The Bookworm Beat 5-14-15 — “Just another busy day” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingAnother day where life got in the way of blogging. Hope these interesting articles compensate for the long silence.

What’s she got to complain about?

It’s already old news that Michelle Obama — Princeton and Harvard grad, highly paid (but still useless) lawyer; and jet-setting President’s wife — thinks herself very poorly used by the American system. To hear her tell it, she’s been chewed up and then spit out on a filthy sidewalk, where crude, rude, KKK-type white people have ground her remnants into the dust. I just have a few links about this and a comment.

Link One: Writing at Allen West’s site, Michele Hickford has the perfect commentary about Ms. Obama’s whines.

Link Two: Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin (and yes, it’s funny that the whiner and the skewerers are all named Michelle) neatly deconstructs all the lies behind Michelle’s complaints.

Link Three: Wolf Howling points out that Ms. Obama is just one weapon in the race hustlers’ arsenal.

Wolf Howling also alludes to an important, and extremely sad, point: Ms. Obama may be lying about her facts, but she’s not lying about her emotions. This Ivy League-educated,  spoiled, pampered, private-jetted darling genuinely feels as if she is a victim. It turns out that the only thing worse than having to listen to Michelle Obama is actually to be Michelle Obama and to live within that unhappy, resentful, beleaguered brain.

Hollywood wants you — but you shouldn’t want it back

Early this week, I wrote about all the horrid, distasteful people who populate my TV screen lately. Robert Avrech, who is someone with a much greater understanding of Hollywood’s inner workings made the same point in an article he wrote last December:

Sadly, most series on the air and in development are unsubtle messages formulated by postmodern Holly wood writers, producers and executives. This is no longer mere propaganda, but a clarion call for a new national morality. It is a world where women do not need husbands to raise children, as in Playing House, where the most anticipated marriage on TV is between two men, as in Modern Family and where the ties that hold a family together are murder, rape and plunder, as in Vikings. The protagonists of The Americans, a Cold War drama, are a ruthless but attractive Soviet couple working as spies against America. In the hit Netflix series House of Cards, a Washington D.C. power couple, played to silkily sinister perfection by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, lie, cheat and murder their way into the White House. Blessedly, these repugnant American Borgias have chosen not to have children. But the show’s writers would have us believe that theirs is a glorious union.

In the new Hollywood lexicon, the family is a unit held together not by traditional family values, but by gangster ethics.

Read the whole thing.

Global warming is real — provided you ignore all the facts proving that it isn’t

The global warmists are getting increasingly shrill in their insistence that the earth is on the verge of boiling us all to death, and that anyone who denies it is a flat-earther who, in a just world, would be burned at the stake for heresy (if only burning at the stake didn’t increase the atmosphere’s already deadly carbon load). Being ignorant, these hysterics do not understand that, historically, global warming has always been a blessing for mankind, increasing available water and crops, and allowing people to focus on cultural advancement. Global warming would be a good thing.

Of course, there is no global warming. More likely, there is going to be global cooling, thanks to a very quiet sun — and global cooling has always meant famine. We in America might be able to weather a famine (especially if we can agree that humans matter more than Delta Smelt), but more fragile economies are going to be in desperate trouble.

By the way, if a warmist challenges you about the assertions I just made (no warming, probable cooling), you could point that person to 22 inconvenient facts about our climate.

Oooooh, Luuuuucy!

Another piece of old news is Mark Halperin’s embarrassingly racist questions as he tried to prove to Hispanics that Ted Cruz is really a coconut — brown on the outside, but totally white-racist-male-chauvinist-pig on the inside. However, even if it is old news, if you haven’t read Fausta’s response to Halperin’s nonsense, you’ve missed something fine.

Halperin, faced with attacks from the Left and the Right, did an “I’m sorry you’re offended” apology. And Cruz, cleverly avoiding his reputation for snarkiness, responded with an extremely gracious “you have nothing to apologize for.”

The First Amendment’s death continues apace

Victor Davis Hanson keeps getting better — which is impressive when one considers how good he was to begin with. The whole time I was reading his article about the Left’s steady deconstruction and destruction of the First Amendment, my head kept bobbing up and down, like one of those nodding dog toys you used to see in the windows of cars. If you read it, you’ll nod too:

Apparently there is no longer a First Amendment as our Founders wrote it, but instead something like an Orwellian Amendment 1.5, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press — except if someone finds some speech hurtful, controversial, or not helpful.

Cowardice abounds. When artists and writers mock Mormonism in a Broadway play like the Book of Mormon or use urine or excrement to deface Christian symbols, no Christian gang seeks to curb such distasteful expression — much less to kill anyone. Every religion but Islam knows that its iconography is fair game for caricature in the United States; none sanctions assassins. Jihadists seek to make this asymmetry quite clear to Western societies and thereby provide deterrence that gives Islam special exemption from Western satire and criticism in a way not accorded to other religions. And they are enabled by Westerners who prefer tranquility to freedom of expression.

When will Kirsten Powers realize she’s a conservative?

For many years, as I slowly realized that I was no longer aligned with Democrats, I still thought of myself as a Democrat, albeit a smarter, more informed one. It took a while for me to figure out that my values were completely inconsistent with today’s Democrat party and that, rather than honoring myself by remaining a Democrat, I was demeaning myself.

Kirsten Powers still considers herself a Democrat, but I suspect that, as she looks at toxic Democrat-led policies on America’s college campuses, she may eventually want to leave that identity behind too:

The root of nearly every free-speech infringement on campuses across the country is that someone—almost always a liberal—has been offended or has sniffed out a potential offense in the making. Then, the silencing campaign begins. The offender must be punished, not just for justice’s sake, but also to send the message to anyone else on campus that should he or she stray off the leftist script, they too might find themselves investigated, harassed, ostracized, or even expelled. If the illiberal left can preemptively silence opposing speakers or opposing groups— such as getting a speech or event canceled, or denying campus recognition for a group—even better.

Self-identified “moderate” Muslims sound surprisingly extreme

I was talking with a friend today about American blacks and the way they resolutely refuse to involve themselves in their own salvation, preferring to blame white people and then to look to the majority-white government system for succor. Every time I spoke broadly about “blacks,” my friend reminded me that the majority of American blacks are just like me: hard-working, honest, and decent. It’s only the noisy ones who are engaged in black-on-black killings, drug use, single motherhood, and rioting.

My friend, as usual, is correct.  Thinking through my rhetorical laziness, I realized that the reason I keep lumping all blacks together, as if the disgraceful minority represents the completely ordinary and respectable majority, is because whenever the minority acts up, the majority, instead of castigating those self-destructive behaviors, supports the behaviors, joining in the constantly repeated chorus of “It’s not our fault; it’s whitey’s fault; now give us money.”

My friend then reminded me that speaking up isn’t that easy. Blacks who step off that plantation are subject to vicious racist attacks that would do the KKK proud — except that these attacks come from Democrats. (Oh, wait!  The KKK was also Democrat, wasn’t it?  It seems as if the Democrats, no matter where they stand politically vis a vis blacks, always keep a closet full of disgraceful racist taunts at the ready.)  As a closet conservative in my community, I know precisely how difficult it is to stand against your community, especially when you’re raising children.

This is all by way of introduction to the concept of “moderate” Muslims. Those who speak out sound remarkably like the fanatics. And those who don’t speak out . . . well, it’s difficult to know whether they agree with the fanatics and so-called moderates, or if they’re simply scared to death.  After all, an ISIS sword is even more devastating than a Democrat’s racial slurs.

Our profoundly weak economy

Progressives I know insist that the American economy is in great shape and invariably point to the stock market as proof. They seem incapable of understanding that years of low interest rates, steady money printing, and quasi-fascist crony capitalism have disconnected the stock market from the economy. The stock market no longer proves anything at all, except that those who know how to operate the political system can still get rich.

Given how weak our economy is, and how dangerous the money policies are that drive the illusion of prosperity, it’s small wonder that a well-known economist says that the next recession — and there will be a next one — will be devastating.

Our Leftist Pope

A few years ago, I said that Pope Francis, no matter how nice a person he is, is a hardcore Leftist product of Liberation Theology.  Sadly, recent events prove that I do not stand corrected.

You can tell she’s a Christian because….

Barronelle Stutzman, the gal whom Washington State has been intent upon destroying because she refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding, got a chance to have her say in the Washington Post. You know how you can tell that she’s a Christian? It’s not just that she makes a compelling case explaining how she can be friends with gays while still standing behind her freedoms of speech, religion, and association when it comes to being forced to provide her artistic services for a ceremony that runs counter to her mainstream faith.

No, the real reason you can tell that Stutzman is a true Christian is that, when she speaks of the man who turned her over to the Nazi branch of the Washington State political correctness police, she still calls him her “friend.” Stutzman either has her tongue firmly in cheek, or she is a woman who takes seriously the Christian notion of turning that same cheek.

Anyway, please read Stutzman’s article. The conclusion sums up what every American should understand about freedom:

In Washington, Rob and Curt have the right to get a marriage license. But that doesn’t mean that the state should be able to force people in the creative professions like myself to create expression celebrating the ceremonies. We all have different viewpoints about how to live our lives. One thing I’ve loved about our country is that we protect the freedom of artistic expression and the right to disagree over these kinds of issues without one side being threatened by the government over it.

But whatever the state says and however they want to try to punish me, they can’t change my faith. What happens in my business or my life is in God’s hands. Having a clear conscience means much more to me than any amount of money or my business. Rob and Curt have their beliefs about marriage and aren’t being stopped by the state from living them out. I only ask for the same freedom.

[MUST SEE VIDEO] Oberlin College choir responds to the Christine Sommers controversy (brilliant)

You remember what happened when Christina Hoff Sommers went to Oberlin and Georgetown, don’t you? If you don’t, these pictures, all showing these schools’ special snowflakes, will refresh your recollection:

Sommers Oberlin 1

Sommers Oberlin 3

Sommers Oberlin 4

Sommers Georgetown 2

Now, a group purporting to be the Oberlin College choir has uploaded its response. It is brilliant:

The Bookworm Beat 5-7-15 — the “Damn it, I’m a lawyer” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spent way too much time today wearing my lawyer, daughter, and mother hats, with no time for my blogger hat. Well, the blogging time is now, and I’ve got lots of stuff to share. As is often the case when I’m tired, these are not in any particular order, so you should read the whole thing, rather than assuming “substance at the top and fluff at the bottom.”

Leftists and math

The Chicago teachers’ union is at it again, trying to suck blood out of a rock, the blood being pension funding and the rock being the virtually bankrupt city of Chicago. The friend who sent me this link had a pungent comment about the fact that, for people like Communist and labor leader Karen Lewis, math is hard:

“Once again, the board has created a fiscal crisis in order to justify its continued attack on our classrooms and communities,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “By citing its so-called $1.5 billion deficit, the mayor is proposing a reduction in teaching staff which will result in larger class sizes and the loss of teaching positions.”

At the center of the complaint is the Chicago Board of Education, which wants teachers, social workers and other union members to take a 7 percent pay cut by paying their own pension contributions in order to address some of the city’s economic problems. The union, which has rejected the pension reform proposal, has accused the board of bad-faith bargaining for refusing to reach an agreement of substance in talks which began in November.

Lewis accused the school system of being “broke on purpose” and for retaliating against the union simply because it opposed Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the recent reelection.

I love that phrase: “Broke on purpose.” I’m going to have to try to work it into my own day-to-day life.

A cri de couer re the suddenly ubiquitous trigger warnings

As is true for many of us, Michael Rubin didn’t see trigger warnings coming. It’s just that suddenly there they were, censoring people left and right — although really mostly to the Right, leaving the field open to the only group sensitive enough to avoid all trigger warnigs: Hard core Leftists. Rubin understands what’s really going on and has a suggestion of his own:

All trigger warnings should have a trigger warning so that no one who has experienced or fled from a repressive society might suffer post-traumatic stress reminding them of the authoritarian, Orwellian oppression from which they fled. Millions of people in the countries which comprised the Soviet Union, as well as in China, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe, not to mention tens of thousands of people in Iran, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Eritrea have lost loved ones or spent time in prison/re-education camps for not abiding by the state’s determination of what they should think and believe. Trigger warnings, even if well intentioned, might remind them of this oppressive and sometimes lethal political correctness and cause undue stress. Accordingly, in order to protect the mental well-being of those who value liberty, intellectual freedom, and oppose censorship, perhaps it’s time to agree to put trigger warnings ahead of trigger warnings to ensure that no one is inadvertently stressed out by the decline in mental and intellectual maturity and the infantilization of society which trigger warnings represent.

The person who brings a gun to a free speech fight is ALWAYS wrong

The practically moribund, but still breathing, Time Magazine, to its credit, gave Pamela Geller space in which to make her case. Her case is the correct one. I urge all of you to read this and, if you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or email round-Robin, to send it along.

The attack in Garland showed that everything my colleagues and I have been warning about regarding the threat of jihad, and the ways in which it threatens our liberties, is true. Islamic law, Sharia, with its death penalty for blasphemy, today constitutes a unique threat to the freedom of speech and liberty in general.

Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced.

Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not stand for being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed, while everyone else lives in fear.

[snip]

Many in the media and academic elite assign no blame to an ideology that calls for death to blasphemers — i.e., those who criticize or offend Islam. Instead, they target and blame those who expose this fanaticism. If the cultural elites directed their barbs and attacks at the extremist doctrine of jihad, the world would be a vastly safer place.

Read the whole thing and try to get everyone else you know to do so too.

That’s the redoubtable, inimitable, absolutely necessary Pamela Geller in her own words. For other good words about free speech, I recommend David French’s “Pamela Geller’s Critics Are Proving Her Point,” and Rich Lowry’s “Why Won’t Pamela Geller Shut Up?” Both these articles are must-reads.

Also, if you want a perfect Kodak moment of Leftist hypocrisy, check out John Nolte’s post about the New York Times, which condemns Geller from bashing one religion while it bashes another.

Oh, and one more thing: our craven government security forces — that would be the FBI and Homeland Security — haven’t even bothered to talk to Geller about the threats against her life from Islamists.

James Franco in praise of McDonald’s

I love McDonald’s Chicken Selects and believe that they serve the best french fries around. Wherever you are, it’s a reliable, cheap meal. McDonald’s is also a great entry level job, teaching youngsters such virtues as punctuality, reliability, and hard work. So even though I find him distasteful, I have to applaud James Franco for writing a WaPo opinion piece praising McDonald’s.

Shy Tories strike again

In 1992, in England, polls indicated that many fewer Brits would vote Conservative than would vote for Labour. In fact, Conservatives won by a substantial margin. And thus was born the “shy Tory factor” which said that, in a climate in which Leftists humiliate, berate, and otherwise attack conservatives, people lie to pollsters about their voting preferences. That seems to have happened again in England, where David Cameron took an unexpected lead — unexpected, that is, to all of those who forgot the shy Tory factor.

Tom Cotton takes a principled stand against a Constitution-weakening Trojan Horse

Tom Cotton was the only Senator to vote against the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. He did so for all the right reasons. In his own words:

“A nuclear-arms agreement with any adversary—especially the terror-sponsoring, Islamist Iranian regime—should be submitted as a treaty and obtain a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate as required by the Constitution. President Obama wants to reverse this rule, requiring opponents to get a two-thirds vote to stop his dangerous deal. But Congress should not accept this usurpation, nor allow the president any grounds to claim that Congress blessed his nuclear deal. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to stop a dangerous deal that would put Iran on the path to obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

I like that young man.

Harrison Bergeron comes to life

I’ve often mentioned Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron,” which is set in a dystopian future where everyone is equal. Vonnegut, in the days before he turned into a brain-dead Leftist, realized a core problem with the whole “everyone must be perfectly equal” movement: You cannot make dumb people smart, or slow people fast, or ugly people beautiful; however, you can make smart people dumb, fast people slow, and beautiful people ugly. In other words, the only way to level society is to lower society — that is, to bring everyone in it to the lowest common denominator.

Kevin Williamson points out that, decades after Vonnegut wrote his timeless story, the Left is still busily trying to bring America down to the lowest common denominator.

Vandalism just cheapens our cause

I did a post about the attack on Christianity, and used as one of my discussion points a stupid church sign in Mill Valley that likened God and Joseph to gay men who parented Jesus. I used speech to attack speech, which epitomizes the marketplace of ideas.

Unfortunately, someone vandalized the sign, which is not an argument; it’s just tantamount to a heckler’s veto and makes us no better than the Left. It would have been so much better to have emailed my post to everyone in Mill Valley….

There won’t always be an England

When I lived in England more than 30 years ago, the North was much more British than the more cosmopolitan South. There were many fewer foreigners living there, and the old towns had people whose families had lived in the region for hundreds of years.

I therefore always find it particularly appalling when I read articles describing the Islamisization of Yorkshire — a trend that carries with it anti-British sentiment, antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia, and a whole host of other disgusting social pathologies that Islam invariably trails in its wake.

The Leftist revolution continues to eat its own

All I can offer you is the lede to this Daily Caller story. You have to read the whole thing yourself to appreciate it fully:

Students at Dartmouth College launched a petition drive demanding the newly-elected student body president resign after they say he was disrespectful to the plight of American blacks and other marginalized groups.

The twist: The president is a gay black man.

Wolf Howling sent me this story. I wrote him back to say that the phrase about revolutions eating their own was the right idea for what I wanted to say, but it just had too brawny and masculine a feel for what’s going on. Seeing a fight like the one at Dartmouth is kind of like watching Lord of the Flies, only with a cast of feral two-year olds.

Is Hillary too sick to be president?

If this D.C. gossip story about Hillary’s seriously fragile health, centered around brain damage issues, is true, Hillary is committing a fraud against the American people. Of course, there’s nothing new about that, so why am I even getting excited about it?

Even when Leftists get close to the truth, they veer away before touching it

My friend Patrick O’Hannigan caught something interesting in Vanity Fair when Leftist pundit James Woolcott tried to write an even-handed critique about dishonesty in the American media: with the best will in the world, he couldn’t do it.  His bias just kept oozing out.

Which reminds me of a Scientific American article by Piercarlo Valdesolo that’s been making the rounds. In it, Valdesolo acknowledges that strong Leftist bias in social psychology and acknowledges that it perverts study outcomes and analyses. He notes that conservatives say that the answer is to allow more conservatives into these liberal only enclaves, both to get studies with other viewpoints, and to get necessary push back on the Leftists’ own work.

One would think that, have admitted that it’s a problem that there are no conservatives in the field, Valdesolo would agree that the field needs more conservatives. If one thought that, one would think wrong. Instead, Valdesolo says that liberals simply have to be more vigilant about their biases. James Woolcott’s failure pretty much illustrates everything that’s wrong with Valdesolo’s inability to contemplate doing away with Leftist academic monopolies.

The Bookworm Beat 5-6-15 — the “long day” edition and open thread

Woman writingLong day, low energy, but the siren song of blogging is calling out to me and I respond to that call:

American campuses are becoming increasingly antisemitic

Jonathan Marks writes about the way that pricey little Bowdoin College, tucked up in a corner of Maine, is “debating” a complete boycott of Israel that its promoters clearly intend to exist until Israel is annihilated:

But the way Bowdoin’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is attempting to ram through this referendum, near the end of the academic year, when students are least likely to be paying close attention, shows as well as these other observations, that the movement is really about scoring a series of cheap propaganda victories to produce a phony impression of momentum and widespread support. Their undertaking is the very opposite of the Socratic spirit that ought to animate our colleges and universities: they want people who don’t know to claim that they do. To those who pretend to work toward discussion of Israel but in fact seek to manipulate students who know next to nothing about it, we can reply as Socrates did to one of his own prosecutors: they [jest] in a serious matter, easily bringing human beings to trial, pretending to be serious and concerned about things for which [they] never cared at all.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Wisse examines the growing, aggressive, violent antisemitism overflowing like a disgusting sewer on American college campuses:

The contrast I have drawn between the college campus and the rest of American society is counter-intuitive: why should anti-Semitism flourish in the sweet groves of academe rather than in the fouler corridors of power? How does intolerance for a Jewish state thrive in the very institutions that advertise their tolerance for threatened minorities? The political columnist Bret Stephens often asks college audiences why, if they claim to be liberal, they don’t support the only liberal society in the Middle East. On what grounds do American universities, considered liberal to a fault, assail the only liberal democracy in that part of the world?

The question harbors its answer. Israel is attacked not despite but on account of its liberal democracy and its buoyant pluralistic culture: two commodities held in notable disesteem in the nominally liberal but in fact anti-liberal environment of the contemporary American university. The boycotters wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech only to silence those who stand for the kind of genuine individual and human rights that flourish in Israel. They shout down liberal speakers like Israel’s ambassador to the United States just as they shout down and shut out champions of Muslim women’s rights.

Academia’s views harmonize perfectly with those of our man in the White House. No wonder then that Debka, which is frequently privy to information from Israel’s intelligence community, is reporting that Obama is poised to do what many have long feared: He’s allegedly promising to back a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. I wouldn’t put it past that foul little excrescence currently inhabiting the White House to try his best to destroy an ally. Debased people engage in debased and evil behavior.

And while I’m on the subject of antisemitism, if you’re Jewish or Philosemitic, two more stories to scare you: First, take a look at the increasingly open, aggressive antisemitism amongst black Democrats who are no doubt heartened by the first white-black President’s manifest hostility to the world’s only Jewish state.

Second, Ireland’s Leftists have ensured that it is now one of the most antisemitic nations in the world. Woe betide American Jews and Israel if that attitude infects America’s Irish population which, barring its flirtation with Father Coughlin back in the 1930s, hasn’t been antisemitic but has mostly supported the world’s only Jewish nation (not to mention the Middle East’s only true democracy).

Yeah, how is that Obamacare working for you?

On my Facebook page, one of my hard Left friends is rejoicing in the headline that Obamacare added 17 million people to the insurance rolls, adding that “most” of the people who lost their insurance found new insurance. Oh, and hospitals are making money. It must be a success, right?

Apparently the Lefties missed the news stories about rising visits to emergency rooms (the opposite of what Obama promised) and steadily increasing rates. But hey, we now fit the WHO metric of lots of people forcibly “insured,” even though medical care is more expensive and less useful.

(I notice that I’m putting many more words in quotation marks, indicating that I’m using them sarcastically. The fact is that, in Obama’s America, words are losing their meaning and the only way I can think to convey that is through those ubiquitous quotation marks.)

More on Baltimore

I’ve pretty much said what I have to say about Baltimore: It’s a Democrat-run sinkhole. As long as blacks look to the government and not themselves for succor they’re going to continue to live out their lives in poverty, immorality, and violence.

Those are my intuitive conclusions based upon quite a few decades on Planet Earth. Thomas Sowell provides the data to support my conclusions:

The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century.

Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.

You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965.

[snip]

Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much-lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.

Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

Victor Davis Hanson also offers his usual astute insights on the subject, offering “the Baltimore Rules”:

Until then, let us review the Baltimore Rules:

1) Statistics are irrelevant. Emotion rules and no one cares about larger statistical challenges. Blacks make up almost 13% of the population and commit 52% of the nation’s murders. Based on their statistical representation in the U.S. population, African-Americans on average are eight times more likely to inflict a violent crime and six times more likely to suffer a criminal act than is the general population. This fact is irrelevant; it is not the numbers per se that frame black homicide, but the conditions under which they occur that seem to matter. “Black lives matter” supposedly translates into the fact that blacks might be able to pressure police (of all races) from taking 200 black lives a year during arrests, but can do little if anything about stopping 6,000 black murders at the hands of other blacks. Darren Wilson serves as an easy poster boy for the public enemy, but a Crip gangbanger is a quite different candidate for group-hate.

In quite rare, but highly charged interracial murders, African-Americans are almost twice as likely to kill whites as whites are blacks. This, too, is irrelevant for a variety of reasons. Historically blacks suffered from the racism of a white majority, not whites from a black minority. Whites are hardly likely to protest about this imbalance given the rarity of interracial crime and the rarity of whites rioting on the basis of racial grievances. Most liberal professionals understand privately how to navigate travel in the inner city and how publicly to decry just such insidious stereotyping and profiling. Few of the 14% of murdered white crime victims who were killed by blacks are the elite and thus the problem remains minor.

Read the whole thing to understand how we’ve moved into a logic-free world, driven by seemingly inexorable rules of ideology, pushed by our media, government institutions, and academic institutions.

Lies, damn lies, and climate statistics

Those who believe in God do not need to lie. To them, the mere fact of our existence is testament to God’s existence. No further proof is necessary. They therefore never need to lie. God is who He is. That is sufficient.

Those who believe in anthropogenic climate change, however, like to pretend that theirs is not a faith but is, in fact, a science. Having called it a science, they are theoretically bound to follow the scientific principle, which requires theories, followed by data that either proves or disproves the theory.

What happens, though, when every bit of data fails to prove the theory? Well, if you’ve insisted that you’ve got science on your side, there’s only one alternative left to you: LYING. And that’s what happened with Maine’s temperature data: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grossly manipulated more than 100 years of Maine temperature data to make it colder in the past and warmer in the present.

I know Bookworms and Obama is no Bookworm

Walt Harrington, a man hostile to George W. Bush’s policies, discovered, George W. Bush was a voracious reader, who could comfortably discuss everything he read. But Obama? Obama is no Bookworm, and Mollie Hemingway beautifully deconstructs the lies the media tells in an effort to buff that vapid (but canny) ideologue’s intellectual credentials.

I can’t add to Hemingway’s analysis, but I’ll posit a reason behind his mental vacuum: Obama’s a malignant narcissist. To the extent a book might expose him to ideas that are unfamiliar to him, the exposure will leave him feeling vulnerable and at an intellectual disadvantage. That is not a feeling that narcissists tolerate well. It’s better not to read, but just to pretend you do, knowing that a lickspittle media will do whatever is necessary to cover for you.

Paul Krugman is a moron

I’ve been saying for years that Krugman is a moron — and I’m somewhat grateful for that, because it was the increasing stupidity of his columns that drove me to seek out other, more intelligent information in the internet. Unwittingly, he was one of the stepping stones that helped me cross the Rubicon from unthinking loosey-goosey Leftist to stalwart, fully informed and aware conservative.

I may be sort of grateful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find it just delightful when a good writer (say, Andrew Stiles) takes aim at Krugman and reveals him in his full moronity (and I know moronity not a word, but it should be).

The dangerous anti-First Amendment strain in Academia

I received an email from Servo1969 posing three questions:

1. You know, you were just asking to be shot by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

2. You know, you were just asking to be raped by going out dressed like that and getting wasted. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

3. You know, you were just asking to be beaten and arrested by marching through Selma like that. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

Servo1969 knows, you know, and I know that the media would strongly disagree with the second and third statements, but is very comfortable asserting the first. In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” gathering — which was really aimed at making Americans aware of the way in which we’re losing our constitutional rights as we pander to Islamic demands — the American media couldn’t say often enough that it was all Geller’s fault. “Journalists” seemed incapable of understanding that in America, the person who brings a gun to a speech fight is always in the wrong, no matter the speech’s content.

Eugene Volokh, who I believe grew up in the former Soviet Union, writes about the University of Minnesota’s craven collapse in the face of Muslim demands that the whole Charlie Hebdo matter — you know, the one where Islamists brought guns to a cartoon fight — be withdrawn from debate:

Indeed, this incident shows just how broad the movements to suppress alleged blasphemy are, even in the U.S. This wasn’t a fringe group of anti-Islam political activists putting out the flyers; these were people squarely in the middle of the academic Establishment. This wasn’t a bunch of cartoonists putting out material that, viewed narrowly, might be seen by some as juvenile, nonsubstantive, or gratuitously offensive; these were academics putting on a substantive academic event with a flyer that is clearly and directly tied to the content of the event, and that depicts an image that has undoubted historical significance.

To be sure, I think the speech of fringe groups and juvenile cartoonists is protected by the First Amendment and by academic freedom principles — but even if you disagree, or think that this sort of speech should be generally constitutionally protected but excluded from academic institutions or condemned by standards of good manners, here we are far removed from those fringes, and squarely in the core of serious academic discussion on hugely important matters. Yet some public university administrators still seem to have felt comfortable trying to take down such speech, and, I suspect, trying to prevent it in the future. Such a reaction, I think, needs to be firmly fought, and sharply condemned.

Jonah Goldberg also sees something sickly perverse in the Leftist response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the Left, just as blacks can’t be racist because they’re at the bottom of the Leftist victim hierarchy (and this is true no matter how vile their anti-white, Jewish, or Asian statements are), the Left argues that Muslims must be protected from any real or perceived insults for the same reason:

“If absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the actor Harry Shearer once asked, “does absolute powerlessness make you pure?”

The answer, according to a lot of people, is yes.

Upon receiving the George Polk Career Award last month, Garry Trudeau, the creator of the satirical comic strip Doonesbury, attacked the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo:

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence. Well, voilà — the 7 million copies that were published following the killings did exactly that, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world.

Putting aside Trudeau’s tendentious misreading of France’s hate-speech laws — which were not written to prevent violent protests outside of France — there’s a perverse irony here. After all, there’s surely no greater act of “punching downward” or “attacking the powerless” than castigating a corpse. That’s not debate; it is verbal gibbeting.

The best answer to this specific type of moronity (I’m really liking my little neologism) comes from Ross Douthat, whom Goldberg quotes:

Many journalists recite the saying that the press must “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as if it were their Eleventh Commandment. The mantra of countless intellectuals is that they must “speak truth to power.”

The problem is that they define the powerful and powerless based upon their own preferred narratives. When the truth interferes with the narrative, the truth must be bent or jettisoned. Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that while it is true that “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless. They have enormous power — because they have the ability and the will to use violence to kill.

And finally, Daniel Greenfield hones in on the moral inversion that “academics,” “journalists” (yes, two other words that can now only be used with quotation marks), and talking heads are creating:

But being “controversial” and “provocative” has nothing to do with who is doing the shooting. It’s a media signal that the target shouldn’t be sympathized with. The Family Research Council, which was shot up by a killer using the SPLC’s hate map, is invariably dubbed “intolerant”. The SPLC, which targeted it, is however a “respected civil rights group” which provides maps to respected civil rights gunmen.

A contest in which Bosch Fawstin, an ex-Muslim, drew a cartoon of a genocidal warlord is “controversial” and “provocative”, while the MSA, which has invited Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who has inspired a number of terrorists, including apparently one of the Mohammed contest attackers, is a legitimate organization that is only criticized by controversial, intolerant and provocative Islamophobes.

You know what the problem is with all three of the articles I’ve quoted above? They don’t have a wide enough readership. These three men are saying extremely important things, but they are still lone and isolated voices in the wilderness. I just have to remind myself that other lone voices in the wilderness finally got heard.

The end of the road for American education

Longtime readers know that two of my blogging passions are education and history. Both fascinate me, and I strongly believe that you cannot have a successful country without an educated population that knows its history and that understands its liberties. Wolf Howling shares my passions and has written a very disheartening post about the state of history education in America. (Hint: Leftism has done its dirty work, and feminists are in the vanguard.)

Autism and the IDF

In Israel, everyone serves in the military. Those who cannot serve, whether because of a physical or mental disability, feel at a terrible disadvantage. Not only are they not serving their country — a country surrounded by enemies — but they’re also missing out on the camaraderie of the Israel military. It is the great leveler.

Also in Israel, undoubtedly as part of the belief that we are all God’s creatures, the Israelis value all human lives.  Small wonder then, that with Israelis wanting to serve and the nation valuing its people, the IDF has put together a very special unit composed of autistic people who have a unique ability to analyze certain types of military intelligence. As you know, I take a special interest in the great gifts so many autistic people have locked away inside of them.

[VIDEO] Bill Whittle’s “Progressivism : Empire of Lies.”

It’s always such a long wait between Bill Whittle videos, and then when he publishes a video, you realize why there was a long wait:  getting things this intelligent, informative, and entertaining cannot be rushed.  Please sit back and enjoy as Bill Whittle decimates the lies that underpin Progressives’ attacks on Americans:

I’ll try to be back to blogging later today. It’s been a life maintenance day, which translated means that I had to do legal work and work on my household accounting.

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

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

The Leftist media lies and then lies some more

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 5-4-15 — the “technology hates me” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy post caption to the contrary, this post has nothing to do with technology — except that technology explains why I started writing at 10:30, not 8:30. My computer apparently had a sudden yen to pretend that I had a dial-up modem and to start downloading information at speeds that would already have been slow in 1995. I think I’ve finally got my electronic ducks in a row, though, so let the blogging begin.

A jihad in Texas and a cheerleading media

In the wake of the attack against the Texas American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Draw Muhammed contest, Ace, Noah Rothman and I noticed the same thing: The media immediately went into “they had it coming” mode. Geller and Co., the “pun-deads” implied, should have known better than to offend Muslim’s delicate sensibilities.

The reality is that Geller’s free speech celebration is not the same as telling young women that it’s stupid to walk naked into a biker bar at 3 in the morning. (Although do note that the same pundits who castigate Geller for offending Muslims would never dream of daring to tell a young woman it’s dangerous to parade drunk (or sober) in Malmo, Sweden, a ferocious Muslim enclave.)

Two different things are at stake: When it comes to the dumb bunnies and their cheerleaders who are all for nubile women taking to the streets in underwear, we’re talking about the opposite of ordinary common sense, given that some men, despite being taught not to rape, still rape. When it comes to Geller’s initiative, however, we are talking about a religion that has announced that, if we exercise our Constitutional right to free speech, it will kill us — and the Dhimmis have all said, “Great, let’s abandon free speech.”

I routinely tell my children to choose their battles. Don’t end up in a fight to the death over a parking space. However, I’ve said, if it’s a matter of an important principle, you cannot back down. Geller has chosen the right battle, which is to stand up against the murderer’s veto, especially when that veto is directed at America’s core freedoms. Hurrah for her, and hurrah for former-Muslim Bosch Fawstin, whose artistically beautifully and intellectually powerful image won first prize:

Bosch Fawstin's winning picture of Mohamed

Carly Fiorina on crony capitalism

Elizabeth Warren (ick), Carly Fiorina, Wolf Howling, and I all agree on one thing: crony capitalism is a terrible thing for America. (And, incidentally, it’s why the stock market is soaring under Obama, even as actual wealth and real jobs vanish on his watch.) Where Carly, Wolf, and I part ways with Warren is that, unlike her, we don’t believe that even more government is the answer. Instead, as Carly says:

“The dirty little secret of that regulation, which is the same dirty little secret of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank or all of these other huge complicated pieces of regulation or legislation, is that they don’t get written on their own,” she said. “They get written in part by lobbyists for big companies who want to understand that the rules are going to work for them. . . . Who was in the middle of arguing for net neutrality? Verizon, Comcast, Google, I mean, all these companies were playing. They weren’t saying ‘we don’t need this;’ they were saying ‘we need it.’”

Fiorina suggested that large companies, by backing such regulations, have emerged as an enemy of the small businesses run out of people’s houses and garages. “Google started out that way too, in a dorm room, but they seem to have forgotten that,” she said. They also comprise part of a “political class” that is “disconnected” from most Americans.

“The vast majority of people . . . believe there is a political class that is totally disconnected from their lives and that’s stacking the deck against them,” Fiorina said. It’s a diagnosis of American politics that is appropriate to her biography. “It’s interesting, people out there are not at all troubled that I haven’t held elected office; in fact, the people I run into consider it a great asset,” Fiorina said.

It’s a myth that illegal aliens would vote Republican on social issues

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that Republican “thinkers” are lying to themselves when they say that amnesty is good because immigrants are actually conservatives at heart. They’re not. They want government hand-outs and, if you watch their children at action in the schools, whatever’s being taught at homes has less to do with family, faith, and hard work, and a great deal more to do with sex and greed.

The demeaning vagina voter

I’m not much given to crudity, but I’ve made the point at this blog that those who vote for Hillary on account of her putative sex (remember, we live in a world of fluid sexual identity) are “vagina voters” and that their attitude is demeaning and disgusting. Brendan O’Neill, bless his heart, agrees with me (slight, but appropriate, language and content vulgarity):

The bigger problem with such unabashed declarations of “vagina voting” is that they confirm the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics, even biologism, and its abandonment of the idea that women should be valued more for their minds than their anatomy.

Kate Harding, the vagina voter in question, isn’t only going to vote with her vag—she’s also going to tell everyone about it. “I intend to vote with my vagina. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically… And I intend to talk about it,” she wrote in Dame.

She thinks Hillary would be a great president because she “knows what it’s like to menstruate, be pregnant, [and] give birth.”

So you’re going to pick your leader on the basis of her biological functions, the fact she’s experienced the same bodily stuff as you? Imagine if a man did that. “I’m voting for Ted Cruz because he knows what it’s like to spunk off. And he knows the pain of being kicked in the balls.” We’d think that was a very sad dude indeed. Why is it any better for a female commentator to wax lyrical about voting on the basis of her biological similarity to a candidate rather than any shared political outlook?

We clearly have become a nation stupid enough to sink first to Obama’s level because we judged someone by the color of their skin, not the content of their character, and now it appears that we Americans — especially the women — are going to debase ourselves further by voting for someone based upon the contents of her underpants. (I gagged writing that.)

Conservative thinker Guy Benson gets it

I’ve read Guy Benson’s writing for years, and always enjoyed it. He’s a witty, committed conservative. It’s therefore exciting that he and Mary Katharine Ham have a new book coming out that attacks the crude, brutal censorship inherent in Progressivism: End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun). I plan to read it, and I hope a lot of people do, both because I want Benson and Ham to make money, and because it’s a message that voters need to learn.

Oh, and Benson is gay — like I care. Fortunately, Benson understands that I don’t need to care about his sexuality. Buzzfeed cares, though, so instead of focusing on important issues, such as free speech, free markets, national security, media monopolies, etc., it focuses on “he’s gay and a Republican,” and then works hard to imply that Benson must be [insert something negative, along the lines of “race traitor”].

To the people at Buzzfeed, I have only one thing to say: Get a life, you sleazy little voyeurs!

More failed climate change predictions

In my world, everyone is still deeply, deeply committed to the idea that humans are responsible for turning the earth into a fiery ball composed solely of swamps and deserts. I could tape their eyeballs open and force them to read Elizabeth Price Foley’s pithy piece on the myriad ways they’re wrong — not just a little wrong, but fantastically, incredibly wrong — and they still wouldn’t change the minds. “They have eyes but cannot see.”

You all, though, have eyes and brains and reason and intelligence, and you will appreciate what Foley has to say, so go forth and read — and then decide whether it’s worth doing battle with the blind or, as Weird Dave (writing at Ace of Spades) says, whether we should just tell them to “Eff off” and get out of our way.

As for me, I agree with Weird Dave, but only up to a point. I’d like Congressional Republicans to say “eff off,” while the rest of us act “eff off,” while still making sure we have intellectual principles to justify our positions and that we politely keep our friends and families apprised of those principles.

Unfortunately, the only phrase Congressional Republicans seem to have mastered is “May I lick your boots, please, before you kick me?”

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

The above caption comes from the lyrics to the theme song to the old All In The Family show. As with so many other things, Norman Lear was wrong about that too. In fact, we should have been singing and dreaming about “a man like Calvin Coolidge again.”

I first learned something about Calvin Coolidge when I read David Pietrusza’s enthralling 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Before reading that book, everything I knew about Calvin Coolidge came from the Progressives who hated him and wrote subsequent history books. He was the silent moron who slept a lot, wore an Indian headdress, and did nothing.

And it is true, as the video below shows, that Coolidge did nothing. But it wasn’t the “nothing” of a moron. It was, instead, the nothing of a highly principled man who understood completely that government’s job is to create a stable environment in which people can be free.

Unlike our current president, who bemoans how unfairly the Constitution limits him, Coolidge said “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” Coolidge also fully understood that it was his inactivity that allowed the Twenties to roar: “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”

Amity Shlaes expands on Coolidge’s own intuitive understanding of relationship between true freedom from government control and prosperity:

“Go Left, young man!” Or the Left is doing what it does best.

Left turn arrowIt’s always worth remembering that the Left’s default setting is . . . Left

In 2008, whenever I pointed out that candidate Barack Obama came from the far Left of the political spectrum, a liberal I know would invariably tell me that this was just a campaign pose to inspire the more fanatic members of his base, and that, once elected, Obama govern as a centrist. Of course, it wasn’t just a campaign pose and Obama has governed from a harder Left position than any other candidate in American history — all while he and his people assiduously deny that there’s any Left about it.

Nevertheless, my liberal acquaintance is perfectly happy with Obama’s policies and continuously tells me that I’m the political extremist, while denying that he has any discernible ideology at all. Jonah Goldberg ably captures this Leftist denialism:

For the last 20 years, give or take another 50, one of the most cherished baubles of Beltway conventional wisdom has been that the Republican party has moved too far to the right.

We’ll come back to that in a moment.

Another beloved trinket in the nest of notions that make up elite groupthink is that liberals not only haven’t moved left, but they aren’t even liberals at all. A week doesn’t go by without Barack Obama insisting that he’s merely a pragmatist and problem-solver, with nary an ideological ax to grind. Shortly after he was re-elected, Obama told David Gregory, then the host of Meet the Press, the obvious takeaway of his presidency is that, “I’m not driven by some ideological agenda. I’m a pretty practical guy and I just want to make sure that things work.” A few weeks later, he gave the most ideologically left-wing State of the Union address of any president since FDR.

[snip]

There’s something almost Soviet in this compulsion to follow a party line so disconnected to the reality it allegedly describes.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Beltway establishment, particularly political journalists, believes these talking points, largely because they, too, are committed liberals who think they are mere non-ideological arbiters of the facts.

So, what’s a hardcore Leftist denialist to do when Leftism doesn’t work and he needs to woo the voters? He pulls Left, even harder, all the while denying that he’s doing so. Sean Trende explains that this is what Hillary’s doing in her effort to lock in the Obama coalition, while Richard Fernandez points out that these same denialists are responding to the world’s crises by pulling ever harder to the left — and, by doing so, they’re only making things much, much worse.

Regarding Hillary’s campaign, Lincoln presciently summed it up: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” I just hope that the American people have finally reached the third clause in that aphorism.  For the last two elections, we seem to have been stuck in the second clause.

When it comes to the panicked stampede to the Left from those whose policies are so signally failing in every area, from national security, to the economy, to the management of Democrat (mostly minority) enclaves, we can turn to Einstein for the appropriate aphorism:  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Ironically, I remember that the Clintons loved to recite that quotation during their 1992 campaign from a His and Her presidency.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marin Church supports gay marriage

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

[snip]

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

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

Salon article illustration of Virgin Mary

Salon article illustration of Virgin Mary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxing churches

If you read one thing about the Baltimore riots today, read this

baltimore-riotI have nothing useful to add to the discussion about the Baltimore riots. I think, though, that Kevin D. Williamson, who has been on fire for the past many months, has the most pertinent, and enjoyably written, commentary to date:

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit. Money can paper over some of the defects of progressivism in rich, white cities such as Portland and San Francisco, but those are pretty awful places to be non-white and non-rich, too: Blacks make up barely 9 percent of the population in San Francisco, but they represent 40 percent of those arrested for murder, and they are arrested for drug offenses at ten times their share of the population. Criminals make their own choices, sure, but you want to take a look at the racial disparity in educational outcomes and tell me that those low-income nine-year-olds in Wisconsin just need to buck up and bootstrap it?

Black urban communities face institutional failure across the board every day. There are people who should be made to answer for that: What has Martin O’Malley to say for himself? What can Ed Rendell say for himself other than that he secured a great deal of investment for the richest square mile in Philadelphia? What has Nancy Pelosi done about the radical racial divide in San Francisco?

[snip]

The evidence suggests very strongly that the left-wing, Democratic claques that run a great many American cities — particularly the poor and black cities — are not capable of running a school system or a police department. They are incompetent, they are corrupt, and they are breathtakingly arrogant. Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore — this is what Democrats do.

Definitely read the whole thing.

The Bookworm Beat 4-27-15 — “not yet the Apocalypse” edition and open thread

Woman writingMy brain is filled with Apocalyptic imagery, but it’s not because Obama is president, the Middle East is in flames, our southern border has collapsed, our economy is stagnant, Greece may drag down Europe, and Islamist’s are resurgent everywhere. It’s actually because last night, when my work load finally showed signs of a much-desired longish-term slowdown, I started reading two excellent books.

The first is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s lyrical and highly informative Jerusalem: The Biography, which takes the reader from Jerusalem’s pre-Biblical beginnings, to Old Testament and New Testament history, and then through post-Biblical history, all the way up to the 1967 War. It’s a lovely book, but I’ve just finished reading about Jesus’s crucifixion and am working my way toward’s the Kingdom of Israel’s destruction in 70 AD, so you can see why I’d be having an “end of days” feeling.

The second book that I’m reading, equally good so far, isn’t helping. It’s John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, another elegantly written book that makes you realize the speed with which civilization can collapse (as if the recent Ebola scare wasn’t reminder enough). I think too that Kelly, with a historian’s true knowledge rather than a Progressive’s fantasy-science melange, might just be a climate change skeptic. It’s this bit of information that’s the giveaway, about the changing climate and demographic conditions in Europe in the five hundred years leading to the plague:

[Read more…]

Musings about the Leftist Man-God and his unshakeable belief in his infallibility

Michaelangelo hands of God and AdamI continue to be unpleasantly overwhelmed by deadline intensive work.  Breaks are few and far between.  The virtue of this is that, separated from the minutiae of daily news, I’ve had the opportunity to step back and focus on larger trends.  My musings today too me into the realms of Leftist Infallibility.

One of the most frightening things that characterizes the Left it its sense of its own god-like power and knowledge. That’s always been present in its atheistic tendencies (look at the bloodshed of the French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions), but we’re seeing a different version of it in the 21st century, one that I think arises because of “scientific utopianism.” When I say “scientific utopianism,” I’m talking about a sense that began with post-WWII culture and, all emerging data to the contrary, continues to escalate amongst Lefties.

Scientific utopianism used to be summed up in the old slogan “Better living through chemistry.”  That was a commercial line to sell products, both licit and illicit.  Amongst Leftists, however, it’s the belief that science — or, more specifically, their take on science — offers all the cures for mankind, not to mention the power to destroy mankind.

Back in the 1950s, although people understood that science could wreak unbearable havoc (e.g., the atom bomb), at the same time possibilities seemed so limitless and exciting. I think Disney captured it best in educational cartoons celebrating medical and scientific advances, in Tomorrowland, and in the Carousel of Progress. People envisioned a world of clean, easy, unlimited travel; perfect health; endless food and clean water supplies; the ability to wage war quickly, efficiently and, if possible, relatively painlessly; day-to-day comforts that effectively ended work; and comfortable control over the environment.

Barring that looming mushroom-shaped cloud, this scientific utopianism promised the Baby Boomers (and their progeny) that Nothing was Impossible. The ordinary consumer, not given to deep thought, understood these  “Better living through chemistry” and “Nothing is impossible” slogans to mean basic, and wonderful things, such as the eradication of polio and the introduction of the microwave often.

For the Leftist intellectual, though, these slogans meant something much greater: If nothing is impossible for man, who needs God? Man is God. So as not to offend those “voting morons in flyover country” (and yes, that is how the Left thinks of you), it’s dangerous to be tactless enough to admit that man is his own God, but the Leftist intellectual class certainly concluded that this was the case.

If man is God, he has asked all the right questions and, solipsistically, has all the right answers. Your Man-God has cleared the way for himself: His beliefs about the Big Bang (a Catholic priest may have come up with the idea, but it clearly means no God); climate (man is more powerful than the earth, and the solar system); diet (science or their accompanying Gaia worshippers, who are the crunchy version of God deniers, know exactly what you should and shouldn’t eat); medicine (which merges perfectly with the “man is God” ethos about science and food); and gender (mere biology is so limiting, and Man-God can and should transcend it) have create to the Man-God’s satisfaction a fully realized universe and moral doctrine. Moreover, given that this is a faith, whether achieved through white-collar science or crunchy Gaia-worship, this new Man-God, is just like that nasty, judgmental, homophobic, probably racist, and definitely misogynistic Biblical God in one very significant way:  He is infallible.

Except that every month a slew of news stories shows that your newly anointed Man-God  is not infallible. Indeed, far from it.  In a very short time, we’ve learned the following (and I’ll leave you to search for links, if you’re so inclined): butter in moderation is not bad for you; cheese in moderation is not bad for you; whole milk in moderation is not bad for you; salt in moderation is not bad for you; artificial sugar in any amount is bad for you; polar bears are not going extinct; glaciers are not vanishing; the Arctic and Antarctic are still here; hurricanes are not worse; the ocean has not risen to the proportions of that mythical Biblical flood; the Big Bang theory may be wrong; unlimited amounts of marijuana probably aren’t harmless; chocolate is healthy (I always knew this); coffee is healthy; vaccinations do not cause autism; and on and on. I bet that, even as you’re reading this, you’re mentally tallying up all the recent stories I’ve forgotten that turn conventional wisdom on its head.

The problem with having elevated yourself to the altar is that the view from there is nice. There’s a heady pleasure in seeing people bow down, worship, and obey your every command. The world’s collective Leftists are therefore unwilling to acknowledge their all-too-human fallibility. Instead, they’re doubling down on their assertions, predictions, demands, and sense of infallibility.

Think of it: In a Judeo-Christian era, when individuals or select groups arrogated god-status to themselves, they’d be appropriately ridiculed and marginalized. Now, they’re worshiped and we offer them the keys to our earthly kingdom.