The suggested list of books for a high school government class

Rear view of class raising handsIf you’re wondering why the younger generation blindly supported Obama through two elections; why they are reflexively hostile to conservatives and Republicans; and why, even though Obama has dismally failed them, they are incapable of considering another, less intrusive, approach to governance, just contemplate the list of books a local high school Government teacher recommended for the class’s mandatory reading requirement:

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I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking most (or all) of those books hew Left, way, way, way Left.

Since the list is supposed to consist of suggestions only, I’m trying to think of a few counter suggestions.  I need books that present conservative approaches to government and economics. Moreover, to the extent that a high schooler is going to be reading the book, I think my counter suggestion should be eminently readable and entertaining.  Of course, since I’m trying desperately to think of something quickly, before the weekend is over, I’m pulling a big, fat blank.

Still, keeping my requirements in mind (accessible, entertaining, easy-to-read), my top choice for a suggestion is Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, which I think is one of the most readable political books out there. Goldberg has an incredibly deft touch. He makes his points lightly, often humorously, without ever resorting to browbeating.

What do you guys think?

The Bookworm Beat — August 22, 2014 mid-day edition edition

Woman writingClimate change hysteria will make you crazy

We all know that it’s wrong to laugh at those who are mentally ill, but doesn’t it seem like there should be an exception for those whose particular mental illness takes the form of aggressive, obsessive climate change mania? Tim Blair’s brilliant fisking of an article about a climate change Nazi who’s depressed is just too funny to ignore.

Progressives continue to try to make futile any resistance to their “scientific” dogma

Scarily, the climate change Nazis — the ones who wish to end all scientific debate in favor of ideologically dictated theories — are on the move again. Having successful demonized any challenges to their theories (never mind that virtually all of their predictions re climate have failed to materialize), is a movement to federalize “science” instruction in schools along Progressive lines.

Sarah Palin, living rent free inside Leftist heads

Speaking of crazy people, The Guardian wrote an article saying that Sarah Palin likes the new movie The Giver because it comes out strongly against a seemingly beneficent Nanny State. That’s not the crazy part. The crazy part is the unbelievably rage-filled, completely maddened comments that people left in response to Sarah Palin’s movie review. Here’s just one example, plucked off the top of the comment pile:

“…Palin also praises Streep for taking part in a movie….”
If Streep ever gets asked about this Palin-endorsement in an interview and she somehow manages to hide her contempt for the grifting, snake-oil selling, intellectual-capacity-of-a-tree-stump, lying, race-baiting, bullshitting, couldn’t-write-her-name-in-the-dirt-with-a-stick, idiot then Meryl will cement her standing as the greatest actress in the world.

Clearly, Sarah Palin’s doing something right if, by hewing to arguments that as little as 30 years ago were mainstream American concepts, she can drive them so insane.

And another thing that’s wrong with Obama….

While I’m on the subject of vituperative dislike for an opposing politician, I recommend a strong round of applause for David Horowitz’s epic rant against Barack Obama. Unlike the Palin haters, who exist in a fantasy land, Horowitz is helped in his rant by the fact that he has facts on his side, rather than just inchoate anger and slander. This is not a post that will convert the unbelievers, but it will make the believers feel good.

America plays the price for Obama’s refusal to recognize terrorism

Andrew McCarthy has resurrected a six year old column in which he essentially predicted precisely what has happened: a resurgent Islam that Obama is incapable of dealing with, since he treats all terrorism as a form of crime, rather than an act of war. (McCarthy also notes that Obama has helped resurgent Islam along with his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamists.) I cannot remember where I read it, but I definitely read that Obama intends to treat the Foley murder — another act of war — as a mere crime to be sucked into our dysfunctional criminal legal system.

Unlike Obama, Chuck Hagel is slowing figuring out that ISIS is not a mere criminal problem

Vengeance is ours, sayeth Hamas

Yesterday, I wrote:

Something very, very big happened in Gaza last night: Israel assassinated three of the highest ranking Hamas leaders. Dayenu. But the enormously skillfully strike, which could have been achieved only with extraordinary knowledge, reveals something that should strike a shattering blow at Hamas: “The killing of the three constituted an indication that something in the intelligence discipline at the very top of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades has cracked.”

Today, Hamas enacted swift vengeance against those it alleges were the leakers:  it summarily executed around 18 Palestinians.  My own suspicion is that these 18 were just random victims, killed solely to instill fear in all other Palestinians.

Hillary: Hamas enabler

It was not a coincidence that the Hamas tunnels came into being during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State:

In a bombshell revelation, Dennis Ross, the senior Mideast policy adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2011, has admitted that it was he who was assigned the task of pressuring Israel to ease up on its military blockade of Gaza.

“I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” Ross revealed in the Washington Post on August 10. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.”

Read the rest here.

“Israel, you’re not alone”

It’s not great music, but it’s such a great sentiment, I have to share a Christian group’s promise to Israel:

Israel You’re Not Alone – Official Music Video from HaYovel on Vimeo.

Watcher’s Council nominations for August 21, 2014

Watcher's Council logoThe voting is closed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the wonderful nominations for this week’s Watcher’s Council vote. Also, be sure to check out the forum, which looks at events in Ferguson.

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

The Bookworm Beat — the awesome, very long and interesting August 21, 2014 edition

Woman writing

In self-defense, you shoot to kill.  End of story.

One of the big issues that’s agitating Leftists to an extreme degree with regard to Michael Brown’s death is the fact that, even though he was unarmed, he was shot six times. The Left, raised on an endless diet of violent movies, is pretty sure that one shot from the action hero is enough to bring down any bad guy, either by killing him instantly or disabling him completely. Ah! If only that were true.

In the real world, especially a real world that includes 6’4″, 300 lb guys with violence in their eyes, fury in their fists, and forward momentum in their bodies, you shoot and shoot and shoot until the bad guy is completely, manifestly unable to harm you. (See Russ Vaughn’s article for more on the deadly reality of “unarmed” men.)

You don’t need to take my word for it, though. Instead, listen to my friend Mike McDaniel, who is one of the foremost gun bloggers in America. Writing at The Truth About Guns, he explains just how much effort it actually takes to disable someone. By the way, we should all be grateful for this in case we ever accidentally find ourselves in the line of fire. The body’s resilience doesn’t just slow down taking out bad guys; it also helps good guys.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Mike, who is a former police officer, has been following the Ferguson situation very closely, with special attention to what happened that fateful night. You can read his musings at his blog, Stately McDaniel Manor.

He’s the Clark Kent/Superman of Apple Computers

Lest you think that all Apple employees are geeky, faux-hip, Leftist young people, this story ought to disabuse you of that notion: A reservist who was called up from his job at Apple saved a British general’s life by throwing himself in the path of an Afghani shooter, with the reservist firing his weapon as he went. The fact that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest in no way detracts from his heroism, since a lot of vital areas in his body, including his head and the major arteries in his legs were exposed.  Indeed, he was shot six times, taking two bullets to the leg, one bullet to the shoulder, and three to that life-saving vest.

This was the same attack that resulted in the death of Major General Harold Greene, the highest ranking American officer to be killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. You won’t be surprised, of course, to learn that Barack Obama couldn’t be bothered to attend Gen. Greene’s funeral.

Do I need to remind any of you that Obama is Commander in Chief of the American military? I’m pretty sure that George Washington, the original Commander in Chief, would have ridden from Virginia, through the snow, on horseback to attend such a funeral. And no, a general’s life is not of more worth than a private’s, but the fact is that the military is a hierarchical enterprise and Greene, by virtue of his rank, was very close to Obama in that hierarchy.

Israel scored a game-changer against Hamas last night

Something very, very big happened in Gaza last night: Israel assassinated three of the highest ranking Hamas leaders. Dayenu. But the enormously skillfully strike, which could have been achieved only with extraordinary knowledge, reveals something that should strike a shattering blow at Hamas: “The killing of the three constituted an indication that something in the intelligence discipline at the very top of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades has cracked.”

Although this is a stunning intelligence coup, in the short-term expect escalated violence towards Israel as Hamas leadership tries to prove that there isn’t a gaping hole in its terrorist command structure.

A much-read British newspaper sounds the tocsin against radical Islam

I have a vague memory from our last trip to England of seeing the Express lying around all over the place in underground trains running in the afternoon and evening. People would just pick up abandoned copies and read them as they rode along. I hope I’m correct in this memory, because today’s Express ran an editorial every person in the Western world should read: “Stop blaming Israel and wake up: The black flag of jihad is the REAL threat to the world.

Marx famously said “religion is the opiate of the people,” but in modern England, most of Europe, and too many parts of America, political correctness is the opiate. Citizens in those nations have been blinkered and gagged, leaving them unable to recognize the politically incorrect evil that is radical Islam and, if they recognize it, incapable of speaking up. Unless they can be brought to realize that there is a cancer unleashed in the Middle East and growing in virulence in the West, their opiate addiction will kill them — indeed, it will kill all of us.

William Tecumseh Sherman had the right idea — and Israel seems to be learning from history

Victor Davis Hanson resurrects the good reputation of the much maligned William Tecumseh Sherman, explaining that he was “an attritionist, not an annihilationist.” He understood that one must undermine one’s enemies to win and to that end he pursued a three-pronged strategy that finally brought the civil war to an end:

War in his mind was not a struggle between militaries so much as between the willpower of entire peoples, distant though they be from the battlefield. One chief aim was iconic. Sherman sought to capture cities or traverse holy ground that might offer his forces symbolic lessons that transcended even strategic considerations.

[snip]

Marching through the heart of Georgia to Savannah also reminded the Confederacy that it could not stop a Union army from going pretty much where it pleased — even into the heretofore untouched southern heartlands.

[snip]

His [last] point was to show them that farmboys from Illinois or Ohio were just as tough fighters as Tidewater horsemen or the impoverished rural folk of northern Georgia. Sherman felt that part of the appeal of the Confederacy had been the mythology about its landed gentry, and he felt it essential to expose this as hollow and superficial; after all, he was in Georgia, while Georgian units were not in Ohio….

Sherman’s goal was to separate the population from the leadership, and turn the latter against the former. (Incidentally, the Left did the same thing when it turned the American people against the Vietnam War, even though we were achieving military victory.) To achieve this goal, Sherman did not engage in random, broad-based, genocidal terrorism. Instead, he made careful targeted strikes that hurt the people in a way that made them blame their leadership for the pain they were suffering.

VDH offers this fascinating historical data for a reason: So far, Israel has been following a similar template in Gaza against Hamas. If it can continue to do so, without getting derailed by the world’s endless opprobrium and, worse, Obama’s anti-Israel intransigence, it has a chance of demolishing Hamas just as surly as Sherman demolished the confederacy.

The moving corpses of Hamas

One of the things about opiate addiction is that it makes you stupid. You lose common sense and will listen only to the person or entity that gives you your next fix. In today’s world, the supplier is the welfare state. it gives money and, in exchange, tells the recipients that it’s impolite to notice illegal aliens, savage jihadists, and others determined to wreak havoc on the same state supplying those fixes.

The one good thing about this enforced blindness is that those who benefit from it — the cheats and murderers — get careless. Human nature being what it is, if you know that no one will ever call you on your acts and errors, why try? And that is how one ends up with the moving corpses at the funeral:

Jews speak up for Middle Eastern Christians; Christians stay stubbornly silent

Given the apocalyptic Muslim Middle East that followed closely on the heels of the disastrously managed Arab Spring, should we be at all surprised that one of the few groups to stand up for the Christians being wiped out across Muslim lands is the World Jewish Congress? As you read “Who Will Stand Up for the Christians” keep in mind that even Christians throughout the world are silent in the face of this often genocidal purging.

I suspect that part of the problem lies with the fact that so many Christian denominations (Presbyterian and Episcopalian spring to mind) have allied themselves for so long with the Palestinian cause against Israel that they cannot wrap their minds around the fact that the days of appeasing the Islamist crocodile by throwing it the bodies of Jews are over. That crocodile is hungry and it’s coming for them now. Their groveling, their apologies, and their denials will avail them nothing in this fight. At the end of the day, all they’ll have is the moral stain of having been complicit with evil long after any decent people would have recognized precisely what was taking place in the Muslim Middle East.

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If the anti-Israel crowd is all about human rights, why don’t they protest Turkey’s Cyprus occupation?

A month into the Israel-Hamas war, there are scads of articles pointing out what we here knew all along; namely, that anti-Zionism and anti-Israeli sentiment are nothing but very thinly disguised anti-Semitism. Every time a Jew in France or Sweden or London or America is attacked ostensibly because of the war between Hamas and Israel, a country that is not on the Jewish person’s passport, we know that this is a war against Jews, not against one allegedly poorly conducted nation.

Just because there are so many articles, though, that does not mean there isn’t room for one more, especially if it’s from Victor Davis Hanson. VDH notes that, if people really want to prove that they are for all human rights, not just the rights of Muslims who want to commit genocide against the Jews, they ought to be speaking out against the brutal Turkish occupation of Cyprus. But they’re not. Their silence amounts to a confession.

The UN’s war crimes

David French is doing yeoman’s work, relentlessly press the quite obvious point that the UN, through UNRWA, is complicit in war crimes. Or at least it’s quite obvious to anybody with a modicum of common sense and a functioning moral compass.

The immorality of the genocide against Down Syndrome

I was going to comment on Richard Dawkin’s statement that it’s “immoral” not to abort a baby with Down Syndrome. Then I saw that Peter Wehner already did a fine job. (And if you can’t get past the pay wall, do consider a digital subscription to Commentary. It’s affordable and very worth the money.)

I’m ashamed to say that, back in the day when I was having babies, if I’d learned that my baby was going to have Down Syndrome, I would have given serious consideration to an abortion and for the worst reason of all — having such a child would have been hard on me. The reason for this world view is the milieu in which I lived — West coast Democrat — but that’s not an excuse for that attitude. I didn’t know better then but, looking back, I still feel that I, a well-read, educated young woman, should have had a moral compass that knew better. The best that I can do to make amends is to advocate for life now.

A short list of Obama’s wrongdoings

There are only 821 well-sourced examples of Barack Obama’s lying, law-breaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, etc.? Funny. I would have thought there would have been a lot more.

Come Fly With Me

In the matter of travel, Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t breaking the law. He’s just taking gross advantage of American taxpayers, by flying himself and his family in private and very costly luxury, while paying only the price of coach fare, with the difference being absorbed by an increasingly beleaguered middle class.

More Progressives are noticing Obama’s clay feet

How bad is Obama? He’s so bad that even Maureen Dowd is turning her high school age mean-girl tongue on him, excoriating him for being aloof and disinterested:

His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.

The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.

The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.

Almost everything else — from an all-out push on gun control after the Newtown massacre to going to see firsthand the Hispanic children thronging at the border to using his special status to defuse racial tensions in Ferguson — just seems like too much trouble.

As is the case for all those other liberals who’ve discovered that their idol has feet of base material, it’s too little, too late. They got him elected twice, and we must now live with the unfolding, unstoppable consequences at home and abroad. Also, although they’re whining at Obama, none seem to have the insight to realize that the problem isn’t just Obama — it’s them too.

It’s their relentless Leftism, their willingness to corrupt all systems to achieve their goals, their love affair with a politicized version of science, their obeisance to political correctness, and their overarching disdain for America that led us to this place. They’ll have learned nothing from this whole experience and, turning from Hillary as to (choke) “moderate”, will next place all their eggs in the Elizabeth Warren basket. Until they show repentance and remorse, I guess I’m just not that impressed when the infighting begins.

Still, some Progressives are having their “crossing the Rubicon” moments

As long-time readers of my blog know, what finally tipped me over the edge in my journey from Democrat to conservative was NPR. I simply could not accept the manifest lies it told about Israel. I also realized that, if it was wrong about Israel, I’d better investigate and see if it was right about anything else. I discovered that, while it’s sometimes right about some things, it’s mostly wrong about most things.

One American Jewish woman is making the same journey with the New York Times: She’s figured out that it lies about Israel. My bet is that her next step is to start looking with new eyes at everything the Times espouses.

Leftists try to destroy writers’ livelihoods and suppress ideas

Would it surprise you to learn that Leftists are intentionally trying to destroy book sales for conservative books? No, of course it wouldn’t. You’ve already heard about Erica Payne, the Progressive activist who was encouraging people to deface Paul Ryan’s new book. I bet you didn’t know, though, that this same mentality thrives on Amazon, where Leftists do their darndest to destroy the ratings for conservative-themed books.

Two examples are My Parents Open Carry and Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!. It would be foolish to deny that many of the comments are clever, albeit mean and ill-informed, but it’s those hundreds of negative stars from people who have never read the book, and who couldn’t be counted on for a fair review in any event, that’s so shameful.

A California Republican shames Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown

Huge kudos to California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who not only refused Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown’s invitation to a luncheon fete for Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, but who also wrote Brown a letter dressing him down soundly for wining and dining Nieto, even as an American Marine rots in a Mexican prison for the crime of having gotten stuck on a one-way road to Mexico with legal American guns in his car.

This is his letter. (You can click on the image to make it larger.)

Donnelly letter to Jerry Brown re Mexican President

Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

Central Valley farmers are complaining that, in drought stricken California, San Franciscans are getting preferential treatment when it comes to water allotments. It’s not complicated: San Franciscans are reliably Progressive and vote for Nancy Pelosi; Central Valley farmers are not and do not.  Who cares that the farmers grow the food that feeds the nation?

The unholy union of government and big business

Conservatives fear big government. Progressives fear big corporations. Sometimes they’re both right.

The Perry indictment just gets uglier

California, of course, is not the only state with morally corrupt Democrats. As the risible indictment against Gov. Rick Perry shows, when Democrats have the political bit in their teeth anywhere, they’ll use it unwisely. And in case you thought the complaint was bad, the process was even worse: The grand jury that issued the indictment was stacked.

Fish cannons and turkey drops

Read this story about fish cannons and then you’ll appreciate why it irresistibly reminded my friend Wolf (who has taken a break from blogging at Wolf Howling) of one of the most exquisitely funny moments ever in TV comedy:

Even Taylor Swift has been sucked into a astroturf race row

I’ve never been a big fan of Taylor Swift’s music because she has always used her often whiny songs as kiss-and-tell vehicles for her failed relationships. Every song bad-mouths a past boyfriend, which I think is tacky.

Other than that, I think she’s a lovely young woman. She’s lovely to look at, always dresses charmingly and tastefully, and she’s never been involved in a scandal. This last seems to have come about, not because Swift is lucky, but because she lives a decent life, flying back to her home after every concert, rather than frequenting clubs and parties.

Blameless Taylor Swift, though, has found herself embroiled in, of all things, a scandal accusing her of racism. That it’s a scandal manufactured out of whole cloth makes no difference to the race mongers. They think they’ve found a target by pointing to a video in which she is unable to twerk alongside some black women.

Of course, if you watch the video, you’ll see that the whole point is that Swift shows various dance genres (including some brilliant hip hop/break dancing) that she’s unable to do because she’s a spaz who just enjoys “shaking.” It’s not great music, but it’s charming and only a race hustler running out of material could see it as grounds for complaint:

Now you see it, now you don’t

I love sleight of hand and card tricks, so was thrilled to find a video of someone who is just amazingly good:

Pictures

(With my usual heartfelt thanks to Caped Crusader.)

Islam taking back what it thinks is its own

Conservativsm is the bulwark against savagery

Modern education

Back off or the community gets it

Liberal logic and guns

Wants more government

You voted for big government

Comparing Israel and the Palestinians

Life on Mars

Give me your illegal aliens

Declassify everything

Obama doesn't test well

Obama’s awful statement about James Foley was even worse than I predicted

Arrogant ObamaIn my post about James Foley’s execution at ISIS’s hands, I made some predictions about Obama’s eventual statement.  Let’s see how my prediction matches with reality.  First, my prediction:

Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Looking at Obama’s actual statement, it seems that I underestimated the man — and not in a good way. His statement was, if possible, worse than anything I imagined.

While I predicted that Obama would express sadness on his own behalf and on behalf of the American people, it turns out that Obama, still a legend in his own mind, felt called upon to speak on behalf of the entire world:

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL.

[snip]

Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world.

[snip]

The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.

I don’t want to be too pedantic, but I do feel it’s incumbent upon me to point out that large swaths of the Muslim world aren’t appalled at all by “Jim’s” death but are, instead, quite pleased. (And am I the only one who finds bizarre Obama’s faux familiarity with a man he never met, who died with a dignity that at least deserves the respect of his full name?)

Anywhere that there is radical Islamism and/or anti-Americanism you will find people celebrating the slaughter. Perhaps Obama has forgotten the spectacle of Gazans handing out candy when Americans died on 9/11 or of the 2000 Ramallah lynching that saw Muslims joyfully bathing their hands in the blood of murdered Israelis soldiers:

Ramallah lynching

So, no, Mr. President, the entire world is not “appalled,” and a big part of America’s problem lies in the fact that (a) you refuse to recognize that reality and (b) you think you speak for the world.

As I also predicted, Obama did issue a strongly worded condemnation of the killers, but he combined it with the second part of my prediction, which was his assurance that the killers, despite rejoicing under a name with the word “Islamic” in it, despite dedicating their acts to Allah, and despite self-identifying as Muslim are, in fact, not Muslims at all:

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. (Emphasis added.)

Does Obama actually believe this mush-brained babble? Does he actually think he’s the one who gets to define what constitutes Islam? If it’s good and harmonizes with his hard Left values, it’s Islam; if it’s bad and actually follows the word of the Prophet, and dedicates all acts to its religion, than Obama gets to say it’s not Islam. Obama seems to be arrogating an awful lot of godlike power to himself there.

What Obama should have done was to call on those humanists who practice Islam to join with him to call out those who have hijacked the religion to the most barbaric ends. The problem, of course, is that Obama may not want to reveal that, in answer to such a call, he might have ended up with a Muslim protest against radical Islam that looks just like this:

Muslims against ISIS

And lastly, as I predicted, Barack Obama promised that at some point in the future, America would finally begin to get angry and quite possibly do something, maybe:

The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.

Aside from vague promises that American would be vigilant, relentless and “see that justice is done” (or, according to my prediction,  “we’ll bring these killers to justice”), Obama actually demanded more from Middle Eastern nations than he did from himself:

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of this kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.

I don’t know about you, but considering that Islamism that has swept the Middle East on Obama’s watch; considering the aid he gave this Islamism, whether backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or weaponizing Muslims through illegal gun-running in Libya; and considering that Muslims and Arabs will always back the strong horse, which Obama is not, I do not see any of those nations heeding his call.  In fact, the only nation that was born heeding his call — that would be Israel — is the nation to which he is most obviously hostile.

Obama’s speech was, in a word, dreadful. Or appalling. Or disgraceful. Or awful. Or, or . . . well, you know what I mean. It was not the speech of a leader, and most certainly not the speech of the leader of a country that once was the most powerful country in the world.

Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt, a good Leftist who dreamed of a socialist structure in America, making such a mealy-mouthed statement if the Nazis, in 1940, had brutally, and publicly, executed an American citizen? I can’t even begin to create a satire, not only because I’m not good at that type of satire, but because my mind simply won’t bend to that kind of alternative history.

Obama then capped this utterly un-serious, meaningless, disrespectful (good ole “Jim”) speech by turning around and, with a big smile, yelling “Fore.”

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speech

Has there ever been a more feckless man in the White House? And has there ever been a more dangerous time in our nation’s history, when a manifestly deadly enemy has clearly announced its intention to kill us and destroy our nation, even as our leader refuses to acknowledge that enemy’s existence? And, moreover, even as our leader gets out his fiddle and plays away, watching the world burn?  If we’ve ever been at greater danger, not just from an enemy abroad, but from a Fifth Column leader at home, you’ll have to remind me, because my mind’s drawing a blank.

James Foley: The death of an honorable, deeply courageous man

James FoleyTom Rogan has very bravely done something I lack the courage to do: He watched the ISIS video of James Foley’s execution. (The video actually skips the complete execution, by going directly from the moment they begin sawing off Foley’s head to the moment when they place his head on the back of his body.  Still, it’s a snuff video and I am weak.) Watching that video, Rogan reached a conclusion about Foley, which was that he was an unusually courageous man:

Americans who want to see the gruesome video will see the courage of James Foley. They’ll bear witness to a man who, knowing he was about suffer a terrible fate, kept his voice firm in his final moments.

His death won’t be broadcast many places, but take my word for his final courage. As the terrorist moves his knife downwards, Foley grimaces but does not cry out. This, after all, is the man that he was, a man who faced great danger to bring knowledge to the world. After being imprisoned by Qaddafi loyalists for 44 days during the Libyan civil war, Foley returned to the country to finish his reporting. When asked why he did so, Foley offered a simple answer. “Why wouldn’t I go back? People had done so much for me back home. I was humbled, I felt indebted to them. [We] wanted to connect the dots; we wanted to finish that story.”

Read the entire homage here.

Foley’s death deserves more than the bland, meaningless ritualism Obama will offer. Sadly, though, I’m pretty darn certain that Foley will be just another in a long list of Americans that Obama has apparently willingly sacrificed on the Islamist altar, including an American ambassador.

(As an aside, to the extent the executioner is believed to be a former Gitmo detainee, is there meaning to the fact that Foley was clothed in orange, the color prisoners in Gitmo wear?)

America’s response to James Foley’s beheading, as it SHOULD be, and as it actually WILL be *UPDATED*

James FoleyWe are a tribal people, whether we like it or not. The brutal murder of thousands of Yazidis appropriately excites our horror and compassion, but the murder of reporter James Foley is a direct attack on us, rather than an attack on undeserving others. He is one of us: An American unless, that is, we have reached a narcissistic level of dissociation from our own roots.

Moreover, and maybe this is just me, but I believe that we as Americans react more viscerally to beheading than to other forms of execution. Beheading has never been an American way of death, something true long before our nation was created.  Whether through formal due process executions or brutal, on-the-street murders, we shoot, hang, electrocute, poison, strangle, etc., but only the most insane among us behead.

There is something deeply symbolic about beheading, insofar as it separates the essence of ourselves — the head, which is the seat of our thoughts and personality — from the vessel that enables the head to function. It is the form of death that erases us, something Americans have never countenanced.

Worse, it’s clear from the video that ISIS proudly made commemorating Foley’s slaughter, that Foley’s cruel death was preceded by psychological torture and threats. It’s true that countries such as England and France once routinely beheaded their prisoners, often after or along with brutal, sustained torture.  As they moved out of the Middle Ages and into the Enlightenment, however, they tried to beheading to effect it speedily and as painlessly as possible.  Recall that the guillotine, rather than being viewed as a torturous instrument of death, was seen as humane because it removed the risk of an executioner’s fumble or a prisoner’s involuntary movements.

ISIS, however, still has an early medieval sensibility that revels in the psychic cruelty of beheading.  Moreover, to the extent that they eschew swords, scimitars, or guillotines, opting instead to saw away at their victims’ neck with dull knives, they bring to the effort a cruelty would have been disturbing even to Europeans several hundred years ago.

So now what? What will be the aftermath of Foley’s terrible end?

When Daniel Pearl was brutally executed in exactly the same way, by a kindred entity, his execution was folded into the horrors of 9/11 and was part of the prelude to war. Under George Bush, the American mindset was “When you attack us and murder our people in the most brutal, painful, dehumanizing ways possible, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will come after you. You can run, but you can’t hide. ‘The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.’”

What can we expect from Barack Obama? Well, first, silence. As I write this, I’m under the impression that Obama has had nothing yet to say about the televised execution of an American citizen.

Second, Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Oh, one more thing! Michelle Obama may well chime in with a sad-faced Twitter photo, complete with hashtag. Maybe #RIPJamesFoley or #Don’tBeheadOurJournalists or something equally profound.

Obama’s passivity will do two things. It will reaffirm ISIS’s belief that it’s not even dealing with a paper tiger but, instead, is dealing with a paper crawling worm. It will also tell reporters around the world that their best protection isn’t to tell the truth about radical Islam, knowing that the western nations — especially America — will protect them. Instead, reporters will understand that their only safety comes with parroting whatever lies these radical Islamists feed them, just as they did when they relayed Hamas’s propaganda from Gaza. Every reporter, from every Western outlet, will find himself (or herself) acting the part of Baghdad Bob, fervently repeating whatever words the Islamic executioner demands.

Things could be very different. As a friend of mine told me, when his wife first heard the report of Foley’s ritualistic slaughter, she turned to him, and deadpanned “Wow, it’s too bad there isn’t a military solution for the ISIS problem.” Exactly.

Max Boot, as astute a commentator of events in the Middle East as you’ll find, also thinks there can be a military solution. In his view, while the execution is meant to be a projection of strength, it’s also a sign of weakness. You don’t execute one man to make a point if you can take out towns or dams.

Our government should recognize ISIS’s weakness and act accordingly — and this action, with a brutal killing machine, cannot mean achieving “peace” through negotiations across the table. (As John Hinderaker noticed in an interview with Hamas, peace means a breather during which Islamists re-arm in order to continue their never-ending jihad.) Instead, achieving peace Western-style (raising our families, going to work, celebrating life) means obliterating ISIS:

What is needed now is not strongly worded condemnation of Foley’cs murder, much less a hashtag campaign. What is needed is a politico-military strategy to annihilate ISIS rather than simply chip around the edges of its burgeoning empire. In the Spectator of London I recently outlined what such a strategy should look like. In brief, it will require a commitment of some 10,000 U.S. advisors and Special Operators, along with enhanced air power, to work with moderate elements in both Iraq and Syria–meaning not only the peshmerga but also the Sunni tribes, elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Free Syrian Army–to stage a major offensive to rout ISIS out of its newly conquered strongholds. The fact that Nouri al-Maliki is leaving power in Baghdad clears away a major obstacle to such a campaign.

Unfortunately, this aggressive attack against people who have united to become a feral roving slaughterhouse is the one thing Obama will not be able to bring himself to do. As we’ve known from the beginning, and more people are noticing daily, Obama rouses himself to respond only when he perceives an attack to be leveled against him personally, rather than against him as leader of the American people. That’s why he reserves his fiercest, nastiest, most demeaning rhetoric, not for those who slaughter Americans, annihilate Christians, and are engaged in an ongoing effort to effect the complete genocide of the Jewish people, but instead for Republicans. Republicans are mean to him, to Obama. The Islamists are just cutting down to size those people Obama dislikes anyway: Jews, Christians, and Americans.

As this year plays out, I continue to revise my long-standing believe that Obama’s only religion is Leftism, with himself as the godhead. I’m becoming more convinced that Obama is indeed a Muslim. I do not know whether he has always hewed to the religion of his childhood, hiding it for professional advantage, or if he has recently returned to it.  I do think, though, that one of the few truths Obama uttered was this one: “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.

UPDATE:  Even worse, it appears that (a) the executioner was a former Gitmo resident; and (b) the White House knew in advance that Foley would die, but had no power to stop it.

UPDATE II:  Since I wrote this post, I’ve learned that Obama has spoken and it was even less than I thought it would be.  He said the world’s conscience is “shocked,” and that America will continue to “do what we must to protect our people.”

Funnily enough, when I hear Obama say he’s “shocked,” the only thing that comes to mind is this:

Israel’s friends need to keep a very close eye on Obama in the coming days

I've always suspected that Obama slipped in a little prayer there desiring Israel's destruction.

I’ve always suspected that Obama slipped in a little prayer there desiring Israel’s destruction.

It’s already old news that Obama halted what was supposed to be an automatic shipment of rockets to Israel to re-equip the Iron Dome system that protected her citizens so well from the thousands of rockets Hamas aimed at Israel from schools, hospitals, playgrounds, and homes in Gaza. One shipment thankfully won’t make or break Israel’s defense system. Shmuel Rosner, however, points to something incredibly disturbing about Obama’s decision to halt the shipment, more disturbing even than the lack of rockets.

The disturbing aspect arises because it’s unclear what purpose Obama is serving by withholding needed weapons systems from Israel. Rosner gives examples showing how, in the past, even presidents friendly to Israel have conditioned weapons on certain specific behaviors they wished to see Israel stop. This time, though, it’s different and, to the extent Rosner can see any goals Obama hopes to achieve, none of them benefit Israel:

The current punishment is a mystery. We don’t know what it is that the US is trying to achieve by halting the shipment of arms. I see several possibilities (there are probably more):

A. To generally humiliate Netanyahu: Surely, there is no great love between this administration and the Netanyahu government, and holding the shipment can be just one of these tit-for-tat insults with no clear purpose in mind. If this is the case, that’s, well, childish.

B. To try to make Netanyahu more flexible at the Cairo negotiations: If this is the case, that means that, as David Horovitz wrote, the US is actively assisting Hamas (Horovitz made an even larger claim – that at this point, any public brawl between the US and Israel serves Hamas).

C. To pressure Israel into doing something else that Israel refuses to do, something that hasn’t yet been made public. If this is the case, we will probably get more hints in the coming days as to the matter under dispute.

Rosner puts his money on Option A, which in some ways is even worse than the others. Think about it: We have reached a point in this administration at which it’s perfectly possible, even reasonable, to believe that our president will willingly put a substantial percentage of Israel’s 8 million Jewish and Arab citizens at risk simply because he’s spiteful. We’ve gone from hope and change to petty and murderous in just six years.  We’ve also gone from a coherent foreign policy, one friendly to democracies, to a tyrannical foreign policy driven by the pique of a self-anointed imperial leader.

Looking at Obama’s possible motives, Rosner also reaches a further conclusion, one that’s even more disturbing than the fact that we have a president with the moral compass of a spoiled, nasty little three-year-old:

So I don’t see a clear-cut case here for “Obama doesn’t care about Israel’s security”. But I do see something else that is quite disturbing: Obama no longer cares if people say that he doesn’t care about Israel’s security.

Let me explain: for six years it was important for the administration to separate “security relations” from “diplomatic relations”, because the separation enabled it to keep wrapping itself in a ‘supportive of Israel’ garment even as it was having bitter fights with the Israeli government. When relations were very tense, the pretense of them being still very strong was important for the Obama administration to maintain. Of course, part of it is because it is true: the relations are still strong. The US and Israel have ties strong enough to sustain a period of tension between the two governments. But there were also other reasons for the Obama team to insist on the viability of the “security” relations. Possibly, some of this was for political reasons – Obama did not wish to pick a fight with political supporters over Israel. And some of it probably had psychological motivations – it enabled people within the administration that are basically supportive of Israel to compartmentalize their own feelings about the policies of the administration in which they serve.

If Obama genuinely believes that his friendly behavior regarding Israel no longer matters when it comes to carrying out his agenda at home, the situation can be disastrous for Israel. Those of us paying attention to Israel have always known that someone who hangs out with Palestinians and Israel-haters not only isn’t a friend of Israel, no matter his rhetoric but is, instead, an enemy of Israel. Having kept up the “friend” pretense as long as he thought necessary, he apparently believes that the time has come for him to throw off the pro-Israel mask and show his true colors. If Rosner is correct, halting rocket shipments isn’t the worst thing that Obama has prepared for the Jewish nation that he finagled into relying on him, to its detriment, for six years.

Hamas violates 11th ceasefire

This speculation takes on extra urgency, today, with Hamas having broken the ceasefire just hours ago by shooting a massive rocket barrage at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  The next few days will speak volumes about whether Israel can still look to America for support.

The fact that the American population strongly supports Israel will not matter if the President has decided that he no longer needs this domestic support for Israel to carry out his own agenda. As a presumed Israel hater (again, look at his friends), Obama may use his unique authority on foreign affairs to cut Israel adrift. It really doesn’t bear thinking about, but think about it we must.

Certainly, the IDF is focused and angry. On Facebook, it left a very ominous message: “Hamas has made its decision. Now we will make ours.”

Open Thread Part II

I finished the Koontz book (it was excellent) but now, rather than writing, I’m completely caught up in getting the kids to all their “school starts tomorrow” activities, such as orientations, sports try outs, last-minute school supply shopping etc. Tomorrow will be an exquisite day. I expect to have the house entirely to myself after 7:30 or 8:00. I’m practically incandescent with longing for that wonderful moment when the only sound is my and the dogs’ breathing.

I think that, after 4:00 p.m., my time, I’ll be able to turn my attention towards news again. In the meantime, just because, a song:

Blame it on Kathy Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556In an earlier post, I mentioned that, given Dean Koontz’s libertarian outlook, which apparently seeps into his books, I should try reading some of his stuff. In response, Kathy from Kansas wrote:

My own favorite (and one of Koontz’s personal favorites) is From the Corner of His Eye: A Novel, a long epic whose narrative spans many years.

That’s quite a recommendation so, when I discovered that I could download a Kindle version for free from my library’s online site, I started reading the book yesterday and couldn’t stop. I’m at the quite thrilling, magical, thought-provoking moral denouement that comes 93% of the way through the book, and I still can’t stop. I’ve just got to finish it. If you took the book away from me now, I’d burst into tears and become effectively useless.

I will blog this afternoon, but I have to finish reading From the Corner of his Eye first. Until then, please enjoy yourselves with an Open Thread.  And if you miss my writing, just remember to blame it on Kathy.  (Just kidding, of course. I am deeply grateful to Kathy for her recommendation.)