Saturday, August 30, 2014

Freedom-Haters are having their core memes dismantled all over the place - today's edition

Ain't no arctic meltdown:

To put it another way, an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice.
The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.
This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.
Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres.

So don't let 'em shut down the coal plants, dither on Keystone, empower the EPA (instead of working urgently to dismantle it). and subsidize "companies" in the business of selling play-like forms of energy.

You have nailed it, Scott

In the course of a blog post about the MEC's remarks at a Freedom-Hater fundraiser yesterday (mentioned in an LITD post below called "Compare and Contrast") Scott Johnson of Power Line sums it all up exquisitely tidily:

We have never confronted a world crisis with an ideological numbnuts at the helm.

And we are about to see what results from that.

The West's efforts to influence Russia's behavior have been inadequate

Peter Foster at the UK Telegraph has an article up entitled, "Vladimir Putin Has Absorbed the West's 'consequences' and Stepped Up His Aggression."  He says there's been no tamping-down of Vlad's nose-thumbing ways:

By ordering a de facto invasion of Ukraine a week before Nato leaders meet for their summit in Wales, Mr Putin was flaunting the fact that he well understood the limits of European and American efforts to dissuade him from action.
As any strongman would, when sentenced to recession by Washington and Brussels, Mr Putin has taken the stinging slap without showing a trace of pain (even though his economy is hurting) and then hit back again, daring the West to go further.
This was not a gamble on the Russian president's part. As one US official despaired privately: "If Putin is immune to economic pain and we are not willing to use military force, then he's got us in check mate, doesn't he?"
Given events in Ukraine, the Baltic leaders could be forgiven for feeling more than a little nervous about the quality of Western assurances these days.
Ukraine is not a member of Nato, so we don't - to quote Mr Obama last week - stand "shoulder to shoulder" with them in the same way that we stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia under Article 5 of the Nato treaty.
European leaders talk tough - David Cameron threatens "consequences", Angela Merkel demands more sanctions, Francois Hollande says the Russian incursion is "intolerable" - and yet, as with the annexation of Crimea, that is exactly what we are being forced to tolerate.
We have clearly - and correctly most people would agree - made the calculation that we are not prepared to go war over Ukraine. Nor (unlike Mr Putin) are we prepared to suffer the recession and energy crisis that would be precipitated by inflicting extreme, crippling sanctions on Russia.

And that de facto invasion is well underway, according to Annie Gowan at The Washington Post.  There's a town in eastern Ukraine that has been softened up by pro-Russia rebels for the arrival of actual Russian troops.  Russia is distributing leaflets instructing residents on how to behave when the troops get there:

The nine-point list of instructions on the leaflet — the authenticity of which could not be verified — includes directions to “not under any circumstances hinder the movement of Russian troops,” to “only communicate in Russian,” to “prepare lists of servicemen of the Ukrainian army, participants in the Maidan, civil groups and leaders of national communities to be forwarded to employees of the Russian Security Service,” and to “be ready at any time” to give up living space to “peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation.”

As I said the other day, what the hell is the Most Equal Comrade doing this very moment?  If it's not focusing on Russia's war machine and the IS threat, this taxpayer wants his ass fired.  Have that chef and that state-propaganda chick tied the knot yet?  Then put the champagne glass down and get your sorry tail end to the Situation Room.

Addendum to my Ferguson post from earlier today

I still concur with Cooke's assessment that the Ferguson dust-up has fizzled, but that's not going to stop the likes of Missouri state senator Jamilah Nasheed from threatening prosecutor Bob McCulloch that if officer Darren Wilson isn't found guilty, there will be worse riots.

Compare and contrast

The Lithuanian prime minister doesn't mince words about the big bear to her country's immediate east:

Russia is at war with Ukraine and so effectively at war with Europe, Lithuania's president claimed today as European leaders threatened to impose further sanctions on Vladimir Putin.
The comments from Dalia Grybauskaite come after officials in Kiev accused Moscow of using tanks to 'flatten' the border town of Novosvitlivka.

British PM Cameron has this to say about the IS threat:

Britain faces the “greatest and deepest” terror threat in the country’s history, David Cameron warned as he pledged emergency measures to tackle extremists.
The UK threat level was raised to “severe” — its second highest — meaning that a terrorist attack is “highly likely” in light of the growing danger from British jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria.

And the Saudi king gets real as well:

 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has warned that the West will be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is "rapid" action.
"If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month," he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by Asharq al-Awsat daily and Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya television station.

Now, compare those bracing assessments with yesterday's remarks by the man-child ruler of post-America:

"Second reason people are feeling anxious is that if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart. (Laughter.) Now, let me say this: We are living through some extraordinarily challenging times. A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point. And now, what we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet -- and it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process.
"So we’ve seen the barbarity of an organization like ISIL that is building off what happened with al Qaeda and 9/11 -- an extension of that same mentality that doesn’t reflect Islam, but rather just reflects savagery, and extremism, and intolerance. We’ve seen divisions within the Muslim community between the Shia and Sunni. We continue to see an unwillingness to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and its ability to defend itself. And we have seen, frankly, in this region, economies that don’t work. So you’ve got tons of young people who see no prospect and no hope for the future and are attracted to some of these ideologies.
"All of that makes things pretty frightening. And then, you turn your eyes to Europe and you see the President of Russia making a decision to look backwards instead of forward, and encroaching on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbors, and reasserting the notion that might means right. And I can see why a lot of folks are troubled.
"But -- and here’s the main message I have for you -- the truth of the matter is, is that American military superiority has never been greater compared to other countries. Our men and women in uniform are more effective, better trained, better equipped than they have ever been. We have, since 9/11, built up the capacity to defend ourselves from terrorist attacks. It doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there and we can’t be -- we don’t have to be vigilant, but it means that we are much less vulnerable than we were 10 or 12 or 15 years ago. 
"And the truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through. The good news is that American leadership has never been more necessary, and there’s really no competition out there for the ideas and the values that can create the sort of order that we need in this world."
The guy waxes senior seminar when the rest of the world has pulled the fire alarm.  I particularly found the business about Russia looking backward instead of forward and a new Middle East "order" not being born yet to be classic MEC.

I do not retreat one micro-inch from my  assertion that the Most Equal Comrade is the most poisonous, destructive figure in American history.  I didn't say president, I didn't say elected official, I didn't say politician.  I said "figure," as in individual, as in person.

Sorry, FHers, Ferguson wasn't the igniting spark of the revolution

Charles C. W. Cooke at NRO says, quite rightly, that the recent Missouri episode was just another garden-variety instance of barely-consequential race-hustling and fearmongering about law enforcement:

Ferguson has fizzled out, the general public having politely declined to draw any significant conclusions, the lack of available facts having stalled the media’s hype. Polling on the topic, meanwhile, does not tell a tale of a country that is unhappy with the status quo. Only 14 percent of Americans (22 percent of blacks and 9 percent of whites) consider police to be institutionally “racist”; just 16 percent believe that they have been “discriminated against” by lawmen on the grounds of their “race or ethnic background” (55 percent of blacks reporting no discrimination at all); and trust in the police remains reasonably high, with just one in four blacks expressing apprehension and one in nine whites admitting to the same. This may help explain why a majority does not consider it necessary for police departments to reflect the racial makeup of those they serve.
General attitudes toward the police seem to be similarly unaltered. Not only does the majority deem that the United States needs more — not fewer — cops, but almost three in five are happy with the state of police tactics. As for the Ferguson response per se, a New York Times/CBS survey revealed that only 32 percent supposed that police had “gone too far.” Research tells us that, in the abstract at least, Americans do not approve of police militarization. Nevertheless, they seem to have a funny way of showing it, having broadly approved of the behavior of both the regular Missouri cops and of the National Guard. If voters are gearing up to say “enough” to the MRAPs and automatic weapons that are flooding into their towns, they’re keeping it pretty quiet.

It's obvious to even the lo-fo cattle-masses of post-America what the deal was:

Most Americans, Rasmussen reports, suspect that the story is gaining special attention only because the victim is black. Nearly 60 percent consider the rioting unjustified. And, despite the hyperbole and prejudgment that we have seen from the press, two in three respondents confirmed that they simply did not have enough information to draw any lessons from the incident, let alone to pronounce upon the officer’s guilt.
All told, this should serve as no surprise. It is always tempting to regard the more dramatic of our transient political events as the ground zero of radical change. But, in truth, this incident never had about it the quality of the game-changer. If one is going to throw around terms such as “execution,” “lynching,” and “gunned down” — or to charge that a particular episode is indicative of a wider “war on young black men” — one had better hope that the facts quickly bear out one’s positions. As of yet, they have not. 

Eric Holder and Al Sharpton are no doubt rather frustrated guys along about now.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Henry says the postwar world order has unraveled

The elder statesman among world-affairs thinkers makes a sobering assessment:

The years from perhaps 1948 to the turn of the century marked a brief moment in human history when one could speak of an incipient global world order composed of an amalgam of American idealism and traditional European concepts of statehood and balance of power. But vast regions of the world have never shared and only acquiesced in the Western concept of order. These reservations are now becoming explicit, for example, in the Ukraine crisis and the South China Sea. The order established and proclaimed by the West stands at a turning point.

He looks at the pressures faced by the nation-state as an entity for societal organization, the role of an increasingly globalized economy, and the lack of a body to actually do what the UN is ostensibly for.

A strategy would have been nice

Feds warning of an immanent ISIS / al-Qaeda attack on the southern border.

Rockin' the anthems

Oh, hell yeah!  Gene Simmons brings a little rock and roll to the patriotic classics for a receptive and rowdy audience.

If this doesn't get ya teared up, you need to get your head on straight.

How the West was lost

Certainly in the dusty cacophony of the Caliphate that spans northern Syria and Iraq, but also in a quiet little Vermont town:

In Winooski, Vermont, a small town northeast of Burlington, a restaurant was awarded a sign placement for its participation in a beautification project. Proud of its bacon (among other things, I’m sure), Sneakers Bistro chose a sign that said “Yield for Sneakers Bacon.”
A Muslim woman, fond of neither pork nor free speech, complained online, garnering a sufficient contingent of busybodies to pressure the restaurant to take down the sign.
The restaurant caved. The sign is gone. The restaurant and town officials sound very pleased at how this has all worked out.
They could not be more wrong. This story is horrible at every level. Let’s begin with our offended resident.
Religions may have whatever dietary restrictions they wish. Adherents may follow such limitations as strictly as they choose. But when a person of faith runs across a display indicative of the habits of others, there is no basis for objection.
Something truly bizarre has happened when someone sees imagery related to other people’s choices and hears an inner voice saying: “That is not my choice. But not only do I seek to make choices in my own life, I seek to inhibit the expression of those who choose differently.”

When the enemy gets here in sufficient numbers to take over, will the proprietors of Sneakers Bistro gladly strip to their underwear and be frog-marched to a place of mass execution? 

It's also crunch time in Ukraine

The understanding among European nations that has held since the late 1940s - than no sovereign nation would militarily aggress upon a neighbor - has been shattered.  Poroshenko has felt the need to institute a draft to address the situation:

Supported by NATO satellite imagery showing Russian forces on the move in eastern Ukraine, its president accused Russia on Thursday of an invasion to aid the separatists, and his national security council ordered mandatory conscription to help counter what he called an “extremely difficult” threat.
The assertions by the president, Petro O. Poroshenko, came two days after he had met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in attempts to find a way to end the nearly six-month-old crisis roiling Ukraine. The conflict has escalated into the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War, and the developments on the ground in the rebellious east along the Russian border suggested it would worsen.

Lotta hardware involved:

“Columns of heavy artillery, huge loads of arms and regular Russian servicemen came to the territory of Ukraine from Russia through the uncontrolled border area,” Mr. Poroshenko said. Mercenaries, along with regular servicemen, were trying to overrun positions held by the Ukrainian military, he said, according to a statement on his official website.
“The situation is certainly extremely difficult and nobody is going to simplify it,” Mr. Poroshenko said.
What will the Reset Gang have to say about this?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is there anything the Most Equal Comrade could ever feel a sense of urgency about?

(Well, yes, there are a few - bankrupting the coal industry, dissolving our southern border, imposing socialized heath care.)

The ISIS threat?  Hey, don't sweat!

Before leaving for New York for a series of fundraisers, President Obama held a press conference at the White House to discuss his lack of strategy on Syria.
Obama told reporters that his strategy was still developing, and that he would continue to consult with congress and the American people about any action in Syria.
“I don't want to put the cart before the horse,” he said. “We don't have a strategy yet.”
Obama criticized the news media for “getting a little further ahead of where we're at than we currently are” on confronting ISIL in Syria.
“I think that's not just my assessment but the assessment of our military, as well,” he said.
Obama said that to solution to the situation in Syria was not simply a military issue but also a political issue.
He suggested that the United States would support a “moderate opposition” inside of Syrian to give the country’s citizens a choice.
“We have to give people inside of Syria a choice other than ISIL or Assad,” he said, “And I don't see any scenario in which Assad somehow is able to bring peace and stability to a region that is majority Sunni.”

There's the world the rest of us live in, and then there is the world of the MEC's imagination.  Would he like to say where he sees this viable "moderate opposition in Syria?"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dithering away a grand opportunity because it doesn't fit with his worldview

John M. Ellis at The American Thinker points out that the main reason real victories in our war against jihad have been so elusive is that, until the advent of the IS caliphate, there was no real field of battle on which to squarely face them, but that now that is the case:

n late 2001, America faced a frustrating situation. An enemy had declared its intent to destroy us, and had struck a devastating first blow. We had the most powerful military in the world and could easily defeat any power on the battlefield, but this enemy didn’t form up as an army on a battlefield. Our wars have been against states, but this was not a state; it was a loose but extensive network of individuals spread across and hidden among the populations of many countries, including our own. The exasperating result was that while we had a powerful force to defend us, for the most part we couldn’t deploy it. We were able to invade Afghanistan to clean out a sanctuary there, but that was all.
Good intelligence might let us take out a few individuals from time to time, even one as important as Osama bin Laden, but no serious engagement on a field of battle seemed possible. If our enemy ever managed to kill tens of thousands of us by using poison gas in the New York subway, all thoughts would turn to a retaliatory counter-strike, but we would probably have no idea how or where to accomplish that.

If we keep our eyes on this wider context, we can see immediately that what is happening now in Iraq is an absolute game-changer. Our deadly enemy, radical Islam, has taken to the battlefield! At last, they are out in the open, fighting a conventional war as an army and a state. This is the opportunity we could only wish for during the last thirteen years. Jihadis from all over the world are pouring into Iraq to join them, leaving the cover of their surrounding civilian populations and forming up as an army. They are fighting on our terms, on the battlefield, where we are supreme. At last, after years of frustration, we have the chance to engage and crush them.
The hang-up is that the Most Equal Comrade sees his mission as extricating post-America from the ickiness that is Iraq.

Determined to avoid doing anything that could appear to undermine what he sees as his achievement, or worse yet look like an admission that he had been wrong, Obama lets his boasts shackle him. And yet there is a simple and convincing answer to all of his hesitation: he is seeing these events in the wrong context. This is about the long struggle between modern civilization and a cruel, barbarous force that wants to destroy it, not about George Bush’s Iraq war. It may be true that Obama¹s premature exit from Iraq led to what ISIS is now doing, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that a hitherto elusive enemy is suddenly out in the open on the battlefield.
Obama obviously senses that something is wrong with his stance, and so he commits air power to attack ISIS, all the while claiming that this is only for humanitarian reasons, or for protection of the few Americans who are in the area. And yet it’s clear that he hopes his limited moves will stop ISIS without having to admit that this was his real goal. But in so critical a situation we can't afford self-deception. It is in our national interest to destroy this first organized trans-national jihadi army, and that means bringing  all the resources that we have to the task immediately.

At this moment, there are sane, not to mention deeply alarmed, people in Washington trying to convince the MEC to do what is necessary.  This is a moment of real testing.  Is the guy so headstrong in his insistence that "getting out of Iraq" be his legacy that he'll squander the chance to put a stop to the peril that this nation is in?

A top comandante in the Most Equal Comrade's junta finds a way to combine two of the Left's fave bogus causes

Those would be "carbon emissions" and ""justice for communities of color," and the comandante in question would be the EPA's Gina McCarthy:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed global warming regulations aren’t just about stemming global temperature rises — according to agency’s chief, they are also about “justice” for “communities of color.”
“Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a teleconference call with environmental activists. “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.”
McCarthy is referring to the EPA’s proposed rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The agency says the rule will not only help fight global warming, but will also improve public health as coal-fired power plants are shuttered. McCarthy, however, put special emphasis on how the rule would reduce asthma rates, which affect African-American children.
“Asthma disproportionately affects African-American kids,” McCarthy added. “In just the first year these standards go into effect, we’ll avoid up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks — and those numbers go up from there.”

Need a little background on the group putting on the teleconference call?  Here 'tis:

The teleconference was hosted by the environmental group Green For All. The group bills itself as an outreach organization seeking to educate “communities of color” about fighting global warming. But Green For All also describes itself as “radical enough to push a deeply justice-based agenda.”
“Green For All acknowledges the need to disrupt the current economy, because we understand that our current economy was based upon human trafficking, the exploitation of labor, and violent racism,” according to the group’s website. “We are safe enough to be invited into spaces where power-building groups are not, and radical enough to push a deeply justice-based agenda in those spaces. We are radical enough to partner with grassroots organizations when other national groups are turned away, and enough of an ally to offer resources and support in those spaces.”

Your tax dollars pay the salary of this jackboot who is cool with speaking to such a dog-vomit group.

"Need to disrupt the current economy."  Let that sink in for a while.

Many in Israel are not convinced the ceasefire is a good deal

Haviv Rettig Gur at the Times of Israel says that Netanyahu's popularity has taken a beating, and it's not because folks became war-weary, but rather because the IDF did not once and for all wipe Hamas out:

. . . his critics span the political spectrum. His most vocal critics are not in the opposition, but sit in his inner security cabinet – with Economy Minister Naftali Bennett slamming the prime minister’s ceasefire talks in Egypt as “negotiating with terrorists,” even as Bennett’s Jewish Home party saw its popularity rise by 50%, from 12 seats in the current Knesset to the equivalent of 18 seats in wartime opinion polls.
The day after the ceasefire, critics castigated the conduct of the operation from both sides. “In the next round, we must win,” insisted Jewish Home MK Yoni Chetboun.
“Quiet is always preferable to fire, but for God’s sake, we went through all this just to get back to the understandings from [2012’s Operation] Pillar of Defense?” lamented Labor whip Eitan Cabel.

He analyzes Bibi's reasons for putting this round in the history books:

Netanyahu did not set out on July 8 to uproot Hamas – for two reasons. First, he believes time is on Israel’s side. Hamas is mismanaging Gaza into economic and political oblivion (even those who blame Gaza’s dire condition squarely on Israel have trouble defending Hamas’s decision to drag Gaza’s economy and last open border into the Egyptian civil war, leading to the huge blow caused by the shuttering of that border over the past year). Hamas’s permanent belligerency also forms Exhibit A in Netanyahu’s explanations to the West as to why his security demands in the West Bank are so high.
Second, according to sources familiar with his thinking, Netanyahu believes, as do the IDF chief of staff, the defense minister and others in the Israeli security establishment, that the cost of the sort of military reconquest of Gaza required to root out Hamas is too high to be worthwhile. The IDF believes it could take years to “pacify” such a crowded, politically hostile territory, at the cost of hundreds of IDF dead and untold thousands of Palestinian dead, massive international opprobrium, and vast drains on the IDF’s manpower and financial resources that could limit its operational flexibility on other dangerous fronts, especially Syria-Lebanon and Iran.
Still, there is the matter of citizens' anticipation of final victory:

Netanyahu’s strategy has much to commend it. It recognizes and addresses the challenges posed by terrorism and irregular conflict – the civilian toll, the political traps, the importance of the psychological battlefield.
But it may suffer from one overwhelming flaw: in the minds of Israelis, it doesn’t look like war. It is hard to explain to millions of Israeli voters under rocket fire, to the families of dead children and dead soldiers, to a nation that expects decisive action from its leaders in wartime, why an enemy as derided and detested in the Israeli mind as Hamas can sustain rocket fire on a country as powerful as Israel for 50 days.
This gap is starting to have political consequences for Netanyahu. The growing chorus of critics, and the plummeting of Netanyahu’s approval rating, show the extent of the disparity between the government’s Gaza strategy and the nation’s expectations.

If there is a solid upside to the way this chapter is being concluded, it is that al-Sisi-era Egypt, a regime that seems to have a fairly decent head on its shoulders, has emerged as once again the power to be reckoned with in the eastern Mediterranean.  And Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, surely largely motivated by the undiminished strategic threat from Iran, is calling for the Islamic world to recognize Israel.  

So the Middle East's lone Western nation may enjoy more parties having its back than it has had in some time.  Not a bad situation to be in, given that Iran and its proxies still loom large, and that the alliance with post-America is pretty much worthless.