powerline: Page 1
After Romney defeat, John Hinderaker smears and turns his back on tens of millions of Americans (Powerline) - 11/07/12
The GOP needs to learn that smearing and turning their backs on around half of the U.S. isn't too popular with the Americans, as can be seen in yesterday's election results.
Earlier today, the Washington Post published allegations that Mitt Romney was a bully back in prep school (link). I didn't read the story, but that's not what this post is about.
Powerline just awarded $100,000 to the video below for winning their Powerline Prize. That alone is an argument against fiscal conservatives, but it's not enough.
In the "Power Line Prize" competition (see that link), Powerline will be redistributing $100,000 (possibly of other people's money) to the person who can best illustrate the so-called "debt crisis". Yesterday they announced that the video "Dawn of the Debt " was one of two third-place winners. The video is embedded below if you want a good laugh.
A disturbing new element has crept into our political life: organized efforts to intimidate private citizens who choose to support certain political causes or otherwise participate in civic affairs... [examples of leftists swarming houses of their opponents and much more deleted] ...Conservatives are decent people and don't engage in such repugnant tactics.
The last sentence of the excerpt  would only make sense if Hinderaker had never heard of the tea parties. Since he's clearly heard of them, is he either delusional, or is he trying to mislead?
One of the reasons why I oppose the teapartiers is because they act just as badly as vile leftists. Certainly, no teapartiers have as far as I know swarmed the houses of their opponents. However, they have thrown dollar bills at a Parkinson's sufferer (see the last link). And, about the only arguments they can ever present are vile ad hominens, as I well know. For just one example, see this. For more, see some of the posts at the tea parties link above, or Glenn Reynolds trying and failing to whitewash how the teapartiers have acted, or some other posts on the Glenn Reynolds page. For even more, see some of the replies I've received from teapartiers are various sites, such as Ann Althouse (as "LonewackoDotCom").
I even coined a term for how the teapartiers make an argument: the Jump, Smear, and Lie Technique. And, because of that technique, I have to point out that this post is not in any way supportive of leftists swarming the houses of their opponents. (And, because I know full well how teapartiers operate, I know they won't bother clicking those links.)
The point of this post isn't to support Leftists Behaving Badly, it's to point out that self-styled conservatives are now acting almost as bad. And, all of that was done with the silent (or not so silent) assent of their leaders.
 In the full post, Hinderaker mentions a supposed plan by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films to film the houses of the Koch family. I oppose both parties: Greenwald for supporting illegal immigration, and the Kochs for funding loose borders groups. Hinderaker can only rise to opposing one of those parties. Hinderaker also mentions Katrina vanden Heuvel, just not in the way that I do (see the link).
Powerline Blog and the Minnesota-based Freedom Club are running a contest called the "Power Line Prize". The person who submits a video, song, or similar that best illustrates what they call the "debt crisis" will win a whopping $100,000 (powerlineprize.com, link).
Here are some cautionary notes about the contest:
1. Engaging in the contest could mean ignoring other issues which are far more fundamental and vital than spending. Immigration will have a far more drastic impact on the future of the U.S. than China loaning us another trillion or two.
2. Powerline was (and still is) a strong supporter of George W Bush, a quisling who allowed millions of illegal aliens to stay in the U.S., who promoted a guest workers plan that would have sent U.S. middle class wages down towards world levels, and who colluded with the Democrats to let illegal aliens take jobs away from Katrina victims. Powerline is also a fan of the Koch family; the Kochs fund groups that advocate for loose and even open borders. David Koch even joined with George Soros to give $10 million to the Mexican government-linked American Civil Liberties Union. Powerline isn't exactly aces when it comes to opposing those who support massive/illegal immigration.
3. Engaging in the contest will further help make the tea parties/libertarians/fiscal cons/"Profits at Any Price" types look like children because the contest submissions can be "video, song, screenplay, television commercial, painting, Power Point, essay, performance art, or anything else". Dozens of teaparty types have produced an endless series of cutesy videos and the like that - as Powerline themselves admit - have failed to persuade people. Powerline is seeking the Cutesy Video to End All, rather than considering that maybe people just see through them. And, the $100,000 could probably be better spent on things that might actually work.
4. Anything you submit to the contest - whether it wins or not and whether it's a joke or not - becomes the "exclusive property" of Powerline and Freedom Club. You aren't just giving them a license to broadcast your submission, you're giving them the whole thing and you no longer own it at all.
But, wait, there's more:
Except where prohibited by law, participation in the Contest constitutes Entrant's consent to Sponsor's (and its successors', assigns', licensees' and designees') use of Entrant's name, biography, likeness, voice, photographs, video, opinions, hometown, state and country for promotional or other purposes in any manner or media (including, without limitation, online), world-wide, in perpetuity, and without further notice, payment, consideration or consent.
They don't just own your submission, they basically own *you*. And, you can't say anything about it unless they give permission:
Winner agrees that he/she/it will not conduct or participate in any media interview regarding this Contest or any prize without the express prior written permission of Sponsor.
The first rule of Freedom Club is you can't say anything about Freedom Club.
The other first rule is: don't trust those who pretend that debt and spending are the most important challenges the U.S. faces because they aren't.
John Hinderaker presents: "David Koch, Friend to Mankind" (formaldehyde, ineffectiveness) - 03/05/11
'Hi! My name is John Hinderaker from Powerline. You might remember me from such filmstrips as "Asbestos: America's Ever-Vigilant Fireman" and "Ladybugs: America's Least-Recognized Pest". Well, today I'm here to present "A Philanthropist Advances the Cause of Science, the New York Times Doesn't" (link) about David Koch of the Koch family. But, first I want to tell you about a wonderful substance called formaldehyde...'
1. At the link, John Hinderaker says, "David Koch is one of the world's great philanthropists". That's almost as funny as Hinderaker's 2005 Bush quote . While Koch has certainly spent a large amount of money on various forms of giving, but on balance the picture becomes a bit more murky. Koch Industries provides valuable products and services to millions of people and keeps large numbers of people gainfully employed. At the same time, they also contribute to the pollution problem in the U.S. and the "free market principles" those linked to them advocate make things worse in the U.S. Whether what he does is on balance better for society than, for instance, George Soros isn't clear.
2. In an article criticizing a New York Times article by Michael Cooper ("Cancer Research Before Activism, Billionaire Conservative Donor Says", link), Hinderaker only mentions the reporter's name twice. Compare what I concentrate on. And, in a hidden way that I won't specify, Hinderaker also helps the NYT in a way that I don't. And, that follows Hinderaker having some slight success by concentrating on the reporter (see the "principles" link above). Critiquing individual reporters is a good way to encourage better coverage. It's mostly a good thing that Hinderaker isn't willing to do that for the most part, because whether we want a liberal bias to be replaced by a doctrinaire GOP bias isn't clear.
3. Hinderaker says:
A commenter on one of my posts said he was disappointed to see me spending my time rebutting the uninformed kids at Think Progress. I was sympathetic to his point, and it isn't something we usually do.
Compare that to how I do things: I've got 58 posts about ThinkProgress going back to 2006. I've got 19 posts about Andrea Nill alone, and 78 posts about the Center for American Progress stretching back to 2005. And, there might be even more posts about them that haven't been tagged yet. As much as Hinderaker would like to pretend that they're beneath such an elevated personage as he, they have far more influence than he does. And, he might not need to stoop to criticizing them if he had retailed my past discussions of them in an attempt to force them to provide better coverage.
4. Hinderaker discusses the debate over whether formaldehyde is a carcinogen and comes out in favor of making decisions based on real science. However, even that discussion is slanted towards what's good for corporations rather than for society as a whole and he also says this:
If the EPA over-regulates any chemical based on faulty science, with the effect that the cost of products that include that substance increases, those increased costs are not borne primarily by companies like Georgia-Pacific. Rather, they are passed on to consumers.
Of course, what Hinderaker misses is the fact that many corporations greatly enjoy to "socialize the costs and privatize the profits". In this case, that would consist of profiting from a chemical and at the same time as passing the costs of that chemical - such as later remediation or the costs of cancer treatment - on to others or on to the U.S. as a whole. As with the question of whether Koch is a "great philanthropist", Hinderaker isn't factoring everything involved into the equation.
 From powerlineblog.com/archives/2005/07/011024.php
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
Hyperbolic? Well, maybe. But consider Bush's latest master stroke: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate...
What Koch defenders aren't telling you (Reddit, Reason, Glenn Reynolds, Powerline, Weigel) - 02/24/11
It used to be that only a small number of people had heard about the billionaire Koch family and the "Kochtopus" (those persons and groups funded by or otherwise linked to them). Now, because of the standoff between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and public employee unions in that state, that's all changed and the Kochs are fast assuming the role that George W Bush played for the Left (and George Soros plays for the right).
Sure as night follows day, various sources are rushing to defend the Kochs. But, oddly enough, all those defenses fail to point out two key items on the Koch's agenda:
1. In the 90s, the Kochs were one of the major forces behind NAFTA (link), and today the Kochtopus advocates for other free trade agreements and for free trade in general. The base of the tea parties might not take too kindly to knowing about that.
2. If the Kochs supporting NAFTA wouldn't make the teaparty base happy, then make sure they never find out that various members of the Kochtopus support loose and even open borders. See the entries on the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and Dan Griswold (from CATO) pages for starters. In fact, Griswold was the "inspiration" (per Margaret Spellings) for George W Bush's anti- and un-American guest worker scheme.
Bush wanted to open the U.S. labor market to the world in a massive H1B-style scheme that would have sent formerly middle-class wages closer to world levels, and Spellings specifically named teachers and nurses as those who would have to compete against low-wage workers brought in from abroad.
Nowadays, the Kochtopus' support for loose/open borders no doubt plays a major role in why the teaparties have largely ignored the immigration issue despite how it's more vital and more fundamental than spending and most other issues.
Immigration is also the issue where the leaders of the Democratic Party, the far-left, and union leaders are weakest and could easiest be discredited. In fact, the Service Employees International Union even paid someone linked to the Mexican government to agitate illegal aliens inside the U.S. Yet, no doubt because of the Kochs and those like FreedomWorks (also part of the Kochtopus), the whole wider issue of immigration is off the table.
Here are some of the Koch defenders who've ignored those two issues:
1. Someone using the name "epistemicfail" posted "STOP THE KOCH BROTHERS. They are trying to end the War on Drugs and increase civil liberties" at Reddit (redd . it/frrth). Whether the author is a pothead or someone linked into the "Kochtopus" isn't clear, but I suspect the latter. It's a cute attempt at a bribe, like a lawyer trying to engender support for a criminal by highlighting how they like cats. It's probably just a coincidence, but a former Reason Magazine employee named Julian Sanchez used the phrase "epistemic closure" to refer to closed-minded rightwingers.
2. The Reddit post linked approvingly by Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine who says, "I don't know who epistemicfail is, but the whole thing is totally worth reading".
3. Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway links to both of the above, adding little:
For more on Doug Mataconis, see the link (vulgar language warning).
4. Glenn Reynolds links to Gillespie:
5. John Hinderaker of Powerline hasn't linked to the Reddit piece yet (there's still time). However, he offers several pro-Koch posts in his stock pompous-but-empty style:
A day doesn't go by--hardly an hour goes by--without some new attack being launched against these two lonely libertarians... Why? Simply because they are rich--their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world--and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.
He does have a point about the Left only liking the rich donating to political causes when they're on the liberal side, and he does have a point that people shouldn't be dissuaded from donating to political causes. However, he doesn't point out why everything isn't gravy and why some of his readers shouldn't be so fond of the Koch agenda.
6. Dave Weigel offers his own fan post to the Koch brothers:
He fails to note that he used to work for the Kochtopus' own Reason Magazine, he pretends that concerns about Koch influence only started recently (rather than having existed for decades and involving both the brothers and their father), and, of course, he highlights only the liberal-friendly aspects of the Koch agenda:
They have, for decades, bankrolled libertarian think tanks and programs, and they help put on conferences where conservative ideas are spread. Among the ideas they end up spreading are drug legalization and opposition to the Patriot Act. The Tea Party was the first movement funded in part by the Kochs that really took off.
UPDATE: Powerline gets a reply from the New York Times' Eric Lipton: powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028470.php It boils down to how you define "showdown"; wouldn't trying to restrict union power necessarily involve a confrontation of some kind?
And, others defending the Kochs include:
* Mark Steyn: steynonline.com/content/view/3767
What's happening in Wisconsin is all about money: budgets, shortfalls, obligations, perks, pensions, privileges - and the burdens of the beleaguered productive class that pays for it. In a story awash with money, the Koch brothers are the least of it. They're certainly billionaires, and that's a lot of dough. Of it, what they inject into the political process is little more than a rounding error.
I don't know whether Steyn is part of the Kochtopus, but that "rounding error" certainly seems to have bought the Kochs a lot of friends.
* Sean Parnell (not the Alaska governor) from the Center for Competitive Politics offers a fan post at Washington Examiner (owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz):
Parnell's blub "Sean Parnell is the president of the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group dedicated to protecting First Amendment political rights") fails to note that he used to work for the Heartland Institute which is part of, you guessed it, the Kochtopus. There's that rounding error again.
* David Harsanyi offers his own version of the "rounding error" (denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17476151):
The libertarian Kochs are super rich and gave less than $2 million to Republicans in the last election cycle, which mathematically speaking amounts to nothing.
There are few groups more delusional than the tea parties, but John Hinderaker of Powerline is apparently trying to give them a run for their money. In the Glenn Reynolds-linked  post "Tea Party Majority"  he says the following about the image below:
One could draw many conclusions from this, but I would suggest two. First, far from being a fringe phenomenon, the Tea Party movement represents the solid core of mainstream American opinion. Second, when the Republicans take control of Congress, they should not be afraid to cut spending and programs.
That's just, well, nuts. The underlying tea party ideology is indeed fringe, and provably so: they are to one degree or another libertarians. Some of them - such as Reynolds - are believers in Ayn Rand and thus even more fringe than "mainstream" libertarians. Needless to say, the Libertarian party and small-l libertarians aren't an electoral force. Further, the teapartiers are almost completely comprised of a subset of Republicans and independents. Very few Democrats support the tea parties, and not all Republicans support them either. To do math in the Hinderaker style, a majority of Obama voters would have had to switch to the tea parties, and that did not happen. Now, some of the other ideas of some teapartier followers - such as a general interest in reducing illegal immigration - are indeed majority opinion. However, they aren't stressing that but their fringe economic ideas.
The way to explain the chart is that respondents certainly would like a smaller government and lower taxes... until they actually see what would happen. Try and take away their benefits, or make them drive on bumpy roads, or reduce border protections even more, and see what they say. Not to mention the indirect impact that a reduction in public spending would have, such as increasing social strife. Very few Americans actually want to live in a libertarian paradise like Somalia.
A more honest poll would ask how much they want government decreased and would ask if they'd still support those changes given the direct and indirect impacts on them.
Obama administration apologizes about Arizona immigration law... to China (Jon Huntsman, Michael Posner) - 05/16/10
It's rare that I link to or agree with Powerline blog, but there you go: link. A couple of days ago, Michael Posner of the State Department was asked the following question at a press conference about human rights talks that State is holding with China:
QUESTION: Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And, if so, did they bring it up or did you bring it up?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.
As Powerline correctly (!) points out, China has an abysmal human rights record - including the murders of millions of its own citizens - while Arizona is just trying to enforce the immigration laws that the corrupt Obama administration refuses to enforce.
The ambassador to China is former Utah governor Jon Huntsman; his role in this remains unclear but if anyone can find incriminating quotes please leave them in comments in case he decides to run for another office.
What Evan Coyne Maloney won't tell you: the tea parties are far worse than the anti-Iraq war protests - 03/31/10
Back on December 15, 2002, I was the first journalist of any kind to go to an anti-Iraq War protest and come back with photos. A couple months later, Evan Coyne Maloney did the same, in his case with video. Both of us subsequently went to several other peace movement protests and shot pictures (me) and video (him) of the loopy signs and protesters.
On 9/18/09, Darryl Fears and Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post offered "The $1,300 Mission to Fell ACORN/Duo in Sting Video Say Their Effort Was Independent" (link), an attempt by the WaPo to undercut the recent undercover reporting videos showing highly questionable activity by ACORN workers. Now, the WaPo has corrected a smear that Fears and Leonnig put in the article:
This article about the community organizing group ACORN incorrectly said that a conservative journalist targeted the organization for hidden-camera videos partly because its voter-registration drives bring Latinos and African Americans to the polls. Although ACORN registers people mostly from those groups, the maker of the videos, James E. O'Keefe, did not specifically mention them.
The correction was most likely brought about by Powerline! (exclamation added for extra emphasis) which called out those reporters by name (powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/09/024567.php). While it's easy - and fun! - to laugh at Powerline for being extremely doctrinaire GOP hacks who write one-hour-old-stubble-scratching articles and who don't approve comments showing how they're wrong, in this case they seem to have succeeded at making the WaPo look bad, at least to those who'll see the correction.
UPDATE: On second thought, calling what Fears and Leonig did a "racial smear" as the title used to do is only implicit and it's more accurate to simply call it playing the race card.
John Hinderaker warns against "Birthers", after admitting (and showing) he knows little about the issue - 07/30/09
John Hinderaker of "PowerLineBlog!" (I add the exclamation mark for emphasis) offers "Forms of Madness" (powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/07/024151.php). Let me try to remove some of his filler:
[A talk radio show wanted me to discuss the "birthers" and whether they should give it up...] I do think they should give it up, but I haven't studied the issue closely and won't debate anything I haven't studied, so I declined the invitation... Birtherism is nowhere near as crazy as trutherism... [but...] So, birthers, give it a rest...
In case it's not immediately obvious, the following comment I left several hours ago sums up just how dumb Hinderaker is (on this issue; a discussion of everything else he's wrong about is left as an exercise). Note that I'm putting this in the deleted comments category because the comment was not approved. In case it does appear I'll provide an update:
The "Northern Alliance Radio Network" (featuring the hopeless BushBots at PowerLine and their friends) will be interviewing TV pundit Michael Barone tomorrow at 1pm Eastern. The topic of discussion will be the repurposed edition of his book The New Americans ("How the melting pot can work again"). Apparently it's on a real radio station (not shortwave!) that can be streamed over the web.
George F. Will was last heard offering a false choice argument on immigration, supporting the Bush line that we have to either give amnesty to illegal aliens or conduct mass deportations.
Now, he's back with "Calculating Immigration Politics":