The Bookworm Beat (10/23/14) — Mega giga woppa edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo time to talk. I’ll just dive right in.

The Canadian shooter: “Fox Butterfield, is that you?”

If you recognize the quoted phrase above, it’s because you’ve seen it often enough in James Taranto’s Best of the Web. The “Fox Butterfield Fallacy,” Taranto explains, “consists in misidentifying as a paradox what is in fact a simple cause-and-effect relationship.” Butterfield routinely committed such fallacies, with his most famous being one form or another of this “paradox”: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Canadian man who killed a 24-year-old member of the Canadian army, was a recent Muslim convert who came from a wealthy, politically connected family. Those two facts yielded this Fox Butterfield gem from the Daily Mail: “He had his passport seized after being designated a ‘high-risk traveler’ – despite his mother being on Canada’s immigration board.” (Emphasis mine.)

Why do I consider that sentence a Fox Butterfield fallacy? Because it shouldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the most violent Islamists so often come from politically well-connected — i.e., Leftist — families.

A few other things of interest from that same article about Zehaf-Bibeau: His father was in fact Libyan, which means Dad was probably Muslim, and abandoned the family in 1999 to go fight in Libya. One can only imagine the effect that had on young Michael.  After all, look at how Barack Obama, despite losing contact with his father at only 3 months, has spent his entire life trying to recreate in America is father’s imagined Communist paradise.

It’s also telling that Zehaf-Bibeau was a criminal who rotated in and out of prison. Let me quote (again) what my cousin, a former Christian prison chaplain, had to say about convicts who convert to Islam:

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.

All of us here have also noticed that what stopped Zehaf-Bibeau was a gun. The only thing that ever stops a shooter is a gun, whether he turns his own gun on himself when his spree ends or whether someone else (a policeman or an armed citizen) shoots him.

And of couse, as Sadie already pointed out, Obama instantly hedged his bets by calling the shooting either terrorism or “senseless violence”:

President Obama also spoke about what he called the ‘tragic’ situation in Canada, saying ‘we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.’

In Obama’s America, if it’s not politically expedient to exploit a shooting or bombing incident — as is the case when there’s a Muslim perpetrator — the Obama lexicon invariably insists upon the “senseless violence” formulation.

I’m quite sure that, even as Canada immediately called the attack “terrorism,” the ongoing White House investigation will inevitably lead to a conclusion about a lone, deranged gunman who completely coincidentally had converted to Islam.

Barack Obama: Master political manipulator

During the Bush era, his opponents went back and forth between calling him a moron and a Machiavellian genius. It’s hard not to do the same with Obama. On the one hand, one sees the way in which he’s managed to muck up every aspect of running the American government; on the other hand, as Caroline Glick demonstrates, he’s been absolutely masterful at manipulating the political system when it comes to Iran and Israel.

A unifying theory could be that Obama is an anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic Fox-Piven acolyte. In other words, he acts with heightened skill vis-a-vis Israel and Iran, because that skill is necessary to destroy the one and elevate the other. Meanwhile, to the extent that his Fox-Piven goal is to bring American to her knees (or lower), the best tactic is to act with diminished skill, thereby allowing America to implode.  In other words, he applies his political skills selectively to reward and punish various nations, including our own.

John Oliver does something good

I find John Oliver distasteful. He’s a self-described angry Leftist who now has his own bully pulpit on HBO. In addition to not appreciating Oliver’s politics, I also dislike his style, which consists of an endless stream of awkward similes, invariably laced with profanities, that make his properly-primed audience roar with sycophantic laughter.

Having said that, Oliver does occasionally get things right — as, for example, when he tackles the problem of Afghani and Iraqi military interpreters who put their own and their family’s lives at risk to help the American military, only to see the American State Department abandon them to face Islamic terrorism on their own (language warning):

This is an issue that military and conservative bloggers have been agitating about for years.  It took way too long for it to cross over to the mainstream media, but I’m not going to complain when a Leftist media outlet finally picks up on and disseminates an important story.

While I’m not generally a fan of increased Muslim immigration into a country, since there’s no doubt that many Muslims resist assimilation and seek, instead, to expand the caliphate, these translators have proven many times over their willingness to support America.  It’s unconscionable that, even as we allow millions of Latin Americans to swarm illegally into our country, these men are left to die at Islamist hands.

I don’t know how useful internet petitions are, but if you’d like to sign one on behalf of Mohammad Usafi, you can go here to do so.

Let’s call those “ISIS” fighters by a name they really deserve

There is movement afoot amongst Muslims to deny ISIS the right to call itself “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “IS” or “the Islamic State” or anything else that, merely by being used, seems to accept that rabble’s self-designation as the new caliphate:

Whether referred to as ISIS, ISIL, or IS, all three names reflect aspirations that the United States and its allies unequivocally reject. Political and religious leaders all over the world have noted this. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “This is a terrorist group and not a state. . . the term Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists.” President Obama made similar remarks saying, “ISIL is not Islamic . . . and [is] certainly not a state.”

Muslims opposed to allowing ISIS its name of choice suggest, instead, “Daesh”:

The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is still accurate in that it spells out the acronym of the group’s full Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Yet, at the same time, “Daesh” can also be understood as a play on words — and an insult. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Already, the group has reportedly threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term.

I’m all for calling the group by a name that enrages them, but I’m thinking we’d do even better by calling them by a descriptive name. I suggested to a friend that we call them “HG” for “human garbage” but, after he questioned their humanity, we agreed that calling them “GARBAGE” would suffice.

Why are women turning to Islam?

Our own David Foster has a post that offers a compelling rationale for the peculiarly high number of Western women, especially young women, who are converting to Islam and following the GARBAGE crew in Iraq. Check it out.

Rebutting yet another Roosevelt era trope

In The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes convincingly established that Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t save the country from the Depression, it worsened the Depression.

It’s been so long since I read her book, though, that I cannot remember whether Shlaes tackled what finally ended the Depression. What I was taught in school, and what Paul Krugman loves to repeat, is that it was World War II that ended the Depression, which is why Krugman thinks some horrible disaster would be just the perfect antidote to our current sluggish economy.

Apparently at Princeton the students and teacher have never learned about the Parable of the Broken Window, which Frédéric Bastiat articulated in an 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen):

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

War is just window-breaking on a grand scale.

Stephen Moore, using actual data rather than political myth, explains that what actually ended the Depression were post-war tax policies:

Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

Of course, even with all the data in the world, you’ll never convince Krugman that his Keynesianism is wrong. He’s invested in the disaster theory of improving economies, and he’s not going to back out of it now or ever.

It’s also a myth that American executives get paid so much more than their employees

While it’s quite possible that the CEO of a big American company gets paid 331 times as much as the part-time janitor working weekends (especially the part-time janitor working weekends in the company’s Dehli office), it’s not true that, on average, American CEOs make 331 times more than ordinary employees. This particular “income inequality” myth is just another story from the same people who brought you the “New Deal worked” myth, the “one in five women are raped on campus” myth, the “women earn 72 cents on the dollar compared to men” myth, the “American healthcare is the worst in the Western world” myth, the “Climate Change” myth, and all the other untrue stories that control our politics and drive our spending.

In fact, while the average executive earns more than the average American worker, the ratio is fairly reasonable:

The AFL-CIO calculated a pay gap based on a very small sample—350 CEOs from the S&P 500. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 248,760 chief executives in the U.S. in 2013.

The BLS reports that the average annual salary for these chief executives is $178,400, which we can compare to the $35,239-per-year salary the AFL-CIO uses for the average American worker. That shrinks the executive pay gap from 331-to-1 down to a far less newsworthy number of roughly five-to-one.

Read more here.

Paul Krugman — butt head rebutted

You’re correct that I don’t usually call people “butt heads.” I just couldn’t resist that word-play here, though, because I have two links rebutting Krugman’s most recent act of stupidity. And yes, I know Krugman was once a well-regarded economist who won the Pulitzer Prize.  Now, however, he’s a doddering fool who is not deserving of any respect. There’s just no other way to say it.

Both rebuttal posts relate to a Krugman column attacking Amazon as a monopolist. Arnold Ahlert points out that Krugman’s argument boils down to this: Krugman can’t point to any specific monopolistic act on Amazon’s part, but it must be a monopoly because it keeps prices low and, worse, gives customers good access to conservative-themed books. Ahlert’s takedown is a delight.

Also delightful is a letter that Donald J. Boudreaux (Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University) wrote to the New York Times. Boudreaux takes Krugman to task for repeating Progressive myths about the government’s war against Standard Oil back around the turn of the last century:

Serious students of Standard’s practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries understand that complaints against that company came overwhelmingly from other refiners who couldn’t match Standard’s great efficiencies. Yet no complaints came from consumers. Standard made them overwhelmingly better off – which is compelling evidence that Standard did not have monopoly power.

I love the subtle insult there, about Krugman being anything but a serious student of American economic history.

Not only is it a lie that global warming is humankind’s fault, it’s a lie that there is global warming

John Coleman, the meteorologist who founded the weather channel, is once again fighting the good fight to say that the global warming theory is bunk. Every one of the global warming predictions has been wrong but, rather than conceding that it’s a theory failed, its proponents simply change its name (“climate change”) and double down on their insistence that we humans are causing something very bad to happen. If only there was a way to cut through the Leftist media noise and get more people to heed Coleman’s words about the climatistas’ many failed prophecies:

In an open letter attacking the UN, the 80-year-old from San Diego, said that what ‘little evidence’ there is for global warming points to natural cycles in temperature.
‘There is no climate crisis,’ he wrote. ‘The ocean is not rising significantly. The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar bears are increasing in number.

‘Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms.

‘I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.’

More evidence to support the theory that Leftism is a mental illness

I’m not going to spend any time whatsoever analyzing Katrina vanden Heuvel’s hysterical screed explaining all the apocalyptic disasters that will instantly unfold if, God forbid, the Republicans take Congress. I’m simply offering the link to you as further evidence supporting the theory that people with mental problems find something comforting in Leftism, including the opportunity to have their paranoid fears taken seriously.

There’s something squirrelly about that “Norwegian” wilderness company….

Do you remember reading about the Amaruk Wilderness Corp., a supposedly Norwegian wilderness company operating in Canada, that sent vile emails to a job candidate who had attended a Christian college? It turns out that, as is often the case when Leftists go off the rails, there’s more to the story:

As more women who received bizarre and inappropriate responses to their job applications to wilderness company Amaruk come forward, efforts to reach the company’s CEO have left CBC News questioning whether the business and its jobs even exist.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. hit headlines this week after CBC News reported on a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint, in which a Trinity Western University graduate — Bethany Paquette — claims her application to work for the company was rejected because she’s Christian.

Since Paquette’s complaint was reported, CBC News has heard from other applicants, including Lucie Clermont, who applied to Amaruk last year for a job listed as the executive assistant to the CEO, which promised a $120,000 salary and world travel.

Clermont’s application was met with a number of emails asking awkward questions — some of them sexual — followed by more that became insulting.

[snip]

Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen and Dwayne Kenwood -Bjørnsenare are listed as co-CEOs of Amaruk along with several other businesses, including Norealis, Spartic and Militis.

But the men do not live in Europe and they are not diplomats. And if Olaf Amundsen — the man who allegedly sent Paquette the offensive emails — is real, the picture of him on the company website is not. In fact, it’s an image grabbed from social media site Pinterest.

Read the rest here.

I wouldn’t keep someone evil as a friend either

A phrase I first learned in Texas, and have heard repeatedly since then, is that “Republicans think Democrats are misguided, while Democrats think Republicans are evil.” That statement isn’t meant to encompass the leadership of either party. Instead, it applies to the rank-and-file. Thus, while I believe that my lovely neighbors, none of whom are deep thinkers, are seriously misguided to cling to the Democrat party, if they were to know that I’m conservative, the greater likelihood is that they’d think I’m a hate-filled, racist, misogynistic, homophobic evil person.

No wonder, then, that Leftists are more likely to unfriend people who have the temerity to put up conservative-themed posts on their Facebook walls. It’s not just that the Leftists do not want to read or think about opposing viewpoints. It’s also that they know, deep in their hearts, that no decent human being could have an “evil” Facebook friend.

There’s a new politically incorrect “Dracula” movie in the making….

The Victorians were big on ghost and horror stories, so I always assumed that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was just one of the better, more timeless horror stories, riffing off of the vicious reputation of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Central European monarch with a taste for impaling his enemies. When Hollywood cast Bela Lugosi as Dracula, the thick Hungarian accent was an homage to Vlad’s role in Dracula’s creation.

Had I been fortunate enough to go to school in the era of political correctness, I would have learned that all my assumptions, despite being based upon actual, like, you know, historical records, were wrong. Instead, Dracula, one of the great Victorian horror stories, was really an extended meditation on open border policies in the second half of the 19th century. Savvy Victorian readers instantly picked up on the subliminal trope that Russian and other Central European immigrants were sucking their blood.

Whatever.

Thankfully, it appears that Dracula is getting yet another makeover, and this one reflects a difference historic fact about Vlad the Impaler that was ignored for many decades: His brutality had a very specific cause and a very specific target — fighting Islamic jihadists who had once held him hostage who sought to incorporate all of Christian Europe into their planned universal caliphate.

Here’s the buzz about Dracula Untold:

Probably the most intriguing part of this reboot, for fans of the original novel and all its myriad remakes throughout the past century, is the way this film turns its evil, fanged impostor into a hero.

[snip]

In this version of the story, Transylvania is under attack by Mehmet, the Turkish Sultan’s military leader. And nothing could be more upsetting to old Vlad than to find Turks on his land. That’s because when Vlad was a child, the Sultan demanded tribute in the form of strapping young boys to fill out his troops — and Vlad’s father handed his son over to the Turkish, to be raised alongside Mehmet in the Ottoman Empire’s army. Of course, Vlad was the biggest badass the Turks had ever seen, which is how he became known as “the Impaler.”

Now he’s been allowed to return home to his family, his military service over. Unfortunately, the Sultan is looking for troops again, and he’s demanding 1,000 boys (including Vlad’s son). Which is why Vlad decides he needs a supernatural power-up from a mythical blood-sucker living in the mountains above his castle. Turns out that Tywin Lannister is up there, vamping it up in every sense of the word, and he offers Vlad a bargain. He’ll give Vlad some vampire juice so he can be superpowered for three days, and Vlad will return to being human if he can resist drinking somebody else’s warm, tasty blood.

And thus begins the fun of the film, which is ultimately all about how a nice Christian prince turns himself into a demon to destroy a Muslim army.

io9, from which the above summary comes, repeatedly calls this new version just as racist as the old version. (“Not to put too fine a point on it, the answer is a racism update.”) I don’t know. I see both the original versions and the current versions as two sides of the historic coin. The old version focused on Vlad’s Central European lineage and brutal reputation, while the current version focuses on the fact that he’s still a hero in Central Europe for having saved his subjects from Muslim depredations. And frankly, as we all get to watch ISIS (aka GARBAGE) engage in all sorts of depredations, the current version, except for the vampire stuff, sounds pretty darn accurate to me.

Everything you need to know about American education in one Cato chart

Trends in American public schooling

Read more here.

Krakatoa’s big bang

I already knew that Krakatoa was the loudest sound ever recorded on earth. It wasn’t necessarily the loudest sound ever (indeed, it probably wasn’t the loudest sound ever) but, back in 1883, it erupted just as Victorians were become extremely serious about obsessive record keeping. This means that, when Victorian diarists heard the sound (no matter where in the world they were located), they recorded the sound in their diaries, along with the date, time, and estimated volume. Thanks to those records, one can piece together the fact that the sound wave from the eruption circumnavigated the globe four times.

Kottke does a great job of explaining just how loud Krakatoa was. Even more helpfully, the post includes a video of a very small eruption in Papua New Guinea that nevertheless had an impressive sound wave.

The Bookworm Beat (10/21/14) — Still catching up with email edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingIt’s always the same: Over the weekend, because of family demands, I get almost no time at my computer, and my email starts to back up. By Tuesday, between my two email accounts, I have several hundred unread emails. I then do the logical thing: I cravenly avoid my computer. Finally, late on Tuesday or perhaps by Wednesday, my conscience finally catches up with me and I embark on a frenzy of responding to emails, reading articles, and posting.

I’m heading for my frenzy now, although I’m somewhat hamstrung by the various drives I have to make on behalf of young people who cannot drive themselves. By the time you read this post, I’ll have been working on it intermittently for several hours, so I sure hope it’s good.

An obligatory comment about Monica Lewinsky

She still loves Bill; Drudge destroyed her life; and it’s everyone’s fault but her own that her life imploded when her affair with the president went public. Even the world’s smallest violin is too big and noisy to express how little I feel for Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky wasn’t 15 when she embarked on an affair with Clinton, in which case the fault would be entirely his. She was 24, by which time she was old enough to have a moral compass that said “You don’t have an affair with a married man,” and also old enough to have figured out that, considering that her partner in adultery was the president of the United States, when/if the fecal matter finally hit the fan, it would be a Cat 5 fecal storm.

It was not Matt Drudge’s fault; it was not the “bullying” media’s fault; it was not Lucianne Goldberg’s fault; it was not even Hillary’s fault, much as I would love to blame her just because I don’t like her: it was Monica’s fault and Bill’s fault, and neither is excused by the bad behavior of the other. Both behaved immorally, both tempted fate, and both got caught.

The only thing that’s really unfair is that Bill didn’t end up as ignominiously as Monica did. Apparently the party that oh-so-valiantly fights for women everywhere (as long as they’re not in politically correct Muslim countries or homes) was happy to kick Monica to the curb, while feting and enriching and even worshiping the man who let her take the fall.

How the New York Times is spinning WMDs

Up until Bush actually invaded Iraq, everyone and his uncle thought that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Indeed, as the New York Times recently made clear, everyone and his uncle (at least if they worked in the American government) knew that Hussein had WMDs . . . because the US had given them to Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. With this knowledge finally out there, Bush ought to be vindicated and the Democrats ought to be ashamed, except that in the looking glass world of American politics, that’s not what’s happening.

Presumably because of embarrassment about having given these WMDs to Hussein, during the Iraq War the Pentagon kept their discovery a secret, even though revealing them would have vindicated the decision to go to war. Meanwhile, back in the present, following Obama’s pullout from Iraq, leaving it ripe for ISIS, the New York Times is saying that these particular WMDs don’t count, precisely because they were old and American, rather than shiny new and Iraqi.  I’m unclear on why they’re less WMD for this reason, but there you have it. (If you see the NYT’s author, C.J. Chivers, on The Colbert Report, he makes this point explicit.)

So, in a swirl of finger-pointing, embarrassment, and misdirection, we once again lose sight of the main point: Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Sure, we gave them to him when he was sort of our ally, but the fear in 2003 was that, when he turned out to be our enemy, he might use our weapons against us — kind of like it’s reasonable to fear now that ISIS will use against us the American weapons that the US military accidentally delivered into its hands (if ISIS reports are accepted as true).

VDH has more on the whole WMD story.

On immigration and amnesty, the only word I can think of is “impeachment”

I don’t need to say anything. Drudge says it all:

Fullscreen capture 10212014 40850 PM.bmp

Oh, and I guess impeachment is the word I’m thinking of when it comes to Obama’s attempt to evade Congressional scrutiny of his deal with Iran.  I certainly can’t think of any decent, upright, moral, pro-America, pro-ally reason for him to do that.

A few words about ISIS’s latest video

The latest ISIS-released video gets me back to a point I’ve made before about ISIS. This particular video shows a father leading the charge when it comes to stoning his daughter to death for dishonoring the family through alleged adultery.  Other than those specifics, though, it’s pure ISIS:  Men torturing and murdering women, children, teenagers, and other men.

What makes ISIS different from all other torturers in the modern era is that other bad actors tried to hide their barbarism from the world at large (although they rubbed their own people’s nose in it to make sure the people stayed at heel).

The Soviet Union hid its terrors in the Kremlin basement and in Siberian gulags. When Westerners came to town, the Soviets showed their shiny happy face. The same holds true today when visitors go to Cuba or North Korea: they get taken on the rounds of all the polished, “successful” looking communities, while the government hides the fear, poverty, and despair that underpins its regime. (Think too of the Potemkin walls China put up around ghettos in Beijing for the Olympics.) The Nazis, even though they used fear to control people within their territory, were secretive about their most foul plans.  The most grotesque emanations of their foul ideology took place Gestapo headquarters in occupied territory or in concentration camps.

But not ISIS. The videos we see of beheadings and stonings and crucifixions aren’t copies smuggled out of occupied territory by resistance groups trying to make the world aware that ISIS is a truly terrible entity. Instead, ISIS proudly circulates these videos to the four corners of the earth.

The word “proud” is important. ISIS doesn’t distribute these snuff films merely to strike fear in the hearts of weak Westerners. It does so because, just as we promote the products of our factories, singers, dancers, intellectuals, painters, and architects because our own sensibility says that these products reflect well on us, ISIS believes that it is showing its best face when it crucifies teenagers, beheads babies, or makes a party out of a father stoning his own daughter to death.

To ISIS, snuff films are the good stuff that they have to offer:  “You can go to New York, and all that you’ll see are some big buildings, shows, art work, and a tall green woman on an island. But if you come to Iraq, you’ll get to kill people in the most brutal way possible. ISIS: It’s the Islamic vacation paradise!”

In 2001, Holiday Inn accurately predicted the US response to Ebola:

From Maetenloch, at Ace of Spades:

Mark Steyn was prescient too….

While we’re talking about successful tea-leaf reading, Ed Driscoll says that Mark Steyn accurately, yet satirically, predicted Monica Lewinsky’s retrospective about her moment of infamy.

The Lewinsky essay appears in Steyn’s new book, The [Un]Documented Mark Steyn, a collection of his essays. At $29.95, the autographed hardback isn’t cheap but, if you buy it, you’ll not only get a great book with Steyn’s signature, but you’ll also help fund his continued litigation against unrivaled fraudster, Michael Mann (of the false hockey stick climate change canard).

I have to admit that I’ll be waiting for the Kindle version. Because of the arthritis in my wrists, I no longer want big, heavy books. They’re just too hard to hold. And because of my vision, which is about 20/2000 along with age-related far-sightedness, I like the way Kindle allows me to make my text nice and big. I console myself that, when I buy the Kindle version (assuming there is one) some part of that purchase price will still make it into Steyn’s pocket.

The LGBTQ mafia goes after Robert Oscar Lopez

If the name Robert Oscar Lopez is familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve read his articles over at American Thinker. Lopez, a bisexual English professor who was raised by two moms, opted for traditional marriage. Indeed, he and his wife just had their second child. Unfortunately for Lopez, he’s a man of conscience and, with the societal elevation of same-sex couples who adopt, special order, or use egg or sperm donated babies, he’s bravely asserted that same-sex parenting shouldn’t be encouraged. According to Lopez, same-sex homes are not like other homes and it’s unfair to bring a child into that environment. As a result, he’s become one of the most reviled men in America, insofar as the LGBTQ lobby is targeting him in the most vicious and inciteful terms imaginable.

As between bad foster care and a loving same-sex couple, I think it’s a no-brainer. But there’s a lot weirdness about same-sex couples who sort of create their own babies. I know a lesbian couple that had a gay friend inseminate the more feminine half of the couple. The resulting baby was a boy. The moms are good women and very attentive parents, except that the woman who bore him hates men so much that she cannot stand to have her own son touch her. Meanwhile the other partner also hates men with ferocity, so she’s remarkably cool about the kid. What kind of a home life is that?

When I read the news, I know that biological mixed sex parents can be pretty horrible too. Nevertheless, history and data tell us that the worst situation happens to the step child or, in our non-marrying age, the child living with a boyfriend who hasn’t even married his mother. Adults in a household with a non-biological child seem to yield to some atavistic imperative to stomp out this vulnerable creature that doesn’t have their genetic lineage. I can’t imagine that doesn’t hold true for same-sex couples too.

And a little child shall lead them

If I were a political candidate, I wouldn’t necessarily listen to a 20-year-old college student giving me advice about employment policies, nuclear negotiations, or executive management. I would definitely listen to that same college student, though, for advice about how to communicate with the youth of his generation. And finally, Republican politicians seem to be figuring out that, when it comes to political messaging, it is indeed a little child who shall lead them.

An Ebola timeline

One of the first things I do when I write a legal brief is create a timeline. Seeing how events relate to each other in time can be quite edifying, and it can expose unexpected strengths and weaknesses in ones case. Sharyl Attkisson has performed this useful task for Ebola, putting together a nice neat timeline showing America’s relationship to the virus since July of this year.

John Wick

I can’t figure out if John Wick is just a garden variety thriller, a trashy blood-fest, or something else. And doesn’t it really matter when it has Keanu? I actually probably won’t see it because I never see movies (Mr. Bookworm frowns on the expense and I’m loath to send money to Hollywood anyway), but a Keanu movie is always tempting….

Pictures

Some are my finds, most are from Caped Crusader, and some are from Sadie:

Charlton Heston political correctness tyranny with manners

Traitors in America join Dem party -- Kerry and Fonda

Sowell on Obama's care for Africans not Americans

Al Sharpton and Jeffrey Dahmer

Liberals investigate traffic jams not assassinations

RG III on political correctness

Reagan Republican extremists win

Kurdish v American feminists

Islam demands beheading

Yesterday's ally is today's enemy

Hazmat suit cartoon

Franklin Graham no sharia in America

JFK opposed high taxes

Truth wasn't included in the equation

The jihad isn't over it's at the infiltration phase

D'Souza I told you so

Are you more likely to be infected or beheaded than you were six years ago

The only two reasons for federal list of gun owners

City of Houston free speech enforcement

Vets before illegals

Obama baloney

Washington Obama and Biden on the truth

Ron Klain covers Obama's butt

Moderate Muslims demonstrating for peace

Ebola Response Team

The Bookworm Beat (10/17/14) — aka the Friday fish-wrap edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingBefore I dive into my round-up, I wanted to discuss with you a poster that a very liberal friend of mine put up on Facebook. It’s the Leftist version of various posters you’ve seen here discussing Leftist logic (e.g., as Dixon Diaz says, “A liberal is someone who lives in a gated community but says that a border fence won’t work,” or “A liberal is someone who thinks that Fox news lies, but Obama doesn’t.”).  The Leftist version of this logic comparison involves voter ID and gun purchases:

Comparing voter ID and gun shows

Superficially, the comparison makes sense. I mean, ID is ID after all. Why should it be required in one place and not in another? Only a second’s thought, though, makes it clear that this is a bit of prestidigitation, meant to make us look in the wrong direction.

What we should be looking at is the fundamental right we’re trying to protect.  In the case of voting, the fundamental right is the right to cast a vote that is not canceled out by an invalid vote from someone who, as a matter of law, cannot vote, whether because that person is actually dead, or is an illegal alien, or is a felon, or just hasn’t bothered to register.  Demanding identification protects the integrity and weight of my legal vote.

The opposite is true for the requirement that one must show identification at a gun show.  The right to bear arms is the fundamental right at issue.  Putting government regulations between an individual and a gun is a burden on the exercise of that right.  This is not to say that the state may not place that burden, but the state had better  have a damn good reason for doing so.

So — is anyone out there skilled enough to reduce my argument to a poster that will counter the poster above?  For the life of me, I cannot figure out an easily digestible way to counter a fallacious, but superficially appealing, argument.

Guns save lives

It seems appropriate after discussing the fundamental right to bear arms to lead off with a news report about an Army vet, carrying a licensed gun, who used his gun to save both his girlfriend and himself from a frightening attack by a deranged individual. Here’s the takeaway quotation:

“I firmly believe that in order to maintain a free society, people need to take personal safety into their own hands,” he said. “You should walk around ready and able to protect yourself and others in your community.”

Modern Islam flows from Saudi Arabia and Iran, and both are barbaric

Daniel Greenfield pulls no punches in “The Savage Lands of Islam.” With a focus on Saudi Arabia (along with nods to Iran) he explains that Islam, as practiced in the countries that are its heartlands, is an utterly barbaric religion that debases human beings. He also warns that Islam exists, rather like a parasite, to take over other countries and reduce them to precisely the same debased status. Or as I once said:

Why is militant Islam Like Ebola

England continues voluntarily to plunge itself into the moral abyss

By a vote of 60 to 1, the student union at Goldsmiths College in London voted to discontinue all Holocaust commemorations. The reasons given were grotesque, starting with that given by the “education officer,” a gal named Sarah El-Alfy, which I read as an Arab name. According to her, Holocaust commemorations are “Eurocentric” and “colonialist.” Sadly, El-Alfy sounds marginally intelligent compared to students who opined that “The motion would force people to remember things they may not want to remember,” while another said that because the Union was (apparently appropriately) anti-Zionist, commemorating the Holocaust was impossible.

Honestly, I think the only time in modern history that a once civilized country so swiftly and completely debased itself was Germany, in the years between the end of WWI and the start of WWII. And, to England’s shame, Germany at least had the “excuse” of having been utterly destroyed, socially and economically, by having lost WWI. England’s slide into this abyss has no excuse, following as it does the fat years that Margaret Thatcher introduced and that continued through the 1990s.

England’s not alone: all of Europe is just as immoral

England didn’t sink into this moral black hole alone. All of Europe is there (with American Democrats tugging anxiously at the leash, desperate to plunge into the hole themselves).

How do we know this? Because Europe, England included, has decided to recognize the Palestinian state, despite the fact that there’s nothing state-like about the West Bank.  Well, there’s nothing state-like unless you redefine state to mean “a dysfunctional terrorist organization, with no infrastructure, no rights for women, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or gays, and that has no ability to generate revenue but simply funds itself with hand-outs from the international community, most of which end up lining the pockets of those clinging with tyrannical fervor to ‘leadership’ positions.”

And if that sentence was too packed to make sense, you can and should read Caroline Glick on Europe’s disgraceful move to recognize a Palestinian State.

When it comes to moral black holes, let’s not forget The New York Times

As part of the Left’s desperate effort to emulate Europe’s moral abasement, the New York Times is leading tours to Iran, no Israelis allowed, and all Jews and homosexuals seriously discouraged from coming along:

The New York Times is offering a pricey, 13-day excursion to the “once-forbidden land of Iran,” one of a series of its Times Journeys tours. However, if you’re an Israeli, joining the “Tales of Persia,” trip, “once-forbidden,” is still forbidden, and letting anyone know you’re Jewish, or gay, isn’t particularly recommended, either, a representative told The Algemeiner on Monday.

How very 1938 of the Times. Can’t you just see exactly the same tour being given to Nazi Germany by the Progressives at the Times, all of whom would be overflowing with admiration for a powerful state that gives universal healthcare, discourages smoking, and designs fuel-efficient cars?

Did you know Hitler was a meth head?

This may be old news to some of you (indeed, I remember vaguely reading it somewhere), but it’s still a shock to read about the scope of Hitler’s doctor-approved drug abuse:

According to a 47-page wartime dossier compiled by American Military Intelligence, the Fuhrer was a famous hypochondriac and took over 74 different medications, including methamphetamines.

[snip]

He was initially prescribed a drug called Mutaflor in order to relieve the pain of his stomach cramps.

He was then prescribed Brom-Nervacit, a barbiturate, Eukodal, a morphine-based sedative, bulls’ semen to boost his testosterone, stimulants Coramine and Cardiazol, and Pervitin, an ‘alertness pill’ made with crystal meth-amphetamine.

One has to wonder how much all these drugs contributed to the paranoia and monamania that killed 40 million people, including 6 million Jews, in just six years.

No wonder conservatives are feeling apocalyptic….

The last couple of days have seen several conservative writers writing gloomy posts about America’s and the world’s slide into chaos, all under Obama’s aegis.

Roger L. Simon asks “Can It Possibly Get Any Worse?

Stephen F. Hayes looks at the “Failure Upon Failure” of the Obama presidency. In theory, the article should make for satisfying reading for those of us who figured Obama out on the first day but it’s actually just terribly depressing, because Obama’s failure is America’s failure.

Ed Driscoll notes that the Left is getting downhearted too, in “The ‘Bam Who Fell To Earth.

America’s campuses go full kangaroo court

Heather MacDonald is pleased about what she sees as neo-Victorianism on college campuses, by which she means the fact that colleges are starting to turn away from the hook-up culture and obsession with perverse sex that has characterized them for so many years. As the mother of a girl heading off to college one of these days, I’m delighted to learn that the sex saturated culture is finally drying up. However, as the mother of a boy who will also be heading off to college one of these days, I’m distressed that the change is coming about, not by demonizing the casual and perverse sex culture, but simply by demonizing boys and men.

As long as men leave the toilet seat up, why marry?

There must be as many reasons for the decline in marriage as their are non-married people. A female University of Washington professor thinks the decline in marriage is a good thing because men just aren’t very nice people to marry.

In keeping with her attack on men, I’d like pick up on a theme I touched upon years ago, when I first started blogging. Looking at the people I know, the couples I know, and the blogs I’ve read, I’ve concluded that liberal and conservative men are very different in their approach to women.

Liberal men applaud women in the abstract — calling them equal or superior, bowing before their right to do anything they damn well please, and feeling the need to apologize all the time for being men. Given all this, perhaps it’s not surprising that, except for the sex part, liberal men don’t seem to like actual women very much. If you constantly have to abase yourself before someone, it’s kind of going to kill the fun. Certainly, in my world, the harder Left men are politically, the meaner they are to the real women in their real lives.

Conversely, while conservative men believe in equity feminism (equal pay for equal work, equal access to opportunities on a level playing field), they view women as different from them and special in their own way. I’ve never seen a respectable conservative male blogger denigrate women, just as I’ve never seen one pretending there’s no difference, that women are superior, or that all men must perpetually apologize for erroneous opinions that men in past generations held about women. Conservative men have a better handle on the fact that, in a pre-industrial, pre-scientific era (that is, everything before about 1850), there was no way in Hell to pretend that men and women were fundamentally equal. Conservative men also seem not just to love the women in their lives, but truly to respect them.

So it seems to me that, amongst the Left, which is still driving the culture, marriage is less popular because feminism has made it reasonable for men to dislike women, and therefore to treat them disrespectfully, which in turn leads women to dislike men.

Very sad.

Andrew Klavan gives the American media a well-deserved shellacking

Still, there is beauty….

Adilyn Malcolm describes herself as follows:

Hi, I’m Adi! I’m 11 years old and I love dubstep! I have NEVER taken a dance class in my life………I learned from watching (YouTube) videos!! I have been dancing for about 6 months. I am actually a motocross racer but when I’m not on my bike, this is the next best thing! I hope you enjoy my videos. Thanks for watching!

Although the following is only her second video, she already has 2,421 subscribers and 2,005,997 views. You’ll see why she got so popular so fast when you watch her dance:

And a few pictures in lieu of thousands more words

A time saver for tall people

All I'm saying is Zombie movie

And, from Sadie (who provided the caption):

President Shiva

Atheists make fatuous arguments that don’t debunk God; Christianity is virtuous; and radical Islam is illiberal and monstrous

Why do atheists care if others prayMy sister watched The Unbelievers, a documentary that follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they try to convert people to atheism, with science as the true faith. That’s all fine. If they want to proselytize to willing listeners, good for them. I have just a few comments, based upon what my sister told me, and what I know generally about Krauss and Dawkins:

1. My sister said that Krauss and Dawkins spoke scathingly of people who believe in transubstantiation (the conversion of the wine and wafer into the blood and body of Christ during the Catholic service).

My response was “Thank God [no pun intended] for the people who believe in transubstantiation or for those who don’t believe in transubstantiation but just believe that Christ died for humankind’s sins.” Since we’re Jewish, and I’m an undifferentiated theist, she was surprised at my vehemence.

I explained that the belief in the body and blood of Christ, combined with the story of Isaac, which forbids human sacrifice, is one of the few delicate strands keeping modern civilization from slipping back into human sacrifice. The desire to shed human blood to propitiate random Gods or to take on the strength of the dead lies very close to the surface.
Don’t believe me? Just witness the way the Islamists are boasting about eating parts of their bodies. Even their beheadings and crucifixions are intended as a sign of their worshiping on the Islamist altar.

2. My sister also told me that Dawkins and Krauss claim that the Greeks and the Romans understood higher mathematics, that fundamentalist Christians destroyed that knowledge during that Middle Ages, that moderately religious Muslims raised it up again during our Middle Ages, and that fundamentalist Islamists are destroying knowledge. From this potted history, Dawkins and Krauss conclude that religion is bad because, when fundamentalists grab hold of it, knowledge vanishes. (Yes, it is hearsay from my sister when I say that Dawkins and Krauss relied on this potted history for their conclusion but I still accept it as true because (a) I’ve heard other atheists make the same argument and (b) my sister has proven reliable on these things. Now, back to how dumb this argument is.)

First, for so-called logical people, the syllogism that (a) fundamentalists destroy knowledge; (b) some religions have fundamentalists; (c) therefore all religion is stupid, is obviously false. Do I need to explain why or can I take a short cut here and assume that you are all with me on this one?

Second, as I explained to my sister, what brought about the Dark Ages wasn’t Christianity, which was small potatoes when the Roman empire (which was the inheritor of some Greek knowledge) collapsed. It was the pagans who destroyed the Empire and, with it, its store of knowledge. It was the Christians, starting with monks sequestered far away in Ireland who began the laborious process of bringing light and knowledge back to the darkness. This process was not a straight line and there were definitely people and nations who perverted Christianity to suit evil ends. Ultimately, thought, it was this Christian journey that led to the Enlightenment, to the end of the slave trade, to the end of child labor, to the beginning of the 40 hour work week, and to most other civilized beliefs we have long taken for granted in the Western world.

As for the Muslims, yes, the Muslim world had preserved some of the Greek and Roman mathematical and scientific knowledge, and as well as the marvelous Indian numbering system that goes under the misnomer of “Arabic numerals.” During laxer periods in medieval Muslim history, some people — mostly Jews or former Jews — relied upon this knowledge to come up with important ideas.

But mostly, no, moderate Muslims were not a Renaissance of discovery and creation. Just as was the case when 19 al Qaeda terrorists used an airplane to destroy the Twin Towers, the medieval Muslim world created nothing. It simply hijacked knowledge from the people it conquered. This isn’t to say that I’m not grateful that those Medieval Muslims, unlike today’s fundamentalist Muslims, chose to salvage, not destroy, books and some limited ideas. I’m just saying that only the uninformed could pretend that they actually had an intellectually dynamic and creative culture.

So, to the extent that Krauss, Dawkins, and other atheists attack religion using a crude, false syllogism and a lot of historical ignorance, I’m neither persuaded nor impressed.

3. Dawkins and Krauss advocate science as a substitute for faith. I firmly believe in science, which I define as things that are proven true through careful observation or reliable experimentation, or everything that can be inferred from observation and experimentation. Nevertheless, science is no substitute for faith and, indeed, becomes just as dangerous as any other fundamentalist faith when people fall into that error.

Simply put, history proves over and over that substituting science for faith results stupid ideas. The most obvious example is the claim that the Big Bang disproves God’s existence. Huh? I currently believe in the Big Bang as the most reasonable theory to prove observable phenomena, but someone has to explain to me how the Big Bang disproves God?

It’s true that the Big Bang arguably challenges the Genesis version of creation. However, some would say that the Genesis version is an allegory, since it tracks the earth’s development, both geological and biological with rather uncanny accuracy, rather than a Bronze Age creation fantasy. Whatever. Whether Genesis is a truth, a fable, or an allegory, it doesn’t mean there is no God.

But why get caught up in origin stories. Let’s talk about the world in which we live. Moreover, let’s talk about my favorite example of elevating a scientific theory to the realm of faith.

Where to begin? Every prediction has proven wrong. Every allegedly new phenomenon is, in fact, same old same old. Despite being wrong again, and again, and again, nothing shakes the believer’s faith in the “science” of climate change.  When a doctrine is infallible, it’s not science; it’s faith.

We can also look at a less contentious subject than climate change to prove how wrong science is.  When it comes to diet, it seems as is everything science has ever taught us is wrong. We were told to give up all fat, eat carbs, and use fake sugar. We promptly become obese and diabetic. It turns out that natural fats in moderate quantities are beneficial, that carbs in excess are bad, and that fake sugar messes with our bodies. It’s Sleeper all over again.

Just the other night, on 60 Minutes, scientists proudly admit that, despite humans living with them for 15,000 years, scientists know next to nothing about dogs. I could even argue that they know less than nothing about dogs.  For years many scientists have claimed that dogs do not know “love,” something every dog owner knows is a manifestly false statement. Only now are scientists catching up to the love our common sense always knew was there.

Over and over again, scientists are forced to concede their ignorance and errors — and yet the true believers consistently assert that anthropogenic climate change is unfalsifiable. It must always be true. If that’s not faith — and one in which Dawkins (or, at least, his foundation) and Krauss (who is not a “climate scientist”) unquestioningly believe (see here, beginning at 13:30), I don’t know what it.

(For those interested, Lord Monckton does a beautiful job of debunking the climate faithful who try to debunk the skeptics.)

Having said all of the above about The Unbelievers, I have to say something nice about two famous atheists, one who is incredibly rude and vulgar (that would be Bill Maher) and the other of whom is polite (Sam Harris).  Both of them stood against Ben Affleck, who desperately tried to argue there’s nothing illiberal about Islam.  Amusingly and expectedly, Affleck supported his position by throwing out the term “racist.”  This is an idiocy that could only come from a Leftist who doesn’t understand that Islam is not a race but is, instead, a religion that can be and is embraced by people all over the world, regardless of race or natural origin.

Thinking about Affleck’s last-ditch argument, I have to say that Leftists are constantly unable to separate ideology and behaviors from skin color.  You know, I think they have a name for people like that.  Wait.  Wait.  It’s coming to me.  Oh, yeah!  Racist.  Affleck’s a racist.

And yes, I loved it when Affleck says “we’re endowed by our forefathers with inalienable rights.”  No wonder the Left is so willing to throw those rights overboard.  They don’t come from a Creator; they come from dead white men.

Anyway, you  have to see the video to appreciate it fully.  Here it is:

I disagree with Harris and Maher on many things, but they are brave and honest about this and deserves kudos. Also, to the extent I’m vaguely religious, I pray constantly for their safety, and hope that they don’t end up like Theo Van Gogh.

Also, since I’ve wandered into the subject of Islam, I’d like to commend to your attention an incredibly solid post explaining why it would be an incredible mistake for America to define itself by fear of radical Islam. Our culture may mot be perfect, but the Islamist culture is monstrous and, for that very reason, fundamentally weak.

[VIDEO] Further thoughts about pork-infused ammunition in our latest war

Jihawg AmmoYesterday, I asked whether it’s time for us to incorporate some pork into America’s bullets and bombs (or at least tell the world that we’re doing so), because doing so lets Islamic fanatics know that, if they die fighting Americans, they’ll be too impure to ascend to the Islamic brothel in the sky. This plan has two virtues:

  1. To the extent it deters true Muslims from fighting, it saves Muslim lives. Those who disapprove of this idea, therefore, want more dead Muslims and are therefore manifest Islamophobes.
  2. Because Obama has assured us that ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, Khorosan, and all other violent totalitarian groups that claim to be Islamic are not, in fact, authentically Muslim, pork-infused ammunition is a great way to separate wheat from chaff. The real Muslims among these groups will flee the pork weapons, while the fake Muslims, who are apparently in the fight only for the joy of killing, will remain as legitimate military targets.

And to those who say pork and weapons do not mix, Sadie has reminded me that, just 70 years ago, they were an inseparable pair:

Bill Maher again speaks out on Islam: “Liberal western culture is not just different; it’s better.”

Ignore the foul language and ignore the generalized attacks on Christians and Christianity. Instead, appreciate the fact that a famous media figure who openly hates all religions is willing to speak out and say that radical Islam is not like all the other religions he disrespects: it’s much, much worse because of its violent intolerance and its yearning for total conquest. I’m no Maher fan, but credit must be given where credit is due: He’s brave, since he puts his life at risk by saying these things; he’s willing to take on Obama’s religious pronouncements; he recognizes the fundamental virtue of Free Speech in America; and he refuses to deal in moral relativism. Good, very good, for him!

Is it time to dig out the bullets packed in pig grease? (And let’s identify the real Islamophobes.) *UPDATED*

Jihawg AmmoPractically from the moment after September 11, 2001, people started saying that the most effective way to fight Muslims was to lace American ammunition with pork.  Finally, in 2013, an Idaho company came up with pork-laced ammunition for non-military customers:

Jihawg Ammo today announced release of the industry’s first truly defensive ammunition.

Not only does Jihawg guarantee that all of their ammunition meets or exceeds S.A.A.M.I. standards for velocity, penetration, and accuracy, they also coat each projectile with a special ballistic paint infused with pork to make it “Haraam” or unclean to a radical Jihadist.

This makes Jihawg Ammo the only commercially available ammunition with the added deterrent factor of eternal damnation for fundamentalist Islamic Jihadist.

The response was swift: Islamophobia! Ignorant, Islamophobic hicks thought that they could out-think the religion of peace. These bullets were the equivalent of a Muslim-directed genocide. And they were insulting!!

In the remainder of this post, I’ll explain why the military should start using pork-laced weapons (or spread rumors that they’re doing so), as well as explaining why those exposed to pork-laced bullets are the real Islamophobes.

Clearly, the U.S. military will never use pork.

But maybe it should….

At American Thinker, Clarice Feldman directs readers to Louis René Beres’s article for the Gatestone Institute, The Jihadists’ Promise: Power over Death. Boiled down to its essence, the article explains that the Quran holds, and fervent Muslims believe, that this life is but a way-station to the real world, which real world is an afterlife complete with unending, exquisite, and quite carnal, earthly pleasures. In other words, Muslim fanatics don’t have a death cult; they have an (After)Life Cult. Their entire goal is to shuck this mortal coil in such a way as to ensure that they go straight into the arms of those seventy-two virgins (or raisins).

Christians, too, have an afterlife, but (as I understand it), they do not envision it as the carnal pleasures of this life, only on steroids.  It is, instead, a higher form of existence. Moreover, you don’t get there by killing but, instead, by living this life well. Both Christians and Jews (who do not have a specific heaven) believe that, to the extent that God has blessed us with life, we have a moral obligation to cherish and enjoy life as a prerequisite to ascending to a higher level upon our death. The Judeo-Christian culture has, if you will a (This)Life Cult as a necessary prerequisite to an (After)Life Cult.

The net effect of the Muslim (After)Life Cult is that the Islamic fanatics aren’t kidding when they say they don’t fear death. While they might find unpleasant a boring, ignominious death, a death in battle against the infidel is a terminating event that is devoutly to be desired:

The Jihadi terrorist claims to “love death,” but in his or her mind, that “suicide” is anything but final. Ironically, these Islamist terrorists aim to conquer mortality by “killing themselves.” The would-be killer has been promised that death will represent just a trivial and momentary inconvenience, a minor detour on just one more glorious “martyr’s” fiery trajectory toward a life everlasting, in Paradise.

How can one ever hope to counter such a seductive promise? How can any promise compete with the incomparable promise of immortality?

[snip]

A really good strategy needs to begin at the conceptual or psychological level. It is actually the Jihadists’ fear of death that leads them to suicide, always in the hope that any short-term “dying” — the vainglorious fantasy that “martyring” themselves — will enable them to live forever in Paradise, and as beloved heroes on Earth.

While Washington and Jerusalem seek “peace” — an end to bloodshed — as their overriding objective, these faith-driven adversaries appear to see “peace” as merely a pretext. Their real objective is jihadist victory over “unbelievers,” on the blessed road to a global caliphate.

This asymmetric view puts us all at a grievous disadvantage. While our Jihadist foes get ready for Paradise, by the slaughter of “infidels,” our own political leaders seem to remain blithely unaware of — or in denial about — their enemies’ fusion of sacredness with violence.

Beyond explaining all the ways in which traditional warfare has no effect on an enemy whose goal in battle is to die, Beres can do little more than to say that, to win against this latest jihad, we need to change the way Islamists think:

Going forward, our main task should be to systematically undermine these fantasies and doctrinal “underpinnings.” In conjunction with the recommended nuanced persuasions of military firepower, it can be done.

What I’d like to know is how you go about telling the frenzied and growing number of jihadists that they’re all wrong about the after life.  As far as I know, even we, with all our hyper-advanced 21st century ways, don’t have any proof about the after life.  All that we’ve got is our own value system, one that demands decency and respect for life in our mortal form before we can be ensured of some rather inchoate wonderfulness after we die.  Absent proof, changing belief systems is a slow and tedious, or painful and brutal, process.

We’re currently witnessing in America one of the three ways of changing how people think: Over the course of decades, you need to infiltrate all of the media through which people acquire their cultural messages. You slowly flood primary schools, higher education, media, entertainment and, finally, politics. As the late, great Andrew Breitbart understood, in a peaceful takeover pf belief systems, politics is downstream from culture.

The second, less time-consuming, way to change belief systems is through military conquest followed by rebuilding, as we did with Germany and Japan. We’ve already proven that we lack the will for true military conquest.  Moreover, this one gets us back to our original problem, which is that the Islamists truly don’t mind dying.  It’s hard to win when the other side is always willing to die.

That leaves the third third, and swiftest, way you change how people think.  You can call this one the “ISIS way of war”:  Brute force. “Do it our way or we kill you as painfully as possible, and in numbers as great as we can handle.”

Basically, we lack the ability, the time, the will, and the barbarism to change the Islamic mindset any time soon.  The only thing left, then, is to make the Islamist think we are destroying the pathway between death and paradise.  We need to tell the Islamists in no uncertain terms that we will ensure that, should they die in battle with Americans, they will never make it to paradise.

Will we do this? No. Should we do this? Absolutely.

As for those who say it’s disrespectful to Muslims to put a dab of pig fat on a bullet or bomb (or create a rumor that we’re doing so),  I say lets call those critics what they really are:  “Muslim killers.”  After all, if pig-fat rumors or reality cause fanatic Islamists to run from the gun, instead of to the gun, we’re saving Muslim lives, not taking them.  Anyone who wishes to prolong war by giving Muslims what they want — death on the receiving end of a bullet — is the real Islamophobe.

UPDATE:  A WWII cartoon reminds us that, as little as 70 years ago, pork and explosives were one and the same.

You’ll be surprised what war we need to wage next and where we need to wage it

Obama For WarThinking about the fact that Peace Prize Obama is taking us to war again, what popped into my mind was “Don’t bother; we’ve already lost.”  I know that’s an awful thing to say, but bear with me, as I explain why.  And, true to my post caption, I’ll also explain what I think our war strategy has to be if we have any hope of winning against a violent, implacable enemy that willingly carries a hot grudge for centuries.

As I often do, let me start with an anecdote to put my thoughts in context.  It all started when Mr. Bookworm asked me to watch an interview that Jon Stewart did with Gen. Tony Zinni (ret.), who’s shilling his new book. Mr. Bookworm was beyond thrilled to hear Zinni say that George Bush didn’t know is Arab from a Persian or his Shia from a Sunni when he started the war.  I wasn’t as excited.  I’ve heard Zinni make such comments before, and I think they’re for effect.

I have no doubt but that Bush and his crew knew the difference between Persian and Arab and Sunni and Shia. They just thought that they could paper these differences over by toppling dictators and plunking a boat load of democracy on top of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Bush administration’s naiveté didn’t lie in not knowing the differences, which is a clinical, academic sort of knowledge.  Their failure was their inability to understand that, just as Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, Judeo-Christian cultures are from Earth and hardcore Islamist cultures (no matter whether they’re Arab, Persian, Shia, or Sunni) are from the Star War’s Death Star, with a mad dash of Star Trek Klingon culture, the only difference being that the Islamists are even less nice than those dark, imaginary places.

If you don’t have centuries to wait for a death-centric culture such as the Islamic culture to mellow, and you want to turn it around really quickly, you have only one option: completely destroy its cities, as the Allies did to both Japan and Germany at the end of WWII.

What you cannot do, as Bush’s wars definitively proved, is destroy the upper level structure and hope for trickle down democracy carried on the backs of soldiers armed with both guns and lollipops. Democracy has to start from the ground up, and the ground must first be cleared and plowed over for Democracy to take root. Even under those optimum circumstances, you have to tend your crop for 50 or 60 years, rather than stop the moment a few of freedom’s little seedlings start poking their heads above the soil. To continue with my agricultural metaphor, if Iraq and Afghanistan were farms, what we did was tantamount to killing the farmer, burning a few of his crops, ripping out some others, scattering a handful of seeds over parched, hard ground, and then walking away blithely confident that a lush, bountiful harvest would suddenly appear.

Recognizing that the problem lies with the fundamental clash between Islam and the West allows us to get away from the statist habit of claiming that Bush’s two wars are the reason that radical Islam is suddenly in everyone’s face. Both Stewart and Zinni were in agreement that this was so, but they’re wrong, and speaking out of profound historical ignorance. If you pull back from America’s hot war between 2003 to 2013, though, you realize that radical Islam was already and always in everyone’s face.

From the moment Mohamed’s little tribe burst out of the Arabian desert, its focus was on conquest.  This aggressive trait was a necessity, because the faith’s stifling strictures mean that its adherents are virtually prohibited from doing anything that creates wealth.  The only way that they can bring wealth into their country is through conquest, slavery, and taxes on those who are neither Muslims nor slaves. For that reason, Islam’s swift, massive expansion (as seen in the video below), did not occur organically or through proselytizing. It happened at the point of a sword.

In this context, one can see that the 260 years of relative Islamic quiescence between 1683 and Israel’s creation wasn’t a permanent peace. For Islam, the problem was that the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, by powering Western engines, became too strong for Islam, which was primarily represented by the corrupt Ottomans and which was hopelessly mired in the Middle Ages.

During the 20th century, those Muslims who still dreamed of a caliphate realized that they had to re-group and they did, in the most toxic way possible. With a helpful assist from the West’s desperate need for oil thought to exist only under Muslim sands, Arab Nationalism, Islamism (with funding from Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations), and antisemitism blossomed all over the Muslim world.

After Israel’s creation, this toxicity was seen at its most obvious in the Palestinian’s battle against Israel.  Many people assumed that, because Israel was the only visible front in the war, that Israel was the cause of Islam’s anti-Western anger.  A longer view, of course, makes clear that Israel was just another front in a long war. One proof of this fact is that, with America having engaged in active warfare with Islamic nations, the same uninformed people tell us that these Bush-led wars are the reason for Islam’s anti-Western anger.  The fact is, though, that Islamic’s anger against everyone is hard-wired.

Having had an intellectual and (thanks to oil) financial resurgence, the Islamists spent the latter part of the 20th century, repeatedly poking and prodding the West to determine whether it was safe for radical Islamists to resume all-out warfare. Long before Bush went to war we had Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 assassination (by a violently anti-Zionist Christian Palestinian); the 1972 attack at the Munich Olympics (ostensibly aimed at Israel, but also a test of Western will, which the West failed); the 1976 hijacking that led to the raid at Entebbe (another test of Western will, which the West promptly failed); the 1979 Iranian revolution and hostage crisis, which Carter fumbled and which led to massive new funding and organization for radical Islam; Anwar Sadat’s 1981 assassination at the hand of radical Islamists; the 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by a Muslim Turk trained by Palestinians; the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut; the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; the multiple US embassy bombings in 1998; the 2000 USS Cole bombing; and, of course, the culmination of all the preceding Islamic efforts: The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (and, had things gone right, the Capitol), resulting in the loss of 2,996 people, mostly Americans.

It took decades of ever-increasing provocation (increasing in both frequency and intensity) before America finally sat up and took notice of the Islamists’ fervent desire to engage us and destroy us in open warfare. To switch from my earlier agricultural metaphor to an elephant one, we were the sleeping elephant, and Islam was the sharp-toothed mouse that keep running up, biting our legs, and running away. We were irritated, but fundamentally unconcerned. It was only when that mouse stuffed a bomb up our trunk that we realized we had to act.

And when we acted, we acted wrong. We failed to realize that we were not in a war with individual tyrants or individual nations but, instead, had to do battle with an entire world view, one that has existed virtually unchanged since the 7th century. The ideology’s diffusion doesn’t mean that America shouldn’t or couldn’t invade the territories in which the most ardent practitioners of this world view have their strongholds. To the extent Islamists want conventional war, we should give them a snootful of conventional war. But because the ideology extends far beyond a small nation here or a big city there, there are two other things a Western nation must do if it has any hope of prevailing against the Islamists. It must (1) Attack the radical Islamist ideology and (2) reinforce the virtues and values of our own Western culture and our American nation.

Starting with George Bush, we neither attacked radical Islam nor celebrated America. At the White House level, both of our Presidents have gone out of their way to praise Islam. It’s a religion of peace, they’ve said. Most Muslims are good, they’ve said (which is true). We’re just going after a very narrow stratum of bad people who have perverted a wonderful, loving faith, they’ve said.

The only reason Obama has been more irritating in saying this than Bush was is because, Bush limited himself to talking about the word “Islam means peace” and praising the world’s non-militant Muslims. By contrast, Obama has been apologizing non-stop to the worst kind of Islamists since his first day in office; he’s been incredibly hostile to Israel, our ally in this long war; he consistently sided with the radical Muslim Brotherhood, rather than more reformist movements, during the Arab spring; and, in this last go-round, he’s taken upon himself the role of true apologist for the religion, carefully explaining to those who are breathing new life into Mohamed’s explicit instructions that they’re doing it wrong, and thereby inconveniencing him.

The Left wing establishment — in politics, in the media, in education, in Hollywood — has been delighted to follow both presidents’ lead when it comes to whitewashing Islam. Newspaper articles keep writing stories about men and women who, for reasons no one can ever seem to understand, suddenly start killing people while hollering “Allahu Akbar.” TV shows and movies have added to their repertoire of stock characters (e.g., black judges and police captains, Asian nerds, and women’s gay best friends) a new stock character: the saint-like Muslim who is wrongly maligned by racists with tea bags pinned to their lapels.

In schools, where facts sometimes have to be acknowledged, educators assure dewy-eyed children, adolescents, and young adults that, to the extent Muslims keeping doing things like blowing up people, planes, and buildings, they’ve done so only because we’ve baited them beyond bearing by using their oil. Protests about misogyny and homophobia have been brushed aside as quaint cultural artifacts that must be respected on multicultural grounds. This whitewashing job probably could have gone on forever if the Islamic State hadn’t gotten the bright idea of boasting about beheadings all over social media.

For thirteen (or thirty, or seventy) long years, America has failed utterly to state the stark truth: In the Quran, the Prophet Mohamed explicitly demands world domination, the slaughter of the Jews, the subordination of Christians, the physical and mental imprisonment of women, pedophilia against young girls, the death of gays, the death of apostates, and all the other anti-Western, anti-Enlightenment practices that repulse any non-Muslim who is able to see around the lies and obfuscations emanating from the White House, the political class, the entertainment world, and the education establishment.

What may be even worse than our refusal to acknowledge the monstrous theme of conquest running through Islamic doctrine and history, is a political, cultural, and educational class’s refusal to reinforce the worthiness of our own culture. Bush, bless his heart, did (and does) believe in American exceptionalism but, not only was he inarticulate on the subject (as was Romney), he was shouted down and drowned out by the media, by Hollywood, by America’s educational institutions, and by roughly half of our political class. President Obama, of course, holds no brief for America.

Since 2001, when al Qaeda, by bombing the Twin Towers, finally forced ordinary Americans to see that there’s a war going on, the loudest voices in America have alternately been accusing us of the worst kind of “isms,” while apologizing for who and what we are. A toxic combination of political correctness, multiculturalism, institutional feminism, the gay mafia, the La Raza crowd, the climate change hysterics, and all of the other usual suspects ranging from the Communist party to the Democrat party, resulted in our being subjected to a decade’s worth of anti-American venom spread far and wide.

Our children, who live in a world of public schools, TV shows, and movies (and, for these youngsters who fancy themselves to be budding intellectuals, heavily Left/Democrat newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, etc.), have been told relentlessly that Americans are misogynistic, patriarchal, racist, fanatically Christian, imperialist, and homophobic, and that we steal our nation’s vast wealth from poor people at home and abroad, transferring wealth solely to a cadre of angry, rich, white men who clutch Bibles in one hand and guns (complete with bullets labeled “this one’s for a black person”) in the other. Reality never intrudes into this institutionalized self-loathing.

The reality is that women are thriving in America, at men’s expense. In the Muslim world, they would be lucky if they were merely 2nd or 3rd class citizens. In a sharia-compliant country, women aren’t citizens at all; they are chattel, and poorly treated chattel at that.

The reality is that America is the least racist country in the world (with Israel probably following a close second). There will always be bad apples, but anyone who has ever stepped foot out of America knows that all other nations, regardless of color, routinely practice both social and institutional racism. The same is true of the Islamic world. While it likes to tout its color-blinded when compared to the 1950s Jim Crow south, it’s worth noting that the northern Sudanese Muslims (light brown), after purging their nation of Christians, then engaged in genocidal attacks against southern Sudanese Muslims (dark brown). Also, it’s worth noting that the confluence of the race hustlers and the feminists is abortion. Honest abortion supporters will admit that encouraging mass abortion in 2014 has the same intended purpose it did in 1914: to wipe out blacks and other “undesirables.

The reality is that, after more than a thousand years of often painful and destructive doctrinal refinement, the Western Judeo-Christian tradition ended slavery, emancipated women, freed children from the factory, and simultaneously elevated man’s highest impulses while taming his basest ones.

The reality is that, beginning with WWI and continuing through to the present day, America has never engaged in a true Imperial war, one that sees her invade a country, subordinate its people, and redirect its wealth to American coffers. Instead, America’s so-called “imperialism” consists of being the country that practically every Third World poor person wishes he could call home, and of having a culture that most young people around the world want to emulate. ISIS is the face of Muslim imperialism.

And lastly, the reality is that, while Americans have been cautious about jettisoning the definition of marriage that has been in place since time immemorial (a definition that harmonizes with the biological imperative of procreation) and while most Americans believe that the First Amendment shouldn’t force individuals to lend their labors to a marriage ceremony that clashes with their most closely held beliefs, Americans since the Stonewall riots have made a complete turnaround when it comes to accepting the entirety of the LGBTQ spectrum. While there will always be biased individuals and, sadly, individuals who bring violence to their bias, people across the sexual spectrum have exceptional freedom and respect in America, even as ordinary Americans engage in the delicate balancing act of respecting faith too. In Muslim countries, homosexuals are first lashed, then hanged.

America is a truly great and wonderful country. It’s not a perfect country, because humans are imperfect, but looking back through time and around the world, our nation is one of which we should all be rightfully proud. It’s beautiful, its people are friendly and hard-working, it still hews (at least in the heartlands) to a Judeo-Christian morality that elevates the individual in all ways, it’s rich at every level — in its land, in its many cultures, in its energy and innovation, and its people’s fundamental decency.

It’s a tragic — possibly a suicidal one — that for the last thirteen years, the loudest voices in America have worked hard to denigrate and hide her wonders, rather than celebrating and cultivating them. The result is that, as we stare at yet another war, the American people have been taught three things that ensure defeat:

1. America is a lousy country, not worth defending.
2. Islam is a religion of peace that has reared up only because lousy Israel and lousy America keep getting in its face.
3. The bad actors who pop up with increasing regularity and ferocity are not really Muslim.
4. In the absence of actual bad Muslims or Islamic nations, our military is reduced to fighting scattered and fragmented bad actors, and is incapable of doing so — and anyway, why should it do so? We Americans aren’t worthy.

It is our mindset thirteen years after 9/11 that had me wanting to name this post “Don’t Bother; We’ve Already Lost.”  A nation that loves its enemy and hates itself cannot win a war.

But maybe we haven’t lost just quite yet.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s true that where there’s life there’s hope.  And maybe we can change our political, social, entertainment, and education culture.

I know that, if it were up to me, I would trumpet America’s wonders to the sky. I would also make sure everyone knows of Islam’s myriad and quite dreadful failures, while simultaneously cultivating and elevating those who seek to reform Islam. (And yes, I know it’s a tough road to hoe, given Muhammad’s strictures, but it needs to be done.) In other words, I would fight a war of hearts and minds at home, rather than in foreign fields, populated by simple farmers steeped in Islamism. Only after winning, or at least beginning, this absolutely necessary war at home would I engage in conventional warfare — and, when I did, I’d listen to the military because, unlike a civilian constitutional law professor and community organizer, the military knows its capabilities best.

 

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

Col. West, you’re correct that, rather than wallowing in 9/11 memories, we must fight radical Islam — but how should we do it? *UPDATED*

The Twin Towers in flamesAs in past years, people who were older than about ten on September 11, 2001, have honored its anniversary.  These social media acknowledgements of that fateful day tend to take two forms:  (1) the “where were you then” form, as exemplified by George Takei, or as I think of it “the fly trapped in amber” approach ; and (2) the “9/11 still matters” viewpoint, as exemplified by Lt. Col. Allen West.  I incline to Col. West’s approach, but it leaves important questions unanswered, which I’ll try to explain here.

George Takei has more that 7.5 million Facebook followers, thanks to the frequently amusing things he posts there. His popularity means it’s possible to discern certain cultural trends from his posts and from the response to those posts.  Take, for example, his 9/11 post.  To his credit, Takei didn’t forget that today is a special day.  Instead, he acknowledged it and asked his followers to reminisce about their 9/11 experiences:

Last I looked, more than 20,000 people approved of this post, almost 4,000 shared it, and around 4,000 added their comments.

There’s nothing wrong with what Takei and his followers are doing. After all, more than fifty years after the fact, we still have people spending Thanksgiving explaining exactly what they were doing in 1963 when they learned Kennedy had been assassinated. It’s our way of assuring ourselves and others that we too are part of a cataclysmic, unifying, paradigm-shifting event, even if we lacked the geographic proximity to say truthfully “I was there.”

What’s missing from this “where were you then” approach to 9/11 is that it avoids taking a serious look at 9/11’s impact, not just on our personal emotional status, but on our nation and the world at large. “I was there, if only in spirit,” is a far cry from dealing with the practical reality that “Islamism is still here, in spirit and in fact.”  It’s dangerous to lock 9/11 into the past, only to drag it out annually to admire it, much as one looks at a fly’s tortured body locked in ancient amber.

911 caught in amber

Lt. Col. Allen West represents the opposite end of the “Remembering 9/11″ spectrum. The events of 9/11 may have happened thirteen years ago, he says, but they matter today. He is correct.  They matter very much.  In his 9/11 post, Col. West, after briefly describing his own 9/11 memories, turns the focus where it rightly belongs:

And here we are 13 years later and still living under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack. We go through security protocols all because of Islamic terrorist attacks. We just witnessed two Americans beheaded by members of an Islamic terrorist army.

Thirteen years later and it is as though we learned no lessons from 9/11. Our own recalcitrance to define this enemy was demonstrated last night by our president, Barack Hussein Obama, who firmly declared that ISIS is not “Islamic” — then what the hell are they, Amish? Political correctness has placed us in a position where almost half of our country fears another major terrorist attack.

(Please remind me to pull out that “What the hell are they? Amish?” line next time I cross paths with an Islamic apologist.)

Allen West and the Marine Corps

In addition to reminding us that 9/11 continues to have real-world repercussions, West proposes that the military provides an affirmative solution to radical Islam’s continuing aggression:

My fellow Americans, we don’t have to live under this specter of Islamo-fascism and jihadism. We cannot go another year — certainly not another 13 — living in fear all the while refusing to admit that they exist. I am tired of being told that we cannot offend folks. I am tired of hearing that it’s not all Muslims. If that’s so, those moderates need to “man up” and kick some extremist arse. Because for 13 years, we’ve fiddled around and played games of winning hearts and minds and nation building and all we got in exchange were two beheaded Americans.

The original “day that will live in infamy” led us to one goal: the destruction of the enemy who attacked us. It was Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who stated that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant. But the giant that is America is still asleep.

When President Ronald Reagan was asked how he defined victory in the Cold War he replied simply, “we win they lose.” And it was Alexander the Great who said, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by a lion.” America is looking for a lion who will crush the wolves and embolden, unleash and direct the indomitable American spirit that will not cower.

I agree with Col. West that radical Islam needs to be stomped out, or at least sent to the far outskirts of civilization where this nihilistic ideology can wither and die on the vine. What I’d like Col. West to do, though, is to explain precisely how one goes about doing this.

The “how” of destroying radical Islam has been on my mind of late.  Just today, when I explained to a young man of my acquaintance that radical Islam cannot be accommodated but must be destroyed, he asked the obvious question: “Well, what would you do?”

I had no answer. ISIS is actually the easiest problem to solve, because it has set itself up as an Islamic state. After all, if it’s a state, we can declare war against it and wipe it out.  The problem is that, outside of ISIS’s helpful decision to attach a large target to its collective backside, we’re more hampered when it comes to the constantly increased number of other manifestations of radical Islam.

Looking outside Iraq, radical Islam isn’t a coherent, bomb-able, nation with borders.  Instead, it’s a toxic ideology that permeates larger societies, both Muslim and non-Muslim.  And even within Muslim nations or communities, it’s actively embraced only by about 10% of Muslims — although the majority provide strong passive support (putting the lie to Obama’s assurance that there’s nothing sharia-like about “real” Islam).

With regard to those passive sharia supporter, Col. West is correct that it’s time for the “so-called” moderates to put up or shut up, but that still leaves us with a problem: Where do we aim our guns?

Do we resume a hot war Afghanistan, just as we’re on the verge of treating, leaving a triumphant Taliban?  Do we drop bombs on remote islands in the Philippines, where a bloody Muslim insurgency has gone on for years? Or how about taking the Marines to India, home of the Mumbai massacre?  Or maybe we aim our guns on in Qatar, an oil-rich nation that generously funds Hamas (and is home to a CENTCOM presence).

And so it goes, with country after country hosting a large radical Islamist contingent that too often is an untouchable Fifth Column.  Need more examples?  There’s Turkey, which is a NATo member, and which is slowly being dragged from the 21st century back to the 7th, with 68% of Turkish citizens supporting Hamas.  England was our ally in Iraq, but London is Ground Zero for radical Islam. France, where 16% of the population supports Hamas, is witnessing a mass Jewish Exodus that continued unabated throughout the summer, despite Israel’s wartime footing.  Wartime Israel was safer to French Jews than peacetime France.  And there’s always Malmo, in Sweden, where 40% of the population is Muslim. Thanks to this influx, Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe.

Radical Islam in the Middle East also leaves us without targets.  We can’t attack Saudi Arabia, which has for decades funded the Sunni side of toxic Islam, because it’s long been our ally and, absent domestic drilling, is a necessary oil purveyor. Moreover, the Saudis are now afraid of the Frankenstein’s monster they created, and are making nice with Israel, our ally in the war against jihad Islam.  We’re also unwilling to take on Iran, which has for decades funded the Shia side of toxic Islam.  Worse, it seems that Obama would like to partner with Iran to help get rid of Sunni ISIS.  And then of course there’s Gaza.  We weren’t pleased when the Israelis delicately bombed it, so it’s unlikely that we’ll start bombing it ourselves any time soon.

And really, if we’re going to have to bomb whole communities of radical Islamists, we’re going to have to look within our own borders.  We’ll need to add the states of Minnesota and Michigan to the list of targets, not to mention towns such as Fremont, California, and large parts of California’s Central Valley.  Heck, if an FBI friend of mine is correct, it might be time to drop a bomb on Marin too, since that idyllic Leftist paradise has a burgeoning radical Islamic population.  (Remember John Walker Lindh?  His Marin connections weren’t a coincidence.)

Making more sense before

Given the parasitism of radical Islam throughout the world, what precisely is the military solution to this ideology that has permeated the world’s fabric? Obama’s approach for the past five-and-a-half years has been a dismal failure.  Moreover, if his speech last night (a fairly impotent combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision) is anything to go by, his future approach to jihad seems to be headed to the same graveyard as his past course of action.

So, Col. West, if you’re reading this post, please expand on how you would deal, not just with ISIS, but with radical Islam’s pernicious spread throughout the world. With America on a wartime footing, this may well be your time to aim for the land’s highest office. Much as I like you, I wasn’t sure about your chances as a peacetime president because Americans might be leery of again electing a man with limited Congressional experience.  As a war-time president, , though. . . .  Well, if you have a workable course of action against Islam, that plan, put together with your conservativism, leadership skills, fearlessness, and bone-deep patriotism, means you’d have my support and my vote in a heartbeat.

allen-west-20101

UPDATE: JoshuaPundit believes that Iran is the pivot on which radical Islam turns. Deal with Iran, and the other dominoes will fall in a way favorable to Western interests.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/3/14 “what makes Progressives tick” edition

Woman writingYahoo News had a short photo essay about transparent animals. I’m by way of being a transparent animal myself this year. Thanks to bone and muscle breakdowns, surgery, and anemia, I’ve been cut open, scanned, x-rayed, probed, and pretty much turned inside out in an effort to repair what’s wrong.

Of course, there is no real repair. What’s wrong is can be summed up in two words: “tick” and “tock.” Certainly some of my complaints can be alleviated, but absent a drinkable fountain of youth, I’m just going to have to be grateful that things aren’t worse. What really makes me grumpy is my knees. I can ignore pretty much everything else, but knees do tend to make themselves known throughout the day.

That’s my whine. I’ve tried not to be a whiner lately, but today seemed like a good day. It was so much easier to focus on my own aches and pains than to turn my eyes outwards and look at the world’s agony. Things are not going well. I’ll spare you the laundry list of Obama failures (Noemie Emery does it better than I ever could), and simply say that the world is not a healthy place when America checks out.

The big mystery, as always, is what the heck is going on in Obama’s head?  Former Obama cheerleader, and current Obama critic, Ron Fournier tortures himself with that question:

I’m puzzled by Obama.

A calm, deliberative presence in the aftermath of the rush-to-misjudgment Bush era, Obama can nonetheless choose words that remind Americans of his role in the assassination of Osama bin Laden and countless other terrorists. Denouncing the Islamic State for the beheading of a second American journalist, Obama declared, “Our reach is long, and justice will be served.” He’s believable.

At the same time, he’s maddeningly indecisive, unclear, and defensive—or, as Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday, maybe he’s “too cautious.” Once, early in Wednesday’s news conference, Obama mentioned almost in passing the threat posed “to U.S. interests.” Much later, he spoke for a third time about dangers to the region, with no mention the United States.

Perhaps Fournier is puzzled because he still believes that, hiding somewhere within this distant, cold, lazy, dismissive, self-involved calculating man is the light-bringer Fournier and others like him worshiped back in 2008. Even having lost his faith in Obama, Fournier still clings to the memory, just as a long-abandoned church hints at that faint, sweet, sacred smell of incense.

I’m not so puzzled about Obama’s motives. I decided long ago that he’s a man short on book-learning, but long on the feral, manipulative intelligence that comes with being both a narcissist and a Leftist. Although his only God is the man he sees in the mirror, to the extent he has an affinity for any faith, that faith is Islam. Indeed, if your basic nature is God-worship, rather than free will — and most especially so if you’re the God at issue — you’re going to like a religion that urges its followers to subordinate themselves utterly to your God’s every utterance, whether it issues directly from your own lips, or is disseminated through your various prophets (or, as we call them nowadays, political hacks, mouthpieces, and reporters).

While Obama seems reasonably clear to me, I’m too am puzzled about the fact that the half of America still invested in Obama seems so cavalier about the rising threat from ISIS. Technically speaking, ISIS shouldn’t be a threat to America.  I’m absolutely confident that if the full force of our military — even our diminished military — were to be unleashed on ISIS and related entities, those misbegotten militants would be wiped out in short order.

But of course we never will unleash that full military force, in part because we Americans (especially the royal “I, me, my, and we” currently occupying the White House) lack the political will and, in significant part, because we hold ourselves to a higher standard than mass slaughter. It’s not only the Geneva Convention that controls us. Just as Israel tried desperately to fight a “humane war” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), America too tries to fight a good war. Good wars tend to drag because, lacking Sherman’s carefully targeted depredations of the civilian populations giving “aid and succor” to the combatants, war is inefficient.

Aside from our morality, America is hampered by the Left’s fervent belief that our military is evil and our enemy misunderstood. Leftist pressure means that American troops are forced to go beyond moral decency and into the realm of mandated suicide. (As a somewhat related aside, on September 9, you can buy Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, which I’m now reading. It’s uplifting reading because it presents brave young Americans who have a fundamental belief that their country is valuable and deserves to be defended; it’s depressing reading because you see how Leftist war theory, as carried out under a Commander in Chief who manifestly dislikes his military, means that those same decent lives are cruelly snuffed out or those healthy young bodies destroyed — never forgetting that these sacrifices aren’t even made in the name of victory but, instead, are for the purpose of retreat.)

Now where was I? Oh, I remember. I was leading up to the threat that is ISIS. Yes, we could destroy ISIS swiftly, but we won’t. More to the point, Obama has made it very clear that he’s not going there. In a speech that should live in infamy, Obama held up the ISIS threat as a bureaucratic mess-up that should yield to dry, technocratic oversight in the field — never mind that Obama has utterly alienated the Muslim countries he expects to do the ISIS clean-up.

Obama sounds defeated before he’s even left the starting gate. He doesn’t speak of victory; instead, he wearily speaks of containment:

We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.

And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy but also making sure we’ve got the international will to do it. This is something that is a continuation of a problem we’ve seen certainly since 9/11, but before and it continues to metastasize in different ways. And what we’ve got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.

This particular brand of extremism that is first and foremost destructive to the Muslim world and the Arab World and North Africa and the people who live there. They’re the ones who are most severely affected. They’re the ones who are constantly under threat of being killed. They’re the ones whose economies are completely upended to the point where they can’t produce their own food and they can’t produce the kinds of goods and services to sell in the world marketplace.

And they’re falling behind because of this very small and narrow but very dangerous segment of the population. And we’ve got to combat it in a sustained, effective way. And I’m confident we’re going to be able to do that.

Try to imagine Churchill making mealy-mouthed sounds about manageable problems and organizing international communities so that he can oversee them as they get rid of a cancer in their midst. Obama’s bureaucratic mindset is pretty small potatoes when compared to Churchill’s stirring call to arms:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Fundamentally, Obama makes it clear that he doesn’t really think America is at risk — which is a most peculiar view to hold a mere 13 years (almost to the day) after another small band of Islamic fundamentalists housed in the Middle East managed to kill almost 3,000 innocent souls in a matter of hours. It’s a peculiar view to hold when ISIS has shown its willingness to slaughter children, crucify Christians, commit genocide against ancient Christian populations, and march half-naked men whom it determines are the “wrong” kind of Muslims out into the middle of nowhere only to gun them all down. It’s a peculiar view to hold when ISIS boastfully beheads two American citizens, just because they’re American (and Islamists do love their beheadings). It’s a peculiar view to hold when 11 commercial jets have gone missing from Libya, a country that Obama practically handed to the Islamists and one that still has in its soil the blood of a US Ambassador and three other Americans. It’s a peculiar view to hold when British and American Muslims, complete with British and American passports, are cheerfully heading off to join ISIS, knowing that they can and will, just as cheerfully, return home to blow up Americans.

One of my friends thinks Obama’s passive, sanguine attitude is difficult to reconcile with his fervent support of the Chicago way, complete with that whole thing about bringing a gun to a knife fight. I think the answer to this apparent conundrum may lie in something Ben Domenech wrote while commenting upon Hillary Clinton’s ridiculously strong corporate ties, something that seems to offend her Progressive followers not one whit (emphasis mine):

History may ultimately consider Obama’s 2008 nomination as a representation not of progressivism’s resurgent appeal, but as its death rattle—a speed bump along the way to the Democratic Party’s becoming a fully corporatist, Clinton-owned entity. In practice, the party now resembles a protection racket with an army of volunteers, with friends who never suffer and enemies who never relax. And who are those enemies? Not big business or Wall Street, which has paid their way to new alliances; not America’s insurers, whose products Democrats have made it illegal not to buy; not privacy-challenging government, which Obama has expanded to unprecedented degrees. No, the only enemies who really matter to today’s Democratic Party are those wayward intolerant social-policy traditionalists with their un-American views of religious liberty.

Hillary was deemed unacceptable in 2008 for being wrong on the top progressive priorities: the war and civil liberties. Now those priorities have shifted, and a candidate who voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act can denounce Edward Snowden as a lawbreaker without compunction. For today’s left, social progressivism is the glue that binds the whole project. It’s no accident that this is the one policy aspect on which Hillary has been forced into compliance: For her party, it is the only ideological position that really matters—everything else is window dressing. Hillary’s top five all-time donors are a perfect reflection of this: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the law firm DLA Piper, and—in the lone nod to ideology—EMILY’s List. There are few better representations of the factions that inform the Democratic Party’s policy priorities in the Clintonian age: Wall Street, big law, and puritanical social leftists, for whom the only non-negotiables are abortion, gay marriage, and free birth control.

The only thing missing from that trinity of abortion, gay rights, and birth control is race victimization. In other words, Progressives, from Obama on down, have met the enemy, and it is YOU. They’ve even got the t-shirt to show for it:

Rather get stopped by terrorists