Fighting The Last War

In a fast-changing world, a common mistake is to keep fighting the last war.
For example, why would Republicans support sending more troops to Afghanistan, when that war was long over, or helping topple Moammar Gadhafi, who had become an ally in the war on terrorism? Some Republicans seem to support all military deployments just out of habit.
For years after the 9/11 terrorist attack on America, Democrats hysterically bemoaned any military action, especially in Iraq. They claimed to have many precious objections, but the truth was, they thought we ...


Enemies of the people

In 2008, a mostly unknown Barack Obama ran for president on an inclusive agenda of “hope and change.” That upbeat message was supposed to translate into millions of green jobs, fiscal sobriety, universal health care, a resetting of Bush foreign policy, and racial unity.
Four years later, none of those promises will be themes of his 2012 re-election campaign. Gas has more than doubled in price. Billions of dollars have been wasted in insider and subsidized wind and solar projects that have produced little green energy.
Unemployment rates above 8 percent appear ...


Leftist California Professors “Corrupt” Higher Education

“I don’t know any polite way of putting this — but he’s lying,” said professor John Ellis, president of the National Association of Scholars’ California division. Ellis was reacting to a critic’s characterization of the NAS’s damning report, “A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California.”
California taxpayers spend $2.8 billion to educate the more than 230,000 students at the 10 campuses that comprise the UC system. But the report says the UC system does not help students learn how to think, but rather ...


Rick Santorum’s impossible dream

Most campaigns have a musical theme. Rick Santorum, who “suspended” his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, might have selected the song “The Impossible Dream.”
Santorum’s dream seemed improbable, if not impossible, from the start. He lost his last Senate race and had been out of office — and out of mind — for the last few years; not exactly a platform on which one usually runs for president.
Political “experts” believed his chief foe, Mitt Romney, was unbeatable. Santorum played an important role by exposing some of Romney’s weaknesses, ...


The Godfather’s Italian Table

“Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola is a big shot — and not just in the film world. As a vintner and restaurateur, Coppola apparently sees himself as the capo di tutti capi – the boss of all bosses — who owns the Italian dictionary. Last year, Coppola won a U.S. trademark for the phrase “a tavola” — Italian for “to the table” (or, in American English, “come and get it”). It seems the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also thinks Coppola owns a piece of the Italian language.
Last week, Coppola filed a ...


What Santorum Did Wrong…and Right

Immediately after his astonishing finish in the Iowa Caucuses (which he turned out to have won), Rick Santorum could have won the nomination and the presidency. But he got lost in the Evangelical Ghetto. Short of money and needing an organization, Santorum grabbed the support offered by the Christian right. Suddenly, he had available to him a pre-fab campaign with manpower, media, issue themes and even some money.
But by entering into their embrace, he also tacitly accepted their limitations. He made it impossible to exploit fully the Tea Party base ...


Romney Trails Obama, but Key Numbers Break His Way

Now that Rick Santorum has “suspended” his campaign, we can stop pretending and can say what has been clear for weeks: Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president. The general election campaign has begun.
In some quarters, it is assumed that Barack Obama will be re-elected without too much difficulty. There are reports that staffers at Obama’s Chicago headquarters consider Romney’s candidacy a joke.
One suspects the adults there take a different view. For the fundamentals say that this will be a seriously contested race, with many outcomes possible. Obama’s ...


Rick Santorum’s Impossible Dream

Most campaigns have a musical theme. Rick Santorum, who "suspended" his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, might have selected the song "The Impossible Dream."

Santorum's dream seemed...


Top Teachers Union Organizer Self-Declared Socialist, bin Laden Apologist

It's been said you can judge a person's character by the company he keeps. The same can be said of organizations. That's why it's so troubling that a national teachers union - the American Federation of Teachers -...


Leftist California Professors “Corrupt” Higher Education

"I don't know any polite way of putting this -- but he's lying," said professor John Ellis, president of the National Association of Scholars' California division. Ellis was reacting to a critic's characterization of...


Conflict – The Story of Life

Driving my children to and from various events earlier this week, we had a discussion about what makes a good story. They are both working on writing a book (as am I -- we'll see who finishes first).


Barack Obama: STILL not paying women as much as men?

Via @mkhammer comes this latest example of Do As I Say, Not As I Line-Item Budget from the Obama administration. Executive summary: the Obama administration is allegedly paying its female staffers roughly 18% less than its male ones. I’m using the term ‘allegedly’ because the original report did not separate out staffers by gender, forcing “some assumptions to be made based on the employee names” (as the Free Beacon put it); I’m reporting it anyway because Barack Obama was – well, he wasn’t actually notorious for it in 2008, but not for lack of trying. Anyway, he had a real problem with this sort of thing as a Senator, and it’s not exactly clear that being President has taught him to improve his ways.

More at Hot Air; I don’t know if Allahpundit remembers that Ed Morrissey was on this story in 2008, too. Probably not: both RedState and Hot Air have published a lot of material since then. God knows that this administration seems determined to keep feeding us these opportunities to point out its flaws…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: You cannot reasonably expect others to respect you if you will not respect yourself. Either you get that, or you don’t. There’s no middle ground.


Bonnie Raitt: Right Down the Line

Tonight's insanity break: the showpiece from Bonnie Raitt's sublime new album "Slipstream" (her first studio recording in 7 years), Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line."

Here's an Amazon widget that lets you check out more of the music on this great album (click through and buy, and we get a small commission from Amazon -- and they actually have it for $2.00 less than iTunes right now, including the digital booklet):


Also see:
Bonnie Raitt's 'Slipstream': A Barnstorming Good Time : NPR


Test or No Test: Questions Remain

On April 10, The Heritage Foundation hosted an event titled “Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Questions and Challenges.” This event is a critical contribution to the debate about the state of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, the proper role of U.S. nuclear weapons, and the need for modernization of the increasingly obsolescent nuclear weapons complex. Below are some of the important highlights from the event: Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, former president of the Sandia Corporation, former director of...

Click the title to read the full post.


North Korean Missile Launch Demands Strong U.S. Response

North Korea will defy international pressure and launch its Unha-3 missile, perhaps as early as Wednesday night (Washington, D.C., time). Despite Pyongyang’s characterization of the forthcoming launch as that of a peaceful civilian satellite, it would clearly violate U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that preclude “any launch using ballistic missile technology.” As such, the United States should press for another UNSC condemnatory statement that closes existing loopholes and imposes...

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Gary Johnson’s Foreign Policy: Libertarian or “Strange”?

As Gary Johnson gears up to try to win the Libertarian Party's
nod in their Las Vegas national convention in early May, various
writers are wondering how thoroughly non-interventionist his
foreign policy ideas are (especially in the wake of two Ron Paul
campaigns that have raised the bar high for a libertarian-leaning
approach to military intervention).

It started with a Daily Caller interview
defining Johnson's foreign policy vision as "strange"
in a
headline. Why strange? Largely because in a macro vision of severe
(in D.C. standards) cuts in military and defense spending (of 43
percent), Johnson leaves a lot of room for the sort of
interventions the Ron Paul brand of libertarian foreign policy
avoids. Johnson

told TheDC that he supports Americas efforts to aid African
troops in tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony
and that he wouldn’t rule out leaving behind American bases in

Johnson said that while he wants to end the war in Afghanistan,
that doesn’t mean he would necessarily stop drone attacks against
terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen, even though he believes they
create more enemies than they kill.

“I would want leave all options on the table,” Johnson

“So now you have the U.S. bases that exist in those areas, do we
shut down those military bases? Perhaps not,” he suggested, taking
an odd position for a supposed anti-war candidate.

“I would completely withdraw our military presence,” he further
expounded. “Does withdrawing our military presence from Afghanistan
mean that we would still have a base open in Afghanistan if they
allowed us to keep a base open? Perhaps.”....

But despite Johnson saying he thinks that the Middle East is a
region of the world the United States should maintain a military
presence in, he contended that there are “no military threats” to
the U.S. anywhere in the world.

“As I’m sitting here right now, there are no military threats
against the United States,” he said, stipulating that America
should be “vigilant” against terrorist attacks on the homeland.

Last year, The Weekly Standard
that Johnson told the publication that he supported
the concept of waging wars for humanitarian reasons despite
wanting to cut the military budget by nearly half. Asked whether he
stood by that, Johnson said he did.

“I don’t want to close the door that if any of us were president
of the United States that we would sit idly by and watch something
like the Holocaust go down,” he said.....

“When you talk about a 43 percent reduction in military
spending, that’s going back to 2003 funding levels, not the end of
the world,” he contended, though military planners would likely
strongly disagree.

One intervention Johnson said he supports is the U.S. mission to
help capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army,
which Johnson believes is arguably the “worst terrorist” group in
the world....

“Based on what I understand about it, that arguably this is the
worst terrorist group that’s been on the planet for the last 20

He also noted that his mission would have differed from the
current one in that he would have asked for volunteers from the
military to undertake it with a more belligerent plan to “wipe ‘em

“Well Congress passed the legislation to authorize us
intervening, Obama signed the legislation and then eight months
later we have an advisory force that goes in,” he said. “I think if
I would have signed the legislation that I would have had plans to
immediately ask for a volunteer force and gone in and wipe ‘em

This all matches my own impressions of Johnson the times I've
seen him speak, mostly to smaller groups: he's a thoughtful guy
with an intelligently pragmatic streak that leads him to recognize
that government is out-of-control huge and expensive, and given his
political experience I do expect him, if he wins the LP's nod, to
do better for them than they've done in a while.

But he seems to lack either the systematic thinking or moral
fervor that makes me trust him to reliably come to truly
libertarian conclusions on many issues. While his conclusions are
frequently, even mostly, libertarian, I'm not quite sure his
natural instincts are.

He's more willing to give a statist solution a try if he thinks,
well, that might do some good, as evidenced by the above, which
seems to lack either a historic or strategic sense of what the U.S.
government's proper purpose is, or what bad aftereffects often flow
from seemingly easy or quick interventions. There are both
constitutional and pragmatic reasons to not be as loose in
expending American force overseas as Johnson is here. It's not just
that we need to spend less; we also ought to do less when it comes
to military force overseas in a country facing no serious military
threats to the homeland.

Jim Antle at American Spectator
reacted to that Daily Caller story
 and wonders
what Johnson's foreign policy waffling will mean to his ability to
shave off Ron Paul voters for the LP:

Now, there is nothing wrong with being selective in the use of
military force. Being involved everywhere or nowhere may be
consistent, but it isn't necessarily a sound foreign policy. Yet it
is difficult to discern an overarching strategy or philosophy here
that would influence or dictate when the United States would
intervene. Back when Johnson was still running as a Republican,
noted that
he was at a disadvantage against Ron Paul because he was less
conservative on social issues and less radical on the issues of war
and peace that drive Paul's libertarian base.

Daniel Larison at American Conservative also sees

a lot to be supportive of in Johnson's statements
, even if they
lack Paulian coherence:

He endorses the decision to send soldiers to aid in combating
the remnants of the LRA in central Africa, but that appears to be
the extent of his support for recent decisions justified on
humanitarian grounds. For those concerned about his endorsement of
humanitarian intervention, I would remind them hat
Johnson opposed the
war in Libya from the beginning. I have not been able to find any
evidence that he has taken a position for or against intervention
in Syria. Presumably, his objections to the Libyan war would apply
in that case as well, but we simply don’t know his position. It’s
possible that Johnson endorses such interventions in principle, but
rarely sees a situation where U.S. intervention would be desirable.
The very minimal deployment in central Africa qualifies, but larger
and riskier military actions do not. interviews Johnson, featuring super
interlocutors Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie: