Saturday, November 19, 2016

Film Reviews: Hacksaw Ridge

'Hacksaw Ridge' presents a stirring profile of courage

By  Star Tribune
November 3, 2016

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Honor, courage and glory come in many forms. For the young volunteer soldier Desmond Doss, they came in ways that redefined many Americans’ understanding of patriotism.
Doss joined the Army in World War II to serve his country, but insisted on doing it on his own terms. His religious faith made him refuse to kill others, or even to carry a weapon into battle. As an unarmed medic caring for wounded infantrymen on the front lines of the Okinawa campaign, he served with astounding bravery, dignity and distinction, becoming the most awarded conscientious objector in U.S. military history and the first to receive the Medal of Honor.
In “Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson, returning to directing after scandal sidelined him for a decade, reaffirms his reputation as a master storyteller. This could have been another dime-a-dozen war story about rah-rah patriotism, but Gibson has made something much deeper, artistically and morally. Shot, edited and acted dazzlingly, this equals Gibson’s bravura work in “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto.” “Hacksaw Ridge” is their spiritual sequel.
Gibson has crafted a riveting and inspiring film, exploring the dark side of mankind alongside its heroism. While the film has moments of sentimentality and war movie cliché, Gibson molds the carefully documented facts into believable and powerful drama. He pulls no gut-wrenching punches, and they strike that much harder after we are lulled by the film’s innocent and romantic buildup in its first hour.
After an electrifying, visually stunning battlefield prologue, the story begins in peaceful Lynchburg, Va. This rural Eden is where Desmond, a pious and somewhat naive youngster, introduces himself to sin. During a scuffle with his brother, Desmond hits him with a brick, causing a head injury. Later, when his drunkard father (Hugo Weaving), a traumatized World War I veteran, treats his wife violently, Desmond protects her with a pistol. Humbled by those outbursts, he vows never to touch a weapon again.
Andrew Garfield acts the part superlatively, mixing happy-go-lucky humor, humility and a warm sense of budding manhood as he falls in love with a nurse from the local hospital (charming Teresa Palmer). A generous spirit, he wishes he had enough schooling to become a doctor himself. Gibson uses thoughtful, comfortably tight storytelling to hook our emotions to this likable farm boy’s fate long before it is pulled into the firing line.
Signing up to help promote the war effort, Desmond arrives at boot camp, where his drill sergeant (Vince Vaughn at his best in ages) eyes him and declares, “I have seen stalks of corn with better physiques.” Desmond baffles, then incenses, the enlisted men and officers when he refuses to accept his rifle, respectfully citing his Seventh-day Adventist’s adherence to the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”
Despite his promises to fulfill all of the Army’s other decrees, cynics call him a coward and beat him. The brass launches a court martial against him. Eventually, the pacifist is sent into battle with the squad as a medic, one of the most highly targeted personnel in the conflict, still scarcely trusted by many of his comrades.
The film’s devastating second half moves us into what one officer calls “the hellfire of battle.” That’s an understatement. The battle for control of Okinawa is presented as a terrifying symphony of blood and mud and flame — imagery as much from apocalyptic theology as history. As grenades and machine-gun fire blow bodies in half, Desmond’s comrades move ahead courageously, and each has been so carefully sketched beforehand that we care about every one. Desmond shows even greater valor crawling to them, tending to them and pulling them back for surgical treatment, stanching their jets of blood and boosting their morale even when we know they’re dying.
Gibson, always a faith-based sermonizer, captures these convulsions with such virtuoso control of film craft that he can express devout associations beyond the narrative. When the saintly Desmond transports men on his shoulders, their wounds bloodying his back, there are clear parallels to Christ carrying the cross. As Desmond is pulled by a rope lift to the top of the towering stone cliff that borders Hacksaw Ridge, it’s a clear parallel to the ascension. Rescuing American and Japanese wounded alike, Desmond endlessly prays for the strength to save “just one more, Lord, just one more.”
Carrying the savagery of “Saving Private Ryan” to a deeper level, this film will trigger more manly tears than any in memory. It earns them.

The Madness and Majesty of 'Hacksaw Ridge'

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From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the divine, comes Desmond Doss. We see him as a child, played by Darcy Bryce, scrapping with his brother and clouting him with a brick—the sole occasion, in “Hacksaw Ridge,” on which the hero harms another person. Quaking with guilt, and awaiting a whipping from his drunken father (Hugo Weaving), Desmond stares at a picture on the wall and reads the inscription: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Easier said than done, in a time of war. Yet such was the mission of Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist, who was drafted in 1942 and joined the military as a conscientious objector. He served as a medic with the 307th Regiment, 77th Infantry Division, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for what the citation called “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action,” at Okinawa. Conspicuous is right; after the bulk of the regiment was forced to retreat, Doss, alone and exposed to continual enemy fire, went to the aid of some seventy-five injured comrades, lowering them, one by one, over an escarpment to safety. Only when there was no one else to rescue did he descend. No wonder he became a talisman to the troops; in “Hacksaw Ridge,” preparing for a renewed assault, they calmly delay until Doss has finished his prayers.
All this is a far cry from Doss’s rural home, where he and his brother are seen climbing a ridge not for combat but for fun and for the beautiful view. As a lanky youth, now played by Andrew Garfield, Desmond falls in love with a nurse (Teresa Palmer). He woos her with a gee-whiz grin and, in a benign foreshadowing of the horrors to come, donates blood. She, in turn, gives him a Bible before he goes off to basic training, at Fort Jackson. There a problem arises, for Doss refuses to hold a rifle: a stance that not even Gary Cooper, as the devout pacifist of “Sergeant York” (1941), could match. Such mulishness puts Doss at odds with the other recruits, like the strapping Smitty (Luke Bracey), and with their drill sergeant, played by Vince Vaughn, who equips the character not just with the standard snarl and bark but also with a twinge of genuine curiosity. What is driving Doss, this goofy kid, whose principles are as upstanding as his quiff? Only through the intervention of a loved one does he survive a court-martial, earning the right to enter the battlefield unarmed. He does use a rifle, but only once, as the handle for a homemade stretcher.
Courage of this order reaches beyond recklessness, and during the Okinawa scenes, which consume the final hour of the movie, Garfield’s boyish features are racked and seized in a kind of trance; the agonized effort to save others, we realize, entails a near-ecstasy of suffering. Here, in other words, is a movie directed by Mel Gibson. It has less in common with Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006), say, than with Gibson’s own “The Passion of the Christ” (2004), in which the scourging of Jesus goes on and on, until you can scarcely look, and then goes on again. Is this in line with traditional, if extreme, strains of Christian iconography—with the contorted limbs and the scarified skin of Grünewald’s “Crucifixion,” from the early sixteenth century? Or was the filmmaker at the mercy of a thoroughly modern fixation? More than any other living director, even a fellow-Catholic such as Martin Scorsese, Gibson seems to be gripped by the spiritual repercussions of pain. Within the bounds of his vision, it is quite natural to cut from Doss inside a church, polishing the stained-glass windows, to a nasty accident on the road outside and the impaling of a victim’s leg.
“Hacksaw Ridge” is the strangest release of the year: an implacably violent film about a man who wants no part of violence at all. Gibson asks us to observe the spectacle of spilled viscera, limbs in flight, rats feasting on mortal flesh, and one soldier using the sundered torso of another as a shield, so that we may better comprehend the faith that upholds Doss, inspiring him to bind the wounds of his friends (and even, in one stirring instance, his foe). He burrows down a tunnel as if harrowing Hell, and when, at last, he escapes from Hacksaw Ridge—the site of the climactic battle, its very name designed to bite deep—he is framed against the sun, pouring water over his half-naked figure to wash off the blood of other men. We are meant to imagine someone being baptized and born again. There are reasons to recoil from all this, and what private furies Gibson may be confronting, at the cost of more than forty million dollars, I hate to think. Yet the result, though corny at times, treads close to madness and majesty alike, and nobody but Gibson could have made it.

Friday, November 18, 2016

What to Tell Your Children About Trump

We are the world’s oldest democracy, we are good people, and we’ve been through shocks before.

By Peggy Noonan
November 17, 2016
Eight points and two anecdotes as we continue to digest this astounding election.
You don’t know a tree is hollow until you push hard against it and it falls. The establishments of both parties did not know, a year ago, that they were hollow trees. They thought themselves strong because they always had been, and people think what has been true will continue. Then suddenly the tree is pushed and falls. To me that is the symbol, the image of 2016: the hollowed trees and how easily they fell.
Election night 2016 was not like 1980. That year produced an outcome fully within the political norms: a former two-term governor won the presidency. This year’s outcome went beyond all previous norms. Twenty-sixteen was like nothing in our lifetimes. In the future people will say, “Where were you that election night?” the way they do for other epochal moments.
Much of the mainstream, legacy media continues its self-disgrace. Having failed to killDonald Trump’s candidacy they will now aim at his transition. Soon they will try to kill his presidency. Any journalists who are judicious toward Trump, who treat him fairly or even as a human being, are now accused of “normalizing” him. This is a manipulation: It is a way of warning your colleagues to approach the president-elect with the proper hostility or be scorned. None of this will do our country any good.
The left is in enraged mourning. A better way forward would be: reflect, absorb, gather your strength as the opposition, constructively oppose. Lose the hissing rancor. Use that energy to rebuild your party.
Right now 60 million people are very happy, and hopeful. They haven’t taken to the streets in elation, so we can’t see them. They haven’t broken car windows in their joy. Respect their happiness.
This is my fear: The question we ask after every national election is, “Can we come together?” The question this year is more, “Do we even want to come together?” Have the two nations within our nation reached a point of permanent estrangement? If the cultural left eases up and the economic right loosens up, maybe things can be soothed.
I think many people intuitively sense this: The Trump era either really will work or really won’t. It’s going to be something good or a disaster, but it won’t be a middling thing.
This big, burly country can take it either way. The proper attitude now? Give him a chance, watch close, wish well. Cheer what’s sound, criticize what isn’t.
And this: trust America.
Five days after the election I met an Ethiopian immigrant on a street in Washington. We got to talking. He spoke of how bad it was in his old country, all the killing. He’d been here 15 years. “I love America,” he said. “It gave everything to me.” But he was deeply concerned by the election. He has two sons, 8 and 6. The younger got up Wednesday morning, saw the TV and burst into tears. Trump won! The boy calls Trump “the mouth man.” How could a bully be president? “He wept,” said the Ethiopian. “How do I explain it to him?”
I thought. Finally I said, “Tell him to trust America.” Tell him that we are the world’s oldest democracy, that we are a good people, that we’ve been through shocks and surprises, and that we have checks and balances. “If it turns out good,” I said, “we’ll be happy. If it turns out really bad, America has a way of making your stay in the White House not too long. But tell him to trust America as you did, and it gave you everything.”
He said he’d tell his son that. We warmly shook hands.
This isn’t the first story of frightened children I’ve heard since the election. It’s the third. When I told it to a friend, also foreign-born, and so America-loving that he chokes up when he quotes past presidents, he told me that his 5-year-old woke up after the election and sobbed at the news.
Trump supporters feel that the left did this, demonizing Mr. Trump and making him monstrous. There’s some truth in that. But even truer is that Mr. Trump himself scared the children of America for a solid year with his loud ways and rough manner—“the mouth man.”
What a great thing it would be if Donald Trump would take a day off from the presidential transition, go to a series of schools, bring the press, and speak to children, telling them that he has nothing in his heart but the desire to do good and help people. “I have children and even grandchildren,” he might say. “I love them. I will do my best, and I love you.”
Mr. Trump’s people seem to me right now proud, exhausted and painfully aware that they emerged victorious despite the daily pummeling from the establishment and elite media. No one gave them a break.
And they’re right. It was that way.
But it’s not sissy-ish to respect peoples’ anxieties. It doesn’t legitimize your foes’ criticisms to show sensitivity. All presidents since Washington, “the father of our country,” have been seen as a national father figure. It grates on conservatives to think like that. It grates on me. But that’s inevitable for kids who see the president on TV all the time in an un-parented country.
They need to see a little gentleness and good intent. Their parents would appreciate it. And it’s needed before the inauguration. Impressions will have hardened by then.
I end with a related personal note. I never interviewed Donald Trump throughout this year’s campaign. From the beginning he reminded me of men I grew up with, Trumps with no money—loud, unsmooth, rough opinions. Where you came from and who you were surrounded by has a bearing on your loyalties and can bend your thinking. I judged that I’d see Mr. Trump most clearly from a middle distance. So I didn’t go, talk, interview. Six weeks ago I called a Trump staffer I’d interviewed to check a quote. She returned my call from Trump Force One. We spoke, and then suddenly the phone seemed to drop and I heard, “Who’s that?” Then I heard, “Peggy, this is Donald.”
I won’t quote exactly what was said. No one put it off the record, but it felt off the record, and some of the conversation was personal. But I can describe it. He was dignified, hilarious and modest. He told me that I’d sometimes been unfair to him, sometimes mean, sometimes really, really mean, but that when I was he usually deserved it, always appreciated it, and keep it up. He spoke of other things; he characterized for me my career.
I’d heard of his charm offensive, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say how charming, funny and frank he was—and, as I say, how modest. How actually humble.
It moved me. And it hurt to a degree a few weeks later when I wrote in this space that “Sane Donald Trump” would win in a landslide but that the one we had long seen, the crazed, shallow one, wouldn’t, and didn’t deserve to.
Is it possible there are deeper reserves of humility, modesty and good intent lurking around in there than we know? And maybe a toolbox, too, that can screw those things together and produce something good?
Where there’s life, there’s hope. He’s lively. Let’s hope.
But whatever happens, trust America. She has a way of weathering through.

ESPN Admits They Mistreat Conservatives, And It's Killing Their Ratings

By Ben Shapiro
November 17, 2016
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With the NFL declining dramatically in viewership, at least in part due to the stunning embrace of anti-National Anthem antics from fools like 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it now appears that ESPN has suffered a similar drop-off. Three weeks ago, ESPN president John Skipper stated, “Beginning today, we will be enacting a number of organizational changes at ESPN to better support our future goals. That will include the elimination of a number of positions…”
ESPN has been hemorrhaging viewers because of its outspoken politics. From giving Caitlyn Jenner a heroism award to stumping for Black Lives Matter, from pushing gun control to praising Kaepernick’s heroism, from firing Curt Schilling for expressing anti-radical Islam sentiments to threatening Chris Broussard for taking a religious view of homosexuality while doing nothing about Kevin Blackistone for calling the national anthem a “war anthem,” ESPN has become – as I’ve long said – MSNBC with footballs.
Now, ESPN’s public editor is admitting that the network has a problem. As Newsbusters reports, Jim Brady admitted, “One notion that virtually everyone I spoke to at ESPN dismisses is what some have perceived as unequal treatment of conservatives who make controversial statements vs. liberals who do the same.” He added:
ESPN is far from immune from the political fever that has afflicted so much of the country over the past year. Internally, there’s a feeling among many staffers -- both liberal and conservative -- that the company’s perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing product. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some…. For most of its history, ESPN was viewed relatively apolitically. Its core focus was -- and remains today, of course -- sports. Although the nature of sports meant an occasional detour into politics and culture was inevitable, there wasn’t much chatter about an overall perceived political bias. If there was any tension internally, it didn’t manifest itself publicly.
Brady talked to anchor Bob Ley, who admitted that ESPN has no “diversity of thought.” A conservative employee told Brady that “If you’re a Republican or conservative, you feel the need to talk in whispers.” Jemele Hill, naturally, said “I would challenge those people who say they feel suppressed. Do you fear backlash, or do you fear right and wrong?"
This is the problem. And this is why ESPN and the media more generally fail. It is suppression to label those who disagree with you politically morally evil because they disagree. Yet that’s what Hill does. That’s what ESPN does, too. The left believes its opinions and feelings are facts; those who disagree are therefore either morons or fascists. That’s why Hill thinks Schilling should have been fired for putting up a meme expressing that transgender people should go to the bathroom in the restroom that matches their biological sex. Schilling must be evil.
That perspective comes across in ESPN’s casual leftism. And it alienates viewers. I’m one of them. I used to watch ESPN every time I worked out. Now I’d rather have the television off. I’m not interested in hearing talking heads who know less about politics than they do about water polo take for granted that they are morally righteous, and everyone on the right is morally obtuse. Screw them. I’d rather cut the cord entirely.
I’m not the only one. And ESPN had better recognize that, or they’ll have MSNBC’s ratings along with their worldview.

The Ellison Challenge

By Caroline Glick
November 17, 2016

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Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders speak during a campaign event in Dearborn, Michigan, March 7, 2016. 
(Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Democratic Party stands at a crossroads today. And so do the Jewish Democrats.

Out of power in the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democrats must decide what sort of party they will be in the post-Obama world.

They have two basic options.

They can move to the Center and try to rebuild their blue collar voter base that President-elect Donald Trump captivated with his populist message. To do so they will need to loosen the reins of political correctness and weaken their racialism, their radical environmentalism and their support for open borders.

This is the sort of moderate posture that Bill Clinton led with. It is the sort of posture that Clinton tried but failed to convince his wife to adopt in this year’s campaign.

The second option is to go still further along the leftist trajectory that President Barack Obama set the party off on eight years ago. This is the favored option of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Sanders’s supporters refer to this option as the populist course.

It is being played out today on the ground by the anti- Trump protesters who refuse to come to terms with the Trump victory and insistently defame Trump as a Nazi or Hitler and his advisers as Goebbels.

For the Democrats, such a populist course will require them to become more racialist, more authoritarian in their political correctness, angrier and more doctrinaire.

It will also require them to become an antisemitic party.

Antisemitism, like hatred of police and Christians, is a necessary component of Democratic populism.

This is true first and foremost because they will need scapegoats to blame for all the bad things you can’t solve by demonizing and silencing your political opponents.

Jews, and particularly the Jewish state, along with evangelical Christians and cops are the only groups that you are allowed to hate, discriminate against and scapegoat in the authoritarian PC universe.

From the party’s initial post-election moves, it appears that the Democrats have decided to take the latter path.

Congressman Keith Ellison from Minneapolis is now poised to be selected as the next leader of the Democratic National Committee. This position is a powerful one. The DNC chairman, like his Republican counterpart, is the party’s chief fund-raiser.

When a party is out of power, the party chairman is also treated like its formal leader, and most active spokesman.

Ellison is the head of the Democrats’ Progressive Caucus. His candidacy is supported by incoming Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid. Obama has indicated his support for Ellison. Sen. Bernie Sanders is enthusiastically supporting him.

Ellison made history in 2006 when he was elected to serve as the first Muslim member of Congress. As the representative of an overwhelmingly Democratic district, once he won the Democratic primary in 2006, he was all but guaranteed that he could serve in Congress for as long as he wishes.

As Scott Johnson, a prominent conservative writer who runs the popular Power Line blog website reported extensively in 2006, Ellison is an antisemite. He also defends cop killers.

As Johnson reported, Ellison was a long-standing member of the antisemitic Nation of Islam. During his 2006 congressional campaign, the local media gave next to no coverage to this association. But when it did come up, Ellison soothed concerns of Minneapolis’s Jewish community by sending a letter to the local Jewish Community Relations Committee.

In the letter Ellison claimed that he had only been briefly associated with Louis Farrakhan’s outfit, that he was unfamiliar with its antisemitism, and that he had never personally expressed such views.

The local media and the Jewish community were happy to take him at his word.

But as Johnson documented, he was lying on all counts.

Ellison’s association with the Nation of Islam dated back at least since 1989 and stretched at least until 1998. During that period, he not only knew about the Nation of Islam’s Jew-hatred, he engaged in it himself.

As Johnson noted, in 1998, Ellison appeared at a public forum as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam.

He was there to defend a woman who was under fire for allegedly referring to Jews as “among the most racist white people.”

Whereas the woman herself denied she had made the statement, Ellison defended and justified her alleged statement. Referring to her slander of Jews he said, “We stand by the truth contained in [the woman’s] remarks... Also it is absolutely true that merchants in Black areas generally treat Black customers badly.”

As Johnson reported, aside from engaging in anti-Jewish propaganda and actively promoting antisemitic messages and leaders, decades before the Black Lives Matter was formed, Ellison was a prominent defender of murderers of policemen.

After the September 11 attacks, Ellison likened the attacks to the Reichstag fire in 1933, intimating that the al-Qaida strike was an inside job. He then agreed with an audience member who said that “the Jews” gained the most from the attacks.

As a member of Congress, Ellison has been among the most hostile US lawmakers toward Israel. He has close relations with Muslim Brotherhood-related groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America. Both groups were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding trial, implicated in funding Hamas and al-Qaida.

And now, Sens. Schumer, Sanders and Reid and President Obama along with the Democratic grassroots activists and other party leaders are supporting Ellison’s bid to serve as chairman of the DNC.

As Ellison’s statement about “merchants” makes clear, the Democrats’ Jew-hatred may not be of the “Jews are the sons of apes and pigs” variety. In all likelihood, it will be propagated through angry rhetoric about “bankers” and “financiers,” and “the rich.”

Ellison, a supporter of the antisemitic BDS movement, has libeled Israel by likening the Jewish state to apartheid South Africa. Under his leadership, we can expect for Democratic politicians to veer even further away from Israel and to embrace the slander that Zionism is racism.

The populist Sanders route seems more attractive to the Democrats than Bill Clinton’s moderate path because the notion is taking hold that Sanders would have been a stronger candidate in the general election than Clinton was.

This view is hard to accept. Most Americans reject socialism, and populist or not, it is difficult to see how Sanders would have sold his radical positions to an uninterested public.

The other problem with the “Sanders would have won” argument is that it misses the distinction between Trump’s populism and Democratic populism.

Trump’s populism stemmed from his willingness to say things that other politicians and authority figures more generally wouldn’t dare to say. Trump’s allegation that the political system is rigged, for instance, empowered Americans who feel threatened by the authoritarianism of the politically correct Left.

Trump’s opponents insist that his populism empowered white power bigots. But that was a bug in his ointment. It wasn’t the ointment itself. Trump’s willingness to seemingly say anything, and certainly to say things that were beyond the narrow confines of the politically correct discourse, empowered tens of millions of voters. It also empowered white bigots at the fringes of the Right.

Whereas empowering white bigots was a side effect of Trump’s populism, empowering bigots is a central feature of leftist populism. And this is where it gets dicey for Jews.

As Obama – and Ellison – have shown, when Democrats channel populism, they use it to demonize their opponents as evil. They are “fat cats on Wall Street.”

They are “racists,” and other deplorables.

There are scattered voices on the Left that are calling for their fellow leftists to revisit their authoritarian practice of labeling everyone who doesn’t walk lockstep behind them as racists and otherwise unacceptable. But for the most part, the populists are winning the argument by essentially demanding more ideological radicalism and more rigidity.

This policy is completely irrational from a political perspective. It’s hard to see the constituencies that will be swayed to support an angry, hateful party.

But this brings us to the Jews, who voted 3:1 for the Democrats, and to the American Jewish leadership whose support for Clinton was near unanimous.

When antisemitic, populist voices like Ellison’s began taking over Britain’s Labour Party, British Jews began heading for the exits. When push came to shove they preferred their individual rights and their communal rights as Jews above their partisan loyalties.

So far, this doesn’t appear to be the case among Jewish Democrats.

Consider the Anti-Defamation League’s unhinged onslaught against Trump’s chief strategist, former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon.

While ignoring Ellison’s record of antisemitism and support for Israel’s enemies, as well as his ties to unindicted co-conspirators in funding Hamas, the ADL launched a scathing assault on Bannon, accusing him of being an antisemite.

The ADL’s assault on Bannon follows its absurd claim in the final days of the campaign that Trump’s ad criticizing George Soros was antisemitic. It also follows the group’s bizarre condemnation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent video clip in which he stated the plain fact that the Palestinian demand that Jews be ethnically cleansed from the territory they wish to take control over is an antisemitic demand.

As many prominent US Jews on both sides of the partisan divide have made clear, the accusation that Bannon, whose Breitbart website is one of the most pro-Israel websites in the US, is antisemitic is appalling on its face. The allegation is simply unsubstantiated.

So why do it? Why allege that a friend of the Jews is a Jew-hater while ignoring the actual antisemitism of another man? The answer is depressingly easy to discern.

The ADL appears to be trying to give cover to the rising forces of antisemitism in the Democratic Party.

By falsely accusing Bannon and through him Trump of antisemitism, the ADL defuses the real problem of Democratic antisemitism. And if the ADL doesn’t think there is a problem with Ellison taking over the DNC, but alleges that Republicans hate them, then rank and file Jews will stay put.

The ADL of course isn’t alone in sending this message.

Following the election, Conservative and Reform congregations in major cities throughout the US organized communal shivas, to mourn Clinton’s defeat as if it was a death in the family. Such actions, along with characterizations of Trump and his advisers as Nazis or Hitler or white supremacists work to bind Jews to a party that is inhospitable to their communal interests while blinding them to the fact that Republicans do not hate Jews or the Jewish state.

For decades, American Jews have been at the forefront of every major social movement on in the US.

But the Democratic Party’s move toward antisemitism, a move made apparent through Ellison’s rise, is one movement the Jews mustn’t lead.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Literally Shaking

By Ann Coulter
November 16, 2016

An AT&T truck burns as protests riot in Oakland, California, U.S. following the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States November 9, 2016. /REUTERS
An AT&T truck burns as protests riot in Oakland, California, U.S. following the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States November 9, 2016. /REUTERS

Until the nationwide protests of the last few days, I had no idea how bad the problem was, but our nation is drowning in drama queenery.

The immediate reaction of most celebrities to Trump's victory was: "THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR MY TAKE ON THE ELECTION!”

Aaron Sorkin and David Remnick, in matching pink housecoats and fuzzy slippers, wrote hysterical jeremiads about the cataclysm of Trump's election.

Sorkin was especially irked that Trump was supported by white men who don't appreciate rap music. As proof that the end was near, he triumphantly reported: "The Dow futures dropped 700 points overnight." After a brief drop, the Dow surged to historic highs, recording its biggest weekly gain in five years.

But I can't wait to read the letters these guys wrote to their children about Bill Clinton! Don't leave us hanging guys -- post those, too, please.

In Hiplandia, "I couldn't stop crying!" and "I vomited!" are dispositive proof that Trump is a bad man -- not that these people are mentally unbalanced. Their own paranoia is cited to show how evil their enemies are.

It's supposed to say something about Trump that people are posting little homilies titled: "How to Tell a Child Donald Trump Won the Election." (Google produces 60 million hits for that idea.)

In fact, that tells us nothing whatsoever about Trump, but does tell us that liberal parents are intentionally raising neurotics by telling their children that they are living in Nazi Germany.

Americans who make $20,000 a year are made fun of by Samantha Bee for going to Wal-Mart.

These are all people who will knife one another in the back to get their kids into $50,000-a-year all-white preschools. But they think they're less racist than other Americans because of their pleasant interactions with Rosa when she comes to clean.

In the modern Democratic Party, out-of-work coal miners are constantly denounced for their "privilege" by half-black girls at Yale - who wouldn't have gotten in without the black half -- and who will be paid a quarter-million dollars as the "diversity coordinator" at some Fortune 500 corporation.

Apparently the new method of developing opinions is to figure out what's trendy and allowing celebrities and comedians to act as your personal shoppers.

I'm just so busy, I don't have time to know things. Could you help me pick out my views?

Absolutely! I've got some great opinions for you. How do you like, "I can't believe this is my country" or "I am literally shaking”?

Oh yes, I love those –- that looks great on me!

This is why the snowflakes are smashing windows, beating up Trump supporters and calling for the assassination of Trump and the rape of his wife. If you've ever wondered how France's Reign of Terror happened, observe the anti-Trump protests — the main result of which is to convince people who had misgivings about voting for Trump that they did the right thing.
Trump is denounced for his alleged "racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia!”

No one stops to think: Wait a minute! These are all groups Trump has showered with affection, with the exception of Muslim immigrants -- who persecute the other four.

This is the mob's muscle memory kicking in, as when Sen. Patty Murray reached for her mental file on "Good Things a Leader Can Do" and ended up praising Osama bin Laden after 9/11 for "building day care facilities, building health care facilities." The protesters are pulling out slogans from their "Things We Pretend to Hate" file.

All this is the consequence of the Democratic Party's decision in the 1970s to get rid of all the normal people. Back when the party contained a large segment of the working class, there was a safety valve. They couldn't afford to be associated with airhead celebrities pushing insane ideas. Mayor Richard Daley, for example, did not travel to Cuba or brag about his friendship with Daniel Ortega.

But then the head of the auto union had to be kicked out of the party because he was "anti-choice.”

Really? But he's been a Democrat for 18 years … 

Well, maybe it's time we hear from the REST of America!

Unfortunately, the rest of America wasn't large enough for Democrats to win elections. So they had to import Third World immigrants to vote for them.

Trump's election is the Doomsday Scenario for Democrats because they were just on the verge of turning the whole country into California through mass immigration. Then they'd never have to think about those hicks in the icky parts of the country ever again. It would be so much better to be able to win elections by whipping up resentment toward white people.

Last year, old lefty Bernie Sanders said mass immigration was a disaster for the working class, driving down their wages. He called open borders "a Koch brothers idea.”

Representing the modern, yuppified Democratic Party, the low-testosterone boys at Vox went nuts. Dylan Matthews sneeringly cited the many benefits of mass immigration -- to wit: cheap gardeners, maids and nannies. He also compared a pro-American immigration policy to the massacre of "10,000 foreign civilians to save a single American life.”

He didn't say it, but I got the distinct impression that Dylan was "literally shaking.”


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why the Big Lie About Steve Bannon?

November 15, 2016

Image result for steve bannon 2016

All the existential rage of the defeated and humiliated elites is now focused against Steve Bannon -- the architect of Trump's victory, the media genius who won the battle with less than a fifth of the financial resources at Hillary Clinton's disposal.

I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. Steve is fervently pro-Israel, and it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that he is anti-Semitic.
Other observant Jews who know Bannon -- for example, Joel Pollak -- attest to his support for Israel and his friendship for the Jewish people.

We have learned from the sewage-storm directed at Bannon that the Establishment plays dirty, and that the formerly Republican #NeverTrumpers aren't just misguided ideologues, but also yellow-bellied, gutter-crawling, backstabbing, bushwhacking liars. Hell hath no fury like a self-designated elite scorned.

They hate Steve Bannon because he beat them, fair and square, on the battlefield of social media. He is the president-elect's most effective general. Trump's enemies can't reverse the results of a national election, but they can try to cut the incoming president off from his popular base.

The charges against Steve Bannon are a tissue of lies without a modicum of merit.

Anyone can search the Breitbart Media archive for posts on Israel, Jews, and related topics, as I have, and determine that Steve Bannon's hugely successful media platform is 100% pro-Israel.

Not only that: Breitbart consistently reports on the dangers of anti-Semitism around the world.
Not a single article appeared in during the past two years that could not have appeared in Israel Hayom, the leading Israeli daily.

But that is not what one hears from Ian Tuttle at National Review, who complains that "in May, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was labeled a 'Renegade Jew.'"

He was, indeed -- but by another Jew, David Horowitz. Horowitz argued that Kristol had betrayed Jewish interests by trying to torpedo Trump -- a point Horowitz emphasizes here.
Tuttle knows this. But Tuttle chose to twist Horowitz's headline into its opposite.

Tuttle's colleague Jonah Goldberg also now inveighs against Bannon, but his post is too silly to quote.

Generously, Tuttle allows that Bannon is not Goebbels.

He isn't. But the Establishment (including the conservative Establishment) media drumbeat against Bannon takes its cue from Goebbels' doctrine of the Big Lie: repeat it often enough, and people will believe it -- no matter how absurd it is.

NeverTrumper John Podhoretz penned an underhanded attack on Steve Bannon on the Commentary website yesterday. One has to read Podhoretz's attack a couple of times to appreciate how sleazy it is:
The key moral problem with Steve Bannon is that as the CEO of Andrew Breitbart’s namesake organization, he is an aider and abetter of foul extremist views, including anti-Semitic ones. He used the site to promote the alt-right, which has retailed anti-Semitism as well as general outright racism and white nationalism. The distinction may seem like a minor one, but it isn’t; the hatred Breitbart has channeled is too general for it to be singled out for its anti-Semitic content.
Note the construction of Podhoretz' sentence: Breitbart isn't anti-Semitic, but in some vague, unnamed way, Breitbart has facilitated anti-Semitism from the alt-Right (whatever that is).
The man is an embarrassment to the venerable Jewish monthly. It's time forCommentary to find a new editor.

These are facts about Breitbart's content: indisputable, accessible, and easy to verify. Anyone can enter the terms "Jews" or "Israel" and "" into the Google search engine and obtain everything that Breitbart has published on the subjects.

I just looked through roughly a thousand articles and found nothing but pro-Israel, pro-Jewish content that might well have appeared in Israel Hayom.

There is not a shred of evidence -- not a single article -- that supports Podhoretz's allegation that Bannon and Breitbart aid and abet anti-Semitic views.

In lieu of that evidence, the supposedly anti-Semitic David Horowitz piece has been cited dozens of times in the past 24 hours (including by the Times of Israel!).

Of course, one expects the Establishment media to lie at two hundred decibels. Yesterday's email blast from the usually staid Financial Times began:
Donald Trump has chosen Reince Priebus, the establishment head of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff, while naming Steve Bannon -- his campaign chair who ran Breitbart News, a website associated with the alt-right and white supremacists -- as his chief strategist and counsellor.
To claim that Breitbart is associated with white supremacists is a despicable lie. But the FT feels compelled to say such things, because polite opinion requires ritual anathemas of Trump.
The liberal Jewish website The Forward wrote:
Will Steve Bannon bring anti-Semitism into Trump's inner circle?
The reaction was quick and furious from Jews and anti-hate groups. The Anti-Defamation League, which stays out of partisan politics and vowed to seek to work with Trump after his election, denounced Bannon as "hostile to American values."
It is shameful that Jewish organizations would "cry wolf" on such an important topic, leveling unsupportable charges of anti-Semitism in pursuit of a patently political agenda.

"A world is collapsing before our eyes," tweeted France's ambassador to the United States as the returns came in early in the morning of Nov. 9. Yes, the "liberal world order" of elitist social engineering has come to an end. The Weekly Standard and Commentary have no more reason to publish than do the New York Times or The New Republic.

The world simply has moved away from them. And symbolizing their humiliation is one man who  took on their vast media machine with seemingly insignificant resources, and won. They will stop at nothing to destroy him.