Last week reader Martin Vaala forwarded the poem below to us. At the time I thought it might be too harsh, and it may be, but it might also be just about right. It captures something about the frivolous quality of the dilettante who is our president, or so it seems to me at the moment. You be the judge: Blood on my hands From Africa to Washington to Oklahoma If I had a son He would look like Chelsea Manning He’s almost as prissy Not much less the fool O.
Bashar Assad won Round 1, and there probably won’t be a Round 2. The momentum toward punishing the Syrian regime, payback for what everyone agrees are war crimes and crimes against humanity, has dissipated. Momentum blunted is difficult to recover. Through leaks, winks and nudges, President Obama first did a reasonably persuasive imitation of Sylvester Stallone and the Terminator, as the bold and decisive man of war bubbling with testosterone. He sounded as if he were trying to remind the world of George H.W. Bush who on the eve of the campaign to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, famously cried: “This
Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones must get a county permit to use Loyce E. Harpe Park near Mulberry for his Sept. 11 protest burning of 2,998 Qurans, Polk County officials said Thursday. Jones said he´ll apply for a facility use agreement, but he´s not expecting the county to approve it. That won´t deter him from moving ahead with his plans, he said. "Quite honestly, we all know what this application means," Jones said Thursday. "It´s a way for them not to approve it. We´ll fill out the application, but we´re also going to proceed with our event."
The 11-year-old son of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hafez, has reportedly goaded the US to strike Syria in a Facebook post. "I just want them to attack soooo much," Hafez al-Assad allegedly wrote, "because I want them to make this huge attack of beginning something that they don´t know the end of it." Whether the profile is real or not has not been confirmed -- but The New York Times has put forward evidence backing its authenticity. The Times notes it has been "Liked" and commented on by people who appear to be the children and grandchildren of senior members
A small-town education chief in Indonesia made headlines last week after he reportedly planned to impose mandatory virginity tests on female students entering high school. He cited concerns over premarital sex and teen prostitution as the reason. But H.M. Rasyid, the Education Agency chief of Prabumulih, a town in South Sumatra province, wasn’t saying anything Indonesians hadn’t heard before. In recent years, other figures have argued for virginity tests — an invasive, humiliating procedure that is based on pseudo science — including a provincial legislator in eastern Sumatra in 2010 and a district chief in western Java in 2007.
Phyllis Chesler has had a curious career. Back in the 1970s, along with Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Kate Millett, and company, she was a leading “second-wave” feminist, whose 1972 book Women and Madness sold 2.5 million copies. Yet, in some respects, she always differed from her activist sisters. For one thing, she didn’t idealize non-Western cultures, or seem deluded into thinking that she and her fellow middle- and upper-class American women were the most oppressed creatures on earth. For another, she didn’t hate men. On the contrary, far from buying into the notion that women are morally superior to men
A speech at the Lincoln Memorial, on the 50th anniversary of perhaps the greatest American speech since Lincoln breathed his last, is a speechwriter’s nightmare. It is comparable to crafting Memorial Day remarks for delivery at Gettysburg, or coming up with a new angle for a speech at Pointe du Hoc. The historical stage is already fully occupied. It is like lighting a bonfire on the surface of the sun. The Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech was not only an example of skilled rhetoric; it was also a moment of culmination. It was the culmination of a
"We will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away." That was President Obama selling ObamaCare in 2009, and it was a promise he repeated on numerous occasions. As recently as this spring, Obama claimed that "for the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance ... they don´t have to worry about anything else." But this week, a survey of big businesses provided additional evidence that it´s a promise Obama won´t be able to keep.
The war drums now reverberate over the Potomac “Humane killer” appears to be an oxymoron that startles with contradiction. Yet talking of war is a way of drawing a fine distinction, not a contradiction. The civilized world clarifies an understanding of how civilized man can kill an enemy while separating human from inhumane. When Syrian President Bashar Assad turned poison gas against the rebels and their families, everyone could agree that even in a civil war, where passions burn hottest, that’s inhumane and not forgivable. The harsh and mechanical reporting of war rarely invites poetry to make a correspondent’s points, but a reader
Foreign policy grants American presidents almost supernatural powers. From thousands of miles away, they can mobilize fleets and squadrons at a whim, sometimes killing without risking a single soldier´s life. But foreign policy can also become a curse, with an equally mystical ability to ruin a presidency. Barack Obama learned that lesson watching his predecessor wage what Obama famously called "a dumb war" of choice in Iraq. His opposition to the invasion launched the one-term Senator´s first presidential run, and he arrived in the White House with a clear vision of a humbler America narrowly focused on core interests, like
The National Journal must be choking on its bile. It has had to acknowledge that the Republicans have been right about Obamacare. Republicans have long blamed President Obama’s signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the “Unaffordable Care Act.” Turns out, they might be right. For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.
Having leaked to the world, and thus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a detailed briefing of the coming U.S. air attack on Syria — (1) the source (offshore warships and perhaps a bomber or two), (2) the weapon (cruise missiles), (3) the duration (two or three days), (4) the purpose (punishment, not “regime change”) — perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall, lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus. So much for the element of surprise. Into his third year of dithering, two years after declaring Assad had to go, one year after drawing — then erasing
My last post was more negative against the evidence used by those who believe President Obama must seek support in Congress before any strikes against Syria. Let me add more positive arguments in support of the idea that the president’s commander-in-chief and executive powers, granted in Article II of the Constitution, give him the authority to use force abroad. A broader, more sophisticated account of the history of the Framing of the Constitution undermines the simple claim, made by Representatives Amash and Nadler and Senator Paul, that the Framers would want Congress to have the power over war because they
David Cameron’s defeat in the Commons delivered a second serious embarrassment to US-UK relations, with American officials already “livid” with the British, according to Western diplomatic sources at the United Nations. But the White House made clear they would not change course in light of the Commons vote. “The President believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States, and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for Mr Obama’s National Security Council. US officials also said they would not be constrained by the collapse
I was thinking about the Miley Cyrus kerfuffle the other night while watching a Duck Dynasty marathon. I´m a recent convert to the show, being wary of most of what falls under the category "reality show." One can never be sure when treading into the dark waters of so-called "reality" TV that Miss Kay is at all different from Mama June. Miley is taking a bit of a beating for her performance on MTV´s Video Music Awards. While the backlash is understandable -- she is an adult and therefore responsible for her own behavior -- did she really even stand a
The recent explosion of black-on-white vicious and hateful killings -- the murder of thirteen-month-old Antonio Santiago, the shooting of nurse David Santucci in Memphis, the murder of Australian student Chris Lane, the beating death of elderly veteran Delbert Belton -- have served to put an end to one of the great myths of the civil rights movement: that black leadership would lead the country out of racism into an epoch of national reconciliation. One of the assumptions behind the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s was that black participants (not to overlook their white supporters) had a moral claim
Last November, United Nations human rights investigators accused the Free Syrian Army of war crimes after video emerged showing a group of rebels executing 10 captured government soldiers. The soldiers were videotaped begging for their lives before being executed. In April, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights accused a rebel battalion of torturing civilians and extorting money from them in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo. In May, U.N. human rights investigators heard testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces used the nerve gas sarin, a lead investigator told Reuters. Again in May, a crowd of civilian
A comprehensive disaster like the Obama administration can’t be summed up in one statistic, but the one that comes closest is labor force participation. The combined effect of many misguided policies–Obamacare, ballooning spending, massive debt, tax increases, subsidizing of inefficient energy, anti-growth regulation, encouragement of food stamp fraud, and many more–has been to drive many millions of Americans out of the labor force. Express Employment Professionals has produced a white paper that illuminates this human tragedy: The labor force participation rate is currently at a level not seen since the 1970s – 63.4 percent. While the unemployment rate has steadily
Union front groups turned out hundreds of fast food workers from dozens of cities demanding union representation and $15 minimum wages. Service Employees International Union, one of the largest Democratic special interest groups, and activists with Restaurant Opportunity Center, a nonprofit union front group, inspired the mass demonstrations that closed down fast food joints from New York City to San Francisco. Restaurant advocates blasted the pseudo-populist movement, accusing the activists of representing a fraction of employees at the expense of the majority of workers. “The unions are driving this and they’re using front groups to stage these protests to do things that would
This has been an annoying summer for the Clintons. There was the spectacle of Hillary Clinton´s closest aide Huma Abedin standing by her man, the infantile former Congresspervert Anthony Weiner--an unfortunate reminder of the interns of yesteryear. There was the splashback over whether Lawrence Summers, a former Clinton Treasury Secretary, should become chairman of the Federal Reserve Board--an unfortunate reminder of the feckless Clintonian attitude toward financial deregulation, which led rather directly to the Great Recession of 2008. And to top it off, there was a New York Times exposé of moral and fiscal slovenliness at the Clinton Foundation--an unfortunate
The initial firestorm surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups may have subsided, but tea party leaders say the situation has only become worse and may lead to more lawsuits against the embattled agency. New documents show the depth of information the IRS is seeking from Tea Party Patriots, a leading conservative group that first applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status in late 2010 and one of many organizations singled out for extra scrutiny by the Obama administration. An IRS letter sent to the group last week and obtained by The Washington Times contains a laundry list of requests related to
Love the War Powers Act or hate it, it’s the law of the land. There are those who believe the War Powers Act is unconstitutional – such as all recent presidents - and the Obama administration has refused to say whether it believes the WPA is constitutional. But the fact that a lot of people think a law is unconstitutional does not necessarily make it constitutional. (Right now, many people think Obamacare is unconstitutional, but five Supreme Court justices ruled otherwise.) If it is indeed unconstitutional, it would be good to get the Supreme Court to sort this out tout de
On August 22, the New Mexico supreme court unanimously ruled that a wedding photographer broke the law by refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. While gay rights advocates are celebrating this latest in a string of legal and political victories, the outcome of Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock has alarmed religious liberty advocates. And it could end up having a profound influence on First Amendment jurisprudence. The New Mexico court ruling upheld a previous judgment of the New Mexico Human Rights Commission that Elane Photography would have to pay $6,637 in legal fees to Vanessa Willock, who brought the