This Bookworm Beat is a true potpourri of all sorts of things I’ve noted as interesting over the past few days. Even I cannot discern a common thread.
I didn’t anticipate that my weekend would be as busy as it’s proven to be. It’s almost ten on Sunday night, and my to-do list looks as long as it did when I started it. Sigh. Still, it’s been a good weekend, I’ve gotten a lot done, and I have a few things to offer here. Before I begin, you can see I’m trying out a slightly new format. There’s a long back story to the new format. Suffice to say this new format is easier to produce.
On immigration, do as I say, not as I do.
When it comes to hypocrisy, it’s hard to outdo a Leftist. That’s why, while I’m disgusted, I’m not shocked to learn that New York Mayor and open borders advocate Bill de Blasio has built a large privacy fence around Gracie Mansion, the home the city of New York provides for its mayors:
The new fence — constructed just inside an existing red brick wall and a wrought-iron fence ringing the historic property — was actually dubbed a “privacy fence” by de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray, sources told The Post.
“So much for being mayor of the people. That brick fence was good enough for Rudy Giuliani and his family, and for Ed Koch and all the mayors before him,” a law enforcement source said.
“They didn’t need a taller fence. That’s the same house where everybody else lived for years.”
Sources said the increasingly thin-skinned mayor demanded the extension because he was sick of nosy people in Carl Schurz Park peeping in while he hung out in the yard.
And just today, Trump reminded his Twitter followers that Barack and Michelle Obama are big fans of walls too – at least, when the walls are protecting them:
President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2018
Remembering that humor is a powerful weapon.
It’s always dangerous to underestimate your enemy so humor that makes people cease to take an enemy seriously can backfire badly. However, humor that exposes an enemy’s true face is very powerful.
That’s why I think this video, even though it goes on a bit too long, is a both an expose of and an attack on Islamism. It shows very clearly why Islamism is antithetical to American values:
Meanwhile, for Chuck Schumer, immigration is personal.
I’ve been listening to Scott Adams while I walk my dog. One of the points he made in a podcast is that Trump has pivoted away from demanding a “wall,” which is a bit of concrete imagery, and instead has made it plain that he’s open to anything that will protect America’s border. Trump’s focus is now on “national security.”
Meanwhile, Schumer, like Humpty Dumpty, is still stuck on that wall. Schumer thinks he’s got a winning hand, but Adams thinks that Trump’s larger view, one that appeals to many people, has more resonance than Schumer’s “this time it’s personal” approach.
John Hinderaker, while writing more about politics and less about persuasion (which is always Adams’ primary concern), takes the much same view, which is that Trump’s focus on national security, a larger issue than just stopping illegal immigration, is a winner:
The Democrats have staked their future on importing voters in violation of the law, since the voters they already have mostly prefer not to have many children. Republicans, in turn, have staked their future on preserving the rule of law, and on preserving an America more or less like the one we know. It comes down, ultimately, to a contest between preserving America vs. preserving the Democratic Party. Despite the smoke screen laid down by the media, I think the Republicans should win this one.
The Democrats’ anti-Catholic animus.
As I’ve observed on more than one occasion, most of the women I know, if forced to explain their fealty to the Democrat party, would say that abortion is their make or break issue. That is, they are single issue voters, even though everything else the party stands for may be antithetical to their values or interests.
If the Democrat party is the party of abortion, the Catholic Church, even under Pope Frances’s decidedly Leftist aegis, is still the major bulwark against abortion. It is not shy about saying that abortion is wrong.
Of course, what this means is that devout Catholics cannot support abortion. For the Left, the next step then is to say that devout Catholics cannot have a place in American government:
In September 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., suggested Judge Amy Coney Barrett is too Catholic to serve on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
More than a year later, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have renewed Feinstein’s line of attack, suggesting this month that attorney Brian Buescher may also be unfit to serve as a federal judge on account of his Catholic faith. The only difference between now and September 2017 is that Hirono and Harris are not so explicit in their bigotry.
“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” writes the senator from Hawaii.
By “extreme,” she means the Knights oppose abortion and same-sex marriage. In other words, the group is adhering to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
It’s all too clear what Hirono and Harris are doing. Their questions are an all-too-cute, roundabout way of saying they believe faithful Roman Catholics have no place serving as federal judges. They just don’t want to come right out and say it.
So, it’s not just bigoted. It’s also cowardly. At least Feinstein had the bones to come right out and say she doesn’t want Catholics serving on the courts.
The whole point of the First Amendment was to do away with religious requirements for participation in American democracy. And yet here are prominent Democrat senators insisting that, to participate in the American government, all people must swear fealty to the Church of Leftism.
Transgender madness continues.
I’ll just repost my tweet here:
Dear Sir, The clerk didn’t misgender you; you’re misgendering yourself. You would be happier if you took hormones that aligned your brain with your body, rather than using destructive surgery and cancer-causing hormones to align your body with your brain.https://t.co/oj6veWDpi8
— Bookwormroom (@Bookwormroom) December 30, 2018
Our media is singularly uninformed.
If you’re a writer for Military Times, a Gannett publication, one would think that you know about the military. I mean, you don’t need to have a broad and deep understanding of every weapons system or the minute details of a particular battle plan. But still, you probably should understand at minimum how our American military is constituted, from the civilian Commander-in-Chief, through his cabinet appointments, through the Pentagon, and down to the private or midshipman.
In today’s media world, though, there is no expectation whatsoever that a reporter covering the military will have any knowledge about the military – even a reporter for the Military Times. Don Surber caught just one example of this type of appalling ignorance:
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times, which is owned by Gannett. She wrote a column over the weekend, “What checks are left on the president’s military power now that Mattis is gone?”
She has a master’s degree from Georgetown, was an embedded reporter in the Iraq War, and has 15 years experience covering the Pentagon.
Despite all this, she never learned what the chain of command is.
At the top of the command is the president. The Constitution makes him the commander in chief of the military.
Nowhere in the law — and certainly not in the Constitution — is the secretary of anything a check or a balance on the president. His checks and balances are called Congress and the Supreme Court.
In fact, disobeying lawful orders is insubordination. Working to oust the president is mutiny.
Our media is also singularly dishonest.
Omri Ceren caught the AP red-handed in yet another example of blatant dishonesty aimed at showing Trump in a poor light:
Aug 18, 2016: AP reporter gets Obama spokesman to admit on camera that $1.7 billion they gave Iran was quid pro quo for hostages.
Dec 25, 2018: AP publishes factcheck saying Trump is “recycling familiar fictions” by tweeting money was a quid pro quo for hostages.
Insert Bad AP 1 and 2
This is your umpteenth reminder that the media does not function to get facts to the public. In this, the Age of Trump, the media’s sole job is to advance the Democrat narrative, and to Hell with any contradictory facts.
Trying to explain the important things to NeverTrumpers.
I think that Roger Kimball must be one of the most erudite thinkers and writers in America. That’s why, it’s worth reading when he reads a very polite rebuttal to Jonah Goldberg’s contention that Donald Trump is a bad human being.
Only Kimball could make an interesting article out of analyzing Heraclitus’s aphorism to the effect that ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων. While Goldberg translates it as “man’s character is his fate,” Kimball says the more accurate analysis is that a man’s character is his conscience.
Kimball also points out the bootstrapping and assumptions in Goldberg’s arguments. Most importantly, Kimball points out that the NeverTrumpers have elevated character over accomplishment, which is a weird and dangerous thing:
My question is this: what is the character that Jonah wants us to champion and that he stipulates Donald Trump lacks? Let us grant that the president is an imperfect man. What betokens worse character: tweeting rude things or having sex with your intern in the Oval Office? What’s worse, insulting Bob Corker or using the Department of Justice and the IRS to harass and persecute your political opponents?
I remember being taken aback when Bret Stephens this time last year took stock of Donald Trump’s accomplishments and concluded, “I still wish Hillary Clinton were president.” The list that Stephens mustered was long and impressive. It began with tax cuts, the effective obliteration of ISIS, and the decertification of the Iran deal and ended with the robust economy and the ascension of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. (Brett Kavanaugh was yet to come.) “What, for a conservative,” Stephens asked, “is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?”
And then the inimitable Kimball wraps it all up with a quote from Cardinal Newman. Reading the post, I felt both stupid, because I didn’t know any of this, and smart, because I learned something by the end. Also, I continued to feel sad that Goldberg, once one of my favorite writers, has become so obsessed with Trump’s character that he’s lost the plot when it comes to conservative principles of governance.
Government, because it has no incentive to do otherwise, always wastes taxpayer dollars.
The New York Post revealed that the citizens of New York are spending big bucks making sure that big bucks lose their fire power:
They’re bagging big bucks in Staten Island – and some deer, too.
The wildlife ecologist running Mayor de Blasio’s deer-vasectomy project raked in more than $603,000 in the first two years of the budget-busting program.
Dr. Anthony DeNicola, founder of the nonprofit White Buffalo Inc., was paid up to $2,500 a day for 250 days of project management and field sterilization work during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, according to city budget documents reviewed by The Post.
DeNicola’s wife Vickie was a staff member during the project’s first season, shooting bucks with tranquilizer guns and wrangling the dazed animals, the Staten Island Advance reported. That role paid $1,600 a day for 150 days of work – a total of $240,000 for a job that typically pays just $29,968 a year, according to Ziprecruiter.com.
Together, the DeNicolas’ bloated salaries gobbled up to 29 percent of the project’s first-year expenses.
Remember, for government, it’s always other people’s money – and remember too that you’re the other people.
Even as the Left becomes more hysterical about climate change, reality keeps butting in.
One of the Left’s key claims about climate change is that polar bears are dying as ice melts. Of course, ice isn’t melting. It also turns out that, not only are polar bears not dying, they’re getting dangerously aggressive around the Inuits who live near the polar bears that Lefties thousands of miles away weep over:
Everyone says there are more polar bears, and they’re not scared of us. Ten years ago, they’d run when they saw a human. Now they’re no longer shy. They keep on coming.’
Part of a chain of coastal settlements in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory,
Arviat, population 2,800, is a snowy huddle of low, well-insulated buildings and very remote. The nearest road connected to the rest of Canada is at Winnipeg, 800 miles away.
For six days before my arrival, blizzards and ice on the runways had forced the Arctic carrier Calm Air to cancel its Arviat flights.
Last week, Arviat’s minimum temperature hit minus 36C. However, as I rapidly discovered, its people – who are almost all Inuit – are as warm as its weather is brutal.
They also turned a conventional wisdom on its head, saying that polar bears are not in crisis, nor even in decline: the main problem, according to the people who know them best, is that there are too many of them.
Climate change – cited as the reason for their imminent demise, due to rising temperatures shrinking the ice essential to their survival – may be altering their behaviour, but the Inuit say they are adapting, and remain fat and healthy, and perfectly able to breed.
And while I’m on the subject of Native Americans….
I don’t know if I’m correct about this, but I do consider the Inuits part of the continuum of Native Americans. And while I’m on the subject, this is a very cool video:
I’ve seen a lot in my travels over the last 40 years but this stopped me in my tracks. Thank you to this young man for serving our country and thank you to the elders that welcomed him home with such honor. God bless our military and God bless America! #militaryfamilies pic.twitter.com/CsblOQmLqt
— Bob Tallman (@tallman_bob) December 21, 2018
Different political parties, different values.
Whether you’re pro-life or pro-abortion, this tweet might give you a minute’s pause:
Killing a Preborn Turtle:
Illegal under federal law
1 year in prison
Killing a Preborn Human:
Legal under federal law
Funded by the government
Applauded as “empowering”
— Noah Ring (@TheNoahRing) December 29, 2018
I cannot figure out how this worked.
Watch the video to the end and see something amazing happen:
Watch (be patient) to the end
I’m like what did I just see?
— EagleWings (@Rise1Soar2BFree) December 29, 2018
A truly great member of the greatest generation just died.
We refer to the entire WWII generation as “the greatest generation.” Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that some are greater than others. One of those greatest of the great was Georges Loinger, who just passed away in France at 108 years old:
French Resistance hero Georges Loinger, who used his ingenuity and athletic prowess to save the lives of hundreds of Jewish children during World War II, has died at the age of 108.
A talented athlete and cousin of the famous mime artist and fellow Resistance member Marcel Marceau, the Jewish Loinger would smuggle the children in small groups across the Franco-Swiss border.
One ruse involved dressing children up as mourners and taking them to a cemetery whose wall abutted the French side of the border.
With the help of a gravedigger’s ladder the “mourners” would clamber over the wall and head for the border just feet away.
Loinger, who was awarded the Resistance Medal, the Military Cross and the Legion of Honour, was born in Strasbourg in 1910.
In 1940 while serving with the French army, he was taken prisoner by German forces and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Germany.
Due to his blond hair and blue eyes, his captors did not suspect that he was Jewish and he managed to escape and return to France and join the OSE.
Between April 1943 and June 1944, OSE workers and other rescuers helped hundreds of children escape to Switzerland across the lightly-guarded border. Loinger alone is credited with saving at least 350 children.
Rest in Peace, Messr. Loinger.
Rest in peace, Officer Ronil Singh.
I hope that, wherever you are, you see the send-off your fellow men and women in blue gave you:
Tribute by Law Enforcement for Officer Ronil Singh, an Immigrant who came to America legally &became a Cop, a Beloved Husband &Father only to be gunned down by an Illegal Immigrant. I agree w/ Pres Trump, close down the southern border completely until we get funding for the wall pic.twitter.com/E9Ji1nJXFo
— ⭐️⭐️⭐️🇺🇸KAGTrump🚂2020 (@GregNorberg) December 29, 2018
I know what I’ll be doing on New Year’s Day.
Me on January 1st. 😂 pic.twitter.com/A0tEDnilAN
— Conservative Pets 🐶 (@ConservativePTZ) December 30, 2018
Okay, I hear my bed call my name….