The Bookworm Room 7/17/16 — the “I’m all riled up” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Blacks and Muslims should be angry at their criminal cohorts, not at us. In the context of an article about political correctness, Andrew Klavan said something I’ve been struggling to say for some time. He acknowledges that blacks are on the receiving end of much more police activity, something frustrating and insulting to law-abiding blacks, but that’s because the black community’s bad eggs commit a disproportionate amount of American crime. Likewise, because children have big mouths, perfectly nice Muslim kids in school find themselves being called terrorists, reflecting the fact that acts of mass violence all over the world come primarily from their co-religionists. That’s certainly not nice, but Klavan says that law-abiding blacks and Muslims are putting blame in the wrong place:

It seems to me if you are an innocent black person being troubled by the cops, if you are an innocent Muslim under suspicion from your neighbors, the people you should be angry at, the people to blame, are not the people acting on rational suspicion. The people at fault are the bad guys who have drawn that suspicion unfairly onto you.

A black man targeted by the police shouldn’t be angry at the police. He should be angry at the thugs and criminals who look like him and make his race a target. And before Muslims blame non-Muslims for the prejudice against them, maybe they ought to look to — and openly condemn — those Muslims who have given their religion a very bad name indeed.

The problem is prejudice, yes. But it’s the tribal prejudice that says we should blame others before we blame “our own.” “Our own” are the good guys, no matter what race or religion we are.

Someone should read those words out loud at the Republican Party Convention. They’re very important.

Police are not more likely to shoot blacks.  Yes, there are bad apple police, because there are bad apples in everything. American police in the 21st century, however, are not racists. What they will do, though, is put their hands on blacks more during interactions.

Personally, I suspect that’s because blacks are more likely to close in on police. Spending my life in San Francisco, including innumerable hours on MUNI (our public transportation system), I had plenty of chances to see cops interacting with people. Blacks were much more likely to move in on the officers.

As much as anything, it’s a cultural sense of space. White Americans like strangers at greater than arm’s length, business associates and people in service roles (such as mail carriers or waiters) at arm’s length, and only friends and family within their arm’s ambit. Blacks, however, get closer. For cops, who need a lot of space to feel safe, this is going to make them feel uncomfortable. They won’t shoot, but they may wrestle, cuff, and arrest when their space gets violated.

There isn’t a war on blacks, but there is a war on cops. Heather MacDonald destroys blind, deceitful emotion with actual facts:

Today’s shooting in Baton Rouge, of course, only adds weight to MacDonald’s words.

Obama gets the human lizard brain completely wrong. This morning, at Power Line, I read something that meshed beautifully with a theory I’ve had for some time about the difference between crime and terrorism. Scott Johnson notes that Obama, posturing as an intellectual, likes to offer these words of wisdom:

In his long, long exposition of Obama’s foreign policy, [Jeffrey] Goldberg relates that Obama “frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do.”

Obama is correct about the numbers. During his presidency, 102 people have died because of Muslim terrorism, with many attacks killing only one person (although the terrorists often had larger goals). During the same period, tens of thousands of people were murdered, some 210,000 died in car accidents, and God alone knows how many died in bathtubs. To his little Spock-like brain, that means our fears of Islamic rampages are irrational and should be downplayed or dismissed entirely. But what Microbrain misses is that humans are capable of distinguishing between acts of crime, random acts, and acts of war.

We normal, sensate humans understand that there are drug dealers and crazy people and jealous spouses and garden-variety thugs out there, each of whom is capable of killing, but we also understand that they are not engaged in a concerted effort. Likewise, we know that accidents happen and that, while we try to protect ourselves, fate may have other ideas.

But what we understand equally well is that there is a single ideology at play in the world today, that its adherents gain power through mass killing, that they are beginning those mass killings in America and, unchecked, that they will escalate. We understand this because war goes back deep in the human psyche, to a time before history and even before words. Our little Spock-in-Chief needs to get with the human program and recognize that our fears aren’t irrational but are, in fact, highly rational.

ISIS wins the intelligence war because it controls the players David P. Goldman (aka Spengler) is always worth reading, and never more so than when he comments on the dynamics between Muslims and the West. He discusses the fact that ISIS has figured out how to game the European intelligence system to its advantage.

Bruce Bawer on our vapid response to terrorism.  Bruce Bawer, a gay American living in Europe who has become conservative because he lives in Europe, has had it with the vapid responses that inevitably start after every Muslim massacre:  the hashtags, the flags, the “I stand with _____” posters, the warnings against anti-Muslim backlashes that never materialize, etc.  He sounds off here and I agree with every word. I also highly recommend his book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within. It’s a few years old, but its warning only sounds with more urgency given the passage of time.

A no-abortion list to go along with the Lefties’ no-gun and no-fly lists. I’ve commented before about the idiot meme that constantly circulates amongst Lefties, which is that gun buyers should be placed under the same handicaps as women seeking abortions. To no effect at all, I’ve pointed out to them that guns are an explicit constitutional right — the only right, indeed, to have an amendment dedicated entirely to it and nothing else — while abortion is an emanation of a penumbra (or whatever). I’ve also pointed out all the hurdles wannabe gun owners have to go through.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision ending Texas’s efforts to make getting an abortion at least as safe as going to the dentist (something that occasioned wild celebration on the Left) Jonah Goldberg, far more brilliant and much less pedantic than I, goes one better than I and takes the comparison to its logical conclusion. He suggests that we should have a no-abortion list, similar to the Leftists’ beloved no-gun and no-fly lists. After all, if both are constitutional rights, shouldn’t both be treated the same?

The court held that abortion is such a fundamental constitutional right that minimal health standards are an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion, even if they might save women’s lives.

There’s a deep and perplexing contradiction here. If abortion is just another aspect of “women’s health” — currently the preferred euphemism for the procedure — why have higher health and safety regulations for dentists than abortionists?

But that’s just the first of many contradictions. The court allowed Whole Woman’s Health to sue in the first place, even though the company has no right to an abortion, and third parties aren’t supposed to have standing to sue for someone else’s constitutional rights. The Left loves to say “corporations aren’t people” — unless they’re suing for abortion rights. Then the new mantra is: “Corporations are people, but human fetuses aren’t.”

The contradiction I find most glaring and galling is that the euphoric hysteria from the left over the court’s decision occurred right in the middle of a conversation about guns and terrorist watch lists.

In that conversation, many of the same voices on the left argued that the federal government can — nay, must! — have the unilateral power to put American citizens on a secret list barring them from exercising two constitutional rights: the right to bear arms and the right to due process when the government denies you a right. (Both, unlike abortion, are rights spelled out in the Constitution.) Congressional Democrats even staged a tawdry tantrum on the House floor about it.

Never mind that the Orlando slaughter — the event that set off the House sit-in — would not have been prevented if the Democrats had their way.

Writing for the majority in the Hellerstedt case, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that the Texas statute was unnecessary because “determined wrongdoers” like Gosnell wouldn’t be deterred by new laws given that he was willing to violate existing laws.

Maybe so. But isn’t that exactly the NRA’s position on gun laws? Murderers, never mind terrorists, by definition don’t care about the law.

It gets even crazier. President Obama, who hailed the court’s decision, desperately craves the unilateral power to keep a list of people to whom he wants to deny guns without due process. But he also insists that known terrorists, particularly those held at Guantanamo Bay, have a constitutional right to due process (though presumably not to buy a gun).

Yes, there’s a lot of deviltry in the details, but the basic truth is undeniable: Those on the left — in all three branches of the federal government, along with their cheerleaders in the media — believe that the rights they like are sacred and the rights they dislike are negligible inconveniences at best and outrageous cancers on the body politic at worst.

About those gender surgeries Americans will fund for gender-confused troops. . . . I’m still open mouthed at the thought that we taxpayers will have to fund sex change operations for gender-confused troops. And if we’re paying for them, why should gender-confused people who aren’t in the military have to pay for their own surgery? I see this as an incentive for very troubled people (more below) to enlist just to get free surgery.

Moreover, if we have to pay for one kind of body dysmorphia, what’s to stop the military from demanding that we taxpayers pay for all kinds of dysmorphia, from the small (nose jobs, penis extensions, breast augmentations, butt lifts, rib removals, satanic horn implants) to the large (slicing off breasts and penises)? After all, they’re all surgeries that help align a person’s looks with his or her internal vision of what he or she should look like.

Aside from the money aspect, we’re funding a very dicey surgery, one that has much poorer outcomes than nose jobs or breast lifts because the people seeking these surgeries suffer from so many and such severe mental disorders:

The experience of many gender-confused individuals is that medical professionals are quick to reach a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and recommend immediate cross-gender hormone therapy and irreversible reassignment surgery without investigating and treating the coexisting issues. Research has found that powerful psychological issues, such as anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or alcohol or drug dependence often accompany gender dysphoria.


Transgender individuals need psychotherapy not access to cross-sex restrooms, showers, and dressing areas. Blaming society for the ills of transgender persons will not improve their diagnosis and treatment.

Reckless disregard for the mental disorders in favor of enforcing preferred pronouns is madness. It’s time to show compassion by telling the truth and stop pretending they are born that way.

True compassion is acknowledging the mental disorders and providing effective, sound treatment in an effort to slow the staggering number of suicides, before rushing to perform irreversible surgeries.

A couple of Venezuela links. I’ve been hanging onto these links for a while but they’re still interesting and relevant: (1) When civil society falls apart, police stop being forces of law and order and become victims themselves. In Venezuela,

(1) When civil society falls apart, police stop being forces of law and order and become victims themselves. In Venezuela, they’re being murdered for their guns. I leave it to you to make the connection to what’s happening to police in the US today. (2) Venezuela has become so broke that it can

(2) Venezuela has become so broke that it can no longer pay the workers who recover its single marketable asset — oil. Again, I leave it to you to make the connection between what’s happening in Venezuela and the command-and-control economy that is the Left’s dream for America.

A reminder why the GOP is in such disrepute. Mitch McConnell thinks Hillary is great and the Bush family is effectively endorsing her by refusing to support the Republican candidate — never mind that she is the most corrupt candidate in American history, that she utterly subordinated national security to personal convenience and corruption, and that she is running on the hardest Left platform of any candidate since Eugene Victor Debs. Frankly, I’m liking Trump more every day because, if these political hacks prefer Hillary over Trump, that’s like a strong recommendation for Trump.

Why am I surprised, though. After all, we all know that Congress doesn’t give a flying monkey what voters think. Congress cares what Congress thinks, and the Republicans in Congress care deeply what the Democrats think — a world view that definitely is not a two-way street.

Remember that everything you read about Trump in the media is a lie.  Sure, Trump’s a character, but that does not mean he’s an evil authoritarian fool. Those who know him best say he’s a good man, and I actually believe that. I’d prefer Cruz, but I’ve made my peace with Trump, especially since I think Pence was a good choice:  He’s a good communicator, he knows Congress, he knows executive leadership in government, and he’s a conservative (although he did go wobbly on religious freedom, but this time he has Trump at his back).

Anyway, for another view of Trump, I recommend this article:

Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, anti-Semitic and Islamophobe — did I miss anything? The left and the media launch these hideous kinds of attacks at Trump everyday; yet, nothing could be further from the truth about the real estate mogul. As an entertainment journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to cover Trump for over a decade, and in all my years covering him I’ve never heard anything negative about the man until he announced he was running for president. Keep in mind, I got paid a lot of money to dig up dirt on celebrities like Trump for a living so a scandalous story on the famous billionaire could’ve potentially sold a lot of magazines and would’ve been a “yuge” feather in my cap. Instead, I found that he doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs, he’s a hardworking businessman and totally devoted to his beloved wife and children. On top of that, he’s one of the most generous celebrities in the world with a heart filled with more gold than his $100 million New York penthouse.

One of my savvy New York friends would agree with every word. Not only is Trump a good man, says my friend, he’s incredibly effective at getting things done.

Another harmful government initiative. Universal preschool does more harm than good:

Evidence continues to mount that government-funded preschool fails to fulfill the promises of its proponents. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. Even proponents of universal preschool admit that it does nothing to improve future academic performance.

Mommies matter.

If you’re not Walter Duranty, seeing socialism in action is eye-opening. People can change. I know this because I did. Jack Stauder is another who changed:

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Professor Jack Stauder says his political and ideological conversion away from socialism and Marxism occurred when he actually witnessed these systems in action.

After traveling to more than 110 countries to pursue various forms of research, notably cultural anthropology, Stauder described his conversion from Marxism as a process of disillusionment.

“I gradually became disenchanted with Marxism by visiting many of the countries that had tried to shape their societies to conform to its doctrines. I was disillusioned by the realities I saw in … socialist countries – the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, etc,” Stauder told The College Fix via email.

“I came to recognize that socialism doesn’t work, and that its ‘revolutionary’ imposition inevitably leads to cruelty, injustice and the loss of freedom,” the professor continued.

“I could see the same pattern in the many failed left-wing revolutions of Latin America and elsewhere. By combining actual travel with the historical study of socialism and revolution, I succeeded in disabusing myself of the utopian notions that fatally attract people to leftist ideas.”

Blame Moshe Dayan for Israel’s problems at the Temple Mount.  Generals can be stupid.  (Exhibit 1:  Colin Powell, a stupid, vicious, back-stabbing desk jockey.) Moshe Dayan was another, who decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by unilaterally, and thoughtlessly, handing the Temple Mount to the Jordanian Muslim Waqf Authority at the end of the Six Day War. This is what happens when a secular general fights a war with religious implications.

Principled conservative women.  Get a load of this great meme that showed up on Twitter:  “I’m a #ConservativeBecause.” Young conservative women aren’t their daddy’s brainless little Stepford daughters. Instead, they know precisely why conservativism is a good deal for women.

Reason number one billion and something why I loathe academia.  The Chronicle of Higher Education announced a course looking at the Trump phenomenon. The course itself is bad enough, insofar as it has all sorts of Lefties prepared to opine about authoritarianism, fascism, and other strong-arm styles of government that are associated with statism, not constitutional government.

All of that is enough to make one support Trump out of the box, because he’s got to be better than Hillary, the person these hard-Left academics support. After all, Hillary is running on a statist platform and, if she wins, Obama will hand her a neatly packaged government, with (1) a Supreme Court that can have a 7/2 Leftist majority in a couple of years (with or without Ginsburg); (2) a military that’s been turned into a social justice experiment; and (3) a genuinely weaponized administrative branch, with agencies better armed than the Marines. The icing on the cake, though, is the update at the end:

Editor’s Note: We apologize for the absence of works by scholars of color and other marginalized groups. We recognize that these omissions are offensive. Responsibility rests solely with The Chronicle, not the scholars who offered suggestions for the syllabus. We have and will continue to cover issues of race, and we’d like to hear from you. Please write to us at [email protected] or leave a comment.

President Trump’s first act should be to rescind the executive order President Kennedy issued allowing government employees to unionize. His second act should be to do whatever is necessary to clip the Supreme Court’s wings. And his third act should be to withdraw every penny of federal money from America’s schools and universities.

If you want to educate Americans, just have them watch all the Prager U videos, such as this recent one about the difference between the public and private sector:

A lively site for Christians. One of my readers, Topcat69, left the following message and, having checked out the site, I recommend that you check it out too:

I have always been a political junkie and a bit of an activist. I donate money, I make comments on the web, I attend Tea Party and certain other rallies (e.g. Franklin Graham), write to public officials, etc. Being an evangelical Christian, I try to do some evangelism as well. There is a sleeping giant out there that could turn things around in this country if they didn’t prefer snoozing. We certainly do need to get proactive. Just active will do.

Early last year, my small group at church woke up briefly because of the whole business of SSM and florists, photographers, bakers and the like. We decided we needed to become more informed and more active in the public square. And we decided that the best way to get started was to create a website to help. I volunteered to do the technical work, being a recently retired applications developer. Well, I ended up doing all the work – not just technical – because everyone else decided to go back to sleep. Absolutely no one from our group visits the website weekly or even monthly, even though it is updated with new stuff every day. I was told to be sure to include a blog, yet I am the only one who has contributed to it. I keep doing the work because I feel called to do it and I have a couple of out-of-staters who visit almost every day. I mention all this because it just seems that there are far too many people out there who are quite unhappy with what is going on in America, and yet just can’t be troubled to try to do anything about it (except grumble now and then).

I naturally have to do a shameless plug for the website, but what I really want is this: does anyone have any idea how to get people more involved? I wrote about the silent majority on this page. When Richard Nixon talked about the silent majority in 1969, he was absolutely right. They were a majority (re-electing Nixon overwhelmingly). And they were silent. In the long run it was the vocal minority that ended up getting what they wished and who also wrote the history. A majority is going to accomplish very little or nothing if they choose to remain silent.

Of course, the Baby Boomers got it wrong Here’s a clip from the Andy Griffith show that reveals that the Baby Boomers were paying attention to the wrong characters when they watched this show as children — they listened to the whiny Leftist instead of learning the lesson about responsibility, self-reliance, and hard work:

(If the video doesn’t load, you can see it here.)