Saturday, July 30, 2011

Transportation Safety Language Patdown

You may have seen us manhandling children and little old ladies at the airport. Now you can watch us do the same to the English language so we don't have to use bad words.  It turns out children and little old ladies prefer not to be patted down by uniformed strangers in the middle of the airport. They don’t seem to enjoy it at all. To make them happy, we are poised to introduce “new behavior detection techniques” at airports all over America. In fact, we already have “behavior detection officers” in place at quite a few airport checkpoints. Some people call “behavior detection techniques” “profiling,” but we don’t like to do that because we think the p-word is ugly. We have been studying Israeli “behavior detection techniques,” but we’re not going to admit we plan to adopt them because “critics have said the Israeli program . . . may involve a degree of religious and racial profiling that would draw controversy in the U.S.” We are allowed to use the p-word when we are talking about what Israelis do, but we would be very sad if people accused us of p-wording anybody. We do have to find a new way to p-word behavior-detect children, though, because “adults have used children as suicide bombers before in other contexts and could do so through an airport.” Of course, we are not going to point any fingers at those adults, or make any insensitive assumptions about what those “other contexts” might possibly be. But don’t worry: There will be fewer patdowns of children because of “new protocols” that will keep our personnel from having to p-word the adults who like to use children as bombs. It’s more problematic to behavior-detect little old ladies without p-wording them, “because a large number of people on terrorist watch and enhanced screening lists are older,” but we have a pilot program for that.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Color War at Camp Jihad and a Confederacy of Malevolent Dunces

Suppose the Russian and Chinese totalitarians do as they’ve promised and, despite our threatened veto, join forces at the UN with Islamism-appeasing Europeans, Latin American aid-beggars nostalgic for the good old days when to be a member of the Non-Aligned Movement was to be somebody, genocidal despots of the African continent, and whichever Arab tyrannies are still clinging to life come September, in support of the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the Arab-occupied territories west of the Jordan River. 

Who do they think will man that state? The stale, pathetic, corrupt president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas? Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abbed Rabbo, toadies of the late murderer Yasser Arafat, for whom to speak is to lie? Khaled Meshaal, slinking in from his Damascene hidey-hole, with the ghosts of Hamas masterminds Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi guiding his bloody project? The ousted Gazan triggerman Muhammad Dahlan, who has just returned from his Egyptian exile to fight charges of corruption, murder, and the attempted toppling of Abbas? Suicide bomber, mourner of mujahid Osama bin Laden, and Hamas prime minister Ismael Haniyeh?

Or maybe they are resting their hopes upon Salam Fayyad, technocrat, U.S.-educated economist, caretaker PA prime minister, a man beleaguered by his crooked, squabbling, blood-soaked colleagues, in fear for his life, struggling to build the institutions of a state in preparation for its establishment—a regular Theodore Herzl—a democrat with (just a little frisson of) a difference, to wit, his pattern of  incitement against the Jewish State, most recently of children attending the Palestine in the Eyes of the Martyrs (Shahids) Summer Camp” where, as Palestinian Media Watch translates from Al Ayyam,

[p]articipants were divided into four groups, named after leaders and fighters: Martyr (Shahid) President Yasser Arafat, Martyr Commander Salah Khalaf, Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa, and Martyr Dalal Mughrabi. Several senior Palestinian Authority officials visited the summer camp, headed by [PM] Salam Fayyad and Fatah Central Committee members Jamal Muhaisen and Sultan Abu Al-Einein. . . . A closing ceremony at the end of the summer camp was held under the auspices of Fayyad . . . who gave out awards [to officials involved in the summer camp.] . . . Dalal Mughrabi in 1978 led the most lethal terror attack in Israel's history, in which 37 civilians were killed, 12 of them children. Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) was the head of the Black September terror group. He planned many terror attacks including the murder of two American diplomats, as well as the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972. Abu Ali Mustafa, General Secretary of the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine . . .  planned numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians during the Palestinian terror campaign (“the Intifada”).

Will it make a bit of difference to that confederation of anti-Zionist malevolents at the UN, if they actually care to consider it, that there is no one to whose hands the keys to a Palestinian state may be safely entrusted? 

But they don’t care to consider it—to most of them Palestinians exist in theory only, as symbols of a triumph in potentia over the rising of the despised Jews from the ashes of destruction to the greatness of the (tiny) Israeli nation—so the question is moot, and the hypothetical state they espouse will remain a chimera.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Fallowed Ground

In his thirty-year career as an essayist for The Atlantic, James Fallows has proved a dedicated purveyor of inside-Washington liberal-establishment accepted-wisdom decrepitudinousness. His advertisements for himself are a sorry little pottage of elitism (Harvard, Oxford); égoïsme pathétique—“instrument-rated private pilot” (okay, cool), “program designer at Microsoft” (could be cool, depending on what it means, but probably not), “finalist for the National Magazine Award five times” (something maybe not to put in your liner notes?), “spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter” (something way, way not to put in your liner notes, ever, but while we’re there, were you responsible for “malaise?”)—and knee-jerk epiphanizing. His prose stylings are straight out of the NPR handbook, and can be as stilted and conventional as ever any of Tom Friedman’s have been; he’s even managed to turn the deliciously rotten Gawker into a bore.

But never mind the stultifying stuff he likes to call his “real work.” His short shots at the Atlantic’s blog are another story: The other day he took out after Jennifer Rubin in a vicious little rage somebody in editorial ought to have been embarrassed enough to delete before it ever got posted. But the truth is, the blog is the place where Mr. Fallows’s bigoted intolerance for any but his own kind routinely collides with his civil-discoursy affectations and routinely wins. And in this he’s perfectly in tune with his racist colleague Steve Clemons and the unhinged, Sarah-Palin-obsessed Andrew Sullivan, who spent three years there examining Mrs. Palin’s every spore before scuttling off, speculum in hand, to The Daily Beast.

Nastiness itself is nothing shocking in a blogthis blogger certainly embraces it. It’s the fantastic hypocrisy of the civilitys-for-me-not-for-thee congregation at the Atlantic blog that’s so distasteful. Mr. Fallows and his friends are progressives; they just don’t know they’re not liberals.        

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sheila Jackson Lee: Color Me Outrageous

This Yale-University-University-of-Virginia-School-of-Law-graduate nine-term Texas-Democrat Congresswoman cannot be shamed: She doesn’t hesitate to humiliate her staff in public; she’s not embarrassed to make a scene over the menu in first class, which is how she insists upon traveling, as “I am a queen and I demand to be treated like a queen” (unless she can’t on account of being PNG’d by the airline); she has no compunction about behaving with amazing rudeness toward a constituent who is asking her a question at a town hall meeting; she’s got no second thoughts—nor first ones, either, apparently—about bursting into flamingly incoherent paroxysms of self-righteous indignation (and referring to herself in the third person) during congressional hearings; and she can’t keep her finger off the race-baiting trigger, which is just where it found itself Friday, when its owner suggested that the battle over the debt ceiling currently raging between the president and House and Senate Republicans is motivated by racism.

“I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president, only this president, only this one has received the kind attacks and disagreements and inability to work,” she seethed on the House floor.

Only this one. . . . Read between the lines. . . . What is different about this president that should put him in a position that he should not receive the same kind of respectful treatment of when it is necessary to raise the debt limit in order to pay our bills, something required by both statute and the 14th amendment?

Well golly, Mrs. Lee, I just don’t know. Could it be that he’s partly white?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Folie à Quartet

Folie à deux: A condition in which symptoms of a mental disorder, such as the same delusional beliefs or ideas, occur simultaneously in two individuals who share a close relationship or association.

Folie à Quartet:  A condition in which symptoms of a mental disorder, such as the same delusional belief or idea that a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians is within reach if only they will accept certain guidance, occurs simultaneously in four individuals (and their assistants and their assistants’ assistants) who hail, respectively, from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia and share a close relationship or association.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Foreign-Policy Hen Party

It is just not conceivable that in voting for Barack Obama Americans intended that their muscular, brave, glorious, rights-cherishing force-for-good nation should become indistinguishable from the incarnation of feckless pusillanimity that is the European Union; that the American secretary of state should be the moral and spiritual twin of the EU’s High Representative; that each wary, vacillating toe we dip in the world’s water should splash us with toxicity; that our every uncertain foreign venture should cover us in ignominy. And yet, with one exception—the tracking down and assassination of Osama bin Laden—that is precisely what the last two-and-a-half years have brought us.

Mrs. Clinton’s diligence long ago added up to the appearance of competence and taught her to believe she had abilities; her fashionable championing of the radical feminist politics of her youth taught her how to get attention with a reflexive if possibly inauthentic anti-Americanism; and her lucky bet on what proved to be a sure thing in a husband—politically, that is—taught her to compromise with the Devil. Mr. Obama’s Hawaii- and Indonesia-bred remoteness from the mainland of America taught him alienation from his country of birth; his absent father and distant mother—and the difficulties he faced, eventually, being bi-racial in a mostly white world—taught him to be guarded; and the perhaps somewhat exaggerated acclamation he received during his Harvard and Chicago years taught him to harbor a peevish faith in the superiority of his own intelligence.

The combining of these two strains of self-approving incompetence and disdain for a hearty patriotism has been a misfortune for U.S. foreign policy, and may yet end up being a calamity. In the meantime, Americans with greater ambitions for their nation are stuck at the Hillary Clinton hen party, praying for deliverance, and enduring, aghast, both the hostess’s didacticism and the condescending interjections of her irritable, cock-of-the-walk boss.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Duty To Protect

A CIA analyst who’d “played a lead role in locating Osama bin Laden” must now be “protected” from al Qaeda by the Agency, the Washington Post reports, on account of having been exposed publicly in a photograph released by the White House in May. The story doesn’t tell us, thankfully—though others have already tried to disinter and disseminate the facts of his life—how that protection will be accomplished. The analyst, like just such another by the name of Mrs. Valerie Plame Wilson, was not an undercover operative; his hobbled superiors are going to have to take the unusual step of classifying him. If two years’ worth of imprecations, depredations, and attempted prosecutions by other agencies of the Obama administration haven’t completely unmanned his bosses in the intelligence service, he may yet be safe from harm.
In a Sit Room State of Mind

The photo in question—of a tense-looking national-security team collected around the conference table in the Situation Room to watch the Navy Seals raid bin Laden’s Pakistani safe house—was issued the day after it was shot, in what cannot be doubted was an effort to make bank on this single signal act of bravery and decisiveness; its been parsed, ludicrously, up the wazoo, and photo-shopped, even more ludicrously, and its altogether exposed Mr. Obama and his foreign-policy apparat to some much-deserved scorn for turning the storied room into a prop. This isnt the first time, either: The head nurses of the Obamic asylum have done it before, more than once, and most grotesquely in March, 2010, when the rapper Jay-Z and his “put-a-ring-on-it” bride, Beyonce, were allowed to ensconce themselves in a Sit Room State of Mind at what appears to be that very table.

But it’s no joke that the White Houses appalling insouciance and incompetence may have put an employee’s life in danger. It’s absolutely reprehensible.  I wonder, though: Does it transgress any laws? Violate anybody’s duty to protect? Does anybody care? The shame for the attorney general is that Timothy “Perjury” Russert is no more, and Richard “Leaker” Armitage and Patrick “Suborner of Perjury” Fitzgerald have moved on to drop their loads in other pastures, and therefore cannot be on hand to help Mr. Holderon the off chance it is illegal and he decides to pursue some actual justiceto prosecute the wrong man.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Citizen Truther

Israeli and American Jews of the non-leftist, non-Al-Jazeera, non-lunatic-fringe variety, UN-watchers, even the squeamish, dilatory, relativist U.S. government, have responded with disgust to the most recent offense—a repugnant Der Stürmerish cartoon depicting a dog sporting a U.S.A. sweater and a yarmulke with the Star of David on it urinating on a statue of Justice and devouring bloody human remains (likely a dead Gazan) posted last week on his blog, Citizen Pilgrimage, as accompaniment to some truly vile anti-American dialectic—in a decades-long string of them committed by Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law (extremely excellent work, Princeton, as ever!), UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur to the Palestinian Territories, anti-Semite, anti-Zionist, and Truther.

So deep and so wide has been the public revulsion over Professor Truther Falk’s latest that his head is in danger of rolling—maybe not much, because we’re talking about a Council whose membership includes Cameroon, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Cuba—but some; in any case, hes removed the cartoon from the blog, and issued a little screed, disguised, barely, as an apology, which is worth reading in all its amazing, self-justifying, Tom-Friedmanesque-planet-animising, Israel-bashing entirety:

With apologies, I realize that the cartoon that originally appeared on my blog devoted to the arrest warrants for Qaddafi and two others issued by the ICC had strongly anti-semitic symbolism that I had not detected before it was pointed out to me. I posted the cartoon to express my view that double standards pertained to the American and ICC approach to international criminal accountability. As soon as I was made aware of the anti-semitic content of the cartoon I removed it from my blog, although initially I denied such a posting because I did not realize that it was anti-semitic and was mistaken as to what was being referred to. My intention has never been to demean in any way Jews as a people despite my strong criticisms of Israeli policies, and some versions of Zionist support. My interest and commitment has always been directed at finding a just and sustainable peace for both peoples, although I believe that this must be based on a belated recognition of Palestinian rights, and not on power relationships.

To be clear, I oppose any denigration of a people based on ethnicity, race, religion, stage of development, and believe in the human dignity of all people in their individual and collective identity. Beyond this, if we are to have a sustainable human future we must also make peace with nature, and treat animals with as much respect as possible. This is both a sacred imperative of my idea of a spiritual life, but also an integral aspect of species survival on an increasingly crowded, overheated, and endangered planet.

Returning to the cartoon, I regret my carelessness, and apologize for any unintended hurt and outrage caused thereby. At the same time, I am quite aware that many of the messages were motivated to discredit me due to my views of Israeli policies and behavior.

One of those “messages” is a statement issued the other day by the U.S. Mission to the UN alleging that Professor Truther Falk’s “shameful and outrageous behavior is an embarrassment to the United Nations, and that Someone who publishes such vicious images has no place in the UN system.” 

On the contrary. The reputation of the man and the honor of the world-wide body he has served so faithfully are inextricable. The UN is unembarrassable, and this Pilgrim—who removed the cartoon from the post but not the photo-shopped image of George W. Bush behind bars or the accusation of U.S. criminality that were ubiquitous at anti-war demonstrations and websites during “the American led aggressive war waged against Iraq in 2003”—is its emblematic Citizen.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What a Great Civilization Produces

Yo, Arabs! Where are your breakthroughs in medicine, mathematics, economics, chemistry, astronomy, surgery, physics—to name but a few—today? What have you done with the extraordinary gifts and blessings that constituted the heyday of Islamic enlightenment nine centuries ago? Inflicting dhimmitude on The Other, blaming your insufficiencies on the Crusades, expelling by force, murder, rapine, and jihad the Jews who once upon a time ornamented your lands have done nothing to advance Arab civilization. Rise up, not only against your corrupt and tyrannical leaders, but also against your own self-imposed tragedy of diminishment!

Or not. Continue to incite against the Jews, to persecute Christians, to torture and subjugate your daughters and sisters, to choose tribalism over modernity, and to Hell with you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

On July Fourth, Thank You

(Photo: Blackanthem)

(Photo: Sgt. Jesse Stence, Marine Corps Times)
God bless you, God keep you, and God watch over you, as you serve and sacrifice to keep us free.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Headache Among the Believers

We spend Shabbat afternoon with beloved friends who live beyond the Green Line in the Judean hills. They were in the first group of eighteen settlers to break ground here, to scrabble their desert plot into lovely terraced gardens, and on it to build the house they still inhabit thirty-two years later. Across the road lies the vastness of desert which two months ago was a rolling sea of poppies, daisies, and fragrant, healing, herbs, and now is a magnificent sunburnt barrenness. Beyond it, in the distance, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jericho, Jordan. Their love for this place is in their bones, and aching. And yet, even after Ariel Sharon’s disengagement fiasco, and the (providential if unsurprising) Arab rejection of Ehud Olmert’s insanely munificent convergence offer, our friends saw they might be required to relinquish it, and were prepared to do so, albeit brokenheartedly, if it meant peace with the Palestinians. Now, with Hamas rising on the horizon, even the leftiest Israeli Leftist is forced to concede that prospects for Two States Living Side By Side In Perfect Harmony—which were dim enough without Hamas—are looking piss-poor. As usual in Israel, whether with heartbroken settlers or passionate city-dwellers, talk turns to the Arabs, Israeli politics, and the “Middle East Peace” that’s always, always, always on Israeli minds. This trip we also argue about Bibi Netanyahu’s smackdown of Barack Obama—I take the pro side, fervently, but the Israelis at the table worry Bibi has damaged U.S.-Israel relations (surely not greater damage than the harm Mr. Obama has done already?)—and, of course, we speak of the Arab Spring, and cabbages and kings.

No one mentions the months-longyears-long, really—problem of rock-throwing, trash-burning, tire-hurling, dirty-diaper-tossing haredi [ultra-Orthodox] men rioting every Shabbat against the municipality of Jerusalem—total Torah immersion not sufficiently thrilling to heat up the anti-Zionist blood, hmm?—over a variety of offenses, including the refusal to close a street abutting Mea Shearim, whose large crossroads and warren of narrow streets become boulevards on Shabbat for men strolling in their beaver hats, boys with payis curling to their shoulders, women in their wigs, girls covered to wrists and ankles; and the unwillingness to shut down a parking lot near the Old City that was built to accommodate secular tourists, foreign and Israeli alike, who come, inter alia, to pray at the Western Wall. This stuff just doesn’t much interest the people with whom we are breaking bread. 

But my husband and I get to have a brush with it. We sail through the checkpoint on the way back across the Green Line to Jerusalem, and almost immediately take a wrong turn. Though we have a GPS in the car, he hasn’t turned it on, because he knows where he’s going—and he’s making really good time getting there, too!! Eventually, he realizes he doesn’t actually know where he’s going, and he activates the guidance. Yet even with Robot Girl telling us what to do, we are lost on an unfamiliar road in a part of Jerusalem neither one of us recognizes. Uphill to our left is what looks like a techy office area; downhill to our right is the Zionist Racist Apartheid Wall. As we pass along at warp speed I say out loud to Mr. Leadfoot, the only person within earshot,  “F*** you, Arabs!” Then rant on in my head so as not to further irritate an already irritated driver who hates getting lost and almost never does so: “This partition was their choice. They could have had their state sixty-three years ago, if only they’d accepted the original partition instead of going to war against the Jews. Blah, blah, blah.” I’d be pacing back and forth if not for being trapped in a car.

Suddenly, we are on a completely empty street—not a car or a soul in sight—and just as suddenly, we are in the midst of a throng:  We have wandered into Mea Shearim. On Shabbat. It isn’t Robot Girl’s fault. How can she know that this is a closed-off enclave on the Sabbath? We can’t take any of the streets she wants us to take because there are roadblocks on them (where was the roadblock to keep us out of here, by the way?). The people ambling leisurely along like shtetl-dwellers of the nineteenth century are horrified at the sight of a forbidden car (engine, spark, drive) carrying a female passenger dressed immodestly in shorts and a T-shirt. The beaver-hatted men and their curly-locked sons start their own engines: “SHABBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHABBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHABBES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” they shriek at us, as if we didnt already know it’s Shabbes, as if we want to be there offending them. We speed up and down streets as wide as pencils in our increasingly desperation-filled mini-car; I cower, waiting for the stoning to begin. I hear myself saying “F*** YOU” again, only this time I’m screaming (windows closed), terrified we’re going to get stuck here forever, and I will have to shave my head and wear a wig with a shmatte on top of it and drag myself around in a long-sleeved shirt buttoned up to my ears and a skirt hanging down to my ankles and black tights underneath it all in the dead of summer and . . . and . . . and . . . all at once were out of there!  My husband has maneuvered us around a roadblock and back to the present. Escape! Zionism! The Jewish State! Air conditioning! And though my head is splitting, I remember to thank God that the stone-throwers among the haredim have trotted off downtown to spend yet another Shabbat hurling their bodies at drivers violating the Sabbath in secular Jerusalem, and not remained behind to hurl stones at two secular Jews violating Shabbat in Mea Shearim.