PowerLine -> Trump’s Jerusalem Speech Is a Step Forward + Warnings about Weinstein went unheeded by Team Hillary

PowerLine -> Trump’s Jerusalem Speech Is a Step Forward + Warnings about Weinstein went unheeded by Team Hillary

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Trump’s Jerusalem Speech Is a Step Forward
  • The expendable Mr. Franken
  • The Fire This Time (Updated)
  • Jonah and Me, Unplugged
  • Warnings about Weinstein went unheeded by Team Hillary
Trump’s Jerusalem Speech Is a Step Forward

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 02:53 PM PST

(John Hinderaker)As expected, President Trump announced today that the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also said that he is directing the State Department to begin preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump described his order as “the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” The old approach, he said, hasn’t worked, and “[i]t would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.” I am not sure how seriously to take this. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital doesn’t necessarily signal a significantly different approach, and as Paul noted on Monday, Jared Kushner’s comments on the region manifest what Paul called shopworn conventional wisdom about the Middle East.

Of course, Trump’s Jerusalem order could be the beginning of a real change if it signals that the U.S. is no longer going to indulge Palestinian delusions, and won’t yield to threats of violence in the “Arab street.” Time will tell whether that is the case.

Trump put his new policy in the context of an often-expressed consensus–the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, reaffirmed unanimously last June and promises by other politicians. In Trump’s view, he is finally doing what others have promised, but failed, to do. I think that is a fair assessment.

Mostly, Trump postured his order as a simple acknowledgment of reality. In this respect, his words were remarkably similar to what I wrote yesterday. Trump said:

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. …
Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

This is what I wrote:

The location of Israel’s capital is a question of fact, not opinion, and it is up to Israel. The Arabs may not like it, but Jerusalem is Israel’s capital: the Knesset is in Jerusalem, the Supreme Court is in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister’s office and official residence are in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and most other government offices are in Jerusalem.

Trump is right: not to acknowledge this basic reality is to perpetuate the vicious presumption that Israel, somehow, is not entitled to be treated like any other country.

Moving our embassy to Jerusalem is a step beyond simply recognizing that city as Israel’s capital, but it follows logically. A considerable time will elapse before the move actually takes place, and if Trump serves only one term, his successor could countermand the order. But it is hard to see how anyone can take back the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

I haven’t yet begun reading news coverage of President Trump’s speech, but no doubt there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Perhaps it is time for Trump’s opponents (and some of his friends) to get over being shocked when he does what he said he was going to do.


The expendable Mr. Franken

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 11:49 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)Democratic support for the tenure of Minnesota Senator Al Franken in office died on the vine today. First Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stepped forward to call for Franken’s resignation. Her call was followed by other Democratic women senators with the exception of his colleague Amy Klobuchar, whose help was unnecessary to the task at hand. However, she had been among the first Senators to call for Franken’s case to be remitted to the Senate Ethics Committee. It wouldn’t be Minnesota nice for her to pile on now. Some two dozen Democratic Senators have called for Franken’s resignation. Franken’s response is to be announced tomorrow.

The dam broke this morning with Heather Caygle’s Politico report of the latest accusation against Franken, this one courtesy of a former congressional aide who had the misfortune of crossing paths with him in 2006. When Franken sought to perfect his involuntary French kiss technique, she ducked. She quoted Franken telling her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

Politico has protected the identity of the accuser. I wonder if they found the quote self-authenticating. Who could make that up? On the other hand, for Franken that is an uncharacteristically funny comment.

Franken categorically denies the story, but Franken’s colleagues have had enough. He didn’t have much in the way of personal capital with them, to begin with; he is a jerk. They have come to realize that he is expendable. At this points, his costs vastly outweigh his benefits. Indeed, he has become all cost and no benefit.

Governor Mark Dayton will appoint a reliable Democratic replacement without Franken’s baggage. Democrats have prepared the battle space to contest Roy Moore and President Trump. As far as the Democrats are concerned, it’s time for Franken to go.

UPDATE: Yet another victim of Franken has stepped forward, this one speaking at the Atlantic under her own name — Tina Dupuy: “I believe Franken’s accusers because he groped me, too.”


The Fire This Time (Updated)

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 11:05 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)As it happens I attempted to drive down to Los Angeles yesterday to take in the Gary Oldman Churchill vehicle Darkest Hour (which is only playing right now in LA and New York for Oscar buzz purposes) but had to turn back when the I-5 was closed because of a sudden fire around the Newhall area. Right below is a pic of the fire from a distance taken out the window of my car, with the traffic piling up for what was a long delay. What you can’t see from this distant view are the four or five airplanes already working in a steady pattern to drop water and fire retardant.

Somehow I managed to weave my way from the fast lane to the offramp at Lake Hughes Road and turn back north, where I had the strange experience of driving on an almost completely empty Interstate:

The high winds were blowing large tumbleweeds across the highway much of the way back over the pass.

Meanwhile, the fires are worse today and burning down expensive homes in the Bel Air area. And it has brought out all of the grace and charm of the left, as can be seen in this tweet from Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress:

Might as well get ahead of things. I haven’t seen it yet, but surely some nitwit is going to claim that this fire is yet another proof of—wait for it now—climate change! As though California had never experienced fierce Santa Ana winds late in the fall, or suffered a massive urban fire.

Joan Didion reminds us in her 1968 essay “Los Angeles Notebook”:

The Santa Ana [winds] caused Malibu to burn the way it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and Santa Barbara in 1964. . . The longest Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4. On the first day 25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour.

All of those wind-driven fires occurred well before the warming period that got liberals all hot and bothered began, and I’ve seen several more catastrophic fires in those very same locations in the years since Didion wrote this essay.

But of course for the climatistas, history began with Al Gore’s movie, and everything is proof of climate change. So just wait. You can expect the climate handwringing any moment now if it hasn’t happened already.

UPDATE: Well this didn’t take long. From the Daily Caller:

Activists Use California Wildfires To Push The Global Warming Narrative

As a massive wildfire torches vast swaths of land across southern California, climate activists are pushing claims the devastating fires are linked to global warming.

Climate Signal sent an email Wednesday claiming the Thomas wildfire “is fueled by conditions consistent with the trends driven by climate change,” followed by links to information connecting wildfires to global warming on their website.

“Higher temperatures, drier conditions, increased fuel availability, and lengthening warm seasons—all linked to climate change—are increasing wildfire risk in California,” the email reads.

The email also included contact information for experts “who can further explain the connection between fires and climate change.” Climate Signal is a project of Climate Nexus, a non-profit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Don’t these people ever get tired of. . . oh never mind. We all know the answer to that.


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Jonah and Me, Unplugged

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 10:25 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)Late last week on a whirlwind visit to Washington DC I sat down with Jonah Goldberg to tape an episode of his new podcast, “The Remnant,” which title was inspired by Albert Jay Nock’s classic essay “Isaiah’s Job.” Nock was a wonderful stylist, and an early libertarian (William F. Buckley’s earliest informal tutor in many ways), and if you’ve never read his Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, add it to your reading pile and prepare for an enjoyable time.

Our conversation ranges widely from the problems with universities today to the problems with Trump, and finally to a little bit of decoding of Leo Strauss, though I did not reveal the secret handshake to Jonah, because who knows if it is actually a handshake at all?

It only occurred to me afterward that there is a parallel of sorts between Nock’s idea of “the Remnant” and the Strauss’s insight into “esoteric” writing and the controversies about Straussian dispositions toward democracy. The libertarian Nock thinks of “the Remnant” as a self-conscious prophetic elite, as opposed to “the masses.” Like this:

The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set inevitably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to comprehend these principles [of the humane life], and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them; the masses are those who are unable to do either.

Well, this argument could be played out a long way, but that’s enough for now. Here’s a link to the Ricochet posting of the podcast, which I encourage you to download and play backward, where all the secrets are revealed:

“Behind Enemy Lines.”


Warnings about Weinstein went unheeded by Team Hillary

Posted: 06 Dec 2017 08:57 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The New York Times has produced a long piece by five — count them, five — reporters about Harvey Weinstein’s misdeeds. When it finally rains, it pours.

The Times reports that two major Hillary Clinton supporters — Lena Dunham and Tina Brown — warned the campaign about Weinstein’s visibility at Clinton functions. Dunham claims she told a campaign staffer:

I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point. I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.

When Dunham’s warning went unheeded, she says she turned to another staffer and tried again. To no avail.

The two staffers apparently don’t deny being warned by Dunham. Instead, they insist they never heard anything about rape.

Brown told the Times she advised another Clinton operative that she was hearing “that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and [Clinton] was unwise to be so closely associated with him.”

“Escalating sleaziness,” an interesting turn of phrase.

It should be noted that the Clinton campaign paid no price for ignoring the warnings of Dunham and Brown. Weinstein’s escalating sleaziness did not come out during the campaign.

Would it have come out if Clinton had won the election? Maybe, maybe not. Would it have damaged her presidency? I don’t think so. Would Dunham and Brown be telling the Times about warning the campaign? I very much doubt it.


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