Tag Archives: Vodka Pundit

What The Hell Is Happening In Bahrain?

Scott Lucas at Enduring America

Andrew Sullivan

Michael Slackman and Nadim Audi at NYT:

Government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square on Friday, sending people running away in panic amid the boom of concussion grenades. But even as the people fled, at least one helicopter sprayed fire on them and a witness reported seeing mourners crumpling to the ground.

It was not immediately clear what type of ammunition the forces were firing, but some witnesses reported fire from automatic weapons and the crowd was screaming “live fire, live fire.” At a nearby hospital, witnesses reported seeing people with very serious injuries and gaping wounds, at least some of them caused by rubber bullets that appeared to have been fired at close range.

Even as ambulances rushed to rescue people, forces fired on medics loading the wounded into their vehicles. That only added to the chaos, with people pitching in to evacuate the wounded by car and doctors at a nearby hospital saying the delays in casualties reaching them made it impossible to get a reasonable count of the dead and wounded.

Nicholas Kristof at NYT:

As a reporter, you sometimes become numbed to sadness. But it is heartbreaking to be in modern, moderate Bahrain right now and watch as a critical American ally uses tanks, troops, guns and clubs to crush a peaceful democracy movement and then lie about it.

This kind of brutal repression is normally confined to remote and backward nations, but this is Bahrain. An international banking center. The home of an important American naval base, the Fifth Fleet. A wealthy and well-educated nation with a large middle class and cosmopolitan values.

To be here and see corpses of protesters with gunshot wounds, to hear an eyewitness account of an execution of a handcuffed protester, to interview paramedics who say they were beaten for trying to treat the injured — yes, all that just breaks my heart.

So here’s what happened.

The pro-democracy movement has bubbled for decades in Bahrain, but it found new strength after the overthrow of the dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt. Then the Bahrain government attacked the protesters early this week with stunning brutality, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and shotgun pellets at small groups of peaceful, unarmed demonstrators. Two demonstrators were killed (one while walking in a funeral procession), and widespread public outrage gave a huge boost to the democracy movement.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa initially pulled the police back, but early on Thursday morning he sent in the riot police, who went in with guns blazing. Bahrain television has claimed that the protesters were armed with swords and threatening security. That’s preposterous. I was on the roundabout earlier that night and saw many thousands of people, including large numbers of women and children, even babies. Many were asleep.

I was not there at the time of the attack, but afterward, at the main hospital (one of at least three to receive casualties), I saw the effects. More than 600 people were treated with injuries, overwhelmingly men but including small numbers of women and children.

Nitasha Tiku at New York Magazine:

On Bahrain TV, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa called for open communication, saying, “The dialogue is always open and the reforms continue. This land is for all citizens of Bahrain.” He added, “We need to call for self-restraint from all sides, the armed forces, security men, and citizens.”

As in Egypt, the White House is in the awkward position of asking for restraint from a longtime strategic ally, while not appearing to directly oppose the regime. After four protesters were killed on Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “expressed deep concern about recent events and urged restraint moving forward.”

As the government turned to violence, the protesters, who vowed to repeat Egypt’s nonviolent model, have likewise grown more aggressive. Early on they called for a transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. Then, reports the Times, “On Thursday, the opposition withdrew from the Parliament and demanded that the government step down. And on Friday, the mourners were chanting slogans like ‘death to Khalifa,’ referring to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.”

Stephen J. Smith at Reason:

Despite denials from sources close to the Bahraini government, credible rumors of Saudi tanks and troops on the ground in Bahrain are widespread, as the ruling Bahraini House of Khalifa desperately reasserts control in the capital after initially ceding the central Pearl Square to tens of thousands of anti-government protesters. The House of Saud, as you may recall, has a strong interest in ensuring that the Shiite-driven unrest in Bahrain doesn’t spill over to Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite-manned oil fields.

In addition to the Nicholas Kristof tweet that Jesse Walker posted earlier (more here), which suggested that Saudi troops were stopping ambulances from helping protesters injured in the surprise midnight attack (and that’s not the only suggestion of medics being prevented from helping), there are a few reports that Saudi tanks may have arrived on the island. One Spanish racing team owner (Bahrain was set to host the season-opening Formula 1 Grand Prix next month, something which is now very much in doubtclaimed that “there are Saudi tanks everywhere.” An Iranian news organization is claiming the Saudis sent hundreds of tanks and personnel carriers in from Qatar, which it backs up with a video of armored personnel carriers rolling down a highway in Manama, though I can’t confirm that those are actually from Saudi Arabia. The Guardian writes, somewhat ambiguously: “Tanks and troops from Saudi Arabia were reported to have been deployed in support of Bahraini forces.”

Regardless of whether or not Saudi troops and tanks actually took part in the brutal early morning attack that dislodged the protesters from Pearl Square, the Khalifas have taken measures to prevent their own security forces from sympathizing with the mostly Shiite Bahraini protesters. For years the Sunni rulers of Bahrain have been accused of recruiting foreign riot police and naturalizing them in an effort to avoid an Egypt-like situation where low-level officers refuse orders to fire on their countrymen. As a result, few among the Bahraini security forces speak the local dialect, and some of the Pakistanis don’t speak Arabic at all.

Chris Good at The Atlantic:

Obama condemned that violence Friday in a written statement that also sought to quell reprisals against pro-democracy activists in Yemen and Libya, saying:

I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly. The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.

Obama’s statement maintained the stance he took as Egypt’s protests unfolded — where protesters at first met police resistance and then, after police left the streets, where gangs of Mubarak supporters turned violently on protesters and journalists. Throughout that turmoil, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steadfastly called on the Egyptian government to avoid violence and respect the “universal rights” of Egyptian citizens.

The picture from Bahrain, however, appears grimmer for pro-democracy activists, as police opened fire on the protestors Friday. The New York Times reports that shots were fired from at least one helicopter.

Vodka Pundit at Pajamas Media:

I know some Glenn Beck fans are probably reading this, but anarchy is a much more likely outcome than Caliphate. Not that either result would be especially good for our interests. Al Qaeda & Co thrive in failed states — but what happens in a failed region?

Truth be told, the Arab world has been failing for a long time. The region combines a long history of Ottoman oppression, lingering resentment from the fleeting period of Western colonialism, ballooning populations and shrinking economies, a malign fascination with Nazi racial theories and Soviet-style politics, and the skewed absurdities of oil wealth and Western aid. Shake it all up with the murderous and nihilistic resentments of Islamic fundamentalism, and you get lots of angry, well-armed people with no experience in self-governance and lots of scapegoats in need of a good killing.

This will get worse before it gets better.

Ashley Bates at Mother Jones

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I Kan Haf Progressive Economics?

Daniel Klein at WSJ:

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

[…]

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.

The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.

Doug Bandow at The American Spectator:

Even the good guys get too many wrong.  Still, there’s not much doubt why the left is so bad on economic issues.  They don’t understand how the economy works!

Veronique de Rugy at The Corner:

The WSJ piece is based on research that Klein did a few months ago with his co-author, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic. Among other things, they show that thinking like an economist is not correlated to going to college. They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying as “conservative” and “libertarian,” and descends through “moderate,” “liberal,” and “progressive.” Other variables include party affiliation, religious participation, union membership, NASCAR fandom, and Walmart patronage. Their results were originally published here.

I reported on some of Klein’s research here and here.

Arnold Kling:

Liberals are confident that they are smarter and better educated than conservatives. That may be the case in some sense. But they are overconfident in their beliefs.

They may think of themselves as an elite, but they are just a ruling class.

Vodka Pundit:

So it seems that liberals aren’t lying to you, when they say that taxes create prosperity or that we can spend our way out of a debt crisis. But they might just be lying to themselves.

You decide which is worse.

Ed Morrissey:

I like beating up on progressive economics as much as any conservative blogger, but this looks a lot like a test designed to produce a result, not an objective analysis.  Besides, we’re getting a real-world demonstration of progressive economics over the last sixteen months.  We don’t need a Zogby survey to tell us that it fails; all we need to see are the job-creation numbers coming this year, and the precipitous drop in mortgage applications.

[…]

As it happens, I agree with the scoring on these, but some of them are at least arguable.  The rent-control question, for example, prompts a chicken-and-egg argument.  Rent control doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but usually in a market where housing shortages already exist for other reasons (high population, overly strict zoning requirements, and so on.)  A “disagree” on that question might well hinge on a disagreement over the source of the shortage, which is at least a reasonable question to ask.  Likewise, the answer to the question of exploitation of Third World workers being exploited is probably not a yes/no answer, but a matter of degree, and of whether the “exploitation” tends to benefit both parties or just one to the exclusion of the other, and the answer is not going to be the same in every single instance of Third World outsourcing.

But I suspect that Klein and the people who will quote this survey don’t care for nuance and substance as much as they will want some ammunition in the who’s-dumber war among pundits.  This is every bit as substantial as the previous salvos, which is not saying much at all, but therefore it has some terrific tu quoque value.  Sling away!

UPDATE: Nate Silver

E.D. Kain at The League

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Put The Pitchfork Away And Put The Torch In The Bathtub

Jeff Zeleny at NYT:

The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced a small group of constituents was far more pleasant than his encounters during a Congressional recess last summer.

Then, he was hanged in effigy by protesters. This time, a round of applause was followed by a glass of chilled wine, a plate of crackers and crudités as he mingled with an invitation-only audience at the Point Breeze Credit Union, a vastly different scene than last year’s wide-open televised free-for-alls.

The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year.

If the time-honored tradition of the political meeting is not quite dead, it seems to be teetering closer to extinction. Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts.

It was no scheduling accident.

With images of overheated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the discontent of last August, many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions. The recommendations were clear: hold events in controlled settings — a bank or credit union, for example — or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects.

And to reach thousands of constituents at a time, without the worry of being snared in an angry confrontation with voters, more lawmakers are also taking part in a fast-growing trend: the telephone town meeting, where chances are remote that a testy exchange will wind up on YouTube.

Ed Morrissey:

Nancy Pelosi assured America that we would love ObamaCare as soon as it became law.  Why then are Democrats putting themselves on milk cartons in their districts during recesses?   If ObamaCare is such a great deal, wouldn’t these supporters be rushing to hold open forums to accept the love and gratitude of their constituents?

Speaking of Milk Carton Democrats, the Times notices that an original MCD has gone back into hiding, and points out her hypocrisy:

In New Hampshire, where open political meetings are deeply ingrained in the state’s traditions, Representative Carol Shea-Porter’s campaign Web site had this message for visitors: “No upcoming events scheduled. Please visit us again soon!”

Ms. Shea-Porter, a Democrat, attended a state convention of letter carriers on Saturday, but she did not hold a town-hall-style meeting during the Congressional recess. In 2006, when she was an underdog candidate for the House, she often showed up at the meetings of her Republican rival, Representative Jeb Bradley, to question him about Iraq.

Shea-Porter would not be in Congress at all if it weren’t for her histrionics at Bradley’s public meetings.  She owes her position to openness and accountability, more than most of her colleagues.  Shea-Porter’s repaying her constituents by hiding out and stonewalling.

For a bunch of class warriors, the majority party sure seems intent on setting themselves up as an American nobility.  They want to exercise their power without having to account for themselves to the people they rule who send them to represent their interests, as if mixing with commoners has become somehow beneath them.  The “commoners” need to send them a big reminder in November about who works for whom in the American political system, and Shea-Porter needs to be the first to go.

Vodka Pundit:

Avoid them now, and they’ll for sure remember you at the polls in November. Let them vent, and they might — might — relax enough to stay home in the Fall.

But if anyone anywhere had been counting on our Democratic majority to take some action other than the stupid and self-destructive one, hasn’t been paying attention the last few years.

Bill Dupray:

What a bunch of spineless, elitist cupcakes. Keep in mind that a politician is only afraid to meet with constituents when he is governing against their will – which is usually followed shortly thereafter by being voted out of office.

Doug Mataconis:

You can certainly understand why a politician would do this. Nobody wants to be subjected to repeated instances numerous instances of being shouted at by crowds of people, and there’s certainly justification for calling Congressman who avoid their constituents cowardly as Stephen Green and others have.

There is, however, another side to the story. I was never that much of a fan of the town hall protests, or at least not of the versions of it that resulted in representatives being shouted down by an angry mob.

[…]

There’s nothing wrong with anger in politics, but blind, impotent rage like what we saw from many circles during the great Town Hall protests of 2009 doesn’t really accomplish anything other than convince your opponents that their opinions of you are correct.

Take your anger and put it to good use on Election Day.

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Milbloggers Release A Statement

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive:

JOINT STATEMENT FROM MILITARY BLOGGERS                                                      12 MAY 2010

We consider the US military the greatest institution for good that has ever existed. No other organization has freed more people from oppression, done more humanitarian work or rescued more from natural disasters.  We want that to continue.

Today, it appears inevitable to us that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and law restricting those displaying open homosexual behavior from serving will be changed.  And yet, very little will actually change.  Homosexuals have always served in the US Military, and there have been no real problems caused by that.

The service chiefs are currently studying the impact and consequences of changing the DADT policy, and how to implement it without compromising the morale, order and discipline necessary for the military to function. The study is due to be completed on Dec. 1st. We ask Congress to withhold action until this is finished, but no longer.  We urge Congress to listen to the service chiefs and act in accordance with the recommendations of that study.

The US Military is professional and ready to adapt to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell without compromising its mission.  Echoing Sec. Def. Gates and ADM Mullen, we welcome open and honorable service, regardless of sexual orientation.

Matt Burden- Warrior Legacy Foundation & BLACKFIVE

Jim Hanson- Warrior Legacy Foundation & BLACKFIVE

Blake Powers- BLACKFIVE

Fred Schoenman- BLACKFIVE

David Bellavia- House to House

Bruce McQuain- Q&O

JD Johannes- Outside the Wire

Diane Frances McInnis Miller- Boston Maggie

Mark Seavey- This Ain’t Hell

Michael St. Jacques- The Sniper

Mary Ripley- US Naval Institute Blog

John Donovan- Castle Argghhh!

Andrew J. Lubin- The Military Observer

Marc Danziger- Winds of Change

Greta Perry- Hooah Wife

Bruce McQuain at Questions And Observations:

The expected pushback is already beginning to mount in the comment section of the link above.  I’ve thought about it long and hard.  I’ve actually changed my mind from years ago.  I guess that’s because I’ve known of and served with soldiers I knew were gay.  And every one of them were good soldiers who served honorably and did an excellent job.

I’ve also come to understand that it isn’t going to be the activists or those who want to flaunt their homosexuality who are going to seek to serve their country. Being a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman is a hard, dirty and dangerous job.  Those that choose to serve are not going to do it because of who they love, but simply because want to serve their nation and the military is their chosen method of doing so.

This is a cultural change thing.  And the culture has been changing for years to more and more acceptance of homosexuality in terms of offering equal rights and protections.  This is simply an extension of that.  If I thought it would seriously effect readiness, I’d probably oppose it – but I don’t think it will.  Will there be some problems and some objections to overcome?  Yes.  But the military can and will overcome them.

The institution of the military is important to me, I’ve thought about this in some depth and come to the conclusion this is the right thing to do.  I agree with SecDef Gates and the JCS that DADT is a policy which needs to be repealed.  But I also support their recommendation that it needs to be done thoughtfully and at their own pace.  It also means that Congress will need to enact legislation to makes changes the UCMJ and some other necessary legislative steps to make this come to pass.

Sexual orientation should never be a bar to serving your country honorably in the profession of arms.

Ben Smith at Politico:

The community of “mil-bloggers” — often hawkish, critical of White House and military leadership, devoted to both the First and Second Amendments — isn’t easy to define politically, but has proven an increasingly powerful voice from the ranks. The statement, which says that there have always been gay soldiers and that “very little will actually change” with the repeal of “Don’t Ask,” carries the signatures of the authors of some of the most prominent: Blackfive, Q&O, Outside the Wire, and the US Naval Institute Blog, among others.

Rachel Slajda at Talking Points Memo:

Jim Hanson of BlackFive, who organized the effort, told TPM that not everyone who signed the statement wants repeal.

Instead, Hanson said, there was a sea change earlier this year when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen announced their support for repeal. That’s when, for many who serve in or cover the military, repeal became inevitable.

“We wanted it done right,” he said. “We’re of the impression that if it’s gonna be done, that Congress doesn’t do it precipitously.”

Gates and Mullen have warned Congress against legislating such a change before December, the deadline for a Department of Defense review into how to best implement repeal.

The bloggers said they support waiting.

“We ask Congress to withhold action until this is finished, but no longer,” they wrote in the statement. “We urge Congress to listen to the service chiefs and act in accordance with the recommendations of that study.”

There are “a bunch of issues that need to be worked through if it’s gonna be the non-problem I think it’s gonna be,” Hanson said. “Let the service chiefs figure out how to do this, pass legislation that mirrors that and I think you’ll have a much less painful transition.”

Armed Services Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MO), however, said yesterday that he will put repeal into the Defense Authorization Act in committee markup this month if he can get the votes for it. That could lead to passage months earlier than Gates and Mullen want, but Levin said he’d make the effective date of repeal after December 1.

Hanson said he thinks including repeal in the authorization bill is a “horrible idea, because the military hasn’t had a chance to weigh in yet.”

“There’s no need for people to be chaining themselves to the White House fence,” he said, referring to Lt. Dan Choi, who recently did so to protest how slow repeal is moving. “Relax, and let’s do a good job of it.”

Vodka Pundit at Pajamas Media:

We’ve come a long way in just 15 years. By and large the troops support repeal, and I’ve never met a better or smarter group of people (even if we were in Vegas at the time, and I’m even including Uncle Jimbo ) than the folks at BlackFive and the other milbloggers. If they all say it’s time, then it’s time.

Allah Pundit:

I think it’s an impressively bold move, not only because they didn’t have to make it but because the bulk of their readership, I assume, comes from vets and hawks, both of which are perceived (fairly or not) as being cooler to repealing DADT than the average joe. But then, as Uncle Jimbo says of those who disagree, “no one’s going to lose their mind over DADT.”

Tom Maguire:

My *guess* was that the repeal of DADT would actually be easier in wartime when soldiers are focused on more important issues such as not getting blown up.

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Filed under LGBT, Military Issues, New Media

Oh, The Fights We Have Had On The Right Side Of The Sphere

lgf-logo-bare

Vodka Pundit:

Over at LGF (no link, sorry) Charles Johnson notes that I’m taking phone calls from “white supremacist” Stacy McCain. (Thanks, Darlene.)

Now, I’ve worked with Stacy in person a couple of times, at the DNC last summer and at CPAC in February. Both were crowded, high-stress situations. At no time did I see Stacy treat anyone — of any color, creed, whathaveyou — with anything less than respect and good humor.

So, is Robert Stacy McCain a white supremacist? Hell if I know. But he enjoys breaking bread with agnostic half Jews like me, which would certainly make him a different kind of white supremacist.

Charles Johnson at LGF:

Robert Stacy McCain writes for VDARE and Takimag, two disgusting, openly racist websites. And he’s a friend of Richard Spencer, a self-avowed white nationalist. McCain is a member of the white supremacist group League of the South, and he’s associated with the deeply racist American Renaissance.

Check out any of these groups on the web, Stephen, and see if I’m exaggerating. You might want to start with Google’s cache of the American Renaissance website.

I don’t link directly to them because they’re a hate group.

More Johnson:

The page isn’t live any more, but Google still has a cached copy of a revealing story about racist blogger Robert Stacy McCain, and his angry departure from the staff of the Washington Times: GEORGE ARCHIBALD: BREAKUP AT THE WASHINGTON TIMES?

“FishbowlDC, an Internet Web site of MediaBistro, reported on August 22, 2007, a huge blow-up in the newsroom at The Washington Times involving bad-tempered white supremacist assistant national editor Robert Stacy McCain and fellow editor Victor Morton, an orthodox Catholic – with McCain angrily resigning and slamming his way out of the building through side-doors where he always went every 20 minutes to smoke a cigarette.

I have confirmed the details of FishbowlDC’s account through several Washington Times newsroom sources who I trust and with whom I worked for many years. These sources witnessed the ugly blow-up.

I know Stacy McCain, an ill-tempered racist who sat on the other side of my desk for many years and carried on loud telephone conversations almost every day full of racist and ultra-right comments, and often got into loud verbal fights with both reporters and editors in the newsroom.

I also knew Victor Morton for many years, hard-working night editor whose editorial skills in juggling copy and myriad incoming stories at once on deadline were marvelous and unquestioned.

In more than 21 years as a national news and investigative reporter at The Washington Times, Victor Morton was among the best and most capable editors I ever worked with on deadline –- which is crunch-time as stories are finally coming together and the paper is being made up decisions on page-placement, photos, graphics, and headlines.

Stacy McCain, on the other hand, who has run the Page A2 Culture page for The Washington Times for many years under national editor Kenneth Hanner and Managing Editor Francis B. Coombs Jr., is a friend of neo-Nazis such as William A. White of Roanoke, Virginia, and had the favor of Coombs and his wife Marian Kester Coombs, who in her own right has a long-reported history of white-supremacist writings.

Fran Coombs and Stacy McCain for many years have ridden roughshod over newsroom colleagues of all ethnic and other backgrounds at The Washington Times with their explosive and vitrioloic racist white-supremacist tirades on a frequent basis.

Coombs, the newspaper’s managing editor and presumptive heir-apparent to Wesley Pruden Jr. as editor-in-chief of The Washington Times has always supported McCain –- even when he wrote blog messages on the Internet that were patently racist, anti-black and anti-Jew.”

The neo-Nazi mentioned above, William White, is the person who emailed me threats, tried to find my home address and the addresses of my family to post them on the web, and is currently charged with threatening several other people in the same way.

Robert Stacy McCain responds:

So, too, we look at Charles Johnson and LGF with a sense of tragedy, made more tragic by the knowledge that Johnson’s sad decline might have been averted. Who knew, at his zenith of influence in 2004, that a mere five years later LGF would be reduced to an almost invisible shadow of its former glory? Who knows why Charles Johnson has chosen to pursue his self-destructive course?

Some people will not listen to reason, nor consider the possibility that they may be wrong. In their arrogance, they never seek advice, or else ignore helpful advice when it is offered to them. When this path produces predictably negative results, they blame others for their problems — often those who mean them no harm. They seek out scapegoats and pursue a course of vengeance, allowing selfishness and anger to poison their souls, making enemies of those whom they just as easily could have made friends.

How the mighty have fallen! A warning to others, who might similarly stumble onto the wrong path.

Of these three individuals — George Archibald, Bill White, and Charles Johnson — the one who stands out, ironically, is White. Whatever grievous wrongs he has committed, Bill White has never attacked me.

He was always smarter than the rest, as I said.

Charles Johnson:

Meanwhile, white supremacist blogger Robert Stacy McCain (new darling of the right wing blogs) is attacking again. No linkies for him.

McCain:

Now that Mad King Charles is so obviously lost beyond any hope of redemption, I blame only myself. If I had been paying attention in 2007, rather than selfishly absorbed with minding my own business, perhaps I could have intervened at the outset. Had I been vigilant and dutiful, I would have warned Charles against poisoning his mind by giving heed to duplicitous and/or ignorant creatures like LGF commenter “Dave of Sweden,” who were maligning the friends of liberty in Europe.

Word to the wise: Beware the advice of Internet trolls. A cautious attitude toward anonymous sources is something every journalist must learn sooner or later. If someone is peddling materials attacking someone else, and asks you not to tell anyone where it came from, you must consider the motives of the attacker.

Dan Riehl:

Seemingly deranged blogger Charles Johnson employs an ugly and deceptive tactic in an effort to smear Stacy McCain again today. I guess without the Freepers who actually discovered the RatherGate forgeries, Crazy Charley just isn’t very good. Oh, today Crazy Charley has also discovered that the 9/12 Protest logo is of communist design. Yeah, that’s how ugly and nuts he is now.

Tbogg:

It seems that the unlinkable Robert Stacy McCain  has developed a worse case of the red-ass than usual because LGF’s Charles Johnson has been talking shit about him by calling a not-a-spade a not-a-spade.

[…]

Well mah stars and bars, whatevah did Mistah Johnson have to say about McCain that might cause Civil War II: The Do-Over?

Legal Insurrection:

First, nothing I had read over the past year written by McCain supported such a conclusion.

Second, the snippets of sentences and clauses quoted in Johnson’s post smelled like the type of truncated, piecemeal plucking of words out of context which is de rigeur these days when the race card is to be played.

It reminded me of a screen shot Johnson posted when Barack Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, purporting to show George Bush also bowing to the Saudi King. In fact, as I posted at the time, the screen shot was deceptive because it did not reflect that Bush was bowing, but merely lowering his head to have a medal placed around his neck. Johnson later changed the post text to reflect the medal placement, without acknowledging what had been done.

A small incident, perhaps, but the point is that what you see in a snippet or out of context not always is accurate or fair.

Third, so much of the charge revolved around guilt by association. Not the “you sat in his church for 20 years” type of association Barack Obama had with Jeremiah Wright. The “you write articles for a magazine, the owner of which” …. blah blah blah. Or you linked to someone who once did this or that.

Guilt by linkage hardly persuades me of anything. I mean, I have linked to LGF and The Other McCain, so what does that make me?

Fourth, the LGF attack appeared to be payback for McCain’s defense of Pam Geller when LGF attacked her. Payback attacks always are suspicious.

Andrew Sullivan:

The pioneer of the anti-Jihadist blog, Little Green Footballs, is repulsed by some of the developments on the populist, racist right. He’s right to be; and has the courage to say so. For that he is subjected to the usual mau-mauing. Check out his blog. It’s an Yglesias Award in motion.

UPDATE: AJ Strata, standing with LGF on the RSM issue

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A Blogger’s Bust Makes The News

sully_header09_greenThe Docket:

Political commentator, author and writer for The Atlantic magazine Andrew M. Sullivan won’t have to face charges stemming from a recent pot bust at the Cape Cod National Seashore — but a federal judge isn’t happy about it.

U. S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings says in his decision that the case is an example of how sometimes “small cases raise issues of fundamental importance in our system of justice.”

While marijuana possession may have been decriminalized, Sullivan, who owns a home in Provincetown, made the mistake of being caught by a park ranger with a controlled substance on National Park Service lands, a federal misdemeanor.

The ranger issued Sullivan a citation, which required him either to appear in U.S. District Court or, in essence, pay a $125 fine.

But the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought to dismiss the case. Both the federal prosecutor and Sullivan’s attorney said it would have resulted in an “adverse effect” on an unspecified “immigration status” that Sullivan, a British citizen, is applying for.

Dan Riehl:

A Federal Judge claims Andrew Sullivan’s recent arrest on a marijuana charge raises fundamental issues of law, though the charges have been dismissed. The judge believes the dismissal raises equal protection issues. However, he was forced to dismiss the charges at the DA’s request, though feeling that justice was not being served. Hmm

Vodka Pundit:

Wow, I hadn’t heard that Andrew Sullivan got busted for possession of pot. Charges were dropped, questionably, according to the judge involved. It seems the DA insisted the charges be dropped.

Oh, I could go on a rant here, tick off the usual complaints. Here they are in handy list form:

1. It’s amazing the kind of protection you can buy if you switch sides.

2. Briefly consider (then dismiss) “other team” joke relating to 1.

3. Make point about the media feeding frenzy if, say, George Will had been busted for pot.

4. Get distracted at mental image of Will, stoned out of his mind, giggling mindlessly at Harold & Kumar, Chee-toh stains on his bow tie.

5. Get so distracted by 4. that planned rant gets dropped in favor of handy list.

My mental image of Will includes him getting all flustered and demanding of everyone around him, “But what does “pulchritude” mean? What does it mean?”

Robert Stacy McCain

Ryan Tate at Gawker:

In his day, newspaper columnist and radio host Walter Winchell enjoyed a close, favor-trading relationship with FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover; according to Neal Gabler’s biography of Winchell, this mainly involved the funneling of confidential information. But his special relationship with the Justice Department eventually became public knowledge and helped turn him, in the public eye, from the scrappy underdog into a dangerous media baron. If anything, the blogosphere has bred an even stronger distaste for special treatment than the tabloids did; which is why Sullivan, heretofore tight-lipped about the incident, will probably issue some sort of plausible explanation for the whole affair posthaste.

Jacob Sullum at Reason:

Another point illustrated by this case is that the collateral penalties associated with pot busts—which can include suspension of driver’s licenses, loss of student aid, disqualification from various professions, and bars on adoption, voting, and jury service—are often the most serious outcome. Evidently the idea that Sullivan might not be allowed to live in this country anymore because he was caught with a little dried plant matter struck the U.S. Attorney’s Office as so manifestly unjust that it decided to drop the case.

Notably, Massachusetts, where Sullivan was busted, recently decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, making it a civil offense subject to a $100 fine (plus confiscation of the pot) and eliminating all collateral sanctions. But because Sullivan happened to be on federal property, his marijuana possession was a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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