Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cruising the Web

For all the politicians who think that there is something that we in the West are doing or saying that is leading people to join ISIS, Andrew McCarthy poses an intriguing question.
Let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you are an authentically moderate Muslim. Perhaps you were born into Islam but have become secularist. Or perhaps you consider yourself a devout Muslim but interpret Islam in a way that rejects violent jihad, rejects the concept that religious and civic life are indivisible, and rejects the principle that sharia’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code must be imposed on the state. Let’s just take that as a given: You are no more inclined toward terrorism than any truly peaceful, moderate, pro-democratic non-Muslim.

So let me pop the question: Is there any insulting thing I could say, no matter how provocative, or any demeaning video I could show you, no matter how lurid, that could convince you to join ISIS?

Mind you, I am not asking whether, upon my insulting and provoking you, you would ever want to have anything to do with me again. I am asking whether there is anything that could be said or done by me, or, say, Donald Trump, or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula — the video producer (Innocence of Muslims) whom Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to blame for the Benghazi massacre — that could persuade you to throw up your hands and join the jihad? Is there anything so profoundly offensive to Islam that we could conjure up that would make a truly moderate, peaceful Muslim sign up for mass murder? Torching and beheading? Killing children? Participating in systematic rape as a weapon of war?

I didn’t think so.

Yet, understand, that is what Washington would have you believe. Whether it is Barack Obama sputtering on about how Guantanamo Bay drives jihadist recruitment, or Hillary Clinton obsessing over videos (the real one by Nakoula that she pretended caused terrorism in Libya, and the pretend ones about Donald Trump that she claims have Muslims lined up from Raqqa to Ramadi to join ISIS), you are to believe violent jihad is not something that Muslims do but that Americans incite.
Once you reject this argument and stop blaming ourselves for violent people wanting to kill us and others, then we can begin to ponder what exactly is going on to make people join ISIS.

Victor Davis Hanson observes how Barack Obama is still bitterly clinging to the same theory that he enunciated behind closed doors in 2008 that there were some people living in small Midwestern towns who are stressed because they've lost their jobs and their communities have deteriorated. "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Remember that. Well, Obama hasn't changed his theory of why people might oppose him. Because, for Obama, it is only such motivations that would make someone not acknowledge his wonderfulness.
Seven years later an unpopular (43% approval rate in the RealClearPolitics.com aggregate poll), lame-duck President Obama has come full circle in his angst and pouting. Now with no more elections looming, nothing apparently is off the record. He recently gave an interview with NPR, in which he offered a sort of Clingers 2.0 exegesis for his current poor approval ratings and absence of a legacy.

Once again the fault is with an ignorant “them” and their biases (e.g., “I may represent change that worries them”), not Obama’s own unimpressive record of governance.

A liberated Obama is more overt in his sense of victimization. Now he can be more explicit than his Clingers 1.0 indictment and quite openly allege that his family’s background and race best explain his plight ("I think if you are talking about the specific virulence of some of the opposition directed towards me, then, you know, that may be explained by the particulars of who I am”). But as before, the Obama victimization argument fails in a variety of ways, and, sadly, tells us more about the president himself than those who he alleges were captives of their prejudices.
This doesn't explain why he was elected overwhelmingly in 2008 and reelected in 2012. It doesn't explain why he had such high poll numbers the first months of his presidency. It doesn't explain why Republicans have supported black candidates and some still support Ben Carson. South Carolina elected a black Republican, for gosh sake. And remember that Obama hasn't faced any of the hateful press and commentary that George W. Bush faced. How then does Obama explain the disgust that so many felt for his predecessor a white man whom no one ever thought of as possibly being a Muslim?
Public figures like Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all once tagged Bush with the Hitler slur. So did Sen. John Glenn, activist Julian Bond, and a vein-bulging Al Gore.

Has a conservative version of Jonathan Chait published an essay, with a refrain “I hate Barack Obama”? Did a younger “there are no red states or blue states” Obama object when Alfred A. Knopf published a novel, Checkpoint, about two characters dreaming how to kill President Bush?

Has Hollywood made a fallacious movie about Obama’s past, perhaps appropriately dubbed Truth II—in the manner it canonized, with the aid of forged documents, those who lied about Bush’s military service?

Did a pre-presidential Obama cry foul when a guest columnist in the Guardian, Charlie Brooker, wrote to his British readers on the eve of the Bush 2004 election bid: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. —where are you now that we need you?” Would a Western newspaper print anything like that about Obama?

If Obama believes bias has driven mindless opposition to his policies, what drove Sen. Barack Obama in 2006 to vote to refuse raising the debt ceiling and thus to shut down the Bush-led government at a time when the national debt was half of what it is now? Or why did Obama declare the Bush-Petraeus surge a failure before it had even been started? Why was Senator Obama’s voting record the most partisan in the entire U.S. Senate? Were there biases or unenlightened prejudices that drove him to such nihilistic partisanship?

Are we to believe that Obama’s dismal popularity and mostly failed legislative record were due to the innate prejudice and the fears of a vanishing white male electorate? If so, few presidents have entered office with such wide party majorities in both houses of Congress and impressive public approval ratings. In contrast, does Obama remember the poll ratings of the last white male president when he too left office? Was George W. Bush’s lower 37% approval rating as he neared the end of his tenure due to “who he was”? Did it thus likewise reflect an even greater prejudice against a white Christian southerner?
For Obama, it is always about race. He is the bitter clinger who is clinging to his age-old explanation for why he is not succeeding. Contrary to what many people expected and hoped for in 2008, his presence in the White House hasn't led to some grand racial reconciliation.
No other president has so consciously tried to divide the country by race since Woodrow Wilson. In order to achieve an electoral 93% black majority, and historic turnouts among minority voters, Obama unleashed a campaign of thinly disguised racial divisiveness. Mutatis mutandis, imagine had John McCain or Mitt Romney advised supporters to “get in their face” or to bring a gun to a knife fight, told white supporters to “punish our enemies,” waded into a powder-keg criminal trial to announce the white defendant looked the like the son he might have had, or had a trusted confidant—in Attorney General Eric Holder fashion—refer to whites as “my people” or slur the country as a “nation of cowards” for not talking about racial tensions....

Obama won two elections and transient popularity by community-organizing the country. His class warfare rhetoric, before and after elections, was effective in galvanizing both minority solidarity and white guilt. But those were politicized cheap shots that are not the path to unite a democracy behind a common agenda.

As we see in both Obama’s Clingers 1.0 and 2.0 riffs, Obama has learned, in classic Nixonian fashion, that winning elections in Humpty-Dumpty fashion, by smashing apart the electorate, does not translate into gluing back together a nation: win by divisiveness, perish by divisiveness.

Ben Carson is not only falling in the polls, he's also demonstrating what happens when an inexperienced candidate becomes the victim of campaign operatives who are becoming rich off of his candidacy.
A damning report published last week in the Wall Street Journal indicated strongly that Dr. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign has hit the skids, is in desperate need of competent leadership, and may be subject to abuse by unscrupulous campaign consultants. The majority of the campaign’s donations, it was revealed, are being used to reach new donors. That misuse of financial resources led at least one donor to accuse the campaign of serving as a vehicle to line the pockets of Carson’s operatives. When confronted by the Journal with these allegations, Carson’s campaign spokesperson Doug Watts did not inspire confidence. “I don’t know how much we’ve spent,” he said. “That’s something I hardly ever track.” If this wasn’t simply theatrics, this flippant response to grave allegations exposed either striking ineptitude or unprofessional indifference.

This tale of internal turmoil within the Carson campaign turned out not to be an isolated event. Instead, it was a sign of things to come.

“It costs 55 cents in the Carson campaign to raise a dollar. So if you look at, ‘Oh, he raised $20 million, what is the net to the campaign?’ Most of that is going out every month in consulting fees to these guys,” Harold Doley, a former Reagan administration official who hosted a fundraiser for Carson in early October, alleged. Combined with Dr. Carson’s collapse in both national and early state polling from his November peak (he has fallen in the Real Clear Politics national average of polls from first place at 24.8 percent to fourth place with 9.3 percent), this revelation should prompt any campaign to make some serious changes.
So he has to blame his staff and plan a shake-up.

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Get ready for Obama to stretch his executive powers even further in his last year. He has even told us of his threat.
"I've got 12 months left to squeeze every ounce of change I can while I'm still in office. And that's what I intend to do."
As if the past seven years of change haven't been enough for us.

The pollsters acknowledge that no one likes them. But it's not their fault. In fact, they still think their profession matters. What a surprise.
Response rates have dipped so low over the years that eight pollsters said they were surprised polls hadn’t missed election results by even more than they have. “Some of the recent failures may be a harbinger that the response rate threat is finally materializing,” said Chris Borick of Muhlenberg College. “However, I think the relatively older electorate and marginally higher response rates in that group may continue to buffer more dramatic declines in accuracy.”

Citing reasons such as the older electorate, 14 pollsters said they weren’t surprised that polling remains reasonably predictive of election results. Several pointed to a 2012 study by Pew that found that people who don’t respond to polls aren’t different enough from those who do to skew results badly. Other factors, therefore, matter more, said Julia Clark of Ipsos: “Election accuracy is dependent on the team overseeing the work and their expertise, regardless of institution or methodology.”

Not all media critiques of polling concern accuracy. In her recent New Yorker article about polling, Jill Lepore wrote sympathetically about political scientist Lindsay Rogers’s contention that polls “are a majoritarian monstrosity.” Pollsters said they shouldn’t be blamed if the media overstate the certainty of a poll’s finding about what the majority wants, or if policy makers put undue emphasis on what polls find. “Polls are not meant to be a blueprint for policy,” said J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company, a Des Moines, Iowa, polling firm. “But, it is helpful to know where a majority stand — imagine a world where you did not know that.”
It must be tough to be in a profession that seems to be dying before our eyes - rather like being a journalist these days, I imagine.

I wonder if the public will be enthusiastic about the idea of having their daughters having to register for the draft. Hillary Clinton would support such a change and the Obama administration has taken the moves to allow women in combat roles that would make such a registration requirement the next logical move.
Ashton Carter, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share one thing in common: they never served in the military. This may be why they dismiss the Marine Corps’ 9-month study on the impact of expanding the role of women in combat. The study’s results are eye-opening. In nearly three quarters of events (69%), all-male squads outperformed mixed gender squads. Negotiating obstacles, casualty evacuations and long hikes under load were exponentially more difficult for women.

I interviewed a recently-retired Navy SEAL who told me that he would be fine with women joining the SEALs on one key condition: that they be able to pass the exact same tests as the men. Realistically, there is no way to get droves of women to become Rangers, Marines or the SEALS unless we lower our standards.

Women have many wonderful abilities that men lack, including the ability to give birth. But females in the military have around a third less muscle mass and at least ten percent more body fat than the males, according to recent Army data. Men are significantly faster and stronger than women, shows military study after study.

40 percent more women than men who serve in the military today are hospitalized (even accounting for pregnancy). Expect this percentage to skyrocket if more women assume Marine combat roles.

Much ado was made when three women managed to pass Ranger School on their third try. Countless more men—including my own cousin—passed Ranger School without first failing to pass twice. No one in the national media noticed.

We wouldn’t ask golf star Jordan Spieth to miss a few putts so as to “equalize” the playing field in a hypothetical co-ed Masters Tournament. Why support poor sportsmanship when the stakes are far higher than a green jacket?

We’re at war with ISIS, folks. Thugs who enjoy murdering innocent people via explosive necklace; beheading and suicide bombing. It is unethical to push women into the toughest Marine combat roles knowing they have a 69% greater chance of failure than men. Because, in war, mission failure often means death.
For the Democrats, gender politics outweighs whatever the military might say.

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Besides being the most-admired woman, Hillary Clinton tops another list.
A government watchdog group has released a list of eight politicians it considers Washington, D.C.’s worst ethics violators, but Hillary Clinton is in a “league of her own.”

Eli Lake and Josh Rogin explain how the Iran deal restricts the U.S. more than Congress knew.
Members of Congress knew the Iran nuclear deal came with strings attached. They just didn't know how many.

When the administration presented the agreement to Congress, lawmakers were told that new sanctions on Iran would violate the deal. Now the administration is trying to sidestep a recently passed provision to tighten rules on visas for those who have visited Iran.

Since the accord was struck last summer, the U.S. emphasis on complying with its end of the deal has publicly eclipsed its efforts to pressure Iran. In that time, Iranian authorities have detained two American dual nationals and sentenced a third on what most observers say are trumped up espionage charges. Iran's military has conducted two missile tests, one of which the U.N. said violated sanctions, and engaged in a new offensive with Russia in Syria to shore up the country's dictator, Bashar al-Assad.

In the latest example of the U.S. effort to reassure Iran, the State Department is scrambling to confirm to Iran that it won't enforce new rules that would increase screening of Europeans who have visited Iran and plan to come to America. There is concern the new visa waiver provisions, included in the omnibus budget Congress passed last week, would hinder business people seeking to open up new ventures in Iran once sanctions are lifted.

U.S. officials confirmed over the weekend that Secretary of State John Kerry sent his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, a letter promising to use executive powers to waive the new restrictions on those who have visited Iran but are citizens of countries in the Visa Waiver Program. These officials also told us that they have told Iranian diplomats that, because they are not specific to Iran, the new visa waiver provisions do not violate the detailed sequence of steps Iran and other countries committed to taking as part of the agreement. Even so, the State Department is promising to sidestep the new rule.

At issue is a provision that would require travelers who visit certain countries -- including Iran, Sudan, Syria and Iraq -- to apply at a U.S. Embassy for a visa before coming to the U.S., even if they are from a country for which such visas would normally be waived.

House staffers who spoke with us say Iran was included for good reason, because it remains on the U.S. list of state of sponsors of terrorism for its open support for Hezbollah and Hamas. The White House did not object until the Iranian government told the administration last week that the bill would violate the nuclear agreement, according to correspondence on these negotiations shared with us.
Well, isn't that special. Of all the countries on earth, why would we have special waivers for Iranians? And of course, when the Iranians speak, this administration rushes to salute and obey. And who cares if Iran still hasn't implemented any of its side of the deal?

Michael Rubin ponders what Obama's foreign policy legacy might be. Contrary to his grandiose promises while a candidate, he didn't find that his brand of engagement with our adversaries would achieve some sort of magic result. Other presidents have worked with our adversaries and achieved success. Rubin does find a common thread throughout Obama's approach.
What makes Obama and Kerry different is that he lowered the standards upon which administrations operated. Perhaps it was ego, perhaps it was moral equivalence but the result was the same.

The biggest divergence between Obama and his predecessors of both parties is the disdain Obama and his team has exhibited to dissidents and those living under repression. Obama turned his back on Iranian protesters in 2009, when a few choice words about the justice of the values for which they stood might have pumped adrenaline into a movement which stood for greater freedom and representation. Hillary Clinton had the U.S. Embassy in China turn over a blind dissident to his oppressors. Kerry and his team have repeatedly shown themselves willing to bargain away freedom, whether for American hostages, occupied Ukraine, Syrians fighting the murderous Assad and, most recently Cubans. After all, Kerry did not allow dissidents to attend the American embassy opening.

Obama’s disdain for democracy — and that of Kerry and his team — also shapes their attitude to Congress. Environmentalists castigated Bush for walking away from Kyoto, but it was Bill Clinton who did not submit it to Congress knowing he could not garner bipartisan support. Kerry also crafted the Iran deal to avoid the necessary Congressional treaty approval. To do so might have meant negotiating in a tougher manner that would have hampered the ability to make the concessions necessary to win an agreement at any price. Likewise, the White House withheld information from the Congress about Russian cheating on its previous arms accords in order to win new ones. Whatever the merits of the Benghazi investigation, the decision by the man Kerry put in charge of managing the response to Congressional demands for documents to instead give investigators magazine articles about Richard Gere is nothing short of a middle finger to the notion of separation of powers.

Contemporaries castigated Truman for standing up for democracy. The juxtaposition between North and South Korea shows how right Truman was to stand up for principles. Likewise, despite predictable academic revisionism, Reagan is remembered far better now for his role ending the Cold War than he was when he was fighting the battles — MX Missiles, Star Wars, “the Evil Empire speech” — which contributed to the ultimate victory. Obama and Kerry, on the other hand, have traded short-term acclamation for long-term security and recognition that the world is a better place when the United States — whatever our flaws — stands up as a beacon of freedom.

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Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes in The New Yorker
that Marco Rubio is a political natural. And that is not necessarily a good thing.

The LA Times look at Trump's time in Atlantic City. As expected, it's not quite the story that Trump would want us to believe.
The real story of Trump's rise and fall in Atlantic City is more complicated. His casinos were profitable early. As he expanded, though, Trump's aggressive borrowing and go-go strategy left them laboring under high-interest debt. When he decided to leave, in 2009, the exit was far from smooth and graceful; he gave up after last-ditch battles with bondholders.

Today, some still love him here, even people who lost money. Others have bitter memories.
It certainly belies his image as a brilliant businessman who built something lasting and worthwhile.
"From a financial point of view, he left Atlantic City with his tail between his legs," said Perskie. Trump's management of the casinos is "hardly a model of financial probity or business acumen," he said.

In Perskie's view, Trump "created an artificial situation in which he had no personal exposure and then ran away from the failure."

Since then, Trump has continued to prosper as a reality television star and developer, but the fortunes of Atlantic City have continued to sink. Four casinos closed and three others are in trouble. Unemployment is among the worst in the country.

Trump can't be blamed for the city's collapse, but he doesn't deserve credit for his casino management either, said one analyst who has followed the industry since the 1980s.

"You can't deny the way he ran the properties while he was in charge led to the problems they confronted later on," said Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine. "He put his properties in so much debt that subsequent managers couldn't manage them properly."

Even so, some people in Atlantic City still love Trump — even those who lost money when his casinos landed in bankruptcy court.

Billy Gabriel Jr. is now the fourth generation involved in his family business, Paris Produce Co., which has been supplying Atlantic City hotels for nearly a century.

"The whole area took a beating" with the Trump bankruptcies, he said, adding that the pain was just as bad when other casinos went under. Gabriel said his company recovered most of what he was owed. And, in a phone interview, he said he still likes Trump — and was even wearing one of Trump's "Make America great again" hats.

"If a guy used a loophole in the law to benefit himself, more power to him. Wouldn't you do the same thing?" Gabriel said.
I suppose that some would see that the ability to twist laws and pressure critics and creditors as a sign of strength. It might be so in the business world, but it's not the sort of character that I'm looking for in a president. We've had successful businessmen run for political office before and some have been men that I could support for higher office like Steve Forbes, Mitt Romney, or someone like Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Trump has certainly demonstrated that consistency is totally irrelevant. A few weeks ago in the Fox Business Network debate, he told the public that wages in the U.S. are "too high" to compete with other countries. Now, he's totally flipped and he has tweeted out that "wages in are [sic] country are too low."

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Nature Magazine looks at science myths that just won't die. One in particular interested me because I hear it so often in education circles and had no idea that it had been debunked. Apparently, it doesn't make a drop of difference if teachers gear their teaching to different learning styles.
“Learning styles has got it all going for it: a seed of fact, emotional biases and wishful thinking,” says Howard-Jones. Yet just like sugar, pornography and television, “what you prefer is not always good for you or right for you,” says Paul Kirschner, an educational psychologist at the Open University of the Netherlands.

In 2008, four cognitive neuroscientists reviewed the scientific evidence for and against learning styles. Only a few studies had rigorously put the ideas to the test and most of those that did showed that teaching in a person's preferred style had no beneficial effect on his or her learning. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the authors of one study wrote9.

That hasn't stopped a lucrative industry from pumping out books and tests for some 71 proposed learning styles. Scientists, too, perpetuate the myth, citing learning styles in more than 360 papers during the past 5 years. “There are groups of researchers who still adhere to the idea, especially folks who developed questionnaires and surveys for categorizing people. They have a strong vested interest,” says Richard Mayer, an educational psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In the past few decades, research into educational techniques has started to show that there are interventions that do improve learning, including getting students to summarize or explain concepts to themselves. And it seems almost all individuals, barring those with learning disabilities, learn best from a mixture of words and graphics, rather than either alone.

Yet the learning-styles myth makes it difficult to get these evidence-backed concepts into classrooms. When Howard-Jones speaks to teachers to dispel the learning-styles myth, for example, they often don't like to hear what he has to say. “They have disillusioned faces. Teachers invested hope, time and effort in these ideas,” he says. “After that, they lose interest in the idea that science can support learning and teaching.”
I bet if I polled my co-workers, almost all of them would buy into the myth. I feel vindicated in having ignored it for most of my teaching career.


mark said...

Very nice of McCarthy to provide answers to his own questions. That way his readers don't have to think for themselves. He's got some great insight into the minds of Muslims.
Maybe he should ask himself how his favored candidate (Cruz) proposes to carpet bomb towns and cities without killing innocent people. Don't know how moderate Muslims become radicalized? How about dropping bombs on their families? How about targeting the children of suspected terrorists, as the Donald proposes?
It's frightening how a bit of fear can turn so many in our country to such immoral depths.


tfhr said...

Or you could just precision bomb Libya into a failed state, new home to ISIS, launching pad for a human onslaught into Europe, and both a source of supply and a crossroads for human trafficking, all while "leading from behind"! In fact, there's still a lot of leading from his behind in Obama's feckless foreign policy while the bodies pile up in Syrian, Kurdish, and Yazhidi villages.

I wonder if there's room for all of that on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize? Better order another trophy.

Israel bulldozes the homes of the families of terrorists. The United States fire bombed German cities. So the Israelis, FDR and Truman don't meet your high standard? Or is Cruz the reason ISIS has spread throughout the region and beyond?

mark said...

Oh Crumpet, leave it to you to be duped into supporting a "policy" that is completely immoral and ridiculed by (actual) military-intelligence experts.

tfhr said...

1. Name the military intelligence experts. List the ones that support the current administration's efforts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan. Cite the ones that you refer to that are critical of those that oppose Obama's incompetent efforts to date.

2. Explain how wanting to destroy ISIS and put an end to its savagery is immoral. Was FDR immoral?



mark said...

Surely you realize, Crumpet, that we now have the capability to use precision bombing to try to minimize the loss of innocent life. To advocate carpet-bombing (Cruz) or to suggest we intentionally target children (Trump) is immoral and counter-productive.

Perhaps you also think Ted makes the family breakfast on the barrel of a gun:

You're such a sucker for tough-talk.

tfhr said...

So was FDR immoral for fire bombing German cities and was the US Army Air Corps immoral for using carpet bombing in France against suspected German positions?

Let's hear some "tough talk" about that from you?

You're just a sucker, now wipe your chin.

tfhr said...

OBTW, where's that list of military intelligence experts you promised? Looks like it's pretty short since you bailed out and tried to deflect, again.

mark said...

You really just don't get it, do you, crumpet?
It's not about "tough talk" it's about common-sense and decency. We have technology and capabilities now that we didn't have years ago. To ignore those skills and "carpet-bomb", killing thousands of innocent people, would bring virtually world-wide condemnation. Even Cruz is trying to re-define the definition of "carpet-bombing".
Forget your absurd claim about working in military-intelligence; it's truly amazing just how little you actually understand.

tfhr said...


Still no list of MI experts to support your idiocy. No surprise. And after how many posts since you first made that one up? So now you've run away from it altogether. No surprise.

That you seize on a term like "carpet bombing" as if it was more than rhetoric used to underscore Obama's flaccid foreign policy shows your desperation when it comes to excusing failure after bloody failure. It also makes plain your ignorant notion that warfare carried out on the battlefield should be directed by politicians from Washington explains why you support failure that promotes suffering.

Politicians make decisions to go to war and when to stop but when they get involved at the tactical level or even at the operational level they will only degrade the effectiveness of the forces they have sent into battle.

A perfect example of this is the restrictive ROE that has been in place in Afghanistan for some time now and in the so-called campaign against the Islamic State. Do you realize that we are not allowed to engage the Taliban at night in Afghanistan now? Do you realize that individual ISIS targets often require vetting in a process that requires reach back all the way to the highest levels in DC? That is such a spectacularly stupid restriction to place on our military that it becomes pointless to commit them to the fight.

When we have leadership that forces our military to allow an enemy - either the Taliban or the Islamic State - to hide in plain sight or to move freely, we cannot win. You should read or at least take a look at these to articles:



Recognizing the enemy and recognizing that we are fighting a war that will not stop just because we think we can "contain" it are two critical steps leftists in this country need to make if there is to be any hope of victory. Obama's critics can use terms that offend you and you can talk all about the immorality of war, if it makes you feel like you can therefore avoid facing the responsibility of fighting ISIS and the Taliban but you do it only to give yourself cover and comfort because the objectives, the slaughter, and the horrors of the Jihad continue.

That there are candidates that recognize that we must view this fight as total war brings hope that the suffering can be brought to an end. Letting our military fight the fight in the best way our commanders can devise is the answer not trying to "contain" or complain about political rhetoric.

mark said...

No, crumpet, I never promised you a "list", as you claim. However, the article I linked cited two military experts - Maj. General Robert Scales and Gen. Paul Selva. Perhaps you're still (conveniently) having trouble opening links. They've got some good deals on computers. Perhaps you should check 'em out.


The wanton bombing Mr. Cruz repeatedly refers to, General Selva said, is categorically “not the way that we apply force in combat. It isn’t now, nor will it ever be.”

tfhr said...


I challenged you to provide a list - you didn't.

As usual, the link you provided provides nothing. Click on it and you will get this:

Page Not Found

We’re sorry, we seem to have lost this page,
but we don’t want to lose you.

So says the NYT. I'd like to read the opinion piece. Perhaps you can supply a link that works.

At least this time is was just one broken link instead of a list of them. Now where's your list of military intelligence experts that agree with Obama's handling of the Islamic State?

mark said...

Oh, crumpet, ringing in the new year spewing the same tired drivel? Sad.
The link works fine.
I've very clearly pointed out that "carpet-bombing" is morally repulsive, a strategic failure and un-American. That you and others here support it is no surprise; it does sound "tough".

tfhr said...


Happy New Year - your link is now working! The NYT/Dem Party Organ is reliable in support of the left but not always functional - kind of like you!

Now that the site is up, here is what I see in the article:

First there is exasperated condemnation of [candidates]...offering phony prescriptions for the biggest foreign threat the United States faces.

That's a fantastic new spin since it wasn't long ago the NYT dutifully echoed Obama's moronic claim that ISIS/ISIL was really just a "JV team". I guess they got a lot better due to his deliberate neglect. Certainly more lethal, capable and emboldened.

The very next line sneers:

Mr. Cruz is a lawyer and a foreign-policy neophyte.

Wow! The NYT was all in for a left wing extremist presidential candidate that was a lawyer and a foreign-policy neophyte in 2008. I guess now they think it wasn't such a good idea? Progress perhaps? More likely it's just hypocrisy. Next thing you know the NYT will back a candidate that has facilitated the abuse of women for years because it's down with the struggle. But at least they won't have to schill for a lawyer and foreign policy neophyte again...oh, wait.

The only place I can find the quote from MG Scales is the NYT. I'd like to hear what else he had to say since he has also said:

[our Armed Forces] are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.


I quite agree with that comment in the WaPo but I'm not so sure about this:

Just a few short days after former US Army General Robert Scales explained to FOX News that Ukraine is lost, and acknowledged that an ongoing deployment of American troops to Eastern Europe is unlikely to change the situation, and "the only way [The US] can turn the tide is start killing Russians... killing so many Russians that even Putin’s media can’t hide the fact that Russians are returning to their motherland in body bags,” he has come out defending his statement as the Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal probe into his statements. “I’m not concerned at all, I just kind of wish I could take a vacation in Russia but I can guarantee, that’s not going to happen," Scales said, shrugging off Russian 'propaganda' as "a Russian form of war."


MG Scales uses rhetoric with the Russians to make his point, as did Cruz with IS. Scales is correct that we don't carpet bomb now, as we did in WWII but do you really think he wants the US to start killing Russians to free Ukraine?

The point is that we have to fight to win and the current administration is not getting the job done. Your attack on Cruz is just cover for Obama's failure. You're welcome to debate the effectiveness of a given tactic but a blanket condemnation on the morality of fighting and winning a war is kind of like carpet bombing in a debate, don't you think?

You never answered: Were FDR and Truman immoral? Was LBJ?

mark said...

There you go, crumpet. You were upset with not being able to open the link, but you kept at it. Super job!
Not sure why you continue to think bringing up Obama, FDR, Truman, etc. vindicates your defense of Cruz's immoral and strategically insane plan to "carpet-bomb."
But again, congrats on opening the link. No achievement is too small to celebrate.

tfhr said...

You still don't know the difference between a strategy and a tactic. That says a lot about you and your continued support for the ineptitude of the Obama Administration.

I'll spoon feed you since you are too lazy, as you have demonstrated repeatedly, to educate yourself. A strategy should clearly state what you are trying to achieve. A tactic will be used to achieve the objectives and desired end state (what you are trying to achieve). Therefore a strategy may have many tactics within it but a tactic is not a strategy.

"Strategically insane", as you put it, probably doesn't have a text book definition but I suspect the picture next to it would have Barack Obama's face. He has no strategy for dealing with the Islamic State other than an undefined notion of "containment". That's pretty hard to do with an enemy that employs a tactic like terrorism. (See how I did that? You should probably wipe your chin now.)

Using an outdated term like "carpet-bomb" to express a desire and willingness to destroy an enemy, a definable end state, may give critics something to use in attacking Cruz' candidacy but they should be asking why the people they do support have been ineffective against the Islamic State to the point that it has become, according to the NYT, "the biggest foreign threat the United States faces".(I don't agree with the NYT in that assessment but we can talk later about transferring $150 billion to Iran so it can continue to fund it's terror tactics while it continues its strategy to push us out of the Middle East, isolate us, and ultimately destroy us.)

As for why I would bother to ask about your opinion of what FDR and Truman did to win a war, I think it's germane to a discussion if you were willing to have one and your avoidance is illustrative of what I've known about your for a long time. You pronounce Cruz to be immoral without respect to the actions of two men that are considered to be very successful wartime Presidents. Denying the comparison undercuts your claim, mark. If you cannot see that it tells me that morality isn't really important to you. But we kind of know that about you already.

One final thought: If Ted Cruz really did want to see the wholesale slaughter of civilians he could just announce now that he will continue Obama's practice of deliberate neglect.

mark said...

No, crumpet, the strategy of Cruz (and Trump, and several others) is to talk tough and dupe repubs with empty rhetoric. Lindsay Graham was the only one offering a real strategy for defeating ISIS, and he was soundly rejected. Everyone else is just bashing Obama while offering the same strategy.
You love to quote dumb things said by liberals while dismissing the idiotic statements by conservatives. Given some of your insane accusations and "jokes" about ISIS beheading Americans, that does make a bit of sense.

You can, of course, continue to suggest that I'm senile ("wipe your chin") or imply that I want to molest children: You should be a conductor on La Bestia - you're perfect for the job - "Right this way kiddies...Uncle marco has some dulces for you." You simply prove my point time and time again.

tfhr said...

The rhetoric would be empty if Republican candidates had no intent to defeat the Islamic State and to combat radical Islam. Calling ISIS/ISIL the "JV" team of radical Islam (especially without accepting the existence of and threat from radical Islam) is more empty than Hillary's list of accomplishments as Secretary of State.

But now you're interested in Lindsey Graham. I guess he's the next shiny ball you want to chase after instead of examining Obama's failed policy. Perhaps you can tell us what you think of Graham's strategy for dealing with the Islamic State was exactly. I'd really appreciate it if you would compare and contrast it with Obama's

No surprise, you're still unable to comment about FDR and Truman or even attempt to compare what they did with comments made by Cruz or in respect to what Obama has failed to do as a leader during wartime.

I don't know what to make of this sentence of yours: Given some of your insane accusations and "jokes" about ISIS beheading Americans, that does make a bit of sense. I'm not sure what makes sense to you mark, probably very little, since you're a full-throated advocate for unchecked, unlimited immigration - read human trafficking - to the great detriment of the United States and to the victims of human trafficking.

Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/world/europe/on-perilous-migrant-trail-women-often-become-prey-to-sexual-abuse.html

Regarding the chin thing - it's now about senility - it's about your very odd need to festishize me with things you can put in your mouth, like trumpet and crumpet. Is it about rhyme scheme or are you making some sort of weird advance? Either way, please stop.

mark said...

Good God, crumpet, the thoughts that race through your head regarding child-rape, sex fetishes, body parts, etc.

No, your nickname simply reflects your sad defense of CRuz and trUMP.

tfhr said...

So I guess that makes you Hibermarty. That's three for the price of the two brain cells between them.

Well, I'll ask Hibermarty if he has a clue what Graham's strategy for the Islamic State is and how it would compare to Obama's, if the latter had one.

Also, how does the criticism of American leftists for Cruz' opinion square with the actions of FDR and Truman?

Hillary would compare them to a YouTube video nobody has seen; Bernie would pick some meat out of his teeth, and Marty would tax it. But what would Hibermarty say...f he could think on his own or offer something other than talking points or insults?

mark...wipe your chin.

mark said...

But of course, it's not only the left that's disgusted by Trump and Cruz, but also most intelligent conservatives and true military-intelligence experts. The low-level thinkers, white supremacists and faux-Christians are on board with them. You can decide which group(s) you belong to.

tfhr said...

That's the thing about the hard core left - everyone must be in a group. No individuals and the fewer individual rights, the better, for the left.

Given your unseemly desire to bring unaccompanied children into the country illegally, I guess you belong to a special sort of group yourself, but I'd allow that you're just a sick individual that thinks children make great pawns, among other things.

You know we could debate the merits of the Obama administration's efforts in the face of radical Islam, as served by the Islamic State and a resurgent Taliban as it prepares to return to rule in Afghanistan. If you have anything worth saying you should give it a shot because this habit of smearing all that don't agree with your view as racists, "faux-Christians" (whatever that is), liars (your usual go to), etc, etc, is just tedious beyond belief.

Let's recap your missed opportunities for worthy discussion:

1. No comparison of actions taken by FDR and Truman versus Obama and the remarks of Cruz. For someone that suddenly seems concerned with morality, I would have thought you would be interested in such a discussion but I guess you don't want to risk your current narrative.

2. No list of military-intelligence experts that support Obama's...whatever is he's doing.

3. No apparent improvement in your understanding of the difference between a strategy and a tactic.

4. No indication that you knew what you were talking about regarding Lindsey Graham's strategy for dealing with the Islamic State.

Turn over a new leaf mark and help make these threads a place to exchange ideas instead of the endless insults that make this back and forth so boring.

mark said...

Yes, crumpet, you're back to pretending you want to debate and exchange ideas. And then you creep into your cowardly fallback that anyone who disagrees with you supports the terrorists, enjoys "abortion as a bloodsport" or wants to molest children. All safe in the knowledge that no conservative here will call you out for you disgraceful comments.
You've got a lot of perverse thoughts running through your head, and I suppose trying to attribute them to others is a coping mechanism.
I made a very reasonable post criticizing Cruz' call for carpet-bombing until the "sand glows". One that many conservatives and military experts have rejected. True to form, you imply I intend harm to children: but I'd allow that you're just a sick individual that thinks children make great pawns, among other things.

Anyone who wonders how Trump is leading the party just needs to read this site for awhile.

tfhr said...

And from the very first words in your reply we can see that you will continue to avoid debate and for the same reason as always: the facts are not on your side.

Let's see what else you say but I'm going to guess - before I read past the first line- that you will complain about being insulted, you will call everyone liars, blah, blah, blah. Let's see.



Nope, so surprise there other than you did revisit your first post in the thread. In it you suggest that people you don't agree with are incapable of thinking on their own. Go look - you said it for no reason than to insult - but otherwise I thought the post was worthy of a serious response. In my reply you can see that I've pointed out the precise failure of Obama's military actions from Libya to Iraq. Precision bombing has created a failed state in Libya, given rise to new IS expansion in the region and done nothing - as it has been executed in such a limited and restricted fashion in Syria and Iraq - to defeat the Islamic State.

I asked you for your list of military intelligence experts and you provided no such list. You brought up MG Scales but quickly abandoned the one line comment from one man when confronted with my response. Still waiting for your list.

More importantly, I questioned you about your claims of immorality about an idea, a willingness to press hard against the Islamic State, as put forth by Cruz. I want to know how the United States could carpet bomb Germans, Japanese, North Koreans, Communist Chinese and North Vietnamese under the leadership of three Democratic Party Presidents, namely FDR, Truman and LBJ and somehow Cruz is the immoral one for even suggesting it.

You evaded - with the usual tactics (there's that word again). So I challenge your claim that Cruz has done something immoral or wants to do something immoral and you have not been able to refute my counterpoint and have chosen to run away from substantive challenges for twenty-some posts. Why don't you just admit that you've been bested from the start because you shot your mouth off without thinking at all about the history of American military campaigns. Yes, mark, there are campaigns beside political ones and when they fail, you get a mess like the Islamic State.

mark said...

No, trumpet, I don't think anyone here is incapable of thinking for him/herself. We're all guilty, however, of accepting "facts" too quickly. The lie that Nancy Pelosi once called Hamas a humanitarian organization would be a good example.
I don't consider your accusations (traitor, child-molester,etc) to be insults because they are too absurd to be taken seriously (although my invite to show any evidence is still open).
No, I just take comments by you and racists like Kelli to be evidence of a complete lack of honor and principles by every conservative here.

tfhr said...


Have I ever called you a traitor? Please show where I've done that. Bergdahl is probably a traitor and it galls me that Obama traded 5 Taliban leaders for him. Maybe you could explain why Obama would do something like that because it defies rational explanation.

I think anyone that supports the current state of unrestrained migration to the United States - including and especially the demographics that are most vulnerable to human traffickers, chiefly women and children - are contributing to their victimization. Maybe you think what happens to so many of these women and children is some sort of "collateral damage" that has to be accepted to achieve your ends but I find it unconscionable.

Who is Kelli?

And finally, we return to the point you continue to evade: Were FDR and Truman immoral for fighting and winning a war that included, among many tactics, the use of carpet bombing? Why can't you answer the question?

Maybe it's because of the obvious problem of dealing with the "then what?" question. Should we eliminate all references to FDR and Truman - tear down statues, change the names of bridges, building, etc., as we eliminate them from history? That seems to be catching on with Civil War references. Kind of wonder when they'll get around to all of the things named after Robert Byrd, KKK, WV, (D).

Maybe you cannot afford to answer because you know it invalidates your effort to smear Cruz. I'd say it's probably that because the left rarely thinks about the greater consequences - even when it comes to revisionist history.