Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Listen and learn

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Regarding Iran:

when I first came into office. Iran had gone from having less than 200 centrifuges to having thousands of centrifuges, in some cases more advanced centrifuges. There was a program that had advanced to the point where their breakout capacity had accelerated in ways that we had been concerned about for quite some time and, as a consequence, what I said to my team and what I said to our international partners was that we are going to have to be much more serious about how we change the cost-benefit analysis for Iran.

We put in place an unprecedented regime of sanctions that has crippled Iran’s economy, cut their oil revenues by more than half, have put enormous pressure on their currency — their economy contracted by more than 5 percent last year. And it is precisely because of the international sanctions and the coalition that we were able to build internationally that the Iranian people responded by saying, we need a new direction in how we interact with the international community and how we deal with this sanctions regime. And that’s what brought President Rouhani to power. He was not necessarily the first choice of the hardliners inside of Iran.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we should trust him or anybody else inside of Iran. This is a regime that came to power swearing opposition to the United States, to Israel, and to many of the values that we hold dear. But what I’ve consistently said is even as I don’t take any options off the table, what we do have to test is the possibility that we can resolve this issue diplomatically. And that is the deal that, at the first stages, we have been able to get done in Geneva, thanks to some extraordinary work by John Kerry and his counterparts in the P5-plus-1.

So let’s look at exactly what we’ve done. For the first time in over a decade, we have halted advances in the Iranian nuclear program. We have not only made sure that in Fordor and Natanz that they have to stop adding additional centrifuges, we’ve also said that they’ve got to roll back their 20 percent advanced enrichment…20 percent enrichment, which the concern was if you get too much of that, you now have sufficient capacity to go ahead and create a nuclear weapon. We’re taking that down to zero. We are stopping the advancement of the Arak facility, which would provide an additional pathway, a plutonium pathway for the development of nuclear weapons.

We are going to have daily inspectors in Fordor and Natanz. We’re going to have additional inspections in Arak. And as a consequence, during this six-month period, Iran cannot and will not advance its program or add additional stockpiles of advanced uranium — enriched uranium.

Now, what we’ve done in exchange is kept all these sanctions in place — the architecture remains with respect to oil, with respect to finance, with respect to banking. What we’ve done is we’ve turned the spigot slightly and we’ve said, here’s maximum $7 billion out of the over $100 billion of revenue of theirs that is frozen as a consequence of our sanctions, to give us the time and the space to test whether they can move in a direction, a comprehensive, permanent agreement

“Comprehensive.” “Permanent.” Danger words. Blather from the faculty lounge. All from the same guy who said nice things about the “Supreme Leader” when the US should have been backing the people. As or more important, look at the oh-so glib lying about enrichment — “we’re taking that down to zero” — which is not at all what is happening.

In all our years we have never seen the likes of this guy. We’ve been saying this for years, but still we are amazed. He says the most obviously ridiculous and untrue things but appears to believe them when he is saying them. It should have its own entry in DSM-5.

Pretty good deal

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security:

the Islamic Republic controls all aspects of nuclear science, from A-Z, from the very beginning all the way to uranium enrichment. This is why the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution talked about heroic flexibility. After ten years, we have emerged victorious over the West. They wanted to prevent us from acquiring nuclear technology, but we have reached that point, having sacrificed martyrs, and having persevered on that path, enduring an economic siege. Now we have emerged victorious heroes. It was in our best interest to sign this agreement. The Americans reached the conclusion that it would be futile to continue with their policy of confronting the Islamic Republic – a policy that was leading them nowhere. They wanted to prevent Iran from enriching uranium, but we have attained this technology and we are currently using it…They said that they did not recognize our right to enrich uranium, but at the same time, they say that Iran agreed not to enrich above 5%. This constitutes an official acknowledgement…We consider this to be a great victory for Iran, and the beginning of a new phase for the Islamic Republic. Iran has become an official member of the international club…We have now entered a new stage. We expect good results. The nuclear dossier will be removed from the agenda of the UN Security Council, and they…have acknowledged Iran’s uranium enrichment. In addition, the economic siege on the Islamic Republic will be lifted.

WaPo: “the United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing U.S. demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned.” Iran sure thinks it got a pretty good deal. (Is that 5% really 5%?) We’re not quite sure what the US got out of this.

Much ado

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Krauthammer:

half a dozen times, the Security Council has passed resolutions which said Iran has to stop all enrichment otherwise there’ll be no change in the sanctions, no relief. Which means six times China and Russia – not exactly hardliners on Iran – have signed on to this. And what is the result of this agreement? Iran retains the right to enrich. It continues to enrich during the six months. It is promised a final deal in which we’re going to work out the details of its enrichment. And remember, enrichment is the dam against all proliferation. Once a country anywhere can start to enrich there is no containing its nuclear capacity. So it undermines the entire idea of nonproliferation, and it grants Iran a right it’s been lusting for for a decade. That’s why there was so much jubilation in Tehran over this. Second, there’s a relaxation of sanctions which have really caused the Iranians to hurt, to worry about the stability of the regime, and to come and negotiate. What happens on sanctions? There’s going to be a huge infusion of cash which can reduce the inflation, can alleviate the shortages. Already the rial, the currency, jumped three percent instantly as a result of this agreement. This is a huge relief for the Iranians, and it can only increase over time. What do we get in return? I just heard the Secretary of State say we’re going to get a destruction of the 20 percent uranium. That is simply untrue. What’s going to happen is the 20 percent enriched uranium is going to be turned into an oxide so it’s inoperative. That process is completely chemically reversible

What’s so odd about this deal is that there’s any deal at all. Given that backward countries like North Korea can get nukes, there’s no way short of a big war to prevent Iran from doing the same, triggering a Middle East arms race. However, there’s no reason to aid and abet Iran’s effort and simultaneously outrage both Saudi Arabia and Israel, which makes this deal so peculiar. That said, peculiar is not a strong enough word to describe the obsequiousness of the administration towards the mullahs over the last four years.

Can’t say it better than that

Monday, November 25th, 2013

VDH discusses a culture in ruins:

once you have rebelled against hexameters, quarter notes, or realistic representation, and after you have rebelled against that rebellion with crucifixes in urine, obscenity-laced rap, and peek-a-boo nudity on stage, what are you left with? The 20th-century rebels who knew what they did not like have been replaced by the anti-rebels who don’t know that there was ever something against which to rebel. Again, we are left with the 21st-century of Lady Gaga giving birth to a blue sphere, Miley Cyrus probing body orifices with a foam oversized finger, and Kanye West humping on a motorcycle while reciting obscene nursery-rhyme ditties. In a society where endorsing fairness and equality equates with success, no supposedly arbitrary canons can exclude much of anything. Who are you to say that song A is bad, or movie B is good, given your own class, race, and gender privileges that result in excluding someone or something? The less dialogue and the more explosions and nudity earn supposedly more ticket-buyers, at least until a new generation wishes to build something from the ashes. There can be no truth in our culture, given that it discriminates and proves hurtful to too many. The greatest sin in America is not to lie, but to embrace a hierarchy of any sort at all…The radically egalitarian ethos demands always the descent to the lowest common denominators of taste. A world without requisites is the fairest. To capture the most attention of the masses requires a Cyrus, Gaga, or West. Once classical canons of artistic, literary, or musical expression were torn down, and once those classically trained rebels who ripped them apart have passed on, we are left with the ruins of trying to shock what is perhaps beyond being shocked.

Trans-fats, 32 ounce sodas, health insurance. The things that the market can better regulate are ridiculously over-regulated, and the things that society needs to control are uncontrolled. Hard to see this ending well. Things will reverse of course in time, but it sure was a nasty few centuries after the fall of Rome.

The power of fantasy and magical thinking

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Andy McCarthy:

It is a Fabian plan to move an unwilling nation, rooted in free enterprise, into Washington-controlled, fully socialized medicine. As its tentacles spread over time, the scheme (a) pushes all Americans into government markets (a metastasizing blend of Medicare, Medicaid, and “exchanges” run by state and federal agencies); (b) dictates the content of the “private” insurance product; (c) sets the price; (d) micromanages the patient access, business practices, and fees of doctors; and (e) rations medical care. Concurrently, the scheme purposely sows a financing crisis into the system, designed to explode after Leviathan has so enveloped health care, and so decimated the private medical sector, that a British- or Canadian-style “free” system — formerly unthinkable for the United States — becomes the inexorable solution. Once you grasp that this is the scheme, the imperative to lull the public with lies makes sense.

McCarthy may be right, but we suggest there is a real probability of a more disturbing scenario, that on some level the One really believes his BS about the planet healing and the ocean’s rise halting. According to this logic, the website would work well enough to pass muster; the success stories would be much more plentiful than the sob stories. Yeah, it wouldn’t be perfect, and some of the assurances were overblown, but, hey, it works well enough. Pity none of them know a thing about business.

It’s daft to believe such things, but these are the same faculty lounge people who are managing to unite the Arab states and Israel in their opposition to destabilizing US policies. They don’t know that they believe in the sheerest fantasy and nonsense until the failures are spectacular, which is why they were so ill-prepared for the disastrous ACA rollout. Arrogance, incompetence and delusional thinking are a formula for something really bad to happen. Cross your fingers.

This, that, and the other thing

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

In 1963 Sukiyaki was a big hit in the US. A couple of years later so was Hogan’s Heroes. These things happened only two decades after the end of WWII. Two bad ideologies had been defeated. Life moved on. We’re now a dozen years after 9-11 and the ideology that led to it is still mostly untouched. Not a good sign. It would be a very strange thing if the US’s fecklessness on Iran produced Sunni-Israeli cooperation that resulted in a change in a vile ideology. Probably impossible, but we’re looking for the pony in there somewhere.

In other news, Pigalle is apparently being ruined “by the banal globalization of hipster good taste, the same pleasant and invisible force that puts kale frittata, steel-cut oats and burrata salad on brunch tables from Stockholm to San Francisco.” Have a pleasant Sunday!

But what does he really think?

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Netanyahu:

I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva. I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. That the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal — a very, very bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.

Now perhaps we also know why Saudi Arabia has been so outspoken in its criticism of the administration.

Bright lines, perilous times

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

The NYT is still happy, though concerned that their man “misspoke” two dozen times or so. The AP is running news that was unthinkable five years ago, and ABC is mocking their erstwhile messiah. A line has been crossed, the line demarcating the limits of political BS.

So now we have a world where Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, Iran, Israel, Germany, England, and most of the rest of the world don’t believe a word the BS-er in chief says, along with at least the half of the USA that is paying attention — and that number seems likely to grow. Only the NYT and its followers, parts of the Washington press corps, and faculty lounges take the college professor seriously now. Everyone who wants to know now knows that a bright line has been crossed, and as a consequence we live in perilous times for the next three years or so.

Cultural sclerosis — things take 10x longer or don’t get done at all

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

IBD:

Harry Reid claims there isn’t “a single shred of evidence” regulations cause big economic harm…”In the first six months of the 2011 fiscal year, 15 major regulations were issued, with annual costs exceeding $5.8 billion and one-time implementation costs approaching $6.5 billion…Overall, the Obama administration imposed 75 new major regulations from January 2009 to mid-FY 2011, with annual costs of $38 billion”…the Federal Register shows over 4,200 new regulations soon to hit an already battered economy — not including impending Environmental Protection Agency clean air rules, new derivative rules, the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule, fuel economy mandates, ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank financial restrictions. Yet Reid claims regs are harmless

Construction of the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building took 14 months in 1930. The Pentagon, the world’s largest office building, took 16 months in 1941. 26 months from the beginning of construction, the World Trade Center became the tallest building in the world in 1970. It is 148 months since September 11, 2001 and its replacement is only now nearing completion. We need 10x the time to do things that were done a century ago.

Regulation certainly isn’t the whole story, but it’s a part of the story of America’s cultural decline. Look what happens when you incentivize performance and cut red tape — a project done in half the allotted time. So it can be done, but rarely these days. Daniel Greenfield comments that in today’s culture competence is denigrated and DC and its lawyers substitute the magic of government:

Competence is the real modernity and it has very little to do with the empty trappings of design that surround it. In some ways the America of a few generations ago was a far more modern place because it was a more competent place. For all our nice toys, we look like primitive savages compared to men who could build skyscrapers and fleets within a year… and build them well.

Those aren’t things we can do anymore. Not because the knowledge and skills don’t exist, but because the culture no longer allows it. We can’t do them for the same reason that Third World countries can’t do what we do. It’s not that the knowledge is inaccessible, but that the culture gets in the way.

It’s our very hollow modernity that gets in the way of our truly being modern. We can no longer build big things because the ability to implement vision on a large scale no longer exists. We can still do impressive things as individuals, but that’s also true of Kenya or Thailand. And in China, they can carry out grandiose projects, but those projects have no vision or competence.

We used to be able to combine the two by competently implementing grandiose visions, but our “modern” culture is the roadblock that prevents us from working together to make the great things that we can still envision individually.

Our modernity is style rather than substance. It’s Obama grinning. It’s the right font. It’s the right joke. It’s that sense that X knows what he’s doing because he presents it the right way. There’s nothing particularly modern about that. In most cultures, the illusion of competence trumps the real thing. It’s why so many countries are so badly broken because they go by appearances, rather than by results.

The idea that we should go by results, rather than by processes, by outcomes rather than by appearances, was revolutionary. For most of human history, we were trapped in a cargo cult mode. We did the “right things” not because they led to the right results, but because we had decided that they were the right things. There were many competent people, but they were hamstrung by rigid institutions that made it impossible to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time.

And it’s not just the lawyers who are destructive kibitzers. The pundits and journalists, who also by and large couldn’t repair a toaster, are also believers in magic. Here they sit with the president, as Wretchard describes:

the great columnists of Washington. At these klatches, with the buzz of traffic and bustle of the grimy world held to a hum in the distance, the world lies spread before them malleable, fresh and new. And the great men can feel, even if lesser mortals cannot, that all that is is required to transform that dull universe into something extraordinary is the right phrase, the correct sales pitch, the perfect sound bite. Then the stars will vibrate to the idea and the multitudes will Get It. And so the search continues among the wordsmiths for the Spell, who believe in it with the conviction of zealots. Only try this. Try that. Try again. For they know the dictum: always be closing. Even if there is nothing to sell. The Founders, in rejecting the spell of aristocracy, were in their way rejecting magic. They seemed to say ‘trust in no king, no great leader’ — and that the highest and best thing we could aspire to was to simply be ourselves and make things work. In place of sorcery they trusted in the sanctity of the ordinary, in the immanence of truth; that a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, while not on Obama’s imagined level would neveretheless never perish from the earth. But magic would; for even if Greenfield fears the sorcerers will return, their day is done. Their time is done because the wooden computer will not boot. Because the sums are in rebellion. Because reality, which is the real source of all true magic, was never consulted, let alone invoked.

In many ways, America was a better country back when there were shotgun weddings and almost everyone knew a farmer or a soldier. Now almost no one knows such earthy characters. However, a harsh future is coming to the US at some point, due to (1) QE infinity and (2) too much debt plus unfunded liabilities. Probably a bad day to have been one who preached that government was magic. We’ll see.

“Iran is the only issue for Saudi policy makers”

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Telegraph:

Michael Doran, a Middle East expert with the Brookings Institution who served on the National Security Council during the George W Bush administration, said relations were at an all-time low. ‘I’ve worked in this field for a long time, and I’ve studied the history. I know of no analogous period. I’ve never seen so many disagreements on so many key fronts all at once. And I’ve never seen such a willingness on the part of the Saudis to publicly express their frustration. Iran is the number one issue — the only issue for Saudi policy makers. When you add up the whole Middle Eastern map — Syria, Iraq, Iran — it looks to the Saudis as if the US is throwing Sunni allies under the bus by trying to cut a deal with Iran and its allies.”

From foreign policy, to girly Marine hats, to the NPS blockages, to the structural disaster that is the ACA, everything is of a piece and seems 180 degrees out of phase with traditional America.

1615, 1946, and today

Monday, October 21st, 2013

An author in the 1940′s:

Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines — being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that “it wouldn’t do” to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was “not done” to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

Bit by bit we’re losing the Enlightenment. But we’ve been in such situations before. The generation that wakes up and discovers that they’ve largely been taught rubbish will not look kindly on the current generation of thought leaders. HT: CF

Eh and Eh…….and Eh

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Eh and Eh, foreign and domestic dysfunction. And finally, a case can be made either way for shutdown. We happen to think it was good theater, the evidence for which is that is the rhetoric of the other side. But reasonable people can differ. This is not reasonable, however. Anyway, none of this matters because the country can’t be saved until it stops its practice of 40-70% of children in its various communities being born to unwed mothers.

The badness of the boomers

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Joe Klein:

The U.S. can lay the blame for its current political mess at the feet of my generation…It isn’t hard to locate the immediate cause of the shutdown and impending debt-ceiling debacle: the radical nihilist minority of the Republican Party and the GOP’s craven leadership. Words should not be minced here. These radicals — it is wildly inaccurate to call them conservatives — are a pestilence feeding on ignorance and cynicism, preying on fear as a period of unprecedented prosperity wanes. They are not the apocalypse but represent the desperate last gasp of the white majority and of an era. My generation’s era…

My generation has done wonderful things — increased equality across racial, gender and orientation lines; rock ‘n’ roll; The Sopranos; Whole Foods — but we have made a hash of government. We failed to bring our democracy into the information age; instead we brought it to a precipice. We allowed lobbyists to fester, turning every major piece of legislation into an encyclopedia of contradictions. There is some polling evidence that the millennial generation will be different, more collegial. I certainly hope so. Our sell-by date has passed.

It’s funny. If we’re among the “radicals” that Klein describes, it’s only because our views remain roughly the same as JFK’s in 1961. The boomers have done many awful things, the awfullest of which is legitimizing illegitimacy: 40-70% of children are now born to unmarried women, a disaster of unimaginable proportions. Then they take these children and ruin them and ruin them and ruin them and then really ruin them. No wonder that we’ve now got an America whose values are upside down, as Andrew McCarthy describes. Is this fixable? Fortunately, that’s beyond the reach of the boomers.

Tourism in these times

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Eagle Tribune:

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos. “She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said. The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door…As the bus made its 2.5-hour journey out of Yellowstone, the tour guide made arrangements to stop at a full-service bathroom at an in-park dude ranch he had done business with in the past. Though the bus had its own small bathroom, Vaillancourt said seniors were looking for a more comfortable place to stop. But no stop was made — Vaillancourt said the dude ranch had been warned that its license to operate would be revoked if it allowed the bus to stop.

There’s a pattern of contempt to what’s been shut and what’s been not. If you haven’t figured it out yet, read this piece by David Horowitz. He says: “they regard the past, which is real, with contempt, and are focused exclusively on a future, which is imaginary.” QED.

Good and bad miscellany

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Insurers are getting bad data. Jon Stewart realizes he’s being played. The house of the future is at your command. There’s actually a website devoted to bad real estate photos. A liberal figures out that he’s been lied to about Iran. Two observers (here and here) note that the actual IPCC study may be adjusted to conform to the executive summary and hilarity ensues. It’s hard to believe that the feds doing this actually like the country. Finally, here’s a very strange but weirdly entertaining piece on a video game we never heard of. Enjoy!

Blather, print, repeat

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

NYT, 2005:

For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare, the ongoing worst-case scenario for an international crisis: a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program. Very few people could envision a successful outcome. And yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors.

Diplomacy, it seems, does work after all.

The agreement signed yesterday, if all the details can be satisfactorily filled in and then carried out, is a huge win for the United States as well as a fair deal for North Korea. Its achievement became possible when Washington abandoned the confrontational tactics and name-calling associated with its former top antiproliferation official, John Bolton

NYT, 2006:

North Korea may be a starving, friendless, authoritarian nation of 23 million people, but its apparently successful explosion of a small nuclear device in the mountains above the town of Kilju on Monday represents a defiant bid for survival and respect.

Now the NYT is tut-tutting about the prime minister of Israel’s combative speech at the UN, which pointed out the previous foolishness of the NYT on North Korea. VDH has some thoughts on Iran. What do you suppose Ali Khamenei thinks about the NYT and the government-media-academy complex in the US?

MIA

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Global warming has been MIA for a while. MIT’s Richard Lindzen is having a good laugh at the new IPCC report. Also, the alleged Iranian fatwa against nuclear weapons is apparently MIA as well. Quite a world we have. Not MIA is Michael J. Totten, who understands the Iranian situation better than the US government apparently does.

Once more unto the breach

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Friedman:

On June 14, Mr. Gray, Hassan Rouhani, won by a landslide, garnering nearly 51 percent of the votes, with the second place finisher, the mayor of Tehran, getting about 16 percent. Clearly, many Iranians are fed up and used the sliver of openness they had to stampede toward the most liberal candidate…I had a chat with Rouhani’s very sharp chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, and asked about his background. He is an economist, earned his Ph.D. at George Washington University, and recently led the Iran Chamber of Commerce and Iran’s negotiating team to join the World Trade Organization. He’s Rouhani’s closest aide. Interesting…We should offer Iranians a deal that accedes to their desire for civilian nuclear power and thus affirms their scientific prowess — remember that Iran’s 1979 revolution was as much a nationalist rebellion against a regime installed by the West as a religious revolution, so having a nuclear program has broad nationalist appeal there — while insisting on a foolproof inspection regime.

Flashback: “to be in Tahrir Square tonight, to feel the energy and pride of a people taking back the keys to their country and their future from a tired old dictator, was a privilege.” Seriously, if you were Khamenei, what are the chances you’d give up getting the bomb? HT: AT

Ugh

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

5500 more words. Can anyone possibly care at this point? Elliott Abrams cares enough to point out that many of the words are awful, and many are clueless. At least the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce are getting along. That’s nice. Geraghty looks at 4 train wrecks set to happen next week. And finally, there’s this piece that must come from some spin-off from the Onion that we had never heard of. Ugh.

CNN’s reporting explains quite a bit

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

CNN:

Authorities in Kenya appeared close to ending a deadly siege Monday at an upscale Nairobi mall, where attackers have killed at least 68 people, injured 175, and are believed to still be holding about 10 people hostage. “All efforts are underway to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion,” the Kenyan military announced on Twitter. It said that “most of the hostages have been rescued and security forces have taken control of most parts of the building.” Earlier, police had tweeted that a “MAJOR assault” by security forces was ongoing. The developments come some two days after Al-Shabaab militants first stormed the shopping center, spraying bullets and unleashing chaos. There are believed to be between 10-15 gunmen involved in the attack, officials said. Sources within Al-Shabaab told CNN that nine names listed on a Twitter site — now suspended — were people who were among the alleged hostage-takers. Three of the alleged attackers are from the United States, two are from Somalia and there is one each from Canada, Finland, Kenya and the United Kingdom, according to the list. The FBI is looking into the claim that American citizens were involved the attack, but have not confirmed that. Similarly, a senior State Department official said that the United States is trying to determine whether any of the alleged attackers are American. But, the official said, authorities are becoming more confident American citizens were involved. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed Sunday to hold those responsible for the violence, accountable. The tragedy is personal for the president; one of his nephews and his fiancee were among the dead. “They shall not get away with their despicable, beastly acts. Like the cowardly perpetrators now cornered in the building, we will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully,” Kenyatta said. Sporadic gunfire could be heard throughout the day Sunday, and at least one explosion. Those sounds were followed by periods of tense silence. Soldiers kept vigil outside the mall, guns dangling from their shoulders. Later in the day, helicopters approached. The Kenyan Red Cross tweeted that nine bodies were recovered Sunday night, bringing the death toll to 68. More than 175 were injured in the attack, Kenyatta said. He and other Kenyan officials visited hospitals Sunday morning. “No one should lose their life so needlessly, so senselessly and no family should have to receive news that their loved ones have been killed by a criminal bunch of cowards,” the president said.

Hmmm. What’s missing in the first 400 words in the CNN story? (The Daily Mail picks up the slack, which itself is interesting in a variety of ways.) Ever since George Bush decided to distort history and pretend that the proud history of Islamic conquests and conversions was no longer operative, the American people have had to listen to rubbish like the CNN story above. This disconnect from reality has served no one well. However, the PC reporting of CNN does help explain the overwhelming opposition to US involvement in the Syrian civil war, which came as a surprise to official Washington. The left is anti-war, and the right has figured out that there’s no point in meddling in a pre-Reformation version of what the West went through in the 16th century and that Sarah Palin had a point.

Finally, Roger Simon has some observations that are not PC but absolutely necessary if this madness is to stop.