Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Media Bias, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Progressives, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Ben Rhodes, The Iran Deal, Thr Foreign Policy Guru
On May 5th, The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy interview with Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Mr. Rhodes “travels with the president, sees him all day long, and not only writes his speeches and communications strategies but also shapes the content of policy.”
The piece was titled “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru: How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age” by David Samuels. It was a revealing interview. Mr. Rhodes says he has a sort of mind-meld with the president. Much has been made of the fact that Rhodes was working on an M.F.A. in creative writing, and now he channels the president’s consciousness into an optimistic narrative that shapes the president’s foreign policy.
Rhodes strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy speeches. “Every day he does 12 jobs, and he does them better than the other people who have those jobs,” Terry Szuplat, the longest-tenured member of the National Security Council speechwriting corps, told me. On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.
Rhodes is a storyteller who” uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal.”
His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.
The revelations of how the campaign to sell the Iran Deal to the public was developed, and though planned from the first days of Obama’s presidency, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013 when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program.”
The president announced the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” Actually the meaningful part of negotiations with Iran took place in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the moderate group where chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by the supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There was never any new reality in Iran nor any moderate faction. With this one bold move, the administration would begin the process of a large- scale disengagement from the Middle East, which had always been Obama’s goal.
With the smug innocence of the morally superior, Mr. Rhodes revealed far too many truths about manipulating the media, his contempt for the press, and how he manages the flow of information. Since the actions of the Obama administration are obviously correct, selling the deal to Congress, and framing the deal as a choice between peace and war was Rhodes strategy.
Guided by his moral superiority, Rhodes neglected to consider that the American people aren’t much on being deliberately lied to, and the media isn’t enthusiastic about being manipulated, and especially about that being publicly revealed.
Articles about Ben Rhodes, about the NYT Magazine piece, and about the lies in presenting the Iran Deal have been forthcoming in a steady flow from all over the world. Congress has invited Mr. Rhodes to come testify about his part in the episode and it is suggested that if he does not turn up voluntarily, he will be subpoenaed.
Filed under: Capitalism, Cool Site of the Day, Domestic Policy, Economy, Free Markets, Freedom, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: Daniel Greenfield, Political Correctness
Here is the most important article you will read this week, or for many weeks. Daniel Greenfield takes on the Republican Party and Political Correctness in a piece titled “FIGHTING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN THE AGE OF TRUMP: Republicans must stand up to political correctness or lose”
When the left exploited the Charleston church shooting to begin a purge of Confederate flags that extended all the way into reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard, Republicans failed to defy the lynch mobs and even cheered the takedowns, some of which took place under Republican governors, as progress. Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican, announced recently that state flags in the Capitol featuring confederate insignia will be taken down due to the “controversy surrounding Confederate imagery”. The “controversy” is another term for the left’s manufactured political correctness.
There are legitimate positions on both sides when it comes to the Confederate flag, but the historical debate is not the issue. Just as it doesn’t matter very much that Harriet Tubman was a Republican. It matters far more that both moves were driven by the social media mobs of political correctness.
Culture wars are not about actual historical facts, but a tribal conflict over culture between clashing groups. This is a conflict in which it mattered a great deal that northeastern elites were lining up to get $400 tickets to see Hamilton, a hip-hop musical praised by many of the same Republicans who wouldn’t be caught dead watching reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. That New York theater trend led to Southerner Andrew Jackson being displaced on the currency instead of New York’s own Alexander Hamilton.
We have always opposed political correctness, but also laughed at it as, well, stupid. Our mistake. It is a serious matter.
This is not a battle over facts. It’s a cultural struggle over process. Political correctness is not actually a debate about the events of a past century, but about whether political and economic power should also translate into a cultural dominance so pervasive that it can reach out and strangle everything it dislikes.
Follow the link and read the whole thing. Print it out and read it again, and consider sharing it with your friends and family. You have noticed the attacks on free speech, the bizarre hatred for courses in Western Civilization, the insistence that “black lives matter,” but saying “all lives matter” will get you attacked.
While we are sneering at the latest PC, our freedom of speech is being attacked once again. One of the latest politically correct attacks is that of the attorneys general of a number of states attempting to get massive recompense from ExxonMobil under the RICO laws for denying that climate change is dangerous and life-threatening. Monuments and statues are being removed because the historical figures portrayed had views which we do not approve of today—the very history of our nation is being changed before our eyes. It is silly, but an exercise of power and control.
Add Daniel Greenfield to your personal list of must-read writers. He can be found at www.frontpagemag.com and at www.sultanknish.blogspot.com. “Political correctness isn’t just about politics. It’s about power. It’s about who has it and who doesn’t.”
Filed under: Economics, Media Bias, Politics, Pop Culture, Progressives | Tags: Political Correctness, Target Announcement, The Gender Wars
Target announced in the last weeks of April that “transgender customers at its stores are welcome to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, the latest corporate reaction to a wave of legislation seen by critics as anti-LGBT.
“We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” the retailer said. “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.”
More than a million consumers have pledged to boycott the retail giant after they announced an “inclusive” policy allowing customers to choose their own identity, and use the facilities of their choice. Their stock price has dropped from an opening price per share of $83.50 on April 19 to today’s $79.71.
Target is attempting to protect the feelings of an approximate 0.2% to 0.3% of the population who are psychologically troubled compared to women and girls who make up roughly one half of the American population, and an even larger percentage of Target customers. There have always been stray males who find some kind of excitement in getting into women’s bathrooms and/or fitting rooms. Children and young girls particularly need protection. The Federalist listed some of Target’s errors:
- Single-Sex Bathrooms Weren’t Discriminatory Yesterday
- Target is Solving No Real Problem
- Some Men Will Exploit This Policy to Cruise Women’s Restrooms
- Target is Risking its Primary Clientele
- Gender Identity is Subjective
Gender dysphoria is closely related to other dysphorias like anorexia, which killed Karen Carpenter, bodily dysphoria which leaves sufferers believing that one of their arms or legs should not be there.
There is the case of a man who believed that he really was a cat, and had tattoos, piercings and surgery to get his desired look, another became a devil with horns. It is a psychological problem from which some sufferers eventually recover, or are helped with medical care. To turn it into another weapon in the feminists’ gender wars is deeply unfortunate and unfair to those who suffer. It is clearly not a matter of “choosing one’s identity.” Anorexia is not a joke, and sufferers may die unnecessarily without care.
ADDENDUM: Frisco TX police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who was peering over the wall of the changing room and taking cellphone pictures of her. The girl told her parents and Target employees, but the man had already left the store.
ADDENDUM III: Attorney John Hinderaker takes on the politicization of the Justice Department in general, and the Obama Justice Department’s “Insane Attack of North Carolina” in the bathroom and locker room matter, in particular.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economics, Election 2016, Foreign Policy, Free Markets, Freedom, Immigration, Law, Media Bias, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Unemployment | Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Donald J. Trump, President Barack Obama
“The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of America’s strength as a nation and the well being of the American people.” President Obama has not delivered a single year of 3,0% growth. The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years, rising at an anemic 0.5% rate after a 1.4% fourth quarter advance. Not good, and one of the reasons why so many people are angry.
From Investors Business Daily:
Legacy: The same day the 0.5% GDP growth came out, President Obama is quoted in the New York Times saying the country has done “better” than “any large economy on Earth in modern history.” Delusional doesn’t begin to cut it.
The only real problem with the economy, as far as Obama is concerned, is that he hasn’t been selling his successful policies aggressively enough.
“We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market,” he told the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Investors added that Obama didn’t “save” either industry. His only contribution to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy process was to protect union interests at taxpayer expense. Dodd-Frank killed many, many community banks. The stimulus was an enormous expense and accomplished nothing at all.
At a townhall meeting in London, Obama was asked about what he wanted his legacy to be after eight years.
There are things I’m proud of. The basic principle that in a country as wealthy as the United States, every person should have access to high-quality health care that they can afford — that’s something I’m proud of, I believe in. (Applause.) Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good. (Laughter and applause.)
Well, laughter indeed, but no applause. In early days, Obama was hailed as a great communicator. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for merely talking about peace. As Noah Rothman said today at Commentary:
The image of Obama as the left’s Great Communicator was always a fabrication. Given how often Obama himself has admitted his persuasive skills have failed his supporters, you might think this invention of a center-left media would have long ago been buried. Yet, it remains with us even today. Born out of a wish and unresponsive to falsifying evidence, the idea that Obama was somehow a marvelously successful communicator will probably be with us long after the president leaves office.
Mr. Trump’s foreign policy speech was similarly hailed as strong and wide ranging. A lot of people believe what Mr. Trump said, and they’re wrong.
Mr. Trump: “NAFTA, as an example, has been a total disaster for the United States and has emptied our states — literally emptied our states of our manufacturing and our jobs. Not true.
The North American Free Trade Agreement went into force January 1, 1994. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the numbers at the end of December in 1993:
- Manufacturing employment: 16.8 million
- Labor force participation rate: 66.4%
- Unemployment rate: 6.5%
These were the numbers at the end of December 2000:
- Manufacturing employment: 17.2 million
- Labor force participation rate: 67.0%
- Unemployment rate: 3.9%
After seven years of NAFTA, unemployment was down, more people were in the labor force, and there were more people who were employed in manufacturing. In year 8 China joined the World Trade Organization, and problems came from that. This is when the drop in trade came. China is not a good economic partner, but the Obama administration is negotiating an investment deal with China. Either they should stop or Congress should stop them. In any case, Mr. Trump is plainly mistaken on his major arguments.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Media Bias, National Security, Politics, Regulation, Science/Technology, The United States | Tags: Renewable Energy, The Failure of Green Schemes, The War on Fossil Fuels
But a bunch of Democrat Attorneys General gather to attempt to garner mega bucks from Exxon Mobil because they are not interested in investigating the science, but in silencing dissent.
This is a very big deal, right out of Stalinist Russia. You dare to disagree with the “truth” handed down from the federal government and you must pay immense fines and/or be sent to the gulag. Glen Reynolds (Instapundit) said that conspiring to prohibit free speech is a crime in itself. Their idea is that they can sue Exxon Mobil under the RICO laws, which were devised for organized crime, as states attorney’s once did with tobacco. The cigarette companies knew that their product caused cancer, and tried to hide that knowledge, so there were immense damages.
Exxon Mobil, the AGs claim, is committing fraud in the interest of maximizing their profits by deceiving the public about the impact of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
The fascinating thing is that these climate zealots have never read any of the science involved—they are just true believers. And every once in a while one of the true believers readily admits what it is all about—which is a brave new world where the world’s wealth will be redistributed by climate policy.
Turns out that “the offices of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and those of other politically aligned AGs secretly teamed up with anti-fossil fuel activists to launch those investigations against those whose political speech challenged the global warming policy agenda.”
Beyond that, the drop in the price of energy is changing things all over the world.
— Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is the very low energy prices, which mean that the maintaining the turbines costs more than what the generated energy brings in, the Financieele Dagblad reports based on its own research. Subsidies for generating wind energy are in many cases no longer cost-effective. Smaller, older windmills in particular are running at a loss, but even newer mills are struggling to be profitable with insufficient subsidies. –Janene Pieters, NL Times, 15 April 2016
—Lights Go Out On Solar Power After British Government Cuts Subsidies The Guardian, 8 April 2016 (everywhere, when subsidies are cut, the green fraud dies)
—Polish Government plans to kill Wind Industry. Financial Times, 18 April 2016 (subscription)
—German Government Bill Threatens Renewable Energy Revolution, Green Lobby Warns
Solar Server News, 18 April 2016
—Norway to End Renewable Subsidy Scheme by 2021
Reuters, 15 April 2016
—Europe’s Energy Crisis Poses Warning for the U.S. Countries including Germany, Spain and England are finding that their recent “green energy” experiments are proving too costly to continue.
Breitbart, 14 April 2016
—Teslas May be making Hong Kong’s Pollution and CO2 Emissions Worse. The electric power for charging electric Tesla motors comes from coal generated power plants.
Bloomberg, 14 April 2016
The petrostates assembling in Doha to discuss a potential output freeze two days from now aren’t coming together in a show of solidarity or out of some sense of duty towards one another, but rather as an act of desperation. The American Interest, 16 April 2016
Cheap fossil fuels make the kinds of subsidies necessary to prop up renewables like solar a lot less politically justifiable. Buy into the solar hype at your own risk. SunEdison is one of the biggest players in the U.S. solar industry and was for a time the fastest growing renewables firm in America….today the company stares down more than $12 billion in debt and the looming threat of bankruptcy. The American Interest, 14 April 2016
Indian lenders are becoming increasingly reluctant to finance solar-power projects by foreign companies as bankruptcy looms for SunEdison Inc. in the U.S. live mint
21 April 2016 / E-Paper
There’s lots more. Britain is bringing in shale gas in a gusher, and Scotland looks to have success with shale. Huge fortunes have been made with governments’ subsidies for renewable energy, but if the subsidies are not forthcoming—wind and solar cannot stand on their own. The problems are in the nature of wind and solar energy. Wind is too intermittent, and there is no technology that can change the nature of the wind itself. The same goes for solar energy, but there the problem is night—when the sun sinks beneath the horizon and clouds.
Tesla has quietly discontinued its 10 kilowatt-hour home battery wall. The economics for backup power alone just aren’t that attractive.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, History, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: "Women's Studies", 1966 Equal Pay Law, National Organization for Women
I vaguely remember reading a book long ago by a newly enlightened feminist on her conversion to feminist activism. She had grown up in a family where her father was most definitely the head of the household, the man in the family, who got the Sunday paper first, was served first at the dinner table, and looking back she was troubled by the injustice of it all. Well, poor baby.
N.O.W., the National Organization for Women, was born back in the Sixties, 1966 to be exact, when everyone was protesting about something or other, mostly about their fear of being drafted. Their focus has consistently been on gender equality, and that’s where we lose interest. Women appreciate the wider range of occupations open to them, but recognize that there are many jobs for which they are just not well-suited. Most women appreciate the difference between the sexes and wouldn’t want it any other way.
N.O.W., AAUW and the National Committee on Pay Equity marshal their forces every April to promote the annual feminist holiday known as Equal Pay Day. Hillary tried to make a big deal of it in a speech yesterday, adding the race card. It is a verifiable falsehood, says economist Mark Perry at AEI:
based on the false assumption that women are paid 23% less for doing exactly the same work in the exact same occupations and careers, working side-by-side with men on the same job for the same organization, working the same number of hours per week, traveling the same amount of time for work obligations, with the same exact work experience and education, with exactly the same level of productivity.
Equal Pay has been the law since 1966, but the feminists soldier on, trying to open all military combat roles to women. The Marines justifiably object. Former Attorney General Eric Holder invented rights for the transgendered — to protect cross-dressing and transsexualism under federal civil rights laws.
But the feminist drive to eliminate gender is really getting into the weeds with combat roles, and gender dysphoria. They are doing great damage to the gullible. The American College of Pediatricians felt it necessary to come out with a statement that “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” Parents are under pressure to “help their children to transition,” as a grateful woman who had parents with patience wrote in January in the Wall Street Journal: “The Transgender Battle Line: Childhood.” A former transgender wrote yesterday in The Federalist about his alarm at the attempt to redefine gender norms.
So of course the White House had to jump into the controversy with a big promotion on “Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys so that Our Children Can Explore, Learn, and Dream Without Limit“— urging toymakers, children’s magazines, and organizations like Girl Scouts and Netflix to “raise awareness about gender stereotypes,” once again increasing the focus on something better left alone.
“We’re hosting the conference because we know that the TV, movies, and videos that kids watch, and the toys with which they play, can have a real impact on the skills they develop and their aspirations,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a post on the White House blog. “This impact goes beyond child development. This affects the quality of our workforce, and has the potential to affect our economy for decades to come.”
There are all kinds of dysphorias, from anorexia, which has killed some of its victims, to bodily dysphorias which has led its sufferers to cut off limbs, or in the case of one man to change his face to that of a cat with surgery, tattoos and piercings. It is a psychological problem and treatment is at best uncertain. Many, after some time, recover. For those who have had surgery to complete their transformation it is much more difficult if they lose the urge to be the opposite sex. North Carolina has passed a law requiring people to use the bathroom according to the sex they were born with.
Faux outrage, as everybody wants to demonstrate how opposed to ‘discrimination’ they are. Women have had to put up with male predators invading their bathrooms, and see only danger in liberal insistence on changing tradition and good sense.
This is all an outgrowth of the feminist war on gender. There are two genders, male and female. Live with it.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economics, Economy, Freedom, History, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Regulation, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: A Grab For Power, Donald Trump, Philip Hamburger
Are you tired of the circus that the presidential campaign has become? The latest insult from Mr. Trump is food for a thousand articles about the polls and who is up and who is not. Mr. Trump is doing an amazing job of keeping the attention of the media on his every word. Comments on posts are partisan and angry, but the anger is remarkably unfocused. Everyone is furious with “the establishment” but no one seems to know just who “the establishment” is. Presumably it’s the people they elected last time around.
The “establishment” is apparently the people who know their way around Washington, and understand how it works. And they deserve your fury because? There has been a major shift over the past seven-and-a-half years as the two major parties jockey for power. President Obama had a Democrat Congress to work with, and was able to pass all sorts of noxious laws without a single Republican vote. Lots of promises, mostly hooey, and lots of regulations that Republicans would not have put into place. But Democrats were in charge. See the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the sidebar.
The major change has been the arrogation of power to the executive branch. Lawmaking is the task of the Congress, but this president has claimed much of that power for himself, and distributed much administrative power to the various executive agencies. From the Coyote Blog, Mr Meyer said: “This is eye opening:“
In one recent year alone, Congress passed 138 laws—while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules. Federal judges conduct about 95,000 trials a year, but federal agencies conduct nearly 1 million. Put all that together and you have a situation in which one branch of government, the executive, is arrogating to itself the powers of the other two.
he adds: This probably understates the case. Most of the laws were probably brief fixes or extensions or for national _____ day declarations. The administrative rules can be thousands of pages long and create nightmarish compliance issues. Already, most of our businesses compliance efforts (which seem to be rising exponentially in time and cost) are due to administrative rules changes rather than new laws per se.
This is called “Administrative Law. Suddenly, executive agencies are writing the regulations, administering them, enforcing them and conducting trials and issuing fines or penalties to those who do not go along cheerfully. Some agencies even have their own SWAT teams.
America has witnessed a massive shift in government authority, says George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley—one that “has occurred without a national debate and certainly not a national vote.” That shift has led to the de facto creation of a “fourth branch of government containing legislative, executive and judicial components but relatively little direct public influence.”
Turley made those remarks in recent testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee. His talk waded deeply into the weeds of legal history and precedent, but the upshot was this: By failing to rein in regulatory agencies when they overstep their bounds, the Supreme Court and Congress have allowed those agencies not merely to administer law, but to create it—and run roughshod over the public in the process. …
All of this has happened thanks largely to a 1984 Supreme Court case called Chevron. The Reagan administration chose to relax some air-quality regulations, and the Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the decision in court. The Supreme Court sided with the Environmental Protection Agency. It did so for commendable reasons: to avoid turning the courts themselves into policy-making bodies. Rather than decide whether the EPA was right or wrong, the high court deferred to the agency. This is judicial modesty.
Daniel Greenfield said “This is how we move toward a totalitarian state. Incrementally. Step by step. Regulation by regulation implemented by a collectivist bureaucracy for all the “right leftist reasons”. You can’t object. That would be bigoted. Or mean that you have “something to hide”.
That last link notes that the EEOC has released a proposed rule requiring employers to submit employee W-2 earnings and hours worked. All employers with at least 100 employees would be required to comply. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) would jointly have access to the pay data for enforcement purposes. Whoa!
The Republican House voted in February “on legislation to make it more difficult for banking regulators to demand that banks shut down certain business accounts.” The legislation is designed “to target the Obama administration’s ‘Operation Choke Point’ a Justice Department effort to require businesses to stop banks from working with certain businesses. These businesses include lawful firearms dealers, payday lenders, escort services and other companies.”…”While the Justice Department cut off financial services to certain industries, it encouraged banks to provide services to others like illegal marijuana sales.”
We are all too familiar with the overreach of the EPA under administrator Gina McCarthy the agency is embarked on a grab for power. Philip Hamburger had a new book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” in 2014. Powerline chatted with him about the book, which they said is the most important book they had read in a long time.
I think this is perhaps what people are getting at when they are so angry with “the establishment” — that undefined bunch of “insiders.”That’s where the anger should be directed. Administrative Law is unlawful, unconstitutional and illegitimate. This is the power once claimed by English kings, and exactly what our Constitution was carefully designed to prevent.