The Bookworm Beat 8-7-15 — the “Obama is a traitor” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m trying to see a silver lining in the Iran deal that Obama is shilling so hard (and more on that shilling below). Although I haven’t quite glimpsed the silver, there are certainly some ironies, not the least of which is that Israel is now working openly with Saudi Arabia, the country that is second only to Iran, or perhaps even exceeds Iran, in fomenting anti-Western and antisemitic sentiment the world over. The good thing is that, when Israel attacks Iran (as it will have to once Obama’s deal goes through), Saudi Arabia will freely grant it access to the airspace necessary for Israeli fighters to reach Iran, and it will probably fuel the planes for free too.

Israel will also be joined by the Jordanian and Egyptian militaries, as well as other Sunni nations in the Middle East. Suddenly, the pariah nation will be one of the gang.

The main problem with these new alliances, of course, is that Arabs tend to be challenging partners in war. When they’re ascendant, as we see with ISIS, they’re barbaric; and when they’re not ascendant, historically at least, they’ve been given to spontaneous retreat (no doubt because their ascendant enemies are also Arabs, and they know what kinds of barbarism are headed their way).

Arabs are awful enemies, but they’re not necessarily good friends. In other words, with friends like them, who needs or wants friends?

Here’s a round-up that looks at the awful situation Obama is creating, or has already created, in the Middle East, as well as other trends at home and abroad. January 2017 cannot come a second too soon. Indeed, it may already be coming way too late.

Where there’s life there’s hope

Before I turn this into a total Debbie Downer post, I’d like to direct your attention to the story of an Israeli police woman who suddenly found herself in the middle of a violent Palestinian outbreak in the West Bank. The story starts with a proprietary photo that I won’t share with you. You’ll just have to follow the link:

The photograph is both unique and surprising. An Israeli authority figure, a symbol of power, is shown in a moment of vulnerability. Paralyzed by fear, she cowers down, fists clenched, looking helpless and childlike. Two Palestinians stand by her side. Their arms are open. They hold no weapons; just a cellphone to bear witness. Their faces are marked by an unyielding determination and dignity.

According to reports, the altercation took place near the Palestinian village of Qusra (Area B in the West Bank) when a group of Jewish settlers from the outpost of Esh Kodesh (“Holy Fire”) attempted to interfere with Palestinian farmers from working their land.

As the matter escalated, security forces (army and police) were called in. After the police began using force (taser guns) to arrest and disperse the agitated crowds, some of the Palestinians started throwing rocks at the Israeli targets. The army responded with their standard aggressive crowd dispersal techniques.

Meanwhile, the female police officer in the photograph got stuck in the middle, became frightened and froze. Seeing she was in trouble, a fellow Israeli officer prepared to fire in the direction of the Palestinians.

At that point, the two Palestinians in the photograph stepped forward and repeatedly shouted, “Don’t shoot! We will protect her.” The one pictured at the right is Zakaria Sadah, a field worker with Rabbis for Human Rights. The other is the (unidentified) mayor of Qusra. Together, they escorted the shocked officer back to the security forces.

If there is to be peace in the Middle East, it will be because righteous men like Zakaria Sadah and the mayor of Qusra become respected figures and the leaders they ought to be amongst Muslims.

The American media’s cone of silence about Planned Parenthood

My Progressive Facebook friends have been utterly silent about the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling fetus organs and entire fetal bodies. I haven’t seen a single article, video, poster, or snarky comment.

Instead, they only started making noise when Occupy Democrats, Think Progress, and other Leftie groups put out posters  in the wake of Republican efforts in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.  This, said the posters that my Progressive friends dutifully reposted, is another despicable moment in the “War On Women.” (I do my bit on Facebook by trying to remind my amiably moronic friends about the real War on Women, the one taking place in those territories that ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc., occupy.)

I actually acquit my friends of having holding that the Planned Parenthood videos are meaningless. What’s obvious to me is that they don’t even know those videos exist.  Their news sources — the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, etc. — have been assiduously ignoring the videos and have chosen instead to report only on the Republican response to the videos. I’m not imagining this blackout:

The vast majority of Americans — a whopping 70 percent — have heard little to nothing about videos showing the involvement of Planned Parenthood in the harvesting and trafficking of human fetal organs. The revelations from the videos have led to federal and state investigations, calls to end the $530 million a year in taxpayer funding, and questions from human rights activists about the propriety of the practice.

Yet the media have so struggled to cover the story, much less cover it well, that one third of the public has heard literally nothing about them while another 38 percent have heard only a little. Democrats are particularly uninformed on the videos, with more than three out of four reporting they have heard little to nothing about the videos.

Noah Rothman has also noticed the whitewash that is leaving Progressives more certain than ever that abortion is a clean, wholesome process and that the only reason one can object to it is if ones base desire is to leave women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen:

Budgets, line items, bulk versus individual purchases; these are all terms familiar to anyone who has ever had any experience in business. For a month, the smoke billowed from the Planned Parenthood scandal, and yet it was largely covered not as a controversy but as a political power play. To the extent that the videos were shown and their content reported on, those reports also included tenuous claims about suspicious edits that Planned Parenthood spokespeople claimed render the entire trove of videos suspect (despite the fact that unedited, long form versions of the damning tapes had also been simultaneously released). CNN’s Alisyn Camerota went so far as to ask Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden in an interview whether he and his organization were “violent extremists.” When did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Daleiden?


Even many determinedly pro-choice Americans, people of good faith who do not object to family planning and share a once-cherished Democratic value that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, have expressed revulsion over Planned Parenthood’s practices uncovered in these videos. They are so powerful, so threatening to the future of this sacrosanct institution, that they cannot be presented to the public without also being accompanied by some or another form of exculpation. But the deeper investigators dig into this scandal, the more it appears as though it is no mere invention of fevered conservative imaginations. That seems a thoroughly terrifying prospect not just for pro-choice advocacy organizations but also for many in the reporting class.

All of which leads to the inevitable philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest, and the drive-by media refuses to report on it, will anyone care about that tree or the cute little forest animals (baby lions included) crushed to death by that fallen tree?

(By the way, in case you were wondering, the “factual” arguments made by those Leftists who do discuss the videos are weak.)

Obama continues to undermine America, starting with citizenship

I must say that I have lately come away with a new respect for Obama’s much-vaunted intelligence. I still have no doubt that he was an academic failure at school, from high school through law school, and that he is generally an ignoramus, schooled only in Leftists myths.

When it comes to advancing his anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-white, anti-Christian, pro-Muslim agenda, however, he’s a masterful genius. This is true whether Obama is actually the guy figuring out how to implement the agenda or if he’s the guy who’s figured out which people to hire to implement the agenda. Either way, it’s happening under his aegis, with his approval, and per his plan. The man may be grossly ill-informed, but he’s a clever ideologue, not the idiot-ologue many of us originally thought.

Case in point? The fact that Obama’s government has changed the oath of allegiance new citizens must take so that Muslims are no longer under an obligation to protect their new country:

The Obama administration recently made changes to the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in a manner very conducive to Sharia, or Islamic law.

On July 21, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced some “modifications” to the Oath of Allegiance that immigrants must take before becoming naturalized.

The original oath required incoming citizens to declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law.

Now the USCIS says, “A candidate [to U.S. citizenship] may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection.”

The new changes further add that new candidates “May be eligible for [additional?] modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.”

These changes serve incoming Islamic supremacists especially well. For, while Islamic law allows Muslims to feign loyalty to non-Muslim “infidel” authorities, it bans Muslims from living up to the pretense by actually fighting or killing fellow Muslims on behalf of a non-Muslim entity, such as the United States.

Come to our country, take advantage of the government bounty heaped upon you, and do so entirely without any obligation — indeed, without even having to renounce your religion’s command that you wage war against your new nation.

The Iran deal has set James Taranto’s writing on fire

James Taranto has long been one of my favorite conservative columnists. He’s a well-informed man, which superior analytical abilities, especially when it comes to deciphering political rhetoric. That’s why it’s worth reading what he has to say about Obama’s efforts to sell the Iran deal.

Taranto published his first superb analysis on Wednesday, when he caught America’s Secretary of State, John “Lurch” Kerry, getting precisely backwards who has to trust whom when governments enter into an agreement aimed at preventing war:

This morning Goldberg published an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran. Here is the most alarming bit:

Kerry warned that if Congress rejects the Iran deal, it will confirm the anti-U.S. suspicions harbored by the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and eliminate any chance of a peaceful solution to the nuclear conundrum:

“The ayatollah constantly believed that we are untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them,” Kerry said. “This”—a congressional rejection—“will be the ultimate screwing.” He went on to argue that “the United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.”

Goldberg’s headline is “John Kerry on the Risk of Congress ‘Screwing’ the Ayatollah.” We write for a family newspaper, so we went with something a bit more delicate.

To put this as politely as possible—and believe us, we’re straining to do so—Kerry’s tender concern for the ayatollah’s “dignity” is perverse. It’s true that a degree of mutual trust is necessary for a negotiation to succeed, but Kerry ignores the “mutual” part. His analysis is one-sided, and on the wrong side. The main question for Congress—as it should have been for the administration—is whether America can trust Iran.

On Thursday, Taranto caught Obama going “full Orwell”:

Rather than enumerate every flaw of Barack Obama’s defense of his Iran deal yesterday, we’d like to look deeply at the most glaring one, namely this passage:

Just because Iranian hard-liners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe.

In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.


Which brings us back to the “common cause with the Republican caucus” line. The most obvious interpretation is that the “common cause” is war. The president’s speech opened with a lengthy argumentum ad hominem to the effect that “many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.” Both positions, he said, arise from an unacceptable “mindset,” which “we” have to “end.”

Obama’s “common cause” argument rests on several factual premises that seem to us obviously false, and that certainly are not obviously true—among them, that Republicans desire war, that there is a meaningful distinction between “Iranian hard-liners” and the Iranian regime, and that those hard-liners would prefer American military action to American appeasement.

But there is an even more basic objection to Obama’s statement. Assume for the sake of argument that the “Iranian hard-liners” and the Republicans really do want an all-out military confrontation. Now, consider an example from history when such a result actually obtained. On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 8, Congress declared war on Japan. Would it make any sense to say that the Japanese and the U.S. Congress had made “common cause”?

Obama is equating mutual antagonism with its opposite, “common cause.” Again, Orwell put it more pithily: War is peace.

If only more Americans read Taranto and fewer listened to Obama & Co.

Taranto also nails the problem with Trump and Leftist politics in general

And just because I’m praising Taranto’s insights, let me include here his savage indictment of the entire Leftist establishment, which relies upon savage insults, rather than intelligent analysis, as a way to convey its message.  Worse, this anti-democratic (small “d” democratic, of course) trend seems to have infected those on the right who fail to note that Trump isn’t standing up to the tyranny of political correctness but is, instead, simply mean and obnoxious. I have to quote Taranto at length so you get the full flavor of his argument:

This columnist has no objection to insult comedy per se, and indeed we have been known to employ it. We also yield to no one in our loathing of political correctness. But insult comedy—or, as it’s more commonly known these days, snark—is frequently an instrumentof political correctness. We’d go so far as to say that during the Obama years, it has become the left’s primary rhetorical idiom.

As we reviewed our reader emails this morning, we kept an eye out for examples. We weren’t disappointed:

The Washington Post reports that a reporter asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest yesterday if Obama planned to tune in to the debate. “I’d be surprised if the president spent a lot of his evening devoted to watching the debate,” Earnest replied, seemingly in earnest:

Earnest declined during his daily briefing to give a percent chance of whether Obama would tune in, saying only that the president would catch the highlights afterward if he misses the live, two-hour broadcast.

“Or the lowlights, as you might describe them,” Earnest said sarcastically.

Breitbart reports that Jim Carmey, a “campaign surrogate” for Wisconsin 2016 Senate candidate Russ Feingold, explained Feingold’s defeat six years earlier as follows: “2010 was just so different, with Obama just having come in and a lot of the tea party people just kind of coming out of the woodwork—coming out of the trailer parks, essentially.” That’s reminiscent of Jim Carville’s 1995 jape at Paula Jones’s expense: “If you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

And Emily Yoffe, Slate’s “Dear Prudence” advice columnist, responds to a reader whose grandmother reacted badly to the news that the reader’s brother is gay: “The world will be a better place when such grandmas shuffle off this mortal coil.” The wit here lies in the prettified, high-minded formulation of an ugly, low thought: that Yoffe wishes her reader’s grandmother would just die already.

Jon Stewart built a fabulous career by using snark to further liberal politics. It’s fitting that his final episode of “The Daily Show” aired on the same night as Trump’s debate debut—and that, as Politico reports, “Trump’s corporate website was hacked” over the weekend by cyber-vandals who “wanted to thank comedian Jon Stewart for his work.”

Even leftists who lack wit aspire to be Stewart. Look at Salon, whose content is all insult, albeit with very little (intentional) comedy. Sample headline: “The GOP Freakshow Is Upon Us: Why Tonight’s Fox News Debates Could Make ‘Lord of the Flies’ Look Like a Picnic.”

The tone is set at the top. In a 2012 debate with Mitt Romney, President Obama channeled David Spade: “Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia, in the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Well, you had to be there.

Just the other day, Obama asserted that “Iranian hard-liners” were “making common cause with the Republican caucus.” The White House transcript reports that his audience greeted this calumny with “laughter and applause.”

All this helps explain why Trump appeals to some conservatives and Republicans. Having endured this kind of abuse for years, why shouldn’t they be attracted to a candidate who seems willing and able to fight back in kind?

But that is a dangerous temptation. For one thing, Obama did not get elected in 2008 by out-snarking the competition but by projecting a thoughtful, temperate mien. Dropping the mask—“you’re likable enough, Hillary”—might have cost him the New Hampshire primary.

Obama’s performance as president should be enough to warn anyone—especially conservatives and Republicans—off from the temptation to put an insult comic in the White House. To be sure, unlike Obama, nobody has ever mistaken Trump for a thoughtful man. That is hardly an argument in the latter’s favor.

Hating on Jon Stewart

Regular readers know just how much I hate Jon Stewart.  Mr. Bookworm considers him to be the most astute political observer in America, and accepts as gospel the fact that Fox News and its viewers are all stupid and that all conservatives are evil and/or stupid.  I, on the other hand, consider Jon Stewart to be a shallow political hack whose repertoire runs the entire intellectual gamut from A to B, with “A” being partisan attacks and “B” being obscenities, all of which are aided by toilet humor, dishonest editing, and analysis so shallow a ladybug couldn’t drown in it.

With that in mind,  I offer you two articles for your reading pleasure.  The first is John Daniel Davidson’s recent discussion about the way in which Stewart is responsible for the decline in political discourse in America.  The second is a slightly older article from Kevin Williamson that brilliantly dissects the rank bias and stupidity powering both Stewart’s “humor” and his audience’s appreciation for that “humor.”

That’s all for tonight.  More tomorrow, although as was the case today it will be quite late in the day before I get the chance to write.