Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 9, 2010

Deliberate Nonfeasance at the DOJ

If this article is even half true, it should be a major scandal and pretty much proof positive that the Obama Justice Department is totally politicized.

The so-called Motor Voter Law of 1993 (a time when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency) requires states to provide voter registration materials at many state offices, such as state departments of motor vehicles and welfare offices. Also, it requires the states to purge their voter rolls of the dead, felons, people who have moved, and others not eligible to vote.

According to J. Christopher Adams, who recently resigned from the DOJ and has been testifying in front of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission — which the department had forbidden him to do when he was an employee, despite a subpoena — the Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes told the Voting Rights Section at a meeting that, “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”

Nothing equivocal about that. Indeed, it’s a plain and simple statement that the Obama Justice Department intends to commit nonfeasance regarding the enforcement of this provision of a duly enacted law. But that, of course, puts Ms. Fernandes and her boss, Eric Holder, in flat violation of their oaths of office:

I (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Enforcing the law is, perhaps, the prime duty of the Department of Justice.

The only reason I can think of why the DOJ would not want to purge the voter rolls of the names of those ineligible to vote is to make voter fraud as easy to accomplish as possible.

Chicago politics indeed.

If this article is even half true, it should be a major scandal and pretty much proof positive that the Obama Justice Department is totally politicized.

The so-called Motor Voter Law of 1993 (a time when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency) requires states to provide voter registration materials at many state offices, such as state departments of motor vehicles and welfare offices. Also, it requires the states to purge their voter rolls of the dead, felons, people who have moved, and others not eligible to vote.

According to J. Christopher Adams, who recently resigned from the DOJ and has been testifying in front of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission — which the department had forbidden him to do when he was an employee, despite a subpoena — the Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes told the Voting Rights Section at a meeting that, “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”

Nothing equivocal about that. Indeed, it’s a plain and simple statement that the Obama Justice Department intends to commit nonfeasance regarding the enforcement of this provision of a duly enacted law. But that, of course, puts Ms. Fernandes and her boss, Eric Holder, in flat violation of their oaths of office:

I (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Enforcing the law is, perhaps, the prime duty of the Department of Justice.

The only reason I can think of why the DOJ would not want to purge the voter rolls of the names of those ineligible to vote is to make voter fraud as easy to accomplish as possible.

Chicago politics indeed.

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RE: Israelis Are Racists, and Besides, Some of My Best Political Hacks Are Jews

Jen, I wanted to weigh in on the story in Haaretz as well, the one that reports:

During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that “some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”

“Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said.

“I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West,” Obama went on to say.

These statements combine some of Obama’s worst traits: arrogance, condescension, and detachment from reality.

Obama regards himself much like a teacher who oversees a classroom of sometimes unruly, sometimes dim-witted children. His magnificence is sometimes hidden from them. And so it is left for America’s philosopher-king to explain — in simply, easy-to-understand words — why things are the way they are.

In this instance, the anxiety Israel feels toward for Obama is not rooted in his unwise policies or his disgraceful past treatment of the Israeli prime minister. No, the cause is Obama’s middle name.

In addition, Israelis are a bit too dull to see the miracles that have resulted from Barack the Great’s outreach to the “Muslim world.”

The truth is that whatever Obama’s outreach to the Muslim community is designed to do, it has — as Jen points out — been a complete failure. Israel’s wariness toward Obama is rooted in his pursuit of an agenda that is as harmful to Israel. But all of this is beyond the realm of comprehension for Obama. For him, it all comes down to his middle name. We have rarely, if ever, seen self-delusion on a scale quite like this.

Jen, I wanted to weigh in on the story in Haaretz as well, the one that reports:

During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that “some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”

“Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said.

“I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West,” Obama went on to say.

These statements combine some of Obama’s worst traits: arrogance, condescension, and detachment from reality.

Obama regards himself much like a teacher who oversees a classroom of sometimes unruly, sometimes dim-witted children. His magnificence is sometimes hidden from them. And so it is left for America’s philosopher-king to explain — in simply, easy-to-understand words — why things are the way they are.

In this instance, the anxiety Israel feels toward for Obama is not rooted in his unwise policies or his disgraceful past treatment of the Israeli prime minister. No, the cause is Obama’s middle name.

In addition, Israelis are a bit too dull to see the miracles that have resulted from Barack the Great’s outreach to the “Muslim world.”

The truth is that whatever Obama’s outreach to the Muslim community is designed to do, it has — as Jen points out — been a complete failure. Israel’s wariness toward Obama is rooted in his pursuit of an agenda that is as harmful to Israel. But all of this is beyond the realm of comprehension for Obama. For him, it all comes down to his middle name. We have rarely, if ever, seen self-delusion on a scale quite like this.

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Obama’s “False Narrative”

Dan Balz of the Washington Post has written an article on President Obama’s dismal standing among independents (it stands at 38 percent approval according to Gallup, an 18-point difference from a year ago). Balz quotes both Republican and Democratic strategists in searching for the reason for this perilous polling condition: high unemployment, an unpopular health-care law, bigger government, a liberal governing agenda, lack of bipartisanship, and the inability to change the culture of Washington. And then we find this:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said that the criticism of Obama as a big-spending liberal grows out of decisions the president felt he had to make to prevent a depression. “We were forced to do things from the start to deal with this economic crisis that helped create a false narrative about spending and deficits that’s had some impact on independent voters,” Axelrod said. “And that’s something we have to work on.”

Ah, yes, there’s that darn False Narrative again.

According to the True Narrative, Obama the Great acted with wisdom and courage to forestall another Great Depression. The charges of profligate spending have been manufactured out of thin air. The stimulus package has been a spectacular success. ObamaCare will bend the cost curve down. The economy is doing swimmingly. The outreach to the Muslim world has led to unprecedented breakthroughs. Nation after nation — Iran, Turkey, Russia, China, Brazil, Venezuela — are bending to Obama’s will. And all the problems America faces — from nearly 10 percent unemployment to polarization to acne among teens — are owing to Obama’s predecessor.

Yet because the Forces of Darkness so thoroughly and completely control the media and dominate the messaging wars — because Republicans have such fantastic spokesmen as RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Democrats have no bully pulpits available to them — Obama has become massively unpopular among independents. The White House, you see, has a message problem, but no other. Once they get their message out better, Obama will once again stride atop the political world.

Within the walls of the White House, it seems, Barack Obama is still viewed by people like Mr. Axelrod as a near-mythical figure. To much of the rest of the nation, he appears to be presiding over a failing presidency. If Obama and his top advisers persist in their self-delusion — which is unusual even for those working in a profession (politics) prone to self-delusion — they and their party are going to face, sooner or later, a brutal awakening.

Dan Balz of the Washington Post has written an article on President Obama’s dismal standing among independents (it stands at 38 percent approval according to Gallup, an 18-point difference from a year ago). Balz quotes both Republican and Democratic strategists in searching for the reason for this perilous polling condition: high unemployment, an unpopular health-care law, bigger government, a liberal governing agenda, lack of bipartisanship, and the inability to change the culture of Washington. And then we find this:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said that the criticism of Obama as a big-spending liberal grows out of decisions the president felt he had to make to prevent a depression. “We were forced to do things from the start to deal with this economic crisis that helped create a false narrative about spending and deficits that’s had some impact on independent voters,” Axelrod said. “And that’s something we have to work on.”

Ah, yes, there’s that darn False Narrative again.

According to the True Narrative, Obama the Great acted with wisdom and courage to forestall another Great Depression. The charges of profligate spending have been manufactured out of thin air. The stimulus package has been a spectacular success. ObamaCare will bend the cost curve down. The economy is doing swimmingly. The outreach to the Muslim world has led to unprecedented breakthroughs. Nation after nation — Iran, Turkey, Russia, China, Brazil, Venezuela — are bending to Obama’s will. And all the problems America faces — from nearly 10 percent unemployment to polarization to acne among teens — are owing to Obama’s predecessor.

Yet because the Forces of Darkness so thoroughly and completely control the media and dominate the messaging wars — because Republicans have such fantastic spokesmen as RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Democrats have no bully pulpits available to them — Obama has become massively unpopular among independents. The White House, you see, has a message problem, but no other. Once they get their message out better, Obama will once again stride atop the political world.

Within the walls of the White House, it seems, Barack Obama is still viewed by people like Mr. Axelrod as a near-mythical figure. To much of the rest of the nation, he appears to be presiding over a failing presidency. If Obama and his top advisers persist in their self-delusion — which is unusual even for those working in a profession (politics) prone to self-delusion — they and their party are going to face, sooner or later, a brutal awakening.

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In Brief

One liners are no substitute for a well-thought-out argument or sound judgment. But sometimes they do hit home, summing up months of political debate. Two today caught my eye.

From Sarah Palin: “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can see it from my house. It’s the midterm elections in November.” She scores double points for the self-deprecating humor (notice how much better that works than complaining about the media).

And a friend points out to me Fred Thompson’s Facebook comment: “President Obama said that the U.S. and Israel share an ‘unbreakable’ bond. Obama should know. He’s been trying to break it for months.” If only American Jewry were as savvy — and as candid.

If conservatives can maintain their humor and their focus as well as these two, they — and the country — will do just fine.

One liners are no substitute for a well-thought-out argument or sound judgment. But sometimes they do hit home, summing up months of political debate. Two today caught my eye.

From Sarah Palin: “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can see it from my house. It’s the midterm elections in November.” She scores double points for the self-deprecating humor (notice how much better that works than complaining about the media).

And a friend points out to me Fred Thompson’s Facebook comment: “President Obama said that the U.S. and Israel share an ‘unbreakable’ bond. Obama should know. He’s been trying to break it for months.” If only American Jewry were as savvy — and as candid.

If conservatives can maintain their humor and their focus as well as these two, they — and the country — will do just fine.

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Holder Sticks to His Guns

Attorney General Eric Holder is nothing if not persistent. Despite the logistical, national security, budgetary and political problems, he still wants a public trial for KSM. Politico notes:

The AG said the civilian court system “has proven effective in a wide range of cases over the last 200 years. Why can’t we use that system?” Asked about holding such a trial in Virginia, Holder said “there are any number of possibilities” that state, local and federal officials are discussing. … Holder’s continued support for a civilian trial isn’t a surprise, but it’s mildly surprising he’d state his personal view while the issue is still under review at the White House. Some press accounts have suggested that virtually all of Obama’s top advisers have advised him to reject Holder’s counsel.

There are three possibilities here. Holder could be off the reservation and about to “spend more time with his family” after the midterms. Holder could be letting the official policy (KSM goes to trial in a civilian court in a state Obama has no hope of winning in 2012) slip out, which the administration doesn’t have the nerve to announce before the midterms. Or, it may be that the administration has decided it’s lunacy to try KSM in civilian court and Holder is there to keep the loony left’s hopes alive — and prevent a complete meltdown in Democratic turnout. Each is plausible. But it is shocking that we have an attorney general willing to risk his own credibility and that of the entire Justice Department by spouting such hooey.

Attorney General Eric Holder is nothing if not persistent. Despite the logistical, national security, budgetary and political problems, he still wants a public trial for KSM. Politico notes:

The AG said the civilian court system “has proven effective in a wide range of cases over the last 200 years. Why can’t we use that system?” Asked about holding such a trial in Virginia, Holder said “there are any number of possibilities” that state, local and federal officials are discussing. … Holder’s continued support for a civilian trial isn’t a surprise, but it’s mildly surprising he’d state his personal view while the issue is still under review at the White House. Some press accounts have suggested that virtually all of Obama’s top advisers have advised him to reject Holder’s counsel.

There are three possibilities here. Holder could be off the reservation and about to “spend more time with his family” after the midterms. Holder could be letting the official policy (KSM goes to trial in a civilian court in a state Obama has no hope of winning in 2012) slip out, which the administration doesn’t have the nerve to announce before the midterms. Or, it may be that the administration has decided it’s lunacy to try KSM in civilian court and Holder is there to keep the loony left’s hopes alive — and prevent a complete meltdown in Democratic turnout. Each is plausible. But it is shocking that we have an attorney general willing to risk his own credibility and that of the entire Justice Department by spouting such hooey.

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Cuba Prisoner Release

Regarding Cuba’s announcement that it will release 52 political prisoners, the Washington Post editors explain:

[T]here should be no illusions that this gesture augurs fundamental political change on the island that the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, have ruled with an iron fist since 1959. The Castro regime has a long history of tactical human rights concessions — with the goal of buying time for the regime rather than reforming it. …

The 52 inmates represent fewer than one-third of Cuba’s 167 political prisoners, according to democracy advocate Freedom House. Among prisoners notably not mentioned for release on Wednesday was Alan Gross of Potomac, an Agency for International Development contractor imprisoned in Cuba since December for the crime of distributing cellphones and laptops in Cuba’s tiny Jewish community. And the first five prisoners to be freed reportedly are going to be forced into exile as a condition of their release.

The editors implore Obama not to cough up any modifications in existing sanctions until there is evidence of fundamental political change in Cuba. But the danger is great that the overeager Obami will tout this as a grand success and evidence of the wisdom of their engagement approach and begin to throw goodies at the Castro brothers’ feet while downplaying Cuba’s ongoing human rights atrocities. Democracy promotion, defense of religious liberty, and human rights rank low on the list of Obama’s foreign policy priorities, so he is not inclined to scrutinize Cuba’s conduct on any of these fronts.

In sum, every prisoner freed from a gulag is reason to celebrate, but we should keep our eye on those who still rot in prisons, and on the entire population of Cuba and other thugocracies who live under the heel of despots.

Regarding Cuba’s announcement that it will release 52 political prisoners, the Washington Post editors explain:

[T]here should be no illusions that this gesture augurs fundamental political change on the island that the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raúl, have ruled with an iron fist since 1959. The Castro regime has a long history of tactical human rights concessions — with the goal of buying time for the regime rather than reforming it. …

The 52 inmates represent fewer than one-third of Cuba’s 167 political prisoners, according to democracy advocate Freedom House. Among prisoners notably not mentioned for release on Wednesday was Alan Gross of Potomac, an Agency for International Development contractor imprisoned in Cuba since December for the crime of distributing cellphones and laptops in Cuba’s tiny Jewish community. And the first five prisoners to be freed reportedly are going to be forced into exile as a condition of their release.

The editors implore Obama not to cough up any modifications in existing sanctions until there is evidence of fundamental political change in Cuba. But the danger is great that the overeager Obami will tout this as a grand success and evidence of the wisdom of their engagement approach and begin to throw goodies at the Castro brothers’ feet while downplaying Cuba’s ongoing human rights atrocities. Democracy promotion, defense of religious liberty, and human rights rank low on the list of Obama’s foreign policy priorities, so he is not inclined to scrutinize Cuba’s conduct on any of these fronts.

In sum, every prisoner freed from a gulag is reason to celebrate, but we should keep our eye on those who still rot in prisons, and on the entire population of Cuba and other thugocracies who live under the heel of despots.

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You Can’t Fire the Star of a One-Man Show

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks that whoever has been responsible for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy should be fired. He runs through the possibilities — Emanuel, Axelrod, Mitchell, Clinton, Jones — but realizes the problem may go higher:

The more we find out about who makes decisions in the White House on every subject from nuclear weapons to coloring of Easter eggs, it turns out to be the man in the Oval Office himself. He’s the expert. He’s the decider. He invites everyone to state his or her piece or peace, then he tells them what to do — and seemingly without question, they do his bidding.

Gelb writes that Obama entered office with a “near-zero base of foreign-policy knowledge and no experience in the Middle East,” demanded a pre-negotiation halt to West Bank construction, to which “no Israeli leader, even a dovish one” would ever agree, adopted the “brilliant tactic” of publicly humiliating Israel’s prime minister (not even shaking his hand at the end of the prior meeting), and “only made matters worse” this week by appearing as if he were cowed by domestic politics into treating Netanyahu well. Gelb concludes that Obama needs new advisers.

That is a little like blaming the bit players for the failures of a one-man show.

The problem has been more than a staffing issue. Over the past year, Netanyahu (1) formed a coalition government with parties to both his right and left, (2) proposed immediate negotiations with no preconditions, (3) formally endorsed a two-state solution (as long as one of them is Jewish and the other is demilitarized), (4) removed scores of West Bank roadblocks and checkpoints, (5) implemented an unprecedented settlement moratorium, and (6) plans even more gestures to the perpetually confidence-impaired Palestinians to encourage them to join negotiations to give them a state.

During the same period, the Palestinians have been unwilling to commence direct negotiations unless Israel first conceded the principal issues to be negotiated, and Obama has acted as if he were the Palestinians’ attorney – not bound by U.S. commitments to Israel (the 2004 Bush letter), ignoring longstanding understandings on the meaning of a settlement freeze, manufacturing a crisis about future Jewish housing in the Jewish area of the capital of the Jewish state, voting for a UN resolution singling out Israel on its most sensitive defense issue, etc.

It is good that there was a tectonic shift in atmospherics this week. But it is remarkable that it is considered an achievement that, unlike last time, Israel’s prime minister was allowed to (1) enter the White House during business hours, (2) have a photo opportunity, (3) speak briefly at a press availability, (4) receive a meal, and (5) be treated courteously on his departure. It is an indication of how bad the script of this one-man show has been.

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks that whoever has been responsible for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy should be fired. He runs through the possibilities — Emanuel, Axelrod, Mitchell, Clinton, Jones — but realizes the problem may go higher:

The more we find out about who makes decisions in the White House on every subject from nuclear weapons to coloring of Easter eggs, it turns out to be the man in the Oval Office himself. He’s the expert. He’s the decider. He invites everyone to state his or her piece or peace, then he tells them what to do — and seemingly without question, they do his bidding.

Gelb writes that Obama entered office with a “near-zero base of foreign-policy knowledge and no experience in the Middle East,” demanded a pre-negotiation halt to West Bank construction, to which “no Israeli leader, even a dovish one” would ever agree, adopted the “brilliant tactic” of publicly humiliating Israel’s prime minister (not even shaking his hand at the end of the prior meeting), and “only made matters worse” this week by appearing as if he were cowed by domestic politics into treating Netanyahu well. Gelb concludes that Obama needs new advisers.

That is a little like blaming the bit players for the failures of a one-man show.

The problem has been more than a staffing issue. Over the past year, Netanyahu (1) formed a coalition government with parties to both his right and left, (2) proposed immediate negotiations with no preconditions, (3) formally endorsed a two-state solution (as long as one of them is Jewish and the other is demilitarized), (4) removed scores of West Bank roadblocks and checkpoints, (5) implemented an unprecedented settlement moratorium, and (6) plans even more gestures to the perpetually confidence-impaired Palestinians to encourage them to join negotiations to give them a state.

During the same period, the Palestinians have been unwilling to commence direct negotiations unless Israel first conceded the principal issues to be negotiated, and Obama has acted as if he were the Palestinians’ attorney – not bound by U.S. commitments to Israel (the 2004 Bush letter), ignoring longstanding understandings on the meaning of a settlement freeze, manufacturing a crisis about future Jewish housing in the Jewish area of the capital of the Jewish state, voting for a UN resolution singling out Israel on its most sensitive defense issue, etc.

It is good that there was a tectonic shift in atmospherics this week. But it is remarkable that it is considered an achievement that, unlike last time, Israel’s prime minister was allowed to (1) enter the White House during business hours, (2) have a photo opportunity, (3) speak briefly at a press availability, (4) receive a meal, and (5) be treated courteously on his departure. It is an indication of how bad the script of this one-man show has been.

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Israelis Are Racists, and Besides, Some of My Best Political Hacks Are Jews

That’s the essence of  what Obama said about his pathetically low standing among Israelis:

During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that “some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”

“Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said.

“I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West,” Obama went on to say.

This actually isn’t new. His “Hussein” line was used repeatedly during the campaign to pooh-pooh Jews’ unease about Obama and the 20 years he spent in a rabid anti-Semite’s church. But now that he is preisdent it is cringe-inducing that he would accuse the Israeli people of bigotry and blame them for his lack of connection to the Jewish state. It never dawns on the White House — which told American Jews to go self-reflect about their views on Israel – that it is their own policies and rhetoric that have convinced Israelis not to trust the U.S. president. In any event, you can see why he isn’t planning to go to Israel anytime soon. He doesn’t exactly bowl them over with charm, does he?

And by the way, has that Muslim outreach reduced antagonism to the Jewish state? It seems as though the UN Human Rights Council, the EU, the UN, and the Muslim world are all more antagonistic than ever toward Israel. That is what comes from the U.S. president’s public bashing of Israel. It is what inevitably follows when an administration goes to great lengths to put daylight between the U.S. and the Jewish state. You see, no nation one can be less hostile to the Jewish state than the U.S.

One other interesting note: Obama says of the prospect that Israel might surprise the U.S. with a unilateral attack on Iran: “I think the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is sufficiently strong that neither of us try to surprise each other, but we try to coordinate on issues of mutual concern.” Coming from the president who escalated a routine housing permit into an international incident, this is rich. And given his lack of sympathy for the Jewish state, one wonders just how much advanced notice would be advisable for Israel to give to the U.S. if it were compelled to attack Iran because the U.S. refuses to do so.

That’s the essence of  what Obama said about his pathetically low standing among Israelis:

During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that “some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”

“Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said.

“I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West,” Obama went on to say.

This actually isn’t new. His “Hussein” line was used repeatedly during the campaign to pooh-pooh Jews’ unease about Obama and the 20 years he spent in a rabid anti-Semite’s church. But now that he is preisdent it is cringe-inducing that he would accuse the Israeli people of bigotry and blame them for his lack of connection to the Jewish state. It never dawns on the White House — which told American Jews to go self-reflect about their views on Israel – that it is their own policies and rhetoric that have convinced Israelis not to trust the U.S. president. In any event, you can see why he isn’t planning to go to Israel anytime soon. He doesn’t exactly bowl them over with charm, does he?

And by the way, has that Muslim outreach reduced antagonism to the Jewish state? It seems as though the UN Human Rights Council, the EU, the UN, and the Muslim world are all more antagonistic than ever toward Israel. That is what comes from the U.S. president’s public bashing of Israel. It is what inevitably follows when an administration goes to great lengths to put daylight between the U.S. and the Jewish state. You see, no nation one can be less hostile to the Jewish state than the U.S.

One other interesting note: Obama says of the prospect that Israel might surprise the U.S. with a unilateral attack on Iran: “I think the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is sufficiently strong that neither of us try to surprise each other, but we try to coordinate on issues of mutual concern.” Coming from the president who escalated a routine housing permit into an international incident, this is rich. And given his lack of sympathy for the Jewish state, one wonders just how much advanced notice would be advisable for Israel to give to the U.S. if it were compelled to attack Iran because the U.S. refuses to do so.

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No Good News for Democrats

There is no good news for the Democrats in this survey and analysis by James Carville and Stan Greenberg (h/t Taegan Goddard). For starters, they find a six-point lead for the GOP in their generic congressional poll. Republicans have the advantage on the economy and on jobs, a majority have an unfavorable view of Obama’s job performance (most of which sentiment is attributable to health care and jobs), more voters favor tax cuts over spending to stimulate the economy, and on and on it goes. Their advice is nothing short of a repudiation of the Obama record:

With the recovery barely visible and Democrats still behind on the economy, progressives should not seek a mandate based on their performance, but on their advocacy for ordinary people versus Wall Street and on where they want to take the country, compared to the Republicans. Democratic candidates should run as outsiders and independents that battle to change Washington. They should show their passion for jobs, the economy and middle class.

There are a few problems with all that, of course. To begin with, what are the Democrats who aren’t outsiders, and who have shown no independence from the Reid-Pelosi-Obama line, going to do? And it might not be a good idea to bring up jobs, given that there are so many unemployed and that this has now become a Republican issue.

You can hardly blame Carville and Greenberg, however. What are they supposed to say to fellow Democrats – “Many of you are going to lose but life after public office isn’t so bad” ? That would at least have the advantage of candor.

There is no good news for the Democrats in this survey and analysis by James Carville and Stan Greenberg (h/t Taegan Goddard). For starters, they find a six-point lead for the GOP in their generic congressional poll. Republicans have the advantage on the economy and on jobs, a majority have an unfavorable view of Obama’s job performance (most of which sentiment is attributable to health care and jobs), more voters favor tax cuts over spending to stimulate the economy, and on and on it goes. Their advice is nothing short of a repudiation of the Obama record:

With the recovery barely visible and Democrats still behind on the economy, progressives should not seek a mandate based on their performance, but on their advocacy for ordinary people versus Wall Street and on where they want to take the country, compared to the Republicans. Democratic candidates should run as outsiders and independents that battle to change Washington. They should show their passion for jobs, the economy and middle class.

There are a few problems with all that, of course. To begin with, what are the Democrats who aren’t outsiders, and who have shown no independence from the Reid-Pelosi-Obama line, going to do? And it might not be a good idea to bring up jobs, given that there are so many unemployed and that this has now become a Republican issue.

You can hardly blame Carville and Greenberg, however. What are they supposed to say to fellow Democrats – “Many of you are going to lose but life after public office isn’t so bad” ? That would at least have the advantage of candor.

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PETA Red Cards an Octopus

PETA is a bunch of spoilsports. They hate zoos, aquariums, and especially circuses. They don’t approve of the term “pet owner,” because, well, I’m not sure why. But now they’ve gone too far:

Free Paul.

That’s the message the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sending to the owners of Paul the octopus, who has gained worldwide recognition for correctly picking the teams that would win matches during the World Cup.

“It is extremely thankless, imprisoning the intelligent octopus in order to use it as an oracle,” marine biologist Dr. Tanja Breining of PETA said in a release on the PETA Germany website.

Octopuses are “capable of complex thought processes, they have short- and long-term memories, use tools, learn by observation, show different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,” Breining said.

But how do they know Paul isn’t having the time of his life? After all, he seems to know more about soccer than most ESPN analysts:

To get two-year-old Paul to pick a winner, two boxes are lowered into his tank. Both boxes sport a competing country’s flag and have food inside. The box Paul opens first is the team predicted to win. Paul is rarely wrong and predicted Spain would beat Germany in the semi-final match Wednesday.

Enough of all that, says the PETA gang. They’d rather he died in the wild, soccerless and defenseless:

A Sea Life spokeswoman told news agency AFP that releasing Paul would be a bad idea.”Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,” she said. “It is highly likely that he would die.”

Perhaps the PETA people should be released into the wild and leave Paul to his great joy, picking soccer winners. Do you think he does midterm elections?

PETA is a bunch of spoilsports. They hate zoos, aquariums, and especially circuses. They don’t approve of the term “pet owner,” because, well, I’m not sure why. But now they’ve gone too far:

Free Paul.

That’s the message the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sending to the owners of Paul the octopus, who has gained worldwide recognition for correctly picking the teams that would win matches during the World Cup.

“It is extremely thankless, imprisoning the intelligent octopus in order to use it as an oracle,” marine biologist Dr. Tanja Breining of PETA said in a release on the PETA Germany website.

Octopuses are “capable of complex thought processes, they have short- and long-term memories, use tools, learn by observation, show different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,” Breining said.

But how do they know Paul isn’t having the time of his life? After all, he seems to know more about soccer than most ESPN analysts:

To get two-year-old Paul to pick a winner, two boxes are lowered into his tank. Both boxes sport a competing country’s flag and have food inside. The box Paul opens first is the team predicted to win. Paul is rarely wrong and predicted Spain would beat Germany in the semi-final match Wednesday.

Enough of all that, says the PETA gang. They’d rather he died in the wild, soccerless and defenseless:

A Sea Life spokeswoman told news agency AFP that releasing Paul would be a bad idea.”Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,” she said. “It is highly likely that he would die.”

Perhaps the PETA people should be released into the wild and leave Paul to his great joy, picking soccer winners. Do you think he does midterm elections?

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Flotsam and Jetsam

How dumb does Obama think businessmen are? “The White House has launched a coordinated campaign to push back against the perception taking hold in corporate America and on Wall Street that President Barack Obama is promoting an anti-business agenda.” Besides, wasn’t his populist, anti–Wall Street rhetoric supposed to be the key to minimizing midterm losses?

How upset do you think the White House is that the West Virginia governor has put another Senate seat at risk? “West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) cleared the way for Gov. Joe Manchin (D) to call a November 2010 special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) seat. The legal opinion McGraw issued Thursday did not give a specific timeline for a special election, but suggests using the already scheduled election this November.”

How slow do you think things are in Washington if the Politico forum is about whether Sarah Palin should replace Michael Steele? Yeah, like she needs, or would ever contemplate taking, that job.

How nervous do you think this Sarah Palin ad made the 2012 GOP contenders? Whatever you think of her, the ad is really good.

How much weight do you think the neo-isolationists and paleo-conservatives have in the GOP? Not much right now if Ann Coulter and Ron Paul are the only pro–Michael Steele voices. But Republicans should be wary — there is always the temptation to pull up the drawbridge.

How angry do you think Americans will be with Obama when they realize this? (More than they already are, that is): “After nearly a decade of federal tax cuts, Americans could awaken New Year’s Day with a whopper of a hangover. Breaks covering everything from child tax credits to the death tax are set to expire that day, less than six months from now, bringing higher payments for nearly every American who pays taxes. ‘We’ve never in history seen anything quite like this, where such a major portion of the tax code is set to expire on a single date and affect so many Americans all at once,’ said Scott Hodge, president of The Tax Foundation, a Washington nonprofit that tracks tax policies.”

How much trouble do you think Obama is in when Ruth Marcus sounds like John Podhoretz?

How many GOP 2012 candidates do you think will take this smart advice on immigration reform from Charles Krauthammer?It seems to me that the Republicans ought to argue enforcement first — and then a very generous, open and humane solution for those already here.” Not enough, I fear.

How dumb does Obama think businessmen are? “The White House has launched a coordinated campaign to push back against the perception taking hold in corporate America and on Wall Street that President Barack Obama is promoting an anti-business agenda.” Besides, wasn’t his populist, anti–Wall Street rhetoric supposed to be the key to minimizing midterm losses?

How upset do you think the White House is that the West Virginia governor has put another Senate seat at risk? “West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) cleared the way for Gov. Joe Manchin (D) to call a November 2010 special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) seat. The legal opinion McGraw issued Thursday did not give a specific timeline for a special election, but suggests using the already scheduled election this November.”

How slow do you think things are in Washington if the Politico forum is about whether Sarah Palin should replace Michael Steele? Yeah, like she needs, or would ever contemplate taking, that job.

How nervous do you think this Sarah Palin ad made the 2012 GOP contenders? Whatever you think of her, the ad is really good.

How much weight do you think the neo-isolationists and paleo-conservatives have in the GOP? Not much right now if Ann Coulter and Ron Paul are the only pro–Michael Steele voices. But Republicans should be wary — there is always the temptation to pull up the drawbridge.

How angry do you think Americans will be with Obama when they realize this? (More than they already are, that is): “After nearly a decade of federal tax cuts, Americans could awaken New Year’s Day with a whopper of a hangover. Breaks covering everything from child tax credits to the death tax are set to expire that day, less than six months from now, bringing higher payments for nearly every American who pays taxes. ‘We’ve never in history seen anything quite like this, where such a major portion of the tax code is set to expire on a single date and affect so many Americans all at once,’ said Scott Hodge, president of The Tax Foundation, a Washington nonprofit that tracks tax policies.”

How much trouble do you think Obama is in when Ruth Marcus sounds like John Podhoretz?

How many GOP 2012 candidates do you think will take this smart advice on immigration reform from Charles Krauthammer?It seems to me that the Republicans ought to argue enforcement first — and then a very generous, open and humane solution for those already here.” Not enough, I fear.

Read Less




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