Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Laziest Nation on Earth

Most politicians go around telling folks that America "is the greatest nation on earth." A bit of patriotic puffery, perhaps, but not without some truth either -- our accomplishments, influence, and reach stand unrivaled across human history. But Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has a different perspective. America is "a nation of slackers" -- and that's why we have an unemployment crisis.

Now, since Rep. King is among the dimmest bulbs in Congress, I feel compelled to explain again that the unemployment rate only includes persons who lack a job but are still pursuing one (otherwise it would include, for example, full-time students, and that makes no sense). So the idea that unemployment is simply the result of people slacking off is -- in addition to insanely offensive -- not really possible to square with what unemployment measures.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Michael Moore's Frustrations Boil Out Into Racism

Left-winger Michael Moore (Moore is not, to my knowledge, a registered Democrat, finding them too moderate for his tastes) has lashed out against Barack Obama, finding him to be acting too White for his tastes: "I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy..."

Bill Maher (who is a professional jerk) finds it funny too. As Ta-Nehisi Coates observes, it's just racist.
. It really is no better than the Kenyan anti-colonial bit, and in fact is good deal worse. I said this yesterday on twitter, but it would be as if my Jewish accountant messed up my taxes and I said, "Dude, you're Jewish, what the hell?!?!"

In fact, I'd be getting exactly what I deserved. If you paid more attention to Obama's skin color, than to his speeches, the voluminous amounts of journalism noting his moderation, his two books which are, themselves, exercises in moderation, than you have chosen to be ignorant.

You are now being punished for that ignorance. No one should feel sorry for you. Try not being racist.

This whole "acting White" phenomenon is so ridiculous anyway. It's just a racialized stand-in for "I don't like nerds" or "I don't like squares". But of course, the race-element to it invests it with an extra historical punch. And when White people arrogate to themselves the right to determine who is and isn't authentically Black (and, in effect, tokenize the entire Black race as their pet revolutionaries) -- yeah, that's pretty racist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Hamas)

Freshman Republican Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) has introduced a resolution endorsing any Israeli annexation of the West Bank. In doing so, he explicitly promoted a "one state" solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict:
Walsh asserted that "there is no such thing as a two-state solution, and no such thing as land for peace. The ultimate peace is going to come through annexation, through Israel having sovereignity over the whole land, from the Mediterranean to Jordan."

Hamas could scarcely say it better. A one-state solution ends up with a huge Palestinian minority; likely an eventual Palestinian majority. At which point they vote to rename "Israel" "Palestine", abolish the state's Jewish character, and in all probability inaugurate all sorts of illiberal and discriminatory legislation against Jewish residents.

I've noted before that Walsh is no friend of Israel or the Jews. And here we see proof of that. Walsh is advocating nothing less than the end of Israel, the end of the Zionist dream of a Jewish democratic homeland. It renders him arguably the most overtly anti-Israel Congressman since Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and the Jewish community should let him hear it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Unrepentant

A former St. Andrew's student convicted of racially abusing an Israeli classmate has been sentenced to a fine of 300 pounds payable to the victim and 150 hours of community service. He intends to appeal, but also had this to say about the student he abused:
“Mr Reitblat was an American studying over here so he’s from a rich family – I hope he gives the compensation to a good cause and doesn’t just fund his own greed.

Going straight back to the well with the "rich greedy Jew" trope I see. Well, at least he learned a valuable lesson.

(The victim actually is planning on donating the funds to victims of terrorist attacks in Israel).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jewish Jihadists

Tablet Mag has a mesmerizing piece up about the young women who attend a radical settler school deep in the West Bank, where they are raised to be extremist warriors against any agent (Israeli, Arab, or otherwise) seeking to remove them from the area. The article does a good job capturing the raw religious fervor underlying the girls (albeit also eroticizing it in a more-than-a-little-creepy manner). It also makes quite clear the utter disdain these radicals have for Israel and the bulk of the Jewish people more generally. Though they consider themselves fighters for the Jewish people, they have no qualms about violently resisting the state of Israel (and proudly boast of attacking Arabs and their desire for "vengeance"). This love/hate relationship they hold towards the broader Jewish community -- seeing themselves as authentic representatives of the people while simultaneously viewing most of their religious compatriots with contempt -- is a quality they share with certain other, similarly marginal strains of the Jewish communal tent.

But the most important point is the way the girls and their teachers talk is virtually identical to how radical Islamist extremists speak. This is not surprising -- expected overlaps amongst fanatical religious extremists aside -- the young women at times explicitly hold out Arab terrorists as models, wondering why Jews can't be more like them (once again, folks I thought to be my enemy are apparently instead models to emulate). They mock traditional Jewish concerns for justice and repairing the world, in favor of a vision of theocratic autocracy imposed at the tip of a sword. They are, in effect, Jewish Jihadists.

What's the Downside?

The line on the upcoming NY-09 special election (triggered by the resignation of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D)) is that Republican Bob Turner appears likely to score the sizable upset in this Democratic-leaning district. Turner has leveraged the anger some ancestrally Democratic but hawkish Jews (e.g., the Russian Jewish community) have towards President Obama's policies on Israel to pull into a small but noticeable lead as polls come to a close.

It certainly will be a feather in the GOP's cap if they win this race. But that's not what the post is about. Rather, it is about some last-minute mailers going out by Turner's allies attacking, once again, the proposed construction of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero.

Doug Mataconis, who says he probably wouldn't support the Democrat in this race, sees this and asks: "Do New York Republicans Really Want To Win An Election By Appealing To Religious Intolerance?"

Really? Do we even need to ask at this point?

Why wouldn't they? The tragic fact is that a significant portion of the American population doesn't think that Muslims should have the same rights as other religious groups to build Mosques. There is very little downside to latching on to it. If even the ADL is willing to join in the hit parade, why should Republicans feel skittish about it?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Refuse To Be Terrorized

It is the tenth anniversary of 9/11. There is a lot to reflect upon, most notably, the many thousands who lost their lives that day. It was a dark day for America, but also a day of courage, where brave men and women demonstrated that heroism and honor were well-represented amongst ordinary Americans who happened to be in New York, Washington, and onboard Flight 93.

How best to honor their memory? How best to defend against the scourge that killed them? Spencer Ackerman has it right: The best way to beat terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. To stand firm and resolute and insure that not a thread of our constitutional fabric, not an inch of our democratic tradition, not a morsel of our civic values, are sacrificed at the terrorist's altar. That's how we win, and they lose. And that's how you honor American courage.