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

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

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

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

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

I’m puzzled by Obama.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rather get stopped by terrorists

Does the apparently senile Jimmy Carter know anything about Islam?

Islam is premised upon Jihad — war.  It’s binary.  There’s either war against unbelievers or complete subordination to Allah.  What religion is Carter — an increasingly virulent anti-Semite who also seems to be declining quickly into a revolting old age — talking about?

For a more accurate view of Islam as Mohamed envisioned his faith, check out the Islamist fate dealt to Steven Sotloff, may he rest in peace:

P.S. Let me say that I know there are Muslims who do believe in peace, equality, etc., and God bless ‘em. They should be encouraged in their beliefs, and encouraged to start a reformation movement in their faith. I’m just saying that these “Enlightenment Muslims” (for want of a better term) are drawing those ideas from a source other than their religion.

Obama’s awful statement about James Foley was even worse than I predicted

Arrogant ObamaIn my post about James Foley’s execution at ISIS’s hands, I made some predictions about Obama’s eventual statement.  Let’s see how my prediction matches with reality.  First, my prediction:

Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Looking at Obama’s actual statement, it seems that I underestimated the man — and not in a good way. His statement was, if possible, worse than anything I imagined.

While I predicted that Obama would express sadness on his own behalf and on behalf of the American people, it turns out that Obama, still a legend in his own mind, felt called upon to speak on behalf of the entire world:

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL.

[snip]

Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world.

[snip]

The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.

I don’t want to be too pedantic, but I do feel it’s incumbent upon me to point out that large swaths of the Muslim world aren’t appalled at all by “Jim’s” death but are, instead, quite pleased. (And am I the only one who finds bizarre Obama’s faux familiarity with a man he never met, who died with a dignity that at least deserves the respect of his full name?)

Anywhere that there is radical Islamism and/or anti-Americanism you will find people celebrating the slaughter. Perhaps Obama has forgotten the spectacle of Gazans handing out candy when Americans died on 9/11 or of the 2000 Ramallah lynching that saw Muslims joyfully bathing their hands in the blood of murdered Israelis soldiers:

Ramallah lynching

So, no, Mr. President, the entire world is not “appalled,” and a big part of America’s problem lies in the fact that (a) you refuse to recognize that reality and (b) you think you speak for the world.

As I also predicted, Obama did issue a strongly worded condemnation of the killers, but he combined it with the second part of my prediction, which was his assurance that the killers, despite rejoicing under a name with the word “Islamic” in it, despite dedicating their acts to Allah, and despite self-identifying as Muslim are, in fact, not Muslims at all:

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. (Emphasis added.)

Does Obama actually believe this mush-brained babble? Does he actually think he’s the one who gets to define what constitutes Islam? If it’s good and harmonizes with his hard Left values, it’s Islam; if it’s bad and actually follows the word of the Prophet, and dedicates all acts to its religion, than Obama gets to say it’s not Islam. Obama seems to be arrogating an awful lot of godlike power to himself there.

What Obama should have done was to call on those humanists who practice Islam to join with him to call out those who have hijacked the religion to the most barbaric ends. The problem, of course, is that Obama may not want to reveal that, in answer to such a call, he might have ended up with a Muslim protest against radical Islam that looks just like this:

Muslims against ISIS

And lastly, as I predicted, Barack Obama promised that at some point in the future, America would finally begin to get angry and quite possibly do something, maybe:

The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.

Aside from vague promises that American would be vigilant, relentless and “see that justice is done” (or, according to my prediction,  “we’ll bring these killers to justice”), Obama actually demanded more from Middle Eastern nations than he did from himself:

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of this kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.

I don’t know about you, but considering that Islamism that has swept the Middle East on Obama’s watch; considering the aid he gave this Islamism, whether backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or weaponizing Muslims through illegal gun-running in Libya; and considering that Muslims and Arabs will always back the strong horse, which Obama is not, I do not see any of those nations heeding his call.  In fact, the only nation that was born heeding his call — that would be Israel — is the nation to which he is most obviously hostile.

Obama’s speech was, in a word, dreadful. Or appalling. Or disgraceful. Or awful. Or, or . . . well, you know what I mean. It was not the speech of a leader, and most certainly not the speech of the leader of a country that once was the most powerful country in the world.

Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt, a good Leftist who dreamed of a socialist structure in America, making such a mealy-mouthed statement if the Nazis, in 1940, had brutally, and publicly, executed an American citizen? I can’t even begin to create a satire, not only because I’m not good at that type of satire, but because my mind simply won’t bend to that kind of alternative history.

Obama then capped this utterly un-serious, meaningless, disrespectful (good ole “Jim”) speech by turning around and, with a big smile, yelling “Fore.”

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speech

Has there ever been a more feckless man in the White House? And has there ever been a more dangerous time in our nation’s history, when a manifestly deadly enemy has clearly announced its intention to kill us and destroy our nation, even as our leader refuses to acknowledge that enemy’s existence? And, moreover, even as our leader gets out his fiddle and plays away, watching the world burn?  If we’ve ever been at greater danger, not just from an enemy abroad, but from a Fifth Column leader at home, you’ll have to remind me, because my mind’s drawing a blank.

James Foley: The death of an honorable, deeply courageous man

James FoleyTom Rogan has very bravely done something I lack the courage to do: He watched the ISIS video of James Foley’s execution. (The video actually skips the complete execution, by going directly from the moment they begin sawing off Foley’s head to the moment when they place his head on the back of his body.  Still, it’s a snuff video and I am weak.) Watching that video, Rogan reached a conclusion about Foley, which was that he was an unusually courageous man:

Americans who want to see the gruesome video will see the courage of James Foley. They’ll bear witness to a man who, knowing he was about suffer a terrible fate, kept his voice firm in his final moments.

His death won’t be broadcast many places, but take my word for his final courage. As the terrorist moves his knife downwards, Foley grimaces but does not cry out. This, after all, is the man that he was, a man who faced great danger to bring knowledge to the world. After being imprisoned by Qaddafi loyalists for 44 days during the Libyan civil war, Foley returned to the country to finish his reporting. When asked why he did so, Foley offered a simple answer. “Why wouldn’t I go back? People had done so much for me back home. I was humbled, I felt indebted to them. [We] wanted to connect the dots; we wanted to finish that story.”

Read the entire homage here.

Foley’s death deserves more than the bland, meaningless ritualism Obama will offer. Sadly, though, I’m pretty darn certain that Foley will be just another in a long list of Americans that Obama has apparently willingly sacrificed on the Islamist altar, including an American ambassador.

(As an aside, to the extent the executioner is believed to be a former Gitmo detainee, is there meaning to the fact that Foley was clothed in orange, the color prisoners in Gitmo wear?)

America’s response to James Foley’s beheading, as it SHOULD be, and as it actually WILL be *UPDATED*

James FoleyWe are a tribal people, whether we like it or not. The brutal murder of thousands of Yazidis appropriately excites our horror and compassion, but the murder of reporter James Foley is a direct attack on us, rather than an attack on undeserving others. He is one of us: An American unless, that is, we have reached a narcissistic level of dissociation from our own roots.

Moreover, and maybe this is just me, but I believe that we as Americans react more viscerally to beheading than to other forms of execution. Beheading has never been an American way of death, something true long before our nation was created.  Whether through formal due process executions or brutal, on-the-street murders, we shoot, hang, electrocute, poison, strangle, etc., but only the most insane among us behead.

There is something deeply symbolic about beheading, insofar as it separates the essence of ourselves — the head, which is the seat of our thoughts and personality — from the vessel that enables the head to function. It is the form of death that erases us, something Americans have never countenanced.

Worse, it’s clear from the video that ISIS proudly made commemorating Foley’s slaughter, that Foley’s cruel death was preceded by psychological torture and threats. It’s true that countries such as England and France once routinely beheaded their prisoners, often after or along with brutal, sustained torture.  As they moved out of the Middle Ages and into the Enlightenment, however, they tried to beheading to effect it speedily and as painlessly as possible.  Recall that the guillotine, rather than being viewed as a torturous instrument of death, was seen as humane because it removed the risk of an executioner’s fumble or a prisoner’s involuntary movements.

ISIS, however, still has an early medieval sensibility that revels in the psychic cruelty of beheading.  Moreover, to the extent that they eschew swords, scimitars, or guillotines, opting instead to saw away at their victims’ neck with dull knives, they bring to the effort a cruelty would have been disturbing even to Europeans several hundred years ago.

So now what? What will be the aftermath of Foley’s terrible end?

When Daniel Pearl was brutally executed in exactly the same way, by a kindred entity, his execution was folded into the horrors of 9/11 and was part of the prelude to war. Under George Bush, the American mindset was “When you attack us and murder our people in the most brutal, painful, dehumanizing ways possible, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will come after you. You can run, but you can’t hide. ‘The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.’”

What can we expect from Barack Obama? Well, first, silence. As I write this, I’m under the impression that Obama has had nothing yet to say about the televised execution of an American citizen.

Second, Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Oh, one more thing! Michelle Obama may well chime in with a sad-faced Twitter photo, complete with hashtag. Maybe #RIPJamesFoley or #Don’tBeheadOurJournalists or something equally profound.

Obama’s passivity will do two things. It will reaffirm ISIS’s belief that it’s not even dealing with a paper tiger but, instead, is dealing with a paper crawling worm. It will also tell reporters around the world that their best protection isn’t to tell the truth about radical Islam, knowing that the western nations — especially America — will protect them. Instead, reporters will understand that their only safety comes with parroting whatever lies these radical Islamists feed them, just as they did when they relayed Hamas’s propaganda from Gaza. Every reporter, from every Western outlet, will find himself (or herself) acting the part of Baghdad Bob, fervently repeating whatever words the Islamic executioner demands.

Things could be very different. As a friend of mine told me, when his wife first heard the report of Foley’s ritualistic slaughter, she turned to him, and deadpanned “Wow, it’s too bad there isn’t a military solution for the ISIS problem.” Exactly.

Max Boot, as astute a commentator of events in the Middle East as you’ll find, also thinks there can be a military solution. In his view, while the execution is meant to be a projection of strength, it’s also a sign of weakness. You don’t execute one man to make a point if you can take out towns or dams.

Our government should recognize ISIS’s weakness and act accordingly — and this action, with a brutal killing machine, cannot mean achieving “peace” through negotiations across the table. (As John Hinderaker noticed in an interview with Hamas, peace means a breather during which Islamists re-arm in order to continue their never-ending jihad.) Instead, achieving peace Western-style (raising our families, going to work, celebrating life) means obliterating ISIS:

What is needed now is not strongly worded condemnation of Foley’cs murder, much less a hashtag campaign. What is needed is a politico-military strategy to annihilate ISIS rather than simply chip around the edges of its burgeoning empire. In the Spectator of London I recently outlined what such a strategy should look like. In brief, it will require a commitment of some 10,000 U.S. advisors and Special Operators, along with enhanced air power, to work with moderate elements in both Iraq and Syria–meaning not only the peshmerga but also the Sunni tribes, elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Free Syrian Army–to stage a major offensive to rout ISIS out of its newly conquered strongholds. The fact that Nouri al-Maliki is leaving power in Baghdad clears away a major obstacle to such a campaign.

Unfortunately, this aggressive attack against people who have united to become a feral roving slaughterhouse is the one thing Obama will not be able to bring himself to do. As we’ve known from the beginning, and more people are noticing daily, Obama rouses himself to respond only when he perceives an attack to be leveled against him personally, rather than against him as leader of the American people. That’s why he reserves his fiercest, nastiest, most demeaning rhetoric, not for those who slaughter Americans, annihilate Christians, and are engaged in an ongoing effort to effect the complete genocide of the Jewish people, but instead for Republicans. Republicans are mean to him, to Obama. The Islamists are just cutting down to size those people Obama dislikes anyway: Jews, Christians, and Americans.

As this year plays out, I continue to revise my long-standing believe that Obama’s only religion is Leftism, with himself as the godhead. I’m becoming more convinced that Obama is indeed a Muslim. I do not know whether he has always hewed to the religion of his childhood, hiding it for professional advantage, or if he has recently returned to it.  I do think, though, that one of the few truths Obama uttered was this one: “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.

UPDATE:  Even worse, it appears that (a) the executioner was a former Gitmo resident; and (b) the White House knew in advance that Foley would die, but had no power to stop it.

UPDATE II:  Since I wrote this post, I’ve learned that Obama has spoken and it was even less than I thought it would be.  He said the world’s conscience is “shocked,” and that America will continue to “do what we must to protect our people.”

Funnily enough, when I hear Obama say he’s “shocked,” the only thing that comes to mind is this:

You’re not paranoid if you think some Muslims are out to get you

One of the points I frequently make is that the only way anti-Semites can maintain the myth that Jews are out for world domination is to make things up out of whole cloth (as is the case with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) or to take the absence of any evidence of a Jewish conspiracy as proof that there is, in fact, a Jewish conspiracy.  The other point I make is that, when it comes to asserting that radical Islam (which affects tens of millions of the world’s Muslims), one doesn’t need to make things up or point to the absence of evidence as proof.  The Islamists are extremely proud of their goals.  Don’t just look to the ISIS animals; look to the suits throughout the Middle East:

The Bookworm Beat — August 13, noon edition

Woman writingNo ruminations today. I’m just diving into the post:

We have met the enemy, and it isn’t us, it’s ISIS

One of the tocsins I’m relentlessly ringing on my “real me” Facebook is that what we’re seeing in the Middle East — in Syria, in Israel, in Iraq, in Egypt — is only the current front line in Islamist battle for world domination. Once they conquer there, the Islamists will do what they’ve done since Mohamed’s time, which is to spread out looking for new lands to conquer.

Importantly, these warriors don’t “conquer” the way Americans do, which is to kick out fascist governments, set up a civil infrastructure, and flood the country with American money and know-how. They conquer the old-fashioned way, with fire and sword (and rape and burial alive and slavery too).

Nor are my fears about Islamist Jihad based upon fantasies and conspiracies. Back in the day, when the Nazis targeted the Jews, they had no hard evidence to support their complaint that Jews were engaged in an effort to take over the world. Indeed, their only evidence was the absence of evidence. “Look,” they crowed. “The fact that there’s not a single bit of proof that Jews are doing any of the things we say they’re doing is proof that they’re doing it secretly.”

There’s nothing secret about al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and that whole jolly crew of rapists and murderers. They boast proudly about their worst excesses. Indeed it must sometimes amaze them how the West resolutely pretends that these boasts, complete with pictures, do not exist. Journalists are slowly catching up to the horrors, but people clearly don’t want to know.

Richard Fernandez is paying attention to what’s happening. He feels, as I do, that the West is dancing on the edge of a volcano, willfully turning a blind eye to its own imminent destruction.

ISIS is driving “moderate” Islamist states into Israel’s waiting arms

Something good might be coming out of ISIS’s rampage, though: Saudi Arabia and other “moderate” Arab states are signaling strongly that they have bigger fish to fry than a fight with Israel.  The more Westernized Muslims nations are realizing that they have a bigger enemy in out-of-control Islamists than they ever did with Israel (never mind that Saudi Arabia fanned, and paid for, that particularly fanatic flame for decades).

My proof for making the above statement comes from two things that crossed my radar yesterday. The first was a long editorial in a UAE newspaper insisting that ISIS must be defeated before it accrues even greater power and wealth. The second was an editorial in a Saudi-owned, London-based newspaper explicitly stating that the balance of power in the Middle East has shifted. According to that piece, the The “current conflict looks like an Israel/Hamas–Turkey–Iran–Qatar one, with the rest of the Arab world’s support existing only on Twitter and other social media forums.”  (Emphasis added.)

And apropos ISIS’s accrued power and wealth, HuffPo, of all places, has an article detailing ISIS’s scary numbers, including its huge bank balance, which it obtained the old-fashioned Islamic way: by conquest.

Media Malfeasance at the BBC

Regarding Israel, the BBC lies, and then it lies about lying.

Obama’s perverse “Midas” touch

Victor Davis Hanson on the fact that everything Obama touches turns to dross. Which conclusion leads to two appropriate pictures:

Medusa and Midas

Atomic Obama

Keeping an eye on the upcoming elections

Even as I keep my eye on the Islamists, I haven’t forgotten that we’re waging our own battles here at home, with a Marxist president hellbent on his continuing project of “fundamentally transforming” a perfectly good America into something much less good. Over at the Watcher’s Council, the latest forum asks Council members to offer their predictions for the upcoming election. I think you’ll find the predictions fascinating. Council members are optimistic, although The Razor noted that the GOP has a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I stayed out of this forum. When I get into the stock market it drops. When I get out, it skyrockets. And when I support a candidate, that candidate seems to lose. The less I predict about the election the better. If, however, you want detailed, and accurate, election information I recommend The Election Projection.

As the world becomes less stable, Rand Paul is a less viable presidential candidate

Bruce Kesler thinks it’s very important that people understand that, in a dangerous world, Rand Paul’s principled non-interventionism would put America at grave risk if he were president.

After all, as Jonah Goldberg says in  his excellent article about our coming long, long war with radical Islam, “The problem is the enemy always gets a vote.”  The fact that Paul’s principles tell him not to engage doesn’t mean the enemy isn’t hell-bent on engaging with us.

Free tampons!

Britain’s Guardian paper is reading my blog. A few weeks ago, I did this poster:

Important women's health costs

Now, the Guardian is running with this concept:

We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time.

And some pictures

(With thanks to Caped Crusader)

Obama fundraiser

What do you mean by free palestine

Ludwig von Mises on liberals

Fort Hood: Workplace violence or act of terror?

If you think the Fort Hood massacre was a terrorist act by a determined jihadist, rather than an “act of workplace violence that was coincidentally committed by a Muslim who spouted jihadist rhetoric,” consider signing National Review’s petition at Change.org:

Petitioning Chuck Hagel

The Ft. Hood massacre was an Act of Terror

Petition by National Review

The Fort Hood massacre was an act of war carried out by a violent jihadist who had infiltrated our Armed Forces while taking advice and encouragement from Anwar al-Awlaki, who was so clearly an al Qaeda commander that President Obama authorized his wartime killing by a drone strike. We are a nation at war based on a congressional authorization of military force enacted after al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans in the atrocities of September 11, 2001. If the war is to be waged seriously, the government must recognize that the Fort Hood massacre – in which twice as many Americans were killed as were killed in the jihadist bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 – was an act of terrorism committed by the enemy. We must honor the sacrifice of those killed and wounded at Fort Hood by acknowledging its true context.

To: Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense

The Administration has designated the Ft. Hood massacre as workplace violence, and not what it was: an Act of Terror. By not designating this event as such an act, it disrespects the lives of the 13 who lost their lives that day, and dozens more who were injured and those helped their fellow soldiers.

Furthermore, Nidal Hassan will not be tried as an enemy combatant, but instead will be court-martialed.

Finally, without an Act of Terror designation, those wounded in defense of our nation will not receive a Purple Heart.

This is outrageous and I call on you to change the official designation now before the trial for Nidal Hassan proceeds any further.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

As of this moment, 340 people have signed the petition.  National Review is looking for 10,000.

Hat tip: Earl

Sweden fiddles while Stockholm burns

When multiple people send me a link to the same story, it’s obvious that I must talk about it.  The story, which seems impossible to believe but is in fact true, concerns the Swede’s creative approach to dealing with those “youths” who are currently entering their sixth (or is it seventh) day of rioting in Stockholm.

Before I focus on the Swedes, I should say here that it seems downright cavalier for me to remind anyone that these “youths” are Muslims who refuse to assimilate.  After all, Sweden doesn’t want to talk about it, and those of us with a few non-PC brain cells left have figured it out anyway.

In this regard, the PC crowd has managed to turn Muslim “youths” into the Victorian equivalent of piano legs.  Victorians, horrified by the crude honesty of the word “leg,” are reputed to have referred to these piano appendages as “limbs” when they referred to them at all, and some are believed to have gone so far as to cover them with skirts.  Some realities are just too dreadful to contemplate.

As with those piano “limbs,” we know that Muslim rioters are there, but the reality is so devastating for delicate sensibilities that the fine minds on the PC side of the spectrum have concluded that we must refer to them as “youths,” if we have to refer to them at all.  They understand that those with dirty (or racist) minds will know what lurks beneath these gauzy, veiled allusions,  while the pure will be protected from ugly truths.

Now back to Sweden’s creative approach to these euphemistically named “youths”:  Swedish law enforcement is doing nothing at all.  Rather like the Londoners who just milled about aimlessly when the Woolwich murderers slaughtered and then butchered Drummer Lee Rigby, and then trolled the streets for attention and applause, the Swedish police are merely “monitoring” the riots:

But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.

”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”

The Swedes seem to operate under the peculiar belief that Muslim rage will burn itself out.  In fact, Muslim rage may be the one thing that can refute those who rely upon the non-Prophet-approved laws of physics to claim that there is no such thing as “perpetual motion.”  We now know that there is definitely such a thing as “perpetual emotion,” with the laws of physics falling before the reality of Muslim rage.

Muslim rage is a perpetual fire that has burned untamed for more than 1,500 years.  The closest analogy is probably to those burning mountains of tires one reads about periodically.  They, by the mere act of burning, release ever more fuel to stoke their own perpetual flames.

However, even as the Muslim rage caravans passes by, once the dogs of war stop barking, life go on.  In Sweden, while the rioters get a pass, law-abiding Swedes are still in the line of fire.  The Swedish equivalent of “lovely Rita, meter maid” is undeterred by snow, sleet, rain, dark of night, or riot in the streets.  Car owners who were unlucky enough to see their cars go up in flames are getting one more grain of salt rubbed into their still smoldering wounds:

Photo by Fria Tider of Swedish meter maid at work

Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.

When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid, who asked Fria Tider’s photographer to destroy the photos he had taken.

Everyone who sent me an email telling me about this story alluded in some way or another to Nero, who was widely reputed to have set Rome on fire so that he could rebuild it as a city worthy of his magnificence, and then to have serenaded himself with the fiddle as the city burned around him.  While that story is almost certainly untrue (the city probably burned because it had a lot of wood, a lot of refuse, and a lot of open flames, and Nero couldn’t have “fiddled” because fiddles didn’t exist), Sweden’s feckless behavior is a reality.

Nero is a cute analogy, but not a useful one.  I find Sydney Smith’s tale of Dame Partington’s battle with the Atlantic a little more on point, except that Sweden, rather than doing battle against the jihadist storm gathering against her, is issuing citations against those who aren’t wearing proper swim attire:

In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm [at Sidmouth], Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up. But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.

At the end of the day, Sweden (and the rest of Europe) lacking Dame Partington’s fighting spirit, will be inundated more quickly even than she was, and will discover that the real problem was never the missing swimsuits.

One more thing.  On the subject of “youths”:

 

A quick riff on yesterday’s events in London

Beheading is a peculiarly devastating form of murder, more so than shooting or stabbing. Human identity is tied to the head. From birth, we are programmed to recognize faces and voices. It’s the human face and the mind behind it that separate us, not only from other animals, but from each other: The contents of our minds and the features of our faces are what make us unique. Decapitation therefore doesn’t just kill people, it effectively erases them. It seems fitting, somehow, that jihadists who buy into an extremist Islam that demands complete submission – the denial of the individual — would use beheading as their preferred form of execution.

The Islamic-inspired murder of a British soldier yesterday on London’s streets horrifies us because the men who carried out sought, not just to kill a man, but to erase him. The brave women who stepped forward to challenge these men remind us that, at least for now, in the West individualism still exists. The entire event, which played out before witnesses who were tweeting, photographing and videoing, therefore had a bizarre, Kabuki-quality to it, as if the actors were carrying out culturally defined roles in a play.

Richard Fernandez noticed much the same thing, only he said it a lot better than I could:

This incident illustrates, if nothing else, the endpoint of the social engineering of the West. It has been remarkably effective.

From a certain point of view, the British crowd behaved perfectly and this is the way “they” all want us to behave. The populace sheltered in place, didn’t do anything rash, talked to the perpetrators as people. They waited for the police to come and the hospital helicopter to take the corpse away. Some will doubtless get counseling to overcome their shattering experience.

And then they will congratulate themselves on how tough British society is; resilience and all that. The more caring will leave some flowers by a railing and hold a few candle vigils for healing and peace, until these wither and blow away and the news cycle washes up a new object of attention.

The attackers knew they were actors in a drama — as keenly watched in their communities as on the BBC. And in that other audience they were asking: “How will the locals behave?” We know now. And that other audience may derive an entirely different lesson from this tableau: “See? Only their women act like men. They follow orders. They are nothing anymore — these Westerners. They are a civilization whose core has been destroyed.”

Well, exactly.

What Richard didn’t know yet when he wrote those words is that, while Prime Minister Cameron did so the attack was terrorism, the Department of Defence had a different response:  it told its troops to shed their uniforms when on British streets.  The DOD assured everyone that this was a temporary move, while they figured out what to do, but the fact is that the damage was done the moment the order went out.  The once mighty British Empire had been told to stand down.  When I saw the Scottish play “The Black Watch,” I wondered whether it spoke to the end of the British soldier.  The verdict is still out on the troops, but that’s irrelevant.  Without leadership, even the best troops in the world are pointless.  They’re merely victims along with everyone else.  England has been turned into one vast field of sheeples, watched over by the wolves her Labor government deliberately invited in in order to destroy the Tory party.  (And yes, of course I’m thinking of the Gang of Eight’s amnesty . . . er, immigration reform bill.)

One more thing.  While I was trolling through my overflowing email inbox yesterday, I found a link a friend had sent me shortly after the Boston Marathon Bombing, in which Leftist talking head (or do I mean writing hand?) Marc Ambinder says “Folks, you must stop blaming Islam” and then tells us that America’s gun culture was the reason the Tsarnaev brothers killed.  Now we know, of course, that Islam was why the Tsarnaev brothers killed.

Ambinder is right that in America we have free speech, that people are allowed to disagree on things, and that ugly ideas can exist as long as they don’t become ugly acts.  Islam, though, is sui generis because the Western idea of free speech and individualism is predicated upon voluntary assimilation.  We allow things to happen on the fringe because we assume that everyone will gravitate to the bell curve portion of society, and embrace society’s values, whatever they happen to be.  Islam, however, does not assimilate.

Think about that for a minute, because it’s a rather staggering concept.  One of the hallmarks of being human is that we adapt.  I do believe that only cockroaches have the ability to adapt to as many climates, including extreme climates, as we do.  For humans to have adopted a mindset so impenetrable that it is incapable of change is really amazing.  In any group, of course, you’ll have some people who are more adaptable than others, but we’re talking about a religion/worldview that renders adaption impossible.

When I was a child, my parents told me (rightly or wrongly) that Turkish soldiers could not be brainwashed.  They were so self-assured in their Turkishness that they were invulnerable to lies, blandishments, fantasies, etc.  They were Turks.  End of story.  It occurs to me now that this myth might have been true, not in terms of modern, secular Turks, but in terms of the Janissaries, who were the most elite soldiers of the Muslim Ottoman Empire.  Once your brain has been steeped in Islam, perhaps you become incapable of blending….

The Boston bombers and political correctness — by guest blogger Lulu

The elephant in the middle of the room that no one seems to want to look at is that there are people in this country, perhaps many people, who have been welcomed into this country, lived here for quite a while, embraced by Americans and treated kindly, who smile at you and seem perfectly normal, and who would happily kill you as an infidel. All of Dzhokhar’s college pals who shared joints, partied together, and played on sports teams together are shocked, and who can blame them, because he seemed so nice and normal and settled. What they don’t understand is that he only seemed nice. For quite awhile, inside he thought they were all infidels worthy of murder for the cause. It could have been all of them in the dorm or a classroom, smiles and pleasantries forgotten. He and his brother chose another more symbolic venue to declare their jihad and hatred of America and infidels, but he would have killed his dormmates, teammates or classmates just as happily.

That’s scary and unsettling. Who wants to think that people who smile and eat lunch with us may be putting on an elaborate act, that behind the smile lies a hatred deep enough to put a bomb next to a defenseless child and kill him, horribly maim dozens of others, then go back to school, refer to himself as a “stress free kind of guy” on twitter, hit the gym, and fool the dupes around him. This is the definition of evil. Evil exists when sane people follow an evil ideology, or when people are sociopathic and warped. Which are the Boston jihadists? They are both. They show a callous indifference to human life and no doubt a triumphal game of returning to the dorm or daily routine, easy as pie, F*&% America and its slutty women and unbelievers.

The Boston politically correct brigade will try to understand them and explain their deeds, as if planting a bomb next to kids in a crowd of people enjoying a race can be explained in any way by anything we did, as if anything—anything—can explain their decision to wage jihad at the Boston Marathon. The media and academia have become accustomed to blaming external factors for everything; school failure, criminal activity, gangs, violence. But other immigrant kids don’t do this. Not every kid who feels alienated does this. Hell, not even every kid who hates America does this. The deeds of Dzhokhar and Tamerlin Tsarnaev reflect their choices and their values. Their playing a “nice guy” role to their American friends and acquaintances reflects choices and values too. They weren’t teased or bullied. You kidding? A Golden Gloves boxer and a wrestling champ? More likely they were welcomed and treated decently by naïve people perhaps, but people far better than they, people that don’t live deceitful, fraudulent lives, plotting murder with a smile on their faces.
The question for us, knowing that there are others like the Boston jihadists living here and smiling at us, is what do we do? How do we stay open as a society and safe? If the majority of decent, law abiding Moslems are appalled by these actions, how do we get them to engage in protest and widespread condemnation of the acts, instead of defensive accusations that they might be picked on? How do we become a society that accepts personal responsibility again? How do we become a people who again can face that true evil exists in the ideology of the brothers and must be fought as hard and devotedly as we fought the true evil that existed in Nazi ideology.