready for prime time, while fossil fuel becomes cheaper and more plentiful.
Yet somehow, the so-called “elites” have decided – based on what, one isn’t sure – that the threat to the globe is real. More irony. On the one hand, the eco radicals don’t care at all if it costs lives since they’ve been convinced for decades that it is man that’s the problem. Less of us is a “good thing” in their world. On the other hand you have the elites, aka, politicians, who see an opportunity to both expand government power and create revenue literally out of thin air. The fight is over who will get the money.
Meanwhile the reputation of science – real science – will suffer because of this very political cause and the actions of some scientists to serve it.
Scientists, Rupert Darwall complains, have been too ready to embrace the “subjectivity” of the future, and too often have a “cultural aversion to learning from the past”.
And that is a complete disservice to science. Given all of that, who are the real deniers here?
That’s a legitimate question. The man makes it up as he goes. The latest evidence is his invention of a new category for hurricanes (which is right up there with his invention of the internet for veracity). Yes, friends, his claim came during an “interview” (here, see if you can hit these softballs, Al) by Ezra Klein. In it, he likened “deniers” to slave owners, racists and just about any other bit of nonsense he could muster.
A Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) expert says Al Gore goofed during his widely circulated Washington Post interview on global warming. Gore, noting stronger storms fueled by climate change, told the paper “the hurricane scale used to be 1-5, and now they’re adding a 6.”
I’m sorry, that’s more than a goof. It’s a lie. It is simply not true. Period. It never has been true, no have there been any plans to add such a category by the one place that would do it:
“There are no plans by the National Hurricane Center, the federal office responsible for categorizing storms, to create a new category,” she wrote on the environmental group’s website.
There there was this as well (James Taranto covers it):
Gore uses the interview to claim vindication for his 2006 "documentary," "An Inconvenient Truth": "You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that demagogic and absurd and irresponsible. It happened last October 29th, years ahead of schedule, and the impact of that and many, many other similar events here and around the world has really begun to create a profound shift."
But that’s not what Al referred too when he talked about water flowing into the WTC memorial site in his movie:
The reference is to Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 storm when it struck the Northeastern U.S., flooding parts of New York and New Jersey, including downtown Manhattan. (Sandy peaked in the Caribbean as a Category 3 storm. By comparison, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina went as high as Category 5 and made landfall at Category 3.)
But if we roll the film–which is less than scintillating, but the clip lasts less than 2½ minutes–we find that what Gore predicted in "An Inconvenient Truth" was something far direr than a storm and a flood. He predicted that lower Manhattan–along with vast and heavily populated swaths of Florida, California, the Netherlands, China, India and Bangladesh–would be permanently submerged owing to higher sea levels.
"Think of the impact of a couple of hundred thousand refugees when they’re displaced by an environmental event," Gore intoned in the movie. "And then imagine the impact of 100 million or more." And then keep imagining. While Sandy caused severe temporary disruption and wrought an unusual amount of damage because it happened to hit a population center, it was not different in kind from other natural disasters. Lower Manhattan was soon dry again.
Again, a lie, or at best an extreme exaggeration.
And that has been typical of this entire politically driven “science based” effort to claim that we’re headed to disaster because of man. As Taranto says, “while Al Gore isn’t a scientist, the Climategate scandal showed that some scientists are no more scrupulous than he is.”
Have to agree. Exaggeration and alarm are the only way their science-deficient bunk can get any press. So they indulge in it freely and call their opponents names.
Hurricane Sandy was a Cat 2 hurricane. I’ve actually flown into a Cat 2 hurricane (Alex). Trust me no one was calling Alex a “super storm”. That’s because it hit Mexico. But Sandy hit one of the world’s biggest media centers (and it hit the area perfectly for maximum effect). Had it bumped into North Carolina instead it would have just been another Cat 2 already forgotten.
Instead we have this charlatan hyping it for headlines which are easily debunked. You have to wonder why? Certainly in hope of headline reading low information citizens seeing and believing his bunk. But there’s more to it than that … follow the money.
[Guest posting at Hot Air today:]
In its usual inept and ham-fisted way, the Obama administration has chosen to address the scandals surrounding it by waving them away as “phony” – conspiracies dreamed up and pursued by political enemies. The president recently did that in his long-winded, laborious and incredibly boring re-hash of his failed economic policies. The “phony” conspiracies are “distractions” from the “real problem”, a problem he has yet to address satisfactorily during his term in office.
The “phony” scandals include Benghazi, the IRS targeting of political groups on the right and others. All were initially acknowledged by the administration and the president as serious breaches of public trust. They’ve since, however, transformed into conspiracies generated by their enemies.
But there’s one voice asking what was “phony” about her son’t death in Benghazi?
Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who was slain in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, lashed out on “Your World” on the Fox News Channel about that terminology.
President Obama has never revealed what, if anything, he was doing while workers at the Benghazi embassy were urgently requesting support, nor has the administration explained why no forces were sent to protect the embassy. The administration also denied the attack was a terrorist incident, claiming it was a spontaneous protest against an obscure YouTube trailer for a film that may or may not exist.
To make matters worse, she was essentially lied to while standing on the ramp watching the body of her son being offloaded from an AirForce transport plane in Dover, DE. Speaking of Obama, she said:
“I don’t believe him anymore,” Smith said. “He’s wrong. My son is dead. How could that be phony?”
According to Smith, she has been given no answers about what happened that night. She said the administration told her she “didn’t need to know.”
“When I was there at the ceremony of the welcoming of the caskets, both Obama and Hillary and Biden and all of the other ones, all promised me they would get back to me to tell me what happened,” Smith said. “I begged them. Please, I must know what happened with my son. How come this happened? They all promised me they would get back to me. You know, not one of them, not one of them ever got back to me in any way shape or form — not by a letter, not by anything other than I got a memo stating that I didn’t need to know because I was not part of the immediate family.”
No answers, no contact and no closure. She’s lost all faith in the credibility of those who promised her answers, and rightfully so. And then, as if to deliver a final slap to her face, an arrogant president waves away the death of 4 men, including her son, as a “phony scandal”.
She, however, has no intention of leaving the questions the administration is avoiding like the plague unanswered:
Smith made one last plea to the Obama administration explaining her desire for answers.
“How can I tell you?” Smith added. “I mean, it is wrong. It is not phony. It is not fake. My son is dead, and why is he dead? All I am waiting for even to this day is just someone to get back to me and tell me what happened. Why did Hillary do as she did? Why was there no security there when there was supposed to be? Who was the general that called back the troops when they were going to help?”
Is it really too much to ask the President of the United States to be forthcoming about why you son died in the service of his country? Apparently so.
Meanwhile in Kabul, the administration is on track to see what happened in Benghazi happen there as again very lax security has been cited by an internal investigation that the Washington Times obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as a risk to the safety of embassy personnel.
U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan have serious security lapses that pose “unnecessary risk to staff,” including poor emergency preparedness and inadequate protections that might allow classified materials to fall into the hands of attacking enemies, according to an internal report that raises fresh questions about the State Department’s commitment to safety in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy.
Another “phony” scandal in the making.
The IRS scandal took on new impetus today with a interesting revelation:
Top IRS officials in Washington, D.C. planned and oversaw the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups, according to the 72-year old retiring IRS lawyer who will testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee.
Retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull implicated the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday’s hearing.
Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George will return to Republican chairman Darrell Issa’s committee Thursday along with two central characters in the IRS saga: Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre, who previously gave Hull’s name to congressional investigators, fingering him as her Washington-based supervisor.
Yup, the rats are deserting the sinking ship. They are certainly not willing to go down with it and so they’re naming names. And contrary to all the claims previously, it seems that Washington D.C. was indeed involved and not just a “couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati” as we were told in the beginning.
It’s usually never the crime itself that hangs politicians, but the attempted (and ham-fisted) cover-up. And that’s precisely what this is beginning to look like. As for being “ham-fisted”, is there anything this administration does that isn’t ham-fisted?
Obama’s shills have settled in on a long-term talking point concerning the IRS scandal. They say something along the lines of “Obama didn’t tell the IRS to target anyone for political reasons. That’s just crazy. And, since you can’t pin anything on Obama, there’s no scandal here.”
There are two clear logical fallacies in this position.
First, it’s a strawman argument. I don’t know anyone anywhere on the political spectrum who is saying that Obama actually issued any directives to anyone to start the targeting. In one of my previous posts about it, I explicitly said
Even if Obama isn’t directly involved (and he would have to be sand-poundingly stupid to have issued actual directives that resulted in this) his rhetoric towards these groups was a contributing factor, so he bears some responsibility.
Along the same lines, one of our commenters (jpm100) wrote this morning:
…these orders didn’t necessarily have to come from the Whitehouse. The organization is corrupted by years democratic nepotism and recent leadership influenced by Team Obama and the tone of non-accountability set by the Whitehouse. Team Obama knew the kind of people they were appointing. These people knew what Team Obama wants. And they knew the worst consequence for them would be a job change to some Democrat Party position or some job with a Democrat benefactor. So they just did it.
The Whitehouse could be involved, but other than ensuring no serious consequences after the fact, it doesn’t have to be.
These comments also point up the second logical fallacy. Big-government fanciers really don’t want to face up to the possibility that the federal government is just as out of control as those on the right have been saying for years (or decades). They would very much like to pretend that there’s no scandal here.
So they use a complete non sequitur. “Obama didn’t give the directive” –> “There’s no scandal.”
This is stupid even by standards of leftist argument. Political targeting by the IRS is a serious and scandalous problem no matter how it started.
We know the political targeting is there. The attempted leftist misdirection that it wasn’t politically motivated and that “progressive groups were targeted too” failed just as badly as the “doctored emails” Benghazi talking point.
Two senior IRS bureaucrats have now taken the 5th. The FBI is stonewalling an investigation that Congress ordered. It’s possible, or even likely, that the targeting affected the outcome of the 2012 elections.
So we have a serious, serious scandal. I said in the earlier post that
The IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate, bigger than Benghazi, bigger than Fast and Furious, bigger than Iran-Contra, bigger than Monicagate – bigger than any other scandal for the federal government in my lifetime.
The reason I believe that is what the scandal says about the federal bureaucracy. The one agency that is supposed to be scrupulously non-partisan is revealed as having chosen sides in the partisan debate.
It doesn’t matter if Obama ordered it.* All he had to to was put forth enough “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” rhetoric for the IRS bureaucracy to know they likely would not be punished by him for doing it.**
It would only take one other essential ingredient – an IRS bureaucracy sympathetic to the Obama administration and hostile to his political opponents. That’s what the scandal shows us – that the supposedly non-partisan bureaucracy, the one we all have to deal with whether we like it or not, is now a de facto arm of political leftism.
We have additional evidence for this. We know that the IRS favors Obama in political contributions:
While IRS employees generally donated to Obama by a 4-to-1 ratio, the lawyers for that particular federal agency donated to Obama by an astounding 20-to-1 ratio, according to Robert Anderson, associate professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law.
Lawyers are relevant because they are the ones taking the lead in writing regulations, litigating cases, and making delicate legal judgment calls in borderline cases.
The result is a solvent that is eating away at our civil society. Once half the country no longer trusts the government bureaucracy to even carry out it’s most basic functions in a non-partisan way, the seeds are sown for a terrible reckoning.
That’s what makes it even worse that the targeting probably was not ordered by Obama. Assuming he didn’t overtly order it, and the IRS bureaucrats came up with it on their own, means we are getting much closer to that reckoning that we thought.
* I’m not completely dismissing the possibility that someone in the White House did start the ball rolling. Probably not Obama, though – at most his role might have been some casual musing about how those Tea Party groups were getting pretty uppity, and someone should check into them. I’d be flabbergasted if any hard evidence turned up that he directly ordered the targeting.
** There is ample evidence that the Obama administration will cover for its allies reflexively. See the Black Panther voter intimidation case for an example.