A few words on last night’s unpleasant Republican primary debate

Republican debate moderators Megan KellyI watched the first 40 minutes and then stopped.  My problem was the moderators, who I thought were dreadful.  (Since I read my news and don’t watch it, I approached them with an open mind, since I had no idea what shtick each brought to the table.)  I wanted to hear substantive answers on pressing issues, and they were playing “gotcha.”  Watching the moderator/candidate interactions was unpleasant and, I quickly realized, a complete waste of my time.

I found particularly reprehensible the fact that they gave Rubio and Cruz only a minute to respond to those gotcha videos on immigration.  I prefer Cruz’s immigration stance to Rubio’s, but it was an insult to both men to force them to distill complex ideas and actions down to a single minute in the face of out-of-context video clips.  The tone of the debate was such that I expected to see everyone “perp walked” off the stage with reporters shouting questions at them about their future prison of choice.

The low, hostile, tabloid tone was especially disappointing because I’d hoped that Trump’s absence would clear the air and allow for a more substantive and meaningful debate.

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Do they even listen to themselves? — the Barack Obama edition

Barack Obama 2016 SOTUDuring his final (thank you God) State of the Union address, during his discussion about Islam, Obama had something to say about those who dare insult Islam:

In a swipe at some Republican presidential candidates, he warned against “voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us or pray like us or vote like we do or share the same background.”

Hinting at recent divisive comments by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who called to block Muslims from entering the US, Obama said Americans must “reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.

“This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith…When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country,” he said.

If I were cross-examining him, I’d ask something along these lines (and yes, I’ve been reading way too many transcripts lately):

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Obama’s Middle Eastern policy is a bad replay of Woodrow Wilson’s post-WWI efforts (and we know how that ended)

Arrogant ObamaYesterday, I got around to reading Michael Crowley’s ‘We Caved’ : What happened when Barack Obama’s idealistic rhetoric collided with the cold realities of war and dictatorship in the Middle East and beyond. I recommend it. It’s a depressing look at what happens when the Progressive Ivory Tower meets the real world. Or if you don’t have time to read it, I can sum it up in one sentence: The Ivory Tower loses every time.

The article is filled with statements reflecting the fatal combination of cluelessness, hardcore ideology, and arrogance characterizing the Obama administration from its first day in office, and from the top man down. Even those who weren’t blinded by seeing their own glorious brilliance reflected back from the Ivory Tower’s windows were too damaged in other ways to change the horrible Obama dynamic.

The article begins with Obama’s many missteps in Egypt: First telling Mubarak, a long-time American and Israeli friend to leave because, despite his fair dealings abroad, he was a horrible man at home. Then inviting in Morsi, who was an enemy to America and Israel, and a horrible man at home. And finally trying to kneecap Sisi, despite the fact that he was once again a friend to America and Israel (although, as with all Egyptian leaders, a horrible man at home), as well as one of the few prominent Muslims to speak in favor of Islamic reform. Get a gander of this paragraph:

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The Bookworm Beat 1/8/16 — the “world gone mad” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I don’t know how this happened, but in just three days of collecting articles on my cyber-spindle, I’ve managed to gather together almost thirty solid links I want to share with you. No time for chat, therefore; instead, I’ll plunge straight into my fascinating “world gone mad” edition:

If you only have time to read two things today

This is a meaty round-up. If you don’t have time to pursue all these links, I recommend two articles, both of which say things we already now, but each of which expresses those ideas with such clarity that you must read them:

1. Noemi Emery’s Obama’s Pass From The Press.

2. Kevin Williamson’s Mrs. Clinton is Professor Click.

The danger to America from Obama’s unconstitutional efforts to grab guns

Mike McDaniel didn’t need to hear Obama’s tearful press conference to know what was coming down the pike. Before Obama even opened his mouth, Mike spelled out the benefits of having a civilized and armed society, as well as the constitutional limitations Obama planned to (and did) blow past on his way to gun confiscation.

I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that Obama lied about guns in America

Oh, and just about everything Obama said during the press conference was a lie.

Indeed, the very first lie was about those 30,000 deaths annually, with the implication that these are 30,000 annual gun homicides. There aren’t:

At a Jan. 4 press conference, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, exclaimed that “30,000 gun deaths in America” was enough evidence for the administration to push past Congress to establish laws to combat gun violence.

“Thirty thousand gun deaths in America every year. Twenty thousand children under the age of 18 have been killed by a firearm over the last decade. Hundreds of law enforcement officers that have been shot and killed over the last decade. And in the face of all these statistics, what’s Congress done?” Earnest asked.

However, Earnest’s efforts backfired when Emily Miller, a reporter for WTTG and author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun,” noted that 20,000 of those deaths were due to suicide.

Obama also ignore yet another truth: guns don’t just take lives, they save lives. It’s really beyond me why the NRA and other special interest groups don’t track down every single person who lives today because a gun protected him (or her) and have that person do a commercial: “Hi, my name is ___________. I’m here today because a legal gun saved my life. [Tell story.]” Finish with glowing images of survivor surrounded by happy loved ones.  These commercials should flood every type of media:  Television, print, and internet.

Was Paul Ryan more Machiavellian than we realized?

Conservatives in America were deeply disappointed when Paul Ryan pushed through a budget that fulfilled every Democrat’s dream. What the heck was he thinking?

What he might have been thinking about was repealing Obamacare. According to Rick Moran, the recent vote to repeal Obamacare was only possible because of the Ryan budget:

The key to this vote was getting a budget bill passed. Once that happened, reconciliation came into play – the first time since Obamacare was passed and Republicans were in the majority. Of course, there aren’t the votes to override the president’s veto, but the path forward for the people to take back control of their health insurance options has been cleared.

The question remains whether, over the long run, the Ryan budget will do more good than harm.

Culture can be a source for good

In America, of late, popular culture hasn’t done much for the public weal. It’s therefore nice to be reminded that something as simple as a song can be a source of profound good — as was the case with a Yiddish song that powered Jewish partisans during WWII, and that has frequently been recorded since then.

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Don’t believe Leftists who claim Obama hasn’t governed by executive fiat

Because Obama’s gun control edicts have had conservatives crying foul about Obama’s habit of ignoring Congress, a lot of Leftists are recycling this poster from November 2014:

Obama executive orders and presidential memoranda

The poster offends me. It’s not just out of date, it’s fraud by omission. I decided to correct these flaws:

Obama executive actions 1

 

[VIDEO] Elbert Guillory on Obama’s mission to disarm Americans in a dangerous world

Elbert GuilloryI am not exaggerating when I say that I have been in love (in a political way) with Elbert Guillory ever since I first saw him back in mid-2013, when he was still ostensibly a Democrat. That feeling has never changed and, indeed, my deep and abiding respect for his intelligence, humanism, and patriotism ratcheted up again when I saw this video he made in the wake of Obama’s anti-Second Amendment Executive Orders:

This is yet another video it would do every single person in Marin good to listen to — but the reality is that I’m not a totalitarian, fascist Leftist, so I don’t go around forcing people to listen to things.

Obama’s and the Left’s crocodile tears for the victims of gun violence

Obama tears up over gun controlThe Progressives on my Facebook feed are in a delighted tizzy. Obama actually cried — he cried! — when he spoke of his new unilaterally enacted gun control edicts limiting law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights. I quote:

“Bravo, Mr. President! Thank you so much for your leadership, your clear-headed thinking and your enormous heart.”

“I agree completely with Obama – if it prevents even one death, that life is meaningful.”

And finally, from “Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian” (in fact, a hard-Left Canadian comedienne), came this:

“If you find yourself mocking anyone who cries over murdered children, it’s Jesus’s way of letting you know you’re a sociopath.”

This was a sentiment that several of my Progressive friends “liked.”

There are so many things wrong with these statements that it’s a little hard to know where to begin. What I won’t discuss here are the specifics of the Executive Order — which apparently range from stupid, to dangerous, to vaguely helpful, but always unconstitutional. You can find several intelligent discussions at conservative sites. A few suggestions are Ace of Spades, Larry Correia, Bearing Arms, and AWR Hawkins.

Instead, what I want to discuss are those tears. I believe they are theatrical, and it’s not just because it’s possible that Obama “onioned” his eyes as a way to make them happen. Obama doesn’t needs onions to shed fake tears as a way of cementing a con — and his gun control push is a con, one that he’s probably deliberately running on the American people, although it’s conceivable he’s running it on himself too.

My “Obama is crying hypocritical crocodile tears” argument is best made through the filter of a 2015 HBO documentary, Requiem for the Dead.  Consider this argument a synecdoche, one in which the part is used to be illustrative of the whole.  My experience with a Leftist and Requiem for the Dead is America’s experience with Barack Obama and his acolytes.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

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The Bookworm Beat 12-17-15 — the “speed writing” edition

Woman-writing-300x265Are you familiar with speed chess? I learned about it when I was at Cal. Since I worked at the Bancroft Library, I had access to an employee break room. Every day at lunch, two men would sit there, chess board in front of them, timer at their side, and make lightning swift moves, wrapping up a single game in minutes, not hours. What I’m going for here is speed blogging. I’ve got more than 20 links, and I’m going to try to share them with you in less than half an hour of writing. Here goes….

In 2006, Thomas Lifson wrote what I think is one of the best political articles ever.  In it, he explained that there are two seasons in American politics — Attention Season and Inattention Season.  The former has a remarkable way of concentrating American minds.  Right now, with the election nearing and terrorism within our borders again, Americans are starting to shift from Inattention to Attention.  I suspect this will change the polling dynamics substantially in the next few weeks.

Trump is the bad boy of this political season, by which I mean that he’s the cool guy in the leather jacket that all the girls want to date and to domesticate. Eventually, though, the girls discover that a bad boy may have a James Dean charm about him, but he’s still bad, meaning he’s bad for the girl (and he’s equally bad for the guys who want to run with his pack).  Kurt Schlichter perfectly articulates why  Donald Trump is one of those bad boys, and explains that he’s going to be a heart breaker for those conservatives who think that this lifelong Democrat is someone to hold on to during trying times.  Rubio and Cruz are probably the best choice for the nice steady boys who will come in and save the day.

If you’d like a short but deep run-down of the last Republican debate, and one with which I happen to agree, check out Seraphic Secret’s post about the debate.

Millennials are not the next greatest generation:  they want to see American troops defeat ISIS; they just don’t want to be among the troops doing the defeating.  Having said that, I’m in no position to sneer.  I am an armchair warrior at best and a coward at worst, and have always been incredibly grateful that there are men and women who are willing to do the necessary fighting that I’m scared to do.

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The Bookworm Beat 12-12-15 — the “hopeful pessimist” open thread

Woman-writing-300x265[This is a long one, good for a cozy read on a winter day.]

I’m a pessimist. I’ve learned through experience that most things go wrong, whether in the world or in my life. Still, I never completely lose hope. If I didn’t have hope, frankly, I would stop moving entirely.

Despite the knowledge that my best laid plans will gang [mostly] aft agley, I wake up every morning with slightly more than half my brain saying “this time the good thing will happen,” and slightly less than half warning “you know it won’t.” The first part gets me out of bed with the sun, the second part gives me insomnia with the moon.

Anyway, that oxymoronic attitude infuses my blog. I’m never surprised when I read about Progressive perfidy, Islamist terrorism, or human stupidity and cruelty, but I always think, maybe something will change . . . maybe it will be better. And on that note, I offer you a cornucopia of things, both old and new, that acknowledge the bad, but perhaps hold out hope for the good.

If Imam Obama doesn’t speak for sharia, who does?

Obama, whose resume does not include either professional or amateur level knowledge about Islam, nevertheless is very keen to tell us each time there’s an Islamic terror attack anywhere in the world that the perpetrators are un-Islamic and do not speak for Islam. Rather than confound Obama with complicated doctrinal questions, Roger Kimball asks one very important one: So Who Does Speak for Islam, President Obama? Kimball even offers a few suggested answers to that question:

Saudi Arabia? It is the world’s most important Sunni Muslim state. One of the most ghastly things about ISIS is its followers’ penchant for beheading people, yet in 2015 alone, our “ally” Saudi Arabia has beheaded 151 people. I am surprised the number is not higher; the list of things that are capital offenses in Saudi Arabia is long and varied.

Apostasy makes the list. If you decide that Allah is not for you, it’s off with your head.

Want a glass of wine? Think twice. The consumption of intoxicants is on the list, as is consensual homosexual sex, adultery, and “sorcery or witchcraft.”

So, presumably, Obama would not let Saudi Arabia speak for Islam.

How about the world’s largest Shia state, Iran? Does it speak for Islam? If not, why not? Because it is just as much a barbaric cesspool as Saudi Arabia?

You see how it’s going to proceed. Last night, Barack Obama was at pains to distance us from “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” Well, with that statement Obama forbids the majority of the world’s Muslims, including the denizens of Islam’s chief states, from speaking for Islam.

Let’s forget conquest and terror: there are millions of folks who call themselves Muslims, yet want nothing to do with jihadist violence. Do they speak for Islam?

Well, if they affirm Sharia — Islamic law — then they cannot in principle affirm “the values of religious tolerance,” etc., so Obama does not allow these Muslims to speak for Islam, either.

Using Trump’s statements about Muslim immigration as the first step in an intelligent immigration plan

If Donald Trump were an artist, he would not be a delicate miniaturist or a meticulous late-medieval Flemish craftsman. Instead, he would be Jackson Pollock or possibly Jeff Koons. He’s creating something all right, but there’s a destructive edge to his creative acts.

Thus, when Donald Trump announced, less than tactfully, that all Muslim immigration ought to step pending Congress’s ability to figure out what’s going on with Muslim immigrants (both ordinary and refugee), he created an immediate furor. There was that the destructive part of his creativity.  But Trump also said something that needs to be said, which is that the American government fails in its obligation to protect Americans against enemies both foreign and domestic when it willingly lets foreign enemies turn into domestic ones.

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Obama’s speech highlights why it’s hard to have an intelligent political debate with Progressives

Obama oval office address 12-6-15I found myself in conversation today with a Progressive who thought that Obama’s oval office address was just wonderful.

“What did you like about it?” I asked him.

“It was a very mature speech,” the Progressive replied, “and he said what I would have said.”

Of course I asked, “What would you have said that he did say?”

“That we’re doing everything we can against ISIL, but that almost a quarter of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re not all our enemies.”

“That’s it? That’s what you got out of the speech?”

“Yeah, it was really good. I bet you hated it.”

“Well, yes I did hate it.”

And then I was off. I detailed the problems with Obama’s affect — flat in the beginning when he had to concede that this was terrorism (although Obama hastened to add that it wasn’t really Islamic and Neo-Neocon thinks he may not even have said it was terrorism), and hectoring in the end when he scolded Americans about their prejudice, which they’ve never acted upon, and their guns which . . . well, let’s just say that Obama doesn’t want to see another Texas happen:

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