The Bookworm Beat 1/21/15 — “Post-SOTU” edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI didn’t watch the SOTU. Aside from finding Obama a boring, inelegant speaker, I was helping a client with trial prep. Today, the trial got continued for a few months so, before settling in for a nice 12 hour sleep (I wish!), I can blog — and share with you, among other things, a couple of my favorite SOTU analyses. I’ve got a lot to say, so I’ll just start saying….

My two favorite SOTU wrap-ups

As I admitted above, I did not watch the SOTU, so I can’t actually say if these wrap-ups are accurate. I can just say that I liked them.

From Neo-Neocon:

But Obama long ago concluded that the best defense is a good offense. He has never had to face the consequences of his failures. He has been able to fool most of the people most of the time, at least when it counted. He has skated past disaster after disaster, and gotten away with lie after lie. The biggest repercussion he’s been met with—the 2014 Democratic defeat in Congress—may not stop him. Republicans are somewhat toothless, in part because they are divided among themselves but also because Obama has veto power that will be difficult to override. He’s also got that phone and that pen, and the will to use them. He has successfully transformed the US into a second-rate power and allies into enemies (or at least, into abandoned and confused ex-allies). And he has turned enemies into, if not allies, then gloating and stronger forces in the world for whatever evil they’ve got in mind.

It’s actually worked out very well for Obama. So why not brag?

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Another jihadist attack in Israel

Muslim protester in London

Muslim protester in London

When you’re in the front line of the war against psychopaths inspired by fundamentalist Islamic doctrines, the war never ends, and every civilian finds himself being turned into a target.  This time, it happened in Tel Aviv (if story doesn’t load, click on word “post,” below):

The Bookworm Beat 1/19/15 — abbreviated version and Open Thread

Woman writingAt a lawyer level, this has been a somewhat frustrating day, with me struggling to fit my facts (always true and honest ones) to the law (which sometimes refuses to cooperate), capped by a power outage that lost me an hour of time. Add to that the usual cries for attention from family, and I’m feeling a little . . . ummm, stressed. Still, I have stuff I want to share with you, so let me whip through it:

Chilling look into the near future at what the next school attack might look like

Mike McDaniel, who blogs at Stately McDaniel Manor, has looked at past school shootings, both at home and abroad, and come up with a possible scenario for the next assault on an American school. I don’t doubt that he’s accurately predicting a possible American future unless we take steps now to head it off.

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When it comes to Islam and politics, Leftist stupidity unfortunately has the bully pulpit

People taking how stupid question as a challengeOne of the things that’s frustrating for conservatives is to see that stupidity is ascendant in our culture. And by stupidity I mean something very specific, which is that Leftists routinely use incoherence, ignorance and a complete lack of logic to challenge purely factual statements (or obviously humorous ones), and then congratulate themselves endlessly on their cleverness and the fact that the successfully “pwned” a stupid conservative.

Even worse, these illogical, incorrect arguments become the dominant narrative and are celebrated as wise and worthy. It has the surreal quality of someone being lionized and feted for responding to the statement “It’s daytime because the sun’s out,” by saying “No, it’s just a bright moon because I see cows jumping in the field.” I mean, we’re talking that kind of stupid.

Not unsurprisingly, the top two examples of this kind of stupidity relate to Leftist attempts to analogize modern mainstream Christianity to radical Islam. If you’ve been on social media at all, you’ll know that J. K. Rowling, who really is a stellar children’s writer, tried her hand at religious and political commentary in the wake of a couple of Rupert Murdoch tweets.

As a matter of fact, Murdoch’s tweets makes perfect sense:

Yes, most Muslims are peaceful, although Murdoch’s “maybe most” makes sense when one considers a few facts.  Six to ten percent of Muslims worldwide are extremists who have or will engaged in terrorism.  This means that about 96,000,000 to 160,000,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists are actively engaged in terrorism in their home countries or abroad, or are willing to be actively engaged..  In addition, depending on the country (say, Saudi Arabia versus France versus the U.S.) another roughly 30% to 40% Muslims (that would be 480,000,000 to 640,000,000 Muslims), although not denominated as extremists think that their co-religionists’ terrorism is a good thing.

Murdoch is sensibly saying that, to the extent hundreds of millions of Muslims think a jihadist is the good guy, there’s no telling when, or in what way, they’ll switch from passive to active support.  So, “maybe most” Muslims are peaceful; and maybe not.

The bottom line, which Murdoch understands, is that that there is within Islam a fractionally small, but numerically large, violent contingent of Muslims who not only approve of terrorism in theory, but practice it in fact. And as long as their coreligionists offer them moral support, the West is going to have to engage in long, bloody (very bloody) wars to stop them.  As New Age thinkers are so fond of saying, real change has to come from within.

This is as true of religions as it is of a person’s own psyche.  After all, history has shown us that religious reforms always come from within the religion, not from outside of it.  England and Europe in the 1500s were riven by reformation and counter-reformation.  If Islam is to leave its own Middle Ages, Muslims have to make it happen — and it’s not going to be the terrorists who do it. Egyptian President Sisi is trying to start this process, and Leftists would do better to praise him than to snipe at Murdoch.

Murdoch is also factually correct when he says that jihadists are highly active from the Philippines to Africa to Europe to the US.  Every person who reads the news knows this, but the dominant PC political and social classes in the West don’t want to acknowledge this reality. Which brings us back to where I started, which is the amazingly stupid responses Rowling came up with. These are the things that Leftist idiots (yes, idiots) consider a slam dunk:

I have to ask: What in the world does Rowling mean? Has Murdoch slaughtered journalists, raped and enslaved women, crucified Christians, stoned “adulterers”, hanged homosexuals? And more than that, is Rowling saying that whatever it is that Murdoch did of which she disapproves, his acts arose directly because of his interpretation of Christian Biblical mandates?

Asking those questions reveals that Rowlings tweet is an incoherent mess that can best be interpreted as a meaningless non sequitur. Such is the stupidity of the Left, though, that Rowling was immediately hailed as a debating genius.  This only encouraged her. Rowling therefore doubled down on stupid:

Uh, pardon me, J.K. but would you remind me when the inquisition (which was a perversion of Christian doctrine) took place? [Cricket sounds.]

Never mind. I know you can’t answer that. I can, though.  The Spanish Inquisition’s heyday was in the late 15th century in Spain. Catholics, appalled by the violent perversion of Christ’s teachings, eventually abandoned the Inquisition. There is no more Spanish Inquisition.

The Muslim inquisition, on the other hand, has been ebbing and flowing relentlessly since the 7th century. We are in a period of flow, and stupid tweets such as Rowlings are of no help whatsoever to those Muslims who, like Christians of yore, would like reform.

Oh, and about Jim Bakker.  When his behavior came to light, Christians immediately did what Murdoch asks of Muslims: They didn’t deny his Christianity, thereby disassociating themselves for any responsibility for his wrongdoing; instead, they castigated him for violating core Christian precepts.

“Go away and sin no more!” Christians said to Bakker.  This differs greatly from the Leftist and Muslim response to Jihadists, which translates to “You’re embarrassing me right now, so I’m going to pretend I don’t know you, but meet me for dinner later when no one’s paying attention.”

Rowling rounded out her idiot trilogy with this racist tweet:

As I read that, Rowling is saying we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist, because the important point to remember is that Muslims really get their kicks slaughtering other Muslims. That is correct. But rather than seeing this as further evidence of the problem with Islam, J.K. “The Great Debater” Rowling believes this horrible truth shuts down any critiques of Islam.  I think this last tweet establishes more clearly than anything else could ever have that Rowling’s a racist. Her bottom line is that, as long as the brown-skinned people are killing each other, we don’t need to care.

Sadly, Rowling isn’t the only brainless Leftist with a bully pulpit (and honestly, it’ll be hard ever for me really to admire the whole Harry Potter series again). My Progressive friends have been kvelling about some guy named James O’Brien who, they claim, really shut down someone who dared say Islam was somehow connected to the whole “Allahu Akbar”-“I love ISIS”-“Don’t diss Mohamed”-“Kill the Jews” attacks in Paris last week.

It began when a caller to O’Brien’s show said Muslims owe the world an apology. I’ll agree that the statement went a bit too far.  But the reality is that the opposite is true:  It’s not that Muslims need to apologize (although they should challenge and excoriate their co-religionists).  It’s that Muslims need to stop saying after every “Allahu Akbar” attack that that they, the Muslims, are the real victims (as opposed to the dead and wounded) because of potential hate crimes that never happen.

But back to that alleged O’Brien shut-out:

O’Brien then replies by asking the caller if he had apologised for the attacks, prompting the caller to reply ‘Why would I need to apologise for that’.

It’s at this point that O’Brien really begins to make the caller look a bit silly, and replies by stating that a previous Muslim caller would have no need to apologise either, as the attack occurred when he was in Berkshire and was not committed in the name of Islam.

O’Brien continues to question the man, called Richard, by saying that the failed shoe bomb attack of 2001 was committed by a man called Richard Reid, and by the caller’s logic, he should consequently apologise for atrocities committed in the name of all Richards, irrespective of being entirely different people.

Apparently O’Brien missed school on the days when the teacher instructed students about common denominators. Let me say this again, in words of few syllables: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.

To take O’Brien’s puerile argument as a starting point in our common denominator lesson, the name Richard is not a common denominator. Being an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood is not a common denominator. Being two Chechen brothers in Boston is not a common denominator. Living in Sheffield is not a common denominator. Attending flight school is not a common denominator. Having bombs in your undies is not a common denominator.  (Yes, I can do this all day.) Looking at all the bombings, knifings, shootings, crashings, burnings, bombings, etc, over the past few years around the world, the common denominator is . . . drum roll, please . . . ISLAM!

There is a problem in Islam. There is a cancer in the Koran. People from all over the world, when they start taking the Koran too seriously, go rabid. That’s the common denominator and that’s what we need to talk about.

The Left, of course, headed by world chief Leftist Obama, can’t bear to talk about this common denominator. To the extent Obama couldn’t even make himself show up in Paris for what was, admittedly, a spectacle, not a solution, Roger Simon sums up Obama’s and the Left’s problem:

There had to have been a reason for his non-attendance and the bizarre dissing of this event by his administration. I believe it stems from this: There are two words our president seems constitutionally unable to put together — “Islamic” and “terrorism.” For Obama (and, as a sideshow, the zany Howard Dean), these terms are mutually exclusive, an oxymoron. Appearing in Paris, Obama might be put in the unusual position of having to link them, our complaisant press rarely having the nerve to ask such an impertinent question.

For my last example of Leftist stupidity, arising from denying facts and ignoring logic, let me leave the world of Muslim terrorism and head for climate change. Gizmodo, which occasionally has amusing stuff, decided to go off the rails with an attack against Ted Cruz for being “anti-Science.” This is a hot issue because, with the Senate now in Republican hands, Ted Cruz will be overseeing NASA.

During the past six years, NASA has put on the back burner stupid hard science things like space exploration.  (Hard science, you know, is sexist, whether one is talking about hula shirts or the masculinist hegemony demanding accurate answers in math.) Instead, it’s devoted itself to (a) making nice with Islam and (b) panicking about climate change.

Ted Cruz, bright guy that he is, has made it clear that he intends to rip NASA out of its feminist, Islamophilic, climate change routine and force it back into racist, sexist hard science.  The minds at Gizmodo know what this means: Cruz must be destroyed. To that end, the Gizmodo team assembled what they describe Cruz’s embarrassing, laughably dumb quotes about science.  Too bad for the Gizmodo team that everything Cruz said was accurate, rhetorical, or humorous (not that these facts stopped the article from spreading like wildfire through Leftist social media):

  • “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” - Ted Cruz on net neutrality.  [Bookworm here:  This is a rhetorical argument that goes to Cruz's basic political philosophy, which is limited government.  Nothing dumb about this clever rhetorical take on things.]

 

  • “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened.”- Ted Cruz on climate change.  [Bookworm here:  This quotation is out of date because, for the past 18 years, there has been no global warming, despite all promises to the contrary.  Ted Cruz isn't dumb.  He's factually accurate. And a word to the dodos at the Washington Post: local weather variations and temperatures are not the same as global warming.  If that was the case, with the record-breaking winter temperatures the last couple of years, we'd be talking about global cooling.  Oh, and while I'm on the subject of global cooling....]

 

  • “You know, back in the ’70s — I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.” - Ted Cruz on climate change [Bookworm here:  Absolutely correct.  Back in the 1970s, people were talking about global cooling.  Climate fanatics are now trying to downplay that, of course, but the fact remains that the heart of the infamous Time Magazine article so many cite was that the earth was indeed cooling.  Once again, nothing dumb about Cruz's statement.  It's factually accurate.]

 

  • “You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” - Ted Cruz on climate change[Bookworm here:  Again, true, not dumb.  Global warming morphed into climate change because the theory had to adapt when the facts change.  Every time some prediction proves wrong (whether melting glaciers, dead polar bears, or rising waters), the theory flexes to accommodate the failed prediction.  This isn't science, it's faith.  Global warming has turned into a closed-system, non-falsifiable theory.  Score another point for Cruz.]

 

  • “I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel. There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do.” - Ted Cruz on space threats.  [Bookworm here:  Again, this is rhetorical.  There is no science in this statement.  It's a joke, guys.  And let me add here that whoever said Leftists have no sense of humor was correct.]

 

  • “I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice say, “Mike Lee, I am your father” … and just like in “Star Wars” movies the empire will strike back.” – Ted Cruz during his 21-hour Obamacare speech.  [Bookworm here:  Let me get this right:  Gizmodo is saying that making a pop culture reference to a movie is the same as making dumb scientific statements?  I think Gizmodo is grossly guilty of making stupid pop culture statements.]

 

  • “The authorizing committees are free to set their agency budgets, and that includes NASA.” - Ted Cruz when he tried to cut NASA funding in 2013 (This one is more scary than stupid, since Cruz is now in charge of agency budgets.)  [Bookworm here:  As for me, all I can say is hank God someone who actually understands the difference between fact, humor, science, non-falsifiable belief systems, and pop culture, is finally in charge of at least one facet of our government.  At long last, we can stop using taxpayer dollars so our space program can fund Muslim outreach and continue to salvage a scientific theory that has been proven wrong every stop of the way.]

 

  • “Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am.” - Ted Cruz on his attempts to defund Obamacare [Bookworm here:  Yet another cute rhetorical statement and one, moreover, that has nothing to do with science.  It is interesting, though, to see it in the context of a blog post at a major internet site that has shown itself exceptionally humorless and ignorant in its efforts to tar as a scoundrel a man who has a firm grasp on reality, facts, science, and humor.]

There you have it:  three examples of simply abject stupidity on the part of those who lean Left politically.  I get it.  There are people out there who never learned history, logic, math, humor, or basic data analysis.  What’s so irritating is that they have such enormously wide sway.  It’s as if the world’s elementary school students, complete with ignorance and snark, have managed to take over the planet.  Worse, these powerful people with infantile intelligence are preaching to to the converted.  After all, their audience went to the same schools they did, and these were (and are) schools in which facts and logic made way for propaganda, moral relativism, and political correctness.

The Bookworm Beat 1/11/14 — The illustrated edition, and Open Thread *UPDATED*

A mish-mash of things from the wonderful Caped Crusader, from Earl, and from my own Facebook feed.  The first one explains a lot about the bond between Leftists and Islamists, despite the fact that the former ought to hate the latter because of little things like religion, sexual constraints, etc., while the latter definitely hate the former because of little things like lack of religion, sexual freedom, etc.

Radical Islamists and Leftists have identical beliefs

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A video and a cartoon that succinctly describe jihad’s twin attacks on Free Speech and on Jews

[The video may take a few seconds to load.]

Jews killed over freedom of existence

And as an added bonus, a quotation from Richard Fernandez:

The two suspects cornered in a building are sending a message with their unyielding violence that the political establishment has failed to understand. Multiculturalism is dead. Not because the Europeans have rejected it, but because the Muslims have. A friend of mine asked “is this all our mighty civilization has come to? Candles, flowers and hashtags?”

“For some,” I answered, “that would be bingo, bingo and bingo.”

Apropos the video, I found it through a young Marine friend of mine — not Jewish — who now subscribes to all sorts of Israel lists as he tries to rally his friends to the cause of liberty. Two years ago, he wouldn’t have cared. Now he does. That’s one more person the side of angels.

Educating the masses: While a small percentage of Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims

Why is militant Islam Like EbolaIn today’s world, only a fraction (about 10%) of Muslims are or want to be terrorists.  However — and this is the important point — the vast majority of terrorist acts are committed by those identifying themselves as Muslims.

Believe it or not, though, but there’s an even greater threat to Americans today than Islam:  Our government’s, our media’s, and our academia’s relentless refusal to acknowledge the Islam/terrorism nexus.  You cannot address a problem you aren’t even willing to acknowledge exists.

The denial from those who have the power to act and shape public consciousness results in a passive government and an ignorant electorate.  When an electorate is ignorant, it cannot challenge and make necessary changes to the government.

Those of us who, like Churchill in the 1930s, have been paying attention and are aware of the time bomb ticking away, are lucky enough to have a new weapon, one that’s been unavailable to past generations challenging willfully blind pacifists and appeasers.  Thanks to the internet it’s possible for every citizen who’s paying attention to try to punch through this muffling wall of lies and deceit holding that, because most Muslims are not violent (which is true), then no violence can be attributed to Muslims (which is a gross and dangerous falsehood).  Indeed, I would go beyond saying that we have the ability to do this.  Instead, we have the duty to do this.

After all, if we cannot stop our political, media, and educational classes from engaging in this dangerous passivity and deception, we will find ourselves repeating the late 1930s and the first half of the 1940s with devastating results.  The Nazis were good at killing.  The jihadists are good at killing too and meet or even surpass the Nazis.  Worse, they’re not confined to any one nation.  They’re worldwide.  Every nation has a Fifth Column and those nations that have extended open arms and large welfare checks to Muslims, without making any effort to integrate them into polite society, have explosively violent Fifth Columnists.

I have the unpleasant, rather dirty feeling that comes from echoing Rahm Emanuel, but the fact is that we cannot let this crises go to waste.  Those of us trying to penetrate minds dulled by decades of political correctness, need to seize the current crisis to educate the people who aren’t usually paying attention or who have been rendered virtually incapable of interpreting and understanding the true import of world events.

I’ve been trying to optimize this brief opening in closed minds by playing on the Leftists’ worst fear.  Their fear isn’t that they’ll get blown up, shot up, beheaded or enslaved by the jihadist next door.  Instead, it’s the fear that voters will turn right. As I’ve said to Progressive friends, when the political class refuses to address, or even acknowledge, a manifest jihadist problem, voters inevitably turn to the political party promising that it won’t ignore Islamic jihad.  In America, to the horror of Progressives, that’s the Republican party.  In Europe, as France and Sweden both demonstrate, voters turn to rather scary nationalist parties.

Although American conservative’s are centered on individual liberty (a belief that mandates fighting back against freedom-destroying Islamic totalitarianism), Progressives can’t stop confusing Republicans with those Europeans, who really do embrace Hitler’s economic fascist socialism and genocidal nationalism.  If you tell a Progressive to focus on fighting Islamic terrorism or watch American turn — *gasp* — conservative, he’ll be as frightened as if you set off a car bomb near him.

My problem, as you know, is that I over-think and over-verbalize things.  I’m therefore always on the look-out for pithy, easy-to-understand, far-reaching arguments and, thankfully, better thinkers and writers than I am are valiantly attacking the smog of political correctness.  Here are just a few examples:

First, I love Ben Shapiro’s take on an argument that inevitably comes from the Democrat Party and the Obama administration whenever terrorists proudly proclaim that they are Muslims acting under the precepts of their faith:  “These people,” they whine, cry, shout, and protest, “aren’t true Muslims. Islam means ‘peace,’ and these people aren’t peaceful, so they’re not following Islam.  QED.”

This Leftist argument is what Antony Flew calls the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.” Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing.” The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing.” . . .

The No-true-Scotsman Move . . . is an attempt to evade falsification: a piece of sleight of mind replaces a logically contingent by a logically necessary proposition.

To those Progressives who invariably make the “No true Muslim” argument after yet another terrorist incident, Shapiro has this to say:

Good argument, nu? And one can make it fairly politely to a Lefty who claims that terrorists can’t really be Muslims. A few disingenuous queries about the type of self-identification they do support, and you’ve got them locked in a box. Second, there’s also a brilliant cartoon making the rounds, which I saw first on Daniel Pipes’ twitter feed:

Third, and last (for today), author Brad Thor is charging right in and forcing people to look at what’s happening.  Moreover, by using the Left’s own hashtag (#RespectForMuslims”), he’s forcing terrorism deniers to look at the Muslim/Terrorism connection.   (H/t IJ Review.) Please be aware that the images that follow are disturbing but, of course, the behavior the created the images is infinitely more disturbing:

You can see many more images at Thor’s twitter feed. Sadly, if you think about it, all of us working for a year, full time, could probably come up with tens of thousands of similar tweets. Because, after all, while we must always remember that only a small minority of Muslims are terrorists, we deny at our peril that the vast majority of terrorists are Muslim.

Oh, and one more thing:  While I personally do not believe in denigrating a religious figure, so I will not post obscene pictures of Mohamed, I am certain that I, as a non-Muslim, am not bound by the proscription against publishing the more respectful images of Mohamed.  To that end, I’m re-posting here some of the content neutral, or even adulatory, images of Mohamed created over many centuries by both Muslims and non-Muslims:

Medieval image of Mohamed preaching

Medieval image of Mohamed cursing the vines

German trading card showing Mohamed ascending to Paradise

Medieval image of Mohamed

Algerian postcard from the 1920s showing Mohamed

Medieval image of Mohamed receiving revelation from the angel Gabriel

Mohamed solving a dispute

17th century French picture of Mohamed

18th century German picture of Mohamed

This image is from the frieze on the United States Supreme Court

This image is from the frieze on the United States Supreme Court

Early 20th century cigarette card of Mohamed

19th century photogravure of Mohamed

Attempt to illustrate what the real Mohamed have worn

Using the tragedy in Paris as a way to get the mushy middle to take seriously the existential threat we face

Obama says the future does not belong to those who slander the ProphetI’m trying to think of ways to get the mentally flabby, but still impassioned, Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed to start figuring out that their way is not working. My latest effort was to post a link to the news story talking about how France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen, who is routinely classified as far right, is set to gain votes following the last two horrible days in France. My comment was a simple one:

No matter the country, if the mainstream party refuses even to acknowledge what people reasonably perceive to be an existential threat, the people will inevitably look to that fringe party that promises to protect them.

I understand, of course, that using the word “mainstream” to describe France’s socialist party is ridiculous, but remember — I’m not preaching to the choir, with the choir consisting of intelligent, reasonable people who look at the world as it is, rather than trying to mold it to some Marxist fantasy. Instead, I’m trying to reach people who believe that Obama and France’s socialist government occupy the comfortable middle. I want those people to start processing a couple of ideas:

Idea Number One is to get them to start being very, very worried about governments and media that consistently deny the existence of Islamic terrorism. This is the right time to do it because, after the attack on Paris (which all sophisticated Progressives consider their spiritual home), my friends started to do something weird:  They linked to articles blaming Islam for the terror.  That is, even as the Obama administration took it upon itself to teach us, once again, that Islam is an entirely peaceful, they were looking at The New Yorker.  I think part of why this is happening now, and did not happen to these Progressives after the Boston Marathon bombing, is because (a) there’s something clinical and distant about a bomb and (b) they could say it was just two crazy, messed-up brothers being lone wolves together.  The Paris massacre, however, came complete with utterly appalling footage of an organized, paramilitary assault, complete with the casual murder of a defenseless, wounded man.

Given that the Progressives in my world are having a vulnerable moment, nows the time to get them to look at the Obama administration and the Democrat party and media (but I repeat myself), and to start wondering why the administration and the media consistently insist that there’s no such thing as Muslim terrorism. I know that, in my journey from flabby Leftist to thoughtful conservative, cognitive dissonance made the difference.  My “crossing the Rubicon” moment came about because of the vast disconnect between MSM reporting and my actual, first-hand knowledge of Israel. As I’ve seen in my own case, and through conversations with other former Lefties, when you start questioning any one part of the narrative, suddenly you start question all of the narrative.

Idea Number Two assumes that the Progressives aren’t quite willing (or will  never be willing) to abandon their beloved Leftist governments. In that case, I want them to start realizing that there are things worse than having their government defend America against terrorism.  And what’s worse is that, when the leaders do nothing to stop terrorism, than their leaders will lose — and, worse (from a Progressive viewpoint), they’ll lose to “far right” candidates who promise to care for the people. Progressives fear conservatives a whole lot more than they fear terrorists, and reminding them that their intransigence on self-defense plays into conservative hands might motivate them to start demanding that their Leftists governments make the tough decisions that allow them to push back an enemy that transcends borders, nations, generations, race, gender, etc. (David Goldman takes an unsparing look at what that hard-line might be.)

I can see in my mind’s eye that some of you are already gearing up to tell me that I’m wasting my time and that Lefties will never change their minds. I’m sorry to say, but that’s wrong and they will, provided that they get the proper trigger to do so. I changed my mind, and so did a lot of other well-known conservatives: Thomas Lifson, Michael Medved, David Horowitz, the Power Line guys (although I can remember which ones), our own Charles Martel, and many more. People change and I do think we have an obligation to do what neither the Muslims nor the Marxists will do: to convert through kindness allied with facts and reason, rather than through coercion, state action, and violence.

One theory behind the fact that jihadists been targeting Europe instead of just America

Gun How to say go away in every languageParis is under jihadist siege. The head of British intelligence promises that the West (mostly England, apparently) can expect another mass jihadist attack. My question is why are Muslims attacking Europe at all?

Well, of course, part of the answer is that, like the scorpion, jihadists attack and kill because it’s their nature. But the targets bewilder me.

It’s hard to find more Palestinian and Muslim friendly nations than in Europe.  European nations loath Israel and they’ve shown themselves increasingly willing to give up their self-identities to appease the growing Muslim masses within their borders.

That last phrase “Muslim masses” is certainly part of the answer. Wherever there are growing Muslim masses, violence follows. But while America may not yet have the same percentage of Muslims as Europe, it certainly has enough Muslims to cause trouble, as we saw with the Boston Marathon bombing.

Since 9/11, though, what we’ve had instead of mass attacks have been those so-called “lone wolf” attacks, such as the one at Fort Hood or in Boston. They’re horrible, deadly assaults, but still different in nature from the fully planned attacks in Europe.  In scope, what’s happening in Paris, with one major attack followed by smaller attacks all over the city is reminiscent of Mumbai, not America.

It occurred to me that one reason might be that more Americans (increasingly more Americans) are armed. Even hardened, blood-thirsty, martyr-status-seeking Muslims prefer soft targets.  That thought led me to search through my emails and find the one below. I don’t know if the numbers are accurate, but I like the principle:

Some time ago, I read that the Japanese Govt in 1942 or 43 gave up any idea of trying to invade the USA because they knew that the US had hundreds of thousands of armed civilians who would instantly be part of the Army.

So here is a rough estimate of today’s civilian “army” so long as the people don’t give up their guns or allow a govt take over of all personal arms, and thus a government take over of all the states and their populations:

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion:

There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin …. Allow me to restate that number: 600,000!

Over the last several months, Wisconsin’s hunters became the eighth largest army in the world.

(That’s more men under arms than in Iran .. More than France and Germany combined.)

These men, deployed to the woods of a single American state, Wisconsin, to hunt with firearms, And NO ONE WAS KILLED.

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan’s 700,000 hunters, ALL OF WHOM HAVE RETURNED HOME SAFELY.

Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the Hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

And then add in the total number of hunters in the other 46 states. It’s millions more.

SO, what’s the point…?___ The point is …..

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower!

Hunting… it’s not just a way to fill the freezer. It’s a matter of national security.

That’s why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

Food for thought, when next we consider gun control. Overall it’s true, so if we disregard some assumptions that hunters don’t possess the same skills as soldiers, the question would still remain… What army of 2 million would want to face 30 million, 40 million, or 50 million armed citizens??? For the sake of our freedom, don’t ever allow gun control or confiscation of guns.

If you agree, as I do, pass it on, I feel good that I have an army of millions who would protect our land and I sure don’t want the government taking control of the possession of firearms….

AMERICA! Designed by geniuses!

Throw in ex-mil (those that Progressive states haven’t disarmed) and other gun-loving Americans, and you’ve got yourself a pretty formidable bulwark.

Tragically, an unarmed police officer can do nothing to prevent the terror.

Tragically, an unarmed police officer can do nothing to prevent the terror.

The Bookworm Beat 1/8/15 — The day after the Charlie Hebdo Massacre edition, and Open Thread

Woman writingIn an earlier post about the Charlie Hebdo massacre, March Hare made this comment:

One reason you may not see pictures of the Mohammed Cartoon or covers from Charlie Hebdo is that the Western Press will not publish close-up crowd pictures. See this article by Allahpundit at Hot Air.

Ah, yes! It’s the old philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest and the media refuses to report it, does it make a sound?” Well, the media hopes that’s the case, but I intend to make lots of sounds. I’ll start here, with a link to Charlie Hebdo covers, courtesy of the brave Daily Signal.

Is another great man emerging in Egypt?

Thousands of years ago, a great man, Moses, emerged from Egypt. It’s possible that Egypt has produced another great man. He’s not a prophet by any means, and he still has a long way to go to prove himself, but there’s no doubt that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is saying and doing some extraordinary things — and the MSM is therefore ignoring him as hard as possible.

The first thing Sisi did was to issue an open challenge to Islam to have an Enlightenment and, along the way, he had a great to say about Islam’s flaws:

We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

As slaughters from Theo van Gogh to the staff of Charlie Hebdo show, for Sisi to criticize Islam is an act of extraordinary courage. No wonder the media is looking the other way.

Here’s another great thing Sisi is doing — he’s working hard to destroy Hamas:

Egyptian authorities have decided to demolish the entire city of Rafah according to Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

The governor of the North Sinai district, Abd al-Fattah Harhour said at a news conference Wednesday that “a new Rafah city is being established with residential zones appropriate to the nature and traditions of the residents of Rafah.”

More than 800 homes are being demolished and 1,100 families displaced to build the 1 kilometer wide and 13.5-kilometer long buffer zone in North Sinai province.

The government hopes the buffer zone will isolate the militants who say they attack the security forces in retaliation for the government crackdown on Morsi supporters in which at least 1,400 people have been killed in street clashes.

Read more here.

When Israel destroys a single Palestinian home, the media is all over it. When Egypt destroys a whole village . . . crickets. The latter act simply doesn’t support the media’s anti-Israel narrative. Still, whether the media pays attention or not, it’s the right thing to do and I’m glad that Sisi is doing it.

This man has great potential. I hope he fulfills it.

Allahpundit and Mark Steyn make powerful statements about today’s media

Allahpundit watched Mark Steyn speak about the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He agreed with Steyn on one point, and parted ways with him on another. The finished Allahpundit product, a fusion of his and Steyn’s ideas, makes remarkably good points about the world’s media and its refusal to act bravely:

Steyn’s point, amid the “Je suis Charlie” cacophony, is that if more of us really were like Charlie, the Hebdo staff probably wouldn’t be dead. They assumed the entirety of the risk in defying Islamic taboos because their bigger, stronger, better funded brothers and sisters in western media declined to share it by publishing the images themselves. Even now, with blood on the floor in Paris, many of them are still blacking out the cartoons. (The Washington Post is a notable exception.) How do you censor the images those men died defending and then say “Je suis Charlie” with a straight face? And more to the point, how do you do it when those images are at the center of a major international news event? Steyn makes the same point here as Ross Douthat did yesterday. It’s one thing to reject a cartoon of Mohammed on grounds of poor taste or poor skill. That’s an op-ed decision. It’s another thing entirely to refuse to publish it when it’s part of the lead story in every paper in the western-speaking world.

[snip]

All I ask here is honesty about what’s happening. It’s easy to tell someone who works for CNN, “you be the guy to put your life on the line by showing the cartoons.” There’s a reason there are so few Charlies. If self-censorship is the future, though, let’s be honest about why it’s happening. That’s why I part ways with Steyn in his criticism of this image:

He’s right that it’s disgraceful for a western paper to censor Charlie Hebdo cartoons, particularly on the very day that the man in that photo died for his right to display that image. I’m glad, though, that they only pixellated Mohammed and left the Jewish caricature alone. There’s honesty in that: “Sensitivity” would require that both images be blurred, but this isn’t about “sensitivity” and never was. This is about fear and no one fears a group of Hasidim descending on the Daily News offices with AKs. The clearer the double standard is, and it’s awfully clear here, the more you force people to confront it. That’s a small comfort in our censorious age.

I should add here that, if you’re really brave, join the military. If you’re not really brave, become a journalist — but don’t go parading around announcing to the world that you’re incredibly brave because you consistently fall in line with the majority and the cowards. (I do not count myself amongst the majority but must admit that I am a coward.)

Some members of the MSM are beginning to see the light.

I don’t like Bill Maher. I don’t like his crude, reductionaist attacks on conservatives and people of faith. However, I appreciate that he is one of the few brave people in the drive-by media who is willing to state the truth about Islam. One of the truths he’s just stated is that there are so many Muslims in the world that there’s no such thing as a “tiny” minority. A whole hell of a lot of them are totally on board with violent jihad:

Then there’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who is like Bill Maher’s smarter, more corporate, more polished brother. When he’s in pure Leftist mode, he gets it wrong every time. However, when he turns his attention to the scourge of Islam he, like Maher, is brave and gets it right.

Finally, George Packer, another reliable Leftist, is also beginning to realize that there’s a cancer loose in the world, and that cancer isn’t Israel or generic religion or white males or even climate change:

The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West—the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be “understood” as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists.

They are only the latest blows delivered by an ideology that has sought to achieve power through terror for decades. It’s the same ideology that sent Salman Rushdie into hiding for a decade under a death sentence for writing a novel, then killed his Japanese translator and tried to kill his Italian translator and Norwegian publisher. The ideology that murdered three thousand people in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. The one that butchered Theo van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam, in 2004, for making a film. The one that has brought mass rape and slaughter to the cities and deserts of Syria and Iraq. That massacred a hundred and thirty-two children and thirteen adults in a school in Peshawar last month. That regularly kills so many Nigerians, especially young ones, that hardly anyone pays attention.

Read the rest here.

Of course, with the MSM, it’s not hard to be the smartest or bravest person in the room

While I’m willing to applaud both Goldberg, Packer, and Maher, let’s be honest: Being the smartest or bravest member of the drive-by media means you’re facing a pretty low bar. Indeed, as Jonah Goldberg points out, the bar may be so low it’s comes in underneath sea level.

Just curious, but why is the President’s office tasked with defending Islam?

The purpose of the religion clause in the First Amendment is to keep government out of religion. Both in the past and in the present, government picked winners and losers. Sometimes the losers couldn’t keep their jobs. Sometimes they couldn’t (and, under Islamist rule, still can’t) keep their heads. The Founders thought this was a lousy system and said that promoting or denigrating any one religion could no longer be the government’s responsibility.

So where in the world did Obama get the impression that his job is to promote Islam? (Yeah, of course I know that’s rhetorical a rhetorical question.  Obama couldn’t give a flying whatsit about the Constitution.)

Anyway, Ben Shapiro has done a public service by counting up the number of times the Obama administration has felt it incumbent upon itself to act as Islam’s apologist.

These posters seem appropriate here:

Obama says the future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet

Obama will stand with Islam

USA Today and Anjem Choudary performed a public service

There has apparently been some debate about USA Today’s wisdom in giving Anjem Choudary space on its pages to give his opinion about the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

I think it was a brilliant idea. If Choudary had been another CAIR apologist, explaining why Islam is a freedom-fighting, liberty-loving religion of peace, so you can just ignore the growing pile of dead bodies in its wake, I would have been angry. As it is, Choudary rips away the apologetics and, in an American paper, proudly explains what Islam is:

Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.

Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”

However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.

Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.

With the gauzy CAIR, White House, MSM, academia, and Hollywood filter stripped away, Choudary’s straightforward explication of Islam (“Acknowledge that we’re your rulers or die”) is the kind of actual news that Americans badly need.

Bill Donohoe is half right, but entirely wrong

Bill Donohoe, President of the Catholic League, found himself in hot water for sympathizing with the Muslims after the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.

Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.

Donohoe is right that religious people aren’t out of line to get angry when their sacred ideas and images are despoiled by detractors or other people who don’t feel good will towards the faith or the faithful. I mean, Christians got plenty angry — and rightfully so — with Serrano’s (in)famous “Piss Christ.”

Where Donohoe has gone off the rails, and proven himself to be as much an intellectual totalitarian as the jihadists (see, e.g., Choudary, above) themselves, is to argue that people who poke fun at, or are mean about, religion deserve to die. Free speech means the right to challenge, insult, and laugh at people without being subject to cold-blooded murder or state-sanctioned execution. A civilized man and a civilized culture would never argue that the penalty for religious ridicule or insult should be death or, as is the case in Saudi Arabia, 1,000 lashes. Presumably Donohoe would approve of that punishment too.

Update on the GOP plans to derail amnesty

The House currently has two bills before it aimed at derailing amnesty. I can’t help but think that, with Boehner back in the Speaker’s chair, the only things that are going to get derailed are those two bills.

Feminists and the KKK — separated at birth?

Brendan O’Neill has noticed something very, very peculiar: Today’s feminists, especially on college campuses, are displaying exactly the same attitude towards rape as the KKK did.

Wars on rape have been declared before, and often for deeply reactionary reasons, having the effect of harming society rather than helping women. Consider the ‘war on rape’ declared in America’s Deep South in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the KKK and other racists likewise declared zero tolerance of rape – rape committed by black men, that is – and signalled their determination to wipe out this ‘ultimate transgression’. There was little positive in that crusade. And here are five ways in which today’s non-racist feministic ‘war on rape’ echoes the lynch-mob logic of yesteryear’s racist ‘war on rape’.

1) Always believe the accuser

The rallying cry of today’s apparently liberal crusaders against rape is: ‘Believe.’ They always believe the accuser. To doubt the accuser is to risk being branded a rape apologist. Campaign groups with names like We Believe You and I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault speak to the readiness of campaigners to accept every accusation of rape as good coin. Even in the wake of the Rolling Stone scandal, where an allegation of gang rape at the University of Virginia has been exposed as a tissue of lies, a writer for the Washington Post insisted we must ‘automatically believe rape allegations’, because ‘incredulity hurts victims’. From Dylan Farrow’s accusations against Woody Allen to various women’s accusations against Bill Cosby, the cry ‘I believe!’ has rung out, as activists have rushed to declare, without the benefit of a court case, that these women were raped.

Read the whole thing here. It will be worth your time.

This is exactly what I want to say about Pope Francis

Writing at First Things, Maureen Mullarkey voices precisely my feelings about Pope Francis.

Yet another act of internet piracy

The New York Times is still good for some things. It has a very informative article about a new form of hacking: the entire computer gets taken hostage.

Are these the real stories behind Don McLean’s American Pie

Take up Charlie Hebdo’s fallen banner and proudly display some Mohamed in your life *UPDATED*

David Pope image he drew firstParisians apparently turned out en masse to honor the Charlie Hebdo murder victims. It’s too late to wonder whether these weeping Parisians could have prevented this massacre if, over the years, they’d shown the same courage as the Charlie Hebdo editor, cartoonists, and staff. Perhaps if they’d stood up for their culture, these Islamists wouldn’t have taken the bit in their teeth. That’s water under the bridge, though, not to mention the fact that, with a president who promises that the future doesn’t belong to the Charlie Hebdos of the world, a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

What I know for sure, however, is that, for all the tears and the “Je Suis Charlie” signs people are displaying and tweeting, what seems to be lacking from the gatherings is any effort to pick up where Charlie Hebdo left off. In all the pictures of the Paris crowds that I’ve examined, the only Mohamed pictures that show up are the rare sightings of those in the hands of people holding actual copies of Charlie Hebdo.  See for yourselves:

#JeSuisCharlie Trends As Social Media Users Express Solidarity In Wake Of Attack On Charlie Hebdo

The Most Powerful Pictures Following The Attack On Charlie Hebdo

‘Je Suis Charlie': Huge crowds gather across Europe after Paris attack

PICS: HUGE CROWDS FORMING IN PARIS IN A DEMONSTRATION OF SOLIDARITY FOR CHARLIE HEBDO

Je suis Charlie! The cry of defiance: Vast crowds rally across the world to condemn the gun massacre as Francoise Hollande declares tomorrow a day of mourning

[UPDATE: Apropos this last-linked article, Wolf Howling described the so-called "defian ce" on display in Europe as follows: "None of that is 'defiance.' It's the herding of sheep who feel the breath of the wolf pack on their necks."]

You can also check out the Twitter feed for #JeSuisCharlie to see pictures of the Parisian crowds — and still no Mohamed images. Mostly what people are doing is hand holding, crying , holding up candles and luminous smart phones, “Je suis Charlie” signs, and a few, very few, “liberte” signs — but no Mohamed.

[Read more...]