Friday, August 09, 2013

Cruising the Web

Charles Krauthammer has some fun ridiculing the war of semantics that the Obama administration is fighting rather than a war on terror.
Thus continues the administration’s penchant for wordplay, the bending of language to fit a political need. In Janet Napolitano’s famous formulation, terror attacks are now “man-caused disasters.” And the “global war on terror” is no more. It’s now an “overseas contingency operation.”

Nidal Hasan proudly tells a military court that he, a soldier of Allah, killed 13 American soldiers in the name of jihad. But the massacre remains officially classified as an act not of terrorism but of “workplace violence.”

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others are killed in an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror attack — and for days it is waved off as nothing more than a spontaneous demonstration gone bad. After all, famously declared Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make?

Well, it makes a difference, first, because truth is a virtue. Second, because if you keep lying to the American people, they may seriously question whether anything you say — for example, about the benign nature of NSA surveillance — is not another self-serving lie.

And third, because leading a country through yet another long twilight struggle requires not just honesty but clarity. This is a president who to this day cannot bring himself to identify the enemy as radical Islam. Just Tuesday night, explaining the U.S. embassy closures across the Muslim world, he cited the threat from “violent extremism.”

The word “extremism” is meaningless. People don’t devote themselves to being extreme. Extremism has no content. The extreme of what? In this war, an extreme devotion to the supremacy of a radically fundamentalist vision of Islam and to its murderous quest for dominion over all others.

But for President Obama, the word “Islamist” may not be uttered. Language must be devised to disguise the unpleasantness.

Result? The world’s first lexicological war. Parry and thrust with linguistic tricks, deliberate misnomers and ever more transparent euphemisms. Next: armor-piercing onomatopoeias and amphibious synecdoches.

This would all be comical and merely peculiar if it didn’t reflect a larger, more troubling reality: The confusion of language is a direct result of a confusion of policy — which is served by constant obfuscation.
Gosh, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia sure sold his reputation on the cheap. How dumb could he be and does he really think anyone will buy his lame excuses?

Ross Douthat asks some interesting questions about how it is possible to make a hagiographic miniseries about Hillary Clinton when her claims to fame are that she is a victim.
But weird to have a biopic in which your steely future-president heroine spends her political career being a victim.

An IRS agent is testifying that the IRS is still targeting Tea Party groups. Didn't they hear the President condemn this? Of course, that was before he decided it's a phony scandal.

If you get your health insurance through a small business, don't count for being able to insure your family also. And remember to thank Obamacare when your family's coverage gets the heave ho.

Kirsten Powers slams Nancy Pelosi and Wendy Davis for not knowing what they're talking about when they complain that bans on abortions at 20 weeks.
Despite frequently mocking anti-abortion activists as anti-science know-nothings, abortion rights absolutists are the ones who play fast and loose with the facts of abortion. Because they are so rarely asked to defend their positions, Davis and her ilk apparently don’t feel the need to be informed. Follow-up questions to their strange and often empirically false statements are almost nonexistent, while offensive or misinformed comments from GOP back benchers are greeted with full-scale media hysteria.

John McCormack has been the dogged fly in the ointment here. On a noble quest to get a response to an eminently reasonable question, he has yet to get a straight answer. In June, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi convened a press conference to condemn a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. McCormack asked her essentially the same question he asked Davis: “What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth? Pelosi answered, “You’re probably enjoying that question a lot, I can see you savoring it.” This insulting nonsense inexplicably elicited laughter from some of the assembled reporters.

Pelosi then told an outright lie: “[The 20-week ban] would make it a federal law that there would be no abortion in our country.” No reporter questioned this absurdity, even though they’ve heard pro-abortion rights leaders assert a thousand times that “only” 1.5 percent of abortions occur after 20 weeks. (For those who care, that’s “only” 18,000 late-term abortions each year.)
Colby Cosh of Maclean's ponders what it means for the media that Nate Silver is leaving the New York Times for ESPN and how Silver and Bill Simmons are becoming the defining figures of today's media.

This is what equal rights has come to these days: taking a company to court for violating the Fair Housing Act for running an ad for an apartment saying it was a great bachelor pad" for men looking to "hook up." Tasteless? Yes. But worth an actual federal case? Come on.

Where does the Department of Defense get the power to slap gag orders on the survivors of the Fort Hood massacre? If it is because they are witnesses, isn't that something that the court would impose, not the Pentagon?

Kimberley Strassel details how the EPA is making war on refineries with its onerous and unjustified ethanol mandates. All except for one lucky, unnamed refinery that got a waiver for some unknown reason.

The University of Texas is trying any which way it can to avoid letting the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas which the Supreme Court just sent back to the lower court to see if their program meant "strict scrutiny."

Why Chicago will be the next Detroit.

I know it will shock my readers, but Thomas Friedman writes an error-filled column and then won't respond when he's corrected.

So why are people so ugly responding to a proposal to put Jane Austen on the British currency?