Monday, September 29, 2014

Cruising the Web

Obama has thrown his intelligence team under the bus, saying that they underestimated the rise of ISIS. However, they did warn him about ISIS. He just chose to ignore them.
Nearly eight months ago, some of President Obama’s senior intelligence officials were already warning that ISIS was on the move. In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq.

But in an interview that aired Sunday evening, the president told 60 Minutes that the rise of the group now proclaiming itself a caliphate in territory between Syria and Iraq caught the U.S. intelligence community off guard. Obama specifically blamed James Clapper, the current director of national intelligence: “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.

Reached by The Daily Beast after Obama’s interview aired, one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullsh***ing,” the former official said....

n prepared testimony before the annual House and Senate intelligence committees’ threat hearings in January and February, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the recently departed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the group would likely make a grab for land before the end of the year. ISIS “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014." Of course, the prediction wasn't exactly hard to make. By then, Flynn noted, ISIS had taken the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, and the demonstrated an “ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”
How many more people would not have been murdered or terrorized if the President had acted decisively earlier? How many women would not have been raped and enslaved? How much easier would the fight against ISIS been today if President Obama had heeded these warnings? If he truly never saw these warnings, he should be raising holy hell with his briefers.

This is a depressing statistic.
Almost 1 in 4 Americans between the ages of 25-54 (or prime working years) are not working.

"There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25–54). Nearly one-quarter of this group—28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total—is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007," writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

"Those attempting to minimize the startling figures about America’s vanishing workforce—workplace participation overall is near a four-decade low—will say an aging population is to blame. But in fact, while the workforce overall has shrunk nearly 10 million since 2009, the cohort of workers in the labor force ages 55 to 64 has actually increased over that same period, with many delaying retirement due to poor economic conditions.

It's really funny about how the Democrats keep pretending that they're being way outspent by Republicans and conservative outside groups when they're the ones who are way in the lead in campaign spending this time around. It's the only thing keeping some of them in the running.
In the 11 Senate races where independent expenditures by outside groups are a significant factor, Democrats have spent about $18 million more on aggregate than the Republicans. When it comes to negative ads, the kind Democratic candidates complain about so often, their advantage is even larger. Left-leaning groups have spent about 70 percent more on negative ads than their GOP counterparts.

Heather MacDonald explains what President Obama could have said about Ferguson if he were so inclined to pontificate on the subject before the world at the United Nations.
All the more important, then, for Obama to set the record straight. The idea that the Ferguson riots were the result of a predatory police force tantamount to sectarian murderers in the Middle East is a poisonous calumny. The threat to America’s blacks comes almost exclusively from other blacks, not from the police. Every year, thousands of African Americans are gunned down by other African Americans, with no attention from the media and local government officials. The homicide death rate for blacks in Los Angeles, for example, like in most other American cities, is ten times that for whites. It’s not whites or police officers who are gunning down black Angelenos, it’s other blacks, killing in cold blood, also at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic homicide commission combined.

This last Saturday, a 14-year-old girl was killed on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, in a drive-by gang shooting. She is the sixth homicide death in the area since a 12-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding a scooter in July. It is a virtual certainty that the perpetrators were black, like their victims. Obama and Eric Holder will have nothing to say about these homicides. In fact, the only government representatives who work day in and day out to stop the black bloodbath are police officers. But they cannot provide protection to law-abiding residents of high-crime areas without generating racially disparate police statistics—like stops and arrests—that the ACLU and the Justice Department can use against them. The only way to avoid generating such statistics would be to back off from policing in high-crime areas....

Few are the departments that don’t try to forge bonds with their communities but their officers are still met with resistance, abuse, and hatred from criminals and their associates, and from ordinary people who have been fed a steady diet of anti-police propaganda. It would have been refreshing if Holder had called on the community to cooperate with the police by providing witness testimony after shootings and other crimes. Instead, the attorney general touted his department’s effort to ensure “that everyone who comes into contact with the police is treated fairly” (emphasis in the original), implying that differential police treatment is a serious problem.

President Obama’s preposterous comparison of the Ferguson shooting to sectarian violence has done a disservice to the nation’s police forces. Such rhetoric only ensures that more young black men resist legitimate arrests and escalate police encounters into more fateful territory.
Hans von Spakovsk,y who has literally written the book on Eric Holder (and a very eye-opening book it is, lists the seven worst things Holder did as Attorney General.

Emma Watson seems more concerned about first-world problems for women than the real tyranny and violence against women around the world.
Again, this is all great, in theory. I mean, who likes violence or discrimination against women? But wait: a bunch of UN members apparently do. Iran seems to like it, as a nation that regularly stones rape victims. Sudan regularly enforces the practices of child marriage and ritual female genital mutilation. China’s official state policies encourage countless sex-selective, anti-female abortions every year. I could go on and on. The plight of many women worldwide is really quite unbelievable and sad, and it makes me feel lucky to be an American.

When I read the glowing reviews of Watson’s address to that sprawling, international body—Vanity Fair called the speech “game-changing,” People magazine called it “powerful,” and CNN called it “moving”—I was sure she let loose, unflinching, setting these countries straight regarding their supporting role in the real-world, epic oppression of women.

If you’ve been following modern feminism for a while, I don’t even need to tell you I’m joshing. While Watson, to her credit, did give a few shout-outs to actual oppression around the globe—child brides and uneducated girls in Africa, specifically, along with an admission that “not all women have received the same rights I have”—her speech was an unfortunate reflection of the “we’re all victims,” zero-sense-of-proportion mishmash that makes up modern Western feminism.

If you don’t believe me, here is what Emma Watson, Hollywood actress, actually complained about before a body of 192 member states, some which have more terrifying dictatorships than others: 1. She was called “bossy” as a child; 2. She was sexualized by the media as a young movie star; 3. Many of her girlfriends quit their sports teams because they didn’t want to grow muscles; 4. Many of her teenage male friends, being teenage males, were unable to express their feelings.

Remember how Beyonce had that “FEMINIST” sign behind her at the MTV Video Music Awards? At times, I’m sorry to say, Watson kind of needed a giant “FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS” sign behind her at this UN speech. “I think it is right that I am paid the same as my male counterparts,” Watson continued. “I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.” (Here, of course, was a bout of wild applause.) “I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life.” (Good thing all women think the same!)

“But, sadly,” Watson continued, “I can say there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights.” This line, while patently absurd, was also actually quite genius, as it made everyone at the UN feel pretty darn good about themselves. I personally picture Kim Jung Un in his weird little suit, stray donut crumbs on his face, looking around and thinking, “Hey, nobody’s done it! We can’t feel that bad!”
Yeah, a real game-changer.

This is how sexual violence has been defined down. At the University of Michigan sexual violence has a very broad definition including "discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex" or "criticizing the partner sexually" or "withholding sex and affection." The definition of sexual violence now includes any sort of boorish behavior.

Apparently, the Democrats' phony complaints about a Republican war on women aren't going over so well in Colorado.

Just as Republicans warned, Obamacare spending is way ahead of any of the administration's predictions.

How can the police say that the motives of the guy who beheaded a woman in Oklahoma had noting to do with Islam. Did they even check out his Facebook page where he had pictures and posts admiring Osama bin Laden and ISIS?> I guess the police were just following the model of the Obama administration who labeled the murders at Fort Hood as workplace violence.

Sean Trende presents a very interesting analysis of what we can and cannot infer from the poll results at this point in the Senate races.

Well, this certainly isn't an argument for Rick Perry's possible run for the nomination.
Nearly $222 million given by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s job-creating fund was given to those who never applied.
The whole reason to elect a governor is because he or she would presumably have experience running something bigger than a campaign committee or a senatorial office, but not if the governor didn't demonstrate suitable oversight of one of his big initiatives. We've had enough of that already.

The real JV team is the bunch of people Obama now has on his national security team.
n retrospect, it is clear, the first Obama term—when Gates was at Defense (followed by Panetta), Panetta at CIA (followed by General David Petraeus), Hillary Clinton at State, Admiral Mike Mullen at the Joint Chiefs, and retired General Jim Jones at the National Security Council—was a golden age (by Obama standards) when there were grown-ups more or less in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Obama at first tended to accede to the advice of his more seasoned foreign policy hands because as a first-term senator he was acutely aware of his own lack of experience or credibility in the field. Thus, he delayed his Iraq pullout, maintaining 50,000 troops there until nearly the end of 2011; he tripled troop numbers in Afghanistan to pursue a more robust strategy against the Taliban; and he continued most of George W. Bush’s second-term counterterrorist policies while actually increasing the number of drone strikes in Pakistan. Even then, Obama’s caution often intruded in ways that undercut his stated goals: For example, he insisted on an 18-month timeline on the Afghanistan surge, which Gates, Clinton, Petraeus (then at Central Command), and others accepted only reluctantly as the price of having a surge at all. But, however reluctantly, Obama acted more toughly during his first two years in office than his campaign rhetoric would have predicted.

Ah, for those good ol’ days. Today, by contrast, U.S. foreign policy is shaped by Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Susan Rice, and John Brennan, among others, with deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes the most frequently quoted spokesman. It tells you something that the most hawkish of the lot is Kerry, but he has dissipated much energy and credibility in futile efforts to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. His major achievement to date is to broker a power-sharing accord in Afghanistan between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah that may or may not hold together.

Still, it’s hard to be too harsh on Kerry or any of the other cabinet members when clearly the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy is the president himself. Obama suffers from the not uncommon defect of the intellectually able: He imagines that he is always the smartest guy in the room and thus has trouble taking advice that does not accord with his own predilections.

The Washington Post needs to do better fact-checking of itself.

Barack Obama sure thinks well of himself.

This is funny. Apparently, a lot of famous novelists don't consider themselves as inserting much symbolism into their works. That would be a real blow to English teachers everywhere.