Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Cruising the Web

John Nolte answers Jonah Goldberg's post about conservatives who like Trump and explains his explanations for Trump's success. Nolte also lays out why criticisms of Trump aren't resonating.
To his credit, Trump attacks The Powerful; people like Megyn Kelly, Gail Collins, Jonah Goldberg, Fox News, and Rosie O’Donnell — people with the platform and power to hit back.

Compare that to all those in the GOP Establishment currently attacking everyday VOTERS as thick, nativist, racist, and crazy.

Compare that to Establishment Darling Chris Christie yelling at school teachers.

Compare that to Mitt Romney writing off 47% of the American population as lost and hopeless.

Compare that to Rick Perry telling those demanding the law be enforced that they have no heart.

Compare that to Jeb Bush attacking those same people for not recognizing that this lawlessness is an “act of love.”

At least Trump picks on people his own size.

Chew on this piece of Science: Trump can be rude but he still hasn’t gone as far as the Obama campaign in accusing his opponent of murdering someone.
That might be true, but it still doesn't make me like Trump better. I haven't advanced to the two-wrongs-make-a-right argument for the presidency.

Paul Mirengoff examines Donald Trump's interview with The Daily Caller to examine more displays of his ignorance about foreign policy. If we grant that he's an intelligent man - after all, he went to the Wharton school as he tells us all the time - then he should be able to master briefings on foreign policy. I know that lots of candidates are not experts on foreign policy, especially if they come from a governor's house. But they work at boning up. Trump gives the impression that he hasn't been briefed at all on issues in today's world. So he resorts to the same riffs each time he's asked a specific question. He'll talk about how strong he'll be and what idiots others have been. Mirengoff points to this answer on Iran and how it reveals that Trump really doesn't understand the entire controversy over how Obama structured the deal.
TheDC: What would you do the first day in office with the Iran deal?

Trump: Well, it’s going to be a signed contract, number one. And number two, and it’s going to be signed, sealed, and, unfortunately, done. Don’t forget, that’s going to be in a year and a half, right? So it’s going to be a signed contract, and that means a lot when you have it. But I would police that contract — you know, I’ve taken over plenty of bad contracts where I’ve bought things where deals have gone bad because the people doing it didn’t know what they were doing. I’ve made a lot of money by dealing with people that didn’t know what they were doing, like the president. And frankly, I would scrutinize that — I’m very good at scrutinizing bad contracts — and I would scrutinize that contract like nobody would ever scrutinize it.

TheDC: It sounds like what you’re saying is that you would be looking for a violation, and if Iran did violate any aspect of the deal, you would consider the contract null and void.

Trump: Exactly correct, exactly correct. I will scrutinize that — I’ve been very good at scrutinizing contracts. I’ve taken over contracts knowingly that the people that did them, you know, went out of business because of bad contracts that I’ve bought for tiny amounts of money.
Mirengoff comments,
Trump is reverting to his comfort zone — the world of contracts. But international relations aren’t governed by contracts and contract law.

The Iran deal will not be a Treaty because the Senate will not have ratified it, as the Constitution requires. Therefore the deal is not “sealed.” As president, Trump would be free to walk away from it.

It’s shocking that Trump doesn’t understand this.

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Just in case you needed one more piece of evidence of what an amoral woman Hillary Clinton is:
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warned that the Benghazi terrorist attack was carried out by a terrorist group using Youtube video protests as “cover,” in a memo that she received the day after the attack.

Nevertheless, Clinton still went ahead and pushed the false talking point that spontaneous protests incited by the Internet movie Innocence of Muslims caused the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Clinton received a memo on September 12, 2012, the day after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, identifying the Ansar Al Sharia Islamist group as the culprits. The memo came from Tyler Drumheller, the now-deceased former-CIA spy who became famous for questioning the intelligence used to justify the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. It is likely that the person who forwarded the memo to Clinton—whose name is redacted on the State Department’s release of the email—was Clinton’s unofficial political and Libya adviser Sidney Blumenthal, who was using Drumheller as a source.
And then there is this.
In the latest blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign’s claim that sensitive government information stored on her private e-mail server was only classified after the fact, a special review by two top spy agencies confirmed that two e-mails with “Top Secret” material were classified from the moment they were received.

Senior intelligence officials told the New York Times that the review, conducted by the CIA and the National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), echoes the earlier findings of inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community. Those two watchdogs initially discovered the e-mails, sent to the then-secretary of state in 2009 and 2011, during an inquiry into the State Department’s release of Clinton’s e-mails as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit this summer. Citing the extreme sensitivity of the e-mails’ contents — one message contained information on North Korea’s nuclear program — the IGs determined that the documents were “Top Secret” from Day One.

Slash. David Axelrod is not impressed with Hillary's announced intention to be more pleasant in interviews so people can see her warm side.
Stung by persistent sniping of an aloof and overly scripted campaign, Hillary Clinton is going Hollywood to counter the criticism and show off more of her heart and humor.
But even while the Democratic presidential front-runner is sitting down with TV hosts Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon and ABC reporter David Muir, a close former aide to President Obama suggested Tuesday morning that he isn't buying it.
David Axelrod, Obama's top consultant during the 2008 campaign and later a senior advisor until 2011, took to Twitter to slam Clinton's 'detailed plan' that he suggested was better suited to the satirical newspaper The Onion.

So Hillary "apologized." What a sorry state we are in as a society that we wait breathlessly for people to give apologies that they don't mean after they've waited months to give it. She apologized for not using two emails for personal and State matters. But that isn't what the problem was. She was using a private server and not going through the federally mandated secure State computers. However, she is so very sorry that people are confused about how dishonest she's been. And she promised to be transparent because it's so important. Remember that this whole controversy arose when she decided to break federal law in order to keep control over her email. It is but to laugh.

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Christopher Chantrill of The American Thinker explains why he isn't looking for a president who will be a "strong leader."
Last week, as I was practicing my French with DuoLingo, I heard Rush Limbaugh making a penetrating point about the 2016 election. It's like 2008, he said, only this time it is conservatives that are investing all their hopes in an untried candidate and assuming he agrees with them.

Back in 2008 the details didn't matter to Barack Obama's supporters; they just wanted an end to the horrors of the Bush administration, and they had faith that Obama the Lightworker would make all their dreams come true. Same with 2016 and Donald Trump. Don't confuse me with the facts, say his supporters, he's a “strong leader” and that's what we need....

The trouble is that simple “strong leadership” isn't going to get the job done. Here's why. Almost everything we want the next president to do will fly in the face of liberal conventional wisdom and the liberal activist world, so everything he and his administration and Congress want to do will face determined opposition that will fill the airwaves and the public square.

The next president needs to be someone like Ronald Reagan and prep himself for the presidency by broadcasting issue-a-week radio spots for years before he ran for president. He'd need to be a charmer who could push a Tip O'Neill around without seeming to apply any pressure. He might even need to develop a meme that he was a lightweight who didn't attend to details.

He would need to be a candidate who had really worked up a conservative reform agenda and a strategy for taking the liberal citadel by cunning rather than brute force or bluff and bluster. A magic bullet like the secret passage -- known only to Badger! -- by which the Mole, the Water Rat, and the Badger retook Toad Hall from the stoats and weasels ain't gonna work. No, the next president would really have to think deeply about what he could do and where; otherwise there is no chance for successful reform that meets and beats the liberal stoats and weasels.

Sorry, chaps. “Strong leader” isn't going to work for Republicans any more than “Lightworker” worked for the Democrats.

Betsy MCCaughey ridicules President Obama's ignorance on climate change.
President Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.

Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.

Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”

News flash, Mr. President: Alaska has been buffeted by cyclical swings in climate for thousands of years. That’s true for the rest of the world, too. There was a 300-year-long Medieval heat wave, followed by a Little Ice Age that began around 1300, and then the 300-year warming period we’re in now.

The Anchorage Daily Times ran a front-page story in 1922 recording the “unheard-of temperatures” in the Arctic and glaciers disappearing. “The Arctic Ocean is warming up and icebergs are growing scarcer.”

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So why didn't the Obama administration do more research into Bowe Bergdahl before they released five Taliban prisoners from Gitmo? It's not like there hadn't been enough time during all the years he was held by the Taliban. And now we learn that the military is throwing an even more severe charge in addition to desertion at Bergdahl.
Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.

"I've never seen it charged," Walter Huffman, a retired major general who served as the Army's top lawyer, said of the misbehavior charge. "It's not something you find in common everyday practice in the military."

Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he "left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations."

Huffman and others say the misbehavior charge allows authorities to allege that Bergdahl not only left his unit with one less soldier, but that his deliberate action put soldiers who searched for him in harm's way. The Pentagon has said there is no evidence anyone died searching for Bergdahl.
The allegations against Bergdahl have been known since 2012. So either the Obama administration took the action to trade him for five Taliban fighters out of ignorance of the allegations he was a deserter or they just didn't care.

P. David Hornik questions why Zionism is considered a terrible thing. Hornik reminds readers of the roots of Zionism in the 19th century as a response to European anti-Semitism. Its founder, Theodor Herzl, was responding to what he saw in France during the Dreyfus Affair.
By 1939, at the brink of World War II, the Jewish community in Zion numbered about 400,000. Just at that point, with millions of Jews in Europe desperately needing to flee to it, the British authorities almost totally banned further Jewish immigration.

In November 1947 the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jewish side accepted the offer; the Palestinian and Arab side turned it down flat. The state of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948; immediately finding itself at war with invading Arab armies seeking to destroy it, it prevailed in the war.

Zionism, then, was a movement to create a Jewish homeland (as it turned out, a state) in Zion that succeeded. If so, what does Zionism mean today?

A good illustration is this news tidbit, which tells of 232 Jewish immigrants from North America arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport one August day in 2015. They included 29 families with 75 children, 86 singles, and 59 lone soldiers. In Israel, “lone soldiers” are mostly young Jews—many of them from comfortable countries—who come as volunteers to serve in the Israeli army, often in elite combat units, and often remaining in Israel for life. At present there about 6000 lone soldiers in Israel. (A personal note—my nephew is one of them.)

Zionism today, then, is the unique centrality of Zion, of the state of Israel, in Jewish life. The phenomenon of idealistic immigration from comfortable countries (and, of course, from much less comfortable ones) to a besieged country in the heart of the Middle East has no parallel among the many other situations of a home country and a diaspora. For Israelis, Zionism means a high level of patriotism deeply grounded in Zion. For Diaspora Jews, it means—potentially, of course—feeling that powerful magnetic pull of Zion.

And what sort of state has Zionism created—a blot on humanity, the only country out of 196 deserving to be boycotted, a hellhole of racism, colonialism, and apartheid? In an article published about a year ago during the Gaza war, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren gave a different and more accurate picture:
The population is annually rated among the happiest, healthiest and most educated in the world. Life expectancy in Israel, reflecting its superb universal health-care system, significantly exceeds America’s and that of most European countries. Unemployment is low, the economy robust. A global leader in innovation, Israel is home to R&D centers of some 300 high-tech companies, including Apple, Intel and Motorola….

…Today, Israel is one of the few states—along with Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S.—that has never known a second of nondemocratic governance.

These accomplishments would be sufficiently astonishing if attained in North America or Northern Europe. But Zionism has prospered in the supremely inhospitable—indeed, lethal—environment of the Middle East.

In a region reeling with ethnic strife and religious bloodshed, Zionism has engendered a multiethnic, multiracial and religiously diverse society. Arabs serve in the Israel Defense Forces, in the Knesset and on the Supreme Court. While Christian communities of the Middle East are steadily eradicated, Israel’s continues to grow. Israeli Arab Christians are, in fact, on average better educated and more affluent than Israeli Jews.
So how did Zionism get such a bad name among the Western “elites”? A good guide to what happened is Joshua Muravchik’s book Making David into Goliath, which traces the rise of a dogmatic sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs, and concomitant demonization of Israel, particularly on the Western left with its strong Marxist predispositions. And beyond Palestinianism, “anti-Zionism” is a guise for good old antisemitism, to the tune of: “I have nothing against Jews, but their country is uniformly brutal, devious, and rapacious and has no right to exist.”

In Europe, by now, anti-Zionism has spread from the elites to general populations—where, no doubt, it resonated considerably with traditional antisemitism. In America, the “elites” haven’t yet succeeded—through the schools and universities, through the media—to spread anti-Zionism; but they’re trying.

Hence Zionism should indeed be mentioned, and it’s worth knowing what it was and continues to be: a great, inspiring human success story.

Fred Hiatt identifies President Obama's greatest foreign-policy legacy.
This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy.

Starvation in Biafra a generation ago sparked a movement. Synagogues and churches a decade ago mobilized to relieve misery in Darfur. When the Taliban in 2001 destroyed ancient statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, the world was appalled at the lost heritage.

Fred Hiatt is the editorial page editor of The Post. He writes editorials for the newspaper and a biweekly column that appears on Mondays. He also contributes to the PostPartisan blog. View Archive

Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced — as if, on a proportional basis, 160 million Americans had been made homeless. More than a quarter-million have been killed. Yet the “Save Darfur” signs have not given way to “Save Syria.”

One reason is that Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. He has argued, at times, that there was nothing the United States could do, belittling the Syrian opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”

He has argued that we would only make things worse — “I am more mindful probably than most,” he told the New Republic in 2013, “of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations.”

He has implied that because we can’t solve every problem, maybe we shouldn’t solve any. “How do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?” he asked (though at the time thousands were not being killed in Congo).

On those rare occasions when political pressure or the horrors of Syrian suffering threatened to overwhelm any excuse for inaction, he promised action, in statements or White House leaks: training for the opposition, a safe zone on the Turkish border. Once public attention moved on, the plans were abandoned or scaled back to meaningless proportions (training 50 soldiers per year, no action on the Turkish border).

Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof; steps that might have helped in 2012 seemed ineffectual by 2013, and actions that could have saved lives in 2013 would not have been up to the challenge presented by 2014. The fact that the woman who wrote the book on genocide, Samantha Power, and the woman who campaigned to bomb Sudan to save the people of Darfur, Susan Rice, could apparently in good conscience stay on as U.N. ambassador and national security adviser, respectively, lent further moral credibility to U.S. abdication.

Most critically, inaction was sold not as a necessary evil but as a notable achievement: The United States at last was leading with the head, not the heart, and with modesty, not arrogance. “Realists” pointed out that the United States gets into trouble when it lets ideals or emotions rule — when it sends soldiers to feed the hungry in Somalia, for example, only to lose them, as told in “ Black Hawk Down,” and turn tail.

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