Sunday, April 09, 2017
How Senate Dems Went Anti-Israel
On March 23, 2017, Senators had a simple choice to make. On one side was J Street; an anti-Israel pressure group that had hosted BDS activists and opposed Israel's right to defend itself. On the other was Ambassador David Friedman, the first pro-Israel nominee in decades.
And the choice was made.
Every Democrat chose to stand with J Street with only two exceptions; Senator Robert Menendez, the last pro-national defense Democrat, and Senator Manchin.
There could hardly be a better demonstration of the descent into the fever swamps of anti-Israel politics then their decision to stand with an anti-Israel hate group whose Muslim-led student arm is waging war on campuses against the Zionist "occupation".
Senator Schatz, who weaseled his way into his office when the Governor of Hawaii decided to appoint his minion to the job, was first in line. Schatz sniveled that Republicans had come out against Obama's Iran deal which provided billions to terrorists. Schatz spent 5 minutes lying like a rug. Then he accused Ambassador Friedman of not being "objective" about whether Islamic terrorists destroy Israel or not.
"I take a back seat to no one in my personal and professional passion for the United States-Israel relationship," he whined. There isn't a seat far back enough on the longest bus in the world.
Schatz is backed by J Street. The Anti-Israel group's PAC actively fundraised for him. It even solicited volunteers for him. J Street PAC was No. 2 in Schatz's top 5 contributors. Brian Schatz sold his hardly used soul for a low six figures. And George Soros probably overpaid for a worthless product.
But Schatz rewarded the anti-Israel group with his undying loyalty. He joined the boycott of Netanyahu's speech and vocally backed the deal that protects Iran's nuclear program and pours billions into its terrorist machine. While Schatz bemoaned Ambassador Friedman's criticism of the anti-Israel group that owned him, he did not utter its name. "J Street", like Rumpelstiltskin or Voldemort, could not be voiced.
Next up was Senator Udall of New Mexico. Politics is the Udall family business. Udall's father and uncle were congressmen. His cousin was a senator. J Street's cash made it Udall's third biggest donor. Udall was the second biggest recipient of J Street checks in the '14 election cycle.
$157,310. That was what Udall got from the anti-Israel lobby. Now it was time for him to dance for J Street's dirty money. And dance, he did.
Udall, who had voted to confirm numerous Obama ambassadors whose only qualifications had been their six figure checks, bemoaned Friedman's lack of "diplomatic experience". But he had voted for a soap opera producer who couldn't name a strategic interest in Hungary as ambassador to Hungary.
The other Senator from J Street sputtered that Jews living in "settlements" on territory claimed by Islamic terrorists were an "obstacle to peace." And then Udall did what Schatz had been too cowardly to do. The puppet named the puppeteer. The slave spoke the name of his master on the Senate floor.
"Most horrific, he said: J-Street supporters . . . are far worse than kapos," Udall blithered.
Above all else a man who criticized Udall's paymasters could not be tolerated. Why not? Because J Street signs the checks. And if J Street's haters are kapos, what does that make him?
But then it was time to send in the clown. Next up in J Street's batting order was the Senator from Saturday Night Live. Senator Franken had received no money from J Street. Not a penny. And he's up for reelection in 2020. Minnesota's second biggest joke on America was left-wing enough for J Street money. He was anti-Israel enough for J Street money. And doggone it, J Street ought to like him.
Schatz and Udall were bought and paid for by J Street. Al Franken was auditioning for cash. It was hard to know which of them was sadder and more despicable. Schatz and Udall were kept men of the anti-Israel lobby. Franken was flagging down Jeremy Ben-Ami's car in a trench coat and offering his services.
Franken had moved from comedy to politics because he was only unintentionally funny. The author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them lectured that, "Diplomacy means not resorting to insults and to name-calling when you have a disagreement."
And Ambassador Friedman had insulted the nice men and women whom Franken hoped would write him a nice big check so he could go on being Senator Franken instead of having to play Stuart Smalley on a nostalgia cruise where he would be sharing equal billing with Legionnaire's Disease. "Mr. Friedman," Franken lisped, "called supporters of the American Jewish Organization J Street 'far worse than kapos.'''
Schatz and Udall had been satisfied with noting the grave insult to their paymaster and moving on. But Franken was auditioning and so he went all out singing the praises of J Street.
"J Street is a pro-Israel organization dedicated to the two-state solution," Franken flattered. Insulting J Street members was a "calumny" and should be a "disqualifier". It was "profoundly insensitive". If J Street doesn't send Franken a check after this, its terrorist supporters have hearts like stones.
"Mr. Friedman's offensive remarks don't stop there," Senator Franken huffed. "He even called me a clown and a moron."
There's no doubt that Ambassador Friedman's remarks were deeply offensive to clowns and morons. The clown and moron community deserves an apology for being compared to Senator Franken.
But why did Friedman call Franken a clown and a moron? It was over Franken's attacks on a Trump ad critical of George Soros. Soros helped fund J Street.
After Franken had made his appeal for J Street money, it was back to those senators lucky enough to already be riding the anti-Israel lobby's gravy train.
Senator Leahy (J Street PAC - $44,588) got up to denounce the insult to J Street without actually naming his 3rd biggest donor. "We all want what is best for the American people," he sniveled.
Leahy's definition of the "American people" is a left-wing Hungarian billionaire.
Senator Van Hollen (J Street PAC - $66,506) took a more unique approach by objecting to Friedman's description of our Islamic "allies" as "cowards", "hypocrites" and "freeloaders". It could just as easily have been a description of Van Hollen and his cowardly, hypocritical, freeloading colleagues.
And then it was finally over. Every Democrat, but one, who had spoken against Friedman, was owned by J Street. And every Democrat, but two voted for J Street. And why not? It's good money.
Senator Schumer betrayed his Jewish constituents. He sided with J Street. So did Senator Cardin. So did almost all of the rest. But this was what the Dems had become.
The contentious vote to confirm an ambassador is highly unusual.
Senate Dems had no objection when Obama sold the ambassadorships of the UK, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and Germany to the highest bidder. ($3.5 mil for the UK, $2.5 mil France, $2 mil Japan, $1.7 mil Switzerland, $1.5 mil Belgium, Canada $1 mil and Germany $1.5 mil.)
Obama appointed his campaign finance manager, John Kerry's cousin, married to the heiress of the Jack Daniel's liquor empire, ambassador to the UK. The Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent. The wife of the former CEO of eBay, who kicked in $2 mil, was named Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He made a soap opera producer who raised over $500K, the ambassador to Hungary and the producer of Dr. Dolittle 2, who raised millions for him, the ambassador to Denmark.
This grotesque parade of hideous corruption was approved with unanimous consent when in a more honest time everyone involved in this would be sitting under spotlights in an interrogation room.
Senator McCain put up a fight over the soap opera ambassador. McCain asked her, "What are our strategic interests in Hungary?" The Bold and the Beautiful producer spewed gibberish. The vote came to the Senate floor. The Democrats who voted against Friedman voted for her. Franken, Schumer, Gillibrand, Udall, Schatz; the whole miserable gang of liars, scoundrels and hypocrites.
But it's not our Ambassador to Hungary who matters, but the Hungarian who owns the Democrats.
Senate Dems ought to be made to answer why the choice of Ambassador to Israel should be determined by an anti-Israel pressure group funded by George Soros, a Hungarian billionaire who described his role in the Holocaust as "the most exciting time of my life", and Consolacion Esdicul who works for a Hong Kong gambler? They ought to be made to answer why they stand with Soros and the PLO over Israel.
Churched Kids Fare Better Than Nonattenders: Will Today’s ‘Cultured Despisers’ of Religion Pay Heed?
Religion is good for you: emotionally, physically, and economically. Who knew? Not the secularists.
In 2000, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book, “Bowling Alone.” Putnam argued that Americans’ reduced interest in civic engagement—by which he meant not only things of a political nature but also things like the PTA, Boy Scouts, groups like the Elks, and, yes, bowling leagues—had reduced the store of what is called “social capital.”
“Social capital” is what sociologist call “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.”
This is more than theory. It gets to the heart of one of the pressing issues of our time: social and economic inequality. And while Americans, as a whole, prefer to bowl alone, this solitude isn’t equally distributed.
As Putnam documents in his most recent book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” one thing that separates children from families in the top 25 percent of households measured by income and education from their counterparts in the bottom twenty-five percent is social capital. The well-off parents featured in “Our Kids” were, if anything, exhaustingly engaged and enmeshed in far-reaching networks that made life better for their kids.
While we shouldn’t be surprised that good connections offer better-off kids a significant advantage over their poorer counterparts, there’s something else that provides another significant advantage: religious participation.
Churchgoing kids “are less prone to substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, and smoking), risky behavior (like not wearing seat belts), and delinquency (shoplifting, misbehaving in school, and being suspended or expelled).”
But the benefits of regular church attendance do not stop there. As Putnam tells us, “Compared to their unchurched peers, youth who are involved in a religious organization take tougher courses, get higher grades and test scores, and are less likely to drop out of high school.”
They also “have better relations with their parents and other adults, have more friendships with high-performing peers, are more involved in sports and other extracurricular activities.” In fact, churchgoing is so beneficial to academic performance that “a child whose parents attend church regularly is 40 to 50 percent more likely to go on to college than a matched child of nonattenders.”
Now, this is true regardless of socioeconomic status. The problem is that regular church attendance is increasingly tied to socioeconomic status. According to Putnam, while “weekly church attendance” among college-educated families since the late 1970s has remained more or less the same, it has dropped by almost a third among those with a high school diploma or less. The result is “a substantial class gap that did not exist” fifty years ago. It’s yet another way that poorer kids are falling behind their more affluent counterparts.
Given the benefits of regular church attendance, the insistence on minimizing the role of religion in American public life is, to put it mildly, perverse. Society hasn’t figured out how to reliably give poor kids access to the kinds of advantages, both material and intangible, that better-off kids take for granted.
But we, the Church, do know how to reach out to them and their families in Jesus’ name. We have millennia of experience in ministering to the least, the last, and the lost. And now we have evidence that this kind of ministry has benefits that few people, Christians or non-Christians, ever suspected.
Will today’s “cultured despisers” of religion pay heed? Probably not. But we owe it to the kids—all kids—to ignore those naysayers and to freely give them what we have freely received.
LGBTQ Advocates Demand That Donald Trump Compiles A Registry Of All Gay Americans
Imagine a scenario in which the Trump administration called for all Americans to register their sexual preferences with the government. Gay, straight, bi, trans, and every other permutation of sexual desire and identity would be compiled and cross-referenced by government officials. Lying or failing to answer the question would be a violation of federal law, subject to fines. The government would know precisely what is going on in your bedroom, and in the bedrooms of your fellow citizens across the nation.
That sounds like a lefty fever dream, a dystopian vision of Trumpian persecution.
Instead, it is the policy some LGBT advocates are clamoring for and were disappointed not to have received last week. Rather than celebrating the protection of their privacy, the National LGBTQ Taskforce released a press statement condemning the administration’s decision to continue the existing policy of minding their own business.
Do You Really Want Government to Collect This Data?
“We call on President Trump and his Administration to begin collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on the American Community Survey as soon as possible,” Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director Meghan Maury was quoted as saying, “and urge Congress to conduct oversight hearings to reveal why the Administration made the last-minute decision not to collect data on LGBTQ people.” The decision not to compile a government database of gay people was “another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity,” she went on to say.
It is a strange sort of freedom, justice, and equality that requires a bureaucrat’s catalog to realize it. Even more so when it requires you, under penalty of law, to exercise it. The census is not optional, and a question about sexual orientation would mandate that people disclose their sexual identity to the United States government—even if they have not disclosed that to anyone else.
For an organization that clearly dislikes and distrusts Donald Trump, the National LGBTQ Taskforce is certainly anxious to give him the personal information of millions of people. Outing yourself, in their view, is not just encouraged: it is required.
As The Government Grows, So Too The Census
“The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”
From this one sentence in the Constitution, the census has grown into a massive data-collecting operation. That sentence makes the original purpose of the census clear, even without context. The Constitution creates a House of Representatives that is apportioned by population. The only way to determine that apportionment is to know how many people there are in each state. The only way to do that was a census.
Censuses had a bad reputation in the Old Testament, but they were fairly uncontroversial in early America. Perhaps that is because the census was only minimally intrusive in the citizens’ lives back then. The 1790 census did not even write down everyone’s name, only the head of household. The enumeration was simple: how many people in the household, broken down by age bracket, race, and whether the person was free or enslaved. The slavery question was necessary because of the Constitution’s three-fifths clause, which affected how many representatives were apportioned to each state, but the race and sex questions were superfluous. This was a low-tech census even for its day: until 1830, census takers did not even have standard forms to fill out, so they listed the people in his district however they chose, so long as it answered the basic questions.
As time went on, the census asked more and more of people. By 1850, they started listing everyone by name (other than slaves) and asking about national origin. More family information was added each year. Changing demographics and the American obsession with race also meant that the original categories of white, black, and other soon expanded. In 1890, the high tide of scientific racism, the choices included white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. The government didn’t just want to know your race; for mixed race people, they want to know the exact percentage of African ancestry you had.
Even before emancipation racial questions were not strictly necessary, but afterward they were completely unneeded. Likewise the questions about citizenship status, marital status, household relationships, and any number of other details. So why include them? One part of the answer must be that the government always wants to know more about the people within its borders. The reasons for this can be good or evil but any government, whether it wants to help its citizens or oppress them, must first know about them.
That sort of information was not readily available in the nation’s early days, which meant the government had to do it itself. That has been a boon to historians and genealogists, who find information in those censuses—now digitized—that they could not otherwise find without sifting through local city and church records that are often inaccessible, when they even still exist.
Our Bureaucracy Already Overflows With Personal Data
That dearth of data no longer prevails today. In modern America, information about the population is everywhere. Businesses want demographic information, and are willing to pay for it. Social scientists will do the same. Genealogists of the future will not need to comb the 2020 Census for clues about their ancestors—evidence of our existence is omnipresent. Not a day goes by without a news story about some new survey or poll. Our nation’s bureaucracy is overflowing with personal information on us, and private sources are full of it, as well.
The census mostly duplicates these information sources. For some, that means we should not bother; for others, it suggests that there is no harm in it. The census itself is undoubtedly constitutional. Indeed, the Constitution requires it, but that only applies to the actual enumeration. The decennial reapportionment of the House requires an actual count of Americans, but it does not require anything beyond that.
What About Personal Privacy?
The problem with including personal information in the census is two-fold. First is the problem of coercion. Pollsters have compiled terabytes of data on the American people, but all of it was gathered through agreement of the parties. No one forces you to answer a poll or survey, or to be truthful if you choose to do so. That can be a problem for survey teams, but it is a benefit to the people. Your right to be left alone is preserved. You do not commit a crime when you hang up on a pollster.
An even larger problem is that, once compiled, the database of personal information represents a powerful tool for a government to use against its populace. For all the Left’s furor during the last election campaign over a “Muslim registry,” the same progressive activists are falling over themselves to give the government a sexuality registry, in addition to the racial registry they already possess. If you do not trust the government (or this administration specifically,) why give them another tool to aid in your persecution?
Most of the world’s nations do not compile the detailed census that the United States does. Even among first-world nations, demanding racial identity data from citizens is not universal. A 2001 Brookings Institution report explains the policy in France, which is very different from our own:
France has intentionally avoided implementing “race-conscious” policies. There are no public policies in France that target benefits or confer recognition on groups defined as races. For many Frenchmen, the very term race sends a shiver running down their spines, since it tends to recall the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the complicity of France’s Vichy regime in deporting Jews to concentration camps. Race is such a taboo term that a 1978 law specifically banned the collection and computerized storage of race-based data without the express consent of the interviewees or a waiver by a state committee. France therefore collects no census or other data on the race (or ethnicity) of its citizens.
We Should Be Wary Of Government Data Collection
That some other country differs from us is not reason alone to make a policy change, but it does show that a similarly advanced society can function without doing things exactly the way we do them. We should think hard about reducing the amount of personal, private data we are compelled to divulge to the government. As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the 1977 case of Whalen v. Roe, “[w]e are not unaware of the threat to privacy implicit in the accumulation of vast amounts of personal information in computerized data banks or other massive government files.”
Americans should be free to disclose their private data, but they should never be compelled to disclose it. If we care about our privacy, we should at the very least keep our sexual identities off the census forms. We would do well to cut a bit more than that, and to tell the government to mind its own business.
Feminists Condemn Webb for 40-Year-Old Article
Jim Webb is a Navy Cross recipient, best-selling author, Reagan-era secretary of the Navy, former senator (and a Democrat, no less), presidential candidate, and Naval Academy alum — in other words, he’s exceptionally accomplished. Yet he was recently forced to decline the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Academy by a small but vocal group of feminists, largely because of an article he wrote in 1979. The article — “Women Can’t Fight” — was well within the mainstream when written and was based on Webb’s first-hand (and award-winning) experience as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam.
His critics — none of whom have even a remotely equivalent perspective or experience base to draw on — are broadcasting a confusing, but dangerous message, with today’s Academy midshipmen watching the spectacle from the front row. Never mind that Webb has disavowed the article, stating that his language reflected his immaturity and apologizing for any harm it caused. The fact that Webb directed implementation of some of the most female-friendly policies in the history of the Department while serving as secretary of the Navy doesn’t seem to matter either. He said some things that may have been acceptable then, but that the New Enlightened folks consider very mean and that hurt their feelings very badly now. This tolerant thinking goes something like this: “If you don’t punish him by revoking the award, we will punish the rest of you (and the other award recipients) by screaming obscenities during the ceremony.”
His opponents' reasoning is, at best, inconsistent. On the one hand they denounce Webb’s thesis (that females' are ill-suited for the rigors of ground combat), while on the other they argue a few hundred words in a relatively obscure magazine created an “unsafe environment” that caused — and continues to cause, 40 years later — great harm to fragile females in the military. They effectively turn the old “sticks and stones” adage inside out: bayonets and bullets, no problem; adjectives and verbs, big problem.
It’s also ironic, and moderately amusing, that their protest has introduced an article they find so threatening to a much broader audience. Demonstrating the intellectual and moral emptiness of their argument, one opponent said she thought it would actually be okay for Webb to receive the award … but only if a female was similarly recognized first. If only there were a female Navy Cross-winning, former SecNav, former senator available for them to nominate. Or an Academy alumna that could claim even one of those accomplishments.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.