Friday, June 24, 2011

Nation-building Biden-Style

Hiya Bad Rachel! Joe here. This news cycle, all we keep hearing: What’s with this new Biden plan for Afghanistan? Well I’m here to straighten you out. Here’s the plan: We Won. See ya later. Five words, short and sweet: Dear Hamid Karzai, Later Skater. Adios. Yours, Biden’s America. I know the New York Times says my plan is counter-terrorism. But really, I don’t even care about that. I just want to get us out of this hornet’s nest. Joe’s been going to Pakistan since General Zia. I knew Benazir Bhutto and her father. I called her Pinky. There is no hope whatsoever for that country. Plus, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. We got a brand new war in Libya, and Barack wants to send the Marines to the West Bank one’a these days to liberate the settlements for the Palestinians. If it were up old Joe, the US military would double down in Kosovo and Macedonia—make sure none of Milosevic’s kids are hanging around trying to relive the early 90s. And by the way, Bad Rachel, let’s talk second-term agenda here: mental health services for every American citizen, green-card holder, and migrant worker. How’s the Biden-Obama team going to afford universalized anti-depressants if we’re mucking around with the ISI and the Karzai government? Major resource suck! Major debt maker! The people of AfPak are going to be crazy for the next 5,000 years. The Biden plan is basically this: If the AfPakians pull another 9/11, Barack Obama will personally step down, contact the medical team that controls access to my good friend Dick Cheney’s brain, and make him president for 48 hours. In those two days Cheney drops 20,000 tons of thermo-nuclear electro-magnetic pulse bombs on every square inch of AfPakistan. Then Obama re-assumes the presidency and places me in charge of the special prosecution of Dick Cheney. Nation-building here at home. Lordy day, I tell ya!

Delta Goes Wahhabi

I can’t conceive of a reason why a Jew, or a Christian, or, for that matter, any other non-savage person of any other faith, should ever want to set foot in that horrific hellhole of child-selling, woman-enslaving, Jew-hating, anti-Western, dog-despising, Muttaween-driven misery that is the “kingdom” of Saudi Arabia—though I realize even the civilized practitioners of the “religion of peace,” no less than their bloody-handed brothers, are required to show up in Mecca at least once in their lifetimes to walk seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction, to throw stones at the Devil, to engage in animal sacrifice, and to perform the five additional rituals of the hajj. Still, what if a non-Muslim should for whatever reason wish to subject himself to the sights and sounds and strictures of the twelfth century? Who am I to gainsay that peculiar desire?

But I damn well can gainsay the decision by an American business to prostrate itself before the will of the doddering, Viagra-addled, decrepit old boy-buggering heart patients who hang by a thread from the Wahhabi hand to rule that vastness of sand and oil and downtrodden souls, as Delta Airlines has recently done in agreeing to ban Jews and people carrying Israeli passports from its flights to Jedda.

The story was reported yesterday by U.S. News and World Report, but has now been removed from the paper’s site; this is what now appears at the link:  

Airline code-sharing agreement causes confusion. CLARIFICATION: An early version of this story contained incomplete information and has been removed. For more details on this story go to USA TODAY's Faith & Reason blog.

At the Faith & Reason blog there is this amazing piece of self-justification by a Delta mouthpiece:

First and foremost, I think one of the most important things to mention here is that Delta does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against anyone in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender.

That said, some have raised questions about whether Saudi Arabian Airlines’ membership in SkyTeam means Delta is adopting any type of policies that could present barriers to travel for some passengers, including Jewish customers. For this particular concern, it’s important to realize that visa requirements to enter any country are dictated by that nation’s government, not the airlines, and they apply to anyone entering the country regardless of whether it's by plane, bus or train.

We, like all international airlines, are required to comply with all applicable laws governing entry into every country we serve. You as passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents, such as visas and certification of required vaccinations, and we’re responsible for making sure that you have the proper documentation before you board.

In other words, we here at Delta are in strict compliance with the standards of the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, and happily so. As for you Jews, just sit in uncomplaining diversity alongside Arabs on our flights to Tel Aviv and say no more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shyne On

Notes from the Undivided and Eternal Capital of Israel
On the way from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem, our driver, Ofer, asks us where we’re from, and whether we’re Jews. “From the States,” I say, as my husband answers, “From Washington.” And, yes, we declare simultaneously, we’re Jews. “Ah, Washington,” he replies. “May I just tell you your president is weak, very weak?” Yes, he may, but he doesn’t give us time to agree before he launches into a heavily accented but extremely nuanced tirade on the impossibility of “peace” between the Israelis and the Arabs: “Three years ago I drove a group of Palestinians from Jerusalem to Ramallah, and it took us only fifteen minutes to come to an agreement on a peace plan. Today there is not even the possibility! I don’t understand what you’re doing, you Americans. Once I believed we could live side by side with them in peace. Now, not at all. I used to call Judea and Samaria the West Bank. Now I call it Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel]. This is because of your American weakness. This is terrible. How can you American Jews support this?”   

I want to defend some of us, to tell him I still call the West Bank Judea and Samaria and no brief for the other side has yet persuaded me to do otherwise; I want to say the combination of asthenia and intransigence so tragically and dangerously in evidence in our own president and equally so in the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, are only partly to blame; I want to argue that there never has been the possibility of peace since the moment Haj Amin al-Husseini’s Judenreinish Arab Higher Committee of Mandate Palestine, in league with Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, rejected the U.N. Partition Plan that would have given the Arabs of then-Palestine their own state and, in an act suggesting a not altogether complete de-Nazification of the Arabic stage, declared jihad and laid siege to the infant Jewish State.

But I don’t say any of it. I keep my mouth shut. Because chances are, even when you want to agree with an Israeli who’s in a disputative, philosophical mood, he won’t let you.

The impossibly annoying wonderfulness of this country: The other day I had to call my Israeli cellphone provider for tech support. Ten minutes of brain-freezing technomusak Israeli-style later, a young woman answered, “Allo.” She listened to my longish explanation of the problem, interjected “Yes” and “Okay” here and there as she did so, and when I’d finished she said, “Just a moment. I don’t speak English.” Eventually I got an English-speaker. He heard me out patiently, then asked my name.

“You’re a Jew?” he wanted to know.
“Yes,” I laughed, feeling what was coming.
“Then why you don’t make aliyah [immigrate to Israel]?” he demanded.
“Well, I’m here now,” I answered.
“NO! You should be live here! Jews should be live here! This is the Jewish State. Israel need you.
“Also, this way you wouldn’t call me every time to add minutes to your phone.”

I didn’t tell him that I’d lived on a kibbutz for two years, that I’d been fluent in Hebrew, that the language comes back after a few days—though as it was always more in the John-Deere/chicken-house(couldn’t eat an egg for five years after)/orange-picking/kitchen-scouring/child-minding line than not, I’m lost in the fabulous tech-explosion lingo—that I try come here twice a year, that I long to live here again. It would sound defensive. Which is how I feel.  

Yesterday morning Shyne strolled by our breakfast table at the King David Hotel, all tricked out like a nineteenth-century shtetl Hasid: black hat perched atop his head, beard and payis dangling, black-and-white striped silk waistcoat hanging over black knee pants and leggings—oh, and cool, bad-boy rapper shades. I tried to point him out to my husband, but he was intent and fuming over Haaretz and didn’t look up in time. Anyway, he hates hip-hop and has never heard of Shyne, a.k.a. Jamal Michael Barrow, a.k.a. Moses Michael Levi. But the rapper is a well-known man-about-town in Jerusalem, where he has made his home since being released from incarceration in Dannemora. He spends his time these days studying Torah—in an obversion of the customary prison conversion to Islam, Mr. Shyne Barrow Levi found not Allah there but Hashem—and working on a hip-hop comeback.

There’s no stinting in Israel, not with food and not with intrusiveness. No matter what you order at a restaurant—even a grilled cheese sandwich—your plate arrives with food enough for three. If you don’t finish every bite, you get this: “What, you didn’t like the food? It didn’t taste good? You want something different? You’re not feeling well?”

Jerusalem, always glorious, is particularly so right now. The sun is brilliant and hot, flowers of every variety are in bloom, there’s ancient dust everywhere, and the streets are brimming with life. It feels the way it felt when the second intifada ended—people everywhere crowding the sidewalks in a very non-tech explosion of joy and relief.

But maybe that’s just the elation before the storm the unreliable and peevish American president is doing his damndest to usher in.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things A Woman Can Do



1903: “She can love and not be jealous.”
2011: She can love . . . herself. And be jealous of herself. Ingenious multi-tasking.

1903: “She can reason.”
2011: O reason not the need!

1903: “She can be sure of her facts before saying: ‘I’m just as positive as I can be.’”

1903: “She can conquer her husband by chiding him when he is in a lamblike humor.”
2011: She can cling to her husband by hiding from his ambidextrous amours.

1903: “She can admire another woman’s stylish bonnet without saying ‘I wish it were mine.’”
2011: But why not just attempt to don it?  

1903: “She can regard things and people from a dispassionate, impersonal standpoint—a really truly one.”
2011: Or not.

Is life better? I suppose it could be worse: We could be living in Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Syria.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bingo Bango Bongo, What Is In a Name-o?

“Reformer:” A name that’s been much favored among the specialists in Obamic diplospeak, deployed not long ago with appallingly perverse promiscuity to describe the Syrian despot/slaughterer, and now, with its own delicious ludicrousness, as an encomium for a visiting dictator, M. le Président du Gabon, Ali Bongo. (Will they give him White House Honey Gastrique?)

But what’s in a name? That which Mr. Obama & Co. call a reformer/by any other name would smell as rank. Bongo of Gabon would, were he not Bongo call’d. Reformer, doff thy name/and for that name, which is no part of thee, take “Pillager.”

And Obama, deny thy office and refuse thy claim. ’Tis not thy name that is my enemy, but thy policies.

What’s a president? O, be some other name. Soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anthony Weiner and the Deeply Regrettable, Horribly Stupid, Deceitful Personal Failing

Im a deeply regrettable weiner wagger . . . sniff . . . on accounta I dont know why, and I aint resigning, cause this was a very dumb thing to do, but it wasnt part of a plan. My wife loves me. And by the way, the people I’ve had Facebook engagements with are not young, per se.  And by the way, these were . . . sniff . . . consensual relationships, almost a frivolous exchange among friends.” 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poesy Weinerian

Whether it’s my amplitude.
It could well be my latitude
It’s possibly my longitude.
I’ve Tweeted with assuetude—
I like the youthful mollitude,
The better if in multitude.
No question my ineptitude,
My habitude of crassitude,
Cast doubt upon my rectitude.
But dude, it’s just my attitude:  
I have a thing for pulchritude,
And cannot bear the solitude.

The Biden Supresidency

Hiya, Bad Rachel! It’s been a hell of a long time, but Old Joe has been busy. Thinking and working. Biden Commission. Debt ceiling. And now I have some very important news. I don’t know if you all follow that inside baseball, the Politico, Washington Whisper, that kind of thing. But I want to make it official: Joe Biden is running for president. You could say I am giving you the scoop on this. Like Sarah Palin, I’m going rogue. Joe Biden: More Maverick than Top Gun. I like that. Now, I know where you’re coming from. Joe Biden is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, so why is he making his announcement on this blog? I don’t know how to tell you this, Bad Rachel, but I’ve always wanted to be president. Always thought I’d do a better job than Barry. Hell, I thought I’d do a better job than Bill Clinton. 2012 is Joe Biden’s shot. Like my friend Steve Winwood says, “When you see a chance, take it.” I haven’t seen this many donors walkin’ sideways since Abscam. This cycle already has great candidates: I mean, the Republicans got T-Paw, The Big Mitt, Herman Cain. On the Democratic side we have my boss and John Huntsman. So let me be clear: Old Joe is the natural choice for all the donors who are leaving Obama on the whole Israel thing. I have done more for Israel in the last two years than frankly any president since Harry Truman. What do I mean? Well I don’t know if you noticed this, but America elected an Islamist to the presidency in 2008. At every step of the way, I have had to box Barry in. And I do it all for Israel. You didn’t like that speech on the Arab spring? You should have seen the draft before Joe “Jerusalem” Biden got to it. I went over to the Oval, looked him dead in the eye, shoulder to shoulder, and said: “You can’t quote Hassan al Bana and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in this Israel section, I don’t care what Samantha Power says.” You thought it was too much that he mentioned the 1967 lines? Barry’s original speech proposed establishing a new Israel in Uganda, like Teddy Herzl did at the Sixth Zionist Congress. Now granted, this was probably a Kenya-Uganda thing. But still, I have put out so many fires in this White House you’d think it was the War of 1812. Every other week, a new plan: Why don’t we get Susan to propose a UN Resolution demanding Israel give up half of Jerusalem? Let’s invite the newly democratic governments of Tunisia and Egypt to mediate all Jerusalem/Quds issues. Is there some way we can put Israel’s nukes under the stewardship of the Arab League? You get the picture. See, but none of these things ever happened ’cause steady old Joe was there to talk Barry down. So welcome to my world. The stakes are higher than ever. This is why I want those donors to read the facts for themselves. Joe Biden is Israel’s last line of defense. I think that’s worth at least the Democratic Party’s nomination. You’re Jewish. You must know Chaim Saban. Tell Chaim and his pals that we can make this happen. Joe Biden, El Presidento. Shalom.