Friday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesGood stuff today. Really good stuff. Here goes:

Kevin D. Williamson says that the IRS scandal is the worst scandal ever in American politics, since it fundamentally undermines our form of government. I’m inclined to agree with him and would even go so far as to wonder whether he’s been reading my blog.

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And while I’m on the subject of destroying our form of government, Barack Obama is again investigating whether the power to issue executive orders is actually the power to re-write entirely federal legislation to suit his own political purposes. The administration claims it’s contemplating this exercise of power because the current program is controversial — but it’s only controversial because there are a lot of people who want to grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants. Here’s the deal in America as it once was: if you didn’t like the law, you changed it through the legislative process. Only in banana republics do you let the Dear Leader ignore the law and do it his way.

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Even if common core works perfectly in some pristine education program on an Ivy League campus, it’s a disaster in real life. H

Here’s a squirrely idea from me: One of the things that totalitarian governments do is separate children from the parents, either physically or emotionally. (Remember that Hitler’s Youth would turn in their own parents for infractions.) To the extent that common core makes it impossible for parents to help elementary school aged children with what used to be basic math problems, you have to wonder if a goal, or a pleasant by-product, of the Common Core program is that it makes children see their parents as stupid, unhelpful, and unreliable.

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Hillary lies again, this time about Iran. You’d think Hillary would eventually wise up to the fact that, in an internet age, it takes minutes, not years, to expose blatant lies. Of course, she’s counting on the media to shelter her. That’s naive too. In 2008, the media dropped her in a New York minute when Barack came along last time around. It even seems as if Bill’s dropping her, and Keith Koffler amusingly ponders why that’s so.

Career overseas civil servants should also think about dumping Hillary. The DiploMad explains that she (and her whole State Department) broke the special bond between America and her employees overseas.

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More and more people are catching on to the fact that the Left is entirely adolescent in its approach to itself and to world governance. Matthew Continetti applies that adolescent theory to the New York Times, which is caught up in a firestorm made up of allegations that it fired Jill Abrahamson, its first female executive because she complained about wage discrimination. (And isn’t that irony lovely from a paper that carries the Democrats’ water on the wage discrimination campaign issue?)

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Everything you need to know about life in Obama’s America: The same Pentagon that is actively or passively responsible for the VA program that intentionally killed veterans through neglect is working hard to get a sex change operation for convicted traitor Bradley Manning.

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Meanwhile, the insanity on America’s college campuses continues. This time, a college is dropping “hump day,” because the camel theme (complete with a camel petting zoo) is seen as disrespectful to Arab culture.

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What it’s like to be a voter in Chicago.

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And finally, a look into the ugly heart of ProgressiveLand:

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m still clearing out the inbox, but I’ve also got some current stuff in here, so I consider this a round-up. I’ll just dive in, with the stuff presented here in pretty random order:

Last Sunday, a New York Times op-ed addressed “Why People Don’t Donate Their Kidneys.” Sally Satel, the author, recognized that we don’t want to pay people for body parts, but thinks that she’s figured out a clever way around it by giving them non-cash rewards. Frankly, that strikes me as the same immorality, just wearing different clothes.

I suspect people don’t donate their kidneys for the same reason I haven’t: People like having a back-up system. They like knowing that, if one kidney fails, they’ve got another one available, instead of having to depend on the kindness of strangers. That investment in a back-up changes when the kidney donation becomes personal.  That happens when the kidney donee is a family member, close friend, or even a stranger who touched a chord in the donor. Without that personal touch, people kind of like to hang on to the spare.

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Have you heard of Archbishop John Joseph Hughes, aka “Dagger” John, aka the first Catholic Archbishop of New York?  I hadn’t, so I found absolutely fascinating this City Journal article about the way in which he brought discipline and purpose to the vast cadre of lawless, self-destructive Irish immigrants who had been so deeply traumatized by the horrors of the famine in Ireland and the societal disintegration that followed in its wake:

Hughes’s solution for his flock’s social ills was to re-spiritualize them. He wanted to bring about an inner, moral transformation in them, which he believed would solve their social problems in the end. He put the ultimate blame for their condition squarely on the historical oppression they had suffered at the hands of the English, which he said had caused them “to pass away from the faith of their ancestors,” robbing them of the cultural heritage that should have guided their behavior. But that was in the past: now it was time for them to regain what they had lost. So he bought abandoned Protestant church buildings in Irish wards, formed parish churches, and sent in parish priests on a mission of urban evangelization aimed at giving the immigrants a faith-based system of values.

With unerring psychological insight, Hughes had his priests emphasize religious teachings perfectly attuned to re-socializing the Irish and helping them succeed in their new lives. It was a religion of personal responsibility that they taught, stressing the importance of confession, a sacrament not widely popular today—and unknown to many of the Irish who emigrated during the famine, most of whom had never received any religious education. The practice had powerful psychological consequences. You cannot send a friend to confess for you, nor can you bring an advocate into the confessional. Once inside the confessional, you cannot discuss what others have done to you but must clearly state what you yourself have done wrong. It is the ultimate taking of responsibility for one’s actions; and it taught the Irish to focus on their own role in creating their misfortune.

How do we respiritualize a society that seems, lately, to concern itself solely with sexual license? It can be done, you know. Hughes did it with the Irish immigrants. The Victorians (especially the Evangelical movement) did it as a response to the worst excesses of the Georgian and Regency eras. Presumably, we can do it too.

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The Daily Mail’s profile of Lt. John Randall, the first member of the Allied troops to enter Bergen Belsen is a useful reminder that “Holocaust denial” means denying the reality of the past, one that was experienced by millions, witnessed by thousands, and proudly documented by its perpetrators. In this regard, it differs from “climate change denial,” which involves rejecting a predictive theory that, so far, has been wrong approximately 90% of the time.

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Apropos that whole climate change thing, you can get a good insight here into the hoax that serial liar Michael Mann perpetrated with his famed hockey stick graph, a graph to which the Left still clings to “prove” that climate change is real.

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When Hillary came to the Bay Area in early April, John, of The City Square, was there to record the protests. Should Hillary run in 2016, she will face a lot of opposition, based upon a long history of dubious, frequently immoral, and possibly criminal behavior. Benghazi is just the exclamation point to a long, unsavory career.

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The reliably Leftist, tax-payer funded NPR just hired a new, reliably Leftist CEO. What I found so amusing was the WaPo’s article about his hiring, which expressed surprise and dismay that NPR had problems sticking to its budget (emphasis mine):

[Jarl] Mohn, who has a reputation as a turnaround specialist, will inherit an organization that has been battling persistent operating deficits. It is projecting a deficit of $6.1 million in its current fiscal year, or a little more than 3 percent of its projected revenue of $178 million. The gap between revenue and expenses led NPR to offer buyouts to its 840 employees in September, in an effort to pare about 10 percent of its staff.

Could it be that NPR has operating deficits because it knows that, unlike an actual business, its deficits are meaningless? A real business goes under when it has chronic deficits. A government-funded business simply gets more money from the government. And yes, NPR likes to point out that it gets a large part of its budget from corporate and individual donations, but the fact is, it knows that the government will always be there to bail it out.

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The Left is all about its fealty to science . . . until that fealty clashes with political correctness. When that happens, it’s under the bus for you. In this case, the sinner is long-time New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, who looks at differing genetic data in sub-Saharan Africans and reaches non-PC conclusions. His conclusions could be entirely wrong, of course, but Leftists won’t debate him, they’ll just erase him.  (Remember, on the Left, the debate is always over.)

As someone who believes in evolution, I’ve also assumed that certain tribes have, over the centuries, encouraged certain traits. For example, in societies where hunting prey (and running fast so as not to become prey) are necessary for survival, those who successfully passed their DNA down would have been the fast runners, not the slow. With the DNA inheritance, you would soon have a tribe composed of very fast people. Jews, when viewed as a tribe, have always centered their lives around the Bible.  It therefore makes sense that those with a certain academic bent would be most successful in passing on their DNA. The result would be that Jews would excel at tasks requiring an academic bent.  Even Hollywood is an example of genetic selection. For decades, starting in the 1920s, many of the most attractive people in America poured into that city. Most never ended up in pictures. Instead, they married each other and created generations of good-looking Southern California kids with straight noses, good jaw lines, and great figures.

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In case you didn’t know, Ambassador Christopher Stevens wasn’t “murdered.” Nope. According to “journalist” and Democrat party shill Eleanor Clift, he died of smoke inhalation after a movie review ran amok. You and I are now thinking, “How can anyone still parrot that line after the revelation about the Ben Rhodes Benghazi email? She must be really stupid.” She’s not. We’re stupid. Clift understands the whole concept of the Big Lie, and recognizes that it will still work if you’re the party that controls the media.

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I know nothing about football, but I posited yesterday that Michael Sam was going to be trouble for the Rams. Jazz Shaw, who does know something about football, agrees. Moreover, he does so for the same reason I gave: unless the Rams treat Sam like the crown prince of the game, they’re going to get raked over the coals in the media (which, after all, is their conduit to the money people pay).  As it is, the “re-education” has already started.

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Ruth Wisse, one of the few conservative professors at Harvard, writes a powerful opinion piece about the closing of the academic mind. Today’s students will not speak out. They’ve been taught that they’re worthless (“check your privilege at the door”), and their professors are impenetrably wrapped up in their self-righteous and invariably vindictive Leftism.

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I’ve stated repeatedly that one of the things that turned me away from my staunch pro-choice position was the pro-death attitude that permeates the abortion rights movement. Andrew Klavan, another former pro-abortion person, comments on the same thing, but more powerfully than I could.

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My friend Gary Buslik has written two hysterically funny books: Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood and A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Just Waiting to Happen. He recently got interviewed over at “Divorced Girl Smiling” and, as you can probably guess, the interview is laugh out loud funny. I found especially amusing the bit about cats and high heels, in part because of this picture, which has been making the rounds on Facebook:

Dog in heels

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And finally, from Prager University, a short lesson about forgiveness. There was nothing new in it for me, but I liked how well-organized it was, and I especially liked the reminder that forgiveness is psychology important, not just for the person seeking forgiveness but, in certain circumstances, for the one doing the forgiving:

Wednesday evening round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis has been a crazily chaotic day.  I got thrown off my stride by my morning swim (phase 2 in physical therapy for my knee, now that I’m off the perpetual motion machine), and just couldn’t catch up anymore.  Throw in a few unexpected demands on my time and — voila! — I’m doing my round-up early in the evening instead of first thing in the morning.  Still, proving that there’s always room for a cliched phrase, better late than never.  So, here goes:

A friend sent me the following link in the mail and it was so eerily close to the way real events are playing out, that it took me a second to realize that it’s satire (and pretty damn funny satire at that): On Defense Cuts, Obama Just Comes Right Out And Says He Wants The Terrorists To Win

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Perhaps we’ve reached a stage where the best we can hope for is that Israel will have our back, rather than vice versa.  At least today, Israel had its own back (can I say that and still make sense?), capturing a massive arms haul — Syrian missiles, shipped out from Iran, and headed to Gaza. Thank God the Israelis still have the sechel to watch out for their own interests.

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And speaking of Israel’s interests, if the last twenty-two years have shown us anything, it’s that participating in peace talks isn’t working. The reason, of course, is that the peace talks are all directed at a “two-state solution,” but the Palestinians, as well as the surrounding Arab and Muslim states, have no interest in a two-state solution. Yoav Sorek says that it’s time to stop chasing this chimera and create a new paradigm: a one-state solution — Israel — that the Palestinians have to learn to live with.

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If you’re girding your loins against the possibility of a Hillary victory in 2016, maybe it’s time to stop girding and start working incredibly hard for a good conservative candidate, instead of the usual lousy conservative candidates. I say this because Hillary is also a lousy candidate and the only way in which Republicans can lose if she’s the Democrat candidate is if they put up another McCain.  (What do you bet that the Republicans put up another John McCain?)

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Here’s a scary thought: I already suggested that Obama has gone round the bend. What if Putin has done the same? The world is scary enough with one madman in power. What’s it going to be like with the last two great powers of the 20th century both headed by malignant narcissists whose already tenuous grip on reality has been destroyed by the bubbles in which they surrounded themselves?

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Maybe none of it matters anyway, at least when it comes to Russia. I’ve noted before that Russia is in serious decline and this article provides the facts behind my conclusions. Whether Putin’s move on the Crimea is crazed or calculated, it can only buy a small amount of time for a country that will be eaten by China in the next few decades. (And considering its population, China will have a credible “lebensraum” argument, won’t it?) Ultimately, Putin will have gained nothing for his own country, although he will have succeeded in providing more evidence that Obama is feckless and unreliable, and may have caused several thousand, or even several hundred thousand, deaths along the way. Given the two delusional men at the helm of two declining nations, the last thing we want is a fast-walk to military confrontation.

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If Snowden had merely shown how the U.S. government routinely collects very scrap of data it can about American citizens, he would have deserved the “hero” title that the far Left and far Right placed on him. But considering that he mostly stole 1.7 million sensitive files touching upon national security, and then headed for the Chinese and, after that, the Russians, it’s clear that he’s the biggest traitor in American history. I’m putting more and more credence in the theory that he was a massive traitor all along, and that he stole the “spying on American” stuff only to provide himself with cover.

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Walt Disney Co. is free to demand that everyone and everything with which it deals support gay marriage. And people who disagree with that position are free to stop dealing with the Walt Disney Co. I really like Disneyland and Disney World, but it won’t be the end of the world for me if I never go to either place again. I bet the same is true for a lot of Americans. I’m not suggesting a formal boycott. I am pointing out, however, that in this information-rich world, we no longer have to deal with companies that spend our money in ways we dislike.

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Jonah Goldberg supports Obama’s initiative to help black youth, even if it’s manifestly discriminatory for the federal government to extend aid to one racial group while ignoring others (not that this has ever stopped the feds before). Jonah is right that America’s black youth are in desperate straits and need all the help they can get. My only concern is that it was the federal government that got America’s black youth in this situation in the first place, thanks to Leftists’ belief that blacks cannot manage without government support. It seems to me that the federal government is the last entity that should be trusted to get blacks out of this miserable cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty. Remember Frederick Douglass’s words (emphasis mine):

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.

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Not only did I enjoy Ace’s take on Obama’s manifestly unconstitutional decision to amend Obamacare again, but I loved the Photoshop you’ll find at that link. (BTW, Obama’s action is unconstitutional because only Congress can amend a law. This is banana republic stuff.)

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Did I say “banana republic stuff”? I did, and I meant it. Michael Ramirez has his own comment on what Barack Obama has managed to do in five short (although they seemed very long) years.

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The NAACP says “stand your ground” laws are part of “institutional racism.” Think about that for a moment. The laws simply say that, if your choices when faced by an assailant are to cut and run or to stand and fight, you can stand and fight (especially when cutting and running carries risks). They are facially neutral laws that apply to anyone facing a threat, black or white. What the NAACP is implicitly conceding is that the only/primary threatening parties in America — the ones who will be on the wrong side of “stand your ground” — are black. Wow! Is that racist or what? It seems to me that the NAACP is guilty of a bit of institutional racism itself.

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There are two writers out there who make just about everything interesting . . . and when the subject matter is inherently interesting, they’re off into the stratospheres of wonder for their readers. Enjoy the Diplomad’s Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West and Sultan Knish’s A Maddow in MSNBCland.

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Boehner’s bad: He freely concedes that all he cares about is opening up America’s borders. Who cares that the voters don’t want that? Remember, our elected officials are no longer our servants; they are our masters.

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Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That’s the word from Runner’s world:

A decade long tradition will be missing from this year’s Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered “unauthorized participants.”

Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.

Muslims don’t have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we’ll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.

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And finally, Danny Lemieux posted the following quotation on his real-me Facebook:

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

– Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
(publ. 1776-1789)

It’s funny how we spend our adolescent years desperately trying to shake off our parents’ care, which we feel comes with too many strings attached, and then spend the rest of our lives trying to get someone to care for us, strings or not.

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

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Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

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Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

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I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

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I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

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Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

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In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

Benghazi is not news at the Times; Michael Sam’s sexuality is

Michael SamI know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested.  Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.

The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care).  As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:

New York Times on Michael Sam

Think about this:  in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered.  The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president.  (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)

Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”

Europeans look at Hillary and Obama through the Benghazi lens

The American media won’t touch Benghazi with a ten foot pole, since there is no way that either Hillary or Obama come out of it looking good.  The Europeans, however, are not so squeamish.  (Hat tip:  Snoopy the Goon, a fellow Watcher’s Council member who blogs out of Israel at Simply Jews.)

Benghazi cartoon 5

Benghazi cartoon 4

Benghazi cartoon 3

Benghazi cartoon 2

Benghazi cartoon 1

Democrats — sacrificing American lives for political expediency

Robert GatesThe last seven years of the Bush presidency had as their soundtrack “Bush lied, people died” or “No wars for oil.”  Democrats loved their troops so much that they couldn’t bear to see them die because a president had ulterior motives.  Bush left the White House and, magically, Democrats stopped caring about the troops.

Obama, however, did still care about the troops:  He cared that they functioned as political props to give him cover in his half-assed efforts to “be tough on terrorism.”  We know this because former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has written a book.  Sure, Gates could be lying in Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, but one suspects he’s not — at least as to this point.  If Bob Woodward (who reviewed the book) is correct, what Gates reports is entirely consistent with Obama’s actions; his speeches about troops, terrorism, and Afghanistan; and his political record before becoming president:

In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”  (Emphasis added.)

Assuming the above statement to be true (as I do), what Obama did was unconscionable.  Bush, who stood on Ground Zero right after 9/11, believed in the fight, even though he knew troops would die protecting America’s interests.  (And that statement is true whether one believes that Bush headed into war to keep America safe or headed into war to keep Big Oil safe.  I, of course, incline to the former view.)  Obama, however, believed only in himself and was willing to let people die to advance his political standing.  Ace spells it out:

Which is what is so galling. Men are being killed at three times the rate as they died under Bush’s leadership, and Obama is not even trying to win.

Those men remain there out of political cowardice. Men are dying for Obama’s political cowardice.

If he does not wish to fight the war– then he should save those men’s lives and bring them home.

It is one thing to sacrifice men’s lives for an important objective. The only objective sought by Obama is avoiding the “Weak on Terrorism” attack that would be lodged by the Right. And the attack that Obama claimed, in knocking the Iraq War constantly, that he would be tough as the Devil on Afghanistan.

So men are dying, to save Obama some short-term minor political pain.

Obama wasn’t the only Leftist politician who viewed America’s overseas wars against Islamic terrorism, not as matters of America’s existential survival, but as mere political props.  When Hillary found herself facing Obama in the 2008 election, she declared herself against the Iraq war, not for any principled reason, but simply because that was Obama’s position.  When Hillary saw which way the wind was blowing, that’s the direction she headed:

He [Gates] writes: “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”

One wonders how long it will take the MSM to bury that inconvenient truth.  Both of these people are the execrable Francis Underwood, from House of Cards.  Their primary motivation, always, is the aggrandizement of self, and they do not care who suffers or dies during their brutal slog to the top.

The revelations in Gates’ book might cost Obama a point or two in his already sagging polls, but I doubt most people will care very much.  Those of us who had already figured out what was going on will feel vindicated, his acolytes won’t mind (they felt the same way, no doubt), and the troops will have been screwed, as usual.  This is just one more in a series of Obama insults to the men who shed blood for a war that Obama never saw as more than a campaign prop. (Here’s a satiric take on Obama’s loss of Fallujah, where so many Marines fought and died; and here’s a serious look at the sacrifices Obama threw away.)

There’s something a little more interesting going on when it comes to Hillary.  The quotation above reveals that Hillary didn’t arrive at her position on Iraq by looking at the situation on ground and making a calculation about the benefits or burdens to America in continuing to stay there, either to fight or to police that nation.  Instead, she mapped out a campaign strategy.  Pretty foul, right?  But in the paragraph immediately after the one I quoted above, Woodward makes this observation:

Earlier in the book, he [Gates] describes Hillary Clinton in the sort of glowing terms that might be used in a political endorsement. “I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world,” he wrote.

Woodward is saying that Gates praises Hillary extravagantly in the beginning of the book and then reams her in the end.  What’s with that?  My current guess is that Gates wanted to make his attack on Hillary credible.  If he’d spent the entire book lambasting her, readers might have doubted the veracity of his attack on her integrity.  By praising her to the skies, though, Gates positioned himself as a man without a bone to pick who was making a straightforward factual observation about the woman who would be president.

Any other theory about Gates’s extravagant praise and brutal revelation makes Gates’ praise for Hillary impossible to understand.  She didn’t do squat as Secretary of State except for amassing frequent flier miles.  The one time something happened (Benghazi), she failed in her responsibilities before and during the attack, and lied afterwards.  If Gates thinks she was wonderful, than he’s a fool, and everything else he’s written should be questioned.  If, however, he’s giving himself cover for his attack on Hillary, maybe he’s crazy like a fox.

The book is also garnering attention because of Gates’ sweeping Biden indictment (“wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”) and his description of Obama’s efforts to make decisions about war without bothering to speak with the Pentagon first (or at all).

Overall, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War sounds like a worthwhile read, if only to try to figure out whether Gates is a fool who thinks Hillary was wonderful, barring her amoral approach to Iraq or if he’s a wily fox who seeks to discredit her but realizes that he can’t sound too hostile when he does so.  We’ll probably see a flurry of books now, most of them painting a picture of a White House with a self-involved, narcissistic, dishonest leader listening only to his core cadre of ideologues, none of whom care about America as she is (as opposed to the Leftist utopia they hope she will be), while assiduously avoiding any contrary voices.

The Hillary factor

Bill-Clinton-and-Hillary--001Roger Simon has warned conservatives that they’re taking their eye off the ball — and the ball is Hillary Clinton.  While we conservatives are fighting our internecine Rove versus Cruz arguments, Hillary is continuing to amass power.  It’s not just that the New York Times is whitewashing Benghazi on her behalf, says Simon.  Instead, it’s that she, unlike Obama, actually has the political chops (including the political husband) to consolidate socialist gains in American government:

The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)

With that in mind, how does one explain the fact that Richard Cohen, an ardent Progressive, has penned a column telling everyone that Hillary may have been harmed by Obamacare?  He argues that, if people don’t like Obamacare, they won’t like her.  That argument is a red herring.  The facts on the ground are that Hillary kept away from Obamacare.  Her own dreams of socialized medicine notwithstanding, she had the smarts and political savvy to recognize early on that Obamacare, an unholy marriage of government and insurance companies, would be DOA and start to smell very quickly.  My take on Cohen’s overacted hand wringing it is that he thinks the best thing to happen now is for conservatives to leave Hillary alone, so that she can continue to aggregate political power.  “Move along!  Nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.”

So yeah, I think that Cohen’s article, to the extent it tries to distract attention from Hillary, proves that Simon is correct.  The Left wants Hillary to be left alone so that she can get ready for her spectacular, pre-paved emergence on the political scene.

I think, though, that Simon errs in one thing, which is his belief that the internecine war in the Republican party doesn’t matter.  Instead, it matters a great deal.  Conservatives aren’t stupid.  They know that, if another Democrat — any Democrat — gets the White House, we’ll be irrevocably on the pathway to becoming Greece.  There will be no turning back.  Knowing that, conservatives are taking a stand as to how to block that possibility:  with Tea Party, constitutional firebrands or with establishment, appeasing RINOs.  That the latter might do nothing at all to block the possibility is not something their supporters are considering.  Instead, their analysis is that the MSM has so terribly damaged the Tea Party brand that it cannot possibly win, so it’s better to back RINOs who are imperfect but might win.

Same old, same old, which I enliven with predictions for the next twelve months *UPDATED*

bored-baby

Here’s an old joke:

An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.”  The guest instantly noticed something peculiar.  In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number.  “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle.  After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”

This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.”  While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself.  He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.

The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives?  What is it with these numbers?”

“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this.  We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around.  It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers.  It’s kind of like a joke short-hand.  People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”

“Okay,” said the guest.  “I get that.  But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77’.”

Oh, him,” answered the host.  “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”

Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately.  When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009.  I predicted then what would happen now.  “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.”  Events in the Middle East?  I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy.  “See posts 3489 and 9492.”  Government data manipulation?  We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.

I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.”  As a writer, “I told you so” is boring.  It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions.  We all saw all of this coming.

The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had.  It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch.  As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them.  Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial.  That’s old stuff too.  For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed.  When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.

A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong.  We were wrong about everything.”  That’s been done too.  They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed.  I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation.  The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.

Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?

1.  Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible.  Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime.  The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place.  Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market.  (Remember:  Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)

2.  A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment.  Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought.  The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary.  It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.

3.  Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers.  With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East.  With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode.  The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet.  Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.

4.  The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America.  In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands.  What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.

5.  Obama comes out of the closet.  (And, come on, you know he’s in there.)  That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.

6.  Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration.  I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status.  We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.

7.  The New York Times will declare bankruptcy.  I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.

8.  People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming.  As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable.  I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.

9.  Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.

10.  Palestinians lay down their arms.  The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true.  This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.

And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:

UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.

An Elizabeth Warren presidential candidacy

Elizabeth Warren quotation

The two top names currently being bandied about for the Democrat presidential slate in 2016 are Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.  Democrats are saying that Hillary is “inevitable.”  I recall them saying the same thing in 2008, and that was before she had the Benghazi albatross hanging about her neck.  My suspicion is that, just as happened in 2008, were she to run, the media would roll out the red carpet for her, and she’d soil it within a few months.

No matter what Hillary does, she cannot get past the fact that, at some visceral, lizard-brain level, people who are not true believers neither like nor trust her.  And I do mean visceral.  We here are informed about what a squirrelly person she is, both personally and politically, whether one looks at Benghazi, lesbianism, political and economic ties to antisemitic Arab leagues, or whatever else.  Most Americans neither know nor care.  They just don’t like her.

And what about Elizabeth Warren?  Well, Americans neither know nor will they care that Warren’s Senatorial race proved that she’s a liar.  As Democrat politicians get caught in increasingly egregious lies, it’s rather ironic that people care less, not more.  “That’s just what politicians do,” they say, when what they really should be saying is “That’s what Democrat politicians do, so why the Hell are we voting for them?”

I’m embarrassed to admit this about the American people, but I suspect even Obama’s manifest, gross, far-reaching lies about Obamacare will eventually get nothing more than shrugs from Americans.  Those who are ideologically blind will even add “The Republicans made him do it.”  So Warren’s lies won’t get her.

I suspect that what will destroy Warren in the end is the same thing that wiped out Hillary:  she’s not likable.  Exactly like Hillary, Warren is angry, smug, and condescending.  Obama is too, but he was clever enough to hide that on the campaign trail.  Hillary couldn’t and Warren can’t.

My own outdated experience with having Warren as a law professor some decades ago is that she’s also a terribly bad communicator.  Like Obama, she does fine with the prepared speech, but she’s incoherent when she’s off the cuff.  And unlike Obama, she’s not black nor does she have a photogenic smile nor “ripped abs” to help her out.  Ask her the right question, meaning an important question for which she doesn’t have a pre-packaged answer, and all you’ll get is a boatload of angry BS.

William Jacobson, of Legal Insurrection, thinks as I do about Warren, and therefore devoutly hopes that she runs, because he’s assuming that she will collapse before a Republican candidate.  I’d like to agree with him, but I fear greatly that Republicans will, as always, destroy themselves.  With our luck, rather than having Ted Cruz, or Bill Lee, Alan West, or even Chris Christie (whom I’ve come to dislike but whose still more conservative than not) on the ballot, Republican primaries are going to result in our having John McCain on the ballot.  Indeed, with Open Primaries now in major states such as California, the best tactic the Democrats could use would be to put John McCain or Lindsay Graham or some other self-hating “conservative” on the ballot against Warren or whomever else the Democrats run with.