|Rock, Paper, Scissors|
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
From MEMRI, by way of Andy McCarthy at NRO, a fascinating interview on Egyptian TV with Muslim cleric Sa’d Arafat (Mr. McCarthy quotes it in full, and so shall I):
Interviewer: Wife beating is a serious accusation [leveled against Islam]. Let us examine this matter bit by bit.
Sa’d Arafat: Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.
Interviewer: Honored them with beatings? How is this possible?
Sa’d Arafat: The prophet Muhammad said: “Don’t beat her in the face, and do not make her ugly.” See how she is honored. If the husband beats his wife, he must not beat her in the face. Even when he beats her, he must not curse her. This is incredible! He beats her in order to discipline her.
In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.
She is in need of discipline. How should the husband discipline her? Through admonishment. If she is not deterred, he should refuse to share the bed with her. If she is not repentant, he should beat her, but there are rules to the beating. It is forbidden to beat her in the face or make her ugly. When you beat her, you must not curse her. Islam forbids this.
Interviewer: With what should be beat her? With his bare hand? With a rod?
Sa’d Arafat: If he beats her, the beatings should not be hard, so that they do not leave a mark. He can beat her with a short rod. He must avoid beating her in the face or in places in the head where it hurts. The beatings should be on the body and should not come one right after the other. These are all choices made during the process, but beatings are allowed only as a last resort. [...]
The honoring of the wife in Islam is also evident in the fact that the punishment of beating is permissible in one case only: when she refuses to sleep with him.
Interviewer: When she refuses to sleep with him?
Sa’d Arafat: Yes, because where else could the husband go? He wants her, but she
So: Husband beats wife for refusing sex with husband who honors wife by beating her to a pulp for refusing sex with husband who has thus honored her, and so forth, ad infinitum, or at least ad finishum of wifum. Note the interesting touch of instructing husband to beat wife everywhere but upside her head, so that wife remains attractive enough to husband that he demands sex, which wife refuses because she has been honored with a beating, whereupon she is honored once more.
Eventually husband could find he has honored wife so widely and deeply that he’s meted out an honor killing. But that may be in some other surah.
On the subject of Mr. Clinton’s little tutorial on Middle East peace, delivered off the top of his heady-head-head at the Clinton Global Initiative the other day, much properly disgusted commentary and response has appeared in the last couple of days, with a particular focus on his assertion that “An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It’s a different Israel.” (Different from what, one must interrupt oneself to ask: The Israel he attempted to coerce—not once, but twice—into making a deal with the gore-covered Yasser Arafat and his blood-soaked fellow Fatah terrorists? The Israel of hot Tel Avivi beach chicks with their cafe-society contempt for all the grubby little worries of those less fortunate and less esthetically pleasing than themselves? The Israel of peace conferences put on by “Kumbaya”-singing post-Zionist academics for the purpose of weeping mea culpa naqba into the hankies of their “Palestinian” opposite numbers?)
His fabrication of a long-ago conversation with Natan Sharansky—“I said, ‘Natan, what is the deal [about not supporting the peace deal],’” Clinton recalled. “He said, ‘I can't vote for this, I’m Russian. . . . I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you.’” Clinton responded, “Don't give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It’s a lot bigger than your jail cell”—is also a doozy, and on the order of his wife’s extremely wonderful Bosnia sniper-fire-incident experiment in language usage. (Apparently there’s not much Mr. and Mrs. Clinton won’t say, given half a chance.)
But for me the most delicious part of that performance was his extraordinary—no, his fantastical, his risible, his marvelously ludicrous—foray into sociology, with the ranking of Israelis’ attitudes toward peace according to their national origins:
The “most pro-peace Jewish Israelis” are the Sabras, who he described as native-born Israelis whose roots there date back millennia, because they have the benefit of historical context. “They can imagine sharing a future.” . . . Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated from Europe and have been in Israel for one or more generations are the next most supportive of a peace deal, Clinton said. . . . The “swing voters” are what Clinton called the “Moroccans”: North African Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He described them as right-of-center citizens who nevertheless want normal, stable lives.
Res ipsa loquitur, as the lawyers say. Just a note of thanks, stain man, for the spurious, illiterate, and really amazingly racist lesson in Israeli politics! So glad we needn’t ever again imagine sharing a future with you.
“Here is a line from Obama’s UN speech:
If an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbors who are committed to co-existence.
“Let’s say statement No. 1 is true—the Ps won’t get to have a state until they have a state. Fair enough.
“But what about statement No. 2? Why is it that Israel will ‘never’ know security until there is an agreement? Why is it just assumed that Palestinians will always seek to murder Jews until one day they magically have a state for themselves? It’s not the threat of the law that keeps most people from committing acts of murder—it is the knowledge of human origins or human rights that keeps us straight, and that is given expression in the law. What he is saying might be true—that the Palestinians today will always seek to harm Israelis—but he's missing the corollary fact: that neither security nor certainty will come from a paper document, least of all one signed by people whose ravening hatred would have to be, in his theory, hemmed in by a signature on a dotted line.”
To which Bad Rachel will only add that that knowledge of human origins and human rights of which Brooklyn Boy speaks emanates from God—the God of the Hebrew Bible—and end by saying amen v’amen.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It turns out to be harder than you might have thought it would be, being the president of the United States and all, to hire a decent speechwriter. True, you can always find a hip young staff brainiac to purvey your every word and move (and his own, while he’s at it). But even Google seems to have failed the battalion of swell-headed policy twits you employ, one or two of whom might have studied, oh, let’s say history, at some fabulously famous institution of higher learning—if they still teach that kind of thing—but are now so busy live-tweeting their ice-cream socials among dictators, for example, that they just haven’t got the time to LOOK STUFF UP. So you’re stuck embarrassing yourself today by saying things like Mexicans Were Here Long Before America Was Even An Idea (did they tour Jamestown?), for which tomorrow someone will have the embarrassing job of excusing you publicly, someone else will have the embarrassing experience of looking up from his iPad to hear he has been fired, and you will have the apparently unembarrassed temerity to go on grousing about your lousy job.
Press conference, Four-Stooges style:
Mideast Peacemakers Cancel Conference Amid Rancor
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The Quartet of Mideast peacemakers shepherding the newly started direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations called on Israel to extend a settlement freeze, after abruptly canceling a planned news conference over a disagreement on who would appear on behalf of the group.
Need one say more?
Monday, September 20, 2010
“Had we not had the hostage crisis,” muses Jimmy Carter philosophically (surely he is using we in the Aristotelian sense, or rather we in the Will Durantian sense of the Aristotelian sense) in his newly released White House Diary, a compendium of his daily entries over the four years of his presidency (culled thoughtfully for his readers from five thousand pages to a trifling six hundred), “I would have won.” Moreover, he adds, with the characteristic Carterian bonhomie, “Had I not had Kennedy as my opponent, who sapped away a portion of the Democratic wing, I would have been re-elected.”
So much blame, so little time.
· Had he not also accused his fellow Americans of abandoning their pride “in hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and . . . faith in God”
· Had he not also charged them with worshipping “self-indulgence and consumption,” and defining human identity “by what one owns”
· Had he not also blamed the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, and “a system of government that seems incapable of action. . . . a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests [and] every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another” (gosh, doesn’t that sound awfully familiarly like the whinging we’ve heard with regularity from the downturned lips of the White House’s current occupant?)
· Had he not also celebrated our release from “that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in that fear” before in essence facilitating and then watching with something akin to approval the establishment of a Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua
· Had he not also not projected American weakness (through his own) and then been forced to vie against Ronald “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Reagan . . .
Had he not also, in other words, been the worst U.S. president ever, before, that is, the Advent of Barack Obama, he would have been re-elected.
Or maybe not? The answer might be found in those excised forty-four hundred pages of his Diary.
White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters during a telephone briefing that in order for Iran to walk through that door [of international engagement], it would have to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program.
Let us parse that statement! Just when will Iran have to demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear program? After they build the bomb as a check on Israeli aggression, perhaps? And anyway, Ben Rhodes is not a national security adviser, or rather, would not be in any universe that made sense. He was Obama's top foreign-policy speechwriter and was then made a Deputy National Security adviser . . . for Communications. I suppose it’s possible that he’s not only writing speeches but also dictating foreign policy, in which case it’s time I take my suicide pills.
And do you remember an article a year ago about Rhodes, a big profile in Politico? While he was writing a key Iraq War speech he said he used Google to find inspirational anecdotes about the troops. Because he didn't know anything about the war or our military and had to Google everything. I'm not kidding!
Rhodes is also behind Obama’s telling the story of two Marines who died trying to stop a suicide bomber from entering an American military compound in Iraq.
During “the download,” Obama had told Rhodes he wanted to end on the troops.
“I literally just spent a lot of time Googling,” Rhodes said.
Is it time to move to Canada with Susan Sarandon?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I am trying to vote in my local primary. In the tiny voting room at John Jay High School they do not have a sign up with my election district’s number on it, but I have come prepared and know what to do. Yet there is a snare—at the entrance I hear a Tall-Skinny Democrat complaining on the phone to her (husband? mom? significant other TSD?) that it took a very long time to vote. Why so long? Ah, here is why: The flock of women who were kidnapped and forced into servitude as election observers naturally assume I am a Democrat and fill out the wrong voting card and give me the wrong ballot. There are no Republican ballots. I frown, and after five minutes of riffling at the desk, the Lady in Red Shirt goes off to an invisible closet to find my ballot. I was Dem voter No. 5, now I am GOP voter No. O. A very long line of people (four people) has formed behind me, and I feel like I am trying to buy herpes medicine and GOP hair plugs at the same time.
Confusion reigns, not the dredlocked man with the loud talking who has appointed himself King of Observers. After waiting patiently for the electors of servitude to do something, anything, I take my unobservant hands and pull out the bottom packet of plastic-wrapped ballots from the leaning tower on the desk in front of the Republican election observer. It is the missing GOP ballots. A plot? I frown again. “Is it all right if I open this up and take my ballot? I want to vote now.” Sure, sure, yes yes baby sir. The loose blue plastic wrap is too difficult for the Republican observer to open—this takes a good 60 seconds of arthritic tearing. I am handed my third voting card by the Lady in Red Shirt, this one identifying me as GOP voter No. 1. Huzzah. I scan my ballot with my eyes and pen. My choices: A dairy farmer, a political consultant, a businessman who wants to put welfare recipients in jail and teach them to brush their teeth properly. The electioneers were right: I should have voted for the Democrats.