Reagan, O’Neill, and Someone Named Chris By Craig Shirley

An actual history should be written someday about Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. But not by Chris Matthews.

Matthews’s new book, “Tip and the Gipper,” is not the history of Ronald Reagan and neither is it the history of Thomas P. O’Neill III. It is the history of Chris Matthews before he became the Chris Matthews we see on cable television today. It falls into the category of micro personal history, but is so elfin as to be inconsequential.

There are several reasons for this. Matthews has assured Washington for years that he was a close aide and confidant to the former speaker of the House. Presumably in support of this narrative, Matthews invites readers of “Tip and the Gipper” to also look at O’Neill’s autobiography, “Man of the House.” That book provided some important source material for his own, says Matthews.

So this historian closely examined O’Neill’s book — and found no mention of Chris Matthews in the index. The photo section was also inspected. No pictures of Matthews. Was Matthews the “ghost” on O’Neill’s book? No — William Novak aided in this task. So is Matthews in the dedication, then? No again. Only in the acknowledgements section does his name appear, but only alongside the names of dozens of other staffers and individuals.

Other than that, there is no mention — zip, nada — of Matthews in the body of Tip O’Neill’s tome, though plenty of other aides and individuals are mentioned throughout and often warmly. “Man of the House,” by the way, is a treasure-trove of Reagan bashing, despite the hollow plea of Matthews that the two men were really the best of friends.

Tip O’Neill said it was “sinful” that Reagan had been elected president. He said Reagan didn’t care about the poor, and that Reagan would have made a better “king” than a president — and that, in any event, Reagan was the “worst” president of his lifetime; a period that encompassed Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. There are dozens of other examples of Reagan-bashing, not excluding O’Neill’s ungentlemanly claim that Nancy Reagan was “the queen of Beverly Hills.”

Britain: “A World Capital for Islamic Finance” by Soeren Kern “I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.” — David Cameron, Prime Minister, Great Britain. But critics say that British ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel […]


So many of thestatements and speeches we get from Israel’s leaders today are unconvincing, braggadocio, and often include too much self deprecation. Furthermore, the nicknames associated with leaders is more fit for puppies than for statesman- Bibi, Tzipi, Bogy, Dudi…and the assorted Yossis and Ehuds who should be grouped under the sobriquet “Dummy.” What prepares Israelis for statesmanship? Well, there is really good news.


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Rasmussen reported last Friday that 52% of likely voters approve of Obama’s job performance. This number is both astonishing and depressing. The avalanche of Obama’s failures both domestic and foreign should have buried this presidency months ago. Yet despite the slow-motion implosion of Obamacare now catching the attention of even the court-journalists of the mainstream media, millions of American voters still think one of the worst presidents in modern history is doing a good job.

In any other administration, even without Obamacare, the litany of scandal and bungling would have politically crippled not just Obama but the Democrats as well. The murderous gunrunning of the Fast and Furious debacle, Attorney General Eric Holder turning the Justice Department into the Democrats’ Luca Brasi, the out-of-control EPA waging its economy-killing war on carbon, the National Labor Relations Board unleashed to browbeat business and revive a moribund labor movement, the SEC shaking down banks for billions, the IRS targeting political opponents, the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spent to achieve the worst economic recovery in history, the trillions more borrowed and created out of thin air to finance entitlement spending and payoffs to political cronies––and that’s just domestic policy.

Add the outrageous incompetence and indifference that got 4 Americans murdered in Benghazi, the subsequent lies and cover-up for political advantage, the waste of American money, toil, and blood in Iraq by the precipitate withdrawal of our forces, the likely reprise of that malfeasance in Afghanistan, the alienation of allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, the cozying up to the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood, the appeasement of the equally genocidal mullahs in Iran, the groveling to a rampaging Russia, the whole Syria “red line” humiliation over chemical weapons––any one of these foreign and domestic fiascos would have inflicted serious political damage if we weren’t living in the alternative political universe in which we suddenly found ourselves on January 20, 2009.

It’s easy to blame an obviously biased and politicized media determined to ignore or downplay Obama’s incompetence. Skeletons in the closet like Jeremiah Wright and terrorist Bill Ayres have been ignored, gaps in Obama’s personal biography left unfilled, and evidence for his alleged brilliance like college test scores and transcripts left in the dark. By fiat he has been declared the most intelligent president ever, the media reflexively agreeing with his estimation of himself as the smartest guy in every room despite ample evidence to the contrary. More mysterious are the assertions of his rhetorical prowess, which are average at best when he reads a teleprompter, but non-existent whenever he speaks ex tempore, when every third word is followed by “uh-uh-uh.” Barefaced lies, obviously duplicitous spinning of mistakes and scandals, blatant double standards, passing the buck to George Bush, and shameful self-contradictions have all been rationalized, ignored, or explained away by the media. The self-proclaimed watchdogs of the public weal have become lapdogs, fawning over their master while snarling and snapping at his political enemies.


Proponents of fairness and equity who have advocated against some of Israel’s most pernicious detractors have often advanced several well-reasoned arguments against further Israeli West Bank withdrawals and Palestinian statehood. Key among those arguments are that the Palestinian leadership is rejectionist, duplicitous, incites violence, is non-democratic and, in general, is not committed to a two-state solution recognizing Israel’s rights to exist within safe and secure boundaries. While all of these positions are accurate and by themselves would constitute sound reasoning to reject additional Israeli territorial concessions, there exits one reason above all others that favors the Israeli viewpoint; simply that Israel’s legal claims to the West Bank are far superior to those of the Palestinians’ under international law.

International laws are generally created by nations when entering into treaties with one another or more informally, through international custom. General Assembly resolutions have no binding legal authority. In fact, the United Nations charter which spells out the powers of the General Assembly does not convey rule-making powers to that body.

Israel’s legal claims to the West Bank are rooted in the San Remo Conference of 1920, an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council. On July 24, 1922 the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations and a body which, under its charter had the authority to enact international laws, confirmed decisions hammered out at San Remo and resolved to establish the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

The League’s preamble, adopting the principles enumerated in the Balfour Declaration, recognized the Jewish “historical connection” to the Land of Israel and resolved to help facilitate the establishment of a Jewish nation there. At the time, Palestine consisted of land east and west of the Jordan River, encompassing all of modern Israel, Judea & Samaria, Gaza and what is referred to today as Jordan. The League entrusted Britain with being the mandatory authority whose aim would be to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine and to act as trustee until an orderly transition could be made to full Jewish sovereignty.

Article 5 of the Mandate prohibited Britain from ceding or leasing any part of the mandate territory to a foreign power. However, in 1923, Britain acting in contravention of Article 5 did precisely that and despite Jewish protest, gifted Eastern Palestine to Emir Abdullah thus creating a new Arab entity called Emirate of Transjordan. In so doing, Britain ceded 76% of Palestine to Arab rule leaving a paltry 24% for a Jewish homeland.

In February 1947 Britain announced that it would unilaterally terminate its mandate thus setting the stage for UN intervention. Following Britain’s announcement, the UN sent a team of international observers, known as UNSCOP, to Palestine to investigate and suggest a blueprint for the future of the territory and its inhabitants. After completing its investigation, UNSCOP formulated a plan, based on demographic patterns that involved the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on roughly a 50-50 basis. Jerusalem and its environs were to be designated international zones.

In November 1947, the UN adopted UNSCOP’s findings and voted in favor of the partition. The UN General Assembly’s partition plan was merely a suggestion and had no legal binding authority. The Jews accepted the partition plan and the Arabs flatly rejected it, setting the stage for the first Arab-Israeli War and an Arab invasion.

Had the Arab’s accepted the partition, international boundaries between Jewish and Arab states would have been established and the matter settled. In the absence of such a settlement, the only legal, binding authority was the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which designated the whole of Palestine, including the West Bank, as the future Jewish homeland.


Obama has claimed that the United States is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” While the actual number of Muslims is in dispute, Islamerica is no match for Eurabia or Eurasia.

Europe has 44 million Muslims. If Turkey crawls into the European Union, that number will climb to 118 million. That’s more than double the number of Latinos in America.

If Obama decided to take in all of Syria and Somalia, just to be extra generous, his Islamerica still wouldn’t have a hope in hell of catching up to Eurabia or to the Eurasian Union.

The new evil empire in the east isn’t the USSR; it’s Eurasia, a replacement for the Warsaw Pact that turns away from the troubled economies of Eastern Europe toward the population-rich and resource-rich Muslim republics providing a growing share of Russia’s military and labor force.

The Eurasian Union, which is to include Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and possibly Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, is on track for 2015. A Eurasian Union would double Russia’s Muslim population and triple it if Putin is able to bring all the members he wants into his own EU.

These numbers are only placeholders. The real numbers are powered by demographic change. The Muslim birth rate is double that of the Russian birth rate. A similar situation exists in Europe.

Some demographers are forecasting a Muslim majority in Russia by 2050. Europe’s Muslim population is projected to hit 58 million by 2030. By 2050, the United Kingdom and France could have majority Muslim populations if current birth rates as well as immigration and welfare policies continue.

A Muslim population race might seem irrational, but consider that those same numbers also forecast that a Muslim Great Britain will be the biggest country in Europe by 2050. Going from the UK to the UC, from a United Kingdom to a United Caliphate, would seem like a poor tradeoff just for sheer size, but with low birth rates, weak economies and a lack of local energy, there is no shortage of experts who think that bringing in immigrants with high birth rates and lots of youthful energy is the answer.

If Americans find that attitude baffling, they might want to consider how much bipartisan support there is for amnesty and open borders among their political and expert classes. The men at the top have done the math, or at least some of the math, and determined that current birth rates mean an impossible tilt in entitlements spending as too many younger workers collapse under the burden of an aging population that failed to have enough children because it put its faith in government instead of family.

Lessons for Israel from Ancient Chinese Military Thought: Facing Iranian Nuclearization with Sun-Tzu Louis René Beres

I first wrote about the modern applications of ancient Chinese military principles, as articulated specifically in Sun-Tzu’s classic, The Art of War,[1] over ten years ago, and returned to the topic from time to time. At least one other author has developed this theory as it pertains specifically to U.S. strategy, as well. The time is right to revisit this conversation, and to integrate classical Greek notions of dialectical reasoning, which I have considered separately in the context of an “avant-garde” approach to decisionmaking, and which makes increasing sense as a complement, indeed, a necessary component, of a strategic thought process inspired by Sun-Tzu.

For Israel, in particular, now already at the eleventh hour with respect to any remaining unilateral options for preemptive self-defense against a steadily-nuclearizing Iran, ancient principles could signify a possibly last opportunity to learn something genuinely indispensable. An examination of Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War should focus upon Israel’s nuclear deterrent, and on its corollary but routinely changing order of battle.

Israel’s Defenses and Deterrence

Israel’s national defense against aggression has never been solely vested in technological remedies. Instead, it has relied, from its national beginning in 1948, on assorted forms of deterrence, including nuclear deterrence. It is true, of course, that Israel has recently been placing an increasing emphasis on its ballistic missile defenses, especially the Arrow, or Hetz, programs. But, because any system of BMD could ultimately display unacceptable levels of “leakage,” the ultimate guarantor for national survival has steadfastly and more-or-less conspicuously remained the country’s (now still tacit, or undeclared) nuclear threat.

Ironically, as U.S. President Barack Obama pursues rapprochement with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, pressure will build upon Jerusalem to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1968), and/or to enter into a “Nuclear Weapon Free-Zone.” If Israel denuclearizes, the deteriorating balance of power in the Middle East caused in part by the so-called “Arab Spring” and Iranian nuclearization – which I have described elsewhere in my writings and lectures as a “correlation of forces” issue – could fundamentally threaten the Jewish State.


After our most recent adventure with the debt ceiling, the peculiar American budgeting institution’s reputation may be at an all-time low. But many fiscal conservatives are still willing to defend the debt ceiling because they buy a reasonable, public-choice-flavored argument in its defense. To permanently do away with the debt ceiling, fiscal conservatives who oppose it must offer a clear answer to this defense that looks at the debt ceiling’s benefits and costs, as well as what could take its place.

The sophisticated defense of the debt ceiling goes something like this: If purely rational decision-makers were in control of our budgeting process, it’s true we wouldn’t need a debt ceiling. They would realize that choices about levels of spending and taxation imply another decision about necessary debt accumulation. But we don’t have a rational process; we have a political one. Politicians always have the incentive to please myopic constituents by spending more and taxing less, and they would like to sweep the consequences under the rug. Happily, the debt ceiling makes it harder for them to do that by forcing separate consideration of debt. Quite sensibly, Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of “more debt,” so they don’t like raising the debt ceiling. Sure, they don’t fully think through the implications of not raising the limit — recent polls revealed that more than a third of Americans believed that raising it was not essential. But the electorate’s distaste for debt still makes the showdowns opportune moments for considering the big picture and charting a course away from profligacy and fiscal ruin.

That argument is coherent and plausible-sounding, but that does not make it correct. And in fact, it suffers from a fatal flaw: Once fiscal-conservative opposition to debt coalesces around the mechanism of the debt ceiling, it has nowhere to go and must be dissipated in surrender. Republicans’ recent back-down was completely predictable.

Far from offering fiscal conservatives a potent weapon, the debt ceiling represents a kind of roach motel for opponents of debt: They can go in for the chance to make self-righteous jeremiads, but they can’t escape until they’ve capitulated. The debt ceiling thus ensures that opposition to debt accumulation remains largely in the realm of the rhetorical.

A number of fiscal conservatives look back at the negotiations from 2011 and draw a very different conclusion: Then, they say, the debt ceiling did provide great leverage for fiscal conservatives to demand spending cuts. But they have drawn the wrong lesson. The debt ceiling has provided occasions for anti-debt speechifying for decades, and these moments have almost never yielded lasting budget change. Nor did it really provide the decisive advantage to Republicans in their marginally successful 2011 fight.

Instead, Republicans had leverage thanks to their historic gains in the 2010 congressional elections. President Obama felt compelled by that political result to seek some kind of “grand bargain” on spending cuts. There’s a good case to be made that more sensible and durable budget cuts could have been negotiated if the debt-ceiling deadline had not summarily ended the deliberations and left us with a hapless supercommittee and backup sequester, which remains likely to be reversed or quietly whittled away in the years to come.


‘All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it. . . . I’m infuriated because I was lied to,” one woman told the Los Angeles Times, as part of a story on how some middle-class Californians have been stunned to learn the real costs of Obamacare.

And that lie looks like the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a U.S. president.

The most famous presidential lies have to do with misconduct (Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” or Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations”) or war. Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the slogan “He kept us out of war” and then plunged us into a calamitous war. Franklin D. Roosevelt made a similar vow: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

Roosevelt knew he was making false promises. He explained to an aide: “If someone attacks us, it isn’t a foreign war, is it?” When his own son questioned his honesty, FDR replied: “If I don’t say I hate war, then people are going to think I don’t hate war. . . . If I don’t say I won’t send our sons to fight on foreign battlefields, then people will think I want to send them. . . . So you play the game the way it has been played over the years, and you play to win.”

The burning question about Barack Obama is whether he was simply “playing to win” and therefore lying on purpose, or whether his statements about Obamacare were just another example of, as Obama once put it, “I actually believe my own” spin, though he used another word.

“No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” he told the American Medical Association in 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

No matter how you slice it, that was a lie. As many as 16 million Americans on the individual health-insurance market may lose their insurance policies. Just in the last month, hundreds of thousands have been notified by their insurers that their policies will be canceled. In fact, it appears that more Americans may have lost coverage than gotten it since went “live” (a term one must use advisedly). And when the business mandate finally kicks in, tens of millions more probably will lose their plans.


After howls of protests from both American scientists [1] and Beijing propagandists [2] screaming “discrimination,” NASA has reversed its initial decision to exclude Chinese nationals from the Kepler Science Conference at the Ames Research Center in California early next month.

The reversal came after Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), the author of legislation restricting contacts between NASA and China, indicated the Chinese should not be barred. “The congressional provision — which has been in place since early 2011 — primarily restricts bilateral, not multilateral, meetings and activities with the Communist Chinese government or Chinese-owned companies,” he wrote [3] to NASA on the 8th of this month. “It places no restrictions on activities involving individual Chinese nationals unless those nationals are acting as official representatives of the Chinese government.”

Wolf gave NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who is broadly in favor of cooperation with Beijing, the political cover to invite the Chinese to the conference. Moreover, most analysts and observers think the ban in this case was ill-advised. As Geoff Marcy, the well-known astronomy professor at Berkeley, noted [4], “The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications.”

Is that so? “No, the PLA is not going to invade exoplanets in the Andromeda system, but the PLA is very interested in deep space,” analyst Rick Fisher, referring to the Chinese military by its initials, tells PJ Media. “Knowledge of deep space dynamics and operations is viewed by the PLA as necessary for ‘space control.’”

Marcy may know much about the heavens — he is said to be in line for a Nobel Prize, after all — but he could use a brush-up on China. “There is no such thing as a non-military related space program or non-military affected space researcher in China,” notes Fisher, a senior fellow of the International Assessment and Strategy Center and widely followed China military expert. “If the PLA wanted to use any of the insights that Chinese scientists gained from the Kepler Conference, those Chinese scientists would comply immediately.”