Monthly Archives: July 2009

Friday Housekeeping and Some Egberto Gismonti

Standard

For some reason I never categorize my posts when I publish them. I always do it later. Sometimes much later. This morning I noticed the last post I categorized was way back in February. So I went through and tagged all the posts up till today. Feel free to hit the tags in the tag cloud on the left side of my blog.

On to what you have really been waiting for, my weekly roundup of the good stuff:

Airforce Amazons: A nice roundup of posts on Iran

Bob from Brockley: Mehdi Hasan Continued

Contentious Centrist: The Essence of Evil II and A Fireman Can’t Let People Burn

Elder of Ziyon: IDF Report of Operation Cast Lead

Engage: Does Israel “Cause” Anti-Semitism

Flesh is Grass: “A Reactionary View of the Part Played by Women in Politics”

Iranian Freedom: My Congressman on the Iranian Uprising

Long War Journal: Islamist Violence Grips Northern Nigeria and Nigerian Taliban leader Killed in Custody

Modernity Blog: Torries Sucking Up to Jew Haters

Poumista: On this day: 31 July 1937 – NKVD Operative Order 00447

Simply Jews: The blood chilling affinity or songs that change color

Small Wars Journal: This Week at War, Life After the Insurgency

The Stark Tenet: Interventionism Dead?

Sultan Knish: Israel’s Obama Problem

ZWord Blog: “No”: The Real Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East

Cults: Dr. Malachi York and the Nuwaubians

Standard

malachi york

I was watching Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT) the other night and came across a program promoting the cult of Dr. Malachi York. I previously knew nothing about York but he and his group are definitely bat shit crazy. He borrows heavily from ideas promoted in Erich von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods, David Icke’s notion of reptilians and the concept of a New World order controlled by the Illuminati or the Bilderberg Group. Sounds like they would get along well with the Paulistas!

Prior to his tenure as a cult leader, York was a musician and member of the Black Panther Party. In 1970 he embraced his own distorted version of Islam organized a cult called Ansaru Allah Community. The group transformed its ideology and changed names numerous times from Ansaar Pure Sufi, to the Nubian Islamic Hebrews to Nuwaubians. Tensions developed between York and the larger Black Muslim sects and he eventually took his group out of New York City and moved south.

York and his minions established a community on a 440-acre farm in Putnam County, Georgia called Tama-Re. They now called themselves the Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation. Patterning their new community after a Hollywood caricature of ancient Egypt, the complex contained grand gates, pyramids and obelisks. I was able to dig a few pics:

nuwabian cult1

nuwaubian cult 2

TamaRe from air

Here is a small sample of York’s beliefs:

Africans or “Nubians” are not originally brown in complexion but green. The Earth’s atmosphere has “rusted” their complexion because the magnesium in their melanin has been replaced by iron.

York claimed to be an extraterrestrial master teacher from the planet Rizq in the galaxy Illyuwn and promised his followers in the year 2003 a spaceship would return from his home planet and collect 144,000 believers and take them back to his extraterrestrial homeland.

York told his followers that in 1952, grotesque extraterrestrial Andromedeans that resembled the Predator met with and frightened U.S. President Harry S. Truman. Other extraterrestrials have been trading with Earth since the Eisenhower administration, and are responsible for giving us technologies ranging from the polio vaccine to the hula hoop.

Each of us has seven clones.

Everyone is originally conceived as twins, but usually only one of the twins survives to be born.

Ok, you might be thinking dude and his followers are nuts but what’s the big deal? As long as they don’t hurt anyone who cares what they believe? Well, as is often the case with cults, the leaders abuse the followers. In York’s case, he is a convicted child abuser and molester. The first charge he was convicted of is raping a 13-year-old when he was 19. In 2002, he was charged with over 100 counts of child molestation and sentenced in 2004 to 135 years in prison. Tama-Re was razed by the authorities. York’s scheduled release date is December 15, 2119. I bet his followers have come up with some mystical significance for that date. Despite all evidence against their leader, they continue to profess his innocence.

Much more information available here.

[Comments are now closed. This post is five years old.]

ADDED:

To all the nuts, zombies and followers of Malachi York,

I have no problem with you leaving comments here at my blog but you must adhere to the conventions of written English. Also, if you do not have anything to add to the dialogue, consider posting somewhere else. For example, if you “know” that York is innocent of the charges he has been found guilty of, please provide some evidence.

–TNC

Five Words Meme

Standard

This is from Bob.

Coast: I spent most of my teenage years coasting through life. It was fun.  I also spent much of the time swimming, body boarding and surfing at the coast. This beach here. I have never lived far from the coast and I still greatly enjoy spending time at the beach, especially if the water is warm.

Temple: Where my people worship. Next year in Yerushalayim. It will be rebuilt! Also where my wife’s people worship. Close up here.

Avrich: The historian of the U.S. and European (esp. Russian) anarchist movements. I had the opportunity to hear him speak a couple of times and he was an inspiration to me and my work. Attended his funeral in 2006 and remember his daughters talking about him taking them to a cemetery in Russia to locate the graves of Kropotkin and I think Bakunin as well but I could be wrong about Bakunin.

Dosa: A crepe made of rice and lentil flower, often stuffed with spicy veggie innards. This is probably my wife’s favorite South Indian dish, especially paper masala dosa. There is a dosa cart on the southern edge of Washington Square Park near NYU that routinely wins competitions for the best food cart in NYC. But I’m more of a samosa chaat or bhel puri man myself.

Neocon: Four meanings. First, someone who has left the left and embraced conservatism. Second, a conservative who supports a proactive and vigorous foreign policy in favor of democracy promotion as opposed to a more “realist” orientation. Third, a generic term of denigration that leftists and paleocons use to refer to those they despise. Lastly, neocon is often used as a synonym for Jewish conservative by leftists and paleocons.

To view some of the confusion around the term, check out this page at SourceWatch. The author(s)  identify everyone from Norman Podhoretz (definitely a neocon) to Martin Peretz (a neoliberal) to Zbigniew Brzenski (a realist) as neocons!

Some of my favorite neocons are James Burnham, John Bolton, Joshua Muravchik and Paul Wolfowitz. The only time I have ever called the White House was to thank President Bush for appointing Mr. Bolton ambassador to the United Nations.

Radical Leftists, Neo-Nazis, and other “Anti-Zionists” in a Tizzy Over the Launching of Z Street

Standard

israel_flag

Man, I love it when “progressives,” neo-Nazis, and other assorted “anti-Zionists” go crazy. And nothing is more certain to rile up and unite the Stephen Lendmans, Richard Silversteins, and National Alliance cretins of the world–and I should not leave out those wacky 9-11 Truthers–than when the Jewish people stand up for their identity and homeland.

This is the case with a new organization called Z Street. I blogged about J Street a few days ago and just learned this morning about Z Street which has emerged to take the ideological struggle to college campuses and communities across the U.S. They are planning a major rally in Washington, DC, to coincide with the J Street’s first annual meeting (October 27, 2009).

Arutz Sheva reports:

A new Zionist organization declaring support for Jewish communities in all parts of the Land of Israel and opposition to negotiations with terrorists was formally launched last week. The group, going by the name Z Street, intends to “serve as an educational force” and “a proud banner” behind which Zionists can rally, according to its founding documents. The group’s founders believe the current period is a “time of great danger to the Jewish State of Israel and, increasingly, to world Jewry,” warranting the establishment of a new, unabashedly Zionist advocacy group.

“We need to show everyone that it isn’t only those on the left who know how to organize,” said Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a long-time Zionist activist and, with Allyson Rowen Taylor, a Z Street founder. Her point of reference, and the inspiration for the name Z Street, was the well-known Jewish-American far-left advocacy group J Street and its associated Capitol Hill political action committee.

J Street calls itself “the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement,” while promoting demands for Israeli territorial concessions and multilateralism.

In contrast, in her inaugural blog post on behalf of Z Street, Marcus declared: “No more appeasement, no more negotiating with terrorists, no more enabling cowards who fear offending more than they fear another Holocaust. Z Street is for those who are willing not only to support – but to defend – Israel, the Jewish State.” Members hold the “firm belief that there can be no compromises or agreements with, and no concessions to, any terrorist entity or any individual terrorists.”

One question I have is how will Z Street differentiate itself from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and other right-leaning Zionist organizations as well as non-partisan groups like AIPAC? Is Z Street seeking to reach out to younger folks than these two organizations or is its primary goal as a counter-lobby to J Street? If it is the former, I wish them much success. If it is the latter, I think AIPAC has done a good job for Israel thus far and that time, energy and resources would be better spent on AIPAC than creating a new organization.

Read more:

Atlas Shrugs

Israpundit

Friday Roundup

Standard

The weekend is upon us. What are my plans? Plenty of cover letter writing, resume emailing, and maybe even a visit to the farmers market. Last weekend they had the most delicious tuna steaks, fresh corn, and other tasty treats. But you’re probably not interested in any of that so read this stuff from the usual suspects for your mental nutrition:

Kellie (Airforce Amazons) on anti-Israel stupidity

Rabbi Andy Bachman (Water Over Rocks):  The Real Power to Save

Bob from Brockley on the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hassan

But, I am a Liberal! clowns the leftover left

Contentious Centrist peers into The Essence of Evil

Ganselmi (Iranian Freedom) promotes the Global Day of Action for Iran

Happy Fifth Anniversary to Jewlicious!

Martin in the Margins critiques Saint Che

Mod continues his critique of the crank Ben White

Poumista has had a lot of great posts this month

Simply Jews: Minister Yisrael Katz, road signs and Zionism

Small Wars Journal: Dr. Donald Stoker on the  Six Reasons Insurgencies Lose

Sultan Knish tells readers How to Stop the Cycle of Violence

Michael Weiss (Tablet Magazine): Broken Engagement, How Iran’s presidential election changed U.S. foreign policy

ZWord: Melbourne tells Ken Loach to get lost

The Problem With J Street

Standard

jstreet5

[Imaged swiped from the Sultan]

J Street was ostensibly formed to be a critical, pro-Israel voice in the Jewish community. This critical voice was something the organizers and supporters of J Street thought was missing in contemporary discourse, in particular around the peace process and the building of settlements in the so-called “occupied territories” aka Judea and Samaria. However, since its formation, J Street has emerged as a lobbying arm for the Obama administration and consistently taken positions that are against the security interests of Israel.

James Kirchick writing in the Forward notes:

Both Obama and J Street have fixated upon the subject of settlements. Both seem to believe that a settlement freeze holds the key to unlocking Middle East — if not global — peace. In their analysis, only American pressure can lead to a solution, as the Israelis are too hidebound and paranoid to understand what is in their own best interest. (Indeed, Obama reportedly told the assembled Jewish leaders that Israel needs “to engage in serious self-reflection” — something at which our president, as the author of not one but two memoirs, can claim not inconsiderable expertise.)

Who keeps preventing the full flowering of the necessary American leadership? In the J Street narrative, it’s establishment Jewish organizations, which distort American foreign policy by shielding Israel from pressure that would otherwise lead to peace. And who better to counter the influence of the so-called “Israel Lobby” than other Jews? J Street and the constellation of far-left “pro-Israel” organizations put a kosher stamp of approval on Obama’s bizarre hectoring and moral equivalence.

To this end, J Street seems to spend almost all of its resources bashing supporters of Israel. Those who disagree with the organization’s positions are routinely denounced as “right-wing” or “extremist.” Rather than draw attention to the murderous antisemitism, terrorism and impending nuclear-armed theocracy that Israel must confront, J Street prefers to churn out countless blog posts, press releases and op-eds denouncing the people who it believes are the real impediments to peace: stalwart defenders of Israel like Pastor John Hagee, Senator Joe Lieberman and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Moshe Kapinski (Israpundit) is even more critical:

Throughout Jewish history the embattled people of Israel have developed conditions and neuroses very similar to victims of abuse. At times, they have begun to blame themselves for the hatred that they have experienced hurled against them. At other times, they have begun to assume that if they would adopt more universal ideals and become more connected to the greater whole they would cease to be persecuted. As a result of such a desire they have eschewed uniqueness and national identity for the safe anonymity of “sameness”.

There is nothing inherently wrong in looking for commonality and initiating bridge building. In fact, the building of bridges of understanding between peoples is one of the critical goals of mankind’s destiny and purpose. Yet, the collapse of identity and the slipping into the morass of blandness and anonymity has become a disaster, and an ever-present danger for the Jewish people.

There is an even darker side to the phenomenon. Throughout history, some of the greatest enemies of the Jewish people have been Jews who so wanted to identify with the world that the result was a deep hatred within themselves for Judaism and Jewish destiny. Some of the greatest persecutors of the Jewish people have been people of Jewish descent.

How sad and how true. I recently finished Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin’s Why the Jews: The Reasons for Antisemitism. It is a bit general but the authors make some important points, especially regarding the role of radical left-wing Jews (what the authors call “non-Jewish Jews”) in promoting antisemitism. They write:

How is one to explain Jews who devote their lives to hurting Jews–such as professors Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and other radical Jews? The question demands an answer. Among no group in the world are there so many individuals who so single-mindedly attempt to damage the group into which they were born…

How does one explain all these radical Jews–a group that in terms of self-loathing may be unique in the world?

These Jews themselves have an answer–they are morally enlightened, while the bulk of Jewry is morally benighted. They see Israel as Nazi-like because they have the moral clarity that the rest of us lack.

As I mentioned in a comment at Bob’s, there have always been Jews willing to sell their people out. Sadly, there probably always will. It is part and parcel of our history and I don’t see it stopping any time soon. Not when people on the left continually present the Palestinians as victims (and therefore worthy of solidarity) and Israelis as imperialists, occupiers and European settlers. I am heartened most Israelis have finally recognized the extent of this nonsense on the left, even if far lefty Jews like J-Street and their supporters continue to believe it.

Read more:

James Kirchick on J Street’s lies

Sultan Knish: What is J Street?

Another tag game: Seven (or more) Things I Love

Standard

The rules:

1) List seven things you love. (I cheated)

2) Tag seven other people. (or, in my case, four)

Noga tagged me. As far as seven others, most of my homeboys and homegirls have already been tagged besides Martin in the Margins, Ganselmi, Snoop and Stark.

Here are my seven in no particular order with the exception of #1.

1) Life and the Giver of Life. Not sure what I would do without it. A big one. Praises to the Creator of the universe and giver of life.

2) Family. I enjoy them more and more each day and miss my brother dearly (זכרו לברכה).

3) Friends. Especially the good ones.

4) Intimacy. Touching, sharing, talking, sex.

5) Food and Drink. Cooking and eating. Everything from burgers and fries to tapas, steaks, bbq, Italian, shawarma and kabobs, knishes, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, sushi (fish and seafood in general), latkes, Mexican and Indian (murgh methi is one of faves). Beer is my drink of choice. I used to like microbrews but these days a Modelo Especial is just fine.

6) Reading. Mostly non-fiction although I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay while I was vactioning in Puerto Rico.

7) Music. Everything from hardcore punk to jazz, electronic sounds (esp. drum and bass), Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, Indian carnatic, Mexican ranchera, hip-hop, classical.

Did I forget anything?

8 ) Travel. Somewhere by the sea. Israel, Kerala, the Caribbean, Mexico, places with warm ocean water. I love the SF Bay Area but the water is too cold!

Polish Anti-Authoritaran Leszek Kolakowski Passes On

Standard

Leszek Kolakowski

“Freedom is always vulnerable and its cause never safe”–Leszek Kolakowski

Polish anti-authoritarian historian and theorist Leszek Kolakowski has passed away on Friday, June 17, at the age of 81. Kolakowski was Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at All Souls College, Oxford. The Library of Congress awarded him the first John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Sciences.

If you are unfamiliar with the man, he was a supporter of Solidarity and penned the magnificent three-volume Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth and Dissolution (1976-78), one of the best texts I have ever read on the subject. Kolakowski argued that the barbarity of Stalinism and other communist states were no aberation from Marxism but the logical conclusion of the application of Marx’s concepts. Some of his other works are The Individual and Infinity (1958), The Philosophy of Existence, the Defeat of Existence (1965), Husserl and the Search for Certitude (1975), If There is no God (1982), Metaphysical Horror (1988).

The Library of Congress website notes:

The relationships between freedom and belief, examined in many different contexts, have been lifelong themes of his scholarly work, and are displayed fully in a wide range of essays written in a non-technical language and accessible to a wide range of readers. In his, “The Death of Utopia Reconsidered” (1983), he explains his view of philosophy:

The cultural role of philosophy is not to deliver the truth but to build the spirit of truth, and this means never to let the inquisitive energy of mind go to sleep, never to stop questioning what appears to be obvious and definitive, always to defy the seemingly intact resources of common sense, always to suspect that there might be “another side” in what we take for granted, and never to allow us to forget that there are questions that lie beyond the legitimate horizon of science and are nonetheless crucially important to the survival of humanity as we know it.

What Kolakowski exemplifies and defends is the treatment of every individual as a rational and freely acting subject, aware that there is a spiritual side of life, able to have faith, yet eschewing absolute certainty of either an empirical or transcendental sort. It is the essence of a vibrant human culture to honor the universality of human rights while welcoming conflict of values, and repeated self- questioning, with what he calls “an inconsistent scepticism:”

I do not believe that human culture can ever reach a perfect synthesis of its diversified and incompatible components. Its very richness is supported by this very incompatibility of its ingredients. And it is the conflict of values, rather than their harmony, that keeps our culture alive.

Check out this conversation between Kolakowski and Danny Postel from Daedlus (excerpt):

dp: Your less than euphoric feelings about the Western Left were strongly colored by your year in Berkeley in 1969–1970. Tzvetan Todorov describes a similar experience, of fleeing a Communist country–in his case, Bulgaria–only to find himself in a heavily Communist intellectual milieu in Paris. What was Berkeley like for you?

lk: I found the so-called student movement simply barbaric. There are of
course ignorant young people at all times and in all places. But in Berkeley their ignorance was elevated to the level of the highest wisdom. They wanted to ‘revolutionize’ the university in such a way that they wouldn’t have to learn anything. They had all sorts of silly proposals. For instance, they wanted professors to be appointed by students, and students to be examined by other students. I remember one leaflet issued by the black student movement asserting that the libraries contained nothing but “irrelevant
white knowledge.”

[read it all here]

Read more:

The Death of Utopia Reconsidered” (Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Australian National University, June 22, 1982)

How to be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist

Roger Kimball’s obit at Pajamas Media

Another obit at Inside Higher Ed

And one more from Democracy Digest

More added via Martin in the Margins and Poumista:

Andrew Murphy at Harry’s Place

Hitchens

Michael Weiss (Snarksmith)

Nick Cohen at Standpoint

UCLA Labor Center Faces Possible Closure

Standard

ucla labor center

Regular readers know I can’t stand the Huffington Post or Ariana Huffington. Nevertheless, I received a link to this article about the possible closing of the UCLA Labor Center by political scientist Peter Dreier through the H-Labor listserv that I thought was worth sharing.

Our society is so dominated by corporate culture that we hardly notice it. Every daily newspaper has a “business section,” but not a single paper has a “labor” section. Politicians and pundits talk incessantly about what government should do to promote a healthy “business climate,” but few discuss how to improve the “labor climate.” Most economics courses treat businesses as the engines of the economy, workers as a “cost of production,” and unions as an impediment. Most universities in the country have a large, well-endowed “business school,” but only a handful of them have even a small “labor studies” program.

Among the small number of labor studies programs, the one at the University of California-Los Angeles is one of the best, and now it has been targeted for extinction by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the UCLA administration. Allies of the UCLA Labor Center have mounted a letter-writing campaign to persuade Chancellor Gene Block to reverse this decision and restore funding for this cutting-edge program. Block can be reached at: chancellor@conet.ucla.edu.

Each year for the past five years, Schwarzenegger — egged on by the state’s corporate powerbrokers and right-wing Republicans — has tried to kill the University of California’s labor research and education programs at UCLA and Berkeley, but has been thwarted by resistance from its supporters and its allies in the state legislature.

This year, with the worst state budget crisis in memory, anti-labor forces think they can prevail. UC labor studies, a minuscule part of the state budget, is the only UC program that the Governor specifically targeted for elimination. The combined budgets for these programs is only $5.4 million a year. The UCLA Labor Center has 20 staff members involved in research, teaching, and community outreach.

UCLA Labor Center director Kent Wong learned about the administration’s plan to eliminate the Center from a July 11 article in the New York Times.

[read it all here]

More from the center’s website:

As part of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education plays a unique role as a bridge between the university and the labor community in Southern California.This role has grown in the past few years with the dramatic changes that have overtaken the Southern California economy.

As part of the university, the Labor Center serves as an important source of information about unions and workers to interested scholars and students. Through its extensive connections with unions and workers, the Labor Center also provides labor with important and clearly defined access to UCLA’s resources and programs. An advisory committee comprised of about forty Southern California labor and community leaders (representing more than one million members in the public and private sectors) provides advice and support for the center.

The Labor Center also hosts a downtown office just two blocks from the L.A. County Federation of Labor, amid the majority of L.A.’s union halls and worker centers and in the heart of a diverse immigrant community.

Laborers-Artwork

[Mural image swiped from UCLA Labor Center website]

G8: 2009

Standard

Just a few pics from G8 2009:

b-Students-rally-again-416c98fc1a82

W300px_080709-g8protests

0709_obama_11032342_h8320192_landov

Regarding the pic above, Noga (The Contentious Centrist) notes:

Poor Obama, who did not have the presence of mind to look away immediately. No one minds Sarkozy’s appreciative grin, but Obama’s fleeting admiration was made much of. After all, this sort of thing is expected from a French guy. But woe to the American President should he get caught ogling.

I Actually find his weakness for the female attractions quite endearing.

[read it all here (funny)]