Friday, September 19, 2014

Cruising the Web

Congratulations to the Scots for rejecting the siren call of separating from the UK in order to attempt to become a Scandinavian socialist-style state. And pollsters have demonstrated their uselessness, at least for this issue.

The Democrats chose Debbie Wasserman Schultz mostly because she's a woman and now they're reaping the results of putting this strident mediocrity in as the DNC Chairwoman. Politico's piece on how even the Democrats are tired of her demonstrates how particularly atrocious she is. The only reason she hangs on is because she's a woman.
The stakes are high. Wasserman Schultz is a high-profile national figure who helped raise millions of dollars and served as a Democratic messenger to female voters during a presidential election in which Obama needed to exploit the gender gap to win, but November’s already difficult midterms are looming.

One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe.

In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.) One more time, according to independent sources with direct knowledge of the conversations, she tried again, asking for the DNC to buy clothing for the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Even Obama can't stand her, but didn't want the optics of getting rid of a female head of the party while the Democrats' main message is that it is the Republicans who waging war on women.

But the actual war on women is getting very little notice.
The Islamic State's (IS) fighters are committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale: For example, the United Nations last month estimated that IS has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls, and boys into sexual slavery. Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that IS abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women's rights activists reported multiple incidents of IS fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul's women.

IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare.

Why isn't this crime against humanity getting more consistent attention in the West? It seems this society-destroying mass sexual violence is merely part of the laundry list for decrying IS behavior. Compare this to IS's recent spate of execution videos, and the industrial scale of the group's sexual assaults seems to fade into the background. Rarely do they seem to be the focal point of politicians' remarks, intelligence assessments, or justification for counterterrorism actions against the group.
Of course, the UN has to focus on condemning Israel and can't be bothered by mass rapes and enslavement.

If Obama fantasizes about advising ISIS that beheading Americans and uploading the video would not be a smart choice, Charles Krauthammer can put forth his own analysis of why ISIS would do such a thing.
Because they’re sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.

They count on Barack Obama quitting the Iraq/Syria campaign just as he quit Iraq and Libya in 2011 and is in the process of leaving Afghanistan now. And this goes beyond Obama. They see a post-9/11 pattern: America experiences shock and outrage and demands action. Then, seeing no quick resolution, it tires and seeks out leaders who will order the retreat. In Obama, they found the quintessential such leader.

As for the short run, the Islamic State knows it will be pounded from the air. But it deems that price worth paying, given its gains in propaganda and prestige — translated into renown and recruiting — from these public executions.

Understanding this requires an adjustment to our thinking. A common mantra is that American cruelty — Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, “torture,” the Iraq war itself — is the great jihadist recruiting tool. But leaving Iraq, closing Abu Ghraib and prohibiting “enhanced interrogation” had zero effect on recruiting. In fact, jihadi cadres from Mali to Mosul have only swelled during Obama’s outstretched-hand presidency.

Turns out the Islamic State’s best recruiting tool is indeed savagery — its own. Deliberate, defiant, triumphant. The beheadings are not just a magnet for psychopaths around the world. They are choreographed demonstrations of its unbounded determination and of American helplessness. In Osama bin Laden’s famous formulation, who is the “strong horse” now?

We tend to forget that at this stage in its career, the Islamic State’s principal fight is intramural. It seeks to supersede and supplant its jihadi rivals — from al-Qaeda in Pakistan, to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, to the various franchises throughout North Africa — to emerge as champion of the one true jihad.

The strategy is simple: Draw in the world’s great superpower, create the ultimate foil and thus instantly achieve supreme stature in radical Islam as America’s nemesis.
Apparently, no one in the administration can understand this and let Obama in on what's going on.

Glenn Reynolds writes, "THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, OFFICIOUS BUREAUCRATS WOULD BE PRYING INTO PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES. AND THEY WERE RIGHT!" Unbelievable that Clemson University in South Carolina would even consider this, but after national ridicule, they've suspended the mandatory online program that asked intrusive questions about the students' sexual history.

Peggy Noonan examines the President's very poor judgment.
Mr. Obama can see the trees, name their genus and species, judge their age and describe their color. He absorbs data. But he consistently misses the shape, size and density of the forest. His recitations of data are really a faux sophistication that suggests command of the subject but misses the heart of the matter.

You can run down the list. His famous "red line" comment was poor judgment. He shouldn't have put himself or his country in that position, threatening action if a foreign leader did something. He misjudged the indelible impression his crawl-back would make on the world.

Last month it was the "I don't have a strategy" statement on the Islamic State. That's not something an American president attempting to rouse the public and impress the world can say. But he didn't know.

ObamaCare top to bottom was poor judgment. It shouldn't have been the central domestic effort of his presidency, that should have been the economy and jobs. He thought his bill could go forward without making Republicans co-own it, thought it would be clever to let Congress write it, thought an overextended and undertalented federal government could execute it. He thought those who told him the website would work were truthful, when he should have been smoking out agendas, incompetence and yes-sir-ism. He shouldn't have said if you like your doctor you can keep him. That was his domestic red-line comment. It was a product of poor judgment.
The list goes on and on. But, but I thought he was supposed to be the smartest man ever to be elected president.

Forbes notes that Obamacare will stop its next open enrollment period in two months, conveniently scheduled for a week after election day and "it will be awful."

Guy Benson reminds us of the VA scandal and the news that it actually did contribute to patients' deaths.

The WSJ reminds us of some wise words from Thomas Sowell.
From economist Thomas Sowell's "The Vision of the Anointed" (1995):

Among the many other questions raised by the nebulous concept of "greed" is why it is a term applied almost exclusively to those who want to earn more money or to keep what they have already earned—never to those wanting to take other people's money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispensed from such taxation. No amount of taxation is ever described by the anointed as "greed" on the part of government or the clientele of government. . . .

Families who wish to be independent financially and to make their own decisions about their lives are of little interest or use to those who are seeking to impose their superior wisdom and virtue on other people. Earning their own money makes these families unlikely candidates for third-party direction and wishing to retain what they have earned threatens to deprive the anointed of the money needed to distribute as largess to others who would thus become subject to their direction. In these circumstances, it is understandable why the desire to increase and retain one's own earnings should be characterized negatively as "greed," while wishing to live at the expense of others is not.

Apparently, having become a star through American Idol isn't enough to help Clay Aiken taking on a Republican incumbent in a Republican gerrymandered congressional district.

Ah, typical. The NYT leaves a book off its best-sellers list because its author has the last name of Limbaugh and it's a book about Jesus. Who cares that people are actually buying it?

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