As regular readers know, I use this column now and then to jot some notes on a book. These do not constitute a proper book review. But sometimes the notes are worthwhile, I think.

I’d very much like to remark on a book by Bruce Bawer, published last year. This one is The Victims’ Revolution. Bawer, if you don’t know him, is one of our finest literary critics and political analysts. He is also uncommonly brave. He writes about the threat of Islamism to our liberal life here in the West, and he does this writing from Scandinavia, where he lives. (Bawer is an American but has lived in Norway for some years.)
This sort of writing wins him no friends — except among people who value the truth, however upsetting it is.

Bawer has the particular gift of shaming people on the left. He asks them, “Won’t you stick up for your own values? Do you realize what the Islamists intend to do to you, and are doing to you already? Do you not have the courage of your convictions? Do you hate the West more than you hate those who would destroy you?”

Among Bawer’s books is While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within.

This new book, The Victims’ Revolution, has a subtitle: “The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind.” You will hear the echo of Allan Bloom’s classic, The Closing of the American Mind. I remember his telling Bill Buckley what he originally wanted to call it: “Souls without Longing.” Bill said, “Oh, what a marvelous title” (or something like that).

How about “Identity Studies”? Bawer devotes chapters to Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Chicano Studies. A later chapter is titled, “Studies, Studies Everywhere.” So true.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed Jeb Bush. And I noted that he had majored in Latin American Studies. I said to him (something like), “That’s a pretty lefty major, isn’t it?” He said (something like), “Yes. Aren’t all ‘studies’ lefty?”

If a person reads only the preface and the first chapter of Bawer’s book, he has more than gotten his money’s worth — more than. This is a vital, sparkling, and truth-telling book.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323309604578428900867620018.html?mod=WSJ_article_MoreIn_Opinion Atop the quotable Barack Obama there will be this: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” Everyone clings to something. But when it comes to criticizing unseemly political dependencies, it’s almost always liberals accusing them of clinging to […]


Senate Scuttles Gun Limits
Expanded Background Checks Fail; Obama Denounces ‘Shameful Day for Washington’

WASHINGTON—The biggest push in nearly two decades to restrict firearms in the U.S., touched off by the emotional response to December’s mass shooting of schoolchildren, collapsed in the Senate on Wednesday, scuttling a major element of President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.

The centerpiece of a Democrat-led gun-control effort—a plan to expand the system of background checks aimed at detecting buyers ineligible to own guns—failed in a 54-46 vote, six votes shy of the 60 needed to advance. Shortly afterward, the Senate blocked a proposal to ban the manufacture and sale of certain semiautomatic rifles often called assault weapons and ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. It drew 40 votes, with 60 senators opposed.

Mr. Obama denounced the Senate action in the White House Rose Garden, where he was joined by victims of gun violence, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.), who was gravely injured in a mass shooting. “This was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort is not over,” the president said.

Supporters of the background-check measure had hoped the co-sponsorship of Sen. Pat Toomey, a conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, would draw in his party colleagues. But only four GOP senators joined 50 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats and independents in support.

Wednesday’s votes showed that little has changed in the politics of gun control in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, which left 20 children and six adult staff members dead at an elementary school, as well as the attacker’s mother. Support for tighter laws is strong among most Democrats, but Republicans and those Democrats from GOP-leaning states proved reluctant to vote to tighten access to firearms.

The Senate isn’t expected to take a final vote on its package of gun-control legislation, in essence leaving the issue tabled. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) took a procedural step Wednesday that would enable lawmakers to return to the bill if dynamics changed.



President Obama rightly asked us not to “jump to conclusions” about motives or responsibility for the two bombs that exploded Monday at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 170.

That request was pre-emptively ignored. Some couldn’t wait to project their biases and political agendas on this latest act of terror.

In a tweet Monday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof blamed Senate Republicans for blocking confirmation of a new ATF director. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said, “Normally, domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right…” Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, echoed Matthews on “The Lead” with Jake Tapper.

Blogger Sargent_Rock, responding to Wednesday’s lead story in The Washington Post on the bombings, wrote, “The evangelical wing of the Republican Party is a mirror reflection of the Islamic right. Irony that neither knows it.” This comment mirrors those that suggested “talk radio” contributed to the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

People ought to be held accountable for their actions, whether they misuse a gun or build a pressure cooker bomb that randomly kills innocent people watching a marathon.

Given the times, the first reaction for some people to such incidents is to suspect Islamic terrorism. Authorities say that “a person of interest,” a 20-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, has been cleared of any responsibility in the attack.

Politics aside, whoever did it and for whatever reason, numerous questions will and should be asked.

Among those questions: Were the bombs placed in trash cans near the finish line? In the aftermath of 9/11, trash cans were removed from airports as a security precaution. Should the same be done at large gatherings? Should people be told to collect their own trash and dispose of it at home, or in receptacles outside the venue?


Justin Bieber hopes Anne Frank “would have been a Belieber,” according to a message the teenage pop star wrote in the guestbook of the Amsterdam Museum dedicated to the late Jewish diarist.

And our hypocritical guardians of memory reprimanded the bad guy in unison.

Within the category of Nazi victims, no one is more in the foreground of world imagination than Anne Frank. She is nomen omen of the Holocaust. If people have read just one book about the Holocaust, it is “The Diary”, which has been translated into sixty languages and published in more than 25,000,000 copies.

The Franks’ famous house on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, where the Frank family was hidden in a secret annex and where they were arrested in 1944, is the most frequently visited memory site in Europe (more than Auschwitz) and has had a major impact on how millions of people view Anne Frank.

But the Anne Frank Museum is also one of the reasons that Europe’s conscience is so violently anti-Israel. According to Cynthia Ozick, Anne Frank’s story has been “bowdlerized, distorted, transmuted, traduced, reduced, infantilized, Americanized, homogenized, sentimentalized, falsified, kitschified, and, in fact, blatantly and arrogantly denied”.

The Anne Frank Museum is guilty not only because it sanitized Anne Frank’s story of almost all its Jewish references in order to project what it considered to be more important, the general theme of universal suffering and its transcendence through undying goodness and hope. Anne’s universalism has been intentionally emphasized by the Museum and Foundation in order to play down any threat of Jewish particularism.


http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2013/04/15/obamas-china-syndrome/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=obamas-china-syndrome Secretary of State John Kerry spent the weekend showing what predictably comes of the North Koreans behaving badly:  China benefits.  Unfortunately, this is not the only example of the Obama administration’s cravenness in the face of misbehavior on the part of Beijing and/or its proxies. Call it Team Obama’s China Syndrome. Let’s start with […]




You read that right. In Saudia Arabia, at least three men were ejected from the annual Jenadrivah Heritage & Cultural Festival for being too handsome.

An official from the festival said the three men – who happened to be delegates from the United Arab Emerates – were “taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission [for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices] members feared female visitors could fall for them.”

As you most likely have heard once or twice before, Saudi Arabia is an incredibly conservative Sunni Muslim society that prohibits women from even so much as interacting with males they are not related to. So, in this situation, you can see why festival management would take extreme caution by deporting the three men to Abu Dhabi.

They’re like Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”, preventing a crime before it happens. And trust us, being ridiculously good looking is certainly a crime. We should know. The Mandatory team has been kicked out of a number of places for simply being way too attractive.



WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven months after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, the Obama administration on Wednesday insisted that it was making progress in holding accountable those responsible for killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has identified people it believes were involved in the Benghazi attack. FBI investigators are still combing through video and other evidence gathered from largely lawless eastern Libya, he said.

Kerry, however, didn’t say if any suspect has yet been arrested, detained or otherwise targeted by American or Libyan authorities — a lingering black eye for an administration that has repeatedly promised justice.

“We are making progress,” Kerry said. “There’s video, as you all know. We have identified people. And they are building a case. You know, we’re going through the tedious, laborious and very difficult process of gaining evidence from a part of the country which is dangerous and working in a place where the standards are different and the expectations are different. We’re working through that.”

The former Massachusetts senator, testifying before Congress for the first time as secretary of state, fielded several angry questions from Republican lawmakers over the administration’s diplomatic security posture ahead of the attack and its real-time response to violence in a city that served as the base for the U.S.-backed rebels who overthrew dictator Moammar Gadhafi a year-and-a-half ago. They included President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated but until now entirely unfulfilled declaration to hold Benghazi’s perpetrators accountable.



In Thomas Friedman’s op ed on the Boston marathon massacre (Bring On the Next Marathon, NYT 4/17), the boldface caption insists “We’re just not afraid anymore.” Perhaps this is true for a traveling journalist who doesn’t use the subway daily or who isn’t forced to spend all his days in the 9/11 city of New York, but for most thinking people who work and live here, there is a great deal to fear. We live in a porous society where criminals roam free yet politicians complain about the “discriminatory” stop and frisk policies of the police, even though they have successfully reduced crime precisely in the neighborhoods that most affect the complaining minorities and their liberal champions. If you ride the subways, you know how many passengers wear enormous back-packs, large enough to conceal an arsenal of weapons. These are allowed to be carried into movie theaters, playgrounds, parks, sports arenas, shopping centers, department stores and restaurants with no security checks whatsoever. On the national front, immigration policies are more concerned with politically correct equality than with the reality of which groups are fomenting most of the terror around the world today. Our northern and southern borders are infiltrated daily by undocumented people slipping in beyond the government’s surveillance or control.

Despite the numerous declarations of Islamist hatred of the U.S. and the exhortation to seek revenge through jihad, despite the number of successful and thwarted incidents of Muslim violence in our own country since 9/11, we continue to allow a questionable population of students and young adults to enter our country legally, without the means to keep tabs on what they are doing once they are here. We do little to stem the successful, extremist Muslim infiltration of our prison system, preying on an already violent population with the dangerous filter of seeing the expression of this violence as religiously ordained. Though no one has yet claimed responsibility for the Boston bombings, the modus operandi is exactly the same as many Islamist terrorist groups, from the type of bomb to the location of its detonation. If you or your family were victimized by this grotesque apparatus stuffed with nails to maximize its lethal thrust, why shouldn’t you be afraid, as well as agonizingly heartbroken? If you were a bystander who came withinl a hair’s breadth of being a victim, why shouldn’t you question what our government can do to actually protect us from another such incident?

Einstein’s Never Before Seen Israel Independence Day Speech Revealed

http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/04/17/einsteins-never-before-seen-israel-independence-day-speech-revealed/ Einstein’s Never Before Seen Israel Independence Day Speech Revealed A newly published document from the Israel State Archive and the Albert Einstein Archive at Hebrew University offers insight into famed physicist Albert Einstein ‘s view of Israel and the Middle East. The document is of a speech Einstein was to give on Israel’s Independence […]