Iran lies, Obama hides

December 10, 2014

Time and time again, the Obama administration has promised that it would impose further sanctions on Iran if it violated agreements to end its nuclear weapons program. Power Line has a list of many such announcements, including this one from the president himself;

So I’ve heard arguments, well, but you know, this way we can assured and the Iranians will know that if negotiations fail even new and harsher sanctions will be put into place. Listen, I don’t think the Iranians have any doubt that Congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions legislation. We can do that in a — in a day, on a dime.

“In a day, on a dime.” This is a clear statement.

Alas, it’s a clear statement from Barack Obama, who rarely means anything he promises. Consistently, he utters strong words that sound good to get himself past whatever controversy he faces, but those strong words are forgotten as soon as the matter fades from the front pages. No serious action is contemplated, much less undertaken.

And this is no exception. We have known for over a month that Iran is cheating on its latest agreement, more than enough time for sanctions that can be impose “in a day, on a dime.” But we have done nothing except complain in secret. In secret, so that the matter won’t hit the front pages and thereby require more strong words from Obama.

Washington has evidence that Tehran is trying to buy new equipment for a key nuclear facility. But the White House isn’t willing to say anything publicly about it.

The United States has privately accused Iran of going on an international shopping spree to acquire components for a heavy-water reactor that American officials have long feared could be used in the production of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium.

A U.S. delegation informed a U.N. Security Council panel of experts monitoring Iranian sanctions in recent months that Iranian procurement agents have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment for the IR-40 research reactor at the Arak nuclear complex.

The American allegations, which have never before been reported, come more than a year after the Iranian government pledged . . . to scale back Iran’s most controversial nuclear-related activities. . . They stand in stark contrast to recent remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, who has repeatedly credited Tehran with abiding by the terms of the November 2013 pact. . .

The U.S. allegations were detailed in a confidential Nov. 7 report by an eight-member panel of experts that advises a U.N. Security Council committee that oversees international compliance with U.N. sanctions on Iran. The report, which cites an unnamed state as the source of the allegation, doesn’t identify the United States by name. But diplomatic sources confirmed that the United States presented the briefing.

The allegations were formally made on November 7, so the facts have been known even longer. But the White House has hushed the whole matter up.

This all makes sense, if you remember that Barack Obama can’t “even fake an interest in foreign policy.” Nothing he says on foreign policy is in earnest; whatever he says is only an effort to make the subject go away. Any action — such as following through on threats — that might make a foreign policy matter gain attention is forbidden.


Privacy protects anti-privacy

December 4, 2014

Last week, the IRS admitted that it shared taxpayers’ private information with the White House. The degree to which it did so isn’t known (by us), but it was to the tune of thousands of documents, so it must have been substantial.

But, if the Obama administration has its way, we never will know, because they have reversed themselves and announced they will not comply with the very FOIA request that forced them to admit the documents exist.

In an impressive feat of chutzpah, they say that releasing the documents would be a privacy violation! They were perfectly happy to violate privacy when they shared the documents, but know that their malfeasance might become known, privacy is suddenly sacrosanct.

If they actually cared about privacy — setting aside that they wouldn’t have violated taxpayers’ privacy in the first place — they would release the documents in redacted form. This is done all the time. But the administration instead is trying to withhold them in their entirety. The only reason to do that is to hide their misdeeds.

(Previous post.) (Via Instapundit.)


The ATF

November 27, 2014

. . . is so incompetent, it defies belief. And dishonest too: the story only came to light because they refused to pay the rent they owed. The whole agency should be scrapped.

(Via Instapundit.)


A new IRS scandal

November 25, 2014

The Obama administration has admitted in court filings that the IRS shared taxpayers’ information with the White House, to the tune of 2500 documents. A court earlier shot down the administration’s effort to withhold the documents, and their very existence.

(Previous post.) (Via Instapundit.)


Hagel sacked

November 24, 2014

Surprise, surprise:

The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

What? Hagel wasn’t up to the job? You could knock me over with a feather!

The fact that Hagel wasn’t up to the job was obvious, and was illustrated in full glory during his confirmation hearing. He was confirmed for the sole reason that he was thought to carry some political benefit: a Republican to sell Obama’s weak defense policies.

All we’re seeing here is the White House determining that he carries no political advantage commensurate with his incompetence.

UPDATE: This is really telling:

While aides described the departure as a mutual decision based on shifting priorities at the Department of Defense, there are signs that tensions between Hagel and the White House contributed to the personnel change. . . Ultimately Hagel believed the pivot to combating ISIS represented a dramatic change from the types of reforms he had hoped to accomplish during his tenure at the Pentagon, aides said.

White House and Defense officials said Hagel was tapped to spearhead efforts like combating sexual assault in the ranks and trimming the Pentagon’s budget to deal with sequestration.

Obama was okay with Hagel when Hagel’s job was to impose the president’s agenda on the military. But when the military actually had to do some national defense, Hagel had to go.

(Via Instapundit.)


L’etat, c’est moi

November 21, 2014

The Constitution: He shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.

Barack Obama: Screw that!

The remarkable thing about Obama’s speech is the word that it did not contain: Constitution. Also: “separation of powers.”

POSTSCRIPT: He claims that he wants Congress to pass an immigration bill, but that’s a lie. Without this action, there was a chance for a bill. A lot of Republicans favored one. But no more. There will be no immigration bill. He has poisoned that well for the foreseeable future. On purpose. Obama doesn’t want an immigration bill, he wants a fight.


Maryland buys environmentalist sermons

November 19, 2014

The Washington Post reports:

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars. . .

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville [New Redeemer Baptist Church] was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost.

Fine. Sounds like a waste of money to me, but that’s Maryland.

But then there’s this:

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations.

What?! This is flagrantly unconstitutional. The state cannot impose a tax on churches, and then waive the tax if the church preaches sermons to the state’s liking.

But you expect the government, particularly in Maryland, to try get to gain control over churches. Governments have always done that. (That’s how America got founded, if you recall.) But I’m disgusted with the church for agreeing to go along.

(Via Instapundit.)


Say it ain’t so!

November 19, 2014

What? Obama outright lied about Obamacare? Astonishing:

At a town hall meeting where he campaigned for health care legislation in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to voters that he did not want any tax on health insurance plans he perceived as wastefully generous to ever impact average Americans. But in recent comments by one of the men who helped draft the legislation, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that is not only precisely what will happen — but that was the intention of the tax.

White House officials had no comment, despite repeated requests by CNN.

Here’s Jake Tapper explaining the controversy, with lots of clips of Obama and his people denying what they expressly intended to do:

Tapper’s video embeds a lot of good quotes, but he misses a very important one. Here’s Gruber explaining how Obama was personally involved in designing the tax on health care benefits (the so-called Cadillac tax):

He said ‘it’s just not going to happen politically.  The bill will not pass.  How do we manage to get there through phase-ins and other things?’ And we talked about it. He was just very interested in that topic.”

Just to be clear, people think the “Cadillac tax” is on high value health care plans. It’s not. The law is designed, deliberately, as Gruber is good enough to explain, to tax all health care benefits eventually.

Gruber says this is good economic policy. I think he’s right, for the most part. Employer-provided health care shouldn’t have a special tax status. It encourages obtaining health insurance from the employer, which insulates people from their health care costs, which results in higher costs. We should tax health care plans, in combination with a tax cut or tax credit so that it’s not a net tax hike.

That, of course, is exactly John McCain’s health care proposal from 2008. The one that was savagely demagogued by Barack Obama. Obama said he opposed taxing health care plans, and McCain was terrible for suggesting such a thing. The man is a liar.


Gruber

November 19, 2014

(Via Hot Air.)


DOJ admits lying to appeals court

November 14, 2014

Ars Technica reports:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a remarkable letter (PDF) this morning in which the Department of Justice admits its lawyer misled a panel of judges during oral arguments last month over the legality of National Security Letters, or NSLs.

To the surprise of some observers, during his rebuttal, Justice Department lawyer Douglas Letter told the three judges that recipients of NSLs could, in fact, speak about the letters in general terms. They could discuss the fact that they had received a letter and could engage in public debate about the “quality” of the NSLs they had received, he said.

But actually, they can’t. Letter’s statements contradicted longstanding policy, and EFF apparently asked the DOJ for clarification. The result is that DOJ has sent a note to the Clerk of Court for the 9th Circuit to correct the error, clearing up “an inadvertent misstatement by government counsel during the rebuttal portion of the argument.”

(Via Instapundit.)


“Naked power grab”

November 13, 2014

That’s how NYT op-ed writer Linda Greenhouse describes the outrage of the Supreme Court granting review of a lower court ruling:

This is a naked power grab by conservative justices who two years ago just missed killing the Affordable Care Act in its cradle, before it fully took effect. When the court agreed to hear the first case, there actually was [post-hoc rationalization omitted] . . .

Not so this time. There is simply no way to describe what the court did last Friday as a neutral act. Now that the justices have blown their own cover. . .

I’m certain that Linda Greenhouse is aware that the Supreme Court can review any lower court ruling it chooses, and indeed it is its duty to do so. This idea that the Supreme Court can only review a ruling when there exists a circuit split is not only wrong, it’s just plain strange. In many of the left’s most celebrated cases (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade.) there was no circuit split, nor even a ruling from the appeals court.

POSTSCRIPT: The main body of the piece is a plea to Chief Justice Roberts to rule for Obamacare again, which would be pathetic if it hadn’t already worked once. Having knuckled under once already, Roberts will face no end to pressure. We’ll see if he wilts again.

POST-POSTSCRIPT: By the way, a naked power grab is one party pushing through a far-sweeping bill they haven’t even read, with no votes from the opposition party, and making full use of every one of their tainted Senate seats (Franken (MN), Begich (AK), Kirk (MA), Specter (PA)), after the voters have already repudiated the bill.

UPDATE: Orin Kerr adds Lawrence v. Texas as a recent case without a circuit split that Greenhouse specifically celebrated.

(Via Althouse.)


Priorities

November 12, 2014

The NYT reports:

In his first year as secretary of state, Mr. Kerry joined with the Russians to push Syria to turn over its chemical weapons, persuaded the Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks, and played the closing role in the interim nuclear agreement with Iran. But while the public’s attention has been on his diplomacy in the Middle East, behind the scenes at the State Department Mr. Kerry has initiated a systematic, top-down push to create an agencywide focus on global warming.

An agency-wide focus on global warming. I guess all that other stuff must be finished. Glad to hear the world’s a safe enough place now that we can waste our time on such things.

Still, based on Clinton’s and Kerry’s records at State, maybe an agency-wide focus is the best possible way to prevent agreement on global warming.

(Via Instapundit.)


Don’t you dare return a not guilty verdict

November 7, 2014

The latest incident in the Obama administration’s war on due process:

In a federal probe of Princeton University, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights faulted the Ivy League university for violating the federally recommended standard of proof for cases of rape and sexual assault.

Princeton’s offenses:

  • Treating the accused as innocent until proven guilty.
  • Prohibiting double-jeopardy.
  • Informing the accused of the charges against him.
  • Allowing the accused to call witnesses.
  • Allowing the accused to have legal representation.

So the Obama administration is pretty much against any kind of due process for the accused. But, incredibly, that’s not even the worst part of the story:

OCR also faulted Princeton for not finding men guilty in three cases.

Forget the procedures entirely. Princeton was supposed to find them guilty.

Remember when people suggested that having a constitutional law professor as president would mean greater respect for civil liberties?

(Via Instapundit.)


Subpoena, schmubpoena

November 7, 2014

The IRS hasn’t even tried to recover Lois Lerner’s emails from backup:

Judicial Watch announced today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted to the court that it failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. The admission appears in an IRS legal brief opposing the Judicial Watch request that a federal court judge allow discovery into how “lost and/or destroyed” IRS records relating to the targeting of conservative groups may be retrieved. The IRS is fighting Judicial Watch’s efforts to force testimony and document production about the IRS’ loss of records in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation about the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of President Obama(Judicial Watch v. IRS (No. 1:13-cv-1559)). The lawsuit is before U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan.

It’s almost like the IRS doesn’t want to find those emails.

(Previous post.)


The “I won” president

November 5, 2014

The prez speaks:

I still believe in what I said when I was first elected six years ago last night. All the maps plastered across our TV screens today and for all the cynics who say otherwise, I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.

Oh, good lord. You can’t seriously be going back to that now, after everything you’ve done for the last six years.

(Via Althouse.)


The costs of war, and avoiding war

November 5, 2014

Conor Friedersdorf, a writer for the Atlantic and formerly a ghost-writer for Andrew Sullivan, tweets:

This is staggeringly naive. First of all, it’s untrue on the face of it. The Iraq War, by the most dramatic estimates, cost $2.2 trillion over 8.5 years. That’s $258 billion per year. In 2013, the federal government spent $851 billion on Medicare and Medicaid, $808 billion on Social Security, and $373 billion on “other mandatory spending”, which is mostly entitlements. Any one of those is larger than the Iraq War. Total them together and you’re spending the entire cost of the Iraq War every single year.

There’s nothing pricier than entitlements.

Moreover, that estimate doesn’t take into account opportunity cost. What does it cost not to go to war? England and France saved some money by not going to war in 1935, and 1936, and 1938, and 1939, but it cost them dearly from 1940 to 1945.

Naturally, anti-war people — including, presumably, Mr. Friedersdorf — think that there was no opportunity cost. They believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were unnecessary and no adverse effects could possibly have resulted from not fighting them. Fine, I know that’s an article of faith among that set, but we don’t agree. And, Mr. Friedersdorf, you’re the one addressing us.


Press agrees not to report Ebola news

November 5, 2014

I guess the public has no right to know:

The Associated Press and other press outlets have agreed not to report on suspected cases of Ebola in the United States until a positive viral RNA test is completed.

I would be very interested to know who it was that requested they adopt this policy. Usually the press rejects such requests, such as when national security is at stake. But I guess “avoiding a panic” has is important in a way that national security just isn’t.

(Via Instapundit.)


Woot

November 4, 2014

Glad to see Republicans winning elections all across the country. Dismayed to see Pennsylvania bucking the trend.


Dithering kills

November 3, 2014

Fox News reports:

As early as May, the Obama administration had strong and specific information about the location of American James Foley and other hostages held in Syria, a source close to the discussions told Fox News, but the rescue mission was not approved until early July.

The gap raises new and compelling questions about whether the operation to save the American and British hostages was unnecessarily delayed for at least five weeks because the administration wanted the intelligence to develop further. . .

Other sources backed up the account provided to Fox News. The timeline seems to conflict with administration claims that the White House signed off on the operation as soon as the intelligence allowed.

(Emphasis mine.)

Anyone can make mistakes, but these guys never own up to anything.


Postman dumps Republican mail

November 3, 2014

The Blaze reports:

A Wisconsin mailman is under investigation for dumping hundreds of letters supporting Republican candidates in the trash, according to the Wisconsin Reporter. . .

Robert Rukes, a special agent with the U.S. Postal Service inspector general’s office in Chicago, told the Wisconsin Reporter the agency’s initial findings are that the mail carrier wasn’t trying to sabotage the GOP before Tuesday’s midterm elections, he was likely just “overwhelmed.”

No, I’m sure it wasn’t partisan. Just like it wasn’t partisan when CBS aired an attack story against President Bush based on fake documents, and coordinated the story it with John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Just like it wasn’t partisan when the IRS searched for “tea party” to find non-profit organizations to harass. Just like it wasn’t partisan when voting machines turned Republican votes to Democratic votes. Just like it wasn’t partisan when Obama’s justice department dismissed voter intimidation charges against the Black Panthers, after the case was already won.

Of course it wasn’t partisan; it never is.

(Via Instapundit.)


Democrats against motherhood

November 1, 2014

President Obama finally came out against stay-at-home moms:

Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.

It’s safe to assume they will be walking this one back, but what he says off-the-cuff is a better guide to his gut than what they’ll put out today.


NYT: Bush covered up WMD finds

November 1, 2014

Old and busted: “There were no WMDs in Iraq. Bush lied!” New hotness: “There were lots of WMDs in Iraq. Bush lied!”

Yes, in a story so bizarre I can scarcely believe I’m seeing it, the New York Times is attacking President Bush for covering up all the chemical weapons that have been found in Iraq:

From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“What?!” you say, “Chemical weapons were found in Iraq? So Bush is vindicated!”

Not so fast, the New York Times spin-machine is on the case. You see, the weapons they found were — the NYT insists — the wrong ones:

The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.

To understand what they are talking about, we need to think back to 1998. In 1998, Saddam Hussein ejected weapons inspectors from Iraq after they discovered Saddam was hiding chemical weapons from inspectors. It defies logic that Saddam would destroy his chemical arsenal after ejecting weapons inspectors, but would do so in secret so sanctions could remain in place. In 2003, it seemed certain they were still there. But we didn’t find them.

So what became of them? One theory says that most of them were shipped to Syria. This theory is supported by reports from Iraqi defectors, second-hand accounts from Russians who reportedly assisted, satellite imagery, and witnesses on the ground. But none of it is conclusive. (ASIDE: A well-cited Wired article says categorically that it didn’t happen. It’s evidence is two-fold: (a) Saddam wouldn’t have done it, and (b) if he had, there would have been satellite evidence. But (a) is pure conjecture,  and there was satellite evidence.)

But even if much or most of them were shipped to Syria, it seemed unlikely that all of them could have been, particularly in light of the Duelfer report’s conclusion that if weapons were shipped to Syria, it was done unofficially. So the question remained, what became of them?

Now we know. They were still in Iraq, scattered here and there. Thousands of them.

Why are we only hearing about this now? The Bush administration decided not to talk about the weapons after the war, preferring to move forward than re-argue the past. This was a terrible decision, as it allowed the left to build up a mythology of the Iraq war unchallenged. The left, of course, didn’t want to talk about it because it contracted that very mythology it was constructing.

So why are we hearing about it now? Because — good news! — those weapons are now in the hands of ISIS. When ISIS uses them, as surely they will, the news would come out, so they want to get their story straight now.

But how do they do that? After years of “Bush lied!” how do they admit the weapons were there all along? And more importantly, how do they admit that, and yet not see Bush vindicated? Well, the New York Times rose to the challenge.

The key is to make a distinction between old weapons and new ones:

The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.

and, just to be totally clear:

The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.

The new story goes like this: we were told there was an active weapons program, and they never said anything about old weapons, so Bush still lied!

In fact, the new story is a lie. Bush never drew such a distinction. The New York Times offers not a single line from any speech in support of it. Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades goes through all of Bush’s most famous speeches and finds not one in which he focused on new weapons to the exclusion of old ones.

In fact, the last quote above (“did not support . . . the rationale”) doesn’t even fit into the flow of the story. It looks like it was inserted by an editor who was concerned that the story was not sufficiently clear that the “Bush lied!” narrative is still in effect. The New York Times sets the agenda for leftist spin, so it’s important to make it clear.

But the story goes further. It not only charges Bush with lying about the new weapons, it actually alleges that the government covered up the old ones. That strikes me as trying too hard. Sure, Bush — unwisely — preferred not to talk about the WMD issue after the war, but is anyone going to believe that he would actually cover the evidence that would exonerate him? That doesn’t even make sense.

Our narrative makes more sense, and also has the benefit of being true: The United States and its allies invaded Iraq to build a stable democracy in the Middle East and to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. By early 2008, both aims seemed accomplished: Iraq was stable and had soldiers guarding Al Muthanna and other sites. Then Obama abandoned Iraq and both accomplishments collapsed.

This story, published a few weeks ago, seems to have settled into obscurity for now. But when ISIS uses these weapons, as seems woefully inevitable, it will be everywhere.


An unintentional revelation

November 1, 2014

It seems that the left is puzzled by the fact that, although Republicans oppose President Obama, Republicans don’t seem to want Obama murdered. They are pretty sure than Republicans’ concern about Obama’s safety must be feigned. Together with their own years of fantasies about President Bush being assassinated, it tells us a lot about how they see the world.

(Via Instapundit.)


Good news, bad news

October 31, 2014

The good news is the Washington Supreme Court has upheld the Constitutional principle of the presumption of innocence in rape cases. The bad news is it wasn’t unanimous. Three of nine justices were willing to increase the defendant’s burden from reasonable doubt to preponderance of the evidence.

For years liberals have proclaimed that the rights of the accused are sacrosanct. Better a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted. Clearly, many of them didn’t mean it.

(Via Instapundit.)


Oh, only 180

October 31, 2014

The official motto of the Obama administration is don’t do stupid [expletive]. I wished it was more than a motto. We’re seeing the fruits of Obama’s Guantanamo policy:

Senior Defense and intelligence officials say the vast majority of detainees released from Guantanamo don’t return to the fight — and of those who do, relatively few have made it to Syria.

Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield.

Rest assured, only about a quarter of those released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorism. Awesome.

(Via Ace.)


Smart diplomacy

October 29, 2014

This, from the administration that proclaims its foreign policy doctrine to be “don’t do stupid [expletive]”:

The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a [expletive],” this official said. . .

This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. . .

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)

And this:

The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

Which is to say that Netanyahu is unwilling to make any more pointless concessions to an enemy who has no interest in peace. Begin had a legitimate partner (Egypt). Rabin’s Oslo accord seemed like a good idea at the time, but turned out to be a historic blunder which, by allowing the PLO to take charge of Gaza and the West Bank, incalculably harmed Israeli security. Sharon unilaterally disengaged from Gaza and southern Lebanon. The jury is still out on whether that helped or hurt. If Netanyahu had “guts”, he’d be willing to damage Israeli interests.

And this:

For their part, Obama administration officials express, in the words of one official, a “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem, that they believe have fatally undermined Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace process.

There’s some projection going on here. Israeli settlements have fatally undermined Kerry’s peace process (note: if it were working, it would be Obama’s) because Obama unwisely and unnecessarily decided to link negotiations to his demand for a settlement freeze.

And finally this:

This official agreed that Netanyahu is a [expletive] on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

Way to bury the lede! The Obama administration pressured Israel not to act against Iran’s nuclear program? This isn’t surprising, but I don’t think it’s been confirmed before.

And Netanyahu is a “coward” for yielding to the administration’s pressure. Let this be noted by everyone who deals with this administration: If you do what Obama demands, you will only earn his contempt.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker makes an important observation that actually casts this in an even worse light:

But consider: the “senior Obama administration official” made the comment in a conversation with a reporter, Goldberg, who was working on a story about the strained relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu governments. He must have known that the “chickenshit” characterization would be quoted, albeit anonymously. He must have wanted it to be quoted. He must have known that it would garner a great deal of attention.

Stupid [expletive] indeed.

UPDATE: David Bernstein has an insightful post on how Obama severely misjudged Israeli politics:

The Obama Administration came in to office thinking it could either force Netanyahu to make concessions, or force his government to fall. Both the Shamir and the first Netanyahu governments made concessions and ultimately got tossed out by the voters after tensions rose with the U.S., so this was not a completely unreasonable  assumption. . .

The very popular (in Israel) Bill Clinton confronting an only mildly popular Netanyahu in 1998 played very differently in Israel than a very unpopular Obama confronting a popular Netanyahu over the last several years. . .

Instead, Netanyahu has managed to stay his own course, and still is in no danger of losing his parliamentary majority. Hence administration frustration and “[expletive].”

Why is Obama so unpopular in Israel? Because Israelis have paid attention to a lot of things that Americans have not. Bernstein lists lots of examples. It’s not for no reason that Israeli opinion on whether Obama is friend of Israel is within the margin of error of zero.


Thieves

October 29, 2014

The IRS is stealing people’s money with no justification:

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report. . .

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up. . .

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Note particularly the part I’ve emphasized. They are going to focus on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally. Meaning they haven’t been thus far.

They’ve been taking people’s money when they don’t even believe (much less have any proof) that it was acquired illegally.

These people are thieves, plain and simple.

(Via Hot Air.)


AP OMG

October 23, 2014

The latest Palestinian terror attack:

A three-month old girl, identified by her grandfather as Chaya Zissel, was killed and several US citizens and Israelis were wounded Wednesday evening when a convicted Palestinian terrorist from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people in the capital. . .

The terrorist was shot by police and late Wednesday evening he died in hospital.

The Associated Press ran this headline:

Israeli police shoot man in East Jerusalem

POSTSCRIPT: The first paragraph makes clear that, even at the time, they had enough information to know their headline to be totally inappropriate.


Robert Kennedy Jr.: imprison my opponents

September 23, 2014

Robert Kennedy Jr. says, apparently in earnest, that people who doubt global warming should be put in prison:

Somehow liberals have a reputation for supporting free speech, but I note that they only favored free speech when they were in the minority.


Fisking the president

September 22, 2014

Let me say first that I support military action against ISIS (or ISIL or the Islamic State, if you prefer). But I think that whatever we do ought to be serious and have a good chance of success. Otherwise, it looks like the president is just pretending to action because he’s suffering in the polls.

That exactly how President Obama’s ISIS speech looks. It’s so full of idiocy and mendacity, we have to go through it line-by-line:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

First line, first lie. He doesn’t want to do anything of the sort; he’s being forced to do it by the weight of public opinion.

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Oh, that again. By now, boasting about Bin Laden, Obama sounds like a middle-aged man bragging about how he scored the touchdown that won the big game in high school.

We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. . .

Actually, the situation in Yemen looks very bad. But I guess it’s true that we’ve targeted them.

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents.

ISIL’s interpretation of Islam is incorrect, according to the President of the United States. A presidential fatwa, as it were.

President Bush started this line in 2001, when he tried to assure the Muslim world that the war on terror was not a war on Muslims. That was probably the right thing to do in 2001, and it worked to some extent. But 13 years later, opinions in the Muslim world are made up, and aren’t going to be changed by a line in a speech. And anyway, this speech is directed to the domestic audience, not to the Muslim world.

For years we’ve been told that Islam is peaceful, and the Islamic doctrine of jihad — “holy war” — doesn’t refer to war at all, but to a peaceful inner struggle. Mohammed certainly did not see it that way, but since I’m personally uninterested in fidelity to Mohammed, I would love it if Muslims everywhere adopted the peaceful interpretation. But as an outsider, the peacefulness of Islam is primarily an empirical question. I think Jonah Goldberg is right that it’s time they started convincing us, rather than the other way around.

No religion condones the killing of innocents.

Yes, I had to repeat this line, because it’s so breathtakingly stupid. Let’s agree, arguendo, that this is true in regard to Islam. No religion at all condones the killing of innocents? Various cultures have been practicing human sacrifice for millenia. The Aztecs were famous for it. Parts of India still practiced suttee in the 1980s. ISIS absolutely is religious, even if their religion is not true Islam.

And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. . .

This is true in exactly the same way as it is true that the vast majority of Stalin’s victims were Russian or Ukrainian. That’s who he was able to lay his hands on.

Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. . . These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. . .

Yeah, the Kurds are great. Our airstrikes might have helped them somewhat. You know what really helps them? Letting them buy weapons! I’m glad we finally seem to be doing that. We should have done it years ago.

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. . .

Fair enough, but let’s remember it wasn’t so long ago that the official Democratic position was that we should never, ever outsource our security to the locals.

In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces. Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.

We’ll see about that. Indeed, by ruling out the possibility of that we might go in there and crush them, we may well embolden them, making a full ground war all the more necessary. These people have never learned the virtue of being coy about how far you might go.

But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. . .

Two words here, “Kurdish” and “equipment”, are far more important than everything else in this speech. At least he mentioned them.

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. . .

Years ago, this likely would have made a difference. Today, all of Assad’s enemies who were friendly to us are dead. In the unlikely event that the Syrian opposition manages to overthrow Assad, we’re just going to see a replay of the Libya debacle. (Interesting tidbit: the word “Libya” appears nowhere in this speech.)

Who’s left fighting Assad? People like this: “Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time. . .”

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. . . And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

I’m sure ISIS is shaking in fear of UN action.

Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

What? Humanitarian assistance is well and good, but it won’t get those refugees back in their homes.

So this is our strategy.

Here’s the tl;dr version: (1) airstrikes, (2) ground forces who will absolutely not have a combat mission, (3) counterterrorism, (4) humanitarian aid.

And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners.

I can’t let this go. Who, exactly, is part of the “broad coalition”? Forty nations deployed troops to Iraq, and that coalition was proclaimed a sham because it didn’t include France and Germany. We don’t know who will be in this coalition, because it doesn’t exist yet. The Obama administration is working frantically to assemble it.

We do know that the coalition won’t have Germany, and Britain (who always supported us before we discarded the special relationship) is vacillating.

My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home.

Indeed he has. And Obama is unfortunate that he is a Democrat. Were he a Republican, not only would his bipartisan support evaporate at the first sign of difficulty, they would actually pretend that they never supported it in the first place.

I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL . . .

Wow. Exactly where that authority derives from is left unsaid, and for good reason. The 2001 AUMF directed at Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to apply, since ISIS did not collaborate in 9/11 and is not affiliated with Al Qaeda.

The 2002 Iraq War Resolution may provide authority. It gives the president the power to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq”, which won’t do, even if you set aside “continuing”, since ISIS is not Iraq. But it also authorizes the president to “enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq”. There are so many UN resolutions concerning Iraq that some of them arguably apply. Of course, this slender reed relies on ignoring the fact that the Iraq War was over. (The White House said in June that the Iraq War resolution “is no longer used for any U.S. government activities.”)

But at the time at which he said this, the White House had not yet figured out where that authority would come from. The New York Times reports “public and background briefings for reporters this week mentioned only the 9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or A.U.M.F., and not the Iraq authorization, as did a statement the White House released after Mr. Obama’s speech,” but within days they were citing the Iraq War resolution as well.

Ironically, the White House called for the repeal of both resolutions just a few months ago. In May, the president announced “So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the [9/11] AUMF’s mandate.” And in July, the National Security Adviser wrote the House Speaker “we believe a more appropriate and timely action for Congress to take is the repeal of the outdated 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. . . With American combat troops having completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, 2011, the Iraq AUMF is no longer used for any U.S. government activities [Scofflaw: there’s that phrase again] and the Administration fully supports its repeal. Such a repeal would go much further in giving the American people confidence that ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq.”

Now, the president certainly has the innate Constitutional power to deal with ISIS. That power is statutorily limited by the War Powers Act, but after Obama ran his Libya campaign in flagrant violation of the War Powers Act, it has to be considered a dead letter. But it’s awfully hard for them to make that case after all the Democratic caterwauling over the unitary executive theory, and Joe Biden’s threats to impeach President Bush if he dealt with Iran without Congressional authorization.

but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger. . .

That’s a reversal of his pledge in May, “I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate [the AUMF] further.” Obviously, positions must change when situations change. But ISIS was certainly already active in May; they captured Fallujah in January. (Days before Obama derided ISIS as a “JV squad.”) The only change is public opinion forced Obama to start paying attention.

It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. . .

Yeah, we get it. We’re ruling out any possibility that we just might launch an effective campaign.

Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. . .

This again. He always goes back there whenever he’s in trouble.

Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. . .

Thanks to fracking. And it could be even closer if Obama doesn’t succeed in forcing Canada to send their oil overseas.

It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. . .

What?! We did nothing of the sort! I wish we had.

It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again.

This is a great lawyerly statement. Yes, we helped destroy the weapons that Syria declared. Of course, the ones that Syria didn’t declare, those they still have.

And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future. . .

How exactly? I saw America stand back and watch the Arab Spring turn sour. A once-in-history opportunity, and we blew it.

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said: “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

Good for us. But how did those civilians get trapped on the distant mountain in the first place? We did nothing as, month after month, ISIS steadily gained territory. We did nothing as ISIS drove those civilians from their homes. We did nothing as those civilians fled to that mountain. Then, when those people faced massacre, the public finally noticed, which forced Obama to take notice. Even now, have those people been able to return home? The media has moved on, but I doubt it.


You keep using that word

September 17, 2014

School bans Chick-fil-A, because it represents an improper political stance. And that’s at odds with “inclusivity and diversity”:

With their political stance on gay rights and because the students of Ventura High School and their parents would be at the event, I didn’t want them on campus,” [Principal] Wyatt told the newspaper. . .

“We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus and all of our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” Ventura Unified School District Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga said.

If they were to look those words up in a dictionary (schools still have those, right?), they’d be surprised by what they found.

(Via Instapundit.)


Gawker: the world will be a better place if you let criminals do their thing

September 15, 2014

With no apparent irony:

On Friday, a white lady named Clara Vondrich had her iPhone stolen out of her hand in Williamsburg but was able to catch one of the thieves, a 13-year-old boy. This story . . . taught us all important lessons about what not to do when you’re able to capture your own child mugger. . .

The boy will now enter New York’s vaunted juvenile justice system, which will likely [expletive] his life even further, simply because he snatched a white lady’s iPhone in Williamsburg.

If you are nonviolently mugged by a child, continue to let him run along with his friends. The world will be a better place.

Let the criminals steal; the world will be a better place. Amazing. And bonus leftism points for irrelevantly bringing up the victim’s race four times (twice in the excerpt).

Gawker speaks for no one, of course, but it’s illustrative of the sickness of today’s left.

(Via Vox Popoli.)


How we got here

September 12, 2014

The following are required reading to understand how Iraq, quiescent in 2009 (so much so that the Obama administration was actually taking credit in February 2010), got into the terrible state it’s in today:

  1. Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq” details how the United States acquiesced to Nouri al-Maliki’s coup (supported by Iran) in 2010.
  2. Obama’s Disastrous Iraq Policy: An Autopsy” gives the sequel, how Iraq disintegrated under Maliki’s increasingly tyrannical rule, while US policy was “Let Maliki do whatever he wants so long as he keeps Iraq off the front page.”
  3. Finally, when the New York Times’s Baghdad bureau chief was asked to evaluate the Obama administration’s Iraq policy:

    Q. How do you rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq? What did they do right? What did they get wrong?

    A. It’s not my job to rate the Obama administrations actions in Iraq. But I will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. And when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. They did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left Iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating I wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top Iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. That was not true. Even after Falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about Maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. So there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of Mosul — that Iraq was collapsing.

    (Capital letters added, and emphasis mine.) (Via Hot Air.)

If we are going to re-engage with Iraq now; well, it’s necessary. But we need to do it on the basis of reality, not Obama administration fantasy, and I have little confidence that we will.


Rationing kills

September 11, 2014

Yes, Virginia, health care rationing does kill people:

A Herceptin-style drug that can offer some women with advanced breast cancer nearly six months of extra life has been turned down for use in the NHS because of its high cost.

In draft guidance now open to consultation, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) blames the manufacturers, Roche, who are asking for more than £90,000 per patient, which is far more than any comparable treatment.

In a free country, you would decide for yourself whether 6 months of life would be worth the cost. Or at least you would decide whether health insurance that covers 6 extra months of life would be worth the cost. Not in the UK. In the UK they tax away nearly half your income, promising to provide you health care, and then they don’t do it.

Sure, you can still pay for it yourself (in the UK — this is actually illegal in Canada), but they’ve already taken half your money, and you still need food, shelter, etc.


$#*! my president says

September 11, 2014

Even the New York Times is noticing that Barack Obama is out of touch with reality:

When President Obama addresses the nation on Wednesday to explain his plan to defeat Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria, it is a fair bet he will not call them the “JV team.”

Nor does he seem likely to describe Iraq as “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” with a “representative government.” And presumably he will not assert after more than a decade of conflict that “the tide of war is receding.”

As he seeks to rally Americans behind a new military campaign in the Middle East, Mr. Obama finds his own past statements coming back to haunt him. Time and again, he has expressed assessments of the world that in the harsh glare of hindsight look out of kilter with the changed reality he now confronts. . .

“I don’t think it is just loose talk, I think it’s actually revealing talk,” said Peter H. Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush now at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Sometimes words are mistakes; they’re just poorly put. But sometimes they’re a manifestation of one’s deep belief in the world and that’s what you really get with President Obama.”

Asked for comment, the White House fell back on their old, tired, “what about the WMDs?!” They’ve got nothing else.

I actually think it’s worse than Wehner suggests. I don’t think Obama’s statement reveal his deep beliefs; on the contrary, I think they confirm that he can’t “even fake an interest in foreign policy” (as a prominent Democrat put it). Obama is a purely political animal; everything he says in regard to foreign policy is an effort to dispense with it, so he can return to what really drives him, which is advancing his domestic agenda.

(Via Instapundit.)


Never forget

September 11, 2014

9/11


Funny but sad

September 10, 2014

Jim Treacher:

“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“ISIL.”
“ISIL who?”
“ISIL have no idea what to do about this $#!+.”
— @BarackObama to WH Press Corps, 9/10/14

(Via Instapundit.)


IRS bombshell

September 10, 2014

If you had any doubt that the Justice Department’s “investigation” of the IRS scandal was being run politically, doubt no longer. The Justice Department is coordinating its actions with the Democrats:

Justice Department Director of Public Affairs Brian Fallon called the House Oversight Committee Friday evening and mistakenly spoke to Republican staff thinking he was speaking to Democrats, according to a spokesman for Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

In that call, Fallon said his agency was about to turn over some IRS documents. He stated that he was not being allowed to release the material directly to the media, but that he wanted to get it into the hands of certain reporters “before the [Republican] Majority” had the chance to share it. That’s according to a letter Issa sent yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder. . .

As the telephone conversation continued, Issa’s staff says Fallon realized he was speaking to committee Republicans instead of Democrats and “walked back” the conversation.

This is plainly improper. Elijah Cummings (the lead IRS-defender among House Democrats) dismissed the incident, of course.

(Previous post.) (Via Instapundit.)


Oh good lord

September 9, 2014

Harry Reid decides to waste the Senate’s time debating a constitutional amendment to repeal the Freedom of Speech, and somehow it’s the Republicans’ fault:

After all his complaints about Republican obstruction this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed frustration last night after Republicans helped guarantee a floor vote on a measure he supports.

The Nevada Democrat has accused Senate Republicans of chicanery for voting to advance to the Senate floor a Democratic constitutional amendment allowing Congress to regulate all campaign speech and spending.

After Monday’s bipartisan 79-18 vote, Reid vented to reporters that Republicans were trying to “stall” the Senate, indicating that he never intended for the campaign finance amendment by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to go to a real floor debate.

What an ass.

(Via Instapundit.)


The “free speech movement” never was

September 8, 2014

Ken White notes that Berkeley’s chancellor is giving lip service to the “free speech movement” it spawned, while simultaneously neutering it by drawing a distinction between free speech and “political advocacy”. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of the Constitution knows that political speech (“advocacy”) was the entire point of the Freedom of Speech.

As White put it:

Political advocacy is not distinct from free speech. Political advocacy is the apotheosis of free speech.

Berkeley’s chancellor is hardly alone. The very same people who used to celebrate free speech on campus hate it now. It’s not hard to see why.

The “free speech movement” arose when leftist ideology was a minority opinion. Free speech was important to leftists so they could be heard. Today, leftist ideology is a majority opinion, at least on college campuses, if not yet nationally. What use is free speech to them now? Free speech now means their opponents can be heard.

I wasn’t there at the time, but the left’s behavior today proves that (broadly speaking) they didn’t care about free speech per se, they cared about leftism.

(Via Instapundit.)


Religious intolerance at Cal State

September 7, 2014

The California State University is following Vanderbilt and Michigan, banning Christian groups from campus. As in previous cases, the pretext is that they do not admit “all comers” if they require leaders to be Christian.

Of course, all campus groups choose leaders who ascribe to the group’s beliefs. (Just try to get elected president of the College Republicans/Democrats if you’re a Democrat/Republican.) Christian groups are being penalized for being forthright about it.


Venezuela circles the bowl

September 7, 2014

How badly have the Chavistas ruined Venezuela’s oil industry? Venezuela is in talks to begin importing oil.

(Via Instapundit.)


Never mind

September 6, 2014

Just a few weeks ago, President Obama was proclaiming his success in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons:

Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile. The most lethal declared chemical weapons possessed by the Syrian regime were destroyed by dedicated U.S. civilian and military professionals using a unique American capability aboard the M/V Cape Ray – and they did so aboard that U.S. vessel several weeks ahead of schedule.

Or not:

The United States expressed concern on Thursday that Syria’s government might be harboring undeclared chemical weapons, hidden from the internationally led operation to purge them over the past year, and that Islamist militant extremists now ensconced in that country could possibly seize control of them.

(Via Instapundit.)


OMG

September 6, 2014

AP reports:

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status. . . The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.

What we’re seeing here is confidence on the part of the IRS. They believe that they can do anything, and there will never be any consequences. Sadly, they’re probably right.

(Previous post.)


Obama missing at NATO summit

September 4, 2014

The prominent Democrat who said that President Obama can’t “even fake an interest in foreign policy” sure wasn’t joking. The NATO summit — at which western powers were supposed to reaffirm their commitment to collective security in the face of Russian agression — opened today. Obama didn’t even show up:

President Obama was nowhere to be found during the beginning of a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine commission in Wales on Thursday. Obama was “noticeably absent” from the start of the meeting, according to a White House pool report, although U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute was in attendance.

Oh yeah, just send the ambassador. That’ll show Putin how serious you are.

If half of life is just showing up, Barack Obama isn’t even half a president.

(Via Instapundit.)


The horror of government-run medicine

September 2, 2014

The horrifying story of two parents fighting against the United Kingdom to obtain treatment for their cancer-striken child:

  1. Doctors successfully remove the boy’s tumor.
  2. To prevent cancer returning, the parents seek proton-beam treatment in place of ordinary radiation treatments.
  3. Doctors refuse.
  4. The parents suggest that they could pay for the treatment themselves.
  5. Doctors say no: you have to accept our recommendation, or else.
  6. Or else what? The doctors threaten that if the parents keep demanding treatment, they will impose a restraining order that will bar the parents from seeing their son.
  7. The parents check the child out of the hospital and leave the country.
  8. Story over? Oh no. The NHS contacts Interpol and issues an international missing person notice to find the boy.
  9. Staff at a Spanish hotel (where the parents are staying while they raise money for treatment) report them to the police.
  10. Spanish police arrest the parents, and extradite them back to the UK.
  11. After a flurry of bad press, the Prime Minister intervenes. The parents will not be prosecuted.
  12. The boy doesn’t get the treatment, but the parents aren’t barred from seeing the boy.

This is what passes for a happy ending when dealing with the NHS: Your boy doesn’t get treatment, but at least you don’t get punished for trying.

For its part, the police “make no apology” for their actions. And why would they? They’re the government.

This is why government-run health care is so much worse even than a cheap, badly-run HMO. With an HMO, you can fight for treatment. You might fail, but at least you can’t be punished for trying. With the NHS, the people who pass judgement on your care are the same ones who, if you annoy them, can take your children away.


Burglary is for amateurs

August 29, 2014

I’ve always wondered why Richard Nixon’s goons bothered to burglarize the Democratic party headquarters. Why didn’t he just open a phony investigation and seize the documents? That’s been accepted practice by Democrats going back at least to FDR, and it continues today:

Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt. . .

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin. . .

Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. . .

Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing. . .

In one particularly dramatic demand, the prosecutors’ request for emails was unlimited: the subpoenas require “all information stored in an account including (but not limited to) incoming and outgoing mail.”

“Thus, a target’s mail from well before those dates could be seized if it was simply ‘stored’ in the account during the relevant period, including in the deleted items folder,” the plaintiffs’ court document states.

(Via Legal Insurrection.)


The middle ground

August 29, 2014

I meant to post this cartoon a month ago:

meet-hamas-halfway


OMG

August 29, 2014

“We don’t have a strategy yet.”

I wish he would have just lied.

But worse than his admission that he has no strategy, was his position — classic too-clever-by-half Obama material — that it would somehow have been inappropriate to have a strategy for dealing with ISIS. That’s utter nonsense, as confirmed by the White House making the rounds today emphasizing that, despite what the president said, they absolutely, positively, really, really do have a strategy.


The sun has truly set on the British Empire

August 27, 2014

When Indians complained about the British interfering with suttee (the Indian practice of burning widows alive on their husbands’ funeral pyre), General Charles Napier (1782-1853) told them:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. . . Let us all act according to national customs.

Great Britain used to bring civilization to the far corners of the globe. Now they can’t even bring it to their own country:

The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Asian men went unreported for 16 years because staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.

Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the council commissioned review into child protection revealed. And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already known to agencies.

But according to the report’s author: ‘several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist’. . .

In two cases, fathers had tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused – only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.

This went on for sixteen years with the full knowledge of the authorities, who would rather allow thousands of children to be raped than called racist.

And that fear seems to persist even in the wake of this horror. Even in a story that centers around the horrifying consequences of hyper-sensitivity to racism, this BBC story can’t bring itself to say precisely what the authorities were being hyper-sensitive about. The story has no photographs of the perpetrators, it never uses the word “Pakistani” or even “Middle Eastern”, and it only even uses the word “Asian” (60% of the world’s population) as part of a quotation.

Oh, and by the way:

No council employees will face disciplinary action in a town where 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in a 16-year period, the local authority’s chief executive has said.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

Perhaps they need to consider the possibility that there are worse things than being thought racist. Of course, if that idea were to spread, a powerful tool of social control would vanish.

Alas, over sixteen years every one of them must have considered that possibility at some point. And rejected it.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds adds again:

The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers