Memorial Day Post: The Warriors Among Us

[I'll keep this at the top through Memorial Day.  Scroll down for lots of new posts.]

Several years ago, as part of a 9/11 commemoration, I wrote the following words as part of a post I did about Lt. Brian Ahearn, one of the New York fire fighters who perished on that day:

My son, who is seven, is obsessed with superheroes. His current favorite is Superman. After all, when you’re a little boy, battling your way through the world, what could be more exciting than the possibility of being “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” I’m bombarded daily with questions about Superman’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures, his flying speeds, his ballistic capabilities and, most importantly, his bravery. It’s here that my son and I run into a conceptual problem. My son thinks Superman is brave because he gets involved in situations that involve guns, and flames, and bad guys. I argue — and how can you argue this with a seven year old? — that the fictional Superman, while good, is not brave, because he takes no risks. Superman’s indestructibility means that his heart never speeds up, his gut never clenches, and he never pauses for even a moment to question whether the potential benefit from acting is worth the risk. In other words, if facing a gun is as easy as sniffing a rose, there is no bravery involved.

The truly brave person is the one who knows the real risks in a situation, but still moves forward to save people, to fight a good battle or to remedy an intolerable situation. The attacks against America on September 11, 2001, revealed the true superheroes among us — those New York firefighters who pushed themselves past those second thoughts, those all-too-human hesitations, and sacrificed themselves in the hopes of saving others. Lt. Brian G. Ahearn was one of those superheroes.

I’ve been thinking today about that moment of insight I had about courage and heroism, because I’m finally reading Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  I say “finally,” because the book came out in 2007, and it took me three years to gather my own courage just to read it — and I did so only because of the possibility that I may soon meet the mother of one of those “lost heroes.”  Considering what her son did for my country, forcing myself to read a book about great heroism seemed like the least I could do.

Funnily enough, the book isn’t as painful as I thought it would be.  This is partly because Luttrell, with novelist Patrick Robinson’s able assistance, has a wonderful voice.  His is not a ponderous tome but is, instead, a human story of an East Texas boy who, buoyed up by patriotism and sheer grit, made his way through the insanity of SEAL training, and then found himself in Afghanistan, working to protect American interests and freedoms.

Luttrell’s upbringing, so different from my girly, urban, intellectual childhood is a story in itself.  As for his descriptions of what men push themselves to do to become SEALS — well, I’d heard about it academically, but I’d never understood it viscerally.

To be completely honest, I still don’t understand it.  As a card-carrying wuss, as someone who has always respected her personal comfort zones, and avoided challenging herself, I really don’t “get” what would drive young men, men in their 20s and 30s, to push themselves as hard as these men do.  And the rewarded isn’t a glamorous job, a la Hollywood or Manhattan, with fame, wealth and women.  Being a SEAL is the toughest job in the world, because SEALs end up doing the most dangerous jobs in the world, under the worst, scariest circumstances imaginable.

If you lack physical and mental will, not to mention the overwhelming training SEALs receive, you’re simply a statistic waiting to happen.  But if you do have that stamina, one that resides as much in the mind as it does in the body (perhaps even more in the mind than the body), and if you have this amazing commitment to your team and your country, you can move mountains.

Or sometimes, as SEAL Team 10 so sadly demonstrated, the mountains turn on you.  I am not giving away anything about the book, of course, when I tell you that Luttrell was the sole survivor of a firefight in the Afghan mountain ranges that ended up being the single deadliest day in SEAL history.  Reading about the fight and the deaths of Luttrell’s team member, not to mention his own story of survival, is harrowing.  I don’t want to say I cried, but I’ll admit that my eyes were leaking prodigiously.  Knowing that this would be my inevitable reaction is part of why I avoided Luttrell’s book for so long.  (To excuse myself a little bit, I also wasn’t sure I wanted to get too close to understanding what my father experienced during WWII, as he fought in some of the worst battles around the Mediterranean, including Crete and el Alamein.  Sometimes, empathy can be too painful.)

But really, I shouldn’t have avoided the book.  Yes, the deaths of LT Michael P. Murphy, Matthew Axelson, and Danny Dietz, as well as 16 SEALs and Nightstalkers, whose helicopter was shot down during the rescue mission, is heart wrenching, but the overall tone of the book is still uplifting.  Luttrell’s deep patriotism, his belief in the mission (not any specific mission, but the SEALs’ overarching mission to protect and defend), his abiding love for the SEALs, and the message that there are those who are willing to protect us, often from ourselves, ranks right up there with the most cheerful “feel good” book you can find.

So many people live pointless lives and die meaningless deaths.  One of the tragedies of the 6 million is that they were herded to death like cattle in an abattoir.  I don’t blame them.  They were ordinary people, living ordinary lives, when suddenly they were ripped out of normalcy, and without warning or preparation, sent straight to Hell on earth. Had I had the misfortune to be a Jew in Poland in 1942, instead of a Jew in America at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, that would have been me.  Not just a short life that made no difference, but one that ended with a death that didn’t make a dent in the hide of my murderers.

Some people, however, seem to have bred in the bone and the heart the belief that they will not be ordinary in life or in death.  Mercifully, these are people who don’t need the tawdry fame of Hollywood.  They don’t need the quick fixes of drink and drugs.  They don’t need to become bullies who control others, whether their control is exercised over a country or an office.  Instead, they prepare themselves to serve causes greater than their own egos.  Their lives have purpose and their deaths are never pointless.

Because the genesis of my post is Luttrell’s book, I’ve written this as an homage to the SEALs.  Everything I’ve said though, can be applied equally to the men and women who have fought and, sometimes, died for America, beginning back in 1774.  The fact that they didn’t do it at the level of pain and training one sees in the SEALs does nothing to minimize their courage, their patriotism and their sacrifices.  They are the backbone of our country, the defenders of our freedom:  “The truly brave person is the one who knows the real risks in a situation, but still moves forward to save people, to fight a good battle or to remedy an intolerable situation.”

(Luttrell, the sole survivor of the SEALS pictured here, is third from the right.)

Other Memorial Day posts:

Flopping Aces

Blackfive

Blackfive (yes, again)

American Digest

Kim Priestap

Michelle Malkin

Mudville Gazette

Florence American Military Cemetery (slow-loading, so don’t worry if nothing happens right away)

Noisy Room

NewsBusters

Hot Air

JoshuaPundit

Radio Patriot

What happens after fifty years of Leftist control over institutions of higher education

This morning, I was emailing back and forth with my friend Kim Priestap, who blogs at the wonderful and charming Up North Mommy.  We were discussing Jews who view Israel, not as a victim, but as a predator.

Never mind the fact that Israel lays claim to a tiny patch of land in the midst of vast hostile Muslim territories; never mind that the historical record establishes that Israel has ties to that land going back 3,000 years; never mind that Israel fights to minimize her enemy’s deaths and injuries, while the enemy fights to maximize Israel’s; never mind that Israel’s acts are in accordance with international law; never mind any other items in the laundry list all of you can create justifying Israel’s right to exist and the righteousness of her actions (never mind that Israel, too, like any nation comprised of living, breathing human beings, sometimes errs).  These facts are irrelevant to the animus the Left feels towards Israel, and so many American Jews are Leftists first, and Jews second.

Political theory aside, one has to ask why American Jews are so comfortable abandoning historical facts and on-the-ground reality.  (12,000 rockets fired into Israel is reality.)

It occurred to me that the “root cause” (see, I’ve learned liberal speak) is higher education, something that American Jews embrace disproportionately to their numbers.  That is, most American Jews consider it a moral imperative to go to college or university.  They head to institutions of higher learning like lemmings leaping for the cliff’s edge.  Their parents send them there operating under the mistaken belief that these institutions do actually educate.  While that may be the case in the sciences (although the global warming scam indicates otherwise), it’s certainly not true in the liberal arts programs.  The purpose of these programs is to indoctrinate.  I know whereof I speak.

It was the liberal inability to think logically, to recognize the world as it is, not as the theories demand it should be, that slowly but steadily separated me from liberalism.  And this separation, although it took way too long to reach fruition (about 20 years too long), started back in 1979, when I hit U.C. Berkeley.  I was in the liberal arts programs — history and English — and, consistently, I griped that the classes made no sense.  Egotistical to the last, I knew that the problem wasn’t me, but the classes themselves.

I suffered through several years of slow drip idiocy and Marxist poison, which I won’t even try to describe here.  Why should I?  One class sums it all up for me.  It was in that class that my  professor insisted that Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray was a scathing Marxist indictment of British class structure.  Apparently I have some resistance to indoctrination, because I grasped reality enough to know that this was an insanely stupid statement.

I was aided in my insight about professorial idiocy by the fact that I found laughable a student statement (made to great professorial applause) that the flowers Wilde described so vividly in the book, were to create a Gothic atmosphere, not to make us ruminate (and I quote) “on the phallic symbolism of the female sexual organs.”  As Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.”

I’ve never liked cognitive dissonance, and was happy to walk away from the whole intellectual garbage bag.

Of course, I wasn’t the only student sitting through such classes at Berkeley, and I had peers spread out over the country attending schools that taught in precisely the same way.  Indeed, decades of liberal children, especially liberal Jewish children, have been educated in this stupidity.  As today’s politics show, this education has poisoned their brain’s capacity to see that, not just sometimes, but often, a cigar is just a cigar — and a crazed killer is a crazed killer regardless of root causes.

I was lucky in that I loathed Berkeley.  I loathed the old hippies, and the filth, and the unfriendliness, and the anger, so I was not inclined to embrace the group think.  Other liberals, however, were not lucky enough to be miserable.  They loved Berkeley’s freedom, or Harvard’s history, or Wesleyan’s charm, and desperately wanted to fit in.  Rather than resist the propaganda, they embraced it.

When I was growing up, I was told by my parents that Turkish soldiers, in days of old, couldn’t be brainwashed, because their sense of self was so inviolable.  Apparently my sense of reality had some Turk in it, at least insofar as my brain fought back.  Most liberals, however, just cave to the illogic and live in a world of cognitive dissonance — with liberal Jews, sadly, having traveled furthest up that river called “Denial.”

Footage that Israel shot, showing events on board the flotilla ship *UPDATED, REPEATEDLY*

For once, Israel is trying swiftly to retain some semblance of control over the message.  Using facebook, the Navy is disseminating videos of the incident.  I’ll show them here, followed by the IDF’s narrative, which the IDF included with the YouTube footage.  This video narrative begins yesterday, when the IDF carefully warned the flotilla about the borders it was crossing and the risks it was taking:

Israel Navy: “Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of supplies in accordance with the authorities’ regulations will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports on the vessels on which you have arrived.”

Response: “Negative, negative.”

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla, violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.

Large groups of passengers surrounded soldiers and beat them with metal poles and chairs, and threw one soldier over the side of the ship. Some passengers grabbed pistols from the IDF soldiers and opened fire. As a result of the attacks, seven IDF soldiers were injured, and nine of the passengers were killed.

The ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla had publicly insisted on their non-violent intentions, however their violent attack on the IDF soldiers was clearly premeditated. They had knives, metal rods, firebombs and other items ready to use.

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Please help get the real facts out here by sending these videos along through blogs and emails.  Also, please read JoshuaPundit on the subject, before this debacle.  He fully understands how this was a set-up and how Israel tried desperately to avoid precisely this outcome.  Soccer Dad also explains that this flotilla had nothing to do with humanitarianism, and everything to do with boxing Israel into an impossible situation.

UPDATE:  This video nicely explains how urgent Israel’s security needs are:

There should be no doubt that Israel acted within her legal and ethical rights.

Also, Israel Matzav has footage showing the savage glee with which these “peace” activists attacked Israeli forces, who arrived armed with paintball guns.

UPDATE 2:  A “peace” activist stabbing an Israeli soldier in the back:

UPDATE 3:  Melanie Phillips explaining that this whole flotilla debacle was a slo-mo Islamist terrorist attack.

UPDATE 4:  When I first heard that there were 10 dead, and knew nothing more, I sent an email to friends snarkily saying that I bet the flotilla started out with dead bodies in the freezer to “reveal” to reporters at the appropriate time.  (And yes, I know it was in bad taste to say that.)  Turns out I wasn’t far wrong, as some on the flotilla boarded intending to die.

UPDATE 5Bruce Kesler on the disproportionate force that saw Israeli troops armed with paintball guns trying to confront activists armed with knives, iron bars and (as I mentioned above), the desire to die for propaganda purposes.

UPDATE 6Power Line has more on the Israelis’ efforts to avoid bloodshed — and the “peace” activists’ determination to shed blood, their own and the Israelis’.

UPDATE 7Michael Rubin explains why Obama’s response to this situation will have lasting consequences in the Middle East:

So why is it decision time for Obama? Israel feels itself increasingly in an existential crisis. Not only is Iran nearing a nuclear-weapons capability, but it has become increasingly vogue to delegitimize Israel. In the wake of the Gaza ship incident, Israel is going to see whether it has any allies left who will recognize its dilemma, recognize its security concerns, and support it as the crisis grows. Israel knows it can’t trust Europe. Indeed, Europe finances many of the groups which, if they don’t seek Israel’s destruction directly, nevertheless indirectly support terrorism.

If Obama decides it is in America’s interest to make an example of Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident in order to win goodwill in Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, and Ankara, then he must also recognize that the leadership in Jerusalem is going to conclude that it cannot trust the United States to safeguard its security, and that therefore it must take matters into its own hands on any number of issues, not the least of which is Iran’s nuclear program. In effect, if the White House decides to come down hard on Israel now, it is the same as giving a green light for Israel to strike Iran. That is not advocacy; it is just the realism about which President Obama is so fond.

UPDATE 8:  Before this whole poisonous stunt reached its blood conclusion, Omri Ceren, at Mere Rhetoric, wrote an exquisite satire, showing life under the “cruel conditions” this flotilla was ostensibly sent to relieve.  There is no doubt but that this had nothing to do with humanitarian efforts, and everything to do with creating precisely the situation we see today.

UPDATE 9:  J.E. Dyer, one of my favorite military analysts, riffing off of a Hot Air post, has one of the best summaries I’ve seen to date putting together all of the known information and coming up — credibly, not reactively — with the same conclusion I’ve reached reactively:  namely, that this was a Hamas terrorist attack, using useful idiots as props, covers and propaganda tools.  Israel’s behavior, from the git-go, weeks earlier, was honorable to the point of stupidity.

UPDATE 10:  “Peace” activists throw an Israeli soldier into the Mediterranean.  Do you think they hoped he’d just safely float away?

UPDATE 11Jonathan Schanzer explains that the “peace” flotilla wasn’t just an ordinary cruise, put together by some useful idiots.  Instead, it was carefully organized by a known terrorist organization:

The Turkish organizers of the Gaza Strip-bound flotilla that was boarded this morning by Israeli commandos knew well in advance that their vessels would never reach Israeli waters. That’s because the organizers belong to a nonprofit that was banned by the Israeli government in July 2008 for its ties to terrorism finance.

The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA’s radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings.  Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world.

Read more here.  Melanie Phillips offers similar information about the Turkish terrorist genesis.

UPDATE 12:  The White House, which should be totally au courant with all the info about terrorist ties, useful idiots, and armed “peace” activists, is playing coy, which is the worst possible response, since it tacitly concedes that it doubts Israel.

UPDATE 13: (This will be the last update to this post.  From here on out, I’ll post at the top, as always.)  Doug Ross has an amazing compilation of material showing the jihadists behind this innocent “peace” flotilla.  There is no doubt, as Steve Schippert says, that this is part of what Andy McCarthy describes as “The Grand Jihad.”  Certainly Caroline Glick understands the big picture in the Middle East.  And the Anchoress fully understands the big picture that sees a very little man throwing his weight around in a big White House.

“Simplistic” and “primitive” *UPDATED*

As I’ve mentioned just a few times, I just read, and was very moved by, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  A liberal I know flipped through the book’s first few pages and had a very different reaction.  The following passages bugged the liberal:

My name is Marcus.  Marcus Luttrell.  I’m a United States Navy SEAL, Team Leader, SDV Team 1, Alfa Platoon.  Like every other SEAL, I’m trained in weapons, demolition, and unarmed combat.  I’m a sniper, and I’m the platoon medic.  But most of all, I’m an American.  And when the bell sounds, I will come out fighting for my country and for my teammates.  If necessary, to the death.

And that’s not just because the SEALs trained me to do so; it’s because I’m willing to do so.  I’m a patriot, and I fight with the Lone Star of Texas on my right arm and another Texas flag over my heart.  For me, defeat is unthinkable.  (pp. 6-7)

[snip]

[As they're taking off from Bahrain to Afghanistan:] There were no other passengers on board, just the flight crew and, in the rear, us, headed out to do God’s work on behalf of the U.S. government and our commander in chief, President George W. Bush.  (p. 12.)

[snip]

[Of the Taliban/Al Qaeda enemy in Afghanistan:]  This was where bin Laden’s fighters found a home training base.  Let’s face it, al Qaeda means “the base,” and in return for the Saudi fanatic bin Laden’s money, the Taliban made it all possible.  right now these very same guys, the remnants of the Taliban and the last few tribal warriors of al Qaeda, were preparing to start over, trying to fight their way through the mountain passes, intent on setting up new training camps and military headquarters and, eventually, their own government in place of the democratically elected one.

They may not have been the precise same guys who planned 9/11.  But they were most certainly their descendants, their heirs, their followers.  They were part of the same crowd who knocked down the North and South Towers in the Big Apple on the infamous Tuesday morning in 2001.  And our coming task was to stop them, right there in those mountains, by whatever means necessary.  (pp. 13-14)

The liberal felt that the above passages showed that the writer was simplistic and primitive in his thinking.  The whole notion of simple patriotism offended the liberal, who also thought it was just plain stupid to seek revenge against guys who weren’t actually the ones who plotted 9/11.  My less than clever riposte was, “so I guess you would only kill Nazis who actually worked in the gas chambers?”  Frankly, given the differences in our world views, I’m not sure there is a clever comeback or, which would be more helpful, a comeback that actually causes the liberal to reexamine those liberal principles.

UPDATE:  Here’s an apt quotation, written by John Stuart Mill, in 1862, as a comment upon the American Civil War:

A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Thinking outside the box

Mr. Bookworm called to me today:  “Israel did it again.”  I can’t fault him for his viewpoint.  This is what happens to people who read only the New York Times.  To them, it is always Israel’s fault, because that’s what they’re told to think.  The possibility that there might be more going on is inconceivable.

But Israel does need to change its strategy, that’s for sure.  After all, everything is a set-up.  These are not battles for territory or borders — they are battles for world media attention and visceral emotional reactions in countries and people that aren’t 100% on board with Israel’s right to exist.  In this ideological box, every Palestinian and activist death is a victory, not a defeat.  And every time they avoid death and achieve their goals is also a victory and not a defeat.

I’m not saying I know how Israel should handle these “damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations,” but somehow Israel needs to start thinking outside of the box.  Because the box is always damned.

See also Brutally Honest, who realizes just how damned Israel was with this one.

Also, the difference in reactions between Left and Right isn’t limited just to my own house.

Beheading Obama

On the right side of the blogosphere, we have often discussed the fact that, during the Bush years, the Left indulged in gory fantasies of George Bush being shot or beheaded.  In the interest of fairness, it behooves me to point out that some on the Left indulge in similar fantasies when it comes to Barack Obama, a man (God?) they believe has failed them.  At least when it comes to beheadings, the Islamists and the extreme Leftists are definitely fellow travelers.

A brilliant parody from Reader Tonestaple

I did a very little post about Obama’s meaningless rhetoric and, with a nod to Lerner and Lowe, I titled it “Words, words, words.  I’m so sick of Obama’s words.”  Tonestaple, in the comment section, came back with something much better:

With deepest apologies to Lerner & Lowe:

Words, words, words
I’m so sick of words
I get words all day through,
First from Gibbs, now from you!
Is that all you wankers can do?

Don’t talk of oil filling the Gulf
We’ve heard enough, show me!
Tell me no tales of how you’re enraged
It won’t assuage.  Show me!

Don’t you ever want to be the one who says exact-
ly what you mean? Speak only facts.
No one really cares how you are feeling ‘bout the spill;
Just that you won’t let them drill.

Don’t you know now is not the time
For you to whine.  Show me!  Show me!
Don’t talk about anger and rage
You are not Oprah on stage.
Show me now!

None of us care how you’re feeling
We want results.  Show me!
Don’t talk of boots on someone’s neck.
Don’t talk at all!  Show me!

Don’t you know that OPA 90 says you should have had a plan?
It should be there right in your hands.
Everywhere the oil is one big spreading sheen
Say one more word and we’ll scream!

Don’t you think now is a good time
To get off the dime?  Show me!  Show me!
Don’t wait until wrinkles and lines pop out all over my brow!
Show me now!

My brilliant readers spoil me rotten.

The soft life in America has sucked the brains out of American Jews *UPDATED*

American Jews supported Barack Obama in numbers second only to American Blacks.  They still support Obama.  This is because the soft life in America has sucked out their brains.  How else can one explain that they continue to support him despite things like this:

Washington’s unprecedented backing for a UN resolution for a nuclear-free Middle East that singles out Israel has both angered and deeply worried the Jewish state although officials are cagey about openly criticising their biggest ally.

The resolution adopted by the United Nations on Friday calls on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and urges it to open its facilities to inspection.

It also calls for a regional conference in 2012 to advance the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around 200 warheads, but has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its capabilities since the mid-1960s.

The document, which singles out Israel but makes no mention of Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, drew a furious reaction from the Jewish state who decried it as “deeply flawed and hypocritical.”

But it was US backing for the resolution which has caused the most consternation among Israeli officials and commentators, who interpreted the move as “a resounding slap around the face” which has dealt a very public blow to Israel’s long-accepted policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Publicly, the Israel government has not criticised the US position but privately, officials expressed deep disappointment over the resolution, which Washington backed despite intensive Israeli efforts to block it.

According to the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “furious with the Obama administration for having failed to prevent the resolution from passing… and for choosing to support it.”

Read the rest here.  I knew this was coming down the pike, but I’m still shocked to see it actually happening.  One wants to shake these foolish, ostensibly sophisticated American Jews and say, “Enough with your misplaced intellectual arrogance.  Bush may have said ‘nuculer,’ but Obama says ‘corpse-man’ — and, worse, much worse, he will destroy Israel despite the fake sophistication you keep pinning on a man with an empty brain and a Marxist, antisemitic heart.”

I continue to believe that Obama will be a one term president, but I’m hoping one term is short enough to keep him from destroying the Jewish nation.

UPDATE:  I guess Jews like this answer my rhetorical question about Jews’ willingness to support the American president who is trying to destroy Israel.

Only liberals can get away with crude racial stereotypes

We’ve talked before about the horrible racism of liberals.  They typecast everyone, and then convince each person so typecast that he (or she) is a victim of an all powerful white male cabal.  Here is a perfect example, courtesy of Bill Maher.

I’d like you to imagine the uproar — up to an including riots in the streets — if these words had emanated from a conservative.  Then, try an even more challenging thought experience.  Imagine a conservative actually being so crude, demeaning and racist.  We don’t think that way.  The consistent quality of conservatives utterances shows that conservatives, much more so than liberals, understand MLK’s dream of a world in which his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

When will American blacks stop looking at liberals and realize that these profoundly racist people, who envision blacks as perpetual children who carry guns, but need welfare, are not their friends.

Kid logic

I love kid logic.   I was telling my pre-teen daughter about the Navy SEALS (having just finished Lone Survivor), and I mentioned the incredible physical strength and mental stamina the men had.  “And the women….” she prompted me.  “Nope,” I said.  “No women.”  She stared at me.  “But don’t the men get lonely?”  That’s a giggle right there.

I didn’t mention that, when they’re at home, SEALS probably aren’t hurting for female company.  However, she did totally get it when I explained that the Navy is not going to compromise the mission by pretending that women are as strong as men or that their biology enables them to function equally in primitive, hostile, dangerous surroundings.

Words, words, words! I’m so sick of Obama’s words.

For someone who is supposedly the most adept president at speechifying since FDR, Obama is a bombastic blowhard, whose occasional forays into real speech reveal ugly things about his thinking.  Mark Steyn describes Obama’s linguistic approach:

Like those of many great “thinkers,” words for Barack Obama and his coterie seem to exist mostly in the realm of metaphor rather than as descriptors of actual action actually occurring in anything so humdrum as reality.

And so it is that, even as his bungling administration flounders in the turbulent waters of the Gulf, on the speaker’s podium the president still confidently sails forth deftly steering the ship through the narrow ribbon of sludge between the Scylla of sonorous banality and the Charybdis of gaseous uplift.

A predator in sheep’s clothing

[Broken video link fixed.]

I’ve known Dan Noyes for years, as our children have attended the same schools.  This is not to say I know him well and, indeed, he knows me even less well.  Every time we run into each other at school functions, you can see him try to figure out who the Hell I am.  I understand that.  He stands out, being tall, handsome, well spoken, and a San Francisco media celebrity.  I, on the other hand, am an ordinary looking suburban mom.

I bear Dan no animus for his bad memory.  Indeed, I like him, despite our mere passing acquaintance.  My every interaction with him has been pleasant.  I don’t recall handshakes (although I’m sure there have been some), but he’s always friendly, albeit somewhat distant.  His manners are impeccable.  His wife and children are delightful.  He is a stellar member of the parent community.

It was therefore interesting to see this bit of unedited footage that has Dan getting involved in an unpleasant (for Dan) confrontation with a representative of the newly refurbished Laguna Honda Home for the Aged in San Francisco.  Dan must have realized immediately that the guy was some sort of predator, hence his instant, clear and explicit request to the man to “unhand me, Sir.”  What’s fascinating is that the man cannot keep his hands off of Dan — or Dan’s colleague and the camera — even as he becomes more and more aggressive in a creepily soft-spoken manner:

Frankly, if I was in Dan’s shoes, I would have decked the guy after the second or third hands-on moment.  I believe that Dan showed exceptional forbearance in the face of an aggressive attack from a predator masquerading as a soft spoken voice of reason.

If it was up to me, I would show children this video so that they can see what a predator looks.  Dan did not let himself get side-tracked by the man’s ostensible peace-making motives (even as the man continued his offensive behavior), nor did he fall for the man’s effort to make Dan look like the guilty or unreasonable party.

As I remind my children, it’s only ineffective bad guys who look obviously evil.  The ones who are dangerous are the ones who look like everybody else, and who try to manipulate our normal emotions (guilt, the desire to avoid offending people, etc.) to their own perverse and, sometimes, evil ends.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

The Left will never abandon the U.S.S. Obama *UPDATED*

With increasing frequency, we hear reports about the Left’s growing disaffection with Obama.  The media, for example, is hostile to the fact that Obama doesn’t even bother to hide his disdain for them.  This is not just media pique resulting from unreasonably high expectations.  Obama is quite explicit about his unwillingness to have anything to do with the media that elevated him to the White House.  There is no better example than his walking away from questions after signing the Press Freedom Act:

“Speaking of press freedoms,” began Chip Reid of CBS before launching into a question about the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Obama didn’t bite.

“You are free to ask them,” Obama said. “I’m not doing a press conference today.”

It was only the severity of the Oil spill that finally caused Obama to break his self-imposed silence.  His dismal performance, of course, helped explain why he kept himself sequestered for almost an entire year.

And speaking of that spill, although the press tried to cover for him in the first few days, refusing to acknowledge that his response made George Bush look like a whirlwind of activity in the wake of Katrina, people are getting pretty jaded now.  Even James Carville found himself unable to hold back regarding the White House’s abysmal efforts.

The angry drum beat goes on when it comes to reports of despair from Obama’s most devoted followers:  American Jews.  Jews, whose support for Obama in 2008 was exceeded only by blacks’ support for Obama, have watched him use Israel as his whipping boy.  They are slowly coming to terms with two facts:  First, it was a lie that reducing support for Israel would decrease Muslim hostility to America.  Those of us who understand the Muslim response to strong and weak horses, were not at all surprised to learn that, rather than making Muslims more friendly to us, it simply allowed them to view America as a weak horse, ready for any jackal.  Second, it is apparent that Obama does not like Jewish Jews.  He’s comfortable around Jews who have elevated their Leftist political beliefs over their Jewish identity, but real Jews — yech.

Gays are not happy with Obama either.  Although there now appears to be some movement on repealing DADT, it took a year and a half of angry agitating to make it happen.  And even now, DADT’s opponents understand that the Democrats and Obama built into the bill a loop-hole that still allows the military to put the kibosh on the whole thing.  What the military eventually does remains to be seen, but those who want DADT dumped into history’s trash heap do not appreciate that, with Obama, a promise is not a promise, it’s just a political maneuver.

Obama’s anti-war constituency is also not pleased.  After all, this is a president whose pre-election statements were as anti-War as could be.  He opposed the war every step of the way, and was open in his hostility to the military.  Even now that he’s Commander in Chief of that same military, his hostility and disrespect continue unabated.  Still, despite his statements and his attitude, he not only has troops in Iraq, he’s escalating the war in Afghanistan.  The anti-War crowd feels abandoned and they’re out for blood.

On immigration too, Obama is worrying his followers.  Sure he insulted the Arizona law (so much easier than actually reading the law), and sure he’s made noises about immigration reform, but the only thing he’s actually done is to announce that he’s sending 1,200 National Guard troops down south to patrol the border.  People who appreciate that our Southern border is a vast sieve understand that the 1,200 troops are a meaningless political sop.  With that announcement, though, Obama still managed to infuriate the Open Borders crowd, who see any American presence on the border as a betrayal.

I mention all these stories of liberal disaffection because each time one breaks, I get emails from people or read blog posts and comments that have the same message:  This is it.  The worm is turning.  People will realize that Obama is completely ineffective and a faker, and they will break with him.  To which I say, NEVER!

You have to think of this administration as the U.S.S. Obama.  Back in 2008, when he was elected, the media and the rest of the Left assumed that they’d get first class cabins on the U.S.S. Obama, as it made its light-filled journey to a glorious beach at the Socialist Shores Resort.  They saw it all in their own minds:  They’d be enjoying shuffle board and Cosmos on the Lido Deck, as conservatives swam in the boat’s wake, trying to avoid becoming shark chum.

The media and the Left are now terribly upset (especially the media) because they’re not enjoying luxurious Progressive suites with view windows and private decks.  Instead, they’ve found themselves banished to steerage on the U.S.S. Obama.  The quarters are pathetic, the captain refuses to dine with them, and the ship’s crew is ineffectual and often corrupt.

Despite these travails, however, no one is going to jump ship.  It may have turned into what their delicate sensibilities perceive as “the cruise from Hell,” but they still know that this is a ship heading to the golden shores of socialism.  Their philosophy is that there is no way are they going to abandon their rat-infested cabins and join the conservatives who are still swimming along behind, periodically making a hungry shark happy.   What matters to them isn’t the journey itself, it’s Journey’s End.  They have faith that, if they remain on board, the ship’s disrepair, the down grade in their accommodations, and the crew’s corruption, inefficiency and lies will do nothing to stop the U.S.S. Obama’s inevitable trajectory.

UPDATE:  Here’s a sweet little example of the media love affair gone sour — but please don’t confuse it with an impulse to mutiny or abandon ship.

Honoring both the dead and the living on Memorial Day

Yeah, I know it’s not quite Memorial Day yet, but sometimes things come my way that I can’t wait to pass on.  This morning, it’s two posts from Greyhawk, at the Mudville Gazette.  The first one is both a memorial to the dead, and a bit of background to the second one, which honors the living.  Both will make you feel incredibly proud of our American families and their children and, if you’re like me, at least one of them will make you cry.

Meet Leftist, non-Jewish Jew: Marcy Winograd

A few days ago, I mentioned Robin of Berkeley’s American Thinker piece about the two different types of Jews in America:  the kind who are reflexively liberal and reflexively pro-Israel, and the kind who are reflexively Leftist and reflexively hostile to Israel.  Robin’s point was that the former do not understand that they have put themselves to bed with the latter, and that the latter own the White House.

I raise Robin’s point here again because Calif. Rep. Jane Harman, who is falls in the first category of Jews, is being challenged by Marcy Winograd, who is most aggressively in the second category of Jews.  Jeffrey Goldberg, who is also in the first category, interviews Winograd, and it’s very scary to look inside her mind.  What’s even more scary is that it’s possible she’ll win the Democratic primary.

A few quick links *UPDATED AND UPDATED AGAIN*

I have been suffering greatly this morning, preparing carpooling charts for various end of school year events.  I hate doing the charts, but I hate even more not having carpools.

While I’m getting non-chart stuff done this morning (the process really burned up my time), here are a few links that I found interesting and that I’d like to share with you:

No, Muslims did not learn Jew hatred from the Nazis.  And no, Muslims did not learn Jew hatred from the insult of Israel’s creation.  It’s an integral part of their religious doctrine.  Brutally Honest, after quoting from the link I just provided asks the right questions.

Barack Obama’s appearance in San Francisco on Tuesday brought out, not only Tea Partiers, but Obama supporters.  The latter are not a pretty sight.  Please check out Fund47 to see the face of those who believe Obama is the president most likely to carry out their political and ideological agenda.

Considering the acts of Islamic terrorism that have recently taken place within American (Fort Hood, Times Square, etc.), I’d ordinarily feel relief to hear that President Obama is promising to focus on domestic terrorism.  However, considering that he refuses to equate Islam with the terrorist acts, while focusing, laser-like, on “right wing extremism,” I’m not sanguine about the outcome of this one.  Neither is Steve Schippert.

Wordsmith’s Memorial Day post deserves a visit, and some fierce concentration while you’re there.  Obama may need to party in Chicago but we, the ordinary Americans, need to take some time to commemorate those, who over the centuries, have sacrificed their lives to preserve American freedoms.

UPDATEDo you think a constitutional military coup is possible?  And do you think that, if we are couped (is that word?) we can ever go back to a Constitutional republic?  (h/t Sadie)

Barack Obama has two very distinct approaches to words, both of which reflect the beliefs his followers hold, and both of which are dangerous.  His first, which falls under the umbrella of his “words matter” statement, is his belief that words are tantamount to acts.  Once you’ve said something, you’re done.  You don’t need actually to do anything.  This is his approach to foreign policy, which seems him speaking softly, while reverentially laying his stick at the feet of those who wish us ill.  His second approach lies in his complete understanding of the Orwellian notion that changes in vocabulary fundamentally influence thought patterns.  If you effectively erase a word from the dictionary, you may just have effectively erased the idea that went with it.  It is this notion that the Paragraph Farmer targets in his post about the haters’ language of hate.

SECOND UPDATE:

Just a few more things — plus my apologies for the lack of substantive posts over the past few days.  I’ve hit one of those walls where I have inchoate ideas, but can’t quite manipulate them into a coherent single p0st.  My brain is like that.  It goes from totally blank to wallowing in epiphanies.  The former is deadly, the latter exciting.  You’ll know when the latter hits.  ‘Til then, I’ll just keep passing on the good stuff from other people.

I’ve been following the Rand Paul kerfuffle from a distance.  I don’t like his father, so I’m dubious about the son.  At the very least, he’s not a careful thinker or speaker, and that always spells trouble.  (Gov. Christie, on the other hand, always seems spectacularly in control of his own content.)  If Paul was a deep thinker, he might have reached VodkaPundit’s conclusions on the States’ Rights issue.

Zombie was in San Francisco when Obama was, and has a spectacular photo essay on the subject — not just because of the photos, but because of Zombie’s deep and rich understanding of the different protesters who enliven any SF event.

ObamaCare’s war on small business.  I won’t say any more.  You can read it here.  No, wait.  I’ll say one more thing:  I told you so.

And please check out these two Memorial Day posts at Blackfive.

Can we boycott the boycotters?

I know Los Angeles has threatened to boycott Arizona.  Aside from all sorts of Constitutional implications if a government entity in one state boycotts another state, I have a simple proposal:  Boycott Los Angeles.  Don’t visit it; don’t go to the movies; and don’t buy products on TV shows emanating from Los Angeles.  Let the marketplace decide.

Same thing for San Francisco.  Don’t visit this tourist destination.

In both cities, I think the business community would move very quickly against the local government if American outrage started damaging already damaged bottom lines.  (Both San Francisco and Los Angeles, cities that have been under Democratic governance for decades, are broke.)

A second spindle post for the day *UPDATED MORE THAN ONCE; INDEED, UPDATED OFTEN*

I love the days when a perfectly formed essay springs into my mind, one that really tackles a single issue (or a fusion of a few issues).  Those days, however, happen only when I prime the pump, and that pump priming occurs only if I read tens or even hundreds of articles.  I’m in the process of doing so this week, hoping for lightening to strike.  Until it does, though, allow me to pass on to you more of the articles that are currently seeding my brain with ideas.

Orwellian language works by bypassing the analytical, high-functioning part of our brain, and occupying our lizard brain.  We accept the ideas behind Orwellian language, without understanding them.  For example, take the phrase “occupied West Bank.”  Take it and throw it into the nearest garbage can.

Over at The New Yorker, one person has figured out that ObamaCare is a giant ponzi scheme (an appropriate term to apply to all liberal government programs).  I posted this one on Facebook, since it’s a source my liberal friends trust.  Maybe it will get them to think seriously about what’s really going on here.

Ours is a metrosexual military, one that is deeply in touch with its mother instinct.  How else to explain the Navy’s concern that graduating plebes might get hurt engaging in a decades’ old tradition?  After all, aren’t we training these grads for warfare — and as I understand it, people get hurt during wars.  To be fair, this is not a new trend.  I’m reading a fascinating book called Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, and it talks about the fact that in the early 1960s, the military already began putting safety over battled preparedness.  I appreciate.  Training shouldn’t be more deadly than war itself.  However, it strikes me that, when the bullets start flying, only the best trained people have a chance.  Otherwise, you start ending closer to a situation such as the siege of Leningrad, which saw the Soviet military use unarmed, untrained Soviet men as targets to exhaust the German bullets.  It worked, but at a staggering cost in human lives and suffering.

China is a behemoth, but is tight government control so stifling to true growth and innovation that it can never be more than an fat cat, as opposed to a dynamic economic tiger?  And should that fact give people pause about the U.S. government’s increasingly strident efforts to direct American businesses from the top down?  (The answer, of course, is yes.)

The Folks/Haley story is getting sleazier and sleazier.  I continue to disbelieve that any person in her right mind would have an affair with Folks.  If she did, it definitely calls her judgment into question, never mind her honesty and fidelity.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no!  When I saw Russel Brand on the Jay Leno show swanning about in high heels, I thought it was just because he’s a weird comic who thought it would be a joke to raid the women’s dressing room before appearing on stage.  But no, it’s a fashion trend.  No, no, no, no, no!

Really, was there any doubt but that the Manhattan Community Board would greenlight a mosque to be built on Ground Zero?  This is what 40 years of New York liberalism does not common sense and human decency.  This is how a culture voluntarily commits suicide at the feet of its conquerors.  These idiots should be strapped to a chair and made to watch Rick Barber’s campaign video again and again and again.  “There is a difference between tolerance and surrender.”

In an earlier post, I called Peter Beinart a wife beater for using “love” as a way to justify beating to death someone dependent upon you (in this case, Israel).  Noah Pollak goes into greater detail.

UPDATE:  I’m baaack!

I’ll warm you up with a funny picture, on the subject of “plug that damn hole.”

Mark Steyn’s monomania is demographics.  And he’s definitely got a point.

A Marin town goes Arizona:  The great virtue of local, as opposed to even federal or state government, is that it deals with local problems.  In Novato, California, near my home, the local problem is a broken budget and the deep suspicion that illegal immigrant cheaters are scamming that fragile economic system.  Novato is therefore contemplating citizenship verification rules.  I’m sure the Obami will be up in arms should that happen.  I say to Novato:  “You go, guys!”  And if it works, I bet other communities will follow.

In California, the Democrats want to raise taxes by $5 billion and borrow almost $9 billion.  I am sure that these same Democrats, if their plans come to fruition, will be surprised at an exodus that leaves them without the taxpayers to pay the taxes or service the bonds.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, just by a spending freeze, Gov. Christie (my new hero), has managed to make new taxes unnecessary.   Progressives:  let me give you a little “cause and effect” lesson.  Governments do not create wealth.  All they can do is print money and, if they are smart, create circumstances conducive to the creation of private wealth.  If you have a lot of wealth, a small tax will still bring substantial sums of money into government coffers.  (Think of California in the 1950s and 1960s.)  If you suck the life out of the private sector, destroying wealth, even large taxes will bring only small sums of money into government coffers.  (Think of California right now.)  Lesson is over, children.  Go play with your navels and think about this one a bit.

For so many years, Britain had a casual antisemitism that was distinct from the European version that showed up in Pogroms and Holocausts.  While you certainly might not have dinner with a Jew, you’d let him earn a living and go unmolested in your country.  Given this history, it’s somehow unusually tragic that Britain has become Ground Zero for a virulent antisemitism that is a perfect storm of Leftism, traditional British class beliefs, and Islamic antisemitism.  Here’s a perfect example of the truth-killing effects of this perfect storm.

We interrupt this program for a special announcement:  Please doff your caps and bow your heads.  Sadie just sent me an email informing me that Art Linkletter has died.  I used to adore his show when I was a child, even though most of the humor didn’t connect for me, since the children’s logic was my logic too.  It was only later, when I got hold of a copy of the side-splittingly funny Kids Say the Darndest Things!that I finally got the joke.  Nevertheless, his persona was so endearing that I just felt comfortable watching him interact with my peers.  A friend I met in later years who was a member of the Bohemian Grove with Linkletter told me this wasn’t an act.  Linkletter was every bit as pleasant in person as he was projecting himself on the TV.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

My friend John Graham attacks the ugly specter of the yet more government overreach, this time when it comes to parents’ decisions about their children’s food.

James Lileks gives Joe Biden the treatment he deserves.  You should read the whole thing, not only because it’s funny, but because the last line is priceless.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

I agree with AllahPundit that Djou should oh-so-graciously release his birth certificate.  This is a time when it’s useful to turn the other cheek to make a point.

What the heck are they drinking in Alabama?  And can I have some too?  Wow!

“Red, white and blue, we spit on you”

I thought you’d like to see the face of some of Barack Obama’s most ardent supporters, shown here in San Francisco on the occasion of Obama’s visit to raise funds for Boxer (a visit clearly more important than visiting the beleaguered Gulf Coast, with that “damn hole“):

For more on what Bay Area Tea Partiers faced when they went to encourage Democrats to cut spending and taxing, go here.

Sitting on my spindle *UPDATED*

For the past two days, I’ve been gathering links that I’ve meant to use in stand-alone posts.  That’s clearly not going to happen, though, so let me pass the links onto you, in the hope that you find them as interesting as I did.

Here’s something of a public service announcement:  if you post your phone number in Facebook, your phone number has suddenly become public property.  Please be careful.

Has Sarah Palin acquired a stalker or a legitimate journalist?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Elvis Costello joins the ranks of useful idiots to boycott Israel.  One Israeli politely takes him to task for his ignorance and inhumanity.

Much as the press loves Obama, Obama does not love the press.  They’ll never abandon his ship, though.  Even if they have unexpectedly found themselves traveling in steerage, when they thought they’d booked first class accommodations, he’s still taking them to their socialist port of choice.

Have other presidents blown off Memorial Day?  Even if they have, it still isn’t as tacky as Obama’s having done so, because no other president has ever shown such manifest disdain and disrespect for the American military.  This isn’t a one-off.  It’s a package deal of giving the middle finger to the troops he commands.  [UPDATE:  At American Thinker, they get it.]

Heather MacDonald points to the Emperor’s Nakedness:  all the huffing and puffing about the Arizona law hides the fact that Democrats desperately don’t want to enforce border security.  They will willingly watch terrorists sneak into the country, they will watch drug dealers destroy our cities, they will see masses of immigrants ruin our economy — all before they will give up the possibility of millions of new Democratic party-line voters.

If you live in North Carolina’s Second District, you should find interesting this interview with Republican candidate Renee Ellmers, another woman who found politics through the Tea Parties.

Nihilism and, inevitably, anarchy.  Is that the world’s future?  In a post-Judeo-Christian world, Dennis Prager thinks it may well be.  America used to be the single brake against this trend, but Obama’s America has jumped upon the bandwagon.

I have no idea why it’s a surprise to learn that, the more government spends, the more businesses retrench rather than joining the spending party.  Business people understand what liberal policy wonks don’t:  all that spending has to be paid for by taxes; all those taxes suck money out of the economy; and an economy with no money is a perilous business environment.  The fact that it took a scholarly study to figure this one out tells us just how removed from reality the Ivory Tower crowd is.  [UPDATE:  Just wanted to add one more thing.  I'm reading Jaques Barzun's The Culture We Deserve for my (conservative) reading group.  I'm only two essays in, but he's already explained perfectly why I loathed the liberal arts program at UC Berkeley when I was a student there in the very early 1980s.  I've always been a member of the true reality-based community.  I therefore never had the stomach for the artificiality of academia.  People don't live in petri dishes.  They live in the real world, with real problems and, most importantly, real cause and effect.]

Great.  The EPA is planning on managing plants in Texas.  This should go well (see my previous paragraph).

The “shoot to wound” proposal in New York

When I was in law school, one of my classmates was a lovely man who had decided to go to law school after several years as a police officer in Oklahoma.  I forget the context of our conversation, but he once told me that, in law enforcement, you never shoot to wound.  Shooting is binary.  Either you don’t need to shoot at all, or if you need to shoot, the only way to ensure a safe outcome for both officer and innocent bystanders is to shoot to kill.  In other words, by the time you’re firing, the time for some hypothetical “shoot to wound” has already passed.  As part of that point, my friend told me that, unless you’re a sharpshooter, in a chaotic, adrenalin filled situation, you can’t shoot for delicate targets such as a hand, foot or knee.  You go for the big target — the torso — or the second biggest target — the head, and then you shoot to kill.

Despite his long, long years as a lawyer, I have no doubt that my friend is shocked and horrified, as are New York cops, at the new rule the Legislature is mulling over, one that requires them to shoot to wound:

City cops are livid over a legislative proposal that could handcuff the brave officers involved in life-and-death confrontations every day — requiring them to shoot gun-wielding suspects in the arm or leg rather than shoot to kill, The Post has learned.

The “minimum force” bill, which surfaced in the Assembly last week, seeks to amend the state penal codes’ “justification” clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else’s is in imminent danger.

The bill — drafted in the wake of Sean Bell’s controversial police shooting death — would force officers to use their weapons “with the intent to stop, rather than kill” a suspect. They would be mandated to “shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg.”

Under present NYPD training, cops are taught to shoot at the center of their target and fire their weapon until the threat has been stopped.

“These are split-second, spontaneous events — and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second,” said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association. “It is not realistic, and it exists only in cartoons.

“It’s moronic and would create two sets of rules in the streets if there is a gunfight. This legislation would require officers to literally shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot to wound them in the leg or arm. I don’t know of any criminal who doesn’t shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions.”

Read the rest here.

This one is right up there with the medal the military is contemplating for courageous restraint — an honor, Rush Limbaugh says, correctly, will surely be awarded only posthumously.

Is there anyone else out there who thinks it utterly insane that we, as a society, blithely assume that our troops and police should take all of the risks on our behalf, while we systematically strip them of their right to defend themselves against the bad guys?  Oh, wait.  Of course it makes sense.  I’m just looking at this whole thing wrong.  If you’re a Progressive, the troops and police are the bad guys.  It’s the ones on the receiving end of the evil cop and evil American soldier guns who are poor, misunderstood victims of the man, of America, of white imperialism, etc., and it’s only right and proper that they have the upper hand in any engagement.

Feh!