The Bookworm Beat — 08/28/14 comprehensive round-up (and Open Thread)

Woman writingDespite my rather chronic worries about the state of our nation and the state of our world, I seldom have nightmares. Last night, though, I had a doozy. It was short, vivid, and had me waking dripping with sweat. I dreamed that my son and I got off a bus in San Francisco only to find ourselves surrounded by Muslim teenagers who proceeded to beat my son to death.

When I awoke, I calmed myself by looking around my peaceful home and said out loud, “That can’t happen here.” But of course it can happen here. It can happen anywhere that radical Islamists — who are incredibly proud of their slaughters — get their tentacles.

It shouldn’t happen here, in the country we once thought of as the “land of the free and the home of the brave” but not only are we rather quickly ceding our freedom to the federal government, a nation that’s terrified of letting children play in parks or of candy in schools really can’t be considered very brave any more.

In this, the beginning of the 21st century, it’s even more likely to happen here because we have an administration head by a man who manifestly feels an affinity for Islam, and encourages his government to do the same.

And now for your regularly scheduled round-up:

The moral inversion of Israel hatred

Six million Jews died at Nazi hands. Those European Jews who survived suffered horribly: exile, torture, imprisonment, slave labor, etc. Because the oldest hatred never dies, the anti-Semites of the world have found a new use for this apocalyptic tragedy. After decades of denying the Holocaust, they’re now kind of acknowledging that it happened, solely so that they can liken Jews to Nazis.

Martin Kramer explains the phenomenon of “Holocaust Inversion,” which is making its way to an over-priced, over-subsidized college campus near you. I’ll share with you his conclusion in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing:

There is such a thing as legitimate criticism of Israel, and there is such a thing as crossing the line into demonization and, to put it plainly, Jew-baiting. The analogies spewed by Columbia’s tenured professors are of the latter kind, and are obscene. Jew-baiting covers a wider range than anti-Semitism, and Holocaust inversion is its favorite technique. Jew-baiting is the demand that Israel and its supporters explain why Gaza isn’t like a Nazi extermination camp or a starved ghetto for the doomed, or why a targeted air campaign isn’t just like the incineration of Dresden. That it should be practiced so openly by tenured professors at New York’s Ivy League home is a scandal, and a warning.

The IDF’s comprehensive site with information about Operation Protective Edge

In this, the first war that has seen the IDF circumvent hostile reporters and communicate directly with the public through the web and social media, the IDF has done a consistently excellent job using the these new media. A good example is its comprehensive Operation Protective Edge information site.

And yes, Obama hates Israel

Peter Wehner tries desperately hard to be a temperate, rational voice over at Commentary. Not for him reflexive Obama criticisms.

Wehner’s growing problem, though, is that Obama deserves a lot of those criticisms. Thankfully, Wehner is honest enough to recognize when criticism is due, and man enough to make it. Recently, he’s started acknowledging that Obama’s conduct towards Israel is not just part of some overarching Progressive game plan but, in fact, rests on a solid bed of real dislike for that tiny, beleaguered nation:

In a neighborhood featuring Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors, President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel. That’s right, Israel–our stalwart ally, a lighthouse of liberty, lawfulness, and human rights in a region characterized by despotism, and a nation filled with people who long for peace and have done so much for so long to sacrifice for it (including repeatedly returning and offering to return its land in exchange for peace).

Yet Mr. Obama–a man renowned for his lack of strong feelings, his emotional equanimity, his disengagement and distance from events, who New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd refers to as “Spock” for his Vulcan-like detachment–is not just upset but “enraged” at Israel.

Maybe Obama would like Israel more if he understood history better

Today, I have a twofer on Obama’s ignorance about all things historical. Both posts allude not just to Obama’s ignorance, but to his complacent belief that, if you just sit back and do nothing, the mere fact that we’re living in the 21st century means that good will inevitably triumph, without any requirement for action from the world’s good people.

Victor Davis Hanson phrases it this way:

Obama often parrots Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice. But King used that metaphor as an incentive to act, not as reassurance that matters will follow an inevitably positive course.

Another of Obama’s historical refrains is his frequent sermon about behavior that doesn’t belong in the 21st century. At various times he has lectured that the barbarous aggression of Vladimir Putin or the Islamic State has no place in our century and will “ultimately fail” — as if we are all now sophisticates of an age that has at last transcended retrograde brutality and savagery.

In Obama’s hazy sense of the end of history, things always must get better in the manner that updated models of iPhones and iPads are glitzier than the last.

The Streetwise Professor, meanwhile, says that Obama’s speech after James Foley’s death reveals the “progressive dialectic” that props up Obama’s belief system:

Obama’s progressivism, in many senses of the word, shines through here. According to Obama, ISIS is an atavism that is destined for extinction, because it does not fit into the 21st century. Through some sort of (unstated) dialectical process, such people “ultimately fail.” Humanitarians prevail, as the world progresses to higher and higher states of development and consciousness. This is profoundly ahistorical. Atavistic forces have repeatedly toppled far superior civilizations.

What Obama’s vacations really mean

Conservatives have harped for years about Obama’s vacations — their scope, frequency, frivolity, and expense. Periodically, Leftists will announce that Bush and Reagan vacationed more frequently and at greater expense. I don’t know if these claims are true and neither do I care.  Instead, my visceral feelings about Obama’s vacations is that they are too showy, frequent, and costly for a nation in a recession and a nation at war. There was and is something indecent about them. Matthew Continetti feels the same way and has written a really marvelous article expanded on that feeling.

Foley was not the saint he’s painted as being

Nothing, absolutely nothing, excuses ISIS’s heinous execution of James Foley. Still, it’s worth knowing who he was and, I’m sorry to say, he may not have been the saint he’s portrayed as being.

According to Daniel Greenfield, who provides the evidence to back up his charges, Foley was a Leftist activist masquerading as a journalist. His unswerving support for Sunnis against Shias in Syria’s civil war blinded him to the evils of both. Along the way, as his Twitter feed shows, he was hostile to America’s effort to contain Islamic terrorism and cold to the slaughter of Christians:

Foley came to Syria to support the Sunni Islamist rebels against the Syrian government. He was a vehement advocate and while he didn’t necessarily side with any single group, he echoed the one sided narrative rather than telling the truth about the Islamists. His Twitter feed was full of urgings to arm the Jihadists.

Meanwhile he sneered at America’s War on Terror.

He cheered on the Sunni Muslim terrorists fighting to ethnically cleanse the Christians of Aleppo. In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, his tweets and retweets were chock full of pro-Sunni Syrian terrorist propaganda.

Given the above, it should come as no surprise that Foley also supported Hamas over Israel.

Haters got to hate

Andrew Klavan is back with a video helping conservatives understand some of the Leftists’ favorite catch-phrases. You’ll enjoy it.

The only problem I have with the video is that Klavan didn’t include the word “hater” in the list. I freely admit to being a “hater.” Indeed, I think more people should be “haters.” It’s not the fact that you hate; it’s those you choose to hate.

I hate ISIS and other radical Islamist groups and their members. I hate pedophiles. I hate finding black widows in my house. I’m a hater, but I’m a smart, focused hater.  Where I differ from Democrats is that, within the American political system, I strongly disagree with what they advocate and do but, unlike them, I do not “hate” my political opponent.

Hater world leader teenage girl

Oh, and before I forget, here’s the Klavan video:

And let’s be honest for once about who the real racists too often are

While we’re on the subject of racists, you have to see this video, in which a couple of conservatives turn the table on a Latin American reporter looking for racism.

Also on the subject of hate, you have to see the article about the Democrat newspaper that someone let slip past a photo of Asian Americans with made-up racist names that would have worked perfectly in any Hollywood film or newspaper from the 1870s through the 1930s. I suspect that a crew of juvenile Leftists working at the paper were playing around and, before they could correct their little bit of fun, the issue ran.

The fact is that Democrats hate Asians because Asians put the lie to Leftist myths about white tyranny oppressing non-white peoples. Asians also kill the myth that growing up in the slums means generations in the slums without government help. And of course, they destroy the myth that growing up in a poor neighborhood means you’ll be a psychopathic gang banger. Asians, in turn, respond to this race hatred by worshiping the Democrat Party’s assurance that Asians are victims of white hegemony and must vote for big government to protect themselves.  In other words, just like Jews, Asians are the world’s smartest dumb people (or the world’s dumbest smart people?).

Fear of being called racist allows British town to ignore hundreds of pedophile abuse crimes

Back when I lived in England, Yorkshire, unlike large swaths of Southern England, was very, very English. There weren’t even many tourists there.

That’s all changed, of course. Thanks to Labour’s open door policy for the Muslim parts of the former British Empire, Yorkshire has morphed in Little Pakistan. Combine this influx of hard core Muslims with Britain’s politically correct culture and you get a miscarriage of justice on a grand scale: Social workers in the medieval south Yorkshire town of Rotherham closed their eyes to more than 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse because the abusers were Muslims, and the social workers were afraid they’d be labeled as racists if they acted to protect the children.

This evil has been exposed in only one Yorkshire town. You don’t have to be psychic to know that it happened in many others too.

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Europe may simply be damned

In France, 10% or so of the population is Muslim. I assume that 100% of that 10% is part of the 1 in 6 French people who support ISIS. That still leaves 6% of the non-Muslim French population that supports ISIS just because….

I truly think Europe is damned. That is, without even the excuse of themselves being Muslims, significant numbers of Europeans support an ideological/political/military entity that is, as Jonah Goldberg insists we admit, “evil.”

Class warfare rhetoric breeds hatred

I’m not actually sure that class warfare rhetoric had anything to do with the horrible scene described at a WalMart that was accepting Kiwani’s and Salvation Army vouchers for school supplies for poor children. It’s just that I cannot think of any other thing to describe the dishonesty and ingratitude that the Lonely Libertarian witnessed.

The Justice Department may have a problem arguing that Michael Brown was “executed.”

Eric Holder has chosen to fling himself into the Ferguson uproar on the side of Michael Brown, never mind that Holder made this decision immediately, without benefit of any actual facts. As facts are emerging, Holder may regret his hasty decision. Why?  Because in a shooting with a bullet-in-corpse pattern remarkably similar to the Michael Brown case, Holder and his team argued vociferously that there was nothing execution-y about even a shot to the top of the head.

When it comes to corporations, I agree with both the Left and the Right

One of the things Leftists like to point out about American corporations when conservatives raise the issue of inordinately high taxes is the fact that corporations get so many taxpayer subsidies. On this one, both the Left and the Right are correct. Subsidies put the government’s heavy, often wrong, thumb on the scale and lead to cronyism and monopolies. And heavy taxes chase away businesses, wealth, and jobs. We should therefore do away with both of them says Stan Collender.

Yeah, the media hates us (Republicans, that is)

There’s a reason Ed Driscoll is one of the premier media analysts in the conservative blogosphere — he’s good at what he does, helped by an incredible knowledge base about the American media.

Today’s evidence of that truth is a flashback to a time when media members were as open in their condescension towards Americans and their disdain for Leftists as they are today, with the difference being that there was no internet to disseminate their attitudes to all Americans.

The safest school in America

In Argyle, Texas, the school district is arming its teachers and making that fact well-known:

Argyle Texas arms teachers

I’d be surprised if there’s ever a mass shooting at an Argyle, Texas, school.

Pigs fly moment on San Francisco public radio

San Francisco’s public radio and TV channels are notoriously Leftist. I mean, what can you expect when you combine San Francisco and public media? That’s why a conservative woman I know almost crashed her car the other day when she tuned into Michael Krasny’s notoriously Left-leaning forum, and heard a spirited discussion in which host and panel took turns excoriating Obama’s conduct regarding ISIS.

Just to confirm that the show really was hostile to Obama, just peruse the comments from an audience accustomed to tuning into the KQED radio and hearing the usual Progressive mix of Obama and Muslim worship, along with Republican and Israel hatred:

Forget the ice bucket challenge. I have the Michael KRASNY Challenge: Invite the eminent foreign policy analyst John Mearsheimer on to your program!! If it is a foreign policy issue, he can speak to it in depth, in plain yet scholarly language, and it is a view you are apparently never exposed to. Try it some day Michael!! Please?

[And in response to the above, another commenter said:] And Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Max Blumenthal, with Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor

***

IMO we in the US shouldn’t be supporting any regime or movement that doesn’t first endorse and implement gay marriage.

(That last was my personal favorite, because it shows someone figuring out that Islamists and their countries are not user-friendly.  I may not support gay marriage — preferring that states do civil unions only, leaving marriage to religion — but I do not support regimes that routinely marginalize, torture and execute gays either — and that would be all sharia regimes.)

A new challenge, even better than the ALS one (and one that wastes less water and harms no one):

(I was not surprised to learn that the man issuing the challenge is a Marine.)

Shop for the stuff you need and help the NRA at the same time

I ought to be telling you to shop at Amazon using a Bookworm Room link, but I recognize that doing so is convenient and, honestly, it doesn’t bring me a lot of money. Here’s a better thing to do if you’re an Amazon shopper: Shop through a portal set up so that, that every time you make a purchase, Amazon donates a portion of that purchase to the NRA. Yes, you heard that right. I honestly don’t know how it managed to do so, but the NRA is enrolled in the Amazon Smile program. Under that program, shoppers can set up their account so a fraction of every purchase is given to their designated Amazon Smile charity.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Log on to the Amazon Smile page.

2. Click on Your Account to the right of the search bar.

3. Under Settings category: Select Change Your Charity

4. Search for “The NRA Foundation, Inc.”

5. Click Select next to The NRA Foundation, Inc.

6. Start shopping.

(Not to detract from the NRA, but using that same “Amazon Smile” portal, you can also give other America friendly charities such as Wounded Warrior.)

I get the free speech aspect; I just don’t get what the joke was

The University of Oregon charged a student with all sorts of speech crimes after she spotted a couple walking past her window on a summer’s day and yelled “I hit it first.” The gal claimed it was a joke, but the couple (or some bystanders) took offense. After a blast of publicity, UO backed down, which is a good thing.

I fully understand the basic facts, but there are two things I don’t get. How is yelling out “I hit it first” a joke? And why would anyone find that joke or phrase offensive? Please explain.

The Caped Crusader picture round-up

(With help this time from Sadie and from Earl.)

Waking up Obama

A beheading for Obama's attention

NSA collects data IRS loses it

Honor killing war on women

People never flee the united states

Ice bucket challenge 183 times

Women and the imaginary wage gap

Lincoln on the constitution

Democrat billionaires

Liberal logic re cops

Muslims and minority rights

It depends who kills Hamas

Obama priorities

Kurdish women fight for real women's rights

Muslim extremists

Obama and golf

rich on racisn

Has it ever been more clear that Obama comes out of “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”?

Years ago, I likened Obama to the Robert Morse character in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” — he’s his own biggest fan, and believes in himself implicitly, all actual evidence to the contrary. Lately, Obama’s been even more in character:

The Bookworm Beat — August 25, 2014, look at last week (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI’ve had several articles saved on my browser since last week. All are still pertinent, and I’ve promised myself not to look at any new articles until I’ve shared these older ones first.

The enemy will televise the next war

James Taranto points out that, this time around when it comes to Iraq, no one is protesting the fact that Obama, slowly and reluctantly, is sending the military back. Anyone who’s been paying attention since 2009 would say that this is because Democrats only protest when Republican presidents go to war. That’s the easy answer, says Taranto. The reality is that even the hard-core Left, a faction that protests all wars by anyone, has been silent too. Taranto notes, riffing off a Peggy Noonan post, that even the usual suspects (such as ANSWER, the communist organization) are silent. He thinks that Ferguson is distracting them.

I think that there’s more going on than that, and this “more” is something that James Lewis nails. After pointing out how carefully the Leftist media has edited war coverage in the last many decades — showing American troops as both aggressors and victims, but showing communist or Islamist enemies only as victims, Lewis notes that, this time, the enemy has outed itself as an unusually malevolent aggressor:

The criminal monsters of ISIS like to show their killings on a social network called Diaspora, which is less controllable than Facebook or Twitter. The result is what critics call “war porn” – but it means that after six decades of monopoly control of the media by the left (and by Saudi and Qatari money), we are seeing the true horrors of the worst ideological murderers in the world.

Precisely. For the first time since World War II, Americans are allowed to understand that a blood-thirsty enemy is aiming its sights on us, and they are able to understand this fact because that same enemy proudly uses open-access media to show both its enmity to America and its blood-thirstiness. It’s hard, in light of ISIS’s own pride in its slaughters, for the Left to argue that any American engagement comes about because of “American aggression,” “American imperialism,” or a “war for oil.”

Self-defense and Jews

One of the interesting things about my dojo is the number of Jewish kids and adults there. We’re by no means a majority, but we’re represented in numbers greater than our small percentage of the American population.

With me as the only exception, all the Jewish families represented there are solid Progressives. Still, I think there must be some atavistic feeling amongst them that Jews need to learn self-defense.

With the rising tide of anti-Semitic attacks throughout the world, many of which aren’t bombs or knives, but are, instead, just one-on-one bullying attacks on individuals (Jewish) deemed too small and weak to help themselves, self-defense is the best answer. Jews should be armed, and Jews should know how to use close quarters martial arts.

I find support for my belief in Rabbi Aryeh Spiro’s contention that self-defense is a religious obligation:

We fight because self-defense is a mandate from the Bible — the Torah, called by many the Old Testament. We fight to defend life. Because life is precious, the ultimate, we must defend it. The very definition of self-defense is permission to kill the one who is coming toward you to kill you. Self-defense is not simply our right to pray or support with words, but do whatever is needed to stay alive and protect our families.

Those pacifists who are willing to personally die and would rather be butchered so as not to kill their butchers are free to so choose. But no one is allowed to demand or suggest that someone else allow himself to be killed so as to spare the life of the one presently doing murder.

A war to defend and stop those coming to kill you is a moral war. It is called a Just War. And we defend not only ourselves, we defend others. The Bible, the Torah that is, says, “Do not stand idly by while the blood our brother is being spilled”. We also have permission to kill those coming to rape a woman. The Bible, Old Testament, tells us so in Exodus. It is our obligation.

This is always a good time to remind everyone that the Biblical commandment is not “Thou shalt not kill” but is, instead, “Thou shalt not murder.” Murder is a deliberate peacetime act intended to terminate someone’s life for no other reason than the fact that it confers a benefit on the killer, whether material or emotional. Self-defense is a front-line weapon against murder. To the extent murder is prohibited, self-defense must be allowed.

The lack of shame isn’t just a black problem

Yesterday, I wrote that one of the most peculiar things to me about American blacks is that they so wholeheartedly embrace and advocate for sleazy, two-bit gangsters, such as Trayvon Martin or, it seems, Michael Brown. Blackness washes out all sins. There is no sense anymore of being an honorable community. Once you classify yourself as a victim, no one, including your fellow victims, should be allowed to demand of you any standards of morality or decency.

It turns out that this lack of shame isn’t limited just to American blacks. Tom Wilson points out that ordinary Brits seem singularly unimpressed that their determinedly multicultural, politically correct society keeps turning out Islamist mass murderers who kill both at home and, in increasing numbers, abroad:

Observers have warned that the British fighters for the Islamic State are among the most vicious and brutal, and yet there is no sense of shame or culpability gnawing away at the British soul, despite the havoc and terror that British jihadists are causing in Iraq and Syria. The news reporting is procedural, the politicians sound tired, apathy permeates the conversation every time the subject is raised. The only time that any flicker of alarm or interest can be detected is when it is pointed out that these people, hardened by battle and radical Islam, might return to Britain to continue their fight from the streets of British cities.

Read more here. (It may be behind a pay wall, but a Commentary subscription is relatively cheap and definitely worth the price.)

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Finally figuring Obama out

Do you know who is responsible for the shrillest, most nasty anti-Obama post I’ve seen in I don’t know how long? Maureen Dowd. She is clearly a woman whose god betrayed her and she is royally angry. She’s a good writer too when she’s that mad:

FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL.

Dowd is not alone. Over at The New Republic, another true believer can be seen weeping over his keyboard. I mean, it’s pretty clear that a god has failed when you read this opening paragraph:

Why has Barack Obama—one of the most eloquent and thoughtful of recent presidents—become such a terrible politician? Midway through his sixth year in office, his ineptitude is pretty clear.

Yikes! That’s gotta hurt, or at least it would hurt if Obama ever left his bubble, one that Ed Lasky credibly argues sees him deliberately insulate himself from the world.

In Obamaland, there is no such thing as friendly, constructive criticism. If it comes from conservatives, they’re haters and can be ignored. If it comes from the base, they’ve become haters and can be ignored.

As I love to say, being a narcissist means never having to say you’re sorry. The world is composed of supporters and enemies, and anyone who isn’t actively, at this very minute, supporting you, is an enemy, to be disregarded or destroyed (or, preferably, both).

The first president from the TV generation

Jonah Goldberg thinks part of Obama’s problem could be that he’s the first TV generation president. He grew up watching TV and, indeed, likes to boast about the time he spends watching the hip, edgy shows that get such good press in Democrat House organs such as The New York Times or The New Yorker:

Does the president think the world is a TV show?

One of the things you learn watching television as a kid is that the hero wins. No matter how dire things look, the star is going to be okay. MacGyver always defuses the bomb with some saltwater taffy before the timer reaches zero. There was no way Fonzie was going to mess up his water-ski jump and get devoured by sharks.

There’s certainly a fantasist element in every malignant narcissist, since he is always his own superhero, constantly under attack from mere mortals. With this core outlook, TV Land’s paradigm — “the hero always wins” – would certainly mesh perfect with Obama’s character.

Big Shocker (NOT): TSA lies about flying illegals

The TSA was caught in a lie, and it was caught in a lie about very ugly subject: Contrary to earlier denials, the TSA is allowing illegal aliens to fly notwithstanding (a) their illegality and (b) their lack of ID.

Think about that for a moment: Even as you’re standing in endless lines, repeatedly showing your identification, struggling to get your shoes on and off, getting x-rayed, patted down, or strip searched, someone who crossed the border last week gets to show a letter and fly.

I’m sure these illegals are also getting their shoes searched, getting x-rayed, etc., but they’re still allowed to fly — God dammit! That’s just wrong. If the point of all the inconveniences forced upon us is safety, there’s nothing less safe than allowing someone whose first act upon entering America was to break the law, and who could easily be a terrorist or an Ebola carrier, to walk on the plane just by waving a letter.

The politics of doctors

In my neck of the woods, doctors are Democrats. This has always made perfect sense to me. Young doctors are educated to believe that they know what’s best for everybody and should call the shots.  (And certainly, you need a certain amount of arrogance to mess with people’s bodies.)  This makes doctors a natural Democrat constituency.

According to the Daily Signal, though, my views may thankfully be skewed. Of the 20 doctors in Congress, 16 are Republicans. Moreover, with Obamacare, even the most arrogant of modern young doctors are beginning to realize that, while they don’t mind controlling other people, they’re less than thrilled when the government comes in and tries to control them. Here’s hoping that Obamacare causes more doctors to wise up.

Reporters lie for Hamas

A veteran reporter for reliably Leftist outlets (AP, NPR, NBC, CBS) has written an article starkly stating what we Israel supporters have long known to be true: In addition to bias, laziness, and access issues, the main problem with the reliability of news coming out of Gaza is the fact that Hamas intimidated reporters into lying:

typical news report from Gaza a few days ago described the destruction, interviewed Gaza civilians who related in heartbreaking detail the deaths of their relatives and loss of their belongings, and listed the hardships and travail the people are facing because of the Israeli military operation. Halfway through the long story was a single paragraph that said that Israel claims Hamas fires rockets from civilian areas. This is how journalists protect themselves from charges that they didn’t tell “the other side.”

But in fact, they didn’t. They didn’t report from Gaza about where the Hamas rocket launchers were, where the ammunition is stored, where the openings of the tunnels are—if they mention the tunnels at all, which in this case, they didn’t.

[snip]

sides the budgetary limitations, news organizations often hesitate to send reporters into Gaza at all because of the constant danger, and not from Israeli airstrikes. In 2007, BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped by Palestinian militants and held for more than three months. Many other foreign journalists were kidnapped there and held for a day or two around that time. There have been no kidnappings recently, but the message was clear—foreigners are fair game. The message was heard and understood. For lack of an alternative, news organizations began to rely more and more on local stringers, giving the regime considerable leverage through intimidation. It’s expected that news organizations will deny all this—it’s part of the dance.

On many occasions, frightened stringers have pleaded to have their bylines taken off stories. Some have been “evacuated” from Gaza for a time for their own safety, after an article critical of the regime was published or broadcast. Families have been spirited out for a while.

Read the rest here. The only problem with the article is that it appears in The Tower, which is a great publication, but one that lacks the reach of outlets such as HuffPo. We can all help, though, by using social media to give this article the widest reach possible.

Arabs and the conquest problem

One of my conservative(ish) Facebook friends came out this weekend with a post parroting The New York Times to the effect that the problem in the Middle East is that Israel will not cooperate with the two-state solution so as to give the Palestinians their homeland. It took time, but I shut down that thread by walking everyone through a few facts: Palestinian rejection of the two-state solution, the morality of self defense, Hamas’s founding mandate to kill all Jews, the fact that Palestinians already have their state because Jordan was given to the Palestinians in 1924, and, lastly, the fact that Palestinians have a minimal historic tie to the land.

That last point was reinforced for me by Joshua Gerlenter’s reminder that, to the extent Islam spread by conquest, it’s displaced indigenous people all over Africa, Europe, and Asia for thousands of years.

Europe’s gradual decline into anti-Semitic appeasement

Jeffrey Goldberg is a Progressive who, when his politics aren’t directly involved, often gets things right. A case in point is a recent Bloomberg column he authored accusing Europe of a passive, indecent surrender to the forces of evil roaming European streets. He’s not calling out the active anti-Semites; he’s calling out Europe’s increasingly large cadre of go-along-to-get along people, those who just hope that the Islamists among them will leave them alone.

Goldberg’s starting point is an incident at a Sainsbury’s super market in England. Anti-Israel protesters promised to invade the store, so local management instantly stripped the shelves of all kosher foods (most of which didn’t come from Israel). Although Sainsbury’s corporate management returned the products to the shelf and apologized, Goldberg understands that something very important happened at that local store (emphasis mine):

he Sainsbury’s incident is disturbing not so much for what it says about the nature of European anti-Israelism, but for what it says about the broader response within Europe to forces of intolerance and hatred. Employees of the Sainsbury’s branch in central London seemed to have understood, based on an accurate reading of recent events, that anti-Israel activists posed a threat to their store, and perhaps to their own physical well-being. And so the manager made a decision to surrender to the mob and engage in what could only be called an act of self-preservational, but objectively anti-Semitic, preemption.

Cowering of this sort is a sign that a country is losing the ability to stand for the values it professes to maintain. In the U.K., it is also a sign that a society hasn’t fully grappled with the radical intolerance exhibited by some of its citizens.

It will be a great day when Goldberg and other fundamentally decent people like him understand that the Leftism they espouse — with its moral relativism, multiculturalism, and hatred for white, Anglo-Saxon culture — is what destroyed England’s (and is destroying America’s) “ability to stand for the values it professes to maintain.”

Hollywood’s heavy hitters support Israel

Some really big names in Hollywood have signed a letter supporting Israel and castigating Hamas. All I can say is good for them!! The letter includes the normal mush-mouthed demand for peace, but it has the courage to target Hamas’s stated raison d’etre: killing Jews.

ALS, ice buckets, and coffee — social coercion for other people’s charities

You’ve no doubt heard by now about the ice bucket challenge, which has successfully raised awareness of ALS. Or, more accurately, it’s raised tens of millions for an ALS charity. It’s unclear how many people are actually more educated now about that devastating disease.

If you haven’t heard, the ice bucket challenge goes this way: You dump a bucket of ice on your head for the charity, donate money to the ALS charity ($100 is the recommended amount), and assign three friends who must do the same. (It started out that you told the friends “Donate or suffer the ice bucket,” but it’s morphed into people video taping themselves being iced and donating money.)

I’m a curmudgeon. ALS is a laudatory cause, but it’s not my cause. I tend to donate to military organizations and pro-Israel organizations. As I see it, it’s my money, and I get to spend it as I will. I’ve received two ice bucket challenges to date and have ignored both. I’m not the only one with this curmudgeonly streak:

I don't always donate to charity

Because of the subtle social bullying behind the ice bucket challenge, I was fascinated by a story out of Florida. For 10 hours, in St. Petersburg, Florida, people were “paying it forward,” meaning that they were paying for the order of the person behind them in line. One man eventually put a stop to it, and he did it deliberately for a reason I found compelling (emphasis mine):

Peter Schorsch, a blogger, drove to the Starbucks drive-thru in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday after hearing about the “pay-it-forward’ phenomenon there that ended with customer No. 458.

After he ordered two Venti Mocha Frappuccinos, the barista told him his first drink had been paid for by the previous customer and asked if he would like to pay for the next customer.

“I told him no,” Schorsch, of St. Petersburg, told ABC News. “When the barista asks you to pay it forward, it is no longer spontaneous.”

[skip]

“I just don’t want to be forced into doing something,” said Schorsch, who is also a part-time political consultant. “This is turning into a social phenomenon and I had to put an end to it.”

When baristas ask customers to pay for the next customer, some patrons simply oblige out of guilt, not generosity, he said.

[snip]

“It just seems like a ‘First World’ problem to me. Middle-class people sitting in their cars at a drive-thru, sipping a $5 drink and worrying about someone breaking the ranks,” Schorsch said.

“There is a little humor being a contrarian, but I think if you really want to help, find someone that obviously needs help, like the homeless,” Schorsch said.

“Also, I got a $6 Venti Frappuccino. Someone might just get a $2 coffee,” Schorsch said. “This is unfair to that person who paid for me.”

Exactly!

A Marine’s kick-ass message to ISIS

It’s “only” one former Marine, but it’s still heartening to know that at least one segment of American society still has a can-do, won’t-back-down, love-my-country, I-support-freedom attitude.

(The “only” in front of “one Marine” comes about because of that wonderful line JKB quoted from an old movie:

I was just watching an old movie, Rendezvous, with William Powell and Rosalind Russell. It’s a WWI spy movie with Ms. Russell’s character the persistent suitor of Powell’s character running down a spy ring. She follows him into a hotel where the spy ring operates. Bullying her way past the front desk she reveals her uncle is the Asst. Sec of War and threatens: “I’ll have him send the Army and Navy. And a Marine, if he’s needed.”

An unusually powerful Michael Ramirez cartoon

This cartoon is on point and shattering even by Michael Ramirez’s own high standards.
The threat

The Bookworm Beat — August 22, 2014 mid-day edition edition

Woman writingClimate change hysteria will make you crazy

We all know that it’s wrong to laugh at those who are mentally ill, but doesn’t it seem like there should be an exception for those whose particular mental illness takes the form of aggressive, obsessive climate change mania? Tim Blair’s brilliant fisking of an article about a climate change Nazi who’s depressed is just too funny to ignore.

Progressives continue to try to make futile any resistance to their “scientific” dogma

Scarily, the climate change Nazis — the ones who wish to end all scientific debate in favor of ideologically dictated theories — are on the move again. Having successful demonized any challenges to their theories (never mind that virtually all of their predictions re climate have failed to materialize), is a movement to federalize “science” instruction in schools along Progressive lines.

Sarah Palin, living rent free inside Leftist heads

Speaking of crazy people, The Guardian wrote an article saying that Sarah Palin likes the new movie The Giver because it comes out strongly against a seemingly beneficent Nanny State. That’s not the crazy part. The crazy part is the unbelievably rage-filled, completely maddened comments that people left in response to Sarah Palin’s movie review. Here’s just one example, plucked off the top of the comment pile:

“…Palin also praises Streep for taking part in a movie….”
If Streep ever gets asked about this Palin-endorsement in an interview and she somehow manages to hide her contempt for the grifting, snake-oil selling, intellectual-capacity-of-a-tree-stump, lying, race-baiting, bullshitting, couldn’t-write-her-name-in-the-dirt-with-a-stick, idiot then Meryl will cement her standing as the greatest actress in the world.

Clearly, Sarah Palin’s doing something right if, by hewing to arguments that as little as 30 years ago were mainstream American concepts, she can drive them so insane.

And another thing that’s wrong with Obama….

While I’m on the subject of vituperative dislike for an opposing politician, I recommend a strong round of applause for David Horowitz’s epic rant against Barack Obama. Unlike the Palin haters, who exist in a fantasy land, Horowitz is helped in his rant by the fact that he has facts on his side, rather than just inchoate anger and slander. This is not a post that will convert the unbelievers, but it will make the believers feel good.

America plays the price for Obama’s refusal to recognize terrorism

Andrew McCarthy has resurrected a six year old column in which he essentially predicted precisely what has happened: a resurgent Islam that Obama is incapable of dealing with, since he treats all terrorism as a form of crime, rather than an act of war. (McCarthy also notes that Obama has helped resurgent Islam along with his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamists.) I cannot remember where I read it, but I definitely read that Obama intends to treat the Foley murder — another act of war — as a mere crime to be sucked into our dysfunctional criminal legal system.

Unlike Obama, Chuck Hagel is slowing figuring out that ISIS is not a mere criminal problem

Vengeance is ours, sayeth Hamas

Yesterday, I wrote:

Something very, very big happened in Gaza last night: Israel assassinated three of the highest ranking Hamas leaders. Dayenu. But the enormously skillfully strike, which could have been achieved only with extraordinary knowledge, reveals something that should strike a shattering blow at Hamas: “The killing of the three constituted an indication that something in the intelligence discipline at the very top of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades has cracked.”

Today, Hamas enacted swift vengeance against those it alleges were the leakers:  it summarily executed around 18 Palestinians.  My own suspicion is that these 18 were just random victims, killed solely to instill fear in all other Palestinians.

Hillary: Hamas enabler

It was not a coincidence that the Hamas tunnels came into being during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State:

In a bombshell revelation, Dennis Ross, the senior Mideast policy adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2011, has admitted that it was he who was assigned the task of pressuring Israel to ease up on its military blockade of Gaza.

“I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” Ross revealed in the Washington Post on August 10. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.”

Read the rest here.

“Israel, you’re not alone”

It’s not great music, but it’s such a great sentiment, I have to share a Christian group’s promise to Israel:

Israel You’re Not Alone – Official Music Video from HaYovel on Vimeo.

Obama’s awful statement about James Foley was even worse than I predicted

Arrogant ObamaIn my post about James Foley’s execution at ISIS’s hands, I made some predictions about Obama’s eventual statement.  Let’s see how my prediction matches with reality.  First, my prediction:

Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Looking at Obama’s actual statement, it seems that I underestimated the man — and not in a good way. His statement was, if possible, worse than anything I imagined.

While I predicted that Obama would express sadness on his own behalf and on behalf of the American people, it turns out that Obama, still a legend in his own mind, felt called upon to speak on behalf of the entire world:

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL.

[snip]

Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world.

[snip]

The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.

I don’t want to be too pedantic, but I do feel it’s incumbent upon me to point out that large swaths of the Muslim world aren’t appalled at all by “Jim’s” death but are, instead, quite pleased. (And am I the only one who finds bizarre Obama’s faux familiarity with a man he never met, who died with a dignity that at least deserves the respect of his full name?)

Anywhere that there is radical Islamism and/or anti-Americanism you will find people celebrating the slaughter. Perhaps Obama has forgotten the spectacle of Gazans handing out candy when Americans died on 9/11 or of the 2000 Ramallah lynching that saw Muslims joyfully bathing their hands in the blood of murdered Israelis soldiers:

Ramallah lynching

So, no, Mr. President, the entire world is not “appalled,” and a big part of America’s problem lies in the fact that (a) you refuse to recognize that reality and (b) you think you speak for the world.

As I also predicted, Obama did issue a strongly worded condemnation of the killers, but he combined it with the second part of my prediction, which was his assurance that the killers, despite rejoicing under a name with the word “Islamic” in it, despite dedicating their acts to Allah, and despite self-identifying as Muslim are, in fact, not Muslims at all:

Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. (Emphasis added.)

Does Obama actually believe this mush-brained babble? Does he actually think he’s the one who gets to define what constitutes Islam? If it’s good and harmonizes with his hard Left values, it’s Islam; if it’s bad and actually follows the word of the Prophet, and dedicates all acts to its religion, than Obama gets to say it’s not Islam. Obama seems to be arrogating an awful lot of godlike power to himself there.

What Obama should have done was to call on those humanists who practice Islam to join with him to call out those who have hijacked the religion to the most barbaric ends. The problem, of course, is that Obama may not want to reveal that, in answer to such a call, he might have ended up with a Muslim protest against radical Islam that looks just like this:

Muslims against ISIS

And lastly, as I predicted, Barack Obama promised that at some point in the future, America would finally begin to get angry and quite possibly do something, maybe:

The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.

Aside from vague promises that American would be vigilant, relentless and “see that justice is done” (or, according to my prediction,  “we’ll bring these killers to justice”), Obama actually demanded more from Middle Eastern nations than he did from himself:

From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of this kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century. Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.

I don’t know about you, but considering that Islamism that has swept the Middle East on Obama’s watch; considering the aid he gave this Islamism, whether backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or weaponizing Muslims through illegal gun-running in Libya; and considering that Muslims and Arabs will always back the strong horse, which Obama is not, I do not see any of those nations heeding his call.  In fact, the only nation that was born heeding his call — that would be Israel — is the nation to which he is most obviously hostile.

Obama’s speech was, in a word, dreadful. Or appalling. Or disgraceful. Or awful. Or, or . . . well, you know what I mean. It was not the speech of a leader, and most certainly not the speech of the leader of a country that once was the most powerful country in the world.

Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt, a good Leftist who dreamed of a socialist structure in America, making such a mealy-mouthed statement if the Nazis, in 1940, had brutally, and publicly, executed an American citizen? I can’t even begin to create a satire, not only because I’m not good at that type of satire, but because my mind simply won’t bend to that kind of alternative history.

Obama then capped this utterly un-serious, meaningless, disrespectful (good ole “Jim”) speech by turning around and, with a big smile, yelling “Fore.”

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speech

Has there ever been a more feckless man in the White House? And has there ever been a more dangerous time in our nation’s history, when a manifestly deadly enemy has clearly announced its intention to kill us and destroy our nation, even as our leader refuses to acknowledge that enemy’s existence? And, moreover, even as our leader gets out his fiddle and plays away, watching the world burn?  If we’ve ever been at greater danger, not just from an enemy abroad, but from a Fifth Column leader at home, you’ll have to remind me, because my mind’s drawing a blank.

James Foley: The death of an honorable, deeply courageous man

James FoleyTom Rogan has very bravely done something I lack the courage to do: He watched the ISIS video of James Foley’s execution. (The video actually skips the complete execution, by going directly from the moment they begin sawing off Foley’s head to the moment when they place his head on the back of his body.  Still, it’s a snuff video and I am weak.) Watching that video, Rogan reached a conclusion about Foley, which was that he was an unusually courageous man:

Americans who want to see the gruesome video will see the courage of James Foley. They’ll bear witness to a man who, knowing he was about suffer a terrible fate, kept his voice firm in his final moments.

His death won’t be broadcast many places, but take my word for his final courage. As the terrorist moves his knife downwards, Foley grimaces but does not cry out. This, after all, is the man that he was, a man who faced great danger to bring knowledge to the world. After being imprisoned by Qaddafi loyalists for 44 days during the Libyan civil war, Foley returned to the country to finish his reporting. When asked why he did so, Foley offered a simple answer. “Why wouldn’t I go back? People had done so much for me back home. I was humbled, I felt indebted to them. [We] wanted to connect the dots; we wanted to finish that story.”

Read the entire homage here.

Foley’s death deserves more than the bland, meaningless ritualism Obama will offer. Sadly, though, I’m pretty darn certain that Foley will be just another in a long list of Americans that Obama has apparently willingly sacrificed on the Islamist altar, including an American ambassador.

(As an aside, to the extent the executioner is believed to be a former Gitmo detainee, is there meaning to the fact that Foley was clothed in orange, the color prisoners in Gitmo wear?)

America’s response to James Foley’s beheading, as it SHOULD be, and as it actually WILL be *UPDATED*

James FoleyWe are a tribal people, whether we like it or not. The brutal murder of thousands of Yazidis appropriately excites our horror and compassion, but the murder of reporter James Foley is a direct attack on us, rather than an attack on undeserving others. He is one of us: An American unless, that is, we have reached a narcissistic level of dissociation from our own roots.

Moreover, and maybe this is just me, but I believe that we as Americans react more viscerally to beheading than to other forms of execution. Beheading has never been an American way of death, something true long before our nation was created.  Whether through formal due process executions or brutal, on-the-street murders, we shoot, hang, electrocute, poison, strangle, etc., but only the most insane among us behead.

There is something deeply symbolic about beheading, insofar as it separates the essence of ourselves — the head, which is the seat of our thoughts and personality — from the vessel that enables the head to function. It is the form of death that erases us, something Americans have never countenanced.

Worse, it’s clear from the video that ISIS proudly made commemorating Foley’s slaughter, that Foley’s cruel death was preceded by psychological torture and threats. It’s true that countries such as England and France once routinely beheaded their prisoners, often after or along with brutal, sustained torture.  As they moved out of the Middle Ages and into the Enlightenment, however, they tried to beheading to effect it speedily and as painlessly as possible.  Recall that the guillotine, rather than being viewed as a torturous instrument of death, was seen as humane because it removed the risk of an executioner’s fumble or a prisoner’s involuntary movements.

ISIS, however, still has an early medieval sensibility that revels in the psychic cruelty of beheading.  Moreover, to the extent that they eschew swords, scimitars, or guillotines, opting instead to saw away at their victims’ neck with dull knives, they bring to the effort a cruelty would have been disturbing even to Europeans several hundred years ago.

So now what? What will be the aftermath of Foley’s terrible end?

When Daniel Pearl was brutally executed in exactly the same way, by a kindred entity, his execution was folded into the horrors of 9/11 and was part of the prelude to war. Under George Bush, the American mindset was “When you attack us and murder our people in the most brutal, painful, dehumanizing ways possible, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will come after you. You can run, but you can’t hide. ‘The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.’”

What can we expect from Barack Obama? Well, first, silence. As I write this, I’m under the impression that Obama has had nothing yet to say about the televised execution of an American citizen.

Second, Obama will eventually issue a bland, fairly affect-free statement, either through a spokesman or through a brief appearance on the White House lawn (no questions from the press, please). In an anodyne tone, he’ll say how sad he and the American people are at the news. He’ll promise to issue strongly worded condemnations of the killers. He’ll assure us that the killers are aberrant and have nothing to do with the good Muslims around the world. (God forbid he castigates the bad Muslims who rejoice under such names as ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hamas, etc.). Lastly, Obama will promise an investigation along with the rote words that “we’ll bring these killers to justice.” And then it will be over. That will be it.

Oh, one more thing! Michelle Obama may well chime in with a sad-faced Twitter photo, complete with hashtag. Maybe #RIPJamesFoley or #Don’tBeheadOurJournalists or something equally profound.

Obama’s passivity will do two things. It will reaffirm ISIS’s belief that it’s not even dealing with a paper tiger but, instead, is dealing with a paper crawling worm. It will also tell reporters around the world that their best protection isn’t to tell the truth about radical Islam, knowing that the western nations — especially America — will protect them. Instead, reporters will understand that their only safety comes with parroting whatever lies these radical Islamists feed them, just as they did when they relayed Hamas’s propaganda from Gaza. Every reporter, from every Western outlet, will find himself (or herself) acting the part of Baghdad Bob, fervently repeating whatever words the Islamic executioner demands.

Things could be very different. As a friend of mine told me, when his wife first heard the report of Foley’s ritualistic slaughter, she turned to him, and deadpanned “Wow, it’s too bad there isn’t a military solution for the ISIS problem.” Exactly.

Max Boot, as astute a commentator of events in the Middle East as you’ll find, also thinks there can be a military solution. In his view, while the execution is meant to be a projection of strength, it’s also a sign of weakness. You don’t execute one man to make a point if you can take out towns or dams.

Our government should recognize ISIS’s weakness and act accordingly — and this action, with a brutal killing machine, cannot mean achieving “peace” through negotiations across the table. (As John Hinderaker noticed in an interview with Hamas, peace means a breather during which Islamists re-arm in order to continue their never-ending jihad.) Instead, achieving peace Western-style (raising our families, going to work, celebrating life) means obliterating ISIS:

What is needed now is not strongly worded condemnation of Foley’cs murder, much less a hashtag campaign. What is needed is a politico-military strategy to annihilate ISIS rather than simply chip around the edges of its burgeoning empire. In the Spectator of London I recently outlined what such a strategy should look like. In brief, it will require a commitment of some 10,000 U.S. advisors and Special Operators, along with enhanced air power, to work with moderate elements in both Iraq and Syria–meaning not only the peshmerga but also the Sunni tribes, elements of the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Free Syrian Army–to stage a major offensive to rout ISIS out of its newly conquered strongholds. The fact that Nouri al-Maliki is leaving power in Baghdad clears away a major obstacle to such a campaign.

Unfortunately, this aggressive attack against people who have united to become a feral roving slaughterhouse is the one thing Obama will not be able to bring himself to do. As we’ve known from the beginning, and more people are noticing daily, Obama rouses himself to respond only when he perceives an attack to be leveled against him personally, rather than against him as leader of the American people. That’s why he reserves his fiercest, nastiest, most demeaning rhetoric, not for those who slaughter Americans, annihilate Christians, and are engaged in an ongoing effort to effect the complete genocide of the Jewish people, but instead for Republicans. Republicans are mean to him, to Obama. The Islamists are just cutting down to size those people Obama dislikes anyway: Jews, Christians, and Americans.

As this year plays out, I continue to revise my long-standing believe that Obama’s only religion is Leftism, with himself as the godhead. I’m becoming more convinced that Obama is indeed a Muslim. I do not know whether he has always hewed to the religion of his childhood, hiding it for professional advantage, or if he has recently returned to it.  I do think, though, that one of the few truths Obama uttered was this one: “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.

UPDATE:  Even worse, it appears that (a) the executioner was a former Gitmo resident; and (b) the White House knew in advance that Foley would die, but had no power to stop it.

UPDATE II:  Since I wrote this post, I’ve learned that Obama has spoken and it was even less than I thought it would be.  He said the world’s conscience is “shocked,” and that America will continue to “do what we must to protect our people.”

Funnily enough, when I hear Obama say he’s “shocked,” the only thing that comes to mind is this:

Israel’s friends need to keep a very close eye on Obama in the coming days

I've always suspected that Obama slipped in a little prayer there desiring Israel's destruction.

I’ve always suspected that Obama slipped in a little prayer there desiring Israel’s destruction.

It’s already old news that Obama halted what was supposed to be an automatic shipment of rockets to Israel to re-equip the Iron Dome system that protected her citizens so well from the thousands of rockets Hamas aimed at Israel from schools, hospitals, playgrounds, and homes in Gaza. One shipment thankfully won’t make or break Israel’s defense system. Shmuel Rosner, however, points to something incredibly disturbing about Obama’s decision to halt the shipment, more disturbing even than the lack of rockets.

The disturbing aspect arises because it’s unclear what purpose Obama is serving by withholding needed weapons systems from Israel. Rosner gives examples showing how, in the past, even presidents friendly to Israel have conditioned weapons on certain specific behaviors they wished to see Israel stop. This time, though, it’s different and, to the extent Rosner can see any goals Obama hopes to achieve, none of them benefit Israel:

The current punishment is a mystery. We don’t know what it is that the US is trying to achieve by halting the shipment of arms. I see several possibilities (there are probably more):

A. To generally humiliate Netanyahu: Surely, there is no great love between this administration and the Netanyahu government, and holding the shipment can be just one of these tit-for-tat insults with no clear purpose in mind. If this is the case, that’s, well, childish.

B. To try to make Netanyahu more flexible at the Cairo negotiations: If this is the case, that means that, as David Horovitz wrote, the US is actively assisting Hamas (Horovitz made an even larger claim – that at this point, any public brawl between the US and Israel serves Hamas).

C. To pressure Israel into doing something else that Israel refuses to do, something that hasn’t yet been made public. If this is the case, we will probably get more hints in the coming days as to the matter under dispute.

Rosner puts his money on Option A, which in some ways is even worse than the others. Think about it: We have reached a point in this administration at which it’s perfectly possible, even reasonable, to believe that our president will willingly put a substantial percentage of Israel’s 8 million Jewish and Arab citizens at risk simply because he’s spiteful. We’ve gone from hope and change to petty and murderous in just six years.  We’ve also gone from a coherent foreign policy, one friendly to democracies, to a tyrannical foreign policy driven by the pique of a self-anointed imperial leader.

Looking at Obama’s possible motives, Rosner also reaches a further conclusion, one that’s even more disturbing than the fact that we have a president with the moral compass of a spoiled, nasty little three-year-old:

So I don’t see a clear-cut case here for “Obama doesn’t care about Israel’s security”. But I do see something else that is quite disturbing: Obama no longer cares if people say that he doesn’t care about Israel’s security.

Let me explain: for six years it was important for the administration to separate “security relations” from “diplomatic relations”, because the separation enabled it to keep wrapping itself in a ‘supportive of Israel’ garment even as it was having bitter fights with the Israeli government. When relations were very tense, the pretense of them being still very strong was important for the Obama administration to maintain. Of course, part of it is because it is true: the relations are still strong. The US and Israel have ties strong enough to sustain a period of tension between the two governments. But there were also other reasons for the Obama team to insist on the viability of the “security” relations. Possibly, some of this was for political reasons – Obama did not wish to pick a fight with political supporters over Israel. And some of it probably had psychological motivations – it enabled people within the administration that are basically supportive of Israel to compartmentalize their own feelings about the policies of the administration in which they serve.

If Obama genuinely believes that his friendly behavior regarding Israel no longer matters when it comes to carrying out his agenda at home, the situation can be disastrous for Israel. Those of us paying attention to Israel have always known that someone who hangs out with Palestinians and Israel-haters not only isn’t a friend of Israel, no matter his rhetoric but is, instead, an enemy of Israel. Having kept up the “friend” pretense as long as he thought necessary, he apparently believes that the time has come for him to throw off the pro-Israel mask and show his true colors. If Rosner is correct, halting rocket shipments isn’t the worst thing that Obama has prepared for the Jewish nation that he finagled into relying on him, to its detriment, for six years.

Hamas violates 11th ceasefire

This speculation takes on extra urgency, today, with Hamas having broken the ceasefire just hours ago by shooting a massive rocket barrage at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  The next few days will speak volumes about whether Israel can still look to America for support.

The fact that the American population strongly supports Israel will not matter if the President has decided that he no longer needs this domestic support for Israel to carry out his own agenda. As a presumed Israel hater (again, look at his friends), Obama may use his unique authority on foreign affairs to cut Israel adrift. It really doesn’t bear thinking about, but think about it we must.

Certainly, the IDF is focused and angry. On Facebook, it left a very ominous message: “Hamas has made its decision. Now we will make ours.”

The Bookworm Beat — August 15 Friday wrap-up (and, of course, Open Thread)

Woman writingOne of the things I’ve noticed about modern medicine is that, once doctors start poking around inside the human body, they find all sorts of things that aren’t picture perfect. I remember a long ago hearing an NPR story about a small town with a scary increase in the number of children with benign brain tumors. After an exhaustive search into power lines, drinking water, and bacon, some bright soul figured out that the increase in diagnoses happened because the small local hospital could now do brain scans, a procedure it had started performing on all children brought in with concussions.

My test yesterday showed nothing about my anemia, but has sent the doctors haring off in a different direction about something else that looked funny. I feel fine, so I’m not worried . . . much. Even feeling just fine isn’t a total defense against the niggling fear that comes up when the doctor says that something in there is out of the ordinary. I’ll let you know when they finally determine that, as I suspected all along, I’m a very healthy specimen.

But there are much more interesting things out there than the medical treasure hunt inside my body, so let me get to it….

That the white police behaved badly is no excuse for the black citizens to behave even more badly

Since Ferguson, Missouri, is convulsing the media, and even managed to drag Obama away from his golf game for seven whole minutes, I’ll open with a couple of Ferguson related items. First, Megan McArdle noticed something important about Ferguson: Twenty-four years ago, it was a majority white town. Fourteen years ago, it had the slimmest of black majorities. And four years ago, it was almost 70% black. Although the town demographics changed rapidly, the police demographics did not.

Indeed, the only thing that seems to have changed with the police over the years is that they’ve turned themselves in a military organization, although one sadly lacking in military intelligence. And just as an aside about our police departments turning themselves into faux-military outfits, just two months ago, Ferguson’s own Democrat representative voted against a law that would have stopped military surplus transfers to local police.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that the police department is barricading itself behind advanced grade weapons, even though it’s a stupid, dangerous, and (for all citizens) frightening practice. Blacks don’t like the police. One black man, however, has gone on an epic rant explaining that the problem isn’t with the police, whether or not they are racist, but with blacks themselves. You’ll quickly see why this video has gone viral:

The media concedes Hamas played it, and Hamas complains that the media wasn’t sufficiently compliant

There are a few updates today on the Hamas front, although the most recent ceasefire seems to be holding for now. The biggest news, of course, is the fact that the same media outlets that slimed Israel for the past month are admitting two things: First, that Hamas lies and, second, that the media allowed itself to be intimidated into lying for Hamas (something Hamas is now freely admitting itself).

Sadly, the Hamas/MSM disinformation tactic has worked. Donald Douglas has a disturbing video taken near UCLA, along with the comment that “It’s like we’re back in the 1930s, and it’s a definite transnational scourge.”

To the question “why is this war different from all other wars,” Israelis answer “because tunnels”

My mother spoke yesterday to her oldest friend, a 91-year-old woman who has lived in Tel Aviv since 1934 or so. Many of her grandchildren are on active duty or in the reserves. This friend told my mother “This time it’s different.”

For one thing, Iron Dome has made those in Tel Aviv feel much more secure against air attacks, although the friend says it’s peculiar to see the bombs bursting in air, rather than down on the ground. The other reason this war is different is the tunnels. They have shattered Israelis’ sense of security. (And yes, it’s funny that they felt secure when they’ve been constantly under attack, but those attacks were from land and water, not underground.)

Although Netanyahu says that the IDF destroyed the vast majority of tunnels, neither my mom’s friend, nor anyone show knows, believes that. They’re certain that there are at least as many tunnels unaccounted for as were blown apart.

My mom’s friend is not unique. In an opinion piece at Bloomberg, an Israeli writer says exactly the same thing: because of the tunnels, this time it’s different.

Against Hezbollah, Israel won’t bother to try for proportionate force against civilians

Given all of the above, is it any wonder that Israel is letting it be known that, if Hezbollah starts acting in Lebanon, Israel will use disproportionate force to defeat it:

On a recent trip to Israel, I spoke with government officials who laid out likely scenarios for the next, almost inevitable, round of Israeli hostilities with Hezbollah. Needless to say, given Hezbollah’s ever-increasing strength on the ground, those scenarios are incredibly grim. In short, the Israeli military proposes that in the next conflict with Hezbollah all of Lebanon will be treated like Dahiya, the Hezbollah stronghold that the Israeli air force destroyed in the summer of 2006. “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” as one Israeli official explained. “We will apply disproportionate force on it, and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”

Insane, no? The problem is, the Israelis are right. It’s not that Israel wants to kill Lebanese civilians. As one Israeli official told me, it is largely because thousands of innocent Lebanese will lose their lives that Israel is reluctant to move against Hezbollah right now. The issue is that the Shia militia has turned all of Lebanon—not just the regions it controls like the Dahiya, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon—into a military installation, holding every man, woman, and child in the country hostage to its supposed love of death. What are the Israelis supposed to do when Hezbollah starts shooting the next time—refuse to fight back, and let the missiles keep hitting Tel Aviv, while the entire country cowers in bomb shelters?

As I noted myself, if there’s a choice between killing a hundred thousand of the enemy’s civilians, or letting the enemy kill 6-8 million of your civilians, the moral choice is to attack the enemy, and let the civilians fall where they may. This is especially true if your efforts to protect civilians are not appreciated in any event. If you’re going to be accused of disproportionate force when aren’t actually using it to protect yourself, you may as well embrace the accusations and use truly disproportionate force the next time around in order to keep yourself safe.

I finally believe Obama is a Muslim

Can I say anything else but that it’s unconscionable for Obama to refuse to sell to Israel the rockets that Iron Dome fires at incoming missiles from Gaza? Unconscionable seems like such a weak word. I’ll add despicable, vile, immoral, disgusting, and anti-Semitic.  Moreover, for the first time I truly believe that Obama may well be a Muslim, rather than just a Leftist who supports Islam because Islam opposes America (the nation, of course, that Obama swore an oath to protect).

If you were to ask me what a member of the Muslim Brotherhood would do if he were in the White House, I’d pretty much describe everything that Obama has done throughout the Middle East — including his administration’s most recent decision to lift the ban barring Libyans from flight schools and training in nuclear programs. I mean — honestly! — can you just imagine the memo that went around in the White House: “Yes, we know that all sorts of radical Islamist factions have taken over in Libya, and that it was a hub for delivering weapons systems to other radical Islamists, and that the state has Islamic anarchy written all over it, but we really think there are Libyans that ought to know how to fly our plans and control our nuclear facilities.”

Not only that, but there’s also the administration’s malevolent combination of blindness and ineptitude in Syria, which has acted as a warm, comfy incubator for the most extremist Islamist groups ever seen in modern times. You know a group’s extreme when it makes Al Qaeda seem temperate.

Put all of these things put together — Obama’s conduct regarding Libya/Benghazi, Syria, Egypt, the hostility to Israel, etc. — and it starts to look less like ineptitude and more like a plan, even if the plan is just to foul things up so as to destroy any possibility of moderation in the region.

The administration’s (and Congress’s) failure to protect America against electric annihilation

While the administration keeps stirring that Middle Eastern pot, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, dissing Israel, opening doors into the Middle East for Russia, handing dangerous secrets to Libya, the administration and Congress both assiduously ignore the one thing that has real potential to throw us back into a pre-industrial era, and that is a major EMP attack:

The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

I guess it’s just too important right now to spend time and money opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and then burdening our system with the cost of those immigrants. This seems like the Cloward-Piven strategy played out in real time.

A brilliant way to get colleges to be honest about their alleged “1/5 rape” statistic

Ashe Schow pens yet another article that destroys the disgraceful canard about the number of rapes at American college campuses (a statistic that, if true, would make American colleges almost as dangerous for women as, oh, I don’t know, being a white woman in Malmo, Sweden). Glenn Reynolds’ adds a brilliant idea to the debunking:

To get universities to debunk it, start running ads telling women not to go to college because they have a 1-in-5 chance of being raped if they do. With pictures of university campuses labeled “rape factory” and pictures of university presidents labeled “rape-factory president.”

Dog bites man; or another story of Leftist hypocrisy in Chicago

If you like hypocrisy, you’ll enjoy the story of Karen Lewis, who heads the Chicago teacher’s union and is now running for mayor against Rahm. She’s one of those people who loves to bash the wealthy and believes firmly in wealth redistribution. I won’t tell you more, except to say “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

I think I need to read a Dean Koontz book

Did you know that novelist Dean Koontz is conservative/libertarian? He won’t define himself using those terms, but his political outlook, which apparently dismayed Publishers Weekly so much that it wondered at the fact that he leaked this sensibility into his books, holds that a powerful government is a dangerous, expensive, and useless government. As an aside, I wonder if Publishers Weekly ever expresses concern about Leftists leaking their politics into their books.

I’ve never actually read anything Koontz has written, but to the extent I support his politics and I like thrillers, I’m willing to give his stuff a try. I mean, who couldn’t love someone who says things like this:

• In an online chat on CNN.com (September 10, 2001), Koontz said, “Any time I’m looking for a good psychopath [as a character for a novel], I first check out the current crop of Congressmen and see what they are up to.”

• In The Dean Koontz Companion (Headline Book Publishing, 1994), Koontz said, “It had become apparent to me that the worst enemy of the working man and woman is the state, and that the average person is safest in a country that struggles to limit the size of the state.”

• In an interview with the Mystery Guild (2000), Koontz said, “We just left a century that gave us the worst mass murderers in history: Hitler, Stalin, Mao. History shows us, over and over again, that large groups of people given too much power over other people lose their humanity.”

Andrew Klavan explains “income redistribution”

Andrew Klavan offers a user-friendly explanation of “income redistribution” (which our Marxist, Muslim president thinks is a good thing):

Income redistribution that damages the poor will play out next year at America’s gas pumps

By the way, we California’s may be closer to other people in America when it comes to seeing what income redistribution is all about, since laws set to go into effect in January will raise gasoline prices to $8-$9 a gallon. A couple of things:

First, this “redistribution” “for the planet” will cause the most harm to poor people. I can afford $9 gas, although it will leave me with less wealth for my children and my retirement. My cleaning ladies will not be able to afford it. It will destroy their business, which consists of driving around Marin every day to clean as many houses as these energetic, reliable ladies can manage. Second, these gas prices are Obama’s dream, as reflected in his choice of energy czar.

What’s really sad is that the hyper-credentialed, Ivy League educated morons who surround me in Marin undoubtedly think this tax is a brilliant idea because it will “save the planet.”  Did I say morons?  Let me say it again.  Morons!

This is why I have no time for myself

This song’s chorus explains why, as my house fills with more and more people (mostly teens), I have less time to blog:

Pictures

Mind if I play through

A flaw in the constitution

Items that should be banned

To stupid to own a gun

Israel doesn't hate America

Liberal logic about Palestine

Rape tips

Fleeing a blood soaked land

Fairness to troops and criminals

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

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

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

On that happy note, to the news!

Another dissatisfied Obamacare customer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Obama bringing identity politics to the Middle East?

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

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

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

Can you compromise with religious absolutists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The very real power of prayer

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

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

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

For more on the Shema, go here.

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

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

Shovel — or spoon — ready jobs

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

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

The terrible trivium

Robin Williams never let politics blind him to our common humanity

John Nolte almost gets it right:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even rich people can be broke

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

Will anyone prosecute Hamas for war crimes

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

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

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

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

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition, Part II

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

Things are not good all over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest here.

And remember:

They were Muslims

How to become a popular leader

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

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

Gaza supporters march on London

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

Jimmy Carter — just plain evil

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

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

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

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

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

News from the gay scene

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

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

I did not leave my heart in San Francisco

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

Remember WWI

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

Pictures

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

Reagan on Concentrated power

David Burge on pacifists

Hamas is an innocent victim

Obama and Tahmooressi

Kurds dying

CNN airbrushes militant Islam

Difference between liberals and conservatives