"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

President "Plausible Deniability"


































Girls of the Day - Greer Garson and Deborah Kerr

I happened to glimpse two minutes of an old movie this morning while I was waiting for a man to come to our house to give us a quote on tree removal.   The movie starred Spencer Tracy, apparently as a very wealthy financier with a troublemaker son, who appeared in the two minute scene I saw to be paying off the headmaster of his son's school to keep him on.   Anyway, the next scene, only a fifteen second thing, featured his wife, whom I believed was played by a very young and very beautiful Greer Garson.   Which would put the movie in the late 1930s.

And now... the miracle of the Internet... I've figured out that the movie was called Edward, My Son, and it wasn't Greer Garson, it was a very young Deborah Kerr, and it wasn't the late 1930s, it was the late 1940s.    Hmmmm... the mind plays tricks.  

Anyway, that error permits me a two-for-one Girl of the Day.


Golfing and Watching ESPN
























That's apparently what President Obama has been doing while ISIS has taken over 35,000 square miles of Syria and Iraq, an area about the size of Indiana.   What else can we conclude from this report, via Breitbart, of a Government Accountability Institute report that Obama has missed more than half of his daily intelligence briefings during his Presidency:

This is not the first time questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of engagement and interest in receiving in-person daily intelligence briefings. On September 10, 2012, the GAI released a similar report showing that Obama had attended less than half (43.8%) of his daily intelligence briefings up to that point. When Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen mentioned the GAI’s findings in his column, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dubbed the findings “hilarious.” The very next day, U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff members were murdered in Benghazi. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the White House’s very own presidential calendar revealed Obama had not received his daily intel briefing in the five consecutive days leading up to the Benghazi attacks.

You know what we've got... we've got President Bartelby.  

AIDE:   Mr. President, it's not for your daily intelligence briefing.

OBAMA:   I would prefer not to. 

***

UPDATE:   Supposedly from a national security staffer via the Daily Mail:


'It's pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,' the aide said. 'He gets them in writing.'
'And it's well-understood why. No one sits and watches him read them, and no one can come back later and tell Congress in a closed session that "I told the president this specific thing was likely to happen".'


If accurate, that's unbelievably damning.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birthday Today - The Boss Turns 65!

Still the greatest live act ever:




Who Do They Make Excuses For, and Who Do They Always Suspect?

Victor Davis Hanson, as is his wont, today speaks a good deal of truth about both the Obama administration and radical Islamists in the Middle East:

We see this [gullibility] in the administration’s fashionable collective denial that the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam — as if foreign tourists visited Mecca as freely as they do the Vatican; as if Muslim apostates picked and chose their new religions as easily and safely as do Protestants; as if beheadings and stonings were as frequent in Paris and Houston as they are in Riyadh and Teheran; as if Bibles were brought into Iran and Saudi Arabia as freely as Korans are into America; as if churches sprouted up in Turkey, Iran, and Gaza as do mosques in Britain and Michigan; and as if women and gays were as equal in the Middle East as they are in the West.

Hanson is honest and courageous in an age of euphemism.... the truth is that no sane person is afraid to walk into any Catholic Church anywhere in the world, but everyone who isn't Muslim would rationally be terrified to walk into any number of mosques in London or Paris or Amsterdam, much less in Mosul.   And shouldn't that be the test of whether Islam really is a "religion of peace," as Obama tries to tell us?

But what interests me is the impulse of liberals to make excuses for Islam and reject tarring the entire religion because of the sins of some of its adherents.    It interests me because it is the exact opposite of what liberals do with Christians.   In America, our liberal elites in the media and academia never excuse Christians, never check themselves from generalizing from the actions of a few to the beliefs of the many.   You can see it in the products of Hollywood most clearly -- how many times in TV shows has the villain been a Christian, Catholic or Evangelical?

It tells you a lot to observe who liberals will make excuses for, and who they always hold in suspicion.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Actual Journalism on What the Climate Change Movement Wants

By Reason magazine:


The Media and the "Rape on Campus" Hysteria




I've been paying some mild attention lately to the oddity of liberal politicians (including President Obama) spending a good deal of effort to highlight what they allege to be an "epidemic" of sexual assaults on the predominantly liberal campuses of America's elite universities.   Many have touted the supposed statistic that one in five young women undergraduates will be sexually assaulted on campuses, including in the article in the Washington Post linked above, which cites how "studies" have reached that conclusion.  

Hmmm... pro tip to the media... here are two easy methods to determine whether this claim is fact or fiction.

First, you might just check the incidence of sexual assault in the United States as a whole.   This information is available with about fifteen seconds of clicking on the Internet through the FBI's data bases here.   The answer:   the rate of forcible rape in the United States in 2012 was 26.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.   Let's assume that all of the rapes were of women (note:  they weren't), and let's assume that there is roughly one woman to every man.   So 26.7 per 50,000 women would be about 1 in a little under 2000.  

In East St. Louis, Illinois, the incidence of rape is 60 per 100,000.   So a little more than double the national average, but still you're looking at only a little more than 1 in a thousand women getting raped in one of the historically and famously worst cities for crime in the nation.

That's a little different than 1 in 5, isn't it?

But, hey Mr. Reporter, if arithmetic and casual research is too much for you, how about just doing about five seconds of hard THINKING.   Consider this logic:

  • Any one of your Ivy League liberal friends in your nice liberal enclaves in nice suburbs in New Jersey or Massachusetts or Maryland or northern Virginia would absolutely be horrified if their 18 year-old daughter was required to spend even a single night in a hotel in East St. Louis.   (And rightly so.)
  • But the same exact people will celebrate the admission of the same daughter to Princeton or Harvard or Yale, even though, according to the statistics cited by Obama and WaPo, the likelihood of them being raped at those august institutions is about two hundred times greater!

Look, I'd say Q.E.D., but I suspect that our educational system has failed to teach Americans any Latin either.   But here's the gist... the "rape epidemic on campus" story cannot possibly be true, because if it were true, the applications to Princeton and Harvard and Yale, etc., would plummet.   The same parents who won't let their kids ride their bikes without helmets aren't going to send their daughters to rape factories.  

***

P.S. The fact that this campaign against rape is coming out in September before a November mid-term in which the Democratic Party is facing a big uphill climb leads me to two conclusions:

1. The Dems are really worried about voter turnout among young women and particularly young college women, who voted heavily for Obama in 2008 and 2012.   So they are going to try to gin up a not-so-subliminal campaign theme that, if you oppose Obama and the Democrats, you are pro-rape.

2. Look for reporters to ask "gotcha" questions of Republican candidates for Senate about campus rape.    Can you imagine what will happen to a Republican who has the audacity to suggest that the statistics are bogus or that the so-called "epidemic" is hysteria, or, worse, has the audacity to suggest that maybe we should be teaching young women to avoid drinking too much and/or to practice abstinence sexually?  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mark Cuban on the NFL

Dallas Mavericks mark cuban












































Mark Cuban, the billionaire Internet entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a very very smart fellow.   So when he talks about anything having to do with the business of sports, he's worth listening to.   But this is amazing... from six months ago, Cuban wrote on Facebook about problems facing the NFL:

2. Player Behavior.
The NBA learned this lesson. Fans don’t like to see players acting the fool. While fans may forgive players over time, advertisers have long memories.
It is hard to ask players to be warriors on the field and perfect citizens off. Across a population of more than 1500 players under the age of 30, you can bet that they will have continuing issues. With the unquenchable thirst the online and media world have for HEADLINE PORN, and the ever growing availability of pictures of those mistakes appearing online, it is not inconceivable that over the next ten years something could impact the perception of the game enough to impact attendance and viewership.

The Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson stories are perfect examples of bad behavior by players, captured on video or photographs, generating "headline porn" for the 24/7 media machine.   Will advertisers turn away?   Maybe.   Will fans?   Probably not.   What will affect fans over time is another point Cuban makes:


1. I wouldn’t want my son playing football, would you?
I’m sure helmet technology will improve over the next 10 years, but why risk it? There are plenty of sports to play. Plenty of ways to get exercise and if my son decided to do anything outside of sports and never pick up any ball of any kind, I’m fine with that. I can think of 1k things I would prefer him to get excited about doing.
As far as watching, I good with that.
I don’t think I’m alone. If we start to see a decline of popularity at the high school and then college level because kids choose other sports, it will hurt the interest in watching the NFL

Like I said... he's a very smart fellow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Here's How to Stop Intolerance by Islamists






































This sort of story is becoming too commonplace:

Islamist police in Saudi Arabia have stormed a Christian prayer meeting and arrested its entire congregation, including women and children, and confiscated their bibles, it has been reported. 
The raid was the latest incident of a swingeing crackdown on religious minorities in Saudi Arabia by the country's hard-line Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.  
The 28 Christians were said to be worshipping at the home of an Indian national in the eastern city of Khafji, when the police entered the building and took them into custody. They have not been seen or heard from since, raising concerns among human rights groups as to their whereabouts.

It has to stop.   Religious tolerance is the sine qua non of modern civilization.   Christians must be permitted to worship wherever they live in the world -- and this goes for Saudi Arabia and Iran and Egypt and every other Islamic country where Christians are persecuted.   Israel's right to exist must be respected by the same Islamic countries.   If they choose not to live in peace with Jews and Christians, if they choose to be in a perpetual holy war against Jews and Christians, then it's time we start obliging them.  

King Abdullah (pictured above) ought to be getting a stern message through back channels and off the record... if Christians are harmed in your country simply because they are worshipping, you are a dead man.   If the 28 Christians your government has taken into custody are harmed in any way, a drone will be sent to rain destruction on you and your family.   Period.  End of story.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Atlanta Hawks' Owner and Pseudo-Racism

























We have gotten to the point in this country where you don't have to yell the "N" word at an innocent black child, or refuse to rent to a black family or to serve a black man at a restaurant to be labelled "Racist."   Now, apparently, if a white man talks about race at all, he can be accused of racism.

Witness Bruce Levenson, the soon-to-be-gone Atlanta Hawks owner.   Two years ago he writes an email wondering how the team can attract more fans and, specifically, affluent white fans.   To my ear, the email isn't racist at all, but simply a thoughtful analysis based on data and demographics and some conjecture about what different audiences might prefer for their entertainment dollar:

Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:
— it’s 70 pct black 
— the cheerleaders are black 
— the music is hip hop 
— at the bars it’s 90 pct black 
— there are few fathers and sons at the games 
— we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.
My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.
Again, to my ear that sounds like  a man who is anti-racist but who is sensitive to the fact that some out there in Atlanta might still harbor some racist stereotypes.

But to see even more clearly why this isn't racist, let's play the substitution game.   Imagine that a black owner, say, Magic Johnson, wrote an email saying that he had noticed that the crowds at Dodgers games (he's a part-owner) are predomimantly white, and that they have all white ball-girls and play classic 70s rock between innings and had an Eddie and the Cruisers reunion concert after the game to attract more fans, and then wondered whether black patrons feel uncomfortable in that circumstance and stay away, and then asked his subordinates what they can do to attract more black patrons.   Maybe play some hip-hop in one of the stadium bars?   Maybe have a few more black ball-girls?    Would anyone say he was being racist?   Or would they say he was a businessman trying to diversify and expand his clientele?

Sheesh!   And yet Levenson himself, presumably so indoctrinated by the culture of white liberal guilt that he feels the need to confess to a crime he didn't commit, has pledged to sell the team.

By the way, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar agrees with me.   Jabbar is fast becoming my go-to pundit for all issues having to do with race, because, for whatever reason -- maybe it's just because he's really smart -- he seems to make sense and think outside-of-the-box.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Le Deluge

A colleague asked me why I haven't been blogging as much lately, and I told him that most of my usual topics -- basically centered around politics -- feel crushingly boring to me.   I told him that it was difficult to get interested in writing anything about Obama, because there is nothing new to be said... in my view he's so obviously a no-talent, all-hat-no-cattle narcissist whom the media has promoted and then protected for the past decade or so, that reiterating that conclusion seems pointless.   If any conscious adult would come to the same conclusion... why write about it?

As evidence for this position, I submit today's article from Victor Davis Hanson.  It certainly feels like nearly every other article he's written for the past five years and while he's right in his damning indictment of Obama, it's also basically a catalogue of things we already know:

We can usefully view the Obama administration’s chronic untruthfulness as a sort of multifaceted corporation of untruth, with all sorts of subsidiaries. 
Remember the al-Qaeda-is-on-the-run 2012-election talking point? It was mostly a lie. The administration deliberately released to sympathetic journalists only those documents from the so-called Osama bin Laden trove that revealed worry and dissension among the terrorists. Then it nourished essays by pet journalists trumpeting the decline of al-Qaeda. Disturbing memos that confounded that narrative, as Weekly Standard journalist Steven F. Hayes recently noted, were kept back. “On the run” was dropped after the 2012 election, when events on the ground made such an assertion absurd. 
Recent disclosures by some of the combatants about the night of the Benghazi attack remind us that almost everything Jay Carney, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama swore in the aftermath of the debacle was knowingly false. A video did not cause the attack. The rioting was not spontaneous. A video-maker, an American resident, was soon jailed, while one of the suspected killers was giving taped interviews at a coffee house in Benghazi. There were ways of securing the consulate and the annex that were not explored, both before and during the assault. Talking points were altered. Again, the catalyst for untruth was reelection worries by an administration that believes its exalted ends of social justice allow any means necessary for reaching them. 
Has anything the administration said about pulling our troops out of Iraq proven true? Was it really the Iraqis’ fault or George Bush’s? Was our leaving proof that Iraq might be one of the administration’s “great achievements”? Was the Iraq that we left without any peacekeepers really “stable”? On more than ten occasions the president bragged on the campaign trail that he alone had ended American involvement in Iraq. When Iraq predictably blew up after our departure, he snarled to reporters that he was angry that anyone would dare accuse him alone of being responsible for our precipitate departure.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Sausage-Factory of Modern Journalism






















Like many people, and particularly as someone who grew up in St. Louis, lately I've been following the story of the Ferguson riots fairly closely.   Partly, however, my ability to follow it is a function of the enormous media presence that has descended on the small, near-in St. Louis suburb.   I doubt that I am alone in thinking that the media presence has exacerbated the tensions and, in effect, induced the riots, at least to a degree.   Certainly it has attracted protesters/activists/troublemakers from around the country to travel to Ferguson, a town that most probably had never heard of before the recent events.

Stick with me here... I've also lately been reading a truly great novel by the Russian journalist and novelist, Vasily Grossman, called Life and Fate.   Not published during his lifetime, it centers around the defense of Stalingrad.   It is not too much to say that it is the 20th Century's War and Peace.

At one point, Grossman's story focuses on an editor of a newspaper in Moscow.   Naturally, the paper is a propaganda tool for the regime and Stalin.   But this description of how the editor selects news and shapes what counts as news as a  way of educating his readers strikes me as very applicable to modern journalism:
He considered that the aim of his newspaper was to educate the reader -- not indiscriminately to disseminate chaotic information about all kinds of probably fortuitous events.   In his role as editor Sagaydak might consider it appropriate to pass over some event: a very bad harvest, an ideologically inconsistent poem, a formalist painting, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, an earthquake, or the destruction of a battleship.   He might prefer to close his eyes to a terrible fire in a mine or a tidal wave that had swept thousands of people off the face of the earth.   In his view these events had no meaning and he saw no reason why he should bring them to the notice of readers.... He himself felt that his power, his skill and experience as an editor were revealed by his ability to bring to the consciousness of his readers only those ideas that were necessary and of true educational benefit.
I thought of this passage this week when I read this terrific story by Matti Friedman about the press' coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this summer.    It raises many questions that editors and journalists, but mostly readers, should consider whenever they pick up a newspaper.   Why is this story so prominent?   What was the principle the editor applied in deciding to send reporters out to cover this rather than that?   Why are the lives of A,B and C apparently more important, more newsworthy than the lives of X, Y and Z? 

In short, it forces you to understand that, just like when you eat a hot dog that hot dog had to be made in a sausage factory somewhere, and how that factory works ought to matter to you, when you read a newspaper that newspaper was put together by human beings with biases and career interests and bosses and advertisers breathing down their necks, and how that all happens also ought to matter to you.

Anyway, here is just a bit of the article, but it's really worth reading all of it:
Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted. 
To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel. I don’t mean to pick on the AP—the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else. 
The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago. 
News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

In the same way, news organizations have decided that the single young black man, Michael Brown, killed in an altercation with a white police officer in Ferguson two weeks ago somehow merits massive media coverage, while the dozens, if not hundreds, of young black men killed in St. Louis and Chicago and Detroit and all of the other dysfunctional American cities this summer by other young black men somehow doesn't merit such coverage, but instead merits what amounts to statistical reporting, as if those deaths, that violence, that carnage, was just the weather.   Five killed over the weekend on the South Side of Chicago is reported with the bland tone of "eighty-two degrees and partly cloudy."

Why?  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Girl of the Day - Adelaide Clemens of Rectify

We've just barely started watching Rectify, the series on the Sundance Channel that just finished its second season.   The show has to do with the return of a man, Daniel Holden, to a small town where he had grown up after twenty years on death row, from which he has been released because of newly-discovered DNA evidence.   Many still believe he committed the brutal rape and murder of a young girl, and many hope that he will be convicted in a new trial.   Meanwhile, the young man descends on the world of the Internet and cell phones and laptops like a Man from Mars; everything is new and strange and a little scary to him.   And, as the viewers, we don't know if his own alien strangeness is a sign of his innocence, or a sign that something dark and potentially murderous lurks within him.

In short, it looks like a very very good show.

A minor character so far, but I suspect a major character in the long run, is the devout Christian wife of Holden's step-brother, played by Adelaide Clemens, whom we first saw in the very good HBO version of Parade's End with Benedict Cumberbatch.   Here's a terrific scene early in the first season with her and Holden:



And, as always, here she is in her civvies:

This Pretty Much Says It All


Beware the Marquette University Poll
















Hot Air is highlighting the most recent Marquette University polling data which shows, bizarrely, that Governor Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke among registered voters, but somehow trails her among likely voters.   The poll overall assumes an enthusiasm gap in favor of the Democrats, skewing D+6 among likely voters.

Well, I call bullshit.   There is literally no way after what the Dems tried to do to Walker in the recall election, and after the recent primary win by pseudo-Democrat Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County (essentially running as the conservative in the Democratic primary for an unopposed office and opposed by liberals, including Mayor Bloomberg of New York) in which many Republicans, including yours truly, crossed over to vote, that the enthusiasm gap is somehow skewing Democratic in Wisconsin when everywhere else in the country it's skewing strongly for Republicans.    No f'in way.

Walker will win, and win fairly handily.   Mark it down.   He's done a good job, and everyone knows it.   Wisconsin Republicans are not going to sit on their hands at home when the Dems try to take it away.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

78 Days







































By the way, Election Day 2014 is 11 weeks from tomorrow.   I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the economy, Obamacare, Iraq, Ferguson, Benghazi, the VA scandal, the NSA scandal, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, the border crisis, "lost" emails, Executive Order power grabs, almost 200 rounds of golf, Martha's Vineyard vacations, the Ukraine, Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc., aren't going to miraculously get solved by then.   The overwhelming evidence of gross incompetence on the part of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party as a whole (I'm 55 and St. Louis hasn't been run by Republicans in my lifetime) is in.   November is going to be a wipeout.   Then watch the media, Hollywood and the usual liberal suspects howl at the moon.   It's hard to stay rational when your entire worldview comes crashing down.

Girl of the Day - Chrissie Hynde

We happened to listen to The Pretenders on the radio recently, and I had forgotten how great Chrissie Hynde was.   So... enjoy!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kevin Williamson on Ferguson et al.

Kevin Ferguson at NRO sums up what the libs like to call the "root causes" of urban unrest such as the rioting we've seen over the past week in Ferguson, MO:

The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides. Whether you believe that that is the result of a racially biased criminal-justice system or the result of higher crime incidence related to socioeconomic conditions within black communities (or some combination of those factors) what is undeniable is that results for black Americans are far worse in our most progressive, Democrat-dominated cities than they are elsewhere. The progressives have had the run of things for a generation in these cities, and the results are precisely what you see.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Who Lost Iraq?

I'll give you a hint:



The naivete of Obama was on full display this morning again when he gave a CYA statement from the White House on Iraq. Essentially, in response to critics who say (correctly) that the turmoil over there would never have happened if he had successfully negotiated a Status of Forces Agreement and kept a small but useful deterrent of United States Armed Forces personnel in that country, Obama offered a platitude that (I'm paraphrasing) "if the different tribes and ethnicities and religions can't accommodate each other, then no amount of U.S. force can do any good."

Well. Let's boil that down... what Obama is saying is that, until history stops and utopia commences, prudential use of force to maintain order is useless. Using that same logic, why should we have a military at all? Why should we have police officers? Or borders? Or laws? Since human nature is what it is, and no amount of force can change it, why not just relax and watch Sports Center and make a tee time for later this afternoon?

Oh... yeah.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hillary Clinton's University Speeches and Money Laundering to Avoid Campaign Finance Laws



























Regarding the exorbitant fees Hillary Clinton has received for speaking engagements on college campuses, I had this same thought, but John Hinderaker beat me to it:

What does Hillary do? No sane person would pay to sit through one of her speeches. The universities that pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars are always quick to say that it wasn’t their money–it doesn’t account for their spiraling tuition!–but rather, it was contributed by donors. This is called money laundering. No one could contribute $250,000 to Hillary’s campaign–legally–but anyone can give the money to a university to underwrite her fee for a forgettable speech.

Why doesn't some enterprising reporter at the Washington Post or New York Times ask Hillary and these universities to disclose who exactly the donors were who contributed the funds necessary to pay Hillary Clinton $250k for an hour of droning?   Consider if the Koch brothers had donated, say, $250k to each of 20-30 universities for the express purpose of paying for a Ted Cruz speech, then Ted Cruz used the resuting $5-7.5 million in "personal" wealth to fund the early stages of his Presidential campaign.   Would they be interested in the topic then? 

See, if it were Republicans, someone in the Justice Department might notice that university administrations, wealthy donors, and the Hillary Clinton permanent campaign, are engaged in something called a CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT CAMPAIGN FINANCE FRAUD, which I strongly suspect is a federal crime punishable by prison terms.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wisdom from Victor Davis Hanson

VDH this morning:  "Modern liberalism has descended into the art of rich people blaming the lower middle class for not being generous enough with money they don’t have."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nicholas Brothers

Ace of Spades had this last night, but I thought I'd share.   This is literally the most wonderful thing I've ever seen:


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pranking the Religious




Ann Althouse today notes that liberal pranksters have recently been doing things like this at Hobby Lobby stores:



hobby lobby pro-choice prank



















Althouse makes this essential point:

The pranksters are taunting those who have taken a strong stand based on religion. Are we really going to taunt people about religion? If you're inclined to say yes, do you really mean it, across the board for all religions, or is this a special willingness to taunt Christians? If it's special for Christians, why is that? Is it because you think it's okay to taunt what you think is the dominant group? If Christians like the ones your protesting against really were dominant, we shouldn't, in a democracy, end up with laws forcing them to do things against their conscience, so I'd say, the existence of the birth control mandate is evidence that they are not the dominant group, in which case, you're harassing a minority. Why would you do that? Is it that you feel safe picking on Christians?

As becomes more and more clear, American liberalism, which used to be about combatting prejudice, now increasingly is a form of prejudice -- against white Americans, men, Christians, etc.   

***

On, and by the way, this behavior breaks the first rule of the Regular Guy, which as my children will tell you is:

DON'T MAKE WORK FOR OTHER PEOPLE!

Here's a self-identifying hip liberal who thinks it's OK to create a mess in a business and force one of its employees to take time to clean it up.   Just look at the self-congratulatory smugness on her face!   Hey, look at me, look how much smarter I am than these little people!   Won't I have a good laugh watching them straighten up after my vandalism!

If I were Hobby Lobby, I'd figure out a way to find out who this person is who is so blithely self-advertising her disorderly conduct, and call the local gendarmes.   Wonder if she'd be laughing then?

Obama Fiddling While Jerusalem Burns

Here's a story from Powerline that, fair to say, most Americans won't know, because most Americans are too busy thinking about where LeBron James will end up:

Writing from The Israel Project this morning, Omri Ceren draws our attention to a notable development (reported here) in Hamas’s war against Israel: “Yesterday Hamas launched – and then bragged about launching – three long-range M75 rockets targeting Israel’s nuclear reactor in the city Dimona. Iron Dome had to knock one of the rockets out of the sky; the other two landed in open areas.”
Omri comments: “A terrorist attack against a nuclear reactor is straightforwardly defined as nuclear terrorism by the UN’s 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. This isn’t a close, debatable interpretation. It’s part of the black-letter definition at the very top of the convention[.]”
Hamas is likely to try again; if they succeed, writes Omri, they will have pulled off against an Israeli city what the UN considers to be an act of nuclear terrorism: “The Israeli reaction to an unconventional terror attack is impossible to completely foresee, but it’s safe to say that Israel’s missile defense system prevented a catastrophe yesterday.”

If Hamas were to succeed in hitting one of Israel's nuclear reactors the resulting fallout could cause a Chernobyl-like disaster.   Is it any wonder that Israel is acting aggressively against Hamas?   They were literally moments away from a potentially country-destroying catastrophe.    (Chernobyl, lest we forget, resulted in the creation of a 30 km radius "exclusion zone" in the Ukraine.   That's slightly more than 1,000 sq. miles.   The entire nation of Israel is only 8,000 sq. miles.   Is the Dimona reactor larger or smaller than Chernobyl?   Would its destruction by missile cause a larger or smaller release than Chernobyl?   Do you know?   Does anyone?)

Oh, by the way, could all of the liberal Democrats who ridiculed Ronald Reagan for his proposal in the 1980s to build an anti-missile shield please forward their apologies to the Reagan family?   They called it "Star Wars" and called Reagan a dunce for fantasizing about it.   The Israels call it the "Iron Dome" and it may have just saved their country.

Meanwhile, here's what our current President is spending his time doing:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shameful

Peggy Noonan had a great piece last weekend about how Obama has basically decided that he no longer needs to do his job.   Here's the gist:

I'm not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic: "So sue me." "They don't do anything except block me. And call me names. It can't be that much fun."
In a truly stunning piece in early June, Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein interviewed many around the president and reported a general feeling that events have left him—well, changed. He is "taking fuller advantage of the perquisites of office," such as hosting "star-studded dinners that sometimes go on well past midnight." He travels, leaving the White House more in the first half of 2014 than any other time of his presidency except his re-election year. He enjoys talking to athletes and celebrities, not grubby politicians, even members of his own party. He is above it all.  
On his state trip to Italy in the spring, he asked to spend time with "interesting Italians." They were wealthy, famous. The dinner went for four hours. The next morning his staff were briefing him for a "60 Minutes" interview about Ukraine and health care. "One aide paraphrased Obama's response: 'Just last night I was talking about life and art, big interesting things, and now we're back to the minuscule things on politics.' '' 
Minuscule? Politics is his job.


Now there's this:




If you've lost a Hispanic Democratic Congressman, you've probably reached the bottom.


Media Ignorance

A terrific article by Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist blog highlights the growing problem of media ignorance... how the liberal punditocracy which claims to know best about how to run the world actually knows very little about the world they want to run.   Here's a minor taste, but read it all:

During my time at GetReligion, a site that daily analyzes how well the mainstream media handles religion news, we never lacked for content. There was the time a New York Times‘ reporter referred to the crozier, the ornate silver shepherd’s crook, carried by Pope John Paul II as a “crow’s ear.” Which of course brings to mind First Things editor Richard John Neuhaus’ stories of being interviewed:
An eager young thing with a national paper was interviewing me about yet another instance of political corruption.   
"Is this something new?" she asked.  
"No," I said, "it's been around ever since that unfortunate afternoon in the garden."  
There was a long pause and then she asked, "What garden was that?" It was touching.

What prompts me to mention this today is that I'm just off the phone with a reporter from the same national paper.  
He's doing a story on Pope Benedict's new encyclical. In the course of discussing the pontificate,  
I referred to the pope as the bishop of Rome. 
 "That raises an interesting point," he said. "Is it unusual that this pope is also the bishop of Rome?"  
He obviously thought he was on to a new angle.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Difference

When extremist Islamists flew planes into our buildings on 9/11, Palestinians in the streets of East Jerusalem cheered.   But when extremist Israelis murdered a Palestinian teenager in revenge for earlier murders (by Palestinians) of three Israeli teenagers, here is how Israel reacted:

Israel reckoned with rising homegrown extremism Sunday as it arrested six Jewish suspects who are believed to have burned to death an Arab teenager in revenge for the killing of three Israeli teens.
The arrests shocked those on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide — Palestinians because many had assumed Israel would never act against its own, and Israelis because there had been widespread doubt that Jews could have carried out such a heinous crime. 
Sunday’s action could help defuse what has been seen as a dangerous swelling of Palestinian anger, with violent protests in East Jerusalem and Arab towns in northern Israel feeding fears of a budding intifada.

That's the difference between the two cultures.   And that's why the culture of Israel -- the culture of the West -- must prevail.