February 2, 2016

The Abuse of Political Correctness in the Eyes of Two Comics

If nothing else this political season, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson to an extent, should be owed a debt of gratitude. This does not translate to a blanket endorsement of all their ideas, however. Without them, would the matter of "political correctness" have truly been brought into the open? More particularly, what it has turned into. And how it has affected society in a negative and potentially dangerous way.

It's akin to multiculturalism, a good idea run amok, until it becomes more important to achieve than the havoc it creates. The divisive concept of identity politics. Leave it to intellectuals enamored by theory to completely misjudge the reality of humankind.

It's also akin to issues like human rights, where the idea and aspiration is kidnapped on the international level by abusers, using it as a political sword and shield.

So why this post?

I was surfing and led to this video of John Cleese, and his apt words, "If people can't control their own emotions then they have to start trying to control other people's behavior."

and from that to this from George Carlin:

Of course, it's easy to find more like these. But since they expressed the point quite well, after I watched I decided to make this post and here it is.

It goes beyond the infantile, sincere belief there should be "safe spaces," however, particularly in matters of expression. Too often it has become a safe space to practice intolerance. The Yale Halloween costume episode comes to mind, but there is also the insidiousness when it is used to justify academic boycotts, or quash speech and stigmatize. Kirsten Powers's recent book, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, is replete with examples of wrongful behavior.

Perhaps the need to control comes from a fear that people, hearing something else, might actually see a different truth, one based in reality, and to realize hypocrisy going on in the form and practice of repressive tolerance, a construct of critical theory. But that's a topic for another time.

January 18, 2016

Diversity in Mainstream Media

From 1975 to 2015, Marc Rosenwasser worked as correspondent for The Associated Press and as a writer and producer for ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and PBS. He was the co-creator and, for its first two seasons, executive producer of PBS NewsHour Weekend.

Today, Rossenwasser penned a post, Does TV News Need Its Own Brand of Affirmative Action?

What prompted him were Facebook posts from fellow journalists, past and even present, that "routinely mock the Republican candidates, particularly Donald Trump, They portray him as a buffoon and all of his millions of supporters as ignorant yahoos, or, worse, haters."

His concern is that too many journalists come from similar backgrounds, have the same orientation, and hold similar world views. As the New York Times public editor wrote about its newsroom four years ago, it is overwhelmingly progressive, politically and culturally. To correct this imbalance, newsrooms need people with diverse backgrounds and different perspectives. "That will help us understand — and better explain — the complexities of the nation and the world that we cover."

This brings back memories of Matti Friedman's 2014 article, "An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth" in Tablet Magazine. Dealing with a different topic, journalism about Israel, a similar happenstance among journalists is presented. Friedman shows how a collective mindset conspires to achieve an purposeful political end, as it obscures objectivity.

A monolithic media often gets things wrong. Friedman illustrates:
And there was the Spanish civil war: “Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’ ” That was George Orwell, writing in 1942.

Orwell did not step off an airplane in Catalonia, stand next to a Republican cannon, and have himself filmed while confidently repeating what everyone else was saying or describing what any fool could see: weaponry, rubble, bodies. He looked beyond the ideological fantasies of his peers and knew that what was important was not necessarily visible. Spain, he understood, was not really about Spain at all—it was about a clash of totalitarian systems, German and Russian. He knew he was witnessing a threat to European civilization, and he wrote that, and he was right.
Perhaps we could do with some affirmative action to allay suspicions that journalists in the mainstream media have some sort of political agenda to advance when they show up for work. After all, voters are deeply divided, yet most journalists seem to come down on the same side of the political spectrum every time.

January 16, 2016

Some Words from the Republican Debate

Don't know who will be the next president, but it won't be Ben Carson. Unlike the others, he has no record to fall back on as a means to impress. Who wants to hear about the intricacies of surgeries he has performed?

This post is not to tout Carson as a candidate. However, it's not as if he has nothing to offer to the general debate. It would be nice to excise the best qualities and ideas from each candidate and create a perfect leader. The stuff of fiction.

One place where Carson struck a chord that should resonate among all is seen in the following question and answer at the Republican debate on January 16 in South Carolina:
BARTIROMO: Dr. Carson, one of the other candidates on this stage has brought Bill Clinton's past indiscretions. Is that a legitimate topic in this election? And what do you think of the notion that Hillary Clinton is an enabler of sexual misconduct?

CARSON: Well, there's not question that we should be able to look at past president whether they're married to somebody who's running for president or not in terms of their past behavior and what it means. But you know, here's the real issue, is this America anymore? Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles?

You know, you look at what's going on, you see all the divisiveness and the hatred that goes on in our society. You know, we have a war on virtual everything -- race wars, gender wars, income wars, religious wars, age wars. Every war you can imaging, we have people at each other's throat and our strength is actually in our unity.
You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section -- you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. And wherever it came from we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong. And let's not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.
The majority of people in American actually have values and principles and they believe in the very things that made America great. They've been beaten into submission. It's time for us to stand up for what we believe in.
Wish more people would heed these wise words. These roots are not necessarily about religion, but a way of living together in a state of general tolerance. It's far from perfect, but it is a key to why Western society is so successful and, dare I say, progressive!

And speaking of the question posed to Carson in the debate, Kirsten Powers raises an interesting question about changing norms in matters of alleged of sexual abuse in our absurd political environment, where cognitive dissonance reigns.

January 12, 2016

Obama's Last State of the Union

Disappointed, not surprised, and here's why.

One sense I never get from Obama is a genuine desire to compromise. It makes his clarion call that we are all in this together ring hollow. He has acted to divide and alienate using identity politics as a touchstone. He decries power and money in politics and society, yet takes full advantage of it when it benefits his desires. It makes the rhetoric Orwellian.

In the speech, he saw fit to lecture. As if many in the audience are ignorant about what is actually important, or care less than he does. It is condescending and arrogant, and not the way to bring people together. Yet he consistently uses mockery and puts his opponents down, not to mention the occasional abuse of power, the "Chicago" way.

Reading comments from the people he alienates is very sad, too. Hate is everywhere these days. It pours out even at the slightest attempt to distinguish. Why bother trying to engage in discussion, only to be impugned. It does not matter if it's an Obama hater or sycophant, the methods are the same. If words or ideas can be misconstrued, they will be misconstrued.

Unlike talking heads or bloggers, Obama's duty as president, is to serve "We the People," as he mentioned. However, too many Americans believe he does not recognize or respect their voices, but only those that agree. And when he allows his prejudice to show it allows his proponents to show theirs. It would be nice if Obama would walk the walk, despite what others may do or say, because of his unique role in representing all Americans. 

His view of the world also seemed skewed. The existential threat he denied is already exposed. ISIS spreads to more states. Europe's culture is increasingly stressed by multicultural relativism. He thinks these will not be of more immediate and dangerous impact than climate change. He seems convinced that all people share values, that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is universal. He is sorely mistaken. His normative projection of what should be conflicts mightily with what is.

Recognizing this reality does not vitiate a desire for harmony. To insinuate it does is a form of demonization that is too often heard. What is worse is that these theories of human nature, of what should be, applied, often fail miserably, while the elite proponents do not feel the effects of what they impose to better the rest of humanity.

Of course, it all seems to be spinning out of control. The ease at making white noise and manipulating through social media and disinformation does not portend improvement until after things get worse. It should not be that way, should it?

Welcome 2016!

It's a new year. An election year. And it may be as tumultuous as 1968.

So here's a new try at this blog, with a different approach, and we'll see what happens.

August 6, 2014

What Anti-Israel progressives need to hear, but won't

They need to hear, as well, the fact that being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist is much too often used as a screen to put forth views that are antisemitic.

This includes when Israel is singled out in discriminatory fashion, held to a standard of perfect conduct, while actors much worse are held to no basic standard at all. 

Thanks to Pat Condell for painting the picture, in spoken words, of amorality from people that pretend to be the opposite.

July 26, 2014

Israel and what the Obama contingent stands for

Interesting to see Obama's former best friend, Erdogan, reveal once again his fascist, Jew hating heart. Taking away his "Profile in Courage" award would be poetic justice.

And why is Obama trying to use the Hamas framework for an agreement?

Has he, or Kerry, ever imagined that interference can also make things worse?

And why is Obama tying funding for Iron Dome to the US border funding measure?

And why not speaking out over the wave of antisemitism in Europe?

Just what does Obama stand for? All he seems to do these days is attend functions where the audience nods in full appreciation as he spreads negativity about those who don't agree with him. He is in a bubble of adulation. When offered the opportunity to speak strongly about world conflict, he equivocates. Many are confused and many are emboldened.

Democrats increasingly do not like Israel. Far too many secular Jews, besides their overall ignorance and indifference, let their bleeding hearts reject the Jewish "Zionist" narrative, the one that is factual and based on the very liberal principles they claim to follow. Instead, they fall for the fake orientalist version where Arabs reject ANY responsibility for their fate. It is ALL the fault of the white West, as the situation deteriorates. What a canard.

Will these secular Jews ever wake up to the fact that even as they reject the Jewish religion, they will remain targeted just because they are Jews? It takes little energy for the tyranny of the majority to show its true self when it comes to Jews. Israel and Zionism and settlements are merely subterfuge for their intentions. When will they see that the people they listen to present an incomplete story that cannot see the difference between aggression and the response thereto?

I wonder what progressives have to say about this ignorance and apathy of support among them for Israel, and America, in favor of the most illiberal type of forces on Earth. Why is this growing among them and whether/how it should be confronted?

As the USA evacuates Libya, one of Obama's greatest disasters, the odd approach the Administration adopts, whether it interferes or withdraws, seems to contribute to every situation growing worse.

July 23, 2014

A few things the USA can do concerning Gaza

Lift the FAA ban. It singles out and punishes Israel economically while Hamas claims victory. One might argue it was intentionally to pressure Israel, rather than support our ally.

Investigate the UN role, particularly UNRWA, with regards to corruption, the weapons found at its schools (returned to Hamas), and the "humanitarian" use of cement to build tunnels for terrorism rather than infrastructure for peace.

Move to change the definition of a Palestinian refugee to exclude descendants and to turn over jurisdiction to the UNHCR. When we speak of "disproportionate" we need look no further than how much aid is given to Palestinians "refugees," as if their suffering has greater meaning than others in far greater numbers and more dire situations.

Work to get the ICC prosecutor to commence an investigation of the leaders of Hamas, especially Meshaal, for the undisputed war crimes and crimes against humanity it engages in, admitted by the Palestinian representative to the Human Rights Council.

Yes, some of these things may fail, but sometimes it is important to place things in the sunlight, force the wrongdoers to defend their abuses, and expose the malice they intend.

Past time for America, like Canada, to show without equivocation which side it is on.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments.

June 5, 2014

Torossian Channels Zabotinsky and Dylan about Israel and the Jewish People

originally posted at Israel Thrives

Read today a post by Ronn Torossian at FrontPage entitled, "To Roger Waters of Pink Floyd & Other Israel Haters."  It's a post I highly recommend, especially for those who reflexively disparage FrontPage as extremist and not to be included in discussion. Yes, these people do exist.

Although Torossian directs his post to Roger Waters and the Israel haters, so many of whom profess allegiance to human rights, yet act like imposters, the message he relates through those he quotes, may have greater applicability to the indifferent, ignorant and apathetic among us. They, too, bear responsibility for the state of what has been, what is, and most importantly what will be.

Ze’ev Zabotinsky said that Jews have nothing to prove to our critics. If anyone needs to apologize for overt persecution and continued bigotry and discrimination still practiced, is it the Jews, and by extension Israel? The critics tolerate conduct by others that make Jewish misdeeds seem paltry. Can they explain why?

Bob Dylan is no firebrand like Zabotinsky, and universally recognized in the eyes of the the indifferent, ignorant and apathetic among us. Dylan cannot be demonized and therefore dismissed like Zabotinsky, even as he communicates a similar message, in his 1983 song "Neighborhood Bully," unknown to this writer until today. Using a poetic form that the indifferent, ignorant and apathetic among us can relate, he provides a context and reality where nothing has changed.

Dylan's lyrics are partially quoted by Torossian, but are worth reading in full.
Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully
Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music
Those who judge the Jews, and by extension Israel, and particularly the people who live by the double standard, like Waters and other imposters, should look at themselves and take accountability, first, by making full recognition that the non-Jewish world has, in fact, behaved far worse against the perceived "Neighborhood Bully" and telling us why they allowed this to happen.

The "Jewish Incinerator" comes to America

originally posted at Israel Thrives

incinerator1There are many people, too many, more than can be counted, that don't acknowledge the extent to which Jews are subjected to bigotry in society.

Among the non-believers are those who say claims about antisemitism are only made for political purposes, to silence criticism of Israel, often from themselves, often with antisemitic effect. That does not mean they refrain from being political when it suits their needs, as the use of "Islamophobia" is rampant to chill the slightest criticism in the face of Muslim violence, toward women, homosexuals, non-believers, or even other Muslims (see here and here).

Much present day strategy of antisemitism comes from people who claim to be THE voice of human rights. Opposing Jew-hatred, to them, seems not included in the protection of human rights, and Jewish advocacy is merely a ploy to support Israel and perpetuate Zionism, the external self-determination for Jews.

A main strategy adopted by illiberal humanitarians in the name of human rights is based on a model used in the case of South Africa, to help eliminate Apartheid, an international crime. To these selective, even sanctimonious arbiters of morality and justice, Zionism is also an international crime. The strategy was largely developed in South Africa, in 2001, a few days before 9-11. As a result, the Durban Conference of 2001 (see here and here), never received the notoriety it deserved. It was a reiteration of the infamous 1975 declaration that Zionism is racism (see here and here), a malicious concept that persists to this day, under different cover, particularly on college campuses (see here and here) where activities like Israel Apartheid Week and BDS occur.

Most of these illiberals are a lost cause. Yet they are outnumbered by others that are well-intentioned, insulated from the fray, whose ignorance or misinformation becomes evident on discussion. How many who believe antisemitism is not a real problem know anything about Durban? Or the agenda of those that seek to delegitimize Israel, which happens to be the ONLY Jewish state, but no other states? As if that in itself is not antisemitic in principle and in effect. To all of these people on the periphery: WAKE UP! 

It is not just over Zionism or at the universities, however, pronounced as these are. Here we find the case of the "Jewish Incinerator." It has been reported (also here and here) that at a Chicago high school, a Jewish student was verbally attacked by classmates for months. His mother finally contacted school officials after discovering some of the students were further attacking her son and all Jewish people through a popular video-game app called Clash of Clans, and even created an antisemitic gaming group to play. In her words:
So I look down, I see it says Jewish Incinerator with their one goal is to gather all the Jews, put them in an army camp and dispose of them. I’m 42-years-old. I’m not new to this world. I didn’t become Jewish yesterday. I felt naive and shocked. We are in the year 2014. Really? At a school that my son has gone to? And I shake because I watched this group grow literally from four. Kids were just joining and joining.
In Europe, it is now common to see violence directed to Jews (see here and here and here). Hopefully the USA will never evolve so far down this road. Vigilance is necessary to weed out the poison because we have seen where it has lead. Which is why it is important not to act as if there is no problem, when evidence is seen almost every day that antisemitism, often posing as something else, remains a persistent evil, not a phobia. This is so even if some Jewish friends say it's all about Israeli actions like the "expansion" of settlements on Arab land, when construction is almost entirely the addition of housing units in what already exists. Before that Arabs, not to mention Christians, were Jew-lovers, don't you see?