Saturday night round-up (the moron edition) and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI did something today that I very seldom do: I went clothes shopping for myself. I spend an inordinate amount of time shopping for everyone else in the family, but between shopping fatigue, denial about my post-baby figure (although I’ll concede I was too thin pre-babies), and the ridiculous amount of money clothes cost nowadays even on sale, there’s no pleasure for me in the task.

My husband also reverts to totally stereotyped behavior. How stereotyped? Well, Dorothy Sayers was clearly writing about him way back in 1937:

“Why, it takes a man months and months to reconcile himself to a new hat. And just when you’re preparing to send it to the jumble sale, he says, ‘That’s rather a nice hat you’ve got on, where did you get it?’ And you say, ‘My dear Henry, it’s the one I had last year and you said made me look like an organ-grinder’s monkey.’ My brother-in-law says that every time, and it does make my sister so wild.”

– Sayers, Dorothy L., Gaudy Night (Kindle Locations 904-908). Open Road Media.

As if he’d read the script, Mr. Bookworm was suddenly much taken both with my decade-old jeans (telling me the holes were “fashionable”) and with the shirt that, when I bought it two years ago, he told me made me look as if I was dressing in a sack.  Men!

Mr. Bookworm’s new-found fondness for my old clothes notwithstanding, I do not find holes fashionable.   I find them disreputable.  So off I went, found a sympathetic saleswoman at Nordstrom, got my older child, the one with fashion sense, to help me out, and bought several new clothes and a couple of new pairs of shoes.  Some will go back but most will stay with me.  I cannot go around my solidly upper-middle-class Marin neighborhood looking like the bag lady’s poorer sister.

After the harrowing experience of confronting myself in the dressing room mirror, spending more money on clothes in a day than I’ve spent in the past several years put together, and convincing my husband that the worn-out fashions of the last decade can use an update, I’m so ready to rest myself with political and social commentary.  Here goes….

** 1 **

You’re probably au courant about this one already, but the Palestinians are back at it again, recycling the dead from other wars to suit their own propaganda purposes:

Hamas recycles dead people

We see the crude trickery, but the Muslim, Leftist, and Neo-Nazi masses in Europe just see something to feed their already rabid antisemitism.

** 2 **

Among other things, the tragedy of MH17 reveals the horror of morons with hyper-destructive missiles.

** 3 **

I called it inappropriate laughter. Charles C. W. Cooke calls in insouciance. No matter the label, there’s something dreadfully wrong with Obama’s responses to the worldwide calamities that have been mounting during the second half of his presidency.

I also don’t like the word “insouciance,” which I think better applies to the incredibly courageous spy keeping his calm and humor even while facing discovery as he works to save his country. Obama’s cavalier attitude and endless ill-timed guffaws have nothing to do with a stiff upper lip and everything to do with derangement, denial, or unseemly delight as he presides over America’s downfall.

Perhaps, based solely upon his response to the MH17 attack, the right word for Obama should be moron, but I still think even that’s too kind.

** 4 **

As their final revenge for having lost the Revolutionary War, the British are writing breathless puff pieces about Hillary Clinton. Indeed, the latest example is so breathless and puffy it’s actually funny:

Throughout my interview with Hillary, she is fiercely engaged; her eyes—sparkly, wide, alert—remain firmly focused on me. She is warm, considered, talks slowly and thoughtfully and uses—consciously or not—tactics that put me at ease. She frequently answers my queries with the response: “Now, that’s a great question”, she litters her answers with colloquialisms that put us on a level and, listening back, I am struck by the amount of times she says, “You know”. And of course there’s that charming laugh. I can see that these natural skills make her the perfect diplomat, the ultimate leader.

Perhaps it’s a parody, but it seems to be played straight. Incidentally, when I hear people repeatedly say “you know,” I automatically deduct a few of the speaker’s IQ points. I know that’s unkind, because it’s a verbal twitch unrelated to intelligence, but I hate verbal twitches. (For an antidote, see Weird Al’s “Word Crimes.”)

** 5 **

And if you admire Weird Al, as I do, he went on Fox (bravo!) to talk about grammar and internet marketing:

** 6 **

The way the media talks about Ted Kennedy, you’d think he was a saint. T. Becket Adams reminds us that, in fact, he was a sinner of the blackest kind. Forty-five years ago, what he did went beyond manslaughter, which would have been the charge had Mary Jo Kopechne’s died the moment the car entered into the water.  Instead, he embraced murder, because he deliberately left her alive in the car, and allowed her to die, slowly, agonizingly, and alone.

** 7 **

A few hours ago, I was about to write “I’d like to boycott Chase Bank for prying into employee’s personal beliefs, but I can’t, because I don’t have a Chase account.” Then, my husband tossed me an envelope from Chase saying “You need to do this” — with “this” being opening a checking and savings account so as to get $400. Mr. Bookworm, of course, supports all actions the gay rights movement perceives as necessary to advance the gay rights movement, so my arguments against Chase on oppression grounds are unavailing.

I think I actually will open the accounts. In six weeks, I’ll get $400. Then I’ll close the accounts, explaining why. That would be a rather lovely form of boycott if, as I hope, Chase manages to earn less than $400 on my money during that time.

** 8 **

Bjorn Lomborg accepts the CO2 anthropogenic climate change narrative. However, because he is not a moron who wants to the First World revert to a pre-industrial standard of living, he is willing to accept that the projections were wrong and that climate change is nowhere near the disaster promised.

Alternatively, the Left could be invested in their view of climate change simply because they are, in fact, morons.

** 9 **

Remember this:  The GOP is not conservative. Some of its leading lights were behind the shameful attacks on Mississippi conservative Chris McDaniels. They were more interested in getting senile Thad Cochran reelected as their yes-man than in having an honest election, reducing racial tensions, and seeing a true conservative voice in the Senate.

** 10 **

The purpose behind lampooning an enemy is to make the enemy seem vulnerable. That’s why a once-patriotic Hollywood worked overtime to create farces aimed at belittling the Nazis and the Japanese.

With that in mind, while I admire those who have created a satirical magazine about ISIS, I’m not sure what good it will do. After all, nobody who’s fighting ISIS will be reading it. For the Christians being purged in Iraq, a little humor in the West is irrelevant.  On the other hand, of course, it can’t hurt to satirize ISIS, remind everyone that it’s made of men who can bleed and die like the rest of us.

** 11 **

I have repeatedly cited here God’s exhortation to “Choose Life.” The DemProg obsession with death — abortions, euthanasia, death panels, etc. — is one of the reasons I’ve turned against it politically. The road that the DemProgs are traveling ultimately leads to the nihilism that is Hamas.

Hamas has raised a generation of people who see death as their greatest accomplishment, provided that they kill Jews along the way. On the subject of Hamas, David Goldman agrees with me, which means I’m really smart on this issue. Moreover, he says that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East, not to mention one of few nations in the world, to choose life.

** 12 **

The wonderful Evan Sayet has a new website. And on his new website, he has a very good post explaining why Jews vote Democrat. As he sees it, due to centuries of being persecuted by people who believed in Christianity, Jews have foolishly concluded that they’ll be better served by people — i.e., Leftists — who believe nothing at all.

Of course, as we’ve discussed here, just because one doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a belief system. Indeed, history has shown us that there is no more rabid believer than the unbeliever.

What I said above does not do justice to Sayet’s entire post. Please read the whole thing for insights into the sad fact that some of the world’s smartest people consistently engage in one of the world’s most foolhardy and dangerous practices, i.e., putting faith in the Left.

** 13 **

I’m sure I’ve stated in a recent post my belief that the problem with radical Islamists is that they’re good at killing, but not at governing (which doesn’t keep them from trying to govern for years, decades, or even centuries, even as the mounds of bodies pile up on their watch). Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Amichai Magen make exactly the same point, only with actual data and analysis.

However, as long as their governance involves waging war solely on themselves, I don’t see why we can’t just stand back and watch the attrition happen. Unfortunately, hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of innocents will have to die, but the sad historical fact is that, when Islam is involved, whether it’s fighting itself or us, the innocents are always the first in line to go.

** 14 **

You know it, I know it, and others are figuring it out: A lot of so-called ADHD arises, not because of pesticides, climate change, or Bugs Bunny cartoons, but because kids, through no fault of their own, are forced to sit still all the time. Yes, they need to learn how to sit still, but they also have to move.

** 15 **

A retired border control agent gives some insight into the purpose behind immigration laws and the terrible damage that follows if the government refuses to protect its own border:

** 16 **

Nobody has paid much attention to the Z Street case, a lawsuit that predates the eruption of the IRS scandal. Back in 2010, Z Street was a lone entity claiming that the IRS was deliberately discriminating against it because it’s position regarding Israel (it supports it) was antithetical to Obama’s position. Now, four years later, Z Street is finally getting discovery in that case, and this discovery may be the one pebble that, when moved, breaks open the entire dam. Here’s hoping.

** 17 **

When the media talks about Israel, it lies. It’s that simple, and the more established and elite the media (think New York Times and Washington Post), the worse the lies it tells. Here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet explaining the 8 biggest lies. Pull this out next time one of your Leftist friends posts an NYT or WaPo article hostile to Israel.

** 18 **

If you’re in Chicago this Tuesday:

Rally to support Israel in Chicago

** 19 **

Pictures:

I have no idea what a libertarian is

Putin in danger from Obama

Holder's reflexes

Appalled by its brief moment of decency and morality regarding Israel, the WaPo bounces back with pure antisemitism

The Washington PostTwo days ago, I lauded the Washington Post for publishing a rare anti-Hamas editorial.  I say “rare” because Israel supporters have long felt that the Washington Post has consistently slanted its news to be hostile to Israel.  This hasn’t been done too overt a way.   Instead, it manifests itself in spin, subtle digs, and put downs to the Israelis, balanced by unreasonable praise for the Palestinians.  American Thinker has done a good job of catching these digs, slights, rubs, sneers, and disses.

That’s why, as I said, it was so surprising to read what surely constitutes a common sense, even morally correct, editorial about the current war between Israel and Hamas:

SO FAR Hamas’s military campaign against Israel has been a dismal failure.

[snip]

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks. More than 200 people, including a number of children, have already died in Gaza; Hamas probably calculates that more deaths will prompt Western governments to pressure Israel to grant Hamas’s demands.

So far, the tactic is not working. Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Tuesday condemned Hamas for rejecting the cease-fire and “us[ing] the innocent lives of civilians . . . as shields.” But Hamas’s commanders, who have burrowed into underground bunkers, appear to be doubling down. They are urging civilians who have left their homes to return, including some 15,000 who evacuated the northern part of Gaza in response to Israeli warnings.

[snip]

To its credit, Israel has used sophisticated technology, including targeted text messages and dummy warning missiles, to minimize civilian casualties. But innocent people will inevitably be killed in attacks on launchers and missile factories that are purposely placed in densely populated areas. The right response of the international community is not to surrender to Hamas’s despicable tactics but to continue insisting that it unconditionally accept the cease-fire proposed by Egypt.

Maybe my reading skills have degraded lately, but I read the above to mean that the Washington Post editorial board understood that Hamas is deliberately placing its citizens in danger because that’s the only real weapon it has in the war against Israel:  pictures of dead bodies used for propaganda purposes.  The editorial board also seemed to understand that Israel is making every effort to avoid killing the citizens Hamas pushes into the line of fire.  Was it possible that the editors were actually bothering to read the brilliant opinion pieces Charles Krauthammer has been writing on the subject?

Apparently it was not possible that the editors were exposing themselves to moral decency.  Indeed, it appears that, just like a fat person ending a virtuous diet with a grotesque bout of binge eating, The Washington Post, have experimented briefly with virtue, didn’t just get back to subtle sneers and misrepresentations, but instead opted to launch itself straight into out-and-out antisemitism.  And that’s why you will find this video on the Washington Post’s internet site:

Sadie, who sent the above video to me, says that you can make your feelings known by sending an email to letters@washpost.com or by mailing a letter addressed to The Editor, The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071. Sadie adds, “The Washington Post prefers that letters be kept to two hundred words or less. I can’t decide on “DROP DEAD” or “UP YOURS” one hundred times.”

I guess we now know the WaPo’s unofficial motto: “The American paper that Hitler would have loved to read.

The round-up I meant to do yesterday

Victorian posy of pansiesI got so taken up yesterday with my post asking if Obama is truly deranged that I never got around to sharing with you all the great material I found. Some things, however, only improve with age, so here they are.

** 1 **

When I was in Norway last summer, part of me really liked it, because it’s exquisitely beautiful and has fascinating museums commemorating its history (especially the Viking museum and the Open Air Museum). The other part of me, though, couldn’t forget that a stroll through Norway is kind of like a stroll through Nazi Germany in 1935 — not everyone’s a vile anti-Semite, but enough are to make it reasonable for you to view all with suspicion.

** 2 **

JoshuaPundit noticed something missing from Pew’s poll about American’s attitudes towards other religions: It conveniently “forgot” to ask Muslims how they feel about other religions. Could it be that Pew didn’t want the ugly truth about Muslim intolerance to leak out?

** 3 **

A 42-year-old, single, working man is at his peak: Physically and mentally mature, earning money (in theory), and still capable of fathering children. A 42-year-old, single, working woman is staring at the end of the line: She’s old in a youth-obsessed culture (when it comes to women), her career is her whole life, and she is unlikely ever to be a parent. Feminist promises about men and fish and bicycles were lies. No wonder she’s unhappy.

** 4 **

Brandeis doesn’t want Ayaan Hirsi Ali to say mean things about the Muslims who mutilated her, brutally murdered her friend and colleague, and continue to hunt her down.  It’s not always so sensitive, though.  The university named after the first Jewish Supreme Court justice is all good with having rabid anti-Semites on its faculty. More on the subject here.

** 5 **

While the world is weeping for the Gaza residents that Hamas has turned into cannon fodder, Gaza residents are actually fine with the whole thing. They’re especially sanguine when their own bombs kill them. It’s all part of the “glorious martyrdom for TV package.”

** 6 **

If you read only one thing about the evil that is Gaza and Hamas, and the complicity of a Western world that sides with terrorist monsters, read Charles Krauthammer’s latest opinion piece. It could easily be titled “Here Be Evil.”

** 7 **

“It’s for the children” is the Leftist cry . . . except when the mother of two young children is a law-abiding citizen who owns a perfectly legal gun to protect her safety in dangerous situations. In that case, “throw her butt in jail” becomes the cry from the anti-gun cadre.

** 8 **

In Detroit, though, at least one person is wising up. The Police Chief there credits gun-owning homeowners with a substantial reduction in that broken city’s crime rate. God bless the man!

** 9 **

It appears possible that the Left overreached itself with the border invasion. Of course, that doesn’t mean that America’s demographics haven’t been permanently changed in Democrats’ favor. Or . . . maybe not.  It turns out that Obama’s own Democrat politicians (outside of the Pelosi/Reid claque) aren’t so happy with what’s happening at the border either.

** 10 **

My mother’s San Francisco Jewish friends all raved about Ari Shavit’s book The Promised Land : The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. My Mom therefore read the book, which described many events she personally experienced or that her friends personally experienced.  She concluded that the book’s view of events before and during the Israeli War of Independence was a lie.

Martin Kramer looks at just one of those events — the claimed Lydda massacre — and clarifies just how much of a lie it was. Everything is explained when you learn that Shavit was a Ha’aretz writer. Ha’aretz is Israel’s Leftist paper, which is dying on the vine as Israelis realize how greatly the Left betrayed them.

** 11 **

Two videos from two brilliant political and cultural commentators:

Watcher’s Council nominations for July 16, 2014

Watcher's Council logoCool stuff from the Watcher’s Council:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Is Obama’s constant, inappropriate laughter a sign that he is suffering from a mental disorder? *UPDATED*

Obama looking stupidOne of the classic signs of serious mental illness is “inappropriate affect.” In this context, “affect” is the emotional face we present to the world. To the extent that a narcissist’s only emotional fixed point is his own need, most of a narcissists affects are actually faked, but that doesn’t mean they’re inappropriate.

The narcissist knows that it would harm his best interests if he were to giggle uncontrollably at a funeral or pick a fist fight with a patient in hospice. Normal people wouldn’t even think of doing such things (outside of the comedy universe), but a narcissist might want to do both, only to stop himself for fear of breaking cover.

Sometimes, though, narcissists, and other sick people, are so disconnected from reality — including their reality of their own best interests in a given situation — that they can no longer stop themselves from presenting an entirely wrong emotional face to the public.  That completely disconnected emotional presentation goes by the shorthand title of “inappropriate affect.”

One of the major subsets of inappropriate affect is “inappropriate laughter.”  There are seldom any good excuses for behavior.  Here’s one short, computer-generated, somewhat repetitive list of some of the major causes behind inappropriate laughter:

Causes of Inappropriate laughter:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Inappropriate laughter. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

Common Causes: Inappropriate laughter

Some of the possible common medical causes of Inappropriate laughter may include:

Other Causes: Inappropriate laughter

Some of the less common causes of Inappropriate laughter may include:

I don’t mean to write a psychological treatise here. I freely admit I’m not qualified to do so, other than having the dubious pleasure of knowing over the years people suffering from narcissism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, dementia, etc.  Instead, this information is a set-up to the fact that Barack Obama has been behaving very peculiarly lately, with the most obvious manifestation of this peculiar behavior being inappropriate laughter.

Think back to his meeting with Texas Governor Rick Perry regarding the tens of thousands of children storming the border.  This flood of humanity has been overwhelming resources and bringing both crime and disease in its wake (and that’s not even counting the crimes visited upon the children themselves, especially sexual crimes).

Even if Obama’s ideology means that he is celebrating the breakdown of America’s border, a high-functioning narcissist would recognize that the public doesn’t want to see the American president laughing about a man-created disaster our southern border. Laughter, however, is precisely what the president offered to the American people:

Obama thinks the border is a joke

Obama thinks the border is a joke 2

Looking at that picture, the first thought a mentally healthy person would have is “There’s something very wrong going on there.”  (As for the laughter from Obama’s entourage, we know he surrounds himself by “yes” men, so it’s not unreasonable for those same “yes” men to laugh when the boss laughs, no matter the absence of actual humor.)

It would be easy enough to pass off what happened in the Texas meeting if it weren’t for the fact that Obama was at it again just today. This morning, news broke that Malaysian Airlines, which already lost a plane with all its crew and passengers just a few months ago, once again lost a plane.

This time, if reports are accurate, pro-Russian forces in the Ukraine deliberately shot down a passenger jet traveling from Amsterdam to Malaya. All 295 people aboard the plane died, including 23 Americans.

No matter how one looks at the crash, it’s no laughing matter. There’s the human tragedy of so many deaths, there’s the national tragedy of so many American deaths, and there’s the international concern of Russian forces shooting down planes. Putin may have bitten off more than he can chew with his Ukraine adventure, but the fact remains that it’s a big deal when the Russian military kills close to 300 people, many of them Americans, and apparently does so intentionally.

So what does Obama do in the face of this big and serious deal? He gives the event a cursory 40 second salute and then, as if by the click of switch, reverts to his prepared remarks, smiling and cracking jokes:

The videos currently available don’t quite capture Obama’s bizarre emotional transition. It remains to the press, many of whom are or have been Obama supporters, to paint a picture of his emotional distance:

Even Piers Morgan (Piers Morgan!!) was shocked by Obama’s cavalier attitude towards a human tragedy and international problem:

Singer Josh Groban added his own two cents to Morgan’s comments:

Obama’s bizarre quips and laughter have also surfaced in connection with an increasingly voiced concern that he has created a serious constitutional crisis by ignoring Congress’s laws and creating his own.  The preceding 43 presidents, if they were challenged on the ground that they violated their constitutional oath, would strike back with carefully prepared remarks justifying their conduct and pointing to authority.

That’s not what Obama has done.  Instead, as Rich Lowry details, he’s once again engaged in peculiar and inappropriate flights of “humor”:

President Barack Obama styles himself a wit, and some of his best material lately has to do with his abuse of his powers.

“Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff,” Obama told a crowd on the Georgetown Waterfront on July 1. “So sue me.” Hilarity ensued.

He cracked them up in Austin last week. “You hear some of them,” he said, referring to Republicans, “‘sue him,’ ‘impeach him.’ Really? Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job?”

[snip]

It takes a truly blithe spirit to play the constitutional deformation of his office, and the ensuing congressional reaction, for laughs.

Once again, rational people must look at Obama’s misplaced jocularity and think to themselves “There’s something very wrong happening there.”

Going back to that laundry list, above, detailing the most common reasons for inappropriate laughter, it seems to me that there are only a few we can discount immediately, such as Tourette syndrome, Angelman syndrome, tic disorders, etc.

Others raise themselves as real possibilities.  Take substance abuse, for example.  Given Obama’s youthful problems with marijuana and cocaine, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that, as the stresses of his office pile up (including the stress attendant upon setting up an imperial presidency), Obama is self-medicating.  There are also perennial rumors that both Obamas, Michelle and Barack, drink too much.

If there’s no substance abuse, Obama’s bizarre behavior could stem from an organic disorder.  This disorder could run the gamut from dementia and schizophrenia to a brain tumor.

Or, of course, and perhaps most likely, we could just be seeing the grandiose stylings of a malignant narcissist drunk with power.  Surrounded by his flunkies and acolytes, enjoying the permanent job security that comes with his race, and delighting in the downfall of a country he hates (his own, as it happens), Obama may perceive himself as a man without any of the limitations that confine ordinary people.  Nothing can touch him.

Regardless of the cause, when the president of what still is, just barely, the most powerful nation in the world begins to behave abnormally in public, people have to start worrying.  Whether our president is under the influence, crazy, ill, or just power mad, we Americans are suddenly finding ourselves in exactly the same position as Europeans of old who suffered through the madness brought about by hereditary monarchs in the grip of megalomanias that resulted from everything from inbreeding, to syphilis, to the mental corruption of absolute power.

UPDATE: I know I’m on the right track when I discover that Iowahawk is on the same track:

Israel is launching a limited ground offensive in Gaza

Israeli flagThere’s been a lot of discussion about whether Israel would follow up on her air bombardment with a ground offensive. On the pro side, if done correctly, it could potentially clear out Hamas forever, or at least disable it for the foreseeable future. On the con side, Israeli casualties, something that Israel always tries desperately to avoid.

It seems, though, as if the decision was made for Israel in the last 24 hours. The IDF killed around a dozen terrorists who were trying to sneak into Israel via a tunnel in Hamas:

Their objective (presumably discovered via searching the bodies) was to launch a major terrorist attack in Israel. This is a risk too great to take, so Israel is launching what it calls a limited ground offensive aimed at knocking out terrorist tunnels. Frankly, I’d be surprised if Israel was able to keep the ground offensive limited. These things tend to metastasize. Whatever happens, I will be rooting for the most moral military in the history of the world to defeat an enemy that is worse than the Nazis.

Ground operation in Gaza

Malaysian jet shot down open thread

My hair stylist was working his magic on me when I heard a newly arrived customer mention a downed Malaysian jet. I thought it peculiar that she should speak of it today when it had vanished so many months ago. It was so peculiar in fact that I braved my stylist’s displeasure and got out my iPhone to investigate — and discovered that a Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine today, and that there are no survivors.

I believe that we are witnessing the future of air travel. We long expected this as a terrorist tactic in the air over the Middle East. Now that it happened over Ukraine, we are reminded it can happen anywhere.

I think air travel will continue, but the routes will be circuitous to avoid terrorists and careless combatants in ongoing wars. It will certainly get more expensive.

This is me bloviating on an iPhone with limited information and a bunch of chemicals on my head. What do you think?

Wednesday night mostly (but not entirely) Middle East round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust some stuff that wandered across my screen:

-1-

Brendan O’Neill pulls no punches: It’s no coincidence that the rage against Israel sounds remarkably like anti-Semitism. This is an article that I shared with my “real me” Facebook friends, as I’m sharing dozens of other pro-Israel pieces. This time around, the war has to be fought not just on the front lines, but in the cyber world too, where we’re all combatants.

-2-

One of the things that makes it easier to share this information with my “real me” friends (most of whom are Democrats) is the fact that support for Israel is appearing in the media they trust. For example, Time Magazine ran an opinion piece by Rabbi Eric Yoffe about the immoral demand for proportionality in a fight between Israel, which goes to extraordinary length to protect civilians, both hers and theirs; and Hamas, which would put its own children in its rocket launchers if it thought it could kill more Jews that way.

Indeed, the Washington Post, which has long been hostile to Israel, has suddenly realized this unpalatable truth about the cause it’s so long championed:

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks.

-3-

Jonah Goldberg turns his gimlet eye on the ridiculous claim that Israel is committing genocide in Hamas. If there’s a genocide in Hamas, Hamas is committing it against its own children:

-4-

Tom Rogan on the fact that Hamas is a dead-end, with an emphasis on the word “dead.” It’s a death cult. The fact that it will kill its own people pointlessly in a fight with Israel is irrelevant to it.  The fact that it will stand on nothing but dust at the end of the day is irrelevant to it.  It’s set to “kill” and can do nothing else.

-5-

Michael Totten crafts an exquisite insult against Hamas:

The Israelis are seriously considering a ground invasion since Hamas won’t stop firing, but they’ve already proved to the population of Gaza that Hamas, even with its all its longer-range missiles, is capable of inflicting no more damage on the Zionist Entity than a lone killer armed with only a steak knife.

-6-

Grotesque propaganda won’t save Hamas this time.  People now know what to look for:

-7-

You guys all know I have a special soft spot in my heart for Marines. That’s why I find stories about men such as the “Lion of Fallujah,” who served both the Marines and the CIA in Iraq, incredibly moving.

-8-

Pardon me for being crude, but maybe I like Marines because many of them seem to have bigger balls than the next guy — witness Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking truth to power (his boss, President Obama) about the administration’s obvious missteps in the Middle East.

-9-

Charles Hurt says what intelligent people intuitively understand: If you make people pay directly for something, you cannot reasonably tell them they don’t have any say in the thing for which they’re paying — or in the economic consequences flowing from that purchase. Even if you shriek that the law gives them no voice, they still think they have a voice.

-10-

How many times have I said that one of the things that’s moving me away from being pro-Choice and towards pro-Life is the fact that the pro-Choice side of the equation is really a pro-Death viewpoint? I simply cannot find myself siding with people who turn infant and maternal death into an untouchable sacrament. But that is what they do, and this is nowhere shown more plainly than in a bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D. Conn.) authored, removing all state control from abortions. (David French calls it the “Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act of 2014.”)

-11-

If I ever bothered to think about Simon Cowell, I pretty much thought of him as a genius impresario, and not much more. Now, though, I do think much more of him — he donated $150,000 to the Israeli Defense Force. Hurrah for Simon Cowell!

-12-

Pictures:

Good at making excuses

Holders view of critics

That awkward moment

You left the toilet seat up

Hobby Lobby reveals how public and private spheres have changed in the last few decades

Church rejects Obama as GodBack in the 1980s, when I was a good ol” liberal Democrat (sort of in the Kennedy mold), I kept hearing those Bible Thumpers in the Moral Majority bandy about a word: “Secularist.”

What the heck was that? Nobody I knew (and everyone I knew was a person of the sort-of Left) called him or herself a “secularist.”

What in the world did those zealots mean by labeling me that way and pretending that I’m doing something damaging to them? I understood what was really going on:  Very religious people were abnormal, and then there were the rest of us who were non-religious, or slightly religious in a genteel, non-obtrusive fashion.  The fact that our “religion”  closely paralleled the Democrat Party platform, meaning that laws were informed by our “religious” values was just a coincidence.

We were not foisting anything on them.  If anything, they were the foisters, especially with their stupid pro-Life values.

I’ve obviously come a long way from then, haven’t I?

One of the things that helped me on my journey to rationality was Stephen Carter’s The Culture of Disbelief. It was he who explained to me that to hold values in opposition to traditional Christianity is itself a value system.

Bingo! Light bulb moment. As of 1994, I finally understood what the Moral Majority was complaining about. I didn’t yet agree with the values they advanced, but I instantly became much more sympathetic to their complaints about Leftist, secular culture encroaching upon them.

The societal change Carter noted — that the absence of religious values (as opposed to religious doctrine) was taking over the public forum — has only accelerated in recent years. I actually hadn’t thought about it in any specific way until I read Megan McArdle’s very thoughtful post about the Left’s hysteria in response to the Supreme Court’s extremely narrow, common-sensical Hobby Lobby ruling.

For conservatives, even non-religious ones, the ruling’s correctness was a no-brainer:  The holding that government cannot compel people to purchase a product inconsistent with core doctrinal beliefs is true both to the Constitution and to the traditional American ethos of keeping the state out of people’s religion.

But what if the state itself is the people’s religion? McArdle believes that this trend, which sees public space co-opted by non-religious beliefs that have been themselves elevated to absolute “values” explains much of the hysteria, not among the professional Left, but among ordinary DemProgs.  The change in attitude McArdle notes explains both why Leftists cannot appreciate the seriousness of the issue for religious people and why they do not view the Obama administration’s actions as coercive.

I’m quoting McArdle at some length here, because the logic underlying her theory is so tightly constructed, it’s difficult for me to quote her without doing damage to her reasoning.  I urge you, though, to read the whole thing:

I think a few things are going on here. The first is that while the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby, so for them it’s as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts. That emotional disconnect makes it hard for the two sides to even debate; the emotional tenor quickly spirals into hysteria as one side says “Sacred!” and the other side says, essentially, “Seriously? Model trains?” That shows in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent, where it seems to me that she takes a very narrow view of what role religious groups play in the lives of believers and society as a whole.

The second, and probably more important, problem is that the long compromise worked out between the state and religious groups — do what you want within very broad limits, but don’t expect the state to promote it — is breaking down in the face of a shift in the way we view rights and the role of the government in public life.

To see what I mean, consider an argument I have now heard hundreds of times — on Facebook, in my e-mail, in comment threads here and elsewhere: “Hobby Lobby’s owners have a right to their own religious views, but they don’t have a right to impose them on others.”As I wrote the day the decision came out, the statement itself is laudable, yet it rings strange when it’s applied to this particular circumstance. How is not buying you something equivalent to “imposing” on you?

I think you can understand this, however, as the clash of principles designed for a world of negative rights, in a society that has come to embrace substantial positive rights — as well as a clash between old and new concepts of what is private and what is public.

All of us learned some version of “You have the right to your beliefs, but not to impose them on others” in civics class. It’s a classic negative right. And negative rights are easy to make reciprocal: You have a right to practice your religion without interference, and I have a right not to have your beliefs imposed on me.

This works very well in situations in which most of the other rights granted by society are negative rights, because negative rights don’t clash very often. Oh, sure, you’re going to get arguments about noise ordinances and other nuisance abatements, but unless your religious practices are extreme indeed, the odds that they will substantively violate someone else’s negative rights are pretty slim.

[snip]

Alongside this development, as Yuval Levin has pointed out, we have seen an ongoing shift, particularly on the left, in the balance between what constitutes the private and the public spheres, and who has powers in which sphere. There’s a reductive tendency in modern political discourse to view public versus private as the state versus the individual.

In the 19th century, the line between the individual and the government was just as firm as it is now, but there was a large public space in between that was nonetheless seen as private in the sense of being mostly outside of government control — which is why we still refer to “public” companies as being part of the “private” sector. Again, in the context of largely negative rights, this makes sense. You have individuals on one end and a small state on the other, and in the middle you have a large variety of private voluntary institutions that exert various forms of social and financial coercion, but not governmental coercion — which, unlike other forms of coercion, is ultimately enforced by the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

[snip]

[O]utside of our most intimate relationships, almost everything else is now viewed as public, which is why Brendan Eich’s donation to an anti-gay-marriage group became, in the eyes of many, grounds for firing.

For many people, this massive public territory is all the legitimate province of the state. Institutions within that sphere are subject to close regulation by the government, including regulations that turn those institutions into agents of state goals — for example, by making them buy birth control for anyone they choose to employ. It is not a totalitarian view of government, but it is a totalizing view of government; almost everything we do ends up being shaped by the law and the bureaucrats appointed to enforce it. We resolve the conflict between negative and positive rights by restricting many negative rights to a shrunken private sphere where they cannot get much purchase.

Put another way, once upon time, things not directly within the government purview were neutral territory in which I didn’t impose upon or demand from you, and you didn’t impose upon and demand from me.  We might have thought the other excessively moral or immoral, but we danced together in uneasy harmony.

Beginning in the 1980s, though, the Left co-opted the public space, declaring that it was not neutral territory but was, instead, government territory.  Further, because Leftists deny that their belief in non-Christian values is itself a value, they insist that by doing so they’re not infringing on First Amendment rights.  They insist upon this denial even as they promote and guard their own secular faith with all the vehemence of a true religious zealot.

The Obama healthcare mandate reflects the fact that, for the Left, the distinction between your private religious space and all the other public government faith space has morphed again.  Now, as a person of faith, the only space you have that’s yours is within the four walls of your home.  Everything else is within the public purview, meaning that it’s under government control and government values (which are, by definition, statist, hostile to matters of faith, and identical to the Democrat platform).  With this rejiggered view of public and private, the government is not infringing upon your religion if it imposes obligations on you (even obligations that directly contradict your faith) as long as it is not constraining you within your own home.

Put another way, the DemProg interpretation of the First Amendment’s promise that the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion boils down to this:  I can’t force you to pay for or perform an abortion on your own daughter (provided she lives in your house), but I am not impinging on your faith if I force you to pay for or perform an abortion on your neighbor’s daughter.   Under this definition, your objection to paying for or performing that abortion on the neighbor’s child constitutes an unreasonable attempt to enforce religious values in the public arena.

Super quick round-up about Israel

Israeli flagI’m heading out in a minute to have lunch with one of my more wonderful conservative friends in Marin (it’s wonderful that she’s conservative, and she’s just a great, thoughtful person), so I’ll be brief, and try to funnel as much info to you as possible in a small amount of time.

I linked yesterday to an old American Thinker article I wrote about “economically flexible morality” in connection with Richard Fernandez’s article that rich countries are considered evil because they’re rich, rather than because of anything they do. In my American Thinker article, I’d commented that, to the Left, poor people are considered moral because they’re poor, regardless of what they do. In the same article, I touched upon the reflexive “underdog” syndrome that afflicts the Left: if one side to a fight is smaller than the other side, they automatically side with the smaller side. They never stop to look at the values driving the two sides. After all, back in 1923, with the Munich Beer Hall putsch, Hitler’s was the smaller side. Did that make him the good guy? (Incidentally, if you try pulling this logic on a DemProg, he or she will look at you as if you’re insane.)

I mention this old article, because the putrid excrescence on the Comedy Channel known as Jon Stewart did a shtick implying that Israel is a mean bully because it’s firing into Gaza. I went ballistic about this in exactly the same way Mark Levin did, although my audience was only my DemProg spouse, who couldn’t understand why I was upset. After all, it is unfair that the Israelis are giving those poor Palestinians only 3 minutes warning to vacate a specifically targeted building. He was shocked to learn that the Gazans are sending rockets into Israel about every 6 minutes, aimed at densely populated areas, with no warning at all:

Israel warns Gaza

He also didn’t understand that, when Israel sends a warning, it’s enough for the Palestinian civilians to leave the building that Hamas is using as a launch site. If they run into the streets, they’ll survive. This is what happens if you read and listen to the MSM. You know nothing.

What both Stewart and Mr. Bookworm, obsessed as they are with who has the bigger guns, ignore entirely is that Hamas is utterly evil, while Israel is one of the world’s more decent and prosperous nations. John Podhoretz explains.  Also, Alma Geifman explains that Hamas deliberately targets Israel’s children as a war strategy intended to destroy what their enemy holds most dear.  In other words, those bombs aimed at schools, the buses hijacked, the children murdered — it’s not accident.

One wishes the Department of Homeland Security would understand the difference too.  It doesn’t, though, opening the door to the worst kind of people having an input into our burgeoning, all-too-powerful, biased federal bureaucracy:

Mohamed Alibiary

If this was misspoken (if he really meant to talk about missiles against Gaza), it nevertheless is a perfect Freudian slip, insofar as it inadvertently reveals the truth:

Missiles aimed against Israel

Playing the long game, Left is working to convert evangelical youth to antisemitism.

And the last word to Dennis Prager, on the Jewish State in a Morally Sick World.

Monday at dusk round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThere’s a study out saying that owning a dog will make you look 10 years younger. I’ve got two dogs. Does that mean I look 20 years younger? I doubt it, but I know that owning dogs makes me at least 20 years happier than the next person. ;)

** 1 **

We’ve long suspected that Washington, D.C. is so disengaged from the rest of America as to be a separate country. The TSA has now made that suspicion official: at least one of its agents refused to recognize a D.C. driver’s license.

** 2 **

Even as Hamas places its weapons caches and launchers in schools and hospitals, and tells its citizens to ignore the fliers that Israel sends out before bombing a terrorist location, this is what the Israeli Defense Forces do:

IDF soldiers protecting a child with their bodies

StandWithUs

An Israeli women shared this online saying that on her way back home she heard the rocket sirens while sitting in her car. When she got out, soldiers from an IDF vehicle nearby gathered around the woman’s son and protected him with their own bodies.

This is the true face of the Israel Defense Forces – protecting and preserving life.

#IsraelUnderFire

** 3 **

Hillel Neuer has put together a very simple test so that you can determine whether you’re truly interested in human rights or, instead, are just a garden-variety anti-Semite (or, as Neuer more politely phrases it “anti-Israel”).

I think Obama falls in the second category:

** 4 **

My Watcher’s Council comrade-in-arms, Snoopy the Goon, writes from the front lines in Israel, where the bombs are falling. It seems as if Israelis are finally saying “Enough! We must fight to win, not just to give Hamas time to re-arm.”

Snoopy also caught what may be the most blatantly, stupidly anti-Israel headline the British Guardian newspaper has ever published.  It’s as if the Guardian was trying to out do Dry Bones without understanding that Dry Bones is satire:

It won't be a big deal until Israel fires back

** 5 **

The world has become very surreal when you find yourself periodically nodding in agreement with an Egyptian talk show host’s assessment of Hamas:

** 6 **

My sister and I got around to talking about the changing nature of sex and sex crimes on college campuses. It used to be that boys and girls lived in separate facilities, their events were chaperoned, nice girls didn’t drink, and nice boys didn’t get drunk around nice girls. Now, they share bathrooms and shower stalls (go to 2:20 in this video, for example), sleep in the same rooms, get blotto drunk at parties, and hook up with just anybody. Then, when a girl has Sunday morning regrets after a drunken debauch on Saturday night, it’s the boy who gets in trouble (or maybe the boys). As the mother of a future male college student, I think this stinks.

In criminal law, a person’s drunkenness doesn’t excuse bad acts. That is, you can’t say “I didn’t have the proper criminal intent because I was drunk.” If you freely drank yourself to drunkenness, that decision to leave your rational mind behind is itself evidence of criminal intent.

I think that same standard should apply to women who willingly drink to the point of incoherence, only to discover later that they slept with someone they didn’t like or, worse, that a bunch of equally drunk (although presumably still functional) guys had sex with her while she was unconscious. They should all be kicked off of campus, the whole drunken lot of them, rather than treating the woman as the victim and the men as the criminals. Once you start ejecting all of them, I bet the campus drinking culture will dry up pretty quickly.

But the campus is what it is now, which led me to say, half-jokingly, to my sister, “God help me, but I feel my son would be safer at college if I told him ‘If you need to have sex, invest in condoms and go to a high-priced hooker. At least she probably won’t scream rape the next day.’” I’m exaggerating, of course, because I find prostitution inherently demeaning and exploitative. Moreover, if the FBI has its way, prostitution will also be more dangerous than it needs to be.

** 7 **

Rolling Stone has uploaded a post identifying “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.” The post itself is too stupid to click through. What makes it worthwhile are the comments. Here’s a sampling:

I can play the headline/no substance game too.

Top 5 Most dangerous Bears to watch out for this Summer

1.) Bears with teeth
2.) Bears with claws
3.) Large bears
4.) Small bears
5.) Medium sized bears

“Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.”

Oh man this sentence was hysterical. It seriously doesn’t even make sense. Popular among handgun owners? They are handguns! Build in barrel? The barrels are removable, but I don’t even think that’s what you’re referring to. Short stock? Pistols don’t have a stock. If you were talking about cars, it would litterally read, “Popular among automobile owners, cars are defined by their built-in tires and short flatbeds.”

Ignorance is required to write something this glaringly stupid.

Hey Kristen,
maybe you can do and article on the 3 most dangerous dog breeds.
1. Large
2. Medium
3. Small
LMFAO

Really…The article can simply be summed up with one sentence:
“Kristen Gwynne thinks guns are icky, because potato”

I’m glad to see Rolling Stone is hiring special needs writers.

I could do this for hours. Tons of the 1000+ comments are brilliant.

** 8 **

We’ve talked for years about the “hate speech” laws in England which are, instead, censorship laws. Those laws are moving to America. In Maryland, graffiti opposing illegal immigrants (without ever mentioning race) is being investigated as hate speech. I consider graffiti vandalism, but this is not a hate crime.

** 9 **

Obama’s love-affair with himself is escalating. He is the hero in his own drama, with Americans alternating playing the roles of villainous foils or adoring fans. Ron Fournier suggests that this self-aggrandizing pose is unpresidential.

** 10 **

Aside from the occasional maudlin, belligerent forays into self-love or subject-specific Republican-hate, when it comes to Obama’s speeches, when you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all :

** 11 **

The Obama administration has tried to claim that the refugee crisis on our Southern border is because of some vague, inchoate violence somewhere down south there in that far-away Latin American place. This surprisingly indescribable, unspecifiable violence is apparently so bad that these children have to trek through several Latin American countries, all the way to Texas, in order to escape it. That’s what the administration says. Will you be surprised to learn that this is untrue?