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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 01/14/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Hillary Clinton is now talking tough to Arab states (is she running for something in New York state?). But still, the left-wing demagogue is never far from view. "Hillary Clinton started her week on a shameful note, terming crazed Arizona shooter Jared Loughner an American 'extremist' of a sort with the 9/11 hijackers. She went back for a second helping yesterday in a chat with CNN: 'When you cross the line from expressing opinions . . . [to] violent action, that is a hallmark of extremism -- whether it comes from the right, the left, from al Qaeda, from anarchists, whoever it is.' What she means: A maniac with a gun is no different from the 9/11 terrorists. A lone nut is the same as a global network inspired by religious nihilism." The worry is that she believes this.

Sarah Palin was justified in using "blood libel" says Charles Krauthammer. But still, "it was unnecessary, her speech, because she then re-injected herself into this and made herself the center of this, restarted the debate -- and started a debate on the irrelevancy of the blood libel." And she also revealed she has no professional media and political adviser from whom she would take direction.

Economists are increasingly optimistic about the economic recovery. But still: "The number of Americans filing unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week, the Labor Department said early Thursday. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims increased by 35,000 to 445,000 in the week ended Jan.8, the highest level since October. Economists were expecting initial claims to drop to 405,000, according to consensus estimates from Bloomberg. Estimates ranged from 400,000 to 415,000."

The revelation of the J-20 may have not been an intentional snub. (Unlike the announcement of a housing permit in Jerusalem, this was not treated as an "affront" by the Obama administration.) But still: The big brains in the Pentagon have been arguing that the Chinese military buildup is designed to "deny access" to current U.S. forces in the Western Pacific, but the J-20 seems to be more of an instrument of traditional power projection. . . .Whether or not Hu Jintao had been briefed on the J-20 test-flight schedule is immaterial: The decision to invest in such an airplane no doubt began well before his rule and is a reflection of the ambitions that China's leaders - indeed, probably a majority of Chinese people - share."

It's nice that they are going to all sit together at the State of the Union address. ("In statements released by their offices, Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat who also chairs the Democratic Policy Committee, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said they support a proposal by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to end the tradition of partisan seating at the State of the Union address.") But still, is this really going to amount to much? Isn't it more important what Obama says, and whether he returns to partisan blaming?

Matthew Cooper theorizes the "blood libel" was some sort of dog whistle to Palin's evangelical base. But still, shouldn't some factual support for his theory be included? National Journal's standards are usually higher than that. It would be a shame if they "went Krugman" on us.

Everyone keeps saying how important Joe Biden's voice is inside the administration. But still, one week he's announcing on Afghanistan, "We're going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014," and the next he's saying, "The United States, if the Afghan people want it, are prepared, and we are not leaving in 2014." By the way, didn't Robert Gates propose troops cuts based on the assumption we would be out by 2014?

Obama says he's really serious about human rights. But still, in practice he is not. On the upcoming visit by China's president, we hear, "Still, any disagreement on human rights is unlikely to derail the summit. 'The goal is to have the U.S. and China narrow the bandwidth of disagreement ... to put the relationship in a place where we can actually work on these issues,' said Douglas Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace." so we can't go messing it up by raising unpleasantries.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 14, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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"it was unnecessary, her speech, because she then re-injected herself into this and made herself the center of this, restarted the debate -- "

There's no debate. The charge being leveled was: Sarah Palin was responsible for mass murder.

Posted by: engdre | January 14, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton's philosophical foundation is impossible to to discern....just like her Boss in the White House. She is all over the place. Her idea of great diplomacy (and even handedness) is to sprinkle a little misguided criticism here, then over there, then over magic dust. It's confused....and confusing.

Overall, her job performance has been dismally disappointing (just like her Boss in the empty suit) and you wonder why she continues to go through the motions.

Posted by: MartinChuzzlewit | January 14, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

So Sarah Palin "inserted" herself into the debate. Hey Chuck, she was inserted in the debate by her critics. Then I guess she's suppose to just take the criticism?

And Jennifer, you revealed a lot about yourself with the "professional media" that Sarah needs. Because they're just so much smarter than her, right! You reflect the view of the elites-Sarah's just not as smart as you all are. Good grief.

Posted by: cajunkate | January 14, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Leftists talk of alleged conservative "dog whistles" makes for great entertainment, revealing their delusional and bizarre views of the right.

Posted by: grabowcp | January 14, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"What she means: A maniac with a gun is no different from the 9/11 terrorists. A lone nut is the same as a global network inspired by religious nihilism." The worry is that she believes this."

Let's say for fun,that there is a difference. In that case who plays the greater role in actually harming/terrorizing Americans,Murderers,mass murderers,serial killers,or the GLOBAL NETWORK?

Posted by: rcaruth | January 14, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Cajungal and engdre: spot on!

It absolutely confounds me how intelligent folks can claim or certainly imply that Sarah Palin, Rush, and the conservative right are in any way responsible for the shameful and false accusations that were hurled at them by the likes of Krugman, Sullivan, Mathews, Olberman, NYT, etc.

The good guys and gals got shoved and stood up to the bullies and fought back (in Palin's case about four days later). The more Palin and friends stood up, the more the bullies disgraced themselves. And the ever so genteel, objective and rational "professional media" tried to establish a moral equivalence between the bully and the defender, even calling for the victim to turn the other cheek or to "self-censor." Hogwash! There was no equivaelnce between the initial barrage of attacks against them and their justified response.

The "professional media" are no longer able to get away with their lies. In another era, the Krugmans, with their MSM megaphone, may well have prevailed, but no longer. They do not control the narrative. Unfortunately, Rubin, from her lofty perch at the WP got sucked in, too, calling for "self-censorship" and revealing her PDS.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 14, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

In addition . . .

Alana Goodman at the "Contentions and Commentary" blog has a fine commentary, concluding with the following:

"It’s particularly sleazy for the media to level false charges at Palin and then scold her for having the nerve to defend herself. Moreover, she barely even made any references to the criticisms leveled at her. The address struck me as more of a defense of free speech in general, something that is much more important to a democratic society than the protection of civil “tone.”"

Posted by: DocC1 | January 14, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Higher unemployment claims are only unexepcted to those who don't know what they're talking about. The job losses in this recession have been systemic in nature, not episodic. Many of these jobs are not coming back at all, as companies have learned to do better with less.

If we get down to 9% by the end of the year, that would be terrific. 8% by the elections in 2012 would be doing very well.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 14, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The J-20 is about the Taiwan Strait and South China Seas, not World War III. The Chinese think longer term than we do and they have never forgotten Taiwan. That's why we may as well trade Taiwan now for a unified Korea, because eventually they will take it or destroy it completely without our ability to stop them.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 14, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The president talking to the Chinese about human rights is like you telling your credit card company that you don't like the arbitration clause in your monthly statement. They say thank you for your input, just before they hang up the phone.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 14, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

More defense of Sarah. Rabbi Boteach in the Wall Street Journal:

Sarah Palin Is Right About 'Blood Libel'
Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder.

Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it. The expression may be used whenever an amorphous mass is collectively accused of being murderers or accessories to murder.

To be sure, America should embrace civil political discourse for its own sake, and no political faction should engage in demonizing rhetoric. But promoting this high principle by simultaneously violating it and engaging in a blood libel against innocent parties is both irresponsible and immoral.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 14, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sarah is sharing the bill w/ Larry the Cable Guy and an Elvis impersonator at a gun show later this month.

No one could make this up.

Posted by: danw1 | January 14, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin was entirely correct in characterizing the Democrats and Liberals who exploited the Tucson massacre as a scandalous weapon against their political opponents as committing a "blood libel."
Unlike the particularly Jewishly and much more recent expression "The Holocaust," which describes the planned extermination of European and Sephardi Jews at the hands of the WWII Nazis and their French, Belgian, Dutch, Scandanavian,et al, and Arab helpers, the expression "blood libel" has such a long Jewish history that it is has a universal character.
Not to mention the fact that no matter what Sarah Palin says, does, or even how she dresses, those who oppose her views will bitterly criticize her.
Sadly, Sarah Palin his now the Left's bete noir, now that George Bush is retired, and now there is a new Democrat and Liberal illness, Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: Beniyyar | January 15, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

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