The life and death importance of calling things by their proper names

1947 Currer and Ives print of Adam naming the animalsMost people, when they think of Genesis, remember that God created everything, told Adam and Eve to leave the tree of knowledge and, when they didn’t, kicked them out of Eden.  What few remember is Genesis’s insistent focus on the importance of naming things.  In the first chapter, God no sooner creates something, than he gives it its rightful name (emphasis mine):

  1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
  3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
  4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
  5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
  6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
  7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
  8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
  9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
  10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And so it goes, with God systematically creating the world and naming it as he went.

In the second chapter of Genesis, God designates to Adam the primary task of assigning the proper name to each of God’s creations (emphasis mine):

  1. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
  2. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
  3. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
  4. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
  5. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
  6. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

What Genesis establishes is that identifying things is essential to understanding their function.  Only when Adam had named the animals, properly classifying them as any modern-day scientist would, did he and God determine that Adam had no mate.  And once God created that mate for Adam, Adam again had to give her species a name, one that he chose in relationship to his own species:  “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Leftists are fully alive to the importance of naming things.  For example, when Obama came into office, “terrorism” was out; “man-caused disaster” was in.  Man-caused or not, “disaster” has such a such a pleasantly accidental connotation.  You have your earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes on the one hand, and on the other hand you have your men who cause disasters.  That these men happen to be devotees of a cult committed to spreading violence and death wherever it goes is as incidental as the precise wind speed during a hurricane or the decimal valuations on the Richter scale separating one big quake from another.

And yes, Bush created the abstract “War on Terror” designation rather than the more accurate War on Radical Islamists, but at least he was acknowledging that those pesky man-causers were actually trying to instill terror.  It was the Obama administration that found even that definition too raw and real.

Obama on Wheel of fortune

ISIS’s rise has given Obama plenty of opportunities to try to define away problems.  Having unsuccessfully described the nascent ISIS army as a “JV team,” Obama decided to define ISIS right out of Islam.  ISIS he opined, is un-Islamic, because a good God wouldn’t countenance its appalling violence.

Well, maybe a good God wouldn’t countenance appalling violence, but it’s a historical reality that a certain prophet would.  Mohamed was very clear when it came to demanding that each good Muslim wage war to spread Islam, behead non-believers, and enslave those who were not beheaded (with sex-slavery being the chosen outcome for surviving women).

Intriguingly, the Qur’an, which is normally a very straightforward book when it comes to describing a binary world of peace under Islam and war as a precursor to Islam, also does a little fudging with labels itself.  For years I’ve seen Muslim-apologists claim that the Qur’an, at 5:32, explicitly disavows violence.  For example, this poster crops up periodically:

Mohammad on killing innocent human beings

It doesn’t seem to occur to any of the apologists that other chapters and verses in the Qur’an, with their litany of punitive acts that must be committed against Mohamed’s many enemies, make it plain that non-believers, especially Jews, are not innocents.  Likewise, apostate Muslims aren’t innocents.  And of course, Christians and Hindus aren’t innocents.  Oh, and devout Muslims who practice the “correct” form of Islam, but somehow run afoul of Mohamed’s dictates, even if they do so unintentionally or through ignorance, are also not innocents.

Indeed, once one gets down to it, it’s clear that the only “innocents” among us are those who practice the “correct” version of Islam, and who do so without ever committing an error — and really, there’s just no reason to kill them in the first place according to the Qur’an.  Let’s just say that, if I were the lawyer advising Mohamed regarding all the many acts of violence, rapine, and murder that he demands of his followers, I would recommend that he insert just such a meaningless paragraph as an “out” should he ever be called upon to defend this blood-thirstiness.

But getting back to things here in America….

Jonah Goldberg is so disturbed by the “naming” problem that’s infected the early 21st century that he’s penning an entire book on the degradation of names for very important things under Obama’s watch.  Taking a page out of Confucius, Goldberg is working on the “rectification of names.”  According to him, “society goes ass-over-teakettle (to borrow a phrase from the academic literature) when names no longer describe the things they are assigned to.”  Exactly.

And now I’ll explain to you what got me all heated up about this “naming” thing.  It may surprise what did not excite my ire today.  Today, I’m not upset that our political class, from the White House down to the police department in Oklahoma City, refuses to admit that, even if a killer is acting alone, when that killer shouts “Allahu Akbar” or beheads people or openly dedicates his life to jihad, while his violence may occur in the workplace, we are not seeing “workplace violence.”  We are, instead, seeing a pernicious type of Islamic violence that needs to be named, shamed, and destroyed.

Nope, what worked me up was something entirely different.  Yesterday I spoke with a physician who was saying that his health care group is running into very specific problems when treating people who have had sex change operations.  It all goes back to the computer systems that Obamacare insists all doctors and hospitals have.

At least for this doctor’s health care group, when it comes to assigning a person’s sex in the health center’s computer system, the health center’s policy, after a sex change operation (whether or not the health center performed that operation), is to assign to the person that person’s “preferred” sex.  What this means is that, if Jane Smith comes to the hospital, has her breasts sliced off, has excess flesh shaped into a simulacrum of a penis and testicle sac, and begins taking hormones to coarsen skin, create facial hair, and develop male-pattern baldness, the fact that Jane now identifies herself as John Smith means that the health center must change her sex in the computer system from “female” to “male.”

The problem is that, for all the superficial changes Jane went through to become John, the biological reality is that she’s still Jane — she has a uterus and ovaries (unless she joined a hysterectomy with the rest of her surgery).  That biological reality explains how you can end up with flesh-and-blood oxymorons such as a “pregnant man”:

Pregnant man

At the hospital level, the political correctness of letting patients identify with their cosmetic sex, as opposed to their birth sex, means that they don’t get treated for diseases unique to the sex embedded in their DNA (XX or XY).  This problem is different from things such as the male-to-female transgender who, once he takes female hormones, becomes prone to breast cancer. Instead, this problem lies with core matters of self-identification versus real identification — people aren’t getting the health care their DNA demands.

Our hypothetical “John Smith,” for example, isn’t going to get annual notices that “he” needs to get a pap smear. If John doesn’t go to an OB/GYN, because John is a “man,” John’s at higher risk of uterine and ovarian cancer — both of which are treatable if caught early, and both of which are expensive and, sadly, fatal if caught late.  Likewise, if John has a friend who once was Paul, but is now Paulina, when Paulina goes to the doctor, there’s a good chance “she” won’t be getting her prostate checked nor will she be getting appropriate checks for heart disease. Both John and Pauline are at greater risk of entirely preventable problems because they have demanded that the hospital ignore what’s going on beneath their cosmetically- and hormonally-altered appearance.

Here’s where I stand on the matter should I ever meet John Smith:  In all social settings, I will be completely willing to acknowledge his chosen identification as a male. That will probably be true too in most work situations. But I will not ever allow myself to believe that he’s actually male. He is pretending. If it makes him happy, I’m good with it. But I won’t delude myself that it means that I should enlist him in the military and pretend that he is, in all respects, a male. Likewise, when I meet Paulina, I’ll call her “Ms” if she likes, but I won’t allow her to get into a Mixed Martial Artist cage with me in the women’s class.

Moreover, at home, I’m not going to tell my children that a transgender person has magically been transformed into the sex of his or her choice. What I will do, though, is tell them that, whenever possiblethey should accord that person respect, they should never bully that person or discriminate against that person, and they should use the pronouns and honorifics that the person prefers to have applied to himself or herself. And that’s it. Naming things matters and, until we acknowledge what something really is, rather than what we want it to be, we will be, as Goldberg says, a society that is “ass-over-teakettle.”

All gender bathroom

The Bookworm Beat (9/26/14) — Friday wrap-up edition and Open Thread

Woman writingMy sister summed me up in a sentence: “For an incredibly neurotic person, you’re very normal and easygoing.” I know what she means. All my neuroses are turned inwards. They drive me crazy, but they don’t interfere with anyone outside of my brain. If you meet me, I’m friendly, good-humored, and well-mannered. I rarely take offense, and I’m always happy to help out.

I’m the living embodiment of the reminder to judge people by their deeds, not their thoughts. Unless of course, you think the deeds and the thoughts reflect on each other, magnifying each . . . which leads to me to:

The Obama latte salute

A military friend of mine had this to say:

What I find comical about this is the outrage. You’re surprised by this man? This is par for the course. And technically, he has no obligation to salute them back. A military officer not in uniform is only obligated to acknowledge a salute with a proper verbal greeting. My understanding is saluting the Marines of HMX-1 started with Reagan.

I think there are more important things to address about him like having absolutely no plan in Syria. This is comical considering the whole “what is our exit strategy?” nonsense during the Bush admin. We don’t even have an entry strategy here.

My friend is quite right, but I couldn’t resist reminding him about that outlook/action connection I mentioned at the start of this post:

I know that Reagan started it (and did you know that Reagan, whom the Left always castigated for not going to war, was in the Army Reserve as of 1937, and was barred from active duty during WWII only because of his vision?), so it’s not deep tradition, and I know that it’s not militarily necessary.

The thing is that, if it was clear that Obama really supported the military, and wanted to fight war in a way that’s not only ethical (which is a good thing), but that also keeps our troops alive and effective (another good thing), no one would have given a flying whatsit even if he’d hollered “Howdy, guys!” and blown soap bubbles at them. The optics mattered only because they were such a perfect visual representation of which we all know he actually thinks: “Blech!  Marines again! And now I have to figure out how, and how many, of those baby killers to ship overseas this time….”

And my friend, who is a gentlemen down to the marrow of his bones, shot back:

I agree, we already know how he feels about the military. Saluting is what we call a military courtesy. Failing to simply be courteous says something about character.

I have such interesting friends.

Regarding the worsening mystery virus affecting children, when does correlation equal causation?

We’ve been hearing for a couple of months now about a serious respiratory virus affecting children across America. It’s been so bad that hospitals have been turning them away.

Well, here’s some more news guaranteed to make you unhappy: the virus just got worse. According to AP, children are now showing up with a paralysis that seems to be in the polio family and that may be related to the mystery enterovirus. So far, only nine cases have shown up in Colorado, but there’s no telling where paralysis problem might end up.

The AP’s not the only one paying attention to the virus. The New York Times has a long article about its effects on children across America (emphasis mine):

An outbreak of respiratory illness first observed in the Midwest has spread to 38 states, sending children to hospitals and baffling scientists trying to understand its virulent resurgence.

I love that line about “baffled” scientists. It reminds me of a wonderful Lord Peter Wimsey remark in Busman’s Honeymoon, when he and his new bride find a dead body in their honeymoon cottage. Being famous, the Wimseys are immediately besieged the press, one of whose members, Salcombe Hardy, is an old friend (emphasis mine):

“Can I say you’ve got a theory of the crime?”

“Yes,” said Peter.

“Fine!” said Salcombe Hardy.

“My theory is that you put the corpse there yourself, Sally, to make a good headline.”

“I only wish I’d thought of it. Nothing else?”

“I tell you,” said Peter, “the evidence is destroyed. You can’t have a theory without evidence to go on.”

“The fact is,” said Harriet, “he’s completely baffled.”

“As baffled as a bathroom geyser,” agreed her husband. “My wife’s baffled too. It’s the only point on which we are at one. When we’re tired of heaving crockery about we sit and sneer at one another’s bafflement. The police are baffled too. Or else they confidently expect to make an arrest. One or other . You can take your choice.” (Sayers, Dorothy L., Busman’s Honeymoon, p. 242 (Open Road Media, Kindle Edition)).

I feel a little like sneering at some bafflement too — in this case, the bafflement of those scientists trying to figure out how a rare virus that is connected to polio managed suddenly to enter the United States and infect American children.

I know that correlation is not causation, but I also know that not everything is pure coincidence. Isn’t it at least possible that the headlines about a bizarre virus striking down American children for the past two months might have something to do with the headlines from the end of July informing Americans that tens of thousands of Latin American children, many of them sick with diseases not seen in American children, were crossing the border? And isn’t it also possible that this baffling respiratory and occasionally polio-like illness might have to do with the fact that the Obama administration popped these children on buses and airplanes and then sent them all across the United States?

Again, I’m not saying that there has to be a connection, but I’d at least like to see some scientist say, “We’ve considered the possibility that this virus came with the immigrant children, but rejected it because….”

But they’re not saying that. Instead, the MSM just pretends the children’s crusade from Latin America never happened — so much so that it won’t even assure is that there’s no connection.

The country’s in the very best of hands (a song that’s never been more timely, I think)….

The media keeps its message consistent no matter the subject

The fact is that the American media is well-trained and it follows the Democrat playbook no matter the subject. A case in point involves doggies that have been Trayvon Martinized.

About that poor woman beheaded in Oklahoma

We know a few useful things about poor Colleen Hufford’s horrible death: She was beheaded, her murderer was an ex-con Muslim convert who had just been fired for arguing that women should be stoned, and another woman was saved from a similar fate when a company official with a gun shot him.

The police are trying to play this as just another case of workplace violence, and that may be true. But even ordinary violence reflects a zeitgeist. A former convict (which is what Alton Nolen, aka ‘Keem Yisrael, is), who converts to Islam in prison, will have two seeds planted within him: violence and jihad.

As always in these cases, please remember what my cousin, the retired prison chaplain, said about those prison converts:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

(Roger Simon has more on prison conversions to Islam and Caleb Howe has more on the lifelong anger and violence in Nolen that found its home in Islam) In other words, Nolen’s criminal history made him the kind of person who would commit murder — but his Islamic conversion made him the kind of person who would elevate this murder to the level of a jihad killing, complete with the sharia-compliant death of choice, namely beheading.

So yes, workplace violence or not, his religion mattered.

And what also mattered is that Nolen was stopped short by a gun. Jihad in America would be stopped pretty damn short if all of us were armed.

As for the shooting death of John Crawford in a Ohio Wal-Mart

John Crawford’s death is another one about which we know little, but it does look as if police were trigger-happy. Crawford was in a Wal-Mart aisle, someone called in a 911 because he was holding what looked like a gun, and the cops shot him. The video seems to show the cops firing instantly, without warning and, given how still Crawford was standing and the fact that his pop gun was pointed to the floor, they also shot without provocation. The cops, though, claim that Crawford was being threatening, something that might have been obvious outside of the silent film.

Radley Balko offers a great analysis of the bizarre intersections of so many societal issues in Crawford’s death: race, police malfeasance, societal paranoia about mass shootings, mental illness, etc. Something bad happened in that Wal-Mart, and two children lost their father.

I’m very interested in further facts. If Crawford’s behavior was frightening, so be it. But if trigger-happy cops killed an innocent man, let justice be done.

No, the Obama economy is not thriving

A few weeks ago, I asked for help rebutting a Forbes opinion piece claiming that the Obama economy is thriving, and that it puts the Reagan boom to shame. Just the other day, Forbes itself published an opinion piece rebutting that earlier, pro-Obama effort, and it’s a humdinger:

With the stock market cruising at all-time highs and the unemployment rate sitting at quaint levels, a fashionable new argument is making the rounds. Barack Obama is better at economic recovery than Ronald Reagan ever was.

The numbers make the case. Dow Jones Industrial Average the day President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 was 7950; today it stands at 17,000. Unemployment in his first full month, that February: 8.3%, versus 6.1% today.

Ronald Reagan could not quite touch this standard. The Dow began his presidency at 950 and chugged to 1800 after five-and-a-half years. A 90% gain is nice, but short of the 115% gain since 2009. Unemployment over that span went from 7.4 to 7.1%—welcome enough, but overmatched by the post-2009 record.

And all the while under Reagan, there was double the consumer price inflation as under the comparable Obama period (26% vs. 13%). Interest rates were higher. Prime was at 7.5% in September 1986, in contrast to today’s 3.3%.

Whatever crisis, whatever “stagflation” Reagan faced as he swept Jimmy Carter from office in 1980, the results that came in well into his presidency pale in comparison to what the nation would put up under the leadership of Barack Obama.

This argument has glaring flaws, the most obvious of which (from a statistical point of view) is that the labor force participation rate has collapsed under Obama, while it surged under Reagan, rendering any kind of comparison of unemployment rates inoperable. The bald economic growth numbers, for their part, are double in the Reagan (20.3%) than in the Obama (9.7%) case.

Read the rest here.

By all means, let’s have over the counter birth control

To me, even the smallest dose of birth control pills acts like poison on my system. For most women, though, today’s low-dose birth control pills have few serious side effects, if one discounts the fact that they’re messing with women’s entire hormonal and reproductive systems.

Given all the other stuff that’s sold over the counter, there’s no reason for the Pill not to become an OTC drug too. This will lower women’s health care costs dramatically, both by increasing competition at the purchase level and by doing away with the perfunctory, but costly, doctor’s visit that precede prescribing the pill.

Obamacare supporters, of course, are incensed that conservatives believe the Pill should be an OTC drug because that would strip away large parts of their argument about imposing costly and ethically troubling Obamacare “women’s health” regulations on every employer and insurance company in America.

Could this be the reason race hustlers do what they do?

The retirement of Eric Holder, Attorney General of the US and race hustler extraordinaire, resulted in one of Roger Simon’s best posts. Simon begins with Holder’s extremely sleazy history: The same man who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a $20,000 act of stupidity was the federal prosecutor who enabled the disgraceful pardon of Marc Rich, an exceptionally corrupt man who dealt with Iran during the hostage crisis and was lined up for 300 years in prison.

From that disgraceful beginning as an unprincipled party hack, Holder went on to become a hatchet man for the racism racket who turned the Justice Department into a purely political office advancing Obama’s hard Left, anti-constitutional, race-based domestic policies. That history leads Simon to this interesting thought:

Now I have a theory about the etiology of Holder’s fixation on race. When you know deep down you’re a dishonest person, when you have had to eat the bitter pill of your own corruption who knows how many times (even Clinton finally admitted that he had gone too far pardoning Rich and damaged his own reputation), you have to invent a narrative for yourself to justify your activities. So over may years Holder developed what I have called elsewhere a “nostalgia for racism.” No matter that racism was diminishing in our culture, he had to keep racism alive, believe it was alive. If racism were going away, he would no longer have a raison d’être, an excuse for his biased behavior, an excuse, as it turned out, to go beyond the law, act unilaterally and punish political enemies.

Why, yes. That sounds just right.

Think of Syria as you read this bumper sticker

It took me a couple of seconds to figure out the message behind this bumper sticker, and then I thought “That’s excellent.”

Arm tomorrow's enemies

If you’d like one for your car, you can buy it here.

You can put lipstick on a male pig, but it’s still a male pig

With self-selected sex transmutations dominating headlines lately (“Lift ban on transgender military members“), I keep harking back to what I’ve said since the headline about a “pregnant” man (i.e., a woman who had her breasts surgically removed, and took hormones to grow facial hair). At the end of the day, when the surgically-adjusted, cosmetically-mutated, chemically-altered soft tissue is gone, and the bones are all that is left, what’s left is . . . the original sex.

To hold otherwise — to say that person who made this change is now actually a man or a woman, just because he or she wants to be — is a bizarre cultural delusion we’re fostering. On the great bell curve of biology, men are men and women are women, and that’s true regardless of surgery, make-up, hormones, and magical thinking. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accord the person the respect, when possible, of treating him or her as s/he wishes to be treated, but it does mean that we have to accept biological reality.

Case in point: Mixed martial arts. There, a man who went through the surgical, chemical, cosmetic process of appearing like a woman insisted that he be allowed to compete as a woman. The outcome was not pretty, as his opponent Tamikka Brents, who was born female, ended up with a massively broken eye socket and a concussion. Brents explained what happened to her:

In a post-fight interview this week, she told Whoa TV that “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”

“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”

His “grip was different,” she added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”

I’m not a doctor either, but I’m pretty sure that, men have different bone structure and heavier muscle mass. Even if a man is taken female hormones, if he’s in the world of MMA training, he’s pushing those still-male muscles to the max. He’s going to be a muscle monster, with the weight of a man’s heavy bones behind him. At the end of the day, biology will not be denied.

Views from the climate change gala in New York

Power Line has a wonderful photo gallery from last weekend’s climate change extravaganza in New York. It’s got everything from the mounds of garbage left behind to the hypocritical celebrities to the hard Left people behind the climate change movement. Check it out. Laugh. Cry.

Then, if you want to laugh and cry some more, please enjoy Jeff Dunetz’s 48-item-long list of all the bad things that happen, according to the change-istas, because of climate change. Reading that list, I keep thinking of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when Brian’s followers see everything he says as a sign of something insanely stupid:

Lies, damn lies, and British crime statistics

Since banning guns, Britain has become the most violent country in the first world. Certainly, the police are conflicted about the whole crime-fighting thing.  After all, the God of political correctness tells them that they shouldn’t fight crime if the criminals are blacks or Muslims.  The police have therefore figured out creative ways to massage the (non)crime-fighting numbers — they lie:

The culture of fiddling crime statistics is ingrained within the upper echelons of the police service where target-chasing has led to the under-reporting of serious crimes including rape, according to a report by MPs out today.

The MPs said a delay by Scotland Yard in addressing claims that rape figures were skewed was a “damning indictment of police complacency, inertia and lack of leadership”.

In attacking Rush, it appears that the female of the species is deadlier than the male

Rush Limbaugh went on the offensive to smoke out the small group of people trying to destroy his radio show through email and social media attacks against advertisers. What I noticed immediately is that, of the nine people engaged in this conspiracy, six are female. You’ll never have a 50/50 split in a group of nine people, but it’s telling somehow, that the group is heavily weighted on the women’s side.

I can’t decide if this is because women are indeed more vicious, or if it’s because the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle managed to turn Rush into a slayer of women in the deranged feminist mind, or if it’s simply random that in such a small group, there would be twice as many women as men. The fact seemed noteworthy, regardless of the reason.

No wonder women are raping as much as men are

Feminists have insisted that the definition of rape must be expanded far beyond the traditional definition, which pretty much was limited to a man using his penis to penetrate a woman vaginally, orally, or anally. Nowadays, every man’s touch, look, or verbal bullying is included in the definition of sexual assault, at least on college campuses. In this way, women can claim (and the Democrat party can campaign on) the canard that 1/5 of women on campus will be sexually assaulted.

Relying on the feminists’ own definition of sexual assault, Glenn Reynolds makes the compelling and convincing argument — supported by data — that women commit sexual assault every bit as often as men do. I believe this completely. If you read the trashy but informative Daily Mail on a regular basis, as I do, you’ll quickly discover that several times a week, and sometimes every day, there’s a story somewhere in America about a female school teacher forcing a sexual relationship on an underage male (or, sometimes, female) student. One comes away feeling that America’s students are taught by an army of nymphomaniacs.

Step back, puny mortals, and let the wind take over

One of the problems I’ve always had with the whole climate change theory is the centrality it gives humans. Humans have indeed shown themselves perfectly capable of trashing the local environment. From prehistoric man driving mammoths to extinction, to the Aztecs destroying every bit of protein in their region (hence the need for human sacrifices, which were later eaten), to the Soviets turning lakes into acid puddles, to American manufacturers doing their damndest to destroy our own lakes (until capitalism saved them), to the California Gold Rush stripping off sides of mountains, we are a destructive species. But there’s a quantum difference between making a terrible, and too often lasting, mess here and there, and altering the entire climate around the world, all the way until we touch outer space. That simply didn’t (and doesn’t) make sense to me.

What makes a lot more sense is a new theory that says that shifting wind patterns account for the changing climate along the Northwest. I find it especially intriguing giving the close connection between wind and sun (and I’m not just talking Aesop’s fables here).

I’m glad the New York Times had the integrity to report on this new climate theory, but I had to laugh at the opening sentence (emphasis mine):

A new and most likely controversial analysis of Pacific Ocean weather patterns concludes that a century-long trend of rising temperatures in the American Northwest is largely explained by natural shifts in ocean winds, not by human activity.

It must have choked the writer, Michael Wines, to concede in the next paragraph that the theory didn’t arise from the fetid swamps of whacked-out deniers but, instead, appeared in “the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….” Oh, yeah!

America’s topmost colleges accept robots and turn out morons

Okay, I’m exaggerating for effect in that subtitle. There is no doubt that America’s top colleges get to take in America’s best and brightest students and that they turn out products with a certain sheen.  I contend, though, that these new graduates are actually more indoctrinated than educated, but that’s just my opinion.   Or maybe it isn’t….

While they do not say that America’s premier colleges are turning out mindless Leftist drones, two Ivy League instructors have come out lately to that in their pursuit of the best and brightest, these institutes of higher education are producing boring, timid robits who will not take any chances, thereby stifling their own brilliance.

At The New Republic, you can read William Deresiewicz’s Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League, which has been shared on Facebook more than 191,300 times.

And at First Things, you can read Michael J. Lewis’s Children Who Never Play, which picks up where Deresiewicz left off.

In bureaucracies, the perfect is the enemy of the good

I credit Philip K. Howard with helping me move from mindless Left-liberalism to thinking conservativism. His book The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, which I read shortly after it was published in the early 1990s, was an eye-opener because it made me realize that government not only is not the answer but that it can never be the answer.  It took me another decade to complete my journey across the Rubicon, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without him.

Just recently, Howard authored a piece for The Atlantic explaining how the Stimulus got wasted, not because of any specific corruption, but because the money vanished into the bureaucratic crevices created by a million rules:

Modern government is organized on “clear law,” the false premise that by making laws detailed enough to take in all possible circumstances, we can avoid human error. And so over the last few decades, law has gotten ever more granular. But all that regulatory detail, like sediment in a harbor, makes it hard to get anywhere. The 1956 Interstate Highway Act was 29 pages and succeeded in getting 41,000 miles of roads built by 1970. The 2012 transportation bill was 584 pages, and years will pass before workers can start fixing many of those same roads. Health-care regulators have devised 140,000 reimbursement categories for Medicare—including 12 categories for bee stings and 21 categories for “spacecraft accidents.” This is the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg—administration consumes 30 percent of health-care costs.

And finally, some marvelous photographs and a joke

Nope, not my usual set of posters but, instead, links to two wonderful sites. The first explains why you won’t see Israeli women in burqas anytime soon, while the second is a panoramic photograph taken shortly after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. If you click on the image, you can zoom in to a specific spot; then, click again to zoom out.

Since I try to end on a laugh or uplifting note, here’s a delightful joke that a friend sent me (slight language warning), clearly in honor of Ezekiel Emanuel’s announcement that he, and everyone else, should try to die by or before age 75:

I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, she said I was doing fairly well for my age. (I am past seventy-five). A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking her, ‘Do you think I’ll live to be 80?’

She asked, ‘Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?’

‘Oh no,’ I replied. I’m not doing drugs, either!’

Then she asked, ‘Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?’ ‘I said, ‘Not much … My former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!’

‘Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?’

‘No, I don’t,’ I said.

She asked, ‘Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?’

‘No,’ I said.

She looked at me and said, ‘Then, why do you even give a shit?’

Obama’s latte salute is offensive because . . . death

The semper latte saluteAh, yes.  The infamous “latte salute.”  If you haven’t heard about it yet, Obama walked off a helicopter insouciantly clutching an environmentally-deadly Styrofoam latte cup in his right hand.  When the two Marines waiting at the base of steps offered him a smart salute, Obama, who seemed to avoid looking at them, vaguely pawed his forehead with the hand holding that cup and then walked on.  Here, see it for yourself:

People in the military and conservatives were outraged. Liberals have been outraged at the outrage. Here are a few of the comments I’ve culled from liberals on my “real me” Facebook page:

Obama isn’t military so he shouldn’t be expected to salute.

Reagan started the saluting trend, and there’s no reason to continue it.

Obama has the weight of the world on his shoulders, so it’s ridiculous to expect him to salute.

If you’re going to demand saluting, why not require all presidents to be ex-military. [Bookworm:  Not a bad idea, but the liberal who wrote that was obviously being sarcastic.]

We all do things like waving a “hi” while holding a coffee cup. He’s a good guy and sincere.

For military people, the honor of directly serving the president outweighs all other things.

Weak leaders like Reagan (who sold arms to terrorists) disguise their weakness by saluting.

Bush did worse, because he hugged a dog when saluting. [Bookworm:  What I see, given my bias, is that Bush found himself holding a dog, and struggled to construct the best salute possible under the circumstances.]

Bush salutes while holding dog

You get the idea. Progressives simply cannot understand why Obama’s failure to perform this silly, formulaic act should excite so much disgust amongst the president’s critics. Certainly, the Left is correct that, just as they viewed every eyebrow twitch on George Bush’s face as a sign of evil or stupidity, conservatives are watching Obama like a hawk for proof that he is indeed a far-Left ideologue, who is hostile to America’s core values and interests. In what is still a kind-of-free political system, this partisanship is natural.

Conservatives, however, are on to something deeper than mere politics or tradition when they look with disgust at Obama’s almost studied disrespect for the Marines. As I mentioned above, you need to look at his body language. It’s not just the limp, cup-in-hand salute he offers; it’s the way he rushes past the Marines, refusing to make any eye contact.

Obama, unlike Eisenhower (whom Leftists note was a general who did not salute the troops), is a wartime president. More than that, he is presiding over the longest war in American history and one, moreover, that appears to be heating up significantly on his watch, with an indefinite, probably far off, end-point.

It doesn’t matter that Obama is trying to distinguish himself from George Bush by promising that his latest war won’t be “boots on the ground” fight.  We know that this promise is as untrue as all of Obama’s other promises. After all, Bush also tried a no-boots-on-the-ground strategy, which rejoiced under the name “Shock & Awe.”  That strategy failed dismally until the boots-on-the-ground Surge turned the tide.

No boots on the ground in Iraq

The reality is that you can bomb battleships and military bases, but you cannot bomb disparate individuals who can instantly melt into the surrounding landscape and population. The only way to deal with that is hand-to-hand combat. That’s what the Israel did to win back Jerusalem in 1967 and to destroy Hamas’s tunnels in 2014; and it’s what the US did to destroy the Iraqi Islamic fanatics in places such as Fallujah.

Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane shot while trying to rescue fatally wounded Marine at Fallujah

Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane shot while trying to rescue fatally wounded Marine at Fallujah

The problem with boots-on-the-ground fighting is that people die. They die in especially large numbers during the first days of fighting, when the Commander-in-Chief is trying to convince the public in a republican democracy that a ground fight really is a good idea. Sure, these fights produce incredible tales of heroism that are still told around military campfires by modern-day bards, but at the end of the day, a culture that still values most life (more or less, depending on whether the life has already been born or isn’t yet aging its way to death) is left staring at a long list of names carved into a wall.

Marine 1st Sergeant Bradley Kasal

Marine 1st Sergeant Bradley Kasal in Fallujah.

Moreover, because our Constitution (possibly with an eye to our first president) designates any sitting president as Commander-in-Chief, the American way is for the president to command that all these young men be sent to potential death. This power over life and death is especially large if you’re a Commander-in-Chief who insists on ignoring the clear language in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that “Congress shall have the Power . . . to declare War” and, instead, contends that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ Congress.  He’s the Obama and has the imperial power to declare war.

Not only has Obama given himself the sole power to send these men into battle, he’s doing so at a time when he’s shrinking our military to a size and readiness more consistent with an America right before World War I than with an America fighting a sadistic, hydra-headed enemy all over the world in a battle that has lasted for more than a decade and that promises at least another several years to come. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that more war with less military probably means more military deaths.

So what about that salute? From a lower rank to a higher rank, a salute is obviously a sign of deference. When returned by that higher rank to the lower rank, it’s a sign of respect. The higher ranking officer is recognizing the individual serviceman’s humanity, his training, and his willingness to go into battle. Never is this mutual respect more important than with a Commander-in-Chief who is in the actual process of making life-and-death decisions about these troops.

Given this relationship between America’s Commander-in-Chief and his troops, it’s stunning that Obama’s whole body language says “I don’t see you. You’re not there. You’re not worthy.” Perhaps that’s understandable.  It’s so much easier to send the invisible, unworthy ones into battle than to do so with real human beings. After all, as Stalin tellingly remarked to Churchill when the two met at Tehran, “When one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it’s statistics.”

In other words, when conservatives see a Leftist Commander-in-Chief — one who is uncomfortable with the military and who seeks to cut it down to size, even as he plans to send more troops into battle — rush past saluting Marines, avoiding eye contact, and making a bare pretense of a salute, they see a Commander-in-Chief who is saying “Eh, they’re just statistics. Why bother?”

The Bookworm Beat (9/23/14) — Obama is a scary dude edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingI’ve been in continuous domestic goddess mode since 6:30 a.m. That’s a ten-hour day of domestic goddess-hood. My house sparkles, my refrigerator is full, my closets bulge with clean laundry, my bills are paid, my correspondence (most of it) put in the “done” file and, except for the fact that I haven’t even had a chance to bathe today (yes, please hold your nose), I’d look exactly like June Cleaver if you’d dress me in a cute frock with a lace collar and pearls. Just for today, this should be my “Bookworm Beat” picture:

Another day in paradise housewife homemaker

Now, though, for a few minutes, I can throw off my housewife’s garb and be “Super Blogger.” I’ll be quick about it, so my apologies for the “dictated but not read” level of errors you might find:

Baron Münchhausen lives!

The Diplomad takes a look at Obama’s rich fantasy life, all of which would be funny if he didn’t occupy the once-upon-a-time most powerful office in the world.

A permanent Democrat majority?

A lot of astute thinkers believe that’s precisely what most of Obama’s policies are directed towards achieving: not just a Leftward shift in American governance, but a permanent Democrat majority to keep it that way. You can now add Ed Lasky to the list. He explains why here.

Obama makes ISIS look even scarier

Let’s see, now — we’ve got an avowed enemy that’s soaking the Middle Eastern desert sands in blood from thousands of severed heads and that promises to bring the war home; we’ve got a military that’s being shrunk down to pre-WWI size; and we’ve got a commander-in-chief who knows nothing about warfare but refuses to listen to the generals and admirals who will have to fight this enemy using their shrunken (but appropriately feminized, gay, transsexual, and transgender pre-WWI army. I don’t know about you, but I find this a frightening scenario.

Oh, and the ignorant president also disrespects the military, something proven yet again with the salute now known as the “semper latte salute“:

The Marines will lay down their lives for him, he is their commander in chief and the living emblem of the nation for which they fight, and he can’t be bothered to return the sign of respect they send his way.

Obama makes ISIS look even scarier, Part II

And let’s not forget the fact that Obama’s every speech has shown his affection for Islam and, when he’s not constrained by Congress or overwhelming public opinion, his every act has too.

Obama makes everything look scarier

Bret Stephens wraps it all up by explaining that Obama’s profound, all-encompassing ignorance is the most scary thing of all.

Obama is a scary dude

Thomas Sowell points out that Obama truly believes that, if he just doesn’t call it war or doesn’t go to war, the bad guys will respect his decision:

Barack Obama has done more than anyone else to promote the dangerous illusion that we can choose whether to have a war or not. But our enemies have already made that choice.

Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis said: “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it’s over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

Of course, it’s not just Obama

The ignorance about radical Islam doesn’t stop with Obama. VDH points out that this obdurate blindness emanates from every nook and cranny of our governing class.

And yeah, everybody’s lying to you

You know what I think of when I hear that Ebola’s spread is way worse than any authorities are admitting? I think of this:

There is some good news

The two men who killed Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach (whose tragic, early deaths may have saved Israel leading to revelations about the terror tunnels) died in a shoot-out. On a comment thread I saw, one person said it was a shame they died and didn’t suffer the rest of their lives in jail.

Others disagreed. They said it was great the murderers were dead, because if they were alive, there was always the risk they’d be set free in some exchange forced upon Israel by the U.S. The U.S. ought to think about a policy that leads ordinary people to believe that something equivlant to vigilante justice is really the only justice.

More to follow? I don’t know. I have a town meeting to go to tonight. If I still have energy upon my return, I’ll try to write a little more.

The Bookworm Beat (9/22/14) — Everything and the Kitchen Sink edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingAll day today, I kept heading up to my computer to read and blog, and every time I neared my office, a powerful domestic and/or maternal and/or social tractor beam pulled me away. At last, though, I broke free of the tractor beam and I’m here, trying frantically to impart to you all the cool things I read in the last hour or so:

A few climate change issues

Reason took a camera to the Climate Change parade in New York this past weekend. It was not a pretty sight, nor did the people interviewed show any signs of intelligent life:

Byron York tackles the hodge podge of hard-Left issues folded under the global warming/climate change banner at the parade. As I read it, he concludes that the virtue of climate change is that, like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, it’s big enough to hold everything.

The people and groups Reason and York examine are fanatics, often without a smidgen of common sense to back up their fervent beliefs:

New York Climate march

Given their insane fanaticism, one has to wonder why they’re so comfortable with marching behind celebrities who are responsible for huge amounts of carbon pollution. Some of the celebrities, though, are completely in sync with the Left’s demand for punitive totalitarianism.

Oh, and one more thing: One of my intelligent, rather open-minded, but still quite Leftist friends on Facebook linked to an article that announces “Eight Pseudoscientific Climate Claims Debunked by Real Scientists.” Considering that one of the Left’s favorite “real scientists” is a serial liar (that would be Neil DeGrasse Tyson), I’m not sure I should accept these debunkings at face value. I am, however, not in a position for the next several days to drill down into the debunkings. I wonder if any of you have the time and inclination to do so. If these “debunkings” really do challenge the arguments made by those of us opposed to climate change hysteria, I think we ought to know.

Let’s talk Islam

It was incredibly heartening today to speak with a friend of mine, a liberal, who is one of the kindest, least violent, most gentle, most faith-filled people I know. To her, war is been anathema. But as she told me, she’s been following ISIS closely, it’s terrifying, and she thinks we ought to wipe it out swiftly and entirely. I can’t say that I disagree.

One of the problems with wiping ISIS out, along with other radical Islamist groups, is that wiping out one Islamic pathology seems to lead to another one. You know, get rid of Saddam Hussein . . . open the door to ISIS. Here are a few links about repeating Islamic pathologies:

1.  Gazans are finally admitting the truth of what Israel said all during Operation Protective Edge: Hamas was using Gaza civilians as targets for propaganda purposes.

2.  The Arab world is terribly, dreadfully sick, and it’s neither the West’s nor Israel’s fault. (I consider this a must-read article, and urge you to share it with friends through social media.)

3.  James Lewis makes an incredibly important distinction about ISIS and the other radical Islamic groups: they’re not psychopaths; they’re sadists:

What’s the difference? It’s very simple: psychopaths don’t feel guilt about hurting other people, but sadists take active pleasure in committing horrors that civilized people can’t even look at. In his pornographic novels the Marquis de Sade wrote about taking sexual pleasure from torturing and even murdering innocents. That is where we get the term “sadism.”

The fascination with sadism in our world has been a long time coming, Lewis writes, but it’s reached its apogee with the radical Islamists.

ISIS is a sadistic war cult. It attracts people who take joy in torturing women and children. You can easily see the difference in their facial expressions. Psychopaths have “flat” expressions, like Vladimir Putin. Sadists show a kind of demonic joy when others are suffering. They are the classic face of human evil.

Also, it’s important to note Islam isn’t always the only problem in a region.  Some parts of the world are so desperately dysfunctional that you can’t possibly distinguish the good guys from the bad. For example, Boko Haram is one of the most evil organizations in the world . . . and, to no ones surprise, it’s Islamic. Except that it seems that the Nigerian military troops sent out to fight it may be just as evil. (Was it only yesterday that I said Africa must be one of the most accursed places on earth, suffering every plague man and nature can devise?)

Lies, damn lies, and polls

We tend to have incredible reverence for polls. Polls, however, are like any other data driven thing: garbage in, garbage out. That’s why you should view with some skepticism the poll that has a plurality of Americans thinking individual business proprietors who have deeply held religious beliefs opposing gay marriage should nevertheless be forced at the point of the state’s gun to provide their services for those weddings.

Lies, damn lies, and women’s studies

Christina Hoff Sommers looks at the lies that the women’s movement promulgates as it tries desperately to denigrate the incredibly high status and freedom women enjoy in America:

Prince Charming turns into Prince Harming

As Earl Aagaard said when he sent this to me (and I’m paraphrasing), wouldn’t it be great if there were more ads like this one?

Pot-providing reporter who fires herself on air reveals deep problems with media

You’ve probably all heard about, or even seen, the video of the reporter in Alaska who did a story about an election battle over legalizing pot. The story was manifestly slanted in favor of an Alaskan “medical marijuana” provider that argued that, even though medical marijuana is allowed in Alaska, the proposed bill would harm people who benefit from medical marijuana. After doing this report in full “news” mode, the reporter then announced that she owned the medical marijuana club in question and, mouthing obscenities, quit the job.

Aside from being quite a story, Ace points out what a terrible indictment it is of the ordinary newscasts all of us are used to seeing.

Virginal purity bodes well for a happy marriage

A new study says that the more chaste you are before marriage, the more happy you’ll be once you’re married. There are a lot of people in unhappy marriages who are problem saying to themselves “I wish I’d known this sooner and hadn’t bought into the bill of goods sold by our sex-saturated, values-free society.”

Drive responsibly

A charming, moving little commercial reminding people to drink responsibly:

There is still good in the world

Sometimes people are too paralyzed with shock to do the right thing. If they get nudged in the proper direction, though, people (especially American people) can be incredibly brave and good.

Pictures (thanks to Caped Crusader and Sadie)

Bill de Blasio and his wife at the Mermaid Parade

If that pirate looks vaguely familiar, it’s New York mayor Bill de Blasio at the Mermaid Parade, along with his wife.

Syria v Detroit

Immigrants demand change

Why term limits are smart

Gun control activists

Whites don't riot

The rich are deadbeats

Global warming causes crime rate

Rushing out the door Open Thread

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556I was in perpetual motion yesterday, driving teenagers all over the place, to both sports and social activities. My day ended at 11:30 at night, by which time writing was no longer an option. Today is moving in the same direction. I’m leaving now for several hours of rec soccer and shopping, all of which are 40 miles from home. Still, I wanted to share a few things with you and leave you with some music.

Thing 1: As the Middle East gets worse and worse, with President Obama saying that he’s going to be, not just Commander in Chief, but the only commander, Leon Panetta breaks his silence to say that it was Obama’s idea — against the military’s best advice — to pull completely out of Iraq, creating the vacuum that the Islamic State has now filled. The only good thing I can think that’s coming from the current situation in Iraq is that, with Muslims from the world over answering the Islamic State’s siren song, destroying self-styled the Islamic State should be like shooting fish in a barrel. Too bad our military leader, instead of blowing up the whole damn barrel at once, plans to extract each individual fish with tweezers.

Thing 2: As the Democrats hammer away at the meme that American colleges and universities are more dangerous for women than South African slums, Glenn Reynolds has the answer:

The real problem, which the Democrats having created wish to ignore, is that parents and taxpayers are still funding colleges and universities that have abandoned their in loco parentis role. An 18 year old doesn’t have the sense to be released into the world without some oversight. Universities once gave that oversight. Now they just promote the myth that one in five women are going to be raped, without changing their anarchic culture of co-ed dorms, male and female binge drinking, and an administration that springs into action only after the fact, when it can persecute and, without due process, prosecute young men.

Thing 3: Beautiful, spooky, mystical pictures from panorama shots gone awry.

Music 1: A rock song with a country lyric: “I used to be love drunk; now I’m hungover.”

Music 2: A classic, from Harry James and Helen Forrester:

The Democrats have a long-strategy when it comes to losing against ISIS

We'll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

We’ll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

A friend emailed me a comment:

Bill Clinton just said in an interview that America has proven we can’t win a land war in Iraq. Too bad he omitted: “Because we won’t let our military win it.”

I agree with my friend, and I want to examine a little further what he said, and I’ll do so via a series of links.

Charles Krauthammer argues convincingly that ISIS is yanking at America’s tail right now, because it knows that Obama will not fight the war to win.  It needs to prove itself regionally, and there is no better way to do so than to watch America retreat.

We can tell that Obama doesn’t want to win the war because he can’t even get himself to call it a war.  We’re assured that it’s a not-war, or maybe a not not-war.  Whatever it is, no matter how many kill shots Obama personally orders, there is no war, except when there’s not a not-not war.

Jon Gabriel says that the reason behind Obama’s reluctance to go to war is grounded in his jaundiced view of America.  If we say ISIS is terrible and that we’re going to protect the world from ISIS, the implication is that we’re the good guys.  Except that Obama cannot have America be good.  Therefore, America cannot fight a war against evil.

I agree with Gabriel, but I want to go back to what my friend said, about our refusal ever to let the military win a war.  That wasn’t always the case, even when Democrats were president.  American won WWI under a Democrat and repeated that feat with WWII.  It was only after WWII that America became embarrassed to win wars.  (For one theory behind that embarrassment, check out this history of the UN.)  It’s only a short step from “has not won a war in 60+ years” to “cannot ever win a war.”

Whenever I go to my mother’s place, I see a car with a Bush-ear bumper sticker, stating that “War is not the answer.” And every time I see it, I say to myself, “That depends what the question is.” For example, if you start talking to people about Nazis and other seriously bad actors, many of them will start agreeing with you that war can indeed be an answer. If you’re the anti-war type, you don’t people’s thoughts to head in that direction. How much better, then, to have a bumper sticker saying “Wars cannot be won,” or “There is no victory with war”?

Average Americans are so ignorant that, if the Democrats lose just a few more wars, voters won’t remember that victory is possible, and that it only matters that the right person or party should be in charge. Instead, they’ll just remember that wars cannot be won . . . ever!

The Bookworm Beat (9/18/14) — The Non-Islamic Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:

Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war

After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:

We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.

Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)

Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.

Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.

The horrors of war by lawyer

When I reviewed Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, I said:

[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):

The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.

[snip]

However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.

The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.

Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:

The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.

Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)

Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war.  This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him.  He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.

Funny illnesses cropping up all over

I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.

A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.

The Israel yardstick

I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.

More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite

Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.

I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.

One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves

Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.

Jewish gun organization surviving in different form

I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)

I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.

More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science

We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!

The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN

I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.

A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.

Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.

The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones

You and I like this poster:

America's first amendment area

Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.

A lost America

Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:

We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.

Read the whole thing here.

I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.

Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam

This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:

A few comments about the President’s speech regarding the Islamic State

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

Before I even get to Obama’s speech, a word about nomenclature. Most Americans refer to an organization called “ISIS” (“Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”). Obama refers to an organization called “ISIL” (“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). The latter encompasses more territory, so Obama is actually being more accurate about the group’s geographic aspirations. I, however, will in future refer to the group as the “Islamic State” which, as Obama himself acknowledges, is the group’s own preferred label.  To the extent Obama made a weak declaration of half-hearted war, it seems to me that it’s much easier to wage war against a self-declared state than against a disparate bunch individuals diffused throughout myriad civilian population.

And now to the speech, which I’ll simply annotate:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

[As I said above, to the extent the Islamic State describes itself as a nation in control of defined territories, let's do the same. It makes for a better target.]

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

[I understand Obama's need to preface his speech with puffery and boasting. He's got to establish his bona fides. However, I don't see the American people finding any of this reassuring. They've never perceived either Somalia or Yemen as direct threats to America, and they understand that knocking out a person or two in those places over the course of a few years has been ineffective in stemming the continued growth of Islamic terrorism. After all, if Obama's pinprick tactics worked, Islamic radicalism wouldn't be resurgent all over the world. Indeed, one could say that, rather than wiping out Islamic radicalism, Obama's tactics merely maddened it, in much the same way that a picador's non-deadly spear-work serves to madden a bull for the fight.]

Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

[All true truisms.]

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

[Wow! Where in the Constitution did Obama get the power to define what does and does not constitute a religion, or to tell a faith's most fervent practitioners that they're doing it wrong? You all have commented here, as have others around the blogosphere, that these so-called "radicals" are actually practicing Islam as written, as Mohamed practiced it, and as self-identified Muslims practiced it for hundreds of years. The religion is all about "the killing of innocents":

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

Go to this link to find all the instructions to violence against the innocent -- instructions that Imam Obama claims do not exist.

Muslims took a hiatus from practicing Islam as written only when they were finally stopped at the Gates of Vienna by a Europe grown increasingly wealthy, stable, and Enlightened. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as the West has destroyed its own wealth, damaged it's stability, traded gold for Arab oil, and retreated from a world-view that acknowledged both the exceptionalism of Judeo-Christian culture and the benefits of Americanism, that hiatus has ended.

What Obama should have done was to have simply identified the Islamic State as a self-declared enemy of America, of Christians, of Israel, and of peace and stability in the world -- all of which are true statements -- and gone on from there. He weakened everything else he said by trying to be President Imam offering an exposition about the nature of true Islam.]

In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. And in acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

[Correct. I would have preferred, though, a little more outrage about the fact that two Americans were slaughtered in the most brutal way possible to send a message to our country. When Obama included Foley and Sotloff in his speech, he didn't make it sound like the culmination to a series of outrages. The way he slipped them in there, they sound like an "oh, and don't let me forget" afterthought.]

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our Intelligence Community believes that thousands of foreigners -– including Europeans and some Americans –- have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

[Correct and it needed to be said, so I'm glad Obama said it. Now let's see what Obama plans to do about it.]

I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we’ve conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

[Once again, Obama's not going to war. Once again, he's just a picador. So far, what he's done has been neat, clinical, and somewhat helpful, but it's long-term efficacy is dubious. Also, does the last sentence -- about lives saved -- remind you of anything? It reminds me of the administration's utterly unprovable claim that the stimulus "saved or created" thousands of jobs. In fact, we've lost jobs and lost workers on Obama's watch, the stimulus notwithstanding.  More of this picador stuff, and those lives "saved" may be lost in the long-term regardless.]

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. And that’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

[Mr. President, are you listening to yourself?  First you destabilize Iraq and then you insist on a stable Iraq before you'll extend any help to fight a enemy that (a) your administration says is like nothing we've seen before and (b) that poses an imminent threat to our own well-being thanks in significant part to your decision to destroy the American border. Yeah, that's going to go well.]

Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

[Why did he have to say "degrade" first? Doesn't someone issuing a battle cry just say "destroy"? Why do I think this war will end with a few high profile bombings, an announcement that the degradation is complete, and yet another wave bye-bye to Iraq?]

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

[I have a notoriously bad memory, but doesn't this sound precisely like "Shock and Awe"? That ended with the troops hanging a "Mission Accomplished" banner on a ship for George Bush's visit, creating an image that haunts him to this day. What ultimately subdued the enemy in Iraq was old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground fighting. It seems to me that we're just going down a path we know in advance will fail. (Which may explain why the military offered different advice which Obama, the politician, ignored.]

Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces. Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.

[See above comment, including the link to Obama ignoring the military's advice.]

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

[As others have commented, this is the same Syrian opposition that Obama's ignored for three years. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely possible that Obama was using Libya to arm the opposition to the opposition -- and the ones he may have armed went on to form the Islamic State. It's all very confusing, and I'm not sure Obama is the chess master he thinks he is, one who's capable of handling this game. Having said this, when it comes to Syria, I'm not sure there's much else Obama can do.]

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

[All good . . . except for that bit about the UN. If Obama thinks the UN will help, maybe there's still time for me to sell him a nice bridge too.]

Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

[I like the sentiment, but I doubt Obama will have any success preserving these Christian and religious minority lives and homelands unless Obama has a nice big stick he's carrying to back up his promises. So far, I see him pursuing a strategy that failed once before, making demands upon a country he abandoned once before, insisting on aid from Muslim states that have concluded he's a weak horse, and looking to the weakest reed of all for help -- the UN.]

So this is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity. And in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria, to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

[Wouldn't you feel better if Obama could name a single partner in this broad coalition? Turkey's already said no, as has our once-upon-a-time partner, England. As for the Muslim states, they like strong horses and leaders they can trust. Obama fails on both counts. Why in the world should they help him, then, against a fellow Muslim force, no matter how malignant it might be? The above paragraph sounds like a wish-list, not a plan.]

My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL, but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

[He has bipartisan support? Really?  Again, this is a wish-list, not plan. It's clear that Americans, including American politicians, are concerned about the Islamic State, but it's unclear to me that there's strong support for any single approach. Conservatives, having learned the Iraq lesson, know that pinpoint strikes won't work. Libertarians are divided between isolationism and Rand Paul's sudden hawkishness. Democrats have a peace party going on, as usual (I saw some of them already protesting at the old-age home in Mill Valley). The only thing that Congress seems to agree about is the fact that, if this is war, Congress should have a say in it, rather than Obama going it alone, again.]

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

[See all my points above. This is Obama's delicate way of saying "shock and awe" combined with a little of this and a little of this . . . none of which will inspire any shock and awe in a crazed religio-military force that likes to drink its victims' blood for breakfast.]

My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks, through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back, America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

[Blah, blah.]

Our technology companies and universities are unmatched. Our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day –- and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

[Blah, blah, blah.]

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America –- our scientists, our doctors, our know-how –- that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

[The first sentence was true in January 2009. It is no longer true. No one trusts Obama. Everything else is blah, blah.]

America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia, from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East, we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.

[Wow! That sounds like American exceptionalism talk. Except we know that Obama doesn't think America's any more exceptional than any other nation. Let's say I'm not buying this new, full-throated patriotism. Combined with his defense of Islam, his plan to repeat George Bush's mistake, and his failure/inability to name any coalition partners, let's say that I'm not convinced he's really feeling it.]

Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform –- pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and servicemembers who support our partners on the ground.

[Is it just me, or does he sound as awkward as a rapper trying to make a formal speech to the DAR?  The rest is blah, blah.]

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said: “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety, our own security, depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for –- timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14′s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11′s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11′s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

Obama: Probing questions and likely answers about the Islamic State

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speechBlackfive has a few questions he’d like to put to President Obama tonight when the latter makes his long awaited Islamic State pronouncement, no doubt to explain his hitherto missing “strategy”:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Read more here, since Blackfive has pertinent background comments to those questions.

I don’t need to see the speech (and won’t see the speech, because I’ll be ferrying children about) to know Obama’s answers. So I’ve got for you a preview of coming attractions:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

Answer: Yes to the first question and no to the second.  As I said to Mitt Romney during our presidential debate in 2012,

“I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.  You mentioned our Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we had in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have ships that go under water.  The question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.”

My administration is quite sure that, once we’ve added open transsexuals to our military services, who will have a military that’s able to respond to any threats.  We call this newly augmented force the “Klinger Battalion.”

Corporal Klinger MASH

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

Answer: Yes — although with the new Klinger Battalion, we may introduce high heels on the ground.

Fetish high heels

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

Answer: I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the meaning of the word “victory,” when used in any context other than a Democrat defeating a Republican in an election.

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

Answer: None of the above. We’re negotiating with “a religion of peace.”

Behead those who insult Islam

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

Answer: A coalition of Muslim countries, led by Iran (which will be in a strong position thanks to its nuclear capabilities).

Camo Iranian soldiers

Iranian troops on parade

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

Answer: That bunch of whiners? You’ve got to be kidding. Who needs ‘em? They were useless when I wanted blanket amnesty and I learned through that that I don’t need ‘em.

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

Answer: Your question confuses me. I need to talk to Valerie and David Axelrod before I answer it.

davidaxelrod-and-valeriejarrett-300x197

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

Answer: We do so with my superior persuasive powers.

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Answer: Well, considering that our superior fire power and training make our engagement with smaller forces inherently unfair, I would expand the rules of engagement beyond seeing a weapon in someone’s hand before firing and getting a lawyer’s approval before bringing in heavy weapons. Henceforth, we need photo ID of all armed individuals to determine whether they’re a genuine ISIS combatant, or just someone with, you know, a gun. Also, we should use only those weapons that ISIS troops also have — something that won’t require us to draw down too much, since ISIS fighters now control all of the American weapons that we left upon our retreat from, er, withdrawal from Iraq.

Did Obama arm ISIS

Any further questions? Please ask them quickly, because it’s movie night. George Clooney promised to bring the rough cut of his latest and, let me be honest here, I don’t want to miss that.