Bookworm Beat 3/22/17 — the “let’s pretend that terrorist attacks in London are ordinary” edition

This round-up post opens with the London terrorist attack, but also covers Trump and Obamacare, the Sudan, climate change, media bias, faith, and risky sex.

Victim of March 22 London terrorist attackIn the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in London, people were remembering last year, when London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, said that terrorism is just part of life in the big city. He’s correct — that is, he’s correct if Islam is ascendant in the world. It is, after all, a faith that has terror as its foundation. Wherever Islam goes, it brings with it the fire and the sword. It’s a safer world when Islam is cowed, not ascendant.

I do feel terribly sorry for the people who were hurt and I’m saddened about the lives lost. My sympathy lies with their families and friends. Having said that, I’m quickly running out of patience for the whole European attitude towards Islamic terrorism. We get one attack after another filling our screens with bloody images, and all that the Europeans do is mull over what could possibly have caused someone suddenly to go off his rocker, scream “Allahu Akhbar” and kill a bunch of people.

Here’s a great poster illustrating the European approach to terror:

Until Europeans start taking Islamic terrorism seriously, why should I? If you all are so filled with cultural self-loathing that you have a death wish, my only hope is that you don’t drag me down with you.

And that’s all I have to say about what happened in London. However, I do have a few links I’ve saved, and I’d like to share them with you. In no particular order:

Don Surber says “trust in Trump.” If I had to name two prophets of the Trump presidency, I’d name Scott Adams (more on him in a minute) and my friend and fellow Watcher’s Council member Don Surber, who’s written the book on it. It’s Don’s opinion that we all need to stop getting our knickers in a twist about the Obamacare debate:

The people in Washington D.C. don’t get what is going down. But here in Poca, West Virginia, I can see what Trump is doing — as I have for almost two years now.

Donald Trump became president despite Ryan. President Trump just began taking the speaker down a peg or two as Trump pays the speaker back.

In the Wisconsin primary, Ryan and Governor Scott Walker supported Ted Cruz, who trumped Trump. The president has made his peace with each man over that.

But then there was the Billy Bush tape released in October in which Trump bragged that because he was rich, beautiful women let him grab them by their — well, readers know the quote.

“Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans on a conference call Monday morning that he’s done defending Donald Trump and will focus on maintaining his party’s increasingly imperiled House majority, according to sources on the call,” Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan of Politico reported on October 10.

To say that annoyed Trump understates the situation. Now that Trump is president, he can teach Ryan a lesson.

Once Trump has made Ryan sweat a bit, Trump intends to come in and force a deal. Don says the deadline will be July 31. Read the whole thing and you’ll get a feel for the hard facts behind Don’s prediction, as well as for his complete faith that all will be well.

Bloomberg mauls Scott Adams. Scott Adams is proving to be an interesting guy, and not just because he predicted with uncanny accuracy the way in which Trump would take the White House. It also turns out that he’s an eccentric, which is something that I like in a person. The reporter that Bloomberg sent out to meet with Adams last fall, before the election, does not appreciate eccentricity and loathes Trump . . . a loathing transferred to Adams in an article she wrote based upon an interview with him and her own angry opinions.

Adams, bless his heart, is unfazed by the viciousness and lies in the Bloomberg story. To him, it’s a useful teaching experience. He points to eleven separate lies, whether of omission or commission. Basically, reading the post is the equivalent of getting a master’s class in persuasion skills and media bias (and, believe me, the two are not the same thing).

Who knew the judiciary would fire the first shots? Over at Unified Patriots, you will find a very good post about the way in which the federal district courts, with backing from the Ninth Circuit, have effectively fired the first shots in what amounts to another constitutional war in America. The last one we had, from 1861-1865, left around 750,000 dead in its wake. Let’s hope the current civil war is not as drawn out or as bloody.

Another good attack on climate fascism. I believe in climate change. I believe that Earth’s climate has changed non-stop since its formation billions of years ago. I believe that climate change caused mighty empires to rise and fall. I believe climate change killed some species and brought forth new ones. I believe climate change locked water up in ice and then unfroze it to create our beautiful blue planet, complete with gorgeous northern fjords that speak of the end of the great Ice Age. I believe all that. What I don’t believe is that the current cycle of climate change is brought about by pollution.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate pollution. I still have vague memories of a fairly filthy American landscape in the late 1960s and of watching stories on the news about rivers on fire and perpetually burning tire mountains. I was in Beijing recently and marveled, in a kind of disgusted way, that the smog there is so bad you can see it when you’re inside the airport terminal. I know that pollution stunts young lives, shortens old ones, and creates great suffering in between. But I don’t believe pollution controls the sun and the planets and the earth’s magnetic pull and all sorts of other wonderful, huge, and mysterious things.

All of which is to say that I really, really liked Thomas Smith’s powerful indictment of the crude, totalitarian group-think that sees that Left believing that, if they repeat a lie often enough, and enforce its orthodoxy with legal and social bullying, they can ride roughshod over actual . . . you know . . . scientific data and analysis.

The Sudan. 60 Minutes did a report on the disaster that is a famine in South Sudan. From the looks of it, South Sudan is a rich, green landscape that should support life. Unfortunately for the women, the children, and the old — that is, the perpetual victims in those societies that lack freedom, Judeo-Christian morality, and the rule of law — war lords are fighting for control.

As is the case with all African war lords, the fact that innocents will die, whether they are starved, raped to death, out-and-out murdered, or conscripted as child soldiers, is a minor bagatelle for those lusting after power. As I’ve pointed out annually in my Passover post, bad people do not stop doing bad things because those in their path suffer. They stop doing bad things when they suffer.

With Africa, however, there’s always a little more going on than the obvious. First of all, 60 Minutes glossed over the fact that the genesis for this suffering was the fact that the Arab Muslims in northern Sudan went on a killing spree against Christians in Sudan. Having wiped out Christians, these racist rules then turned their guns and swords on the black Muslims in southern Sudan. South Sudan eventually split off from the main country, but by then the damage was done. Generations were dead and, perhaps even worse, any semblance of infrastructure and the rule of law were gone.

When I rant about how important the rule of law is here in America, it’s because I understand that there are only two conditions that exist absent the rule of law: tyranny or anarchy. Both result in death. And of course, anarchy almost invariably leads to tyranny.

So there’s the Muslim thing about the suffering in South Sudan. But there’s also the African thing. We are good, compassionate people in America (and I say that without irony or sarcasm), so when we see heart-rending pictures of starving children, we send money. But Africa being Africa, that money doesn’t go to the pitiful starving children. It goes to the war leaders and the tyrants. In Africa, it was ever thus:

Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It’s increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.


Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population — over 350 million people — live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.

Even after the very aggressive debt-relief campaigns in the 1990s, African countries still pay close to $20 billion in debt repayments per annum, a stark reminder that aid is not free. In order to keep the system going, debt is repaid at the expense of African education and health care. Well-meaning calls to cancel debt mean little when the cancellation is met with the fresh infusion of aid, and the vicious cycle starts up once again.


As recently as 2002, the African Union, an organization of African nations, estimated that corruption was costing the continent $150 billion a year, as international donors were apparently turning a blind eye to the simple fact that aid money was inadvertently fueling graft. With few or no strings attached, it has been all too easy for the funds to be used for anything, save the developmental purpose for which they were intended.

The article from which I quoted is from 2009. It could have been written yesterday. (It could also have been written about Gaza or the West Bank.)

Faith trumps fear. Long-time readers know that, while I deeply respect the Judeo-Christian tradition, I was raised in a secular household and have never quite latched onto the notion of an attentive God. The older I get, the less I know or understand and, therefore, the more I believe there is something out there bigger than we can comprehend. I just don’t have a personal relationship with that something.

I do envy those who have that relationship. One of the wonders that flows from it is that you have a bulwark against fear. It’s not that you don’t feel fear but, as the 23rd Psalm shows, you know that you’re not facing your fear alone. I think that’s what you see in the behavior of a group of Orthodox Jewish men who chartered a plane that ran into difficulties during the flight.

Same-sex sex isn’t healthy. A theme I’ve been hammering for years is the fact that the LGBT lifestyle is not a healthy one. People committed to that lifestyle are at higher risk of everything bad, from drug and alcohol, to depression, to abusive relationships, to risky sex and sexually transmitted diseases, to narcissistic personality disorders, and to suicide. That certainly doesn’t mean all members of the LGBT spectrum suffer from any of those problems, but statistically they are at greater risk. Moreover, it appears that this risk starts very early:

Nearly half the Big Apple’s sexually active high-school girls have had female partners — and many engage in behavior that endangers their health, an alarming new study finds.

Researchers from New York University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine based their findings on a 2013 survey of public high-school students citywide — but most heavily in “high-risk neighborhoods” in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Of 4,600 girls surveyed, 1,101, or 27.5 percent, were sexually active. Of those, 513, or 46.6 percent, reported same-sex experiences, according to the study, published this month in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

The usual suspects quoted in the article blame everyone else for picking on the girls and driving them to risky behavior. My observations over the years, however, suggest that you really can’t point at either chicken or egg being the problem. That is, do outré children engage in LGBT sex and then get picked on, or are picked on children going to respond by becoming outré and engaging in LGBT sex?

I’ll just say that, as a child who was picked on with frequency and ferocity, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to turn my attentions in that direction. Of course, one could counter that, had my childhood been as hypersexualized as what these children experience, and had the LGBT lifestyle been as hip, who knows what I might have done had a female peer treated me with kindness and then tried to entice me into bed. I think, though, that’s a subject that’s more than 40 years too late to speculate upon.