Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jewish Anti-Semitism

So it has now come to the point where being an anti-Zionist makes you anti-semitic. This point was probably reached some time ago, but now it's official: if you are even just wrestling with the notion of Zion, you are, in the view of the American Jewish Committee, a racist.

From the New York Times:

An essay the committee features on its Web site,, titled “ ‘Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,” says a number of Jews, through their speaking and writing, are feeding a rise in virulent anti-Semitism by questioning whether Israel should even exist.

David A. Harris, the executive director of the committee, writes that those who oppose Israel’s basic right to exist, “whether Jew or gentile, must be confronted.”

Tony Judt, a historian at New York University, said “the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is newly created,” adding that he fears “the two will have become so conflated in the minds of the world” that references to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust will come to be seen as “just a political defense of Israeli policy.

Leave it to a historian (and Tony Judt is a good one) to point out a slippery slope. I think his point has credence: the "you're either with us or against us" mentality is outrageously polarizing, and completely throws the whole Marketplace of Ideas out the window.

Letting the Marketplace of Ideas weigh in on this one is telling:

Michael Posluns, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, wrote, “Sad and misbegotten missives of the sort below make me wonder if it is not the purpose of mainstream Jewish organizations to foster anti-Jewishness by calling down all who take from their Jewish experience and Jewish thought a different ethos and different ways of being as feeding anti-Semitism.”

A bit of a rhetorical stretch, but not unreasonable. Meanwhile:

Shulamit Reinharz, a sociologist who is also the wife of Jehuda Reinharz, the president of Brandeis University, wrote in a column for The Jewish Advocate in Boston: “Most would say that they are simply anti-Zionists, not anti-Semites. But I disagree, because in a world where there is only one Jewish state, to oppose it vehemently is to endanger Jews.”

So while Professor Posluns calls out the Jewish community to self-examination for their "all or nothing" stance, Mrs. Reinharz demands Zionism be redefined to be synonymous with Jewishness. Slippery slope, indeed.

It's really a shame Abra doesn't check this blog, as I am sure she has some choice thoughts on the subject. I myself (in case you could not tell by my comments) think it is dangerous and ridiculous, and consider this to be the latest symptom of our knee-jerk culture of instant offense - where any remarks critical of Jews brand the interlocuter that worst of all epithets, the ANTI-SEMITE. Questioning the wisdom of Zionism is not like denying global warming or believing in phrenology. But to hear Shulamit Reinharz tell it, you are ACTUALLY PUTTING JEWISH PEOPLE IN DANGER by promulgating these very ideas.

Now THAT'S dangerous.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Speaking of Hugh Hewitt...

As regular readers of the poor man already know, Hugh Hewitt beat out several worthy adversaries for the site's Chickenhawk of the Year contest, with this brazen contention on his so-called show:

Time Baghdad correspondant Michael Ware: Let’s look at it this way. I mean, you’re sitting back in a comfortable radio studio, far from the realities of this war.

Hugh Hewitt: Actually, Michael, let me interrupt you.

MW: If anyone has a right…

HH: Michael, one second.

MW: If anyone has a right to complain, that’s what…

HH: I’m sitting in the Empire State Building. Michael, I’m sitting in the Empire State Building, which has been in the past, and could be again, a target. Because in downtown Manhattan, it’s not comfortable, although it’s a lot safer than where you are, people always are three miles away from where the jihadis last spoke in America. So that’s…civilians have a stake in this. Although you are on the front line, this was the front line four and a half years ago.

Sending 800,000 privileged youths to the front lines may be more in keeping with the Powell Doctrine, but it would be so much more satisfying to see HH confronted with the realities of combat - for that matter, with reality in general.

Hewitt also figures in Mark Helperin edging out a very competitive field (including Fred Barnes and Victor Davis John Jacob Jingleheimer Hanson) to hoist the poorman's Fluffy Award, for egregious unrestrained and unwarranted ass-licking. As Gleen Greenwald eloquently recounts, Helperin, after being savaged on Hewitt's terrible show for his wicked liberal upbringing, debases himself by obsequiously kowtowing to HH, begging him to take back his (outlandish) contention that Helperin is a (gasp!) liberal. The whole thing would be bad enough if Helperin was another stain on the right-wing infotainment stuporhighway; but since he is instead the Political Director of notorious pinko media outlet ABC News, I have to agree with Greenwald here:

I really question whether someone who has obviously made it such a high priority to obtain a very personal form of right-wing absolution can possibly exercise appropriate news judgment. If Halperin is willing to expend this much time and energy and shower Hewitt with such gushing praise -- and if he's willing to make such a public spectacle of himself when doing so -- all in order to convince Hewitt that he isn't liberal, won't that goal rather obviously affect Halperin's news coverage? Isn't there something extremely unseemly about the political director of ABC News engaging in such an intense campaign to win the approval of one of the most blindly partisan, extremist Bush followers in the country?

What a douchebag.

Speaking of which: here's a link I'd tag as NQSFWBAWAL (Not Quite Safe For Work But Absolutely Worth A Look): Hot Chicks with Douchebags. It's the kind of brilliant website that makes me wonder: How exactly did people make sense of the world, in all its rampant douchebaggery, before the internet?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One view of Biblical "contradictions." I had heard this fellow on the Hugh Hewitt show but found him this evening while doing a web search for the discepencies in the "date of Jesus' death" mentioned by Jeff at what is, again, the finest house in all of the Red Suburbs. Should Biblical contradictions interest you, what do you think of this Mark Roberts fellow?

Monday, January 15, 2007

An Even bigger Asshole than Sullivan I am not worthy of you, Mr Burroughs. I am a card carrying member of the Moose Club, so I must be some Blatz drinking lunatic who would find Hegel confusing and would spurn a Chicago style pizza because it doesn't taste white enough for me. The mere act of reading Ann Coulter prevents me from either rational thought or proper erectile function. If only I were smart enough to understand Sullivan, surely I would agree with him. Again I say, what an unbelievable asshole. "If you are a member of the Elks Lodge, this isn't for you?" Has this horse's ass ever been to an Elks' Lodge? Apparently the only fraternity this fellow cares for has it's meetings in bath houses.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

War Bloggers

Over the last few months I haven’t been paying much attention to the winger warbloggers, because 1) I consider them to be, in the words of the veep, “just a few dead-enders” with an inexplicable loyalty to a failed regime, and 2) because the few times I have visited, the sour grapes have been so overwhelming that they crowded out even the minimum amount of serious policy discussion that occurs there in the absence of a bloody election fight.

But I went over to yesterday to see what was on the minds of the loyal opposition, and I really had a hard time believing my eyes. The post is entitled--get this--“Dems Seek To Ensure Defeat As President Bush Plans Victory,” and here are a few choice selections:

President Bush has been hard at work reorganizing his security team and seeking advice and ideas from a wide variety of sources on how to achieve victory in Iraq.

I'll get back to the President's thorough review of war strategy in a minute, but first, think about how the Democrats have responded to the President Bush's careful review of our war strategy. There is no other way to describe it: the Congressional Democratic leadership is trying to ensure defeat.

It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Democratic leaders wouldn't demonstrate the common sense to listen to how we can achieve victory in Iraq before telling the world we must accept defeat and withdraw, or "redeploy," as the Democrats phrase it.

President Bush has been gathering advice from leaders here, leaders in Iraq, and allies globally. He has gone through this effort to find common ground, as he says, "not for the good of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, but for the good of the country.

Our security and the future of a vital region of the world depend on victory in Iraq. It's too bad Democratic leaders won't even listen to how it can be achieved.

I hate to use the word “objective” in political discussions; it’s usually applied, as a rhetorical trick, to something utterly subjective in order to lend it weight and credence. But these statements are as objectively those of a madman as the lunatic ravings of Baghdad Bob when he claimed that US troops were committing suicide at the gates of Baghdad.

Reading him, you almost feel at a loss for words; the questions that arise in response to this childlike profession of faith are so numerous and urgent that you want to vomit them all out simultaneously. You want to sneer at and ridicule the insincere innocence of his tone, but then, being a decent person, you say to yourself “He can’t really write crap like this and not believe it, can he?” and so you’re forced to conclude that the innocence is real, and then your skin begins to crawl and your head begins to hurt, and, oh boy, here come those vomitous questions again…

However, you recover your composure and settle your stomach with some delicious Vernor’s (Michigan’s Own!) ginger ale, and jot down the following simple question, based on the following unambiguous information (which, not being very well read yourself, you steal from one of the bloggers who actually knows what he’s talking about):

The big talk this past week, and probably the centerpiece of Bush's announcement (to take place Wednesday night), is the "surge"—20,000 additional U.S. combat troops to be deployed to Baghdad, as part of a classic strategy of "clear, hold, and build." This means swooping a lot of troops into a particular area (a town, a village, a neighborhood, whatever), clearing it of insurgents (i.e., killing or capturing them), and leaving behind enough troops or police to maintain order so that reconstruction can take place—while other troops move on to clear, hold, and build in the next troubled area on the list.

Petraeus and his co-authors discussed this strategy at great length in the Army's counterinsurgency field manual. One point they made is that it requires a lot of manpower—at minimum, 20 combat troops for every 1,000 people in the area's population. Baghdad has about 6 million people; so clearing, holding, and building it will require about 120,000 combat troops.

Right now, the United States has about 70,000 combat troops in all of Iraq (another 60,000 or so are support troops or headquarters personnel). Even an extra 20,000 would leave the force well short of the minimum required—and that's with every soldier and Marine in Iraq moved to Baghdad. Iraqi security forces would have to make up the deficit.”

The question is: how does what the president is going to propose even approach a serious strategy if it utterly fails to meet the Army’s own minimum standards for troop strength in such a scenario? Does this sound like a familiar refrain to any of you? And even if he wanted to get serious about the surge, where would he find these several hundred thousand extra troops? There is nothing leftish about asking these questions, but the warbloggers have staked their shredded reputations on slavish devotion to their man-child king, so even attacking him from the right is apparently out of the question for many of them.

Friday, January 05, 2007

If you don't like the science, there's always slander

Global Warming Denier Michael Crichton Fictionalizes Critic as Child Rapist
By Paul Kiel - December 14, 2006, 11:45 AM

The battle between anti-global warming activists and their critics is frequently uncivil. Name calling, put downs, you name it, they fling them.

But this marks a new threshold, I think.

This March, Michael Crowley wrote a cover story (sub. req.) in The New Republic hitting blockbuster novelist Michael Crichton's very public denials that global warming was a proved phenomenon.

That was the last he'd heard from Crichton until he picked his latest novel, Next. Here's what he found:

Alex Burnet was in the middle of the most difficult trial of her career, a rape case involving the sexual assault of a two-year-old boy in Malibu. The defendant, thirty-year-old Mick Crowley, was a Washington-based political columnist who was visiting his sister-in-law when he experienced an overwhelming urge to have anal sex with her young son, still in diapers. Crowley was a wealthy, spoiled Yale graduate and heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. ...

It turned out Crowley's taste in love objects was well known in Washington, but [his lawyer]--as was his custom--tried the case vigorously in the press months before the trial, repeatedly characterizing Alex and the child's mother as "fantasizing feminist fundamentalists" who had made up the whole thing from "their sick, twisted imaginations." This, despite a well-documented hospital examination of the child. (Crowley's penis was small, but he had still caused significant tears to the toddler's rectum.)

In an article posted to the New Republic's Web site today, Crowley responded:

The next page contains fleeting references to Crowley as a "weasel" and a "dickhead," and, later, "that political reporter who likes little boys." But that's it--Crowley comes and goes without affecting the plot. He is not a character so much as a voodoo doll. Knowing that Crichton had used prior books to attack very real-seeming people, I was suspicious. Who was this Mick Crowley? A Google search turned up an Irish Workers Party politician in Knocknaheeny, Ireland. But Crowley's tireless advocacy for County Cork's disabled seemed to make him an unlikely target of Crichton's ire.

And that's when it dawned on me: I happen to be a Washington political journalist. And, yes, I did attend Yale University. And, come to think of it, I had recently written a critical 3,700-word cover story about Crichton. In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist. And, perhaps worse, falsely branded me a pharmaceutical-industry profiteer.


From the January 2 edition of NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams:

MIKLASZEWSKI: Administration officials told us late today that President Bush has now all but decided to surge those additional combat troops into Baghdad to try to get control over the violence there, and only then could they accelerate the turnover of territory to Iraqi security forces. Fact is, they're just not up to the task yet.

The plan would also throw more U.S. money at Iraq for reconstruction and a jobs program. Now, interestingly enough, one administration official admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one because the American people have simply run out of patience and President Bush is running out of time to achieve some kind of success in Iraq. And while this plan will clearly draw some stiff opposition up on Capitol Hill, the president is expected to announce it a week from today.