Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cruising the Web

David French explains how international law is being used to try to delegitimize Israel. Since Arab states couldn't defeat Israel on the battlefield, they've resorted to sponsoring terrorism and trying to use international pressure to destroy Israel.
One can’t understand the international community’s anti-Semitism without understanding the three great double standards that together gin up fake outrage against Israel and dupe the gullible into believing the Big Lie that Israel is the oppressor and Palestinians its chief victims.

The first double standard deals with the status of land acquired as a result of waging defensive warfare. Traditionally, when aggressors launch losing wars, they are not permitted to reclaim all the territory they lost without cost or consequence. This truth is uncontroversial and apparent from the distant and recent past. Germany does not control the same land that it did in August 1939, nor does Japan. Yet time and again, the “international community” has taken the view that nations such as Egypt and Syria could and should claim the lands they lost in their own aggressive wars with Israel, including the very lands used as launching pads for those wars. The international community maintains that view in spite of the fact that applying the same reasoning worldwide would cause instability and chaos. Israel, alone among all countries, is thus bound to bear the burden of unwinding its past wars.

The next double standard deals with the definition of “refugees” — a word that means one thing when applied to Palestinians and another thing when applied to anyone in the rest of the world. Everywhere else, a “refugee” is a person who flees (or can’t return) to his home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution.” Descendants of those people are not reckoned by the international community to be refugees themselves, unless they are Palestinian. If the same standard were applied universally, it would mean constantly growing and inherently unstable “refugee” populations. A family tree would become an instrument of migration and mobility, permitting permanent relocation and resettlement, at will, so long as you had a refugee ancestor. No sovereign nation would permit such a regime. No other sovereign nation does. Again, Israel bears a unique burden.

The third double standard is that the international community rejects Israeli efforts to destroy hostile terrorist organizations. The United States can conduct international military operations against ISIS or al-Qaeda with minimal international outcry. Across the globe, other sovereign nations conduct ruthless and sustained military operations against terrorist organizations in their midst. Yet Israel can’t conduct military operations against Hamas or Hezbollah without generating world revulsion at its “high crimes.”

When the Obama administration last week allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution that declared all Israeli settlements to violate international law, it applied the first double standard, did nothing to address the second, and facilitated Palestinian attempts to maintain pressure on Israel through terrorist violence. The Palestinians gained an immense international victory without the promise of peace. The administration’s actions fit perfectly within the long-term Palestinian-Arab strategy to destroy Israel.
The fact that Palestinians have rejected permanent peace settlements because they refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist should be enough to clarify for any impartial observer who the real barriers to peace are in the region. But not for the Obama administration and the other countries on the UN Security Council that voted for this resolution.

Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media publishes "14 amazing Thomas Sowell quotes in honor of his last column." Here is a sampling.
1. "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."

2. "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."

5. "Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God."

6. "The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is: he confuses it with feeling."

7. "Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on 'income distribution,' the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned."

9. "The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state."

10. "The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites."

11. "I have never understood why it is 'greed' to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."
Steven Hayward has posted some more wit and wisdom from Dr. Sowell. He really has been the master of the pithy one-liner that sums up so much insight and ridicule of liberal pieties. I'll really miss reading his columns.

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Chris Zois has a nice piece at UpRoxx about how Jake Tapper's "immunity to spin" is going to make him the most important journalist of the Trump presidency because he's smart enough not to let Trump surrogates get away with spouting nonsense.
One anchor who never let people off the hook was CNN’s Jake Tapper, whose work was a constant reminder that cable news can feature civil conversations between adults.

The CNN anchor never interrupted a surrogate or treated them with disrespect, but he did challenge them, and he did so with a cool and collected demeanor. Whenever an interview segment could have devolved into a shouting match, Tapper would firmly push back and not let guests skate by with prepared remarks. It was an attitude that produced some engrossing interviews and propelled Tapper to MVP election status. Not only that, but Tapper’s resolute manner makes him an indispensable asset for the coming four years (and beyond).
He goes on to give several examples of Tapper just not buying what Trump surrogates are selling. All that is true and Tapper is one of my favorite interviewers to watch. However, what Zois seems to miss or maybe his own biases have blinded him is that what makes Tapper especially good is that he applies this approach to both sides. It's not enough to be skeptical of Trump supporters and Republicans, but it is Tapper's even-handedness that makes him a trustworthy journalist. For the benefit of Zois, here are some other examples of Tapper's "immunity to spin" helping him to challenge those on the left.

Tapper cast shade
on Barack Obama's demands that reporters do more investigative journalism, presumably to expose lies from Republicans.
An irritated Jake Tapper on Tuesday unloaded on Barack Obama, attacking the President for “lecturing” journalists about how to do their job. Highlighting a speech from Monday, in which the Democrat called for reporters to “dig” and “demand more,” Tapper quipped, “His message was a good one. But was President Obama the right messenger?”

The CNN host rebuffed, “Many believe that Obama's call for us to probe and dig deeper and find out more has been made far more difficult by his administration than any in decades, a far cry from assurances he offered when he first took office.”

Specifically, Tapper objected, “The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act to go after more leakers and whistle-blowers than all previous presidential administrations combined, despite official assurances otherwise.”
How many who are not on the right would dare to bring up the Obama administration's lack of transparency.

Tapper was fair enough to recognize that there is a big discrepancy in how the media treat Chelsea Clinton and how they treat Trump's adult children.

He went hard after Clinton surrogates such as Robby Mook and prominent Obama administration officials such as Loretta Lynch. He took on Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, for making fun of Americans who were afraid of crime and terrorism. He was willing to criticize his own network about Donna Brazile's leaking of questions to Hillary Clinton before debates.

There are plenty of more examples from both sides of the aisle, but you get the idea. Jake Tapper is an even-handed skeptic and that makes him very rare. The fact that he's on CNN and not Fox also gives him more credibility which a journalist of similar talents such as Chris Wallace won't get from the left. Tim Russert had some very good advice for interviewing from which I suspect Jake Tapper has learned.
He discusses meeting with Meet the Press co-creator Lawrence Spivak, who gave him the advice to "learn as much as you can about your guest, and his and her position on the issues. And then take the other side." H
Too often, I sense that journalists only recognize the liberal arguments so they never are able to frame questions of Democrats from the conservative side. For example, they'll drill Republicans about their position on abortion, but never ask a Democrat about their reluctance to ban partial birth abortions or to support parental notification laws, both positions on which Democrats are on the other side of public opinion.
Or there is the blindness when led some comedians to assert that there was simply nothing funny about Barack Obama. Even when he ran for reelection, comedians found it much easier to ridicule Mitt Romney than Obama. Conservatives have been making fun of Obama since he first appeared on the scene. But liberals don't read conservatives or they've drunk too much of the Kool-Aid to understand how anyone could laugh at Obama. Or maybe they were just too afraid of not being perceived as being politically correct or for being labeled a racist or for losing friends among their own crowd. I doubt that there will be the same hesitancy about a Trump presidency. And that is as it should be. Tapper recognizes the importance of even-handedness in his career. Would that journalists and comedians would similarly recognize it.

Kenneth Button of the Mercatus Center reminds us that the deregulation of air transportation made possible all those deliveries of gifts that people ordered online this holiday season.

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Kevin Williamson has some fun with those people who are up in arms over the supposed cultural appropriation by Whole Foods of the chopped-cheese sandwich which they are daring to sell for $8. As he says, "Whole Foods is what you worry about when you’ve run out of real things to worry about."
But the real cultural appropriation here is being done by those black and brown critics of Whole Foods: If there is a definition of well-off white-people problems, it’s worrying about what’s for sale at Whole Foods. You think the poor and dispossessed and oppressed of this world care about whether that $25-a-pound roasted salmon is farm-raised or wild-caught? I think not. If you are close enough to a Whole Foods to get pissed about what’s in the deli case there, you are a 1-percenter, globally speaking. You have won the game of civilization, and if you aren’t happy with the state of your life, then you probably aren’t trying hard enough.

This phenomenon is a kind of social gout, a disease of affluence. This is what you worry about when you’ve run out of real things to worry about like famine, war, and slavery.
My daughters talk about having a very limited worry budget

This is really quite funny. Tom Nichols uses gifs from 'Friends' to deliver a primer on America's nuclear response procedure.

Kevin Durant is right on about the NBA's two-minute reports.
Durant also said it's hypocritical for the league to fine players for publicly criticizing referees while at the same time publicizing their mistakes.

"You can't fine us for when we go out there and criticize them, but throw them under the bus for a two-minute report," Durant argued. "What about the first quarter? What about the second quarter, the third quarter?

"Our refs don't deserve that, and they're trying their hardest to get the plays right, and you look at a play in slow motion and say it's wrong. I think it's bulls--- that they do that. That's full of s--- that you throw the refs under the bus like that after the game like it matters. Game's over, we moving on."