I was going to write about the way the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, was instructed to boycott PM Netanyahu’s speech, but Elliott Abrams beat me to it:
Think of how petty that instruction, which can only have come from the White House, really is. To sit in the seat and listen to Netanyahu isn’t endorsing his remarks, it is the politeness we owe an ally. Deliberate absence recalls the years in which dozens of delegations, Arab and “Third World,” would leave the chamber when any Israeli rose to speak. The Obama administration is still griping about diplomatic errors Netanyahu has made, but a refusal to have the U.S. ambassador listen to his speech is petty and damaging, hinting to anti-Israel delegations that the United States may be willing to let all sorts of anti-Israel measures go without opposition or criticism.
Secretary of State Kerry wasn’t there either. Supposedly he was called away to participate in a video conference with President Obama. Abrams went on to call it a “low point for seven years of Obama diplomacy.”
What strikes me is that there was absolutely nothing to be gained from this exercise. There’s no way Netanyahu can torpedo Obama’s Iran deal, there are presently no negotiations going on with the Palestinian Authority, and Netanyahu isn’t running for office. All it can do is make a statement that the President holds our PM, and therefore our nation, in contempt.
Common sense is a term whose exact meaning has been debated from Aristotle to Immanuel Kant. For my purposes, let us define it as the process of using our five senses to perceive, understand and judge events and people. It is doing what most would consider intuitive, obvious and logical. It is a trait important to business, as Lehman learned to their dismay in 2008, and should be in politics. Unfortunately, it has become rare, at least in the political world. The art of politics involves the ability to persuade and the willingness to compromise. Successful politicians need the judgment and ability to work with and convince opponents to alter policies in a more desirable direction. Unilaterally, demanding that the ship of state, set on a course of south-south west, should reverse course and head north-north east may be fodder for a campaign speech, but will more likely founder the ship than approach a preferred destination.
It’s almost impossible to fathom what an unusual candidate Donald Trump is. Put aside his lack of political experience (except for his serial flirtations with running for president over the years). Never mind his violation of nearly every rule of thumb of politics: Always shoot up, never down. Avoid throwing reporters out of your press conferences. Pretend you don’t care about the polls. Maintain tight message discipline. Don’t wear hats! Disregard his constant feuds with nearly everyone, his blatant self-contradiction on basic policy questions, and his general outlandishness.
Consider only these facts: Trump has been leading the polls for the Republican presidential nomination for months, and he basically never says “freedom” or “liberty.” He gives no indication of caring about the Constitution. He talks only sparingly about the federal debt. He has, in short, ignored central and longstanding conservative tenets that seemed to have become only more important in the tea-party era — and he has not only gotten away with it, but thrived (so far).
How is that possible? Trump is truly a different kind of political phenomenon. He is supposed to be an outrageous right-winger, but he draws support fairly evenly across all factions of the Republican party and is heterodox or indeterminate on key policy questions.
It is tempting to dismiss him as merely a buffoon, given his routinely buffoonish behavior, and to dismiss his supporters as ill informed and misguided. This is, indeed, the approach taken by many of his journalistic critics and a few of his rivals. But their denunciations of Trump and the Trump phenomenon have frequently been overwrought, taking the momentary enthusiasm of a large fraction of a party to stand for the enduring convictions of the whole.
They have also frequently been unfair to Trump’s supporters. It is important to understand Trump’s draw. If he is wholly unsuited to be the Republican nominee for a myriad of reasons, including that he isn’t a conservative, there are nonetheless lessons to be gleaned from his meteoric, madcap rise, ones that can make the other candidates better and the GOP more appealing.
Theatrical shootings aren’t the problem, hysterical reactions aren’t the solution.
We’ve been here before. The worst massacre at an American school wasn’t at Columbine or Newtown, it wasn’t recent, and it didn’t involve an angry young misfit with a duffel bag full of guns. It happened in Bath, Mich., in 1927, when the local school-district treasurer, upset at having lost a township election and facing foreclosure on his house, murdered his wife and then bombed the school. Nearly 100 were injured, and 44 people died, including 38 children. The collective response of the nation was to do nothing: There was nothing to do.
As a quondam theater critic, I appreciate our weakness for the dramatic, though of course the quality of the show varies, from high tragedy to mere spectacle. (Consider that the two American cities in which visitors most commonly put “go to a show” on their agendas are New York and Las Vegas.) One theory of drama holds that by exaggerating events and compressing them into a defined period of time and space — two hours on a Broadway stage, say — we isolate an aspect of human experience for study the way a scientist might isolate an unusual cell under a microscope. But in spite of the best efforts of 22-year-olds everywhere, life isn’t drama. It isn’t even very much like it.
Hackers got malware-infected email through to the then-secretary of state.
Hackers linked to Vladimir Putin’s Russia tried to gain access to Hillary Clinton’s insecure private email account at least five times while the Democrat presidential candidate served as U.S. secretary of state.
The disturbing revelation comes months after retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said the chances Clinton’s private email account was hacked were “very high.” At the time the former top Obama administration intelligence official implied Clinton should have been fired as the nation’s top diplomat.
“As a military officer, if I said I was doing something for convenience’s sake to the soldiers that I was leading and it was solely for my convenience instead of their, you know, their welfare, I should be relieved of duty. I would expect to be fired,” Flynn said.
“You know, it’s one of those things where if it doesn’t feel good it probably isn’t. And this one doesn’t feel good to me.”
Those who forget or ignore history are destined to be conquered by those who remember and praise it.
One of the primary reasons Islamic and Western nations are “worlds apart” is because the way they understand the world is worlds apart. Whereas Muslims see the world through the lens of history, the West has jettisoned or rewritten history to suit its ideologies.
This dichotomy of Muslim and Western thinking is evident everywhere. When the Islamic State declared that it will “conquer Rome” and “break its crosses,” few in the West realized that those are the verbatim words and goals of Islam’s founder and his companions as recorded in Muslim sources—words and goals that prompted over a thousand years of jihad on Europe.
Most recently, the Islamic State released a map of the areas it plans on expanding into over the next five years. The map includes European nations such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, and parts of Russia.
When Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson claimed that Islam and the American Constitution are incompatible, he immediately found himself buried by an avalanche of criticism.
Neither the tone nor the substance of the lion’s share of this criticism was rational, and the vast majority of it stemmed, unsurprisingly, from his partisan opponents on the “progressive” left.
While we are by now all too familiar with both the left’s ideology as well as the tactics that its adherents routinely appropriate in their quest to prevail over their competitors—i.e. charges of “racism,” “sexism,” “Islamophobia,” “homophobia,” etc.—the phenomenon of self-styled “egalitarians” or “progressives” falling all over themselves to defend Islam at all costs doesn’t fail to leave the unprejudiced observer incredulous.
One needn’t be an Islamic scholar to recognize that Islam, considered both as a theology and a 1400 year-old historical practice, isn’t just incompatible with the egalitarian, fundamentally secular goals of self-avowed “progressives;” the former and the latter are systematically incompatible with each other, for Islam demands the imposition of Sharia law, a totalizing, divinely instituted system, upon everyone.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s initiated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Monday in the aftermath of their speeches at the UN General Assembly in New York was an admission of his failure on two fronts. It testifies to his failure to destroy the Islamic State (a.k.a. Daesh in Arabic, ISIS and ISIL) as he promised on several occasions, including last year during the 15-minute address from the White House (September 10, 2014) when he said, “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIS in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” Obama added, “America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIS through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”
Army General Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. headquarters overseeing the war against the Islamic State, admitted in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee (September 16, 2015) that the effort to train 5,400 Syrian fighters has so far resulted in “four or five” Syrian fighters who still remain on the ground and are active in combat.
After a brutal attack on police by an Iraqi-Iranian Muslim settler living in Australia, Australian police tiptoed around the sensibilities of the terror mosque he had attended before the attack.
New South Wales state police said the mosque in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta – close to the scene of the double shooting on Friday afternoon – was raided with the consent of religious leaders.
“NSW Police yesterday executed a warrant at a mosque in Parramatta,” police said in a statement Sunday.
“The warrant was undertaken by arrangement with leadership at the mosque who provided full assistance to police at all times.”
“Yesterday, Prime Minister Turnbull and (NSW) Premier Mike Baird had a long conversation with not only… relevant agencies but also leaders in the Muslim community,” Bishop told the ABC on Sunday.
Even though Christopher Harper-Mercer, the Oregon killer, had a black mother who raised him, the media insisted that he was a “white supremacist”. Mercer was about as white as Obama. Most of his victims were white Christians. If being half-black and hating Christians qualifies you as a white supremacist, then Obama needs to be investigated for possible white supremacist leanings.
Maybe the media meant that Mercer was a half-white supremacist who believed in the innate racial superiority of half-white people. More likely the media had grown so used to throwing around false accusations of racism that it was no longer paying attention to whether any of them made sense.
Mercer may be black, but white supremacism is the new black. A thoughtless accusation to be hurled in the media’s frantic culture wars against anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders.
Hardly a day goes by without another media piece accusing Donald Trump of white supremacism.