The Bookworm Beat — 8/26/14 mid-day edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYears ago, during the Bush administration, James Taranto read a despairing AP article in which the Progressive author opined that “everything is seemingly spinning out of control.” Taranto loved that phrase and used it to preface any link to crazy things, or things that made Progressive’s crazy.

That phrase keeps wandering into my mind in this, the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Obama. With our border having as many holes as a fish net, Obama threatening to grant amnesty to five or six million illegal immigrants, the artificially inflated stock market soaring (thank you QE2) as ordinary Americans face increasing financial hardships, race relations set back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, virulent anti-Semitism on the rise around the world, barbaric Islamism also on the rise around the world, Israel besieged, Egypt slowly running out of food (and won’t the world get really interesting when that happens?), and Russia poised on Ukraine’s border — well, I really do feel as if everything is indeed seemingly spinning out of control. I guess the silver lining is that there’s lots to blog about, so blog I will.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Patting myself on the back here, I’ve long predicted that Sunni Saudi Arabia, afraid of Shia Iran, would make common cause with Israel. That’s finally happening, as the most radical Islamists — both Sunni and Shia — pick up steam everywhere in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia may have funded radicalism, but it did so primarily to keep that radicalism outside of its own borders.  Now, it sees little Jewish Israel as the only bulwark against a radical takeover within those borders.

Hamas Rules of War:  Use Civilians

Hamas supporters are claiming it’s a fraud, but to the extent that the IDF claims to have found a handbook in Gaza telling Hamas fighters to hide explosives in civilian houses, advice that jives perfectly with what Hamas actually did, I’m inclined to believe the handbook is real.  Also, while there’s plenty of evidence that Hamas uses disinformation (often carried out with threats) to advance its cause, I don’t know of any credible charges that Israel or the IDF routinely lie.

You can tell a lot about an administration by its funeral attendance

I often tell my children that you’re known by the friends you keep.  When it comes to presidential administrations, you’re also known by the funerals and memorials you attend.  Ben Shapiro has therefore performed a useful function.  After reading reports about the three White House representatives at Michael Brown’s funeral, he decided to take a look back at the funerals the White House didn’t think were worth its time.  It’s illuminating reading.

Just a reminder, though, that it’s not always a good thing when the White House goes to a memorial service.  Indeed, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing:

No selfie respect

A beleaguered Israel offers a useful comparison in presidential styles

This summer’s war is not, of course, the first time Israel’s been under attack. For example, she was attacked in 1947, right after the UN voted her into existence.  In 1967, on the eve of what would have been a devastating attack by the militaries of surrounding Arab nations, Israel preemptively struck those militaries to protect her own civilians.

And then there was 1973 — the Yom Kippur War. Israel was on the receiving end of a surprise attack and, horrifyingly, lacked the military equipment to counter it in a long war. Scarily, in the American White House was a Republican president who hated Jews. That Jew-hating Republican president saved Israel.

At To Put It Bluntly, you will find an excellent analysis of the way in which Nixon and Obama have approached surprise attacks on Israel. One president showed leadership, the other wishy-washy follow-ship. The contrast is striking.

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VDH looks at the perfect political storm, not to mention the unending series of lies, that got Obama into the White House in 2008

Yet another sterling VDH article, this one analysis the culmination of eight years of Bush hatred, war fatigue, lies and obfuscation, hysteria, and the delusions of crowds, all of which led to an Obama presidency.

As part of this analysis, Hanson points out that the truth about Obama was readily available, but the drive-by media deliberately ignored it, and too many Americans refused to look for it. You didn’t have to look far to find the truth, though, as is revealed in this Spring 2008 post of mine, in which I linked to a variety of articles detailing problems with candidate Obama. It was all there for everyone to see, but the three monkeys were the order of the day:

Three wise monkeys

Obama’s lying administration

One of the themes I’ve pounded since Obama first appeared on the political scene is that he’s a liar. (Examples of that are here, here, and here.) Since we all know that corporate culture flows down from the top, is it any surprise to find that everyone in his administration is equally infected with dishonesty?

Peter Wehner offers only the latest example of the administration’s provable dishonesty.  The subject this time is the administration’s ridiculous contortions as it tries to “prove” that Obama never said that ISIS was a “JV squad.” (The link may be behind a pay wall, but a Commentary online subscription is one of the best bargains around.) The administration is so used to a media both credulous and complicit accepting all of its lies at face that it cannot seem to accept that lies are a bad idea when hard facts exist countering those lies.

The lies America tells blacks

A couple of days ago, I published a long, convoluted post explaining how dreadfully the American Left (with the rest of America tagging along behind) has lied to American blacks, convincing them that they are hapless, hopeless, and helpless victims of a white discrimination so broadly and deeply entrenched that it cannot be overcome.

Today, Andrew Klavan published a short, powerful piece making exactly the same point. His writing is so much better than mine that, if you haven’t yet read my post, ignore it and just head straight for Klavan’s.

Watcher’s Council forum predicting the future in Ferguson

Over at the Watcher’s Council, in this week’s forum council members and honored guests offered their best guesses about whether the grand jury will indict the officer accused of shooting Michael Brown. As always, it’s great reading, offering a variety of viewpoints.

Part of the South’s abandonment of the Democrat Party included its abandonment of racism

If I had to nominate a “must-read” article for today, it would be Mona Charen’s column refuting Charlie Rangel’s libelous claim that, when the South turned Republican, it took its racism along with it, an exodus that disinfected the Democrat party of any residual racism, while infecting the Republican party with America’s original sin (never mind that the Republican party, from its inception before the Civil War, opposed institutional racism). Here are just a few snippets to whet your appetite for this must-read analysis:

It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright.

[snip]

Okay, but didn’t all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.

[snip]

The “solid south” Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to “turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.”)

[snip]

These Republican gains came not from the most rural and “deep south” regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. [snip] It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least ‘Southern’ parts of the south.”

Read more here.

IRS deliberately destroyed evidence

Back in June, I offered a short commentary about spoliation (i.e., destroying relevant evidence after a lawsuit has been filed), which is a serious no-no in court: “Spoliation is a species of fraud that’s especially disfavored because its purpose is to destroy the integrity of a judicial or investigative process.” If you’re paying any attention to the IRS scandal, which saw a politicized IRS deliberately use its extraordinary powers to stifle pro-conservative and pro-Israel political speech, you’re going to be hearing the word “spoliation” a lot:

The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

This most recent revelation follows closely on the heels of the IRS’s admission that all those lost IRS emails from Lois Lerner and six IRS cohorts weren’t actually lost at all, they were just hard to find. Keep in mind that this admission comes after the IRS, including its director, swore (literally swore, under oath), that the emails were irretrievably gone, since the hard drives had first spontaneously crashed and then, contrary to federal law, been destroyed.

The rule in litigation is that, if you possess documents responsive to a request but they are hard to locate, you have to explain that fact to the court. Moreover, you can also explain why they’re not worth the effort of recovering. What you can’t do is lie, and then lie some more.

I’ve worked in litigation for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen some pretty hard-fought and even dirty lawsuits, but I have never seen this level of dishonesty. Never.

What you also won’t see, ever, is mainstream media coverage about the IRS’s behavior before the lawsuit, when it used its vast, almost untouchable power to silence the administration’s political opponents, or during the lawsuit, when it committed truly heinous frauds against the court.

Time Magazines goes full “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

My parents, as part of their commitment to being good, informed Americans, subscribed to Time Magazine throughout my childhood (so we’re talking at least the mid-1960s here). I know now that, even back then, Time was beginning to show the Leftist bias that today permeates almost all of the American media.  Still, back in the day, Time was a dignified publication. It may have been “news for the masses,” but it was still news, with actual facts, although these facts were certainly spun in a specific political direction.

Time Magazine in its modern incarnation, however, is worse than garbage. Garbage can still be honest, although the topics are trashy. National Enquirer tells the truth, although there’s nothing particularly elevating about knowing the identity of Hollywood’s fattest stars, who’s having a secret affair on the side, or what crazy demands a given celebrity makes before checking into a hotel.

What’s worse than garbage is repeating as true utterly scurrilous blood libels against Jews. Yet that’s precisely what Time Magazine, a once reputable media outlet, did.  It published as true the ancient blood libel that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians, a claim so false that even its original maker, a Swedish “news” outlet, admitted that it had no proof and, moreover, couldn’t care less that the accusation was a lie.

Even worse, Time backtracked on this libel, not because it realized that some low-level staffer had done something egregiously wrong, which would have required a full retraction and apology, but, instead, only when people started criticizing the libel. Seth Mandel explains just how disgraceful Times‘ conduct was:

Here’s the lede: “Time Magazine retracted a report on Sunday which claimed the Israeli army harvested dead Palestinians’ internal organs after a watchdog group accused the publication of propagating a ‘blood libel.’”

That’s putting it kindly. The watchdog group–HonestReporting–did not so much “accuse” Time of propagating a blood libel as point out that Time was obviously propagating a blood libel. Is there another term for Time’s medieval delusions?

[snip]

There isn’t nearly enough thoughtful analysis in the media or reporters willing to examine and question the assumptions and propaganda they’re fed by Hamas and its NGO allies, instead using reporters on the ground who worship Yasser Arafat. This is often the case when Israel is at war; in 2006, the Reuters practice of using photoshoppers masquerading as photographers led to the application of the term “fauxtography” to Reuters’ work in the Middle East.

But this lack of reporting appears to have spread to Time, and in a particularly offensive way. As hard as it is to believe, media coverage of Israel is actually deteriorating. The race to the bottom hasn’t stopped; it’s just gotten more crowded.

Read the rest here.

HuffPo takes the lead in the “humor” category of the media’s race to the bottom

Time is racing to the bottom in a disgusting fashion.  Other outlets are doing so in more humorous fashion, even if that humor is unwitting.  Take HuffPo, for example, which has published a series of photographs showing scientists suffering the anguish of knowing that only 97% of their colleagues are willing to support predictions about climate change that have consistently, and without exception, been proven false once they played out in real-time.

Each of the scientists is shown trying to look sad, although some just look peculiarly constipated, with a few being reduced to squinching their faces into blank idiocy.  The humor behind these efforts at existential anguish is exquisite.

Even funnier is HuffPo‘s hysterical, apocalyptic language which, when combined with the usual pedantic assurances that, if we just follow the “science,” all will be well, creates a delicious mix that has all the artistic weight of a poem by William McGonagall. McGonagall, as you may already know, is widely acknowledged to be the worst poet in the English language, in no small part because he combined awful prose with a penchant for tragedy and pedantry.  I’ll share with you, first, a bit of HuffPo free verse, followed by a little McGonagall for comparison.

Here’s the HuffPo song of its Progressive people:

“[T]here’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.”

“The photos are minimalist but intense, each wrinkle and crease pointing to a human unease we can all connect with.”

“Although their powerful words provide an interesting context for their expressions, we think the faces alone say more than enough.”

And then there’s McGonagall’s famous work about the Tay Bridge disaster, with this masterful closing stanza:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Really, other than McGonagall’s more antiquated syntax, it’s hard to tell the two apart.

Scratch a Progressive; find a fascist

With David Gregory out at Meet the Press and Chuck Todd in, Democrat/Progressive strategist and (ahem) thinker Ed Kilgore has some practical advice for the best way in which to make the show edgier and more interesting.  The following gem come in response to the plan by Deborah Turness, NBC’s president, to have a panel of journalists conversing, instead of a one-on-one format, in order to make the show edgy and more interesting:

If Turness is serious about this, we need to organize a grassroots campaign to ask that certain journalists be permanently banned from the panel of Meet the Press, or we’ll boycott the damn thing ab initio. I’d start with Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, David Gergen, David Brooks and George Will. Even at their best, they’ve all gotten more airtime than their shaky talents merit. But I’m sure you have dozens more who deserve the Meet Ban. Fire away in the comment thread.

Yes, because nothing says hip, edgy, and open-minded like excluding all opposing views and, instead, having party drones agree with each other. Using this rubric, Pravda was also hip, edgy, and open-minded.

Looking at Kilgore’s dream of a real news show, I was reminded of a post I wrote discussing the differences between conservative and Progressive media:

Members of the conservative media are also more generous with presenting the underlying source material on which they rely or with which they disagree, something that is especially apparent on the radio. For example, on NPR, Robert Siegel will do an eight minute report that begins with his opining magisterially on a subject, and then continues with his editing in carefully selected snippets of interviews with witnesses, actors and experts. Given the limited time format, it’s inevitable of course that the greater part of any given interview is left on the cutting room floor, with Siegel and his staff picking whatever money lines suit the story they wish to present.

On conservative talk radio, however, the hosts will frequently play half hour long clips, not just of people they support, but of people with whose opinion they differ. Likewise, when these hosts have guests on, the guests are not only people with whom the hosts agree, but people with whom they disagree. And in the latter case, you can comfortably settle in and listen to a free-wheeling, although never mean-spirited, discussion with both host and guest called upon to defend their positions vigorously.

A sad end to a sad story

In 2012, the drive-by media was incredibly excited when a video emerged showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban corpses. This proved — proved!! — that Americans were every bit as bad as the Islamists. After all, urinating on a dead body (which is a crude, demeaning act that I don’t support) is exactly the same as torturing and beheading people; cutting off the genitals of ones enemy, whether he’s dead or alive; or dragging bodies through the streets before cheering crowds.  (It’s clear, I hope, that I’m being sarcastic.) At the center of this media storm was Cpl. Robert Richards, a highly respected Marine:

Richards was a scout sniper with multiple deployments to Afghanistan, including one in 2010 during which he sustained severe injuries. Peers and superiors alike praised him for his combat prowess and leadership skills, evidenced by his being hand-selected to serve as the scout sniper platoon team leader for 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during its 2011 tour.

Although only 28, Richards is dead. The coroner has not announced the cause of death, but Guy Womack, Richards’ attorney and friend, told reporters that the coroner would be examining the medicines Richards was taking, something that hints at an overdose, accidental or intentional.

To the extent Richards did something unworthy of an American fighter, it was nevertheless something that should have been taken care of within the context of the Marines, rather than something that saw him tried and convicted by the American media. Richards didn’t deserve such a pathetic ending to his career. May be rest in peace now.

American universities harm Leftist students too

A Prager University video makes the compelling argument that, insofar as American universities have overwhelmingly Leftist faculties, students who hew Left (or don’t hew in any direction at all) suffer more than conservative students do:

Pictures

I think henceforth I’ll call this “The Caped Crusader Picture Gallery,” because the Caped Crusader has done it again, providing me with powerful and often funny images:

Impossible to boycott Palestinians

Catholics and the bucket challenge

Proper border response

Woman converting to Islam

Liberal blindness re Islam

Nobody owes you anything

Obama golfs while Foleys grieve

The Bookworm Beat — Saturday night leftovers edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingBusy day. Very busy day and not a bad one either, because I got a lot accomplished. Just about the only thing I didn’t get done today was spending time at my computer. I’ve got a pile of open tabs left over from yesterday, though, all of which have aged well and still deserve to be read:

With the ceasefire, the media started ‘fessing up about the lies it told for Hamas

Once the ceasefire seemed to be sticking, foreign reporters started admitting that much of what they reported out of Gaza was untrue — and that they willingly reported these lies out of fear for their own safety.. Wondering how they’re feeling about their confession now that the war has resumed.

And considering how bad Hamas is, the media should be deeply ashamed

I wonder how all the so-called “pacifists” square their support with Hamas with the massacres it commits against its own people — for example, summarily executing Gazans accused of collaborating with Israel. And let’s not stop with executing alleged collaborators. Let’s call Hamas out on its long list of crimes against humanity (as complied by StandWithUs at Buzzfeed).

ISIS, a scourge unlike any seen since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes

Hamas followers, however, are mere pikers when it comes to ISIS. I honestly don’t believe we’ve seen any military movement as brutal since Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes.  Even 20th century totalitarian armies acted with more deliberation when it came to mass slaughter.

What’s even more amazing is that ISIS is so terribly pleased with itself. Unlike the Nazis who recorded images of their torture for their own masturbatory pleasure, but otherwise tried to hide it from the world, ISIS is not hiding the beheadings, crucifixions, torture, genocide, and rape. It’s proudly circulating this information on social media.

Reading about ISIS’s depredations against armies, women, Christians, Yazidis, other Muslims, and anyone else in their way is so stomach churning I think it short-circuits most Americans. It’s one thing to watch this kind of horror presented with ghoulish enthusiasm, and lots of colored corn syrup, on a movie screen; it’s another thing altogether to realize that it’s being committed against men, women, and children, in real time, here on planet earth.

Obama deserves praise for taking steps to protect the Yazidis, but it’s apparent that he has no plan at all. This is a “seat of the pants” operation, where he’s going to try to put out a little fire here and a little fire there, even as the corpses pile up.

I actually wouldn’t want American boots on the grounds in a war against ISIS. To the extent that ISIS is a military movement (no sheltering amongst civilian populations for ISIS troops), my recommendation would be to track their movements and, when they’re reasonably consolidated, drop a storm of bombs on them with Dresden-like ferocity. ISIS fighters have parted ways with humanity and need to be routed out completely. Incidentally, Kurt Schlicter would agree with me.

And why can’t Progressives figure out just how bad Islamists really are?

David French struggles to understand why Progressives cannot wrap their heads around the evil that stalks the Middle East and, increasingly, Europe and America. In addition to his ideas (and you’ll have to read his post to see what they are), I do think a lot of it has to do with a terrible fear of being thought racist. After all, while Islam is not a race, the fact is that most Muslims have darker skin than the run-of-the-mill American or European leftist. For Progressives, then, criticizing dark-skinned people is so verboten, they’re willing to wrap themselves in an almost impenetrable blanket of denial.

Obama:  Knave or Villain?

When speaking about the disaster’s that have befallen America and the rest of the world during Obama’s presidency, many people are wont to cite to Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Myron Magnet doesn’t agree. He thinks that Obama has deliberately created both domestic and international disasters.

Or maybe Obama’s just a bureaucrat run amok

Jonah Goldberg wonders if Barack Obama isn’t just bureaucracy run amok in the form of one powerful individual:

But there’s a common theme to Obama’s foreign policy and [Mike] Barnicle’s rodent flatulence [blaming Cheney for ISIS]. They both work on the assumption that global events are things that happen out there. “The world stage” used to be a platform for U.S. leadership. For Obama, the world stage is more like, well, a stage where other nations put on a show for our benefit. There are plenty of good arguments for America to be more circumspect internationally (and plenty of bad ones). But I don’t think Obama and his supporters fully recognize that when the lead actor on the world stage decides to walk off and sit in the audience, it changes the performance and the roles of the other performers.

Read the whole thing. It’s one of Goldberg’s best.

Obama's mission accomplished

 

Whatever else Obama is, he’s not in Putin’s class

Bill Whittle thinks that, when it comes to Obama versus Putin, Obama is a naif facing off against a stone-cold killer who learned from the best (at stone-cold killing, that is):

A teaching degree — not worth the paper it’s printed on?

I’ve often thought that I would be a good teacher because I’m fairly good at explaining things. Long ago, when I was looking for ways out of practicing law, I toyed with the idea of teaching. At that time, I didn’t know that private schools often didn’t requiring teaching degrees, so I thought I’d have to go back to college to get a masters in teaching.

The thought of a teaching degree horrified me, though. My sense over the years was that one of the problems with modern teachers is that teaching degrees “un-teach” them, leeching out their common sense and ordinary knowledge and leaving, in their place, cant and political correctness. It seems I may have been correct in this supposition.

In Obama’s America, no good deed goes unpunished

Business life in Obama’s America: Help the government by bailing out failed financial institutions . . . then get reamed for those same institution’s past sins.

The IRS will be watching some pulpits — but which pulpits will it be watching?

Per an agreement with an atheist group, the IRS will soon be monitoring sermons at a House of Worship near you. Maybe I wouldn’t mind this so much if I thought the IRS would randomly check out all types of faiths, including black churches (“I don’t feel no ways tired!“) and radical mosques (“Jihad!”). I have a strong suspicion, though, that Obama’s IRS agents will only be haunting the pews of churches and synagogues in which the pastor or rabbi speaks about the sanctity of life or the sacrament of marriage.

Is HBO failing?

I don’t like HBO and I don’t like it for a very specific reason: It’s relentlessly Leftist and propagandizes in every documentary, commentary show, and most movies. Netflix’s original productions aren’t always better, but they’re still better than HBO — and they’re beating HBO in subscriptions.

Picture time

And a picture about Hamas’s co-conspirator in Gaza:

UNinvolved in Peace

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.

Wednesday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s quite amazing watching DemProg heads explode on my “real me” Facebook page. To hear them tell it, the Hobby Lobby decision was four white religious men banning women’s right to contraception across America because a mean-spirited Christian corporation demanded that they do so.

I’ve been doing my best to say that (a) Hobby Lobby always provided a broad range of contraception coverage to its employees, and is only protesting the fact that the government is forcing it to pay for contraception that can be used to cause abortions; and (b) that the Court’s narrow holding said only that the Health & Human Services contraception mandate, which is not law under Obamacare, does not pass the test set by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Clinton approvingly signed. My comments are greeted with silence.

But there’s no room for silence here. I have a lot to say, and I delight in your comments. So off we go….

***

I may as well start with a good Hobby Lobby round-up. All of these posts were very helpful when I was trying to craft a short, fact-filled response to confused DemProgs on Facebook.

Both Elizabeth Warren’s and Hillary Clinton’s responses to the decision show that (a) it’s amazing they graduated from law school, let alone, in Warren’s case, became teachers and (b) that they’re each as bad as the other, and that’s saying a lot. Let me say again what I learned from taking Warren’s Banking Law class a long time ago: she’s soft-spoken and mean; she’s a muddled thinker; she’s an incoherent communicator; and there’s a lot of anger there. (Warning:  this article might be behind a pay wall, but you can demolish that pay wall for a mere 99 cents per month.)

I found an exceptionally good trio of cases from the crew at National Review (which really excels at this type of analysis:

Charles C. W. Cooke points out that a great deal of the DemProg’s hysteria derives from the fact that they don’t understand that the Supreme Court’s role is to interpret law, not to enact it. That’s not surprising. DemProgs want their (not any, but their) president to enact law and, trained by Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade — both of which involved the Court creating rights out of whole cloth, for better or worse — actually believe that the court exists to enact a DemProg-approved agenda.

Ramesh Ponnuru explains how illogical, hysterical, and unrealistic Ruth Ginsburg was in her dissent — something that explains why DemProgs are so wildly excited by what she wrote.

Ross Douthat notes that DemProgs are exceptionally sore, and dishonest, winners. This reflects the fact that the Hobby Lobby decision peeled out a tiny corner of religious freedom in the face of a vast government takeover of . . . everything.

And finally, one of Jonah Goldberg’s best, in which he explains out that it wasn’t the Court putting the employer in women’s uterus, it was the Obama administration. That accurate analysis kind of puts a different spin on this poster, which DemProgs are excitedly passing around through social media:

Who makes medical decisions

***

Obama’s a chart topper: After thinking it over, Americans agree that Barack Obama is the worst president this country has seen since the end of WWII (and Ronald Reagan is the best). The only problem with this confirmation of my bias is that, for me to be proved right, the country has had to suffer terribly. It’s no fun being Cassandra.

***

On the subject of Obamacare, Kevin Williamson allows himself a bit of schadenfreude, and it makes for brilliant reading.

***

When I heard about the IRS’s “dog at my hard drive” excuse for the missing emails from Lois Lerner and six other key employees, I immediately said “that’s spoliation” and it’s bad.  It turns out that  the IRS’s conduct was even worse than I remembered at the time I made this statement.

The IRS wasn’t just hiding stuff from Congress, which could be classified as political game-playing. By the time it lost the emails, the back-up and the hard-drive, it was engaged in litigation that placed upon it a heavy legal burden to do everything possible to preserve any material that could be germane to the lawsuits. A judge with any reverence for the law should come down on the IRS like a ton of bricks for this behavior, even if it was “merely” negligent, as opposed to a deliberate fraud on the court.

***

The Founders did not imagine an America of incredible wisdom, by incredible wisdom, and for incredible wisdom. Madison readily envisioned that the government would be able to function despite man’s worst nature. However, even the Founders’ checks and balances didn’t comprehend a president and his supporters who would willingly cast aside constitutional governance.

Sadly, judging by changes made to the AP US history test, which drives US history curriculum at high schools across America, things aren’t going to get better any time soon. Since our children are prevented from learning the Founders’ wisdom, they can’t institute those ideas into their understanding of government.

And, while Boehner’s lawsuit is a step in the right direction, I remain dubious that it will accomplish anything. I’m with Andrew McCarthy in that I fear it will simply see the House cede power to the courts. At the rate Congress is ceding power to the other branches of government, it becomes nothing but an expensive Kabuki piece.

***

The kind of people who vote for Hillary won’t care that, on July 4th, this potential presidential candidate has decided to spend her time with a British, America-bashing newspaper. That’s what DemProgs do, and they’re damn proud of it too.

***

For years, people have been trying to figure out what the “Obama doctrine” is. Jeffrey Anderson thinks he knows: the Obama doctrine is Obama’s belief that, when Americans voted him into office, they got a twofer — both a president and a legislator.

***

Earlier today, I posted that, whether one agrees or not with the cheerleader who is also a big game hunter, disagreement is not a basis for censorship. DemProg, chart-topping songstress Diane Warren has different idea altogether. She thinks that disagreement is a basis for murder. Assuming Warren survives the coming ISIS sharia takeover, she should fit in quite well with the Islamist mindset.

***

I’m not a BBC fan, but this rap version of WWI’s origins is cute.

***

And finally, pictures!

Democrats are brave enough

Me myself and I

Plenty of room on the calendar

Reasons for owning guns

Illegal immigrants displace veterans

(Thanks to Caped Crusader, the Family Back East, and Earl Aagaard for their help with this post.)

Mid-day Sunday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s a ridiculously beautiful day here, the kind that screams out “God’s in his Heaven, and all’s right with the world.” It’s therefore quite discordant to read headlines and realize that God may be in his Heaven, but Obama is in the White House, the DemProgs are in charge of the Senate, our Southern border is broken, and the Middle East is catapulting back to the 7th century — and trying to take us with it.

Yikes! I’m going to be grateful to go to the laundromat with the piles of clothes my ailing washing machine can’t handle.  I have to leave quite soon, so let me throw a super quick round-up your way:

***

If you read only one thing today, read Mark Steyn’s thoughts about the particular reason the IRS scandal is so appalling and why it ought to resonate among all Americans, not just those targeted in this particular scandal.

***

Kevin D. Williamson’s article about the money to be had in politics is so good, I actually posted it on my “real me” Facebook page. I don’t usually post things from conservative publications on Facebook, because DemProgs refuse to read things that don’t come from sources they trust (i.e., the drive-by media). This one, though, raises such non-partisan issues I figured that even my DemProg friends will find something with which they agree in the article.

***

Kyle Smith on the DemProg’s constant shtick about being poor. They are truly testing how far they can push Lincoln’s saying that you can fool all of the people all of the time. Oh, wait! Lincoln didn’t say that. That’s just the DemProg’s theory and they’re working it really hard.

***

It’s easy to deal with illegal aliens, and it doesn’t require new law to do so. The current law gives the federal government all the power it needs to take care of the current situation.  Matt Barber explains. I’ll add to Barber’s claim that a solid border isn’t mean by pointing out that, as long as the U.S. provides a safety valve, corrupt Latin American governments have no incentive to reform. We allow the wound to fester endlessly without ever getting better.

***

A Church of England vicar who married his long-time boyfriend contends that this marriage was the “Christian” thing to do. Interestingly, he offers no theological justification for that conclusion. Could it be because there isn’t a theological justification? There are a lot of good arguments in favor of gay marriage, but neither the Old nor the New Testament provide a basis for any such arguments:

***

You know how “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Not at the VA. If you’re a squeaky wheel there, you’re put on a list and given less, not more, care. When W. S. Gilbert had his Mikado sing about the “little list” he’d compiled to get rid of social irritants (“I don’t think they’ll be missed; I’m sure they won’t be missed”), I’m pretty sure he was joking. The VA isn’t.

***

If the Muslims take over the world, it won’t just be Jews wearing yellow stars or hats. One imam in England has it all planned out and it involves everyone but good Muslims living as slaves within the nations they once controlled.

***

Of course Obama knows what the’s doing in terms of throwing fuel on the Middle Easter fire. [UPDATE:  I un-linked this.  Earl caught something I missed which is that, after a very credible analysis about what's going on in the Middle East, and ISIS's role in these developments, in the second-to-last paragraph, the linked article went off into wild antisemitic "Zionist" conspiracy theories.]

***

Tom Rogan is right: ISIS has a lot of problems. Its forte is killing, not management, and it won’t be able to create a stable state. However, if ISIS gets control in Iraq and Libya, or even if it doesn’t, its killing ways will still allow it to cause immeasurable destruction and suffering.

***

I love this line from Michael Goodwin’s article about Obama’s endless whining that people are mean to him: “There you have it: the presidential mind in Year 6. Don’t cry for Argentina — cry for me!”

***

C S Lewis

The DemProg Hillbillies

Things I hate

Saturday mid-day round-up and Open Thread

broken-washing-machineI’m just thankful that the washer wasn’t doing a bleach load when it decided to break. And I’m thankful that the clothes were mostly rinsed of detergent (indeed, there was so little detergent in them that they weren’t actually cleaned). And I’m thankful that I was able to wring the clothes out and that my dryer still works. All in all, a lot to be thankful for.

As for the being thankful about the news in Obama’s America . . . well, not so much:

***

I cannot tell you how much I dread the thought of a possible Elizabeth Warren presidency. I’ve disliked and disrespected that woman for almost thirty years now. Nothing I’ve learned about her in the intervening years has changed my opinion. If you think Obama is bad, Warren will be just as bad in her own way.

***

Of course, I dread a Clinton presidency too. In that regard, I’m grateful for a new book that is again raising the charge that Hillary Clinton was fired for “writing fraudulent legal briefs, lying to investigators and confiscating public documents.” The book is written by Jerry Zeifman, a serious Nixon partisan, but he was her boss at the time, so it will be interesting to see his support for this charge and Hillary’s opposition, if any.

***

This Commentary Magazine article about the Leftist fight against moderate Muslims may be behind a pay wall for you, but if you can do so, please read it. This might whet your appetite:

After years of effort to promote the myth of a post 9/11 backlash against American Muslims, the left is breaking some new ground in the debate about terror. Instead of merely trying to make Americans feel guilty about defending themselves against radical Islamists, they have a new goal: banning the use of the term “moderate Muslim.”

That’s the conceit of a piece in The New Republic by Georgetown University’s Nathan Lean in which he argues that to attempt to differentiate between Islamists who seek to pursue a war on the West and those Muslims who wish to live in peace with non-Muslims is itself an act of prejudice. For Lean, any effort to ascertain whether Muslims are supportive of the radical ideologues that have supported not only al-Qaeda but also other Islamist terror movements is wrong because it feeds the “Islamophobia” which he believes is at the core of all Western attitudes towards Muslims. In doing so, he is attempting not only to discourage efforts to combat the radicals but to delegitimize those Muslims who choose to speak up against the Islamists.

I’m familiar with that New Republic article because one of my “real me” Facebook friends posted it. I went ballistic and left a long comment noting that there’s a huge difference between truly moderate Muslims, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, (a) the radicals and (b) the silent majority behind the radicals. If we don’t make that distinction, we run the risk of two things: (a) having the bad guys metastasize even more because we’re afraid to label them or (b) having things come to such a head that, when all distinctions are gone and the bad guys are ascendant, we turn on the good guys too. I completely shut down the burgeoning comment thread. No one had a word left to say after my rant.

If you can, please read Jonathan Tobin’s analysis of the terrible harm this new Leftist tactic will cause in the West’s existential war against radical Islam, a war the West barely won the first time, in the centuries spanning the 7th centuries when Islam burst out of the Arabian peninsula through the medieval Crusades that finally pushed Islam back a little bit, and that it barely won again the second time, in the 17th century when the Ottoman Turks made their way to the outskirts of Vienna. If we can’t even name our enemy this time around, Islam will succeed.

***

The New York Times has examined its conscience and decided that it is pure; it did indeed report with sufficient weight and depth on the IRS scandal. Scott Johnson, at Power Line, begs to differ and has the facts to undermine the New York Times’ self-serving, highly inaccurate exculpation.

***

Roger Simon thinks the liberal media is silent about things such as the IRS scandal because individual members of the media cannot bear to admit that everything they believed was wrong. I think Neo-Neocon is closer to the mark when she says that the media is silent about Obama’s cascading failures and scandals because they still agree with his agenda wholeheartedly, and don’t want anything to derail it. Or as she says, “I’m afraid what the Times is doing is ass-covering. They can’t think of a way to spin Obama’s abysmal failures any more (they do have certain standards, although those standards are pretty low), so they are silent.” Yup.

***

Greg, at Rhymes with Right, explains how far Obama has deviated from the Constitution when it comes to the way in which he exercises his “executive” powers. Greg politely ascribes this to Obama’s failure to understand the Constitution. I wouldn’t be so nice. Obama fully understands the Constitution. He just doesn’t agree with it. Democrats like what he’s doing and are willing to destroy constitutional checks and balances to support his agenda, and Republicans understand precisely what Obama understands: As the nation’s first sort-of black president, he can’t be stopped.

***

Some political ads are better than others. This one, by Darius Foster, a black conservative, is one of the best. (Hat tip: Hot Air)

***

Andrew McCarthy excoriates John Boehner for going the weakling’s route in his challenge to Obama’s lawlessness, rather than using the full complement of weapons available to the House under the Constitution.

***

What I continue to find fascinating about the plan to put a suicide barrier under the Golden Gate Bridge, something that will cost almost $80 million dollars is that it’s being advanced by the same crew of people who agree with Nancy Pelosi that abortion is “sacred ground.” For example, one of the barrier’s proponents is Tom Ammiano, a hard Left, political gay (as opposed to someone whose life is not defined by his sexual predilections) who makes Pelosi look moderate.

Ammiano supports all forms of abortion, including sex selection abortions. He also strongly believes that the public should pay for abortions: “In my 21 years in public office, I have been one of the strongest advocates for public funding of abortion services.”

I don’t get the logic of a man who says that the public must pay $79 million to prevent a statistically small number of suicides by people who desperately want to die, even as he even more zealous demands that the public pay even more money in order to enable the millions of abortions that kill infants who most certainly do not want to die.

***

Your health care provider is watching you. If you put a bottle of soda, a bag of sugar, a stick of butter or, Heaven forbid, a cigarette pack on your credit card or your grocery store club card, don’t be surprised if you get a warning from your doctor, followed by the denial of care for which you previously paid by buying insurance.

***

One wishes that the same-sex marriage crowd, which insists that all couples who love each other should get the state’s and the church’s imprimatur of marriage, would get as excited about events in Pakistan.  There a couple who married for love were beheaded by the bride’s outraged family. The fact that you can’t get the state’s stamp of approval for same-sex love in America seems to pale a bit in importance when compared to love and death in the stone age world of Islamic/tribal countries across the Islamic swath of the Middle East.

***

It’s Ramadan, so the United States Navy is warning troops in Bahrain to hide their day-time eating habits and, men and women both, to cover up when in public. I’m of two minds about this. Normally I would say that there’s nothing wrong with the military behaving politely during a host country’s religious festival. However, when the host country is Muslim, I never get the feeling that these actions are taken because of politeness and mutual respect. I always feel that they have more to do with dhimmitude and fear.

***

Check out Sultan Knish’s “Friday afternoon roundup” to see a great anti-Hillary video. Also, you simply have to read an entire post that contains gems such as these:

The ongoing problem on the right is that it talks ‘extremist’ and legislates ‘moderate’ while the left talks ‘moderate’ and legislates ‘extremist’.

That’s a big part of why Obama is in the White House and conservatives are still struggling to make headway.

Obama isn’t in the White House because Americans woke up Communist one morning. I know that “Free Stuff” is a popular theory, but people always liked free stuff. The larger welfare population helped shift the balance, but if Obama had been a non-viable candidate, there would have been no balance to shift and it would have done him as much good as it did Jesse Jackson or Dukakis.

Obama is in office because much of the country believes that he is a moderate and a centrist.

The left can get away with it because it talks centrist and lives radical. If the right is ever going to do better than another liberal Republican, its candidates are going to have to talk like liberal Republicans while legislating well to the right.

It is doable. Rand Paul has been doing the talking part well enough. Unfortunately he talks the talk so well because he actually is well to the left.

***

Do you believe IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s claim that ordinary taxpayers can pull a Lois Lerner and claim that their dog at their hard drive, with all their tax relevant documents on it? No, I don’t either.

You know who Koskinen reminds me of? Lillian Hellman in the context of Mary McCarthy’s famous Hellman put-down: “I once said in an interview that every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

***

Everyone is a’Twitter and a’Facebook about a Verizon ad claiming that it’s parents who are at fault for the fact that there aren’t more girls who are engineers. You see, they yell at their prepubescent daughters for committing acts of science instead of just being pretty. HuffPo did an entire post supporting the ad. The horror statistic is that, while 66% of 4th grade girls say that they like math and science, only 18% go on to become engineering majors.

I think that’s a bunch of garbage. Through the process of raising a boy and a girl, not to mention being surrounded by boys and girls, and having once been a girl myself, I know what happens between 4th grade and high school/college. Science and math transform from simplistic, teacher directed classroom exercises to becoming hardcore, data-rich, formula-driven, highly analytic problems.

During 4th grade, when girls are infinitely better than boys at sitting down and following directions, they shine with simplistic problems. However, as boys finally mature, their brains click into gear and enjoy the higher level work while the majority (not all, but the majority) of girls dislike the mental effort and rote memorization of the STEM subjects and prefer softer subjects that engage the verbal, artistic, and emotional parts of their brain.

Is the above a gross generalization? Yes, up to a point. There’s always a bell curve, with outliers, but the fact is that maturing girls draw away from STEM just as maturing boys are drawn to it — and this isn’t because 21st century girls are told to shut up and be pretty, but because that’s where their developing brains take them. And no, that’s not science talking. That’s living in the real world talking.

***

Use an obvious, albeit bloodthirsty metaphor opposing the party in power and end up in the mental hospital. Soviet Union? No. Obama’s America.

***

And some pictures:

Obama endowed by his creator

Obama's priorities

Obama's priorities 2

(Thanks to Earl and Sadie for their help assembling this round-up.)

Tuesday mid-day round up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve been a good girl today. I paid bills, cleaned the kitchen, set up appointments for various family members to do various activities, cleared some more stuff out of my in-boxes, and generally did not waste time. Now, though, I’m ready to sit back and “waste” some time by sharing all sorts of interesting stuff with you:

Priority of place has to go to Oberlin’s utterly insane proposed guidelines for its athletic department:

“It is basically intended to sort of be a 101,” Emily Clarke, a junior and member of the committee, said in an interview with Campus Reform on Thursday. “We also talk about choice, privilege and agency in presentation of gender and pronouns and ends with trans-allyship dos and don’ts.”

“It’s basically like, don’t question people about their transitioning processes, respect pronouns and names, don’t use ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlemen’ when addressing a group of people,” she said.

[snip]

In addition to the training, the new policy would also mandate that athletic department documents replace “FTM” (female-to-male) and “MTF” (male-to-female) with “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a female at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition” and “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a male at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition.”

That’s just a drop in the bucket when trying to convey the sheer awfulness of this assault on the English language and biological reality. You really have to look at the original document to get the full flavor.

***

While more and more American campuses are contorting themselves to avoid offending their special interest groups, Jews in France are facing actual physical offenses, in the form of assaults by Muslim gangs. AFP notes that Jews are leaving France in historic numbers, but somehow cannot bring itself to explain why this sudden exodus is taking place. It vaguely references a “climate of anti-Semitism,” without talking about the ongoing physical assaults at Muslim hands. (This post, about the similar situation in which Danish Jews find themselves, helps pick up where the AFP, in most cowardly fashion, left off.)

***

Mark Steyn lambastes mealy-mouthed Leftists who think hashtags are the same as actual action. He also schools Charles C.W. Cooke, at the National Review, who rightly earned ire for saying that Holocaust Denial should be debated in public schools as an academic exercise. Steyn endorses Laura Rosen Cohen’s answer to Cooke’s proposal, which is that we debate ideas, but we don’t debate conspiracy theories that bear no relationship to known, indisputable facts.

Eliot Cohen also looks at the whole hashtag phenomenon amongst American Progressives and concludes that it’s part of a larger problem, which is that, although they wield tremendous, scary amounts of power, they have the intellectual and emotional capacity of adolescents. Hmmm. That argument seems familiar….

***

All across the Leftist spectrum, even as they hashtag their pleas for the release of the school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, no one will say two important words: “Christianity” or “Islam.” Or if they do say those words, it’s to deny that they have anything to do with the kidnapping. To the Left, what we’re seeing is just this bizarre coincidence that has these murderous madmen mouthing Islamic slogans even as they (again totally coincidentally) enslave Christians, murder Christians, and murder Muslims foolish enough to hang out with Christians. Both Michael Rubin and Pamela Geller take on this intellectual deceit. The only problem with their excellent articles is that the people who need to read them . . . won’t.

***

Writing in USA Today (which is a pretty good venue considering that it’s available to business-class travelers in hotels and airplanes throughout America), Paul Caron says Congress should give Lois Lerner immunity in exchange for testimony. He provides a succinct, but detail-rich, summary about the IRS’s partisan attack on conservative groups, making three things painfully clear: What happened was a horrific act of corruption; the media have been complicit through silence; and Lerner is the easiest, and maybe the only, way to get to the bottom of this scandal (a scandal that I posit is the worst political scandal ever in American history).

***

I have several gay friends on my “real me” Facebook, all of whom date back to high school or even junior high school. Without exception, they are politically hard Left and socially absolutely militant. Nothing even slightly negative may ever be said about the LGBTQ community. I suspect, therefore, that they’re going to ignore the CDC’s recent report about resurgent syphilis in the gay community. If this is indeed what they’re doing, they’re making a terrible mistake. The AIDS epidemic should have taught them once and for all that dangerous behaviors cannot be ignored; they must be nipped in the bud lest Mother Nature lets things get wildly out of hand.

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Mark Tapson posits that the professional Left’s frantic, cruel, tasteless, and heartless jokes about Benghazi hide a very real fear: There’s probably something there that they don’t want the American people to know.

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Trust Thomas Sowell to get to the heart of the matter: Why are colleges sitting as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to alleged rapes? Could it be because they know that, in all but a few cases, the “victim’s” claims wouldn’t survive a second when actual law and legal procedure are applied to them?

***

This is a marvelous blog that will help everyone understand that correlation and causation are not the same thing. And in that same spirit, here’s a thought-provoking cartoon/chart that Caped Crusader sent me. (Caveat: I have no idea if the data is accurate, but I suspect/hope it’s close to accurate, so I’m running with it.)

Gun crime Chicago v Houston

IRS correspondence seems to reveal conspiracy to criminalize conservative speech

Obama-IrsThe IRS’s job is to collect the taxes that Congress demands the American people pay. Under Lois Lerner’s guidance, though, the IRS’s job, apparently, was to identify potential conservative targets for Department of Justice criminal investigations. Hmmm.

PJMedia currently has running two excellent posts on the subject. The first is J. Christian Adams’ “A new, more sinister IRS scandal.” The second is Bryan Preston’s “The terrifying implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ connection.”

Preston opens his post with this compelling paragraph:

Thank God for Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. His investigation of what turned out to be the IRS abuse scandal may well have saved the Constitution and the nation.

I hope Preston is correct.

Adams closes his post by saying, “Just wait until the American people learn more about the modern American version of history’s speech regulators.”

Sadly, I think Adams is wrong. The ones who never pay attention will continue not to pay attention. As for the man-in-the-street Democrats, the ones who are unthinking, not activist, Leftists, I’m sorry to say that they won’t suddenly think, “Oh, my God! What have we become? This has to stop.”

Instead, when you try to convince knee-jerk, unthinking Democrats that their party is using the most powerful government agency in America to shut down political debate and imprison political dissent, you’ll get a shrug, along with mumbled remarks about “conservative wackos are paranoid,” and “these people were obviously breaking the law,” and “the IRS saved us from turning into a Christian Fundamentalist Nation, kind of like Iran.”

Government is the last place in which the war is fought.  The initial battles are for people’s hearts and minds, and the Left started fighting and winning those battles in the 1960s.  Now, as the old saying goes, “it’s all over but for the shouting.”

Tyranny and the 5th Amendment

To the extent this implies that the government itself is hiding behind the Bill of Rights, this poster isn’t quite right. An individual in the government, rather than the government itself, is pleading the 5th. Just because one works for the government doesn’t mean one gives up ones rights as a citizen.

Nevertheless, I liked the poster because it’s a reminder that we currently have an exceptionally corrupt administration in Washington. Should we be able to switch to a Republican administration, Lerner will be followed by a long line of 5th pleaders:

Tyranny and the 5th

Hat tip: Caped Crusader

Friday afternoon round up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of good stuff today, so I’m going to dive right in.  As always, these aren’t in any particular order, so you may find interesting things buried halfway down the list.

I’ve made the same point before, but I still like to see it come from Daniel Hannan and Jonah Goldberg:  Nazis came from the Left, not from the right.  Incidentally, I still like the way I phrased it, which was that we should get rid of the archaic Left/Right or Fascist/Communist/Capitalist language and, instead, look at political systems in terms of Statist versus Individualist forms of government.  The world’s most famous bad guys, no matter the name they gave themselves, land on the statist side.  America, before Obama, was more individualists, as she was when she went around the world freeing people from statists calling themselves Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Military Juntas, Muslim Fundamentalists, etc.

***

One of the things that distinguished George Bush was that he was a good manager — proving that he got something useful out of his stint in Harvard Business School. He surrounded himself by efficient, knowledgeable people who reflected well on this country’s competence, even if one didn’t agree with its policies. The opposite is true for Obama. He is a terrible manager who surrounds himself with people who know as little as he does.

Obama’s conduct is typical for an insecure person. He needs to surround himself with ineffective sycophants who say nice things to him and who don’t threaten him with their greater talents and skills. Obama gave the game away a long time ago when he announced, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Genuinely smart — and mentally healthy — people don’t actually say things like that.

***

One of the things that drives me crazy about the Left’s insistence on bypassing parents to give young girls access to the birth control pill is the fact that it’s not just about sex (and the Left uses sex to bribe girls away from the nuclear family). It’s also about how high risk pills are. California kids can’t get their ears pierced without permission, but girls can easily get pills that are associated with strokes, blood clots, breast cancer and, now, multiple sclerosis. The Pill is a very dangerous medicine, but it’s so wrapped up in Leftist feminist politics, no one is willing to say “no” simply on safety grounds.  The fight about the Pill on moral grounds is a good fight.  The fight about the Pill on health grounds should be a winning fight — but nobody’s doing battle there.

***

Two excellent views about Putin’s escapades: Terresa, at Noisy Room, harks back to the Nazi notion of Lebensraum.  Paul Rahe, at Ricochet, thinks Putin is a fool, trying to relive the glory days of the Cold War but, in fact, reaching far beyond Russia’s actual, very limited, economic abilities, not to mention exposing Russia to the very real risk of a Chinese takeover. Fool or madman, the one thing we know with certainty is that Putin’s policies will destroy many lives, both inside and outside of Russia.

***

My sister lives in Oregon. After the millions it spent on its Obamacare exchange, she ended up signing up the old-fashioned way: by paper. The only question is how long the media can keep the prestidigitation going, so that people don’t realize that they’re on the losing end of a shell game.

***

Colleges across America: “Due process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ due process!”

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Jonah Goldberg nicely analyzes something that we’ve been talking about here, which is the speed with which the gay marriage debate has gone from the fringe to “you’d better accept it or else.” As many famous people have learned to their cost, one of the most effective techniques for moving the debate forward without regard to the merits is the GLAAD & Friends tactic of “nice little place/career/life you’ve got here. . . . Shame if something happened to it.”

***

Roger L. Simon issues a call to arms: Take back Hollywood. It drives culture and, to the extent conservatives jumped off the entertainment bus, we’ve left the lunatics in the driver’s seat.

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The IRS scandal continues unabated. Those who think it’s been addressed and repaired have been flim-flammed yet again. Moreover, if you follow the money to public servant corruption, that may go a long way to explaining why our bureaucracy, which is supposed to be studiously apolitical, has thrown its immense power to the Democrats, the political party owned by the government workers’ unions.

***

I really, really like Allen West. Here he is with a vivid, but emotion-free, summation about both Common Core’s academic weaknesses and the madness of Obamacare mathematics.

***

My bet without doing any research is that, if you studied political identity in the military, you’d see that the military is still more conservative than the population as a whole. What you’d also see, though, is that every subsequent new batch of enlistees is more liberal than the one that came before. Remember, the new enlistees are young and Democrats have marketed themselves successfully to the young.

We know that young people in the general population are souring on Obama as job prospects dim.  Military enlistees have a job, but there’s still the possibility that they too will sour.  To the extent that Senate Democrats refused to increase veteran’s benefits, the very minimal chatter I’ve seen amongst the few young enlistees who are Facebook friends is that they are feeling hostile to the Dems right about now.

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

***

Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

***

Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

***

I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

***

I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

***

Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

***

In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

Thursday thoughts (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesPower corrupts; and when the IRS has absolute power, it’s corrupted absolutely.

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Three headlines at The Weekly Standard: (1) CBO Director: Obamacare ‘Creates a Disincentive for People to Work’; (2) AOL CEO: ‘Obamacare Is an Additional $7.1 Million Expense For Us’; (3) WSJ: ‘Limited Choices of Doctors and Hospitals’ Under Obamacare.

And one great punchline from Keith Koffler.

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Obama’s blithe dismissal of the IRS scandal wasn’t just unethical (he shouldn’t be opining during an ongoing — albeit barely there — investigation), but was also just flat-out wrong.

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Yesterday, I noted that the Budweiser “Welcome home, soldier” ad was astroturfed patriotism, which I found unpleasant. I heard from someone in the military that the people he knows are uniform in their dislike of the ad (no pun intended). The American Spectator now chimes in, chiding Budweiser and other companies for commercializing the military.

Old Hollywood movies also used to commercialize the military:  they’d make supportive movies about the military to sell tickets.  Back then, though, because patriotism was the name of the game throughout America, that commercialism seemed less sleazy than the Vaseline-smeared lenses that characterizes 1-minute long commercials that use the military as a backdrop to sell a product.

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When it comes to principled conservativism, PM Tony Abbott of Australia seems to be the real deal. That’s not the only heartening thing. If he is indeed the real deal, we should take comfort in knowing that a former British colony that was following Britain’s PC lead was able to recognize how damaging its policies were and to vote in the other direction. Maybe there’s hope for another former British colony that seems determined to follow Britain’s PC lead, even as Britain is falling into the abyss.

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As an example of the British abyss, there’s news out today that a British court has demanded that Thomas Monson, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e., Mormons), report to London immediately to defend his faith against fraud charges with regard to some of its central tenets.

I’d originally written snarkily that the judge seems unable to distinguish faith from science. I then realized that the snark was misplaced.  What we’re seeing here is another byproduct of global warming: Because global warming has become an unfalsifiable doctrine it has turned science into faith. Why then, should a British judge, who I am 100% certain believes in global warming, have the ability any longer to distinguish between science and faith? She’s going to apply tests to them, not according to their nature (with science getting evidence and hypothesis based tests, and religion being left alone on faith grounds), but according to her own belief system, one that probably worships Gaia and rejects more traditional religions.

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If you like proof, David Horovitz provides ample proof that John Kerry is a fool, and a dangerous one at that.