Bookworm Beat 2/5/17 — the “Super Bowl Sunday” edition

Tom Brady amazing Super Bowl victoryFull disclosure: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. I am boycotting the Super Bowl, because I have not forgiven it for how it enthusiastically allowed Kaepernick (whom the 49ers are releasing) to politicize what should have remained non-political.

Having said that, I’m glad the Patriots won because, politically speaking, it’s one in the eye to a Progressive establishment that tried to bully Brady and Belichick for daring to be friends with the President of the United States. Needless to say, the Progressives’ conduct reminded me strongly of the “guilt by association” approach from the mid-20th century that today’s modern Leftists so vehemently decry.

I once cared about American football and the Super Bowl. I wrote encomiums to how much more interesting American football is than European soccer. I was awed by the commitment and power of the men who play professional football. But the players and the NFL squandered my good will. I’m reserving my emotional energy and time for the men and women who really count: our military.

One more thing while I’m talking about the politicization of everything: Over at Ace, Warden wrote a thoughtful piece about the Left’s decision to take the politicization of everything and extend it from politicians and institutions to ordinary individuals. When that ugly personalization played out over Facebook, it did not resonate well with anyone but a hard Lefty, a negative emotional response that might have helped Trump win.

Okay, now that I’m done with the Super Bowl, let me move on to the more serious stuff:

I’m really worried for President Trump. For the upcoming Watcher’s Council forum (to be published tomorrow), we council members were asked to give our opinion about Trump’s presidency to date. Here’s a preview of my answer: I’m thrilled. Yes, he’s had a few missteps and some of his communications don’t appear so much persuasive as emotional, but on the substance . . . wow! His cabinet choices, his Supreme Court nominee, his Israel policy (more on that later), his love for country — well, the list goes on and on, and that’s after only two weeks and two days in office.

I continue, however, to be terribly worried about the violent rhetoric coming at him. And it’s not just coming from the Orwellian-named “anti-fascists” taking to the streets with jack boots and billy clubs. In one of the most disturbing manifestations, it recently came from a former member of Obama’s State Department, who openly advocated a military coup.

Put aside the illegality of her dream. What’s worrisome is when the people who ought to be ballast, calming down the street fighters, are the ones engaging in murderous, anti-democratic rhetoric. (I count idiots like Sarah Silverman among the street crazies, no matter her net worth.) And knowing that at least one Secret Service agent had no intention of doing her job to protect the President does not lessen my fears.

David Merrick has written a great article about the way in which the Leftist media has turned Americans into Stepford people, robotically programmed to hate at a mindless, completely irrational level never before seen in post-Civil War America.

The State Department needs to be tamed. Even when the State Department isn’t trying to get Trump killed or turn the US into a military dictatorship, at least some of its members are doing the best they can to undercut Trump by insisting that hardcore Leftist orthodoxy is the State Department’s core mission:

Americans may be under the impression that the president they elect is the man who directs the country’s foreign policy and sets its immigration rules. But a thousand or so officials in the State Department are of a different opinion. They have put their names to a cable registering official dissent in protest against President Trump’s executive order that bans most travelers from seven terrorism trouble spots—Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen—from entering the United States. But the dissenting diplomats go far beyond merely criticizing the order: they play politics and attack the very principles behind the president’s immigration policy. Indeed, they substitute their worldview for his.

These diplomats are professionals, and they deserve to have their views on policy implementation heard. The suddenness and sweep of President Trump’s order could reasonably be expected to draw a response from them, even a protest. But their answer has not been to make a strong case for amending the president’s policy—rather, it’s been to lecture him on what a claque in the federal bureaucracy deems America to stand for.

“Just as equality and multiculturalism are core American values, so too is pragmatism.” Lines like that could be ripped right out of the campaign literature of Barack Obama or any other progressive Democrat. It’s the language of a political statement, not a good-faith policy document designed to win the president over to the dissidents’ way of thinking. It’s a statement for public consumption—an attack on the president from the government’s own bureaucracy.

Trump should send all of them to the worst corner of the Bluest state he can find. Others have suggested sending them to Alaska or other inhospitable climates, but there’s the risk that the locusts would turn Alaska Blue, as they did with Colorado. I’m thinking something along the lines of the border area between California and Mexico. I think these Leftists stalwarts would find unpleasant the reality of the border that they’ve imposed upon Americans living in those regions.

That was no judge, that was a Leftist. Trump is taking heat for calling James Robart, the man in a black robe who blocked the immigration ban, a “so-called judge.” Trump is correct. I’ve litigated before hard-Left men and women in black robes and they have nothing to do with the judge’s primary task, which is to apply law to facts. They are not judges, they are activists. Robart may have been appointed during Bush’s presidency, but he’s as hard-Left as anyone else, with his Black Lives Matter passion.

There have been lots of articles challenging his ruling — with this being one of the best. I’ll only say that the most obvious problem to me is that, when a judge is called to impose a stay on something, he’s supposed to determine which course of action — staying or not staying — runs the risk of creating irreparable harm in case the ultimate verdict reverses the judge’s earlier decisions. Robart made no effort to do this analysis, and that’s no surprise. Keeping non-Americans out of America works no hardship on America. Letting them continuing to flood into America, possibly with terrorists in their midst, however, may be an egg that cannot be unscrambled. We never evict people once they’re in, God help us.

Oh, and if you want to know just how horrible Robart is, he’s the one who said that an Amherst student wrongly accused of sexual assault, who then sued Amherst for kicking him out, cannot make his accuser testify because it might hurt her traumatized feelings. Please read the known facts and tell me how traumatized you think she really was:

The incident in question took place years ago, during the late night / early morning hours of February 4-5, 2012. Jones was Doe’s girlfriend’s roommate at the time. Jones went to Doe’s dorm room and sexual activity ensued: Jones performed oral sex on Doe.

But Doe was blackout drunk at the time—a detail that Amherst administrators deemed “credible,” on subsequent review. Of course, it’s questionable whether a blackout drunk student can actually provide the level of consent that Amherst’s sexual misconduct policy requires.

Other factors cast doubt on the idea that Jones was the victim and Doe the perpetrator. After leaving Doe’s dorm room, Jones texted another male student and asked him to come to her dorm room for sex. She also texted a residential advisor about her “stupid” decision to engage in sexual activity with her roommate’s boyfriend. In these text messages, Jones admitted that she was “not an innocent bystander.” She also complained about how long it was taking this second male student to do anything sexual with her. She did not file a complaint against Doe until two years later.

It’s certainly possible that Jones was forced by Doe to give him oral sex without her consent, left the encounter with a fervent desire for another hookup, mischaracterized her own level of responsibility in a message to the RA, and didn’t realize she had been sexually assaulted for another two years (after befriending a number of victims’ advocates). It just doesn’t seem like the most probable explanation for what happened. But, based on a preponderance of the evidence presented to Amherst administrators, Doe was expelled.

Keep in mind that administrators never reviewed the text messages, and when Doe asked the administration to re-open the case in light of this error, Amherst refused. Doe was given just seven days to appeal the finding of responsibility, but he didn’t find out about the texts until months later.

Robart should be impeached for impersonating a judge. He is, as Trump said, nothing more than a “so-called judge.”

Self-loathing Jews attack. The Left has given up calling President Trump an antisemite. Its latest tactic is to say that orthodox Jewish, pro-Israel Jared Kushner, isn’t a real Jew. Are there depths to which self-loathing Jews and their hard-Left allies won’t sink? No. Not really.

There are no Hitlers in America. I have not been shy about saying that I think Obama, Hillary, and the entire Progressive machinery in America are fascist. Because I am a pedant about language, when I say fascist, I mean it in the technical sense: They believe, as Mussolini did, that the state should control everything but, unlike the communists, they believe in the simulacrum of private ownership, so long as the state has ultimate control, and the state’s top politicians get to skim the wealth off the top. I have always been careful to distinguish between this American brand of fascism and Hitler’s brand, which took this socialist political ideological and turned it into a nation’s psychotic quest for world domination and the genocidal destruction of its perceived, and entirely imaginary, enemies.

Regie, writing at Regie’s Blog, focuses on that “there is no American Hitler” theme. He’s a clear writer and I completely agree with him. Moreover, Scott Adams, the master of persuasion, thinks Regie has written the most persuasive “no Hitler here” post yet, so I think we should all read it and then pass it on to friends on both sides of the political aisle.

It’s impossible to keep up with Leftist hysteria. The other day, I did a post showing all the crazy stuff that my true Blue friends on Facebook are putting up on their feeds. Today, there was a new hysterical article they posted, from NPR, the headline of which (more or less) is that Republicans are going to hand guns over to violent insane people. Had my hyperventilating friends read further than the headline, they might have noticed that the ACLU sides with the Republicans, as do various organizations for handicapped rights. Charles C.W. Cooke explains what’s really going on, and it’s not what taxpayer-funded NPR implied.

Speaking of taxpayer-funded Leftist garbage, NPR’s local outlet, KQED, has run an article claiming that immigrants bring crime rates down, not up. I call foul on the article from word one because it makes no attempt to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. Indeed, illegal immigrants, just by existing increase the crime rate because they’re all criminals. More than that, to the extent they do commit violent crimes, those crimes are doubly offensive because they ought never to have happened, in that the aggressor was only able to commit the crime in the first instance because the American political class violated American law.

Lies from the Left about Trump’s dealings with Australian Prime Minister. Another headline that had Lefties fearing Armageddon was this one:


I knew instinctively that this WaPo article, based on God-knows-who-the-heck is doing all this leaking, had to be wrong. Trump is not an idiot. He’s a very sharp man who, Leftist beliefs to the contrary, fully understands the role he occupies. And of course, I was right:

The deal in question is a controversial agreement that Australia agreed with former President Barack Obama late last year for the United States to resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. In return, Australia would resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The swap deal is at odds with Trump’s executive order last week that suspended the U.S. refugee program and restricted entry to the United States for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

In other words, Obama made a dirty, anti-American deal as part of his ongoing effort to strangle Trump’s presidency and Trump made it plain he wasn’t going to let either Obama or Australia put Trump baby in the corner. (And yes, that’s a really lousy attempt to make a Dirty Dancing reference.)

People with practical experience support the ban. Here’s a video from someone who says that Iraqis openly claim that they’d kill Americans who come into their villages. He asks the obvious question which is, “Why would they feel differently about killing us if they come into our villages?”

Oh, and remember the gales of laughter, followed by unending insults, when Kellyanne Conway referred to the “Bowling Green massacre,” rather than the “Bowling Green conspiracy”? I wonder if those incurious Progressives would have felt the same, either about Conway’s point or about unlimited Middle Eastern immigration, if they had actually bothered to learn what happened in Bowling Green. It wasn’t good and it was sheer dumb luck that we avoided a terrible Islamic massacre.

One more thing: Michael Phillips, an extraordinarily wise friend of mine, who has a fascinating blog that I highly recommend, has suggested that America simply ban from entry into America any country that itself bans entry to Israelis, Jews, or (to go to an extreme) even people who have been to Israel. Banning those countries’ citizens and is not a religious ban, but one tied to encouraging freedom of movement between countries, which is what the Left insists we support. Here’s a list just of those countries banning Israelis:


Who are the Nazis in this equation? The Left has been calling Trump and his supporters Nazis for their refusal to open the border willy-nilly to people whose ideology demands killing Jews and homosexuals, and subordinating women, Christians, Hindus, and others who fail to meet the right religious standards. I’ve argued that the real Nazis in this equation are the people who don’t want to have coming into the country. Lee Smith makes the case that, when you look at the way Obama and his administration coddled Iran and made sure that Assad was in a position to slaughter half of his country, it’s the Obama administration that’s the Nazi in this equation.

Trump’s wonderful new approach to the Middle East. To give Obama credit, he looked at America’s Middle East and Israel policy for the last forty years, saw that it wasn’t working, and decided to try something new. Unfortunately for the Middle East and the rest of the world, his idea of something new was to ally the U.S. with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, to turn his back on moderates in the Middle East, and to try to destroy Israel. Thanks goodness Hillary didn’t get the chance to cement this approach.

Caroline Glick happily explains that Donald Trump is also doing something completely different, but that this approach may well work to support our allies, to help bring more Muslim states in the moderate fold, and to isolate Iran:

The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to Newsweek this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained that since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.

“I don’t know any of them [Trump’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond to us.”

The Trump administration’s shunning of the PLO is a marked departure from the policies of its predecessor. For former president Barack Obama, together with Iran, the Palestinians were viewed as the key players in the Middle East. Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama called after taking office.


While Trump occasionally pays lip service to making peace in the Middle East, his real goal is to win the war against jihadist Islam. And he rightly views Israel as a woefully underutilized strategic ally that shares his goal and is well-placed to help him achieve it.


Regarding Iran specifically, Trump’s moves to date involve operations on three levels. First, there is the rhetorical campaign to distinguish the Trump administration from its successor.

Trump launched the campaign on Twitter on Wednesday writing, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the US has squandered three trillion dollars there.”


At around the same time Trump released his tweet about Iranian control of Iraq, his National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn took a knife to Obama’s obsequious stand on Iran during a press briefing at the White House.

While Trump’s statement related to Iran’s growing power in Iraq, Flynn’s remarks were directed against its nonconventional threat and its regional aggression. Both were on display earlier this week.


Perhaps the most potent aspect of Trump’s emerging strategy for defeating the forces of jihad is the one that hasn’t been discussed but it was signaled, through a proxy, the day after Trump took office.

On January 21, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a remarkable message to the Iranian people on his Facebook page. Netanyahu drew a sharp distinction between the “warm” Iranian people and the “repressive” regime.


Netanyahu’s statement was doubtlessly coordinated with the new administration. It signaled that destabilizing with the goal of overthrowing the regime in Tehran is a major component of Trump’s strategy.


This then brings us to Syria, where the war against ISIS and the campaign against Iran are set to converge.


It is fairly clear what the US objective here would be. The US wishes to convince Moscow to effectively end its alliance with the Iranian regime. Trump repeatedly stated that the entire spectrum of US-Russian relations is now in play. Talks between the two governments will encompass Ukraine, US economic sanctions on Russia, nuclear weapons, Russian bases in Syria and Russia’s alliance with Iran and its Hezbollah proxies.

Everything is on the table.

The most important thing (to me) is that Trump is the first president ever who will unchain Israel and — finally — let her destroy her enemies:

To date, Israel has demurred from targeting Hezbollah and Hamas missile arsenals, but not because it is incapable of destroying them. Israel’s efforts to avoid conflict with its enemies, even at the price of their rearmament, also haven’t stemmed from fear of European or UN condemnation or even from fear of the so-called “CNN-effect.”

Israel has chosen not to defeat its enemies – not to mention the EU-backed NGOs that whitewash them – because the Americans have supported them.

The Clinton administration barred Israel from taking decisive action against either Hezbollah or the Palestinians.

The Bush administration forced Israel to stand down during the war with Hezbollah in 2006.

The Obama administration effectively sided with Hamas against Israel in 2014.

In other words, across three administrations, the Americans made it impossible for Israel to take decisive military action against its enemies.
Under Obama, the US also derailed every Israeli attempt to curb the power of EU-funded subversive organizations operating from inside of Israel.

Trump’s emerging strategy on Iran and ISIS, together with his refusal to operate in accordance with the standard US playbook on the Palestinians, indicates that the US has abandoned this practice. Under Trump, Israel is free to defeat its enemies. Their most powerful deterrent against Israel – the US – is gone.

More, please, and faster.

Meanwhile, Obama, his administration, and the hysterical Left are still pretending that second and third generation Americans are “Palestinian refugees” with an unlimited right of return to Israel. The whole thing is a con and I’m hoping that President Trump is a bully pulpit against this con.

Piers Morgan is a surprising Trump supporter. I’ve never liked Piers Morgan, a poncey Brit who made a name for himself in America attacking George Bush. However, things change and I got the feeling in the last couple of years that Morgan, having looked at what the Obama presidency had wrought, both at home and abroad, was no longer a Democrat enthusiast. His support for President Trump seems to bear out the change in his thinking. Take this for example:

People are literally losing their minds over the mere thought of him sitting in the Oval Office.

A mental faculty failure that is driven, I fear, by sore loser syndrome.

The protestors wanted, and expected, Hillary Clinton to sweep this ghastly man to crushing defeat in the election two months ago and become the first female president.

When it didn’t happen, mainly because Hillary was a terrible candidate who fought a terrible campaign, they were collectively struck down by Post Trump Success Disorder.

This is an awful affliction that causes victims to lose the power of calm, rational thought and instead resort to uncontrollable, unrelenting outbursts of shrieking, screaming, wailing and teeth-gnashing.

Every single thing President Trump now does, says or tweets or is greeted by instant paralysis of perspective.

He is, and must remain, a ‘MONSTER!’

There’s just one problem: the majority of people don’t seem to actually agree with this assessment.

As someone who made the journey from Democrat to conservative, I don’t believe anyone is incapable of redemption. I will watch Morgan’s writings with no small interest to see what he says and where he goes.

Trump didn’t bungle the Holocaust announcement. I need to preface what I’m writing here by saying I really dislike John Podhortez, who took over Commentary Magazine after his father, the brilliant Norm Podhortez, retired. John lacks his father’s intelligence. He’s shrill, self-centered, pedantic, and over-paid, drawing in a salary that’s either in the high $300,000s or the high $400,000s (I forget which) from a magazine that never turns a profit.

I owe a debt to Commentary Magazine because, back in the 1990s, a friend gave me a subscription when I was reading The New Republic and The New Yorker.  I realized (not without an intellectual fight) that Commentary made more sense. However, under Podhoretz, who is shrilly opposed to Trump, Commentary has been declining in content.

The latest whine of outrage from that peculiar little man was his maddened attack on Trump’s Holocaust statement for failing to single out Jews. Considering how philo-semitic Trump his (look at his children’s choices) and how pro-Israel he is (see Caroline Glick’s commentary, above), I was willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt for that omission, something I wouldn’t do for Obama, who made clear from the beginning his disdain for Israel and the Jews. I will say with no small degree of smugness that I was right to do so:

It turns out, according to today’s JTA, that the Holocaust Statement was written — all or mostly — by Boris Ephsteyn, a strongly identifying American Jew, of Russian Jewish ethnicity, who is in the Trump inner circle and who is a descendant of Holocaust survivors.

I shall now place myself in Trump’s place, and I invite you to so so. I am a chief executive, and I want to issue a statement on Cesar Chavez Day, so I ask a trusted advisor who also is Chicano to handle the statement. Or I ask an African American close advisor to draft my Martin Luther King Day statement. He or she gives it to me. I read it. It seems very sensitive. So I approve it. We issue it to the public.

Then it turns out that I did not catch some nuance that would be uniquely sensitive to the group in question. It did not say “Jewish” in the otherwise-meaningful statement that remembered and mourned the loss and suffering of the Holocaust victims. Remember — here, I am in Trump’s shoes: As a non-Jew who associates the Holocaust with the murder of Six Million Jews, I took it for granted that the statement mourned Jewish Holocaust victims. It never occurred to me that it was flawed because it left out the word “Jewish.”

A rabbi wrote the words above. You can read more here.

No, it’s not for the children. I’ve been complaining for years about the fact that every single Leftist initiative is for the children. Doe-eyed youngster are the reason we have illegal immigration, socialized medicine, an influx of people in thrall to a terrorist ideology, economy destroying climate change laws, teacher’s unions . . . you name it. If the Leftists want it, it’s for the children. I was therefore delighted to see a post Dystopic wrote at The Declination speaking about defeating what he calls “Weaponized Empathy.” (Isn’t that a great phrase?)

What is Weaponized Empathy? It is the deliberate hijacking of your own moral standards, your ability to empathize with your fellow man, in order to force you to serve someone else’s narrative. It is, in essence, a highly sophisticated form of guilt-tripping designed to turn you into a slave.

You might consider it an evolution of the Alinsky tactic of forcing the enemy to live up to their own moral standards. But it goes beyond that. It forces an enemy to embrace your moral standards or suffer tremendous peer pressure and socially-engineered “justice” at the whims of the mob.

Dystopic has the prefect illustration: Photographs showing that propagandists, when they found on the beach in Europe the body of the two-year old boy whose family was intent on illegally immigrating from Cyprus, carefully moved the body around for ultimate emotional effect. That boy’s manipulated body then became the rallying cry for Europe’s lying back and accepting an Islamic invasion.

Here are some of Dystopic’s suggestions for ending this reign of bathos:

The key to defeating Weaponized Empathy in yourself is understanding that more choices exist than are presented by the wielder of the weapon. Opposing Obamacare may, for instance, mean you want healthcare to be better for everyone. Saying no to a guilt-tripping relative may be because he is guilt-tripping you, instead of asking for your help with no such strings attached. You may be helping him to become a better person by not allowing him to blatantly manipulate you. Or you could just say “you’re being an asshole.” That can be remarkably effective (and true), also.

But this, of course, does no good on the world stage. The Right-wing has been replying to this weapon with logic and reason for decades, and it never works. The Left almost always succeeds in sculpting the narrative against them. Pictures of poor, bloodied children will circulate on Facebook, and the only alternative to being racist scum is to admit as many people into the country as the Progressive leaders want.

The answer is to call them out on the lies. To rigorously tear apart their stories. When the picture looks staged, it probably is staged. Point out that the folks manipulating the bodies of dead children for political gain are assholes. When there is a shooting, and the media posts a picture of a darling little child to try and steer blame away from the perp, find and post the picture of the fully-grown thug flipping off the camera. Then call the propagandists lying assholes. After all, what kind of dickhead puts a deliberate, calculated political angle on a tragic death?

Read back on what I’ve written, I see that this is a very dyspeptic post. While I’m excited about President Trump, I’m worried, and I’m also disgusted by the stream of effluvia, both words and actions, emanating from his political opponents. Those things put me in a mood.