I’m having an existential anxiety day, which has seen me reading compulsively, but scared to write. In my little lizard brain, as long as I just read the news, it’s distant and abstract. It’s the act of processing and disseminating the information that makes it seem all too real, and therefore all too worrisome and depressing. On the other hand, this same brain being what it is, writing also clears my circuits, rather than clogging them up with situations about which I can do little but write. So, here goes:
** 1 **
For years, when it comes to Hamas, Netanyahu has been more talk than action. I don’t actually fault him. He’s spent most of his premiership hampered by the dubious, two-faced friendship Obama has offered him from America, the country that used to be Israel’s staunchest ally. The Obama-created pitfalls made any action against Hamas much riskier than ever before.
More than that, Israel is a country in which every active duty soldier or combat reservist is someone’s father, boyfriend, son, brother, uncle, and friend. The situation is different in America, a place where we support our volunteer troops in the abstract, with many of us not having any meaningful relationship with even one of them. Were it not for my involvement in the Navy League, I would go through every day of my life here in Marin without ever having met a member of our armed forces. This means that, in Israel, every combat death isn’t just a number; instead, it’s truly, deeply personal.
Two things have happened, however, to shift the calculus for Netanyahu. First, Obama has marginalized himself so completely that Netanyahu no longer heeds him. Congress and the American public support Israel, so Bibi can act with reasonable confidence that snubbing Obama will have no lasting consequences. Second, Hamas is no longer fighting along Israel’s borders. Instead, between rockets and tunnels, the home front is the battle field. This means that, no matter how one slices it, Israelis will die — and if there’s one lesson Jews took away from WWII, it is that they will never again die without a fight.
All of which is why, when I read Ron Lipman’s article asking how far has Netanyahu been provoked, I finally believe that he has been provoked to the point at which he and Israel will fight this one through to its necessary conclusion.
** 2 **
Certainly, if newspaper opinion pieces are anything to go by, many Israelis would prefer to stand and fight than to hide, cower, and die.
** 3 **
In the face of a battle between good and evil, moral equivalence isn’t neutral. Instead, it’s evil too.
Nicholas Kristof, trying to be loftily impartial in the fight between Israel (free, democratic, pluralist, law-abiding, humane, life affirming) and Hamas (death loving, misogynistic, anti-Christian, anti-homosexual, anti-Semitic, slaver), gives succor to evil. Ron Radosh rightly calls Kristof out.
** 4 **
Hamas has guidelines for talking to the Kristoffs of this world. Under these guidelines, everyone who dies is an “innocent civilian.” This kind of propaganda works too. One of the truly well-intentioned, but deeply misguided uber-liberal friends I keep on purpose on Facebook (so that I can see and politely, very politely, challenge him and his friends) is up in arms about Israel using flechettes against Hamas. He cannot accept that this claim, like everything else, is almost certainly false, coming as it does from the sadistic fun house world of Hamas.
For what it’s worth, it certainly seems as if the New York Times is taking those Hamas guidelines to heart.
** 5 **
Here are two strong articles arguing that the people of Gaza, by knowingly electing a terrorist organization and one, moreover, that they knew used civilians as shields and their dead bodies as propaganda weapons, are no longer civilians but are, instead, combatants themselves. Although their job as combatants isn’t to fight, but just to die, they’re still part of the Hamas terrorist army and should be understood as such.
** 6 **
If Hamas had put even a fraction of the energy and resources it used to construct tunnels, not a single one of its citizens would have had to have died when Israel responded to its provocations. But of course, if Hamas was interested in its citizens, as opposed to interested in destroying Israel and killing every one of her inhabitants, it wouldn’t be building any tunnels in the first place.
** 7 **
** 8 **
David Bernstein applies the right word to the attacks on synagogues in Europe: pogroms.
** 9 **
And here’s yet another excellent article about the fallacy of proportionality in the fight between Israel and Hamas.
** 10 **
** 11 **
Yes, the D.C. Circuit court really did say that it’s not responsible for re-writing a clear passage in Obamacare, even if the passage, as written, guts Obamacare. As a lawyer, I can say definitively that the court is correct. If the passage was ambiguous, the court would have leeway. Given how explicit it is, though, that’s the end of the argument. This is the rule of law writ large — the legislature must be presumed to have meant what it said:
Per today’s order, the law means that there are no subsidies (nor mandates) for federally created exchanges. The biggest worry now is that Harry Reid, after having destroyed the filibuster in the Senate, will rush hard-Left judges on the D.C. Circuit appellate panel to resurrect the subsidies under federally-created exchanges.
You can read a more detailed analysis of the ruling here. Please note the first sentence: “A federal appellate court dealt a severe blow to Obamacare today, and in so doing scored a victory for the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the idea that words matter.” To which I say, exactly!
Likewise, Heritage legal analysis Elizabeth Slattery also discusses the ramifications of the Court’s decision, should it stand.
The epitaph to Obamacare may end up being “Legislate in haste; repent at leisure.”
** 12 **
I devoutly hope that David Weigel is correct and that the campaign to have Elizabeth Warren run for president is all smoke and mirrors. I neither like nor trust that woman, based both on having been one of her students and on her conduct and speeches since she burst onto the national political scene.
Of course, DemProg pundits are also dissing Hillary’s candidacy. Maybe these guys are genuinely worried about Warren and Hillary as potential candidates or else they’re trying to take the heat off both women so that they can prepare in dead earnest for the real fight in 2015/2016. Ace, for one, doesn’t think Hillary’s campaign is anywhere near its end.
** 13 **
Also, all the hiding in the world won’t protect Hillary from signs such as this one, spotted when Hillary was at a bookstore signing in Connecticut:
** 14 **
Two articles about Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:
Mark Steyn, in one of his most insightful posts, explains why to understand Israel is to understand Ukraine, and vice versa.
Tom Nichols explains why the attack on the plane has the Russians running scared.
** 15 **
The purge is complete. ISIS has driven the last Christian out of Mosul. Surprisingly enough (NOT), all the usual idiots who still huff and puff about Palestinians who lost land during a war they started in 1948 are completely silent about this.
(Also, if you have access to the Wall Street Journal, there’s more behind the pay wall.)
** 16 **
I don’t usually comment on local weather here, but I’m hoping that the thunderstorm that passed through the Bay Area last night is a sign that El Nino is kicking in and that California (or at least some of California) will have a wet winter.
The one thing I don’t see the storm presaging is more global warming. Indeed, if one looks at raw climate data, it’s apparent that California, rather than being bedeviled by global warming, has been cooling rather consistently.
** 17 **
Michael Tanner explains why the primarily Democrat-supported War on Poverty (although the GOP has had its paws all over this one too) is more aptly titled a “War on Work”:
** 18 **
Daniel Hannan looks at the Orwellian twist on the word “diversity” when placed in Leftist hands.
** 19 **
I’m a bit late to this party, but apparently I was waiting for Megan McArdle’s wonderful outrage regarding the story of the Mom arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to play in a safe park without a parent nearby.
I posted this article on my real-me Facebook, along with the fact that, when I was 9, I routinely walked a couple of miles to and from school by myself. I was then inundated by similar stories from my liberal friends. I keep hoping stories such as this one will get them to think after government encroachment in their lives.
** 20 **
We Americans are being bullied back into the Stone Age because of our allgedly excessive CO2 output, which we are told is causing unabated global warming (except, see above about California’s big chill, when it’s not). I wonder if the climate fascists will change their minds if they learn that humankind accounts for only 3.75% of atmospheric CO2.
Frankly, I’d already figured out that, while man can affect his immediate environment to the point of total destruction (strip-mining, extinct dodos and mammoths), nature as a whole is still far vaster and infinitely more reactive than we are.
** 21 **
With all due respect to those who don the blue uniform and are prepared to put their lives on the line to protect us, there have been too many stories lately about militarized, arrogant, disrespectful, violent police authorities for me to be an unalloyed fan anymore of our police forces. Nevertheless, Jack Dunphy makes a good case for the fact that there are times when something that looks violent and disrespectful may not be.
** 22 **
After being outraged about getting caught in two traffic traps in as many days (a red-light camera tagged me even though I was moving on yellow and pedestrian sting), I decided to be philosophical and view the tickets as the universe telling me I need to slow down and stop cutting driving corners. Here’s a good public safety message along those same lines:
** 23 **
And for something joyous:
** 24 **