Category Archives: BDS

No. 8 Bookworm Room Podcast: Leftists and NeverTrumpers are caught in a political riptide

A political riptide is carrying Leftists and NeverTrumpers further from reality on myriad important issues — and Trump is holding the only life preserver.

(If you prefer listening to reading, you can find the podcast at the bottom of this post, at LibSyn, or at Apple Podcasts. And if you like the podcast or the post, please share.)

How much do you know about riptides? For those who don’t know anything about them, they’re currents that run in narrow channels perpendicularly away from the shoreline. There you are, just swimming along happily in the ocean when you realize that you’ve been pushed dangerously far from the shore. If you panic, you start pushing back against the riptide, exhausting yourself.

The way to save yourself — assuming that’s still possible — is to swim perpendicularly to the riptide. That is, instead of swimming towards the shore, which is an impossibility if the riptide is strong, you have to swim parallel to the shore, breaking out of the rip tide. Only then, if you have strength left, can you head back to the land. But as I said, the real danger is the fact that riptides can be subtle things that gently, relentlessly, and imperceptibly leave you in tremendous danger.

The Democrats and NeverTrumpers in my world are finding themselves caught in the riptide of Leftist politics. I need a little personal history here to explain.

I grew up in a completely Democrat world. My family, most of their friends, my educational institutions, the communities in which I lived as a lawyer and a parent — all Democrat. I ought to have drifted along in those waters endlessly, without ever realizing that they were getting dangerously polluted.

What saved me was that I knew Israel. I knew Israel because my parents lived there during the British mandate period, during the Israeli War of Independence (in which they participated), and after Israel gained her independence. I knew it because I’d visited Israel. And I knew it because I knew lots and lots of Sabras  — that is, native Israelis, whether blood relatives or friends. Moreover, growing up in a less heated time, I also knew lots of Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, all of whom were lovely people and good friends. Add to that the fact that I’m a history major and had a very solid foundation in both Western and Middle Eastern history, going back to the Biblical era, and it was the one subject about which you could not lie to me.

What this knowledge meant was that I realized fairly early on, back in the 1990s, that the American Democrat party was embracing one of Marxism’s core principles — anti-Semitism. I was too ignorant in then to know that anti-Semitism has its roots in Marxism, but I sure understood that it was slowly oozing out of all the “best,” most intellectual media that informed my world back in the day: NPR, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, etc. Significantly, these were the main news sources for all the Yuppies, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who made up my world. Sadly, these outlets (maybe not The New Republic), are still what these old friends consume.

Back in the day, those media outlets could tell me anything they wanted about the Clintons, the Gores, the Bushes, Clarence Thomas, the banks, the federal reserve, foreign policy, etc., and I’d believe it. Well, almost anything. Having lived in England during the early 1980s and seen the miserable quality of medical care people received under the National Health Service, Hillary’s attempt at socializing American medicine didn’t impress me. Still, I was young and would live forever, so I simply didn’t care that much that the Clintons wanted to nationalize American healthcare.

The one thing, though, that the “high-end, intellectual” media had to be truthful about if it wanted to keep me was Israel — and increasingly, it was not being truthful. The anti-Israel animus permeating my media outlets was becoming too much to bear. One day, I realized that I was caught in a riptide of lies and was floating further and further from facts — not Bidenesque-truthiness unrelated to facts — but actual facts.

At that moment, I stopped dead, sighted the shore, and started swimming parallel to it — and perpendicular to that lying riptide. This meant discovering alternative outlets such as *gasp* Fox News and National Review, as well as conservative blogs. Even more than that, it meant using YouTube and other outlets (when they were still honest) to find original content without having it first run through any media, Left or Right.

When I figured out what was going on — that the modern Democrat party was completely unrelated to the Kennedy-style Democrat Party in which I was raised and was becoming a harder Left party with a decidedly anti-Semitic edge — I tried to sound the warning to friends and family. “Riptide!” I hollered. They laughed at me or found me paranoid and irritating. “The water’s fine. Times change. You have to change with them. There’s no danger here.”

But there was danger, of course. There was the danger that honoring different races and cultures in America, a laudable thing, would be used to fuel an identity politics that turns Americans against each other and invites everyone to join the race to the bottom of victimhood.

There was the danger that acknowledging same sex relationships, which are private and should be none of my business, would be used as a wedge to destroy the nuclear family, begin an attack on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of worship, and eventually deny biological reality altogether.

There was the danger that the Democrats’ long-standing love affair with Europe’s alleged “sophistication” and disdain for America’s small town naivete would be used to attack American sovereignty in favor of UN guidance for American policies.

And there was the danger that America’s borders, which are what most fundamentally define a country, would eventually be seen as a hindrance to getting a very specific kind of voter: That is, voters who (sadly) have long been accustomed to Marxist-style socialism and corruption and will vote for it provided that the politicians promise them something for nothing. This is not a racist comment, it’s a comment about culture and, more specifically, the culture in Latin America. We could say the same about the European culture, but they’re not yet streaming over our border. With this newly imported citizenry, freedom becomes less and less of an option.

And all along there was that riptide. It was so subtle. For those people who wanted to be “good,” as defined in the media I once listened to and read, standing against gay marriage wasn’t showing concern for traditional institutions or for religious liberty, but was “hate.” Believing in American sovereignty through strong borders and functioning immigration laws wasn’t a common sense way to maintain a nation’s integrity but was racism. Being suspicious of countries that exported murderous terrorists wasn’t a matter of national security, it was “Islamophobia.”

And then, as people got further from the shore of common sense, the riptide grew stronger. Suddenly, it’s hate to believe that there a sex differences. It’s racism to believe in any borders, let alone strong ones, because children will cry — or at least, Latin American children will cry. And it’s Islamophobia to point out that two Muslim congresswomen routinely malign America and seem more concerned with countries overseas than with the one they purportedly represent. The riptide keeps pushing people further and further away from any ability at all to swim back to shore.

Some of the saddest people caught in the riptide are the NeverTrumpers. They’re the ones whose hatred for Trump’s personal style (a style I’ve learned to enjoy tremendously) has not only seen them pushed seaward by the riptide, but has actually seen them embrace the tide and swim away from the shore as hard and fast as they can. They’d rather drown than acknowledge that, right now, the only one holding a life preserver is Donald Trump.

I see this, of course, in well known NeverTrumpers such as Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, or David French. I also see it closer to home with people on my Facebook page. One man whom I’ve known for thirty years morphed from a conservative born-again Christian to a flagrant Leftist based solely upon his Trump hatred.

Today, he’s incensed that, when the Trump family travels, it likes to stay at Trump properties — which means that the Secret Service stays at Trump properties too. The horror! The corruption! Some small percentage of the money paid for those hotel stays goes into Trump’s bank account. As an example, the Politico article my friend cites says that in August 2017, of the $16,600 the Secret Service spent on a trip, $5,700 went to a Trump hotel. That’s not $5,700 to Trump — that’s to the hotel, which was charging for rooms and service. Trump was therefore probably enriched to the tune of $100 or $200. I’m shocked!

My friend also accepts uncritically any headline that savages Trump or his administration. The latest outrage is the claim that Ken Cuccinelli, an immigration official, is rewriting the verses on the Statue of Liberty to say that they mean that America will only welcome white European immigrants. Were my friend less in thrall to TDS, and a more discriminating consumer of information, he would actually read what happened. For example, Matt Walsh, of the Daily Wire, has a good article explaining the media’s gross and grotesque dishonesty.

It began when the Trump administration made the logical announcement that Americans shouldn’t be paying for welfare for new immigrants. When my parents came to this country in the 1950s, they had to promise and prove that they wouldn’t become a “public charge,” a concept going back to 1882 — and they never did. Recent administrations have ignored this law, but Trump seeks to give it meaning again.

So what does the media do? NPR asks Cuccinelli how he can betray the promise on the Statue of Liberty?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Were I Cuccinelli, I would have pointed out that this is poetry on a giant sculpture, not legislation, and it therefore has no affect whatsoever on public policy. He, however, said that you can be “tired” and “poor,” and still not be a public charge. The media immediately came out with the headlines that horrified my friend. Walsh quotes a few:

“Cuccinelli rewrites Statue of Liberty poem to make case for limiting immigration”

“Trump immigration official offers rewrite for Statue of Liberty poem

“The Trump Team rewrites the Statue of Liberty”

As Walsh explains:

These are all absurd lies. Cuccinelli never rewrote, or suggested that we rewrite, or even said anything about rewriting the poem on the Statue of Liberty. He also isn’t the one who brought up the poem. He was asked a question about whether the policy is consistent with the poem — which, again, doesn’t matter anyway — and he provided an answer. But this is a trick that the media loves to pull. They ask you a weird and irrelevant question, you answer it, and they report your answer as if you were the one who brought up the subject. A petty and disingenuous little ploy. And they weren’t done with Cuccinelli just yet.

How true that the media was not done with Cuccinelli. The next strike occurred when he tried to explain that the language “wretched refuse” was a reference to Europe’s class system, which treated its lower class like . . . well, refuse. Back to Walsh:

[H]e was giving necessary context to the poem in an effort to explain who the “wretched refuse” were, and why that language was used. His point, obviously, was that accepting “wretched refuse” doesn’t mean accepting non-contributors who only want to exploit America’s welfare system. Rather, it means accepting contributing and self-sufficient people from lower classes in society. But, again, Cuccinelli isn’t the one harping on the damn poem. It is the media that has decided to focus this entire conversation around the words on a plaque affixed to the Statue of Liberty.

To rational people free of the riptide, Cuccinelli’s point was obvious. But to the media, which is neither rational nor honest, Cuccinelli proved that the entire Trump administration is permeated with white supremacist thinking. Once again, Walsh collects some headlines:

Statue of Liberty poem was only supposed to welcome white immigrants ‘from Europe,’ Cuccinelli says

“Immigration official Ken Cuccinelli: Statue of Liberty poem refers to immigrants from Europe”

“Ken Cuccinelli: Statue Of Liberty Poem About ‘People Coming From Europe’”

The lack of logic behind the first and second batch of headlines is striking. In the first round, Cuccinelli is lambasted for rejecting the Statute of Liberty’s promise. In the second round, he’s lambasted for imposing a white supremacist worldview on the Statute of Liberty. How he can simultaneously reject it entirely and then embrace it as a white supremacist doctrine is never explained.

In a sane world, we’d see Leftists and NeverTrumpers look at the receding shore and thinking, “Wow, we might be in deeper waters than we realize.” In a heated partisan world driven by an increasingly dishonest (and possibly) insane media, these same Leftists and NeverTrumpers are either drifting along mindlessly or worse, swimming ever harder away from the shore.

This is a very dangerous time in American politics. My hope is that, as elections near and ordinary people start paying attention, they look at these crazed political die-hards and think “Whoa! Those people are drowning. I’m not going to let them take me down too.”

With that last thought in mind, I’ll end this on a happy note. I follow on Facebook a Jewish man who is, as I once was, a lifelong Democrat. He is also, as I always have been, a strong Israel supporter. I’ve been watching him struggle for months with the fact that one of the defining characteristics of the new Democrat party is its hostility to Israel. Just today, he put up a post about the fact that Tulsi Gabbard is now co-sponsoring Ilhan Omar’s pro-BDS bill. The comment he included? “And you’re out!” I suspect that he’s figuring out that he’s caught in a riptide and that, if you love Israel, the only free, pluralist democracy in the Middle East, there is no room for you any more in today’s Democrat party.

My hope is that, with every passing day, as the political crazies swim and float closer to the drowning point, other people grab for the life preservers.

Photo credit: Travel Photography from PhotoEverywhere

The post No. 8 Bookworm Room Podcast: Leftists and NeverTrumpers are caught in a political riptide appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

[VIDEO] Why don’t you support Israel?

The latest excellent video from Prager U features former Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, explaining why Israel deserves support, not condemnation.

When I was Prime Minister of Canada, I was often asked this question: “Why do you support Israel?”

My response, in effect, was always the same: Why wouldn’t I support Israel?

Why wouldn’t I support a fellow democratic nation where open elections, free speech, and religious tolerance are the everyday norm? Why wouldn’t I support a country with a vibrant free press and an independent judiciary? Why wouldn’t I support a valuable trading partner and a well-spring of amazing technological innovation? Why wouldn’t I support our most critical ally in the Middle East, and in the international struggle against terrorism?

In a rational world, in a world where simple common sense prevailed, the question “why do you support Israel?” would be like asking “why do you support Australia?” or…”Canada?”

But we don’t live in that rational, common-sense world. So the case for Israel has to be made over and over. I, for one, am happy to make it.

Let me start with this:

Every military action Israel has ever taken has been to protect itself. Israel is not an aggressor state; it’s a defensive state. This has been true from its founding to this day.

As a fledgling nation in 1948, Israel was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors. Their goal was not to contain the tiny new country; it was to annihilate it. No nation came to Israel’s aid–not the United States, not my country, Canada, not the United Kingdom–no one. They all thought Israel would lose. But it didn’t lose. It won.

In 1967, Israel’s neighbors again sought to utterly destroy the Jewish State, a nation that had then existed for two decades. Again, Israel prevailed. And It survived another all-out attack in 1973.

Those are the big wars, but I’m not sure there has been a single day in Israel’s entire history when some act of terror has not been waged against it–inside or outside its borders.

There have been two bloody waves of terror, so-called intifadas, in the late 1980s and the early 2000s, when Israelis were blown up on buses, at pizza parlors and celebrating weddings. There have been incursions from terror groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon. There have been thousands of rocket attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip–even after Israel completely withdrew from that territory in 2005.

In between the wars, in between the terror, Israel has sought peace with its neighbors. And it has achieved peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. For others, however, every Israeli gesture for peace is met with incitement and violence.

I recount this history for one reason: Any nation that has endured what Israel has endured could easily have become a police state. But through it all, Israel has never abandoned its commitment to the rule of law, to democracy, to tolerance. One-fifth of its citizens are Muslim. They enjoy the same rights as Jewish citizens. They occupy key positions in the nation’s courts, press and government. And they have their own parties representing them in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. To say that Muslims in Israel are the freest Muslims in the region is an understatement. How about this as a human rights test: Prisoners in Israel, be they Jewish or Arab, are well-treated, well-fed, and have access to the best possible medical care. Parents and spouses of these prisoners know where they are and that they are safe. Who else in the region but Israel can make that claim?

Through all the wars and all the terror, Israel has survived and, especially in the last twenty years, it has thrived. It’s known as “start-up nation,” and with good reason. Key components of your cell phone and your laptop were designed in Israel. A drug or a medical device that has saved your life or the life of a loved one may have been developed in Israel. Yet there are leftist politicians, activists, artists, academics and college students who devote their lives to denouncing Israel, calling for boycotts, demanding it be cut off from academic and professional societies.

Do they denounce the Palestinian leadership that hasn’t held an election in well over a decade? Do they denounce the leadership of Hamas, who use women and children as human shields to protect their fighters?

No. They denounce free, vibrant, democratic, innovative Israel.

With all the brutal and violent regimes, not only in the Middle East, but around the world, how is one to explain singling out Israel for condemnation? Sadly, only one explanation fits: anti-Semitism.

Do these haters of Israel question the legitimacy of any other democratic nation? Of any nation, for that matter? Of course, the answer is “no.” Somehow, they only manage to oppose the Jewish one.

The State of Israel has now existed for 70 years. It is one of the freest, most prosperous, most successful nations on earth.

Why do I support Israel? Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone?

I’m Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, for Prager University.

The post [VIDEO] Why don’t you support Israel? appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

The Bookworm Beat 9/21/16 — the “I’m mad as Hell” evening edition and open thread

I can’t say too much lest I breach Little Bookworm’s privacy, but suffice it to say that, after only two weeks at her Obscenely Expensive Liberal Arts College, she has already taken a giant step in the direction of moronic, damaging Leftism. I have refrained from berating her because that would be counterproductive. Instead, I provided her with objective information about the direction she has taken and she, with all the confident arrogance of an uninformed youngster, has refused to reconsider. I’m not feeling the love today.

I hope blogging helps me vent my spleen. Otherwise, if you read tomorrow that a woman suffered a deadly attack of spontaneous combustion during the night . . . well, that just might be me.

Preachy Leftist “comedians” may be harming Hillary. Mr. Bookworm adored Jon Stewart and was endlessly certain that, if I just sat and watched for a while, I’d be riotously amused and return to the Democrat fold. His confidence in Stewart’s powers of persuasion was misplaced. I found Stewart intentionally both ill-informed and dishonest.

When Stewart resigned, Mr. Bookworm transferred his allegiance to John Oliver and Samantha Bee, both of whom are even harder Left than Stewart, and both of whom have the same shtick: They say something insulting about a Republican or conservative, following it with a strained analogy, and then pause for the adoring audience’s laughter. It’s like a call-and-repeat in the Church of Leftism.

Mr. Bookworm has suggested that I lack a sense of humor, which may well be true. I prefer a bit of wit and intelligence to flavor political insults, so I’m probably expecting too much from the current generation of humorists. I, on the other hand, have tried suggesting to him that these smug Leftist harridans simply aren’t funny.

Ross Douthat might agree with me on that last point. He also thinks that these cultural avatars, along with the Lefties on football teams and at award shows, have pushed themselves into such an extreme political corner that they’re leaving no room for Hillary Clinton to survive:

The culture industry has always tilted leftward, but the swing toward social liberalism among younger Americans and the simultaneous surge of activist energy on the left have created a new dynamic, in which areas once considered relatively apolitical now have (or are being pushed to have) an overtly left-wing party line.

[snip]

First, within the liberal tent, they have dramatically raised expectations for just how far left our politics can move, while insulating many liberals from the harsh realities of political disagreement in a sprawling, 300-plus million person republic. Among millennials, especially, there’s a growing constituency for whom right-wing ideas are so alien or triggering, left-wing orthodoxy so pervasive and unquestioned, that supporting a candidate like Hillary Clinton looks like a needless form of compromise.

Thus Clinton’s peculiar predicament. She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left’s Manichaean view of the culture war sufficiently that she finds herself dismissing almost a quarter of the electorate as “irredeemable” before her donors. Yet she still finds herself battling an insurgency on her left flank, and somewhat desperately pitching millennials on her ideological bona fides.

Isn’t that just delicious? All I can say is, from Douthat’s essay to God’s ear.

If you like to read more (and there’s lots more), please go here.