The Liberal Eclipse

Welcome to the Celestial Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for August 22, 2017 it’s the Liberal Eclipse edition of the show with your hosts Todd Feinburg, radio talk show host, and Mike Stopa, nanophysicist. This week, beneath ominous and foretelling skies we bring you ominous and foretelling tales both ancient and modern of the fates of our times. We will talk about the following Orwellian premise: how can you sort out truth from fiction when all messaging is biased? Whatever happened to unbiased journalism? Was it ever more than a myth?

And then we will discuss the defection (I almost wrote another similar-sounding word there that would have been more appropriate) of one Julian Krein from (so he says) the Trump defenders over to the Bill Kristol/Jennifer Rubin/Bret Stephens/etc. etc. wing, the so-called “irrelevant wing” of the conservative movement. Krein writes:

[Trump’s] refusal this weekend to specifically and immediately denounce the groups responsible for this intolerable violence [i.e. Charlottesville] was both morally disgusting and monumentally stupid. In this, Mr. Trump failed perhaps the easiest imaginable test of presidential leadership. Rather than advance a vision of national unity that he claims to represent, his indefensible equivocation can only inflame the most vicious forces of division within our country.

I mean, seriously. Give.Me.A.Break.

Here’s the thing. How is it possible to have come along with Trump this far only to have this utterly faux atrocity suddenly cause you to part company with him? If this is genuine – if this burst of outrage at the utterly anodyne remarks of Trump last weekend are seriously the psychological pop-goes-the-weasel that moved Mr. Krein from over here to way over there, then Mr. Krein is either absurdly susceptible to media suggestion or else he’s got a secret IED in his brain that somehow got triggered.

We will have our shower thoughts. We will talk about our encounters with the local constabulary (i.e. being pulled over by the cops) and what transpired. And, yes, the hidden gem! This week returning to Neil Young and Harvest Moon. Enjoy!

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Published in: Journalism, Politics

There are 24 comments.

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  1. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Hi.  I’ll make just three quick points, if I could —

    Point number one:  According to Krein, his exodus from Team Trump was not “sudden” but incremental — occurring over many months, in fact — and Trump’s refusal to single out (operative phrase) the words and actions of Richard Spencer and the rest of the white supremacists in Charlottesville — one of whom committed cold blooded murder — was the key event that urged him onto the next bus out of Trumpville.

    And point number two:  “Faux atrocity”??

    And finally, point number three:  “Anodyne”??

    Tell you what.  I’ll agree to give you a break, if you’ll return the favor.

    • #1
  2. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    Hi. I’ll make just three quick points, if I could —

    Point number one: According to Krein, his exodus from Team Trump was not “sudden” but incremental — occurring over many months, in fact — and Trump’s refusal to single out (operative phrase) the words and actions of Richard Spencer and the rest of the white supremacists in Charlottesville — one of whom committed cold blooded murder — was the key event that urged him onto the next bus out of Trumpville.

    And point number two: “Faux atrocity”??

    And finally, point number three: “Anodyne”??

    I’ll give you a break, if you’ll return the favor.

    I do not mean that the murder of the protester was a faux atrocity. Only the idea that Trump blundering into some kind of moral equivalence with his willingness, in the first breath, to include violent leftists in the blame somehow indicted him as a racist and a Nazi sympathizer – which is preposterous – were what I meant by faux atrocity.

    And so yes I think Trump’s remarks were in fact anodyne. The antifa thugs are violent. Their ideology is only less noxious than the white supremacists to the extent that they are just more confused. To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight. But because one person was killed Trump should indeed have taken a deep breath and placed his blame on the white supremacists at least for a couple days and later he could have indicated that the antifa were bad too.

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    • #2
  3. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    The antifa thugs are violent. Their ideology is only less noxious than the white supremacists to the extent that they are just more confused. To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight.

    Indeed, and Antifa violence is nothing new, as was evident during the 2016 campaign when they assaulted Trump supporters on numerous occasions.

    • #3
  4. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):
     

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    Obligatory:

    • #4
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    I can now find you on Stitcher.  This is a big help in streamlining my podcast use.  Thanks, folks!

    • #5
  6. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I can now find you on Stitcher. This is a big help in streamlining my podcast use. Thanks, folks!

    Thank you Saint! We would not have know that we were unavailable there if not for you.

    • #6
  7. Wolverine Inactive
    Wolverine
    @Wolverine

    I believe this fellow Krein wrote anonymously for the defunct website Journal of American Greatness, not its offshoot American Greatness.

    • #7
  8. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    I believe this fellow Krein wrote anonymously for the defunct website Journal of American Greatness, not its offshoot American Greatness.

    Ah, that is enlightening. My impression of American Greatness is overall positive and Krein (IMHO) seemed quite shallow by contrast. Thanks for the info, Wolv.

    • #8
  9. Wolverine Inactive
    Wolverine
    @Wolverine

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    I believe this fellow Krein wrote anonymously for the defunct website Journal of American Greatness, not its offshoot American Greatness.

    Ah, that is enlightening. My impression of American Greatness is overall positive and Krein (IMHO) seemed quite shallow by contrast. Thanks for the info, Wolv.

    You’re welcome! What adds more salt to wound is that he was published in NYT. You do have to wonder if he was “outed” and now wants to save his career.

    • #9
  10. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight. But because one person was killed Trump should indeed have taken a deep breath and placed his blame on the white supremacists at least for a couple days and later he could have indicated that the antifa were bad too.

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds.  We would have been apoplectic, and rightly so.  It is literally all we would have been talking about for the rest of the year.

    So please be honest, Michael.  Try, if you can, to muster some detachment here.   How would you have regarded the Leftist who attempted to characterize Obama’s “bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides” statement in the wake of such twisted barbarity as a “flub.”

    You would have correctly regarded this characterization as a lie, and the President’s remarks as nothing short of vile.

    • #10
  11. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Excellent podcast.

    • #11
  12. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight. But because one person was killed Trump should indeed have taken a deep breath and placed his blame on the white supremacists at least for a couple days and later he could have indicated that the antifa were bad too.

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds.

     

    Aye, and if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

    • #12
  13. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    Feinburg was spot on about the dishonesty of the narrative that emerged from Charlottesville.  He also recognized the incredible momentum of the story that had a lot of conservatives piling on.  I wonder if there wasn’t some cynical opportunism involved by some on the right rather than just naïveté.  Also, there was plenty of cowardice.

    • #13
  14. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds.

    Aye, and if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

    Right.  Interesting analogy. It suggests one code of morality for our opponents, and another for ourselves.

    It says “If we do something awful, no problem.  It’s defensible.  But if you do the same thing?  Shame on you!”

     

    • #14
  15. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds. We would have been apoplectic, and rightly so. It is literally all we would have been talking about for the rest of the year.

    So please be honest, Michael. Try, if you can, to muster some detachment here. How would you have regarded the Leftist who attempted to characterize Obama’s “bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides” statement in the wake of such twisted barbarity as a “flub.”

    You would have correctly regarded this characterization as a lie, and the President’s remarks as nothing short of vile.

    Two bad groups, both prone to violence, clash and someone gets killed. The group that did the killing deserves to get singled out because someone actually was killed.

    But here is the error.

    To single out one of the groups, group A, and suggest that they, group A, are intrinsically more likely to be the killer rather than the killed because their ideology is measurably more evil is, in this case, unjustified. Both groups harbor lunatics. I’d say the antifas are more likely to commit violence generally. But murders don’t happen often in this context.

    So yes, as I say, single out the killers for taking the feud to the fatal point in this instance. The person who pulls the knife is the criminal. But neither the Sharks nor the Jets deserve any praise here.

    • #15
  16. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):
    So yes, as I say, single out the killers for taking the feud to the fatal point in this instance. The person who pulls the knife is the criminal. But neither the Sharks nor the Jets deserve any praise here.

    Agreed.  Trump should not have praised the other side.  Indeed, Trump should not have even mentioned the other side.  Not for several days anyway.

    But here’s the thing (and this is the crux of the problem):  The president who does not at once — instantly — instinctively — single out for condemnation a group of vile murdering neo Nazi thugs, is a president who is not worth supporting.

    Once again:  If in the wake of a brutal murder, Trump could not disavow the alt right and the evil being done in his – – Donald Trump’s – – name … if he could not do that without equivocating,  temporizing, or even so much as mentioning the other side … then Trump is, by definition, a chief executive not worth supporting.

     

    • #16
  17. Jeff Petraska Member
    Jeff Petraska
    @JeffPetraska

    Mike and Todd, HLC has become one of my favorite podcasts on the Ricochet network. Keep up the good work.

    • #17
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    filmklassik

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight. But because one person was killed Trump should indeed have taken a deep breath and placed his blame on the white supremacists at least for a couple days and later he could have indicated that the antifa were bad too.

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds. We would have been apoplectic, and rightly so. It is literally all we would have been talking about for the rest of the year.

    So please be honest, Michael. Try, if you can, to muster some detachment here. How would you have regarded the Leftist who attempted to characterize Obama’s “bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides” statement in the wake of such twisted barbarity as a “flub.”

    In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists prior to the speeding car (as was the case in Charlotteville)?  Or were they just peacefully minding  their own business, like a tea party rally?

    • #18
  19. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    filmklassik

    Michael Stopa (View Comment):

    To the extent that they actually understand/mean what they say they are themselves fascists. They came for a fight. But because one person was killed Trump should indeed have taken a deep breath and placed his blame on the white supremacists at least for a couple days and later he could have indicated that the antifa were bad too.

    But the flub – the two word “all sides” (or whatever he said) – do not deserve the Spanish Inquisition.

    Michael if some crazed Leftist (but I repeat myself) drove a speeding car into a crowd of Conservatives back in 2016, then threw it in reverse and backed it over the wounded, leaving one poor woman lying dead in his wake, and Obama got on TV after and talked about how there are bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides, we would have lost our minds. We would have been apoplectic, and rightly so. It is literally all we would have been talking about for the rest of the year.

    So please be honest, Michael. Try, if you can, to muster some detachment here. How would you have regarded the Leftist who attempted to characterize Obama’s “bad people on both sides, and fine people on both sides” statement in the wake of such twisted barbarity as a “flub.”

    In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists prior to the speeding car (as was the case in Charlotteville)? Or were they just peacefully minding their own business, like a tea party rally?

    Let’s say it was a parallel situation, with conservatives acting just as aggressively as Anti-fa was acting in Charlottesville.

    And with the murder victim being just as innocent.

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists prior to the speeding car (as was the case in Charlotteville)? Or were they just peacefully minding their own business, like a tea party rally?

    Let’s say it was a parallel situation, with conservatives acting just as aggressively as Anti-fa was acting in Charlottesville.

    I don’t accept your premise that conservatives would be acting like anti-fa.  (Note:  I don’t consider Nazis to be conservatives.  They are a phenomena of the left, as Jonah Goldberg demonstrated in Liberal Fascism).

    • #20
  21. ParisParamus Member
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    As I wrote on your website, I just want to thank the HLC duo for their sane, lucid, entertaining exchanges. Your podcasts harken back to a time before the circus cane to town and started running EVERYTHING.

     

     

     

    • #21
  22. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists prior to the speeding car (as was the case in Charlotteville)? Or were they just peacefully minding their own business, like a tea party rally?

    Let’s say it was a parallel situation, with conservatives acting just as aggressively as Anti-fa was acting in Charlottesville.

    I don’t accept your premise that conservatives would be acting like anti-fa. (Note: I don’t consider Nazis to be conservatives. They are a phenomena of the left, as Jonah Goldberg demonstrated in Liberal Fascism).

    My premise??  Hold on.  You just said, and I am quoting now, “In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists?”

    In other words, all I did was answer in the affirmative regarding a premise you posited (see above — those were your words), only to have you come back with, “I don’t accept your premise.”

    One thing that drives conservatives crazy about the Left is how they never seem to argue in good faith.

    Many conservatives, thank goodness, are not that way. You get the feeling that you can present a dissenting opinion to Jonah Goldberg, Charles CW Cooke, Mona Charen, Jay Nordlinger, Kevin Williamson, Rob Long, et al. and they will accept or reject your argument purely on its merits.  And they, of course, will respond in kind.

    In other words, they are amenable to a sound, rational argument.

    But when it comes to discussing ideas and debating the issues, Trump and his supporters have far more in common with the Left than with the folks I just mentioned.

    For Trump and co., reason, fairness and intellectual consistency are liabilities.  “The Left,” they say, “always fights dirty, so we have to fight dirty also.”

    And merrily down the rabbit hole we go.

     

     

     

     

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    I don’t accept your premise that conservatives would be acting like anti-fa. (Note: I don’t consider Nazis to be conservatives. They are a phenomena of the left, as Jonah Goldberg demonstrated in Liberal Fascism).

    My premise?? Hold on. You just said, and I am quoting now, “In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists?”

    In other words, all I did was answer in the affirmative regarding a premise you posited (see above — those were your words), only to have you come back with, “I don’t accept your premise.”

    My comment was making a backhanded point, that you don’t see conservatives attacking the left violently.  Sorry if I was too subtle.

    • #23
  24. filmklassik Member
    filmklassik
    @filmklassik

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    I don’t accept your premise that conservatives would be acting like anti-fa. (Note: I don’t consider Nazis to be conservatives. They are a phenomena of the left, as Jonah Goldberg demonstrated in Liberal Fascism).

    My premise?? Hold on. You just said, and I am quoting now, “In this alternate scenario, have the conservatives been actively attacking the crazed leftists?”

    In other words, all I did was answer in the affirmative regarding a premise you posited (see above — those were your words), only to have you come back with, “I don’t accept your premise.”

    My comment was making a backhanded point, that you don’t see conservatives attacking the left violently. Sorry if I was too subtle.

    My friend, I would remind you that not two weeks ago, a fringe member of the far Right used his car as a weapon to murder as many people as possible, and succeeded in murdering one of them — a female protestor.  The guy was a stone cold psychopath.

    Now, if you want to argue that the far Left is responsible for more death and destruction in the last two decades than the far Right, I would agree with you. But if your argument is that the Left has some sort of monopoly on violence, I’m afraid that you and I – – and you and reality – – are very much estranged.

    So with that in mind, why would you insist that you don’t see conservatives attacking the left violently?  (Your words — see above)

    Once again:  It may not happen as often,  but why would you say that it doesn’t happen?

    • #24