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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Manufacturing Intolerance

By On November 30, 2013
By now everyone knows that Dayna Morales, the lesbian waitress who claimed to have been denied a tip over her sexual orientation, was lying. It's not the first politically correct receipt hoax and it won't be the last. These hoaxes happen because leftist activists promote them and the media picks them up. The world is full of liars and con artists, but it's revealing to see which of their lies and cons succeed.

Morales' hoax is a blip in the larger pattern of faked hate crimes. Bigotry is the witch hunt of the modern Salem and progressive witch hunters are just as careless about facts and evidence. Now as then, the goal is to stamp out an attitude and a cultural threat, rather than to enforce the law, and that leads inevitably to the entire tawdry parade of hysterical denunciations and moral panic.

But what is behind this need to manufacture intolerance?

The left built up its replacement for class warfare around identity politics. Though we take most of these identities, including the racial trinity and homosexuality, for granted, they are really modern artificial constructs that define how people should define themselves, rather than accepting them as they are.

Strangely enough, racial and sexual identities were more nuanced centuries ago than they are today where the "one drop rule" now goes completely unchallenged in matters of race and equally so in matters of sexual orientation. Anyone who can be claimed on any grounds by the victim group, must be identified with them or face accusations of false consciousness.

We are less willing to contemplate biracial and bisexual today than we were a century ago. Instead leftist collectivism demands that everyone be either one thing or another. Everyone is divided into categories of victim and oppressor. Just as no one can be both on both sides of the class struggle; so too the left rejects the idea of being on both sides of the victim line in race or sexual orientation.

On Seinfeld, Jerry's dentist joined Judaism for the jokes. Leftists are joining native tribes for the victimhood. Meanwhile they're defining those identities solely in terms of victimhood.

The absurdity of people lining up to be victims has led to the proliferation of fake Indians, like Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill in the United States, and white aborigines in Australia. The fake indigenous tribal has little in the way of a genetic or cultural connection to any native people; but chooses to trade in his or her white identity, at least temporarily, to enhance their leftist politics.

They are engaging in a fraud much bigger than a forged receipt; but they are doing it for the same reasons.

An identity defined in terms of victimhood needs fresh injections of oppression to sustain its existence. Those African-Americans who define "blackness" not in terms of positive values but in terms of negative values, need white racism, the real thing or the fake one, to remind them of who they are. And the same holds true for other oppressed minorities who define themselves not by their culture or values; but by their resentments.

Intolerance has become identity. If you define your minority identity on the left's terms, then if you aren't being oppressed, you aren't real. And if you constantly read accounts about other black people or other gay people being discriminated against and those experiences don’t match yours; you begin to wonder if something isn't wrong with you. If maybe you aren't an authentic member of the group.

There are two ways out of this intellectual trap; either recognizing that an identity need not be based on a sense of persecution or becoming "creative" about finding new forms of persecution.

It's easy to mock Dayna Morales for forging a receipt snub. If only she had learned about critical race theory, she would have been able to denounce the family in question for their privilege. Instead of faking a receipt, she would have been able to express her internal need for persecution in the political language of the left.

Dayna only forged a single receipt. Obama spent five years in the White House forging phony racism accusations to protect him on every issue from the economy to ObamaCare.

The left's need for victimization means that increasing levels of tolerance actually lead to escalating confrontations with these manufacturers of intolerance. The assertion that all white people are innately racist because of their privilege is one such response to increasing tolerance. By claiming that whiteness itself is racist, the left gets back to political identity, rather than actual discrimination, as the source of conflict and redefines even the most tolerant university multicultural spaces as racist.

The manufacturers of intolerance, whether they're tenured academics like Ward Churchill, professional politicians like Barack Obama or angry waitresses like Dayna Morales, respond to tolerance with provocations. Their goal is to elicit evidence of intolerance to sustain their political identity. The more tolerance they encounter, the more they escalate their provocations.

Their goal is not a tolerant society. It's not a multiracial society or a post-racial society. It is a society perpetually at war over identity politics. That conflict is what gives them power.

Tolerance provokes them by challenging their identity as members in good standing of the officially oppressed. Being accepted insults the entire basis of their identity. Schizophrenics experience the discontinuity between the real world and the distorted world in their heads as threatening. Likewise the left, which insists on racism, reacts with paranoia to any talk that the country has become more tolerant. Their political schizophrenia is unable to accept America as it is. Instead they are bent on seeing the bigoted country that they experience inside their own heads.

Paranoid schizophrenics manufacture things to be paranoid about. Identity politics manufactures its own illusory bigotries. The schizophrenic Two Americas of liberals are really the America that exists and the hateful cartoon of it that they draw in their own heads, depict in movies, scrawl into articles and broadcast on television.

Liberals claim to want a better America, but they reject it at every turn. Their cynicism even poisons what should have been their triumphs.

Obama's victory was an opportunity for healing and unity. Even many Republicans cheered his inauguration, but liberals rejected the gift that Americans were giving and instead doubled down. Racism became their response to everything. Now every week brings another editorial accusing skeptics of government health care of being the new Confederacy. The New York Times even ran an op-ed describing a new Mason-Dixon line composed of states that rejected Medicaid expansion.

As disappointing at this behavior was to many, it was an inevitable as that forged receipt. The left derives its purpose from defending the oppressed and doling out social justice. If racism were gone, it would have to find a new reason to justify its existence. It had to go through that once when class warfare imploded under the pressure of American prosperity. It isn't about to go searching for a substitute for the racial tensions it manufactures.

The dominant political identity groups have responded to growing tolerance in the United States by defining intolerance down or provoking intolerant responses through aggressive publicity stunts. If the stunts don't bring out disgust and anger that they can work with, then they will simply invent intolerance wholesale by claiming that bigotry isn't an act or a word, but an innate attitude that lurks buried deep within the majority group. And that the only healing can come when the majority rejects its own identity and joins a minority group.

Beyond the community organizers, the academics and the political hacks who feed off that hatred are the millions of Americans who have not only unknowingly swallowed their dogma, but who have built entire identities around that sense of insecurity and oppression. These people are driven to organically manufacture intolerance because it defines who they are.

The left has dumped millions of Americans into this shadowy world where they have no positive reason for existing, only a negative one of defying some phantom establishment of patriarchy and some nebulous idea of white privilege.

Wearing chips on their shoulders they seek to provoke the confrontations that give them meaning and when their anger is met with tolerance, they manufacture intolerance with forged receipts, with accusations of white privilege, with fake hate crimes and phony accusations of racism.

It's a short distance from Dayna Morales forging a receipt to get some money and attention to Barack Obama faking accusations of racism to win a political fight and score another term.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Afternoon Roundup - Happy Chanukah and Thanksgiving

By On November 29, 2013


Soon an entire expert class was profitably employed predicting doomsday and teaching corporations to Greenwash their products. These were the Green versions of the leftist sociologists who had predicted race wars if economic inequity went on and the radical Black activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who had monetized their instant racism into sensitivity consulting firms and national organizations.

Once again, Green followed Black. J.P. Morgan had received hundreds of millions in state payments from its food stamp card empire. Herbert and Marion Sandler made billions from subprime mortgages and Google is cashing in on housing project tax credit funds managed by a financial services company heavily invested in by Warren Buffett.

Twentieth century wealth redistribution was imposed by fear of race riots. Twenty-first century wealth redistribution however is being driven by threats of planetary annihilation.

Environmentalism Is the New Racism

Student Paper Editor Claims Mustaches are Racist - “Educate yourself on the issue, and think twice before growing a mustache.”


Bill Clinton could have used the breathing room after the collapse of the Soviet Union to stop nuclear proliferation at the source in North Korea. Instead he let the worst mass murderer in the world play him for a fool while he launched a bombing campaign against Yugoslavian trains, water towers and the Chinese embassy on phony charges of genocide.

If an American city vanishes in nuclear fire in the next decade; the blame will belong to Clinton most of all. Obama is only a coward who blusters and threatens Americans, but who bows before every foreign tyrant. No one would have expected him to do anything except cut a deal that would score him a few points during a domestic crisis and let a terrorist state keep its nukes.

The final death toll from ObamaCare may end up being in the millions if a future nuclear attack happens because Obama needed something to shore up poll numbers that were falling over an inability to make a website work.

 Why Obama’s Iran Nuke Deal Is a Good Thing

Obama Negotiating with Hezbollah Terrorists - “The US is willing to “warm up to a direct relationship in the future.”

Cancer Patient Who Spoke Out Against ObamaCare Now Being Audited


Whites are 63 percent of the population, but commit 56 percent of the hate crimes. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but commit 23 percent of the hate crimes.

More significantly, when it comes to violent crimes, anti-white hate crimes tend to be more violent than anti-black hate crimes.

For example, the FBI lists an anti-white murder in 2012, but no anti-black murder. An anti-white rape, but no anti-black rapes.

 African-Americans Commit Disproportionate Share of Hate Crimes

Obama Allows Iran’s Arak Heavy Nuclear Reactor to Advance - This reactor is suitable for making plutonium


Islamic Relief co-sponsored an Islamic conference at his NYU center featuring hatemongers like Sirraj Wahhaj, who called on Muslims to take over the United States and establish a Caliphate. “I would cut off the hands of my own daughter [if she stole] because Allah stands for Justice,” he once declared.

Wahhaj was named as a possible co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing.

Also listed was Zaid Shakir, a former Yale chaplain,  who said that Islamic law is superior to the Constitution because “If Islam is the basis, the kafir [non-believer] won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi [second-class citizen]. They won’t be equal with the Muslim.”

Shakir wrote, “As Christians and Jews of this country have rejected the divine law and created their own secular system of a rule, the legal and political system of America is sinful and constitutes open rebellion against Allah. For a Muslim to join with the Jews and Christians in this system is to join them in their rebellion against Allah. Allah explicitly orders against this.”

De Blasio Appoints “Transition Imam” Who Helped Raise Money for Hamas

Obama Delivers Fake Speech About Fake Iran Deal to Fake Audience


Getting to the heart of the issue, the media photogs have discovered that their propaganda can’t compete with White House propaganda. You can’t outpropogandaize someone who is already an employee. They could still compete by taking compelling realistic or unflattering photos of The One. It would give them leverage of the only kind that the likes of Valerie Jarrett understand. But instead they’re whining that their role as unofficial propagandists has been usurped by official propagandists.

Media Photogs Discover They Can’t Compete with Propaganda

America Can’t Build New Bridges Because of the Environment


 “If we said to the Brooklyn Museum, you know you’ve done a great job fund-raising, but you know, we’re gonna take 10 or 20 percent of your money and reallocate it to the Queens Museum, because they haven’t done quite as good of a job of fund-raising."

 De Blasio to Redistribute $$$ from Central Park to Poorer Parks


Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather participated in a media conference call Thursday to discuss AXS TV’s one-hour special, “My Days in Dallas: A Remembrance With Dan Rather,” which premieres Monday at 5 p.m. PST.

What is ASX.tv? Well it’s the home of such quality programming as Bikini Barbershop and World’s Greatest Tribute Bands, Bikini Destinations, Tom Green and Drinking Made Easy with Zane Lamprey.

Also Dan Rather Reports.

Yes, that’s how low he has sunk.

Dan Rather Claims CBS Trying to Write Him Out of History

Yahoo officially announced Monday that Couric is joining its ranks as its “global anchor.”

 Katie Couric, Follows Dan Rather, into Online Obscurity


Obama and Iran Agreed to One Day Agree on Something



Liberals like to quote Washington's letter on term limits. But they quote it rather selectively.

 There cannot, in my judgment, be the least danger that the President will by any practicable intrigue ever be able to continue himself one moment in office, much less perpetuate himself in it; but in the last stage of corrupted morals and political depravity: and even then there is as much danger that any other species of domination would prevail.

Though, when a people shall have become incapable of governing themselves and fit for a master, it is of little consequence from what quarter he comes.

Hillary Clinton Supporters Slowly Realizing She Didn’t Do Anything as Secretary of State


In a desperate effort to convince Coloradans not to sign any more recall petitions, the Democracy Defense Fund distributed these door hangers accusing the petition collectors of being criminals and pedophiles.

The Democracy Defense Fund is drawing its money from reliable liberal donors. Mainly unions who play power games with the forced contributions of workers.

So the NEA Fund for Children and Education is intervening in a Colorado local election to help fund accusations that citizens who favor recalling anti-Second Amendment politicians are pedophiles.

Nation’s Largest Teachers’ Union Funds Ads Accusing 2nd Amendment Supporters of Being Pedophiles

UK Warned that Ban of Popular African Muslim Drug May Cause Terrorism


 The Court argued that creative professionals don’t have freedom of speech as long as they offer their services for pay. That’s a roundabout way of saying that the First Amendment is history. If the First Amendment does not apply to creative professionals, then it has no reason to exist.

Do Gay Rights Trump the First Amendment?


No peaceful nuclear program, complete with Obama-backed enrichment, can be complete without ballistic missiles. A nuclear energy program without ballistic missiles is like a house without a giant cannon mounted on top or a shopping bag that isn’t wrapped in razor blades.

Now we all know that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful. There are perfectly good reasons why the 4th largest oil producer in the world and the 2nd largest oil producer in the Middle East would need a nuclear energy program.

Iran Develops Ballistic Missiles for its Peaceful Nuclear Program

Obama Agrees, Piecemeal Amnesty is the New Amnesty


How will The Nation possibly pay down its $120,272 postal fees?

Richard Foos, a member of the Nation Institute’s Board of Trustees, was one of the Patriotic Millionaires calling for tax hikes. Margery Tabankin, a protege of Saul Alinsky, is a major Hollywood fundraiser and heads Barbara Streisand’s foundation.  Lorraine Sheinberg is the wife of Hollywood executive Sid Sheinberg.

Perhaps one of these nice people could help The Nation pay the nice postal workers? Or perhaps The Nation, taking inspiration from the great Socialist economics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans, can develop a 5-year-plan that will take into account such things as postal rates when selling subscriptions to the magazine… the way that capitalist publications like Rolling Stone and The Daily Worker manage to do.

The Nation Blames Republicans Because It Can’t Pay its Postal Bill



Even the supposedly rabidly conservative Tony Abbott spent the first night of the election campaign schmoozing with the Islamic community in Western Sydney.

That’s where elections are won and lost, remember. Western Sydney is more important than the rest of Australia and it is also home to the largest concentration of Islamic communities in this country.

So it’s unlikely that any of our politicians are going to want to say no to more Islam.

from Sheik Yermani's Mohammedanism, Who Needs It


In Lady James’s speculative fiction, pets are doted on as child-substitutes, and churches hold christening ceremonies for cats. In contemporary Japanese reality, Tokyo has some 40 “cat cafés” where lonely solitary citizens can while away an afternoon by renting a feline to touch and pet for a couple of companionable hours. In Lady James’s speculative fiction, all the unneeded toys are burned, except for the dolls, which childless women seize on as the nearest thing to a baby and wheel through the streets. In contemporary Japanese reality, toy makers, their children’s market dwindling, have instead developed dolls for seniors to be the grandchildren they’ll never have: You can dress them up, and put them in a baby carriage, and the computer chip in the back has several dozen phrases of the kind a real grandchild might use to enable them to engage in rudimentary social pleasantries. 

Mark Steyn, via the Atheist Conservative


Much of the commentary was so maudlin that it caused one to wonder about the mental health of the individuals who wrote it. For example, the New York Times chose to reprint humorist Art Buchwald's New York Herald Tribune poem, "We Weep," from November 26, 1963:

We weep for our President who died for his country.
We weep for his wife and for his children.
We weep for his mother and father and brothers and sisters.
We weep for the millions of people who are weeping for him.
We weep for Americans, that this could happen in our country.

We weep for the Europeans.
And the Africans.
And the Asians.
 And people in every corner of the globe who saw in him a hope for the future and a chance for mankind.
We weep for our children and their children and everyone's children.
For he was charting their destinies as he was charting ours.
That's from an Edward Cline article on JFK. The sentiments are grotesque Stalinist messianism. The weeping for a man-god who could not save himself, but was somehow expected to save the world.

Buchwald isn't really mourning for JFK. Like most of the liberal grieving for Kennedy, he is really mourning for the death of liberalism.


The NY Times is hardly known for its religiosity, but it certainly can’t plead ignorance of this Jewish teaching, because it published a lengthy article on this very subject in 2008, illustrated with another photo of a Jew with a tattoo designed to offend Jews of a more religious bent:

Neo-neocon on the New York Times' new look. (Note to readers, there is a photo of an adult nature there.)

But of course the blasphemy trend is much of the point. It has been for some time.


It is intellectually, spiritually, economically, emotionally, and in every other way impossible to be both for the people and for The Greater Good.  The Greater Good always subverts the rights and liberty of the people; indeed, that’s the very premise by which it exists and by which it justifies perpetrating untold horrors on the people.  In every commie, totalitarian scheme throughout history a few million people have had to die . . . for The Greater Good.  And even so, The Greater Good is never met, these regimes always fail.

...from Fuzzy Slippers

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Obama who Stole Thanksgiving

By On November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving used to be about being thankful. Now it’s about talking points.

Progressives have already tried to ruin Thanksgiving by condemning it as a genocidal holiday commemorating European colonialism or by giving snippy little speeches about consumerism.

But they didn’t have a way to actually get into living rooms to ruin the holiday until now.  

Not content that the price of a whole frozen turkey went up 37% under his economic policies, Obama decided to completely ruin Thanksgiving dinner by turning it into an angry debate about ObamaCare.

If you were hoping to eat your turkey in peace; forget about it. Michelle Obama not only wants to control your menu; she also wants to control the topic of your family dinner conversation by exhorting your more impressionable relatives to sell you on her husband’s substandard ObamaCare junk plans.

The “Health Care for the Holidays” page on BarackObama.com, promoted by his wife, urges his remaining devoted followers to “pledge” to push ObamaCare on family members and advises “integrating the talk into family time”.

Because there’s nothing that says “family time” like teaching people to hijack family dinners to become used health care salesmen; BarackObama.com offers sales tips like “Make it memorable”, “Be Persistent, but keep it positive” and “Find a quiet place”. That last tip will prevent other family members from hearing their screams of horror at the size of their new ObamaCare premiums and deductibles.

These aren’t tips for talking to family members; but for scamming them out of money. They’re the sort of crude sales techniques that MLM affiliates get in the mail. Be positive, be persistent and eventually you’ll sucker some poor idiot into an ObamaCare plan with a bigger deductible than the national debt.

And if the poor idiot is related to you… that just makes him an easier mark.

Doing its best to make ObamaCare seem like a creepy cult, Obama supporters are instructed to badger family members with cries of “Have you thought about signing up”, “Would you like to sign up now”, “When do you plan on signing up” and “Have you signed up yet.”

The only things missing are; “If you don’t sign up for ObamaCare, you’ll burn in hell” and “If you don’t sign up for ObamaCare, I won’t love you anymore.”

But it’s not just Organizing for America, the rebirth of Obama’s 2012 campaign as a mutated Super PAC dedicated to pushing a non-partisan agenda of convincing people to do everything that Obama says, that is working on ruining your Thanksgiving. MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post have also gotten into the Thanksgiving Knockout Game.

The Washington Post offers a guide for convincing all your relatives that ObamaCare is working great because 12,000 people have signed up in Washington.

There’s tips for convincing your mom and dad that ObamaCare isn’t a disaster, persuading your grandfather that ObamaCare doesn’t have death panels, assuring your brother that he won’t lose his employer health plan, brushing off your uncle’s complaint about his health plan cancellation and convincing your cousin’s girlfriend who has a degree in Computer Science that she doesn’t know anything about what’s wrong with Healthcare.gov and should just shut up.

Not only will the Washington Post preemptively map out your family arguments for you, but the answer to each of them is that Obama, like a certain Orwellian ham, is always right.

Even Pravda couldn’t have done any better.

The Huffington Post offers “Every Argument You’ll Need to Win Your ObamaCare Debate This Thanksgiving”. Every argument turns out to involve yelling “Corporate Greed” a lot, claiming that the Republicans are to blame for the Mandate and that ObamaCare will cut the deficit.

The Los Angeles Times goes for the obnoxious and the blatantly cynical with debate tips like “Flatter your opponent”, “Argue by anecdote” and “Call out the other person for arguing by anecdote”.

And if any family members get sick of your Los Angeles Times approved plan to hijack Thanksgiving by coming to a prepared debate with an assistant to look up things for you on a smartphone while you anecdotally compare Republicans to Hitler; the Los Angeles Times also offers tips for handling “annoying peacekeepers” who say things like “Why don’t we just try to have a nice time on Thanksgiving?”

The nerve of these people trying to actually have a family dinner on Thanksgiving instead of a screaming match about ObamaCare. Don’t they know that their attitude is ruining your progressive Thanksgiving?

“That’s when you say, ‘For sure, in a minute, but these are serious times and I think it’s good for all of us, as Americans, to talk through what’s going on.’ The ‘as Americans’ line is especially difficult to argue with on Thanksgiving,” the Los Angeles Times advises.

It’s a lot easier to argue with when the cynicism behind liberal “As Americans” speechifying is this blatantly exposed. Liberals love cloaking their propaganda in fake Americanisms. They don’t usually admit that they’re just putting a pilgrim hat on a Socialist turkey.

But what if you’re a fanatical progressive who doesn’t think that berating family members about ObamaCare over Thanksgiving dinner is in the spirit of the holiday? The really bad good news is that there are other liberal causes that you can scream at them about.

Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization that mixes together racist violent mayors and clueless celebrities to “Demand a Plan” has a Thanksgiving turkey placemat to print out and shove at family members so that they too can “demand a plan”. (Even if the plan is smuggling liberals to Mexican drug cartels.)

The Bloomberg Turkey (not legal in New York due to its size and transfat content)is less about selling your family members on trashing the Second Amendment and more about celebrating Bloomberg’s pet taxpayer-funded lobby with quizzes that ask how many races the “Washington Gun Lobby” has won and whether they live in a state that requires background checks for firearms purchases.

Leave it to Mayor Bloomberg to find a way to make the ObamaCare Thanksgiving sales pitch look good.

But what if talking about shooting people just doesn’t feel like appropriate Thanksgiving dinner conversation? There’s always killing babies.

Planned Parenthood has been giving out tips for promoting abortion at Thanksgiving for years. The handout urges Planners to avoid discussing “when life begins” and focus instead on shared values like everyone having the right to decide “whether to become a parent” or to carry a dead baby in a handbag to a Victoria’s Secret store.

Planned Parenthood urges framing abortion as a personal issue instead of a political issue. But whether it’s personal or political; the baby is still dead and Thanksgiving dinner is still ruined.
But what if you don’t want to limit yourself to just one way of ruining Thanksgiving?

the Democratic National Committee has gotten into the fun with YourRepublicanUncle; a site that promises to do for Thanksgiving what the Democratic Party already did for America.

There are tips for debating family members on every liberal cause. Don’t just settle for screaming at your uncles about abortion, ObamaCare or ObamaCare’s abortions.

The Democratic National Committee also wants you to scream at family members about the economy, immigration and global warming with talking points that read like crazy drunken lies claiming that Obama’s increase of the National Debt from 10 trillion to 17 trillion is actually a dramatic decrease and that he also cut taxes, created jobs and made life easier for small businesses.

And that unicorn rubbing its nose against the money tree outside while running a perpetual motion free energy generator with its magic horn?

Obama invented it.

Other talking points straight from the confused space between Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s ears and mop of unwashed hair to your family table reveal that ObamaCare saves businesses money and that there’s nothing Socialist about it.

After three courses of screaming about ObamaCare, abortion and the economy; the DNC’s desert is claiming that illegal aliens won’t take American jobs (whose jobs will they take?) and that illegal alien amnesty isn’t amnesty because the illegals might possibly sorta (probably not) have to pay a fine.

Despite all the effort and energy being poured by Obama Inc, the DNC, MSNBC, the LA Times and the Washington Post into turning Julia into the best community organizer and unpaid ObamaCare salesperson that she can be; none of these debate prep tactics will really win any arguments.

They’re not supplying their ObamaCare unpaid sales staff with an overview of the argument, but with the same inaccurate and distorted talking points that they use in their one-sided conversation with the American people. And that leaves them unprepared for a real world debate.

The liberal Thanksgiving-spoiler comes to the debate with no response to the 7 trillion increase in the debt because he has never even seen the figure. Meanwhile his conservative relatives have already absorbed every single one of his liberal talking points from the evening news and the evening paper.

But this isn’t really about winning arguments. All the debate prep comes packaged with heavy doses of contempt for “older” conservative relatives. Whether it’s the DNC’s Your Republican Uncle, OFA’s crazy uncle or the LA Times writing “Hint: Older people usually stink at using phones”; the real theme isn’t winning arguments, but maintaining the mental bubble in which Obama supporters live when they go outside their natural urban liberal environment.

ObamaCare’s target population is the young. The debate prep is really about convincing them not to question ObamaCare by injecting a bunch of talking points directly into their brains and reinforcing their contempt for everyone who disagrees as a bunch of ignorant racist old people who don’t know nearly as much about health care as the guy who didn’t know that his entire health care plan was a turkey.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Light of Chanukah

By On November 27, 2013
A candle is a brief flare of light. A wick dipped in oil burns and then goes out again. The light of Chanukah appears to follow the same narrative. Briefly there is light and warmth and then darkness again.

Out of the exile of Babylon, the handful that returned to resettle and rebuild the land faced the might of new empires. The Jews who returned from the exile of one evil empire some twenty-six hundred years ago were forced to decide whether they would be a people with their own faith and history, or the colony of another empire, with its history and beliefs.

Jerusalem's wealthy elites threw in their lot with the empire and its ways. But out in the rural heartland where the old ways where still kept, a spark flared to life. Modi'in. Maccabee. And so war came between the handfuls of Jewish Maccabee partisans and the armies of Antiochus IV’s Selecuid empire. A war that had its echoes in the past and would have it again in the future as lightly armed and untrained armies of Jewish soldiers would go on to fight in those same hills and valleys against the Romans and eventually the armies of six Arab nations.

The Syrian Greek armies were among the best of their day. The Maccabees were living in the backwaters of Israel, a nation that had not been independently ruled since the armies of Babylon had flooded across the land, destroying everything in their path.

In the wilderness of Judea a band of brothers vowed that they would bow to no man and let no foreigners rule over their land. Apollonius brought his Samaritan forces against the brothers, and Judah, first among the Macabees, killed him, took his sword and wore it for his own.

Seron, General of the army of Coele-Syria, brought together his soldiers, along with renegade Jewish mercenaries, and was broken at Beit Haran. The Governor of Syria who dispatched two generals, Nicanor, and Gorgias, with forty thousand soldiers and seven thousand horsemen to conquer Judea, destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole Jewish nation forever. So certain were they of victory that they brought with them merchant caravans to fill with the Hebrew slaves of a destroyed nation.

Judah walked among his brothers and fellow rebels and spoke to them of the thing for which they fought; “O my fellow soldiers, no other time remains more opportune than the present for courage and contempt of dangers; for if you now fight manfully, you may recover your liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men, so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God.

"Since therefore you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings; nor will any seed of your nation remain if you be beat in this battle. Fight therefore manfully; and suppose that you must die, though you do not fight; but believe, that besides such glorious rewards as those of the liberty of your country, of your laws, of your religion, you shall then obtain everlasting glory.

"Prepare yourselves, therefore, and put yourselves into such an agreeable posture, that you may be ready to fight with the enemy as soon as it is day tomorrow morning."

Though the Macabees were but three thousand, starving and dressed in bare rags, the God for whom they fought and their native wits and courage, gave them victory over thousands and tens of thousands. Worn from battle, the Macabees did not flee back into their Judean wilderness, instead they went on to Jerusalem and its Temple, to reclaim their land and their God, only to find the Temple and the capital in ruins.

The Macabees had fought courageously for the freedom to worship God once again as their fathers had, but courage alone could not make the Menorah burn and thus renew the Temple service again. Yet it had not been mere berserker’s courage that had brought them this far. Like their ancestors before them who had leaped into furnaces and the raging sea, they had dared the impossible on faith. Faith in a God who watched over his nation and intervened in the affairs of men. And so on faith they poured the oil of that single flask in the Menorah, oil that could only last for a single day. And then having done all they could, the priests and sons of priests who had fought through entire armies to reach this place, accepted that they had done all they could and left the remainder in the hands of the Almighty.

If they had won by the strength of their hands alone, then the lamps would burn for a day and then flicker out. But if it had been more than mere force of arms that had brought them here, if it had been more than mere happenstance that a small band of ragged and starving rebels had shattered the armies of an empire, then the flames of the Menorah would burn on.

The sun rose and set again. The day came to its end and the men watched the lights of the Menorah to see if they would burn or die out. And if the flame in their hearts could have kindled the lamps, they would have burst into bright flame then and there. Darkness fell that night and still the lamps burned on. For eight days and nights the Menorah burned on that single lonely pure flask of oil, until more could be found, and the men who for a time had been soldiers and had once again become priests, saw that while it may be men who kindle lamps and hearts, it is the Almighty who provides them with the fuel of the spirit through which they burn.

120 years after the Maccabees drove out the foreign invaders and their collaborators, another foreign invader, Herod, the son of a Roman Idumean governor, was placed on the throne by the Roman Empire, disposing of the last of the Maccabean kings and ending the brief revival of the Jewish kingdom.

The revived kingdom had been a plaything in the game of empires. Exiled by Babylon, restored by Persia, conquered by the Greeks, ground under the heel of the remnants of Alexander's empire, briefly liberated by the Parthians, tricked into servitude and destroyed by Rome. The victory of the Maccabean brothers in reclaiming Jerusalem was a brief flare of light in the dark centuries and even that light was shadowed by the growing darkness.

The fall of the Roman Republic and the civil wars of the new empire, its uncontrollable spending and greed made it hopelessly corrupt. Caesar repaid Jewish loyalty by rewarding the Idumean murderers of Jewish kings, and his successors saw the Jewish state as a way to bring in some quick money. Out went the Jewish kings, in came the son of Rome's tax collector, Herod.

The promises made by Senate to the Maccabees ceased to matter. Imperial greed collided with Jewish nationalism in a war that for a brief shining moment seemed as if it might end in another Chanukah, but ended instead in massacre and atrocity. The exiles went forth once again, some on foot and some in slave ships. Jerusalem was renamed and resettled. The long night had begun.

But no darkness lasts forever.

Two thousand years after the Jews had come to believe that wars were for other people and miracles meant escaping alive, Jewish armies stood and held the line against an empire and the would be empires of the region.

And now the flame still burns, though it is flickering. Sixty-four years is a long time for oil to burn, especially when the black oil next door seems so much more useful to the empires and republics across the sea. And the children of many of those who first lit the flame no longer see the point in that hoary old light.

But that old light is still the light of possibilities. It burns to remind us of the extraordinary things that our ancestors did and of the extraordinary assistance that they received. We cannot always expect oil to burn for eight days, just as we cannot always expect the bullet to miss or the rocket to fall short. And yet even in those moments of darkness the reminder of the flame is with us for no darkness lasts forever and no exile, whether of the body of the spirit, endures. Sooner or later the spark flares to life again and the oil burns again. Sooner or later the light returns.

It is the miracle that we commemorate because it is a reminder of possibilities. Each time we light a candle or dip a wick in oil, we release a flare of light from the darkness comes to remind us of what was, is and can still be.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Future That Never Comes

By On November 26, 2013
The strange thing about America's dot com titans is how short their lifecycles are. The development of the internet has been dominated by a handful of companies that changed the paradigm and were then run over by a new paradigm in under a decade.

The Netscape CEO was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1996 sitting on a golden throne. Today an entire generation of internet users has grown up without ever having bought his web browser. They don't even think of a web browser as something you buy.

Netscape directed traffic to Yahoo, without realizing that having a site that millions of people visited was a better way of making money than selling a piece of software that let you browse those sites. Yahoo's portal was powered by Google because it thought that offering people services was a better way to make money than something as grubby as a search engine.

Google used search to become an ad empire and began piling on more services, Yahoo style, while not paying much attention to the growth of social media. And today, Facebook is Google's biggest real competitor on the internet. Until some upstart company, maybe Twitter, figures out how to eat Google's lunch. And then someone eats their lunch.

IBM may have been mocked for its stodgy ways, but it stayed relevant far longer than the companies of the dot com waves that break upon the silicon shore and then vanish into obscurity.  Yesterday's genius on his golden throne who represents the wave of the new is writing his memoirs in a few years while trying to explain what went wrong and trying to figure out how he can get it all back.

The public is treated to a parade of computer geniuses who will deliver the future without realizing that all they're seeing is another Alpha techie who doesn't understand the future, but is successfully monetizing some service or piece of software that has suddenly become popular. If he does it well enough, he can build an entire ring of failed businesses around that single golden egg, the way that Microsoft has with its operating system licenses, Google with its search ad sales or Facebook with the sheer number of users in its social graph while pretending to be an innovator and change agent.

The constant expansion and destructive acquisition of small innovative companies maintains the illusion that the latest digital horse is something special. It's not. The unglamorous truth is that Google makes its money selling ad space to insurance companies and Microsoft makes its money releasing incremental updates to its flawed operating system that it alternately sabotages and then repairs. If you're annoyed by Windows 8, don't worry. Windows 9 will "fix" the problem. It's part of the idiotic business plan by a company that exploited a niche in IBM to become a much lamer IBM.

The "genius" factor is the sizzle that convinces investors to put their money into companies that have one core product whose profitability depends on the internet remaining the same ten years from now. It's a furious buzz of activity that makes investors overlook the hard numbers. Take Amazon, which sells physical objects for money, and yet has been described as a shareholder subsidized charity because it funnels all its profits into getting bigger and bigger without actually turning a profit.

The absurd economics of the thing have made it so that not having a business plan is proof of sincerity. Any MBA can put together a business plan, but it takes a real genius to waltz into Wall Street wearing a hoodie and flipflops accompanied by a few celebrity pals with a plan to become the biggest companies that does everything ever... at which point it might turn a profit.

All this silliness has distorted our sense of how business is supposed to work and how things actually get done. Every CEO is supposed to be brilliant, to make irrational snap decisions that his peers will think make no sense and to parachute out of the company just ahead of the next trainwreck. And now it's also how our government runs.

Obama's public image is tethered to some illusion of genius entirely divorced from real world results. If he accidentally sat on the red button and ended the world in a blaze of nuclear fire, his horribly scarred mutant biographers would still explain in detail why he was much too smart to be president. And they're probably right. Dot coms are likewise full of CEOs who are too smart to run companies, but enjoy solving abstract puzzles, buying other companies, waterskiing in Samurai costumes and giving interviews full of buzzwords to business magazines. Another word for them is idiots.

Applied intelligence is far more useful than abstract intelligence. It's the difference between an eight foot basketball player who never bothers to learn the game and the six footer who spends every waking hour practicing and strategizing. The former has a genetic gift combined with some good nurturing and no useful skills beyond that. The latter has cultivated and applied his talents to the task.

Work isn't glamorous. Not even the kind of work that most people think is glamorous. Being a movie star is about walking along a taped line and reciting the same lines again and again. Running a company is about knowing how the sausage gets made and seeing that it gets made on time. And being president is about doing both of those things a whole lot.

If Obama were a sports star, he wouldn't be a basketball player, to the disappointment of so many white liberals. He would be a wrestler. You could easily see him playing a character, running around the ring, winning over the crowd, feeding off the drama and then staying around for a rigged match; the only kind he could win. It's the easy glamorous stuff that he likes. Not the hard work.

And it's why the dot com idea that you can have genius without hard work is so seductive to him. What he doesn't understand is that the guy sitting opposite him at some Silicon Valley event isn't building his company. He's a boy who had one good idea, worked hard to implement it and is now in charge of being a "genius" and having a vision for the company. Meanwhile a thousand like him sit around doing the actual hard work of maintaining his core business and wasting time trying to implement all his new visions while working on their own big idea that will eat his for lunch.

Obama kept comparing Healthcare.gov to dot com companies because he assumed that building it would be some childishly simple act of genius. And he had every reason to think it would be easy. For the lifecycle of a mediocre internet company, he has lived a charmed life in which he only has to snap his fingers to get things done. There's an extensive infrastructure of websites built around him that transcribe his speeches and inserts references to him into the biographies of American presidents.

But Healthcare.gov was actually supposed to a bunch of things, most of them more complicated than just delivering another dose of Obamaganda do the masses. And it had to be done, not by engineers waiting around for their stock options to (hopefully) make them millionaires, but by government contractors who spend all their money on lobbyists, not on talent, because that's where their payday comes from. If you have to choose between working for CGI or the next Facebook, why would you choose to spend your days poring over charts from some clueless government idiot at CMS?

Now Obama has run into the end of his own political lifecycle. The billionaires who invested in him, no longer need him. The Democratic Party needs to convince voters that Hillary will fix his messes. And he stupidly made the mistake of actually trying to implement one of his ideas in a way that will directly affect people. Obama is no longer Google. Now he's been reduced to being a Yahoo.

If you're pretending to be a genius, the one thing you can't do is screw up. You can smash all the plates while screaming obscenities. You can deliver tedious lectures on 18th century writers that no one but you has ever heard of. You can loudly declare that Einstein was wrong. And you can waste billions buying incompatible companies in pursuit of some vague vision about the future. Until the whole thing fails and the investors realize you're not a genius and start demanding you bring in a professional CEO to secure the value of the company, even as they start thinking about carving it up.

Obama's real crime was to make it obvious that he isn't a genius. Just a guy in flipflops and a hoodie. Not an eccentric genius who wears a hoodie and flipflops because he's an original thinker, but a guy who wears them because kids half his age wear them and he's too lazy and deluded to grow up.

Investors will give their CEO geniuses a lot of rope as long as they think there's a trillion dollars on the other end. They will engage in complex rationalizations to explain why they're throwing money at a guy whose ideas never seem to pan out and whose one big idea is approaching its sell-by date. And then the moment comes, a perspective shift hits and the genius is the guy who burned through billions of their dollars and is still promising them Pi in the sky while the future has moved on.

Obama is no longer the future. He can't be. Not on his second term. The smart money is no longer on books explaining why he succeeds, but books explaining what went wrong. The old genius has to make way for the next genius who will make the same exact mistakes, but offer a little more variety.

The game could have gone on a little longer, if only Obama hadn't made the mistake of actually assuming that he could deliver, if he hadn't been so taken by the applause of the crowd and the outcome of the rigged matches, that he actually tried to wrestle one of the slabs of muscle for real.

Modern genius is an intangible thing. It isn't the brilliant poem or the moving sonata. It's the idea of genius. The distilled abstraction of change. The shiny flash of the magician's powder. A change in appearance that startles and excites. Vague promises of an amazing future soon to come. That is true of our politics and our dot com economics.

The future arrived some time ago. We are living now in the post-future of the present where everything is momentarily amazing, but nothing endures, where last week's blockbuster is already forgotten and last year's genius is sheepishly fondling his framed magazine covers and the hit songs never go away, until they're gone, and then they're gone for good.

Obama is an empty construct of what the future was supposed to be; young charismatic, post-racial, post-partisan and solution-oriented. Now he's already becoming old and outdated, a future that was, a future that might have been, a poster on an aging Occupier's wall, a fading magazine cover, another progressive dead end for a movement always dreaming of a tomorrow that never comes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jewish Culture, Revelation and Continuity

By On November 25, 2013
The Pew survey, like the various more specific surveys of the Jewish community that come out from time to time, has told everyone in the Jewish organizational world what they already know. There is nothing in the survey that hasn't been predicted, belabored and denied for decades. If its meaning had to be summed up in a single sentence, it would be that there can be no religion without revelation, no community without culture and no continuity without all of these.

It really is that simple which is why so many insist on making it so complicated.

What the Pew survey really says is that there are really two Jewish communities in America. One that is an actual structured community and the other uses that name but is a community in name only. Most of the responses go right past that obvious point to arguing about semantics, theology and the number of Jews who can dance on the head of a pin.

Daniel Gordis had a passionate and moving piece on the decline of Conservative Judaism that is also fundamentally wrong.

Gordis states, "What really doomed the movement is that Conservative Judaism ignored the deep existential human questions that religion is meant to address." That confuses religion with philosophy. Religion does address existential questions, but it does so through faith.

The F-word, "Faith" only appears once in Gordis' entire essay. "Non-Orthodox Judaism is simply disappearing in America. Judaism has long been a predominantly content-driven, rather than a faith-driven enterprise, but we now have a generation of Jews secularly successful and well-educated, but so Jewishly illiterate that nothing remains to bind them to their community or even to a sense that they hail from something worth preserving."

Gordis hits the point and then drives away as quickly as he can. American Judaism is content-driven, but its content has to be driven by faith or the content has no integrity.

"Looming unasked in Conservative circles is the following question: Can one create a community committed to the rigors of Jewish traditional living without a literal (read Orthodox) notion of revelation at its core? Conservative Judaism could have been the movement that made an argument for tradition and distinctiveness without a theological foundation that is for most modern Jews simply implausible," Gordis writes.

The Pew survey already answers that question. Religion without revelation has no integrity of content. Without revelation, religion is mere philosophy. If the religion is not of divine origin, then it's merely philosophy. And you don't build a community around concepts only a fraction of its people would be interested in or understand.

Religion without revelation is random intellectual inquiry packaged as something more. Without a Divine core, it is reduced to searching for the "divine in all of us". If there is no G-d who spoke to man and conveyed specific words, instructions and ideas, then all that remains is an aimless spirituality that provides no reason for maintaining the specific integrity of a community around it.

Gordis' remedy is "deep existential and spiritual seriousness". And no doubt this will appeal to divinity students. But you can't build a religion around that. Not even in a community as literate as those to be found within American Judaism. "Deep existential and spiritual seriousness" is surprisingly boring when you have to actually sit through it. It's not particularly engaging.

"While these laypeople were busy seeking a way to explain to their children why marrying another Jew matters, how a home rooted in Jewish ritual was enriching, and why Jewish literacy still mattered in a world in which there were no barriers to Jews’ participating in the broader culture, their religious leadership was speaking about whether or not the movement was halakhic or how one could speak of revelation in an era of biblical criticism," Gordis says.

But if your laypeople are trying to figure out why these things matter, then your religious stream has already failed. In Orthodox Judaism, most laypeople are not trying to figure out how to explain these things; they take them for granted. It's in the air they breathe and the water they drink. Likewise, they aren't looking for serious existential answers. They absorb them early on and take them on faith.

That's between a religion that is so embedded that it's culture and a religion that is swimming upstream against culture.

If you dispense with Divine revelation, then all you have left is culture and community. You might be able to build a community around culture. American Jews have done so. But the culture depended on eroding differences. The more those differences eroded, the more American Jewish culture just became the Jewish contribution to America.

You don't need to be Jewish to read and appreciate Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow and all the other big names. You don't need to be Jewish to watch a Neil Simon play. And their contemporaries who appeal to American Jews in their twenties and thirties either tend to be so cynical and toxic that they make Philip Roth seem downright Judeopositive or detached enough that they represent little except echoes of distant memories.

No one is going to stay Jewish for Michael Chabon and Jonathan Safran Foer. Despite their tattered drabs of Jewish culture, they're less Jewish than their literary forebears who at least had a direct connection with the culture of the immigrants. And when you've exhausted Jewish-influenced memoir fiction, what's left? YIVO Yiddish revivals? The Klezmatics? Documentaries about Jewish life in the twenties? Jerry Seinfeld? Another revival of Fiddler on the Roof with a more positive take on intermarriage? A Woody Allen retrospective?

The public secular Jewish culture of neurotic humor is common property. It doesn't maintain communities. It more often disintegrates them. It's laughing at the abyss by people who no longer remember why the abyss is a bad thing. From a defensive response to pain, Jewish humor has become nihilistic. It no longer remembers the pain it is laughing at and so its laughter has become senseless.

Culture is a powerful means of continuity when it is immersive.

The Orthodox child doesn't play with Dr. Seuss picture books. She plays with picture books that illustrate the importance of doing good deeds. Instead of being taught nursery rhymes, she's taught to chant Brachot; blessings to thank G-d for the food that she eats. The music she listens to and the cartoons she watches will also teach her religious values.

Then she'll graduate to pop music that will consist of biblical verses set to catchy tunes. The Orthodox Jewish music industry is big business. It encompasses most modern music and often casually borrows tunes from popular music (though in all fairness, much of popular music does the same thing) and sets it to religious devotions or sayings.

While her secular Jewish counterpart hums a Lady Gaga song, she's humming, "The G-d who created joy and happiness" or "Oh Lord, open my lips so that my mouth may sing your praises." The music may not be all that different. But the ideas are very much so.

When she reads? It's less likely to be 50 Shades of Grey because there are Orthodox comics, mystery novels, teenage detectives (of both genders), biographies, historical novels, romance novels, self-help books, novels and the whole variety of alternative literature.

I won't claim that this Orthodox popular culture is of a high caliber; but then neither is the popular culture that it's displacing.

That's not to say that pop culture doesn't still penetrate Orthodox communities; but it does so to a lesser degree depending on the cultural integrity of the community. Modern Orthodox Jews like me are more likely to be familiar with both worlds. On the other end of the spectrum, Chassidic Jews may even reject the Orthodox pop music as inappropriate, opting for something more classical.

Communities also require private languages. Instead of empty Yiddish revivals, in much of the Orthodox Jewish world, a form of Judeo-English has arisen that is the counterpart of the Judeo-German known as Yiddish, the Judeo-Spanish known as Ladino or the Judeo-Aramaic of the Talmud or the Judeo-Arabic that Maimonides wrote in.

Derived from the language of scholarship, "Yeshivish" is a jargon full of inside jokes and wry humor referencing the techniques of study and the practices of the religion. It mixes Hebrew and Yiddish to create a new language.

The common denominator in all these things, from the religious pop songs, to the novels, which inevitably have religious morals built in, and the language, which is built around religious values, is that they integrate the assumptions of faith into daily life. They make religion into culture. And they make faith into culture.

The Orthodox Jew casually says "G-d willing" and "Thank G-d" to everything; inculcating the assumptions of faith into daily life. That used to be a common habit among Jews in Europe.

The hypothetical girl may still end up leaving, but she's less likely to do so because she is part of a community with its own culture and values. And even its own language. She's not there for the deep existential seriousness. The seriousness has always been a part of her life. But it's overlaid with a private cultural language that encompasses the everyday communal experience.

Faith isn't an external assumption imposed on her everyday life that is foreign to it. Faith is her culture. It's not expressed in high-flown language of sermons, but in the everyday language of her life.

To emerging generations of liberal Jews, their own religion is foreign to them. They have to conquer the instinctive skepticism bred into them by a secular culture to be part of it. Orthodox Jews have to conquer an instinctive skepticism of secular culture to leave. And that's a major difference.

Orthodox Judaism in America would have failed all over again, as it did before WW2, without the creation of a cultural community that could speak to young people. Its leaders put the emphasis on the construction of an educational complex, and indeed that is very important, but Modern Orthodoxy shows that an educational system that doesn't permeate into the home environment is more fragile.

And these solutions are not unique.

Evangelical Christianity has its own set of songs, novels and cartoons with the same goal; the maintenance of an immersive moral culture that makes a religious community viable in a secular culture.

Any liberal streams of Judaism that reject the premise that a community is maintained through an exclusive culture and that religion is built on faith in revelation cannot survive. And they can't duplicate Orthodox Judaism's success without adopting those assumptions.

Liberal Judaism discarded the idea that Jews were a race. Then discarded the idea that Judaism represented a unique Divine revelation. Then discarded communal exclusivity and integrity.

With those three things thrown away; what possible basis for continuity can there be?

If Jews are not part of a single family, as the Bible specifies, and only a religion, then why not intermarry as long as the other partner adopts the religion or works out some joint arrangement? If Judaism does not possess an exclusive revelation from G-d, then why stick with it because of an accident of birth into a people that is nothing more than a cultural community?

And if Jewish culture consists of novels that anyone can take out at the library, Woody Allen movies  eating Chinese food on Christmas, questioning things and talking a lot with your hands; why bother maintaining a culture that anyone can be a part of and that, therefore, no one needs to be a part of?

The racial, religious and communal reasons for maintaining the Jewish people are interwoven. You can't discard one without toppling the whole thing. And if you discard all three, then you certainly aren't going to keep it going with a copy of the The Yiddish Policemen's Union and an interfaith Passover seder with passages commemorating civil rights and LGBT liberation.

The liberalizing fallacy has been that each generation could make concessions to modernism by discarding some things that "no modern person takes seriously anyway" while assuming that the next generation would want to keep the things that they kept, instead of throwing away more things to adapt to a modernity that was continually becoming more hostile to traditional religious values.

Eventually throwing things away became Liberal Judaism. And that Judaism became the nothingness it sought to be. The liberal impulse made that Judaism into liberalism, its synagogues into community activist groups and its theology into social justice. Its Rabbis excelled at the language of moral seriousness; but like all Western liberal clergy they had nothing to be morally serious about.

"As Conservative writers and rabbis addressed questions such as 'are we halakhic,' 'how are we halakhic,' and 'should we be halakhic,' most of the women and men in the pews responded with an uninterested shrug. They were not in shul, for the most part, out of a sense of legally binding obligation. Had that been what they were seeking, they would have been in Orthodox synagogues. They had come to worship because they wanted a connection to their people, to transcendence, to a collective Jewish memory that would give them cause for rejoicing and reason for weeping, and they wanted help in transmitting that to their children," Gordis writes.

No doubt they did indeed want those things. But you can't have those things without binding obligations.

Connections come from binding obligations, not casual ones. To cry and be happy, you need an emotional connection that is more than just an event of convenience. Peoplehood, like marriage, must be forever if it is to mean anything at all.

People who casually want deep spiritual experiences and community will never find them without making permanent commitments.

Judaism is a commitment of faith. It is a religious civilization upheld by an ancient family that builds its phantom kingdoms of faith in every place of its wanderings and then packs them up again into its invisible knapsack of faith. That is its culture and its meaning.

The Jew exists because of faith. Without faith, there are no Jews. Without faith, there are only archeologists of Judaism poring through the ruins and bones of what used to be a religion and wondering how they can make it live again.

Without faith, culture and community have no meaning. Without integrity of culture and community, faith has no means of maintaining its expression.

Faith is not grappling with difficult existential questions. It is best expressed in the dialogue between the Prophet Ezekiel and G-d. "And He said unto me: 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered: 'O Lord GOD, Thou knowest." (Ezekiel 37:3)

And so faith answers its own question.

That is the essential humility that is the true character of the prophet. Liberal streams of Judaism claim to focus on prophetic value of social justice. But the calls of the prophets for justice did not come from them. They came from G-d. In their natural state they were humble men, like Moses, who did not strive to impose their will on others, but waited to hear what G-d would tell them to do.

That humility of action is faith. And without that humility, there is no room for faith or G-d.

Consider this discourse from Kaufmann Kohler, a Reform Rabbi from a century ago. "The issue
today is no longer between Reform and Orthodox, but between a world with G-d and a world without G-d. How, then can the destinies of home and communities, the guardianship of souls and the future of humanity be entrusted to men who, in a time when the foundations of morality are shaken and the peace of the world quivers under the fierce contest of ideas, lack power and principle, wavering and oscillating between agnosticism and belief, between Judaism and Unitarianism and a dozen other isms?"

Having said all that, Kohler then went on to argue that Judaism was just the shell for a kernel of ethical and moral truth and that the essence of religion was social justice. But one does not need religion to propound social justice. That is something that Kohler's successors know, but are unable to do anything about because their religion is the common modern secular faith of political activism.

There is no prophetic vision without G-d. The prophetic vision of movements that have abandoned G-d is nothing but men who have made themselves into gods, prophesying their own prophecies.

Kohler indicted Orthodox Jews for failing to "impart life to the dry bones of Judaism". But life comes from faith. That is the essence of the Ezekiel prophecy that Kohler went right past in the search for prophetic social justice. The issue is still between a world with G-d and a world without Him.

The Pew survey makes it clear that the future of the Jewish community belongs to those who build communities based on a world with G-d whose leaders and people don't waver in their beliefs.

The Judaism of those who trade the birthright of faith for the pottage of social justice has no future. Judaism is not the kernel for a handful of ethical concepts. Its ethical concepts are part of it just as its community, its religion, its culture and its people must be one organic entity.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lying Liberal Liars

By On November 23, 2013
Every morning the media paws through a dictionary looking for the most innocuous ways to describe Obama's big health care lie.

According to the New York Times, Obama "misspoke" when he said over and over again that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. But unlike the times that the smartest man to ever put up his feet on the table in the Oval Office thought that Austrian was a language or that the United States had 57 states, he wasn't misspeaking.

44, as Politico likes to call him, was doing what 1 wouldn't do after he chopped down a cherry tree. And to call a lie, misspeaking, is itself a lie.

Rob Ford didn't misspeak when he claimed not to be on crack, despite being on crack. Barack Obama didn't misspeak when he promised to let you keep your health plan, when he had no intention of letting you do any such thing. And the New York Times didn't misspeak when it tried to pass that lie off as a mere slip of the tongue.

The New York Times, which never hesitated to call George W. Bush a liar,  switched up its euphemisms and began calling Obama's lie an "incorrect promise". NBC News called it a "promise they couldn't keep." The Associated Press called it an "inflated promise."

A few of their more honestly dishonest colleagues in the media argued that Obama did the right thing  because he could never have pried the health plans of Americans out of their grubby little hands if he hadn't promised them that his government takeover of healthcare would affect everyone else but them. Some of the pundits making that argument included those on Obama's regular reading list.

The excuse that Obama lied blatantly about the impact of a law he wanted to pass in order to pass it will no doubt be a great comfort to those gun owners who were willing to trust that his crusade against gun rights would stop where he told them it would and those Republican supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens who believed that he really would secure the borders once he got his millions of newly minted Democratic Party voters

If Obama lied to pass one law, what sensible argument can any of his supporters make for believing him the next time he promises, “If you like your guns, you can keep your guns” or “If you like your borders, you can keep your borders”?

Obama wasn't the first politician to lie. He won't be the last. But most politicians who lie don't have an army of reporters swarming around them to explain that they didn't lie, but just inflated their misspeaking. One man did not get up in front of the microphones and cameras and lie over and over again. The entire liberal establishment lied. And it's still lying.

The media’s lies and excuses, even more than the original Obama lie, reveal why liberals can never be trusted.

If Obama had only lied about being on crack or with an intern, that might be an impeachable act, but an understandable human failing. But he wasn't lying to cover up something shameful that he did. He lied because he didn’t think Americans deserved to keep their health plans… or the truth.

Obama lied because he is a liberal.

That Obama would lie was an inevitable as the sun rising in the morning and the taxman coming in the spring. The lie was baked into the nature of the progressive movement that he identified with and its social experiments with human lives for the greater good that he participated in.

Lying isn't incidental to a liberal. Liberal is another word for liar. Someone who believes, as Obama and his media cronies do, that Americans are too stupid and ignorant to be trusted to choose their own health care, isn't about to trust them with the truth.

Telling someone the truth shows that we respect them as people. We give them the information and then trust that they will make the right decision. Trust and respect are the key words here.

Liars don't trust and respect people. Neither do liberals.

Liberals don't believe that the people they lie to are their equals. If they did, not only wouldn't they lie to them, but they wouldn't subscribe to a skewed leftist take on liberalism that compels them to take away choices from people for their own good.

You don't take away someone's right to choose unless you think that they are inferior to you. The  policies of liberalism can only be justified by assuming that the people whose lives they run into the ground are their ethical and intellectual inferiors.

If you think that the next person over can run his life just as well as you run yours, then there's no reason to take over his life and to lie to him about it. But if you think that he’s probably a racist moron who worships the flag and clings to his gun and bible and can't be trusted to buy a car, raise his kids, drink a large soda and see a doctor; then you're probably a liberal.

And a liar. 

That's the difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives respect people's choices. Liberals don't. And if you don't respect someone's choices, you don't respect them.

If you think that the average person is a moron, then the only answer is to set up to some ideal  republic of liberal philosopher kings who will nudge the marching morons into the death panels for their own greater good while lying to them that the death panelists are really the judges for the next hot talent competition.

If ordinary people don't deserve the basic decency of being allowed to make decisions about their own health care, then they also don't deserve the basic decency of not being lied to their faces about those decisions being taken away from them.

If Obama had trusted and respected Americans, he wouldn't have lied to them about ObamaCare. But if he had really trusted and respected them, then he wouldn't have engaged in a massive government hijacking of their health care options, mandated their participation in health plans at virtual gunpoint and then rewritten the regulations to destroy as many of their grandfathered health plans as possible.

And so if Obama had really trusted and respected Americans, he wouldn't have inflicted ObamaCare on them.

The existence of ObamaCare made it inevitable that Obama would lie about it in the same way that a burglar smashing the window of a jewelery store won't hesitate to lie to the owner about what he's doing. A man who is willing to rob a store or a nation will easily and casually lie about his crime.

Obama's crime isn't the lie. The lie is the cover-up of the crime. The crime is that Obama packaged a tax, a welfare program and a government takeover of health care together and called it reform. That was the bigger lie and there was no misspeaking involved.

The media has shown that Obama's lie was no isolated incident by lying about the lie for the same reason that he told the lie. The health plan lie wasn't the lie of one politician protecting his reputation; it was the big lie of a liberal establishment protecting its agenda.

The liberal media manipulates its readers, listeners and viewers the same way that liberal governments manipulate their citizens. And they both do it because they don't believe that the ordinary person has the right to the truth or the right to his life.

The liberal media manipulates its readers, listeners and viewers the same way that liberal governments manipulate their citizens. Unlike Clinton's lie, Obama's lie was not one man's mistake, but a movement's arrogance. And not only hasn't Obama stopped lying about his lie, but the media and the rest of his movement haven't stopped lying about his lie.

Obama’s big health care lie shows why liberals can't be trusted. Any movement that believes its members are superior to ordinary people cannot be trusted to represent them or to tell them the truth.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Afternoon Roundup - We Will Barry You

By On November 22, 2013


“As frustrating as HealthCare.gov may be sometimes,” Obama told ObamaCare navigators and volunteers. “We’re on the right side of history.”

It wasn’t the first time that Obama had invoked the right side of history to rally the troops. During the Arab Spring, as Mubarak resigned on his orders, he said, “History will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt, that we were on the right side of history.”

Obama wasn’t the first man of the left to believe that he was on the right side of history.

Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev had told Western diplomats, “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!”

The Left Side of History

Feds Investigate Man Putting “Impeach Obama” Notes in his Portrait


France isn’t right, but it is decisive and its leaders understand that nuance is a game for fools. The cheese-eaters that devoted liberal turophiles like John Kerry once looked to as a counterweight to the Texas cowboy have once again become the leading Western practitioners of cowboy diplomacy.

After the collapse of Obama’s Arab Spring, France began to set the Western agenda in the Middle East. It was the French who pushed hardest for intervention in Libya. Obama was just the muscle they brought along. And it was the French who would have dragged him into Syria if not for the UK parliament.

While Obama was making empty boasts about Al Qaeda being on the road to defeat, the French were actually doing something about it by going into Mali. It was the French who stopped Kerry from giving a blank check to Iran’s nuclear program. 

Obamageddon in the Middle East  - (editor's note: turophiles = cheese lovers)

Muslim Taxi Driver with Samurai Sword Arrested Trying to Kill UK Prime Minister


If your cable channel is pulling in fewer viewers than the YouTube vlog of some Norwegian kid who does nothing except unbox exercise equipment while wearing a pig mask, you should probably give up on the cable thing.

Or go the Reality TV route.

What about Qatar’s Next Syrian Suicide Bomber, Dubai Slave Auctions or Eight Wife Swap. The Sahara Shore, Which 12-Year Old Wants to Marry a Billionaire and Al Qaeda’s Got Talent.

Al Jazeera Paid $500 Million to Reach 13,000 Viewers

Oprah: Racism Will End When All the Old White People Die


Nothing says white privilege like correct spelling.

And who is to say what the correct spelling of a word should be? Why privilege the Euro-centric model of linguistic integrity over a multi-dimensional approach that takes in the voices of everyone and respects their spelling choices?

What about Native American trans-women of color in wheelchairs who refuse to spell to protest the historic injustices against their people?

California Grad Students Claim Correcting their Spelling is Racist

Cheating College Students More Likely to Want Government Jobs


In an effort to win back the hearts of the American People, the White House today announced its support of the new ObamaCar program.

"Too many Americans are driving substandard cars," said White House Spokesperson Jay Carney during today's press briefing. "In fact, there are a lot of Americans who don't even have cars. That is why the President, by executive order, has initiated the ObamaCar Program."

The new program will see that all Americans, regardless of age, place of residence, or occupation will be required to purchase a vehicle suitable to meet the standards mandated by ObamaCar.

However, Carney was quick to point out that this did not mean that anyone would be forced to give up their favorite ride.

"If you like the car you are driving now, you can keep your car. Period." Carney read from a prepared statement by President Obama. "Nobody is going to take it away from you. Period." 

from the People's Cube - If You Liked ObamaCare, You'll Love ObamaCar


The Jews of Crown Heights, who were targeted by Sharpton in the Crown Heights Pogrom appeared to have learned their lesson after voting for Dinkins and as you can see in this map, their part of Crown Heights is a small island of Lhota red in a sea of De Blasio blue.

Bill de Blasio Praises MSNBC Radical Behind Anti-Semitic Race Riot


Obama on Wednesday awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – to 16 people, including a homosexual who led the socialist party in the United States.

Rustin was a fascinating character. In his youth, he was a member of the Young Communist League — the youth branch of the Communist Party USA

Obama Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Gay Communist and Chair of the Socialist Party of America

Armed Robber’s Family Angry at Customer Who Shot Him for No Reason - “What gives him the right to think that it’s okay to just shoot someone?”

VOTE THE HONEST SOCIALIST -Why vote for lying Socialists like Elizabeth Warren, when you can vote for an honest Socialist like Bernie Sanders?


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Egyptian revolution was “stolen” from the youth who started it by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Those kids in Tahrir Square, they were not motivated by any religion or ideology,” Kerry told an international security forum at the State Department on Wednesday.

Much of the rest of it is boilerplate stuff about opportunity, but a careful look shows that Kerry isn’t just disavowing the Muslim Brotherhood, but the Tunisian Islamists and, to some degree, the Sunni Syrian rebels. He’s arguing that the revolutions were hijacked by Islamic secterianism.

It’s not a completely radical view, but it’s certainly not in vogue in the corridors of power right now. The Arab Spring was supposed to reward Islamic political movements.

Kerry just threw that out the window.

John Kerry: Islamic Movements Hijacked the Arab Spring

Angry Detroit Activists Complain City Isn’t Black Enough


Sarah recalls: ‘Laura told her that she wanted to marry him, but his mother got aggressive and hit her with a shoe, calling her “a dirty white b****”.’

Two days later, Laura’s body was found in the canal. She had more than 40 stab wounds, most of those to the head, and some were defence wounds.

UK Gets Its First Muslim-on-White Honor Killing

One out of Five Liberals Would Vote for Mitt Romney


The clashes over Egypt and Syria show that Kerry is going to go his own way. He may have very little real power, but other countries assume that the Secretary of State represents the United States.

There’s not much to stop Kerry from saying what he wants except being removed from his post. And such a process would be as damaging to Obama as it would be to Kerry.

Hillary Clinton kept her mouth shut and didn’t dissent much from the administration’s line. Kerry has. The question is what can Obama do about it.

Is Kerry Going Rogue on Foreign Policy?

Iraqi Terrorist Supporter to Run for Mayor of D.C. - The United States ended its occupation of Baghdad, but a Baghdad Baathist is dreaming of an occupation of Washington D.C.


Congressman Keith Ellison, who went from Farrakhan Jew-Hater to Jon Stewart’s favorite Muslim, and Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s advisor on appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood, will join a founder of the Egyptian Nazi Party for an unforgettable evening.

And they’re all coming together at the Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in Georgetown to discuss “Egypt and the Struggle for Democracy.”

I bet a lot of understanding will come out of this event.

Keith Ellison and Muslim Obama Adviser Join Founder of Egyptian Nazi Party


Truly Guantanamo Bay is America’s great shame. They killed 3,000 Americans and all we give them is six hours of art classes a week. I bet the French would spring for at least eight hours of classes. And they would do a better job of covering impressionism.

Meanwhile America’s oppressive war machine dedicated to killing brown people forces Neo-Baroque painters on them. Shame on us! Shame!

Al Qaeda Terrorists at Gitmo Get 6 Hours of Art Classes a Week


Medicaid. It saves money and creates jobs. So why not put everyone on Medicaid? Think of all the money we’ll save and the jobs we’ll create.

But while the Dems pander to the welfare voters, they screw the middle class by refusing to let people who actually work for a living keep their health care.

Six Democratic Governors Refuse to Let People Keep Their Health Insurance


“Dear Miley, Do you know that Israel is not only occupying parts of the Ottoman Empire, but that all of Machane Yehuda is an open-air concentration camp where bewildered people hunt for food, fighting with each other over scraps as mobs jostle each other?

Do you know that Israel is in violation of over 80,000 UN Resolutions, like UN Resolution 75293B Expressing the Concern of the International Community Over the Availability of Lettuce in Gaza, UN Resolution 43280C Mandating that Israel must cooperate with the International Oppressed People’s Cultural Lettuce Covenant Commission and UN Resolution 40233 Expressing the Sentiment that Israel’s efforts to starve the people of Gaza with its lettuce ban must cease?

Pro-Israel Activists Ask Miley Cyrus to Boycott Israel


Without revelation, everything becomes arbitrary. The most serious rhetoric is undone because if you discard revelation, there is no longer any confidence in anything. All things become arbitrary. Tradition is honored out of sentimentality, rather than accepted as obligation.

And that’s how it all ends.

Once a religion admits its arbitrariness by disavowing revelation, it no longer has a reason to exist except convenience.

Pew, Jews and Missing the Point


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