Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Cruising the Web

Yup, Peter Suderman expresses what I've come down to on Donald Trump - "Trump is a bad person." I am sick of people saying that he's brave and strong because he "tells it like it is." No, he's obnoxious and arrogant. There are plenty of conservatives who can fight back against political correctness without being insulting about it.
As much as anything, this is the undercurrent that runs throughout the stories that have defined Trump since the beginning of his campaign: He mocked Vietnam POW John McCain for being captured during the war; he lobbed sexist jibes at Fox News host Megyn Kelly for daring to confront him about his history of misogyny; he mocked a disabled reporter, then falsely claimed he’d never met the man; he smeared immigrants as rapists; he’s Tweeted snide remarks about the wife of one of his competitors; when the crowd attacked a Black Lives Matter protestor at Trump campaign event last month, Trump sided with the crowd, saying he “should have been roughed up”; he insisted, contrary to all evidence, that thousands of Muslims celebrated the terror attack of 9/11 on camera; he lies constantly, flagrantly, and without shame.

The connecting tissue here is that, given practically any opportunity, Donald Trump will act in the most obnoxious and unpleasant way possible.

He is consistently ungracious and egotistical, and he is prone to insults and bullying when challenged. He is xenophobic and bigoted. He does not tell the truth when called on his insults. He has the maturity level of a middle-school bully, but with less sophistication about policy.
He consistently advocates for authoritarian policies whether it's taking the property of the little guy or claiming that he would use executive power to deport all immigrants here illegally or shutting down mosques or the internet. I can understand the segment of the population who responds to his demagoguery. But when I hear people who claim to be conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham or some of my readers cheering for this guy who is not at all a conservative and never has been, it just infuriates me. Just because they agree with him on immigration doesn't mean that this man is the best suited to head up our government.

And now this demagogue is telling us that we need to shut down the internet.
“We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet. And we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, ‘oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”
As Jim Geraghty points out, Trump has just demonstrated that he has no idea how the internet works if he thinks Bill Gates controls it. Bill Gates has nothing to do with running the internet. Trump is the one who is foolish. This is the guy who is selling his business acumen. He doesn't even know what business Microsoft is in. And what type of conservative says that talking about freedom of speech is foolish? Radio talk hosts like Limbaugh and Ingraham make their living off of freedom of speech. Are they really comfortable with this sort of talk?

After talking about this idiocy about shutting down the internet, Suderman concludes,
And it is dumb in a particular way that helps demonstrate what a bad person he is. It is not just that he says stupid things that demonstrate his ignorance. It is that, in his stupidity and ignorance, he only ever imagines doing awful, authoritarian things, the way a bad person would.

Being a bad person, however, is a big part of Trump’s considerable political appeal. When he read out his proposal to implement a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims from entering the country at an event last night, he received a sustained, standing ovation. The off-the-cuff, reality-TV fascism he is peddling works, at least for the moment, because he sells it with his persona.

That persona is what drives his fans, and also his campaign. And its centrality to his political success and policy agenda is what makes it so important to understand. The easy mistake to make is to think that Donald Trump is a bad person because he is a dull, fascist bully. The better way to understand Trump is the other way around: He is a dull, fascist bully because he is a bad person.
Conservatives shuddered when Barack Obama sold his candidacy based on his persona. And now a certain segment of the electorate seems to be falling into the same trap.

For those who like Trump because he is slamming political correctness, David French explains why Trump's approach is the wrong one.
But the correct response to political correctness isn’t to simply take the opposite position, to answer one form of unthinking ideology with another. By tacking to the opposite of Obama’s scolding self-righteousness, Trump isn’t charting his own course so much as merely reacting. In fact, now that he’s “clarified” that he’s not just talking about immigration but a moratorium on all Muslim entry to the United States, he’s gone well beyond being the anti-Obama and has reacted straight into foolishness.

Off the top of their heads, even the most hawkish national security conservatives can identify multiple categories of Muslims who should have access to the United States, beginning — of course — with our own citizens. There are many others. What about the interpreters who’ve laid down their lives to serve our warriors downrange and now find themselves under imminent threat from jihadists? What about members of allied militaries who are training to be the Muslim “boots on the ground” that we need to help take the fight to the enemy? Do we treat the Kurds — who are sheltering so many of Iraq’s Christians while also providing the most effective fighting force against ISIS — the same as we treat suspected terrorists? It makes no sense....

There is nothing wrong with closing our borders to select groups when confronted with actionable intelligence or to place some groups under greater scrutiny because of known threats. But to treat every single Muslim as a threat, regardless of whether they’re from Raqqa, Erbil, Cairo, or Des Moines — and regardless of whether they’ve tweeted jihadist threats or bled on the battlefield alongside our troops — is to act mindlessly. I would also say Trump is acting maliciously, but I don’t think Trump despises Muslims as much as he loves leading the news cycle. This is a political stunt and should be treated as such.

I often speak to audiences on college campuses and elsewhere about the proper response to PC nonsense. I call the formula “apathetic, informed conviction.” When formulating cultural or political opinions, one must be completely apathetic to PC pressures — don’t react against or capitulate to leftist browbeating. Instead, educate yourself and act through informed conviction. Respond to unreason with reason, to intimidation with a bored shrug, and speak truth even when the truth is unpleasant. In this instance, however, Donald Trump is the voice of attention-seeking reaction, not principled leadership.
And for those conservatives whose goals are to stop Obama and Hillary, Donald Trump's antics accomplish the exact opposite goal. Instead of spending the time talking about the administration and Hillary's insufficient response to terrorism, we're spending time on turf favorable only to Donald Trump and the Democrats - talking about Trump's foolishness.

Trump did say yesterday that his proposal would not apply to actual Muslim citizens. That's a relief because such a ban would be, you know, unconstitutional.

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There are plenty of reasons to oppose Trump's proposed ban, but I suspect that it would not be unconstitutional. This is what Chicago law professor Eric Posner argues.
The Supreme Court has held consistently, for more than a century, that constitutional protections that normally benefit Americans and people on American territory do not apply when Congress decides who to admit and who to exclude as immigrants or other entrants. This is called the plenary power doctrine. The Court has repeatedly turned away challenges to immigration statutes and executive actions on grounds that they discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, and political belief, and that they deprive foreign nationals of due process protections. While the Court has not ruled on religious discrimination, it has also never given the slightest indication that religion would be exempt from the general rule. (Link via Instapundit)
Congress has even given the president the power to exclude specific populations that he deems dangerous. The Washington Post does interview some law professors who said such a ban would violate treaties that we have with other countries.
Barring Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country may not violate U.S. law in the same way, the experts said, because the Constitution’s protections generally do not apply to people outside the nation’s borders. But that’s irrelevant, they said, because Trump’s plan would break many principles of international law and agreements the U.S. has signed with other nations.

“We have treaties, all sorts of relationships with other countries,’’ said Palma Yanni, a D.C. immigration lawyer and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “I’m sure it would violate innumerable treaties if we suddenly started banning citizens of NATO countries, of Southeast Asian countries.’’
It's interesting that the candidate who bases a lot of his appeal on his background as a constitutional lawyer who has fought the Obama administration and won at the Supreme Court is keeping mum on the question of whether Trump's proposal is constitutional. Allahpundit gives the two sides of whether Cruz should criticize Trump. He's right that Cruz and the other GOP candidates shouldn't have to respond to the media over every single thing that Trump says. They need to get attention for more than criticizing Trump. Obviously, Cruz wants to keep his support among the voters he is hoping will leave Trump and support him. But he's also sold himself as a straightshooter who will fight even his own side when it comes to his conservative principles. Except when he won't.
But I understand why people get annoyed at watching Cruz gladhand Trump too, whatever the strategic benefits. This is, after all, a guy who got where he is by RINO-stomping every establishment Republican in sight. He’s been laying into Rubio, quite effectively, for about a month for selling out the base on amnesty and selling out the Bill of Rights on natsec grounds. He’s a warrior for conservative principle who will speak the truths his enemies cannot bear to hear — unless he covets their voters and/or fears being attacked by them, as he does with Trump, in which case he turns into a kitten rubbing against their ankle. There was no need for the smarmy obsequiousness near the end here about refusing to lend his voice to the chorus of Trump critics. He could have run through his “I like and respect Donald Trump” song and dance while also calmly picking apart his Muslim ban on the substance of it, as an ineffective and counterproductive policy. As it is, he keeps coming off like Chester to Trump’s Spike even though Trump has committed many more sins against conservatism than his nemesis Mitch McConnell has. And he does this because, when push comes to shove, Cruz is in it for Cruz. If his own personal ambition requires him to look the other way again and again and again and again at the worst serial offender against Reaganism in the GOP race, no problem. Maybe he’s saving up all of his attacks on Trump for the home stretch in Iowa, when he simply has no choice but to take the gloves off. We’ll see.

Exit question: If Cruz thinks Trump’s plan is constitutional, why not say so? Trump fans would be grateful. And since Cruz is already on record as saying he disagrees with the plan, the media couldn’t treat his legal opinion as support for the policy.

As Republicans nervously look to Iowa to tell us who the leaders in the nomination race are, one pollster, J. Ann Selzer, with a good record on Iowa, reminds us that most Iowans make up their minds rather late in the process.
A key question I often get from the press these days is: When will Iowans finally make up their minds? Based on the astonishing number of candidates still under consideration in the Republican field, my answer is: Late, very late.
History shows that even in an [sic] normal year, Iowans rarely settle on a final decision until the last possible moment. In past election cycles, the final four-day poll conducted just before the caucuses shows how much turbulence remains late in the race....Conventional wisdom has it that most caucus-goers have narrowed their choices to three, maybe five candidates at this stage of the race. That appears to be on the low side. A line from the film League of Their Own keeps running through my mind: “I have seen enough to know I have seen too much.” I have seen too much to speculate on how this caucus will turn out. It is unlike any I have polled before. It’s unlike any my predecessors would have polled before. Anything can happen. And likely will.
She goes through several election years to demonstrate how much the polling changed over the last four days before the caucuses. A few of these numbers should make everyone - pundits, pollsters, and candidates -- quite nervous: only 1% of those polled think that they could only vote for one of the possible GOP candidates.
The average Republican caucus-goer can see themselves supporting about eight candidates from the field of 15 (Bobby Jindal had not yet dropped out when we finished collecting data, so he is included in this calculation). Keep in mind, with the median of around eight candidates, half of all likely Republican caucus-goers are open to even more than that.
But, if we're going to go with how things look today, Timothy Carney thinks that Cruz is going to crush the Iowa caucuses. He appeals to the evangelical voters who make up a large portion of the Iowa GOP. And he's well-positioned to pick up disaffected Trump and Carson supporters. No one else has that appeal. And Trump is likely to keep losing ground in Iowa. Of course, things can change, but I can really see how Cruz will have appeal there and in several of the southern states.

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David Ignatius points out the hole in the middle of Obama's ISIS strategy. He talks about using local forces to help in our fight. But there is no such local force.
What “local forces” is Obama talking about? If he means Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria, yes, they’ve performed admirably. In Kurdish areas. They don’t want to clear and hold the Sunni heartland of the Islamic State, nor should they. If Obama is talking about the Shiite-led Iraqi military, its performance is still just barely adequate, even backed by U.S. air power, and it is disdained and mistrusted by the Sunnis of Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul. If he’s talking about the Islamist brigades in Syria armed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, it’s still not entirely clear whether they’re friend or foe.

The disturbing fact is that a strong, reliable, indigenous Sunni ground force doesn’t exist yet in Iraq or Syria. The United States has been trying to fix this problem since the fall of Mosul in June 2014, with very little success. We’re like the joke about the starving economist who needs to open a can of beans on a desert island and posits: “Assume we had a can opener!”

Instead of talking about the newest idiocies from Donald Trump, this is what the GOP should be talking about.
The dis­con­nect between Pres­id­ent Obama and the Amer­ic­an pub­lic on the ur­gency of the IS­IS threat is a prob­lem for his party in 2016, es­pe­cially for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Demo­crats are at risk of polit­ic­ally mar­gin­al­iz­ing them­selves on na­tion­al se­cur­ity in the run-up to the 2016 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, ca­ter­ing to a base that seems dis­con­nec­ted from the grow­ing anxi­ety that the pub­lic feels over the threat from Is­lam­ic ter­ror­ism. Dur­ing a month when a hor­rif­ic ter­ror­ist at­tack killed 130 in Par­is and a homegrown, IS­IS-in­spired at­tack killed 14 in San Bern­ardino, Cali­for­nia, the Demo­crat­ic Party’s ma­jor fo­cus has been on cli­mate change and gun con­trol.

The signs of a pres­id­ent in deni­al over the threat of ter­ror­ism keep pil­ing up. Obama be­latedly ad­dressed the pub­lic’s fears in his Oval Of­fice ad­dress on Sunday even­ing, but he offered no new policies to deal with crisis. That it took four days for the pres­id­ent to un­equi­voc­ally call the San Bern­ardino at­tacks “ter­ror­ism” un­der­scored how his own in­stincts are at odds with the Amer­ic­an pub­lic’s. The de­cision to give a na­tion­ally tele­vised speech without out­lining a change of course sug­ges­ted that ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials were wor­ried about de­clin­ing poll num­bers and that he was try­ing to lim­it the polit­ic­al dam­age. And for an ad­min­is­tra­tion that likes to nar­rowly tail­or Obama’s mes­sage to his most en­thu­si­ast­ic sup­port­ers, schedul­ing a prime-time speech for many mil­lions to see (it was his first Oval Of­fice ad­dress since 2010) was a con­ces­sion that he’s not per­suad­ing the lar­ger pub­lic.
This creates problems for Hillary.
All this has put Hil­lary Clin­ton in a polit­ic­al pickle. She needs to en­er­gize the pres­id­ent’s dovish base, which gives her little lee­way to give voice to the pub­lic’s new­found hawk­ish­ness. Ideally, she’d be able to stand lock­step with the pres­id­ent’s policies, tout­ing his lead­er­ship in a time of crisis. In­stead, she is try­ing to care­fully bal­ance her sup­port for the pres­id­ent while subtly ex­press­ing areas of dis­agree­ment.

The Democrats are really worried about this.
Democrats are increasingly fearful that President Obama’s handling of the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is becoming a liability for their party.

Those fears have become more acute after Obama’s Sunday evening address from the Oval Office, where the president unveiled little by way of news or strategic shifts.
“Weak and unclear,” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf told The Hill, when asked for his reaction to Obama’s remarks. “What is the plan of action?”

Sheinkopf added that, at this point, “any rational person would worry about his legacy, and any rational Democrat would worry about the Democrats being injured in an electoral setting.”

This vulnerability is all the more frustrating to Democrats because at one point during Obama’s presidency — the period immediately following the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 — they believed that the party’s traditional disadvantage on issues of national security had been erased....

But even Democratic strategists don’t buy the line that Obama is floating above the political fray. To the contrary, they claim that the address was grounded in politics, noting it was symbolically important but light on actual news.

“There are a lot of moving parts here and I think it is the president who sets the tone for his party,” said Bannon, adding that “the Democratic Party needs to respond with a single message.”

Sheinkopf was more blunt.

“He has no specific plan except to say we will stay the course and everything will be fine,” he said. “If the polls are to be believed, [voters] liked it when he took the lead to kill Osama bin Laden, and they don’t like that he’s not taking the lead now. Americans still hope John Wayne will show up.”
Wouldn't it be nice if the focus of the political world were on Obama's deficiencies and where Hillary comes down on all this and how closely she is or isn't tied to the Obama administration? Instead we have to spend time discussing which group of people Donald Trump wants to keep out of the country. His blustering dwarfs all other political news. That might be good for Trump in the short run, but it's bad for the Republicans. And it's bad for the country.

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Hillary Clinton has made a fetish of her refusal to call terrorism the result of radical Islam. But she seems to think it's fine to say that she's against "Islamists." Does that make any sense? Ramesh Ponnuru comments,
So to recap Hillary Clinton’s view on this matter: She is at one with the Republicans she is criticizing in seeing that a subset of people who identify as Muslims, rather than all or most such people, are our enemies; but it is worth spending some time avoiding the strategic error of saying “radical Islamic” when we should be saying “radical Islamist.” We are going to alienate people needlessly if we use a hard “c” rather than an “st.”
Yeah, that's about all she's got. I'd like to know how many people are going to be offended by the term "radical Islam," but are fine with "Islamist."

It's such a comfort that Trump is looking to FDR's policies on the Japanese, Germans, and Italians as inspiration for his proposed ban on Muslims today. Please. Should one of the most shameful episodes of government denial of civil liberties be a model today? Granted, Trump says he's not in favor of internment camps, but he'll walk right up to that line. As Jeff Dunetz writes, Trump's approach wouldn't even work.
From a practical sense does Mr. Trump really believe that a radical Muslim trying to sneak into the county will identify as a Muslim? Or will they just say they are of a different faith. So in the end, Trump’s proposal won’t even accomplish what he wants it to accomplish. Unless of course his goal is to take the national security heat off of Obama and Hillary.

Angela Merkel approves an anti-Semitic measure to label products coming from Israel.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she supports labeling of Israeli settlement products from the disputed territories of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

The spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that Merkel supports a German Foreign Ministry statement from Friday backing a European Union decision of last month to affix such a label to such items appearing on store shelves.

The decision “does not deal with a stigmatized warning decal, as many have presented… What Brussels wants is, however, only a clear designation of the origin of the products,” the spokesman said.
Of course. And do they label products from any other country so as to facilitate boycotts? What about from the Crimea or Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon or Hamas-controlled Gaza? Somehow, I suspect not. Israeli politicians tried to explain the faulty logic and motivations to the Germans, but without success. Of course not.
“I told my German colleagues: If we decide to follow the [logic of the] decision and get rid of the Golan Heights, to who in Syria would we give it? None of the German leaders knew what advice to give me on the matter,” Edelstein said.

....MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) said the move “serves anti-Semitic interests. Don’t tell us stories. Product labeling is meant to allow boycotts of Israel. It’s unfortunate that these people do not understand that harming factories in Judea and Samaria will bring serious harm to the Palestinian population, since most of the workers in these factories are Palestinians who support thousands of families.”

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This is how Obama has helped veterans.
The mother of an injured Army veteran of the Iraq war is selling a rare letter from President Obama to cover her son's medical and personal expenses despite the president's handwritten promise to do "everything we can over the next four years to support your family."

Cherry McKimmey told Secrets, "Something good might as well come out of that. It is doing no good lying in my drawer. It means absolutely nothing to me."

She received the note from Obama in July 2009 after a non-stop effort to beg federal officials to help her son, David McKimmey.

McKimmey was campaigning for the the Veterans Administration to do more to help him recover from injuries for which he received the Bronze Star with Valor for crawling back into a truck fire to save two soldiers who eventually died. He suffered burns to his face and hands is still likely to lose his leg. (link via Instapundit)
I wonder how much a false promise from Obama is worth these days. You can bid on Obama's letter if you'd like.

Harry Enten explains
the role of religious voters in stopping Donald Trump.
The GOP establishment doesn’t need to win Iowa — it just needs Trump to lose. And the establishment may have to rely on an old frenemy to make that happen: born-again and evangelical Christians.

Iowa has been among Trump’s weakest states. Since he entered the race, Trump has averaged 20 percent of the vote in live-interview polls in Iowa, compared with 24 percent nationally. Moreover, it’s the rare state where someone has been able to overtake him in the polls. That weakness has been driven by the skepticism of religious voters. In all four Quinnipiac University polls taken in Iowa since late June, Trump has underperformed among born-again and evangelical Christians. He’s earned 16 percent of the born-again/evangelical vote, on average, compared with 24 percent with everyone else.
Maybe they just don't believe him when he says that the Bible is his favorite book, but can't name any part of it that he particularly likes. Meanwhile the analysts at discuss what could happen in the race if Cruz wins Iowa which, today, looks like a likely projection. It all depends on what the media expectations are for Iowa and if Cruz outperforms or underperforms. What a silly system we have in that it depends on media expectations. The media's expectations and focus are a key part of how the election is going at this point. Nate Silver notes that Trump's propensity to say outrageous things is driving the media cycle again and again and that is helping him in the polls to appear perhaps more formidable than he really is.
In general, there has been a strong correlation between how well a candidate is performing on the ballot test and how much media coverage he’s receiving, although the causality is hard to determine. Trump seems to understand this; indeed, he seems to issue his most controversial remarks and proposals precisely at moments of perceived vulnerability.4

Put another way, the media’s obsession over the daily fluctuations in the polls — even when the polls don’t predict very much about voter behavior and don’t necessarily reflect people who are actually likely to vote — may help enable Trump. Republicans are afraid to criticize Trump in part because it rarely produces instant gratification in a “win-the-morning” political culture that keeps score based on polls.5 Without seeing any repercussions, Trump goes farther out on a limb, shifting the window of acceptable discourse along with him and making it harder to rebuke him the next time around.

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David Harsanyi has an excellent essay detailing all the ways that the Democrats have been urging authoritarian policies. There is the demand for preventing people on the no-fly list from buying a gun even while everyone knows how poorly constituted the no-fly list is with people included by mistake or because they have a name similar to a suspected terrorist. The key word is "suspected." Then there are all the demands by progressives to trim the freedom of speech whether it's political speech or whatever they decide to call hate speech. Hillary Clinton calls for believing anyone who claims to be the victim of a sexual assault except if they are accusing her husband and then there are limits to her belief in them. But she has no concern for the whole concept of "innocent until proven guilty."
It’s also the case, that many (most?) liberals don’t see any utilitarian purpose for gun ownership and don’t accept that it’s a basic freedom, no matter what SCOTUS or the Constitution tells us.

Nevertheless, it’s disturbing to witness so many people cheering and defending the circumventing of due process. On the one hand, some of this might be frustration liberals feel with the sluggish state of American politics — and we see it often in Obama’s contention that executive power (“doing something”) is necessary because the democratic process is moving too slow for his liking. A more concerning scenario, though, is that protecting progressive notions of “tolerance” is beginning to supplant protecting basic rights. On some campuses we see this manifesting in talk about “respect” being more coveted than free speech.

Or perhaps the whole thing is just a gimmick by Democrats who are intent on portraying Republicans as bigots and deflecting any responsibility from their policies regarding terrorism. This is a dangerous game. (When Donald Trump — who, unsurprisingly is the only Republican candidate who supports denying Americans on no-fly lists gun rights — advocated banning all Muslim immigration yesterday, most of the Republican Party rightly condemned the idea. There was no such reaction to Obama’s no-fly list gun ban.) Whatever the case, let’s not pretend the case for liberalism isn’t predicated on fear. Fear of “hateful” speech. Fear of terrorism. Fear of global warming. Fear of guns. Fear of debate.

William McGurn nails it when he explains why liberals are so quick to promote gun control as the answer to terrorism.
How does a man who entered the White House vowing to restore science to its proper place tell us that gun control is the answer to terrorism?

After all, California already has strict gun control, as does France, which just had its second terrorist massacre this year. Not to mention that the one time when terrorists with assault rifles and body armor were foiled, it was because an off-duty traffic cop in Garland, Texas, was carrying a gun—and used it to shoot the two heavily armed Islamists before they could kill anyone.

Or that “common sense gun control” would have done nothing to stop Richard Reid (the unsuccessful shoe-bomber); the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston (pressure cookers) or the 9/11 hijackers (box-cutters). Maybe the president should be demanding common sense pressure-cooker control.

Yet while the critiques of the president’s antigun pitch are correct, they are also beside the point. Because liberal calls for gun control aren’t about keeping guns from bad guys. It’s what you talk about so you don’t have to talk about the reality of Islamist terror. And focusing on the weaponry is part of a liberal argument that dates to the Cold War, when calls for arms control were likewise used to avoid addressing the ugly reality of communism....

Put simply, today’s liberalism cannot deal with the reality of evil. So liberals inveigh against the instruments the evil use rather than the evil that motivates them....

Back and forth it goes. Instead of debating the antiterror policy of the past seven years—the wisdom of ending the National Security Agency’s metadata program, whether ISIS can be knocked out without any ground troops, how the lack of nerve on Syria fed this mess, or whether Islamist terror can be defeated so long as our leaders refuse to call it by its rightful name—we’re all arguing over gun control.

Then again, if you were Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton, isn’t this the debate you’d prefer?

As the Supreme Court reconsiders Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin today, Jason Riley argues that it's time for the Court and society to acknowledge the real outcomes of having race-based admissions for colleges.
Racial favoritism has correctly been described by Chief Justice John Roberts as “a sordid business,” and we should hope that the court can finally bring itself to outlaw the practice. But in addition to being foul, racial preferences have been counterproductive in addressing the needs of the intended beneficiaries. Smart students who would be academic stars at most schools are steered into institutions where they are overmatched academically in relation to their peers but satisfy the needs of administrators who care more about skin tones than graduation rates.

After the University of California system banned racial preferences in 1996, black and Hispanic enrollment declined at the more selective Berkeley and UCLA, but those reductions were largely offset by a rise in enrollment at less selective schools in the system. More important, empirical studies conducted by UCLA law professor Richard Sander show that the share of black and Hispanic graduates grew by more than 50% throughout the University of California system, including among graduates in the more challenging disciplines of math and science.

This Onion parody contains more truth than satire.
‘This Will Be The End Of Trump’s Campaign,’ Says Increasingly Nervous Man For Seventh Time This Year


David said...

Trump's timing is such that I wonder if he is a stalking horse for Democrats. Or, like McCain, he has closet Democrats advising him.

SoccerPlayingMom said...

I agree with you David. I have thought all along that Trump was a stalking horse for Hillary. After all Perot worked out well for Bill back in 92 so hey must be thinking -- why not try the strategy again? And yesterday I heard the Trump is threatening (at least in a backhand way) to do just that. I heard a soundbite of him saying that 68% of his supporters would follow him if he made a 3rd party run

David Aitken said...

Title 8, Section 1182 of the U.S. Code

(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

elbogz said...

....meanwhile, somewhere in the briar patch, The Donald is having a nice lunch laughing at all the br'er Foxes in the world that don't even realized they been duped.....

tfhr said...

Pretty sure Carter blocked Iranians from entering the US after our embassy was overrun. I don't expect Dems to want to talk about that but it really is amazing to hear them compare a presidential candidate with Hitler for suggesting that a President can deny access to foreigners. If Trump is that bad - to compare him to Hitler - I wonder what they must think of FDR for interning Americans of Japanese ancestry? Oh well, another icon of the left is shattered by applying one of the left's own miserable arguments to itself. It must be a day of the week that ends in the letter "y".

Rick Caird said...

If Suderman expresses what Betsy believes about Trump, then Betsy should stop teaching children. The very first thing Suderman claims is that Trump is a fascist. But, by saying that, it is clear Suderman has no idea what fascism is let alone how to apply that knowledge. Second, Suderman either has no idea, or hopes his readers have no idea that what Trump proposes is both Constitutional and within the province of Congress to exclude any group from entry. What is more, Carter did exactly that with Iran. Besides all that, both Betsy and Suderman (as well as all the idiot complainers) ignore is that Trump is proposing that until we find a way to properly vet these people, we need to review all our procedures. What could possible be wrong with that.

I rarely read Reason because it is so filled with nonsense. What is surprising is that Megan McArdle is a very responsible and thoughtful thinker while Peter is basically off the wall as are most of the Reason writers. I have never taken Betsy's opinion very seriously (and I have been following her since her beginning of blogging). This time is no exception. She has been consistently harping on Trump to the point it has become so tiresome, I often skip her posts for days at a time.

Rick Caird said...

For a better view of Trump and what is going on, Betsy would find it productive to read Steve Hayward's take:

Locomotive Breath said...

"Instead of spending the time talking about the administration and Hillary's insufficient response to terrorism, ..."

You mean exactly like Trump's doing? It's not like he's able to silence the more "mainstream" candidates. They're simply too cowardly to open their mouths and take the heat.

mark said...
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mark said...

How pathetic! The leading repub candidate is such a perversion of our values that there is speculation that he is an agent for dems or is trying to sabotage his own campaign.
Rounding up millions of Latinos, sealing our borders, special ids for muslims (how about a nice patch), "closing-up" the internet.....

If he does want to sabotage his own campaign, I suggest he talk intelligently about how to battle terrorism (nobody has gotten it right yet), climate-change and reasonable gun control. That will sink his campaign.

tfhr said...

mark said: "I suggest I talk intelligently about how to battle terrorism...."

Yes, I wish you would; it'll be a first for you but give it a shot!!!!

If you can do that then maybe you can tell us why some on the left have blamed terrorism on global warming while others claim that gun control will deter terrorists (except in France).

It cracks me up that the left wants to send in politicians to control the weather! These are the same people that cannot bring themselves to identify a threat by name that murders human beings every day from Afghanistan to California but they're just so sure they can pass laws that manipulate economies - and through these laws - control the temperature of the planet. They believe this is "settled science" but it's pure political science fiction!

These are the people that believe mankind cannot control a border but can control atmospheric conditions! These are the people that will support a pathological liar that blamed a terrorist attack on a YouTube video when speaking to Americans and specifically to the families of Americans killed in Libya but did tell her own family that the attack was committed by terrorists. She did nothing to help Americans under attack in Benghazi and neither did her boss. That candidate and the current President refuse to identify the threat abroad and in those that have come here like the Farooks, the Tsarnaevs, or Muhammed Abdullahi but are somehow publicly certain that we should allow more unidentifiable people into the country while resisting their reckless proposal is "not who we are". For them it is preferable to be politically correct than correct because it's not about the problem, it's about the politics.

mark said...

No, neither Obama nor any known liberal has said that dealing with climate change or prohibiting people on the terror watch list from buying guns will stop terrorism. Those are lies you and others say to defend the indefensible.
No doubt you'll continue to pretend to believe climate change is a hoax, just as you pretend that the Iraq war and the decision to disband the Iraqi military didn't lead to the creation of ISIS.

Just like the Donald, I give you credit spewing audacious accusations and lies while refusing to provide a shred of evidence, and for talking a tough game while being a complete coward. Hence the new name. Wear it with pride. You earned it.

tfhr said...


You can determine cowardice in a person online about as well as the DHS and FBI can vet refugees and visa applicants from the homelands of Jihad. Have a lovely honeymoon Mrs. Farook!

Do you need links spoon fed to you citing claims by the left that climate change causes terrorism or that we must prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns? Did you know that Ted Kennedy was once on the "No Fly" list? It's true. He probably should have been on a No Drive list but that's water under the bridge now.

Speaking of rising water, the climate does change -every day- and it has ice ages and there have been periods when there was no ice at all - but not because of something you can do about it. It is the height of lunacy to believe a politician can control the temperature of the planet, especially one that is trying to sell "carbon credits". Was that a bio-fueled turnip truck you fell off of when you bought the scam? Seriously mark, what is the ideal temperature for the planet?

Here are some more questions to test your ridiculous premises and assumptions: What was ISIL doing before you knew it as ISIS and before it created a caliphate and deemed itself the Islamic State? And when did they come back to Iraq? How did they get to Libya? Why are they in Afghanistan? How have they come to inspire violence in the United States? AQI was wiped out, mark. What was left went to Syria and I don't know if you've been watching but our policy toward Syria isn't highly regarded in that part of the world or over here for that matter. Do you suppose the people that lead IS operations would have made a good army for Iraq? Good enough to have reversed the calamity caused by pulling out US troops too soon? I'd like to hear how that would work.

As for your pet name - I'd rather not have you fetishize me, to tell you the truth. It was bad enough when you were howling that I was really Equitus but at least that was kind of funny at first. This new thing seems like some kind of fixation. Are the holidays hard on you mark?

mark said...

Sometimes it's easy to determine a person's cowardice online.
You made some heinous accusations against Sen Menendez (calling him a child-rapist), and then insinuated something similar about me. I've very reasonably challenged you to show evidence for either one, or acknowledge you were wrong.
You've refused to do either.
You are a coward.
See? Easy.

tfhr said...

Wow! It's that easy? Then for all of the times I've asked you to provide evidence for so many of your claims - and you failed - that must make you a coward of incredible magnitude! Should I assess extra coward points against you for that BS list of links that failed to provide any evidence that Bush disregarded actionable intelligence ahead of 9-11? The broken links were bad enough but you even had one that sadly worked - only to make the outrageous claim that unnamed "Pentagon generals" mysteriously cancelled their own commercial flights on 10 Sep!!!

If lack of evidence or the garbage you've tried to pawn off as evidence is a measure of cowardice, you certainly have a job waiting for you at the DHS Refugee Vetting and Voting Office! Maybe you can find some brave Jihadis and set them up in the US!

mark said...

But you see, trumpette, I do provide evidence for my claims. I've sent you (several times) the link and the account of Cofer Black and George Tenet begging Condi Rice weeks before 9/11 to take the threat seriously (see below). She and Bush ignored it. Would it have stopped the attacks? We'll never know. I certain a "military-intelligence expert" would agree. Know of any? When you're done whining about supposedly broken-links, perhaps you'll let me know.

The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat—“getting into the Afghan sanctuary, launching a paramilitary operation, creating a bridge with Uzbekistan.” “And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’” (Translation: they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.) Black, a charismatic ex-operative who had helped the French arrest the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, says the Bush team just didn’t get the new threat: “I think they were mentally stuck back eight years [before]. They were used to terrorists being Euro-lefties—they drink champagne by night, blow things up during the day, how bad can this be? And it was a very difficult sell to communicate the urgency to this.”
That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof's fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We're comin' right now. We have to get there.’”
Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda's intention is the destruction of the United States.’" [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”
“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies.

Read more:

tfhr said...

I've read that - it's just part of what amounts to an ad for a documentary on CIA directors - and provides no actionable intelligence. You've stuck in this rabbit hole for weeks now!

You really should read the 9-11 Commission Report, particularly chapter 8 but in your small mind these three or four paragraphs undo the findings of the 9-11 Commission. With that limited bit from the article, do you think you can point to the actionable intelligence? Read chapter 8 of the 9-11 Commission Report and find out just why you cannot.

What other links can you provide? Are you going to copy that mess of broken links from Eric Smith again? I'm still surprised you crawled out from under your rock after that embarrassment. You could have avoided that sad episode by bothering to read through the material - you would have found the broken links but you're too lazy and that's why you just recycled garbage. You summed it up well with this remarkable statement:

"I have neither the resources, time or desire to conduct my own research as you seem to call for...." ~mark

If only the honesty of that remark could be found anywhere else in your discourse, you'd only be pathetic, not intellectually dishonest too.

mark said...

Yes, trumpette, if I ever get the time, gumption, and millions of dollars necessary to do my own investigation, I'll let you know my conclusions. In the meantime, keep pretending the Bush admin didn't receive specific warnings that might have prevented the attacks on 9/11.
No worries, the Donald has promised to clean up all the mistakes by Bush and Obama.