Monday mid-day round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLooking at the headlines lately, I have the feeling we’re at a tipping point in America. I’ve had this feeling before, and it’s been an icky feeling, because my concern was that the slippery slope we were about to slide down would land America in the ditch. Now, though, I have a sense that what’s going to end up in the ditch, rather than being our whole nation, might just be is the Progressive agenda, as more and more Americans look at Progressivism unmasked and don’t like what they see.

Of course, until we have a strong conservative movement, all that will happen is that America will pull back just a little from the edge; it’s not yet heading in an entirely different direction. Moreover, events that are already in motion are still going to happen, so it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Still, today, for the first time in a long time, I actually think things might get better.

And now, the interesting stuff:

George Orwell understood that one of the primary ways in which the left works is to pervert language. Case in point:  the demand for same-sex (or gay) marriage. For the entirety of human history, no matter the time, place, government, or religion, “marriage” has been a union of man and woman or, sometimes, man and women. The core nature of the word marriage is the societally-sanctioned coming together of male and female. To extend “marriage” to persons of the same-sex effectively strips the word of meaning. It can now mean anything. Humpty-Dumpty has taken over.

You’ve heard me on this point before, but it seems appropriate to repeat it here, after having read that the first openly gay Episcopalian Bishop is divorcing his husband after only four years:

“My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate,” Robinson wrote. “Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”

You’ll notice that God and gospel don’t figure anywhere in this ordained bishop’s New Age homage to love.

I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that Robinson fully understood that what he entered into four years ago was not a “marriage.” It was, instead, a Leftist effort to destroy the church from within by leaching the sacraments, including the sacrament of marriage, of any meaning. And without sacraments, you don’t have a church.  And without a church, you have no morality and rules, creating a nice vacuum that the Progressive state can rush to fill.

Let me say again that I don’t have a big problem with civil gay unions, because it’s quite reasonable to extend certain civil benefits to long-term partnerships, regardless of their sexual makeup. I do, however, have a huge problem with the gay marriage movement, which sets out to destroy the meaning behind words as a predicate to destroying the existential meaning necessary to maintain very useful cultural institutions.

(For another example of the linguistic march through institutions, pay attention to the fact that the U.N., which is “investigating” the Vatican regarding it’s truly shameful sex abuse scandals, has included in its mission statement the claim that banning abortion constitutes a form of sexual abuse.)

***

Thomas Lifson explains why Democrats are getting nervous about Benghazi. It seems to me that the Dems’ only hope is that, because the scandal isn’t about sex, the media can run interference by alternating burying it or claiming that it’s nothing but a partisan ploy. I remember back in 1998 the media’s claim (which I, a credulous Democrat, believed) that the Lewinsky scandal was a fake product of the vast right wing conspiracy. Unfortunately for the media, though, the sex factor in the scandal made it impossible to bury.  When the truth behind the little blue dress came out, the best that the media could do was to say that Clinton’s peculiar, immoral sex practices had nothing to do with his being president. That option isn’t open this time around.  Obama’s Benghazi passivity and lies have everything to do with his being president.

In 2014, with Trey Gowdy in charge of the House’s Benghazi investigation committee, and with the internet there to expose things the media wants to hide, Democrats may find it a bit harder to bury this scandal than when they tried, unsuccessfully, to do the same thing with Clinton’s erotic escapades.

I expect Gowdy to make good hay out of the White House’s threatened refusal to cooperate. The lawyer in me knows that when the other side refuses to play, it’s got something to hide.

Or maybe, per Michael Ramirez, there really was a video — a very specific video — driving what happened before, during, and after the Benghazi massacre.

***

Today is Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli version of Memorial Day, on which Israel remembers the many men and women who have died in the service of that brave and beleaguered country. Today is also the day that something peculiar happened:  Britain’s hard left Guardian newspaper ran a long article sympathetically retelling the story of the massacre Kfar Etzion, when Jordanian troops killed 127 civilians on May 13, 1948. Writing at Commentary, Tom Wilson points out how peculiar the Guardian’s article is:

“Massacre that Marred the Birth of Israel” reads a headline in theGuardian, and your heart sinks. This is the last thing one feels like reading as Israel enters into forty-eight hours of commemoration, celebration, mourning, and remembrance; today is Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims, tomorrow Israel’s independence day marking sixty-six years since the reestablishment of the Jewish state. Yet, on closer inspection the headline might be thought a little misleading.

This column by the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont turns out not to be just another hit piece laden with the usual allegations of Zionist crimes against forlorn Palestinians. In a newspaper typically more inclined to give over its pages to stories about what Israel’s opponents call the Nakba—the catastrophe of Israel’s creation—it is rather disorienting, if refreshing, to find a piece so sympathetically recounting the macabre events of the Kfar Etzion massacre.

The Guardian’s uncharacteristic behavior goes back to that “tipping point” feeling I mentioned.  I’m wondering if some of the saner Leftists, peering into the abyss towards which they led us, are realizing that the West won’t tumble into some socialist paradise but will, instead, find itself in a poverty-stricken, sharia-compliant world.  And while the hard-core Leftists might not mind this, or are continuing to deny it, others may be troubled by that vision and may attempt to put the brakes on.

***

A long time ago, I did a post called “Remembering when Jews were popular.” I’m not well-informed about Jewish culture, but I’ve definitely noticed how American popular culture has changed since I was a child, in the 1960s, when so much of the entertainment world was composed of Jews or was friendly to Jews. James Loeffler, more informed and erudite than I, sees the same changes, not at the overall cultural level (which was what I noticed), but amongst the Jews themselves.

***

Yet another moment of tipping in the right direction? The head of a local teacher’s union is embarrassed to have been involved in administering Common Core tests to the students at his school.

***

Read and enjoy Nigel Lawson’s splendid, truly humanist, take down of climate alarmism.

And while we’re on the subject of biased, bad “science,” it is absolutely fascinating to read how Ancel Benjamin Keys, the man who made us afraid of saturated fat, deliberately set up a biased study and then compounded that bias with ignorance and flawed research techniques. I love meat, and eat way too little of it since Mr. Bookworm, in thrall to “science,” gets agitated when meat enters our house. Just know that, if you ever come to town and want to join me for lunch or dinner, I’ll suggest a burger or other type of meat place, since those are my go-to dining out options.

***

Considering that the Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to pass laws, it would seem to me that Congress has standing to sue when the chief executive usurps that power by unilaterally changing those laws. But then again, I’m not a constitutional scholar, nor am I a Progressive federal court judge, so my opinion doesn’t matter, does it?

***

And a song I like, which expresses my feeling on a day when the tipping point might finally be tipping in the right direction:

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    Nice bag ‘o items, Book.
     
    Regarding saturated fat: When the Crusade against fat got underway in the 1950s, it forced people to shift to carbohydrates as a main source of nutrition. Yet, despite the lowering of fat in the American diet, the rate of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease kept creeping up.
     
    Both diseases are inflammatory ailments, brought on by high blood sugar, which tends to harden arteries and evoke a permanent-war response by the immune system. The main culprit in generating high blood sugars is the consumption of too many carbs.
     
    We are approaching a Great Doh! Moment when we realize that we’ve been sold a giant bill of goods regarding fat (as well as years’ worth of crappo de-fatted “Choice” meat).
     
    Regarding Gene Robinson: What a pathetic man. I read a paean he once wrote about the act of sodomizing his “husband” in which he likened penetrating his partner’s rectum to a deep spiritual experience. It was one of the most distressing, disgusting, delusional statements I’ve ever read, and it summed up for me the solipsism and sickness that lies at the heart of the radical gay desire to destroy Christianity. 

    • says

      Consumption of carbohydrates is only an indirect cause.
       
      The human body is designed to function on a kind of lifestyle, which modern day desk work doesn’t cover.
       
      So many of the carbohydrate energies converted into energy, glycogen, in the body is never used up. Because it isn’t used up by the muscles, the liver and the body must reconvert the sugar back into a storage, such as fat, to purify it. Fat is purified energy, thus fat was never “bad”. But instead of using up this fat as the stored energy, people’s access to fast food and coffee means that they keep getting their energy by converting stuff into glycogen. Which they never use sitting at their desk.
       
       

  2. Libby says

    Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”
    I call B.S. on that statement. Gene Robinson’s behavior throughout the controversy over his becoming Bishop was less than stellar. Considering this and that he had already cast off a previous wife and kids, the end of his 2nd marriage is no surprise. It always amazes me how these fierce same-sex marriage warriors, such as Rosie O’Donnell and Jane Lynch, can so easily dissolve their own hard-won marriages after claiming such great admiration for the institution and desire to participate. Their actions betray any real understanding or commitment to an actual life-long, ’till death do us part’ partnership.
    Book, I stumbled across this post at the Federalist that provides an excellent antidote to the “I’m just sick of it all, let’s just take the state out of the marriage business” stance that so many browbeaten conservatives are moving towards: http://preview.tinyurl.com/q7yygjm
    Without civil marriage, the family can no longer exist autonomously and serve as a wall of separation between the individual and the state. This has huge implications for the survival of freedom of association.”
    Reminds me of your American Thinker “Sex and State Power” post.

  3. SADIE says

    You can’t have a thriving Jewish culture without Jews … what the Cossacks and Hitler didn’t accomplish, we’ve done to ourselves.
    Approximately 6 million Jews in the United States, about 2 out of 3, either do not identify themselves Jewish or maintain an affiliation with a synagogue. 
     
    Before 1965, 10% of Jews who married, did so outside the faith.
    Since 1985, 52% of Jews who married have done so outside the faith.

  4. Mike Devx says

    Book, you said,
    Now, though, I have a sense that what’s going to end up in the ditch, rather than being our whole nation, might just be is the Progressive agenda, as more and more Americans look at Progressivism unmasked and don’t like what they see.
     
    Book, I hope you’re right.
     
    I know one thing about the Democrats/far-left liberals: They are committed to their vision and they all work well together.  They FIGHT for it.  The politicians, in particular, are committed to the vision.  And they FIGHT for it.  They know exactly where they stand, they are strongly principled, and they BELIEVE in their principles.
     
    Our Republican politicians…. eh, not so much.  Why do you think they always fold, and always fold so easily?  We have about six or seven fighters in Congress who stand on principle, can state their principles when asked a question, and will fight for them.  The hundreds of other Republicans… not so much.  And that’s why we keep losing.  Our politicians have no spine, and they wouldn’t recognize a conservative principle if it reared up and bit them.
     
    It’s not that I think the Democrats can spell out their agenda for you line by line.  Ask them to pull a Thomas Jefferson, and write out their “Declaration Of A New Independence”, and they probably couldn’t.  But give them any piece of legislating, and they can immediately outline which parts fit their agenda, and which don’t.
     
    The far-left liberals like to say, “We don’t love the America that is.  We love the America that She Could Be.”  But if you got them to describe this America That Could Be, and you stepped back and evaluated it, you would find that it is an America vastly reduced from what She is today.  As Obama likes to put it, America should be “just another nation among all nations”.  In a nutshell, he is not lying, and that is a good description of their goals.  An America vastly reduced.
     
    Most importantly, the America they envision is an America that blends in almost invisibly with all those European countries they like to admire.  And what about all those European countries?
     
    Well, you can bet Vladimir Putin doesn’t see Russia as just another nation among many nations.  He’s currently engaged in swallowing up Ukraine. And there’s every reason to think that Belarus wont be next.  Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia ought to be extremely nervous.  The Russian bear is on the prowl.  It is aggressive, and it is very hungry.
     
    What of all those European nations, then?  Weakened – left defenseless – by 60 years of NATO membership in which they chose total military dependency on the USA, they can’t lift a finger to defend themselves, nor anyone else.  We, the USA, are already far down that same road.  Under Obama, there will be no defense of Belarus, Estonia, LAtvia, Lithuania. Moldavia?  At some point we might draw the line against Russian aggression, but it’s hard right now to say WHERE.
     
    And then there is China, moving with its usual craftiness along the Pacific Rim.  I wonder why, actually, they are moving so slowly.  Do they see the West as still able to confront them, and so they continue to apply only slow, withering pressure?  Or will they make THEIR big move soon, while Obama is still in office?  Perhaps they are looking further into the future, and they see a USA that simply cannot cope with its debt, and ten years from now will be *completely* toothless?  China has always been willing to play a patient game.
     
    And if worse came to worse, they could probably just have their insane little buddy North Korea pop an EMP nuke 100 miles up over our West Coast, and collapse us into ruin that way.  Risky move due to retaliation.  But who knows?  China could probably recover from a few EMP bursts; the USA could not.
     
    To this point the Republicans are not putting up any credible principled defense or attack.  They’re basically toothless, because they lack principles and vision, and they will not stand UP for anything.  I see the Democrats as consistently standing up and engaging in the fight.  I hope our Republicans will get a spine, get it together, and start to growl.  Menacingly.

  5. says

    One of the many discussions I’ve had with my children about gay “marriage” is that Marriage is not about “love.”  It’s about children:  raising them to be productive members of society (which includes taking care of elderly family members, hint, hint).  Romantic love isn’t strong enough to withstand the normal hurdles of life, big and (especially!) small.  I do get stuck on the “Why do we let heterosexual couples marry who can’t or won’t have children?”  I have no snappy, solid answer for that one, unfortunately.  Any help would be appreciated!
     
    The UN is not only going after the Vatican for the sexual abuse scandal (which is a “pot, meet kettle” situation if I ever saw one) and abortion, but also about RCC teaching on homosexuality and how homosexuals are treated in the Church.  The push is on for the RCC to adapt its teachings to include SSM.  Have I missed the UN making a similar push against FGM and child brides amongst the imans of the Religion of Peach?

  6. Ron19 says

    “I watched my students valiantly attempt math questions that most adults could not answer”
     
    We don’t need no stinking education.  We just need to go back to outcome based testing.
     
    Back in the stone ages, my eighth (third?) grade math tests had questions that I have later found most adults couldn’t answer, then or now.

  7. Legatus says

    Reference the absurdity surrounding same-sex marriage in America today …. I’m a recently-retired Army Colonel.   Sadly, the services began caving to progressive pressure on their issues of fixation in the mid-90s.  It’s bad now.  I am told on reliable authority that with the DoD’s recent decision to recognize same sex relationships, military personnel can get on-base priviledges, ID cards and access to facilities for their “domestic partner.”  
     
    This was also reported in the media last year (7 June Washington Times) where then-SefDEF Panetta said: “These benefits shall be extended to the same-sex domestic partners and, where applicable, children of same-sex domestic partners, once the service member and their same-sex domestic partner have signed a declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship …”.  
     
    Benefits of the sort offered those couples who …. um …. attest to a committed relationship … are not — as far as I can tell — extended to the non-military partner of the servicemember (active or retired) involved in a committed, traditional (if they can be called “traditional”) male-female relationship not recognized by formal marriage.
     
    Something is really wrong with this!!!!!  
     
     
     

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    March Hare, you hammered the nail on the head!
    Regarding, “I do get stuck on the “Why do we let heterosexual couples marry who can’t or won’t have children?”  I have no snappy, solid answer for that one, unfortunately.  Any help would be appreciated!”…
     
    Couples who want children but can’t have children can still adopt or take in foster children. Couples that do not want children, well…there is no point to get married, is there, unless there is a deep religious commitment. Except for tax and insurance breaks, that is, and therein lies a big part of the problem. Perhaps such breaks should only apply to couples with children.
     
    The next battles will be fought over polygamy and polyamory. The Liberal Progressive members of my church will be in high dudgeon over this, of course, but they won’t have a leg to stand on: they already broke it!  Now, what had previously been viewed as a religious sacrament essential to the long-term health of society, is now simply reduced to one more interest group benefit. We will pay a terrible price for this.

    • says

      @Danny–
      Agree.  In fact, I’d go a step farther–why not let any consenting adults set up a “household”? As long as they are over 18, their sex, age, and number doesn’t matter.  They can share benefits and tax breaks.  Who are they hurting?  Whose business is it how they live and/or who they sleep with?  Who are we to judge what is a family?
       
      The argument seems to devolve rather quickly, doesn’t it?

      • says

        Frontiersmen and women had to give up the voting rights of their women to join the Eastern dominated United States. That was a requirement.
         
        Often times top down hierarchies in a civilization is retrograde, not progressivegrade.
        http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/a-look-at-bottom-up-hierarchies/
         
        So long as people respect the Top Down hierarchy of the US-Hussein-Holder-Democrat_Leftist_alliance regime, there is no such thing as privacy or private agreements. All agreements are within the state, by the state, under the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state.
         

  9. Jose says

    So many good comments here so I’ll make my thoughts brief.

    Re: Benghazi, I totally agree with BW. The libs dost protest too much.

    Go Trey Gowdy!

    Re: the WSJ article about the poor research on diet…. During the years I spent on the Government (military) weight management program, it was constantly drummed into me: carbs = good; fat = bad. After years of avoiding fats and feeling permissive about carbs I am now a Type 2 diabetic. Thanks, Uncle Sam.

    Re: Gay domestic partners with DoD benefits, (Lagatus), this could be seen coming years ago, and I never saw anyone other than William F Buckley point it out. If the DoD thinks they are spending a lot of money on GI benefits now….

  10. Ron19 says

    From Rush Limbaugh yesterday, talking about Zucker’s town hall meeting with CNN:
     
    “I don’t want people to feel like that.  What I want is for people to push back . . . What I like . .  is for people to tell me I’m wrong.”

    Been there:  A few years ago, my department head told us that he wanted us to push back.

    Done that:  At a later meeting, he asked me to report on what progress I was making on what projects.  I told him, using the format he had told us to use.  He disputed what I was saying, and so I pushed back.

    Got fired:  Shortly afterwards, in a one-on-one meeting, he kept asking me, without explanation, if I wanted to work for the company.  I kept saying yes.  What he was saying and asking didn’t make sense, and I had just received a substantial cash bonus from another department for doing what I was supposed to be doing in my department.  About then, he started pushing my immediate supervisor to set up several tasks for me with a deadline; one of the tasks was impossible.  My immediate supervisor kept saying he couldn’t do that to me, but finally caved.  I did the first two tasks, then accepted a package that he had offered me to resign, so they wouldn’t have to go to the bother of writing me up to fire me, and risk me filing a complaint.

  11. Caped Crusader says

    Mike Devx:
     
    An excellent analysis!. A country that is borrowing 50% of it’s budget yearly to continue a lifestyle it is not producing by its own work and to buy votes of the non productive, cannot make its own shoes, socks, and underwear, but instead buys them from its most likely future adversary, really has no future. Barring a rapid awakening and total  turn around this country is doomed. I now think we have gone beyond the point of no return.

  12. KellyM says

    I read the WSJ article with great interest. I was not surprised to see that the whole theory on which the “Mediterreanean diet” bit was built is in reality a crock. I read parts of it aloud to my husband while he was making dinner and when I got to the part about the University of Minnesota researcher and his “findings” in Greece, he responded, “When you go looking for something you inevitably find it.” My observation was a little more pithy but more cynical: Cherchez la femme. 
     
    I will mention one thing that I thought the article was remiss in leaving out: the significant social changes to our lives over the last century. If you look at advertising/marketing trends as far back as the 1930s the theme was time-saving. Machines and methods to ‘improve’ life and lessen the hold that physical labor had on the family and in the working world. The introduction of canned goods and pre-made from-the-box things were the rage. No more having to slave over that time consuming double-chocolate cake with buttercream icing. Just pop out the mix from the box and wham! the job is done. What that has also done is deprived us of the inherent value – both nutritionally and culturally – of foods and other products made by our own efforts and with skill that is passed down to the next generation. But it was that physical labor that contributed to one’s overall health. Even with less than stellar dental care and the other odd medical things folks dealt with, those early 20th century people were probably in better shape that your average video game cellar-dweller subsisting on Doritos and Mountain Dew.
     
    I grew up eating a lot of red meat – and butter and whole milk. I also ate a lot of chicken, fish, veggies, and fruit plus potatoes and pasta and bread. We grew or raised much of our food and game wasn’t a rarity on the table. Still do, much to the chagrin of my doctor. And while I probably could do without that extra glass of wine, I don’t plan on making a lot of changes to my diet in my mid-forties except to perhaps scale back a bit on the breads and cereals. I would prefer to stave off the diabetes thing if I can.
     

    • says

      It comes down to personal ownership, autonomy, and independent thinking. People who cook their own foods, decide for themselves what they are using and in what proportion. And the people that eat it, trusts the source.
       
      The problem with the Science of the State, trusting nutritionists you’ve never seen, and believing in experiments you’ve never verified or duplicated, is that it takes the authority out of the person and puts it under a totalitarian regime. And if people think that’s a slipper slope argument, they must think we are slipping down a slope in the US, rather than what others believe: we’re already free falling in the hole.
       

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