Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.
I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.
Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers
Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:
Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.
Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.
The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.
While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.
Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”
Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.
“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”
He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”
Make it so, Captain Picard! Make it so!!!
Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.
“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”
“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.
Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.
The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.
The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.
For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.
All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.
Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.
At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.
As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”
It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.
Stay classy, United States Air Force
I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.
Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.
Here’s some good WWII social satire:
A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather
Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:
Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.
“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”
Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.
A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy
I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:
Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.
Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.
Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.
People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.
Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.
Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.
“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”
Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”
If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.
Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman
D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.
Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.
Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:
The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.
Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.
Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record
If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!
The party of “Government, get out of my bedroom!” invades New York bedrooms
When it comes to teenage sex and abortion, or just plain old sex and abortion, the Left’s rallying cry for decades has been clear: “Government, get out of the bedroom.” That’s why I find it incredibly amusing that Blue State New York is planning to join Blue State California and invade the bedroom of every college student under its aegis:
The bill requires “affirmative consent” at each step of the way when two students have sexual contact. Amazingly, that means punishing students who fail to ask “May I unbutton your blouse?” and “May I kiss you?” and wait for the answer. On May 20, Cuomo said there has to be “clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement” before any “specific sexual activity.”
There are, of course, a couple of problems with the bill. First, absent a signed writing or disinterested witnesses, it’s still going to be a “he said, she said” kind of thing, with a malevolent female perfectly capable of claiming that no words were used or that she said “no.” Second, and worse, it will make official the presumption that boys are dangerous sexual predators who must be contained.
Unlike Rand Paul, who is standing for a filibuster against the Patriot Act, my “standing” has to do with the fact that, after a long afternoon of shopping and doctors with my mother, I am still upright and reasonably coherent. His feat is the more admirable one or possibly the more lunatic — I can’t decide. While I think that one over (and please feel free to chime in with your opinions), I offer the following for your reading pleasure:
Bruce Kesler, retired Marine extraordinaire, has a message of immediate concern to veterans and their supporters. Check it out here.
No, you’re not imagining it. Yes, I have been AWOL. The legal work has finally tapered off, but other things have filled the vacuum, taking up both my time and energy. Some of them are very nice things but, much as I love you all, I can’t share them here. And of course, some are just the ordinary stuff that makes up the life of someone who is both a mother and a daughter. During the time I’ve been AWOL, I’ve received quite a lot of very interesting links. Starting with this post, and continuing into others, I’d like to share them with you.
What Republican candidates should say on Iraq
Reporters are playing Iraq gotcha with the Republican candidates, although they’ve assiduously avoided asking Hillary any questions about the war even though she voted for the War. John Hinderaker has the perfect answer that Republican candidates should give when asked about the War:
I know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.
Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone
All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.
Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:
The Left constantly says that it’s not antisemitic with its endless attacks against Israel. Instead, its rabid spokespeople insist, the Left (whether rejoicing under the name of Progressives, Democrats, Liberals, Labour Party members, Europeans of various stripes, etc) is just keeping a tight focus on the horrible suffering of the Palestinian people — and, of course, it’s Israel that causes that suffering. When Israel frees the Palestinians from the bondage, the protests will stop.
But what happens when others cause the Palestinian people to suffer in ways that go so far beyond Israel’s checkpoints that they are impossible to compare? What happens when there are news stories about mass slaughters and beheadings against the Palestinian people, not by Israel, but by ISIS?
The Left’s attacks against Israel are antisemitism, pure and simple. And if you need a graphic illustration of the double standards at work here, I’ve got one for you:
This is it — the ultimate round-up, consisting of more than 20 links that I’ve collected over the past couple of days and wanted to share with you. Nothing works better at squeezing a nice long blog post than a series of legal pleadings I really don’t want to write. By the way, these squiblets aren’t in any particular order, so you never know what gems you might not find as you scroll down.
The weakening of the Leftist mind
In an earlier post, I wrote about the fact that our younger generation has turned into a passive, sheeple generation, meekly towing the Leftist party line. Astute readers pointed out that, aside from the 1960s children, who were spoon-fed their rebellion by communist spies, past Americans generations also weren’t given to a rebellion. That’s true — but at least past generations were taught analytical and reasoning skills. If they desired, they could analyze and challenge their era’s zeitgeist. Our current generation can’t.
And how do I know I’m correct in reaching that conclusion? Because my reasoning coincidences with Daniel Greenfield’s. In a post about the closing of the liberal mind, Greenfield explains how so-called “liberals” have reduced themselves to this state:
This is going to be a down-and-dirty round-up because I’ve just been tapped to help prep for another trial, although thankfully in a more limited way than for the last trial I’ve been working on. My challenge to myself is to limit each paragraph to three sentences:
Caroline Glick has the single best article about the effect on Israel of Obama’s war against that country. It explains what the current situation is and gives some good suggestions about the ways in which Israel can obtain some benefit from the way in which Obama has severed the relationship between the two countries.
I’ve alluded before to the Bowe Bergdahl case, but I expanded on my thoughts a bit at the Watcher’s Council Bowe Bergdahl forum. My contribution is the least interesting; the others are really good.
Having gotten everything it claimed it wanted from the US, Iran is now demanding more. The question is whether Obama will agree, or will use this demand as a face-saving way to back out. My money’s on him saying “yes,” while thinking to himself “Why didn’t I offer that to them in the first place?”
Ignore the nasty language about Bibi Netanyahu in this much-discussed Noah Rothkopf article about the chaos in the Middle East. Rothkopf, while acknowledging that many of the simmering hatreds in the Middle East existed long before Obama came along, strongly argues that Obama’s incoherence is what’s driven the Middle East to a state of total warfare.
Is Obama drinking? The National Enquirer, which has been very careful ever since the Carol Burnett lawsuit, has long hinted that there’s an active alcoholic in the White House. I’ll therefore to be interested to see if it also has headlines about Obama’s libations.
I don’t know why people are upset that a group of British “ethicists” are arguing that, if abortion is okay, it also should be okay to kill babies who have already been born, and to subject these post-birth abortions to the same standards as ordinary abortions (i.e., anything goes). The latest version of the argument comes out of Oxford University, but Princeton’s own Peter Singer has been making this argument forever.
If you are, as I am, an anthropogenic climate change skeptic (as opposed to a mere climate change denier, which would be silly, because the climate is ever-changing), you’ll enjoy this Patrick Moore article explaining in simple terms why he too is an anthropogenic climate change skeptic.
All over America, traditional religious groups are being told that they have abandon what they are if they are to be allowed to exist. On campus, Christian groups are told that it’s discriminatory to insist that people in leadership positions should be Christian. In San Francisco, teachers at private Catholic schools are insisting that they shouldn’t be forced to conform their teaching to Catholic doctrine. It’s high time that conservatives and Christians start serving the Left with its own sauce, and take over LGBT organizations or Islamist groups — and then sit back and watch the fun as those groups start screaming about being taken over.
It’s the nature of centralized government to control everything. In China, disturbed by a line-dancing trend that is sweeping the nation, and that sees millions turn out in the streets to dance, the government has now mandated that the dancing must be taught be government agents and conform to government standards. What the ChiComs didn’t anticipate was a granny backlash against its diktats.
It’s no surprise that Obama wants to hand Israel’s collective head over to the UN on a platter. The UN has just announced that Israel is the world’s worst human rights violator — ahead of Syria and North Korea. The UN and Obama: Made for each other.
Michael Goodwin is on target with another article about the utter, destructive chaos of the Obama administration. Those who said Obama was a devotee of the Cloward-Piven strategy were right.
Word must have gotten out that I have a temporary hiatus in the endless mountain of legal work that’s overwhelmed me, because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all morning. Every time my fingers get anywhere near my keyboard, the phone rings, I glance at the caller ID and, yes, it’s a call I need to take.
The most interesting call I received came in a short while ago from a delightful, interesting man who will be speaking to a local conservative group with which I’m involved. His topic: Israel. In past weeks, some in the group have been a little worried that this man, a Democrat and Obama supporter, might inadvertently antagonize our group. Speaking to him today, though, I think he and our group will be singing the same song. He seems to feel, as I do, that — Obama is doing something unconscionably dangerous in allying us with Iran while giving Iran the nuclear go ahead, and something profoundly evil by sacrificing Israel to achieve this unconscionable goal.
I am deeply, deeply disturbed when I think what Obama is doing in the Middle East. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. This is not ineptitude or misguided faith. Obama, dragging the United States along behind him, is deliberately embracing evil.
All I can think of lately, and you’ll see why as you read further, is the British military band in 1781, at the Surrender at Yorktown, playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”
Don’t just blame Lena Dunham; The New Yorker published her
A lot of people have been likening Obama to Neville Chamberlain, insofar as it was Neville Chamberlain who thought he could strike a grand bargain with Hitler to create “peace in our time.” There were a few things in Chamberlain’s favor: First, Hitler pretended to be a friend to England. Second, Hitler hadn’t killed any Englishmen in the lead-up to those negotiations. Chamberlain was a trusting fool, but not an evil man. Indeed, Churchill welcomed Chamberlain into his newly formed government and wept when he died.
Second, as Ben Shapiro’s video makes clear, Obama is willingly entering into a deal with the Devil, and selling America’s soul to do it. Iran is making no pretense of being a friend to America. Instead, it’s increasing its rhetoric. In addition, as Ben points out, Iran has the blood of thousands of American troops on its hand. In other words, this isn’t a treaty negotiation, it’s a surrender.
And here’s one more thing showing that Obama is infinitely worse than Chamberlain ever imagined: Obama is deliberately lying about a long-standing ally in order to seal his deal with the Devil and, as a pleasing byproduct, to watch that one-time ally get destroyed. But why should we be surprised? If you’ve already sold your soul, a little thing such as aiming a howitzer at a friend really isn’t going to bother you.
I’m sure someone’s said it before, but Obama is remarkably consistent in his approach to everything. For example, he believes that people who have been subject to systemic disrespect become violent or criminal. If you show them the respect they need, they will stop behaving in that way. He therefore believes that his job as America’s leader is to correct systemic disrespect which will, in turn, cause them to give up their bad behaviors and embrace good ones.
I believe in respect too. My feeling is that you respect people by demanding of them the same good behavior you demand of yourselves. That’s not the Obama way, though. Just a few examples should suffice:
I believe that African-Americans are not doing well because Democrat policies infantilize them and encourage them to be helpless victims rather than people in control of their own destinies. I believe that the best thing we can do for African-Americans is to offer them a free market, equal opportunities under the law, and the right, finally, to be free from government meddling, whether that meddling is badly or well intentioned.
Obama, however, believes that all problems in the African-American community — from poverty, to single motherhood, to crime — come about because America’s predominantly white society has failed to respect blacks. He further believes that the way to confer respect on them and encourage future good behavior is perpetual welfare and insulation from the consequences of their own actions. That hasn’t worked out well. Black unemployment and crime rates (especially racially-associated crime rates) are up.
I believe that Hispanic illegal immigrants are law-breakers, cheat people who are playing by the rules, destroy the legal American working and middle class, and allow tyrannies to continue in their native lands by siphoning off the working population and sending back cash. I believe that America, a nation of immigrants, should continue to encourage people to come here from foreign lands — but we should do so on our terms, not theirs, in order to protect our borders, our sovereignty, our public health, our crime rates, and our economy, and so as to disempower those Latin American nations that profit by sending us their labor and taking back our cash (cash that could have been in legal American hands).
Obama believes that illegal immigrants are being denied the respect. It is this disrespect that makes them “live in the shadows.” Obama further believes that the way to confer respect on illegal Hispanic immigrants, thereby bringing them out of the shadows, is blanket amnesty (which automatically erases that shadowy “law-breaker” status), followed by welfare. With this level of respect conferred on the illegal immigrants already here, he hints to Americans that the flow of illegal immigrants crossing our borders to demand our respect will stop. It’s worth pointing out that the more “respect” Obama shows illegal immigrants who are already here, the more of them keep flowing across our borders.
And of course, I believe that the Iranian Republic is a fanatic, tyrannical Islamic theocracy that has, since its inception, dedicated itself to the complete destruction of Israel, the Islamic takeover of America, and control over the Muslim Middle East. To this end, it has spent the past 36 years fomenting Islamic terror and revolution the world over.
Obama, however, sees a nation disrespected and misunderstood. He believes that the root cause of its violent, genocidal, world domination attitude is that it has been subject to this emotionally hurtful lack of respect and understanding. The same craving for respect has powered its nuclear ambitions. Obama’s answer to Iran’s bad behavior is to treat the root cause: Give Iran respect. And of course, in Obama-land the way to give respect to a fanatic, genocidal, terrorist nation is to give it unfettered access to nuclear weapons. Obama is remarkably clear in his believe that, once it achieves its nuclear ambitions, the sense of respect this will confer on Iran will cause it instantly to lay down the same nuclear weapons it just perfected.
Obama is quite obviously an ideological fool, who is blinded to the realities of human nature, most specifically how humans react to power, incentives, and punishments. Don’t confuse that for stupidity, though, his handling of Israel has been masterful since the very first day of his presidency. He has moved Israel into increasingly smaller boxes to the point at which Israel is now locked tightly into a box with a very large target painted on it. I’m with the Commentary editors in that I see no good outcome here.
Oh, and one more thing: Obama clearly grew up feeling that he, a mixed-race American child in Indonesia’s anti-American streets and Hawaii’s ultra exclusive enclaves, didn’t get the respect he deserved. The way he responds to this root cause problem remarkably parallels his take on Iran’s response to a lack of respect: He punishes his enemies and has no problem with the possibility of their annihilation. Indeed, as I mentioned vis-a-vis Israel, he seems to share with Iran those same genocidal urges that seem to be the last resort of those feeling disrespected.
In other words, when it comes to his own enemies, trying to change their bad behavior by showing them respect is a concept that goes right out the window.