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March 03, 2015

Comments

"and about 50 (?) Democrats are skipping it."

Yeah, "Neener, neener!" does seem to be an increasingly popular argument among Democrats.

I think, in light of the fact that Obama actually sent somebody over to Israel to work against Netanyahu's reelection, in advance of the fuss about the speech, makes it kind of rich to accuse Netanyahu of politicizing relations, or interfering with internal politics.

Could have sworn I left a comment here.

Anyway, rather absurd to be accusing Netanyahu of politicizing our relations, after Obama sent his own campaign staff over to Israel to help the opposition unseat Netanyahu in the March elections, BEFORE the speech fuss errupted. Galactic mass black hole calling the kettle black, if you ask me.

That's just American Exceptionalism in action, Brett.

Why has the US never suffered a coup d'etat? Because there's no American Embassy in the capitol.

Making support of Israel - more correctly, support of Netanyahu synonymous with supporting Isreal - into a partisan issue in the US is horrible on many levels. I see it as another attempt by the GOP to pry Jewish voters out of the Democratic Party, and I hope it doesn't work.

What I also find interesting is how this is playing out just as more American Jews have reached their tipping point with supporting Israel.

I'm one of them. Israel has become just another fundamentalist thug nation. It's not only the policies with regard to Palestinians; it's the steady un-personing of Israeli Arabs, non-orthodox Jews, liberal Israelis, increased welfare and preferential treatment for "religious scholars" and other domestic policies right out of the fundamentalist playbook.

So I've gone from being a fervent Zionist to an ambivalent Zionist to a disgusted non-Zionist. The latest gambit by Netanyahu and Boehner isn't a tipping point for me, just the toxic cherry on top of the rancid sundae.

With this much fertilizer from the dead horse, the tomatoes should be great this season:

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Netanyahu-working-with-Republican-strategist-385677

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Birnbaum

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/ron-dermer-netanyahu-speech-boehner-obama

With Netanyahu as the Republican U.S. Secretary of State and Vlad Putin as it's shirtless Republican Vice President showing us how to lead, who needs an American President.

Of course, neither of the two are from Kenya, so they've won the hearts of the enemy within.

Did you miss this part, Brett?

...I and the United States government really don't have standing to complain about a foreign government/leader interfering in the United States' internal affairs and politics.

It's pretty much the SOP for U.S. foreign policy...

Or is it that it's too general, and not specifically about Obama?

Survivors of the Holocaust should know better:

The Republican/Likud Axis of Racism and Immigrant-Hatred at work:

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/01/09/internment-in-israel/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseknutsen/2013/01/28/israel-foribly-injected-african-immigrant-women-with-birth-control/

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/new-york-times-rejected-documentary-showing-anti-515033

Liberal human beings among Israeli and American Jews are disgusted and frightened by this sh*t.

And yes, I still believe Al Sharpton should be fired from his broadcasting gig for his anti-Semitism.

Alas, he too, will be a conservative Republican in a few years because he possesses all of the hatred-of-the-other bonafides for that gravy train.

"Did you miss this part, Brett?"

Did you miss this part,Hairshirt?

"My cynical self says that Netanyahu potentially turning U.S. relations with Israel into a partisan issue"

I don't see how you can blame Netanyahu for turning US relations with Israel into a partican issue, when they have been nothing but a partisan issue for years. What's he going to do next, make the Sun rise in the East?

My cynical self says that Netanyahu potentially turning U.S. relations with Israel into a partisan issue might be a good thing for the United States. Israel? Not so much, ISTM.

Brett, it helps to read all the way to the end of the sentence.

I wonder how much of the fury over Netanyahu's speech is from people who a) can see this will be severely damaging for US-Israeli relations and b) don't want those relations damaged. Regardless of their position on US internal political matters.

P.S. Brett, can you provide a cite for that statement that "Obama sent his own campaign staff over to Israel to help the opposition unseat Netanyahu in the March elections"? Thanks

and since this is Israel, every past tit is required to have a previous tat.

remember Netanyahu campaigning for Romney ?

in the words of Pres Clinton: “Who’s the f***ing superpower here?”

It doesn't matter if it's a good thing, or a bad thing, it was accomplished years ago, and Netanyahu didn't accomplish it.

You can't "potentially accomplish" a done deed. It's too late do potentially accomplish it.

The Obama campaign strategist who could break the Israeli elections wide open

It says that a campaign strategist (Jeremy Bird) who worked for Obama in the last election, is currently working in the Israeli election. Which isn't the same as Obama having sent him. These guys work on lots of campaigns. They aren't permanent employees of a particular campaign or candidate.

More to the point, their signing up with a campaign does not even imply an endorsement from the candidate that they worked for last time. Let alone that the previous candidate sent them this time.

You might think they're there on their own initiative, but Israelis don't.

V15 share offices with OneVoice.

OneVoice is funded by the US State Department.

Could have managed just a *little* more plausible deniablity there, I think.

what's really galling, IMO, about this speech thing is that it's clear that the GOP is working to stitch Israel even deeper into American politics - as if their influence isn't already far outsized.

for all their talk about leading and exceptionalism, the GOP seems awfully eager to give a foreign government more and more influence over our own.

This is like somebody complaining that England is getting too much influence with the US government, circa 1941. In the Middle east you've got a choice between Israel, and a bunch of murderous savages who happen to live on top of oil.

Some people hate the fact that Israel keeps reminding us that their neighbors are murderous savages, by not conveniently being destroyed. Wish they'd just go away. Of course, if they did go away, that would just free the savages up to attack more distant targets.

You might think they're there on their own initiative, but Israelis don't.

Which Israelis? That article is typical right-wing conspiracy dot-connecting, none of which demonstrates that Obama did anything, despite the title, "Obama, Seeking Netanyahu Defeat, Sends Campaign Team To Israel" and the caption, "Obama interferes in Israeli elections."

This is all they really have, in the end (emphasis added):

The involvement of Bird’s team has ignited reports in some conservative media outlets that Obama or his surrogate are attempting to influence the Israeli elections.

Whoop-dee friggin' doo! Some conservative media outlets reporting something eeeevil that eeeevil Obama (or his surrogate!) are attempting to do.

It strikes me as fundamentally bone-headed for Netanyahu to basically poke Obama in the eye.

Or, at least, be dragged into Congress' poking Obama in the eye.

Is there an upside for him in pissing Obama off?

"This is like somebody complaining that England is getting too much influence with the US government, circa 1941."

Hey, somebody, anybody, have Charles Lindbergh alert Rand Paul and his anti-Semite pig father to their likenesses.

Brett Bellmore at Crooked Timber:

” (perhaps because they are sponsored by domestic industries)”

Perhaps because Republicans have a tendency to think the sole purpose of American government is to advance the interests of Americans, and to a large extent, foreign interventions are justified as furthering the interests of non-Americans. (Whether they do actually further them is debatable, but that’s the justification.) So Republicans have a tendency to think we should mind our own business, and let the rest of the world go to Hell if that’s what it is going to do.

Any alterations you want to make to "sole purpose", "let the rest of the world go to Hell" etc?

Hey, Zelig, you are spotted in every photograph.

Many Israelis are justifiably horrified by Netanyahu's poke in the eye of their benefactor, the American Government and the American Presidency.

No doubt the conservative religious fascist, racist Far Right ascendant in Israel (and America) will begin considering their own liberal countryman in the same category as ISIS, because that's what conservative filth the world over do -- hate and kill.

No wonder they recognize their conservative, fundamentalist Muslim brethren as kindred souls to be slaughtered.

Let's not forget Vlad Putin, vying to be the most dangerous conservative in the world.

I say let's have conservative murderers the world over go at it and kill each other and leave the rest of we innocents out of it.

Of course, that won't work, because we are their common enemies.

That last should have been a Countme-In offering, not one of his avatars.

I thought I recognized your touch in those postings!

When I say "Netanyahu potentially turning U.S. relations with Israel into a partisan issue" I'm thinking of the apparently reflexive and near universal support for anything Israel does by the members of the U.S. Congress and, usually, POTUS. More so Congress, up to and including Senators feeling able to publicly and harshly contradict a sitting President of their own party should he demonstrate anything other than unwavering support (for some reason I have Chuck Schumer in mind).

Netanyahu is, apparently, determined to sh1t on all that and potentially turn one of the two parties in the U.S. away from constant Israel fellation simply to maintain his position as Israeli prime minister. He probably figures that there is nothing he could do to permanently damage Israel's position with either U.S. political party so why worry, and he's probably right.

Is there an upside for him in pissing Obama off?

Lame-duckitude.
The GOP will be controlling the Congress for a while.
Playing the cards you have been dealt.
Sheer paranoia driven stubbornness is its own reward.

There you go.

Some people hate the fact that Israel keeps reminding us that their neighbors are murderous savages, by not conveniently being destroyed.

So stealing somebody else's property is OK in your book? And you call the Palestinians "savages"?

I think it's time for Luther.

No doubt it's a nasty neighborhood. But calling all the neighbors "murderous savages" is seriously over the top.

The neighboring countries certainly include murderous savages among their populations. But then, so does the US and pretty much every other country in the world (including Israel). That is why we have police forces. But to characterize the countries as a whole as murderous savages is, to be kind, simplistic nonsense.

But to characterize the countries as a whole as murderous savages is, to be kind, simplistic nonsense.

Well, when the "murderous savages" are the ones in control...

Some people hate the fact that Israel keeps reminding us that their neighbors are murderous savages,

yes Brett, we need Bibi fucking Netanyahu to remind us that the middle east is a turbulent and dangerous place. the poor benighted Americans just can't figure that out on our own.

I haven't heard or read the speech, and basically I probably won't. For good or ill, I'm just not that interested in what Netanyahu has to say. I may be wrong, but my expectation is that what he said was so predictable that I could probably go give the speech myself, from well-known stock policy positions and language.

A good friend of mine found it to be an un-missable combination of history lesson, strategic policy statement, bible study, and prayer, all rolled into one.

I think the relevance of the speech is how it brings the basic polarization of the US body politic into relief.

I can't speak for Netanyahu's intented purpose, but the practical effect and result of the speech is line-drawing.

The really interesting part will be
a) whether Netanyahu ends up winning his upcomng election. Especially if the results diverge significantly from the polls up to this point.
b) what impact this has, over the next months and years, on US-Israeli relations.

If a) ends up with a Netanyahu loss, then b) probably won't be much. But if he wins, then it looks like b) could get very interesting indeed.

Brett's "savage" remark is just part of his 19th century attitude towards non-Western people without don't like having their land stolen. People of all kinds commit savage acts, but referring to entire peoples as "savages" is old fashioned racism.

I think part of the appeal that Israel has for some Americans is precisely this 19th century attitude towards the Other. We do share many values with Israel and some of them are ugly.

If Netanyahu loses the election, which I doubt, it will be interesting to hear who the far-Right in Israel and the U.S. will be calling "savages", and plenty more.

Many of the "savages" in control have kept their control for decades with weaponry supplied by those sophisticated savages, otherwise known as you and me.

Count, you might want to check out this view of the Israeli election:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/01/israel-election-labor-challenger-catches-up-netanyahu

Whatever the election results, the next government will be a coalition. The big question is which party will get the most seats (probably around 25% of the total) and so get first crack at putting a coalition together.

So what are the odds that if Speaker Pelosi pulled something like this on President Bush there would be cries of treason?

Something I hate about the IPad--it sometimes corrects a mistake in a way that makes very little sense. The phrase "without don't like" was supposed to read "who don't like".

"Brett's "savage" remark is just part of his 19th century attitude towards non-Western people without don't like having their land stolen."

My 19th century attitude towards people who will execute you for changing religions, more like.

Again, Brett, but you are very much like some 19th century white American who was shocked and appalled by Comanche atrocities, and rightly so but never seemed to notice the ones committed by whites.

Iran worried US might be building 8,500th nuclear weapon.

someone should go ahead and tally-up all the people the US has killed in the last, oh decade, vs all the people killed by all the savages.

morality is not unidirectional.

So what are the odds that if Speaker Pelosi pulled something like this on President Bush there would be cries of treason?

that's a bet nobody would take.

One thing I will say for Brett: anti-Semitism has not, to my knowledge, ever been one of his manias or idiocies. Which is more than one can say for many of his conservative brothers-in-arms.

Anyway, about the theocrats-with-nukes problem: I certainly worry about any nuclear-armed nation that defines itself by its religion, and justifies current-day policies with ancient scriptures. On that point, Brett may only half-agree.

--TP

On the anti-semitism thing, that's not a socially acceptable form of hatred anymore. Doesn't mean there aren't still anti-semites around, but they try to hide it in Western countries or else they are ostracized. The socially acceptable form of bigotry in some circles is Islamophobia, and people who you might have expected to be anti-semites a generation or so back have moved on.

Case in point--Franklin Graham--

Graham worries Muslims have access to Obama

"Which is more than one can say for many of his conservative brothers-in-arms."

Or liberal foes.

"Case in point--Franklin Graham"

See, that's the clever rhetorical judo where you redefine antisemitism to mean, "Is concerned the President is overly friendly with people who kill anybody who converts from their religion to Judaism."

When the President is snubbing the leader of Israel, and sucking up to the leader of Iran, and when he's flatly unwilling to admit that Islamic terrorists might be Islamic, noticing this isn't antisemitism.

When the President is snubbing the leader of Israel, and sucking up to the leader of Iran, and when he's flatly unwilling to admit that Islamic terrorists might be Islamic,

not a single one of these things has happened.

when your premises are imaginary bullshit, it's no wonder that your conclusions are delusional and vile.

For many of the evangelical leaders the Jews are the useful idiots necessary to trigger the apocalypse (and to get slaughtered immediately afterwards by the returning Christ). And this is well-known to Israeli leaders who in turn consider the evangelicals to be the useful idiots. Ariel Sharon even joked in public about it (another reason why his falling into a coma was celebrated as G#d's just punishment, the other of course being his retreat from Gaza*).

*another proof that the actual contents of the Bible do not interest the milleniarists. The Gaza strip is explicitly not a part of Biblical Israel.

See, that's the clever rhetorical judo where you redefine antisemitism to mean, "Is concerned the President is overly friendly with people who kill anybody who converts from their religion to Judaism."

Brett, at the risk of wandering towards the edge of the posting rules, did you actually even read the comment you replied to? Donald Johnson was pretty clear in referring to Islamophobia in the part you quoted and characterized as a reference to antisemitism...

Looking at Missouri, whispering campaigns 'did you know my opponent is actually a Jew' (he actually wasn't but neither was Charlie Chaplin) seem to have neither died out nor to be seen as too ineffective or beyond the pale to employ by political operatives (against a guy from one's party).
In Texas the speaker of the House weathered three attempts to unseat him for being a Jew* led by the AFA, the Eagle Forum and some other RW organisations.
Antisemitism is alive and well at least as a political tool.

*strictly for not being Kristian(TM), so in theory the same would have happened, if he had been a Hindu, Muslim or Baha'i, just that none of those would have had the chance to become speaker in the first place.

What Hartmut said regarding American evangelicals and their new-found drama-queeniness over the State of Israel.

It was not always so among the white Confederate churches in this country, for whom at one time the "left-wing" Jew was a Satanic Shylock siphoning white America's children into the clutches of socialism/Communism, usually through agitation for "socialized medicine".

Not unlike Hitler's view of the "Problem". The first folks rounded up in the early 1930's were Communists, most likely Jewish Communists.

White conservative codes words in long-term use for the nasty left-wing influence of Jews in this country were, for example, "community organizers" -- hey, sounds familiar, doesn't it?

How did Richard Nixon * refer to Jews in public utterances: "Outside agitators", especially those who spent time in the South causing civil rights trouble.

In private, of course, caught on tape, he dropped the niceties.

Frankly, all of this fainting over Israel is as laughably insincere as when some FOX host or House Republican rhapsodizes over the words of Martin Luther King.

Bullshit.

With the Apocalypse in palpable view for some of these people, returning the Jews to Israel for the next slaughter is the scriptural order of things.

Some evangelical rhapsodizing over Israel is just another way of enticing Jews to board the trains. You're going home little Mother.

Now I will give the usual suspects credit for moving the slaughter back to the "metaphorical" level of religion, though Evangelicals don't seem to have much use for metaphor, but something tells me they are too stupid to know the difference, along the lines of Sarah Death Palin, whose visits to Israel she treated like a trip to Jewish Disneyland with time-out for shopping for Jewish trinkets for the kids to wear to their next party punch-out.

"This pretty star would go well with that scarf I bought at Wal Mart for the RNC fete in April, don't ya think? Or should I wear the Cross, with the crucified Boehner on it?"

*Regarding Franklin Graham. Let's review the anti-Semitic provenance of this troubled sh*t.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2002/03/Is-Billy-Graham-An-Anti-Semite.aspx

You sit around the dinner table while growing up with either Billy Graham, or in the case of Libertarian hero Rand Paul with his anti-Semite father, and maybe you come out of it O.K., but on the other hand, I see no effort by either spawn to disassociate themselves from their fathers' disgusting views:

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2002/03/Is-Billy-Graham-An-Anti-Semite.aspx

And, just for fun, try to sort out the anti-Semitism of the John Birch Society and its rise to prominence in the Republican Party via Tea Party bankrollers the Koch Brothers and the alleged Jewish provenance of their daddy, Fred Koch, co-founder of the JBS.

Here, let commenters at STORMFRONT try and sort it out for you:

https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t966202-2/

I'm not aiming this comment at Brett, who when he defends folks like Graham and Rand Paul, is engaged in mere facile eye-poking at times here.

But, you know, get your anti-Semitic libertarians and your sincere backers of the State of Israel straight.

Pick one eye or the other, and then poke.


That second cote on Billy Graham should have been this:

http://www.jta.org/1967/01/31/archive/adl-warned-of-anti-semitism-in-radical-right-john-birch-society

....illustrating the whackjob, fraught provenance of today's Republican Party, the big tent of steaming piles of hateful horseshit harvested from every dead horse they can keep upright in their Augean stables.

I read the first of the Billy Graham links, and it does not to me suggest the "disgusting views" the Count alludes to. Nor did it to the piece's author, who has spent years researching BG: I recommend that these statements, uttered in casual conversation on February 1, 1972, not be seen as revealing "the real Billy Graham," kept well hidden for the rest of his 83 years.

By the way, I grew up as the only closet liberal in an extended family of staunch Republicans, which probably explains some things.

The point is, despite the fact that I love them all, when the subjects of what is wrong with the country came up in earshot of the grandchildren and children, it was a tossup whether blacks and their trouble-making Martin Luther King, or the Jews and their left-wingedness would be invoked first.

All sotto-voce, of course. The back of one hand shielding the mouth.

And the second quote is not about Billy Graham at all, but other right-wing religionists, some of whom regarded BG as much too liberal! (As it happens I have very tenuous familial linkages with the Rev. Carl MacIntire, one of those named.)

That the religious right was anti-Semitic is proven, I believe. That Billy Graham was part of this is much more dubious, IMHO. The sins of Franklin Graham are not those of his father, which lay more in the realm of deference to political power (in the form of Richard Nixon) and blindness to social issues. But not viciousness, which FG seems to have developed on his own.

dr ngo:

If Graham was the spiritual leader he claimed to be, he would have read Nixon, Haldeman and whoever else was sitting there the Riot Act, instead of playing along.

Yes, he apologized, but it wasn't very long ago that rank anti-Semitism was the clear, viscous fluid of discourse the right-wing marinated in.

Left-wing and Jewish were interchangable.

True, the anti-Semitism was along the lines of "I love the human race, it's people that I just can't stand,", as in, "I support Israel, it's just those left-wing Jews I can't stand."

I disagree with the author of the article I cited, but I welcome your and his/her more nuanced views of the elder Graham.

You must be a liberal, ;) the way you give folks the benefit of the doubt.

Unlike some.

Brett, are you on board with this?:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rand-paul-gossipy-sites-netanyahu-clap

Or this?:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ralph-peters-obama-israel-disappeared

Your side seems to be many-sided.

what Scott Ritter said:

"What is of interest here is the concept of process, especially as it applies to the foreign policy of a sovereign United States. According to the Constitution of the United States, the power to conduct foreign policy rests squarely with the executive branch of the government -- the President. This is done with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. The role of the House of Representatives is limited to that of the power of the purse -- allocating funds to pay for the execution of this policy. For the Speaker of the House to invite a foreign leader to appear before the Congress of the United States for the purpose of giving a speech which seeks to undermine the Constitutional prerogative of the President of the United States to conduct foreign policy represents about as big of a departure from the roles envisioned by our founding fathers as one can imagine. And to allow an Israeli politician to use the venue of the United States Congress as a platform for political grandstanding in support of his re-election bid is equally demeaning to Americans and Israelis alike."

So, OK, I try to be well informed. So, I read the transcript of Netanyahu's speech.

In it, I find this:

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world.

Iran wants to impose a militant Islamic empire on the entire world?

I can understand why Israel would be anxious about Iran having a nuclear capability, whether military or civilian.

I can also for that matter understand why Iran, with lots of hostile neighbors, several of whom are themselves nuclear powers, might have anxieties of their own.

I don't see that it's particularly in the interests of the US, one way or the other, for Iran to either have or not have nukes, whether civilian or military.

That is, above and beyond a prudent general interest in not expanding the nuclear club, to anyone. It's big enough as it is.

I don't see Iran as an aggressive expansionist force in the world.

Israel has a formidable military, but probably not large enough to go toe to toe with Iran. Iran is just a much larger country.

I'm not really interested in the US being in the position of being invited by Israel go fight Iran on their behalf.

"Let's you and him fight!!"

No thanks.

I'm not much on "penumbras" and "emanations". Congress has the right to call witnesses, nothing limits this to witnesses who are US citizens.

The president has the sole power "to receive ambassadors", but all this means is to acknowlege they are representatives of their country, or reject them as ambassadors.

Whether the President wants to admit that Netanyahu is a representative of Israel's government, Congress has as much right to ask him to speak before them as they would any random guy off the street.

Jennifer Rubin, in those TPM link of the Count's, performs does the same BS conflation.

So I've gone from being a fervent Zionist to an ambivalent Zionist to a disgusted non-Zionist. The latest gambit by Netanyahu and Boehner isn't a tipping point for me, just the toxic cherry on top of the rancid sundae.

A lot of people feel this way. If there is a danger facing Israel, I think it's this.

I would agree that it is the biggest real danger facing Israel. And one that Netanyahu has (no doubt unintentionally) made significantly worse.

I don't see Iran as an aggressive expansionist force in the world.
"

I think that my fear for the future of our country and the West in general is this statement. We as a group seem to believe that there is something unbelievable about Iran, or North Korea or, even China, having a long term empirical view. I think we miss things like ISIL because we simply underestimate the desire of these groups/governments tto impose their pov over time.

The deal being negotiated may succeed or fail on its own merits, but a new poll shows a majority of Americans (61 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats) favor an agreement with Iran. If Congress sabotages the deal, will it bear the blame?

We as a group seem to believe that there is something unbelievable about Iran, or North Korea or, even China, having a long term empirical view.

I think it's totally believable that Iran has a long term view.

I don't see anything that tells me their long term view is to establish a global militant Islamic empire.

russell, it would have to be not only a Muslim empire, but a Shia Muslim empire. And while Sunni Muslims once established a large (albeit nowhere near global) empire, the Shias never came close. And, indeed, did very little to attempt to do so.

I think we miss things like ISIL because we simply underestimate the desire of these groups/governments tto impose their pov over time.

How are we "missing" ISIL?

The threat I see is continually overestimating threats and our ability to eliminate them, even if they're smaller than we think they are. Sometimes we even make them bigger by trying to eliminate them, unnecessarily.

OBL understood America better than many Americans, it would seem. Let's hope we don't secure his legacy.

As someone who was strong personal connections to some "murderous savages" I want to ask how it can be that using openly racist, bigoted and dehumanizing language on ObWi seems to be acceptable now.

the beautiful dumbness of conflating ISIS and Iran is that they aren't even close to being allies - each would really prefer if the other would simply cease to exist. they're enemies. ISIS has no use for the wrong kind of Islam; and they happily kill Sunni Muslims within their territory who don't follow their exact interpretation of Islam. and Iran has absolutely no use for an insane Sunni death cult. Iran is killing ISIS fighters, not assisting them. and if they had the resources ISIS wouldn't hesitate in attacking Iran.

Bibi and his sycophant, Jennifer Rubin, are just making shit up in order to scare the ignorant.

and "conservatives" cheer him on.

Here's governance and statesmanship from our new teenaged Republican overlords on Capitol Hill:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/26/boehner-has-kisses-but-few-answers-on-dhs-showdown

Jon Stewart, the well-known self-hating Jew, last night characterized the 8- or 9-minute-long standing ovation for Netanyahu as the longest blowjob any Jewish man has ever received.

Which is the sort of Lenny Bruce/Joan Rivers-style Jewish humor that Netanyahu, Iranian mullahs, ISIS, Hitler, Vlad Putin, our righteous homegrown Christian conservatives populating the Republican Party, and even Jewish mothers, God bless them -- in short, conservatives everywhere trying desperately to maintain their view of society unmenaced by the corrupting Left Wing, deplore.

But it just proves conservatives can agree on something before they recommence killing each other.

"even China, having a long term empirical view."

In the case of China, their long-term empirical view, by their very conservative leaders, regarding regulation of polluting industries, providing universal healthcare to their population, and their treatment of workers unions and workplace safety seems in tandem with the long-term empirical view of Republican conservatives in this country, so I'm not following your trepidation.

Here's a taste of the latest empiricism:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/topstocks/top-senator-urges-us-to-probe-lumber-liquidators/ar-BBiecI7

Mattel toys, and other manufacturing industries, get away with murder in China and that's why, along with lower wages and the costs of workplace safety and ameliorating pollution, conservative U.S. business leaders move jobs from here to there, to make us more like China.

Lower pay, few benefits, lax regulation, limitation on unions.

Now, there are folks in China and among some American industries who are working to move things to a more liberal orientation in China.

They are called liberals.

In response, the conservatives are moving their sh*t to Vietnam and elsewhere to maintain the race to the bottom.

A map of Iran.

On the east, Pakistan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation and so not so friendly, and a nuclear power.

Also on the east, Afghanistan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, and so not so friendly, famously chaotic and war-riven, and the host of two separate invasions and occupations, by the USSR and the US, in the last 35 years.

To the north Tajikistan, former USSR republic, now hosts US air bases.

To the northeast, additional former USSR republics.

To the west, Turkey, predominantly Sunni Muslim and so not so friendly, and Iraq, historically Sunni dominated and absolutely hostile to Iran, more recently the site of a US invasion, now the site of US-directed nominal government, Kurds, and ISIS.

Across the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia and its Arabian Peninsula neighbors, most are US clients to some degree, all are Sunni Muslim and not friendly.

A little further off, Israel, a US client and a nuclear power in its own right.

Note that, ten years ago, we were numbering Iran among the Axis of Evil.

So, were I Iran, I would have some national security concerns.

I'm fine with the world community making a deal with them to not develop nuclear weapons. More than fine, I would applaud it.

But I'm not sure the best way to go about it is to crank up the anti-Iran hostility.

They basically swim in it.

IMO we should be looking for ways to give them a greater, not a lesser, sense of security.

and nobody should take history or political lessons from someone who misuses history the way Netanyahu does.

and don't forget, he was a big booster of the "How about the US, and everyone else but Israel, invade Iraq" debacle.

As someone who was strong personal connections to some "murderous savages" I want to ask how it can be that using openly racist, bigoted and dehumanizing language on ObWi seems to be acceptable now.

novakat (who I assume is novakant?), I agree with your observation, but you know as well as I do that given the topic and the way this conversation is going, if we even threaten to take out the ban-hammer, the thread will turn into linking ISIS with Iran or some such BS. The ability for Brett to turn himself into a human pretzel has been proven time and time again, and I'm, if not content, at least so lazy that I'm happy to let him self-hoist himself. Matthew 7:16 and all that.

The sins of Franklin Graham are not those of his father...

Maybe not. But it says something about America as she is lived that we have dynasties in Big Religion as well as in Washington and in Hollywood. And not to forget in Big Money, of course.

Now, it might be that second and third generation politicians, actors, and preachers generally rise on their own merits. It might be that their views and attitudes have no particular correlation with those of their famous and successful parents. But as Ecclesiastes might have put it, that's not the way to bet.

--TP

Oh, I wasn't suggesting for a moment that FG did not rise primarily (if not entirely) because of Billy G's reputation. My comparison was only with his qualities - in this case his "sins" - which are not at all what give him his initial clout. But just as a good king may beget a bad one (which either history or fairy tales may confirm), so a relatively benign founder of an ecclesiastical dynasty may beget rotten fruit.

Earlier the Count asked if I could supply "nuance" to Billy G's positions, and I'm not sure I could (in any detail) but I'm sure it's called for. I tend to the view that we're all at least a little bit racist (or sexist, or classist, or otherwise biased for/against some people) and that it's of limited utility to regard any of these axes as binary, so that someone Is or Is Not on the side of righteousness. Doing so results in relegating entire nations, races, genders into the category of Unclean, and thus contemptible, which may massage our own sense of virtue but doesn't help us understand much.

From what I have seen and read, BG was, for a man - especially a Southerner? - of his time relatively mildly prejudiced, far from the virulent racism, anti-Semitism, etc., of many of his cohort. His principal weaknesses, as I see them, were (1) a tendency to interpret the Gospel so narrowly as to exclude its extension to such Real World problems as Jim Crow, poverty, etc. and (2) a certain deference to power, especially when those in power (like POTUS after POTUS) flattered him. He was no Old Testament prophet to speak an unpopular truth to the ruler, alas.

But I must admit I'm not sure what I might actually do if I was invited to the White House and told the President was enormously impressed with my work and looked up to me; I'd like to think it wouldn't turn my head, but I'd like to think a lot of things that aren't true.

Franklin, OTOH, is an anti-Semitic a**hole. Please consult "Slacktivist" for further details (under the subheading "Franklin Graham is awful." http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/03/03/never-abandoned-in-the-flood-lands/

Dr ngo--The links at the slacktivist site are about Franklin Graham's hatred of Muslims, not Jews. For evangelicals who think these are the end times where Israel plays a crucial role, Muslims are their central demon figures now. Support for Israel and in particular support for Israel' s worst policies is sometimes couched as part of the fight against global anti-semitism, which in this view is the only reason Israel is criticized at all.

Israel seems like it's simply the Muslim-haters' sponsored champion - their proxy. since the US is not quite crazy enough to declare war on a religion, those who need to hate Muslims can just emotionally invest themselves in a country which is already the de facto enemy of most Muslim countries.

since wimpy socialist Obama won't kill all the savages, they can cheer for the right-wing war daddy.

Semitic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people

also, regarding Iran, from the Anti-Defamation League:

http://www.lobelog.com/adl-survey-shows-iran-least-anti-semitic-middle-east-country/

More rimming for Putin, from Franklin Graham, natch:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/franklin-graham-putin-is-better-on-gay-issues-than-obama/2014/03/14/4997c75e-abb3-11e3-b8ca-197ef3568958_story.html

I recall Graham was a rebellious teenager and that extended into his twenties. He loved him some alcohol, which apparently he mixed with a love for machine guns. The first he has given up, though the stuff that comes out his mouth these days you can hear slurred by the drunk down at the end of the bar in any old white trash Confederate dive in places around the country.

He still likes his guns.

Some hagiography on the Graham the younger:

http://www.maryellenmark.com/text/magazines/gq/906S-000-003.html

Including:

"But mostly, he likes to shoot machine guns. When a friend asked him to help chop down some trees recently, Franklin arrived with a machine gun mounted on a tripod at the back of his jeep and proceeded to cut down the trees with bursts of gunfire so loud that neighbors called the sheriff.

When Franklin travels, he carries a .38 pistol strapped to his ankle. If laws forbid the gun, he carries a plastic-handled folding knife. When he can't carry the knife, he brings along a metal pen, which "I can stick in the eye of any terrorist trying to hijack my plane," he says. Everything in Franklin's life seems to revolve around danger, real or imagined. In his mind's eye, there is always "a cop waiting behind a building to stop me for speeding." He will say he consorts with Nicaraguan Contras. Even his family flirts with danger. His 72-year-old mother likes to catch rattlesnakes with a two-pronged fork. His wife recently shot a snake with a .357 Magnum. When Franklin was a little boy, he remembers, his father punched out an intruder in their front yard and then got down on his knees and prayed with the man."

Rough crowd.

They could probably make short work of the Palin clan, who are mere poseurs in the Confederate grift.

By the way, I saw F. Graham speak 20 years ago at the Columbine High School mass murder memorial in Littleton, Colorado.

The shootings took place about two miles from my home at the time, near the school.

He blamed liberals, the Clinton Administration (Al Gore spoke too at the memorial), and and, if I'm not mistaken, me, for the slaughter, to a chorus of Amens from probably half the crowd in the parking lot where the thing was held.

He didn't mention Jews, but had the victims been Jews instead of high school kids, no doubt he would have raised questions about their complicity in their own murders, like any good Semitic, anti-Semitic ISIS warrior.

Had Harris and Klebold been in the crowd, I suspect they would have approached Graham afterwards for his autograph and maybe asked to see the latter's machine gun collection and hey, is there any way you could introduce the two of us to Ted Nugent, cause that guy is awesome?

Graham might have traded them some ammo for a pair of their cool-looking trench coats, cause you wanna look good while pn a mission with the Contras.

It was around that time that I developed the point of view that the arming of mass killers in this country by the gun culture/NRA c=cksucking pigs was enabling the killing of all the wrong people.

Incidentally, Klebold's poor mother was raised in the Jewish faith.

The rump end of the Republican Party, the ones that don't fake support for Jews in Israel, made some hay about that.

http://www.texemarrs.com/columbine_hate_crime.htm

A review of a book about the terrorism grift:

By a former Republican Congressional staffer who quit that job and his Party because he is a human being:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/marchaprilmay_2015/on_political_books/operation_rent_seeking054219.php?page=all

hat tip to Washington Monthly

Blessed are the defense contractors....

Hey, look, good news, not that the BSM (BrettStreamMedia) wants anyone to know, and the MSM sucks too:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/05/1368713/-Liberia-s-last-Ebola-patient-released-from-hospital

In Liberia alone, over 4000 human beings died from the disease.

The last patient left the hospital the other day, according to the article.

I won't hold my breath for the lying, conservative subhuman vermin in this country who clammed up (now, why that night, of all nights?) about their sheer Ebola panic at midnight, last November 4, to thank WHO, the U.S Government, and the unnumbered volunteers, among them Americans, from around the world who risked their lives to help those people, and the Liberians themselves.

Joni Ernst and her racist children, I understand, are in intensive care in the last stages of Ebola suffering, along with millions of other conservatives in this country who apparently contracted the disease by watching African witchdoctor Barack Obama deliver the SOTU early this year, because that was how he intended to spread the disease here (by word of mouth) since he wanted the U.S. to be just like Africa.

Crickets swarm from their pig mouths in the final death throes.

Their chirping fills the silence.

Count, you're getting really over the top here, even for you. Not to mention pretty far off topic.

No, that's within a standard deviation of his normal rants. They do routinely get pretty bad, after all.

I'd have said at least a couple of standard deviations out. But then, I'm not the one he is usually taking shots at.

I understand lj, no worries - it's just a bit different when the people characterized as "xyz" are not an abstraction, but actual people close to ones heart. I hardly post here anymore anyway, so it's not a big deal, it's just sad.

Blessed are the defense contractors....

For verily they enable the government to print manny from heaven in an abundant stream that passeth all understanding, enabling us to smite our enemies at home and abroad; Promote a harmonious and bi-partisan Will to Empire for the spread of nobly savage Christian terrorism; and enable us to bask forever in the Glory of the One True God.

One Amen and two Hosannahs no more that one standard deviation from the mean, please.

Count, you're getting really over the top here, even for you.

I basically agree with this, even though I'm not especially offended by the Count's posts.

Do other folks feel like things are getting too hostile / ad hominem / vulgar / what have you here at ObWi lately?

novakant, is that one of the reasons you don't post as often?

If this is becoming an issue for folks, maybe we can make some changes.

I will say that most of the folks on the masthead these days are probably too busy and/or not all that inclined to spend a lot of time chasing folks for violations of posting rules.

So, maybe a community volunteer effort is called for.

Let's see what an occasional bit of feedback in the comments can accomplish, before we start crafting new institutional approaches. IMHO most of the folks here are adult enough that we should be able to make things happen that way.

Have at it. I can handle it.

Tell you what, I'll take a needed break for starters.

I'm leaving town soon for a few weeks anyway.

Off topic? Sure. But, really, there is only one topic in this country.

As far as being over the top, I don't even come close in my surreal harmless deviance to describing and reaching the top (with tops like that, who needs bottoms) of the rancid conservative political reality in this country in 2015 (still exponential non-standard deviations away), in which Ersnt for one example can threaten insurrection and violence without censor against the government of her country and be rewarded with high office, and Graham the junior can be feted with TV interviews and the dollars of the conservative so-called religious base to spew his violent, hateful rhetoric, again without censor from what's left of the responsible Right in the country. Indeed, he is defended for his behavior in too many quarters.

And their resolute glee at the prospect murdering folks with pre-existing medical conditions now on Obamacare is unspeakable.

They brandish the weapons of killers.

I comment on a blog.

That's not a very O.K. Corral.

Novakant, if it is I who insulted people close to you, I apologize.

If it was the term "savages" used by another that delivered the insult, I don't know what to tell you. That person, who I'm sure is a decent guy in the meat world, is melting into the crowd, muttering about rants with an innocent face.

Anyhoo, health and safety to each and every one of you in the interim and don't take any bum recipes.

Hire a taster.


Someone needs to create a "yelling at clouds" blog, where such comments can be posted, but are not expected to be read. Win-win!

That person, who I'm sure is a decent guy in the meat world, is melting into the crowd, muttering about rants with an innocent face.

A reasonable point, that.

Someone needs to create a "yelling at clouds" blog

Actually, I think that's pretty much called "a blog".

:)

But maybe an occasional, or even regular, yelling at clouds thread.

It's good to be polite and respectful of others, but there may also be a place for letting off steam.

Maybe a "I'm just venting" emoji....?

I'm tempted to say we live in uniquely contentious times, but then again my wife was a Kent State undergrad back in 1970.

wj, thanks for the reality check, Count, safe travels. novakant, don't be a stranger.

I'll take this opportunity to remind regular commenters are invited to post something, contact the kitty for details and discussion. If any regular posters feel like they would like to step up the front page on a regular basis and thereby have more of a basis to make suggestions for folks to take it down a notch, again, send a letter to the kitty and we can talk about it. I think I speak for the others in that we would welcome some new voices here, and some invitations are in the pipeline even as we speak.

"I basically agree with this, even though I'm not especially offended by the Count's posts.

Do other folks feel like things are getting too hostile / ad hominem / vulgar / what have you here at ObWi lately?"

Offended? No, I'm not particularly offended. I've got a pretty thick skin. I just see the Count getting somewhat special treatment here, because his politics aren't an outlier, like mine are, (In the context of a lefty blog, at least.) and because he usually plays at being the clown. I'm pretty darn sure that I wouldn't get as much tolerance for murderous diatribes as he gets.

Why don't you see me engaging in murderous diatribes? Partly because I'd have to have a death wish to engage in one where the NSA could read it, given my politics and past associations. Mostly, 'cause I never feel particularly murderous... I'm a pretty mellow guy.

The Count? I'm a bit worried that he might, a few years hence, be the subject of many "How could we not have seen it coming?" conversations. And, that's no joke.

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