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Ed Driscoll

War And Anti-War

‘The Nihilist in the White House’

November 21st, 2014 - 1:49 pm

“This White House seems driven—does it understand this?—by a kind of political nihilism. They agitate, aggravate, fray and separate,” Peggy Noonan wrote last night:

ObamaCare, whose very legitimacy was half killed by the lie that “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” and later by the incompetence of its implementation, has been done in now by the mindless, highhanded bragging of a technocrat who helped build it, and who amused himself the past few years explaining that the law’s passage was secured only by lies, and the lies were effective because the American people are stupid. Jonah Goldberg of National Review had a great point the other day: They build a thing so impenetrable, so deliberately impossible for any normal person to understand, and then they denigrate them behind their backs for not understanding.

I don’t know how ObamaCare will go, but it won’t last as it is. If the White House had wisdom, they’d declare that they’d won on the essential argument—health coverage is a right for all—and go back to the drawing board with Congress. The only part of the ObamaCare law that is popular is its intention, not its reality. The White House should declare victory and redraw the bill. But the White House is a wisdom-free zone.

The president’s executive action on immigration is an act of willful nihilism that he himself had argued against in the past. It is a sharp stick in the eye of the new congressional majority. It is at odds with—it defies—the meaning and message of the last election, and therefore is destructive to the reputation of democracy itself. It is huge in its impact but has only a sole cause, the president’s lone will. It damages the standing of our tottery political institutions rather than strengthening them, which is what they desperately need, and sets a template for future executive abuse. It will surely encourage increased illegal immigration and thus further erode the position of the American working class.

Jonah’s latest G-File (emailed today, online tomorrow) illustrates just how craven Mr. Obama can be. I don’t believe the president is a crypto-Muslim — he’s far t00 in love with himself to worship Allah, as one wag has noted — but note this disgusting bit of theater:

One last item I don’t want to fall down the memory hole. I was going to write a whole column on this, but Mona Charen beat me to the punch. Still, my jaw dropped when I heard Obama’s reaction to the beheading of Peter Kassig.

“ISIL’s actions represent no faith,” Obama said, “least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

Abdul-Rahman was Kassig’s Muslim name, which he adopted only while being held captive by Islamists. Perhaps the conversion was sincere, though I suspect Kassig did it to stay alive and certainly under duress and I can begrudge him it. Either way, there’s something disgusting about using Kassig’s Muslim name in order to score a propaganda point.

It’s even worse when that propaganda point is so incandescently stupid.

As Mona notes (and as I argued here), no one except Barack Obama thinks it’s a revelation that the Islamic State kills Muslims. No Kurd, no Shia, no moderate Sunni stays in his home when the Islamic State is at the gates, and says “Hey, we’re Muslim and Muslims don’t kill Muslims. We’ve got nothing to worry about.”

But it’s the phrase “least of all the Muslim faith” that is truly infuriating. Least of all? Really? So other faiths are more implicated in this atrocity than Islam? Which ones? Does he really mean to be suggesting that while the Islamic State’s actions “represent no faith,” if we have to assign blame, Islam is the least culpable? Could a team of rhetoricians, theologians and logicians working around the clock in some Andromeda Strain bunker beneath the Nevada desert come up with an argument that puts even a scintilla more blame at the feet of, say, the Lutherans or Quakers? On the one hand we have a bunch of dudes who shout “Allāhu Akbar!”, memorize the Koran, and rape and murder in the name of the Islamic State. On the other hand, we have a grab bag of Buddhists, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and Southern Baptists. And the one faith least implicated here is Islam? Really. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Heh. But then, along with cynicism, crazy is the currency of the Beltway at the moment.

Update: Bedpans.

Plutocrat Millionaires Insult Military Veterans

November 13th, 2014 - 10:07 am

Glenn Reynolds writes:

The thing is, I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, but even in its original form the song Fortunate Son is a big steaming pile of hypocritical horseshit. John Fogerty wrote it after doing one-weekend-a-month Army Reserve duty designed to keep him away from Vietnam. It was the sort of deal a lot of people got, not just “Senator’s sons,” and his bandmate Doug “Cosmo” Clifford – the most underrated drummer of rock’s ascendancy – swung a similar Coast Guard gig.

Meanwhile, Fogerty says he wrote the song as “my confrontation with Richard Nixon,” but in fact Nixon refused the military exemption he was entitled to as a Quaker and served in the Pacific during World War Two.

Basically, whenever lefties go all moralistic, you can be pretty sure they’re being hypocritical. Because that’s just how they rock and roll.

Not to mention that the song is 45 years old, the equivalent of singing Rudy Vallee tunes from the 1920s at Woodstock, or Spanish-American War songs during World War II. But then Rolling Stone morphed into AARP Magazine so slowly, I hardly even noticed.

And while Spingsteen, who sang “Fortunate Son” at the Concert for Valor in DC on Tuesday came from hardscrabble lower-middle class postwar roots, he’s definitely in the One Percent now; as his predilection for $850,000 show horses illustrates.

And where does the aging Democrat Operative with a Shure-58 microphone stand on the actions against ISIS by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning presidential candidate he supported?

Question Asked and Answered

November 8th, 2014 - 8:12 pm

“Is Barack Obama Anti-Israel?” Jeffrey Goldberg asks in Bloomberg — “unexpectedly!” — View.

Beyond the obvious answer — “Of course he is,” and Goldberg’s own recent scoop on an Obama official calling Benjamin Netanyahu “Chickenshit,” as Noah Pollack wrote in March on “Mr. Goldberg’s Profession” at the Washington Free Beacon, “The arrangement works like this:”

Goldberg is provided exclusive access to the president at critical moments, in exchange for soft and flattering coverage of the president’s Middle East policies, especially his policies toward the state of Israel.

So, in the most recent interview, Obama says that without the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel is doomed, and that Israel is preventing the creation of said state. The Jewish State, Obama implies, is committing suicide. But none of these dramatic claims, or the alleged facts that undergird them, were met with the slightest resistance from Goldberg, who knows not to challenge the president too forcefully.

Thus, in 2012, days before AIPAC’s annual policy conference, and during an election year when Obama wished to be portrayed as tough on Iran, Goldberg was invited to the Oval Office to hear Obama boast—obviously with the intention of the following words becoming the headline of the piece, which they were—“As President of the United States, I don’t bluff.”

Thus, a week before the January 2013 election in Israel would extend Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership, Goldberg produced a “scoop” from the White House that had Obama commenting repeatedly in private that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” This was a clear attack on Netanyahu—and one that Obama should have known, if he were more perceptive or self-disciplined, would only result in giving Bibi a crucial boost.

Thus, in the past year, Goldberg has created something of a journalistic template in which he argues that no matter how inept and prevaricating Obama’s handling of a particular foreign policy crisis might be, we must take the president seriously when he insists he will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

So yes, to reiterate, of course Obama is hostile to Israel. But from Obama’s point of view, as his would-be successor is wont to say, really, at this point, what difference to does it make — at least to the semi-retired president himself.

obama_strangelove_big_11-16-14-2

“I admit I didn’t much care for Barack Obama before the revelation that he had secretly written Khamenei to induce the Iranian supreme leader to sign a nuclear deal in return for U.S. help battling ISIS.  Now I despise our president.  He is contemptible,” Roger L. Simon noted last night:

Does Obama know that Khamenei was a leader of the Iranian military in their war with Iraq, when the Iranians force-marched eleven-year-old boys — holding plastic “keys to paradise” — across fields to clear them of mines in advance of their troops, killing thousands of the unwitting boys in the process? Who knows? But if Obama makes this deal with the Iranians, he better give us all plastic keys.

It’s hard to know what motivates this man, our president, but it’s not so hard to know what motivates the gaggle of Jewish Democratic politicians — you know who you are… Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Blumenthal, Al Franken, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, etc., etc., who let him get away with that behavior and make a deal with a country that wants to eradicate Israel and then move on from there to whatever else is in sight (Yemen, these days). They are pathetic lackeys and careerists of the most slimey sort who would fit in well, as I said elsewhere, in Berlin, 1937.  Not a single one of them, as far as I know, said word one when the White House branded the prime minister of Israel a “chickenshit.” That was okay with them, I guess, as long as they could keep their offices on the right floors of the Senate and House office buildings.

Oh, yes. They’re liberals. So Ayatollah Khamenei must be a poor, exploited victim of Western imperialism. Tell that to the boys with plastic keys.

So how does Obama get away with calling Bibi “Chickenshit” and sending mash notes to that totally cool and dreamy Ayatollah Khamenei? Here’s one reason why:

Dennis Prager has written on several occasions that the majority of American Jews have swapped one religion for another — the holistic worldview of the far left:

In short, as Judaism faded as the morally formative influence on Jews’ lives, another religion, secular progressivism, or leftism, became most American Jews’ moral compass. And for leftism, evil is not primarily defined as mass murder or totalitarian regimes. Evil is capitalism, economic inequality, big corporations, fundamentalist Christians, opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, fossil fuels and other things that preoccupy the left.

As a result, as David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel wrote in 2012, “for many years, the liberal base of the Democratic Party has been steadily turning against the Jewish state.”  (QED: its coverage in the New York Times.) But then, if Obama keeps headed in his current direction, they may not have to worry about that nation much longer.

‘A Job to Die For’

November 1st, 2014 - 8:47 pm

 

Say, if ISIS is shelling out the big bucks for new talent, could they spring for a decent graphic designer, the Islamofascist equivalent of Saul Bass or Raymond Loewy? Because whenever I have to put a thumbnail on a new story for the PJM homepage on ISIS, their flag doesn’t give me much to work as a starting point in Photoshop:

isis_flag_11-1-14-1

Mark Steyn has dubbed ISIS “fast-track Nazis,” but you’d think a bloodthirsty eighth century-based organization with a penchant for using cutting edge Web-based social media to distribute their snuff films would have a much better sense of graphic design. Say what you will about the original Nazis, Mussolini, Stalin, Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein, but at least they had descent production designers to illustrate their nightmarish visions. Somewhere in Hell, Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer are rolling their eyes and laughing it up over ISIS’ pathetic flag featuring black blobs on a white amoeba on a black background.

Perhaps they took their design cue from a black and white version of Mel Brooks’ early short film, “The Critic:”

 

“It was certainly not my intention to insult or upset anyone,” [cartoonist Amos Biderman] told Haaretz on Thursday. “I wasn’t sufficiently aware of the great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans.”

“Haaretz stands by its explosive Bibi cartoon,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

October 30th, 2014 - 1:59 pm

“Al-Jazeera America Ratings In The Tank,” David Brody writes at CBN News, with a big swatch of an excerpt on the beleaguered Qatar-owned channel’s notorious ratings woes from the left-leaning showbiz Website The Wrap. See if you can spot the howler here:

After buying Current TV in early 2013, and debuting over the summer that year, Al Jazeera has lost almost half of Current TV’s audience.

Current TV’s run with progressive news programming lasted from December, 2011 to August, 2013. In that timespan, the network ran programs like “The Young Turks,” “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm,” “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” and “Joy Behar: Say Anything.”  Upon being bought by Al Jazeera, Current was in 60 million American homes.

Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view and no opinion program in favor of hard news and in-depth reporting. It hired veteran news anchors and reporters from previous networks, including former NBC News anchor John Seigenthaler; former CNN anchors Tony Harris and Ali Velshi; former CNN correspondent Joi Chen; former MSNBC anchor David Shuster; former NBC News White House Correspondent Mike Viqueira, former PBS journalist Ray Suarez, and several other veteran TV news personalities.

“Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view” — Really? No political point of view? No bias whatsoever? No take on America and the Middle East? No opinion on Israel? Are we sure the guys in the studio even know how to tie their shoes? I’m not sure whether to raise an eyebrow Spock-style, or type a James Taranto-esque “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” in response, but hey, whatever gets you through the night if you truly believe that about a Qatar-owned TV network.

Exit question: “But Soledad O’Brien, How Can You Take Money From A Patron of Islamists?”

The Religion That Dare Not Be Named

October 30th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

“Child sexual exploitation has become a ‘social norm’ within some areas of Greater Manchester, according to the author of a report ordered after the Rochdale grooming case,” the BBC reports:

It said girls in uniform were regularly stopped by men outside schools.

Inquiry chairwoman Ann Coffey MP said the “prevailing public attitude” blamed children, leading to 1,000 convictions from 13,000 cases over six years.

Home Secretary Theresa May has described the report as “alarming”.

Ms Coffey has called for exploitation to be “declared a public health priority”.

In her report – Real Voices – Ms Coffey said explicit music videos, sexting and selfies could be “fuelling the increased sexualisation of children”.

‘Children are children’

The “normalisation of quasi-pornographic images… has given rise to new social norms and changed expectations of sexual entitlement,” she said.

“We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.”

Huh. Typing CTRL-F and “Muslim” or CTRL-F and “Islam” returns zero finds on the BBC article. Not even CTRl-F “Asian” brings up that popular British PC euphemism within the actual article. Perhaps my Internet browser is broken. Either that, or from the BBC’s perspective, children aren’t the only group that the BBC feels need protecting.

Not that the BBC is any great shakes when it comes to protecting kids; as one of Glenn Reynolds’ commenters notes, “when it comes to sexual abuse with minors the BBC have serious problems of acknowledgment period. So many at the hands of those in their own organization.” Or as Mark Steyn wrote back in July, ““Notwithstanding two years of headlines re Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and others, not everyone at the Beeb in my day was a paedophile — or at least I don’t think so,” in his profile of Australian-born UK folk singer Rolf Harris, who was found guilty in June “of 12 counts of indecent assault on young girls in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties,” Steyn wrote.

Obama’s Frat-House Statecraft

October 29th, 2014 - 4:19 pm

“The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran ‘chickens–t’ was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Seth Mandel writes at Commentary:

But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in the Wall Street Journal.

* * * * * * * * *

The Obama administration, then, has been carrying out its preferred policy: aligning with Iran in the Middle East. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising, since the administration has more or less telegraphed its pitches. Obama has also long been a doormat for the world’s tyrants, so adding Iran to the list that already includes states like Russia and Turkey adds a certain cohesiveness to White House policy.

Obama’s infamous and towering ignorance of world affairs, especially in the Middle East, has always made this latest faceplant somewhat predictable. The Looney-Tunes outburst at Netanyahu was not, but it teaches us two important things about Obama.

First, those who wanted to support Obama but had no real case for him in 2008 went with the idea that he had a “presidential temperament.” Those folks now look quite foolish–though that’s nothing new. Obama has a temperament ill suited for any activity not readily found on frat row.

Which also neatly describes his speechwriters and his cabinet members as well:

Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, but he frequently gets out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered to the White House.

Aides to Mr. Kerry reject that portrait, saying he dials into White House meetings from the road and is heavily involved in the policy process. A long memo he wrote on the Islamic State, they said, has become the administration’s playbook for combating the group.

Yeah, that’s working out swimmingly. As far as Kerry as an astronaut, I just can’t see it myself:

 

Related: “In retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.” Hey, America rejected having grown-ups at the helm in both 2008 and 2012. What did they think was going to happen as a result?

Update:

Quotes of the Day

October 28th, 2014 - 6:29 pm

 

 

More fall-out from the smarted, most ethical, most wonderful administration in American history, whose geopolitical motto is “don’t do stupid sh**.”

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic writes that a “senior Obama administration official” told him about Israeli Prime Minister and former IDF member Benjamin Netanyahu. As Goldberg writes, just in time for the midterms — and possibly the rest of Obama’s lame duck administration — “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here:”

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former Administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

Gee, if you’re a world leader being insulted by an administration staffed by the radical chic likes of John Kerry and Obama himself, where Joe Biden almost seems like the grown-up of the bunch, you’ve got to be doing something right. More from Goldberg:

This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

* * * * * * *

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not Rabin, he’s not Sharon, he’s certainly no (Menachem) Begin. He’s got no guts.”

Ahem:

After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to enlist in the IDF. He trained as a combat soldier and became a team leader in an elite special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal. He took part in numerous cross-border assault raids during the 1969–70 War of Attrition. He was involved in many other missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), and the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972 in which he was shot in the shoulder.

After his army service, Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to Israel in October 1973 to serve in the Yom Kippur War for a 40-day period. While there, he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, as well as leading a commando team deep into Syrian territory.

Or to put the above into visual terms alongside America’s commander-in-chief:

Incidentally, this could add quite an interesting dynamic to the presidential race to come. Or as John Podhoretz asks, “So who’s going to ask Hillary whether she agrees Bibi is chickenshit?”

Update: “So, if this administration WERE Jew-hating, what exactly would they be doing differently?

Flashback: Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg helping Obama over the finish line in October of 2008 via accusations of conspiracy theories and (what else?) racism in 2008:

“After victory in key Iraqi town, time for revenge,” is the headline on this seemingly workaday piece by Reuters yesterday, which reported on the latest events involving ISIS. Buried 12 paragraphs into the story is this provocative sentence:

During that period Islamic State used secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein to evade United Nations weapons inspectors to move and store weapons and supplies.

Well. I’d certainly like to know more about this. What was moved through these secret tunnels? Which weapons were moved? Where did they go to?

(Via Randall Hoven.)

There you go again, Jen:

At a State Department briefing today, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked spokesman Jen Psaki whether it is appropriate to offer deepest condolences to the family of someone killed while attempting to carry out an attack on civilians.

“There are reports … that [the Palestinian teenager] was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a highway, and I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you still have been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences to the family?” asked Lee. “The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that this kid was essentially a terrorist, and you don’t agree with that, I assume,” Lee continued.

“Correct, we don’t,” replied Psaki. Lee then asked whether the fact that the teenager was buried wearing a Hamas headband was “of concern at all.” Psaki replied, “I just don’t have any more on this particular case.”

Sheesh. No wonder Israeli officials describe their ties with the Obama administration as being in “crisis.”

Nihilism Versus Power and Purpose

October 27th, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Why causes young men to abandon the west and join radical Islam? Ralph Peters explores “The Joys of Killing for Allah:”

Take the profoundly un-Washingtonian step of suspending our cultural vanity to consider what jihad offers the young and adrift, the failed and embittered, or the simmering convict. Then weigh that “Allah wants you!” package against our pathetic counter-bid.

By embracing Islamist extremism and the terrorist mission, the misfit gains:

  • Acceptance for the first time in his life
  • A sense of belonging
  • Structure (never underestimate the appeal of rigor to troubled souls)
  • A comforting explanation for his failures
  • Power and purpose
  • Justification for hatred and his anti-social impulses
  • Revenge and respect
  • The thrill of torturing others and the ecstasy of killing human beings
  • The prospect of fame
  • Paradise, should he die on jihad, with a host of submissive virgins who cannot compare him to other, more potent, more appealing males

And what do we offer to those we hope to deter?

  • A job stocking shelves at Walmart

That line is rather glib, isn’t it? Actually, it’s a failure of the nihilistic West and its 150 year old war on the bourgeois to explain why stocking shelves at Walmart isn’t such a horrible idea; this duality also causes causes many bitter young men to deal in petty crime or sell drugs rather than accept an entry-level job to begin his career path. But thievery and dope pale in comparison to blowing up infidels the 72 virgins when you yourself explode.

(Via Steve Green.)

“And That’s Just the Start of It,” Zenon Evans writes at Reason:

Buzkashi, the national sport of Afghanistan, is a fascinating game that’s sort of like a cross between polo and rugby, except that instead of a ball you play with a headless goat carcass. I recommend you watch it sometime, and apparently, the State Department does, too.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko suspects something is “seriously wrong” and wants to know what the hell is going on. Earlier this month he sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking about a bizarre boondoggle in which the State Department paid millions to film the sport:

The contract originally specified five trucks at a cost of $6 million (three satellite/microwave television broadcast trucks at the unit price of $1,786,779, two Ford ES350 trucks at a unit price of $157,300 and various communications equipment). The primary use of the vehicles was for “live sporting events, such as Buzkashi, Soccer, Cricket and other sports.”2 On September 16, 2013, the contract was amended to require only 3 trucks, at a cost of $3.6 million (one satellite/microwave television broadcast truck at the unit price of $1,589,557 and two Ford ES350 trucks at a unit price of $568,062).3 SIGAR has been told that the contractor received unspecified compensation for costs incurred under the original contract.

The trucks were supposed to be delivered way back in August 2011. In fact, they didn’t arrive until September 2014, and Sopko’s got photographic proof that they’re just sitting there covered in tarp. Sopko also wants to know why the “two Ford ES350 trucks (originally priced at $157,300 each) more than tripled in price, to $568,062 each under the subsequent contract modification.”

I’m pretty sure I saw Afghan Goat Carcass open for The Police at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia in 1983.

Given that John Kerry claims to be even more obsessed with “climate change” than his actual job (and it shows), shouldn’t be going through the State Department budget line by line and cancelling as many of these zany expenditures as possible to reduce his agency’s carbon footprint?

I know, I keed, I keed; particularly given how gynormous Kerry’s own carbon footprint is. But this isn’t the first time that the man whose addiction to Botox and plastic surgery has transformed into the spitting image of the Muppet News Anchor  has run afoul of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and its penchant for “making the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

 

Full Retail Jacket

October 26th, 2014 - 7:10 pm

Vietnam? “I guess we won that war after all,” Glenn Reynolds writes in his latest USA Today column. “According to the Pew Global Poll, 95% of people in Vietnam agree that most people are better off under capitalism, even if there is inequality:”

By contrast, only 70% of Americans believe the same thing. (America is out-performed by such other less developed countries as Nigeria, China, Turkey, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India). Maybe, quipped an Internet commenter, the Vietnamese should send us some advisers.

But there are some lessons to be learned here, one of which is that history plays out slowly. (Though it’s probably a myth, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai supposedly once said about the French Revolution, it’s “too early to say” how it has turned out). Had you asked people in 1974 about support for capitalism in Vietnam 40 years later, few would have predicted that 95% of Vietnamese would support capitalism today. The lower level of support in America might have surprised some folks, too, though maybe not.

But the Vietnamese view of capitalism is based on their experience, while the American view, sadly, may be based on our own. The Vietnamese have their recent experience with the lies and deprivation that always accompany communism to contrast with the growth and opportunity that a newly opened free market has provided. Many Americans, on the other hand, look at our free market and see that it’s not all that free sometimes, and that a lot of what passes for capitalism is really what Jason Mattera calls Crapitalism, a politicized crony-capitalism in which insider connections and government subsidies and compulsion play a bigger role than they should.

Which means in a way that America has won the Vietnam War twice — despite the best efforts of the nation’s “loyal” opposition:

Update: “There’s something to be said for letting people find out for themselves. But there’s also North Korea.”

New York’s Other Big Story Yesterday

October 24th, 2014 - 12:21 pm

“Islam convert shot dead after ax attack on NYPD cops,” the New York Post reported yesterday, in a story that got lost in the wild, the innocent, and the Ebola shuffle last night:

A hatchet-swinging psycho with Islamic militant leanings turned a busy Queens street corner into a scene of bloody chaos Thursday, chopping a rookie cop in the back of the head and slicing a second officer on the arm before two other officers shot him dead.

In opening fire on the madman, cops accidentally wounded a bystander, ­authorities said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, had just four months on the job when Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens — a “scholarly” but “weird” ­recent convert to Islam — fractured the back of the cop’s skull with one swing of a blue-handled hatchet at about 2 p.m. in Jamaica.

As Mark Steyn has written, they all seem like weird losers — right before the bomb goes off, the AK-47 starts spraying bullets, or the hatchet starts swinging:

That’s certainly true of the Fort Dix jihadists who took their terrorist training DVD to the local audio store to be copied. It was also true of the Islamists arrested in Toronto last year for plotting to behead the Prime Minister, one of whose cell members had a bride who wanted him to sign a pre-nup committing him to jihad. The Heathrow plotters arrested while planning to blow up U.S.-bound airliners included a Muslim convert who’d started out as the son of a British Conservative Party official with a PG Wodehouse double-barreled name and a sister who was a Victoria’s Secret model and ex-wife of tennis champ Yanick Noah.

But then Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 gang would have seemed pretty funny if you’d run into them in that lapdance club they went to before the big day where the girls remembered them only as very small tippers. Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off.

I quoted that passage by Mark in my post in late August concerning the fellow named “Douglas McAuthur McCain,” who was born in Illinois, raised in Minneapolis, moved to San Diego — and given a name by his parents that honors (phonetically at least) two prominent American fighting men, of course eventually joined the military.

Not ours, but ISIS in Syria, where he was killed on the battlefield.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Ottawa terrorist, had a similarly strange background. As Glenn Reynolds noted, he was the “son of a jihadist and a Social Justice Warrior:”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999.

“That’s a toxic blend,” Glenn drolly quipped.

Then there was the woman beheaded in a food distribution warehouse in Oklahoma by her coworker last month the proverbial “recent convert to Islam,” a town where another beheading was near-simultaneously threatened by another apparent convert to, well, two guesses.

 

Speaking of toxic, is it just me, or does it seem like freelance one-off Islamofascist terrorists are slowly increasing in number in North America? A favorite cliche of the left is addressing a problem’s “root causes” — are we doing anything to address any of the root causes of this issue?

A Canadian convert to Islam is the suspect in today’s Ottawa terrorist attack according to Reuters, Allahpundit writes at Hot Air. Move along, nothing to see here:

That’s all Reuters has right now, apart from his name: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. One reporter notes, though, that that name appears several times in Montreal’s court database on drug charges. Martin Couture-Rouleau, the suspect in the other recent attack on Canadian soldiers and a convert to Islam himself, also lived in Quebec. Might be just a coincidence but the first thing police will be investigating is whether these two knew each other. The timing of the attacks suggests that there was some copycatting happening at least.

Another interesting detail: A Twitter account linked to ISIS apparently tweeted a photo this afternoon of a man whom they claimed is Zehaf-Bibeau, holding a gun with a keffiyeh covering his mouth. Where they got that photo is unclear. Could be they simply googled him, found a social media account somewhere, and lifted the pic. If not, if they had it archived for some reason, this investigation’s going to get much hotter. Oh, and according to Heavy.com, that same ISIS account was supposedly followed by Couture-Rouleau. Another coincidence?

His origins and purpose, still a total mystery:

 

Terrorist Attack on Canadian Parliament?

October 22nd, 2014 - 11:52 am

“Looks like it,” Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air:

The situation in Canada is still developing and many reports regarding the violence in Canada are unconfirmed, but what is known is that at least one police officer was wounded when a shooter attacked him at the war memorial in Ottawa. What was described as a “lone gunman” then entered Canada’s parliament building where this person engaged in a firefight with police before he or she was incapacitated.

It seems that early reports which indicated the attack on parliament was the work of a “lone gunman” were inaccurate. At least one Canadian police official told an MSNBC anchor that multiple suspects were involved in the initial incident. He described the attackers as “numerous.”

Read the whole thing. And as Glenn Reynolds adds in his update, “stay tuned. Early reports are often unreliable.”

Update:

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Is Our Children Learning?

October 19th, 2014 - 3:56 pm

Two observations: Assuming this fellow is a man of the left, why does he hate President Goldman-Sachs so? And just as a refresher, as Theodore Dalrymple recently noted, your dad is still not Hitler.