Sunday night round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few things to round out the weekend.

** 1 **

Yesterday, I went to an exhibition soccer game — Real Madrid versus Inter Milan. The game, held in UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, was sold out. Despite that, it was a surprisingly lackluster game.

I think that flat feeling arose from a combination of factors. First, it wasn’t a real game, with real consequences. The players, mostly B-List players for both teams, looked more as if they were practicing than competing. Second, the mellow fans were generally enjoying the exhibition quality of the game, so they were cheering both sides equally. While this was very polite, it sucked the energy out of the stadium. In a real competitive game, you want some passion from the audience, as well as from the players.

And third, we were in the nosebleed section. I’m not complaining. It was lovely up there (albeit a little hot), especially since the field was spread out before us. I felt like an eagle. I also realized looking down on the field that soccer reminds me of WWI.

This is not as crazy an analogy as you might think. The players endlessly cycled back and forth over a few yards, constantly getting near each other’s goal and then being repulsed. Although each team played fluidly together, the nature of soccer meant there weren’t any set plays.

Watching it from up high, I thought that, in a way, this would have been what WWI’s trench warfare would have looked like to an alien being perched on a far-away planet, watching the war play out. The two sides faced off against each other and, up until the Americans came along, just endlessly pushed each other back and forth over the same 8 miles.

American football strikes me as being more like traditional American warfare. The battalion, or division, or unit, or whatever, comes up with a strategy and then charges ahead. Ideally, it gains ground and holds it. Less ideally, it gets pushed back and has to regroup. The discipline, though, requires unified forward motion, rather than an endlessly fluid back and forth.

When my kids played, I loved soccer because it made them run, which kids need, and I enjoyed watching my little darlings compete. Without one of my own kids on the field, I definitely like American football better than soccer.

** 2 **

In my earlier post, I said Hamas is worse than the Nazis were. One of the reasons I said that is that the Nazis valued their own (not their enemy’s, but their own) children.  Hamas, however, has decided that its children’s greatest utility is to act the role of corpse — and the younger the Palestinian child, the more enthusiastically Hamas tries to turn it into a dead body.

It turns out that Hamas’s disdain for its children exists independent of an active war with Israel. By its own admission, Hamas used its children as slave labor to build the many tunnels under Israel. One-hundred-sixty of those children died.

** 3 **

Joshua Muravchik is a wonderful writer. One of my favorite of his books is Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, which I highly recommend.  He’s just published another book, which is definitely going on my reading list: Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel.

I know I’m going to like the book because it touches upon a subject I’ve long blogged about, which is the death of the Jew in American culture. Jews no longer exist in American culture.  That marks a sea change from the situation in most of the 20th century.  From the 1910s through the 1970s, Jews were omnipresent, acting, singing, writing, producing, directing…. They made us laugh, cry, and think. That’s all vanished now.  The decline of American Jewry’s role in American life has mirrored Israel’s rise and fall in the eyes of the world.

** 4 **

Antisemitism is a completely irrational hatred. In Islam, antisemitism is predicated upon the words of a 7th century “prophet” who resented the fact that the Jews refused to abandon their faith in favor of his newly created one. For those thankfully few Christians who still hew to old-time antisemitism, their hatred for all Jews in the present day is because, 2,000 years ago, a very small group of Jews aided Christ to his destiny by turning him over to the Romans. For Leftists, hatred of Jews was born out of a 19th century hatred for those few Jews who were visibly capitalist, and now arises from the fact that, until Obama, Israel was seen as inextricably intertwined with America, the bastion of capitalism. None of the preceding justifications for hating Jews springs from a rational source.

Because antisemitism is irrational, it leads to truly stupid outcomes, revealing brains so steeped in hatred they are incapable of thought. Exhibit A is the BBC’s insane, inane tweet about Hamas’s unilateral breach of one of the cease-fires:

Read more at Twitchy.

** 5 **

Speaking of the BBC, the BBC likes “trigger warnings.” I know this, because I’ve seen clips from BBC news shows that use trigger warnings. Such warnings are really, really stupid.

** 6 **

Sarah Palin makes a good case for impeachment. Those who are opposed to immediate impeachment don’t look at President Obama’s conduct but, instead, look at the dynamics of impeachment: It makes for incredibly bad optics if Republicans impeach the first black president, especially right before an election. This means, of course, that Republicans are damned if they do (bad optics) and damned if they don’t (unconstitutional loose cannon in the White House).

Palin makes the point that, if we want to shift that dynamic, we need to educate the public so that more than 33% of them support impeachment:

Let’s go back to that poll I cited showing 33% of Americans agree with me on impeachment. It’s clear from the way these polls are conducted that most Americans aren’t aware of what constitutes impeachable offenses.

The Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors” are the basis for this serious remedy. The Framers used that term to mean a dereliction of duty, and the first duty of the president is to enforce our laws and preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton described impeachable offenses as “the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He called them “political” offenses because they “relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

[snip]

Impeachment isn’t necessarily for ordinary criminal acts, nor is it for bad political decisions or differences in opinion. We’re not saying, “Impeach him because his stimulus failed; he coddles Wall Street while dissing Main Street; he recklessly spends our tax dollars on skewed priorities, etc., etc.”

We’re saying he must be impeached for overstepping his Constitutional authority. Here are some examples: he broke the law in changing the Obamacare law by fiat, and he issued amnesty for illegal immigrants by fiat, and he committed fraud on the American people by lying that we could keep our health care if we like our health care, and he refused to secure our borders or halt this border crisis he caused. The list of abuse is long. Allowing any president to continue this lawlessness sets a precedent for future presidents that can allow destruction of our nation.

We’re acknowledging that there’s only one recourse in holding government accountable when led by a president who breaks the law. Remember the Constitution holds the president directly responsible for the executive branch. He can’t just vote “present” and keep feigning ignorance of all the scandals rocking his administration, any more than a mob boss can claim innocence because he didn’t personally do the hit. The buck stops with the guy at the top.

[snip]

Impeachment is the Constitution’s answer for a derelict, incompetent presidency, as well as for a lawless imperial presidency. Both describe the unprecedented problem we have with Obama.

** 7 **

AJStrata isn’t opposed to impeachment. He just says that it must wait until after the November election. In the meantime, he sees Obama as someone who is buying more than enough rope to hang himself. After all, executive actions are ephemeral, and can be undone as easily as they were done in the first place.

AJ thinks that Obama is trying to force impeachment before the election in the hope that it will hand Democrats a victory in November. The whole calculus changes — dramatically — if the Republicans sweep both House and Senate.

So, patience, everyone (including you, Sarah Palin). Patience is a great virtue and, as the next story shows, the lack of patience can be profoundly damaging. (Although in the case of the next story, thank God for impatience.)

** 8 **

I’ve pointed out in previous posts that, had Hamas been able to restrain itself from firing rockets into Israel, it would probably have successfully used its tunnels to invade Israel on Rosh Hashanah, killing thousands and kidnapping hundreds. Clarice Feldman makes an even better point:

The reason Hamas couldn’t resist firing rockets was because Israel was turning over every stone in an effort, first, to locate Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16; and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and then, once it was known they were murdered, to find their killers. (Incidentally, did I miss it or was President Obama completely silent about the brutal antisemitic murder of an American citizen? After all, Fraenkel held dual citizenship.)

So the real reason that Israel was able to deter a terror attack that would have rivaled in scope the 9/11 attack on Israel was because three young boys died at Hamas’s hands. I don’t know if it can, but I still hope that this knowledge brings some comfort to the boys’ families.  In a weird way, it means that the boys did not die in vain, since their deaths almost certainly saved thousands of lives.

** 9 **

When I took my daughter to a college fair, I ended up talking to a young woman from Austin, Texas, which is a lovely city despite a Leftist insanity rivaled only by Berkeley and Ann Arbor. I commented, as I always do when I talk about Texas, that I loved it there, but that the heat was killing. The woman told me earnestly that it’s much worse now thanks to global warming. I spared my daughter the embarrassment of calling that young woman on her uninformed lunacy. I bet the woman also thinks Austin is both wetter and dryer before — two assumptions that are completely wrong.

** 10 **

Deroy Murdock tries to help people understand the Israel/Hamas situation by asking them to imagine a violent Mexican terrorist organization south of California.

** 11 **

Just so you can get a feel for what the United States would look like if Progressives were completely in control, check out the insane San Francisco landlord scene. To call what landlords own there “private property” is an extraordinary misnomer. It’s “private property” in name only:

Landlords are challenging San Francisco’s latest move to discourage evictions from rent-controlled apartments, an ordinance requiring them to pay displaced tenants the difference between their current rent and the amount needed to rent a similar unit at market rates for two years.

** 12 **

Hamas treats Jews and its own people like disposable objects. Israel treats Palestinians like human beings:

Israel treats Gazans

** 13 **

Bless the Marines

Howard Stern

The cost of tunnels

Name changed ideology

Hillary disses women

Mid afternoon Friday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe lovely thing about summer is that I get to sleep in a little. I like that.

The less than lovely thing about summer is that I am never alone. More than that, if my family is near me, they want me. Sometimes they want me for irritating reasons, such as asking me to do things they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves (e.g., making themselves lunch); sometimes they want me for necessary things that only I can do (e.g., filling out the parent permission form for an activity or dealing with contractors); and sometimes they want me for flattering reasons (“I just want you to sit with me, Mommy.”). No matter the reason, I can’t write when they want me.

Other times, as is the case now, I have little bits and pieces of time within which to write. I’m therefore going to slam stuff out and you’ll just have to excuse the inevitable typos. If I proceed methodically here, I won’t be able to publish this until Monday.

** 1 **

Mitchell Langbert wrote an open letter to his state Senator asking that New York take away tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement:

I urge New York State to eliminate tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support involvement with the Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions movement. Such support is already illegal under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code, which prohibits the use of tax-exempt money for political and ideological purposes.

If Langbert is correct in the way he interprets the law, all of us should make a very big deal out of this one, not just in New York, but across America. (Hat tip: JKB.)

** 2 **

So far, Israel is doing very well. Ironically, one can say that she’s doing well because Obama hates her. With past administrations, when the president asked Israel to stop fighting Hamas, even when she was winning, Israel agreed to the request. She did so because all past administrations tacitly or explicitly promised that, if things get really bad, America will have Israel’s back.

Barack Obama, of course, doesn’t have Israel’s back. He’s mostly in Israel’s face, with a shiv aimed at her jugular. The fact that he manifestly dislikes Israel explains why Israel now refuses to listen to his pleas for her to back down. He’s got no carrot to entice her into listening to him, so Israel sneers at John Kerry when he, a Lurch without charm, insists Israel lay down her guns.

Israel is also doing well because Hamas is doing badly. The IDF put out a poster explaining just how badly Hamas is doing:

Hamas hurting

That poster doesn’t even acknowledge the 150 Hamas fighters who surrendered yesterday.

For more on just how well Israel is doing, you can read an American Thinker article that purports to report a conversation with a very highly placed Israeli specialist and Bibi advisor, or read Tom Rogan’s analysis about Israel’s success is splitting Hamas and Fatah.

** 3 **

That same Israeli specialist and advisor has no doubt about the basis for Obama’s hostility to Israel:

As for what is behind Obama’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, he attributes it to the fact that Obama is a Muslim and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps Obama also sees himself as the Caliph of any future Caliphate.

The other thing the post about the specialist mentions is Qatar’s involvement in funding radical Islam. Qatar also funds lots of soccer. My son loves soccer, and he can’t understand why I won’t let him buy gear from Qatar-funded teams.

** 4 **

Contrary to what the Left says or implies, the war between Israel and Hamas is not a case of powerful white people attacking helpless brown people. In fact, Israel is a multicultural, multiracial, multi-religious society — and all people of good will within that society, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, support stamping out the terrorism emanating from Gaza.

** 5 **

CNN’s Erin Burnett isn’t just another pretty face. She’s a really stupid pretty face, something that comes through loud and clear when Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador U.S., takes her to task for her inanely stupid “but what about the children” plea when it comes to the Gazan children that Hamas deliberate dots around weapons’ sites in Gaza.

Regarding Hamas’s tactics, I’m sure its supporters have made the point that the nature of Gaza (a small, urban area) means that Hamas can’t have nice military bases or remote areas where they can stockpile weapons. That’s true.

What’s also true, though, is that there are choices other than schools and hospitals for storing arms and mounting attacks. Moreover, when your enemy goes out of the way to give you advance warning that it plans to demolish the schools and hospitals in which they’ve determined you keep your weapons and fighters, there are choices other than ordering women and children and sick people to stay in those buildings.

There are always choices — and Hamas, when it chooses, always makes the least moral choice.

** 6 **

Meanwhile, as the world’s Muslims and Leftists castigate Israel for daring to defend herself in a more humane way than any other nation in history, most of the world is turning away from Muslim atrocities in Iraq and Syria. There, Muslims slaughter each other and Christians with fury and brutality, and in great numbers. Looking at this inconsistent behavior, one has to ask, If it’s not the oldest hatred that drives the obsessive focus on Israel, what is driving it?

** 7 **

Sultan Knish explains that terrorism is a tactic like any other. Traditional militaries think in terms of conquering land or towns. Terrorists think in terms of conquering minds through abject fear:

This emotional calculus is misleading because it is an immediate response to a set of deaths. However terrorists are not trading an end to violence for a village or a town. They are calculating how many deaths it will take to force Israel to abandon that village or town. And once they have it, they will use it to inflict more terror on another town or village, this time using rockets.

Israelis were convinced that a price in lives had been put on Gaza and that if they withdrew, the killing would end. But Gaza was just the beginning. Not the end. There is never an end.

The goal of a terrorist movement is to change the relative perceptions of strength and the freedom of movement of both sides. Terror tactics create the perception that the winning side is losing. This perception can be so compelling that both sides come to accept it as reality. Terrorists manufacture victories by trapping their enemies in no-win scenarios that wear down their morale.

Described that way, it’s hard to imagine how to defeat this profoundly cruel psychological warfare. Fortunately, though, Sultan Knish says it can be done but it will take political courage. Unfortunately, how often does one find courage in politics?

** 8 **

My back garden is dotted with solar lights. They’re cheap to buy and don’t require any electrical boxes, outlets, or cords in the garden. Buy enough of them, and they’ll illuminate deck stairs just enough so that no one falls or will keep people from wandering off a paved pathway into the dirt. It would take a whole let of them, though, plus a full moon, to allow you to read a book by their light. Solar energy just doesn’t deliver that much power, and that’s the problem with trying to turn it into a viable fossil fuel alternative.

** 9 **

You’ve heard it everywhere else, so you may as well hear it from me too: Jonathan Gruber, an important Obama-care architect, has castigated the Halbig decision for daring to read Obamacare’s language literally and, on that basis, deciding that subsidies only support state-run exchanges. Of course the government meant to include federal exchanges when it talked about subsidies, says Gruber.

A few years ago, though, Gruber was singing a different tune, when he gloated about tying subsidies to state exchanges. His theory then was that it would incentivize states to set up their own exchanges. In a sane world, Gruber would lay to rest the DemProg’s discontent with the Halbig decision, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

** 10 **

Kimberly Strassel says that the Halbig case proves that the IRS, which has become an arm of the Democrat party, cannot be entrusted with Obamacare. It will do anything, including disobeying the law as written, to support the Democrat agenda.  With that in mind, I wouldn’t just remove Obamacare from the IRS’s purview.  I would argue for eliminating it entirely, and starting anew.  (Like that’s going to happen.)

** 11 **

I don’t think Noemi Emery really explains the roots of Hillary’s sense of political and monetary entitlement, but in trying to explain it, she sure paints a picture of a women who believes that the White House and millions of dollars should be hers for the asking.

My take is that Hillary didn’t get to this point because of her Arkansas exile or victimized-wife roles. I believe she’s just your ordinary sociopath, who managed to lever herself into a power path, and now wants more just because she’s the sociopath she is.  In other words, her history didn’t make her a sociopath; the fact that she is a sociopath shaped her history.

** 12 **

Charles Krauthammer has offered a very interesting theory about Obama’s bizarre passivity as the world burns around him: he believes that the arc of history will go his way so that he can just sit back and watch it happen.

If that idea — that bad guys will wither away in any event — sounds familiar, it’s because you heard it from Jimmy Carter about our own American Revolution:

[I]n some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.

Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial‘s really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.

I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

See, if you’re just a little nicer to people on the other side of a quarrel, they’ll fall in line with you. It’s that easy. So if Obama just doesn’t throw America’s weight around, everyone will make nice in the end.  Obama is helped in this theory by the fact that he seems happy to have that arc of history bend to Islam, not the western, Judeo-Christian tradition.

** 13 **

In the 1930s, many decent-ish people in Europe and England supported Hitler’s rise. That’s because initially they saw his fascism as the European antidote to Communism. It somehow never seemed to occur to Europeans, accustomed as they were to autocratic government, that the choice wasn’t binary, between a tyrannical government that destroyed the rich and a tyrannical government that co-opted them. Individual freedom never occurred to them.  That was stupidity, or at least limited thinking, on their part.

These same Europeans stopped being decent-ish but stupid, and became evil, though, when they still supported the Nazis despite the latter’s increasingly insane antisemitism.  That’s another legacy of the European past — it wasn’t just autocratic; it was also antisemitic. European’s embrace of antisemitism into addition to totalitarianism is less forgivable than accepting totalitarianism alone, while the latter is a structural ideology, the former is pure evil.

Fascism and communism may be gone from Europe, and socialism may be dying on the vine there, but the antisemitism lingers on. That oldest hatred seems to be bred into the European DNA. Nor can one just blame the huge Muslim populations in Europe for antisemitism’s resurgence. Just as the Ukrainians and Poles and French, while resenting Nazi invasions, supported Nazi ethnic cleansing, too many of today’s Europeans, while frightened of the Muslims, cheerfully (and almost reflexively) chime in when the cry to “Kill the Jews” rings out.

** 14 **

Mr. Bookworm is convinced that I abandoned him politically when I moved from Democrat to conservative. I keep explaining to him that he abandoned me too, because he’s been moving steadily to the Left. He denies that, since he still rejoices under the name “Democrat.” Hard data, though, seems to support my perception.

** 15 **

A palette-cleanser:

** 16 **

Hamas priorities

This clever twist on a London Underground map makes a powerful point about Hamas’s tunneling under Israel’s borders and into her towns. If Hamas, instead of being impatient and firing rockets, had waited quietly, it’s possible it could have carried out a terrorist attack in Israel that would easily have rivaled 9/11. Thank goodness, I guess, for impatient terrorists.

Gaza underground

The round-up I meant to do yesterday

Victorian posy of pansiesI got so taken up yesterday with my post asking if Obama is truly deranged that I never got around to sharing with you all the great material I found. Some things, however, only improve with age, so here they are.

** 1 **

When I was in Norway last summer, part of me really liked it, because it’s exquisitely beautiful and has fascinating museums commemorating its history (especially the Viking museum and the Open Air Museum). The other part of me, though, couldn’t forget that a stroll through Norway is kind of like a stroll through Nazi Germany in 1935 — not everyone’s a vile anti-Semite, but enough are to make it reasonable for you to view all with suspicion.

** 2 **

JoshuaPundit noticed something missing from Pew’s poll about American’s attitudes towards other religions: It conveniently “forgot” to ask Muslims how they feel about other religions. Could it be that Pew didn’t want the ugly truth about Muslim intolerance to leak out?

** 3 **

A 42-year-old, single, working man is at his peak: Physically and mentally mature, earning money (in theory), and still capable of fathering children. A 42-year-old, single, working woman is staring at the end of the line: She’s old in a youth-obsessed culture (when it comes to women), her career is her whole life, and she is unlikely ever to be a parent. Feminist promises about men and fish and bicycles were lies. No wonder she’s unhappy.

** 4 **

Brandeis doesn’t want Ayaan Hirsi Ali to say mean things about the Muslims who mutilated her, brutally murdered her friend and colleague, and continue to hunt her down.  It’s not always so sensitive, though.  The university named after the first Jewish Supreme Court justice is all good with having rabid anti-Semites on its faculty. More on the subject here.

** 5 **

While the world is weeping for the Gaza residents that Hamas has turned into cannon fodder, Gaza residents are actually fine with the whole thing. They’re especially sanguine when their own bombs kill them. It’s all part of the “glorious martyrdom for TV package.”

** 6 **

If you read only one thing about the evil that is Gaza and Hamas, and the complicity of a Western world that sides with terrorist monsters, read Charles Krauthammer’s latest opinion piece. It could easily be titled “Here Be Evil.”

** 7 **

“It’s for the children” is the Leftist cry . . . except when the mother of two young children is a law-abiding citizen who owns a perfectly legal gun to protect her safety in dangerous situations. In that case, “throw her butt in jail” becomes the cry from the anti-gun cadre.

** 8 **

In Detroit, though, at least one person is wising up. The Police Chief there credits gun-owning homeowners with a substantial reduction in that broken city’s crime rate. God bless the man!

** 9 **

It appears possible that the Left overreached itself with the border invasion. Of course, that doesn’t mean that America’s demographics haven’t been permanently changed in Democrats’ favor. Or . . . maybe not.  It turns out that Obama’s own Democrat politicians (outside of the Pelosi/Reid claque) aren’t so happy with what’s happening at the border either.

** 10 **

My mother’s San Francisco Jewish friends all raved about Ari Shavit’s book The Promised Land : The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. My Mom therefore read the book, which described many events she personally experienced or that her friends personally experienced.  She concluded that the book’s view of events before and during the Israeli War of Independence was a lie.

Martin Kramer looks at just one of those events — the claimed Lydda massacre — and clarifies just how much of a lie it was. Everything is explained when you learn that Shavit was a Ha’aretz writer. Ha’aretz is Israel’s Leftist paper, which is dying on the vine as Israelis realize how greatly the Left betrayed them.

** 11 **

Two videos from two brilliant political and cultural commentators:

Wednesday night mostly (but not entirely) Middle East round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust some stuff that wandered across my screen:

-1-

Brendan O’Neill pulls no punches: It’s no coincidence that the rage against Israel sounds remarkably like anti-Semitism. This is an article that I shared with my “real me” Facebook friends, as I’m sharing dozens of other pro-Israel pieces. This time around, the war has to be fought not just on the front lines, but in the cyber world too, where we’re all combatants.

-2-

One of the things that makes it easier to share this information with my “real me” friends (most of whom are Democrats) is the fact that support for Israel is appearing in the media they trust. For example, Time Magazine ran an opinion piece by Rabbi Eric Yoffe about the immoral demand for proportionality in a fight between Israel, which goes to extraordinary length to protect civilians, both hers and theirs; and Hamas, which would put its own children in its rocket launchers if it thought it could kill more Jews that way.

Indeed, the Washington Post, which has long been hostile to Israel, has suddenly realized this unpalatable truth about the cause it’s so long championed:

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks.

-3-

Jonah Goldberg turns his gimlet eye on the ridiculous claim that Israel is committing genocide in Hamas. If there’s a genocide in Hamas, Hamas is committing it against its own children:

-4-

Tom Rogan on the fact that Hamas is a dead-end, with an emphasis on the word “dead.” It’s a death cult. The fact that it will kill its own people pointlessly in a fight with Israel is irrelevant to it.  The fact that it will stand on nothing but dust at the end of the day is irrelevant to it.  It’s set to “kill” and can do nothing else.

-5-

Michael Totten crafts an exquisite insult against Hamas:

The Israelis are seriously considering a ground invasion since Hamas won’t stop firing, but they’ve already proved to the population of Gaza that Hamas, even with its all its longer-range missiles, is capable of inflicting no more damage on the Zionist Entity than a lone killer armed with only a steak knife.

-6-

Grotesque propaganda won’t save Hamas this time.  People now know what to look for:

-7-

You guys all know I have a special soft spot in my heart for Marines. That’s why I find stories about men such as the “Lion of Fallujah,” who served both the Marines and the CIA in Iraq, incredibly moving.

-8-

Pardon me for being crude, but maybe I like Marines because many of them seem to have bigger balls than the next guy — witness Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking truth to power (his boss, President Obama) about the administration’s obvious missteps in the Middle East.

-9-

Charles Hurt says what intelligent people intuitively understand: If you make people pay directly for something, you cannot reasonably tell them they don’t have any say in the thing for which they’re paying — or in the economic consequences flowing from that purchase. Even if you shriek that the law gives them no voice, they still think they have a voice.

-10-

How many times have I said that one of the things that’s moving me away from being pro-Choice and towards pro-Life is the fact that the pro-Choice side of the equation is really a pro-Death viewpoint? I simply cannot find myself siding with people who turn infant and maternal death into an untouchable sacrament. But that is what they do, and this is nowhere shown more plainly than in a bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D. Conn.) authored, removing all state control from abortions. (David French calls it the “Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act of 2014.”)

-11-

If I ever bothered to think about Simon Cowell, I pretty much thought of him as a genius impresario, and not much more. Now, though, I do think much more of him — he donated $150,000 to the Israeli Defense Force. Hurrah for Simon Cowell!

-12-

Pictures:

Good at making excuses

Holders view of critics

That awkward moment

You left the toilet seat up

When the combatants are morally unequal, it is immoral to treat them in the same way

One of the really icky things about the Left is that it lacks a moral compass.  There is no good or evil.  There are only evil haves and victimized have-nots.

In a sane moral universe, cultural arbiters would readily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East.  The good guys are the ones that give equal rights to all religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, or Atheist.  The bad guys are the ones that impose horrific burdens on those who do not follow the bad guys’ faith, with those burdens ranging from increased taxes, exile from the land of their ancestors, beatings, and mass murder.

The good guys are the ones that do not torture or kill people because of their sexual orientation.  The bad guys are the ones who routinely torture and hang gay men.

The good guys are the ones who acknowledge that women are fully equal to men, and are therefore entitled to both respect and civil rights.  The bad guys are the ones who view women as inherently evil, lascivious, stupid, and dangerous and, to that end segregate them; dehumanize them through clothing; institutionalize pedophilia; mutilate them; deprive them of basic freedoms, liberties, and rights; and turn any of their infractions, whether criminal or social, into capital crimes.

The good guys are the ones who put into place a defense system that allows them to suffer through thousands of rocket attacks before making the decision to retaliate and who, when they retaliate, will abort solid attacks against known targets if they realize that children are in the line of fire.  The bad guys are the ones who take land for peace, only to break their bargain immediately and rain rockets down upon the opposite entity in the exchange.  And the bad guys are the one who view children as both targets and shields, because they care more about propaganda than lives.

In a sane world, if these two entities went to war because the good guys got tired of years of being the bad guys’ target practice, coverage would be much like the news was in the years leading up to and during WWII:  the good guys would be praised and supported, while the bad guys would be excoriated.  Back in those days, the media knew that the Allies had some bad individuals amongst them and that there were Axis soldiers who were forced to fight and hated what they did.  The media understoid the fundmentak difference, though, between the Axis powers and the Allies — the latter was a healthy society fighting against a sick one before the sick society’s cancer could spread.

Those days of sanity are over.  The media hasn’t gone quite so far as to pretend that the bad guys — the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the Islamists — are actually fighting a good fight.  They do something much more insidious, because only people who pay attention are aware — as Dennis Prager explains, they pretend that the two sides are the same:

[A]n evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.

How has the New York Times reported this?

On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.

What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.

The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.

If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.

The Times technique works only too well.  Just today, one of the women in my mother’s retirement community said that none of this would happen if the Israelis would just give Gaza back to the Palestinians.  She was surprised when my mother told her that Israel had already done this years ago, only to be rewarded with a barrage of rockets.  The MSM, which this lady watches assiduously, failed to make that point clear.

Prager’s conclusion, after giving more examples of the Times inability to understand moral absolutes, is the same as that with which I started this post:

As the flagship news source of the Left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor rather than between good and evil.

Why Gingrich said something important when he talked about an “invented” people

Others have said it, but I like best the way Evelyn Gordon said it.  After confirming the historic accuracy of Newt’s claim (namely, that Arabs moved into the land at the end of the 19th century, rather than having lived there since time immemorial), Gordon goes on:

One might ask why this should matter: Regardless of when either Jews or Palestinians arrived, millions of both live east of the Jordan River​ today, and that’s the reality policymakers must deal with. But in truth, it matters greatly – because Western support for Palestinian negotiating positions stems largely from the widespread view that Palestinians are an indigenous people whose land was stolen by Western (Jewish) interlopers.

Current demographic realities would probably suffice to convince most Westerners that a Palestinian state should exist. But the same can’t be said of Western insistence that its border must be the 1967 lines, with adjustments possible only via one-to-one territorial swaps and only if the Palestinians consent. Indeed, just 44 years ago, UN Resolution 242 was carefully crafted to reflect a Western consensus that the 1967 lines shouldn’t be the permanent border. So what changed?

The answer lies in the phrase routinely used to describe the West Bank and Gaza today, but which almost nobody used back in 1967, when Israel captured these areas from Jordan and Egypt, respectively: “occupied Palestinian territory.” This phrase implies that the land belongs to the Palestinians and always has. And if so, why shouldn’t Israel be required to give back every last inch?

But if the land hasn’t belonged to the Palestinians “from time immemorial” – if instead, both Palestinians and Jews comprise small indigenous populations augmented by massive immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the West Bank and Gaza becoming fully Judenrein only after Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 – then there’s no inherent reason why the border must necessarily be in one place rather than another. To create two states, a border must be drawn somewhere, but that “somewhere” should depend only on the parties’ current needs – just as the drafters of Resolution 242 envisioned.

Read the rest here.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yesterday, White House officials were telling Jake Tapper that Obama would support Israel.  Any minute moments of hope I cherished that the administration actually meant what it said were swiftly dashed.  This is Obama’s version of support:

The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.

The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.

As is this:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.

While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.

“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.

Just so you know, even though the Obama administration seems to have misunderstood the facts on the ground, there is a good reason for the blockade:

Hezbollah in Lebanon, which shares a land border with Syria and is not under blockade, has a gigantic arsenal of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the Middle East, and that arsenal includes missiles that can reach every single inch of Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, downtown Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear power plant. The next war between Israel and Hezbollah will likely mean missiles, artillery shells, and payloads from air strikes will explode all over the Eastern Mediterranean, making last year’s small war in Gaza look even smaller.

Hamas has a relatively tiny arsenal of crude rockets, but if the Gaza Strip were not under military blockade, it could acquire whatever weapons Syria and Iran felt like sending by ship. Gaza could bristle with as many destructive projectiles as Hezbollah has. Food and medicines are allowed into the Strip already, so the most significant difference between Gaza now and a Gaza without a blockade will be the importation of weapons and war material.

More Israelis would be likely to die during the ensuing hostilities, and an even larger number of Palestinians would be likely to die when Israel fights back harder against a better armed and more dangerous adversary.

And again, let me remind everyone (although I know Obama isn’t listening to little ol’ me), the blockade blocks weapons, not anything else.

Having now gotten a glimpse at Obama’s “support,” I have to ask:  What the Hell does life look like if you’re on Obama’s enemies list, rather than receiving his “support”?  Does he come in the night and flay you alive while robotically reciting his boring, pompous meaningless speeches?  I’m no longer pretending that Obama is inept, or misguided, or stupid, although I think he is all those things.  I’m convinced he is evil, as only a true antisemite can be.

It’s a sad day when the only person in a presidential administration making any sense and showing any signs of human decency is Joe Biden, who really stepped up and said the right thing this time:

“I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel’s need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas’s control of Gaza:

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship–if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight–3,000 rockets on my people,’ ” Biden said.

Kudos to Biden.  He’s not right often, but when he’s right, he lands it square in the middle of the target.

To clear your brain from the miasma that is Obama-think, please read Michael Oren’s op-ed, which the New York Times at least had the decency to publish.

Israel blocks leftists — including McKinney — from delivery aid to Gaza

Israel stopped a contingent of Hamas supporters who tried to run a blockade bringing money and supplies into Gaza.  Cynthia McKinney figures prominently in their number:

The Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying foreign peace activists – including a San Rafael woman – trying to break a blockade of Gaza on Tuesday and forced it to sail to an Israeli port, the military said.

A statement said the Greek-registered freighter Arion ignored a radio message from the Israeli military saying it would not be allowed to enter Gaza waters and ordering it to turn back.

[snip]

Also on board (in addition to a Marin County resident) is former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire and other activists from Britain, Ireland, Bahrain and Jamaica.

[snip]

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers. “Nobody wants to keep them here,” he said. “They will be released as soon as they are checked.”

The Free Gaza Movement has organized five boat trips to Gaza since August 2008, defying a blockade imposed by Israel when the militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from its Palestinian rivals in June 2007.

This blockade running is a stunt, of course.  Unlike sieges of old, Israel is not imposing a blockade in order to cause the citizens of Gaza to experience famine and disease.  The amount of government-sanctioned money flowing into Gaza from all points of the world is staggering.   In 2009 alone, Saudi Arabia promised $58.9 million; President Obama (bless his little Leftist heart) promised a staggering $900 million; and, ‘tho I can’t find 2009 figures, as little as two years ago, Europe was giving annual aid at the 500 million Euro level.  None of this, of course, is chump change.  If the Palestinians had spent it wisely, they could have had a true Utopia.  As it is, because they are a mix of corruption and murderous hatred, they’ve created a foul dystopia.

But I digress.  Given the money that pours into Gaza, and given that Israel allows food, water and electricity to flow into that hate-filled territory, why the Israeli blockade?  Only useful idiots would fail to see that the blockade is a desperate effort to prevent arms from flowing into Gaza.  As it is, despite the blockade, Israel deals with thousands of rocket attacks annually.  One only shudders to think what would happen without a blockade.

I’m willing to believe that the useful idiots on that ship have nothing to do with arms smuggling.  Frankly, they’re too dumb to be trusted with what is, after all, a delicate task.  They are cover, pure and simple.  Hamas has discovered that there’s no better way simultaneously to hide and support their murderous agenda than to encourage the belief on the part of the credulous on the Left that Palestinians are victims of a genocidal Israel plot.  One of the hallmarks of Leftists, both those who are informed and committed, and those who are merely stupid, is the inability to realize that not all Goliaths (that is, all big guys) are bad, and not all Davids (that would be the little guys) are good.

As I’ve said time and again in this blog, it’s not enough to be little.  You have to stand for something good to be deserving of the David appellation and the world’s assistance.  Right now, there are Davids in the world, but they are the Iranian citizens facing the guns and axes of their own government in an effort to bring some small measure of freedom to their totalitarian corner of the world.

Somehow, though,  I don’t think I’ll see Cynthia McKinney and her fellow-travelers making a stand for Iranian citizens any time soon.  She takes her cue from our President, who seemingly has never met a totalitarian government he hasn’t liked.

Fighting an enemy that uses its own people as weapons

Using your own people as weapons is not a new tactic.  During WWII, the Soviet Union was effective against the Germans, not because it had good weapons, but because it had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder.  When the Germans advanced on Russia, the Soviets threw unarmed men in front of the Germans, causing the Germans to exhaust their missiles and bullets, even as the Soviets willingly threw more bodies in front of the guns.

What the Soviets did was just a numbers game — “our population is so big that, even semi-armed, it can absorb all your bullets and leave you dangling” — but what Hamas did in 2008 in the Gaza strip was little bit different.  Hamas fighters made a calculated decision to use civilians as an integral part of Hamas’ own weapons infrastructure.  This IDF, using data discovered during Operation Cast Lead, explains how Hamas operated:

AP serves as Hamas propaganda arm — again

Here’s a sickening AP story blaming Israel for the “trauma” inflicted on Gazan children.  The story’s only acknowledgment that Hamas itself placed the children in the line of fire is the following paragraph, one that is carefully crafted to make it seem as if it was Israel’s fault that the poor Hamas fighters had to crowd into those child-infested residential areas:

Facing the Israeli invasion, Hamas gunmen often operated from densely populated Gaza neighborhoods, drawing massive Israeli fire that killed and wounded large numbers of civilians, along with fighters. Tens of thousands fled their homes, seeking shelter in U.N. schools.

Even worse, the whole article fails even to mention that Hamas has been raining rockets on Israel for years, with schools as its favorite target, or that it is Hamas that has created a perpetual war culture that puts its children at risk.

The story is a gross piece of propaganda that is entirely consistent with AP’s manifest bias.  And I say all this with due sympathy for the poor children who are victimized, not by Israel — a nation that called in its attacks in advance to give the children time to escape — but by their own countrymen, who gleefully use them as intentional targets precisely so that they can garner this kind of maudlin, dishonest (but sadly far-reaching) press coverage.

A mish-mash

It’s been an incoherent day, one that never gave me the opportunity for contemplation and writing.  Instead, I’ve been bopping here and there, and dealing with one thing and another.  Nevertheless, I have been tracking the news, so I thought I’d just write up a mish-mash of thoughts about current issues and events.

Gaza

The top issue/event, obviously, is Gaza.  By now you’ve all seen the hysterical headline about Israel having blown up a UN school, killing scores of civilians.  At the exact second I read the words “UN school,” I knew it wasn’t a school at all but was, instead, a weapons storage facility and a headquarters for fighters.  Why did I know this?  Because the UN in Gaza is completely complicit with Hamas.  In that part of the world, the two are one and the same entity.  I also knew that the school wasn’t really a school because Gaza intentionally places fighters and weapons around children precisely so that it garner this type of scare headline.  Michelle Malkin has a fact-filled post detailing all the many ways in which my instincts on this one were dead on the money.

Speaking of Hamas setting its children up as targets so that it can further vilify Israel in the eyes of the world, you really must read Ron Rosenbaum’s article explaining why, to the extent there are differences between Hamas and the Nazis, Hamas is infinitely worse.  As part of that line of thinking, it’s worth noting that even the Nazis weren’t willing to sacrifice their own children merely to score propaganda points.

As is always the case, everyone in the world outside of America is urging Israel to back down.  (In America, while Obama is ominously quiet, even Dirty Harry Reid has acknowledged Israel’s right to defend against the non-stop rocket attacks that have poured death and destruction on the land for years now.)  In the past, Israel has listened.  This time, I’m hoping against hope that she gives the world the middle finger and does what she has to do to defend herself.  I’ve never understood why Israel, rather like the pathetic nerdy kid in high school, keeps twisting herself into damaging contortions to satisfy people who will despise her regardless.  Eventually, the nerd just has to go it alone and the hell with the critics.

Incidentally, although the world doesn’t deserve good fortune, if Israel is wise enough to give it the finger, it may just get good fortune anyway — the good fortune in this case being that an Israeli victory against Hamas in Gaza is also an Israeli victory against the mad Mullahs in Iran.  As has been the case for decades now, Israel is our proxy, and we should be grateful that she’s putting her bodies on the line so we don’t have to.

And one last word on the subject:  Reader Lulu send me an email pointing out something interesting, which is that Hezbollah is doing nothing right now.  You’d think that this would be a perfect time for Hezbollah to force a two-front war on Israel.  That it’s not doing so might be a good indication that, all propaganda to the contrary, Israel may have inflicted serious damage on it back in 2006.  Iran can replace the arms, but maybe she can’t replace the men.

God

In England, the atheists have launched an ad campaign encouraging people to abandon religion so that they can be happy.  One of the brains behind this initiative is Ariane Sherine. She decided to launch the ad campaign because “she became angry after noticing a set of Christian advertisements carrying a website address which warned that people who reject God are condemned to spend all eternity to ‘torment in Hell.’”

I’m perfectly willing to admit that trying to scare people into religion may not be the smartest way to go about things.  I do find the ad campaign peculiar, though, because I was under the impression that polls show religious people are more happy, not less happy, than the average atheist (putting aside the fact that the average vocal atheist always seem to be a pretty darn angry person).

As you all know, I’m a big believer in the many virtues of religion, although not particularly religious myself.  Aside from liking the core moral aspects religion brings, I’ve also always appreciated (and envied) the way religion brings meaning to life.

In a religious world, man is not just a random collection of atoms, molecules, cells and organs, put on earth to procreate and scrabble for food until he dies.  Instead, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition with which I’m familiar, man’s life has meaning and purpose.  Whether God used evolution as his tool or instant creation, man exists in God’s image.  His corporeal body may not necessarily be the mirror image of God’s being, but he is in God’s image to the extent that his mind and spirit are attuned to justice and a higher purpose.  We’re not just meaningless bugs.  We are something special and our time on earth has meaning, whether we emphasize that in our own lives or not.

All of which is to say that it strikes me as mighty darn peculiar to advertise an absence of religion as the answer to the search for happiness.  You might as well say, “You’re a meaningless bug.  Get used to it.”

Tolerance

While the first wave of hysteria following the passage in California of Prop. 8 has finally died down, hard feelings continue.  A Catholic Church in San Francisco was covered with offensive graffiti, likening the church and its parishioners to Nazis. The beautiful irony of this story is that this particular church, located near the Castro district, has always been a welcoming place to gays.

Aside from the fact that vandals, by their very nature, can’t be expected to be intelligent (I guess), I find it strange that we live in a world in which hewing to unexceptional traditional values that span all cultures and all times is an invitation to vandalism.  As you know, I’d be perfectly happy to see the state get out of the marriage business, leaving that to religion, and instead get into the domestic partnership business, with an emphasis on encouraging stable behaviors that strengthen society.  Pending that unlikely situation, however, I can’t help but wonder if the gay marriage advocates realize that offending ordinary people who support ordinary values is not likely to advance their cause.

How liberals would fight wars *UPDATED*

Vacation is over and I’m back to my work schedule, which means no more morning blogging (not that I was very inspired in the morning during vacation).  Still, I had to share this gem with you.

I spoke with a liberal friend yesterday, who is lukewarm about Israel, and he told me that Israel absolutely cannot fight this war because it’s killing children and that’s unacceptable.  This dialogue ensued:

Me:  Did you know that before any strike on a building, Israel gives a warning to the residents to evacuate?

LF:  No.  If that were true, it would be headlined in the news.

Me:  It is true.  It’s just buried in the stories.  What’s also buried is that the Gazans use those warnings to hustle children back into the buildings.

LF:  No.  That’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

(This went a few rounds and then stopped.)

Me:  You do know that Gaza has fired over 5,000 rockets into Israel, right?

LF:  Yeah, but they didn’t do any harm.

Me:  You do know that the last few, supplied by Iran, fell within about 13 miles of Tel Aviv?  (Note:  I think I got those mileage stats correct.)

LF:  Well, I guess they have to defend themselves.

Me:  How would you have them defend themselves?

LF:  They should have announced to the world that, if Gaza didn’t stop firing rockets by January 2, then they’d attack Gaza.

Me:  They did announce to the world that they were going to attack Gaza.

LF:  No.  that’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

At this point, we glared at each other in frustration, and the conversation ended.

UPDATE:  I wonder if this kind of editorial, in a reputable liberal paper (the LA Times), would change my friend’s mind.  It spells out carefully the real issues involved in the current war (Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, the fact that Israel is not the only nation out there that fears Iran, and the way in which Hamas manipulates the media precisely in order to fool credulous liberals).