The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


With the upcoming appearance of Hillary Clinton before the Congressional Select Committee investigating Benghazi, expect the Democrats' trained hamsters in the media to demonize the committee, its GOP members, its chairman, Trey Gowdy, , and its purpose. The hamsters will tell us that it's a political witch hunt, and that other investigations have turned up little. Basically, they'll argue that there's nothing to see here. We should all just move along.

As if on queue, Richard Cohen, a hard-Left columnist who specializes in defending virtually every progressive narrative, has produced the first in a long line of predictable hit pieces. The progressive narrative has it that Benghazi was simply an unfortunate screw up at an unfortunate time (before a presidential election), with an unfortunate loss of life, and that any investigation of the aftermath is venal partisan politics—there's no there, there.

Cohen tells us that the Select Committee investigating Benghazi is a farce—after all, it threatens the narrative, so it must be a farce. He writes:
I have a new hobby. It has nothing to do with balsa wood or fly-fishing, stamps or even books. Instead, I fashion myself as a modern-day Diogenes -- he was the guy with the lantern who went around ancient Athens seeking an honest man -- and so I go around asking people if they know what the Benghazi committee is looking for. Yesterday, I posed that question to a former White House aide, a lawyer, a fellow journalist, an artist, a retired CEO and the head of a non-profit. None of them knew.
Gee, I'm not (nor would I ever want to be) "a former White House aide, a lawyer, a fellow journalist, an artist, ... ." I'm just your everyday concerned citizen, so maybe I can help Mr Cohen understand the role of the select committee.

The Benghazi scandal—and it is very much a major scandal—is about three things: (1) State Department incompetence before the Islamic terrorist attack occurred, (2) military and political malfeasance while the Islamic terrorist attack occurred, and (3) a politically motivated, yet oddly pathetic attempt at a cover-up after the Islamic terrorist attack occurred, followed by an effective stonewalling campaign enabled by a fully complicit media to keep the public uninformed.

Cohen tells us (using a literary reference to be sure he differentiates himself for the troglodytes who aren't nuanced enough to agree with the progressive narrative) that he's a "modern-day Diogenes" looking for enlightenment on the Benghazi committee. Apparently he's unable to research things himself, so it's only fair to illuminate my three points for him, using only simple ideas and small words so he'll be sure to understand.

Point (1). There is clear and irrefutable evidence that proper security precautions were not taken in Benghazi, even though they were requested by people on the ground. Even worse, there were limited resources available to protect the Ambassador Stevens even after serious reports of a pending attack were offered to State Department personnel. Who is responsible for these failures? Why were security resources withheld? Who approved withholding them?

Point (2). Americans were under deadly, coordinated fire for over eight hours. There is clear and irrefutable evidence that military resources were available to intercede, but were not used. Airpower was available, but was not used. Some on the ground claim that an order to "stand down" was issued, but because the administration and DoD stonewalled any legitimate investigation, that's hard to determine whether this is true. While the fighting continued, we were told that there was "not enough time" or that it was "impractical" to intercede. But how could military personal have known how much time would be available, given that the attack was on-going when they claim that decision was made? How does "practicality" come into play when Americans are under attack? Who gave the order NOT to intercede? Did it come from the DoD, the State Department, the White House? Where was the president physically during the attack? Where was the Secretary of State? Did they participate in decision-making, and if so, how? What real-time communications traffic occurred between State, the White House, and the military in North Africa, Southern Europe and on the ground in Libya?  Why did so many senior military officers retire or get reassigned after the Benghazi incident?

Point (3). The White House and State department knowingly lied about the causes of the attack, falsely attributing it to the infamous anti-Muslim video as causation and a random mob as perpetrators (instead of a known Islamic terrorist cell). Both claims were provably false and were known to be false within hours of the attack. Yet intelligence reports were doctored, administration spokespeople lied repeatedly, and the Secretary of State (Hillary Rodham Clinton) lied about causation and the perpetrators, not for hours or a few days, but for over a week. Why? Who decided to mislead the public? Who crafted the false narrative? Who approved it? How heavily did political concerns come into play?

That's what the Select Committee is trying to investigate, thwarted every step of the way by an administration that stonewalled every information request and Democrat committee members who are there not to determine the truth but to protect their president and HRC.

In true hamster fashion, Cohen concludes:
The true Benghazi scandal is not what happened on the Libyan coast, but the use of a congressional committee for political purposes -- to damage the likely Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, by rummaging through her emails. She's handled this all wrong, but she shouldn't have had to handle it at all. 
Sure, after all, in the words of Hillary Clinton, "what difference does it make!" 

UPDATE (10/1/2015)
Kevin McCarthy, the likely new Speaker of the House, did something truly stupid yesterday—he spoke the truth, albeit only a half truth. McCarthy, in what has to be termed one of the dumbest political comments in recent memory, suggested that Hillary Clinton's falling poll numbers were due in part to the on-going Benghazi hearings.

Needless to say, that gave progressives the vapors, allowing them to fortify their narrative that the hearings have been conducted solely for political purposes.

The level of cynicism evidenced in their faux outrage is amusing. Nothing in Washington—NOTHING—occurs without political overtones. In fact, most things are blatantly political and the current progressive administration under Barack Obama exemplifies that hard fact every single day. Sure, the Select Committee is political, just like everything else in Washington. But the Benghazi scandal is real, the questions noted in the body of my post have not been adequately answered and Hillary Clinton's travails are self-inflicted.

McCarthy did a really dumb thing (so dumb, in fact, that it leads one to question his political intelligence). He gave Democrats ammunition in their effort to bury the Benghazi inquiry. Look for Hillary to express faux outrage when she appears later this month. Look for Dems on the committee to support that outrage. Look for the trained media hamsters to back them up.

Doesn't matter. Bad things happened before, during, and after Benghazi. We need to know what they were and why they happened.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Major League

Think back for a moment to January, 2009. In the afterglow of his election as President of the United States, Barack Obama told those who honestly believed he was the embodiment of hope and change that the world would be a different place. Under his guidance and all-encompassing insight and knowledge, our enemies would sit down with us and recognize that Obama's wisdom was the definitive path to a peaceful and evolved world, Islam would join the West in a harmonious advance, the need for military solutions to intractable problems (wait, there are no intractable problems) would disappear, talk would be a a good substitute for action, grand pronouncements would replace well-defined strategies, and yes, climate change would be arrested. And those who had the temerity to disagree—well, they were "on the wrong side of history."

Almost seven years later, the editors of the The Wall Street Journal consider the general chaos throughout the Middle East, the new pact between Russia and Iran, the continuing tension with China, the flood of refugees into the EU. The WSJ editors comment:
Even as he concedes the growing world disorder [in his UN speech yesterday], Mr. Obama still won’t admit that his policy of American retreat has created a vacuum for rogues to fill. He exhorted the U.N. on Monday that “I stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion. We cannot look backwards.”

Oh, yes we can, as the once promising world order deteriorates on Mr. Obama’s watch.
In the outstanding Netfix political drama, House of Cards, there was a sequence of episodes in which a Russia leader [a Putin-like character] meets with the American President—Frank Underwood. The Russian tried to man-handle Underwood. The Russian's approach is brutal, duplicitous and oddly effective, except that Underwood is a major league player as well—as brutal, duplicitous and oddly effective as the Russian.

The interaction between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama conjures memories of the fictional House of Cards standoff, except one of the players has a vastly different skill level. As I watched these two men shake hands, I got a uneasy feeling that there is a mismatch—that our team has fielded a little league pitcher (Obama) who is trying to strike out a major league hitter (Putin). I felt a twinge of embarrassment for the United States.

Addressing the WSJ editorial, a commenter, "Kenneth Gimbel," writes:
The world slowly implodes while Sir Barry entertains the assembled miscreants, thugs, war lords, sponsors of terror, kleptocrats and petty tyrants that is the U.N. with homilies and platitudes. Our shining knight, swathed in smug moral certitude and confident of his superior vision stands impotently aside while those with a less exalted ethos swallow up country after country, region after region. Obama is a disaster for America and a catastrophe for the world.
Stated metaphorically, Barack Obama is a little league player trying to make it in a major league world. It's not going well.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Follow the Money

Great nations fade into history for many reasons—overconfidence in their ability to shape the world, disregard for their citizens', problems and needs, overspending on things that are unimportant and underspending on things that are, a refusal to name and face their true enemies, hoping against hope that the enemies won't notice, and of course, incompetent and corrupt leaders who cause the populace to lose faith in governance.

It may be that corruption is the most potent of all factors that lead to a nation's demise. After all, once a government is corrupt, nothing works as it should, no one with any intelligence trusts a nation's leaders to tell the truth, a select elite becomes rich while the common people suffer rules that are designed to keep them in their place, and worse, those who follow the rules feel like suckers.

All government, even good ones, have a modicum of corruption. In the United States, corruption has been a low level hum historically, not the roar of a freight train. That's beginning to change.

Under Barack Obama and the Democrats, government corruption has increased dramatically. There is irrefutable evidence that IRS was weaponized against citizens who disagreed politically with a Democratic administration. The EPA has been used to punish certain businesses using regulatory dictates that courts have found to be illegal and set up rules that will reward other businesses favored by the current leadership. The administration has lied blatantly to the public in order to get legislation passed. Scandals like Benghazi, the VA, AP, Fast and Furious have been stonewalled and ignored by a hyper-politicized Justice Department. And a complicit media has worked to protect those in power. The low hum of corruption has grown in volume.

Now, the majority of Democrats propose that we elect Hillary Clinton.

Kim Strassel reports the latest developments:
The Clintons are street fighters, and over their scandal-plagued years they have mastered outwitting the press, Congress, the Justice Department, even special prosecutors. But the reason Mrs. Clinton isn’t winning her latest scandal is because she faces a new opponent—one she can’t beat: the Freedom of Information Act.

Of all the Clinton email revelations this week, none compared with a filing by the State Department in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court in Washington on Monday. The filing was a response to a FOIA lawsuit brought in March by conservative organization Citizens United. The group demanded documents from Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state related to the Clinton Foundation and to the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. What the State Department revealed was a testament to the power of FOIA ...

We find that the State Department has—but is not releasing—an email chain between then-Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and a Clinton Foundation board member about the secretary of state’s planned trip to Africa. We find that the State Department has—but is not releasing—emails between Ms. Mills and foundation staff discussing “invitations to foreign business executives to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.” We find many undisclosed email chains in which State Department officials talk with Clinton Foundation officials about Bill Clinton speeches and Bill Clinton travel, including to events in North Korea and Congo.

Huma Abedin, a longtime confidante of Mrs. Clinton’s, was somehow allowed to work, simultaneously, at the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and as a consultant to Teneo—a consulting firm run by Clinton loyalist Doug Band. All three of Ms. Abedin’s hats come into play in an undisclosed email exchange regarding a 2012 dinner in Ireland. As the Washington Examiner reported in May, Mrs. Clinton received an award at the dinner from a Clinton Foundation donor. The ceremony was promoted by Teneo. Mrs. Clinton attended in her official capacity as secretary of state. Sort through that.

We already know that the Clinton Foundation continued to take foreign money even while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. We now know this was only the start of the entwining. These email summaries show that the Clinton Foundation was the State Department and the State Department was the Clinton Foundation. All one, big, seamless, Clinton-promoting entity. We would know far more if State released the full emails. It is citing personal privacy as one reason not to make some public. In others, it claims the emails “shed no light on the conduct of U.S. Government business.”
The hum increases in volume yet again. It's now a loud, grating buzz, sort of like the sound of a disfunctional bass speaker in a audio system—loud, persistent, and difficult to ignore—unless you're a Democrat.

The true problem with Hillary Clinton is that she is corrupt—to the core. Her machinations at the Department of State stink of self-serving dealing with elites that could enrich her family through the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State. It's not about top secret emails (although that, in of of itself, is a violation of the law), it's not about private servers (although that, in and of itself, indicated a strategy to hide her dealings from public view). It is about the money—follow the money.

Yet, we continue to see democratic leaders and their trained hamsters in the media suggest that this is a "witch hunt" or that it's nothing more than "partisan politics." We'll see them leap to Hillary's defense in upcoming Congressional hearings and work double time to help her stonewall, obfuscate, and deny any wrong doing.

The next step should be a forensic accounting of Clinton Foundation cash. Being tax exempt, you'd think that the IRS might have some interest in investigating all of this. That would be Obama's IRS, right? And that's my point. Once a government agency is corrupted, they cannot be trusted to enforce the law in a balanced manner. So the Clinton Foundation is, for the time being, untouchable.

But in the end, the FOIA may win out. Hillary left an electronic trail of corruption that may be her undoing. It'll take time, but ultimately we'll be able to follow the money. And when we do, the roar of a freight train will be heard in the near-distance.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Up until a few weeks ago, the Democrat's trained hamsters in the media and leftist pundits in general spent very little time talking about Carly Fiorina. Having an accomplished woman candidate on the GOP side ran against their ridiculous "War on Women" meme, so they hoped Fiorina would remain an obscure back bench candidate that no one recognized. Better not to even mention her. Keep her obscure and out of the picture.

Boy, has that changed with Fiorina's much deserved ascendancy to a top rank contender. Now the hamsters and leftist pundits are tripping over themselves in an effort to trash Fiorina. Gosh, you'd think they were conducting a War on Women.

Here are just a few headlines:
"Carly Fiorina, the CNN-created flavor of the week" — Dana Milbank, CNN
"Fiorina's Dishonesty Eclipsed By Trump's Sexism" — Ruth Marcus, WaPo
"Carly Fiorina Ain't No Feminist" — Sally Cohn, CNN
"Gloria Steinem Eviserates Carly Fiorina ..." Andrew Tavani, New York Times
"I Still Think Fiorina Was a Terrible CEO" — Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Politico
All of this feverish condemnation and/or demonization suggests only one thing: the Left is worried about Fiorina and will work as hard as it can to disqualify her. One of the Democrats' key constituencies is women. What if, heaven forbid, some non-trivial percentage of Dem women actually took a hard look at Fiorina, her rise from a secretary to Fortune 500 CEO, her innate intelligence, her no nonsense style, her broad grasp of important issues? They just might, heaven forbid, desert the Dems and vote GOP. Can't have that.

By the way, it is fascinating to observe so-called "feminists" argue that Fiorina is not a feminist. Can't be, because he politics are right of center. Accomplishments? Don't matter. Overcoming the "male dominated" corporate ladder? Not important. Intelligence? So what. Carly Fiorina is a threat to their narrative that women are victims who are oppressed by forces they can't control. The victimization narrative (across many topics) is pivotal to Democratic politics, and if it is questioned by an accomplished woman—heresy!

I don't agree with Fiorina on every issue, but I have enormous respect for her intellect, her executive experience, her in-depth, clear-eyed understanding of domestic and international issues, and her lack of Washington taint.

From the point of view of the Democrats, she is very, very dangerous. They will do everything they can to destroy her candidacy in the months ahead. I guess a War on a Women is okay when you're demonizing someone with a political viewpoint that is different than yours.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Pope Francis arrived in the United States amid a world that is in chaos. Millions of refugees escaping from Islamic terror, a civil war in Syria, and failed states in Libya and Yemen have descended on Europe. In the same Middle East that spawned those refugees, a de facto genocide is occurring. The Washington Times reports:
Across broad stretches of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Iraq and Syria, ISIS, Boko Haram and other Wahhabi-inspired murderers are displacing, enslaving and killing religious and ethnic minorities. We have all seen the footage of blindfolded prisoners, on their knees, mercilessly beheaded and shot, among many other atrocities. Some 2 million Christians lived in Iraq only two decades ago. Today the Iraqi Kurdistan Christianity Project estimates that only 300,000 to 450,000 remain, and nearly all of them have taken refuge in Kurdistan. Christians have lived and worshipped in Mosul (the ancient city of Nineveh) for over 2,000 years. Today, none are left.

A report released this spring by the United Nations Human Rights Commission reported “acts of violence perpetrated against civilians in Iraq and Syria because of their affiliation or perceived affiliation to an ethnic or religious group.” Its statement that “it is reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents may constitute genocide” only adds to the evidence that it is time to file formal genocide charges against ISIS and its supporters.
So, the Pope's fellow Christians are slaughtered, violently abused, enslaved, and displaced by Islamic groups bent on a Christian-free Muslim crescent. They are forced to flee their homeland or die at the hands of Muslim barbarians, and the Pope talks about climate change.

The Washington Post describes his White House speech:
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis quietly but forcefully made his priorities clear during his first full day in the United States on Wednesday, urging in a pair of speeches a renewed emphasis on tackling global poverty, confronting climate change, caring for migrants and providing a welcoming church that is pastoral rather than doctrinaire.
It's reasonable to expect that the Pope would have a number of different priorities, and it's perfectly okay for him to discuss them "quietly but forcefully." But it really is hard to understand why one of those priorities isn't the slow motion genocide being perpetrated by ISIS, Boko Harem and other Muslim extremist groups—all in the name of Islam and its Holy Book.

The Pope has a very big stage, given the near-obsessive coverage of his every move by the media in the United States. It's interesting and quite troubling that he doesn't "forcefully" call on Islamic leaders to speak out against the slaughter of Christians by Islamists in the Middle East.

Update (9/24/15)
The Pope has a distinct opportunity to addres the Christian genocide perpetrated exclusively by Mulim extremist groups when he speaks at the UN tomorrow. Daniel Henninger comments:
In the past two years, the plight of Christians in the Middle East has gone from persecution to slaughter. Decades of Vatican diplomacy there for the world’s most at-risk Christians has produced very little. Soon there may be nothing left to protect. On Friday, the pope reportedly will address the U.N. about climate change. A jeremiad against Christian extermination would be welcome this week, too. 
My bet is that very little, if any, mention of the slaughter will occur. The big question is, Why?

Monday, September 21, 2015


As the Obama administration bumbles toward its last year, one is reminded of the macabre joke about the evil young man who murders both his parents and then demands that the jury be lenient in its judgement because he is an orphan.

The Obama administration's MO is oddly similar. Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s makes a series of very bad decisions, followed by a series of weak or ineffective actions. These decisions and actions result not in resolving or even adequately managing problems they encounter, but rather exacerbating them to the extent that they become insoluble and unmanageable. But here's the kicker. Once this happens, the administration then claims that there were no good options left or that they were forced into the decisions or actions by "critics" and it's the critics who are to blame for the mess. This outrageous denial and deflection has gone unchallenged by Obama's trained hamsters in the media until quite recently, but even Obama-friendly media outlets like The New York Times are beginning to comment:
WASHINGTON — By any measure, President Obama’s effort to train a Syrian opposition army to fight the Islamic State on the ground has been an abysmal failure. The military acknowledged this week that just four or five American-trained fighters are actually fighting.

But the White House says it is not to blame. The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place — a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At briefings this week after the disclosure of the paltry results, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, repeatedly noted that Mr. Obama always had been a skeptic of training Syrian rebels. The military was correct in concluding that “this was a more difficult endeavor than we assumed and that we need to make some changes to that program,” Mr. Earnest said. “But I think it’s also time for our critics to ‘fess up in this regard as well. They were wrong.”

In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment. The I-told-you-so argument, of course, assumes that the idea of training rebels itself was flawed and not that it was started too late and executed ineffectively, as critics maintain.

Either way, it underscored White House sensitivities about the widening Syrian catastrophe. With more than 200,000 killed in the civil war, a wave of refugees flooding into Europe, and Russia now flying in arms and troops, the president finds himself with a geopolitical and humanitarian mess that will most likely not be settled before he leaves office in 16 months.
What is even more problematic is that Democrats in Congress have surely noticed all of this and with the exception of true believers (who are also truly delusional) surely recognize that bad decisions and half-baked actions have become a hallmark of this administration.

Given this, why then did the Dems acquiesce to the Iran treaty. The Obama administration used their MO—the treaty was the best they could do; their critics were war mongers; this was a "good" deal. Just like al Qaeda was on the run, ISIS was a JV team, Assad would be out of power in 2013, Putin would be reasonable ...

It's interesting. The Dems are analogous to members of the jury for the trial of the evil young man who murdered his parents. They listen to his plea for leniency, and they vote to acquit.

I hope they will be held accountable in 2016.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Gravitas and Depth

If the GOP debate (#2) indicated nothing else, it demonstrated that among the army of GOP candidates, there are serious people with serious ideas who want to be president. I don't agree with many of their positions, some are demagogues, others are unqualified, and a few are unrealistic or ill-informed, but in the main, there are at least six people who represent serious ideas and positions.

It's interesting that the DNC has yet to have a debate. Maybe that's because it would become very boring listening to Clinton, Sanders and O'Malley (where's Joe Biden?) talk endlessly about "income inequality," the "war on women," and ...

Hmmm. That's the problem, anything else that the Dems might discuss—healthcare, the economy, scandals,  jobs, the plight of the middle class, the debt, taxes, foreign policy, immigration, government dependency—becomes a minefield, given that the current Dem administration has created such a mess. Sure, they could create boogie men (e.g., "women's health") or rely on their tried and true class warfare memes, but at some point they're going to have to talk about things that truly do matter, and that's a serious problem for Dems. Oh yeah, there's also a little matter of Hillary's server, the consequent FBI investigation, and the willful destruction of evidence in a congressional investigation.

In the GOP debate, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Chris Christi all receive an A grade. All three addressed issues with substance and depth, had a firm grasp of the real (as opposed to imaginary) threats to our country, and exhibited a forceful and focused command of the issues.

Donald Trump? According to the post-debate polls, low information Trumkins gave him the "win," but I'm hopeful that his appeal will fade. Otherwise, we're looking at a candidacy that has an eerie and nightmarish similarity to the Obama candidacy in 2008—a candidate who talks in broad generalities and has little substance.

From a political perspective, the coming months will be interesting indeed. The GOP has good candidates who have gravitas and depth. I only hope that they don't chose a man with neither of those qualities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Virtue Signalling

With the election of Barack Obama on 2008 and again in 2012, and the potential election of an even more left-wing candidate (e.g., Bernie Sanders), the mindset of leftist thinkers in contemporary America deserves a closer look.

I often use the phrase "moral preening" to describe the leftist world view. As long as a person takes the position that exhibits a self-defined moral high ground and proposes policies to defend that high ground, the outcome of the policies, no matter how flawed, can be defended because the policy maker's intentions were good (even if the results are damaging or even worse, hurt, rather than help those who are their targets).

Richard Fernandez offers another take:
In the world of anything goes “virtue signalling” can be substituted for the needless art of competence. That term, invented by British writer Libby Purves, describes an exhibition of moral superiority which wins the day. Moral superiority is now all it takes to fix things. Engineering — especially social engineering — has been radically simplified. Will it, and it is. In place of “true or false”, “correct or incorrect” the contemporary thinker can merely substitute the term “good or bad” or better yet “progressive or reactionary” to characterize any approach to a problem and make a judgment on that basis.

The two interesting things about relativistic world based on “virtue signalling” is that 1) there are an infinite number of solutions to any problem; 2) all these solutions are equally valid. This absurdity holds because answers in a progressive world are always compared to intentions. It becomes equivalent to solving a dependent system of equations, like the intersection of a line and a line equal to itself. High school algebra shows this yields an infinite solution set. To the question: what is the right policy in the Middle East comes the certain answer: anything Obama does.
But don't 'best of intentions' matter? Isn't that a reasonable defense when the best of intentions go bad? Sadly, the answer—one that people on the left don't want to hear—is that results matter, reality matters, and consequences matter. Intentions are a starting point, but they are not the point.
Fernandez continues:
One would be tempted to let people live in their nonjudgmental paradise except for the serious consequences to policies crafted on that basis. One is the embrace of kitchen sink approaches which refuse to recognize that certain things matter. In this way radical Islamism is permanently excluded from criticism. Everything is smeared out into a model with no significant factors. Bernie Sanders in a recent speech a Liberty University[*] solved the problem of poverty in America by simply invoking morality.
Do you think it’s moral that 20 percent of the children in this country, the wealthiest country in the history of the world are living in poverty? Do you think it is acceptable that 40 percent of African-American children are living in poverty? In my view, there is no justice, and morality suffers, when in our wealthy country, millions of children go to bed hungry. That is not morality. … I think when we talk about morality, what we are talking about is all of God’s children, the poor, the wretched, they have a right to go to a doctor when they are sick!
Sanders offers no reason for believing his specific proposals won’t actually bankrupt everybody, including those he wants to help. But he does not need to. All he must establish is his sincerity and good intentions. That lead us to the second consequence of ideological policy. Because it is founded on a tautology it has the tendency to expand any problem in order to solve it.

Problems are fixed by spreading them around. Chicago having banned guns to no effect, now insists guns must be banned everywhere to stop violence in the Windy City. The European Union thinks it can solve the Syrian refugee problem by forcing every country to take a quota. Greece can be fixed by lending them every greater sums of money. President Obama apparently believes he can solve his foreign policy problems by internationalizing them. Bring Iran into Iraq, bring Russia, China, Britain, Iran, Turkey into Syria and all will be well. It is as if the mere act of making things bigger creates the solution.

Yet it does not. Often it expands the problem rather than fixes it.
But on the left, expanding the problem is not an altogether bad thing. After all, expanding the problem allows "virtue signalling" to continue and become even more melodramatic. Our intentions were good but somehow, we didn't spend enough money, or increase taxes on "the rich" as much as we should have, or (more specifically) hiked the minimum wage to say, $25.00/hour, when 'low wage' workers at a mandated $15.00 minimum wage began to be replaced by machines.

In the fantasy world of "virtue signalling," Bernie Sanders and his followers, see no limits to how much we can spend, how much we can tax, or for that matter, how much damage they can do to the very people (e.g., those in poverty) they purport to help but instead force into greater and greater levels of dependency. When reality begins the fray the edges of their fantasy, they double down. After all, their intentions were good—and that's all that matters.

*Sanders is to be commended for speaking in a potentially hostile environment. James Taranto comments:
Socialist Bernie Sanders yesterday did something liberal in the old-fashioned sense of the term: He gave a speech to a group of people disinclined to agree with him. He probably didn’t persuade many of them, but it’s to his credit that he tried.

Even more remarkable, the venue was of a type where this sort of thing seldom goes on anymore—a university campus. Not that Sanders wouldn’t be welcome on just about any campus in America, but he spoke yesterday at one of the few where he could expect a hostile audience: Liberty University, an evangelical Christian institution affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.

As Jesse Singal of New York magazine notes, Liberty students did not attempt to ban Sanders from campus or shout him down:

Without jumping into the broader debate about political correctness, it’s worth pointing out that, if we’re going to buy the theory that the mere presence of a certain type of speaker on campus creates an unsafe space that expands across that campus, bringing the risk of psychological harm to students, Liberty must have been an incredibly unsafe place today. Many, if not most, of its students, after all, deeply and viscerally believe that abortion is murder. And here was a speaker who didn’t agree with them on that—he was, from their point of view, in favor of mass murder. And yet they let him talk respectfully, they asked him questions, and it seemed like everyone was able to have a civil conversation (albeit a mandatory civil conversation).
As of yet, there are no reports of widespread psychological trauma out of Lynchburg.
That’s a good point as far as it goes, but Singal may be too young to appreciate just how ironic it is that Liberty University is now American academia’s shining exemplar of liberal discourse.
This is, in fact, a sad commentary on the state of American academia. Someone like, say, Ted Cruz, would likely be shouted down at a liberal-left university for exhibiting "microagressions" and fostering "intolerance," or "gender bias" or disrupting the "safe place" atmosphere for a bunch of coddled 18 year olds.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Staying true to form, the trained hamsters of the main stream media spend hours and hours covering the often idiotic ramblings of Donald Trump, but other than an occasional mention of the large crowds he is drawing, they spend almost no time discussing the more substantive proposals that have been offered by democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Of course, there's a reason for the asymmetry. Bernie's proposals are best left stealth, at least for the time being. No point in examining them—might raise a few questions and more than a few eyebrows.

To his credit, Bernie Sanders has been relatively specific in what he wants to do as president. In essence, he wants to take the Big Intrusive Government (B.I.G.) that Barack Obama and many Democrats are so fond of and make it much, much bigger. The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.

His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.
But Sanders also wants to provide "free" college tuition ($750 billion), paid employee leave ($319 billion), bail outs for bankrupt private (and later public) pension funds ($29 billion), universal pre-K child care ($?? billion), social security support ($1.2 trillion), infrastructure repair ($1 trillion).

And where does the money come from? Sanders is a socialist, so the answer is easy—it comes from increased taxes on "billionaires and millionaires." Low information voters (meaning most of the Sanders' left) actually believe that these sums can be raised using what could be called a class warfare tax targeting only those who are "rich." He currently proposes a $6.5 trillion tax increase over 10 years, but like all B.I.G. taxation efforts, that will surely not be enough. The reality is that confiscatory taxes would be required to fund Sanders' uber-B.I.G. and the consequent damage to the economy would be even worse that that caused by Barack Obama's high tax rates.

When Bernie Sanders rails against "the rich" is his class warfare stump speech, he gets cheers from the left. After all, allowing the government to run healthcare is a good idea, right? Look how well Obamacare has worked out for the middle class—they love it—right? Lower rates? Better coverage? More access? Except none of those things happened despite the mendacious promises we all heard. But no matter. It's a triumph for B.I.G., and Sander universal plan would even better, I'm sure.

And "free" college tuition sounds like a great idea as does "paid" employee leave—after all, it's free and paid! No one would abuse a system like that. It would be run really, really efficiently. There would be no waste or abuse. What could go wrong?

Eighty years ago, George Bernard Shaw—a leftist himself—once said: "A socialist is somebody who doesn't have anything, and is ready to divide it up equally among everybody."

Today, Bernie Sanders is ready and willing to use money we don't have to fund programs we don't need to create a government monstrosity that the vast majority of the people don't want.

Bernie Sanders, to his credit, gave a speech in enemy territory, conservative Liberty University. He showed more courage than Barack Obama has in almost seven years of selecting only friendly audiences for his speeches.

However, the content of Bernie's speech leaves a lot to be desired. John Hinderaker provides a harsh fisking of his talk at Liberty University here.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bad Things

Last Thursday the puppy dog Democrats succumbing to White House pressure and voted to block a legitimate, agreed upon up or down vote on Barack Obama's Iran "deal." This compounded their cowardice in indicating that they would vote for a "deal" that most of them know is bad for this country and the world. The Wall Street Journal comments:
... it says something about President Obama’s contempt for Congress that he browbeat and threatened 42 Democrats to filibuster the vote so he can duck having to veto a resolution of disapproval. The President may think he can spin 42 Senate votes into political vindication, and we’re sure he’ll get media support for that view. But Americans should read a filibuster as a tacit Democratic admission of no confidence in an agreement they fear voting on.

It’s also an abdication—and a betrayal. In May the Senate voted 98-1 for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, better known for sponsors Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.), and Mr. Obama signed it. Historically, significant foreign agreements have been submitted to Congress as treaties, requiring two-thirds approval in the Senate.

The Administration knew it could never meet that threshold, devised by the founders so that binding agreements with foreign powers would have broad and enduring public support. Instead, it wanted to make a deal with Iran as an executive agreement, ratified not by Congress but by the U.N.’s Security Council. But only Congress can fully lift the sanctions it imposed on Iran, so Mr. Obama was forced to make his grudging nod to the co-equal branch.

Now Mr. Obama is violating the law he signed, and Democrats are helping him do it. Corker-Cardin stipulates that the Administration must submit to Congress the full nuclear agreement, including any “side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.”
Barack Obama is a man who cannot be trusted to abide by agreements with Congress he originally supported. He cynically threw Corker-Cardin under the bus so he could avoid looking bad. But here's the problem—Barack Obama looks bad every day because his decisions are weak, his focus is inward, and his ideology exhibits a hyperpartisan view that does this country an enormous disservice. He looks bad because he is a bad leader. No Senate vote or lack thereof will change any of that.

There's a warped symmetry to the Democrat (quasi-filibuster) vote that blocked an up or down Senate vote on Obama's Iran deal. It occurred one day before the anniversary of 9/11. Obama's capitulation to the Ayatollah in Iran guarantees that virulent Islamists will have a nuclear weapon in no more than 10 years. If Iran cheats—and they will cheat—they'll have a clandestine nuclear weapon much sooner.

In fact, one could argue that it in in the interest of the Iranians to cheat immediately. Why? Because no amount of evidence would convince Barack Obama to act against them—it would make him look bad, and we can't have that, can we? Even worse, I suspect that Obama, his Democrat colleagues, and their trained hamsters in the media would suppress or obfuscate any evidence of cheating and blithely proceed as if all is well. Not a comforting thought.

Obama and his progressive supporters—cynically paint a soothing picture of Iran's response—you know, the one in which the Islamists see the light, sit down with us to discuss their grievances, and link arms and become our allies. Unfortunately, rainbows and unicorns don't have a chance when they collide with the reality of the Islamists' long war. They are intent in destroying Western culture and replacing it with a brutal, intolerant, and unforgiving version of Islam.

On Thursday, 9/10, were we attacked from within by duplicitous Democratic politicians who made a grievous error that will haunt the country in much the same way that memories of 9/11 haunt us still. Shame on them ... and shame on us for allowing them to lead.


Richard Fernandez cuts to the core of the issue:
Very few would have predicted on September 11, 2001 that the headlines 14 years later would feature an American president arming Iran; that there would be millions of Middle Eastern Arabs flooding into the heart of Europe. Or Saudi Arabia, while refusing to accept any refugees from an Islamic civil war in Syria, would instead offer to build 200 mosques in Germany, one for every hundred who has arrived to spare the Germans the trouble and expense of building the mosques themselves.

Few could have imagined that rail and road transport from Hungary to Germany would be interrupted to hold back floods of people in numbers unseen since World War 2. Not many would have guessed that the Palestinian flag would fly over the UN in New York, despite the objection of the United States.

Hardly anyone would have foretold the return of Russia to the Middle East, spearheaded by a legion of forces who had honed their skill at “hybrid warfare” — then an unknown term — in Ukraine. Not just anyone mind you, but as Michael Weiss in the Daily Beast notes, “the Kremlin isn’t sending just any troops to prop up the Assad regime. It’s dispatching units that spearheaded Russia’s slow-rolling invasion of Ukraine.”

Except one man: Osama bin Laden. Unlike the American public, which still expected its leaders to defend them against aggression on that fatal day, Bin Laden had come to the conclusion the American elite would run at the slightest difficulty. What convinced him was the precipitate withdrawal of American troops from Somalia in 1996 following the incident popularly known as Blackhawk Down.
Another Democratic president, Bill Clinton, rushed to withdraw after the Blackhawk Down incident.   After all, we might anger the larger Muslim world if we acted aggressively. Right?

On the fateful day that has come to be known as Blackhawk Down, our dead soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu tied to pickup trucks while Islamic militants laughed and cheered. One can only wonder how things would have turned out if a stronger president had acted with outrage, stating,
"No one will disrespect our soldiers or commit barbaric acts and get away with it. No one who supports the barbarians is safe, no one who lives in their proximity is safe, and no city that harbors them is immune from destruction. As a consequence, we will punish those who have committed this act, those who support them and, of necessity, the city that harbors them. As I make this statement we are dropping tens of thousands of leaflets throughout Mogadishu warning its residents to leave the city within 12 hours. At the same time we have positioned special forces on all roads exiting the city. Their job is to capture or kill any resident who flees and is suspected of terrorist activity." By nightfall, we will destroy Mogadishu as a lesson for all who perpetrate or support or allow terrorism to grow in their midst."
 Brutal? Yes. But a clear and unequivocal message would have been delivered.

It's reasonable to state, with 22 years of hindsight after Blackhawk Down, that things could not have turned out much worse. And remember, Bill Clinton looks like strong and capable decision maker when he is compared to the current president of the United States.

One can only wonder what the Ayatollah, like his Islamist brother, Osama Bin Laden, is really thinking after Obama and his Team of 2s capitulated to him so readily.

Bad things will come of this, and I suspect, we won't have to wait 22 years to find out what they are.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Altogether Different

Whether it's the economic immigration that occurs daily on our southern borders or the immigration caused by a humanitarian crisis driven by failed states in the Muslim crescent, the West is groping with the mass, illegal flows of people who want a safety net for themselves and in some cases, their families. That safety net includes the ability to escape violence, the chance at a better economic life, the assurance that the state will provide a variety of entitlements and assistance.

None of this would be a problem except most western countries are financially stressed by too much spending and weak economies (i.e., a weak job market) in part, precipitated by the blue governance model that ironically, is also a champion of the immigration. In addition, there is concern among those who are not members of the elite political class that too many immigrants, introduced without proper controls, will change things in ways that may not be good for citizens who have lived in towns and cities for generations.

The massive flows of mainly Muslim immigrants from Syria, Libya, and other countries are creating concern and debate in Western Europe. On the one hand, humanitarian assistance is the right thing to do. But if that assistance accelerates inevitable changes to demographics, is it possible that those changes could lead to the destruction of centuries old cultures and society? With that in mind, is it still the right thing to do?

Many on the Left fight for the preservation and protection of "indigenous people." They argue that nothing justifies the destruction of indigenous cultures, and would resist, possibly with violence, any attempt to move large numbers of "white people" into lands currently occupied by indigenous people today.  It seems that the "indigenous" culture of Western European regions does not deserve the same protection. 

Peggy Noonan discusses the pivotal questions that Europeans are asking:
Reading the popular press of Europe you see the questions. Do we not have a right to control our borders? Isn’t the refugee wave a security threat? ISIS is nothing if not committed to its intentions. Why would they not be funneling jihadists onto those boats?
The Left often accuses those who ask these questions of "racism." The elites of the political class cluck their tongues and lecture the citizens of their country on the proper approach to humanitarian assistance, to the need to integrate hundreds of thousands of people with different cultural mindsets into the fabric of their countries. In the background is the continuing specter of Islamic terror, now incubating in at least some immigrant neighborhoods throughout Europe.

Noonan (as she often does) get to the core of the issue:
... The gap between those who run governments and those who are governed has now grown huge and portends nothing good.

Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighborhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality—normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular.

The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder.

People in gated communities of the mind, who glide by in Ubers, have bought their way out and are safe. Not to mention those in government-maintained mansions who glide by in SUVs followed by security details. Rulers can afford to see national-security threats as an abstraction—yes, yes, we must better integrate our new populations. But the unprotected, the vulnerable, have a right and a reason to worry.
Immigration is an abstraction for the elites. It's easy to use the topic as a fulcrum for moral preening, if you and your family are isolated from the massive flow of people. It's altogether different if isolation isn't an option.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Soothing Tones

In a highly critical op-ed, derisively entitled, "Obama's Syria Achievement." published in The Washington Post, Fred Hiatt writes:
This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy.

Starvation in Biafra a generation ago sparked a movement. Synagogues and churches a decade ago mobilized to relieve misery in Darfur. When the Taliban in 2001 destroyed ancient statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, the world was appalled at the lost heritage.

Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced — as if, on a proportional basis, 160 million Americans had been made homeless. More than a quarter-million have been killed. Yet the “Save Darfur” signs have not given way to “Save Syria.”

One reason is that Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. He has argued, at times, that there was nothing the United States could do, belittling the Syrian opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”
Over the past few months, Barack Obama has used the same type of soothing language (and lies) to assure us that his Iran "deal" is a good one for America, the West, and the World. He blithely offered the false choice—his deal or War—and his supporters on the left parroted it ad nauseum to justify his capitulation to the world's most dominant sponsor of terror. Obama and Kerry lied about our ability to verify this agreement, about the potential catastrophic consequences of giving the Iranians $150 billion in sanctions relief, and about the seriousness of genocidal threats and "Death to America" chants from the leader of Iran.

Could it be that Obama's dissembling with respect to Syria is a harbinger of dissembling relative to Iran, and that the same soothing language (and lies) used to discuss Syria have been used in the discussion of Iran?

Just today, the Iranian leadership stated that Israel would cease to exist within 25 years. Since Iran has Obama's blessing to develop enriched uranium in 10 years (yes, that is part of the "deal"), the Ayatolla's genocidal prediction holds some weight. But no worries, just listen to Hillary Clinton's soothing tones as she tells us that we need to provide Israel with addition military support.

The core of every argument against Obama's Iran deal is rarely mentioned. To wit, he has shown incredibly bad judgement in almost every foreign policy endeavor. Why on earth should the American people believe he has somehow concocted the right strategy relative to Iran? In truth, polls show that overwhelmingly, they do not. But his supporters among the Democrats continue to believe he's the smartest guy in the room. He. Is. Not.

Hiatt continues:
Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof; steps that might have helped in 2012 seemed ineffectual by 2013, and actions that could have saved lives in 2013 would not have been up to the challenge presented by 2014. The fact that the woman who wrote the book on genocide, Samantha Power, and the woman who campaigned to bomb Sudan to save the people of Darfur, Susan Rice, could apparently in good conscience stay on as U.N. ambassador and national security adviser, respectively, lent further moral credibility to U.S. abdication.

Most critically, inaction was sold not as a necessary evil but as a notable achievement: The United States at last was leading with the head, not the heart, and with modesty, not arrogance. “Realists” pointed out that the United States gets into trouble when it lets ideals or emotions rule — when it sends soldiers to feed the hungry in Somalia, for example, only to lose them, as told in “ Black Hawk Down,” and turn tail.

The realists were right that the United States has to consider interests as well as values, must pace itself and can’t save everyone. But a values-free argument ought at least to be able to show that the ends have justified the means, whereas the strategic results of Obama’s disengagement have been nearly as disastrous as the human consequences.
It took less than four years after Obama's disastrous decisions and inaction for Syria to become a failed state and precipitate a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Fortunately,  the only WMD used was poison gas. One can only wonder how long it will take for Iran deal to precipitate equally catastrophic events. But even more frightening is that the WMD of choice will result in a mushroom cloud.

The Democratic Party owns Obama's foreign policy decisions because even when they had the chance to do so, they did not and do not have the courage to control him politically. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have more than a little ownership in all of this as well.

The big question is whether those who use soothing tones today with be held to account in the years to come. Somehow, I doubt it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Now that we've passed Labor Day, the trained hamsters in the main stream media return to the presidential race with a vengeance. Sure they drift off to more important topics now and then (see my post, Connections), but it remains the Hillary and Donald show.

I have noted in a number of earlier posts that Donald Trump is empty. He flits from one high level abstraction to another, mentioning themes that are important to most voters, but never, ever providing enough detail to: (1) determine whether he actually knows anything about the subject, (2) has any intelligible plan for addressing the subject, or (3) is any deeper than the high level abstraction he presents.

An expert in any subject is four or five questions deep. That means that a point is raised, a question is asked probing the point, the expert provides an intelligent answer, another question probes the answer looking for additional explication, the expert provides follow-on detailed and intelligent comments, still another question occurs probing that response, and so on for 4 or 5 levels of detail (abstraction). A knowledgeable observer is two to three questions deep. Trump is one question deep, and in some cases, not even that.

Hugh Hewett, a conservative talk show host, asked Trump:
“I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief, to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?”
Here's a Trump's response:
"You know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone,” he said. “I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because, No. 1, I’ll find, I will hopefully find Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the pack.”

Trump said asking him who the key players are was a type of “gotcha question.”

“I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people,” Trump said.

"Now, as far as what you’re talking about now, I will know every detail, and I will have the right plan, not a plan like this where we’re probably going backwards based on everything that I’m hearing, but we’re probably going backwards, zero respect. We have, we are not a respected country, and certainly as it relates to ISIS and what’s going on, and Iran."
Like I said, Trump is less than one question deep. His answer is a blend of ignorance, idiocy, and hubris into one rambling statement. Typical for Trump.

Leon Wolf provides the best metaphor yet to describe Donald Trump:
Watching Donald Trump speak and answer questions, though, is like watching a billion targets appear in the sky all at once, for a political opponent. Each thing he says is so bizarre, or ill informed, or demonstrably false, or unpresidential in tone or character, that it becomes impossible to know which target to lock on to or focus on. And to the extent that he makes a policy statement, it is so hopelessly vague and ludicrous that it’s impossible to know where to begin, at least within the context of the 30-second soundbite that the modern political consumer requires (and chances are, he will say something diametrically opposed to it before the press conference is over anyway).

Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff, a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things – yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.
I guess Trump's legion of supporters represents the rage of some low information voters across the right, the center, and even among blue collar Dems. But the man is all mouth and no substance. He is chaff.

Sunday, September 06, 2015


In an odd way, the trained hamsters of the main stream media focus on the ramblings of Donald Trump and the serial scandals of Hillary Clinton to avoid making important and dangerous connections.

Over the past few weeks, the brutal deaths of Muslim immigrants to Europe from the Middle East (Syria and Libya, in particular) have gained the attention of major media outlets. But when the story is presented, there's rarely any background, i.e., details about what is causing this mass immigration and the resultant deaths of hundreds of innocents. The reason, I suspect is that background information (context)‚ might cause even low information folks to connect some dots and begin to ask questions about the actions of Barack Obama and his Team of 2s in the Middle East over the past six years. Even worse, context might cause people to ask whether very bad decisions by this president might portend a very bad result from his Iran deal‚ now a virtual fait accompli.

Richard Fernandez writes about this:
The news spotlight is on the US electoral drama. Everything outside the circle of media brilliance is momentarily in shadow, most especially Obama administration’s governance record. They persist in a singular state of invisibility. Scandals, domestic crises, foreign conflicts — none have been resolved. It is just that the newspapers don’t talk about them any more.
They don't talk about them because connections might be made. And those connections might reflect badly on the Democratic party going forward. And they can't have that, so they remain silent.

Fernandez continues:
Occasionally some media outlet will blurt out a dissonant observation, suggesting a reality outside the administration’s claims. Joshua Keating in Slate asks: “ISIS Is Probably Using Chemical Weapons. Where Did It Get Them?” From Saddam’s stockpiles maybe, those which didn’t exist or perhaps from Syria’s arsenal, whose destruction Obama negotiated, but clearly from outside the Narrative.
Ahhh, the Narrative. WMDs in Iraq? Lies, all lies. Obama's "victory" over Assad in Syria and the consequent destruction of his chemical weapons—except ... where did ISIS get the chem weapons? Syria? ... but, Obama told us they destroyed their chem weapons just like Iran will destroy its centrifuges. Didn't they?

And, oh by the way, is ISIS really the "JV team," as Barack Obama claimed they were? You know, the JV team that now has forced hundreds of thousand of refugees to flee with the subsequent humanitarian crisis. And if ISIS is just a J.V. team, we're winning in our attempts to defeat them, right? Doctored intelligence reports tell this president we are, so we must be, right?

Again from Fernandez:
Power means the last word on things. It is not as if some future Republican president can reverse Obama and re-attempt a civil society in the Middle East the way America did in Europe and Japan at the end of World War 2. Obama demonstrated the American Left can veto any attempt to resist imposing its vision upon the nation. It has the will to throw away any victory, however complete, to have the last say.

The mistakes of Obama’s policies are secondary to the principle that a certain point of view should prevail.
I suppose that's why a group of puppy dog democrats have supported an Iran Deal even though they have to know that it's not the best we can do. I think they also know that bad things will be spawned by this deal, but they simply don't care. After all, it's far more important that "a certain point of view should prevail."

Never mind. Let's get back to Donald and Hillary.

And this from Michael Gerson:
One little boy in a red T-shirt, lying face down, drowned, on a Turkish beach, is a tragedy. More than 200,000 dead in Syria, 4 million fleeing refugees and 7.6 million displaced from their homes are statistics. But they represent a collective failure of massive proportions.

For four years, the Obama administration has engaged in what Frederic Hof, former special adviser for transition in Syria, calls a “pantomime of outrage.” Four years of strongly worded protests, and urgent meetings and calls for negotiation — the whole drama a sickening substitute for useful action. People talking and talking to drown out the voice of their own conscience. And blaming. In 2013, President Obama lectured the U.N. Security Council for having “demonstrated no inclination to act at all.” Psychological projection on a global stage. …

What explains Obama’s high tolerance for humiliation and mass atrocities in Syria? The Syrian regime is Iran’s proxy, propped up by billions of dollars each year. And Obama wanted nothing to interfere with the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran. He was, as Hof has said, “reluctant to offend the Iranians at this critical juncture.” So the effective concession of Syria as an Iranian zone of influence is just one more cost of the president’s legacy nuclear agreement.
For Obama and his Team of 2s, Iran seems to be at the center of every bad decision they have made. Now that the nuclear deal is a a "go," the consequences of those bad decisions, like that poor little boy on a European beach, will ultimately wash up on our shores.

Saturday, September 05, 2015


In a beautifully written and fascinating article on the antiquities at the 2,000 year old city of Palmyra, Leon Wieseltier recounts the history of the place and the tragedy of it's recent purposeful destruction by ISIS. He recounts the all too familiar barbarity of the ISIS thugs who murder and pillage in the name of Islam, and laments the destruction of the past by present-day barbarians.

He concludes with the following comment:
But whose responsibility is it to protect this common heritage? Is it America’s? Not ours; no, sir. America is not the keeper of other people’s antiquities. America is not the keeper of other people’s liberties. America is not the keeper of other people’s rights. America is not the keeper of other people’s borders. Not after that last war; no, sir. We are the keepers only of ourselves, and of our president’s “legacy.” We practice a doctrine of strategic detachment and wrap ourselves in rectitude about it. To the persecuted of the world, to the dissidents, to the refugees, to the raped and the enslaved, to the victims of chemical weapons in a country where the United States was supposed to have confiscated all the chemical weapons, America says sauve qui peut. [every man for himself]

America is no longer moved by the moral imperative of support and rescue, even when, as in Syria, it is plainly in its strategic interest. (I know, we rescued the Yazidis.) The 71 immigrants who were found dead in a truck on a Hungarian road, the corpse of a little boy that washed up on a Turkish beach, the hundreds of thousands of desperate people (out of 4 million) now making their way to Europe—these friendless people were killed or exiled in part by the Western refusal to face the horrors of Syria four years ago. All this was predicted. What did we think would happen if we did nothing?

Hold on. Indignation is getting the better of me. America did do something. We trained 54 Syrian soldiers for the “New Syrian Force,” nearly half of whom were killed or captured as soon as they went to work. We are running more than 350 Twitter accounts at the Department of State, which, according to the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, are “aggregating, curating, and amplifying existing content.” We are flying drones to assassinate villains who are immediately replaced. In sum, it is springtime for ISIS. We present no serious obstacles and offer no significant impediments. We deplore and we respond trivially. We act, but not decisively. This is what the world looks like when the United States has abandoned its faith in its power and its duty to do good. For whom are we any longer a source of hope? The rubble of Palmyra is a melancholy emblem of the rubble of American foreign policy.
Leon Wieseltier's article appeared in The Atlantic, and I'm certain that these last few paragraphs caused some intellectual discomfort among its left-leaning readers. In a way, Palmyra is as much a part of Barack Obama's much vaunted "legacy" as any of his self-proclaimed foreign policy "achievements." There's only one difference—the wanton destruction of Palmyra is real, and this president's "achievements" are like the dust that now blows in the desert where Palmyra used to be.


The trained hamsters in the main stream media are quick to point out that AIPAC has lobbied hard in the loosing battle to get a veto proof condemnation of Barack Obama's "deal" with Iran. The Left is more than happy to suggest that somehow proponents of Israel's position are nefarious in their lobbying efforts. AIPAC correctly contends that Obama's deal is an historic and strategic blunder of epic proportions. Because AIPAC has done this, Obama and his spokespeople have demonized the group, and the trained hamsters have piled on.

Interesting that we haven't heard about the lobbying efforts of IAPAC. What's that, you ask? IAPAC is the Iranian American Political Action Committee that lobbies on behalf of Iran. Interesting that the trained hamsters of the media haven't spent any time looking at their lobbying efforts, who they have contributed to, and how those politicians have voted as a consequence.. Politifact reports that bloggers are uncovering a trail of campaign contributions targeted at Democrat Senators who subsequently supported Obama's deal.

These include significant contributions to Democrat Senators Ed Markey, Al Franken, Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen, and Kirsten Gillibrand, who also received contributions from one Hassan Nemazee, an IAPAC Trustee. Oh ... by the way ... Hassan Nemazee was Hillary Clinton's campaign finance director, raising millions for Clinton and John Kerry, until Nemazee pleaded guilty to fraud in a scheme involving $292 million. And ... years earlier, Bill Clinton nominated Hassan Nemazee as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, but was thwarted by Senate disapproval of the nomination.

There is also evidence that Joe Biden accepted campaign contributions from IAPAC and other Muslim organizations. In fact, way back in 2008, the Newsmax reported:
Sen. Barack Obama and his newly-picked running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, may have sparred during the primaries. But on one issue they are firmly united: the need to forge closer ties to the government of Iran. Kaveh Mohseni, a spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, calls Biden "a great friend of the mullahs." He notes that Bidens election campaigns "have been financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network," a loosely-knit group of wealthy Iranian-American businessmen and women seeking to end the U.S. trade embargo on Iran. "In exchange, the senator does his best to aid the mullahs," Mohseni argues. Biden's ties to pro-Tehran lobbying groups are no secret. But so far, the elite media has avoided even mentioning the subject.
Yeah, way back in 2008, the "elite media" didn't bother to mention these ties, and today they continue to maintain a news blackout. The American public should be made aware of IAPAC just as the media hamsters have worked overtime to make sure the public is aware of AIPAC. I wonder why that hasn't happened? No worries. I'm sure Glen Ifill will report on all of this objectively.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The First Rule

Time after time, the trained hamsters of the mainstream media have disregarded important news events, government reports and data, congressional hearing and other news stories if they contradict or even question the many narratives of the Left. Media bias is real. It does a disservice to the American public. It allows corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians to skate past their failings, if those politicians are of a particular party—the Democratic Party. It refuses to investigate allegations of corruption, malfeasance and dishonesty whenever it can, and when forced to do so, evidences a complete lack of focus or enthusiasm.

At the same time, it attacks the comments and policies of conservative politicians with a venom that is truly remarkable, and when those conservative policies are shown to be corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent, the mainstream media attacks, investigates, and condemns with a fervor that lasts for days or even weeks. There is no lack of focus.

In this blog, I have noted many, many instances of this. If anything, it's getting worse. Hence, the reason for a general lack of trust of the MSM.

For those progressives who read this blog, play the substitution game. What if this president was a Republican and Lois Lerner was a GOP appointee, and the groups targeted by the IRS were liberal groups? Can you honestly state that the weak coverage of the IRS scandal, the media acquiescence to administration stonewalling, the response to a lack of justice department inquiry, and the level and depth of media investigation would not have been different? The same goes for Fast and Furious, a gun running scandal that is akin is some ways to Iran-Contra, Benghazi, the VA scandal, and more recently, Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. What if those scandals occurred under a GOP president or GOP presidential nominee? Would the tepid coverage have been the same?

Again, the substitution game: When an insane, racist white man kills innocent black people, the media meme is that it's a clear indication of a toxic, racist environment among some whites. The thrust is to explore that toxic, racist environment ad nauseaum. But when an insane, racist black man kills a white cop in cold blood, it's all about gun control, not about a toxic, racist environment among some black activists that just might spur on that insane, racist person of color to kill. Interesting and indicative.

Andrew Klavin has coined the first rule of MSM media coverage:
Whenever the prejudices and illusions of left-wingers are confirmed by an individual incident, the incident is treated as representative; when those prejudices and illusions are contradicted, the incident is considered an aberration — and treating it as representative is deemed hateful.


Jay Nordlinger comments on a recent incident of blatant media bias by a supposedly "objective" news anchor from (not surprising) PBS:
Well, I’ve said it a million times: The anchorman of CBS News should attend Democratic fundraisers (as happened). The Supreme Court reporter of the New York Times, a.k.a. the paper of record, should march in abortion-rights rallies (as happened). And PBS news figures should be open partisans.

Yesterday, when Senator Barbara Mikulski declared for the Iran deal, meaning that this deal could not be blocked by the Senate, Gwen Ifill spiked the football. “Take that, Bibi,” she tweeted. Aha! Good one, Gwen! The PBS ombudsman has written about this matter disapprovingly. I’m not sure I disapprove.

What I disapprove of is pretending — the pretending that these news organizations are neutral and dispassionate, instead of on the left. Nomsayin? Know what I’m saying? It seems so . . . elementary. Let your true colors fly, and we’ll have a good ol’ democratic debate. P.S. If those statesmanlike mullahs in Tehran land one on Israel, will our Left say, “Take that, Bibi”?
Somehow, after Obama and his Team of 2s worked tirelessly to demonize the Prime Minister of Israel (a U.S. ally, by the way) I have to believe that some Obama followers would say exactly that. Disgraceful tweet by Ifill, but it's business as usual among the trained hamsters.

As an aside, I also have to wonder whether Ifill would ever tweet "Take that, Ayatollah" under any set of circumstances. Betcha she wouldn't ... ever.

Thursday, September 03, 2015


Whenever you hear Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or any of the other Democrat candidates for president fall back on proven class warfare memes—"income inequality," a "fair" minimum wage, higher (still) taxes on the rich,or any of the other "social justice" narratives, it's worth considering just how close their comments are to the late, communist Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez. Chavez demonized the "rich" suggesting that wealth is bad, "“Rich people attack me for saying that, but I claim it [wealth] is bad," he is quoted as saying.

Venezuela is only one of the many postage children for the abject failure of socialist governance model. Chavez was an effective demagogue. He convinced far too many low information Venezuelans and more than a few wealthy true believers to follow him to ruin. Once a country with significant oil wealth and a good economy, Venezuela is now broke, shortages of food and other goods abound, and hyperinflation is rampant. Money, businesses, and people are fleeing the country.

But here's the thing. Chavez, like most leftist demagogues, never felt that wealth was bad for him or the connected elites that supported him. As a case in point, consider Chavez' daughter. According to Diario Las América:
Venezuelan media sources will soon publish materials showing that María Gabriela Chávez has bank accounts in the U.S. and Andorra with assets totaling nearly $4.2 billion.

If the claim is true, Chávez’s daughter would be the richest person in Venezuela, a country with industrialists like telecommunications magnate Gustavo Cisneros (worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes) and food and beverage mogul Lorenzo Mendoza ($2.7 billion).

Those figures stand in stark contrast to the overall state of the Venezuelan economy, which has been plagued by the collapse of oil prices, spiraling inflation rates caused by untenable fiscal policies and massive shortages of the most basic commodities, such as food, diapers and beauty products.
Gotta love it. María Gabriela Chávez kind of flies in the face of Venezuelan income inequality, huh? But for that matter, so do Bill and Hillary Clinton.

It's bad enough that the socialist model is ruinous over the long term—ultimately, redistributionists run out of other people's money. But even worse, the socialist model siphons significant percentages of other people's money and funnels it into the pockets of selected elites. That's how María Gabriela Chávez acquired over 4 billion dollars.

Worse, this is already happening on a small scale in the United States. As big government grows ever bigger, those who understand how to play the game become rich by siphoning off some of the vast sums acquired by taxing less than half of the populace. The poor and the middle class get nothing that will truly help them, but plenty that will increase their dependency on big government.

Richard Fernandez looks at the bigger picture:
For many years, the Third World has functioned as the sump of toxic Western ideas. Ideas too dangerous for any sane person to actually try were boldly exported there. Years ago, a Bavarian friend remarked that the most destructive German export of all time was Karl Marx; far more catastrophic in effect than that perennial rival for ideological malpractice, Adolf Hitler.
There’s something to this. Marx’s disciples like Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and the Kim family have between them killed many more people than perished at the hands of Adolf. Yet after each catastrophe, the intellectuals would go back to the drawing board and try again with the highest hopes, since the inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and South America seemed perpetually ready to be sacrificed on the altar of “scientific” socialism.

One of the characteristics of Leftism is that it always works best for the “masses.” The Vanguard are somehow always exempted from its strictures, as they have important work to do. Individuals who sincerely decry “carbon footprints” see nothing wrong in flying by private jet to denounce the use of fossil fuels. The bigger the private jet, the more credible the environmentalist.

Marxism is full of schemes that are beautiful at a distance, but only at a distance.
"Beautiful schemes" targeted at the masses while the elites remain fully exempt is a common place occurrence in the socialist agenda. Sounds a lot like Venezuela. For that matter, it sounds a lot like most of the "beautiful" ideas and policies proposed by Obama, Sanders, and Clinton.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015


The Wall Street Journal reports what most of us have feared but expected:
More than a month after global diplomats struck an agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for international sanctions relief, the White House secured the backing of 34 senators—the minimum needed to guarantee the deal can advance despite deep and divisive reservations in Congress, especially among Republicans.
Why is it that virtually every major deal (or legislation) that Barack Obama proposes is accompanied by "deep and divisive reservations in Congress?" Why is it that this president can't seem to get bipartisan support for any legislation (or deal) of consequence? Why is it that Obama must lobby his own party to ensure that they support the Iran deal. After all, if the deal was as good as the mendacious claims of Barack Obama and John Kerry, wouldn't democrats flock to support it without reservation or equivocation?

The Democrats own the Iran deal. When violations begin to occur (and they will begin to occur sooner, rather than later), it will be interesting to see if the Dems will be held accountable. My guess is that Obama's trained hamsters in the media will refuse to report violations and that this administration will refuse to admit they have occurred.

When the tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief are funneled by Iran to Islamic terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, in South America, and Indonesia, it will be interesting to see if the Dems will be held accountable. This administration will obfuscate and stonewall, suggesting that any reports of sanctions money flowing to Hamas, Hezballah or dozens of other groups is "just partisan politics."

When Iran uses sanctions relief money to buy long-range missiles and sophisticated defensive weapons to protect those missiles, it will be interesting to see if the Dems will be held accountable. My guess is that Obama's trained hamsters in the media will conveniently forget to report those acquisitions.

When a nuclear arms race commences in the Middle East, it will be interesting to see if the Dems will be held accountable. The administration will point the finger elsewhere, trying to muddy the waters by arguing that it would have occurred anyway.

But no matter. The Democrats own the Iran deal. And a decade from now, when Iran threatens its neighbors with nuclear weapons, when war is imminent, I wonder how many cowards like the 34 Democrat senators who held their noses and supported this deal will say, "we had the best of intentions."

If the Dems truly had the best of intentions, they would have told this president to negotiate a deal that avoided the outcomes I've just discussed. Because they did not, the Democrats own the Iran deal. And they own every negative consequence as well.

UPDATE-I,  (9/3/2015):

The Wall Street Journal is echoing my position that the democrats, in their puppy dog support for Barack Obama and his Iran dead, now own the consequences:
Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski on Wednesday became the 34th Senate Democrat to announce her support for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, enough to sustain a veto on a resolution of disapproval. So the deal will proceed, and Democrats had better hope it succeeds because they are taking responsibility for Iran’s compliance and imperial ambitions. Politically speaking, they now own the Ayatollahs.

The Democratic co-owners include Vice President Joe Biden, presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and nearly every member of the Congressional leadership. While New York Senator Chuck Schumer came out early against the deal, he has done nothing publicly to rally opponents. His silence suggests he has long known Mr. Obama would have enough votes to prevail.

Democrats will reinforce their ownership if they now use a Senate filibuster to block a vote on the motion of disapproval. More than 50 Senators are expected to oppose the deal, and a large bipartisan majority will oppose it in the House. Yet the White House is pushing for 41 Senate Democrats to enforce a filibuster, so that a bipartisan motion of disapproval dies in the Senate and Mr. Obama wouldn’t have to veto.
The fact that Barack Obama is working double time to encourage a Democrat filibuster of a bipartisan congressional vote that would disapprove of his "deal" is telling, but typical. The "victory" that Obama's trained hamsters in the media crow about isn't a victory at all. It's entirely possible that if they are allowed to vote, 64 to 66 U.S. Senators will express bipartisan displeasure with the deal—about 2/3 of the Senate. Obama can't have that—after all, the "entire world" is for the deal, isn't it.

UPDATE-II,  (9/3/2015):

"Ownership" is becoming a watchword as the enormity of this disastrous Iran deal sinks in. Here's Jonathan Tobin on the subject:
... the most important point to be gleaned from Obama’s seeming triumph is that he and his party now bear complete responsibility for Iran’s good conduct as well as its nuclear program.

Let’s remember that, up until this past winter, it could be argued that Congressional Democrats were as ardent about stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the Republicans. Sanctions on Iran — that were opposed by the Obama administration — got overwhelming Democratic support with members of the party like Senator Robert Menendez leading the fight for them. Even tougher sanctions that were also opposed by the president last year also had the support of the vast majority of the Democratic caucuses in both the House and the Senate. Nor was there much enthusiasm among Democrats for the string of concessions that Obama made to Iran in the negotiations led up to the deal.

But once the president got close to achieving his goal of an entente with Iran, he set about the business of peeling away Democrats from that consensus position. To date only two in the Senate — Menendez and New York’s Chuck Schumer — resisted the pressure and even Schumer promised not to try and persuade other Democrats to join him. The power of the presidency and the threat of unleashing a wave of slander and perhaps primary opposition from the president’s left-wing admirers was enough to force Democrats into his camp.

The statements of support from each Democrat betrayed their lack of enthusiasm for a deal that all admitted wasn’t the triumph that Obama was crowing about. They know it doesn’t achieve the administration’s stated goal when the negotiations began of stopping Iran’s program. At best it postpones it for a decade or 15 years. Meanwhile Iran is allowed to continue research and keep its advanced infrastructure as well as the right to go on enriching uranium.
Barack Obama views the Iran deal as a historical capstone for his foreign policy. In a way, it is. Barack Obama's foreign policy is a litany of failure, bad decisions and disastrous consequences. Why should the Iran deal result in anything different.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Tough Love

Extreme political correctness on America's college campuses has been the target of more than a little deserved ridicule of late. The idea of "microagressions" and "safe places" within the ivy covered walls of academia is ... well .. laughable. The implication is clear—college students are too delicate, too sheltered, and too provincial to listen to views that are different than theirs. And if those views are mean-spirited or even worse, bigoted, they cannot bear to listen becuase it might traumatize them. In fact, they will dis-invite any speaker who might offend any group on campus and will shout down anyone who has somehow passed through their PC filter.

Colin Quinn does an excellent job of explaining the situation:

But fear not. Academics really don't like to be ridiculed. Two academics, Barry Glassner and Morton Schapiro, tell us not to be "so quick to mock colleges on 'trigger warnings' and 'micro-aggressions'.

They tell the story of "a brilliant young African American woman who had been highly engaged on campus and in her course work, an "A" student, recoil from her classes and her classmates after returning to her dormitory one afternoon."

The reason—racist graffiti she noticed on a poster in her dorm.

No one condones the low achievement, low IQ individuals who might scrawl racist graffiti, but is this the first time "a brilliant young African American woman" had encountered such? Certainly, the woman would be justified in her anger. She would be justified in demanding that the perpetrators be found and punished. But was she really so delicate that she "recoiled from her classes and classmates?" Is she really so weak that she needs a safe place within a safe place?

The world can be a nasty place and on the broader scale of nasty things, racist graffiti, although objectionable, doesn't even rise above the water line. To note just one example, genocidal acts against Christian minorities and sex slavery that includes children perpetrated by Islamic extremists in Syria today does rise above the water line, and a graphic encounter with that nasty reality would traumatize most of us. But graffiti?

The authors go on to state:
Wholesale denouncements of young people's concerns only hinder our efforts to do right by our students. Statements like the following sound more informed than they actually are: "Trigger warnings are presented as a gesture of empathy, but the irony is they lead only to more solipsism, an over-preoccupation with one's own feelings — much to the detriment of society as a whole." So wrote author Jenny Jarvie in the New Republic, echoing much of the commentary on this topic — and, we would note, the condemnation of rock 'n' roll music in its early days and Vietnam War protesters a decade later.

Today's college students would not be struggling to deal with sexual assault and racism from their childhoods and on our campuses had their parents and grandparents made the world as harmonious as we imagined we would. Let's hope the "square" generation will do a better job than we did.
Ahh, so it's us geezers who are to blame, huh? After all, if the world was all rainbows and unicorns, none of this stuff would be necessary.

Ya know, the academics might be right. After all, far too many members of the early baby boom worked near full time jobs throughout college so we wouldn't come out the other end with heavy debt. We didn't enroll in woman's studies curricula, but rather much more mundane disciplines that actually led to paying jobs. We had few illusions about changing the world, and we didn't have time for narcissistic navel gazing. We took jobs even though they might be drudgery, all in the hope that we would progress to better jobs, earn money for our families, and yes, send our kids to college in a way that didn't require them to work and study in equal portions.

There are spoiled brats in every generation who want to be shielded from the realities of life. But today, it seems that some college students are so weak that they refuse to listen to or encounter negative ideas. They're not in need of "safe places." They are in need of a little tough love.