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Re: Novak’s Outriders



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You know, Bob Novak can convert to Presbyterianism and then to Catholicism, but to me and to the rest of the Chosen People, he’ll always be an Outrider.

Israel and the ISG



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Robert Novak wants America to intervene more forcefully abroad: “The Baker-Hamilton report and Hagel’s speech each reiterated the truth that there is no chance whatsoever for essential Israeli-Palestinian peace without American brokerage. The Israeli ruling class and its U.S. outriders do not want that to happen, which explains the bitter opposition to the commission’s recommendations. It would be an act of courage for George W. Bush to risk an assault from these forces, and it is a central decision of his last two years.”

There’s a mistake in there. “Outriders?” The phrase is “amen corner.”

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Crime Spree at Crunchy Central!



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The Park Slope Food Co-op, the remaining remnant of post-hippie New York City collectivism, is awash in theft!

Web Briefing: November 24, 2014

Gerson



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A conservative can agree, to some extent and with some qualifications, to the libertarian arguments against the welfare state, and add some unlibertarian arguments of his own. Gerson doesn’t ackowledge this possibility. The notion that “anti-government conservatism” has literally “nothing” to offer the country and “strangles mercy” is a thoughtless cheap shot. He makes some reasonable points: “Campaigning on the size of government in 2008, while opponents talk about health care, education and poverty, will seem, and be, procedural, small-minded, cold and uninspired.” That’s right: No successful political party is going to campaign on its conformity to a political philosophy. But that doesn’t mean that it can or should abandon that philosophy. The essay is a mix of good and bad, but what’s bad in it is quite bad.

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Shameless Self-Promotion



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Debra England, a San Francisco-based philanthropy expert, has written an op-ed on holiday “charitable giving” in which she names what she judges the best non-profits in America, those most deserving of donor support.  Among them: Sun Valley Adaptive Sports,  the leading organization serving the most severely wounded Service members nationwide, and Operation Blessing Relief & Development , an evangelical Christian organization that was “on the ground in Banda Aceh, Indonesia within 24 hours after the Tsunami hit.”

She also writes about the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, saying:

The high-stakes mission of this exceptionally performance-driven organization is in the name. Their team consists of the most competent and professionally skilled set of professionals I have found in any non-profit. FDD’s broad range of activities includes shutting down transmission of Hezbollah’s TV network across Europe, training women from Afghanistan and Iraq to participate in representative democracy, providing fellowships to study counterterrorism with world-class experts, and supporting the work of Claudia Rosett who exposed the multi-billion dollar UN Oil for Food scandal.

OK, it’s shameless of me to post this, but it’s not about me – it’s about the people assembled at FDD, many of them well known to NRO readers, — e.g. Claudia, Andy McCarthy, Walid Phares, Mario Loyola, Alykhan Velshi — who deserve the credit. My role is that of any modern employer: to underpay them and mistreat them. Which I pledge to continue to do in the New Year! 

Inuit Claim Rejected



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Those with longer memories may remember some hue and cry just over a year ago when various Inuit communities joined with environmental groups to claim their rights were being violated by global warming.  Those with a good sense of the absurd may remember that one of the pieces of evidence advanced for the claim that their ancient way of life was in danger was that, erm, their snowmobiles were dropping through the ice.  Now the Organization of American States has dismissed the claim:

The agency told the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, which represents 150,000 people in northern Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland, that there was insufficient evidence of harm.

Another Inconvenient Truth for climate alarmism…

Still Time!



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Get that special niece, nephew, godchild, grandchild, son or daughter a worthwhile Christmas gift – one of National Review’s acclaimed children’s books. For toddlers who need to be read sweet tales before departing for sweet dreams, there’s The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories – in the acclaimed original edition and the new Volume Two. These books are also great for new and beginning readers (up through the third grade). For older kids, there’s both volumes of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (featuring the works of literary giants like Kipling, London, Twain, Alcott, Carroll, Baum, Burnett, and many more!), and our newest books – the handsome boxed set of Howard Pyle’s (beautiful! lavishly illustrated!) Pepper and Salt and The Wonder Clock. Each and every story in these books is wholesome, instructive, and entertaining – precisely the kind of stories you want your kids to be reading. Of course, you can get them a piece of plastic junk that will give them carpal tunnel syndrome. But wouldn’t you prefer to get them a gift that will fire their imaginations exercise their virtues? Of course you would! We have a number of deals available (you can buy the Bedtime and Literature books in sets), so visit the NRO Gift Shop now to place your order before it’s too late!

Re Re: Who You Calling?



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I just don’t get what it is we were supposed to do. Invade the Palestinian Authority and forcibly cancel the election there?

Who Ya Callin’, Again



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John, I think we’re talking about a conscious policy choice here, not the legalities of the Oslo accords, or fears of getting to the right of Israel. The administration has a specific, and actually quite thoughtful take on why elections, with all their problems, are the way to go–even when militias have not been disarmed. What’s been unfolding in the Middle East reflects that policy view. As for no-cal chocolate, we’re united in support of it.

It’s Enough To Make You Weep



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I found that Gerson piece civil, thoughtful, sincere and terrifying — and completely unconvincing. The Republican Party is not the vessel for the social gospel. Period. Calling limited government conservatives “fundamentalists” is unworthy of him.

Indeed, Gerson deftly makes a strawman out of limited government conservatism, calling it libertarianism and then invoking Russel Kirk as an argument-settling authority. But I suspect there is much in Kirk’s writings that Gerson wouldnt want to cherry-pick the way he does here. And, regardless, the idea that Kirk would have supported “compassionate conservatism” simply will not fly.

But back to my first point. I am not a libertarian. My ideal state is less minimal than a libertarian’s. But it is still a minimal state because I am a conservative. This is axiomatic. The state — according to modern American conservatism — must be limited in its ambitions otherwise it is not trying to conserve anything. More important, the social gospel and the state cannot be married because the government cannot love you. This is not a metaphysical point but a practical one. States cannot love individuals in much the same way deck furniture cannot write poetry: it is not in their nature. It cannot be done. And when people attempt otherwise, horrible folly ensues. Gerson thinks the victims of Katrina got that way because of the indifference of the State. I would argue that a more likely culprit (or at least accomplice) was a State that tried to love them and hurt them in the process.

Update: Our friend Joe Knippenberg sides with Gerson. 

Re: More on Who You Calling We



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So, Stanley, you are saying that in a matter involving Israel and the Palestinians, the role of the United States is to stand to Israel’s Right and insist on conditions about Palestinian terrorist groups that Israel itself does not insist on. I got it. I also think chocolate should have no calories. Could you get right on that for me?

Hunger Data



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From a reader:

I suspect someone has already sent this to you.  If not, here’s the relevant data: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err11/err11.pdf

Turns out children were hungry at some time in 274,000 households (.7 % of households with children).  On any given day, 40-50000 households (about 0.1%) had a hungry child. 

Nothing to be proud of, but hardly the problem he makes it. His statistics aren’t about hunger, they’re about “food security”. The data he presented were households that, at some time (possibly once) during the year felt they had difficulty securing adequate food.

Obviously he knows what he’s talking about, but he’s depending upon the fact that most people listening don’t.

I enjoy your work, keep it up.

Who’s Anti-Science?



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With a few exceptions, I think the most bogus lefty storyline, meme, narrative or whatever you want to call it of the Bush years has been the Republican “war” on science. Most of the charges strike me as tiffs over funding, or fights over social issues which the left wants to gussy-up as battles between reason, science and goodness on one side and superstitition, religious zealotry and badness on the other. The best example is embryonic stem cell research where the left wants the mantle of “science” all for itself, the better to dismiss anyone who disagrees with their values (i.e. not their science) as luddite lunkheads. In other words, one side thinks embryonic stem cells are research fodder the other side doesn’t. But the left calls the right “anti-science” not because pro-lifers don’t understand or accept the science, but because pro-lifers disagree on this particular use of science. From, the prolife perspective, it’s a bit like saying opposition to human experimentation is “anti-science.” Note: My own views on this are ill-formed and complex but not necessarily uniformly pro-life. But I don’t consider, say, Ramesh, anti-science simply because he doesn’t want to use a particular scientific technique.

Meanwhile, much of the left (though not necessarily most liberals) is thoroughly and routinely opposed to scientific advance, from the use of DDT and Golden Rice to opposition to nuclear power and food irradiation (See today’s great WSJ editorial on this). Pretty much all of these technologies, if persued, would save more lives, at least in the next couple decades, than fully funding embryonic stem cell research to Ronnie Reagan’s heart’s content. But the left stands in the way (while liberals let them) of all of this out of some mumbo-jumbo fear of technology or because they have special phobias about the direction of capitalism or because….I dunno why. But when I hear people say that the right is anti-science, I always want to ask “Yeah, as opposed to who?”

More Who You Calling ‘We’?



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Well JPod, we weren’t legally obligated to insist on the changes outlined by Satloff, but we could nonetheless have done so. Instead, the administration has been touting elections (including the Palestinian election) as if they are a solution, without recognizing that treating armed militias as political parties is a mistake. This degree of confidence in elections can be argued–and has been argued. It’s a legitimate debate, although I think events are proving those with high confidence in elections per se to be mistaken. But the administration’s failure to follow the sort of policy outlined by Satloff is not due to the lack of a legal mandate to do so. It is part of a conscious, consistent, and in my view mistaken theory of democratization.

Mike Gerson: Anti-Gov’t Conservatives Are ‘Fundamentalists’



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This is going to be, let’s just say, controversial, coming from George W. Bush’s former wordsmith.

American Primacy



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Re: Person of the Year



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According to my rudimentary search, there are more than 300 people in the United States with the last name “You.” Therefore, Jonah, you don’t get a raise.

Re: Who You Calling ‘We”?



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I love Rob Satloff, Stanley, but in my view that argument is an absurdity. The Oslo Accords are a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, not between the United States and the Palestinians. So we are to insist on a point in an accord to which the United States was not a signatory?

Re: Who You Calling ‘We’?



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 JPod, on Hamas, I’m drawing on an excellent debate on the democratization issue published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Middle East Quarterly: “Democracy Is About More Than Elections.” Here’s the relevant exchange between Dan Pipes and Robert Satloff:

Pipes: Would you have excluded Hamas from the Palestinian elections?
Satloff: The issue is not exclusion but rather definition of ground rules. The White House should have insisted on the implementation of the requirements that are in the Oslo accords. After all, it was the Oslo accords that created the body for which the elections were held. The Oslo accords mandated that parties and candidates cannot participate if they advocate violence, racism, or non-peaceful means to achieve political aims. If a party wants to stipulate that it has given up that agenda, that’s fine. But Washington did not even try. Alternatively, U.S. policymakers could have tied Hamas participation to the same demands Washington is applying to the Hamas-led government today—recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, and acceptance of previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. It is absurd that U.S. policymakers did not make Hamas’s participation in the 2005 political process conditional upon accepting the same requirements demanded of the Palestine Liberation Organization for the previous quarter century.

The Op-Ed of the Month...



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…if not the year, is by the relentlessly brave Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A Somali Muslim immigrant to Holland, she was 24 years old before she even heard of the Holocaust — and when she learned of it, her own half-sister cried out: “It’s a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed.” It is against this backdrop that she describes the danger of the Iran Holocaust-denial conference.

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