Dark Times of Great Resolve

 

I watched this woman’s speech and her description of the people who took time out of their otherwise miserable and meaningless secular lives to encourage her to commit suicide and began to feel at once that we have been again visited by the generation of Noah, obsessively vain, wasteful of life and absent any redeeming quality. As I sat and lathered myself in the perfume of my own self righteousness, a halting biblical encounter disabused me of this notion. I was reminded by means of a force that physics has yet to encounter of Nathan’s admonishing of King David. For those unfamiliar, Nathan had come to king David to tell him of an incident where a rich man had taken the lamb of a poor man, the only thing the poor man possessed and a creature who gave the man his only source of companionship. The rich man had taken it in order to slaughter and serve it to a traveler he was entertaining, even though the rich man had more than enough of his own livestock to accommodate the traveler. Upon hearing this, David seethed with anger, it burst upon him, and he demanded that the rich man be put to death, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” 2 Samuel 12. And then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” An allusion to David taking Bathsheba as his wife after killing her husband, the story of the poor man and his lamb was entirely pedagogical. David had sinned against the Lord and he admitted it.

And so as it was with David, it was with me. “You are these people!” And this here is a public admission of guilt for having at times been superficial. Though I have never conceived of suggesting a person suffering from a disease or any “deformity” should commit suicide nor have I verbally ridiculed them, I have, in the not so distant past, judged people on their physical appearance, including myself. If there is anyone reading this who has never done that, you are likely one of the Lamed Vav.

So as went my anger at others for their iniquity went my sentiment about this generation being irredeemable, a psychological circumstance suggesting that sinners demand more mercy than they would ever concede.

But the irredeemable aspect of the generation of Noah was their ability to stand in face of the reality that “they are the men!” and, with a shrug of conceit, reply “so what?” Their wickedness had become such a part of them that the concept of wickedness itself was incomprehensible. They possessed no capacity for self reflection, no squirming in the face of their iniquity, no dark nights of the soul where their sin was always before them.

This brave woman’s testimony further reminded me of a Talmudic tale of a Rabbi of great esteem who encountered a man on the road. Because it is said that the Talmud wastes no words, I will quote it in its entirety. Watch the video first then read the story below. Look deep into the words of the story, for there is much more there than its literal interpretation, and indeed, the story of the woman in the video is in the story of the Rabbi.

The Vessel

Once Rabbi Elazar son of R. Shimon was coming from Migdal Gedor, from the house of his teacher. He rode along the riverside on his donkey, and was feeling happy and elated because he had studied much Torah.

There chanced to meet him an exceedingly ugly man, who greeted him, “Peace be upon you, my master!” R. Elazar did not return his salutation but instead said to him, “How ugly this person is! Are all the people of your city as ugly as you?”

“I do not know,” said the man. “But go to the craftsman who made me, and say to him: How ugly is the vessel which you have made!”

Realizing that he had done wrong, R. Elazar dismounted from his donkey, prostrated himself before the man, and said to him, “You are right. Forgive me!” But the man replied, “I will not forgive you until you go to the craftsman who made me and say to him, ‘How ugly is the vessel which you have made.’”

R. Elazar kept on walking after him until he reached his city. The residents of the city came out to greet him, saying, “Peace be upon you, O Teacher! O Master!” Said the man to them, “Whom are you calling ‘Master’?” Said they, “The person walking behind you.”

Said he to them: “If this is a ‘Master,’ may there not be any more like him in Israel.”

“Why?” asked the people.

Said the man: Such-and-such he has done to me.

“Nevertheless, forgive him,” said they, “for he is a man greatly learned in the Torah.”

“For your sakes I will forgive him,” said the man, “but only if he does not act this way anymore.”

Soon after this R. Elazar entered the study hall and taught: “A person should always be pliant as the reed, and let him never be hard as the cedar. And for this reason the reed merited that of it should be made a pen for the writing of the Torah, tefillin and mezuzot.”
—— TALMUD, TAANIT 20A-B

There are many interpretations of this story; one being, and the most relevant to our purposes here, that the Rabbi saw a spiritual ugliness in this man and that he commented on this man’s appearance to shake him out of complacency. But why, if there were such an overtly and obvious spiritual ugliness, did this man so quickly forgive the Rabbi for the sake of not himself but other people? And indeed, if there were a spiritual ugliness in this man, does the evil inclination of man still not lie in the purview of the Almighty, He who created him and all his faculties?

So there are seemingly conflicted strains of thought running through these stories, just as their are seemingly tense, conflicted, sentiments which are evoked by the woman’s testimony.

There is first, as in the case of David, an overwhelming sense of anger and a demand for justice. Is it not written, :”Justice, Justice, you shall pursue it”? It is written; but there comes a time when Justice will pursue you, and it happens to follow, in pretty regular fashion, right after you take it upon yourself to vanquish the wicked.

There is second, as in the case of both the Rabbi and David, a sense of guilt and self reflection, a momentary pause where we survey our own moral landscape and find it wanting. For in the examination of the other, there is always an examination of the self.

And there is the third, the act of forgiveness, a fundamental aspect of Torah and Jewish thought. As it is written above, that is why the writing utensils of the Torah are pliant and easily malleable, because though there is, as a matter of definitional necessity, a center of mass around which forgiveness can operate, forgiveness and its corollary, repentance, are the purpose of the world.

And there is a fourth, the fundamental strain that if the man was spiritually ugly, as the people who abused Ms. Valequez without doubt are, how do we greet them on the road? Are we not too the man? I haven’t the foggiest clue.

The generation of Noah knew nothing of this. And if they did, they ignored it. Indeed, it is worse if they knew of it and ignored it, than if they were merely ignorant. They weren’t ignorant; they allowed their evil inclinations, an inclination ALL of us posses, to run the show. And in the limelight was a saturated sense of apathy; they didn’t care; and inversion;what was evil was lauded. Some commentaries suggest that even Noah himself was not immune to it. For though Noah was the most righteous of his generation, he would, in relation to Avraham or Moses, seem a cretin. His greatest fault, it is said, was that he did not petition the Lord for the sake of the world like Avraham at Sodom and Gomorrah, nor like Moses after the Sin of the golden Calf when he very defiantly said to G-d himself that if He destroys the people of Israel that he(Moses) should be blotted out of G-d’s book. Noah was apathetic but certain of his righteousness.

I don’t know if Ms. Velasquez has forgiven the people who so viciously assaulted her sanctity as a human being. I don’t know if the people who so assaulted her have repented. But I do know that repentance and forgiveness are the purpose of the world. The ancient sages of Israel attested to this and the whole history of mankind seems a portfolio of evidence of the fact.

I fear, though, that today’s generation has become more like the apathetic and myopic generation of Noah, incapable of real introspection, captivated by the glitter of movies and songs with no content beyond the superficial, a collective Miley Cyrus paying just enough lip service to the idea of innate and invisible purpose and beauty to keep the anemic body of western civilization alive: sentient parasites, after all, are smart enough to not kill their host. And so modern discourse is a poesis of the aesthetic built from the wood that once buttressed fortresses of permanence and conceptual grace.

And in their dark anonymity, they ridicule and abuse an obviously radiant soul because the Vessel which contains it is not sufficiently sculpted in Greco/Romanesque form.

It is said that the difference between the Greek and the Jew is that the Greek saw and the Jew heard; the Greeks sculpted, and the Hebrew is commanded to “Hear O Israel, the Lord your G-d the Lord is One.”

There is nothing new under the sun.The rays of the sun caress all the features of an imperfect world and reflect its light to the eyes of men, whereupon inversion, and a series of algorithms that science has yet to explicate, an image is produced in relation to the position of the subject. Men then make judgments of things. Things. The Hebrew word for “thing” and “word” are essentially the same: Davar. And thus it is said that G-d created the world by ten utterances. Men make judgments therefore on words. But under G-d, as the author of Ecclesiastes understood, where the sun’s rays are dimmed and the rich and precious wine contained in an unimposing, unfashionable earthen Vessel can be consumed, there is all the possibility of new concepts in the form of words, and it is by words that the light of a soul is judged, should be judged, by others.

Men and women make judgments on words. Close your eyes and listen to Ms. Valasquez speak…

On Rivers of Man

I found myself running parallel to a river this afternoon. As is the case most days, I spent the first couple miles determining whether I was running away or running toward something. The question is never sufficiently answered, which may account for my inclination to keep running.

The river was there as it always is, either low or high, slow moving or a torrent.  A Greek remarked many centuries ago that one can never enter the same stream twice. Little did he fathom the possibility of an engineered river whose oscillations were more regular than the lunar phases. A small dock I passed was suspended, twisted and deformed, laying in mud, indicating that the engineers upstream had neglected to release water over the spillway.

My run came to an interlude when I noticed a gaggle of geese furiously struggling upstream, their forward motion impeded by the current. They were stuck in that abyss between desire and friction, a momentary occasion in which a mental determination and a physical law are at once in-congruent. “I know the feeling,” I remarked to myself. “Take flight. Why don’t they take flight?” The sky hung low, the clouds just barely caressing the tops of the trees. “Can they not see that they may take flight?”  The geese continued their struggle with futility until one impassioned fowl broke free and started a slow advance from the gaggle. The others honked out of either frustration or encouragement.   It must have been frustration. They had given up. Turning themselves inward, the remaining gaggle drifted toward my side of the river, rapidly paddling to make the shore without losing ground. They wadded ashore, shaking the water from their feathers. The one alone kept straight upriver.

I watched these pathetic creatures a few moments. My presence they regarded with a very conspicuous indifference. They waddled along the shore, upstream, all the while honking to the remaining bird still paddling against the current.   I wondered if these birds had forgotten that they can fly.   As I wondered about the birds, I began to wonder about the human being. A remarkable metaphor of mankind indeed these birds evinced.

There will come a time, many centuries from now, if G-d himself has not yet had his say, that historians will remark of modernity what I remarked of the flightless birds. It is certain that the geese have their own reasons for remaining grounded in this instance, but mankind seems to have forgotten not only about his capabilities, what he may accomplish, but why it must be accomplished, with what he has. He has forgotten he even has wings.

Future historians are now nodding, genially sharing observations of the last 250 years of western civilization. This period is a remarkable testament, they may may say, etched in stone and canvassed across the digital landscape, of the capacity of man to contrive and believe that which he could never specify. Where were they when He created them from the dirt? Apparently everywhere. For the better part of three centuries, human beings became obsessed with their capacity to describe themselves until the exercise became a codified science, replete with just so stories and ego and ids floating about where there were once souls and matter, marking the only point in science in which Ockham’s razor was very enthusiastically reversed, and blunted. Later  came phrenology, with its parts and operators and mechanical whims, then cognitive science, then behaviorism with its inputs and salivary sloppiness. And it all came to nothing; the human sciences insofar as the are performed by humans are unable, axiomatically, to account for themselves, leaving a larger chasm than that which they were supposed to close. A few centuries from now, the propagators of social theory and psychology, if there still remains such attenuated assumptions and people who cherish them, will remark with an indignant certainty that, by G-d, they had seen it all along.

Indeed, they will continue, the Gothic cathedrals of the human soul we so frenetically created, with their spires reaching heights at which it became useless to build, added obscurity to where there was once nothing to obscure. That was the goal, they continue, to complicate the affairs of man to such a degree as to paralyze him. And it was a great success. Human beings at the turn of the twentieth century had become so exhausted by their own explanations that they stopped caring much about their existence at all.

Surely, admits the historian, we must suppose that the social sciences ended when 9 year old children began to commit suicide; when  Europeans began aiding suicide for the individuals suffering with “severe psychological distress”, we can mark that point as they era in which psychology had not only failed to explain the soul but had admitted that any clinical relief was either ineffectual or inefficient. Either way, we may suppose that the discipline began its decline when its once lofty goal of aiding people out of mental anguish became one in which it justified nearly every behavioral abnormality.

The wings of man had been clipped indefinitely. For if we are to suppose that he may fly, we must first have concrete design standards for wings.

Society itself, the historian will drone, became one of a mediocre paddling against an ever strengthening current. The ascent of apathy coincided, if not created, the ascent of a libertine meddling. Many westerners of the period grabbed hold of very inane and antiquated ideas of progress and supposed them new. We look back now on the argument for abortion as a recapitulation of Sparta’s institutionalized infanticide. They did not. When historians of the 20th century calculated the life expectancy of the average Greek, they included infanticide in their permutations, decreasing life expectancy. This 20th century progressives regarded with a snide degree of confidence that something had gone right. We now use the same method for calculating their life expectancy, for we have abandoned the regressive idea that a baby killed in the womb is somehow ontologically distinct from a baby killed a few minutes after birth. There was always a spooky mysticism about when murder was murder then.  The life expectancy in 2013, with in utero infanticide taken into account, was 50 years of age, about what it was at the height of Hellenic culture.

And the remarkable part is that we considered this period as one of ever sure progress. Concordant, in the spirit of the times, every tradition of the west which had assured its continuity became an object of derision. At some point people became aware of the fact that a once religious institution was now being mediated by a secular court. And the religious tradition itself was no longer permitted in any public venue. From this public space, then, came the vituperation against the western religious tradition, a circumstance only eerie in that no one really noticed what was happening. Though, the secular state did at some point decide that it was going to mandate religious imperatives, charity, in the absence of any real coherent worldview.

Mankind exhausted itself in its own contradictions, much like masochistic flightless birds in a river.

As a very rough conceptualization of what is above swirled about my brain, I looked again at the bird still in the river. He had advanced a little farther and the angle of sight revealed the wake the creature was creating on the surface. It wasn’t the wake of progress, it was the wake of a febrile uselessness, a self denigrating angst.

It only took a moment and one. The bird who had been still paddling, unfurled its wings, flapping in one burst and throwing its body into the air, it took off, honking hysterically. The birds still waddling honked themselves and took to the sky in pursuit.

Hezbollah Claims Israel is Behind Yesterday’s Beruit Attack on Iranian Embassy

Nice try, Hezbollah, but the epicenter of this Muslim inquisition lies at the heart of Islam itself in Saudi Arabia. Your coreligionists have found you to be more of a threat to regional stability than the Jews are always considered, a rare ideological interlude indeed, one the New York Times strains to avoid, and have declared full Sunni Jihad against you.

I can think of nothing more invigorating than a religious war between Sunni Arabia and Shia Persia. Circumstances are to become increasingly interesting and increasingly baroque, an unceasingly rufescent tapestry, as these barbarians bring and eclipse the horrors of the Catholic/Protestant wars into the 21st century, replete with be-headings, torture, and suicide attacks in the name of a religion whose texts all but demands blood sacrifices from both, and all, sides. Though brutal, the wars between Catholics and the Protestants were tempered by the very real fact that they were acting in stark and visceral opposition to what their religious texts instructed, and it was often the light of Biblical morality that cast such a confounding diffusion pattern as to allow an accord between the two warring sects, proving, alas, that men are only as good as the least righteous among the prophets of antiquity and only realize folly after inflicting considerable misery. Whereas in Islam, there is no folly except to be peaceful with the Jew or Christian, or to forgo the hatred of the week. Violence is a raison d’etre expounded and printed in beautiful Arabic calligraphy and found resting prominent on bookshelves in every household in the region, memorized by every Imam, and believed by every suicide bomber. I only pray that Israel remains safe, attacks when it must, and vanquishes the forces of darkness in which she finds herself so intractably enmeshed.

Are Jews a “privileged” class?

Originally posted on CiF Watch:

A few months ago Louise Mensch was attacked at ‘Comment is Free’ for dismissing the idea of “privilege checking”.  Mensch had argued the following:

“Check your privilege”, for example, is a profoundly stupid trope that states that only those with personal experience of something should comment, or that if a person is making an argument, they should immediately give way if their view is contradicted by somebody with a different life story.

Laurie Penny is an absolutely prime example; she does it all the time. The other day on Twitter she told people not to rise to what she felt was a race-baiting article by Rod Liddle in the Spectator. She was quite right. Everybody with a blog knows what “don’t feed the trolls” means. However, she was angrily contradicted by the black comedian @AvaVidal who told her that people of colour were striking back and they should rise to…

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War to Life

“War and violence is not the answer,” is a constant and sometimes sonorous ethical proscription, and then demand made, by and of those who have never had to fight or had to defend. War and violence, however, are not only sometimes the only answer, they are necessary and sufficient means of solving particularity violent problems.

I have heard this nonsense as an undergrad, where properly prim and well fed philosophy students expounded their oral, or moral, superiority and congratulated each other for their courage in doing so. Commendations were shared by all. Gandhi, they said, was the datum by which a man’s devotion to peace should be measured. Though, they forgot and forget, Gandhi suggested that the Jews of Europe practice passive resistance against the Germans, and he then suggested that it would have been better if the holocaust victims had committed mass suicide instead being victims of mass murder. Jews were killed for being Jews, and they would have been very enthusiastically killed by the SS if they were protesting Jews as well; the SS wasn’t much discouraged by distinctions of that sort. — As an aside and as a posthumous nod: It must be nice, Herr Gandhi, to have such a surplus of Hindus at your very literal disposal — This, of course, illustrates the difference between protesting the British and protesting Hitler. One requires a mere nuisance like Gandhi. The other requires a recognition of evil and its violent eradication.

And then I remember the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, who killed as many of those Nazi Bastards as they could, and the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, and I am consoled by the fact that both the British and the Jews were and are more moral than Gandhi and undergrad students of Philosophy. The most unfortunate thing is that there are many well meaning historically illiterate individuals who continue to champion Gandhi and his philosophy. But it is not a moral philosophy unless it can deal with most, if not all, moral demands. Gandhi’s fails the most basic one: the preservation of human life.

Redwood Forest Combustion; Squirrel Kills Japanese Tourist

All of the trees in the Redwood Forest National Park exploded into flames early Tuesday morning after a Japanese tourist crossed the closure barricades into the park and snapped a photo of a squirrel.

“This event has given us a new understanding of the combustion process,” said Stanford Physicist and government Science and Muslim self-esteem analyst, Jason Baron. “On site investigations have pointed to the discovery of a new chemical compound which caused the spontaneous combustion. So far, the name we have given it corresponds to its chemical constituents, OGO or Obama-Government-Oxide, a highly unstable oxidizer that combusts at low temperatures. “

fire

Photo taken from tourist’s camera showing combustion

Asked why this has never happened before, Baron explained that the Japanese tourist inadvertently created the compound when the light from his camera flash reacted with the atmosphere in the absence of government oversight. “This is going to fundamentally change they way we do chemistry and physics. We now have experimental proof of a formerly theoretical concept, the government ether. Back in the 19th century, physicists explained the wave like properties of light by inferring a cosmic ether, though it was later proved false with the Michelson experiment which Einstein used to develop his theory of relativity. Now it appears that these conclusions may have been drawn too hastily.”

Photo of the Squirrel at 10^-10 seconds before combustion.

Photo of the Squirrel at 10^-10 seconds before combustion.

The Japanese tourist appears to have narrowly survived the initial combustion process but was then chased down by the squirrel he photographed and mauled and dismembered to death. “It was a gruesome scene,” remarked UC Santa Cruz biologist, Amy Lamarck, “the squirrel was shot and taken in for examination.” Asked to comment on the behavior of the squirrel, Lamarck said the presence of OGO created by the flash and subsequent combustion process caused “rapid changes in morphology and size.”

“The size of the squirrel at death was comparable to a bobcat,” she continued, “and because the government has been shut down for 8 days, it had developed rabies. The result was a large rabid rodent that essentially gnawed the man to death like so many acorns.”

President Obama commented on the events and affirmed his commitment to “make sure that the government ether is attached to every particle in the Universe.” President Obama’s science adviser commented that there are about 10^80 particles in the observable universe, so he is projecting a cost of about 10^100 dollars to implement the program. “We will now be doing our borrowing and spending in scientific notation,” he said.

Further asked the specifics of OGO, Baron said,”nature abhors a vacuum, and the government shutdown caused the ether to recede from those areas that the government oversees. If a citizen or non-Hispanic tourist of this country disturbs this vacuum, the consequence are clearly very dire.”

The non Hispanic constant, NHC, was also discovered today as an immigration rally was held on some government property with no adverse effects or the creation of OGO.

Asked how we can protect ourselves from the government vacuum, Baron concluded that “unthinking emotional hysteria” is essential. “This has to be a global effort. We have to spend a massive pile of money and then spend more money on the apparatus that the former money will be thrown into and in which it will be incinerated. It is further necessary that we continue to blame everything on the republicans.”

Costing a trillion dollars, a report on the incident and a scientific recommendation will be rendered to the Czar of Spending a Crap Pile of Money within the next few weeks.

Redacted Report on the Proceedings of the Conference for The Study and Continuity of American Stupidity

Delegates from every U.N member nation convened early Monday in the U.N. headquarters in New York for the fourth annual International Conference for the Study and Continuity of American Stupidity. Started by the Iranian, Chinese, and Russian ambassadors in 2009 after the election of a community organizing junior senator with no math skills to the highest office of the government of the United States, the aim of the conference according to its charter is to “study the effects and international consequences of an American polity with little to no concept of anything other than the statistics of professional sports teams and to develop strategies to ensure that this increasingly vital political reality continues to the benefit of the international community.”

The conference kicked off with a speech by the American ambassador to the U.N. and proven 5 time serial liar, Susan Rice. In the speech, ambassador Rice affirmed her commitment to making sure the American public “are the dumbest bunch of asses ever visited on the stage of International relations. ” Ambassador Rice provided further evidence of her conviction in her concluding remarks, “when I was given the privileged by the State Department and this administration to go before the American people and lie five times in as many hours in as many different ways, the American media actually believed what I said and helped to re-elect a man who willfully refused to provide military support to our embassy in Libya, causing the death of 4 Americans. I became convinced, my good colleagues, that the efforts of this fine body have been fruitful. Thank you for all the work that you do.” Asked to comment on that statement , the Libyan delegation agreed, “We here in north Africa are known for our blatant stupidity and greed, but by Allah I swear that was the dumbest shit I have ever seen.”

The Chinese delegation was the first to speak after the invocation, delineating the positive benefits that American stupidity has had on the communist regime, “The peoples Republic of China has thrived off of the stupidity of the American laborer for years, starting with the union shutdown in the 70′s of what is now called the “rust belt”, a string of once prosperous cities running from Chicago to Pittsburgh, as indicated by this map, which allowed, because of the labor union demand that workers tossing rivets be paid 20 dollars an hour, leading to their collapse, the ascendant Chinese steel and fabric producers to ship the damn stuff across the pacific for cheaper than it could be produced in their own backyards. I remember we got a great laugh out of those idiots striking every other day at a meeting with Brezhnev. The man laughed so hard he had to spit out his vodka.”

The Chinese delegate did not limit his speech to past triumphs of American stupidity, though, remarking that, “Current American stupidity is now seemingly solely concentrated and represented in its borrowing habits. All American social welfare structures were designed around and predicated on the ability of the American economy to actually produce things. Since the dumb-asses in the labor movement destroyed the capability of the American economy to produce any real wealth, and now all they produce is Psychology Majors and Miley Cyrus videos, their government has been forced to borrow from us to finance their promised liabilities. And it doesn’t end there, my friends; these idiots are so incomprehensibly stupid that they now borrow money from us to pay just the interest on the money they have already borrowed from us. They then distribute this money to the masses, a circumstance which my Italian colleague noted was reminiscent of the Bread and Circuses of Rome, and then they spend money they borrowed from us on products made by us. Ha! I am sorry. I can’t help it, they are so stupid.” The delegate sat down laughing.

Next to speak was the delegate from Brazil, “Indeed, as the distinguished and astute Chines delegate has surmised, Americans have no concept of number. A grant provided by the American World Education fund allowed Anthropologists to study a tribe in the Amazon which has numerical concepts that are limited to 1,2, and “many.” What the researches discovered is that even without the basic elements of a number system, the tribal nuts and meat accountant could see the idiocy in the American finance scheme. I would like to submit the findings of this study to the archives.”

The Moroccan delegate interjected and a rather interesting dialogue proceeded, ” Yeah, ha ha, we got those idiots to give us 27 million dollars to teach pottery to women.” He claimed.

Wow,” replied the Brazilian, ” that is astounding in its fucking stupidity.”

The floor of the conference erupted in laughter waning to slight murmurs with punctuated fire-cracks of deep belly laughter as the delegates shared stories of American stupidity from Indonesia to the Pyrenees.

After the brief and impromptu interlude, the British Delegate spoke, “As the Chinese have so vividly described, American stupidity is chillingly redolent of our stupidity after the war. With that sniveling devil, Atlee, we accrued so much debt that our foreign policy and our power was contingent on the Americans. Parenthetically, that was when they were still good at doing things. In 1956, our Suez operation was cut short by threats from the Eisenhower to call in our debt, which would have crippled our economy even further than the social engineers could ever accomplish in and of themselves. I would like to congratulate the Chinese on their accomplishment. You are now Eisenhower, and the Americans are Atlee. Nicely Done.”

The Chinese Delegation thanked the British Delegation and the floor was ceded to the Saudi delegate, who outlined American Stupidity and its ubiquity in the Middle East, “The Americans have financed their own enemies in the region for at least 30 years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pumped their university system with petrodollars, aided by the ever generous financing operations of the Chinese, and we have successfully turned every and all Middle Eastern Studies Departments into bought and paid for propaganda wings. We have ransomed them. And they fight our wars for us. The American Army might as well be the Janissaries of the Middle ages. What a bunch of dipshits.”

The Israeli Delegation interjected furiously at this announcement, “The Delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is quite correct, the Americans are complete idiots. Though, the State of Israel condemns any action utilizing the dimness of the current American administration’s belief that you are a peaceful group of people to attack and slander any other member of this body, as you do in your propaganda outposts in American lower education institutions.”

The Turkish delegation objected on a point of order, “the Israeli delegation was not ceded the floor. We ask that these comments be stricken from the minutes.”

The Palestinian delegation concurred, kind of, ” What Israeli delegation?  There are no Israelis here. There are no Israelis anywhere.”

The Israelis rose, incensed, “can someone please point out the flag with that big blue star on it to the Palestinian delegate on his way out of the chamber. “

The fury continued with the Palestinian delegate remarking that “American stupidity will be your demise, they will give us a state, and you’ll be screwed then.” The Iranian delegate remarked in support and perhaps to assuage the Palestinians that “American Stupidity will ensure that even though there is an Israel now, there will not be for long. While the Americans have been telling everyone that we are economically crippled due to their sanctions, they actually gave waivers to 30 countries. And the others just ignore the restrictions. Our centrifuges are spinning faster than a thought in Obama’s head. “

The Israeli delegation left the chamber in protest.

The first day of the conference ended with a request by the Canadian and Mexican delegates to change the name of the conference from “The International Conference for the Study and Continuity of American Stupidity” to “The International Conference for the Study and Continuity of Stupidity in The United States.” The delegates defended the proposal saying, “Though the United States has been colloquially and historically known as America for some time now, due to the revelations of the complete and verified idiocy of these people we, the undersigned delegates of Canada and Mexico, believe that an entire continent need not needlessly be stigmatized by the name of these proceedings. The Canadian government has halted its stupid march, and have begun a process of economic revival and moral sincerity in regards to foreign policy, and the Mexican government has excellently and very deliberately scammed those idiots to the north out of billions and billions of dollars via a mass exportation of people and subsequent importation of American capital sent back by the occupying nationals. It is morally obscene, but not stupid. We therefore request that this body change the name in deference to the ingenuity of the Mexican government and the righting of the Canadian one. Thank you. “

A hasty vote was taken and the measure passed by a slim margin due to the Arabs states reluctance to support the Canadians because of their continued support of the Israelis.

A report on the conference proceedings tomorrow will be rendered as soon as practicable.

Yom Kippur

Originally posted on BBC Watch:

G’mar Hatima Tova to all our readers marking the Day of Atonement.

The photographs below were taken at the Oz 77memorial site in the Valley of Tears in the Golan Heights where, forty years ago, the 77th battalionof the IDF’s 7th Armoured Corps Brigade held off the attack by the Syrian army despite being vastly outnumbered. 

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How to Argue for Israel

Over at BBC watch, a site dedicated to dealing out decks of facts to the amateur journalists, journalists, as it happens, who are intellectually funded by a latent British Victorian, genteel, antisemitism, one cloaked in concerns about a war they helped create, an article was published in response to the BBC’s habitual, almost neurotic, obsession with Jews living in a place that the BBC doesn’t think they should be allowed. In the article in question, the BBC declared that the peace process will be jeopardized by Jews living in what could become Palestinian territory. The BBC watch article pointed out the hypocrisy of the concern, citing the fact that 26 mass murderers were released from Israeli prisons and heralded as returning heroes by the moderate peace negotiator and rabid holocaust denier, Abu Mazen, otherwise know as Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the PLO turned, magically, into the PA, by President Clinton. The articles reads as follows, with secondary quotes from BBC article as indicated.

As we see, a regular reader of the BBC News website would have been exposed to the meme that Israel announced the issuing of building tenders on August 11th as a means of “sabotaging” the renewed talks – and hence a threat to peace in general – in no fewer than thirteen reports published on the website in the period August 11th to August 15th inclusive. Naturally, the promotion of that meme was often accompanied by now standard misleading BBC slogans such as:

“Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.”(BBC)

And:

“The issue of settlement-building halted the last direct talks.(BBC

These collapsed in September 2010.”(BBC)

During the same week, Israel released twenty-six convicted terrorists and murderers as a ‘goodwill gesture’ aimed at encouraging the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. As was widely documented by the BBC itself, those prisoners were received at official Palestinian Authority organized celebrations in which the man holding the highest office in the PA – Mahmoud Abbas – literally and figuratively embraced the men as heroes, glamourising and glorifying their acts of terrorism.

The BBC, however, does not appear to consider the Palestinian Authority’s public glorification of terror just hours before renewed talks were set to commence as an attempt to “sabotage” those talks or a threat to ‘Middle East peace’ and so the number of articles exploring that angle which visitors to the BBC News website would have read in the same period of August 11th to 15th is zero.

A commentator by the name Amos took issue with the article saying:

is(sic) this article really attempting to claim that abbas hugging freed prisoners is an act of sabotage towards the peace process equal to the building of new ‘settlements’? large scale illegal building projects taking months to plan and build resulting in permanent symbols of israeli(sic) occupation in palestinian(sic) territory is somehow comparable to a momentary embrace and photo op? this article is horribly myopic and the comparison it attempts to draw is tenuous to say the least. the writer insults the intelligence of those who read the article.

To which I responded:

I agree Amos, the settlements and the release of mass murderers are in no way a ethically relevant comparison. I further agree that large scale terrorist plots taking months to plan and resulting in the death of Israelis are nowhere near the moral bankruptcy of letting Jews live in their ancestral homeland on acreage that it is not illegal for them to build on. I also find it horrible that there are Jews living in Hebron now, whereas they were not after 1948 because the Jordanians ethnically cleansed the west bank of Jews. It’s just a horrific situation.

The argumentative mistake I made , which some of you may see, was caused primarily by the fact that I was trying to be as sarcastic as possible. Most anti-Israel commentators believe themselves to be the vanguard of morality and nuance and so the best tactic is to humiliate them as best as can be done. Be sarcastic, be vicious; don’t bog sown in petty formalities, but be factual, and never let a mistake go to waste. Amos replied:

you’re brimming with sarcasm but seem confused. the article does not draw a comparison between the building of illegal settlements and the release of prisoners; it makes a comparison between the building of illegal settlements and the public embracing of the former prisoners by abbas. secondly the building of settlements and the release of prisoners are both israeli actions, whereas the point of the article is to compare the actions of the two different sides. you seem to be comparing the actions of israel with other actions of israel which makes little sense.

He is quite right, that Amos. In my effort to construct a sarcastic attack, I let detail slip. However, never let a mistake of this nature deter you from a counter argument built upon the very criticism of your error. In his criticism, he opened doors he thought his premises sealed and plastered shut in the catacombs: that Israel is a moral agent. Seeing this beautifully offered broadside salvo, I replied:

Oh, I am sorry Amos, I didn’t realize you were that pedantic. Let me fill in the blanks for you. Let’s try again: ” I agree Amos, the building of legal settlements on land that had nothing to do with former agreements and the Palestinian Authority demanding the release of mass murderers as preconditions to even sitting at the same table with Israelis and then publicly embracing mass murderers and celebrating their accomplishments is not an ethically relevant comparison.”

Further, Amos, besides my omission of a well established causal fact that you seem to think means I am confused, I am, in fact, confused about the suggestion that I am comparing solely Israeli actions. If I am, and the Israelis released mass murderers of their own accord and without considerable urging from the United States and the PA, then they are certainly beneficent and merciful in their attitude towards the Palestinians and their public Jew killing heroes. If this is so, your concern about settlements is eclipsed by the simple fact that the Israelis are willing to release people that have killed their family members in order to get an organization to stop inciting people to kill their family members. If all the particulars are true, that is the height of merciful action that would never be reciprocated by the other-side, period. If they are not true, then I am not comparing solely Israeli acts. This is simple stuff, Amos.

Now, you can hear your deluded sentiments about settlements and all the mechanical appurtenances of your theory about occupations and Jews living in apartments somewhere across the green line being the root cause of this conflict begin to spurt and sputter a great deal of smoke, while my suggestion that the Palestinians have not only demanded an ethnically pure Palestine since 1948, but continue to demand it —- one of the reasons the settlements are even an issue is because, just like Gaza, no Jews will live in Palestine —- is nicely tuned and purring. What is it that you said about shortsightedness and myopia?

He never responded. How to argue for Israel? Never give up. Don’t let an error deter you.  You will make mistakes. People will counter you,  and you will, at times, have to admit you were hasty with words; but that doesn’t mean you are wrong. Nine times out of ten, there is a flaw in a counter argument that you can exploit, and this is a textbook example of that. If I hadn’t made that first error of conflation, his blatant ideological inconsistencies would have never been revealed and the argument would be one merely of premise vs. premise. Rather, my opponents broader view of the Israel/Palestinian conflict was called into question, and he has nothing more to say, which is the is goal: to neutralize an idiotic line of thinking.

Out of the Mouth of Madness

Comes a sensible sentence wedded to an insensible paragraph.

It appears that institutionalized incompetence has its advantages. John Kerry, who called Assad’s invitation to have UN inspectors come to the country after the gas attack, “too late to be credible” then offhandedly suggested two weeks later, within a wider rhetorical bluster, one including statements that any intervention would be “unbelievably small”, that the Syrian crises that Kerry created could be resolved by Syria turning over its chemical weapons to someone or something yet to be named, but that Assad “isn’t about to do that,” and so we should bomb them. The Russians caught this suggestion and, in brutally efficient Russian fashion, rendered a plan that would have the Syrians do just that, and all indications suggest that the Syrian regime is willing to assent, for the fear of the unmitigated might of an “unbelievably small” strike.

“Hard looks” are now to be taken at the Russian Foreign minister’s plan. “That would be terrific,” said the white house Deputy National Security Adviser, if Assad regime were to relinquish its chemical weapons and do what Kerry said it was not about to do; but it doesn’t mean that we wont fire a spit wad at the embattled regime, “just to keep the pressure on.”

Kerry tried to save his long face. The Russian proposal, he said, was the result of continued U.S. Pressure. Apparently Kerry doesn’t understand that the Russian proposal would have never appeared if he hadn’t suggested it during a rambling and incoherent mess of a speech designed to advance a war aim. And if he had not rhetorically juggled three inconsistent sentiments at once, it would have never had happened, and the U.S. would be still on the path to striking a regime for an attack that the Obama administration has yet to prove was responsible for it.

Contrary to the concerns of unquestionably stupid pundits, the United States doesn’t look weak right now. Rather, we look like a folding, maniac, puerile and boisterous Khrushchev who very slyly led the world to a state of such tension and angst that he decided that his continued shoe slamming on UN tables was a check he was no longer able to cash. Khrushchev made a decision though, and it was coherent and consistent. Afterwards, the Politburo decided that Khrushchev was an embarrassment and plans were drawn up to have him killed, but instead Brezhnev showed up one day and told him very kindly that he was fired. The Obama administration, with Kerry at the helm of the USS Sinking State Department, a man juggling more thoughts than he has limbs to control them, made an embarrassing gaff, and one that may have saved the United States and the Middle east a considerable amount of bloodshed, a commodity which the region, ironically, is never in short supply.

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