How Obama Lost

How Obama Lost the Middle East

In his first term, Barack Obama all but declared victory in America’s Middle East struggles.

As he precipitously pulled out all U.S. peacekeepers from Iraq, the president had his own “Mission Accomplished” moment when declaring the country “stable,” “self-reliant,” and an “extraordinary achievement.”

Those claims echoed Vice President Joe Biden’s earlier boast that Iraq somehow would prove Obama’s “greatest achievement.”

After the death of Osama bin Laden, and during Obama’s reelection campaign, the president also proclaimed that al-Qaeda was a spent force and “on the run.”

But what exactly was the new Obama strategy that supposedly had all but achieved a victory in the larger War on Terror amid Middle East hostility? Read more

Looking Back at Iraq

well it’s friday morning, so most of you know what that means around here… yup, it’s time for the lastest from victor hanson — Looking Back at Iraq

So who lost Iraq?

The blame game mostly fingers incompetent Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Or is Barack Obama culpable for pulling out all American troops monitoring the success of the 2007–08 surge?

Some still blame George W. Bush for going into Iraq in 2003 in the first place to remove Saddam Hussein.

Read more

A Disaster of His Own Making

it’s friday morning and you know what that means… though i thought i’d go with krauthammer this week — A Disaster of His Own Making

Yes, it is true that there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq when George W. Bush took office. But it is equally true that there was essentially no al-Qaeda in Iraq remaining when Barack Obama took office.

Which makes Bush responsible for the terrible costs incurred to defeat the 2003–09 jihadist war engendered by his invasion. We can debate forever whether those costs were worth it, but what is not debatable is Obama’s responsibility for the return of the Islamist insurgency that had been routed by the time he became president.

By 2009, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been not just decimated but humiliated by the American surge and the Anbar Awakening. Here were aggrieved Sunnis, having ferociously fought the Americans who had overthrown 80 years of Sunni hegemony, now reversing allegiance and joining the infidel invader in crushing, indeed extirpating from Iraq, their fellow Sunnis of al-Qaeda.

At the same time, Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki turned the Iraqi army against radical Shiite militias from Basra all the way north to Baghdad.

The result? “A sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.” That’s not Bush congratulating himself. That’s Obama in December 2011 describing the Iraq we were leaving behind. He called it “an extraordinary achievement.”

Which Obama proceeded to throw away. David Petraeus had won the war. Obama’s one task was to conclude a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to solidify the gains. By Obama’s own admission — in the case he’s now making for a status-of-forces agreement with Afghanistan — such agreements are necessary “because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains” achieved by war.

Which is what made his failure to do so in Iraq so disastrous. His excuse was his inability to get immunity for U.S. soldiers. Nonsense. Bush had worked out a compromise in his 2008 SOFA, as we have done with allies everywhere. The real problem was Obama’s reluctance to maintain any significant presence in Iraq.

He offered to leave about 3,000 to 5,000 troops, a ridiculous number. U.S. commanders said they needed nearly 20,000. (We have 28,500 in South Korea and 38,000 in Japan to this day.) Such a minuscule contingent would spend all its time just protecting itself. Iraqis know a nonserious offer when they see one. Why bear the domestic political liability of a continued U.S. presence for a mere token?

Moreover, as historian Max Boot has pointed out, Obama insisted on parliamentary ratification, which the Iraqis explained was not just impossible but unnecessary. So Obama ordered a full withdrawal. And with it disappeared U.S. influence in curbing sectarianism, mediating among factions, and providing both intelligence and tactical advice to Iraqi forces now operating on their own.

The result was predictable. And predicted. Overnight, Iran and its promotion of Shiite supremacy became the dominant influence in Iraq. The day after the U.S. departure, Maliki ordered the arrest of the Sunni vice president. He cut off funding for the Sons of Iraq, the Sunnis who had fought with us against al-Qaeda. And subsequently so persecuted and alienated Sunnis that they were ready to welcome back al-Qaeda in Iraq — rebranded in its Syrian refuge as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — as the lesser of two evils. Hence the stunningly swift ISIS capture of so much of Iraq.

victor hanson has a good article about the mess in Iraq as well.

Obama Quits Afghanistan

it’s friday morning and you know what that means around these parts… so let’s see what victor hanson is writing about this week — Obama Quits Afghanistan

Soon we shall get to the bottom of the swap of five Taliban kingpins from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for one Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

In time we will learn whether Bergdahl really served with “honor and distinction” and was “captured on the battlefield,” as National Security Adviser Susan Rice has stated. Or whether, as fellow soldiers of his platoon insist, he was a deserter who left his comrades to seek out the Taliban.

We will soon discover whether Bergdahl’s serious health problems or imminent danger prompted President Obama to make the sudden swap. Or whether, as administration skeptics insist, the deal was a rushed political gambit to divert attention from the Veterans’ Affairs scandal — and a way to whittle down the Guantanamo population and erode laws demanding congressional approval before such detainees are released.

Amidst the swap conundrum, the president has defended the trade by referencing history and the American experience in past wars. But here, too, what the president states is not always accurate.

Obama insisted that “we have a rule, a principle, that when somebody wears our country’s uniform and they’re in a war theater and they’re captured . . . we’re going to do everything we can to bring ’em home . . . and regardless of whatever circumstances there are, it is our obligation to bring them home.”

Yet the United States has not routinely sought to bring captives home, “regardless of whatever circumstances there are.” During the Korean War, and for decades afterwards while on patrol in Korea, some American soldiers simply walked across the DMZ and turned themselves over to the North Koreans.

Both in war and peace, the United States often did little to bring them back, even when the deserters had second thoughts and wanted to return. Charles Robert Jenkins stayed in North Korea for nearly 40 years after deserting in 1965. Japan sought to pressure the U.S. government to pardon him and helped obtain his release. On his return, Jenkins pled guilty to charges of desertion and aiding the enemy and was given a dishonorable discharge.

Robert Garwood left his post in Vietnam under disputed circumstances in 1965. He was not included in prisoner swaps at the end of the Vietnam War. The U.S. government made few subsequent efforts to bring him home from North Vietnam. When Garwood finally got back, more than 14 years after he was detained, he was court-martialed and given a dishonorable discharge.

Obama also declared that “the transition process of ending a war is going to involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict.”

That is also mostly untrue. The U.S., in most of its foreign wars, more often waited until the conclusion — not during a “transition process” — before exchanging prisoners. And how does the president know beforehand that “we can’t convict” through military tribunals Guantanamo terrorists like those he released, as we have with others in the past?

good stuff as always to mull over with a fresh cup of java in hand… emmmm… coffee.

Free & Then Try Him

i usually don’t double up, but i was really interested to read krauthammer’s take on the whole “let’s trade five Taliban terrorists for Bergdahl” thing that’s been raging online and in the news this past week — Free Him, Then Try Him

What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday-morning talk shows? This time she said Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had served in Afghanistan “with honor and distinction” — the biggest whopper since she insisted the Benghazi attack was caused by a video.

There is strong eyewitness evidence that Bergdahl deserted his unit and that the search for him endangered his fellow soldiers. Otherwise, there would be no national uproar over his ransom, and some of the widely aired objections to the deal would be as muted as they are flimsy. For example:

1. America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

Nonsense. Of course we do. Everyone does, while pretending not to. The Israelis, by necessity the toughest of all anti-terror fighters, in 2011 gave up 1,027 prisoners, some with blood on their hands, for one captured staff sergeant.

2. The administration did not give Congress 30-days’ notice as required by law.

Of all the jurisdictional disputes between president and Congress, the president stands on the firmest ground as commander-in-chief. And commanders have the power to negotiate prisoner exchanges.

Moreover, from where did this sudden assertion of congressional prerogative spring? After five years of supine acquiescence to President Obama’s multiple usurpations, Congress suddenly becomes exercised over a war power — where its claim is weakest. Congress does nothing in the face of 23 separate violations of the president’s own Affordable Care Act. It does nothing when Obama essentially enacts by executive order the DREAM Act. It does nothing when the Justice Department unilaterally rewrites drug laws. And now it rises indignantly on its hind legs because it didn’t get 30 days’ notice of a prisoner swap?

3. The Taliban release endangers national security.

Indeed it does. The five released detainees are unrepentant, militant, and dangerous. The administration pretense that we and the Qataris will monitor them is a joke. They can start planning against us tonight. And if they decide to leave Qatar tomorrow, who’s going to stop them?

i have to say that my eyebrows shot up when i saw a news clip with Susan Rice saying that Bergdahl served “with honor and distinction”, especially after reading all these news articles, tweets, and blog posts about this guy… the more information that came out, the less respect i had for him — read yesterday that he spent a lot of time playing soccer with his taliban buddies while being a “captive”, learned the language, and converted to islam.

Taliban Commander: More Kidnappings to Come After Bergdahl Deal

America’s Medieval Universities

it’s friday morning, so you know what that means around here… yup, i do believe it’s time for the lastest from victor hanson — America’s Medieval Universities

Employment rates for college graduates are dismal. Aggregate student debt is staggering. But university administrative salaries are soaring. The campus climate of tolerance has utterly disappeared. Only the hard sciences and graduate schools have salvaged American universities’ international reputations.

For over two centuries, our superb system of American public and private higher education kept pace with radically changing times and so ensured our prosperity and reinforced democratic pluralism.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to the 21st century. Colleges that were once our most enlightened and tolerant institutions became America’s dinosaurs.

Start with ossified institutions. Tenure may have been a good idea in the last century to ensure faculty members free expression. But such a spoils system now encourages the opposite result of protecting monotonies of thought. In a globalized world where jobs disappear in an eye blink and professionals must be attuned to the slightest changes in the global marketplace, academics insist that after six years they still deserve lifetime guarantees of employment.

In the age of the Internet and global readerships, faculty promotion is still based largely on narrow publication in little-read, peer-reviewed journals. Many are often incestuous and have no bearing on enhancing faculty teaching skills.

Post-tenure review and peer evaluations have become pro forma quid pro quos among guild members. The result is a calcified professoriate that demands it alone can still live in the protected world of the 1950s.

Part-time teachers and graduate students are not so lucky. They are often paid less than half for the same work done by full-time faculty, in illiberal fashion that would be unacceptable at Walmart or Target.

Universities are the least transparent of U.S. institutions, defending protocols more secretive than those of the Swiss banking system. Few colleges publish the profile of students who were favored in the admission process through legacies, athletic prowess, or race and gender preferences. The result is that almost no one knows why one student gets into Yale or Stanford and another with a far more impressive academic record does not.

good stuff as usual.

#thumbsup

D-Day at 70

i started watching Band of Brothers for like the 8th time this past weekend, it’s just so damn good… so found this weeks op/ed from victor hanson to be a nice read — D-Day at 70

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 B.C.

General Eisenhower speaks with paratroopers prior to the invasion. (Library of Congress)

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterful display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

The western front required the diversion of hundreds of thousands of German troops. It weakened Nazi resistance to the Russians while robbing the Third Reich of its valuable occupied European territory.

The impatient and long-suffering Russians had demanded of their allies a second front commensurate with their own sacrifices. Their Herculean efforts by war’s end would account for two out of every three dead German soldiers — at a cost of 20 million Russian civilian and military casualties.

Yet for all the sacrifices of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin was largely responsible for his war with Nazi Germany. In 1939, he signed a foolish non-aggression pact with Hitler that allowed the Nazis to gobble up Western democracies. Hitler’s Panzers were aided by Russians in Poland and overran Western Europe fueled by supplies from the Soviets.

The Western Allies had hardly been idle before D-Day. They had taken North Africa and Sicily from the Germans and Italians. They were bogged down in brutal fighting in Italy. The Western Allies and China fought the Japanese in the Pacific, Burma, and China.

The U.S. and the British Empire fought almost everywhere. They waged a multiform war on and under the seas. They eventually destroyed Japanese and German heavy industry with a costly and controversial strategic-bombing campaign.

The Allies sent friends such as the Russians and Chinese billions of dollars worth of food and war matériel.

In sum, while Russia bore the brunt of the German land army, the Western Allies fought all three Axis powers everywhere else and in every conceivable fashion.

great read, as usual.

Obama’s Ad Hoc Foreign Policy

Obama Admin’s Ethics Problem

it’s friday morning and you know what that means, so let’s see what victor handson has to opine about this week — The Obama Administration’s Ethics Problem

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki cannot get a handle on the recent scandalous treatment of veterans in VA hospitals, where more than 40 sick men were allowed to die without proper follow-up treatment. A cover-up allegedly followed. When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal broke under the George W. Bush administration, heads rolled. So far, Shinseki seems immune from similar accountability.

Almost nothing that former secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius promised before, during, or after the implementation of the ill-starred Affordable Care Act came true. She was also cited by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Act, as she improperly campaigned for Obama’s reelection while serving as a cabinet secretary.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner used the federal tax-collection agency to go after groups deemed too conservative. She invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid telling Congress the whole truth.

Susan Rice, former U.N. ambassador and now national-security adviser, flat-out deceived the public in five television appearances about the Benghazi catastrophe. She insisted that the deaths of four Americans were due to a spontaneous riot induced by a reactionary video maker — even though she had access to intelligence fingering al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists as the culprits who planned the attack on the anniversary of 9/11.

Rice recently blamed Obama foreign-policy failures on domestic political polarization. But that is best described as the give and take of democracy and was once thought to be our foreign-policy strength.

Rice also knows little history. In 2007, in the midst of the surge, when Americans were fighting for their lives to stabilize Iraq, then-senator Hillary Clinton implied that the commanding general in Iraq, General David Petraeus, was a veritable liar. Senate majority leader Harry Reid agreed and declared that the war was already lost. Then–presidential candidate Barack Obama prematurely wrote off the politically inconvenient surge as a failure. Was Rice then shocked that “polarization” affected foreign policy?

Hillary Clinton - 'What difference does it make?'Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton left office with American foreign policy in shambles. She has been unable to make the argument that a single initiative — reset with Russia, lead from behind in Libya, red lines on Syria, deadlines to Iran, complete withdrawal from Iraq, pressure on the Israelis, outreach to radical Islam and Latin American Communist dictatorships — had met with success.

Clinton infamously dismissed the lingering mysteries surrounding the Benghazi deaths with “What difference at this point does it make?” She also refused, despite numerous entreaties, to place the now-infamous Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram on a State Department terrorist watch list.

Eric Holder is the first attorney general to have been held in contempt of Congress. Aside from his divisive language (he called America “a nation of cowards” and referred to African Americans as “my people”), Holder always seems to find himself at the center of scandals. He permitted the federal monitoring of Associated Press journalists. He green-lighted the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scam. He has failed to bring to account rogue IRS officials. Holder is the most morally compromised attorney general since Nixon appointee John Mitchell.

Do we remember former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson? Her case was as unprofessional as it was surreal. Jackson fabricated for herself an alternate identity as a mid-level EPA employee. In communications, she used a fake e-mail address and name, and then unethically honored her own alter ego (“Richard Windsor”) as a “scholar of ethical behavior.” Who could have dreamed up such an unethical caper?

What has happened to NASA? We are currently trying to isolate Vladimir Putin for his territorial aggressions and yet beseeching the Russians to send our astronauts into space. Perhaps NASA administrator Charles Bolden should not have boasted that one of NASA’s “foremost” goals was “to reach out to the Muslim world” and “to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” Americans might have preferred Bolden to stick with rockets.

a bit longer than usual, i know, but i didn’t know where to cut off since i read through the entire article and found it pretty much right on point… good stuff for a friday morning with a fresh cup of coffee in hand.

Tweets Won’t Stop Modern Barbarians

since it’s already friday morning, let’s hop on over to NRO and see what victor hanson has to say this week — Tweets Won’t Stop Modern Barbarians

Boko HaramNigeria’s homegrown, al-Qaeda linked militant group, Boko Haram, brags openly that it recently kidnapped about 300 young Nigerian girls. It boasts that it will sell them into sexual slavery.

Those terrorists have a long and unapologetic history of murdering kids who dare to enroll in school, and Christians in general. For years, Western aid groups have pleaded with the State Department to at least put Boko Haram on the official list of terrorist groups. But former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team was reluctant to come down so harshly, in apparent worry that some might interpret such condemnation as potentially offensive to Islamic sensitivities.

Instead, Western elites now flood Facebook and Twitter with angry postings about Boko Haram — either in vain hopes that public outrage might deter the terrorists, or simply to feel better by loudly condemning the perpetrators.

The Obama administration has exhausted the vocabulary of outrage in condemning the aggressions of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. We habitually lecture Mr. Putin that he does not understand it is no longer the 19th century, when blood and arms once settled differences. But Putin has no apologies for his 19th-century worldview of stronger powers dictating to weaker ones as they please. (Nor does Boko Haram have any apologies for slavery.)

Americans go into a frenzy about insensitive language or politically incorrect behavior by some celebrities and public figures — L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the Duck Dynasty TV family, celebrity chef Paula Deen, former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. But if we are postmodern and sensitive, what do we say or do about premodern racists with nuclear weapons, like the North Koreans? continue…

on the one hand i thought it was kind of cool that everybody was getting behind the #saveourgirls hashtag on twitter, since it was at the very least raising awareness of what was going on over there… on the flipside, it sure as hell didn’t feel like much of a response and makes for a piss poor foreign policy — especially after finding out that Hillary Clinton pushed back on labeling Boko Haram as a “terrorist” organization for years… seriously, what’s up with that?

speaking of fucking barbarians — 8-month pregnant woman sentenced 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a christian man in Sudan…

Liberals: Exempt from Scrutiny

it’s friday morning, so let’s see what victor hanson has to say in his weekly op/ed — Liberals: Exempt from Scrutiny

It doesn’t matter if you belong to the 0.1 percent as long as you say the right things.

Al Gore

The qualifications of a Tommy “Dude” Vietor or Ben Rhodes that placed them in the Situation Room during Obama-administration crises were not years of distinguished public service, military service, prior elected office, a string of impressive publications, an academic career, previous diplomatic postings, or any of the usual criteria that have placed others at the nerve center of America in times of crisis. Their trajectory was based on yeoman partisan PR work, and largely on being young, hip, and well connected politically. I don’t think either of these operatives has a particular worldview or competency that would promote the interests of the United States. But they do talk well, know the right people, and are hip. Again, they have no real expertise or even ideology other than that.

Al Gore is said to be our leading green activist, and the Steyer brothers the most preeminent green political donors. But do they really believe in reducing carbon emissions to cool down the planet?

Not really. The latter made much of their fortune in the sort of high-stakes speculations that the Left supposedly despises. Many of their financial payoffs derived from promoting coal burning abroad, of the sort most liberals wish to stop.

As for Gore, he cannot really believe in big green government or he would not have tried to beat the capital-gains tax hike when he peddled his failed cable network to a petrodollar-rich Al Jazeera, whose cash comes from the very sources of energy that Gore claims he hates. Do you make millions, and then in eleventh-century fashion repent so that you can enjoy them all the more? Gore certainly in the past has not lived modestly; the carbon footprint of keeping Al Gore going — housing, travel, and tastes — is quite stunning. Both the Steyers and the Gores of our human comedy know that it is lucrative business to appear green, and that by doing so one can keep one’s personal life largely exempt from scrutiny in general and charges of hypocrisy in particular. For them, 21st-century liberalism is a useful badge, a fashion not unlike wearing good shades or having the right sort of cell phone.

just what i needed first thing in the morning… liberals and Al Gore.

#ugh

Obama’s ‘Blame The Video’ Fraud

Obama’s ‘Blame the Video’ Fraud Started in Cairo, Not Benghazi

Here is the main point: The rioting at the American embassy in Cairo was not about the anti-Muslim video. As argued here repeatedly (see here and here), the Obama administration’s “Blame the Video” story was a fraudulent explanation for the September 11, 2012, rioting in Cairo every bit as much as it was a fraudulent explanation for the massacre in Benghazi several hours later.

Benghazi terrorist attack (9/11/2012)

We’ll come back to that because, once you grasp this well-hidden fact, the Obama administration’s derelictions of duty in connection with Benghazi become much easier to see. But let’s begin with Jay Carney’s performance in Wednesday’s exchange with the White House press corps, a new low in insulting the intelligence of the American people.

Mr. Carney was grilled about just-released e-mails that corroborate what many of us have been arguing all along: “Blame the Video” was an Obama-administration–crafted lie, through and through. It was intended, in the stretch run of the 2012 campaign, to obscure the facts that (a) the president’s foreign policy of empowering Islamic supremacists contributed directly and materially to the Benghazi massacre; (b) the president’s reckless stationing of American government personnel in Benghazi and his shocking failure to provide sufficient protection for them were driven by a political-campaign imperative to portray the Obama Libya policy as a success — and, again, they invited the jihadist violence that killed our ambassador and three other Americans; and (c) far from being “decimated,” as the president repeatedly claimed during the campaign (and continued to claim even after the September 11 violence in Egypt and Libya), al-Qaeda and its allied jihadists remained a driving force of anti-American violence in Muslim countries — indeed, they had been strengthened by the president’s pro-Islamist policies.

The explosive e-mails that have surfaced thanks to the perseverance of Judicial Watch make explicit what has long been obvious: Susan Rice, the president’s confidant and ambassador to the U.N., was strategically chosen to peddle the administration’s “Blame the Video” fairy tale to the American people in appearances on five different national television broadcasts the Sunday after the massacre. She was coached about what to say by other members of the president’s inner circle. continue…

i think it’s ridiculous that over a year and a half later, and after a few congressional hearings, that it took a law suit to get some of the emails they’ve been asking for all this time… that they’re still trying to block and cover-up what the hell happened… and meanwhile, all fingers are pointing to the white house.

aside from that, we now know for a fact that the military was aware of what was going on right away, but never received any orders to mobilize any forces in the area… the general in the area was waiting for the word from the State Department, but never got it — that just pisses me off.

question remains: who pushed the stupid video?

The End of Affirmative Action

A problematic concept in an age of intermarriage, assimilation, and immigration — The End of Affirmative Action

Sometimes doctrines just vanish, once they appear as naked as the proverbial emperor in his new clothes.

Something like that seems now to be happening with affirmative action. Despite all the justifications for its continuance, polling shows the public still strongly disagrees with the idea of using racial criteria for admissions and hiring.

Its dwindling supporters typically include those who directly benefit from it, or who are not adversely affected by it. Arguments for the continuance of affirmative action are half-hearted and may explain why some supporters descend into name-calling directed at those who dare question its premises.

The Supreme Court, by a 6–2 majority, recently upheld the decision by Michigan voters that their state would neither favor nor discriminate against applicants to the state’s public universities on the basis of race.

Recently, a group of liberal Asian-American state lawmakers in California — a state that is over 60 percent non-white — successfully blocked a proposed return to racial considerations in college admissions.

Asian-American students are now disproportionately represented in the flagship University of California system at nearly three times their percentages in the state’s general population. If race were reintroduced as a consideration for admission, Asian-Americans would have their numbers radically reduced in the California system in favor of other ethnic-minority students, regardless of their impressive ethnically blind grades and test scores.

Expect more such pushback.

i understand the history behind it, but have always kind of felt that affirmative action goes directly against everybody getting a fair and equal shot… getting into a school or getting a job shouldn’t be based on the color of your skin — period –should be on your merit, talent, test scores, whatever.

i actually think it’s a good thing.

Harry Reid: The New McCarthy

Harry Reid: A McCarthy for Our Time

We should ask Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) the same question once posed to Senator Joseph McCarthy by U.S. Army head-counsel Robert N. Welch: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Harry Reid

Reid is back in the news for denigrating the peaceful supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a popular critic of the Bureau of Land Management policy, as “domestic terrorists.”

McCarthy in the 1950s became infamous for smearing his opponents with lurid allegations that he could not prove, while questioning their patriotism. Reid has brought back to the Senate that exact same McCarthy style of six decades ago — and trumped it.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Reid slandered candidate Mitt Romney with the unsubstantiated and later-refuted charge that Romney was a tax cheat. “The word’s out that he [Romney] hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Reid said.

Later, when asked for proof, Reid offered a pathetic rejoinder: “I have had a number of people tell me that.” One wonders how many names were on Reid’s McCarthyite “tell” list — were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?

When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”

When the Koch brothers donated money that was used for political ads — just as liberal political donors George Soros and the Steyer brothers have done — Reid rushed to the Senate floor to question their patriotism: “These two brothers . . . are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.” The charge of being “un-American” is also vintage McCarthyite slander.

Reid also has a bad habit of racial bigotry. He once praised fellow senator Barack Obama because he was, in Reid’s words, a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

When Reid was worried that he would not get enough Hispanic voters to the polls, he condescendingly lectured the Latino community: “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay. Do I need to say more?”

i was curious what victor hanson would be talking about this week, and Harry Reid is as good as any since he really is more of a McCarthy style authoritarian in my opinion… then again, the solution here is voting him out of office.

c’mon nevada, stop voting for this asshat. please.

p.s. latest from krauthammer: Let the People Decide

True Immigration Reform

it’s friday morning, so let’s roll up our sleeves and see what victor hanson has to say in his weekly op/ed piece — The True Opponents of Immigration Reform

Solving the illegal-immigration problem should not be hard. No one knows how many foreign nationals are residing illegally in the United States — estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. But everyone understands that it is an untenable situation that must be addressed.

The two extreme positions of the Left and Right probably have little public support — on the one hand, blanket amnesties and open borders, and on the other, deportation of all foreign nationals who reside here without legal authorization.

Polls show that most Americans want something in between.

Close the border. Allow entry only to those who have legal permission. Ensure that employers hire only those foreign nationals who have valid green cards. Permit those who have resided here for a while, who are without criminal records and are employed, to apply inside the U.S. for either a pathway to citizenship or legal residence.

Require that those residing here unlawfully pay a fine for breaking the law and wait in line until immigrants who followed the law are first processed. Reform legal immigration to make it ethnically blind and predicated on skill sets and education rather than on proximity to our borders or on family connections to those residing here unlawfully.

Most would agree with those sensible reforms, but I doubt that we will see any such grand bargain. The trouble is not, as the Democratic and Republican establishments allege, because of xenophobic and nativist bigots. Only a minority now favor sending every undocumented immigrant home without a chance for the hard-working and law-abiding to stay here while they apply for citizenship.

The problem instead is that the establishments of both parties talk in high-minded fashion but in fact act selfishly. Unfortunately, identity-politics elites and Democratic-party activists, along with employers of undocumented workers, do not support such a grand bargain.

Why not? Because Democrats and the members of the identity-politics industry believe that they have gained millions of new constituents. The more slowly huge surges of undocumented immigrants assimilate, the more they are likely to remain bloc constituents for particular causes and politics.

seems pretty sensible to me… damn politicians.

#morecoffee

The New Inquisition

we’ve survived yet another week, and it sure seems like quite a lot as happened in the world, but let’s go ahead and see what victor hanson has to say — The New Inquisition

What if you believed that the planet might not have warmed up over the last two decades, even though carbon emissions reached all-time highs?

Or, if the earth did heat up, you thought that it was not caused by human activity?

Or, if global warming were the fault of mankind, you trusted that the slight increases would not make all that much difference?

The Los Angeles Times would not print your letter to the editor to that effect.

The CEO of Apple Inc. might advise that you should “get out of this stock.”

Or maybe if you were a skeptical climatologist, you would cease all research and concede that man-caused global warming needed no further scientific cross-examination — as columnist Bill McKibben recently advocated.

If you were a drought-stricken California farmer and worried about diversions of irrigation water to support fish populations, you would be told by the president of the United States that the real problem is not a failure to build reservoirs and canals but is due entirely to global warming, which is a “fact” and “settled science.”

What if you supported equality for all Americans regardless of their sexual preference, but — like presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and about half the country today — opposed making gay marriage legal?

If you were the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, you would be forced to resign your position.

personally, i still think that Brendan Eich shouldn’t have been fired… but i hear that Kathleen Sebelius is free, and i’m sure silicon valley is scrambling right now to hire her.

{ tries to keep a straight face }

Golden State Hypocrisy

well, it sure has felt like awhile since i exercised in my friday morning tradition… so let’s see what victor hanson is talking about this week — Golden State Hypocrisy

No place on the planet is as beautiful and as naturally rich as California. And few places have become as absurd.

Currently, three California state senators are either under felony indictment or already have been convicted.

State senator Leland Yee (D., San Francisco) made a political career out of demanding harsher state gun-control laws. Now he is facing several felony charges for attempting to facilitate gun-running. One count alleges that Lee sought to provide banned heavy automatic weapons to Philippines-based Islamic terrorist groups.

State senator Ron Calderon (D., Montebello), who had succeeded one brother, Thomas, in the state assembly and was succeeded by another, Charles, now faces felony charges of wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, and falsification of tax returns.

State senator Roderick Wright (D., Inglewood) originally entered politics as a champion of social justice. Not long ago, the Democratic leaders of the California senate in secretive fashion paid $120,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual-harassment suit against Wright. This time around, not even his fellow senators could save Wright, who was convicted earlier this year on eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud.

What is the common denominator between all three California senators — aside from the fact that they are still receiving their salaries?

man, what the hell is wrong out there in california?! i’ve thought that they were pretty screwed up out there anyways, at least for quite awhile now… but damn.

p.s. latest from krauthammer: Kerry’s Folly

Untrustworthy Government

Untruthful and Untrustworthy Government

Transparency and truth are the fuels that run sophisticated civilizations. Without them, the state grinds to a halt. Lack of trust — not barbarians on the frontier, global warming or cooling, or even epidemics — doomed civilizations of the past, from imperial Rome to the former Soviet Union.

The United States can withstand the untruth of a particular presidential administration if the permanent government itself is honest. Dwight Eisenhower lied about the downed U-2 spy plane inside the Soviet Union. Almost nothing Richard Nixon said about Watergate was true. Intelligence reports of vast stockpiles of WMD in Iraq proved as accurate as Bill Clinton’s assertion that he never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.

Presidents fib. The nation gets outraged. The independent media dig out the truth. And so the system of trust repairs itself.

What distinguishes democracies from tinhorn dictatorships and totalitarian monstrosities are our permanent meritocratic government bureaus that remain nonpartisan and honestly report the truth.

The Benghazi, Associated Press, and National Security Agency scandals are scary, but not as disturbing as growing doubts about the honesty of permanent government itself.

It is no longer crackpot to doubt the once impeccable and nonpartisan IRS. When it assured the public that it was not making decisions about tax-exempt status based on politics, it lied. One of its top commissioners, Lois Lerner, resigned and invoked the Fifth Amendment.

A system of voluntary tax reporting rests on trust. If the IRS itself is untruthful, will it be able to expect truthful compliance from taxpayers?

it’s been awhile since i’ve posted the lastest op/ed from victor hanson around here, did you miss it? c’mon now, i know you did… heh… and as always, good stuff to munch on over some morning coffee.

median income is down $4K on average, most people aren’t too happy about obamacare being shoved down their throats now that they know more about it, the economy still kinda sucks and hasn’t rebounded like it should, and read something just the other day about how the majority of americans think we’re less safe and less strong as we were just 5 years ago.

three more years, mang.

The Anti-Empirical Left

what the hell, it’s been one of those weeks, so why not go with a double-dose? here’s the lastest from victor hanson as well — The Anti-Empirical Left

Science is ignored when it doesn’t support politically correct policy.

President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics, and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president attempted to convert national outrage into new gun-control legislation. Specifically, he focused on curtailing semi-automatic “assault” rifles. But there is no statistical evidence that such guns — semi-automatic rifles that have mostly cosmetic changes to appear similar to banned military-style fully automatic assault weapons — lead to increased gun-related crimes.

The promiscuous availability of illegal handguns does. Handguns are used in the vast majority of all gun related violent crime — and in such cases they are often obtained illegally. Yet the day-to-day enforcement of existing handgun statutes is far more difficult than the widely publicized passing of new laws.
Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet “human.” But emerging science has allowed premature babies five months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over abortion. Yet the idea that fetuses are not viable humans until birth is simply unscientific.

The president still talks of “settled science” in the global-warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.

There is no scientific basis for the president’s assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California’s climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons for the fact that this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.

California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state’s water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea — on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.

The administration has delayed construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, citing concern about climate change. Yet a recent State Department environmental report found that the proposed pipeline would not increase carbon dioxide emissions enough to affect atmospheric temperatures. There is no scientific basis from which to cancel the Keystone, but a variety of logical reasons to build it — such as moving toward North American energy independence and protecting ourselves against energy blackmailers and cartels abroad.

ahhhhh… the wonders of science, good stuff mang.

Wages of Weakness

time to sit back, maybe drink some morning coffee, and see what the latest op/ed is… this week i figured i’d go with krauthammer, since it seems more relevant to what’s been going on this past week — Obama, Russia, and the Wages of Weakness

Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come.

He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness.

Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia conquered it 20 years before the U.S. acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.

Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin’s treasury anyway).

Obama says Putin is on the wrong side of history and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin’s is “really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”

This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion — the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides — is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman’s club where violations of territorial integrity just don’t happen.

“That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior,” says Kerry. Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette — like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.

How to figure out Obama’s foreign policy? In his first U.N. speech, he says: “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.” On what planet? Followed by the assertion that “alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War” — like NATO? – “make no sense in an interconnected world.”

you know it’s pretty bad when your president’s already low approval ratings dip another 5 points down to just 38% approval, and even the Washington Post comes out with a headline saying Obama’s foreign policy is based on “fantasy”… all the while Putin is probably laughing his ass off, and many other leaders/dictators around the world are certainly paying attention, too.

Useless Outrage

well it’s already friday morning, thank gawd, so let’s go ahead and see what victor hanson has in store for us — Ukraine and Our Useless Outrage

The history of Obama’s foreign-policy posturing bodes ill for the future of Ukraine.

Don’t step over the line and re-militarize the Rhineland. Absorbing Austria would cross a red line. Breaking up Czechoslovakia is unacceptable. Get out of Poland by the announced deadline. The rest was history.

Don’t dare blow up another American military barracks overseas. Don’t even consider another attack on the World Trade Center. Don’t even try blowing up one more American embassy in East Africa. Don’t ever put a hole in a U.S. warship again. The rest was history.

President Obama issued yet another one of those sorts of warnings to stop the violence to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych just before protesters drove Yanukovych out of office. “There will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama threatened.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national-security adviser, amplified that veiled warning. He called the Ukrainian government’s repression “completely outrageous” — as opposed to just outrageous or completely, completely outrageous.

Secretary of State John Kerry joined the chorus of condemnation by hinting at economic sanctions if Yanukovych didn’t stop his violent crackdown on protesters.

Why does this rhetorical assault sound familiar?

i’m not an expert in the area, and i’m not sure what exactly President Obama should’ve (or really could have) done… but i do think that after his “red line” rhetoric he’s been shown to look very weak — and i have a feeling that he’s totally okay with that.

in related news: Ukraine PM says $37 billion went missing under Yanukovich