Friday, March 19, 2010


QOTD, beltane:
Am I supposed to be relieved or concerned that out of every four people I see, one of them is bound to be crazy?
C Street marked by failures
March 18: Rachel Maddow updates the news on embattled members of the C Street "Family," Congressman Bart Stupak, Senator John Ensign, and Governor Mark Sanford. The Interfaith Alliance's Reverend Welton Gaddy joins to discuss the intersection of religion and politics.

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John Cole: They’re Wingnuts


As if relations between Israel and the United States weren’t icy enough lately, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, has now publicly called President Barack Obama an anti-semite on an Army Radio program:
    It’s not that Obama doesn’t like Bibi. He doesn’t like the nation of Israel… When there is an anti-Semitic president in the United States, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever.

The biggest immediate problem for Israel right now is that the American public is going to start to make the connection between the wingnuts at the Weekly Standard and the teabagging fools in the GOP and the hard-right government in Israel. If you listen to the interview, Rev. Wright makes an appearance. Right now, the usual suspects think they are really putting it to Obama, but I suspect he will just let them keep talking and talking.

On the upside, I don’t think he mentioned death panels or Obama’s birth certificate.

Sully: Foxman Calls Petraeus A Jew-Baiter

The man with the fax machine has declared that Petraeus' recent comments on Israel "[smack] of blaming the Jews for everything.” Yglesias yawns. Meanwhile, back on planet earth, Josh Marshall highlights the unavoidable truths Petraeus said in his prepared remarks to Congress this week:

The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [CentCom Area of Responsibility]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.

Josh comments:

In a sense, all of this is no more than commonsense, a given in many conversations about the US position in the world, especially in the arc of Muslim majority nations from the eastern Mediterranean to Indonesia. The continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict directly harms the vital interests of the United States. But if this is the consensus view at the highest levels of the US military, that's a very different world we're living in than the one we've been in heretofore.

What remains to be seen is whether this is a statement not to be acted upon or a strategic analysis that will inform Pentagon policy.

Reality is meeting a lobby. In Washington, that usually means the lobby wins. But this time, we are at war and America's vital interests are at stake. This will be a struggle - but that there is a struggle at all is progress in a way. I'd be more worried if no sparks were flying.

Ackerman: Abe Foxman ‘Smacks’ Gen. Petraeus

A million thanks to FNord for catching this – my life is too fleeting to spend reading the Jerusalem Post — but it would appear that Abe Foxman, that frivolous poltroon, is warning of a new danger rising in the shtetl:

Israel should immediately battle a charge emerging in the US that its actions are endangering the lives of US soldiers, because it is a particularly “pernicious” argument that “smacks of blaming the Jews for everything,” Anti-Defamation League National Chairman Abe Foxman said on Monday.

Foxman, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, was replying to an emerging theme that has run through the public discussion in the US of the Interior Ministry’s announcement of plans to build 1,600 housing units in northeast Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood: that Israel’s actions could cost the lives of American soldiers.

That sentiment was expressed by such noted antisemites as Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Central Command chief who tried and failed to get Israel, the West Bank and Gaza placed under his area of responsibility. At the risk of concern-trollery, allow me to offer some free advice to my shtetlmate Foxman: Do not fuck with David Petraeus. Do not come within a football field of implying he is an antisemite. Do not formulate any construction, no matter how weaselly and crass and insulting to the intelligence, that leaves the slightest, faintest, remotest indication that he has any animus at all to Israel or the Jewish people.

Indeed, let’s take a look at what that weasel word was. We cannot discuss the security implications for the United States of Israeli actions, Foxman instructs, because that “smacks of blaming the Jews.” Yes, it “smacks.” It leaves a bad taste in Foxman’s sour mouth. Something is “smacking” Foxman’s delicate sensibilities, and it’s the prospect of a grown-up argument about what Israel does and what that means to the United States.

The truth is that nothing in this complex and variated world is monocausal, and it’s rare that you can find any one action in the security sphere that directly and exclusively leads to an equal and opposite reaction. Such is true of Israel and the United States. But it would be equally foolish and immature to rule out of analytic consideration that what Israel does contributes to the insecurity of the region and, when U.S. troops are in the region, contributes to their jeopardy. You can find this when Moqtada Sadr freaks out in Iraq because of the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Lebanon. Or when a sick fuck like al-Qaeda’s Khost bomber claims to have his radicalism strengthened by Operation Cast Lead. Or when Usama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, seeing that their hold on the Muslim mind is weak, attempts to appropriate Muslim bitterness over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to bolster their support. In none of these cases can you say Had Israel Not Done This, Then That Wouldn’t Have Happened, because the counterfactual conditional makes for sloppy reasoning. But you also can’t say it had no effect when the ripple effects of Israeli actions on American security are so obvious and manifested. Recognizing that doesn’t remotely make you a Blame-The-Jews guy. It makes you a minimally informed and thoughtful observer of the Middle East.

The fact that Foxman wants to keep that consideration out of bounds demonstrates how insecure he is about winning a mature argument. And so he’s willing to intimate in a circus-huckster manner that Gen. Petraeus and other members of the Obama administration have something against the Jews. I’ll tell you what I’d like to smack.

John Cole: John Rogers Is a Genius

More ammunition for the defense of the crazification factor:

Some 27 percent of Israelis believe that U.S. President Barack Obama is anti-Semitic, according to a Haaretz-Dialog poll conducted this week.

Anpther 56 percent questions said they don’t believe politicians who call Obama anti-Semitic or hostile to Israel, or who say he is “striving to topple Netanyahu.”

On the whole, Obama’s popularity may be declining in American public opinion, but a sweeping majority of Israelis think his treatment of this country is friendly and fair.

Just the other day, 27% of Hiram Monseratte’s district decided that despite the fact he was convicted of slashing his significant other, he deserved their vote.

I’m telling you- pay attention to 27%. It is uncanny how often it shows up.

Sully: Bursting The Neocon Balloon

Obama is well-regarded among non-wing-nut Israelis and the Israeli population at large, unlike the lobby that purports to represent them, is evenly split over the critical issue:

Nearly half the respondents (48 percent) said Israel must keep building in the capital, even at the expense of a rift with the United States, while 41 percent said Israel must accept the American demand (and Palestinian ultimatum) to stop building in Jerusalem until the end of the negotiations (which haven't begun yet)... Though the public remained composed in the face of the diplomatic fracas, poll respondents are not thrilled with the prime minister's conduct in the affair.

More people said Netanyahu's behavior was irresponsible than said he acted responsibly.

Meanwhile, Laura Rozen pens a drily hilarious sentence:

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren channeled Netanyahu's anticipated response to U.S. demands to the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl earlier Thursday.


Sully: “I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working with children’”

18 Mar 2010 07:31 pm

The psychiatrist who warned Ratzinger's archdiocese about pedophlle priest Peter Hullerman goes public:

“I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working with children,’” the psychiatrist Werner Huth said in an interview Thursday. “I was very unhappy about the entire story.” Dr. Huth said he was concerned enough that he set three conditions for treating the priest, Peter Hullermann: that he stay away from young people and alcohol and be supervised by another priest at all times. Dr. Huth said he issued the warnings — explicit, both written and oral — before the future pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, left Germany for the Vatican in 1982. In 1980, following abuse complaints from parents in Essen that the priest did not deny, Archbishop Ratzinger approved a decision to move the priest to Munich for therapy.

Here is where things start unraveling for the Pope:

The psychiatrist said in an interview he did not have any direct communications with Archbishop Ratzinger and did not know if the archbishop knew about his warnings. Though he said he spoke with several senior church officials, Dr. Huth’s main contact at the time was a bishop, Heinrich Graf von Soden-Fraunhofen, who died in 2000...

In the minutes taken by the priest in charge of the parish at the meeting with the parents, he noted that they “would not file charges under the current circumstances” in order to protect their children.... Spared prosecution after his transgressions in Essen, which according to the statement released by the diocese he “did not dispute,” Father Hullermann instead was ordered to undergo therapy with Dr. Huth. The archdiocese said that order was approved personally by Archbishop Ratzinger.

So we are asked to believe that, as archbishop, Ratzinger personally approved an order for a priest to be transferred to Munich for therapy, after his archdiocese had been repeatedly and explicitly warned that this priest was a danger to children - but that Ratinger had no idea what that therapy was about, and bears no responsibility at all for the acts of abuse committed then and thereafter by this protected child-rapist.

Yes, it appears that this is what we are being asked to believe.

Bias defends 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy
March 18: Major Michael Almy, former U.S. Air Force Communications Officer discharged under "Don't ask, don't tell," talks with Rachel Maddow about the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the policy and the misconceptions about gays in the military.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Madrak (C&L): Why Is Fox Funding Ops Research On A Minister Simply For Preaching Social Justice?

Burns Strider, of the American Values Network, makes a good point. Why is Fox funding research to discredit a minister for believing in social justice?

This past week, Glenn Beck publicly revealed that his staff is moving beyond simply twisting the news for ideological ends to now funding opposition research and internet attack campaigns with the stated purpose of destroying the personal credibility of pastors who dare to question statements made by FOX commentators.

By now, many people are probably familiar with Glenn Beck's statement from a couple of weeks ago that any church that talks about "social or economic justice" is not of Christ but is instead spreading Nazi or communist propaganda, and that Beck's listeners should leave those churches. (Funny, Beck's own Mormon faith uses those terms throughout its website.)There was an immediate response from pastors around the country citing the overwhelming call for economic and social justice in Scripture ... and Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches, provided a wonderful summary of the Scriptural case on theHuffington Post.

But the pastor who quickly rose to the lead of the Catholic, mainline, and evangelical rebuke of Glenn Beck was Rev. Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners.And so with no scriptural or theological arguments to fall back upon, Glenn Beck apparently decided that his only option is to try to destroy Rev. Wallis personally.

Personal attacks aren't uncommon from partisan commentators, but what is especially troubling about this most recent development is that Glenn Beck isn't just planning to throw insults; he said that he has been using his FOX staff to research everything that Rev. Wallis has ever said or done and to dig up dirt on the people who work with the pastor.

I know Rev. Wallis both professionally and as a friend. I've watched him coach my son in Little League baseball and prayed with him for the strength and success of our great nation. Beck's attacks are contextually fictitious to the point of being imaginary. It's quite sad, actually. He's about to overcook my grits.

But Rev. Wallis continues to take the high road, speaking out for the power and calling of social justice, refraining from personal attacks, and reminding us that Dr. King stood down injustice and promoted social justice by confronting, not attacking.But that is all for another time. Why is FOX funding research to discredit an American minister?

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