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Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
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MAY 25, 2013
THE SPEECH – AT 11:27 A.M. ET: It's been two days since President Obama delivered his landmark speech on national security, essentially signaling an end to the formal "war on terror," which of course has been a struggle, but not a war.
The left generally praised the speech, but many voices, especially at The New York Times, felt it didn't go far enough. But some liberal voices have been responsibly cautious. The Washington Post's thoughtful editorial page cautioned that our enemies might not let the president carry out his childlike (my term, not theirs) vision. They have their own agenda, and it isn't Obama's.
Even The Times, in a news article today, outlined the threats this country still faces.
One of the biggest threats, by the way, usually goes unmentioned – the probability that terror groups, no matter how small or poorly organized, will eventually acquire more and more powerful weapons. We fear they're already acquiring surface-to-air shoulder-launched missiles that could close down a nation's air transport system. They will surely acquire chemical weapons. And nuclear weapons are not out of the realm of possibility.
Conservative analysts are contemptuous of Obama's speech and his academic vision of the world. The great Michael Ledeen writes at Pajamas Media:
COMMENT: Ledeen is, as usual, right on the button. Please read his entire article. It's nice, in the stifling environment of the age of Obama, to get a breath of fresh air.
May 25, 2013 Permalink
IT GOES ON – AT 11:04 A.M. ET: Major violence in Sweden entered its sixth night, with the self-deluded left convinced that it's all a matter of socio-economic issues. There are shades of the kind of shallow thinking that left American cities ablaze in the 1960s:
Yup, it's those unemployed "youths" again. Nothing about the fact that they often come from communities that don't want to integrate into Swedish society, don't want to join modernity, and have contempt for the very people who've helped them.
We did the same dance here before Rudy Giuliani came to power in New York in the early 90s and showed that a city could confront violence without solving every social "grievance" first. That is why New York is one of the safest cities in America and Chicago is an urban disaster. And the greatest beneficiaries of Giuliani's vision are African Americans, whose death toll from violence has dropped 80%. They won't say "thank you" because their leaders, heavily invested in the leftist party line and the perks it brings to minority leaders, won't let them. But every time New York's police commissioner, Ray Kelly, speaks to a black church, he gets a standing ovation.
Europe may or may not learn from our experience. I'm guardedly pessimistic. The left is too heavily ingrained in Europe to change. But hope for miracles.
May 25, 2013 Permalink
MAY 24, 2013
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 7:20 P.M. ET:
SINISTER – Am I glad the IRS is protecting us! Everyone knows that among the most suspicious of characters are those who...adopt children. Oh yeah. We know all about them. And I'm sure that's why, as it was revealed today, some 70% of adoptive families have had at least a partial tax audit for 2012, as opposed to approximately one percent of the rest of taxpayers. And 90% of those claiming an adoption tax credit were flagged for further review. On guard for America.
PINKOS – Much buzz on the internet today over who invited Medea Benjamin, the far-left clown who runs Code Pink, into the president's speech yesterday. It was a presidential address at a federal installation, and security was tight. Obviously, someone let Benjamin in, and she proceeded to heckle the president. The fact is, though, that Code Pink hecklers manage to get into many events, including addresses to Congress by foreign leaders. They have tickets, despite their long America-hating record. In the case of Congressional events, speculation is that some fringe members of Congress, especially in the California delegation, accommodate the Code Pinkers. In the president's case, I don't know. Was it an enemy of the president? Or was it the administration itself, knowing that a left-wing heckler doesn't do the president any harm among mainstream Americans. A top official of Code Pink, Jodi Evans, is also a major fundraiser for Obama.
IMMIGRATION – With all the attention on the scandals, we've averted our eyes from an important immigration bill being worked up in the Senate by the so-called "gang of eight," a bipartisan group of senators. However, it may be much ado about nothing. Immigration is hot-button, and even a major Democratic senator is saying that the current proposal doesn't have enough support to pass the Dem-controlled Senate. It surely doesn't have enough to pass the GOP-run House. Republicans, though, must be especially careful with this issue. One of the top GOP priorities is attracting Hispanic voters, which can only be done with a thoughtful, non-hostile approach to immigration reform, while maintaining conservative principles. Tough act.
UNIONS TURNING ON OBAMACARE – From Breitbart: "Some labor unions that enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul are now frustrated and angry, fearful that it will jeopardize benefits for millions of their members. Union leaders warn that unless the problem is fixed, there could be consequences for Democrats facing re-election next year. 'It makes an untruth out of what the president said – that if you like your insurance, you could keep it,' said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. 'That is not going to be true for millions of workers now.'" When will unions realize that the modern Democratic Party doesn't give a hoot about them, except at election time? This is no longer "the party of the people."
May 24, 2013 Permalink
NOT SO FAST, BARACK – AT 11:10 A.M. ET: Obama's timing wasn't all that great, but there he was yesterday giving a speech about scaling back counterterrorism, approaching it the way we did before 9-11, as an unfortunate law-enforcement problem.
Coming a month after Boston, and a day after a brutal terror attack in London, we may be forgiven for choking a bit. Republicans are choking a lot:
We are not on a war-time footing. That is nonsense. The military has been at war. The nation is not at war. How much inconvenience have you suffered? Shortages? Restrictions? Our pain threshold is so low in this generation that having a bag inspected at an airport is a crisis.
In World War II we had 15 million men and women under arms, as against a population of about 130 million. Today we have 1.4 million under arms, with a population of about 310 million. We have one tenth the number of citizens under arms, and yet our population is two and a half times as large. Are we at war?
The hell it is. We're pulling out. The war goes on. What a crock.
"Core Al Qaeda is a shell of its former self," Obama said. "Unless we discipline our thinking our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.
It does? Where is that written?
COMMENT: Obama's remarks are not surprising. They follow the thinking of his new secretary of state, the delusional John Kerry, who, even after 9-11, argued that terrorism was a law-enforcement problem. (Next time we're attacked, let's send the meter maids.)
Obama boasted that we haven't had a large-scale attack on American soil since he came to office, a profoundly selfish remark. In fact, after September 11, 2001, we didn't have a successful large-scale attack on American soil during the remaining seven years of the Bush presidency.
Al Qaeda may have changed, but it will strike again. Obama's comments remind me of those made by some during the "phony war" period, the seeming lull in Europe between the Nazi invasion of Poland in September, 1939, and the Nazi thrust westward in the spring of 1940.
Obama would have been well advised to discuss the probability that terror groups will get more and more powerful weapons. He did not. Apparently, the number of casualties in Boston was insufficient to wake him up.
May 24, 2013 Permalink
A TREND – AT 10:06 A.M. ET: New York State sheriffs have joined a federal lawsuit challenging aspects of New York's new, sweeping "gun control" laws. This seems to be a trend. Sheriffs in Colorado recently announced opposition to that state's new gun laws.
Sheriffs are often elected, as opposed to police chiefs, who are often politically appointed. The New York sheriffs make some excellent points that should be studied before other states go crazy and start enacting absurd, ineffective laws that will do nothing to reduce gun violence. From Fox:
COMMENT: I recently was required to register my Smith & Wesson .22LR rifle, which I use for target shooting at a well-patrolled range. I had to register it because it had one "military-style" feature, which adds nothing to the firepower of the rifle.
As I registered, I imagined all the gun-toting criminals out there, eager to register to be sure they complied with the law.
Look, as I've written before, I have no problem with Constitutional, effective steps to reduce gun violence. I even favor mandatory training for gun buyers, and including mental-health histories in the background-check program. I favor professionally certified armed guards at schools. But laws designed to polish the images of lawmakers are usually bad laws. The New York law is laughable. Meanwhile, vulnerable schools go unguarded.
May 24, 2013 Permalink
THE FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD – AT 9:47 A.M. ET: Does the name "Eric Holder" ring a bell? From NBC News, which itself is surprising:
I'm sure Obama was brimming with sincerity.
COMMENT: Eric Holder makes John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general, look like a saint. Holder is running a politicized Justice Department and it is time for him to "spend more time with his family." Instead, he is asked by Obama to investigate himself. Ah, the Chicago style has its advantages for those in power.
As Speaker Boehner said yesterday, It's "drip, drip drip." Each day brings more revelations.
So many scandals, so little time.
May 24, 2013 Permalink
ANOTHER EUROPEAN FARCE – AT 8:50 A.M. ET: It is amazing to me how many "sophisticated" Americans, especially those housed in our colleges and universities, look to Europe for guidance on how to live and run countries.
One European country that is particularly admired by our betters is Sweden, not that the sophisticated classes know very much about that country. They just think they know, and they love their Volvos, apparently unaware that Volvo hasn't been Swedish-owned in years.
Swedish diplomats run around the world extolling how wonderful their country is, how progressive, how enlightened...despite the fact that Sweden sold steel to the Nazis and remained neutral during the Cold War, letting the Americans and some NATO nations defend Western freedom.
Consider what is happening in Sweden right now:
Yeah, riots are unpopular with those not rioting.
COMMENT: If you read the story you'll find that the writer does handstands to avoid using the term "Muslim," until he quotes a politician using it...and immediately describes the politician as a non-Swedish far rightist. That's the way the journalism game is played.
Multiculturalism has become a bad joke, a code term for the old anti-American, anti-capitalist left. But you may be sure that, within days, the socialist religionists in Sweden will form a commission to look into the "grievances" of the "youths."
And this summer, well-heeled American "students" will spend their junior year abroad, learning to admire the wonders of European civilization, not realizing that they're dancing on a rotting corpse.
It reminds me of a famous photo of students from Barnard College showing disappointment when they learned that their summer trip to study in Nazi Germany had been canceled because of conditions in Europe.
Some mentalities never change.
May 24, 2013 Permalink
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
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