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The War on Terror Spectator

Sirhan Sirhan: The First Lone Wolf

By 6.4.15

He was America’s original lone wolf.

It is 1989. Twenty-one years after the assassination of New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy on the night in 1968 that he won the California Democratic primary, sending him into a real battle for the party’s presidential nomination.

Sitting across from the famous British television interviewer David Frost, Bobby Kennedy’s assassin — America’s first “lone wolf” inspired by hatred of Israel — made it plain why he had done what he had done. Sirhan Sirhan said this to Frost, as reported by the New York Times:

In the interview, Mr. Sirhan, who is a Jordanian immigrant, said that when Mr. Kennedy gave a speech in support of sending United States fighter jets to Israel, ''that seemed as though it were a betrayal.''

'His Sole Support of Israel’

“My only connection with Robert Kennedy was his sole support of Israel and his deliberate attempt to send those 50 bombers to Israel to obviously do harm to the Palestinians.”

Nevada ESA’s Affirm Ultimate Right of Parents to Educate Children

By 6.4.15

When Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed S.B. 302 on Tuesday, he gave all Nevada parents the ability and financial resources, if they choose, to establish education savings accounts (“ESAs”) to pay for the education chosen by the parents for each child. In so doing, Gov. Sandoval and the Nevada legislature reaffirmed the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children, a right which many would argue that state and local governments, as well as the federal government, have trampled.

Right to Work Republicanism

By 6.4.15

Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s history on illegal immigration has placed him in league with some of the Senate’s most notorious liberals. Rand Paul’s positions on foreign relations and domestic law enforcement prompted Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to proclaim that the Kentucky senator, “has now decided he wants to be a liberal Democrat.”

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says he’d  be happy with either Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush in the White House, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the king of Repeal and Replace Obamacare, signed up for the president’s signature program. (Okay, it is the law but still…)

The net net is that it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate between the Republican and Democratic parties and the people who want to be their party’s respective standard bearer next year. There are some exceptions but in many cases, bright policy differences have faded and are blending together; it’s like trying to tell the difference between bone and ivory paint samples.

Another Perspective

Reform Ex-Im Bank, Don’t Abolish It

By 6.3.15

What can you say about a government agency that has allowed itself to be defined by its adversaries as bastion of corporate privilege? That it is a private ATM for the Fortune 500? That it is an institution established by FDR that should be abolished?

The Export-Import Bank of the United States has made itself an easy target for populist, anti-corporate forces. The aftermath of a grim recession adds fuel to the fire. In the absence of broad-based resource allocation and an effective communications strategy, Ex-Im Bank finds itself lacking support in Congress, including some of the GOP.

A Further Perspective

Seattle’s Big Dig Still Isn’t Digging

By 6.3.15

Look on the bright side, Seattle! If the big-bore tunnel to replace highway 99 has to be scrapped, the cement-reinforced completed remnant may make a perfect bomb shelter should North Korea’s mad dough-boy of a dictator ever act on his threats to bomb the West Coast.

I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I could do.

Seattle’s tunneling project is an arranged marriage for Seattle. Seattle’s voters rejected the project the one time it was on the ballot, but elected officials, playing the parental role, saw what was best, and arranged the union anyway.

The dowry promised was a new waterfront for the core of downtown, a bonanza of development possibilities, with parks, condos and car-free views all in the mix. Sadly, however, the marriage has yet to be consummated. The drill just keeps getting stuck.

The Obama Watch

Beyond the Brave New World

By 6.3.15

The speed with which the West has embraced all things perverse makes Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World look almost quaint. The moral anomalies of the West have far surpassed his imagination. The intensely reverential reaction to Bruce Jenner’s narcissistic self-mutilation would probably have struck Huxley as too improbable for fiction.

Given all the fawning over Jenner for his delusional preening, one wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama places a phone call to the former Olympian to congratulate him for his “courage.” For now, Jenner will have to content himself with a tweet from one of Obama’s chief advisers, Valerie Jarrett, in which she said, “The brave choice to live as your authentic self is a powerful example to so many.” That bravery seems to consist of timing his claimed gender change to the exact moment it would generate the least amount of criticism and garner the highest ratings for his upcoming reality show.

Another Perspective

Gay-Marriage Conservatives?

By 6.3.15

Speaking on Fox News Channel’s The Five, pundit Greg Gutfeld said that “gay marriage, in my opinion, is a conservative idea.” He noted that the left “generally hates traditions” and is all about “breaking with traditions,” and that gay marriage offers conservatives an opportunity to “embrace a tradition” that strengthens families and communities.

I should acknowledge that Gutfeld spoke without notes, unscripted, live and off-the-cuff. I often talk with inexactness when I’m speaking live. Live speaking is a perfect venue to make mistakes. It’s easier to type your thoughts and have the benefit of reflection, revision, and a word processor.

That said, let’s go with Gutfeld’s words, because they do represent a position held by some conservatives, and especially younger conservatives.

With all respect to Greg Gutfeld, who I usually agree with, gay marriage is absolutely not a conservative idea. Not unless, as liberals do with marriage, one redefines conservatism.

The Current Crisis

The Future of Identity Politics

By 6.3.15

Are American voters still suckers for identity politics? Have they not learned that character matters more to leadership than some random physical trait, say: race, color, or creed? Did Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s race help him win World War II? Did Ronald Reagan’s creed help him win the Cold War? What was his creed?

Ben Stein's Diary

Marijuana Is a Cancer

By 6.2.15

Sunday–Last Day of May
Rancho Mirage. It is so unbelievably hot here it’s well, it’s unbelievable. That’s how hot it is. 106 degrees with no breeze at all.

I am not at all sure why we are even here, but the son of a close relative is visiting and he had expressed an interest in playing golf. We have a super course here at the Club at Morningside and we might have played a few holes but it’s far too hot now. It is heat stroke, sunstroke weather. Cruel.

As I drove our guest to dinner, on my disk of Civil War songs, what should we hear but the stirring strains of “Dixie.” Our guest, age 27, a family man who had gone to college in the deep, rural south, and who now lives in the deep, semi-rural south, had no idea of what the song was or what it represented. None at all.

The Obama Watch

Reinstating Sanctions Against Iran Won’t Be a Snap

By 6.2.15

In an interview which aired on Israel's Channel 2 over the weekend, President Obama effectively ruled out military action against Iran and defended the ongoing P5 + 1 negotiations:

I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement.