November 2015 Archives
Daniel Greenfield writes that President Obama is more interested in changing American than defeating ISIS. I hope our next president is less nuanced.
When reporters ask Obama how he plans to win the war, he smirks tiredly at them and launches into another condescending explanation about how the situation is far too complicated for anything as simple as bombs to work. Underneath that explanation is the belief that wars are unwinnable.
Obama knows that Americans won't accept "war just doesn't work" as an answer to Islamic terrorism. So he demonstrates to them that wars don't work by fighting wars that are meant to fail.
So who are Obama's enemies? Well, he doesn't seem to like America that much.
Obama responded to ISIS by denying it's a threat. Once that stopped being a viable strategy, he began to stall for time. And he's still stalling for time, not to beat ISIS, but to wait until ISIS falls out of the headlines. That has been his approach to all his scandals from ObamaCare to the IRS to the VA.
Lie like crazy and wait for people to forget about it and turn their attention to something else.
This is a containment strategy, but not for ISIS. It's a containment strategy for America. Obama isn't trying to bottle up ISIS except as a means of bottling up America. He doesn't see the Caliph of the Islamic State as the real threat, but the average American who watches the latest beheading on the news and wonders why his government doesn't do something about it. To the left it isn't the Caliph of ISIS who starts the wars we ought to worry about, but Joe in Tennessee, Bill in California or Pete in Minnesota.
That is why Obama sounds bored when talking about beating ISIS, but heats up when the conversation turns to fighting Republicans. It's why Hillary Clinton named Republicans, not ISIS, as her enemy.
The left is not interested in making war on ISIS. It is too busy making war on America.
UnitedHealth Group is warning that it might withdraw from Obamacare by 2017 because it's losing too much money. I'm sure the warning is legit, but it should really be viewed as a negotiation gambit.
The company admits it's "a potentially huge blow" to the new system: "If a major publicly traded insurer bows out, others may follow and destabilize the entire individual market."
Game over for ObamaCare?
UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley seems to imply just that: "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."
As Megan McArdle points out writes about the potential for an Obamacare death spiral, but of course she's cautious in making predictions.
An earnings call like today's can also be a bargaining tactic. Health insurers are engaged in a sort of perpetual negotiation with regulators over how much they'll be allowed to charge, what sort of help they'll get from the government if they lose money, and a thousand other things. Signaling that you're willing to pull out of the market if you don't get a better deal is a great way to improve your bargaining position with legislators and regulatory agencies.
That said, strategic positioning is obviously far from the whole story, or even the majority of it. UnitedHealth really is losing money on these policies right now. It really is seeing something that looks dangerously like adverse selection.
No matter how you look at it, the news isn't good for the Affordable Care Act.
Walter Russell Mead eviscerates President Obama's moral posturing on Syria. Obama calls opponents of his plans to bring tens of thousands of Syrians to America as racist zenophobes, but he's one of the people most responsible for the crisis in the first place!
To think that conspicuous moral posturing and holy posing over a symbolic refugee quota could turn President Obama from the goat to the hero of the Syrian crisis is absurd. Wringing your hands while Syria turns into a hell on earth, and then taking a token number of refugees, can be called many things, but decent and wise are not among them. You don't have to be a xenophobe or a racist or even a Republican to reject this President's leadership on Syria policy. All you need for that is common sense and a moral compass. ...
For no one, other than the Butcher Assad and the unspeakable al-Baghdadi, is as responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria as is President Obama. No one has committed more sins of omission, no one has so ruthlessly sacrificed the well-being of Syria's people for his own ends, as the man in the White House. In all the world, only President Obama had the ability to do anything significant to prevent this catastrophe; in all the world no one turned his back so coldly and resolutely on the suffering Syrians as the man who sits in the White House today--a man who is now lecturing his fellow citizens on what he insists is their moral inferiority before his own high self-esteem.
It's easy to be cynical and brush off the FBI's investigation of Hillary and her cronies -- it's a Democrat administration, so of course there won't be any charges. But all the leaks and chatter from inside the FBI that I've read about indicates that the FBI is taking the investigation seriously. The Justice Department lawyers may ultimately refuse to prosecute, but despite my own cynicism I actually have confidence in the FBI.
Fox News is told agents are looking at U.S. Code 18, Section 1001, which pertains to "materially false" statements given either in writing, orally or through a third party. Violations also include pressuring a third party to conspire in a cover-up. Each felony violation is subject to five years in prison.
This phase represents an expansion of the FBI probe, which is also exploring potential violations of an Espionage Act provision relating to "gross negligence" in the handling of national defense information.
"The agents involved are under a lot of pressure and are busting a--," an intelligence source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News.
Maybe I'm naive, but I sincerely hope that our government is capable of carrying out an apolitical investigation of a top official.
In a bizarrely ironic move that would have Dr. King rolling in his grave the Mizzou protesters have decided to segregate themselves by race. You can't make this stuff up.
In an ironic development, to say the least, protesters at the University of Missouri (MU) segregated themselves by race Wednesday night, having white students leave a gathering in order to create a "black-only healing space."
Supporters of the group Concerned Students 1950, which has spearheaded the protest movement at MU, assembled at the school's student center Wednesday night for a meeting after a planned protest march was canceled due to bad weather. And then, according to activist Steve Schmidt, whites were asked to leave.
Hillary confidant Huma Abedin warns another aide in email that Hillary is "often confused". That's comforting.
Abedin: Have you been going over her calls with her? So she knows singh is at 8? [India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]
Hanley: She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call. Will go over with her
Abedin: Very imp to do that. She's often confused.
Ross Douthat writes that Yale and Missouri University are reaping what they've sown. As a conservative, I have zero sympathy for the university professors and administrators who are being devoured by the beast they've created. My sympathy is for the "normal" students whose educations are being disrupted and degraded by this nonsense, and the taxpayers who support these institutions with their hard-earned money.
The protesters at Yale and Missouri and a longer list of schools stand accused of being spoiled, silly, self-dramatizing -- and many of them are. But they're also dealing with a university system that's genuinely corrupt, and that's long relied on rote appeals to the activists' own left-wing pieties to cloak its utter lack of higher purpose.
And within this system, the contemporary college student is actually a strange blend of the pampered and the exploited.
Let's stop pretending the Palestinians want peace. All the pleas for peace are made by outsiders to the Israelis because everyone knows two things: Israel is the vastly more powerful party, and Israel is the vastly more rational party. No one begs the Palestinians for peace or denigrates them when they launch yet another attack -- the world basically treats the Palestinians as children. It somehow offends global sensibilities that Israel is both right and powerful.
(Not that Israel is unambiguously "good" or without fault, of course.)
Back in the real world, Daniel Polisar, the Provost and Executive Vice President of Shalem College in Jerusalem, has written an important essay in which he lays out in detail polling data on Palestinian attitudes about Israel and Jews over the past two decades. The data is appalling. Palestinians blame Israel for all their problems, view the Jewish state as an illegitimate colonial presence on their land, believe that violence against Israelis is justified and even laudable, believe that Jews are bloodthirsty and dishonest, and are predisposed to take at face value even the most absurd accusations against these uniquely evil enemies. Read through the essay and ask yourself how anyone could be expected to make peace with such people.
So here is the unfortunate truth: the Palestinians do not want and are not prepared to make peace with Israelis. That's not my opinion. It's theirs. All I did was listen to them. Unless and until that fact changes, there is no peace to be had.
I'm not native to Missouri but it has been my adopted home for almost ten years now. It shames me to watch the behavior of these bullies towards photojournalist Tim Tai at the University of Missouri as he attempted to exercise his First Amendment rights.
In the video of Tim Tai trying to carry out his ESPN assignment, I see the most vivid example yet of activists twisting the concept of "safe space" in a most confounding way. They have one lone student surrounded. They're forcibly preventing him from exercising a civil right. At various points, they intimidate him. Ultimately, they physically push him. But all the while, they are operating on the premise, or carrying on the pretense, that he is making them unsafe.
It is as if they've weaponized the concept of "safe spaces."
You can read a timeline of the events in the video at the link. They include highlights such as:
Around the 20-second mark, a woman shouts that the photographer needs to respect the space of students, just as they start to forcibly push him backwards.
Just after the one-minute mark, having been pushed back by students who are deliberately crowding him to obstruct his view, things grow more surreal as the photographer is told, "Please give them space! You cannot be this close to them."
At the 1:24 mark, as the students are chanting at the photographer and some are visibly smirking at him--and as he's frustrated but doing his best to keep his cool--a protestor tells him, as if he is disrespecting them, "You think this is funny."
My Senator, Claire McCaskill, helpfully tells me to shut up. Yeah, it's comedy! I get it. I just can't wait for hilarious bit where someone tells women to shut up.
As one of 20 women in the Senate, she wants more women to run for office, she said for Monday's Late Show, "but equally important is encouraging more men to sometimes just shut the hell up." She quickly clarified, sort of, telling the world's men: "It's not that women don't value your thoughts, it's just that we don't value all of them."
What topics should men just shut up about? Don't worry: McCaskill had a list. An incomplete catalog includes "what women do with their bodies," "who the next James Bond should be," Star Wars, selfies, pantsuits, millennials, "Star Wars again," all art, carbs, and turkey brining. But she did throw in a little consolation prize for men: "If you can control yourselves and hold back from further expressing your opinions on any of these topics, we'll let you keep weighing in on marijuana legalization -- but that's a huge, big 'if.'"
I guess I shouldn't give this nonsense more attention, but whatever. I'm tired of men being constantly ridiculed.
Elephants live as long as humans and they don't get cancer. Obviously we need to create human-elephant hybrids.
"Half of all men and a third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime," said study author Dr. Joshua Schiffman, an investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. "The uncontrolled cell division and genomic instability that is cancer is very much a disease of aging, because the older we get the less we're able to repair damaged cells."
Because elephants "are 100 times our size, and have so many cells, and live for such a long time, it stands to reason that just by chance alone all elephants should be dying from cancer. But they don't," said Schiffman. ...
Analysis of zoo elephant death records revealed that less than 5 percent died of cancer. The cancer death rate in humans is 11 to 25 percent, the researchers said.
A Freedom of Information Act request has dislodged the NDA that Hillary signed when she became Secretary of State which clearly states her understanding of her obligation to properly identify and handle classified information.
The language of her NDA suggests it was Clinton's responsibility to ascertain whether information shared through her private email server was, in fact, classified.
"I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department ... in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control that I have reason to believe might be SCI," the agreement says.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the NDA.
Megan McArdle says that there's no magic lever for economic growth. Maybe there are a bunch of levers that deliver economic growth when you don't pull them?
Republicans and Democrats suffer from a common delusion that there is some magic lever we can use to make the economy grow, if only we elect a president with the vision and iron determination to grab that sucker and pull really hard. This illness presents differently, depending on the patient. Democrats think the government needs to get right in there and micromanage our way back to 1950, preferably Sweden in 1950, while Republicans think that the road to prosperity is paved with low marginal tax rates. But no matter what the symptoms, it is still a sickness. Economic growth is mostly a matter of millions of individuals making decisions to save, invest and consume in new and better patterns -- and as amazing as this may sound, most of these people are thinking about things other than the government when they make those decisions.