Sunday night round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust a few things to round out the weekend.

** 1 **

Yesterday, I went to an exhibition soccer game — Real Madrid versus Inter Milan. The game, held in UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, was sold out. Despite that, it was a surprisingly lackluster game.

I think that flat feeling arose from a combination of factors. First, it wasn’t a real game, with real consequences. The players, mostly B-List players for both teams, looked more as if they were practicing than competing. Second, the mellow fans were generally enjoying the exhibition quality of the game, so they were cheering both sides equally. While this was very polite, it sucked the energy out of the stadium. In a real competitive game, you want some passion from the audience, as well as from the players.

And third, we were in the nosebleed section. I’m not complaining. It was lovely up there (albeit a little hot), especially since the field was spread out before us. I felt like an eagle. I also realized looking down on the field that soccer reminds me of WWI.

This is not as crazy an analogy as you might think. The players endlessly cycled back and forth over a few yards, constantly getting near each other’s goal and then being repulsed. Although each team played fluidly together, the nature of soccer meant there weren’t any set plays.

Watching it from up high, I thought that, in a way, this would have been what WWI’s trench warfare would have looked like to an alien being perched on a far-away planet, watching the war play out. The two sides faced off against each other and, up until the Americans came along, just endlessly pushed each other back and forth over the same 8 miles.

American football strikes me as being more like traditional American warfare. The battalion, or division, or unit, or whatever, comes up with a strategy and then charges ahead. Ideally, it gains ground and holds it. Less ideally, it gets pushed back and has to regroup. The discipline, though, requires unified forward motion, rather than an endlessly fluid back and forth.

When my kids played, I loved soccer because it made them run, which kids need, and I enjoyed watching my little darlings compete. Without one of my own kids on the field, I definitely like American football better than soccer.

** 2 **

In my earlier post, I said Hamas is worse than the Nazis were. One of the reasons I said that is that the Nazis valued their own (not their enemy’s, but their own) children.  Hamas, however, has decided that its children’s greatest utility is to act the role of corpse — and the younger the Palestinian child, the more enthusiastically Hamas tries to turn it into a dead body.

It turns out that Hamas’s disdain for its children exists independent of an active war with Israel. By its own admission, Hamas used its children as slave labor to build the many tunnels under Israel. One-hundred-sixty of those children died.

** 3 **

Joshua Muravchik is a wonderful writer. One of my favorite of his books is Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, which I highly recommend.  He’s just published another book, which is definitely going on my reading list: Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel.

I know I’m going to like the book because it touches upon a subject I’ve long blogged about, which is the death of the Jew in American culture. Jews no longer exist in American culture.  That marks a sea change from the situation in most of the 20th century.  From the 1910s through the 1970s, Jews were omnipresent, acting, singing, writing, producing, directing…. They made us laugh, cry, and think. That’s all vanished now.  The decline of American Jewry’s role in American life has mirrored Israel’s rise and fall in the eyes of the world.

** 4 **

Antisemitism is a completely irrational hatred. In Islam, antisemitism is predicated upon the words of a 7th century “prophet” who resented the fact that the Jews refused to abandon their faith in favor of his newly created one. For those thankfully few Christians who still hew to old-time antisemitism, their hatred for all Jews in the present day is because, 2,000 years ago, a very small group of Jews aided Christ to his destiny by turning him over to the Romans. For Leftists, hatred of Jews was born out of a 19th century hatred for those few Jews who were visibly capitalist, and now arises from the fact that, until Obama, Israel was seen as inextricably intertwined with America, the bastion of capitalism. None of the preceding justifications for hating Jews springs from a rational source.

Because antisemitism is irrational, it leads to truly stupid outcomes, revealing brains so steeped in hatred they are incapable of thought. Exhibit A is the BBC’s insane, inane tweet about Hamas’s unilateral breach of one of the cease-fires:

Read more at Twitchy.

** 5 **

Speaking of the BBC, the BBC likes “trigger warnings.” I know this, because I’ve seen clips from BBC news shows that use trigger warnings. Such warnings are really, really stupid.

** 6 **

Sarah Palin makes a good case for impeachment. Those who are opposed to immediate impeachment don’t look at President Obama’s conduct but, instead, look at the dynamics of impeachment: It makes for incredibly bad optics if Republicans impeach the first black president, especially right before an election. This means, of course, that Republicans are damned if they do (bad optics) and damned if they don’t (unconstitutional loose cannon in the White House).

Palin makes the point that, if we want to shift that dynamic, we need to educate the public so that more than 33% of them support impeachment:

Let’s go back to that poll I cited showing 33% of Americans agree with me on impeachment. It’s clear from the way these polls are conducted that most Americans aren’t aware of what constitutes impeachable offenses.

The Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors” are the basis for this serious remedy. The Framers used that term to mean a dereliction of duty, and the first duty of the president is to enforce our laws and preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton described impeachable offenses as “the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He called them “political” offenses because they “relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

[snip]

Impeachment isn’t necessarily for ordinary criminal acts, nor is it for bad political decisions or differences in opinion. We’re not saying, “Impeach him because his stimulus failed; he coddles Wall Street while dissing Main Street; he recklessly spends our tax dollars on skewed priorities, etc., etc.”

We’re saying he must be impeached for overstepping his Constitutional authority. Here are some examples: he broke the law in changing the Obamacare law by fiat, and he issued amnesty for illegal immigrants by fiat, and he committed fraud on the American people by lying that we could keep our health care if we like our health care, and he refused to secure our borders or halt this border crisis he caused. The list of abuse is long. Allowing any president to continue this lawlessness sets a precedent for future presidents that can allow destruction of our nation.

We’re acknowledging that there’s only one recourse in holding government accountable when led by a president who breaks the law. Remember the Constitution holds the president directly responsible for the executive branch. He can’t just vote “present” and keep feigning ignorance of all the scandals rocking his administration, any more than a mob boss can claim innocence because he didn’t personally do the hit. The buck stops with the guy at the top.

[snip]

Impeachment is the Constitution’s answer for a derelict, incompetent presidency, as well as for a lawless imperial presidency. Both describe the unprecedented problem we have with Obama.

** 7 **

AJStrata isn’t opposed to impeachment. He just says that it must wait until after the November election. In the meantime, he sees Obama as someone who is buying more than enough rope to hang himself. After all, executive actions are ephemeral, and can be undone as easily as they were done in the first place.

AJ thinks that Obama is trying to force impeachment before the election in the hope that it will hand Democrats a victory in November. The whole calculus changes — dramatically — if the Republicans sweep both House and Senate.

So, patience, everyone (including you, Sarah Palin). Patience is a great virtue and, as the next story shows, the lack of patience can be profoundly damaging. (Although in the case of the next story, thank God for impatience.)

** 8 **

I’ve pointed out in previous posts that, had Hamas been able to restrain itself from firing rockets into Israel, it would probably have successfully used its tunnels to invade Israel on Rosh Hashanah, killing thousands and kidnapping hundreds. Clarice Feldman makes an even better point:

The reason Hamas couldn’t resist firing rockets was because Israel was turning over every stone in an effort, first, to locate Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16; and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and then, once it was known they were murdered, to find their killers. (Incidentally, did I miss it or was President Obama completely silent about the brutal antisemitic murder of an American citizen? After all, Fraenkel held dual citizenship.)

So the real reason that Israel was able to deter a terror attack that would have rivaled in scope the 9/11 attack on Israel was because three young boys died at Hamas’s hands. I don’t know if it can, but I still hope that this knowledge brings some comfort to the boys’ families.  In a weird way, it means that the boys did not die in vain, since their deaths almost certainly saved thousands of lives.

** 9 **

When I took my daughter to a college fair, I ended up talking to a young woman from Austin, Texas, which is a lovely city despite a Leftist insanity rivaled only by Berkeley and Ann Arbor. I commented, as I always do when I talk about Texas, that I loved it there, but that the heat was killing. The woman told me earnestly that it’s much worse now thanks to global warming. I spared my daughter the embarrassment of calling that young woman on her uninformed lunacy. I bet the woman also thinks Austin is both wetter and dryer before — two assumptions that are completely wrong.

** 10 **

Deroy Murdock tries to help people understand the Israel/Hamas situation by asking them to imagine a violent Mexican terrorist organization south of California.

** 11 **

Just so you can get a feel for what the United States would look like if Progressives were completely in control, check out the insane San Francisco landlord scene. To call what landlords own there “private property” is an extraordinary misnomer. It’s “private property” in name only:

Landlords are challenging San Francisco’s latest move to discourage evictions from rent-controlled apartments, an ordinance requiring them to pay displaced tenants the difference between their current rent and the amount needed to rent a similar unit at market rates for two years.

** 12 **

Hamas treats Jews and its own people like disposable objects. Israel treats Palestinians like human beings:

Israel treats Gazans

** 13 **

Bless the Marines

Howard Stern

The cost of tunnels

Name changed ideology

Hillary disses women

“Come on, you Spurs! Come on, you Spurs!

When I lived in England, the Tottenham Hotspurs, a London based football club, was doing very, very well.  It had done very, very well the year before too.  So Chas & Dave, a popular English duo, wrote a song, which became a massive hit.  The song is undeniably catchy, and it’s been stuck in my head for more than thirty years now:

During the song, you can hear the players in the back holler “oy, oy.” When I first heard this, I thought it was a funny coincidence that the Spurs used a Yiddish word like that. I was quickly disabused of this notion. There was nothing coincidental about that. The Spurs had such strong support from London Jews that it was called “the Jewish Club.” Back in the day, that was just a fact. The Brits, who were then known for a casual, rather than venomous, antisemitism, might make slighting remarks, but that was all.

Today, though, the team’s Jewish identity is something very dangerous for the team’s fans, despite the fact that there are no Jewish players and the vast majority of its fans aren’t Jewish:

For Tottenham Hotspur’s corps of traveling fans, Thursday’s soccer game in Italy against Internazionale Milano holds many dangers—and not just to their team. When Tottenham played Lyon in a Europa League game last month, 150 visiting fans were set upon by a group of neo-Nazis, with three Spurs supporters ending up in the hospital. It was the second time in recent months that the team’s fans have been attacked by a fascist mob in Europe—in November, several Spurs fans were injured when they traveled to Rome to see Tottenham take on Lazio. Their assailants screamed “Jews” before attacking them with knives and clubs.

Tottenham’s supporters are no strangers to anti-Semitism. The North London team has been known as the “Jewish club” since the beginning of the early 1900s, when it regularly attracted over 11,000 Yiddisher supporters to home games. In 1986, it was the first big team (and the last) to hire a British Jew, David Pleat, as a coach, and a Happy Yom Kippur message has made an annual appearance in the club’s official program since 1973.

The paragraphs above come from a Wall Street Journal article about the team and its Jewish identity. Although it’s short,it nevertheless manages to be a fascinating blend of history, antisemitism, and identity in a PC age. It is, therefore, well worth reading.

End of an era

I’ve been a soccer Mom for the last six years.  Every fall, without fail, soccer has dominated our lives.  I think that era is finally over, though.

Neither of my kids qualified for competitive teams this year, and both refuse to do rec.  He wants to concentrate on baseball and martial arts; she wants to concentrate on swimming.

I think they’re making wise decisions, but I have to say that I’ll miss soccer.  I made few lasting friends during those six seasons, but I always made good seasonal friends.  I enjoyed the games tremendously because every weekend I got to get together with fellow parents, and sit in the sun and watch beautiful, healthy children run like the wind.

Of course, since both kids played competitive soccer last year, the privilege of watching them play meant driving about 200 miles every weekend and that, I can assure you, I will not miss.  Clouds and silver linings, all mixed together, and dusted heavily with nostalgia.

Something not political

With swim season over (and that season overlapped heavily with baseball season), we’re now gearing up for soccer season.  For the next three weeks, one child or another will be in soccer camp — and that’s before the real season even gets started.  I’m already tired.

Coincidentally, I got contacted today by an “all soccer all the time site” — Live Soccer — Watch Live Free Football TV Online –which was looking for reciprocal links (and the preceding was that link, of course).  I may be a political blog, but I’m also a soccer mom, and may actually get the kids tuned into that site to look at real soccer players.  They’ve played for years, but as far as I know, they’ve never seen a pro game.

Watching the pros might jazz me up too because, for the first time, I approach the season with a certain amount of weariness, rather than my usual excitement.  I think it’s because we switched leagues.  I suspect that this league will be better for the children, but not as good for me.  I knew lots of parents in the old league and will have to start all over again here.  Also, to the extent I’ve already met some of these parents through school, we haven’t quite clicked.  (Long story there and, I’m thankful to say, it doesn’t reflect badly on me, personally.  It’s just a community dynamic.)

As you know, I’ll keep you posted.