The Bookworm Beat 2-23-15 — Post-Vegas edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI do like Vegas. I love its manic energy, crazed corporate imagination, over-the-top shows, brilliant colors, and flashing lights. And then, after three days, I’m desperate to get away from the noise and smoke and, often, the desperation floating above the casino floors. In other words, I had a great trip there and then was glad to come home again. This time, coming home also meant going through about 800 backed-up emails (a lot of people got heartfelt apologies from me for delaying so long before responding to them), and finding some awesome things to share with you.

A glowing French eye-view of American troops

When we think of the French, we tend to think of hyper-critical people who look down upon Americans. That stereotype might be true on the Île-de-France, but it turns out to be untrue in the theater of war, at least as to one French soldier who served with American troops (Echo Company) in Afghanistan. If this doesn’t make you want to stand up and salute, I truly don’t know what will:

And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that: the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.

Read the rest here. And then join me in shedding a few tears that such splendid men have Barack Obama as their Commander-In-Chief as he leads us from behind right into that soon-to-be Iranian and ISIS desert called peace. (Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.)

The “Islam is a problem” round-up

Given King Abdullah’s ferocious response to ISIS’s murder of the Jordanian pilot, it’s to expected that The Jordan Times would have an attack on radical Islam. The fact that the government almost certainly approved of the article, though, doesn’t change the fact that it says what needs to be said — and what Obama and his administrative so assiduously deny:

The inconvenient truth that is overlooked or willfully ignored by apologists for the indefensible is the fact that Wahabism, the cult of mediaeval austerity founded by Ibn Abdul Wahab (1703-1792), has over the last half century been exported to every mosque and school throughout the Muslim world until it completely enveloped mainstream Sunni Islamic teachings.

Wahabism has entirely replaced, and become, Sunni Islam; the two cannot be told apart anymore.

Some Wahabist teachings, which have permeated the air we breathe in the Muslim world, are simply irreconcilable with decent human values, especially the ones that declare that every non-Wahabist is a disposable body whose bloodletting is unproblematic.

Bibi Netanyahu also understands precisely what’s going on with Islamists — in this case, the Shia kind in Iran:

I don’t see this in partisan terms. The survival of Israel is not a partisan issue. It concerns everyone, all supporters of Israel of every political stripe.

The fight against militant Islamic terrorism is not a partisan issue. The battle against the Islamic State, which just beheaded 21 Christians, is not. And the effort to prevent the Islamic Republic from building nuclear weapons, that’s not a partisan issue either.

The pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran is the most urgent security challenge facing the world. The greatest danger facing humanity is the possibility that any movement or any regime of militant Islam will arm itself with weapons of mass destruction.

Everything that we see in our region now will pale by comparison. Everything that we see in Europe will pale by comparison.

When a militant Islamic regime that is rampaging through the region right now — that’s what Iran is doing, it’s conducting a rampage through the region — when such a regime has nuclear weapons, the whole world will be in peril.

Oh, and by the way, that “peace ring” in Oslo was a scam — kind of like a magician’s trick to distract the eye.

Three intelligent takes on Obama’s patriotism and philo-Islamism

I analogized Obama to a narcissistic wife beater. In his role as president, America is the wife to whom he proves his “love” by beating her senseless. Three writers whom I greatly respect, have said even better, smarter things about Obama.

First, Mike McDaniel on Obama’s “love” for country:

Mr. Obama, during his first presidential campaign and continually thereafter gave occasional and weak lip service to America, but vowed to fundamentally transform it. How is it that one vows to fundamentally transform that which he loves? Doesn’t love require appreciation of and admiration for the qualities and character of the object of that love?

Mr. Obama has, repeatedly, apologized for America, for the American character and people, in foreign capitals and before foreign audiences, many of which are actively hostile to America. Who, that loves his country, denigrates it before its enemies, giving them invaluable propaganda ammunition?

Mr. Obama clearly thinks very poorly of at least half of the American people, as his comment about Republicans being pathetic people who cling to God and guns and hate those not like them, indicate. He made that comment before his first election and has said and done nothing to suggest his views have changed since. How can one love America but think so little of half of its inhabitants?

Second, Mark Steyn on Obama’s Big Lies about Islam:

By the way, I’m growing rather weary of the cheap comparisons of Obama with Neville Chamberlain. The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country. That’s why, after his eviction from Downing Street, Churchill kept him on in his ministry as Lord President of the Council, and indeed made Chamberlain part of the five-man war cabinet and had him chair it during his frequent absences. When he died of cancer in October 1940, Churchill wept over his coffin.

So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

For example, he has spent most of this week hosting an international conference on something called “violent extremism”. Whatever may be said of Munich, Chamberlain never hosted a three-day summit on “rearmament” in general whose entire purpose was to deny that “rearmament” and “Germany” were in any way connected. Yet that is exactly the message the United States government has just offered to the world – in between such eccentric side spectacles as Marie Harf, star of the hilarious new comedy Geopolitically Blonde, explaining her jobs-for-jihadis program, and the new hombre in charge of the planet’s mightiest military machine having his woman felt up on camera by Joe Biden. Now there’s a message to send to the misogynists of Burqastan about what happens when you let the missuses out of their body bags.


We are at war with a depraved enemy, but we cannot be allowed to assert our moral superiority even to head-choppers, rapists, slavers and immolators. Thus the priority of Barack (“Hey, how ’bout those Crusades?”) Obama has been to undermine our sense of probity, and make us not merely equivalent to but worse than our enemies. That was the purpose of this last week of Official Lies.

Third, Victor Davis Hanson on Obama’s effort to impose cognitive dissonance on the world when it comes to Islam, reached by imagining Obama speaking to Americans in 1939:

“So make no mistake about it: National Socialism has nothing to do with Germany or the German people but is rather a violent extremist organization that has perverted the culture of Germany. It is an extremist ideology that thrives on the joblessness of Germany and can be best opposed by the international community going to the root of German unemployment and economic hard times. Let us not confuse Nazism with legitimate expressions of German nationalism. Stiff-arm saluting and jack boots are legitimate tenets of Germanism, and the German Brotherhood, for example, is a largely peaceful organization.

“So we Americans must not get on our own high horse. We, too, have bullied our neighbors and invaded them. We, too, have struggled with racism and anti-Semitism, slavery and Jim Crow. And our own culture has at times treated American citizens in the same callous way as the National Socialist do Germans. Before we castigate the Nazis, let us remember the Inquisition and the Crusades.

“In the face of Nazi challenge, we must stand united internationally and here at home — opposing workplace violence and man-caused disasters. We know that overseas contingency operations alone cannot solve the problem of Nazi aggression. Nor can we simply take out SS troopers who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists working for Dr. Goebbels and Herr Himmler, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in man-caused disasters themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so. One of the chief missions of our new aeronautics board will be to reach out to Germans to make them feel proud of German achievement. I want to remind Americans that Germans fostered the Renaissance, and helped create sophisticated navigation, mathematics, and medicine.

It’s time for America to divest from UCLA

When I first read this College Fix story about UCLA students’ resolution to divest from America, I thought it was satire. What’s horrifying is that it isn’t:

The University of California Student Association board – which represents all 233,000 students enrolled in the UC system’s 10 campuses – approved a resolution on Sunday that calls on the system’s leaders to financially divest from the United States.

The measure cited alleged human rights violations by America such as drone strikes that have killed civilians, and claimed the country’s criminal justice system is racist, among other accusations.

The “Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California” passed with an overwhelming majority vote of 11-1-3.

“The government of the United States of America is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians,” the resolution stated. “The government oversees, by far, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies, particularly for drug-related offences. 400,000 undocumented immigrants are held in detention centers every year, and millions have been deported since the current administration took office, and the government is directly supporting and propping up numerous dictatorships around the world with weapons sales and foreign aid.”

The resolution also called on UC system leaders “to withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings” from the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Sri Lanka and Mexico, as well as the U.S.

“This resolution aims neither to condemn entire countries, peoples, or communities nor to determine political solutions, but is solely aimed at ending our university’s support of governments that directly engage in and enable human rights violations,” it stated.

A separate resolution passed with a 9-1-6 vote Sunday called for divestment from companies that do business with Israel. That vote was described as a “landmark decision” by progressives for being the “first multi-campus student association to vote in favor of divestment.” The decision was preceded by protests from a large contingent of students who vehemently opposed the measure.

It’s time for American taxpayers to pull the plugs on American colleges and universities. They are anti-American, anti-Semitic Leftist propaganda machines that we are funding, even as they churn out drones prepared to overthrow America and the rest of Western civilization. Scott Walker’s efforts to slightly de-fund Wisconsin’s universities should be just the beginning and, if he promises to do more across the land, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

Conservatives are being scammed by their own PACs

If you’ve thought that conservative PACs are as ineffective as the GOP at supporting conservative candidates and getting the conservative message across, you’re right. Indeed, some of those conservative PACs are downright scams. No wonder the IRS has left the big PACs alone. As long as they’re siphoning conservative dollars away from real politics, the IRS is happy.

About those police brutality statistics

As we all know, power breeds (or attracts) corruption. We also know that, as society gets more violent and debased, its guardians have a harder time maintaining a higher tone. So yes, there will be bad police officers out there doing bad things. As this video reminds us, though, the reality in America is that our police officers are tremendously police and restrained, a behavior that may change now that the media has taped targets to their backs:

Incidentally, it was two months ago that Don Surber looked at AP’s “top” story of the year and discerned a trend, one that had nothing to do with cataclysmic events in the world, and everything to do with a racial narrative, with America’s police officers as the Left’s newest target.

A primer on everything wrong with the Climate change fanatics

If you have an hour, watch this accessible, informative video:

A violin prodigy, a Stradivarius, the rise of the Nazis, the nascent state of Palestine, and a wrong righted decades later

It’s all here, in “Return of the Violin.”

No, Israeli settlements are not a barrier to peace

Modern Leftist seeks to indoctrinate women in the Soviet approach to relationships

When I read Robert Stacy McCain’s essay about a celebrated modern feminist quoting a long-dead Soviet social propagandist in her effort to convince today’s women that romantic love (a Western concept) is a bad idea, all I could think of was this scene, from Cole Porter’s 1957 musical Silk Stockings:

Back in the day, ordinary Americans were a lot more sophisticated about and condescending towards the bullcrap emanating from the Soviet Union.

The stuff of nightmares

If you want to see some freaky-deaky octopus action, the kind that makes you think we need to worry about a global octopus takeover, just check out this video. Yech. It gives me chills just thinking about it.