Post by Sheriff John Stone on Aug 20, 2019 20:22:35 GMT
And, despite all of his recent gaffes, Joe Biden has widened his lead against the field. Biden is now up by 14% over his nearest opponent, Bernie Sanders. I don't know if its something specifically Biden did or the other candidates are just...fading away.
I think Bernie is suffering from having been at the vanguard of his movement four years ago. Now he's battling Sen. Warren, and then further down the polls a half-dozen candidates making similar noises. So he's no longer the shiny new thing, and his message has a lot more messengers.
Biden's strength is definitely name recognition plus being the sole (prominent) relative centrist. (Klobuchar would fit there, but her campaign isn't doing well; Gillibrand was there 15 years ago but has run left to join the party; Delaney is there but has no chance; Buttigieg walks that line; etc.)
By the way, my Rep. Ilhan Omar has been in the news yet again for her canceled trip to Israel with Rep. Tlaib of Michigan. I'm going to be posting about that, but I need to collect some thoughts and drink a beer or three first.
I’ve reconsidered my changed mind. I realize this is sensitive both for partisan and cultural reasons to some people, but I’m hoping my opinion isn’t inflammatory. I don’t think it is (though I’ve got blame to go around on this).
Brief synopsis for those not paying attention: two freshmen representatives, Ilhan Omar (D-Minn., my rep) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) planned a trip to Israel during which they said they were going to visit Hebron, Ramallah, and Bethlehem; East Jerusalem, including at the Al Aqsa Mosque, to visit Tlaib’s relatives in the West Bank, and to meet with a Palestinian member of Parliament. The visit was controversial because both have in the past supported the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions program against Israel and their visit looked to be lining up to be an anti-Israel propaganda trip. (The locations they were visiting are all under Palestinian control and the meetings were with Palestinians; they had also discussed plans to highlight poor conditions of Palestinians.)
Israel initially planned to allow the visit despite an Israeli law forbidding BDS supporters entry, but after a tweet by the president saying allowing them would make Israel look weak, Israel changed position and forbade them from entering. It made an exception for Rep. Tlaib to visit her family, including her apparently elderly or ailing grandmother, on the condition that she did not speak about BDS during any such trip.
My take I have so much dislike to go around on this…
First, Omar and Tlaib were obviously going to go with the express purpose of disparaging the Israeli government and its treatment of Palestinians. They do that on a regular basis here, and their agenda was shaped up to appear they would be doing the same thing there. It would be photo ops and sound byte opportunities. For them to say otherwise is somewhat disingenuous.
Second, Israel has a law on the books about not admitting BDS proponents. This might be a good or bad law in each of our respective opinions, but it is their law. Whether they choose to waive it for these congresswomen is up to them. There are different places to draw the line, for sure. Israel drew the line at BDS, for better or worse.
Third, the congresswomen’s faux innocence is more than a little annoying to me. I referenced the obvious agenda above. To add to it, though, consider: - There was a bipartisan group of legislators that went to Israel just a couple of weeks earlier. Could Tlaib and Omar not be a part of that group? Or did they have a desire to stand apart, and an agenda that did not comport with the group’s? - I have read that their agenda did not even list any destinations as being in Israel; it was exclusively referred to as Palestine throughout. - The group that set up the trip, Miftah, has an ugly anti-Semitic history including publishing a literal white supremacist screed (finding common ground with Palestinians in their anti-Semitism), celebrating numerous Palestinian “martyrs” (whom many consider terrorists), and even seriously raising the claim of “blood libel,” aka the old trope that Jews use Christian blood to prepare their Passover meals. (Tlaib said the group was carefully vetted and considers criticism to be “a distraction”) - Tlaib first responded to the rescinded permission with social media messaging about how Israel wouldn’t let her visit her grandma; Israel explicitly allowed her to visit her family as long as she refrained from BDS rhetoric; she refused the offer. - Omar said the decision was “just like Trump’s Muslim ban.” Except the “Muslim ban” was a blanket immigration decision disallowing people from a certain set of Muslim countries, and even taken at the worst faith was a ban on Muslims from the country; Israel, conversely, is nearly 20% Muslim, and the two congresswomen’s faith was irrelevant: the decision was in compliance with existing Israeli law about explicitly anti-Israeli speech. - Omar has also repeatedly discussed the issue as Israel acting toward “two Muslim women of color.” This infuriates me, insinuating that her Muslim faith was relevant—which it doesn’t seem to be—but also that her gender and color were relevant, which seems even less likely. She uses this phrase often when complaining about opponents, and it is offensive to me. This decision—just like many points of disagreement with Omar that a person might have—is based on disagreement over positions, not over immutable characteristics. This isn’t racism, sexism, or Islamophobia. It is: a) we have a law against BDS supporters talking BDS in our own country; b) you support BDS and appear to be lining up a photo op to talk about it; c) therefore you aren’t welcome. No gender. No race. No religion.
Fourth, with all that said, I am not even saying I take Israel’s side! I feel it could go either way on rescinding permission: a strong country lets morons spout off at the mouth because it knows it can withstand it; yet a country has the right to keep out agents of foreign governments who oppose their own government. (When is the last time we invited in Assad, or Maduro, or Khameni, or Kim, to speak publicly in the U.S. and meet with domestic dignitaries?)
Fifth and finally … all of this without even addressing the underlying issue the congresswomen purportedly wanted to address, which I think is a legitimate issue to address: the Israeli treatment of Palestinians. I can’t pretend to know as much as I ought to know, and I really do want to learn more. But that said, I don’t want to be taught by activists from either side: I don’t want Israeli propaganda or Palestinian propaganda. Generally, I have a lot of sympathy for any innocent Palestinians whose mobility is severely restricted, whose freedoms are restricted, whose economic prospects are severely restricted. But I also acknowledge that Israel has legitimate security interests based on 75 years or so of experience. And the Palestinian leadership has been some combination of impotent and corrupt.
So the conclusion? There is no good guy in any of this: not in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and not in the congresswomen’s situation. And there is no clear-cut bad guy either. Personally, I think it is an error to try to choose a side as the heroic one and another as the villainous one, because I don’t think either is wholly either.
It makes me literally sick to my stomach—I feel physical knots of discomfort—to hear anyone speak with their faux righteousness about it all, trying to make it a cops and robbers, a cowboys and Indians, a black and white scenario. Any solution to the real underlying problem will take both sides’ unbelievable bravery to be humble and vulnerable, giving more to the opponent than bloodthirsty and vengeful allies will tolerate.
But as for Omar and Tlaib, well … Omar was the first Democrat I didn’t vote for, as far as I can recall. (I’ve been trying to remember whether I voted Republican in ’98 for governor, when Jesse Ventura won. I might have. Norm Coleman was at the time a centrist, and I wasn’t a Skip Humphrey fan. So maybe the second.) I will continue that streak of voting for someone else in ’20. I consider her an embarrassment to the district and the state.
- There was a bipartisan group of legislators that went to Israel just a couple of weeks earlier. Could Tlaib and Omar not be a part of that group? Or did they have a desire to stand apart, and an agenda that did not comport with the group’s?
I wasn't aware of this earlier bipartisan trip. Thanks for the info.
I didn't like Trump weighing in on twitter, and the optics were bad for Israel to rescind moments later, but I don't have a problem with their decision. Right or wrong, it seems a reasonable stance to take. What really irked me was how the congresswomen reacted. I'm no expert in this area, but I seriously doubt "Trump's Muslim ban" or being "Muslim women of color" or Tlaib's grandmother are particularly relevant. Considering Omar represents your district, I was especially interested in your take on this. I don't recall you commenting much about her in the past.
I have been very cool on now-Rep. Omar since the first time I heard of her, because she was presented locally as the Next Great Thing immediately, seemingly because it was exciting to have a female, Muslim immigrant in a prominent role for the (increasingly obsessed with intersectionality) Democrats. It seemed to me she was being feted and anointed without having done anything of substance.
When she first ran for elected office, that office was a state legislator in the Minnesota House, in 2016. She took on a 44-year incumbent whose record included being the chief author of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which was one of the first laws banning smoking indoors in public. Omar must have had quite a background to think she deserved that seat, eh? Well, no. She had been a policy aide to a city councilman for two years and, before that, a community nutrition educator for the U of MN. Alas, she won. OK, let her gain some experience and we’ll see if she’s truly the rising star she’s being said to be.
Nope! She ran for U.S. House in the very next cycle, with most notable achievement to date having been minor campaign finance violations and ongoing, repeated allegations of anti-Semitism (which she always struggled to repudiate).
I studied her campaign website before the election, hoping to see some grand ideas that explained her popularity. What I saw were pie-in-the-sky idea/promises with no substance behind them (and questionable logic behind them), the sorts of things that have unfortunately taken over the Democratic presidential primary as well: forgiveness of all student debt, free college for all, various housing guarantees, increased minimum wage, guaranteed jobs, seemingly blind BLM support, opposition to institutions in general (which is always amusing coming from big-government progressives), and so on.
A great friend of mine who is a strident progressive said my complaints were misplaced, that I was falling for my own attempts to see things in a balanced way (and thus being actually biased against what, if I were to stop and think, would be my positions). He said I was holding her to too high a standard, saying that would-be freshmen House members ought not be expected to have fully fleshed out plans or realistic concepts.
I disagreed, and still disagree. Congresspeople are literally EXACTLY who we should expect to have realistic, fleshed-out concepts. They are the ones (in theory, lobbyists notwithstanding) who write laws! And if a freshman congressperson isn’t ready for that task, then perhaps that person isn’t ready to be in the House.
Generally speaking, not just with Omar, I don’t care for the idea that we need some sort of youth movement in politics. I don’t believe in the wisdom of children. (I’m not saying I like having a bunch of septuagenarians exclusively in charge, either, but a balance would be nice.) I believe a certain amount of life experience is helpful, a certain amount of professional experience is helpful, and if you’re going to be in politics, and certain amount of political experience is helpful. And I don’t want to pay you to learn on the job more than is necessary.
And then specific to Omar, I have problems with her various but repeated minor ethics/finance violations, her inability to articulate actual policy on some issues (BDS being one of the biggies, actually), her vacuous and unrealistic goals in other issues, and of course her media-whoring combined with at-best embarrassing blunders, and at worst anti-Semitic opinions, over Israel.
So I voted for the Republican candidate despite knowing very little about her: I checked out her website to confirm she wasn’t a radical righty, which (considering the district in which she was running) I doubted. I saw nothing to terrify me and frankly I knew she’d lose anyway, but yeah … I voted for a Republican congressperson. Very big moment for me. I’m going to support someone other than her in the primary and if necessary, I will be voting Republican again in the actual race for that seat in ’20.
This is the best news I've had in a while! I mean, not that she had a chance. But seriously, I despise that woman. She has seemed to me to be as cynical and opportunistic a politician as is out there, and her pathetic attempt at a Harris-style takedown (as if that were something to aspire to) against Biden in the last debates was a joke.
By the way, the story you quoted contains a small part of what I dislike so much about Gillibrand.
“I think that women have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country,” Ms. Gillibrand said, adding, “I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting.”
The latter half of that quote, I can get behind and agree with to some extent. As with Pres. Obama as the nation's first black president, or JFK as the first Catholic (back when that mattered), and so on, I think there is some kind of value to those sorts of things. They do let the world know that America is a place where the most qualified, most talented person can rise to any position.
But the first part of that quote enrages me. It is sexist. Ms. Gillibrand is sexist. It's tiresome. That is exactly the sort of nonsense that turns people in this country off by the millions, and not because they are sexist, racist, or anythingphobic, but rather because it is trying to respond to past wrongs with future wrongs.
Pardon my conceit with a doozy, here. But keep in mind reading this that I'm not a conservative. I do have some conservative tendencies here and there--namely in that I believe chaos is the natural state and everything better than that is a good thing; that change should be measured and gradual in the interest of not breaking what's good; and that institutions (having generally proven themselves to work) ought to be respected--but I've considered myself left-leaning since I was a teenager, and sometimes quite far left. So what I'm saying below isn't about the left being bad, or the right being good and deserving of a defense.
But this Washington Post column is a load of shit.
I'm not saying the main point isn't accurate (though I don't know, other than what is said in the story). It might be. But that point is this: some of the language or points of argumentation we hear from conservatives today--particularly about the importance of reason, science, and free speech; about the risks of tearing down institutions; and about the importance of civility--is eerily similar to arguments from slavery apologists 150 years ago.
That might be true. The language, and maybe even the arguments, may well be similar or the same. But stop and think: does that mean anything at all? Is the actual point here that we ought not argue for reason, science, and free speech? Is the emphasis of those things tainted by the Confederates of old?
That. Is. Moronic.
Confederates also claimed the imprimatur of God Himself. Guess what: so did abolitionists! There are dozens of (Democratic party produced) yard signs in my neighborhood talking about "we believe in science," etc. OK, so are they to be compared with advocates of slavery? To say that the same rough line of reasoning (or even sometimes the same words) have been used by different people over time isn't a shocking coincidence proving alignment, it's FUCKING OBVIOUS. Western civilization on the whole has "believed in" freedom, reason, logic, science, and free speech since the Enlightenment, and people on all sides of all issues have used that sort of argument to defend wildly diverse and sometimes contradictory positions.
Further, the article more or less just lays out a similar kind of lame attack on people included in the so-called "Intellectual Dark Web" (dumbest name ever), a loose coalition of people ranging from VERY conservative (Ben Shapiro) to VERY progressive (Bret Weinstein) and everywhere in between (Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Eric Weinstein, Bari Weiss, Christina Hoff-Sommers, Steve Pinker, Jonathan Haidt, and so on). Every such article simply lumps these people together into a far-right or alt-right territory and basically dismisses them as whining about being suppressed, even as their apparent jealousy about those people's ratings on nontraditional outlets is impossible to miss ... because the articles always mention it. It's funny how everyone always sees his opponent's "victim mentality" while being blind to his own even as he screams it.
This writer (who inevitably in this kind of article begins with her conservative bona fides, which sound a lot like "I have black friends" or "My hairdresser is gay") does exactly what bothers me about many people and their takes on their political opponents: they simultaneously make them superhuman evil masterminds and whiny, childish imbeciles. Which is it? For example, she says these people thrive exclusively on their victimhood: if they talk about being persecuted, that is their/an identity. Vanity Fair recently said NYT opinion writer Bari Weiss is sometimes called “alt-right” and “fascist;” this writer runs with that and concludes that “if she’s not defined by being hated, then what is she?” Because apparently being an NYT columnist isn’t an identity. Funny, considering earlier in the article she uses these people's popular positions as proof that they aren’t victims or powerless. So are they someone because of their roles, or would they be no one without the identity? It’s her argument, and she is taking both sides.
She closes the piece with “If somebody says liberals have become illiberal, you should consider whether it’s true. But you should also know that this assertion has a long history and that George Wallace and Barry Goldwater used it in their eras to powerful effect. People who make this claim aren’t “renegades.” They’re heirs to an extremely specific tradition in American political rhetoric, one that has become a dangerous inheritance.”
Are you kidding me? First, I'm all for people shutting the hell up about trying to paint themselves as oppressed or as being renegades in all but the most obviously true cases. But is this writer, Eve Fairbanks, honestly saying that the likes of not only the very conservative Ben Shapiro or (absurdly) controversial Jordan Peterson, but the milquetoast Bret Stephens, Nicholas Kristof, and the liberal Sam Harris are the equivalent of slaveholders? Seriously?
This is the sort of article that gives conservatives their ammunition. It pushes them further right. It makes them more dismissive of the left. And what's more, it is either idiotic or dishonest anyway. I have some ideas as to why mainstream media journalists have been so opposed to these popular "thinkers" (the wisdom of each particular one I won't even incorporate into my point, but would be happy to later), but that's for another day.
For the time being, I just need to say, Washington Post, you are better than that.
Nice 'angry face' pic of Ben Shapiro. That proves it!
Seriously, the hyperbole link was the greatest stretch of the article for me. A radio commentator said something hyperbolic?! Sold.
In a way, I think the article boils down to this one line, "I know what they say they worry about, but I don’t know what they want." So, I guess there's no point in conversing then? The author is making their point. Or, at the very least, sowing distrust.
The column is less about why people hate religion, and more about Egan detailing why people hate hypocritical religiosity, and implying that liberals hate conservative religiosity. The latter two aren't the same thing, and neither is the same as the purported premise of the column.
That people hate hypocritical religiosity is not something I'd want to argue: they overwhelmingly do (even if they are probably hypocritical to some extent in deciding which other hypocrites to condemn because of the sort of biases we've all got to defend our perceived friends and condemn our perceived enemies).
Egan is basically deciding what is "good religion" versus "bad religion." Helping refugees is his main version of the good, as the subtitle makes clear: "The charlatans and phonies preen and punish, while those of real faith do Christ’s work among refugees." See? Egan knows what "real faith" is. And make no mistake, there is plenty in the New Testament about helping the poor, helping refugees. I would agree that caring for those in need is a moral good. But is it "real faith?" Is it the epitome of Christianity specifically?
Not necessarily. Let's look at a few passage from the Gospel of Matthew. By way of background, Matthew is generally considered to be the most "Jewish" of the Gospels, likely written by a Jewish Christian in Alexandria, Egypt. (We can get into the reasons for thinking so if you want.) Matthew 10:5-42 outlines Jesus' instructions to his disciples.
"...Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." Not inclusive, that's for sure, and certainly rough on the poor Samaritans. (Do you know who Samaritans were? Think of it this way: if California is Judea and Washington is Galilee, Oregon is Samaria. The Samaritans were Jews ethnically and religiously with some doctrinal difference.)
"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words ... I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." (Mt. 10:14-15)
You might be thinking, "sure, but later on wasn't there a more inclusive message?" Sure, depending on which books you read. But that speech actually ends with this:
"I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." (Mt. 10:23) In other words, Jesus (according to the author of Matthew) told his disciples ought to ignore non-Jews, that God would condemn Jews who didn't listen to the message, and that there would be no later opportunity to help them--it was all ending soon.
Later, in Mt. 16, we get the story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman. (Mt. 15:21-28) She cries that her daughter is possessed by demons (as happens...). Jesus answers her that he "was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel," and that "it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." Read that again: the suffering kid from the next county over is unworthy of being helped because she is the equivalent of a Jew's dog. She begs further that even dogs are fed crumbs, and Jesus decides to help her after all, so it ends well. But is this an example of the modern conception of Christian charity? Is this helping poor refugees? Or is this an annoyed Jesus making an exception?
Would Jesus really be nasty, though? Xenophobic? Well, consider the names of two of the disciples: Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. "Zealot" is a specific term referring to a party of xenophobic, highly conservative religious warriors, basically. Think Taliban. And Iscariot doesn't seem to be a word or name, appearing nowhere else, but often considered to be a permutation of the word "sicarii." The sicarii were a splinter group of zealots named for their daggers who committed terrorist murders of not just foreigners, but insufficiently doctrinally pure Jews. Jesus had some interesting disciples.
This is getting too long as it is, so I won't get into the other thing that Egan apparently thinks makes for a "real" Christian: accepting homosexuality and/or gay marriage. I'll just briefly note that while Egan is correct that Jesus isn't quoted as mentioning homosexuality, someone writing in Paul's name most certainly did, and the tradition of both early Jews and Christians was not favorable toward any sex outside of the marriage traditions of the time. (And in fact, Paul wasn't even a fan of that, thinking the world was ending soon and so people shouldn't be wasting time with marriage or sex.)
I don't say this to badmouth Christianity, I say this to point out that the Bible in many parts--not just Old Testament, often seen as the bad part, but the New Testament, and even Jesus himself--does not correspond to modern morality. A person who believes the Gospel as told by Matthew not only wouldn't necessarily think helping foreign refugees was ordered by Jesus, but quite literally the opposite. And if that person wasn't Jewish, he, too, may well be on the outside of that equation, too.
Jesus is portrayed as opposing hypocrisy, there is no question about that. But "being good" does not equate to "Christianity," as Biblically understood. Yes, many modern mainline Christian denominations have come around to that philosophy, and that's fine. Freedom of religion. But let's not pretend that modern morals--to say nothing of Democratic Party morals or leftist morals--are what the Bible generally teaches, or reflect what some historical Jesus of Nazareth did or would have taught.
The Catholic church and evangelicals have different points of emphasis from the Bible, but one case or the other they both retain elements that aren't popular anymore, especially among liberals. No question about it. I don't defend their views, that's for sure. But those views often DO have Biblical precedent / justification. And if you believe the Bible is inspired word of God, then that's that. You don't need the New York Times's liberal opinion columnist to tell you what your own religion does or doesn't teach.
EDIT - I guess this post could have just been this sentence: You don't get to criticize someone as definitively hypocritical or immoral for not following your version of their religion, and it's especially odious when you're doing it for political points.
jk: Sheriff John Stone: Are you planning to continue your Sparks history? It's been fascinating so far and I'm sure I'm not the only poster here who would appreciate it. When the time is right, of course.
Sept 20, 2021 20:19:15 GMT
Sheriff John Stone: Thanks, jk. I apologize for dragging my feet. I expect to have something posted in a few days.
Sept 20, 2021 22:35:38 GMT
Kapitan: That is NO EXCUSE. You're guilty as charged (said the guy who realized today he started a Prince thread like a month or more ago and 100% forgot about it).
Sept 20, 2021 22:48:03 GMT
jk: That's good news, Sheriff. And good news from you too, Cap'n.
Sept 21, 2021 10:12:14 GMT
carllove: Sheriff and Kapitan, totally understand! Just let us know when there is an update. I am enjoying both! I really appreciate both of your efforts!
Sept 21, 2021 13:44:37 GMT
carllove: Looks like Sheriff has already added to the Sparks history! Yay!
Sept 21, 2021 13:46:01 GMT
Kapitan: Shamed, I began a new Prince thread post. But work rudely interrupted by wanting me to, you know, work. So it'll have to wait.
Sept 21, 2021 19:31:50 GMT
jk: Ooohh, we need a new "year" -- preferably from someone who hasn't chosen one yet...
Sept 22, 2021 9:59:24 GMT
Kapitan: Yes, let's keep it going. If you're not sure which years we've covered, check the first post of the thread: I've edited it to list each year we've touched upon.
Sept 22, 2021 13:10:08 GMT
jk: If no one jumps in soon, I'll go for 1997, which is 13 years back from 2010. Fact is, we haven't had a '90s year yet.
Sept 22, 2021 13:46:32 GMT
Kapitan: No, but we do have a whole '90s thread that covered a lot of that territory. (In fact, that's what inspired the idea, to some extent)
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:28 GMT
Kapitan: Not that I'm opposed to a '90s year, mind you
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:58 GMT
jk: I see where you're coming from, Cap'n. I even did a double-take when looking through 1997 albums and songs (these look familiar!). My next suggestion is that we go back 13 years from 1972 to 1959.
Sept 22, 2021 17:04:34 GMT
jk: OK, it's one of the "doldrum years" but it was crammed full of goodies that even register with folks who weren't born for another 20 years. Of course, if anyone has a better idea, I'm all for it.
Sept 22, 2021 17:05:59 GMT
Kapitan: That would make sense; we also haven't really touched the early to mid 80s, which I'm sure people (mostly) recall. And of course EVERY year in the '60s seems loaded...
Sept 22, 2021 17:06:53 GMT
jk: Yes, the early-ish '80s also came to mind. But let's see who else joins in...
Sept 22, 2021 17:08:04 GMT
Kapitan: So far we've had me, jk, kds, and carllove choosing years. Would love to expand that circle.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:20 GMT
Kapitan: Which, I guess with four of us so far, is more a square.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:38 GMT