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Hillary’s Steak-Out

September 17, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

hillary-clinton-iowa-videoSixteenByNine540How many lies can Hillary tell at one Steak Fry?

At a recent popular annual event in Indianola, Iowa hosted by retiring Senator Tom Harkin, the nation was reminded of just what we’re in for when Hillary 2016 starts barnstorming hamlets and state fairs across the country in support of the candidate’s lifelong goal—connecting on an emotional level with even a single voter.

Before Hillary and Bill fake-grilled steaks in front of supporters, the potential candidate stuffed us full of the following whoppers:

  1. “Good to see you! You guys having a good time? We’re having a good time today.”

No, you’re in the ninth circle of Hell, slumming it with ordinary folks and begging for their votes due to an American electoral quirk that crowns Iowa’s caucus as the first unofficial national Presidential primary. It’s a good thing your dais was so far from the crowd, because if you were any closer, folks’ jaws would drop at the disconnect between your fake grin and your contemptuous eyes.

  1. “Hello, Iowa! I’m back!”

Hillary makes it sound like she was ever really there, or like she ever wants to recall her time in Iowa rather than obliterate it from memory. She was trounced and humiliated by a junior Senator and a pretty-boy philanderer in 2007, and she’d rather be sewing Monica Lewinsky knee pads than revisiting Iowa.

  1. “It really does feel like just yesterday when I was here. As I recall, there was a young senator from Illinois there, and I wonder whatever happened to him.”

Of course Hillary has been thinking nonstop about Obama, grinding her teeth over the fact that the notoriously inexperienced community organizer—who her husband once claimed should be getting real politicians coffee—beat her to the punch solely because she’s so hideously unlikeable. After reluctantly joining his administration, Hillary started counting the days till she could resign as Secretary of State and hop aboard the coattails of the second Commander-in-Chief she’s tried to ride to the Presidency.

  1. “We [Obama and I] went from rivals to partners to friends.”

No, you went from smug condescension toward Obama to venomous enemies to using him as a stepping stone to further your ambitions. You were never partners except in advancing your political careers; and you were never friends, because you’ve never had any real friends, only people you use, people who fawn over you, and people you throw lamps at.

  1. “Under President Obama’s leadership, our economy is on the road to recovery.”

If by “recovery” you mean historic withdrawal of able-bodied workers from the labor force and miserably low levels of job creation, then yes!

  1. “I’ve got a few things on my mind these days.”

You’ve had only one thing on your mind since the day you graduated from Wellesley, which is to be President, President, President, even if you have to eke out victory on your deathbed and run the country for 200 days like President James Garfield, just so you can go down in history as the woman who cracked the glass Presidential ceiling.

  1. “First, and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild alert.”

First and most importantly you’re on constant alert for Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden to get caught up in massive scandals. But perhaps Chelsea’s offspring is second!

  1. “And then of course there’s that other thing. Well, it is true. I am thinking about it. But for today that is not why I am here. I’m here for the steak.”

This may be true. Hillary probably does love steak, or some equally hearty fare.

  1. “Too many people only get excited about presidential campaigns. Look, I get excited about presidential campaigns, too.”

You don’t get excited about Presidential campaigns, you run your marriage, your life, and your hairstyles around them, and your plea to Iowa fans to get excited about the midterms is genuine only in that you care if they’ll help you get elected. If your political strategists calculate that you’ll be more likely to win the Presidency in 2016 with Republicans taking the Senate, then you’ll be scheming behind the scenes to bring about that outcome.

10. “Let’s not let another seven years go by.”

You’d let eternity go by if you never had to walk in a pantsuit through grassy, tick-filled plains with tacky middle Americans gawking and screaming while your husband captures all the attention.

Politicians are by definition artificial, but Hillary Clinton would hold the distinction of being the fakest President ever elected.

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It Takes a Village to Clear the Field for Hillary

September 10, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

130220_christie_kasich_martinez_scott_jindal_haley_mcdonnell_perry_apSuppose you and your buddies were high-ranking political operatives, and you also happened to be a bunch of sleazy Democrats who were desperate for power (but I repeat myself), and you decided to orchestrate a campaign to take out the top Republican contenders for the 2016 Presidential election, one at a time, by making spurious charges that would taint them in the public eye.

You’d want to focus primarily on governors, who have a huge electoral advantage over other officeholders.

Who would you start with? Perhaps you’d pick pension reform pioneer Governor Chris Christie, a moderate Republican who still polls well in his home state of New Jersey and nationally, and who some operatives believed at one point posed the greatest threat to Democrats retaining the White House in 2016.

By and large, though, you’d focus on the more conservative potential candidates, especially popular Republican governors who have had success in their states and built respectable national profiles while more troubled states look to them as governing models.

You might, for example, target Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who—after being elected in 2010 and enacting union reforms that saved his state billions of dollars—survived a recall election in 2011, and then won reelection in 2012 by a bigger margin than in his initial victory.

Or you might target Texas Governor Rick Perry, who presided over 14 years of explosive economic growth and watched residents of neighboring states flock to live and work there, while Democratically-controlled California saw its population dwindle.

While you’re at it, you might set your sights on governors whom the public doesn’t view as top-tier Presidential candidates, but whose besmirching will help sully the GOP’s national image and give you cover for your strategy of clearing the field for 2016. You might, for example, target outgoing Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was voted in during the pre-Tea Party Revolution in 2009.

But which trumped-up charges would you saddle these straight-shooting governors with? Well, if you’re like most Democrats, you’d project your own sins onto your political targets, both because you lack imagination and because you want to throw people off your trail when you perpetrate the exact same crime.

Namely, you’d accuse these governors of political conspiracy.

You’d insist, for example, that Chris Christie just had to have known about the George Washington Bridge lane closings between Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey back in September 2013, which a couple of untrustworthy aides orchestrated as retribution for Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor’s not endorsing Christie. You’d remain unmoved when, after a year of New Jersey and New York District Attorneys and state lawmakers poring over every call and email of Christie’s from the previous year, investigations turned up zero evidence that Christie knew anything about the plot.

Or you might fling convoluted, labyrinthine conspiracy charges at Scott Walker, while hiding under the protection of a “John Doe” investigation that kept your identity anonymous, all while preventing Walker from speaking out to defend himself. You’d accuse him of talking to people who work for groups who do fundraising for organizations that air election ads, or something like that, and you’d expect the charges to stick—even though Walker wasn’t even running in the election in question.

Perhaps you’d launch a successful push to indict Rick Perry, whose crime was refusing to allot taxpayer funds to a Democratic state prosecutor after video surfaced of her being arrested for drunken driving and then harassing and physically abusing police offers and police property while they tried to contain her in her holding cell. Never mind that Perry knew that if he ousted her, she would simply be replaced by another Democrat, and that Perry therefore couldn’t possibly have been plotting to get a Republican into her position.

Then again, maybe you’d sue Bob McDonnell for supposedly conspiring with his wife to accept lavish gifts from a Virginia businessman in exchange for political favors. If the jury didn’t buy McDonnell’s defense that he and his estranged wife weren’t on speaking terms, let alone conspiring terms, then they might not take pause at the fact that the businessman in question never even received the favors he was supposedly angling to get from McDonnell.

Suppose that you and your left-wing conspirators…

You know what? Don’t suppose. I’ve got no specific evidence of high-level Democratic operatives conspiring to take down prominent GOP Presidential candidates to clear the field for their preferred candidate. But unlike my liberal counterparts, I won’t lob out official accusations of conspiracy until I have evidence for my charges.

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Stay Tuned for Obama’s Strategy on How Best to Label ISIS

September 03, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

Obama-and-ISIS-GOLFIf only ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came out with a public statement against raising the minimum wage for fast food workers. President Obama might finally get around to forming a strategy to defeat the terrorist organization.

Last week at a news conference, Obama raised Americans’ hackles and U.S. generals’ blood pressures when he casually announced that more forceful military action against Syria-based terrorist group ISIS was not imminent, because “we don’t have a strategy yet.”

This surprised defense officials who have spent the last year giving Obama daily briefings on the growing threat of ISIS and recommending that he authorize one of the numerous military operations they have diligently prepared for him. Multiple sources have testified that the classified intelligence Obama has received has been—unlike the vague hearsay President George W. Bush’s administration intercepted about bombs-or-something in New York prior to 9/11—strong, “granular,” even “exquisite.” One source insists that the President “could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.”

Military officials in Obama’s own administration are “apoplectic” over his remarks—understandably so, given that they foresaw the ISIS threat long ago and have been trying in vain to get the President to do something about it. According to NBC Chief Correspondent Richard Engel, the threat was “entirely predictable,” if not a year ago then at least by June when ISIS swept through northern Iraq capturing U.S.-liberated cities.

Commentators have been debating which explanation—incompetence or malice—best explains Obama’s inaction. Noemie Emery, for example, thinks that Obama is overwhelmed by his responsibilities and is entering a phase of malaise similar to the one President Jimmy Carter suffered near the end of his term.

In contrast, Thomas Donnelly argues that Obama is rigidly set in the ideological stance that the world is a better place without forceful U.S. intervention, and that we’re more effective when “leading from behind.” Obama believes that Americans are tired of war after a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no conceivable string of atrocities such as mass use of chemical weapons and beheadings of journalists will change his mind.

I’m leaning toward malice. This is, after all, the same President who worked to establish the meme that his foreign policy motto is “Don’t do stupid sh*t.” The implications of this cliché are clear: Bush did stupid sh*t by going to war; Obama will avoid going to war so as not to be caught doing stupid sh*t like that idiot who preceded him, the nation’s security be damned.

Obama has rattled off numerous other self-effacing, confidence-sapping slogans, from his weak foreign policy aspiration of hitting “singles” and “doubles” to his minimization of the U.S.’s role in foreign affairs as expressed in this metaphor: “At the end of the day, we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.” Those don’t sound like the sentiments of a Commander in Chief who wants his country to maintain its dominant influence in the world, but just hasn’t yet fine-tuned the optimal approach to doing so.

Obama’s ideological rigidity has also trickled down to his spokespersons and supporters, who refuse to make moral judgments on ISIS or speculate on whether the U.S. under Obama will act alone if necessary.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki gets the moral relativism award for her response to a FOX News reporter who asked whether the recent beheadings of journalists constitute an act of war: “I’m not going to put any labels on this.” Psaki dodged another reporter’s query on whether the State Department has revoked the passports of Americans who have gone to Syria to fight with ISIS: “It’s not as black and white as that.”

And Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk recently told Christiane Amanpour “Stay tuned” in response to the reporter pressing him on when nervous Americans would find out what the administration’s ISIS strategy is: “We are putting the features in place, developing a broad regional coalition, a broad international coalition, working to get a new Iraqi government stood up, working to get our plans in place. So stay tuned.” But what if we don’t get a “broad international coalition” or a “new Iraqi government stood up”? Does Obama have the moral confidence to authorize the U.S. to go it alone?

Similarly, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman claims to support using military power to root out ISIS, “but only as part of a coalition, where everybody who has a stake in stability there pays their share and where mainstream Sunnis and Shiites take the lead by demonstrating that they hate ISIS more than they hate each other.” Sounds nice, but what if that doesn’t happen? Will Obama acknowledge the U.S.’s singular responsibility to stand up for justice in the world and order our military to destroy ISIS?

Obama may be incompetent, divisive, tin-eared, and appearance-challenged, but the best explanation for his disastrous foreign policy record in Syria, the Middle East, and elsewhere isn’t his inability to get things done. It’s his morally relativistic refusal to distinguish between good and evil and use the United States’ power to support our allies over our enemies.

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Are Clogged Arteries and Type 2 Diabetes Patriotic?

August 27, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Fast-FoodsWhen you look at it one way, conservatives are absolutely correct to defend Burger King’s right to move its headquarters to Canada to avoid crippling U.S. corporate tax rates, and to call out liberals who label such decisions “unpatriotic” as economically illiterate.

On the other hand, Burger King and dozens of fast-food chains like it contribute to the alarmingly rapid rise of obesity and associated diseases that cut people down in the prime of their lives and disproportionately hit Republican-leaning states. So there’s that.

On Monday, Burger King Worldwide Inc. announced its plans to bid on the $8.4 billion Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. The move would allow BK to merge with Hortons, reposition its headquarters north, and capitalize on Canada’s 15% corporate tax rate, which is well below the U.S.’s 35% rate. Other companies around the world have been seeking similar moves in a recent trend known as “tax inversion.” (This should not be confused with what the Obama administration has been doing to our economy, which is a recent trend known as “prosperity inversion.”)

Democrats like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and pseudo-conservatives like Joe Scarborough predictably accused Burger King of “abandoning their country,” called for a boycott, and threatened new regulations that would crimp such deals, including a “minimum global corporate tax rate.” (Wouldn’t a minimum global tax rate agitate major contributors to Democratic presidential campaigns?)

In contrast, Republicans correctly defended the fast food chain’s proposed acquisition and merger as being in the economic interest of the shareholders to whom it has a duty to make money.

That’s all well and good; Republicans have been consistent in defending such principles. Bravo for them.

But can I ask about something that’s been bothering me: Why are conservatives always so quick to jump to the defense of companies that push mass-produced, preservative-laden, artificially-flavored, nutritionally-stunted, lowest-common-denominator fare? (Or, as it’s also known in other settings, “Democratic policy proposals”?) Can we Republicans support the right of businesses to sell whatever products they want and express whatever political views they hold, without leaping to champion the virtues of low cuisine?

According to a recent Experian survey, conservatives support the following right-leaning companies that dump artery-clogging garbage on the public: Chick-fil-A, whose CEO has supported anti-gay groups; Domino’s Pizza, whose former CEO funds pro-life groups; McDonald’s, which has ignored criticism from workers protesting for higher wages; Waffle House, which donated to Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads; Wendy’s, which used to belong to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council; and White Castle, which donated to House Speaker John Boehner’s Super PAC.

Right-wingers flock to feed on the hefty fare offered by gut-busting outfits like Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Denny’s, Hardee’s, KFC, Outback Steakhouse, and Steak’n Shake. They gush over politically incorrect, obesity-glorifying joints like Arizona’s Heart Attack Grill and Delray Beach’s Heart Stopper Grill with the rebelliousness of a mulish teenager who gets his nose pierced just to anger his parents.

The free market-embracing Burger King, for its part, recently announced its plan to offer cheeseburgers, Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and apple pies… on its breakfast menu.

Meanwhile, liberals frequent the (relatively) healthy Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, Panda Express, P. F. Chang’s, Qdoba, Quiznos Sub, Starbucks, and Subway, all of which are lower on the heart-attack-causing and heart-stopping indexes.

The healthy/unhealthy pattern also holds for supermarkets: Liberals get their groceries at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods; conservatives slum it at Foodtown and the Piggly Wiggly.

Is there something inherently, shamefully liberal about having refined or healthy tastes? Is it essential for conservatives’ pride in their country to uphold the stereotype that our version of haute cuisine is carnival food?

Dying of a heart attack in one’s 40s doesn’t strike me as an effective way to bolster Republican voting rolls. Are we determined to let aging hippies vote into their ninth decade while we remain planted on our extra-wide, steel-reinforced sofas watching FOX News?

Conservatives pride themselves on thinking long-term, exercising self-discipline, and doing the right thing even if it doesn’t feel good in the here and now. Why does this sensible ideological stance never apply to food?

I think it’s possible to oppose Michelle Obama’s poorly conceived, excessively intrusive overhaul of America’s school lunches without dismissing its goal of helping fewer children get fat in their preteen years and die prematurely of painful and expensive diseases.

If that’s too much to ask, could conservatives at least admit that bacon and kale taste delicious together?

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The Perverse Political Calculus of the Race-Baiters

August 20, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

MIKEBROWN1Continuing the theme of my column last week on the perverse moral calculus of the Israel-bashers, I thought I’d highlight parallels between that warped mindset and the twisted PR campaign racial agitators are staging in Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting death of Michael Brown, since the two phenomena have so much in common.

In assessing the culpability of two parties in a racial conflict, several factors should be considered. Unfortunately, race-baiters don’t give a damn about any of them.

First and foremost is whether the victim threatened the other party. Did Trayvon Martin jump George Zimmerman and start beating him? Did Michael Brown punch Officer Darren Wilson and charge toward him? Those who leap to defend the victim and indict society as racist don’t care. They selectively interpret evidence to favor their position or dismiss the question of threat as immaterial.

Also relevant are the two parties’ moral character, which helps us infer intent. Does the accused party have a record of treating people fairly? Do witnesses attest that he was not a prejudiced person? Is the injured party of questionable character, having demonstrated immaturity or poor impulse control via a criminal record, substance abuse, or an affinity for violent cultural tropes?

According to the race-baiters, none of that matters, either. Because this is an inherently racist society, they argue, even people who don’t usually display racist behavior are secretly seething over the prominence and autonomy of black people, and are just waiting to pounce on the nearest innocent victim as payback. Meanwhile a history of truancy, theft, or misogyny reveals nothing about a black victim’s character, because such behavior is a mere surface reaction to oppression by a hostile culture.

Forensic evidence disconfirming the racial narrative certainly doesn’t count. Recall how racial agitators irresponsibly asserted that Zimmerman had called Martin a “coon” until closer analysis of the 911 audiotape demonstrated otherwise. Remember how some liberals claimed that Zimmerman had faked his broken nose and the grass stains on his back? Race-baiters are always ready to explain away inconvenient testimony or evidence.

If self-defense, character, and evidence don’t matter, what does?

As with the Israel-bashers’ outrage over casualties resulting from Israel defending itself against daily barrages of Hamas rockets, what gets race-baiters riled up is the mere extremity of the act committed. It doesn’t matter why the assailant acted—whether he felt threatened or feared for his life or thought a suspect was getting away. A fatal shooting, completely justified or not, is all that’s required to start the race-baiters swooning over a victim.

Also linking the Israel-bashers and race-baiters is faux concern for the weak and oppressed—which actually reflects their distaste for the strong and self-sufficient. The left shows more respect for a victim who’s strung out on an addictive substance, comes from a broken home, and takes out his frustrations by harming others than they would a healthy, productive member of society. Would liberals be as enraged over Michael Brown’s death if Ferguson were an upper-middle class enclave with mostly college-going black residents? Would anti-Semites be as furious with Israel if it had a second-rate military and a third-world economy?

The left so loves a good sob story that we’re now witnessing Amnesty International representatives filing into Ferguson to mediate the situation. Never mind that half of Africa is riven with violence and desperately craves international aid. The fiction that blacks are as oppressed in Middle America as they are under Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is too good (and safe) for AI to pass up.

(As further proof of the Israel-bashing/race-baiting connection, many of the AI mediators in Ferguson just got back from stints in Gaza tending to wounded Palestinians, many of whom voted Hamas into power in 2006 and still support its mission.)

As with the Israel-bashers, race-baiters play up the extremity of the defensive measures used against aggressors, such as the shots Wilson fired at Brown or the riot control techniques Ferguson police are using against looters. According to the race-baiters’ political calculus, if the measures that defenders of the social order adopt are more extreme than those aggressors use, then the gun- and tear gas-holders are the ones who are the monsters. All we need be concerned about is the “militarization” of the police and the imposition of late-night curfews—not whether the techniques police use are warranted by the circumstances.

Note how all of the things that should matter in evaluating cases like Martin’s and Brown’s—reconstructing the crime scene, interviewing acquaintances, processing physical evidence—take time. But waiting until the public’s potential to be emotionally manipulated has dissipated is unacceptable, because it neutralizes the race-baiters’ tactics.

No, the tools racial agitators use are always immediately available—simplistic media reporting on a sensationalistic case, the public’s readiness to have their opinions shaped by anyone savvy enough to take control of the narrative, mobilization of angry mobs whose noisiness lends credibility to their cause.

Has there ever been a case in which an allegation of racially motivated violence was made and members of the mainstream media reacted more strongly in favor of the victim after the evidence was scrutinized than when they first reported the story? I’m waiting for the day when a New York Times columnist writes, “I was skeptical about the claim and refused to get emotional—but now, six weeks later, after the police have sketched a timeline and collected DNA and ruled out the accused party’s defense as preposterous, I’m outraged for the first time!”

Such a reaction would never occur, because it would require left-leaning reporters to sacrifice the propaganda value of race-baiting for open-minded journalistic integrity.

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The Perverse Moral Calculus of the Israel-Bashers

August 13, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

ShowImage.ashxAccording to commentators who condemn Israel’s “disproportionate” use of force against Hamas, the fact that Israel is a Western-style democracy and Hamas is a terrorist organization seems to hold zero moral weight in the justness of the two parties’ causes.

Initiating random acts of aggression also appears to entail no moral culpability. Hamas started the latest conflict, as Israel’s enemies always do, but the world will never take it to task for doing so.

Also playing zero part in justifying support for one side or the other are the honor and consistency of the two sides. Israel regularly offers humanitarian ceasefires and sticks to them; Hamas occasionally accedes to ceasefires and always violates them. But Israel never gets credit for its conciliatory stance, and Hamas is never punished for its capricious rejection of peace offerings.

No, the most important factor in determining moral culpability in the minds of the Israel-bashers is: how many people your side killed. The fewer people you killed, the more righteous your cause; the more people you killed, the less righteous.

Conversely, the more people on your side who are killed, the more just your cause; the fewer killed, the less just. How convenient.

The Palestinians have suffered 1,900 casualties, and Israel has lost only 64 people. Israel is a monster!

Related to this simplistic body count factor is how successful your side is at protecting your residents from attacks by the other side. The worse you are at protecting your people, the more you get off scot-free; the better you are at saving lives on your side, the more you are to blame.

A corollary of this twisted standard is that primitive foes of Israel without sophisticated missile detection and destruction systems like Israel’s Iron Dome get less blame than those that are more technologically advanced. This inverse technology-culpability relationship dovetails with the fact that more advanced societies have more reliable weapons, and thus cause greater damage to their enemies’ territory, than those with more makeshift operations.

In other words, if you want the world to defend you against Israel, don’t learn how to defend yourself.

But the most perverse element of the Israel-bashers’ calculus is the backwards manner in which they factor in the impact of the warring parties’ comparative systems of government. According to leftists’ accounting system, the more tyrannical the government that one side elected, the less we can expect of them in the way of observing international conventions of war and humanitarian concerns. The more freedom-upholding the government the other side elected, the more we must expect of them in the way of sacrificing their interests to those of barbarians.

For example, when Hamas terrorists station rocket launchers in playgrounds, hospitals, and mosques, and trick Palestinians into staying put when Israeli attacks are imminent, the world sighs, “We don’t expect any better from Hamas.”

But when Israel takes pains to avoid civilian casualties, often at the expense of casualties on its own side, yet inevitably leaves behind damage in the wake of its attacks, the world accuses it of war crimes and genocide and pressures it to agree to suicidal ceasefires.

In a nutshell: Hamas intentionally houses its military operations in densely-crowded residential enclaves; Israel warns residents to leave before bombing those neighborhoods; yet the world blames Israel anyway for wantonly destroying people’s homes.

Note that the world isn’t just holding Israel to a higher standard, then allying with Israel against Hamas as the lesser of two evils. The world actually expects Israel to sacrifice its right to self-defense to prove how noble it is, and to submit to Hamas because Hamas is so morally degraded it can’t behave any better.

Israel also gets slammed when individual rogue actors who don’t reflect the government’s stance engage in revenge killings, even though they are subsequently condemned by the government and the nation. When Hamas supporters do the same thing, Western journalists tell us that they were provoked by an intolerable longstanding arrangement involving their displacement by Israel—a lie even the Palestinians don’t believe—and so any kind of bad behavior on their part is justified.

To sum up: If you’re an enemy of Israel, the key to winning international approval is getting more of your civilians killed, failing to protect them, and using them as human shields; remaining technologically primitive, stifling the economic activity and scientific innovation that would generate the wealth and knowledge needed to fund and develop an advanced military; and not giving the world reason to believe you will behave any way other than barbarically, so that they’re never disappointed when you live down to their expectations.

If you want the world to hate you, just develop your weapons defense systems, fulfill your duty to protect your citizens, and live up to a civilized moral standard.

Who Does the Left Think Voted for Hamas, Tea Partiers?

August 06, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

image1367055224-14658-Place01-0_s660x390The plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who have been killed as a result of the Israeli Defense Force’s incursion into the region to destroy Hamas’s network of terror tunnels might be a bit more compelling if the Palestinians hadn’t been the ones to vote Hamas into power in the first place.

Every time NPR does one of their weepy stories in which they interview destitute Gazans who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the fighting, I wish the reporter would toss out the question, “By the way, did you vote for Hamas?” In a six-way election for the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, 44% of Palestinians did, so you’d think NPR would run across at least a couple of diehard Hamasniks among the dozens of unwitting human shields they speak to every week.

Meanwhile, The New York Times and other liberal news sites are fond of featuring an ongoing tally of the number of Gazans vs. Israelis killed in the conflict, which currently runs at about 30-to-1. How about showing ongoing polls of the percentage of Palestinians who still support Hamas?

Lest Hamas’s ideology still be unclear to some Westerners, “Hamas” is short for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah (Islamic Resistance Movement), and is also a cutesy acronym that means “Enthusiasm,” as in “Enthusiasm for Murdering Jews.”

Hamas’s raison d’être is to destroy Israel. Hamas—an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood—has branch offices in the following locations: Israel’s neighbor Lebanon, Israel’s neighbor Syria, the Egypt-Gaza border, Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere in Israel. In other words, Israel is a big, fat, bull’s-eye in Hamas’s radar.

Palestinian activists decry Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as though the Jews were just doing it to be meanies. No, they’re doing it to protect themselves from Hamas soldiers crossing the border and blowing up Israeli crowds in suicide attacks, and they don’t particularly care if that means Palestinians’ supply of fertilizer and night vision goggles is shut off.

But even blockades aren’t enough to fend off the Hamas threat. Hamas has received international shipments of thousands of tons of concrete over the past decade that were intended for constructing schools and hospitals and apartments. Instead, Hamas used the concrete to build a recently-discovered, miles-long, underground tunnel system through which they had planned to carry out raids into Israel to kidnap soldiers and trade them at a ratio of 1,000 Hamas terrorists-to-one Israeli.

And now the international community is going to be guilted into donating to help rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure?

Hamas maintains Palestinians’ perpetual support by bribing them with relief efforts—medical care, food banks, orphanages—but this is no excuse for the Palestinians to have voted them into power and continued to support them. Hamas has been a known terrorist organization for decades. Hamas operatives have been killing Israelis Jews since 1989, and have been carrying out attacks in the West Bank since 1994. The Palestinians can’t pretend that they didn’t know what would happen if they voted Hamas into power, or couldn’t anticipate that their neighbors would continue their blockade for security reasons.

Israel, foolishly magnanimous as it is toward the Palestinians, frequently agrees to the aim of a two-state solution after overwhelming international pressure. Hamas, in its most conciliatory and expansive mood, occasionally accedes to a “temporary” two-state solution. Yet every time Israel generously proposes an actual solution—e.g., a return to the pre-1967 War borders—Hamas spits on Israel’s offer and resumes firing rockets.

Peace and reconciliation are not part of Hamas’ vocabulary, nor that of the Palestinians who support them. Compared to civilized nations, Islamic terrorist groups live in Opposite Land, where gestures of magnanimity are interpreted as signs of weakness, and only preemptive self-defensive attacks lead to a cessation of aggression.

Hamas’s leaders openly describe their dream of one day hanging maps on the wall that contain Palestine but not Israel. Does that sound like a political party with which the Jews can negotiate?

Given the Palestinians’ undying spiritual and electoral support for Hamas, Jimmy Carter’s recent nutty editorial arguing that the U.S. should recognize Hamas as a legitimate entity isn’t that much nuttier than the widely held view that we should recognize the Palestinians as having a legitimate political perspective.

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Time to Call Pro-Immigration Democrats’ Bluff

July 30, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Immigration

JapaneseAmericanDetaineesHave anti-immigration conservatives finally lost it?

Consider Mark Levin, who recently announced that if President Barack Obama issues an executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal U.S. immigrants, it would be “the greatest act of despotism” since President Franklin Roosevelt detained over a hundred-thousand Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

Got that? Giving a reprieve to people who voluntarily emigrated here to make a better life for themselves, who have imposed no obligation on anyone who chooses not to hire them or rent them housing, and who are willing to take their chances economically and risk having to trudge home empty-handed, is the moral equivalent of imprisoning 90% of an entire U.S. racial group, retarding their chances for economic and social advancement, and scarring their children for life.

I’m trying to crystallize in a succinct phrase what these two executive orders have in common, and I’ve settled on: Nothing.

One act (FDR’s mass internment) was an egregious violation of human rights about a step up from herding European Jews into concentration camps. The other act (Obama’s amnesty declaration) would involve telling immigrants who fled debilitating economic or political conditions that our overburdened immigration processing centers will no longer be hounding them out of the country while we address a million other more pressing domestic and defense concerns.

Why, when it comes to immigration, are conservatives incapable of distinguishing between forcing people to do something and not forcing them to do something? Forcing as in forcing them to leave their homes and gather their possessions and live behind barbed wire fences? Violating their individual rights, their due process rights, basically every right in the Constitution simply because they happen to be of a particular ancestry? Ignoring the qualities or intentions or actions of individual Japanese Americans, a majority of whom were U.S. citizens—just snatching them, sticking them in massive holding yards, and treating them like interchangeable pawns?

Contrast these forcible actions with the hands-off approach of granting amnesty to non-felons, which would simply involve not hunting people down, not shackling them in federal detention centers, and not driving them hundreds of miles to places the immigration officials hauling them and the politicians ordering them there would never choose to live and thank God every day they were fortunate enough not to be born in. Amnesty could easily be designed so as not to promise illegal immigrants any right other than the right not to be deported, to not make any guarantees of citizenship or voting privileges or welfare eligibility, to not supply them with fancy tri-color materials printed in their native languages or counselors from their countries of origin to help them adjust emotionally.

Why can’t conservatives who rightly bemoan the behemoth welfare state—an enormous problem even without immigrants—focus on the real issue instead of the non-threat of Mexican day laborers? Why can’t conservatives be smart and learn to trade welfare- and entitlement-related concessions for immigration terms that won’t hurt the country if they’re balanced by federal spending cuts?

Conservatives should make a list of every point liberals are demanding—increased quotas, taking in more refugees, not deporting people who haven’t committed other crimes, letting illegal immigrants work, putting immigrants on a path to citizenship, giving immigrants access to benefits, spending money to help them adjust—and decide which are acceptable and will bring in the type of immigrant we want, and which are unacceptable and will result in waves of parasitical future Democratic voters.

For example, increasing quotas, taking in more refugees, not deporting non-felonious aliens, and letting illegal immigrants work are benign. Fast-tracking immigrants to citizenship without their having to learn the language and assimilate, giving them federal benefits, and spending money to help them adjust are not.

Why can’t conservatives agree not to deport millions of illegal immigrants in exchange for scaling back the welfare state? When liberals claim that they care only about admitting foreigners who want to come here and work, and that such immigrants will improve our economy, why not say, “OK, we’ll let them stay, but they aren’t eligible for federal benefits—and, since their presence will improve our economy, we’re not going to need as much federal welfare. Where would you like to cut the first trillion dollars?”

There’s a way for conservatives to be smart about the immigration conundrum without wrecking our economy or coming off like meanies who hate minorities.

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Free Hot Water: The New Civil Rights Movement

July 23, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Columns, Racism

20100722raceSince Democrats seem to think everything is racist except their own party’s history and the screwball schemes they’ve inflicted on us since then to atone for it, I thought I’d post a primer on interpreting a recent spate of racially-tinged events, a sort of Racism for Dummies. How many can you get right?

Event: Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department recently shut off water to 7,200 mostly black customers who haven’t paid their bills in months.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit against the city, the shutoffs were racist, because there are white-led corporations with large unpaid water bills that haven’t had their water shut off. However, the difference is that said corporations have good credit, a history of reliable transactions with the city, and a public reputation to uphold. Not so for individual deadbeats, many of whom have been caught paying rogue operators cut-rate fees to get their water illegally turned back on.

Verdict: Not racism.

Event: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is considering “diversity-based grading.”

The University, which has publicly announced its goal of ensuring that its high-level and honors courses are filled with a racially diverse mix of students, recently announced that it may go a step further and work to guarantee that different racial groups are proportionately distributed across grade bands in such courses. UW economics professor W. Lee Hansen protested that such a policy could lead to non-white students getting higher grades than they deserve, and will likely accelerate grade inflation due to professors giving everyone high grades to avoid complaints.

Verdict: Racism.

(Were you fooled? Here’s a hint: There are other forms of racism besides anti-black. Try again!)

Event: Israel endures daily rocket attacks by Hamas, defends itself by destroying Hamas’s weapons and tunnels, and suffers accusations of war crimes.

Every democratic nation is unquestioningly allowed to defend itself against outside attack, except Israel. If Canada started lobbing missiles over the border and killing U.S. civilians, its army would be gone by the morning. But because the world has been brainwashed into believing that Islam is a peaceful religion and that its adherents would never use human shields by storing their weapons in schools, hospitals, and mosques, Israelis are called vile racist names and told that the conflict is their fault. And the verbal attacks don’t just emanate from the Arab League—they come from British MPs, Canadian citizens, and hot-miked U.S. Cabinet members.

Why are the Israelis treated differently?

Verdict: Racism.

Event: A police chief and two officers in Fruitland Park, Florida recently resigned after an under-cover reporter revealed their ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Running interference for the left, the Associated Press downplayed the KKK’s exclusive roots in the Democratic Party—“[T]he Klan used to be politically powerful in the 1920s, when governors and U.S. senators were among its 4 million members” [emphasis added]—then stupidly compared this dying breed of troglodytes to Republicans: “[N]owadays it is much less active than other sectors of the radical right.” Oh really? Why not compare the Klan to other sectors of the radical left? The KKK did not emerge from the Republican Party, whose members fought it in the South in order to protect the rights of freed blacks. As the article notes, even up through the 1960s, the Klan was active in some parts of the country, and it wasn’t Republicans donning those white sheets.

The “radical right” has never had any ideological affinity with the Klan. Racist police officers in Fruitland Park reflect only their own racism.

Verdict: Racism. (That was an easy one. Consider it a free space on your bingo card.)

Event: Americans protest a black President’s policies, a pattern of behavior that Attorney General Eric Holder claims is driven by “racial animus.”

According to Holder, no U.S. President has ever been treated as harshly as Obama—not Reagan, whom liberals called demented while he was in office; not Clinton, who was impeached for lying about a couple of blow jobs; not George W. Bush, whom liberals burned and hung and crucified in effigy when they weren’t drawing Satanic horns on his head or Hitler mustaches on his face.

According to the left, referencing Obama’s exacerbation of welfare dependency, food stamps usage, and inner-city dysfunction is evidence of racism, because everyone knows that Republicans don’t expect white people to get jobs and raise their children, only blacks.

Verdict: Not racism.

And finally…

Event: A black teen films a montage of himself in a store while a racist clerk supposedly follows him around.

In one of the most pathetic attempts at race-baiting ever, a precocious kid named Rashid Polo cavorts around a convenience store, flamboyantly filming and talking to himself in several different aisles, while a female employee always seems to be stocking shelves or cleaning machinery behind him. The montage of Vine clips went viral and provoked a chorus of charges of racism. Curiously, we never glimpse the employee actually following Polo—we see only the two of them standing in place. In fact, the one time the employee emerges into the frame from off-camera, she seems surprised to see Polo—then smiles and politely backs away to avoid interrupting his photo shoot.

Verdict: Even the publicity-seeking, aspiring documentarian Rashid Polo doesn’t believe this is racism.

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Obama’s Transportation Bill: Taking Us for a Ride

July 16, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

ObamaTrainNever trust a Democrat’s stated rationale for legislation he’s pushing. There’s always an ulterior motive, if not seven or eight.

Take President Obama, who’s been harping about transportation funding, not because it’s a national priority, but because it serves a host of other goals of his:

1. Obama changing the subject to transportation is meant to distract us from a rash of his scandals and policy failures.

When the border crisis, the IRS scandal, the lawsuit filed against you by the House Speaker, and the 13 unanimous Supreme Court rulings against you in the last two years get you down, just stage a photo op of yourself trying out a Knight Rider simulator. That’s how Obama handles the pressure. After visiting Texas to raise money for Congressional Democrats and stage a photo op drinking beer and playing pool—but not visiting the border—President Obama flew to McLean, Virginia to tour a transportation research facility: about the least critical place for him to be on Earth right now.

2. Dwelling on transportation reflects Obama’s lack of interest in foreign policy and the many international crises unfolding at the moment, and his preference for focusing on massively increasing domestic spending. Obama favors such profligacy, even though he expects the electorate to be too stupid not to notice that he’s been requesting and getting transportation funding for five-and-a-half years and has little to show for it.

What ever happened with that trillion-dollar stimulus package that was supposed to address our infrastructure woes and generate tens of thousands of shovel-ready jobs? Time and again since 2009 we’ve heard from Democrats that, well, we haven’t gotten quite enough funding for transportation, so we’re going to need to raise gas taxes and corporate taxes to rustle up a few more dollars, and then everything will run smoothly and we’ll never ask for extra funds again.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) press release for Obama’s request gushes that it “reflects President Obama’s vision for a four-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that would create millions of jobs and lay the foundation for long-term competitiveness, rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges…” I think we’ve heard that spiel before, and it gets less convincing every time the administration repeats it.

3. Emphasizing transportation gives Obama an excuse to lecture Republicans and dredge up an election-year issue to help Senate Democrats.

In McLean, Obama berated Republicans for not appropriating enough money for federal spending on roads and bridges. Speaking several hours before the House passed an $11 billion stopgap transportation bill that funds highway maintenance through next May, Obama scolded, “Congress shouldn’t pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months, kicking the can down the road for a few months, careening from crisis to crisis.”

This is rich coming from Obama, under whom the Senate failed for three consecutive years to pass or propose a federal budget, said recklessness precipitating years of fiscal cliffs, debt ceiling crises, and last-minute continuing resolutions.

And those fiascos concerned the entire federal budget. Obama’s FY15 request for the DOT is a mere $77 billion ($302 billion over four years), compared to the FY14 federal budget request of $3.77 trillion. Apparently we can ignore the entire federal budget for three years, but must obsess over one sliver that Obama wants to focus on right now.

4. If passed, the bill would service a host of far-left causes.

Obama’s transportation bill is motivated, not by a desire to see more cars and trucks on the road facilitating commerce and raising our standard of living, but an obsession with impractical high-speed rail, bike and pedestrian lanes, erosion prevention, global warming reduction, and showing that we can blow as much of our federal budget on transportation as China.

DOT’s press release announces that one of the bill’s benefits is “training women, minorities, and veterans to fill the jobs gap in transit through innovative new workforce development programs.” That’s about a step up in relevance to the department’s mission from NASA’s goal of promoting outreach to Muslims.

5. Most of all, Obama’s bill is designed to keep transportation and other areas of funding grounded within the federal government and prevent them from migrating to the state and local level.

Though the House’s stopgap measure passed by a large margin, some conservative Republicans objected. They favor cutting gas taxes and federal transportation aid and leaving construction projects to states and localities. But Obama opposes decentralization of spending, as it would undercut his claim “You didn’t build that.” Getting Washington out of the transportation arena would give the lie to the notion that private companies and innovators can’t do anything without the largesse of the federal government.

So the next time Obama or Congressional Democrats get on their soapboxes and lecture you about what you really need to be focusing on—transportation funding, student loans, the War on Women—just peek behind their lecterns and see what they’re really hiding.

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