The Bookworm Beat 6-1-15 — the “sunny afternoon edition” and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m baaaack! Let me dive right in.

The party of “Government, get out of my bedroom!” invades New York bedrooms

When it comes to teenage sex and abortion, or just plain old sex and abortion, the Left’s rallying cry for decades has been clear: “Government, get out of the bedroom.” That’s why I find it incredibly amusing that Blue State New York is planning to join Blue State California and invade the bedroom of every college student under its aegis:

The bill requires “affirmative consent” at each step of the way when two students have sexual contact. Amazingly, that means punishing students who fail to ask “May I unbutton your blouse?” and “May I kiss you?” and wait for the answer. On May 20, Cuomo said there has to be “clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement” before any “specific sexual activity.”

There are, of course, a couple of problems with the bill. First, absent a signed writing or disinterested witnesses, it’s still going to be a “he said, she said” kind of thing, with a malevolent female perfectly capable of claiming that no words were used or that she said “no.” Second, and worse, it will make official the presumption that boys are dangerous sexual predators who must be contained.

When you think about it, the two biggest totalitarian organizations in the world today have horrible sexual stereotypes. The Muslims think all women are sexual sirens who must be contained in burqas and homes, while the Left thinks all men are rapists who must be monitored and who will always be subject to the presumption of guilt. There is no balance or normalcy in either group.

Others see a parallel between today’s sexual hysteria and the McMartin preschool panic

On May 21, I wrote a long post about the mental damage that feminists inflict on today’s young women when they convince these young women that they’re all victims of rape.  I compared this terrible brainwashing to the horrible things the hysterics did to preschool children in the 1980s when they convinced those poor kids that they were also the victims of rape. I’m not the only one thinking along those lines.

One week after I wrote my post, Ashe Schow had the same idea, although she attacked it from a slightly different angle. Rather than focusing on the young women (now) and the children (then) who are and were pawns in the hysteria, she notes the existence of the hysteria itself:

America is in the midst of another media-hyped moral panic. Sexual assault on college campuses, we’re told, is rampant, with women being targeted at every turn by the very men they call their friends. To stop this epidemic, we’re further told, colleges and universities must create their own justice systems and hold more accused students accountable. This, naturally, results in witch hunts based not on facts, but on feelings.

This moral panic comes nearly 30 years after the last one, in which men and women were accused of sexually abusing children after those children were coached into “remembering” the abuse by child therapists using now-discredited techniques. Among the more bizarre claims were that children were sexually abused in underground tunnels and that they were forced to watch ritual animal sacrifice and drink blood-laced Kool-Aid.

I agree, of course, with everything Schow says. I always like it when my mind is working on the same track as someone else — that is if, as here, I respect that other person’s thinking.

The next Israeli War is going to be very bad

Omri Ceren, my old Watcher’s Council friend, is one of the most astute Israel observers in the world today. He’s been using Power Line as an outlet for his observations about Obama’s Iran negotiations, the situation in Israel, and the Middle East generally. Everything he says is worth reading, but his recent email to Power Line about the way Hezbollah has placed thousands of weapons in civilian homes on Israel’s border makes for terrifying reading. Hezbollah knows that the media and world political organizations will blame Israel when she inevitably is forced to kill those civilians, rather than blaming Hezbollah, which made them a target:

The Israelis can’t afford a war of attrition with Hezbollah. The Iran-backed terror group has the ability to saturation bomb Israeli civilians with 1,500 projectiles a day, every day, for over two months. They will try to bring down Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers with ballistic missiles. They will try to fly suicide drones into Israel’s nuclear reactor. They will try to detonate Israel’s off-shore energy infrastructure. They will try to destroy Israeli military and civilian runways. And – mainly but not exclusively through their tunnels – they will try to overrun Israeli towns and drag away women and children as hostages. Israeli casualties would range in the thousands to tens of thousands.

And so the Israelis will have to mobilize massive force to shorten the duration of a future war. One of the things they’ll do is immediately is move to eliminate as much of Hezbollah’s vast arsenal as possible. Hezbollah is counting on the resulting deaths of their human shields – and they’ve guaranteed to that the body count will be significant – to turn Israel into an international pariah. But the Israelis can’t let Hezbollah level their entire country with indiscriminate rocket fire and advanced missiles, just because no one in Lebanon is willing or able to expel the group from Shiite villages.

More evidence that “global warming” is a scam

Christopher Booker is a “climate denier” who bases his denial on something fascinating — actual facts. His current crusade is to use his bully pulpit at Britain’s Telegraph to make people aware how much the climate fanatics are fiddling with the data:

Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

The only reward a Cassandra is likely to get

If you’re a Cassandra — having the gift of prophecy, but the inability to make anyone listen — the only reward you’re likely to get is the Pyrrhic one of knowing that you’re right. Read Wolf Howling’s 2008 post about the threat from Iran and see that he nailed just about everything, although even he couldn’t foresee that our President would enter into a negotiation with Iran that sells Iran the entire store while expecting nothing in return.

Hillary is an extremely accomplished woman….

… It’s just that everything she’s accomplished has been a disaster or unethical (or, of course, both). Over at SodaHead, they put together a list that’s been making the rounds:

When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over a health care reform. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn’t even get a vote in a democratic controlled congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million in cost for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood – both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration. Next she chose Janet Reno – husband Bill described her selection as “my worst mistake.” Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovered of Ms. Guanier’s radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department. Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Read the whole thing. It’s a good primer on the wonders of Hillary.

Camille Paglia was another prescient person

Way back in 1995, in her famous Playboy interview, Camille Paglia correctly predicted where feminism was going:

Feminism has betrayed women, alienated men and women, replaced dialogue with political correctness. PC feminism has boxed women in. The idea that feminism–that liberation from domestic prison–is going to bring happiness is just wrong. Women have advanced a great deal, but they are no happier. The happiest women I know are not those who are balancing their careers and families, like a lot of my friends are. The happiest people I know are the women–like my cousins–who have a high school education, got married immediately graduating and never went to college. They are very religious and they never question their Catholicism. They do not regard the house as a prison.

PLAYBOY: But what about the women who stay home and are still suffering?

PAGLIA: The problem is the alternative handed to them by feminism. I look at my friends who are on the fast track. They are desperate, frenzied and frazzled, the most unhappy women who have ever existed. They work nights and weekends and have no lives. Some of them have children who are raised by nannies.

(A lot of Paglia’s other ideas were less prescient or appealing, such as her support for NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association.)

Paglia is still going strong and is still an astute and honest social observer:

I am an equal opportunity feminist. I believe that all barriers to women’s advancement in the social and political realm must be removed. However, I don’t feel that gender is sufficient to explain all of human life. This gender myopia has become a disease, a substitute for a religion, this whole cosmic view. It’s impossible that the feminist agenda can ever be the total explanation for human life. Our problem now is that this monomania—the identity politics of the 1970s, so people see everything through the lens of race, gender, or class-this is an absolute madness, and in fact, it’s a distortion of the ’60s. I feel that the ’60s had a vision, a large cosmic perspective that was absolutely lost in this degeneration, in this splintering of the 1970s into these identity politics.

Gay marriage isn’t about marriage at all

I often like to joke about Sally Field’s famous “you like me, you really like me” acceptance speech at a long-ago Oscars ceremony. What made the speech so memorable is that it articulated a deep human desire: to be liked and respected or, at the very least, to be respected.

But what happens when one group’s demand for that respect bulldozes essential social institutions that make for stable, prosperous societies and deny other people the freedom not to respect that group? The answer to that question will play out in those places that have legalized gay marriage for, as Brendan O’Neill points out, gay marriage isn’t about marriage at all. Instead, it’s about insisting upon societal respect for a lifestyle choice that was once illegal and has long been disrespected:

What we have here is not the politics of autonomy, but the politics of identity. Where the politics of autonomy was about ejecting the state from gay people’s lives — whether it was Stonewall rioters kicking the cops out of their bars or Peter Tatchell demanding the dismantling of all laws forbidding homosexual acts — the politics of identity calls upon the state to intervene in gay people’s lives, and offer them its recognition, its approval. For much of the past 50 years, radical gay-rights activism was in essence about saying ‘We do not need the approval of the state to live how we choose’; now, in the explicit words of The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage, it’s about seeking ‘the sanction of the state for our intimate relationships’. The rise of gay marriage over the past 10 years speaks, profoundly, to the diminution of the culture of autonomy, and its replacement by a far more nervous, insecure cultural outlook that continually requires lifestyle validation from external bodies. And the state is only too happy to play this authoritative role of approver of lifestyles, as evidenced in Enda Kenny’s patronising (yet widely celebrated) comment about Irish gays finally having their ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes realised’.

What is being sought through gay marriage is not the securing of rights but the boosting of esteem. And this is a problem for those of us who believe in liberty. For where old, positive forms of social equality were a narrowly legal accomplishment, concerned simply with either removing discriminatory laws or passing legislation forbidding discrimination at work or in the public sphere, cultural equality is far more about… well, culture; the general outlook; even people’s attitudes. It is not satisfied with simply legislating against discrimination and then allowing people to get on with their lives; rather, it is concerned with reshaping the cultural climate, discussion, how people express themselves in relation to certain groups. In the apt words of the Yes campaign, this goes ‘beyond the letter of the law’.

I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing.  O’Neill has really put his finger on what disturbs me about the entire press for gay marriage (in addition to the fascist tactics used to advance the gay marriage agenda).

We are not more safe under Obama

One of Obama’s claims is that, thanks to his brilliant foreign policy leadership, we Americans are safer than ever. As with so many Leftist claims, whether about rape, climate change, or anything else, the facts put the lie to the claim.