sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 7, 2016

One Cheer for Obama

Filed under: elections2016, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:13 pm

Several girls were performing a chant at the last Friday morning assembly at our elementary.  It went like this:

Obama is our President for one more year,

So lets all give him a big cheer!

At which point the school erupted in cheers, parents especially.

The return of the Obama cult makes some sense because think of what’s about to follow.  We luuurve Bernie around here, and the fact that he’s unlikely to become the next president makes him more attractive: he’s the beautiful loser.  Everyone knows that Hillary is a criminal plutocrat, but most Democtars will turn up and vote for her anyway because she’s a liberal.  And Obama, at least he didn’t talk about his, you know, on prime time TV.

Anyhow, I switched from Thursday night’s Republican debate to American Idol — what a breath of fresh air!  Two of the contestants were actually good, there was no botched plastic surgeries on display and even with all the tattoos and piercings and crazy hair, it felt wholesome.  Had any of the contestants dared to bring up their anatomy, they’d be fired in a very non-melodramatic, non-Trumpian manner.

vaid

Sonika Vaid is the one we like second

Strange world: aspiring pop stars can be counted on to uphold social mores whereas the Republican presidential front-runner  acts like a crazy uncle.   Except that the crazy uncle’s excuse is that he’s inebriated, but the Donald is a teetotaler. Which is scary.

March 2, 2016

Hillary And Trump: Compare And Contrast

Filed under: elections2016, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:58 pm

Anticipating Drumpf-Clinton presidential contest, Salena Zito wrote:

[T]wo wealthy New Yorkers, neither particularly well liked in their parties, will conduct ruthless, calculated campaigns aimed at each other’s personal destruction in the hope that the electorate will find both so repulsive that they refuse to vote and only the candidates’ hardcore bases will show up.

I want to give them both a hand and do a short compare and contrast:

  1. Although “liberal” is much nicer sounding word, Hillary insists on being called progressive.  When Trump was asked during one of the debates how is it that he’s a conservative, he promised to conserve money.  And there I was, thinking that in 2016 for sure I’ll get to vote for a conservative for president.  Come to think of it, I might just do that and find a third party I can support.
  2. Hillary lived her life to put her bloated behind in the Oval Office, and so did the Trumpster, steadily increasing his name recognition to, eventually, put his bloated behind there.
  3. Hillary wears ugly clothes.  Trump puts his honest name on ugly buildings.
  4. Hillary supports abortion.  Trump, who avoided the draft in the 60’s, considers sex in the 80’s his “personal Vietnam”.  So, naturally, he supports abortion.
  5. Hillary’s significant other was a Rhodes scholar.  Trump’s current wife is one of those poorly educated he loves so much.
  6. Hillary would appoint the “living breathing Constitution” types to the Supreme Court.  Will the Senate confirm them?  Trump will not appoint anyone who’d overrule Kelo or Row — why would he?  The Senate will confirm the nominee.
  7. Hillary wants amnesty to create more Democratic voters, but she’ll be met with resistance.  The Donald is perfectly positioned to usher in an amnesty because his hardcore followers will fall in line.  He’ll keep promising that he’ll build them the wall and that Mexico will pay for it until he won’t built it, and in the meantime he’ll legalize everyone.  Well, maybe the short-fingered vulgarian will erect a mile-long barrier somewhere in Arizona in summer 2020.  More likely he’ll make the very idea of the fence radioactive.
  8. Hillary has one child by one man.  The Donald has several children by at least three different women.
  9. Hillary’s husband is old and low energy.  The Donal’s wife tops the lists of celebrity plastic surgery disasters.
  10. On civil liberties, both candidates want Apple to give FBI the key to our cell phones.
  11. Both the Clintons’ and Trump’s children are in the family business.
  12. Hillary hit the Reset button with Putin.  The Donald wants to be buddies with Putin. Considering his Russian mafia connections, he’s probably already dealing with him, even if indirectly. Vladimir, I’m sure, had read Art of The Deal, and thought, “Oh, OK, that’s pretty strait forward.  I can handle it.”
  13. Madam Secretary’s husband bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan.  The current Republican front runner wants to target terrorists’ families.  Whatever, he’ll leave it up to Russia.
  14. Although both candidates have Jewish in-laws, they are a bit shifty on Israel.  The Donald announced he won’t take sides and Hillary has dealings with Israel’s enemies.  Not to worry, though, as soon as the orange-colored candidate will find himself in a position to make similar deals, he will.
  15. Hillary once praised Democratic Senator and KKK member Robert Byrd.  Trump regularly retweets neo-Nazis and pretends he doesn’t know anything about the KKK and David Duke.  This is very interesting; he must believes that he needs them.
  16. Hillary is a big government economic travesty.  Trump is an even bigger big government economic travesty who plans to start a tariff was with China.  He might just deliver on this one because he needs the unions more than he needs some poor shmucks who want their border enforced.
  17. There is a crucial difference between them, though.  They are power-hungry megalomaniacs, but when Trump watched Tiananmen massacre on TV, he identified with the ChiComs: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
    For some reason I find it difficult to believe that Hillary didn’t side with the tank guy at the time. I’m afraid she’s more like me.

I’m not saying I will vote for Clinton, but there is no reason to vote for Trump.  And come on, how bad will Clinton be?  She’s old and tired and clintonian.  She’ll triangulate.  The thought of the Clintons back in the White House is rather painful considering her family’s perverted history there, but at least none of their clan was photographed naked.  At least Bill didn’t go on Howard Stern to talk about her potty habits when they were dating, and she then married him anyway.  She subjected herself to somewhat lower level of humiliation.

March 1, 2016

When Bernie Honeymooned at Lenin’s Tomb

Filed under: politics — edge of the sandbox @ 1:48 pm

Please read my post at Legal Insurrection: When Bernie Honeymooned at Lenin’s Tomb.  Many thanks to Professor Jacobson.

February 4, 2016

Everyday Feminism

Filed under: feminism, immigration, jihad, politics — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:36 am

One August in the mid-80’s my mom took me and my sister to Yalta.  We usually vacationed elsewhere because this Crimean city, although unquestionably beautiful, was horribly overcrowded.  That year my sister was busy with university entrance exams all summer, so, after she passed, my mother decided to do something extravagant for her in the one week remaining before the beginning of the school year, and took us to Yalta.

Jurmala

No, this is not Yalta, this is Jurmala, a Latvian town on Baltic sea circa 1970.  The semi-naked human mass above is comparable to that of any other Soviet vacation paradise.  It’s hard to believe, but a jam-packed beach is somewhat of an object of Soviet nostalgia today.  Russia staged these types of human ant farm pictures in Yalta last summer by closing some of the beaches and crowding others

We rented out a half a room (well, a Soviet vacation) from a lady who lived five minutes away from the beach.  The lady that lived in the other half and was very talkative.  No problem, we thought, we are not planning on spending time in that room anyway.  We put on our swim suits and shorts and headed out.

Two blocks away from the beach we were approached by a young cop.

“Hello! Where are you from?” He asked politely.

We were taken aback.  This is not how Soviet authority figures typically approach citizens.  “Kharkov,” Replied my mother.

“So do you dress like that in Kharkov too?” He pointed to mine and my sister’s shorts. “This is way too short!” He all of a sudden became a Soviet authority figure, berating us for something that’s not any of his business in a first place.  He scolded us for a few minutes after which he said good buy and moved on to the next group of female vacationers.  A few months later we saw him on national TV admonishing some ingénues.

My mother was upset: No, we don’t wear this clothes in Kharkov, but Kharkov is not a resort town.  And here, two more blocks and we’ll be in our bikinis!

On a positive side, he didn’t throw acid on us, as our Iranian buddies would had done.  That young cop was pretty comical actually.  All his efforts didn’t make a dent in the beach-goers state of undress. But by then the Soviet Union was falling apart and 70 years of pent-up sartorial frustration was exploding in bright colors and mini skirts.  And designer labels on girls whose families, presumably, couldn’t afford any new clothes at all.

I don’t take my ability to dress the way I want for granted.  That’s why I view some of recent arrivals in my town with unease.  There’s a lot of heads carves and two women have only eyes open to the elements.  Their men dress more or less like normal Western men, but women and even elementary school girls are clearly marked as tribal-religious property.

iranian

A classic: an Iranian woman before the revolution

The new arrivals’ dress code doesn’t simply signal their status; it has implications for me and my daughter.  As the European New Year’s Eve rape rampage confirmed, in the eyes of quite a few Muslim men Western women are one step above prostitutes.

I think it’s very important to show that we are not about to change our ways just because Muslim families settled in the nearby Section 8 (or whatever it’s called now) housing complex.  For instance, I always try to make eye contact with Muslim men and smile.  I wear skinny jeans and skirts that bare my knees.  If I’m ever in a situation where I can shake hands with a Muslim man, I’ll initiate it.

The other day I was walking towards the Target entrance when two women in head scarves and a male relative of theirs approached the entrance from the other side.  I made sure to get in 5 steps in front of them and, for myself, for my daughter and for every woman in Tehran, brushed my hand through my hair.

I don’t think I will personally ward off jihad, but on the other hand American women not as easy of a target as European women.  A 17-year-old Danish girl who fought of an assailant with pepper spray was recently told that she will be charged because pepper spray is illegal in Denmark.  This cannot possibly happen in the US, and the men entering the country must know it.

We can look at Israel as a model for assimilation.  The Jewish state has a pretty good record (well, all things considered) bringing their Muslims into the 21st century, and it’s known for beautiful modern women and Uzis.  I’d rather be Israel than Denmark.

Israeli

Another classic: A beach in Israel

January 28, 2016

An Account of Auschwitz Liberation

Filed under: politics — edge of the sandbox @ 9:25 am

Please read my post about Anatoly Shapiro, a Jewish Major in Red Army, who lead his men to storm the concentration camp and was the first to enter the premises of the camp.

January 26, 2016

No Really

Filed under: politics, Russia — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:58 am

Vladimir Putin invites Jews back to Russia:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called on European Jews who are facing anti-Semitism to move to Russia.

In a meeting with members of the European Jewish Congress, held in the Kremlin, Putin heard from congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor about the rise in anti-Semitism in Western Europe.

“They can come here,” Putin said to Kantor. “During the Soviet era Jews would leave, but now they can come back.”

Giggling ensured.  According to the 2014 ADL survey, 30% of the residents of Russian Federation are hardcore anti-Semites.  The number, while way above the regional low of just 13% for Czech Republic, is, on the other hand, way below the regional high of 45% of Poland and slightly below the regional average.  I’m not sure what the 30% figure tells us about the attitudes of ethnic Russians because the country has a relatively high percentage of ethnic minorities and those may have different opinions on this subject.  Both Ukraine and Belarus, on the other hand, are 38% anti-Semitic, so if I had to guess, the “titular nation” of the Russian Federation, as they like to call themselves, are probably similarly predisposed.

I first heard about Putin’s invitation on twitter where it was posted by a Kremlin journalist.  Although he was trying to sell it as a positive development, the reactions among his countrymen were far less than enthusiastic:

rusantisemitism1

“Russia is not Israel!!!” -Opined the individual whose handle name reads Antifascist. “Let them go to their motherland”.

rusantisemitism3

“Let them go to their shitty  israel” another user echoed this sentiment.  “That’s their promised land”.

rusantisemitism2

Everything according to Torah and Talmud! Divide and rule. “One Slav kill another, but we will live well.”

russianantisemitism4

“Patriot Wolf” who describes himself as “patriot… not putinoid” explained that “anti-Semitism is a normal reaction of non-Jews to actions of Yid-Hebews”

To be sure some expressed different sentiments: “Good tactical move! Amnesty of capitals, return of Jews – will bring their capitals! Throughly stubborn and hardworking nation!”  In Russia, just like in other European countries, Jews are considered a separate nation.  Still, I’ll take the compliment.

For all of his complains about “color revolutions”, Putin is a master of getting into domestic politics of EU nations and exploiting ethnic tensions.  Here he aims to score a point with Jews at the expense of the West.

The overwhelming majority of Jews left Russia in the 1990’s.  The intermarriage rate among the remaining 150,000 (albeit the number depends on how one defines a Jew) is about 80%.  Many of the remaining Jews think of themselves as Russians first.  Others, having background in humanities — writers, journalists, etc., have calculated that they will be unable to find jobs abroad.  For about 20 years, Jewish immigration subsided, then picking up again around the time of the failed protest movement of 2011.

Most Russian Jews are secular and (small l) liberal.  They held on to the dream of transforming Russia into a normal Western country.  About four-five years ago they, along with much of the Russian intelligentsia, saw the writing on the wall and started packing.  I’m not sure it has anything to do with anti-Semitism which over the last decades remained a sad constant in Russian life.

And by the way, I thought about putting “normal Western country” in the paragraph above in quotation marks, but out of cultural sensitivity to the Russian intelligentsia, did not.

A minority of Russian Jews are religious.  They see Putin in more traditional terms, as a protector, and write opuses like this one citing the strongman’s personal biographic connections to Jews.  Some credit the autocrat with protecting them from pogroms, but if we take Ukraine and Belarus as a control group, we see that these two eastern Slavic nations didn’t stage large-scale pogroms either.  So maybe the pogroms weren’t going to happen this time around, in part because it’s hard to have a good one with so few Yids left.

On the other hand, the Kremlin did rule out Jews as scapegoats in 2013, when homosexuals took the place traditionally reserved for us.  The current favorite target, however, are the liberals, and by liberals many “patriotically”-oriented Russians understand Jews.  There is a kind of one-drop rule for that: if a liberal in question can be shown to have a Jewish ancestor, or if he’s married to a Jew, he will be deemed a Yid.  And sure enough, many in Russia’s capital where, in the Soviet days, Jews were the largest minority group after Ukrainians, have a Jewish granny.  That they are baptized Russian Orthodox may not matter so long as they believe in free speech or free markets.

A few days ago Chechen warlord turned Moscow’s figurehead Ramzan Kadyrov fumed in best Stalinist traditions:

After calling Vladimir Putin’s foes “enemies of the people,” and after the speaker of his rubber-stamp legislature called liberal media outlets like Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV “traitors” and a “fifth column,” Kadyrov upped the ante with an article in the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia calling Russia’s opposition “jackals” and suggesting they be placed in a psychiatric hospital in Chechnya.

“I promise not to skimp on the injections,” Kadyrov wrote. “In cases where one injection is prescribed, we will double the dosage.”

So, even if Putin, credit where credit is due, has a working relationship with Israel and is reasonably committed to protecting his Jews, I’d worry about the autocrat who will come after him.

That the normal Western countries Russian liberals yearn for might not exist much longer is another matter.

And here I want to introduce the story of my cousin.  She was born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  After the breakdown of the Soviet Union the city was getting a bit creepy: my cousin was telling me that in certain neighborhoods women in pants would get rocks thrown at them.  My relatives decided to leave, settling in Boston, MA, of all places.  Twenty five years later Muslim refugees from the Russian Federation blew up an international sporting event there while the utterly corrupt Uzbekistan is considered a model moderate Islamic nation.

The Russian dissident news network TVRain recently reported about the outstanding job the former Soviet “republic” of Tajikistan is doing in curtailing Islamic radicalism. There, cops shave men’s beards, women have their hijabs forcefully removed, private mosques are banned, and functioning mosques have to have their sermons approved by a religious affairs committee.

Meantime the Leader of the Free Worlds imports hundreds of thousands of poorly vetted migrants from majority anti-Semitic countries and signs one executive order after another.  It is hard not to worry about the future of freedom and the future of world Jewry.

January 22, 2016

Bad Boyars of Benghazi

Filed under: film, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:31 am

I can’t call myself an aficionado of action flicks, so I’m not sure where where 13 Hours falls within that genre.  I did find the movie intense, the lead parts were masterfully played and it offered plenty of food for thought.

It might be red meat for the conservative base, but in terms of pure propaganda value, in terms of effect on those who don’t study politics closely, 13 Hours falls short.

The movie follows six veterans, now contractors, providing security for the CIA outpost in war-torn, terrorist-infested Libyan town of Benghazi.  On one hand we have bravery, comradery and leadership of men like Jack Silva and Tyrone Woods, played by John Krasinski and James Badge Dale respectively, and on the other –stupidity and indifference bordering on betrayal everywhere they turn.  The American team was abandoned by the key local allies, denied adequate resources by its own country and when they needed rescue, help was too slow to come — you know the story.

JamesBadgeDale

The blame for the death of four Americans in the hands of the terrorists is never explicitly put on the the highest echelons of government.  Apart from the single sentence “The POTUS is briefed” superimposed over the picture of the White House, nothing assigns the responsibility for the death of four Americans to the president.  Something tells me if it was a Bush White House, the filmmakers would find a way to make it abundantly clear where the buck stops.

Although Ms. Rodham’s name is never uttered, the oil industry lobbyist Sona Jilliani (Alexia Barlier) initially established herself as a Hillary archetype.  The character is a blue-eyed, Harvard-educated resident of the CIA compound, always on the verge of striking some sort of a deal and always berating the men who risk their lives to protect hers.  But Jillani redeems herself towards the end and, in any event, the Hillary connection, if intended, is in no way obvious to a mainstream viewer.  Because 13 Hours steers clear of partisan politics, it is a better, much less heavy-handed film than it would otherwise had been.

AlexiaBarlier

There is, in Russian tradition, the “bad boyars/good tzar” belief system.  The boyars, or medieval nobility, are deemed responsible for everything that is wrong with people’s lives but the tzar, sitting at the top of the power pyramid, is absolved of guilt.  This explains most of everything about Russia including the current Stalin vogue.

This is different time, different country, but in 13 Hours, the Security Team, again and again, is shunned by, for the lack of a better term, the mid-level management.  A low information person will probably walk out of the movie placing most of the blame on the chain of command.

Much of the media debate centers on one particular “boyar”, the CIA agent who gave, the Security Team says, the stand down order to Tyrone Woods, the order he eventually disobeyed going ahead with the consulate rescue mission.  Now the CIA says no such order was issued –and the story made headlines on Drudge last weekend.  Personally, I believe the Security Team because a) character and b) otherwise the whole story makes little sense.

A more important story was new document came to light at about the same time; it points to the culpability of Barack Obama and the State Department.  Turns out, Benghazi rescue mission was interrupted because proper clearance was never obtained.

To be sure there is enough blame to go around.

Plenty of disillusionment too.  And it’s pretty clear that, in the motion picture at least, for Silva and Woods the disillusionment crept in long before the men got to Benghazi.  We have the finest men fighting for our country, and we don’t have their back.  Something to think about this November.

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