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A Source Of Pride

It’s gay pride month and as I get ready to attend the festivities in New York, it occurs to me that it’s time for me to give the LGBT community some long overdue props.

They are the single strongest arm of the progressive movement by far. This is a group that knows how to “get her done” while the rest of the progressive movement flails around, split into three factions; those that are trying to figure out how to get shit done, those who sit around expecting that someone else will get it done, and those that perpetually make excuses for why Obama can’t get it done.

Marriage equality is not a national conversation that we were having ten years ago. In the grand scheme of civil rights fights, this one is a fetus and yet we already have marriage equality in six states. The LGBT community deserves all f the credit in the world for obtaining the civil rights due them in record time.

How did they do it? By being relentless! I remember having a conversation with a gay friend of mine last year right after this happened:

This was right after Obama finally came out in support of repealing DATD, and things were looking good in terms of its repeal. I took the position that the LGBT community needed to just calm the fuck down because Obama was obviously moving in the right direction on this issue. My friend vehemently disagreed with me, arguing that pressure needs to be applied until we have full equality across the whole country. He couldn’t have been more right, and I’m happy to offer him a mea culpa for having been so fucking wrong in my assessment of the situation.

In relentlessly pressing forward with an agenda of not compromising on anything less than full equality, the LGBT community is getting shit done in a way that few groups without Goldman Sachs money have. They protest and heckle the president at every turn. They organize boycotts against corporations and advertisers that show even the slightest hint of supporting an anti-equality agenda. They are very well organized, making sure that they leverage their strength in numbers, despite the fact that only roughly 10% of the population is gay.

In short, they ROCK!

The rest of the progressive population has much to learn from the LGBT community. When are we going to start taking notes? They have written the playbook for us. We just need to read it.

So tomorrow, I march with my gay friends who I couldn’t possibly be more proud of. BRAVO!

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Sinking My Teeth Into The Weiner

This will be a quickie, since this isn’t a particularly complicated or nuanced issue.

Let me start by saying that I don’t really care about this beyond the amusement I get from the Weiner jokes which I imagine, will grow tiresome by Thursday. I don’t care because Anthony Weiner is neither a hypocrite nor a criminal. I’m only interested in your personal life if you’re stealing tax dollars, or are trying to suppress other people’s rights based on a “family values” platform of hypocrisy. I didn’t care about Clinton’s sex or Ahhhhnold’s sex because they weren’t hypocrites.

John Ensign, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Ted Haggard, and that “rent boy” asshole all fall into the category of asshats whose sex lives endlessly amuse me because they’re shameless liars and thieves. There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching a liar or a thief exposed for what they are.

But short of that, I just don’t give a shit. We’ve seen enough rich and/or powerful men cheat that it really shouldn’t surprise us. I’ve actually come to realize that cheaters are the norm. I am no longer disappointed by it.

I have to confess to being mildly disappointed in Anthony Weiner, but not as much as I’m comforted by his behavior over the past week. You’re thinking I’m batshit crazy at this point, but let me explain. We’ve been watching Weiner bumble and stumble in regard to this scandal all week. He’s not a good liar. In fact, he’s possibly the worst liar of any politician in the history of politics. He’s undeniably a brilliant guy and yet, he couldn’t have handled this more poorly. He did one shitty interview after another in which, he never flatly denied that the picture was of him. Even after getting hammered for not denying it was him, he couldn’t do it. There’s something admirable about someone that can’t lie with ease. I actually like that about him, a lot. It’s the pathological liars that I’m most concerned with.

His unease with lying makes me more confident that he’s a good politician, intent on doing the right thing. At the end of the day, my only concern is about a politician’s impact on me and my country. The rest is superfluous. His inability to tell a convincing lie gives me more confidence in his morality toward governance. When Anthony Weiner is on the house floor incensed about health care for 9/11 responders, or for you and I, he’s not bullshitting us.

And a politician that is bullshit-challenged is the kind of politician I want, wiener behavior notwithstanding.

On a side note, I applaud Nancy Pelosi for launching an investigation into this matter. That’s how ethics in politics should work. I can’t recall the republican party ever investigating one of their own. Political ideology aside, I don’t know how anyone can support the GOP. They’re crooks and liars, and they don’t even care enough to seem like they’re not.

Oh, and one last thought – the part of this story that I find most disgusting, is the part where Andrew Breitbart gets a modicum of legitimacy. I will be vomiting uncontrollably over that for months!

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Have you heard? Our president is an enemy to Israel! I’ve been listening to that bullshit for a couple of weeks now, and I feel compelled to speak up.

I don’t write about Israel very often because, while I have very clear thoughts on the topic, it’s still more emotional and visceral than US politics for me. I’m Jewish. I come from a thousand generations of Jews. As far as I can tell, there’s no infusion of gentile DNA in my ancestry. Genetically speaking, I couldn’t be more Jewey. I was born in Iran, where a branch of my family somehow ended up. None of us are still left in Iran. Most of us moved to the US around the time of the Iranian revolution. But the lion’s share of my family lives in Israel.

I give you all of that background to explain why this post may seem like it’s all over the place. I have many thoughts in the topic of Israel. I like to think that my opinions are all rooted in pragmatism and fact, but I recognize that the truth is that many are visceral and emotionally derived.

I’m not an Israeli apologist any more than I am a democratic party apologist. I believe that it is the duty of each member of any “tribe” to speak out when their tribe behaves unjustly. Group think has never turned out well for any group. That said, I want Israel to exist in peace, free of the kind of daily security concerns that erode the quality of life. I don’t believe it’s possible to prosper under the oppression that is insecurity. So when I speak out against something that the Israeli government has done, it’s because I believe that they are undermining any hope that Israel may have of being secure.

I was appalled when Ehud Olmert bombed the shit out of Lebanon for thirty-four days in 2006. He ordered the seemingly endless bombing in response to rocket attacks by Hezbollah that killed five Israeli soldiers. Let me back up for a second and tell you about Hezbollah. They’re a group of dickless anti Israel terrorists, funded mostly by Iran and Syria. I refer to them as dickless because they like to embed themselves in suburban neighborhoods so that they can use innocent civilians as shields. They’re fucking pussies. You are completely devoid of courage when you have to hide behind children to protect yourself.

Olmert responded to Hezbollah by bombing the shit out of Lebanon for thirty four days. Roughly 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. About a million Lebanese, as well as roughly 500,000 Israelis were displaced from their homes.

Olmert made both a tactical and a moral mistake. Tactically speaking Israel bombed Lebanon for over a month and still failed to get the job done. This seriously diminished the perception of the strength of the Israeli army.

And then there’s the issue of Israel’s moral bankruptcy. Israel killed 1,200 people in response to the murder of 5 soldiers. WTF? Olmert’s complete lack of regard for the collateral damage that he was doing was appalling. Israel’s actions were so indefensible, that they came out of the whole incident with the stink of terrorists on them, even though Hezbollah started the conflict. That complete disregard for innocent human life is vile. I don’t care who you are, you’re just fucking disgusting and totally unjustified.

So Hezbollah ended up winning that one. They’re still sending rockets into Israel, despite Olmert’s determination to bomb them into oblivion, and they showed Israel to be cruel. That situation couldn’t have turned out better for Hezbollah. They turned Israel into the bad guys, whose military isn’t all that after all.

It’s not possible to fight terrorists with bombs because they have a tactical advantage in that, they don’t have a country to bomb. No, anti terrorism is best accomplished through intelligence and police work. That thirty four days of bombing Lebanon seriously undercut Israel’s ability to effectively fight Hezbollah. Does anyone think that the Lebanese people are more willing to work with Israeli intelligence in order to identify members of Hezbollah after this incident?

I’m also appalled by Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. They’ve effectively turned Gaza into a prison. Palestinians in Gaza are basically not allowed to leave, and don’t have access to the supplies they need to build a productive society. It’s disgusting. And the idea that my own people can do what Israel is doing, despite the very long history of Jews being oppressed in the same way is both inexplicable and heartbreaking to me. And once again, it’s morally and tactically stupid. Israel needs to get the world community squarely behind it. They will never accomplish this by creating animosity over their treatment over Palestinians in Gaza.

Regardless of how egregious or foolish Israel’s actions are, the United States won’t condemn or sanction them. Why? Because of AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). AIPAC is probably the strongest lobbying group in the US. Most people think that AIPAC is made up of Jews, but I’m convinced this isn’t true. I believe that AIPAC is made up (perhaps equally) of right wing Jews and Christian Zionists.

If you’re not familiar with Christian Zionists, let me explain. They’re a faction of rabidly pro-Israel Christians. Why would Christians be all pro-Israel? Well, that’s where it gets interesting. In their interpretation of the bible, Jews need to come home to Palestine (Israel). Once home, we’re supposed to destroy the Al-Aqsa and Sakhrah mosques in Jerusalem and replace them with the Great Temple. Once the temple is completed, the last holy war (Armageddon) will begin, led by America and England. You probably know the rest; Jesus comes… Christians get saved…. Jews that don’t accept Jesus die… blah, blah, blah.

Now at this point, any rational person would wonder why Jews would throw in with Christian Zionists, since the end game for each group is definitely not the same. Well, we’re not dealing with rational people. We’re talking about people that believe they know what God wants, and they’re going to be really fucking crafty about giving it to him.

Christians of the non-Zionist persuasion believe that their Zionist counterparts are being played by the Jews, in order to get support for the preservation of Israel. I think that’s probably a fair assessment of the situation. Christian Zionists believe they’re playing the Jews in order to move along their Armageddon prophecy so that they can chill out blissfully in heaven, while the rest of us get fucked. I think that’s also a fair assessment of the situation.

So who is really getting played? That’s easy; both sides are hapless rubes, but the extent of haplessness isn’t equal. Right wing Jews got what they wanted in that, the CZs (I’m getting tired of typing that out!) fully support the protection of Israel. I actually don’t believe that at this point, that the possibility of Israel not existing is a real one whether the CZs are on board or not. Now the Jews are massively getting played at this point. And they’re enthused about it.

Let’s break down the situation. The CZs ultimate goal is for Israel to be the center of the grandaddy of all holy wars. Doesn’t it stand to reason that when they support an Israeli action, they do so with that holy war goal in mind? How can anyone possibly think that every action the CZs take, isn’t taken with the goal of precipitating that war that they so desire? When they support Israel’s actions in Gaza or their excessive use of force, do they do so because they believe that peace will be achieved this way? Fuck no! They want Israel to be at war in perpetuity, so that an escalation to “the war” happens.

Why the fuck can’t the Jewish faction of AIPAC see this? For the same reason that the CZs can’t see that they’re getting played; religious certitude. Both sides believe that they know what God wants. Personally, I believe that if you are certain that you know what God wants, you have absolutely no use for God. What the fuck do you need God for? You know how it’s all supposed to turn out, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Fuck God! You’re the one that’s all knowing!

These people have become stupid because of their religious certitude. They have become morally bankrupt because of their moral certitude. On one side, you have a group of supposedly “Jesus loving” people rooting for most of us to die a horrible death so that they can land themselves in heaven. On the other side, you have a people that don’t give a shit who has to suffer in order for Israel to exist. I’m sorry, but I can’t comprehend the thought process of a Jew that is fine with the oppression, death, or imprisonment of another people. There is no race in the world that has suffered more horrors than the Jewish people have. One would think that all of the suffering of your ancestors would lead Jews to conclude that no one should ever be treated like that again. But no, some of them went the other way. Palestinians in Gaza? Fuck em! Israel needs to exist. Egyptians living under oppressive rule? Fuck em! Israel needs to exist. My question is, exactly how many people should suffer so that Israel may exist? Is there a number too high? I literally can’t comprehend that thought process. I believe it’s important to find the reasoning in the point of view that you oppose, in order to oppose it with any degree of intellectual honesty. But I can’t do it in this instance. I can’t figure out how one’s moral compass gets turned so ass backward.

But the blindness of the far right wing Jews doesn’t end with the loss of one’s moral compass. It also seems to afflict ones ability to reason things out. These people are rabid republicans. They stand squarely behind any piece of shit that has an “R” behind his/her name. Let’s examine why this is so incredibly bad for Israel in the long term.

First off, their boy Bush tilted the Sunni/Shia balance of power in a way that does not serve Israel well. That whole debacle was a big win for Iran, and everyone that knows shit about the dynamic in the middle east knows that. And yet, these fucking morons would welcome Bush back in a second, if they could get rid of Obama.

They also don’t give two shits about the US. Further proof of their inability apply reason to the situation. Here’s the deal; without the US, Israel is fucked. If we don’t protect them, half a dozen countries descend on Israel, fight a war that goes on for a few years, and then Israel loses. There are too many enemies for Israel to fight off by itself. These middle class eradication policies of the republican party have the US on a fast track to becoming loyal subjects of the Chinese. Any economist looking at the growing income inequality in the US knows that we’re on the fast track to the third world. You can’t have a consumer based economy without consumers (i.e. the middle class). History has shown us time again, that societies fall when there is no middle class. If you’re pro Israel, you need for the US to stay on top of the global food chain. Please stop being stupid because you have tunnel vision!

Barack Obama has never said anything controversial in regard to Israel. His speech referencing the 1967 borders was not only uncontroversial, but it’s been said by everyone in the US and in Israel for over twenty five years. Rabin, Olmert, Sharon, and yes, even Netanyahu have all framed peace talks around the ’67 borders as have two Bushes and a Clinton. This is not a new, radical, Israel exterminating idea. Stop acting like it is. That position just makes you willfully ignorant.

The inflammatory statement came from Netanyahu last week, when he suddenly reversed twenty five years of discussions by proclaiming that the ’67 borders are unacceptable to Israel. In my opinion, this guy is a reckless, arrogant asshole that hates Obama for having a Muslim father. Does anyone think that the Israeli and US governments didn’t review each others statements before they were made? Of course they did. Netanyahu changed his remarks in order to slap Obama in the face. He did this last year when he announced that Israel was going to renig on its promise not to build new settlements, while Joe Biden was visiting Israel. He was obviously trying to slap the Obama administration in the face. Hey, I have an idea; if you find this administration so distasteful, how about you give back all of the foreign aid money it has given you? Have the courage of your convictions, dickwad.

Netanhayu is never going to find pragmatism. He’s too far gone. He’s the Dick Cheney of Israel. AIPAC is never going to find pragmatism because religious ideology won’t allow for logic. But I believe that the rest of the world is reasonable, and genuinely wants stability in the the middle east. We just need to raise our voices in order to drown out the radicals, which is why I rambled on today.

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