• The Right’s Israel Turn

    The American right’s relationship with Israel has gone through several phases marked by distinct turning points. During the Cold War 1950s, Israel was not especially favored by the right. It was perceived as vulnerable and somewhat socialist, and even conservative publishing houses like Regnery produced books sympathetic to the Palestinians. But the 1967 war transformed Israel’s image for conservatives—as it did for other groups, American Jews especially. By 1970, the Nixon administration and many on the right had begun think of Israel as a useful Cold War asset. The Jewish state had demonstrated it could fight well against Soviet allies. The idea of Israel as a strategic asset was always somewhat problematic—it would be called into question when America suffered the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, and there were sharp disagreements over Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s. But one could safely generalize that most conservatives considered Israel an asset—a proposition that the neoconservatives, valued newcomers to the conservative movement, pushed enthusiastically.

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  • Liberal Icon Cesar Chávez Opposed Illegal Immigration

    I was listening to Mark Levin last night on Sirius/XM when I heard him discussing an article I think came from the American Spectator. It was about Cesar Chávez and illegal immigration. (Listen to Levin at the end of the article.)

    “Chávez (1927–1993) was an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW).”

    He would be considered a pro-union liberal. Consider the following from “Cesar Chávez: Anti-Immigration to His Union Core”:

    A Mexican American, Chávez became the best known Latino American civil rights activist, and was strongly promoted by the American labor movement, which was eager to enroll Hispanic members.

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  • Why Putin’s Proxy War an Abject Failure

    Vladimir Putin is having a bad week.

    Someone among the pro-Russian groups in Eastern Ukraine that he has been supporting is likely responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 with 298 innocent civilians onboard. The grim details that have emerged since Thursday have merely added to his shame.

    Putin’s response, so far, has been to 1) ostentatiously mourn the tragic loss of life, 2) deflect attention, and 3) obfuscate.

    It isn’t working. As the evidence mounts that Putin’s proxy war has resulted in an atrocity of epic proportions, so too does Putin’s foray into Ukrainian politics appear to be a blunder of epic proportions. As Alec MacGillis observes, the shine truly has come off Putin’s supposed strategic genius. Commentators who hailed maskirovka (masked warfare) as the wave of the future may wish to reconsider.

    But satisfying though it may be to take pleasure in Putin’s disgrace, we should also ponder a deeper truth: proxy wars often end badly. Though, admittedly, few turn out as badly as this one, one wonders why supposedly sensible leaders ever entertain the idea of entrusting their foreign policy objectives to unreliable and unaccountable rebels and ne’er-do-wells.

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  • House slaps TSA for overpaying ‘criminal investigators’

    The House voted Tuesday to force the Transportation Security Administration to only pay employees as criminal investigators when they spend most of their time investigating crimes.

    Members approved the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act in a voice vote after a brief debate in which members of both parties said TSA has overpaid some of its employees for several years.

    The bill is the result of an Office of Inspector General report from last year, which said many criminal investigators are being paid about $160,000 a year, even though they spend most of their time doing other activities. The law says half of their time must be spent investigating criminal matters in order to get the title and the pay bump, but the OIG said many were doing things like looking into employee misconduct.

    The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), said the bill restores what should be a simple premise in government: “We pay for what we get in government.”

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  • Snowden: Private Explicit Photos Often Shared By NSA Agents

    In an interview published by The Guardian on Sunday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explained that sometimes racy images intercepted by the NSA were shared by analysts.

    During the interview, which was conducted in Russia, Snowden said that some of the American military personnel working on the NSA’s programs were between 18 and 22 and did not always respect the privacy of those whose communications were intercepted.

    “In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work, for example an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation but they’re extremely attractive,” he said. “So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: ‘Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ ”

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  • Money Can’t Buy Public Support For Common Core

    Glenn Beck hosted an anti-Common Core extravaganza tonight. At least in my neck of the woods, the theaters that live-streamed the event were sold out weeks before. It’s easy to criticize Beck—he can sound like a conspiracy theorist, and he hopped on the Common Core pony just in time to make a lot of money and publicity from people’s frustration and ignorance.

    But he did that by actually listening to his constituency, because Beck’s audience kept demanding he pay attention to these national curriculum mandates and their accompanying federally funded tests. If politicians did that, U.S. education might be in for less of a Common Core-induced trainwreck. The polls keep showing normal people hate this central-planning solution for other people’s children straight from this country’s moneyed elite.

    Common Core’s origin within tax-financed courtier clubs should have made that obvious, oh, five years ago, but when $148 million from Bill Gates and at least $10 million from the feds help spread deceptive ideas, it’s harder for the truth to shine. Federal demands that states sign onto Common Core before it was even published sure sped it into schools, but also handed opponents strong arguments about too little public participation and far too much federal coercion. People who want to criticize Beck for being a flamboyant, audience-focused entertainer should consider that he started informing the public when they thought explaining this sea change in education to the people paying for it was unimportant.

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  • The Great Society’s 4th Decade – An American Tragedy

    The High IQ of The Great Society

    Maybe Lyndon Johnson really didn’t say what he was famously accused of having said about his welfare programs. I would hope so; given that if he were pursuing a bribes-for-votes strategy, then he has miserably failed.

    This is what typically happens when a welfare state discovers the fundamental economic paradox. From Wikipedia we can quickly learn that this problem is as follows: The economic problem is most simply explained by the question: “How do we satisfy unlimited wants with limited resources?”

    We can further derive the following lemmas. A demand can only be temporarily satisfied and then perpetually reappears unless the people demanding are trained to handle it themselves. A welfare state produces virtually nothing on its own accord to satisfy any demand, so it has to steal someone else’s wealth or property to fulfill any demand. Finally, we can easily observe that people dependent upon a welfare state never develop the desire or the ability to cope with anything they don’t get made to. Literally anything. If you think I’m kidding, watch the YouTube below.

    So how do you give a population that literally demands everything and produces nothing what they want? You steal. The New York Welfare State gives us a recent example.

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  • Will classic Joe Biden remark haunt him?

    Vice President Joe Biden, who in the past has stated that “jobs” is a three-letter word, “J-O-B-S,” and praised how President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded on television to the 1929 market crash (even though that happened before his term and television hadn’t been invented yet) now has authored another fairly extreme statement.

    Only this time the ripples could extend beyond the usual guffaws from those who know the career politician for his ability to make mistakes.

    The statement was revealed by a profile in the New Yorker, which said during 2011, Biden met with Russian chief Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin and told him, “Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.”

    The profile was discussing Biden’s impact on foreign affairs, and quoted Biden saying of the visit: “I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, ‘It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!’ And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him. I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.’”

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  • Why The Russians Are Panicking Over Flight 17

    The one emotion most of us who study Russia never associate with the men of the Kremlin is panic. They’re not the type. They’re more like mobsters, prone to say “we have a problem” rather than to freak out. They think everything has a solution, although sometimes that solution might mean someone has to take nine grams of lead behind the ear. They do not raise their voices—my experience is that most Russian tough-guys are mumblers, not yellers—and they get things done, even if the final outcome might lack a certain, say, elegance.

    That’s why it’s unusual to see the government of Vladimir Putin, and maybe even Putin himself, panicking over the downing of Malaysian Airline Flight 17. For the first time in a long time, maybe even since Putin’s first election to power, the Russian regime has a problem it cannot solve, one that will cost the Kremlin in both money and reputation.

    First, let’s review what’s happened, and use the real-world version of events, rather than the paranoid, flaky stuff coming out of less responsible news outlets (like, say, all of the ones in Russia).

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  • The Child Migrant Crisis Is Just the Latest Disastrous Consequence of America’s Drug War

    The surge of unaccompanied minors coming across America’s southern border has given rise to a humanitarian crisis, and with it, debates about immigration policy and border security. Lost in these discussions, however, is the role the American drug war has played in creating the crisis. And this is only the latest crisis. For decades, Washington’s crusade against illegal drugs has destroyed lives, destabilized civil society and generally wreaked havoc on Mexico and the countries of Central and South America.

    Since October, more than 50,000 children and adolescents (mainly from Central America) have successfully made the trek through Mexico to reach the United States. Others have perished at the hands of the drug gangs that control the trafficking routes. Extortion, kidnapping and rape are all-too-common along these routes. Traffickers frequently force refugees passing through Mexico to become drug mules — they’re forced to smuggle small shipments of drugs as they make their way to the United States.

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