The Bookworm Beat 1/8/16 — the “world gone mad” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I don’t know how this happened, but in just three days of collecting articles on my cyber-spindle, I’ve managed to gather together almost thirty solid links I want to share with you. No time for chat, therefore; instead, I’ll plunge straight into my fascinating “world gone mad” edition:

If you only have time to read two things today

This is a meaty round-up. If you don’t have time to pursue all these links, I recommend two articles, both of which say things we already now, but each of which expresses those ideas with such clarity that you must read them:

1. Noemi Emery’s Obama’s Pass From The Press.

2. Kevin Williamson’s Mrs. Clinton is Professor Click.

The danger to America from Obama’s unconstitutional efforts to grab guns

Mike McDaniel didn’t need to hear Obama’s tearful press conference to know what was coming down the pike. Before Obama even opened his mouth, Mike spelled out the benefits of having a civilized and armed society, as well as the constitutional limitations Obama planned to (and did) blow past on his way to gun confiscation.

I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that Obama lied about guns in America

Oh, and just about everything Obama said during the press conference was a lie.

Indeed, the very first lie was about those 30,000 deaths annually, with the implication that these are 30,000 annual gun homicides. There aren’t:

At a Jan. 4 press conference, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, exclaimed that “30,000 gun deaths in America” was enough evidence for the administration to push past Congress to establish laws to combat gun violence.

“Thirty thousand gun deaths in America every year. Twenty thousand children under the age of 18 have been killed by a firearm over the last decade. Hundreds of law enforcement officers that have been shot and killed over the last decade. And in the face of all these statistics, what’s Congress done?” Earnest asked.

However, Earnest’s efforts backfired when Emily Miller, a reporter for WTTG and author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun,” noted that 20,000 of those deaths were due to suicide.

Obama also ignore yet another truth: guns don’t just take lives, they save lives. It’s really beyond me why the NRA and other special interest groups don’t track down every single person who lives today because a gun protected him (or her) and have that person do a commercial: “Hi, my name is ___________. I’m here today because a legal gun saved my life. [Tell story.]” Finish with glowing images of survivor surrounded by happy loved ones.  These commercials should flood every type of media:  Television, print, and internet.

Was Paul Ryan more Machiavellian than we realized?

Conservatives in America were deeply disappointed when Paul Ryan pushed through a budget that fulfilled every Democrat’s dream. What the heck was he thinking?

What he might have been thinking about was repealing Obamacare. According to Rick Moran, the recent vote to repeal Obamacare was only possible because of the Ryan budget:

The key to this vote was getting a budget bill passed. Once that happened, reconciliation came into play – the first time since Obamacare was passed and Republicans were in the majority. Of course, there aren’t the votes to override the president’s veto, but the path forward for the people to take back control of their health insurance options has been cleared.

The question remains whether, over the long run, the Ryan budget will do more good than harm.

Culture can be a source for good

In America, of late, popular culture hasn’t done much for the public weal. It’s therefore nice to be reminded that something as simple as a song can be a source of profound good — as was the case with a Yiddish song that powered Jewish partisans during WWII, and that has frequently been recorded since then.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

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“O, Holy Night” — a beautiful song and a stark reminder of the differences between Christianity and Islam

Wedgwood slave am I not a man and a brotherOne of the things that makes me crazy when I read through my real-me Facebook feed — which is primarily populated by liberals, given my West Coast upbringing and residence — is the constant insistence that Christianity and Islam are basically the same, with each being equally likely to result in religious terrorism. The fact that Christians in the West abandoned religious wars more than 400 years ago doesn’t bother these moral relativists. All religions are equal and all religions are, at heart, bad.

That’s the background to my listening to Josh Groban’s O, Holy Night and really paying attention, not just to his lovely voice and the beautiful melody, but to the words themselves. The words that Groban sings in this transcendent Christmas hymn are an abridged, slightly modified version of the lyrics that John Sullivan Dwight, a Unitarian minister, wrote in 1855. Dwight’s words, in turn, are a rough translation of the original French verse, Cantique de Noël, which dates back to 1847. In other words, they are the distillation of Christianity after the Dark Ages, after the Middle Ages, after the Crusades, after the Renaissance, after the Great Awakening, and after the Enlightenment.  They are the distillation of the Christian experience in Europe and America.

I know I posted this video the other day, but let me post it again today, with special attention to the lyrics:

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The Bookworm Beat 11-29-15 — the “tidy office-tidy mind” edition

Woman-writing-300x265Inspired by Marie Kondo’s advice that true organization begins with throwing out everything that is neither useful nor sentimental, I am continuing to plow through every nook and cranny in my house. This is the first organization system that’s made sense to me, which is why I haven’t already given up and relapsed into my usual vaguely tidy-looking mess. My mind is also a vaguely tidy-looking mess, but  it’s still yielded these interesting links:

Ignore people who tell you Cruz is divisive and uncooperative

According to those rooting for candidates other than Ted Cruz, he’s an arrogant blowhard who won’t play well with others.  In fact, Cruz’s work history proves that the opposite is true:

At the FTC, Cruz’s agenda could have been written by Milton Friedman.

Cruz promoted economic liberty and fought government efforts to rig the marketplace in favor of special interests. Most notably, Cruz launched an initiative to study the government’s role in conspiring with established businesses to suppress e-commerce. This initiative ultimately led the U.S. Supreme Court to open up an entire industry to small e-tailers. Based on his early support of disruptive online companies, Cruz has some grounds to call himself the “Uber of American politics.”

Moreover, and perhaps surprising to some, Cruz sought and secured a broad, bipartisan consensus for his agenda. Almost all of Cruz’s initiatives received unanimous support among both Republicans and Democrats.

Ted Cruz a consensus-builder? He was, at the FTC.

Read the rest here.  Cruz has the chops to make the best kind of President:  True conservative values, love for America, phenomenal intelligence, and the ability to work and play well with others.

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Stuck on Stupid: Progressive Facebook edition (Part 2)

facebook-thumbs-downIt’s not a very deep dive to plumb the depths of Leftist intellectual positions on most issues, but it’s still a worthwhile exercise to expose the fallacies that they use to try to dominate the debate on pressing issues — with the most pressing issue being whether to admit Syrian refugees.  The easiest place for me to find examples of Leftist thought is my Facebook feed. Because I’ve spent my life in Blue enclaves, almost all of my friends — and they are really nice people in day-to-day interactions — are Progressives.  It gives me pleasure to deconstruct some of their more foolish or vicious posters:

I have to admit that these first two posters are my favorite “stupid Progressive Facebook” posts.  Because Thanksgiving is coming up, both chide anti-refugee conservatives for forgetting that the first Thanksgiving came about because the indigenous people in North America extended a welcoming hand to European immigrants.

Whenever I’ve seen one of these posters pop up on my Facebook feed, I’ve left a polite comment to the effect that we all learned in public school (thanks to Howard Zinn and others) that the Europeans, once having gotten a foothold in North America, promptly turned around and murdered as many Native Americans as possible. If they couldn’t murder them, they dispossessed them of their land and otherwise marginalized them.  There’s certainly a lesson to be learned here but the lesson isn’t to welcome refugees, it’s to cry out “For God’s sake, don’t let them in!”

Indians refusing pilgrims

Pilgrims should be supportive of immigration

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Voices from the dead — first contact stories from those who survived the Holocaust

Auschwitz survivorsAt the end of 1945, my mother, who spent the war years in a Japanese concentration camp in Indonesia, was repatriated to her former home in Palestine at the end of 1945. (Her story is here.) Once her health recovered, she joined the Haganah and was assigned the job of helping to bypass the British blockade stopping Holocaust survivors from coming to the renewed Jewish homeland that the British had promised them.

Some of these survivors were utterly alone in the world. Others had family that had already arrived in Palestine, either before or after the war. My mother’s job was to deliver this second class of survivor to those relatives.

Mom, who had spent almost four years witnessing and experiencing Japanese atrocities, was left utterly shattered by one of these encounters. She knew that she was taking a young Polish man to his mother. Because of the language barrier, however, my mother did not know that the man’s mother, like her son, was herself a camp survivor who had arrived in Palestine only a short time before. This woman therefore fully understood what happened in the camps, and had resigned herself to the fact that she would never again see her family. Had Mom had this information, she might have been able to soften the impact that seeing her living son had on the woman.

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The Bookworm Beat 10-29-15 — the spindle overload edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265So much to share with you (23 separate articles at last count) and so little time. I’ll therefore get right down to business and you might want to give yourself some time to review all these fascinating articles at your leisure:

Another pundit figures out Cruz might be the man

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I support Ted Cruz, and have done so since he took a stand on Obamacare. Ross Douthat (whose writing I respect) has suddenly realized that those of us who support Ted Cruz might be on to something.

Ted Cruz makes sense on taxes

Certainly Ted Cruz’s flat tax plan ought to help people realize that he’s offering genuine change for the better, not just platitudes and painful socialism. Heck, you’d think that all Americans would support a candidate who wants to deep six, or at least severely de-fang, the IRS and, in doing say, make our tax system fairer and make doing business in America more tempting for both American and foreign corporations.

Daniel Greenfield waxes eloquent on the heckler’s veto that is Islam’s stock in trade

After clearing his throat about the Obama administration’s despicable pandering to Palestinian terrorists, along with its sickening chastisement of Israel (this from an administration that would never dare blame the victim if a drunk woman walked naked through a biker’s bar), Daniel Greenfield gets to the real point, which is the fact that the West lets the mere threat of Islamic anger paralyze it.

The world’s one billion Muslims, whose delicate emotions are always infuriated by something, enforce an Islamic status quo in which no non-Muslim dares to violate the Muslim superiority complex.

[snip]

Some might say that the billion Muslims are just looking for things to get angry at… but that would just make a billion Muslims angry.

When buildings fall or buses blow up, when people are stabbed, shot or exploded by the unofficial representatives of the bilious billion, we go right past the crime to the anger that motivated it. “Why do they hate us?” becomes the question and Muslim anger becomes the pivot of national security policy.

Since Muslim anger causes violence, we stop terrorism by tiptoeing around anything that might make them angry. Minor things mostly like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. If you’re a Coptic Christian who makes a YouTube video about Mohammed, you can be sent to prison when some of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda locals murder four Americans while shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

After weeks of brutal Muslim murders, Kerry has gotten Israel to reinforce a ban on Jews praying at the holiest site in Judaism because it offends Muslims. Next up, maybe Jews will be restricted to the seventh step of the Cave of the Patriarchs again. Because that was the “Status Quo” under the Muslim conquest.

As my lengthy quotation in this “quick hits” round-up reveals, Greenfield’s article falls into the must-read category.

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The Bookworm Beat 10-27-15 — “it’s just another day” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’ve been going through my emails, with 200 down, 300 or so yet to go. Even though I’m only less than halfway through, I’ve discovered marvelous articles hiding in my email box thanks to friends from all over.

Did Merkel unilaterally doom Europe?

We no longer subscribe to the great man or great woman school of history. We’ve also abandoned the notion of high tragedy arising from the hubris of said great men or women. Perhaps, though, it’s time for us to revive that genre.

Daniel Greenfield convincingly argues that Germany’s Angela Merkel, with her mad plan to replace her country’s shrinking, aging population with Muslim refugees, will have single-handedly done to Europe what generations of Muslim conquerors have tried to do, which is to turn it into a part of the global Caliphate:

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Fun with fools — another “Found it on Facebook” edition, with help from my Progressive friends

I had so much fun the last time I deconstructed the analytically and factually foolish posters I found on the Facebook pages of my many, many Leftist friends, that I thought I’d do it again.  As before, my commentary is below each poster:

Jimmy Carter Humility Grace Courage

I’ll Yid with Lid the floor on this one.  He describes how he tried to feel true compassion for Carter when the former President announced his cancer.  Unfortunately, Carter sank to his usual depths:

I pretty much decided I would keep silent. Especially when he started his press conference on Friday revealing that the horrible disease had spread to his brain. Well—that was until a reporter asked him what he would like to see happen before he died, and when he answered the former president slandered the Jewish State (see video below):

In international affairs I would say peace for Israel and its neighbors. That has been a top priority for my foreign policy projects for the last 30 years. Right now I think the prospects of are more dismal than anytime I remember in the last 50 years. Practically, whole process is practically dormant. The government of Israel has no desire for two-state solution, which is policy of all the other nations in the world. And the United States has practically no influence compared to past years in either Israel or Palestine. So I feel very discouraged about it but that would be my number one foreign policy hope.

Perhaps it’s all the Times he met with Hamas, ignoring their terrorism and declaring they want peace that has clouded Mr. Carter’s memory.  But the Author of a book with a title calling the Jewish State an apartheid nation forgets history.  The truth is that the last Israeli Premier who did not support a two state solution was Yitchak Rabin. Every prime minister since Peres, Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Comb-over...er Olmert, every single one of them declared their goal was a two state solution. Heck under Barack and Olmert, the Palestinians were offered deals which gave them 98% of what they wanted and each time they said no.  On the other hand even years after Rabin shook the hands of the terrorist Arafat the Palestinians refuse to recognize the sovereign Jewish State of Israel.

So why would Jimmy Carter take the time to slander the Jewish State at the same time he was announcing the graveness of his illness.  That’s easy, Carter hates Jews.  (Emphasis in original.)

Read more about the utterly despicable Carter here.  I don’t hope for him an agonizing death or anything like that.  But honestly compels me to say that I will be delighted when he is no longer around to slander the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

The fact is that antisemitism is a pretty damn good test of a person’s moral decency — antisemites have none, and Carter is not an honorable, decent man.  He is, instead, a national embarrassment who didn’t have the decency to retire following his utterly ignominious presidency, one plagued by failure, both at home and abroad.  The only thing that saves him from being the worst president ever is Obama’s presidency.  Carter managed to survive long enough to be succeeded by a man even more of an antisemite and failure than Carter himself.  What a sad record for American politics.

The other people did it too defense to Hillary's wrongdoing

I love the moral equivalency here:  Bush and Cheney’s campaign deleted lots of emails, so Hillary didn’t do anything that wrong!

In fact, the RNC did delete a whole bunch of emails in 2007, and they did so in violation of the Hatch act, but the equivalency ends there.  The Bush emails were purely political in nature (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):

The Bush White House email controversy surfaced in 2007 during the controversy involving the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. Congressional requests for administration documents while investigating the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys required the Bush administration to reveal that not all internal White House emails were available, because they were sent via a non-government domain hosted on an email server not controlled by the federal government. Conducting governmental business in this manner is a possible violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and the Hatch Act.[1] Over 5 million emails may have been lost or deleted.[2][3] Greg Palast claims to have come up with 500 of the Karl Rove lost emails, leading to damaging allegations.[4] In 2009, it was announced that as many as 22 million emails may have been deleted.[5]

The administration officials had been using a private Internet domain, called gwb43.com, owned by and hosted on an email server run by the Republican National Committee,[6] for various communications of unknown content or purpose. The domain name is an acronym standing for “George W. Bush, 43rd” President of the United States. The server came public when it was discovered that J. Scott Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, was using a gwb43.com email address to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorney for Arkansas.[7] Communications by federal employees were also found on georgewbush.com (registered to “Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc.”[8]) and rnchq.org (registered to “Republican National Committee”[9]), but, unlike these two servers, gwb43.com has no Web server connected to it — it is used only for email.[10]

The “gwb43.com” domain name was publicized by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who sent a letter to Oversight and Government Reform Committee committee chairman Henry A. Waxman requesting an investigation.[11] Waxman sent a formal warning to the RNC, advising them to retain copies of all emails sent by White House employees. According to Waxman, “in some instances, White House officials were using nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications.”[12] The Republican National Committee claims to have erased the emails, supposedly making them unavailable for Congressional investigators.[13]

On April 12, 2007, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel stated that White House staffers were told to use RNC accounts to “err on the side of avoiding violations of the Hatch Act, but they should also retain that information so it can be reviewed for the Presidential Records Act,” and that “some employees … have communicated about official business on those political email accounts.”[14] Stanzel also said that even though RNC policy since 2004 has been to retain all emails of White House staff with RNC accounts, the staffers had the ability to delete the email themselves.

I am not defending the fact that the Bush White House tried to avoid creating records.  It’s sleazy and the kind of thing one would expect from political operatives.  But come on, Progressive folks!  There is no indication whatsoever that what the White House did exposed America’s highest national security secrets to any Hacker who came along.  Nor is there any evidence that the Bush White House spoliated documents — which is what seems to have happened with Hillary and the State Department, which deliberate destroyed Benghazi records after Congress had called for their production.

Also, by 2007, when the Bush matter emerged, he was in the lame duck phase of his presidency.  There just wasn’t that much political hay to be made of it, so it vanished.  This time, however, we have a perennial presidential candidate who has been in the limelight for more than twenty-years and who, in that time, is consistently caught engaged in underhanded behavior.  Even if the behavior were morally equivalent (which I do not believe), the political implications are going to be different when the issues arise before a candidacy or at the end of an era.

But again, let me say the really important words that make what Hillary did so heinous:  NATIONAL SECURITY and SPOLIATION.  Bad Hillary!  Bad girl!

Curious antrhopogenic attack on Christianity

I adore my dog and my dog, being part chihuahua, adores me with reciprocal ferocity.  I would never confuse myself though into believing that my dog is a moral creature.  Perhaps I’m disgustingly anthropocentric, but I believe morality reflects conscious decisions, not instinct.  That a cat would rescue her kittens is a wonderful instinctive act completely consistent with Nature’s imperative for the continuation of a species.  But that cat did not sit there thinking about the value of her life, versus her kittens’ lives.  She just did what she needed.

Years ago, when my son was very little and announced that lions were bad because they hunted down zebras and gazelles, I said they weren’t.  “Bad” and “good” imply an ability to make choices about good and bad.  When a lion kills, it does so because it is programmed to do so.  Moral analysis is not involved.  My son, bless his heart, understood.  I sure wish the rabid anti-Christians out there had the intelligence of a bright three-year old.

Bernie on private prisons

I have one question:  Why is it obscene?  I understand that we want our judicial system to be from the government, because only the collective will and values of the people should be brought to bear in a criminal case — especially since the government, unlike a private corporation, is theoretically constrained by the Constitution when it comes to criminal process, up to and including sentencing.  But considering government’s gross inefficiencies, it would seem to me that (in theory at least) prisoners could fare just as well in a privately run jail, subject to government oversight and competing market forces, as they could in a government-run jail that answers only to itself, no matter how disgracefully managed it is.

What am I missing?

Warren Buffet against trickle down

There three things I find funny here.  First, Buffet imputes his selfishness to all, as well as confusing charity (which is an altruistic act) with investment (which is a theoretically selfish act that nevertheless yields benefit by pumping money and innovation into the market).  Second, Buffet, all historic evidence to the contrary, thinks that government will do a better job of creating wealth than private capitalism.  And third, Buffet hangs on to his money with a vengeance.  I think I’ll be waiting a long time if I expect Buffet to turn his fortune over to the government for the benefit of the people.

Chris Rock on racists and racism

Anyone see the logical fallacy here?  Rock doesn’t define the racists.  Ordinary people, the one’s who haven’t been brainwashed by our university systems, understand that racism, rather than being endemic in American culture, is almost nonexistent.  Our laws are color-blind and the American people will rarely be caught in acts of overt racism — unless you go trolling through the internet’s underbelly for the few KKK wackos, who lack political power or popular support.

In the absence of real racism, the racial justice hustlers are left with “microagressions” that any sentient being understands are faked in order to browbeat and blackmail (hah! racist pun!) ordinary people.  So, no, we don’t have to stop being “racist.”  We have to stop the race hustlers from lying about what and who we are so that ordinary Americans of all colors can get down to the business of living their lives without government intervention and hustler shakedowns.

As I discuss at greater length below, the problem with American blacks is almost certainly not too little government, but way, way too much. (I’ve also expanded on this thought in a number of prior posts, such as this one.)

African American males end up in jail

Bernie’s good at point out problems.  He’s right that it’s a disgrace that so many blacks end up in jail.  Of course, his solution is “Thank you, government. May I have another dose of toxic condescension” disguised as genuine welfare.  There’s a huge difference between a decent society’s obligation to care for its “widows and orphans” and a racist society’s efforts to keep blacks in perpetual servitude by convincing them that they are incapable of standing and accomplishing things on their own.”  Lyndon B. Johnson sure understood how welfare works, and it’s not for the black’s well-being that’s for sure:

Johnson on welfare and blacks

Keeping people dependent on the government never lets them develop beyond the infant stage. Depriving them of the right to bear arms keeps them at the mercy of criminals. And constantly telling them that, without the government, they are helpless victims would, if the government were a parent and the blacks a child, be parental abuse that everyone would recognize and decry.

American as a Christian nation

As always, you give the Left a little knowledge and it runs riot in ignorance.  While the Founders were adamant that the Federal government not replicate the British government by having a state religion and controlling how citizens worship, the Founders — including the merely “deist/theist” Jefferson — strongly believed that the nation could thrive only on a foundation of Judeo-Christian morality:

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” — Thomas Jefferson

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” — George Washington

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

Unsurprisingly, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, expressed most clearly the Founders’ belief (no matter their personal relationship to God) that, while the federal government could not be a religious institution, only a Godly people could handle the freedom their new nation gave them (emphasis mine):

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

Oh, and about that quotation attributed to Adams with regarding to the U.S. not being a Christian nation, the giveaway is that it was a part of the Treaty of Tripoli.  Anyone halfway conversant with that treaty (i.e., no Progressives) knows that this was a treaty signed with the Muslim pirates that the Marines defeated the “shores of Tripoli.”  The language was not a disavowal of Christianity but, instead, a reminder that America allowed all people to practice their religion freely, without state intervention (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):

Article 11 reads:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were “intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.” Lambert writes,

“By their actions, the Founding Fathers made clear that their primary concern was religious freedom, not the advancement of a state religion. Individuals, not the government, would define religious faith and practice in the United States. Thus the Founders ensured that in no official sense would America be a Christian Republic. Ten years after the Constitutional Convention ended its work, the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its negotiations would adhere to the rule of law, not the dictates of the Christian faith. The assurances were contained in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 and were intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.”[15]

The treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with only scant public dissent, most notably from William Cobbett.[16]

Michelle Bachmann great wall of China

I see this everywhere, and it’s a complete canard, one that could be advanced only by people who don’t know that Michele Bachmann has an LL.M. from William and Mary University.  I was going to add, as a prop to W&M, that it was Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater, but now that he’s been intellectually discredited on account of his owning slaves when doing so was still the norm, I guess that doesn’t help Bachmann.  But back to that stupid quotation:

Several readers asked us to look into whether Bachmann actually made the comments. We obliged and found no evidence backing the claim. We also reached out to Bachmann’s spokesperson, who said the former member of Congress never made the remarks.

[snip]

We also searched three comprehensive databases — Nexis and CQ, which aggregate transcripts, and Critical Mention, which records video and closed captioning — and found no record of Bachmann ever making those comments.

To our knowledge, she hasn’t appeared on Fox News since Trump announced his candidacy. She has commented on and praised Trump in several interviews on different networks, though she has never mentioned his wall proposal.

[snip]

We found no evidence that Bachmann ever said this, and her spokeswoman said she did not, in fact, say it. The meme seems to have satirical origins but is now being passed off as fact. We rate the statement Pants on Fire!

Bernie Sanders on Hitler's winHere’s the really interesting thing about Hitler’s win:  He never got more than 30% of the popular vote.  What Bernie doesn’t get is that the real problem with Hitler was his fascism — which is a form of socialism that, rather than nationalizing industry, merely co-opts it.  (I call this crony fascism, and it’s precisely what the Democrats under Obama have been doing for the last seven years.) The reality is that, once a leader and his party gain total control over all facets of government and the economy — which is precisely what Bernie wants to do — you have a recipe for tyranny and war.

Every time I find these posters, and then track down the facts or expose the logical fallacies, I am reminded again that, while I like my Progressive friends because they are, in day-to-day life kind and enjoyable people, when it comes to politics they are monomaniacs, and are precisely as crazy as the nice old lady down the street who lives an exemplary life and then, when she dies, is discovered to have believed that her home was Martian headquarters and that, in order to continue to placate them, her home must be left to her cars, whom the Martians worship.

Monomaniacs can be great people so long as you don’t find yourself dealing with their particular brand of insanity.

 

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:

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