The Bookworm Beat (10/23/14) — Mega giga woppa edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo time to talk. I’ll just dive right in.

The Canadian shooter: “Fox Butterfield, is that you?”

If you recognize the quoted phrase above, it’s because you’ve seen it often enough in James Taranto’s Best of the Web. The “Fox Butterfield Fallacy,” Taranto explains, “consists in misidentifying as a paradox what is in fact a simple cause-and-effect relationship.” Butterfield routinely committed such fallacies, with his most famous being one form or another of this “paradox”: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Canadian man who killed a 24-year-old member of the Canadian army, was a recent Muslim convert who came from a wealthy, politically connected family. Those two facts yielded this Fox Butterfield gem from the Daily Mail: “He had his passport seized after being designated a ‘high-risk traveler’ – despite his mother being on Canada’s immigration board.” (Emphasis mine.)

Why do I consider that sentence a Fox Butterfield fallacy? Because it shouldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the most violent Islamists so often come from politically well-connected — i.e., Leftist — families.

A few other things of interest from that same article about Zehaf-Bibeau: His father was in fact Libyan, which means Dad was probably Muslim, and abandoned the family in 1999 to go fight in Libya. One can only imagine the effect that had on young Michael.  After all, look at how Barack Obama, despite losing contact with his father at only 3 months, has spent his entire life trying to recreate in America is father’s imagined Communist paradise.

It’s also telling that Zehaf-Bibeau was a criminal who rotated in and out of prison. Let me quote (again) what my cousin, a former Christian prison chaplain, had to say about convicts who convert to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

All of us here have also noticed that what stopped Zehaf-Bibeau was a gun. The only thing that ever stops a shooter is a gun, whether he turns his own gun on himself when his spree ends or whether someone else (a policeman or an armed citizen) shoots him.

And of couse, as Sadie already pointed out, Obama instantly hedged his bets by calling the shooting either terrorism or “senseless violence”:

President Obama also spoke about what he called the ‘tragic’ situation in Canada, saying ‘we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.’

In Obama’s America, if it’s not politically expedient to exploit a shooting or bombing incident — as is the case when there’s a Muslim perpetrator — the Obama lexicon invariably insists upon the “senseless violence” formulation.

I’m quite sure that, even as Canada immediately called the attack “terrorism,” the ongoing White House investigation will inevitably lead to a conclusion about a lone, deranged gunman who completely coincidentally had converted to Islam.

Barack Obama: Master political manipulator

During the Bush era, his opponents went back and forth between calling him a moron and a Machiavellian genius. It’s hard not to do the same with Obama. On the one hand, one sees the way in which he’s managed to muck up every aspect of running the American government; on the other hand, as Caroline Glick demonstrates, he’s been absolutely masterful at manipulating the political system when it comes to Iran and Israel.

A unifying theory could be that Obama is an anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic Fox-Piven acolyte. In other words, he acts with heightened skill vis-a-vis Israel and Iran, because that skill is necessary to destroy the one and elevate the other. Meanwhile, to the extent that his Fox-Piven goal is to bring American to her knees (or lower), the best tactic is to act with diminished skill, thereby allowing America to implode.  In other words, he applies his political skills selectively to reward and punish various nations, including our own.

John Oliver does something good

I find John Oliver distasteful. He’s a self-described angry Leftist who now has his own bully pulpit on HBO. In addition to not appreciating Oliver’s politics, I also dislike his style, which consists of an endless stream of awkward similes, invariably laced with profanities, that make his properly-primed audience roar with sycophantic laughter.

Having said that, Oliver does occasionally get things right — as, for example, when he tackles the problem of Afghani and Iraqi military interpreters who put their own and their family’s lives at risk to help the American military, only to see the American State Department abandon them to face Islamic terrorism on their own (language warning):

This is an issue that military and conservative bloggers have been agitating about for years.  It took way too long for it to cross over to the mainstream media, but I’m not going to complain when a Leftist media outlet finally picks up on and disseminates an important story.

While I’m not generally a fan of increased Muslim immigration into a country, since there’s no doubt that many Muslims resist assimilation and seek, instead, to expand the caliphate, these translators have proven many times over their willingness to support America.  It’s unconscionable that, even as we allow millions of Latin Americans to swarm illegally into our country, these men are left to die at Islamist hands.

I don’t know how useful internet petitions are, but if you’d like to sign one on behalf of Mohammad Usafi, you can go here to do so.

Let’s call those “ISIS” fighters by a name they really deserve

There is movement afoot amongst Muslims to deny ISIS the right to call itself “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “IS” or “the Islamic State” or anything else that, merely by being used, seems to accept that rabble’s self-designation as the new caliphate:

Whether referred to as ISIS, ISIL, or IS, all three names reflect aspirations that the United States and its allies unequivocally reject. Political and religious leaders all over the world have noted this. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “This is a terrorist group and not a state. . . the term Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists.” President Obama made similar remarks saying, “ISIL is not Islamic . . . and [is] certainly not a state.”

Muslims opposed to allowing ISIS its name of choice suggest, instead, “Daesh”:

The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is still accurate in that it spells out the acronym of the group’s full Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Yet, at the same time, “Daesh” can also be understood as a play on words — and an insult. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Already, the group has reportedly threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term.

I’m all for calling the group by a name that enrages them, but I’m thinking we’d do even better by calling them by a descriptive name. I suggested to a friend that we call them “HG” for “human garbage” but, after he questioned their humanity, we agreed that calling them “GARBAGE” would suffice.

Why are women turning to Islam?

Our own David Foster has a post that offers a compelling rationale for the peculiarly high number of Western women, especially young women, who are converting to Islam and following the GARBAGE crew in Iraq. Check it out.

Rebutting yet another Roosevelt era trope

In The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes convincingly established that Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t save the country from the Depression, it worsened the Depression.

It’s been so long since I read her book, though, that I cannot remember whether Shlaes tackled what finally ended the Depression. What I was taught in school, and what Paul Krugman loves to repeat, is that it was World War II that ended the Depression, which is why Krugman thinks some horrible disaster would be just the perfect antidote to our current sluggish economy.

Apparently at Princeton the students and teacher have never learned about the Parable of the Broken Window, which Frédéric Bastiat articulated in an 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen):

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

War is just window-breaking on a grand scale.

Stephen Moore, using actual data rather than political myth, explains that what actually ended the Depression were post-war tax policies:

Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

Of course, even with all the data in the world, you’ll never convince Krugman that his Keynesianism is wrong. He’s invested in the disaster theory of improving economies, and he’s not going to back out of it now or ever.

It’s also a myth that American executives get paid so much more than their employees

While it’s quite possible that the CEO of a big American company gets paid 331 times as much as the part-time janitor working weekends (especially the part-time janitor working weekends in the company’s Dehli office), it’s not true that, on average, American CEOs make 331 times more than ordinary employees. This particular “income inequality” myth is just another story from the same people who brought you the “New Deal worked” myth, the “one in five women are raped on campus” myth, the “women earn 72 cents on the dollar compared to men” myth, the “American healthcare is the worst in the Western world” myth, the “Climate Change” myth, and all the other untrue stories that control our politics and drive our spending.

In fact, while the average executive earns more than the average American worker, the ratio is fairly reasonable:

The AFL-CIO calculated a pay gap based on a very small sample—350 CEOs from the S&P 500. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 248,760 chief executives in the U.S. in 2013.

The BLS reports that the average annual salary for these chief executives is $178,400, which we can compare to the $35,239-per-year salary the AFL-CIO uses for the average American worker. That shrinks the executive pay gap from 331-to-1 down to a far less newsworthy number of roughly five-to-one.

Read more here.

Paul Krugman — butt head rebutted

You’re correct that I don’t usually call people “butt heads.” I just couldn’t resist that word-play here, though, because I have two links rebutting Krugman’s most recent act of stupidity. And yes, I know Krugman was once a well-regarded economist who won the Pulitzer Prize.  Now, however, he’s a doddering fool who is not deserving of any respect. There’s just no other way to say it.

Both rebuttal posts relate to a Krugman column attacking Amazon as a monopolist. Arnold Ahlert points out that Krugman’s argument boils down to this: Krugman can’t point to any specific monopolistic act on Amazon’s part, but it must be a monopoly because it keeps prices low and, worse, gives customers good access to conservative-themed books. Ahlert’s takedown is a delight.

Also delightful is a letter that Donald J. Boudreaux (Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University) wrote to the New York Times. Boudreaux takes Krugman to task for repeating Progressive myths about the government’s war against Standard Oil back around the turn of the last century:

Serious students of Standard’s practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries understand that complaints against that company came overwhelmingly from other refiners who couldn’t match Standard’s great efficiencies. Yet no complaints came from consumers. Standard made them overwhelmingly better off – which is compelling evidence that Standard did not have monopoly power.

I love the subtle insult there, about Krugman being anything but a serious student of American economic history.

Not only is it a lie that global warming is humankind’s fault, it’s a lie that there is global warming

John Coleman, the meteorologist who founded the weather channel, is once again fighting the good fight to say that the global warming theory is bunk. Every one of the global warming predictions has been wrong but, rather than conceding that it’s a theory failed, its proponents simply change its name (“climate change”) and double down on their insistence that we humans are causing something very bad to happen. If only there was a way to cut through the Leftist media noise and get more people to heed Coleman’s words about the climatistas’ many failed prophecies:

In an open letter attacking the UN, the 80-year-old from San Diego, said that what ‘little evidence’ there is for global warming points to natural cycles in temperature.
‘There is no climate crisis,’ he wrote. ‘The ocean is not rising significantly. The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar bears are increasing in number.

‘Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms.

‘I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.’

More evidence to support the theory that Leftism is a mental illness

I’m not going to spend any time whatsoever analyzing Katrina vanden Heuvel’s hysterical screed explaining all the apocalyptic disasters that will instantly unfold if, God forbid, the Republicans take Congress. I’m simply offering the link to you as further evidence supporting the theory that people with mental problems find something comforting in Leftism, including the opportunity to have their paranoid fears taken seriously.

There’s something squirrelly about that “Norwegian” wilderness company….

Do you remember reading about the Amaruk Wilderness Corp., a supposedly Norwegian wilderness company operating in Canada, that sent vile emails to a job candidate who had attended a Christian college? It turns out that, as is often the case when Leftists go off the rails, there’s more to the story:

As more women who received bizarre and inappropriate responses to their job applications to wilderness company Amaruk come forward, efforts to reach the company’s CEO have left CBC News questioning whether the business and its jobs even exist.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. hit headlines this week after CBC News reported on a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint, in which a Trinity Western University graduate — Bethany Paquette — claims her application to work for the company was rejected because she’s Christian.

Since Paquette’s complaint was reported, CBC News has heard from other applicants, including Lucie Clermont, who applied to Amaruk last year for a job listed as the executive assistant to the CEO, which promised a $120,000 salary and world travel.

Clermont’s application was met with a number of emails asking awkward questions — some of them sexual — followed by more that became insulting.

[snip]

Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen and Dwayne Kenwood -Bjørnsenare are listed as co-CEOs of Amaruk along with several other businesses, including Norealis, Spartic and Militis.

But the men do not live in Europe and they are not diplomats. And if Olaf Amundsen — the man who allegedly sent Paquette the offensive emails — is real, the picture of him on the company website is not. In fact, it’s an image grabbed from social media site Pinterest.

Read the rest here.

I wouldn’t keep someone evil as a friend either

A phrase I first learned in Texas, and have heard repeatedly since then, is that “Republicans think Democrats are misguided, while Democrats think Republicans are evil.” That statement isn’t meant to encompass the leadership of either party. Instead, it applies to the rank-and-file. Thus, while I believe that my lovely neighbors, none of whom are deep thinkers, are seriously misguided to cling to the Democrat party, if they were to know that I’m conservative, the greater likelihood is that they’d think I’m a hate-filled, racist, misogynistic, homophobic evil person.

No wonder, then, that Leftists are more likely to unfriend people who have the temerity to put up conservative-themed posts on their Facebook walls. It’s not just that the Leftists do not want to read or think about opposing viewpoints. It’s also that they know, deep in their hearts, that no decent human being could have an “evil” Facebook friend.

There’s a new politically incorrect “Dracula” movie in the making….

The Victorians were big on ghost and horror stories, so I always assumed that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was just one of the better, more timeless horror stories, riffing off of the vicious reputation of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Central European monarch with a taste for impaling his enemies. When Hollywood cast Bela Lugosi as Dracula, the thick Hungarian accent was an homage to Vlad’s role in Dracula’s creation.

Had I been fortunate enough to go to school in the era of political correctness, I would have learned that all my assumptions, despite being based upon actual, like, you know, historical records, were wrong. Instead, Dracula, one of the great Victorian horror stories, was really an extended meditation on open border policies in the second half of the 19th century. Savvy Victorian readers instantly picked up on the subliminal trope that Russian and other Central European immigrants were sucking their blood.

Whatever.

Thankfully, it appears that Dracula is getting yet another makeover, and this one reflects a difference historic fact about Vlad the Impaler that was ignored for many decades: His brutality had a very specific cause and a very specific target — fighting Islamic jihadists who had once held him hostage who sought to incorporate all of Christian Europe into their planned universal caliphate.

Here’s the buzz about Dracula Untold:

Probably the most intriguing part of this reboot, for fans of the original novel and all its myriad remakes throughout the past century, is the way this film turns its evil, fanged impostor into a hero.

[snip]

In this version of the story, Transylvania is under attack by Mehmet, the Turkish Sultan’s military leader. And nothing could be more upsetting to old Vlad than to find Turks on his land. That’s because when Vlad was a child, the Sultan demanded tribute in the form of strapping young boys to fill out his troops — and Vlad’s father handed his son over to the Turkish, to be raised alongside Mehmet in the Ottoman Empire’s army. Of course, Vlad was the biggest badass the Turks had ever seen, which is how he became known as “the Impaler.”

Now he’s been allowed to return home to his family, his military service over. Unfortunately, the Sultan is looking for troops again, and he’s demanding 1,000 boys (including Vlad’s son). Which is why Vlad decides he needs a supernatural power-up from a mythical blood-sucker living in the mountains above his castle. Turns out that Tywin Lannister is up there, vamping it up in every sense of the word, and he offers Vlad a bargain. He’ll give Vlad some vampire juice so he can be superpowered for three days, and Vlad will return to being human if he can resist drinking somebody else’s warm, tasty blood.

And thus begins the fun of the film, which is ultimately all about how a nice Christian prince turns himself into a demon to destroy a Muslim army.

io9, from which the above summary comes, repeatedly calls this new version just as racist as the old version. (“Not to put too fine a point on it, the answer is a racism update.”) I don’t know. I see both the original versions and the current versions as two sides of the historic coin. The old version focused on Vlad’s Central European lineage and brutal reputation, while the current version focuses on the fact that he’s still a hero in Central Europe for having saved his subjects from Muslim depredations. And frankly, as we all get to watch ISIS (aka GARBAGE) engage in all sorts of depredations, the current version, except for the vampire stuff, sounds pretty darn accurate to me.

Everything you need to know about American education in one Cato chart

Trends in American public schooling

Read more here.

Krakatoa’s big bang

I already knew that Krakatoa was the loudest sound ever recorded on earth. It wasn’t necessarily the loudest sound ever (indeed, it probably wasn’t the loudest sound ever) but, back in 1883, it erupted just as Victorians were become extremely serious about obsessive record keeping. This means that, when Victorian diarists heard the sound (no matter where in the world they were located), they recorded the sound in their diaries, along with the date, time, and estimated volume. Thanks to those records, one can piece together the fact that the sound wave from the eruption circumnavigated the globe four times.

Kottke does a great job of explaining just how loud Krakatoa was. Even more helpfully, the post includes a video of a very small eruption in Papua New Guinea that nevertheless had an impressive sound wave.

The Bookworm Beat (10/22/14) — the end of email illustrated edition (and Open Thread)

I did it! I went through all umpteen hundred emails in all my accounts and I feel positively purified. I also have twenty-seven tabs open, all of them with content that’s just begging to go into a round-up. This is not that round-up. Instead, while I work on that round-up, I have wonderful pictures from Caped Crusader, Sadie, and Raymond Jelli. Aren’t I blessed?

Allen West on the Marines and freedom

Sincere compliment on Mustache

Koala and gun

It's all under control

Gowdy owes fealty to facts

Liberals blame gun conservatives blame criminal

Aldous Huxley on ignoring facts

Nixon and Clinton faced impeachment for less than Obama

Gowdy on the constitution

Reagan on the constitution and prayer

Liberal is man who gives away things he doesn't own

Friedman on permanence of temporary government programs

Clinton Eastwood on fraud of Obama presidency

Eleanor Roosevelt gun owner

James Woods won't give up on Benghazi

Email clearance Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556

Two-hundred emails down, another one-hundred-fifty to go. While I struggle through the list, and apologize profusely to all the people I wrongly neglected, please enjoy this Open Thread. Oh, and some music:

I love that image of a bird “throwing his heart at the sky.”

Watcher’s Council nominations for October 22, 2014

Watcher's Council logoWatcher’s Council members are once again considering their weekly nominations and, as always, it’s a choice between fabulous, wonderful, and incredible, all of which can make voting quite the challenge. Before you dive into the nominations, there are a couple more things you might like to consider: (1) the Watcher’s Council forum about Obama’s response to EbOla (and I’m sorry to say, I did not participate); and (2) the candidates for “Weasel of the Week.”

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

The Bookworm Beat (10/21/14) — Still catching up with email edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingIt’s always the same: Over the weekend, because of family demands, I get almost no time at my computer, and my email starts to back up. By Tuesday, between my two email accounts, I have several hundred unread emails. I then do the logical thing: I cravenly avoid my computer. Finally, late on Tuesday or perhaps by Wednesday, my conscience finally catches up with me and I embark on a frenzy of responding to emails, reading articles, and posting.

I’m heading for my frenzy now, although I’m somewhat hamstrung by the various drives I have to make on behalf of young people who cannot drive themselves. By the time you read this post, I’ll have been working on it intermittently for several hours, so I sure hope it’s good.

An obligatory comment about Monica Lewinsky

She still loves Bill; Drudge destroyed her life; and it’s everyone’s fault but her own that her life imploded when her affair with the president went public. Even the world’s smallest violin is too big and noisy to express how little I feel for Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky wasn’t 15 when she embarked on an affair with Clinton, in which case the fault would be entirely his. She was 24, by which time she was old enough to have a moral compass that said “You don’t have an affair with a married man,” and also old enough to have figured out that, considering that her partner in adultery was the president of the United States, when/if the fecal matter finally hit the fan, it would be a Cat 5 fecal storm.

It was not Matt Drudge’s fault; it was not the “bullying” media’s fault; it was not Lucianne Goldberg’s fault; it was not even Hillary’s fault, much as I would love to blame her just because I don’t like her: it was Monica’s fault and Bill’s fault, and neither is excused by the bad behavior of the other. Both behaved immorally, both tempted fate, and both got caught.

The only thing that’s really unfair is that Bill didn’t end up as ignominiously as Monica did. Apparently the party that oh-so-valiantly fights for women everywhere (as long as they’re not in politically correct Muslim countries or homes) was happy to kick Monica to the curb, while feting and enriching and even worshiping the man who let her take the fall.

How the New York Times is spinning WMDs

Up until Bush actually invaded Iraq, everyone and his uncle thought that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Indeed, as the New York Times recently made clear, everyone and his uncle (at least if they worked in the American government) knew that Hussein had WMDs . . . because the US had given them to Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. With this knowledge finally out there, Bush ought to be vindicated and the Democrats ought to be ashamed, except that in the looking glass world of American politics, that’s not what’s happening.

Presumably because of embarrassment about having given these WMDs to Hussein, during the Iraq War the Pentagon kept their discovery a secret, even though revealing them would have vindicated the decision to go to war. Meanwhile, back in the present, following Obama’s pullout from Iraq, leaving it ripe for ISIS, the New York Times is saying that these particular WMDs don’t count, precisely because they were old and American, rather than shiny new and Iraqi.  I’m unclear on why they’re less WMD for this reason, but there you have it. (If you see the NYT’s author, C.J. Chivers, on The Colbert Report, he makes this point explicit.)

So, in a swirl of finger-pointing, embarrassment, and misdirection, we once again lose sight of the main point: Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Sure, we gave them to him when he was sort of our ally, but the fear in 2003 was that, when he turned out to be our enemy, he might use our weapons against us — kind of like it’s reasonable to fear now that ISIS will use against us the American weapons that the US military accidentally delivered into its hands (if ISIS reports are accepted as true).

VDH has more on the whole WMD story.

On immigration and amnesty, the only word I can think of is “impeachment”

I don’t need to say anything. Drudge says it all:

Fullscreen capture 10212014 40850 PM.bmp

Oh, and I guess impeachment is the word I’m thinking of when it comes to Obama’s attempt to evade Congressional scrutiny of his deal with Iran.  I certainly can’t think of any decent, upright, moral, pro-America, pro-ally reason for him to do that.

A few words about ISIS’s latest video

The latest ISIS-released video gets me back to a point I’ve made before about ISIS. This particular video shows a father leading the charge when it comes to stoning his daughter to death for dishonoring the family through alleged adultery.  Other than those specifics, though, it’s pure ISIS:  Men torturing and murdering women, children, teenagers, and other men.

What makes ISIS different from all other torturers in the modern era is that other bad actors tried to hide their barbarism from the world at large (although they rubbed their own people’s nose in it to make sure the people stayed at heel).

The Soviet Union hid its terrors in the Kremlin basement and in Siberian gulags. When Westerners came to town, the Soviets showed their shiny happy face. The same holds true today when visitors go to Cuba or North Korea: they get taken on the rounds of all the polished, “successful” looking communities, while the government hides the fear, poverty, and despair that underpins its regime. (Think too of the Potemkin walls China put up around ghettos in Beijing for the Olympics.) The Nazis, even though they used fear to control people within their territory, were secretive about their most foul plans.  The most grotesque emanations of their foul ideology took place Gestapo headquarters in occupied territory or in concentration camps.

But not ISIS. The videos we see of beheadings and stonings and crucifixions aren’t copies smuggled out of occupied territory by resistance groups trying to make the world aware that ISIS is a truly terrible entity. Instead, ISIS proudly circulates these videos to the four corners of the earth.

The word “proud” is important. ISIS doesn’t distribute these snuff films merely to strike fear in the hearts of weak Westerners. It does so because, just as we promote the products of our factories, singers, dancers, intellectuals, painters, and architects because our own sensibility says that these products reflect well on us, ISIS believes that it is showing its best face when it crucifies teenagers, beheads babies, or makes a party out of a father stoning his own daughter to death.

To ISIS, snuff films are the good stuff that they have to offer:  “You can go to New York, and all that you’ll see are some big buildings, shows, art work, and a tall green woman on an island. But if you come to Iraq, you’ll get to kill people in the most brutal way possible. ISIS: It’s the Islamic vacation paradise!”

In 2001, Holiday Inn accurately predicted the US response to Ebola:

From Maetenloch, at Ace of Spades:

Mark Steyn was prescient too….

While we’re talking about successful tea-leaf reading, Ed Driscoll says that Mark Steyn accurately, yet satirically, predicted Monica Lewinsky’s retrospective about her moment of infamy.

The Lewinsky essay appears in Steyn’s new book, The [Un]Documented Mark Steyn, a collection of his essays. At $29.95, the autographed hardback isn’t cheap but, if you buy it, you’ll not only get a great book with Steyn’s signature, but you’ll also help fund his continued litigation against unrivaled fraudster, Michael Mann (of the false hockey stick climate change canard).

I have to admit that I’ll be waiting for the Kindle version. Because of the arthritis in my wrists, I no longer want big, heavy books. They’re just too hard to hold. And because of my vision, which is about 20/2000 along with age-related far-sightedness, I like the way Kindle allows me to make my text nice and big. I console myself that, when I buy the Kindle version (assuming there is one) some part of that purchase price will still make it into Steyn’s pocket.

The LGBTQ mafia goes after Robert Oscar Lopez

If the name Robert Oscar Lopez is familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve read his articles over at American Thinker. Lopez, a bisexual English professor who was raised by two moms, opted for traditional marriage. Indeed, he and his wife just had their second child. Unfortunately for Lopez, he’s a man of conscience and, with the societal elevation of same-sex couples who adopt, special order, or use egg or sperm donated babies, he’s bravely asserted that same-sex parenting shouldn’t be encouraged. According to Lopez, same-sex homes are not like other homes and it’s unfair to bring a child into that environment. As a result, he’s become one of the most reviled men in America, insofar as the LGBTQ lobby is targeting him in the most vicious and inciteful terms imaginable.

As between bad foster care and a loving same-sex couple, I think it’s a no-brainer. But there’s a lot weirdness about same-sex couples who sort of create their own babies. I know a lesbian couple that had a gay friend inseminate the more feminine half of the couple. The resulting baby was a boy. The moms are good women and very attentive parents, except that the woman who bore him hates men so much that she cannot stand to have her own son touch her. Meanwhile the other partner also hates men with ferocity, so she’s remarkably cool about the kid. What kind of a home life is that?

When I read the news, I know that biological mixed sex parents can be pretty horrible too. Nevertheless, history and data tell us that the worst situation happens to the step child or, in our non-marrying age, the child living with a boyfriend who hasn’t even married his mother. Adults in a household with a non-biological child seem to yield to some atavistic imperative to stomp out this vulnerable creature that doesn’t have their genetic lineage. I can’t imagine that doesn’t hold true for same-sex couples too.

And a little child shall lead them

If I were a political candidate, I wouldn’t necessarily listen to a 20-year-old college student giving me advice about employment policies, nuclear negotiations, or executive management. I would definitely listen to that same college student, though, for advice about how to communicate with the youth of his generation. And finally, Republican politicians seem to be figuring out that, when it comes to political messaging, it is indeed a little child who shall lead them.

An Ebola timeline

One of the first things I do when I write a legal brief is create a timeline. Seeing how events relate to each other in time can be quite edifying, and it can expose unexpected strengths and weaknesses in ones case. Sharyl Attkisson has performed this useful task for Ebola, putting together a nice neat timeline showing America’s relationship to the virus since July of this year.

John Wick

I can’t figure out if John Wick is just a garden variety thriller, a trashy blood-fest, or something else. And doesn’t it really matter when it has Keanu? I actually probably won’t see it because I never see movies (Mr. Bookworm frowns on the expense and I’m loath to send money to Hollywood anyway), but a Keanu movie is always tempting….

Pictures

Some are my finds, most are from Caped Crusader, and some are from Sadie:

Charlton Heston political correctness tyranny with manners

Traitors in America join Dem party -- Kerry and Fonda

Sowell on Obama's care for Africans not Americans

Al Sharpton and Jeffrey Dahmer

Liberals investigate traffic jams not assassinations

RG III on political correctness

Reagan Republican extremists win

Kurdish v American feminists

Islam demands beheading

Yesterday's ally is today's enemy

Hazmat suit cartoon

Franklin Graham no sharia in America

JFK opposed high taxes

Truth wasn't included in the equation

The jihad isn't over it's at the infiltration phase

D'Souza I told you so

Are you more likely to be infected or beheaded than you were six years ago

The only two reasons for federal list of gun owners

City of Houston free speech enforcement

Vets before illegals

Obama baloney

Washington Obama and Biden on the truth

Ron Klain covers Obama's butt

Moderate Muslims demonstrating for peace

Ebola Response Team

[VIDEO] Dancing With The Stars: Sadie Robertson finally brings class back to Rumba

When I watch Dancing With The Stars, I never watch the Rumba.  Invariably, there’s no line between sexy and sleazy, so I always feel like a peeping Tom, watching a bedroom ritual. Certainly there’s never room at all for elegance and romance.  That is, until Sadie Robertson does the Rumba, which Mark Ballas choreographed beautifully with respect for Sadie’s strong religious and moral beliefs. Fred and Ginger could have done this without embarrassment:

[VIDEO] Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech turns 50 on Monday

Reagan A Time For Choosing October 27 1964Everyone who listens to Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” is struck by another “time” aspect: The speech is timeless. Sure, details have changed here and there (mostly the details with dollar signs in front of them), but already on October 27, 1964, Reagan clearly delineated the difference between a political ideology that sought to subordinate the individual to the state and an ideology that sought to subordinate the state to the individual.

Moreover, being Reagan, without fatally simplifying these complex  ideas, he was able to present them in clear, image-rich language that made them accessible to everyone who was willing to listen. It’s a great skill to distill the essence of complex ideas while retaining clarity.

With polls open today and the full election in two weeks, this is a good time for people to remind themselves about the difference between freedom and freedom’s alternative:  something that starts off looking like a gilded cage (which is bad enough, unless one doesn’t mind cages), but that ends up looking remarkably like a shabby socialist prison.

One other thing:  I was originally going to save this link for a round-up, but it somehow seems more appropriate here, perhaps because it’s the ridiculous following the sublime. My brilliant friend Tom Elias has taken a stab at updating Shelley’s Ozymandias.. You will be cheating yourself out of a great pleasure if you don’t check out his efforts.

[VIDEO] Remy Munasifi brings his conservative, satirical music chops to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”

This video has a can’t-miss combination: Remy Munasifi’s clever political satire, Taylor Swift’s bouncy melody, and Obama Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s increasingly unavailing attempts to hide the avalanche of lies, corruption, incompetence, and missteps coming from the Obama White House.

[VIDEO] Derryck Green of Project 21 identifies the real racists in our society

Derryck Green, of Project 21, makes a point that all of us here already know, which is that conservatives treat members of other races like human beings, while Leftists (no matter whether they call themselves liberals or Democrats or Progressives) treat them like slightly stupid children who can be bribed in exchange for votes. What makes this video worth watching, considering that we already agree with the ultimate point, is the clarity with which Green makes his argument:

In Idaho, gay marriage is in direct conflict with religious rights under the First Amendment

(Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto)

(Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto)

Since the first minute gay marriage appeared on the horizon, I’ve steadfastly argued that gay marriage will inevitably create a clash between newly discovered Constitutional rights that the Founders could never have envisioned and core, explicit Constitutional rights, such as the “free exercise” of religion. I developed this idea most fully back in 2009, so I’ll just quote myself:

As you know, one of my main reasons for supporting Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, was because I believe that the move to redefine marriage has the potential to put the State and religious organizations — especially the Catholic church — into a head-on collision.

Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis. What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages. It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing their issue in the opposite way: they say gay marriage is a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.

Keep in mind that, for Catholics, marriage isn’t just a white dress, cake, and Mendelssohn’s wedding march. Instead, it’s a sacrament. A basic tenet of the religion is the joining of man and woman before God.  Marriage is one of the sacraments.

So imagine this scenario: Two men go to the local Catholic parish and demand that it marry them. The priest, sympathetic to their love for each other, nevertheless states that he cannot, at a purely religious level, marry them. The men turn around and sue the Church for violating their Constitutional rights. Suddenly, the judicial system is called upon to examine doctrinal issues to determine whether they mesh with Constitutional issues. It’s a scary scenario for anyone who takes seriously the principle that government may not interfere with religious doctrine.

Whenever Leftists have heard my argument, they’ve essentially told me to stop worrying my pretty little head about complex Constitutional issues, because “it will never come to that.”

Well, as I predicted, it has come to that:

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who oppose gay marriage, own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene. Early in 2014, a federal judge in Idaho ruled that the same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, but the ruling was put on hold while the case was appealed. When the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the ruling stood and went into effect.

The city of Coeur d’Alene has an ordinance that prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, in public accommodations. It does have a religious exemption, but the Hitching Post is a for-profit company, not technically a religious organization, in spite of the Knapp’s deeply held personal beliefs.

[snip]

“On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.” Note that jail time and the fine is per day, not per offense, The Daily Signal reports.

Most articles I’ve seen have discussed the Knapp’s situation with reference to freedom of speech or Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I believe that these articles rely on too narrow an interpretation of what happened in Idaho.

The Knapp’s situation is not the same as a Christian photographer being asked to take photographs or a Christian baker being asked to bake a cake. I think it’s unconscionable government bullying to force people to participate peripherally in a ritual that offends their religious sensibilities, but the government can (and invariably does) argue that it has the right to do so because the acts at issue are not central to the ritual itself.  To go back to my Catholic Church analogy, the photographer’s and the baker’s situation is similar to a scenario that sees the government insist that priests must drive girls to Planned Parenthood for an abortion.  That the government would force a priest to act in this way is appalling for any number of reasons, but the government still isn’t dictating what the priest can preach or the acts he can or cannot perform as part of his core ministerial duties (e.g., giving the last rites, administering the sacrament, take confession, or conduct a marriage ceremony).

Those who support Coeur d’Alene’s attack on the Knapps are trying to slot the Knapps case into that same metric as the photographer, baker or hypothetical priest-cum-chauffeur.  They contend that, because the Knapps get paid for offering a package deal of religious service and chapel rental, they are running a business, not engaging in matters of faith, making the town’s ordinance relevant and their own ordination irrelevant.

This is artful misdirection.  The real point is that the state is threatening to imprison ministers who are performing a core religious function — marriage — and who refuse to subordinate their doctrine to a state mandate.  The issue isn’t about whether the Knapps get paid for their services or profit from renting their chapel out along with their ministerial functions.  The real issue is that the Knapps are being told that, in their role as ministers, they must engage in acts that are completely antithetical to their religion’s interpretation of God’s word. Put another way, they’re like priests who are being told to perform an actual abortion.

It’s important to add here that the Knapps, like my hypothetical Catholic priest, aren’t crazy people who came up with their religion yesterday, while shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, and included in their brand new faith core doctrines demanding ritual Barbie doll dismemberment, mandatory bestiality, and 100% tithing. The Knapps, like my hypothetical priest, are interpreting Christian religious doctrine as it has been interpreted for 2,000 years. They are interpreting Christian religious doctrine as it existed when the Founders enacted the First Amendment. They are interpreting Christian religious doctrine in a way that meshes with most religion’s core doctrinal points right up until the last 40 years, when a bunch of churches and synagogues ran off into the far reaches Leftist swamp lands.

Under the First Amendment, those faiths that wish to marry same-sex partners should be allowed to do so.  And those churches that hew to traditional religious interpretations about marriage and do not wish to marry same-sex partners, should be left entirely alone — and that’s true whether they perform the marriage ritual for free or on a fee-for-service basis.  The issue isn’t money; it’s faith.

When Queen Elizabeth I of England came to the throne after decades of religious strife, she famously refused to resume religious inquisitions, saying, instead, “I would not open windows into men’s souls.” What’s happening in Coeur d’Alene isn’t just opening a window into men’s souls, it’s interpretation of its own ordinance is a rock thrown directly through that window in an effort to destroy men’s faith entirely.