Ta-Nehisi discovers that Pat Buchanan is a lunatic.
Ta-Nehisi discovers that Pat Buchanan is a lunatic.
Ta-Nehisi discovers that Pat Buchanan is a lunatic.
James Kirchick, who profiled the below-mentioned neocon gay porn king in The New Republic, passed along this press release:
June 15, 2009 (New York, NY) -- Lucas Entertainment is proud to announce that production has wrapped on its groundbreaking adult feature, MEN OF ISRAEL. This endeavor marks a first in the gay pornographic world, as the premier Israeli film produced by major adult studio with an all-Israeli cast. Executive Producer/Co-Director Michael Lucas and Co-Director/Videographer mr. Pam were on location for over a month, diligently scouting and shooting extensive amounts of footage for the film. MEN OF ISRAEL captures not only the irreproachable, physical beauty found in each and every Israeli, but also the unique and wondrous allure of the country itself. The exotic backdrops for many of the sex scenes eclectically range from the pristine desert cliffs of the Dead Sea, ancient ruins near Jerusalem dating back to over a millennium, to avant-garde skyscraper condos in the enriched metropolis of Tel Aviv.
Now the anti-Israel maniacs want people to boycott "Israeli couscous" at Trader Joe's. What prejudice! Israel has problems, yes (why, I just posted on one such problem), but the hard-left boycott-Israel folks are so discriminatory it's repulsive. My recommendation: Head to Trader Joe's and buy anything made or grown in Israel. I hear the Israeli couscous goes well with grilled scapegoat, by the way.
In an op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post, Samuel Freedman writes:
With President Barack Obama's forceful, repeated calls for a total freeze on settlements, he is surely betting that he can assail a consistent policy of Israeli governments, both Labor and Likud, without alienating his substantial support among American Jewish voters.
Freedman has written an important piece. The leadership of the organized American Jewish community - that means you, Malcolm Hoenlein - doesn't seem to understand what is happening in America, among its Jews, and also, by the way, among its non-Jews. American Jews - or let's say, for argument's sake, the Jews who voted for Obama, which is to say, most Jews - no longer conflate support for Israel with support for the settlement movement. Quite the opposite: Many American Jews see the settlements, as I have written many times, as the vanguard of binationalism, which is to say, an ostensibly Zionist movement that is anti-Zionist in effect. But liberal American Jews not only see the colonization of the West Bank as a demographic threat to Israel; they see it as a moral threat as well, a moral threat to Israel, and a moral threat to the previously mainstream understanding that justice is on Israel's side.
What all this means politically is that Obama is positioned now, in ways that previous American presidents weren't, to tell Israel what it needs to hear; that the Zionist idea is just, but that the Palestinian idea has justice to it as well. He will be able to cajole, and ultimately force, Israel to make compromises that might be painful short-term (Judea and Samaria, a/k/a the West Bank, is historically Jewish, as well as, more recently, Palestinian) but that will save the Jewish democratic idea.
Malcolm Hoenlein and the other grandees of the organized American Jewish leadership believe that masses of Jews will rise up against Obama if he forces Israel out of its settlements. They won't. I believe the majority of American Jews want two things: A secure Israel, and a moral Israel that is a light unto the nations. Settlements make Israel insecure, and they make it seem immoral in the eyes of the world.
You can already imagine the self-lacerating criticism to come, once people in the news profession realize that they've become a bit too forgiving -- that's a mild word for it -- of the Obama Administration. David Zurawik writes, in reference to the upcoming ABC News broadcast from the White House:
"[T]he TV press desperately needs to step back and question how it is covering President Barack Obama... It really is a cozy game that the White House is playing with the TV news industry, and it will be too late for us as citizens when some enterprising journalist (are there any left?) chronicles it in a book that is published two years from now. But wait, she or he will have to have access to the White House to get a decent advance, which demands its own kind of getting into bed with the administration."
Stephen Walt's desperate effort to portray himself as a brave truth-teller battling the cabal of Americans who happen to like Israel continues apace. (I have promised myself never to mention Walt, or his more academically-accomplished though equally-grubby partner, John Mearsheimer, without quoting Walt's Foreign Policy colleague David Rothkopf on their detestable careers: "They may not be anti-Semites themselves but they made a cynical decision to cash in on anti-Semitism by offering to dress up old hatreds in the dowdy Brooks Brothers suits of the Kennedy School and the University of Chicago."
After the President's very good speech in Cairo (in which he expressed disagreement with Israel's current course vis-a-vis settlements) Walt informed us that the subject of even-handedness in Middle East policy-making "had become something of a taboo issue, especially for anyone seeking a prominent career in American politics or in the U.S. foreign policy establishment." This is part of their campaign: To argue implicitly that the Jews will strike down anyone who dares question America's support for Israel. This argument also helped sell their pernicious book (published by one of the most esteemed houses in America), an irony they refuse to acknowledge. In any case, it struck me that the "taboo" of which they speak is actually no taboo at all, in the following two senses: People talk about the power of so-called Israel Lobby all the time; and they are generally not punished for speaking up (Charles Freeman was not marginalized, by the way, for speaking against the "Israel Lobby," but for his obsessional loathing of the very idea of Israel, and of course for his shilling for Saudi Arabia, and for his deep sympathy for China's Communist rulers.).
In any case, if it is indeed a taboo to talk about the power of the so-called Israel lobby, it is a taboo that won't shut up. Here's some evidence:
Roger Cohen, NYT, March 16, 2009: "Another distinctive characteristic of Iran is the presence of the largest Jewish community in the Muslim Middle East in the country of the most vitriolic anti-Israel tirades. My evocation of this 25,000-strong community, in the taboo-ridden world of American Middle East debate, has prompted fury, nowhere more so than here in Los Angeles, where many of Iran's Jewish exiles live."
Charles Freeman, CNN, March 15, 2009: "The objective of their campaign against me was to reinforce that hammerlock, to enforce the taboo against any critical discussion of Israeli policies and what they might mean for Israel's future or the future of the United States as affected by Israel's future; to ensure that this group -- which is a very well-organized group, as can be readily discerned from their messages crowing about how they organized this campaign -- to reinforce their veto power over appointments to the government; to ensure that analysis was not value- free, but pro-Israel in orientation and, to some extent, anti-Arab; and finally, to ensure that the policy process remains supportive of whatever it is that whoever is in power in Israel demands."
Scott Williamson, Indianapolis Star, March 13, 2009: Freeman's appointment in the face of such heated criticism would have been a blow to the taboo that forbids our public officials from disagreeing with Israeli policies. Instead, the successful character assassination campaign waged against him will serve as a reminder that there is still a price to be paid for criticizing Israel's actions.
Editorial, The Daily Star (Beirut), March 12, 2009: One of the biggest challenges that President Barack Obama will face in office will be to confront a problem that directly impacts US national security, but that is so taboo that few people in Washington are willing to talk about it openly. That problem is America's blind support of Israeli terrorism.
Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 10, 2009: In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can't, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America's blind support for Israel should be re-examined.
Christopher Ketcham, AlterNet, March 10, 2008: "Breaking the Taboo on Israel's Spying Efforts on the United States"
Paul J. Bailes, redress.cc, March 8, 2009: About the worst thing one can do in America or Europe is to criticize
Israel. "Freedom" even in academia doesn't allow critical comments
about Israel or Zionism. Those who risk it can lose their jobs and be
labelled anti-Semitic bigots. ... The gravest injustice allows Zionists to silence honest critics for violating the Zionist taboo.
An excellent piece -- read the whole thing:
"[T]he crisis in Iran has flushed out all the pathologies of American foreign-policy thinking, or feeling, in the post-Bush era. It's become weirdly difficult for commentators on both the right and the left to have anything close to a normal reaction to what the world is seeing. Instead, everything gets filtered through what you think about Bush, Iraq, Obama, Israel, and other subjects that have extremely tenuous connections to internal politics in Iran and the actions of the people and the state there. On the one hand, certain neoconservatives and hard-line defenders of Israel (Max Boot, Daniel Pipes) have sounded not in the least sorry about Ahmadinejad's corrupt re-election, or even come right out and welcomed it, demonstrating that neoconservatism is an offshoot of Leninism in its preference for the morally bankrupt position of "the worse, the better." (Credit where it's due: Bill Kristol's view on the events in Iran is uncharacteristically restrained.) Martin Peretz so despises the Islamic world that he's convinced himself (going on nothing more than a "sense") that Iran, contrary to all the evidence, is overwhelmingly Ahmadinejad country.
Thanks to the 150 or so people who wrote in about my poker dilemma (Read the original post here for explanation). I'm not only sharing the e-mails that argue my side (my side being the side that says I should have won three-quarters of the pot) but most correspondents thought that since I tied the low hand, I should have won the three-quarters. I've gathered some responses down below, starting with one from my friend and mentor, Seth Lipsky, who naturally ruled against me: "You lost, alas," he wrote."If you swing (i.e., declare both high and low) you can't tie in either direction. It's as old as poker."
Other readers came down on my side. Josh Chrisman: "My poker playing friends and I have encountered the same question. (One of the benefits of playing poker with engineers is that they insist on having rules for every conceivable outcome, no matter how unlikely.) Our answer is that a tie for high or low is acceptable if you have declared both. At our table you would receive three quarters of the pot, and the person with the other straight would receive one quarter. I have no official rule to offer you; just the wisdom of one crowd."
David Magilner: "You won the low, so you win half the pot. You tied the high hand, so you split the other half of the pot with the other straight. Not sure if this is 'official,' but it's the way we've played for years. Think if you had just declared "high:" you would have split the pot with the other straight...
From Eric Lin: "Easy answer. You get 3/4 pot. You get the low half, and you split the high half. Of course, home game rules vary, but that's the general rule. Next time, forget the "declare" -- cards speak."
And this, from Lee Novak: "I had to laugh when I saw your post on seven card high/low poker. I've been watching/playing nickel/dime poker with my dad's family my entire life. And the only people I've ever seen play seven card high/low is my Jewish family. Some of my fondest memories are watching my 90+ year old bubbie (now passed) wearing a green plastic visor and saying, 'Oy, these cards. You should deal in jail.' So I checked with the experts on this (and also asked about the Jewish connection to 7 card high/low). My parents who continue to play weighed in as follows: Mom: "It is a winner take all answer--no ties;. Jewish people use high/low as opposed to drinking!' Dad: "Tie doesn't win! His friends were right."
I'll post more responses later.
One of many e-mails I've received about Max Blumenthal's video. I don't post these sorts of e-mails in order to excoriate Max Blumenthal for fomenting anti-Semitism, but because anti-Semitism on the Web is a phenomenon that needs to be highlighted and fought. This from a man whose name I'm withholding, because why give him the satisfaction?
A few question for you:
1) Since when you guys consider yourself white?
2) Why should I, a tax paying American citizen, should pay for these scumbags in Jizzrael?
3) Haven't we decided to kick Jizzrael to the curb VIOLENTLY to get rid of this degenerate scum sucking nation once and for all?
4) Did you see that fat Jewish cunt, a political science major, not knowing who the prime minister of Jizzrael is? there goes the myth for importance of education among Jizzraelites no? the stupidity of Jizzraelites are mind boggling.
5) Tell me seriously, why we shouldn't implement royalty oaths for anyone with a remote affinity to Jizzrael?
6) Shouldn't we unceremoniously deport anyone with Jizzrael's passport?
The moment of truth is upon us Goldberg.
Aluf Benn criticizes those Israeli leaders who think that Ahmadinejad is a kind of blessing for their country:
The claim of pro-Ahmadinejad Israelis goes like this: The president in Iran is a puppet of the real powers - the religious leaders, led by Ayatollah Khamenei. Iran's nuclear plans have advanced and will continue no matter who is president and what that person's positions are. Therefore, it is better for us that Iran's most prominent spokesperson to be a Holocaust-denier who threatens to destroy Israel; that way it will be easier to garner support from around the world for pressure on Iran.
To understand how baseless this approach is, it is enough to look at what has happened over the four years of Ahmadinejad's rule. The Iranian nuclear project has crossed the "technological threshold" and reached the capability to independently manufacture enriched uranium without really being bothered from abroad except for hollow sanctions. During this period, Israel enjoyed a loving relationship with the Bush administration and a reasonable relationship with Europe, yet did not manage to get the international community on board to stop the centrifuges in Natanz. Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran's allies, armed themselves uninterrupted.
Meir Dagan, supreme cynic, tells a Knesset committee that the demonstrations in Iran will cease in the coming days, and a good thing, too, because Ahmadinejad is an easy foe to explain to the world:
"The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element...It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister."
I understand his point, and yet am repulsed by it at the same time, perhaps because I care mainly about which Iranians have the bomb, rather than whether Iran has the bomb. Maybe this is naive -- and maybe I'm caught up, as a suspected neocon fellow traveler, in the excitement of watching Middle Easterners attempting to free themselves from such an obviously tyrannical regime -- but I have to think that the people flooding the streets in protest are not the sort of people who would want to see their country enter a nuclear confrontation with Israel. Not, God forbid, because they like Israel, but because they're rational enough, and interested enough in the betterment of their own lives, to demand a government that puts a limit on Iran's foreign adventures. I recognize that the people of Iran do not currently shape their country's nuclear policy -- and their country's policies to Israel and the West -- but one can hope for better days, when they do.
The Holocaust Museum shooting last week led many people, including me, to think that we're seeing an uptick in the tempo of violent anti-Jewish attacks in America. We're certainly not in a situation analogous to that of Venezuela or France, and I would caution against overheating -- after all, no country in the history of the world has been as accepting of Jews as America has -- but the combination of white, right-wing fury, and Islamist rage is a nasty one. Here's a partial list of the anti-Semitic events of the past ten years. Judge for yourself whether this means anything:
August 10, 1999: Buford Furrow Jr., a 46-year-old white supremacist on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, opened fire with a semiautomatic in the North Valley Jewish community center in California. Two six-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl, and the receptionist were injured and a five-year-old boy was severely wounded.
April 28, 2000: Richard Baumhammers killed his Jewish neighbor, Anita Gordon, in a suburban area of Pittsburgh beginning a killing spree fueled by anti-Semitic beliefs. Five individuals were killed and one victim was left paralyzed.
In my recent cover story for this magazine (you can subscribe to it and read it on high-quality paper!), I wrote about the great divide in personal finance between them that know and them that don't. I realized that I was in the category of them that don't know. In other words, there are people in America -- very few of them -- who are privy to real-time information about the true state of individual equities, and mutual funds. The rest of us, I argued, are just guessing when we invest.
Well, count Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the number-two Democrat in the Senate, of being in the "them that know" category:
As U.S. stock markets plummeted last September, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The Illinois senator's 2008 financial disclosure statement shows he sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696 on Sept. 19, the day after then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged congressional leaders in a closed meeting to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. The same day, he bought $43,562 worth of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock, the disclosure shows.
To be fair, he didn't know everything -- he was probably smart to get out of mutual funds, but his investment in Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock hasn't worked that well for him, having dropped in value fairly precipitously since September.