14 Israel-Gaza notes

In the spirit of David Bernstein’s “Some Israel-Gaza notes” at the Volokh Conspiracy, I would like to add my own notes summarizing points I have been making here, some of which Bernstein also makes.

1. Hamas has promoted phony casualty statistics as a propaganda tool and the media have dutifully provided the statistics every day without any reservation. The media fail to report the source of the statistics as anything other than Gaza health officials.

2. Bernstein puts it this way: “The Ministry of Health counts everyone not in uniform as a civilian. Most Hamas fighters don’t wear uniforms. The UN is sometimes sourced for the figures, but the UN gets its figures from … the Gazan Ministry of Health.” MEMRI set forth casualty statistics in “Reporting of casualties in Gaza” on July 14. Bernstein links to updated casualty statistics posted here at Aussie Dave’s IsraellyCool site. The Times of Israel reports the analysis of an Israeli intelligence center on this issue in “When numbers in Gaza masquerade as fact.”

3. MEMRI has posted Hamas media management instruction regarding the inflation and use of civilian deaths as a propaganda tool. MEMRI’s highly illuminating report is “Hamas Interior Ministry to social media activists: Always call the dead ‘innocent civilians’; don’t post photos of rockets being fired from civilian population centers.” So far as I am aware, if you didn’t pick up this key to Hamas media management here on Power Line, you haven’t picked it up.

4. Despite Hamas’s attempt to prevent images depicting the use of civilian facilities for martial purposes, the IDF has made relevant videos available. The IDF, for example, has posted videos illustrating the use of apparently civilian facilities for purposes including the firing of missiles. The IDF YouTube channel is here.

5. Among the facilities featured in the IDF videos are Hamas hospitals, schools, mosques, and graveyards. Here is one of Hamas firing rockets from civilian areas, posted yesterday by the IDF.

In the video below, Hamas terrorists fire from a Gaza school.

If you haven’t picked up these videos here, I doubt you have picked them up anywhere, yet they provide invaluable context for understanding the war.

6. Hamas uses Gaza Terrorist Theater to promote the theme that Israel irresponsibly causes civilian deaths when the opposite is the case. The most notorious incident of the current conflict is the alleged deaths that occurred at the UN Gaza school last week. Yesterday the IDF released the results of its study of the incident, reported here by the Times of Israel’s Mitch Ginsburg:

An Israeli army inquiry into fighting at a UN facility in Beit Hanoun Thursday found that IDF mortars did not play a role in the killing of 16 people in the school courtyard, dismissing claims that the military was responsible for their deaths.

The army admitted that an IDF-fired shell did hit the UN-run school’s yard, but at a time when there were no people in the area.

“A single errant mortar landed in the school courtyard, injuring no one,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Sunday in a conference call.

Ginsburg has posted the IDF photo supporting the IDF analysis with his article.

7. The Gaza school story replicates on a larger scale the Gaza Terrorist Theater invoking the death of Jihad Masharawi in 2012′s Operation Pillar of Defense. The media were tools of Jihad then and they are tools of Jihad now. It is way past time for them to get a clue.

8. Permit me to repeat what I said on this point yesterday. The IDF is the most scrupulous reporter on the scene in Gaza by far. The Gaza Terrorist Theater continues with all on-the-scene broadcast and cable network reporters in Gaza playing their assigned roles and performing as miserably as ever in the pageant of “Tools of Jihad.”

9. Israel’s discovery of the extensive Hamas terror tunnels was a turning point in the war. Lawrence Franklin explained why last week in the Gatestone column “Hamas mega attack planned through Gaza terror tunnels.” We posted Omri Ceren’s email summary to us in “Hamas’s big plan disrupted.”

10. The lack of interest in civilian deaths in Syria by contrast with Gaza is noteworthy. More than 700 Arabs were killed in Syria on Thursday and Friday in what was probably the bloodiest 48 hours of that conflict to date. I bet you haven’t heard a single word about those deaths and you can’t help but wonder why. Jeffrey Goldberg purports to explain why in “Obsessing about Gaza, ignoring Syria (and most everything else).” Goldberg quotes one Joyce Haram, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Hayat: “Only reason I can think of is Muslim killing Muslim or Arab killing Arab seems more acceptable than Israel killing Arabs.”

11. On a related note, Jay Nordlinger passes on “the comment of the month” in this article by Professor Marc Lynch of George Washington University. Quotable quote from Lynch: “It must be so awkward having to check whether the dead child is from Gaza or Syria before deciding whether to be morally outraged.”

12. John Kerry is reliably reported to have adopted key Hamas demands in a ceasefire proposal presented to the Israeli government on Friday. The Israeli government has unanimously rejected John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, characterized by the Israelis as a capitulation to Hamas. The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren has filed an updated report on the Kerry ceasefire proposal here.

13. On Sunday Barack Obama placed Israel under enormous pressure to undertake an immediate ceasefire, yet Israel has not completed its important mission of eliminating Gaza’s terror tunnels. He is undoubtedly threatening to withhold funding for Israel’s depleted Iron Dome defense if the Israeli government refuses to cooperate. One could have predicted this based on the general theory that Obama reliably supports the interests of America’s enemies and undermines the interests of America’s friends, yet it is a striking illustration of the phenomenon.

14. John Podhoretz commented on Obamna’s ceasefire demand yesterday here, Bernstein here. By functionally aligning itself with Hamas, the Obama administration is undermining Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other key players who resist Iran and/or the Muslim Brotherhood for good and sufficient reasons, as should we. Isi Liebler puts it this way: “Obama abandons Israel.”

Katie Kieffer: Message to the millenials

My young friend Katie Kieffer is one of two beautiful and conservative Katies with books out this summer. Katie Pavlich is the author of Assault and Flattery:The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, seeking to corral women to the conservative cause. Katie Kieffer is out with Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials, and One Woman’s Case for Hope, seeking to corral millennials to the conservative casuse.

Katie Kieffer’s book has garnered the endorsement of conservatives including Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Mary Kissel, among others. Katie sends along a few notes on why her book would be of interest to Power Line readers and on her appearance tomorrow at the Young America’s Foundation conference in Washington, D.C.:

My book promotes an understanding of the Millennials and how conservatives and independents can reach out to them and win their votes in the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential elections. The Millennial generation is 95 million strong and has the power to determine the direction of future elections.

I interviewed close to 300 doctors and surgeons and included their concrete, free market solutions for both opting out of and overturning Obamacare.

I discuss how the federal government’s involvement in education (think Common Core and the derailment of higher education) and the economy has affected your sons, daughters and grandchildren. Readers can learn what real solutions look like for the future. Read Let Me Be Clear for your own education, entertainment and empowerment and also to share the book’s message with the young people in your life.

I spent over two years researching this book and incorporated a good deal of humor along with my research so that it would be an important and fun read for all ages. I’ve already had both Baby Boomers and Millennials tell me that the book has empowered them to become more conservative and get more involved. The book has been featured on many FOX News shows and other national TV and radio shows.

On Tuesday, July 29th at 2:30 p.m., I will be speaking at the Young America’s Foundation’s National Student Conference in Washington, D.C. I will continue to speak at colleges and conferences throughout the fall and winter to educate young people, promote entrepreneurship and empower Americans of all ages to take back their dreams.

I got to know and admire Katie when she was an undergraduate student attending the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She adds this note to her message on the book:

Power Line readers may remember me from my days as a college student at the University of St. Thomas. With the help of Power Line, I was able to successfully fight against the liberal administration and promote free speech on campus with my student newspaper. Today, I write a weekly column for Townhall and I’m also a contributor to The BLAZE.

Below is Katie’s nine-minute interview with Dana Loesch on The Blaze.

Managers take center stage at Cooperstown

The baseball Hall of Fame inducted six new members today. Among the inductees were managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox (the others were Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine).

One thing about inducting managers: you don’t have to worry about whether their performance was enhanced by drugs.

There was a time, though, when it seemed like La Russa was managing on steroids. That time was the early 1980s when, as Barry Svrluga puts, La Russa would “splice together the final four innings of a game with six or seven pitchers.” Or so it seemed.

The objective was to get the best matchup, not just in the ninth inning, but throughout the latter stages of a game. All runs count equally regardless of when they are scored. Thus, baseball games can be won or lost as easily in the seventh inning as in the ninth.

These days, managers tend to pre-assign innings to pitchers. There’s a seventh inning guy, an eighth inning guy, and a closer who works only the ninth (and only if his team is ahead and the lead isn’t more than three runs).

I prefer La Russa’s less formulaic 1980s approach.

Cox and Torre did their best managing after 1994 when I stopped following baseball closely. Thus, I have fewer impressions of their methods.

Torre, of course, had a run of success rivaled only by his Yankee predecessors, Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel. Torre’s managerial career more closely resembles Stengel in that they both experienced failure before coming to the Yankees. Torre’s teams had losing records in nine of the 14 seasons he managed prior to taking the helm in the Bronx.

Cox’s career reminds me of Walter Alston’s — success year-after-year based on terrific pitching. Alston won three World Series compared to Cox’s one. But in Alston’s day, it took less to win the championship. For most of his career, there were no playoffs to navigate.

The winning percentage of Cox (.556) is almost identical to that of Alston (.558). But I give Cox extra credit for succeeding with more than one club. He guided Toronto to the World Series in 1985, before guiding the Braves to five of them.

I’ll conclude by noting an oddity. Torre succeeded Cox as the Braves manager in 1982 and La Russa took over the Cardinals in 1996, the year after Torre had managed them for the first 47 games of the 1995 season (Mike Jorgensen served out the remainder of that campaign).

Today, they all went into the Hall of Fame together, and appropriately so.

Meanwhile in Ukraine

It’s not getting much attention, but Ukraine continues to make military progress against rebel separatists. The Washington Post reports that the Ukrainian military has pushed the rebels out of a series of villages and towns in the East, and now has its sights set on Horlivka, a city of about 300,000.

If it succeeds in taking Horlivka, the military will be on the doorstep of Donetsk, the separatists’ power center. Already, it is blocking supplies from entering Donetsk, according to the government.

No word yet on whether President Obama and John Kerry are demanding a cease fire.

The wild card, of course, is the 15,000 Russian troops believed to be stationed on the border. Russia’s attempts to prop up the separatists, many of whom are Russians, have been largely unsuccessful so far. If the separatists continue to lose ground, Russia will likely intervene more directly.

Already, Russia is poised to move heavy-calibre artillery systems across the border into Ukraine, and Russian forces are shelling Ukrainian military positions.

Ukraine seems undaunted, though. The U.S. should stand with the brave Ukrainians, whose current difficulties stem from their decision to align themselves with the EU rather than Moscow, by providing increased military assistance and preparing to escalate the sanctions against Russia.

Is Barack Obama John Galt?

In her polemical novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand imagines a world in which the most productive citizens–business magnates, mostly, creators of wealth and generators of progress–go on strike. Tired of being blamed for the world’s ills by parasitic liberals in the press, academia, popular culture and government, they quit. The result is chaos and disaster. John Galt is the mysterious figure who inspires the revolt of the wealth creators.

On first impression, one would say that Barack (“You didn’t build that”) Obama is the anti-John Galt. A classic demagogue, he is one of the liberal horde who inveigh against the successful while adding insult to injury by soliciting campaign contributions from them.

But shift the focus to international affairs: here, the United States has been Atlas, carrying the world on its shoulders since 1945. For more than 60 years, the U.S. imposed a pax Americana, deterring aggressors, guaranteeing the security of other nations, providing the umbrella of stability necessary for the global economy to thrive. Many countries have achieved previously undreamed-of levels of prosperity by participating in the global economy under the protection of the American military. Has our role been a thankless one? To a considerable degree, yes. Just as the producers in Atlas Shrugged were portrayed as villains by the Left, the U.S. has often the target of the world’s many grievances, usually unfairly.

Now, Barack Obama has decreed that the American Atlas should shrug. Weary of its burdens and tired of being blamed for the world’s problems, America is withdrawing from its global leadership role. And the result, as in Atlas Shrugged, is disaster. Everywhere one looks, there is turmoil and violence. Russia is resurgent; China threatens Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines; Iraq’s Christians are being wiped out; Iran’s nuclear weapons program proceeds apace; the Sunni Gulf states seek new alliances; the Taliban is retaking Afghanistan; American diplomatic personnel are withdrawn from Libya as that country descends into chaos; al Qaeda extends its influence in Africa. The list goes on and on. The United States has gone Galt–everywhere except Gaza, where we are playing a discreditable role in support of a terrorist regime–and the forces of evil and disorder are on the march.

Of course, the analogy ultimately breaks down. In Atlas Shrugged, the world’s producers go on strike in order to show that the Left is wrong. Barack Obama has withdrawn the United States from its leadership role, not in order to demonstrate that the Left’s critiques are wrong, but because he believes them to be right. Unlike the producers in Atlas Shrugged, Obama means for the U.S. to “go Galt” permanently.

But things are not turning out as the Left expected. Those who thought (like Obama) that America is the source of most of the world’s ills, and if only we would keep to ourselves problems would disappear, are being refuted by every day’s newspaper headlines. So perhaps in the end, America’s going Galt in foreign policy will prove to be temporary, as the result of Obama’s experiment will be much like the dystopia that Ayn Rand foresaw many years ago.

Romney 53%, Obama 44%? Don’t Get Excited

Matt Drudge is promoting this CNN poll, out today, in which respondents were asked whom they would vote for if the 2012 election were re-run today. Romney beats Obama, when “leaners” are counted, 53% to 44%. And that’s not all: lots of Obama’s numbers are quite poor. In categories like “is a strong and decisive leader,” “generally agrees with you on issues you care about” (43%/56%), and “can manage the government effectively” (42%/57%), Obama is under water.

Nevertheless, the CNN poll actually has more bad news than good for Republicans. First, let’s dispense with the Romney boomlet. Some are now suggesting that he should again be the GOP nominee in 2016. But in 2016 he would be running against Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, and this survey has him losing that matchup by 55%-42%. Hillary, despite her recent stumbles, still scores well in the areas where Obama has now fallen into disrepute. To take just one example, respondents think Hillary can “manage the government effectively” by 55%/44%, despite the awful job she did managing the State Department. And Republicans are falling behind, not pulling ahead, in the generic Congressional ballot, trailing in this survey by 48%/44% among registered voters.

A reasonable conclusion from this CNN poll is that, while voters are giving up on Barack Obama, so far his troubles haven’t rubbed off to any great degree on Hillary Clinton, nor have they elevated Republicans much in the public’s esteem. Republicans will have to do a lot more than watch Barack Obama sink beneath the waves if they are to prevail in either 2014 or 2016.

2014 World Cup all-stars

The World Cup ended two weeks ago, which means that it’s high time for me to offer my World Cup all-star team. But first, a word about the tournament.

The consensus among those who covered it is that this was the best World Cup in modern memory. I’ve followed every World Cup since 1978 (ten in all), but my memory of the early ones has become hazy. Certainly, though, this was the best World Cup in a long time.

The Group Stage and Round of 16 were outstanding. The play was open, the cynicism was in check, and many of the matches provided high drama.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said of the matches that followed. Some were tense — primarily because it was clear that one goal would be enough to win — and one will be remembered for decades — Germany’s shocking 7-1 win over Brazil.

But there was nothing to rival the late-stage matches of 1986 — France’s shoot-out win over Brazil (as good a World Cup match as I’ve ever seen); the five-goal thriller of a Final; or even Argentina’s 2-1 win over England (featuring Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal).

In any event, this World Cup gave the tournament a needed boost after several mediocre ones in a row.

Here are my all-star selections:

First Team

Navas — Costa Rica

Lahm — Germany
R. Rodriguez — Switzerland
Hummels — Germany
T. Silva — Brazil

Mascherano — Argentina

James Rodriguez — Colombia
Robben — Holland
T. Muller — Germany
Neymar — Brazil
Messi — Argentina

Second Team

Neuer — Germany

Aurier — Ivory Coast
Blind — Holland
Vlaar — Holland
Garay — Argentina

Schweinsteigger — Germany
Pogba — France

Cuadrado — Colombia
Shaqiri — Switzerland
Valbueana — France
Al. Sanchez — Chile

Honorable Mention

Howard — U.S.
M’Bohli — Algeria
Enyeama — Nigeria
Ochoa –Mexico

Boateng — Germany
Holebas — Greece
Gonzalez — Costa Rica
Yepes — Colombia
Van Buyten — Belgium

Arevalo Rios — Uruaguay
Pirlo — Italy
Herrera — Mexico
Kroos — Germany
Iniesta — Spain
Di Maria — Argentina
Pjanic — Bosnia
Perisic — Croatia
Aranguiz — Chile
Karagounis — Greece

T. Cahill — Australia
Schurrle — Germany
Slimani — Algeria
Gyan — Ghana
E. Valencia — Ecuador
Gervinho — Ivory Coast

Player of the tournament — James Rodriguez
Runner-up — Robben