The Bookworm Beat 6-8-15 — the “heat wave” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.

I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.

Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers

Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:

Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.

Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.

[snip]

While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.

Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”

Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.

“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”

He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”

Make it so, Captain Picard!  Make it so!!!

Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.

“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”

“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.

Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.

[snip]

The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.

[snip]

The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.

For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.

[snip]

All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.

Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.

At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.

As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”

It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.

Stay classy, United States Air Force

I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.

Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.

Here’s some good WWII social satire:

A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather

Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:

Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.

“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”

Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.

A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy

I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:

Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.

Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.

Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.

People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.

Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.

Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.

“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”

Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”

If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.

Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman

D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.

Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.

Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:

The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.

Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.

Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record

If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!

The Bookworm Beat 5-6-15 — the “long day” edition and open thread

Woman writingLong day, low energy, but the siren song of blogging is calling out to me and I respond to that call:

American campuses are becoming increasingly antisemitic

Jonathan Marks writes about the way that pricey little Bowdoin College, tucked up in a corner of Maine, is “debating” a complete boycott of Israel that its promoters clearly intend to exist until Israel is annihilated:

But the way Bowdoin’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine is attempting to ram through this referendum, near the end of the academic year, when students are least likely to be paying close attention, shows as well as these other observations, that the movement is really about scoring a series of cheap propaganda victories to produce a phony impression of momentum and widespread support. Their undertaking is the very opposite of the Socratic spirit that ought to animate our colleges and universities: they want people who don’t know to claim that they do. To those who pretend to work toward discussion of Israel but in fact seek to manipulate students who know next to nothing about it, we can reply as Socrates did to one of his own prosecutors: they [jest] in a serious matter, easily bringing human beings to trial, pretending to be serious and concerned about things for which [they] never cared at all.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Wisse examines the growing, aggressive, violent antisemitism overflowing like a disgusting sewer on American college campuses:

The contrast I have drawn between the college campus and the rest of American society is counter-intuitive: why should anti-Semitism flourish in the sweet groves of academe rather than in the fouler corridors of power? How does intolerance for a Jewish state thrive in the very institutions that advertise their tolerance for threatened minorities? The political columnist Bret Stephens often asks college audiences why, if they claim to be liberal, they don’t support the only liberal society in the Middle East. On what grounds do American universities, considered liberal to a fault, assail the only liberal democracy in that part of the world?

The question harbors its answer. Israel is attacked not despite but on account of its liberal democracy and its buoyant pluralistic culture: two commodities held in notable disesteem in the nominally liberal but in fact anti-liberal environment of the contemporary American university. The boycotters wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech only to silence those who stand for the kind of genuine individual and human rights that flourish in Israel. They shout down liberal speakers like Israel’s ambassador to the United States just as they shout down and shut out champions of Muslim women’s rights.

Academia’s views harmonize perfectly with those of our man in the White House. No wonder then that Debka, which is frequently privy to information from Israel’s intelligence community, is reporting that Obama is poised to do what many have long feared: He’s allegedly promising to back a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. I wouldn’t put it past that foul little excrescence currently inhabiting the White House to try his best to destroy an ally. Debased people engage in debased and evil behavior.

And while I’m on the subject of antisemitism, if you’re Jewish or Philosemitic, two more stories to scare you: First, take a look at the increasingly open, aggressive antisemitism amongst black Democrats who are no doubt heartened by the first white-black President’s manifest hostility to the world’s only Jewish state.

Second, Ireland’s Leftists have ensured that it is now one of the most antisemitic nations in the world. Woe betide American Jews and Israel if that attitude infects America’s Irish population which, barring its flirtation with Father Coughlin back in the 1930s, hasn’t been antisemitic but has mostly supported the world’s only Jewish nation (not to mention the Middle East’s only true democracy).

Yeah, how is that Obamacare working for you?

On my Facebook page, one of my hard Left friends is rejoicing in the headline that Obamacare added 17 million people to the insurance rolls, adding that “most” of the people who lost their insurance found new insurance. Oh, and hospitals are making money. It must be a success, right?

Apparently the Lefties missed the news stories about rising visits to emergency rooms (the opposite of what Obama promised) and steadily increasing rates. But hey, we now fit the WHO metric of lots of people forcibly “insured,” even though medical care is more expensive and less useful.

(I notice that I’m putting many more words in quotation marks, indicating that I’m using them sarcastically. The fact is that, in Obama’s America, words are losing their meaning and the only way I can think to convey that is through those ubiquitous quotation marks.)

More on Baltimore

I’ve pretty much said what I have to say about Baltimore: It’s a Democrat-run sinkhole. As long as blacks look to the government and not themselves for succor they’re going to continue to live out their lives in poverty, immorality, and violence.

Those are my intuitive conclusions based upon quite a few decades on Planet Earth. Thomas Sowell provides the data to support my conclusions:

The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just an excuse for inexcusable behavior in the ghettos. In a larger sense, it is an evasion of responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the prevailing social vision of our times, and the political policies based on that vision, over the past half century.

Anyone who is serious about evidence need only compare black communities as they evolved in the first 100 years after slavery with black communities as they evolved in the first 50 years after the explosive growth of the welfare state, beginning in the 1960s.

You would be hard-pressed to find as many ghetto riots prior to the 1960s as we have seen just in the past year, much less in the 50 years since a wave of such riots swept across the country in 1965.

[snip]

Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much-lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.

Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

Victor Davis Hanson also offers his usual astute insights on the subject, offering “the Baltimore Rules”:

Until then, let us review the Baltimore Rules:

1) Statistics are irrelevant. Emotion rules and no one cares about larger statistical challenges. Blacks make up almost 13% of the population and commit 52% of the nation’s murders. Based on their statistical representation in the U.S. population, African-Americans on average are eight times more likely to inflict a violent crime and six times more likely to suffer a criminal act than is the general population. This fact is irrelevant; it is not the numbers per se that frame black homicide, but the conditions under which they occur that seem to matter. “Black lives matter” supposedly translates into the fact that blacks might be able to pressure police (of all races) from taking 200 black lives a year during arrests, but can do little if anything about stopping 6,000 black murders at the hands of other blacks. Darren Wilson serves as an easy poster boy for the public enemy, but a Crip gangbanger is a quite different candidate for group-hate.

In quite rare, but highly charged interracial murders, African-Americans are almost twice as likely to kill whites as whites are blacks. This, too, is irrelevant for a variety of reasons. Historically blacks suffered from the racism of a white majority, not whites from a black minority. Whites are hardly likely to protest about this imbalance given the rarity of interracial crime and the rarity of whites rioting on the basis of racial grievances. Most liberal professionals understand privately how to navigate travel in the inner city and how publicly to decry just such insidious stereotyping and profiling. Few of the 14% of murdered white crime victims who were killed by blacks are the elite and thus the problem remains minor.

Read the whole thing to understand how we’ve moved into a logic-free world, driven by seemingly inexorable rules of ideology, pushed by our media, government institutions, and academic institutions.

Lies, damn lies, and climate statistics

Those who believe in God do not need to lie. To them, the mere fact of our existence is testament to God’s existence. No further proof is necessary. They therefore never need to lie. God is who He is. That is sufficient.

Those who believe in anthropogenic climate change, however, like to pretend that theirs is not a faith but is, in fact, a science. Having called it a science, they are theoretically bound to follow the scientific principle, which requires theories, followed by data that either proves or disproves the theory.

What happens, though, when every bit of data fails to prove the theory? Well, if you’ve insisted that you’ve got science on your side, there’s only one alternative left to you: LYING. And that’s what happened with Maine’s temperature data: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grossly manipulated more than 100 years of Maine temperature data to make it colder in the past and warmer in the present.

I know Bookworms and Obama is no Bookworm

Walt Harrington, a man hostile to George W. Bush’s policies, discovered, George W. Bush was a voracious reader, who could comfortably discuss everything he read. But Obama? Obama is no Bookworm, and Mollie Hemingway beautifully deconstructs the lies the media tells in an effort to buff that vapid (but canny) ideologue’s intellectual credentials.

I can’t add to Hemingway’s analysis, but I’ll posit a reason behind his mental vacuum: Obama’s a malignant narcissist. To the extent a book might expose him to ideas that are unfamiliar to him, the exposure will leave him feeling vulnerable and at an intellectual disadvantage. That is not a feeling that narcissists tolerate well. It’s better not to read, but just to pretend you do, knowing that a lickspittle media will do whatever is necessary to cover for you.

Paul Krugman is a moron

I’ve been saying for years that Krugman is a moron — and I’m somewhat grateful for that, because it was the increasing stupidity of his columns that drove me to seek out other, more intelligent information in the internet. Unwittingly, he was one of the stepping stones that helped me cross the Rubicon from unthinking loosey-goosey Leftist to stalwart, fully informed and aware conservative.

I may be sort of grateful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find it just delightful when a good writer (say, Andrew Stiles) takes aim at Krugman and reveals him in his full moronity (and I know moronity not a word, but it should be).

The dangerous anti-First Amendment strain in Academia

I received an email from Servo1969 posing three questions:

1. You know, you were just asking to be shot by drawing cartoons of Mohammed. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

2. You know, you were just asking to be raped by going out dressed like that and getting wasted. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

3. You know, you were just asking to be beaten and arrested by marching through Selma like that. That was really stupid. What did you expect? Did you think you could just do as you please with no consequences?

Servo1969 knows, you know, and I know that the media would strongly disagree with the second and third statements, but is very comfortable asserting the first. In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on Pamela Geller’s “draw Mohammed” gathering — which was really aimed at making Americans aware of the way in which we’re losing our constitutional rights as we pander to Islamic demands — the American media couldn’t say often enough that it was all Geller’s fault. “Journalists” seemed incapable of understanding that in America, the person who brings a gun to a speech fight is always in the wrong, no matter the speech’s content.

Eugene Volokh, who I believe grew up in the former Soviet Union, writes about the University of Minnesota’s craven collapse in the face of Muslim demands that the whole Charlie Hebdo matter — you know, the one where Islamists brought guns to a cartoon fight — be withdrawn from debate:

Indeed, this incident shows just how broad the movements to suppress alleged blasphemy are, even in the U.S. This wasn’t a fringe group of anti-Islam political activists putting out the flyers; these were people squarely in the middle of the academic Establishment. This wasn’t a bunch of cartoonists putting out material that, viewed narrowly, might be seen by some as juvenile, nonsubstantive, or gratuitously offensive; these were academics putting on a substantive academic event with a flyer that is clearly and directly tied to the content of the event, and that depicts an image that has undoubted historical significance.

To be sure, I think the speech of fringe groups and juvenile cartoonists is protected by the First Amendment and by academic freedom principles — but even if you disagree, or think that this sort of speech should be generally constitutionally protected but excluded from academic institutions or condemned by standards of good manners, here we are far removed from those fringes, and squarely in the core of serious academic discussion on hugely important matters. Yet some public university administrators still seem to have felt comfortable trying to take down such speech, and, I suspect, trying to prevent it in the future. Such a reaction, I think, needs to be firmly fought, and sharply condemned.

Jonah Goldberg also sees something sickly perverse in the Leftist response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the Left, just as blacks can’t be racist because they’re at the bottom of the Leftist victim hierarchy (and this is true no matter how vile their anti-white, Jewish, or Asian statements are), the Left argues that Muslims must be protected from any real or perceived insults for the same reason:

“If absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the actor Harry Shearer once asked, “does absolute powerlessness make you pure?”

The answer, according to a lot of people, is yes.

Upon receiving the George Polk Career Award last month, Garry Trudeau, the creator of the satirical comic strip Doonesbury, attacked the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo:

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence. Well, voilà — the 7 million copies that were published following the killings did exactly that, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world.

Putting aside Trudeau’s tendentious misreading of France’s hate-speech laws — which were not written to prevent violent protests outside of France — there’s a perverse irony here. After all, there’s surely no greater act of “punching downward” or “attacking the powerless” than castigating a corpse. That’s not debate; it is verbal gibbeting.

The best answer to this specific type of moronity (I’m really liking my little neologism) comes from Ross Douthat, whom Goldberg quotes:

Many journalists recite the saying that the press must “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” as if it were their Eleventh Commandment. The mantra of countless intellectuals is that they must “speak truth to power.”

The problem is that they define the powerful and powerless based upon their own preferred narratives. When the truth interferes with the narrative, the truth must be bent or jettisoned. Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that while it is true that “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” Terrorists may rationalize their violence in terms that make Western intellectuals swoon, but that doesn’t mean they are powerless. They have enormous power — because they have the ability and the will to use violence to kill.

And finally, Daniel Greenfield hones in on the moral inversion that “academics,” “journalists” (yes, two other words that can now only be used with quotation marks), and talking heads are creating:

But being “controversial” and “provocative” has nothing to do with who is doing the shooting. It’s a media signal that the target shouldn’t be sympathized with. The Family Research Council, which was shot up by a killer using the SPLC’s hate map, is invariably dubbed “intolerant”. The SPLC, which targeted it, is however a “respected civil rights group” which provides maps to respected civil rights gunmen.

A contest in which Bosch Fawstin, an ex-Muslim, drew a cartoon of a genocidal warlord is “controversial” and “provocative”, while the MSA, which has invited Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who has inspired a number of terrorists, including apparently one of the Mohammed contest attackers, is a legitimate organization that is only criticized by controversial, intolerant and provocative Islamophobes.

You know what the problem is with all three of the articles I’ve quoted above? They don’t have a wide enough readership. These three men are saying extremely important things, but they are still lone and isolated voices in the wilderness. I just have to remind myself that other lone voices in the wilderness finally got heard.

The end of the road for American education

Longtime readers know that two of my blogging passions are education and history. Both fascinate me, and I strongly believe that you cannot have a successful country without an educated population that knows its history and that understands its liberties. Wolf Howling shares my passions and has written a very disheartening post about the state of history education in America. (Hint: Leftism has done its dirty work, and feminists are in the vanguard.)

Autism and the IDF

In Israel, everyone serves in the military. Those who cannot serve, whether because of a physical or mental disability, feel at a terrible disadvantage. Not only are they not serving their country — a country surrounded by enemies — but they’re also missing out on the camaraderie of the Israel military. It is the great leveler.

Also in Israel, undoubtedly as part of the belief that we are all God’s creatures, the Israelis value all human lives.  Small wonder then, that with Israelis wanting to serve and the nation valuing its people, the IDF has put together a very special unit composed of autistic people who have a unique ability to analyze certain types of military intelligence. As you know, I take a special interest in the great gifts so many autistic people have locked away inside of them.

The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

[Read more...]

Midday Monday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of places to go and things to do, so this will be a brief, but still meaty, round-up of interesting things:

** 1 **

If you’d like to see Obama fisked, read this.

** 2 **

Netanyahu abandons platitudes and says what need to be said: He will not be bullied into a two-state solution as long as the Palestinians are dedicated to Israel’s annihilation and the rest of the Middle East is going up in flames.

** 3 **

Netanyahu might have had in mind David Goldman’s article about Israel’s future when he drew that line. Goldman says that when one combines Muslims’ falling demographics and Israel’s growing demographics with the complete collapse of nations and the possibility of endless war in the Middle East, little, besieged Israel will be the last man standing.

** 4 **

Richard Fernandez argues that Israel’s and America’s besetting sin isn’t their conduct, it’s their wealth. I recall making the mirror image argument — that the Left excuses poor people of any sin — a few years back.

** 5 **

I’ve noted before that fewer people have died in Israel under Hamas’s attack than were killed in Chicago in a single week. According to the Left, this is a bad thing — and by “bad thing” I don’t mean that gun-controlled Chicago residents are dying like flies; I mean that Israel has the temerity to defend her citizens effectively against hundreds of rocket attacks.

** 6 **

A poster that I couldn’t resist making after I read this article about the swarms of border crashers being flown to the Bay State:

Spreading infections 2

 

** 7 **

The Watcher’s Council forum offers suggestions for dealing with the refugee crisis that Obama invited into our country.

** 8 **

To the drive-by media’s surprise, legal immigrants in this country aren’t thrilled to see their economic standing diluted and their patience in complying with the law rendered worthless by the influx of illegals:

** 9 **

There’s a metaphor in here somewhere. See if you can come up with a good one after watching these dogs bark at each other through a fence that, mere inches away, is completely open:

** 10 **

Is the IRS union the missing link in the IRS scandal?

** 11 **

William Jacobson pulls together evidence showing that the Boycott Divest Sanction movement is motivated, not by tears for the Palestinians, but by the usual toxic antisemitism from Muslims and Leftists.

** 12 **

Alan Dershowitz explains precisely how evil the BDS movement is:

** 13 **

Bravo to the Toronto Sun for its full-throated denunciation of Obama’s malevolent little Ha’artez opinion piece.

** 14 **

Musically, I was never a Ramones fan. When it came to their political courage, though, I admired them greatly . . . and now they’re all gone.

Monday evening round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThis day has offered an embarrassment of riches when it comes to interesting news and good posts. Without further ado….

This goes to my earlier point about the degradation of black culture at white elitist hands: Towson University’s all-black Team won a national debating championship using incoherent babble sprinkled with obscenities (including the “n” word) and rap. What they did wasn’t debating, it was performance art, since it’s apparent that the participants actually speak very good English. The judges manifestly rewarded them, not for their debating skills (there were none), but for the art of ghetto culture. The brilliant and uplifting contributors to the Harlem Renaissance would be appalled.

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If you want to know about a culture, look at how it treats its dogs. The DiploMad remembers his time in Pakistan, and it’s not pretty.

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Millennials have bought into Leftist thinking hook, line, and sinker — and small wonder, because their political view basically boils down to “free things,” for you, for me, for everyone. None of them seems to have given a thought to the fact that someone has to pay for those “free” things.

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I wrote earlier about the Democrats’ push to position the mayor of San Antonio to be the next vice president, never mind that, in 2016, his political experience will have been a decorative stint in meaningless “political” job, followed by a couple of years at HUD. Seth Mandel thinks there’s a logic behind this, and it’s not just identity politics. Instead, its bureaucrat politics: The Democrats envision a bureaucratic state, with the White House a mere figurehead. Read his post. It explains the idea very well.

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Thirty-four years later, I’m still embarrassed that I voted for the antisemitic Jimmy Carter. Now I’ve got something new to be embarrassed about:  A little over a year ago, I included in one of my “just because” music posts Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” I noted that it was vulgar and obscene, but I still liked a song that seemed to tell teenagers to get over their designer labels and obsession with products as part of social status. It turns out that Macklemore makes Carter look philosemitic. He chose to perform that song in a costume that was a dead ringer for the worst Nazi propaganda. Even more despicable was the fact that this man who claims exquisite sensitivity towards the oppressed (if they’re gay) and towards all faiths (apparently except for Jews) asserted that he was just pretending to be a witch with a beard.

To no one’s surprise, all the usual shriekers about racism (those savaging Sterling’s senile maunderings, for example) have been remarkably quiet. The only push back came from Seth Rogen, who did it brilliantly. I fear, though, that Seth Rogen alone is not enough. It just goes to show (again), that those on the side of true tolerance are bad at screaming loudly when offended.

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Despite Macklemore’s despicable behavior and the strange hush that followed it, I am getting the feeling that people of good will are starting to realize that, if they don’t push back, America’s decline will be swift and final. The movement at UCLA to delegitimize Israel through the BDS movement, rather than being met with mere hand-wringing, is instead facing growing opposition.

One of the worst things about fighting an ideologically-driven enemy seeking totalitarian dominance is that, to a certain extent, to defeat that enemy, you must become like that enemy. You cannot ever rest, and you must fight on every front, both clean fights and dirty ones.

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And just so you know, no matter the topic, Obama’s really angry. He’s not actually going to do anything, but he will emote for you:

The new attack on Israel is a reminder that we must never stop engaging with Leftists

Father and son shoutingThe single most effective opposition to the movement to turn Israel into a pariah state is for people actually to go to Israel.  Once there, they see that it is a free, dynamic, pluralist society, that is deeply respectful of human rights.  This explains the newest outbreak of antisemitism in America’s universities and churches:  marginalizing people who dare to see Israel for themselves.  Over at Commentary Blog, there are two stories about just that, one coming out of UCLA, and the other coming out of the Presbyterian Church.

Traditionally, both Jews and conservatives have shied away from fights.  The time to shy away is over.  As Ben Shapiro showed when he decimated boycott/divest/sanction supporters at UCLA, every time the Left hits out, conservatives must hit back twice as hard and twice as often.

One of the things Charles Martel and I talked about yesterday at lunch was the fact that Leftist are perpetual adolescents.  This is obvious in a lot of ways:  they’re short-sighted, short-fused, emotional, deeply invested in shallow takes on serious issues, given to ill-conceived hero-worship, etc.  The other thing that they have in common with adolescents is their laser-like focus on their personal needs.

I think I’ve mentioned here before a book I once read about parenting techniques to use on challenging teens.  Eighteen years after the fact, what has stick with me is the author’s point about a teen’s focus versus an adult’s focus.  Adults focus on lots of things:  a job, a household, the children’s needs, an elderly parent’s needs, community work, and sometimes even their own needs.  Teens, however, focus only on one thing, which is their emotional need at that specific moment.  While you’re juggling myriad responsibilities, both temporal and intellectual, your teen is thinking “mall” or “party dress” or “Cancun.”

In the political world, conservatives, like adults, tend to think in terms of responsibilities, while Leftists, the adolescents, think in terms of emotional needs.  Responsibilities place demands on you; emotional needs place demands on everything else.

What this means is that, if the Leftist’s emotional need is to destroy Israel, he will tackle it with the same ferocity and single-mindedness one sees in the teen demanding that trip to the mall.  If one argument fails, he will shift effortlessly to the next one and then to the one after that.  Meanwhile, if you, the adult/conservative, have won the first argument, you’re not automatically gearing up to defend against any subsequent arguments.  Instead, you’re foolishly thinking that the issue is over and that you can move on to your next responsibility.  Silly you.

In the battle between teen and parent, the book’s author suggested acknowledging the teen’s argument without ever engaging:  “I understand that all your friends are going to the mall, but in our house, the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.”  “I understand that you feel this is unfair, but the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.”  You’re Teflon and, faced with this consistent, impregnable line of defense, the teen eventually runs out of arguments, especially because you won’t engage him substantively.

Unfortunately, in the real world, the mature conservative cannot use this Teflon approach with the adolescent Leftist.  That’s because the battle isn’t just being fought between the two combatants; it’s being fought on the public stage, with the winner taking all in public opinion.  Just as is the case in a trial against the lawyer from Hell, no matter how stupid or unprincipled his arguments are, you have to challenge every one of them on the merits because you’re not really arguing with him at all.  Instead, you’re performing for the judge.

The same is true in politics.  No matter how heated the argument between two individuals seem, they’re not really fighting each other.  They are, instead, are performing for the American public.

 

Tuesday evening round-up

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few deserving links, before real life catches up with me.

StandWithUs, which may well be the most effective pro-Israel group I know, is sending around an emergency alert asking people to protest the newest front in the BDS movement:  getting Israeli architects expelled from international organizations:

On March 19, the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects [RIBA] voted to call on the International Union of Architects [UIA] to boycott Israel and suspend it from the prestigious international union because of Israel’s allegedly “illegal” activities in the West Bank.   The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), RIBA’s sister organization, passed a similar resolution.  Both were engineered by RIBA’s Angela Brady.

In short, RIBA backed BDS (the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement) whose goal is to demonize Israel, isolate it as a pariah, and eventually eliminate the Jewish state.

This resolution is irrational and fundamentally anti-Semitic.

Read the rest (and take action) here.

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You’ve already read it elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate it here:  What was first a supposition is now backed by proof — the Obama White House orchestrated the Benghazi cover-up.  The administration’s — and especially Hillary’s — fecklessness left Americans in Benghazi vulnerable to attack; the administration’s political cowardice led to any attempt to defend our ambassador and other Americans in Benghazi during the attack; and the administration actively engaged in a cover-up to hide its myriad failings, not the least of which was lying to the American people about Al Qaeda’s growing presence in the Middle East and Africa.

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Yesterday, I blew a gasket about John Kerry’s reprehensible statement likening Israel to an apartheid state.  Sadly, he is not an anomaly within the Obama administration.

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I need to coin a new word, because I’m not homophobic. What people do in the privacy of their own lives is their business, not mine and, as long as they’re not aggressively making it mine, I wouldn’t presume to judge or even care very much. What I am is homo-politics-phobic, meaning that I cannot stand the way gay activists have intertwined themselves with Leftism, which I do hate, and announced that, if you don’t like their Leftist politics, than you’re a homophobe.

My strong suspicion is that I’m not alone. Certainly, the NRA cares only about people having the opportunity to exercise their constitutional freedoms. That’s why they’re perfectly happy to make room in their big tent for an Asian gay man who strongly supports the Second Amendment.

Incidentally, on the subject of privacy, Dennis Prager has something very important to say about Donald Sterling’s rant. The rant is certainly ugly, not to mention psychologically fascinating (Sterling sounds as if he’s terribly afraid that his decidedly meager charms will be inadequate to entice his black/Hispanic girlfriend if she finds herself in the company of men who are not only as rich and famous as Sterling, but who are also attractively black). There’s a bigger societal problem though, says Prager, that no one is talking about, and that’s the loss of privacy.

This is consistent with what Prager has always said, which is that people must be judged by their acts. In that regard, I’ve often pointed out to the kids that the Democrats’ darling Harry Truman was a racist who integrated America’s Armed Forces and an antisemite who supported the creation of Israel.

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And finally, one of the reasons I came to be a big fan of Castra Praetoria is the periodic “Heard in the Clear” posts.  Always funny and often profound.

Thursday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThere are a lot of things I miss about being young.  Today, I miss the ability to sleep even if the house if falling down around me.  I can’t do that anymore.  I somehow lost the sleeping knack when I had babies and I’ve never gotten it back.  Sleep seems incredibly distant lately.  Between my knee and my shoulder, both of which refuse to quiet down at night, I’m feeling grumpy and disconnected today.  This will therefore be a short round-up.

Jamie Glasov looks at Danielle Dimacali’s insane (a word I use in its literal sense) meltdown when UCLA just barely rejected the BDS movement.  He wonders if any of the atrocities committed against Jews because they are Jews would have moved her too.  It’s powerful and painful stuff, and makes quite clear just  how deranged the anti-Israel movement really is.

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Peter Wehner has a good point about politics: those of us who are most deeply committed are often the worst strategists because we have no perspective about what moves the ordinary American voter. This isn’t a Left/Right thing; it’s a “connecting to voters” thing. Now that I’ve written the preceding sentence, I can see that Obama won — twice — because he and his side had a better sense of which “voter buttons” to push. It helps, of course, that Democrats weren’t constrained by such old-fashioned notions as truth and decency, but the fact remains that McCain and Romney never connected with voters. I can’t help believe that,despite the despicable stuff coming from the Democrats, Reagan, with his sunny good humor and folksy ability to simplify complex ideas and relate them directly to voters, would have connected easily.

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My husband and I are watching season two of House of Cards on Netflix. Indeed, we expect to finish the series tonight. I agree with everything Andrew Klavan says about it.

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Kevin Williamson was adopted, a personal matter he brings up solely because he’s very concerned about a push across America to open previously closed adoptions. Being Kevin Williamson, he makes an excellent case about the right to privacy. Reading his article led me to a different thought. The Left is all about severing family ties, so that the state becomes all-powerful in people’s lives. It’s therefore funny that, in this single area, the state is all about forcing family ties where people don’t want them to exist.

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VDH has a great one about the Left’s war on science. The Left supported science when it dovetailed with Leftist ideology. Now that this dovetailing has ended (yes, life does begin before birth; no, California’s devastating drought has more to do with overpopulation and environmentalist kibosh’s on new reservoirs than it does with global warming), the Left has become defiantly anti-science — but, being the Left, it masks this defiance under the mantle of science. Always remember, Leftists are Humpty-Dumpty: they determine what words mean.

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And finally, Keith Koffler writes the scathing post Obama deserves for planning his third luxury vacation in as many months — a plane that Obama fears will be derailed because of that pesky Putin.  In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s campaign was “He kept us out of war.”  If Obama in the next few days manages to lay to rest America’s involvement in Ukraine, his personal motto will be “I kept us out of war so that I could go on vacation.”

Momentum builds to boycott the boycotters

Sometimes things are so perfectly timed, you know that they were meant to be.  Such is the case with three things that crossed my radar yesterday when I finally got a chance to spend a few hours at my computer.  The first is a wonderful image from Michal:

Palestinian boycott

The second is an article about legislators who have finally had enough of the BDS movement, at least insofar as it seeks to make Israel an academic pariah. The goal is to boycott the boycotters — that is, to put such pressure on those who would boycott Israel that the boycotters themselves must back off.

And the third thing is Evelyn Gordon’s observation that, while the BDS movement is full of sound it fury, it may actually be signifying a whole lot less than anyone realized:

One of the BDS movement’s greatest assets is the fact that its every success gets massive media coverage while its failures (ScarJo excepted) are largely ignored. That’s why anyone following the news in recent weeks would probably conclude that boycott, divestment, and sanctions were rapidly gaining ground. Yet in reality, BDS has suffered several major failures lately–and some of these failures bode ill for its future.

Read the rest here.

These two reports about BDS failures are not grounds for complacency.  As we know, the Left has the tenacity of a pit bull.  It never lets go.  Ever.  If you’d like to help de-fang the movement, StandWithUs is as good an organization as one can find for that purpose.

The insidious reach of the BDS movement

Armed guard at school in IsraelRob Miller writes wonderful things at his blog JoshuaPundit.  Excitingly, he’s now expanded his reach and will be a contributor at the Times of Israel.  He’s off to a rip-roaring start there, with a piece about the way BDS thinking (the antisemitic “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” movement) is so insidious that it’s principles now inform statements from people who have no idea what they’re saying.

As for my claim that the BDS movement is antisemitic, I’ll abandon that position when there are BDS movements against China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaya, Venezuela, huge chunks of Africa, etc. — in other words, when there are BDS movements against other nations that have totalitarian governments that overtly oppress people within their own borders, let alone in land that they won in a series of defensive wars.

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

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

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

Hat tip:  Lulu

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