Tuesday morning round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI only had a narrow window of time within which to write yesterday, but I was able to get a lot of reading done.  I bookmarked all sorts of pages and finally have the chance to share them with you.  I need to give a big thank-you to Earl for providing many of the links.  Unfortunately, I can’t be more specific than that, since I no longer remember which articles I found and which Earl sent my way.  Anyway, here goes:

Proving that professors aren’t as smart as they think they are, 44 law professors trying to force Hobby Lobby to pay for birth control and abortifacients inadvertently make a strong argument in favor of insisting that corporations should abandon all of their Leftist crusades.

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My high-school junior came home from school yesterday absolutely outraged. “Is it true that Obama’s going to cut the military’s size back to what it was before WWII? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. We have too many enemies to do that.”

Peter Wehner — usually the most temperate, even RINO-esque writer — is also outraged, and says point-blank that Obama is deliberately forcing decline on America:

Max Boot does an excellent job laying out the problems with this proposal here and here. I’d simply add that the fact that American military dominance can no longer be taken for granted is not problematic for someone of Barack Obama’s worldview. In fact, he views the weakening of American power as a downright positive thing, as a contributor to peace and stability, and a means through which America will be more respected and loved in the world.

[snip]

And for all the damage the president is doing on the domestic side–and I would not want to underestimate it for a moment–it may be the harm he’s inflicting on America in foreign policy and national security is deeper, broader, and more durable.

More than any president in my lifetime, Barack Obama has damaged virtually everything he’s touched. When it comes to American interests, he’s a one-man wrecking ball.

The military is rife with waste, something that should be addressed.  For the president to point out that the bath water is cloudy, thereby mandating the baby’s destruction, is a passive-aggressive version of treason.

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Two posts explain precisely why the same president who won a Nobel Peace Prize merely for winning an election now gets no respect at home or abroad: The first from Seth Mandel and the second from Keith Koffler.

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Yes, Farrakhan is a disgusting anti-Semite. People need to know this.  There are still way too many Leftist American Jews who imagine that they’re standing arm-in-arm with Southern blacks in front of Sheriff Bull Connor. Those days are gone. Fifty years of pernicious Farrakhan-ism and Leftism have turned vast numbers of American blacks into anti-Semites. Moreover, these antisemitic blacks can rejoice in the fact that one of their own occupies the White House.

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Charles C.W. Cooke is such a delightful writer that it’s a pleasure to read him rejoicing about Piers Morgan’s CNN downfall. John Lott, however, is the one who writes something about Morgan that I didn’t know: Morgan was so abysmally rude to pro-gun guests on his show that reasonable viewers actually felt obligated to try to figure out on their own what Lott was going to say. (Although one has to wonder why any reasonable person of whatever political stripe would watch Morgan.  Habit, I guess.)  In such way are minds open and converts created.

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When all is said and done, I’m betting that Obamacare will have killed more Americans than all the dead in Iraq, both American and Iraqi, combined. And the media will be utterly silent.

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I am not a fan of the Smithsonian institute, which has been co-opted entirely by the loony Left.  Here’s the most recent example of its global warming crusade (the website is rife with this pseudoscience), but its Leftism hit the airwaves with the Enola Gay kerfuffle.  I mention the Smithsonian now only because it had an interesting little article about forensic writing analysis, in which a person or computer carefully analyzes the way in which someone writes — word choices, sentence length, word order, etc. — to determine authorship.  Funnily enough, the Smithsonian didn’t mention the detailed forensic analysis showing that it’s more likely than not that Bill Ayers, not Barack Obama, authored Dreams, the book that catapulted a nobody from nowhere into the nation’s spotlight.

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Many of us tend to associate pot with Leftist hippie types. In fact, legally available pot is a very libertarian concern — and so are legal arms. Bob Owens warns that those same libertarians who are availing themselves of legal pot via prescriptions may find that they’ve signed away their right to arms.

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Noemie Emery offers an excellent analysis about Obamacare’s bastard roots; meaning the fact that, unlike any other major law in American history, it was passed in the face of overwhelming opposition, using factual lies and procedural chicanery.

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John C. Goodman explains how we lost the war on poverty from the moment we enacted it. Why? Because its very enactment induced Americans, especially black Americans, to abandon the four cornerstones of economic success in America: a high school education, a job (no matter the type), and, most importantly, marriage and children in that order. Again, no surprise to me. For years I’ve been citing John McWhorter’s Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, in which I first saw the numbers showing black economic collapse after well-meaning, guilt-ridden whites forced welfare on them in the 1960s. Black men became mere sperm donors who proved their prowess, not through hard work, self-sufficiency, and family standing, but through guns and sex.

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I’ve worked hard most of my life. I started working as a teen, and have kept busy ever since as a secretary, a student, a lawyer, and a mother. All are time-consuming tasks that require having or learning a specific mindset and skills. I bet you all have worked hard too, and that’s true no matter your life’s work.

Some jobs appear right off the bat to be harder than others. Most would concede that it’s incredibly hard to do road maintenance work in Arizona in summer or in Michigan in winter. Marine work — both training and fighting — is hard too. Working in a coroner’s office must have a high disgust factor. Working on a cattle ranch is a 365-day-a-year, physically exhausting job. I won’t go on, but I will point out that you never read articles from road maintenance people, or Marines, or coroner’s assistants, or cattle ranchers and cowboys moaning on and on about how horrible their job is and how only haters don’t appreciate what they’re doing. Funnily enough, that kind of whiny, narcissistic, incredibly irritating rant comes only from teachers.

As I’ve so often said, I’m entirely cognizant of how difficult a job teaching can be. My father did it in a time when his wage was only slightly above the poverty level, and he was a superb teacher. What he wasn’t was a victim.

I support good teachers, I admire good teaching, and I recognize that it takes time, commitment, knowledge, and skill to be a good teacher. (I’d love to be one of Mike McDaniel’s students, since it’s obvious that he has all of those virtues and then some.) What I can’t stand is the endless sense of victimization flowing from America’s teachers. What I’d love to say to them is “Most people work hard and feel that their pay is inconsistent with their effort. You’re not special. Get over it.  If you want recognition, get it for being wonderful (a la Mike), not whiny.”

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And a great picture, riffing off of one of my favorite expressions (h/t Caped Crusader):
Road to hell

Monday morning mash-up — and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of laundry to fold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight a few things that caught my eye.

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Until our relatives moved away from Los Angeles, twice a year we used to make the trek from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and then back up again.  In the early years, when we hit the central valley, we went through productive farmland as far as the eye could see.  In the last few years — including the Bush years — we often found ourselves driving through a barren Dust Bowl.  It wasn’t a natural drought (which we in California are suffering through this year).  Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.  Charles C. W. Cooke has more.

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The Military must view troops by the content of their character and their commitment to the United States, instead of just looking at beards and turbans.  Standards are certainly necessary for military discipline and cohesion, but it’s a stupid military that turns away the best people because of minor deviations from the uniform.

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The New York Times has always been a Leftist mouthpiece, but it prided itself on being a dignified Leftist mouthpiece.  Back in the day, it was “the Gray Lady” rather than the “wide-eyed, stoned conspiracy theorist.”  At PowerLine, in one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, John Hinderaker goes into full lawyer mode to analyze and destroy the Times over-the-top anti-Koch editorial — an editorial that seemed to have emerged without editing from the bowels of The Daily Kos.  I should add that, while Hinderaker’s demolition job is masterful, it’s going out to the choir.  The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.

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While we’re on the subject of the far Left Times, P. David Hornik correctly identifies the Times’ Thomas Friedman as one of America’s worst purveyors of old-fashioned, “Elders of Zion” type antisemitism.

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From the Proving The Point Department comes an Atlantic blog comment elaborating on Rand Paul’s pointed remarks about Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior regarding women.  Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.  He then quotes from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban, who vociferously defends Hillary.  Chandler wraps up with a paragraph meant to point out that Bill didn’t really get a pass for his sexual misconduct:

Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l’affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton’s convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.

One has to wonder if Chandler read what he wrote.  If Bill really didn’t get a pass for his sexual misconduct, which ranged from affairs, to sexual harassment, to rape, to predatory behavior against young girls in the work place, then he wouldn’t be speaking at the 2012 Democrat National Convention or be named “Father of the Year.”  He wouldn’t be the dynamo who fronted much of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Democrats wouldn’t be excited about the fact that a Hillary presidency gives them a Bill Clinton repeat.  Of course he got a free pass.  The fact that a few articles rake up his significant misdemeanors means nothing when the Democrat establishment still embraces enthusiastically this old lech.  Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.

EU silent about its motivation when it comes to manifest bias against Israel

Israeli flagWhen I was in law school, I applied for to myriad law firms for a job.  I had good grades (and ultimately ended up with offers from prestigious law firms), but what remains in my memory forever is a rejection letter I got from one rather insignificant law firm:

Dear Ms [Bookworm]:

Thank you for your inquiry about a position at our firm.  There are many reasons why we cannot hire you.

Sincerely….

Many of my classmates agreed that this won the award for rejection letter of the year.

I am beginning to suspect that someone at the European Union must have gotten a glimpse of that letter.  It’s certainly one way to explain the EU’s response when two scholars, one Israeli and one American, wrote to the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, asking why it was honoring agreements with Morocco that included extra-national territory it had occupied since 1975, while refusing to honor any dealings with Israel that include “occupied” territory:

Many Israelis have long felt that the European Union is biased against them. Two legal scholars – a former Israeli ambassador and an American Jewish international law professor — think they’ve found the perfect case to prove the claim: A new fishing deal, signed between the Europeans and Morocco, which applies beyond Morocco’s internationally recognized borders, taking in the territory of Western Sahara, even though Morocco invaded that area in 1975 and has occupied ever since.

The two scholars are now challenging EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to explain why the agreement, in not excluding Morocco’s occupied territory, doesn’t prove that the EU is holding Israel to a double standard.

The EU insists that any agreement it signs with Israel explicitly exclude the settlements in the “occupied” West Bank, the scholars noted in a letter sent last month to Ashton’s Brussels office. So why don’t the same constraints apply in the case of Morocco? This blatant inconsistency shows “an official double-standard practiced by the EU,” Professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University and Israeli ex-ambassador to Canada Alan Baker charged.

The EU’s response, written by one of Ashton’s minions, is identical in spirit to that long-ago rejection letter I once received:

The EU’s response, authored on Ashton’s behalf by the managing director of the union’s external action service’s Middle East and Southern Neighborhood department, Hugues Mingarelli, read: “With regards to the allegation of using double standards for Israel and Morocco, our analysis is that the two cases are different and cannot be compared.” No further explanation was given.

That is precisely the kind of rejection letter that comes from a bureaucratic entity that cannot bring itself to state the obvious:  “With regards to the allegation of using double standards for Israel and Morocco, the answer is simple:  we are both antisemitic and terrified of Muslims.  Thank you for your inquiry.”

Must-see video that exposes the antisemitism driving the BDS movement *UPDATED*

Yesterday, I suggested that you get a good laugh by watching a slobberingly loving Obamacare rap.  Today, I insist that you watch this powerful, hypnotic video about the manifest antisemitism that drives the “Boycott, Divest and Sanction” (or “BDS”) movement against Israel, the world’s only Jewish nation:

And if you’re feeling so inclined, you might want to make a donation to Stand With Us or CAMERA, both of which exist to fight back against the canards leveled against Israel.

Hat tip:  Lulu

UPDATE:  And more on the good, old-fashioned antisemitism driving BDS.

Clearing out the inbox

I’d reached critical mass in the inbox.  It was either spend the day working through it or go nuclear which, in my case, doesn’t mean blowing up Israel, but does mean simply deleting everything in my inbox, knowing that there’s no way I will ever read what’s in there.  I chose not to go nuclear, and I am grateful for that decision, as I was able to find a lot of wonderful stuff.  Herewith, and in no particular order, stuff I culled from my inbox:

Following up on my post about the fact that we’re now living in a Soviet joke, a reader sent me this great one liner:  “Under Obamacare if you get sick, the doctors will pretend to heal you and the government will pretend to pay for it.”

One of my favorite bloggers, who happens to be a teacher, is Mike McDaniel.  He saw two newspaper articles that I’d seen too, and that I wanted to blog about, but never got around to.  Now, I’m grateful for my sloth, because Mike did a better job with them than I ever could have done.  The first is a bit frisky, but that’s only because (honest to God truth) an American university is giving students credit for attending a class that teaches them how to masturbateWhen I were a lad, we were so poor, we had to figure those things out by ourselves.  The other “education” story is less funny, because it has even more seriously implications for the joke that our university system has become.  Once you learn about micro-aggression, I think you’ll agree that we’re within striking distance of the end of the world as we know it.

Speaking of how far we’ve come, someone sent me a link to this project:  beautiful photo albums showing toys that were once an ordinary part of life but that would now result in a manufacturer’s lynching.  I have fond memories of “puffing” on toy cigarettes.  Interestingly, those sugary white rods with bright red tips never made me more inclined to try the real thing, which smelled bad and made me cough.

Oh, and while we’re on silly stuff, here’s a test for you:  in which countries are these various toilets located?  I got 50% correct and I can’t decide if that speaks well of me or badly.

In September, during the shutdown, someone sent me a link to a Red State story about GOP hostility to Ted Cruz.  Showing that political time is like dog years, in the two months and one day since Red State published that article, the world has turned upside down, thanks to the Obamacare exchange roll-out.  Suddenly, the article seems like a relic.  The GOP is still hostile, but it now has a serious problem with the fact that Ted Cruz was right.  (I was right too; just sayin’.)

I spoke today on the phone with Stella Paul and it explained a lot about why her articles are so insightful, intelligent, and beautifully written.  She is insightful, intelligent, and beautifully spoken.  (I always knew Obama’s books were fakes because nobody who wrote as well as he ostensibly did could speak as badly as he does off the cuff.  The person who wrote Obama’s books loves language; Obama does not.)  You can catch a lot of Stella’s stuff at American Thinker, such as her delightful and astute attack against the Obamacare exchange.  She’s also publishing at Leeb’s Market Forecast, with her most recent article there about the scary fact that we are trapped inside a government Matrix and only a few brave folks are willing to take a stand against it.  When it comes to Hollywood, Stella includes in her article one of the most frightening quotations I’ve ever heard:  “‘We know from research that when people watch entertainment television, even if they know it’s fiction, they tend to believe that the factual stuff is actually factual,’ said grant recipient Martin Kaplan of the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center.”  Lee Habeeb’s proposed alternate TV channel can’t come fast enough.

One of the fascinating things about the Obamacare debacle is the way in which the New York Times has desperately been trying to cover up Obama’s lies.  “Incorrect promise” tops the list of course, but the Times is spinning so frantically, it’s running out of neologisms, neo-phrases, and outright lies about lies in order to cover for Obama’s forked tongue.  They should be better at this than they are.  As Lee Stranahan wrote a month ago, the Left has always lied about itself and its motives.

Thomas Friedman may be nominally Jewish, but he’s nominally Jewish the way Noam Chomsky is.  These guys are anti-Semitic Jews who are “thoughtful” enough to provide cover for all the other anti-Semites who aren’t Jews.  (“Yeah, so what if I say a Jewish cabal rules the world and therefore all Jews need to be destroyed?  Some of my best friends are Jews and they say the same thing.”)  Elliot Abrams caught Friedman in a doozy of an anti-Semitic screed, one that could have fit comfortably in the pages of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Friedman isn’t just a fool and a hypocrite, he’s a fool and a hypocrite who worships at the altar of totalitarianism and will happily pave the way for the next round of gas chambers — although he’ll pride himself on the fact that, when the time comes, he’ll weakly protest that Jews shouldn’t actually be sent there.

Since the Obama administration has been preparing talking points for Democrats to use to browbeat friends and relatives about Obamacare during Thanksgiving, Ace prepared talking points for conservatives.  Very worth reading.

“Mr. Obama, we at Fox News are not the problem.  You are.”  (Hat tip:  Earl):

A friend of mine, a former Air Force pilot, wrote a book, called The Unusual Travels of Lee and Tammy.  I was happy to leave this review at Amazon:

Mr. Strom has written a charming, imaginative book about a gateway between our moon and another world that can support human life. Funnily enough, Mr. Strom’s writing style reminded me strongly of Damon Runyon’s wonderful stories (which served as the basis for “Guys and Dolls.”). His dialogue has that same present tense formality that Runyon uses, which allows us to see the characters as from a slight distance.

The plot is straightforward: several astronauts from the world’s major countries are sent to the moon for a scientific study. Lee, an Armenian, accidentally falls through a portal into another world. Once he convinces his fellow astronauts of his existence, four of them, including Tammy, who becomes Lee’s romantic interest, explore the world. They discover its connection to earth, and have some unnerving experiences as they navigate their way through this strange, yet familiar, world.

I actually expected the book to be a more “Star Wars” type adventure with lots of shoot ‘em stuff. It’s not, though. It manages, instead, to imagine a realistic scenario, one that sees far away scientists make an exciting new discovery, and then follows through on how both the scientists and those back home (both funders and governments) respond to the possibilities of this discovery.

And lastly, during the shutdown, someone made a wonderful poster about the National Park Service employees who seemed to be so willing to carry out Obama’s orders to punish Americans — especially those who served our country so bravely — by closing down open-air parks.  Even though the shutdown is over, it’s worth reminding ourselves what happened in October, because Obama has made it very plain that he will not hesitate to mobilize America’s unionized government workers against Americans:

National Park Service

Mr. Flotsam, meet Ms. Jetsam. I think you’ll like each other.

A small Sunday morning round-up….

The Navy:  doing the right thing and doing it right.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  Not.  (It’s worth remembering that, by the time the Soviet Union collapsed, being a doctor there was a women-only job, with about as much cachet as dog-catcher.)

Kerry brings anti-semitism and incompetence to a new high, even by State Department standards.

Wesley J. Smith nails it:  Obama is the Vasa of our time.  We got to see the Vasa on our last vacation and I blogged about it briefly here.

And please, Open Thread away here.

My enlightening dinner with Blue State liberals

Dinner party

I had the opportunity the other day to dine with a collection of Blue State liberals.  It was enlightening, not because I actually learned anything from them, but because I learned about them.  It was also a reminder of how far I’ve traveled ideologically, because I used to be one of them.  Looking at them, I don’t regret my journey.

Most of the evening, of course, was idle chitchat, without any political ramifications.  Inevitably, though, politics and ideological issues cropped up.  I’ll just run down a few topics.

Antisemitism in higher education:

I was told in no uncertain terms that Columbia University cannot be antisemitic because it’s in New York.  My offer to produce evidence to support my thesis was rebuffed.  For those of you who, unlike Blue State liberals, feel that facts are valuable, these links support my contention that, New York address notwithstanding, Columbia is in thrall to Palestinian activists and BDS derangement:

100 Columbia professors demand divestment from Israel

Professors preach antisemitism from the Columbia pulpit

Columbia professor Joseph Massad, a one man antisemitism machine

Columbia students delighted at the opportunity to dine with Ahmadinejad

And of course, there’s simply the fact that Columbia is one of the more ideologically Left schools, although that wouldn’t have bothered my dinner companions.

The effect of taxes on investment:

One of my dinner companions is a successful investment analyst.  I asked him if he’d been hearing about any effects flowing from the Obamacare medical device tax.  “No, of course not.  It’s — what?  — a two percent tax.  That’s not going to make a difference to anybody.”  Again, my offer of contrary data was rejected, because it was obviously Fox News propaganda, never mind that it’s not from Fox News.  Stephen Hay, at Power Line, neatly summarizes a Wall Street Journal article predicated on actual investment data:

Today in my Constitutional Law class I’ll be taking up the famous case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the bank case from 1819 in which Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which immediately set my mind to thinking about . . . Obamacare.  Obamacare’s medical device tax—a tax not on profits remember, but on revenues—is doing its destructive work already.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Funding Dries Up for Medical Startups,” noting that “Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding.”  It seems we have to relearn every few years (such as the luxury boat tax of 1990, swiftly repealed when it killed the boat-building industry) the basic lesson that Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan taught us: tax something and you get less of it.  Especially when you tax it like Obamacare, where the tax significantly reduces the after-tax return to investors.

When a 2% tax is on after-tax returns, and it targets a specific industry, surprisingly it does make a big difference to people.  Right now, the difference is at the investment level, but soon it will be at the consumer level, as consumers are less likely than ever before to see life-changing inventions such as the insulin pump or the cochlear implant.

American healthcare compared to other Western countries:  Everybody agreed that America has the worst health care compared to those countries with socialized medicine.  Britain doesn’t count, my fellow dinners told me, because it’s “chosen” to offer bad health care.  My attempts to talk about freedom of choice, market competition, declining government revenue, cost-based decisions to deny treatment to whole classes of patients, etc., were rudely brushed aside.  “That’s just Fox News propaganda.”  Likewise, the liberals also dismissed as “Fox News propaganda” my statement that the studies they’re relying on have as their metric availability of coverage, rather than quality of outcome. I therefore wasn’t surprised when they equally rudely dismissed me when I said that a recent study showed that America has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world.

Since I know that you’d never be that rude, let me just quote Avik Roy, who actually studies the numbers:

It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.

[snip]

The problem, of course, is that there are many factors that affect life expectancy. One is wealth. It’s gross domestic product per capita, and not health-care policy, that correlates most strongly to life expectancy. Gapminder has produced many colorful charts that show the strong correlation between wealth and health.

[snip]

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

[chart omitted]

U-S-A! U-S-A! What’s just as interesting is that Japan, the country that tops the overall life expectancy tables, finished in the middle of the pack on cancer survival.

I’m not doing justice Roy’s article with these snippets, so I urge you to read the whole thing.  Suffice to say that my companions were uninterested in data that ran counter to their narrative.

The racist inside every liberal:  My dinner companions did concede that culture is a factor in health care, although they stopped short of admitting (as they should have) that a country as diverse as America will never be able to counter cultural differences with socialized medicine.  (Or, rather, they couldn’t admit that it would take overwhelming government coercion to do so.)

One of the guests described a patient with a treatable disorder — i.e., one that could be controlled with a carefully regimented plan of medicine and treatment — who was too disorganized to follow the treatment.  As a result, this person ended up in the emergency room one to two times a month, at great cost to the system.  The healthcare provider finally hired a minimum wage worker to remind the patient to take the medicines and to drive the patient to the hospital.  Another guests said, “Black, right?”  The person who told the story said, “I can’t tell you that, but probably.”  They snickered companionably over the fact that blacks are just too dumb to care for themselves.

Another way of looking at it, though, was that this patient did fine:  The patient didn’t have to fuss with drugs (and their side-effects), got emergency treatment on an as-needed basis, and ended up having a dedicated employee to detail with the finicky little details of disease maintenance.  Who’s snickering now?

The power that maintains slavery:  One of the people at the dinner was a student studying American history.  The curriculum had reached the Civil War.  The student asked a good question:  “I don’t get how the slaves let themselves stay that way.  After all, they outnumbered the whites.”  Good point.  The liberal dinner guests started mumbling about systems, and complexity, and psychology.  And I do mean mumbling.  They didn’t offer data.  They just mouthed buzzwords such as “it’s complex,” or “you have to understand the system,” or “well, there’s a psychology there.”  I interrupted:  “The slave owners were armed.  The slaves were denied arms.  The side with weapons, even if it’s smaller in number, wins.”  To my surprise, none of the liberals in the room had anything to add.

The food was good and my dinner companions were periodically interesting and charming, so the dinner wasn’t a total loss.  Nevertheless, I found dismaying the arrogant ignorance that powers their engines.  All I could think of was my own blog’s motto:  “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.”  That was my dinner in a nutshell.

Will American Jews listen?

A friend sent me this article by a former Israeli soldier who know works for StandWithUs, an organization that counters the antisemitic and anti-Israel bile that pours forth on American campuses under the banner of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement.  The hatred he experiences is staggering, all the more so because it is so irrational.  It is pure, undiluted hatred, of the type Jews have had the misfortune to face repeatedly over too many centuries:

To give you a taste of the viciousness of the BDS attacks, let me cite just a few of the many shocking experiences I have had. At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.” When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it. And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!” A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”

Such irrational accusations are symptomatic of dangerous anti-Semitism. Yet, alarmingly, most mainstream American Jews are completely oblivious to this ugly movement and the threat it poses. They seem to be asleep, unaware that this anti-Jewish bigotry is peddled on campuses, by speakers in high schools, churches, and communities, and is often deceptively camouflaged in the rhetoric of human rights.

It seems appropriate to include here a link about the medical care Syrian civilians are receiving in Israeli hospitals that turn no one away.

Feel free to be inspired and to donate to StandWithUs, an organization that uses every penny wisely.  (I just gave my mite and hope that it helps.)

Pet Shop Boys make a principled stand against the BSD movement

I’ve always liked the Pet Shop Boys, an 80s band that was part of the background soundtrack to my early 20s. I especially liked this song:

The Pet Shop Boys just went up enormously in my estimation by taking a principled stand against the fundamentally antisemitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, whose proponents pretend Israel is the new South Africa. Although, I agree with Evelyn Gordon that Neil Tennant, the half of the duo who wrote the post, is off the mark in claiming the Israel engages in”crude and cruel” policies, I also agree with her that the core statement — that Israel is nothing like South Africa — is an important one and cannot be sufficiently emphasized:

I don’t agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. It’s a caricature. Israel has (in my opinion) some crude and cruel policies based on defence; it also has universal suffrage and equality of rights for all its citizens both Jewish and Arab. In apartheid-era South Africa, artists could only play to segregated audiences; in Israel anyone who buys a ticket can attend a concert. Neil x

I wish more entertainers had the moral courage to call out the BDS movement for what it is:  a hopelessly biased cause that tries to frame the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East (and it is a true liberal democracy by any measure, not just Middle Eastern) as a tyrannical apartheid state.

(As an aside, although I like them, I had no idea that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are “the most successful duo in UK music history.”  Maybe part of why they’ve done so well is because they’ve got their heads screwed on the right way.)

Alice Walker — a vile antisemite whose books are read in schools throughout America

I never liked Alice Walker’s writing.  The Color Purple was a poorly written pulp novel that got traction because it was marketed as a black woman’s rising up from the chains of racism.  Others have written the same, only better.

Walker has now confirmed that her bad writing comes about because she’s got an evil soul.  When Alicia Keyes planned a trip to Israel, this is the letter Walker penned this marginally literate screed to her (emphasis mine):

Dear Alicia Keys,

I have learned today that you are due to perform in Israel very soon. We have never met, though I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work. It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists. You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the US South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people. Google Montgomery Bus Boycott, if you don’t know about this civil rights history already. We changed our country fundamentally, and the various boycotts of Israeli institutions and products will do the same there. It is our only nonviolent option and, as we learned from our own struggle in America, nonviolence is the only path to a peaceful future.

If you go to my website and blog alicewalkersgarden.com you can quickly find many articles I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own. Under a campaign named ‘Brand Israel’, Israeli officials have stated specifically their intent to downplay the Palestinian conflict by using culture and arts to showcase Israel as a modern, welcoming place.

This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about something sorrowful, and amazing: that our government (Obama in particular) supports a system that is cruel, unjust, and unbelievably evil. You can spend months, and years, as I have, pondering this situation. Layer upon layer of lies, misinformation, fear, cowardice and complicity. Greed. It is a vast eye-opener into the causes of much of the affliction in our suffering world.

I have kept you in my awareness as someone of conscience and caring, especially about the children of the world. Please, if you can manage it, go to visit the children in Gaza, and sing to them of our mutual love of all children, and of their right not to be harmed simply because they exist.

With love, younger sister, beloved daughter and friend,

Alice Walker

Walker is incapable of opening her mind to reality, which establishes that Israel is the only representative democracy in the Middle East, allowing all races, faiths, and sexual orientations to live there in freedom, while the Palestinians are a totalitarian state that work hard to be Judenrein, as well as Christan-free; that terrorizes its own citizens; that routinely slaughters women, gays, and those deemed to be “traitors” supporting Israel; that targets Israel’s children; and that teaches its own children to seek Israel’s destruction through conquest and genocide.

Here’s the truly nasty thing about Walker.  Our American public schools teach children to revere her.  They’re not reading Shakespeare or Faulkner or Dickens, they’re reading Walker’s slopping, bathetic, ill-informed, badly written insult to English and American literature, and are being told that it’s worthwhile and says important things.

The only saving grace in all of this is that so many of America’s English teachers are boring, ill-informed pendants (that’s what Leftism does to academics, with the most Leftist gravitating to English and social studies).  Their students routinely conceive a life-long hatred for the books imposed upon them in English class.

God’s Chosen People

Michaelangelo hands of God and Adam

There’s a guy where I exercise who’s nice, but I’ve never really warmed up to him.  He’s not part of the ownership or the management team, so it’s never really mattered to me what I think of him.  Last week, though, I discovered that my subconscious might have been sending me messages when I couldn’t make myself like him.  After a tirade against capitalism, for ObamaCare, and in favor of restrictions on all things that could affect Global Warming (yes, let’s get rid of the sun!), he said, “And another thing….”  He then started to inform me how pernicious the message is that the Jews are “God’s chosen people.”

My exercise place is wonderful, so I wasn’t about to upset the nice dynamic there by getting into a debate with a hard-core Leftist.  Those debates usually end badly:  the Leftist doesn’t change his mind, while any people in the vicinity who aren’t hard-core but are still Left (this is Marin after all), get very upset and start thinking with their navels, not their brains.  The best way for me to handle situations like this is to leave, think my arguments through, and then have those arguments ready for the inevitable round two.  This blog is where I think my arguments through. . . .

Apropos his anger that Jews think they’re special (along the lines of “Who are they to claim they’re God’s chosen people?”), it occurred to me that both the Left and antisemites are ferociously ignorant about their Old Testament.  Here is what the Bible tells (and all of you, who are more Bible literate than I, please correct me when I’m wrong):

Before he formed the covenant with the Jewish God, Abraham was polytheistic.  Ur, his original homeland, was certainly polytheistic.  God did not originally appear as a monotheistic God.  Instead, he just appeared as a divine being who selected Abraham (or, as he was initially, Abram).  If Abraham joined in a covenant with God, aligning his family with God, and circumcising all males as a sign of that covenant, God would treat Abraham and his descendents well.  Provided that all of them, through the centuries, abided by the covenant (and circumcision is a harsh demand) they would have land and good fortune.

The Bible acknowledges more than once that there are other gods swirling around in the ancient world.  For example, when Jacob and Rachel flee her father, Laban, Rachel takes her father’s “Household Gods.”  Significantly, in the Ten Commandments, God himself acknowledges other Gods.  It’s just that, as to the Jews, if they wish to keep the covenant, he must be the only God they claim and worship:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Those words make sense only if there was competition. Otherwise, God would have said, “There are no other Gods, but for me.”

While God promised much to the children of Abraham, he also placed heavy burdens upon them in addition to circumcision.  In a time when people were comforted by a panoply of gods, all of whom were physically present and whose favors could be bought with human or animal sacrifices, the Jews had just one abstract God in whom they had to believe, regardless of his invisible nature.

During the Greek occupation in Palestine, the Jews could not partake of the physical libertinism that characterized the Greeks.  Jews could not hold on to slaves for more than seven years, and had to treat their slaves humanely, which placed them at an economic disadvantage compared to others in the ancient world.  They were prohibited from eating all kinds of foods, which may have conferred some health benefits on them (e.g., no trichinosis), but which also limited their ability to thrive.

And so it goes, rule after rule that gave the Jews a spiritual advantage, but that limited their options in the ancient world.  In exchange, absent periodic miracles, such as the exodus from Egypt, being God’s chosen people wasn’t so great:  they were isolated and often at war with the world around them, their lives were constrained by God’s stringent rules, and God was big on punishing individuals or whole groups for any failure properly to abide by His rules.

The end result was that, in the ancient world, Jews were considered everything from fellow imperialists, to slaves, to an occupied people.  The one thing that they weren’t considered to be, though, was arrogant and special.  Indeed, in the ancient world, they were considered foolish for hewing to one invisible God rather than taking advantage of the panoply of gods then benefiting everyone else.

What changed was Christianity, which looked at the Jewish God and the whole notion of monotheism and concluded that it was a good idea.  The early Christians were Jews and, when they split from Jews who didn’t recognize Christ’s divinity, they still considered themselves God’s Chosen People — only they were even more chosen because they had taken Christ as their savior.  Suddenly, the Jews’ claim to be God’s Chosen People seemed (a) wrong and (b) arrogant, considering that both Jews and Christians were claiming the same God as their own.

All of which is to say that the Leftist at the dojo was wrong when he sought to insult Jews because they somehow think they’re “special.”  That’s not the issue at all.  Jews have simply chosen, for thousands of years, to abide by a very challenging covenant that Abraham made with a God who came to Abraham and said, “If you pick me, and you play by my rules, we’ll be a team forever.”  In the beginning, everybody thought Abraham made a bad deal by letting himself and his descendents get tagged by this jealous God.  It was only with the passing of time that others began to think that they’d like to be tagged too.

Certainly now, Jews do not display religious arrogance.  They do not demand, either with words or swords, that others worship their God; and they do not enslave or tax or otherwise discriminate against those who don’t.  Yes, amongst themselves they think they’re doing the right thing, but so does every group, whether religious or otherwise.  Why bother to be a group if you don’t have special bonds that distinguish you from others?  But there’s a profound difference between thinking “Yup, I’m engaging in correct religious behavior,” and thinking “You all are evil and doomed.  You deserve to die and then go to Hell.  And while you’re on this earth, I have the right to make it a Hell on earth for you.”  Now that’s arrogant.

Yom Hashoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that was once a memorial day, a day of looking back, but is now a chilling tocsin of what the future might hold.  Everywhere in the world, antisemitism is on the rise.  Nor is this the cold, clinical antisemitism that once characterized England — the kind where people would sniff at someone and say “Oh, he’s a Jew.”  Jews might be socially ostracized and subject to petty humiliations, but they were not tortured, killed, or denied civil rights by their own government.

All over the world today, including in England, Jews are facing a worldwide rise in violent antisemitism that his not just a “chill,” is a scary, furnace-like heat.  (I keep mentioning England because it has swung more violently than any other European country from an “I don’t care” view of Jews to a blood-thirsty hatred for Jews and Israel.)  I don’t have the heart or the time to detail the attacks.  I will share with you a video showing what happens to Jews when the world turns on them, with the background music being an extremely rare recording of Bergen-Belsen survivors signing the “Hatikvah.”

By the way, David Goldman (Spengler) has the good news, which is that Jew hating-societies are dying off, because off low birth rates.  Jews stand for life (“I say to you, choose life“), so it’s not surprising that these cultures embrace death, their own and other’s.  The problem, of course, is that these dying cultures can still cause a lot of trouble as they grapple with their own convulsive death throes.