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Posted at 7:40 AM ET, 12/28/2010

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Josh Rogin details the spin after START. The Democrats got a largely irrelevant treaty with the Russians. The Republicans got the administration to commit to missile defense and weapons modernization. That's a win-win. But unless the administration figures out how to contain the Russian bear, America and its allies will be no safer.

Oops, looks like Russian "reset" was mostly spin. "The White House says the second conviction of the jailed businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky indicates an 'abusive use of the legal system for improper ends' in Russia."

Tom Joscelyn blows the whistle on a staple of liberal spin. It seems al-Qaeda figures hardly mention Guantanamo. "Instead, al Qaeda's leaders repeatedly focus on a narrative that has dominated their propaganda for the better part of two decades. According to bin Laden, Zawahiri, and other al Qaeda chieftains, there is a Zionist-Crusader conspiracy against Muslims. Relying on this deeply paranoid and conspiratorial worldview, al Qaeda routinely calls upon Muslims to take up arms against Jews and Christians, as well as any Muslims rulers who refuse to fight this imaginary coalition. This theme forms the backbone of al Qaeda's messaging - not Guantanamo."

Sam Stein explains the latest Mitt Romney spin on his health care program: He wouldn't force every state to do it. But isn't the issue for conservatives whether government at any level should be compelling individuals to buy insurance they don't want? If this is the approach, it sounds like the Romney pre-campaign is already on defense: "For starters, team Romney has begun arguing that the better indication of his policy preference would be the 2008 campaign's white paper, not the Massachusetts model."

It seems some spin on ObamaCare explodes every day. "One of the first parts of the new health-care law ready for consumers - special health plans devoted to the insurance industry's rejects - is attracting only a fraction of the predicted customers, prompting the Obama administration and states to step up their strategies to motivate people to buy them. At the same time, since the plans opened for business in the late summer and early fall, the medical bills so far are, in at least a few states, much higher than anticipated, raising the question of whether $5 billion that Congress has devoted to the program could run out even if relatively few people join."

Does anybody buy the Palestinian spin anymore? "Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said on Monday that, among the organization's top priorities in 2011 is the issue of Middle East peace and Palestine. 'The Palestinian issue and the peace process are a priority,' said Moussa at a press conference in Cairo, where the 22-member Arab League is based." So why did the PA walk out of the talks?

Charles Krauthammer ridicules the North Korean spin and praises our South Korean allies. "I love that threat from an atheist regime that it is going to launch a sacred war. In those kinds of totalitarian countries, the only thing sacred is war....The South Koreans for the first time in decades are showing spine. They have a nationalistic government, and the population was radicalized by the attack two weeks ago, which for the first time killed civilians, the first time since the '50s. So you have a population that is not going to take it anymore."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 28, 2010; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: What will 2011 bring?

Comments

"But unless the administration figures out how to contain the Russian bear, America and its allies will be no safer."

I see you're still harking back to the good old days of the Codl War, when you necons didn't have to worry about inventing a new boogie man.

"The White House says the second conviction of the jailed businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky indicates an 'abusive use of the legal system for improper ends' in Russia."

Oh my, an 'abusive use of the legal system for improper ends'. The heavens are falling. I mean, it's not as id the US government would ever fall for such depravity like say, denying criminal trials, indepfinite deterntioin, forgoign habeus corpus or extraordinary rendition.

Seriously Jennifer, one can't help but wonder if you're being put up to this to make a fool of yourself.

Let's not even mention the fact that the Khodorkovsky case has NOTHING WHATSOEVR to do with START.

"It seems al-Qaeda figures hardly mention Guantanamo"

If, accodin got your Weekly Standard link, you exclude all messages before January 2009.

Gee Jennifer, I wonder why the messages between 2002 and 2009 failed to rate a mention.

Can anyone say cherry picking extraordinaire?

"Does anybody buy the Palestinian spin anymore?"

Indeed, they can, especially when Rabbis who lead the settler movement threatens civil war in the event of the settlements being dismantled.

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=200844

Peres seems to think the threat is real
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/video-peres-warns-evacuation-of-settlers-may-lead-to-civil-war-1.257547

"In those kinds of totalitarian countries, the only thing sacred is war...."

Amusing, comming from someone who never knew a war he didn't approve of.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 28, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Charles Krauthammer remarks the South Koreans “have a nationalistic government, and the population was radicalized by the attack two weeks ago, which for the first time killed civilians, the first time since the '50s.”

Unfortunately this is very much untrue.

I do not know how many Korean civilian have been killed in the hundreds of incidences over the past half century of the Korean ceasefire, but probably the worst incident was the infamous Blue House Raid of January 21, 1968 in which “South Korean casualties totaled 68 killed and 66 wounded — mainly army and police but also about two dozen civilians. Three Americans also died and three were wounded in attempts to block the escaping infiltrators.” (Wikipedia)

I remember this incident distinctly because I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Taegu, South Korea at the time, and my fellow volunteers in Seoul reported that the North Korean infiltrators threw hand grenades into Korean houses among other things. I remember also to my considerable embarrassment that the USS Pueblo was captured two days later, thanks to egregious incaution by the US Defense Dept. Once the Pueblo was captured the US went into direct talks with the North Koreans, and behaved as if the outrageous Blue House Raid had never occurred. It was not a happy time for the Peace Volunteers in Korea.

Posted by: nvjma | December 28, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Pretty ho-hum start today. I think you dropped the opening kickoff, and now you have to start on your own 5 yard line. Better pick up the pace!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 28, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Mr De Angelis, your attempt to critique Jen's comments appears to suffer from the same problem a lot of critiques from the Left face: It repeats cherished beliefs to a shrinking choir, but fails to connect to the much bigger congegregation. And the snooty tone, a vestigal hallmark of the once moderately respected "progressives," just makes it all the more ludicrous and embarrassing.

Just a couple of points. First, Russia has, in fact, reverted to its autocratic type and is trying to stretch its withered muscles with the same old brutal methods. That's no secret to anyone who's been conscious in the last decade.

The WH statement on the Chodorovski farce is surprisingly refreshing; one of the few principled statements this admin of yours has uttered. As for your comparison of Chodorovsky's unethical and probably illegal (even under Russia's laws, such as they are) judicial persecution by a corrupt regime still controlled by a (former?) KGB goon and between the entirely legal, just and proper indefinite detention of illegal foreign combatants by two US administrations...well, what can anyone say? As for your query how this connects to START? Simple: A government that is in fact a tyrannical mafia cannot ever be trusted.

You attempt to peddle the rickety "Palestinian" narrative also falls short of a goal. Any goal. Let's see if we can sum this up. The Obami with their "smart diplomacy" brilliantly revive and drag into our century medieval prohibitions on Jewish settlement and construction, browbeat Israel to accept a 10-month construction moratorium, and of course, make no demands on the Muslim Pals. The latter, who have become experts in rejecting statehood for over half a century, blow nine and a half months of the moratorium and return only to ask for its indefinite extension. And the "moderate" Pal leader, Abbas, and his "moderate" fellow terrorists in what we charitably and tongue-in-cheek call their "government," are not even technically legitimate, having forgotten to have an election for four years or so. Ignoring all of this, as well as the looming bloodbath between Hamas and the PA, your take on the whole thing is that a few obscure rabbis, who are certainly not the leaders of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, somehow make this all Israel's fault. Pretty lame, if you actually sit and think abou this, right?

Just a reminder, Mr De Angelis: The narratives you are attached to and try to promote with sneers and attempts at cleverness and postures of moral superiority have lost much of their credibility and currency. And this is only the beginning of their slide to historical irrelevence. You see, Herr Goebbels infamous theory, which the Left loves to apply ham-handedly ... you know, the one about repeating lies until they stick ... does indeed work, but only for a while. For sure, it's been a lengthy while, but perhaps it's a sign of your worldview's lameness that you haven't noticed that "the times they are a-changin'" ?

Posted by: p_kovachev | December 28, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Mr De Angelis, your attempt to critique Jen's comments appears to suffer from the same problem a lot of critiques from the Left face: It repeats cherished beliefs to a shrinking choir, but fails to connect to the much bigger congegregation. And the snooty tone, a vestigal hallmark of the once moderately respected "progressives," just makes it all the more ludicrous and embarrassing.

Just a couple of points. First, Russia has, in fact, reverted to its autocratic type and is trying to stretch its withered muscles with the same old brutal methods. That's no secret to anyone who's been conscious in the last decade.

The WH statement on the Chodorovski farce is surprisingly refreshing; one of the few principled statements this admin of yours has uttered. As for your comparison of Chodorovsky's unethical and probably illegal (even under Russia's laws, such as they are) judicial persecution by a corrupt regime still controlled by a (former?) KGB goon and between the entirely legal, just and proper indefinite detention of illegal foreign combatants by two US administrations...well, what can anyone say? As for your query how this connects to START? Simple: A government that is in fact a tyrannical mafia cannot ever be trusted.

You attempt to peddle the rickety "Palestinian" narrative also falls short of a goal. Any goal. Let's see if we can sum this up. The Obami with their "smart diplomacy" brilliantly revive and drag into our century medieval prohibitions on Jewish settlement and construction, browbeat Israel to accept a 10-month construction moratorium, and of course, make no demands on the Muslim Pals. The latter, who have become experts in rejecting statehood for over half a century, blow nine and a half months of the moratorium and return only to ask for its indefinite extension. And the "moderate" Pal leader, Abbas, and his "moderate" fellow terrorists in what we charitably and tongue-in-cheek call their "government," are not even technically legitimate, having forgotten to have an election for four years or so. Ignoring all of this, as well as the looming bloodbath between Hamas and the PA, your take on the whole thing is that a few obscure rabbis, who are certainly not the leaders of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, somehow make this all Israel's fault. Pretty lame, if you actually sit and think abou this, right?

Just a reminder, Mr De Angelis: The narratives you are attached to and try to promote with sneers and attempts at cleverness and postures of moral superiority have lost much of their credibility and currency. And this is only the beginning of their slide to historical irrelevence. You see, Herr Goebbels infamous theory, which the Left loves to apply ham-handedly ... you know, the one about repeating lies until they stick ... does indeed work, but only for a while. For sure, it's been a lengthy while, but perhaps it's a sign of your worldview's lameness that you haven't noticed that "the times they are a-changin'" ?

Posted by: p_kovachev | December 28, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the duplication, folks; I'm new here and seem to have made one click too many.

Posted by: p_kovachev | December 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse


Does anyone buy Jennifer Rubin's spin on any topic?

Posted by: googleguy | December 28, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone buy Jennifer Rubin's spin on any topic?" (googleguy)

Uh, yes, I do for one. Or to put it more precisely, I find her commentary highly credible, smart, witty and dead-on. Can't say I've agreed with her every argument all the time, but I don't even agree with myself usually. She is sorely missed on the Commentary Magazine blogs and I'm probably one of many of its lreaders who has followed, or will follow her here. Enjoy the change, googleguy; sorry but we're all out of hope.

And kudos to WaPo for recognizing her formidable talents and for their intellectual courage to invite her here, in this once-undisturbed nest of Libs.

Posted by: p_kovachev | December 28, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: p_kovachev | December 28, 2010 12:10

Part 1 of 2


"Mr De Angelis, your attempt to critique Jen's comments appears to suffer from the same problem a lot of critiques from the Left face: It repeats cherished beliefs to a shrinking choir, but fails to connect to the much bigger congegregation."

You're falling to the trap of suggesting that I am the least bit interested in making my messag pallatable to the masses, even if it sacrifices truth and accuracy.

You're making a lousy assumption.

Regarding Russia. It's embarrasing to hear the right wing (and even a good deal of the left) maintaini ghe delusion that the US is still holds any moral highground with respect to liberty, freedom and democracy. We have become a laughing stock around the world in that regard, nay, a source of ridicule. One day, Bush was looking into Putin's eyes and liking what he saw. The false concern and cries of outrage over the state of democracdy in Russia litterally began the day after Khodorkovsky was arrested. Khodorkovsky was an oligarch thug, who was effectively selling off Russia's energy resource assets at fire sale prices to Western interests, and Putin stepped in and put a stop to it.

That's all this BS is about. As this was happeneing, Dick Cheney was giving speeches in Kaszakstan, lading the tyranical leader there for the progress and reforms he's institutes in the dictatorship. Why? Becasue the rights to export Kaszakstan's masive gas reserves were up for grabs.

Chodorovski was nothign but a thug, who e\benefitted from agreement shed'amde with Yeltshin to bring investement into the country. Instean, he enriched himself by killing off his competitors.

It's a,lomst comical to hear those of your ilk complainig about "unethical and probably illegal" methids being used in Russia, while we have hundreds of detainees in indefinite incarceration without charge in our illegal prisons in Gitmo.

Last but not least, Jennifer made the assine link that the Chodorovski case somehow was linked to the START treaty.

You are painfulyl ignorant of teh Israeli Palestione conflict.

The prohibitions on Jewish settlement and construction in occupuied territories is not medievil, but in accordance with the Geneva COnventions. You probabyl never heard of those.

The 10-month construction moratorium was a farce. The settlements are clearly illegal. Even Israel's Superme Court cocurs on that matter. Thus, the offer to stop stealing land for 10 months (only to resume stealing once it was over) was perposterous. What Obama shoud ahev demanded is a permant end to construction, and a dismatling of all settlements in the occupied territories.

That is what international law demands.

The palestinians are in ore positon to accomodate demands. Israel controls 100% of the occupied territories and is the occupier. Israel is the partuy in vioaltion of dozens of UN resolutions, not the Palestinians.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 29, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

part 2 of 2

You repeat the lie that the Palestinians have rejected statehood for over half a century, when in fact, no state can be declared unless the governming body is in controlf the territory. The Palestinians dlcsare dindepnedence in 1988, and Israel refused to recognize the declaration. 101 States around the world now recognize the staet of palestine as per the 1967 borders, but Israel cpontonues to violate international law and get away with it, thanks to US support.

Don't boere us with your lame propaganda about terrorisim either. Israel wwas founded on terrorism, who's leaders went on to become elected to teh highest office in the land.

As for looming bloodbath between Hamas and the PA, you need to get up to speed on that point too. Vanity Fair revealed that the civil war was the conseuqnce of a Wasjhington and Tel Aviv sponsored soup attempt to overthrow Hamas. It failed.

"Just a reminder, Mr De Angelis: The narratives you are attached to and try to promote with sneers and attempts at cleverness and postures of moral superiority have lost much of their credibility and currency."

On the contrary. Israel is more isolated than it ever was in international circles. The US has been a bastion of pro Israeli propaganda but that too is falling apart.

The US has become utterly disredited and irrelevant, to the point that it's moralizing and soap box diplamacy and selding eyeballs around the world rolling every time a US political leader opens their mouths. Everyone knows that the US is in decline and still in serious denial. It's become a one trick pony that believes the miliatry can solve the world's problems, while the country is rotting from the inside.

Yes indeed, the "the times they are a-changin'" and the US has become a has been and consigned to the status of a bystander while the rest of the world is going about it's business.

Posted by: AndreDeAngelis | December 29, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

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