Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

January 31, 2008

Bill is Borat! (plus $30 million)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 9:53 am

Did you see this story in the Times today? It sure sounds like a $30 million dollar bribe to Bill Clinton. I guess that’s just the way things are done when you have Clinton meet the corrupt human rights abusing President of Kazakhstan in the company of a uranium hustler who is now a hundred million or so richer and just happened to make a $31 million donation to that extremely reputable historical monument, The Bill Clinton Money Laundry, sorry, Library, in Little Rock.

Dems who want Hillary: do you think this is the only scandal Bill/Borat is hiding? He’s a time bomb who will hand the election to the GOP.

January 30, 2008

Rudy and the Zen of Irritability

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 10:27 am

Back in the day, yea even further back in the day before people said “back in the day” and then got tired of saying “back in the day” (see earier post on outmoded colloquialisms), anyway sometime before his 9/11 apotheosis, I interviewed Rudy Giuliani for JFK Jr.’s now-defunct political magazine George. It’s not often a magazine allows a writer to compose his own headline, but I had one in mind from the beginning and they went with it: “The Zen of Irritability”.

it was my theory that Rudy was the kind of Zen master who likes to swack his students with bamboo canes, tough zen, and I argued that the famous “broken windows” theory of governance that he employed to cut crime in the city reflected it. That by lowering the threshold of civic irritability so tht law enforcement didn’t look the other way at minor crimes like breaking windows, it would create a climate of intolerance for major crime.

It’s hard to argue with results though some think Rudy grabbbed too much credit for policing practices instituted in the previous administration, and minions of the mayor at times carried the atittude to “Giuliani time” outrages.

Nonetheless, he more or less conceded in the interivew with that “broken windows” governance was a kind of Higher Irriatbility.

When the interview came out I heard he was–of course–irritated about it. he was irritated that peole would think him irritable, even though I meant it as a compliment.

Somehow there’s a lesson here. There are times when we need Grand Irritabiity from leaders. And there are times when a strong hand in a velvet glove is better than a strong hand sporting brass knuckes.

My intitial take on Obama and the “security issue”: he has the kind of strength and confidence tht doesn’t need bluster. But don’t get him irritable. He’s beginning to show that he has a little Rudy–maybe just enough–in him.

Judging from reecent snarking comments from Iowa rubes it may be that Rudy’s Zen of Irritability doesn’t travel well, but I’m kind of glad we have have him back where he belongs, here in New York the World’s Capital of Irritability. It doesn’t faze us here.

OK, I'll Leave Mitt Romney Alone

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:14 am

One commenter in the post below suggested I had an “obsession” with Mitt Romney. I’d argue it’s not an obsession with Mitt but a fascination with shameless hypocrites who pander for votes so transparently that it’s impossible to tell what their real beliefs are, if they have any. What does he believe? What he said when he pandered for liberal Massachussetts votes or what he says now when he panders to the conservative base? I’m kind of astonished that some of that “base” considers him the ‘true conservative” in the race. What is true about him? I guess he “conserves”–in the sense of “is economicial with”–the truth about himself. Or does he even know what it is anymore?

And let’s face it there’s something a little ridiculous about a grown man afraid to eat fried chicken, or even chicken with the skin on–did you read about thhis?–who peels the skin off chicken served to him at a campaign event in the South! I guess because it might spoil his perfect cholesterol count or something. At least we know he has someheartfelt principled belief, even if it’s maintaining his own perfection for instance.

But, look, I’ll try to stay away from Mitt, even though he’s such tempting material. For those of you who want more Mitt though, I recommend

January 28, 2008

Some Colloquial Phrases that are Now Officially "Broken"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 1:12 pm

First there’s “broken” as in Mitt Romney’s “Washington is broken”. It’s moronic tough-manager speak, the kind of mangaer speak that allows a person who runs, say a predatory buy out operation like Bain, to buy and break up companies and fire workers because the institution is “broken”, forgetting how many people with jobs then become “broke”.

Then there’s the phrase, which has taken root in the blogoshere, if it didn’t originate there: “Not so much.” I used to like it. I don’t think I’ve used it but I can’t be sure, but in any case its sell-by date is gone. (By the way there’s a third phrase that ought to be eliminated: “sell-by date”, with its faint aura of pretentious anglophilia has had it’s sell-by date, I’m declaring , right now).

Stilll I’d love to know who first came up with “not so much”. I’ll even enable Comments–I must admit I just got SO tired of the same old repetitive political rants, so don’t think you’re going to sneak any off-topic stuff on this post. I’ve tolerated it before but now, not so much.

Not so much: It was good, kind of funny the first two hundred times you heard or read it. Not so much now. Please, it’s jumped the shark (which phrase itself has LONG ago jumped the shark).

Not so much, “not so much”, anymore,people. It no longer has street cred (another phrase that has lost its street cred–I feel like I’m in a maze of phrases that are all, in one way or another, broken).

Anyway I think it would be interesting if commenters suggested other phrases that are “broken” and if anyone has a theory of who first said “Not so much”.

January 27, 2008

Bill Clinton Gives Us the Ugliest Moment in the Campaign So Far

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 9:59 am

I just saw the video clip. I’d read about it, but nothing had the impact of seeing Bill Clinton in the waning moments of the of the South Carolina campaign he had so pathetically botched, compare Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson in a naked appeal for racial votes. It shouldn’t surprize anyone if Obama won South Carolina, Clinton said, because, “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice”, thus attempting to reduce Obama to a “race” candidate and insulting voters both black and white, for and against Obama, who didn’t make their judgments based on race.

The one thing I always admired about Clinton was the heartfelt adherence he seemed to have to the spirit of the Civil Rights movment. In the utter ugliness of his South Caroina remarks he flushed his legacy down the sewer.

January 26, 2008

The Clintons: Stealing their own Election from Themselves!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:53 pm

I’m someone who still believes that more voters in Florida intendedto vote for Al Gore rather than George Bush in 2000 regardless of what the conflicting methods of recounts say. And that if the election wasn’t stolen, it was certainly botched and decided on a partisan basis by the Sandra Day O’Connor who voted for Bush in the Supreme Court case to make it easier for her to retire, because a Repbulican would name her successor.

So what lesson do the Clintons learn from this: stealing works! Only they’re foolishly stealing from themselves. Or so I think. I’ve written on this blog before about how I had a certain admiration for Hillary’s machiavellianism, but became disillusioned when I began to think she was a second rate machiavellian (in dissing Iowa voters after she lost)–and that what this country needs in a dangerous world is a first rate machiavellian.

Reently it’s seemed I was wrong, that the pathetic machiavellianism of her campaign’s swarming attacks on Barack Obama has succeeded.

But maybe they’ve finally gone a trick too far. This latest attempt to steal delgate votes from Michagan and Florida could win her the nomination but result in such revulsion at its sheer amoral shamelessness that it costs her the election. She’s stealing the wrong vote!

You know about this ploy, right? The Democratic National Committee punished Michigan and Florida for pushing back their primaries by depriving them of presidential nominating convention votes.Agree or disagree all candidates said they’d abide by the rules.

Candidates were required not to get involved in those states’ primaries. In Michigan, Obama and Edwards took their names off the ballots. Hillary’s campaign didn’t. They claimed they were abiding by the DNC rules by not campaigning there, that removing the name was not technically required by the rules. So Hillary won delegates in Michigan (even though a majority refused to vote for her and chose “uncommitted”) and she’s now decided that she thinks it’s important that those votes count. Same thing in Florida, although recent reports say sample ballots show Obama and Edwards on it. Still by arguing right before the Florida rimary (in which she’s ostensibly not campaigning) for the “rights” of the illegitimate Florida convention slate, she’s pulling a fast one on the rest of the field and will be able to steal a symbolic popular vote wi. And by any but the very lowest standards Michicgan is a pure steal.

She moved for the post facto legitimization of the Michigan delegates she won by default (and in fact it’s de fault, so to speak, of the other campaigns for letting her get away with this, if they do) only after it became apparent that the nomination might not be decided before the convention, that every vote, including the dubious illegitimate Michigan votes (and the otential Florida votes) for Hillary might make a difference

So suddenly she discovers herself deeply concerned about the way the people of Michigan have been “deprived of their voice’ (everybody loses and finds their voice so many times in this campaign). She wants to give them a voice for her. Needless to say she’ll pick up the Florida delegates by her brave fight for theirvoice too.

This is such a transparent shabby machiavellian maneuver it may win them the battle (the nomination) and lose them the war (the election). turn off so may in her own party who finally have had their fill of this unethical couple and their enablers that she loses the whole thing.

Who knew the Democrats (my party, alas) could find another way to lose a stolen election: steal it from themselves.

January 21, 2008

Leadership and Moral Resonsibility: Obama vs. Romney

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 8:44 am

I got the following letter from a friend who’s been following the responses to my post below wondering what stand Mitt Romney took–if any–in the Church debate over whether to ban the objectionable practice of posthumous baptizing Holocaust victims, a legitimate question about whether he feels himself able to assert the moral leadership he’s always talking about:

Ron,

The reaction to your post is astonishing. If that abhorrent practice — “soul molestation,” as you aptly called it — is acceptable to those readers and presumably many others, what can’t be rationalized?.

It’s so ironic, that the large number of comments I’ve gotten (mainly) from self-identified (but curiously anonymous–why not demonstrate pride in your faith rather than cower in the shadows?) Mormons are so repetitive and unfeeling. (I’m going through them slowly, but I’m getting bored of how repetitive they are, how unable to think or feel for fellow human beings who don’t share their belief so many are–the essence of tolerance, how many can’t seem even to read with minimal comprehension. I’m sure they’re not representative of the vast majority of warm generous and tolerant Mormons). Still it is astonishing to find that so many of them can’t seem to grasp the idea that a member of a community, especially someone who presents himself as a goody-two-shoes champion of morality, has a responsibility to challenge offensive practices of that community. Maybe he did, or at least argue against it within the church councils. I’m not ruling it out, just wondering if he did?

And so when I simply asked the question had Mitt Romney spoken out against the offensive practice tolerated until 1995 by the LDS Church of permitting the baptizing of murdered Holocaust victims, there was an astonishing failure to seek to understand why those of other faiths would might this profoundly offensive. There was a little quibbling over whether being “baptized” by a living stand-in represented conversion; no it only qualified you for Heaven (Mormon version), but was no guarantee you’d get in, the way the holocasut victim baptizers aparently wuld. One might suggest they Church objected at least to its ost offensive manifestation.

But this selfless offering of a ticket to the Big Lottery to Hitler and his victims (yes, recall, hitler needed babptism in order to have the chance for Forgiveness, acccoring to those who did it) was inevitably treated as some welcome gift, they could not conceive some might view it as a bothersome visit from a Bible saesman Yes they gave you a choice, too. To accept or reject. But what if you didn’t want to be asked at all? Too bad, no choice there, the Nazis murder them, the Mormons (some not all) pester them.

Even though the Church itself has renounced it and sought to discourage those who continue to practice this pestering of Holocaust victims, a flood of commenters, as you’ll see, rushed to defend it on the ground that the supposedly baptized souls who were murdered for their faith should welcome this opportunity, after all they had a choice! The didn’t have to convert to Mormonism! If they didn’t subscribe to the Mormon vision of the afterlife of course of which this baptism was an inextricable part, they would have little chance to escape eternal damnation or at least utter exclusion from (the Mormon version) of Heaven. Imagine the idea! Holocaust victims ungrateful for this fabulous opportunity they were being offered.

These commenters, so eager to defend themselves by saying those who baptize Nazi victims are only doing what the Church instructs them, ignoring the fact their Church has condemned the practice, presumably speaking for God’s displeasure. I wonder if God will fogive the disobedience of these commenters for defending this practice–despite the pronouncement of their Church. I’d say thumbs down.

By the way, some people don’t understand that their comments are not posted automatically and therefore they can’t spray any venom they wish on this site, however bigoted (and of course most often done in cowardly anonymity). But in any case since most of the comments are repetitve and I have a life outside the blog, and as I much as I’d love to devote all of it to an arcane discredited practice, I’ll have to just suggest that you read my comments on the comments (in bold). You’ll likely find my responses to your concerns.

Their are other commenters however who have raised an important issue when they ask, “do other candidates have responsibility to exercise moral leadership in their community?” I tend to believe they do and so–almost as if delivering an answer directly to those commenters comes word of Barack Obama’s Martin Luther King address at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in which he condemns xenophobia, homophobia and anti-semitism in the black community. You can find excerpts and a link to the full address here.

But for those too lazy to link to Pam’s Houseblend, here’s an excerpt of what she regards as a key moment in Obama’s words:

“For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.
And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

“We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

“Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.”

Truly, none of our hands are clean. All the more reason to keep them off the souls of the murdered dead who gave their life for their faith. And to expect something more from a politican than silence. The moral leadership in Obama’s words. excerpt

Here’s the link to Obama’s remarks although I should warn you it crashed my browser, perhaps because of high traffic).

(By the way I’m going to take a break from commnents; it’s been too depressing lately and brings out the urge to anser in kind)

January 16, 2008

Question for Mitt Romney: Did You Take a Stand Against the LDS Practice of Baptizing Holocaust Victims–and Adolf Hitler

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 10:19 am

I wouldn’t have bothered to bring up this issue–disturbing as it is–when it looked like the Romney campaign was cratering. But now that it looks like he has as good a chance as any of the GOP candidates I think it’s worth knowing. It has to do with moral leadership which Mitt seems to be proclaiming every time he opens his mouth.

I’m surprised at how many people were unaware of this Mormon practice which was only–officially–curbed in 1995, although according to this article from the Salt Lake Tribune the practice continued beyond the curb on its “inappropriate” use.

The practice, sometimes known as “Temple work” involves a Mormon “standing in” for a dead person to allow said dead one to be baptized as a Mormon and enter Mormon heaven. It became an issue when it turned out that many Mormons were retrospectively baptizing Holocaust victims such as Anne Frank and other dead Jews including Einstein and Freud as Mormons in this way. Not only that, some Mormons had baptized less savory figures in history including Stalin, Mao, Ivan the Terrible–and even Hitler himself (along with Eva Braun so they could share Mormon heaven together).

While the Church did not encourage the baptism of Nazis, the doctrine was not changed until 1995 by which time Eichman, Himmler and Heydrich joined the Furher among the baptized. I know: this sounds too strange and offensive to be true, but Mormons are big on conversions and it’s a lot easier to convert the compliant dead than the living.

As I mentioned, in 1995, after protest from Holocaust survivor groups, the Church sought to end the practice of baptizing “inappropriate” dead people, and it deserves credit for this action however belated, but the practice continued for at least some years thereafter.

We know that Mitt Romney didn’t speak up publicly against his church’s second class citizenship for people of color, although he claimed to have wept with joy in 1978 (when he was 31) and this doctrine was discarded. Did he speak up at all against the shameful posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims? Of Hitler? How does he feel about it now? Why has no one raised the issue during the campaign?
Not the issue of the practice which was ludicrous and lamentable, but the issue of whether Mitt Romney felt any responsibility to dissociate himself from, or protest the practice. It’s what they call a character question. It has to do with “moral leadership”.

Does anyone have an answer? Doesn’t anyone care?

January 15, 2008

Reminder About Commenters

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:51 am

For those who may have not read my repeated iterations of my commenter policy:

1) I feel no obligation to post any remarks from anonymous commenters. I will at my discretion post those able to engage in civilized discourse without apending their real names. But I’ve always wondered why so many fear standing behind their remarks with real names. Like most bloggers I put my name behind my opinions, I don’t understand those who cower behind the veil of anonymityto hurl childish insults and somehow think of themselves (from their tone) as bold.

2) I feel no obligation to post comments that reflect racism, bigotry, abusiveness, ignorance, obscenity or egregious distortions.

3) I just don’t have the time to engage in entended dialogues with every commenter, however intelligent.

Other bloggers may have more different policies or more time on their hands. In general I’m grateful for intelligent comments even if they disagree and I’ve learned from others and I realize some people may have good reasons not to use teir real names (fer of reprisal on their job etc). But others abuse anonymity so they can indulge in infantile insults that would (or should) embarass them if their names were known.

Hope you understand.

January 14, 2008

The Only Way For Hillary to Save Her Legacy…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:50 pm

…in the light of the disgusting recent conduct of her campaign, is to withdraw now and endorse Barack Obama.The one thing I used to admire the Clintons for was what I thought was their genuine emotional commitment to civil rights. The one unblemished aspect of their much-blemished legacy. But look at the collection of hacks, thugs and half-wits they have unleashed or enabled when they got desparate. Look at their pathetic denigration of Martin Luther King. (just a dreamer, right? Read Taylor Branch’s brilliant three volume King biography, while you’re sitting out the campaign Hillary. You need a history lesson).

But is not just sad for them, it’s sad for America. In their win-at-any-cost campaign they may well have succeeded in destroying not only Obama’s candidacy (at the very least his chance to win if nominated) but their own place in history. I wish I could blame it all on Bill, but that’s been their m.o. No tears can save her from this shame.

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