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:

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The Bookworm Beat 5-2-15 — the “I’ve got things to say, dammit!” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spend so much of my life starting things, but never finishing them. Part of that is my core inefficiency and part of it is the fact that, although it goes sorely against my nature, my life is lived in the service of others. Even worse, those others aren’t interested in my having time to blog. Shame on them! They’ve been fed now, though, and should be pacified for a while. ;)

The registration form doesn’t require proof of life either

Everybody who’s surprised to learn that the Obama administration is trying to block any state efforts to require immigrants to prove citizenship when registering to vote, please raise your hands. Those with their hands raised, how have you managed to remain so naive after six Obama years?

A short rant about American blacks

Watching how the Democrats (led by whites, fueled by blacks) have destroyed cities across America, with special attention given to the destruction of America’s black communities, I have a rant:

“Fine, we, the white collective, screwed you. We screwed you 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years, and last week. We seem incapable of not screwing you. So why do you keep looking to us for help? Look to yourselves. Fix your own communities because, according to you, whatever we touch, we turn to dross. The fact is, you can’t grow up until you cut the apron strings, especially because, by your own definition, your white American Mommy is toxic.”

Of course, once one says that, rather than the black community pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, all that happens is a renewed press for reparations.  But still, the reality in communities is exactly the same as it is when you sit in the therapist’s office and he intones (usually to your irritation), “Only you can help yourself.  You have to want to change.”

Good news: Arab young people are becoming surprisingly pro-Israel

During Operation Protective Edge last year, several pro-Israel Facebook groups started posting pictures of people’s hands (no faces). In one hand was a passport, with the cover showing the country of origin; on the other hand, the inked words “I support you Israel,” or something similar. An amazing number of those passports were from Muslim countries. The following article, therefore, wasn’t completely surprising, but it did make me smile:

It all began as a personal project by a young Israeli Arab who lives in northern Israel. He wanted to use social networking to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not some “army of evil” and that its soldiers are not as bloodthirsty as they tend to be portrayed in Arab propaganda films. He soon learned, however, that in the digital age, there is no end to surprises. Instead of messages and responses from the Israeli Arab audience he was targeting, he began receiving messages of peace and love from young Arab men and women from across the Arab world.

Read the rest here. George Dubya may have been right about the yearning for freedom within the Muslim world — especially as they see ISIS’s depredations.

Socialism hasn’t served Scandinavia well

I’ve told you before about my polite remainders to a Scandinavian friend that his belief that his is a successful socialist country is a delusion. The money for socialism has come from American defense during the Cold War (“We’ll pay for your military so that you can socialize your medicine.”), while the Scandinavian collective (“Ja, ja! We agree about everything.”) means that they haven’t had to rely on the coercion that is the real socialist deal in governance. The end of the Cold War, combined with the influx of uncooperative Muslims into Scandinavian countries, is revealing what a big fake Scandinavian “socialism” always was.

It turns out that there’s a book expanding on what I’ve gathered just using a few news stories, some glowing PBS documentaries about Scandinavian wonders, a short visit to the Scandinavian countries, and some common sense: Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. This is definitely a book I have to read.

A review at Reason gives you a taste of why I’ll like it — and a taste of how much worse the Scandinavian reality is than I ever realized:

The book, which has just been published in the U.S., is especially powerful in its dissection of the culturally corrosive effects of Scandinavia’s expansive state power, which seems to “smother its people’s motivation, ambition, and spirit.”

A full fifth of Danish adults don’t work and live exclusively on public benefits. Norwegian media is so deeply dull that one of its most popular television shows ever is—this is for real—a seven-hour real-time feed from a camera mounted on a train traversing mountains. Booth calls the prevailing Swedish political norms “benign totalitarianism.”

[snip]

In other cultures, you have “tall poppy syndrome,” where if a reality star makes a record or buys a Lamborghini, they’ll get pilloried in the media. The difference in Scandinavia is that tall poppy syndrome applies to everyone all the time. So if you show naked ambition or arrogance, you will get cut down to size. “Don’t think you are that special, don’t show off, don’t boast.” No one wears a suit and tie in parliament. It’s extraordinary.

If you want an incredibly equal, socially cohesive society, you definitely lose something by way of individuality, eccentricity, diversity. Often I’m asked, “Could the Nordic template be applied to Britain or America?” And the answer is no. You can’t just hope that people will suddenly become conformist and driven by equality. It doesn’t work that way.

Media brings about its worst fear — guns for self-defense

The media, in its efforts to have Americans join its anti-gun fervor, has been plugging stories for several years telling people about America’s gun violence epidemic. Rather than making Americans insist that we ban guns, however, the opposite happened: more and more Americans decided to arm themselves. I think we call this a Massive Media Fail.

Free speech for me (if I’m antisemitic), but not for thee (if you’re pro-Israel) at Connecticut College

Professor Andrew Pessin, at Connecticut College, was branded a racist for daring to support Israel — with all the attendant stalking and harassment that comes with that label:

Professor Pessin is the latest casualty of what might be described as a “killer bee swarm” on the local and global internet. It took only one student, Lamiya Khandaker, who defamed Pessin in a student newspaper, to launch a university-wide and global campaign against Pessin defending last summer’s military campaign against the terrorist group Hamas by the Israeli government.

Pessin has been fighting a campaign to brand him as racist for his support of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, based on a remark posted to Facebook in which he compared Hamas to ““a rabid pit bull is chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”

Khandaker’s use of certain key words and concepts regarding Pessin—“I feel unsafe as a Muslim;” there is “subtle institutional racism;” Pessin is a “racist” because he allegedly compared Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls”—all functioned as zeitgeist signals to a previously conditioned mob and they lit out after him.

Pessin began receiving hate mail and death threats following her allegations, and wasforced to take a medical leave due to the level of stress this incident placed on him.

In point of fact, and contrary to what Khandaker alleged, Pessin was referring to the terrorist Hamas leadership when he made the “pit bull” comment, not to Palestinian people.

You can sign the petition here (which is still stuck at a little fewer than 10,000 signatures).

Sexism rears its ugly head in attacks on female hunters

David Reeder noticed something interesting — the animal rights/anti-gun crowd is sexist, very, very sexist (language warning):

You can think what you want about hunting, that’s your prerogative. But when you conflate hunting with poaching, when your disapproval translates into misogyny, vile torrents of profanity and threats of violence, that just proves what many people think already: you’re a pretentious asshole. It certainly doesn’t do much for your credibility or strength of your argument either, but why let a little rational discourse get in the way of your most recent excuse to be outraged?

Here’s an idea! As long as you (and by you I mean any of the many thousands of people wishing hunters ill) are engaging in such smarmy tomfuckery, why don’t you go ahead and be even more outraged when it’s a pretty girl perpetrating such wanton carnage. It’s bad enough when a Mossy Oak-clad quinquagenarian harvests an animal, but God forbid it’s a hawt white girl with bewbs posing next to that hapless, slaughtered beast. She should be reviled publicly — in fact, let’s revoke her right to vote and stick her back in front of the stove while we’re at it.

Bloodthirsty sluts.

I’m not a fan of trophy hunting. It makes no sense to me to kill something if you’re not going to eat it. Having said that, it’s legal in many places and useful in many others, culling animals that would otherwise upset the balance in the ecosystem. And God knows, if I were going to attack it, I wouldn’t do so on sexist grounds.

More tomorrow….

The Bookworm Beat 2-19-15 — A few links for your reading pleasure

Woman writingI’m still away from my blog, so I’m not blogging in real time, but in un-real time. I lined up this post several days ago and, for all I know, world events shifted so dramatically, everything here is entirely obsolete. Still, FWIW, you may enjoy these stories:

Roger L. Simon has been on fire lately. I’ve always liked his writing, but lately I’ve loved his writing. His riff on the murders in Cophenhagen is a fine bit of snark aimed at people at home and abroad who deny Islam’s role in terrorism, not to mention antisemitism’s role in Islam.

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[VIDEO] Caroline Glick utterly demolishes European ambassadors

Caroline Glick was not constrained by the meaningless language of diplomacy.  She simply told the truth after listening to the Danish ambassador’s utterly revolting twaddle, in which he simultaneously expressed his antisemitism and his utter disdain for the Palestinian people who are the European tools to act upon that antisemitism:

Copenhagen, Part II

The ship stopped at Copenhagen to let off old passengers and take on new ones. We’re staying on for yet more travel, this time to North Sea ports, but we did take advantage of the changeover to spend another day in Copenhagen. What made it an exceptionally nice day is that we met up with old friends who live in the region.

Because they had seen it all, having visited Copenhagen frequently, and because we’d seen the tourist highlights at the start of our trip, we were happy just to toodle around town with them. We must have walked six or seven miles, just wandering through city streets.

The main highlight of this day was our visit to Christiana. Christiania was once a military base. Some time during the late 60s or early 70s, a band of hippies occupied the old base and essentially declared it a Republic of Hippie Freedom. The residents claim that they are a separate entity from Copenhagen, Denmark, and the EU. They steal utilities, including cable, electricity, and water, from the city of Copenhagen and boast about the fact that they are not slaves to capitalism. Drugs are legal. The smell of marijuana wafts through the air.

Christiana is quite picturesque, with large, artsy, hippie-style murals on every surface. It’s crowded with residents (the ones who look unwashed and, usually, old) and tourists (distinguished mainly by being clean). It would be a great place to take pictures. However, in one of those ironies that the residents themselves seem oblivious to, “free-spirited” Christiana is liberally festooned with signs posting rules, chief among which is “no photographs.”

I doubt there’s a commune in the world that hasn’t rather swiftly turned into a rules-run dictatorship. There’s something about “free-spirits” that inclines them to excessive bossiness when people fail to get with the free-spirit program.

Here’s something I’ve noticed in all the Baltic capital cities we visited — the town centers do not reflect the countries’ (alleged) demographic realities. Demographics say that these countries are failing to have children at a rate sufficient to maintain their populations — yet the city centers are crawling with children. Demographics also say that large parts of Europe, especially Northern Europe, are acquiring critical masses of immigrants, primarily from Muslim countries — yet I’ve seen fewer people in burqas than I usually do in Marin.

I’m not sure what this means. Either the statistical data about declining local populations and surging Muslim populations is wrong, or the central tourist areas are Potemkin villages that fail to reflect each countries’ changing demographic realities.

Here’s another unexpected thing — it’s hot! We’ve been told that the week before we arrived, the weather across Europe was dreadful, with lots of rain. We hit a heat wave.

I can’t say I’m thrilled. While touring with rain pouring down is inconvenient, Europe in a heat wave isn’t exactly my cup of tea either. I was looking forward to San Francisco temperatures, not Texas ones. Still, when we get back to the ship, there are cool showers and cold drinks, not to mention good ready-made food that I didn’t have to shop for or cook, and that I don’t have to clean up when we’re done. That’s pretty darn good in my books.

Tomorrow is Oslo, and I’m hoping for slightly cooler weather. Even if I don’t get my wish, I know it will be lovely. I’ll just resolutely ignore the Nobel stuff all over the place.

Plucky Danes and the cartoons that won’t go away

I don’t need to remind any of you of the Cartoon jihad rampage that Islamists went on a couple of years ago when a Danish paper dared to print cartoons of Muhammad, most innocuous, but some a little edgy. Actually, they weren’t edgy enough because, as you may also recall, everyone ignored them until a Danish imam took it upon himself to add in some truly obscene Muhammad cartoons, blame them on the Danes, and start the riots. (Apparently it isn’t blasphemy when Danish imam’s do this kind of thing, as long as they’re out to destroy the infidel. All’s fair in, not love, because they have no love, but war, war, war.)

Anyway, the whole thing is in the news because it turns out that, while two years may have passed, Islamists have long memories (witness their continued and active outrage over their expulsion from Spain more than 500 years ago). Some of them, to express that outrage, got together and decided to assassinate Kurt Westergaard, the artists behind the most satirically accurate cartoon — the one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in lieu of a turban. (It would have been just as good if it had pictured any generic Islamist, but it does make a greater point about the religion in this form). Here, see for yourself:

A funny thing is happening in Denmark in the wake of the news that police broke up the assassination ring — European newspapers are being brave:

Newspapers across Europe Wednesday reprinted the controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked worldwide protests two years ago.

The cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked widespread outrage in the Muslim world two years ago.

The move came one day after Danish authorities arrested three people allegedly plotting a “terror-related assassination” of Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist behind the drawing.

Berlingske Tidende, was one of the newspapers involved in the republication by newspapers in Denmark. It said: “We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper always will defend,” in comments reported by The Associated Press. (Emphasis mine.)

Newspapers in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands also republished the drawing Wednesday as part of their coverage of Tuesday’s arrests.

Perhaps this new bravery is because Europeans have begun to realize in the intervening two years since the last cartoon kerfuffle that radical Muslims don’t go away if you simply yield to their ever increasing demands::

CNN’s Paula Newton said the arrests reinforced growing fears in Europe that radical Islam was trying to suppress free speech.

“More and more Europeans feel that Islam is a threat to their way of life,” Newton said. A recent Gallup poll for the World Economic Forum showed a majority of Europeans believed relations between the West and the Muslim world were worsening. According to the poll this sentiment was strongest held among Danish.

Islamists are blackmailers. In the beginning, as the object of blackmail, it always seems easier to give in, whether the threat is humiliation or, as here, violence. However, that’s a deal with the Devil because the nature of a blackmailer is that he never goes away. He wants more and more and more and he increases his demands until you’re almost sucked dry or are actually dead. Its the rare blackmailer whose greed isn’t such that he can resist the temptation to kill the goose that is laying his golden eggs. For the Islamists there’s actually no downside to killing us Western geese. Whether we’re reduced to total subservience or totally destroyed, they get what they want.

Both Michelle Malkin and the Captain are sponsoring blogbursts to publish the above cartoon, especially since American newspapers, unlike their increasingly threatened European counterparts, are being very coy about the cartoons. It’s a great idea. Remember, as much as they’d like to kill us all, they can’t if we show a solidarity that utterly defeats their arms. Per Ben Franklin: “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” So, go to it!

Check below the fold for a partial list of bloggers taking a stand:

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Danes struggle with the intersection between courts & terrorism

There’s much consternation in Denmark today after a jury found four men guilty under the country’s new anti-terrorism laws, and a reviewing panel of judges promptly overruled the verdict as to three of the men, based on insufficient evidence:

The panel of judges hearing Denmark’s first trial involving suspects charged under new strict anti-terror laws has overturned three of the four guilty verdicts handed down by the jury today.

The jury had found all four suspects in the Glostrup terror case guilty of being involved in the planning of a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe, but the judges overturned the verdict for three of the indicted, citing insufficient evidence.

The guilty verdict for the fourth suspect, 17 year-old Abdul Basit Abu-Lifa, was upheld.

The four men had been in custody since November 2005. Charges were filed against them after police and PET, the Danish domestic intelligence agency, found connections between them and two men found guilty in Sarajevo of planning a terror action in Europe.

Abu-Lifa reputedly had close contact with a Swedish national convicted in the Sarajevo case. The other person convicted was a Turkish-Dane.

Judges are obliged to overturn a jury’s decision when they find there is insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction.

In his final instructions to the jury yesterday, the presiding judge, Bent Østerborg, had indicated that the prosecution’s reliance on character witnesses failed to provide enough evidence to prove the suspects were involved in a planned attack. He informed the jury directly that the evidence against the case’s main suspect, Imad Ali Jaloud, was not sufficient to convict him. The 20-year-old was one of those released today.

It is now up to the state prosecutor’s office to decide if the decision will be appealed.

Knowing nothing about the facts of the case, I have no idea whether I’d agree with the judges or the jury on this one. However, I definitely agree with the politicians on this one (emphasis mine):

Politicians interviewed after the ruling were nearly all in agreement that dissension between the jury and judges in a case of such great importance was unsatisfactory.

‘Regardless of whether they were found guilty or not, it would have been best if everyone had been in agreement,’ said Karen Hækkerup, the Social Democratic judicial spokesperson. ‘This was a landmark case, but now it’s just mud. But as law makers we have to trust our legal system.’

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