The Bookworm Beat 6-8-15 — the “heat wave” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.

I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.

Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers

Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:

Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.

Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.

[snip]

While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.

Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”

Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.

“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”

He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”

Make it so, Captain Picard!  Make it so!!!

Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.

“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”

“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.

Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.

[snip]

The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.

[snip]

The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.

For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.

[snip]

All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.

Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.

At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.

As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”

It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.

Stay classy, United States Air Force

I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.

Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.

Here’s some good WWII social satire:

A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather

Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:

Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.

“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”

Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.

A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy

I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:

Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.

Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.

Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.

People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.

Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.

Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.

“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”

Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”

If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.

Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman

D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.

Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.

Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:

The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.

Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.

Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record

If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!

The Bookworm Beat 5-18-15 — the “but wait, there’s more!” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI’m still going through my emails and finding fabulous treasures. Let’s so how many I can fit into this post:

Revolutions always eat their own

Assuming one survives a revolution, one of the most enjoyable spectacles is seeing the second generation of revolutionaries turn on the first. Just today, there are two examples:

First, ardent Leftist, “Sovietologist,” and Duke University professor Jerry Hough, has suddenly found himself engaged in heated battle with the thought police he once counted as his allies. His sin? He pointed out, accurately enough, that once beleaguered Asians didn’t become victims, they became success stories, a transition blacks have utterly failed to make. He’s right, of course, but in typical narcissist fashion, he fails to understand that it was his political establishment that infantilized the black community.

Second, the feminists are turning on Obama. They’re not angry about his failure to pay women in his administration the same wages that he pays men. Noooo. His sin is microaggression: He called a woman by her first name. This kerfuffle, which is a delight to watch, gave Glenn Reynolds the opportunity to introduce USA Today readers to the noxiousness of identity politics.

California: from Golden State with a Golden Gate to a Democrat rust belt

Over the past twenty or thirty years, the California legislature has worked diligently to turn California into a third world country. It’s quixotic stand against non-existent climate change is just one manifestation of that insanity, although it may be the most damaging yet. Joel Kotkin explains.

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 5-18-15 — “clearing out my inbox” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingNo, you’re not imagining it. Yes, I have been AWOL. The legal work has finally tapered off, but other things have filled the vacuum, taking up both my time and energy. Some of them are very nice things but, much as I love you all, I can’t share them here. And of course, some are just the ordinary stuff that makes up the life of someone who is both a mother and a daughter. During the time I’ve been AWOL, I’ve received quite a lot of very interesting links. Starting with this post, and continuing into others, I’d like to share them with you.

What Republican candidates should say on Iraq

Reporters are playing Iraq gotcha with the Republican candidates, although they’ve assiduously avoided asking Hillary any questions about the war even though she voted for the War. John Hinderaker has the perfect answer that Republican candidates should give when asked about the War:

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 5-5-15 — the Cinco de Mayo edition and open thread

Woman writingOnce again, my post caption is misleading. This post has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo. It just has to do with all the fascinating stories I’ve read in the last few days. These are in no particular order, so you’ll have to read all the way down to make sure you’ve gotten to all the good stuff.

The Leftist media lies and then lies some more

Often, what’s even more insidious than a flat-out lie is a statement that is a partial truth. It’s so much easier to deconstruct a total lie than to try to explain to someone where truth ends and deceit begins.

This week offered two posts that highlight the problem for those people unfortunate enough to get caught in the Leftist web of lies. The first is Sean Davis’s meticulous deconstruction of a “fact” checker’s desperate effort to cover for the Clintons after Davis, relying on tax returns, made the completely factual statement that

Between 2009 and 2012, the Clinton Foundation raised over $500 million dollars according to a review of IRS documents by The Federalist (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). A measly 15 percent of that, or $75 million, went towards programmatic grants.

Those numbers, drawn from the Clinton Foundation’s own returns, are absolutely correct. For Progressive PunditFact “fact checker” Louis Jacobson, the ultimate conclusion (i.e., that the Clintons are scam artists) was unbearable, so he retreated to the Lefts’ favorite redoubt when in danger: “truthiness” or that other stand-by “fake but accurate,” with its necessary corollary “accurate but false.”

In an unsolicited April 28 e-mail to me, PunditFact author Louis Jacobson told me unequivocally that the demonstrably factual claim he was examining was “clearly accurate” and “technically true.” But today, Jacobson declares, that fact is suddenly “Mostly False.”

Davis woodsheds Jacobson so thoroughly that, if Jacobson hadn’t proven himself to be an amoral political hack, I might have felt sorry for him. As it is, he had it coming:

[Read more…]

Muslims aren’t the only ones engaged in an all-out War against Christianity

Weyden_DepositionReligion is in the news a lot lately. All around the world, in what I’m sure is just a bizarre coincidence, masses of people who just happen to be Muslim (and proudly say so) are busily decapitating people, shooting people, raping people, burning people, and stoning people — all of whom, I’m sure coincidentally, happen to be Christian. In the same way, I’m sure we shouldn’t make anything of the fact that these same Muslim co-religionists have developed a nasty habit of throwing men who are allegedly gay off the tops of buildings and then, should these men survive the fall, stomping them to death. In the Venn diagram of faith and behaviors, are intellectual masters in the media repeatedly warn us that we shouldn’t read too much into the fact that Islam has a near perfect overlap with psycho-sexual murder and sadism.

In yet another bizarre coincidence, America’s Progressives have also engaged in a religious war and they too have targeted Christians. You see, Christians have this freaky idea, rooted in who knows how many totally useless and forgettable tens-of-thousands of years of biology, that men and women somehow complement each other, and that faith and society thrive when they support that complementary quality.

Clearly, this pathetic Christian attempt to tie together science and faith is a bad idea. These Christians should leave the science to Progressives, who understand complicated things like Climate Change — and silly skeptics have to understand that it requires superior mental skills to engage with a scientific principle that has as a defining characteristic the fact that none of the data supports any of the predictions. It takes a real scientist to make sense of this mess and to elevate the predictions over the data. (Shhhh! Don’t tell the Progressives, but that belief system sounds remarkably like . . . faith, and a pretty shoddy faith at that.)

Anyway, the Progressive war against Christians in America thankfully hasn’t yet reached the level of beheadings, rapes, and crucifixions. It seems stuck on a remarkably powerful form of stupid. Normally, stupidity shouldn’t be that powerful, but the Progressives have an arrow in their quiver that doesn’t exist in the massacred Middle East, not to mention large swaths of Africa. The secret weapon here is the Christians themselves, many of whom have obsequiously load pulled the rope to raise the blade in the guillotine in the hope that, when that blade finally falls, their necks aren’t the ones in its path.

I have the perfect exhibit today to illustrate that Christian appeasement principle. It’s a sign on a church in Mill Valley. The picture quality is poor, but I think you get the drift:

Marin Church supports gay marriage

“Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine!”

You really have to think that through a couple of times in order to appreciate it: In one of the most affluent, educated communities in America, the argument for gay marriage is that “Jesus had two fathers.” Really? This is the best that America’s Leftist theologians can do? They reduce the entire Old Testament to a statement that Jesus is the product of a same sex marriage — and wow! He was the Son of God. Who knows what’s going to happen once gay marriage is legal? Obama had better start worrying about having competition for his messiah status.

But why stop at attacking the church just because it has this old-fashioned idea about the sanctity of the biologically complementary male-female relationship, and its role in the perpetuation of humankind?  In an article that passed under my radar when it first came out in December 2014, Salon’s resident anti-religion writer, Valerie Tarico, explains what really powers Christianity —   rape.

Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

[snip]

Though the earliest Christians had a competing story, in the Gospel of Luke, the Virgin Mary gets pregnant when the spirit of the Lord comes upon her and the power of the Most High overshadows her.

[snip]

The impregnation process may be a “ravishing” or seduction or some kind of titillating but nonsexual procreative penetration. The story may come from an Eastern or Western religious tradition, pagan or Christian. But these encounters between beautiful young women and gods have one thing in common. None of them has freely given female consent as a part of the narrative. (Luke’s Mary assents after being not asked but told by a powerful supernatural being what is going to happen to her, “Behold the bond slave of the Lord: be it done to me . . .”)

Although Tarico is careful to prove her intellectual bona fides by talking about all sorts of rapes in Greek, Roman, and Hindu mythology, Salon’s editors provided the appropriate illustration so that readers would fully understand that the article is meant to be an attack on that most rapey of all modern religions — Christianity:

Salon article illustration of Virgin Mary

Salon article illustration of Virgin Mary

(Keep in mind that, even as Salon made sure Americans knew that Christianity is the rapey religion, the real rapes, the ones involving actual violent sexual penetration against children and women, were taking place everywhere that ISIS and Boko Haram and other misbegotten fundamentalist Christians sects were on the move.)

One can’t help wonder whether that Marin church boasting about Jesus’s two dads fully understood that one of them — the divine one — was a wild-eyed rapist, probably indistinguishable from that wild-eyed, and of course totally imaginary, group of rapists at UVa a couple of months ago.

Jews and Christians are in the cross hairs good and proper.  The Muslim war against Jews is reaching peak ferocity in its battle against Israel, which has spilled into virulent anti-Semitism around the world, of the type not seen since the years before WWII.  Meanwhile, the companion Leftist war against Christians seems to be concentrating itself on the gay marriage issue, because the Left obviously feels that it has leverage on this issue.

I’ve quoted myself before on this subject and I’ll quote myself again.  This battle is not about whether, as a matter of civil law, states can decide what type of individuals can join together to get the benefit of various laws encouraging people to pair up.  If that were the case, the agitators would be working to do away with state issued “marriage” licenses and, instead, to have all state-sanctioned partnerships became “civil unions,” leaving marriage solely to the faithful.  I could live with that.

The various states could becoming laboratories, testing which unions best benefit society as a whole and, more specifically, the children raised within these many and varied unions.  (American black’s dire economic plight, combined with their propensity for violence, would seem to indicate that the current approach — 73% of black children are born out of wedlock — is not a good one.)  But that’s not the war the Left is fighting.  Its war is intended to bring down religion in America.

Back in March 2009, long before gay marriage got to the Supreme Court, I wrote:

As you know, one of my main reasons for supporting Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, was because I believe that move to redefine marriage has the potential to put the State and religion organizations — especially the Catholic church — into a head-on collision.

Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis.  What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages.  It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing it in the opposite way:  they say gay marriage as a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.

Keep in mind that, for Catholics, marriage isn’t just a white dress, cake and Mendelssohn’s wedding march.  Instead, it’s a sacrament.  A basic tenet of the religion is the joining of man and woman before God.

So imagine this scenario:  Two men go to the local Catholic parish and demand that it marry them.  The priest, sympathetic to their love for each other, nevertheless states that he cannot, at a purely religious level marry them.  The men turn around and sue the Church for violating their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly, the judicial system is called upon to examine doctrinal issues to determine whether they mesh with Constitutional issues.  It’s a scary scenario for anyone who takes seriously the principle that government may not interfere with religious doctrine.

Let me throw in one more recent Leftie poster to drive home the point that this is an all-out war against Christianity, and it’s one that too many so-called Christian churches in America are unable or unwilling to fight. Keep in mind as you look at the poster below that we already know from the IRS’s battle against conservative and pro-Israel groups, that the power to tax is the power to destroy — which is precisely why our Founders and previous American generations understood that the state cannot get its greedy financial talons into America’s churches, synagogues, temples, and, provided that they don’t abuse their First Amendment freedoms by preaching mass murder and treason, her mosques too:

Taxing churches

My annual Passover post, updated to reflect 2015’s scary realities

PassoverI first published a Passover post in March 2010, when Iran was in the news because of the Green Revolution. (By the way, Obama’s peculiar inaction then — that is, his unwillingness to side with the ordinary people against the Mullah’s tyranny — takes on a whole new meaning in light of the events of the past few weeks, doesn’t it?) I’m republishing that post here, although I’ve modified it substantially, especially at the end, to reflect today’s events:

***

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as the celebration of freedom (the world’s first and for a long time only successful slave revolt), and of justice and morality (the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people.  What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.  God, clearly, is a psycho killer who toys with Pharaoh the way a cat does with a mouse.

Some people have tried to explain away this part of the story by saying that it is simply dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger of the Jew’s escape from Egypt.  After all, if it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story.  You know, Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.”  That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, lacking in divine punch.  It’s much more exciting to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

This reasoning is silly.  There’s a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, despite an increase in the burdens placed upon his people.  A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on.  Pharaoh still held together his government.  The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever:  As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he was okay with the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him.  The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals.  It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and death stalked his own palace — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years.  Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII.  For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over.  Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him.  Rather than surrendering, Hitler and other Nazi leaders, secure in their protected homes and bunkers, were perfectly willing to see German overrun and its citizens killed.  Only when the death toll became too high, and it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, did the war on the continent finally end.

The same held true for the Japanese.  Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it.  Even the possibility that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so'; Truman was, after all, a moral man.  What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option.  Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman therefore had two choices:  another year of war, with the lost of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and at least 100,000 Japanese casualties.  Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, British, Australians and Dutch.  (One of those Dutch, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.)  The Japanese high command was Pharaoh.  No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path.  Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence?  As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly.  The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime.  That’s the problem with an evil regime.  If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder.  Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.

Iran is no different.  Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny.  The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.

This year, for the first time, we have to recognize that the reign of tyrants exists not just abroad, but at home too.  For  more than 200 years, we’ve felt comfortably insulted from tyranny because of our Bill of Rights.  That exquisite document doesn’t spell out the few limited rights citizens have if they’re lucky enough to have a merciful government.  Instead, it establishes that, barring those necessary powers that a government needs in order to provide a safe, stable haven in which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can thrive, citizens have a broad range of inherent rights that are inviolate.  Our constitutional government doesn’t give them, and it cannot take them away; they’re ours.

But what happens when we have a leader who refuses to recognize the Constitution?  A leader who complains that the Bill of Rights limits him?  A leader who ignores Supreme Court opinions curtailing his power grabs?  A leader who refuses to execute those laws that Congress passes, but instead drafts and executes  his own laws?  A leader who spies on his people, while amassing a growing number of secrets around himself and his cronies?  A leader who relentlessly uses Leftist shibboleths to undermine our constitutional military?  A leader who single-handedly, without  help even from his own political party, hurls America into an alliance with an apocalyptic, tyrannical theocracy that is dedicated to annihilating the world’s only Jewish nature and driving America to her knees?  A leader who has a compliant media that takes upon itself the job of destroying his enemies and promoting his aggregation of power?

What happens then?  The answer is that you cease to have a constitutional system predicted upon individual liberty arising from natural rights.  And slowly at first, but with increasing speed, like a snowball gathering mass as it rolls downhill, you suddenly find that you’re the one laboring on the pyramids under the overseers’ lash, while Pharaoh Obama and his cronies, having insulated themselves from the wrath of the people, take your sweat and your blood as their natural due.  And believe me, a few red-running rivers or locust-clogged fields are not going to stop the Obamites, even on that unlucky day when Iran’s hordes flow through America’s already open borders.

But it needn’t be all doom and gloom.  Denial is powerlessness.  Recognizing danger and reacting to it is strength.  Don’t be cowed.  Know your principles, state them with clarity if need be (and my real-me Facebook friends know that I do that with increasing frequency even here in Marin), and never give up hope because, without hope, we are nothing but base animals, lacking the divine spark that makes us human.

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Passover.  Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be painfully high, our ultimate goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Just Because Music: The Maccabeats’ “Dayenu”

Dayenu is a traditional Passover song that’s more than 1,000 years old.  It’s one of those songs that, like The Old Lady Who Swallowed The Fly, keeps having longer and longer verses. In the case of Dayenu, the ever-lengthening verses add up God’s Passover miracles. After every verse comes the chorus: “Dayenu” — “it [that miracle or those miracles]” would have been enough. If you don’t know Hebrew, though, the song can get really bogged down. Alternatively, you can hand the task of singing it over to the Maccabeats:

[VIDEO] Why are Jews still voting for Democrats?

Kippah for ObamaProbably the question asked of me most frequently, both on my blog and by conservatives here in the Bay Area, is “Why do Jews keep voting for Democrats, when Democrats are increasingly hostile to Jews and Israel?” There are two answers. The first is the one grounded in history, the one that saw naive Jews thinking that the uniting workers of the world would stand side-by-side with Jews against the slights and pogroms and poverty. For far too many Jews, voting Left (and, in America, that means Democrat) is simply an unthinking historic tradition.

The second answer is that Jews in America have supplanted the Torah with the Democrat Party platform.  It’s this second answer that Ben Shapiro expands upon in this excellent video:

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The Bookworm Beat 1/19/15 — abbreviated version and Open Thread

Woman writingAt a lawyer level, this has been a somewhat frustrating day, with me struggling to fit my facts (always true and honest ones) to the law (which sometimes refuses to cooperate), capped by a power outage that lost me an hour of time. Add to that the usual cries for attention from family, and I’m feeling a little . . . ummm, stressed. Still, I have stuff I want to share with you, so let me whip through it:

Chilling look into the near future at what the next school attack might look like

Mike McDaniel, who blogs at Stately McDaniel Manor, has looked at past school shootings, both at home and abroad, and come up with a possible scenario for the next assault on an American school. I don’t doubt that he’s accurately predicting a possible American future unless we take steps now to head it off.

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A video and a cartoon that succinctly describe jihad’s twin attacks on Free Speech and on Jews

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Jews killed over freedom of existence

And as an added bonus, a quotation from Richard Fernandez:

The two suspects cornered in a building are sending a message with their unyielding violence that the political establishment has failed to understand. Multiculturalism is dead. Not because the Europeans have rejected it, but because the Muslims have. A friend of mine asked “is this all our mighty civilization has come to? Candles, flowers and hashtags?”

“For some,” I answered, “that would be bingo, bingo and bingo.”

Apropos the video, I found it through a young Marine friend of mine — not Jewish — who now subscribes to all sorts of Israel lists as he tries to rally his friends to the cause of liberty. Two years ago, he wouldn’t have cared. Now he does. That’s one more person the side of angels.

Some of America’s ugliest antisemitism comes from young Hollywood Jews (language warning)

James Franco Comedy Central RoastI recently found myself watching 2013’s “Comedy Central Roast of James Franco.” It was a deeply disturbing experience.

The last time I watched a roast was sometime in the 1970s. My father loved those old Dean Martin celebrity roasts.  They were intended to be PG, which meant that the insults were pretty gentle and none were obscene. The celebrities were ribbed about such things as peculiar mannerisms, spending habits, silly clothes, and G-Rated womanizing.

Racism or crude sexual uniform were never part of these roasts.  Instead, the roasts relied on the same ecumenical comedy that characterized most of television from I Love Lucy through to the Archie Bunker sea-change in the early 1970s: the humor was intended to apply in some way to all Americans. Even ethnic humor — Jewish or African-American or Asian — was homogenized and made into universal truisms about human nature.

The James Franco roast was something altogether different. For one thing, it was incredibly obscene (which is pretty much to be expected of anything shown on premium cable channels). Practically every other word seemed to be an expletive related to scatology or sex. As for the sexual references, in the first 30 minutes (after which I felt so slimed I checked out), all were directed at Franco’s allegedly homosexual habits. (Film clips show Franco enthusiastically french-kissing men; Wikipedia indicates that his private life is heterosexual.) You can see examples here, here, here, and here.

To the extent that these comments about homosexuality were all meant to insult Franco, it surprised me a lot that the roast wasn’t roundly castigated as homophobic. It was after all the adult version of that middle school insult “You’re gay!” That statement, of course, is deemed “bullying” and “homophobic” and apt to get the youthful transgressor who hurled such an insult instantly incarcerated in the Dan Savage Re-education Academy.

Admittedly, this kind of crude sexual joking is a staple in films (leaving one to wonder why Leftists are always “shocked! shocked!” when it shows up in schools).  What isn’t a film staple, however, is the oozing, rank antisemitism the roasters displayed. It’s important to understand the context for these jokes: most of the people on the stage, and most (although not all) of the people making these antisemitic jokes, are Jewish. Franco himself is Jewish, but so are Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, and Nick Kroll, among others.

Of course, Jews have always been famous for aiming jokes at themselves. Just as Yiddish is a language awash in unique words describing the human condition, so too are Jewish jokes heavy on describing the various types you’ll find in closely confined communities, whether in the shtetl or the ghetto.

A few things characterize the classic Jewish jokes. First, as originally told, they were by Jews, about Jews, and for Jews. Second, they have a gentle quality. They recognize the humanity of their subjects, even if the subject is the over-selling matchmaker, the con artist, or the loser. Third — and this flows directly from the humanity in the jokes — is that many of them have an underlying admiration for the man who can make money despite crippling prejudice; the matchmaker who never loses faith in the importance of the covenant between man and woman; the con man who lives on his wits, rather than being a crude, strong-arm crook; and the nebbish, who is, in so many ways, every man.

To illustrate my point, here are just a few jokes from that marvelous compendium, Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish:

The pedestrian said to the schnorrer (“an impudent indigent,” among other meanings): “Give you a nickel? Why? Why don’t you go to work? You’ve got the arms and legs of a horse!”

“Ha!” cried the schnorrer. “For one lousy nickel, am I supposed to cut off my limbs?”

***

A nebech (or nebbish, the everyman who makes his own misery) pulled into a parking place on a busy street in Tel Aviv. Along came a policeman.

“Is it all right to park here?” asked the nebech.

“No,” said the cop.

No? But look at all those other parked cars! How come?”

“They didn’t ask.”

***

And the nebech’s partner in crime, the shlemiel; or, as the saying goes, “A shlemiel is always knocking things off a table; the nebech always picks them up.”

A shlemiel came to his rabbi, distraught. “Rabbi, you’ve got to advise me. Every year my wife brings forth a baby. I have nine children already, and barely enough money to feed them — Rabbi, what can I do?”

The sage thought not a moment. “Do nothing.”

***

The shadchen (matchmaker) was impressing the young man with the boundless virtues of a female, and ended: “And to look at, she’s a regular picture.”

The young man could not wait for his blind date.

But when he accosted the shadchen the next day, his voice was frosty: “Her eyes are crossed, her nose is crooked, and when she smiles one side of her mouth goes down….”

“Just a minute,” interrupted the shadchen. “Is it my fault you don’t like Picasso?”

Those Jewish jokes — told by Jews and about Jews — are not vicious. They speak to universal archetypes, and they do so with fondness, even love. Contrast them with just a few of the jokes told at the James Franco roast, one that saw Hollywood Jews perform for all of America. I’ve copied these jokes verbatim from sites celebrating how “funny” they are, so my apologies for their awful language and crude antisemitism:

King of Hollywood: [about The Guilt Trip] Listen, if I wanted to watch two ugly Jews weaving through traffic, I’d watch Seinfeld’s web series.

***

Nick Kroll: Many of you might not know that Seth has a writing and directing partner named Evan Goldberg. What does this other guy look like that you’re the face of the operation? I assume he’s like a sweaty Orthodox Jew eating a pastrami sandwich, and he said [scrunching up his face and using a thick Yiddish accent] “I did nine dick jokes on page four, and I was thinking that the guys are friends, and then they’re not friends, and at the end of the movie, they’re friends again.”

***

Sarah Silverman: I can’t tell if this is the dais or the line to suck Judd Apatow’s balls. This dais is so Jewey. What is this, the Comedy Central audit of James Franco?

***

Sarah Silverman: Jonah is such a Jewy dick, you have to watch his movies through a hole in a sheet.

***

Nick Kroll: “James Franco is truly our generation’s James Dean. So handsome that you forget he’s only been in two good movies. Dean, of course, died at the tender age of 24 sparing himself the embarrassment of writing self-indulgent short stories and getting roasted by a bunch of jealous Jew monsters.

***

Nick Kroll: “Seth Rogen is so Jewish.”
Crowd: “How Jewish is he?”
Nick Kroll: “Seth Rogen is so f***ing Jewish… Anyway, it’s great to be here.”

These awful “jokes” are just the ones that internet publications deemed amongst the funniest things the assembled “comedians” said. There were more, and they were all in the same vein, saying horrible things about Jews. None of them gently laugh at the human condition. None offer insight into human foibles or human decency. All play into the most vile stereotypes about Jews: Jews are ugly, Jews sweat and stink, Jews are obsessed with sex, Jews are eaten by jealousy, and Jews are simply “f***ing.”

These jokes are a primer in self-loathing.  They perfectly reflect the Stockholm Syndrome that has overtaken America’s Progressives Jews.  These young Jews — who are amongst the most recognizable people in America, and have become power brokers in Hollywood — have internalized all of the worst stereotypes about Jews.  They believe this of themselves.

Moreover, as is often the case with people who perceive themselves as defective, they’re trying desperately to be the first to insult themselves, relieving the “normal” person with nothing left to say.  (Sarah Silverman’s stories of her horrific childhood bear out this theory about beating yourself first, before someone else does it.)

This technique is useful insofar as it means that you — the “defective” one — don’t have to hear someone else say something loathsome about you.  It fails utterly, however, when it comes to defusing or destroying the prejudice and hatred.  Those are still out there, hanging in the air, only you’ve become your own executioner.  The hater, by leading you to internalize the hate and then voice your self-hatred, has made you complicit in your own destruction.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I felt slimed listening to the grotesque, obscene, scatological, salacious and antisemitic effluvia that flowed from these young “entertainers.”  I was also deeply, deeply saddened.  This is where 50 years of the Leftists’ grand march through American culture has left us.  Jews once thought they were special.  They were God’s chosen people and the people of the Book, bringing justice and morality to the world.  They may have been in the ghetto, but they were not of the ghetto.

Today, America’s most fortunate young Jews lack this cultural confidence.  They find themselves disgusting.  They ‘re not just of the ghetto.  They are the miserable filth lying in the ghetto’s gutters. To cleanse themselves of that stain, they commit ritual seppuku on TV and movie screens across America and across the world.

(NOTE:  I know that some of these Jews, such as Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen, support Israel, and for that I am grateful.  Having said that, you don’t support the pro-Israel cause by constantly demeaning and stereotyping the Jewish people.)