March 5, 2019

Ilhan Omar Under Fire

“Leading House Democrats will offer a resolution Wednesday condemning anti-Semitism in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest remarks on Israel.” Omar was criticized after “remarks suggesting American supporters of Israel are pushing people to have ‘allegiance to a foreign country.’” AP News

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From the Left

The left is divided, with many accusing her of spreading anti-semitic tropes, while some contend that her remarks are being taken out of context.

Critics posit that “Muslims, more than any other group in the United States, are routinely accused of disloyalty. For Omar to turn around and use the same trope against others boggles the mind… Part of the far-right’s anti-Muslim bigotry is the slander that Muslims can’t hold office and won’t respect U.S. justice because they are loyal to Sharia law…

“The age-old ‘dual loyalty’ slander against American Jews is similar… Most American Jews are little more pleased with Israel’s current policies than Omar is. But those who support Israel’s policies aren’t disloyal to America. When Omar questions their patriotism, she is reading from the same bigoted playbook that launched Trump.”
Dana Milbank, Washington Post

These are specific and charged words, talking about a foreign ‘allegiance.’ ‘Allegiance’ has a specific and almost always exclusive meaning. If you look up the biography of a military leader you’ll see the country they serve is referred to as their 'allegiance.' It doesn’t [mean] ‘support’ or ‘consistent support’ or even ‘lockstep support’...

“Omar should be able to express criticism of Israeli policies and US policies of support toward the Israeli government without repeatedly waltzing into claims about dual loyalties or foreign allegiances… At this point, if it’s a confusion or misunderstanding it seems either willful or ingrained.”
Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

Others, however, argue that “the mainstream political establishment in the United States demands support and loyalty with regard to Israel, and that is all Omar was saying. Did we all forget that, just a few weeks ago, the Senate, in a 77-23 vote, passed a bill that included a highly constitutionally dubious provision allowing local governments to punish companies that back a boycott of Israel?”
Jack Mirkinson, Splinter

Some ask: “Has Aipac — founded more than 50 years ago to ‘strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship’ — become too powerful? And with that power, has Aipac warped the policy debate over Israel so drastically that dissenting voices are not even allowed to be heard?”
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right condemns Omar’s comments and is calling for her removal from the House foreign affairs committee.

From the Right

The right condemns Omar’s comments and is calling for her removal from the House foreign affairs committee.

“Omar is right that it is entirely legitimate to criticize U.S. policy towards Israel, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is her repeated suggestion that support for the current policy toward Israel is the product of Jewish money buying support and/or Jews who are more loyal to Israel’s interests than they are to those of the United States. Those claims are false and bigoted.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

American support for Israel is due to “shared values: liberal democracy, religious tolerance, a free press. These are values that contrast sharply with those of Israel’s neighbors — including the Palestinians. Moreover, Americans respect Israel because of its amazing success — politically, militarily, economically, and especially technologically. And Americans also respect Israel as a haven for oppressed Jews worldwide.”
Joel Pollak, Breitbart

“Jewish Americans by and large support Israel not out of ‘allegiance’ to Israel but because Israel protects victimized Jews all over the world, represents the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East, and provides valuable strategic partnership to the United States. But according to Omar and other anti-Semites, the only reason for American Jews to support Israel is because they are part of a secret club, disloyal to the United States and loyal only to the ethnic tribe.”
Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire

“Many efforts have been made to quietly address concerns with Omar in her district, in the halls of Congress, and by Democratic leaders. And no one is shutting down any debate. Omar and Tlaib haven’t themselves sought to debate ideas as much as vilify large groups of their own countrymen who think differently… How many anti-Semitic comments can Omar make before she’s ejected from the House Foreign Affairs Committee?”
Melissa Braunstein, The Federalist

“[Democrats] should name her in the resolution… A generic statement denouncing anti-semitism would be not just toothless but practically a gift to Omar: She’d vote for it, claiming that she never meant to impugn all Jews (just the ones who support Israel!), and would then point back to that vote any time in the future that she’s accused of anti-semitism.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Man lost in snow for five days survived on Taco Bell sauce packets.
Fox 29

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