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July 31, 2014

No, Stop, It's Too Cute. Stop It Right Now.

—Ace

A dog had been separated from its owner for two full years.

The owner was away in Slovenia, but returned home to Pennsylvania, whereupon she saw her pooch.

Here's the little guy's reaction at the reunion.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 08:25 PM Comments



72 Hour Ceasefire Declared in Hamas-Israel Fight

—Ace

Beginning at 8 pm am on Friday.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations announced early Friday that Israel and Hamas had agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza conflict.

Israel will keep its troops in place on the ground during the ceasefire -- the article does not say if they will continue their tunnel-busting missions during the ceasefire.

The parties will gather in Cairo to discuss a longer-lasting ceasefire.

Posted by Ace at 07:53 PM Comments



Leftwing "Wonks" Shocked Again to Learn Basic Things

—Ace

I would propose a simple definition of "expert:" One who is not surprised or even stunned to learn the basics of his claimed field of expertise.

By this definition, the left has a serious lack of experts.

I might add to the definition of "expert:" One who is interested in a subject matter and motivated to learn as much about it as possible, even if such fresh learning might cut against his base partisan impulses.

I'm afraid the left is studded with "experts" who fail this prong of the definition, as well:


See Sean Davis' piece for leftist "wonks" claiming that the argument in Halbig couldn't possibly be accurate, or else it would prove them (those who supposedly follow this subject in all its details) to be "idiots."

And of course -- we know that couldn't possibly be true.

Don't we?

Oh: The below video recapitulates Jon Gruber's meanderings.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 06:22 PM Comments

The Only Appropriate Reaction to the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Decision on Act 10

—CAC

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The voter ID decision is also a biggie, but here is the orgasm-inducing quote from the Milkwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

In upholding Gov. Scott Walker's union law limiting collective bargaining for most public employees, the state Supreme Court effectively ended major litigation over the measure.

It's over.
We won, they lost.

Considering the string of defeats Republicans have dealt to themselves and their base, the long slow slide towards bigger government, and the utter failure of any Republican to actually roll back the progressive agenda anywhere, that a Governor and Legislature did so, in a place like Wisconsin, is huge.

This should also put pressure on Republican legislatures and governors to do more. What is their excuse, when this was pulled off successfully?

Kudos to the conservatives who (at least for the moment) govern the Badger State, and to the voters who put them in there and rejected a recall. To the latter group though, a reminder that November is coming. Please don't screw it up.

Posted by CAC at 05:40 PM Comments

Belgian Doctor Refuses Treatment to Jewish Patient

—Ace

Enlightened.

She had an injured rib. She tried to get a house-call (which is apparently how it's still done in Belgium).

The woman, Bertha Klein, had her son, who is American, call the hotline at 11 p.m.

"I'm not coming," the doctor reportedly told the son and hung up. When the son called again, the doctor said: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she'll get rid of the pain." According to Joods Actueel, the doctor confirmed the exchange, saying he had an "emotional reaction."

The call is confirmed. Apparently they then called the doctor back to get his explanation for saying this, and that call was recorded.

Israel's enemies have a not-so-secret weapon against Israel: They hold hostage the world's Jewry. And when they get angry about Israel defending itself (or merely existing), they will burn down the shops of Jewish storekeepers and kill Jews on the Metro.

Brendan O'Neill recently wrote about the rising tide of real anti-semitism. Not merely being anti-Israel; I don't believe being anti-Israel makes one, necessarily, anti-semitic.

However...

...it seems pretty clear to me that much of the left in Europe and America is becoming more anti-Semitic, or at least risks falling into the trap of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite thoughtlessly. In the language it uses, in the ideas it promotes, in the way in which it talks about the modern world, including Israel, much of the Left has adopted a style of politics that has anti-Semitic undertones, and sometimes overtones.

The key problem has been the Left’s embrace of conspiratorial thinking, its growing conviction that the world is governed by what it views as uncaring "cabals", "networks", self-serving lobbyists and gangs of bankers, all of which has tempted it to sometimes turn its attentions towards those people who historically were so often the object and the target of conspiratorial thinking -- the Jews.

...

This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy.

...


Indeed, some of the most influential trends in Left-wing politics over the past five years – including the Occupy movement and the Wikileaks movement -- were both given to conspiracy-theorising and both also had a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism. So Occupy was kickstarted by Adbusters, a magazine convinced that powerful corporations control the masses’ fickle minds. In 2004, Adbusters published a disgustingly anti-Semitic article titled "Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?", which listed the neocons in the Bush administration and put a black mark next to the names of those who are Jewish.

It's worth reading in full.

Posted by Ace at 04:30 PM Comments

Bill Clinton, September 10, 2001: You Know, I Could Have Killed Bin Ladin Years Ago, But I Chose Not To, Fearing Civilian Casualties

—Ace

Within ten (10!) hours of his making this admission, Al Qaeda would demonstrate that it was not particularly bothered by civilian casualties, and in fact was rather keen on them.

The tape has only now been disclose by the Australian media -- Clinton was over there giving a paid ($150,000) speech to businessmen, naturally.

Why was this embargoed for so long?

On September 10, 2001, Clinton was speaking to a group of about 30 businessmen in Melbourne, including Michael Kroger, the former head of the Liberal Party in the Australian state of Victoria. The event was recorded with the former president’s permission, according to Kroger, but the audio never released -- until Wednesday night, when Kroger appeared on Sky News with host Paul Murray to unveil it. Kroger said he had forgotten about the recording until last week.

At the event in Melbourne, which took place not long after the end of Clinton’s term in office, the former president was asked about international terrorism.

"And I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden -- he's very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him -- and I nearly got him once," Clinton is heard saying. "I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it."

Remember that Clinton claimed that the "Path to 9/11" was substantially false and pressured the network to alter that docu-drama?

Here is Clinton claiming, to Chris Wallace, that he "tried" to get bin Ladin, unlike "all those right-wingers." He's angry throughout the interview, but at 5:17 or so he starts with the "I tried" crap.

He does not ever mention that on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, he bragged that he "could have" gotten bin Ladin, but specifically chose not to. (And he bragged about that, too.)

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 03:26 PM Comments

House Kills Fake Border Security Bill

—Ace

The Democrats were united against it, because they're against anything that even pretends to discourage illegal immigration.

Conservatives balked at voting for a pretend measure that just might be a "supertrap" for having a conference committee which then votes out a Comprehensive Amnesty bill.

So the bill is now pulled for lack of support.

And now what?

I actually don't know. If no bill has any potential of being passed, and we can't trust Boehner and McConnell not to stuff a conference committee with Gang of 8 Amnestias, then what do we do?

Then we're at a point of complete paralysis.

Posted by Ace at 02:17 PM Comments

A US Attorney Just Threatened to Open an Investigation Into Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Role in Witness Tampering in a Political Corruption Investigation, and the Media Says "MOAR SCOTT WALKER"

—Ace

Via Jim Geraghty, a large new development in the Moreland Commission case.

Andrew Cuomo set up the Moreland Commission to investigate political corruption in New York State. At some point -- let's just speculate "at the point when major Democratic politicians were threatened" -- he ordered the commission shut down.

A US Attorney is now investigating why it was shut down -- and pursuing the investigations the commission itself abandoned.

The New York Times (which is actually covering this matter) reports on a "sharply worded" letter to Governor Cuomo from the US Attorney leading the investigation.

In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor's cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara's office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor's handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March.

The New York Times, to its credit, is covering this story.

The rest of the national media is not.

Why not, I wonder?

This is a genuine corruption investigation of a sitting governor and a much-talked-about possible Democratic candidate for President.

What is the missing "X Factor" here that makes this story so unsexy for the national media? What "X Factor" did the fake investigation of Scott Walker have that made it so appealing? What "X Factor" did Christie's Bridge Controversy have that makes it more important than the shuttering of a commission investigating widespread political corruption?

There is no plausible answer here except the obvious one.


Posted by Ace at 01:38 PM Comments

Evan Sayet: "The Modern Liberal is the Stupidest Human Being Who Has Ever Lived"

—Ace

"Mind workers."

"I have a problem," Sayet says in the video, "If the modern liberal is as stupid as I believe him to be, how does he keep rising to the tops of his professions?"

Good question, and Sayet provides some rather insightful, albeit hilarious, reasons why the "modern liberal" has been incredibly successful at being so stupid by employing brilliant alliteration on the word "do." In essence, modern liberals succeed because they flock to professions that require they do nothing, according to Sayet.

"They don't build, they don't make, they don't construct, they don't manufacture, they don't prepare, they don't sow, they don't mend," Sayet says. "Every single profession that we associate with liberalism is all talk, but no action, and the thing is when you don't 'do anything', you don't know what you're talking about."

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 01:04 PM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-31-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Thursday.

"We never tried to impeach Bush," says Democratic lawmaker who cosponsored articles of impeachment against Bush.

WaPo has an interesting piece on happy and unhappy cities.

The ATF agents responsible for the insane reverse-sting operation in Milwaukee get slaps on the wrists.

Lawyer-morons, the Popehat Signal is out for a fellow in Colorado being sued by his former ISP for putting up bad reviews on Yelp, among other things.

NYTimes has an A1 piece on the American suicide bomber in Syria.


AoSHQ Weekly Podcast rss.png itunes_modern.png | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives

Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:50 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-30-2014)

—Maetenloch

John Kerry: Cargo Cult Politician

And it struck me also that this might be the sum total of why he has risen to the heights he has, that and his ability to promote himself. He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.

Politics isn't the only thing Kerry ever did; he was a prosecutor for a while. But it's the main thing he's done, and although it's hard to point to any specific accomplishments of his even in politics, he still managed to almost become president. I maintain that it's because he's the perfect cargo cult senator, presidential nominee, and now Secretary of State. He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough.

I think my first ever impression of John Kerry came from a 1986 PJ O'Rourke article ("Goons, Guns, and Gold") in Rolling Stone on his experiences during the Philippines election in which Marcos was attempting to stuff the ballot box against the far more popular Corazon Aquino. Senators Kerry and Lugar were sent there by Reagan as election observers. But when the election workers walked out over Marcos' chicanery with the vote totals and asked for his assistance, John Kerry was the waste of human skin that we've all come to expect.

Here is PJ O'Rourke's recollection of the events:

Village Voice reporter Joe Conason and I had been tipped off about the walkout, and when we got to the church, we found Bea Zobel, one of Cory Aquino's top aides, in a tizzy. "The women are terrified," she said. "They're scared to go home. They don't know what to do. We don't know what to do." Joe and I suggested that Mrs. Zobel go to the Manila Hotel and bring back some members of the Congressional observer team. She came back with Kerry, who did nothing.

Kerry later said that he didn't talk to the COMELEC employees then because he wasn't allowed to. [A bone-head Rolling Stone fact-checker sent the article to Kerry's Senate office for comment. Kerry staffers were wroth and insisted the senator's version of events be included.] This is ridiculous. He was ushered into an area that had been cordoned off from the press and the crowd and where the computer operators were sitting. To talk to the women, all he would have had to do was raise his voice. Why he was reluctant, I can't tell you. I can tell you what any red-blooded representative of the U.S. Government should have done. He should have shouted, "If you're frightened for your safety, I'll take you to the American embassy, and damn the man who tries to stop me." But all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.

And there you have probably the only comparison of Kerry to a male model ever made.

O'Rourke noted in 2004 that he's "had a nonpartisan grudge against John Kerry for 18 years" over this incident. And ever since I read O'Rourke's account I have as well. John Kerry had a chance to actually do something meaningful as a US Senator and instead he chose to uselessly walk around and preen as the well coiffed empty-suit that he is.

You can read the original article here. It's still funny even after 28 years and entertaining to read now since we know what nemesis eventually had in store for the feckless members of the US delegation.

JohnKerry11 johnkeyyer3452555010-1024x745

Another Contender for Dumbest Member of Congress

I hate to say it but the ladies of Congress seem to have more than their fair share of borderline retardation. Just having a uterus may get you elected in some districts but it clearly does not convey any special knowledge or mental prowess or even guarantee average faculties.

Here is Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) talking about the need for high speed rail (as well as anything else that darts through her brain) at a hearing in 2012. TRIGGER WARNING: This audio will make you dumber and Sanchez's near-ultrasonic screeches may cause feeling of alarm and anxiety about the country's future.

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:16 PM Comments

Open Thread: Sharknado 2: The Second One

—Ace

So, this eagerly non-anticipated film debuts at 9pm on ScyFy.

Posted by Ace at 08:33 PM Comments

Boy, The Democrats Really Are Running Hard on Impeachment, Huh?

—Ace


They mean Boehner's lawsuit against Obama's executive-action overreach.

"Impeachment Lite."

Posted by Ace at 07:45 PM Comments

Sheila Jackson Lee: We Never Tried to Impeach Bush, Because We Recognized He "Had That Authority"

—Ace

Mm-hm.

So, of course, you know where this is heading. You must know what will happen if you google "Sheila Jackson Lee Bush Impeachment," right?

Sheila Jackson Lee cosponsored articles of Impeachment against President Bush.

Posted by Ace at 07:00 PM Comments

France Offers Asylum to Christians Iraqis Fleeing ISIS; Washington, DC, Silent

—Ace

Mm-hm.

The French government says it is willing to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians in the face of a jihadist onslaught against them.

"We are assisting displaced persons who are fleeing the Islamic State's threats and seeking refuge in Kurdistan," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement this week. "Should they so wish, we are prepared to offer them asylum on our soil."

They're Socialists, by the way. I just say that in case anyone thinks they're part of the French Neocon Establishment or something.

In Washington, meanwhile, a leading religious freedom advocate on Capitol Hill slammed both President Obama and Congress Tuesday for their "silence" about the plight of Iraq’s Christians, which he said amounted to "genocide."

"The silence in this town -- in Washington -- is deafening," Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said on the House floor. "Does Washington even care?"

And once again it seems like the sympathies of the progressive establishment are turned off the minute someone mentions the C-word, "Christians."


Posted by Ace at 05:38 PM Comments

Surprising No One, Five Thirty Eight Gives In to Priestly Caste's Shrieking and Fires Global Warming Skeptic

—Ace

The skeptic is Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of climate studies at the University of Colorado. As far as Credentialism, then: He has all his credentials. Certainly better credentials that the millions of "pro-science" lefties who know nothing about science, except that we must put our Faith in Science.

But even though he knew what he was talking about, he said The Wrong Things, Forbidden Things, Things Which Are Not Of The Book or the Body, and so, the "Pro-Science" contigent does what "scientists" do best, which is of course excommunicating heretics.

Charles Cooke has a piece on the general appropriation of the "Science" mantle (there we go with mantles again) for leftwing political agitprop.

In this manner has a word ["nerd"] with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I’m smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past. "Nerd" has become a calling a card -- a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another....

Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don’t understand themselves and terming the dissenters "flat-earthers." Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of "science" as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change. Really, the only thing in these people’s lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions.

Posted by Ace at 04:55 PM Comments

Submitted for Your Disapproval

—Ace


Somewhere a cow's ghost is saying, "I deserved better."

Hillary Clinton was shooting a fashion spread for Don't magazine.

Meanwhile, to deflect attention away from Hillary Clinton's fashion catastrophe, Ronan Farrow embarrassed himself.

More at Newsbusters, including the video.


Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 03:16 PM Comments

Ed Schultz: Hey, Maybe Obama Doesn't Have the Constitutional Power to Just Grant Amnesty Via His Personal Royal Decree

—Ace

Wut?

First Jen Rubin, now Ed Schultz?

Well, actually now that Ed Schultz says it, I guess I do see that being anti-Amnesty is racist.

It's just the way he says it. So much White/Red hate.

Posted by Ace at 02:44 PM Comments

After Ending Interview with Israeli Ambassador to the US, Mika Brzezinsky Invites Viewers To Watch the Next Segment on "Morning Jew"

—Ace

Wow.

I guess we know what's on her mind.

From Twitchy.

I'm sure we'll see the left go into fully frothy mode that we last saw when Bob Beckel said "Chinaman."


Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 01:37 PM Comments

So Taxpayers Are Paying $202,000 To Figure Out Why Wikipedia is Sexist; Apparently This is Proven By The Brevity of Its Sex & the City Recaps

—Ace

Science.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending over $200,000 to find out why Wikipedia is sexist.

The government has awarded two grants for collaborative research to professors at Yale University and New York University to study what the researchers describe as "systematic gender bias" in the online encyclopedia.

...


An ongoing debate exists over whether the website has sexist undertones.

Zandt argues that Wikipedia is biased because the majority of its editors are "young, white, child-free men."

...

Noam Cohen, a columnist for the Times who does not have a Wikipedia page, has asserted the encyclopedia is biased because articles about friendship bracelets are shorter than entries about baseball cards.

"And consider the disparity between two popular series on HBO: The entry on 'Sex and the City' includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on 'The Sopranos' includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode," he wrote.

The only true thing here is that Wikipedia does have a cultural bias. The bias is towards the cultural phenomenon that Wikipedia's editors are interested in. Some cultural phenomena -- science fiction, comic books -- get a fairly exhaustive treatment, and others get brief blurbs.*

I have trouble imagining this as "sexist," though, even doing my level-best to see the other side. Wikipedia is a volunteer site, and the people who volunteer will, necessarily, tend to bring their own interests and areas of expertise to the site. If (and I'll just assume this is true for purposes of this post) Wikipedia's volunteers tend to be younger men hooked into sci-fi/manga culture and interested in stuff young men are interested in (they have a pretty good article on The Longbow, for example), the site is going to reflect that.

The site is not sexist. Period. But the site inherently appeals to cultural ideas favored by (young) men of a nerdish bent. The very fact that a site exists which gives an exhaustive, 4000 word plus citations treatment of Ant-Man is going to skew male.

I love Wikipedia. There is something about it that appeals to me on a primal level. I feel like... I don't know, that I'm hunting on the great plains of data or something.

Men (well, those of a nerdly bent) tend to be interested in trivia and obscura; women tend to not be, or at least not so much.**

If you want to annoy a date, just keep quoting Midnight Run to her. A male friend might like your calling yourself "Jack Walsh, I mean, John Wesley Walsh" when you put in for a table at a restaurant. A female date will be much less taken with your wit.

I don't care about Ant-Man, but for some reason I find comfort in knowing that someone out there does care about Ant-Man, and has digested Ant-Man's fifty year history for me, should my life ever depend on knowing when Ant-Man married Janet Van Dyne.

If women aren't volunteering in large numbers -- I don't know what on earth a feminist agitator suggests we could do about that. Pay female volunteers (but not male ones) to increase interest?

And the most important thing here is that this is only one small part of Wikipedia. The rest of Wikipedia is about less silly things. It's not as if most of Wikipedia is about Ant-Man, for crying out loud. The rest of it is about history and quarks and evolutionary biology and just about everything else.

So the real complaint boils down to: the ten percent of a website which could reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers does in fact reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers, and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does get a more exhaustive, nerdishly-loving treatment than Sex & the City.

The federal government needs to pay people to study this and propose "solutions"?

Thanks to @comradearthur and @lizwfb.

* This bias isn't mostly male, though. It's mostly nerdish (which does tend to skew male).

I myself have looked up various cultural artifacts which have not been embraced by the nerdly community, and have found the articles on those to be thin and not nearly satisfying as that for Ant-Man.

I hardly imagined I was the victim of a Bias Crime owing to this, though.

** It also occurs to me that we've spent $202,000 for a "study" which deliberately avoids examining a very simple explanation:

Women just aren't as interested in this type of crap as men.

You don't have to believe that to at least agree: This should have been one of the explanations scientifically studied, if we're going to have a scientific study at all.

Let's get down to brass tacks: I've seen Die Hard 50 times and I would watch it right now if it were on.

I will watch Die Hard only to see the Asian guy steal the candy bar.

And when I click on Wikipedia, I'm expecting them to tell me if the Asian guy stealing the candy bar was in the script, or if it was improvised on the day of the shoot.

And when Wikipedia doesn't tell me this (it doesn't, I've checked), I'm disappointed in it.

Do women watch episodes of Sex & the City 50 times? No, they don't. Maybe the "best" episodes, they'll watch two or three times. Women do watch some things a bunch of times (Law & Order repeats, for example), but this phenomenon is much more a male trait than a female one.

So why isn't this obvious truism even part of this "study"?

Because the academy doesn't exist to do science or scholarship; it exists to collect grants from politicized arms of the government for the purpose of agitation of coalitions of voters in support of the politicized arms of the government.

The difference between a scholar or scientist and priest is that the scholar or scientist, supposedly, will question any and everything, whereas the priest will only ask those questions permitted by his Holy Book, and only seeks to elicit answers which support the dogmas of his Holy Book.

Seems to me we have a lot of Priests posing as scholars.

Posted by Ace at 01:01 PM Comments

Oh Dear God In Heaven. I Agree With....I Can't Event Type It

—DrewM.

I'm not sure what sign of the Apocalypse this is but you're going to want to get right with your God ASAP.

If you had asked me ten minutes ago what I thought Jennifer Rubin would suggest the GOP do after Obama's upcoming executive amnesty I'd have bet all my money it would be something like, "GOP candidates must promise to extend this policy or else they will lose forever". I'd have gone broke-broke (not Hillary "dead broke")

For starters, they and the GOP candidates for 2016 should make clear that any executive order will disappear at the end of Obama’s term and any who step forward for exemptions now may be subject to deportation in 2 1 /2 years. Harsh? No; it’s a sensible deterrent to prevent widespread lawlessness. (The Democratic presidential nominee should be challenged on his or her own plans to rule by executive edict. Let Hillary Clinton try to win an electoral majority on a platform of executive imperialism.)

And then she suggests how the GOP can get really tough.

I'm going to say this non-ironically...read and enjoy the whole thing.

Was her blog hacked?

If Rubin is on board with this approach maybe the rest of the squish brigade will be too.

I gotta go lay down, the world doesn't make sense any more.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:22 PM Comments

Open Thread

—DrewM.

A crumb of content (probably more about it later)....Lois Lerner doesn't think much of you.

"Not a smidgen" of corruption.

By the way, it appears the person Lerner is emailing with is also a Treasury employee. Look at the originating email of the tread and scroll to the last page where the first email is. It comes with a Treasury Department non-disclosure statement.

So who's the other person and what's their job?

Update: Maybe not. The original email was a forward that the redacted person couldn't read. Maybe that person isn't a government employee after all.

Posted by DrewM. at 12:01 PM Comments

Rand Paul: Hey Maybe The Government Shouldn't Be Able To Take Your Stuff Without Any Due Process

—DrewM.

"Civil Asset Forfeiture" is a cancer in America. Cops and prosecutors across the country are empowered to take your money and property if they think it's been used as part of a crime. You'll have to prove your innocence before you can have your belongings back, and that isn't always enough. Oh and if the state taking all your money means you can't afford a lawyer? Too bad.

How did this cancer spread so far? We made it profitable for the government to rip off citizens. But it's ok because it was "for the children".

Though civil-asset forfeiture has a long history, it took off in America following passage of some amendments to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act in 1984 that allowed police to keep and spend forfeiture proceeds. This gave law-enforcement agencies a direct financial incentive to take more stuff, and led to what the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian law firm, calls "policing for profit". In 1986 the federal Asset Forfeiture Fund took in $93.7m; by September 2013 the Fund held more than $2 billion in net assets. Some of those funds are disbursed to local law-enforcement agencies. As Sarah Stillman noted in her outstanding article on forfeiture abuses, many police departments depend on forfeiture funds to fill budget gaps, which further increases the incentive to snatch (for some, this is a feature, not a bug). Agencies can spend funds with relatively little oversight on activities only tenuously related to law-enforcement: in Atlanta's Fulton County, for instance, the district attorney's office is alleged to have spent forfeiture funds on a Christmas party, flowers, a security system for the district attorney's home and assorted yummies including "mini crab cakes in a champagne sauce" (Paul Howard, the district attorney, insists such expenditures have reduced turnover and improved morale).

You'd think there'd be an outcry against this sort of extortion but there hasn't been. It doesn't happen to most people (until it does) and no politician wants to get labeled as being soft on crime or anti-police.

Well someone has finally decided to try and end this abuse. Rand Paul has taken up the cause and try and put the government back in its box. Don't think of it as anti-police, think of it as pro-freedom and limited government.

The bill would also require states “to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property.” This is important. Currently, a number of state legislatures across the country have passed reform bills to rein in forfeiture abuses. The problem is that the federal government has a program known as “adoption” or “equitable sharing.” Under the program, a local police agency need only call up the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or similar federal agency. That agency then “federalizes” the investigation, making it subject to federal law. The federal agency then initiates forfeiture proceedings under the laxer federal guidelines for forfeiture. The feds take a cut and then return the rest — as much as 80 percent — back to the local agency. This trick thwarts the intent of state legislature that have attempted to make civil forfeiture more fair when it comes to burden of proof, protections for innocent property owners and eliminating the perverse incentive of allowing forfeiture proceeds to go to the same police agency that made the seizure.

Which brings us to a final important provision in the bill: It would “would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.” Read the full text of the bill here.

I've sworn off voting for Paul a number of times (Remember his pal the "Southern Avenger" and his goofy theories on Iraq and Dick Cheney?) but he keeps doing stuff I like and tempts me to get back on board.

Republicans keep telling me there are no perfect candidates and you have to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. I accept that but Republicans need to accept that for some of us that means Rand Paul is the lesser of the evils. At least with Rand Paul's crap I actually get stuff I like. With supporters of a muscular and far reaching federal government like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, I just get the crap.

Posted by DrewM. at 09:22 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-30-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Wednesday.

Greg Sargent's piece on the ACA's missing federal subsidies yesterday gave me such lulz. In case you missed it, here's Jeff B.'s take. And here's Patterico's. Here's my summation in 140 characters.

But, honestly, I think Sargent might just be learning disabled or something. Because, c'mon:


Being able to write the bar exam on a computer instead of writing all those essays by hand is nice, except when it is so not nice.

President Obama gives big speeches on nuclear nonproliferation, also cuts the nonproliferation budget by $399 million in FY2015. Left hand doesn't know what the far left hand is doing.


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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:49 AM Comments

Overnight Open Thread (7-29-2014)

—Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

We had turned the corner at U Street and were marching up 14th Street when the woman with the megaphone leading SlutWalk DC started a new chant: 'We love consensual sex! We love consensual sex!' Well, OK, but who doesn't? Is there any actual opposition to this agenda? Is there an Anti-Consensual Sex Movement that someone forgot to tell us about?

-- Robert Stacy McCain in "Slutwalk Insanity"

Sucking in the 70s

Yes kids, prior to Star Wars, these were the films we were forced to watch to document our hardscrabble existence during the horrific Nixonfordcarter years when America went to hell in a polyester hand-basket: lots of crime, lots of grime, lots of graffiti, lots of bell-bottoms - and at least until the very end of the decade, no Internet, no cable TV, or video games: Kathy Shaidle brings you the "10 Movies Millennials Must See to Understand the 1970s - The era of devils, divorces and disasters, captured on film."

Also How Graffiti Vanished From NYC Subways

For decades, authorities treated subway graffiti like it was a sanitation issue.  Gunn believed that graffiti was a symptom of larger systemic problems. After all, trains were derailing nearly every two weeks. In 1981 there were 1,800 subway car fires-that's nearly five a day, every day of the year!

When Gunn launched his "Clean Trains" program [in 1984], it was not only about cleaning up the trains aesthetically, but making them function well, too. Clean trains, Gunn believed, would be a symbol of a rehabilitated transit system.

Systemically, train line by train line, Gunn took the subways off the map for graffiti writers. While they were fixing it, they didn't allow any graffiti on it. If graffiti artists "bombed" a train car, the MTA pulled it from the system. Even during rush hour.

May 12, 1989 was declared the official day of the city's victory over train graffiti.

christopher-morris-subway_1.jpg

Is This Correct - 35% of All Americans With a Credit History Are In Collections?

According to a new study by the Urban Institute, 35% of U.S. adults with a credit history (91% of the adult population of the U.S.) have debt "in collections" - a status generally not acquired until payments are at least 180 days past due. Debt problems seem to be worse in the South, with states hovering in the 40%+ range, while the Northeast has it better, at less than 30%. The study's authors claim their findings actually underrepresent low-income consumers, because "adults without a credit file are more likely to be financially disadvantaged."

Oddly, only 5% of adults have debt 30-180 days past due. This latter fact is partially accounted for by the fact that a broader range of debt can enter "in collections" status than "past due" status (e.g. parking tickets).

Are people really this behind on payments or is this just a quirk of what counts as 'in collections'? But in any case the South is definitely deadbeat-ier than other areas of the country - something David Hackett Fischer noted as a regional trait in Albion's Seed.

debt-in-collections

Continue reading


Posted by Maetenloch at 10:04 PM Comments

Horrible News Presented in The Chill Groove (TM) Format

—Ace

Shock: Democrats absolutely insist that the price for doing anything about a crisis-in-progress on the border will be some form of Comprehensive Amnesty to satisfy their Open Borders donors.

By the way, illegals insist on being included, and by included I mean physically present, during White House negotiations on amnesty.

Oh, and there are reports that Obama intends to issue millions of work permits to illegals on his own authority.

Somehow.

PUPPYLEAF.jpg-large

And while millions of people spore across our southern border from parts unknown, there's an extremely serious outbreak of Ebola killing people in Africa.

An Ebola victim who was allowed to board an international flight was an American citizen on his way home to the United States, it has emerged.

Patrick Sawyer worked for the Liberian government and was visiting his sister there when he developed symptoms while on a plane to Nigeria. He was quarantined on arrival in Lagos and died on Friday.

His wife, Decontee, 34, who like Mr Sawyer is originally from Liberia, currently at the heart of the terrifying Ebola outbreak, said he had been due to travel on to America where he could have become Patient Zero in a US epidemic.

...

Fellow passengers on his plane were given warnings about the disease’s symptoms, which can include bleeding from the nose and mouth, but were allowed to continue on their journeys.

As Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days, there are fears that some may even now be spreading the disease still further.

This outbreak is the most serious ever.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

Oh, and in that article, a second American has been found to have Ebola.

One scientist claims this:

"No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low," says Monroe, who says that the CDC has sent 12 experts to Africa to help with the crisis. "While it's possible that someone could become infected with Ebola in Africa" before boarding a plane to the USA, "it's very unlikely that they would spread it to other passengers."

What if they're deliberately trying to spread it? This is the most fantastically cheap and easy terrorist weapon I can think of.

On the plus side, this is going to make my next game of Pandemic much more meaningful.

BUNNYBATH.png-large

And finally, conspiracy-addled asshole Jesse Ventura wins $1.8 million in his defamation suit against slain SEAL sniper Chris Kyle -- or rather against his widow.

handkoala.jpg-large

Thanks to @doreenhdixon, @coolczech, and @cuteemergency and probably @emergencypuppy.

Posted by Ace at 07:25 PM Comments

WaPo's Greg Sargent Devastates Halbig Case Against Obamacare Federal Subsidies With Bombshell Reporting (JeffB.)

—Ace

Guest post by JeffB./@esotericCD.


Wait, did I say "devastates?" I meant "vindicates." I get confused about stuff like that sometimes. Then again, in my defense, so does Greg Sargent. Let me explain. This is a lengthy post, so fair warning.

Quick refresher: Halbig case turns upon the question of whether the ACA, as written, permits the government to offer federal subsidies (read: price relief) to people who purchase health insurance on federally-established exchanges, or only on state-established ones. The IRS issued an official administrative ruling last year that subsidies applied to both state and federal exchanges.

The problem? The actual text of the Affordable Care Act says something different: it states that subsidies/tax credits are only available to consumers using "exchanges established by the state." Nowhere are federal exchanges mentioned, even though they pop up several times elsewhere in the statute.

This is obviously a Big Problem, since (contrary to expectations at the time of the ACA's drafting, it must be pointed out) only 14 states plus DC ultimately bothered to establish their own exchanges. The rest -- either out of protest or naked sloth -- farmed the work of establishing ACA exchanges out to the Feds.

So does that mean that, under the statutory language of the ACA as written, the residents of those 36 states are ineligible for federal subsidies and will have to pay extremely elevated prices for plans purchased via federal ACA exchanges?

We now have two answers: in Halbig v. Burwell the DC Circuit Court of Appeals said "Yes." Meanwhile, in King v. Burwell, the 4th Circuit said in so many words, "Erm...no, we guess. But honestly this language is really ambiguous and hey SCOTUS help us out here will ya?"

Chaos, predictably, has ensued. On the Left, the amusingly unified PR response to Halbig has been variations upon the theme of "LOL are you kidding? Of course Obamacare was always supposed to provide subsidies to everyone, only madmen ever thought otherwise, now hush your crazytalk."

Jonathan Gruber, unless he is in fact a madman, put paid to that argument with his deliciously self-undermining speak-oes.

So now, rushing into the breach, here comes Crack Legal Correspondent Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, with his breathlessly reported scoop that will save the day for the Left:

Senate documents and interviews undercut 'bombshell' lawsuit against Obamacare

Let's pause for a moment and savor that headline on its own for the spectacular own-goal carnage that's about to follow.

Continue reading


Posted by Ace at 06:42 PM Comments

Meanwhile, Libyan "Militants" Overrun a Special Forces Base

—Ace

The Special Forces have been reassigned to a Very Special Forces unit.

Also, they're dead.

Well I don't know if they're dead. I actually expect they fled, like Special Forces do.

Anyway.

The Cavalcade of Awesome Foreign Policy continues.

Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people.

A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city.

"We have withdrawn from the army base after heavy shelling," Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi told Reuters.

...

Benghazi has been at the centre of fighting between special forces and ex-rebel fighters of the Benghazi Shura Council who have joined up with the Ansar al Sharia, a militant Islamist group, residents said.

They joined forces? I'd like to see the videotape that caused that to happen.

I don't even know what to say anymore.

Unfortunately, neither does Barack Obama.

Posted by Ace at 05:13 PM Comments

It's An Open Secret That Hamas Maintains Its Command Center Below Al-Shifa Hospital, But The Media Won't Report That

—Ace

Via Hot Air.

Last week a French-Palestinian reporter confirmed this, when he was brought to the hospital to meet with a Hamas "local council" and be interrogated and threatened. Then, he asked for the article to be unpublished.

So all the reporters know this -- and in fact the reporters have been brought there for friendly chats with Hamas -- but no one will report it.

The idea that one of Hamas' main command bunkers is located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is one of the worst-kept secrets of the Gaza war. So why aren't reporters in Gaza ferreting it out? The precise location of a large underground bunker equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and housing some part of the leadership of a major terrorist organization beneath a major hospital would seem to qualify as a world-class scoop--the kind that might merit a Pulitzer, or at least a Polk.


...

[T]he rules of reporting from Shifa Hospital are easy for any newbie reporter to understand: No pictures of members of Hamas with their weapons inside the hospital, and don't go anywhere near the bunkers, or the operating rooms where members of Hamas are treated...

Reporters who bravely or foolishly violate Hamas' rules even on their social media accounts can be seen to repent with such alacrity that it’s not difficult to imagine how scared and dependent they are. Nick Casey of the Wall Street Journal, for example, tweeted that "You have to wonder w the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media." Casey then quickly deleted his tweet, which didn’t save him from being put on a list of journalists who “lie/fabricate info for Israel” and "must be sued" -- a threat which is surely the least of Casey’s fears. Last week, French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagg was summoned to Shifa by Hamas and interrogated. He wrote about the experience of "attempted intimidation" for Liberation--and then quickly had the paper take down the article.

Hey I was just saying that.

The writer has sympathies for reporters, who, after all, could simply be murdered for reporting something Hamas doesn't like.

However, he wonders about the editors sitting back home.

Posted by Ace at 04:26 PM Comments

Wow: Obama "Demands" That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;
Israeli Government Apparently Leaks the Transcript of the Conversation to the Press

—Ace

This is huge.

A State Department Spokesman says this is a major breach of diplomatic etiquette if this is a genuine transcript. (Don't they know?)

Which it would be. But on the other hand, look at the contents of it.

I am going to guess, provisionally, that this isn't real.

Even for Barack Obama, this is too much.

Still, for the moment, this is news.

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire -- silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It's a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel's position.

BN: Kerry's proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel's military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel's commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It's impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks --

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.

Now, this is apparently a translation of a Hebrew transcript, which means that Obama's words have been translated twice -- once into Hebrew, and then again back into English.

Understand that an awful lot can change in one translation, nevermind two.

"Ask," for example, can erroneously become "demand." In some languages they're the same word.

We know the Famously Cosmopolitan President only speaks a single language.

On the other hand, the transcript, if accurate, features Obama demanding that Israel concede to Hamas that which it began the war to get -- the lifting of the blockade, so it can go back to arming itself without bother.

Giving Hamas a huge win for starting and then losing a war.

Denied: Not that the White House's denials count for much, but Ben Rhodes calls this completely "false," and a commenter posts this, I think from WH go-to mouthpiece Chuck Todd (but I'm not sure):

NSC aide tells me purported Obama-Netanyahu phone call transcript is "literally made up" dialogue. Says POTUS never made those statements

That doesn't resolve it either way, because I'd expect them to lie.

However, as I said, I tend to think this is false. That, or a botched and tendentious translation so bad as to constitute a #switchrape.

(Note that this latter explanation would only account for the tone of the transcript. But there are substantive demands in the transcript that cannot be explained away by a bad translation. But, as I say, this strikes me as likely bogus all the way through.)


Netanyahu: The Claimed Transcript Bears No Resemblance to Reality. This is more authoritative:



Posted by Ace at 03:22 PM Comments

Important Moral Guidance from the Vice Prime Minister of Turkey: Women Must Not Laugh In Public, As It Is Indecent

—Ace

From a French source.

Bit of a #WarOnWomen here.

"A woman must keep her moral rectitude, she must not laugh out loud in public," stated the Turkish Vice Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, sparking a controversy Tuesday in Turkey...

"A man must be moral, and a woman too;, she must know that which is decent and that which is not," said, on Monday Bulent Arinc, and influential memeber of the Islamist government, of which he is also the spokesman...

And he added: "She must not laugh out loud in front of everyone, [she] must absolutely keep her decency at all times." This little sentence provoked an avalanche of reactions -- for the most part, indignant -- on the social networks where internet-users denounced the the intervention "more and more flagrant" of the Turkish regime into the private sphere...

A dozen days from the [upcoming] presidential elections from August 10th to the 24th, which for the first time will include universal suffrage the candidate of the oppostion, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had immediately responded.

"We have a real need to hear the gay laughter of the women," he wrote... on Twitter.

The article says "rire fort." I've translated this as "laugh openly," though it probably means something like "burst into laughter." I guess maybe gentle ladylike titters are permissible.

Before anyone says it, I saw Gentle Ladylike Titters open for 4 Non Blondes in 1995.

I commenter suggests "laugh out loud." Perfect. I changed it.

Oh is that all? Fruminous Bandersnatch checks a German paper (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) for this clarification:

Aric (acting head of government) is only limiting laughter, not banning it. They may laugh as lustily as they want to in private, but may not laugh loudly in public.

Wow. Thank you, Lord Aric.

Posted by Ace at 02:41 PM Comments

Does John Kerry Read the New York Times?

—Ace

The Times actually had a good article for a change. Last week, they reported that Hamas started this war with Israel in order to shore up their internal political standing.

GAZA CITY -- When war between Israel and Hamas broke out two weeks ago, the Palestinian militant group was so hamstrung, politically, economically and diplomatically, that its leaders appeared to feel they had nothing to lose.

Hamas took what some here call "option zero," gambling that it could shift the balance with its trump cards: its arms and militants.

Now, this conflict has demonstrated that while Hamas governed over 1.7 million people mired in poverty, its leaders were pouring resources into its military and expanding its ability to fight Israel. If it can turn that improved military prowess into concessions, like opening the border with Egypt, that may boost its standing among the people of Gaza -- although at an extraordinarily high cost in deaths and destruction.

I don't wish to excerpt more than that, but if you read on, you will read of a series of political problems Hamas was/is experiencing.

Unemployment in the Gaza Strip is around fifty percent.

Hamas lacked the funds to even pay its 40,000 government workers.

The blockade of Gaza (by both Israel and Egypt) was of course unpopular with Palestinians, and Hamas seemed weak in its inability to undo that.

They even began talking about forming a unity government with their hated rival Fatah -- but that just provoked a fresh burst of criticism.

So... they began lobbing missiles at Israel, and, get this, sent out fictitious reports about all the Israeli casualties those missiles produced. (Note well: Hamas considers high civilian casualties to be a strong selling point.)

This is why Israel reacted with such vehemence to John Kerry's attempt to cede by treaty what Hamas cannot win by force.

Israel understands that Hamas started this war because Killing Jews is Good Politics in Gaza.

Ergo, Israel will absolutely refuse to permit Hamas to politically profit from this war. They will not concede points to Hamas that will permit it to spin a great and cynical catastrophe for its people as some kind of cunning victory.

They will not announce to Hamas that all they need to do when they're in political trouble is to abduct and murder some Israeli teenagers.

Israel, for reasons which must appear obvious even to John Kerry, wishes Hamas instead to learn the opposite lesson.

John Kerry stumbled, bumbled, and gaffed his way to delivering a cease-fire agreement that gave Hamas much of what it wanted. He did so without consulting the Israelis, the Egyptians, or damn near anyone else besides Hamas' patrons Turkey and Qatar.

With his actions -- either stupid and uninformed, or actively hostile to Israeli lives -- he's announced that he has absolutely no credibility, gravitas, or authority to speak on these matters or to broker any kind of peace.

Eli Lake and Josh Rogan report on Kerry's "meltdown."

[Deputy National Security Advisor Tony] Blinken also insisted that Kerry's plan contained many of the "same elements" as an Egyptian proposal, released July 15 and immediately rejected by Hamas. Cairo's plan called for an immediate halt to violence on both sides and would have provided for the opening of border crossings and the end of rocket fire into Israel.

But the two plans also had key differences. Multiple Israeli officials, lawmakers, and experts told The Daily Beast that Kerry's proposal altered the Egyptian ceasefire in many important ways, and in one case altered longstanding U.S. policy toward the funding of Hamas.

...

The Kerry proposal also stated a commitment would be made to "transfer funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries of public employees." Israeli and U.S. officials said the understanding was that money would be given to Hamas by the government of Qatar. A senior U.S. official said that the American government doesn't like Qatar providing money to Hamas, which is still officially designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. But Kerry was trying to reach Hamas and he believes this was the best way to influence them.

Again, this is helping Hamas out of problems it itself created -- all because they started murdering people.

And, via @benk84, who remembers all:



Posted by Ace at 02:04 PM Comments

David Harsyani: What the Hell is John Kerry Doing?

—Ace

Krauthammer calls Kerry Hamas' lawyer.

He is the bumbling blowhard hard-left fool we always took him for.

It seems like a rather big deal when Egypt, Israel, Fatah, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- ostensibly, all allies of ours -- agree on anything. This development, one imagines, would be something the United States would be interested in fostering rather than destroying. Certainly, the idea that Hamas’ power should be neutralized and the influence of the "moderate" Palestinian authority expanded, sounds like a plan worth pursuing.

You would think. But instead, Kerry basically ignored an Egyptian-led ceasefire effort to do just that, and handed Israelis a document that offered them this:

* Rather than empowering Fatah, it recognizes Hamas as the legitimate authority in the Gaza Strip, though it is considered a terrorist organization by the Justice Department and an entity that’s founding principle and driving purpose is to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

* Rather than choking off this organization's lifeline, it would have allowed them to collect billions in 'charity' that would be been able to use to rearm, retrench and reengage in hostilities.

* And all the while, it would not have made no demands on Hamas to get rid of its rockets, or its tunnels and other weaponry used to instigate war – while at the same it would have limited Israel’s ability to take them out. (Update: This final point is disputed by U.S. officials.)

Kerry's actions have caused a major diplomatic row -- the Israeli press are criticizing him, accurately, and the Administration, of course, is thus required to claim the Israelis are lying. I'm sorry, I meant sowing a "misinformation campaign," and suggesting, weirdly, that the Israeli government should clamp down on the Israeli press.

"It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other," Jen Psaki psimpered.

Her comments were echoed by the White House, where National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the U.S. was "dismayed" by mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts...


As Kerry returned from the region over the weekend, Israeli media commentators leveled almost nonstop criticism of his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey -- two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters -- into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also accused of abandoning some of Israel's key demands during the negotiations, including demilitarizing Gaza.

In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything," wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday's Haaretz, Israel's leading liberal newspaper. "Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a 'strategic terrorist attack.'"

Obama's had such practice intimidating the US press he's decided to try his hand at intimidating the Israeli one.

More: The Wall Street Journal has a good article on this "fiasco," too.

The question that routinely comes up regarding U.S. foreign policy these days is: What in the world were they thinking? The latest puzzlement is the weekend fiasco in which President Obama and John Kerry pressed a cease-fire that is likely to extend the war between Hamas and Israel.


...

The reaction in Israel was opposition bordering on contempt. Ari Shavit, a center-left columnist for Haaretz, wrote that Mr. Kerry's "decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey, and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework, was catastrophic..."

He added that "the Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends." And you should hear what Israel's hawks are saying. We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized so publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order.

The WSJ says the Obama Administration, by encouraging Hamas to hold out (in hopes that America will increasingly pressure Israel to cave), has achieved the opposite of what it was supposed to.

But then they reconsider this:

We say "supposed" because it's hard to know what this Administration is trying to achieve beyond its perennial call to end the violence. From Iran to Syria to Iraq and now to Gaza, this Administration seems to believe that merely enunciating good intentions will yield good outcomes. No wonder it yields more war.

Americans are increasingly concerned about these questions: Does the president know what the hell he even intends to do, and if he does, does he have any competency whatsoever to achieve that intention?


Posted by Ace at 12:23 PM Comments

Yuval Levin: Obama's Deliberately Divisive Plan for Amnesty

—Ace

Cynical:

Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.

...

In one sense, the approach the president is said to be contemplating does fit into a pattern of his use of executive power. That pattern involves taking provocative executive actions on sensitive, divisive issues to isolate people he detests, knowing it will invite a sharp response, and then using the response to scare his own base voters into thinking they are under assault when in fact they are on the offensive. That’s how moving to compel nuns to buy contraception and abortive drugs for their employees became "they're trying to take away your birth control." This strategy needlessly divides the country and brings out the worst instincts of people on all sides, but it has obvious benefits for the administration and its allies. Liberals get both the substantive action and the political benefit of calling their opponents radicals and getting their supporters worked up.

...


[S]urely it would all harm the country -- dividing the public and debasing our system of government. It seems like just the sort of thing that a national leader would seek to avoid, rather than work to invite.

But they'll win the day's Twitter War, which is what matters.

Spike Lee was right -- we will speak of America in terms of "Pre-Obama" and "Post-Obama."



Posted by Ace at 10:23 AM Comments

At Least 160 Children Have Died Digging Hamas' Tunnels, as of 2011

—Ace

And these do not seem to be deaths due to Israeli action -- just the natural consequence of setting children to work deep in the earth.

The author of the paper, Nicolas Pelham accompanied a police patrol in Gaza during December 2011. He reported that "nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies."

"You just got Harry Reid's attention!" emails Harry Reid.

He also found that "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials." And, as noted, this was as of the end of 2011.
Posted by Ace at 09:43 AM Comments

Top Headline Comments 7-29-14

—Gabriel Malor

Happy Tuesday.

Legal weed hasn't quite made it onto the 2016 candidates' issues pages, but they should all be preparing to answer questions on it.

D.C. moves to stay the decision legalizing lawful handgun carry while it appeals.

While everyone has their eyes on Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, Libya has accelerated its slide into chaos. The U.S., UK, and Germany have evacuated their embassies. The U.S., UK, Germany, and France have all warned their citizens to leave the country as the militia factions vie for control.


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Posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:48 AM Comments



The AoSHQ Amazon Store


Top Headlines
Video: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy
Family member returns home after two years. [rdbrewer]
Mediaite: Guess How Many Times Chris Cuomo and CNN Have Mentioned His Brother’s Ethics Scandal
"Using TVEyes, a search for 'Andrew Cuomo' and 'New York Governor' across CNN’s programming going back to July 18 — when the New York Times published its first significant article about the allegations — renders zero hits." Nice work, CNN. [rdbrewer]

Ben Domenech: Compassionate Conservatism Is Still A Thing
"[C]ompassionate conservatism such as it is – a marketing gimmick which deploys altruism in defense of big government solutions – is very much alive, even if it has ditched the terminology along the way." Via @TheH2. [rdbrewer]

St. Lous Post-Dispatch: Obama says GOP should stop hating; Blunt compares it to a junior high taunt
"President Obama says Republicans should 'stop just hating all the time.' Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says the President sounded like he was in junior high." Well, he kind of is. Via @MZHemingway. [rdbrewer]


The Only Difference Between Hamas and ISIS Violent Goals Are Their Names
"Just like ISIS the stated ultimate goal of Hamas is a worldwide Muslim caliphate living under Sharia law." Also from Yid: Catholic League Pres. Blasts Obama: Do Christian And Jewish Lives Mean So Little To You?. [rdbrewer]


Sean Davis: Halbig Shows How Leftist Wonks Just Aren’t Very Good At Their Jobs
"At some point, rather than constantly assuming that they know everything there is to know about everything worth knowing, it would be nice if just a few members of the esteemed Juicebox crowd acknowledged that maybe their close-mindedness was affecting their collective ability to accurately capture and report on American politics." Via @Slublog. [rdbrewer]
Virginia student settles lawsuit over her arrest after water mistaken for beer [dri]
Scott Walker Can't Lose. Wisky Supremes uphold Collective Bargaining reforms "In it's entirety." Points out that these words "The First Amendment" the unions were using in their arguments may not mean what they think it means:"...collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation. The First Amendment cannot be used as a vehicle to expand the parameters of a benefit that it does not itself protect". [krak/t]
Video: Baby elephant totally disses cat [rdbrewer]

WaPo: Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S. [rdbrewer]

Andrew Klavan, Truth Revolt: Thanks, Christian White Men!
Video. [rdbrewer]

Pundit Planet: BREAKING: In Historic Move, Obama Signs Executive Order Impeaching Himself [rdbrewer]


William Kristol: Note to the House GOP: Kill the Bill
"The policy objections to the bill seem convincing to me—among them that it seems to appropriate more money, on a pro-rated monthly basis, than the president's proposal; that it might well make it harder, not easier, to send some or all of the illegal migrants back; that it changes the asylum laws in ways that might well backfire; and that it doesn't deal in any way the core cause of the problem...." Also from TWS: Lamar Alexander in the Crosshairs. [rdbrewer]

LiveSci: Odd Cause of Gaping Siberian Holes Possibly Found
"The crater's formation probably began in a similar way to that of a sinkhole.... Pressure built up, possibly from natural gas (methane), eventually spewing out a slurry of dirt as the ground sunk away." [rdbrewer]

Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg: Desperate Democrats Can't Escape Obama
"Democrats are distancing themselves from the president across the country, even in blue states." [rdbrewer]


Jim Geraghty: New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Having a Very Bad Morning
"Well, that’s the end of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s presidential ambitions: 'In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor’s cancelation of his own anti-corruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.'" [rdbrewer]

The Spectator: Now that Richard Dawkins is attacking Muslims and feminists, the atheist Left suddenly discover he’s a bigot
"But Dawkins was just as offensive when his target was Christianity...." They don't recognize the hypocrisy because of working memory overload, I suspect. That, or it's intentional, and they're evil--which I doubt. Via @MZHemingway. [rdbrewer]


Lachlan Markay: The ‘Billionaire’s Club’ Behind the Green Movement
"The 92-page report details how those individuals and organizations have disbursed tens of millions of dollars, often shielded from public scrutiny, to sway elections and public policy toward environmentalist goals. Much of the money behind the effort, the report claims, is laundered through non-profit groups prohibited from engaging in political activity." [rdbrewer]

Jonathan Turley: Muslim Mob Protests Blasphemy and Kills Seven-Year-Old Girl and Her Baby Sister in Retaliation
"The cause of the outrage was a simple picture posted on Facebook that was deemed offensive to Islam." I'm sure the outcry from moderate Muslims will be swift and devastating. I'm also sure Elvis circles the galaxy once a night in a beautiful space Cadillac. Also from Turley: Professor Claims California State University Fired Him Over His Creationists Belief. [rdbrewer]

Ross Douthat, NYT: Up From Greenwich
"WHEN Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, he did so in an unusual way for a Democrat: As the candidate of the rich. He raised more in large-dollar donations than any of his rivals and raked in more cash from Wall Street than John McCain. In November, he won the upper class’s votes: By 52 percent to 46 percent, according to exit polls, Americans making more than $200,000 cast their ballots for Obama." Via @Instanpundit. [rdbrewer]

The great orator speaks [rdbrewer]

Kirsten Powers, USA Today: Iraqi Christians' nightmare
"Thanks to ISIS persecution, Mosul is without Christians for the first time in 2,000 years." [rdbrewer]


Science 2.0: A 'Transformer Pulsar'
New type of pulsar. It shifts between radio and gamma ray emissions. As CAC says, stars squeezed down to the size of Manhattan are going to do some weird stuff. Scroll down for video. [rdbrewer]


Perseus Cluster Mystery Persists --'What We Found Could Not be Explained by Known Physics'
They found an atomic line in a spectrum that does not correspond to any known matter. One speculation is they've discovered the signature of dark matter. [rdbrewer]

WaPo: Federal review stalled after finding forensic errors by FBI lab unit spanned two decades
"U.S. officials began the inquiry after The Washington Post reported two years ago that flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people." [rdbrewer]


Vulnerable Dems balk at Obama executive actions on immigration
"Democratic senators facing tough reelections want to put the brakes on President Obama’s plan to reform the nation’s immigration enforcement system through executive action." [rdbrewer]

Jay Caruso, Pocket Full of Liberty: The GOP Needs To Hire The Best Talent, Not The Connected Talent
"In the business world, someone causing such a public relations nightmare would be fired. In Republican circles, you’d likely find that same person just relocated to the same job in another campaign or state party." [rdbrewer]


Debra Saunders: Marijuana Prohibition Doesn't Work
"Last year, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of respondents support legalization." [rdbrewer]


Peter Wehner: When It Comes to Israel, Liberals Can’t Handle the Truth
"The leader of Hamas says, point blank, it does not want a two-state solution. Yet scores of liberal commentators continue to make arguments like this: 'We have to get a solution. And it has to be a two-state solution. And it has to be basically encouraged, if not imposed, I think, from without.'" [rdbrewer]

Max Boot, LA Times: Obama needs to work on his foreign policy, not his golf game
"Carter initiated a defense buildup after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; Bush initiated the 'surge' after the early disasters in Iraq. It is time for Obama to read the smoke signals and launch a similar course correction." Carter and Bush cared about people and the country. The malignant narcissist does not. [rdbrewer]


Charles C.W. Cooke: Roger Pielke Jr. Out at FiveThirtyEight
Climate scientist who was unafraid to go with the data instead of raving political sentiment. And Nate Silver didn't back him up. [rdbrewer]

TMZ: Orlando Bloom Throws Punch at Justin Bieber
Bloom always did seem like a cool bloke. [rdbrewer]


Nigel Farage, The Telegraph: David Cameron’s EU benefits diatribe fools no one
"The problem with mass migration is not so much the misuse of benefits by a minority – though that is wrong – but is the impact of mass, low-waged and unskilled labour upon the wages, employment opportunities and services in this country.... Just look at the way that growth is disproportionately helping the rich, who benefit from cheap labour supply, while the low-waged see pay cuts and freezes." Sounds familiar. [rdbrewer]
A typical day in Japan.
the log switch is excellent.
ht @debbywitt [ArthurK]
Video: The official sport of the AoSHQ lifestyle. [dri]

Interview: Andrew McCarthy Builds the Case for Obama’s Impeachment
"During our interview, Andrew will discuss his latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. Andrew tells me, 'As Madison put it, impeachment was indispensable in the minds of the framers....'" [rdbrewer]
Scientist invents ice cream that changes color as you lick it. [dri]
Knife wielding Muslims promote religion of peace. Dozens killed in terror attack in China. [dri]
Koala Clings To Car for 88 km
He's mostly okay, except for scratches... they call him "Timberwolf" now
BNO News: Jihadists in northern Iraq execute hundreds in Tikrit massacre
Animals. Via @Slublog. [rdbrewer]


Neil Munro: GOP Leaders Revive Democrats’ Amnesty Hopes
"Democratic leaders are welcoming efforts by the House GOP leadership to amend a minor 2008 immigration bill, because it could revive the now-dormant, business-backed comprehensive immigration reform push. The House’s proposed change to the 2008 bill is 'an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform,' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid." [rdbrewer]
Darwin inmates repeatedly break out of prison, get drunk, then sneak back in. Living the AOSHQ lifestyle Down Under. [Fritzworth]
Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart: THIRD Rocket Arsenal Found At UN School In Gaza [rdbrewer]

Boy has mark of devil?
No, boy has mark of Bullseye from the movie Daredevil. [rdbrewer]


QUIZ: Parody Or Actual Salon.com Article?
#1: "Harry Reid got it right: Clarence Thomas really isn’t black." Difficult, huh? [rdbrewer]

CBS DFW: Standing Room Only At Collin County Meeting About Immigrant Children
Thanks for the links, Drudge. [rdbrewer]

The Daily Mail: The revolutionary rub-on hormone gel that can banish depression
For those of you thinking of killing two birds with one stone, no, you can't use it on your wang. [rdbrewer]

CBS Chicago: Old guys rob pharmacy
Viagra. [rdbrewer]

Rolling Stone: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
New album: Hypnotic Eye. [rdbrewer]
The Hot/Crazy Matrix: A Man's Guide to Women. Scroll down and play the embedded video. Absolutely sexist (I don't see either of these men being able to marry an 8+), but absolutely hilarious. [Fritzworth]
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