Saturday, December 31, 2016
BONUS: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, and Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.
In his waning days in the White House, President Obama is desperately trying to make his policies as permanent as possible by tying the hands of his successor — and far more than other presidents have done on their way out.Still more.
From his dramatic and disastrous change of US policy on Israel to his executive order restricting 1.65 million acres of land from development despite local objections, Obama is trying to make it impossible for Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress to govern.
Even Thursday’s announcement of wide-ranging sanctions against Russia presents Trump with a foreign-policy crisis immediately upon taking office.
By contrast, many of Obama’s predecessors have stood back in their final days in office and refrained from any dramatic shifts, in deference to the agenda of the man voters sent to succeed them.
But Obama won’t accept the election results. As he suggested the other day, Trump’s election was a fluke — and he himself would have easily been re-elected if allowed to stand for a third term.
He believes this not just because he’s an effective campaigner, but because he thinks his “vision” and policies continue to be backed by “a majority of the American people.”
But Obama, like many Democrats, fails to understand what happened in the election: Voters were calling for real change from the status quo — from his policies. Indeed, before the vote, he himself said it was a referendum on him and his policies.
Memo to the president: You lost.
Whether it was the lackluster economy, ObamaCare, trade, the sweeping failure of his foreign policy or illegal immigration, voters sought something very different.
Trump, on the other hand, did more than just energize his base: He flipped six states that voted for Obama in 2012.
The results, as many have since come to realize, is that the Democratic Party now caters to a hard-left, elite core located on the two coasts — and has abandoned the working-class Americans in the heartland it so loudly claims to champion...
Let the leftist media hacks stew in their own hatred and stupidity.
At CNN, "Donald Trump ditches his press pool to play golf."
At LAT, "In a slap at Obama, Putin plays Mr. Nice Guy":
Vladimir Putin is betting that the smartest move is to do nothing.
The Russian president announced Friday that his government would not expel any U.S. diplomats in retaliation for U.S. punitive measures unveiled by the White House a day earlier in response to Russia’s alleged cyber-attacks.
Putin’s sidestep away from confrontation was widely read as a deliberate bow to President-elect Donald Trump -- and a final hard slap at President Obama in the waning weeks of the U.S. leader’s tenure.
“We will not create any problems for U.S. diplomats. We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement posted on the Kremlin website that followed well-publicized calls from senior Russian officials for a sharp pushback against the U.S. administration over steps that included the expulsions of 35 Russian diplomats.
The Russian leader said the Kremlin would instead base future moves on “the policies of the Trump administration.” Trump quickly praised Putin for putting off any action, tweeting: “I always knew he was very smart!”
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Just 48 seconds and Rousey was toast.
At Heat Street and the Ralph Retort:
Tweet of the year? https://t.co/mpy0LmetXM— Heat Street (@heatstreet) December 31, 2016
no way no way no fuckin way. 2016 just delivers right down to the wire https://t.co/se1hgiVJtP— Virgil Texas (@virgiltexas) December 31, 2016
He's the best.
This is an old but outstanding video:
Friday, December 30, 2016
Long before the Holocaust, Germany killed tens of thousands in Namibia. It will soon recognize this as genocide. https://t.co/C0QN5ShDJx pic.twitter.com/gkf9cuKKN5— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 29, 2016
WATERBERG, Namibia — In this faraway corner of southern Africa, scores of German soldiers lie in a military cemetery, their names, dates and details engraved on separate polished tombstones.More.
Easily missed is a single small plaque on the cemetery wall that gives a nod in German to the African “warriors” who died in the fighting as well. Nameless, they are among the tens of thousands of Africans killed in what historians have long considered — and what the German government is now close to recognizing — as the 20th century’s first genocide.
A century after losing its colonial possessions in Africa, Germany and its former colony, Namibia, are now engaged in intense negotiations to put an end to one of the ugliest chapters of Europe’s past in Africa.
During German rule in Namibia, called South-West Africa back then, colonial officers studying eugenics developed ideas on racial purity, and their forces tried to exterminate two rebellious ethnic groups, the Herero and Nama, some of them in concentration camps.
“It will be described as genocide,” Ruprecht Polenz, Germany’s special envoy to the talks, said of a joint statement that the two governments are preparing. Negotiations, which began this year, are now also focusing on how Germany will compensate and apologize to Namibia.
The events in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 foreshadowed Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. Yet the genocide in this former colony remains little known in Germany, the rest of Africa and, to some extent, even in Namibia itself.
Throughout Namibia, monuments and cemeteries commemorating the German occupiers still outnumber those honoring the victims of genocide, a concrete reminder of the lasting imbalance of power.
“Some of us want to remove that cemetery so that we can put our own people there,” said Magic Urika, 26, who lives about an hour away from the cemetery here in Waterberg. “What they did was a terrible thing, killing our people, saying all the Herero should be eliminated.”
While Germany’s efforts to atone for crimes during World War II are well known, it took a century before the nation began taking steps to acknowledge that genocide happened in Namibia decades before the Holocaust...
He knows Obama's blowing steam. He knows he's spewing his bile not so much against Moscow, but against Donald Trump's victory itself. Putin's shrewd that way. He's waiting until O's out of office, expecting Trump to rescind the order and allow Russian diplomats back in.
That's what's going to happen. I mean, who doesn't think so?
At NYT, "Vladimir Putin Won't Expel U.S. Diplomats as Russian Foreign Minister Urged":
Putin won't expel U.S. diplomats as his foreign minister urged. He is apparently betting on better ties under Trump. https://t.co/deFtUkJJFh— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 31, 2016
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia announced Friday that he would not retaliate against President Obama’s decision to expel Russian diplomats and impose new sanctions — only hours after his foreign minister recommended doing just that.Shrewd, like I said. He's making Obama look like a petulant child.
Mr. Putin, betting on improved relations with the next American president, said he would not eject 35 diplomats or close any diplomatic facilities, rejecting a tit-for-tat response to the actions taken on Thursday by the Obama administration.
The switch was remarkable, given that Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, had just recommended the retaliation in remarks broadcast live on national television. He called for punitive measures mirroring the ones imposed by the Obama administration, which accuses Russia of intimidating American diplomats and hacking institutions like the Democratic National Committee to influence the 2016 election.
The two countries have a long history of reciprocal expulsions, and Russian officials had been threatening to retaliate for days. Then Mr. Putin abruptly changed course.
“While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Mr. Putin said, using a common Russian idiom for quarrelsome and unseemly acts. “In our future steps on the way toward the restoration of Russia-United States relations, we will proceed from the policy pursued by the administration” of Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Putin has a flair for smart, unexpected tactics, and his announcement on Friday appeared to be in keeping with that. To some observers, the sudden shift seemed carefully stage-managed, a way of building up suspense before Mr. Putin’s surprise announcement, helping portray him as a wise leader above the fray.
Mr. Putin even said he did not want to close a wooded picnic area on a Moscow River island used by diplomats because he did not want to deprive their children. Then he went one step further, inviting all children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to celebrate the New Year and the Russian Orthodox Christmas with him at the Kremlin.
“Putin showed that he is above his own officials, that he doesn’t want to take the retaliatory action suggested by his foreign minister,” said Vladimir Frolov, an international relations analyst and columnist. “This is an attempt to show that he is a figure not just of worldly scale, but of planetary.”
Should Mr. Putin have chosen to retaliate harshly against the United States, he would most likely have deepened the rift between the two countries and left President-elect Trump with a nettlesome diplomatic standoff from the moment he arrived in the Oval Office.
But by choosing essentially to disregard Mr. Obama’s punitive measures, Mr. Putin can try to disarm his American critics, including members of Congress who consider him an aggressive foe of the United States. That could give Mr. Trump more room to pursue the closer cooperation with Russia that he has advocated.
Despite all of the statements from senior officials about the need to respect “reciprocity,” Mr. Putin essentially warned Washington that he was waiting for the Trump administration...
BONUS: "JESSICA LEE BUCHANAN SOUTH AFRICAN FOR FASHION OF THE DAY," and "MORNING HANGOVER DUMP OF THE DAY."
As noted, I read it about 30 years ago and when I was visiting the Cactus Wren Bookstore in Yucca Valley, in September, I picked up a used copy.
What struck me so powerfully this time around is how unabashedly pro-Israel is Uris in the book. And I was also struck by so many of the historical and political themes that are essentially timeless, including the existential nature of Arab and Islamic hatred of the Jews, as well as the key political issues arising out of Israel's establishment as a nation-state, the wars of Israel's independence, especially the refugee crisis (and Uris's discussion of it as a completely manufactured crisis by corrupt Arab dictatorships to generate international condemnation of the Jewish state).
It is, in other words, a book to make leftist heads explode.
In any case, I thought I'd google around for some of the contemporary debate. It's interesting.
Start with Martin Kramer, "Exodus, myth and malpractice":
Exodus by Leon Uris must rank high on any list of the most influential books about the Middle East. The novel, published in 1958, popularized the story of Israel’s birth among millions of American readers. The 1960 film, based on the book and starring Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan, reached many more millions. Exodus is still of interest, not for what it says about the creation of Israel (the commander of the ship Exodus said Uris “wrote a very good novel, but it had nothing to do with reality. Exodus, shmexodus”), but for what it reveals about mid-twentieth-century America. So more inquiry into the American context of Exodus is welcome—provided you get the facts right.Keep reading.
Last fall, Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, offered his audiences an account of how Leon Uris came to write the book. In a speech at Brooklyn Law School, Khalidi made this claim:
This carefully crafted propaganda was the work of seasoned professionals. People like someone you probably never heard of, a man named Edward Gottlieb, for example. He’s one of the founders of the modern public relations industry. There are books about him as a great advertiser.
In order to sell the great Israeli state to the American public many, many decades ago, Gottlieb commissioned a successful, young novelist. A man who was a committed Zionist, a fellow with the name of Leon Uris. He funded him and sent him off to Israel to write a book. This book was "Exodus: A Novel of Israel." Gottlieb’s gambit succeeded brilliantly. Exodus sold as many copies as Gone With the Wind, which up to that point was the greatest best-seller in U.S. history. Exodus was as good a melodrama and sold just as many copies.
Khalidi made a similar assertion in another speech a few weeks later, this time at the Palestine Center in Washington...
Kramer really tracked down the origins of this claim of a "modern public relations" "melodrama."
He goes on:
The purpose of mythNow, also check Haaretz, "The 'Exodus' Effect: The Monumentally Fictional Israel That Remade American Jewry":
In sum, the Gottlieb “commission” never happened. Uris’s biographers dismiss it, Gottlieb’s most knowledgeable associate denies it, and no documents in Uris’s papers or Israeli archives testify to it. It originated as a boast by Gottlieb to another PR man, made almost thirty years after the (non-)fact. And given its origin, it’s precisely the sort of story a serious professional historian would never repeat as fact without first vetting it (as I did).
Yet it persists in the echo chamber of anti-Israel literature, where it has been copied over and over. In Kathleen Christison’s book, it finally appeared under the imprimatur of a university press (California). In Khalidi’s lectures last fall, it acquired a baroque elaboration, in which Edward Gottlieb emerges as “the father of the American iteration of Zionism” and architect of “one of the greatest advertising triumphs of the twentieth century.” What is the myth’s appeal? Why is the truth about the genesis of Exodus so difficult to grasp? Why should Khalidi think the Gottlieb story is, in his coy phrase, “worth noting”?
Because if you believe in Zionist mind-control, you must always assume the existence of a secret mover who (as Khalidi said) “you probably never heard of” and who must be a professional expert in deception. This “seasoned” salesman conceives of Exodus as a “gambit” (Khalidi) or a “scheme” (Christison). There is no studio or publisher’s advance, only a “commission,” which qualifies the book as “propaganda”—an “advertising triumph.” In Khalidi’s Brooklyn Law School talk, he added that “the process of selling Israel didn’t stop with Gottlieb…. It has continued unabated since then.” It is Khalidi’s purpose to cast Exodus, like the case for Israel itself, as a “carefully crafted” sales job by Madison Avenue mad men. Through their mediation, Israel has hoodwinked America...
The pantheon of Jewish-American novelists is as populous as it is distinguished. Among its titans are two Nobel laureates, Canadian-born Chicagoan Saul Bellow and Polish-born Isaac Bashevis Singer; a justly celebrated string of Pulitzer winners from Edna Ferber through Philip Roth to Michael Chabon; and the creators of such works as "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Catch 22."More.
Yet, a half-century ago, when a single book transformed American Jews as no other work has done, before or since, its author was none of these.
The book was "Exodus" - and like its creator, Leon Uris, it was savaged by critics and academics, and resoundingly ignored by literary prize committees. When the book appeared in 1958, however, it sold in the millions. It was said that it was nearly as common to find a copy of "Exodus" in American-Jewish households as to find the Bible - and, of the two, not a few Jewish households apparently had only "Exodus."
Tailoring, altering and radically sanitizing the history of the founding of the State of Israel to flatter the fantasies and prejudices of American Jews, Uris succeeded well beyond his own wildest dreams, essentially remaking his eager readers and himself as well. That is, he helped foment a significant change in his fellow Jews' perceptions of Israel and, indeed, of themselves.
"As a literary work it isn't much," sniffed David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding prime minister, still in power at the time "Exodus" was published. "But as a piece of propaganda, it's the best thing ever written about Israel."
Some 40 years after the novel's publication, the prominent Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said would ruefully remark of its demonized treatment of Arabs that "the main narrative model that dominates American thinking still seems to be Leon Uris' 1958 novel 'Exodus.'"
Then see the very critical Alan Elsner, at the Jewish Journal, "Rereading Leon Uris’ ‘Exodus’: a disquieting experience."
I'm sure there's lots more commentary, but you get the idea. For good measure, here's one more, from Adam Kirsch, at the Tablet, "MACHO MAN: Exodus recast Israel’s founders as swaggering heroes and secured Leon Uris a place on the Jewish bookshelf even though, as a new biography shows, he was a mediocre writer and a troubled person."
As you can tell, leftists love to unload on Uris. But the book is awesome, and your view of it will shape your view of the man.
To put it simply, the United Nations contains a nest of Jew-hating vipers.More.
Jew hatred at the UN flies under the false flag of condemning Israel for human rights violations, while all but ignoring them everywhere else.
This effort is spearheaded by Mideast dictatorships, whose goal has always been to delegitimize the Jewish state, the same goal as the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and Israeli Apartheid Weeks.
In the latest instalment, a now-passed UN Security Council resolution slammed Israel unfairly and selectively on the settlement issue in the Occupied Territories last week.
President Barack Obama has been criticized by Israel’s supporters over the US abstaining from voting on the resolution (rather than vetoing it), which allowed it to pass.
But this Security Council resolution is just the latest example of the UN’s war against the Jews masquerading as legitimate criticism of Israel...
At the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man who lost gay pride nudity case against SDPD dies of apparent suicide":
A man who unsuccessfully sued San Diego police over his public nudity arrest at a gay pride festival was found dead Wednesday night at his Hillcrest apartment in an apparent suicide, authorities said.Maybe he should have just paid the fines, or whatever, and let it go.
The death of Will X. Walters comes about two weeks after a federal jury delivered the verdict in favor of police.
Walters’ attorney, Chris Morris, said Walters was shocked by the Dec. 13 verdict and immediately left the downtown San Diego federal courthouse after it was announced.
Morris said he hadn’t heard from Walters since and had tried to reach him in the days that followed. Friends also tried checking on him, the lawyer said.
San Diego police were called to the apartment by a neighbor late Wednesday.
His time of death was not known. The county Medical Examiner’s Office said the death remained under investigation.
“Will Walters was a valiant warrior for his cause, and he will be missed by those who knew him and the community he fought for,” Morris said Thursday...
This case isn't worth taking your life. But apparently, his identity as a homosexual man was everything and he wanted that fully validated, or else. I'll bet the guy was a pushy in-your-face advocate for same-sex marriage and all that. Homosexual activists are like that.
More (via Memeorandum).
At Nerve, "Love in a Time of Cannabis" (via Instapundit):
I was in high school, she was older and asked if I was cool. I nodded. She showed me how to hit the bong then laid me down on the bed and showed me how to please her. Forever after, I’ve associated sex and weed. They go together like music and dancing. It’s the perfect substance for romance. Your body becomes hypersensitive and alert. Everything’s light, funny, wonderful and weird...More.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
These sanctions are completely political, designed more to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration than to penalize Russia.
God, how much longer until this scum of an administration is shown the door?
At WSJ, "U.S. Punishes Russia Over Election Cyberattacks; Moscow Vows Retaliation":
U.S. punishes Russia over election hacking with sanctions, expulsion of 35 diplomats https://t.co/5AduSeZ9rI pic.twitter.com/tEWhJKRYur— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 29, 2016
President Barack Obama sanctioned Russian government intelligence agencies and expelled 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the U.S. in what he called a partial response to Russia’s alleged use of cyberattacks to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.More.
Russia threatened to retaliate, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying “the principle of reciprocity applies here.” He said Russian President Vladimir Putin would formulate a response that would create “considerable discomfort in the same areas” for the U.S., according to the Interfax news agency.
The sanctions designate Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the Main Intelligence Directorate, or the GRU, for “tampering, altering or causing the misappropriation of information” with the purpose or effect of interfering with the election. The measures also designate Russia’s main security agency, the Federal Security Service, for assisting the GRU in those activities.
The administration also sanctioned three Russian companies it accused of providing material support for the GRU’s cyber operations and four top Russian officials who run the military intelligence agency.
At the same time, the State Department expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives allegedly serving under diplomatic cover from the Russian embassy in Washington and the Russian consulate in San Francisco. The officials and their families were given 72 hours to leave the U.S. after the State Department said they “were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status.” The deadline is noon on Sunday.
The State Department also notified Russia that as of Friday Moscow would be denied access to two Russian government-owned compounds in the U.S. One is a dacha, or summer retreat, for Russian embassy officials on the eastern shore of Maryland, and the other is a dacha compound for New York-based Russian diplomats on Long Island, a U.S. official said. The White House accused Russia of using the recreational compounds for “intelligence-related purposes.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also released a joint analysis report, titled “Grizzly Steppe,” giving additional technical details about the election hacking.
Mr. Obama said the steps were “in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election” and followed repeated warnings to Moscow.
“These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.
Russia has denied involvement in the election hacks.
Mr. Peskov said Thursday the new U.S. measures were a display of the Obama administration’s unpredictability and aggressive foreign policy. He said the White House wanted “to ruin once and for all Russian-American relations, which were already at rock-bottom, and apparently, strike a blow against the foreign-policy plans of the future administration,” according to Interfax.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Facebook page that the Russian Foreign Ministry would make an official announcement regarding countermeasures against the U.S. on Friday. She said “the American people have been humiliated by their own president.”
The administration’s announcement could reignite the debate between the White House and President-elect Donald Trump, who has challenged the accuracy of the U.S. intelligence assessment attributing the hacks to Russia and called it “ridiculous.” Mr. Obama called Mr. Trump on Wednesday ahead of the announcement...
So craven and dishonest. Why not push these initiatives during the first administration, or before the 2014 midterms? Of course O's regime knew they'd be unpopular and the Democrats would face massive backlash.
Anyway, at Memeorandum, "Statement by the President on the Designation of Bears Ears National Monument and Gold Butte National Monument."
And at LAT:
More, at Western Journalism, "Utah Lawmakers Vow to Fight Obama’s Creation of National Monuments."
Also, at WWTDD, "Izabel Goulart in a Bikini."
Plus, at Egoastic!, "Izabel Goulart Red Hot Bikini Paddle Ball and Other Fine Things to Ogle."
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
It's apparently very progressive around these parts, as can be seen from the signage on the windows. (Joshua Tree National Park is right there, which attracts all kinds of hippies and leftists.)
I doubt they're not going to serve Trump supporters, though. You've got the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center just up the road a bit. Lots of folks are going to be anti-Obama, if not downright #MAGA enthusiasts.
At the Safe Spaces cafe, in 29 Palms. pic.twitter.com/1NFggqJUqt— Donald Douglas (@AmPowerBlog) December 28, 2016
RELATED: At RWN, "Outrage After Hawaii Cafe BANS Trump Voters." (Via Memeorandum.)
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
I wish we all could live that long.
Still though, we're losing so many in 2016. It's a great year, actually, but the obits are mounting.
I read "Watership Down" for a book club at my college, and it was great. Adams declaims any larger moral to the story, but the moral is clearly to stand and fight for what you believe, and that good will prevail over evil.
Richard Adams has died at 96. He became one of the world’s best-selling authors with his debut, “Watership Down." https://t.co/7fgkGyzsq0— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 27, 2016
This is an amazing book.
As mentioned, my son gave it to me for Christmas. I read the preface, the introduction, and chapter one last night. It's definitely a page-turner.
At Amazon, Richard B. Frank, Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle.
It was of course fabulous, and we all had a great time; and then I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi" when they came out, as these were basically obligatory.
But that's about it. I don't have all the movies on CD, and haven't even seen all the more recent updates in the franchise.
It just seems like Carrie Fisher's death has some kind of social significance. It's weird, I guess.
At the Los Angeles Times, "Carrie Fisher, child of Hollywood who blazed a path as 'Star Wars' heroine, screenwriter and author, dies at 60."
And at the Other McCain, "CARRIE FISHER DIES AT AGE 60":
"Good-bye, Princess Leia — and may the Force be with you!" https://t.co/HhDIgt9wBF— The Patriarch Tree (@PatriarchTree) December 27, 2016
Her death came while the latest film in the Star Wars saga, Rogue One, was No. 1 at the box office. She won critical praise for her performance in the original Star Wars film (“Episode IV: A New Hope”), which I first saw in 1977 at Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza theater immediately after its original release. Many of her best scenes were Princess Leia’s exchanges of sarcastic lines with the outlaw pilot Han Solo, memorably played by Harrison Ford, which recalled the classic romantic pairings of Hollywood’s Golden Age — Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, etc.
It's weird, whatever it is.
Here's the headline at Mediaite, via Memeorandum, "Alt-Right in Civil War After Prominent Leader Disinvited From Pro-Trump ‘DeploraBall’."
And see the Ralph Retort, "DEPLORABALL DUSTUP: Baked Alaska Out, MILO In, Accusations Flying From All Parties."
You know, once the Daily Stormer gets involved, I'm outta here.
These aren't my kind of folks, actually.
Monday, December 26, 2016
I can dig it.
At the New York Times, "Defying U.N., Israel Prepares to Build More Settlements":
JERUSALEM — Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”Still more.
Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.
The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the American ambassador for a scolding. He canceled a planned visit this week by Ukraine’s prime minister even as he expressed concern on Monday that Mr. Obama was planning more action at the United Nations before his term ends next month...
At Amazon, Deals of the Day.
The deals include Up to 80 Percent Off on New York Times Best Sellers on Kindle.
BONUS: Ian Toll, Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, and The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944.
From Bill Kristol, at the Weekly Standard:
For all eight years of the Obama administration, Democrats have made believe that Barack Obama is a firm and enthusiastic supporter and defender of the Jewish state. Arguments to the contrary were not only dismissed but angrily denounced as the products of nothing more than vicious partisanship. Obama's defenders repeatedly used the trope that "Israel should not be a partisan issue," as if Obama's views and actions were beyond reproach. A whole corps of Jewish leaders, some at the major organizations and many from Chicago, showed far greater loyalty to Obama than to the tradition of true nonpartisanship when it came to Middle East policy.RTWT.
All of those arguments have been ground into dust by Obama's action Friday allowing a nasty and harmful anti-Israel resolution to pass the United Nations Security Council. Just weeks before leaving office, he could not resist the opportunity to take one more swipe at Israel—and to do real harm. So he will leave with his record on Israel in ruins, and he will leave Democrats even worse off.
It's pretty clear that he does not care. Obama has gotten himself elected twice, the second time by a decreased margin (the only time a president has been reelected by fewer votes than in his first term), but he has laid waste to his party. In the House, the Senate, the state governorships, and the state legislatures, the Democrats have suffered loss after loss. Today's anti-Israel action will further damage the Democratic party, by driving some Jews if not toward the Republicans then at least away from the Democrats and toward neutrality. Donald Trump's clear statement on Thursday that he favored a veto, Netanyahu's fervent pleas for one, and the Egyptian action in postponing the vote show where Obama stood: not with Israel, not even with Egypt, but with the Palestinians. Pleas for a veto from Democrats in Congress were ignored by the White House...
A spiteful, combative, and repulsive black bitch of a congresswoman.
Watch, at Free Beacon, "Rep. Waters Refuses to Meet With Trump to Find Common Ground on Policies."
He's about as far-left as they come. I think I came across his page after trolling through Taryn Fivek's page. (Remember her? Emma Quangel?) She's always linking to the most crazy stuff happening on the left, for example, "J20 Resist! Protest Trump's Inauguration in Washington D.C."
Anyway, he's trying to weasel out of his comments calling for a "white genocide," although killing off the white race is pretty much standard fare for hardcore leftists. Drexel, his university, is right to distance itself from his commentary.
See Inside Higher Ed, "Drexel Condemns Professor's Tweet." (At Memeorandum.)
The dude's protected his tweets now, although I think just yesterday they were viewable. He's worried about getting fired. He should be.
More from Sierra Marlee, at RWN, "Drexel U RESPONDS to Prof’s Tweet “All I want for Christmas is White Genocide”."
Here's Mr. White Genocide, George Ciccariello-Maher, celebrating Fidel Castro. pic.twitter.com/5tjDvYxMy9— Craig R. Brittain (@CraigRBrittain) December 26, 2016
And a sample of the dude's far-left commentary:
Dear Neoliberal Democrats: This is Your Mess, Own It https://t.co/2wOHsbwzIA pic.twitter.com/9LZvfI5yCQ— US Uncut (@USUncut) November 9, 2016
Here's the final entry in the series, published yesterday, Christmas Day, "They gambled, and lost: Dozens of migrants braved thousands of miles of jungles, seas and bandits to reach the U.S. Then they were sent home."
Here's the third entry in the series, published on Christmas Eve, "Traversing the Rio Suchiate: Navigating the River of Dreams; Between Africa and the U.S., an illicit river crossing in Latin America."
Here's the initial entry from the 22nd, "Pipeline to America: Africans, Asians, Haitians — Migrants from Across the Globe Risk Everything to Cross Into the U.S."
Pretty extraordinary reporting. I'm blown away at the lengths --- the dangers --- to which migrants will go to get to the "promised land" of the United States.
Here's the second report in the series, "Crossing the Darién Gap: Migrants from around the globe are forging a grueling path to the U.S. — through the heart of the rainforest."
Migrants from around the globe are forging a grueling path to America — through the heart of the rainforest https://t.co/SvzhBUdtNv pic.twitter.com/qYPVf0FIsr— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 23, 2016
The most troubling manifestation was a conference titled Legitimacy, Responsibility, Exceptionalism, to held in 2015 at Southampton University, that was intended to question the legal and moral right of the state of Israel to exist. The organizers were all well-known critics, even haters, of Israel, and advocates of boycott of Israel, as were almost all the expected participants.If you're on the left, you're not right.
The main organizers were Oren Ben-Dor (Southampton University law school) a constant anti-Israeli critic, and George Bisharat (U of California, Hastings School of Law) who favors a one state solution and compares Israel presence to a rapist. Ben Dor, former Israeli, has criticized the Israeli actions in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in winter 2009. He has supported boycotts of Israel, written about alleged “apartheid” of Israel, and the bias in the Israeli educational system. In a barely comprehensible article in 2012, Ben-Dor referred to ‘pathologies pertaining to Jewish thinking and being.”
Though 929 academics supported a petition for the conference to be held at Southampton, as the result of strong protests the University cancelled it on the grounds that it gave legitimacy to antisemitism. However, the conference with the same cast of characters is now to be held in March and April 2017 at University College, Cork, Ireland, part of the National University of Ireland.
The list of speakers, including die-hard critics of Israel speaks for itself. The presence as speakers of individuals such as Richard Falk, Ilan Pappe, Azmi Bishara, and Hatem Bazian suggests the objective of the conference. It is not to discuss the problems of the Middle East in any objective fashion. It is to emphasize the illegitimacy of the state of Israel. It is to link the alleged suffering of Palestinians to the foundation and nature of Israel, and in essence to argue for the nullification of Israel’ existence...
The left's hatred of Israel is simply mind-boggling to me, but it's rife throughout the ideological space of leftists Britain, the U.S., and all over the world, as evidenced by the vote last week at the Security Council, which as 14 votes to delegitimize Israeli settlements, and one abstention (the U.S.).
The Observer got so much traffic the server almost crashed.
Singer George Michael Succumbs to HIV/AIDS - Santa Monica Observer https://t.co/FTSL9H5Bmn pic.twitter.com/YXgbZcsVh9— SM ObserverNewspaper (@SMObserved) December 25, 2016
Leftists were upset that people were even mentioning AIDS:
If you want to keep faith this Christmas, do not search 'George Michael AIDS' on Twitter. Outrageous claims/comments/judgements circulating.— Leon Ward (@LeonjWard) December 25, 2016
Check out my mentions if you want to see how despicable people can be.— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) December 26, 2016
I blocked 200+ trolls, and I deleted the tweet that was energising them (life’s too short). Humanity is disappointing today.— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) December 26, 2016
If you speculate that #GeorgeMichael died of #HIV, you’re basing that on your own biases, not facts. You’re a garbage person.— Paul Kidd (@paulkidd) December 26, 2016
There was one other rather honest piece about Michael's death, from Alison Boshoff, at Daily Mail, "ALISON BOSHOFF: How sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll took their toll on troubled genius George Michael":
Michael, who wrote and performed pop classics including Careless Whisper, Praying For Time and Faith, said himself that he suffered from two afflictions –'grief and self-abuse'.Yet Michael had no apologies for his lifestyle. Life fast, die young:
He would smoke enormous amounts of marijuana – up to 25 joints a day at some points in his career.
He also struggled with depression, following the death of his lover Anselmo Feleppa from an HIV-related illness in 1993, and his mother, of cancer, in 1997.
His drug use included a dependency on sleeping pills and a dabble with designer drug GHB. In 2008, Michael was caught smoking crack cocaine in a public toilet.
He was in the habit of cruising for sex with strangers – an activity he declared he had started in his teens. He told friend Piers Morgan that he had up to 500 sexual partners in seven years – which works out, staggeringly, at one every five days.
I HAVE NEVER AND WILL NEVER APOLOGISE FOR MY SEX LIFE ! GAY SEX IS NATURAL, GAY SEX IS GOOD! NOT EVERYBODY DOES IT, BUT.....HA HA!— George Michael (@GeorgeMichael) May 13, 2011
At CNN, "Britney Spears is 'alive and well' despite death hoax."
And at PuffHo, "Don’t Worry, Britney Spears Is ‘Alive And Well’."
Good morning! May you all have a blessed day 😊 pic.twitter.com/jJoIckBZET— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) December 19, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Especially interesting is Svetlana Alexievich's, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets.
Top 10 Books of 2016. https://t.co/9bGZqeQ0sG— Donald Douglas (@AmPowerBlog) December 25, 2016
In the hours of uncertainty following the attack on the Christmas market at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz square on the evening of Dec. 19, two methods of viewing the incident quickly became apparent. There was the reflexive, impetuous reaction and the reflective, circumspect approach.Well, to reach for initial conclusions usually results in being upbraided by hoity-toity leftists mewling, "That's not who we are."
The impetuous took to their computers almost before the truck driver had finished cutting his deadly swath through the Christmas market stalls. Regardless of what was really going on in Berlin, those occupying a certain niche on the web were certain: "Islam-terror" had reached Berlin and a "Merkel Mohammedan" had killed innocent people. Muslims, it was claimed, were dancing for joy in the streets of immigrant neighborhoods like Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg and Berlin-Neukölln. Dec. 19, 2016 was the "beginning of the end" of the Christian West, they said, symbolized by the Christmas tree that had been run over in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
In those minutes -- during which the impetuous transformed hunch into certainty and certainty into rage -- the circumspect were just beginning to comprehend what had just happened on Breitscheidplatz. They saw the dead and injured next to a truck, which had been turned into a murder weapon. They knew absolutely nothing for sure. They knew it would take several days for even the most urgent questions to be answered with certainty -- and weeks, if not months, to clear up the underlying questions. And there was time needed to mourn the dead.
"Pray?! Do Something!!" the impetuous tweeted. They aren't interested in facts. Emotions are enough.
Even before the attack, bridging the gap between the circumspect and the impetuous had become difficult. The sexual assaults committed by immigrants on New Year's Eve in Cologne, the attacks in Ansbach and Würzburg, the Islamist bomb-maker arrested in Chemnitz, and the rape-murder apparently committed by a refugee in Freiburg: These were the milestones of the divide. Now, everyone is certain who is to blame: the establishment political parties, the populists, the lying press, the scaremongers, the do-gooders and the right-wingers. The two sides of the divide no longer have much to say to each other.
The Berlin attack has now demonstrated just how little overlap there is between these two parallel worlds. When it became known, in the late evening of Dec. 19, that the police had arrested a suspect from Pakistan, the parallel worlds seemed to be reconciled for a moment. The impetuous had already known that only a Muslim refugee could be the killer. And now the circumspect had actually caught one. Finally, they expressed what had long been obvious to the other side: that we are in a "state of war" and that it is naïve to "always see only the good in people."
But then, during the course of the day on Tuesday, the authorities began to have doubts about their suspect, and in the afternoon they announced: "We have the wrong man." The impetuous were able to explain this away in seconds. The political-journalistic PC-cartel, they believed, simply wasn't willing to accept the truth.
According to one version that was bouncing around one corner of the Internet, some scapegoat would undoubtedly be found. A user on a right-wing website wrote: "There must be a radical right-winger somewhere that this can be pinned on." The fact that investigators quickly identified a man from Tunisia as the alleged attacker did not change the truth as perceived by the impetuous.
Such is reality in this not-particularly-festive Christmas season. In the conspiracy-theory-filled world occupied by one side of the gap, mistakes aren't mistakes but cynically calculated moves. Whereas attacks at other times and in other places -- New York, Paris, London -- brought people together, many people this time chose to view the Berlin attack from their own ideological trench...
And then, it's always the "impetuous" ones who're proven correct.
No wonder the radical left is in retreat worldwide. Hopefully it's just the beginning of a decadal rout that marginalizes leftists for generations.
But keep reading.
Germans are so compassionate they're going to die for it.
At WSJ, "At Christmas, Germany Reflects on Compassion in a Dangerous World."
And at Egotastic!, "Kelly Brook Amazing 2017 Calendar."
She's still got the best body going. Hands down she's hot.
I don't know if that's gonna work, although grizzlies are actually native to the Golden State. The state's "bear flag" features a California grizzly bear.
Interesting, in any case.
At LAT, "A black bear boom has a California town wondering how residents would get along with grizzlies."
And see Glenn's very moving holiday essay, at USA Today, "Finding the good in my dad's final days."
Mollie Hemingway responds:
I get that not everybody is Christian but you should really know that Christians celebrate this good news at this time each and every year. https://t.co/CSsWMv4oI1— Mollie (@MZHemingway) December 25, 2016
At the Bustle, "Did Reince Priebus Just Compare Donald Trump To Jesus? Probably Not, But It Sure Sounded Like It."
And at BuzzFeed. The "new king" is Jesus, not Donald Trump:
People are arguing about whether Republicans just compared Trump to Jesus https://t.co/cyknbSgPAo pic.twitter.com/Gq2M5nRDMY— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) December 25, 2016
Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco Bought Each of His Nine Offensive Lineman an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality System
At the Washington Post, "Some NFL players went all out with gifts for teammates."
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Normally I don't need my stuff shipped that fast, but if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can get your last-minute gift items delivered today.
Here's the Deal of the Day, Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer, Glass Carafe, Silver (Certified Refurbished).
I'll post some book links a little later.
I've got to take my son to work and head over to CostCo to buy food for our Christmas dinner, tri-rip roast and lobster (plus baked potato).
(But obviously much more than that. I don't ever recall an outgoing administration dissing the notion of concurrent "co-presidencies," but Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor, did just that a few days ago.)
In any case, at the New York Times (via Memeorandum):
Obama and Trump have been polite. But they've become leaders of what amounts to dueling administrations. https://t.co/p7mniK63pU— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 24, 2016
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump and President Obama have been unfailingly polite toward each other since the election. But with Mr. Trump staking out starkly different positions from Mr. Obama on Israel and other sensitive issues, and the president acting aggressively to protect his legacy, the two have become leaders of what amounts to dueling administrations.Ben Rhodes? What an idiot.
The split widened on Friday when the Obama administration abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote that condemned Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and allowed the resolution to pass. A day earlier, Mr. Trump had publicly demanded that Mr. Obama veto the measure, even intervening with Egypt at the request of Israel to pressure the administration to shelve the effort.
“As to the U.N.,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter after the vote, “things will be different after Jan. 20.”
It was the latest in a rapid-fire series of Twitter posts and public statements over the last week in which Mr. Trump has weighed in on Israel, terrorism and nuclear proliferation — contradicting Mr. Obama and flouting the notion that the country can have only one president at a time.
That longstanding principle has largely collapsed since the victory by Mr. Trump, who campaigned on a strategy of breaking all the rules and has continued to speak in unmodulated tones.
“In some ways, Trump is neutering the Obama administration,” said Douglas G. Brinkley, a professor of history and a presidential historian at Rice University in Houston. “They’ve avoided personally attacking each other, but behind the scenes, they’re working to undermine each other, and I don’t know how the American people benefit from that.”
For its part, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along wide areas of the Arctic and the Eastern Seaboard, invoking an obscure provision of a 1953 law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, to claim that Mr. Trump had no power to reverse it.
White House officials asserted a similar privilege in their decision not to veto the Security Council resolution. Israel’s aggressive construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, they said, puts at risk a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Trump’s opposition to the measure, and the likelihood that his administration will reverse the position, played no part in the decision, they said.
“There’s one president at a time,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. “There’s a principle here that the world understands who is speaking for the United States until January 20th, and who is speaking for the United States after January 20th.”
I saw the guy on cable news and he looked like a dork. Just having to declare there's "only one president at a time" illustrates just how weak the outgoing administration is.
See David M. Phillips, at Commentary, "The Illegal-Settlements Myth":
The conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal is now so commonly accepted, it hardly seems as though the matter is even open for discussion. But it is. Decades of argument about the issue have obscured the complex nature of the specific legal question about which a supposedly overwhelming verdict of guilty has been rendered against settlement policy. There can be no doubt that this avalanche of negative opinion has been deeply influenced by the settlements’ unpopularity around the world and even within Israel itself. Yet, while one may debate the wisdom of Israeli settlements, the idea that they are imprudent is quite different from branding them as illegal. Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion—as some have done—this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself.Keep reading.
These arguments date back to the aftermath of the Six-Day War. When Israel went into battle in June 1967, its objective was clear: to remove the Arab military threat to its existence. Following its victory, the Jewish state faced a new challenge: what to do with the territorial fruits of that triumph. While many Israelis assumed that the overwhelming nature of their victory would shock the Arab world into coming to terms with their legitimacy and making peace, they would soon be disabused of this belief. At the end of August 1967, the heads of eight countries, including Egypt, Syria, and Jordan (all of which lost land as the result of their failed policy of confrontation with Israel), met at a summit in Khartoum, Sudan, and agreed to the three principles that were to guide the Arab world’s postwar stands: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Though many Israelis hoped to trade most if not all the conquered lands for peace, they would have no takers. This set the stage for decades of their nation’s control of these territories....
The question of the legal status of the West Bank, as well as Jerusalem, is not so easily resolved. To understand why this is the case, we must first revisit the history of the region in the 20th century.
Though routinely referred to nowadays as “Palestinian” land, at no point in history has Jerusalem or the West Bank been under Palestinian Arab sovereignty in any sense of the term. For several hundred years leading up to World War I, all of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, and the putative state of Palestine were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. After British-led Allied troops routed the Turks from the country in 1917-18, the League of Nations blessed Britain’s occupation with a document that gave the British conditional control granted under a mandate. It empowered Britain to facilitate the creation of a “Jewish National Home” while respecting the rights of the native Arab population. British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill later partitioned the mandate in 1922 and gave the East Bank of the Jordan to his country’s Hashemite Arab allies, who created the Kingdom of Jordan there under British tutelage.
Following World War II, the League of Nations’ successor, the United Nations, voted in November 1947 to partition the remaining portion of the land into Arab and Jewish states. While the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs did not, and after the British decamped in May 1948, Jordan joined with four other Arab countries to invade the fledgling Jewish state on the first day of its existence. Though Israel survived the onslaught, the fighting left the Jordanians in control of what would come to be known as the West Bank as well as approximately half of Jerusalem, including the Old City. Those Jewish communities in the West Bank that had existed prior to the Arab invasion were demolished, as was the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
After the cease-fire that ended Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Jordan annexed both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But, as was the case when Israel annexed those same parts of the ancient city that it would win back 19 years later, the world largely ignored this attempt to legitimize Jordan’s presence. Only Jordan’s allies Britain and Pakistan recognized its claims of sovereignty. After King Hussein’s disastrous decision to ally himself with Egypt’s Nasser during the prelude to June 1967, Jordan was evicted from the lands it had won in 1948.
This left open the question of the sovereign authority over the West Bank...
And be sure to watch that Danny Ayalon video above. It's so crystal clear it's ridiculous.
PREVIOUSLY: "Obama's 'Dangerous Parting Shot' on Israel."
More backlash against the evil Obama regime, at Free Beacon, "Obama Joins the Jackals."
The left-wing Washington Post takes the hateful, anti-Israel Obama regime to task, "The Obama administration fires a dangerous parting shot":
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. The United States vetoed past resolutions on the grounds that they unreasonably singled out Jewish communities in occupied territories as an obstacle to Middle East peace, and that U.N. action was more likely to impede than advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.The Obama's regime's just has hypocritical --- and just as evil --- as the United Nations.
The measure, approved 14 to 0 by the Security Council Friday, is subject to the same criticism: It will encourage Palestinians to pursue more international sanctions against Israel rather than seriously consider the concessions necessary for statehood, and it will give a boost to the international boycott and divestment movement against the Jewish state, which has become a rallying cause for anti-Zionists. At the same time, it will almost certainly not stop Israeli construction in the West Bank, much less in East Jerusalem, where Jewish housing was also deemed by the resolution to be “a flagrant violation under international law.”
By abstaining, the administration did not explicitly support that position, which has not been U.S. policy since the Carter administration. In explaining the vote, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power pointed out that the council was sanctioning Israel even while failing to take action to stop a potential genocide in South Sudan or the slaughter in Aleppo, Syria. Yet in failing to veto the measure, the Obama administration set itself apart both from previous administrations and from the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who spoke out strongly against the resolution...
But keep reading.