"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girl of the Day - The Great Greer Garson

And I mean great.   One of my absolute favorites from the greatest era of Hollywood... back when talent and beauty and class were the prerequisites for stardom.  

I'm not sure there's ever been a more wonderful romance than Robert Donat and Greer Garson in Goodbye, Mr. Chips in 1939... here's the trailer, which is very odd with a strange little man as the narrator.

On a Lighter Note... Cardinals Win the Central!

Just sayin'... now the crapshoot of the playoffs begins.

Tribalism and the Future of America

I recently posted an item about the Congo, and its horrific civil war.   Obviously, too, I've posted many times about the Sunni-Shia conflict that dominates the Middle East -- in Syria, for example, it matters a lot that Assad, an Alawite, is allied with Hezbollah and Iran (Shias), against the "rebels" (Sunnis).   Both are instances of the persistence of tribalism -- the ethnic/race/religion based divisions between man and man that have been the source of violence in human affairs for all of time.

Which is why some of us, conservatives mostly, worry so much and complain so much about the "tribalizing" effects of the multicultural creed preached by our so-called elites in the media, government and academia.   When large groups of Americans are divided into smaller groups -- African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Christian Americans (defined pejoratively by the elites), Islamic Americans, etc. -- the potential for tribal conflict and, ultimately, civil war, is increased, not decreased.   The homilies for us to "all get along" or for us to "celebrate difference" are the second and less important step... the first and more powerful step in the logic of multiculturalism is to divide us acccording to those differences.   And that's dangerous.

How dangerous?   Consider this map of America's counties, color-coded for the ethnicity of the majority:

There's a lot of interesting things here... I don't know that I would have guessed that Germans were the dominant ethnicity across the Midwest, and it also gibes with the history of a significant German diaspora throughout Europe.   It also seems a little interesting to me that the English and Irish seemed to stay put in the northeast.   But the key point of interest ought to be the obvious divisions of the country into what are essentially tribal homelands.   The Anglo-Irish northeast, the Germanic midwest, the Hispanic southwest, the African-American deep south.   That's not a good recipe for a lasting republic, if the ideology of the "nation" as taught by its elites is to emphasize those differences rather than preaching assimilation to a common heritage of history and thought.

Those divisions may not mean that much today, in a country sated with material wealth and consumer goods -- we are One Nation Under Play Station.   But, if the proverbial excrement hits the proverbial whirling air mover... well, does anyone want to bet that in 2050 Germanic Wisconsinites are going to want to pony up their tax dollars to support a leviathan welfare state for the state of Mexifornia?

Friday, September 27, 2013

All Cardinals, All the Time!

If you had told me before the year started that the Cardinals would be looking at winning 2 out of 3 from the last-place Cubs in the last series of the year to finish 96-66 and win the division, and if you had told me:

  • Chris Carpenter won't pitch an inning.
  • Jason Motte won't pitch and inning.
  • Mitchell Boggs will pitch terribly for a month, be sent down, and then traded.
  • Jaime Garcia will get 9 starts, then be out for the year for shoulder surgery.
  • The Cardinals bullpen by the end of the season will feature four rookies in the highest leverage situations (Rosenthal, Siegrist, Maness, Martinez).
  • Rafael Furcal will be hurt and Pete Kozma will be the starting shortstop for most of the year.
  • Matt Carpenter will be the starting second baseman all year.
  • At various times Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, David Freese, and Tony Cruz will all spend time on the DL...
Well, I'd say you were crazy.   But there you go.   That's what a .330 with RISP will get you.   That's what rookie pitchers like the four mentioned above and Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, John Gast, etc. will get you.   Arm after arm after arm, with at least five of them touching 96-98 mph.   Wow!

So... it's about 7:15... let's go get us a pennant!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Meanwhile..... Wacha Wacha Wacha!

Most fun I can remember having watching a baseball game... at least since 2011!   Michael Wacha's near no-hitter was fantastic, and the Cardinals' future with a rotation of Wainwright, Wacha, Miller, Lynn, Kelly, and maybe Rosenthal, Siegrist, or Martinez, with lots of other good young arms waiting in the wings (John Gast, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness, Marco Gonzalez, Rob Kaminsky, Zach Petrick, etc., etc., etc.)... well, it's very very bright indeed.

Girl of the Day - Girls I Missed the Last Week

Didn't blog much the last week... I was in Phoenix, then it was the weekend, then I had some pressing work projects.   Plus... politics never changes.   We're sailing off a cliff, and John McCain think we're all supposed to be gentlemen about our own demise.

Anyway, I missed a really good girl of the day last week, Sophia Loren, who turned 79:

They don't really make 'em like that anymore.

Whoo-whoo! The Obamacare Train Wreck is Just Around the Bend!

Don't look now, but Obamacare is scheduled to start next week on Tuesday, October 1st.   But there's a problem... it can't work.  

Here's the problem in a nutshell, from an article in Bloomberg earlier this week:

Steven Binko is young, healthy and recently unemployed. He doesn’t see any reason he should be required to buy health insurance next year.
Since losing his job at an Olive Garden restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, the 25-year-old said he can’t afford to buy health care on his own. Even a premium of $40 a month for a plan through the U.S. Affordable Care Act exchanges would be too much. Therein lies the challenge for President Barack Obama.
Binko is one of 2.7 million healthy 18- to 34-year-olds, dubbed the young invincibles, that the Obama administration has said are needed in the exchanges to offset the cost of providing care for millions of other uninsured people who are likely to be older and sicker. Without young adults, who pay for insurance yet rarely use it, premium costs in the exchanges may soar.
“For young people learning to take care of ourselves, it’s foolish if we have to take care of the older generation too,” Binko, who now lives in Los Angeles, said in an interview.
Young invincibles are the focus of a pitched battle between Obamacare backers and the law’s opponents as the U.S. nears the Oct. 1 roll-out of government-run insurance exchanges. It’s a conflict playing out on television and the Internet, on college campuses and in door-to-door campaigns by volunteers nationwide.
“This demographic is critical,” Caroline Pearson, a vice president at Washington-based consulting firm Avalere Health LLC, said in an interview. “If you mostly have high risk people, premiums go up. It becomes a death spiral.”
If premiums can be kept low, Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement has a better chance of fulfilling its promise of affordably expanding health care to most of the nation’s 50 million uninsured people. If not, the costs may open fertile ground for new attacks on an overhaul that has been under siege by Republicans since it was signed into law by Obama in 2010.
“Obamacare is an awful deal for young people,” said Evan Feinberg, 29, a former Republican candidate for Congress who is now president of Generation Opportunity, an Arlington, Virginia-based advocacy group for young adults that supports less government. “We’re talking about stealing from young people during our leanest years. We don’t have the money to be footing the bill for older generations’ health care.”

Exactly so.   Obamacare is an awful deal for young people.   College education increasingly is an awful deal for young people.   Trying to find a job is an awful deal for young people.   And all of those things are multiplied for young black people.   Yet young people and young black people were the two constituencies who voted most heavily for Obama. 

Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, as much as they might have loved the idea of the first black president and being "down with the cause" and all that stuff, young people are going to pay their cable bills and buy the next new smartphone and make their car payments and go out on Friday and Saturday nights to throw back a few cold ones and look for love in all the wrong places.   They aren't going to suddenly think that they need to be suckers and pay for the dialysis of the fat old broad down the street, when they feel just fine and, actuarially-speaking, are just fine.

Look, I am 54, with a wife and three kids, and I pay $20,000 or more a year for the privilege of first paying a $4,000 deductible before I get my first dollar of health insurance coverage.   If the deal is that I can't be turned down for coverage if I come in with cancer or in need of a bypass surgery five or ten years from now, and the penalty for not having coverage now is relatively low (a few thousand a year), why exactly shouldn't I bank $250,000 or so between now and age 65 by going bare?   And if I'm thinking that way, there's no chance that a kid fresh out of college working two jobs to save up for an iPad is going to think that health insurance is a wise investment.   No f'in way.

So prepare for the train wreck.   This thing is doomed by definition. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Birthday Today - Bruce!

It's Bruce Springsteen's 64th birthday today!   Still going strong (apparently he played to about a billion people in Rio over the weekend), but for my money, his best work was in the 1970s.   Here he is at Hammersmith:

Love the red suit on Little Steven!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Today - Samuel Johnson

It's Samuel Johnson's birthday today.   The picture above is by Joshua Reynolds, one of the group of artists and intellectuals who gathered with Johnson in London in the late 18th Century to discuss.... well, to discuss just about everything.   Here's Boswell describing a conversation with Johnson about Edmund Burke:

We talked of Mr. Burke. Dr. Johnson said, he had a great variety of knowledge, store of imagery, copiousness of language. Robertson: "He has wit too." Johnson: "No, Sir; he never succeeds there. 'Tis low; 'tis conceit. I used to say, Burke never once made a good joke. What I most envy Burke for, is, his being constantly the same. He is never what we call humdrum; never unwilling to begin to talk, nor in haste to leave off." Boswell: "Yet he can listen." Johnson: "No; I cannot say he is good at that. So desirous is he to talk, that, if one is speaking at this end of the table, he'll speak to somebody at the other end. Burke, Sir, is such a man, that if you met him for the first time in the street where you were stopped by a drove of oxen, and you and he stepped aside to take shelter for five minutes, he'd talk to you in such a manner, that, when you parted, you would say, this is an extraordinary man."

Must find time to re-read Boswell.   It's one of the great documents humanity has created over the past three millenia.

Girl of the Day - Garbo!

It's Greta Garbo's birthday.   'Nuff said.

A History Lesson from Thomas Sowell on the Minimum Wage

I have written many times here (and here and here) about the minimum wage and its pernicious effects on low-skilled workers and, particularly, on low-skilled minority workers.   Thomas Sowell, the eminent economist, gives a history lesson here about why this isn't a bug of minimum wage laws, it's actually a feature (albeit an evil feature):

Minimum-wage laws can even affect the level of racial discrimination. In an earlier era, when racial discrimination was both legally and socially accepted, minimum-wage laws were often used openly to price minorities out of the job market.
In 1925, a minimum-wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry.
A well-regarded Harvard professor of that era referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum-wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese,” who were willing to work for less.
In South Africa during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum-wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale.
Some supporters of the first federal minimum-wage law in the United States — the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — used exactly the same rationale, citing the fact that Southern construction companies, using non-union black workers, were able to come north and under-bid construction companies using unionized white labor.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Invisible Congo

John Ford has a terrific piece at Hugh Hewitt's blog about the civil war in the Congo, which has already claimed millions of lives, mostly civilians.   The fundamental conflict is now and apparently always has been an ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis that spilled over from Rwanda in the 1990s.   Which begs the question -- why is it that primarily white Western cultures criticize themselves for "racism" so much, when they actually have very little racism anymore, while the most virulent and violent forms of racism (defined as vilification of others on the basis of group identity) are among non-white non-Western cultures (Sunni-Shia antagonism in the Middle East, and Hutu-Tutsi antagonism in Central Africa)?   Not sure what all that means, but it's interesting.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fisking the Syria "Agreement"

Here is how Reuters reports the "framework" of the U.S.-Russia Syria chemical weapons agreement, with my pink fisking in honor of Obama's "unbelievably small" stick (as opposed to TR's "Big Stick"):

The United States and Russia agreed on a "framework for elimination of Syrian chemical weapons" Saturday. Here are some key points of the agreement.

First, something called a "framework" isn't a real agreement.  It's an agreement to agree sometime in the future.   It's like a letter of intent in business transactions... there's no real deal in place, there's no final terms, there's lots of negotiation to come, and it may all fall apart, but, hey, we've got a framework for a deal.   That's something, isn't it?

■ The United States and Russia will ask the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, to approve extraordinary procedures within the next few days "for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification."

Well, apparently not.   This sure looks like we are ceding our foreign policy to something called the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.   I've never heard of that and I'm pretty certain that it isn't mentioned in the Constitution.   But they use words that sure make it sound serious... "extraordinary," "expeditious," "stringent."   So it must be something, right?

■ The U.S. and Russia will work together toward prompt adoption of a U.N. resolution enforcing the OPCW decision including steps to ensure verification and effective implementation.

Well, sadly, no... apparently we are not just ceding our foreign policy to the OPCW, we're also ceding it (yet again) to the UN.   We will "work together" with Russia to get a resolution that will "ensure verification and effective implementation."   Yeah, sure, Russia will be happy to "work together" with us, since they have already gotten what they wanted... no military strike against its client state, Syria.

Oh, and by the way... a bilateral framework, OPCW procedures, a UN resolution... what do they all have in common?   They are all pieces of paper... or, as Obama would say, they're all "just words."

■ Syria must ensure the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria.

A.  They won't do this.
B.  If they say they will do this, they'll be lying.
C.  Even if they do do this, they can't do this.   Remember: Syria is in the middle of a civil war.   They can't "ensure the... unfettered right to inspect" diddlysquat.

■ If Syria does not comply, including unauthorized transfer or use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the U.N. Security Council should impose measures under a Chapter 7 resolution.

Ah, there's the rub.   Obama has been completely rolled in this thing by Putin.   What he's agreeing to is that, if Syria doesn't comply with the framework, we are bound to go to the UN to get a resolution to authorize military force (that's what a Chapter 7 resolution would entail).   But Russia would not permit this (they have a veto in the Security Council).   So this is essentially meaningless, except that if and when we ever want to use military force to keep Syria from using chemical weapons, we'd likely suffer a huge PR defeat because we'd be in violation of this agreement to seek UN approval.

Thanks, Obama!   We used to have a sovereign nation whose foreign policy would advance our interests.   Now we have to do what Putin says.   Great work!

■ Syria must submit within a week "a comprehensive listing, including names, types and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions and location and form of storage, production and research and development facilities."

More paper.   More opportunities for Syrian/Russian mendacity.   I have an image in mind:   Kerry coming off a train or a plane, waving this "comprehensive listing" and announcing "Peace in Our Time."

■ The U.S. and Russia want the weapons to be destroyed outside Syria if possible.

Can't happen.   Transporting adds exponentially to the problems.   Invariably in these situations the protocol has been to build facilities in country to destroy CW.   So this is just a prayer.

■ Facilities for developing and making chemical weapons and weapons delivery systems must also be eliminated.

Because a country of 22 million people won't have any companies with the capacity for mixing chemicals in the ordinary course of business.   Or labs.   Or bathtubs.   Sure, that's doable.  

Look, this is a lot like the liberals' ideas on gun control and crime.   They think we can use laws and pieces of paper (licenses, registrations, more laws) and we can "verify" that we've got guns out of the hands of criminals.   But the only way to prevent crime is to have a credible deterrent... a citizenry that can defend their own homes and their own families, and armed police to react quickly to crime.
Similarly, the best way to keep Syria from using chemical weapons is to credibly threaten them with overwhelming (not "unbelievably small") punitive strikes against the regime if they are used.   Rules and regulations and bureaucrats won't do it.  But when you have an administration of academics and lawyers, that's what you get.


Friday, September 13, 2013

VDH on Syria

Victor Davis Hanson writing today over at NRO brilliantly captures the Orwellian doublethink that is Obama's Syria "policy":  
We are contemplating going to war in Syria to help the opposition a lot and to hurt Assad some, or to help the opposition some and hurt Assad a lot, or to hurt Assad some and help the opposition some, or to force Assad to stop or to leave, or to stop but stay, or to stop and leave; or to restore the word of the president, or the word of the United States, or the word of the international community by bombing, or by threatening to bomb but not bombing, or by neither threatening to bomb nor bombing; or to warn the Russians to stay out, or to welcome the Russians to come in, or to warn the Russians to stay out and welcome the Russians to come in. Message? We are planning to do all kinds of things by not doing anything....
If we are going to bomb Syria, the president does not have to go to Congress. But he also is supposed to go to Congress. But he also can bomb Syria after he goes to Congress if he doesn’t like the way Congress votes. But he can also postpone going to Congress if he is afraid that he won’t like the way Congress votes. Or he can go ahead and not postpone going to Congress, and just bomb Syria because he does not want to go to Congress if he thinks he won’t like the way Congress votes. Message? Going and not going to Congress are essential.
Assad is a monster who kills thousands. Assad is a monster who gasses children and seems also to be the only one protecting Christians, Alawites, and Kurds from non-monsters who do not gas children but do kill minorities. Assad is opposed by monsters who are cannibals and execute prisoners as well as non-monsters who only kill but do not eat Assad’s monsters. Message? Sometimes monsters are non-monsters, and sometimes non-monsters are monsters.
Read the whole thing.


Oh, and Jay Carney doesn't do the President any favors here:
“I would simply say that, when it comes to being commander-in-chief, I think the American people, at least in my assessment, appreciate a commander-in-chief who takes in new information and doesn’t, you know, celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness,” Carney added.
Indecision is a virtue in a commander-in-chief.   OK, then.

It's Come To This

Just another highlight of the Obama Administration's "smart diplomacy":
John Kerry's Russian counterpart mocks him for talking too much
Secretary of State John Kerry's negotiations with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov got off to a rocky start Thursday, with the Russian mocking Kerry right at the outset.
"They got off to a really bad start yesterday --- partly because of the Putin op-ed and partly because Kerry in the opening remarks spoke at length --- and I mean at length --- compared to the unprepared few welcoming comments from the Russian counterpart," NBC News foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell said on "Morning Joe."
"And then the Russian minister said at the end, very tartly, 'Sometimes diplomacy demands silence.'"

It's come to this.   I'm a hardcore Cold Warrior.   Reagan facing down the Russkis in the 1980s was the highlight of American foreign policy for me.   I think (I know) that Alger Hiss was a Russian spy.   I think (I know) that much of what Joe McCarthy said about Soviet spies in the American government was true.   I think (I know) that Soviet Communism under Lenin and Stalin and continuing on after that was a regime of mass murder on an epic scale -- the Gulag, the terror famine, the purges, etc.  

So imagine the quantum of fecklessness you need to make me side with the Russians!

Sheesh!   Lavrov may be an ex-KGB thug for all I know, but he's right about one thing in spades... John Kerry (like his boss, Barack Obama) just doesn't know when to shut up.

Economic Suicide - A Definition

California has an unemployment rate of 8.6%, well above the national figure.
Now California will also have the highest minimum wage in the country:

California's minimum wage would rise to $10 an hour within three years under a bill passed Thursday by the state Legislature, making it one of the highest rates in the nation.
Washington state currently has the top minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, an amount that is pegged to rise with inflation. Some cities, including San Francisco, have slightly higher minimum wages.
The state Senate approved AB10 on a 26-11 vote and the Assembly followed hours later on a 51-25 vote, both largely along party lines. Gov. Jerry Brown indicated earlier this week that he would sign the bill, calling it an overdue piece of legislation that would help working-class families.
The bill would gradually raise California's minimum wage from the current $8 an hour to $10 by 2016.
It would be the first increase in the state's minimum wage in six years and comes amid a national debate over whether it is fair to pay fast-food workers, retail clerks and others wages so low that they often have to work second or third jobs.
Democrats said the bill by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, would help workers left behind during the recent recession.
"It simply gives hardworking Californians the dignity and respect to provide for their families with their own hard-earned wages," Alejo said in arguing for the bill before his Assembly colleagues.
Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, said raising the minimum wage will stimulate the economy by giving lower-wage workers more money to spend.
"They're not going to put it into a hedge fund," he said.
But Republican lawmakers said it would do the opposite, encouraging businesses to cut jobs and automate.
"This is a classic example with how out-of-touch state leaders are," said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.

I'm going to give you a hint as to which side is right:   they call it the Law of Supply and Demand BECAUSE IT'S A FREAKIN' LAW!   LIKE SCIENCE!   LIKE FACT!   LIKE REALITY!   LIKE GRAVITY!

If you raise the price of something (in this case, low-skilled labor), the purchasers of it will purchase less of it, either opting to do without (hiring fewer workers) or else substituting some other "good" (automation).   Q.E. f'in D.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Obama's Munich Moment

Bill Whittle captures the deja vu feeling that Obama in dealing with Syria has looked a lot like Neville Chamberlain coming home from Munich after being rolled by Hitler to yammer on about "peace in our time."  

But where is our Churchill?   Do we have one?

Girl of the Day - Jacqueline Bisset

File this under "tempus fugit"... Jacqueline Bisset turns 69 today.

Birthday Today - Mel Torme

Best voice ever?   He's in the running.   He would have been 88 today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Girl of the Day - Emmy Rossum

One of our favorites, from the Showtime show Shameless, Emmy Rossum turns 27 today:

Oh, and the girlies loved her in Phantom of the Opera.   Great pipes, as they say:

I'm Just Sayin'

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"A Chill Man"

Peggy Noonan hits on a key point here about Obama's speech:
There’s no nice way to say this: It is hard to believe such a chill man has such warm feelings about the sad end of strangers far away. I think this has been one of his big unspoken problems in the selling of his Syria policy. It is based to some degree on his emotional indignation, and it is not fully credible because it’s hard to believe he’s so moved.

Exactly.   Look, there are a lot of actual adults out there in the audience for a speech like this.   They've been around.   They've met people who talk a good game, who want to appear "concerned," who want to make noises like they "care" about "the children."   They know narcissists like Obama in their neighborhoods and workplaces and schools and churches.  

They also know that this guy who cares so much has been doing a whole lot of this over the past couple of years while 100,000 Syrians were dying:

It's too late.   Americans don't buy that this guy "cares" about anything other than himself.  We've tuned out.

Ace on "Friends on the Right"

In my fisking of Obama's Syria speech below, I noted the simplistic, Manichaen world-view he has with regard to America, as he divides us into the "Right" (which loves only "military might") and the "Left" (which cherishes "freedom and the dignity for all people").   Ace at Ace of Spades has a GREAT piece up riffing on this section of the President's thoroughly risible speech:

Even when he's supposedly "reaching out to us," this Master Diplomat and Coolly Brilliant Poet-Warrior steadfastly refuses to pay the right the slightest degree of respect.
And this man represents us in our dealings with foreign actors. Imagine how his similar haughtiness plays overseas. Imagine how it's already played for five years, and how it will play for another three.
Smart diplomacy, huh?
Hey wingers, get behind this war. It's got the three things you Bitter Clingers can't get enough of-- Guns, Spooky Religious Nonsense, and Killing Foreign People.
Now, Friends on the Left, you can get behind it for the true moral purposes which flow from reason and higher functions of the brain.
But Friends on the Right, we'll appeal to your Lizard Brains and Blow Up Some Shit because you folks seem to like that sort of thing. Why, we'll even give you some of those ribbons and parades that your Simple Ilk seems to crave.
I mean, Friends on the Right, let's face it, you don't believe in Freedom and Dignity for All People. No, that's a higher goal, and higher goals are promulgated by Obama's Friends on the Left.
People on the Right, you will provide the muscle for achieving the goals of Obama's Friends on the Left.
See, we can all work together and achieve big things. Obama's Friends on the Left will provide the thinking and moral reason, and Obama's Friends on the Right will provide the gruntwork, simple mechanical actions, and crude delight in high explosives.
Friends on the Left, Obama calls you to your better angels.
Friends on the Right, Obama promises you some Sweet Fucking War Footage on CNN. Guncamera shit, Hoss. And you know you love that.
Friends on the Left, think of the children that can be saved.
Friends on the Right, keep in mind that a lot of the people we'll be dropping bombs on look reasonably similar to Trayvon Martin. Pretty good, right? Yeah you bet it is!!!

 That's exactly how the academic left looks at conservatives in America. 

Fisking the President's Syria Speech -- "We're Going to War!" or "Never Mind"

My comments in red, or make that pink, since this marks the lowest moment for American power maybe ever, the moment where our President outdid both the Marx Brothers and Emily Litella:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria -- why it matters, and where we go from here.

Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

OK, first question... if over 100,000 people have been killed, why are we only doing something now?   And, how many have been killed by the "moderate opposition"?   And, just how moderate is the "moderate opposition"... does that include the al Qaeda affiliated elements who are busily preparing to kill or forcibly convert Christians in Syria?

The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits -- a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.

Someone needs to explain to me why gassing a thousand people is somehow more heinous than killing 100,000 people.   And someone also needs to explain to me why killing children is somehow ontologically more evil than killing innocent adults.   I mean, I love children too, but I don't understand the moral distinction being made between killing human being X and killing human being Y.   And, of course, this is the same President who couldn't bring himself as a State Senator in Illinois to sign the Born Again Infant Protection Act to protect newborns from the Kermit Gosnells of the world.

Images.   That's the real difference.   The gassing victims made for good copy in the MSM of the West.   The 100,000 people killed by bombs or bullets before... that story's too complex, too difficult, not enough good guys v. bad guys.

This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.

We get it.   Chemical weapons are bad.   But, again, this same President thinks guns are bad and need to be banned.   So why is killing with one so evil and killing with the other apparently no biggie?  

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

Well, sure, "no one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria."   But people do dispute who used them, whether the Syrian government or the rebels.   Are we really so naive to think that al Qaeda affiliated rebels, losing a civil war, wouldn't try to frame the Assad regime as a way of getting Western governments (the US) to help topple him?  

Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gasmasks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded. We know senior figures in Assad’s military machine reviewed the results of the attack, and the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed. We’ve also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.

That sounds like evidence to me.   OK.   But let's see it.   Where is this evidence?   Show it to us.

Look, I hold no brief for Assad.   He's a thug and in a better world he'd be... well, he wouldn't be in power.   But we're talking about attacking a country that hasn't attacked America based on intelligence about WMD that hasn't been made public.   The case against Iraq on WMD was laid out more fully than this.... and look how that ended up.

Girl of the Day - What America Does Best (Kate Upton)

Apparently not foreign policy anymore.

Or manufacturing.

Or education.

No, what America still does best is this:

We're Number One!   We're Number One!


A More Sensible Approach for Obama Last Night

In short, nearly anything he said was going to sound absurd.   So why not go whole hog?

Just So You Know... the Entire Syria Deal is a Sham

The premise of the new "deal" on Syria is that Syria's chemical weapons program will come under international control.   Sounds great!   War is averted!   Peace in our time!


When Libya agreed to give up chemical weapons in 2003, it took less than a year for the OPCW to begin overseeing destruction activity, Kimball said.
The volatile Syria situation — a civil war, the threat of military attacks from the West, uncertainty about how long Assad will be in power — calls for a faster track. But the fighting would probably slow down the work; an effort to destroy sulfur mustard in Libya in early 2011 was delayed for two years because of unrest there, Chorley said.
Because the weapons are so dangerous, destruction facilities are usually built on-site, and then it can take months to get rid of even a small arsenal.
The Times of London reported that a previous plan drawn up by the Pentagon suggested that 75,000 troops would be needed on the ground to destroy up to 500 tons of chemical weapons. Given Syria's arsenal is thought to be double that, the operation could take as many as 150,000 troops to carry out.
To put that number in perspective, a Congressional Research Service Report prepared in 2009 estimated that the number of “boots on the ground” in both Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008 was 187,000.

Anybody on board with that?

I didn't think so.

Lest We Forget

On the anniversary of 9/11, which is also the first anniversary of the Benghazi attack, President Obama has managed to hand the "Arab Street" a massive victory in Syria, because whenever America is humiliated it is a good day for Islamists.  

When we should be defiant, instead we slink, whimpering, off the stage.

Sad day in so many ways.

VDH Sums It All Up on Syria

Victor Davis Hanson sums up the contrast between Bush and Obama on going to war:

When Bush decided to take us to war, he got... the four requisites you need. He got the American public opinion up to 70%, he got an overwhelming Congressional vote of authorization, he got 40 allies, and he went to the U.N. and made a genuine effort. This Nobel laureate, this work across the aisles sophisticate has about 35% approval for what he’s doing, he has no Congressional support, and just about was humiliated. He has no allies, and he’s not only not gone to the U.N., but before he says he might go to it, he humiliated it and called it hocus pocus. So it’s inept, and all he can talk to, what is he reduced to? He’s reduced to I’m not Bush, I’m not Bush, this isn’t Iraq, this isn’t Iraq.

Just so.   I would add...  Bush was a good and decent man who cared about this country deeply.   I do not trust that Obama cares about America as much or as deeply.   Or at all, frankly.   He's too much the academic leftist, steeped in the culture of anti-Americanism that anyone who has been on Ivy League campuses knows.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Worst Day in Diplomatic History Since Munich

The London Telegraph calls it the worst day ever, but I'll have to wait and see whether World War III ends up being a bigger debacle than World War II.   Anyway, today was a no good very bad day in Obama World:

Think about what will happen if the Russian initiative starts to fly.
Chemical weapons are relatively easy to make and store (and fire), but much harder to dismantle safely. The chemicals themselves are fiendishly dangerous and need to be destroyed with specialist equipment without creating environmental hazards. Plus the explosive part of the delivery shell needs careful handling. Destroying CW stocks is therefore a complex and expensive operation, even under calm conditions. Both the United States and Russia have both heavily failed to meet internationally agreed deadlines for destroying their massive Cold War legacy chemical weapons stocks.
There is no precedent for attempting anything like this in a country wracked by civil war. It just can’t happen. No Syrian chemical weapons will be destroyed or "handed over" quickly.
Meanwhile any new process of setting up an international monitoring and destruction regime will require painstaking UN and wider negotiation with the Assad regime, thereby giving Assad and his state apparatus a massive boost of renewed confidence and legitimacy. Before long Washington may find itself locked on to implicitly or even explicitly supporting Assad in his civil war as the best chance to get some sort of internationally agreed CW destruction programme delivered in Syria.
How has this happened?

And Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit makes the necessary historical snark:

Yesterday it was all, “Hey, this is a Munich Moment.” Today the same people are all “We’ve got a deal that means peace in our time!”

Amateur Hour indeed. 

Obama Responds to Putin: "Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?"

So, this morning we were all signed up for the Russia solution... take the Syria problem to the UN to get a resolution putting in place a process whereby Syria would supposedly admit inspectors and supposedly hand over their chemical weapons programs to the "international community."   In exchange for this Kabuki theater, America would stand down its military.

Now, apparently, Putin wasn't satisfied with giving America a fake reason to stand down its military, one where Obama could save face and declare a semblance of victory.   No, he wants to go full-on prison yard in making Obama his bitch, declaring that Russia will agree to submit the Syria question to the UN Security Council only if the US first forswears any military option:

A Russian proposal for Syria to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international control will not succeed unless the United States and its allies reject the use of force against Damascus, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
The proposal "can work only if we hear that the American side and all those who support the United States in this sense reject the use of force," Putin said in televised remarks.

See what happened there?  

Obama says Syria has to pretend to give up its chemical weapons or else we'll use force.  

Putin says the US has to give up use of force or else Syria won't even pretend to give up its chemical weapons.

We're not just not getting anything in this deal.   We have to get humiliated by Russia for the privilege of not getting anything.

Epic face palm.

Sheesh!   This is shameful.

Supporting World War III, One Donation at a Time

Pretty funny:

More on Wagging the Dog in Syria

Again, I don't believe Obama was actually this cynical, it just worked out this way.   Is anybody talking anymore about the IRS scandal.   Or has that become, as the Clintons were fond of saying, "old news."   Here's a new nugget you might have missed:

At the same time the IRS harassed Republican nonprofit groups during the 2012 political campaign, it selectively advised black churches and other Democrat nonprofits on how far they can go in campaigning for President Obama and other Democrats. 
This raw exercise in political favoritism has not been reported in the context of the still-smoldering IRS scandal, in which the agency in 2012 audited big GOP donors and blocked Tea Party groups trying to obtain tax-exempt status as part of what House investigators suspect was an effort to re-elect the president.
But that same year, top officials with both the IRS and Justice Department — including the IRS commissioner and attorney general — met in Washington with several dozen prominent black church ministers representing millions of voters to brief them on how to get their flocks out to vote without breaking federal tax laws.
The "summit" on energizing the black vote in houses of worship was hosted by the Democrat-controlled Congressional Black Caucus inside the U.S. Capitol on May 30, 2012.
The day before the special IRS training session, then-Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver predicted Obama would get 95% of the African-American vote — but only if black pastors "encourage" them to get to the polls. (He ended up getting over 93% of the black vote.)

So let me get this straight.   In the 2012 campaign the IRS was actively working to make legal political speech more difficult for conservatives (holding up the registration of conservative 501(c)(4) organizations), while also actively working to make illegal political speech easier for liberals (telling black churches how to skirt the law to run GOTV campaigns for Obama out of their churches).

Yeah, no scandal here... Squirrel!

And so we are distracted from the corruption that's right in front of us.

Obama's Latest Syria Position - Never Mind!

Completely stolen from numerous other bloggers who all had the same idea at the same time:

Obama Must Have Missed This Class in Law School

See, there's this little thing in the law called conflict of interest.   You don't hire a lawyer who is currently representing your adversary in another matter or who has represented your adversary in a similar matter in the past.   You don't let your adversary be represented by one of your former lawyers in a similar matter.  

And you don't hire a mediator when your adversary is a current client of the mediator!

Sheesh!   Sure, let's let Putin broker a deal between us and his client to get rid of the chemical weapons that Russia sold Assad to begin with!

Yeah, that's the ticket!

The Syria 12-Step Program

So, to sum up:

1. Obama accidentally announces a "redline" in Syria, stating that, if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons against its own people, there will be serious consequences.   Note that he does so in the course of the 2012 presidential campaign, when talking tough made him look good.

2. The Assad regime apparently uses chemical weapons against their own people.

3. Obama ignores for months.   Campaign over, too many tee times.

4. The Assad regime apparently uses chemical weapons again against their own people.   Images of dead bodies on TV gets end-of-summer media attention.   Chemical weapons story of 1,000 dead sells better than 99,000 previous dead in Syrian civil war, machete murders in Darfur, ongoing carnage in Congo, etc.   Gassed children = ratings.

5. Obama feigns outrage and threatens military action.

6. Obama, having campaigned for a decade against George W. Bush on the theory that American unilateral military action is always wrong and even immoral, and that America must always seek UN approval, assemble a broad coalition of allies, get Congressional approval and have the backing of American public opinion before entering into a military conflict (all of which Bush had done, but never mind), now says he doesn't need UN or Congressional approval or allies to act against Syria, and to heck with public opinion because they're just not as smart as he is.

7. Nevertheless, Obama decides at the last moment to seek Congressional approval and to go on six different TV networks and give an Oval Office address to the nation to build support for his position.

8. Congressional approval appears not to be forthcoming.   Polls show Americans are against action in Syria.   Doh!

9. So, on the eve of the vote (and after a G20 summit meeting with Russian majordomo Vladimir Putin), Secretary of State John Kerry "accidentally" floats a trial balloon that, if Syria would give up its chemical weapons to "international inspectors," that might obviate the necessity for military action by America, but that doing so is "impossible."

10. Russia immediately announces that it would be happy to broker a deal with Syria to "give up" its chemical weapons to Russian care.

11. Syria immediately announces that it would be happy to give up its chemical weapons to Russia (since, after all, Russia has been their patron for military hardware for 60 years and is a likely source of their chemical weapons program to begin with). 

12. Obama happily begins his climbdown from Defcon Five and awaits his second Nobel Peace Prize.  The fix is in.   Long live the fixers!

Man, this is not how a serious nation ought to behave.

Wag the Dog in Syria?

I don't believe even Obama is as cynical as this, but isn't it interesting how the Syria story has pushed two huge stories (which are really one big story) off the front page?  

The first story is the looming Obamacare debacle.   Hey, wasn't Obamacare supposed to solve the problem of the uninsured?   Well, not so much:

Every month, a hundred or so people crowd the lobby of the Arlington Free Clinic, clutching blue tickets to enter a health-care lottery. Uninsured and ailing, they hope to be among the two dozen who hit the jackpot and are given free care.
Some might think the lottery’s days are numbered, given that the insurance expansion under President Obama’s health-care law is taking effect in January. But clinic officials say the lottery will stay because demand for their services is likely to be as high as ever. “We will be business as usual,” said Nancy Sanger Pallesen, the clinic’s executive director.
The Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping health care program created in a half century, is expected to extend coverage to 25 million Americans over the next decade, according to the most recent government estimates. But that will still leave a projected 31 million people without insurance by 2023.

Hmmmm, I'll bet if Obamacare had been sold as a huge new government program that will disrupt the health care sector, cripple small business and the economy at large, create massive uncertainty for business going forward, assault religious institutions and all of that at the service of giving health insurance to only about a third of the then-current uninsured, do you think it would have passed?

Oh, and on the crippling the economy front, the second story that Syria seems to have pushed off the front page is the continuing stagnant American economy under Obamanomics.   The latest jobs report last Friday captured the suck:

Yes, the unemployment rate fell a notch to 7.3 percent, from 7.4 percent in July. Yes, the nation added 169,000 jobs, broadly consistent with the pattern of recent months.
But in almost all the particulars, you can find signs that this job market is weaker than it appeared just a few months ago, and maybe getting worse. The drop in the unemployment rate was caused by 312,000 people dropping out of the labor force. The number of people actually reporting having a job actually fell by 115,000 in the survey on which the unemployment rate is based.
And while the overall August jobs number was okay, the Labor Department revised down its estimates of June and July job creation by a combined 74,000 positions. In other words, through the summer, hiring has been quite a bit shakier than it had appeared.
Jobs numbers ebb and jobs numbers flow, and as always, it would be unwise to make too much of one report. But this one has enough signs of weakness embedded in enough places that it has to make economy-watchers — including those at the Federal Reserve who meet in less than two weeks — reassess their confidence that a solid, steady jobs recovery is underway.
Consider this: The nation has averaged 148,000 new jobs a month for the last three months. The number was 160,000 for the last six months, and 184,000 a month over the last year. That looks to me like a downward trend, no two ways about it. It’s certainly not the gradual acceleration that most mainstream economists have forecast as 2013 advances and the impact of tighter fiscal policy fades.
Want another sign? The proportion of the U.S. population that had a job in August was 58.6 percent. Six months earlier, the number was a whopping — wait for it — 58.6 percent. The year is nearly three-quarters over, and the economy isn’t growing fast enough to put a higher proportion of its citizens back to work.

I've been saying for years that the number to look at is the employment to population ratio, not the unemployment rate.   What that number shows is that we entered a recession in 2007 and we've never really recovered from it.

Now, why are those two stories the same story really?   Because, in my view, the uncertainty that the implementation of Obamacare has injected into the economy is what has caused this drag on job creation.   We said it would happen.   It happened.   Q.E.D.   Obama ought, by rights, to be toast for having not only presided over this debacle but, by pushing through Obamacare, being the primary cause of it.

So the Syria story couldn't come at a better time, could it?

VDH Captures the Hypocrisy of Obama's Syria Position

Our favorite historian, Victor Davis Hanson, writes today on the hypocrisy of Obama's Syria position:
Obama, as senator and presidential candidate, made the serial argument that U.S. military interventions, barring an “imminent threat” to our national security, are both illegal and immoral unless they have the triad of U.S. congressional support, U.N. approval, and American public support.
In the present circumstances, to make the argument for attacking Syria he must assume that congressional authorization is an eleventh-hour afterthought and not necessarily binding, that the U.N. is mostly hocus-pocus and not worth the bother, and that overwhelming public opposition does not matter.
There are so many contradictions and hypocrisies in such thinking as to render it farcical. I’ll give one, though: In 2002–03 George Bush built public opinion for an intervention, assembled an allied coalition, succeeded with the U.S. Congress, and tried at the U.N. He made the argument that Saddam Hussein’s past use of WMD, his support for terrorism, and his genocide (read all 23 congressional writs) made a good moral and realist case for intervening in a post-9/11 landscape. In response, Barack Obama launched his political career by deriding just such logic, which he is now far less impressively adopting as his own.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Girl of the Day - Yvonne Strahovski

Literally the only reason left to watch Dexter, a show which has imploded so much that its writing now rivals Sharknado for the most far-fetched story lines on TV:

Unbelievably Small... Sort of What the World Thinks of John Kerry's Manhood

It's come to this:  

KERRY: I believe that the aftermath of the Iraq experience and Afghanistan left a lot of people saying, we don’t want to see our young people coming back in a body bag and so forth. But that’s not what we are talking about and what we have to do is make clear to people that this is were not talking about war. We are not going to war. We will not have people at risk in that way. We will be able to hold Bashar Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged effort. In a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort, that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what were talking about doing an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort. Now you know that has been engaged in previously on many different occasions.

So we now concede that the military action we are planning is going to be ineffectual and purely symbolic?   Really?   That's how the sole remaining superpower acts in the world of Realpolitik?

Look, you just can't say this sort of thing.   You're the Secretary of State, for Chrissakes!



P.S.   You realize that, if Bush had announced a plan to pursue a small bombing campaign against a Middle Eastern country solely for the purpose of symbolism so he can dig himself out of the self-dug political hole he had created for himself (Obama's "redline" ad lib), all of the "progressives" would be screaming about how Bush is a racist because he is willing to sacrifice the lives of non-white Middle Eastern people for purely political gain.

The Ice Caps Aren't Melting... Shhhhhhhhh!

global cooling

From the beginning of this blog, I've been a staunch global warming skeptic.   The entire thing has seemed like a scam to me from day one, with doom-sayers (green politicians) partnering with rent-seekers (the green energy lobby) to hype imperfect and partial data using imperfect and manipulated models and a tsunami of demagogic rhetoric.   In short, I was a climate change "denier," the term the Left invented to make skeptics (which was supposed to be a virtue in science) into the equivalent of Holocaust deniers.   They were the intellectual elites; we were the unwashed masses who needed to heed the warnings of our betters.

Well, we were right and they were wrong.   Here's the latest:

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.
The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.
Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.
The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back.
Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.
The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

Think of how many issues the Left has been utterly wrong on.  Alger Hiss was not a Soviet spy.  The Soviet Union could never be defeated.  The War on Poverty would, in fact, reduce poverty.  Raising the minimum wage would not affect the employment rate for unskilled workers and inner city teenagers.  Legalizing abortion would reduce the number of unwanted, illegitimate births.

And on and on and on...

And now global warming.  

Where do we go to get the trillions of dollars we've wasted on the various green boondoggles back?  

Where do we go to get our children's minds back, after they've been indoctrinated with this horseshit for a generation?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Romney Right on Russia

Some people are noticing that Mitt Romney looked awfully prescient during the Presidential campaign last year when he said that Russia was America's number one geopolitical adversary.    This is from Buzzfeed:

In the most actively cited example of the Republican nominee’s foresight, Romneyites point to the candidate’s hardline rhetoric last year against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration. During the campaign, Romney frequently criticized Obama for foolishly attempting to make common cause with the Kremlin, and repeatedly referred to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe.”
Many observers found this fixation strange, and Democrats tried to turn it into a punchline. A New York Times editorial in March of last year said Romney’s assertions regarding Russia represented either “a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics.” And in an October debate, Obama sarcastically mocked his opponent’s Russia rhetoric. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” the president quipped at the time.
That line still chafes Robert O’Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer and friend of Romney’s who served as a foreign policy adviser.
“Everyone thought, Oh my goodness that is so clever and Mitt’s caught in the Cold War and doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” O’Brien said. “Well guess what. With all of these foreign policy initiatives — Syria, Iran, [Edward] Snowden — who’s out there causing problems for America? It’s Putin and the Russians.”
Indeed, earlier this summer, Moscow defiantly refused to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to the United States, prompting Obama to cancel a meeting he had scheduled with Putin during the Group of 20 summit. Russia has blocked United Nations action against Syria. And on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers that Russia was one of the countries supplying Syria with chemical weapons.
To Romney’s fans, these episodes illustrate just how unfairly their candidate was punished during the election for speaking truths the rest of the country would eventually come around to.

Just another example of how America opted for glibness over substance.   But then, the shallowness of our liberal elites is nothing new. 

Girl of the Day - Raquel Welch

This is almost obligatory.   Raquel Welch turns 73 today.   Whether it was her name or (ahem) something else, it's hard to remember the 1960s without a few images of her sticking in your mind as the epitome of the movie sex symbol.   I can't remember a single movie she was in, a single performance; I can't conjure her voice, or imagine her singing or dancing.   (Contrasted, for instance, with Mitzi Gaynor, yesterday's GotD, who had talent to burn.)   But, well:

Andrew Roberts on Obama's Loose Lips

Here is historian Andrew Roberts in another great interview from the Hugh Hewitt show:

As far as President Obama is concerned, his actions, to me, just don’t make any kind of sense. To call Congress back, and then to go off to the G-20 to talk to Putin, and he played a couple of rounds of golf in the meantime, is an astonishing way for a leader of the Western world to behave in a moment of such crisis, when as I say, the element of surprise, so important in military affairs, has just been thrown away completely.

As Krauthammer said a  few days ago, it's Amateur Hour in the White House.   The Emperor is now finally exposed and naked as a newborn babe, and just as naive.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

John McCain Plays Poker

OK, this is old news.   Apparently John McCain, former Republican presidential candidate, was caught on camera playing online poker during the Senate hearing earlier this week on whether to authorize a military strike against Syria.   Here's an actual shot over his shoulder of him playing:

Now, is this a scandal?   Yes.   A Senator participating in hearings about the momentous decision of sending servicemen into harm's way should not be playing video poker.   A Senator under any circumstances -- I don't care if he's listening to speeches about whether to move Arbor Day to a Monday -- shouldn't be playing video poker in the Capitol Building.   It's unseemly, it's disrespectful, it's gauche.   He is paid by my tax dollars, after all.

But the real problem I have is this... what kind of grown man sits and plays a little handheld game like this while he's at work?   Probably too many supposedly "grown" men, I know.   But, still... this is some childish shit, isn't it?   Real men don't do this sort of thing, period.  

Seventy-six freakin' years old and he's playing tiddlywinks while Rome burns.   Sheesh!

VDH on Obama's Foreign Policy Leadership

I'll give you a hint... it's not a positive assessment:

Whatever critics thought of George W. Bush, there was no question that he was both a decisive and at times an unpredictable leader that enemies were not comfortable testing.
In contrast, fairly or not, Obama has earned a reputation for predictable equivocation, rhetorically eloquent, but not decisive, sermonizing without consequences, judgmental but not muscular — as we saw from serial but meaningless deadlines to Iran, simultaneous surges and withdrawal dates in Afghanistan, pink-lines in Syria, leading from behind in Libya, unpunished killers in Benghazi, flip-flop-flip in Egypt, failed flirtations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the new Ottomanism, and reset reset with Putin — all at a time of massive defense cuts, the so-called pivot, Anglo-American dissolution, and loud proclamations about a new, reduced U.S. profile abroad.
The result is that our rivals and enemies seem more rash than at any time in the last 15 years, our allies never more bewildered.

I'll add... Bush's unilateralism involved getting Congressional authority, getting U.N. approval, and assembling a 40 nation coalition before he invaded Iraq.   Obama, whose 2008 campaign was largely built on his criticism of Bush's warmongering, has done none of these things.  

Yeah, That's the Ticket!

Yesterday I wrote:

And, of course, we have recent history to guide us. We backed the "rebels" in Egypt and got the Muslim Brotherhood, a coup, and chaos, with Coptic Christians in the middle. We backed the "rebels" in Libya and we got Benghazi. Why exactly should we trust the judgment of the Obama foreign policy team in Syria?

Well, according to this report, the Libyan "success" where Obama "punished" a dictator and supported "rebels" isn't going so swimmingly:

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.
As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.
In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.
Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law.

So, let's do all that again.   Yeah, that's the ticket.

Girl of the Day - Daniela Hantuchova

She's in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. TRG is rooting for Serena Williams, one of the transcendent athletes of all time, and Williams will undoubtedly win this tournament the way she's playing.   But I wouldn't mind seeing Miss Hantuchova on Sports Center a little more. :)

Just Words

Obama has now apparently tried a daring new spin on his "red line" in Syria.   Now he says that he didn't set a red line at all, that it was "the world's red line":

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the red line he outlined last year regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons came from international treaties and past congressional action, and now it is time for the international community to make good on its opposition to the banned armaments.
"I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line," Obama told reporters on the first day of a four-day trip to Sweden and Russia to attend a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg.
In particular, Obama said the global red line came when governments representing 98% of the world's population "passed a treaty forbidding (chemical weapons) use, even when countries are engaged in war."
The president spoke as a Senate committee prepared to consider a resolution authorizing a limited military strike on Syria in response to what the administration calls a major chemical weapons attack on August 21 that killed hundreds of people in suburban Damascus.
A year ago, Obama warned Syria that his position on the civil war there would change if President Bashar al-Assad's regime used its stockpiles of chemical weapons.
"A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said then. "That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."
Conservative critics have said Obama painted himself into a corner with that statement and now must respond to save face, even if this is not an imminent national security matter for the United States.

The nerve of this guy.   When he was in the middle of a presidential campaign, he wanted to talk tough.   There was no mention of treaties or the world, it was all about Barack Obama's "calculus,"  Barack Obama's "equation."   Now, when he actually has to follow through on his threat, it's someone else's fault.

More and more, Obama's speech from 2008 seems prescient.   It's all "just words" to this guy.

The most chilling moment to me comes at the beginning when he says "we need to make politics cool again." Oh, dear, that's the last thing we need.