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

Woman writing

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

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

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

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

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

He’s the Clark Kent/Superman of Apple Computers

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

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

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

Israel scored a game-changer against Hamas last night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

[snip]

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

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

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

The moving corpses of Hamas

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

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

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

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

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

And now a brief word from our sponsor:  I love writing this blog, but a little remuneration goes a long way.  You can help in a few ways:  If you're buying from Amazon, use one of the Amazon links on my blog to get to that site.  All your purchases will then send a little money my way.  You can also click on the ads that irritate you on this site.  Who knows?  You might find something interesting.  Lastly, you'll see in the upper right hand corner of this blog a PayPal link.  Please feel free to contribute.  I am grateful for any amount, no matter how small.

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

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

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

The UN’s war crimes

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

The immorality of the genocide against Down Syndrome

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

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

A short list of Obama’s wrongdoings

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

Come Fly With Me

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

More Progressives are noticing Obama’s clay feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leftists try to destroy writers’ livelihoods and suppress ideas

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

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

A California Republican shames Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown

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

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

Donnelly letter to Jerry Brown re Mexican President

Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

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

The unholy union of government and big business

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

The Perry indictment just gets uglier

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

Fish cannons and turkey drops

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

Even Taylor Swift has been sucked into a astroturf race row

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

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

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

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

Now you see it, now you don’t

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

Pictures

(With my usual heartfelt thanks to Caped Crusader.)

Islam taking back what it thinks is its own

Conservativsm is the bulwark against savagery

Modern education

Back off or the community gets it

Liberal logic and guns

Wants more government

You voted for big government

Comparing Israel and the Palestinians

Life on Mars

Give me your illegal aliens

Declassify everything

Obama doesn't test well

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

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

[snip]

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

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

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

Ramallah lynching

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muslims against ISIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speech

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire homage here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hamas violates 11th ceasefire

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

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

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

Open Thread Part II

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

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

Blame it on Kathy Open Thread

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

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

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

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

The Bookworm Beat — Waiting for Normal Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThe kids return to school on Wednesday and I have the hope — faint, admittedly, but still the hope — that my life will return to normal then. I’m not complaining about life during the summer. I’ve enjoyed sleeping in every day, I’ve enjoyed the freedom from schedules, and I’ve enjoyed the vitality that comes with having the neighborhood teenagers move into my house.

Still, I like normal too. I like being up and about early, I like that wonderful moment when everyone is gone and the house is mine for six hours, and I like the quiet rhythm that enables me to read, think, and blog. During summer, because my quiet time comes so erratically and lasts so briefly, I cannot seem to get in the groove.

Until normal arrives in my life (assuming it ever does), here are a few interesting links.

Making shocking comparisons about Obama, mainstream media turns racist

What’s shocking about WaPo editor Jackson Diehl’s post discussing Obama’s hubris isn’t how mean and angry the tone is. No.  What’s really terrible is that this WaPo editor is no longer comparing Obama to Lincoln or even Reagan; he’s comparing him to George Bush Jr. Wow. That’s hate speech.

Thomas Frank :  fool or plant

Steven Hayward points out that Thomas Frank’s advice for Progressives who want to make conservatives happy is to (a) ignore reality and (b) put into place the kind of agenda that conservatives have sought for decades. Hayward is correct that Frank is either as dumb as a post or a brilliant conservative plant.

The perverse pleasure of getting under a Leftist’s skin

One of my liberal friends posted on Facebook the fact that the autopsy report revealed that Michael “Big Mike” Brown, formerly of Ferguson, Missouri, sustained six gunshot wounds, two of which were in the head. He commented that this was an excessive number. His boyfriend chimed in — yes, excessive!

I wrote polite words to the effect that if, solely for the sake of argument, one accepts as true the shooting officer’s version of events, six is not an unreasonable number of bullets to put into a huge man who is charging towards you with apparently malevolent intent. Not all shots make their mark and a big man may keep moving long after he’s sustained serious, even fatal, injuries.

I added that the “shoot to wound” idea exists only in novels and movies. Real cops — and I’ve spoken with a few — know that, if the situation is bad enough to merit shooting, you shoot to kill. I got this delightful response, not from my friend, but from his boyfriend:

Sorry . . . that just doesn’t match up with the facts as reported. It’s nothing less than stupendous how those of you on the lunatic right become apologists for the very same fucking governmental forces you shriek are taking us into “socialism”, “tyranny”, and whatever other crap you come up with. How pathetic and embarrassing to all Americans. UNfuckingbelievable.

When I went to reply, I saw that my friend had deleted both my comment and his boyfriend’s response. I was so delighted with the boyfriend’s response, though, that I mischievously re-posted my original comment, adding that it was significant that the shots entered front-to-back and not vice-versa. It now appears one of the shots may have been from back to front, which raises the question of whether that was the first, kill shot, with the others coming as he lay helpless on the ground, or if it was a final shot as his body fell.

I thought it would be lovely to elicit another one of those tirades. When someone is so viciously paranoid, it’s nice to tease it out so that all the world can see him for what he really is.

Conservatives don’t hate gays

I’m part of a majority! Sixty-eight percent of Republicans would willingly vote for a gay candidate who shared their values. I’m in that 68%. Ever since I’ve been a child, I’ve been neither racist, nor homophobic, nor religionist, nor anything else but VALUES-IST. If you share my values, I don’t care about whatever else you have going on with you.

I’m also with those conservatives (60%) who would be upset if their children were gay. This isn’t because I hate gays, and I wouldn’t hate my child. It’s because gays are statistically less likely to live lives free from substance abuse, spousal abuse, depression, and suicide. It’s also because I’ve known many gays and their lives tend to be less stable and more inclined to excess than the straight people I know. In other words, it’s not the sexual orientation that would disturb me, it’s my deep worry as a parent that my child would be setting out on a potentially very unhappy and dangerous life path.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel

Edward Snowden, who threw himself into Chinese and Russian hands with suitcases full of NSA secrets, dressed himself up in libertarian patriotism: I’m protecting you, the American people, from your government, he promised. As someone who fears overreaching government, I could fully understand those who argued that he was performing an important public service. But how do you explain away the fact that the vast bulk of data he stole related to national security, not homeland surveillance? It looks as if he may be precisely the type of “patriot” scoundrel Johnson was thinking of when he coined his famous saying — someone who covers up despicable acts by waving the flag.

The Left’s selective concern for victims of violence

Bernard Goldberg is singing an old, familiar song, but it certainly deserves a reprise — Leftists, including black Leftists, have no sympathy for blacks killed by blacks, or whites killed by blacks. Their outrage is reserved solely for blacks killed by whites, even though their number is exceptionally small, especially when compared to those blacks who die at the hands of their racial fellows. This outrage, then, has nothing to do with victims of violent crime, and everything to do with fomenting race wars.

Nobody cares about white victims

That Kung Pao something-or-other was delicious!  Now, what did you say was in that dish?

I wonder how Thomas Friedman is going to explain this one away in defending his beloved Chinese communist government: dogs are for eating, says Chinese government.

Pictures

(Thanks, as always, to Caped Crusader, who has a knack for finding these great images and posters.)

Work boots not stolen

Thomas Sowell wisdom

All socialists sing the same song

No, Hillary is not a Nazi. The point is that all socialists sing the same song.

Looting

 

The Democrats’ America : Rule by Judges

Judge and gavelIn 2009, I wrote a post entitled “Does Brown v. Board of Education constitute the Supreme Court’s one free pass?” in it, I argued that Brown represented the Supreme Court coming up with a rather badly reasoned (albeit moral) legal opinion to leapfrog over the fact that the South was not moving with sufficient speed to end segregation.

Because segregation was a great evil, the Court created a legal principle out of whole cloth in order to short-cut its destruction. Waiting for a paradigm shift in the South (which would have been reflected in the Southern ballot box) would have consigned at least one generation of blacks — and possibly many more — to a marginal, unequal existence in the United States. By issuing the Brown opinion, which led to grotesque images of white Southerners attacking black children and therefore made the public aware of the great moral wrong that continued to exist in the South almost 100 years after the South lost the Civil War, the Court jump started the Civil Rights movement.

The problem with the Brown decision, I said, is that, while it did end one evil, it created another evil, which is the notion of judge-made law:

Considering the evil that was the Jim Crow South, and considering that the system would have taken decades to die out on its own, here’s the big question:  Was it a good thing that the Supreme Court jump-started Jim Crow’s death by issuing an activist decision that was both Constitutionally incorrect and factually just a tiny dent in the system, but that worked to turn America’s eyes onto a great wrong being done in its own back yard?

My answer is that, righteous though the results were, the decision was still wrong.  Keep in mind that the societal benefits in Brown‘s wake were not the intended consequences of the decision.  Instead, the benefits flowed from an unintended consequence:  the novelty of media attention focusing on an issue most Americans had managed to disregard.  In other words, it wasn’t the Court decision that brought about the change; it was the dumb luck that flowed from that decision. While the decision is viewed as carte blanche for activism, because it was followed by a successful societal change, the change flowed, not from the decision itself, but simply from the attention it garnered.

The example I focused on in 2009 to show the damage from judicial activism was the Kansas school system. There, a judge not only ruled that the schools weren’t equal, he also micro-managed precisely how equal they should be, practically down to the last pencil. In other words, he wasn’t just a judge, he also acted as a bureaucrat. The judge-managed schools were a costly disaster.

The above discussion is about the judge-made law and bureaucracy looked at from the judges’ point of view. Two articles, though, have made me aware that, of late, one specific party has decided to abandon the democratic process altogether and to rely solely on the rule of judges, whether legislative or bureaucratic.

The first article I read was about gay marriage, which has become the law in almost half of America’s states . . . thanks to judges, not the voters:

While it probably is true that perceptions are slowly shifting among the populaceen masse, such tidal changes typically take decades if not generations to show up as legislative changes, let alone constitutional ones. The wave of states legalizing same-sex marriage unions is not the result of shifting values in America, it is the result of amazingly resilient and determined activists using the courts to overturn the will of the people.

Homosexual marriage amendments (or state-constitutional bans thereof) have been placed on ballots 34 times and have been defeated 31 times. Yes, even in California Proposition 8 — an amendment to the state’s constitution that denied same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry — passed overwhelmingly. Yet California has same-sex marriage. Why? How is that possible if the masses spoke, and in California’s case spoke loudly?

What’s happening in state after state is not the citizenry is giving its seal of approval to same-sex marriage — in fact, we are doing quite the opposite. Then once a measure fails lawyers funded by activists file lawsuits and begin a legal process. If and when the first attempt fails they file an appeal and try again. And again. And again. These lawsuits run up through the court system until finally landing on the desk of a judge sympathetic to the cause. That judge then takes the will of the people as expressed through the ballot box and with the stroke of a pen throws it out.

The will of the people is becoming subordinate to the will of the judges thanks to the Democrats’ endless forum shopping.  I’m not saying here that the judges have decided rightly or wrongly, I’m just saying that we have a dangerously undemocratic confluence of judges who, since the 1950s, see themselves as moral arbiters, and Democrats who have decided that, because the ballot box in our republican democracy is controlled by Bible-thumbing gun-clutchers, these activist judges should decide all of the day’s pressing issues.  This is profoundly undemocratic.

This Democrat trend, to turn to judges rather than the people to advance a political agenda, is also reflected in the increased use of judges to destroy political candidacies.  Barack Obama famously brought down his opponents in Chicago through courthouse shenanigans rather than through a direct appeal to the will of the people.  Texas Democrats, too, are famous for trying to destroy Republican politicians through lawsuits, with the manifestly spurious criminal suit against Rick Perry being only the most recent example.

Scott Johnson has assembled a bushel-full of quotations from people on both the left and the right side of the aisle excoriating the suit against Perry. The left is abandoning democracy on a judge by judge basis.

The Bookworm Beat — August 16 Saturday Night Special

Woman writingYesterday, the phone or the doorbell rang every 10-20 minutes all afternoon and evening. We had a rotating cast of characters for dinner, one of my dogs hid for the day, and the other dog barked itself into laryngitis. I have no complaints, as I like a social house, but there’s a lot to be said for just a little less sociability.

Today has been relatively quiet, so I was able to do six loads of laundry and take care of a good 300 emails. I still have my snail-mail inbox to clear out, but overall I feel remarkably productive. The dogs are happy too.

I don’t know if a review of the news will result in any happiness, but it’s still a task I feel compelled to perform.

Ferguson reveals seemingly intractable problems in modern American cities

The more I read about events in Ferguson, the more I know that two principles I hold are correct, even though I don’t know how much either principle applies to the specific events in Ferguson. The first principle is that the police are and should be people’s servants, not their military masters.

Separating military and police

The second principle is that the “wilding” that blacks turn to when the police offend them solves nothing about their dismal situation throughout America’s Democrat-controlled cities, but definitely makes it reasonable for police to seek protection behind military gear.

Police brutality and Slim Jims

This is a nasty chicken and egg dance, with blacks complaining (illogically, but it still drives their behavior) that police brutality drives them to resist arrest and run riot through cities, effectively destroying their own communities, and police complaining (more credibly) that with blacks running riot, the only way a sane person would become a police officer is to bury himself behind massive armor and weaponry.

Mark Steyn certainly finds much to blame on both sides of the dispute raging between Ferguson’s blacks and its police force.

Even as cops and blacks blame each other, both should be blaming Democrat/Progressive Big City politics

The only place that neither blacks nor police are looking in order to place blame is the one place that ought to be blamed: The urban Democrat/Progressive political machine. Kevin D. Williamson, who has traveled to most of America’s major cities, the vast majority of which are Democrat-run and being run into the ground, explains just how badly the Progressive experiment is playing out in these places:

Progressives spent a generation imposing taxes and other expenses on urban populations as though the taxpaying middle class would not relocate. They protected the defective cartel system of public education, and the union money and votes associated with it, as though middle-class parents would not move to places that had better schools. They imposed burdens on businesses, in exchange for more union money and votes, as though businesses would not shift production elsewhere. They imposed policies that disincentivized stable family arrangements as though doing so would have no social cost.

And they did so while adhering to a political philosophy that holds that the state, not the family or the market, is the central actor in our lives, that the interests of private parties — be they taxpayers or businesses — can and indeed must be subordinated to the state’s interests, as though individuals and families were nothing more than gears in the great machine of politics. The philosophy of abusive eminent domain, government monopolies, and opportunistic taxation is also the philosophy of police brutality, the repression of free speech and other constitutional rights, and economic despair. Frank Rizzo was not a paradox — he was an inevitability. When life is reduced to the terms in which it is lived in the poorest and most neglected parts of Chicago or Detroit, the welfare state is the police state.

I would recommend Williamson’s article as a must-read and, if your Leftist friends can be brought to read something published in — gasp! — National Review, it’s an article that you should share with those who haven’t already seen the conservative, individualist, small government, small-l libertarian light.

Resisting arrest is asking for trouble

Bob Weir, a former police officer, explains that “brutality” is not an unreasonable response to get from a police officer if you make the decision to resist arrest.

And of course, there’s always the media to fan the flames

Sadie send me this image, along with some of her pungent, trenchant commentary:

The media's role in all this

A reprise of the Trayon Martin summer hit of 2012. Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse once again, play themselves. Benjamin Crump, Esq. has been recalled to the stage. Rioters, looters and extras, against a backdrop of staged outrage are seen running, dancing, shouting – looting included. Audience members and media are encouraged to bring a cell phone to record the experience.

Ferguson is making for some pretty strange political bed fellows

A young Marine friend of mine (who grew up in an incredibly liberal Marin household) posted this excellent Matt Walsh article saying that the police officers aren’t to blame for the anarchy in Ferguson. A young entrepreneur I know here in Marin, whose Facebook posts hew liberal, but who has a libertarian streak, liked the article, commenting that you have to “suck up reality.”

Events in Ferguson are making for some strange political bedfellows. Perhaps we might see a paradigm shift coming soon….

Obama, the bored, disaffected, disenchanted, disengaged American President

I’m not a Joe Scarborough fan, but I agree with Pete Wehner in thinking that Scarborough was correct when, on the Hugh Hewitt show, he stated that Obama has simply checked out of the presidency. Although motives are irrelevant — all that matters is the fact that Obama’s not playing president any more — Wehner still speculates as to his motives, and I still find the speculation interesting:

What could possibility explain this attitude? It may be that Mr. Obama was drawn to the job not for the right reasons but because he viewed the presidency as a new mountain to climb, a prize to win, as a way to feed his unusually large ego (even for a politician). It may also be that Mr. Obama, with his presidency crumbling, is like a petulant child who wants to pick up his marbles and leave. He was fine serving as president when he was adored and well liked; now that things are going south he appears to have emotionally “checked out,” to use Scarborough’s phrase.

The curse of the golf course

Daniel Greenfield has noticed that Obama starts wars when he’s on vacation near a golf course, while bad actors seem to time their bad acts to coincide with Obama’s golf game. The incessant golf games, which once were a sore point only for grumpy conservatives, are beginning to dismay everyone.

There’s something unseemly about our president’s obsession with golf. Of course, the golf games are perfect fodder for political cartoonists, who see the golf course as a metaphor for Obama’s singular absence from and disinterest in a world in flames around him. Don’t believe me? Just check out Steven Hayward’s cartoon round-up for the week.

The terrorist negotiating strategy

No, I haven’t forgotten poor, beleaguered Israel, even though I chose not to lead with it in this round-up.

My very first item about Hamas put me strongly in mind of Jeff Dunham’s Achmed The Dead Terrorist, whose catch-phrase whenever things don’t go his way is “Silence! I kill you!”

Hamas has now issued an ultimatum regarding its peace talks with Israel.  Paraphased, it amounts to “Accept all our conditions or we kill you!” Last I heard, that’s not how good-faith negotiations are supposed to work.

The world doesn’t care about dead JEWISH kids

A bereaved Israeli mother, whose teenage daughter died in a terrorist attack during the Second Intifadah, reminds us that the world doesn’t inevitably shed tears when children die in war. For example, when her precious daughter was one of hundreds who died in attacks deliberately targeted at Israeli/Jewish children, the world had nothing to say.

The IDF has a photo-gallery summing up this summer’s war

The IDF has collected 17 photographs summing up the reality of the Israel/Gaza war. Some of them show the bombs bursting in air over Israel and how frightening and destructive those bombs are, Iron Dome notwithstanding. Others show Gazan residents lined up as useful idiots and human shields for Hamas, as well as the fact that Israel treats these poor fools with incredible decency. Still others show the depth, breadth, and imaginative destructive power of the Hamas armory in Gaza.

It’s like a joke . . . “This Travis County D.A. walked out of a bar, dead drunk….”

The Rick Perry indictment is a joke. That’s no surprise to me, frankly.  Travis County is famous for its corrupt legal system.

Back when I was in law school, three Texas Supreme Court judges were under investigation for accepting bribes. Indeed, at our annual musical review, which spoofed the movie Grease, I distinctly remember that one of the songs had lyrics that referred to a scam in which attorneys appearing before the court had bribed the judges with lavish trips:

We go together like V&E [Vinson & Elkins], F&J (Fulbright & Jaworski), and Jones & Day
We’re graduating and going on to sweat and cram for the July bar exam
We’ll clerk for judges and
Fill their briefs with legalese, and Vegas trips with attorneys.

I mean, jeez, if an Obama stalwart like David Axelrod is unimpressed by the indictment, you know it’s shaky. For more solid legal reasons, Eugene Volokh also thinks the indictment is unsustainable. So good for Rick Perry to fight back, and I hope he fights back hard.

For those of you new to this story, Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County D.A. got arrested for drunk driving, pleaded guilty, and served 45 days. I’ll let Duane Paterson pick up the story:

Rick Perry thought her to be a disgrace, and wanted her to resign. She didn’t. So he took the next step and threatened to veto funding for her office. In response, a grand jury handed down an abuse of power indictment for coercive use of a veto late this afternoon. So the woman who was belligerent and intoxicated stays, Rick Perry is the bad guy and needs to go. Right. Got it.

By any standard, Lehmberg’s behavior was disgraceful. She pleaded guilty to a .23, almost .24, blood alcohol level (almost three times the legal limit), was oppositional with the arresting officers, and tried to use her political heft to avoid the charges.

Here’s the arrest video:

And here’s the video of her doing her “do you know who I am and who my friends are?” routine:

And for those who aren’t conversant with that blood alcohol level, Ace has a handy-dandy (and funny) cheat sheet.

Gene Simmons fights back against political correctness and in favor of immigrants learning English

I hate Gene Simmons, the KISS rocker. (It was the snake-like tongue that did it for me. I hate the tongue in Miley Cyrus too.) However, I very much admire Gene Simmons, the American immigrant who courageously speaks truth to political correctness. His latest outburst is about the criminally wrongful act of insisting that immigrants to this country shouldn’t be forced to learn English.

As a sort of aside about political correctness, my daughter said that she tried to watch Robin William’s movie Hook. She thought that the premise — Peter Pan returns to Neverland as an adult — intriguing, but hated that the casting was manifestly done to meet a racial quota. There were carefully calibrated numbers of Asian, black, white, and Hispanic boys. She said “The acting was awful, even for a 90s movie, so it was obvious that they didn’t choose the best actors; they just chose actors to be the right race.”

All I could do was agree with her. I found the movie unwatchable back in the day and for the same reason. I added, because I can never resist moralizing, that political correctness destroys everything it touches: art, humor, free speech, creativity, education, etc.

What patriotism used to look like in the mainstream

Back in 1970, John Wayne hosted a July 4th special celebrating America. Can you imagine something like this being made nowadays for mainstream TV, staring mainstream stars? I can’t. It’s simply impossible to imagine:

Modern feminism has nothing to do with freedom or equality

My wonderful sister-in-law reminded me of a Tumblr site I’d meant to mention, but then forgot. It’s called Women Against Feminism, and has women explaining why they feel empowerment comes about when they’re not feminists.

I was speaking to a young Swede today who expressed surprise that I chose to stay home as much as possible to raise my own children, rather than go to work and have the state pay for some other women to raise my children. He said that, because of “equality” women are expected to work. He was even more surprised when I suggested that forcing women to work is just as bad as the old days, when women were refused the right to work. Both deny women the freedom of choice. That thought had never occurred to him.

Pictures

(Thanks to Caped Crusader for this amazing picture round-up.)

The Tea Party Conspiracy

Hamas speaks to Israel and CNN

Obama tells tales about Iraq

Slavery in Africa

Emperors foreign policy

Eisenhower on total security

You’re not paranoid if you think some Muslims are out to get you

One of the points I frequently make is that the only way anti-Semites can maintain the myth that Jews are out for world domination is to make things up out of whole cloth (as is the case with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) or to take the absence of any evidence of a Jewish conspiracy as proof that there is, in fact, a Jewish conspiracy.  The other point I make is that, when it comes to asserting that radical Islam (which affects tens of millions of the world’s Muslims), one doesn’t need to make things up or point to the absence of evidence as proof.  The Islamists are extremely proud of their goals.  Don’t just look to the ISIS animals; look to the suits throughout the Middle East:

The Bookworm Beat — August 15 Friday wrap-up (and, of course, Open Thread)

Woman writingOne of the things I’ve noticed about modern medicine is that, once doctors start poking around inside the human body, they find all sorts of things that aren’t picture perfect. I remember a long ago hearing an NPR story about a small town with a scary increase in the number of children with benign brain tumors. After an exhaustive search into power lines, drinking water, and bacon, some bright soul figured out that the increase in diagnoses happened because the small local hospital could now do brain scans, a procedure it had started performing on all children brought in with concussions.

My test yesterday showed nothing about my anemia, but has sent the doctors haring off in a different direction about something else that looked funny. I feel fine, so I’m not worried . . . much. Even feeling just fine isn’t a total defense against the niggling fear that comes up when the doctor says that something in there is out of the ordinary. I’ll let you know when they finally determine that, as I suspected all along, I’m a very healthy specimen.

But there are much more interesting things out there than the medical treasure hunt inside my body, so let me get to it….

That the white police behaved badly is no excuse for the black citizens to behave even more badly

Since Ferguson, Missouri, is convulsing the media, and even managed to drag Obama away from his golf game for seven whole minutes, I’ll open with a couple of Ferguson related items. First, Megan McArdle noticed something important about Ferguson: Twenty-four years ago, it was a majority white town. Fourteen years ago, it had the slimmest of black majorities. And four years ago, it was almost 70% black. Although the town demographics changed rapidly, the police demographics did not.

Indeed, the only thing that seems to have changed with the police over the years is that they’ve turned themselves in a military organization, although one sadly lacking in military intelligence. And just as an aside about our police departments turning themselves into faux-military outfits, just two months ago, Ferguson’s own Democrat representative voted against a law that would have stopped military surplus transfers to local police.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that the police department is barricading itself behind advanced grade weapons, even though it’s a stupid, dangerous, and (for all citizens) frightening practice. Blacks don’t like the police. One black man, however, has gone on an epic rant explaining that the problem isn’t with the police, whether or not they are racist, but with blacks themselves. You’ll quickly see why this video has gone viral:

The media concedes Hamas played it, and Hamas complains that the media wasn’t sufficiently compliant

There are a few updates today on the Hamas front, although the most recent ceasefire seems to be holding for now. The biggest news, of course, is the fact that the same media outlets that slimed Israel for the past month are admitting two things: First, that Hamas lies and, second, that the media allowed itself to be intimidated into lying for Hamas (something Hamas is now freely admitting itself).

Sadly, the Hamas/MSM disinformation tactic has worked. Donald Douglas has a disturbing video taken near UCLA, along with the comment that “It’s like we’re back in the 1930s, and it’s a definite transnational scourge.”

To the question “why is this war different from all other wars,” Israelis answer “because tunnels”

My mother spoke yesterday to her oldest friend, a 91-year-old woman who has lived in Tel Aviv since 1934 or so. Many of her grandchildren are on active duty or in the reserves. This friend told my mother “This time it’s different.”

For one thing, Iron Dome has made those in Tel Aviv feel much more secure against air attacks, although the friend says it’s peculiar to see the bombs bursting in air, rather than down on the ground. The other reason this war is different is the tunnels. They have shattered Israelis’ sense of security. (And yes, it’s funny that they felt secure when they’ve been constantly under attack, but those attacks were from land and water, not underground.)

Although Netanyahu says that the IDF destroyed the vast majority of tunnels, neither my mom’s friend, nor anyone show knows, believes that. They’re certain that there are at least as many tunnels unaccounted for as were blown apart.

My mom’s friend is not unique. In an opinion piece at Bloomberg, an Israeli writer says exactly the same thing: because of the tunnels, this time it’s different.

Against Hezbollah, Israel won’t bother to try for proportionate force against civilians

Given all of the above, is it any wonder that Israel is letting it be known that, if Hezbollah starts acting in Lebanon, Israel will use disproportionate force to defeat it:

On a recent trip to Israel, I spoke with government officials who laid out likely scenarios for the next, almost inevitable, round of Israeli hostilities with Hezbollah. Needless to say, given Hezbollah’s ever-increasing strength on the ground, those scenarios are incredibly grim. In short, the Israeli military proposes that in the next conflict with Hezbollah all of Lebanon will be treated like Dahiya, the Hezbollah stronghold that the Israeli air force destroyed in the summer of 2006. “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” as one Israeli official explained. “We will apply disproportionate force on it, and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”

Insane, no? The problem is, the Israelis are right. It’s not that Israel wants to kill Lebanese civilians. As one Israeli official told me, it is largely because thousands of innocent Lebanese will lose their lives that Israel is reluctant to move against Hezbollah right now. The issue is that the Shia militia has turned all of Lebanon—not just the regions it controls like the Dahiya, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon—into a military installation, holding every man, woman, and child in the country hostage to its supposed love of death. What are the Israelis supposed to do when Hezbollah starts shooting the next time—refuse to fight back, and let the missiles keep hitting Tel Aviv, while the entire country cowers in bomb shelters?

As I noted myself, if there’s a choice between killing a hundred thousand of the enemy’s civilians, or letting the enemy kill 6-8 million of your civilians, the moral choice is to attack the enemy, and let the civilians fall where they may. This is especially true if your efforts to protect civilians are not appreciated in any event. If you’re going to be accused of disproportionate force when aren’t actually using it to protect yourself, you may as well embrace the accusations and use truly disproportionate force the next time around in order to keep yourself safe.

I finally believe Obama is a Muslim

Can I say anything else but that it’s unconscionable for Obama to refuse to sell to Israel the rockets that Iron Dome fires at incoming missiles from Gaza? Unconscionable seems like such a weak word. I’ll add despicable, vile, immoral, disgusting, and anti-Semitic.  Moreover, for the first time I truly believe that Obama may well be a Muslim, rather than just a Leftist who supports Islam because Islam opposes America (the nation, of course, that Obama swore an oath to protect).

If you were to ask me what a member of the Muslim Brotherhood would do if he were in the White House, I’d pretty much describe everything that Obama has done throughout the Middle East — including his administration’s most recent decision to lift the ban barring Libyans from flight schools and training in nuclear programs. I mean — honestly! — can you just imagine the memo that went around in the White House: “Yes, we know that all sorts of radical Islamist factions have taken over in Libya, and that it was a hub for delivering weapons systems to other radical Islamists, and that the state has Islamic anarchy written all over it, but we really think there are Libyans that ought to know how to fly our plans and control our nuclear facilities.”

Not only that, but there’s also the administration’s malevolent combination of blindness and ineptitude in Syria, which has acted as a warm, comfy incubator for the most extremist Islamist groups ever seen in modern times. You know a group’s extreme when it makes Al Qaeda seem temperate.

Put all of these things put together — Obama’s conduct regarding Libya/Benghazi, Syria, Egypt, the hostility to Israel, etc. — and it starts to look less like ineptitude and more like a plan, even if the plan is just to foul things up so as to destroy any possibility of moderation in the region.

The administration’s (and Congress’s) failure to protect America against electric annihilation

While the administration keeps stirring that Middle Eastern pot, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, dissing Israel, opening doors into the Middle East for Russia, handing dangerous secrets to Libya, the administration and Congress both assiduously ignore the one thing that has real potential to throw us back into a pre-industrial era, and that is a major EMP attack:

The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

I guess it’s just too important right now to spend time and money opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and then burdening our system with the cost of those immigrants. This seems like the Cloward-Piven strategy played out in real time.

A brilliant way to get colleges to be honest about their alleged “1/5 rape” statistic

Ashe Schow pens yet another article that destroys the disgraceful canard about the number of rapes at American college campuses (a statistic that, if true, would make American colleges almost as dangerous for women as, oh, I don’t know, being a white woman in Malmo, Sweden). Glenn Reynolds’ adds a brilliant idea to the debunking:

To get universities to debunk it, start running ads telling women not to go to college because they have a 1-in-5 chance of being raped if they do. With pictures of university campuses labeled “rape factory” and pictures of university presidents labeled “rape-factory president.”

Dog bites man; or another story of Leftist hypocrisy in Chicago

If you like hypocrisy, you’ll enjoy the story of Karen Lewis, who heads the Chicago teacher’s union and is now running for mayor against Rahm. She’s one of those people who loves to bash the wealthy and believes firmly in wealth redistribution. I won’t tell you more, except to say “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

I think I need to read a Dean Koontz book

Did you know that novelist Dean Koontz is conservative/libertarian? He won’t define himself using those terms, but his political outlook, which apparently dismayed Publishers Weekly so much that it wondered at the fact that he leaked this sensibility into his books, holds that a powerful government is a dangerous, expensive, and useless government. As an aside, I wonder if Publishers Weekly ever expresses concern about Leftists leaking their politics into their books.

I’ve never actually read anything Koontz has written, but to the extent I support his politics and I like thrillers, I’m willing to give his stuff a try. I mean, who couldn’t love someone who says things like this:

• In an online chat on CNN.com (September 10, 2001), Koontz said, “Any time I’m looking for a good psychopath [as a character for a novel], I first check out the current crop of Congressmen and see what they are up to.”

• In The Dean Koontz Companion (Headline Book Publishing, 1994), Koontz said, “It had become apparent to me that the worst enemy of the working man and woman is the state, and that the average person is safest in a country that struggles to limit the size of the state.”

• In an interview with the Mystery Guild (2000), Koontz said, “We just left a century that gave us the worst mass murderers in history: Hitler, Stalin, Mao. History shows us, over and over again, that large groups of people given too much power over other people lose their humanity.”

Andrew Klavan explains “income redistribution”

Andrew Klavan offers a user-friendly explanation of “income redistribution” (which our Marxist, Muslim president thinks is a good thing):

Income redistribution that damages the poor will play out next year at America’s gas pumps

By the way, we California’s may be closer to other people in America when it comes to seeing what income redistribution is all about, since laws set to go into effect in January will raise gasoline prices to $8-$9 a gallon. A couple of things:

First, this “redistribution” “for the planet” will cause the most harm to poor people. I can afford $9 gas, although it will leave me with less wealth for my children and my retirement. My cleaning ladies will not be able to afford it. It will destroy their business, which consists of driving around Marin every day to clean as many houses as these energetic, reliable ladies can manage. Second, these gas prices are Obama’s dream, as reflected in his choice of energy czar.

What’s really sad is that the hyper-credentialed, Ivy League educated morons who surround me in Marin undoubtedly think this tax is a brilliant idea because it will “save the planet.”  Did I say morons?  Let me say it again.  Morons!

This is why I have no time for myself

This song’s chorus explains why, as my house fills with more and more people (mostly teens), I have less time to blog:

Pictures

Mind if I play through

A flaw in the constitution

Items that should be banned

To stupid to own a gun

Israel doesn't hate America

Liberal logic about Palestine

Rape tips

Fleeing a blood soaked land

Fairness to troops and criminals