Saturday, December 24, 2011
Bombthrowers and Condolences
Gingrich vs Romney has some familiar echoes. The obvious precedent for Gingrich is another bombthrower, Barry Goldwater, who would propose explosive things that were actually common sense, lacked patience for dealing with the media and his voting record was more liberal than his positions.
The Republican establishment is frantically warning us that we need to choose Romney as our Nelson Rockefeller, the stable reliable middle of the road guy. The man that no one can call an extremist. Maybe they're right. Maybe in a national election Gingrich will get the Goldwater treatment, just like he did while Speaker of the House. And maybe they're wrong.
Gingrich has plenty of enemies in the party like Goldwater did, including a former president or two, He has the establishment after him, which is terrified that the base will come into its own and shake their cozy chardonnay politics.
Gingrich has some assets that Goldwater didn't. He pays more attention to people and he hasn't been blindsided by a changing country and a changing media in the same way. Gingrich throws bombs, and that's a risk, but so is electing another Republican to polish up a Democratic mess and turn it into a permanent policy. Reagan's rise showcased what Goldwater lacked, the ability to defuse pointed rhetoric and infuse it with a friendly touch. Gingrich doesn't quite have that down and without it, he's going to have trouble winning an election. Goldwater was right, but he didn't make people feel secure. LBJ did and led to disaster. When faced with a choice between Gingrich and Obama, it's unfortunately possible that in a time of crisis the public will pick the candidate that makes them more comfortable, than the one who tells the hard truth.
But if we can't throw some bombs in the middle of a financial crisis that is threatening the future of the country, then when can we throw them? When the game is all over and Romney is retiring after two terms and a deficit so high that no one can quantify it, two liberal supreme court appointees who vote in lockstep with Kagan and Sotomayor, and less freedom and more regulations for all?
I don't have an easy answer, there are plenty of sites that are in the tank one way or another and can offer those. All I can do is hope that we make the right choice, whatever it might be.
THE MUSLIM OTHERHOOD
Liberals are only interested in Muslims as a means of fighting a culture war against the bogeymen of American “intolerance.” All-American Muslim isn’t interesting to them except as a vehicle for another protest movement.
The left needs an “Other” to justify its war against American traditions and values. Muslims conveniently provide that “Other,” a role that they began to fill after September 11. Even as the left denounces the right for “Otherizing” Muslims and associating them with terrorism, it is the left that is truly guilty of it. If the attacks of September 11 had never taken place and the War on Terror had not followed, then the left would have as much interest in Muslims as they do in Hindus or Baha’i or any number of other world religions.
See the rest in my article at Front Page, All-American Muslim: Religion of Protest
BIRDS OF A MURDEROUS FEATHER
It was another great day for the United Nations as Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the Qatari rep to the UN and the President of the General Assembly called for a moment of silence for Kim Jong Il.
The messenger boy of one dictatorship called for a moment of silence for the dead leader of another brutal dictatorship... all under the auspices of the UN. Except the messenger boy is the president of the General Assembly. I've gone into this in detail in my "10 Reasons to Abolish the UN" pamphlet, but this is the Democracy of Dictatorships at work.
The only official book of condolences for Kim Jong-il in North America is at the country's UN mission in New York, where a wall of white chrysanthemums is around his portrait.
The UN deputy secretary general, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, signed the book for the ''UN system'', a UN spokesman said.
Read that again and ask yourselves whether the UN has any business operating at all.
Meanwhile Jimmy Carter, Iran's fourth greatest president, sent a condolence letter to Kim Jong Il, joining the likes of Cuban thug Raul Castro, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Bangladesh, Iran, Belarus, Syria,
But out of tragedy comes hope. Pakistan offers to help North Korea chart a new course and the ANC Youth League has "much love" for Kim Jong Il. No word on condolences from Desmond Tutu.
The ANC or African National Congress Youth League was created by liberal hero Nelson Mandela and continues to live up to his principles. His actual principles.
The ANC Youth League wishes to send its heartfelt condolences on the passing away of the Great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il. As we remember this revolutionary we call upon the Korean people to forge ahead with the struggle to reunify their country, to free it completely of a legacy of Colonialism left to its people by imperialists represented by the United States of America.
But while all good Americans were cheering the ANC and Mandela, the ANC's leaders revealed themselves to be as bad as Zimbabwe's Mugabe.
IF I AM NOT FOR MYSELF
When the Berkeley Jewish Student Union voted not to admit J Street, the left-wing Soros-funded group, Hillel leaders at Berkeley came out in support of the anti-Israel organization, writing: “we encourage JSU to reconsider its vote and include JStreetU as a member” while touting themselves as an inclusive community.
The letter authored by Berkeley Hillel Board of Directors President Barbara Davis and its executive director, Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, claimed that the Berkeley campus affiliate of J Street adheres to Hillel’s Israel guidelines and promised that it would receive their support. In reality though Hillel’s own guidelines exclude organizations that delegitimize Israel, apply a double standard to it or that promote boycotts against it.
Naftalin has said, “We will not allow anyone calling for a boycott against Israel to become part of us.” But J-Street’s national convention featured a panel on BDS whose official description reads, “Our panelists will discuss their views on BDS’s efficacy as a means to end the occupation and move towards final-status talks, and the ways BDS may influence campaigns for peace in the United States and the region.” The panel included Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace, a major boycott promoter.
Read the rest of the shameful tale in Hillel Betrays Israel
GLASS HOUSES ARE ENORMOUSLY TRANSPARENT
A spokesman for President Obama‘s re-election campaign blasted Mr. Romney and questioned whether he had something to hide in his finances.
“Why does Governor Romney feel like he can play by a different set of rules?” said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign. “What is it that he doesn’t want the American people to see?
This from the administration that had to be badgered for three years into releasing its birth certificate. See the rest at Doug Ross' journal.
WHEN THEY STOP EVEN TRYING TO LIE TO YOU
At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin bizarrely praises Romney for not even promising to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. She is correct that Republican presidential candidates who got the big job promised it and then broke their promise, but is there something praiseworthy in Romney refusing to even promise something as basic as that?
"Unlike Newt Gingrich, for example, he’s not insulted Jewish audiences by playing on two emotional issues with pie-in-the-sky promises." says Rubin.
But since when is moving the embassy to the capital of the country it's in, a "pie in the sky" promise. You might think that Romney was being asked to end genocide forever or insure that no child goes hungry ever again. No, he's being asked if he will move the US embassy to Jerusalem. His response is that he will have to "consult" with the Israeli government, which is a misleading way of saying no, unless it's a slightly less misleading way of saying that he doesn't understand the issue... which is unlikely given how often he's jogged across the presidential block.
The Israeli government doesn't need to be consulted with. It has no objection to moving the embassy to its capital. It would like very much for the US embassy to be where it is in every normal country.
Sure it's bad when presidential candidates lie about moving the embassy, but what does it say about a candidate who isn't even bothering to make the promise?
Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection points out that Rubin misrepresented Gingrich on Pollard. The larger issue here is that Rubin is willing to misrepresent Romney's refusal to comply with congress and basic norms as a refusal to pander.
And Romney doesn't even get off on the not pandering charge. If he had said, "No" then he couldn't be accused of pandering to Jews. Instead he said, "Uh, why don't we see what happens and I'll umm consult with the Israelis and then have a sitdown with the Dalai Lama and then eat a blueberry pie." That's not the opposite of pandering. It's right up there with Obama's united Jerusalem.
What this column really does is mark Jennifer Rubin's transition from an advocate to parroting Tom Friedman like rhetoric, as she does in her conclusion.
As for Jerusalem, it really is time to stop promising something that the U.S. can’t and shouldn’t deliver unilaterally. If we want to maintain our role as a future broker in the (however presently dormant) “peace process,” we’re not going to make a move that will be read as a fait accompli on the final status of Jerusalem.
Really? The US can't unilaterally move its own embassy? If it can't unilaterally do that, then what can it do? Scratch its own nose?
The US can do it, but Rubin has decided it shouldn't, because the PLO terrorists and their foreign backers want to stake their claim on the city. Worse she's adopted the "honest broker" patter which mandates that the United States should be absolutely neutral when it comes to any piece of Israeli territory that the terrorists might want to one day get their hands on. But not neutral in pressuring Israel to give up that territory by denying basic recognition to its capital.
This is bizarre and a reversal of her own writing in Commentary. I am disgusted and disappointed.
Like him or not, Gingrich has spoken compellingly and specifically about the issues when it comes to Israel. Romney has pushed out the same boilerplate rhetoric that's borderline indistinguishable from Obama. Bachmann, Santorum, Perry and the rest of the lineup excluding Paul, have also been strongly supportive.
Maybe Gingrich is being completely insincere, but he's had a history of saying similar things over the years. And what he says again shows that he knows the issue.
Now to be fair, Romney has been asked this before and given a similar response that suggests he is just unfamiliar with the issue...
"The actions that I will take will be actions recommended and supported by Israeli leaders. I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do. But again, that’s a decision which I would look to the Israeli leadership to help guide. I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process, instead we should stand by our ally. Again, my inclination is to follow the guidance of our ally Israel, as to where our facilities and embassies would exist."
This is the kind of response that a candidate who doesn't understand what the discussion is about might give. Or it's the impression that a candidate who doesn't want to commit to anything might give. But it actually is pandering. This isn't an issue for Israeli leaders, it's an issue for American leaders who want to normalize the status of the US embassy.
Does Romney actually not know what the issue with the embassy is. His "leader of the peace process" line is fine, but all he really had to do was say that he supports making the move, so long as Israel has no objection to it. And since that interview it's been several weeks and he's still giving the same non-response.
Going back to the 2008 election, I don't see any statement from him on the embassy and his rhetoric hasn't changed much. It's still talk of indicting Ahmadinejad on charges of genocide and imposing tougher sanctions on Iran./ It would appear that Romney has never made a statement on the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which means that he should be asked about it directly with the introduction that it's a congressional act and that it would normalize the US diplomatic presence in Israel.
All Romney's vague rhetoric has don is provided ammunition to both sides. If he's really not interested in pandering then he can say clearly what he means.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PHONY MUSLIM HATE CRIME
For the last several days, news stories all over Kansas focused on the disappearance of Aisha Khan, a recently married Muslim woman. Khan made statements on her sister’s cellphone making this out to be some sort of hate crime by a drunk non-Muslim against Muslims, and it was reported that way by the dhimmi sheep in the media. Now, she’s mysteriously re-appeared with zero explanation about where she was and a whole lot more questions. Instead of a “hate crime” against Muslims, it appears the only crime committed here is her lies against non-Muslims.
For which she's not facing charges. When white people falsely make up crimes and pin the blame on an unknown black man, the media sagely nods its head and says, "Racism". But are they willing to say the same when it's Muslims making up crimes and blaming it on non-Muslims?
WAR ON CHANUKAH?
Can we claim there's a War on Chanukah now? These articles are everywhere and they rely on the same hopelessly stupid premises sprinkled with ignorance and false statements.
Slate had to dig up this drivel from 2005 which has gone uncorrected for 6 years.
James Ponet digs into a darker legacy of the holiday – an ancient Civil War between the Maccabees and Hellenists that has since been censored in religious texts.
Dig into a darker history? This is like claiming that you have to "dig into" the Civil War to discover that it was a civil war. If you start out knowing nothing, then I suppose you have to do some digging to learn this and other astounding facts, like Passover climaxing in the drowning of the Egyptian army and the Ten Commandments coming on two tablets.
Also the censored business is complete nonsense as we shall see.
The Hanukkah story is unremarked in the Hebrew Bible and barely referenced in the Talmud.
That would be because it predates the Bible and the Talmud is primarily a legal text and deals with such things as when to light the Menorah and how... not with providing a history lesson.
Instead, it is recorded in books that were banished from the biblical canon by third-century rabbinic authorities and exiled, as the Books of the Maccabees, to the Apocrypha.
You can't banish books that postdated the canon from the canon because they were never in the canon. It's like banishing the Wizard of Oz from the Bible. The very assertion is hopelessly idiotic.
That collection, which takes its name from the Greek "hidden away" or "secret," is mostly made up of Jewish writings in Greek—novels, sermons, histories, prophecies. The original story of Hanukkah, then, is the literary expression of a people that had deeply absorbed the language, thought, and values of Hellenistic civilization.
Assuming that the textual story that was kept around is the original or the definitive story is a fallacy. The reason why the Books exist is because they mimicked those forms well enough for the Greek derived civilizations to keep them around.
The original and definitive story of a people is oral and the original and definitive story of Chanukah is not in those books, but in the oral traditions of the Jewish people.
There are a number of reasons why rabbinic Judaism abandoned these texts.
Again you can't abandon what you never embraced. It's like asking why they abandoned the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Read in its historical context, however, the Hanukkah story is really about a revolt against the Hellenized Jews who had fallen madly in love with the sophisticated, globalizing superculture of their day. The Apocrypha's texts make it clear that the battle against Hellenization was in fact a kulturkampf among the Jews themselves.
This is like arguing that the American Revolution wasn't really a battle against British rule, but against the Greencoats. Or that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was really a fight against the Kapos.
The actual war was against Seleucid rulers and their mercenary armies and their local puppet rulers, just as the revolt against Herod was a revolt against the puppet regime of Rome. The goal was to win local autonomy from imperial rule.
So the miracle-of-the-oil celebration of Hanukkah that the rabbis later invented covers up a blood-soaked struggle that pitted Jew against Jew.
It only "covers it up" if you're James Ponet and reading the first paragraph in a Wikipedia entry is your idea of digging into a topic. The miracle of the oil was a key moment in the liberation of Jerusalem which meant taking control of the national capital. The two are part of the same story.
The "blood-soaked" struggle against the Syrian Greek overlords, their mercenaries and their collaborators is remembered in the actual songs and prayers of the days of Chanukah.
The rabbis drummed out this history with a fairy tale about a light that did not go out. But really, who can blame them—after all, what nation creates a living monument to a civil war?
Which is clearly why the added prayers of the Rabbis focus on the fighting. Because they were trying to "drum it out of history". Also what nation commemorates a civil war? Does Ponet know anything about American history? Probably as much as he knows about Israeli history.
Key words of Jewish self-understanding are still carried by Greek in the collective memory: synagogue, diaspora, Sanhedrin (the Rabbinic high court), and the very term Judaism.
Synagogue is mainly used in English, the actual term is Beit HaKnesset, ditto for diaspora, which is much more widely described as Galut, and those words are not used as a collective tradition, but because European languages incorporate Greek. Sanhedrin is the only valid one here.
Here we find the historical miracle that Hanukkah implicitly celebrates: the capacity to sustain intimate relations with another without totally ceding your own sense of self, the ability to love without permanently merging, to be enchanted by the exquisite beauty of another without losing sight of your own charms.
This is just gibberish and it has nothing to do with Chanukah.
Was the bloody Maccabean civil war and revolt necessary to the survival of Jewish identity?
It's a pointless question. Was the American Revolution necessary to create a separate nation? Might America have achieved independence without it and might it have avoided a civil war by doing so. Nations are created in the fire of desperate decisions. Trying to retroactively judge those decisions and imagine alternative outcomes is disrespectful to the people who made them.
Today, the Maccabean memory has been resurrected in the modern state of Israel in the image of Jew as warrior, and Hanukkah is celebrated by many as a military holiday
Chanukah is celebrated in Israel much as it in America.
But I propose that on Hanukkah, we ought to consider whether an ethnic group that wishes to survive must turn itself into a nation-state.
I would propose to consider some things about James Ponet, but that would be impolite. The Jews survived by being more than an ethnic group. Jews are a religious civilization, combining a familial identity, a religion and a nation. Jews have been able to hold on to the first two and survive, so long as they aspired to reclaim the third as well.
In the aftermath of the Bar Kochba debacle, at Hanukkah the words of the prophet Zachariah were read in the synagogue: "Not by power nor by might but through My spirit, says the Lord." In the glow of the candles this year we should wonder aloud whether the prophet's vision is but balm for losers or whether the international system may yet generate a new way for groups to be both part of the world and apart from it. Here is the hard question that an adult celebration of Hanukkah can bring into deliberate focus.
It's not a "hard question" it's the old anti-Zionist position of the Communists and the left.
First putting aside the obscene idea that Zechariah and G-d were looking forward to the UN as an idea in line with "Democratic Party with Holidays" religion, but unworthy of serious discussion, does the international system work? No it doesn't.
The Anti-Zionists who had some sense of integrity admitted that after the Nazi and Soviet repressions of the Jews. With the UN's obsessive issues with the Jews, it's obvious enough that the current system doesn't work either. No one who actually cares about the Jewish people would propose otherwise.
Second the international system does not create such an apartheid way of living, it is dominated by one group or another which uses it for its own purposes. That is human nature and aspiring to some godless human utopia is exactly the opposite of Chanukah.
At the Security Roundtable, one quote among a roundup of quotes that is worth remembering
"When you conjure up the word 'settlement,' you think about the Old West, pioneers and all that. It is really more like a development, that is all it is. Settlement is the wrong word to use. If you want to describe it to Americans, it is really a development."
But give Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg 5 minutes and "development" will come to see every bit as ominous as the formerly innocuous settlement.
Enter the Moderate Islamist and the Palestinian Authority Exposed
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Dec. 20, 2011 public embrace of Amna Muna – a ruthless Palestinian terrorist – exposes his authentic ideology...
Abbas is true to his roots. In the 1950s, in Egypt, he was a key operative of the Muslim Brotherhood, which fervently believes in a divinely-ordained Islamic domination of the globe, religiously and territorially. Abbas refers to terrorists and suicide bombers – who intentionally and systematically murder, maim and intimidate civilians - as “freedom fighters.”
Meanwhile the wages of Haredi divisions are paying dividends that are destroying Jerusalem.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded to Barkat's plan saying "Barkat is ignoring paragraph 97 of the Criminal Code of the State of Israel - that says any act which adversely impacts the sovereign territory of the country or surrenders land to a foreign state [without government approval] is an act of betrayal."
But when has the left paid any attention to criminal codes?
On Fascism and Theater from Edward Cline at Rule of Reason
This is “democracy” in action. It was and still is stage-managed theater. It has not changed at all from the first time I saw a convention on black and white television. Being caught in the middle of such a phenomenon would be as scary to me as being surrounded by a mob of Muslims carrying signs that read “Behead those who insult Islam.” One would be tempted to strike out at the maddened, sweating fools on the convention floor, only at the risk of being pummeled to death by delegates from Wisconsin and Idaho and Massachusetts and California. They would all plead temporary insanity, and get away with it.
And from Crocodile Words
“If we are building a universal culture, and I believe we are, we must be all the bigger for it. It is incumbent upon us to shepherd the least experienced cultures, culture-ward. We either are or we are not representatives of civilizational largesse. As such we have a responsibility to the less big, the less powerful. Just because we can do something does not mean we have to do it. We can’t be seen endorsing adolescent hijinks. We’ve got to be bigger than that. The university is not an echo chamber, but neither is it blotting paper—everything to everybody. We are a community of conversation and we can set ground rules. We can and do abide free speech insofar as it allows us to maintain community
Finally, "Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors insists that the last Holocaust imposes upon all people of good will a moral and political imperative to prevent the next one. We refuse to ignore the sometimes uncomfortable implications of our commitments. We believe that the threats faced by the world are no longer limited to Jews and to Israel. CJHS believes: That political Islam represents an existential threat to the West and to the Western traditions of liberal tolerance and individualism.
CJHS is raising money to be able to continue its good work. You can donate here.
THE POST-CHRISTIAN EUROPEAN CHOIR OF EURABIA
Latma is out with its new video of the post-Christian European choir of Eurabia.
And the original classic Jihad Bells.