Monday, May 12, 2014

Cruising the Web

Well, that's a comfort. The Air Force thinks they could take on Godzilla.

Back in 2012 when the State Department was being urged to classify Boko Haram as a terrorist group, they denied that the Islamist militants were motivated by religion and then, amazingly, evoked American religious diversity to defend their position. Nina Shea has researched the skewed thinking of the Clinton State Department on this whole matter.
In 2012, the State Department was declaring that Boko Haram was motivated not by Islamic extremism, but by anger at “poor government service delivery” and “poverty” generally. Its policy was to actively oppose Nigerian military involvement and support greater American aid and investment to the country, particularly to the areas giving rise to Boko Haram militants.

As I wrote on the Corner on April 12, 2012:
The day after [an Easter Sunday] Nigeria church bombing, at a forum on U.S. policy toward Nigeria held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson overlooking Boko Haram’s self-proclaimed identity, pattern of behavior, statements and very name, which means “Western education is a sin,” publicly denied that Boko Haram has religious motives. He went out of his way to stress: “Religion is not driving extremist violence in . . . northern Nigeria. Carson is articulating official U.S. policy. Its theory is that Boko Haram is “exploiting religious differences” to “create chaos” to protest “poor government service delivery,” poverty, and a variety of good-governance concerns.
The State Department attributed the phenomenon of Boko Haram to the poverty and low levels of literacy in the north, rather than the other way around.
Robert Spencer writes of five things the media are not telling us about Boko Haram. For example,
5. The abduction of the schoolgirls is only the latest in a huge string of atrocities.

The world has only begun to notice them because of the abduction of the schoolgirls, but the Nigerian jihad terror group Boko Haram has been around for years. Without attracting the international outrage they have drawn upon themselves now, they have committed innumerable acts of unimaginable savagery, murdering over 2,500 people in the first three months of 2014 alone and torching numerous churches and Christian homes.

At my website Jihad Watch a Google search turns up about 115,000 results for “Boko Haram,” indicating that anyone who has been tracking jihad activity over the last few years has had plenty to track in Boko Haram, and that the outrage over the abducted schoolgirls, as welcome as it is if it results in genuine action to stop this brutal and bloody group, is quite late and arbitrary.

Of course, in the Obama administration it hasn’t been fashionable to talk about jihad activity other than within the context of al Qaeda, and Boko Haram is not al Qaeda. Therefore it essentially did not exist (either for the administration or for the mainstream media that it carries around in its pocket like so many nickels), or if it did, it wasn’t a terrorist group: Hillary Clinton’s State Department was notoriously slow to designate it as such, even as the dead bodies piled up.

The requirements for being an ambassador to a foreign country for President Obama are not set very high.

Good. The RNC is cutting down on the number of Republican primary debates and insisting on conservative panelists participating along with MSM moderators. And we may see internet balloting in the Iowa caucuses.

Ruth Wisse, a Harvard professor bemoans the "closing of the collegiate mind." The university has now become the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be as iconoclastic ideas are now considered beyond the pale.
Because conservative students do not take over buildings or drown others out with their shouting, instructors feel free to mock conservatives in the classroom, and administrators pay scant attention when their posters are torn down or their sensibilities offended. As a tenured professor who does not decline the label "conservative," I benefit from this imbalance by getting to know some of the feistiest students on campus.

But these students need and deserve every encouragement from outside their closed and claustrophobic environs. As one of them put it to me, "There's more faculty interest in climate control than in the Western canon." Multiculturalism guarantees that courses on Islam highlight all the good that can be said of Muhammad and the Quran, but there is no comparable academic commitment to reinvigorating the foundational teachings of American liberal democracy or to strengthening the legacy bequeathed to us by "dead white males."

So far the university culture has not been able to destroy the two-party system, but its influence on the current administration in Washington gives some sense of what may lie ahead unless small "d" democrats—which these days means mostly conservatives—begin to take back the campus. Through patient but persistent means, they ought to help students introduce speakers, debates, demands for courses and all the intellectual firepower they can muster in favor of American exceptionalism, the moral advantages of a free economy and the need to protect democracy from enemies we are not afraid to name.

In short, let the university become as contentious as Congress. In Nigeria, Islamists think nothing of seizing hundreds of schoolgirls for the crime of aspiring to an education. Here in the United States, the educated class thinks nothing of denying an honorary degree to a fearless Muslim woman who at peril of her life, and in the name of liberal democracy, has insisted on exposing such outrages to the light. The struggle for freedom is universal; would that our universities were on its side.

But of course:
Obamacare’s twice-delayed employer mandate will hit low-wage workers the hardest, according to a study released Friday.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute released a report examining the effects of repealing the employer mandate or moving ahead. The employer mandate peg of the health care law will barely affect the uninsured rate, researchers found.
Bill de Blasio has paid back the teachers unions that helped install him as mayor. And the New York City taxpayers are picking up the tab.
One reason school reform is such a long, hard slog is because unions have learned to wait out reformers until one of their allies gets back into political power. Witness what's unfolding now in New York City, where new Mayor Bill de Blasio is walking back a decade of reforms and blowing out the bank on teacher pay.

Unions refused to negotiate for five years with former mayor Michael Bloomberg, and their refusal has paid off. Union chief Michael Mulgrew stood next to Mr. de Blasio in announcing a new contract and said he couldn't "thank the mayor enough."

And no wonder. The deal includes an 8% retroactive raise plus a 10% cumulative bump from 2013 through 2018. The 19.5% compounded pay increase will boost the starting salary to $54,411 from $45,530 and the maximum to $119,565 from $100,049. Teachers will also get a $1,000 signing bonus for approving the contract that rewards their recalcitrance.

The raises will cost the city $5.5 billion, and Mr. de Blasio is touting some $1.3 billion in savings from health care. But the contract includes no employee contributions for premiums, though most American workers pay 20% to 30% of their health costs. The specific cuts will be determined later, which may mean never.
P.J. O'Rourke offers a very good brief history of Russia. He concludes,
So the international sanctions aren’t working—don’t worry! If 1,000 years of Russian screw-ups are anything to go by, it won’t be long before Vladimir Putin brings himself down.

Eleanor Clift plumbs new depths of stupidity. If this is a new Democratic talking point on Benghazi, they might want to rethink it fast.

I agree that the GOP should absolutely not use Benghazi for a fundraising hook, but the Democrats are not credible with their complaints. Trey Gowdy reminds us of the Democrats' "selective amnesia" on fundraising.
“They raised money on Sandy Hook, they raised money on Katrina, they raised money on Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gowdy told Fox host Chris Wallace.

“It would be helpful if our colleagues on the other side of the aisle did not have selective amnesia when it comes to what’s appropriate to raise money off of and what’s not,” Gowdy said
Let's face it. Both parties will leap on tragedies as an excuse to fundraise. But that doesn't make it right. And the GOP have to behave as Caesar's wife because they know how the media will portray whatever they do.

Is our lawyer bubble about to burst? We can hope so, but don't hold your breath for a commensurate decline in our regulatory state.