The Bookworm Beat 5-8-15 — the “packing it up” edition and open thread

Woman writingThis weekend there’s a wedding that I’m very happy I’ll be able to attend. There are only two downsides: (1) The dogs have to go to the kennel and (2) I have to pack. Both those things make me sad. The posts to which I link are an equally mixed bag: They’re all wonderfully written but, considering that we live in Obama’s America, they’re depressing too.

Mike Huckabee is a moron

I don’t like Mike Huckabee. He’s got charisma and is quick with the quip, but his “conservativism” stops with social issues. In all other ways, he seems to be just another garden-variety southern demagogue with a penchant for big government. A Power Line reader caught Huckabee in a big lie about Medicare and Social Security:

[Read more…]

A Second Amendment warning about the fast-track trade agreement Republicans plan to give to Obama

Obama-gun-control-1jph9kcA friend forwarded to me an email warning from Gun Owners of America. I can’t vouch for the email’s accuracy, but I can say that anything that vests Obama with virtually unlimited power over a policy area is a terrible idea, and can only lead to dangerous mischief:

ACTION:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Orrin Hatch may soon give the President authority to write gun control restrictions into a “trade agreement.”  So click here to contact your Senators –- whether they are liberal or conservative.  Urge them to vote against the anti-gun “fast track” bill (S. 995).

Will UN-style gun control be rammed down our throats?

Gun import bans … Microstamping of firearms … Ammunition bans … The full implementation of the anti-gun UN Arms Trade Treaty … Illegal amnesty which locks in millions of new, anti-gun voters.

This anti-gun wish list could be part of the secret trade agreement that President Obama is getting ready to spring on the Congress.

This trade pact is called “fast track,” and what it means is that Obama can write any form of gun control he chooses into a trade agreement — import bans, amnesty, etc.

And this agreement DOESN’T need two-thirds vote in the Senate, as a treaty would.  When completed, the agreement is merely subject to a majority vote in both Houses … it can’t be filibustered … it can’t be amended … and the GOP can’t refuse to consider it.

Top Secret TPP means you won’t know what’s in the bill

Reports have already surfaced that the TOP SECRET draft contains a whole chapter with a European Union-style provision allowing unlimited migration from Mexico into the United States. This would fulfill Obama’s dream — which he begun with Executive Amnesty — to import millions of new anti-gun (liberal) voters into the country.

Of course, we can’t quote for you any of the language in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement because the document is TOP SECRET.  Obama won’t reveal it, even to most congressmen, until Congress has given it its imprimatur by allowing it to pass under fast track procedures.

On Monday, Politico reported:

If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

If you’re a [congressional] member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.

Truly, even more than with ObamaCare, this is a case of “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”

Some Republicans are being duped

But that’s not all:  The fast track authority being granted to

Obama and his successor for the next six years applies to whatever type of trade negotiation Obama chooses to enter into.

So, if he can write the UN Arms Trade Treaty into a trade agreement, then it can’t be filibustered or amended or prevented from consideration.

Tragically, many conservative Republicans have listened to business lobbyists — who are focused on the free trade issues without considering the impact on personal liberties — and have endorsed fast track.  But one business leader recently took Republican lawmakers to the woodshed for this:

By now Congressional Republicans should know better.  The Obama administration has stonewalled Congress on many issues, e.g., guns to Mexico and the IRS scandal, and this President has ignored the law and by-passed Congress on such matters as executive amnesty and the Bergdahl prisoner exchange.  [The] alleged economic benefits of TPP — and they are minimal … — do not trump the Constitution, the law, and the proper use of fast track.

It is significant that, in Sen. Orrin Hatch’s 114-page bill specifying the goals of U.S. trade negotiations (S. 995), there is not a single word prohibiting Obama from using the agreements to implement gun control.  And yet, that gun control will be just as binding as if Congress enacted it in a statute.

You can read an article written by GOA’s Legislative Counsel, which goes into this issue in much more detail.

You can also go here to read the full article written by the business leader (mentioned above) explaining why fast track is NOT really about free trade.

ACTIONContact your Senators — no matter whether they are conservative or liberal.  Urge them to vote against the anti-gun fast track bill (S. 995).

NOTE:  Separate letters are used for Republicans and Democrats.  But by using GOA’s pre-written letter in the Engage system, the correct letter will be automatically sent.

The Bookworm Beat 5-2-15 — the “I’ve got things to say, dammit!” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spend so much of my life starting things, but never finishing them. Part of that is my core inefficiency and part of it is the fact that, although it goes sorely against my nature, my life is lived in the service of others. Even worse, those others aren’t interested in my having time to blog. Shame on them! They’ve been fed now, though, and should be pacified for a while. 😉

The registration form doesn’t require proof of life either

Everybody who’s surprised to learn that the Obama administration is trying to block any state efforts to require immigrants to prove citizenship when registering to vote, please raise your hands. Those with their hands raised, how have you managed to remain so naive after six Obama years?

A short rant about American blacks

Watching how the Democrats (led by whites, fueled by blacks) have destroyed cities across America, with special attention given to the destruction of America’s black communities, I have a rant:

“Fine, we, the white collective, screwed you. We screwed you 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years, and last week. We seem incapable of not screwing you. So why do you keep looking to us for help? Look to yourselves. Fix your own communities because, according to you, whatever we touch, we turn to dross. The fact is, you can’t grow up until you cut the apron strings, especially because, by your own definition, your white American Mommy is toxic.”

Of course, once one says that, rather than the black community pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, all that happens is a renewed press for reparations.  But still, the reality in communities is exactly the same as it is when you sit in the therapist’s office and he intones (usually to your irritation), “Only you can help yourself.  You have to want to change.”

Good news: Arab young people are becoming surprisingly pro-Israel

During Operation Protective Edge last year, several pro-Israel Facebook groups started posting pictures of people’s hands (no faces). In one hand was a passport, with the cover showing the country of origin; on the other hand, the inked words “I support you Israel,” or something similar. An amazing number of those passports were from Muslim countries. The following article, therefore, wasn’t completely surprising, but it did make me smile:

It all began as a personal project by a young Israeli Arab who lives in northern Israel. He wanted to use social networking to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not some “army of evil” and that its soldiers are not as bloodthirsty as they tend to be portrayed in Arab propaganda films. He soon learned, however, that in the digital age, there is no end to surprises. Instead of messages and responses from the Israeli Arab audience he was targeting, he began receiving messages of peace and love from young Arab men and women from across the Arab world.

Read the rest here. George Dubya may have been right about the yearning for freedom within the Muslim world — especially as they see ISIS’s depredations.

Socialism hasn’t served Scandinavia well

I’ve told you before about my polite remainders to a Scandinavian friend that his belief that his is a successful socialist country is a delusion. The money for socialism has come from American defense during the Cold War (“We’ll pay for your military so that you can socialize your medicine.”), while the Scandinavian collective (“Ja, ja! We agree about everything.”) means that they haven’t had to rely on the coercion that is the real socialist deal in governance. The end of the Cold War, combined with the influx of uncooperative Muslims into Scandinavian countries, is revealing what a big fake Scandinavian “socialism” always was.

It turns out that there’s a book expanding on what I’ve gathered just using a few news stories, some glowing PBS documentaries about Scandinavian wonders, a short visit to the Scandinavian countries, and some common sense: Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. This is definitely a book I have to read.

A review at Reason gives you a taste of why I’ll like it — and a taste of how much worse the Scandinavian reality is than I ever realized:

The book, which has just been published in the U.S., is especially powerful in its dissection of the culturally corrosive effects of Scandinavia’s expansive state power, which seems to “smother its people’s motivation, ambition, and spirit.”

A full fifth of Danish adults don’t work and live exclusively on public benefits. Norwegian media is so deeply dull that one of its most popular television shows ever is—this is for real—a seven-hour real-time feed from a camera mounted on a train traversing mountains. Booth calls the prevailing Swedish political norms “benign totalitarianism.”


In other cultures, you have “tall poppy syndrome,” where if a reality star makes a record or buys a Lamborghini, they’ll get pilloried in the media. The difference in Scandinavia is that tall poppy syndrome applies to everyone all the time. So if you show naked ambition or arrogance, you will get cut down to size. “Don’t think you are that special, don’t show off, don’t boast.” No one wears a suit and tie in parliament. It’s extraordinary.

If you want an incredibly equal, socially cohesive society, you definitely lose something by way of individuality, eccentricity, diversity. Often I’m asked, “Could the Nordic template be applied to Britain or America?” And the answer is no. You can’t just hope that people will suddenly become conformist and driven by equality. It doesn’t work that way.

Media brings about its worst fear — guns for self-defense

The media, in its efforts to have Americans join its anti-gun fervor, has been plugging stories for several years telling people about America’s gun violence epidemic. Rather than making Americans insist that we ban guns, however, the opposite happened: more and more Americans decided to arm themselves. I think we call this a Massive Media Fail.

Free speech for me (if I’m antisemitic), but not for thee (if you’re pro-Israel) at Connecticut College

Professor Andrew Pessin, at Connecticut College, was branded a racist for daring to support Israel — with all the attendant stalking and harassment that comes with that label:

Professor Pessin is the latest casualty of what might be described as a “killer bee swarm” on the local and global internet. It took only one student, Lamiya Khandaker, who defamed Pessin in a student newspaper, to launch a university-wide and global campaign against Pessin defending last summer’s military campaign against the terrorist group Hamas by the Israeli government.

Pessin has been fighting a campaign to brand him as racist for his support of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, based on a remark posted to Facebook in which he compared Hamas to ““a rabid pit bull is chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”

Khandaker’s use of certain key words and concepts regarding Pessin—“I feel unsafe as a Muslim;” there is “subtle institutional racism;” Pessin is a “racist” because he allegedly compared Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls”—all functioned as zeitgeist signals to a previously conditioned mob and they lit out after him.

Pessin began receiving hate mail and death threats following her allegations, and wasforced to take a medical leave due to the level of stress this incident placed on him.

In point of fact, and contrary to what Khandaker alleged, Pessin was referring to the terrorist Hamas leadership when he made the “pit bull” comment, not to Palestinian people.

You can sign the petition here (which is still stuck at a little fewer than 10,000 signatures).

Sexism rears its ugly head in attacks on female hunters

David Reeder noticed something interesting — the animal rights/anti-gun crowd is sexist, very, very sexist (language warning):

You can think what you want about hunting, that’s your prerogative. But when you conflate hunting with poaching, when your disapproval translates into misogyny, vile torrents of profanity and threats of violence, that just proves what many people think already: you’re a pretentious asshole. It certainly doesn’t do much for your credibility or strength of your argument either, but why let a little rational discourse get in the way of your most recent excuse to be outraged?

Here’s an idea! As long as you (and by you I mean any of the many thousands of people wishing hunters ill) are engaging in such smarmy tomfuckery, why don’t you go ahead and be even more outraged when it’s a pretty girl perpetrating such wanton carnage. It’s bad enough when a Mossy Oak-clad quinquagenarian harvests an animal, but God forbid it’s a hawt white girl with bewbs posing next to that hapless, slaughtered beast. She should be reviled publicly — in fact, let’s revoke her right to vote and stick her back in front of the stove while we’re at it.

Bloodthirsty sluts.

I’m not a fan of trophy hunting. It makes no sense to me to kill something if you’re not going to eat it. Having said that, it’s legal in many places and useful in many others, culling animals that would otherwise upset the balance in the ecosystem. And God knows, if I were going to attack it, I wouldn’t do so on sexist grounds.

More tomorrow….

The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

[Read more…]

Three short sentences that I wish unthinking liberals would ask themselves

Welfare state as a con gameA friend emailed me this. I think it’s a remarkably good distillation of the giant values chasm between Statists and Individualists/Constitutionalists in this country:

When you vote for an incumbent you are perpetuating our government as it is now. Nothing will change.

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:

1.) We are advised NOT to judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

Funny how that works. And here’s another one worth considering.

2.) Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money.

How come we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.

Think about it….. Last but not least:

3.) Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping payments to illegal aliens such as monthly payments for each child, money for housing, food stamps, free education including college and also the right to vote?

Am I the only one missing something?

There’s nothing funny about the way Leftists use humor to promote gun control

Anti-gun logic with kids as targetsTonight, this video polluted my home. (Language warning. It’s a Leftie talking, so it’s dripping with obscenities.)

All of the “facts” that open his riff and that set the foundation off of which this Australian “comic,” Jim Jefferies, works are lies. The last time I saw these same lies was in a New York Times piece by Elisabeth Rosenthal after Sandy Hook. It took only a few minutes to debunk them:

In addition to committing logical fallacies, Dr. Rosenthal relies upon faulty statistical data about gun control in Australia.  Without linking to any study, Rosenthal blithely quotes a Ms. Peters, who contends that Australia’s extremely strict gun control led to a 50% drop in homicide and suicide rates.

Actual studies show a different story, one that makes Ms. Peters look like a liar by omission.  It is true that there was a drop in homicide and suicide rates,  The available evidence, however, indicates that gun control had nothing to do with those drops.

Beginning in 1969, gun homicides in Australia started a consistent decline.  After the gun ban, barring a single uptick in gun homicides the year after Australia enacted the ban, gun homicides continued to decline at almost the same rate as before (meaning that the gun ban made no difference to the decline).  What changed in Australia wasn’t the guns, it was the culture.

The claimed drop in suicides is equally fallacious.  What Dr. Rosenthal fails to note is that all forms of suicide dropped in Australia.  Not only were people no longer shooting themselves, they also stopped swallowing poison and jumping from high places.  In this context, it’s worth noting that Japan, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world (not to mention the most law-abiding population), has the highest suicide rate in the First World.

Rosenthal is equally careless with statistics when she baldly asserts that “[b]efore (the gun ban), Australia had averaged one mass shooting a year. (Since then,) there have been no mass killings.”  What she doesn’t point out (or maybe doesn’t know) is that mass murders are extremely rare, so rare that one cannot discern annual or even decennial trends.

Tonight, the residents and guests in my house told me not to challenge these lies “because it’s just comedy.”  I know I’m a spoilsport, but I have no sense of humor about comedy as a vehicle for propaganda — precisely because people, especially young people, will not accept challenges aimed at “comedy.”  Sometimes it’s very lonely living, not just in a Leftist enclave, but in a hard Leftist household.

Somehow, in the context of teenagers and old liberals laughing at lies because they think they’re true, this Pat Condell about the death of free speech on British campuses (something that hasn’t quite happened in America only because we have a First Amendment theoretically supported by a Second Amendment):

For those who haven’t read it yet, let me recommend again my post addressing anti-gun arguments (from which I quoted above), which is a post I wrote in response to anti-gun handouts an English teacher at my kids’ high school felt he could pass out to children without any pushback. I politely wrote him to explain that the articles were riddled with errors, but he did not see fit to give the prisoners in his class information about an opposing world view. I call that indoctrination from the school teacher’s bully pulpit.

For more insight into my sour lack of humor, I think my 5-Point Gun Manifesto goes a long way to explaining why these pernicious lies — spread through comedy (“You can’t challenge it! It’s just Jon Stewart or John Oliver or Jim Jeffries making a joke”) or through classrooms taught by teachers with grade control over a young, malleable, captive audience — infuriate me more every time I come across them.  They are a profound attack on individual liberty, based on lies, damn lies, statistics, ad hominem attacks, and all sorts of other garbage, all sterilized by being “just a joke.”

Bottom line: Videos such as this one, which are spread widely and are made especially to appeal to young people, are not jokes. They are pure indoctrination dressed up as humor.

Trying to persuade liberal Jews that guns can save their children’s lives

Gun control debate settled in 1791I tell myself that it’s a sign of my native smarts that I had the intellectual flexibility to abandon the Leftist ideologies that controlled the first 2/3 of my life to date and to embrace entirely new ideas. In other words, I’m not a weak-minded weather vane; I’m a THINKER.

The reason I mention this is that nowhere has my thinking changed more profoundly than when it comes to guns. After all, despite my Democrat party affiliation I was always patriotic, always supported the Constitution, always supported Israel, thought badly of Communism etc.

The one area in which I’ve made a complete 180 is guns. Before my becoming a born again Second Amendment supporter, I never thought about (1) the values the Founders were advancing, (2) the nature of individual liberty, or (3) the fact that the biggest killer of individuals, always — in any time, at any place, under any circumstances — is government.  Instead, I simplistically, naively argued that guns are bad because they kill people. To my regret, I put my money where my mouth is, donating to the Brady organization and other anti-gun groups.

[Read more…]

Information about stopping the ATF’s proposed ammunition ban

Mao banned guns then killed 49 millionIt used to be a joke amongst the anti-gun crowd — if the Second Amendment means we can’t take away guns, let’s just take away bullets. The fact that rendering Second Amendment guns ineffectual by stopping bullet production is just as unconstitutional as taking away the guns themselves doesn’t seem to faze the Obama administration.

If you are concerned about the way in which states such as California, as well as the federal government, are incrementally walking back ammunition availability, here’s useful information about the ATF’s current proposed ammo ban:

Gun Range Review: Battlefield Vegas — 5 stars

Gun as a portable life saverA couple of weeks ago, I asked if anyone knew anything about a shooting range in Las Vegas called Battlefield Las Vegas. Eric-Odessit had been there and gave it a positive review in the comments to my post. I’m now in a position to second that review. We had a fabulous time there and I highly recommend it for two different types of people: Those who know their way around guns and have a yen to try out guns from just about every major war in the 20th century, not to mention some cool guns from the 21st century too; and first timers who want to have a superior introduction to shooting.

From the moment you arrive, you know that you’re at a different kind of gun range. Rather than seeing the usual store front, the first thing you see is a large fenced area containing all sorts of military tanks, jeeps, trucks, Hummers, and other large equipment. While my daughter and I went straight into the store itself to check out prices, the guys spent a happy few minutes enjoying heavy military equipment.

[Read more…]

An update on the self-defense trial in Marin County

Gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phoneJames Simon, the doctor who shot a man who followed him home, tried to pull into the doctor’s garage, and started storming the house, has pled “not guilty” to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and negligently discharging a firearm. The judge also refunded him his $160,000 bail, finding that the 71-year-old doctor is not a flight risk.  Something interesting is going on here:  This is now the second Marin County Superior Court judge — let me repeat again “Marin County” — who seems to be taking a stand in favor of gun rights against the local prosecutor.

As those who have been following this story know, one Marin County judge also refused to indict Simon, believing that there was no case against him (i.e., the judge thus accepted Simon’s claim that he acted properly to defend himself and his wife). Dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling, the prosecutor, Edward Berberian, immediately convened a grand jury, and pushed through a new indictment:

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 2-4-15 — The “Obama’s not sad” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingIt’s been pouring paying clients lately, which is a good thing but, as always, it cuts into my blogging time.  I’ll skip the preliminaries and throw myself in the round-up.

It’s a bad thing when our president is happy

My Mom, in commenting on the state of the world today, said “Everybody’s unhappy.” I disagreed. “Obama is happy,” I said. “So is Iran.”

Why are these two happy? Because Obama is working on a grand plan that will hand the Middle East over to nuclear Imams from Iran, that’s why. Victor Davis Hanson carefully breaks the Obama strategy down. You should definitely read VDH’s post, but be prepared to be depressed for hours or even days afterwards.

As for those Sunni outposts that Iran cannot reach or does not want to control, there’s always Obama’s good friend The Muslim Brotherhood.

And that’s why Obama’s happy.

The Jordanian pilot’s immolation is even making Progressives scared . . . except for Obama

[Read more…]

Marin County Prosecutor wants to make sure citizens think twice about self-defense *UPDATED*

Bullet faster than dialing 911I have been engaged engaged in a running battle . . . er, discussion with a Progressive acquaintance about the Castle Doctrine.  This is the doctrine derived from the ancient Anglo-Saxon principle that “a man’s home is his castle” and he has a right to be safe within its wells.  In practice, the Castle Doctrine means that, if someone breaks into a home, that person is presumed to have lethal intent, giving the homeowner the right to use lethal force in his defense.

As I detailed in an earlier post, my Progressive acquaintance simply can’t wrap  his mind around the whole notion of “presumption.”  To him, it means “permission” and, flowing from that gross mis-translation,  he interprets this permission to mean that, in Castle Doctrine states, a homeowner can, with impunity, shoot anyone on his property.

Yesterday, I sent the Progressive the news story about a 14-year-old boy who was staying with his grandmother when, late at night, a man smashed a window.  When the teen challenged the man, the man ignored him and continued to try to break into the house.  The teen shot the man — 18-year-old Isai Robert Delcid — three times, killing him.

[Read more…]