Friday, October 5, 2012

Is Barack Obama Hurting the Country?

 Mike L.

{Cross-Posted at Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.}

Barry Rubin certainly seems to think so.  In his most recent article entitled Why They Love Usama, Hate Obama, And How Obama Uses the Same Tactic at Home he asks the following question:
Why are tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims chanting about how much they love Usama bin Ladin and how much they hate Barack (Hussein) Obama?
His answer is that Usama is one of them and Obama is not.  It's the politics of "us versus them."  It's the politics of drawing a line in the sand and whoever is on our side of the line are the "good guys" and whoever is on the opposite side of the line are nothing less than the devil.
Well, guess what? That is the line of the Obama Administration and its Newest Left supporters. All African-Americans should support the regime because Obama is black and anyone opposing him is a racist. All “Hispanics” should support the president because he really wants open borders and the turning of all illegal immigrants into citizens, while everyone else is a racist. 
All women should support the ruling group and leftist ideology because it wants to give them free birth control and anyone on the other side hates women.
This is the kind of politics that we get from places like Daily Kos, as well. It's a zero-sum mentality that sees those who we may disagree with politically not merely as one's opponent, but as a mortal enemy. It is this kind of thinking, for example, that leads a progressive-left sycophant of Barack Obama to literally threaten me with violence for daring to step out of line.

One of the things that pleases me about Israel Thrives is that, unlike many other political blogs, we have an acceptance of other political types and of other political viewpoints.  We have people at IT on the political left, on the political right, and ranging throughout the center.  We have Obama supporters and Obama critics, such as myself.

Yet for some reason no regular participant on Israel Thrives is threatening violence against anyone else.  No regular participant thinks of the others as mortal enemies.  We are simply people of various viewpoints who are willing to come together in expressing those viewpoints.  We may disagree on any number of issues but, unlike the Obama administration, we do not seek to make those disagreements into hard lines of hatred.

It was during the Bush years that we began to hear about "red states" and "blue states."  Pat Buchanan's "culture wars" took off in a big way and it sometime seemed as if the country was on the verge of ripping itself to shreds.  Obama promised, of course, to be a uniter, not a divider, but this has turned out to be false.  It has turned out to be a lie.  The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama is a bigger divider than George W. Bush ever was.

Supporters of Barack Obama are very much encouraged to view their political opponents as the very worst people on the planet.  This is why so many progressives despise conservatives and Republicans while almost entirely dismissing the problem of radical Islam.  The real enemies of your average "Kossack" are not people like Osama bin Ladin, but people like Mitt Romney or anyone else associated either with the Republican party or the political right.

I think that the Obama administration is doing the American people a terrible disservice when it encourages this kind of toxic zero-sum mentality.  Y'know, it was not all that long ago when I was told in these pages, by a hostile Obama supporter, that Barack Obama is not Adolph Hitler.  I was a little taken aback at the time because it has never occurred to me to compare Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler and I have certainly never done so.  The truth of the matter is that my critic was projecting his own toxic zero-sum mind-set onto me.

They honestly think that if you oppose the Obama administration this makes you both a racist and a misogynist.   And it is for this reason that American politics has become as toxic as it has.  The current political climate is perhaps the very worst it's been since the Vietnam War era.  The progressive-left gave birth to the Occupy movement and the Occupy movement thought it was a dandy idea to fight the police in the streets of Oakland.

I was just moving here right around that time and I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see my new city going up in flames directly after Laurie and I purchased our first home in it.  Most progressives, of course, are not fighting the cops in the streets, but the kind of hatred, and economic class resentment, that the Obama administration encourages is just terrible for the well-being of the United States and of the American people.

Whoever wins the next election, the United States will continue to be a major world power and the vast majority of American citizens will continue to know the kinds of freedoms and opportunities that are denied people throughout the world, particularly in the Muslim Middle East.

I wish that progressives would recognize that fact because then they might stop spitting absolute hatred at their fellow Americans.

That would be nice.


  1. One of the things that bothers me most about Israel Thrives is it's reliance on straw man arguments to support it's basic theses.

    1. Spare me, Stuart.

      This administration is among the most divisive in my lifetime.

    2. No Michael, i won't spare you. Evidence please that the Obama administration has claimed that:

      'All African-Americans should support the regime because Obama is black and anyone opposing him is a racist. All “Hispanics” should support the president because he really wants open borders and the turning of all illegal immigrants into citizens, while everyone else is a racist.
      All women should support the ruling group and leftist ideology because it wants to give them free birth control and anyone on the other side hates women."

      These kinds of things are pretty prevalent elsewhere, but attaching attitudes of supporters directly to the administration is simply bullshit. Should Romney get elected, will you saddle him with the most hateful anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of his supporters? I didn't think so.

    3. Except thats where the straw man argument comes in. Your quote clearly claims that it is the Obama administration that does this. It hasn't.

      Beyond that, it is exactly what has been done on these very pages related to Jews in the US. You claim they should NOT support Obama because of his middle east policies, and if they don't, they're deranged, suffer from mental illness, are abandoning Israel, blind to the real facts. Please don't argue that you personally have never said some of those things. Because others on your blog have. Don't like being saddled with with others say? How even handed of you.

    4. Stuart,

      These statements were not intended to be taken literally. By doing so, you create the straw man.

      Obama is no virgin when it comes to playing politics, and he and many of his surrogates and supporters are not hesitant to ascribe bad motives to the opponent or to use wedge issues.

      It starts at the top. I get slews of progressive email every day, even from the Obamas, and the attitude is consistent and negative. I attend parties where the crowd is "liberal" and "educated" and to listen how they speak about Romney or conservatives or Christians is abhorrent.

      It happens both ways, of course, but rather than deny it we should confront it, especially when claims of racism and bigotry are used to stifle expression or shut down scrutiny.

    5. What does that mean? Something is directly attributed to him, but it's not meant to be attributed to him? Exaggeration works pretty good in comedy, but in serious discussions it has no place. Really.

      I agree with you. I abhor binary thinking. The world is much too nuanced for that. There are Jews who support him, despite disagreeing with his middle east policies, without being self-hating. There are gays and women who support the republican party while being opposed to their social policies, without being self-hating. The world is much too complicated for identity politics. Identities are much too complicated for identity politics.

    6. C'mon Stuart!

      First, the words were Rubin's, who also said:

      When solidarity along group lines takes priority and the line is that all of “us” must unite against the “other” no matter what truth, logic, or justice dictates then that means serious trouble.

      Well, guess what? That is the line of the Obama Administration and its Newest Left supporters.

      "That" referred to what preceded much more than the rest, which you took literally, but was obviously not intended to be construed that way. Not to mention that Rubin also expressly referred to the "New Left supporters."

      Obama HAS contributed to the us versus them mentality, and too many of his adherents reflect this. Too many say one thing in public, but something else among themselves. Who are you trying to kid by insinuating that the Administration is not part and parcel of creating the atmosphere?

    7. Explain again which words shouldn't be taken literally? Because I really have no idea which words you're referring to. Before you do, please look at the title of this post.

    8. 'All African-Americans should support the regime because Obama is black and anyone opposing him is a racist. All “Hispanics” should support the president because he really wants open borders and the turning of all illegal immigrants into citizens, while everyone else is a racist.
      All women should support the ruling group and leftist ideology because it wants to give them free birth control and anyone on the other side hates women."

      It was in your own comment. Asking for evidence "attaching attitudes of supporters directly to the administration" implied you took these words literally.

      The title here has nothing much to do with it. However, one can argue, as Rubin and others have, that Obama is relying on identity politics, and that this does hurt the country.

    9. Really oldschool... how about these words then (which are Mike's)

      ....but the kind of hatred, and economic class resentment, that the Obama administration encourages is just terrible for the well-being of the United States and of the American people.

      The old FAUX News / RNC talking point about Obama engaging in "Class Warfare".

      Should we take those words literally or not particularly in light of Mitt Romney's own words:

      "But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue. It's like, I mean, there won't be any houses like this if we stay on the road we're on."

      Nothing like telling Rich people that if Democrats get their way they won't be able to keep their houses... No, that's not class division is it? (/end sarcasm) or how about this gem of class warfare regarding 47% of all Americans from Mitt:

      And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

      No, no class warfare or resentment towards those folks there.. now is there? (/sarcasm).

      Oh wait, should we not take Mike at his word when he tells this outrageous partisan whopper? Because I know that you... standing up to the President must also be mortified by this comment? Right?

    10. Ok, oldschool. So Rubin wrote the words, and Michael quoted them, but he didn't really mean them? They weren't intended to be factual? If they weren't supposed to be taken literally, how were they supposed to be interpreted? As meaningless rhetorical hyperbole? I really don't get of point of having a serious discussion when the words used aren't intended to be taken seriously.

    11. And to continue, the evidence provided that Obama is relying on identity politics are claims that should't be taken seriously. So we're left with no evidence whatsoever to support the claim. Not a very convincing argument.

    12. So, Volleyboy1,

      I'm told that you intend to use Krav Maga on me.

      Is that a fact?

      Volleyboy1 claims that both JayinPhiladelphia and the Jewish Defense League are out to get him and his children and he intends to hold me responsible.

      You have threatened me, VB, with violence.

      This makes you a thug and a bully.

      So, when are you coming to Oakland to make good on your threats, eh?

      You have threatened me in emails to people on a number of occassions. You have threatened me with bodily harm and, yet, you have enough arrogance to think that you can participate here without having to answer for those threats.

      You are a fool.

    13. Of course you do not take it seriously. You choose not to see it.

      I am not really trying to convince you of anything. So far as I can tell, that would be a lost cause.

      What my intent is simply to show how and why it is a lost cause for anyone to judge for themselves.

    14. I'm told that you intend to use Krav Maga on me.

      You were told wrong... I would never use violence unless in self-defense.

      So anyway, should we take your words here as what you think is true or are you just shooting off your mouth? oldschool says you are just yapping. Is that true?

    15. As for volleyboy's comment, I could not really follow it.

      I do believe, however, that Democrats use the class warfare argument and it's silly to maintain that they don't.

      Romney said he was wrong. I tend to give less credence to these types of things than others do. I can only imagine the things you might say among your compatriots and out of the earshot of your adversaries.

      I think that when people obsess over every matter, no matter how small, to prove the evilness of others, they exacerbate the already screwed up situation.

    16. So if you are saying Democrats use class warfare and oppose that, would you also say that Republicans promote it as well?

      I have yet to see you offer anything more than a tepid "Well both sides do it and it is unhelpful" to the rhetorical excesses of this site as well as other hard Right sites. However, with regards to even the slightest Democratic rhetorical excess it is full on condemnation.

      Rather, I see you in full throated support of most of the Rightist meme's and when called on it your only defense... "Oh, this is just rhetoric.. it is not meant to be taken seriously".

    17. oldschool says you are just yapping

      I said nothing of the sort.

      Why is there such a penchant for putting words in the mouths of others, and mischaracterizations?

      As for the personal vitriol, I have spoke against it.

    18. Well you are saying we should not take his words (or Barry Rubin's words) literally. SO how should we take them? And then, if we shouldn't take them literally, why even put them out there?

    19. Notice:

      The individual who goes under the moniker “Volleyboy1” has threatened the owner of this blog with violence.

    20. I offered the relevant words from Rubin and my own thoughts in this thread.

      If you are saying that everything must be interpreted literally to be valid or to even to "put them out there," then I believe what you are saying is hogwash.

    21. This is a perfect example of a related sort of delusion we're dealing with here -

      "You were told wrong... I would never use violence unless in self-defense."

      Despite very clear evidence to the contrary, this person insists that he can create entire fantasy worlds of his own, where explicit threats of violence don't mean what they clearly say.

      That's not the point I want to make here, but it was indeed a fascinating demonstration of just the very kind of thing we're talking about here. I couldn't refrain from commenting on it. Some people really do believe they can create their own realities, and deny all that is obvious to anyone else.


      Partisans on both sides clearly do this, and it is indeed ripping the country apart. In my opinion, at least. Does it just seem this way to us since we're living in it now, or were things always this nasty? None of us were alive (or at least, none of us were of voting age) during, say, the FDR years. None of us were alive in the 1850's. Was the general discourse this toxic back then?

      More? Less?

      I'd guess there probably were similar sentiments shared by partisans of either side on any issue back then... but of course in, say, 1856, it wasn't possible for someone in Pennsylvania to instantly argue with someone in South Carolina about the issues of the day over the internet. I'm quite certain none of this is unique in history, aside from the venom spewed on the internet, and spread through / encouraged by the 24/7 news cycle.

      I guess my point here is that we're all to blame, somewhat, and I really have no idea how to solve this. As someone who has evolved beyond partisan warfare, yet nonetheless remains the same person I've always been, ideologically, I find it rather amusing at times that in the course of 24 hours I can be called a 'right-wing nutjob' and a 'libtard.' As just happened on one occasion at two sites (not involving any one here) a few weeks ago.

      So again, I dunno. And now I'm rambling, so it's time to cut this short!

      At least Congressmen aren't beating each other with canes on the floor any more, and I'm pretty sure nobody has to worry about being rushed by musket-carrying militiamen on their way to the polls next month... ;)

    22. I see you in full throated support of most of the Rightist meme's

      Come off it! You see only what you like to, using an Obama-centric view of things, which helps explain your view.

      Of course both sides play politics, even though partisans like to believe that only the other is impure.

    23. Jay,

      I want to thank you for alerting me to the fact that Volleyboy1 has been threatening me with bodily harm in some of his emails within the so-called "group."

      You did what any decent person would do. You alerted the target of the potential threat.

      In truth, I hardly take this threat from Volleyboy1 the least little bit seriously. If it was just the single isolated event I would have kept it to myself, but since I know that there are at least two separate threats on two entirely different occasions then it needs to be made public.

      Bullies need to be called out and the fact is that Volleyboy1 is an authoritarian personality.

    24. I just got back and I see there was a threat of violence made directly to someone but it certainly was not Mike. I am printing this page along with others where Mike Lumish has made an official direct threat of violence towards me.

      Please note the conversation here and I quote directly:

      Mike L: So, Volleyboy1,

      I'm told that you intend to use Krav Maga on me.

      Is that a fact?

      AND in that same post:

      You have threatened me, VB, with violence.

      This is dated and time stamped: Mike L.October 5, 2012 3:25 PM

      In RESPONSE TO THIS I stated:

      volleyboy1October 5, 2012 3:34 PM

      I'm told that you intend to use Krav Maga on me.

      You were told wrong... I would never use violence unless in self-defense.

      Dated and Time Stamped: volleyboy1October 5, 2012 3:34 PM

      Your response:


      The individual who goes under the moniker “Volleyboy1” has threatened the owner of this blog with violence.

      Dated and Time stamped: Mike L.October 5, 2012 4:08 PM

      NOW from my previous comment which explicitly states that I would never use violence unless it is self defense. I can only infer that you mean to use violence against me.

      How do I infer that? Well I clearly stated I would never use violence unless it was in self defense. Since you say I threatened you with violence that must mean that you plan to do something that would cause me to be in a position to have to use self defense.

      SO, are you saying that you plan to use violence against me?

      You have already threatened me once with physical violence (but never followed through on your big words) publicly in this article on your website:

      when you said the following in a post titled "Civilty":

      "If a man would challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him"

      From May 11th, 2012 -

      Now in this post you say it is not a threat yet above you say that I would use violence against you even though I explicitly said I would only use violence in self defense.

      SO, Mike are you threatening me with violence here OR are you committing libel here which is defined as:

      Libel is defined as defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.

      You have dedicated yourself to claiming non-existent threats of violence. I have clearly said that I would never use violence except in self defense.

      Don't try to scrub this either as both Posts have been printed.

    25. "Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Volleyboy1 see them that he said to The Progressive Zionists, 'Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Daily Kossers, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service G-d will bless.'




      My 'favorite' recent Volleyboy1 act, btw, was when he brazenly and hypocritically used the occasion of Yom Kippur to dehumanize a perceived enemy.

      Now, I'm certainly no innocent party myself when it comes to occasional blog nastiness.

      But there is absolutely no moral equivalence whatsoever between Volleyboy's violent threats against Mike, and Mike's demand that he (Volleyboy) answer for his repeated vile, unhinged behavior, if he'd like to be a contributor here at Mike's blog.

      Sorry, Stuart.

    26. Jay, you have no need to be sorry. There's a lot of the backstory that I have paid no attention to, nor am I taking sides, so if anything i said implied moral equivilency, that was not my intent. I'm not qualified, and as my friend used to say, my I care sponge is dry. I just wish the personal animosity didn't exist, and that includes the animosity between vb and you too. You all have valuable points of view. I happened to agree that the Pamela Geller diary was bullshit. If I had seen it before it was a week old, I would have responded.

    27. Thanks, Stuart. I'll agree with your comment. ;)

      And fwiw, "my I care sponge is dry" is an awesome line...

    28. I stole it from our rarely humble blog master.

    29. Allow me to concur that "there are so many more interesting things about which to have stupid arguments."

      People will do as they please, but this stuff takes away from the blog.

    30. There are two ways to go here. One would be to simply do what he (volleyboy) does at his site, and just ban him. Delete his comments on sight. That would be my call. He, personally, adds nothing to the discussion here, with his chortling twelve-year old texting comment style.

      "ah ha ha you idiots" "R'uh R'oh!' Etc etc...

      He does not come here to engage anyone honestly. Now, or ever. He is simply incapable of grown-up discussion on the issues.

      This is not meant to be a put-down of anyone else of his political persuasion; hell, I'm close to it myself. Stuart seems to do well here. I disagree with some of youze on occasion. At the end of the day, none of us are threatening to beat each other up. Aside from Volleyboy1.

      The real issue here is his uniquely awful and ugly personality.

      The second thing to do, I suppose, would be to simply ignore him until he goes away, or until he sucks up his pride, apologizes for his violent threats against Mike and his character assassination against me (as well as his general, all-around awful behavior), and then decides to honestly engage with others here in discussions of substance from now on. Without the "ah ha ha you deranged racist idiots!' and whatnot.

      Color me doubtful he'd ever meet the requirements on the latter, however.

      Ultimately, it's Mike's call. I fully support him in making sure everyone knows this guy's history, as long as he continues to act like he does. Just for the record.

    31. I appreciate what you are saying, but it is bluster and should be treated as such. One must understand the individual involved and act accordingly, which even means not to act sometimes. The truth is, does anyone take this seriously, or does it mainly show poor behavior?

      Much comes down to rampant polarization. Most partisans reside in a bubble where like minds reinforce ideology and create an existential threat coming from the other bubble that justifies almost any behavior for the cause, including internet bluster.

  2. Good post. It is important to sometimes separate the Arab-Israel aspect from the Democrat-Republican one from the Marxist-capitalist one.

    Just finishing Bawer's new book, “The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind.”

    Sometimes he says things that I would not, but I think the overall premise rings with authenticity. Ironically, rather than create the "community" Obama mentions, these victims place obstacles between groups. They have a common enemy in the Western system based on a utopian view that they cannot adhere to themselves without coercive practices. It is an activist mentality that pushes inquiry and the search for truth out of the way in favor of their own particularized conception of social justice. To raise this phenomenon creates wrath.

    Yeah, the black and white stuff and lack of ability to see others as acting in good faith will be our ruin. It comes from both sides and it ought to stop.

  3. The political environment is as divisive now as it has been anytime in my lifetime. My suspicion, furthermore, is that the diaspora Jewish community is probably more divided now than at any time in the recent past and these divisions are due, at least in part, to the Obama administration's veiled disdain for the Jewish state of Israel.

    What we need to acknowledge, in my opinion, is that the international left has sold us down the river. If we care about the state of Israel and if we care about the well-being of world Jewry then we need to acknowledge the clear fact that the left is not in our corner, if they ever were.

    The progressive movement, not to mention the Democratic party, has had no better or loyal friends than the diaspora Jewish community, but our alliance with that movement has not proven to be reciprocal, quite the opposite, in fact.

    Look, I do not like it any better than those who insist upon remaining loyal to a movement that does not reflect, or promote, the interests of the Jewish people. I understand how difficult it can be to finally draw such conclusions because I went through the process of finally acknowledging that which could no longer be denied.

    We pay a price for that recognition. There is always a social price to be paid and sometimes there is an economic price. As I am now learning there is even the potential for a physical price.

    But if we are honest with ourselves then we need to speak the truth, as Daniel Bielak likes to say.

    Dan's right, y'know. There is such a thing as "truth," despite whatever the post-structuralists might say.

    And the truth of this political moment is that the progressive-left has betrayed its Jewish constituency. I have no problem with Jewish people who remain in the movement for the purpose of reforming it, but please don't piss on my head and tell me its raining.

    1. Loyal to a movement? What exactly does that mean? Listening to what they have to say? Engaging in a dialogue? Voting for similar candidates? Please be precise here, because I really don't know what it means.

    2. Stuart,

      It is a shame that you seem unable to understand the concept that the organized Left, even though many Jews have been in its ranks, has a record of not standing up for the rights of Jews, or Israel after the 1967 war, especially when it conflicts with the goals to tear down the Western imperialist and capitalist enemy it has created in its collective mind, of which Jews and Israel are included.

    3. Nice segue into a topic I've never mentioned on this blog. You have no idea what I do and do not understand. You are a perfect example of the hypocritical point Mike makes in this very diary. Because I may disagree with you on one issue, I must be unable to understand some other concept. The world isn't black and white. That's the manichean thinking that permeated the previous adminsitration.

      (And you need a history lesson too.)

    4. Stuart,

      Careful who you call a hypocrite. It makes you appear more like the people decried than me.

      What is the crime in saying it seems you do not understand something anyway?

      I think you are overreacting, with undeserved outrage, and I am satisfied with my understanding of history that Jews have have been pushed aside for the greater good of solidarity.

    5. Really? So now calling someone out for doing something wrong is worse than the wrong thing itself?

      There is no crime, you can say whatever you want. But if you say something that is insulting, wrong, and not the least bit pertinent to the converation, don't be surprised to be called out on it.

    6. I cautioned you, not called you out.

      These arguments are twisted as a pretzel. Some might label them sophistry, a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.

    7. No, I called you out on it. No question about it. You accused me of not understanding something that I have never once addressed on this site. Pretty straight forward. I'm not sure that you know what sophistry is.

    8. Your comments indicate, at least to me, a fundamental lack of understanding in exactly the area I said. That is not calling you out or accusing you. That may be how you think, or operate, but it's not how I do. If I choose to accuse you it will be clear. In any event, there is no need to have a conniption because I make an observation you don't like.

      You have, in fact, often questioned the points made in such a way that discounts and challenges the historical narrative of who has persecuted Jews or disparages Israel, which includes those who seek utopia, and this is why I made the observation.

      Sophistry is as I said, and it is a reasonable conclusion when one reads the manner in which your responses emulate pretzels. You waste so much time playing word games, that the substance often goes by the wayside, whether or not it is intentional on your part.

    9. This is stupid. I hate stupid arguments. You said "you seem unable to understand the concept". What the concept is doesn't matter. That's an accusation.

      I don't play word games. I choose my words very carefully, and expect the same of others.

      Your observations about what I have questioned is entirely inconsistent with the truth. You need to read what I actually write more carefully. (Utopia? wtf?)

    10. As I said, literal to the extreme!

      This creates the inability I mentioned to even understand that "utopia" refers to the motivation and goal of leftist ideologies, like Communism, for example.

      I think perhaps you choose your words so closely that they are no less hard to understand than mine. That said, I find sentences like this completely useless:

      So now calling someone out for doing something wrong is worse than the wrong thing itself?

      I have no idea what this means or where this even comes from. It lacks any substance. Nor do I understand this way of thinking about things. It has a tone of familiarity, however, this manner of communication from you. Sometimes it seems there is more interest in how someone says something than in what is being said.

      I find you do play word games. The sentence above is word games. I guess we will have to disagree on the matter.

      I have an equally hard time to decipher the last remark, as well. It is vague and ambiguous.

      Based on your questions, the general topic, and the larger context, my remark that you give short shrift to how the left has treated Jews and Israel was both appropriate and non- accusatory. You may operate in a rigid environment where discussion cannot be free-flowing with respect to a subject matter, but that does not mean that everyone need conform.

  4. The "I Care Sponge."

    So I was at AT&T park a few years ago with Laurie and Friends and I was sitting next to Kevin.

    Kevin is a terrific guy and a dear friend, but not exactly an all-American follower of baseball, such as your humble host.

    I mean, we're talking about a full-grown American male who doesn't even really understand how the game works. So, naturally, I felt it was my duty (as a non-Communist) to explain to him the workings of the game.

    I was saying things like, "See that guy on that mound? He is what they call the 'pitcher.' It's the 'pitcher's' job to throw the ball toward that other guy who we call the 'batter.'"

    And so and so forth.

    And part way through my exposition Kevin turns to me and says the following:

    There is a sponge in my head. It's called the I Care Sponge. And it's totally dry!


    In any case, if Volleyboy1 intends to participate here he will need to answer for his defamation of Jay and his violent threats toward me.

    Volleyboy1 has authoritarian tendencies and he has threatened me with physical violence.

    What I want to know is just when VB intends to drop by Oakland to make good on those threats?