The Bookworm Beat 4-26-15 — the “writer’s block” edition and open thread

Woman writingI know this is going to surprise those of you used to my usual output of posts, but I’m suffering from writer’s block. The last few weeks have been so chaotic, my opportunities to write so random and infrequent, and the news of the world so overwhelming that, now that I finally have time to sit down and write, I’m frozen. After sitting her for a while, I decided that the best thing to do would be to clear my spindle. I know some of the contents are outdated, but they may still be of interest, and getting through the backlog may help spark my dormant (I hope, rather than extinct) yen to write.

Obama fiddles with Iran while the Middle East burns and Israel is forced to go it alone

All eyes may be on Obama and his desperation to get a deal with Iran (despite the fact that, in a sane world, the smaller, weaker, poorer Iran would be desperate to get a deal with Obama), but the fact is that the entire Middle East is a flaming disaster thanks to Obama’s habit of alternately meddling in and abandoning Middle Eastern affairs.

Bret Stephens explains that, thanks to Obama’s policies, it is now impossible for Israel to walk back the way in which he’s abandoned and isolated it:

First, the administration’s Mideast abdications are creating a set of irreversible realities for which there are no ready U.S. answers. Maybe there were things an American president could have done to help rescue Libya in 2011, Syria in 2013, and Yemen last year. That was before it was too late. But what exactly can any president do about the chaos unfolding now?

Shakespeare wrote that there was a tide in the affairs of men “which taken at the flood, leads men on to fortune.” Barack Obama always missed the flood.

Now the president is marching us past the point of no return on a nuclear Iran and thence a nuclear Middle East. When that happens, how many Americans will be eager to have their president intervene in somebody else’s nuclear duel? Americans may love Israel, but partly that’s because not a single U.S. soldier has ever died fighting on its behalf.

In other words, Mr. Obama is bequeathing not just a more dangerous Middle East but also one the next president will want to touch only with a barge pole. That leaves Israel alone to deal as best as it can with a broadening array of threats: thousands more missiles for Hezbollah, paid for by sanctions relief for Tehran; ISIS on the Golan Heights; an Iran safe, thanks to Russian missiles, from any conceivable Israeli strike.

Before falling into abject despair after reading Stephens’ analysis, remember that change also paves the way for opportunity — and that Israel may be stronger if she’s not dependent on America. Again, Stephens explains:

The result is a world of disorder, and an Israel that, for the first time in its history, must seek its security with an America that, say what it will, has nobody’s back but its own.

How does it do this? By recalling what it was able to do for the first 19 years of its existence, another period when the U.S. was an ambivalent and often suspicious friend and Israel was more upstart state than start-up nation.

That was an Israel that was prepared to take strategic gambles because it knew it couldn’t afford to wait on events. It did not consider “international legitimacy” to be a prerequisite for action because it also knew how little such legitimacy was worth. It understood the value of territory and terrain, not least because it had so little of it. It built its deterrent power by constantly taking the military initiative, not constructing defensive wonder-weapons such as Iron Dome. It didn’t mind acting as a foreign policy freelancer, and sometimes even a rogue, as circumstances demanded. “Plucky little Israel” earned the world’s respect and didn’t care, much less beg, for its moral approval.

Bret Stephens definitely struck a nerve in one of my Progressive and Jewish Facebook friends who was genuinely angry that Stephens would dare to say that Obama had embarked on a plan antithetical to Israel and, instead, insisted on a magical Iran that has no nuclear ambitions. The following is a slightly changed version of what he wrote, in order to protect his privacy, along with my commentary in square brackets:

This article doesn’t correctly diagnose the problem nor does it offer a useful plan. Obama, like everyone else, doesn’t want Iran to be nuclear. He’s working towards an agreement that prohibits Iran from ever getting a bomb. [Apparently my friend missed Obama’s admission that Iran will inevitably get the bomb and that the breakout period is 3 months, not a year, as Obama had originally assured the world.] Iran will just use its nuclear power peacefully. [And again, my friend seems to have missed the various Supreme Leaders, from the original Ayatollah on down, promising to annihilate Israel with the bomb.] The French use nuclear power for electricity, so why shouldn’t we assume the Iranians will do? It’s just mean of us to expect Iran to rely on water or coal for its power. [I guess it’s mean for us too, because we Americans don’t use much clean nuclear power either.] Sure, Iran might be lying, but Stephens does know for sure that it is. If Iran actually has to agree not to build nuclear weapons, it might not sign an agreement, and then where would we be?

Believe it or not, the above comes from one of my more intelligent Progressive friends.

Europe’s Muslim problem

I sent my friend Wolf Howling a copy of a complex and detailed article by Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychiatrist, who speaks about the fundamental differences in mental make-up between Muslims and Westerners. The executive summary is that people, especially men, in Muslim cultures are raised to be malignant narcissists, with all the toxicity that goes along with that diagnosis.

Wolf Howling has gone one better, and carefully broken down, briefly analyzed, and summarized each of Dr. Sennels’ points. I suggest reading Wolf Howling’s post as a starting point and then, if you’re interested, going on to the original article.

Don’t look to the Republicans for help against Iran

For those thinking that Congress will save us from Obama’s ill-conceived, and even insane, agreement with Iran, don’t get too confident about that. Andrew McCarthy explained the game that Congressional Republicans are playing so that they can pretend to the base that they stuck to their guns against the president, while actually supporting him.

Since I find McCarthy’s writing a little opaque at times, you may prefer Ace’s post breaking it down.

Marines thinking about lowering standards for women

The Left is good at incrementalism. First you insist that women must serve in the Marine infantry but promise not to lower standards. Then, when women can’t qualify, instead of reversing and saying that, in fact, women shouldn’t be in the infantry because it will compromise missions and endanger lives, you lower the standards.

If we have a President Cruz, I would advise him to fire all top brass at the Pentagon. Like the Jews enslaved in Egypt, who couldn’t go to the Promised Land until the old generation, which had lost it’s backbone and moral fiber, died out, the hyper-politicized Leftists, both military and civilian, who staff the Pentagon cannot be saved and they need to go.

There’s nothing more a boycotter hates than being boycotted

You’ve probably noticed that those who face death with the least courage are the same people who gleefully have doled out death to others. It turns out that boycotters aren’t so brave either when the boycott is suddenly turned against them. That’s what’s happening as a counter-backlash finally begins against the vile and antisemitic Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement, which has been attempting for years to destroy Israel economically.

Ted Cruz, the NYT, and the Second Amendment

When the New York Times seemed to express genuine bewilderment that Ted Cruz actually believes in the Second Amendment (they called this belief “strange”), Cruz didn’t bother to write an argument explaining why it’s not strange. Instead, he let the Founding Fathers write the argument for him.

It’s pearls before swine, of course. First, the Times editors won’t read anything Cruz has to write unless they can use it to attack him. Second, if they do read it, they won’t understand it. And third, if they do understand it, they’ll retreat to the cognitive dissonance that defines their Leftist world view.

Child raised by gay men objects to gay marriage

As our society blithely charges ahead with gay marriage, some atop the barricades are yelling “stop.” Dawn Stefanowicz is one of those. A Canadian who clearly loved her gay father (who died of AIDS) very much, she speaks movingly of the stifling atmosphere in which children in the LGBT community are raised. In many ways, it sounds just as repressive and paranoid as the stories we hear from the gays’ bete noire: extreme Christian communities that isolate and silence children.

Of course, the moment you raise the children’s good in the context of the gay marriage debate, someone will say, “Well, it’s still better than an abusive father (or mother),” but that’s a straw man. There are always going to be abusive parents. Societal policy has to look at the largest part of the bell curve, not the extremes. And the question is, in that largest part, what’s best for the children?

I know a same-sex couple whose child (the biological child of one of them) is the opposite sex of the couple. The couple hate, really hate, that opposite sex (apparently both were molested by members of the opposite sex when they were children). I know they love their child but, really, how healthy can it be for a child to be raised in a home by parents who say “We love you, but we hate your sex.”

CNN: Don’t bother us with news; we’re partying with the President

The above caption is not a joke. It’s not the exact words that came from CNN, but it’s the same idea. While parts of Baltimore were convulsed with Obama and Holder inspired race riots, CNN wasn’t going to leave the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in order to report on actual news.

Is this money well spent?

Speaking of gays, should taxpayers be spending $400,000 to study gay men’s first sexual experiences? I can think of better uses for that money, including a tax refund for hard-pressed taxpayers. Why in the world is our government funding this kind of thing (and I’d say precisely the same thing about $400,000 to study the first time for straight couples, or lesbians, or people into bestiality).

The fascists on America’s campuses

The aggressive welcome that the helpless snowflakes at Georgetown accorded Christina Hoff Sommers is already old news. Still, I liked what Ace had to say about it. The carte blanche for exerting censorship over ideas with which you disagree, is the claim that you feel “unsafe.” If you feel unsafe, all others must fall silent and leave. Charles C. W. Cooke, riffing in part off of Ace’s point about the power of the word “unsafe,” adds his on-point observations to the discussion about campus fascism.

I can’t remember who wrote it, but someone pointed out that these screeching campus harridans are not students who have become frail Victorian flowers falling onto the fainting couch. They are, instead, extremely violent warriors in the battle of ideas, using every weapon in their arsenal to shut down opponents.

A little post script here: Not to boast or anything (yes, I’m boasting), unless my schedule implodes, I’ll be seeing Charles C. W. Cooke speak in San Francisco on May 13. Yay!!!

Do you want to be depressed?

If you don’t want to be depressed, skip this bit. If you do want to be depressed, check out Gene Schwimmer’s article about the built-in, and huge, advantage Democrats have when it comes to the presidential electoral college. Hillary may be imploding, but there’s still time for the media to promote Faux-cahontas Warren or some other equally execrable Democrat and, with the help of the electoral college, to extend Obama’s eight year run.

And make no mistake: If a Republican takes the White House, it will be hard to clean up the mess, but possible. If we get Obama II or someone even to his Left, well — Obama will finally have made good on one promise, in that he will have fundamentally and permanently transformed America.

A rare collection of photos showing the Japanese surrender

I helped pay for college by doing medical transcription for two orthopedic surgeons. One had been Admiral Nimitz’s surgeon after the war, so I did my typing under a signed photograph of Nimitz accepting the Japanese surrender. That wasn’t the only Japanese surrender, though. Here’s a series of photographs showing Japanese airplanes and their pilots surrendering in Tokyo Bay.

A beautiful encomium to a father

Mike McDaniel is one of my absolute favorite bloggers. With his picaresque background (military, law enforcement, teaching English) he brings a huge body of life experience to everything he touches. Combine this with his analytical abilities and his lovely writing, and you’ve got someone who should be one of your regular stops.

Recently, Mike took a break from his usual political, social, and Second Amendment commentary (and he’s one of the best gun bloggers around), to remember his father, who died recently. It is a beautiful remembrance, both to a man, and to a person who very much symbolizes a passing generation.