Those rockets really contain care packages.

Remember when you were away from home for the first time, like summer camp or college, and homesick? You really looked forward to mom sending you “care” packages with cookies and other treats? Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) says that the Palestinian movement against Israel is non-violent: “In the situation of Palestine, what we are doing right now is having hypocrisy in not celebrating non-violent movements there and condemning it.” So I suppose those rockets that Hamas frequently sends over from Gaza contain treats for Israeli schoolchildren?

Israeli Ofir Gendelman posted a YouTube video of Senior Hamas leader Fathi Hammad saying, “Hamas has built a new factory for making suicide vests that will be given to Palestinian girls (and boys) in order to storm the Israeli border and blow up Israeli families.” Now you know why Israel protects the border with Gaza from Hamas. Omar, who according to herself, “loves America more than any native born American”, takes lies and hypocrisy to greater apogees than those Hamas rockets. There is a sense in which she is right, though not in the way she intended.

There is a story in the NY Times by Isabel Kershner:

BILIN, West Bank — On a recent weekday, Muhammad Abu Rahma returned to the place where Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers used to clash in weekly confrontations that made the West Bank village of Bilin a symbol of resistance against the Israeli occupation. But this time, he came not to protest but to picnic with his wife and three children. He had served three terms in prison for his activities at the height of the protests. But now, at 33, he had a family and a job as a garbage collector. “People want money to live, and permits,” he said, referring to the Israeli permits allowing laborers to work in Israel, where they can earn twice as much as they do in the Palestinian territories.

In a 2011 analysis for Asia Times, David Goldman counseled Israel not to attempt to make peace with a Palestinian population heavily tilted towards hot-headed youngsters, and to wait until the declining Palestinian fertility rate had raised the average age of the West Bank population. Like Northern Ireland, the militants would find themselves married with mortgages (at least those who survived). He further writes about the situation, below.

Non violent? “Around 80,000 Palestinian men are employed by one or another of the “security forces” in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestine Authority’s grossly inflated numbers claim that there were 587,000 men aged 20 to 40 in the territories; the actual number is probably around 400,000, which means that one in five has a job carrying a gun. Taking unemployment into account, that implies that one in three Palestinian men with a full-time job is a gunman.

Hopeful? “That may change over time. 5,800 Palestinians are working at technology companies on the West Bank, and the booming Israeli software sector is outsourcing to the West Bank, with a third of Palestinian software companies filling orders for Israeli firms, Bloomberg News reported March 15. 

“And the top school for Palestinian computer science students is Ariel University in Samaria, in the midst of a settlement near Nablus. ‘Administrators at the Ariel University Center are proud to have the Arab students, saying their enrollment is an example of loyalty and equality among Israeli citizens. For their part, the Arab students seem not to feel uncomfortable attending the college despite its reputation and location,‘ wrote the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘On campus the fact that we are in occupied territory is irrelevant—it doesn’t affect us at all. We leave all the politics outside,’ the Chronicle quoted Manar Dewany, a 20-year-old student in math and computer science who commutes each day from the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh. ‘I never even considered it a reason for not coming here,’ Ms. Dewany added. ‘I have no problem with it. Why not come here? This place is full of Arabs‘.” What? This is in Israel, don’t you want to strap on a vest? What about all the suicide vests that will go to waste in Hamas warehouses?

“No one outsources computer technology to Egypt, where very few of each year’s crop of 700,000 college graduates meets world standards. The education that young Arabs receive at the settlers’ university on the West Bank is better than anything available among Israel’s Arab neighbors. In a quiet way, the settlers of Samaria may do more for peace than the diplomats.

“By 2040, the stone-throwing kids of the First Intifada will be close to retirement age, and the gun-toting young men who dominate today’s Palestinian employment picture (or those who still are alive) will have families. If they missed out on high-tech jobs, the spillover from the West Bank’s economic growth—driven in turn by Israel’s economic miracle—will keep them employed in service industries. Absent additional violence, the West Bank will flourish while Egypt and Syria descend into penury and chaos.

“There is no urgency to make peace, except in the minds of the Palestinians’ present leaders. The world has allowed them to rule a little fiefdom as warlords of private armies, with little accounting for billions in foreign aid, and the opportunity to indulge in a grand ideological tantrum on the tab of Western donors. The window is closing for radical Islam. That makes the present an exceptionally dangerous period, because the radicals know that it is closing. The Palestinians of the West Bank are better off than any other Arabs in the region by any tangible measure—health, literacy, higher education, per capital income.”

This hopeful picture can also be applied to our country. The young firebrands of Antifa and the Democrats will eventually move out of mom’s basement, get a real job, grow up and look around the world, finally appreciating the words of Proverbs 20:29. “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (gray hair bringing wisdom folks!).

Trump tweets, enemies freak!

Honestly, if the media and the Democrats hadn’t made such a big deal of his “racist” tweet, I wouldn’t have even been aware of it. Since I am now, I thought it might be advisable to actually read what he sent rather than accepting the mass narrative about it. It was actually three parts: (Tweet 1) So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly..….(tweet 2) and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how.….(tweet 3) it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

My analysis: Part one is true about the governing of the countries to the “left of the hyphen”. What I mean by that phrase is that Rashida Tlaib designates herself as “Palestinian-American” and Ilan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, designates herself as “Somali-American”. The “left of hyphen” governments are totally dysfunctional, though these Congresswomen are American citizens so the phrase “originally came from” lacks precision. AOC was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican ancestry, but the government of P.R. is very dysfunctional too. Still, the idea itself is basically “physician heal thyself.”

Part two is more inflammatory and inaccurate, though the principle, which is “show us how it’s done” is not. Tlaib and AOC aren’t from anywhere but here, so they can’t “go back”, nor does anyone in Congress control how people vote, but they do constantly and negatively dispense unwelcome and inaccurate criticism of our system. Part three is the one that Trump’s enemies have yelled loudest at, describing it as telling unnamed “progressive” Democrats to get out of the country. He’s actually making a joke about the relationship between Pelosi and the “squad” of three, while obliquely saying that Nancy Pelosi would love to get rid of them, which is patently true.

In sum, then, the total tweet was inflammatory and imprecise, but the principles espoused are true. If you insist on advertising your ancestry and hyphenating your citizenship, and encouraging others to do the same, while endlessly criticizing everything about the country you are elected to represent, and expressing contempt rather than gratitude (that might make a great tweet) for both your privilege (yes, privilege) and people who don’t agree with you—which is most of the country—don’t be surprised at President “Id” (Freudian) saying what’s on the mind of most Americans! The only non-US born rep, Omar, also has the nerve to say, “I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born and because I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy…” She further added that the question, “why can’t you be more like an American? used to be a very positive thing.” Hey lady, it still is. Omar also said that she thinks “dogs are being treated better than undocumented immigrants in the U.S.” The narrative about deliberate mistreatment of immigrants is false and undermining. And Dogs? Don’t they eat them where you come from?

The whole brouhaha about the tweet plays into Trump’s hands. For one thing, he didn’t name anyone in the tweet, so predictably the Democrats leaped to the defense of the squad of three, thus admitting they know who the charge “ingrate” will stick to. Trump knows the press has a strong instinct to repeat his most outrageous claims, and this allows him put the press to work as a marketing agency for his ideas. He reaches millions of people through constant repetition in the press and social media. Language works by activating brain structures called “frame-circuits” used to understand experience. They get stronger when we hear the activating language. Enough repetition can make them permanent, changing how we view the world. Even negating a frame-circuit activates and strengthens it, as when Nixon said “I am not a crook” and people thought of him as a crook.

Then there are what cognitive scientists call “salient exemplars”–well-publicized individual cases, where wide publicity leads the public to take them as having a high probability and typifying a whole class. Trump turns them into buffoon stereotypes. The dominant media is actually subservient to Trump for gathering eyeballs, but they inadvertently allow him to control the news cycle. News gathering used to be a serious affair controlled by editors whose power rivals any politician’s. By chasing his tweets and elevating every sideshow, they further promote the polarization that he benefits from. They can’t win this fight. Trump’s views are shared by far more voters than either the media’s or the Democrats’, even if advanced polemically and abrasively. He is saying what most of the country is thinking, though it comes off inelegantly.

When he lies or exaggerates, his enemies jump right in by spreading his lies and offering even more and bigger lies (looking at you, AOC). In their ceaseless efforts to discredit him, they exaggerate what he says, constantly putting his name in their headlines, leads or hashtags. Hitler lied so often and used a cowed and co-opted press to repeat his lies because “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”. Trump isn’t Hitler but he understands the principle, and the media become his agents by keeping him in the news. I use Flipboard to get my ideas of what to blog about, because I can flip through hundreds of headlines rapidly. By now, I can tell you which media outlet is writing the headline without even looking. If Trump tweets something, I can tell by the distortion which outlet is writing about it.

AfroFuture Fest

Detroit got itself on the map, all right. AfroFuture Fest is going to happen in Detroit, and has garnered reviews of it’s ticket policy in newspapers, even in Britain. The Detroit Free Press had the most thorough exposition: “A Detroit music festival is changing its ticket pricing system after organizers say they were harassed by white supremacists and racist comments. When AfroFuture Fest, an August Afrocentric music and art festival, opened ticket sales, organizers were charging ‘early bird’ people of color $10 and ‘non-POC’ $20, with other tickets as high as $40 on Eventbrite.

“Last weekend, after the event was widely publicized and debated across social media, the national attention prompted organizers to change the pricing to $20 for all attendees. Organizers originally posted the event with an explanation: ‘The prices were based on the idea of equitable access to festivals, which are often cost-prohibitive and do not benefit the black communities that host them. Events often designed for marginalized Black and Brown communities can be easily co-opted by those with cultural, monetary, and class privileges,’ organizer Numi Ori wrote on Facebook. ‘Our goal is to ensure that the youth of our communities can participate in the building of a just society; one that promotes EQUITY over EQUALITY.[sic]’

“While organizers said they intended to make the festival more accessible, the doubled price for white festival goers sparked pushback from performers as well. Tiny Jag, a Detroit-based rapper who is biracial, was slated to perform at the festival, but pulled out of the lineup in a Twitter announcement, writing the pricing system ‘does not reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team’.”

Elsewhere she wrote, “I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial. I have family members that would have, under those circumstances, been subjected to something that I would not ever want them to be in … especially not because of anything that I have going on….It’s non-progressive and it’s not solution-focused in my eyes….It seems almost like it has spite, and unfortunately with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change.” I heartily applaud her, and her family members should be charged only $15, the “half and half” rate.

The truth about updated ticket prices: The event’s hosting site, Eventbrite, threatened to take the festival’s page down if organizers did not change the pricing, which an Eventbrite spokesperson said violated company terms. “We also let them know that if they did not comply, we would remove the event completely from our site,” the spokesperson said in a statement. In a Monday post, which smacks of Jussie Smollettism, Ori wrote that she and fellow organizer Franchesca Lamarre were changing the pricing system because of racist harassment. “There is no other reason why. This was for the sake of safety,” she wrote.  “For the safety of our community, family, elders who received threats from white supremacists,& youth who were subjected to seeing racist comments on our IG pg, Afrofuture Fest has changed our ticketing model to $20 General Admission & suggested donation for nonPOC on @eventbrite.”

Once again EventBrite fired back with the truth: “While the creator removed the discriminatory pricing for admission, we were made aware they added an optional donation ticket type that was still based on a protected characteristic,” Eventbrite’s statement reads. “Given this also violated our Terms, we removed that specific ticket type and communicated to the creator that they can include a donation option so long as it’s inclusive of all attendees.”

Not one to fail to get the last word in, Ori wrote in a July 5 Facebook post: “I don’t feel not one ounce of sadness or regret about Franchesca Lamarre and I’s choice for creating this ticket structure,….. Don’t comment on here about what we could have done differently with the structure. We did what we did and equity matters.” Their Twitter page got no visible threats but hundreds of tweets decrying their racist ticket policy.

On their website, the organizers of this music festival explained why they were charging white people twice as much: “Why do we have POC (people of color) and Non-POC (white people) tickets? I’m glad you asked! Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity is insuring (sic) everyone has what they need to be successful. Our ticket structure was built to insure [sic] that the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit). If they were truly concerned with the Detroit black community being successful, the festival would have featured speakers like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, Candace Owens and Condolezza Rice, instead of rappers.

Their definition of equity is hypocritical also. If equity is “insuring” (it should read ensuring, but that’s just me) that “everyone has what they need to be successful”, but “are provided with” what they need-passive wording-rather than actively earning what they need, who “insures”, who “provides”? That definition is really implying that the recipients are unable to find success via their own efforts. I call that a residual slave mentality.

Okay, there’s multiculturalism, but I say a white person desiring to go to AfroFuture Fest is white virtue signaling. Any white people should be charged $1,000 minimum if they are really serious about their virtue.

The secret Starbucks woke drink menu, code-named “Berkeley.”

I found out about it when I mistakenly grabbed someone else’s mobile order, thinking it was my regular Americano, and discovered the White-Privilege latte: blond roast coffee beans, foamed white macadamia milk with a hint of white sugar, in an all-white cup with the Starbucks logo in blond rather than green. Ugh, I like stuff that is robust. When I complained to the barista that I needed something really strong to counteract the cloying taste in my mouth, she leaned really close and asked, “how strong do you like it?” Hoping that her question was sexual innuendo rather than customer service, I shot back, “how strong can you make it?” while trying to roll my eyes, but I also lost my balance and reached out to grab her hand, as she pulled me close and whispered throatily, “have you heard of our secret drink menu? You have to say the magic word, Berkeley, and that gives me access to a secret room where we make the woke drinks.”

Recovering my balance, if not my composure and dignity, I asked in my most assertive voice, “what do you recommend?” She said, “if you can really handle super dark, I recommend the Black-Lives-Matter mocha. It’s 85% cacao dark syrup, in a cup of Ethiopia Sidamo French Roast, with foamed chocolate milk, in a brown cup with the Starbucks logo in black. Very classy.” As she led me through the secret portal, I was tempted to say, “you’re not so bad yourself” but just then another customer who was already in the secret menu room ordered a #MeTo-Mocha Frappuccino, while eyeing me suspiciously, and that put an end to my fantasy. All around the room were posters of the woke menu drinks: Get-The-Blue-Out-of-Here blueberry lemonade, made with albino “blueberries” and off limits to police, Transgender Chai-Creme Frappuccino, Pinkberri-Soccer-Matcha tea latte, intended to honor Megan Rapinoe (free to anyone who can produce LGBTQ credentials and pink-purple hair), and the actual drink that inspired the whole menu, the Tie-Dye Holdover-Hippie Frappuccino, in both adult and child strengths.

I went with the Black-Lives-Matter mocha. Just as I was about to raise my cup, a mob of 40+ teenagers–that’s in number, not age nor maturity–rampage into the store, having just looted and vandalized the Walgreens across the street, with an Antifa vanguard shoving the Starbucks customers out of the way. I spilled my boiling hot mocha all over the woman with the #MeTo-Mocha-Frappuccino, prompting a roundhouse slap to my right eye, knocking my glasses off, into a vat of Frappuccino syrup. The store manager rushed over, asking the Antifa leader if he needed a witness, in case he wanted to sue me for being in the way (but he moaned that he was late for dinner at mommy’s house). She also offered me a coupon for a free Starbucks training called How to Tell the Disabled From the Merely Clumsy.

Having lost both my glasses and my cane in the melee, I was in no mood. Fortunately, before I made a nasty remark, I woke up. Remind me not to drink a tie-dye Frap before bed again.

“If you disagree with me, you are not only wrong, but evil.”

Democrats under the covers…

Maureen Dowd is a prototypical super-liberal columnist. In a recent Op-Ed in the NY Times, she said that a certain group “acts as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.” Now we honest conservatives–and anyone with ears to hear, eyes to see, at least minimal brain power–know that is how the Perfectionist Progressives treat us. Who was the group saying what Dowd was referring to? It was the Progressives in the Democrats’ shiny, new electees! No surprise there. The surprise was the group that is the object of their wrath was–the Democrat leadership! Stop the presses, the young Perfectionist Progressives are turning the fire hoses of their wrath on their own leaders! Because they know best.

The A.O.C. crew threw down the gauntlet in a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by The Intercept’s Ryan Grim. He wrote that when Pelosi and other Democratic mandarins try to keep the image of the party centrist, they are crouching in “the defensive posture” they’ve been in since the Reagan revolution. Corbin Trent, a spokesman for A.O.C. and co-founder of Justice Democrats, the progressive group that helped propel her, told Grim: “The greatest threat to mankind is the cowardice of the Democratic Party,” with the older generation “driven by fear” and “unable to lead.”

“Unable to lead?” Lead where, off the cliff, as in almost ALL the Perfectionist Progressive new ideas and unworkable policies? “Driven by fear?” Of what, of whom? Establishment Republicans? Puleese! No, fear of The Donald, who inconveniently happens to be President, mean tweets and all. Too bad, M.A.G.A. baby.

If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

God’s altar vs. man’s altar

The title is from Exodus 20:25, inspiring this meditation of Charles Spurgeon:

“God’s altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrines of the cross into a system more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments of the Lord’s own Word are defilements and pollutions.

“The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar. It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonour it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured. There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in him alone.

“There is among Christians far too much inclination to square and reconcile the truths of revelation; this is a form of irreverence and unbelief, let us strive against it, and receive truth as we find it; rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.”

The human desire for popularity and the fear of confrontation, confrontaphobia, are the most visible manifestations of “the proud heart of man”, which drives the never ending molding of scripture to fit the culture–the accumulation of the “depraved tastes of the fallen nature.” Even my commentary on Spurgeon is a manifestation of my depraved heart and desire to be respected. Therefore, I shut my mouth. I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:6.

Iron sharpens, flag flies, whiners complain.

Iron sharpens iron, as a man sharpens his friend.” Proverbs 27:17. I am reading a biography of Vince Lombardi, best known as the formidable coach of the Green Bay Packers. He gained both his football acumen and his molder of men knowledge as assistant coach at West Point and with the New York Giants pro football team. Much like his latter day incarnation, Bill Belichick, he very much believed Proverbs 27:17. In Green Bay he was preceded by a very wishy washy, casual and ineffective coach, and he realized that the players needed to get tougher on themselves. Whenever a player made a mistake in practice or wasn’t giving his all, he was kicked off the field and had to run laps around the perimeter. One of the players he recruited for his team was an all pro veteran from the NY Giants, Emlen Tunnell. The better and more important a player was to the team, the more Lombardi expected of him and the harder he was on him. Me understood this and ran his laps with enthusiasm and good nature, realizing that he was expected to set an example for the others. The same happens on the New England Patriots. Belichick is hardest on Brady, his best and most important player.

The title of the book is, When Pride Still Mattered. The kind of pride that real men have in their being called to set an example, when they know they are being singled out for harder treatment for that reason, is worthy of being preserved. That’s how men forge their closest bonds with each other. Em and coach Lombardi were great friends off the field too. Iron sharpens iron, as a man sharpens his friend. Maybe not so much today. I can’t speak authoritatively about female relationships, but I doubt that most women become very friendly with each when they have to say hard truths between them. Unfortunately, I have the same suspicions about modern men. Lombardi era men didn’t get triggered so easily. Perhaps men of that era were too stoic for their own and their family’s good. That was true of my own father, who in every way but showing emotions was a great example-setter. I wish our President Trump was a little more stoic and even tempered, though his outbursts always lead to the media and Democrats revealing more of who they are, very little of which is a good example either.

Vince Lombardi and President Reagan were better leaders, in that they believed that leadership was less about what you do and more about what you can enable others to do. Ron Kramer, the tight end of Lombardi’s Packers, said of their favorite play, The Sweep, “everybody is important on that play. It’s really all of life. We all have to do things together to make this thing we call America great. If we don’t, we’re f**ked.” Uh oh, early MAGA. Leaders are about others—their family, their country, their team—rather than themselves. They comport themselves consciously to bring honor on those they are associated with.

By my definition, the most visible members of the US Women’s National Team soccer are not leaders. The most self promoting and vociferous member, Megan Rapinoe, held the trophy up during a parade to honor the team, and said to the camera, “I deserve this.” In contrast, I have watched countless Heisman Trophy and NFL Hall of Fame acceptance speeches, and have not seen a single instance of Rapinoe‘s words uttered. Rather, virtually every Heisman winner thanks their families, coaches, teammates and mentors and defer the honor to them. Same for the NFL HOF recipients, though many of them are so old and battered that they also thank their doctors.

I think our country is at a great crossroads. Will we be a nation of the Star Spangled Banner, or a nation of “look at me, I’m the star”? Which is more likely to guarantee our children have a future? To help you decide, here are the first stanzas of our traditional national anthem, and my updated version for a self-seeking nation. Remember, Megan says “I will never sing the National Anthem.”

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

“Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

“And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

For her and “like-minded” people (Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Megan said that she would be willing to have a “substantive conversation” with “anyone” … who “believes the same things” as she does), my version (sing to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner):

Oh say can you tweet, by the iPhones blue light, while so groggy we groan, after last nights demonstration,

fueled with outrage and spite, cracking skulls of the right, O’er the ramparts we stormed, smugly virtue-signaling,

That Antifa was there, giving cops their hard stare, gave proof through the night, white privilege laid bare,

oh, props to your bandanna and your groupthink so brave, o’er the land of the grieved and the home of the knave.