Monday, August 11, 2014

Cruising the Web

Claudia Rossett details the shameful history of the United Nation's role in Gaza through the machinations of its terrorist-aiding agency, UNRWA.
Unrwa is unusual among U.N. agencies in ways that render it especially unaccountable, even by U.N. standards. All other refugees world-wide fall under the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Only the Palestinians have their own dedicated U.N. refugee agency, offering special access to the perquisites of the U.N. logo, stage and fundraising.

Almost all other U.N. agencies report to an executive board, allowing at least some chance of functional oversight. Unrwa reports directly to the entire 193-member General Assembly, where responsibility is broadly dispersed and easily avoided. According to a paper in 2010 by the agency's own chief of legal affairs, Lance Bartholomeusz, Unrwa enjoys the added flexibility of having no clearly defined mission: "its mandate is not conveniently stated in one place and must be derived from all other relevant resolutions and requests."

Thus unencumbered, Unrwa has ensured its own survival by transforming itself into the patron of Palestinian grievance, conferring refugee status down the generations, an unusual practice. The agency's website reports that since 1950 its roster of registered refugees has grown from an original 750,000 to 5.3 million—a sevenfold increase, all eligible for the Unrwa dole. For the Palestinians, this has been ruinous, fostering within an otherwise enterprising culture a crippling sense of entitlement and dependency.
The result is a UN-sponsored agency that is basically a tool of Hamas while doing nothing to truly help the Palestinians.

Our clueless Secretary of State has a truly myopic view of the world as he advises African countries not increase farming because it would harm global warming.

So which party do Super PACs support?
Thus far in the 2014 campaign, 16 of the top 20 contributors overall represent the dominant special interests in the Democratic Party. Three of the top 20 contribute mostly to Republicans and conservative groups. One maintains a surgically even division between candidates of both parties.

The same pattern is seen when the focus of 2014 campaign contributions zeroes in on super PACs, which sprang up in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. These groups can give as much money as they wish to whomever they choose. Twelve of the top 20 Super PACs – including the seven most generous – support liberal Democratic candidates and groups. Seven of the remaining eight support conservative Republican candidates and groups, and one is scrupulously evenhanded.

The same dozen dominate the top 20 when the focus is on contributions of outside money to federal candidates. As for contributions by 527 PACs, which represent unlimited spending on activities such as voter registration drives, 15 of the top 20 represent the Democrat’s four dominant special interests.

To put these data points in the context of dollars and cents, the top seven contributors overall gave more than $100 million to liberal Democratic candidates and groups. The top three that donated to conservative Republican candidates and groups gave slightly more than $14 million. That's nearly a 10-to-1 funding advantage for liberal Democratic candidates and groups from among the most generous contributors. It is no exaggeration to say the Democratic Party has become the party of four extremely rich special interests.
Remember those stats when you hear Democrats sanctimoniously talking about the evil of money in politics and that despicable Citizens United decision.

Politico describes how it was the right-wing media who has publicized the plight of the Yazidis and Christians who are being brutalized by ISIS. If you can stand the sight, the Daily Mail has pictures of how ISIS is executing, even crucifying, those they have captured. It's horrific - very reminiscent of the movement of the SS through Russia.

As Quin Hillyer writes, Obama's efforts to help the Yazidis is a sign of Obama's worthless humanitarianism.
Why, pray tell, are there so many thousands of beleaguered people without food or water on a mountaintop in Iraq right now, people who, Obama now says, need to be rescued by American efforts?

Because Barack Obama diddled for at least two months longer than he should have before intervening to stop the advance of the pure, unadulterated evil that is ISIS....

It’s not as if ISIS forces are hard to identify. They aren’t like the so-called “Sunni insurgents” of 2006 who hid amongst the Iraqi population, laying out IEDs and ambushing American servicemen. Instead, most of these subhuman murderers from ISIS work in the open, garbed in distinctive black, easy to spot and thus easy to target. By several weeks before June 19, their genocidal aims were clear, their barbaric methods well known, their prowess at sowing terror quite obvious. We need not have put American “ground troops” (other than limited special forces) into Iraq to have started bombing ISIS, which we should have started doing by the first third of June.

Instead, Obama stood by and watched as more territory fell to these vermin. He watched as thousands upon thousands of innocents were raped, tortured, and butchered. He watched as cultural treasures were destroyed, as Christians were slaughtered, as a patently obvious humanitarian and security crisis was unfolding right before his eyes. Still, other than to send in a very limited number of American “advisers,” Obama did next to nothing.

And now he wants to rescue the thousands from their mountaintop, while protecting American personnel as well? Well, he’s right to do so now. But he should have done so at least eight weeks ago. The people are starving on the mountain because Barack Obama allowed their homes, their towns, to be destroyed. They are there because the man who tried last night to sound like Mr. Tough Guy dithered for so many weeks like Hamlet on an endless-replay loop.

What moral clarity, pray tell, exists now that didn’t exist in June? What military advantages do we have now that we didn’t have then? (Obviously, we actually have fewer now.) What diplomatic gains have we achieved?

By all means, send in air power now. Blow ISIS to smithereens if we can. But don’t pretend as if this was a hard decision. Don’t pretend as if it’s a mark of strength. Don’t pretend as if these actions speak well of the United States or the West. They don’t. The dire circumstances in Iraq right now exist precisely because of the Obama-created American weakness.

One only wishes we had a real president, instead of a Moral Preener in Chief.
And the truly shameful truth is that the Kurds are willing to be the boots on the ground. They're willing to do the tough work, but they need the arms and we still haven't given them the arms to fight ISIS. They're reduced to using 1990s Russian arms while ISIS has American arms that they captured in their march through Iraq. They're using our weapons against our allies, but we're too pusillanimous to give those allies the help that they're begging for so that they can fight ISIS. Why are we only now just beginning to arm the Kurds, when ISIS has been on the move from the beginning of the summer?

The great Bernard Lewis sums up the results of Obama's foreign policy when asked how civilization is doing against barbarism.
“We cease, they fire.”

Even the Washington Post is derisive of President Obama's authorization of airstrikes in Iraq.

Jim Treacher sums up Obama's decision.
It’s Okay To Bomb Iraq, As Long As You’re Reluctant
CNN's Jim Acosta asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest whether ISIS is still, as President Obama said earlier this year like a JV team putting on Lakers uniforms. Obama said that wouldn't make them Kobe Bryant so they're not really up to being compared to al Qaeda. Earnest's answer is just totally incoherent.
Earnest responded, “Well, I think what is appropriate to say is that there is no question that the Laker uniforms that were worn…by the Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan, has been decimated and defeated in Afghanistan- there’s no question about that. And that is the result of the many decisions that were made by the president.”
And that answers the question how?

The Conservative Treehouse slogs through Thomas Friedman's interview of President Obama and Friedman's column writing up the interview. The conclusion: "He's merely phoning it in now." What is striking is the contrast between his rhetoric on foreign policy and domestic policy. Contrast the italicized paragraphs from Friedman's column with the contrast to politics here in the U.S.
[...] “Our politics are dysfunctional,” said the president, and we should heed the terrible divisions in the Middle East as a “warning to us: societies don’t work if political factions take maximalist positions. And the more diverse the country is, the less it can afford to take maximalist positions.”

While he blamed the rise of the Republican far right for extinguishing so many potential compromises, Obama also acknowledged that gerrymandering, the Balkanization of the news media and uncontrolled money in politics — the guts of our political system today — are sapping our ability to face big challenges together, more than any foreign enemy. “Increasingly politicians are rewarded for taking the most extreme maximalist positions,” he said, “and sooner or later, that catches up with you.”

The sanctimony is at super nova levels. In Iraq President Obama proclaims the inability of the government to reflect the concerns of the minority party are the problem and cause of the rise of extremism. Yet simultaneously demands that opposition to *HIS* agenda must stop and threatens to act on his own.

Who’s the “Maximalist” in the U.S.A ? This from a president threatening amnesty and instituting law by executive order and dictatorial fiat – despite the decrees being counter to the will of the majority.

You getting this?
[...] “I think what the Iranians have done,” said the president, “is to finally realize that a maximalist position by the Shias inside of Iraq is, over the long term, going to fail. And that’s, by the way, a broader lesson for every country: You want 100 percent, and the notion that the winner really does take all, all the spoils. Sooner or later that government’s going to break down.”
Gee, ya don’t say.

According to his own words a President that views politics as “the winner really does take all, all the spoils … sooner or later is going to break down“. Yeah, it will, kinda like a “DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT” – duh.

This, THIS, from the same President who told his opposition “elections have consequences, I WON“.

His window is actually a mirror…. Hypocrisy thy name is.

North Carolina won a victory against Eric Holder's Justice Department as a federal district court refused to block NC's voter ID law.

Charles Moore writes of the sanctimonious condemnation of Israel by British elites who don't seem to be able to raise a similar concern about those being slaughtered elsewhere in the Middle East.
So let me return to the word “disproportionate”. The whole range of moral obloquy is hurled at Israel. At the posh end is the decision by the Tricycle Theatre in north London to withdraw its traditional hospitality for the UK Jewish Film Festival because the festival is, as in the past, part-subsidised by Israel. The theatre says it “cannot be associated with any activity directly funded by a party to the [Gaza] conflict”. Why? How many arts organisations normally refuse subsidies from dictatorships, such as, say, China? Israel is not a dictatorship, and does not fund terrorists, yet its money is declared tainted.
Then we have Baroness Warsi resigning because the British Government’s “approach and language during the current crisis is [sic] morally indefensible”. Apparently she complained in Cabinet that Britain was nastier to Russia than to Israel, as if an Israeli proxy had shot down a non-combatant civilian aeroplane pursuing its usual permitted flight-path.
And then we go on downhill. Here is some Liberal Democrat MP saying how he’d like to fire rockets at Israel. There is Yvonne Ridley tweeting that an independent Scotland will be a “Zionist-free zone” (which reminded me of a National Front election manifesto in the 1980s which explained that “Patriotic Jews need have nothing to fear”). Right at the bottom of the range, we get attacks on synagogues and the repetition of blood libels against Jews.
Can there be any explanation for such disproportionate obloquy of Israel other than anti-Semitism?

Mark Steyn has fun comparing the moral outrage against Israel with the silence against ISIS.

Michael Barone pays tribute to another anniversary this week - the ascent of the Hanoverian dynasty to the English throne. By the way, if you're interested in this era of history, Barone wrote an excellent history connecting the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution, Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers, that I heartily recommend.

The Lonely Conservative notes that those "dead broke" Clintons are truly cutting back by renting a $100,000 summer home this year instead of the $200,000 rental they had last year. Gosh, times are tough.

You can check out photos of Hillary in her blue mumu and Bill in his shorts as they go slumming at their $100,000 shack in the Hamptons.

Fred Barnes contemplates what Elizabeth Warren and Barry Goldwater have in common.

This is fun. Imagine how the map of Europe might be redrawn so countries wouldn't have to be next to their peskier neighbors. Imagine how the history of Poland, for example, would have been different if it hadn't lain between Germany and Russia.