Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cruising the Web

Byron York ponders why Obama backed down on Cuba's political prisoners. Count it up as yet another campaign promise he has broken. When he campaigned in 2008 in Miami, he promised that the U.S. should continue the embargo against Cuba only if Cuba took certain actions.
If you take significant steps towards democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations.
Now, he doesn't seem to care about those political prisoners all being freed now or any significant steps towards democracy. Estimates are that there are over 8,000 political prisoners today in Cuba.
So Obama settled for very little of his demand that Cuba release all its political prisoners before normalization could even begin. And just to underscore the point, Cuban President Raul Castro made a defiant speech Saturday telling Obama and the United States they can forget about making Cuba into a different place. "Every country has the inalienable right to choose its own political systems," Castro said, according to an account in the New York Times. "No one should believe that improving relations with the United States means Cuba renouncing its ideas."

That doesn't sound like a Cuban leader who plans to make many changes in exchange for greater U.S. recognition. And it appears the White House really isn't expecting much, at least when it comes to the formerly critical issue of political prisoners.

On Thursday, a reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest, "When the Castro government starts rounding up political prisoners again, do you have to re-examine what — " At that moment, Earnest cut the reporter off. "They've been doing that for more than 50 years," he said of the Cuban government. "And we're going to continue to use this openness and this engagement to focus pressure on the Castro regime, to live up — or at least to respect if not protect the basic fundamental human and political rights that this country has long championed."

It was not exactly the picture of a White House determined to make Cuba release its political prisoners in exchange for the beginning of normalization. That's just not what's going on — no matter what candidate Barack Obama said way back in 2008.

Charlotte Allen lists her choices for the top 10 feminist fiascoes of 2014. It's quite a list.

Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton, explains how Jeb Bush can win.

John Hawkins has the results of his poll of who are the most admired and disliked people on the right. Check them out.

matthew Hennesey describes the context for this weekend's murder of two policemen.
An institution can absorb only so much slander. Are the cops overly sensitive to criticism? If so, they have good reason: like officers Liu and Ramos, they put their lives on the line every day. They go to work every morning knowing that this could be the day they don’t come home. Not many of us can say that we understand what that feels like. Certainly, few of the angry undergraduates and middle-class trustafarians shutting down freeways and lying down in the middle of Grand Central know anything about it.

Bill de Blasio’s New York is an upside-down world, where a police force responsible for transforming a crime-plagued metropolis into the safest big city in America can be openly defamed

Howard Kurtz is struck by what powder puff questions President Obama got at his press conference last week. Why should that press conference have been different?

Kevin Williamson describes the state of anxiety that American college students must be enduring.
It is difficult to say which would be worse: if the nation were really so populated by fragile twentysomething toddlers so mentally brittle and incurably neurotic that the deployment of a perfectly good verb could send them over the edge into some sort of 1980s concept-album psychic crisis or if instead (and as I expect) all this hysterical insistence upon their emotional vulnerability were simply a passive-aggressive means of exercising control over what is said and thought, over how schools are administered, etc., with the people crying about “trigger alerts” acting simultaneously as hostages and hostage-takers....

The same people who are forever insisting that we need to have “an honest, open dialogue” about this, that, and the other are at the same time working tirelessly to ensure that we cannot have an open, honest dialogue about anything at all: no jokes about brutal and homicidal dictators, no open discussions of criminal law, no Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — not without a warning label. All of this is an invitation to mockery, assuming we have permission to mock from Dear Leader.

It's rather amazing how so many liberals have a more positive attitude toward the Castro brothers than they do to the Koch brothers.

Six Obama quotes that demonstrate why he really needs his Hawaii vacation.

So Carly Fiorina is thinking of running in 2016. Why, with all the possible candidates out there, would Republicans want someone with no experience in elected office at all and a rather spotty record as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard? That's the same objection I have to Ben Carson. Run and work in government for a bit before running for the top job. 2014 proved that a Republican could win the governorship in Maryland. But that Maryland Republican was not Ben Carson. He wants to step into the White House as an entry-level position. We've only ever done that with generals in our nation's history. And neither of these people are any Eisenhower or Washington. They're not even a Ulysses Grant.

National Journal posits the real reason progressives are pushing Elizabeth Warren to run for president is not to replace Hillary, but to push Hillary to the left.

Apparently, one IRS operative wanted block conservative groups that were thought to be "icky." I guess that is the legal term of art these days.

Ah, so Scrooge was a liberal.