The Bookworm Beat (9/21/14) — quick links before Monday hits, and Open Thread

Woman writingI can feel the demands of Monday creeping up already, so I thought I’d rush through a few things that people (mostly the wonderful Earl Aagaard) were kind enough to send me. Here goes:

Why do American Muslims love Obama, while non-American Muslims hate him?

Here’s a conundrum: Obama is hugely popular with American Muslims, but deeply disliked by Muslim’s in the Middle East. What gives? Richard Fernandez offers a very credible explanation.

Why do we keep inviting our executioner into America?

Here’s how it works: Muslims make their own countries unlivable, slaughtering each other by the hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands. Whichever is on the losing side of a given country’s religious civil war (either Shia or Sunni) looks understandably pathetic, especially because so many of the victims are children.

American Christians, who are very good people, feel a moral obligation to reach out to the pathetic losers in a given country’s civil war. Part of this outreach includes inviting these poor, victimized Muslims into America. What the Christians don’t realize is that there’s a pecking order in the Muslim world. When you’ve established your sect’s dominance in a territory, the next in line to dominate are the Christians.

Imam Obama wrong

Obama is a lousy president. He’s also a lousy Imam. When he insisted that Islam is inconsistent with ISIS, he was flat-out incorrect in interpreting Islamic doctrine.

Study finds gross and pervasive antisemitism at UCLA

It seems as if every American university’s Near East Studies department has been co-opted by Leftists and Islamists whose primary goal is to institutionalize anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment. UCLA is just the latest on the list.

I wish there was a way for us taxpayers to opt out of funding these dreadful institutions of lower education. Oh, wait! There is a way. We could stop electing Democrats and Republicans, and start electing conservatives.

Raquel Welch — Are you ready to die?

iOwnTheWorld.com notices that Ezekiel Emanuel’s pronouncement that American’s should be patriotic and die at 75 might affect at least one famous person who doesn’t look at all ready for the grave.

If only we could get Emanuel, who’s basically Jack Kevorkian with political power, to absorb some of the Right’s deep humanism on this subject. I recommend starting with Mike McDaniel’s post.

Who’s going to be at fault if Republicans don’t win the Senate?

Laura Ingraham knows who’s going to be a fault if Republicans are unable to win the Senate despite Obama’s other and Democrats’ deep unpopularity. Actually, we all know — it’s the damn Republican establishment that’s at fault, because it manifestly cares most about friends in Washington and about cheap labor to make the Chamber of Commerce types happy . . . never mind the rest of Americans who watch the benefits of a weak recovery go primarily to immigrants, many of them here illegally.

I elaborate on this point at the Watcher’s Council forum, as do several Council members and honored guests.  All The Right Snark also has a pretty good idea about what’s wrong.

Moonbats on parade

The climate changistas had their today, and the pictures make you want to laugh until you realize how these lunatics have gained almost complete control over the Western world’s political bodies.

Yes, terrorism is a default setting

From its inception at the beginning of the 7th century until 1683, when the Ottoman Turks were stopped at the Gates of Vienna, Islam functioned through terrorism. After this thousand-year run, Islam spent 290 years somewhat dormant.  It caused local problems (resulting in Churchill’s famous set-down of the religion, a set-down now illegal in England), but it stopped aiming at the West’s heard.

Islam’s enforced passivity changed in the 1970s, when violent Islam became resurgent (think: PLO, followed by Iran). That’s why, when the Milt Rosenberg show tackled the question of whether terrorist mass murder is now the default setting for radical Islam, my answer has to be “yes.” Barring that 290 year hiatus, mass terrorism was a system that worked very effectively for the Muslims for about 1,000 years.

Calvin & Hobbes shows that Common Core’s been around for a while now

Just go and enjoy!

The problem when people with secrets make the rules

You gotta love this one: After two-year-old emails embarrassed the Los Angeles School Board, the Board decided that, rather than clean up its act, it would simply order that, henceforth, emails are to get destroyed after one year. Apparently the school board is a big fan of the IRS.

Africa is a truly benighted continent

I’m sorry, but there’s some curse over Africa. It’s not just that Ebola is the latest disaster to hit that continent. It’s that in the uproar, the Africans are starting to kill each other as fast as the Ebola does.

When you add to this newest plague the other plagues that blight Africa — chronic malaria, AIDS, droughts, famines, tribal wars, Muslim v. Christian wars, Muslim v. Muslim wars, black v. white wars, Communist v. ordinary people wars, madmen wars, etc. — you have to believe that long ago, when early man first emerged from the jungle in Africa, he must have done something so dreadful that God laid a curse on the land to last in perpetuity.

Americans don’t force religion on people

I don’t have a problem with the Pledge of Allegiance, even though it mentions the dreaded word “God.” I have a problem with atheists trying to erase God from public life, which is not something the Founders envisioned. However, I, like Greg at Rhymes With Right, also have a problem with schools trying to bully atheist children who opt to sit quietly and unobtrusively during the pledge.

I know I posted this one before, but it deserves posting again.

I know I posted this one before, but it deserves posting again.

The Democrats have a long-strategy when it comes to losing against ISIS

We'll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

We’ll never again see the type of victory parade that happened in Paris in 1944

A friend emailed me a comment:

Bill Clinton just said in an interview that America has proven we can’t win a land war in Iraq. Too bad he omitted: “Because we won’t let our military win it.”

I agree with my friend, and I want to examine a little further what he said, and I’ll do so via a series of links.

Charles Krauthammer argues convincingly that ISIS is yanking at America’s tail right now, because it knows that Obama will not fight the war to win.  It needs to prove itself regionally, and there is no better way to do so than to watch America retreat.

We can tell that Obama doesn’t want to win the war because he can’t even get himself to call it a war.  We’re assured that it’s a not-war, or maybe a not not-war.  Whatever it is, no matter how many kill shots Obama personally orders, there is no war, except when there’s not a not-not war.

Jon Gabriel says that the reason behind Obama’s reluctance to go to war is grounded in his jaundiced view of America.  If we say ISIS is terrible and that we’re going to protect the world from ISIS, the implication is that we’re the good guys.  Except that Obama cannot have America be good.  Therefore, America cannot fight a war against evil.

I agree with Gabriel, but I want to go back to what my friend said, about our refusal ever to let the military win a war.  That wasn’t always the case, even when Democrats were president.  American won WWI under a Democrat and repeated that feat with WWII.  It was only after WWII that America became embarrassed to win wars.  (For one theory behind that embarrassment, check out this history of the UN.)  It’s only a short step from “has not won a war in 60+ years” to “cannot ever win a war.”

Whenever I go to my mother’s place, I see a car with a Bush-ear bumper sticker, stating that “War is not the answer.” And every time I see it, I say to myself, “That depends what the question is.” For example, if you start talking to people about Nazis and other seriously bad actors, many of them will start agreeing with you that war can indeed be an answer. If you’re the anti-war type, you don’t people’s thoughts to head in that direction. How much better, then, to have a bumper sticker saying “Wars cannot be won,” or “There is no victory with war”?

Average Americans are so ignorant that, if the Democrats lose just a few more wars, voters won’t remember that victory is possible, and that it only matters that the right person or party should be in charge. Instead, they’ll just remember that wars cannot be won . . . ever!

The Bookworm Beat (9/18/14) — The Non-Islamic Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:

Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war

After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:

We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.

Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)

Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.

Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.

The horrors of war by lawyer

When I reviewed Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, I said:

[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):

The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.

[snip]

However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.

The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.

Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:

The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.

Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)

Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war.  This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him.  He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.

Funny illnesses cropping up all over

I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.

A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.

The Israel yardstick

I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.

More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite

Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.

I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.

One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves

Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.

Jewish gun organization surviving in different form

I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)

I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.

More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science

We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!

The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN

I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.

A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.

Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.

The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones

You and I like this poster:

America's first amendment area

Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.

A lost America

Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:

We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.

Read the whole thing here.

I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.

Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam

This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:

A few comments about the President’s speech regarding the Islamic State

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

Before I even get to Obama’s speech, a word about nomenclature. Most Americans refer to an organization called “ISIS” (“Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”). Obama refers to an organization called “ISIL” (“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). The latter encompasses more territory, so Obama is actually being more accurate about the group’s geographic aspirations. I, however, will in future refer to the group as the “Islamic State” which, as Obama himself acknowledges, is the group’s own preferred label.  To the extent Obama made a weak declaration of half-hearted war, it seems to me that it’s much easier to wage war against a self-declared state than against a disparate bunch individuals diffused throughout myriad civilian population.

And now to the speech, which I’ll simply annotate:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

[As I said above, to the extent the Islamic State describes itself as a nation in control of defined territories, let's do the same. It makes for a better target.]

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

[I understand Obama's need to preface his speech with puffery and boasting. He's got to establish his bona fides. However, I don't see the American people finding any of this reassuring. They've never perceived either Somalia or Yemen as direct threats to America, and they understand that knocking out a person or two in those places over the course of a few years has been ineffective in stemming the continued growth of Islamic terrorism. After all, if Obama's pinprick tactics worked, Islamic radicalism wouldn't be resurgent all over the world. Indeed, one could say that, rather than wiping out Islamic radicalism, Obama's tactics merely maddened it, in much the same way that a picador's non-deadly spear-work serves to madden a bull for the fight.]

Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

[All true truisms.]

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

[Wow! Where in the Constitution did Obama get the power to define what does and does not constitute a religion, or to tell a faith's most fervent practitioners that they're doing it wrong? You all have commented here, as have others around the blogosphere, that these so-called "radicals" are actually practicing Islam as written, as Mohamed practiced it, and as self-identified Muslims practiced it for hundreds of years. The religion is all about "the killing of innocents":

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

Go to this link to find all the instructions to violence against the innocent -- instructions that Imam Obama claims do not exist.

Muslims took a hiatus from practicing Islam as written only when they were finally stopped at the Gates of Vienna by a Europe grown increasingly wealthy, stable, and Enlightened. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as the West has destroyed its own wealth, damaged it's stability, traded gold for Arab oil, and retreated from a world-view that acknowledged both the exceptionalism of Judeo-Christian culture and the benefits of Americanism, that hiatus has ended.

What Obama should have done was to have simply identified the Islamic State as a self-declared enemy of America, of Christians, of Israel, and of peace and stability in the world -- all of which are true statements -- and gone on from there. He weakened everything else he said by trying to be President Imam offering an exposition about the nature of true Islam.]

In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. And in acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

[Correct. I would have preferred, though, a little more outrage about the fact that two Americans were slaughtered in the most brutal way possible to send a message to our country. When Obama included Foley and Sotloff in his speech, he didn't make it sound like the culmination to a series of outrages. The way he slipped them in there, they sound like an "oh, and don't let me forget" afterthought.]

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our Intelligence Community believes that thousands of foreigners -– including Europeans and some Americans –- have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

[Correct and it needed to be said, so I'm glad Obama said it. Now let's see what Obama plans to do about it.]

I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we’ve conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

[Once again, Obama's not going to war. Once again, he's just a picador. So far, what he's done has been neat, clinical, and somewhat helpful, but it's long-term efficacy is dubious. Also, does the last sentence -- about lives saved -- remind you of anything? It reminds me of the administration's utterly unprovable claim that the stimulus "saved or created" thousands of jobs. In fact, we've lost jobs and lost workers on Obama's watch, the stimulus notwithstanding.  More of this picador stuff, and those lives "saved" may be lost in the long-term regardless.]

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. And that’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

[Mr. President, are you listening to yourself?  First you destabilize Iraq and then you insist on a stable Iraq before you'll extend any help to fight a enemy that (a) your administration says is like nothing we've seen before and (b) that poses an imminent threat to our own well-being thanks in significant part to your decision to destroy the American border. Yeah, that's going to go well.]

Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

[Why did he have to say "degrade" first? Doesn't someone issuing a battle cry just say "destroy"? Why do I think this war will end with a few high profile bombings, an announcement that the degradation is complete, and yet another wave bye-bye to Iraq?]

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

[I have a notoriously bad memory, but doesn't this sound precisely like "Shock and Awe"? That ended with the troops hanging a "Mission Accomplished" banner on a ship for George Bush's visit, creating an image that haunts him to this day. What ultimately subdued the enemy in Iraq was old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground fighting. It seems to me that we're just going down a path we know in advance will fail. (Which may explain why the military offered different advice which Obama, the politician, ignored.]

Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces. Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.

[See above comment, including the link to Obama ignoring the military's advice.]

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

[As others have commented, this is the same Syrian opposition that Obama's ignored for three years. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely possible that Obama was using Libya to arm the opposition to the opposition -- and the ones he may have armed went on to form the Islamic State. It's all very confusing, and I'm not sure Obama is the chess master he thinks he is, one who's capable of handling this game. Having said this, when it comes to Syria, I'm not sure there's much else Obama can do.]

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

[All good . . . except for that bit about the UN. If Obama thinks the UN will help, maybe there's still time for me to sell him a nice bridge too.]

Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

[I like the sentiment, but I doubt Obama will have any success preserving these Christian and religious minority lives and homelands unless Obama has a nice big stick he's carrying to back up his promises. So far, I see him pursuing a strategy that failed once before, making demands upon a country he abandoned once before, insisting on aid from Muslim states that have concluded he's a weak horse, and looking to the weakest reed of all for help -- the UN.]

So this is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity. And in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria, to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

[Wouldn't you feel better if Obama could name a single partner in this broad coalition? Turkey's already said no, as has our once-upon-a-time partner, England. As for the Muslim states, they like strong horses and leaders they can trust. Obama fails on both counts. Why in the world should they help him, then, against a fellow Muslim force, no matter how malignant it might be? The above paragraph sounds like a wish-list, not a plan.]

My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL, but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

[He has bipartisan support? Really?  Again, this is a wish-list, not plan. It's clear that Americans, including American politicians, are concerned about the Islamic State, but it's unclear to me that there's strong support for any single approach. Conservatives, having learned the Iraq lesson, know that pinpoint strikes won't work. Libertarians are divided between isolationism and Rand Paul's sudden hawkishness. Democrats have a peace party going on, as usual (I saw some of them already protesting at the old-age home in Mill Valley). The only thing that Congress seems to agree about is the fact that, if this is war, Congress should have a say in it, rather than Obama going it alone, again.]

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

[See all my points above. This is Obama's delicate way of saying "shock and awe" combined with a little of this and a little of this . . . none of which will inspire any shock and awe in a crazed religio-military force that likes to drink its victims' blood for breakfast.]

My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks, through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back, America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

[Blah, blah.]

Our technology companies and universities are unmatched. Our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day –- and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

[Blah, blah, blah.]

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America –- our scientists, our doctors, our know-how –- that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

[The first sentence was true in January 2009. It is no longer true. No one trusts Obama. Everything else is blah, blah.]

America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia, from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East, we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.

[Wow! That sounds like American exceptionalism talk. Except we know that Obama doesn't think America's any more exceptional than any other nation. Let's say I'm not buying this new, full-throated patriotism. Combined with his defense of Islam, his plan to repeat George Bush's mistake, and his failure/inability to name any coalition partners, let's say that I'm not convinced he's really feeling it.]

Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform –- pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and servicemembers who support our partners on the ground.

[Is it just me, or does he sound as awkward as a rapper trying to make a formal speech to the DAR?  The rest is blah, blah.]

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said: “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety, our own security, depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for –- timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14′s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11′s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11′s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

Obama: Probing questions and likely answers about the Islamic State

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speechBlackfive has a few questions he’d like to put to President Obama tonight when the latter makes his long awaited Islamic State pronouncement, no doubt to explain his hitherto missing “strategy”:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Read more here, since Blackfive has pertinent background comments to those questions.

I don’t need to see the speech (and won’t see the speech, because I’ll be ferrying children about) to know Obama’s answers. So I’ve got for you a preview of coming attractions:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

Answer: Yes to the first question and no to the second.  As I said to Mitt Romney during our presidential debate in 2012,

“I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.  You mentioned our Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we had in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have ships that go under water.  The question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.”

My administration is quite sure that, once we’ve added open transsexuals to our military services, who will have a military that’s able to respond to any threats.  We call this newly augmented force the “Klinger Battalion.”

Corporal Klinger MASH

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

Answer: Yes — although with the new Klinger Battalion, we may introduce high heels on the ground.

Fetish high heels

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

Answer: I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the meaning of the word “victory,” when used in any context other than a Democrat defeating a Republican in an election.

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

Answer: None of the above. We’re negotiating with “a religion of peace.”

Behead those who insult Islam

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

Answer: A coalition of Muslim countries, led by Iran (which will be in a strong position thanks to its nuclear capabilities).

Camo Iranian soldiers

Iranian troops on parade

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

Answer: That bunch of whiners? You’ve got to be kidding. Who needs ‘em? They were useless when I wanted blanket amnesty and I learned through that that I don’t need ‘em.

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

Answer: Your question confuses me. I need to talk to Valerie and David Axelrod before I answer it.

davidaxelrod-and-valeriejarrett-300x197

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

Answer: We do so with my superior persuasive powers.

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Answer: Well, considering that our superior fire power and training make our engagement with smaller forces inherently unfair, I would expand the rules of engagement beyond seeing a weapon in someone’s hand before firing and getting a lawyer’s approval before bringing in heavy weapons. Henceforth, we need photo ID of all armed individuals to determine whether they’re a genuine ISIS combatant, or just someone with, you know, a gun. Also, we should use only those weapons that ISIS troops also have — something that won’t require us to draw down too much, since ISIS fighters now control all of the American weapons that we left upon our retreat from, er, withdrawal from Iraq.

Did Obama arm ISIS

Any further questions? Please ask them quickly, because it’s movie night. George Clooney promised to bring the rough cut of his latest and, let me be honest here, I don’t want to miss that.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/10/14 Clearing The Spindle edition

Woman writingI started a long post a few days ago, because I thought I saw a common thread linking Ray Rice, women in combat, the Rotherham sex scandal, etc., but I just couldn’t control all that material.

The short version of my theory is that women in the West have never achieved real equality with men. From the Victorian era through the 1970s, they were denied equality under the claim that they were pure angels — men’s better halves — who couldn’t be sullied with real world considerations. (This was the theory, of course; not the reality.)

Now, they’re denied equality under the claim that they’re precisely like men, which they manifestly are not. Sure, we women finally (and appropriately) get equal pay for equal work, and have full rights under the law, but we’re also expected to take it like a man, fight like a man, and fornicate like a man, all of which deny us our biological reality.

As you can see, this theory is amorphous, hard to prove, and difficult to hold together. No wonder it bogged me down, although I do think I’m on to something.

Anyway, on to the round-up, all of which consists of interesting things backed up on my tabs for the last couple of days:

It’s irrelevant that Islam has a peaceful majority

A 2007 article by Paul Marek is making the rounds, although it’s being misattributed to a holocaust survivor. It’s gaining popularity seven years after its original appearance because, with ISIS on the rise, it’s more relevant today than it was back then. Marek argues compellingly what we at the Bookworm Room have already figured out, which is that the so-called “peaceful Muslim majority” is irrelevant:

We are told again and again by experts and talking heads that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Moreover, as the percentage of Muslims in a population increases relative to the overall population, that “peaceful” majority starts getting less peaceful. Laurie Regan has chapter and verse.

We are right to be paranoid about Islam in our midst, not because of invisible conspiracy theories that we create in our own heads based upon the absence of evidence but, instead, because the Muslims themselves are rattling as loudly as a sack full of rattle snakes. On the fields of battle, on the sidewalks, in the courts of law, in the media, and everywhere else, they are telling us their racist, genocidal, totalitarian agenda and demanding that we fall in line.

The ISIS poster boy

Mehdi Nemmouche is the ISIS poster boy. He is alleged to have murdered four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels, and will be facing trial for that. It’s an easy charge to believe, since a journalist who was kidnapped by ISIS in Syria identifies him as a man who loved torture, and gleefully boasted about raping and murdering a young mother, and then beheading her baby. Oh, and I almost forgot: he’s also alleged to have been planning a mass terror attack in Paris on Bastille Day.

The interior minister is denying that last report, but I somehow suspect that there’s a germ of truth in it. Certainly James O’Keefe has shown for America just how easy it would be to commit mass mayhem. I’m sure it’s just as easy in France, especially with the complicit banlieus ringing Paris.

The real reason Obama is holding off on granting amnesty until after the elections

After threatening to grant amnesty to 5 – 8 million illegal aliens at summer’s end, Obama has now announced that he’ll hold off until after the elections. Most people assume he reached this decision because Democrat congressional candidates begged him not to knock them out of the running with an executive order that Americans have shown, in poll after poll, that they despise. Bryan Preston, however, sees a more Machiavellian motive than just preserving a few Democrat seats in what’s probably going to be a Republican sweep:

After the election, Congress will be in a lame-duck session. The new Republicans will not be seated yet, and will not control Congress yet. The defeated Democrats will be on their way out, and will not care.

That’s the perfect moment for Obama to strike, claim all of the credit from the far left, and set up the Republicans to open up the next Congress weighing whether to discipline Obama or not. He loves the optics of a Republican Congress going after the first black president. He also loves the optics of the Republicans electing to do nothing, to avoid those optics created by going after him. Obama is setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation.

It has nothing to do with constitutional principle. It has everything to do with politics.

Sounds right to me.

Science fails again

The whole climate change shtick is predicated on scientific infallibility — so much so that even the climate changistas’ mounting pile of errors is itself proof that their theory is correct. This is how the Chicken Little crowd can make the risible claim that the almost 17 year long hiatus in global warming, rather than destroying the theory, proves it.

As best as I can tell, the new theory is that there’s some Godzilla-like monster lurking in the depths of the ocean sucking in atmospheric heat preparatory to its evil plan one day to emerge from the deep and breath fire everywhere, destroying the world’s major cities. (It is possible that I got the climate-pause excuses a bit mixed up with the latest Godzilla flick. But then again, considering just how silly climate “science” as become . . . well, maybe not.)

No wonder I’m enjoying stories of science gone wrong. The latest story is the case of the asteroid that was supposed to have missed earth, but didn’t.

Rotherham and Multiculturalism

No one is better equipped than Dennis Prager to expose the Leftist, multiculturalist rot behind the horrible story of the Rotherham rapes.

Incidentally, Ross Douthat, a conservative writing at the New York Times, tries to universalize the Rotherham story — sexual evil exists everywhere, he says, and gets a pass because of race, class, and denial. While I often find myself agreeing with Douthat, who is an excellent writer, I think he’s wrong this time. The Rotherham evil is a very specific coming together of Mohamed’s explicit statement that Islamic men can sexually use non-Islamic females, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the multiculturalist rot that saw English authorities deliberately close their eyes to crimes emanating from the Muslim community.

Israelis save Irish soldiers

The Irish, as a nation, loath Israel and have nothing but sympathy for the poor oppressed brown people in the Middle East. Last week, the brown people did not return the favor when they attacked a group of Irish “peace”-keeping soldiers in the Golan Heights. The Irish soldiers survived because the Israelis rescued them. The Irish, being Leftists, will not connect the dots and will continue to hate humanist, democratic, pluralist Israel, while worshiping at the feet of politically correct brown-colored totalitarian Islamists.

Joe Scarborough gives further proof that he’s a moron

The only real question about Joe Scarborough is whether his decision to have a show on MSNBC is prima facie proof that he’s a moron, or whether he became a moron through years of close association with MSNBC. What’s unquestionable is that Scarborough is a moron, because only a moron would say that football as a sport breeds misogyny.

I would argue a little differently: football teams collect warrior types, and cluster them together, which is going to exacerbate certain pathologies (drinking, fighting, womanizing, and sometimes, fatally, all three simultaneously). Certainly the teams that gather together these testosterone-rich young men could do a better job of imposing discipline off the field, not just on, but football is not inherently evil.

Mark Steyn tells about Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

My favorite composer, one of his and my favorite songs, and Mark Steyn’s inimitable magic — it all makes for something you have to read.

The video below will allow you to listen to Kate Smith’s original 1938 performance introducing the song:

For Obama, there is no “defining moment”

Arrogant ObamaI’ve noticed a phrase that keeps cropping up in connection with articles about Obama: “defining moment.” My most recent sighting was in a Power Line post discussing Obama’s desperate (and manifestly false) efforts to walk away from his claim that ISIS was a “JV” team. There, Scott Johnson ends optimistically:

I think that Obama’s flagrant misjudgment in this case is a defining moment. It is a misjudgment consistent with his 2012 campaign themes in which he declared victory over al Qaeda (“decimated” and “on the run”). It indelibly marks Obama himself as the JV president and he therefore flails away against it.

Scott Johnson isn’t the only one looking for something that will be an epitaph for Obama’s presidency. A couple of weeks ago, a lot of people were pretty darned surprised when Obama, who has known about ISIS for at least a year, and should have known about it for much longer, publicly admitted that he had “no strategy” for dealing with it. Thomas Lifson thought this too would end up defining the presidency:

President Obama has now placed himself in an extraordinarily vulnerable position should ISIS act against the American people with its customary savagery. His arrogant dismissal of it with a sports metaphor, his admission of no strategy, and his track record of dithering and unseriousness combine to make his gaffe into what could become his political epitaph.

Johnson and Lifson are not alone in their search for that perfect gaffe or image or policy. On both the Left and the Right, pundits keeps looking at something Obama has done and opining that, for better or worse, it’s a “defining moment.” In April, after yet another Obama blunder (this one about entrepreneurs) Pat Sajak has helpfully explained what constitutes a negative “defining moment” in a presidency:

It’s as if President Obama climbed into a tank, put on his helmet, talked about how his foray into Cambodia was seared in his memory, looked at his watch, misspelled “potato” and pardoned Richard Nixon all in the same day. It’s fun to imagine the hand-wringing that must be going on within the White House as staffers try to figure out how to undo the damage their boss has done with his anti-entrepenurial riff. Defining moments in politics are strange beasts. Sometimes they’re only recognized in hindsight, while sometimes they throw the train off the tracks before a sentence has been completed. Sometimes their effect can be contained and minimized, while sometimes their effect on the political narrative mestastasizes. This one is very bad for the White House.

These defining moments take hold most devastatingly when they confirm what a large portion of the electorate already believes. Taken alone, it seems unfair that a single moment, an unguarded remark or a slip of the tongue can carry such weight. They’re often dismissed as “gotcha” moments, but when voters are able to nod and say, “I knew it,” these moments stick and do terrible damage. We have witnessed such a moment.

Defining moments, whether positive or negative, are definitely useful depending on whether one supports or opposes the president who gets defined.  This time around, though, with this president, there will not be any defining moments.

What we forget when we think of the defining moments is the media’s essential role in promulgating them. The Jimmy Carter “killer rabbit” debacle perfectly exemplifies what I mean. Despite Carter’s Democrat creds, the media had tired of him by 1979. The economy was in the doldrums and the world seemed dangerous.  The Iranian hostage crisis hadn’t happened yet, but Carter looked weak (something that subsequent events proved).  When the “killer rabbit” story broke, the media was all too ready to humiliate him, especially because Teddy Kennedy was waiting in the wings:

carter_killer rabbit

jimmy-carter-and-the-swamp-rabbit

For a president who had already weathered lusting after the Polish people, not to mention all the lust in his heart, this was one foolish moment too many.

As you may recall, the media also savaged Presidential Gerald Ford, an exceptionally athletic man, as a clumsy yahoo. When he did what everyone occasionally does — trip — it was elevated into an intellectual and moral failing, defining his presidency in the eyes of a post-Watergate public already jaded by politicians and their foibles.

Obama is different, though.  The media absolutely refuses to follow up in any serious way when it comes to Obama’s gaffes and failures.  Sure, papers will report on them in a small paragraph in a boring article in the back of the paper and TV outlets might mention them in passing, but there is no real coverage.  Unlike the “killer rabbit” moment, which I distinctly remember showing up on the front page of the SF Chronicle, most American media consumers know nothing about ISIS = JV gaffes and lies, or “corpse-man” gaffes, or Hawaii=Asia gaffes, or “red line in Syria” gaffes, Benghazi spin, or even “If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance” lies.  These things are strictly insider politics, red meat for the fanatics who follow every little thing.  My sister, the quintessential low info consumer has never heard of any of these things unless I, a news nerd, expressly told her about them.

Conservatives can spin these moments as much as possible within the confines of the conservative blogosphere, but they’re not gaining traction and sticking in the larger public sphere.  To the extent conservatives lack the all-encompassing national reach of the mainstream media, news stories that ought to be “defining moments” remain insider laundry lists.  And no, Fox News alone is still insufficient.  While other television news outlets are failing compared to Fox, the fact that the liberals own all of the other television news outlet; HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central; the major print news outlets; all of the major magazines, from sports to fashion to gossip to household hints; our public schools; and the majority of Hollywood’s top performers means that, while news junkies get Fox, all other low-info consumers . . . don’t.

All is not perfect for the media, though.  While it’s experienced consistent success when it comes to quashing negative “defining moments” about Obama, it’s been unable to maintain any positive “defining moments.”  Thus, while most Americans haven’t been repeatedly  hit over the head with the Big Lie (“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance”), they haven’t missed the fact that Obamacare has not performed as promised.  Likewise, while they probably missed both the “red line” and the JV statements, they’re fully aware of ISIS’s marauding, and are no doubt wondering how this can be happening under Obama’s reign of goodness and light.  Voters are getting the big picture (which is reflected in Obama’s collapsing poll numbers), but they’re missing the epitaphs.

Given voters’ increasing disenchantment with Obama, does it matter then that there is no sticky defining moment that becomes a shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the administration?  I think it does.  Without that sticky imagery, every Obama failing must be defined and disseminated from the ground up.  An analogy would be 50 First Dates, the movie in which Drew Barrymore, after a car accident, wakes up every day remembering only the events leading up to the car accident, with no memory of any subsequent events.  It’s a cute conceit for a movie, but a miserable way to run a country.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/8/14 Optics edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingThis week, when it comes to the top stories, all is not as it seems. What struck me as I read through report after report, and opinion piece after opinion piece, is that we’re surrounded by a swirl of optics that belie the truth. Evidence to support this statement follows:

College student opts to illustrate optics of rape by toting around a mattress

The mainstream media is filled with a bit of performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia. Sulkowicz claims that three years ago, on her first night in the student dorms, a senior raped her. Sulkowicz eventually reported the alleged rape to the college, which opted not to expel the senior, despite the fact that other female students eventually charged him with rape too. Three years after the fact, Sulkowicz, a performance art major, has come up with a senior thesis that, as I said, has garnered a good bit of attention from the MSM:

Beginning this week, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry her mattress around at all times until her alleged rapist is expelled from school. The performance, which doubles as Sulkowicz’s senior thesis, instantly went viral and has been splashed internationally across Facebook, Twitter, and even the Today Show as the latest chapter in the ongoing conversation on how colleges handle sexual assault cases.

Sulkowicz, a visual-arts major, says she was raped by a classmate in her dorm bed sophomore year, and when she reported the incident to Columbia administrators they botched the report, the investigation, and the hearing. In April, Sulkowicz filed a Title IX complaint with 23 other students alleging Columbia has mishandled sexual assault cases.

Emma Sulkowicz

The MSM, understandably, is terribly excited by the optics here. Sulkowicz explains:

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get into the Yale Norfolk Residency, and I worked on a video where I had to move a mattress out of the room. The idea of carrying a mattress got stuck in my head the way a song gets stuck in your head, and I unpacked why carrying a mattress is an important visual for me. I thought about how I was raped in my own bed at Columbia; and how the mattress represents a private place where a lot of your intimate life happens; and how I have brought my life out in front for the public to see; and the act of bringing something private and intimate out into the public mirrors the way my life has been. Also the mattress as a burden, because of what has happened there, that has turned my own relationship with my bed into something fraught.

What’s singularly missing from the articles I looked at (and I looked at 7 or 8) is any information about the rape. Was she asleep in her bed only to wake up to the feel of a knife pressed against her throat (as happened to a friend of mine who sports a large scar on her face that she received when fighting of her attacker)? Or had Sulkowicz invited the alleged attacker into her room and into her bed? Was Sulkowicz drunk or sober? Was her alleged attacker drunk or sober? The only detail Sulkowicz discusses is her claim that the attacker had anal sex with her. It’s still unclear whether they had any consensual traditional intercourse before the senior engaged in an act at which Sulkowicz drew the line or whether it was indeed a stranger rape or a rape without any preliminary consensual behavior.

Another interesting thing about Sulkowicz’s whole rape narrative is that Sulkowicz immediately decided not to report the rape to the police:  “I didn’t report it at first because I didn’t feel like dealing with the emotional trauma.”  Okay, I get that, but you can’t eat your cake and have it — unless, I guess, you’re an American college student.  In that case, you can claim that you were the victim of a genuinely criminal act, but bypass entirely the criminal justice system (which as built-in rights for the accused) and, instead, simply complain to your college.  Then, if the college refuses to follow the usual politically correct path of destroying the male student’s life, you take to the media, so he can again be tried without due process.  

I’m sure something happened that night in Sulkowicz’s bed.  I just can’t escape the feeling that what took place was something called “gray rape,” which boils down to a scenario in which a girl agrees to sex and then, feeling guilty about what she did, later cries rape.  The media, of course, doesn’t care.

The media’s credulity regarding Sulkowicz’s very self-serving claims (after all, she now has a performance art thesis that’s garnered her fame throughout the Progressive world) may come about in part because of the media’s readily apparent statistical ignorance.  After all, the whole “rape culture” (as in “1-in-5 college women will be raped”) is in itself totally untrue:

MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?

The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:

“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”

Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.

Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.

Fundamentally, though, statistics and other icky facts just don’t matter to the Left.  What matters is control, something perfectly exemplified in an opinion piece in Britain’s Guardian.  The author, Jessica Valenti, accepts as true the overwhelming horrors of a campus “rape” culture (hyperlinks omitted):

Her performance may be singular, but the deep frustration voiced by Sulkowicz is being echoed by survivors across the United States. Despite increased efforts to curb campus assault and hold schools accountable – the FBI has changed its once-archaic definition of rape, a new White House task force wants answers, and schools like Harvard and Dartmouth have promised new policies – the nation’s university administrators are still failing young people in their care. In the last year alone, 67 schools have had students file federal complaints accusing their own colleges of violating the Clery Act or Title IX.

Oh, the outrage! College is a dangerous place for your daughter! Keep her at home, perhaps in a burqa. Oh, wait. Valenti isn’t saying that last bit. She just wants to control speech more and more (links omitted):

Late last week, the first state bill to require colleges to adopt an “affirmative consent” model in their sexual assault policies passed the California senate unanimously. The legislation, which is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval by the end of this month (his office declined to comment), effectively requires the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no” – or else withholds funding from the nation’s largest state school system.

The legislation additionally clarifies that affirmative consent means both parties must be awake, conscious and not incapacitated from alcohol or drugs – and that past sexual encounters or a romantic relationship doesn’t imply consent. The California bill also, importantly, specifies that “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent”.

It seems like a no-brainer to only have sex with conscious and enthusiastic partners, but detractors say the standard “micromanages” sexuality. The truth is that a “yes means yes” policy “helps to create a shared responsibility, instead of the responsibility falling on women to say ‘no’,” says Tracey Vitchers, chair of the board at Safer (Students Active for Ending Rape). Anti-violence activists are clearly excited about the bill, which – if all goes well – could be adopted by more states with large public university systems.

Pardon me for cynicism, but I don’t believe there’s a “rape culture” at college campuses. I believe that there is a “sexually-saturated, morality-free culture” at college campuses, brought about in large part by Progressive pressure on those same campuses to abandon the role of pater familias. Once upon a time, boys and girls lived in separate housing, and they were not allowed to take a person of the opposite sex to their rooms. Even when co-ed dorms first came into being, boys and girls occupied separate floors. Then, that changed so that they occupied the same floors, but had separate bathrooms. Now, they share everything — including copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that numb the smart parts of their brains.

My verdict based on the evidence available: Without more information, Sulkowicz definitely gets an “A+” for performance art and self-promotion. I’ll reserve judgment on the rape claim until there’s a full trial, complete with due process, a defense, and testimony under oath.

Obama — he of the Greek columns — explains that optics are hard

On Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press show, Obama finally deigned to explain why he went on a chortling, fist-thumbing golf game within minutes of announcing to the world that ISIS had decapitated an American citizen, something ISIS proudly filmed and then boasted about in a widely disseminated video. According to Obama, it’s just so hard to remember that the world is watching you. Somehow it’s unfair that the world’s eyes should be on the person who still bears the title of Most Powerful Man In The World, never mind that he’s reduced that power to the point where America’s weight in the world is no greater than any other little tin pot dictatorship’s world power.

Obama’s disingenuous claim that political theater is “not something that always comes naturally to me” unleashed a marvelous outrushing of tweets, some of which focused on his more egregious acts of political theater (faux Greek columns, speeches at the Brandenburg Gate) and others of which focused on his more embarrassing acts of visual ineptitude. Legal Insurrection has assembled some of these tweets.

Here are a few more for your enjoyment and delectation:

 

 

 

 

I’ll also add my favorite umbrella optic:

 

 

New Orleans Commemorates 5th Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

We’ve all faced that doorway moment but one just has to believe he could have handled it more adeptly.

Commenting on Obama’s risible statement about his deep feelings on learning of Foley’s death (feelings so deep that he was giggling on giggling on the golf course just a few hours later), Scott Johnson had this to say (emphasis mine):

In this case, the photographs suggest that Obama wasn’t all that choked up about the beheading of James Foley. They document that whatever emotion he felt, if any, dissipated very quickly. On that day, the photographs belied the theater. You might conclude that Obama is something of a phony on a matter of great concern to ordinary Americans. Thus Obama’s irritation.

One is struck both by the falsity and the petulance of Obama’s comments. I think Obama lies even to himself.

I disagree with Johnson’s last sentence, insofar as it implies that Obama, when he speaks of his deep feeling, knows that the opposite is actually true, and that he’s a shallow, self-involved, unfeeling man. Instead, I would argue that, when Obama told Chuck Todd that he was really quite shattered, and simply forgot that mere Americans wouldn’t understand the visuals of a man so sophisticated that he could go from shattered to silly within minutes, he was telling the truth . . . his truth. After all, the first rule of malignant narcissism is that the narcissist never lies. Since the truth is defined by his needs, when he makes a statement in accord with those needs, he is telling the truth or, more accurately, he is telling his truth.

The Gaza optics reveal that at least one of the dead wasn’t an innocent child

Elder of Ziyon examined the case of one of those poor, innocent civilians who died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s “unconscionable” Protective Edge assault. He found some damn interesting stuff too.

The optics of Britain’s dissolution are infinitely worse than the reality

A new YouGov poll makes it seem very likely that, after more than 300 years of being a United Kingdom, England will be disunited from Scotland: A majority of Scots suddenly seem inclined to go it alone as their own nation. Traditionalists who are moved by centuries of union, are horrified to think that they might live to see the day when Scotland and England part ways.

One could argue in opposition that what we’re seeing here is a necessary Scottish “reconquista,” as Scotland shakes off the shackles of a mere few hundred years of joinder with England in order to return to its more natural state, which was almost a thousand years of independence. That’s a silly argument, though.

John Fund makes a more serious and impressive argument when he says that, beneath the “it’s all falling apart” optics of dissolution, a Scottish vote in favor of disunion would be a good thing. Currently, Scotland sends a disproportionate number of Leftist members to the British parliament. Getting rid of them would give Tories (who are vaguely conservative) a majority. Additionally, once unanchored to the British treasury, hard Left Scotland might find it economically unfeasible to pursue socialist policies. Sadly, with the older generations dead and gone, I doubt that there’s any possibility that Scotland could revert to the hard-headed, self-reliant Scotland that gave America and the free world some of her greatest supporters of independence.

Scotland, of course, is banking on its oil revenue to keep it afloat, while England will mourn the loss of that same revenue. Again, though, oil may not be all its cracked up to be. As the Saudi countries show, oil money too readily props up otherwise broken, ineffectual economies. And as Venezuela shows, when a government becomes too socialist and broken, even oil money won’t help.

Optics and truth when it comes to American economic health under Reagan and Obama

I’m crowd-sourcing here. A Forbes opinion piece makes a compelling argument that Obama’s recovery economy is much stronger than Reagan’s was, with a better stock market, better corporate health, and better labor participation. I suspect jiggery-pokery here.

The argument I would make, and that many in the comments to that same article make, is that the stock market is propped up by government-printed money that doesn’t have actual wealth backing it; that the labor market is worse because more people have dropped out of the labor force and because the majority of jobs created are part-time or low pay; and that the federal debt and deficit mean that, to the extent we’re completely overextended, even the slightest economic tremor could trigger a massive economic collapse that will make 2008 look like the good times in retrospect.

I would value your input on this one. Both collectively and individually, you guys are better at economic data than I ever will be.

The Bookworm Beat — September 5 picture and video edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingAs I noted in the preceding post, I’ll be offline for a while as my go-to guy for my computer tries to figure out why it’s not working right. In the meantime, I’ve got wonderful pictures and an excellent video.  Please check in soon, because I am lining up more stuff to enliven your morning:

Allen West and the Marine Corps

Obama's idea of leadership

Real apartheid

Allen West on cultural degradation

Andrew Tahmooresi and Obama

Gutfeld on Obama's enemy list

And here’s the video, complete with a language warning, for some of the usual conversational obscenities that everyone seems to rely upon these days. What I love about this video is that when the usual micro-managing media crowd tries to impose its version of political correctness and high moral authority on the comic book world, someone in the comic book world is willing to push back (and has almost 500,000 people viewing that push back:

The Bookworm Beat — 9/3/14 “what makes Progressives tick” edition

Woman writingYahoo News had a short photo essay about transparent animals. I’m by way of being a transparent animal myself this year. Thanks to bone and muscle breakdowns, surgery, and anemia, I’ve been cut open, scanned, x-rayed, probed, and pretty much turned inside out in an effort to repair what’s wrong.

Of course, there is no real repair. What’s wrong is can be summed up in two words: “tick” and “tock.” Certainly some of my complaints can be alleviated, but absent a drinkable fountain of youth, I’m just going to have to be grateful that things aren’t worse. What really makes me grumpy is my knees. I can ignore pretty much everything else, but knees do tend to make themselves known throughout the day.

That’s my whine. I’ve tried not to be a whiner lately, but today seemed like a good day. It was so much easier to focus on my own aches and pains than to turn my eyes outwards and look at the world’s agony. Things are not going well. I’ll spare you the laundry list of Obama failures (Noemie Emery does it better than I ever could), and simply say that the world is not a healthy place when America checks out.

The big mystery, as always, is what the heck is going on in Obama’s head?  Former Obama cheerleader, and current Obama critic, Ron Fournier tortures himself with that question:

I’m puzzled by Obama.

A calm, deliberative presence in the aftermath of the rush-to-misjudgment Bush era, Obama can nonetheless choose words that remind Americans of his role in the assassination of Osama bin Laden and countless other terrorists. Denouncing the Islamic State for the beheading of a second American journalist, Obama declared, “Our reach is long, and justice will be served.” He’s believable.

At the same time, he’s maddeningly indecisive, unclear, and defensive—or, as Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday, maybe he’s “too cautious.” Once, early in Wednesday’s news conference, Obama mentioned almost in passing the threat posed “to U.S. interests.” Much later, he spoke for a third time about dangers to the region, with no mention the United States.

Perhaps Fournier is puzzled because he still believes that, hiding somewhere within this distant, cold, lazy, dismissive, self-involved calculating man is the light-bringer Fournier and others like him worshiped back in 2008. Even having lost his faith in Obama, Fournier still clings to the memory, just as a long-abandoned church hints at that faint, sweet, sacred smell of incense.

I’m not so puzzled about Obama’s motives. I decided long ago that he’s a man short on book-learning, but long on the feral, manipulative intelligence that comes with being both a narcissist and a Leftist. Although his only God is the man he sees in the mirror, to the extent he has an affinity for any faith, that faith is Islam. Indeed, if your basic nature is God-worship, rather than free will — and most especially so if you’re the God at issue — you’re going to like a religion that urges its followers to subordinate themselves utterly to your God’s every utterance, whether it issues directly from your own lips, or is disseminated through your various prophets (or, as we call them nowadays, political hacks, mouthpieces, and reporters).

While Obama seems reasonably clear to me, I’m too am puzzled about the fact that the half of America still invested in Obama seems so cavalier about the rising threat from ISIS. Technically speaking, ISIS shouldn’t be a threat to America.  I’m absolutely confident that if the full force of our military — even our diminished military — were to be unleashed on ISIS and related entities, those misbegotten militants would be wiped out in short order.

But of course we never will unleash that full military force, in part because we Americans (especially the royal “I, me, my, and we” currently occupying the White House) lack the political will and, in significant part, because we hold ourselves to a higher standard than mass slaughter. It’s not only the Geneva Convention that controls us. Just as Israel tried desperately to fight a “humane war” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), America too tries to fight a good war. Good wars tend to drag because, lacking Sherman’s carefully targeted depredations of the civilian populations giving “aid and succor” to the combatants, war is inefficient.

Aside from our morality, America is hampered by the Left’s fervent belief that our military is evil and our enemy misunderstood. Leftist pressure means that American troops are forced to go beyond moral decency and into the realm of mandated suicide. (As a somewhat related aside, on September 9, you can buy Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, which I’m now reading. It’s uplifting reading because it presents brave young Americans who have a fundamental belief that their country is valuable and deserves to be defended; it’s depressing reading because you see how Leftist war theory, as carried out under a Commander in Chief who manifestly dislikes his military, means that those same decent lives are cruelly snuffed out or those healthy young bodies destroyed — never forgetting that these sacrifices aren’t even made in the name of victory but, instead, are for the purpose of retreat.)

Now where was I? Oh, I remember. I was leading up to the threat that is ISIS. Yes, we could destroy ISIS swiftly, but we won’t. More to the point, Obama has made it very clear that he’s not going there. In a speech that should live in infamy, Obama held up the ISIS threat as a bureaucratic mess-up that should yield to dry, technocratic oversight in the field — never mind that Obama has utterly alienated the Muslim countries he expects to do the ISIS clean-up.

Obama sounds defeated before he’s even left the starting gate. He doesn’t speak of victory; instead, he wearily speaks of containment:

We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.

And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy but also making sure we’ve got the international will to do it. This is something that is a continuation of a problem we’ve seen certainly since 9/11, but before and it continues to metastasize in different ways. And what we’ve got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.

This particular brand of extremism that is first and foremost destructive to the Muslim world and the Arab World and North Africa and the people who live there. They’re the ones who are most severely affected. They’re the ones who are constantly under threat of being killed. They’re the ones whose economies are completely upended to the point where they can’t produce their own food and they can’t produce the kinds of goods and services to sell in the world marketplace.

And they’re falling behind because of this very small and narrow but very dangerous segment of the population. And we’ve got to combat it in a sustained, effective way. And I’m confident we’re going to be able to do that.

Try to imagine Churchill making mealy-mouthed sounds about manageable problems and organizing international communities so that he can oversee them as they get rid of a cancer in their midst. Obama’s bureaucratic mindset is pretty small potatoes when compared to Churchill’s stirring call to arms:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Fundamentally, Obama makes it clear that he doesn’t really think America is at risk — which is a most peculiar view to hold a mere 13 years (almost to the day) after another small band of Islamic fundamentalists housed in the Middle East managed to kill almost 3,000 innocent souls in a matter of hours. It’s a peculiar view to hold when ISIS has shown its willingness to slaughter children, crucify Christians, commit genocide against ancient Christian populations, and march half-naked men whom it determines are the “wrong” kind of Muslims out into the middle of nowhere only to gun them all down. It’s a peculiar view to hold when ISIS boastfully beheads two American citizens, just because they’re American (and Islamists do love their beheadings). It’s a peculiar view to hold when 11 commercial jets have gone missing from Libya, a country that Obama practically handed to the Islamists and one that still has in its soil the blood of a US Ambassador and three other Americans. It’s a peculiar view to hold when British and American Muslims, complete with British and American passports, are cheerfully heading off to join ISIS, knowing that they can and will, just as cheerfully, return home to blow up Americans.

One of my friends thinks Obama’s passive, sanguine attitude is difficult to reconcile with his fervent support of the Chicago way, complete with that whole thing about bringing a gun to a knife fight. I think the answer to this apparent conundrum may lie in something Ben Domenech wrote while commenting upon Hillary Clinton’s ridiculously strong corporate ties, something that seems to offend her Progressive followers not one whit (emphasis mine):

History may ultimately consider Obama’s 2008 nomination as a representation not of progressivism’s resurgent appeal, but as its death rattle—a speed bump along the way to the Democratic Party’s becoming a fully corporatist, Clinton-owned entity. In practice, the party now resembles a protection racket with an army of volunteers, with friends who never suffer and enemies who never relax. And who are those enemies? Not big business or Wall Street, which has paid their way to new alliances; not America’s insurers, whose products Democrats have made it illegal not to buy; not privacy-challenging government, which Obama has expanded to unprecedented degrees. No, the only enemies who really matter to today’s Democratic Party are those wayward intolerant social-policy traditionalists with their un-American views of religious liberty.

Hillary was deemed unacceptable in 2008 for being wrong on the top progressive priorities: the war and civil liberties. Now those priorities have shifted, and a candidate who voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act can denounce Edward Snowden as a lawbreaker without compunction. For today’s left, social progressivism is the glue that binds the whole project. It’s no accident that this is the one policy aspect on which Hillary has been forced into compliance: For her party, it is the only ideological position that really matters—everything else is window dressing. Hillary’s top five all-time donors are a perfect reflection of this: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the law firm DLA Piper, and—in the lone nod to ideology—EMILY’s List. There are few better representations of the factions that inform the Democratic Party’s policy priorities in the Clintonian age: Wall Street, big law, and puritanical social leftists, for whom the only non-negotiables are abortion, gay marriage, and free birth control.

The only thing missing from that trinity of abortion, gay rights, and birth control is race victimization. In other words, Progressives, from Obama on down, have met the enemy, and it is YOU. They’ve even got the t-shirt to show for it:

Rather get stopped by terrorists