The Bookworm Beat 4/12/16 — “Idle thoughts of an idle mind” edition and open thread
If you haven’t read Jerome K. Jerome’s charming Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, first published in 1886, I recommend it. It is a pleasant antidote to today’s Sturm und Drang. But if you like to be mentally perturbed, you can’t do better than to read this post.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. During a Private Facebook discussion, a British graduate student quoted the Bible to support Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk. When this private discussion got publicized, the university decided it might have offended people, and immediately expelled him from its Master’s program:
Ngole’s future at the university was then subjected to the “Fitness to Practice” committee, which ruled that his conservative Christian beliefs about marriage would negatively impact his “ability to carry out a role as a social worker” and that his post “transgressed boundaries which are not deemed appropriate for someone entering the social work profession.”
The committee ruled that Ngole was to be “excluded from further study on a program leading to a professional qualification.” In late February, the school informed Ngole that he would no longer be recognized as a university student.
“Your student record will be terminated shortly and your library membership and university computer account withdrawn,” Ngole was told. “You may wish to contact your funding body for advice on your financial position.”
Ngole appealed the committee’s decision . . . and lost:
He was told by the university’s appeals office that his post was “inappropriate” and went against outlined conduct. The appeals committee determined that the expulsion was a “proportionate” punishment.
George Orwell published Animal Farm in 1945 and 1984 in 1948. He was prophetic, with 1984 becoming a reality only 32 years after he first predicted an all-controlling government.
Meanwhile, suffer the little children…. There’s not a speck of blood to be seen in this video, there are no bombs exploding, body parts flying, or knives flashing, yet it is one of the scariest videos I’ve ever watched:
The video is yet another reminder, one that the world clearly needs, that pandering to the delicate sensibilities of the infinitesimally small number of true transgenders in America means putting women and children at terrible risk.
Hat tip: American Thinker
There’s a reason corporations are pandering to the Left on this bathroom fight. Fascism is great for those corporations that get in on the ground floor with the government as a dictatorship develops. That’s my crude, short summary of Andrew Klavan’s intelligent article about the mindset driving those corporations that are boycotting states that sensibly say that, if you’ve got male body parts, you keep them in the men’s room.
In Europe, women are willingly losing their victim status. Reading that introductory sentence, it makes it sound as if European women have decided to stop being victims in the Leftist chain of victimization and, instead, to become people of strength, integrity, and self-reliance.
That’s not what I meant. What I meant is that Leftist women are so invested in the Marxist hierarchy of victims that they are willing to immolate themselves on the funeral pyre fueled by Islamic rape. Okay, okay, I know that’s a nasty mixed metaphor, but as far as I’m concerned, it does explain the feminist response to the rapey New Year that swept Germany a few months ago:
The most dazzling eruption of moral blindness came from a British feminist currently on a fellowship at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The political and press silence after the New Year’s attacks was a product of Western sexism and indifference to rape, alleged Laurie Penny in The New Statesman. This was, of course, preposterous. Had thousands of white males committed the attacks, a worldwide furor would have immediately broken out. The effort to look the other way was patently the result of cringing political correctness. But Penny was equally critical of the “right-wing press” forcondemning the mass violence, since it only did so out of “unbridled racism.” “It’d be great if we could take rape, sexual assault and structural misogyny as seriously every day as we do when migrants and Muslims are involved as perpetrators,” she wrote. Penny did not provide any examples of daily mass sexual assaults committed by Westerners. Then, in a paroxysm of hysteria induced by the conflicting pressures of feminism and multicultural relativism, Penny accused those “right-wing” critics of not just racism but sexual perversion: “I’ll be blunt. I think some people out there are very excited by their conception of ‘Islamic’ violence against women. It allows them to enjoy the spectacle of women being brutalized and savaged whilst convincing themselves that it’s only foreign, savage men who do these things.” This is lunatic fantasy. Moreover, the “conception of ‘Islamic’ violence against women” is not just some “right-wing” construct—it is a fact.
The feminist apologists did issue grudging, boilerplate repudiations of the violence but only en route to conflating it with Western patriarchy. In an understatement of colossal proportions, Penny acknowledged that the “experience of women in the West is [not] exactly the same as the experience of women in Middle Eastern dictatorships and war zones.” Let’s rephrase that, shall we? To live in a society where women’s magazines, pop culture, and advertising incessantly celebrate female sexuality and promiscuity, where every elite profession desperately seeks to hire and promote as many women as it can, and where women enjoy every freedom and right that men do, is not just “not exactly the same” as living in a culture where female rape victims are murdered to preserve their family’s honor and where women who don’t wear the veil or burka face public shaming or worse; there is no similarity whatsoever between those two experiences.
You have to read the whole thing, which shows the brilliant, acerbic Heather Mac Donald at her best. I can promise you, though, that, even after reading it, you still won’t believe it. Indeed, even seeing these sentiments played out doesn’t make for believing them:
Prostitutes and politicians flock together. Deborah Jean Palfrey, the infamous “D.C. Madam,” died (a probable suicide) shortly after her conviction in 2008. Her attorney now claims that he has copies of her phone records, and that these records could have an impact on the election. He’s barred by court order, though, from making public.
What the attorney implies is that someone involved in the primaries got a bit naughty with the naughty ladies. The tabloids are betting Cruz because they operate on the assumption that all Christians are hypocrites. I think it’s just as likely to be Trump (treats women like trash), Bernie (rape fantasies), or Hillary (closet lesbian). Basically, I’d really rather not know who it is.
Bernie tries to push America into full-fledged depression. The only thing that’s holding our country together in the face of Obama’s disastrous economic “recovery” is cheap oil. Bernie promises to end that lifesaving oil supply by imposing a national fracking ban — to save the environment, don’t you know.
The self-styled reality community is absolutely impervious to data showing that every single climate apocalypse prediction has been wrong — and not just a little wrong, but super duper wrong. They’re religious fanatics who are determined to have Americans bound at the foot of Gaia’s alter (or do I mean Baal’s?) and slaughtered as an apology for daring to thrive.
It’s not just climate change stupidity, of course. We all know what Bernie’s economic understanding looks like, right?
And is there anything climate change can’t do? The latest hysteria — I kid you not — is that climate change will move the North Pole to Europe. I hate to break it to these people, but scientists have known about the North Pole’s movement for decades (I read about it in a book about 15 years ago, before climate change hysteria hit), the polar magnetic field is moving slowly, and this is not the first time it’s moved.
How in the world can people be so dumb? Climate change madness is like the witch hysteria the roiled Europe for hundreds of years, killing thousands of people (mostly women), before it slowly died away with the Enlightenment.
There’s a lot of cousin intermarriage in Pakistan . . . which is the only way I can explain this kind of stupidity:
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan had an unexpectedly close encounter with terrorism Monday when a policeman demonstrated how a grenade works by blowing one up in the courtroom.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, because I support those Pakistanis who are working to fight terrorism in their borders.
As the world gets more dangerous, our military gets weaker. Had Obama been president during the 1990s, he might have been only somewhat more harmful than Clinton. However, Obama has been president during the 21st century and the end of his time in office sees a world much more dangerous than when he entered.
The Arab Spring is a Muslim winter, Putin is on the March, and Islamic jihad has come to Europe and is, with Obama’s help, re-entering America. So, what better time than to weaken the military? No wonder Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley warns that the Army is at “high risk” (emphasis mine):
“On the ‘high military risk,’ to be clear, we have sufficient capacity and capability and readiness to fight counterinsurgency and counterterrorism,” Milley said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday. “My military risk refers specifically to what I see as emerging threats and potential for great power conflict and I am specifically talking about the time it takes to execute the task . . . and the cost in terms of casualties.”
The Army’s budget has shrunk in almost every aspect in recent years and the service is having to reduce its size to a total Army of 980,000 soldiers, which include all three components. Yet with the emerging and current threats in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, Army leaders believe the force should be as big as 1.2 million soldiers to meet the Pentagon strategy and guidance.
Incidentally, if your Leftist friends, upon hearing this, start making noises about schools having funding and the military having bake sales, I offer you two useful charts:
It’s a matter of priorities: teachers can’t teach when their students’ bodies are strewn across the floor after a terrorist attack, and gay marriage takes a back burner when gays are being tossed off of buildings on an imam’s orders. (And do keep in mind that British Muslims, by a comfortable majority, really, really hate gays.)
But who needs an army if you’re not going to fight? James P. Cain was a former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. Not too long ago, his daughter married a brilliant young man named Alexander Pinczowski. If Alexander’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he and his sister Sascha both died at the Brussel’s airport, slaughtered by Islamist terrorists.
Mr. Cain wrote an elegy both to his son-in-law and to the West, which is theoretically capable of fighting the existential threat that is Islamic terrorism but, with an American leadership vacuum, is unable to muster the willpower to engage in that fight:
Let’s be clear. This fight is not only against America and Europe, and it is not against Christianity. It is a fight against individualism, reason and independence of thought that began during the Enlightenment over 350 years ago in France, and found its greatest expression in the grand experiment launched by our Founding Fathers in Philadelphia.
This freedom is now under attack by the henchmen of the Dark Ages wherever they detect it—from Paris to Pakistan, San Bernardino to Istanbul, Nairobi to Brussels. Those who embrace this freedom, in what was once permissible to call the civilized world, are awakening to the battle lines that are forming. And like the battles that liberated Europe 70 years ago, the civilized world now demands coordination, willpower and leadership.
More important, where is American leadership?
Even before the horrifying attacks in Brussels, I was hearing grave concern from many friends in Europe about America’s withdrawal from the global stage: Our leaving Iraq without putting adequate security measures in place; our rebuffing of traditional allies in the region; our passivity as hundreds of thousands of Syrians were slaughtered; our paralysis as Islamic State made a grotesque spectacle of beheading “infidels,” including Americans. Since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the worried chorus from Europe has grown louder.
It’s funny, but Obama’s “leading from behind” looks remarkably like surrender. I guess that’s no surprise, given that the man doing the surrendering openly congratulates himself on the “wisdom” behind his failure to lead.
One can’t only blame Obama; the media is culpable too. Patrick O’Hannigan, one of the more thoughtful writers in the internet, caught CBS engaged in either wilful blindness or pure abject stupidity. I can’t do the post justice by quoting just a random paragraph or sentence, so I urge you to check it out and enjoy it in its entirety.
Aesop would have recognized New Jersey’s dilemma. One of Aesop’s more memorable tales was the story of the “Goose That Laid The Golden Egg.” The goose’s owner had a reliable daily supply of golden eggs, but that wasn’t enough for him. He decided to get the eggs all at once and slaughtered the goose, only to discover that its insides were completely ordinary. Although Aesop lived more than 2,500 years ago, he would have recognized what happened in New Jersey:
Billionaire David Tepper is moving from New Jersey to Florida this year — and so is his tax contribution to New Jersey, which is so large the move threatens his former home’s state budget.
“We may be facing an unusual degree of income-tax forecast risk,” testified Frank Haines, a budget officer with New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services, before a Senate committee Tuesday.
New Jersey’s struggling state budget projections rely on income taxes for 40 percent of revenue, Bloomberg reported. To support this, the state levies the third-highest tax burden in the country, with a marginal income tax rate of almost 9 percent for top earners and an array of estate and inheritance taxes.
I don’t think I will be able to hold in my anger in if Obama apologizes for Hiroshima. Long-time readers know that my mother was a prisoner of war in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII. Although she lived to be quite old — dying at 93 a month ago — the last 20 years of her life were overwhelmed by musculoskeletal pain, almost certainly the result of malnutrition, untreated tropical diseases, and forced labor during her 3.5 years of internment.
I have never forgotten a few things about the Japanese during WWII: They practiced for it by invading China and Korea. The Rape of Nanking was one of the most horrific attacks on civilians carried out since Attila and his Huns. They attacked a peaceful America. They interned civilian populations all over the Malayan peninsula. Their cruelty to the men they captured, both troops and civilians, often exceeded even what the Nazis devised. If you want to be sickened, read about the Bataan Death March.
Lastly, because of their insane Bushido culture, the Japanese refused to surrender, even when it was apparent that they couldn’t possibly win the war. They made it clear to their brainwashed civilians — old men, women, and children — that every one of them must stand as a last defense to the death.
Despite the horrors of Japan’s war conduct, Truman did not lightly make the decision to drop two atomic bombs. Instead, he relied upon advisors who assured him (accurately, as subsequent Japanese documents revealed) that the Japanese refusal to surrender would mean a full-out war in mainland Japan. Truman could expect approximately 60,000-100,000 more American casualties (not including the deaths of American civilians interned in the Philippines), as well as Japanese civilian casualties running into the hundreds of thousands or even higher. It was an act of mercy when he brought the war to an abrupt end.
But if back channel reports are correct, our uneducated, amoral, immoral, profoundly stupid president wants to apologize for the mercy killing that saved hundreds of thousands of lives and that opened the way for the delightful, beautiful, intelligent, and eccentric Japan that so brightens our world today.
It is in this spirit that I think you should read Paul Mirengoff’s look at the difference between casualties that the Allies suffered during WWII and those that the Axis powers suffered. It will tell you a great deal about the decency and morality of each side in that war. And Obama wants to apologize….
Also, I highly recommend Paul Fussell’s Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays, a book which opens with an essay in which Fussell, who saw service as a Marine in the Pacific during WWII, explains in easy-to-understand terms just how smart and humane Truman’s decision was. You may also want to read Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism, especially the chapter by the very respected WWII scholar Dennis Giangreco. (Here’s a short summary.)
Adding nuance to the question of whether the FBI’s rank-and-file will protest if Hillary walks. Last week, I wrote a post expressing my cynicism about rumors that members of the FBI were prepared to quit if Hillary escaped charges. My point, based upon my experience, is that middle class people, who are dependent on paychecks for their mortgages and all the other obligations of their lives, can easily talk themselves into staying at a job despite corruption or other problems that they’d like in theory to expose, but won’t do so in fact.
Fellow Watcher’s Council member, and long-time blog friend, Mike McDaniel, who has spent time in law enforcement, adds some nuance to my post, explaining how uniquely FBI agents are situated. They cannot easily find a similar job and — and this is the really important thing — they depend on each other for their lives, and cannot risk alienating that fellowship. It is, as all Mike’s posts are, excellent and I urge you to read it.