Extend the Public Records Law!

As a reminder, here is a summary of the Ware report, which detailed legal violations within the Probation Dept.

In the wake of the Ware report and the disgusting patronage in which our State Legislature and Judiciary have partaken, Scott Lehigh has a marvelous idea

So what could be done to tame the political world’s ever-present patronage instinct?

The first step is obvious. Both the Legislature and the judiciary are currently exempt from the state’s Public Records Law, a highly effective tool for watchdogs trying to sniff out dubious hirings. It was that law that let the Globe reveal the gap between rhetoric and reality when it came to the Patrick administration’s attempt to install state Senator Marian Walsh in a highly paid sinecure.

But the exemptions for the judiciary and the Legislature make it difficult even for determined reporters to ferret out the truth about employment decisions involving those branches. Although the Legislature has long waged a covert campaign to make the Probation Department its own patronage fiefdom, the Ware report detailing the abuse came only after the Supreme Judicial Court appointed an independent counsel, armed with subpoena power, to pierce through the murk. The SJC’s action, in turn, followed a painstaking and time-consuming Globe Spotlight Team report that revealed a dysfunctional department chockablock with patronage hires. Extending the Public Records Law would make it much easier for reporters and citizens to probe problematic hiring decisions.

Lehigh suggests putting this to a ballot question for next year.  I agree.  If it is to be a ballot question, then we should do it in an election off-year.  My theory of why Massachusetts remains a one-party dictatorship is because nobody cares about the State Legislature elections.  They happen every two years and are overshadowed either by Governor’s races or the Presidential election.

In an off-year, however, nothing doing.  Voters are likely not paying much attention to anything.  Perhaps only the most committed voter is paying attention to municipal issues.  But if there is enough of a push, beginning with the sheer disgust as to how our Commonwealth uses a system of patronage as feedback to keep entrenched incumbents in power.

As an illustration, check out the Globe’s exposure of Rep. Thomas Petrolati [D-Ludlow] and his system of patronage within the Probation Dept.  In fact, the Globe found 732 donations totalling more than $100,000 to Petrolati from employees of the courts, probation and the sheriff’s department since 2002.  This, until yesterday, was the third-highest ranking lawmaker in the State House.  As this report notes, many donations came shortly before or after an employee was hired or promoted.

The Public Records Law needs extension because, as Lehigh points out, it is very difficult for news organizations to get details like this when, for instance, it comes to light that, say, the Probation Dept. hired a woman as a Probation Officer who leaked information to her drug-dealer friends.  [To make the story even sweeter, this stepdaughter of a judge got a raise after the fact.]

In any case, I will be looking into what it takes to get such a ballot question out to voters next year.  Again, I think it must be posed in an off-year because when we are electing Governors, Congressmen, and Presidents, we are too distracted to look around and see what really counts.

The reason why the public is so angry with the TSA

In studying the media’s coverage, officials have come to conclude that a slow news week, combined with the president’s being overseas and Congress being out of session, created the perfect storm of bad coverage.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.  It’s not the fact that this stuff catches only the stupid terrorists or that it does not work against cavity bombs.  And when someone tries to set off a cavity bomb, to what sort of collective punishment will we be subjected?

Bilious Rubin

I don’t normally participate in making fun of anybody’s name: under most circumstances, people do not have control over their names and bravely go through life with them.  That said, I must make one example for Jennifer Rubin of Commentary, a persistently hypocritical blog writer on the Contentions site who is little more than – no, nothing more than – a shill for the GOP.  Of course, there’s loads of those, what makes her special?  As I will explain below, it is the sort of bile in her writing, the incredibly obvious double standards she has for people, that drives me nuts.  And someone who spews bile like this and has a last name of Rubin…I cannot resist.

Anyway, Jennifer Rubin  has been at the top of the shrieking heap against the Park51 Islamic Community Center, 2 1/2 blocks from NYC.  I’m not going to post any of her rants about it as anyone reading this post has heard it all before: the acknowledgment of the “right” to build, but the necessity to be “sensitive” to the 9/11 families [some of whom are Muslim, and others of whom support the project].  Plus, ugly questions about the funding source for the center and the personal leanings of Imam Rauf, the spiritual leader of the Cordoba Initiative, the group behind the project.  All of it is bullshit, and further commentary on it by me is a waste of your time.

No, I want to lay before you the sort of character this political marionette is or has become.  I don’t know her personally of course, so I can only judge her from her writings.  And believe me, judging from her writings, she is a unique character: an anti-Semite who accuses other Jews of being anti-Semites.  I do recognize how bizarre this charge is, and how easily it can be turned back on me.  But seriously, you must see what I mean to believe it.

I posted before about an article Rubin wrote this past January called “Why do Jews hate Palin?”  To summarize, Rubin looooves Palin because Palin loooooves Israel, despite the fact that Palin’s stated position on Israel aligns with fundamentalist Christians and Jews and is a sure path, according to every Mideast expert, to the destruction of Israel as a democracy and a haven for Jews worldwide.  Jews hate Palin in droves not because of Palin’s propensity to lie, or be divisive, or to be a dumbass.  No, Jews hate Palin because they hate who she is.  Palin is sexy, Jews like frumpy.  Palin is blue collar and has worked jobs Jews won’t touch.  Palin’s child is in the military, Jews never do that.  Palin has 6 (or 5) children, Jews never have that many kids [oog, unless their frum, then they’re OK].  Jews read, but they have been misinformed about Palin, who loved to read as a child, and they simply don’t appreciate “instinctual” leadership anyway.  O, and Palin has a Downs baby, while Jews love to abort.

If you think my interpretation of her article is extreme, it is not: people who are paid to notice these things for a living say the same damn thing.

To its credit, Commentary publishes readers’ letters, and has the author respond.  The letters chosen, of course, are chosen from the milder lot [the practice of any magazine], but the charge remains and Rubin responds:

Other readers…found in my article echoes of anti-Semitic tropes or fodder for anti-Semites, especially with respect to characterizations of “elitism” or “intellectualism.” But there is, I would suggest, nothing remotely anti-Semitic about the observation, supported by Tom W. Smith’s 2005 Jewish Distinctiveness in America: A Statistical Portrait and ahost of other data, that Jews are more educated than the population at large. Nor is there anything controversial in observing that the proportion of Jews in intellectual professions is higher than the proportion of Jews in the population. Simply observing an antipathy felt by a disproportionately well-educated, highly credentialed group for a politician with a different persona and background is not a value judgment on either half of the equation. Rather, it is a candid recognition that Palin and most American Jews simply don’t share a common perspective or life experience.

This is, of course, garbage.  Yes, the document she cites goes into the themes she mentions, but there is a huge difference.  Smith’s document, at 154 pages, is a carefully written sociological study [and, at the risk of attaining my wife’s ire, I must point out it lacks, despite heaps of table of results backing the conclusions, no decent summary of the statistical validity behind those conclusions] whose validity is does no use here to question.  David Harris, the head of the American Jewish Committee who published the survey, says the following:

Why should we care about all of this—other than for “bragging rights” or a parlor game? We care because the numbers reveal an underlying strength of the American Jewish community: Despite our declining share of the overall American population, a high intermarriage rate, and a growing geographical dispersion, Jews have been able to retain a distinctive profile which bespeaks a unique core Jewish identity. Furthermore, Jews have embraced certain broad values, such as belief in the importance of education and in expressive individualism, that seem to have resonance for other Americans as well.  Why should we care about all of this—other than for “bragging rights” or a parlor game? We care because the numbers reveal anunderlying strength of the American Jewish community: Despite ourdeclining share of the overall American population, a high intermarriagerate, and a growing geographical dispersion, Jews have been able to retain a distinctive profile which bespeaks a unique core Jewish identity. Furthermore, Jews have embraced certain broad values,such as belief in the importance of education and in expressive individualism,that seem to have resonance for other Americans as well. [Emphasis mine.]
That is, Jewish identity is something of which the American Jewish community should be proud.  Further, it is meaningful that American Jewish values have become American values as well.
The importance of this statement cannot be overemphasized with respect to Rubin, whose article bemoans these values because, let’s face it, it makes her an outlier with respect to her hero-goddess Palin.  She turns these values on their head as negative and anti-American.  That her article was published in Commentary and not the Occidental Quarterly is surreal.
Now, for my cri de coeur.  Peter Beinart, who has  stood up and questioned the role of American Jewish leadership in its stewardship of young Jewish Americans’ values, wrote with regard to the Park51 project:

And oh yes, my fellow Jews, who are so thrilled to be locked arm in arm with the heirs of Pat Robertson and Father Coughlin against the Islamic threat. Evidently, it’s never crossed your mind that the religious hatred you have helped unleash could turn once again against us. Of course not, we’re insiders in this society now: Our synagogues grace the toniest of suburbs; our rabbis speak flawless English; we Jews are now effortlessly white. Barely anyone even remembers that folks in Lower Manhattan once considered us alien and dangerous, too.

To which Rubin, of all people, writes:

As for Beinart’s second paragraph, it is an unfortunate example of the bile that can be splattered on Jews by Jews, with nary an eyebrow raised by elite opinion makers. Had Pat Buchanan, to whom Beinart lately bears an uncanny resemblance, accused Jews of walking with Father Coughlin, or had Al Sharpton (before becoming part of polite liberal company) referred to Jews as “effortlessly white,” I imagine all sorts of elites would be throwing a fit. But now it is par for the course.

I imagine she writes this with a straight face, for she clearly feels she has acquitted herself of the same accusation laid onto her by her intellectual superiors.  [I also love her use of the word “bile”.]  But all Beinart is pointing out is that the language used by many Jews is exactly analogous to that used by their former tormentors in years past.  And Beinart is not the only one to make this observation as well.

So, on the one hand, Rubin uses an anti-Semitic canard to someone who is attacking anti-Semitic language in discourse regarding American Muslims.  On the other hand, she is happy to take findings from an AJC report about “Jews” [ill-defined, but I assume they know of whom they speak] and turn them on their head to expose the other-worldliness of those values because they result in a severe dislike of Sarah Palin.

Anyone not lobotomized should only read Jennifer “Bilirubin” Rubin’s yellow journalism with derision.

Danny Ayalon can go fuck himself

Danny Ayalon is the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel.  Both he and his boss, a racist from the Yisrael Beitanu [Israel Our Home] party named Avigdor Lieberman, represent an unfortunate trend of Israel being seen as less and less likable to its allies.  But it is Ayalon who is in my line of fire this week, for several reasons.

Ayalon made the news last month because of an incident which a skilled diplomat could have handled discretely and in a dignified manner.  Turkey, with whom relations with Israel have been going down the tubes, had one of its stations broadcast a program with anti-Semitic themes.  A quiet complaint and message of understanding the balance between freedom of expression and placing Jews in danger would have been appropriate.  But Ayalon, representing an increasingly tone-deaf Israel, made a mess of things:

Footage of Mr Ayalon urging journalists to make clear the ambassador was seated on a low sofa, while the Israeli officials were in much higher chairs, has been widely broadcast by the Israeli media.

He is also heard pointing out in Hebrew that “there is only one flag” and “we are not smiling”.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday, Mr Ayalon was unapologetic.

“In terms of the diplomatic tactics available, this was the minimum that was warranted given the repeated provocation by political and other players in Turkey,” he said, according to Reuters.

One Israeli newspaper marked the height difference on the photo, and captioned it “the height of humiliation”.

That, however, is not even my main problem with him.  Massachusetts Congressman Bill Delahunt is part of a contingent of Democratic lawmakers in Israel, traveling as part of a mission sponsored by liberal lobby group J-Street.  I will say that I have been warming to J-Street, although I do not like the arrogance of its identification as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”.  [So is the Zionist Organization of America…it just has vastly different definitions of these terms than does J-Street.]  Standard protocol is that such a delegation, if desired, may seek out an audience with Ministry officials.  However, Alayon, because he feels that J-Street is not in fact “pro-Israeli“, has locked the delegation out from any such meetings:

“We were puzzled that the Deputy Foreign Minister has apparently attempted to block our meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister’s office and Foreign Ministry – questioning either our own support of Israel or that we would even consider traveling to the region with groups that the Deputy Foreign Minister has so inaccurately described as ‘anti-Israel,'” Delahunt continued.

“In our opinion this is an inappropriate way to treat elected representatives of Israel’s closest ally who are visiting the country – and who through the years have been staunch supporters of the U.S.-Israeli special relationship.”

Ayalon has clearly associated himself with the rabid right.  The combination of this tone-deaf outlook and utter incompetence as a diplomat is making for an explosive combination.  How dare he insult a delegation from the United States because their politics do not dovetail with his!  It is men like Ayalon that will be the downfall of Israel.  For that, he can go fuck himself.

Meanwhile, Michael Oren, in contrast to his dumbass administration colleague, is wisely making peace with J-Street.  Good for him.

Is there antisemitism on the right?

Another odd story begets an odd claim from my favorite Jewish crank, Norman Podhoretz.  We begin with a rather crude remark from Rush Limbaugh [OMG OMG!!], who claimed that Obama’s remarks about bankers was really an attack on Jews, and geez shouldn’t they be regretting electing such an anti-semite?  This earned a denunciation from Abe Foxman at the ADL because in reading so zealously so as to accuse Obama of antisemitism,  it was Limbaugh himself that propagated such an antisemitic canard:

Limbaugh’s references to Jews and money in a discussion of Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

But since Rush is such a hero of the Right, he has his defenders.  And here he must have a Jewish defender.  NPod, take it away:

Foxman has a long history of seeing an anti-Semite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that anti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the Left, especially where Israel is concerned. … Now Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite and to demand an apology from him to boot. Well, if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitism that he himself has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh.

Man, in that little passage, NPod has managed to say two things that are ridiculous on their face, and an additional one that is at best questionable.  Let’s start with the first:

Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite…

Wrong.  He denounced Limbaugh for making the link between Jews and money.  Even I don’t think Limbaugh is an antisemite.  [I do think he’s a racist, but never mind.]  Rush’s goal was to paint the President [who is pure evil in his eyes] as an antisemite, which is even more ridiculous than his being an antisemite.  In order to do this, he had to make insane leaps in logic, which led him to the bankers = Jews canard.  Foxman’s job is to refute such lies and call out those who propagate them, which he did.  Limbaugh is guilty of insensitivity in his quest to mow down his enemies.  NPod, as I have observed before, has a bizarre system for labeling antisemitic material.

Next:

[A]nti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years…

Really.  I guess Pat Buchanan is a leftist.

Writing of “group fantasies of martyrdom,” Buchanan challenged the historical record that thousands of Jews were gassed to death by diesel exhaust at Treblinka: “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” (New Republic, 10/22/90) Buchanan’s columns have run in the Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight, the German-American National PAC newsletter and other publications that claim Nazi death camps are a Zionist concoction.

Joe Sobran, as NPod has more than help point out?  [Getting booted by Bill Buckley doesn’t mean that you are a Commie all of a sudden.]  And has NPod ever read the Occidental Quarterly and its even more obnoxious little brother, the Occidental Observer?  I will not reprint any of the garbage in there, not on this blog.  But I will state that, however NPod and his allies would say that they are not representative of the right, they are a fringe, so be it.  But, all the same, they are well-funded, are staffed by educated nutjobs, and claim to represent the Right.  NPod may ignore and marginalize these folks at his peril.  I refuse to do such a thing.  [And we should recall the publishing of incredibly anti-Semitic stereotypes, without irony, by Jennifer Rubin in his magazine last month.]

Finally, there is this observation by NPod:

…so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh.

For NPod, a loyal friend of Israel is one that assumes that everything Israel does, even in its maximalist behaviors, is a-OK.  Even when those behaviors will obviously lead to all-out war, apartheid, or the loss of Israel as a Jewish state.  For NPod, anyone who criticizes Israel at any time for any reason is not a friend of Israel.  For NPod, Rush and Sarah Palin are friends of Israel.  You know, I’ve seen friends of alcoholics encourage their drinking.  In reality, Rush and his ilk are no friends of Israel.  True friends are supportive of policies that will keep Israel a thriving democracy for the long-term.

It is time for NPod to retire to a quaint West Bank outpost, where he can safely ignore the neo-Nazis on the Right here in the US and elsewhere.

A plea to my friends who plan to vote tomorrow

No, I’m not going to try to talk you into voting for Coakley.  I really don’t think I have that ability, nor do I really think Coakley is worth such an effort.  [This is where I thank G-d I am not a highly-visible Democrat.]  I have spoken with a number of you over the past week and asked why you are all ready to vote Brown.  I will not judge you for that, because, honestly, I don’t blame you.  Coakley’s campaign is too little, too late.  They made the assumption that MA was so blue that anything she said would go against her, so she said nothing.  She made little effort to meet you and learn about you.  She was delivered as the candidate from a primary in which few folks took interest, where the really interesting candidates [Khazei and Capuano] were shoved aside.  Martha was safe, she was an heir to the Kennedy’s, and she really didn’t need any of you.  When pressed with these annoying facts as Scott Brown surged, she grunted about her effort.  “Look at my website,” and “You expect me to stand outside Fenway Park, in the cold, shaking hands?”  To her, meeting SEIU leaders to get the vote out was her campaign.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown has really impressed.  He’s put together a campaign from nothing.  Nobody gave him a chance.  He scored perfect sound bytes like “This is the people’s seat” [which Coakley has stolen], and has terrific ads that crush Coakley in her weaknesses.  [The one where he’s in S Boston greeting people is killer.]  Coakley’s ads grate and some border on untruth, all evoke a sense of desperation.

But, but, but…yes, you know that I am holding my nose and voting for Coakley anyway.  Even though there is a chance she will remain entrenched, given MA politics.  [Brown, OTOH, could be given the boot after 3 years, which isn’t such a bad proposition.]  Even though her campaign is a farce.  Even though I voted against her in the primaries.  Even though her stance on law and order is contrary to my being.  [Her participation in the Amirault case is one hell of a black stain.]  Why?

Look, I am not going to attack Brown.  You all know why I cannot vote for him.  But what I ask is that you all look beyond your personal likes and dislikes, because these have NOTHING to do with how the election of a candidate impacts your life.  Nothing.  The sound bytes, the zingers, the mistakes…in a year, nobody will remember them.  What matters are the issues that surround the election, and whether you are voting your interests.  And, from what I have heard this past week, not enough of you are doing that.  And that includes a lot of you voting for Coakley.

I fear that our elections, especially this one, have become a war of symbols.  From “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard J Evans:

The decay of parliamentary politics was graphically illustrated by the increasingly emotive propaganda style of the parties, including even the Social Democrats…[T]he political struggle became reduced to what the Social democrats called…a war of symbols.  Engaging a psychologist – Sergei Chakhotin, a radical Russian pupil of Pavlov, the discoverer of the conditioned response – to help them fight elections in the course of 1931, the Social Democrats realized  that an appeal to reason was not enough.  ‘We have to work on feelings, souls, and emotions so that reason wins the victory.’ In practice, reason got left far behind.  In the elections of July 1932 the Social democrats ordered all their local groups to ensure that party members wore a party badge, used the clenched-fist greeting when encountering each other, and shouted the slogan ‘Freedom!’ at appropriate opportunities…In adopting this style, the parties were placing themselves on the same ground as the Nazis, with whose swastika symbol, ‘Hail Hitler!’ greeting and simple, powerful slogans they found it very difficult to compete.

Seeking for an image that would be dynamic enough to counter the appeal of the Nazis, the Social Democrats…and a number of other working-class organizations…came together…to form the ‘Iron Front’ to fight the ‘fascist’ menace…Long, boring speeches were to be replaced by short, sharp slogans.

No, Scott Brown nor the Republicans are Nazis.  The proper context is that the absence of examination of the issues and the replacement of them with sound bytes and snippets can have disastrous consequences for a democracy.  I hear women voting for Coakley because Brown is anti-woman.  [Brown is quite moderate on this issue.]  I hear loads of people voting for Brown because he won’t coddle terrorists, he’ll lower taxes, he’ll really stick it to the libs.  But ask yourself, what will either of these candidates do for your family?  How will they contribute to making your life better?  How, for example, will Brown seek to cut taxes without hurting whatever you care about?  How will we pay for the health care reform, and what are the provisions of the bill?  Is abortion REALLY the number one issue affecting you and your family?  [Maybe it is, I don’t know.]

Please consider this before you go to vote tomorrow, and take a minute or two to read up on the issues.

Why I am holding my nose and voting for Martha Coakley

Maybe it’s not Martha Coakley’s fault.  Likely, she was just given the same advice that anyone else would have received.  She’s a Democrat in a Democratic state, filling in for the venerable Ted Kennedy, miles ahead in terms of name recognition, running away in the primaries.  She was very probably told to lay low, establish relationships with the union bosses and other Democratic heavy hitters whose support she would need down the line.  It’s a special election with a short time span, any time she opens her mouth brings risk.  Best just to run a silent campaign, with her ahead by over 35% in the polls, the election would take care of itself.

Then this happened:

Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive.

“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?’’ she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that.

That quote was in an article meant to portray Coakley in a positive light.  But in my opinion, it stands for everything that is wrong with her candidacy and MA Democrats.  What I think she was trying to say was that, in such circumstances as this special election, she has to carefully budget her time, and it is better spent dealing with people who can bring out larger blocs of voters, rather than individuals.

The problem is, this is no longer the world in which we live.  We now live in the world of The Interwebs, where the individual has a lot more power to cause a ruckus.  So, when Coakley publicly eschews – even appears to deride – meeting the people who will vote for her, it reveals an arrogance, a taking for granted of the very voters who can vote her in, to whom she says she will be responsible in one of her ads.

The negative ads have more than a whiff of desperation.  I got one in my email, announcing a rally with Pres. Obama.  But here’s a juicy line:

With right-wing reactionary Scott Brown and his Swift Boat allies launching new attacks every day, we need to get out there and show our support for Martha Coakley.

Uhhh…no.  That’s not even close.  And how exactly is Coakley being Swift Boated?  The Brown campaign has not spread a single lie about her.  They have had no reason to do so.  Coakley apparently is Swift Boating herself.

This election, however, is about bigger things than the idiotic campaign by Coakley, or Brown’s great zingers.  It’s about whether or not we wish to see the most progressive piece of legislation in our generation pass.  It’s about giving help to a President who I believe in and I feel deserves it.  So I will hold my nose, take a Dramamine, and vote for Coakley because I care about these things.  But the MA Democrats are officially on notice as of this campaign.

Why [non-self-hating] Jews Hate Commentary

Having read Hitler’s biography and various historiographies on anti-Semitism and racism in general, I have come to the conclusion that there is no more offensive phrase to me than “The Jews”.  Enemies of Jewish people everywhere lump in some set of characteristics attributable to The Jews.  There are no individuals, just The Jews.  And what of them?  They are overeducated, over-represented in the professions, overly liberal, hate work that gets the fingernails dirty, hate the military, love big words and complicated reasons.  Responsible for the mess we find ourselves in right now.

You can find this rationalization for this stereotyping of Jewish people in tracts like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  You can also find it in the article recently written by Commentary‘s Jennifer Rubin, “Why Jews Hate Palin”, in order to get at the [incomprehensible] reasons why most Jews retch in disgust at the sight of Sarah Palin.

Yes, I am serious: I am equating an article in Commentary with Mein Kampf.  I am left with little choice after passages like this:

Palin calls herself a “hockey mom” and brags aloud about the athletic prowess of her children, while Jews are more likely to sport “My child Is an Honor Student” bumper stickers. Palin’s oldest, Track, has joined the military, while many Jews lack a family military tradition.

Or this:

Pro-life Americans saw Palin’s son Trig, born with Down syndrome in April 2008, as an affirmation of Palin’s deeply held beliefs, a rare instance in which a politician did more than mouth platitudes about a “culture of life.” But in affluent communities with large Jewish populations, Down-syndrome children are now largely absent due to the widespread use of diagnostic testing and “genetics counseling.” Trig was not a selling point with many Jewish women who couldn’t imagine making a similar choice—indeed, many have, in fact, made the opposite one.

Or this:

For those for whom an Ivy League education is the essential calling card for leadership of any sort, an elite-bashing populist with a journalism degree from the University of Idaho who lacks both a mellifluous grasp of policy and a self-consciously erudite vocabulary was always going to be a hard sell. As Continetti observes with savage irony, “The American meritocratic elite places a high priority on verbal felicity and the attitudes, practices and jargon that one picks up during graduate seminars in nonprofit management, government accounting and the semiotics of Percy Shelley’s ‘To a Skylark.’” Given that Jews are overrepresented in these sorts of professions, it is not surprising that they would be among those most put off by Palin.

Or this:

Jews…are swayed by the notion that the presidency is a knowledge-based position requiring a background in the examination of detailed data and sophisticated analysis. They assume that such knowledge is the special preserve of a certain type of credentialed thinker (the better the university, the more unquestioned the credential) and that possessing this knowledge is the key to a successful presidency…The argument that such knowledge might be acquired or accessed when necessary by a person who has demonstrated a more instinctual skill set—the capacity to make decisions and to lead people—does not resonate with those for whom intellectual rigor has been a defining characteristic and a pathway to success.

The mind reels.  I have never in my life read a more obvious instance of Jewish self-hatred than the one on display within the pages of Commentary, a magazine more recently known for placing that epithet on anyone that disagrees with its concepts.  Let me see if I can summarize Rubin’s view of the great majority of her co-religionists:

Jews’ hatred of Palin goes beyond liberal/conservative divide.  They hate who she is.  Palin is sexy, Jews like frumpy.  Palin is blue collar and has worked jobs Jews won’t touch.  Palin’s child is in the military, Jews never do that.  Palin has 6 (or 5) children, Jews never have that many kids [oog, unless their frum, then they’re OK].  Jews read, but they have been misinformed about Palin, who loved to read as a child, and they simply don’t appreciate “instinctual” leadership anyway.  O, and Palin has a Downs baby, while Jews love to abort.

On that last point.  Does Rubin have children?  Has she ever had a Tay-Sachs test?  Would she knowingly bring a Tay-Sachs baby into the world?  Would Sarah Palin?  And as far as Downs babies are concerned, we have Jewish friends that have kept theirs: Shalom Lowell is now 26 years old and is, from what I understand, a happy young man.

Commentary is no longer of any use as an intelligent forum for American Jewish issues, as it once was.  They are a right-wing Republican vessel, taking sides with whoever has the most maximalist Israel policy, at all costs.  They can gai kaken so far as I can care.

Sarah Palin: The political equivalent of herpes

O.  My.  G-d:

Palin on Being Qualified for President

O’REILLY:  Do you believe that you are smart enough, incisive enough, intellectual enough to handle the most powerful job in the world?

PALIN:  I believe that I am because I have common sense.  And I have,  I believe, the values that are reflective of so many other American values.  And I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the kind of a spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with some kind of elite Ivy League education and a fact resume that’s based on anything but hard work and private sector, free enterprise principles .  Americans could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership.  I’m not saying that has to be me. [Emphasis mine]

This shit comes from a woman who can’t even educate her own children properly.  BTW Sarah, you’ve said nothing, nothing that distinguishes you from the unwashed masses for which you really, behind the scenes, have so much contempt:

No, she is the most unqualified person in history to even consider the office.  She is a product of the elites, the Ivy-educated ones that have never worked in the private sector, the ones for which she pretends to have so much scorn.  But it is really those who follow her like sheep that she really fears.  And it is those idiots that give her any non-noise numbers in the polls.  The mere thought drives one to despair.

The incorrect – and correct – way to deal with Islamists

II guess Dick Cheney won the torture waterboarding debate, because Rasmussen said so:

[A]ccording to today’s Rasmussen survey:

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 30% oppose the use of such techniques, and another 12% are not sure.

There’s this, too:

Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters think the attempt by the Nigerian Muslim to blow up the airliner as it landed in Detroit should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Only 22% say it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act, as is currently the case.

My conclusion: the debate is over, and Dick Cheney won it.

Aaaah…Rasmussen.  Two things about the post from the really patriotic folks at Powerline:

  • Rasmussen polls have this weird tendency to tell Republicans mainly what they want to hear.
  • Even if Rasmussen did not have some inherent bias, the results of the poll matter not a whit.  What matters is the law, not public opinion.  Of course, public opinion informs the law, so that if public opinion is strong enough, we should have the debate and change the law.  But that hasn’t happened.  Cheney broke the law and as such is a criminal.  His thinking and therefore the thinking of folks such as those on Powerline are that of fear, so much fear that the Constitution will not survive if allowed to flourish.  It is folks like this, and not Andrew Sullivan and Jack Goldsmith, that are anti-American.

If you really want to fight radical Islam, this is how you do it: