She keeps blowing smoke in the eyes of Demwits.
Ban Ki-moon cannot op ed his way out of what he said and meant by running to the New York Times.
Meanwhile, former Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, understands and has the decency to state it publicly. (See 1 and 1a below.)
The WSJ's take on Iowa's election. (See 2 below.)
From my perspective Trump learned you must have a ground game. Rubio could eventually overtake Cruz as more candidates drop out and Hillarious is able to continue to blow smoke in the eyes of Demwits but her results proved she remains disliked and untrustworthy.
The end result - America lost again.
Sowell's Random Thoughts. (See 2a below.)
United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon is more sensitive than we thought. The South Korean diplomat is apparently quite upset about criticisms that a speech he gave last week blaming Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East and ascribing Palestinian violence to “human nature.” His point was to say that if Palestinians were lashing out it was an understandable if regrettable reaction to the injustice that Israelis were subjecting them to. But not satisfied with having blasted the Israelis during a special session of the UN Security Council on “the situation in the Middle East,” Ban took to the op-ed page of the New York Timesto double down on his stand and to vent his hurt feelings about the willingness of some supporters of Israel to take exception to the notion that the “stabbing intifada” was a matter of “human nature” rather than the function of both deliberate incitement on the part of Palestinian leaders and an ideology that sees no room for compromise. According to Ban, he’s not only innocent of the charge of excusing terror but also merely a “messenger” that Israelis would do well to heed.Ban has two purposes in the piece. One is to establish his bona fides as a fair broker in the dispute. He says that he unequivocally condemns terror and supports Israel’s right to exist. Moreover, he also throws in some language at the end that says Palestinians need to work on some of their own problems like the fact that they are divided between a Fatah-controlled West Bank and a Hamas-controlled Gaza. Ban also thinks that Palestinians should condemn violence and stop constructing terror tunnels along the border between Israel and Gaza.
Let’s concede that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is problematic. But what Ban conveniently fails to note is that it is a function of repeated Palestinian refusals of peace offers that would have ended the “occupation” that he denounces. In 2000, 2001, and 2008, the Palestinians turned down statehood in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem. Since they have refused to negotiate seriously with Israel despite being offered a similar pullback from the West Bank by a supposedly right-wing government that endorsed a two-state solution. Ban also knows that almost all of the building is going on in settlement blocs near the Israeli border or Jerusalem that would almost certainly remain part of Israel in the event of a peace treaty ever being signed.
Instead of accepting peace, the Palestinians have, as they did in 2000, embraced terrorism again in a new outbreak of violence over the past several months. That surge in terror was not the product of “frustration” with the occupation but a series of calculated lies about alleged Israeli threats to the Temple Mount mosques intended to stir up religious fervor and allow Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to compete with his Hamas rivals.
The point about this violence is that it is not aimed at a settlement freeze or a better border than the ones they’ve been offered before. Rather, it is rooted in opposition to the Jewish presence anywhere in the country. As studies of Palestinian opinion have shown, they oppose the right of Israelis to live in Tel Aviv as much as in hilltop West Bank settlements and think killing Jews is a laudable act deserving of honor; a sentiment that is reflected in PA praise of terror attacks.
But none of this is relevant to Ban, who continues to pretend that the Israelis can somehow solve this problem with territorial withdrawals. It’s not just that, like the rest of the international community, he refuses to recognize that this is disputed territory to which Israel has some claim too. Rather it is that he gives the Palestinians no agency for their actions.
The current stalemate is troublesome for both sides and especially the Palestinians who are stuck being governed by a corrupt kleptocracy that encourages violence in the West Bank and an Islamist terror movement in Gaza. They have genuine grievances that could potentially be addressed in negotiations aimed at coexistence and a two-state solution. But given the fact that not even a supposed moderate like Abbas can bring himself to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, it is not reasonable to expect that Israeli concessions will do anything but perpetuate the conflict on less favorable terms. Indeed, given the results of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza — which became a terrorist-run independent Palestinian state in all but name rather than a laboratory for peace — it’s not hard to understand why eventhe leader of Israel’s liberal opposition agrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu that a two-state solution is not possible for the foreseeable future.
Israel has made it clear again and again that it is ready for peace if a sea change in Palestinian political culture ever allows their leaders to embrace a chance for a permanent end to the conflict. Until then, it has no choice but to manage the situation as best it can. It is unfortunate, but that does mean the status quo will continue. But if it is untenable for Palestinians, they have no one but themselves to blame.
Whatever the ills of the current situation in the West Bank, it is not “human nature” that drives the Palestinians to terror. Rather it is their belief that they can eventually destroy Israel. By legitimizing that fantasy, albeit unwittingly, Ban has become part of the problem, not the solution. Instead of complaining about his critics, he needs to re-evaluate his assumptions.
That’s why criticisms of Ban’s rant about “human nature” were neither unfair nor out of bounds. By focusing primarily on Israel and treating the real obstacle to peace as an afterthought, he does more than distort the truth about the conflict. He is feeding a prejudiced view of the dispute and effectively giving Palestinians a pass for terrorism. That is something that he would not dare to do with regard to any other outbreak of terror against a UN-member state. Only Israel remains the object of such persistent bias. Under the circumstances, it is only reasonable for observers to conclude that he, like the rest of the UN bureaucracy, is infected by a double-standard that is rooted in anti-Semitism
======================================================================1a) EX-PENTAGON OFFICIAL HAROLD RHODE: MUSLIM WORLD MUST UNDERGO ‘THOUGHT REVOLUTION’
THERE CAN BE NO PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS UNTIL THERE IS A “THOUGHT REVOLUTION” IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, FORMER LONGTIME PENTAGON OFFICIAL HAROLD RHODE TOLD THE JERUSALEM POST MONDAY.
BY ARIEL BEN SOLOMON02/02/2016 JERUSALEM POST
RHODE CITED THE DOCTRINE IN ISLAM IN WHICH LAND CONQUERED BY MUSLIMS MUST REMAIN UNDER MUSLIM RULE FOREVER.
THIS INCLUDES PRESENT-DAY ISRAEL, WHICH THE MUSLIMS CONQUERED IN 637 CE.
“THERE CAN ONLY BE FINAL PEACE WHEN THE MUSLIMS RECOGNIZE ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE AND DECLARE AN END TO THE CONFLICT,” HE SAID. “UNTIL THEN, PEACE AS WE UNDERSTAND IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.”
RHODE, CURRENTLY A SENIOR FELLOW AT THE NEW YORK-BASED GATESTONE INSTITUTE, MADE THE POINT THAT INDEPENDENT THINKING AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY WERE GENERALLY LACKING IN THE REGION.
WHILE IT HAD BEEN SHOWN THROUGH TESTING THAT SOME PALESTINIANS HAVE DNA SIMILAR TO THAT OF JEWS, WHICH INDICATES THAT, BIOLOGICALLY, THEY ARE JUST AS CAPABLE AS JEWS, IT IS ISLAMIC CULTURE, HE SAID, THAT STIFLES THEM.
“COULD YOU IMAGINE A LECTURE ENDS AND THE AUDIENCE DOES NOT ASK QUESTIONS? THERE ARE ALWAYS QUESTIONS, BUT RARELY IN THE MIDDLE EAST,” HE CONTINUED.
INSTEAD, IF SOMEONE FROM THE AUDIENCE ASKS A QUESTION OF THE LECTURER, THE SPEAKER WILL OFTEN SHAME THE QUESTIONER IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. THAT STIFLES FUTURE QUESTIONS.
“PERSONAL HONOR IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRUTH,” HE EXPLAINED.
WHY IS IT THAT JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA, WHICH WERE DEVASTATED BY WORLD WAR II, RECOVERED QUICKLY INTO WORLD-LEADING ECONOMIES WHILE THE MUSLIM WORLD HAS LAGGED FAR BEHIND, RHODE ASKED RHETORICALLY.
“THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT ONE HAS A MUSLIM CULTURE AND THE OTHER DOES NOT,” HE ARGUED.
RHODE, WHO HAS TRAVELED WIDELY IN THE MIDDLE EAST DURING HIS CAREER, SAID ONE OF THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE CRISIS IN MIDDLE EASTERN CIVILIZATION IS THE LACK OF INDEPENDENT AND CRITICAL THINKING, WHICH HE BLAMES ON SUNNI CULTURE.
THE GATES OF INDEPENDENT AND CRITICAL THINKING (IJTIHAD) TO DETERMINE MATTERS OF ISLAMIC LAW WERE CLOSED AROUND 1,000 YEARS AGO BY THE SUNNI LEADERSHIP, HE EXPLAINED. THIS THREATENED THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP, WHICH PUT AN END TO THE PRACTICE IN THE 10TH CENTURY, ARGUING THAT ALL QUESTIONS HAD BEEN ADDRESSED IN THE PREVIOUS YEARS SINCE THE ADVENT OF ISLAM.
“ALL THAT WAS LEFT WAS ‘ANALOGY,’ MEANING THAT IF A NEW PROBLEM AROSE, THE SUNNIS HAD TO FIND A SIMILAR SITUATION IN THE PAST AND APPLY THAT DECISION TO THE NEW PROBLEM,” HE SAID.
IN PRACTICE, CONTINUED RHODE, “THAT MEANT THE ABANDONMENT OF SCIENCE AND NON-SUNNI SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE.” THIS, HE SAID, IS WHAT HAS PREVENTED THEM FROM PROGRESSING.
“BLAME IS AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS IN MUSLIM CULTURE,” HE SAID, ADDING: “WHY IS IT NO PALESTINIAN LEADER EVER ADMITS MAKING ANY MISTAKES? THEY CAN’T. SUNNI ARAB LEADERS NEED TO SAY: ‘OUR APPROACH HAS FAILED AND WE MUST TRY ANOTHER WAY.’ BUT CULTURALLY, THEY CANNOT DO THIS.”
THE JAPANESE DID THIS, BUT NO SUNNI SOCIETY HAS BEEN ABLE TO UNDERGO SELF-CRITICISM, HE SAID. THIS IS BECAUSE PRIDE AND HONOR ARE PARAMOUNT VALUES.
ASKED WHY HE SPECIFICALLY NAMED SUNNI CULTURE AS SUFFERING FROM THIS KIND OF CRITICAL THINKING, RHODE RESPONDED THAT SHI’ITES OBSERVED TAQLID, OR IMITATION, WHICH MEANS THEY NEED TO FIND AND FOLLOW A GRAND AYATOLLAH WHO IS ENCOURAGED TO ENGAGE IN CRITICAL THINKING.
Trumped in Iowa
Cruz and Rubio are the big GOP winners, while Hillary shows weakness.
The American political revolution appears to be exaggerated. Iowa Republicans played to their social conservative form Monday by vaulting Ted Cruz to victory over Donald Trump in their first-in-the-nation caucuses, while as we went to press Democrats were narrowly turning back Bernie Sanders’s populist challenge in favor of Hillary Clinton’s interest-group machine.
The night’s biggest loser, to borrow a word, was Mr. Trump, who in the end couldn’t turn his large crowds and polling leads into enough caucus voters. There’s no doubt the New York businessman helped to generate higher turnout, which broke recent caucus records for Republicans. But perhaps he should have attended that debate last week after all, or maybe there are limits to his unconventional media-dominated, celebrity politics.
Mr. Trump still leads in the New Hampshire polls, but one question is how he will respond to the uncomfortable reality of second place. His speech on Monday night was, to borrow another phrase, low-energy.
Instead Mr. Cruz prevailed like Mike Huckabee (2008) and Rick Santorum (2012) by mobilizing the state’s cultural conservatives into a 28% plurality. The first-term Texas Senator had the support of Iowa’s conservative pastors network, he spent months organizing across the state, and his campaign invested heavily in voter analytics. The Texan also passed the first test of his theory that he can win the GOP nomination, and then the Presidency, with a hard-edged conservative message.
The question going into New Hampshire and beyond is whether Mr. Cruz can expand his coalition beyond the most conservative voters. The entrance polls showed he did less well than both Mr. Trump and Marco Rubio among voters who said they were somewhat conservative or moderate. Mr. Cruz also trailed both men among voters who said they cared about the economy and jobs. To win the nomination, Mr. Cruz will need to broaden his support beyond the Mark Levin-Glenn Beck radio audience.
Mr. Rubio was arguably the night’s second-biggest winner with his strong third-place finish at 23%, close behind Mr. Trump’s 24%. He won a plurality of late deciders according to the entrance polls, which suggests that he became the choice of mainstream conservatives who were looking beyond the Trump-Cruz slugfest. The first-term Florida Senator did especially well among voters who said they are looking for someone who can win in November. His speech Monday almost sounded like a victory statement, and its inclusive conservatism was clearly intended as a contrast to Mr. Cruz’s polarizing version.
Ben Carson finished a distant fourth at about 9% and the neurosurgeon may ask himself what might have been if he had organized his campaign better from the start. Once ahead in the Iowa polls with his non-political appeal and soft-spoken style, he faded amid staff turmoil and unsteady debate performances.
No other GOP candidate came close to double digits, which means New Hampshire will be make-or-break for them. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich will have to climb past Mr. Rubio or Mr. Cruz to keep going past the Granite State with any credibility. Messrs. Santorum and Huckabee, with their failure to replicate their previous Iowa victories, are all but finished this year.
The close Democratic contest shows Mrs. Clinton’s weakness as a candidate, but it also reveals that the Democratic Party’s most powerful interest groups can still unite against a progressive populist. The former Secretary of State deployed all of these forces—the public unions and the women’s groups—against Bernie Sanders’s youth brigades in a caucus state where organization is paramount. Mr. Sanders’s socialist idealism had to overcome this machine.
The former first lady will now try to present an air of inevitability as she attempts to cut into Mr. Sanders’s big lead in New Hampshire. And Mr. Sanders will be hard-pressed to stop her unless he can appeal to more core Democratic constituencies than his own base among young people and the gentry left. He’ll need scores of black support in South Carolina, while Las Vegas unions dominate the Nevada caucuses. He has the money to compete for many weeks, but he’ll need victories to stay credible.
Iowa shows that Mr. Sanders’s biggest obstacle is that while many Democrats have doubts about Mrs. Clinton, as well as the Obama economy, they are also more serious about holding the White House than they are about making a statement. Democratic interest groups depend far more than Republicans do on the favors of government, so holding power is paramount. A 74-year-old self-avowed socialist who thinks ObamaCare didn’t go far enough is a political risk many Democrats still don’t want to take.
Mr. Sanders may also have to make a decision about how much to mention the FBI investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information on her private email server. If the FBI recommends a misdemeanor or worse, there will be an uproar even if Attorney General Loretta Lynch declines to act on it. Mr. Sanders has to let Democrats know that in Mrs. Clinton they could be elevating a very wounded nominee.
As for Mrs. Clinton, the family pattern has been to tough these controversies out, dismiss incriminating evidence as GOP partisanship or media malpractice, rally the Democratic interest groups to muddy the details, and hope Republicans nominate a candidate even more flawed or disliked than she is. On Monday’s evidence in Iowa, Republicans may not play along.
2a) Random ThoughtsBy Thomas Sowell
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Will this November's presidential election come down to a choice between a felon and a pied piper?
People who call Barack Obama a lame duck president seem not to have noticed that he is exercising more power than ever, and has turned the Republican Congress into a lame duck branch of government.
The best New Year's Resolution I ever made was to stop trying to reason with unreasonable people. That may be especially valuable during an election year.
With 4 of the 9 Supreme Court justices being more than 75 years old, the next president will probably be appointing replacements who can help determine the direction of American law well into the next generation. This is just one of the many very serious things that we can only hope the voters keep in mind, instead of voting on the basis of just one issue or on emotions.
Among the common phrases of the past that we seldom hear today is "None of your business." Apparently everything is other people's business these days, including the media's business and the government's business.
In this scientific age, it is amazing how many people act as if magic words can make realities vanish. For example, they talk as if behavioral differences between groups can be made to disappear by saying the magic word, "stereotypes." This fallacy affects everything from statistical claims of discrimination to admitting refugees with cultures hostile to our own.
After a famous naval victory in the War of 1812, Commodore O.H. Perry reported: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." After the Republican Congressional majority's repeated capitulations to the Democrats' minority, Congressional Republicans could say, "We have met the enemy and we are theirs."
The central non sequitur of the political left is that, because America has never lived up to its ideals, it is to be condemned and repudiated. But what society of human beings has ever lived up to all its ideals? Despite all its achievements, America is condemned by the left because it is not exempt from all the sins and failings found in societies around the world.
One of the apparently immortal fallacies is the belief that disarming peaceful people reduces violence. That fallacy underlies both national disarmament and gun control within nations.
In trying to come up with alternatives to the welfare state, even some staunch conservatives have created plans that exempt low-income people from paying taxes, or plans that provide some basic income to all, making it unnecessary to work. But exempting anyone from responsibility and reciprocity as members of society risks disaster for those individuals and for society.
Egalitarians never seem to understand that promoting economic equality in theory means promoting resentments and polarization in practice, making everyone worse off.
It is corruption if an elected official uses his office to get money for himself or for someone else. But judges can fine someone to pay a donation to some organization that the judge favors. Typically these are organizations on the left. But I am sure the left would see the problem if a conservative judge forced people to donate money to the National Rifle Association.
Someone is always parading statistics showing that some small number of people at the top of the income scale have more than some larger number of people at the bottom. But would we be better off if people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had never created things that widened our access to opportunities and enriched our lives, just because it also enriched theirs?
Some people are surprised at how many young people look favorably on socialism. But socialism is a wonderful-sounding idea. Those who have lived through the era of its disasters in the 20th century, or learned about them from history, are likely to see through the appearances to the reality. A young age prevents the former and our dumbed-down education prevents the latter.
A biographer of Herbert Hoover said that he was a great man but not a great president. Had he never become president, Hoover's greatness in other areas would still be remembered today. But his wrong economic moves as president were amplified by his successor, and mired the country in a decade of tragedy. Great achievements in other areas are no reason to make someone president.