The Bookworm Beat (9/16/14) — Clearing The Spindle Part 2, and Open Thread

Woman writingNo time for throat clearing. I’m just going to throw myself into the final phase of spindle-clearing:

Obama’s Alinsky Rules: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Kevin D. Williamson uses the administration’s latest ad hominem attacks on Bill O’Reilly to remind us that Obama’s administration is unique in American history insofar as it targets and attempts to destroy private citizens and enterprises. Think about it: No other administration has ever done that. It’s lackeys may have done it, but the administration stayed dignified.

I wish Obama would hate America’s overseas rivals as much as he hates American conservatives

A friend and I were exchanging emails about Obama’s dismal, half-efforted plan for engaging with ISIS. I was moved to comment that it might be better if Obama does nothing at all, since his half-hearted response may just madden the already crazed Islamic beast even further, without actually destroying it. The question, of course, is whether a half-hearted war is better or worse than no war at all — especially when the times and the enemy call for aggressive action.

I mention this because Walter Russell Mead is yet another opinionator who finds disconcerting that, even as he sounds the call to arms, Obama seems to be engaged in an act of preemptive surrender.

Israel understood vengeance

Unlike Obama, in the years after the Munich Massacre, Israel fully understood how important it was to wreak vengeance against the men who cruelly and deliberately murdered eleven of her citizens.

Why Obama could say with a straight-face that al Qaeda was on the run

If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise. Truer words were never spoken than when it comes to a presidential administration that, through a combination of politics, in-fighting, and incompetence, failed to go through the documents that SEAL Team VI, at great risk to its members, recovered from bin Laden’s place the night they executed him.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. President, ISIS (or ISIL or the Islamic State) is totally Islamic

Can we ever recover from a corrupt bureaucracy?

Danny Lemieux raised an excellent point in a comment to an earlier post, which is the fact that, while Jimmy Carter was a rotten leader, the American government was still pretty uncorrupted. After 5.5 years of Obama and Eric Holder, though, our federal administrative system has become completely politicized, with the IRS, the Justice Department, the EPA, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Agriculture Department, the judicial system (now with a majority of Democrat appointees), local prosecutors, etc., all acting as branches of the Democrat party. While we could recover from Carter’s failures, it remains to be seen whether we can recover from an administrative and judicial system that has the same ethos as the average bureaucracy in any banana republic.

Oh — and Republicans might not take the Senate

Can you imagine two more years with more of the same things that we’ve been suffering from for the last six? Yes, it’s now looking entirely possible that Harry Reid will continue to control the Senate.

There’s a price to pay for Palestinians who don’t hate Israel

I happen to think that Ted Cruz did the right thing in revealing that Arab hated for Jews transcends the Muslim/Christian divide. Nevertheless, it’s useful to remember that, for many Arab Christians, failing to follow the Islamic “Israel-hatred” mandate can be deadly.

This weekend, I had a very nice conversation with a Maronite Catholic from Lebanon. She is terrified for her family, friends, and co-religionists back in Lebanon. Nevertheless, it came as something of a surprise to her to think of Israel as an ally in the war against Islamic depredations against her faith, rather than as another enemy. I had disarmed her initially, I think, by being knowledgeable about the ancient Christian sects in the Middle East and by agreeing completely that ISIS needs to be stopped before it kills again.

Currently, the Lebanese are trying to ridicule Islamists, and I wish we would do the same thing (although I suspect our presentation could be more sophisticated):

Why do Islamists behead their victims?

A lot of people, myself included have sought to explain why Islamists choose beheading as their execution method of choice. I think it’s to depersonalize their victims, although it’s highly likely I’m wrong, because David Brooks has the same theory. Others, such as Michael Rubin, think that beheading is a religiously mandated method of execution. A lawyer friend of mine, who blogs anonymously at To Put It Bluntly, has a very different, and quite intriguing, theory. I’m not sure I’m totally on board with it (sadly, I can’t shake my allegiance to my and David Brooks’ theory), but I do think it deserves serious consideration.

Is Rotherham a tipping point in England?

A political organization in England called “Britain First” has a Facebook page that’s adding more than a thousand visitors a day. It has over 450,000 likes as of this writing. It’s promising an October 4 protest as part of a movement to shame all involved in Rotherham, to get justice for the victims, and to “take our country back.”

The question is whether this is a genuinely patriotic response to a social/political crisis in England or if this is a fascist nationalist group seizing a headline for its advantage. I really have no idea and am not currently inclined to research it further.

What I will say is that, somehow, when it comes to European (and EU) nations, patriotism somehow always has ugly fascistic overtones. Whenever one scratches a nationalist group (“We love our country”) one finds racist fascism hiding behind it (“and we hate you!”). A young Swedish man was telling me that Sweden is so paranoid about the European nexus of patriotism and racist fascism that it’s terribly declasse for people to voice straightforward expressions of pride in their country, such as waving flags or chanting “Sweden!” at soccer games. He’s envious of the comfort with which Americans show their patriotism.

Pat Condell explains just how horrible Rotherham was and how badly it reflects on England’s ruling bureaucratic class

When it comes to Rotherham, the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that England’s Leftist, multi-culti, PC, relativistic, self-loathing government class royally and criminally screwed up. Pat Condell gets it, of course:

Germany refuses to tolerate ISIS support on its soil

A friend directed me to a website that says that, after ISIS supporters tried to use force to create sharia enclaves in Germany, Germany enacted legislation banning any German residents from supporting ISIS. Neither my friend nor I were sure whether this web page was accurate, but it seems to be.

Part of me is glad Germany is squishing ISIS. The American, First-Amendment part of me, though, finds distressing any legislation that quashes speech. What I’d rather see is robust speech and action countering ISIS supporters.

Of course, in our morally relativistic world, whether here or abroad, instead of getting a powerful defense of our own nation, culture, and values, we get mealy-mouthed speeches purporting to interpret Islam. Already back in 2002, before Obama’s election made groveling to Islam an official government policy, Tom Elia was imagining what would have happened if law enforcement had thwarted the 19 Al Qaeda operatives before 9/11.

California investigates more ways to destroy its middle class

California is a big state geographically. In expensive urban areas, people who want the American dream of home ownership often make a serious lifestyle sacrifice: So that their kids can go to save schools and play in green parks, the parents will live far from their work and daily spend hours in the car driving from home to work and back again.

With gas prices rising, this has long been an expensive proposition, but it’s still a sacrifice parents are willing to make. These parents should be aware that California is planning on making the financial burden behind that sacrifice even harder: it’s looking into taxing people by the mile.

This plan will not screw the rich, who can also afford electric cars once government (i.e., taxpayer-funded) incentives have kicked in, who have company drivers, or who telecommute. Instead, it will place an undue burden on those who can least bear it: the working poor, working class, and middle class, all of whom have willingly accepted long hours in their cars to give their children a better life.

California’s always been at war with Eastasia . . . and is losing by less than before

Yes, that’s a cryptic caption. What brought it about is an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee noting that, in Obama’s America, while the promise was that Obamacare would lower insurance rates, the current California boast is that insurance rates are going to increase more slowly than feared. Even worse, the promised 2015 increase only looks good because in 2014, some insurance rates increased by as much as 88%. It’s a good editorial explaining the grotesque bait-and-switch that is Obamacare.

There’s nothing wrong with morally-conducted modern agriculture

A lot of my oh-so-hip-and-with-it real-me Facebook friends are Luddites when it comes to agriculture. They fail to understand that, despite their fear of modern farming techniques, the entire world eats better and lives longer than ever before. To them, modern farming is an abomination that can be remedied only by returning to the practices of the past. One farmer’s had enough of that nonsense. Just as capitalism is the best system when leavened by Judeo-Christian morality, so too is modern agriculture when it too has a large dollop of decency.

Is there anything bees can’t do?

Bee bacteria might save the world.