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The Limits of Compassion



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Concern for the poor is laudable and indeed morally obligatory, but Republican politics, I argue, needs to be built on the sturdier basis of self-interest. 

Krauthammer’s Take: Amnesty via Executive Order an Impeachable Offense, but Impeachment Would Still Be Political Suicide



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Talk of impeachment is a “concoction of Democrats,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grander strategy by the White House and its congressional allies, Charles Krauthammer warned.

On Tuesday’s Special Report, he speculated that the Obama administration may be trying to exhaust the idea of impeachment and “softening people up for” when the president uses executive action to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Such an action would be “clearly lawless and it would be biggest domestic overreach of a president in memory” and “an impeachable offense,” he said.

But if Obama did go ahead with his amnesty-by-fiat plan, Krauthammer still thinks impeachment wouldn’t work. “I would be 100 percent against impeachment because it’s political suicide,” he said.

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‘Quick, Can You Think of Another Way to Write a Subject Line with “Impeachment” in It?’



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Bereft of many ways to take the House back from Republicans, the Democratic National Committee has been doing its best to raise money off the non-possibility that House Republicans are about to bring articles of impeachment against the president. To wring what they can out of it, they’re getting creative:

Web Briefing: August 1, 2014

Poetry



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THE FINAL IKON

He felt that he would find it,
Find it yet –
The clarity he sought
With all his breath.

And when he had found it?
Why did he grieve?
And why did he find it
So hard to breathe?

— This poem appears in the August 11, 2014, print edition of National Review.

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Giving Hillary Credit? Nah.



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Jay, I didn’t mean to give Hillary credit. Quite the reverse. I drew attention to her praise of Bush merely as evidence that she apparently feels a need — can’t imagine why — to distance herself from Obama’s rolling foreign policy disasters. My point is that, try as she doubtless will, to portray herself as the hard-headed one in the first Obama administration who simply wasn’t heeded, the truth is that her foreign policy judgments are just as appalling as the president’s. In the column, I mentioned her comments on Charlie Rose 10 days ago or so, in which she recommended using Turkey and Qatar as “interlocutors” in the Israel/Hamas war — precisely what John Kerry proceeded to do to nearly universal disgust. 

As if that weren’t enough, we now learn that she told an interviewer that Hamas puts its missiles in schools and homes because “Gaza is pretty small.” 

Those who imagine that Hillary is something different — and I suspect many American Jews are in this category — are deluding themselves. But that’s an old story as you know so well.

Mike Pence Learned HHS Was Dumping Migrant Children in His State from the Press, Not HHS



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Indiana governor Mike Pence said he first learned the federal government had placed 245 unaccompanied alien children in Indiana through media reports.

In a letter to President Obama, Pence wrote that the Department of Health and Human Services informed him that the federal government had housed hundreds of unaccompanied alien children in Indiana from January 1, 2014, to July 7, 2014, but only after reports surfaced in the media.

“While we feel deep compassion for these children, our country must secure its borders and provide for a legal and orderly immigration process,” Pence wrote. “Failure to expedite the return of unaccompanied children thwarts the rule of law and will only continue to send a distorted message that illegally crossing into America is without consequence.”

Pence said HHS would only provide him with updated monthly numbers of unaccompanied alien children living in the Hoosier State during the first week of each month. Pence called this unacceptable and noted that Indiana may be expected to be responsible for the illegal immigrant children’s education, health and welfare.

Meanwhile, as of March 2014, nearly 8,000 illegal immigrants in Indiana have had their requests for temporary effectively legal status accepted via President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012. Nearly 2,800 more people had their requests for DACA protection accepted in Indiana than did in New Mexico during the same time frame. That may provide insight about how Obama’s possible plans to unilaterally legalize five million illegal immigrants later this summer would impact Indiana, a concern that’s surely on Pence’s mind.

“What we are currently experiencing in Indiana and states across the nation as this crisis deepens, however, is neither sensible nor humane,” Pence wrote. “States should not be asked by the federal government to deal with the consequences of a failed national immigration policy.”

 

The Sequester Created a Baby Boom in D.C.



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Birth rates in the Washington, D.C., area have spiked approximately nine months after the government shutdown last fall.

Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C. has seen an increase of three births per day during the past month, according to the Washington Post. The hospital’s spokesman told ABC News that the hospital is ”at near-capacity right now” and joked that some of the furloughed feds had “apparently found ways to amuse themselves.”

Meanwhile, Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., reportedly welcomed 385 newborns into the world in the first half of July this year, up 120 from the same period in 2013.

It remains unclear whether ThinkProgress considers this development the end result of its warning about “How The Looming Sequester Will Have A Disproportionate Impact On Women And Children,” or the Congressional Black Caucus’ claim that the sequestration cuts were part of the “War on Women.”

In fact, the Post described the shutdown as having a positive impact on at least one female federal employee: Jessica Hernandez, a program analyst for the Food and Drug Administration, said she had a “great time” during the sequester going out to lunch, volunteering, hanging out with her mom, and relaxing. “Her relaxation contributed to her better mood, she recalled, and her better mood contributed to her choice of activities when her husband came home from his sales consulting job,” the Post reported. When Hernandez returned to her 150-person office at the FDA after the shutdown, she found that she was one of three pregnant women who would be giving birth to sequester babies.

And while some in the mainstream media still question the sequester’s role in helping women get pregnant and boosting the economy, NBC’s Brian Williams had a more pressing question earlier this month: “How long until someone on television points out that during the shutdown the folks in Washington are apparently doing at home what Washington has been accused of doing to the American people?”

Re ‘Hillary Praises W.?’



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Mona, count me a churl, but I would not read much into Hillary Clinton’s praise of George W. Bush. She praised him on one ground: his AIDS relief in Africa. That is the one thing Democrats give W. credit for. Sort of like when WFB died, and a lot of people acted like the only thing he had ever done in his whole, long, magnificent life was support the legalization of pot. They thought that was cool.

Two springs ago, I wrote about the dedication ceremony of the GWB Center at SMU. All the former presidents were there, plus the incumbent. And each of the Democrats — Obama, Clinton, and Carter — heaped praise on W. for his policy on Africa. Carter actually said, “Mr. President, let me say that I’m filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you,” because of “the great contributions you’ve made to the most needy people on earth.”

Clinton and Obama made the same sounds. Better than nothing, I suppose. But I could get excited if a Democrat praised, say, W.’s stance against “partial-birth abortion.”

(Mona, please feel free to set me straight either here online or in our next podcast. My current mood is decidedly churlish. It seems not to be in a hurry to pass . . .)

Annihilated



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Today’s Between the Covers podcast with with Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation. We discuss what this new SF/fantasy/horror novel is about, how a Florida wildlife refuge inspired him to create “Area X” as the setting for his story, and why’s he’s publishing all three books of a trilogy within a few months of each other.

Jeff Sessions: House Border Bill Is a ‘Surrender To a Lawless President’



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Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) denounced the House Republican border bill as a “surrender to a lawless president” because the legislation does not include any language to prevent President Obama from expanding his unilateral legalization of illegal immigrants.

Here’s the statement:

The Obama Administration has openly declared its plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty for 5–6 million more illegal immigrants. This unlawful amnesty—urged on by congressional Democrats—would include work permits, taking jobs directly from millions of struggling American citizens.

Any action Congress might consider to address the current border crisis would be futile should the President go forward with these lawless actions. Congress must speak out and fight against them. It must use its spending power to stop the President’s executive amnesty.

That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power.

After years of falling wages and rising joblessness, American workers are pleading for someone to hear them. How can it be that our President is brazenly advertising that he will nullify and strip away American workers’ immigration protections, and their own elected leaders will not rise to their defense? Or to the defense of our laws and our Constitutional order?

There are other grave concerns with the Granger package as well: because it does not fix our asylum rules and loopholes, the end result of the additional judges and hearings will be more illegal immigrants gaining asylum and access to U.S. welfare. It is a plan for expedited asylum, not expedited removal.

Nor will this package make our rogue President actively enforce anything, coming nowhere close to the kinds of reasonable enforcement activities needed to restore the interior application of our immigration laws.

And finally, a package that is silent on blocking amnesty creates an opportunity for Senate Democrats to add elements of their party’s open borders and mass immigration agenda.

This legislation is unworthy of support.

 

Burn the Witch! Roger Pielke Jr. Out at FiveThirtyEight



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Well, this was predictable. Per Talking Points Memo:

Roger Pielke Jr. said Monday that he left FiveThirtyEight, ending a short-lived but turbulent stint with the site launched by Nate Silver earlier this year.

Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, told Discover Magazine that after editors at the site “showed some reluctance” in publishing his work, he told FiveThirtyEight managing editor Mike Wilson that “it was probably best that we part ways.”

Pielke’s time at FiveThirtyEight got off to a stormy start shortly after the site went live in March. In his first piece for the site, Pielke wrote that the increased cost of natural disasters is not the result of climate change — a premise that was heavily criticized.

Pielke wrote a follow-up to that article two days later, and Silver commissioned a rebuttal the following week. But Pielke only wrote three more piecesfor the site after that, all of which focused on sports and not climate.

The viciousness with which the Left will turn on its own if they step even slightly out of line really is something to behold. As I noted earlier in the year, Pielke’s hiring was met with a full-on freakout:

“Disinformer!” the Daily Kos screamed. “One of the country’s leading tricksters on climate change,” charged the Huffington Post. “Inaccurate and misleading,” was ThinkProgress’s measured verdict. Even that doyen of professionalism and sworn enemy of hyperbole, Michael Mann, weighed in, knocking his foe for his “pattern of sloppiness.” The pile-on was as predictable as it was unjust. At root, Pielke’s biggest crimes are to have walked at slightly different pace than his peers and to have refused to bow to the president. Pielke accepts the IPCC’s view of the climate-change question but suggests in parallel that man’s response is unlikely to have a “perceptible impact on the climate for many decades” and that civilization should thus adapt to, rather than attempt to prevent, change. Elsewhere, Pielke has corrected Barack Obama’s “science czar,” John Holdren, who has recently taken to claiming that everything under the sun is the product of global warming — droughts, hurricanes, wildfires — and who never misses a chance, in Pielke’s words, to “[exaggerate] the state of scientific understanding.” For this unconscionable resistance to fashion, Silver and his hire were marked for destruction.

Later, he would fall foul of Michael Mann. Per TPM:

The fallout was compounded after two climate scientists who criticized the article, Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth, came forward citing emails Pielke sent them.

“Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote to Trenberth in an email, which was shared with the Huffington Post in March. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”

Pielke called the criticism “pretty coarse and perhaps even libelous” in his email to Trenberth, and he used similar language in his email to Mann.

“I see you quoted in the media characterizing my work, and in light of your ongoing lawsuit related to libel, I want to make sure that you have been quoted correctly,” Pielke said in the email, which was provided to TPM by Mann.

Pielke went on to cite three instances in which he claimed Mann engaged in “false and potentially libelous smears.”

In an interview with Discover Magazine, published yesterday, Pielke was resolute, suggesting that Nate Silver should have shown more “editorial backbone” and explaining that he could not fulfill his role if was expected to self-censor. “Seeing a campaign organized to have me fired from 538 also taught me a lesson about the importance of academic tenure,” he told Keith Kloor. Moreover:

If a widely published academic cannot publish on a subject which he has dozens of peer-reviewed papers and 1000s of citations to his work, what can he write on?  Clearly Nate is a smart guy, and I suspect that he knows very well where the evidence lies on this topic. For me, if the price of playing in the DC-NYC data journalism world is self-censorship for fear of being unpopular, then it is clearly not a good fit for any academic policy scholar.

Worst of all, Pielke argued, was the manner in which respected academics and journalists piled on. While the vitriol that was pushed his way, he said, was “a pretty strong indication that (a) your arguments matter and (b) people have a hard time countering them on their merits,” he was surprised to see the likes of Paul Krugman and John Holdren jumping in. “That they make such false claims with apparently no consequences says something about the nature of debate surrounding climate.” Indeed it does. But does it really matter? Ultimately, Krugman, Holdren, and all of the other sordid little conductors of the hive-minded mob got exactly what they wanted – ensuring in the process that the next editor who thinks it might be fun to include someone heteredox on his team will quickly see his outlet condemned in toto. Another win for the machine.

 

NR Seeks Assistant to the Editor



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National Review is seeking an assistant to the editor to work in our New York office. Must be organized, detail-oriented, interested in politics, calm under pressure, and friendly. Key responsibilities and duties include:

Handling scheduling and travel arrangements

Light research, fact-checking, and editing

Assisting in production of magazine

Managing relationships with contributors

Please send a cover letter and résumé to mpeace (at) nationalreview.com with the subject line “Assistant to the Editor.”

John Boehner: Harry Reid’s ‘Deceitful and Cynical’ Ploy to Kill House Bill



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House speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) accused Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) of making a “deceitful and cynical attempt to derail” the House Republicans’ border-crisis package by suggesting that Democrats would add the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration legislation to the bill.

Boehner slammed the door on Reid’s idea in a statement provided to National Review Online:

“Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.  So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion.  Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis.  Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.”

“While the White House has abandoned all pretense of governing and the Senate is doing almost nothing to address our struggling economy, Republicans remain committed to addressing the American people’s priorities, and that includes passing a responsible bill this week to help secure our border and return these children safely to their home countries.” 

 

 

The Obama Approach Metastasizes



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Charlie A. Dooley, the county executive for St. Louis County, Missouri, has apparently decided to follow President Obama’s example, and simply sign an executive order when the legislature (in his case, the county council rather than Congress) won’t do his bidding. He then vetoed a subsequent bill because he didn’t like it as much as his executive order. 

The executive order he has signed is Obama-esque in its content, too, setting percentage “goals” (read “quotas”) by race for county contracting. What’s even more bizarre, though, is that the reason given for his contracting preferences is to increase workforce “diversity.”  That raises all kinds of additional constitutional problems and factual questions:

1. Has it been shown which groups are underrepresented in which workforce?

2. Has it been shown that all the companies being given contracting preferences have more underrepresented workers than all the companies that aren’t being given contracting preferences?

3. Of course, racial preferences in this context can be used only to remedy discrimination, but has the underrepresentation of some groups in the workforce been shown to be caused by discrimination?

4. And even if the answer to 3 is “yes,” are there no better ways to remedy the discrimination than the roundabout method of giving contracting preferences (especially if the answer to 2 is “no”)?

Another nice touch: The executive order defines the various favored racial “minorities” to include those who “Maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition with any of the original peoples of the North American continent, or demonstrate at least one-quarter descent from such groups.” 

Mr. Dooley faces a primary vote next Tuesday, by the way, and it’s speculated that what we have here is some racial politicking by him.

‘So Yes, the Talk of Impeachment Is in Part a Plot by the White House.’



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That’s Paul Waldman over at the Plum Line at the Washington Post. His post is devoted to excoriating Republicans, but acknowledges the cynical game the White House is playing here.

Kiss of Death? Harry Reid Plans to Add Gang of Eight to ‘Meaningless’ House Border Bill



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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) announced his plan to add the ‘Gang of Eight’ comprehensive immigration legislation to any border crisis package that House Republicans might pass, a revelation so likely to diminish conservative support for the bill that it suggests he’s trying to spike the House package.

“If they pass that, maybe it’s an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform,” Reid told reporters Tuesday when asked about the House Republican border package produced by Texas Representative Kay Granger’s working group.

“He can’t do that, he doesn’t have the votes,” a House leadership aide said in response, dismissing Reid’s comments as an attempt to kill the bill in the House.

When a reporter asked if that threat might discourage House members from passing anything, Reid denied that he was “threatening anything.”

Reid’s remarks can only elevate the fears of immigration hawks who have urged House Republicans from passing any legislation.

“I don’t want to see a vehicle coming out of the House that gives Harry Reid a chance to attach the Gang of Eight language to it and then send it back to the House and say, ‘We have all of these kids that are down here pouring into the United States, and we can’t fix that unless you first pass amnesty,’” Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) told National Review Online to explain why he hadn’t introduced a bill containing his preferred legislative remedy to the crisis.

The original Republican members of the immigration ‘Gang of Eight’ have pledged not to support using the border crisis bill as a Trojan horse for comprehensive immigration legislation.

“Any legislation considered this year must be focused exclusively on addressing the current crisis, halting the flow of unaccompanied children crossing the border and preventing future waves from making the dangerous journey north,” Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), John McCain (R. Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said in a joint statement last week.

Reid denounced Republicans for obstructing President Obama’s legislative priorities.

Moments later, when asked if he had reached out to House leadership in order to broker a compromise between the House Republicans and Senate Democrats, Reid dismissed the House package as “a meaningless piece of legislation that would only make things worse.”

A Senate Republican aide told NRO on Monday, even before Reid raised the specter of a Gang of Eight conference, that Democrats don’t want House Republicans to pass anything.

“I think what they’re doing is they’re sitting out, waiting, hoping, that the House doesn’t pass anything so that they can say that Republicans left town without doing anything on the border,” the aide speculated.

How Bad is John Kerry’s Middle East Diplomacy?



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Per the Times of Israel, here was the PA the other day: 

The PA leadership issues a strongly worded statement against Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, saying it “crosses all red lines,” according to Channel 2.

The Paris meeting on Saturday between the U.S., Turkey, and Qatar representatives was tantamount to an international gathering of “the friends of Hamas,” it says.

The PA is the only representative of the Palestinian people, it says.

Kerry has been castigated in Israel and the PA for drafting a ceasefire proposal deemed to undermine the Egyptian proposal, and to represent a capitulation to Hamas. Israel rejected the Kerry proposal on Friday. Kerry then flew to Paris and met with leaders from Qatar and Turkey for more consultations, and not with Israeli, PA, or Egyptian representatives.

I write about Kerry’s trip today in my column “A Hell of a Foray.”

Big Business Rewards Senator Mary Landrieu for Supporting Cronyism



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This is how cronyism works: A company wants a special privilege from the government in exchange for political support in future elections. If the company is wealthy enough or is backed by powerful-enough interest groups, the company will get its way and politicians will get another private-sector ally. The few cronies “win” at the expense of everyone else.

Here is one good illustration of this dynamic in action: Joe Nocera (though I wouldn’t consider him especially reliable) says that the Chamber of Commerce will support Democratic senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana over her Republican challenger. For that, Landrieu can thank her stellar record supporting corporate welfare, including her recent endorsement of the Ex-Im Bank.

In any case, she already has the supprot of many Chamber constituents. The Wall Street Journal reports:

America’s biggest businesses have made it a priority to help Republicans win control of the Senate this year. But in a crucial race in Louisiana, they are doing all they can to help the Democratic incumbent.

The political arms of large corporations have given nearly five times as much money to Sen. Mary Landrieu as to her Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, according to fundraising data compiled by The Wall Street Journal. Industry groups have run television advertisements supporting her re-election. And several big Washington trade associations that normally back Republicans, led by energy groups, are throwing their support behind the incumbent. …

“It does create a sort of a dilemma,” said Cal Dooley, the president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers and typically backs Republicans. The business association has bought television ads telling Louisiana voters Ms. Landrieu is “a proven leader who brings both sides together to get results.”

Mr. Dooley said his organization endorses Ms. Landrieu because “she has been a terrific supporter of our industry.”

No other Democratic senator has been as reliable a supporter of legislation backed by business interests as Ms. Landrieu. According to a vote scorecard from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, she votes more often for pro-business legislation than Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

There is a crucial distinction between being “pro-business” and being “pro-market”: Being pro-business often means being anti-market, as the Chamber of Commerce and Senator Landrieu, no friend of the market, readily demonstrate.

The only way to be pro-business and pro-market at the same time is to maintain an equal playing field for everyone. This means no special privileges and no “industrial policy.” It means that if you’re going to extend tax breaks, you have to extend them to every company, not just the ones that you want to donate to your next campaign. It means reforming our anti-growth regulatory regime to be lighter and more stable for businesses of all size and industry. It means finally eliminating the many subsidies that flow every year to a few American companies (and in the case of the Ex-Im Bank, foreign companies as well).

But that would take a lot of courage, because it means telling the Chamber of Commerce and other special-interest groups that they won’t be getting their special goodies anymore. Can our politicians muster that courage?

Hillary Praises W?



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If you were looking for straws in the wind, here’s one: Hillary Clinton said George W. Bush made her proud to be an American. If this sounds like an attempt to distance herself from Obama’s foreign policy, it sure is. If it seems new, it really isn’t. In 2008, during the long primary battle with Obama, she played up her American girl bona fides. But we’re not fooled. There is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on foreign policy. Here’s a very recent example.

Malaysian Muslims Offended by Adorable Puppies at Commonwealth Games (UPDATED)



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The Commonwealth Games — the quadrennial Olympics-like sporting event open to the Commonwealth of Nations, which comprises primarily territories of the former British Empire — opened last week in Scotland, and to endear themselves to any person with a beating heart, Scottish organizers planned a BuzzFeed-worthy spectacle: Each team was led into the stadium by a Scottie dog clad in tartan, the team’s name on the coat. Some teams, though, were less than enthused. The Daily Beast reports:

Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party told the Daily Telegraph: “This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims — especially as it happened during Ramadan. Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organiser should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue.”

Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa also called for an apology.

“I think it is unbecoming. The hosts have not been sensitive enough — especially in a so-called knowledgeable and civilised society like Britain. . . . It is shameful and has offended not only Malaysia as a Muslim country, but Muslims around the world.”

Perhaps the pup leading the Malaysian delegation knew he was unwelcome. He refused to move and had to be carried about the stadium.

UPDATE: If the spectacle of several dozen of these furry friends in parade does not make your day, you’re dead inside.

Also, courtesy of the UK Independent, peppy video of Scottie owners preparing their dogs for the big day. Cute canines and national pride in one place? These Scots can barely contain their excitement.

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