Friday, February 13, 2015

Cruising the Web

The President filming himself with a Selfie Stick? Really? I'm with the Washington Post which ranked the video with a ranking of the Most Diminishing Moments of Obama's Buzzfeed video. I would have put the Selfie Stick at number one, but the obnoxious wink and tongue are also distressing lows in the history of the presidency. Is this sort of thing really what young people need to make their decisions about health insurance. And the juxtaposition of filming this as Yemen implodes while the State Department ordered U.S. Marines to retreat and destroy their weapons while we confirm the murder of an Kayla Meuller is not becoming to a man who gave an interview to a youtube star famed for her green lips and drinks cereal from a bathtub.

Charles Krauthammer nails what is wrong with President Obama's approach to all the international crises around the world.
His secretary of defense says, “The world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, a country cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism.

Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity.

Not to worry, says his national security adviser: This is not World War II. As if one should be reassured because the current chaos has yet to achieve the level of the most devastating conflict in human history. Indeed, insists the president, the real source of our metastasizing anxiety is . . . the news media.

Russia pushes deep into eastern Ukraine. The Islamic State burns to death a Jordanian pilot. Iran extends its hegemony over four Arab capitals — Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sanaa.

And America watches. Obama calls the policy “strategic patience.” That’s a synonym for “inaction,” made to sound profoundly “strategic.”

Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour news conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors.

How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. “I think the Ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them,” said Obama at the news conference.

Indeed. And don’t forget the blankets. America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet.

Why no antitank and other defensive weapons? Because we are afraid that arming the victim of aggression will anger the aggressor.

Such on-the-ground appeasement goes well with the linguistic appeasement whereby Obama dares not call radical Islam by name. And whereby both the White House and State Department spend much of a day insisting that the attack on the kosher grocery in Paris had nothing to do with Jews. It was just, as the president said, someone “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli.” (By the end of the day, the administration backed off this idiocy. By tweet.)
So what accounts for the President's attitude?
This passivity — strategic, syntactical, ideological — is more than just a reaction to the perceived overreach of the Bush years. Or a fear of failure. Or bowing to the domestic left. It is, above all, rooted in Obama’s deep belief that we — America, Christians, the West — lack the moral authority to engage, to project, i.e., to lead.

Before we condemn the atrocities of others, intoned Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, we shouldn’t “get on our high horse.” We should acknowledge having authored the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, etc. “in the name of Christ.”

In a rare rhetorical feat, Obama managed to combine the banal and the repulsive. After all, is it really a revelation that all religions have transgressed, that man is fallen? To the adolescent Columbia undergrad, that’s a profundity. To a roomful of faith leaders, that’s an insult to one’s intelligence.

And in deeply bad taste. A coalition POW is burned alive and the reaction of the alliance leader barely 48 hours later is essentially: “Hey, but what about Joan of Arc?”

The conclusion to this patronizing little riff — a gratuitous and bizarre attack on India as an example of religious intolerance — received less attention than it merited. India? Our largest and most strategically promising democratic ally — and the most successful multiethnic, multilingual, multiconfessional country on the planet? (Compare India to, oh, its colonial twin, Pakistan.)

There is, however, nothing really new in Obama’s selective condemnation of America and its democratic allies. It is just a reprise of the theme of his post-inauguration 2009 confessional world tour. From Strasbourg to Cairo and the U.N. General Assembly, he indicted his own country, as I chronicled at the time, “for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.”

The purpose and the effect of such an indictment is to undermine any moral claim to American world leadership. The line between the Washington prayer breakfast and the Ukrainian grief counselors is direct and causal. Once you’ve discounted your own moral authority, once you’ve undermined your own country’s moral self-confidence, you cannot lead.

If, during the very week Islamic supremacists achieve “peak barbarism” with the immolation of a helpless prisoner, you cannot take them on without apologizing for sins committed a thousand years ago, you have prepared the ground for strategic paralysis.

All that’s left is to call it strategic patience.
James Taranto ponders "The Hazing of Scott Walker" and Walker's dodge on evolution saying that it isn't "a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other."
That prompted incoherent outrage from National Journal’s Ron Fournier. “Nobody who wants to be taken seriously for the presidency can duck a question like, ‘Do you believe in evolution[?]’ ” he wrote, using “can” to mean “should be able to.”

Why not? On that question, Fournier is a bit confused. On the one hand, he describes it as a political question of the utmost seriousness: “As a leader, Walker has a responsibility to explain to his supporters that evolution is fact and it’s not necessarily a contradiction of their religious faiths.” That’s just bunk: In a secular republic, it is decidedly not the responsibility of politicians to make authoritative pronouncements on theological questions. And the statement “evolution is fact” is more or less equivalent to “I believe in evolution.” It reflects such a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of science that it does not even rise to the level of falsehood.

On the other hand, Fournier acknowledges with a wink the question’s silliness: “There are virtually no questions that are out of bounds for a presidential candidate. Think of a campaign as a lengthy interview for a job with 300 million bosses, each with a singular set of standards for making a decision. What might be a stupid question to 99 percent of votes [sic] (‘Boxers or briefs?’) might matter to somebody.”
Yes, Scott Walker should be better prepared for such silly gotcha questions. He clearly recognized the question for what it was by his dodge. But he'll need to do better in the future since that is how the media like to interview Republicans.

Kevin Williamson traces the evolution of liberal media tactics in attacking conservative politicans.
When someone asks a politician whether he “believes in” evolution, he is not asking for a scientific opinion. If you want a scientific opinion, you ask a scientist, not a politician. What is instead being sought with that question is one of two things: 1) a profession of faith, not in science but in the half-informed worldview of the “I F******g Love Science,” Neil deGrasse Tyson–meme-affirming, enjoying-scientific-prestige-by-proxy crowd, or 2) a shameful public confession that one is a knuckle-dragging science “denier” who believes that the fossil record is a conspiracy of archeologists who get up in the morning and go to bed at night fuming about how much they hate the Baby Jesus. It is a purely political and rhetorical exercise.

The relevant scholars in the field do not “believe in” evolution, any more than a physicist “believes in” the proposition that objects subject to earth’s gravity accelerate toward the pavement at 9.8 meters per second squared — they know. As an intellectual matter, Scott Walker’s proclaiming that he “believes in” evolution would be precisely as meaningful as his proclaiming that he doesn’t “believe in” evolution — he has little or no relevant knowledge about the subject, and his choosing the right answer would be as intellectually significant as a chicken playing tic-tac-toe or infinite monkeys banging out Shakespearean sonnets on infinite typewriters. This is obvious if you ask a similar question about a field that doesn’t carry a similar pop-culture charge: Does Harry Reid believe that Ezra Pound’s contributions to The Waste-Land were in fact so profound and meaningful that he should be considered something like the coauthor of the poem? Who knows? I’d be surprised if he’d read The Waste-Land.

There are some boobs out there — some of them in the Republican party — who would, if entrusted with the awesome powers of the presidency, attempt to use those powers to strong-arm high-school biology teachers in Poughkeepsie into including the Genesis account of creation as part of their science curricula. If you want to know whether Scott Walker is one of them — or whether as president he’d insist that NASA use a pre-Copernican model of the solar system the next time it launches a Mars probe — then ask that question. Walker hasn’t given any indication that he is in fact such a politician, but if it sets anxious minds at ease, then, by all means, make the relevant inquiry.
Jonah Goldberg notes the double standard and proposes an answer for other Republicans who will surely be asked similar questions.
When Barack Obama was asked when life begins, he responded that such questions are above his pay grade, even though a president is in fact paid to make myriad decisions which hinge on precisely that question. But liberal politicians are allowed such dodges precisely because liberal journalists know what the politician really believes. Indeed, as a state legislator, Obama fought against a law that would have offered protections to babies accidentally born alive after an attempted abortion. That may not tell you where Obama thinks life begins, but it does tell you where Obama thinks it doesn’t.

Heck, we now know that Obama lied about opposing gay marriage on religious grounds, or at least that’s what David Axelrod, his most trusted aide, says in his new book. Obama is forgiven by his admirers in the press and elsewhere on the left because they never believed that he opposed gay marriage in the first place and understood that he had to say he did to get elected. Noble lies for me, cynicism for thee.

Politicians have to deal with the press and the electorate as it is, and that means they have to answer bad-faith questions about their faith. Whether they lie is ultimately up to them. Whether they get away with it is up to the rest of us.

Still, I’d rather get the full truth. If you think evolution is wrong or flawed, I’m keen on hearing your arguments. “Punting” simply sounds like you’re afraid to answer, which amounts to the answer the questioner was looking for. My own answer would be something like: “Not that it much matters for the job I’m seeking, but I think the evidence shows that all life evolves. Why is there life, and what are we supposed to do with it? Only God knows.”

The Washington Examiner explains why we shouldn't be concerned that Scott Walker didn't finish college.
“Even now, I wonder what I might have accomplished if I'd studied harder.”

This regretful remark, delivered to Eureka College's graduating class of 1982, inspired uproarious laughter from the audience. Why? Because it came from a sitting president of the United States. Ronald Reagan, despite his admittedly mediocre grades, had already made it just about as far as anyone can.

Ideally, college study helps to form the whole person. But to some extent, and for most Americans, it is viewed as a means to an end — a preparation for later accomplishments in life.

Today, there still exists a very small, elite world in which school ties can pull big strings. Outside of that world, neither grades, nor school pedigree, nor even possession of a finished degree matter very much. Those who have already entered the professional world and shown themselves capable of handling its rigors are seldom asked about their education when applying for the second, third or fourth jobs of their career.

Even so, the concerns of that elite have suddenly been aroused because one of the leading Republican contenders for president — Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — quit school without finishing his bachelor's degree. Walker quit college in good standing, but 34 credits shy of graduation.

“During my senior year at Marquette University,” he said in his 2013 State of the State speech, “I was offered a full-time job at the American Red Cross. I thought I would squeeze in a course here or there and finish things off in a year or two, but then Tonette and I got married. Then we had Matt. And then came Alex. Next thing you know, you're putting all your extra time and money into your kids.”

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean argued this week on television – to the incredulity of his MSNBC host – that “the issue is, how well-educated is this guy? And that's a problem.”

Perhaps it is a problem for Dean, who was born into great wealth in East Hampton, N.Y. But Walker's path is not really that uncommon for students from lower- and middle-class backgrounds. For those lacking family money to fall back on, it can be difficult to turn down the certainty of a suitable, attractive job simply in order to check the box on a degree — the primary purpose of which, after all, is to help one find a suitable, attractive job.

Much like the gotcha question about evolutionary biology that was recently tossed at Walker (he declined to answer), this newfound and irrelevant discussion about his education is really just a dog-whistle — one of the few that certain members of the Northeastern white liberal gentry still feel comfortable blowing. A college degree shows certain people that someone is "one of us." But of all the potential reasons to oppose Walker, his incomplete college career should not be one of them.
What should be considered so awful that a student leaves college a year short of his degree without finishing because he took a job? For most students, that is the reason for going to college. It clearly hasn't kept him back - he's a state's governor who just got reelected. Let's not exaggerated the worth of that year in college for a person's worth. Liberals are so funny. They totally discounted George W. Bush's two Ivy League degrees and now they're contemptuous of someone who didn't finish college but got a job with the Red Cross instead. Michelle Obama encourages students to go work and volunteer for non-profits, but now it's supposedly a disqualifier that Scott Walker did exactly that? Come on.

What liberals don't understand is that such silly attacks on Walker will only make him more popular among Republican voters. As Churchill said, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.""


mark said...

Asking a candidate whether or not they believe in evolution is not a "gotcha question". Punting on the question, or saying "I'm not a scientist, man" (Rubio), is a silly, pathetic pander to the large nutjob wing.
People who pretend not to believe in evolution are likely to also pretend not to believe in climate change, which is a security threat. Yes, it matters.

Gahrie said...

1) Evolution is a theory, not a fact. Those who insist that it is a fact are just as, if not more, ignorant as those who deny it.

2) Climate change is a fraud. It's basic premise is flawed. There is no "correct temperature" that the Earth is supposed to have. There have been times in the past when Earth was a ball of ice. Then long before humans and SUVs, the Earth warmed, and there was no ice. Both will happen again in the future.

mark said...

"Climate change is a fraud"


Gahrie said...

OK..What temperature is the Earth supposed to be at, and why?

mark said...

Surely you realize (or should, anyway) that the important question is how quickly the temperature is rising. Why does it matter? Really? Drought, rising sea-levels, etc.

I know people here were impressed by the Doctor here who explained away the problem of rising sea levels with his study about everyone (literally) spitting into the ocean for X number of years. Or perhaps the repub Congressman (Steve Stockman) who wowed republicans with his brilliant observation that his drink didn't overflow when the ice melted:

Perhaps you and others should stop listening to Fox new and World Net daily, and listen to the military-intelligence experts (real ones, not the fake one here).

What we can realistically do about climate change is up for debate. Saying climate change is fraud is moronic.

Gahrie said...

Why does it matter? Really? Drought, rising sea-levels, etc.

Actually, life in general, and humanity in particular does better when the climate is warmer than when it is cooler. Civilization flourished during the Medieval Warm Period.

Given that we are in the middle of an ice age, and mile high glaciers will one day (geologiocally soon) return to Chicago, I want it as warm as possible, as long as possible.

By the way, when it does start to get colder as the warm period comes to an end..should we try to stop it? Wouldn't that be interfering with nature? What if the Earth is supposed to be getting warmer right now? Do we even have the moral authority to try and stop the warming? Gaia might not be pleased.

Gahrie said...

Perhaps you and others should stop listening to Fox new and World Net daily

By the way, someone citing the Daily Show as factual evidence might not want to go around casting stones.....

mark said...

Perhaps you think the Daily Show created that video? Nope, that was an honest-to-god elected congressman (on the Science, Space and Technology committee no less) dismissing climate change because the ice melting in his Dr. Pepper didn't cause it to overflow.

Gahrie said...

Get back to me when he claims that an island is going to flip over if we station our military there.....

mark said...

Yes, you'll avoid criticizing something moronic said by a repub by pointing out something stupid said by a dem. Well played!

Gahrie said...

Well, I wouldn't have to play such games if you were intellectually serious. think climate change is a serious problem. In order to solve that problem you first have to decide what the right temperature is...otherwise perhaps the climate should be changing the way it is. (Climate always changes by the way, so climate change is a Liberal's dream...a reason to control the nation's wealth that will never go away)

So what is the correct temperature for the Earth, and why?

Gahrie said...

The current rise in the Earth's temerature can be almost entirely explained by the "tweaks" "scientists" have made globally in historical temerature records, supposedly to make them more accurate. For some unexplained reason these changes have been almost exclusively in the upwards direction, and are not matched by the satelite records.

mark said...

By all means, keep up the "climate change is a fraud" lunacy. Never mind those (real) national security experts and Pentagon officials who disagree. No worries that, in a rare bipartisan vote, the senate acknowledged that climate change is real. I'm sure you know better.

mark said...

Oh, and the vote was 98-1. So you have at least one nutjob to cling to.

Gahrie said...

that climate change is real

Climate change is real.

The idea that man is causing it and can alter it is the height of hubris and merely an excuse for the watermelons to control the world's wealth.

mark said...

10:48 Saturday
2) Climate change is a fraud.

8:59 Sunday
Climate change is real.

Gee. It only took a day or so for that lesson to sink in.

What's with the "watermelons" comment?

tfhr said...


Don't be obtuse. (Like that'll ever happen!)

Watermelon, in this context, is a reference to the cynical co-opting of the so-called "Green" movement by Marxists, Progressives, and the like. Green on the outside, red on the inside. Get it?

Also, try to keep up. When has the climate not changed? That's what Gahrie was trying to get through to you. The hysterics change too. I remember when all the geniuses said we were in for a new Ice Age and then it was "Global Warming". Now they'd prefer to not be so constrained in their predictions of doom, so it's now a vague phrase that doesn't rely on anything more than the need to believe it on faith alone when the science is so often contradictory.

And imagine you - all signed up for a theory backed by military intelligence "experts" you've failed to name. Are these the same guys you blamed for missing the mark (should I capitalize that to set it apart from your name?) on WMDs? I've yet to see a specialty recognized in any military intelligence organization with climatology or meteorology at it's core. We rely on USAF meteorologists for weather data but past that, I'm not sure who in a military intelligence billet has qualifications to prognosticate on the weather conditions ten days from now, let alone ten years.

With all of that said, you ought to know better than to trust politicians that use phrases like "settled science". When the leading political figure behind the doomsday scenario of "Global Warming" is selling "carbon credits" while jetting around the globe and buying more mansions, the latest on coastal waterfront property, common sense should tell you that you're being abused by someone that must take you for an idiot. Then again, knowing your audience is a pretty big deal.

mark said...

Good of you to try to put gahrie's "watermelon" comment into some kind of context. Perhaps he can answer for himself.

But since you're all about explaining comments, feel free to (finally) defend your accusations about me and others being (friends to) pedophiles, rapists, etc. If you have evidence, present it. If not, be a man and acknowledge you were wrong.

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

1) thfr did a good job of describing "watermelons".

2) I see your confusion now, and to be honest it was caused by sloppy capitalization on my part.

Climate Change is a fraud.

climate change is a constant

tfhr said...


Silence is complicity but lack of action speaks louder than no words. A little turn on some familiar phrases for you mark.

Obama runs around shooting selfies, hoops and rounds of golf while the lot of the left continues to politely applaud or say nothing at all. But the mass rapes of women and children in Iraq; the flourishing business of trafficking "Jihad brides", some as young as eight years of age; a southern border overrun with "unaccompanied children" from Central America; all are symptoms of a political mindset prepared to tolerate any amount of suffering - to be endured by the most vulnerable - for the sake of a cynical domestic political agenda and from sheer, cruel indifference. Of course there's lots of ineptitude for the cherry on top of the mountain of trash you voted for not once, but twice: Barrack Obama.

Abandoning Iraq and then failing to respond before ISIS began slaughtering, raping and selling Yezhedis, Kurds, and Christians. Obama refuses to even identify the enemy that perpetrates these horrors upon children and their families. People that continue to support him or have tried to slink back into the shadows bear full responsibility for the continued crimes of ISIS, the growth of Iranian hegemony and nuclear capability, the disaster that now befalls Egypt and Libya, and the similar fate that awaits Afghanistan.

While the scale and scope of the horrors unfolding in Obama's second failed term are hard to comprehend, they are real, not theory but if you want to distract yourself by following Al Gore's con, you go right ahead but I don't know how you live with yourself when you know that Obama is "voting present" and "leading from behind", while thousands are savagely murdered, raped, and enslaved.

Aren't you out of "strategic patience" yet?

mark said...
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mark said...

I was never confused by what you wrote. Glad you corrected yourself.

Poor tfhr,
I believe I've made it clear: You're not worthy of debate.
But I continue to extend an olive branch:
You made heinous accusations (rape and pedophilia) against a person, even after the dubious charges fell apart. When I reminded you of that pesky "due process", you accused me of being supporting such behavior. Again, my challenge: Back up your charges with some (any) kind of evidence, or acknowledge you were wrong. No histrionics or whining - just a simple, reasonable request.

I hope you'll be a man and accept my challenge. The "silence is complicity" is a great debate topic that goes both ways. I know I'm guilty of that. And of course, so isn't every conservative here that has stayed silent during your mockery of the Constitution. I might even give you all a pass on the nutjob who last week called Obama a gay, marxist commie.

tfhr said...


I'm not a court of law and I've not denied anyone due process. The day you stop smearing people will be the day you can sound like something other than a clown when acting butt-hurt over the same tactics employed by Dems on a daily basis. Reid, Durbin, Whatserface-Shultz, Grayson and yes, Obama, engage in the same discourse you complain about and they do it with great frequency and relish. If you're too precisous mark, then stay out of the kitchen. Better yet, just stick to the facts.

The simple truth is that you cannot win a debate on facts so you have to degrade every thread with trollish insults. It's what you do. You demand that others should engage in some sort of censure here when you've been kissing the asses of outrageous liars like Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al., for years.

Keep puckering, mark, we wouldn't recognize you any other way!

One more thing: The next time you want to trot out the "War on Women" meme, don't forget to include all those little girls being sold, bought and raped in Obama's Iraq. You can call it "strategic patience", the inaction, the indifference, and the failure to lead. You can call the racist murder of Jews at the Paris market "deli violence" and convince yourself that they were just "random" victims but that all remains a lie whether you want to debate it or not.

mark said...
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mark said...

You've accused me of being a fascist, and supporting Saddam Hussein and the Iran govt. You've called me a"friend to rapists and pedophiles." You've accused me of "enjoying abortion as a blood sport".

Those are all lies. But if you have evidence to the contrary, it's (past) time to show it. If you don't, you should simply acknowledge that your were wrong.

tfhr said...


Do you need a hug or a paper bag to breathe into?!

mark said...

No, I'm good. I asked you to be a man, and prove your accusations or withdraw them. You did neither. I expected nothing more, and nothing less.

tfhr said...

Well I've thought about this for quite sometime and truly, I can think of nothing I could care less about than meeting your approval.

You voted twice for a man that blatantly lied to Americans about his healthcare scam, you will vote for a woman that takes campaign contributions from donors that make their money from performing abortions on an industrial scale. You'll vote for her despite the fact that she has lied over and over again about Benghazi and should have resigned instead of bailing out to run for president again. You faithfully supported liars like Murtha, Reid and Durbin in their harmful and defamatory attacks on American military personnel and their families.

When you denounce these liars maybe I won't laugh out loud at your complaints of victimization.

Chip Ahoy said...

Great piece. Well done.