The Bookworm Beat 2-26-15 — the evening edition and open thread

Woman writing

Alan Dershowitz challenges the talk about boycotting Netanyahu’s speech

Read and enjoy Alan Dershowitz’s fiery denunciation of the Obama administration’s efforts to get Democrats — especially black ones — to boycott Netanyahu’s speech about the existential threat Obama’s policies pose to Israel.

I won’t comment on the article — it speaks for itself — but I will comment on a couple of peripheral things. Dershowitz is a Democrat, but he’s also an ardent Israel supporter. I therefore can’t help but think that, as Obama prepares to break with Israel and ally America with Iran, it’s not a coincidence that Dershowitz suddenly found himself swept up in the pedophile sex scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

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The Bookworm Beat 2-12-15 — “Been there done that” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingPart of my mother’s behavior as a drama queen is to try to take on the borrowed glory of other people’s suffering. When my sister has a cold, my mother calls me to say “You don’t know how worried I am. What if it turns into pneumonia? What if she dies? I can barely eat I’m so upset.”

Recently, my mother called to tell me that she was beside herself because one of her recently widowed friends is holed up in a hotel room and having a hard time figuring out how to pay her bills. That sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it? But what I and my mother both know is that this woman made the grasshopper, in the Aesop’s fable about the “Ant and the Grasshopper,” look like model of sober rectitude and long-term planning.

For years, with accelerating force as the friend’s husband became increasingly ill, my mother dutifully nagged this friend to learn how to drive, balance a check book, make peace with her children, check on insurance, and all the other daily life tasks that people need to survive on their own. Every time, the friend told my mother, “I’m not that type of person. I don’t need to worry about the future. I need to be free.”

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The Bookworm Beat 2-6-15 — the “Fearless Friday” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingObama’s adversarial relationship with Christianity

What did we expect already from yesterday’s Prayer Breakfast? Obama long ago put the world on notice that he’s going full Bulworth (i.e., after six years in office, he intends, finally, to stop lying and speak the truth).

While before Obama just let out peevish little trickles of animosity, anyone paying attention could tell that:

(a) he’s profoundly ignorant about history — not just American history, but any history, including Muslim and Christian history;

(b) he hates Christians and Christianity;

(c) he hates America, no matter that this nation twice elected him as president (with a little help from the IRS, of course); and

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[FUNNY POSTERS] Brian Williams and S(T)EAL Team One

Caped Crusader left a wonderful comment on my post about Brian Williams’ Stolen Valor lie:

He and Hillary should form “S(T)EAL TEAM 1″, for those who lack valor but still need some desperately to prove their worth to themselves, by stealing a little unearned valor. after living a lie all their lives.

I said “that ought to be a poster,” so both Caped Crusader and RaymondJelli took me up on that challenge.  Here’s Caped Crusader’s poster:

Valor Steal Team One

And here’s RaymondJelli’s

Steal Team One

Thanks so much both of you for giving such a sharp visual edge to Caped Crusader’s clever joke!

If anyone else feels inspired — go for it!!

NBC’s Brian Williams’ Stolen Valor: He lied about being on a helicopter hit by an RPG in Iraq *UPDATED*

Brian Williams in IraqStar & Stripes has the scoop:

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

We call that the “Hillary Clinton” excuse.  Hillary, as you may remember, lied about sniper fire in Bosnia.

My take?

Leftists are narcissists.  Narcissists do not have objective truth.  The truth is always defined by their needs, whether emotional, professional, economic, or anything else.  The Leftist’s reality is always bounded by the needs of the moment and Williams is a Leftist.  Williams, a weedy little Leftist talking head, felt emasculated being around real warriors in Iraq (and being around some real reporters who actually went to the dangerous places). He needed to pump himself up, just as Hillary did.

UPDATE:  Michelle Malkin has found the best Brian Williams quotation ever.  Really.  Ever.

Eradicating totalitarianism; or I love it when Huffington Post makes a point for me

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

Huffington Post leans Left.  It is not a media outlet that believes that the only way to destroy the jihadist mindset is to wipe it out from top to bottom.  Instead, HuffPo’s editorial policy makes clear that, in keeping with most major media outlets, it’s very certain that, somewhere out there, there’s a peaceful resolution to our problems with jihadist Islam — and one, moreover, that does not involve HuffPo writers getting shot or beheaded.  The HuffPo collective believes this despite daily news reports demosntrating that the jihadis have world domination as their goal, and that they intend to achieve it through the purifying force of hundreds of millions of deaths.

Even Qatari-owned Al Jazeera is slightly further along the path of jihadist discovery than is the American media.  It is Al Jazeera, after all, that took the time to interview Jurgen Todenhofer, a German journalist who managed to embed with ISIL and return alive. Todenhofer, as is true for so many European (and American) Leftists, seems to have gone in assuming that the bad press about ISIS, much of which ISIS promulgates itself, just couldn’t be true. Imagine his surprise to discover that ISIS is even worse than we imagined:

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The Bookworm Beat 1/17/15 — Supplemental edition and Open Thread

Woman writingSince I wrote the preceding Bookworm Beat, two things showed up on my computer that I wanted to address.

You’re not brave if there’s no risk

In 2006, as part of Project 2,996, I wrote about New York Fire Fighter Brian Ahearn. I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for the ghosts and traces of Lt. Ahearn, and ended up feeling as if I really knew the man who, despite a lovely and fulfilling life, bravely raced into a burning high rise hoping to rescue people from the destruction. Lt. Ahearn was never seen again. In my post about him, I thought a lot about his raw courage and it was this idea — this courage — that opened my post:

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Do conservatives sometimes give their political opponents the gift of a high profile?

Dan Bongino has a good point and an interesting question. What do you think?

The New York Times ignores the reasons why Swedes might be turning against immigrants

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

Aftermath of a Muslim riot near Stockholm

The New York Times ran an article the other day noting that there’s been a big change in Sweden, in that increasing numbers of ordinary Swedes are turning against the countries famously relaxed immigration policy.  I’ll let the Times explain:

Opposition to the rising numbers is growing. The far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats had their best showing ever — nearly 13 percent of votes — in elections in September.

The entry of the Sweden Democrats to parliament in 2010 had already opened the door for a previously unthinkable discussion about turning back the country’s policy of taking in foreigners on humanitarian grounds and granting them access to the country’s generous welfare system.

In an ordinary world, anybody reading the above paragraph would, of course, wonder why the famously welcoming Swedes are suddenly becoming hostile to immigration.  I’m sorry, but not surprised, to say that the New York Times is not writing for an ordinary world.  It’s writing for its Progressive readers who don’t want to hear bad things about immigrants, especially politically correct Muslim immigrants.

That’s presumably why virtually the entire article focuses on the immigrants’ suffering, with only some vague allusions to the problems their presence creates:

As Khalif Samantar knelt for afternoon prayers at the Eskilstuna Islamic Dawa Center on Christmas Day, he sensed a growing heat and a low, rushing sound coming from a nearby hallway. He focused his mind on the ritual, only to realize seconds later that someone was shouting, “The mosque is on fire!”

[snip]

“We left our country as refugees. We were not looking for food or benefits, we were looking for somewhere to feel safe,” said Abdirahman Farah Warsame, the imam at the mosque where the fire occurred on Christmas Day. He is originally from Somalia. “Now that is gone. We have a feeling that society is turning against us.”

After having made clear where its sympathies lie (with the poor, peaceful, dispossessed Muslim immigrants), the article points out how nasty Europe is becoming, whining about money problems and inchoate fears:

Indeed, the relentless stream of migrants to Europe — propelled by the war in Syria and turmoil across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa — has combined with economic troubles and rising fear of Islamic radicalism to fuel a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.

After having read the above paragraph, I, unlike the average Times reader, started wondering “When will the Times start explaining the reasons behind — or, at least, the reasons people give for — “a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.” Let me save you the problem of reading the article:  The Times doesn’t explain the reasons.

Instead, as you can confirm yourself, there are “debates,” “resentments” and “suspicions” about Muslim immigration, although the Times reader never discovers the contents of those debates, or the reasons behind resentments and suspicions. Instead, we learn that

  • Swedes gathered to show solidarity with Muslims;
  • Sweden was third only to Germany and France in the number of asylum seekers in 2012;
  • Sweden is getting a boatload of Syrians;
  • Swedes have always kept their immigrants out of the mainstream “but that the success of the Sweden Democrats has made racism more socially acceptable;”
  • Sweden’s parliament entered into there was some sort of “last-minute deal” that saved the government from the racist Swedish Democrat attack [more on that later];
  • the Islamic Association of Sweden (their CAIR) is unhappy about rising protests, including women having their hijabs snatched off; that
  • mosques are getting vandalized; and
  • Muslim immigrants are family oriented people who just want peace and are having a hard time sleeping.

Indeed, the only inkling one gets about what might be disturbing the Swedes’ tranquility is this single paragraph:

The party’s growth has occurred despite the fact that roughly a fifth of Sweden’s 9.6 million people were born abroad or to immigrant parents in Sweden. Most immigrants here have access to education, but government figures show a disproportionate unemployment rate for them, more than twice the national rate of about 8 percent. The disparity helped fuel riots in immigrant neighborhoods outside Stockholm in 2013.

Let me say right away that I’m not condoning mosque burnings or hijab snatching. I’m a big supporter of the rule of law, but here’s the little secret the Times tries so hard to hide:  The rule of law is precisely what 13% of Sweden’s citizens stood for when they used the ballot box to elect representatives who would slow (not halt, but slow) the seemingly endless influx of Islamic immigrants and the rate of handouts given to those immigrants.

Of course, the traditional powers that be in Europe — the hard right and hard left — can’t have a moderate middle that’s hostile to a third world takeover. Thus, when the Swedish Democrats flexed their muscles in parliament by refusing to approve a budget unless their concerns about slowing immigration and welfare were met, thereby forcing a snap election that would undoubtedly have worked to the Swedish Democrats’ favor, the hard left and hard right entered into a sleazy backroom deal to vote on budgets through 2018 so as to shut the Swedish Democrats (and the voters) out of government.  (I’ll explain in a few paragraphs why, even though I’m disgusted by this anti-democratic behavior, I can’t weep too many tears for the Swedish Democrat party.)

And now back to the original point, which is to wonder what the New York Times wasn’t saying when it wrote about Swedes’ growing animosity to Muslim immigrants.  The secret lies in the Times’ throwaway line about immigrant resentment leading to “riots” outside Stockholm. Muslims are rioting? Who would have guessed that!

So, here’s a little information about those Swedish immigrants that the New York Times didn’t think was part of “all the news that’s fit to print”:

1. Already back in the early years of this century, Fjordman was writing about the fact that the rape rate is skyrocketing in Sweden. When I mention this to Progressives, they immediately say that it’s because Sweden (pretty much like every American college campus) defines rape so broadly that just looking cross-eyed at a woman is rape. These same Progressives have nothing to say, though, when I point out that “In Sweden only around 3-4% of all rapes are committed by natives who make up 85% of the entire population. The rest are by immigrants – Muslim immigrants.” Even Progressives aren’t foolish enough to pretend that the same Muslims who brutally rape women all over the world suddenly, when they get to Sweden, stop their violent physical rapes and just start looking at women cross-eyed.

2. Even when they’re not rioting, Muslim neighborhoods have become so dangerous that they are now “no-go” zones for Swedens’ police and firefighters. There are now 55 Muslim enclaves in which criminals rule supreme. You only need to look at Malmo, which is about 25% Muslim and incredibly violent, to see the future of things to come.

3. Significant numbers of Swedens’ mosques aren’t the sunny ecumenical spots described in the New York Times article. They are, instead, hotbeds of radicalized Islam, of the type that doesn’t just provide moral support for ISIS, but that actually goes off and fights for it.

In other words, those Swedes casting their lot in with the Swedish Democrats aren’t just being petty people moved only by their pocket books — although it would be reasonable for them to start resenting the vast demands the immigrants make on the system. After all, the only reason socialism worked in Sweden in the first place was that it was such a small, politically and culturally homogeneous county that everyone cheerily contributed to the classic Marxist plan of “from each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.” The Muslims, however, don’t buy into that cooperative socialism, which is driving the system closer to collapse.

Nope, what’s bugging those cheerful, law-abiding Swedes is that they’ve nurtured a violent viper at their breasts, a viper that rapes their women, makes their shiny, clean cities dirty, destroys their communities, and emasculates law enforcement. No wonder 13% of them suddenly signed on to the Swedish Democrats.

Still, as I noted above, I’m not weeping too many tears for the Swedish Democrats, despite the fact that a dirty backroom deal locked them out of the political process.  Even as the Muslims, who make up about 5% of the population, commit depredations against the Swedes, the Swedish Democrats are turning against the Jews, who make up only .2% of the population and have no history of violence or disruption whatsoever. It’s things like this, incidentally, that make me completely understand my friend’s belief that the Europeans are Amalekites and deserve no pity as their continent swirls down the drain of history.

And just a couple of wrap ups:

  1. My 2013 impression of Stockholm, based upon the admittedly very small experience of having spent just a few hours there; and
  2. Two Pat Condell videos:

The NY Times smears Louisiana conservatives by saying they’re all David Duke

David DukeThe headline to the New York Times article says it all: “Much of David Duke’s ’91 Campaign Is Now in Louisiana Mainstream.” Would you be surprised if I told you that this is nothing more than a dishonest hit piece?

The article has a simple premise. Readers know what a vile racist David Duke is. Because mostly-Republican Louisiana has embraced Duke’s 1991 platform from his gubernatorial campaign, therefore Louisiana is a vile racist state. The jumping off point for the article is the story that Representative Steve Scalise spoke to a meeting that one of Duke’s close aides held in 1992. That story has been seriously questioned, although you wouldn’t know it from the Times, which has not issued a correction or update.

There are only two flaws with the article. The first is that the fact that even evil politicians have ideas that non-evil people can embrace. For example, without stooping to malign American Progressives by calling them “Nazis,” look at how many economic ideas from the Nazi party American Progressives embrace:

Nazi economic policy was largely based on fascist economic theories. In fascism, resources and production are managed for the greater benefit of the state, rather than to increase profit, wages or standards of living. Fascist governments control production and manufacturing, dictating what is produced and for what purposes. There is also considerable government control over the allocation of resources, such as land and raw materials. Unlike socialism, fascism is not opposed to private ownership of capital, provided that business owners are co-operative and do not resist state control. In fascist economic systems, such as Mussolini’s Italy, economics is considered a partnership between the state and private-owned corporations.

One could go on, comparing such things as socialized medicine (Nazis and Progressives like it), as well as the obsession with state control over individual choices so as to grind out vice. (For more comparing the “nanny” side, rather than the killer side, of Nazism to modern American Progessivism you can’t do better than to read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change)

Even though American Progressives and Hitler’s Nazis share many of the same political ideas, there’s a reason we don’t insult Progressives by calling them “Nazis”: The “Nazi” label is a serious insult, not because of its socialist politics, but because of the Nazi obsession with bloody war and racial genocide and enslavement. Last I looked, American Progressives were big on the garden-variety socialism that the Nazis liked too, but they hadn’t started begging for blitzkriegs and death camps.  I may not like the politics that American Progressives espouse, but they’re not Nazis.  (Interestingly, though, they do have the same race obsessions as the Nazis and, scarily, they’re making headway on the antisemitism.  One wonders if those vices are hard-wired into socialism, whether one initially wants them there or not.)

The key takeaway is that, even if you share some political, social, and economic beliefs with a bad actor, that doesn’t make you a bad actor — provided that you don’t share the ugly stuff. When  it comes to tarring Republicans, the New York Times ignores that distinction.

The second flaw is that, if you actually read beyond the lede, the article provides no evidence whatsoever that Louisiana embraced the uglier parts of Duke’s 1991 platform. Instead, the article offers a single apples to oranges comparison, and then pretends that they’re both the same fruit.  A mild fisking is now in order:

Mr. Duke supported forcing welfare recipients to take birth control. Now there are near-perennial attempts by members of the Louisiana Legislature to give welfare recipients drug tests.

Do you see any correlation whatsoever between forcing welfare recipients to take birth control (which could be construed as a eugenics thing because a disproportionate number of blacks are on welfare), versus mandating drug tests to ensure that Louisiana voters aren’t subsidizing voluntary behavior that leads to an inability to work? I don’t. Incidentally, back in 1991 welfare was structured to give female welfare recipients a cash incentive to have children out-of-wedlock, Duke wasn’t the only one back in the day seeking ways to disincentivize welfare recipients from having out-of-wedlock children.  Indeed, in 1991 there were a lot of problems with welfare, so many that, in 1994, driven by the voter wave that placed Republicans in control of Congress, Bill Clinton signed a bill ending “Welfare as We Know It.”  The bill’s purpose was to do away with welfare’s perverse incentives, including the bonuses for babies part of welfare.

And that’s my fisking. Done. Because despite the fact that the article purports to compare Duke’s 1991 platform to modern Louisiana politics, that misshapen comparison is the only thing to emerge. The only other point one gets about Duke’s platform is a vague, conclusory statement:

After being elected to the state House of Representatives in 1989, Mr. Duke filed nine bills, including measures implementing stricter guidelines for residents of public housing, repealing affirmative action programs and eliminating minority set-asides.

Following that generalization, instead of the promised comparison, the rest of the article focuses on Scalise, offering a debate as to whether he’s a racist politician in the Duke mode or a racist politician in the Republican mode.

In other words, the article is the usual tawdry, lazy, dishonest hit piece that takes up so much space in the New York Times.  It did its work, though, since a couple of New York Times readers I know told me that, by being a conservative, I’m no better than David Duke, America’s most famous KKK-er.

The Bookworm Beat 12/6/14 — Saturday sweep-up edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingA cold has been making the rounds in my neighborhood and it finally caught up with me. I don’t feel particularly ill, but I feel congested and quite desperately sleepy. I had a great deal to do today, and mostly managed to re-read Agatha Christie’s Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, which wasn’t too taxing (and, thankfully, I’d forgotten whodunnit). I’ve now roused myself enough to clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and share with you a few browser tabs I still have open from yesterday:

The all-around best post about the Rolling Stone’s journalistic malpractice

I’ve shouted my opinion about Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story from the treetops (“It didn’t happen that way!”), and I’ve linked to several posts that agreed with me, only they did so more thoroughly, more elegantly and, most importantly, from more prominent platforms than mine.  These combined voices forced Rolling Stone to admit to gross journalistic malpractice.

Of all these bully-pulpit loud voices on the subject, my favorite is Jonah Goldberg. Writing before Rolling Stone walked back its story, Jonah Goldberg had this to say:

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