Back in the saddle and ready to blog

Victorian posy of pansiesLong, long day.  Really long.  I spent it with my mother, an experience that always exhausts me.  Age has sucked everything but the life out of her.  There’s no vestige anymore of the person she once was.  That saddens me, even though I know it’s the way of things.  A day spent with her is no longer a day with Mom, which used to be my delight, but is, instead, a day spent with a very frail, very slow, somewhat confused, usually grumpy, very passive-aggressive, lovingly narcissistic, obsessive compulsive person.

I don’t regret the time.  I still love the person she was, so I care deeply for the person she is, but I always arrive home completely drained.  It takes energy for me to slow down to her speed (which is the same reason I never enjoyed toddlers) and it takes even more energy for me to deal with her relentless negativity and to track, and respond appropriately to, her often obscure conversation.  I’m a grumpy person myself, so I’ve told both the kids to kick me in the tuchus if, when I’m old, I whine endlessly.  I’ve told them to feel free to threaten me with their absence if I don’t clean up (or cheer up) my act.

Thankfully, I’ve now had a couple of hours to decompress.  My husband took my daughter and her friends to the movies, the dogs are washed and resting nearby, and the mouse is making music on its creaky little wheel.  Everything is peaceful.  I like peaceful, since it gives my brain freedom.  And with that mental freedom comes the urge to share my thoughts.  Here goes:

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Upside down nazi salute quenelleThe new Nazi salute rises in Europe.  Its practitioners say it’s a joke, because they angle their stiff arm downwards, not upwards.  Their claim that it’s a joke is a lie, of course.  They pair this neo-Nazi salute with the same venomous anti-Semitism that led the Nazis to create the gas chambers.  Also, it’s very bizarre to see black men do this salute, since the Nazis believed firmly in black racial inferiority  Hitler, as many recall, was livid when Jesse Owens swept the races during the 1936 Munich Olympics.  How dare he prove false one of the Nazi’s racial theories.

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Bloody fingerprints in BenghaziAndrew McCarthy has penned one of his best posts.  In addition to shredding the purported facts in the now-infamous New York Times whitewash of Benghazi history (which I won’t dignify with a link), McCarthy zeroes in on the real purpose behind the story — and it’s not just to salvage Hillary’s reputation:

[T]he objective of Kirkpatrick’s novella is not to persuade; it is to shrink the parameters of newsworthy inquiry to a punctilious debate over nonsense: The cockamamie trailer and the dizzying jihadist org chart.

[snip]

Coherence and historical accuracy are not what the Times is after. The aim is to drag our consideration of a jihadist act of war down a rabbit hole of nitpicking over which jihadists did what. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s derelictions before, during, and after the massacre — the matter of greatest consequence — remain studiously outside this wearying crossfire.

Remember, the Times-Clinton tag team has run this play before. Start with a president using a young intern to turn the Oval Office into a brothel and then perjuring himself over it. Ought to be a removable offense, right? But the next thing you know, after some epic media investigation dictated by Democratic talking points, we find ourselves kvetching over whether it was really sex; whether she was of consenting age; whether he really lied; whether the lies were really “material”; whether a president’s Oval Office trysts are really part of his “private life”; and “what the definition of ‘is’ is.”

See? None of the ever tinier questions or answers matter. The idea is to exhaust the American attention span until enough people are persuaded that it’s time to — all together now — move on.

McCarthy ends his post with dozens of the big questions, the ones that need to be asked.  The tragedy of those questions, a tragedy in many ways greater even than those four lonely, violent deaths in Benghazi, is that no one will ever ask them.  The media surrounding Obama and Hillary doesn’t want to know the answer to those questions, and Obama and Hillary will be careful to avoid every coming into contact with the people willing to ask them.

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Behead those who insult IslamCaroline Glick sees a silver lining to that same New York Times article.  She believes that the Times, while trying to whitewash Obama and Hillary, accidentally admitted an important truth:  Radical Islam, which is a worldwide phenomenon made up of many groups and individuals, is the problem.   Al Qaeda is just one tiny drop in the Islamist ocean.  This reality runs counter to Obama’s own narrative.

Since bin Laden’s death, as you know, Obama has been boasting that al Qaeda is dead, meaning that America no longer need fear massive terrorist attacks or global warfare.  With that fiction in place, Obama has felt free to pal around with Iran, the Taliban, the Turkish government, etc.  The New York Times just blew that fiction to smithereens.  Either al Qaeda was the main actor in Benghazi, which means that Obama lied when he said it was defeated, dropped the ball in Benghazi, and lied after the fact; or al Qaeda didn’t commit the Benghazi massacre, which means that Obama lied when he said al Qaeda was the only Islamic enemy, and that he’s been exposing America to terrible danger by refusing to acknowledge terrorists other than al Qaeda.

I agree with Glick in principle, but believe that only a small subset of Americans will appreciate these subtleties.  Either they support Obama and Hillary or they don’t.  Nothing else matters.

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UCLAJonathan Marks writes a brilliant take-down of the antisemitic American Studies Association.

And speaking of the travesty that is modern academia, if you can get behind the Wall Street Journal’s paywall, please check out Heather MacDonald’s masterful exposure of the rot at the heart of UCLA’s English literature department.  Shakespeare is out and now English majors must take “a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.”

It sure sounds as if the English Lit department has been transformed into the Marxist Social Issues department.  The students will learn how not to think.  Well, they’re actually learning how not to think in every department at every major American university.  (In years past, I might have excluded the sciences from that blanket statement, but the sciences’ impassioned embrace of the global warming hoax reveals that academia is tainted in toto.)  Worse, these English majors will never learn learn about the beauty of their mother tongue nor will they be exposed to big ideas about human kind.  Instead, their prose, and the thoughts underlying that prose, will be like this:

At its most intimate, colonization involves bodies, altering how subjects experience and conceive of desire, hunger, touch, comfort, pleasure, and pain. This panel seeks participants from all disciplines engaged with the objects of early American studies to contribute to a discussion of method and theory for understanding early American carnality. In particular, it is concerned with the intersection of bodily sensation with evolving understandings of empire, nation, encounter, and resistance. How was colonization effected through and affected by sensation? How do theories of affect and intimacy impact current early American historiographies, and vice versa? How might Americanists reconceptualize our understandings of the significance of empire and colonization through attentiveness to early American sensation? Proposals that consider race, gender, and/or sexuality dynamically or that explore economic status, religion, local conditions, or ethno-cultural identities as part of carnality strongly encouraged (though naming some themes is not meant to exclude other possibilities).

Each panelist will present a 10 minute paper and be paired with a respondent who will provide prepared comments. Respondents will ideally be non-early Americanists in order to foster temporal interdisciplinarity.

Mr. Bookworm doesn’t understand why I’m resistant to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to send my children to big name colleges. It’s not just that they’re rife with antisemitism and anti-Americanism.  It’s because major universities such as UCLA are neutering and Marx-icizing their English departments, meaning that the universities’ ultimate goal is for America’s “best and brightest” (or at least, her “A” and “B” students) to be taught to think and write in the way of American academics.

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Nuns caring for the sickEverything you need to know about the Obama administration:  It frees from prison Lynne Stewart, an unrepentant Communist who actively aided Islamist terrorism against the US, even as it gets ever-more-deeply involved in a down and dirty fight with nuns who refuse to let  the government force them to violate their religious conscience.  My money is on the nuns.  Obama may have a rigid ideology on his side, but the nuns are members of God’s army, and they will not give up the fight.  Fortunately, the Archdiocese of New York is not playing nice but is, instead, telling the world exactly what the Obama administration is doing — and what it’s doing is discriminating against traditional religion.

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Bradley KasalMary Tudor (1516-1558) lost Calais, the last English outpost in France.  She found that loss so horrifying that she said, “When I am dead and opened, you shall find `Calais’ lying in my heart.”  Barack Obama has lost Fallujah, the city that American troops, especially Marines, bled and died for, probably in greater numbers than in any other geographic site in our decade long battle against Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He hasn’t said a single word about this terrible loss, nor does he seem to care that he’s allowed ten years of hard-fought military victories to vanish in the blink of an eye.  When Obama dies and is opened, not only will no one find ‘Fallujah’ lying in his heart, no one will find a heart.

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Obama looking stupidTom Blumer details the five myths people have to believe in order to accept the Obama presidency as anything other than a disaster.  Two involve the economy, one involves Obamacare, one involves climate change, and the last is about national security.  2014 may well be the death of all these myths, but we’ll still be saddled with two more years of Obama.

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Kennedy girls 1960The Democrat party used to have genuine liberals in its numbers — people with a broad, classic education who envisioned a world that was better with America, not a world better off without America.  They may have been useful idiots who were unaware that they represented the pretty front of hardcore Leftism, but they were real.

These old-time liberal Democrats were the people who believed in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.  They believed that men and women were different (and viva la difference), but that women were entitled to equal treatment under the law.  They would have scoffed at the notion that men, and all their biological impulses, are dangerous and  perverse, and should therefore be destroyed.  They believed wholeheartedly that blacks were their brothers and sisters, and deserved full standing under the law.  They would have been shocked to hear that the blacks were to be treated economically as marginally intelligent infants and sexually as uncontrolled adolescents.  That’s how the KKK and Jim Crow viewed blacks, and true liberal Democrats fought against those demeaning stereotypes.

Old-time liberal Democrats believed that Israel was a feisty nation, rooted in the Bible, burnished in the terrible crucible of the Holocaust, and to be applauded for fighting against the forces of Communist and Arabist darkness.  They would have been unable to comprehend a world in which their party mouthpieces bellowed loudly that Jews are the new Nazis, simply because they are trying to protect their whole country and their individual citizens from being overrun by genocidal, anti-Christian, misogynistic, homophobic, medieval minds.

Those old-time liberals Democrats, who did truly exist, are gone now.  To those of you like myself who were once Leftists, but now identify as conservatives, you’re not imagining it:  the political party you left beyond has truly gone ’round the bend.  They’re all Marxists now.

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When seconds count, the police are always minutes (74 minutes in this case) away.  Thank God for legal guns.

Hospital bedside blogging, with my thoughts turning to evil

Mom’s in the hospital again and suffering greatly, not in body, but in mind. She’s mildly delusional, and very paranoid, angry and anxious. I can’t imagine how grim it is to live in her head.

I slipped away for an hour and had lunch with Don Quixote. Our conversation turned to evil. I believe evil exists. Don Quixote pointed out, correctly, that many people who commit evil believe in their own heads that they’re doing a good thing.  They believe in their revolution or their God, and believe that they are serving that revolution or God (and, therefore, the greater good) by torturing or murdering mass numbers people who “get in the way.”

I’m going for moral absolutism here:  I believe that my system, which is predicated on maximum individual freedom within a framework of stable laws, is the best.  If two systems, mine and another that is more repressive, find themselves clashing over physical or mental control of people, I believe my system must win, and the other system must be defeated, even if that battle spills blood and causes the death of innocents.  I justify these deaths on the ground that, over the long run, my system will provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while any other system (e.g., Communism or radical Islam) will force great suffering on people for an indefinite amount of time.

At this point in my thinking, I don’t care that the Islamist or the Communist thinks I’m the evil and he’s the good.  If I lie down right now and refuse to do battle, he wins, and I will have perpetuated what is, in my absolutist universe, the greatest wrong of all, which is to allow evil — admitted evil as I define it — to flourish.

What do you say?  Does evil exist?  Am I evil for taking an absolutist position and being willing to fight and kill to defend it?  (Or more accurately, given my armchair warrior status, sending others to fight and kill to defend it?)

I am very interested in what you have to say on the subject.

Incidentally, it’s worth thinking in this regard that part of my Mom’s continuing mental anguish is that she spent WWII interned in a Japanese concentration camp in a war the Japanese started and that she spent the Israeli War of Independence getting shot at by Arabs who refused to recognize the Jewish state.  Those events created a lifelong anxiety that kept her alive during war, but that is slowly and depressingly killing her in old age.

Cultural blindness and freedom

Was it a surprise to you that Egypt went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Was it a surprise to you that Libya went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Was it a surprise to you that Tunisia went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Has it been a surprise to you over the last decade that Iraq hasn’t bloomed into the Middle Eastern equivalent of small town America?  It hasn’t been for me.

If any of the above surprised you, my guess is that you worked for the Bush administration or are working for the Obama administration.  The first group naively believed that, if you gave people the vote, they would vote for freedom, not repression.  As for the second group, I don’t know if they shared that same naiveté, or if they’re truly bad people.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Middle East has understood that, for many citizens in those benighted nations, Islamist government promises purity in lieu of deep, violent corruption.  The people there don’t understand the notion of freedom, but they’re very much alive to hypocrisy — and their Imams have been promising that this is the one thing they won’t get under an Islamist government.  Islam will bring them the peace of total submission to God’s rules, rather than the instability and terror of individual tyranny.

For people who have spent decades on the receiving end of arbitrary and capricious pseudo-Western governments, all the while hearing that their faith will provide honesty and peace, the outcome of elections was a no-brainer.  Lacking the one and a half centuries of self-governance that America had before she even embarked upon her Constitutional experiment, the notion of freedom and individual rights has no resonance.  Sure, some understand it, but for most freedom simply means not being bossed around by a Mubarak or Saddam or Gaddafi.

Mark Steyn ranks with me as being one of the un-surprised — and he recognizes how our blindness abroad leads to threats at home.

I’ll add too that relentless PC multiculturalism, which lauds every culture but our own, is de-programming the love of freedom bred into American DNA, and is therefore probably the greatest internal threat we face.