Monday, September 15, 2014

Cruising the Web

President Obama sure does sound whiny about how tough his job is and how unfair it is that people criticize him. John Hinderaker comments on a NYT story on Obama's decision-making on attacking ISIS,
Obama is “reluctant to decide” because “deciding often forces you into a more one-sided position than you’re comfortable with.” Of course it does! Before you decide, you can ponder the pros and cons, the one hand and the other hand, the various shades of gray, and leave it at that.

But when you decide, you have to choose: to go to war; to bomb; to take a side; to incur casualties; to face the consequences. When a president makes hard choices that involve life and death, in all likelihood he will be “force[d] into a more one-sided position than [he is] comfortable with.” It is always more comfortable to stay on the fence. But making tough decisions, knowing that there are pros and cons, that every course is perilous, and that the consequences of any decision will be mixed, is what we have presidents for. After nearly six years, Barack Obama still doesn’t seem to understand that.
Examining pros and cons without making a decision is something that a professor or a senator can do; a president doesn't have the luxury of ambivalence. If Obama hadn't wanted to have to make tough choices, he shouldn't have run for the office in the first place.

Meanwhile, Richard Epstein explains why Obama is so ambivalent about committing American military forces to fighting ISIS.
The Obama personal hesitation stems, unfortunately, from reasons unrelated to the military and political issues. Part of his problem is that he cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he was wrong to oppose the Iraqi surge in 2006, and wrong to pull out American troops from Iraq as President. A strong president learns from his past mistakes, but Obama does not.

One reason for his dogged persistence lies in his flawed world view, which deep down, regards the United States (and Israel) as akin to colonial powers, whose actions should always be examined under a presumption of distrust. His ingrained uneasiness with the values of western civilization makes it impossible for him to think and act as the leader of a western nation. Instead, he much prefers to regard himself as a nonpartisan critic and a bystander to world affairs. He has no firm conviction in the rightness of his cause, and hence no confidence in his ability to get others to act as perils mount.

President Obama draws another red line for Syria.

Just in case, you were deceived into thinking that Hillary might not run for the presidency, think again.

Ben Shapiro offers much evidence for why Republicans should forget about playing nice with Democrats.

How odd. New York Democrats coordinated with an activist to get a letter printed in the local paper questioning the romantic history of the Republican candidate, a 30-year old single woman, for the House seat in New York's congressional district.

San Francisco liberals want to make okay for female babies to be aborted. Why is this even an issue?
I don't support a legal ban on the practice. For one thing, women simply can lie about why they want an abortion; there really is no way to enforce such a law. China has outlawed sex-selective abortions -- which proves bans don't work.

Still, I do not understand why Chiu would make this an issue. Yes, California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove introduced a bill to ban sex-selective abortions, but it died in its first committee by a 13-6 vote in May.

Grove notes that China, India, Australia and the United Kingdom have outlawed sex-selective abortions. "Are all these countries' laws motivated by racism?"

....So why go out of your way to defend a practice that in Asia alone, Hvistendahl reported, has eliminated more women than the entire female population of the United States? Puri talked to immigrant women who had aborted girls because their husband or mother-in-law wanted a male heir. Some feared a daughter eventually would grow up to bring shame on the families. Women who delivered girls were subject to verbal and physical abuse.

Civil rights activists who rightly look at genocide with horror nonetheless suggest that San Francisco take a step back from condemning wholesale femicide. Soon San Franciscans will find out whether City Hall is so afraid of offending politically active Asian women's groups that it dismisses as racism any effort to curb a practice that aborts millions of little girls.

This is what Democratic policies have done to our competitiveness.
With the developed world's highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.

With the developed world's highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.

Ah, the hypocrisy of Harry Reid. Matthew Continetti explains the efforts of Senate Democrats to hand political speech over to the control of two unelected entities, the FEC and the IRS. And we have so many reasons to trust the IRS in politics, don't we?
Special interest money and super-wealthy individuals are two of the most prominent features of today’s bourgeois liberalism. The unions, the foundations, the colleges, the liberal-leaning or rent-seeking corporations, the residents of Manhattan and Silicon Valley and Beverly Hills and Ward 3, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Tom Steyer, Marc Lasry, Steve Mostyn, Michael Bloomberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chris Hughes—these groups, these men, they are not misshapen appendages of the Democratic Party. They are its innards. Its guts.

Indeed, one of the reasons that Reid scheduled a vote on a measure that was sure to be defeated was, in the first place, to curry favor with, and solicit checks from, rich donors to progressive causes who have a sentimental and moralistic aversion to money in politics. It is part of Reid’s plan to smear Republican candidates as instruments of the wealthy brothers Charles and David Koch, and thereby prevent a GOP takeover of the Senate.

From a financial standpoint, Reid’s strategy is working. His Senate Majority PAC, which does not disclose its donors, has run more advertisements than the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity, and has spent almost as much money. The fundraising of Democratic Senate candidates is competitive with that of their Republican counterparts. The top three individual contributors to federal elections this cycle are Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg and Fred Eychaner. They are not Republicans. The day that Reid opened debate over the Udall amendment, the DCCC issued a fundraising appeal tied to the vote. Ironic.

The scale of the progressive infrastructure is staggering. It is coordinated and funded by the Democracy Alliance, a secretive group of millionaires and billionaires that plots strategy and giving at meetings in fancy resorts. Documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveal that there are at least 172 groups inside the Democracy Alliance network. “113 of them have attacked us,” Koch Industries general counsel Mark Holden said recently, noting that far fewer groups—31—make up Koch world. The Kochs may spend up to $290 million in the 2014 election. Sounds like a lot. But Holden says the progressives may spend “somewhere in the ballpark” of $2.2 billion.

These numbers make clear that the goal of Reid and Udall is not to expunge money from politics. Their goal is to expunge conservative money from politics—money that could be used against incumbents, money that could be used against them, money that could be used to organize and promote alternatives to the Hegelian god-state coming into being before our eyes. Their goal is no less than a silent coup, a renegotiation of the American social contract and the structure of the constitutional order, performed outside the public’s notice and without the public’s direct consent.

The Udall amendment subverts freedom in two ways. First, by exempting media from regulation, the government would determine who or what “the media” are. Certified institutions would become the few remaining outlets for free expression. Perhaps you have noticed that the press tends to favor a certain ideological standpoint. In a post-Udall world, the influence of press barons such as Buffett and Bloomberg and Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim would increase. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine would silence conservatives further.

There is only one Rupert Murdoch. If someone of like mind as the Koch brothers tried to build a press operation of their own, we know what would happen. The liberal media would revolt.

Second, by endowing governments with the power to ban anonymous political giving, the Udall amendment would usher in an era of witch-hunts and public shaming, with the media using their new powers to condemn and malign and stigmatize and penalize the advocates of unfashionable causes.
Kevin Williams has a very good column on the Democrats' efforts across the country to try to criminalize freedom of speech for conservatives. He concludes,
The same Texas prosecutor behind the indictments of Governor Perry and Mr. Hall was also behind the indictments of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay, both of which ultimately were laughed out of court. The point of these indictments is not to obtain convictions; the prosecutor did not even present a case against Senator Hutchison when the matter came to trial. And the point of the Ohio Inquisition was never to achieve a legal victory against the Susan B. Anthony List: The point was to bully the group, and the billboard company, into remaining silent and forgoing criticism of Democratic candidates. In that, the censors were successful: SBA List won in court, but those billboards never went up.

Likewise, the point of indicting Governor Perry and Mr. Hall is not to send either man to jail, but to harass them, to bully them, to bankrupt them if possible, and to keep them from functioning as effective critics of entrenched Democratic political interests.

The only thing stopping federal authorities from suffocating free speech — not only by independent groups such as the SBA List, but by individuals, trade groups, National Review, and the New York Times — is the First Amendment.

And Harry Reid wants to gut it. Figure out why that is and you’ll know everything you need to know about the Democratic party, which with each passing day functions less and less like a political party and more like a crime syndicate.

This is how Hillary Clinton develops her position on issues - she spent the summer in the Hamptons talking to the wealthy about how to talk about income inequality.

P.J. O'Rourke has fun contemplating "what a glorious catastrophe" Scottish independence would be.

But of course - the White House coordinated with the Department of Labor to hide information from the FBI about Hilda Solis's breaking the law by illegally campaigning for Democrats.

So this is what happens when universities try to write rules that make sure that there will be no sexual assault. At Ohio State University, both partners must agree “regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place.” Why? That should be an interesting discussion. Read Jazz Shaw's post to see how ridiculous this has gotten at OSU.

Could Mark Sanford make himself any more unappealing? Now he's taken to Facebook to announce that he's breaking up with the fiancée for whom he broke up his marriage and threw away his position as governor. I guess a guy can be a jerk on Facebook when he's running unopposed for Congress.