Friday, August 27, 2010

The Media's Anti-Semitic Hate Machine by Daniel Greenfield

When I read this article, I realized that it said a whole bunch of things that I'd been thinking. The fact that it was put into words by someone who actually knows how to write makes me happy. To say Greenfield "hits the nail on the head" would be a gross understatement. He hits many nails.
By linking Islamic terrorism to some form of Israeli provocation, and from there to the support for Israel by American Jews—the same media which would commit seppuku rather than blame Muslims for Islamic terrorism, instead blames Jews for Islamic terrorism. The steady drumbeat of such rhetoric, which exonerates Muslims but indicts Jews, for the actions of Muslims, is brilliantly perverse. And it also puts the lie to the media’s defense that it avoids attributing terrorism to Islam because it does not want to stoke bigotry. In reality, the media has no problem with using Islamic terrorism to stoke bigotry. It just has a different target in mind.

Behind the media’s long ugly history of misreporting terrorism against Israel, has been that one fundamental narrative, that it is not Muslims who are responsible for Muslim terrorism, but the Jews. When a Muslim terrorist attack happens in Tel Aviv, Madrid or New York—it turns out that the Jews are the ones to blame. It really doesn’t matter whether an Israeli soldier kills a Muslim terrorist, or a Muslim terrorist kills a Jewish father of four driving home from work, it is never the Muslim that is at fault. Always the Jew. Forget about even splitting the difference. There is never any difference to split. It is always Israel’s “humiliation” of Arab Muslims that is at fault for provoking their righteously murderous anger. A familiar theme that recalls Hitler’s constant invocation of “German humiliation” at the hands of the Jews.
Yeah, I know, the constant comparison of one's political political opponents with Hitler and Nazis gets tiresome, but here the comparison is apt, not overused hyperbole. Who was out to end the life of world Jewry back then? Who's, by their own admission, out to end it now? See?
All the media’s talk about Israeli disproportionate force in relation to Muslim terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank has nothing to do with it. Back when Israel was fighting wars for survival against enemies that vastly outnumbered it, the Jews were still to blame for humiliating their enemies by refusing to die. That is “Jewish Privilege”. To go on living, even when people who fancy themselves nobler and better, who have wonderful ideas about a Third Reich or a Pan-Arab or Pan-Islamic union want them dead.
It is a fairly lengthy article, but it is well worth reading. I already passed it on to the people on my email list and posted it at the Garbanzo Annex.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Like Minds

Never let a crisis go to waste, right? So said Obama adviser, Rahm Emanuel. It turns out that there are other political operatives in the world who think the same way - the Taliban, for instance.
The floods tearing through Pakistan's breadbasket have further weakened the already unstable country, inflicting more economic pain on its people and threatening a key pillar of the U.S.-led war against Islamic militants -- who stand to gain from the misery.
Some of the worst-hit areas are strongholds of al-Qaida, the Taliban and associated groups and have long been used as recruiting grounds.

U.S. and Pakistani officials warn that extremists could get recruits and legitimacy by their actions in the flood zone and have called for more international aid. The U.S. has been the most generous donor so far.
Of course, I'm not making a value judgement, nor am I comparing the Obama administration to the Taliban. (Obama is a much snappier dresser.) If am only pointing out that they share certain tactics which some may consider cutthroat.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Hateful Enough for the "Human Rights" Advocates

I'd read about the BBC's flotilla film, but I haven't seen it yet. According to CAMERA, it's actually a balanced look at the event. Coming from the BBC, with its well known anti-Israel bias, that was a surprise . . . to everyone . . . on both sides.
A BBC documentary screened this week that investigated the Gaza flotilla incident on May 31 is causing a storm of protest – from critics of Israel, who are furious that the program was not as hostile to Israel as they thought it should be.

The critics, including an activist from the Free Gaza movement who was aboard the Mavi Marmara, are organizing demonstrations on Sunday outside the BBC’s London headquarters and other BBC offices, and are calling for a mass campaign of complaints to the BBC in general and the program makers in particular.
Yep, forget such arcane concepts as freedom of speech and accurate reporting. According to the true hard core Israel haters, only one position is allowed. You are either with them in their hatred or you are silenced. At one time, I thought (because that's what the Israel haters kept preaching) it was only the Israel Lobby, with its Zionist tentacles that reach into all of the halls of power that could mobilize that kind of reaction, but now the hate-monkeys are in an uproar and the BBC is their target, so who knows what will happen next? This is one rabidly vicious group of people. And when they don't get there way, their tantrums can get quite evil. Unfortunately, these moral retards have been getting their way for much too long, aided and abetted by a mendacious mainstream media. Now that one of their allies has neglected to toe the line, their world is coming crashing down, kind of like that two year old upon hearing the word, "no" for the first time.

Free Gaza activist Ewa Jasiewicz said the whole tone and framing of the program was “utterly Islamophobic and racist and demonizing of Muslim activists.
They are also prone to exaggeration, moral inversion, and outright lying. But here's an act that gives an even deeper look into the twisted, diseased souls of these "activists".
Last month, Jasiewicz was part of a group of activists who spray-painted “Liberate all ghettos, free Gaza and Palestine” on a wall of the original Warsaw Ghetto.
Evil, base, loathsome, vile, repugnant - get out you thesaurus and try to find the word that accurately describes the depths of inhumanity these foul creatures have plumbed.

On the other hand, there is John Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten, front man for the Sex Pistols, and currently the leader of Public Image Limited. Count me as one of those who was surprised to read that he's been married to the same woman for almost 30 years. Color me even more surprised to read this quote from Mr. Lydon on his planned concert in Tel Aviv amid the cultural war against Israel, supported by the usual hate-monkeys and those who just don't know any better:
I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews [sic]. If Elvis-f-ing-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated.
I remember when the Sex Pistols and their scorched earth tour of the United States. I also remember seeing Mr. Lydon in a TV interview after the break up of the Pistols. He tried to be menacing, and maybe he was/is in real life. In this case though, he is on the side of right.

And then there is Obama: We can always trust Obama to consistently do the right thing, right?

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Win the Clash of Civilizations

Interesting article here by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on how to win the clash of civilizations. I suppose it would be a lot easier if our leaders were truly interested in winning this fight, or even recognizing that we are in a fight. Preemptive surrender seems to be their default position. But, Ayaan says,
The greatest advantage of Huntington's civilizational model of international relations is that it reflects the world as it is—not as we wish it to be. It allows us to distinguish friends from enemies. And it helps us to identify the internal conflicts within civilizations, particularly the historic rivalries between Arabs, Turks and Persians for leadership of the Islamic world.

But divide and rule cannot be our only policy. We need to recognize the extent to which the advance of radical Islam is the result of an active propaganda campaign. According to a CIA report written in 2003, the Saudis invested at least $2 billion a year over a 30-year period to spread their brand of fundamentalist Islam. The Western response in promoting our own civilization was negligible.

Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended. This was perhaps Huntington's most important insight. The first step towards winning this clash of civilizations is to understand how the other side is waging it—and to rid ourselves of the One World illusion.
I read Huntington's book a few years ago when it came out. It's a fascinating look at the world, and it seemed then and still seems that the paradigm he constructed is, if not absolutely correct, then a reasonable way to look at the current world situation. When I read reviews calling it racist, and insulting it because, like Ayaan says, it presents the world as it is, not as we wish it were, I liked it even more. Read it. It's good.

Oh, and I think we need new leaders.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oppression of the Palestinians is Lightening Up

Yes, that's right, boys and girls. Palestinians are now a bit less oppressed - in Lebanon. But who cares? That's right. Since neither Israel nor Jews are involved, who cares that there were a number of occupations that Palestinians were excluded from? We must acknowledge that that number has gotten smaller, but we must also understand that outside of the Palestinians truly being denied basic human rights, nobody cares. And we can't even refer to them as Palestinian Lebanese, because unlike in Israel, where they have rights and citizenship, Palestinians in Lebanon are kept separate from Lebanese society. Hey, that sounds a lot like - um - what's the word again - oh yeah! Apartheid!

Have any of the alleged supporters of the Palestinians even bothered to ask how many occupations Palestinians were excluded from?
Lebanon expanded employment rights for 400,000 Palestinian refugees Tuesday, changing a decades-old law that many have criticized for keeping the community impoverished and excluded from Lebanese society.

Palestinian leaders in Lebanon and human rights workers welcomed the move, but said it is only a first step toward improving the lives of stateless refugees who have been banned from all but the most menial professions for decades.
And yet, nobody has suggested sending them a flotilla of humanitarian supplies.
Tuesday's decision allows Palestinians to work in the same professions as other foreigners, one of the most serious efforts yet by Lebanon to transform its policies toward the refugees.

But the laws governing foreign workers here pose a unique problem for Palestinians, who are stateless.

Lebanese law restricts some professions only to Lebanese
, while many other professions — such as law, medicine and engineering — require the employees to be members of the relevant professional association.
Shouldn't there be some kind of questioning of this policy? Let's round up some of those - agitated over the "plight of the Palestinians" - human rights advocates. They will certainly have something to say once they hear about this blatant discrimination. You know they would if it took place in that Jewish state just to the south, or if they could convince enough of their deluded followers that it does.
Ali Hamdan, an aide to Lebanon's parliament speaker, said Tuesday's vote will legalize much of the work that many Palestinians already are doing as well as open up positions in fields such as insurance and banking.
At least this will increase their status and popularity at parties. Everyone likes to spend time with insurance agents and bankers at social gatherings. Knock back a few chardonnay spritzers, work your way through complaining about your spouse and kids, tell a few poorly chosen off-color jokes, and actuary tables become fascinating. Palestinians in Lebanon now have it made.
The debate over Palestinians in Lebanon often goes beyond matters of civil rights and touches on the prospect of permanent settlement. Lebanon's population of 4 million is divided between 18 sects, including Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druse, and every community is sensitive to anything that could tip the balance of power in a country with a grim history of sectarian strife.
So in the end, Lebanon is a wonderful demonstration on why we should embrace diversity and multiculturalism. Unlike the racist, sexist, zionist, homophobic, Islamophobic, phobophobic, zionist, oppressive, depressive, omnipressive, zionist Israeli Zionist country, where Palestinians have representation in the Knesset and are accepted in all areas of employment, we are free to see, Lebanon, the benefits of diversity and multiculturalism in bringing diverse segments of a multicultural society together to live in mutual hate and distrust. How inspiring.

What time did you say the flotilla was arriving?

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Don't Blame Me

This article from last week's Detroit Free Press kind of set me off. I don't care about your sexual orientation. It's none of my business who you decide to "be intimate" with or what that "intimacy entails. But, if you decide, even with all of the information that we have today about the consequences of unsafe sexual practices, that it is a good and proper practice to let anonymous men do things to you in your anal area that have been known to transmit awful diseases, do not ask me for money for a cure for what you have. And do not try to blame society (which I consider myself a part of) if you come down with one of those nasty diseases that are spread through these practices. Yes, I know that the sexual drive is strong, and if one has the opportunity to "release one's tension" in a way that feeds into that lustful component of the human brain, that the majority of us would jump right in, but it is still not my fault that you are now in a diseased state. And please, no "blaming the victim" nonsense, there is no longer any excuse for ignorance. We know that some ways of tension release are much safer than others.
No doubt, biases against gay people have worsened the stigma of AIDS and continue to help spread this deadly, incurable but completely preventible disease.
Bias against gay people has had nothing to do with the spread of AIDS. Not with the amount of publicity brought to the anti-AIDS fight by the gay community and by big Hollywood and musical stars for the past 30 years. This is an absolutely avoidable disease, unless you are still stupid enough to allow yourself to be buggered by strangers.
Detroit's politicians and community leaders, including pastors, must talk openly and with compassion, about AIDS and how to prevent its transmission. Mayor Dave Bing and others could help enormously by helping to lead this conversation, promoting testing and taking part in events like the annual AIDS Walk in Detroit, which no mayor since Dennis Archer has attended.
Don't depend on others. I'm sorry you got yourself into this unpleasant situation, but it did not have to happen. Take responsibility (and what ever else you need in order to avoid those unsafe sex practices) into your own hands to avoid the problem. Besides AIDS, there are other diseases that will lose prominence in the gay community. I hadn't thought much about it, but after reading this blog post, which led me to this rather lengthy but informative article, I increased my awareness of pre-AIDS illnesses which were spread through anal sex in the early days of gay liberation. Some of it makes for some grisly reading, but it it worth reading nonetheless. There were a lot of illnesses being spread before AIDS hit the scene. Did that stop anyone from indulging in promiscuity? It doesn't sound like it from reading that article.

When you're being told repeatedly that you have to take the blame for someone else's suffering when it was entirely due to their behavior, it's good to know the facts. Not that people listen to facts that contradict their beliefs, but after reading these articles, I can't be snowed as easily. I'm sorry if I sound callous, but I have other things to worry about, and unless you are a close family member, I'm not the one who has to worry about your self-inflicted disease.

Nobody likes to be told that their own bad habits are the cause of their problems. And the gay community was warned. Their reactions were very human - shoot the messenger. For example, gay writer, Larry Kramer faced informal ostracism for writing a story containing an uncomfortable truth.
For his literary effort, Kramer was shunned that summer at the gay resort of Cherry Grove, the scene of Faggots, concluding chapters on Fire island. Old friends looked him in the face at the Ice Palace, Fire island's hottest gay nightclub, and walked away without saying a word. His best friend stopped speaking to him. This ostracism went on for years.

In a December 21, 1981, letter sent to the New York Native, playwright Robert Chesley charged Kramer with homophobia and anti-eroticism. "I think the concealed meaning in Kramer's emotionalism is the triumph of guilt; that gay men deserve to die for their promiscuity. In his novel Faggots, Kramer told us that sex is dirty and that we ought not to be doing what we're doing.

"Read anything by Kramer closely. I think you'll find that the subtext is always: the wages of gay sin are death."

It wouldn't be until the actual discovery of the AIDS virus in 1984 that criticism of Larry Kramer or Joe Sonnabend by the gay community would die down. Very few people in the gay community could accept the idea that the sexual freedoms they had fought so long to obtain were suspect. Even when doctors such as Sonnabend began warning them in 1981 and 1982, few listened. The idea of sex causing AIDS was anathema to those who defined their liberation as gay people in terms of having as much sex with as many people in as many places in as many ways as possible.

Ironically, in describing his longing for love in gay life, for commitment between two individuals, Kramer was prophetic in his warning about promiscuity. In 1978, gays were already talking over dinner about the latest parasites to strike them and the latest medicines their doctors had prescribed. Over Sunday brunch, men were talking about their shingles and amebiasis. The year before it had been chlamydia and fungus.

They sounded like a group of retired seventy-year-olds in Century Village down in Florida complaining, over gin rummy, about their hearts and their operations and how they keep forgetting which pocket their nitroglycerine is in.
I remember those pre-AIDS days. I was working in a restaurant where about half the staff was openly gay and a large minority of our clientele was gay. I know at least two of them died from AIDS related illnesses. And sure, I cared because I knew them, but not well enough to be affected by their deaths.

There was a continuum of flamboyance amongst the gay waiters. It made for some entertaining nights. One night, one of our gay waiters came to work, and let us know immediately that if possible he was going to try and skate out early. He was exhausted. Why? He had had sex with four different men that afternoon. He was treated as hero and as butt (yeah, I know) of our jokes for the night. Now, in hindsight, I wonder if he lived through the 80s.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

History of Environmenalism

Found this one at House of Eratosthenes -

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Teacher Concerns - or - More of My Same Old Complaints

I was talking with my wife's cousin. He's a high school teacher. He teaches in a rural, predominantly white school district on the west side of Michigan. When it comes to education, we believe in many of the same silly things: learning to read and write properly - in standard English, and with all of the proper mechanics - speaking clearly, again in standard English with all of the proper mechanics - and teaching students the basics of English grammar, syntax, spelling, and usage so that they can think, and when called upon, to communicate their thoughts clearly and accurately. He gets frustrated because year after year, he has to teach remedial English skills to high school students. He has the same problems with his students that I have with my elementary school classes.

My wife is in college. She's going for her bachelor's degree. She has to write papers, which I proofread. According to her, many professors have given up on having their students write papers using the proper mechanics of the English language. If the paper is understandable, that's good enough. These post high school students never learned to write properly.

Now, since I am merely an elementary school teacher, and at the bottom of this educational ladder, I can hardly be called an expert. I've spent 21 years in the educational field, but it's all been in the classroom, not in the hallowed ivy halls learning the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, etc. So what could I possibly know that these experts don't?

Well, one thing I think I know, or at least I have a sneaky suspicion of, is that what I do, and what my colleagues teach and don't teach down here at the bottom, affects students' abilities though the rest of their lives, including college. Just as I should not still be teaching students that proper punctuation must be placed at the end of every sentence, neither should high school teachers and college professors. I also spend a lot of time every year teaching students how to write a sentence, explaining how to recognize one, how to begin and end it, making sure it has a subject and a predicate, and expresses an idea. Most truly have no idea of any of this.

Rather than have students engage in "peer editing" when neither student editing each others' paper has any idea as to what's right or wrong with them, I try to read everything they write. And then I have to meet with as many students as possible to help them figure out the right way to express themselves in writing. This also includes insisting that they speak standard English in the classroom. I teach in an "urban" district, which means almost all of my students are black, so it's really tough in the beginning of the year. It's almost like teaching another language to them. I've had students give up when I insist that they phrase their question to me in the way I've told them to. I don't accept "Do we 'posed to . . ." or "What is you doin'?" or - well, you get the idea. For some students, it's very difficult to speak correctly. It gets easier, and by March, rather than restating the proper phrase, I can merely insist that they "speak English." But it does all work together: speaking, writing, reading, spelling.

But that's only my opinion based on years of classroom experience, and even more experience over the past 5 or 6 years tutoring students before and after school and during the summer. And it's also the opinion of parents whose children I have tutored, and who have done the work necessary to actually learn. I haven't had my theories reinforced in the great educational colleges of our nation, though. It's against their philosophy.

Part of the problem is that, as much as we talk about understanding the scope and sequence of grades K-12, each teacher in each grade, for the most part, only knows what they are required to teach with only a vague idea as to how it fits into the rest of the picture. And each new reading and writing program that comes along does nothing to change that. As I've written before, each new program is based on the previous programs that have been tossed aside. Today's reading and writing guru, Lucy Calkins, will be abandoned and forgotten in about three to five years. And somebody new will be acclaimed as the latest and greatest while teaching the same way, but with new bells and whistles. This has been the way it has been for the 21 years I've been teaching. And as long as teachers are forced to jump on these revolving bandwagons by their administrators, resource leaders, and consultants, it's not going to change.

The current fashion in reading has returned to a controlled vocabulary. The change from controlled to open and back is a longer pattern taking a generation or more to make that circle. Leveled books are the current panacea, and students are expected to write, as always, without worrying about mechanics, since as we are taught - concern for spelling and punctuation will only slow down their thoughts, and they will be bogged down, unable to even complete that first sentence. Teachers are instructed to give "mini-lessons" in the finer points of writing. Do the mini-lessons work? I don't know. You should ask the college remedial reading and writing instructors to find out.

Want to know what's really funny about this? At one of the first Calkins workshops I attended at our local intermediate school district, the consultants were discussing with us how to change the program so that it would be applicable to the remedial needs of our students. This is as chuckle-worthy as when we were being introduced and trained in the basal program we used previous to Calkins. After being shown all of the wonderful resources (thousands of dollars worth) some of our teachers angered the trainers by insisting that the remedial books were not low enough for our lowest students. And it wasn't just annoyance, these trainers were steamed.

I will be trained in the Calkins stuff, but I will continue to start students at the beginning as I always do. I will also continue to run my mouth at staff meetings and at workshops, especially when all of the teachers are well trained but still getting the same miserable results that we've always gotten. But the question still remains - how do these people keep getting by the same B.S. time after time?

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