Netanyahu’s moment, part 3 (video corrected!)

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke this morning at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington. I have posted the video below (20 minutes). This speech is a warm-up to the main event tomorrow morning before a joint session of Congress. In this speech Netanyahu tactfully takes the highest ground possible consistent with his mission.

“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds,” Mr. Netanyahu told his audience of 16,000 people gathered to hear him this morning. “I have great respect for both.” The New York Times has more here, including the Obama administration’s continuing disparagement of Netanyahu before the conference, courtesy of Samantha Power.

So what is the purpose of his speech tomorrow? Netanyahu explains:

The purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world….Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons. And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.

And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.

Well, no more, no more.

The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.

The Prime Minister’s Office has posted the text of the speech here. The video of the speech is below. This concise and pointed and eloquent speech warrants attention in its entirety.

Quotable quote:

America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship. That started with the beginning.

In 1948, Secretary of State George Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. That’s an understatement — he vehemently opposed it. But Ben-Gurion, understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence. In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck, the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act –acted alone — to defend itself. In 1981, under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. The United States criticized Israel and suspended arms-transfers for three months. And in 2002, after the worst wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield. The United States demanded that Israel withdraw its troops immediately but Sharon continued until the operation was completed.

There’s a reason I mention all of these. I mention them to make a point. Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade. And our friendship will weather the current disagreement as well to grow even stronger in the future.

Quotable quote via Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard.

UPDATE: I originally posted last year’s speech to AIPAC instead of this year’s. I should have figured out I had the wrong video from the internal evidence alone, of which there was plenty. Yes, I should have gotten a clue when Netanyahu said that he had met with Obama, Biden and Kerry yesterday. I was confused by that, but not deterred.

I have now inserted the video of today’s speech along with a link to the text of the speech posted by the Prime Minister’s Office. Last year’s speech was good too, but my profuse and embarrassed apologies for the error.

Ben Carson For Senate

Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced today that she will not seek a seventh term. That opens up, I think, a great opportunity for Dr. Ben Carson, who I believe lives in Maryland, having been associated with Johns Hopkins for many years. Dr. Carson has talked about running for president. He is a great guy and a tremendous asset to the Republican Party, but administering the executive branch is not an entry-level position for a politician. Carson, I think, would be ideally placed in the Senate.

Not only would Carson make a top-notch Senator, he is probably the only Republican with a good chance of flipping the seat. That would go a long way toward helping the GOP maintain control over the Senate in 2016. Ben Carson for Senate: it makes too much sense not to happen.

A “Political Football”? He Would Know

So our totally self-aware secretary of state, John Karrie (who fought in Vietnam, you may not know, against Genghis Khan or somebody), said yesterday that he doesn’t want Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to become “a political football.”  I wonder why that might be?  Oh yeah—this: (more…)

A conversation with James Ceaser

In the latest of his Conversations, Bill Kristol draws out the eminent political scientist James Ceaser on the philosophy of constitutionalism on which the American experiment is founded as well as the development of American political parties with which it must live. The video is also posted and broken into chapters here; the transcript is posted here. The video continues here with Ceaser’s discussion of his teachers Harvey Mansfield, James Q. Wilson, Walter Berns and Allan Bloom; the transcript includes this continuation.

Caesar is professor of politics at the University of Virginia and the author of several important books including quadrennial evaluations of our presidential elections since 2000 (with Andrew Busch). This is a learned and edifying conversation from which it is highly unlikely that you won’t emerge knowing more, and wanting to know more, as a reward for the time invested.

Quotable quote, on Obama and his adherents: “[The 2008 election] doesn’t speak well for the modern state of the world or democracy. It was a terrifying event to see so much hope put into one person with the obvious understanding that no person, even if Obama were more than he is, could ever have achieved that. 2008 [was] a quasi-religious phenomenon pretending something about the character of our world…What helped a good deal…was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize immediately, which even his most fervent supporters had to agree was ridiculous. And the realization that that was one of the great absurdities of history, maybe it was the beginning of some notion that this wouldn’t quite work. But it’s proved, I think, a disaster in foreign affairs. There are other things to be said – one can take this explanation a little too far – but since I wrote about it, I wanted to put in a plug for this quasi-religious character in 2008.”

Meet Rich Weinstein

The legality of the mechanics of Obamacare as implemented comes before the Supreme Court for oral argument this week in King v. Burwell. The issue is one of statutory construction about as difficult (i.e.., not) as the one that came before the Court in United Steelworkers of America v. Weber. The Court got it laughably wrong in Weber. The case is important as a demonstration of how easy it is do. Who cares about the meaning of words when one can invoke the spirit as a triumph of the will? Weber shows how easily the Supreme Court can defy the plain meaning of a statute, and how it can be be done again.

In the timely video below Sharyl Attkisson interviews Rich Weinstein. Who, you might well ask, is Rich Weinstein? Attkisson explains:

Rich Weinstein is the single person considered most responsible for exposing one of the biggest blows to the Affordable Care Act’s image: a series of videos in which a key Obamacare architect discusses the “stupidity of the American people” and how that helped get the bill passed.

Ah, that Rich Weinstein. “Now,” Attkisson adds, “Weinstein is speaking on camera for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal.” This is good.

Via Sharyl Attkisson/Daily Signal.

Netanyahu’s moment, part 2

I’ll be posting notes in anticipation of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress tomorrow. This is the second in what I think will be a series of three or four such notes. Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard editorial “Netanyahu’s moment” provides the theme.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will be speaking at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington today. C-SPAN is televising much of the policy conference and posting videos. C-SPAN 2 is televising the AIPAC policy conference live this morning starting at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern); C-SPAN will also be televising Netanyahu’s speech to Congress live tomorrow morning at 10:45 a.m. (Eastern). We’ll post the text and video of Netanyahu’s speeches as soon as they are available.

President Obama has employed the tried and true Alinskyite tactics of which he is so fond to stigmatize Netanyahu, his speech, and Israel as well, for that matter. Obama is making his bed with Iran and will brook no interference from Congress, let alone the pushy Jew from Israel.

Obama has therefore sought to transform support for Israel into a partisan matter. He has also played the race card to the same intended effect. At last count 34 Democratic congressmen have declared their intent to skip Netanyahu’s speech. Here is CNN’s tabulation of the 34 by name. Elliott Abrams draws on his personal experience to explore what is happening in “U.S and Israel: The manufactured crisis.” Caroline Glick captures an aspect of this story from the Israeli side in “In Israel’s hour of need.”

Netanyahu’s speech has a historic resonance. Richard Kemp is attuned to it in “Netanyahu, Churchill and Congress.”

As we stand on the precipice, Netanyuahu seeks to persuade us to oppose our coming deal with Iran. Dore Gold explains why the deal is a bad one. Major General Yaacov Amidror does so at greater length in the BESA Center paper “A problem of nuclear proportions.”

At this moment, with the United States on the verge of a monumentally bad agreement with a formidable enemy, Netanyahu speaks for us. That’s how Quin Hillyer puts it.

The Iranian mullahs have pursued their war against the United States since their ascension to power in 1979. Their relentlessness has found its patsy in Obama. Like everyone else on the world stage, they have taken Obama’s measure. He is eager to give them even more of what they want. The only question is whether they will take it.

The slaughter and disillusionment of World War I set the backdrop of the Munich Agreement. Winston Churchill himself gracefully acknowledged as much his great speech condemning the agreement. We have no comparable excuse. We have only ourselves to blame along with whatever accounts for the misfortune of having elected Barack Obama twice to the presidency of the United States.

Is the Government Mandating Incompetent Banking?

For years, I heard from my friends in the banking industry that the government was requiring them to make bad loans. They could stand it, on account of Freddie and Fannie taking the risk off their hands and transferring it to the taxpayers, at least as far as mortgages were concerned, although the bad loans didn’t end there. We all know how that turned out.

Dodd-Frank, legislation that was passed ostensibly to prevent future financial collapses, in fact institutionalized bailouts and bad banking practices. I missed this Wall St. Journal editorial when it came out a week ago, but it’s not too late:

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat announced last week that Citi is going deep in green technology. Citi “will lend, invest and facilitate $100 billion over 10 years for projects ranging from energy, to clean tech, to water, to green infrastructure. Simply put, it is a $100 billion investment in sustainable growth.” That all this reflects the No. 1 domestic priority of the Obama Administration is no doubt a coincidence.

Banking is increasingly intertwined with government. We are steadily approaching the national socialist ideal in which all industries, while nominally private, are subordinate to government.

Apologies for the skepticism, but banks have entered a new age. It may or may not be the age of environmental economic opportunity. It is unquestionably the age of Dodd-Frank and its creature, the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Banks understand that their first client today is in Washington.

In my own law practice, I have seen this over and over. Everything else is a footnote: what matters to American companies, large and small, is government regulation and the endless threats that emanate from Washington.

Citigroup says it has already met a 2007 objective of raising $50 billion for “climate friendly projects.” With Mr. Corbat’s announcement it will add $100 billion by looking for “opportunities to finance greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and resource efficiency in other sectors, such as sustainable transportation.”

We don’t doubt there will be such projects worthy of financing when the planets of market economics align. But green projects not subsidized by taxpayers have been at a price disadvantage for years, and their competitiveness isn’t likely to improve as the price of oil and natural gas declines.

Shaping a lending policy around a green agenda while the politics and science of climate change remain controversial and the technology of fossil-fuel extraction is advancing rapidly seems like a recipe for raising risk.

Of course: just like the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Lending to “green” energy projects that are economically uncompetitive is pretty much exactly like making sub-prime mortgage loans. It is stupid on any traditional analysis, but makes sense if you think the federal government stands behind you, so that you get any possible profit, and the taxpayers eat the loss. That is the situation we have here. The WSJ concludes:

[O]ne of the unspoken political goals of Dodd-Frank was to give the government more influence over credit allocation, and this looks to us like an example. Politicized lending in time always leads to trouble. We thought that lesson had been learned in the housing-mortgage crisis.

What lesson, though, was learned by the people who matter? The sub-prime mortgage crisis worked out great for the government. Create a problem, then pretend to solve it by grabbing more power: what’s not to like? Liberals will be perfectly happy to do it all over again.