Wednesday mid-day round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesHang on to your hats, because this round-up’s a big one (and quite interesting too, I hope).

Reading through my own posts, I have a sense of a world rushing unstoppably towards something catastrophic. I think many feel this way, which is why they’re so terribly aware of the 100th anniversary of WWI’s onset, when a series of seemingly small events triggered the first of the 20th century’s blood baths.

Rather than think of current events as the beginning of the end, I’m trying to think of them as the building crisis that becomes before one can lance a boil. Lance too soon, and things only get worse. But if you let that boil come to a head, and lance it at the right moment, you kill the boil, not the patient.

It’s an ugly, graphic analogy, I know, but I often remind myself that, less than 100 years ago, shortly after WWI started, Rupert Brooke died after the battle of Gallipoli, not from a wound, but from an infected mosquito bite. It’s better if infections don’t start but, once they do, you have only a small window of time within which to defeat them.

As for Brooke, in the first heady days of WWI, when well-raised boys just out of school still viewed the war through a romantic, chivalric lens, and before the full horrors of trench warfare wiped out entirely Victorian innocence, he wrote this famous poem:

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

** 1 **

While we’re acknowledging the past, I’m sorry to report that another great member of the greatest generation has passed: Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving member of the crew of the Enola Gay, died at aged 93. Paul Tibbets, the plane’s pilot, speaking of VanKirk, who was his navigator, and Paul Ferebee, his bombardier, described them once as “the best qualified airmen in the outfit.” VanKirk, especially, had an uncanny knack for getting the plane precisely over the designated target.  Tibbets, VanKirk, and Ferebee, saw themselves as the Three Musketeers.

VanKirk never regretted his role in dropping the first atomic bomb:

“I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run,” VanKirk told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. “There were a lot of lives saved. Most of the lives saved were Japanese.”

He’s right, too. We now know that, had the war continued using traditional methods, while Japan would eventually have surrendered, it would only have done so after hundreds of thousands of civilians died on mainland Honshu. Moreover, 60,000 – 100,000 more Americans would have died. With those numbers, the atomic bomb was a no-brainer.

Dutch VanKirk, I salute you! Godspeed.

The crew of the Enola Gay viewed themselves as the "Three Musketeers" -- the pilot, the bombardier, and the navigator.

The crew of the Enola Gay viewed themselves as the “Three Musketeers” — the pilot, the bombardier, and the navigator.

** 2 **

PJ Media has put together a compendium of the way in which Hamas uses children, women, and animals — i.e., living beings within the society who have no free will — to carry out their dastardly double aims of killing Jews and manipulating world opinion.

** 3 **

Dan Gordon’s encomium to the heroes in the IDF left me in tears.

** 4 **

A black Jewish woman cries “Shame!” at those American blacks (the majority) who support Hamas against Israel. She begins by reminding them that it was the Muslims who drove the slave trade in Africa, and then goes on from there.

** 5 **

Seth Mandel claims that Hamas’s tactics show that it’s losing the ground war. No wonder Obama is doing is best, vis-a-vis Israel, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

** 6 **

And please ignore anyone who says that anti-zionism is different from anti-Semitism. Greg cleanly kills that fallacious argument.

** 7 **

Is Israel ignoring Obama, not just because he’s a useless, pustular excrescence on the world’s body politic, but also because they’re hoping to run out the clock on Hamas’s welcome amongst the Palestinians themselves?

** 8 **

The Israeli media has hurt the State Department’s feelings — and the State Department appears incapable of understanding that Israel, like America, has a free press. This means, of course, that the media’s statements are independent of the Israeli government. The State Department, however, is acting as if the Israeli media is like Pravda, or like any of the drive-by media outlets here at home, which robotically parrot the administration’s party line.

** 9 **

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but a lot of DemProgs are just plain stupid. A blog called The Delaware Liberal has put forward its plan to end the war between Israel and Hamas. The premise, of course, is that the combatants are morally equivalent. The DL therefore proposes that there be an externally-imposed one-state solution.

This is a typical Leftist trope, with its biggest proponent being Samantha Powers. That’s the kind of stupid we already know. What makes this specific proposal a new and wonderful stupid is this paragraph:

An international intervention, first offered voluntarily and if denied, forced on the two parties…probably with the UN as a peacekeeping force but with major trusted groups from both sides providing the reorganization: ie: the Arab League, UN and maybe NATO.

Yes, because the Arab League, the UN, and NATO have been such impartial, objective friends to Israel. For anyone who lives in Reality World, all of the objective evidence currently available indicates that the UN is actively complicit in advancing Hamas’s military and genocidal goals. No wonder Roger Simon says it must be stopped. (Not that it will be stopped, especially because it’s putting into practice what America’s foreign policy leader — that would be Obama — supports in theory.)

** 10 **

Richard Fernandez wrote a great post about the denial that characterizes Washington’s view of Islamists. In a way, what’s even better than the post itself, is a comment Wretchard left to that post:

There’s an unconscious soft bigotry in the press coverage of the region. Nobody wants to accept that these exotically caparisoned militants are serious. They’re not out to ‘end the cycle of hatred’ or to ‘promote reconciliation’ or to ‘seek justice’. They are out for conquest. They are out for blood. They are determined to grind their heel into the enemy’s face and carry off everything he owns. Or, as one Iranian general put it: they are out to hunt the Jews house to house.

Yet even when they say it, we insist on misunderstanding them, as if they were retarded children, which they are not. “Surely you don’t mean that? Don’t you want a ceasefire? Of course you do. Can’t we all stand on a mountaintop and share a Coke?”

If we could only listen to ourselves we would conclude that we were loco in the coco.

The only thing that distinguishes Israel is they, alone of all the countries in the region, are the only ones willing to humor us. To put up with this crazy talk. Obama is Napoleon, in the sense that inmates in the funny farm are convinced they are the former Emperor of France. Sure boss, sure you’re Napoleon. Anybody can see that.

The Middle East is mentally at war. And the West is mentally on the happy ranch.

** 11 **

Using the Halbig decision as his starting point, Robert Tracinski has penned a mournful elegy for America’s once robust and intelligent approach to drafting laws.

** 12 **

For your convenience, fellow Watcher’s Council member Tom White (at VA Right) has put together a compendium of all the Gruber statements supporting the fact that, despite generally not knowing what was in the Obamacare bill, the Democrats in Congress definitely meant to limit subsidies to state exchanges:

** 13 **

“I was for Obamacare before I was against it.” That could be a quotation from the mouth of any college professor who thought Obamacare was a great idea (and propagandized to his students about it), but has now discovered that, when actually put into play, Obamacare is a bad deal for college professors.  I’d be laughing myself sick if they were the only ones suffering from this legislative travesty.

** 14 **

Things are starting to emerge about Lois Lerner, and I’m not talking about evidence regarding her professional capacity as the leader of an IRS program to destroy use the IRS’s incredible power to silence pro-Israel, anti-Obama voices by denying them the tax-free status awarded to DemProgs. Instead, we’re learning about Lois Lerner, the person.

For example, we now know she’s Lois Lerner the conservative hater (they’re “a**holes”):

Lois Lerner conservative hater

We’ve also learned that she’s Lois Lerner the class snob and spelling idiot (sneering at the “hoi paloi”):

Lois Lerner snob

It’s all well and good to sneer right back at Lerner, but it’s worth remember that she is part of a Democrat elite class that runs the administrative branch of this country and that, thanks to public sector unions, has made itself virtually untouchable.

** 15 **

And really, in what sane universe is anyone okay with the IRS interfering with American foreign policy?

** 16 **

So, Jesse Ventura managed to win a $1.8 million judgment against Chris Kyle’s’ widow. The responses at Twitchy express how I feel.

** 17 **

I’m not much for Twitter (its enforced brevity doesn’t work well with my loquacity), but even I’d noticed that AP’s tweets have become semi-literate and manifestly biased. A once somewhat decent news agency has utterly debased itself.

** 18 **

In her logical, kind, impartial way, Megan McArdle completely destroys Mary Mapes, the gal who produced the “news” segment that led to Rathergate. McArdles article isn’t just interesting on its own terms.  I also think every young lawyer should read it as a primer about how to use evidence for advocacy.

** 19 **

Was Mika tired? Did she have a stroke? Or was her DemProg brain overwhelmed by the logic she’d heard from Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer? We’ll never know, but we do know that she made an embarrassing verbal mistake as she sent the Morning Joe Show over to commercial:

**20 **

Obama will act with impunity on immigration and amnesty, because he knows he can — there’s nothing Republicans will do to stop him. He knows that, as the first black president, he is immune to consequences. Moreover — and this has nothing to do with Obama — Congressional Republicans are spineless weasels and sell-outs, who are willing to put the party and the country on a suicide watch in order to garner the short-term benefit of Chamber of Commerce cash.

Perhaps given the fatal taint in the original Constitution (that it accepted slavery), there’s a divine justice in the fact that our nation’s freedoms are being destroyed by a sort-of black man. The irony would be more perfect if he were the descendant of slaves, but I guess irony isn’t picky about the instruments it uses.

The illegal aliens, incidentally, are not grateful:

 

We will shoot more police

** 21 **

A lot of Marin’s young people tend to go off to exotic locales to do volunteer work. It’s nice that they recognize their good fortune, but I often think there’s an unwholesome element of “white man’s burden” to these journeys. After all, there’s poverty and despair in America too. One of these volunteers has finally realized that her “voluntourism” is, at best, an ineffective way to help people, because it harnesses skills she lacks while ignoring those that she has.

** 22 **

Kevin Gallagher takes a humorless, pedantic stand against what he claims is Weird Al Yankovic’s humorless pedantry in “Word Crimes.” I, of course, found Word Crimes completely delightful. Anyway, as a lawyer, I incline to grammatic pedantry because I would guess that 80% of my commercial law cases involved problems arising from ambiguous language. Punctuation and grammar matter if clarity matters.

In any event, you don’t have to read Gallagher’s entire article, which oozes pedantic high dudgeon. Instead, enjoy the comments.

** 23 **

The science is in, and vegetarians are less healthy than meat eaters. Don’t get too excited, though, fellow carnivores. As Earl (who sent me this link) added, one has to consider that many people embrace vegetarianism because they are sick. Thus, Bill Clinton, a heart-attack-waiting to happen, embraced vegetarianism as a way to turn his health around. He would have entered the cohort ill and skewed the statistics.

Still, I don’t doubt that those who refuse meat are missing out on essential nutrients. We’re meant to be meat-eaters. (On that subject, I highly recommend Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.)

** 24 **

The Left likes that it’s a party of “intellectuals” — witness all the university professors and their poor, brainwashed students who support the Democrat Progressive movement. In a post about geekdom’s new trendiness, Charles C. W. Cooke explains what I laboriously figured out after leaving school, which is that being academically-oriented is not same as actually being smart, let alone functional.

** 25 **

Fool me three times

A country without borders

Use some restraint

Liberal logic about terrorism

VA left in the dust

Can't build a fence

Getting Obama to a security meeting

Not much of a head

** 26 **

As always, my thanks to Earl, Caped Crusader, and Sadie, who were instrumental in helping me find the articles and images described here.

Monday evening round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIf you read only one thing today (and tomorrow too), I think you should read Sam Harris’s “Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?” In it, Harris, who is renowned for his very well-articulated atheism, explains that one doesn’t have to believe in Israel’s religious right to the land in order to support her in the current war with Hamas.

The article is very dense, but never boring or confusing. Harris methodically works his way through the case for Israel. He’s not a starry-eyed Israel fan. He is, instead, a realist who feels that any moral compass, atheist or religious, must come down on the side that values human life, rather than the one that destroys it.

To whet your appetite, here’s just one very small segment of his entire article:

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does. They shoot their rockets from residential neighborhoods, from beside schools, and hospitals, and mosques. Muslims in other recent conflicts, in Iraq and elsewhere, have also used human shields. They have laid their rifles on the shoulders of their own children and shot from behind their bodies.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields. They consider the Jews the spawn of apes and pigs—and yet they rely on the fact that they don’t want to kill Muslim noncombatants. [Note: The term “Muslims” in this paragraph means “Muslim combatants” of the sort that Western forces have encountered in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The term “jihadists” would have been too narrow, but I was not suggesting that all Muslims support the use of human shields or are anti-Semitic, at war with the West, etc.]

Once you’ve read the whole thing, please share it with everyone. It deserves to make the rounds.

** 2 **

Hamas is so determined to win the war against Israel by having the tallest pile of dead bodies that it physically beats people who try to evacuate buildings after receiving Israel’s humanitarian warnings that it will be bombing the buildings. And that, of course, is precisely Sam Harris’s point.

** 3 **

As a writer, one of the most incredibly flattering things that can happen is when someone you really respect takes one of your ideas and runs with it. That’s what happened when Neo-Neocon read my post about John Kerry’s history repeating itself. I don’t want to give anything away. Just go and read what she has to say, making my original germ of an idea much richer and more meaningful.

** 4 **

What is that saying about the Left corrupting all institutions over time?  I forget the exact words, but that’s precisely what happened to George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light charity. From being an innocuous charity, it’s managed to go from the ridiculous (funding gay and lesbian bands all over the world) to the malignant (funding organizations with Islamic terrorist ties).

That the Left would co-opt an organization in this way isn’t news. What is news is that Sen. Sam Nunn’s daughter, Michelle, was CEO during the charity’s transition from charitable to Leftist political. She’s now running for the Senate in Georgia (as a Democrat, natch). She’s trailing the Republican candidate, but the election would be safer if she were trailing even more — and this story should be the nail in her campaign’s coffin.

** 6 **

What unites Americans? Floods of illegal aliens crossing the United States’ southern border. They don’t like it. They really don’t like it.

Not that this will deter Obama. He views amnesty as a convenient red flag he can wave before Republicans in the hope that they will seek to impeach him, rousing Democrats from their demoralized torpor and swinging the 2014 election in Obama’s favor.

Think about this: Our president, who swore to obey the Constitution, is deliberately violating it, at great cost to our nation, so as to achieve two goals: (1) Creating a Democrat demographic wave by wiping out our southern border and (2) tempting Republicans into a politically fatal maneuver.

For Obama, it’s a win any way he looks at it, and for Republicans and other American loving people, all outcomes are disastrous. (And yes, executive orders can easily be overruled, but do you see anyone having the political will to deport all 5 million newly amnestied illegals, including the hundreds of thousands of recent arrivals?)

** 6 **

We entered into a 40-year-long war on poverty, and poverty won.

** 7 **

I cannot think of a more appalling attack on the integrity of a judicial system than a judge having an affair with the wife in a divorce case over which he is presiding. The husband, unsurprisingly, would like to see the judge in court, only this time with the judge sitting at the defendant’s table. Sadly, thanks to judicial immunity, that won’t be happening.  Wade McCree, Jr., is out of a job, but he gets to keep his money.

Long-time readers know that, having come of age as a lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Leftist judges infest the bench, I have almost no respect for judges. In my career, I’ve probably come across three whom I respect, one of whom is a long-time friend I respected before she became a judge.

In a system governed by the rule of law, we definitely need judges.  But we need a very specific type of judge:  Someone who recognize the rule of law, not the rule of Leftist navel-gazing and self-indulgent emotional masturbation.

** 8 **

Human rights doesn't extend to Israel

History condemned

Behind Israel 100

Voter ID laws cannot be racist

Spoiled dogs

I think it’s Photo shopped, but I love it anyway

Jeb Bush, dynasties, and the multiple photocopy theory

jeb-bush-george-bushMy son, who is taking a general science class, explained to me why I’m aging.  “Mom,” he said.  “Your cells keep reproducing over and over again, but they’re like a bad photocopy of the original.  You see, the original was good, but if you make a photocopy of that, the photocopy isn’t quite as good.  And if you photocopy the photocopy, the new photocopy is going to be even less good.  [I hope all of you are with me here.]  So, by the time you’re old, all your cells have been copied too often, so they’re really bad quality, and that’s why you go gray and get wrinkles.”

I have to say, that strikes me as a damn fine articulation of the problem the mirror reveals to me every day.  It’s still me, but the copy quality is increasingly abysmal as the years go by.

The failed copy problem plagues things other than cells.  Monarchies, for example, often have the failed copy problem.   In century after century and nation after nation, one sees a tolerably decent monarch (at least decent enough to acquire and hang onto the throne) succeeded by increasingly inept heirs who often lost both throne and life (e.g., Louis XIV, Louis V, and Louis XVI; or Russia’s Nicholas’s).

England, the country about which I’m most knowledgeable, had a couple of miserable dynasties.  James I, who inherited from Elizabeth I, was a personally revolting man (he never bathed), but a fairly astute politician.  His son, Charles I, was such an arrogant pipsqueak, he sparked a civil war that saw him lose, first, his throne and, second, his head.  Charles II was an understandably cynical man who did whatever was necessary to hold onto both throne and head so that he could die in his own bed.  His brother, James II, didn’t even have that kind of sense, and managed to lose the throne a second time, which is really unforgivable for a single dynasty.

That was the 17th century in England.  The 18th century brought its own miserable collection of dynastic disasters, all named George, the first who was stolid and completely Germanic George I; the second who was a nonentity, the third who was a pathetic madman who lost America, and finally the fourth, who was a much-loathed, reprehensible rake.  And don’t get me started about Elizabeth II (dignified, if nothing else) and her son, Charles, an unprincipled fruit loop who is known to worship at the global warming altar and who may well be a Muslim convert.

America’s political dynasties have the same problem.  Take the Kennedys, for example.  The political dynasty started with John, who was all shiny and pretty and polished.  It then devolved to Teddy Kennedy, a man even his most devoted fans couldn’t deny was alcoholic, had the obesity of the dissolute, and was generally morally corrupt.  The current generation of Kennedy’s has all of Teddy’s vices without his old-generation cachet.  They’re drug addicts, alcoholics, depressives, and otherwise troubled, defective people.

The Bush’s aren’t much better.  We started with George Sr., a very good and brave and accomplished man who was, nevertheless, a merely decent politician and then worked our way to George Jr., a very good and principled man who really tried to break conservativism’s back with that “compassionate” stuff (which just turned it into mushy Leftism).

The true devolution is appearing in Jeb Bush, the third iteration in that political clan.  He’s proving to be such a blurry, failed copy that we may as well head this photocopy directly to the recycling bin.  How else to explain his no-borders support for illegal immigration on the ground that it’s an “act of love,” because it’s about family, and not really a crime at all?  Funnily enough, I never hear “love” advanced as a defense for the guy who forgoes a job in favor of robbery as a means of putting food on the table.

Paul Mirengoff correctly notes that some illegal aliens, unlike most other criminals, do contribute to society.  That, however, is not an argument for excusing blatant law-breaking on “love” grounds.  The only real “love” we’re seeing here is Jeb’s love for power, as he hopes to become the third Bush in office.

My Leftist friends are shrieking in horror at the thought of another Bush in office.  I have to agree with them.  Now if only I can convince them that Hillary Clinton, too, is nothing but a pathetic, failed photocopy of their beloved Bill.

 

UC Berkeley student government announces that the phrase “illegal immigrant” is banned *UPDATED*

One wonders how many of the jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964's Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today's censorship.  My guess is "none."  It was always about Leftist re-education.

One wonders how many of those neatly attired and jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964’s Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today’s censorship. My guess is “none.” It was always about Leftist re-education.

The People’s Republic of Berkeley or, as it’s more commonly known, the University of California, Berkeley, has stayed true to its core Orwellian Leftism by banning language. Today’s targeted “bad thinking” is the phrase “illegal immigrant.” According to the censors occupying Berkeley’s student government, that phrase is “racially charged,” “dehumanizes” people, and contributes to “punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.” Apparently the truth hurts.

The resolution, of course, carried with the usual Soviet style unanimity: 18 voted “yes” to censor thought and language, while one student abstained. (More on that single abstention later.)

Actually, the ultra-Left Berkeley was late to the party on this one, but that’s only because the University of California in Los Angeles has a much higher population of illegal immigrant students. That’s almost certainly why UCLA passed a similar resolution in August, while Berzerkley didn’t get around to it until November.

The resolution is a beautiful example of Orwellian speech. It leads with pure academese nonsense: “The ‘I’ word is legally inaccurate since being out of status is a civil rather than criminal infraction.” You’ll note that the “I” word (and we’re not sure whether the “I” word is “illegal” or “immigrant”) is now so tainted that I t’s been elevated to the status of the infamous “N” word. (For those of you too young to remember the OJ Simpson trial, or those who just dislike censorship, the “N” word is “nigger.” It’s a nasty, mean-spirited word, but nobody has ever dropped dead spontaneously from hearing or reading it.)

That nonsense phrase is just a warm-up for the Orwellian language changes the students propose:

“No human being is illegal. ‘Foreign nationals,’ ‘undocumented immigrants,’ ‘immigrants without papers’ and ‘immigrants seeking status’ are examples of terms we can use that do not dehumanize people.

You can use all the metaphors you like, dear little UC Berkeley soviets, but the fact remains that, to the extent these people are in America in an undocumented way without papers, it’s because they broke the law by sneaking over the border like thieves in the nights. In other words, adjectively, they’re immigrants who are here illegally, which makes them – yes, wait for it — ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

The problem, of course, isn’t the words. It’s the behavior. You can dress mutton up as lamb, but it’s still mutton. And someone who sneaked over the border in violation of our nation’s laws is still illegal no matter how frilly the words you drape around that person.

Of course, the commissars at Berkeley can’t just stop with a stupid resolution. What’s Soviet-style censorship and shaming without communist-style re-education? To that end, the resolution also calls for administrators and faculty to attend an “UndocuAlly training workshop.”

Considering that greater than 90% of Berkeley’s administrators and faculty members are the ones who trained these junior Leftists, it’s actually funny to hear the students demand that their mentors need re-education. Of course, that’s the way it happened in China too, when the younger generation decided that the elders who ushered in Communism showed inadequate fervor in their commitment to the monster they had created. It was these radicalized students who ushered in Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” complete with 50-70 million dead Chinese citizens – all of whom no doubt starved to death joyfully thanks to their contribution to the great communist cause.

As for the sole abstention, it’s worth noting that he’s probably ready for re-education too. Student senator Solomon Nwoche agrees in principle with the resolution, but thought it was a waste of time. That shows practical intelligence. His real sin, though, was in his sneaking respect for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas. He was disappointed, he said, that, when a single person tried to speak out against the resolution, the student senators laughed at him or, even more disgustingly, turned their backs to him.

(A slightly modified version of this post first appeared at Mr. Conservative.)

UPDATE:  I should add here that I agree that America’s immigration laws are dreadful.  Having said that, it’s up to America to change her laws, not for illegal immigrants to change them by ignoring them.  (Well, in theory that’s the case.  In fact, the Obama administration is also changing them by ignoring them.)  We also should start putting pressure on Mexico.  Immigrants come here illegally because Mexico is so shamefully corrupt and poorly run that a country rich in resources, but natural and human, is mired in poverty, and because Mexico charges its citizens such heinous amounts to allow them to leave the country legally that poor are stymied both by America’s laws and by Mexico’s.  A fix is a good thing; disrespect for our country’s borders and laws is a disastrous thing, going to the sovereign integrity of our nation and her citizens.

Illegal immigrant and pedophile kills: uses single rifle blast to kill woman protecting her daughter from him

(First published at Mr. Conservative, but I wrote it, and it’s vintage Bookworm Room)

Maria Saucedo, who was only 31, died the other day in Arizona when Jose Zarate shot her in the chest with a rifle after she refused to let him date her daughter. This sounds like a very ordinary tragedy, but it isn’t. Instead, it perfectly represents the way the Left has used bad ideas and corrupt language to allow terrible things to happen in this country.

Jose Zarate, who is 25-years-old, wanted to date Saucedo’s 13-year-old daughter. When Saucedo objected, Zarate pulled out a rifle and shot Saucedo in the chest, killing her. After his arrest, Deputy Joaquin Enriquez stated that “Sheriff’s deputies say Zarate is a non-U.S. citizen who has been living in the country without proper authorization.” In other words, Zarate is an illegal alien, a pedophile, and a murderer.

Gun grabbers have been noticeably silent about this horrible crime – perhaps because speaking up about it would force them to acknowledge that none of their proposed new laws would have stopped this man. He couldn’t have passed a background check, yet he had a gun; and he needed only one shot to kill Saucedo, so gun magazine sizes would have been irrelevant to his crime.

The only thing that might have stopped Zarate was to keep him out of this country in the first place. That, however, is not something the American political class is willing to do. Democrats want all those potential voters, legal or not. Instead, Leftists are trying to use language to massage away the fact that it’s illegal to enter this country without permission.

Watch reporters contort themselves and distort the language to avoid saying anything negative about people who become criminals the minute they step into this country:

The Leftist AP, which is one of the primary news sources in America, just announced that in future reporting, it will no longer use the phrases “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant.” Instead of judgmental nouns, it will opt for less judgmental verbs. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained that AP will henceforth refer only to people who happen to be “living in or immigrating to a country illegally.” Deputy Enriquez (quoted above) clearly knew the AP rules when he spoke to the press.

George Orwell, who knew Leftist thinking from the inside out, and viewed it with both fear and disgust, famously said that “political speech and writing,” by which he meant Leftist influenced political speech and writing, “are largely the defense of the indefensible.” He warned, too, that “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” In the story of Jose Zarate, we are seeing both corruption of language and thought, as a flurry of deadening words are used to hide the fact that a man whose very existence here was criminal, attempted pedophilia and, when blocked, committed cold-blooded murder.

Progressive myopia: Their theories discount what they cannot see

Blurred eye chart

The following is the entire text of Frédéric Bastiat’s magnificent Parable of the Broken Window, which is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1850. As you read it, please note carefully the highlighted language:

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation—”It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

On December 26, I wrote a post entitled “Gun control supporters count those who have died; Second Amendment supporters count those who will live.”  Or, as Bastiat says, gun control advocates’ “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”  Gun control supporters are able to count those who have died, but they cannot even begin to imagine those whose lives were saved or never threatened.  Point them to a story about an off-duty deputy who was able to stop a mall shooter, and they’ll simply say “the shooter’s aim was bad, so he wasn’t going to kill anyone anyway.”  To them, a story without dead bodies is no story at all.  You and I, however, count the dozens who survived.

Likewise, when I look at crime statistics showing that legally-armed communities have a lower murder rate than gun-controlled communities, I think of all those law-abiding citizens in the first community who sleep safely in their beds at night.  Those “not-dead” people are real numbers to me.

The gun control advocates cannot see these non-victims.  They have no ability to acknowledge their numbers, let alone tabulate them.  For that reason, they are unable to compare “Second Amendment Community A” against “Gun Control Community B.”  Since they cannot comprehend that which they cannot see they deny that the first community has an absence of dead that puts the second community to shame.  All that Progressives see are the bodies stacked in Community B.  They then draw their myopic conclusion:  a little gun control didn’t work, so more will be better.

This inability to see beyond their noses doesn’t stop with the Progressive approach to economics or gun control.  The same ideological myopia, or failure of imagination, powers abortion.  Progressives see the young woman whose education ends abruptly with a pregnancy; the downtrodden wife who doesn’t want a seventh child with her abusive husband; or the high-powered executive who just can’t be bothered to slow down to have a baby.  What they refuse to see is the baby (a position that at least had some validity in a pre-modern era when we couldn’t peek into the womb, but that is inexcusable now).  Seeing the baby doesn’t automatically mean we should ban all abortions, but it does mean acknowledging that there is another life involved — that even as one life is “saved,” another life is lost.

Illegal immigration?  The Progressive’s mental and ideological imagination begins and ends with the pathetic illegal alien, cowering as the cops drag him/her away from weeping children.  Perhaps they see as far as the brave dash across the border.  What they don’t see are the people who have been patiently waiting in line to come to America, but whose chances diminish as others skip the line entirely.  (Me?  I love immigrants, being the child of two.  But I like ‘em legal, as mine were.)

Progressives also cannot see that governments such as Mexico’s depend upon illegal immigrants to (a) send dollars back to Mexico, although Obamanomics make those dollars worth less (or worthless, depending); and (b) provide a safety valve so that Mexico doesn’t have to deal with its oppressive, corrupt government and the deleterious effect that government has on its people’s inability to raise themselves into wealth.

You can play the same myopia game with all the other Progressive positions too, whether welfare or national security.  Invariably, if you drill down into the Progressive world view, and you put aside the usual paranoid delusions that thrive in the absence of clear-eyed evidence, you will see that each Progressive political “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

Progressivism is like mental and moral myopia.  It’s acolytes can see only the most simple images, provided they are pushed right under their noses.  They lack the imagination, curiosity and, yes, the intelligence to look for or even envision a world beyond the crude, stereotypical cartoons that inhabit their immediate line of sight.

Random thoughts

There was a round-up of illegal aliens in Marin County. The story included the obligatory reference to the children who had to watch their parents being arrested for illegal activity:

Wilson said children watched while their parents and other adults were taken away by authorities. Some were removed while accompanying children to the school bus, he said.

“They are taking parents of citizen children,” Wilson said. “Most people are just dealing with the shock and the loss and trying to find their loved ones.”

One point and one suggestion. The point is that one never reads stories about the trauma suffered by children whose parents are arrested for crimes other than being illegal aliens. Apparently it’s only the children of illegal aliens who suffer newsworthy emotional trauma. And the suggestion: why don’t we say that, if Mom and Dad are illegally here, so are you, regardless of where you were born? That way parents and kids can stay together, here or there.

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America is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. China and Russia used to castigate her for her temerity in developing missiles. Now they scold her for her temerity for developing defenses to their (and others’) missiles. Since American can’t win, one does get the sense that she could go ahead and do whatever the Hell she deems best for her security.

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Speaking of Russia, I find it somehow amusing that Russia is upset that finally, long after the Cold War ended, an American movie once again reverted to its pre-Leftist roots and depicted the Communists as bad guys. (And yes, I know that during WWII, the Lefties in Hollywood went nuts making movies glorifying Communism, but that stopped for a while when the Cold War actually began.) I thought the Russians had abandoned Communism, having recognized that it wasn’t beneficial for them. Why, then, are they taking it personally now? Could it be that, when it comes to Putin, once a KGB apparatchik, always a KGB apparatchik?

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Hillary is historically accurate that things can happen in a primary between there and now (whenever that here and now is) and the actual convention, where the delegates place the final imprimatur on their candidate of choice. Nevertheless, with a woman as calculated as Hillary, it’s hard to believe that it was coincidence that she mentioned that a primary candidate could be assassinated in the June before the convention. It’s a nasty thing to do, and it’s also a horrible thing to say about Americans, especially conservative Americans, with the implication that they’re still racist enough to do something like that.

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Israel wiped out Iraq’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world has had cause to be grateful. Israel probably wiped out Syria’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world ought to be grateful. There’s talk now about Israel once again taking on responsibility for the world and wiping out Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Many are afraid that, if she does so, Iran will strike back like a wounded, but still dangerous, animal. Tellingly, one pair of experts isn’t that worried. Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote a paper called “The Last Option,” in which they discuss the possibility of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. In an interview about their conclusions, Clawson had this to say:

And what will be a possible result of an Israeli attack?

Again, my answer is that it depends. Israel has to create the circumstances in which world public opinion will understand Israel and its motives, even if it regrets the attack.

That’s more or less what happened with the attack against the nuclear facility in Syria?

Yes, it is quite similar. Israel benefited from President Assad’s hostile attitude to the world, and therefore the international community showed understanding of the Israeli air force’s attack. Israel did not have to do much because Assad did the job for it. In this respect, Israel also benefits from Ahmadinejad and his statements. They help Israel present its position to the world and explain the threat it faces.

Do you share the sweeping assessment of most experts that Iran’s reaction if attacked will be harsh and painful?

No. Iran’s record when it comes to its reactions in the past to attacks against it, or its important interests, is mixed. When the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan and persecuted the Shi’ite minority there, Iran mobilized military forces on the border and threatened to respond, but in the end it did nothing. The same occurred when the U.S. shot down an Iranian passenger airline in 1988: Iran threatened to avenge the incident, but in the end the exact opposite happened. Not only did Iran not respond, but also the incident hastened its decision to agree to a cease-fire in the war with Iraq for fear that the U.S. was about to join the war on Saddam Hussein’s side.

In another incident during the war, Iranian boats attacked an American naval force that set out to mine the Gulf. The U.S. did not expect Iran to react, and was surprised. This did not stop it from sinking half of the Iranian fleet in response.

Iran has lately been threatening that if it is attacked it will close the Straits of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, and thereby damage the world economy. But this is a problematic threat, since it would also affect Iran’s friends and supporters, such as China and India. I have no doubt that in such a case, they would be angry at Iran.

But most experts estimate that in the event of an Israeli attack, the Iranians will respond with force and launch Shihab missiles at Israel.

It is possible, but first, the Shihab missiles are not considered particularly reliable. Iran deploys them without having done hardly any significant tests. Second, the Shihab’s guidance system is not very accurate. The missile’s range of accuracy is up to a kilometer. And finally, Israel’s aerial defense system – the Arrow missiles would certainly intercept quite a few Shihab missiles. Moreover, Iran’s firing missiles at Israel would enable Israel to respond in a decisive manner.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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And as a reminder of what the statists housed in today’s Democratic party are all about, I leave you with this video of the lovely Rep. Maxine Waters talking to America’s oil companies: