Friday, July 25, 2014

Cruising the Web

Now this is the true war on women.
The militant group Islamic State (Isis) has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations says.

The Washington Post editorial board doesn't have the same moral blindness of some other media outlets. They fully recognize how the evil of Hamas has brought this invasion on themselves.
Hamas’s offensive tunnels should not be confused with the burrows it has dug under Gaza’s border with Egypt to smuggle money, consumer goods and military equipment. The newly discovered structures have only one conceivable purpose: to launch attacks inside Israel. Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The ­concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities.

The resources devoted by Hamas to this project are staggering, particularly in view of Gaza’s extreme poverty. By one Israeli account, the typical tunnel cost $1 million to build over the course of several years, using tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing. By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials.

The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.
Maybe CNN should get the message. At least the Israeli ambassador to the US took on CNN's biased coverage. They must hate when their guest makes a fool of them on TV. Rich Lowry covers the "useful idiots" who are defending Hamas.
Jon Stewart did a controversial bit last week about how Israel has all the advantages in the conflict, what with its warnings via app to its civilians about incoming rockets and its ability to neutralize those rockets with its missile defenses.

Our New Fear of Flying

Why Am I Moving Left?
Yes, how unfair. Israel invested in systems entirely devoted to protecting its civilian population from unprovoked attack. What dastardliness is the Zionist Entity capable of next?
Dean Obeidallah of The Daily Beast lauds Stewart for this in a piece headlined, “How Jon Stewart Made It Okay to Care About Palestinian Suffering.” It’s more like making it cool to be obtuse about the Gaza war.

Of course there is an asymmetry between Hamas and Israel. There will always be a technological gap between a ramshackle terror force with medieval religious views and a dynamic, liberal society. On Sept. 11, 2001, Al Qaeda had box cutters. We had B-52s. Did that make us the unsympathetic Goliath to Al Qaeda’s David?

Israel might well undertake an indiscriminate, scorched earth campaign in Gaza — if it were run by, say, the Assad regime in Syria, with its taste for chemical weapons and barrel bombs. Jeffrey Goldberg pointed out in The Atlantic that 700 people were killed in Syria last weekend alone, outpacing the total death toll in Gaza so far, but the deaths received almost no media coverage.

....None of this is to deny the very real suffering of Gazans. No rational person interested in their welfare would govern the way Hamas does. Who except a band of fanatics would conclude that what desperately poor Gaza needs is a constant state of war with a much more powerful neighboring state?

Hamas is a miserable excuse for a government. Its technical proficiency is smuggling. Its infrastructure program consists of building tunnels for acts of murder and kidnapping. Its civil defense system is to admonish endangered civilians not to heed Israeli warnings to flee buildings about to be hit. Its peace plan is annihilation of the Jewish state.

It can’t achieve that by force of arms. Its objective is, with support from fellow travelers and useful idiots the world over, to make Israel the new South Africa, to isolate it and morally delegitimize it toward its ultimate destruction. If it takes countless dead Palestinians to do it, so be it.

The "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock, told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Irbil
But don't expect Democrats to turn from their moaning about Hobby Lobby and complaints about laws forcing abortion clinics to have connections to hospitals in order to mount a real effort to try to change this abomination.

It's probably not a good idea to complain about all the money in politics while you're speaking to a fundraiser asking people to write out some big checks. But then Michelle Obama is so convinced of her own righteousness that she can manage it.

Yup, the problems that Obamacare is facing in the appellate courts is the fault of the Democrats' lousy drafting of the original law.
It’s a lesson, some health care experts say, in why President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats took their chances in 2010 when they passed the Affordable Care Act using a special procedure called budget reconciliation. That allowed the Senate to pass the bill with just 51 votes, because they couldn’t get 60 votes after Republican Scott Brown was elected to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts.

But it didn’t allow Congress to fix simple wording mistakes in the law — an earlier version of which had squeaked through the Senate with GOP support in late 2009. The rules allowed only limited changes with a clear budget impact. It’s a bit like the college student who slaps together a rough draft of a term paper, expecting to clean it up before it’s handed in, only to find suddenly time is up.

The sloppy language stayed — and it came back to bite the Democrats on Tuesday.

“When you pass a bill by any means necessary, you can fix a lot, but you can’t fix everything,” said Thomas Miller, a health care expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “The staff writes it late at night. It’s never reconciled … and they say, ‘Oh well, we’ll fix it after it’s passed.’”

One Israeli writes an eloquent response to those who are sanctimoniously condemning Israel for civilian deaths as they move into Gaza to try to stop the murderous attacks aimed at Israeli citizens.
If anyone doesn’t understand any of the above; if anyone doesn’t get it; if any of my friends are going to post anti-Israel messages in a time where over 500 Palestinians have tragically died in this current conflict yet you remained silent while almost 200,000 Arabs were murdered by Arabs these past few years; if you’re not writing about Assad using chemical weapons against his people; if you’re not writing about ISIS who crucified 8 Christians the other day and who are telling Iraqi Christians ‘convert, pay tax, or die’; if you only have criticism for the State of Israel that is doing EVERYTHING in its power to avoid civilian losses to Palestinians during a war; if you’re going to do nothing but sit wherever you’re sitting and just dish out your anti-Israel dirt while rockets are being aimed at my house, family and friends as our boys are fighting to protect us – and you’re going to dish it out simply because we’re living in this land and you haven’t got a clue as to our connection to it; if you’re going to join the anti-semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations flaring up in the world like we’re seeing in France, Turkey, Berlin, most Arab states and even in the US that have nothing to do with this conflict but are really just expressions of hatred directed at Jews and Israelis (and these expressions will be directed at the host countries soon); if you’re going to stay quiet and just accept, then go ahead and unfriend me from Facebook now because you’re probably no friend of mine.

Know this: when someone tries to end my life, IT IS PERSONAL.
And if you’re adding fuel to the fire by posting crap that in some small way will contribute to my demise, then again - un-friend me now.

Because you can have the hatred, the twisted, the sick and evil and be a part of that – or you can have me. But you can’t have both.

Shalom, motherf****r.
In the same vein the Israeli Justice Minister responded to the ridiculous UN Human Rights Council's announcement that it would be investigating Israel for war crimes. Weaselzippers uses Google translate for this message:
I have [four] words to say about the decision of the UN human rights council – see if I care!
We will keep on making decisions for the safety of Israeli citizens according to our moral compass, the IDF will fight the terror and keep on doing the most to avoid harming innocents, and you [written plural] will keep on encourage the terror – because that is exactly what your decision is doing.

How President Obama gets us to pay for his fundraising. Other presidents have done this, of course. Now this is a campaign loophole that can be closed up.

Just in case you thought that Andrew Cuomo was serious about rooting out corruption in New York politics, think again. He's not interested in exposing corruption if it leads back to him.

Now, that takes chutzpah - to sue the employees of a pizzeria who stopped you from robbing the place.

The Des Moines Register is catching Iowans up on the evidence that Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for senator was at fundraisers instead of going to meetings of the Veterans Affairs committee looking into long wait times for veterans at VA hospitals.

Josh Kraushaar assesses the possibility that 2014 will be a GOP wave election.

Ron Fournier issues a strategy memo to reporters to fight back against the way that the White House is putting them in a strait jacket so that they can't perform their jobs.
Remember, a spokesman gets paid to get his or her point of view in your story. They need you. Don't cede that leverage for anything less than the terms you need to serve your readers. Write a tough story, and they'll call back demanding an update with their point of view. That's when you politely remind them that they're on the record.

What can the media do about the explosion of "background briefings"? Anytime you think one should be on the record, stand up (or speak up) at the start of the briefing and politely inform whoever's in charge that the event in "on the record." Don't ask. Tell them.

I did this a few times, most memorably during the 2004 presidential campaign when Democratic nominee John Kerry wanted to chat with reporters aboard his plane. He wanted it to be "off the record," which means whatever he wanted to say could never be reported. Years ago, I agreed to similar terms aboard Air Force One with President Clinton, and watched in horror as competitors violated the terms. My editor wasn't happy with me. With that memory, I politely told Kerry that I would be taking notes and filing.

Kerry had a choice. He could chat with us on my terms (a "win-win") or walk away. He stormed back to his cabin, and I got back to writing an analysis of his flailing campaign.
Too many reporters seem content to be poodles for the White House instead of using the leverage that Fournier reminds them that they have.

Stuart Rothenberg explains some behind-the-scenes shenanigans by Democratic pollsters to make it look like the Montana Senate race was tightening up. They didn't fool him and it is all probably moot now as the Democrat, John Walsh, is now facing all sorts of embarrassing stories about his plagiarized Master's thesis and his explanation that he was suffering from PTSD which led him to not cite the sources that he borrowed from.

Megan McArdle looks ahead to what might happen to the insurance industry if the Supreme Court were to agree with the D.C. Circuit and strike down federal subsidies to those states that don't have health care exchanges.
Here the administration’s reliance on administrative fixes to paper over problems with the law really begins to hurt it. If it looks as if a Republican might be in the Oval Office come 2017 -- or even if there’s a Republican Senate in 2015 that can start forcing Democrats to take a series of embarrassing votes on the subsidies the administration has been funneling to insurers -- then insurers may start getting a mite nervous, by and by.

If Halbig goes against the administration, the risk corridors are winding down, and the possibility of a Republican president looms, how hard will insurers work to keep the program going? I can tell the story either way: that they’re desperate to make it work before the Oval Office turns over, or that they finally just give up and leave the White House to wallow in a big mess. Or maybe a bit of both, with different strategies state by state. This remains the most important unknown, and interestingly, the one the fewest people are talking about.

In the end, some states will probably create their own exchanges, and many probably won’t. That wedge between the states with subsidies and the states without would leave an unstable fault line at the heart of the law, one that might cleave at any moment and destroy the whole thing.

Charles Krauthammer explains his theory on Obama's passivity in the face of all the foreign crises he's faced during his presidency. Obama is just waiting for the "arc of history" to wreak havoc on those who are "on the wrong side of history."
Of course, in the long run nothing lasts. But history is lived in the here and now. The Soviets had only 70 years, Hitler a mere 12. Yet it was enough to murder millions and rain ruin on entire continents. Bashar al-Assad, too, will one day go. But not before having killed at least 100,000 people.

All domination must end. But after how much devastation? And if you leave it to the forces of history to repel aggression and redeem injustice, what’s the point of politics, of leadership, in the first place?

The world is aflame and our leader is on the 14th green. The arc of history may indeed bend toward justice, Mr. President. But, as you say, the arc is long. The job of a leader is to shorten it, to intervene on behalf of “the fierce urgency of now.” Otherwise, why do we need a president? And why did you seek to become ours?

George H.W. Bush lets us know his approach to wearing socks. You can even enter his competition for designing socks. As someone who buys her socks from Little Miss Matched, I heartily approve. Socks should be fun!