Commentary Magazine


Posts For: May 14, 2010

America Tilts Pro-Life

Gallup reports:

The conservative shift in Americans’ views on abortion that Gallup first recorded a year ago has carried over into 2010. Slightly more Americans call themselves “pro-life” than “pro-choice,” 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll. This is nearly identical to the 47% to 46% division found last July following a more strongly pro-life advantage of 51% to 42% last May.

While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion. By contrast, in nearly all readings on this question since 1995, and each survey from 2003 to 2008, more Americans called themselves pro-choice than pro-life.

This is a great failing of the pro-choice movement, which has been content to operate with the benefit of a judicial monopoly on the issue and has failed to make its case with the American people. Pro-life forces, by contrast and with the aid of new technology, have been able to pull Americans to their side of the debate. What is now sustaining the abortion-on-demand regimen is the Supreme Court’s judicial fiat. Without that, Americans would devise some diverse compromises on a state-by-state basis, as they do for many areas of public policy. The degree to which judicial activism has pre-empted that is clearer now than it has ever been.

Gallup reports:

The conservative shift in Americans’ views on abortion that Gallup first recorded a year ago has carried over into 2010. Slightly more Americans call themselves “pro-life” than “pro-choice,” 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll. This is nearly identical to the 47% to 46% division found last July following a more strongly pro-life advantage of 51% to 42% last May.

While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion. By contrast, in nearly all readings on this question since 1995, and each survey from 2003 to 2008, more Americans called themselves pro-choice than pro-life.

This is a great failing of the pro-choice movement, which has been content to operate with the benefit of a judicial monopoly on the issue and has failed to make its case with the American people. Pro-life forces, by contrast and with the aid of new technology, have been able to pull Americans to their side of the debate. What is now sustaining the abortion-on-demand regimen is the Supreme Court’s judicial fiat. Without that, Americans would devise some diverse compromises on a state-by-state basis, as they do for many areas of public policy. The degree to which judicial activism has pre-empted that is clearer now than it has ever been.

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Reversing Political Fortunes

On ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday, the Democratic political strategist James Carville — in commenting on this devastating (for the Democrats) Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll — said that it is “absolutely possible” that the Democrats could lose control of Congress, and, if the election were held today, they almost certainly would. That is by now a commonplace belief.

Carville’s admission is quite a contrast to what he was saying just last year. “Today,” he proclaimed, “a Democratic majority is emerging, and it’s my hypothesis, one I share with a great many others, that this majority will guarantee the Democrats remain in power for the next 40 years.” Carville even wrote a book on the topic: 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.

Carville’s guarantee, at least at this hour, looks to have been quite a faulty one. Many Democrats were making extravagant claims in the aftermath of President Obama’s election, though few went so far as to guarantee a multigenerational rule in power. But, to be fair, Republicans are susceptible to similar intoxications. There is a tendency in politics, as in life, to take events that are clearly important and to ascribe to them unique, history-altering significance. That is rarely the case. And those moments in politics in which one party or one political philosophy is dominant can change, sometimes quickly. “This globe, and as far as we can see this Universe, is a theatre of vicissitudes,” John Adams wrote. That tends to be truer of politics than it is of most things.

Still, even with that caution in place, the declining fortunes of the Democrats since the inauguration of Mr. Obama is unusual. The midterm elections, by almost every metric, look like they will be shattering for the Democrats. And if they turn out to be so, the Obama presidency and modern liberalism will be badly damaged.

Beyond that, we don’t know what will emerge. I’m not inclined to make predictions much beyond this year, to say nothing of 40 years from now. Bill Clinton, after all, recovered quite well after the 1994 midterm elections and won reelection by a comfortable margin. Ronald Reagan looked vulnerable in the second year of his presidency and went on to defeat Walter Mondale in a landslide, carrying 49 states.

What we do know is that at this particular moment, President Obama and his party are back on their heels. They may well lose control of the House and potentially even the Senate. The GOP is in stronger shape than anyone could have imagined just a year ago. Republicans are winning the debate on the merits of most issues. And conservatism itself is on the ascendancy.

All of that is quite enough for me, for now.

On ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday, the Democratic political strategist James Carville — in commenting on this devastating (for the Democrats) Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll — said that it is “absolutely possible” that the Democrats could lose control of Congress, and, if the election were held today, they almost certainly would. That is by now a commonplace belief.

Carville’s admission is quite a contrast to what he was saying just last year. “Today,” he proclaimed, “a Democratic majority is emerging, and it’s my hypothesis, one I share with a great many others, that this majority will guarantee the Democrats remain in power for the next 40 years.” Carville even wrote a book on the topic: 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.

Carville’s guarantee, at least at this hour, looks to have been quite a faulty one. Many Democrats were making extravagant claims in the aftermath of President Obama’s election, though few went so far as to guarantee a multigenerational rule in power. But, to be fair, Republicans are susceptible to similar intoxications. There is a tendency in politics, as in life, to take events that are clearly important and to ascribe to them unique, history-altering significance. That is rarely the case. And those moments in politics in which one party or one political philosophy is dominant can change, sometimes quickly. “This globe, and as far as we can see this Universe, is a theatre of vicissitudes,” John Adams wrote. That tends to be truer of politics than it is of most things.

Still, even with that caution in place, the declining fortunes of the Democrats since the inauguration of Mr. Obama is unusual. The midterm elections, by almost every metric, look like they will be shattering for the Democrats. And if they turn out to be so, the Obama presidency and modern liberalism will be badly damaged.

Beyond that, we don’t know what will emerge. I’m not inclined to make predictions much beyond this year, to say nothing of 40 years from now. Bill Clinton, after all, recovered quite well after the 1994 midterm elections and won reelection by a comfortable margin. Ronald Reagan looked vulnerable in the second year of his presidency and went on to defeat Walter Mondale in a landslide, carrying 49 states.

What we do know is that at this particular moment, President Obama and his party are back on their heels. They may well lose control of the House and potentially even the Senate. The GOP is in stronger shape than anyone could have imagined just a year ago. Republicans are winning the debate on the merits of most issues. And conservatism itself is on the ascendancy.

All of that is quite enough for me, for now.

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Obama’s Backing of Israeli Rocket Shield: Charm Offensive or Harbinger of More Pressure?

The White House’s charm offensive toward Israel’s supporters continued this week with a nice dividend for the Jewish state: financial backing for the country’s “Iron Dome” anti-missile system designed to protect Israeli towns against Palestinian rocket attacks. Haaretz reported yesterday that the Pentagon informed Israel’s Defense Ministry that the president had approved the transfer of $205 million for the purchase of 10 Iron Dome batteries that could help shield southern Israelis towns such as Sderot that have been battered in the past by Katyushas and Qassam missiles from Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Iron Dome has, of course, been in the works for years, and the decision is merely a continuation of U.S. support for the project that began during the Bush administration. But to Israel’s great frustration, approval of the money for these purchases had been held up for the past couple of years. Obama’s critics could well point out that he deserves the blame for stalling the Israelis for the past 16 months as well as the credit for the final approval. That said, if the weapons system works as well in practice as it did in tests, it has the potential to minimize the missile threat from Gaza in the future.

The timing of the decision may have been dictated by the administration’s desire to walk back from the hostility its stands on Jerusalem and insults to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked from friends of Israel. The charm offensive belies the left’s claims that most American Jews back Obama’s Israel-bashing. The White House’s clear desire to undo the impression it had previously sought to foster of America distancing itself from the Jewish state is an indication that it doesn’t believe most American Jews support a policy of further pressure on Israel.

However, backing for the Iron Dome project may have another context. Even if the system isn’t foolproof, should a new terrorist offensive against Israel be launched either in the south by Hamas or, as widely anticipated, in the north by an even more heavily armed Hezbollah, a defensive shield against rocket attacks could give the administration the leverage it needs to prevent substantial Israeli counterattacks against either threat. Moreover, in the unlikely event that the “proximity” talks with the Palestinian Authority make progress, the existence of even a leaky missile shield will strengthen American pressure on Israel to make further territorial surrenders to the Palestinians. After all, the reason why most Israelis are aghast at the prospect of a further pullback in the West Bank is the knowledge that such a move could put virtually all central Israel — and the vast majority of the Israeli population — in missile range and potentially put the metropolis of Tel Aviv in the same sorry condition as bloodied and battered Sderot.

Seen in this light, the American money spent on Iron Dome batteries could help buy future Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. Though the anti-missile defense the program promises is desperately needed by Israel — and a move for which Obama deserves applause — it is an open question whether the country will be better off or more secure if this charm offensive purchase is the harbinger of more American pressure.

The White House’s charm offensive toward Israel’s supporters continued this week with a nice dividend for the Jewish state: financial backing for the country’s “Iron Dome” anti-missile system designed to protect Israeli towns against Palestinian rocket attacks. Haaretz reported yesterday that the Pentagon informed Israel’s Defense Ministry that the president had approved the transfer of $205 million for the purchase of 10 Iron Dome batteries that could help shield southern Israelis towns such as Sderot that have been battered in the past by Katyushas and Qassam missiles from Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Iron Dome has, of course, been in the works for years, and the decision is merely a continuation of U.S. support for the project that began during the Bush administration. But to Israel’s great frustration, approval of the money for these purchases had been held up for the past couple of years. Obama’s critics could well point out that he deserves the blame for stalling the Israelis for the past 16 months as well as the credit for the final approval. That said, if the weapons system works as well in practice as it did in tests, it has the potential to minimize the missile threat from Gaza in the future.

The timing of the decision may have been dictated by the administration’s desire to walk back from the hostility its stands on Jerusalem and insults to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked from friends of Israel. The charm offensive belies the left’s claims that most American Jews back Obama’s Israel-bashing. The White House’s clear desire to undo the impression it had previously sought to foster of America distancing itself from the Jewish state is an indication that it doesn’t believe most American Jews support a policy of further pressure on Israel.

However, backing for the Iron Dome project may have another context. Even if the system isn’t foolproof, should a new terrorist offensive against Israel be launched either in the south by Hamas or, as widely anticipated, in the north by an even more heavily armed Hezbollah, a defensive shield against rocket attacks could give the administration the leverage it needs to prevent substantial Israeli counterattacks against either threat. Moreover, in the unlikely event that the “proximity” talks with the Palestinian Authority make progress, the existence of even a leaky missile shield will strengthen American pressure on Israel to make further territorial surrenders to the Palestinians. After all, the reason why most Israelis are aghast at the prospect of a further pullback in the West Bank is the knowledge that such a move could put virtually all central Israel — and the vast majority of the Israeli population — in missile range and potentially put the metropolis of Tel Aviv in the same sorry condition as bloodied and battered Sderot.

Seen in this light, the American money spent on Iron Dome batteries could help buy future Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. Though the anti-missile defense the program promises is desperately needed by Israel — and a move for which Obama deserves applause — it is an open question whether the country will be better off or more secure if this charm offensive purchase is the harbinger of more American pressure.

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Bar Goldstone from the U.S.?

This report (h/t Carl in Jerusalem of Israel Matzav) brings some intriguing news:

A well-known American Jewish attorney who worked to deport former Nazis from the US is urging American officials to bar former judge Richard Goldstone from entering the country over his rulings during South Africa’s apartheid regime.

In a letter sent to US officials, Neal Sher, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said that recently disclosed information about Goldstone’s apartheid-era rulings raised questions about whether he was eligible to enter the United States. The letter was sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Attorney-General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Individuals who admit to acts that constitute a crime of moral turpitude¨are ineligible to enter the US, Sher charged. The recent public revelations, to which Goldstone has reportedly admitted, would appear to fit within this provision. At a minimum, there is ample basis for federal authorities to initiate an investigation into this matter, Sher said.

Well, bravo, Mr. Sher! It is especially gratifying to see that Goldstone is in infamous company: “Sher, formerly director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, was instrumental in deporting dozens of Nazi war criminals. He played a major role in placing Austrian president Kurt Waldheim on a watch list of people ineligible to enter the US.” And will the left — which at the time fully supported the ostracism of South Africa and threw about the Nazi analogy with abandon — object to this move? I assume it would, for intellectual consistency and moral outrage are reserved for one purpose — the crusade to hobble and delegitimize the Jewish state.

This report (h/t Carl in Jerusalem of Israel Matzav) brings some intriguing news:

A well-known American Jewish attorney who worked to deport former Nazis from the US is urging American officials to bar former judge Richard Goldstone from entering the country over his rulings during South Africa’s apartheid regime.

In a letter sent to US officials, Neal Sher, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said that recently disclosed information about Goldstone’s apartheid-era rulings raised questions about whether he was eligible to enter the United States. The letter was sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Attorney-General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Individuals who admit to acts that constitute a crime of moral turpitude¨are ineligible to enter the US, Sher charged. The recent public revelations, to which Goldstone has reportedly admitted, would appear to fit within this provision. At a minimum, there is ample basis for federal authorities to initiate an investigation into this matter, Sher said.

Well, bravo, Mr. Sher! It is especially gratifying to see that Goldstone is in infamous company: “Sher, formerly director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, was instrumental in deporting dozens of Nazi war criminals. He played a major role in placing Austrian president Kurt Waldheim on a watch list of people ineligible to enter the US.” And will the left — which at the time fully supported the ostracism of South Africa and threw about the Nazi analogy with abandon — object to this move? I assume it would, for intellectual consistency and moral outrage are reserved for one purpose — the crusade to hobble and delegitimize the Jewish state.

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Christie Breaks Out

Chris Christie is making waves and headlines in New Jersey. He didn’t reappoint an activist supreme court judge. He’s slashing the budget and going after the teacher’s union. He’s refusing to raise taxes. And then comes this stellar moment with a local reporter:

What makes this work so well is the tone, the smile, and the delight he is taking. He is a happy warrior. And he is fast becoming a GOP rock star.

Chris Christie is making waves and headlines in New Jersey. He didn’t reappoint an activist supreme court judge. He’s slashing the budget and going after the teacher’s union. He’s refusing to raise taxes. And then comes this stellar moment with a local reporter:

What makes this work so well is the tone, the smile, and the delight he is taking. He is a happy warrior. And he is fast becoming a GOP rock star.

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RE: No Executive Privilege Invoked

The Obama Justice Department has dropped all pretense of acting in a lawful, transparent mode with regard to the New Black Panther case. In a letter responding to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the department in essence asserts: we don’t have to give you anything we don’t want to. And for this proposition, they cite not a single statute, regulation, Office of Legal Counsel opinion, or court decision. That is because there is none that would support the continued stonewalling.

Joseph H. Hunt of the Federal Programs Branch asserts that the “Department has designated Assistant Attorney for Civil Rights General Thomas E. Perez as the only Department witness to testify on its behalf before the Commission.” On what basis are they withholding percipient witnesses — including the trial team attorneys? Hunt doesn’t say. They just don’t want to. And Perez joined the department after the New Black Panther case was dismissed, so he really knows very little about the circumstances at issue. Yes, that is why he is the designee.

Hunt also makes clear that Perez is going to refuse to answer questions “concerning internal deliberation or other confidential matters.” Citation? None. Rationale? None. They don’t want to, I suppose.

Hunt writes in conclusion (with my comments in brackets):

Finally, we do not believe that the Commission’s subpoenas and requests override the well-established confidentiality interests in these types of materials that are integral to the Department’s discharge of its law-enforcement responsibilities. Thus, as we do in responding to congressional committees conducting oversight, we have sought to provide information to accommodate the Commission’s needs to the fullest extent consistent with our need to protect the confidentiality of the work product of our attorneys. [This is nonsense, by the way, since there is no attorney-client privilege between the executive branch and Congress; the American people are the "clients."] The President has not asserted executive privilege, nor do we believe the President is required to assert executive privilege [because? citation?] for the Department to take appropriate steps to protect the law-enforcement deliberative confidentiality interests [now he's just making stuff up] in this context. For the same reasons, we do not believe it is appropriate to appoint a special counsel. [The reason is circular -- because the department thinks it doesn't have to, it won't appoint a special counsel to enforce the commission's subpoenas. Yeah, no conflict of interest there, right?]

This is abject lawlessness, Nixonian in contempt for legal process. The Obama-Holder Justice Department is convinced that the executive branch can declare itself immune from scrutiny. The commission might choose to challenge the Justice Department in court, or wait for Congress to flip control and let a Republican majority subpoena the records and testimony. In the meantime, the Obama administration remains the least-transparent administration in history.

The Obama Justice Department has dropped all pretense of acting in a lawful, transparent mode with regard to the New Black Panther case. In a letter responding to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the department in essence asserts: we don’t have to give you anything we don’t want to. And for this proposition, they cite not a single statute, regulation, Office of Legal Counsel opinion, or court decision. That is because there is none that would support the continued stonewalling.

Joseph H. Hunt of the Federal Programs Branch asserts that the “Department has designated Assistant Attorney for Civil Rights General Thomas E. Perez as the only Department witness to testify on its behalf before the Commission.” On what basis are they withholding percipient witnesses — including the trial team attorneys? Hunt doesn’t say. They just don’t want to. And Perez joined the department after the New Black Panther case was dismissed, so he really knows very little about the circumstances at issue. Yes, that is why he is the designee.

Hunt also makes clear that Perez is going to refuse to answer questions “concerning internal deliberation or other confidential matters.” Citation? None. Rationale? None. They don’t want to, I suppose.

Hunt writes in conclusion (with my comments in brackets):

Finally, we do not believe that the Commission’s subpoenas and requests override the well-established confidentiality interests in these types of materials that are integral to the Department’s discharge of its law-enforcement responsibilities. Thus, as we do in responding to congressional committees conducting oversight, we have sought to provide information to accommodate the Commission’s needs to the fullest extent consistent with our need to protect the confidentiality of the work product of our attorneys. [This is nonsense, by the way, since there is no attorney-client privilege between the executive branch and Congress; the American people are the "clients."] The President has not asserted executive privilege, nor do we believe the President is required to assert executive privilege [because? citation?] for the Department to take appropriate steps to protect the law-enforcement deliberative confidentiality interests [now he's just making stuff up] in this context. For the same reasons, we do not believe it is appropriate to appoint a special counsel. [The reason is circular -- because the department thinks it doesn't have to, it won't appoint a special counsel to enforce the commission's subpoenas. Yeah, no conflict of interest there, right?]

This is abject lawlessness, Nixonian in contempt for legal process. The Obama-Holder Justice Department is convinced that the executive branch can declare itself immune from scrutiny. The commission might choose to challenge the Justice Department in court, or wait for Congress to flip control and let a Republican majority subpoena the records and testimony. In the meantime, the Obama administration remains the least-transparent administration in history.

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The UN Farce Continues

Anne Bayefsky — who had a “j’accuse moment” and was roughed up by the UN thugs when she criticized the Goldstone Report before having her credentials snatched – reports on the latest outrage:

On Thursday, the General Assembly elected 14 members to its top human-rights body, the U.N. Human Rights Council. U.N. human-rights policymakers now include Libya, Angola, Malaysia, Qatar, and Uganda. On a secret ballot, a whopping 155 countries, or 80 percent of U.N. members, thought Libya would be a great addition.

Obama’s diplomats, sitting in the General Assembly Hall throughout the election, made no attempt to prevent the farce or even to object. On the contrary, Ambassador Susan Rice left the hall before the results were announced in order to hightail it to the microphone. Attempting to spin what was a foregone conclusion, she refused to divulge those states which the U.S. supported. When pressed, she said only that the Obama administration regretted some states on the ballot, but “I am not going to name names. I don’t think that it’s particularly constructive at this point.”

Which is worse — allowing another Muslim thugocracy into the clown show that is the Human Rights Council or the cowardice of Rice and the Obama team, which won’t come clean on precisely which thugocracies it is sucking up to? Rice’s remarks are beyond parody:

She described the countries on the Council — which include human-rights experts Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba in addition to the incoming freshman class — as just “countries whose orientation and perspectives we don’t agree with.” And later on she described the election as one which “yielded an outcome that we think is a good reflection on the potential of the Human Rights Council.”

Rice was also asked to defend last month’s deal, made with the help of the Obama administration, which saw Iran withdraw its candidacy for the Council in exchange for a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). With no apparent sign of embarrassment, she responded that Iran had been on the CSW before, so it “was not something new.”

Bayefsky gets one thing wrong, however, when she writes: “The fact that the Council’s main priority is to demonize Israel and keep the spotlight off abominations around the world has had no impact on Obama’s calculations.” One can’t help but conclude it is because the council’s main function is to Israel-bash that a seat means so much to the despotic regimes and, in turn, becomes a trinket that the Obama team can dispense to get on the good side of Israel’s foes.

When Hillary Clinton delivered her disingenuous speech at AIPAC earlier in the year, she had the nerve to assert that the “United States has also led the fight in international institutions against anti-Semitism and efforts to challenge Israel’s legitimacy.” And she threw in this doozy: “This Administration will always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself.” Why then does the administration fund the UN Human Rights Council and sit idly by as one human rights abuser after another is added to the body? Rather than leading the fight on Israel’s behalf, the Obama team is facilitating it and providing cover for those who persistently challenge Israel’s legitimacy.

And the officialdom of American Jewry? Still sending bouquets to Obama for nominating a Jew to the Supreme Court.

Anne Bayefsky — who had a “j’accuse moment” and was roughed up by the UN thugs when she criticized the Goldstone Report before having her credentials snatched – reports on the latest outrage:

On Thursday, the General Assembly elected 14 members to its top human-rights body, the U.N. Human Rights Council. U.N. human-rights policymakers now include Libya, Angola, Malaysia, Qatar, and Uganda. On a secret ballot, a whopping 155 countries, or 80 percent of U.N. members, thought Libya would be a great addition.

Obama’s diplomats, sitting in the General Assembly Hall throughout the election, made no attempt to prevent the farce or even to object. On the contrary, Ambassador Susan Rice left the hall before the results were announced in order to hightail it to the microphone. Attempting to spin what was a foregone conclusion, she refused to divulge those states which the U.S. supported. When pressed, she said only that the Obama administration regretted some states on the ballot, but “I am not going to name names. I don’t think that it’s particularly constructive at this point.”

Which is worse — allowing another Muslim thugocracy into the clown show that is the Human Rights Council or the cowardice of Rice and the Obama team, which won’t come clean on precisely which thugocracies it is sucking up to? Rice’s remarks are beyond parody:

She described the countries on the Council — which include human-rights experts Saudi Arabia, China, and Cuba in addition to the incoming freshman class — as just “countries whose orientation and perspectives we don’t agree with.” And later on she described the election as one which “yielded an outcome that we think is a good reflection on the potential of the Human Rights Council.”

Rice was also asked to defend last month’s deal, made with the help of the Obama administration, which saw Iran withdraw its candidacy for the Council in exchange for a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). With no apparent sign of embarrassment, she responded that Iran had been on the CSW before, so it “was not something new.”

Bayefsky gets one thing wrong, however, when she writes: “The fact that the Council’s main priority is to demonize Israel and keep the spotlight off abominations around the world has had no impact on Obama’s calculations.” One can’t help but conclude it is because the council’s main function is to Israel-bash that a seat means so much to the despotic regimes and, in turn, becomes a trinket that the Obama team can dispense to get on the good side of Israel’s foes.

When Hillary Clinton delivered her disingenuous speech at AIPAC earlier in the year, she had the nerve to assert that the “United States has also led the fight in international institutions against anti-Semitism and efforts to challenge Israel’s legitimacy.” And she threw in this doozy: “This Administration will always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself.” Why then does the administration fund the UN Human Rights Council and sit idly by as one human rights abuser after another is added to the body? Rather than leading the fight on Israel’s behalf, the Obama team is facilitating it and providing cover for those who persistently challenge Israel’s legitimacy.

And the officialdom of American Jewry? Still sending bouquets to Obama for nominating a Jew to the Supreme Court.

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Has Kagan Crossed the Line?

Arlen Specter says (I know, take it with a grain of salt, but the comments have not yet been challenged) that Elena Kagan opined on Citizens United in her private meeting with him. Oh really? Specter reports: “She said she felt that the court was not sufficiently deferential to Congress.” Well, if she’s already made up her mind on an issue of constitutional interpretation and thinks the Court got it wrong, let her explain herself to the full Senate. And what about on Ricci, the New Haven firefighter case for which she prepped but handed off to her deputy? Did the Court get that one right?

According to Specter, Kagan “reiterated her criticism that the Senate confirmation process yields little information about Supreme Court nominees and that one justice was less than forthcoming during his or her confirmation hearing.” Fine — let’s get ready for a full download of her views, reasoning, and preformed decisions on the matters likely to come before her. It’s only fair, after all, since she has no paper trail and never issued an opinion of her own (legal or otherwise, come to think of it) for her to give a detailed discourse on her views. And if she refuses? Well then senators — both liberals who are taking a gamble that she is “with them” and conservatives suspicious she’s a dyed-in-the-wool activist — will have to decide if they can confirm a justice for a lifetime appointment knowing nothing relevant about how she would perform her duties.

Arlen Specter says (I know, take it with a grain of salt, but the comments have not yet been challenged) that Elena Kagan opined on Citizens United in her private meeting with him. Oh really? Specter reports: “She said she felt that the court was not sufficiently deferential to Congress.” Well, if she’s already made up her mind on an issue of constitutional interpretation and thinks the Court got it wrong, let her explain herself to the full Senate. And what about on Ricci, the New Haven firefighter case for which she prepped but handed off to her deputy? Did the Court get that one right?

According to Specter, Kagan “reiterated her criticism that the Senate confirmation process yields little information about Supreme Court nominees and that one justice was less than forthcoming during his or her confirmation hearing.” Fine — let’s get ready for a full download of her views, reasoning, and preformed decisions on the matters likely to come before her. It’s only fair, after all, since she has no paper trail and never issued an opinion of her own (legal or otherwise, come to think of it) for her to give a detailed discourse on her views. And if she refuses? Well then senators — both liberals who are taking a gamble that she is “with them” and conservatives suspicious she’s a dyed-in-the-wool activist — will have to decide if they can confirm a justice for a lifetime appointment knowing nothing relevant about how she would perform her duties.

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Holder Stumped: Did Jihadism Motivate the Attacks on His Watch?

Eric Holder reached a new low (he’s had a run of them, so this is no small distinction) in this performance before Congress. Stumbling on and on under questioning by Rep. Lamar Smith, Holder makes apparent the Obama administration’s political and moral confusion about the enemy we are fighting. The question is simple: did radical Islam motivate the attacks that have occurred since Obama assumed the presidency?

Holder seems utterly unwilling or unable to formulate a coherent response, and tragically unable to distinguish between radical jihadism and the Muslim religion more generally. If you want to know what is deficient in the Obama team’s conception and approach to the war against Islamic fundamentalists, you will find no better example. One wonders — how would Obama respond?

Eric Holder reached a new low (he’s had a run of them, so this is no small distinction) in this performance before Congress. Stumbling on and on under questioning by Rep. Lamar Smith, Holder makes apparent the Obama administration’s political and moral confusion about the enemy we are fighting. The question is simple: did radical Islam motivate the attacks that have occurred since Obama assumed the presidency?

Holder seems utterly unwilling or unable to formulate a coherent response, and tragically unable to distinguish between radical jihadism and the Muslim religion more generally. If you want to know what is deficient in the Obama team’s conception and approach to the war against Islamic fundamentalists, you will find no better example. One wonders — how would Obama respond?

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Flotsam and Jetsam

No kidding: “The White House was more focused on victory than on any plan in particular, and — once the battle had been engaged — than in the details of the plan,” writes Ben Smith on ObamaCare.

“No surprise,” says Glenn Reynolds about this: “College students taking racial and ethnic studies courses have lower respect for members of other groups.”

“No question,” says Nancy Pelosi about how voters are in an “anti-incumbent mood.” Actually, they seem to be especially aggrieved about Democratic incumbents — otherwise Democrats wouldn’t be at risk of losing control of the House.

No love among the Democratic base for party switcher Arlen Specter: he falls nine points behind Joe Sestak in the latest Suffolk University poll.

No relief for the Democrats in Illinois, as Mob banker Alexi Giannoulias declared that “we didn’t need wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” I’m thinking Obama is going to write off this seat and not appear next to Giannoulias. Some candidates just can’t be saved, and why give the president’s 2012 opponent footage for campaign ads?

No indication that Republicans are extinct in New England: “The U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire looks largely the same way it has for months, with two of the three top Republican candidates holding double-digit leads over Democratic hopeful Paul Hodes. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in New Hampshire shows former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte at 50% for the second month in a row, with Hodes earning 38% support. Three percent (3%) favor some other candidate, and nine percent(9%) are undecided.”

No better example of the farce that is the UN: Libya has been elected to the Human Rights Council.

No “reset” here: “Calling Hamas ‘a terror organization in every way,’ Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it was ‘deeply disappointed’ that [President Dmitry] Medvedev met the group’s exiled leader Khaled Meshal during a visit to Syria this week. Russia, the United States, European Union and the United Nations make up a quartet of Middle East mediators. The U.S., EU and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group. Russia insists that Hamas should not be isolated.”

No love lost between Jeffrey Goldberg and the obsessed Beagle Blogger: Goldberg looks at “whether it is right for a journalist working for an institution that prides itself on careful journalism to float rumors about a public figure’s sexual orientation.” But if an institution houses such a “journalist,” does it really pride itself on careful journalism?

No kidding: “The White House was more focused on victory than on any plan in particular, and — once the battle had been engaged — than in the details of the plan,” writes Ben Smith on ObamaCare.

“No surprise,” says Glenn Reynolds about this: “College students taking racial and ethnic studies courses have lower respect for members of other groups.”

“No question,” says Nancy Pelosi about how voters are in an “anti-incumbent mood.” Actually, they seem to be especially aggrieved about Democratic incumbents — otherwise Democrats wouldn’t be at risk of losing control of the House.

No love among the Democratic base for party switcher Arlen Specter: he falls nine points behind Joe Sestak in the latest Suffolk University poll.

No relief for the Democrats in Illinois, as Mob banker Alexi Giannoulias declared that “we didn’t need wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” I’m thinking Obama is going to write off this seat and not appear next to Giannoulias. Some candidates just can’t be saved, and why give the president’s 2012 opponent footage for campaign ads?

No indication that Republicans are extinct in New England: “The U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire looks largely the same way it has for months, with two of the three top Republican candidates holding double-digit leads over Democratic hopeful Paul Hodes. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in New Hampshire shows former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte at 50% for the second month in a row, with Hodes earning 38% support. Three percent (3%) favor some other candidate, and nine percent(9%) are undecided.”

No better example of the farce that is the UN: Libya has been elected to the Human Rights Council.

No “reset” here: “Calling Hamas ‘a terror organization in every way,’ Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it was ‘deeply disappointed’ that [President Dmitry] Medvedev met the group’s exiled leader Khaled Meshal during a visit to Syria this week. Russia, the United States, European Union and the United Nations make up a quartet of Middle East mediators. The U.S., EU and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group. Russia insists that Hamas should not be isolated.”

No love lost between Jeffrey Goldberg and the obsessed Beagle Blogger: Goldberg looks at “whether it is right for a journalist working for an institution that prides itself on careful journalism to float rumors about a public figure’s sexual orientation.” But if an institution houses such a “journalist,” does it really pride itself on careful journalism?

Read Less




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