Monday evening round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIf you read only one thing today (and tomorrow too), I think you should read Sam Harris’s “Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?” In it, Harris, who is renowned for his very well-articulated atheism, explains that one doesn’t have to believe in Israel’s religious right to the land in order to support her in the current war with Hamas.

The article is very dense, but never boring or confusing. Harris methodically works his way through the case for Israel. He’s not a starry-eyed Israel fan. He is, instead, a realist who feels that any moral compass, atheist or religious, must come down on the side that values human life, rather than the one that destroys it.

To whet your appetite, here’s just one very small segment of his entire article:

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does. They shoot their rockets from residential neighborhoods, from beside schools, and hospitals, and mosques. Muslims in other recent conflicts, in Iraq and elsewhere, have also used human shields. They have laid their rifles on the shoulders of their own children and shot from behind their bodies.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields. They consider the Jews the spawn of apes and pigs—and yet they rely on the fact that they don’t want to kill Muslim noncombatants. [Note: The term “Muslims” in this paragraph means “Muslim combatants” of the sort that Western forces have encountered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The term “jihadists” would have been too narrow, but I was not suggesting that all Muslims support the use of human shields or are anti-Semitic, at war with the West, etc.]

Once you’ve read the whole thing, please share it with everyone. It deserves to make the rounds.

** 2 **

Hamas is so determined to win the war against Israel by having the tallest pile of dead bodies that it physically beats people who try to evacuate buildings after receiving Israel’s humanitarian warnings that it will be bombing the buildings. And that, of course, is precisely Sam Harris’s point.

** 3 **

As a writer, one of the most incredibly flattering things that can happen is when someone you really respect takes one of your ideas and runs with it. That’s what happened when Neo-Neocon read my post about John Kerry’s history repeating itself. I don’t want to give anything away. Just go and read what she has to say, making my original germ of an idea much richer and more meaningful.

** 4 **

What is that saying about the Left corrupting all institutions over time?  I forget the exact words, but that’s precisely what happened to George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light charity. From being an innocuous charity, it’s managed to go from the ridiculous (funding gay and lesbian bands all over the world) to the malignant (funding organizations with Islamic terrorist ties).

That the Left would co-opt an organization in this way isn’t news. What is news is that Sen. Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle, was CEO during the charity’s transition from charitable to Leftist political. She’s now running for the Senate in Georgia (as a Democrat, natch). She’s trailing the Republican candidate, but the election would be safer if she were trailing even more — and this story should be the nail in her campaign’s coffin.

** 6 **

What unites Americans? Floods of illegal aliens crossing the United States’ southern border. They don’t like it. They really don’t like it.

Not that this will deter Obama. He views amnesty as a convenient red flag he can wave before Republicans in the hope that they will seek to impeach him, rousing Democrats from their demoralized torpor and swinging the 2014 election in Obama’s favor.

Think about this: Our president, who swore to obey the Constitution, is deliberately violating it, at great cost to our nation, so as to achieve two goals: (1) Creating a Democrat demographic wave by wiping out our southern border and (2) tempting Republicans into a politically fatal maneuver.

For Obama, it’s a win any way he looks at it, and for Republicans and other American loving people, all outcomes are disastrous. (And yes, executive orders can easily be overruled, but do you see anyone having the political will to deport all 5 million newly amnestied illegals, including the hundreds of thousands of recent arrivals?)

** 6 **

We entered into a 40-year-long war on poverty, and poverty won.

** 7 **

I cannot think of a more appalling attack on the integrity of a judicial system than a judge having an affair with the wife in a divorce case over which he is presiding. The husband, unsurprisingly, would like to see the judge in court, only this time with the judge sitting at the defendant’s table. Sadly, thanks to judicial immunity, that won’t be happening.  Wade McCree, Jr., is out of a job, but he gets to keep his money.

Long-time readers know that, having come of age as a lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Leftist judges infest the bench, I have almost no respect for judges. In my career, I’ve probably come across three whom I respect, one of whom is a long-time friend I respected before she became a judge.

In a system governed by the rule of law, we definitely need judges.  But we need a very specific type of judge:  Someone who recognize the rule of law, not the rule of Leftist navel-gazing and self-indulgent emotional masturbation.

** 8 **

Human rights doesn't extend to Israel

History condemned

Behind Israel 100

Voter ID laws cannot be racist

Spoiled dogs

I think it’s Photo shopped, but I love it anyway

Open thread — the illustrated edition

Thought-Bubble-White-Board_8296556Not to make you feel less fortunate than I am or anything, but I won’t be blogging for a few hours today because I’m going to hear Daniel Hannan speak!! Even better, I’ll be going with Charles Martel. Yay!

While I’m gone, please consider this an Open Thread. I can suggest a few topics, and I’ve got lots of posters to spur you on regarding Israel’s latest fight for survival:

1. Are the tunnels that Hamas has dug into Israeli territory a game-changer in terms of Israel’s commitment to a long war?

2. Is Obama going to get a way with erasing the border between the United States and Mexico?

3. If you had the ability to act today to change that border situation, what would you do?

4. Are Europeans going to look at the anti-Israel riots in their cities and learn that they’ve nurtured a Muslim viper in their bosom?

5.  Has the UN finally gone too far?

6. Any cheerful news to report?

And now the pictures. First, one to lighten the mood:

Dog day in court

And second, a bunch from Israel. If you use social media, please think about sharing them. This is the first war in which Israel and pro-Israel NGOs are fighting back, not just on the field and in state houses, but in social media. We’re soldiers in this battle too and, if we support Israel, should help out:

Who protects the children

Hamas human shield

Terrorist tunnels under your street

Hamas ambulances

UN supports Hamas with rockets

This one reduced me to sputtering incoherence

I’ve had about 5 minutes at my computer all day long, time that included checking out my friends’ Facebook pages. While waiting for a sales person, I caught this one which, as I noted in the post caption, reduced me to sputtering incoherence. Yes, this is the new meme: If you don’t think our borders should be overrun by illegal aliens, you’re un-Christian:

Republican Christians

I still don’t have time to write, and I can’t think of a short, intelligent, non-defensive, expose-the-stupidity comeback. Help?

Thinking about it, maybe there is no comeback. Maybe when you’re dealing with a world view that enthusiastically applauds having the border overrun with a hundreds of thousands of unattended children, criminals, and possible terrorists, many of whom are carrying diseases ranging from the unpleasant to the terribly dangerous, there is nothing anyone can say to counter a poster that says it’s un-Christian to want to return these people to their own lands.

The question about illegal immigrants that people should be asking

Joe Biden, whose sole virtue seems to be the fact that, just occasionally, he opens his mouth and offers a clear insight into the Obama administration, had this to say about illegal immigrants:

You know, 11 million people live in the shadows. I believe they’re already American citizens. These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans, in my view.

In response to which one of my friends asked the obvious follow-up question: “If 11 million undocumented migrants are already American why do they all wave Mexican flags around?

You mean like this, from a rally in Los Angeles?

mexican-flag-flying-above-upside-down-american-flag

Or this, from a rally in San Francisco?

Mexican flag at immigration rally

Or this, again from Los Angeles?

Immigration rally with Mexican flag in LA

Yup, clearly already American citizens. After all, it’s the American citizens who won’t even stand for their own flag.

Government agents must avert their eyes from potential Islamic terrorists

The-9.11-terrorists

The surprisingly Muslim 9/11 terrorists.

If America survives long enough for historians to write books about this period in her history, surely Eric Holder’s recent directive (issued in response to pressure from Democrats), holding that federal agents may not consider Islam as a factor in terrorism or Latinos as the most likely illegal immigrants will surely rank as Exhibit A in the decline of a once great nation:

The Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations, a government official said Wednesday.

The move addresses a decade of criticism from civil rights groups that say federal authorities have in particular singled out Muslims in counterterrorism investigations and Latinos for immigration investigations.

The Bush administration banned profiling in 2003, but with two caveats: It did not apply to national security cases, and it covered only race, not religion, ancestry or other factors.

I agree completely that not all Muslims are terrorists, just as only an idiot would claim that the only illegal immigrants are Hispanics.  To focus only on those two groups, without reference to any other potential terrorists or illegal immigrants is foolhardy.  (Although I’m unclear about the whole illegal immigrant thing anyway, considering that Obama is already violating the law — without Republican push-back — by refusing to enforce immigration laws.)  Still, one would have to be equally idiotic to pretend that the vast majority of terrorist attacks don’t involve Muslims and that the greatest number of illegal immigrants don’t come from South of the Border.

UC Berkeley student government announces that the phrase “illegal immigrant” is banned *UPDATED*

One wonders how many of the jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964's Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today's censorship.  My guess is "none."  It was always about Leftist re-education.

One wonders how many of those neatly attired and jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964′s Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today’s censorship. My guess is “none.” It was always about Leftist re-education.

The People’s Republic of Berkeley or, as it’s more commonly known, the University of California, Berkeley, has stayed true to its core Orwellian Leftism by banning language. Today’s targeted “bad thinking” is the phrase “illegal immigrant.” According to the censors occupying Berkeley’s student government, that phrase is “racially charged,” “dehumanizes” people, and contributes to “punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.” Apparently the truth hurts.

The resolution, of course, carried with the usual Soviet style unanimity: 18 voted “yes” to censor thought and language, while one student abstained. (More on that single abstention later.)

Actually, the ultra-Left Berkeley was late to the party on this one, but that’s only because the University of California in Los Angeles has a much higher population of illegal immigrant students. That’s almost certainly why UCLA passed a similar resolution in August, while Berzerkley didn’t get around to it until November.

The resolution is a beautiful example of Orwellian speech. It leads with pure academese nonsense: “The ‘I’ word is legally inaccurate since being out of status is a civil rather than criminal infraction.” You’ll note that the “I” word (and we’re not sure whether the “I” word is “illegal” or “immigrant”) is now so tainted that I t’s been elevated to the status of the infamous “N” word. (For those of you too young to remember the OJ Simpson trial, or those who just dislike censorship, the “N” word is “nigger.” It’s a nasty, mean-spirited word, but nobody has ever dropped dead spontaneously from hearing or reading it.)

That nonsense phrase is just a warm-up for the Orwellian language changes the students propose:

“No human being is illegal. ‘Foreign nationals,’ ‘undocumented immigrants,’ ‘immigrants without papers’ and ‘immigrants seeking status’ are examples of terms we can use that do not dehumanize people.

You can use all the metaphors you like, dear little UC Berkeley soviets, but the fact remains that, to the extent these people are in America in an undocumented way without papers, it’s because they broke the law by sneaking over the border like thieves in the nights. In other words, adjectively, they’re immigrants who are here illegally, which makes them – yes, wait for it — ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

The problem, of course, isn’t the words. It’s the behavior. You can dress mutton up as lamb, but it’s still mutton. And someone who sneaked over the border in violation of our nation’s laws is still illegal no matter how frilly the words you drape around that person.

Of course, the commissars at Berkeley can’t just stop with a stupid resolution. What’s Soviet-style censorship and shaming without communist-style re-education? To that end, the resolution also calls for administrators and faculty to attend an “UndocuAlly training workshop.”

Considering that greater than 90% of Berkeley’s administrators and faculty members are the ones who trained these junior Leftists, it’s actually funny to hear the students demand that their mentors need re-education. Of course, that’s the way it happened in China too, when the younger generation decided that the elders who ushered in Communism showed inadequate fervor in their commitment to the monster they had created. It was these radicalized students who ushered in Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” complete with 50-70 million dead Chinese citizens – all of whom no doubt starved to death joyfully thanks to their contribution to the great communist cause.

As for the sole abstention, it’s worth noting that he’s probably ready for re-education too. Student senator Solomon Nwoche agrees in principle with the resolution, but thought it was a waste of time. That shows practical intelligence. His real sin, though, was in his sneaking respect for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas. He was disappointed, he said, that, when a single person tried to speak out against the resolution, the student senators laughed at him or, even more disgustingly, turned their backs to him.

(A slightly modified version of this post first appeared at Mr. Conservative.)

UPDATE:  I should add here that I agree that America’s immigration laws are dreadful.  Having said that, it’s up to America to change her laws, not for illegal immigrants to change them by ignoring them.  (Well, in theory that’s the case.  In fact, the Obama administration is also changing them by ignoring them.)  We also should start putting pressure on Mexico.  Immigrants come here illegally because Mexico is so shamefully corrupt and poorly run that a country rich in resources, but natural and human, is mired in poverty, and because Mexico charges its citizens such heinous amounts to allow them to leave the country legally that poor are stymied both by America’s laws and by Mexico’s.  A fix is a good thing; disrespect for our country’s borders and laws is a disastrous thing, going to the sovereign integrity of our nation and her citizens.

Trey Gowdy promises not to let Lucy Democrats hold the football

In my earlier post today, I said that, in the wake of the lies the Gang of Eight told, followed by the Senate’s passage of a 1,200 page immigration bill that will go a long way to destroying the American working class, the Republicans have tearfully promised never to be fooled again.  I doubt that promise.  I likened them to the Charlie Brown scenario where he always believes that, this time, Lucy won’t pull the football.  Having said that, I see that Trey Gowdy, a smart R from South Carolina, isn’t fooled.  Maybe he can educate his fellow Rs. Plus, I like his sarcasm:

And a short anecdote regarding Gowdy’s monicker of “Trey.” When I arrived in Texas, I was overwhelmed by the number of guys I met who were named Trey. What an unusual name, I said. I’ve never heard it outside the South. My friends had a good laugh at my expense when they explained that Trey was a nickname for a guy who boasted the number III after his name (as in, he shared his name with both his grandfather and his father).

Why the House needs to stop the immigration bill

With the RINOs in Congress falling into neat sheeple ranks to vote for the immigration bill, Susan Berry points to an appalling fact about the bill that ought to be shouted from the rooftops:  when it’s combined with ObamaCare, it gives employers an incentive to fire full-time American employees and replace them with amnestied illegals:

Under the Gang of 8’s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare “exchange” subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.

Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.

“Help us, Obi Wan House Republicans!  You’re our only hope.”  Since we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, how about if we don’t vote for another massive, poisonous monstrosity?

The Democrats’ attacks on free speech on their approach to the immigration bill demonstrate what good strategists they are.

Democrats are very organized.  I’m not just talking about their ability to whip up a rally at a moment’s notice or to elect a President with the help of a substantial voter fraud and government chicanery.  (I’m referring to the IRS scandal.)  Those were just the visible signs of Democrat organization.  As Mitch McConnell explained in a speech he delivered at the American Enterprise Institute, the Democrat effort to squelch conservative free speech goes back many years and does indeed start with Obama — but not quite in the way you’d expect.

I have to admit that I’m not usually very good at reading the transcripts from long speeches, but this was riveting.  McConnell reminds us that, when Democrats speak or act, there are no coincidences.  They are the well-ordered, always-got-a-plan crowd, while Republicans just muddle through, batting at balls as they come their way.

Whenever I look at the difference between Republicans and Democrats, I’m reminded of the Germans and the British in World War I.  The Germans, either because they realized early that trench warfare would last a long time, or because they were simply more meticulous, built trenches that were things of beauty:  deep, secure, and comfortable (given the limits on long ditches in the ground in the middle of battlefields).  The British, by contrast, simply dug slap dash holes in the ground, and then made do with them for the next several years.  The men had no protection from the elements, and simply wallowed in louse-ridden mud and filth for years.  That the British prevailed was due to the resources of her Empire, the quality of her fighters, and the fact that America came in and finished the war for her.

When it comes to organization versus chaos, it’s no coincidence that the Senate is set to pass another 1,200 page monstrosity that no one has read, this time on immigration.  The Democrats know precisely what’s in it and they do not want anybody to read it.  If the public finds out what Democrats know, they’d be screaming to the rooftops.  As it is, they’re supine as a bill that destroys American sovereignty and remakes her population (without any citizen input) is rushed into law.

My suspicion is that the Senate Dems actually don’t care if the House stops the bill.  In that event, all they have to do is scream that the Republicans are racist immigration enemies.  The fact that the bill is a disaster that no one should pass is irrelevant.  Since no one knows what’s in it, the Dems and their media can simply set the narrative.

In other words, it’s a win-win for Dems:  either they get a bill that turns us into a permanent low-income, welfare economy or they get to call Republicans racists.  And, with all the aplomb of the British in WWI, the Republicans will stand there shell-shocked, unable to figure out what hit them.

If you go below the fold, I’ve included McConnell’s entire speech here.  You’ll see that McConnell is trying to arouse Republicans and conservatives to intelligent efficiency.  Good luck to him!

[Read more...]

An absolutely perfect matched set on Obama and the immigration debate

I was trolling the internet and I saw this headline for an article by Byron York (click on the image to go to the article):

Obama jumps into immigration debate — will that help or hurt  WashingtonExaminer.com - Mozilla Firefox 682013 72916 PM.bmp

Good question, I thought to myself, saving the article in a new tab as one I intended to read later. Then, still in trolling mood, I clicked over to Breitbart to see if there was anything there I wanted for my evening reading list. And I saw this headline (again, click on the image to go to the article):

emFalseem Obama Claims Immigration Bill Requires Illegals to Learn English - Mozilla Firefox 682013 73024 PM.bmp

I don’t know about you, but I think that Breitbart answers York’s question pretty darn well. If Obama is going to go out there and lie, it will affect the debate. The only real question about his precise effect on the immigration debate is whether people believe the lies or are disgusted by them.

Found it on Facebook: This is not a rebuttal to illegal immigration

One of the strawmen that Progressives like to set up in the illegal immigration debate is to imply that those who oppose illegal immigrants ought to give up liking or using anything that came from somewhere other than America’s shores.  This is a perfect example:

Illegal immigrantIs it possible that all the people who “liked” that on Facebook do not understand that there is a difference between embracing ideas, on the one hand, and abandoning national sovereignty, on the other hand?

I’ve always made it perfectly clear that I think immigration is a marvelous thing.  I am the child of immigrants and all my school friends growing up were the children of immigrants.  Every man-jack of us in America is an immigrant or a descendent of immigrants.  Even the indigenous people aren’t indigenous.  They just immigrated here first, probably from Asia.  The only continent with true indigenous people is Africa, because that is the cradle of mankind.

We in America should embrace new ideas and we benefit from replenishing our population.  But part of being a strong sovereign nation is that we get to pick who comes in.  If we make smart decisions, we benefit.  If we make dumb decisions, either by inviting in too many immigrants hostile to our national values or by inviting in so few immigrants that we become desiccated, that’s our problem.  If a nation allows self-selecting immigrants to breach her border at any time, she has ceded sovereignty to the hordes, and may as well give it up.

 

Saying the unsayable about Hispanics

As is often the case with my brain, I need to mull over things sometimes to decide what I think about them. Such is the case with Jason Richwine, the Heritage Foundation scholar who was driven out when it was discovered that his thesis (which passed inspection at Harvard) reached the following conclusions:

So what is actually in the dissertation? The dissertation shows that recent immigrants score lower than U.S.-born whites on many different types of IQ tests. Using statistical analysis, it suggests that the test-score differential is due primarily to a real cognitive gap rather than to culture or language bias. It analyzes how this cognitive gap could affect socioeconomic assimilation, and it concludes by exploring how IQ selection might be incorporated, as one factor among many, into immigration policy.

I have a few anecdotes plus a theory.

1.  Back in the late 1980s, before political correctness wrapped its smothering embrace around free speech, I ran into old family friends whom I hadn’t seen in years.  They were a Hispanic couple in their 60s, and very wealthy.  What were they doing with themselves since they retired, I asked.  Retired!?  No way.  They had founded an outreach program to work with poor Hispanic families.  Their specific focus was school drop-out rates.  The problem, they told me, was that immigrant Hispanic families resented that their children had to go to school.  They came from an agrarian society and saw only backbreaking labor as the path to survival.  While the news was talking about the gang culture turning Hispanics away from education, this couple told me that the problem was the parents.

2.  In the mid-1980s, one of the girls at my law school informed us that she was the first woman in her family, not only to go to college, but to go on to graduate school  Her Hispanic family was not proud of her, considering that she was a fool for wasting her time instead of getting a clerical job, getting married, and having babies.

3.  In the early 1980s, I met a nice gal at Berkeley.  She considered going to Berkeley a major triumph because her Hispanic family had done everything possible to stop her.  Education, they said, was a waste of time.  With Berkeley, they might have been right, of course, but having the degree alone definitely gave her probably higher life-time earnings than her siblings.

My takeaway:  American Hispanic culture was highly anti-intellectual.  Not everyone, of course, but the majority of immigrant parents worked ferociously hard as physical laborers and saw that as the only way to get ahead.  Education was a time waster. Kids who went to school were not contributing to the family welfare and needed to be made to see that they should work in Dad’s autobody shop or Uncle’s gardening business.  In this way, Hispanic culture was very different from the Jewish and Asian culture surrounding my youth, which was completely focused on educational achievement.

So my thought has always been this one:  If your culture is distinguished by a pervasive anti-intellectualism, will that fact reveal itself in your academic performances and tests?  I’ve always assumed the answer is “yes.”  If you think something is a stupid waste of time, you’ll almost certainly do badly.  I think the IQ test results reflect this fact.  They measure a specific culture — and not a culture of poverty as the Left says, or a culture of pervasive discrimination against Hispanics, as the Left also says, but an agrarian culture that both consciously and unconsciously can’t be bothered.

Put another way, observing an objective trend on IQ tests is not wrong or racist.  It’s a fact.  Richwine makes that point too:

Why did I discuss differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites at all? Because the largest portion of the post-1965 immigration wave has come from Latin America. Studies of Hispanic IQ are naturally useful in estimating overall immigrant IQ and its intergenerational transmission.

That last point bears elaborating: There is absolutely no racial or ethnic agenda in my dissertation. Nothing in it suggests that any groups are “inferior” to any others, nor is there any call to base immigration policy on ethnicity. In fact, I argue for individual IQ selection as a way to identify bright people who do not have access to a university education in their home countries.

We can pretend that nothing is going on, consigning further generations of Hispanic Americans to manual labor, even as Asian or other immigrant groups that value education move ahead of them.  Or we can acknowledge the need to convince legal Hispanic immigrants that, in an information-rich age, the one who cracks the books is the one who gets ahead.