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The Current Crisis

Joe’s Last Race Is About to Begin

By 8.5.15

In addressing my old friend, Vice President Joe Biden, as he contemplates a run for the White House, I would ask him what him thinks of Hillary Clinton’s chances for the presidency? In fact, what does he think of her presidency in the unlikely event she is nominated and wins? Do I hear four more years of Whitewaters, Travelgates, campaign finance violations, dubious pardons, Johnny Chungs, Charlie Tries, and slutty cuties’ feet protruding from behind the curtains?

Have we not had enough presentiments of her presidency in the brief months of her candidacy and are they not sufficiently alarming? Can the country or the Democratic Party go through the Clinton scandals all over again? What we have thus far seen from her State Department scandals are scandals very similar to her White House scandals in the 1990s and, come to think of it, her years in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in the 1980s.

Eminentoes

Ego Central

By 8.5.15

As Jon Stewart signs off later this week as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after 16 years, the mainstream media is giving him the sort of reverence it normally reserves for President Obama.

Steve Almond of Salon.com writes, “[T]he consensus that has formed around him is that he’s a national hero, an intrepid truth teller, a kind of secular prophet in an age of folly, and the first Jew perhaps worthy of canonization.” Daily Beast columnist and CNN contributor Dean Obdeidallah thinks Stewart should succeed Obama and run for President. If that were to come to pass it would be like Obama never left office.

Dictator Watch

No Friend to Lions

By 8.5.15

More than 200,000 people have signed a petition asking the White House to cooperate with efforts to “extradite Walter Palmer” — the Minneapolis-area dentist who killed Cecil the lion — “promptly at the Zimbabwe government’s request.” According to reports, Palmer and/or his hunting guides lured the beloved lion out of a game reserve. Palmer then shot Cecil with a crossbow; the wounded lion lived for another 40 hours before he was dispatched with a bullet.

I have to assume that those who want Palmer extradited don’t know much about Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe or his sorry human rights record.

Mugabe, 91, has run Zimbabwe into the ground since he was first elected in 1980. Early on, he decided to bring the country under one-party rule. His Fifth Brigade wiped out political opposition in two provinces. By 1985, Mugabe’s Gukurahundi campaign had left some 20,000 civilians dead.

Special Report

The Push Becomes a Shove

By 8.4.15

It was always going to be an uphill fight for the Left to achieve a consensus for not just the acceptance of their theory of global warming but their prescriptions to fight it, and Monday’s announcement of draconian EPA rules assaulting the electric power industry is proof that they realize the battle for public opinion is lost.

To have won on global warming, which obviously would have entailed our discussing the theory by its former name rather than its current formulation as “climate change” (does that not happen four times a year?), Barack Obama and his predecessors atop the effort to convince us to give up our modern consumerist lifestyle would have had to secure agreement on four bases crucial to the theory.

On none of the four have they managed to succeed.

Politics

New York Cardinal Owes Donald Trump an Apology

By 8.4.15

Wow. The other day in the New York Daily News New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan wrote an astounding piece that was headlined this way:

Nativism rears its big-haired head: Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric is a sad return to a terrible American tradition

Among other things, the Cardinal said this:

During those happy days decades ago when I taught American religious history to university students, I spent a chunk of time in class on the ugly phenomenon called nativism, defined by the scholar and author Ray Allen Billington as, “organized, white, Protestant antagonism toward the Catholic immigrant.”

It flourished in our country during the 1840s and 1850s — actually becoming a popular political party, the Know-Nothings — and appeared again, in the 1870s, as the American Protective Association; in the 1920s, as the KKK; and during post-World War II America, as Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Main Street U.S.A.

The Politics of Normality

By 8.4.15

Joe? For president?

Yes, that Joe. As in, this weekend the New York Times ran an article with the headline: “Joe Biden Said to Be Taking New Look at Presidential Run.”

Couldn’t be. No! But here comes the Times again: “Hillary Clinton Camp Weighs Implications of Potential Joe Biden Challenge.” A congruent note about the timing of all this: Donald Trump, headed toward a debate showdown on Fox News, handily leads the Republican field.

Biden? Trump? Who next? Mr./Ms. Jenner?

Let me poke an investigatory hole in the tent flap by remarking that 10 or 15 years ago I would not have considered voting for Biden in a contest for second assistant municipal dogcatcher. There seemed about him, with his hair transplant and dazzling dental work, an air of artifice and insincerity.

Here is the catch today: In a race with Donald Trump, I might well consider a vote for ol’ Joe — a strangely normal person in the context of 21st century political normality.

A Further Perspective

Climate Change, California Drought, and Joe Del Bosque

By 8.4.15

Many people think Obama is a phony. They also think that he is amazingly shallow or ignorant on important policy issues. One of these is climate change, which Obama is repackaging this week, taking on natural gas as well as coal.

Another is the worsening California drought, which he uses shamelessly to pitch his half-baked ideas on global warming. The two are related at least in the public mind and politics. 

Joe Del Bosque has joined these ranks. 

Let’s do a fast rewind. In February 2014, President Barack Obama arrived on Air Force One with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein aboard in Fresno, California, en route to a golf weekend in Palm Springs. The entourage helicoptered west, before a long presidential motorcade moved on to Los Banos. On farmland capable of producing at least a million melons, empty as far as the eye could see, joined by Gov. Jerry Brown, the President linked California’s lack of rain to climate change and carbon pollution.

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Climate Hubris

By 8.4.15

This week President Obama is hailing his Clean Power Plan as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” Obama is posing as the environment’s savior, just as he did in 2008, when he promised his presidency would mark “the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Seven years later, that messianic legacy is in doubt. Obama’s Clean Power Plan has never had legislative support, even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress. Now he’s trying to impose it without Congress, an audacious ploy his old Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe condemns as “burning the Constitution.”

Another Perspective

The Trump Card: It’s Radioactive

By 8.4.15

With Hillary Clinton’s multiple misdeeds coming to light and causing her political problems, reflected in her declining support in the polls, both she and the Democratic Party have reason to be concerned. But both of them may yet be rescued by “The Donald,” who can turn out to be their Trump card.

Donald Trump has virtually no chance of becoming even the Republican Party’s candidate in 2016, much less being elected President of the United States.

The reason is not hard to understand: Republican voters simply do not trust him, as the polls show. Nor is there any reason why they should trust him, given his chameleon-like changes in the past.

Why then is he the “front-runner” in the polls?

One reason is arithmetic. When there is a small army of Republican candidates, each with a tiny set of supporters, anyone with enough name recognition to get the support of a fifth or a fourth of the Republicans polled stands out, even if twice that many Republicans say they would never vote for him.

Culture Vultures

The Most Pro-Choice Thing to Do? Defund Planned Parenthood

By 8.3.15

“What would you say you do here?”

It’s a line from Office Space, of course, that references the corporate phenomenon of people who constantly show up for work, even though no one knows exactly what they accomplish. But they’re there, so you can’t say they’re really doing nothing, right?

But if you were The Bobs, hired to streamline corporate welfare flowing from the Federal government, Planned Parenthood would be your Tom Smykowski. While millions pour into “America’s largest healthcare provider for women,” there’s really not much that makes Planned Parenthood special — or, for that matter, really all that necessary. And much of that is thanks to Democrats who have simply eliminated any need for Planned Parenthood.

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