The Harmonic Convergence of Al Gore and Al Sharpton?

I’m afraid we may have to retire Power Line’s coveted Green Weenie Award. Because after this one, it is unlikely that anyone else could ever measure up. Unless we’re being punked by The Nation, but . . . yeah, if The Nation actually had a sense of satire or real humor, it would indeed be the very first time.

What do the events of Ferguson, Missouri, have to do with climate change? For perfervid paranoid peamind of a Leftist, the answer is everything. That seems to be Naomi Klein’s latest argument. A few weeks ago, the author of This Changes Everything said capitalism was the root cause of global warming (because atmospheric physics is too hard to explain, or something), but scratch that. Now the cause of global warming is . . . racism.  No, really:

What does #BlackLivesMatter, and the unshakable moral principle that it represents, have to do with climate change? Everything. . . The reality of an economic order built on white supremacy is the whispered subtext of our entire response to the climate crisis, and it badly needs to be dragged into the light. . . Thinly veiled notions of racial superiority have informed every aspect of the non-response to climate change so far. Racism is what has made it possible to systematically look away from the climate threat for more than two decades. . . If we refuse to speak frankly about the intersection of race and climate change, we can be sure that racism will continue to inform how the governments of industrialized countries respond to this existential crisis.

Just one more thing to add to the list of things to chat about in the “Conversation” about race we’re always supposed to be having.  I can see it now: Al Gore and Al Sharpton, together at last, to lead the “conversation.” Call their campaign “Al-Squared.” Al to the Power of 2!  Al2?

How To Deter the Norks

So far most news reports about the massive Sony hack are expressing “uncertainty” about whether North Korea is behind the cyberattack. Today Variety reports that the hackers are threatening 9/11-style terrorist attacks on theaters that screen “The Interview,” the Seth Rogan/James Franco vehicle making fun of the latest Little Kim to tyrannize the unfortunate northern half of Korea.

Frankly this threat makes me skeptical that the Norks are behind this. While it does sound like their kind of bluster, it also sounds like the obvious disinformation a disgruntled Sony insider behind the hack might throw up to cover his trail, or Russian hackers, etc.

I suspect our intelligence services know who is behind this, but aren’t saying. If we do think the Norks are behind it, then I suggest we ready a program to air-drop large numbers of portable DVD players into North Korea along with DVD copies of “The Interview,” and other propaganda. And threaten to repeat the exercise until the Norks shape up on a number of fronts (like counterfeiting American currency). The obvious escalation? Team America: World Police. In fact, let’s start with this scene:

Turns out RAND’s Bruce Bennett was a day ahead of me with this idea (except for the awesome Team America part):

So what might a strong U.S. response look like? Deterrence is achieved by convincing adversarial leaders that they have more to lose than gain by carrying out such attacks. There are many ways that the United States and even Sony Pictures could affect North Korean internal politics.

Slipping DVDs of at least parts of The Interview into the North, including a narration describing what their “god” Kim is really like, is one way. Leaking damaging information into the North is another. Such leaks might ask why the Kim family has absconded with perhaps $4 billion in state funds while many of its people are starving.

South Korea and the United States also could encourage defectors from the North Korean elite, offering them better lives in the South—even one or two such defections would be a loss of face for Kim.

Only one quibble with Bennett: How do you suffer “loss of face” when you have a face like Kim Jong Un in the first place?

P.S.  Sony ought to order up five new anti-Nork comedies.  Call Mel Brooks out of retirement for the first one.  Adapt “The Producers” to the Kim family, etc.

Breaking: Federal Judge Strikes Blow at Obama Executive Amnesty

What would we do without Jonathan Adler, whom AmericanHealthLine names today one of the top 14 “movers and shakers” in health care in 2014 because his legal analysis led to the upcoming Supreme Court case on Obamacare’s state subsidies that may blow the ACA sky high.  Anyway, Jon flags a U.S. District Court opinion out this morning that finds Obama’s immigration executive action exceeds the proper understanding of “prosecutorial discretion”:

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals.  As a consequence,  Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States.

Jon goes on to explain more on the background of the case.  The full 38-page opinion is here.

The man with the Gruber vids

James O’Keefe has just released a video featuring an interview of the man who brought the videos of MIT economist and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber to public attention. The interview with “Rich” — the man who — is on camera, but behind a shield of anonymity. During the interview, “Rich” explains that Obamacare enacts a covert agenda: a two-hundred-and-fifty billion dollar per year tax grab. O’Keefe’s video provides a handy review of a few of the enormities wrought by this sinister law.

The Rape Hoax Epidemic

The Daily Caller performs the public service today of looking at eight other notorious campus rape cases that parallel the University of Virginia case that turned out to be hoaxes.  Gee—it really does seem more and more like we’re living in Salem, MA, in 1692.

Meanwhile, Christina Hoff Sommers performs her usual public service in going over the witch-burning style ideological hysteria that drives this whole scene in her latest “Factual Feminist” video (7 minutes): (more…)

Taliban? What Taliban? [Updated]

The Pakistani Taliban carried out an appalling terrorist attack on the Army school in Peshawar yesterday, murdering more than 130, mostly children, and wounding many more. Reports indicate that one teacher was burned alive in front of her class and some of the children were decapitated. It reportedly required more than eight hours for the Army to clear the school of terrorists. The Taliban has claimed responsibility–credit, in their eyes–for the attack.

This is President Obama’s statement condemning the murders:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.

Apart from its perfunctory tone, what is notable about Obama’s statement? It doesn’t mention the perpetrators of the attack, the Taliban. This seems a curious omission, both because of the scale of the attack and because it evidently was intended as retaliation against the Army for its recent campaign to suppress the Taliban in North Waziristan.

This can only be speculation, but one wonders whether the Obama administration prefers not to mention the Taliban due to our impending withdrawal from Afghanistan. Once we are gone, similar atrocities by the Taliban’s Afghan branch are likely inevitable. Perhaps the administration would rather not say anything that might lead others to suggest, when the time comes, that similar attacks on Afghan schools were the foreseeable consequence of our withdrawal. That is the only reason I can think of why President Obama would denounce the attack on the Army school in Peshawar, without denouncing those who carried it out.

UPDATE: This also may be relevant–President Obama, speaking from Afghanistan in May 2012, announcing that his administration has entered into “direct discussions with the Taliban” because “Many members of the Taliban…have indicated an interest in reconciliation.”

Obama’s negotiations with the Taliban have gone about as well as his negotiations with Iran.

Ted Cruz’s independence from independents

Eliana Johnson reports that Ted Cruz and his strategists see a path to the presidency that relies on turning out the conservative base and largely ignoring independents:

It’s almost conventional wisdom now that presidential candidates woo the party faithful in primary contests and tack to the middle in the general election to attract more-moderate voters. Not Cruz. As one of his advisers puts it, “winning independents has meant not winning.” The adviser says the moderate fiscal- and social-policy positions that candidates need to adopt to win independent voters have dampened base turnout.

As evidence, the adviser points out that George Bush won independents in 2000 but lost the popular vote, while both John Kerry in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2012 won them and yet lost. Meanwhile, Bush won in 2004 when turnout by conservative voters peaked.

Cruz will not rely entirely on the conservative base. According to Eliana, he is courting Jewish voters. He also hopes to do well with Hispanics, from whom he received around 40 percent of the vote when he was elected to the Senate. Throw in “some Millennials” plus “blue-collar voters and women” and, voila. What could go wrong?

Here’s one thing that could. Cruz could get crushed by independents. Yes, Bush was reelected, rather narrowly, in 2004 without winning the independent vote. But he lost it by only 50-47.

Cruz’s adviser acknowledges that he can’t “get[] killed with independents.” But a strategy that tries to turn out the conservatives voters who allegedly went missing in 2008 and 2012 because McCain and Romney weren’t conservative enough would likely cause independents to kill Cruz.

Bush may not have “lavished attention on independents” in 2004, but he was a “compassionate conservative” who could point to centrist legislation and policy positions. Cruz will have nothing remotely centrist to point to, nor, if his strategy is to turn out conservatives for whom McCain and Romney were too centrist, will he want to do.

Here’s another hitch. A Cruz candidacy would likely energize the Democratic base, thus enabling a candidate with less base-appeal than Barack Obama to obtain turnout similar to what Obama received.

As for the Hispanic vote, Cruz shouldn’t count on the level of support he received in Texas in 2012. Back then, Cruz hadn’t become the symbol of strident conservatism that he is today. Back then, he hadn’t voted against amnesty and led the charge against Obama’s executive order on the subject.

As for the Jewish vote, don’t make me laugh. It’s great that Cruz has attended Commentary Magazine’s annual dinner, participated in Israel Day events, and raised money at a kosher deli in Manhattan. Perhaps he will win support from a few big Jewish political donors.

But Cruz is dreaming if he believes that Jewish voters, for whom (as Norman Podhoretz has written) liberalism has virtually obtained religious status, will support a stridently conservative candidate over a liberal who, unlike President Obama, can plausibly pretend to be a reliable defender of Israel. The Republican candidate, if any, who will make inroads with Jewish voters in a race against, say, Hillary Clinton is the one who lavishes attention on independents, not the one on a quest to turn out missing evangelical voters.

As Eliana says at the conclusion of her article, Cruz will have to persuade donors that his message and strategy “will produce a Reagan-like victory rather than a Goldwateresque defeat.” Donors will be aware that Cruz lacks Reagan’s sunny disposition and congenial demeanor, and that the Democrats won’t be running Jimmy Carter.