Thursday, May 08, 2014

Cruising the Web

James Taranto explains why Obama is, as David Remnick has said, so disappointed with the world.
In 2009, of course, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Those efforts consisted of . . . well, nothing really. After all, he'd been in office less than a year. As we wrote at the time, "this staggeringly premature honor" was "the equivalent of a lifetime-achievement Oscar for a child star."

The Nobel press release pretty much acknowledged that Obama's accomplishments were notional: "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future." The Norwegians awarded Obama "the world's" highest honor simply for being who he was--or what they imagined him to be.

That sums up the story of Obama's early relationship with "the world." He was showered with adulation just for being himself. But somewhere along the way "the world" changed its expectations. Now he's being judged for what he's done, or hasn't done. Why shouldn't he feel let down? He thought they loved him for him.

"The world," of course is disappointed with Obama too. It gave him all that attention, invested in him all that hope. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population," said the Nobel press release. Such a vaporous sentiment was never going to have any real power in the hard world of diplomacy.

Obama's relationship with "the world" was based on reciprocal self-deception. It was bound to end eventually in mutual disappointment.

So under Hillary Clinton's State Department refused to place Boko Haram, the terrible group claiming credit for kidnapping hundreds of teenage Nigerian girls and selling them into sexual slavery, on the list of terrorism organizations after they had bombed the UN headquarters in Nigeria.
What Clinton didn’t mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen.

“The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” said a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department really wanted Boko Haram designated, they wanted the authorities that would provide to go after them, and they voiced that repeatedly to elected officials.”

....‪Being placed on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations allows U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to use certain tools and authorities, including several found in the Patriot Act. The designation makes it illegal for any U.S. entities to do business with the group in question. It cuts off access to the U.S. financial system for the organization and anyone associating with it. And the designation also serves to stigmatize and isolate foreign organizations by encouraging other nations to take similar measures.

The State Department’s refusal to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization prevented U.S. law enforcement agencies from fully addressing the growing Boko Haram threat in those crucial two years, multiple GOP lawmakers told The Daily Beast.
Even when Republicans in the Senate and the House pressed her to do so or to explain why she objected to placing them on the terrorism list. Remember that Hillary Clinton proudly boasts of all that she did for women around the world as Secretary of State. Yet she didn't want to take such a logical action because it countered the administration bragging about how al Qaeda was on the run and would also have offended Nigeria. Now she sanctimoniously talks about how terrible their actions are. But when she had the power to do something about them, she declined. As Ed Morrissey comments,
Now Hillary wants to fight Boko Haram with hashtags. Too bad she didn’t fight them with real resources when she had the chance.

The Washington Post describes how Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is working all sorts of jobs to meet people and find out what has motivated them in life. Besides volunteering at a Goodwill clearance center, he has traveling around the state seeking out opportunities to meet his constituents.
In the almost year and a half since being appointed to the Senate by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Scott, a conservative Republican, has embarked on an unconventional listening tour, wandering his state in blue jeans, talking to folks without ever saying who he is. He’s mopped up the floors of a burrito joint, manned a shoe shop and ridden the bus through rough neighborhoods in Charleston.
Of course, the NAACP still gives him an F, because, for them, ideology trumps race.

Peter Suderman explains all the ways that our policies on ethanol on are absolutely wrong-headed.

Noemie Emery rightly excoriates the silly arguments put forth by Jeffrey Toobin to depict Justices Roberts and Kennedy as racists for wanting to end affirmative action.

Jim Geraghty looks at all those politicians who are finding a way to benefit their family members.

Amity Shlaes debunks the myth-making of how creating a federal minimum wage helped out workers during the Great Depression.
The result, as scholars Lee Ohanian, Harold Cole, and others have discovered, is a tragic perversity. In a depression. when employers were losing money, wages were too high. In real terms, wages were higher than the overall economic trend for the rest of the century. They were sometimes higher than in “socialist” Europe. Wages in the 1930s were even higher than John L. Lewis himself imagined, because the decade saw currency deflation. Reducing wages, the old lesser evil chosen by employers in troubled times, would not be sanctioned by the powerful New Dealers in Washington. So employers often laid people off — hence the mostly double-digit unemployment of the 1930s.

David French explains how academic scientists have achieved "consensus" on climate change. And David Harsanyi explains why he believes the environmentalists have lost the climate change debate among the American public.
Has there ever been a movement that’s spent as much time, energy and treasure and gotten so little in return? I suspect there are three reasons for this failure: 1. It’s difficult to fight basic economics. 2. On energy, Americans, despite what they say, have no desire to try (nor should they.) 3. It’s getting more difficult, not less, to believe environmental doom and gloom.
Remember all those dire predictions by the Democrats about all those people who would be laid off due to sequestration? Well, it turned out that only one person was laid off from the federal government because of those supposedly evil sequestration cuts.

A victory for Scott Walker and the First Amendment.

Patrick Howley explains ten excuses for the IRS behavior towards conservative groups that we now know are completely wrong.

PJ Media has awarded the Walter Duranty Prize for mendacious journalism. And the dishonors are well-deserved.

Apparently, Godzilla's increase in size from his first incarnation in 1954 is following Cope's Rule of paleontological growth. Even so, what bothers me, based on the continuous ads for the movie running during the NBA playoffs, is how powerless human beings seem to be against 2014's Godzilla. Seriously, don't we have the military capacity these days to deal with a giant dinosaur raging through New York? Wouldn't a bunker buster work on him? Or is this just a metaphor for our weakened military?