The Dems Lost and It’s Not Their Fault By Daniel Greenfield

The Democrats lost and no one is resigning. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi intend to stay on even after overseeing the largest political catastrophe for their party in decades. In six years, Pelosi went from a House majority of 257 seats to a current running total in the 180s. Harry Reid took a Senate majority and turned it into a minority and all he has to show for it are a lot of donations from out-of-state law firms.

Not only aren’t Harry and Nancy resigning, but they aren’t even taking any responsibility. Irresponsibility is the Democratic word of the day and the decade. Harry is blaming Barry. Barry is blaming Harry. No one is even paying attention to Nancy ever since she became irrelevant four years ago.

The Democrats don’t just preach irresponsibility and pander to the irresponsible. They are irresponsible.

Democrats often point to Congress’s low approval ratings as proof that the public doesn’t support the Republicans. They neglect to mention that its present low approval rating of 14 matches its low point of 14 under Pelosi and Reid’s Democratic majority. The last time Congress had an approval rating above 40, there were Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

It isn’t Republican obstructionism that keeps the approval ratings low. That’s just the narrative that the real Democratic obstructionists used once they lost their majority in order to give Obama sanction for unilateral rule. Now Senate and House Democrats have paid the price for the damage that they inflicted on their party by allowing Obama’s unilateral and incoherent policymaking to define them.

Obama “won” by locking in an opposition Congress that leaves him as the only significant elected member of his party. He has achieved what he sought all along by reducing his entire party to him. By completely isolating himself politically, Obama has eliminated any dissent from within his own party.

He has become a “Party of One.”

Empty Integrity By Jonah Goldberg

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “integrity” in part as “soundness of moral principle; the character of uncorrupted virtue, esp. in relation to truth and fair dealing; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.” This is basically what most of us have in mind when asked to define “integrity.” A man of “great integrity” is a man who is honest, forthright, and incorruptible. In the secular faith that is Americanism, George “I Cannot Tell a Lie” Washington is about as good an exemplar of the idea as one can conjure.

Then again, that’s what we’re supposed to say. It’s a bit like when pollsters ask people, “What is your biggest concern?” No one says, “The Chargers beat the spread this weekend” or “I think I got the clap from that waitress.” But surely that sort of thing is closer to the truth for most people. I live in Washington, and while lots of people say their biggest concern is “the deficit,” I have yet to meet anyone who has lost sleep over it. Regardless, certain answers are expected of us, and so people say things like “entitlement spending” or “the plight of the uninsured.” We say that because it’s the sort of thing we want to believe about ourselves. We want to believe that we’re good people.

That’s one of the interesting things about integrity, according to the moral philosophers (at least the good ones). Integrity in the moral sense isn’t defined simply by doing the right thing, but by wanting to do the right thing. Philosopher Harry Frankfurt laid out a hierarchy of desires. Every animal has the thought, “I want to have sex.” Many animals — mostly the better ones — might have something like the thought (or, if you want to be pedantic, the desire): “I want to reproduce.” Only humans think: “I want to marry a nice Jewish girl who’d make a good mother.” Badgers don’t think to themselves, “I must crush all of my enemies so I can rule supreme as the emperor of the North Woods and have my choice of the finest badger sows to copulate with.” It is the desire to have moral or immoral desires and the decision to act upon them that defines humanity at its best. Integrity is the measure — or at least one important measure — of how successful we are at acting on our desire to have the right desires.

A Wall That Could Not Stand: . By John Fund

People power and bureaucratic blunder ended the Berlin Wall 25 years ago

The world changed 25 years ago today, on November 9, 1989. If you were in Europe or even in the United States, you probably remember when you heard the news that the Berlin Wall had fallen. As stories go, few can match the intrigue and drama of the Berlin Wall. It stood 13 feet high and was supplemented by watchtowers, alarms, mines, trenches, dogs, and guards with machine guns. More than 100 people died trying to cross it. Imagine other great cities slashed through the middle: New York’s Manhattan at 42nd Street, say, or Paris at the Champs-Elysées.

The fall of the Wall marked freedom for the divided former capital of Germany. Within a year, Germany itself was reunited. Just over two years later, the Soviet Union dissolved, and countries from Estonia to Ukraine won their independence. How tragic that their status as free states should be in doubt on the 25th anniversary of the Wall’s fall.

But that doesn’t mean the celebration isn’t appropriate. One of the best events today was when 8,000 gently swaying white balloons, pegged to the ground and winding nine miles along the Wall’s route, were released as a symbol of liberation.

The irony is that the Wall’s opening actually came about through a bureaucratic blunder. On November 9, East German Politburo member Günther Schabowski mistakenly announced that East Germans would be allowed to cross into West Germany effective immediately. Thousands of people surged to the Berlin border and demanded their “right” of exit. The border guards, despite their intensive training, gave up.

You can see the thrilling moment when the first people spilled across the border at the seven-minute mark of this video:
As former National Review editor John O’Sullivan has noted, “Communism had failed to retain enough true believers who would murder on its behalf.”

North Korea’s Hostage Payola By Claudia Rosett

America has just welcomed home two of its own, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller, both of whom had been thrown in the slammer while visiting North Korea, and sentenced there to years of hard labor for acts that Pyongyang’s regime deemed “hostile.” We can celebrate their safe return.

But it would be folly to celebrate the manner in which it was accomplished. To bring them home, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper flew to North Korea, carrying what was reportedly a message from President Obama to North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un. State Department officials have been telling the press that Clapper’s mission involved no quid pro quo. A news story in the Wall Street Journal carries the subhead: “U.S. Didn’t Give Anything to Secure Release [1].”

That’s absurd. The visit to North Korea by America’s intelligence chief was, in itself, a form of tribute, in which the U.S. superpower stooped to beg a favor from Pyongyang. It was a ransom. A payola for North Korea’s hostage politics.

North Korea is an aggressive totalitarian state, which the U.S. — quite rightly — has never dignified with formal diplomatic ties and recognition. When high-ranking U.S. officials — or even former officials — go to Pyongyang to ask for something, they are supplicants. That is a concession to North Korea, all by itself, and in that spirit Pyongyang has long sought ways to procure visits by high-ranking American officials — or even former officials. That does not mean that North Korea’s regime harbors a latent affection for Americans. It means that Pyongyang benefits when high-ranking Americans are cast in the position of paying tribute.

Thus did North Korea’s previous tyrant, Kim Jong Il, back in 2000, demand a visit from President Bill Clinton as the price of a potential missile deal (Clinton did not go, Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman went instead [2]). Thus in 2009 did Kim again demand a visit from Bill Clinton (that time, Clinton went) as the preferred emissary to come to Pyongyang to pick up two American employees of former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV station, Euna Lee and Laura Ling — who had been so foolish as wander across the border from China into North Korea, where they were arrested and sentenced to 12 years at hard labor. Clinton’s visit was the visible price of their “pardon” by Kim.

4 Reasons U.S.-Israeli Defense Ties Stay Strong — Even in the Obama Era By P. David Hornik ****

U.S.-Israeli relations are being widely described as at an all-time low. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows by now that no matter what he does he’s a marked man for the Obama administration. Accepting the principle of a Palestinian state, instituting a ten-month settlement freeze, refraining from attacking Iran, and freeing dozens of convicted terrorists to accommodate Secretary of State John Kerry’s “peace process” have earned Netanyahu “red-hot anger [2],” name-calling, and derision from Washington.

And yet, in an apparent paradox, the U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship keeps going strong. The reason, in addition to the two countries’ traditional ties, is that Israel has so much to offer in the military, security, and intelligence spheres that cooler heads in Washington, particularly in defense circles, are not about to forgo it. Israel was recently rated as having the best air force in the world [3] and strongest army in the Middle East. Its alliance with the U.S. is a “classic case of a two-way street [4].” In a 2011 article [5] historian Arthur Herman discussed “How Israel’s Defense Industry Can Help Save America.”

Some recent developments, even amid the Obama administration’s anti-Israeli vendetta, well illustrate the reality.
1. Helping build the F-35.

The F-35, an aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin that is now in its last stage of development, is expected to become the dominant fighter jet in the world.

Israel already has 19 F-35s on order from the U.S., scheduled to start arriving in December 2016. Last month, while jeers and accusations were flying from Washington to Jerusalem, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were quietly working out the terms for Israel to buy another 31 of the planes, and it appears to be close to a done deal.

Israel, though, will not just be one of the customers for the F-35 but a co-manufacturer.

DefenseNews reports [7] on plans for the Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) to produce up to 800 wing sets for the F-35 through 2030. Lockheed Martin official Patrick Dewar says it’s “because IAI builds the best product and we choose to take them with us.”

The Pentagon’s chief executive for the F-35 program, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, “said the fighter will be a strategic asset for the US and Israeli air forces for years to come.”


Winston Churchill remains a one-man argument for the idea that history is a tale of singular individuals and shining deeds

When I was growing up, there was no doubt about it: Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman Britain had ever produced.My brother and I pored over Sir Martin Gilbert ’s biographical “Life in Pictures” enough to memorize the captions. I knew that Churchill had led my country to victory against one of history’s most disgusting tyrannies. I knew that he had a mastery of the art of speechmaking, and I knew, even then, that this art was dying out. I knew that he was funny, irreverent and (even by the standards of his time) politically incorrect.At suppertime, we were told the apocryphal stories: the one where Churchill is on the lavatory, is informed that the Lord Privy Seal wants to see him and says that he is sealed in the privy. We knew the one where Labour member of Parliament Elizabeth Braddock allegedly tells him that he’s drunk, and he shoots back, with astonishing rudeness, that she’s ugly, while in the morning, he’d be sober.I knew that he had been amazingly brave as a young man, that he had killed men with his own hand and that he had been fired at on four continents. I knew that he had been a bit of a runt at Harrow, his famous boarding school near London; that he was only about 5 feet 7 inches with a 31-inch chest; and that he had overcome his stammer and his depression and his appalling father to become the greatest living Englishman.I gathered that there was something holy and magical about him because my grandparents kept the front page of the Daily Express from the day he died in 1965, at the age of 90. I was pleased to have been born a year before his death: The more I read about him, the more proud I was to have been alive when he was too.Most Americans, when they think of Churchill at all, seem to retain that pride and reverence. So it seems all the more sad and strange that today—nearly 50 years after his death—he seems in some danger of being shoved aside in the memory of the nation he saved. British students who pay attention in class are under the impression that he was the guy who fought Hitler to rescue the Jews. But a June 2012 survey of about 1,000 British secondary school students aged 11 to 18 showed that while 92% of them could identify a picture of a dog named Churchill from a popular British insurance advertisement, “only 62% correctly identified a photo of Sir Winston Churchill.”Of course, a hundred books a year are published on him—and yet we cannot take his reputation for granted. The soldiers of World War II are gradually fading away. We are losing those who can remember the sound of his voice. But we should never forget the scale of his deeds.That fading memory is a particular shame, since Churchill is so obviously a character who should appeal to young people today. He was eccentric, over-the-top, even camp, with his own trademark clothes and genius.These days, we dimly believe that World War II was won with Soviet blood and U.S. money; and though that it is in some ways true, it is also true that, without Churchill, Hitler would almost certainly have won, and Nazi gains in Europe might well have been irreversible.In March 1921, as Britain’s colonial secretary, he summoned all the key Middle East players to the Semiramis Hotel in Cairo to discuss the running of the region after the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I. T.E. Lawrence (more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia) thought the summit an outstanding success, and 11 years later, he wrote to Churchill that the arrangements it produced had already delivered a decade of peace.We need to remember the ways in which this British prime minister helped to make the world in which we still live. Across the globe—from Europe to Russia to Africa to the Middle East—we see traces of his shaping mind.That peace hasn’t lasted, of course. Nor has the empire Churchill loved

Cuba’s Slave Trade in Doctors By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Havana earns almost $8 billion a year off the backs of the health workers it sends to poor countries.

Western cultures don’t approve of human trafficking, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited.” Yet it’s hard to find any journalist, politician, development bureaucrat or labor activist anywhere in the world who has so much as batted an eye at the extensive human-trafficking racket now being run out of Havana. This is worth more attention as Cuban doctors are being celebrated for their work in Africa during the Ebola crisis.

Cuba is winning accolades for its international “doctor diplomacy,” in which it sends temporary medical professionals abroad—ostensibly to help poor countries battle disease and improve health care. But the doctors are not a gift from Cuba. Havana is paid for its medical missions by either the host country, in the case of Venezuela, or by donor countries that send funds to the World Health Organization. The money is supposed to go to Cuban workers’ salaries. But neither the WHO nor any host country pays Cuban workers directly. Instead the funds are credited to the account of the dictatorship, which by all accounts keeps the lion’s share of the payment and gives the worker a stipend to live on with a promise of a bit more upon return to Cuba.

It’s the perfect crime: By shipping its subjects abroad to help poor people, the regime earns the image of a selfless contributor to the global community even while it exploits workers and gets rich off their backs. According to DW, Germany’s international broadcaster, Havana earns some $7.6 billion annually from its export of health-care workers.

Liberals Are Killing the Liberal Arts By Harvey Silverglate ****

This is how bad censorship is getting: Discussions of what can’t be said come with a ‘trigger warning.’

On campuses across the country, hostility toward unpopular ideas has become so irrational that many students, and some faculty members, now openly oppose freedom of speech. The hypersensitive consider the mere discussion of the topic of censorship to be potentially traumatic. Those who try to protect academic freedom and the ability of the academy to discuss the world as it is are swimming against the current. In such an atmosphere, liberal-arts education can’t survive.

Consider what happened after Smith College held a panel for alumnae titled “Challenging the Ideological Echo Chamber: Free Speech, Civil Discourse and the Liberal Arts.” Moderated by Smith President Kathleen McCartney in late September, the panel was an apparent effort to address the intolerance of diverse opinions that prevails on many campuses.

One panelist was Smith alumna Wendy Kaminer—an author, lawyer, social critic, feminist, First Amendment near-absolutist and former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union. She delivered precisely the spirited challenge to the echo chamber that the panel’s title seemed to invite. But Ms. Kaminer emerged from the discussion of free speech labeled a racist—for defending free speech.

The panel started innocuously enough with Ms. Kaminer criticizing the proliferation of campus speech codes that restrict supposedly offensive language. She urged the audience to defend the free exchange of ideas over parochial notions of “civility.” In response to a question about teaching materials that contain “hate speech,” she raised the example of Mark Twain ’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” arguing that students should take it as a whole. The student member of the panel, Jaime Estrada, resisted that notion, saying, “But it has the n-word, and some people are sensitive to that.”

Ms. Kaminer responded: “Well let’s talk about n-words. Let’s talk about the growing lexicon of words that can only be known by their initials. I mean, when I say, ‘n-word’ or when Jaime says ‘n-word,’ what word do you all hear in your head? You hear the word . . . ”

UK: New Charity Commission Powers Fall Short by Samuel Westrop

The government continues to work on the wistful principle that charities promote extremism merely because of one or two wayward trustees. The Charity Commission and government still appear unable to grasp that charities might be established for the very purpose of promoting extremism.

On October 22, the British government announced new funding and legislation to strengthen the Charity Commission’s attempts to identify and suppress the misuse of charities for the purposes of supporting terrorism or promoting extremist ideas.

Although the proposed measures appear to be a step in the right direction, they indicate, once again, that the government still does not truly understand the problem of Islamic extremism.

The majority of the new statutory measures focus on tackling the activities of trustees. The Commission will now have the discretionary power to disqualify a person from becoming a trustee simply “where the Charity Commission considers them unfit.”

Although a firmer attitude is welcome, the basis for this approach is part of the problem: the government continues to work on the wistful principle that charities promote extremism merely because of one or two wayward trustees.

The Charity Commission and government still appear unable to grasp that charities might be established for the very purpose of promoting extremism.

In 2013, the Charity Commission’s annual report recorded a visit to the offices of an (unnamed) charity and revealed that:

“We visited the charity’s premises and saw images of the leader of the group that is a proscribed terrorist organisation were displayed on the walls of the charity’s offices. We also identified that the charity had organised marches at which supporters of the proscribed organisation were present … We instructed the trustees to take down the material and to take other steps to ensure they are not appearing to support a proscribed terrorist group. We also instructed the trustees to develop and implement robust controls to manage the charity’s activities and the use of its premises.” (Emphasis added.)

Germany: Hooligans Declare War on Islamic Radicals by Soeren Kern

Hooligans from rival football clubs have temporarily set aside their mutual hatred for each other in order to unite against a common enemy: radical Salafists who are bringing Islamic Sharia law to Germany.

After police predicted that more than 10,000 hooligans would show up at an anti-Salafist rally in Berlin, authorities cancelled the event. Similar rallies planned for Frankfurt, Hamburg and Hannover have also been banned.

Vogel, a former professional boxer who often depicts himself as the embodiment invincible Islam, is now portraying himself as a helpless and fearful victim of the football hooligans

A group of nearly 5,000 football hooligans from across Germany gathered in the western city of Cologne on October 26 to protest the spread of radical Islam in the country.

The watershed march was organized by a new initiative called “Hooligans against Salafists,” better known by its German abbreviation, HoGeSa, short for Hooligans gegen Salafisten.

HoGeSa is a burgeoning alliance between hooligans from rival football clubs who have temporarily set aside their mutual hatred for each other in order to unite against a common enemy: radical Salafists who want to replace Germany’s democratic order with Islamic Sharia law.

The alliance has its roots in a hidden Internet forum called GnuHoonters (homophone of “New Hunters”) formed in 2012 between 17 different hooligan groups from across Germany. GnuHoonters was established primarily to fight anarchists, Marxist-Leninists and other left-wing extremists in the country.

In 2013, some 300 members of GnuHoonters set up another hidden Internet forum called “Because Germans Still Dare” (Weil Deutsche sich’s noch trauen), aimed at developing an action plan to fight the leaders of Germany’s Salafist scene.