PowerLine – Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, & Other Saturday Observations
- Is “Libertarian Party” an Oxymoron?
- Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, & Other Saturday Observations
- Barack Obama, Pacifist
- “Minnesota men” go to trial (19)
- The Week in Pictures: Going to Pot(ty) Edition
|Is “Libertarian Party” an Oxymoron?
Posted: 28 May 2016 02:45 PM PDT
(Steven Hayward)For once the Libertarian Party nomination might actually be worth having, with some polls showing the likely nominee, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, pulling 10 percent of the vote while still a virtual unknown and before any kind of campaign has been run. It is not hard to imagine a scenario in which the negative campaigns of Hillary and The Donald drive enough voters to the mild-mannered Johnson to tip enough states to throw the race into the House of Representatives, or even win the Electoral College outright. Disgust with the negative campaigns of the two major party nominees is partly how Jesse Ventura won the 1998 governor’s race in Minnesota. Even failing either of these outcomes, a strong showing by a Libertarian ticket could prove a breakout moment at long last, putting the Libertarian Party in a position to exert some real gravitational influence on both parties going forward.
But naturally libertarians, being essentially anti-political by core ideology and purists in practice, seem determined to blow this potential breakout opportunity. The party nominating convention is under way in Orlando, and Johnson is already running into trouble because of his suggested running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.
I’m wondering whether Weld really wants the VP slot with comments like this. Or maybe he really just doesn’t know libertarians and libertarianism all that well. (More reporting here from Reason magazine.)
Already you can hear lots of rumbling among libertarians that they aren’t excited by a Johnson-Weld ticket. Hard core libertarians are essentially indistinguishable from Marxists: both believe in the “withering away of the state,” and the utopian inclinations of both make it impossible to perceive the wisdom of the old saying that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Compromise? Never. Nominate a running mate who is less than perfect on the libertarian PC scorecard? Not gonna happen.
If this convention ends in a train wreck, I predict the Libertarian Party will blow their greatest opportunity yet, and finish with the usual 1 percent of the vote they always get.
|Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride, & Other Saturday Observations
Posted: 28 May 2016 11:31 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)Trump certainly keeps things interesting, doesn’t he? Paul reviewed the reasons for and against a Trump debate, concluding it’s a bad idea. That just made me think that Trump was more likely to do it, and who knows—he may well still change his mind.
But what is Trump possibly thinking in attacking the judge in his Trump University civil case? (It’s also less than shrewd, even for Trump, to refer to the Indiana-born judge as “Mexican” simply because of his surname. Brilliant.) Is this some deep-dish strategy to set up a delayed charge against Hillary Clinton that goes something like this: Trump gets sanctioned by the judge for contempt of court (a distinct possibility), so that when the Justice Department declines to indict Hillary he can shout about a double-standard? Seems far-fetched, but you never know with Trump.
If this is the kind of erratic performance we get from Trump from now to November, every theme park in America may as well shut down its roller-coasters, because Trump is going to put them out of business.
Speaking of Sanders, months ago he couldn’t shut up about the wonderful socialism of Denmark, but when asked this week about the results of Venezuelan socialism on Univision, he got all snippy and changed the subject:
No doubt he found himself in the same position as Debbie Whazzername-Schultz a few months ago who twice couldn’t come up with a distinction between socialism and standard issue Democratic Party liberalism.
|Barack Obama, Pacifist
Posted: 28 May 2016 08:49 AM PDT
(John Hinderaker)Barack Obama spoke in Hiroshima yesterday. The full text of his speech is here. Obama did not quite apologize for America’s use of the atomic bomb to bring WWII to an end, as some had feared. But his speech was nevertheless deeply revealing of his world view.
Let’s begin by acknowledging that parts of Obama’s address were good, or at least unexceptionable. Peace is better than war! Modern man has developed terrible weapons, and the deaths of tens of millions are tragic. But it was in his specific references to Hiroshima and the weapons used there where Obama revealed his radical core.
This is what Obama had to say about the Second World War:
That is true. The war grew out of the “base instinct for domination or conquest” that prevailed in Germany, Japan and Italy. But note that Obama does not name the aggressors. He does not distinguish between the nations that started the war and those that defended themselves. He refers indifferently to the guilty and the innocent as “the wealthiest and most powerful of nations” “among whom” the war was fought–what a weaselly locution!
Similarly, Obama draws no distinction between America’s use of the atomic bomb to end the war in the Pacific and Germany’s concentration camps:
The lesson that Obama draws from World War II–the most epic conflict between good and evil in history–is the same for all nations. Those who started the war have nothing special to learn from it. On the contrary, it seems that the United States and others who possess nuclear arsenals are, at least implicitly, the most indicted by history:
What Obama calls the logic of fear is actually the logic of deterrence. But the practical need to defend oneself from evil regimes is not Obama’s concern. Rather, he calls for a “moral revolution” that will make war obsolete.
Whatever. There is no mystery as to Obama’s ideology, at least as he expressed it in Hiroshima. Obama is an old-fashioned pacifist: indiscriminately hostile to the use of force, he papers over the fundamental difference between aggression and self-defense. Pacifism of this sort was rather common during the years between the wars, but World War II refuted it, seemingly, forever. It seems that the passage of time has allowed fuzzy thinkers like Barack Obama to use that black-and-white conflict to illustrate, not the need for eternal vigilance in defense of liberty, but rather the moral case for disarmament. How far we have come in a few short years.
|“Minnesota men” go to trial (19)
Posted: 28 May 2016 05:21 AM PDT
(Scott Johnson)Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases yesterday following the testimony of defendant Guled Omar. Omar was the only one of the three defendants who elected to testify on his own behalf. I infer that defendants were advised by their capable lawyers to exercise their right to remain silent and put the government to meeting its burden of proof against them, but that Omar chose to reject that advice. I am quite sure that the other defendants saw the wisdom of their attorneys’ advice during the cross examination of Omar by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Winter.
Omar was an effective witness on his own behalf during direct examination on Thursday. He spoke directly to the jury. He was sympathetic. He had explanations. He was somewhat believable, or believable at least in part. For every guilty act or incriminating statement he had an exculpatory account.
Winter started clumsily and, I thought, inefectually. His points were weak or obscure. He was disorganized. He struggled. He had a hard time locating the material on the basis of which he sought to impeach Omar.
Winter nevertheless got on the right foot after the lunch break. He quickly played a succession of audio clips of conversations recorded by co-conspirator turned informant Abdirahman Bashir. The clips are devastating. They show the other side of Omar’s face. He ran out of explanations. He acknowledged (mostly) that he said what the transcripts showed. He said he didn’t mean it. He was pretending, or boastful, or conflicted.
He began to wilt. He lost his mojo. I thought it fell apart for him on cross examination.
Omar’s testimony gave the prosecution the opportunity to revisit some of the greatest hits recorded by Bashir. Omar is the guy who received the names and addresses of 16 pilots (and family) from one of the “Minnesota men” with ISIS In Syria. His friend in Syria wanted Omar to murder them. Omar recoiled from the message, not because it was an invitation to murder, but rather because it was “hot” (That’s my observation, not a point made on cross examination.)
As for the various messaging accounts involved in the instructions from Syria: “I deleted everything.”
Winter showed Omar’s efforts to avoid detection by law enforcement. “I was precautions, bro,” he explained to his friends.
Winter revisited Omar’s discussion of his friends who were turned away from their attempted travel to Syria at JFK Airport. Referring to the FBI, Omar said: “The kufar, they learned their lesson.”
“The kufar” have his number. Which reminds me. Observing the several FBI witnesses who have testified at trial, I have reflected that this is one institution President Obama has not yet ruined.
If he and his friends had succeeded in making it to Syria, Omar asserted to his friends: “We would have done crazy ass damage or we would have all been shaheeds.” What did he mean? He didn’t seem to know what he meant.
Omar is also the conspirator heard saying on one of the recordings that once they learn the spots in Mexico, they would be able to help ISIS enter the United States. “They already look Mexican. They’re Arab.”
And one more thing: “They’ll do crazy ass damage. Wallah, we have a big opportunity.” Well, he had a big opportunity.
The attorneys representing the other defendants didn’t touch Omar. They had no questions for him.
Omar’s attorney tried briefly to limit the damage on redirect, but he failed. Time and again, Omar asserted that he was just boasting or trying to impress his friends. He “was trying to sound like a bad guy who knows what he’s doing.” On some points, Omar contended, he was “confused in [his] head.” By the conclusion of his testimony on redirect he had run out of explanations. Given the limitations of the form, Star Tribune reporter Stephen Montemayor’s article on yesterday’s proceedings doesn’t quite capture what happened.
With that the government and defendants rested. Closing arguments will commence Tuesday morning. Judge Davis is going to give the parties time to review the evidence with the jury and make their case. He said he was not going to rush things; the closings would give the jury a lot of information to digest. He thinks he will instruct the jury and submit the case to them on Wednesday.
|The Week in Pictures: Going to Pot(ty) Edition
Posted: 28 May 2016 04:59 AM PDT
(Steven Hayward)Pessimists used to like to say that the country was “going to pot.” But of course the new zeitgeist requires that we say that the country is “going to potty.” Any potty you want, apparently. Okay, I know this has become a dead-horse theme here (though some self-identifying horses, not to be confused with horse’s asses, will take exception to this figure of speech), but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. (And I think some readers, at least, would like to take a Trump break.) Liberate the potty! The final frontier of civil rights?? Speaking of horse’s asses, let’s start out with the Dowager Princess of Chappaqua.
Separated at birth?
And finally. . .