The Bookworm Beat 3-5-15 — “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman writingLast year I had virtually no work; this year, if the pace keeps up, I’ll be working almost full time. Frankly, I preferred no work.

Fortunately — and the lawyers amongst you will appreciate this — I’m getting access to Westlaw again, and won’t be trapped in Lexis hell. When it comes to Westlaw, it’s a brilliant interface and I feel like a brilliant practitioner when I use it.

I’m not going to stop blogging, though, just because of a little legal work.  I’ve been collecting interesting information, and now I get to share it with you:

Obama’s misguided (or evil) efforts to spin his Middle Eastern failures as successes

I’ve been trying to have a more optimistic view of things in my life lately, along the lines of “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Traffic tickets are an opportunity to be a better driver. Joint problems are a reminder to repair my body before old-age makes doing so impossible. Things like that — seeing problems as opportunities for improvement.

Theoretically, one could say that Obama, with his resolute refusal to acknowledge that anything is wrong in the Middle East on his watch is doing the same thing — he’s making lemonade. Except that I think his failures are purposeful and that the lemon-flavored Kool-Aid he’s forcing the world to drink was his beverage of choice all along.

I mention this because Stephen Hayes has a good summary of Obama’s failures, lies, denial, and spin when it comes to his policies vis-a-vis the Middle East and Islamism.

Iran and Israel

Yesterday evening marked the start of Purim, a holiday the celebrates the Jews’ miraculous escape (thanks to brave Queen Esther) from foul Persian genocidal machinations. The foul Persians, of course, are at it again. They’re being blunt about their genocidal ambitions — and the media ignores them as hard as it possibly can.

I really could spit on those who think it’s a good idea, one that will bring peace in our time, to give Iran access to nuclear weapons. From the White House on down, these people are either incredibly moronic or they’re evil — or perhaps they’re moronic to the point of being evil.  Any thinking person who so willingly abandons facts and logic must have nefarious goals.

The Left’s object-driven religion

There’s a theme I’ve seen repeatedly over the internet about the Left’s obsession with material things. When they lash out at WalMart, what distresses them isn’t that the Red-staters, Bible-clingers, gun-toters, and other alien beings have access to things. It’s that these disreputable people have access to the wrong things. Leftists are utterly in thrall to the right things, the things that show that their values are squared with Gaia and Progressive politics.  Shop Safeway, and you’re evil; go to Whole Foods, and you’ve been redeemed.

Sultan Knish has realized what I wish I’d noticed — that this material obsession is the inevitable form of worship for those whose faith is purely materialistic:

The left can be summed up as moral materialism. It is a secular religion that claims to add a moral dimension to materialism. Its obsessions are largely economic, from its early class warfare focus to its modern environmentalism. Even its racial politics code class warfare by skin color.

Kill off religion and what do you have left? The answer can be seen in China. You’re left with materialism and family interests.. Cast off the shackles of the family for individualistic consumerism and you’re left with nothing except materialism as can be seen in any major Western city.

Race in America

A friend sent me a link to a tragically funny website called “Everything is Racism.” Go there, and you won’t see narrative; instead, you just see a wall of hyperlinks. Each hyperlink is to a topic that we might think is race neutral, but is actually proof-positive of . . . racism!

That website seems like a good lead-in to Mike McDaniel’s post about a rather peculiar article for a libertarian to write, one that says that the rather chronically degraded plight of too many blacks in America is because racism or, looked at more closely, poverty. While it’s certainly true that the dynamics of poverty do place hurdles in people’s paths, others in America have risen to overcome those hurdles. Mike McDaniel addresses the difference between systemic problems and free will.

Maybe the cognitive dissonance for Rep. Gabbard will begin soon

First term congresswoman Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D. Hawaii), is a veteran and she is also one of the further Left members of Congress. It was the veteran in her the rose to the fore when the Obama administration kept denying that Islam had anything to do with the rather chronic violence emanating from many of its most committed followers. For the sin of straying off the reservation, she was roundly and soundly castigated and otherwise abused by her fellow party members.

As best as I can tell, she’s retreated on the issue, showing that the beatings worked. But maybe, just maybe, this was the moment that will start her cognitive dissonance cascade. A cognitive dissonance cascade is the moment when a Leftist starts thinking, “Wait a minute! There’s something fundamentally wrong with this political theory, and no amount of arguing, massaging, or ignoring is going to make it right. And if that’s wrong, maybe other things don’t add up either.”

No system is perfect, of course, and everyone of any ideology has to deal with low-level cognitive dissonance. The problem is when the fissures appear, not just on the periphery, but on the big things. For me, it was NPR’s libelous reporting about Israel. Perhaps for Rep. Gabbard, it will the Left’s steadfast Islam denial.   Smart people can only be deniers for so long.

What is and is not trauma

I love, love, love this post about real trauma versus the minor insults our indoctrinated generation has been trained to believe constitute real trauma. I sent it to all my kids, none of whom read it, but perhaps you will read and enjoy it.

Thinking about it, the article may speak so loudly to me because I was raised by parents who, having suffered real trauma during WWII, did their best to insulate me from any trauma. Doing that caused me to elevate things as insignificant as a cold, a bug bite, a social slight, or other transitory physical and mental discomfort to profound physical and mental insults. I’ve spent a significant part of my adult life trying to toughen up and live my life by actually doing things, instead of, as my bro-in-law once wisely said, living my life by subtraction — that is, defining myself by all the things I can’t do, rather than the things I can do.

If the law is a judge, the law is an ass

I do not like judges. Maturing as a lawyer in the Bay Area meant that, subject to very rare exceptions, the judges before whom I’ve appeared, or who have otherwise passed on my and my clients’ cases, are asinine activists who barely try to disguise their ideology by wrapping it in a few legal trappings.

The above paragraph seems like an appropriate introduction to these links:

Abortion? Euthanasia? In both cases, federal judges went against the will of the people to find magical properties in the Constitution. We’re seeing the same thing today, of course, with gay marriage.

Moreover, and here’s another cite, we can fully expect to see the same thing with the imminent Supreme Court decision in Obamacare. (This is another depressing analysis about every thinking person’s expectation that the Supreme Court will not be bound by either the Constitution or long-standing rules of statutory construction.)

Justices such as Elena Kagan aren’t outliers; they are the heart of our federal justice system, one that sees these black-robed figures honestly believing that, rather than being bounded by the Constitution, their robes give them a conduit to absolute truth — and isn’t it funny how often absolute truth invariably mimics the Democrat party’s platform and wish list.

Brown v. Board of Education has a lot to answer for. It reached the right decision for the wrong reasons and, ever since then justices have used it as carte blanche for imposing their political and social beliefs on America, regardless of the Constitution or other controlling moral, legal, or social usage doctrines.

Willie Soon responds

Apropos those dishonest judges, one ask to ask who, in today’s world, is naive enough to expect intellectual honesty? If our judges have abandoned it for almost 70 years, why should it be expect it to crop up anywhere else?

Willie Soon, an eminent scientist who helped author a paper showing how and why the models the Left has been using to advance climate change are totally wrong, promptly found himself under government attack when a Democrat rep started a witch-hunt against him and six other scientists. Soon has now responded with a very dignified, principled letter that will be completely ignored.

Dogs and Humans — the perfect team

When life gets me down, I grab my dog and, in a miracle of symbiosis, I want to cuddle him as much as he wants to be cuddled. Not necessarily with the cuddling, but definitely with the symbiosis, it’s ever been thus for humans and their dogs (or dogs and their humans).