Bret Stephens: The meltdown

Commentary has posted the lead essay from its September issue online. It’s “The meltdown,” by the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens. It’s a tour of the horizon created by Obama’s foreign policy:

As I write, the foreign policy of the United States is in a state of unprecedented disarray. In some cases, failed policy has given way to an absence of policy. So it is in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and, at least until recently, Ukraine. In other cases the president has doubled down on failed policy—extending nuclear negotiations with Iran; announcing the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Sometimes the administration has been the victim of events, such as Edward Snowden’s espionage, it made worse through bureaucratic fumbling and feckless administrative fixes. At other times the wounds have been self-inflicted: the espionage scandal in Germany (when it was learned that the United States had continued to spy on our ally despite prior revelations of the NSA’s eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel); the repeated declaration that “core al-Qaeda” was “on a path to defeat”; the prisoner swap with the Taliban that obtained Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s release.

Often the damage has been vivid, as in the collapse of the Israel–Palestinian talks in April followed by the war in Gaza. More frequently it can be heard in the whispered remarks of our allies. “The Polish-American alliance is worthless, even harmful, as it gives Poland a false sense of security,” Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister and once one of its most reliably pro-American politicians, was overheard saying in June. “It’s bullshit.”

This is far from an exhaustive list. But it’s one that, at last, people have begun to notice….

I want to bring Stephens’s essay to your attention as Stephens works through where we are and where we might go when we emerge from the reign of Obama.

Liberal Texas newspaper debunks Dems’ attack on Rick Perry

National Democrats should be grateful to Gov. Rick Perry. Without the massive job creation that has taken place in Texas, the national job growth figures might be even less flattering to President Obama than they are.

But Texas’ job creation has, perhaps, made Perry a viable contender for the presidency. And this doesn’t sit well with Democrats.

Accordingly, Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, sent out an email attempting to bolster the allegations against Perry. Elleithee contends that Perry’s veto of money for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit was linked to that unit’s investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (“CPRIT”).

Elleithee argues that the investigation of CPRIT “was underway when the governor called for the head of that investigative unit to resign.” By pushing Rosemary Lehmberg (the drunk and disorderly Travis County District Attorney) to resign, Perry created a “win-win” for himself, says Elleithee. “Lehmberg either resigned and he appointed her successor or he vetoed the [Public Integrity Unit's] funding. Both would have the same effect: stopping the investigation into the CPRIT its tracks.”

Why would Perry want to stop the CPRIT investigation? Because, the theory goes, his appointees were under investigation for helping Peloton Therapeutics obtain a grant without proper review. A Peloton investor had contributed to Perry’s campaigns.

But the Austin American-Statesman, a strongly left-leaning newspaper, undercuts Elleithee’s narrative:

Elleithee’s email. . .left out some key details about the CPRIT investigation — including that two months before Lehmberg’s arrest, she told reporters that none of Perry’s appointees to the CPRIT board were “under suspicion in the investigation.”

Lehmberg made this statement in January 2013. It meant that her investigation was focusing only on CPRIT staff members, none of whom was appointed or hired by Perry. And Perry knew this when he vetoed the funding months later.

Furthermore, the American-Statesman points out that Perry’s veto did not have the effect of stopping the investigation into the CPRIT. Perry vetoed state funding for the Public Integrity Unit in June 2013. The investigation continued, producing an indictment of CPRIT commercialization chief Jerry Cobbs in January of this year. Lehmberg says that no other indictments are expected.

In sum: (1) when Perry vetoed funding for the Public Integrity Unit, he knew that it wasn’t investigating his appointees, (2) the veto did not halt the investigation or prevent the PIU from issuing indictments, and (3) the sleazy and dishonest attack on Gov. Perry by the Democratic National Committee is too much for the liberal Austin American-Statesman to stomach.

Via Bryan Preston at PJ Media.

Green(peace) Weenie of the Week

We’ve noted before that Greenpeace is really bad at currency trading, and financial management in general, as well as being complete hypocrites.  (See below for a fresh example of Greenpeace hypocrisy.)  Add to this our notices lately of how environmentalists waste lots of their cash hoard on expensive ad agencies who produce messages that only Man Men could love.

Like these “music” videos about how we need to use green energy to power the Internet, by some rapper named Reggie Watts.  (It’s okay; I’d never head of him either.)  First one is 30 seconds; second one is 1:30

If this doesn’t deserve a whole extra large package of Green Weenies, I don’t know what does.  (If you’re a glutton, you can find several more of these high-Watt-age green rap videos on Greenpeace’s special website for this project.)

Meanwhile, someone has pointed out that Greenpeace, based in the Netherlands, is objecting to expanding oil exports from British Columbia in Canada, while saying no such thing about oil traffic in and out of its back yard.  The map below shows how much oil shipping activity there was on a recent day in both regions.

Amsterdam v BC copy

What Does “Peace” Mean to a Terrorist?

This is one of the fundamental asymmetries that have persisted for decades in the Middle East: to Israelis, “peace” means what it does here, in the U.S. A time to relax, to raise a family, to focus on one’s job; to take up a hobby or two. A time that one hopes will last forever. But for Islamic terrorists, “peace” means something quite different–more like a time out in a football game, if football were fatal. A time to prepare for war.

A Reuters reporter got a tour of a Hamas tunnel in Gaza. Hamas organized the tour in order to show that Israel hadn’t demolished all of its tunnels. The whole account is interesting, but what struck me forcibly was the conclusion:

In the tunnel, a Hamas fighter said the group would press on with restocking its arsenal or rockets and other weaponry and shoring up its underground network.

“In peace we make preparations, and in war we use what we have readied,” he said.

It is, of course, impossible to make peace with people for whom “peace” is merely an opportunity to get a jump on the next war.

Can a Liberal Learn to Shoot?

I would have said, sure. In fact, I have taught a couple of liberals to shoot firearms. But when Buzzfeed recruited five young lefties for the experiment, the odds didn’t look good:

Pretty entertaining. I would say that only one of the five shows any real promise, and she doesn’t look much like a liberal, either. Maybe we can sign her up for the NRA!

Report: More than a dozen witnesses say Brown attacked officer [UPDATED]

Yesterday, after reciting what appears to the Darren Wilson’s account of his shooting of Michael Brown, I wondered whether any witnesses would back Wilson’s version which, I imagined, would be contradicted by Brown’s friends. Now comes a tweet from Christine Byers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that “more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting.”

I don’t know whether that’s true, but it would help explain why Wilson has not been charged, as the mob is demanding.

If Byers is correct, some interesting questions arise. Assuming that the “white cop killed innocent black for no reason” narrative implodes, will the angry mob go home? Or will it become even more incensed, as seemed to happen when the video of Brown’s robbery was released? Or will the facts make no difference at all, such that the protesting and looting continue until the mob gets tired or is forcibly halted.

I’m betting on choice number three.

Also, if more than a dozen witnesses back Wilson’s version, will Eric Holder and his team of federal investigators (more than 50 of them, according to Megyn Kelly) accept that version and conclude that Wilson committed no crime? Or will they try to hector witnesses into changing their story and/or try to find a way charge Wilson in spite of what these witnesses say?

I wouldn’t bet on choice number one.

UPDATE: From Gateway Pundit comes word that Wilson suffered facial fractures in the area of his eye socket as a result of his confrontation with Michael Brown (formerly known as the Gentle Giant).

Maybe tonight, instead of employing the “hands up” gesture, the Ferguson mob should shadow box.

FURTHER UPDATE: Christine Byers, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter, has removed her tweet. She says it “didn’t meet the standard for publication.”

Apparently, she has been on leave from the paper since March pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, and thus has not participated in the coverage of the Ferguson shooting. Presumably, as a crime reporter she still has sources who prompted the tweet. But I take her at her word that her sourcing did not meet publication standards.

World of Payne

Erica Payne is one sick chick who perfectly represents the unloveliness of the contemporary left. Following up on her very personal message to me soliciting criminal abuse of Paul Ryan’s new book at bookstores near me (would that include Garrison Keillor’s, Erica?), she now writes:

Hi Scott,

Paul Ryan is the front-runner in Iowa, Christie is slipping, Perry may be out, and the consensus among Republican consultants is that Ryan is one of the strongest 2016 candidates. In a piece a couple of days ago, Ryan called Hillary “formidable – and beatable.” If the Republicans keep the House in November, Ryan will become the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and he will be able to raise enormous sums from special interests.

In short, he will have money, power, and a platform. We can stop him. But we need your help.

I am writing to ask you to contribute to our campaign to make sure that Paul Ryan never becomes President of the United States. You can contribute HERE.

Three years ago in reaction to the enormous cuts he proposed to Medicare, we created a powerful and controversial ad that depicted Paul Ryan throwing Granny Off A Cliff. It became a media sensation. We brought Granny out again when Ryan was selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 and then again when he released his budget in 2013. Today we rolled out Granny again, populating book stores with a new and improved version of the Ryan book cover. Copies of the book with the fake cover have been sent to every major media outlet.

Tomorrow, we are arming protestors with posters of the GRANNY COVER. We’ve already contacted local activists who are ready and willing to go. Those protestors are going to show up at every stop on the Paul Ryan book tour.

In 2012 Granny became synonymous with Ryan’s healthcare plan. Our goal with this work and other Ryan efforts is to create a permanent connection between Paul Ryan and Granny. If we do that successfully we will create enough doubt in the minds of seniors that it will be impossible for him to win a general election. Seniors are a major voting block and in 2012 they broke 56/44 for Mitt Romney.

Guerrilla Granny has already been covered in the DAILY CALLER, the WEEKLY STANDARD and the WASHINGTON POST. [Ed.: What are we? Chopped liver?] It’s clear that Republicans understand the threat that Granny poses to Ryan. [Ed.: Speaking for myself, I'd say we understand that Erica Payne and her organization are a menace to decency.]

I’ve enclosed the book tour schedule below [Ed.: I'm omitting it]. I am writing to see if you will contribute to our Granny campaign to make sure that we can stop Paul Ryan. You can contribute to the Agenda Project Action Fund HERE.

Thanks so much. Together we can do this.


(Links, emphases, and italics omitted.) Payne lists Ryan’s upcoming in-store appearances at the bottom of her message. Her message reeks of the contempt she and her ilk have for the intelligence of voters. You can reach Payne by email at or via Twitter @EricaPayneAP.