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Eminentoes

What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher

By 10.3.14

Recently four members of that least-recognized Indian tribe “Redskins Nation” agreed to participate in a Daily Show segment discussing the controversy surrounding their team name. Their conversation with comedian Jason Jones was stretching into its third hour when eight Native American activists were suddenly brought out. The newcomers became vitriolic and one fan left the set crying, saying later that she’d felt threatened.

The Washingtonians told the Washington Post that they would have gladly agreed to debate a group of the Indians, but the show had said no such confrontation would occur. The producers lied, sprang an ambush, and laughed at the acrimony that followed.

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Special Report

With Friends Like Us

By 10.3.14

On Wednesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama to discuss, according to the White House schedule, “the situation in Gaza; developments related to Iran; and the international effort to combat ISIL.” The schedule effusively claimed that “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and our close consultations on a range of regional issues.”

We’ll never know the tenor of the private meetings between these men who have a famously prickly relationship. But if by the end of the day Bibi wasn’t saying (or at least thinking) that the Obama administration should shut the #&%@ up or perhaps perform some unnatural physical acts on themselves, he certainly should have been.

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Another Perspective

Bill O’Reilly’s Soldiers of Fortune

By 10.3.14

Observe, first of all, that there are precedents for Bill O’Reilly’s idea of a mercenary force to engage the Arabs. A private force engaged the Tripolitan pirates during the Barbary wars, and we sent privateers into Central America early in the twentieth century, though no one remembers what exactly they were supposed to do. Neither of these expeditions was strategically successful. However, it can be said they helped mobilize awareness Stateside that, like it or not, there were indeed monsters out there and, notwithstanding the wise words of one of our greatest presidents, it behooved us to seek them out and destroy them.

The Blackwater organization, more lately, has been very good at what it does. However, what Mr. O’R proposed was a force made up of foreign enlistees, not Americans. This can work, judging from past experience, if — as O’Reilly himself says — the force is trained and led by American military officers.

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World War One Centenary 1914-1918

The Second Reich’s Three Fatal Mistakes

By 10.3.14

In the years leading up to 1914, many in the German high command thought a war more or less like World War One was inevitable—and when the war came, Germany almost won it. So how did the Second Reich end up losing? There were three key reasons.

The first might seem counterintuitive, given many people’s image of Germany as a belligerent power. After the Franco-Prussian War, Germany was the peacemaker of the Continent. Then-chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s foreign policy had four goals: present Germany as a “satisfied” power, isolate France, keep Germany allied with Austria and Russia, and avoid Balkan wars that were “not worth the healthy bones of a Pomeranian musketeer.”

Kaiser Wilhelm II, however, dismissed Bismarck in 1890. Not content with being militarily dominant on the Continent, the Kaiser decided that Germany needed a navy to rival Great Britain’s. He declared himself the protector of Muslims, over and against the French and British empires. He made Germany look like an aggressive power, isolating his own country, rather than France, which achieved an alliance with Russia and an entente with Britain.

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Ben Stein's Diary

Dereliction of Duty on a Grand Scale

By 10.2.14

Wednesday
Two days ago, I came upon the front page of the New York Times for Tuesday. Now, the NYT. That’s a big paper. Prestige paper. I hate it, but it’s the big dog in the newspaper world.

And what is the lead story on page one? Armed intruder scaled a fence in front of the White House — and believe me, I worked at that White House a lot. I know that fence and it’s damned high. Then he ran across the North Lawn, supposedly one of the most heavily patrolled stretches of earth on the planet. Then he walked into the front door of the White House, which was unlocked with no guard at it. Then he ran down the main hall, and into the East Room, the most august room in the White House — and he was carrying a long knife. Finally he was tackled by a White House policeman after he was in an even more intimate room, the Green Room, used for very high powered receptions.

Again, he was carrying a knife. Mr. Obama was not there, but that’s not the story. The story is about high-level government incompetence.

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Special Report

Something Is Rotten in the State of Europe

By 10.2.14

William Shakespeare knew a thing or two about human psychology. But he also understood a great deal about the body-politic and how small signs can be indicative of deeper traumas. So when Marcellus tells Horatio at the beginning of Hamlet that you can almost smell the weakness permeating Denmark, it’s Shakespeare’s way of telling us to pay attention to what sticks out as abnormal and to ask what else it may portend.

It was difficult not to be reminded of this advice when reading that a majority of Germany’s Ethics Council recently called for the abolition of legal constraints upon incest. Referring to a case in which a man had entered into a relationship with his biological sister, the Council declared: “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination has more weight in such cases than the abstract protection of the family.”

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Another Perspective

Archbishop of Canterbury Defends War on ISIS

By 10.2.14

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in contrast with more skeptical pronouncements from British Baptist and Methodist groups, morally defended Western military action against ISIS in his speech to the House of Lords last week.

“In the here and now, there is justification for the use of armed force on humanitarian grounds, to enable oppressed victims to find safe space,” he told his fellow lords. He explained that ISIS and similarly murderous groups like Boko Haram “have as their strategy to change the facts on the ground so as to render completely absurd any chance of helping the targets of their cruelty.”

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Political Hay

The ‘Do It for Bob’ Republicans

By 10.2.14

“….we have elevated men and political parties to power that promised to restore limited government and then proceeded, after their election, to expand the activities of government.” —Barry Goldwater in The Conscience of a Conservative (1961)

Why is the GOP struggling? This was supposed to be a “wave” election. The money isn’t coming in, says Karl Rove in a cautionary column titled “Why a GOP Senate Majority is Still in Doubt.”

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Political Hay

Don’t Get Complacent If the GOP Wins in November

By 10.2.14

We’re sixty-three days out from the midterm elections, and by all appearances they will go well for the Republicans. Gains in the House and Senate are likely, with the majority in the Senate within reach. Pick-ups are likely at the state level as well—just as important, but frequently overlooked. So you can be relatively sure that on the night of November 4, there will a ton of backslapping and plenty of folks walking around with that winning glow.

Here’s the problem: Winning will give the Republican Party a new, and false, sense of confidence, which could mask the significant deficiencies that remain in the Right’s political infrastructure. These deficiencies, if not rectified on a national scale, will make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House in 2016.

Many factors determine a party or candidate’s ability to win the White House. Some reside in the realm that we can call luck or fate, but many others are controllable. What Republicans need to understand—yesterday—is that there are plenty of the latter, and myriad things the party can do, regardless of who the nominee will be in 2016, to make winning back the Oval Office much more likely.

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State Watch

In California, Every Love Scene Ever Filmed Is Rape

By 10.2.14

They say Washington, D.C., is Hollywood for the ugly. I can only imagine what this analogy makes Sacramento, which is inhabited by those ambitious California pols who can’t quite make it to Congress.

I’m not sure how those überuglies do the sex up there in Sacramento, and normally none of us should care how these elected frog people get laid. Except that they have now inflicted their ignorance of normal human sexual behavior on the other 38 million people in their state, in the form of a bill that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Monday. The law requires state colleges to impose safeguards that sound more appropriate in an autistic dating game: that is, students must obtain “affirmative consent” before engaging in “sexual activity” and then ensure that said consent is “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.”

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