Gleanings and Observations.7:30 AM, Aug 20, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Liberals and progressives go to great lengths to keep church and state separate. Just try to have religious schools share in a voucher or other government program that provides relief to students trapped by the teachers’ unions into failing schools. No can do. It violates the separation of church and state.
Just have some poor baker refuse to bake a cake for a gay married couple, and he will be told that he can’t impose his religious beliefs on that couple, the law of the land overriding any individual right to obey religious beliefs. Note: this is not a monopoly electric utility denying an essential service to that couple: it is a baker, one of dozens easily available in Colorado and eager for the business of the gay couple which were married, by the way, in Massachusetts, a state unlikely to have as many religious bakers as does Colorado.
But when the president needs support for his climate plan he calls upon the anti-capitalist Pope to rally his religious legions on the side of the American state. No separation allowed. And when the administration wanted to establish relations with a Cuban dictatorship still rounding up dissidents, it looked to Pope Francis for a blessing. And got it, presumably so that capitalist America could ship to the island the goods that would relieve the shortages inflicted on Cubans blessed to live in the Castros’ communist economy. Only the deeply cynical would claim that the Pope’s moral authority is less coercive than the legal authority of the state. Coercive separation or merger of church and state coercive power – whichever suits the administration’s needs.
We are indeed, one nation under God – some of the time.
2:04 PM, Aug 19, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Former Obama hand Dan Pfeiffer does some player evaluations on the political scene and comes up with this regarding Hillary Clinton:
“She isn’t as natural a politician as Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, but that’s like saying Scottie Pippen isn’t as talented as Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson …
2:37 PM, Aug 14, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama visited Kenya and Ethiopia during his recent trip to Africa, and the hotel bill for the president and his entourage totaled approximately $412,390.86 for the Ethiopia stay alone.
Hosted by Michael Graham.1:55 PM, Aug 14, 2015 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on whether or not the Obama White House will throw Clinton under the bus.
And what the next president can do about it.Aug 24, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 47 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The late great comedian Milton Berle, when introduced to an enthusiastically applauding audience, would hold up his left hand in a modest gesture as if to say thank you but that’s enough, and with his right hand held at waist level encouraged the audience to even wilder applause. President Obama has just accomplished a similar feat. With one hand he has delivered his Clean Power Plan, designed to reduce the use of our own resources of fossil fuels.
2:30 PM, Aug 7, 2015 • By BENJAMIN PARKER
President Obama defended the Iran deal at American University in Washington this week, inviting comparisons to President Kennedy’s address there in 1963.
2:36 PM, Aug 5, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
From Agency France-Presse:
President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday that Iran might use cash coming its way under sanctions relief to fund "terrorist organizations" but argued this is preferable to allowing it to develop nuclear arms.
Aug 10, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 45 • By MICHAEL MAKOVSKY and WILLIAM KRISTOL
In May, President Barack Obama donned a yarmulke and spoke in a Washington, D.C., synagogue. He reminded his audience that Jeffrey Goldberg, a member of the congregation, once called him the “first Jewish president.” He claimed to be flattered by the characterization. And perhaps he was—most Jews, after all, voted for him for president, and many Jews of Obama’s acquaintance have sometimes seemed to care more about the well-being of Planned Parenthood than about the survival of the state of Israel.
The president’s happy talk and sad resultsAug 10, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 45 • By MAX BOOT
President Obama is putting on the hard sell to market the nuclear deal he reached with Iran. On July 14, in announcing the agreement, he said: “This deal shows the real and meaningful change that American leadership and diplomacy can bring—change that makes our country and the world safer and more secure. We negotiated from a position of strength and principle—and the result is a nuclear deal that cuts off every pathway to a nuclear weapon.”
Aug 10, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 45 • By LEE SMITH
John Kerry is bullish on the Middle East. He believes that the Iran deal will make it possible for the White House and Tehran to tamp down wars in places like Syria and Yemen. And—who knows?—maybe even solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
5:05 PM, Jul 28, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Despite little national coverage, scandals surrounding former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson have been intensifying over past few months. Monday's report at Deadspin is a good place to start -- things have gotten so bad that Johnson's allies are accusing a local paper that's done a lot of damning reporting on Johnson of racism.
Obama’s besetting sin.Aug 3, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 44 • By FRED BARNES
The original sin of President Obama, politically speaking, was pushing his health care plan through Congress with Democratic votes alone. For rejecting even a veneer of bipartisanship, he and Democrats have paid an enormous price.
Our unpopular president.Aug 3, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 44 • By JAY COST
Barack Obama is not popular. This plain and simple fact may surprise those who read only legacy journalists, who often elide this inconvenient truth. A recent Associated Press write-up is illustrative:
Even as the public remains closely divided about his presidency, Barack Obama is holding on to his support from the so-called “Obama coalition” of minorities, liberals and young Americans, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows, creating an incentive for the next Democratic presidential nominee to stick with him and his policies.
Aug 3, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 44 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Iran deal turns out to be so no good, so very bad, so awfully ugly, that there is a chance—an outside chance—that a congressional process accepted by the administration because it seemed to virtually guarantee the deal’s survival might actually kill it instead.