Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Obama whispers “bang-bang” to terrorists

Featured image According to the Washington Post, weapons and ammunition are in such short supply at the centers where Iraqi army units receive training to fight ISIS that the trainees are yelling “bang-bang” instead of shooting. Last August, when President Obama announced that the U.S. would undertake a mostly proxy war against ISIS, I would have said that yelling “bang-bang” is the perfect metaphor for his anti-terrorism campaign. Today, whispering “bang-bang” is »

Domestic surveillance — we need it now more than ever

Featured image In his observations on terrorism in Belgium, John writes that electronic surveillance of some sort very likely played a role in enabling the authorities to strike before the terrorists could carry out their planned attack. John is right. But we don’t need to look to Belgium to see the critical role such surveillance plays in protecting against terrorism. Recently, authorities here in the U.S. were able to prevent an attack »

Stephanie Cutter: Gruber was an Obamacare architect

Featured image The question of whether Jonathan Gruber is an architect of Obamacare has, I think, been settled. But in case there’s any doubt, a memo by Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, should erase it. According to Patrick Hawley of the Daily Caller, the Cutter memo was prepared in advance of Obama’s first debate with Mitt Romney. In relevant part, it states: So, what’s the net impact of »

Stockholm syndrome at the Washington Post

Featured image Stockholm syndrome occurs when hostages express empathy, sympathy, and/or positive feelings about their captors, even to the point of identifying with and/or defending them. The Washington Post, whose reporter Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned in Tehran for more than five months, appears to be experiencing something resembling Stockholm syndrome. Consider this article by Carol Morello. She reports that Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has expressed concern about what he »

A day of reckoning for “disparate impact” housing discrimination cases

Featured image Next Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a Texas case in which the issue is whether claims of “disparate impact discrimination” can be brought under the Fair Housing Act. The case is Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. “Disparate impact discrimination” occurs when a policy disproportionately excludes or injures a particular group and the policy is not shown to be »

My encounter with Walter Berns

Featured image Tributes are pouring in for Walter Berns, the conservative scholar who died over the weekend. Steve has written two of the best. He is joined by a host of conservative stars who knew Berns as teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. I knew Walter Berns for a different reason. I once backed into his car. The accident occurred in the parking lot of the apartment building where my parents and Berns »

Why did Obama stay home?

Featured image Just about everyone has offered an opinion as to why President Obama stayed away from the Paris anti-terrorism rally and why he sent no top administration official. I have a theory which I’ll offer momentarily. Let me begin, though, by saying that I don’t think it’s a big deal that Obama didn’t go. The massive turnout of ordinary Parisians was important because their appearances were sincere. It’s heartening that such »

Time for a “backlash” in Europe

Featured image It’s a familiar pattern in the U.S. and in Europe: within hours of a terrorist attacks by Islamists, the media begins fretting about an impending “backlash” against Muslims. Thus, the Washington Post informs us that “the terrorist violence [in Paris] is fueling fears of a backlash against Muslims, particuarly among France’s community of 5 million, the largest in Europe.” But what to a liberal is “backlash” may, to a more »

Is Islam “a religion of peace”?

Featured image The question has an essentialist ring to it, and thus is probably best left unasked. Indeed, I doubt it would be discussed had not two American presidents referred to Islam as a religion of peace. But Presidents Bush and Obama raised the issue and so we’re stuck with the debate. Max Boot offers a sensible perspective: Is Islam a religion of peace, as many claim, or is it a religion »

What’s the difference between Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush?

Featured image Clearly Romney and Bush disagree about immigration policy. But the key difference, I think, is this: Mitt Romney is a patrician who lacks the common touch, but wants to show he doesn’t think he’s better than the rest of us. Jeb Bush is a partician who possesses the common touch to some extent, but seems bent on showing his superiority. That’s my takeaway from the former Florida governor’s obnoxious claim »

Do Jews have a future in France?

Featured image Ten years ago, on the one and only occasion I met Bat Ye’or, I told her that my wife’s cousin and her family of six, living in a Paris suburb with a large, increasingly hostile Muslim population, should seriously consider leaving France. Bat Ye’or strongly disagreed with me, arguing that French Jews should stay and fight. The family did stay and it did fight — literally in the case of »

Jeb Bush v. Mitt Romney — the personal is political

Featured image It looks increasingly likely that Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney will both seek the Republican presidential nomination. Washington Post political reporters Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa discuss the relationship between the two. The first part of their article is the equivalent of a friend telling you, “I like Joe.” The second part of the article is the equivalent of what comes after the friend adds, “but.” As always the second »

Questions for Loretta Lynch

Featured image George Will offers a list of questions he thinks Senators should put to Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. The purpose of the questions, Will says, is to “highlight festering legal problems.” The first question pertains to attempts by the federal government to “coerce colleges and universities into jettisoning crucial defendants’ protections when adjudicating, in improvised tribunals, accusations of sexual assault.” The question is well worth asking if »

Prosecute Petreaus?

Featured image The New York Times reports that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against Gen. David Petraeus. He would be charged with providing classified information to Paula Broadwell, an author and an officer in the reserves, with whom he was having an affair. Eric Holder reportedly is trying to make up his mind on whether to prosecute. Petraeus denies that he gave classified information to Broadwell. However, »

Romney “considering” presidential bid

Featured image Mitt Romney reportedly has told a group of donors in New York that he is considering running for president again next year. With Jeb Bush trying to round up donors, Romney needed to indicate interest, but only if he has some. Clearly, he does. Romney is expected to announce his decision within the next 60 days, according to Spencer Zwick, one his advisers. Having reportedly told the donor group that »

Marco Rubio and Loretta Lynch, a correction

Featured image I have written that Sen. Marco Rubio reportedly has expressed an inclination to vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. However, a member of the Senator’s staff assures me that this is not the case. He says that, in fact, Rubio has a standing policy of not taking positions on nominees until they have gone through the committee process. Rubio has said only that Lynch’s position on President Obama’s »

Is Elizabeth Warren running for president? It looks that way

Featured image I hear through sources within Elizabeth Warren’s circles that the Massachusetts Senator intends to run for president. Warren’s behavior is entirely consistent with this view. She is pounding her core message — “the system is rigged” — as relentlessly as John Edwards pounded his “two Americas” theme when he ran twice for president. And she is distancing herself from President Obama — and, by extension, Hillary Clinton — by insisting »