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January 11, 2011
The Baehr Essentials
1. Was Jody Foster an accomplice in the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in early 1981? If you asked John Hinckley Jr. who was to blame, he would have given her name. While Foster was obviously innocent of any responsibility for the nut-job who was trying to impress her by shooting the President, the connection between Foster and Hinckley is a lot stronger than any link that has been established between Sarah Palin and Jared Loughner.
In fact, if you want to find some verifiable links between recent comments or writings and political assassination targets, one need not look too far. A poster on the left wing website Daily Kos who lives in Arizona's s 8th district, wrote the day before the shooting that Giffords "was dead to me" after her "crime" of voting for Congressman John Lewis for Speaker, and not Nancy Pelosi. Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski (fortunately retired by voters in November) , made a statement in late October, never criticized by any Democratic Party official stating that Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for Governor of Florida , should be dead. And then there is Democratic pollster and strategist Mark Penn, who said that President Obama needed an Oklahoma City type tragedy to rebuild his political support. So if you have conspiratorial inclinations, maybe Penn inspired Loughner, a secret fan of the President.
The point of this list above is not to blame Penn, or Kanjorski, or the fool on the Daily Kos for what happened to Giffords. That responsibility belongs to one person only -- the lunatic who shot her and 19 others. But within minutes of the story breaking, the left wing punditocracy, led by Paul Krugman and the New York Times, was already in full thrall blaming Palin, the Tea Party, the right wing, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Republicans. etc.
We know at this point that Loughner was registered independent, did not vote in 2010, was known as a left wing pothead in school, defaced a Christian symbol, and did not care for George Bush. Most important, he had been obsessed with Gabrielle Giffords for over 3 years (well before Sarah Palin was known to anyone outside Alaska), after he became upset with what he considered Giffords' non-responsive answer to a flakey question he asked her at an event in 2007. Loughner liked Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto, making him hard to classify politically.
There is zero evidence of any connection between Loughner and any Arizona Tea Party or any other Tea Party, or between Loughner and the American Renaissance Group, a group with white supremacist, and anti-Semitic beliefs. That did not stop some irresponsible journalists from making such links, or suggesting the Giffords shooting was a hit on a Jew, within hours of the shooting.
And then there is the sheriff of Pima County, who within minutes joined the lynch mob seeking to blame the shooting on the political right, and talk radio. Maybe the sheriff could have done a better job of policing the event, given prior threats to Giffords and what was known about Loughner's bizarre behavior, and run-ins with the law.
Plenty has been written on this subject in the last 72 hours, a sampling is provided below. My conclusion is that the mainstream media reached a new low, led by the New York Times. A few on the left withstood the urge to try to take down Sarah Palin (or demand her indictment) and for this they should be commended. But they were few in number. One of the most disgraceful statements, and one of the first out of the box was by the National Jewish Democratic Council. In a country of 307 million, there are plenty of vicious, or insane people walking the streets. Over 18,000 Americans are murdered each year. It is estimated that there are a few tens of thousands of people who have committed murder, and either served time for the crime, or never been arrested, who are walking the streets. It is the few mass murders or serial killers who attract our attention. When 14 military personnel were murdered by a Muslim extremist at Fort Hood, we were told by the left and the White House not to jump to conclusions. But when Giffords was shot, the conclusions were out before a coherent thought could be formed, before the defendant was named, and before anything was known about him.
Giffords appear to have been well liked, and respected by members of Congress from both parties, and she appeared to have a bright political future. She was one of the few moderate blue dogs to have survived the 2010 rout. Decent people should hope and pray for her recovery. Decent people do not rush to exploit such insanity for political benefit. Decent people do not include the likes of Paul Krugman, Markos Moulitsas, the editorial board of the New York Times, Keith Olbermann, the Pima County sheriff, and the others who rushed to judgment and tarred the innocent.
Yes, Giffords survived a very tough political challenge in 2010 from a Tea Party backed challenger. So what? Was she entitled to run unopposed? Her district is always competitive, and in a good GOP year, she knew she would have a tough race. Giffords voted for ObamaCare and cap and trade, which moved her left of the normal blue dog voting pattern the last two years. Her support of gun rights was one of the ways she tried to preserve that reputation as a moderate. She won by 1%. Giffords worked her district hard, and the event Saturday was one in a series of such events. She tried to stay close to her constituents, and paid a terrible price because one of them was deeply disturbed and obsessed with her.
Mark Penn on Obama's need for a national tragedy.
Congressman Kanjorski's call for murder.
The Daily Kos puts the bullseye on Giffords.
Michelle Malkin provides a history of ten years of those on the left feeding a climate of hate:
A few responsible journalists:
David Brooks with a decent summary of the rush to judgment. But Brooks pulls his punches 0 he does not even mention the New York Times, his employer, and the worst offender of all given its influence. He fails to mention Paul Krugman, perhaps the left's most vicious and dishonest mouthpiece.
Glenn Reynolds on the politics of blood libel.
From across the pond:
How the New York Times covered Fort Hood and the Giffords shooting.
The father of the youngest victim of the mass murder spree, a 9 year old girl, shows his humanity and decency . His daughter is the granddaughter of former Cubs general manager Dallas Green:
Victor David Hanson on political vultures.
2. Where is the best place to get a job in the United States? What a surprise: Washington D. C. . I don't think that is a good sign.
3. Marty Peretz on the coverage of the Middle East by New York Times correspondent Isabel Kershner. This should come as no surprise to those who follow Leo Rennert in the American Thinker.
The New York Times considers a house in Jerusalem to be a landmark. By that measure, Hitlers' family home is also a landmark.
And speaking of Nazis, it now appears that the Germans knew where Adolf Eichmann was holed up in Argentina for many years before Israel captured him. A fine book on his capture is "The House on Garibaldi Street."
4. Another day, another week, another month, and the weapons from Iran keep pouring into Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Michael Totten on the Israeli way of war:
5. An interview with Melanie Phillips. Watch this one.
Another good one with Allen West, the newly elected Congressman from Florida. Too bad the Constitution prevents two candidates on a national ticket t from coming from the same state.
6. For the mothers out there, and the fathers, this article by a Chinese American woman, and Yale Law school professor, Amy Chua, defending her "unusual" child rearing practices, arguing they are the reason why Chinese mothers are superior parents, the most offensive article I have read in the Wall Street Journal in a long time. The article is excerpted from a new book by the author. Chua is, to put it simply, full of it (and herself). Did her kids always score the highest in every subject in school? How would she know? Do third grade teachers provide class rank by subject? In any case, by her own standards, the author must have cruelly disappointed her mother and father. She only graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School (not magna, or summa).
7. Would George Kennan have been a hawk or a dove on Iran? A hawk, says Martin Kramer.
8. And finally- WAR EAGLE!!!!!!!!!! If you are a sports fan, that was a fine game last night, much like TCU-Wisconsin ,and Ohio State- Arkansas. It is now five years and running for the SEC in the BCS. They are the best football conference, not like the ACC in basketball with one or two great teams and a bunch of also-rans. This year, 5 of the best teams in the country were in the SEC West: Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi State. I was pulling for Auburn for several reasons, one of which was a reaction to two New York Times stories the day before the game that were hit pieces on the Alabama school. Is it any wonder that the Times would politicize a match between a Southern school in a very red state, and Oregon, a school in a solid blue state?
Auburn fans have a chip on their shoulder , and with good reason. In their own state, they play second fiddle to the University of Alabama. Unless you live in the southeast quarter of the state from Montgomery to Dothan, you are likely to be a Crimson Tide fan. Most of the folks in Alabama may have been pulling for Oregon due to the heated intrastate rivalry between the two schools. The Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama in Tuscaloosa this year was one of the most intense sporting events I have ever watched.
My Seattle friends tell me that seismic activity was picked up when Marshawn Lynch rumbled 67 yards for the decisive touchdown in the Seahawks victory over the Saints at very loud Qwest Field last Saturday. I think it will be quieter in Seattle this Sunday.