Tag Archives: Ace of Spades

From The Home Office In Yazoo…

Andrew Ferguson at The Weekly Standard:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

Did you go? I asked.

“Sure, I was there with some of my friends.”

I asked him why he went out.

“We wanted to hear him speak.”

I asked what King had said that day.

“I don’t really remember. The truth is, we couldn’t hear very well. We were sort of out there on the periphery. We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do. We paid more attention to the girls than to King.”

Matthew Yglesias:

Fortunately, it’s actually possible to look at the archives of the Citizens Council newspaper published right in Mississippi. Here’s a selection:

The Citizens’ Councils were, right in the state of Mississippi where Barbour is from, the respectable face of white supremacist political activism. Here’s an example from the Association of Citizens’ Councils pamphlet: “Why Does Your Community Need a Citizens’ Council?”

Maybe your community has had no racial problems! This may be true; however, you may not have a fire, yet you maintain a fire department. You can depend on one thing: The NAACP (National Association for the Agitation of Colored People), aided by alien influences, bloc vote seeking politicians and left-wing do-gooders, will see that you have a problem in the near future.

The Citizens’ Council is the South’s answer to the mongrelizers. We will not be integrated. We are proud of our white blood and our white heritage of sixty centuries.

Haley Barbour gives these people credit for keeping things calm!

From 1956, David Halberstam at Commentary:

In march of this year Congressman John Bell William told a Greenville, Mississippi, White Citizens Council, “I’d gladly trade all the Negroes in the country for my few good nigger friends.” Williams is no political scientist—he flunked out of the University of Mississippi law school in near record time—but on this occasion he did, if inadvertently, define the nature of the Citizens Council movement. Pull aside the curtain of States’ Rights and you find, more prominent than anything else, this desire to trade coat-and-tie Negroes for barefoot ones.

The White Citizens Councils, a loosely connected series of local groups which have arisen throughout the South in protest against the Supreme Court’s May 17, 1954 desegregation decision, undoubtedly constitute a very significant political phenomenon. Individually, the Councils can be either powerful or frail, at times the sincere expression of confusion and desperation, at other times the vehicle for personal frustration. But the single thread connecting all the Councils, strong and weak, is the determination not just to oppose integration in the public schools but to stop or at least postpone it. In most of the Deep South, where hostility to integration is nearly universal, it is this militancy and dedication that make the Council member stand out.

Despite occasional efforts by supporters to build the Councils up into a movement of broad conservatism, their only serious purpose is to fight the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Not only do they contest the NAACP’s desegregation suits, but they seek to cancel much else that the Negro has gained over the last half-century by keeping him out of the polling booth. The exact strength of the Councils is difficult to determine: in Mississippi, their cradle, 100,000 members are claimed, but sober estimates would run closer to 55,000. Yet nowhere in the Deep South is their strength to be scoffed at—it is a product of crisis and as more law suits are filed it will mount.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

Just by way of background, in the last decade or so there’s been controversy about a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens, a successor group to Citizen’s Councils. In other words, the CCC group was an organizational attempt to cleanse the reputation of the earlier group or rather shed some of its more explicit connection to white supremacy and legal racial discrimination. But even those folks were and are so retrograde that the mainstream right would have nothing to do with them. David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union — sponsor of the annual CPAC conference — said almost a decade ago: “We kicked [them] out of CPAC because they are racists.”

So folks like Keene won’t have anything to do with the cleaned up, scrubbed down version of the group. But Barbour thinks the genuine article operating as the rearguard during the Civil Rights Era was just great.

Ace Of Spades:

There are a couple of things to chew on here.

First, both Barbour and Yglesias can be right. Based on the profile it’s clear that many people in Barbour’s home town (including his brother Jeppie, the then Mayor) held beliefs that simply were reprehensible about blacks but none the less managed to take a relatively benign course of action in integrating the community.

[…]

Were members of the Yazoo Citizens Council less than the shining examples Barbour holds them up as? Based on the examples Yglesias digs up, yeah. That’s not exactly a surprise given the time we’re talking about.

Does Barbour’s romanticized version of events fail to convey the whole picture and give some people more credit than they deserve? I’d say so. But that’s not exactly news either. The profile makes it clear these are people Barbour grew up around and admired. The fact that he cuts them slack the rest of us wouldn’t does not exactly shock me. It’s a pretty human reaction. Does this mean Barbour is a racist? Of course not. Does it mean Barbour supported segregation then or supports it now? Of course not.

So what does it prove? Nothing much as far as I can see. What it does is confirm something we already know…Democrats get a pass for their past and Republicans get nailed for the slightest variation from liberal dogma.

Obama skated by on Bill Ayers by saying he was a child when Ayers was bombing buildings and killing people. Of course Ayers past wasn’t the issue, it was his unapologetic defense of it and the wisdom of a presidential candidate associating himself with such a man in the present.

Barbour was 8 years old when the 1955 campaign to intimidate supporters of school integration Yglesias cites was conducted. What’s the relevance of that to Barbour or his memories of integration efforts in the 60’s?

If Barbour were associating with men who still believed in segregation or defended their role in opposing it back in the day (as Ayers does about his terrorist past and continued belief in violence as a political tool), I’d be the first to say he has a disqualifying problem. But that’s not the charge, is it?

Oh and if supporting segregation is disqualifying (and again no one is claiming Barbour did any such thing, then or now), then I’d like liberals to explain their on going love affair with Jimmy Carter.

As Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU’s Voting Project, relates in his book A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia, Carter’s board tried to stop the construction of a new “Elementary Negro School” in 1956. Local white citizens had complained that the school would be “too close” to a white school. As a result, “the children, both colored and white, would have to travel the same streets and roads in order to reach their respective schools.” The prospect of black and white children commingling on the streets on their way to school was apparently so horrible to Carter that he requested that the state school board stop construction of the black school until a new site could be found. The state board turned down Carter’s request because of “the staggering cost.” Carter and the rest of the Sumter County School Board then reassured parents at a meeting on October 5, 1956, that the board “would do everything in its power to minimize simultaneous traffic between white and colored students in route to and from school.”

It’s clear that this country still hasn’t fully dealt with the implications of the Civil Rights era or how to deal with the sides people took or didn’t take at the time. That’s only going to fully come about when the generations that lived through that era have all passed.

I get that it’s a complicated and emotional issue but I think we need some balance in how we deal with it. To simply and forever give Democrats who actively took part in it a pass, while smearing Republicans who only had tangential involvement (like a high school aged Haley Barbour) is simply unacceptable.

Now, all of that said…this is simply bad politics for Barbour. A lot of folks whose only notions of the south come from watching or reading To Kill a Mockingbird or popular history simply equate “southern” with “racism”.

The insinuation that Barbour is an apologist for racists (or worse) is a powerful one. People want to hear their own worldview reflected back at them by politicians. That’s why Obama is forced to pretend his incredibly strange childhood and background fits perfectly within the traditional American narrative. Barbour’s recollection of the south in the 60s will no doubt resonate with a lot of people who live there and know people they like and respect who did the best they could in difficult times. But for a lot of others it will sound like (pardon the phrase) whitewashing history. Personally, it strikes me as somewhere in between.

As a matter of pure politics, if Barbour does run for President (and you can tell the left is at least a little worried about that judged on the hits he’s taking today), he’s going to need to have a better spin on his take about this period in history. Because, as we see, it’s going to be brought up over and over again if he is nominated. Voters outside the south (think Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, even Florida) are going to want a better narrative than, “there were some good people who stood up for integration regardless of their feelings about blacks”.

David Weigel:

Like I said, Barbour is not dumb. If he’s being a revisionist about race in Mississippi, he’s not alone, and he’s fighting back against a media standard that all conservatives hate — this idea that Southerners and conservatives can never stop atoning for Jim Crow. Why should he have to apologize for this, after all? He wasn’t in a Citizens Council. With the exception of some people, like Howell Raines — who covered Barbour’s 1986 Senate bid — how many of these reporters know what they’re talking about, anyway? And there are few things conservative voters hate more than being told they were on the wrong side of the Civil Rights movement.

Max Fisher at The Atlantic with the round-up

Jonathan Chait at TNR

Eric Kleefeld at TPM:

I just spoke with Dan Turner, the official spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), who responded in strong terms to criticism of Barbour’s recent praise for the segregationist Citizens Council groups of the Civil Rights era.

“You’re trying to paint the governor as a racist,” he said. “And nothing could be further from the truth.”

[…]

So, I asked Turner, does Barbour have any comment on the Citizen Council movement’s basis in white supremacy, and its work of launching economic boycotts to cut off employment and business for African-Americans who became active for civil rights — including that notable occasion in Yazoo City?

“Gov. Barbour did not comment on the Citizens Council movement’s history,” Turner responded. “He commented on the business community in Yazoo City, Mississippi.”

I asked further about the Citizen Council movement’s white supremacist activities, such as the boycotts in Barbour’s hometown. “I’m not aware that that’s accurate,” Turner said. “I’m not aware that he [Barbour] has any statement on that. I’m aware of the statement that he made in context of how he made it.”

After being pressed further on whether Barbour’s comments about the Citizens Councils were accurate, Turner said: “I’m aware of what the governor said in this interview. I’m not gonna get into the business of trying to twist what the governor said, or to manipulate it.”

What does he mean by manipulate it, I asked?

“Your questions are very angular, let’s say that,” said Turner. “You have a very specific point that you’re trying to drive at, and you’re trying to paint the governor as a racist. And nothing could be further from the truth.”

I then responded that I was not asking about whether Barbour is a racist, but was asking about whether it is true or not that the group he praised was a racist organization?

“It was an organization in Yazoo City that was, you know, a group of the town leaders and business people,” Turner responded, then referring back to Barbour’s comment. “And they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. And that doesn’t sound like a racist to me. Does it to you?”

Turner then repeatedly asked me that question, whether the group in Yazoo City sounds racist from its anti-Klan policies. I responded again by asking about the same Yazoo City group that launched boycotts of African-Americans who sought civil rights.

Turner asked me a question right back. “Do you have any comment that throughout the history of America things have changed?” he said. “Do you have any comment that there were riots in Northern cities, as well as how there were problems in Southern cities?” Turner then pointed out that civil rights was an issue for the whole country, including places like Boston, and not just the South. And as he also added again, things have changed.

“Tell me what in Gov. Barbour’s past gives any indication of any racist leanings, and I’ll be glad to address the question,” said Turner. “Otherwise, it’s not a legitimate question. There’s nothing in his past that shows that. If you pick out a sentence or a paragraph out of a fairly long article and harp on it, you can manipulate it. And that sounds to me like what you’re trying to do.”

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:

It’s a trivial matter to show that the Citizens’ Councils were repellent white supremacist organizations, and their current incarnation, the Council of Conservative Citizens, is every bit as bad — if no longer as powerful.

And I don’t believe Turner doesn’t know this. How could he not know? It’s as if they just can’t help themselves.

The White Citizens’ Councils usually refrained from terrorizing and murdering black people like the Klan did, because they were businessmen. A permanent underclass of low-cost, low-maintenance servants and manual laborers was very valuable to them. So instead of killing African Americans, they just denied them education and opportunities.

Unless, of course, they happened to be wearing their Klan robes — because, contrary to Barbour’s whitewashed narrative, there was a lot of crossover between the CC and the KKK.

Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post:

After facing intense criticism Monday over his comments about civil rights and the White Citizens Council, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has released a follow-up statement condemning the segregationist group.

When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the “Citizens Council,” is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.

 

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How Do You Say “Whodunit?” In Farsi?

DEBKAfile:

Prof. Majid Shahriari, who died when his car was attacked in North Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, headed the team Iran established for combating the Stuxnet virus rampaging through its nuclear and military networks. His wife was injured. The scientist’s death deals a major blow to Iran’s herculean efforts to purge its nuclear and military control systems of the destructive worm since it went on the offensive six months ago. Only this month, Stuxnet shut down nuclear enrichment at Natanz for six days from Nov. 16-22 and curtailed an important air defense exercise.

Prof. Shahriari was the Iranian nuclear program’s top expert on computer codes and cyber war.

The Jawa Report

David Frum at FrumForum:

Perhaps Iranian parents should be advising their science-minded youngsters to consider a less hazardous specialty.

Aaron Worthing at Patterico:

The last few days we have seen quite a few interesting stories about the Stuxnet virus/malware currently wreaking havoc in Iran’s nuclear program.  First was this very interesting Fox news reportage on the program:

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they’ve all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department’s acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a “game changer.”

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

I mean that passage is so “holy sh-t” I wonder if the correct name for this thing should be “Skynet.”  Of course I urge you to read the whole thing.

But then there was a moment this morning that I liken to the second plane striking the WTC.  Now let me be clear.  I am not about to compare this thing to the evil of the 9-11 attacks, or anything like that.  But like a lot of you, I remember hearing about the first plane striking, and thinking it was an accident, or maybe just one lone crazy pilot.  And then I heard about the second plane and I knew this was an attack, and it had to be more than just one nut.  That was the feeling I had learning the next few facts.

You see, this morning we learn that two of Iran’s nuclear scientists were attacked in car bombs—meaning their cars were blown up.  One died and one is hospitalized.

Tom Maguire:

I suppose that some dissident Iranian faction could have pulled this off but the money bet has to be the Israelis.  (Hmm, might the Russians be on the board?  They could be playing both sides, publicsly sorta-supporting Irana while privately getting worried about a nuclear crazy on their border.)

Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media:

Ahmadinejad et al, of course, blame Israel and the West, and no doubt this “blame” is deserved. How it should be apportioned may be forever a mystery, but it is unlikely we will find out via WikiLeaks, which have thus far done little more than ratify the obvious and make the Obama administration look foolish for its ludicrously ineffective security. Intelligence work evidently has two levels – a completely incompetent one that produces WikiLeaks and a brilliant one that produces Stuxnet.

Speaking of Stuxnet, some recent reports have added Russia to the list of nations (in this case with the US and Germany, not Israel) who have conspired to construct the malware. Now that’s interesting – and undoubtedly crazy-making to the Iranians.

Instapundit

Moe Lane:

The Iranians are blaming Israel, of course… despite the fact that this would be precisely the sort of cinematic attack that generally stays in cinemas*.  That would be because you don’t start a war to kill two scientists; and if Mossad had done this, it would have been an act of war.

On the other hand: between this situation and the Stuxnet worm, this entire Iranian nuke situation is starting to get an action-movie feel to it.  Which is not actually a good thing, given a). the number of extras that typically die in action movies and b). the amount of real estate that typically gets blown up…

Gateway Pundit

Ace of Spades:

I sure would like to think my government was capable of stuff like this. Or had the balls to do it. But I don’t.

Reza Aslan at The Daily Beast:

Earlier this year, I wrote about a clandestine CIA program to delay or perhaps even derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions by convincing high-level Iranian nuclear scientists to defect to the United States. The program, called Brain Drain and put in place by the Bush administration as early as 2005, came under intense scrutiny after the botched defection of a 30-year-old junior staff member of Iran’s Atomic Agency named Shahram Amiri, who was picked up by U.S. intelligence agents in Saudi Arabia last summer but who later asked to be returned to Iran.

Part of the CIA’s clandestine efforts apparently include selling faulty nuclear components to Iran, some of which have been booby-trapped to explode and destroy the machinery altogether. There have been scattered reports of explosions at various enrichment facilities, including one that destroyed 50 centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz plant. And, just recently, we learned of the so-called Stuxnet computer virus, which seems to have been developed (likely by the U.S. and/or Israel) specifically to target Iran’s centrifuges. The virus reportedly shut down thousands of centrifuges at Iran’s controversial Natanz enrichment facility.

I reported then about the possibility that these covert activities, which seem to have been successful in slowing Iran’s nuclear program, may also include targeted assassinations of high-level nuclear scientists and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In 2007, the intelligence website STRATFOR claimed that Mossad agents had used “radioactive poison” to kill a nuclear physicist named Ardashir Hosseinpour who was suspected of being involved in Iran’s secret nuclear program. Another Iranian nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, was also mysteriously assassinated by a car bomb in January 2010. Add to this a number of high-profile “disappearances,” like that of a former defense minister and general in the Revolutionary Guard, Ali-Reza Asgari, who vanished while on a trip to Turkey, and a distinct pattern starts to emerge.

Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst at STRATFOR, puts it plainly. “With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear program and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain.”

If that is true and Monday’s assassination attempt of Iranian nationals signals a shift in U.S. or Israeli strategy toward Iran (perhaps emboldened by what the recent WikiLeaks dump shows is growing Arab government support for a harder line toward Iran’s nuclear program), then we may be entering a new and extremely dangerous phase in the nuclear standoff with Iran—one that could quickly get out of hand. The head of Iran’s nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, sounded a dire warning to the U.S. and Israel. “Don’t play with fire,” he said. “The patience of the Iranian people has its limits. If our patience runs out, you will suffer the consequences.”

Doug Mataconis:

Of course, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever really know who’s behind this, which is of course the point of a covert operation. However, it seems pretty clear that there is an ongoing effort, perhaps international in origin, to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. That in and of itself is a fascinating story.

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And These Castles Made Of RINOs

John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:

In the wake of Joe Miller’s upset over Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s GOP Senate primary, there’s been a lot of buzz for Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who is challenging moderate GOP congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 primary. This week, the Tea Party Express endorsed O’Donnell, a former conservative activist who has worked at the Republican National Committee, Concerned Women for America, and the Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth. The Tea Party Express says it’s going to spend $250,000 on the race, and its new radio ad touts conservative radio host Mark Levin’s endorsement of O’Donnell. Some other conservatives, like RedState.com’s Erick Erickson, have endorsed O’Donnell as well.

In an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD late this morning, O’Donnell said there’s no difference between Mike Castle and the Democrat in the race, New Castle County executive Chris Coons. Asked if there are any issues on which Castle is better than the Democrat, O’Donnell said: “I don’t think so.”

Castle has plenty of moderate and liberal positions, but his supporters point out that Delaware is one of the most Democratic states in the country, and Castle could be Delaware’s Scott Brown.

[…]

Ideological differences aside, questions have been raised about O’Donnell’s financial history. According to a March 21 Delaware News Journal article posted on knowchristineodonnell.com, O’Donnell is using campaign funds to pay for half of the rent at her residence:

Greenville Place lists the prices of a town house rental between $1,645 and $2,020 a month, depending on the number of bedrooms and square feet.

O’Donnell said she pays half of her rent with campaign donations because she also uses the town home as her Senate campaign headquarters.

“I’m splitting it, legally splitting it and paying part of it,” she said. “This is our technical headquarters.”

O’Donnell said she has separate, private quarters and that staffers, like Hust, live in the other portion of the home.

O’Donnell tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that while she does pay rent on what is technically her legal residence with campaign funds, she also has a separate permanent residence, the location of which she won’t disclose “for security reasons.” O’Donnell said that her campaign office and home were vandalized in 2008, and she’s fearful that her opponents will do the same this year. Says O’Donnell:

They’re following me. They follow me home at night. I make sure that I come back to the townhouse and then we have our team come out and check all the bushes and check all the cars to make sure that—they follow me.

That’s what’s disgusting, as you can see from the YouTube videos. They knock on the door at all hours of the night. They’re hiding in the bushes when I’m at candidate forums. In 2008 they broke into my home. They vandalized my home. They wrote nasty notes on my front door, on my front porch. They jeopardized my safety. They did the same thing to our campaign office. They broke into our campaign office. They vandalized our campaign office. They stole files. My campaign signs that had my picture—they put a spear in my mouth poked out my eyes, and cut out the part of my heart, and wrote nasty names all over those campaign signs.

I would be a fool to be pressured into disclosing where I live, when I know that the stakes are even higher this time. What makes me think they wont do the same distasteful things they did in 2008 when the stakes are even higher, when we’re even more viable. I mean come on, John, you’re a class act. You don’t want to—you know that this is a security issue. You know what they’re capable of.

Is O’Donnell suggesting that Castle supporters vandalized her office in 2008, when she was running for Senate against Joe Biden? “I’m not sure who did it, but I know for a fact that Mike Castle and [Delaware GOP chairman] Tom Ross were campaigning against me,” O’Donnell says. “They’ve been sabotaging my candidacy since 2008. So who knows who did it back then.” O’Donnell says there are no police reports of the 2008 break-in because she didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time. She claims to have pictures of vandalized signs.

Jim Geraghty at NRO:

This local radio interview did not go well for Christine O’Donnell, who is challenging Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware.

The host plays audio of O’Donnell bragging that she won two of Delaware’s three counties in her 2008 Senate bid against Joe Biden.

In Sussex County, she came quite close, 43,123 votes to Joe Biden’s 43,395 votes.

She admits that she considers that a tie, 49 percent to 49 percent. While losing by 272 votes isn’t technically a tie, it is a small margin of defeat, so fine. Let’s say she covered the point spread.

But her other “win” is Kent County, where she lost, 27,981 to 37,074. That amounts to 43 percent to 56.9 percent. It’s really hard to argue that that even meets the broadest definition of “a tie.”

Of course, she lost the largest county, New Castle, 69,491 votes to 177,070 votes, roughly 28.1 percent to 71.8 percent.

In other words, if she had carried every vote cast in the Senate race in Sussex County in 2008, she still would have lost by more than 18,000 votes.

Then she chooses to repeat to the host that many people charge he’s on the take by Mike Castle. It goes downhill from there.

More Geraghty at NRO:

A couple of Christine O’Donnell fans didn’t like yesterday’s post on the radio interview.

My mistake, fellas. You’re right. It was a terrific interview. A candidate who doesn’t like the questions she’s being asked should always tell the host that there are rumors he’s taking bribes from the other campaign. When she says she won two out of three counties, no one should acknowledge that she lost both, one by 14 percentage points. Conservatism is best served when we all close our eyes and pretend we don’t see a false statement by a candidate we prefer!

Now, I’m not going to tout Mike Castle as anything other than what he is. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 52.49. That’s pretty darn “meh” for conservatives. But the moderation of the other guy isn’t sufficient reason to give a thumbs up to a candidate who makes blatantly, easily-to-verify false statements on the trail, nor to countenance her attacks on those who have the audacity to bring her the bad news.

Erick Erickson at Redstate:

I would rather die a thousand times over via crushing by an anaconda while being torn limb from limb by a jaguar than see Mike Castle in the Senate.

I would rather be slowly run over by a road roller while listening to Janeane Garofalo dialogue from The Truth About Cats and Dogs than see Mike Castle in the Senate.

I’d rather see the Democrat get elected than see Mike Castle get elected. Seriously, I know many of you disagree with me, but if the majority depends on Mike Castle, to hell with the majority.

But I’m moving on from Delaware. The Tea Party Express has a poll coming out showing the race within 5 points. I wish Christine O’Donnell the best. I’d rather her than Castle.

But I’m moving on.

If Christine O’Donnell wins it’ll be inspite of the help she has gotten. What has ultimately set me off is the “Mike Castle is gay” stuff, which is nothing more than the Will Folks hour come to Delaware. The failure of the O’Donnell campaign to deal swiftly with this tells me all I need to know.

As I noted in my original post on Eric Odom, parts of his American Liberty Alliance website became a site for Christine O’Donnell advocacy.

Subsequently, a number of the affiliated individuals went and worked directly for Christine O’Donnell’s campaign. A few weeks ago they left. Around that time I began hearing rumors the O’Donnell campaign was imploding.

The gang that left resurfaced at Liberty.com. The launch day spectacular at Liberty.com was to announce that Mike Castle is having a gay affair on his wife with no proof whatsoever.

When it was pointed out that all the people behind the accusation were O’Donnell campaign staffers, the response was “not any more.”

Quin Hillyer at The American Spectator:

Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, already under fire for a sketchy history with personal finances and a number of other odd actions (including suing the stalwart conservative publishing house, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute), now is really turning into an embarrassment. Her unnamed opponents are hiding in her bushes! And her close associates are making absolutely slanderous claims about her GOP opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, while O’Donnell herself can barely raise herself to denounce the slander — only while repeating it numerous times.

Yet TEA Partiers, with whose causes I almost always gladly associate, are working hard to make O’Donnell the next Joe Miller, pulling an upset win over the GOP establishment.

I make no endorsement of Mike Castle’s leftward drift over the years. I make no endorsement in the race. I love a lot of what O’Donnell says. I would still be at least tempted to vote for her if I lived in Delaware. But if I were a political consultant telling TEA Partiers and conservative leaders in general what their best purely political action would be, long term, what I would say is this: Go to Mike Castle and get pledges from him to move back rightward.

Politicians as experienced as Castle know the importance of honoring their word to other political actors. (Sort of like “honor among thieves,” except that most politicians really are NOT thieves.) Conservative leaders can go to him, perfectly legally, and say, look, you saw what happened to Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and to Bob Bennett in Utah. You see the polls that have you just five points up on O’Donnell. You know you are at least at some risk of failing to win the nomination. But we can call off the dogs of war. We can stop ginning up the organizational fervor that could propel O’Donnell to victory. What we ask from you is that you keep your door open to us once you are in the Senate; that you sign at least a two-year version of Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge; that you agree in writing that you will not switch parties if elected and that you would resign rather than do so….. that sort of thing. The pledges don’t even need to be public. They can’t mention any specific legislation, and they can’t be couched in terms of a quid pro quo. But they still can be binding on an honorable man, and Castle is an honorable man.

Dan Riehl:

They say neurotics build sand castles and psychotics live in them. From what I’ve seen at many conservative blogs, they look determined to enable the ongoing building of a sand castle of a Republican Party by helping Mike Castle in Delaware. Well, pardon me if I don’t feel their pain as they start to whine when that sand castle comes crashing down on them after November.

It seems every time someone wants to challenge me on the Castle/O’Donnell issue, they have to start out with a straw-man argument. They don’t like, or support O’Donnell, so why should they not assist Castle in attacking her? Yet, I’ve never said anyone had to, or should support her. All I’ve argued is, why should a conservative align with a liberal like Castle to attack a conservative, when not saying anything is a principled option? It isn’t as if we all weigh in on each and every race.

I backed Lowden over Angle, but never attacked Angle. If the GOP can’t produce a satisfactory candidate in DE, then maybe they need to be sent a message in this case. Invest the time and money required to build a state and local party apparatus that can offer up real choices between a D and an R – and recruit them to run, not a Democrat by any other name. Stop following the Democrats off a cliff because it’s the easy way to win. What is it we as conservatives win in the end?

Conservatives win nothing with a Mike Castle in the Senate. Most conservative bloggers are fond of saying, I’m a conservative before I am a Republican. You wouldn’t know it by looking around out here today.

What is the incentive for the GOP to honestly shift to the Right if conservatives will accept whatever the GOP opts to shove down their throats? Reagan won DE statewide twice, Bush 41 won it in 1988. But Castle is the best the GOP can do statewide in DE today? I don’t buy it. If we want the GOP to pay attention to Center-Right views, at some point we are going to have to make a stand.

What good is a GOP to conservatives if every Republican north of Washington is liberal? How does that advance the cause of conservatism? Frankly, it doesn’t. It advances a GOP that can continue to sell out conservative principles for electoral convenience. It isn’t a party that’s leading anywhere, it’s a party following Democrats off the cliff they have been driving America over for decades.

By the reasoning I’ve seen around, we should never have supported Scott Brown in Massachusetts. In this, of all years, I don’t buy that a Castle can win in Delaware, but not an O’Donnell. Still, I’d rather see the GOP lose and have an identified Democrat, rather than one in Red skin.

Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator:

Over at Riehlword and on Mark Levin’s Facebook page are marvelous pieces defining much more than Delaware’s suddenly heated fight between Christine O’Donnell and Mike Castle.

O’Donnell is taking flak for this or that, this alleged misstatement or that bad radio interview. Including from this piece over at NRO by the estimable Jim Geraghty. And, just posted, is this from my wonderful TAS friend and colleague Quin Hillyer.

Taking flak from good conservatives or, as Mark Levin puts it, conservatives who are more Republican than conservative. Not, as Seinfeld might say, that there’s anything wrong with that! And quite specifically let me make sure we understand Quin Hillyer is not included in my estimation of who is not really conservative. Anyone who knows Quin knows in an earlier life he told Edmund Burke to get on the stick with that French Revolution book, not to mention he still grouses about Wendell Willkie. Mr. Hillyer is many things….short on conservatism is not one of those things.

If I may say respectfully, this kind of thing is both terminally old when it comes to attacks on conservatives and, frustratingly, enduringly typical from — yes — some on the right.

Somewhere it always seems there’s a need to refresh on the savage attacks on Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan or, to be current and with no need to refresh, today’s Sarah Palin. Heck, why limit this to running for office? Attacks by conservatives on more prominent conservatives occur these days with the same certainty as the attraction of gin to tonic. Google names like…oh…say…Limbaugh, Rush and you’ll get the idea.

These attacks are so utterly, utterly predictable although I’m sure that a Palin or O’Donnell still finds the sensation amazing as the arrow enters between their shoulder blades.

So let’s take a second to see just how deeply normal if crazy this business has been over the decades.

The conservative is accused by his or her fellows of being: unstable (Goldwater), an extremist (Goldwater, Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr., Palin), an un-informed lightweight (Reagan, Palin), personally irresponsible with finances (Reagan and O’Donnell), saying something utterly stupid in this interview or that public appearance (all of the above) — and don’t forget the ever dependable cry of racist/race-baiter or race something-or — other (all of the above plus pick-your-favorite talk radio host).

Until the Delaware primary, it is now Christine O’Donnell’s turn to feel that startling arrow-in-the-back sensation that comes with this.

Conservatism is not a candidate. It’s a movement. Based on a set of rock-solid principles. The fight always is to move the ball forward. The quarterback of the moment is…Fox News Alert….always flawed in some fashion. We could and can pick endlessly at the quarterback who is on the field. The real question is …now and always….are we moving the ball? Elections will be won. They will be lost. The objective is to move the ball.

Ace Of Spades:

She cannot win in Delaware, which is usually among the ten most Democratic states in the union. Allow me to be a little elistist — what in this odd biography says “serious candidate for Senator”?

I was already predisposed to endorsing Castle, feeling this was a bridge too far (or a RINO too far), and then I recalled who Christine O’Donnell was — she’s a fill-in guest on Hannity and other talk shows. She has always grated on me, because she always seems pretty unprepared (or just not really a strong thinker), and tends to just repeat the same three or four obvious bullet-points.

If I have turned the channel off almost every time she’s been on, I do not see how she is going to wear well in Democrat-stronghold Delaware.

When we were trying to get Scott Brown elected, some objected that he was a RINO. I said at the time: This is a gift from God. It is unseemly to look down one’s nose at a gift from God and ask, “Couldn’t you have gotten something better?”

I do not know why it is that Mike Castle is running 12 points or so ahead of his Democratic rival. It could be partly due to his despised RINOism, of course. And it’s also due to personal characteristics which he alone possesses and cannot be transferred to O’Donnell — like, as the state’s only at-large Representative (the state has only one Rep.), he knows everyone in the state, has campaigned statewide nine times before. For whatever reason, the voters trust him, seem to like him. (Well, “like” as much as one can like a politician.)

For whatever reason, they’ve decided he’s okay by them. And preferable to a Democrat. And so he polls 10-12 points ahead.

Meanwhile the latest Rasmussen poll puts O’Donnell ten points behind Coons.

And on that point, I ask, where is the plausible pathway to candidate growth? What is the realistic plan for getting O’Donnell up from ten points down to at least even?

Robert Stacy McCain:

Me? I’m 100% with Christine O’Donnell, come hell or high water. She’s got Dan Riehl and Mark Levin on her side, and I’m sticking with those guys — no personal offense intended to anyone who disagrees.

What has struck me as misguided all along is the fundamental assumption made by O’Donnell’s critics that Castle can win the general, or that O’Donnell’s chances of winning Nov. 2 are significantly less than Castle’s. I am profoundly dubious of either assumption. O’Donnell is a fresh face and enormously telegenic, whereas Mike Castle . . . eh, not so much.

If there really is a GOP tidal wave coming on Nov. 2 and if an anti-Obama/anti-incumbent/anti-Washington sentiment is the energy behind that tsunami, then O’Donnell is certainly better positioned to harness that energy than Mike Castle.

Gabe Malor:

I don’t have much to add to what Ace said earlier, except that I’m genuinely puzzled at folks who say they’d rather the seat be Democrat than in the hands of a RINO. Given the number of Senate seats now in play, this is tantamount to declaring that they’d rather have a Democratic Senate than a Republican one.

I’m saying, it might be different if Republicans were going to have control of the Senate anyway. Then, heh, no real harm to letting our “problem Senators” know what we expect in the future. Same thing on the flipside. If the Democrats were going to have insurmountable control of the Senate…again, it doesn’t matter so much whether the Democrat or the RINO wins.

But we’re talking about taking control of the Senate, something that only now is turning into a real possibility. And that’s going to take putting up with folks like Collins and Snowe and Castle. As infuriating as they are, I’d rather put up with them than watch the Democrats run the country into the ground under another two years of Majority Leader Reid (or his successor).

It’s just astonishing that folks — good, genuine, GOP people — are actually advocating for a path that leads to Democratic majority in the Senate. Over Delaware, a blue state that we have the unimaginably good fortune to be poised to take way from the Democrats until 2014!

Think about it. Turning a Democratic state Republican for long enough that the folks there might actually learn something. Isn’t that what we want? Turn the blue states red? Why would we pass up a gift like this?

Allah Pundit:

There is a reason to prefer Castle — very, very grudgingly — but we’ve already hashed that out. For further thoughts, see Gabe Malor, who wonders why any righty would rather see a Democrat win than a RINO, particularly when it could mean the difference between Democratic and Republican control of all-important Senate committees next year. The response to that argument is usually some variation on the idea that we’re one crushing defeat away from total victory — that if blue states aren’t ready to elect “true conservatives” yet, well, then it’s better to leave Democrats in control so that they can ruin the country even more and eventually produce a real conservative backlash. (Which, I guess, means we shouldn’t have supported RINO Scott Brown in January, since he spoiled Obama’s filibuster-proof majority.) The flaw in this reasoning, of course, is that some things are bound to go right for Democrats despite their dumbest efforts to prevent that from happening. The economy will start to speed up again, even with The One keeping his foot on the brake of the engine of growth (note the car metaphor!), and if the Democrats control Congress when it does, they’ll get plenty of credit from voters. You’re simply not going to get a map that’s completely red, any more than the idiot liberals who were high on Hopenchange two years ago were ever going to get a map that’s completely blue. And as I said yesterday, however much they may irritate you, RINOs are marginally better than Democrats. I recommend re-reading this Doctor Zero post from last year on that subject, after Glenn Beck suggested that McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama. Ain’t so, although it certainly is comforting to believe it.

Stephen Bainbridge:

Ronald Reagan successfully rebranded the conservative movement as one with a big tent. Why exclusionists like Dan Riehl want to turn it into a small tent movement puzzles me. If they think there is a conservative majority in this country, they’re dead wrong–and their narrow views on issues like immigration, gay rights, and so on are helping make sure there never will be one. The US is a center-right country, with at most maybe 35% ideological conservatives, and a lot of them want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare! By letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, Riehl and his ilk are ensuring themselves of a pure minority. I guess it makes for good talk radio and blog posts, but it’s a lousy electoral strategy.

Riehl responds:

Let’s see. I once wrote an Examiner editorial on the need for something of a center-Right compromise on immigration I believe the majority of Americans would support. Way to do your research before attacking someone, perfessor!

I’m a large tent conservative and embrace civil unions as a compromise on gay marriage. I believe that also puts me in the majority in America, unlike wherever it is Stephen apparently rests – assuming we disagree. And I’ve never once called for the abolition ofMedicare and took Rand Paul to task for his failure to understand the finer points on Civil Rights issues. So, how the hell is it I am an intolerant exclusionist all of a sudden? Simply because we disagree?

WASHINGTON — Two important GOP constituencies, Big Business and Social Conservatives, are at odds over immigration reform. However, if both sides would take the time to actually understand each other, as opposed to hurling insults this way and that, they’d likely find common ground supported by their mostly conservative beliefs.

Castle voted to gut the Tea Party movement with the Disclose Act. He supports Cap and Trade and regulating green house gases because he’s bought and paid for by the banking lobby. They would get fat on a brand new huge Commodities Market and the middle class would foot the bill through costs, if not taxes – or both, with this administration.

Conservatives haven’t won anything. Crist could still win, as could Harry Reid. Throw a liberal Republican into that mix and you could easily have a Senate happy to throw in with the Dems and Obama, creating a big enough rift that the Right would split, dooming the GOP. The base is only willing to tolerate so much at this point.

Doug Mataconis:

The Republican party wasn’t always this way, of course. As Professor Bainbridge points out, there was a time not too long ago when it was the home of conservatives like Paul Laxalt and moderate Republicans like William Cohen. If it’s ever going to be the kind of national party capable of getting it’s agenda through Congress, it’s going to need to be that kind of party again, and that means acknowledging the fact that Mike Castle is the kind of Republican that can be elected statewide in Delaware, and Christine O’Donnell, as she has proven time and again in her quixotic efforts to run for office, most definitely is not.

Purism is a fine thing, it’s even got a nobility of its own, but when it becomes this rigid it just leads to defeat.

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Filed under Political Figures, Politics

Eagerly Awaiting Alan Freed’s New Blog

Jonathan Strong at The Daily Caller:

Katie Couric once described bloggers as journalists who gnaw at new information “like piranhas in a pool.” But increasingly, many bloggers are also secretly feeding on cash from political campaigns, in a form of partisan payola that erases the line between journalism and paid endorsement.

“It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”

In California, where former eBay executive Meg Whitman beat businessman Steve Poizner in a bitterly fought primary battle in the campaign for governor, it sometimes seemed as if there was a bidding war for bloggers.

One pro-Poizner blogger, Aaron Park, was discovered to be a paid consultant to the Poizner campaign while writing for Red County, a conservative blog about California politics. Red County founder Chip Hanlon threw Park off the site upon discovering his affiliation, which had not been disclosed.

Poizner’s campaign was shocked to learn of the arrangement, apparently coordinated by an off-the-reservation consultant. For Park, though, it was business as usual. In November 2009, for instance, he approached the campaign of another California office-seeker — Chuck DeVore, who was then running for Senate — with an offer to blog for money.

“I can be retained at a quite reasonable rate or for ‘projects,’” Park wrote in an e-mail to campaign officials. In an interview, Park defended himself by claiming, “nobody has any doubt which candidates I’m supporting,” and noting that his blog specifies which candidates he “endorses.”

[…]

Besides campaigns, industry groups and other political groups oftentimes pay bloggers for their insights.

Dan Riehl, who writes the Riehl World View blog, is one of Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele’s most vocal defenders in the conservative blogosphere. When The Daily Caller reported the RNC spent $1,946 at a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex acts, Riehl blasted the piece as a “pathetically weak story tailored to play to the Left and create problems for the GOP.”

“Riehl World View” readers might be interested to know that Riehl is not simply a blogger, but also a paid consultant to the RNC. In an interview, Riehl said he was paid an amount in the “hundreds of dollars” for writing a strategy document on how the RNC could better reach out to bloggers. Riehl said his motivation for defending Steele was to aid the Republican Party, and that he didn’t disclose his consulting work because, “I didn’t see it as having anything to do with my views.”

“I never made enough money to be bought,” he said.

Other bloggers openly lament how few campaign dollars are flowing their way. Conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain complains that politicians aren’t purchasing more advertising on blogs. “Advertising buys good will,” he says.

If it appears that conservative bloggers are more likely to take campaign money than their liberal counterparts, there may be a reason. According to Dan Riehl, conservatives can’t rely on the infrastructure of foundations and think tanks that supports so many liberal bloggers.

Riehl has made it a goal to mobilize conservative benefactors and organizers to establish a funding infrastructure mimicking what the liberal “netroots” created during the Bush years. “They did it the smart way,” Riehl says.

On the left, many of the once independent bloggers are now employed by, or receive money from, liberal organizations like Media Matters, the Center for American Progress and Campaign for America’s Future.

Some critics allege that the funding sources have distorted the once vibrant voice of the liberal blogosphere, discouraging dissent in favor of staying “on message” to help President Obama and Democrats in Congress pass their legislative agenda.

Dan Riehl:

Here is a headline from the Daily Caller today, a story that is both false and unfairly defames me. By his own arguments, the Caller is now discredited on two counts. I’ve since spoken to one of the Right’s top conservative bloggers who was part of the group and recalls my disclosure. He will go on record if need be. There are likely others. It was not secret, which is what the headline states. I demand a correction. But, there’s still more.

True stories of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash

In the extended video Carlson also goes on and on about his dedication to only the best in journalism, especially as regards ehtics and standards. But the individual who wrote this story, Jonathan Strong, has no journalism degree based upon his DC bio. Nor, did he ever work in serious traditional journalism. He’s a GOP establishment type with a background in, surprise, energy and climate legislation. Perhaps if Carlson had employed an actual journalist, he would have gotten the story correct. That hire would also seem to comport with the Left’s assertions that raised the eyebrow of Howard Kurtz, that the Daily Caller is a thinly disguised lobbying organization, not a genuine journalistic endeavor.

Welcome to new media, Tucker, where the subjects of your hit pieces get to ask questions and do a little reporting of their own. But, you wouldn’t really know that in your beltway bubble, would you, bow-tie boy? Correct the record and do go back to Heritage to explain how it is that your site isn’t now discredited on two counts, based upon your very own words there back in 2009. My previous full initial response here.

Robert Stacy McCain:

We’ll let others debate the ethics of such transactions. What I see here is an example of several different problems with the Republican Party’s approach to New Media. As I explained to Strong, it would have been a lot smarter for Whitman to “spread the love” around the blogosphere, perhaps by buying Blog Ads (my rate is $25 a week) or Google AdSense placements.

If the Whitman campaign wanted to put all its eggs in one basket, however, why not throw $20,000 into the “Southland Fundraiser” idea that Joe Fein at Valley of the Shadow suggested? Bring several bloggers to L.A. for a weekend event that would combine New Media outreach with a joint fundraiser for candidates and the state party. However such an event was structured — seminars about online activism, meet-and-greets with candidates, etc. — it would serve many purposes, especially putting California “on the map” with conservative bloggers.

That kind of ”more bang for the buck” approach is one I’ve discussed often with other bloggers — including my buddy Jimmie Bise Jr. of Sundries Shack – and yet it seems impossible to get people to listen. The strategic payoff of Rule 2 is to spread the linky-love around and build up the newer and/or smaller blogs, so that the conservative ’sphere has a broader reach and a deeper base.

Most conservative bloggers are part-timers, for whom a couple of hundred dollars a month would be a godsend. Trying to “monetize” Web traffic is a notoriously difficult task, and even successful full-time bloggers aren’t exactly “farting through silk,” to borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s colorful phrase. You’ll notice that Professor Glenn Reynolds hasn’t quit his day job, and Ace of Spades isn’t lighting Cohibas with $100 bills.

John Hawkins:

First of all, let’s talk about me: I have done some consulting. I worked on Duncan Hunter’s presidential campaign, I did 2-3 projects for the David All Group including this nifty contest where bloggers got paid $50 for writing the best anti-socialized medicine post in the blogosphere each week. All of that is disclosed in RWN’s FAQ section. Beyond that, I do still try to get some consulting work on the side, although by necessity, it has to be limited in scope so it doesn’t conflict with my blogging.

Now, as I just mentioned, I’ve done some consulting. I also know more conservative bloggers than anybody else, including the consultants. Do I get asked for recommendations on who to hire as a consultant? Yes. Do I have connections at a lot of political campaigns and organizations that hire consultants? Yes.

So, let’s address the primary allegation in the article:

“It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”

I don’t deal with that many state bloggers, so I can’t speak as to what’s going on with them. But, on the national level, with blogs you’ve heard of — what was said there is not only wrong, it’s spectacularly wrong.

To the best of my knowledge, there just aren’t that many name brand bloggers or even former name brand bloggers who do a significant amount of consulting work. Off the top of my head, let’s see there’s Lorie Byrd, Bettina Inclan, David All, Jon Henke, Patrick Hynes, Liz Mair, Soren Dayton, & Patrick Ruffini.

That’s not an exhaustive list and there may be a few more that I’m forgetting, but that should be a pretty good grouping of the main names — and if you already know who half of them are, congrats, you’re officially a blogosphere junky.

Now, you may be saying, “Okay, so there aren’t a lot of bloggers working as consultants, but what about the allegation that bloggers are being paid for favorable coverage?” Here’s my answer to that: I’ve been a blogger for almost a decade and I’ve been a professional blogger since early 2005. In all that time, I’ve never even had anyone offer to pay me for favorable coverage on RWN. That should tell you something.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that people don’t try to influence bloggers, but it tends to be more subtle than offering up payola. You’ll have politicians and companies buy ads on blogs just like they do everywhere else. They’ll occasionally even host dinners or lunches at these blogger conventions in an effort to get you in a room where they can try to bend your ear. But, that’s a far cry from buying favorable coverage.

Last but not least, I don’t want to give you the idea that there couldn’t be anything shady going on in the blogosphere if I’m not aware of it, but I’d be very surprised if there was any payola being doled out on a widespread scale and quite frankly, I’m in a much better position to know about it than anyone at the Daily Caller.

Ed Morrissey:

For the record, I’ve never been approached for a scheme like this, nor has it ever occurred to me to put my credibility up for sale.  Of course, I’m also paid (and paid well) to write for Hot Air, which makes it perhaps a little too easy to get sanctimonious about this issue.  Still, I didn’t always do this for a living, and during the 2004 and 2006 election cycles, my previous blog was a struggling business enterprise like most everyone else’s. Not only did I not even contemplate it, I wasn’t aware of it occurring at all among my peers.

This seems to have the same problem of scale, too.  The Daily Caller has a few data points in its article, but they all seem to be connected to California campaigns.  I’m not sure that this translates to a wide problem, but if so, it could be very damaging.

In the radio and television industry, this would be called payola, and it occasionally erupts into scandal.  Broadcast services are regulated by the government, and payola can lead to loss of broadcast licenses — which is why radio and television stations fire anyone even suspected of it.  In the film industry, though, no one thinks twice about “product placement” any more, even though it’s essentially the same thing, giving certain products sympathetic placement for buckets of cash.

Fortunately, blogs aren’t regulated by the government, at least not yet, but it’s stories like this that will give rise to demands for government to take action.  The Federal Election Commission has repeatedly hinted at imposing onerous requirements on bloggers that will create legal burdens too expensive for most to meet.  The hook will be undisclosed relationships with campaigns that turn blogs in effect into coordinated third-party efforts, and that could result in hefty fines for both the campaigns and the bloggers.  But the larger impact will be to discourage political blogging at all, as the cost of defending oneself from the inevitable complaints will be so high (even for the majority who are innocent of any such connections) that people just won’t bother to enter the market at all.

Even beyond that, though, it’s simply dishonest.  Plenty of bloggers get involved in election campaigns, and they make those connections clear by disclosing them o their blogs.  Deliberately failing to do that — and to market one’s blog as a paid outlet for politicians — puts people into Armstrong Williams territory.  It saps credibility and damages the ability of the blogosphere to effect political change in the long run.

Jillian Bandes at Townhall

Ace Of Spades:

First of all, here’s the answer to the question people are probably asking:

Was I ever bought?

No, but… kind of.

Twice I had conversations with people in DC in which the notion of a pushing a story for pay was suggested, once very vaguely, once more tangibly. The first time I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t really being asked; the second time I said no.

As I tried to sell it to myself I just couldn’t. And I did try to sell it to myself. I tried every argument I could think of to somehow figure out a way that me getting money was a proper thing.

I didn’t run anything on either, by the way. (And neither did any coblogger, and neither was there a link… there wasn’t anything about it at all.)

The problem with this is that was that even if the story I was being asked to push was the sort of thing I would push… well, I couldn’t get past the pay-for-play aspect of it. Because even though I would push it, if I came across it and found it interesting, the problem was I wouldn’t typically come across it and find it interesting. It was a good story, but… Eh, I couldn’t do it.

Not just because I’m such a terrific and ethical guy, but because I knew, let’s face it: At some point an article like the Daily Caller’s would come out, and I would have to write this post, and I would either have to lie to readers or confess I’d lied to them earlier.

Now here’s the part about “kind of:” That project Dan is talking about, about trying to set up some sort of system on the right like they have on the left to help fund struggling bloggers?

Yeah I know of multiple such plans cooking. Many bloggers in the DC area have been trying to get that sort of thing off the ground for ages. They never do. But I hear about them.

One guy recently mentioned that to me, his efforts to get some kind of funding pool set up for the blogosphere, and lamented (as all these guys do) that Republicans with money are simply not interested in the internet. The way it was explained to me is thus: They’re older and more conventional. They haven’t embraced the internet. They use it, but they don’t really appreciate it as a legitimate form of communication.

(I’m speaking here of wealthy Republican donors generally and not, say, the people who donate to this site, who are clearly internet-friendly. I mean as a general matter.)

They like things that are tried-and-true, tested, tangible. They like donating to the RNC — hey, it’s a corporation with an organizational chart and office space. They will donate to magazines: They’re tangible things; everyone understands that a magazine can inform and persuade.

To one guy I said: The trick you have to pull is to sell this partly as a physical magazine each blogger will contribute an essay or article to. You set it up as half for the magazine, half for just keeping the blogosphere going; but at the end of the day, they want something physical they can hold in their hand. You sort of have to make-pretend with the magazine aspect and give them that because they just don’t want to donate to anything as sketchy as the internet.

Anyway, it has long been my belief, based on personal experience, that this was a necessary thing, and that unless that happened this site, and a bunch of others, would simply go away.

Ann Althouse:

In case you’re wondering, no one has ever even offered me money to blog something. I wouldn’t do it, of course, but it never comes up — perhaps because I don’t live in Washington, perhaps because (as a law professor) I don’t look easy to tempt, and perhaps because it’s just not something that happens.

Doug Mataconis:

Politicians have been seeking to influence bloggers for some time now. Like I am sure most other political bloggers out there who’ve been around long enough, I get in my email in-box press releases from political candidates I’ve barely even heard of, some of them running in places I’ve never even visited. I didn’t sign up for any of them, and yet, every day, sometimes more than once a day if there’s an election approaching, Usually, I ignore them and even when I do glance through them I can’t say it’s ever actually caused me to write a blog post. Campaign press releases, you see, don’t really interest me all that much.

Politicians have also sought to influence bloggers via ads, and you can find political ads of one kind or another on many political blogs. Since most of these ads are hosted through ad networks rather than directly purchased by the campaigns, though, it’s hard to see that they really have that much of an influence on editorial content.

The phenomenon of paid bloggers, though, is a new development and strikes me as something quite different. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but a supposedly independent blogger who is being paid by a campaign or a political party for favorable coverage, or any reason to be honest, owes something to readers. What they owe is a simple thing called disclosure. As long as readers know what’s going on behind the scenes that might impact your writing, they can make their own decisions about what to think about what you have to say.

And for the record, I haven’t received anything from any political party or candidate. Well, except for those unsolicited emails, and if they want to stop sending me those that’ll be fine.

E.D. Kain at The League:

While blogging is not at all the same thing as reporting, and readers of blogs expect opinions and partisanship rather than balance, there are lines bloggers shouldn’t cross and certainly full disclosure of any paid support from a candidate seems like an ethical first step. Paid advocacy for specific causes or politicians is simply not the same ball game as working for an ideological publication. If you write for a tech magazine you’re obviously going to write about technology, but if you’re paid by Nokia to write favorable reviews about their products then you enter much murkier waters and owe it to your readers to disclose that information – which, as it happens, basically discredits those reviews.

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Almost A Year From Our Original Post, We Return To The Land Of Panthers And 60s Revivals

Ace Of Spades:

The 10 Minutes fight between Megyn Kelly and Kirsten Powers on FNC may be the greatest ten minutes of television, ever.

I mean it.

Somebody please send me this clip. Not only did Kelly reveal Powers to be a know-nothing mouthpiece for the left (something I’ve always asserted), but she further owned her for knowing next to zero about the New Black Panther case.

Now I know why Dylan named his album “Blonde on Blonde”. That’s shorthand for “so awesome it hurts”, isn’t it?

Robert Stacy McCain:

Megyn’s one-upsmanship – ”Have you read the testimony?” — is what sparks the fireworks. I’m sure King Samir Shabazz watched this and said to himself, “Crazy cracker bitches.”

Aaron Gardner at Redstate:

Earlier today, Megyn Kelly of Fox News had Kirsten Powers on to talk about the Justice Department’s handling of the Voter Intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party(NBPP). Specifically, Brad Sherman’s [Democrat representing CA-27], reaction to a constituent question on the subject.

For a bit a background, members of the NBPP committed voter intimidation, one of which is Samir Shabazz. This is not in doubt as injunctions had been put in place. Unfortunately, in a land where Law is no longer king, injunctions can be reversed at the whim of a bureaucrat working to affect his leaders style of change.

The injunctions were reduced or reversed by the direction of AG Holder and the case was put out to pasture. The people, seeking justice, come to their duly elected representative to ask questions and they are met with arrogance clothed in ignorance.

The scene is now set, prepare yourselves for 10 minutes of pure awesome …

Michelle Malkin:

I’ll let you provide all the commentary, with only one observation: Kirsten sank to her lowest and most ignorant low with her “scary black man” snark at Megyn — who showed amazing restraint in the face of being accused of racial demagoguery by a fellow Fox colleague who has no grasp of the basic facts and import of the DOJ’s corruption in the case and who demonstrated complete cluelessness about the poisonous, violence-promoting history of the NBPP.

Abigail Thernstrom at National Review:

A number of conservatives have charged that the Philadelphia Black Panther decision demonstrates that attorneys in the Civil Rights Division have racial double standards. How many attorneys in what positions? A pervasive culture that affected the handling of this case? No direct quotations or other evidence substantiate the charge.

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, makes a perfectly plausible argument: Different lawyers read this barely litigated statutory provision differently. It happens all the time, especially when administrations change in the middle of litigation. Democrats and Republicans seldom agree on how best to enforce civil-rights statutes; this is not the first instance of a war between Left and Right within the Civil Rights Division.

The two Panthers have been described as “armed” — which suggests guns. One of them was carrying a billy club, and it is alleged that his repeated slapping of the club against his palm constituted brandishing it in a menacing way. They have also been described as wearing “jackboots,” but the boots were no different from a pair my husband owns.

A disaffected former Justice Department attorney has written: “We had indications that polling-place thugs were deployed elsewhere.” “Indications”? Again, evidence has yet to be offered.

Get a grip, folks. The New Black Panther Party is a lunatic fringe group that is clearly into racial theater of minor importance. It may dream of a large-scale effort to suppress voting — like the Socialist Workers Party dreams of a national campaign to demonstrate its position as the vanguard of the proletariat. But the Panthers have not realized their dream even on a small scale. This case is a one-off.

Forget about the New Black Panther Party case; it is very small potatoes. Perhaps the Panthers should have been prosecuted under section 11 (b) of the Voting Rights Act for their actions of November 2008, but the legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation — the charge — are very high.

In the 45 years since the act was passed, there have been a total of three successful prosecutions. The incident involved only two Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far — after months of hearings, testimony and investigation — no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots. Too much overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges has been devoted to this case.

Doug Mataconis:

Moreover, as others have pointed out, the district at which these two members of the NBPP were filmed was a majority black district that had gone overwhelmingly for John Kerry in 2004. If these two guys were really interested in intimidating white voters in the Philadelphia metro area rather than engaging in street theater, they would’ve shown up at a polling place in King of Prussia or Bensalem, not one in the inner-city at which, conveniently a guy with a video camera had shown up.

As I noted in an earlier post, there’s no evidence that any actual voters were intimidated by these two men, or even that their “protest” lasted longer than the amount of time that the camera crew was there filming them. In fact, judging from this video, it seems clear to me that these two guys were playing for the cameras

David Weigel at Andrew Sullivan’s:

I don’t really get a chance to watch TV in Unalaska, and the one thing I miss is Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The last week or so of her work — her one woman crusade against the New Black Panther Party — has been truly riveting television. Kelly widens her eyes in a way that bespeaks both horror and anger at the subject she’s reporting on. “Shocking new video,” she’ll say, introducing a clip of the Panthers acting like idiots and yelling about “crackers” at a Philadelphia street festival. “We have a DOJ whistleblower alleging there is a discriminatory policy at the DOJ voting rights section,” she’ll say, “and no one seems to give a darn.” It’s the “darn” that ties this together — she’s not just a journalist, she’s a concerned citizen who has to bring you this story before it’s. Too. Late.

The people who grab these videos for the web use the same cliches to title them. “Megyn Kelly DESTROYS Kirsten Powers on New Black Panther Case” says one of them; “Megyn Kelly schools lib pundit over New Black Panthers Party.” But why is she doing so many stories on the Panthers? It’s because Fox News uses the Panthers the way that Phil Donohue used to use the KKK or G.G. Allin. They’re good on TV. The difference between the Panthers and other freakish groups that look good on the air, of course, is that that they threaten white people.

How often does Fox bring on the Panthers, or talk about them? A Lexis-Nexis search finds 68 mentions of “Malik Zulu Shabazz,” a leader of the NBPP. The majority are appearances on Fox News, where Shabazz is repeatedly brought on to act as a foolish, anti-Semitic punching bag.

[…]

Kelly’s obsession with the current NBPP controversy is something else, though. No one disputes that two members of the Panthers lurked outside of a heavily black, Democratic polling place in Philadelphia on election day 2008, and no one thinks this was a smart or legal thing for them to do. Police were called to the scene to disperse them, and King Samir Shabazz, who was filmed holding (though not using) a nightstick, lost the right to be a poll-watcher for the next election cycle. It was the only recorded incident like this in the nation; nearly two years later, no voter has come forward and said he or she was prevented from voting by the Panthers. And in his publicity tour to attack the DOJ over the Panther case — a second-rate case against a fifth-rate hate group — J. Christian Adams has been unable to name any case in which the DOJ was presented with a crime committed by black people and chose not to prosecute it.

So why obsess over the Panthers? Is it turnabout for the way that liberals elevate the craziest tea party activists, or the way they call them racist? Because it’s obviously not a search for justice or a muckraking effort to discover reverse racism in the DOJ. If this is an effort to make sure that King Samir Shabazz is prosecuted for intimidating voters, why not try to find some voters he intimidated? Why, instead, as Kelly and Glenn Beck have opted to do, show video of the Shabazz yelling about “crackers” at a street fair before the election? No one disputes that he hates white people — just watch one of the tapes from the times Fox News invited his colleagues on to discuss how they hate white people.

One of the more jarring passages in Rick Perlstein’s “Nixonland” is his recounting of a popular myth that went around Iowa in 1966, the year of the conservative backlash against the Great Society. The myth was that black gang members on motorcycles were going to head from Chicago to ransack Des Moines. Reading this in 2008, it sounded preposterous, the kind of thing that no one could believe in the country that was about to elect Barack Obama. But Kelly, under the guise of journalism, is working to create a rumor like this in 2010. Watch her broadcasts and you become convinced that the New Black Panthers are a powerful group that hate white people and operate under the protection of Eric Holder’s DOJ. That “Megyn Kelly DESTROYS Kirsten Powers” video that I mentioned begins with her introducing a clip of a town hall meeting with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Ca.) in which he gets an angry question about whether the DOJ has a policy of not prosecuting African-Americans.

“I am extremely sure that we do not have a policy at the Department of Justice of never prosecuting a black defendent.”

The crowd rises up. “Yes you do!” shouts one voter. When Sherman says he doesn’t know much about the Panther case, the crowd erupts in boos. They’ve been driven to fear and distrust of their DOJ by round-the-clock videos of one racist idiot brandishing a nightstick for a couple hours in 2008.

Congratulations, Megyn.

Jesse Walker at Reason:

The New Black Panther Party plays the same role for the right that Hutaree-style militants play for the left: They’re a tiny, uninfluential group whose importance is magnified to keep the base excited. Left and right wind up worrying more about each other than they care about the institutions that actually govern the country. It’s great if your goal is maintaining movement identity, but not if you’re more interested in changing policy than collecting scalps.

EARLIER:  Why Don’t Any Of These Sixties Revivals Include A Beatles Reunion? Oh. Yeah.

UPDATE: Ben Smith at Politico

The Washington Times

Andrew Alexander at WaPo

Joan Walsh at Salon

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary

Allah Pundit

UPDATE #2: Andy McCarthy responds to Thernstrom

Thernstrom responds to McCarthy

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Filed under Crime, Race

God Spelled Backwards Is Dog

Michael C. Moynihan at Reason:

Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who drew Mohammed as a dog, was recently told that a scheduled lecture on free speech, to be held at Jönköping Högskolan, would be canceled due to “security concerns.” This, of course, is a common evasion, intended to protect the brittle sensibilities of Muslim students while supposedly standing four square behind the right of free speech.

Alas, the administrators in Jönköping had a point. During a lecture in Uppsala today Vilks was attacked by a pack of feral fundamentalists, one of whom managed to headbutt the artist and break his glasses. Police intervened and waged a short battle with the religious nutters who can be heard in the video below, captured by the newspaper UNT, shouting Allahu Akbar! The AP has a quick report, explaining that “Uppsala University spokeswoman Pernilla Bjork said Vilks was showing a provocative film with sexual content to the crowd when the attacker ran up and hit him in the face with his fists.”

Nathan Hardan at NRO:

Here is stunning video footage of Tuesday’s attack on Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, during a lecture at the University of Uppsala. Listen to the students shouting “Allahu Akbar” while Vilks is beaten.

These are the desperate acts of an extremeist movement that is utterly bereft of moral courage, and awash in its own intellectual insecurity. Look at these Western-educatedstudents in their designer clothes, calling down curses on a man who represents the freedom they hate so much, and yet have benefited so much from

Ace Of Spades:

A few points. Vilks’ presentation was, in fact, provocative, as it deliberately juxtaposed pictures of Mohammad (?) and praying Muslims with gay fetish shots.

But, as everyone on the receiving end of artistic provocations for thirty years can tell you — we’re supposed to understand that ideas may incite, and in fact that is the very point of them, and that our right to not be offended doesn’t trump anyone else’s right to give offense.

That lesson was definitely not taught here, as the Violently Aggrieved won the battlefield they turned this university into only on this day, but on future days as well — the university has decided to put an end to this madness, by which they mean they won’t invite Lars Vilks back for any further lectures.

The lesson taught here is, once again, that if Muslims just get violent and criminal, they get exactly what they want.

I’m just curious – I see the police making few arrests here.

If there had been another crowd here — a fired-up anti-jihad crowd, let’s say, which intervened with the jihadists went wild, and started doing their own face-breaking — how many decades of incarceration do you think they’d currently be facing?

Should the law not be changed to reflect the actual law — that Muslims are in fact permitted to create disturbances of the peace and commit assault? Because if you trick non-Muslim citizens into thinking these things are crimes, and then they intervene, believing themselves to be stopping crimes in progress… then you’re locking them up without fair warning, aren’t you?

Eh. They’ve been warned, I guess. Everyone knows what the real law is.

Allah Pundit:

Everything about this is an utter, unmitigated disgrace — the attack on Vilks, the excruciating passivity of most of the crowd, the sheer thuggery of these shrieking, lunatic, barbarian bastards, and of course the killer moment at around 8:45 when they win. Do note, too, how the Aggrieved alternate between vicious threats and civil rights, warning the cops against brutality and reminding them that they pay taxes too. That’s a familiar pattern nine years after 9/11. They’d have torn Vilks apart with their bare hands if they could have but they’re all about proper procedure, you see.

Hamilton Nolan at Gawker:

The fact that so many American media and academic institutions have caved into the imagined fear of such religious fascists is shameful. If the free societies of the world can’t stand up for a person’s right to draw a fucking cartoon without becoming the victim of a multinational assassination plot, well, we lose. And if people’s faith in their god is not strong enough to allow them to laugh off and dismiss an offensive little drawing, they lose. So let’s all get along, or we all lose

Andrew Stuttaford at Secular Right:

The disruption was thuggish, and the physical attack on the cartoonist was revolting, but the thing that most struck me about the video footage was the level of  hysteria displayed by some of the protestors, a hysteria made all the more disturbing by the fact that it was not the reaction to some sudden, unexpected shock (the protestors can have seen little at the lecture of a nature that they had not already expected) but was instead a manifestation of a deeper, longer-lasting rage that has long since lost any connection it may ever once have had with rationality.

Michelle Malkin

The Daily Caller:

The home of cartoonist Lars Vilks, infamous in the Muslim community for depicting the prophet Mohammad as a dog, was attacked by suspected arsonists late Friday evening, multiple sources confirm. The apparent plot to set fire to Vilks’ home — which comes just four days after a student attacked him at Uppsala University as he showed a film about Islam – was not successful.

Vilks was not at home at the time, according to the Washington Post, and alert onlookers may have helped put a stop to the home invasion:

It was the latest in a week of attacks on the 53-year-old cartoonist, who was assaulted Tuesday by a man while he lectured at a university and saw his Web site apparently attacked by hacker on Wednesday.

Police were alerted just before noon Saturday, as people passing by the artist’s house noted that several windows had been smashed. When officers arrived, they discovered plastic bottles filled with gasoline and fire damage on the surface of the building. Attackers are also suspected of having tried setting the inside of house on fire, but the flames are thought to have fizzled out.

Vilks has long said he would be ready for such an attack:

Vilks has faced numerous death threats over the controversial cartoon, but said in March he has built his own defense system, including a “homemade” safe room and a barbed-wire sculpture that could electrocute potential intruders.

He said he also has an ax “to chop down” anyone trying to climb through the windows of his home in southern Sweden.

“If something happens, I know exactly what to do,” Vilks told The Associated Press in an interview in Stockholm.

Vilks also owns a guard dog named Mohammad.

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Several Timelines And Blog Posts About Smokin’ In The Boys Room

Ace Of Spades:

This is breaking right now. A man on a flight from DC to Denver was tackled by air marshals as he attempted to light his shoes on fire.

More info to come…

More (9:42): I’m told the plane has just landed. All passengers are uninjured and the man is in custody.

Later (9:47): I’m a bit ahead of the news. Trying to get more info from DIA.

Another attempted shoebomber from within the United States raises questions about the usefulness of the TSA’s “take those shoes off” policy.

Later (9:56) Talked to media contact at DIA. They’re calling it a “security disturbance”. The plane was from Reagan to DIA. It was met upon arrival by the TSA, FBI, and airport PD. It will have no impact on airport operations. There are no flight holds at present.

Later (9:59): He’s got a diplomatic passport and is claiming diplomatic immunity.

The passport is from Qatar.

Later (10:07): NBC just picked up the story, but they have no details. I’m on hold with FBI.

Stay with us here at the HQ…

Later (10:13): The guy’s name is Mohammed al Modadi. He’s a vice-consul at the Qatari embassy.

Later (10:14): Alright, ABC News has the story, including more details on the guy.

Jebus, they scrambled fighter jets to escort the plane.

Later (10:25): It was United Flight 663.

Later (10:40): Alright I do have some more details. There were two air marshals on the flight. Together they stopped Al Modadi.

Thank God for the air marshals. Without them we would probably be covering a very different story right now.

Later (10:44): MSNBC is reporting that no explosives were found. The MSNBC folks are suggesting that this is some kind of misunderstanding…

Al Modadi was in the lavatory for a long time, raised suspicions of marshals. When he came out, they smelled smoke.

Update (11:10): FBI says there are no explosives in his shoes. Misunderstanding looks more likely.

Update (11:12): The word we’re all looking for is persona non grata.

Max Fisher at The Atlantic:

10:07 ABC News first reports the story as a failed terrorist attack with the headline, “Air Marshals Stop Alleged ‘Shoe Bomb’ Attempt On United Jet to Denver: Qatari Diplomat In Custody After Attempting to ‘Light Up’ His Shoes.”

10:12 NBC News also reports the story as a failed shoe bomb terrorist attack. They cite “sources close to the House Homeland Security Committee,” indicating that some government officials believed the incident to have been an attempted terrorist attack.

10:34
NBC News first reports that Modadi may have only been smoking and that officials are still searching for explosives. Television news stations, now giving the story blanket coverage as a terrorist incident, begin to report that the incident may have been a misunderstanding. Gradually, these reports overtake the earlier reports that it was a terrorist attack.

11:00 By now, all news accounts report the story as a misunderstanding, stating that no explosives have been found and that Modadi did not attempt an attack.

11:38
The entire plane has been swept for possible explosives and all baggage is cleared onto the tarmac for a second round of sweeping.

As of this writing, the story is still developing. While new facts could yet emerge, most reports now state fairly unequivocally that the incident was a misunderstanding resulting from Modadi’s smoking and the way he reacted when confronted by air marshals. Still, it’s worth considering what made the initial reports so scary. Any failed terrorist attack, especially one involving U.S. airplanes, is terrifying. But the incident on flight 663 was especially so because of Modadi’s status as a foreign diplomat based in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, Modadi’s only crimes appear to be impatience, addiction to cigarettes, and possibly a poor sense of humor. But had those initial reports been accurate, it would have set an alarming precedent in terrorist recruitment.

Terrorist groups usually recruit from the angry, poor, oppressed lower classes of war-stricken Muslim countries or from alienated Arab students adrift in unfriendly parts of Europe. But Qatar is an extremely wealthy state, and Modadi, as a diplomat, is an established middle class professional. Had he truly become a terrorist, and done so under the presumably watchful eyes of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, it would have meant that just about anyone could be recruited. So if the news commentators on your television, radio, or Twitter feed seemed especially distressed between 10:07 p.m. and 10:34 p.m. Eastern time, that’s why.

Michelle Malkin:

If there’s any “misunderstanding,” it’s not from the air marshals who took their jobs seriously, it’s from the arrogant jerk who thinks treating national security with sarcastic shoebomb jokes when questioned by our homeland security watchdogs has any place at all on a plane in flight over American skies.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

I mean, are we really to believe that this guy took his having diplomatic immunity as free rein to crack a joke about need to light his shoe bomb? I’m curious whether under international law a diplomat can be expelled from a host country simply for being a raging c@#k.

Allah Pundit:

Here’s a fun twist.

A Qatari diplomat who caused a bomb scare after sneaking a smoke in an airplane bathroom was traveling for a consular visit to see an imprisoned al-Qaida agent.

A State Department official and another person close to the matter say Mohammed Al-Madadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri for an official visit. Consular officials frequently visit foreigners held in the United States to make sure they are being treated well.

Al-Marri’s a Qatari national who pled guilty last year to conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda. He admitted attending terrorist training camps from 1998 to 2001 and was told by Khaled Sheikh Mohammed to enter the United States by — ta da — September 10, 2001. If al-Madadi had been visiting him on his own time, the plane incident would suddenly look rather highly nuanced indeed, but since he was there on official embassy business, I’m not sure what to make of it. Could be that they really were just checking on how well one of their citizens is being treated in an American jail (al-Marri complained of abuse before), could be that the Qatari diplomatic team is up to things it shouldn’t be up to. Although if it’s the latter, would al-Madadi really have called attention to himself on the plane with that sort of joke? A courier is only useful if he’s not suspected of being a courier, right?

Assuming this really is all a fabulous co-ink-ee-dink, I think for once Josh Marshall has it precisely right: “I’m curious whether under international law a diplomat can be expelled from a host country simply for being a raging c@#k.” Answer: Affirmative. Sort of.

The envoy from Qatar who sparked a bomb scare aboard a Denver-bound plane will being sent home from the United States, a senior State Department official told CBS News.

Authorities say the diplomat, identified as Mohammad Al-Madadi, grabbed a surreptitious smoke in a jetliner’s bathroom and he made a joke when confronted by federal air marshals that he had been trying to light his shoes – an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reid…

A senior State Department official said there would be “consequences, diplomatic and otherwise” if he had committed a crime.

Foreign diplomats have broad immunity from prosecution. The official said if the man’s identity as a Qatari diplomat was confirmed and if it was found that he may have committed a crime, U.S. authorities would have to decide whether to ask Qatar to waive his diplomatic immunity so he could be charged and tried. Qatar could decline, the official said, and the man would likely be expelled from the United States.

James Joyner:

Diplomatic immunity is an age-old principle and one that by and large makes sense. It can be waived by the diplomat’s government but I doubt we’ll pursue that course in this case since no lives were threatened or lost.  One suspects that he’ll be quietly recalled to Doha and directed to another line of work. Unless he’s part of the royal family, of course.   I would expect that a check from the emir would be forthcoming to cover the costs of this little escapade, too.

Dan Riehl:

FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE STATE OF QATAR TO THE UNITED STATES, H.E. ALI BIN FAHAD AL-HAJRI

PRESS REPORTS TODAY REGARDING AN INCIDENT ABOARD A COMMERCIAL FLIGHT FROM WASHINGTON, DC TO DENVER, CO INDICATE THAT A QATARI DIPLOMAT WAS DETAINED FOR SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR.  WE RESPECT THE NECESSITY OF SPECIAL SECURITY PRECAUTIONS INVOLVING AIR TRAVEL, BUT THIS DIPLOMAT WAS TRAVELING TO DENVER ON OFFICIAL EMBASSY BUSINESS ON MY INSTRUCTIONS, AND HE WAS CERTAINLY NOT ENGAGED IN ANY THREATENING ACTIVITY.  THE FACTS WILL REVEAL THAT THIS WAS A MISTAKE, AND WE URGE ALL CONCERNED PARTIES TO AVOID RECKLESS JUDGMENTS OR SPECULATION.

Jules Crittenden:

That doesn’t really sound like a “massive misunderstanding.” Sounds more like an irresponsible provocation by someone who apparently doesn’t understand what serious business this is for everyone who flies, including all law-abiding Muslims who don’t care to blow out of the sky and don’t enjoy being subjected to a high degree of official scrutiny any more than the rest of the flying public does.

Waiting …

At last check the cat’s got CAIR’s tongue. Too bad, because frivolous actions of the sort this Qatari diplomat is reported to have engaged in could be damaging to the good relations with Muslims and Muslim nations that our government and institutions have worked hard to maintain in difficult times, going back to George Bush’s remarks in the first days after 9/11. Fortunately, Americans have largely limited themselves to reasonable responses to real threats. Here’s Talking Points Memo with some weird remarks comparing this incident to “driving while black.” Not exactly. The Qatari diplomat wasn’t being targeted while minding his own business. He was being targeted while reportedly doing the equivalent of shouting fire in a crowded theater. Maybe more like playing with matches in a crowded theater. TPM’s generally clue-challenged Josh Marshall, however, notes the desireability of making this undiplomatic diplomat unwelcome in the United States, if a failure by Qatari authorities to recall him should make that necessary.

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