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A Further Perspective

The Iran Empire Strikes

By 3.11.15

Clouds of evil surround the Middle East. Since 1979, Iran was and remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism. However, now, Darth Vader has been converted into Luke Skywalker.

Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, is one of the covert operators undermining governments and promoting the imperial interests of his Islamic government. He has emerged as an international “hero” bolstering the morale of Iraqi troops and inserting his Revolutionary Guard agents into the struggle against ISIS. He stands in the vanguard of the empire Iran has created from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. As Alaeddin Boroujerdi (a member of Iran's parliament) noted: “Iran is more powerful than any time in the past 30 years.

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At Large

Goodbye to Britain’s Deterrent?

By 3.11.15

I have written in a number of places about the parlous state of Britain’s defense and the present and previous governments’ culpable failure in this regard.

The Royal Air Force, for example, has gone from 17 fighter squadrons to just 7 of all types in fifteen years. Its bombers, the Nimrod long-range patrol aircraft and the Royal Navy’s Harriers which could take off from improvised flight decks (for example container-loaded ships) have been disposed of.

Famous military writer Frederick Forsyth has said, “Five years ago a Conservative-led government (of all things) stripped British armed forces to the bone in the most stupid Defense and Strategic Review we have ever had, abandoning centuries as a formidable power and treating our servicemen as criminals for the slightest misdemeanors.”

However, further cuts to the army are being forecast and a new threat has emerged that represents an unforeseen and potentially critical menace to Britain’s defense capability.

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The Hillary Watch

The Politics of Convenience

By 3.11.15

Hillary Clinton waited over a week to answer questions about her practice of conducting State Department business on her own private email system. Why did she remain silent for so long if the explanation for the practice is as innocent as she now claims? She explained it away breezily as a “matter of convenience” at a Tuesday press conference after a United Nations event in New York City.

Hillary Clinton is often touted as one of the most brilliant women to enter politics. Yet she asks voters to believe that she simply didn’t anticipate that her practice might cause consternation. It was an imprudent but innocent oversight, she implied, acknowledging that it would have been “smarter” to use a State Department account.

“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” she said during a press conference. “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone.”

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Dialogues of the Carmelite Martyrs

By 3.11.15

On the evening of July 17, 1794, at the height of the Great Terror of the French Revolution, 16 Carmelite nuns were guillotined in the Place de la Nation in Paris. Their story is re-told by Francis Poulenc in his 1957 opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites, which completed its run at the Washington National Opera yesterday.

This community of religious women refused to obey the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government mandating suppression of their monastery.

Martyred by the infamous Committee of Public Safety, their remains are now in a mass grave at the Picpus Cemetery in Paris. There you will find a discreet plaque with all of their names listed.

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The Current Crisis

Hillary Against the World

By 3.11.15

Regarding last week’s string of stories about Hillary Clinton conducting her State Department business between 2009 and 2013 exclusively on a private email account, the heat—as we say here in Washington—is on in the kitchen. Her account was completely controlled by her. Even the server was controlled by her. She apparently had no State Department account when she was Secretary of State, and no one thought to ask about it until late in 2014 when a Congressional committee inquiring into the bloody assault on our complexes in Benghazi sought her emails. Yet now the heat is on in the kitchen and the Episodic Apologists are turning it up. Yesterday’s press conference was an attempt to calm them with the blessed emollient of Clintonian confusion. We shall see how it works.

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The Obama Watch

Obama, Churchill, and FDR

By 3.11.15

Recently, President Obama angered many Americans by suggesting publicly that Americans temper their criticism of other cultures:

Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

Much criticism focused upon his equivocating in public just after the horrific video of ISIS torching a Jordanian pilot alive was posted on the Internet. In the aftermath of the flaunting of such barbarism, the president should instead have issued a clarion call for action.

Consider, then, how Barack Obama might have spoken in other major historical junctures. Specifically, let us try to compare what British WWII-era prime minister Winston Churchill said on June 4, 1940, upon the evacuation of British troops from Europe, to what an Obama oration might have sounded like. Let us also compare what then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt said after Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, to what the current Oval Office occupant might have said.

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Special Report

Bertha Is Too Big to Fail

By 3.10.15

A mound of loose dirt is illuminated with the golden evening sun. A shovel stabs into it, lifting its burden and tossing it away from the pit as the camera pans back. We see a helpless victim digging her own grave. It is the stuff of terror and repulsion in fiction and yet, this really happened.

Seattle is digging its own grave, not with a mere shovel but with a 326-foot long, 7,000-ton tunneling machine known as “Bertha.” Instead of being greeted with fear and aversion, the arrival of Bertha was greeted by a water display from the Seattle Fire Department, banners from the Washington State Ferries and a welcome sign on the outdoor Seattle Aquarium marquee.

The celebration came because many saw the tunneling machine not as a transportation-dollar gravedigger, but as a savior for Seattle’s future. Bertha represented a second chance at creating a waterfront without towering concrete, a waterfront worthy of the Emerald City.

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Political Hay

Jindal… for President?

By 3.10.15

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal isn’t particularly burning up the pre-campaign polls for 2016, in large measure because he’s a relatively little-known governor of a relatively small state with a poor tradition of successful political leadership, and most of what voters know about Jindal is his nationally televised fizzle of a speech responding to Barack Obama’s first congressional address.

Jindal has a nice story, of course — the young wunderkind policy wonk, born of Indian immigrants and educated at Brown, with a good track record as a reformist bureaucrat at an astonishingly young age, and two terms as the governor of Louisiana who ushered in greatly expanded school choice, privatization, and a reduction in the size of government. Jindal gives a better speech now than he did in 2009, often regaling audiences with his father’s poor-immigrant story including the fact that the governor was actually a “baby born on layaway.”

There’s a lot to like where Jindal is concerned, and he’s still quite young with a potential for a good political future.

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Campaign Crawlers

A Moderate Democrat Actually

By 3.10.15

Orinda, California, Mayor Steve Glazer says that he is running for a state Senate seat vacated by now-Rep. Mark DeSaulnier “as a pragmatic problem-solver rather than a partisan.” In my line of work, I hear that sort of stock phrase all the time; I take it with a grain of salt. In Glazer’s case, however, two facts suggest he means business: 1) He supports a law to prohibit Bay Area Rapid Transit workers from striking as they did in 2013. 2) Public employee unions have shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defeat Glazer, a Democrat.

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Media Matters

Eric Burns and the Cult of Liberal Media

By 3.10.15

It always amazes to see.

As reported in Politico, Quinnipiac University released a poll on Monday that Politico correctly headlined as follows:

Poll: Fox News most trusted network

The story begins:

Fox News has the most trusted network and cable news coverage in the United States, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. But network TV is much less trustworthy than it was in the days of Walter Cronkite, American voters say.

In comparison rankings, 29 percent responded that they trust Fox News the most. CNN follows with 22 percent, CBS News and NBC News are at 10 percent, ABC News at 8 percent and MSNBC at 7 percent.

Bear this in mind as one considers the latest bit of liberal irrationality over in Mediaite this weekend was ex-Fox host Eric Burns, headlined in a story this way:

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