Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see the FBI being diligent about it’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s server despite political pressure to conclude there’s nothing there.  They also shudder as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Pres. Obama is paranoid about military leaders trying to force his hand.  And they react the media abruptly ending its fawning over a Joe Biden candidacy after Hillary survives first debate.

Two Small Claps for Obama’s Afghanistan Reversal

 

Yesterday, Barack Obama announced a major shift in his seemingly steadfast Afghanistan strategy, which had involved the promise of a massive United States drawdown by the end of 2016. The Wall Street Journal explains:

Under pressure at home and abroad, Mr. Obama said that—following a strategy review—the U.S. will maintain the current American force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year and leave a force of 5,500 U.S. troops in the country in 2017, after he leaves office.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review give credit to President Obama for postponing troop removal from Afghanistan as stability erodes there.  They also slam Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting a week of imam-inspired stabbings of Jews in Israel is a result of Israel building settlements on the West Bank.  And they scratch their heads over Ben Carson’s decision to put his campaign on hold for two weeks to promote his new book.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review give Jim Webb credit for being the only Democratic presidential candidate not completely living in a fantasy.  They also call out Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley for not really wanting to win when they refused to confront Hillary Clinton over her email scandal.  And they discuss the Democratic Party effectively choosing to embrace socialism.

They’re both here!  Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review enjoy reading how Hillary Clinton’s closest supporters think she’s a mediocre candidate who repeats the same mistakes and wasn’t ready for the 2016 campaign.  They also slam the Jeb Bush volunteer who confronted Donald Trump on Monday with left-wing talking points and note how Trump sullied a good response with another Twitter attack.  And they unload on the U.S. official in Russia who responded to the Dutch conclusion that a Russian-made missile destroyed a commercial airliner last year by saying there was too much focus on assigning blame.

Vladimir Putin, the Strong Horse

 

horse_1456083iOsama Bin Laden said, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.” Understanding that fact of human nature and geopolitics, Vladimir Putin galloped into Syria to show the Middle East that Russia rides high while the US flees from the world stage.

While President Obama busies himself making silly faces toward a selfie stick, many beleaguered residents of Syria and Iraq are more than happy to welcome a new sheriff to town.

Amid the ornate walls of Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque, preacher Maamoun Rahmeh stood before worshippers last week, declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a “giant and beloved leader” who has “destroyed the myth of the self-aggrandizing America.”

Which One of Us Is Delusional?

 

I don’t believe that the geopolitical instability we’re seeing now is entirely Obama’s fault. There is a limit to what American power can accomplish. But I found his interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes terrifying. If you haven’t watched it, I don’t quite have the right words to describe it, so I suggest you do.

That the administration doesn’t realize how terrifyingly out-of-touch he sounded — and is promoting the most-ridiculed moment of it — is likewise terrifying: Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.40.39 Chris Christie summed up a few — only a few — of the reasons to feel puzzlement about this comment:

ISIS and Religious Genocide in the Mideast

 

ShowImageNina Shea, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, gives a devastating account of this reality at National Review Online:

The Islamist genocide — and there can be no doubt that it is genocide, despite world silence – of the Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans, and other defenseless ethno-religious minorities of Syria and Iraq continues. The killing of these peoples is deliberate and brutal and is rooted in religious hatred of the “infidel.” It is meted out in sudden violent executions, mass deportations, and the gradual, methodical destruction of their civilizations.

Washington is blind to this genocide that occurs alongside, but is separate from, a sectarian Muslim power struggle. It has failed to defend them militarily. Now it is failing to provide humanitarian help in the only manner left: resettling the survivors out of harm’s way, in countries where they will be able to rebuild their families and preserve their unique ancient cultures without fear. Rescue is the very minimum we can do to help these victims of genocide. ….

Moments of Silence, Near and Far

 

151003-F-QU482-010On Saturday past I attended the second-to-last game of the season for the Minnesota Twins. They lost the game and their chance at a wild-card post season berth.

Before the game began, there was an announcement for a moment of silence for the victims of the Umpqua Community College shootings. It was a traditional public gesture, and as is right and proper the attendees stood and were dutifully silent as the moment passed. I stood with the crowd, but I admit my mind was not with that tragedy.

About two hours after the Umpqua shootings, a United States Air Force C-130 transport aircraft crashed in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. All on board the aircraft were killed: four aircrew members, two security force Airmen, and five military contractors. Two Afghans were killed on the ground. The aircraft was destroyed at a property loss of approximately 68 million dollars. Preliminary statements from the Air Force indicate that the aircraft crashed during a night take-off from the Jalalabad Airfield. The crew were members of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron operating out of Bagram, Afghanistan.

Status Quo Vadis?

 

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu stood before the UN to give what has since been described as a scathing speech, denouncing the world’s silence when it come to Jewish suffering. It was the pause heard around the world, and Bibi did what Bibi does best, by providing powerful quotes and newsworthy sound bites. The essence of the speech was ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens and slamming the international community for their failure to understand Israel’s need to do just that. Netanyahu has uttered those very words many times, and he does so flawlessly with right and might, but that night reality echoed his sentiment in the eeriest manner.

While Bibi was speaking, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were shot to death in front of four of their children as they were driving near their home in Samaria. A day later, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita Bennett were murdered and three other people injured while walking back from the Kotel through the old city, one of the victims a 2-year-old toddler who was shot in the leg. Twelve hours later, before the chaos had a chance to settle, an Israeli teenager was stabbed at a gas station in Jerusalem. In the past three days, four Israelis have been murdered, dozens of Israelis have been injured, 36 terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israel, and many more foiled.

Who Should We Send to Sing to Our Rebels in Syria?

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.06.44Well, goodness. Think anyone’s going to notice that? I hope not. It might make future allies a little uneasy about allying with us.

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

The NSA and our Allies

 

480px-National_Security_Agency.svgAsked how the United States could better undermine good will from our allies — particularly, among commercially successful, technically savvy nations with small-l liberal values — one would be hard-pressed to find a better answer than to cite (essentially) unlimited powers of surveillance, coupled with the stated belief that technology companies should be encouraged/required to provide our intelligence services with backdoor access to their databases. For good measure, emphasize that we consider these methods to be in accordance with the fairly radical demands of the Fourth Amendment as it relates to our own citizens. Then, add that our supposed good judgement and self-restraint did not stop us from tapping the personal phone of the head of state of one of our closest allies, who just happens to have grown up under a government infamous for tyrannical surveillance.

Unfortunately, that is precisely the situation we find ourselves in and — unsurprisingly — it has consequences:

Judges at the European Union’s top court struck down the so-called safe-harbor accord after an Austrian law student complained about how U.S. security services can gain unfettered access to Facebook Inc. customer information sent to the U.S. Other U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc., may also be effected.

Can Obama’s Foreign Policy be Reversed?

 

shutterstock_13753447Conservatives hope that, with the next election, they can undo Obama’s fundamental transformation and revive the United States’ reputation as a valuable friend and a dangerous enemy. But is that even possible? A country that twice elected a Barack Obama — and that could very well elect a Bernie Sanders from the Left or a Rand Paul from the Right — can never be a dependable ally. America might, for a time, become a dangerous enemy, but only until the next election or poll.

Perhaps, the most a conservative president could accomplish in the short term is to keep his or her mouth shut, increase the size of America’s stick, and use that stick when our nation or our citizens are attacked. Until the United States shows that it will consistently protect itself, no potential ally or enemy will take it seriously.

Crimea River, Says Sputnik News

 

article-2127660-1288DA1D000005DC-0_634x396Today’s report on the unbelievably fraught, perilous, unstable, and ghastly state of the world is brought to you by Russia’s пропаганда organ Sputnik News. (I still cannot believe they gave it that Leika-the-Space-Dog of a name: Didn’t they market test that? Hell, maybe they did — maybe I’m just old as dirt and these new-fangled Millennials think Sputnik sounds like a totally credible name for a Russian newspaper.)

Anyway, they write:

Jumping at a Chance? US Makes Fuss of Russia Violating Turkish Airspace

Hearings on Hillary

 

NYPostemailsHearings by the Republican majority on recent scandals have been mostly ineffective. In the IRS hearings, three former or current heads of the IRS were key witnesses. Those of us who stayed up with the Lois Lerner epic became familiar with the disdain exhibited by John Koskinen, the current head of the IRS, when he testified.

What the committee seems to do – I am talking about any investigating committee in recent history — is to get the head of the agency or subject under consideration and grill him or her. What happens is that the committee and the public gets the “ignorance of the chief.” The top people don’t know any details. This is true in two senses. If the witness is hostile, and they always are, then they can use ignorance as a delaying tactic. Even if, mirabile dictu, they are willing, they are still lawyers and administrators who deal with paper and people on a very high level. Details are not their forte.

Now we are, allegedly, going to hear from Hillary. But Gowdy has not laid the predicate for Hillary’s testimony. What should we see before her? Something like this:

The Obama Administration’s Hypocrisy in Colombia

 

JM Santos, Raul Castro and Farc Leader Timochenko

It should come to no one’s surprise that the Obama Administration quickly lauded the recently announced deal on justice between the Colombian government and the Marxist, narco-terrorist guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  After all, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has used the Obama playbook on Iran to push through his historic peace accord with the FARC: Start negotiations without preconditions with a terrorist sponsor or organization, draw redlines only to capitulate later, and promise one thing to its electorate while doing the opposite.

Here’s what we know from the announcement. Special tribunals will be created to hold accountable those guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity such as massacres, kidnappings, hostage-taking, forced displacement of citizens, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence, and torture. The special tribunals will be comprised of a combination of Colombian and foreign judges. Individuals who confess to committing these crimes will serve a maximum of five to eight years in a restricted area, not in a prison cell (basically what FARC members are doing now). As for those who don’t admit to a crime, but are later found guilty by the tribunal, they will serve a maximum of 20 years in a prison cell. Additionally, FARC leaders are permitted to return to politics after implementation of the peace accord concludes.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are impressed with National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke for exposing liberals who demand we “do something” to stop mass shootings but don’t actually have any ideas.  They also sigh at another disappointing jobs report.  And they have fun with the news that eight members of the Iranian women’s soccer team were actually men.

Obama’s Failed Experiment

 
image

Philip Fuxa/Shutterstock

In science, when you conduct an experiment to test a theory and get a result you didn’t expect, you learn from the experience and re-think your theory. But what do you do in politics, when you implement a policy you were certain would succeed but which fails miserably? We’re about to find out.

A Brief Primer on Japanese Politics

 

Tokyo skylineThere’s a deep sense of disillusionment and malaise here in Japan. Perhaps, rather than sleeping through politics, the country is just ignoring it. Remember the 80s, when this country was going to take over the world? Many people (including me) spent that decade learning Japanese in school, preparing for a future when we’d need language skills to impress our bosses.

As it happened, I did need it. But that’s just me. For the rest of the Western world, the takeover got lost in two decades of Japanese economic recession and general stagnation. The economy has been so sluggish — and for so long — that it’s hardly even a political issue any more. Successive governments have pulled so many levers, pumped so much new currency into the economy, that it’s like watching one of those movie scenes where a character continues to perform violent CPR on some lifeless unfortunate, with ever more desperation, while everyone stands around pitying them.

What Happened?