May 15, 2012

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Charles Krauthammer thinks a united Israel is more likely to attack Iran.

In May 1967, in brazen violation of previous truce agreements, Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, marched 120,000 troops to the Israeli border, blockaded the Straits of Tiran (Israel’s southern outlet to the world’s oceans), abruptly signed a military pact with Jordan and, together with Syria, pledged war for the final destruction of Israel.

May ’67 was Israel’s most fearful, desperate month. The country was surrounded and alone. Previous great-power guarantees proved worthless. A plan to test the blockade with a Western flotilla failed for lack of participants. Time was running out. Forced into mass mobilization in order to protect against invasion — and with a military consisting overwhelmingly of civilian reservists — life ground to a halt. The country was dying.

On June 5, Israel launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian air force, then proceeded to lightning victories on three fronts. The Six-Day War is legend, but less remembered is that, four days earlier, the nationalist opposition (Mena­chem Begin’s Likud precursor) was for the first time ever brought into the government, creating an emergency national-unity coalition.

Everyone understood why. You do not undertake a supremely risky preemptive war without the full participation of a broad coalition representing a national consensus.

Forty-five years later, in the middle of the night of May 7-8, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked his country by bringing the main opposition party, Kadima, into a national unity government. Shocking because just hours earlier, the Knesset was expediting a bill to call early elections in September.

Why did the high-flying Netanyahu call off elections he was sure to win? …


More on Netanyahu’s moves from Lazar Berman at

Benjamin Netanyahu continues to confound opponents, surprise experts, and consolidate political power. Through a series of unconventional moves since 2009, Bibi has gone from struggling to form a supposedly weak coalition  to heading one of the largest parliamentary majorities  in Israel’s history. His bold move this week, canceling early elections in favor of a unity deal with opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, is only the latest in a series of maneuvers that attest to his political acumen: …

… This move has implications for America, too. Obama, clearly no Bibi fan, will have to deal with a strengthened PM, and will find it even more difficult to intimidate him. Netanyahu has more political backing for his Iran policy, but Mofaz has been more moderate rhetorically than Netanyahu or Barak. And if the Palestinians are really interested in making progress on peace negotiations, this is exactly the kind of broad coalition, armed with stability and national security credibility, that can hammer out a game changing deal with the Palestinians.


Jeffrey Goldberg, once one of Obama’s fans in the media, jeers at his Syria policy.

… But a crisis is fast approaching: America’s stockpile of vivid adjectives is being depleted rapidly. Some linguists of the realist camp are now arguing for restraint in the use of condemnatory word combinations. They note that the administration, in its effort to shock and awe the Assad regime with the power of its official statements and the stridency of its State Department briefings, has prematurely stripped bare its thesaurus, leaving the U.S. powerless to come to the symbolic aid of the Syrian people.

When the uprising began last year, the Obama administration clearly hoped that softer language would persuade Assad to cease murdering Syrians. It relied on traditional formulations of diplomatic distaste, calling on Syria to “exercise restraint” and “respect the rights of its citizens.”

When it became clear that mild criticism wouldn’t stay Assad’s hand, the administration began carpet-bombing Damascus with powerful sentences and, at times, whole paragraphs.

In April 2011, shortly after Syrian security forces killed more than 80 unarmed demonstrators, President Barack Obama said, “This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now.” He accused the Syrian government of using “brutal” tactics against civilians.

Somehow, such combative words still didn’t persuade Assad to change course. Soon, the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, was forced to remind Assad, and the world, of the president’s rhetorical militancy.

“I’m sure you did see the president’s very strong statement of Friday where he condemned in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators, referred to an outrageous use of violence to quell protests,” Carney said. He also mentioned that the White House didn’t merely “oppose” the Syrian government’s treatment of its citizens, but “strongly” opposed it.

Assad insolently ignored Carney’s amplification of the president’s muscular language.

A few months later, shortly after the Syrian government killed more than 30 people in the city of Latakia, Obama reached into the arsenal again and said the people of Syria had “braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government.” This onslaught, Obama said, was “disgraceful.”

The White House appeared surprised when Assad nevertheless chose not to flee Damascus.

So the administration upped the ante. In the months that followed, Carney said the war waged on the Syrian people was both “heinous” and “unforgivable.” … 

Kimberley Strassel shows how the minions work Obama’s enemies list. 

Here’s what happens when the president of the United States publicly targets a private citizen for the crime of supporting his opponent.

Frank VanderSloot is the CEO of Melaleuca Inc. The 63-year-old has run that wellness-products company for 26 years out of tiny Idaho Falls, Idaho. Last August, Mr. VanderSloot gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.

Three weeks ago, an Obama campaign website, “Keeping GOP Honest,” took the extraordinary step of publicly naming and assailing eight private citizens backing Mr. Romney. Titled “Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney’s donors,” the post accused the eight of being “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records.” Mr. VanderSloot was one of the eight, smeared particularly as being “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

About a week after that post, a man named Michael Wolf contacted the Bonneville County Courthouse in Idaho Falls in search of court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot. Specifically, Mr. Wolf wanted all the documents dealing with Mr. VanderSloot’s divorces, as well as a case involving a dispute with a former Melaleuca employee. …


John Fund on the censorship of Naomi Riley.

Oslo Freedom Forum is an annual event sponsored by the New York–based Human Rights Foundation, which brings together dissidents and journalists from all over the world to show that people of good will can promote basic freedoms without an overlay of ideology.

Censorship, both official and self-imposed, is an important theme here. We have heard stories from brave journalists such as Ecuador’s Nicolas Perez and Kosovo’s Jeta Xharra of efforts to silence them for expressing views unpopular with officials or special interests. So it was strange to be here and read that one of my friends and former journalistic colleagues back home in the U.S. has been fired merely for speaking her mind.

Earlier this week, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the trade paper for faculty members and administrators in universities, fired Naomi Schaefer Riley, a paid blogger for its website. Her crime? She had the courage to respond to a Chronicle story called “Black Studies: ‘Swaggering Into the Future,’” which stated that “young black-studies scholars . . . are less consumed than their predecessors with the need to validate the field or explain why they are pursuing doctorates in their discipline.” The article used five Ph.D. candidates as examples of those “rewriting the history of race.” Riley looked at the subject areas of the five proposed dissertations and concluded that they were “obscure at best . . . a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap at worst.” One dissertation dealt with the failure of the natural-childbirth literature to include the experiences of non-white women, another blamed the housing crisis on institutional racism, and still another attacked Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas for leading an “assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.” …


Neal Boortz catches the media telling the truth.

… Time magazine’s Mark Halperin appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe yesterday to discuss Obama’s “evolution” on gay marriage. Halperin blatantly states the following about the media coverage of this issue.

“[T]he media is as divided on this issue as the Obama family. Which is to say not at all. And so he’s never going to get negative coverage for this,” Halperin argued. Sure, “The Republicans will say this is a flip-flop and it’s wrong public policy. But when you have almost the entire media establishment on your side on an issue in a presidential campaign, it’s very hard to lose politically.”



Ed Morrissey posts on Obama’s Car Czar defending Romney from Obama attacks.

Well, what else is former auto industry czar Steve Rattner supposed to say?  After all, he quarterbacked the layoffs of tens of thousands of auto-dealer employees in the Obama administration-imposed dealership closures. Moreover, he did so for the exact same reasons Bain had in operating their private-equity turnaround business, which is to make companies and industry stronger through greater efficiency.  However, on Morning Joe today, Rattner went a little further, praising Bain’s integrity and  reputation:

“I think the ad is unfair. Mitt Romney made a mistake ever talking about the fact that he created 100,000 jobs. Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for his investors, most of whom were pension funds, endowments and foundations. It did it superbly, acting within the rules and acting very responsibly and was a leading firm,” Rattner said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday.

“So I do think to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job unfortunately, this is part of capitalism, this is part of life. And I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about,” he said.


Andrew Malcolm with late night humor.

Fallon: After just one term French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost his reelection bid because he was unable to fix his nation’s economy. Or as Obama put it, “Wuh oh!”

Letterman: So President Obama has announced his support of gay marriage. He also announced a new Cabinet position, Decorator of the Interior.

Leno: President Obama was in town for more fundraising. He wanted lots and lots of celebrities. So his choice was pretty much George Clooney’s house or that Malibu rehab center.

Letterman: So President Obama favors gay marriage. My question with same-sex couples is: Who drives? Who nags? Who says, ‘Let’s have dessert.’ And who says, ‘I’ll just taste yours?’

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