#MuslimBan – what it isn’t, and what it is.

First off, it’s not a Muslim Ban.  That’s a lie, let’s get that out of the way right now.  Trump issued a temporary (90-day) moratorium on entry visas to seven nations in the Middle East.

The interesting part is he didn’t even name these countries by name.  He listed the seven countries listed by the Obama administration as terror hotspots.  There are much more populous Muslim countries that are much more stable and have no bans.  The rule here is countries which have descended into anarchy or are in open hostility to the USA.

What the media took from it is it’s seven Muslim-majority nations, therefore it’s a #MuslimBan and we’re one step closer to that Nazi registry.  And they took it further, conflating entry visas with permanent residency, claiming anyone who’s been in any of these countries won’t be allowed back in.

Utter nonsense.

This is one of those issues that verifies the statement “a lie goes halfway around the world before the truth finishes putting on its shoes.”  I and many others are still trying to compile the facts of the case, and we’ve already missed waves of airport protests.

Amazing how people can learn what’s really going on so quickly, that they can get passionate enough about the truth to go take over airports!  Or… they’re just impressionable young Democrat tools who believe the lies they’re told.

But this false narrative didn’t stop there.  Democrats are already putting forward the SOLVe Act, which removes funding from Trump’s Executive Order.  Nevermind that this is pure showmanship that will never pass a Republican congress.  And I’m not sure how that would even work, as the Executive has full jurisdiction over diplomatic affairs.  It’s not like he wants to start a new agency or something, he’s just giving marching orders.

We don’t even have to go there.  Rep. Cohen of Tennessee, a co-sponsor of the bill, is calling it “unconstitutional”, saying “We do not have religious tests in this country.”  Except there is no religious test.  The incumbent of my district, Karen Bass, tweeted her support for this bill, retweeting another co-sponsor who said “no one should be denied entry based on race, religion or nationality.”

Okay, so we agreed race or religion is BS, and this executive order has nothing to do with that.  So your representative is already lying to you.  But nationality?  Since when are we not allowed to restrict entry based on nation of origin?

This doesn’t just make no sense.  It’s deeply disturbing.  And that’s what this #MuslimBan is… or, more appropriately, what the Democrat reaction to it is.  It’s yet another an attack on ALL immigration law.  Coupled with their opposition to Trump’s promises to fix our immigration system and make it legal again, the Democrats have taken a turn for the worse from their more American days.

They really are pushing for a borderless country.  They don’t want to deny anyone in here.  They don’t want to deny anyone employment or the vote.  They are committed to this, they are monomaniacal about it, they have all their social forces ready to push it.  And if we can’t stop it, we will have to deal with the consequences of it.

Friday links (belated)

Been meaning to do this – a weekly compilation of the things I’ve read that I find newsworthy.   I think one of the major duties of a congressman is to be trustworthy source of information for his constituents.

And I think it’s especially important in these turbulent times.  The lies are coming fast and furious from all sides, and I myself am having a difficult time staying afloat.  I’m writing this from a coffeeshop where people are wearing Shepard Fairey hijab and “Pussy Grabs Back” shirts.  It’s Bizzaro world around here.

So this will be a weekly column of things I’ve found noteworthy/newsworthy, for those headier types also looking to tstay afloat.

Stephen Harper lays out the meaning of a Trump victory.  So many quotables in here I can’t keep up.  This guy gets it, and this in a media climate hwere even the most established have no idea what to expect.

On that note, Sargon of Akkad is a great YouTube channel to follow.  He was just suspended from Twitter for a day or so, we have no idea why.  But he had the best analysis of US/Russia relations I ever heard.  9:30 is where the fun really starts: “The United States has Russia and China enrounded by a set of bases which act as tripwires.”

And then, there’s newly appointed Secretary of Defense James Mattis.  The man is quite the warrior scholar and I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.  Here’s his talk about the nature of Islam, and the divorce of liberalism from patriotism.   I haven’t gotten around to reading this list from Hoover Institution yet, but am looking forward to that.

Okay, enough heady stuff.  Here’s All Your Safe Space Are Belong To Us.

The lies about Trump’s policy keep coming

I was initially going to make this article about Kamala Harris and her participation in the Womens’ March, which she certainly fully exploited for photo op gain.  But the lies have been coming so thick and fast this week, I figured I’m better off writing one post than three.

Kamala’s rise to senatorship always bugged me.  California is now so crusted over as a one party state, we didn’t even really get to vote for her.  The newspapers just told us she’s the coronated Democratic nominee, and therefore she’s our senator.  I don’t like “elections” like this.

But that’s beside the point.  Kamala pulled no punches in her speeches at the Womens’ March, and subsequent tweets.  Railing against Trump’s alleged attacks on women’s reproductive health went arm in arm with a pussy-themed march protesting against Trump’s so-called pussy grabbing.  Which was based on a lie.

Too bad those punches are hitting empty air.  Here’s a cutout of Trump’s e-mail this week, asking me what I think his priorities should be right now:

I’m sure it’s in priority 6-20 somewhere…

Is a Trump victory an attack on Women’s reproductive health?  You’d think you’d see it somewhere here if it was.  If you wanted to split hairs, maybe you could lump Planned Parenthood attacks with reforming Obamacare.  But the fact is, Obamacare is unpopular.   So there’s no mystery why a presidential candidate would run on opposing it.

Trump ran on immigration, trade policy, and terrorism.  Those were the three themes that he consistently pushed in his campaign.  You could say he ran on jobs but c’mon let’s face it – does anyone NOT run on jobs?  And here’s the kicker.  The fact that a centrist like Trump decides it’s better for him to run a populist campaign in the Republican party than the Democratic party tells you everything about just how crusted over and elite the Democrats are.  Aren’t the Democrats supposed to be the party of the working man?  Well, not anymore.

And that brings us to immigration and terrorism.  The attacks on Trump’s immigration policy are coming like a tennis ball pitcher set to Blizzard, so I’m not even going to point specifics.  But the demagogic claim is Trump is against all immigration.  “We can’t attack immigrants, immigrants make America great!” “You can’t deport your way out of the immigration crisis.”

Never mind that Democrats everywhere are constantly and conveniently conflating illegal with legal immigration.   Which is infuriating enough in itself.  At least that last comment admits there’s an immigration crisis.  But where is Trump talking about deporting everyone?  He isn’t.  He’s talking about deporting the criminals who are here illegally.  He’s talking about securing the border, because without that everything else is pointless.

And he’s talking about cutting immigration from known hot spots.  Like Carter did on Iran in 1979.  Which is quickly getting blown up to a repeat of Japanese internment.  On this, I will share one fun one – Medeline Albright is going to register herself as Muslim.  Great, so I guess she will have to start the registry herself?  Where has he pushed a Muslim registry?

With all these, you can make conjectures and hyperboles and attach them to Trump.  Sure.  But that would be a misrepresentation of fact, which is the definition of a lie.  Trump’s been very clear on what he wants to do, he’s shown no hidden motivations to be more radical than he’s already being.

That is – taking concrete steps to solve the immigration crisis, solve the terrorism crisis, and get people employed in real jobs again rather than shipping decent jobs to countries where labor is cheap and regulations don’t exist.

And if anyone is not being honest, if anyone has a deeper agenda they’re hiding, it is those attacking Trump.  They don’t want any resolution to the immigration crisis.  They don’t think it’s a crisis.  Illegal immigrants are cheap immigrants.  Neither do they care about a national health care policy that doesn’t screw people over.   If you’re rich and well connected, you don’t need to care.

These people are welcome to keep lying.  But we don’t need liars in government.  We need people who can disseminate the truth.  Even regarding their political opponents.

The “anatomy” of a slander

My wife took me to a friend’s birthday party on Saturday.  I had a feeling it would be some Women’s March afterparty, and I was right, but hey – if I plan on running for congress I better get used to being surrounded with people who disagree with me.

It actually was okay – for the most part I was able to stay away from the inane kinds of conversations that are the reason I don’t discuss politics with most people.  The one woman I did talk to, though we disagreed we were able to have a productive conversation.

But there was one issue that left me a bit sad.  It was the whole “grab them by the pussy” comment.  See, whenever I hear a charge like this, I don’t like taking people’s word on it.  I tend to go research for myself.   So I did the same here.  Even though the very thought of listening to bugged private conversation about people’s sexual habits leaves me wanting to shower with acid.

But anyway, here’s the infamous clip.  Primed to the moment of the infamous quote.  Enjoy.

Did you hear what he said?  Here, let me put it in context.  “When you’re rich and famous, they let you do it.  You can do anything … [you could even] grab them by the pussy [and they’ll be fine with it.]”

The point he was making is, when you’re rich and famous, women tend to throw themselves at you.  You could do something as outrageous as grabbing them by the pussy and they’re fine with that.  Which was an interesting observation given the context.  Because after they leave the bus and when the lady greets them, she spontaneously hugs Trump but his sidekick needs to ask for an awkward sloppy seconds.  Thus underlining Trump’s point.  And it’s a valid point that merits a discussion of its own.

So I explained this to her, and she got curious.  Curious that someone would actually research the quote for himself. “So where did you find the scene?  On Youtube or something?” she asked.  There was almost an agreement that researching such an issue is pretty sleazy.  And it was … I harbor a resentment for being forced to delve into something like this.

Because with this in mind, we can see the anatomy of such a slander.   I mean think of the utter depravity of someone who thinks putting this out to the public is a good idea.

Someone in the Hillary campaign or in the media favorable to her researched this clip and pulled it out.  They purposely misinterpreted it as Trump saying he goes around grabbing strange women by the vagina.  And they disseminated this idea far and wide.  People who trusted them with the news took this as fact, and it soon became “common knowledge”.  The very idea of factchecking (something liberals love to tout BTW) never entered this conversation.  Skeptics were ridiculed or shamed as misogynists.

An entire reality has now been created where people think Trump and his supporters are running around forcefully grabbing strange women by the pussy.  Down to the rally’s official hat – a pussy hat.  And all sorts of references by young and old protesting this false reality.

Lies will warp a mind into ugliness

And the fact is, we can’t live in a world where everyone factchecks, where everyone is suspicious of everything they hear.  It would be a cold heartless world.  So we find people we trust, and listen to what they have to say, until a time they betray that trust.  And then we find someone else.  It reminds me of a line I heard from Penn Jillette about people who believe mystics.   “It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s that they decided to trust a criminal.”

And that’s what the people who disseminated this slander about Trump are.  Criminal frauds.  They are not to be trusted.  This includes the Womens March organizers, this includes the media, this includes Hillary Clinton, this includes the entire Democratic party as it stands.  They could have run an honest campaign on the issues.  Instead they resorted to this.

And the the thing is, this fraud doesn’t limit itself to this issue.  Black Lives Matter relies on taking out of context footage – footage that always shows some kind of struggle between a civilian and a cop.  They then misrepresent it as a cop shooting a helpless black man for being black.  And build an entire astroturf movement on it.

Ahmed Clockboy was represented as a poor Muslim kid oppressed for his science project, when the reality was anything but.

I could go on but I need to stop.  This issue invokes the kind of moral outrage in me that makes me understand why false prophets were burned at the stake during religious movements.

Because you can’t blame the kids, and you can’t prosecute the ones who incited them.

What Trump means for Jews

An interesting event happened at my Synagogue yesterday – well, it’s so small it’s more of a prayer group, but we manage to get at least ten people together to read the Torah.  Anyway, after the Torah reading, one member turned around, blessed everyone with his Tallit and praised Trump’s inauguration.   Well that triggered another member, who wouldn’t stop railing about how “they’re going to kill Jews now!  They’re going to kill Jews!”

We did what we could to calm down the argument that ensued.  But unfortunately it left on a negative note, with the pro-Trump guy leaving in a huff, declaring “I came from Iran, I am a proud American, you are un-American.”

This saddens me, because this didn’t need to happen.  Both fell victim to demagoguery of one form or another.  But I also see a great opportunity for us as Jews.  We are an intellectual people, and such disagreements in our tribe have intellectual solutions.

That intellectual solution rests in the question: what does Trump mean for the Jews?  How can we peel back all the headlines and election mudslinging to get to some concrete reality of a Trump presidency?

A Trump presidency seems to have great promise for the Jews, and namely for Israel.  As of writing this article, Trump plans an official announcement tomorrow to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem.   This is a major reversal of eight years of Obama which sought to put pressure on Israel to move back to 1967 lines, culminating in the UN declaration on settlements last month.

This has been part of a greater declaration that the US needs to rebuild its relationship with Israel, as well as any and all allies who share our values.  And then there’s the fact that every one of Trump’s children (except Barron, who remains unmarried) has married a Jew.

So where does the association of Trump with anti-Semitism come from?  The core of this association is one Richard Spencer, the self-proclaimed founder of the alt-right.  Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and spoken critically of the Jewish people,  Although he has denied being a neo-Nazi.  He’s certainly not alone in this.  A number of outspoken Trump supporters have associated Jews with the liberal left and the media they oppose.

Defining the alt-right itself is subject to much controversy already.  I myself defined it much more broadly as a popular reaction to leftist orthodoxy.  And it didn’t help that the first person to popularize it was Hillary Clinton in an attempt to smear Trump with some of his supporters.

Never mind that the Democrats have been saddled with those calling for the destruction of Israel for years now, a big reason many Jews are defecting to the Republican party.

But the media took her announcement and ran with it.  I had been following Trump’s campaign pretty closely for over a year.  I never heard of Richard Spencer until she brought it up.  All the anti-Semitic activity I’d heard about had come from the left, thinly veiled as anti-Zionism.  When terrorists targeted a Jewish supermarket or what they thought was a Jewish owned nightclub, the media just shrugged it off.  Or worse, they blamed gun control or called it an honest criticism of Israel.

But now that they found a way to link anti-Semitism with a criticism of Trump, I all of a sudden heard about the horrors of anti-Semitism.

It doesn’t end with this either.  Ben Garrison, a very popular pro-Trump cartoonist, has seen his cartoons altered by internet trolls to make him look like an anti-Semite.  Not to mention Breitbart’s Steve Bannon has been called an anti-Semite despite having no such history – not to mention founder Andrew Breitbart himself was Jewish.

I could go on listing events (Milo Yiannopoulos comes to mind), but we can see a trend here.  The issue is finding ways to smear one’s opponents by manipulating genuine fears of anti-Semitism.

And these fears are justified.  The man who feared Trump echoed a long standing fear – historically, when the Christians backlash against the Muslims, they go after the Jews too.  The expulsion of Jews from Spain teaches us that.

But we don’t have the luxury of reacting to such fears.  The Nation of Israel is beset by enemies on all sides, and if we lean too comfortably to one side, we are targets to another.  It’s been told politics is like a horseshoe – the more to the fringe one gets on the left or right, the more paranoid anti-Semitism one sees.  Especially on the internet.  If you don’t believe me, just do a Google Image search for “Trump Jews” and see how both sides think he’s either Hitler or a Jewish puppet.

Meanwhile even Trump’s most ardent internet supporters have distanced themselves from the anti-Semitic supporters.  There is nothing to gain and much to lose from any association with them.   Any association of Trump with an actual anti-Semitic voice is many layers removed, and winds up being more slander than innuendo.

So while it is important to keep an eye on some of Trump’s supporters, I don’t think we have much to worry about.  Trump ran on an overall campaign of bringing jobs back, taking care of immigration, and recommitting to our allies.  He won an overwhelming popular mandate on this but has few friends in Washington.  So if he betrays any of this mandate he will be easy prey to his foes.

As Jews we should only be doing what so many enthusiastic supporters doing – giving him the benefit of the doubt while holding him accountable.  I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results of the coming year, but if not, I will be first to speak up.