Patterico's Pontifications


U.S. Abstains From U.N. Vote, Or As Jonah Goldberg Puts It: Obama’s One Last Flip Of The Bird To Israel

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]


In an unprecedented diplomatic rebuke of Israel, the United States abstained Friday on a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, allowing the highly charged measure to pass.

The resolution was approved 14-0 with the one abstention. The vote was greeted with loud applause in the packed Security Council chamber.

The measure demands Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” It declares the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Samantha Power, ambassador to the U.N., (ironically) attempted to reassure Israel of continued support of the U.S. support:

“The U.S. has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for five decades,” Power said.

Settlement activity, she added, “harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”

At the same time, she said, “Our vote does not in any way diminish our steadfast and unparalleled commitment to the security of Israel.” Israel, she noted, “faces very serious threats in a very tough neighborhood.”

President-elect Trump, who had publicly pressured President Obama to veto the resolution, took to Twitter in response to the vote:


Finally, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to remain fiercely defiant in the face of resolution:


Oh, and unbelievably, today President Obama marked the start of Hanukkah tomorrow, offering his good wishes to all who celebrate:

As night falls over each of the next eight days, Jews in the United States, Israel and around the world will gather to light their Hanukkah menorahs, display them proudly in the window and recall the miracles of both ancient times and the present day.

For more than two millennia, the story of Hanukkah has reminded the world of the Jewish people’s perseverance and the persistence of faith, even against daunting odds.


A Call For Trump To Derail Obama’s Midnight Regulation Express

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:54 am

[guest post by Dana]

The immensely ungracious exit of President Obama deserves this spot-on gutting:

Barack Obama isn’t known for humility, though rarely has his lack of grace been more on display than in his final hours in office. The nation rejected his agenda. The president’s response? To shove more of that agenda down the nation’s gullet.

Notice the growing and many ugly ways the Obama administration is actively working to undermine a Donald Trump presidency. Unnamed administration sources whisper stories about Russian hackers to delegitimize Mr. Trump’s election. These whispers began at about the same time Hillary Clinton officials began pressuring electors to defy election results and deny Mr. Trump the presidency. How helpful.

Trump transition-team members report how Obama officials are providing them with skewed or incomplete information, as well as lectures about their duties on climate change. (No wonder Mr. Trump is bypassing those “official” intelligence briefings.) The Energy Department is refusing to provide the transition team with the names of career officials who led key programs, like those who attended U.N. climate talks. Sen. Ron Johnson recently sent a letter to President Obama voicing alarm over “burrowing,” in which political appointees, late in an administration, convert to career bureaucrats and become obstacles to the new political appointees.

But perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him “enough.”

The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.

Mr. Obama has devoted his last year to ramming through controversial and far-reaching rules. Whether it was born of a desire to lay groundwork for a Clinton presidency, or as a guard against a Trump White House, the motive makes no difference. According to a Politico story of nearly a year ago, the administration had some 4,000 regulations in the works for Mr. Obama’s last year. They included smaller rules on workplace hazards, gun sellers, nutrition labels and energy efficiency, as well as giant regulations (costing billions) on retirement advice and overtime pay.

As a reminder, throughout his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly committed to eliminating a vast number of regulations and reducing the size of bloated government. He has also proposed a 2-for-1 policy:

I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. So important.

While Strassel points out that President Obama hopes intends to make these changes too difficult to undue, she encourages the incoming president to make it happen, and points out why it would be in America’s best interest:

A Trump administration could send a powerful message to future presidents and build public support by highlighting the “midnight regulation” phenomenon and then making it a priority to ax every final Obama order. Single them out. Make a public list. Celebrate every repeal. That would be as profound a rebuke to the Obama legacy—a legacy based on abuse of power—as any other.

Oh, and amusingly, there is this:

The new Trump administration will find a steadily moving and proper regulatory review process in place, not a lot of messy, badly done leftovers for them to deal with, said Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

“We are overwhelmingly a career staff organization,” Shelanski told Bloomberg BNA in a Dec. 5 interview in his office. “We will not be leaving behind a mess to be cleaned up on the regulatory front.”


Keeping Up with the DNC

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:10 am

[guest post by JVW]

We are now two months away from the Democrat National Committee convening in the aftermath of their disastrous 2016 elections and selecting a new chairman/chairwoman/chairperson (I’m on an inclusion kick this morning). Since this promises to be an interesting contest with major implications on the party’s direction as they rebuild in the post-Obama era, let’s recap some of the scuttlebutt about how this race is shaping up.

Powerline has been tracking the candidacy of Minnesota Congressman, Keith Ellison, who is seeking to be the first Muslim to assume the chairmanship. This candidacy involves repudiating his past involvement with groups such as the Nation of Islam while simultaneously downplaying his allegiance to controversial Muslim advocacy organizations like CAIR and the Muslim American Society. Though the darling of progressives who are devoted to grievance group mollification and would like nothing more than to check multiple boxes on the diversity list, Rep. Ellison is being treated warily by Jewish groups and trade unions. After the disastrous leadership of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a woman whose qualifications seemed to consist entirely of being Jewish and female, the professionals seem to want a more steady and reliable hand on the tiller, not another winner of the diversity sweepstakes.

An early challenger to Rep. Ellison was former DNC chairman, former Vermont Governor, and former Presidential primary candidate, Howard Dean, who headed up the DNC in its glory years when it captured the House and Senate in 2006 and then expanded upon those gains during the coronation of Barack Obama two years later. Under Chairman Dean, the DNC instituted a “50-state policy” in which the Democrats made a concerted effort to expand their party beyond urban strongholds and coastal states and attract appealing candidates in the upper-Midwest and the South, even if it meant soft-pedaling the party’s traditional support for gun control, abortion, gay rights, and other divisive social topics. At the same time, Chairman Dean provided shrill criticism of the Bush Administration and Republicans, but managed to avoid hamstringing the races of moderate members of his party (that of course could just go to show how unpopular the Bush administration had become in its second term). Dean was probably the most likely candidate to return the Democrats to a big tent philosophy, but alas, he seems to have not gained any traction and has thus abandoned his candidacy.

So that seems to leave Thomas Perez, the former Obama Administration Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and later Secretary Labor, as the strongest challenger to Ellison. Perez checks a diversity box and as a Hispanic would provide the DNC with a valuable “first” for a grievance group that is way larger and more influential than Muslims, but he’s another Washington insider who doesn’t seem to have any plan for attracting blue-collar workers and social moderates back into the party’s fold. Interestingly enough, the Ellison vs. Perez race is shaping up as a proxy battle between the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren crowd (with the curious backing of Chuck Schumer) who favors Ellison and the Barack Obama crowd who favors Perez. It is noteworthy that no one seems particularly interested in discovering who is the favored candidate among the Clinton crowd. For the record, the state party chairs from Idaho, South Carolina, and New Hampshire are also running, perhaps in the hope that one of them emerges as a compromise candidate.

It’s difficult seeing either Ellison or Perez appealing to the voter who has grown tired of the Democrats’ dalliance with Occupy protests, campus crybullies, Black Lives Matter, transgender bathroom advocates, and the rest of the grievance left agenda. On other political blogs, many conservative commenters have welcomed the Democrats’ retreat into their insular progressive bubble where there can be no rational dissent to their leftward lurch, but I don’t think it bodes very well for our country. A Republican Congressional majority with a Republican President needs a legitimate and serious opposition party to temper some of its dumber ideas (bans on flag burning being a prime example), and the GOP tends to grow intellectually flabby (see the Bush years, 2003-2007) when the opposition is busy shooting themselves in the foot. Regardless of my hopes, it appears that the Democrats are bound to get worse before they can start to get better.


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