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“I think in general, there isn’t going to be as much difference as people imagine. The Biden folks are pretty tough on Russia, Iran, North Korea. You know, the dirty little secret about the Trump administration was that while Donald Trump had clearly had a kind of soft spot for Putin, the Trump Administration was pretty tough on the Russians. They armed Ukraine, they armed the Poles. They extended NATO operations and exercises in ways that even the Obama Administration had not done. They maintained the sanctions. So I don’t think it will be that different.”  

Wait a second! It was a “dirty little secret” that Trump was tough on Russia? WHY?? Who kept it a secret and for what purpose??

And the obvious answer is that the liberal media/Democrats were intent on pushing Russia Russia Russia. Admitting that President Trump was in fact tough on Russia would undermine that line of attack. And so they buried it: kept it a “dirty little secret.”

What other things will the liberal media give President Trump credit for if and when he is off the scene? In addition to the stunning success of Operation Warp Speed, making multiple safe-and-effective coronavirus vaccines in record time, there is also Trump’s triumph in the Middle East. If a Democrat president had engineered agreements between Israel and a number of Arab countries in the area as did Trump, the MSM would have been breathlessly trumpeting it as the greatest foreign policy achievement since who knows when! And the drumbeat for a Nobel Peace Prize would have been deafening.

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and their silence makes perfect sense.


COLIN KAEPERNICK, ESSAYIST: The Athlete Pens a Series on the Superior Safety of No Prisons or Police.

It’s all about hope and change:

“Despite the steady cascade of anti-Black violence across this country, I am hopeful we can build a future that imagines justice differently. A future without the terror of policing and prisons. … The more that I have learned about the history and evolution of policing in the United States, the more I understand its roots in white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton once said, ‘The police are in our community not to promote our welfare or for our security or our safety, but they are there to contain us, to brutalize us, and murder us.’ … Will you continue to be actively complicit in the perpetuation of these systems, or will you take action to dismantle them for the benefit of a just future? … Another world is possible, a world grounded in love, justice, and accountability, a world grounded in safety and good health, a world grounded in meeting the needs of the people.”

What if a “need of the people” is for murderers to be stopped?

Also, after Newton returned from a visit to Communist China, the Black Panthers developed a serious crush on Communist North Korea:

The article was testament to an unexpected alliance. On one side was the California-based revolutionary socialist movement, declared by FBI director J Edgar Hoover “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country”.

On the other was “hermit kingdom” North Korea, with its ideological tenet of ‘juche’ or self-reliance; a country which then seemed something of a “Stalinist Switzerland”, recalls former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, now a law professor at Yale.

The ties between the two are more than a historical curiosity, says Benjamin Young, a contributor to NK News whose Masters research at the State University of New York: the college at Brockport, uncovered surprising details of the relationship.

It is a reminder that North Korea was not always “an economic basket case”, as declared by the Obama administration. At the time it appeared to be an east Asian success story, outperforming the South. The alliance also demonstrates the North’s long term interest in cultivating high profile international visitors and the Panthers’ search for support around the world.

“North Korea at this point was really on a global publicity campaign, even putting adverts in the New York Times and Washington Post promoting juche and peaceful reunification,” says Young.

Passing the juche on the left-hand side requires far more policing than the US has.


Rioting to influence jury decisions was a lesson easily transferred to elections. If elections were a form of silent riot, then, in the simple-minded analysis of race-baiters, open riots have an equal claim to be elections. Elections, in their perfervid imaginations, are thus taking place in cities nationwide today, directed by BLM and Antifa with the complicity of the Democratic Party.

These riots can disrupt or cancel previous forms of election by intimidating voters and candidates, to say nothing of canceling elections. In fact we may no longer need elections. The logic of “no justice, no peace” has been extended to elections. Michelle Obama practically said as much at the Democratic National Convention: “if you think things cannot possibly get worse,” she warned, “trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

As Michael Anton explained on this website recently, Democratic operatives are now speaking openly of rejecting the results of the election. A recent article in the Daily Beast states that “the larger game plan is to apply pressure through mass mobilization.” Within the Democrat Party today “there is dispute over whether Biden should even concede if he wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College.” What I warned of in the ’90s is now playing out in real time: Riots are fast on their way to becoming elections by other means. If leftists have their way, they will decide all electoral questions from here on out with mob rule. Many of them have been aiming at this target since the ’90s, and probably before. It all makes sense now.

Read the whole thing.


ROGER SIMON: Now Bahrain? Trump Really Does Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize!

Donald Trump (with significant help from Jared Kushner and Mike Pompeo) seems to be doing what few thought possible after decades of Oslo Accords failure—bringing peace to the Middle East.

Only the other day, to the consternation of the usual suspects, the president was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for helping engineer the new peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Now we have Bahrain added to the mix, apparently also making a deal with the Jewish state.

Cementing those ties, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa will be arriving in Washington Monday to attend the Tuesday ceremony where Israel and the UAE will formalize their ties, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Saudi Arabia—that is known to have been sharing intelligence with Israel for some time and is now allowing overflights of its territory by El Al—seems poised for a similar recognition.

How could this have happened? It could not be more obvious it all began to reach fruition when Trump withdrew from the Iran Deal—the awkwardly-named Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA). Some action!

Why Barack Obama wanted to enter into such a bizarre and ineffectual semi-agreement (it was never really formalized) with the biggest state sponsor of terrorism remains one of the mysteries of our era.

Theories exist, but suffice it to say the net result was billions in the mullahs’ coffers with which they were able to finance their murderous proxies (Hezbollah, Houthis, Hamas, et. al.), build missiles and other advanced weaponry and extend the Syrian civil war with another quarter of a million corpses not to mention millions more refugees.

That Joe Biden wishes to return to this insanity is reason enough to ban him from all public offices in perpetuity. . . .

Meanwhile, one thing is clear. Trump, unlike so many before him, really does deserve that Nobel Peace Prize. He is earning it for actual achievements on the ground.

His predecessor, Barack Obama, won one before he did anything at all, just for “being cool.”

They should have given that, posthumously, to Miles Davis.


MORE: Seen on Facebook:

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Liz Warren Spells Out the Marxism for You, Plus Billy Joel as Nostradamus.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: When is a hate crime actually a hoax?

Answer: Pretty much every time.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

• Liz Warren’s subliminal BLM endorsement

• Feel the peaceful protest hit you in the skull

• A video flashback to Barack Obama’s greatest self-own

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.


For once, I am going to agree with President Trump in his use of his favorite adjective: “huge.”

The agreement brokered by the Trump administration for the United Arab Emirates to establish full normalization of relations with Israel, in return for the Jewish state forgoing, for now, any annexation of the West Bank, was exactly what Trump said it was in his tweet: a “HUGE breakthrough.” . . .

Just go down the scorecard, and you see how this deal affects every major party in the region — with those in the pro-American, pro-moderate Islam, pro-ending-the-conflict-with-Israel-once-and-for-all camp benefiting the most and those in the radical pro-Iran, anti-American, pro-Islamist permanent-struggle-with-Israel camp all becoming more isolated and left behind.

It’s a geopolitical earthquake.

To fully appreciate why, you need to start with the internal dynamics of the deal. It was Trump’s peace plan drawn up by Jared Kushner, and their willingness to stick with it, that actually created the raw material for this breakthrough.

Well, yes. And without even a Nobel Peace Prize first.


This deal will certainly encourage the other gulf sheikhdoms — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — all of which have had covert and overt business and intelligence dealings with Israel, to follow the Emirates’ lead. They will not want to let the U.A.E. have a leg up in being able to marry its financial capital with Israel’s cybertechnology, agriculture technology and health care technology, with the potential to make both countries stronger and more prosperous.

I think it’s a stretch to call Joe Biden a winner here, though, except in the sense that if he’s elected in November he’ll inherit a U.S. that is at peace in a more peaceful world, instead of the dog’s breakfast of a diplomacy that Trump inherited from Obama. (And I predict that Joe and Kamala will manage to make a hash of things again if given a chance.) And note that Trump has barely even gotten credit for making peace in the Middle East and — hey, did you notice? — a near elimination of Islamist terror of the sort that we experienced worldwide under Obama.

Related: National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien On The Israel-United Arab Emirates Accord: Under Any Other Circumstances, Jared Kushner Would Be Hailed As One Of The Great Dealmakers In American History. It’s been obvious for three years that Kushner has been a successful dealmaker in the region, but it doesn’t fit the narrative.

HUGH HEWITT IN THE WASHINGTON POST: The Case For Trump Will Come Down To His Record: It’s A Strong One.

President Trump’s record of accomplishments is easy to compile.

Most significantly, he has brought the existential threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party into the sunlight. No more nice words. No more treating the Tiananmen Square massacre as a bug, not a feature. The light is on. Trump has pulled the cord.

With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.

Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world. Economic recovery depends on those rule rollbacks, and not just grotesque overreaches such as the Clean Power Plan and “Waters of the United States” rule, but on hundreds of other intrusions into the private businesses and onto the private property of Americans.

Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.

Trump tore up the so-called Iran nuclear deal, which was a tower of absurd hopes built on a policy of appeasement and a foundation of hostility to Israel.

Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and blessed Israel’s necessary annexation of the Golan Heights. His peace plan is the closest to reality of any since Oslo.

Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.

Trump ordered Iran’s master terrorist, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed, accomplished the complete physical destruction of the Islamic State caliphate and successfully hunted down its terrorist chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The former was never contemplated by Obama, the latter couldn’t get done by him even though his scampering from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of Islamic State and its thousand barbarities. The Syrian butcher, Bashar al-Assad, has twice used chemical weapons and twice had cruise missiles remind him that the red line is back and is real. Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. troops in Syria and were mowed down. Not an American was killed. Those are “Trump rules of engagement.” Even Cuba is back in its box, joined there by Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

At home, Trump pushed through the long-overdue justice reform legislation and the reorganization of Veterans Affairs, and, this year, the Great American Outdoors Act that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. House Democrats passed a piffling bill when covid-19 arrived, while Trump, McConnell and Senate Republicans advanced the innovative and massive Paycheck Protection Program that kept the U.S. economy from collapsing even as it contracted by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter as the China’s principal export, covid-19, ravaged the country.

Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with be 300 miles by September. . . .

Trump’s brawling, slugging, tempestuous approach to everything in every hour has worn down many, but his road is marked by these accomplishments. Former vice president Joe Biden’s near-50-year run in government is marked by . . . well, you fill that in. Polls say Biden is far ahead. We shall see.

There’s an aesthetic critique of Trump that has convinced elites that he must be beaten, that he is cruel and beneath the office. But Americans want their jobs and security back. They like the police. And, yes, most of the time they mostly admire Trump’s style and, almost always, his results.

It is a hallmark of elites — and especially decadent elites — that style is valued more than substance. One hopes voters feel differently.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Is Trump’s Unorthodoxy Becoming Orthodox?

When candidate Donald Trump campaigned on calling China to account for its trade piracy, observers thought he was either crazy or dangerous.

Conventional Washington wisdom had assumed that an ascendant Beijing was almost preordained to world hegemony. Trump’s tariffs and polarization of China were considered about the worst thing an American president could do.

The accepted bipartisan strategy was to accommodate, not oppose, China’s growing power. The hope was that its newfound wealth and global influence would liberalize the ruling Communist government.

Four years later, only a naif believes that. Instead, there is an emerging consensus that China’s cutthroat violations of international norms were long ago overdue for an accounting.

China’s re-education camps, its Orwellian internal surveillance, its crackdown on Hong Kong democracy activists, and its secrecy about the deadly coronavirus outbreak have all convinced the world that China has now become a dangerous international outlier.

Trump courted moderate Arab nations in forming an anti-Iranian coalition opposed to Iran’s terrorist and nuclear agendas. His policies utterly reversed the Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel and outreach to Tehran.

Last week, Trump nonchalantly offered the Palestinians a take-it-or-leave-it independent state on the West Bank, but without believing that a West Bank settlement was the key to peace in the entire Middle East.

Trump’s cancelation of the Iran deal, in particular, was met with international outrage. More global anger followed after the targeted killing of Iranian terrorist leader general Qasem Soleimani.

In short, Trump’s Middle East recalibrations won few supporters among the bipartisan establishment.

But recently, Europeans have privately started to agree that more sanctions are needed on Iran, that the world is better off with Soleimani gone, and that the West Bank is not central to regional peace.

Iran has now become a pariah. U.S.-sponsored sanctions have reduced the theocracy to near-bankruptcy. Most nations understand that if Iran kills Americans or openly starts up its nuclear program, the U.S. will inflict disproportional damage on its infrastructure — a warning that at first baffled, then angered, and now has humiliated Iran.

In other words, there is now an entirely new Middle East orthodoxy that was unimaginable just three years ago.

Suddenly the pro-Iranian, anti-Western Palestinians have few supporters. Israel and a number of prominent Arab nations are unspoken allies of convenience against Iran. And Iran itself is seemingly weaker than at any other time in the theocracy’s history.

Yeah, go figure.

THE LITTLE SISTERS TAKE ON BIG BROTHER: Count on this: The bigger and more complex government becomes, the more conflicts we can expect between religious conscience and the duty to comply with the law.

As if to illustrate my point, the Supreme Court recently agreed to decide two cases—including one brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor—that bear on religious objections to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. (Yes, if you are experiencing déjà vu, the Little Sisters of the Poor have been to the Supreme Court on this issue before.) This time the focus is expected to be on the Trump Administration’s efforts to grant religious exemptions to employers like the Sisters.

I won’t weigh in on the legal issues presented. I’m not smart enough to do them justice in this short space. My point is more political or maybe strategic. Bloomberg quotes an evidently anxious expert as saying that if the Trump Administration’s efforts are upheld, it “could open the door to federal agencies issuing many more [rules granting religious accommodation].”

For good or ill, that’s obviously true. I have mixed feelings about it. To me at least, for conservatives to rely too readily on religious accommodations to deal with governmental expansions seems like a loser’s game.

In a report issued a few years ago by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on “Peaceful Co-Existence” between government and religion, I wrote this:

While the targeted religious accommodations approach may sometimes be a good idea, it is not always the best strategy for people of faith. Targeted religious accommodations make it possible for ever-expanding government bureaucracies to divide and conquer. They remove the faith-based objections to their expansive ambitions, thus allowing them to ignore objections that are not based on faith. The bureaucratic juggernaut thus rolls on. People of faith should not allow themselves to become just another special interest that needs to be appeased before the next government expansion is allowed to proceed. They have an interest in ensuring the health of the many institutions of civil society that act as counterweights to the state—including not just the Church itself, but also the family, the press, small business and others. They also have an interest in ordered liberty in all its manifestations. A nation in which religious liberty is the only protected freedom is a nation that soon will be without religious liberty too.

The other side of the coin is this: The Commission report that quote appeared in got a lot of attention when it was released, because the Chairman’s Statement (which I discuss at length in my Statement) was essentially a screed against Christianity. It was astonishing. To this day, I can’t imagine what got into him. But it served to remind me that Christians (and no doubt people of other faiths too) really do have opponents in high places.

CHANGE: It’s a Middle-Class Boom.

How much of the monetary gains from the Trump economic speedup have gone to the middle class? If you ask Democratic senators and presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, the answer to that question is … almost none.

“[Donald] Trump’s economy is great for billionaires, not for working people,” Sanders likes to say. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grouses that under the Trump agenda, “the rich get richer, and everyone else is stuck paying the bill.”

Uh-huh. That’s been the standard liberal riff for the last couple of years as they try to explain how a president who they said would create a second Great Depression has created boom times with the lowest inflation and unemployment in half a century.

But not a word of this is true, according to new Census Bureau data on the incomes of America’s middle class. This study by former Census Bureau researchers and now statisticians at Sentier Research has found gigantic income gains for the middle class under Trump. The median or average-income family has seen a gain of $5,003 since Trump came into office. Median family income is now (August 2019) $65,976, up from about $61,000 when he entered office (January 2017).

Under George W. Bush, the household income gains were a little over $400 in eight years, and under Barack Obama the gains were $1,043. That was in eight years for each. Under Trump, in less than three years, the extra income is about three times larger. . . .

Trump should begin asking Americans if they are better off than they were four years ago. Today, the answer to that question is clearly yes. It’s the economy, stupid. Everyone — especially the middle class — is sharing in the fruits of the Trump boom.

Peace and prosperity: Democrats’ worst nightmare.


As we warned at the time, the American position was much more exposed and much less tenable than was commonly understood. . . .

Just as allowing Iran to run wild hurts China much more than it hurts the United States, China is harmed by our allowing the Turks to provoke an insurgency that will bedevil the stability of the very region where China intends its massive investments. The wars that China’s own allies are starting are going to be the biggest tax on China’s growing power and influence, which means it will become China’s problem — and not America’s — to stop those wars. That means that China and Turkey, and not America, will end up paying the cost of Middle Eastern security. The danger they face is that they will overextend themselves, and provoke fights they cannot walk away from in the process. It may be a bigger burden than Erdogan or Xi imagine that they are taking on here.

It is unlikely that President Trump thinks so strategically or so ruthlessly. More likely he is simply convinced that these wars drain American blood and treasure in an unacceptable way, and he just intends to stop doing it whatever it costs.

(2) Trump’s Syria withdrawal bravely puts America First, the establishment last. “His decision will stop risking American lives and wasting taxpayer dollars on policing Middle East politics. This is long overdue, seeing as our security goals in Syria have already been accomplished. To recap, the U.S. military first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2014. Our goal was to destroy the Islamic State Caliphate, as the terrorist group had built up territorial control of much of the conflict-ridden region. Mission accomplished.”

Well, I’m fine on reducing our commitments to the region. Trump’s diplomatic approach has the Arab world allied with Israel, and Saudi Arabia liberalizing internally. And thanks to fracking, the mideast isn’t that important to us anymore. On the other hand, the Kurds are good people, and I don’t like leaving them hanging, which is what this looks like to me. On that point, I’m in general agreement with Tom Rogan: “We relied upon the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and other Kurdish militias in order to substantially degrade ISIS. Yes, Western special operations played a crucial role in this effort. But the Kurds took the brunt of the casualties. And the Kurds kept fighting alongside us even after their northern heartlands had been retaken. Their tenacious courage saved American lives by denying ISIS the space and time to plot attacks against Western homelands.”

UPDATE: Two more: Walter Russell Mead: Trump’s Jacksonian Syria Withdrawal.

Explaining his decision to pull U.S. troops away from the Turkish-Syrian border at the cost of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and open the way for Turkish forces to create what Ankara calls a “safety zone,” President Trump tweeted early Monday that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” . . .

Mr. Trump isn’t the first U.S. president to try to hold America back from a Middle East conflict. President Obama made a similar, and similarly hasty, decision in 2013 when he chose not to respond to Syria’s violation of his chemical weapons “red line” with a military strike. Many of the same people criticizing Mr. Trump today criticized Mr. Obama then, and the subsequent course of the Syrian war underlined both the humanitarian and the strategic case against Mr. Obama’s decision. Mr. Trump’s Syria decision may also prove to be a mistake, but it should give the establishment pause that two presidents as different as Messrs. Obama and Trump reached similar conclusions about the political risks in the Middle East.

The U.S. may be the most powerful actor in the region, but it can’t resolve the economic and social conflicts that destabilize the Middle East. As long as this is the case, those who want presidents to commit to long-term military engagements, however limited and however advantageous, must expect a skeptical hearing in the Oval Office.

Plus: Syria Could Be Turkey’s Vietnam. “Erdoğan may talk about a terror threat emanating from northern Syria, but he has yet to prove that one exists. Quite the contrary: Not only were Syrian Kurds the most effective indigenous fighting force against the Islamic State, there is also overwhelming evidence that Turkey cooperated, profited from, and at times coordinated with Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State. . . . Erdoğan may be cocky, but he could be falling into a trap. Turkey’s drones may give it a qualitative military edge in mountains and rural regions but may be of substantially less utility in the northern Syrian cities if limiting collateral damage is any concerns. The Kurds have extensive experience fighting on the ground. Meanwhile, recent political purges of the Turkish military make the Turkish Army a shell of its former self. With Kurdish insurgents voluntarily going into Syria at Turkey’s request as part of the previous peace agreement, Syrian Kurds simply have no place to go. A century ago, Turkish forces slaughtered the Armenians by marching them into the desert to their deaths; the Kurds refuse to be the sequel. Turkish invasion and ethnic cleansing—Turkey’s stated purpose is to settle a couple million Arabs in the region—will spark insurgency in northeastern Syria and across Turkey.”

Things have changed in the mideast, but when your decisions about Syria are compared to Obama’s, it’s not a good sign.

Plus, it’s a NATO thing.

I am speaking, of course, of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is, increasingly, Turkey’s effective dictator. But it’s crucial to emphasize that these are Nato forces. This not only means they are supplied with state-of-the-art weaponry; it also means those weapons are being maintained by other Nato members.

Fighter jets, helicopter gunships, even Turkey’s German-supplied Panzer forces – they all degrade extremely quickly under combat conditions. The people who continually inspect, maintain, repair, replace, and provide them with spare parts tend to be contractors working for American, British, German or Italian firms. Their presence is critical because the Turkish military advantage over Northern Syria’s “People’s Defense Forces” (YPG) and “Women’s Defense Forces” (YPJ), those defenders of Kobane that Turkey has pledged to destroy, is entirely dependent on them.

That’s because, aside from its technological advantage, the Turkish army is a mess. Most of its best officers and even pilots have been in prison since the failed coup attempt in 2016, and it’s now being run by commanders chosen by political loyalty instead of competence. Rojava’s defenders, in contrast, are seasoned veterans.


HMM: Trump can change history by declassifying three Obama-era documents.

A second body of documents crying out for declassification is Obama’s private correspondence with Iranian leaders — in particular, the Oct. 7, 2014, cable he penned to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, setting the terms for the controversial Washington-Tehran nuclear deal reached in early 2016.

My sources tell me that letter conflicts with what the Obama administration was telling the American public as it tried to sell the deal politically, and it shows a level of courtship, concession and trust with Tehran that exceeded the U.S. intelligence assessments at the time.

For example, my sources tell me that Obama promised Iran it could have a “domestic enrichment capacity” and that Tehran could be restored to a nation “in good standing” under the world’s nuclear non-proliferation treaty, even though U.S. intelligence had corroborated an extensive weapons program that violated that treaty for years.

The 2014 letter was preceded by at least three other private communications between Obama and officials in Tehran, including two in 2009 and one in 2012. All need to be declassified and released for Americans to better understand the merits of Obama’s approach with Iran.

Trump since has canceled the 2016 deal with Iran and imposed crippling new sanctions. But the true circumstances, promises and communications that led to the deal remain secret. The American public has much to gain from more transparency on this critical issue affecting world peace.

Two more items at the link, and… Well, Mr. President?

AT FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING OF THIS DAY IN 1801, JOHN ADAMS QUIETLY LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE AND HEADED HOME TO MASSACHUSETTS: It was a significant moment in American history—the first time a sitting President had lost a bid for re-election. Jefferson was to be inaugurated later that day. It was hardly obvious and inevitable that the transition would go smoothly after the bitter contest that preceded it.

Several historians have suggested that Adams left early because he believed his presence might provoke violence; others reasoned that Jefferson never invited him to attend the ceremony and Adams, too proud to ask his successor, departed as a courtesy. One scholar even speculated that Adams simply needed a full day’s time to make the forty-nine mile trip to Baltimore [on the public coach] before heading home to Massachusetts. Regardless of the motive, Adams’s decision to accept the election results and yield power peacefully set an important precedent for future presidential transitions.

Thus a tradition of a dignified transition was firmly set. I hear there is a rumor afoot that Trump will stage a military coup rather than yield power if he is defeated in 2020. It’s remarkable what idiocy folks on the Left will believe these days.

I’ll let others judge how dignified the transition from Obama to Trump has been.


A “remarkably scandal-free administration,” because it’s only a scandal if the press chooses to cover it like one.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A reader sends this blast from the 2014 past: Dozens of Inspectors General Say Federal Agencies Hindering Oversight:

At least three federal agencies have hindered the oversight efforts of independent watchdogs by limiting their access to records, according to a complaint from more than half of the government’s inspectors general.

The officials, 47 of them, signed a letter to congressional oversight leaders on Tuesday saying the Justice Department, the Peace Corps and the Chemical Safety Board have withheld information on the basis that it was privileged.

The inspectors general, several of whom were nominated for their roles by President Obama, said such interpretations of the law represent “potentially serious challenges to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

The Inspector General Act of 1978 ensures that inspectors general have “complete, unfiltered, and timely access to all information and materials … without unreasonable administrative burdens,” according to the letter.

The officials said that watchdogs from other agencies have “faced similar obstacles to their work, whether on a claim that some other law or principle trumped the clear mandate of the IG Act or by the agency’s imposition of unnecessarily burdensome administrative conditions on access.”

The letter was sent to Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who head the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, and Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“It is deeply troubling that federal agencies are increasingly obstructing this vital mission and, in doing so, undermining the very foundations of our government,” Coburn said in a statement. “This is an extremely dangerous place to be for a government established to be of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Carper said the letter “outlines serious concerns that are unacceptable.” He added that he will “continue to work closely with the Inspectors General to address their concerns.”

It’s easy to be scandal-free when the investigators aren’t allowed to investigate.

Related: Victor Davis Hanson: The Silencing of the Inspectors General.

Plus, remember when Obama fire Inspector General Gerald Walpin in 2009? An Early Sign Of The Gangster Government To Come.


If there’s one good thing about the political crisis triggered Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria it’s been to make people realize the US is there. As Seth Harp in the New Yorker noted, it has done everything possible to conceal that fact. . . .

Perhaps more people than were ever aware of the combat presence in Syria are outraged the US is leaving it and that is a good thing. The lack of awareness was the result of the breakdown of the national security debate and the abdication by Congress of its role in war making. The public is now like a man waking up in a strange city with a 3 week growth of beard with no memory of how he got there.

As the Los Angeles Times noted the US inherited a whole bunch of shadow wars from the past administrations. “Before he took office in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to end America’s grueling conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his second term, he pledged to take the country off what he called a permanent war footing. … U.S. military forces have been at war for all eight years of Obama’s tenure, the first two-term president with that distinction. He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.”

But they all went into the back pages.

Well, they sat awkwardly with that Nobel Peace Prize.

REMEMBERING THE OBAMA ERA: Victor Davis Hanson: The Silencing Of The Inspectors General.

McCabe and at least a half-dozen other FBI employees quit, retired, were fired or were reassigned as a result of fallout from the politicization of the FBI. Yet, as Barack Obama left office, his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, strangely boasted that the Obama administration “has been historically free of scandal.” Obama himself recently concluded of his eight-year tenure, “I didn’t have scandals.”

Those were puzzling assertions, given nearly nonstop scandals during Obama’s eight years in office involving the IRS; General Services Administration; Peace Corps; Secret Service; Veterans Administration; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not to mention the Clinton email server scandal, the Benghazi scandal and the 2016 Democratic National Committee email scandal.

For nearly eight years, the Obama administration sought to cover up serial wrongdoing by waging a veritable war against the watchdog inspectors general of various federal agencies.

In 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter alleging that Obama had stonewalled their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

The frustrated nonpartisan auditors cited systematic Obama administration refusals to turn over incriminating documents that were central to their investigations. . . .

In 2014, an internal audit revealed that CIA officials had hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers while compiling a report on enhanced interrogation techniques. CIA Director John Brennan had claimed that his agents were not improperly monitoring Senate staff computer files. He was forced to retract his denials and apologize for his prevarication.

In 2016, the State Department’s inspector general found that Hillary Clinton had never sought approval for her reckless and illegal use of an unsecured private email server. The IG also found that staffers who were worried about national security being compromised by the unsecured server were silenced by other Clinton aides.

Still, Obama was right in a way: A scandal does not become a scandal if no one acts on findings of improper behavior.

It was wall-to-wall corruption, but the press didn’t care because Obama was a sharp-creased Democrat.

DAVID FRENCH: It’s Time for an Iran-Deal Reckoning.

In other words, the Obama administration tried to do Iran an immense financial favor, one not required by the deal itself, to uphold the mythical “spirit” of the agreement (yes, that’s their off-the-record excuse). Iran had reportedly complained that it “wasn’t reaping the benefits it envisioned,” and the Obama administration attempted to help — even though it had publicly assured Americans that “Iran will be denied access to the world’s most important market and unable to deal in the world’s most important currency.”

Keep in mind, this attempted favor happened even as the Obama administration’s pie-in-the-sky hopes for the deal were crumbling before the world’s eyes. It was the administration’s hope that lifting sanctions, bringing Iran back into international markets, and providing it with immense sums of cold, hard cash would somehow make the jihadist regime want to “fully rejoin the community of nations.” Commerce and forbearance would work their magic, Iran would moderate, and we’d have peace in our time.

Instead, it was already clear that Iran wasn’t moderating one inch.

I know you’re never suppose to attribute something to malice which can be attributed to stupidity, but there’s no way anything this stupid could be due to anything but malice.

Or as I wrote the other day, “It might be time to start saying: ‘Just think of them as Iranian intelligence officers with American security credentials, and it all makes sense’.”

BYRON YORK: Trump and Obama: Who’s really tougher on Russia?

In a text exchange, I asked one GOP lawmaker: If you believe Trump has been tougher on Russia, what is the best evidence? He quickly came back with a list. The U.S. is, he said:

Bombing Syria, Russia’s main client, and generally unleashing the U.S. military in Syria, including against Russians when necessary.
Arming Ukraine.
Browbeating NATO allies to increase defense spending.
Adding low-yield nukes to our arsenal.
Starting research and development on an INF noncompliant missile.
Shutting Russia’s San Francisco consulate.

To clarify some of the less-obvious references, on the “arming Ukraine” front, the lawmaker noted the Trump administration’s decision to supply Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles. (The Washington Post called Trump’s decision “a worthy application of the ‘peace through strength’ principle'” that will help Russian President Vladimir Putin understand that “his aggressions … will be resisted.”) The “low-yield nukes” reference is to developing a new generation of (relatively) small nuclear weapons that, the New York Times noted, “advocates say are needed to match Russian advances.” The “INF non-compliant missile” refers to U.S. work on a new missile that does not comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and is “a direct response to Russia’s deployment in recent years of its own treaty-busting missile,” according to Time magazine. (Time added that, “The Obama administration worked unsuccessfully to persuade the Kremlin to stand down the program.”)

The items on the list were all solid, hard-edged measures designed specifically to push back against Russian aggression.

So why do so many believe Obama was tougher on Russia? It wasn’t that Obama took a harder line against Russian adventurism. Just the opposite. “Under President Obama, Vladimir Putin hardly had reason to fear that anyone would push back on anything,” John Bolton, the U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, noted recently.

But some journalists cite the measures the lame-duck Obama took in December 2016 in retaliation for Russian attempts to influence the presidential election as a case-closed argument that Obama was tougher. “Thirty-five diplomats were expelled,” explained CNN’s Tom Foreman. “They imposed sanctions on Russian businesses and agencies that were involved, and they closed two Russian compounds here in the United States. … You can certainly say Barack Obama could have been tougher, but any evidence that Donald Trump has been tougher than him, no, there is none. The statement is simply false.”

Yes, Obama’s December 2016 actions were actual punitive measures. But it’s hard to compare them to the lawmaker’s list of Trump actions — including, for example, U.S. forces killing at least 100 Russian mercenaries in Syria recently — and say Obama was the president who was harder on Russia.

The problem could be that some Trump critics appear to think of Russia only in terms of countering online election interference. They don’t seem to think that real, physical-world actions, like blowing up Russian mercenaries and building new missiles and bombs, constitute a tough policy toward Russia.

When you understand that Democrats will tolerate anything from Russians so long as it isn’t a direct threat to their power, you’ll understand why.

CIVIL SOCIETY: Racist goons are targeting the FCC chief — and his family.

The source of great consternation on the left is the FCC’s decision to scrap an Obama-era rule implemented in 2015 deemed “net neutrality.” The end of net neutrality will allow internet service providers to, if they choose, privilege the content of providers that they own or support.

Over this, Pai has been the target of a campaign of harassment that amounts to a national scandal.

HBO host John Oliver was among the first mainstream cultural figures to organize a net-neutrality campaign, which he dubbed “Go FCC Yourself.” He encouraged followers to bombard the FCC’s website with comments supporting the regulation, and so they did.

Those comments were peppered with claims that Pai was a pedophile, a “dirty, sneaky Indian” who should self-deport and reminders that anonymous online hordes maintain the “power to murder Ajit Pai and his family.” Oliver was eventually compelled to release a video urging his followers to dial back the racism and death threats.

This episode would prove to be just the beginning of Pai’s ordeal. By May of last year, Pai’s tormentors began a campaign to ensure that the FCC chairman could enjoy no peace — not even in his own home.

If this were happening to a Democrat appointee, it would be the lede story, everywhere, all the time.

OF NARRATIVES PAST AND PRESENT: In the new issue of Commentary, Andrew Ferguson profiles veteran DC journalist Elizabeth Drew, whom he describes as “Washington’s Keeper of the Narratives.”

Every administration gets suited up with the Divided White House Narrative at some point; Donald Trump’s is just the latest to succumb, and Ronald Reagan’s never outgrew it. The Pentagon Papers Narrative is also ongoing, most recently with Julian Assange as the hero, until he broke the narrative flow and became a bad guy, not at all like that brave Daniel Ellsberg. Bill Clinton’s White House was fit into the Tragic Presidency Narrative originally applied to the administration of Lyndon Johnson. Bill Clinton—able, smart, stuffed with charm, oozing political savvy—was shown lifting the country from the HWBushian darkness into the light of Democratic peace and prosperity even as he was brought low by his own personal Vietnam, who was wearing a thong.

More than once Barack Obama was draped in the Cuban Missile Crisis Narrative. His iciness was undeniable, though how canny he was remains an open question. But his far-seeing aide, John Kerry, was a Kennedy wannabe from Massachusetts, and when the time came to stare down the nuke-craving mullahs and call their bluff, Obama rose to the narrative by striking the Iran nuclear deal, thereby saving the world from cataclysm. It says so right here in the narrative.

Drew is handy with all these narratives, able to keep one spinning on the tip of a pool cue even as she balances another on her forehead while lifting a third with her big toe. As Keeper of the Narratives, though, she has particular responsibility for the crown jewel. Drew covered the Watergate scandal in weekly dispatches for the New Yorker and has been closely associated with it ever since. She even appears in the movie adaptation of All the President’s Men, which, although admittedly fictionalized and largely debunked, is to Washington narratives what the epic of Gilgamesh is to quest literature.

Drew’s Watergate articles became a book, called Washington Journal. I reread it the other day. It is droll, knowing, discursive, full of flavorsome detail, a worthy and appealing work of higher journalism. It is also animated by a subcutaneous vein of hysteria. Actually, it’s hysteria and delight all mixed together, for in Washington the two are always commingling. We Washingtonians are an excitable people. We feed off crises, draw strength from the Republic’s misfortune. I recall a remark from Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post (yeah, he was legendary, too), during the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s. The official position of the Washington establishment was that Iran-Contra, like Watergate before it, was a grave threat to the Constitution, indeed to the existence of self-government. No laughing matter, in other words. And yet: “I haven’t had so much fun since Watergate,” Bradlee said. That’s the emotional life of the capital, indiscreetly expressed.

And Drew is its truest representative.

In the middle of a fascinating hour-long interview with Peter Robson on Uncommon Knowledge, Scott Adams of Dilbert fame and the author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and the upcoming Win Bigly, charts the path of the current narrative arc:

Peter Robinson: How … You did … I found this quotation, because I thought to myself, “I’ve got him.” Let’s see if I have got you. “Trump’s value proposition is … this is you on your blog. Quote, “Trump’s value proposition is that he will ‘Make America Great.’ That concept sounds appealing to me. The nation needs good brand management.” Whatever else is going on, issue, by issue, by issue, you look at this guy and say, “You know, he’s my guy.”

Scott Adams: Well, I’m not saying I’d say, “My guy.” I say that he has a set of skills, which are extraordinary, and the thing I was most interested in was that the country could see it clearly without the filter put on it by the opposition because they’re both painting each other terribly. In Hillary Clinton’s situation, people know what a standard politician is. They could see through the attacks on the other side. We knew what we were getting, but with Trump, people didn’t know what they were getting. At least half the country thought he was crazy Hitler. I had actually predicted, I guess before he was inaugurated, that you would see the following story arc develop because it just was obvious if you’re trained in persuasion, it was going to go this way. It would start with, “Oh my God, we’ve accidentally elected Hitler, like how did this happen? How did half the country or so not know that we’ve elected a monster?” I figured, okay, after a few months of not doing Hitler stuff, it’s just going to dissipate, and it has. By summer, I said the Hitler thing will dissipate, and it did, but it would be replaced with “But, he’s incompetent. He’s incompetent. He’s incompetent”. Sure enough, that was the big word of the summer up until now. I didn’t see the Russia thing coming because that, that’s hard to predict, but I’ve predicted that after the “He’s incompetent” phase will come the, “Well, he did get a lot done, but we don’t all like that. He did things we don’t like, but he was awfully effective and he did do the things he said he was going to do. We just don’t like those things.” You’re going to see that by year end, and in fact you’re already seeing the turn.

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Scott Adams: It’s visible now. You can see the turn happening.


At times during his conversation with Robinson, Adams’ takes are awfully out there; as Kathy Shaidle wrote last year, “You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Be Scott Adams, But It Helps,” though perhaps that’s what makes it such an interesting interview. Or maybe it’s Adams’ claim to Robinson that “I have a background as a hypnotist, I’m a trained hypnotist” at work…


This from the Washington Post sounded awkward to my ears, but standards of cultural literacy change:

“Flake routinely catalogs Trump alongside evil and danger — at one point, he compares the Republican Party trying to make peace with this president to a German scholar who sold his soul to the devil.”

“A German scholar who sold his soul to the devil”? Just write what the senator did, “Faustian bargain,” trust that your readers will get it, and trust that anyone who doesn’t can look it up online. (“Many years ago I read a piece on WF Buckley that described his writing style as ‘Look it up, serf,’” a friend commented when I posted about this on social media last week.)

In the article we linked to last night titled “Monkeeing Around with Culture,” Joseph Buttom of the Washington Free Beacon wrote, “I can’t decide whether Phillips gave her gloss because she herself had to look up the meaning of what she considered an obscure phrase, or whether she merely thought that readers of the Washington Post wouldn’t know the meaning of the image from Goethe’s Faust.”

Given Rhodes’ infamous quote about the Democrat activists with bylines he spoon-fed his talking points to, my money is on the former.




“This, of course, is not only a confession but also outright bragging about how the Quds Force murdered Americans in Iraq,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “It was the Quds Force, after all, that smuggled in explosively formed, armor-penetrating projectiles into Iraq for insurgents to incorporate in improved explosive devices.

(Iranian) Gen. Ghaani repeated Tehran propaganda that America carried out the 9/11 attacks in New York and the Pentagon, not al Qaeda.

“America, under the pretext of Sept. 11 attacks, which it carried out itself, invaded Afghanistan and mobilized young Muslims and deployed them to Afghanistan so that they can later attack Iran,” he said.

Obama’s “peace deal” with the ayatollah regime is a very very bad deal.

ABYSSINIA, RAHM: Mayor Emanuel didn’t seek comparison to Mussolini in NYT op-ed, the Chicago Tribune notes:

Either someone at The New York Times doesn’t like Mayor Rahm Emanuel very much, or the Gray Lady needs to brush up on her history.*

How else to account for the unfortunate evocation of murderous Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the headline NYT editors put on Emanuel’s op-ed column about his work to improve the CTA in Monday’s Times?

“Rahm Emanuel: In Chicago, the Trains Actually Run on Time,” blared the Times’ online headline for a column in which Emanuel favorably contrasted his policy of putting maintenance and reliability ahead of expansion of the city’s rail system.

Was it over when Chicago bombed Ethiopia?!

* Since they’re almost entirely Democrats with bylines at the Times, let’s go with the latter — layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors — who have no knowledge of history. Shades of Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau putting the unfortunate Neville again “Peace in our time” phrase into his boss’s second inauguration address to create a classic Kinsley gaffe.


Over at The Washington Post, Callum Borchers is calling it a “blatantly sexist attack.” Ridiculous. Men get facelifts too. In fact, it’s Borchers who’s supplying the sexism:

When Trump hits Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter, he hits Brzezinski harder, more personally and in a way that seems designed to portray her as insecure (“facelift”) and unintelligent (“low IQ”) — as a side piece who would not be on TV if not for her romantic relationship with Scarborough, to whom she was recently engaged.

Trump didn’t say “sidepiece” or characterize plastic surgery as a marker of insecurity. That’s Borchers projecting. What I read in that tweet is that he found it ludicrous that the person trying to insinuate herself into his company was bleeding from the face. That doesn’t sound at all like insecurity. Quite the opposite.

I suspect that Trump knows a lot about cosmetic surgery. And the pic accompanying the NYT story doesn’t exactly undermine the whole “facelift” angle.

But for those who find Trump unacceptably crude, a reminder: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.”

One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. Rich Lowry reported from Washington, DC: “Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize ‘the losers’ mortgages.’ He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich quick by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, ‘carry the water instead of drink the water.’ The tea party’s detractors want to paint it as radical, when at bottom it represents the self-reliant, industrious heart of American life.”

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Nice work, political class. Now if you manage to do to Trump what you did to the Tea Party, you need to wonder: What comes after Trump?

TED NICKEL: I Ran Wisconsin’s Successful High-Risk Pool Before Obamacare. It Actually Worked.

Prior to the ACA, Wisconsin consumers could choose from over 20 individual insurance companies offering coverage in our state. These included for-profit and not-for-profit companies; HMO’s and PPOs; and local and national insurers. There were a variety of plan options to meet a range of coverage needs.

While these plans were underwritten, individuals denied coverage would receive coverage from Wisconsin’s high-risk pool known as the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan (HIRSP). HIRSP provided Wisconsin consumers with peace of mind by providing high quality, comprehensive coverage to over 20,000 of our friends and neighbors.

Unlike the current ACA market where most people must wait until open enrollment to purchase coverage, consumers could enroll in HIRSP at any time. There were no pre-existing condition limits for people signing up for coverage if they had prior coverage. If consumers had no prior coverage, they would receive coverage for most conditions, but had to wait six months for pre-existing conditions.

In contrast, with Obamacare you may have to wait up to 11 months for any coverage if you miss open enrollment.

Once enrolled in HIRSP, consumers chose from a variety of benefit plans including both high and low deductible plans. While Obamacare plans are criticized for having narrow networks, there were no network limitations for HIRSP; members were able to visit any medical provider in our state and receive coverage when traveling outside of Wisconsin. Subsidies were also available to offset premiums, deductibles and prescription drug out-of-pocket maximums for low-income members.

HIRSP benefit and administrative costs were funded by member premiums and contributions from insurers and providers. No state dollars were needed to support this program.

Though not perfect (no program is), HIRSP was well-run and kept the needs of its members a priority and was structured in a way which allowed sufficient flexibility to address member needs and respond to evolving market dynamics. Former members of HIRSP continue to call legislative offices requesting a reinstatement of this program.

“Before Obamacare” being the key phrase.

QUESTION ASKED — AND ANSWERED: Convincing your gullible flock that we live in a republic easily annexed by a rickety former superpower is not putting your country above your party.

David Harsanyi:

To see the world from this prism, Time magazine visualizes the Kremlinizing of White House. The magazine’s newest cover merges St. Basil’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral with the White House (the substance of the feature doesn’t even really reflect the cover).

The true “constitutional crisis” is the concerted effort to “resist” or undermine the “norm” of a peaceful transfer of power after election.
— Randy Barnett (@RandyEBarnett) May 18, 2017

One wonders what the reaction would be if a major magazine had run a cover of the White House conflated into an Iranian mosque while Barack Obama was sending pallets of cash to the Islamic Republic? Of course, that cover would have been hysterical—and not in a funny way. Simply because the former president believed that appeasing the Iranians was in the strategic interests of the United States doesn’t make him treasonous, just a terrible president. Not the first, or last.

Does putting your country above party mean never being skeptical of the intentions of an intelligence community—one that has lied to the American people repeatedly over the years—that is trying to overturn an election?

The Party always comes first, comrade.


The most singular thing about Donald Trump’s wiretap accusation against Barack Obama is how he’s refusing to play the game of extremities –losing a Flynn here and getting a Sessions paralyzed there — and getting right into lethal range. Trump’s gone right past Schumer, ignored the surrogates and gone straight for the former president himself.

The Sunday Guardian writes some believe Trump’s key mistake was believing “in mid-November … that it would be a statesmanlike gesture to (in effect) pardon Hillary Clinton”. He must have expected a reciprocal courtesy. The next thing he felt were his digits being sheared away.

“Acting through their contacts in the incoming administration, the Clinton machine … ‘dismissed National Security Advisor Michael Flynn … [and] ensured that the green light got flashed to launch an attack on another known foe of Hillary Clinton’, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose sought after resignation would energize the Clinton machine to move on to their next targets, Counsellors Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon.”

Trump’s response to the finger-lopping campaign was not to respond proportionately but to attack Obama himself. . . .

This escalation represents a real threat to Obama. Suddenly everything is out of control. Nobody would have minded much if Trump had gone after one of Obama’s henchmen — which is probably what was expected — but none can foresee how an exchange of blades between principals will end. It is safe to say however that unless the combatants disengage someone will get hurt. It will be a terrible moment for American political civility when a king lies on the political floor. The whole point of a peaceful transition of power is to prevent a clash between kings. Yet the very tragedy the electoral process is intended to prevent is happening before our eyes.

In such a fight anything can happen.

One of the ways American political culture prevents such a fight is to have only one king at a time. Former presidents are expected to retire and vanish. Obama, however, decided to stay in DC and try to destroy Trump’s presidency. That was a choice that showed little concern for America, but then, the lack of such concern has been a hallmark of Obama’s career.

And who was foolish enough to think that Trump would respond to attacks by playing small ball?

UPDATE: From the comments:

NIALL FERGUSON: Donald Trump’s New World Order: What A Kissinger-Inspired Foreign Policy Might Look Like.

Donald Trump therefore enters the Oval Office with an underestimated advantage. Obama’s foreign policy has been a failure, most obviously in the Middle East, where the smoldering ruin that is Syria—not to mention Iraq and Libya—attests to the fundamental naivety of his approach, dating all the way back to the 2009 Cairo speech. The President came to believe he had an ingenious strategy to establish geopolitical balance between Sunni and Shi’a. But by treating America’s Arab friends with open disdain, while cutting a nuclear deal with Iran that has left Tehran free to wage proxy wars across the region, Obama has achieved not peace but a fractal geometry of conflict and a frightening, possibly nuclear, arms race. At the same time, he has allowed Russia to become a major player in the Middle East for the first time since Kissinger squeezed the Soviets out of Egypt in the 1972-79 period. The death toll in the Syrian war now approaches half a million; who knows how much higher it will rise between now and Inauguration Day?

Meanwhile, global terrorism has surged under Obama. Of the past 16 years, the worst year for terrorism was 2014, with 93 countries experiencing an attack and 32,765 people killed. 2015 was the second worst, with 29,376 deaths. Last year, four radical Islamic groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.9 In this context, the President’s claims to be succeeding against what he euphemistically calls “violent extremism” are absurd. Much opprobrium has been heaped on Donald Trump in the course of the past year. But there was much that was true in his underreported August 15 foreign policy speech on the subject of Islamic extremism and the failure of the Obama Administration to defeat it.10

The “Obama Doctrine” has failed in Europe, too, where English voters opted to leave the EU in defiance of the President’s threats, and where the German leadership he recently praised has delivered, first, an unnecessarily protracted financial crisis in the European periphery and, second, a disastrous influx to the core of migrants, some but not all of them refugees from a region that Europe had intervened in just enough to exacerbate its instability. The President has also failed in eastern Europe, where not only has Ukraine been invaded and Crimea annexed, but also Hungary and now Poland have opted to deviate sharply from the President’s liberal “arc of history.” Finally, his foreign policy has failed in Asia, where little remains of the much-vaunted pivot. “If you look at how we’ve operated in the South China Sea,” the President boasted in an interview published in March, “we have been able to mobilize most of Asia to isolate China in ways that have surprised China, frankly, and have very much served our interest in strengthening our alliances.”11 The new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, apparently did not receive this memorandum. In October he went to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to announce his “separation from the United States.”

All of this means that merely by changing Obama’s foreign policy President Trump is likely to achieve at least some success.


LAME DUCK LEFT OUT IN THE COLD: Russia, Turkey Agree On Syria Ceasefire Plan, Snub Washington.

In the latest snub of president Obama and the US State Department, on Wednesday Turkey and Russia reached an agreement for a ceasefire in Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said, and according to Anadolu News Agency, will aim to put it into effect by midnight. Anadolu, citing sources, said the two countries have reached a consensus that will be presented to participants in the conflict on expanding the ceasefire that was established in Aleppo earlier this month.

There may be a hurdle however: Ankara would not budge on its opposition to President Bashar al-Assad staying in power. The comments by Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday appeared to signal a tentative advance in talks aimed at reaching a truce, but the insistence that Assad must go will do little to smooth negotiations with Russia, his biggest backer.

Not content with isolating the US, Russia, Iran and Turkey also made a mockery of the UN when they said last week they were ready to help broker a peace deal after holding talks in Moscow where they adopted a declaration setting out the principles any agreement should adhere to. Arrangements for the talks, which would not include the United States and be distinct from separate intermittent U.N.-brokered negotiations, remain hazy, but Moscow has said they would take place in Kazakhstan, a close ally.

“There are two texts ready on a solution in Syria. One is about a political resolution and the other is about a ceasefire. They can be implemented any time,” Cavusoglu told reporters on the sidelines of an awards ceremony at the presidential palace in Ankara.

While Turkey’s insistence has been that Assad must go, perhaps in legacy support of US and NATO positions, with Cavusoglu saing that “the whole world knows it is not possible for there to be a political transition with Assad, and we also all know that it is impossible for these people to unite around Assad”, Turkey’s position appears not set in stone, and last week, Russia’s foreign minister said Russia, Iran and Turkey had agreed that the priority in Syria was to fight terrorism and not to remove Assad’s government.

Elsewhere today, John Kerry is still scheduled to make a speech outlining his vision for the Middle East — which Russia has already rejected.

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS: Obama hails Obama for his anti-terror work.

“He gave himself an A,” reports Andrew Malcolm — well of course he did.


Obama has struggled to seem relevant in these waning 43 days of his lame-duckness. As Americans’ eyes turn hopefully toward a new presidential administration under construction in New York City, simple static shots of a Trump Tower elevator overwhelmed once must-see images of Obama greeting leaders and reviewing troops in foreign capitals.

Obama’s got one long Air Force One voyage left: An 18-hour round-trip vacation junket to Hawaii next week at $209,000 per flight hour. But before then, he flew down to Tampa to tell Special Ops troops what they’ve been doing these last long eight years under his command.

As usual, Obama’s report had a strong emphasis on Obama. “On January 20th,” he said, “I will become the first President of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war.” An unexpected boast from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

You may recall Obama has told the military the biggest threat to national security is global warming. You may also remember he’s often said that defeating ISIS is his No. 1 priority. Your choice.

It’s nice to have choices.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Almost Everyone Got The Arab Spring Wrong. “How did so many journalists, diplomats, academics, and analysts get Egypt so wrong? It was partly the result of hope and naiveté. But the Muslim Brotherhood also waged a brilliantly effective campaign of deception at home and abroad, hoping to convince as many people as possible that it was a politically moderate organization with a broad and diverse base of support. It wanted to earn the trust of Egyptians who weren’t yearning for an Islamist theocracy, and it feared a hostile reaction from the West, so it mounted a full-court press in the Egyptian, European, and American media. The Washington Post even published an op-ed from one of its leaders, Abdel Moneim Abouel, who wrote that the Brotherhood ’embraced diversity and democratic values.'”

Plus: “Washington gave the Brotherhood one pass after another, and a bewildered Morsi eventually felt that he was free to do and say whatever he wanted without being challenged. The Obama administration, for its part, seemed blissfully unaware that its well-meaning diplomatic outreach looked to Egyptians like an alliance with the Islamists against secularists.”

I think that’s what they call “smart diplomacy” in this Administration. Related: Former Nobel committee secretary regrets awarding the peace prize to Obama.

NIALL FERGUSON: Donald Trump’s New World Order.

Donald Trump therefore enters the Oval Office with an underestimated advantage. Obama’s foreign policy has been a failure, most obviously in the Middle East, where the smoldering ruin that is Syria—not to mention Iraq and Libya—attests to the fundamental naivety of his approach, dating all the way back to the 2009 Cairo speech. The President came to believe he had an ingenious strategy to establish geopolitical balance between Sunni and Shi’a. But by treating America’s Arab friends with open disdain, while cutting a nuclear deal with Iran that has left Tehran free to wage proxy wars across the region, Obama has achieved not peace but a fractal geometry of conflict and a frightening, possibly nuclear, arms race. At the same time, he has allowed Russia to become a major player in the Middle East for the first time since Kissinger squeezed the Soviets out of Egypt in the 1972-79 period. The death toll in the Syrian war now approaches half a million; who knows how much higher it will rise between now and Inauguration Day?

Meanwhile, global terrorism has surged under Obama. Of the past 16 years, the worst year for terrorism was 2014, with 93 countries experiencing an attack and 32,765 people killed. 2015 was the second worst, with 29,376 deaths. Last year, four radical Islamic groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. In this context, the President’s claims to be succeeding against what he euphemistically calls “violent extremism” are absurd. Much opprobrium has been heaped on Donald Trump in the course of the past year. But there was much that was true in his underreported August 15 foreign policy speech on the subject of Islamic extremism and the failure of the Obama Administration to defeat it.

The “Obama Doctrine” has failed in Europe, too, where English voters opted to leave the EU in defiance of the President’s threats, and where the German leadership he recently praised has delivered, first, an unnecessarily protracted financial crisis in the European periphery and, second, a disastrous influx to the core of migrants, some but not all of them refugees from a region that Europe had intervened in just enough to exacerbate its instability.

Take the time to read the whole thing.

Obama was elected in no small part because he was the “UnBush.” That and his near-personality cult with leftists around the world gave him something approaching carte blanche to pursue a naive (at best) and wildly destructive (almost everywhere) foreign policy. If he backs down from his silly campaign promises to shake down NATO, then as the UnObama, Trump may prove — even to his harshest critics in Europe and elsewhere — to be welcome and stabilizing change agent.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Clinton, Obama Need To Calm Down Anti-Trump Protesters.

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, said it is incumbent upon Hillary Clinton, President Obama and other Democratic leaders to calm their supporters and encourage a peaceful transition of power amid anti-Trump demonstrations that have swept U.S. cities since Election Day.

Trump is “there for them. And he is going to be a president that listens and takes the counsel of many different people, including those from the other side of the aisle,” Conway told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. ” . . . It’s time really for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to say to these protesters, ‘This man is our president.’” . . .

Speaking to host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Conway also suggested that professional, paid protesters were behind the anti-Trump demonstrations across the country.

I’m sure that’s true, given the history of Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) husband Robert Creamer’s work inciting violence at Trump rallies while he was working for Hillary’s campaign.

Note that Creamer visited the Obama White House 342 times.

UPDATE: Posted in the comments: Anti-Trump Protests: Proof Of Professional Activist Involvement.

Once again, WikiLeaks comes through, with background on spontaneous protester Yong Jung Cho, who shows up in Podesta emails as “350 Action Campaign Coordinator.” Plus:

So USA Today’s first person from “all walks of life” is an organizer who has experience on the activist circuit, and in that capacity she worked on the presidential primary. Not exactly the “spontaneous concern” presented by the newspaper.

How about another source, someone that USA Today introduces by more than just a name? Here’s Phil Roeder, a public school official with no disclosed interest except the welfare of his students. . . .

So: Phil Roeder, concerned public servant without a partisan agenda, or veteran Democratic activist? Once again, WikiLeaks can shed some light on that question. In the same 2014 email from the Podesta collection, we find that many of the activists in the Iowa organization had private meetings with Obama and Clinton, and that Phil Roeder was prominent in the group. It is not surprising that he would want to be quoted in an anti-Trump piece after Clinton’s defeat, but it would be surprising for an honest newspaper to fail to disclose that connection to the readers. . . . If the demonstrations aren’t premeditated, then why are all these average citizens actually well-connected activists and protest organizers?

Read the whole thing. None of it will come as a deep surprise, but I expect that we’ll see more pushback this time around. (Bumped).

MORE: The Clintons And Soros Launch America’s Purple Revolution. Well, possibly.


McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed had a terrific piece, back in July, on the long, winding road that led to Donald J. Trump’s decision to earnestly seek the presidency in 2016.  I blogged about it for this website.  One of the most interesting parts about McKay’s article was how seminal a role Trump’s getting relentlessly mocked—at the height of the “Birtherism” faux controversy—by President Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner played in his ultimate decision to run.

 Looking back on [the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner], [White House speechwriters Jon] Favreau and [Jon] Lovett told me they were torn about having added weight to the chip on Trump’s shoulder  “I really don’t take any pleasure in Trump being the nominee, sincerely, even if it means they lose,” Lovett said.  “If only we hadn’t made that joke, maybe we’d have peace in our time.”

Choose the form of your destructor, to coin a phrase. And speaking of phrases, peace in our time, you say? Favreau was the speechwriter who typed that Chamberlain-esque phrase into President Burgundy’s teleprompter for his second inauguration speech, while Ben Rhodes and Valerie Jarrett were working hard to create a Munich-like appeasement with Iran.


Incidentally, that’s Favreau on the left in this photo from 2008:


But wait, it gets better:

But that does not make any less staggeringly amazing this Monday evening tweet from the aforementioned Lovett, who thus opined on the eve of Election Day:

Let’s do this together, folks: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.


UPDATE: Speaking of Iran, Claudia Rosett has some advice for When the Trump Team Comes Looking for the Secrets of Obama’s Iran File.


NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama Blows Off Putin, Encouraging Kremlin Aggression Against NATO: U.S. President just ignored his Cuban Missile Crisis.

Late last week, Vladimir Putin went all-in and executed the brazen geopolitical move of transporting nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea north of Poland that’s surrounded by NATO countries.

As I told you on Friday, the Kremlin’s deployment of Iskander missiles, what NATO calls SS-26s, into Kaliningrad is a direct challenge to the Atlantic Alliance, since it puts all of Poland and the Baltic republics into range for a sudden nuclear strike. An Iskander’s flight time from Kaliningrad to Warsaw is just two minutes, so NATO would functionally have no warning.

In military terms, this is a game-changer for the Baltic region. Politically, it’s deeply destabilizing too. It’s nothing less than a regional version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Moscow placing nuclear missiles close to the Western camp for strategic advantage. Why Putin would do this when Obama has just three months left in the White House is the key question—and answering it reveals disturbing truths. . . .

The Kremlin’s no longer hiding its actions, even when they are profoundly destabilizing to European security. Knowing that President Obama will do nothing, Moscow is now openly boasting of its Iskander gambit. Stating the move is “no secret” and just part of military drills, Kremlin media isn’t shying away from the story. . . .

ndeed, four days into Putin’s Cuban Missile Crisis on the Baltic Sea, our president remains invisible. There has been no public statement on the Iskander deployment from either the White House or the Pentagon. The U.S. military has made some quiet moves in response to the Russian move, including flights by our spy planes over the Baltic to monitor Kremlin moves. However, the lack of any public support or demonstrations of NATO solidarity by Washington right now is deeply troubling to our allies in Eastern Europe, most of whom had minimal confidence in Obama’s courage even before his latest no-show.

Vladimir Putin is no madman, rather an opportunist. He will get away with what NATO and especially the United States—who in military terms are vastly more powerful than Russia—allow him to. Barack Obama seems to think that letting the Kremlin do whatever it wishes will bring peace and stability. Ukraine and Syria tragically demonstrate that Obama’s laissez-faire attitude towards Putin beings anything but peace, yet it seems highly unlikely that our president will grow a backbone with just three months left in office.

He has more flexibility now.


Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau today:


Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favraeu on the left in 2008:


Perhaps Favraeu is once again trying to bring us all “peace in our time” in his own special way yet again.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE:  The War Intensifies, Michael Ledeen writes. “The enemy knows that Obama’s leaving in 5 months, so it’s best to grab while the grabbing’s easy. Bad times indeed.”

Not at all — just more and more “peace in our time,” as Obama promised would be forthcoming at the start of his second term.


THE LONG-AWAITED PIVOT ARRIVES: FULL SPEECH: Donald Trump in battleground North Carolina. Excerpts:

I’d like to take a moment to talk about the heartbreak and devastation in Louisiana, a state that is very special to me.

We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working, building, restoring together.

Our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we send them our deepest condolences. Though words cannot express the sadness one feels at times like this, I hope everyone in Louisiana knows that our country is praying for them and standing with them to help them in these difficult hours.

We are one country, one people, and we will have together one great future.

Tonight, I’d like to talk about the New American Future we are going to create together.

Last week, I laid out my plan to bring jobs back to our country.

On Monday, I laid out my plan to defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism.

On Tuesday, in Wisconsin, I talked about how we are going to restore law and order to this country.

Let me take this opportunity to extend our thanks and our gratitude to the police and law enforcement officers in this country who have sacrificed so greatly in these difficult times.

The chaos and violence on our streets, and the assaults on law enforcement, are an attack against all peaceful citizens. If I am elected President, this chaos and violence will end – and it will end very quickly.

Every single citizen in our land has a right to live in safety.

To be one united nation, we must protect all of our people. But we must also provide opportunities for all of our people.

We cannot make America Great Again if we leave any community behind.

Nearly Four in ten African-American children are living in poverty.I will not rest until children of every color in this country are fully included in the American Dream.

Jobs, safety, opportunity. Fair and equal representation. This is what I promise to African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and all Americans.

But to achieve this New American Future we must break from the failures of the past. . . .

The establishment media doesn’t cover what really matters in this country, or what’s really going on in people’s lives. They will take words of mine out of context and spend a week obsessing over every single syllable, and then pretend to discover some hidden meaning in what I said.

Just imagine for a second if the media spent this energy holding the politicians accountable who got innocent Americans like Kate Steinle killed – she was gunned down by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times.

Just imagine if the media spent this much time investigating the poverty and joblessness in our inner cities.

Just think about how much different things would be if the media in this country sent their cameras to our border, or to our closing factories, or to our failing schools. Or if the media focused on what dark secrets must be hidden in the 33,000 emails Hillary Clinton deleted.

Instead, every story is told from the perspective of the insiders. It’s the narrative of the people who rigged the system, never the voice of the people it’s been rigged against.

So many people suffering in silence. No cameras, no coverage, no outrage from a media class that seems to get outraged over just about everything else.

So again, it’s not about me. It’s never been about me. It’s about all the people in this country who don’t have a voice.

I am running to be their voice.

I am running to be the voice for every forgotten part of this country that has been waiting and hoping for a better future.

I am glad that I make the powerful a little uncomfortable now and again – including some powerful people in my own party. Because it means I am fighting for real change.

There’s a reason the hedge fund managers, the financial lobbyists, the Wall Street investors, are throwing their money at Hillary Clinton. Because they know she will make sure the system stays rigged in their favor.

It’s the powerful protecting the powerful.

The insiders fighting for the insiders.

I am fighting for you.

The People Versus The Powerful. Hmm. Plus:

Finally, we are going to bring this country together. We are going to do it by emphasizing what we all have in common as Americans. We are going to reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, which sees communities of color only as votes and not as human beings worthy of a better future.

If African-American voters give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing. Look at how badly things are going under decades of Democratic leadership – look at the schools, look at the 58% of young African-Americans not working. It is time for change.

What do you have to lose by trying something new? – I will fix it. This means so much to me, and I will work as hard as I can to bring new opportunity to places in our country which have not known opportunity in a very long time.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have taken African-American votes totally for granted. Because the votes have been automatically there, there has been no reason for Democrats to produce.

It is time to break with the failures of the past, and to fight for every last American child in this country to have the better future they deserve.

In my Administration, every American will be treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people.

This is the change I am promising all of you: an honest government, a fair economy, and a just society for each and every American.

But we can never fix our problems by relying on the same politicians who created these problems in the first place.

72% of voters say our country is on the wrong track. I am the change candidate, Hillary Clinton is the failed status quo.

Well, this just might shake things up.

Related: Trump, Pence to tour flood damage in Louisiana.

Obama, who received his briefing by phone during his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., has received criticism for not visiting the site of the severe flooding and storms, which has left 13 people dead.

A Louisiana newspaper on Thursday called for Obama to cut his vacation short, saying, “A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero.”

Well, good luck with that. But somebody listened.

BARACK OBAMA’S MUNICH: “No one has suggested Mr. Obama is an anti-Semite or disloyal to America. Just that he entered into an appeasement with similarities to Munich. Both Munich and the Iran appeasement excluded from the parley the enemy’s target — Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Israel today. The exclusion from the Czechs from participation in Munich lead to Jan Masaryk to utter his immortal warning: ‘If you have sacrificed my nation to preserve the peace of the world, I will be the first to applaud you. But if not, gentlemen, God help your souls.’”

I blame ignorance rather deliberate malice amongst Mr. Obama and his young, clueless speechwriters that Obama’s second inauguration speech included the infamous Neville Again phrase, “Peace in our time,” but in retrospect, it was quite a poker tell of what was to come. All the president lacked that day was an umbrella.




“Thus the question of whether Europe is helpless,” Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal:

At its 1980s peak, under François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, the European project combined German economic strength and French confidence in power politics. Today, it mixes French political weakness with German moral solipsism. This is a formula for rapid civilizational decline, however many economic or military resources the EU may have at its disposal.

Can the decline be stopped? Yes, but that would require a great unlearning of the political mythologies on which modern Europe was built.

Among those mythologies: that the European Union is the result of a postwar moral commitment to peace; that Christianity is of merely historical importance to European identity; that there’s no such thing as a military solution; that one’s country isn’t worth fighting for; that honor is atavistic and tolerance is the supreme value. People who believe in nothing, including themselves, will ultimately submit to anything.

Which brings us to Mr. Obama’s nihilism, as this recent profile by administration mouthpiece Jeffrey Goldberg chillingly describes:

Later, the president would say that he had failed to fully appreciate the fear many Americans were experiencing about the possibility of a Paris-style attack in the U.S. Great distance, a frantic schedule, and the jet-lag haze that envelops a globe-spanning presidential trip were working against him. But he has never believed that terrorism poses a threat to America commensurate with the fear it generates. Even during the period in 2014 when isis was executing its American captives in Syria, his emotions were in check. Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s closest adviser, told him people were worried that the group would soon take its beheading campaign to the U.S. “They’re not coming here to chop our heads off,” he reassured her. Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do. Several years ago, he expressed to me his admiration for Israelis’ “resilience” in the face of constant terrorism, and it is clear that he would like to see resilience replace panic in American society. Nevertheless, his advisers are fighting a constant rearguard action to keep Obama from placing terrorism in what he considers its “proper” perspective, out of concern that he will seem insensitive to the fears of the American people.

Something tells me that whatever his other baggage, a President Trump wouldn’t be so passive and distant on the topic.


Leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee reveal a family feud between DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and liberal cable news network MSNBC over the channel’s suggestion that Schultz had “rigged” the Democratic primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton.

The e-mails, revealed by Wikileaks, show that DNC staffers and Wasserman Schultz were furious about criticisms on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe” that “the system is rigged” against Bernie Sanders. Consequently the DNC set up meetings with MSNBC’s embattled president, Phil Griffin, to try to influence the morning show’s coverage.

On May 18th, Wasserman Schultz was particularly outraged on by “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski’s criticism of her handling of the primaries. Brzezinski had called for Wasserman Schultz to resign.

That morning, Luis Miranda, communications director at the DNC, emailed Wasserman Schultz that “Morning Joe today was ridiculous calling it a rigged system for the first hour.”

What is it with the DNC and their strange stalker-like obsession with Morning Joe anyhow? Here’s video of the Obama administration emailing the show and one of Joe’s distaff co-hosts (possibly Savannah Guthrie) reading on the air a White House “correction” to their coverage back in October of 2009. That was also around the time “a ‘senior White House official’ sent an email calling Joe Scarborough an ‘asshole’ for mocking Pres. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.”

And you thought Trump couldn’t handle criticism!

Related: DWS is “quarantined” and will not speak at Dem convention after #DNCLeaks. That’s not good enough for Bernie Sanders, who tells fellow Democrat and Hillary flack George Stephanopoulos that Debbie Wasserman Schultz “should resign, period” following Wikileaks debacle.

More: That’s some audience that MSNBC attracts: WikiLeaks to MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid: ‘Our lawyers will monitor your program’ #DNCLeak.

UPDATE (4:40 PM EDT): Debbie Wasserman Schultz To Resign Amid Email Controversy.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama Gives Up on Syria. Again:

This deal might be a way for the president to slink out of the White House without having to do more to resolve the Syrian crisis. But it is also a horribly fitting end to years of mistakes and cowardice. When the history of the Syrian civil war is written, there will be plenty of villains and plenty of blame to go around. But by choosing cowardice and placing his trust in Putin, President Obama has earned his share of infamy and then some.

As with those who’ve tried to salvage the wreckage of the Carter administration, in the coming years, the spin from leftwing historians to explain away Obama’s disasters as some sort of ninth-dimensional chess playing will be spectacular to watch.

Related: “We can be overwhelmed by the present. At the time I thought Bill Clinton was an extraordinarily bad man, but Barack Obama has helped me understand how good we had it with Bill Clinton. Not to say that Clinton isn’t the most repugnant, but we now have a larger context within which to judge him. Perhaps Hillary Clinton will lend a similar context to our judgment of Obama. Ah, the uses of history,” Scott Johnson writes at Power Line.


Statement Regarding British Referendum on E.U. Membership

The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples. They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration.

Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.

Love the implicit contrast with Obama’s Anglophobia.

UPDATE: From the comments: “In a room somewhere in New York Hillary Clinton watched today’s Trump presser from Turnberry and emailed her staff to bring her another gin and tonic.”

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama’s Humanitarian Report Card Looking Grim.

A new UN report captures the unprecedented scale of the global refugee crisis:

The number of people displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution last year exceeded 60 million for the first time in United Nations history, a tally greater than the population of the United Kingdom, or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined, says a new report released on World Refugee Day today.
The Global Trends 2015 compiled by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) notes that 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, an increase of more than 5 million from 59.5 million a year earlier.

The tally comprises 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million people internally displaced within their own countries.

Measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either a refugee, an asylum-seeker or internally displaced – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.

On average, 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.

And 51% of them are children.

There’s a lot of bad stuff going on; this is, as we’ve been covering for the last few years, a truly global refugee crisis. Even this week, the plight of Rohingya refugees from Burma is back in the news, while displacement within Africa continues to be a problem.

However, the UN report makes it uncomfortably clear that the worst situations on the planet are those, starting with Syria, of which President Obama has ostentatiously, even proudly, washed his hands.

He’s an arrogant, unqualified, ass. Unsurprisingly, his tenure has been a disaster. We will be cleaning up the mess for decades.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: 51 U.S. Diplomats Urge Strikes Against Assad in Syria.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”

Such a step would represent a radical shift in the administration’s approach to the civil war in Syria, and there is little evidence that President Obama has plans to change course. Mr. Obama has emphasized the military campaign against the Islamic State over efforts to dislodge Mr. Assad. Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, have all but collapsed.

But the memo, filed in the State Department’s “dissent channel,” underscores the deep rifts and lingering frustration within the administration over how to deal with a war that has killed more than 400,000 people.


NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Adrift in their own land, Afghanistan’s displaced see their population swell.

More than 1.2 million Afghans are now displaced – a twofold increase in three years. The report, made public late Monday, said that more than 118,000 have fled in the first four months of 2016 alone.

“Those forced to flee their homes, by and large, lived in squalid conditions and were often housed in makeshift shelters with no protection from the hot summers and cold winters,” the report said of the nearly 1,000 people who are counted as newly displaced each day.

Those who live in makeshift camps that dot the nation’s urban centers have found themselves in a state of un-ending limbo.

Qand Agha, 32, has spent the last seven years in Kabul’s Chaman-e Babrak camp, which houses more than 700 other displaced families.

The settlement — defined by simple mud houses, open sewers and dirt roads — stands in contrast to its glitzy neighbors.

Eight years ago a young presidential candidate named Barack Obama gave a speech in which he called Afghanistan “A war that we have to win.


Obama noted that war is not unique in human history; he even went full moral relativist with regard to World War II itself: “the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.”

This is disgusting. If you can’t spot the bad guys and the good guys in World War II, of all conflicts, you’re on the side of a valueless nihilism that allows the possibility of future world wars – after all, you can’t take a strong stand against evil if it doesn’t exist. Japan was wrong. America was right. Germany was wrong. America was right. End of story.

Related: “Following Obama’s Hiroshima speech, Adam Baldwin presents a frightening ‘what if’ scenario,” asking, “Imagine Obama as CiC during WWII.”

Considering that Obama allowed his chief speechwriter to work the Chamberlain-eque phrase “peace in our time” into his second inaugural address, it’s easy, albeit terrifying to imagine what World War II would have been like with Obama as America’s president. But if you’d like a refresher course, just read Robert Harris’s brilliant what-if novel, Fatherland. But even there, reality has outpaced fiction – Harris posited an alternate reality where President Joseph P. Kennedy is negotiating détente in the mid-1960s with an evil socialist empire. I doubt even the most brilliant of novelists would have written about an America actively giving nuclear technology to one – or at a minimum, as Jed Babbin wrote in 2013, paraphrasing Obama’s worldview, “If Iran likes its path to the bomb, it can keep following its path to the bomb.”


What makes Trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days. The great American post-Cold War project of seeking peace and security through the construction of a New World Order based on liberal internationalism and American power doesn’t seem to be working very well, and it’s not hard to conclude that neither the neoconservatives nor the Obama-ites really know what they are doing. When it comes to the economy, it’s been clear since the financial crisis of 2008 that something is badly awry and that the economists, so dogmatic and opinionated and so bitterly divided into quarreling schools, aren’t sure how the system works anymore, and have no real ideas about how to make the world system work to the benefit of ordinary voters in the United States. With the PC crowd and the Obama administration hammering away at transgender bathroom rights as if this was the great moral cause of our time, and with campus Pure Thought advocates collapsing into self parody even as an epidemic of drug abuse and family breakdown relentlessly corrodes the foundations of American social cohesion, it’s hard to believe that the establishment has a solid grip on the moral principles and priorities a society like ours needs.

Trump appeals to all those who think that the American Establishment, the Great and the Good of both parties, has worked its way into a dead end of ideas that don’t work and values that can’t save us. He is the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete. His election would sweep away the smug generational certainties that Clinton embodies, the Boomer Progressive Synthesis that hasn’t solved the problems of the world or of the United States, but which nevertheless persists in regarding itself as the highest and only form of truth. . . .

Myself, I don’t think the system is quite as corrupt as some Trump supporters believe or, perhaps more accurately, I lack their confidence that burning down the old house is the best way to build something new. But it would be equally wrong and perhaps more dangerous to take the view that there is nothing more fueling his rise than ignorance, racism and hate. The failure of the center-Left to transform its institutional and intellectual dominance into policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life, and the failure of the center-Right to articulate a workable alternative have left a giant intellectual and political vacuum in the heart of American life. The Trump movement is not an answer to our problems, but the social instinct of revolt and rejection that powers it is a sign of social health. The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud.

Those of us who care about policy, propriety and the other bourgeois values without which no democratic society can long thrive need to spend less time wringing our hands about the shortcomings of candidate Trump and the movement that has brought him this far, and more time both analyzing the establishment failures that have brought the country to this pass, and developing a new vision for the American future.

The Control-Alt-Delete candidate. Heh. And our political class is Windows ME.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Chamberlain, Washington-Style.

Flashback: Neville Again: Obama Promises ‘Peace in Our Time’ in his second inaugural address.


NO. NEXT QUESTION? Did it ever occur to the Times — or Obama, for that matter — that the president’s efforts to ‘end’ Bush’s wars are precisely what ended up extending them?”

When Obama took office he inherited a pacified Iraq, where the terrorists had been defeated both militarily and ideologically.  Militarily, thanks to Bush’s surge, coupled with the Sunni Awakening, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI, now the Islamic State) was driven from the strongholds it had established in Anbar and other Iraqi provinces. It controlled no major territory, and its top leader — Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — had been killed by US Special Operations forces.

Ideologically, the terrorists had suffered a popular rejection. Iraq was supposed to be a place where al-Qaeda rallied the Sunni masses to drive America out, but instead, the Sunnis joined with Americans to drive al-Qaeda out — a massive ideological defeat.

Obama took that inheritance and squandered it – withdrawing all US forces from Iraq; taking our boot off of the terrorists’ necks; allowing them to regroup and establish a safe haven in Syria; and then when they prepared their offensive back into Iraq, doing nothing while dismissing them as the “JV squad.”

As Gen. Jack Keane pointed out on Fox News this morning, in Iraq “Bush won the war. Obama lost the peace.”

Analysis: True.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: For Obama, an Unexpected Legacy of Two Full Terms at War, Longer Than Any Other President. This is what happens when you wage war half-heartedly, by committee, and on the cheap. ” President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.”

Of course, it’s “little noticed” because the press didn’t want people to notice it, because he’s a Democrat.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF “WHAT IF THIS HAD BEEN BUSH,” PART XXXVIII: Charlie Rose and President’s Speechwriters Laugh About ObamaCare Lie:

CHARLIE ROSE: My point is do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etcetera?

JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: I really like, I was very — the joke speeches is the most fun part of this. But the things I’m the most proud of were the most serious speeches, I think. Health care, economic speeches.

JON FAVREAU, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: Lovett wrote the line about “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

LOVETT: How dare you!


LOVETT: And you know what? It’s still true! No.

Obamacare was originally hatched at the start of 2007 by Favreau and Robert Gibbs, who would later go on to be Obama’s first press secretary, as a way to run to Hillary’s left. Or as Allahpundit wrote in 2013, “Even the transformation of American health care is but a subplot to Hopenchange image-making:”

Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA [in January 2007], when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?…

“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”…

The candidate jumped at it. He probably wasn’t going to get elected anyway, the team concluded. Why not go big?

Once in office, Obama was caught on video at least 35 times saying “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” arguably the biggest lie ever told by an American president; one that even the leftwing “Politifact” Website was forced to declare the “lie of the year” for 2013.

And these three are yucking it up this week, even as millions of Americans lost their healthcare plans.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s fabulist Middle East guru recently bragged to the New York Times how easy it is to manipulate his party’s operatives with bylines because “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Neither do the people feeding them their material; Favreau was the speechwriter who put the dreaded phrase “Peace in our time” into the teleprompter of President Chamberlain’s second inaugural speech.

Incidentally, here’s Favreau, circa 2008, standing to the left of a photo of potentially the next president of the United States, as a friend offers her a beer.


TO ASK THE QUESTION IS TO ANSWER IT: Why Aren’t We Having a National Conversation About Leftist Violence?, David Harsanyi asks at the Federalist:

The media was happy to portray the peaceful Tea Party as a movement surreptitiously driven by racism without a shred of proof outside its opposition to Barack Obama. You will remember Paul Krugman blaming peaceful assembly and free speech for an insane person’s “assassination” attempt against Kathleen Gifford, and Ezra Klein lamenting how scary things get when conservatives oppose liberal doctrine. Every shooting in America necessitates a thorough investigation into political proclivities of the perpetrator. Is he angry at the president? Did he ever register as a Republican? Is he fond of the Confederate flag? But only when the facts mesh with the helpful narrative do we hear about it.

At the American Conservative, Rod Dreher adds, “What’s the matter with California? I was shocked last week to see the Latino mob riot outside a Donald Trump rally in Orange County, destroying a police car:”

[S]eeing what happened last week at the two Trump events in California makes me wonder if there’s something particularly extreme about the state’s political culture. I am far from a fan of Donald Trump, and I fully support the right to protest him. But riots and violent protests? Imagine if white Trump supporters rioted in an attempt to shut down a Hillary Clinton rally, and tore down police barricades in an attempt to get into a hotel where she was speaking, to shut down her speech? The news media would be in crisis mode, and I wouldn’t blame them, actually: a country in which a candidate running for president has to fear for his and his supporters’ safety at a political rally is a country that is in trouble.

But hey, no big deal as far as our media are concerned. Just like the radically illiberal culture on many American campuses, where SJWs no-platform speakers they don’t like all the time, has not bothered the media overmuch. They don’t seem to mind mobs and thugs running roughshod over basic civil liberties, as long as those mobs and thugs are on the political and cultural left.

While the future is always uncertain, in his latest column at Townhall, Kurt Schlichter is back from a trip in the TARDIS to 2017 to explore one way the disparity between the DNC-MSM’s efforts at whitewashing their own and the vastly different optics the public witnessed could play themselves out in the coming months.

Hint: It’s titled, “Looking Back On How Donald Trump Beat Hillary Clinton.”

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: No Doubt About It — We’re Back in a Ground War in Iraq.

Without much fanfare, Obama has dramatically reversed his Iraq policy — sending thousands of troops back in the country after he declared the war over, engaging in ground combat despite initially promising that his strategy “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Well, they’re on foreign soil, and they’re fighting.

It would have been easier — and would have cost far fewer lives — if we had just stayed. But Obama had to have a campaign issue.

And I suppose I should repeat my Iraq War history lesson: Things were going so well as late as 2010 that the Obama Administration was bragging about Iraq as one of its big foreign policy successes.

In the interest of historical accuracy, I think I’ll repeat this post again:

BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.


Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:

As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Plus: Maybe that Iraq withdrawal was a bad thing in hindsight. Obama’s actions, if not his words, suggest that even he may think so.

RACISM ENDED: Harvard masters reach name change decision — now called ‘faculty deans.’

As Neville Chamberlain and Barack Obama are wont to say, with this, I give you peace in our time.

EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY: Charles Koch has an oped in the Washington Post, “This is the One Issue Where Bernie Sanders is Right.

As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates. I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy. . . .

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies. . . . 

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us. (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)

It may surprise the senator to learn that our framework in deciding whether to support or oppose a policy is not determined by its effect on our bottom line (or by which party sponsors the legislation), but by whether it will make people’s lives better or worse. . . .

Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns. Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.

Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life. However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically. Where is the justice in that? . . .

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?”


I applaud the senator for giving a voice to many Americans struggling to get ahead in a system too often stacked in favor of the haves, but I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives. This is what built so many barriers to opportunity in the first place. . . .

I don’t expect to agree with every position a candidate holds, but all Americans deserve a president who, on balance, can demonstrate a commitment to a set of ideas and values that will lead to peace, civility and well-being rather than conflict, contempt and division. When such a candidate emerges, he or she will have my enthusiastic support.

I’ve always thought it was strange for Democrats to spend so much energy demonizing the Kochs who are, after all, libertarians who agree with the left on many social issues. Most of their non-profit spending goes to educational efforts aimed at enhancing individual liberty (which explains why they are the functional equivalent of Lucifer to liberals/progressives/totalitarians).

I guess the left needs to have its base hate someone specific who is really rich–their anti-Soros, if you will. Most of the other mega-wealthy Americans either try to stay out of the political spotlight, or they become supplicants to the political left (e.g., Bill Gates or Warren Buffett) in their attempt to ward off its ire. Just ask Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, Whole Foods, Exxon, and many other businesses that have been the subject of negative publicity and boycotts (largely unsuccessful) after they dared to defy the political left. 

JAMES BOVARD: First Lady’s box should be empty at State of the Union speech: Saving seats for the dead would require a lot more room for victims of Obama’s policies.

While trumpeting the private death toll from guns, Obama on Tuesday night will likely ignore the 986 people killed by police in the United States last year according to The Washington Post’s database. Many police departments are aggressive — if not reckless — in part because the Justice Department always provides cover for them at the Supreme Court. Obama’s “Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way” to a Supreme Court hearing, The New York Times noted last year. Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently said that federally-funded police agencies should not even be required to report the number of civilians they kill.

To add a Euro flair to the evening, Obama could drape tri-color flags on a few empty seats to commemorate the 30 French medical staff, patients, and others slain last Oct. 3 when an American AC-130 gunship blasted their well-known hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The U.S. military revised its story several times but admitted in November that the carnage was the result of “avoidable … human error.” Regrettably, that bureaucratic phrase lacks the power to resurrect victims.

No plans have been announced to designate a seat for Brian Terry, the U.S. Border Patrol agent killed in 2010. Guns found at the scene of Terry’s killing were linked to the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation masterminded by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agency. At least 150 Mexicans were also killed by guns illegally sent south of the border with ATF approval. The House of Representatives voted to hold then-attorney general Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to disclose Fast and Furious details, but Obama is not expected to dwell on this topic in his State of the Union address. . . .

Four seats could be left vacant for the Americans killed in the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya — U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. But any such recognition would rankle the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, who has worked tirelessly to sweep those corpses under the rug. It would also be appropriate to include a hat tip to the hundreds, likely thousands, of Libyans who have been killed in the civil war unleashed after the Obama administration bombed Libya to topple its ruler, Moammar Gadhafi.

Perhaps the GOP should invite a member of the Nobel Peace Prize committee as their guest. . . .

FLASHBACK: 2007: Australian PM Howard Warns of Obama Danger:

Prime Minister John Howard has launched a broadside against US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, warning his victory could destroy Iraq and prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Mr Howard’s stinging attack against the popular Democrat, who formally launched his bid for the Democratic candidacy overnight, also appears to commit Australian troops to staying in Iraq well into 2008.

Only days after saying Australia’s alliance with the US was about more than his personal friendship with US President George Bush, Mr Howard warned that an Obama victory would be a boost for the terrorists. . . .

“I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory,” Mr Howard told the Nine Network.

“If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats.”

Well, he nailed that one.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Swiss army chief warns of terrorism and unrest.

In a commentary in the “Schweiz am Sonntag” newspaper, the Lieutenant General said the world needed security – in areas including the economy, education, sport, research and even culture.

Speaking on the record for the first time since the November Paris terror attacks, Blattmann told the paper that despite a rise in security incidents over the past two years Switzerland’s means of defence were being reduced.

“Even if we are not (yet) directly affected by the conflicts taking place around the world we are already experiencing some impact,” the army chief said.

“The threat of terror is rising, hybrid wars are being fought around the globe; the economic outlook is gloomy and the resulting migration flows of displaced persons and refugees have assumed unforeseen dimensions.”

Blattmann warned that another risk was that a weakened economy would increase competition on the labour market.

“Social unrest cannot be rule out; the language is becoming dangerously aggressive,” he said.

Not a single mention of his confidence that the Obama/Kerry team will keep things safe and calm.

JAMES TARANTO: A Rhetorical Question: Why Conciliate Muslims But Not Pro-Lifers?

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: On Friday a man started shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. By the time the suspect, Robert Dear, was in custody, he had allegedly killed a policeman and two civilians.

“Why is it the same knee-jerk Republicans freaking out about ISIS are fostering terrorism in the homeland? Recruiting and influencing loonies to do their dirty work to eliminate the evil scourge known as abortion?” rants Bob Lefsetz, “a music industry analyst and critic,” in New York’s Daily News, a tabloid that of late has degenerated into a slightly more high-toned version of Salon.

We’ve heard this before. And at least this time there is evidence, albeit far from conclusive, of a political motive: An anonymous “senior law enforcement official” tells the New York Times “that after Mr. Dear was arrested, he had said ‘no more baby parts’ in a rambling interview with the authorities.” But also: “The official said that Mr. Dear ‘said a lot of things’ during his interview, making it difficult for the authorities to pinpoint a specific motivation.”

President Obama rushed to politicize the crime. But interestingly, not only did he frame it solely as part of his lame-duck effort to combat “gun violence” by restricting the lawful purchase of firearms; he pooh-poohed the suggestion that it was political in nature: “We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was.”

Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper was a bit less circumspect. He told CNN: “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on all—so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over. Just intense anger. Maybe it’s time to look at how do we tone down that rhetoric.”

While disavowing any effort to “limit free speech,” the governor said “the United States of America ought to begin a discussion” on how to “begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric.”

Such a conversation, it seems safe to surmise, would quickly degenerate into a shouting match. Planned Parenthood itself responded to the shooting with harsh denunciations of its critics, as the Washington Times reports. . . .

National Review’s Jim Geraghty notes that the left is rather selective in blaming political rhetoric for acts of violence—for example, insisting there is no connection between Black Lives Matter protesters’ foul antipolice rhetoric and actual attacks on cops. On the other hand, Colorado Springs isn’t the first time the left has blamed a terroristic act on a video.

But there’s an additional problem with the video-made-him-do-it theory of the case. The CMP videos, at least the parts of them we’ve seen, can’t be called “hate speech” by any stretch. They are not harsh denunciations of Planned Parenthood; they are exposés. The words and actions that horrify abortion foes—as well as decent people with more permissive views on abortion—are uttered and described by current and former Planned Parenthood employees and business associates.

We were struck by the contrast between the left’s responses to the Paris and Colorado Springs attacks. The former brought out a display of empathy toward Muslims; the latter, of antipathy toward pro-life Americans.

Hillary Clinton: “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” It would be at least as true to say that pro-life Americans are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism—but instead Mrs. Clinton responded to Colorado Springs with this false choice: “We should be supporting Planned Parenthood—not attacking it.”

“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate [over accepting Syrian refugees],” President Obama said Nov. 17. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West.”

Why wouldn’t a similar logic apply to the demonization of pro-life Americans in the aftermath of Colorado Springs? That’s not a rhetorical question: The logic doesn’t apply because the attacks were very different. The ones in Paris were carried out by an organization that unmistakably has religious motives and political goals. By all accounts the Colorado Springs killer was a lone nut. There is no antiabortion terrorist organization to which to recruit anyone.

Whatever the merits of his refugee policy, the president is right to reject “the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West,” although it would be fatuous to deny that that is how Islamic supremacists see the matter. To judge by the reactions to Colorado Springs, though, many on the left really do regard Americans who oppose abortion—almost all of whom do so peaceably—as their enemy.

To be fair, the left regards everyone who disagrees with them as their enemy.

ANDREW McCARTHY: Obama and the ISIS ‘Recruitment Tool’ Canard:

The Republican moderates are well-meaning but foolish. Lacking confidence or competence to explain the different interpretations of Islam, they fear that if they concede the nexus between Islamic doctrine and jihadism, they will be perceived as “at war with Islam.” So they relentlessly pretend that the “true” Islam is irenic: a noble quest for justice and tolerance. Because these Republicans are more politically progressive than conservative, they delude themselves into believing their soaring words will someday alter reality: If they say “religion of peace” and “moderate” enough times, Islam will actually become a moderate religion of peace, its sharia seamlessly compatible with our Constitution and Western principles – regardless of what Islamic doctrine actually says.

The Left, to the contrary, is neither well-meaning nor foolish. It will not admit the nexus between Islamic scripture and jihadist terror for two shrewd reasons.

Read the whole thing.

THE FINAL OUTRAGE: “The hearts are the final straw: it’s time to nationalise Twitter,” demands London Guardian columnist.

Doesn’t our Nobel Peace Prize-winning administration have enough wars on its hands these days without planning an invasion of Twitter’s office building as well?


The current chaos in the Levant did not just happen. It has its internal causes but no small amount of the horror can be laid at the door of Barack Obama too. From his re-establishment of relations with the tyrant Bashar Hafez al-Assad to his surrender of George W. Bush’s victory in Iraq, to his standing by with his thumb up his brain while peaceful protestors took to the Syrian streets and the country then descended into civil war, to his weak sauce bombing campaign, Putin stealing his lunch at the UN and Obama’s puny U.S. response — through it all, President Right-Side-of-History has been on the wrong side of every decision. And so yes, now, the current mess looks remarkably like the Thirty Years War with its religious underpinnings, warring states and over-involved mega powers. And so it does indeed raise the question of whether it will be the turning point in Islam’s reformation, leading to an enlightened Westphalia-style peace.

One can hope. But the tenets of Westphalia grew out of Christian thinking and Christian religion. Christians were appalled by the bloodletting of the the Thirty Years War precisely because it violated the central preachings of the Prince of Peace: Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you. The outline for modern statehood and separation of church and state were written into the Gospels: Judge not lest ye be judged; render under Caesar that which is Caesar and unto God that which is God’s, and so on.

Does the same hope lie in the tenets of Islam?

Well, it would be nice if it ultimately turned out that way, but if so, I suspect things may take quite a while – and I’m not sure if the west can wait as long as Zhou Enlai’s apocryphal quip regarding the French Revolution to determine the outcome. In the meantime, as Mark Steyn asked in 2007, “What if we’ve already had the reformation of Islam and jihadism is it?”

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. ‘Direct Action’ Against the Islamic State.

The comments appear to signal acknowledgment by the Obama administration that its strategy against the Islamic State has had limited success. Last month, General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, said the $500 million American effort to train 5,400 troops had resulted in some “four or five” fighters still in the field. Carter announced this month the U.S. was looking at other ways to train support the rebels.

Carter’s remarks Tuesday appear to reflect a change in strategy by the Obama administration whose national-security advisers have recommended that U.S. troops be moved closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, according to The Washington Post. . . .

On Friday, commenting on an operation in Iraq to rescue dozens of prisoners held by the Islamic State that resulted in the death of an American serviceman, Carter said: “I expect we’ll do more of this sort of thing,” he said, before adding: “It doesn’t represent us entering the combat role.”

U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011, and remain there in an advisory role.

No combat, just a few advisors. Where have I heard that before? And I suppose I should repeat my Iraq War history lesson: Things were going so well as late as 2010 that the Obama Administration was bragging about Iraq as one of its big foreign policy successes.

In the interest of historical accuracy, I think I’ll repeat this post again:

BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.


Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:

As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Plus: Maybe that Iraq withdrawal was a bad thing in hindsight. Obama’s actions, if not his words, suggest that even he may think so.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Central Asian Officials Say They’re Worried About Taliban’s Spread.

Despite failing to take Kunduz last week, the Taliban is advancing across Afghanistan, seemingly undeterred by U.S.-trained forces. Although a Russian return to Afghanistan seems unlikely, Central Asian officials have been making statements that could eventually justify Kremlin involvement. The Financial Times reports on the words of Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister, who claims his country is fortifying its borders, and Tajikistan’s president, who reportedly has expressed concerns to Putin about the skirmishes along his country’s borders. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the members of which Moscow promises to protect. Russia could use that relationship to justify attacks against the Taliban.
Nor are these the only officials mentioned in the story: Afghanistan’s vice-president Abdul Rashid Dostum went to Russia and Grozny, “where he met Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Mr Kadyrov wrote on his Instagram account that Kabul needed help from Russia — ‘as in Syria’ — to prevent Isis establishing a foothold…”

Just about the last thing the White House needs is Putin sending fighter jets to Afghanistan. Of course, Russia would have a tough time affording another war effort and, for all we know, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are simply complaining about the Taliban as part of a Moscow-coordinated effort to make NATO look bad.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says NATO is considering adjusting its Afghanistan withdrawal timeline, but the White House has not announced new plans. Ultimately, whether the Taliban truly threatens other countries or not, President Obama’s failure to stabilize Afghanistan gives a nice boost to the America-as-diminished-world-power narrative.

It’s almost like Obama doesn’t mind that.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Today it is my sad duty to report to you the death of the Pax Americana. This isn’t shocking news, as though the Pax had died unexpectedly in a car accident. No, this has been a long and lingering death — but the end now has come,” Steve Green writes — and I think I need to borrow a cup or 20 of Steve’s vodka after reading it; the photo accompanying the article says it all.

Still though — look on the bright side: Mr. Obama assured us that we would have “peace in our time” during his second term’s inauguration speech. With a keen knowledge of modern history like that, what’s the worst that could happen?

MEIN FÜHRER…I CAN WALK!!! Seven Movies About Nuclear Nightmares.

As Glenn noted last month in USA Today:

When the Cold War ended, people forgot about [stuff like duck and cover], to the point that when I teach Cold War material in my Constitutional Law or National Security Law courses, I find that my law students, except for a few military veterans or emergency-services types, know nothing about basic nuclear weapons facts that almost everyone knew as late as the 1980s. But now it may be time for that knowledge to come back.

Israel and India have the bomb, but they’re not threats. Russia and China have the bomb, and they’re not entirely friendly. Pakistan has the bomb, and it’s not so friendly. North Korea has nukes and issues periodic threats. And now Iran is on track to get the bomb, and the Iranians are still shouting “Death To America” at every opportunity. It’s just possible that they might mean it.

Nahh, lovely lads, those chaps. Mr. Obama and his cronies have announced that he’s delivering “Peace in Our Time”; I’m sure the mullahs share the same good wishes to all, right?

PEACE IN OUR TIME: Iran Commander: We’re Getting Prepared to Overthrow Israel:

“The US officials make boastful remarks and imagine that they can impose anything on the Iranian nation because they lack a proper knowledge of the Iranian nation.”

Also today, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said they have work to do.

The IRGC’s top commander in Tehran province, Brigadier General Mohsen Kazzemeini, told operating units undergoing drills in the capital that “they (the US and the Zionists) should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine,” according to Fars.

“And we will continue defending not just our own country, but also all the oppressed people of the world, specially those countries that are standing on the forefront of confrontation with the Zionists,” Kazzemeini said.

Headline via Chamberlain at Munich, Barack Obama at the start of his second term, and most recently, Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy, Florida man.

THE DEMOCRATS NOW OWN IRAN. THEY’LL SOON WISH THEY DIDN’T, Jonathan S. Tobin writes at Commentary:

Obama got his deal despite the opposition of the majority of Congress and the American people. But the Democratic Party now gets the responsibility for Iranian terror and hate. By making Iran a partisan issue in this manner, Obama saddled his party with the blame for everything that will happen in the coming years. Munich analogies are often inappropriate but when Rep. Patrick Murphy (the likely Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Marco Rubio is vacating next year) said the deal gives us “peace in our time,” his channeling of Neville Chamberlain was no ordinary gaffe. In the years to come when Obama is retired and Iran uses the deal to make new mischief and atrocities, Democrats may regret giving in to the president’s pressure. But, like the appeasers of the 1930s, the legacy of the pro-Iran deal Democrats is now set in stone.

Nonsense — look at how it was for the Democrats and their operatives with bylines to make Iraq an entirely GOP issue only a few years after calling for the ouster of Saddam Hussein themselves:


You can’t say we weren’t all warned when Obama promised us “peace in our time” in his second term inaugural address.

BECAUSE “DEATH TO AMERICA” IS JUST HYPERBOLE: Iranian-born Sohrab Amari writes in Commentary about “The 36-year project to whitewash Iran.”

The metamorphosis of Iran, in elite American opinion, from terrorist state into U.S. partner is a long-brewing triumph for a certain set of ideas about the Islamic Republic and its relation to the nation it has called the “Great Satan” since its birth. Over time, the argument has been advanced by journalists, academics, Washington lobbies, and government officials. Its basic purpose has always been to sell the Iranian regime as moderate, amenable to reason, even decent and democratic, relative to its neighbors. The various arms of this campaign didn’t always work in concert. It wasn’t always a conscious effort. Frequently, it was advanced by well-intentioned but credulous journalists. The rebranding campaign was not a dark conspiracy; it was, for the most part, carried out openly. Nor, finally, did it always progress smoothly, but rather in fits and starts, with numerous setbacks along the way.

Nevertheless, Iran’s American apologists have now scored an unprecedented coup: making the U.S. friendly toward a regime whose motto is “Death to America.” . . .

But hey, I’m sure the whole “death to America” and “Great Satan” thing is just hyperbole. They’re really just a bunch of peace loving moderates who want to live in peace and embrace western values of democracy and equality, right?

Besides, as Obama said today, “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.”  So in Obama’s worldview, the choice is between: (1) near-term, conventional war with Iran; or (2) kicking the can down the road (until after Obama leaves office), and accepting the possibility of Iranian nuclear aggression against Israel or the U.S.

The fact that President Obama cannot even envision a middle ground between these two extremes–such as the possibility that continued or enhanced sanctions could leverage greater limitations on Iran’s nuclear program or even create pressure for meaningful, democratic regime change–is what strikes me as most disturbing. A president who sees major foreign policy issues in such stark “you’re either with me, or you’re a war monger” terms is a dangerous, divisive leader.

In President Obama’s narcissistic quest to achieve a legacy of “diplomacy” with America’s enemies abroad, he is remarkably incapable of evincing any diplomacy at all domestically, with fellow Americans who dare to criticize him.

GEORGE WILL: Iran deal shows disdain for Congress.

The best reason for rejecting the agreement is to rebuke Obama’s long record of aggressive disdain for Congress — recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess, rewriting and circumventing statutes, etc. Obama’s intellectual pedigree runs to Woodrow Wilson, the first presidential disparager of the separation of powers. Like Wilson, Obama ignores the constitutional etiquette of respecting even rivalrous institutions.

The Iran agreement should be a treaty; it should not have been submitted first to the U.N. as a studied insult to Congress. Wilson said that rejecting the Versailles Treaty would “break the heart of the world.” The Senate, no member of which had been invited to accompany Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference, proceeded to break his heart. Obama deserves a lesson in the cost of Wilsonian arrogance. Knowing little history, Obama makes bad history.

Obama’s legacy is his palpable distaste for the other branches of government, particularly Congress. While Obama’s other actions disregarding Congress have been frustrating, annoying, and worrisome, his disregard of Congress–and hence, the American people–on the Iran nuclear deal is dangerously meglomaniacal.

RELATED: Nicholas Kristof summons the energy to defend the Iran deal in the New York Times. His only real point comes at the very end:

If the U.S. rejects this landmark deal, then we get the worst of both worlds: an erosion of sanctions and also an immediate revival of the Iran nuclear program.

We have a glimpse of what might happen. In 2003, Iran seemingly offered a comprehensive “grand bargain” to resolve relations with the United States, but George W. Bush’s administration dismissed it. Since then, Iran has gone from a tiny number of centrifuges to 19,000, getting within two months of “breakout” to a nuclear weapon. The point: Fulmination is not a substitute for policy, and a multilateral international agreement achieves far more protection than finger-wagging.

Diplomacy is rarely about optimal outcomes; it is about muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets, struggling to defer war and catastrophe for the time being, nurturing opportunities for a better tomorrow. By that standard, the Iran deal succeeds. Sure, it is flawed, and yes, it makes us safer.

Translation: If we back out of the Iran deal now–after Obama has already diplomatically agreed to it, without seeking congressional approval–the other nations will still lift sanctions, but Iran won’t honor its agreement, and will indeed ramp up its nuclear efforts. Why Kristof assumes the former (that there will be an “erosion of sanctions,” in his words) if the US backs out, he never explains. Likewise, Kristof never addresses the key question that is troubling most of America: How can Iran be trusted to hold up its end of this “bargain” anyway, when it has not agreed to “anytime, anywhere” inspections (and in fact, the U.S. never sought them) and there are at least two secret “side deals” with the IAEA?

Yet somehow, in a biblical leap of faith, Kristof concludes that the Iran deal will make us safer, because we are muddling along in the dark, dodging bullets and struggling to defer war and catastrophe. In other words, the very most Kristof can muster in support of the Iran deal is that it might keep us ignorant about Iran’s nuclear ambitions a little longer and allow the Obama Administration to kick this apocalyptic can down the road to a future (likely Republican) Administration. And of course that is darn-near perfect, isn’t it?

THE DEAL WASN’T ABOUT IRAN’S NUKES: “If you think the United States just struck a poor nuclear deal with Iran, you’re right; but if that’s your key takeaway, you’re missing the point,” Abe Greenwald writes at Commentary:

As far as legacy, what politician doesn’t want one? For Obama, a nominal nuclear deal may make him feel as if he’s earned the Nobel Prize once furnished him as election swag. John Kerry’s own efforts to earn a Nobel by brokering Middle East peace became another footnote in the story of Palestinian obstinacy. He too had something to prove.

From the administration’s standpoint, the deal was a grand slam. If it left Iran as an official nuclear power on the perpetual verge of a breakout, well, that was always the bargaining chip to get everything else. And with the United States having shown extraordinary cooperation and forgiveness, the thinking goes, even a nuclear Iran will become a less bellicose and more collegial member of the community of nations. What good the deal has already done, the administration believes, will continue to pay dividends. As is his wont, Obama is now declaring as much. But by the time his vision is upended by facts, he’ll be out of office, and we won’t have the luxury of fighting reality with abstractions.



“Because of this deal,” Barack Obama said this morning from the White House, “we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region.” Want to bet? With Iran unleashed economically and militarily, this deal may end up guaranteeing nuclear proliferation on a massive scale in the Middle East.

Which is why at Commentary, John Podhoretz reserves “The Right to Despair:”

The president and the secretary of state are making large claims for the deal that are not true; the same will be true of all of its signatories, who are seeing Nobel stars in their eyes. This is an infamous day, and while those of us who see Iran’s nuclearization as the threshold threat for the rest of the 21st century will not be silent and will not give up the fight against it, it is appropriate to take a moment to despair that we — the United States and the West — have come to this.

Meanwhile on Twitter:

As Ed Morrissey adds at Hot Air, “The anytime-anywhere inspections were supposed to be non-negotiable. Even the Obama administration knew that; they had told Congress at the beginning of the process that this would be a deal-breaker for the US. Instead, Barack Obama and John Kerry tossed it aside to get their piece of paper. The only possible way to view this is the beginning of a long retreat by the US from the region, and don’t think for a moment that our allies don’t recognize it.”

And it gets worse from there, Max Boot writes at Commentary:

What this means is that Iran will soon have more than $100 billion extra to spend not only on exporting the Iranian revolution and dominating neighboring states (Gen. Soleimani’s job) but that it will also before long be free to purchase as many weapons — even ballistic missiles — as it likes on the world market. No wonder Vladimir Putin appears to be happy: This deal is likely to become a windfall for Russian arms makers, although you can be sure that Iran will also spread its largesse to manufacturers in France and, if possible, the UK so as to give those countries an extra stake in not re-imposing sanctions.

To sum up: The agreement with Iran, even if Iran complies (which is a heroic assumption), will merely delay the weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program by a few years, while giving Iran a massive boost in conventional power in the meantime. What do you think Iran’s Sunni neighbors, all of whom are terrified of Iranian power, will do in response? There is a good possibility that this agreement will set off a massive regional arms race, in both conventional and nuclear weaponry, while also leading states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar to make common cause with the Islamic State as a hedge against Iranian designs in the region.

And both Boot and Morrissey write (as did Elizabeth here as well) that it’s highly unlikely that Congress can block the deal. “Assuming, as appears probable, that this deal is in fact implemented,” Boot writes, “future historians may well write of July 14, 2015, as the date when American dominance in the Middle East was supplanted by the Iranian Imperium.”

Or as Roger Simon writes, “Obama Signs Iran Deal, Says Bye-Bye to Western Civilization.

The right to despair, indeed.

THE U.S. SHOULDN’T BE CELEBRATING, EITHER: Michael Oren: Why Israel Won’t be Celebrating the Iran Deal.

Back in 1994, American negotiators promised a “good deal” with North Korea. Its nuclear plants were supposed to be frozen and dismantled. International inspectors would “carefully monitor” North Korea’s compliance with the agreement and ensure the country’s return to the “community of nations.” The world, we were told, would be a safer place. . . .

Iran is not North Korea. It’s far worse. Pyonyang’s dictators never plotted terrorist attacks across five continents and in thirty cities, including Washington, D.C. Tehran’s Ayatollahs did. North Korea is not actively undermining pro-Western governments in its region or planting agents in South America. Iran is.

So why, then, are only Israelis united in opposing this deal? The answer is that we have the most to lose, at least in the short run. We know that the deal allows Iran to break out and create nuclear bombs in as little as three months, too quickly for the world to react. We know that the Ayatollahs, who have secretly constructed fortified nuclear facilities that have no peaceful purpose and have violated all of their international commitments, will break this deal in steps too small to precipitate a powerful global response. And we know that the sanctions, once lifted, cannot be swiftly revived, and that hundreds of billions of dollars Iran will soon receive will not be spent on better roads and schools. That treasure will fund the shedding of blood – of Israelis but also of many others.

Israelis know that, while the world might weather its deception by North Korea, they cannot afford to be duped by Iran. But neither, in fact, can the United States. Just last week, Iran’s President attended a rally in Tehran where tens of thousands of protesters chanted “Death to America.” The deal will better enable them to carry out that attack – if not today, then against future generations. And Iran’s Supreme Leader has publicly pledged to do just that.

I literally feel nauseous about this Iran deal. I feel nauseous because my daughter’s future is being seriously jeopardized by a deal that lifts sanctions that have been well designed to stop a state sponsor of terrorism from obtaining nuclear weapons, in return for virtually nothing. Somehow, President Obama has convinced his fellow Democrats that infusing Iran with billions of dollars will make the world a safer place. But all it will do is exacerbate Iran’s aggression in the Middle East, and perversely enable western civilization to fund terrorism activities aimed at it.

We have given concessions to a country that has repeatedly lied, hidden, deceived, and boldly declared its intention to wipe out both Israel and the United States. Any member of Congress who votes for this deal must have a death wish. But of course Congress, in typical fashion, gave away its constitutional power to ratify this as a treaty (with 2/3 of Senate support) when it passed the Corker legislation. Assuming the Republican-controlled Congress votes down the Iran deal and the President vetoes it, I cannot imagine that there are enough Democrats (13 Democrats in the Senate and 43 in the House) to join the Republicans in overriding Obama’s inevitable veto.

There’s enough political cover and ambiguity in the agreement that the real risks to U.S. and Israel will become known only incrementally, after the passage of years, and most likely only after President Obama leaves office. By the time the western world realizes what a mistake the Obama Administration has made, it will be too late.  I guess that, once again, we have to pass it to really find out what’s in it.

NO APOLOGY NECESSARY:  Greg Jones at The Federalist: “Sorry, Everyone, America Isn’t That Racist.”

It’s called “proof by example,” and it happens all the time. We take one event and point to it as evidence of a trend or, even worse, a universal fact—a dog attacked my child, therefore all dogs are vicious and should be put down. Despite its popularity, particularly in political debate, proof by example is a logical fallacy. But logic is officially an endangered species in today’s hyperpartisan political environment.

Recent events nationwide, particularly the cold-blooded murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, at the hands of a revoltingly racist white supremacist, have propelled this faulty reasoning to new heights. Dangerous ones, in fact: the conversation surrounding race in America has rapidly evolved into a hyperbolic echo chamber into which today’s pundits, politicians, and professors repeatedly shout their false narrative. . . .

The most serious accusation, however, was lobbed from what has become the most ridiculously reactionary arena in all of American cultural and political life: academia. In response to the Charleston slayings, Occidental College Professor Caroline Heldman labeled America a “white supremacist society.” You hear that? Constant racism; America is a sewer; we are all white supremacists. Apparently the America of 2015 is identical to the America of 1860.

News to me, and if I had to guess to 99 percent of the other 300-plus million Americans that peacefully coexist with members of all races day in and day out. Unless, of course, I am so lucky as to “exist in a vacuum” of peace and tranquility light years beyond what most Americans experience. Judging from my neighborhood, and a few commonly ignored statistics, I highly doubt it.

America is a lot of things; racist isn’t one of them.

Consider, for example, that in 1958 a mere 4 percent of Americans approved of interracial marriage. By 2013, that number had grown to 87 percent. In 2012 these once-taboo unions hit an all-time high. . . . In fact, just a little more than two years ago The Washington Post, the same paper that featured Robinson’s editorial, found that America was in fact among the least-racist nations in the world.Ku Klux Klan membership has shrunk drastically from millions a century ago to fewer than 5,000 today. . . .

Most of us interact with people of numerous races daily without conflict or incident. Our friends, and even spouses, have skin colors different than ours, as do our teachers, doctors, and nurses. That’s because proof by example isn’t reality, and the actions of one man or three cops do not define a society of more than 300 million.

The heightened liberal/progressive cry of “racism!” has caused me to start disregarding the appellation. It’s now just background noise that I tune out, rather than taking seriously. Perhaps more significantly, it has started to make me look at blacks with trepidation and less comfort, because now I wonder if they always think such bad things about me regardless of how I behave toward them. I am even beginning to look at old friends and colleagues differently, because I wonder if they think of me as “white,” and “privileged,” rather than just a person who has faced struggles just like everyone else.  That’s not progress, folks; it’s regression.

Thanks so much for all the racial healing, President Obama. You have really used the “first black President” title to help heal past wounds and move this country forward to a happier, more unified place.

IS THE WORLD BECOMING FED UP? “A great pushback is awakening here and abroad, but its timing, nature, and future remain mysterious,” Victor Davis Hanson writes, adding that Trump’s polling success is a potential harbinger of things to come:

Presidential candidate Trump is supposedly enjoying a bump in the polls. How could that be, given his plutocratic hubris, his flamboyance and his often sloppy rhetoric? Again the answer is predictable. He is blunt — and uncouth; while the Left is sly and uncouth. The public sometimes prefers their exaggerations as bold and not packaged in nasal whines. We are supposed to shudder at the reaction when writer Ann Coulter, promoting a supposedly nativist book about immigration, is rushed by illegal immigration activists at a book signing. Then she confirms our stereotypes by declaring that Latin Americans typically express criticism in such a riotous fashion. The media forgets that she is matched and trumped by the activists themselves. They disrupted a peaceful book signing; they tore up books that they disagreed with (an act which has a good 20th-century fascist pedigree); some brought out Mexican flags to show solidarity with the country that they most certainly do not wish to return to. And there was a shout or two, in racist fashion, that Coulter should return to Europe — as if a guest here illegally from a foreign country has a greater claim on residence than does a U.S. citizen.

As in the case of Paula Deen, Duck Dynasty, and the addled Donald Sterling, the nation unleashed its thought police to destroy Trump in the fashion that has worked so well with other intemperate or biased speakers (at least those who are not of the liberal bent of politically incorrect gaffers like a Sen. Harry Reid, Vice President Joe Biden, Al Sharpton, David Letterman — or Barack Obama who believes “typical” white people (all 220 million?) stereotype blacks while there are apparently “gangbangers” crossing illegally into the U.S. on his watch).  But so far, the politically-selective yanked sponsorships and corporate ostracism seem to have little effect on the self-promoting and boisterous multibillionaire Trump. Why so?

Read the whole thing.

WELL, YES, SHE’S BELLIGERENT: Byron York: “Hillary Clinton: The Fightingest Fighter in the Fight.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the Four Freedoms. Hillary Rodham Clinton has the Four Fights. . . .

Indeed, in her speech, the former secretary of state suggested that she is so much a fighter that she will fight not one, not two, not three, but four fights on behalf of the American people. “If you’ll give me the chance, I’ll wage and win Four Fights for you,” Clinton told the crowd. Those fights are: 1) the fight “to make the economy work for everyday Americans”; 2) the fight “to strengthen America’s families”; 3) the fight “to harness all of America’s power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity”; and 4) the fight for “reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy.” . . .

It’s not clear whether Clinton’s characterization of herself as a fighter will resonate with voters. The last time she ran for president, in the most intense days of her Democratic primary battle with Barack Obama, Clinton did the same “fighter” thing, and it didn’t work.

The whole “I’m a fighter” theme is exhausting. I think most people would prefer a leader. We’ve had enough fighting, and it’s time for some problem solving. That takes leadership.

SO NOW IT’S A CLIMATE “WAR”:  The rhetoric on global warming climate change is heating up  (pun intended).  In addition to President Obama’s recent remarks to the Coast Guard Academy–when he said “the science is indisputable” and “[b]y the middle of this century, Arctic summers could be essentially ice free”–the liberal/progressive forces are gearing up to scare LIVs into believing global warming climate change is a national security risk.  An oped by CNN’s homeland security analyst Juliette Kayyem is now trying to co-opt the overused “war on” shibboleth:

We have a tendency to view certain public policy issues as wars. As in “the war on … ” fill in the blank: drugs, cancer, poverty.

It is often a misleading analogy, but it is meant to get the public to respond to a dire need, just as they would in wartime. The terminology, however, is entirely accurate — and literal — when it comes to our need to address the changing environment as “the war on climate change.”

. . .

Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize — with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities — that climate change isn’t something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.

So now, if one rejects massive economic reorganization based upon ever-changing evidence of cyclical, fluctuating global temperatures, one is not merely a “science denier,” but also putting U.S. national security at risk.  Ironic, given that this accusation is coming from the same people who are so intimidated by ISIS that they dare not insult Mohammed, and think that talking about “radical Islam” is discriminatory because hey, as President Obama said, “Islam is a religion of peace.”  But global warming climate change!– now that’s a real security risk!

These radical climatists don’t want to hear about contrary evidence, of which there is plenty.  And indeed, if someone dares to publicly disagree with the progressive orthodoxy on global warming climate change, he is likely to be branded a heretic.

I hope the Republican candidates for President are readying themselves to punch back twice as hard when the mainstream media and Queen Hillary hit them with this “national security” accusation.

SERIOUSLY, THIS GUY IS BRAIN DEAD:  William Saletan at Slate has perhaps the most idiotic piece on ISIS that I have ever read, the central thesis of which is that ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “sounds like a Republican candidate for president.” His argument:

Rhetorically, ISIS and the GOP are in perfect harmony.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. On Thursday his media team released a speech in which the would-be caliph presents his views on Islam, tolerance, and sectarian violence. Baghdadi sounds like a Republican candidate for president. Here’s what he says:

1. This is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims. ISIS, like al-Qaida, can’t wage a global or even regional war with 30,000 fighters. To build popular support, it needs to frame the conflict in religious terms. That’s why Baghdadi agrees with American conservatives who say our enemy is Islam:

O Muslims! Do not think the war that we are waging is the Islamic State’s war alone. Rather, it is the Muslims’ war altogether. It is the war of every Muslim in every place. … O Muslims everywhere, has the time not come for you to realize the truth of the conflict and that it is between disbelief and faith? … This war is only against you and against your religion.

2. Coexistence is impossible. Is authentic Islam compatible with Western values? Many conservative activists and politicians say it isn’t. This belief suits Baghdadi. He tells Muslims that they must choose:

O Muslims! Whoever thinks that it is within his capacity to conciliate with the Jews, Christians, and other disbelievers, and for them to conciliate with him, such that he coexists with them and they coexist with him while he is upon his religion and upon tawhīd (monotheism), then he has belied the explicit statement of his Lord (the Mighty and Majestic), who says, “And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. … And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion.”

3. Islam is a religion of war. Santorum, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans say ISIS has a scriptural basis for its violence. Two weeks ago Jeb Bush said “part” of the Muslim world was “not a religion of peace.” Baghdadi, too, rejects the religion-of-peace narrative:

O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war. Your Prophet (peace be upon him) was dispatched with the sword as a mercy to the creation. He was ordered with war until Allah is worshipped alone. He (peace be upon him) said to the polytheists of his people, “I came to you with slaughter.” … He never for a day grew tired of war.

The religion-of-war narrative, whatever its scholarly merits, serves political interests on both sides. It gives the Republicans red meat for the primaries, and it helps Baghdadi persuade Muslims that they’re commanded by God to support ISIS.  . . .

Republicans seem determined to prove Baghdadi right. . . .The convergence of Republican rhetoric with jihadist propaganda isn’t new. It’s been building ever since George W. Bush left the White House. Liberated from presidential responsibility, Republicans degenerated into a party that uses Islam for domestic politics instead of thinking about how their words resonate overseas. That’s how they became backup singers for Osama Bin Laden. Now they’re working for Baghdadi.

So given all these statements from al-Baghdadi, somehow this guy concludes that this is not a religious war being waged by ISIS and that we if we’ll all just chill, we can peacefully coexist with them?  And more specifically, if anyone tries to suggest–such as, say, a Republican–that ISIS is waging a religious war and isn’t interested in peace, they are somehow “determined to prove Baghdadi right” and “working for” the ISIS leader?

Oy veh– the stupidity, it burns.  This guy is a poster child for the lack of critical thinking skills that emerge from our educational system.


Events overseas are upending long-settled expectations about the 2016 presidential campaign.

In the two years after Barack Obama’s re-election, both political parties assumed that the 2016 election would hinge almost exclusively on the economy. As unemployment gradually subsided as a public issue, other economic concerns—such as stagnant wages, low labor-force-participation rates and declining social mobility—came to the fore. Potential presidential candidates in both parties jostled for field position as champions of opportunity for the middle class.

These issues will still be pivotal next year. But the Islamic State militants’ rise, the Russian threat to the peace of Europe and the Iranian challenge to stability in the Middle East have sparked increasing public worries about America’s security. Defense and foreign policy will not be as dominant in 2016 as they were in 2004, but they will be far more important than in 2008 and 2012.

The accumulating evidence from high-quality public-opinion research is hard to ignore. A Quinnipiac University survey released March 4 found that terrorism now trails only the economy as a top public priority: 67% of the American people regard Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as a “major threat” to U.S. security. The public is not satisfied with the Obama administration’s response to this threat. Only 39% approve of the president’s handling of terrorism (down from 52% a year ago), while 54% disapprove. When it comes to ISIS, the public’s view is even more negative, with only 35% approving.

These sentiments translate into support for much more assertive policies.

People turned on Bush in 2008 not because they thought the war on terror was a failure, but because they thought he’d won.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, FRANCIS SEJERSTED? Nobel Peace committee demotes controversial head.

Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize committee on Tuesday demoted its controversial chairman Thorbjoern Jagland in a move unprecedented in the long history of the award.

The organisation, which said the former Norwegian prime minister would remain as a committee member, gave no reason for its decision.

However the renowned diplomat had drawn sharp criticism shortly after becoming chairman in 2009 for awarding the prestigious Nobel to newly elected US President Barack Obama.

Yeah, that’s worked out badly. And it’ll be worse yet for peace before it’s all over. But forget what I said about Sejersted, as he chaired the committee the year they awarded the Prize to Yasser Arafat, instead of my nomination that year, Arthur C. Clarke.

UPDATE: From the comments:

For failing to stand for freedom and prematurely withdrawing from Iraq (though declaring the U.S. operation a ‘success’), Obama invited the Syrian Civil War that’s killed about as many people as the Iraq war. That withdrawal also invited bloodthirsty ISIS to fill the void in Syria and Iraq, and left Israel alone in the neighborhood as Iran finishes building its bomb.

How many old wars did the Nobel Peace laureate reignite and how many new wars did he set the stage for? He’s even brought back a war that six years ago seemed impossible to re-create: the Cold War with Moscow.

And let’s not pretend east Asia is any more peaceful since Obama sent up the white flag. North Korea is re-invigorated and threatening war. And an enormously wealthy totalitarian China is preparing to steal islands it never owned, from Taiwan to Hawaii.

What did you celebrate with that 2009 prize, Thorbjoern Jagland? You celebrated war.

Si vis pacem, para bellum. This saying can be read two ways. The traditional reading is that if you want peace, you’re more likely to get it by being prepared for war. But it may have a second meaning — that wanting peace too much makes war more likely. Experience certainly supports that.

JEB BUSH: ‘There were mistakes’ in Iraq.

Yep, but the biggest mistake was Obama’s unforced error of a complete pullout in 2011, after his own administration was bragging about how well things were going in 2010.

The war was won, Iraq was on a peaceful path, and Obama threw it away for a campaign line in 2012. If you’re going to talk about Bush’s mistakes pre-2008, you’ve got to talk about Obama’s mistakes, post-2008. And they were huge, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan, where he sent extra troops, but not as many as the military said they needed, then set a pullout timetable that signaled to the Taliban that he wasn’t serious — again, for political reasons.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls. And someone needs to ask the 2016 Democratic candidates how they’d avoid Obama-like screwups in the future. Because between now and November of 2016, avoiding Obama-like screwups is going to become more salient than avoiding Bush-like screwups.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Another Romney foreign policy prediction, derided by all right-thinking people at the time, that turned out to be spot-on.

I DUNNO, CHAMP, PEOPLE HAVE SURE CUT YOU A LOT OF SLACK: Obama: Black Men Have Less Margin For Error. “Obama has been on the defensive in the wake of grand juries deciding not to indict white police officers in killings of black men in Ferguson and Staten Island, with some accusing the nation’s first black president of being too passive. He insisted in the interview that his administration was doing everything within its power to address the concerns of predominantly minority communities. . . . The president commended peaceful protests, saying that a ‘country’s conscience sometimes has to be triggered by some inconvenience.'” Yeah, I’m not sure that’s what these rush-hour road-blocking protests are going to trigger.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Could US Troops Stay in Afghanistan Past 2016?

President Obama has set the date for total U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan for 2016. But according to General John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, America’s longest war could go on a bit longer. . . .

While concerns about precipitous American military withdrawal are exacerbated by recent experiences in Iraq and the rise of ISIS, the situation in Afghanistan seems different. Where Nouri al-Maliki was a deeply divisive Prime Minister presiding over a deeply divided country, Ashraf Ghani apparently enjoys an approval rating as high as 86%. While the Taliban controls large swathes of territory, violence remains high, and the opium trade is out of control, there is less concern in Afghanistan about rapid collapse of the government or loss of territory. That’s in part because while Sunni-Shia relations in Iraq have been broken for some time, Mr. Ghani has made a point of reaching out to the Taliban to negotiate an end to the fighting.


THE HILL: Top Dem ‘shocked’ by ‘chickens—‘ remark.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hit the Obama administration on Wednesday over an official calling the Israeli prime minister a “chickenshit.”

“I was shocked and disappointed on reading the comments in The Atlantic,” Engel said in a statement. “I call upon the Administration to reassert the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, and to reaffirm that the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable.

“I realize that two allies, such as the United States and Israel, are not going to agree on everything, but I think it is counterproductive and unprofessional for Administration officials to air their dirty laundry in such a public way,” he added. “I am getting tired of hearing about the leaks and denials. This ought to be the last time we hear of such talk because it is getting to a point where nobody believes the denials anymore.”

Engel is responding to an article in The Atlantic detailing the Obama administration’s frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The article quotes a senior Obama administration official as calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit.”

The statement from Engel, known as a strong supporter of Israel, adds a Democratic voice to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) criticism of the comments.

Just more “smart diplomacy” from our JV administration.

JAMES TARANTO: Beating About the Bush: Obama’s war embarrasses some journalists.

Sometimes history seems to have a sense of humor. In September 2013 BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski unearthed an old video and reported: “During the presidential election last year Vice President Joe Biden attacked Mitt Romney for being ‘ready to go to war’ in Syria.” . . .

A greater irony than the comparison between the Obama administration and Biden’s notional Romney administration is that between Obama and his predecessor. The current administration still seems at great pains to distinguish itself from George W. Bush. The Journal quotes an unnamed U.S. official as saying of the strikes in Syria: “It is shock, without the awe”–meaning it’s less awesome than the airstrikes that preceded the 2003 ground invasion of Iraq.

In a statement this morning, the president himself said: “We were joined in this action by our friends and partners–Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar.” He continued: “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone. Above all, the people and governments in the Middle East are rejecting ISIL and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve.”

Plus, an embarrassing correction for the New York Times.

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Coach. “A good football coach thinks several plays ahead. Rep. Salmon seems incapable of thinking one play ahead. By passing any immigration change now — even a desirable one — Republicans open themselves up to a protracted negotiation, perhaps into a lame duck session, with the massed forces of Obama, Haley Barbour, the Chamber of Commerce, (and Rupert Murdoch), all angling for one part of ‘comprehensive’ reform or another. That might be good for GOP fundraising — lobbyists can be generous when they really want something — but this isn’t a fundraising game (or a PR game, let alone a football game). What is at stake is the fundamental policy of the nation.”

I say revisit it in 2017. Until then, in Bob Dole’s memorable phrase, remember that sometimes a little gridlock can be a good thing.

And remember this from (immigrant!) Eugene Volokh:

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

THE AHISTORICAL OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Remember When Republican President FDR Commemorated the 1963 Moon Landing by Declaring ‘Peace In Our Time?’

JAMES TARANTO ON OBAMA’S SPEECH: No Point at West Point: A foreign policy of cliché and equivocation.

Even the New York Times found President Obama’s speech at West Point yesterday wanting: “The address did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left.” According to the Times, the president “provided little new insight into how he plans to lead in the next two years,” instead “falling back on hackneyed phrases.”

The editorial itself concludes with the hackneyed observation that only time will tell what the future holds: “This was far from Mr. Obama’s big moment. But since he has no office left to run for, what matters ultimately is his record in the next two and a half years.”

Obama framed the speech as follows: “The question we face, the question each of you [newly graduated Army officers] will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead–not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”

Not whether, but how. That raises, perhaps even begs, the question: What about where? In a subsequent interview, NPR’s Steve Inskeep put the question directly, invoking two of Obama’s predecessors: Reagan, who “wanted to roll back communism by whatever means,” and Lincoln, who was determined to save the Union. “As you look at the moment of history that you occupy,” Inskeep asked, “do you think you can put into a sentence what you are trying to accomplish in the world?”

Obama answered in the negative.

For someone who’s supposed to be really smart, he doesn’t seem especially bright.

Plus: “So America isn’t in decline, contrary to Obama’s critics, and Obama’s critics are making America weak. Can he really have it both ways?” As long as the press lets him.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Case for a Little Sedition: The Bundy standoff reminds us that government is our servant, not our master.

A great deal of the discussion about the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada has focused on the legal questions — the litigation between Mr. Bundy and the BLM, his eccentric (i.e., batzoid) legal rationales, etc. But as Rich Lowry and others have argued, this is best understood not as a legal proceeding but as an act of civil disobedience. John Hinderaker and Rich both are correct that as a legal question Mr. Bundy is legless. But that is largely beside the point.

Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition; Mr. Gandhi himself habitually was among the first to acknowledge that fact, refusing to offer a defense in his sedition case and arguing that the judge had no choice but to resign, in protest of the perfectly legal injustice unfolding in his courtroom, or to sentence him to the harshest sentence possible, there being no extenuating circumstances for Mr. Gandhi’s intentional violation of the law. Henry David Thoreau was happy to spend his time in jail, knowing that the law was against him, whatever side justice was on.

But not all dissidents are content to submit to what we, in the Age of Obama, still insist on quaintly calling “the rule of law.” And there is a price to pay for that, too: King George not only would have been well within his legal rights to hang every one of this nation’s seditious Founding Fathers, he would have been duty-bound to do so, the keeping of the civil peace being the first responsibility of the civil authority. Every fugitive slave, and every one of the sainted men and women who harbored and enabled them, was a law-breaker, and who can blame them if none was content to submit to what passed for justice among the slavers? . . .

If the conservatives in official Washington want to do something other than stand by and look impotent, they might consider pressing for legislation that would oblige the federal government to divest itself of 1 percent of its land and other real estate each year for the foreseeable future through an open auction process. Even the Obama administration has identified a very large portfolio of office buildings and other federal holdings that are unused or under-used. By some estimates, superfluous federal holdings amount to trillions of dollars in value. Surely not every inch of that 87 percent of Nevada under the absentee-landlordship of the federal government is critical to the national interest. Perhaps Mr. Bundy would like to buy some land where he can graze his cattle.

Prudential measures do not solve questions of principle. So where does that leave us with our judgment of the Nevada insurrection? Perhaps with an understanding that while Mr. Bundy’s stand should not be construed as a general template for civic action, it is nonetheless the case that, in measured doses, a little sedition is an excellent thing.

I think the problem is that the government hasn’t gotten enough pushback. The phrase “the country wouldn’t stand for it” has gone out of the political lexicon. I think it needs to go back in.

It does seem as if we’re seeing more resistance.


The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. The timing is convenient for both sides: The Obama administration needed an offset abroad to the Obamacare disaster, and the Iranians want a breathing space to rebuild their finances and ensure that Assad can salvage the Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis. The agreement is a de facto acknowledgement that containing, not ending, Iran’s nuclear program is now U.S. policy. . . .

Aside from the details of this new Sword of Damocles pact, one wonders about the following: In the case of violations, will it be easier for Iran to return to weaponization or for the U.S. to reassemble allies to reestablish the sanctions? Will Israel now be more or less likely to consider preemption? Will the Sunni states feel some relief or more likely pursue avenues to achieve nuclear deterrence? Will allies like Japan or South Korea feel that the U.S. has reasserted its old global clout, or further worry that their patron might engage in secret talks with, say, China rather than reemphasize their security under the traditional U.S. umbrella?

The president’s dismal polls are only a multiplier of that general perception abroad that foreign policy is an auxiliary to fundamental transformation at home, useful not so much to create international stability per se, as to enhance Obama influence in pursuing his domestic agenda. Collate reset, lead from behind, “redlines,” “game-changers,” ”deadlines,” the Arab Spring confusion, the skedaddle from Iraq, Benghazi, the Eastern European missile pullback, and the atmosphere is comparable to the 1979–80 Carter landscape, in which after three years of observation, the opportunists at last decided to act while the acting was good, from Afghanistan to Central America to Tehran.

There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.

Nope. But Obama et al. care only about accumulating their own power, not about what others do. Just as they are happy to see the economic pie shrink, so long as they control a larger slice of what’s left.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: Obama waives ban on aiding regimes that use child soldiers.

Obama first waived the provision in 2010. Samantha Power, then the National Security Council senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, promised “at the time that the waivers would not become a recurring event,” as The Cable recalled.

“Our judgment was: Brand them, name them, shame them, and then try to leverage assistance in a fashion to make this work,” Power said. “Our judgment is we’ll work from inside the tent.”

The country’s world is in the very best of hands.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Bradley Manning Is Guilty, But Of What?

Since 9/11, the US has been operating in legal gray areas. Whether the issue is Guantanamo, NSA surveillance of American citizens, or the use of drones to kill foreign militants in Pakistan or Yemen, we’ve had to deal with a lot of issues that existing law doesn’t cover adequately. The Bush administration, ironically, had a better excuse for freelancing than the Obama administration has now. In the early years after 9/11, the situation was still so new, and the most important thing was to act quickly and assertively to come to grips with a threat of uncertain scale. Today we have a much better idea about what the terror threat to the homeland does and does not mean, what kind of tools are needed to fight it, and what kind of tradeoffs US citizens can be expected to make. It’s clearly time for Congress draft some laws to give the Executive Branch better guidance—and, yes, better oversight—in managing these threats. . . .

It’s abundantly clear that our failure to develop an appropriate legal and oversight process for necessary acts of self defense has become a serious liability, undermining the legitimacy of policies and practices that, despite the occasional, worrying abuses, still have an important role to play in ensuring the security of peaceful people across the world.

And, as I’ve said, the most damning thing to come out of the Bradley Manning affair is that we put people like Bradley Manning in such sensitive positions.


– Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.

Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell sued the City of Henderson, its Police Chief Jutta Chambers, Officers Garret Poiner, Ronald Feola, Ramona Walls, Angela Walker, and Christopher Worley, and City of North Las Vegas and its Police Chief Joseph Chronister, in Federal Court.

Henderson, pop. 257,000, is a suburb of Las Vegas.

The Mitchell family’s claim includes Third Amendment violations, a rare claim in the United States. The Third Amendment prohibits quartering soldiers in citizens’ homes in times of peace without the consent of the owner.

“On the morning of July 10th, 2011, officers from the Henderson Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at a neighbor’s residence,” the Mitchells say in the complaint.

It continues: “At 10:45 a.m. defendant Officer Christopher Worley (HPD) contacted plaintiff Anthony Mitchell via his telephone. Worley told plaintiff that police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence. Although Worley continued to insist that plaintiff should leave his residence, plaintiff clearly explained that he did not intend to leave his home or to allow police to occupy his home. Worley then ended the phone call.

Mitchell claims that defendant officers, including Cawthorn and Worley and Sgt. Michael Waller then “conspired among themselves to force Anthony Mitchell out of his residence and to occupy his home for their own use.”

To be fair, though, our political class seems increasingly enthusiastic about the Fifth Amendment.

Plus, what is it about cops and dogs?

He says they also hurt his pet dog for no reason whatsoever: “Plaintiff Anthony Mitchell’s pet, a female dog named ‘Sam,’ was cowering in the corner when officers smashed through the front door. Although the terrified animal posed no threat to officers, they gratuitously shot it with one or more pepperball rounds. The panicked animal howled in fear and pain and fled from the residence. Sam was subsequently left trapped outside in a fenced alcove without access to water, food, or shelter from the sun for much of the day, while temperatures outside soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Anthony and his parents live in separate houses, close to one another on the same street. He claims that police treated his parents the same way.


WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Obama puts up dukes and blunders into Syria. “President Obama’s decision to provide weapons to rebels in Syria has the potential to become another foreign policy blunder at a time when the Nobel Prize winner’s second term is mired in scandal. Obama had been saying for months that he would not send troops into the region, but has now stationed 300 troops just outside Syria on its border with Jordan. Obama attributes the abrupt escalation in U.S. involvement to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But another factor could be Obama’s desire to appear tough on the issue during the G8 summit this week and to divert attention from the IRS, NSA and Benghazi scandals.”

UPDATE: Investor’s Business Daily: Syria: Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Next War.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Public Peace, Secret War: The Snooping Scandals and The President’s War Strategy.

As if the Tea Party/IRS mess isn’t enough, the White House has been shaken to its foundations by a series of dramatic and devastating revelations about the unsuspected reach of the government’s surveillance of the telephone records, email and other activities of US citizens without their knowledge. The President’s liberal base is stunned and appalled, with the New York Times editorial board hanging out the black crepe of official mourning. Al Gore twittered his disappointment and fear. . . .

The context was terrible; one chicken after another has been coming home to the White House roost: the AP subpoenas, the Fox investigation, the IRS Tea Party scandal. As the latest round of surveillance revelations exploded in the press like land mines under an armored truck, the White House visibly lost its poise and momentum. The reaction to reports that telephone carriers were providing the government with call logs was a tornado; when the Washington Post then reported that leading tech companies (reportedly including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple) were participating in a secret surveillance program known as PRISM, the Obama White House was facing a potential collapse in public trust. . . .

President Obama is now caught in a trap of his own making. By downplaying the threat and trying to create an atmosphere of peace and normality in the country, he has delegitimated the measures he believes that our safety requires. Having tried and failed to keep these secrets dark and hidden, he must now try to explain what many Americans will find inexplicable. If the terrorists are really on the run, and we can finally go back to a 9/10 state of mind, why are you assembling and wielding the most powerful and intrusive systems of surveillance ever conceived?

In a 9/12 world, these measures can be understood, though there are legitimate questions to be asked about oversight and slippery slopes. In a 9/10 world, they are much harder to justify. And so, Mr. President, the ball is in your court. Where exactly do we stand, and what kind of world are we living in today?

The truth has a way of coming out. But read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Boston and America … Where the Fish Rots from the Top.

Apropos of the #BostonBombers, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted this weekend: Big q is why FBI didnt keep an eye on/talk to Tamerlan Tsarnaev after he returned from Chechnya last year. So far from FBI: crickets.

Tapper’s right. The FBI is not looking particularly good as far as their surveillance of murderous Caucasian Islamists on our soil is concerned. And Tamerlan, evidently , left quite a trail, from domestic violence to reportedly attacking an imam for holding up MLK as someone to emulate. Not exactly subtle. They were even warned about Tamerlan by the Russians apparently.

The Feds must have been pretty clueless to ignore all this.

Probably. But I offer in their defense one of the hoariest of cliches: The fish rots from the top.

The Obama administration and most of those working for it have taken Islamic terrorism about as seriously as I am taking the Memphis Grizzlies/L.A. Clippers game currently on my TV — in other words, at best mildly interested. Not being a fan of either team, I could watch — I could switch to something else.

And when Islamic terrorism does rear its head, as in Benghazi, the administration evinces something worse than disinterest — dishonesty, lies, coverup and prevarication (sometimes aided by Tapper’s CNN cohort Candy Crowley).

And they don’t stop. They haven’t offered anything yet even remotely resembling a transparent account of the Libyan events or of their motivation. The secretary of State has told us it’s not even important. (How does that look in the light of Boston?) . . . Well, to employ another cliche that has overtones of its own, the chicken has come home to roost.

Not so good.

UPDATE: Flashback: FBI Training Manual Purged References to Islamic Terror.

WHY YOUR KID CAN’T GET A JOB, as explained by Michael Malone of Forbes and Silicon Valley marketing executive Tom Hayes:

So what is a kid today to do? One answer is to establish a powerful personal brand independent of work experience. Not just cobble together a few starter jobs, but pursue their own aspirations – and then learn how to define them and market them to the corporate world. Another answer is to take advantage of being a digital natives and build new kinds of networks – and a sharing economy – and find jobs for each other and hire amongst themselves. Freelancing is likely to be their future anyhow, so why not start and learn the skills (from DIY bookkeeping to marketing) of being an entrepreneur now? Young job hunters need to rethink their social media presence. Social proof is critical to employers. Ditch the frat party photos, avoid the drunken tweets. Turn your public social media presence into a showcase of your personal brand and portal of interests and skills. Connect the dots for the prospective hiring manager. The best way to combat a thin resume is with photos, video, endorsements. Be unusual and memorable: if, for example, you reached Level 60 on World of Warcraft, tell your future boss why that means you have monster leadership skills. And, show you have a big and growing network that comes with you when you get hired.

Read the whole the whole thing, and then pass it along to someone who either needs the advice personally, or has kids who would benefit from these suggestions.

Though I’m not sure if ditching the frat party photos is the answer though. They can take you “unexpectedly” far in politics, to the point where you can declare “Peace In Our Time:”


ED DRISCOLL: Neville Again: Obama Promises ‘Peace in Our Time.’ “Where’s his umbrella?”