The Bookroom Beat — August 14 a.m. edition

Woman writingMy house guest is sleeping off jet lag in the next room, so I’m doing two-finger typing to silence the normal click-clack of my keyboard. This will therefore be brief.

The UN: Killing Muslims with kindness

The Marines and Special Forces are good, but are 130 of them really necessary to tell us how bad ISIS is or able to face off against it?

Clever pro-fracking campaign in Colorado.

Militant, oppressed blacks or militant, oppressive cops? What’s the story in Missouri? (This too.)

Teachers’ unions work for teachers, not special needs kids.

Also, schools, like universities, have a lot of employees who don’t teach.

I love Texas, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know about its often corrupt local guv’mint and judiciary — especially its left-hewing agencies.

Mike McDaniel remembers the ultimately hopeless Robin Williams shining in a role about hope.

No you’re not paranoid. The media really does report scandals differently for Democrats and Republicans.

Max Borders explains how Progressives are destroying their beloved, iconic “cool” cities.

Even Obama’s own people are revealing just how bad his foreign policy really is.

The UN appoints a rabid anti-Israel person to lead an “inquiry” panel about the latest war.

The fog we love.

Does it matter that journalists are finally telling some truths about Hamas?

Israel is the only hope for freedom in the Middle East

Toledo's water problems explained

Head tilts in the classroom

Common sense is a punishment

The other person is a complete idiot

Libealism defined

Secretary of Debt

The Bookworm Beat — August 13, noon edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Malfeasance at the BBC

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

Obama’s perverse “Midas” touch

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

Medusa and Midas

Atomic Obama

Keeping an eye on the upcoming elections

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

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

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

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

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

Free tampons!

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

Important women's health costs

Now, the Guardian is running with this concept:

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

And some pictures

(With thanks to Caped Crusader)

Obama fundraiser

What do you mean by free palestine

Ludwig von Mises on liberals

The Bookworm Beat — trying to be upbeat and failing edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThe last few days have been perfectly nice, but without repose. My brain churns frantically, but I don’t get the time to process the information through my keyboard. My apologies.

I think things will even out a little in the next few days (although that may just be wishful thinking on my part). Still, as frantic as the last few days have been, I actually have something to show for my efforts, right down to my dogs’ unusually fresh breath (I added carrots and yogurt to the usual routine of brushing their teeth).

On that happy note, to the news!

Another dissatisfied Obamacare customer

My son spent some quality time with our neighbors who are just about the loveliest people you could ever hope to find. They’re also ardent Democrats and Obama supporters. Or at least, they were ardent supporters. My son told me that one of the parents was grousing furiously about Obamacare, which is costing their family an extra $4,000 this year — and that’s $4,000 that they don’t have.

Add their personal tale to the long list of Obamacare woes, including the fact that Obamacare is not generally a hit, with enrollment numbers coming in far below administration projections.  I only wish, as I always do, that people would have realized that it’s all a con before the 2012 elections, not after.

It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it

Lots of my Leftist Facebook friends recently ran a poster showing that George Bush actually took more vacations than Barack Obama. I’m sure this is true. The problem, though, is that Obama and his family vacation like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, something taxpayers find tacky. No quiet time at their own remote property or at Camp David for the Obamas.  Instead, they’re jaunting off to multimillion-dollar hotels and estates all over the world. Even worse, when it comes to Obama himself (not his family), Obama is heading off for ostentatious vacations just when he should be looking busy. Jonathan Tobin sums it up nicely:

While no one can say that Obama—or any president for that matter—doesn’t work hard, he has a habit of acting as if the normal rules of political behavior don’t apply to him. This president has spent more days golfing than any of his recent predecessors. While George W. Bush spent more days away from the White House—principally at his Texas ranch or at the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, both of which functioned routinely as little White Houses—Obama has never shown he cares much about the optics of being seen recreating while terrible things are happening. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003 after the war in Iraq began principally because he believed it didn’t look right for the president to be strolling the links while Americans faced death abroad. Obama has no such compunctions.

The timing is also a problem. It can be argued that there is something bad happening somewhere on the globe every day of the year. But there is something particularly egregious about Obama loafing around while the successful outcome in the Iraq War that he inherited from Bush is transformed into a victory for Islamist terrorists.

As I’m constantly saying to the kids, it’s not always what you do, it’s also how you do it.

Is Obama bringing identity politics to the Middle East?

Maybe Paul Mirengoff is being picky . . . and maybe he’s not. He’s wondering why, with ISIS slaughtering everyone in its path, Obama was moved to act mercifully only towards the Yazidi. Mirengoff’s conclusion: identity politics strikes Iraq. The Yazidi are more “genuine” and “ethnic” than run-of-the-mill Christians and “apostate” Muslims caught in the maw of the ISIS killing machine.

Yes, ISIS looks bad in its PR, but that’s its point

Ian Tuttle is correct that ISIS is not doing itself any publicity favors by boastfully publishing pictures of its horrible depredations, everything from mass slaughter, to crucifixions, to small children proudly portraying severed heads. I’m less sanguine than he, though, that these pictures will help defeat ISIS. In the theater of battle, the images are doing a good job of making opponents run away. Moreover, here in the West, we’ve already proven that, if Islamists threaten and protest, we will instantly back down. These pictures are only going to increase our spinelessness.

Can you compromise with religious absolutists?

I’ve tried as hard as possible to ignore the appallingly vapid, self-serving, viciously partisan interview Barack Obama had with Tom Friedman, a sycophant in chief. What I couldn’t ignore, though, was the terrible agreement between the two about victory, or its absence. Friedman summed up Obama’s view as follows:

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. (Emphasis added.)

That’s an accurate summary. What Obama, always yeasty and puffy in his wording, said was this (and I’ve included the preceding self-serving Friedman riff):

The only states doing well, like Tunisia, I’ve argued [says Friedman], have done so because their factions adopted the principle of no victor, no vanquished. Once they did, they didn’t need outside help.

“We cannot do for them what they are unwilling to do for themselves,” said the president of the factions in Iraq. “Our military is so capable, that if we put everything we have into it, we can keep a lid on a problem for a time. But for a society to function long term, the people themselves have to make decisions about how they are going to live together, how they are going to accommodate each other’s interests, how they are going to compromise. When it comes to things like corruption, the people and their leaders have to hold themselves accountable for changing those cultures…. … We can help them and partner with them every step of the way. But we can’t do it for them.”

Obama seems unable to contemplate an absolute ideology that doesn’t believe in compromise. For him, the only allowable absolutist ideology is his own, which sees a supine West yielding gracefully to the “reasonable” demands of an ascendant Third World.  For radical Islamists, however, the only game in town is total military victory. To them, compromise is weakness, inviting more attacks. It’s very frightening to have a president who is so rigid in his belief system that he’s unable to acknowledge that there’s an enemy out there even worse than the Republicans.

Is it real or is it satire?  Only the Obama administration knows for sure

With a president such as ours, one who has a State Department that believes that hashtags actually accomplish something, it’s often hard to separate satire from real news. I think that if you go to this link regarding the prayer campaign the administration is starting, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s satire or not but, nowadays, maybe I’m wrong in that supposition.

The very real power of prayer

Still, prayer can have quite a power beyond anything we can imagine. In a report about the attack that killed Lt. Hadar Goldin in Israel’s war with Hamas, comes this most amazing and moving story:

In the midst of this attack, a second force of IDF soldiers–which had gone into a mosque looking for weapons, explosives, and rockets– encountered a female suicide bomber who was about to detonate the belt she wore, which would have resulted in the deaths of the soldiers. One of the soldiers instinctively recited the opening words of the holiest Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael”. The female suicide bomber hesitated and began trembling, giving the soldiers a chance to grab her and disable the device.

The soldiers then took her prisoner and turned her over to a counter-intelligence unit. Their investigation uncovered that the female suicide bomber’s mother was a Jew who had married a Palestinian in Israel and, after the wedding, was smuggled against her will into Gaza. There she lived a life filled with abuse and humiliation, and was basically a captive. In addition to the female suicide bomber, there were two smaller children as well. An armored force went in and rescued the two small children.

For more on the Shema, go here.

Hillary Clinton would have been different, but probably just as bad

Megan McArdle thinks Hillary Clinton would have been a better president than Obama simply because she’s more willing to play with the other kids on the playground. That is, says McArdle, she wouldn’t have been as dismissive of Republican and Tea Party concerns. I often agree with McArdle but in this case I wonder. After all, it was Hillary who thought up the whole “vast right wing conspiracy.” The Clintons are just as corrupt and paranoid as Obama. Certainly Hillary would have made different decisions, and these might have been less doctrinaire and more intelligent, but she’s not any more interested in true partisanship than Obama is.

Shovel — or spoon — ready jobs

Milton Friedman, when asked about “shovel ready jobs,” famously said if the point is just to keep people busy, the government should be handing out spoons, not shovels. The Welsh were apparently listening closely, since they’ve created make-work jobs that are the functional equivalent of tiny little teaspoons to dig big holes.

Incidentally, if that image seems familiar to you, think back to Norton Juster’s wonderful The Phantom Tollbooth. There, our intrepid heroes, Milo, Tock, and the Humbug, meet the Terrible Trivium, who wastes their precious time having them do such meaningless tasks as filling buckets with eye-droppers or digging holes with needles. As he says, “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You simply won’t have the time, for there is always something to do to keep you from what you should really be doing.”

The terrible trivium

Robin Williams never let politics blind him to our common humanity

John Nolte almost gets it right:

Williams was political — a heavy donor to Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Al Franken, but never offensive. Politics would sometimes rear its head in his stand-ups, but the jibes at Republicans were good-natured, not caustic; the kind of jokes Johnny Carson told.

In fact, when I last saw Williams on stage here in Marin (he showed up unexpectedly at a local comedy club), his anti-Bush and anti-Cheney jokes were just as nasty as any other Leftist comedian’s. Even worse, they weren’t funny.

What made this mindless political attack almost irrelevant I thought was that Williams never let his politics prevent him from seeing the troops as people in need of laughter, rather than monsters in the Bush war machine.  Nolte has a lovely quotation to support this principle:

When the wars came in 2002, without seeking personal attention or publicity, he was overseas with The Boys. Over the course of the decade he would visit 13 countries and entertain 90,000 service men and women. A retired General told ABC News:

After his shows, he’d stick around, making personal connections with service members. Retired Gen. Carter Ham respected Williams’ character.

“He would go to the guard towers, he’d got the dining facilities, he’d got the security police who couldn’t come to the shows because they were on duty. And he would spend time with them individually. That was very moving,” Ham said.

The Bookworm Beat — A little of this and a little of that (and an Open Thread)

Woman writingWe are at sixes and sevens today. Our house guest arrives and my twice monthly cleaning service. Between the two, we’ve purged the house of as much extraneous material as possible. I swear that, if you could put my house on a scale, it would weigh substantially less. There’s still much more I’d like to get rid of, but I’m happy for now.

Even rich people can be broke

I’m still reeling a bit from Robin Williams’ death. I didn’t know him, of course, but I saw him so often, including several live appearances, that he seemed much more real to me than the average Hollywood star. I also found exceptionally sad that money woes worsened his depression. It’s a reminder that, even if you have a $35 million dollar ranch, as long as your debts exceed your assets, you’re still poor. There’s a lesson there for individuals and nations. My great-grandfather, a banker, was wont to say “the man without debts is the richest man of all.”

Will anyone prosecute Hamas for war crimes

William Levinson has decided to stop waiting for others to act and has acted himself. He is filing a formal complaint against Hamas for war crimes.

Hillary’s posturing on Iraq shouldn’t feel fool anyone (but probably will anyway)

Too lazy and too rushed to look up links, but I find it hard to take Hillary seriously as a hard-liner against ISIS. She, after all, was the Secretary of State when the Obama administration pulled all troops out of Iraq. Pulling troops out, obviously, was mechanically a Department of Defense operation, but our relationship with other nations was Hillary’s responsibility. Her record as Secretary of State is a series of useless photo ops punctuated intermittently by appalling mistakes, ranging from the “reset” with Russia; to her criminal and moral negligence regarding Benghazi; to her willingness to preside over America’s abandonment of Iraq.

The only thing that worries me is that the American people will give her a pass. Yes, I know the media will, but really! How dumb do Americans have to be to forget history that happened in just the past few years? As Andrew Klavan wrote, it’s the American people who first elected Obama and then re-elected Obama. As a nation, you tend to get what you deserve.

Broken internet

The internet seems to be down in our neighborhood. I have intermittent access, but even then, it’s slower than the old dial-up days. Comcast has promised to send a tech out to our house by Wednesday, but we’ve already seen a truck at work on someone else’s house today. Perhaps I’ll be able to do serious blogging (as opposed to intermittent blogging) by tomorrow morning . . . or if I’m unlucky, it will take a lot longer. Just remember to check in periodically to see what’s going on.

Farewell, Robin Williams!

Robin Williams 1“Why are all those helicopters flying over Tiburon?” asked Mr. Bookworm.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe there’s a fire or an accident. I’ll check.”

I turned on my internet and immediately discovered why helicopters are circling Tiburon like vultures: Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Tiburon today, a probable suicide.

To say I was shocked is an understatement. When I told Mr. Bookworm the news, he physically recoiled, like a cartoon character . . . and I totally understood. That was exactly how I felt.

Robin Williams emerged on the scene when I was in high school. The morning after Mork and Mindy played, all of us would gather in the hall before band (our first class), and dissect all the funny jokes, and riffs, and quotable material. His manic energy and improvisation utterly charmed us.

Then, in 1979 or 1980, I saw him perform live at a “Bread and Roses” concert in the Greek Theater at Berkeley. It was a packed show, with appearances by the Smothers Brothers; Hoyt Axton; Peter, Paul & Mary; Father Guido Sarducci; and a host of other extremely well-known figures from the 1970s world of comedy and music. Robin Williams left them all in the dust.

Practically vibrating with energy (and, probably, cocaine), Williams walked through the audience, riffing off of clothes, hair, and anything else that caught his fancy. His persona changed from second to second, as he transformed himself, just through voice and mannerism, into a small child, a Texan, a sassy black woman, a Yiddishe mama, and anything else that seemed appropriate at the time. I don’t really remember Peter, Paul & Mary, but I’ve never forgotten Robin Williams.

As the years went by, Williams outgrew both television and the small screen, and headed to Hollywood, where he did very well. With the exception of his role as Genie in Aladdin, which I thought was brilliant, I never much liked his movies. He had a terribly tendency to go for bathos, which is my least favorite form of entertainment. Even disliking the movies, though, didn’t blind me to his talent.

Williams’ personal life became the stuff of soap operas. The newspaper (yes, back in newspaper days) reported that he infected someone with Herpes, that he was cheating on his wife, that he left his wife for his nanny, that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and that his heart was a mess, requiring surgery. He endlessly cycled through rehab, always trying to beat back his demons.

It all seemed so sad and sordid, but Williams never let it slow him down. He appeared on television and I kept an eye out for him whenever he appeared on Johnny Carson or Jay Leno. I’d even make an exception for him and watch the Letterman show, if Williams was on. As the years went by, some of his shtick went stale, but there was always something worth waiting for.

Living in Marin, I saw Williams periodically over the years. The photo above was taken at our local Barnes & Noble a few years ago, when he was kind enough to pose with one of the little Bookworms. I also saw him a couple of times when he made surprise appearances at the local comedy club. I actually wasn’t impressed with him the last time I saw him, in early 2010. He appeared tired and, far into Obama’s administration, was still making tired jokes about Bush and Cheney.

Still, he had that Williams charm, which reached out and embraced the audience. Even though I wasn’t inclined to laugh at retread Bush jokes, I still enjoyed watching him. More than that, I remembered that, while Williams didn’t agree with Bush’s policies, he more than once flew to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops.

And now all that manic, innovative comedic energy is gone, apparently snuffed out by Williams’ own hand. Rest in peace, Robin Williams, and thank you for the laughter.

Busy Monday open thread

Woman writingSchool starts in a week and a half, our house guest arrives tomorrow, and I have a million things to do. I will blog later today, but I’m now hitting the road to send old useless things to Goodwill and to buy new (useful?) things in their place.

Please post here anything you think is interesting. I mean, heck!, everything now is interesting. We’re getting a front row suit to devolution of the Western world, proving that Obama did keep one campaign promise: America’s fundamental transformation.

Hamas teaching kids to hate

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition, Part II

Woman writingA moment of calm, so I’m resuming my round-up.

Things are not good all over

Richard Fernandez does a quick survey of the three main issues on America’s plate — Russia, Iraq, and Ebola — and is not sanguine. He’s not screaming that the end is near, but he thinks the optimistic voices (almost all from the Left, including the President’s own voice) are wrong.

I’m not the only one likening ISIS to Genghis Khan

Yesterday, I wrote that, in ISIS, we see a ferocity that has been missing (thankfully) since the time of Genghis Khan. My friend Terresa Monroe-Hamilton had the same thought: ISIS Sweeps The Middle East In A Method Reminiscent Of Genghis Khan. Unlike my mere passing commentary, Terresa details precisely why ISIS is so scary.

I only have one problem with the Genghis Khan analogy. Whenever I see that name written, all I can hear is John Kerry’s smug, vicious voice comparing American troops in Vietnam to “Jeng-jis” Khan.

When will the world realize that, to Islamists, we’re all Jews

It’s not just Israel that pays a high price when the West supports Hamas; ultimately, the whole Western world will be paying that price:

In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a ­suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.

Read the rest here.

And remember:

They were Muslims

How to become a popular leader

In Israel, Netanyahu is wildly popular, something that dismays Obama, because that popularity means he can’t bully Bibi. My guess is that, if citizens in the West weren’t subject to a Pravda-esque media that hides Islamist depredations, those leaders who wage war against those same Islamists could also be wildly popular.

Of course, with mass protests in Western streets, you’d think people would be figuring out that the Islamists aren’t just in Iraq, but are all over. This is a scene from a pro-Hamas London protest that allegedly saw 100,000 people take to London’s streets:

Gaza supporters march on London

I’d say “I pity the poor fools who think those protests will stop with only Israel as the enemy,” but the fact is that those “poor fools” are useless idiots trying to get us all killed.

Jimmy Carter — just plain evil

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter sinks further and further into an abyss of immorality. Alan Dershowitz believes that he’s sunk so low because he’s literally sold his soul to the Saudis, a million here and a million there.

That price tag might explain Carter’s openness about his anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic totalitarian world view, but it doesn’t explain his embrace of that worldview in the first place. You have to be a pretty evil person even to think about selling your soul that way. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that America’s last two Democrat presidents have sold themselves to the Saudis? It speaks to a profound moral corruption on the Left.

I guess being steeped in hypocrisy does wipe clean the moral slate

Why does the GOP have a love affair with Cory Booker?

Eliana Johnson provides chapter and verse showing what a shady character Cory Booker is, as well as being a singularly competent politician when it comes to making good on his campaign promises. Why then, she asks, are Republicans playing nice with him and opting not to provide any meaningful support to Republican challengers? See, it’s things like this that just make conservatives hate the GOP.

News from the gay scene

In West Hollywood, the mayor thinks there should be more parks for dogs and fewer parks for children.

Meanwhile, fat gay men are struggling to fit into a gay culture that is (and always has been) obsessed with physical appearance. If you think women are catty about each other’s looks, you’ve never seen gay men opining about each other.

I did not leave my heart in San Francisco

This fairly accurate spoof is why I don’t regret having left San Francisco behind (although, having been born and raised there, I do still consider myself a San Franciscan — but a San Franciscan from the good old days):

Remember WWI

I wrote here earlier about a ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the British who died in WWI. Here you can see pictures of this impressive and moving sight.

Pictures

Every time I look at this first one, I want to cry:
Matan Gotlib

Reagan on Concentrated power

David Burge on pacifists

Hamas is an innocent victim

Obama and Tahmooressi

Kurds dying

CNN airbrushes militant Islam

Difference between liberals and conservatives

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition

Woman writingWe have a house guest arriving in a couple of days, which necessitated my cleaning out the guest room, which has inexorably morphed into a storage room. I have thrown away a great deal of unnecessary stuff that we hung onto for no good reason, and I’ve neatly stored other stuff that we treated too shabbily considering its sentimental worth. My house looks surprisingly empty. I like the look.

My browser, however, is filled with tabs, all marking things I thought are interesting. I don’t have time to tell you about all of them now, but I can share some of them:

Overseas, Rand Paul is just Obama redux

When it comes to domestic policies, I think many of us appreciate Rand Paul’s fidelity to the notion of small government. However, once one starts looking outside of America’s borders, Bruce Kesler compellingly argues, Rand Paul is no better than Obama (and, I’ll add, there’s always that anti-Semitic stench that wafts off his father):

The Obama-Paul paths in foreign policy are immoral in undermining self-preservation and in tossing lives into avoidable horrors. Barack Obama and Rand Paul’s foreign policies are similar in their appeal to tiredness to argue for US non-involvement with the difficulties of the world. This amounts to an existential defeatism to avoid the difficulties of being involved in the world by avoiding the moral and physical exertion of US power even when and where it could be effective. The extremism of this withdrawal endangers our security by encouraging the spread of barbaric enemies sworn to our destruction. Along the way, many millions of innocents are slaughtered or brutally enslaved.

Read the rest here.

UNRWA — the real war criminal in Gaza

Israel’s exceptionally humane efforts to defend herself (what other nation in the world calls in air strikes before they take place?) is leading to the usual chit-chat about prosecuting her for war crimes. Simply Jews, however, has a much better candidate for war crime prosecution: UNRWA, which has been actively complicit in all phases of Hamas’s genocidal plans and conduct for Israel.

Just one example of UNWRA’s close alliance with Hamas comes from a report about Hadar Goldin’s last moments (may his memory be a blessing):

The officer explained how, after the suicide bombing that killed Lt. Goldin, a second kidnapping team of Hamas terrorists grabbed parts of his body and ran back into the tunnel from which the terrorists emerged. The tunnel led back into a mosque. From the mosque, they escaped in a clearly marked UNRWA ambulance. The terrorists then made contact with high-ranking Hamas officials hiding in the Islamic University. (Emphasis added.)

For more information about UNRWA’s complicity in war crimes, check out Shurat Hadin — The Israel Law Center.

The latest song on Israel’s hit parade

Hamas wrote a song about Israel that’s typical for anything Hamas says about Israel: It has excited visions of seeing Israel utterly destroyed, with walls of flame and seas of blood. Hamas was so excited about the song, it created a Hebrew-language version. It’s not a very good song (pop pabulum), but it’s been a big hit . . . in Israel.  Learn why.

Obama’s malignant narcissism reveals itself again over Iraq

Do you remember how part of Obama’s 2008 platform was that he would withdraw from Iraq? And do you remember how Obama set timetables for withdrawing from Iraq? And do you remember how Obama boasted that he had completely removed America’s troops from Iraq? Yeah, I remember all of that too.

Funnily enough, though, Obama doesn’t remember any of that. He now claims that America’s withdrawal from Iraq was unrelated to his role as Commander in Chief of the American military. Instead, he says it was the Iraqi’s own fault that the American security force withdrew.

Obama’s not lying, you know, at least not in his own mind because he’s a malignant narcissist. Rule number one for malignant narcissists is that the truth is always what they need to say at a particular moment to protect themselves from blame or to advance an agenda. Despite his blatant untruth, he’d easily pass a lie detector test. It’s true if he needs it to be true.

Obama starts another war, but still has no plan

How bad is Obama’s current plan regarding protecting people in Iraq from ISIS? It’s so bad that even the WaPo has an editorial saying he has no idea what he’s doing.

By the way, to the extent (a) I don’t want American troops facing off directly against ISIS and (b) I do want ISIS completely demolished, I suggested massive air strikes. Earl added another component to that strategy: Arm the Kurds!

Incidentally, how many of you have noticed that our president again seems to be going to war without bothering to get congressional authorization? Eli Lake points out that, practically within hours of the first strike, Obama announced a fairly complex military effort lasting months. That sounds like war to me.

The 1973 War Powers Resolution requires presidents to notify Congress when invoking Article II powers and to seek authorization from Congress if the new conflict lasts more than 60 days.

In this sense Obama’s new Iraq war is for now undeclared, even though the authorization for the old Iraq war remains on the books. Obama campaigned in 2012 in part on his accomplishment of ending the Iraq War and as recently as last month, his administration urged Congress to repeal the 2002 law that authorized it.

Is it because they did or did not listen to Rev. Wright’s sermons?

When tapes emerged of Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning America and gloating about her travails, Obama, who boasted of his twenty-year long relationship with this father figure announced that he’d never actually listened to Wright’s sermons. With news breaking that Wright’s daughter has been convicted in a fraud scheme, I’m having trouble deciding whether, like Obama, she ignored her father’s sermons or, again like Obama, she probably listened and absorbed every word.

Bill Nye, lying science guy

I’ve never liked Bill Nye. Rather than seeing him as a friendly, accessible guy, I’ve always seen him as a grim, dour, rather angry person. Now I’ve learned that he’s also intellectually dishonest (or perhaps just really dumb) — something that was manifestly clear the moment he jumped on the “climate change” bandwagon.

Grab a tissue for this one

The will that drives a soldier doesn’t necessarily vanish when that soldier suffers an injury, even one that’s more traumatic than most of us can comprehend: