Most leaders, especially those with minimal (or no) experience, prefer to surround themselves with advisers with decades of experience in their field. Not so Obama, who has entrusted a young speechwriter to advise him on critical foreign policy issues.
For example, from today’s WSJ:
…White House officials have encouraged liberal groups to put U.S. lawmakers on the spot with the question: “Are you for solving this diplomatically or being forced…to war?” Ben Rhodes, one of Mr. Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers, used those words at a January 2014 meeting with dozens of representatives from liberal political organizations, according to a transcript reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Another empty suit in a key Obama Administration policy position was in the news today, as another Obama policy fails. In reading an article today on Russia saying “nyet” to refined petroleum sanctions on Iran, I was reminded of Ben Rhodes, about whom I have written before as part of the coterie of Lee Hamilton acolytes that serve in key positions in the Obama foreign policy and national security apparatus. Rhodes serves as the Deputy National Security Adviser (another Hamiltonian is Denis McDonough, the National Security Council Chief of Staff).Who is Ben Rhodes and what qualifies him to be the Deputy National Security Adviser?He was Barack Obama’s speechwriter (albeit, on foreign policy topics) during the campaign.He also played a role in the Cairo speech that presented a highly fictionalized history of both Islam (praised it for accomplishments that were not Islam’s) and Israel (a legacy of the Holocaust guilt).Maybe he has a certain talent for fiction. After all, it was only a few years ago that “he was an aspiring fiction writer working on a novel called “The Oasis of Love” about a megachurch in Houston, a dog track and a failed romance.
Rhodes has enjoyed a rapid rise — because why?Granted he is quite the wordsmith. That must qualify him for one of the top jobs involving our national security. It must have been a symbiotic relationship — a talented speechwriter with a talented speech reader.Does Rhodes have any educational experience or military experience or, for that matter, international experience? No… on all three counts…
National Review, on the uproar over Indiana’s new law allowing merchants to choose not to serve gay couples based on religious views.
…Gay-rights activism is, just at the moment, very much oriented toward preventing the emergence of any social compromise on the matter of homosexual marriage, which is why tradition-minded florists and bakers, generally conservative Christians, are being targeted for prosecution as enemies of civil rights. In terms of government interest, homosexual couples planning wedding receptions in Connecticut are a good deal less compelling than were black Americans who were effectively circumscribed from public life — political, social, and economic — under the machinery of oppression constructed by Democrats after the Civil War.
Among other things, the market provides same-sex couples plenty of other options. But gay-rights activists insist that the situations are morally and politically identical. That this view is rightly received with some skepticism by the general public — including much of the public inclined to support gay marriage and similar issues — is why the increasingly fanatical homosexual activists reject the notion that religious liberty might even be raised as an issue in the case of a wedding planner who does not wish to be involved in the blessing of a homosexual union. Their goal is a coercive coast-to-coast regime with no room for social compromise at all.
Yemen is descending into chaos — and the Obama administration’s response, at least in its public statements about the crisis, has been a total mess.
The central Yemeni government, which the US had relied on to fight the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen’s south, has been deposed by Shia rebels. On March 25, a Saudi-led coalition began bombing those rebels, called the Houthis, in order to stop their advance. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are warning they may invade, and Yemen’s president has fled the country.
If this sounds like a disaster, that’s because it is. The Obama administration, which just earlier this week was touting its “Yemen model” as a success in counterterrorism strategy, has not been eager to own up to the country’s disintegration. And that has come out in a series of muddled, highly cringe-worthy statements given to the press to explain how the US is handling the crisis. It will not leave you feeling confident in the administration’s grasp of what to do about Yemen’s chaos.
1. “We’re trying to beat [ISIS] — and there are complications. … We have a partner who is collapsing in Yemen and we’re trying to support that. And we’re trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Is this all part of some grand strategy? Unfortunately, the world gets a vote.”
— A senior Obama administration official to The New York Times‘s Mark Mazzetti and David Kirkpatrick, March 27.
That could be Obama’s epitaph: “The world got a vote, dammit!!!!”
2. “The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region.”
— A senior State Department official to Politico’s Michael Crowley, March 26.
3. “We have not seen that kind of progress in terms of strengthening the central government, I think you could make a pretty strong case that we’ve seen the opposite of that, but we do continue to enjoy the benefits of a sustained counterterrorism security relationship with the security infrastructure that remains.”
— White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, as quoted by ABC’s Mary Bruce and Jonathan Karl, March 25.
4. “The White House does continue to believe that a successful counter-terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country. … That is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in places like Yemen.”
— White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, as quoted by ABC’s Mary Bruce and Jonathan Karl, March 25, the day Yemen’s president went missing. He later turned up in Saudi Arabia.
5. “There’s a sense that the only view worth having on the Middle East is the long view.”
— A senior State Department official to Politico’s Michael Crowley, March 26.
Watch the interview, all gimmicked up with motion graphics. Afteward, see if you can remember what Obama said. The man can spew nonsense and make it sound good.
Harry Reid is retiring. Whatever happens to his Senate seat in 2016, this is good news for Republicans and it is good news for America. Good riddance, Harry. Good bloody riddance.
Today we will hear a lot about Reid’s “service” to the Senate and to the American people. Ha! “Service” indeed. The truth of the matter is that Harry Reid is a stone-cold killer who has damaged Washington considerably, who has elevated his own political preferences above the institution he was elected to protect, and who has made worse the partisan rancor that our self-described enlightened class claims to abhor.The greatest service he can do America is to go away.
From a purely Machiavellian perspective, there is a strong case to be made that Reid has been the most effective federal politician in the United States over the last decade or so. In order to protect the president and to advance his movements’ goals, Reid has been willing to diminish the influence, power, and effectiveness of his own institution; in order to thwart his opponents, he has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to play dirty — a capacity that sets him apart even from other harsh players such as Chuck Schumer, Ted Cruz, and Dick Durbin; and, in order to satisfy his own need to feel powerful, he has perfected the scorched earth approach that has kept Obama’s presidency on life support since November of 2010 (in my estimation, the Democratic party’s success during the 2013 shutdown was the product of Reid’s obstinacy and resolve, not Obama’s).
Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey notes just how much chaos Reid has wrought:
By any objective measure, Reid has been a blight on the Senate and on Congress. He declared the Iraq war “lost” while Americans were still fighting there, and he derailed a budget process that had worked well before his ascent into leadership. He stripped the Senate of one of its debate functions after sabotaging the amendment process, and nearly destroyed regular order. On top of that, Reid used his post to commit McCarthyite character assassination of Mitt Romney, claiming to have inside knowledge that Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years, a smear that turned out to be utterly false. He has been a malevolent force for years in American politics, and nothing he did in Washington will improve the place as much as his leaving it.
I can only imagine that the consequentialists among us will consider these tactics to have “worked.” Certainly, progressivism is in better shape today because of Harry Reid. But for those of us who care about process, who do not believe that the ends justify the means, and who are concerned primarily about the integrity of the American constitutional and political order, Reid has been little more than a dangerous menace. I have not been one to take any delight in the terrible injuries that Reid sustained after his accident. Indeed, I wish him nothing short of a full recovery and a long life. I am just glad that the remainder of that life will be lived outside of the United States Senate and away from the political process that he has done so much to maim.
Our peevish, petulant, and impetuous president has struck again:
In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.
But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.
The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress.
The timing of the disclosure puts to rest any notion that President Obama acted out of spite for Bibi Netanyahu’s election win last week — but this is still a sellout of Israel, and the reason for it is plain.
Bad as that is, it gets worse.
If you want to know why Tehran has been so successful in stalling against Obama and SecState John Kerry, look no further than right here. They — and the rest of the world — were given, courtesy of the Obama administration and free of charge, some of Israel’s most vital national security secrets.
And that was when there was still six weeks of negotiation time left to go. The mullahs must be drooling at the prospect of what Obama/Kerry might let them have going into the final hours. The March 31 deadline is just days away, and Obama and Kerry are more desperate than ever for a deal, any deal, no matter the cost to Israel’s security.
Never have such two sold out so many for so little.
What must our other allies — I’m assuming for the sake of argument we still have some left — be thinking? “Obama revealed nuclear secrets over a speech?” This is not the action of a reliable ally, or even of a grownup. The man-child behind the Resolute desk is like Anthony Fremont in the classic Twilight Zoneepisode, “It’s a Good Life.” (2.5 minute capsule version above.) Like little Anthony, Obama has near-omnipotent powers at his disposal, but little use for them other than his own ego gratification, and for meting out harsh punishments to any who dare challenge his narrow worldview. Only instead of holding hostage a small town in Ohio, Obama plays his deadly games across a global stage.
The IMDB plot synopsis of “It’s a Good Life” concludes with the question, “Is there anything more dangerous… than a spoiled, selfish, stuck-up little brat who always gets his way?”
No, there isn’t.
First, Obama blabs how we found OBL, sending a Pakistani doctor to help us to 33 years in prison. Now the sloppy work in Yemen works against those who helped us.
With friends like us, who needs enemies?
Secret files held by Yemeni security forces that contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say.
U.S. intelligence officials believe additional files were handed directly to Iranian advisors by Yemeni officials who have sided with the Houthi militias that seized control of Sana, the capital, in September, which led the U.S.-backed president to flee to Aden.
For American intelligence networks in Yemen, the damage has been severe. Until recently, U.S. forces deployed in Yemen had worked closely with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government to track and kill Al Qaeda operatives, and President Obama had hailed Yemen last fall as a model for counter-terrorism operations elsewhere.
But the identities of local agents were considered compromised after Houthi leaders in Sana took over the offices of Yemen’s National Security Bureau, which had worked closely with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations.
Recently, the FCC passed what is basically a nullification of the 1st Amendment. What’s more, they passed it along party lines, three Democrats out-voting two Republicans. Also, they did it secretly, which is pretty much the way that everything is done under Obama.
Naturally, they misnamed it Net Neutrality just as they did with the Affordable Care Act. Neutrality is the go-to word for villains because it sounds fair and objective. But keep in mind that during WWII, it was Switzerland that claimed neutrality. That enabled it to avoid invasion while, at the same time, profit from the confiscation of money and art treasures by the Nazis.
If I’d known nothing else about the ruling, I would have known which side I favored once I received an email from the Writers Guild of America cheering the decision. My Guild claims that writers will profit from having the feds overseeing the internet, but, then, the WGA, which is to the left of Juan Williams, champions everything that Obama says and does. What confounds me is that those idiots who view an all-powerful federal government as a force for good never seem to consider the possible consequences of a Republican president calling the shots.
On the other hand, when I see how feckless the GOP leadership is, I can better understand why liberals are so complacent. For instance, when Harry Reid got tired of Republican intransigence in the Senate, he simply did away with filibusters, thus allowing the Democrats to seat bureaucrats and judges with a simple majority vote. When McConnell found himself facing filibusters from the opposition, he never even considered the so-called nuclear option to ensure that the House bill tying Homeland Security to Obama’s unlawful amnesty reached the Oval Office. How better to force Obama to sign it or let the world know that he regarded amnesty to be more important than national defense?
Americans went crazy over a deflated football used in a playoff game, but McConnell not only allows Obama to determine the size of ball used, but the dimensions of the field, the officials and even decide how the game is scored.
At the recent CPAC convention, Rand Paul once again won the straw vote with 25% to Scott Walker’s 21%. Like his father before him, Sen Paul has discovered the way to win these votes is to bus in hundreds of young, enthusiastic and generally uninformed, supporters. Again, like his loopy father, he will never win a GOP state primary, and I shudder at the realization that he, whose nickname should be “The Smirker,” will never stop running.
What did surprise me is that Carly Fiorina fared so poorly at the convention that she even managed to run behind Jeb Bush. For merely pointing out, in the best line at the event, that as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she had flown a great many miles, but that, unlike Hillary, “I understand that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment,” she deserved to run ahead of Trump, Santorum and Bush.
Speaking of which, why the heck is it that the list of CPAC speakers always includes Donald Trump? If comic relief is called for, consider inviting Jimmy Fallon or Jay Leno next year. After all, they are also not running for president.
There is evidence that in 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet seriously considered staging a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities until Obama threatened that American jets would prevent it from happening.
I suppose in a weird way, it’s reassuring to know that Obama would use the U.S. military for something other than combating Ebola in West Africa, and not the least bit surprising that he would threaten an ally in a way he has refused to threaten our enemies in Syria, Iran or Yemen.
I realize that every Republican politician lives in dread of a government shutdown because the corrupt media will inevitably lay the blame at the feet of the GOP. My response is two-fold. One: Put on your big boy pants. The media is always against you. If they’re not, you’re doing something wrong. My immediate advice is to stop subscribing to the NY Times. The real power the media has is the ability to bluff you dummies out of your shoes, not to mention your convictions.
Two: You don’t have to spend all your time in reality, but it’s important to pay it a visit once in a while. The last government shutdown took place in October, 2013. Thirteen months later, you guys took control of the Senate and added to your majority in the House. The public at large has the attention span of a flea. So learn not to cave every damn time the liberals threaten to huff and puff and blow your house down.
Finally, oppose Obama every chance you get. That’s why you were elected, whether you’re in or out of the Tea Party. No matter what you hear on MSNBC, the creature in the Oval Office is not a universally beloved figure. Most Americans don’t even like him. They know he regards America with something approaching contempt.
Some people think Obama’s a Muslim, and that’s why he’s always bending figuratively and sometimes literally to our sworn enemies. Some people believe he’s a Christian, even though he doesn’t attend church, read the Bible or share the typical Christian’s concern for Israel’s survival.
Still, even among that latter group, there are many who wonder what sort of Christian could attend a church for 20 years where the sermons often involved blasphemous attacks on America, and where 9/11 was justified as a case of America’s finally getting its comeuppance.
That’s why it was predictable that his choice to head up the Office of International Religious Freedom was Rabbi David Saperstein. After leaving the position open for years, Obama decided to fill it with a Jew in order to balance all the Muslims, starting with Valerie Jarrett, with whom he has surrounded himself.
But Saperstein is a RINO (a rabbi in name only), and was formerly the head of both Rabbis for Obama and the Religious Action Center, which has nothing at all to do with religion. It is a leftist advocacy group that promotes gun control, ObamaCare, gay marriage, affirmative action and abortions on demand.
Making the circle complete, the rabbi’s wife is Ellen Weiss, who for years ran the anti-Israel program, “All Things Considered,” on National Public Radio. With Jews like Saperstein and Weiss around, Israel will never want for enemies.
Finally, feeling as I do that most professional critics, especially when it comes to such ethereal matters as art, music and dance, are essentially con men in possession of press credentials, I was delighted when I read that actor-singer Martin Mull once observed that “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”
WASHINGTON — Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.
Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.
Every day the Chinese go to work, Americans get a raise: Chinese workers, many earning each day about what Americans spend on a Starbucks latte, produce apparel, appliances and other stuff cheaply, thereby enlarging Americans’ disposable income. Americans similarly get a raise when they shop at the stores that made Sam Walton a billionaire.
The ranks of billionaires are constantly churned. Most of the people on the original Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1982 were off the list in 2013. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was not born until 1984. America needs more billionaires like him, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.
With the iPod, iPhone and iPad, unique products when introduced, Jobs’s Apple created monopolies. But instead of raising their prices, Apple has cut them because “profits attract imitators and innovators.” Which is one reason why monopolies come and go. When John D. Rockefeller began selling kerosene in 1870, he had approximately 4 percent of the market. By 1890, he had 85 percent. Did he use this market dominance to gouge consumers? Kerosene prices fell from 30 cents a gallon in 1869 to 6 cents in 1897. And in the process of being branded a menacing monopoly, Rockefeller’s Standard Oil made gasoline so cheap that Ford found a mass market for Model T’s.
Monopoly profits are social blessings when they “signal to the ambitious the wealth they can earn by entering previously unknown markets.” So “when the wealth gap widens, the lifestyle gap shrinks .” Hence, “income inequality in a capitalist system is truly beautiful” because “it provides the incentive for creative people to gamble on new ideas, and it turns luxuries into common goods.” Since 2000, the price of a 50-inch plasma TV has fallen from $20,000 to $550.
Henry Ford doubled his employees’ basic wage in 1914, supposedly to enable them to buy Fords. Actually, he did it because in 1913 annual worker turnover was 370 percent. He lowered labor costs by reducing turnover and the expense of constantly training new hires.
All these thoughts are from John Tamny, a one-man antidote to economic obfuscation and mystification. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), who called economics “the dismal science,” never read Tamny, a Forbes editor, editor of RealClearMarkets and now author of the cheerful, mind-opening book, “Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You About Economics.”
In the early 1970s, when the Rolling Stones were coining money and Britain’s top tax rate was 83 percent, Keith Richards, guitarist and social philosopher, said: “That’s the same as being told to leave the country.” The Stones decamped to France, leaving Britain, Tamny notes, to collect 83 percent of nothing.
In my college days, there were always groups of angry, whiny tiresome lefties sounding off about one perceived injustice or another. I quickly learned to tune them out.
In the age of Obama, many of those once fringe types have insinuated themselves into the fabric of government, where they can cause all manner of mischief.
Why are lefties so angry? Robert Tracinski at the Federalist nails it.
One of my Federalist colleagues recently observed that, “When I write pieces that upset liberals, I get angry, personal hate mail. When I write pieces that upset social conservatives, I most often get this: ‘I appreciate your well written article and I will pray for you, sir, that you will find the God who loves you.’”
This absolutely tracks with my experience—and as an atheist, I’ve got a certain track record of writing pieces that upset religious readers. I get the occasional angry or dismissive comment, but on the whole the reaction is an almost annoying amount of Christian charity. Not so when I take on, say, the environmentalists.
Why the difference? Why is the Angry Left so angry?
Some of the Federalist staff were discussing this, and we came up with a couple of possibilities.
Rich Cromwell quipped: “It’s the difference between dealing with those who are certain they’re following the edicts of the one true faith and dealing with Christians.” Heh.
Then there’s the fact that “Progressives” convince themselves that everything they’re doing is for the greater good, which supersedes the rights of any individual. It’s a case of “the humanitarian with the guillotine“: we’re doing this for the overall good of humanity, so it’s OK to start killing people. Or to be really, really mean to them in the comments field.
There’s the fact that advocacy of big government is by its very nature a quest for power and control, for the ability to use force against others—a cause that naturally attracts the bitter and intolerant.
There’s the fact that those of us on the right are accustomed to encountering a lot of ideological opposition. For most of our lives, the left has controlled the high ground of the culture, such as it is: the mainstream media, Hollywood, the universities, the arts. So we’re not used to crawling into a “safe space” and hiding from ideas we disagree with, which makes it easier for us to regard ideological opposition with a degree of equanimity.
But beneath all of these factors, there is something deeper, something more elemental. Something metaphysical.
I hate to say William F. Buckley was right, but I think it’s all aboutimmanentizing the eschaton.
The “eschaton” is a term from theology, where it refers to the ultimate end state of creation—basically, what will happen after the final judgment. So “eschatology” speculates about the nature of heaven and God’s final plans for mankind. Outside of theology, the “eschaton” is a stand-in for the final, ideal goal we’re hoping to reach.
There are three basic views of what this ideal state is: the supernatural, the individual, and the social.
In its original context, for the traditional American Christian, the “eschaton” is supernatural: it is life in heaven. That means it’s something that will happen regardless of the state of this wicked world, and your place in it is dependent on you and your own inner spiritual state, not on other people. Hence the Christian’s confounded complacency. If I’m not on board with his religious vision, well, that sucks for me when the Rapture comes. Because my religious critic is a nice guy, he’ll pray that eventually I see the light and accept Jesus into my heart. But at the end of the day (or of history), it’s no skin off his soul.
For someone like me, who is not religious but an individualist, the ultimate end state I am seeking is in my own life. It’s about my family, my work, my home, my own personal interests. The goal I’m seeking is about things I have a lot of control over, much more than it is about other people. Politics is mostly just something that gets in the way of the real business of life. Our ideal end state is that we can reach the point where we’re able to think about our own lives and not have to care about politics any more.
For the secular leftist, the end state is social and necessarily political. It is all about getting everybody else on board and herding them into his imagined utopia. There are so many “problematic” aspects of life that need to be reengineered, so many vast social systems that need to be overthrown and replaced. But the rest of us are all screwing it up, all the time, through our greed, our denial, our apathy, our refusal to listen to him banging on about his tired socialist ideology.
For the Christian, the ideal end state is safely in the next world and therefore is never in doubt. For the individualist, it’s in his own life, and it’s mostly under his direct control. For the leftist, however, it is all outside his control. It requires other people, a lot of other people, and those SOBs usually refuse to cooperate. Talk about rage-inducing.
If the whole focus of your life is on getting everybody else to agree with you on every detail of your politics and adopt your plans for a perfect society, then you’re setting yourself up to be at war with most of the human race most of the time.
Which means an awful lot for the Angry Left to get angry about.
I believe I understand why Hillary hates the media. It’s because they keep writing the truth about her. Even the NY Times, as left-wing as it is and always has been (let us never forget that Walter Duranty won the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for filing news stories about Joseph Stalin that read like love poems), couldn’t refrain from breaking the news that during the four years she was Secretary of State, she used her personal email and owned her own server.
What she did was illegal, immoral, unethical and probably fattening, but probably no more so than the Clinton Foundation sucking in millions of dollars in foreign bribes while Hillary busied herself sightseeing on the taxpayers’ dime, lying about Benghazi and pushing the reset button with Russia.
When asked about Hillary’s using an unsecured email account, Obama, who had swapped countless communiques with Hillary, claimed he was unaware of the brewing scandal until he read about it in the newspaper. At the same time, the chap who has kept his birth certificate, his school transcript, his travel visas and his early sex life, under lock and key, insists he is as transparent as glass. Maybe, if he happens to be referring to stained glass.
We have had some mediocre presidents and some really lousy ones. But never has the White House been occupied by a person as loathsome as Obama. Not only is he wrong on every single issue, but, by word and deed, constantly displays his contempt for America, its values, its traditions and its Constitution. He tells so many fibs that you can hardly tell if it’s for a specific reason or merely out of habit. The putz lies like a rug, and a Persian one at that.
Still, all Hillary has to do is show up at a convention of Emily’s List, where merely possessing a vagina trumps intelligence, honesty and character, tromp on stage and, in that smugly shrill tone that makes my ears bleed, say, “Don’t you someday want to see a woman be president of the United States?” to elicit a standing ovation.
Well, to be fair, it takes more than having a vagina to make this group climax. It actually has to belong to a left-winger; otherwise it rates no better than one of those damn penises.
Actually, I wouldn’t mind at all having a woman in the Oval Office, so long as she’s in the tradition of Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher, and not reminiscent of Evita Peron or Imelda Marcos.
The fact that a majority of Americans believe that race relations have only gotten worse since Obama and Eric Holder took over the White House and the Department of Justice is a given. But what is inexcusable is that there are white cops in Ferguson who are so stupid, they send tweets and email to one another in which they express their hatred of all blacks. Racism aside, how damn stupid do you have to be in 2015, when everything is recorded or videoed, to engage in such messaging? And by everything, I mean everything except high security memos sent to or from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And, taking a page from the lunkheads in Ferguson, we now have a video of University of Oklahoma SAE fraternity members chanting some little ditty about lynching blacks. Who are these morons and who do they think will respond favorably to their disgusting behavior? By all rights, it should be an embarrassment to everyone, whatever their race, but for some perverse reason these louts saw fit to immortalize the occasion with a video camera?
This in no way excuses the fact that young blacks are so screwed up they think it makes sense to take every opportunity to show their hatred of cops by confronting them verbally or physically. Instead of having professional racists like Obama, Holder and Al Sharpton, constantly telling them that they’re victims of white society, it would be a welcome change if they started suggesting that young black males learn to comply with legal orders. I can only assume that the young thugs regard cooperating with cops as an affront to their machismo, but they would do well to acknowledge at some point that the cops belong to a bigger, tougher and better-armed, gang than they do.
Frankly, listening to young blacks, who have been the recipients of everything from Operation Head Start to affirmative action and welfare payments all their lives, going on about being oppressed is getting really tiresome.
Slavery ended 150 years ago. In some parts of the country, Jim Crow laws continued on, but even that ended 50 years ago. That was long before Michael Brown and the phony “hands-up-don’t-shoot” narrative was concocted.
If I were a young black, it would humiliate me that Chinese coolies were not only imported to work laying railroad tracks in the 19th century and then sent to rot in San Francisco ghettos, but that, as recently as 70 years ago, Japanese Americans were uprooted from their homes and farms, and shipped off to concentration camps for the duration of WWII, but look at them now! For the most part, their descendants, instead of basing their lives on past grievances, are productive members of society who never riot, but, instead, get an education, get married, get a job and raise their children in two-parent homes.
Sen. Tom Cotton and 46 other Republicans sent a letter to Iran, letting the Ayatollah Khamenei know that a deal signed by Obama, but lacking the approval of Congress, wouldn’t be binding on the next president. My question is why didn’t 54 Republican senators sign it? Or in other words, why is it that a Democratic majority in the House or Senate means something and that a Republican majority means next to nothing?
But that’s not to be taken as an endorsement of the Democrats. Why didn’t any of those who attended Netanyahu’s historical speech and gave him standing ovations sign the letter? And why, when Obama’s policies have cost their party 14 Senate seats and more than 70 seats in the House over the past three elections, do they insist on keeping their collective lips locked to his royal heinie?
I have no way of knowing if Sen. Robert Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida ophthalmologist, is entirely kosher. In fact, whenever I hear about a politician having a millionaire as his best friend, my antennas go up of their own volition. However, I’d bet more than I can afford to lose that Obama and Holder would not have sicced the Justice Department on Menendez (D-NJ) if he weren’t such a vocal opponent of Obama’s policies regarding Cuba and Iran.
For exhibiting political courage in a venue where courage is as rare as a pork chop in Saudi Arabia , I am hereby willing, even eager, to trade the Democrats three Republicans — say Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch — for Menendez and a player to be named later.
- Cheap energy would make hydrogen fueled cars economically possible
- It would make water desalination economically possible
- To name just two…
Russia’s Making Nuclear Threats, and Obama’s Too Busy for NATO
Remember yesterday’s Jolt, featuring a chilling, unnervingly plausible scenario of Russia occupying Sweden’s Gotland Island and annexing the Baltic states?
Swedish military identified and followed four Russian fighter plane near Gotland and Bornholm, off the country’s east coast on Tuesday morning.
The planes were spotted in international airspace but heading towards Sweden at around 5.30am.
None of the aircraft – two TU-22M planes and two SU-27 fighter jets – were using transponders, the telecommunications devices that emit and gather signals from planes.
“It is the first time in years that we have seen precisely this type of aircraft over the Baltic Sea,” Anders Grenstad, Deputy Director of Operations for the Swedish Armed Forces told the TT news agency.
He said the planes were understood to have first flown over the Baltic coast, then turned south toward Bornholm and Gotland before heading back to the Finnish Gulf.
Recent statements by Russian ambassador Mikhail Vanin that Danish warships could become the target of Russian nukes, should the country participate in NATO’s missile defence, have drawn a sharp reaction from NATO.
“Denmark is a staunch NATO ally and NATO will defend all allies against any threat,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told BT. “We have made it clear that NATO’s missile defence is not directed against Russia or other countries, but is intended as defence against missile threats.”
Good thing that President Obama is — eh, you can see the punchline coming a mile away. Obama’s blowing off NATO’s leadership at a really, really bad moment:
President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won’t see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days. Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.
The leaders of almost all the other 28 NATO member countries have made time for Stoltenberg since he took over the world’s largest military alliance in October.
“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” said [Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. permanent representative to NATO under both President George W. Bush and Obama].
The world is upside down. We’re snubbing NATO, excusing Iran’s Supreme Leader’s declaring “Death to America,” and threatening to not support Israel at the United Nations. We’ve seen Libya, Yemen, and large chunks of Syria and Iraq collapse into anarchy or fall under control of the Islamic State or bloodthirsty Islamist groups.
From today’s LA Times, a story headlined: Obama says U.S. credibility requires reevaluation of Mideast stance
President Obama said Tuesday that preserving the nation’s credibility internationally requires reevaluating the U.S. stance on Mideast peace talks and that recent comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have severely hurt chances for progress.
Credibility with whom? The UN nations that declared Israel the top violator of women’s rights? The anti-Semites in Europe?
Obama said Netanyahu’s pledge on the eve of Israeli elections last week to oppose a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians made hope for progress “very dim.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s ruling Ayatollah just this past Friday, and for the umpteenth time, chanted “Death to America.”
“What we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility of something that’s not there,” Obama said during a news conference. “We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years…. For the sake of our own credibility, we have to be able to be honest.”
Was Obama speaking of Iran? Nope, Israel.
In the hit 1992 movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s fictional Colonel Jessup famously declares: “I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.” The Cuban officers I met never gave me that impression. As the State Department’s former representative to negotiations with Cuba’s military, I can tell you that our discussions were typically convivial and constructive. And today, President Barack Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Havana has presented the United States with a truly mind-boggling prospect: Our most reliable partner on that long-isolated island is probably going to be the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Cuba’s military establishment.
And soon they’re going to be making a lot of money.
He predicts the communist party will fade and be followed by the military, which is respected in the country.
Under Raúl Castro’s leadership from 1959 until he succeeded brother Fidel as president in 2006, the now 60,000-strong military has been widely considered to be Cuba’s best managed and stablest official entity. Furthermore, it has never been called upon to fire on or suppress Cuban citizens, even during the so-called Maleconazo protests in 1994, and most observers believe the FAR would refuse any orders to do so.
For years our discussions with the FAR have focused on cooperating on practical matters: avoiding tensions along Guantánamo Naval Base’s 17-mile perimeter, collaborating on firefighting and working out arrangements for the return of Cuban citizens who were picked up at sea while trying to escape their country. In contrast with our stiff exchanges with the North Koreans at Panmunjom, these monthly encounters tend to be productive, constructive and amiable.
Now they could be historic. And for the FAR, profitable. Indeed, Americans flocking to Cuba in years ahead will likely be shoring up the Cuban military’s bottom line. Today, senior FAR officers are in charge of sugar production, tourism, import-export, information technology and communications, civil aviation and cigar production. It is estimated that at least 60 percent of Cuba’s economy and 40 percent of foreign exchange revenues are in the hands of the military and that 20 percent of workers are employed by the FAR’s holding company, GAESA.
Tourists sipping a mojito at Varadero beach, flying by commuter to lush resorts in the Cuban keys, visiting historic attractions, enjoying the cuisine at a five-star hotel or lighting up a Cohiba after one of those meals are unconsciously contributing to the coffers of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias and the communist government to the tune of several billion dollars a year. Some of this hard-currency infusion has fed corruption within the FAR. Nonetheless, when the U.S. embargo is eventually lifted, American companies interested in investing in Cuba will need to partner with enterprises under the control of the Cuban military. It follows, therefore, that the U.S. government will need to broadly engage with the FAR on economic and trade as well as political and military matters. Former CIA Cuba analyst Brian Latell believes the pragmatic-oriented FAR will be easier to deal with than the old-guard civilian leaders…
How did Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, go from backing light regulation of the Internet to Title II?
..Nov. 10 was the turning point. The day began with Mr. Obama issuing a surprise video insisting on the most extreme regulation for the Internet, submitting it to laws written in the 1930s for Ma Bell. The same morning, a group of protesters swarmed Mr. Wheeler’s house, blocked access to his car, and demanded that he obey the president.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee obtained Mr. Wheeler’s email later that day complaining to his senior staff about being bludgeoned. With the subject line “FW: The President wants you to see this,” forwarding Mr. Obama’s demands, Mr. Wheeler emailed:
“FYI. Isn’t it interesting: 1. The day of the [net neutrality] demonstration just happens to be the day folks take action at my house. 2. The video of POTUS just happens to end up on the same message as the video from POTUS. 3. The White House sends this email to their supporter list asking ‘pass this on to anyone who cares about saving the Internet.’ Hmmm.”
Hmmm indeed. Only the most extreme Washington advocacy groups had been lobbying to subject the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The FCC notice last year that it was considering net-neutrality rules barely mentioned this as a possible outcome.
The browbeaten Mr. Wheeler soon gave in, and the commission’s Democratic majority adopted Obamanet. The FCC inspector general is now investigating the process, including the White House pressure. The last-minute insistence on Title II explains why the agency’s 400 pages of regulations and interpretations are so slapdash, leaving many rules undefined and ensuring years of litigation.
While Mr. Wheeler was making his rounds, the chairman of the company that once led the charge for net neutrality was also in Washington, this time sounding the alarm about Obamanet. Speaking to the American Enterprise Institute, Google chairman Eric Schmidt sounded like a born-again deregulator when asked about Title II regulation of the Internet.
“We have benefited from government essentially staying out of the Internet,” he said. “I am worried that we are now on a path where we are starting to regulate an awful lot of things on the Internet. . . . I am generally in favor of less regulation no matter what on the Internet.” He concluded: “I have a strong opinion that the best way to have net neutrality is competition.”
This explains why Mr. Schmidt last year called the White House to oppose Title II. Supporters of net neutrality thought they would get a breakup of the broadband duopoly of cable and telecom companies, but Obamanet delivers the opposite. Title II utility regulations could end up blocking Google Fiber from competing and disrupting Comcast,AT&T and other traditional providers.
At the hearings, legislators from both parties grilled Mr. Wheeler about the costs to smaller and rural broadband providers of complying with Obamanet. City-run broadband providers—including the one in Cedar Falls, Iowa, that Mr. Obama touted on a January visit—objected that Title II “risks serious harm to our ability to fund and deploy broadband without bringing any concrete benefit for consumers.”
Another email obtained by Congress showed that even Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, had opposed Obamanet. His chief of staff emailed Mr. Wheeler in May: “Spoke again last night with the [White House] and told them to back off Title II. Went through once again the problems it creates.”
The grave sin of Obamanet is ending the era of permissionless innovation on the Internet. FCC bureaucrats now will decide what is “just and reasonable” online. The Wall Street Journal last week reported that HBO, Showtime and Sony want to offer their shows on the Web but fear regulators will prevent broadband providers from managing smooth delivery of their video. Heavy-handed government would thus help Netflix, a regulation advocate, evade new competition.
Large majorities of both parties have opposed regulating the Internet since the 1990s. Bipartisan questioning of Mr. Wheeler offers a ray of hope that Congress will craft an alternative to Obamanet. An update to the communications law would deliver what most people understand as “net neutrality”: no discrimination based on content, reasonable network management, and competition instead of entrenched incumbents.
I am skeptical humans are the main cause of climate change and that it will be catastrophic in the near future. There is no scientific proof of this hypothesis, yet we are told “the debate is over” and “the science is settled.”
My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.
In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization.
The idea it would be catastrophic if carbon dioxide were to increase and average global temperature were to rise a few degrees is preposterous.
Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced for the umpteenth time we are doomed unless we reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to zero. Effectively this means either reducing the population to zero, or going back 10,000 years before humans began clearing forests for agriculture. This proposed cure is far worse than adapting to a warmer world, if it actually comes about.
IPCC Conflict of Interest
By its constitution, the IPCC has a hopeless conflict of interest. Its mandate is to consider only the human causes of global warming, not the many natural causes changing the climate for billions of years. We don’t understand the natural causes of climate change any more than we know if humans are part of the cause at present. If the IPCC did not find humans were the cause of warming, or if it found warming would be more positive than negative, there would be no need for the IPCC under its present mandate. To survive, it must find on the side of the apocalypse.
The IPCC should either have its mandate expanded to include all causes of climate change, or it should be dismantled.
Climate change has become a powerful political force for many reasons. First, it is universal; we are told everything on Earth is threatened. Second, it invokes the two most powerful human motivators: fear and guilt. We fear driving our car will kill our grandchildren, and we feel guilty for doing it.
Third, there is a powerful convergence of interests among key elites that support the climate “narrative.” Environmentalists spread fear and raise donations; politicians appear to be saving the Earth from doom; the media has a field day with sensation and conflict; science institutions raise billions in grants, create whole new departments, and stoke a feeding frenzy of scary scenarios; business wants to look green, and get huge public subsidies for projects that would otherwise be economic losers, such as wind farms and solar arrays. Fourth, the Left sees climate change as a perfect means to redistribute wealth from industrial countries to the developing world and the UN bureaucracy.
So we are told carbon dioxide is a “toxic” “pollutant” that must be curtailed, when in fact it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, gas and the most important food for life on earth. Without carbon dioxide above 150 parts per million, all plants would die.
Human Emissions Saved Planet
Over the past 150 million years, carbon dioxide had been drawn down steadily (by plants) from about 3,000 parts per million to about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth. Human fossil fuel use and clearing land for crops have boosted carbon dioxide from its lowest level in the history of the Earth back to 400 parts per million today.
At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of carbon dioxide for plant growth, given enough water and nutrients, is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today. Greenhouse growers inject carbon-dioxide to increase yields. Farms and forests will produce more if carbon-dioxide keeps rising.
We have no proof increased carbon dioxide is responsible for the earth’s slight warming over the past 300 years. There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the carbon dioxide ever emitted. Carbon dioxide is vital for life on Earth and plants would like more of it. Which should we emphasize to our children?
Celebrate Carbon Dioxide
The IPCC’s followers have given us a vision of a world dying because of carbon-dioxide emissions. I say the Earth would be a lot deader with no carbon dioxide, and more of it will be a very positive factor in feeding the world. Let’s celebrate carbon dioxide.
A letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress warns that lawmakers must be satisfied that any Iranian nuclear agreement must “foreclose any pathway to a bomb” before they lift sanctions against Tehran.
The letter, which was drafted in early March but released on Monday, warns Obama that “permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation” from Congress.
“Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” reads the letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
U.S. and international negotiators are up against a March 31 deadline for a framework agreement with Iran to roll back its nuclear program…
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Although I understood that when George W. Bush was in the White House and the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, America did not enter the state of Nirvana. Far from it. Bush banned incandescent bulbs; wasted fifteen billion dollars fighting AIDS on a continent where those suffering from the disease were convinced that the surest cure was having sex with a young virgin; and micromanaged the war in Iraq by insisting that we re-build every structure a minute after either we or the enemy had knocked it down.
In the meantime, Republican senators fluttered their collective eyelashes at Ted Kennedy, hoping in their girlish hearts that he would invite them to the senior prom.
I had assumed that after the shellacking they took over the next few years, they had learned their lesson. But, obviously, I was mistaken. Mea culpa.
Over the past 52 months, the Republicans have taken back 14 seats in the Senate and over 70 in the House, and yet they have once again assumed the role they clearly find most comfortable; namely, serving as geishas for the Democrats.
In the Senate, McConnell refuses to use any of the weapons against the Democrats that Harry Reid used so effectively against the Republicans, so that, for all intents and purposes, the Democrats are still in control. Making matters worse, we have Senators Flake, Hatch and Graham, voting to confirm Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder’s hand-picked successor at the Justice Department, even though she has already testified at her confirmation hearing that she regarded Obama’s executive amnesty to be constitutional.
Then, when rookie Senator Tom Cotton campaigned to get his fellow Republicans to send a letter to Iran’s theocratic despot, letting the Ayatollah Khamenei know that if he signed a nuclear agreement with Obama, absent Senate approval, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on, he couldn’t even muster a simple majority. In case you’re wondering about the identities of the seven sniveling holdouts, they are, in alphabetical order, Lamar Alexander (TN), Dan Coats (IN), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Tom Corker (TN), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Lisa Murkoski (AK).
An interesting aspect of the rumored treaty with Iran is that, at the very least, they will be able to pursue nuclear energy to their heart’s content, which is more than the liberals, taking their marching orders from environmental zealots, will allow us to do. How is it we’re not insisting that Iran start relying on solar panels and windmills for its energy needs?
Although nuclear energy is cheap, available and safe, and would make us energy independent for the foreseeable future, we haven’t built a nuclear plant since the 1970s. Perhaps if America could go to Switzerland and negotiate with John Kerry we, too, could start building centrifuges for peaceful purposes.
It is delightful to watch Hillary Clinton swing in the breeze and endlessly amusing to watch her defenders circle the wagons and try to ward off the arrows, but I can’t help wondering about those pathetic excuses for human beings. I mean, really, when long time Clinton consiglieres like James Carville and Lanny Davis respond to every scandal swirling around Hillary and Bill like traffic cops at a traffic accident (“Move along, folks, nothing to see here”), are they not aware that it’s 25 years too late to protect the reputations of these latter-day Borgias, and that all they’re doing is further trashing their own?
Someone recently sent me a note that asked a legitimate question: If gender is no longer determined by genitalia, why is race still determined by skin color?
In a day in which people are encouraged to use any public bathroom they personally feel is appropriate, why is it that people like Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Al Sharpton, are concerned with what they perceive to be injustices only when the alleged victim happens to be the same color they are?
Another reader corrected me when I attributed the offensive term “compassionate conservative” to George W. Bush rather than to his father. In response, I wrote, “Thank you for setting me straight. By way of explanation, I can only say that my wife and I had two male Maltese dogs prior to acquiring Angel. As a result, we often confuse Duke with Sammy when we reminisce about them. I find I have a similar problem when it comes to the two Bushes, which is part of the reason I am so reluctant to see us saddled with yet a third.”
Recently, there was a minor shakeup at the talk radio station to which my car radio is pre-set. As a result, Mark Levin has been added at a time I am most often driving. Frankly, I was shocked. You see, I was familiar with him, having read one of his books, but I had never heard him speak. Although our politics are quite similar, I confess I find his voice extremely annoying. To my ear, he comes across as so mouse-like, he almost squeaks.
I am therefore ready to conduct yet another Prelutsky Poll. Please let me know which radio talk show host you like best and which one you like least. Please limit your votes to one of each and place your choices in the Subject Line. If you wish to add commentary or defend Mr. Levin’s voice, I’d appreciate it if you would place that in the body of your email.
The sooner you vote at BurtPrelutsky@aol.com, the sooner I can announce the results.
For all their differences, President Barack Obama uncannily resembles his Democratic predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, in his stiff-necked, self-righteous inability to listen to others or to learn from experience or history. Against ferocious opposition at home and abroad, he is about to repeat the grievous mistake of appeasing Iran that Carter made over three decades ago and do even more geopolitical damage than the hapless peanut farmer wreaked in 1979.
Recall the history. On February 1, 1979, two weeks after the cancer-ridden Shah of Iran left his country in the hands of a caretaker as he wandered the world in search of treatment, his fanatical opponent, Islamist cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned from his 14-year Parisian exile and within a week had engineered the overthrow of the shah’s feeble substitute and installed his own puppet regime. Not only did Iran’s Islamists hail the ayatollah’s return; Carter’s United Nations ambassador, the painfully naïve Andrew Young, lauding Islam as “a vibrant cultural force in today’s world,” prophesied that the ayatollah himself—with ferocious indignation flashing from his eyes and bristling from his beard under his sharia-chic turban—would prove “somewhat of a saint.” On February 15, the saintly imam began murdering Iran’s officer corps, and on April Fool’s Day, which he called “the first day of a government of God,” he declared his nation an Islamic republic. In mid-May, the U.S. Senate condemned Iran’s systematic slaughter of its officers, a rebuke Iran met by recalling its ambassador from Washington. By July, mullahs began publicly taking control of the government.
On October 22, just when the Carter administration and the mullahs seemed to be finding a way to get along, the shah—his eagle-proud face pain-worn and his wasted body too small for his once-resplendent, Gilbert-and-Sullivan-ornate uniform—arrived in New York for cancer treatment. Less than two weeks later, on November 4, a mob of “students” invaded and seized the American embassy in Tehran and took its 68 employees hostage, though they soon released the 15 women and African-Americans, and later set free another hostage suffering from multiple sclerosis. The other 52 Americans endured 444 days of captivity. How far the mullahs engineered this feat as retribution for America’s welcome of the shah is unknown; their initial assurances that all would be well would prove consistent with Iran’s habitual double-dealing.
Carter’s initial response was entirely correct. On November 14, a fleet of U.S. warships sped into the Indian Ocean. But then Carter entangled himself in a bewildering web of fruitless international negotiations at the UN and the World Court, organizations whose keynote is cynicism and bad faith, and whose chief product is hot air not action.
What the president should have done, as was clear even then, was simple and traditional. He should have told the mullahs that they had 48 hours to release our citizens unharmed, or else we would leave not one stone standing on another in the “holy” city of Qom. We then should have leafleted the city with warnings to the population to flee. And, were the hostages not released, we should have done what we threatened to do. And were they not released at that point, we should have made the same threat against Tehran.
My own belief is that the initial threat would have succeeded. The mullahs would have said, “Oh, you know how unruly these students are, how immature, how hot-headed; but don’t worry. We will get them into line and get your citizens back to you. The embassy seizure shocked us as much as it did you.”
Guess who is the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today? Israel. Violating the rights of Palestinian women.
At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.
Not Syria. Where government forces routinely employ rape and other sexual violence and torture against women as a tactic of war. Where in 2014 the Assad regime starved, tortured and killed at least 24,000 civilians, and three million people – mostly women and children – are refugees.
Not Saudi Arabia. Where women are physically punished if not wearing compulsory clothing, are almost entirely excluded from political life, cannot drive, cannot travel without a male relative, receive half the inheritance of their brothers, and where their testimony counts for half that of a man’s.Not Sudan. Where domestic violence is not prohibited. There is no minimum age for “consensual” sex. The legal age of marriage for girls is ten. 88% of women under 50 have undergone female genital mutilation. And women are denied equal rights in marriage, inheritance and divorce.
Not Iran. Where every woman who registered as a presidential candidate in the last election was disqualified. “Adultery” is punishable by death by stoning. Women who fight back against rapists and kill their attackers are executed. The constitution bars female judges. And women must obtain the consent of their husbands to work outside the home…
About that Netflix flip-flop, it’s worse than you think.
On Jan. 14, 2014, the D.C. circuit court threw out an existing net-neutrality rule put in place by the Federal Communications Commission, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings rushed to assure investors the ruling was a nonevent. In the absence of an official net-neutrality rule, the likelihood of broadband operators blocking access or slowing down Netflix was nil.
“Part of delivering and expanding [the broadband business] for consumers,” he explained, “is having a really good Netflix experience, a good YouTube experience. That’s why people get higher-speed broadband. So I think actually our economic interests are pretty co-aligned.”
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s programming guru, added that if Internet carriers “were to contemplate blocking Netflix or other services, it will significantly fuel the fire for more regulation, which is not something they are interested in.”
Netflix elaborated in a letter to shareholders filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission: “[Internet services providers] are generally aware of the broad public support for net neutrality and don’t want to galvanize government action. Moreover, ISPs have very profitable broadband businesses they want to expand. Consumers purchase higher bandwidth packages mostly for one reason: high-quality streaming video. ISPs appear to recognize this and many of them are working closely with us and other streaming video services to enable the ISPs’ subscribers to more consistently get the high-quality streaming video consumers desire.”
People, this has been the adult view of net neutrality all along, and why intelligent persons have rightly called federal regulation a solution in search of a problem.
Then why, a month after this deluge of demurrers, did Netflix change its tune radically and call for utility regulation of even the upstream “network of networks,” which previously had not been considered part of the net-neutrality debate?
Because Netflix was then rolling out its own network, Open Connect, to bypass the public network in favor of direct tie-ups with last-mile providers like Comcast,Verizon and AT&T. This largely ignored story has been told in detail by a disparate group of analysts and lawyers including Dan Rayburn,Larry Downes,Jonathan Lee and Fred Campbell. Netflix effectively engineered a slowdown of its own service in late 2013 by relying on an intermediary with inadequate capacity, then waved a bloody shirt in pursuit of the direct-connection deals that today allow Netflix to distribute its content more efficiently and cheaply.
At least now we understand the famous but nearly indecipherable remarks of Netflix CFO David Wells at a Morgan Stanley media conference two weeks ago. To wit, Netflix had been happy to flog the net-neutrality meme while negotiating these agreements, Mr. Wells indicated, and then unhappy when the FCC took its rhetoric seriously and imposed sweeping Title II regulation.
And no wonder: Netflix can hardly be in favor of anything that curbs its own freedom to run its business as it sees fit. Yet the FCC’s “reclassification” of the Internet as a public utility potentially does exactly that. (more…)
What was it James Taylor was flown by the State Department to sing to the Parisians a few weeks back?Oh, yeah:
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve Got A Friend…
Dr Shakil Afridi could have used a friend like that. Instead, he made friends with the Government of the United States, and a fat lot of good it did him. As I said on the radio a couple of years ago:
When Joe Biden goes, ‘Obama, he’s the toughest hombre who ever lived…’ This was the decision to take out bin Laden, to pull the trigger, as Obama did personally. ‘This was the toughest decision any world leader has had to make in 2,000 years since Pontius Pilate decided to whack Jesus, this is the toughest decision any guy has ever had to take …and in fact, the reality is the guy who took the tough decision was that little Pakistani doctor who made the decision to go to the Americans, and is now being tortured in jail. And Mister Tough Guy, Joe Biden, and the toughest hombre in a millennium, Obama, haven’t done a thing about him, poor fellow.
Were it not for Dr Afridi, Osama bin Laden would still be alive and whooping it up with his pals in Abbottabad. Instead, President Obama got to do his “Osama is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run” routine right through the 2012 election and all the way until ISIS took Mosul. Meanwhile, Dr Afridi is about to begin the fourth year of his 33-year prison term. And the preening poseurs who run the global superpower have lifted not a finger to help him.
You’ve got a friend? In the Age of Obama, who would be a friend of America? Indeed, who would be a friend of a friend of America? Yesterday, Dr Afridi’s lawyer was shot dead in Peshawar:
“Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on Mr Samiullah who was travelling alone in his car near Bashir Bagh Aslam Dehri, killing him on the spot” said SSP (operations) Dr Mian Saeed.
He told Dawn that the attackers had fired four shots on the lawyer and the bullets hit him in the chest and abdomen. He said that it was early to determine the motive behind the murder.
Actually, it’s not all that difficult to “determine“:
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat ur Ahrar accepts responsibility for the attack on Samiullah, the lawyer of Shakil Afridi, who was co-operating with the killers of Sheikh Osama bin Laden. The enemy should remember that we will kill each and every one of the killers of each of our brothers.
All you gotta do is call, and the White House will put you on hold while you listen to James Taylor’s Greatest Hits.
The doctor is in jail because he’s a friend of America. The lawyer is dead because he’s a friend of a friend of America. How come the United States could plan a flawless operation to bust into Osama’s compound and put a bullet in him, but it couldn’t do a thing for the operation’s indispensable human intelligence?
This is usually the point where I quote the great Bernard Lewis’ words when we chanced to be on a panel discussion a few years back – that America risked being seen as harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. And so it goes, from Iran to the Islamic State to the morgue of the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar…
Read it all.
Any list of my personal peeves would have to include New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio. Those of us who used to take shots at the former mayor, referring to him as Nanny Bloomberg, didn’t fully appreciate how much worse New York voters could do once they really put their minds to it.
I honestly thought that after siding with the street mob against the NYPD, De Blasio ran the very real risk of facing a recall election, but I should have known better than to expect New Yorkers to show any sign of sanity.
Now I have no doubt that the city’s left-wing Jewish and Italian voters will applaud De Blasio’s latest decision, which is to close the public schools for two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. No doubt the voters will also applaud themselves for having elected this ecumenical buffoon.
In announcing this brainstorm, De Blasio explained: “This is a common sense change. It recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its many contributions to our city.”
Unfortunately, he neglected to mention if he was referring to 9/11, the Times Square car bomber or the Muslim convert who attacked two New York cops with an axe.
In the distant past, I was a movie critic, and for a good portion of my life, I was a movie fan. But not so much lately. Part of the problem is that Hollywood has pretty much decided that stories, characters and dialogue, are nonessential, mainly due to lousy writers and to technological advances in special effects. In the industry’s defense, they have determined that they are satisfying its base audience, which consists of children and young adults.
Believing in capitalism as I do, I don’t really have a problem with the current state of affairs. Thanks to other forms of technology, I have ready access to the great movies of the past. But, having said that, I still rue what has happened to an American art form that, as with popular music, once held so much promise.
Among my major peeves is that the majority of films I’ve seen in recent years have been under-lit, as if trying to pass themselves off as radio shows. It is a fad I simply can’t get my head around. I mean, it’s not as if light bulbs constitute a major studio expense.
Another annoyance I’ve encountered are movies that open without credits, holding them off until the end, as if the producers are worried that if the action doesn’t start as soon as the film begins to roll through the projector, the audience will switch to another station.
And what’s with the damn fireballs? How many times are we going to see the hero have to out-run flames without even singeing his tail feathers?
One final peeve are directors who think that by having characters talk over each other, they’re striking a blow for realism, when in fact people are rarely that rude except on Fox News and in other lousy movies.
In the real world, one of my major peeves happen to be wealthy communists. Maybe because I grew up with a bunch of rich Russian-born uncles who never stopped praising the Soviet Union — although none of them ever packed their bags and moved back — such people have a special place in my craw. Today, of course, the rolls of the Democratic Party are full of these rich hypocrites, and they can always be counted upon to ballyhoo Obama’s radical transformation of America and his trampling of the Constitution.
I recently came across a word, “ultracrepidarian,” that describes a person who spouts opinions far beyond his area of expertise, assuming he or she has an area of expertise. What makes the word unique is that it allows you to describe Obama without resorting to obscenities.
Another of my numerous peeves are parents who give cutesy or crazy names to their children. This is particularly popular among the celebrity crowd. Until I looked into it, I thought that perhaps Kenye West and Kim Kardashian, who named their daughter North (North West) were the prime offenders. But that was before I delved more deeply into this pathology.
Sylvester Stallone named his kid Sage Moonblood. Rob Morrow named his son Tu. (Get it? Tu Morrow.) Jason Lee labeled his first born Pilot Inspektor. Penn Jillette went with Moxie Crimefighter. Nicolas Cage, showed his allegiance to Marvel Comics by naming his son Kal-El, while Frank Zappa apparently had two kids so he could curse one with Moon Unit and the other with Diva Thin Muffin.
Just in case you were wondering if drug use is as widespread in show biz as you’ve heard rumored, wonder no longer. All I can say is if Moxie Crimefighter or Tu Morrow ever gets around to killing his parents, he’ll want me either serving on the jury or as his defense attorney.
Of late, I have been urging my readers to drop certain charities and to support others. Having recently warned that the Humane Society of the U.S. is as corrupt as Congress, stashing untold millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands while offering only chump change to a very few animal shelters, I’m happy to report that dog lovers who wish to make a real difference should consider contributing to Paws & Stripes.
After rescuing the animals from shelters, the charity trains them to be service dogs for military veterans suffering from mental or physical injuries.
Help a dog help a soldier. I don’t think it gets much better than that.
It’s been 39 years since the movie “Network” was released and we were all introduced to Howard Beale, the half-crazed TV anchorman created by Paddy Chayefsky and portrayed by Peter Finch. It was he who urged his audience to get off their couches, walk to the window, open it and scream: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
These days, network anchormen either lie about the news or about their personal exploits, occasionally doing both simultaneously, but they never offer such sound advice as Mr. Beale.
Frankly, I don’t know how any sentient human being can look around and not feel the obligation, or at least the natural urge, to start screaming. For instance, the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh (pronounced Jay) Johnson, yet another of Obama’s endless supply of black, butt-kissing, supplicants, recently declared that conservative Americans are the real threat to American society, not Islamic fundamentalists.
When you start adding up the number of inept and racist blacks that Obama has brought along in his wake, a crew that includes Secretary Johnson, Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett, Al Sharpton and Loretta Lynch, you begin to understand why a majority of whites and blacks are experiencing racial hostilities that had all but disappeared over the past few decades.
When liberals aren’t being deliberately offensive to conservatives, they’re just plain goofy. Take Joe Biden…please. Recently, in order to show the folks in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, that they’re not the only cities that have rolled out the red carpet for Muslims, Biden bragged that in his own hometown, Wilmington, Delaware, there is a large community of Somalis. In fact, he went on, “I’m good friends with a number of Somali taxi drivers. And I’m not being solicitous, I’m being sincere.”
It goes without saying that whenever the Vice President ventures into the exotic world of multi-syllabic words, he’s going to trip over his own tongue. Okay, so “solicitous” doesn’t mean what he seems to think it means. The far more embarrassing mistake is that in the entire city of Wilmington (population 71,000), there are fewer than 10 Somalis, and not one of them is driving a cab.
But at least we know why Biden is gainfully employed and not driving a cab. It’s because he was supposed to supply the ticket in 2008 with the experience in foreign affairs that Obama lacked, except as Charles Krauthammer correctly pointed out at the time: “Biden has over 30 years of Senate experience when it comes to foreign policy, but he’s been wrong on every single issue.”
No doubt many of you have wondered why Marie Harf is employed as a spokesperson for the State Department. After all, she doesn’t seem terribly bright and she sounds as if she’s channeling a Valley Girl of the 70s. An explanation may be found in the title of her Indiana University honors thesis: “On How Conservative Evangelical Support for Israel Complicates U.S. Foreign Policy.” It is, you can see, a paper that Barack Obama could have written if he wasn’t so darn busy playing golf and prostrating himself to Islamic terrorists.
I am hoping that Mitch McConnell will take advantage of the gift that Harry Reid provided when he removed the filibuster from the Senate playbook so that Obama could appoint liberal flunkies to the National Labor Relations Board and the federal bench.
The truth is that there is nothing sacred about the filibuster, which isn’t even referred to in the Constitution, but is simply a tradition that has outlived whatever purpose it ever had. The fact is that the last meaningful filibuster took place in 1939 and it was delivered by Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Speaking of useless encumbrances, I give you Jeb Bush. In case you’re wondering why someone who seeks to be the GOP standard bearer in 2016 would be such a staunch defender of Common Core, the indomitable Michelle Malkin has provided the answer.
It seems, according to Ms. Malkin’s investigation, that Jeb’s group, the grand sounding Foundation for Excellence in Education, is tied to the federally funded testing consortium called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which raked in $186 million through Race to the Top to develop nationalized tests aligned to the Common Core program.
Furthermore, one of the Bush Foundation’s major corporate sponsors is Pearson, the multi-billion educational publishing and testing conglomerate. Pearson just happens to have a $250 million contract with Bush’s home state of Florida to design and publish its state tests. And keep in mind that Florida is merely one of Obama’s 57 states.
So no reason to read Jeb’s lips or his mind; just follow the money and you’ll understand why the putz is such a zealot for Common Core. As anyone whose head isn’t buried in the sand or up Obama’s backside knows, Common Core is a left-wing wet dream that will depend on federal funding, the better to indoctrinate your kids, just the way that Saul Alinsky choreographed the silent revolution.
In case you missed it, Brigitte Bardot, 79, is once again being prosecuted in France for blasphemy, a crime otherwise known as speaking the truth about Islam.
The sex kitten of the French cinema of the 1960s dared to say: “I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country.”
Ms. Bardot has already been fined four times in the past and received suspended jail sentences. The idea that even after the Muslims turned Paris into a slaughterhouse, the authorities are still seeking to jail her reminds us once again that the French quickly established the Vichy government in order to work closely with the Nazis. What’s more, they took Gallic pride in exceeding German quotas when it came to rounding up and transporting French Jews to the death camps.
One can only hope that even the nitwits who elected a dedicated socialist, Francois Hollande, to the presidency will decide that this latest persecution of a French icon will finally prove to be a Brigitte too far.
The emergence last week of a cellphone video that shows University of Oklahoma students singing a racist ditty about lynching blacks disgusted people nationwide. But the reaction among some black liberals was closer to glee.
“See, I keep telling you that old-fashioned racism is alive and well in this country,” wrote Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. “After the fraternity bus sing-along at the University of Oklahoma, do you hear me now?”
Liberals tell us that they long for a post-racial America, yet they push an agenda predicated on keeping race front and center in our national discussions. They advocate social policies like affirmative action, which amounts to a racial spoils system. And they practice an identity politics that divvies up voters by race and ethnicity and then pits separate groups against one another.
The black left, meanwhile, specializes in scouring America for signs of remnant racism and seizing on them as evidence that little or nothing has really changed. So long as we have to live among the Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundys or those frat boys on the bus, the argument goes, racial gaps in academic achievement, employment, criminal behavior and other areas will persist.
“This was just video confirmation of a racism that envelops us like a fog, often just as evanescent and immeasurable,” wrote Charles Blow, a black columnist for the New York Times. “It is in this environment of dualities that today’s young people exist, dealing with the growing pains of increasing diversification grinding against unyielding racial attitudes.”
Our majority-white country has a twice-elected black president who, in 2008, outperformed both John Kerry (in 2004) and Al Gore (in 2000) among white voters in states such as Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas. Hispanics govern New Mexico and Nevada, and Asians govern Louisiana and South Carolina, which also has a black senator. Yet Mr. Blow cites the University of Oklahoma episode as proof that white racism in the U.S. today is “immeasurable” and “unyielding.”
Mr. Robinson took the argument even further, asking his readers to “imagine” that the video never surfaced and the students went on to graduate and later occupy executive positions with the “power to hire and fire” blacks. “What chance would an African-American job applicant have of getting fair consideration?” he wrote.
We don’t have to use our imagination because we can look at black history, which shows the rate at which blacks were entering the skilled professions during periods when labor-market discrimination was open, rampant and legal. Between 1940 and 1970, the percentage of black white-collar workers in the U.S. quadrupled. “There was a substantial black middle-class already in existence by the end of the 1960s,” write Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom in their book “America in Black and White.” “In the years since, it has continued to grow, but not at a more rapid pace than in the preceding three decades, despite a common impression to the contrary.”
History shows that faster black progress was occurring at a time when whites were still lynching blacks, not merely singing about it. Liberals want blacks to ignore the lessons of this pre-Civil Rights era, which threaten the current relevance of groups like the NAACP and call into question the Democratic Party’s belief that there is a federal solution to every black problem.
Moreover, this history reveals that what we see today in black America is not lack of progress due to white racism but retrogression due in large part to post-Civil Rights era social pathology and misguided government interventions. The problem isn’t the attitudes and behaviors of the boys on the bus so much as those of the boys in the ’hood.
Black elites are eager to blame bad black outcomes on bigotry and quick to denounce or mock anyone who offers an alternative explanation. But we should be thankful that black leaders of yore didn’t pretend that racism must be vanquished from America before blacks could be held primarily responsible for their socioeconomic circumstances. “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too,” Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in St. Louis. “We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves.”
I mentioned that King quote, which comes from a 1961 profile of him in Harper’s Magazine, in a column for this newspaper several years ago. Some readers accused me of fabricating it. In the era of Al Sharpton, apparently it is hard for people to believe that leading civil-rights leaders used to speak so frankly about black self-help and personal responsibility. Which may be all you need to know about the quality of those black leaders today—and the commentators who carry water for them.