Don’t forget that the Watchers’ Council has transmuted into Wow! Magazine, an online magazine with articles you won’t want to miss. Here’s the latest.
In 1975’s Fawlty Towers, it was funny to say “don’t mention the war” to Germans. In England today, it’s no joke that you can’t pair Islam with violence.
After John Cleese left Monty Python, he and his then-wife, Connie Booth, went on to create and start in Fawlty Towers. In it, Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, the perpetually angry, extremely inept, always inappropriate and outspoken proprietor of a Cornish inn. The cast regulars surrounding him are his wife, Sybil, who rarely gets off the phone, stopping only to scold Fawlty for his stupidity; a Spanish waiter and all-around dogsbody who’s never mastered much English beyond “Que?”; a somewhat senile old major and a couple of wittering old ladies; and Polly (Connie Booth), the maid and waitress, who is the only decent, sane person in the establishment.
Fawlty Towers is not to everyone’s taste because it is anarchic, angry humor. However, for those who watched the show, one of the best episodes focuses on a group of Germans coming to stay at the inn. When this episode was made, in the mid-1970s, WWII had ended a mere 30 years before and lived on in all adult memories. Therefore, to ensure a pleasant stay for the German guests, the inn’s mantra was “Don’t mention the war.”
This mantra proved to be too much for Basil, especially after he sustained a blow to the head. I’ve included two links here. The first is to the entire brilliant episode. The second, for those who will never watch it or have already watched it, is to the key scene with the Germans. After you’ve watched the episode or refreshed your recollection, I’ll get to my point about modern England: [Read more…]
It’s another superb illustrated edition, with thought-provoking posters about politics, social issues, and foreign policy. You won’t want to miss it.
This is first and foremost an illustrated edition post except . . . before you even look at these posters, please read Victor Davis Hanson’s “Regime Change by Any Other Name?” It’s phenomenal. And now the pictures:
A delectable illustrated edition tracking today’s insanity. This particular edition is dedicated to Caped Crusader, may he rest in peace.
Macron’s victory in the French election has provided Progressives with another opportunity to reveal their hypocrisy, stupidity, and all-around nastiness.
I had a marvelous trip this past weekend, and came back yearning to blog, only to find waiting for me a legal project with a tight deadline. While I work on that, though, I want everyone to enjoy yet another exquisite example of Progressives on parade. This particular example is a very silly Progressive’s response to the French election, which he used as an occasion to attack his fellow Americans. As with other screeds from Progressives, the author is either a hypocrite or blessed with an extraordinary lack of self-awareness:
For those reading this on an iPhone, let me compress the message to reveal its idiocy or hypocrisy, whichever description you prefer. In the wake of Macron’s victory in the French election, Mr. Franks begins by praising the French people for their gracious forbearance and ends with ad hominem, exceptionally nasty insults against his own countrymen. Somehow or other, forbearance as a virtue leaked away in just three paragraphs.
Also, in the idiocy category, where in the world do Progressives keep coming up with the idea that Jihadists hate it when we yield to them? Have you seen al Qaeda or ISIS saying that? I haven’t.
Photo credit: Macron World Company INC. _DDC0082 by thierry ehrmann. Creative Commons license.
In a world in which Leftism and Islam have joined in battle for ascendancy, lies are the coin of the realm and truth is a rare and precious commodity.
Law written in stone versus law written on sand. The Gorsuch nomination process revealed more clearly than usual how devoted the Left is to a “living” Constitution — that is, they dream of a Constitution the meaning of which is determined, not by its actual words and principles, but by whatever their current needs are. You can call it a Narcissists’ Constitution.
Jonah Goldberg has points out with exceptional clarity something point I should have seen a long time ago, which is that the Left does have its own immutable founding document. It’s just not the Constitution:
Consider Dianne Feinstein’s performance during the Gorsuch hearings in the Senate. “I firmly believe that our American Constitution is a living document, intended to evolve as our country evolves,” Feinstein said. “So, I am concerned when I hear that Judge Gorsuch is an ‘originalist’ and ‘strict constructionist.’”
Yeah, okay. But at the same time, Feinstein prattled on about how Roe v. Wade is a “super-precedent,” which I assume is a version of what Senator Arlen Specter (D., R. & I., Republic of Jackassistan) called a “super-duper precedent” — which actually sounds more intelligent when sung by Young Frankenstein.
After noting a bunch of court cases that reaffirmed Roe, Feinstein went on to make an additional point: “Importantly, the dozens of cases affirming Roe are not only about precedent, they are also about a woman’s fundamental and constitutional rights.”
I’m a bit fuzzy about what she sees as the distinction between fundamental and constitutional rights, but that doesn’t matter. Clearly her bedrock belief is that the process of constitutional evolution stopped with Roe v. Wade. One might say that instead of being a 1789 originalist, she’s an originalist of 1973.
Lies from the British police. The Metropolitan Police in London sent out this typically Leftist, entirely disingenuous tweet:
“We need to establish why Khalid Masood did these unspeakable acts to provide answers & closure for families affected” #WestminsterAttack
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 26, 2017
Why? Really? Why?
The Left cannot acknowledge the straight-line connection between Islam and death. Bruce Bawer can and does:
Following the 9th Circuit’s tyrannical refugees ruling, here is astute visual commentary as well as links to cogent analyses of the decision’s myriad flaws.
In honor of Judge Derrick K. Watson’s 43-page, law free rant against Donald Trump’s perfectly constitutional executive order, today I’m offering you a special illustrated edition devoted to refugees from Muslim lands. Before I get to the posters, though, a few pages about Watson’s verbal vomit.
A federal judge’s responsibility is very simple: apply the law to the undisputed facts. “The law” in this context means the Constitution, statutes, regulations, and the vast body of previously published federal legal opinions. Despite throwing a few case names around, Watson’s opinion boils down to this: I don’t like Trump, I don’t agree with Trump, and even though the executive order is facially unremarkable, I’m not letting him get away with asserting a position that disagrees with mine. In other words, this is the kind of Leftist judicial activism that made me, a lawyer practicing thirty years in the San Francisco Bay Area — i.e., the land of activist judges from the Ninth Circuit on down — conclude that, unless proven otherwise, judges are stupid, arrogant, uninformed Leftist tyrants.
For a more nuanced analysis of Watson’s steaming pile of . . . ahem, I recommend (1) Ben Shapiro’s analysis; (2) David French’s analysis; (3) John Hinderaker’s analysis; (4) Ed Straker’s analysis; (5) Roger Kimball’s analysis; and (6) Mollie Hemingway’s analysis.
Because Judge Watson seems confused about the nature of the refugees President Trump is trying to vet in order to protect Americans, I thought it would be useful to remind us who these refugees are and where they come from:
There are lots of theories about the verity of Trump’s wiretap accusations. This round-up offers what may be the most credible one. Check it out.
When it comes to Trump’s explosive charge that Obama put a wiretap on Trump’s phone, most of me is waiting for evidence. Mark Levin’s indictment is great, but it’s still based on hearsay. Having said that, my instinct is to trust that Trump is crazy like a fox, as opposed to just plain crazy. He made his accusations because he knows something. Indeed, Dan Bongino, a former secret service agent who presumably has contacts, says that the other shoe will drop imminently.
I know, and you know, that Obama has two habits: First, except in 2008 when he was elected based upon the historic aspects of his candidacy, Obama has always cheated to win, whether it’s getting someone’s sealed divorce records released or lying about Benghazi. Second, Obama bugs people, and I don’t mean that he merely irritates them. He’s bugged the media, he’s bugged foreign leaders, and he’s bugged Congress, and that’s just the bugs we know about. Past behavior can be a predictor of future conduct.
The only thing that might militate against Obama having acted against Trump in June and October is that everyone thought Hillary would win. Why would Obama do this? Perhaps it was a belts and suspenders thing — or, perhaps, J.E. Dyer at Liberty Unyielding has the answer. With that opening, let me get to my round-up.
Did Obama issue orders allowing his minions to destroy Trump using previously gathered information? Before I get to J.E. Dyer’s inspired theory, let me give a little background. Three-and-a-half years ago, Mary Theroux, the brilliant founder of the important Independent Institute, gave a luncheon talk that I attended. I wrote about it afterwards, so I’ll quote myself here:
The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention. As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise. It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing. In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world. Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime. As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate. The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.
Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store). We’re looking at something much more sinister here. Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.
As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime. We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us. It’s like a landmine under every American.
With that information in mind, it’s time to think about the equally brilliant J.E. Dyer’s understanding of what probably happened. First, she describes the same process that Mary warned about, which is the government’s ability to collect everything without discrimination and then to store it until it needs or wants it:
The Progressives’ current dream — declaring Trump crazy and therefore unfit for office under the 25th Amendment — is a scary replay of a Soviet nightmare.
The latest Progressive idea for destroying Donald Trump is rely on the 25th Amendment. That’s the one that authorizing removing a president from office because he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Because Progressives do not like the way in which Trump is governing (I beg to differ), they’re trying to conflate that dislike with his being constitutionally unfit to serve.
The problem for the Progressives is that the American people are not getting on that bandwagon. Indeed, while they’re not always thrilled with Trump’s habit of seemingly saying whatever he thinks, they’re on board with his policies and plans. An even greater problem, as I’ll explain below, is that the Progressives are lapsing into dangerous political behavior last ascendant in the former Soviet Bloc.
The American people do not believe that a president is manifestly unfit to serve when he declares that he’s going to use his executive authority to build a border wall that Congress mandated in 2006. Since that time, the American people have seen how well Israel’s fence worked, not to keep people trapped inside a prison nation a la the Berlin Wall, but to keep bad people outside of a democratic nation. They’ve also seen the bad effects that uncontrolled immigration has had in Europe. And of course, here at home, many Americans are not thrilled when people who have no permission to be here in the first place get welfare, take jobs, fill up academic slots, weigh down the healthcare system, commit crimes, and cause accidents. Building a wall does not prove you’re unfit.
The American people do not believe that freezing federal wages and slowing hiring is a sign that the president is unfit to lead. They’ve noticed that the burgeoning federal bureaucracy, rather than improving their lives, has come to the point at which it’s a serious drag on economic growth and a threat to individual liberty. They’ve also noticed that federal employees, who are theoretically the people’s servants, have wages and benefits far in excess of those the taxpayers — their employers — often receive. Americans aren’t mad at most individual government employees — only those waging war on a democratically elected government– but they understand that the madness needs to stop.
I’m finding the Trump presidency exciting, the Leftist breakdown amusing, and the political posters delightful and insightful (and, some, “inciteful” too). I think you’ll get a kick out of these:
The Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed are having a collective mental collapse in response to President Trump’s new immigration order. Typically, their behavior is predicated, not upon actual facts, but upon media propaganda and their own factual and historic ignorance. This post will rebut the worst, most misleading of these arguments, which is the claim Jews and all other decent people must accept unlimited refugees from Muslim countries because Hitler.
My Facebook feed is being inundated with the fallacy holding that, unless we allow unlimited immigration from those seven terrorist-fomenting Muslim countries, we’re no better than America in the late 1930s, when it refused to allow in Jewish refugees, most of whom perished in the Holocaust.
Most especially, because I am a Jew, the Progressives insist I should be on the front-line in the war against the immigration order, screaming “Stop! Don’t take any of these people in the country.” This is a morally evil argument predicated upon ignorance and misrepresentation.
Before I rebut the argument, here’s a sampling of the “reductio ad Hitlerlum” garbage littering my Facebook feed in the wake of Trump’s immigration order. Let’s start with Dr. Seuss, shall we?
Islam is in the news again, thanks to an ambassador’s death in Ankara and another truck jihad, this time in Berlin. I’ve got a few Islam-themed posts to share with you, all of which say that we should indeed be afraid, because it’s Islam.
Before I get to those posts, let me say that the Western fear of Islam is not tantamount to the German’s ginned up fear about Jews during the 1930s. Jews were peaceably living their lives throughout Europe, just as they had done for centuries. There were no terrorist attacks; there was no fiery rhetoric of conquest. There were antisemitic conspiracy theories that used invisible lines to connect imaginary dots.
With Islam the situation is different: Since 9/11, radical Muslims have been mobilized throughout the world. The Religion of Peace, which tracks murders committed explicitly in Islam’s name, says that there have been almost 30,000 of these Islamic-inspired attacks since 9/11. Please note, that number isn’t counting “deaths;” it’s counting “attacks.” Most of these attacks are aimed at creating mass deaths, whether in churches in Egypt, market stalls in Berlin, sidewalks and nightclubs in France, or quiet streets in Tel Aviv. Moreover, that number doesn’t even address ISIS’s depredations across increasingly larger swaths of the Middle East, nor does it look at what is essentially a raging Sunni-Shia war in Syria.
That we view Islam as dangerous is not the product of a fevered “Islamophobic” imagination; it is simply a matter of reading newspapers, noting the attacks, and noting how each is preceded by “Allahu Akbar,” and each is followed by a radical Islamist group (lately, ISIS), proudly taking responsibility for the death and bloodshed. With that in mind, here are some recent articles about the trouble with Islam.
In the wake of Abdul Razak Ali Ratan’s ISIS-inspired attack at OSU, David French’s addresses the vexing issue of Muslim refugees in America. He provides substantive data showing that most are decent people, but the bad ones are really, really, bad, and very dangerous:
The Heritage Foundation has maintained a comprehensive database of terror plots since 9/11, a database that includes foiled attacks. The number of Muslim immigrants involved is truly sobering. For every successful attack, there are multiple unsuccessful plots, including attacks that could have cost hundreds of American lives.
When we survey the American experience since 9/11, two undeniable truths emerge, and it’s past time that we grapple head-on with them. First, the vast majority of Muslim immigrants — no matter their country of origin — are not terrorists. They won’t attack anyone, they won’t participate in terrorist plots, and they abhor terrorism. Some even provide invaluable information in the fight against jihad. That’s the good news.
The bad news is the second truth: Some Muslim immigrants (or their children) will either attempt to commit mass murder or will actually succeed in killing and wounding Americans by the dozens. All groups of immigrants contain some number of criminals. But not all groups of immigrants contain meaningful numbers of terrorists. This one does. It’s simply a fact.
Moreover, there isn’t an even geographic distribution of terrorists. We don’t have as many terrorist immigrants from Indonesia, India, or Malaysia as we do from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, or from the conflict zones in the Middle East. It’s much less risky to bring into the country a cardiologist from Jakarta than a refugee from Kandahar.
French’s proposal for dealing with this ugly reality is to “maintain and expand” safe zones in the Middle East. Frankly, that sounds like a very expensive undertaking, one that puts American troops at risk of direct conflicts with surrounding hostiles, and a black hole from which America may never emerge. I have a different proposal:
One of the things that maddens me about my children is how they refuse to take advantage of the cornucopia of information so readily available on the internet. In my day, I actually had to get out of my chair, go to my Dad’s office, get the encyclopedia off the shelf, riffle endlessly through the pages to find the correct entry, and then read that tiny, tiny print.
It was Hell, I tell you! Hell!
Now, all that the kids need to do is to activate their omnipresent smart phone or laptop, type in a few words and — badaboom, badabing — the world’s knowledge is at their fingertips. And still . . . they won’t do it.
Instead, they ask me to answer their questions, something they invariably regret. I either tell them to look it up themselves or, worse, I answer their question in my inimitable Mom style: “So you want to know about the revolution in Cuba and why Castro was such a terribly evil human being? As with all things, if you really want to understand it, we need to start with the Romans.”
In my narrations, everything starts with the Romans, unless I’m feeling particularly cruel and move further back to the Abraham, Moses, Pharaoh, etc. From ancient history, I move on to the early Christians who tried voluntary communal living, to the rise of the feudal state, to the Black Death and its effect on the European economy and peasant rights. That, of course, leads to Renaissance monarchies and, of course, to the Enlightenment, with its two pivotal revolutions (the American revolution, which focused on individual liberty; and the French revolution, which developed the modern idea of the commune); and only then do I really get going.
Most of these conversations end with me saying, “Why are you walking away? I haven’t finished answering your question yet!”
I’m not going to do that to all of you. Instead, I’ll just tip you off to some wonderful things I found on the internet and think you might enjoy. After that, you’re on your own!
The exquisite cognitive dissonance on the Left. I’ll just leave this Yahoo squiblet out here. I don’t need to add anything, do I?
If you’re interested, you can read more about this cruelly irony-unaware initiative here.
I’m convinced of the point these political posters make. I wonder, though, whether undecideds, if they saw these posters, would be convinced too. What do you think?