The Bookworm Beat 1/19/16 — the speed round-up and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Another day, another incredible collection of articles I think you’ll like, all of which I’ve tried to present in a way that’s both interesting and brief.

Yet another government lie. Is everything we think we know about the cost of living data false? And worse, is the actual cost of living increase we’re facing in the double digits in many cities? The Chapman Index says we’re the victims of a sustained lie hiding how much less our money buys.  In other words, inflation is much worse than you realize.

Rank and file Marines horrified by Obama orders. Actual Marines, not people who just pretend to be military experts for the sake of advancing the Obama administrations social re-engineering goals, are appalled by the demand that the Marines feminize everything, including the word “rifleman.” Incidentally, I found this link on the Facebook feed of a young Marine friend who raised in Progressive Marin. He noted that nothing can re-engineer the fact that, at a basic biological level, women aren’t as strong as men — and no amount of gender illusions will change that reality.

Conservative voters like Cruz. GOP establishment figures have always hated Ted Cruz, which I think is because he’s made them look like what they are — liars who told the voters one thing and then voted with Obama on just about everything. Now that the Republican primary is narrowing, the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” appears to be coming into play, and the GOP is starting to line up behind Trump (who has, like the GOP itself, a distinguished RINO record on many issues). It’s worth remembering, therefore, that ordinary people — voters, not players — like Cruz.

Thomas Sowell on elections.  Elections aren’t about revenge or anger or “making a statement.”  Instead, as Sowell says, “They are held to choose who shall hold in their hands the fate of hundreds of millions of Americans today and of generations yet unborn.”  My brain is always a better and smarter place after reading Thomas Sowell.  I wish more Americans, especially young Americans, would read him.  Sadly, it turns out that, thanks to 50 years of Leftist control over education, too many of America’s so-called best and brightest are a terribly ignorant group of people who know nothing about America’s history, constitution, or political structure.  (H/T Sadie)

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On Syrian refugees: Risky until proven safe

Media IslamAlthough the question of Muslim refugees is no longer front page news, the Left is still keeping up the relentless drumbeat that those of us who oppose unfettered Syrian and Islamic immigration into America are racist, “Islamophobic,”* and unconstitutional.  We’re told it’s wrong of us to judge the many by the bad actions of a few and that we’re running counter to our legal system’s insistence that people are innocent until proven guilty.

This is misdirection.  We are not as a nation trying to obtain a criminal conviction against today’s immigrant because of a specific terrorist act committed by yesterday’s immigrant.  Instead, we are engaging in intelligent risk analysis which is consistent with American law and tradition, with sanity, and with national survival.  We aren’t doing anything that shames us.

That we shouldn’t be embarrassed hasn’t stopped the Left, of course, I keep seeing posts and articles by or about this good Muslim or that group of good Syrian Muslims. Today’s example, from the WaPo, is about Syrian refugees in England who helped out when floods hit:

According to reports in the Guardian newspaper and elsewhere, a group of Syrian refugees has been working in Littleborough, Greater Manchester, shoveling sand into sandbags to help avert more flooding.

“We saw the pictures on TV and wanted to help,” Yasser al-Jassem, a 35-year-old teacher, told the Guardian, adding that the people of Greater Manchester had been good to him and others in his group and that they wanted to help in response.

Good for those guys!  That’s precisely what people who have been given refuge in another land should be doing.  I wish all of them were moved by that spirit of gratitude.  I’d love to see thousands of stories precisely like that one.

In addition to the “watch these Muslims being good citizens” stories, I also keep seeing posts and articles in which Muslims state “I, personally, am a good person, so you need to get off my back and start using my example as a reason to stop judging all Muslims as potential terrorists.”  The most recent example of that phenomenon, again from the WaPo, was the stridently self-righteous post from Rana Elmir, the deputy director of the Michigan chapter of the ACLU, saying that she is not her Muslim brother’s keeper:

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The Bookworm Beat 12-17-15 — the “speed writing” edition

Woman-writing-300x265Are you familiar with speed chess? I learned about it when I was at Cal. Since I worked at the Bancroft Library, I had access to an employee break room. Every day at lunch, two men would sit there, chess board in front of them, timer at their side, and make lightning swift moves, wrapping up a single game in minutes, not hours. What I’m going for here is speed blogging. I’ve got more than 20 links, and I’m going to try to share them with you in less than half an hour of writing. Here goes….

In 2006, Thomas Lifson wrote what I think is one of the best political articles ever.  In it, he explained that there are two seasons in American politics — Attention Season and Inattention Season.  The former has a remarkable way of concentrating American minds.  Right now, with the election nearing and terrorism within our borders again, Americans are starting to shift from Inattention to Attention.  I suspect this will change the polling dynamics substantially in the next few weeks.

Trump is the bad boy of this political season, by which I mean that he’s the cool guy in the leather jacket that all the girls want to date and to domesticate. Eventually, though, the girls discover that a bad boy may have a James Dean charm about him, but he’s still bad, meaning he’s bad for the girl (and he’s equally bad for the guys who want to run with his pack).  Kurt Schlichter perfectly articulates why  Donald Trump is one of those bad boys, and explains that he’s going to be a heart breaker for those conservatives who think that this lifelong Democrat is someone to hold on to during trying times.  Rubio and Cruz are probably the best choice for the nice steady boys who will come in and save the day.

If you’d like a short but deep run-down of the last Republican debate, and one with which I happen to agree, check out Seraphic Secret’s post about the debate.

Millennials are not the next greatest generation:  they want to see American troops defeat ISIS; they just don’t want to be among the troops doing the defeating.  Having said that, I’m in no position to sneer.  I am an armchair warrior at best and a coward at worst, and have always been incredibly grateful that there are men and women who are willing to do the necessary fighting that I’m scared to do.

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Obama’s speech highlights why it’s hard to have an intelligent political debate with Progressives

Obama oval office address 12-6-15I found myself in conversation today with a Progressive who thought that Obama’s oval office address was just wonderful.

“What did you like about it?” I asked him.

“It was a very mature speech,” the Progressive replied, “and he said what I would have said.”

Of course I asked, “What would you have said that he did say?”

“That we’re doing everything we can against ISIL, but that almost a quarter of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re not all our enemies.”

“That’s it? That’s what you got out of the speech?”

“Yeah, it was really good. I bet you hated it.”

“Well, yes I did hate it.”

And then I was off. I detailed the problems with Obama’s affect — flat in the beginning when he had to concede that this was terrorism (although Obama hastened to add that it wasn’t really Islamic and Neo-Neocon thinks he may not even have said it was terrorism), and hectoring in the end when he scolded Americans about their prejudice, which they’ve never acted upon, and their guns which . . . well, let’s just say that Obama doesn’t want to see another Texas happen:

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To the extent that there is increasing anti-Muslim feeling in America, I blame Obama and the Democrats

648x415_syed-farook-tashfeen-malik-deux-tueurs-san-bernardinoAlthough we’re hearing a lot from Muslims claiming to be worried about potential anti-Muslim feeling in America, the reality is that their worries are inchoate fears that aren’t grounded in real life experiences.  Indeed, John Hinderaker points out that despite fourteen years of Muslim-related fears, the vast majority of Americans have managed to restrain their alleged Islamophobia:

The FBI’s latest statistics, for 2014, show a total of 1,140 religion-based hate crimes in the U.S. Only 16% (182) were directed against Muslims, about one for every 44,000 Muslims living in the U.S.

Actually, Muslims are more likely to perpetrate hate crimes than to be victimized by them. In 2014, more than half of the religion-based hate crimes–58%–were directed against Jews, and in many instances were perpetrated by Muslims.

I will admit, though, that if I’m to judge by my own Facebook page, which is knee-deep in Progressives, more and more Americans, however unwillingly, are beginning to connect the dots between Islam and terrorism.  Again, they’re not frothing at the mouth with undifferentiated Muslim hatred. Instead, they’re doing what I usually do, which is to distinguish between radicals and everyone else.  Still, they’re finally figuring out that Islam has a problem.

Meanwhile, our President, his party, and his media (let’s not pretend that Obama doesn’t own the mainstream media) continue to deny a connection between Islam and terrorism.  That may change when Obama speaks tonight, although many suspect that the President will use tonight’s speech not only to downplay the Islamic connection to terrorism, but also to try another gun grab.

If, as I suspect, Obama doesn’t change his tune but, instead, continues to pretend that Islam and terrorism are entirely related, I blame him for any future and actual Islamophobia in this country.  Obama has created a leadership vacuum that the American people, who are rightfully fearful that ISIS is in our borders and gaining new recruits from among Syrian refugees, will fill.  And when the masses fill a vacuum, they often do so in crude, mob-like ways.

Obama would protect American Muslims much better if he’d acknowledge the problem with radical Islam and give Americans a detailed plan for dealing with that problem — one that includes requiring the American Muslim community to work with law enforcement to expose and expel the terrorists among them.  Americans then wouldn’t feel that, if they want to protect their lives and liberty, they’re going to have to take Islam on themselves.

Think of it this way:  Obama is the pilot of the plane called America.  We, the People, are the passengers.  We can’t see the captain, but his periodic announcements tell us that he’s up there in the cockpit.  Suddenly, we become aware of a disturbance on the plane.  We look anxiously at the speakers above our heads, waiting for Captain Obama to tell us what’s wrong and how he’s going to fix it.  Instead, we get either silence or a bizarre rant from the cockpit about the bright sunlight outside the plane.

Now imagine you’re on the plane:  Given that your captain has just shown himself to be either absent or insane in the face of a clear and present danger, are you going to continue to sit peacefully in your seat hoping for the best, or are you going to unbuckle your seat belt, search for anything that can possibly be used as a weapon, and go to face the problem yourself?

Captain Obama is failing in his job.  If the American people step up to do what he won’t, and if he doesn’t like how the American people handle the job, he has only himself to blame.

The Bookworm Beat 11-29-15 — the “tidy office-tidy mind” edition

Woman-writing-300x265Inspired by Marie Kondo’s advice that true organization begins with throwing out everything that is neither useful nor sentimental, I am continuing to plow through every nook and cranny in my house. This is the first organization system that’s made sense to me, which is why I haven’t already given up and relapsed into my usual vaguely tidy-looking mess. My mind is also a vaguely tidy-looking mess, but  it’s still yielded these interesting links:

Ignore people who tell you Cruz is divisive and uncooperative

According to those rooting for candidates other than Ted Cruz, he’s an arrogant blowhard who won’t play well with others.  In fact, Cruz’s work history proves that the opposite is true:

At the FTC, Cruz’s agenda could have been written by Milton Friedman.

Cruz promoted economic liberty and fought government efforts to rig the marketplace in favor of special interests. Most notably, Cruz launched an initiative to study the government’s role in conspiring with established businesses to suppress e-commerce. This initiative ultimately led the U.S. Supreme Court to open up an entire industry to small e-tailers. Based on his early support of disruptive online companies, Cruz has some grounds to call himself the “Uber of American politics.”

Moreover, and perhaps surprising to some, Cruz sought and secured a broad, bipartisan consensus for his agenda. Almost all of Cruz’s initiatives received unanimous support among both Republicans and Democrats.

Ted Cruz a consensus-builder? He was, at the FTC.

Read the rest here.  Cruz has the chops to make the best kind of President:  True conservative values, love for America, phenomenal intelligence, and the ability to work and play well with others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medieval image of Mohamed preaching

Medieval image of Mohamed cursing the vines

German trading card showing Mohamed ascending to Paradise

Medieval image of Mohamed

Algerian postcard from the 1920s showing Mohamed

Medieval image of Mohamed receiving revelation from the angel Gabriel

Mohamed solving a dispute

17th century French picture of Mohamed

18th century German picture of Mohamed

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

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

Early 20th century cigarette card of Mohamed

19th century photogravure of Mohamed

Attempt to illustrate what the real Mohamed have worn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMERICA! Designed by geniuses!

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

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

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

The Bookworm Beat (11/13/14) — Morality edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingAs you’ve probably noticed, I’ve spent a bit of the past two days doing housecleaning at my site: I’ve upgraded the comments feature (for the better, I hope) and I’ve rebooted the “read more” feature so that posts are truncated, requiring less vertical scrolling, but can easily be expanded and contracted without having to leave the home page. I’ve also done housecleaning in my house, with a much-needed pantry clear-out. Now, I’m cleaning out my inbox, ’cause there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s interesting. Who says spring cleaning can only take place in spring?

So, if you’re interested in this portmanteau post, click “read more” and you’ll see it unfold before you.

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The Bookworm Beat (10/23/14) — Mega giga woppa edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingNo time to talk. I’ll just dive right in.

The Canadian shooter: “Fox Butterfield, is that you?”

If you recognize the quoted phrase above, it’s because you’ve seen it often enough in James Taranto’s Best of the Web. The “Fox Butterfield Fallacy,” Taranto explains, “consists in misidentifying as a paradox what is in fact a simple cause-and-effect relationship.” Butterfield routinely committed such fallacies, with his most famous being one form or another of this “paradox”: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Canadian man who killed a 24-year-old member of the Canadian army, was a recent Muslim convert who came from a wealthy, politically connected family. Those two facts yielded this Fox Butterfield gem from the Daily Mail: “He had his passport seized after being designated a ‘high-risk traveler’ – despite his mother being on Canada’s immigration board.” (Emphasis mine.)

Why do I consider that sentence a Fox Butterfield fallacy? Because it shouldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the most violent Islamists so often come from politically well-connected — i.e., Leftist — families.

A few other things of interest from that same article about Zehaf-Bibeau: His father was in fact Libyan, which means Dad was probably Muslim, and abandoned the family in 1999 to go fight in Libya. One can only imagine the effect that had on young Michael.  After all, look at how Barack Obama, despite losing contact with his father at only 3 months, has spent his entire life trying to recreate in America is father’s imagined Communist paradise.

It’s also telling that Zehaf-Bibeau was a criminal who rotated in and out of prison. Let me quote (again) what my cousin, a former Christian prison chaplain, had to say about convicts who convert to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

All of us here have also noticed that what stopped Zehaf-Bibeau was a gun. The only thing that ever stops a shooter is a gun, whether he turns his own gun on himself when his spree ends or whether someone else (a policeman or an armed citizen) shoots him.

And of couse, as Sadie already pointed out, Obama instantly hedged his bets by calling the shooting either terrorism or “senseless violence”:

President Obama also spoke about what he called the ‘tragic’ situation in Canada, saying ‘we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.’

In Obama’s America, if it’s not politically expedient to exploit a shooting or bombing incident — as is the case when there’s a Muslim perpetrator — the Obama lexicon invariably insists upon the “senseless violence” formulation.

I’m quite sure that, even as Canada immediately called the attack “terrorism,” the ongoing White House investigation will inevitably lead to a conclusion about a lone, deranged gunman who completely coincidentally had converted to Islam.

Barack Obama: Master political manipulator

During the Bush era, his opponents went back and forth between calling him a moron and a Machiavellian genius. It’s hard not to do the same with Obama. On the one hand, one sees the way in which he’s managed to muck up every aspect of running the American government; on the other hand, as Caroline Glick demonstrates, he’s been absolutely masterful at manipulating the political system when it comes to Iran and Israel.

A unifying theory could be that Obama is an anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic Fox-Piven acolyte. In other words, he acts with heightened skill vis-a-vis Israel and Iran, because that skill is necessary to destroy the one and elevate the other. Meanwhile, to the extent that his Fox-Piven goal is to bring American to her knees (or lower), the best tactic is to act with diminished skill, thereby allowing America to implode.  In other words, he applies his political skills selectively to reward and punish various nations, including our own.

John Oliver does something good

I find John Oliver distasteful. He’s a self-described angry Leftist who now has his own bully pulpit on HBO. In addition to not appreciating Oliver’s politics, I also dislike his style, which consists of an endless stream of awkward similes, invariably laced with profanities, that make his properly-primed audience roar with sycophantic laughter.

Having said that, Oliver does occasionally get things right — as, for example, when he tackles the problem of Afghani and Iraqi military interpreters who put their own and their family’s lives at risk to help the American military, only to see the American State Department abandon them to face Islamic terrorism on their own (language warning):

This is an issue that military and conservative bloggers have been agitating about for years.  It took way too long for it to cross over to the mainstream media, but I’m not going to complain when a Leftist media outlet finally picks up on and disseminates an important story.

While I’m not generally a fan of increased Muslim immigration into a country, since there’s no doubt that many Muslims resist assimilation and seek, instead, to expand the caliphate, these translators have proven many times over their willingness to support America.  It’s unconscionable that, even as we allow millions of Latin Americans to swarm illegally into our country, these men are left to die at Islamist hands.

I don’t know how useful internet petitions are, but if you’d like to sign one on behalf of Mohammad Usafi, you can go here to do so.

Let’s call those “ISIS” fighters by a name they really deserve

There is movement afoot amongst Muslims to deny ISIS the right to call itself “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “IS” or “the Islamic State” or anything else that, merely by being used, seems to accept that rabble’s self-designation as the new caliphate:

Whether referred to as ISIS, ISIL, or IS, all three names reflect aspirations that the United States and its allies unequivocally reject. Political and religious leaders all over the world have noted this. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “This is a terrorist group and not a state. . . the term Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists.” President Obama made similar remarks saying, “ISIL is not Islamic . . . and [is] certainly not a state.”

Muslims opposed to allowing ISIS its name of choice suggest, instead, “Daesh”:

The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is still accurate in that it spells out the acronym of the group’s full Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Yet, at the same time, “Daesh” can also be understood as a play on words — and an insult. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” Already, the group has reportedly threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term.

I’m all for calling the group by a name that enrages them, but I’m thinking we’d do even better by calling them by a descriptive name. I suggested to a friend that we call them “HG” for “human garbage” but, after he questioned their humanity, we agreed that calling them “GARBAGE” would suffice.

Why are women turning to Islam?

Our own David Foster has a post that offers a compelling rationale for the peculiarly high number of Western women, especially young women, who are converting to Islam and following the GARBAGE crew in Iraq. Check it out.

Rebutting yet another Roosevelt era trope

In The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes convincingly established that Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t save the country from the Depression, it worsened the Depression.

It’s been so long since I read her book, though, that I cannot remember whether Shlaes tackled what finally ended the Depression. What I was taught in school, and what Paul Krugman loves to repeat, is that it was World War II that ended the Depression, which is why Krugman thinks some horrible disaster would be just the perfect antidote to our current sluggish economy.

Apparently at Princeton the students and teacher have never learned about the Parable of the Broken Window, which Frédéric Bastiat articulated in an 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen):

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

War is just window-breaking on a grand scale.

Stephen Moore, using actual data rather than political myth, explains that what actually ended the Depression were post-war tax policies:

Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

Of course, even with all the data in the world, you’ll never convince Krugman that his Keynesianism is wrong. He’s invested in the disaster theory of improving economies, and he’s not going to back out of it now or ever.

It’s also a myth that American executives get paid so much more than their employees

While it’s quite possible that the CEO of a big American company gets paid 331 times as much as the part-time janitor working weekends (especially the part-time janitor working weekends in the company’s Dehli office), it’s not true that, on average, American CEOs make 331 times more than ordinary employees. This particular “income inequality” myth is just another story from the same people who brought you the “New Deal worked” myth, the “one in five women are raped on campus” myth, the “women earn 72 cents on the dollar compared to men” myth, the “American healthcare is the worst in the Western world” myth, the “Climate Change” myth, and all the other untrue stories that control our politics and drive our spending.

In fact, while the average executive earns more than the average American worker, the ratio is fairly reasonable:

The AFL-CIO calculated a pay gap based on a very small sample—350 CEOs from the S&P 500. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 248,760 chief executives in the U.S. in 2013.

The BLS reports that the average annual salary for these chief executives is $178,400, which we can compare to the $35,239-per-year salary the AFL-CIO uses for the average American worker. That shrinks the executive pay gap from 331-to-1 down to a far less newsworthy number of roughly five-to-one.

Read more here.

Paul Krugman — butt head rebutted

You’re correct that I don’t usually call people “butt heads.” I just couldn’t resist that word-play here, though, because I have two links rebutting Krugman’s most recent act of stupidity. And yes, I know Krugman was once a well-regarded economist who won the Pulitzer Prize.  Now, however, he’s a doddering fool who is not deserving of any respect. There’s just no other way to say it.

Both rebuttal posts relate to a Krugman column attacking Amazon as a monopolist. Arnold Ahlert points out that Krugman’s argument boils down to this: Krugman can’t point to any specific monopolistic act on Amazon’s part, but it must be a monopoly because it keeps prices low and, worse, gives customers good access to conservative-themed books. Ahlert’s takedown is a delight.

Also delightful is a letter that Donald J. Boudreaux (Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University) wrote to the New York Times. Boudreaux takes Krugman to task for repeating Progressive myths about the government’s war against Standard Oil back around the turn of the last century:

Serious students of Standard’s practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries understand that complaints against that company came overwhelmingly from other refiners who couldn’t match Standard’s great efficiencies. Yet no complaints came from consumers. Standard made them overwhelmingly better off – which is compelling evidence that Standard did not have monopoly power.

I love the subtle insult there, about Krugman being anything but a serious student of American economic history.

Not only is it a lie that global warming is humankind’s fault, it’s a lie that there is global warming

John Coleman, the meteorologist who founded the weather channel, is once again fighting the good fight to say that the global warming theory is bunk. Every one of the global warming predictions has been wrong but, rather than conceding that it’s a theory failed, its proponents simply change its name (“climate change”) and double down on their insistence that we humans are causing something very bad to happen. If only there was a way to cut through the Leftist media noise and get more people to heed Coleman’s words about the climatistas’ many failed prophecies:

In an open letter attacking the UN, the 80-year-old from San Diego, said that what ‘little evidence’ there is for global warming points to natural cycles in temperature.
‘There is no climate crisis,’ he wrote. ‘The ocean is not rising significantly. The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar bears are increasing in number.

‘Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms.

‘I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.’

More evidence to support the theory that Leftism is a mental illness

I’m not going to spend any time whatsoever analyzing Katrina vanden Heuvel’s hysterical screed explaining all the apocalyptic disasters that will instantly unfold if, God forbid, the Republicans take Congress. I’m simply offering the link to you as further evidence supporting the theory that people with mental problems find something comforting in Leftism, including the opportunity to have their paranoid fears taken seriously.

There’s something squirrelly about that “Norwegian” wilderness company….

Do you remember reading about the Amaruk Wilderness Corp., a supposedly Norwegian wilderness company operating in Canada, that sent vile emails to a job candidate who had attended a Christian college? It turns out that, as is often the case when Leftists go off the rails, there’s more to the story:

As more women who received bizarre and inappropriate responses to their job applications to wilderness company Amaruk come forward, efforts to reach the company’s CEO have left CBC News questioning whether the business and its jobs even exist.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. hit headlines this week after CBC News reported on a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint, in which a Trinity Western University graduate — Bethany Paquette — claims her application to work for the company was rejected because she’s Christian.

Since Paquette’s complaint was reported, CBC News has heard from other applicants, including Lucie Clermont, who applied to Amaruk last year for a job listed as the executive assistant to the CEO, which promised a $120,000 salary and world travel.

Clermont’s application was met with a number of emails asking awkward questions — some of them sexual — followed by more that became insulting.

[snip]

Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen and Dwayne Kenwood -Bjørnsenare are listed as co-CEOs of Amaruk along with several other businesses, including Norealis, Spartic and Militis.

But the men do not live in Europe and they are not diplomats. And if Olaf Amundsen — the man who allegedly sent Paquette the offensive emails — is real, the picture of him on the company website is not. In fact, it’s an image grabbed from social media site Pinterest.

Read the rest here.

I wouldn’t keep someone evil as a friend either

A phrase I first learned in Texas, and have heard repeatedly since then, is that “Republicans think Democrats are misguided, while Democrats think Republicans are evil.” That statement isn’t meant to encompass the leadership of either party. Instead, it applies to the rank-and-file. Thus, while I believe that my lovely neighbors, none of whom are deep thinkers, are seriously misguided to cling to the Democrat party, if they were to know that I’m conservative, the greater likelihood is that they’d think I’m a hate-filled, racist, misogynistic, homophobic evil person.

No wonder, then, that Leftists are more likely to unfriend people who have the temerity to put up conservative-themed posts on their Facebook walls. It’s not just that the Leftists do not want to read or think about opposing viewpoints. It’s also that they know, deep in their hearts, that no decent human being could have an “evil” Facebook friend.

There’s a new politically incorrect “Dracula” movie in the making….

The Victorians were big on ghost and horror stories, so I always assumed that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was just one of the better, more timeless horror stories, riffing off of the vicious reputation of Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century Central European monarch with a taste for impaling his enemies. When Hollywood cast Bela Lugosi as Dracula, the thick Hungarian accent was an homage to Vlad’s role in Dracula’s creation.

Had I been fortunate enough to go to school in the era of political correctness, I would have learned that all my assumptions, despite being based upon actual, like, you know, historical records, were wrong. Instead, Dracula, one of the great Victorian horror stories, was really an extended meditation on open border policies in the second half of the 19th century. Savvy Victorian readers instantly picked up on the subliminal trope that Russian and other Central European immigrants were sucking their blood.

Whatever.

Thankfully, it appears that Dracula is getting yet another makeover, and this one reflects a difference historic fact about Vlad the Impaler that was ignored for many decades: His brutality had a very specific cause and a very specific target — fighting Islamic jihadists who had once held him hostage who sought to incorporate all of Christian Europe into their planned universal caliphate.

Here’s the buzz about Dracula Untold:

Probably the most intriguing part of this reboot, for fans of the original novel and all its myriad remakes throughout the past century, is the way this film turns its evil, fanged impostor into a hero.

[snip]

In this version of the story, Transylvania is under attack by Mehmet, the Turkish Sultan’s military leader. And nothing could be more upsetting to old Vlad than to find Turks on his land. That’s because when Vlad was a child, the Sultan demanded tribute in the form of strapping young boys to fill out his troops — and Vlad’s father handed his son over to the Turkish, to be raised alongside Mehmet in the Ottoman Empire’s army. Of course, Vlad was the biggest badass the Turks had ever seen, which is how he became known as “the Impaler.”

Now he’s been allowed to return home to his family, his military service over. Unfortunately, the Sultan is looking for troops again, and he’s demanding 1,000 boys (including Vlad’s son). Which is why Vlad decides he needs a supernatural power-up from a mythical blood-sucker living in the mountains above his castle. Turns out that Tywin Lannister is up there, vamping it up in every sense of the word, and he offers Vlad a bargain. He’ll give Vlad some vampire juice so he can be superpowered for three days, and Vlad will return to being human if he can resist drinking somebody else’s warm, tasty blood.

And thus begins the fun of the film, which is ultimately all about how a nice Christian prince turns himself into a demon to destroy a Muslim army.

io9, from which the above summary comes, repeatedly calls this new version just as racist as the old version. (“Not to put too fine a point on it, the answer is a racism update.”) I don’t know. I see both the original versions and the current versions as two sides of the historic coin. The old version focused on Vlad’s Central European lineage and brutal reputation, while the current version focuses on the fact that he’s still a hero in Central Europe for having saved his subjects from Muslim depredations. And frankly, as we all get to watch ISIS (aka GARBAGE) engage in all sorts of depredations, the current version, except for the vampire stuff, sounds pretty darn accurate to me.

Everything you need to know about American education in one Cato chart

Trends in American public schooling

Read more here.

Krakatoa’s big bang

I already knew that Krakatoa was the loudest sound ever recorded on earth. It wasn’t necessarily the loudest sound ever (indeed, it probably wasn’t the loudest sound ever) but, back in 1883, it erupted just as Victorians were become extremely serious about obsessive record keeping. This means that, when Victorian diarists heard the sound (no matter where in the world they were located), they recorded the sound in their diaries, along with the date, time, and estimated volume. Thanks to those records, one can piece together the fact that the sound wave from the eruption circumnavigated the globe four times.

Kottke does a great job of explaining just how loud Krakatoa was. Even more helpfully, the post includes a video of a very small eruption in Papua New Guinea that nevertheless had an impressive sound wave.

Very disturbing surveillance footage comes out of the attack on the Nairobi mall

CNN was able to obtain footage from surveillance cameras showing the first day of the four-day-long attack that al Shabab Islamic terrorists made against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The video makes for horrifying viewing. It’s terrible to watch because we, as sympathetic and empathetic humans, must always be disturbed when we watch the slaughter of the innocents. It’s also terrible to watch because the “Western” look of this mall brings home the fact that Islamic terrorists are waging all-out war against us, i.e., Americans and others who live ordinary capitalist, Judeo-Christian lives.

What struck us, though, as the most terrible thing of all about the footage is the Islamists’ relaxed, calm, and calculated approach to the slaughter of the innocents. It is no exaggeration to say that their “business as usual” attitude is precisely the same attitude the Nazis had when, in a businesslike way, they shot or gassed six million Jews, plus gypsies, homosexuals, Catholics, communists, and anyone else they didn’t like. (It’s worth noting that the Islamists are no more fond of Jews, homosexuals, or Christians than the Nazis were. Just sayin’.)

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (6)

The clerk has been shot, but he is struggling to live

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (4)

Having been shot, the clerk struggles to sit up, even as he is surrounded by a rapidly spreading pool of his own blood

The first second of the video shows relaxed shoppers strolling through a store in the Westgate Mall on September 21. Suddenly, although there is no audio, you know that the terrorists have started shooting outside the store, as dozens of panicked people begin running frantically for cover.

One clerk hides himself beneath the front counter, only to have an Islamist walk in and casually, without thought or effort, shoot him. The terrorist then walks away. The clerk, lying in a spreading pool of his own blood, struggles to right himself. His efforts are wasted. As he sits up, another terrorist walks by, and with the same casual air as his comrade in slaughter, delivers the killing shot.

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (5)

The dark-jacketed Islamist on the left delivers the kill shot to the wounded clerk

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (7)

Panicked shoppers run and crawl across the mall’s main floor, seeking shelter from the killers

Another surveillance camera shows terrified shoppers racing through an open area of the mall in their efforts to escape from the gunman. Many drop to their stomachs and begin crawling away. Some no longer move.

A mother with two children appears on the scene, pushing a shopping cart. In the cart is a wounded child. Behind her follows a blood-stained, limping teenage girl, with her hands in the air. And then, behind that teenage girl, we see the explanation for this little procession: A gun-toting Islamist is herding these hostages along. (We are pleased to report that the woman, her two children, and the other children that she rescued all survived the attack.)

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (9)

A woman escorts her two children through a store, as she pushes a shopping cart holding a third, wounded child

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi

A terrorist herds a bloodied, wounded teenage girl through a store

The surveillance footage shows several of the terrorists wandering through stores, their gait relaxed, and their guns at the ready. Some are seen talking on cell phones. Authorities believe that they were not talking to each other but were, instead, receiving real-time instructions from outside controllers. One terrorist sees a body lie on the ground and fires an extra bullet into it . . . just in case.

The most disturbing thing of all about the whole video is that the terrorists are not in a frenzy of rage or insanity. Rather, they are exactly like workers in a slaughterhouse. On this first day, they know that they are in charge, and that’s despite the fact that there is surveillance footage showing two white men (meaning, two men who were obviously not the all-black al Shabab terrorists) holding revolvers and obviously making a plan to protect the civilians sheltered behind them. It’s believed that these men were security guards or perhaps off-duty policemen. Despite their obvious bravery, they were no match for the heavily armed killers.

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (11)

For the Islamists, it’s an enjoyable turkey shoot

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (1)

This man can be seen talking on a cell phone, which authorities believe is how outside controllers directed the Islamists in the mall

The Islamists carry themselves upright and unafraid, they talk on the phone, and they break for prayers, with butts in the air for Allah. It’s very disturbing to realize that kids running around at a paintball game show more tension than these terrorists do. These killers know that, on this first day, they are unstoppable. Knowing this, they obviously enjoy themselves as they massacre the innocents.

It is important to emphasize the terrorists’ appearance because we need to understand their character in order to appreciate the war we’re in. And make no mistake – even as Barack Obama makes nice with the Muslim Brotherhood, and despite President George W. Bush’s constant claim that “Islam is a religion of peace,” Islamists have declared war against the West.

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (8)

The terrorists were completely relaxed and in control as they went on their killing spree

Surveillance camera footage from the first minutes of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (2)

When they weren’t killing civilians, the Islamists took time out to pray to their god

There are millions of peaceful Muslims throughout the world, but the religion itself is premised upon Holy War and at least 10% of Islam’s followers take this mandate very seriously. Given that there are currently 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, the 10% of true believers means a worldwide army of 1,600,000,000 Muslims who actively or passively support what happened during those four days in Nairobi.

This is an asymmetrical war. The Islamists fully realize that they cannot defeat our military, so they don’t bother. They also recognize that, because they are an informal network that spans the globe, rather than representing any specific country, it’s extremely difficult for western armies to meet them on the battlefield. After all, Western armies wage war against nations, not against loose alliances of individuals.

There was little that these security guards could do with their small guns against the massive arms the terrorists brought in

There was little that these security guards could do with their small guns against the massive arms the terrorists brought in

Still, people did survive, thanks in no small part to many individual acts of bravery

Still, people did survive, thanks in no small part to many individual acts of bravery

The result is that the Islamists attack the softest targets – unarmed civilians and, optimally, children. This most recent attack against a civilian population was not aberrant. It was entirely consistent with an ideology that routinely attacks schools and other soft targets, as it did in Beslan, Russia, and as it repeatedly does in Israel.

As long as Western leadership is in denial about what is going on, we are all sitting ducks, or fish in a barrel, or turkeys at a shoot, or whatever other metaphor you want to use for a helpless population that is perpetually at risk of experiencing a slaughter against which it cannot defend itself. The only two things we, as individuals, can do are to (1) exercise our 2nd Amendment rights so that we can try to defend ourselves in the event of an attack or, at least, take a few of them with us when we go; and (2) elect politicians like Allen West, who understand that Islam is engaged in an existential war against the West, and that the West can win only by destroying the Islamists. (This doesn’t mean killing all Muslims, but it does mean waging total war against the 10%.)

(This post originally appeared in somewhat different form at Mr. Conservative.)