Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cruising the Web

Patrick Poole writes that the Iranian cleric who took the Sydney cafe hostage was more than a "lone wolf." He was a "known wolf." He was someone who was well-known to Australian authorities from his prior actions.
orn Manteghi Bourjerdi, Monis fled Iran for Australia in 1996 and thereafter had multiple run-ins with the law. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman while working as a “spiritual healer” in 2002, and was also charged as an accessory when his ex-wife was stabbed to death by his girlfriend last year.

He had written despicable letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, calling one soldier a “child killer.” That led to a conviction for sending “offensive and deplorable letters.” An appeal attempt on Friday was unsuccessful, a development that may have prompted the hostage incident.
Quite a few of past terrorist actions that the authorities here talk about as the result of actions by a "lone wolf," actually involve individuals whom authorities knew about and who were connected with some terrorist group. If our counter-terrorism experts don't recognize that pattern, then they will continue to be unable to act against such attacks. We should be having a much tougher discussion on how to deal with individuals whom the authorities know about. For example, the gunman in Sydney was a political refugee from Iran, having arrived in 1996, but having been in trouble with the law in several troubling incidents. Perhaps, Australia needs to discuss if there are any actions in which a refugee's welcome can be retracted and he can be sent back to Iran.

Unless we figure out what to do with such "known wolves," as Robert Tracinski warns, we can expect such copycat attacks to come to a Starbucks near us.

James Taranto notes how we are already hearing how we must have empathy for the Sydney gunman because "he must have loved ones, too." Except he was indicted for helping to murder his ex-wife. Maybe we can ask Hillary how we should best have empathy for him.

Apparently, some on social media are more upset about Uber recognizing supply and demand than they are about a gunman holding up Islamic slogans and taking people in a Sydney cafe hostage.

One last gift from Harry Reid to President Obama - confirmation of several woefully unqualified Obama nominees.

It's not clear whether or not the Ted Cruz/Mike Lee tactic to force debate on immigration cleared the way for Harry Reid to push through more Obama nominations. To believe that is to believe that Reid would not have brought up the nominations anyway and if enough lame-duck Democratic senators would have stuck around town for a few more days to vote in those nominees. I would guess they would have, but who knows. But the Cruz/Lee plan was always doomed to failure. It was purely symbolic. Enough with the symbolism. Let's not have any more of these fruitless, doomed maneuvers simply to make symbolic points. That is not how things are accomplished in our system.

Elizabeth Warren insists that she is not running for president, but she refuses to go beyond using the present tense in her assertions. So there is still hope for all those who are Ready for Warren. As Guy Benson notes, Warren is now 67 so this is probably her last opportunity to run for president if that is her desire. David Harsanyi persuasively argues that Warren is now smack in the center of the modern Democratic Party.
Her hard-left economics—what the press quixotically refers to as “economic populism”—propels today’s liberal argument. It’s the default position of nearly every grassroots constituency on the Left. The center of the Democrats’ agenda. This isn’t just reflected in the embrace of class struggle (“inequality”) but a slow warming to socialistic ideas (and I’m not throwing the word in as invective; I mean it in the most literal way). Right now, few if any politicians are better than Warren at stoking the anxiety that makes that work.
And Hillary Clinton is a more vulnerable candidate than many think. Her big selling points are her husband and the Democrats' fondness for him. People generally like her background of having been on the political scene since 1992. People respect that she was Secretary of State and a senator, but will that popularity remain when people realize that she accomplished little in those positions and is now responsible for many unsuccessful foreign actions of the Obama administration.

National Journal explains how Rand Paul became a Chamber of Commerce Republican.

The New Criterion ponders the state of feminism today when we have women getting hysterical about the shirt worn by an astrophysicist who led the effort to successfully land the Rosetta spacecraft on a comet or for Larry Summers who lost his job as president of Harvard because he speculated on why there are not more women scientists at elite universities.
Why is it acceptable for celebrities or other certified feminist icons to prance around in pornographic splendor when men are expected to behave with Mrs. Grundyesque rectitude? And why is the former “empowering” while any deviation from the latter is “sexist”? Why is it that these self-appointed moral guardians and professional feminists are always looking for a whipping post? Why don’t they just get on with their work: do something to command admiration rather than screaming murder at every unsanctioned statement? Look just beyond America’s horizons—there one can surely find women who deserve the defense of an angry horde. How about the women in Egypt, for example, where more than 90 percent over age fifteen are subjected to the barbaric practice of genital mutilation?

The case of Dr. Taylor’s shirt may seem like little more than a bad joke. In fact, it is something more sinister. It is a vivid example of what happens when a self-enfranchised politically correct cadre sets about quashing freedom and eccentricity in the name of an always-evolving sensitivity. The goal, as one wag put it, is a testosterone-free society in which everything that is not mandatory is prohibited. Which is why the Rose Eveleths and Nancy Hopkinses of the world are victimizers, not victims, and their brand of feminism is an atavistic, tribal ideology as harmful to women as it is to men.

Jonah Goldberg has his own nominee for Person of the Year - Jonathan Gruber.
He represents the arrogance of the expert class writ large. They create systems, terms and rules that no normal person on the outside can possibly penetrate. They make life and living more complicated and then get rich and powerful off of their ability to navigate that complexity. Time and again they sell simplicity and security and deliver more complications and insecurity, which in turn creates demand for more experts promising simplicity and security the Gruberians never deliver.

It's not that Americans are stupid, it's that the experts have been geniuses at creating a system that makes normal people feel stupid.

Debra Saunders is not impressed with Hollywood's righteous indignation, represented by an Aaron Sorkin column in the NYT, about the media reporting stories based on the Sony hacks.
There is something precious about Sorkin's outrage toward the Sony leaks. Sorkin notes that the Guardians of Peace have threatened Sony families. OK, the same can be said of a spate of national security leaks, which threaten to expose U.S. intelligence assets abroad.

It says something about this country's lack of seriousness that the Hollywood left can applaud hackers who purloin sensitive national security information but can find outrage after leaked emails reveal that Hollywood honchos -- as opposed to tea party activists -- can be racially insensitive. CNN's Don Lemon confessed that he is "torn" about the Sony story. Lemon asked, "Do you want people gaining information that way?" How else does Lemon think this happens?

Sorry. It's hard to hit the brakes on the leak culture when it has run over so many nameless public servants in the intelligence community.

Jonathan Turley writes on how college campuses have been so cowed that they have lost any pretense at supporting reasoned debate.

Nope. Carl Levin is not Mr. Integrity.

Suddenly, gray hair is the new black. Who knew how cool I actually was?