Posts Tagged ‘video’

Shockingly, Bill Maher Makes Sense on Gaza

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Here’s something from the “Blind Squirrel Find Acorn” department: Bill Maher actually making sense on Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

Some choice quotes:

“If Hamas had the opportunity, they would kill the maximum number of Israelis, which would be all. And Israel has the capability to kill a lot more and they do not. They seem victims of the soft bigotry of high expectations.”

“Can we ask why Israel wins all the time? Because they’ve won every war. They have to. You can’t go 8-1 and be Israel. You have to go 8-0 every year to still exist.”

“Jews have 155 Nobel Prizes and Muslims have two. Maybe it’s who you know, but that seems a big advantage for Team Hebrew.”

Liberal Rage Continues Over Hobby Lobby Decision

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Despite musical advice from that big hit from The Princess Factory, liberals just can’t Let It Go. They’re still in a rage over the Hobby Lobby decision, or at least pretending to be in order to gin up their shrinking base in order to keep Democrats from being slaughtered in November.

Jeffrey Tobin: “What we are witnessing is a liberal meltdown in which they have come to believe the First Amendment is a technicality that should brushed aside when it comes into conflict with the ‘right’ to free contraception.”

For the political left, the concept of religious liberty has been re-interpreted as to only mean the right to be allowed to pray and not to live one’s faith in the public square. When faith conflicts with policy initiatives such as the free contraception mandate, they assume that religion must always lose. However, the court majority has rightly reminded us that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment cannot be trashed simply because a lot of Americans want not only access to contraception but also think their employers ought to be compelled to pay for it.

But to liberals, a decision that reaffirms the primacy of religious freedom is just the latest iteration of a Republican “war on women.” As a political slogan, that meme has been political gold for Democrats who believe its use guarantees their stranglehold on the votes of unmarried women. But as infuriating and wrongheaded the war on women arguments may be, what is really troubling about them is that they reflect a utilitarian approach to the Constitution that regards any of its protections as expendable if they are obstacles to a liberal policy goal.

Clarice Feldman: “No, the sputtering, venomous and hateful hyperbole is attributable to one thing, and one thing only: the Court did not allow the state to bend Hobby Lobby to its will on their behalf. And that is what matters most to them.”

All this rage is especially hypocritical since:

Some 204 outfits favored by Democrats were granted waivers by the president from ObamaCare, which means their employees do not have the right to employer provided birth control. These include upscale restaurant, nightclubs, and hotels in then-Speaker Pelosi’s district; labor union chapters; large corporations, financial firms, and local governments.

Women did not march through the streets to complain on behalf of their downtrodden sisters at Boboquivari in San Francisco which sells porterhouse steaks at $59 a pop and such. Apparently they are up with laws written on Etch-a-Sketch boards which the president can rewrite at whim. And their moral outrage is dependent on whether or not the employer is a Democrat crony.

The whole “War on Women” is “shameless, baseless propaganda:

In other Hobby Lobby-related news, Jonathan Adler debunks the idea that the Hobby lobby ruling was “anti-science.”

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

The Clintons Just Don’t Get It

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Hot on the heels of Hillary Clinton claiming that her family was dead broke in 2001 (for certain values of “dead broke” that include being worth more than $20 million) comes news that Hillary has doubled down on the “shucks, we’re just regular folks” gambit.

In an interview with The Guardian, Clinton said she isn’t “truly well off”:

But with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution?

“But they don’t see me as part of the problem,” she protests, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” she says, letting off another burst of laughter. If past form is any guide, she must be finding my question painful.

The full quote is actually more damning than just the “not truly well off” bit because it suggests an even more radical disconnect from the economic reality most Americans face every day. Evidently Hillary is suggesting she gets a pass from class warfare envy because: A.) She and Bill have actually deigned to obey the law by paying taxes, and B.) Americans know just how hard it is for Bill to give $103 million worth of speeches.

A few choice reactions:

Moreover, Hillary’s daughter seems to have picked up on her mother’s entitlement issues. It seems that the woman married to a former Goldman Sachs manager who started his own hedge fund, the woman who owns a $10 million Manhattan apartment, the woman who was given a $3 million wedding and the woman who MSNBC paid $600,000 a year to (or $26,724 for every minute she appeared on-air) says she doesn’t care about money.

At least one pundit has suggested that Hillary’s clan suffers from “Status-Income Disequilibrium”, in which people with All The Right Opinions suddenly realize how much wealthier fellow members of the Overclass are. Or, as Rush Limbaugh puts it, “in [Hillary]‘s world, $50 million is peanuts.”

Let’s give Bill Clinton one small piece of praise in all this: As far as I can tell, on this particular subject he’s apparently been smart enough to keep his mouth shut…

Aftershocks From Eric Cantor’s Defeat

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Pretty much everyone on both sides of the mediasphere/punditocracy was shocked by last night’s defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by David Brat.

Here’s a quick roundup on thoughts and reactions to Cantor’s defeat:

  • If David Dewhurst’s flailing campaigns hadn’t already destroyed consensus wisdom that money is everything in a political race, Brat’s vitory provides further confirmation. “As of mid-May, Brat had raised only about $200,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Cantor raised more than $5.4 million for this election cycle.”
  • Indeed, Cantor’s campaign spent almost as much on steakhouses as Brat spent on his entire campaign.
  • Erick Erickson:

    The media will play up Cantor’s loss by claiming it was about immigration. They will be wrong, but it will be useful for the rest of us. Immigration reform is now DOA in the House of Representatives thanks to David Brat.

    But Cantor really did not lose because of immigration alone. Immigration was the surface reason that galvanized the opposition to Cantor, but the opposition could not have been galvanized with this issue had Cantor been a better congressman these past few years.

    He and his staff have repeatedly antagonized conservatives. One conservative recently told me that Cantor’s staff were the “biggest bunch of a**holes on the Hill.” An establishment consultant who backed Cantor actually agreed with this assessment. That attitude moved with Cantor staffers to K Street, the NRSC, and elsewhere generating ill will toward them and Cantor. Many of them were perceived to still be assisting Cantor in other capacities. After Cantor’s loss tonight, I got a high volume of emails from excited conservatives, but also more than a handful of emails from those with establishment Republican leanings all expressing variations on “good riddance.”

    Cantor’s constituent services moved more toward focusing on running the Republican House majority than his congressional district. K Street, the den of Washington lobbyists, became his chief constituency.

    “Cantor lost his race because he was running for Speaker of the House of Representatives while his constituents wanted a congressman.”

  • Erickson also says the race is a good indication of why conservatives should forget about the American Conservative Union congressional rankings:

    The American Conservative Union has long been a mouthpiece of the Republican Establishment and in the past few years has basically been K-Street’s conservatives. Their scorecard reflects the Republican-ness of a member of congress far more than the conservativeness of a member of congress. Just consider that Mitch McConnell was considered more conservative in 2012 than either Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn.

    In contrast to the American Conservative Union, Heritage Action for America takes a more comprehensive approach to its scorecard, it does not try to help Republican leadership look good, and is a better barometer of a congressman’s conservativeness. The ACU had Eric Cantor at a 95%. Heritage Action for America has him at 53%.

  • And as long as I’m quoting Erickson:

  • Constituent: Why we fired Eric Cantor:

    Because [Cantor] didn’t have to worry too much about getting re-elected every two years, his political ambition was channeled into rising through the hierarchy of the House leadership. Rise he did, all the way up to the #2 spot, and he was waiting in the wings to become Speaker of the House.
    The result was that Cantor’s real constituency wasn’t the folks back home. His constituency was the Republican leadership and the Republican establishment. That’s who he really answered to.

    Guess what? Folks in the seventh district figured that out.

    Snip.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, was Eric Cantor: the soul of an establishment machine politician, with the “messaging” of the small-government conservatives grafted uneasily on top of it.

    So yes, you can now tear up all those articles pronouncing the death of the Tea Party movement, because this is the essence of what the Tea Party is about: letting the establishment know that they have to do more than offer lip service to a small-government agenda, that we expect them to actually mean it. Or as Dave Brat put it in one of his frenzied post-victory interviews, “the problem with the Republican principles is that nobody follows them.”

  • Mickey Kaus, who probably did more than any other pundit to defeat Cantor, points to the importance of illegal alien amnesty as the decisive issue in the race:

    I would have settled for his challenger, Dave Brat, getting more than 40%. I was all ready to (legitimately) spin that as a warning shot across Cantor’s bow. Instead, Brat went and actually beat Cantor–decisively, by 10 points, 55% to 45%. He and his campaign manager Zachary Werrell obviously ran a very effective race with minimal resources–against Cantor’s millions. Independent anti-Cantor actors like the We Deserve Better group — and various local conspiracies we don’t even know about — probably played a role as well.

    But the main issue in the race was immigration. It’s what Brat emphasized, and what his supporters in the right wing media (Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin) emphasized. It’s the charge Cantor defended against—by conceding the issue and posing as a staunch amnesty opponent. But Cantor had signed onto the GOP’s pro-amnesty “principles” and endorsed a poll-tested but irresponsibly sweeping amnesty for children (a “founding principle” of the country, he said). Brat opposed all this, even as illegal immigrant children were surging across the border in search of a Cantor-style deal.

    Brat won this immigration debate. Cantor lost. It’s basically that simple.

    Kaus also notes that it puts a stake in the heart of MSM “Republicans are really OK with amnesty” BS.

  • What does it mean for House leadership?

    Those conservatives, suddenly smelling blood in the water, might now be emboldened to push for a wholesale change in leadership—ousting Boehner and McCarthy in this November’s conference elections, and entering the next Congress with a new top three.

    “It should frighten everyone in leadership,” one conservative House Republican, who exchanged text messages on condition of anonymity, said shortly after Cantor’s defeat was official. “They haven’t been conservative enough. We’ve told them that for 3 years. They wouldn’t listen.”

    The GOP lawmaker added: “Maybe they will listen now.”

  • Cantor’s internal polling (conducting by the McLaughlin Group) showed him up by 34%, when he actually lost by 10 points. I guess McLaughlin failed to note the results were +/-44 points. That’s some mighty fine polling methodology you have going on there, John…
  • Debunking myths about Cantor’s defeat. It wasn’t a low-turnout election, and Democrats didn’t provide the margin of victory.
  • Brat on his victory: “Dollars do not vote. You do!”

  • Brat offers Washington insiders a lesson in humility. Bonus: “The 10th Amendment is the big one; the Constitution has enumerated powers belonging to the federal government. All the rest of the powers belong to the states and the people.”
  • A look at David Brat’s theological writings, which cover Christian Libertarian ground. Warning: Hitler (but not in a Godwin’s Law sense).
  • LinkSwarm for June 9, 2014

    Monday, June 9th, 2014

    Here’s a LinkSwarm to kick your week off with:

  • Gee, what could have possibly sent hospital prices skyrocketing? It’s an unsolvable mystery! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Old and Busted: ObamaCare will save the government money. The New Hotness: “In its latest report on the law, the Congressional Budget Office said it is no longer possible to assess the overall fiscal impact of the law.”
  • “For Obama and his defenders to blame Bush — or anyone but Obama — 64 months into his administration deserves nothing short of lip-curling scorn.”
  • The New Narrative: Obama is just massively incompetent at everything but campaigning.
  • The VA Scandal displays “a systemic lack of integrity.”
  • Nothing says “socialism is a raging success” quite like rationing drinking water. Enjoy your socialist paradise, Caracas, Venezuela! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The idiocy of “white privilege.”
  • “It is not sufficient that transsexuals should be free to act on their delusions — the rest of us are expected to participate in them with unreserved enthusiasm, and the Left is willing to use the state to compel us to do so…The belief that members of minority political tendencies should be jailed for their views is very much in vogue for the Left at the moment.”
  • Steve Crowder: Having a Penis Doesn’t Equal Misogyny.
  • Another day, another Social Justice Warrior issung death threats against their political enemies.
  • 50 Years of Democratic Rule tracking Detroit’s decay using Google street view.
  • Once again, liberal Democrats oppose a project that might give burly blue collar men high-paying jobs.
  • Christopher Hitchens on Hillary Clinton. Yes, it’s old. (The fact Hitchens exited this vale of tears over two years ago may have been the first tipoff.) But I suspect this will not be the last time I repost it between now and 2016…
  • New York City now has more cops collecting pensions than walking the street.
  • The indicted friend of the Boston Marathon Bomber wired $71,000 to people in six countries using fake names. I think we can all agree that that’s not even slightly suspicious…
  • Best and worst paying college majors.
  • Vasser’s new Stalinist show trials.
  • The Texas Republican Convention occurred in Ft. Worth over the weekend, and delegates killed a down-payment on illegal alien amnesty, the so-called “Texas Solution.” How many time does the GOP establishment need to be told that actual voters reject amnesty, and demand that the border be secured before any changes are made to immigration law before they start listening?
  • Speaking of amnesty, all this “Dream Act” talk has sent children pouring over the border, where there are no housed in overcrowded and unhygienic holding facilities. Thanks, Obama!
  • Some of them are being dumped in Arizona.
  • Even Obama’s own immigration adviser says says his amnesty plan is endangering children. Plus “roughly 70 percent of swing-voters want tougher immigration rules.” Obama seems unwilling to stop the flood of illegal aliens because he views them all as potential Democratic voters…
  • 10 essential economic truths liberals need to learn.
  • Fight gearing up between the Bureau of Land Management and Texas.
  • Grammer Nazis.
  • Public Service Announcement: Try not to murder people for imaginary Internet memes.
  • Samuel L. Jackson takes a selfie at a an Israel Independence parade in New York City. naturally liberals freak out.
  • When I think “Hip-Hop” the first name that comes to mind is Ron Howard.
  • Al Sharpton vs. The Teleprompter:

  • Science Fiction Writer Jay Lake, RIP.
  • What India Needs Is Stricter Sword Control Laws…

    Sunday, June 8th, 2014

    I missed this earlier, but violent swordfights broke out at the Sikh Golden Temple in Punjab, India:

    The fights were evidently between rival Sikh factions on who would speak first at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, when the Indian government stormed the temple and killed Sikh separatist followers of Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale.

    If the video is any indication, either the combatants weren’t really trying to hurt anyone, or most Sikhs today treat their kirpan as a purely ornamental weapon, as that is some seriously incompetent and ineffective swordplay…

    Ted Cruz Addresses the 2014 Texas Republican Convention

    Saturday, June 7th, 2014

    Ted Cruz spoke to the Texas Republican Convention yesterday. Since I suspect most of you didn’t have a chance to catch the livestream, here it is in handy YouTube form. Includes considerable criticism of Obama’s foreign policy (or lack thereof).

    Consider this a “Hey, it’s the weekend, here’s something vaguely resembling content” post.

    The 70th Anniversary of D-Day

    Friday, June 6th, 2014

    Today marks the 70th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy. It was a key point in the greatest conflagration the world had ever known.

    Dwight mentioned that Chester Nez, the last of 29 original Navajo code talkers, died Wednesday, reminding us that the events of World War II are rapidly passing out of living memory.

    To mark the day, here’s Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Poem and Prayer for an Invading Army”, read over NBC the day of the invasion. I’ve always thought it was a fine piece of work. (The text does not appear to be online, and I believe it’s still in copyright.)

    And here’s a Pathe newsreel of the invasion (one of many available):

    In case you missed it, I put up Ronald Reagan’s speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day yesterday.

    The Bergdahl Blunder

    Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

    If you want to see how quickly consensus wisdom can change as the facts come to light, take a look at the 180º turn in opinion on the five Taliban leaders for Bowe Bergdahl exchange.

    First “President Obama hailed Bergdahl’s recovery as a triumph of years of high-wire diplomatic efforts” in a Rose Garden ceremony with Bergdahl’s parents.

    UN Ambassador Susan Rice also hailed the exchange, saying that Bergdahl’s poor health was a factor in making the swap and that he had “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

    All in all, it seemed like the perfect media event to distract public attention from the VA scandal. Republicans were criticized for complaining that swapping five high value Taliban commanders for one soldier was a mistake.

    Then it came to light that Bergdahl was not universally loved among his comrades in arms, to put in mildly. “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

    The revelation of Bergdahl’s desertion seemed to blindside the Obama Administration. It shouldn’t have. Never mind that it should have been able to find that out before the swap from its own internal military reports. (If not, then there’s a “thermocline of truth” in the chain of command even more serious than previously suspected.) For an Administration that claims it first learns of its own scandals from the media, it should have learned about Bergdahl’s desertion no later than June 7, 2012, when Rolling Stone published an extensive profile on Bergdahl and his status as a prisoner of war:

    Bowe Bergdahl had a different response. He decided to walk away.

    In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?

    Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.

    Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.

    Even those notorious right-swing shills at The New York Times report that Bergdahl “slipped away from his outpost.”

    Soldiers say that after Bergdahl was captured, “over the next couple of months, all the attacks were far more directed.”

    Now stories have come to light that soldier’s in Bergdahl’s unit were instructed to lie about how he came into the Taliban’s hands.

    No wonder there was such an outrage among our troops over the exchange.

    Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

    As for Rice, Ralph Peters noted “At least she didn’t blame Bergdahl’s desertion on a video.”

    Then footage emerged of the Taliban handing over Bergdahl, which did not seem to indicate he was in particularly frail physical health. (Mentally? Well, Blinky McDeserter obviously has some issues…)

    Even Obama’s usual defenders in the media are questioning the exchange:

    Now Obama’s State Department (and liberal Administration defenders) are saying that “there are a ton of conflicting reports”. This is such a general purpose cop-out I’m surprised we don’t hear it from the Obama Administration more often. “Did the IRS target conservative groups?” “There are a ton of conflicting reports…”

    The fact that liberal opinion has swung from “This was a triumph for Obama and Republicans look petty for raining on his parade” to “we don’t have enough information to judge yet” tells you all you need to know about the optics…

    Also: Oh, nice job Mad:

    More EU Election Fallout

    Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

    It’s hard to know just how much weight to put in widespread gains by Eurosceptic parties in EU elections, mainly because the EU decision-making process seems so opaque to outsiders. Even if Eurosceptic Parties had won significant majorities, you get the impression that they would be like Patrick McGoohan’s character on The Prisoner after he got elected #2, issuing orders and flipping switches to no effect whatsoever:

    Even were the Eurosceptics to form a coalition, power would still lie in the Council, or, some feel, in the permanent unelected EU bureaucracy. The entire apparatus seems designed specifically to thwart popular will and keep all power in the hands of the continental elite.

    More reactions to the election:

    Roger Kimball:

    The architects of the EU envision a European superstate in which national identity is subordinated to the abstraction of “Europe.” The regime would be internationalist but only titularly democratic: the real power (as has been traditional on the continent) would reside in a technocratic elite, not the people. But the people, it seems, have just awakened to this reality and it turns out they don’t like it.

    One take-away from yesterday’s election is this: when conservative parties cease providing a natural home for the community-binding sentiments of patriotism and national identity—when, that is to say, conservative parties cease being conservative—those parts of the population not indentured to the apparatus of dependency look elsewhere.

    John O’Sullivan in National Review:

    These results are merely the latest evolution of a very ominous long-term trend for the Tories. As Anthony Scholefield and Gerald Frost pointed out in their 2011 study Too Nice to Be Tories, the Conservative Party has been steadily losing one region of the United Kingdom after another in the last 40 years. It used to be able to depend on nine to twelve Unionist votes from Northern Ireland for its parliamentary majority; it gets none now. It won half the Scottish seats in 1955; the last three general elections each returned one Scottish Tory to Parliament. It wins eight seats out of 40 in Wales. And from the 158 MPs elected from the North of England, the Tories got 53.

    This is a dreadful record, but it could get worse. UKIP is now starting to replace the Tories as the main challenger to Labour in northern working-class constituencies. The new party takes votes in particular from culturally conservative and patriotic working-class men whom both major parties have abandoned in their pursuit of urban middle-class progressives. UKIP may therefore be a threat to both parties, but the local elections suggest that it is a bigger threat to the Conservative party.

    All this leaves Cameron with difficult choices:

    Either he does the electoral deal with UKIP that he now says he won’t do, in which the Tories agree to support UKIP candidates in a given number of seats in return for UKIP’s not fielding candidates elsewhere. In London, for instance, that would give UKIP an electoral base of something just above 40 percent — in Britain as a whole an even larger one.

    Or he contrives to lose the Scottish referendum on independence, which would remove only one Tory from the House of Commons but 41 Labourites and 11 Lib-Dems.

    France’s ruling class are in a panic following the strong showing of Le Pen’s National Front.

    Here’s a piece from the Jewish magazine Tablet in 2011 suggesting that Marine Le Pen has worked to purge the party of the antisemitism her father exhibited. Maybe.

    Could UKIP and Eurosceptic parties even form a majority coalition in the European parliament? Possible but doubtful.

    Then there’s the question of who would lead such a coalition, Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen. Anglo-French rivalry is not exactly unknown…