Sunday, April 10, 2011

Abuse as a response to threat

As most conservative bloggers can attest, the comments we get on our blogs or via email from Leftists consist almost entirely of a tirade of abuse. I have always thought that the abuse is a sign of a hostile or hating character but perhaps I have underestimated their awareness of their own situation. They know that the facts and logic are against them but cannot let go of their beliefs so rage is their only possible response.

I am moved to that thought by a comment put up in response to my recent post "Is God a racist"?. In the post I addressed once again the contentious question: "Who is a Jew?". The title would, however, I hope, alert anybody to the fact that I was offering a not-very-serious tease. And, to make sure I was not misunderstood, I stated that at the foot of the piece.

Most of the comments I got about it conceded that the piece was thought-provoking but that is all. In one of the places where I posted it, however, I got the following enraged response which consisted of nothing but extended abuse. It said in effect: "I know more than you do so you are wrong" A less persuasive argument would be hard to imagine:
I'm not sure how you got this bee in your bonnet or why this is on an anti-ACLU blog.

You are not dealing with Torah in the original Hebrew or the accompanying Oral Law. There is SO much you don't know about or understand, and are filtering through your X-tian (albeit now atheist) viewpoint. Your sources are from the original via Greek, via Latin, and then into English. You lose a *lot*-- and you don't even know what you don't have. Each of those translations had its own agenda and is probelmatic when compared with the original-- why don't you discuss that?

Give it a rest. Go ahead & do this to the stuff of your tradition (X-tian). You have no idea your lack of foundation to be able to discuss Torah, and you do indeed come off as an anti-semite, despite your rationalizations and protestations.

That is of course exactly the sort of non-argument one would expect of a Leftist. He says nothing to support his assertion that he knows more and gives no detail about where my post might be mistaken. It is pure assertion.

And it is not even good assertion. He asserts that I bypass the original languages of the Bible when in fact I specifically refer to the original Hebrew in discussing the divine name. Readers of my scripture blog will know that I pay great attention to the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible -- though I must confess that I am more at ease with Greek than I am with Hebrew.

So who wrote such a sad effusion? A conservative Jew who uses the rather Portuguese-sounding nickname of "dahozho" [] but whose real name is the very Irish-sounding J. Kelley.

My arguments obviously threatened him to the point where he was unable to give an intellectual reply. Why? From the name, I would guess that he is a Jewish convert. Real Jews have a perspective going back a long way so keep their cool with relative ease.

So the polemical incompetence of Mr Kelley suggests to me that maybe Leftists too know that they are on shaky ground when they respond to challenges with abuse.


Mr Kelley has now replied to the above -- simply repeating his contempt for gentiles who think they can understand the Bible without Jewish theology to guide them!


You're kidding, right?

With due respect, I think those who are praising the budget deal are deluding themselves. Under circumstances where we are trillions of dollars in debt, the GOP just caved on its promise to cut the relative pittance of $61 billion in spending because it's just not worth fighting for more than the half-pittance of $40 billion Democrats claimed was their drop-dead number. "Drop dead" meant daring Republicans to shut the government down (which, as we know, doesn't actually shut the government down). The Republicans blinked.

For me, this is no surprise - as I've said several times (see, e.g., here and here), I don't think they're serious. But I want to make a point about how strange this praise of Boehner & Co. is. A mere four months ago, the big controversy in conservative and Republican circles was whether the GOP had reneged on their vaunted pledge to cut $100B in spending in the current fiscal year because they had seemingly come down to $61B. As I noted at the time, there was no question that, if you looked at the fine print of the pledge, the commitment was $61B - but that if you looked at reality, both $61B and $100B were laughably unserious. No matter. Folks around here pooh-poohed my criticism and insisted that a $61B pledge was a sober first step, showing real fortitude about getting our fiscal house in order.

So now they've stopped short, significantly short, of that purportedly serious step, and the reaction is, "We won!" You've got to be kidding me. The only thing Boehner won is future assurance that GOP leadership can safely promise the moon but then settle for crums because their rah-rah corner will spin any paltry accomplishment, no matter how empty it shows the promise to have been, as a tremendous victory.

And what's the rationale for settling? Why, that these numbers are so piddling - that the $21 billion difference is so meaningless in the context of $14 trillion - that it's best just to settle, make believe the promise was never made, make believe we didn't flinch, and put this episode behind us so we can begin the "real work" of the next promise, the Ryan Plan.

Regarding that plan, you're to believe that the captains courageous who caved on $21 billion - and who got elected because of Obamacare but don't even want to discuss holding out for a cancellation of $105 billion in Obamacare funding - are somehow going to fight to the death for $6 trillion in cuts. Right.

I look forward to next year, though, when the commentariat will no doubt be swooning over the just announced Ryan Plan 2.0. That will be an even more fantabulous, intellectually serious proposal to cut, oh, say $12 trillion (of course, if promises don't mean anything, why stop at 12?). By then, the same pundits will be warning that the Republicans must not shut down the government to hold out for Ryan 1.0?s trifling $6 trillion. After all, we'll have the real serious business of Ryan 2.0 to attend to, and the Obama Democrats will be offering to meet Boehner halfway with a swell, good faith counter-offer of $27.50 in spending cuts.

$27.50? Why, of course. Why should Democrats go to $30, or $30,000, or $30 billion? After all, when you're swimming in a multi-trillion dollar sea of red ink, you'll always be able to say it's all chump change, not worth squabbling over. And when the GOP is always promising to fight next time, it will seem so rightwing whack-jobby of us to demand that they fight this time.

So three cheers for the GOP's steely resolve in achieving a whopping $40 billion in spending cuts. Better yet, ten cheers: one for each of the ten days it will take Leviathan to borrow more than this budget deal cuts.



The Price of Government Employees

One of the world's more pressing problems is sovereign debt. From Japan to Greece to America, the debts run up by governments are forcing painful choices. But some think we needn't make hard choices. They think things can go on as before and that government can take on even more debt and start up even more public programs. Some are unwilling to make any sacrifices; they don't want to give up anything.

In America as in Europe, those most averse to change are government employees. The evidence for this has been seen recently in states trying to get control of their deficits. Wisconsin is the prime example, where protesting government employees, teachers, students, unionists, and a few anarchists occupied the state Capitol for weeks.

The big issue for state employees in Wisconsin was the loss of collective bargaining. Wisconsin needed to scale back collective bargaining so that it can control runaway benefit costs and so that bad employees can be fired without incurring huge legal bills. States wanting to cut their deficits must address spending; they can't just raise taxes, as residents and businesses will decamp for other states.

To see what the states are up against, watch the video of filmmaker Michael Moore on March 5 in Madison, where he delivered a speech (transcript) to thousands of protesters, inflaming their passions and class resentments, telling them that America is "awash" in cash -- "It's just that it's not in your hands."

The cost of personnel is one of the biggest expenses for a state (or for any enterprise). If a state can't control what it pays for employees, it's unlikely to get control of its budget. In his April 1 article "We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers" for The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore relates that the annual cost of employees to state and local governments is $1 trillion, almost half their budgets. Here's more Moore:
If you want to understand better why so many states -- from New York to Wisconsin to California -- are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

The mushrooming number of government employees isn't the only problem, however; government employees have higher average compensation than private sector workers. Some contend that this is false. But a recent study from The Heritage Foundation by Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs confirms it. And on April 4 in a related article at NRO, they write:
Sadly, it's easier to put out a dozen poor studies than to get a single analysis right. But many fights on public-sector pay are yet to come in states around the country. Taxpayers and their advocates need to be ready to counter false claims about government pay.

The dollar impact of employee costs on government deficits isn't the only issue -- there's the issue of equity:

Borrowing money to pay for current government spending involves deferred taxation. And when elected officials make contracts with unions to pay for open-ended pensions and benefits, they are again kicking taxation off to the future. The problem is that one of the parties to these decisions -- the party that will fulfill such government promises -- was not represented: the future taxpayer. So deficit spending and open-ended benefits for government employees are a form of "taxation without representation."

In postponing taxation, politicians make a claim on the earnings of the future taxpayer for the purpose of handing out free goodies to the current taxpayer. Government contracts with government employees should only extend for the term of those officials approving such contracts, or two years. The next electorate may vote in officials who wouldn't sign such agreements. This is why "defined benefit" pensions have got to go. Such pensions are neither fair for the future taxpayer nor for the public employees who may lose their pensions. Better to own your pension than to rely on the willingness of future taxpayers to fulfill promises to which they didn't agree. Better to take the money and run.

If it is true that no Congress can bind a future Congress, then how can any Congress bind a future electorate or the future taxpayer? For that matter, how binding is any contract made for someone who didn't agree to it? Not even Congress should presume to sign agreements that others must fulfill -- except for the voters that gave them power.

If current taxpayers are unwilling to pay the price for current government, then scale back current spending. But don't make future generations into tax slaves.

Change may be OK for the rest of America, but not for government employees. They don't appreciate the gravity of the sovereign debt crisis, or that bankruptcy looms, or that ruin is at hand. If money is short, that's your problem.

So as The Judge so elegantly puts it on Freedom Watch: "Does the government work for us or do we work for the government?"



Creepy Moonbats Apologize on Behalf of Men

It's a mystery why moonbats feel guilty about the sinfulness of masculinity. That's the one area where they are innocent.

Careful - it can be dangerous to laugh and throw up at the same time:

If you managed to sit through that, you now understand why moonbattery isn't something to be reasoned with - it is something to be eradicated, like a horrifically repulsive fungus.


I don't think any normal woman would have anything much to do with those guys either - JR


You think tea partiers use crazy rhetoric?

Think Tea Partiers are crazy? They've got nothing on Democratic members of Congress defending federal abortion subsidies.

If you wonder why the traditional media ignored the rally for abortion on the National Mall yesterday, here's your answer:
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said today that the new Republicans elected to the House of Representatives last November came to Congress "to kill women." She also likened Republican efforts to prohibit federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is endangered to actions taken by Nazis.

“This is probably one of the worst times we’ve seen because the numbers of people elected to Congress. I went through this as co-chair of the arts caucus," Slaughter said. "In ’94 people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.”

Her ridiculous reference to the Nazis follows in the linked article from CNS News.



Another Obama deception

Or is he just dumb?

President Obama talks about respecting science. He doesn't respect it so well when he says things like this:
We have about 2, maybe 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves; we use 25 percent of the world’s oil. So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five.

Obama is conflating two very different ratios here. One represents the amount of oil we use as a share of what the world uses; the other has to do with proven reserves. Obama's sleight of hand is to use the two interchangeably, and he's just wrong to do so.

By using faulty math, Obama implies that we produce less than 20 percent of the oil we use. In fact, the number is 49 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)



Montreal Canadian said...

I realized that your recent postings on Judaism were not meant to offend, but Mr. Kelley's criticisms were valid, and I don't believe his comments were meant to be abusive. Surely, you acknowledge bias as an atheist and as someone with a Christian, not Jewish, background in the study of the Hebrew Bible? Surely, you acknowledge a lack of familiarity with the vast sea of Jewish knowledge? Your readers know that you are philo-semitic. That doesn't mean your speculative interpretations of Judaism aren't cringe-worthy. P.S. Please delete Mr. Kelley's email address from your post - you know that's the right thing to do.

JR said...

If he had made a case instead of spouting mere abuse, my interest in him would have been very different. As it is, I think my response is reasonable.

JR said...

And in the article Mr Kelley "commented" on, I made no pretense of being aware of or interested in what Jewish theology has done with the original texts

Christian theologians do some amazing things with the original texts too

My post simply pointed to what the original texts say

I would however have been interested in comments drawing on rabbinical wisdom if that had been offered

It was not

Anonymous said...

Intellectuals (ref. Thomas Sowell's book) have a tendency to assume they can intellegently discuss topics outside their area of expertise. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, they don't know what they don't know.

Christian theologians certainly rely on the Jewish tradition. If a knowledgeable Christian theologian, or a scientist with special knoweldge of ancient history, linguistics or archeology, were to offer an insight into the meaning of a word or phrase in the Hebrew Bible, then that insight would be taken seriously by knowledgeable Jews.
However, if a layman were to offer up a speculative opinion based on his simple reading of the Hebrew Bible, and that opinion contradicts fundamental understandings, then that opinion will not be respected.

JR said...

And note that I have made far, far more criticisms of Christian beliefs than Jewish ones

In both cases, "rediscovering" the original texts was the aim

JR said...

Mr Kelley's subsequent attack can be found here