Links for 9-3-2013

  • Jeffrey Lord reviews “Reagan’s Rules” for the use of military force, which President Reagan learned the hard way in Beirut. President Obama apparently hasn’t learned from Reagan’s experience. Neither has Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

  • Congressmen John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Nancy Pelosi all endorsed President Obama’s intention to attack Syria. Hillary Clinton fell in line later in the day.

  • Matt Drudge tweeted on the difference between Democrats and Republicans: “It’s now Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. Since Democrats vs. Republicans has been obliterated, no real difference between parties…” He followed that with a question: “Why would anyone vote Republican? Please give reason. Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!”

  • Secretaries John Kerry and Chuck Hagel testified before the Senate today regarding Syria. Rand Paul asked pointed questions. John McCain played poker on his iPhone. Bryan Preston collected the best tweets from the hearing.

  • Charles C. W. Cooke recalls George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language and applies it to the Syria debate: “Enter Senator Mendendez with the latest effort at political self-parody. Congress, the senator tells us, is not being asked to issue ‘a declaration of war, but a declaration of our values to the world.’ No, Bob, it’s really not. Words matter. The president wants Congress to allow him to order the military to use physical violence against a sovereign nation.”

  • Angelo Codevilla continues the language theme:

    The high-level leaks that described the attack’s purpose in terms of “establishing the credibility of red lines,” of “a shot across the bow,” and of “fostering the possibility for positive change” amounted to a parody of our Foreign Policy Establishment’s abstract language.

    The Administration’s refusal to address the question “and then what?” led to even more specific questions that furthered its embarrassment: “What if the Syrian regime absorbs the initial American strikes (likely, since its valuable military assets are easily dispersable) and then commits further outrages? What is the next step? To what end?” The Obama Administration may well have been surprised at such questions, given how many times the American people had accepted the Foreign Policy Establishment’s abstractions over the previous century. But because the Obamians went to the well too often, they ended up looking like monkeys with grenades.

  • A Washington Post/ABC poll shows strong opposition to attacking Syria. Congressman Justin Amash reports public opinion at his town hall meetings is strongly against an attack, and Congressman Andy Harris reports a similar response via phone calls and mail.

  • Thaddeus Russell offers a perspective on progressives and war: “Recently, pro-war commentators on liberal media outlets have greatly outnumbered the doves, with MSNBC leading the way. These humanitarian interventionists understand what the most famous progressives of all time made clear, that the obligation to rescue the unfortunate comes with an obligation to kill. What they don’t understand or willfully ignore is the lesson of history, which is that when the United States has taken on the responsibility for the well-being of humanity, it has destroyed far more lives than it has saved.”

  • Somehow when Congressional Democrats drafted the ObamaCare bill, they failed to make multi-employer health insurance plans eligible for subsidies in the ObamaCare exchanges; instead such plans are subject to the “Cadillac” tax. Needless to say, unions are unhappy about it. You can expect an unconstitutional re-interpretation of ObamaCare that “fixes” this.

  • Last week the Department of Agriculture bought 7,118 short tons of refined beet sugar from a domestic producer and sold it a $2.7 million loss to an ethanol producer to prevent the sugar producer from defaulting on its operating loans. Yes, our federal agricultural subsidies are insane.

  • President Obama plans to give federal civilian employees a 1% across-the-board pay increase next year.

  • The Department of Justice’s attack on Louisiana’s school voucher program is not an isolated incident but rather an example of a larger pattern of federal attacks on vouchers.

  • The Ross Perot Foundation donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. This is the same Texas branch of Planned Parenthood that recently settled a Medicaid fraud case for $4.3 million.

  • An Oregon bakery that refused to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple closed its retail store after being investigated by the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries for potentially violating the Oregon Equality Act of 2007.

  • Microsoft acquired Nokia’s cellular handset business, licensed its cellular patents, and licensed its mapping technology for $7 billion in cash. The patent aspect of the deal includes assigning Nokia’s license for Qualcomm’s patents to Microsoft. Nokia will continue as a cellular infrastructure company and map supplier. Interestingly Nokia will retain its brand name for the handset market and it only licensed the brand to Microsoft for current models, which implies we’ll see the end of Nokia branded phones as those models are retired.