The Bookworm Beat (10/29/14) — High blood pressure edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingI went to the doctor yesterday for an ear infection and discovered that I have high blood pressure. The doctor’s not treating the problem yet, in case my blood pressure was spiked from my ear pain. I certainly hope that’s transitory pain is the reason.  In two months, we’ll check again and see whether it’s reverted to normal or is still trying to make me look like one of those cartoon characters with steam coming out its ears. If the latter, I’ll really need to revisit how I handle all the stress in my life.

The chocolate treatment, apparently, is not working. Also unfortunately for me, the stuff about which I blog isn’t the stuff of zen moments. All of you should feel free to send me calming thoughts.

Two amazing Arabs (one Muslim, one Christian) speak about the Arab and the Leftist community’s responsibility for peace with Israel and the world

The first amazing Arab, Aly Salem, wrote an article about the disgraceful way in which American Progressives and other Leftists ignore Islam’s most revolting behaviors:

My own experience as a Muslim in New York bears this out. Socially progressive, self-proclaimed liberals, who would denounce even the slightest injustice committed against women or minorities in America, are appalled when I express a similar criticism about my own community.

Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why? Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.

This is delusional thinking. Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.

Salem’s article is behind a Wall Street Journal pay wall, but if you search for it by name on Google, you should be able to get a link that gives you free access.

The second amazing Arab is George Deek, a Christian Israeli-Arab diplomat living in Norway, who gave a speech recently in Oslo. If you don’t want to, or don’t have the time to, spend 30 minutes listening to the speech, you can read the transcript here.

Here’s just a small sample of what Deek has to say:

In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees?

Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere. And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations. Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.

The Obama administration finally has an enemy it hates more than the Tea Party: Israel

It’s already been a couple of days since Jeffrey Goldberg revealed that the Obama administration, headed by the King of Choom, has taken to calling Bibi Netanyahu, a battle-tested warrior, a “chickensh*t” coward. Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you my favorite post on the subject, from Danielle Pletka, at AEI. She immediately hones in on the disgusting manipulation and lies that characterize the Obama dealings that then led to the vulgar insult:

Lots of twitter today over an important piece by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic about the crisis in US-Israel relations. Most have focused on the Obama administration “senior official” sourced comment that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is “chickenshit.” The full quote is worth reading:

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”

Goldberg has his own take on the accusation, and plants blame for the mutual antipathy squarely on the Israeli side. He’s a thoughtful analyst, and he’s not wrong that the Israelis have been, to put it diplomatically, incautious, in their approach to the Obama team. Nor are critics entirely wrong when they suggest that internal politicking – and not peace process politique – have been behind recent Israeli settlement decisions. But that analysis fails to adequately appreciate the fons et origo of the slow-mo disaster that has been US-Israel relations under Barack Obama, and does readers a disservice by laying out the rather shocking notion that team Obama thinks he has somehow played the Israelis into… allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Here’s “another senior official” with whom Goldberg spoke (speaking of chickenshit; um, what about going on the record?):

“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

Let’s get this straight: Bibi et al, who have what most would agree is a legitimate and existential fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon, are “good” because they’re, er “chickenshit” about launching a strike on Iran; oh, and Bibi is also labeled a “coward” for having been “chickenshit” in that regard. But he’s “bad” because he won’t cave to a Palestinian Authority and Hamas so riven by terrorism, corruption and incompetence that they won’t “accommodate” with each other.

How can we read this as anything other than an appalling display of hypocrisy, hostility to Israel and warmth toward the very powers that have killed almost as many Americans (Iran, Hamas, et al) as al Qaeda? Did team Obama label Ahmadinejad as “chickenshit”? Have they labeled the Qataris, who arm and fund ISIS at the same time that they buy US weapons as “chickenshit”?

Read the rest here.

What will the upcoming elections mean for Israel?

Richard Baehr examines how the upcoming elections might affect Obama’s relationship with Israel. I think, after reading Baehr’s analysis, that the takeaway message is that, whether Obama keeps his Senate or loses it, he’s going to do his damndest to screw Israel. Tell me if you agree with my assessment.

If you think the government is out to get you, you’re correct

The New York Times turns in a surprisingly good article about the way in which the IRS is simply stealing people’s money, without even a pretense of Due Process. The opening paragraphs set the tone:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

This is something I’ve known about for some time because, back in the early 2000s, I worked on a case involving federal seizure and forfeiture.  In America’s efforts to stop bad guys, we let the camel’s nose in the tent with this one.  The government camel is now fully in the tent, destroying everything in sight.

I’d like to think that a Republican congress, aided by a Republican president, would rein in this travesty, but I doubt it. Remember — they all get paid out of the same federal pot of money, so they all (judges, congressmen, bureaucrats, executives) have a vested interest in maintaining a system that robs from Americans to give to the government.  Reagan was right in principle, but will prove to have been wrong in practice:

Reagan on we the people

Moonbats try to debate gun rights

I don’t know how he made it happen, but Charles C. W. Cooke (of National Review) was able to get an opinion piece about blacks and gun rights published in The New York Times. It’s very good, of course, although it doesn’t say anything that we pro-Second Amendment people don’t already know — you know, stuff about the way in which the Jim Crow, Democrat-run South tried to keep guns away from blacks so as to terrorize and kill them more easily, and how law-abiding blacks are still sitting ducks for the worst malefactors in society.

It’s a good essay, and one that I highly recommend, but the really fun reading material is what you find at the comments, as the usual NYT cadre of moonbats tries to escape and evade little things like facts and logic. Here are some examples from the 219 comments the Times allowed to stand before closing the comments section. You’ll notice that the ones I culled (which are from the top reader-approved comments) haven’t bothered with any facts at all, but are strong on ad hominem, bootstrapping arguments:

Brian A. Kirkland North Brunswick, NJ 3 days ago
“The poor and the black”, uh huh.

I don’t care how you paint it, this is the most convoluted irrational argument I’ve read in some time. Are you making the case that African-Americans need to arm themselves to take on the racist government? Are you saying that the answer to racist is armed resistance? You might be right, but does someone from National Review really mean that or are you making a Rand Paul gambit, to say anything that will get those, slow witted, African-Americans to go along?

No, son, you’re not going to make the picture of Malcolm, protecting his home after it’d been bombed, an icon for Caucasians. And, though there were armed African-Americans at some of those rallies, most were Caucasians, come to take their country back from the black guy. Let’s not be silly here.

You are not interested in the lives of African-American, except as a voting block to support your obsession with gun culture. We have enough access to guns. If you want a gun for personal protection you can have one.

Lots of African-Americans are like lots of Caucasians; we own guns, like fine wine, speak English well, are like other human beings. This is not news.

By the way, the NAACP is publicly supporting Marissa Alexander. https://donate.naacp.org/page/event/detail/wl3 Like all of your ilk, facts don’t matter much to you, do they?

***

Rima Regas is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 3 days ago
Where to begin…

I’m glad you support the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, out of some equal rights magnanimity that is uncharacteristic of someone on the right. Using that magnanimity as the vehicle from which to take a swipe at the NAACP, Reverend Sharpton and, Malcolm X, no less, is disingenuous, to be kind.

The problem isn’t that blacks can’t get as many guns as whites. The problem is that an increasing number of white cops feel perfectly comfortable using their guns on black men, when they should be remembering the oath they pledged and refrain from doing harm onto a fellow citizen.

John Crawford III, Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers, and all of the other young black men who’ve died recently were unarmed young men who died at the hand of an armed policemen who used a supposed fear for their lives as justification to shoot to kill. No gun would have saved these young men.

A country that has as many guns as it has citizens is one that has too many guns.

#BlackLivesMatter is about the cessation of police brutality on young black men. It has no bearing on the gun rights of whites or blacks. Using Jim Crow to advance the right to bear arms is the cynical use of a false equivalency in order to make an unrelated point.

Nice try…

***

agathajrw Minnsota 3 days ago
This is the most sorry excuse for an opinion piece published in the nytimes that I’ve ever read. It is a blatant advertisement for the NRA and the gun industry. To say that those of us who have been life long advocates for gun control were inextricably linked to racism before 1970 is shameful.

***

Jim Phoenix 3 days ago
This is insane. There is an epidemic of gun violence killing young black men, and this guy thinks the black community needs more guns.

***

Ecce Homo Jackson Heights, NY 3 days ago
What magnificent sleight of hand! Mr. Cooke turns the mindless proliferation of high-power weaponry into a conservative bulwark against racism. I can’t help but admire his rhetorical agility.

The fact is that African-Americans are victims of violence, including gun violence, at staggering rates. Ours is a society where homicide is justified by reasonable fear and fear of a Black Man is reasonable, almost per se. Arming African-Americans won’t help. Disarming white Americans will.

politicsbyeccehomo.wordpress.com

You know why we will never change liberal’s minds? Because they have no minds. They exist in a bizarre world of people with empty heads and jerky knees. For more information where I stand on guns, you can go here.

The Obama economy is not happy

Happy days are not here again under Obama. Just as Roosevelt, that Leftist darling, managed to worsen the Depression, Obama, another even more Leftist darling, has managed to turn in the worst non-recession economic performance in at least 100 years. This is what happens when you put a socialist in charge of the economy.

On the lighter side, here’s a nice joke about capitalism.

Barack Obama, in his own words

Ed Lasky has done yeoman’s work pulling together Obama’s own words to paint a picture of a very angry man who lusts after power, hates America and white people, and generally wants to see socialism become the law of the land. Here’s a sample (hyperlinks omitted):

The Constitution is just a piece of parchment to him and he blames it and the Founding Fathers for making the fulfillment of his goal to “fundamentally transform America” harder to achieve.

Obama willfully dismissed ISIS as a threat, demoting them to JayVee status. Obama has dismissed threats from Al Qaeda repeatedly bragging that Al Qaeda was decimated and on the run on the path to defeat and then defeated — a claim Obama has made over 30 times. In the real world, Al Qaeda and its offshoot, the JayVee ISIS, now occupy more territory and has far more wealth and power than it ever had before. It is on the run, alright, towards a city and shopping center near you. But rest assured, Obama tells us, they are defeated and the tide of war is receding. He barely reacts but recreates instead. The world is more tranquil than ever before because of Obama’s leadership. Does it feel that way to most Americans?

There’s a reason Democrats are opposed to voter ID

Yes, this is old news by now, but I can’t resist posting it on my own blog:

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

[snip]

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

The obligatory video showing the debate audience laughing at Dem candidate who tries to invoke “War on Women” shtick

A study about flu vaccinations for the elderly is a microcosm of the whole climate change so-called “science” debacle

We’ve discussed at length on this blog the fact that climate change is no longer a science but a faith. Why? Because it has become an unfalsifiable, infallible doctrine. No matter how often a hypothesis fails to be borne out by data, the sciences do a quick twist in mid air and, just before hitting ground, announce that the failure, rather than refuting the whole anthropogenic climate change theory, actually proves the theory to be true.  In fact, as often as not, the fact that the theory utterly failed is even better proof that we’re approaching climate Armageddon.  So you see, it’s faith, not science.

Well, that same “faith over science” problem reared its head in the world of vaccination studies and with equally deadly effect:

An important and definitive “mainstream” government study done nearly a decade ago got little attention because the science came down on the wrong side. It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives. In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially.

The authors of the study admitted a bias going into the study. Here was the history as described to me: Public health experts long assumed flu shots were effective in the elderly. But, paradoxically, all the studies done failed to demonstrate a benefit. Instead of considering that they, the experts, could be wrong–instead of believing the scientific data–the public health experts assumed the studies were wrong. After all, flu shots have to work, right?

You can read more here about a decidedly unscientific approach to science that has led to innumerable unnecessary deaths amongst the elderly.

The joke that is the Left’s obsession with diversity

A friend of mine has tackled the fatuousness of the Left’s obsession with diversity. Since my friend is extremely intelligent, not to mention a most elegant writer, the Left comes off looking ridiculous.

Good stuff at the Watcher’s Council

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately (hence the high blood pressure), so I’ve been remiss in passing on to you a few cool links for the Watcher’s Council.

First, Council members weigh in with their very specific predictions for the upcoming election.

Second, Council members have nominated exceptionally weasel-like people to be the Weasel of the Week.

Third, the Watcher’s Council nominations are in. I’ll link to all of the nominations in a separate post, but you can check them out at the Watcher’s Council site here.

Lovely pictures of classic Hollywood stars and their knitting

In the old days, before blogging became a compulsion, I kept my hands busy with knitting. I have a slightly peculiar technique, because I’m a left-hander taught by right-handers, but I also have, if I do say so myself, a very beautiful stitch. During my knitting heyday, I used to love collecting knitting books, especially books about the history of knitting (with this one being my favorite).

What the old books allude to, but don’t address in detail, is how much knitting took place (maybe still takes place?) on Hollywood sets. If you’d like to know more about that practice, or if you’d just like to look at wonderful pictures of gorgeous Hollywood stars knitting back in the day, check out this post at Seraphic Secret.

XXX If you’re looking for a good deed….

My fellow Watcher’s Council member Greg, who blogs at Rhymes with Right, was deeply moved by the plight of New Beginnings Church in Chicago. After its pastor, Corey Booker, broke ranks and endorsed Republicans, his church was promptly vandalized and robbed. That robbery is a huge setback for the Church’s planned expansion. If you go here, Greg explains how you can help the church out.

Do you sense a little bit of bias in this survey?

On my Facebook page, two of my friends linked to a “survey” that hinted that it was actually created on California Governor Jerry Brown’s behalf so that he can learn Californian’s opinions about what the state should do with regard to climate change. I clicked on over and got this priceless first page:

California League of Conservation Voters push poll

So that’s what it looks like when special interest groups manipulate the people.

The Bookworm Beat (10/24/14) — Friday’s New York “E-bowling” wrap up

Woman writingMy friend Sally Zelikovsky came up with the pun about a new sport called “E-bowling” after word emerged that the New York physician, who was ostensibly “self-isolating” himself, actually trawled all over the New York, using subways and Uber, to engage in activities ranging from dining out to bowling. I laughed when I read her pun, but I can’t escape the feeling that the real sport here is the game that our government playing with the American people’s health and well-being.

What stops shooters is guns

Those assembled in the Canadian responded appropriately when Kevin Vickers appeared before him: They applauded long and hard for the man who brought a shooter down with a single shot:

There was another shooting today, in a Washington state high school. A 15-year-old managed to kill one girl and wound several others before a bullet stopped him too — in this case, the bullet was self-inflicted.

My son, ruminating on the Seattle school shooting, and still a little shaken by the false-alarm lock-down in his own school, said to me, “I’m not afraid of being shot. What makes me crazy is the feeling of helplessness.” I agreed, pointing out that, even at his school, where everyone is unarmed, their teachers, who genuinely believed a shooter was on campus, fought against that helplessness by improvising weapons made out of whatever projectiles they had in their class.

Shooters who kill for pleasure or to score political/terrorism points, always go where there are helpless victims. They won’t achieve any of their calculated, sick, and/or sadistic goals if people have the capacity to defend themselves.

What stops these shooters is gunshots.  Sometimes the gunshots come from third parties (usually police who arrive had the scene long after the shooter has gotten a good run for his money).  Such was the case in Austin, Texas (“As Martinez fired, McCoy jumped to the right of Martinez and fired two fatal shots of 00-buckshot with his 12-gauge shotgun, hitting Whitman [the killer] in the head, neck and left side.”); Salt Lake City, Utah (“When Talović turned around and aimed his shotgun towards the team, Scharman and Olsen fired again and killed him. Talović’s body was later found to have been struck a total of 15 times by bullets fired by police.”); Santa Monica, California (“He was fatally shot by officers inside the library and then brought outside where he died.”); and Isla Vista, California (“Rodger was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head; police said he had apparently committed suicide.”).

And sometimes, if the police are pressing in on the killer, or he’s run out of ammunition, the killers use their own bullets on themselves.  We saw this in downtown San Francisco (“The attack continued on several floors before Ferri committed suicide as San Francisco Police closed in.”); in Columbine, Colorado (“Both had committed suicide: Harris by firing his shotgun through the roof of his mouth; Klebold by shooting himself in the left temple with his TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun.”); in Newtown, Connecticut (“The police heard the final shot at 9:40:03 a.m, and believe that it was Lanza shooting himself in the lower rear portion of his head with the Glock 20SF in classroom 10.”); and, today, in Marysville, Washington (“Fryberg, 15 a freshman at the school, died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said”.)

It’s a great irony — and an untenable one for Leftists — but the only thing that stops a shooter, whether he’s crazy, a criminal, or a terrorist, is a gun. The reality that Leftists don’t want to accept is that, until we have 100% certainty that no bad guys currently have or ever will have guns, we are safest when, in a moral society, lots of other people — good and moral people — are armed.  Since that certainty can never be achieved (absent, perhaps, the Barnhouse effect), the safest society is the one in which people of good will carry guns.  By the way, Chicago is a perfect example of what happens when only the bad guys, the ones without any decency or moral compass, have guns.

Let’s make sure the cops aren’t the only ones with guns

There’s nothing in the Constitution that says only police officers may have guns. Indeed, the Second Amendment sees the right to bear arms as one inherent in every individual. This is a good thing and all people should do everything they can to make sure that police don’t become our overlords.

I don’t have any particular bone to pick with police. I appreciate that there are people who are willing to go into often dangerous and often disgusting situations to help make our communities better. I do, however, have a very big bone to pick with police who have become so flush with power that they no longer think they’re the public’s servants but, instead, think that they’re the public’s overlords. Kevin D. Williamson details some appalling examples of instances in which police (with the whole criminal justice system backing them up) got confused about their place in the hierarchy.

The problem isn’t just that the police SWAT some houses here and there, without any citizen recourse.  There’s a much broader downstream problem because of the police’s unfettered strength.  As Williamson notes, the police, like all bullies, go for the easy targets — and in America, those easy targets are law-abiding citizens:

The strange flip-side — the second half of Samuel Francis’s “anarcho-tyranny” — is that the brunt of government abuse falls on the law-abiding. Illinois, for example, makes it difficult for an ordinary citizen to legally carry a gun for self defense — up until a couple of years ago, doing so was categorically prohibited. But Illinois police seize thousands of illegal guns from criminals each year, and the state prosecutes practically none of those weapons cases. The law-abiding — by definition law-abiding — citizens applying for concealed-carry permits get treated like criminals, and the actual criminals do not. If you follow the law and inform Illinois authorities that you have a gun in the home, you invite all sorts of intrusion and oversight. If you don’t, nobody’s really looking. Meanwhile, the streets of Chicago are full of blood, going on 1,600 shootings this year and it’s not even Halloween. Nobody is held responsible for that carnage, but if you put an eleventh round in your legally owned rifle in Oak Park, you’re looking at jail time.

Frank Serpico (yes, the real Serpico) has an article out about the appalling corruption in New York when he was a young cop, about the fact that he is still a pariah amongst New York cops, and about the fact that this corruption continues today, with out-of-control police.

What’s different now from Serpico’s time is that the police don’t even have to bother to pal up with the criminals to get cash.  Thanks to seizure laws, the police can be the criminals, shaking people down for all the money they’ve got.  Already a decade ago I was working on cases about civil forfeiture laws that enabled federal and state police to seize cash, cars, jewelry, homes, and anything else that was valuable with impunity just upon suspicion of certain crimes.  Worse, because the money raised this way goes into local, state, or federal bank accounts, judges went along with these seizures because they get paid out of the same pot.  At long last, though, the MSM may be catching up with this particular abuse of power.

The “Allahu Akbar”-ness of the hatchet swinger in New York

Turning to those honorable police who are in the front line between citizens and criminals, I haven’t had the chance to see how the media is playing the case of Zale H. Thompson, the man who used a hatchet to attack four police officers in Queens, slashing one officer’s arm and giving the other a terrible head wound before he was shot dead by two other officers. (You see, guns not only stop shooters, they also stop hatchet wielders.) I’m willing to bet, though, that the media will try to distance itself from Thompson’s Facebook page, which is a veritable treasure trove of fealty Allah and jihad. Fortunately, Zombie is paying attention, and captured the images for posterity.

There are common threads to all mass shooters or random attackers:

Class 1, which seems to be the smallest class, is composed of people who are genuinely and completely disconnected from any semblance of reality. They’re out there killing because they’ve received a message from Zomblot of the Planet Xdafjsiokd, and that message is to kill all glowing pink rocks . . . and you, clearly, are one of those rocks.

Class 2, which often shows up in schools, is young, male, either a Democrat or from a Democrat home, with divorced parents or a completely absent father, and using psychotropic drugs of one type or another.

Class 3, which the media claims is as fictional as the Loch Ness monster, is the one the rest of us are seeing all over the place, on every continent except for Antarctica: He’s male, probably young (no older than his late 30s), Muslim (either by birth or conversion), and he’s utterly fascinated by jihad, so much so that his attacks are often accompanied by the cry of “Allahu Akbar.”

In all cases, gun control works to the attacker’s advantage, because he has the pleasant sensation of aiming at fish in a barrel, none of whom are equipped to fight back.

The vicious misogyny of the American left

I have to admit that I paid very little attention to the screaming headlines about the alleged Palin family brawl. There’s nothing new about the MSM salivating over any story, true or not, that casts a negative light on a woman who was a vice-presidential candidate six years ago and who, since then, has taken up permanent residence in Leftist heads.

By ignoring the Palin brawl story, though, I missed the real story, which is the vicious, gleeful misogyny that so-called “feminists” display when it comes to Palin women. You see, it turns out that Bristol Palin was, in fact, quite brutally attacked. CNN anchor Carol Costello, who routinely takes up the feminist flag for stories about girl-friend beating in the NFL, reacted with unseemly joy when she had the opportunity to share with her viewers the footage of Bristol Palin’s tearful recounting of a man’s violent attack against her:

“Sit back and enjoy!” Costello exclaimed as she introduced her audience recently to the audio in which Bristol Palin recounts how she was attacked. “You’ll want to hear what she told cops about how it all started.”

Costello also confided in her audience that she had a “favorite part” of the audio which could later become courtroom evidence. Ghoulish.

Charles C. W. Cooke, who freely admits to disliking Palin as a political candidate, wrote a splendid attack against the media’s passion for Palin pain, not to mention the double standard that sees a media blackout when Vice President Joe Biden’s progeny engage in disgraceful and illegal activity:

To take potshots at clownish figures such as Lena Dunham, we have learned, is to invite indignant death threats. And yet, when a veritable legion of male comedians elects to use foul, carnal, and, yes, “gendered” language to dismiss Palin and her family, our contemporary Boudiceas shrug at best and offer endorsements at worst. Sarah Palin, as the abominable bumper sticker has it, “isn’t a woman, she’s a Republican.”

[snip]

If it is a sign of poor “judgment” to choose as veep someone whose children are a mess, why does Joe Biden get a pass for the conduct of his son, Hunter, who was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for having been discovered using cocaine?

Breaking my usual rule of keeping National Review off my real-me Facebook page (because Leftists would never dream of reading it), I posted Charles Cooke’s post there, along with a comment to the effect that disliking Sarah Palin cannot justify laughing at a brutal physical attack on her child. The response from my Leftist friends was predictable. Since they couldn’t possibly say anything to exonerate this misogyny, they were completely silent.

For more examples of MSM glee in a woman’s brutal assault, check out Ashe Schow’s round-up.

And the vicious misogyny of the Muslim Middle East

This video’s been kicking around for a while, but I only saw it today. It shows a Saudi family hanging an Ethiopian maid up by her heels and beating her with a bat, like a living, breathing pinata. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I heard some of the people assembled to watch this beating laughing as the maid screamed in agony.

The CDC has admitted that the immigrant flood correlates to measles outbreaks

The MSM doesn’t want you to know this, but conservative news outlets are reporting that the CDC has conceded that there’s definitely a correlation between the illegal Central American immigrants that the Obama administration shipped all over the country without pausing for silly little stuff like quarantines and new measles cases. Other diseases are also following in the illegal immigrants’ tracks:

Measles, respiratory illness, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases continue as a prime concern for the millions of Americans conflicted about the perpetual arrivals of illegal immigrants pouring into the country. While some diseases have emerged from the Philippines, Africa, Asia and Europe, the unprecedented amount of undocumented aliens is a major issue.

Even Hollywood is taking notice as actress Tori Spelling was reportedly admitted and placed in quarantine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California Monday for respiratory concerns that some media say could be Enterovirus related.

Hospitals throughout America are reporting record breaking numbers as their emergency rooms are overwhelmed beyond capacity. Figures as of October 20, 2014 show the largest reported cases of these mystery illnesses included over 4,300 children at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In just one day 540 children visited the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and 340 cases were reported by a Mobile, Alabama children’s hospital. Many hospitals have ceased admitting children temporarily as they determine ways to deal with the outbreaks.

Medical labs testing confirm many of these cases are Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). The Obama Administration has been working overtime to keep the reporting and narrative away from blaming the ongoing illegal and undocumented immigrant invasion into the country. Media reports show at least eight known deaths from EV-D68 in the U.S. in 2014.

Perhaps the White House doesn’t want Americans to know that out of over 70,000 illegal immigrant children who crossed into the U.S. almost 48,000 came from Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador. In these countries measles and the EV-D68 virus are quite common. If we include these children’s family and friends, not listed an “unaccompanied,” over a quarter of a million people from Central and South America have entered the U.S. illegally this year.

Incidentally, eight people have now died from the Enterovirus.

The American medical establishment may be way too complacent about Ebola

We expect the Obama government to tell us that everything is under control when it comes to Ebola. Yeah, sure, if “under control” looks like this:

Meanwhile, even as some doctors are also insisting that our medical system is more than capable of handling and isolating Ebola cases, never mind the possible “E-bowling” habits of infected people, one doctor, who started working in Russia and then came here (and became a Republican), is not so sanguine. He thinks that the medical establishment is grossly underestimating the demands more than 20 Ebola cases would have on our medical system:

When the kidneys no longer work, we start patients on dialysis but how do you safely do it while caring for a patient with Ebola. The answer is you don’t.

The only facilities that could attempt something like this are BL4 isolation wards where the staff practice such techniques while wearing spacesuits. They have dedicated machines that are separated from the other hospital patients. There are only 4 such facilities in the country and the number of such beds is around 20; that is all there is, for the entire country.

Read the rest here. (Hat tip: Wolf Howling, who is on hiatus from blogging)

When it comes to Ebola research, the irony is so thick you can taste it

A lot of conservatives have been pointing out that part of our problem with Ebola is that the CDC has been so busy spending money on trendy things that it’s had little left for old-fashioned epidemic disease control. In other words, it’s been focusing on salt in diets, obesity, and cigarettes to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Here’s the irony: to the extent that the CDC was able to squeeze in a little actual contagious disease research alongside all its trendy lifestyle work, it did so because of . . . Dick Cheney. Bloomberg explains.

We may start changing our minds about working or partying when sick

When I was a little girl — well, actually even through high school — when I got sick, my mother kept me home. She did so because when she was growing up it was considered extremely rude to spread the cold or flu amongst your classmates, colleagues, and social group.

The results of my mom’s policy were two-fold. First, I started malingering because all I had to do to miss school was say “I don’t feel good.” Second, between real and faked illnesses, I missed way too much school, which affected my grades. It was only when I was in college and beyond that I figured out that, whether at school or at work, unless I was actually keeling over, staying at home would hurt my grades or my career too much.

When my kids were little, I sent them to school when they had colds because keeping them home until the sniffles ended would have meant keeping them home for weeks. All the other moms did the same, and that was fine. Obviously, if the kids had fevers, or vomiting, or diarrhea, things would have been different. But for colds and general yuckiness . . . school it was for the kids (and work for the parents).

During all those elementary school years, none of the kids got terribly sick, and all of us felt that we were doing the appropriate thing by giving our kids’ immune systems a work-out. In addition, because the kids brought everything home, we parents gave our own immune systems a work-out too. Once my kids hit middle school, all of us pretty much stopped getting sick.

What I’m working up to is the fact that, in America, going out into the world when you’re a bit sick means you don’t miss important things and you buff up your immune system. Certainly, no one dies. And really, that’s always been the big difference between my generation and my mother’s generation. In Mom’s time, when people, including kids, got sick, some of them died. They got polio (in America), and measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and scarlet fever. Getting a cold could mean pneumonia and, in a pre-antibiotic era, pneumonia could mean death. The risks of illness were so high they outweighed any potential benefits from attending more school or work.

I mention all this because a Russian-born writer, looking at the E-bowling document in New York, is asking why Americans go to school, and work, and social activities when sick. The answer is that, right up until this disease summer, the downsides were limited and the upsides were huge. I foresee things changing….

Charles Krauthammer says something wonderful about Obama’s bystander presidency

For those of us who have been paying attention, there’s nothing new in Charles Krauthammer’s most recent article about the fact that Obama seems to be a bystander to his own presidency. We know that Obama is always more surprised and then more angry than anyone else, as if the endless management failures during his administration aren’t his fault.  If he was a good manager, these things wouldn’t happen.  But if he was even a manager who just showed up for work every day, at least he wouldn’t be surprised and the one he would be angry at would be himself.

What’s new is this exquisite paragraph that Krauthammer wrote (bolded emphasis mine):

The one scandal where you could credit the president with genuine anger and obliviousness involves the recent breaches of White House Secret Service protection. The Washington Post described the first lady and president as “angry and upset,” and no doubt they were. But the first Secret Service scandal — the hookers of Cartagena — evinced this from the president: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.” An innovation in ostentatious distancing: future conditional indignation.

John Kerry is the rotten fish head at the top of the State Department hierarchy

Hillary was bad; Kerry is worse. (I haven’t forgotten Hillary’s role in the deaths of the Benghazi four. I’m just talking general about her role as leader of the State Department.) Just as a fish rots from the head down, the State Department under Kerry has gone from vaguely hostile to Israel to actively hostile to Israel. Moreover, working in tandem with the rest of the anti-Israel Obama administration, this active hostility is resulting in severe damage to Israel, which is America’s long-standing, most reliable ally in the Middle East — not to mention the only truly free country in that dark, bloodied, benighted region.

John Hinderaker catches Rob Stein, founder of Democracy Now, speaking the truth about power

The Left is always nattering on about “speaking truth to power.” What’s incredibly rare is to catch one of them speaking the truth about power. Rob Stein, however, did do so. I won’t spoil the surprise of this rare burst of honesty. You need to follow this link.

When it comes to Michael Brown’s family, you can’t make these things up

Even before Drudge latched on to it, Joshua Pundit caught the fact that Michael Brown’s family — the one in Ferguson — has come to blows about which family members have the right to milk his death for cash.

Natural selection and vegetarians

I’ve always known that, if you examine a human’s teeth, digestion, and overall health, it’s very clear that we humans are biologically programmed to have meat as part of our diet. What we know now too is that, when it comes to men, the downsides of vegetarianism hit even closer to home.

Meryl Streep to bring Florence Foster Jenkins to the screen

I’ve posted here before about Florence Foster Jenkins, the fabulously wealthy opera aficionado who booked herself into Carnegie hall to share her tuneless, aimless arias with the world. Meryl Streep has been tapped to play Jenkins in some sort of biopic. Little is known about the proposed movie, but I actually think this is a perfect movie for Streep. Because Jenkins lived in pre-media era, Streep will have to be an actress, not just a mimic, and she’s always at her best when she stops parroting other people’s mannerisms and just acts.

San Francisco in her pre-modern heyday

Fred Lyon, a native San Franciscan and professional photographer, loves to take pictures of his home town. The results can be seen at his website and, when it comes to pictures of San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s, his work is spectacular. Whether one loves the City that once was, as I do, or simply enjoys beautiful black-and-white photography, this is an album that’s worth checking out.

Nature’s colorful bounty

You’ve probably seen most of these pictures before, but they’re so lovely, I wanted to share with you a post that puts all of them together in one place.

The Bookworm Beat (9/18/14) — The Non-Islamic Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:

Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war

After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:

We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.

Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)

Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.

Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.

The horrors of war by lawyer

When I reviewed Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, I said:

[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):

The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.

[snip]

However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.

The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.

Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:

The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.

Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)

Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war.  This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him.  He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.

Funny illnesses cropping up all over

I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.

A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.

The Israel yardstick

I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.

More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite

Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.

I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.

One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves

Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.

Jewish gun organization surviving in different form

I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)

I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.

More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science

We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!

The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN

I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.

A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.

Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.

The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones

You and I like this poster:

America's first amendment area

Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.

A lost America

Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:

We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.

Read the whole thing here.

I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.

Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam

This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:

“Captain Phillips”: The most pro-Second Amendment movie I’ve ever seen

Captain-Phillips-poster-26Jul2013_02I finally got around to watching Captain Phillips. The move is ripped from headlines in 2009, when a Maersk captain got kidnapped by Somalia pirates, and was then rescued when Navy SEALS managed to kill the kidnappers in a sniper tour de force — perched on a rocking boat, the SEAL snipers took out three pirates who were standing within the confines of a closed — and also rocking — life boat. The movie didn’t do much for me as entertainment (more on that later), but I thought it was a splendid argument supporting the right to bear arms.

Since we’re all familiar with the actual kidnapping story, which we watched play out in real time, I’m not giving anything away when I say that the movie’s plot begins when four Somali pirates, traveling in a small, open skiff and armed with semi-automatic rifles and pistols, board a giant Maersk cargo ship. Their goal is to hold the ship’s crew hostage until Maersk’s insurance meets their ransom demand. Things go awry, though, when the ship’s crew fights back and manages to kidnap the leader of the pirate band. When the Maersk crew returns the pirate to his own crew, now ensconced in the Maersk’s fully enclosed life boat, the pirates successfully turn the tables, grab Captain Phillips, and take off.

The musical score indicated that the scenes in which the pirates stalk and eventually board the Maersk ship were meant to be gripping. Certainly, you could see the crew getting nervous. There they were, helpless, as these cruel predators stalked them. The only thing they could do was to turn on their ship’s water cannons in an effort to make boarding difficult. Here’s a nice picture showing the teeny skiff working its way up to the giant cargo ship with all its cannon going full force:

Water cannons in Captain Phillips

The image reminds of nothing so much as a feisty little mouse stalking a terrified, moribund, drooling elephant. Watching this scene, therefore, my dominant emotion wasn’t fear or anxiety, it was exasperated anger. If the Maersk had been armed with a few semi-automatic weapons or a mortar launcher or two, it could have blown that little skiff out of the water in an instant.

A small skiff would never have dared approach a boat it knew was armed. The only reason the pirates could act with such impunity was because they had the weapons and they knew that the only thing that the cargo ship could do was to spit at them.

At movie’s end, Phillips wasn’t rescued because of his ingenuity or courage (although the script works hard to give him both).  Instead, he was rescued because the U.S. Navy out-manned and out-gunned the rag-tag band of pirates.

To me, the movie’s overwhelming message was that, if the outlaws are the only ones with guns, you’re helpless. However, if the good guys also have guns, the outlaws are mincemeat. This is as true within a country as it is on international waters. The Maersk ship was a metaphor for every law-abiding American who is denied the right to bear arms, and who then finds himself staring into the barrel of a bad guy’s gun, aimed right at him.

Thankfully, the Captain Phillips incident helped some of the shipping companies see the light. Rather than viewing ransom payments as a cost of doing business, thereby incentivizing piracy, some of the companies now hire armed guards who can, presumably, knock off a pirate skiff even before it gets within range of water cannons. You won’t be surprised to learn that the pirates, who are now greeted with the business end of a gun rather than the promise of cash, have pretty much gone out of business.  Again, this is a perfect metaphor for the Second Amendment, which posits that there are more good guys in America than bad ones and, from that, extrapolates that, if the good guys are armed, the bad guys will retreat.

Aside from that powerful Second Amendment message (which I suspect was inadvertent), the movie left me pretty cold:

It failed as a suspense movie, because I already knew how it ended.

It failed as a hagiography of Captain Phillips, because I had already read months ago that the crew vehemently disputes Phillips’ heroic version of events. One could say that this is just sour grapes on the crews’ part, because they missed out on the money (and because the movie painted them as sniveling union cowards), but the facts bear out one important piece of information: given the prevalence of pirates in the region, ships were told to stay 600 miles off shore, well out of pirate range. Phillips kept his ship within 300 miles of shore, a fact even he concedes. If the crew is right about that incredibly salient point, it may well be right about all the other stuff.

It failed stylistically, because the director, Paul Greengrass, tried to shoot it as if it was a documentary happening in real time. This stylistic choice had two byproducts: First, it gave the movie that jerky, handheld quality you see when documentary filmmakers are running after a subject. I find this irritating. I tolerate it for real documentaries, but find it unnecessary and unpleasant in faux documentaries. Second, the actors weren’t acting, they were mimicking. You could see them sweat (and then inwardly congratulate themselves) as they tried to copy the speech and mannerisms of a real person. They therefore never fully inhabited their characters, leaving them one-dimensional. This made the movie lifeless.

It failed morally to the extent it seemed to say that the pirates were also innocent victims, more to be pitied than censured. Certainly, it’s true that Somalia is a country of abysmal poverty and disarray, made worse by its citizens’ addiction to khat. The pirates are shown chewing khat to get themselves excited for the hunt, and then becoming increasingly paranoid and desperate as their khat supply runs out. When one looks at the dreadful country, all of Somalia’s citizens are much to be pitied. Still, that’s not a license to engage in crime on a mass scale. Moreover, it was clear from the movie that the real malfeasors are the shipping and insurance companies that saw ransom as a cost of doing business, giving the Somalis a rational incentive to engage in piracy. As noted above, without this incentive, the Somali pirate trade pretty much ended.

And finally, the movie failed for a reason unique to me: I don’t like Tom Hanks. I’ve been dragged to see all of his movies over the years, and I’ve never like him. He runs the gamut from maudlin to overacting, a range that doesn’t just leave me cold, but leaves me with a vague, shuddering revulsion.

Saturday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesSaturdays just slip away from me. Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Suddenly, it’s 1:30, and I’ve accomplished nothing more than making another batch of haroset, which I’m trying to eat in lieu of ice cream. There are things, though, that I’d like to share with you:

The first thing is a plea from the Media Research Center asking for funds to help offset the invaluable assist the Obama administration is getting from a complicit media.  As you know, but too many Americans don’t, the media pretends to the American people that it’s independent, even as it shills and covers for the President. The deadline for this particular fundraiser is tonight, which is why MRC gets top billing here.

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Speaking of valuable organizations asking for money, the NRA is taking very seriously Michael Bloomberg’s promise to spend $50 million to undermine the Second Amendment in America. The NRA has put together a great fundraising video (see below), and you can donate here if you feel so inclined:

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Andrew C. McCarthy is one of those guys who has a binary effect on me. Either I love what he writes or I hate it. This time it’s love, as he talks about the way in which Obama is using his pardoning power to nullify drug control legislation. It’s a typical Leftist move, of course. If you’re a Leftist and don’t like legislation or constitutional rights, you don’t go through Congress to repeal or amend them; instead, you simply announce that you’re the Magic Negro, the man who defines what sin is (“being out of alignment with my own values”), the new messiah . . . and you avoid implementing the law and, if so inclined, actually undo its effects.

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It’s not often that you read in just one article a straightforward, commonsensical, easy-to-understand, comprehensive take-down of the global warming scam. You especially don’t expect to see that kind of thing from a world-renowned emeritus professor and former NASA scientist talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post (a paper I read a lot back in the days when I lived in England).

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I’ve mentioned before that I had Elizabeth Warren as a professor back in the day. I went into her class ignorant, and came out still ignorant, but also frustrated and confused. Whatever else she was, she was a very poor communicator, which is why I find it so peculiar that the Left considers her a spokesman for their Progressive economic causes. Back in the day, speaking in her breathy, elliptical, somewhat telegraphic way, she managed to say nothing at length.

With those memories in my mind, my metrics say Warren would be a dreadful presidential candidate, so I can understand puckish conservatives urging her to run. Of course, should she run, what will actually happen is that she’ll still be better than Hillary, whom people dislike, and she’ll win the primary.  As the first female Democrat presidential candidate, the press will anoint her and that will be the end of it for any Republican opponent. (On that point, please see again my first item, above, regarding the MRC’s plea for funds to de-fang the press.)

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Peter Wehner has disturbing RINO tendencies, not to mention the arrogance of his class when it comes to Palin. Nevertheless, he’s an extremely lucid commentator when it comes to honing in on Obama’s failings. I both enjoyed reading and was depressed by Wehner’s elegant laundry list of Obama’a serial failings in every area of presidential endeavor.

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You know that I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about narcissists. One of the most dangerous things about them is the way their emotional armor means that they are incapable of acknowledging themselves at fault but must, instead, always deflect blame onto others. This tendency is especially destructive when it exists, not at an individual level, but at a societal level.

Take, for example, Islam: No matter where one looks around the world, once Islam is in charge, the economy collapses, violence increases, freedom disappears, and women, Jews, Christians, gays, and other Islamically disfavored groups are attacked, enslaved, and destroyed. This is a society that is ripe for introspection but, because it’s predicated on narcissism, the only thing it can do when it confronts its disastrous existence is . . . blame the Jews.

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We’ve already talked here about the fact that those environmentally friendly wind farms puree birds, while the solar farms barbecue them. That’s not why I’m linking to this PowerLine article. I’m linking because I love the title: MICROWAVES OF THE DESERT; CUISINARTS OF THE SKY.

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Cliven Bundy, a private citizen, makes an inarticulate, but arguably valid point that American blacks are as enslaved by the Democrat party now as they were in the antebellum South. The media mangles his argument, and destroys him as a “racist,” making toxic his entirely valid argument that past due monies owed to the government do not justify the Bureau of Land Management showing up at his farm with full military force, slaughtering his cattle, destroying his water lines, and aiming snipers at his home.  Think about it.  If Bundy were an IRS employee (lots of back taxes there), he would have gotten a bonus, and if he were Al Sharpton (even more back taxes), he’d be palling around with Obama and Holder.

No matter the government’s “right” to the land (which is separate from the justice of its claiming that right), Bundy stands for the increased tyranny of the federal government, one that sees it viewing itself as master, not servant.  Indeed, one can argue that, although the government is acting according to the laws it’s made, its laws and procedures have become so fundamentally flawed that, per the Declaration of Independence, our government has invalidated itself:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But I digress. I actually just wanted to talk about Bundy now being toxic, thereby invalidating ideas unrelated to the subject matter that made him toxic.  It’s different if you’re on the Left.

If you’re on the Left, no matter what you do outside of politics, you’re never toxic. Take Paula Poundstone, for example, a convicted child molester. That fact isn’t preventing the Marin Jewish Community Center from opening its arms to her. I don’t know whether Poundstone has reformed or repented, something that makes a difference to me, because I’m a big believer in both. I just know that, if Poundstone was a conservative, not a Progressive, she’d never be forgiven for her sins, and would be persona non grata in perpetuity, as to all matters.

***

And finally, maybe we are at last seeing small cracks in the damned dam that is political correctness:

Does Progressive atheism drive the hostility to guns and self-defense?

Sistine-Creation-DetailHqMike McDaniel is one of the best and most knowledgeable thinkers and writers when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment.  That’s why it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when he revisits one of his own posts to discuss reader objections.  I’ll run you through what Mike has to say and then tell you why I agree with him.  This is a long post, but I hope it’s engaging enough to sustain your interest all the way through, so that you’ll take the time to weigh in with your own opinions.

It all started with a post entitled “Why It’s So Hard To Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People,” which Mike published at The Truth About Guns (“TTAG”), one of the internet’s premier Second Amendment sites.  Mike’s starting point is the same problem I had when discussing guns with liberal friends in the wake of Sandy Hook: Progressives cannot move beyond emotions and get to actual facts.

Mike, though, didn’t stop with my facile conclusion about how frustrating it is to talk about guns with Progressives.  Instead, he looked beyond the emotional drivel and honed in on the core ideologies driving Progressive or, more accurately, statist thinking.  These ideologies are

(1) the Progressive’s belief in the state’s ability to solve every problem and its corollary,  which is that every individual other than the Progressive holding this thought is incapable of knowing what’s best for him;

(2) the Progressive’s refusal to acknowledge that there is a Higher Power or Being, reinforcing the belief in the all powerful state and further diminishing an individual’s standing; and

(3) the Progressive’s belief that the state is both infallible and unfalsifiable.  This belief allows Progressives to argue that, if a specific law fails — say, that a law specific guns fails to stop or even slow gun crime — the answer is to pass the same law, only to make it more far-reaching and consequential.

Mike’s article garnered 355 comments.  To Mike’s surprise, the point in his article that got the harshest criticism was his second argument, the one holding that rejecting a Higher Being is what allows Progressives to deny the right to armed-self defense.   Here’s Mike’s argument in that regard:

The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves. In essence, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God. For some, this lack of belief is nothing more than being made uncomfortable by the idea that there is One greater than themselves, than their current maximum, cult-of-personality leader, than the state itself. For others, progressivism/statism takes on all of the characteristics of a religion; it become a matter of unquestionable faith. For such people, believing in God is essentially apostasy.

As it relates to the Second Amendment, these two factors make it not only possible, indeed, mandatory for the progressive/statist to deny the unalienable right to self-defense. If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. The individual exists only in service to the state, and the value of their life is measured by the individual’s adherence to the state’s goals and their usefulness to the elite ruling class. That being the case, there’s nothing particularly unique or precious about any individual, therefore an unalienable right to self-defense is nothing but an annoying impediment to the larger, more important goals of the state.

Indeed, God need not even be involved for the committed statist to deny the existence of any right of self-defense. Any unalienable right is an inherent limitation on the power of the state, and no such limitation can be acknowledged. Whether such rights are bestowed by God or invented as a result of human philosophy matters not. The power of the state cannot be diminished, and if the individual is allowed control over their own existence — if that control is bestowed by God which is far more powerful than the state — the power of the state becomes illegitimate and unquestionably hampered.

In any case, if there is no unalienable right to self-defense, there can be no right to keep and bear arms, or as progressives/statists often argue, such “right” guarantees nothing more than the privilege to carry arms in the military—in the service of the state and its ruling elite—and perhaps for hunting or sport shooting under highly restrictive circumstances.

To such arguments, conservatives and others commonly point to the Constitution and particularly, to the Bill of Rights. This is why progressives/statists argue for a “living Constitution,” which is another way of saying that the Constitution says what they want it to say and means what they want it to mean at any given moment. The better to legitimize whichever progressive/statist policy they wish to implement. This is also why progressives/statists labor to install judges who reflect the “living Constitution” frame of mind. Politics are too fickle; better to have true believers legislating from the bench when it’s not, for the moment, possible to impose progressive orthodoxy through the legislative process when the masses are temporarily rebelling against the elite.

To summarize:  For varying reasons, true Progressives cannot simultaneously hold a belief in God and state, so God goes out the window.  Without God, the individual has neither innate dignity nor inherent rights.  He is, instead, just a cog in the state’s workings and his value can never be greater than that which the state assigns to him.  Indeed, inalienable rights are antithetical to an all-powerful state.  They cannot exist simultaneously.  The moment that the individual is subordinate to the state, the state can make whatever rules it wants regarding arms and self-defense.  Usually, these rules benefit the ruling class to the detriment of everyone else.  To the extent the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights indicate otherwise, they must be ignored, interpreted out of existence, or amended to make explicit the state’s control over guns and, by extension, self-defense.

To Mike’s surprise, several TTAG readers took umbrage when he argued that Progressives’s elevation of the state over God (or denial of God altogether) is inextricably intertwined with their rejection of guns and the inherent right to self-defense.

Take, for example, “joleme’s” objection:

I was with him until the god comment.

I’m not sure why some pro-gun people need to split pro-gun supporters by making such statements.  It’s one of the reason’s [sic] I tend to feel uncomfortable around some large groups of gun supporters.  I myself am very pro-gun.  I see no reason to limit the 2nd amendment.  Inevitably however, it seems like someone always has to start a religion talk and ends up being a “only us god fearing men are in the right”.

I think you need to assess your own religious discriminating views.

Mike was quite disturbed that he could be considered as someone who would discriminate against fellow Second Amendment supporters on religious grounds.  He went back through his original TTAG post to see if he came across as a Fire and Brimstone preacher.  I can assure him that he did not.  And since he’s my friend, I want to assure him further that (a) he didn’t insult atheist gun owners and (b) he was right about the “godly aspect” of America’s constitutional right to self-defense.

As to the first point (that he wasn’t insulting atheist gun-rights supporters), Mike needn’t worry.  He definitely wasn’t waiving a discriminatory Bible at people who support the Second Amendment but don’t believe in God.  Those readers who took offense seem to have missed the fact that Mike was entirely unconcerned with pro-Second Amendment people.  Instead, he was trying to understand how America’s self-defined Progressives can deny an individual’s right to self-defense.

It was in that context — why true Progressives cannot accept self-defense, armed or otherwise — that Mike advanced his theory that rejecting a Higher Being’s existence inevitably means living and dying at the state’s whim.  Significantly, that conclusion does not imply its corollary.  That is, while Progressives’ collective atheism drives the hives’ hostility to self-defense, one doesn’t need to believe in God as a predicate to believing in self-defense.  They are not mutually exclusive ideas.

I can easily believe in armed self-defense for non-theistic reasons:  (1) the lesson of history, which is that the greatest number of deaths in the last 150 years have invariably followed a government’s move to disarm its citizens; (2) the fact that mass shootings always happen in “gun free” zones; or (3) the fact that crime goes up when gun control goes up and crime goes down when concealed carry goes up.  All three of these are inarguable facts and it’s impossible to maintain a reasonable gun control stand when faced with these facts.

Since the above facts are the arena in which most gun control discussion are carried out, arguing with gun control fanatics invariably ends with them calling you names.  Indeed, calling Second Amendment supporters blood-crazed, murderous, child-killing Nazis is the only appropriate response when the facts show that, within the confines of a free society (as opposed to, say, Yemen), guns advance individual safety, rather than destroy it.

None of the above facts rely on God.  Both theistic and atheistic individuals can cite them to justify gun rights.

But let’s be honest:  Mike wasn’t talking about a specific individual’s understanding of facts or rights.  Instead — and this is the second issue Mike raised — he was asking a fundamental question:  Why, in America, unlike all other nations, do we have a Constitutional right to bear arms?  Answering this question, at a societal rather than an individual level, requires looking at rights inherent in all men, rather than preference among both theistic and atheistic individuals.  In this larger context, Mike is absolutely right that the Founders’ belief in God was a prerequisite to their drafting the Second Amendment and the Progressive’s collective belief in the State is the overarching justification for their denying the Second Amendment.

Many of the Founders disdained traditional religious worship, but all were theists.  They believed that there was a higher power that created man and elevated him over all other beings on earth, complete with inherent rights that flowed from God, not the state.  That belief is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The state is subordinate to these rights, as the Declaration makes clear in the sentence immediately following that affirmative of rights inherent in all men, irrespective of the state:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The hierarchy is clear:  First, God; second, His creation (man); and, third, man’s creation (the state).  To ensure that the state retains it’s place at the bottom of the hierarchy, the Founders enacted the Bill of Rights.  As I’ve argued (often), the entire purpose behind the Bill of Rights is to ensure that government is subordinate to each individual, and not vice versa.  It is within this context that the Second Amendment makes sense:  First, it exists to ensure that the state cannot become tyrannical as to the collective of all; and second, it exists to ensure that each individual is protected from the state and that each individual has the right to defend the sanctity of his own life, separate from the state’s needs or power.

On the pro-gun side, incidentally, you can also say that you only need the second and third elements of the above hierarchy to justify guns:  man comes first, the state second, and men get guns to keep the state in place.  That’s a valid, non-theistic, pro-gun argument too.

But now look at it the other way, from the Progressive’s point of view, which was Mike’s point.  The Progressives also have an ideological hierarchy underpinning their conception of man’s relationship to government:  First comes the state.  Then comes man.  There can be no God, because God would, by definition, have to supersede the state in the hierarchy.  Man must therefore be subordinate to the state.  This means that the state gets to make all the rules and rule number one is:  NOTHING CAN THREATEN THE STATE.  Moreover, statists fully understand that nothing threatens the state more (as we see on this, the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising or as we saw with the Bundy & Co. stand against the BLM) than an individual with a gun.

So Mike is right:  both the godly and the godless (and yes, that last is said with a light laugh and not meant as an insult) can support an individual’s right to bear arms.  However, the only way to deny an individual’s right to bear arms is to deny man’s inherent value vis a vis the state — and that requires a world in which there is no God.  The Progressive hive (as opposed to the individual Progressive who attends his leftist church or synagogue) must deny God both as man’s creator and as a counterweight to the state’s absolute primacy in order to justify denying the Founder’s conclusion that each of us is endowed with an inherent right to self-defense through arms.

And think about it:  Back in the day, Americans didn’t just call communists “communists.”  They called them “Godless communists,” understanding that the Godless part was an intrinsic aspect of the state’s absolute, unfettered power, a power that was and still is invariably accompanied by gun control and the refusal to recognize self-defense as a valid individual right.

Georgia Mayor speaks truth to Bloomberg’s anti-2nd Amendment Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization

No gunsAs is the case with so many Leftist organizations, on the surface former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s alleged gun safety organization sounds so reasonable:  “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (“MAIG”).  Heck, we’re all opposed “illegal” guns, right?  It’s only the definition of “illegal” that might trip some of us up.

When I think of an “illegal gun,” I’m thinking of a shoulder mounted rocket launcher, a fully automatic machine gun, or perhaps an otherwise innocuous revolver in the hands of a 14-year-old Chicago gang-banger.  It’s become increasingly clear, however, that when MAIG talks about illegal guns it’s envisioning a world in which all guns are illegal unless in the hands of (a) a police department or (b) a Democrat politician’s body guards.

When the Orwellian-named MAIG approached David Lockhart, the mayor of Fort Park, Georgia, he wasn’t interested in playing cute semantic games with an organization dedicated to destroying the Second Amendment.  Instead, he sent them a delightful, long letter detailing exactly what’s wrong with MAIG:

I do not support your efforts. I oppose efforts to require private sellers with minimal sales (non-dealers) to perform background checks. I am proud that gun shows are regularly conducted in Forest Park.

If you really want to reduce illegal gun sales, perhaps your energy would be better focused in petitioning the BATF to end its illegal gunwalking. Because of Operation Fast and Furious, Brian Terry was murdered with a weapon sold by our own government.

Your organization claims that the goal is “protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, while fighting to keep criminals from possessing guns illegally,” yet none of your “Coalition Principles” further any such protections. One of the principles is to “keep lethal, military style weapons off our streets.” First, I am awestruck that you would focus on “lethal guns.” It seems that guns’ lethality is the point of their design. That you believe a gun’s “military style” makes it more lethal is asinine, and however you would define such style does not make guns so designed illegal. Your stated goals–protecting legal ownership and eliminating criminals from illegally possessing guns–are belied by your specific objectives. What you propose would convert what is currently legal possession into criminal behavior. You may have fooled other mayors, and you may have other fools who agree with your actual objectives, but you haven’t fooled me.

That your organization was founded by Michael Bloomberg, who criminalized the sale of sodas of a certain size, is telling. It is impossible to believe such a man is really concerned with the protections afforded by our Constitution.

Hat tip: Guns Save Lives

Fort Hood exemplifies the insanity of our modern age

David Burge (aka Iowahawk) reduces the insanity at Fort Hood to a mere 22 perfect and pithy words.  (Hat tip:  Caped Crusader.)

No guns on army bases

Imagine, if you will, that what happens at one of these bases isn’t one crazed gunman or disaffected Islamist but is, instead, a sustained, surprise paramilitary attack. Will our sitting duck troops call 911 then too? They are vulnerable to any surprise attack, whether it comes from one or dozens or hundreds of murderously inclined and heavily armed people.

Friday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly).  Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas.  It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves.  The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country.  It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process.  If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.”  One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.

***

David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:

Police chief get a gun

I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”

We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.

***

I also want more of this:  An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white.  (That’s not want I want to see more of.  It’s this next thing I like.)  Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field.  This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.

***

Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions:  Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc.  That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to  highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist.  Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie.  (Hint:  It’s not the Democrat Party.)

***

Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics.  As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature.  Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns.  He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups.  The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures.  Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.

***

Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare.  There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie.  My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play.  As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment.  That is, if they need to say it, it must be true.  (It’s nice to be your own God.)

***

Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.  I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins.  Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.

***

Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89.  The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs.  During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture.  Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons.  During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured).  My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him.  But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate.  If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.

***

I don’t think much of Stanford.  It’s nothing personal.  I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt.  However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case.  Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law.  As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.

***

And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors:

 

Saturday mid-day roundup (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have learned something about myself over the past 5.5 weeks:  I will never master crutches.  After all this time, I still fall going up the stairs, get vertigo going down the stairs, topple over when trying to reach light switches, get abrasions on my skin, and exhaust my injured shoulder.  My big hope for this coming week is that the doctor tells me I can ditch the crutches and use a cane or go unaided on my own two feet.  In the meantime, though, I’ve got stuff I want to share with you:

In 2008, Obama won in significant part by hooking up with pop culture and making himself “cool.”  The implication was exactly what it is in high school:  if you hang with the cool kids, you’ll be cool too.  Obama was cool because he hung with Hollywood . . . and young voters were cool because they wore Obama t-shirts.  Obama is trying to reprise that cool factor with his current campaign to get healthy young people to sign up for Obamacare.  Now that actually money is involved, I suspect he’ll have less success than in 2008, when all you needed to be cool was a t-shirt and a vote.

***

When it comes to understanding how the media functions as the PR arm for the Democrat party, you can’t do better than to read John Hinderaker’s article describing the downstream fallout from the Washington Post‘s cheap and false attack on the Koch brothers. (Hinderaker’s challenge to the original WaPo article is here.) Not only does Hinderaker strip bare the ugliness behind the Post’s defense of its own bad reporting, he also analyzes why the Left is so obsessed with the Koch Brothers, the problems Democrats are starting to have with the “green” worldview, and the money behind the Democrats’ attacks on the Kochs.

***

Two Democrat politicians, one in Arkansas and one in Alaska, have rather foolishly chosen to attack their Republican opponents for having been in the military. The GOP has done an ad highlighting these attacks and focusing on the fact that there is something honorable about having served in the military. I agree, but for me there’s more than that going on.  When I think about military service, what I think about is competence and responsibility. In a society where young people avoid both — and, indeed, are encouraged by law to remain infantile until their 26 — the military forces young people to step up. I know that there are shirkers in the military, but the statistical likelihood is that someone who spent many years in the military is probably a can-do and will-do kind of person.

***

Over the years, I’ve written about the fact that people who support abortion use a very dishonest debate tactic when they pretend that the world is the same as it was before Roe v. Wade. The implication is that, if abortion again becomes limited to life-of-the-mother (and perhaps rape and incest) cases, young girls will be thrown starving into the streets and children will be raised with the stigma of bastardy. In a world in which single mothers are one of the fastest growing demographics, this is ludicrous. The Left also pretends that women will once again return to back alley abortions, complete with unsanitary coat hangers. Indeed, one pro-Abortion outlet is giving “cute” little coat hanger necklaces to those who donate money to the cause.

Here’s something interesting, though: Just as the pro-abortion crowd lies about the world as it is, implying that unwed pregnant women will once again be driven into the snow (barefoot, of course), so too is it lying about the world as it was. Kevin Williamson finds contemporaneous evidence from Planned Parenthood itself saying that, back in the 1960s, while abortion was illegal, it was also safe — indeed, probably safer than at places like Kermit Gosnell’s House of Abortion Horror.

***

J. Christian Adams asks a good question: Why does Michelle Obama’s mother live rent-free in the White House? It might have made sense when the Obama’s first arrived in D.C. with two fairly young daughters, but it makes no sense now. I guess, though, that Michelle loves her Mommy and wants to make sure that Mrs. Robinson also gets to enjoy the pleasures of staying in $8,000 per night suites in Beijing (taxpayer-funded, of course).

“White Trash” is not a skin color, it’s a state of mind. One aspect of the WT state of mind is the person who, when he knows someone else is paying the restaurant bill, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. The Obamas are quite definitely White Trash.

***

In my real-me Facebook world, my friends still cling to the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory. In the real world, actual scientists (as opposed to PhD-holding crusaders looking for large government grants) are finally waking up and smelling the con-job coffee. It remains to be seen whether the climate-change generation is going to be able to walk away from this false God.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I said that the hate-crime hoaxes coming from the Left meant that I didn’t believe a gay guy who claimed (without corroboration) that his aged Baptist minister grandfather, who had been married for 65 years, confessed on his deathbed that he was gay. Maybe grandpa did; maybe he didn’t. It’s just that, as I said, absent ample evidence, I don’t believe the Left. In that vein, I point out that yet another hate-crime has proven to be a hoax.

***

Last week, I showed a picture of a school workbook telling students that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms provided that the government first gives them permission to do so. Someone asked for the provenance of that image. It turns out that (surprise! surprise!) it comes from an Illinois Middle School.

***

Reading travel tips that Chinese give those of their compatriots heading to America I thought to myself, “What a nice country we have.”