Beating Bibi

Obama’s last campaign:

A goal of the White House seems to have been to break the bipartisan support for a strong U.S-Israel relationship in Congress by making it far easier for Democrats to go their own way. In essence, the White House has facilitated a transition within the party to better reflect the views of the Democratic Party’s base, now heavily made up of younger voters and minorities, among whom there is not nearly as much support for Israel as in the past. The Obama administration has set in place a longer-term process to separate Democrats in Congress from their historic role as strong supporters of Israel.

Whether Obama is following his base on this issue or leading it is a different question. As the single most visible political figure in government, when a president is viewed as being engaged in a bitter feud with a foreign leader, as the press has dutifully reported is the case between Netanyahu and Obama, a strong message has been delivered. This message particularly gets to those who support the president in general, and on pretty much all specific issues. The president has also blessed and opened the White House’s door to J Street, an organization allegedly committed to both Israel and peace. In reality, the group is a “blocking back for the White House,” as its own leaders have admitted, for the regular Israel-bashing and pressure campaign that has been underway since both Obama and Netanyahu took office in 2009. If one looks for instances of J Street uttering a kind word about Netanyahu, you will find even fewer than those from the president himself.

As noted there, Bill Clinton did something similar, dispatching James Carville to defeat the previous Netanyahu government.

Weird Linux Problem

Anyone have any ideas why I can’t do a yum update in Fedora? Or rather, why I can’t write to the disk as root?

# yum update
Loaded plugins: langpacks, refresh-packagekit
Cannot open logfile /var/log/yum.log
Repository google-chrome is listed more than once in the configuration

[Errno 30] Read-only file system: ‘/var/cache/yum/x86_64/20/adobe-linux-x86_64/repomd.xml.old.tmp’

Here’s what I’m seeing at /:

# ls -l
total 65
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 7 Dec 11 2013 bin -> usr/bin
dr-xr-xr-x. 6 root root 4096 Dec 22 14:47 boot
drwxr-xr-x. 21 root root 3520 Dec 24 09:15 dev
drwxr-xr-x. 140 root root 12288 Dec 24 09:15 etc
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root 4096 Dec 20 2013 home
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 7 Dec 11 2013 lib -> usr/lib
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 9 Dec 11 2013 lib64 -> usr/lib64
drwx——. 2 root root 16384 Dec 11 2013 lost+found
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Nov 7 16:53 media
drwxr-xr-x. 3 root root 4096 Dec 20 2013 mnt
drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root 4096 Oct 29 15:18 opt
dr-xr-xr-x. 222 root root 0 Dec 24 09:14 proc
dr-xr-x—. 12 root root 4096 Dec 22 15:33 root
drwxr-xr-x. 34 root root 900 Dec 24 09:17 run
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 8 Dec 11 2013 sbin -> usr/sbin
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 srv
dr-xr-xr-x. 13 root root 0 Dec 24 09:14 sys
drwxrwxrwt. 12 root root 280 Dec 24 09:21 tmp
drwxr-xr-x. 12 root root 4096 Dec 11 2013 usr
drwxr-xr-x. 21 root root 4096 Dec 24 09:14 var

Here’s /var:

# ls -l /var
total 112
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Dec 11 2013 account
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 adm
drwxr-xr-x. 14 root root 4096 Dec 20 2013 cache
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 5 21:27 crash
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 2 2013 cvs
drwxr-xr-x. 3 root root 4096 Oct 2 09:32 db
drwxr-xr-x. 3 root root 4096 Dec 11 2013 empty
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 games
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 gopher
drwxr-xr-x. 3 root root 4096 Aug 7 17:19 kerberos
drwxr-xr-x. 46 root root 4096 Dec 24 09:14 lib
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 local
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 11 Dec 11 2013 lock -> ../run/lock
drwxr-xr-x. 15 root root 4096 Dec 24 09:15 log
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Dec 11 2013 mail -> spool/mail
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 nis
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 opt
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 preserve
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 6 Dec 11 2013 run -> ../run
drwxr-xr-x. 10 root root 4096 Dec 11 2013 spool
drwxrwxrwt. 539 root root 36864 Dec 24 09:15 tmp
drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Aug 7 2013 yp

I tried to just create a file in /root, with no success (though that’s not really surprising, given the permissions). What’s really weird is that I have no problems writing as a normal user. It’s just a problem with root. Which is, of course, a big problem. I’ve tried rebooting, with no joy.

[Later afternoon update]

OK, I’ve gotten the machine beaten into submission. I loaded Fedora 21 on a live USB, and (unlike Fedora 20) it will actually boot with my new motherboard. So I cleaned up the drives, then installed the new OS on the new SSD. I overmounted my old /home drive onto the new /home, and I’m reinstalling software, which is going very fast, because the SSD is very fast. With the new quad-core processor, I’m cooking with Crisco. Nice Christmas present to myself.

[Update a few minutes later]

Wow. Just did a reboot after a bunch of updates. Ten seconds.

Makin’ Mock Of Cops

Some thoughts on unrealistic expectations:

Essentially, the Left places an inhuman burden of patience and tolerance for risk on police officers, then jumps on the inevitable failure to achieve an impossible standard as proof of police corruption and violence. They do the same thing to soldiers in combat conditions, imposing on them restrictions that defy reason and human nature, then decry alleged “abuses” as creating moral equivalence between Americans and their enemies.

…The best way to lower the temperature in a neighborhood — to decrease the chances for the kinds of encounters that result in unarmed civilians dying to police gunfire — is to continue to engage in the law-enforcement and criminal-justice practices that we know can and do dramatically lower the rate of violent crime. And that means focusing on getting violent criminals off the streets. I strongly recommend Kevin Williamson’s piece on this point. Who commits murders? People with prior, violent criminal records. And so long as violent criminals are on the streets, police on those streets — who are properly and naturally more aggressive than civilians — will make exactly the kinds of decisions in the “fog of war” that cause anti-police radicals to chant for their deaths. It’s inevitable.

It’s all part of the Left’s war on human nature.

Marsha Ivins

doesn’t like the asteroid mission.

Some Twitter responses:

The House Of Repeal

It’s not a new idea, but Instapundit is pushing it again, over at USA Today.

I’d like to see it happen, but I still like my idea of a Sunset Amendment. It would keep them so busy renewing the old laws that they wouldn’t have much time for new mischief. I had some related thoughts here a few months ago.

I would note, though, in thinking further, I’d probably make it a twenty-year sunset, rather than ten. That way, each law would be reviewed at least once per generation (assuming, of course, that “generations” still exist in a post-human future).

The War On Mammals

in New Zealand:

I’d come to watch the Adsheads poke at decaying stoats because they are nature lovers. So are most New Zealanders. Indeed, on a per-capita basis, New Zealand may be the most nature-loving nation on the planet. With a population of just four and a half million, the country has some four thousand conservation groups. But theirs is, to borrow E. O. Wilson’s term, a bloody, bloody biophilia. The sort of amateur naturalist who in Oregon or Oklahoma might track butterflies or band birds will, in Otorohanga, poison possums and crush the heads of hedgehogs. As the coördinator of one volunteer group put it to me, “We always say that, for us, conservation is all about killing things.”

It’s a bizarre story.

[Wednesday-morning update]

A number of commenters are wondering why I think this is bizarre. I guess it’s just because the notion of living in a place with no mammals whatsoever (other than humans) seems very weird to me. I understand that they’re not native, but I’ve lived with them all my life, and have trouble imagining their total absence. Would I even be allowed to keep a dog? Or a cat?

The Inherent Violence Of The Left

It’s no surprise that when you have an ideology that denies human nature, it can only be imposed by threats and force:

…(barely) deniable violence for purposes of intimidation is all part of the scheme. That’s what “no justice, no peace” means. As Richard Fernandez has written: “It is impossible to understand the politics of the Left without grasping that it is all about deniable intimidation.” That’s why they don’t want you to own guns, and that’s why they’re so panicked at groups, like the Tea Party, that aren’t intimidated.


“Icky” Conservative Groups

were targeted by the IRS.

But remember, it’s a “phony” scandal.

[Update a while later]

More from the Tax Prof:

Here are six major takeaways from the report:

  1. The IRS admitted that the front office was “spinning” about the targeting rumors as early as 2012, after IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman denied the tea party targeting to Congress. …

  2. Then-IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller almost broke down and told the truth about the tea party targeting at a July 2012 hearing, but Lerner’s sidekick Nikole Flax told him not to. …
  3. The IRS definitely treated tea party applications by a different standard than applications from other (c)(4) groups. …
  4. Lois Lerner expressed her frustration about having to potentially approve a lot of groups, and her colleagues in the agency assured her that she wouldn’t have to. …
  5. So the IRS reached out to outside advisers to help come up with ways to deny tax-exempt status to “icky” organizations. …
  6. A May 2011 email from a lawyer in the IRS chief counsel’s office made clear that the agency sought to use a new “gift tax” to target donors to nonprofit political groups.

Move along, nothing to see here.

[Afternoon update]

The IRS was “fundamentally transformed” and “totally politicized” by ObamaCare and IRS targeting of Tea Party:

The transformation has produced “an IRS responsive to the partisan policy objectives of the White House and an IRS leadership that coordinates with political appointees of the Obama Administration.”

The inability of tax agency officials “to keep politics out of objective decisions about interpretation of the tax code damaged its primary function: an apolitical tax collector that Americans can trust to treat them fairly.”

“Not only did IRS employees allow politics to seep into their work from February 2010 to May 2012, but even after agency officials learned of misconduct, the response from senior agency officials was to manage the fallout rather than quickly expose and correct the misconduct,” the House investigators said.

And it continues to this day.

Two Tyrannies In One Day

The US caves:

Obama announced on Wednesday that Washington and the Castro regime would resume diplomatic relations after a 53-year estrangement. This platinum-medal prize for totalitarian legend Fidel Castro, 88, and his brother Raul, a sprightly man of 83, came at a cost to them of . . . nothing!

Normalization might have made sense in exchange for the Castros’ liberating all political prisoners from their dungeons. (In 2008, Obama promised that normal relations only would happen after the Castros’ political jails were emptied.) A strict timetable for free elections might have merited Obama’s move. So might have Cuba’s adoption of freedoms of movement, speech, press, property, and religion — for starters. The Castros still offer their people none of the above. Fidel and Raul get to eat their dictatorial cake and have it, too, with diplomatic-relations frosting on top. Free of charge.

Obama’s Christmas present to these aging autocracts lacks the geopolitical genius and strategic benefits of President Nixon’s February 1972 overture to China. Instead, it’s just one young strongman handing the ultimate bucket-list item to two ancient strongmen. The only strings attached to Obama’s gift are the ribbons around the wrapping paper.

America’s surrender to North Korea and its hackers is even more bothersome.

Not sure it’s more bothersome, but it is depressing.


stage left:

Raise your hand if you want to see Moses portrayed as an insurgent lunatic terrorist with a bad conscience, the pharaoh who sought the murder of all first-born Hebrew slaves as a nice and reasonable fellow, and God as a foul-tempered 11-year-old boy with an English accent.

All right, I see a few hands raised, though maybe they belong to people who are still demonstrating about Ferguson. So let me ask you this: How many of you want to see how Hollywood has taken the story of the Hebrew departure from ancient Egypt — by far the most dramatic tale in the world’s most enduring book — and turned it into a joyless, dull, turgid bore?

I don’t know when I’ve seen a movie as self-destructively misconceived as Exodus: Gods and Kings, the director Ridley Scott’s $200-million retelling of the Moses story that has as much chance of making $200 million at the American box office as Ted Cruz has of winning the District of Columbia in the November 2016 election.

No one has explained to me why it was necessary to redo The Ten Commandments. I guess maybe it brings it to a new audience, with better effects, but why so totally screw with the Biblical story line?

This doesn’t inspire confidence for Scott’s upcoming treatment of The Martian.

[Update a few minutes later]

Also, this:

The problem with genre deconstruction in a biblical film is that Blue State audiences won’t touch religious-oriented films with a barge pole, and Red State audiences know when they’re being gaslighted, and those who see the film during its opening weekend quickly tell their friends to avoid yet another boilerplate Hollywood attack on religion. While some initial leftwing critics screamed that Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was arguably torture porn and/or anti-Semitic, Red State audiences quickly discovered through word of mouth that Mel was perhaps the last filmmaker in Hollywood who took the notion of God and Jesus seriously. (As Hans Fiene of the Federalist quipped last week, if Hollywood wants to get its biblical blockbuster groove back, just “Pretend Mel Gibson is Roman Polanski.”


[Update a while later]

It occurs to me that people opposed to this kind of thing don’t have to threaten to bomb theaters. It’s self detonating.

The Left

…is vastly more racist than “the right”:

Since I was publicly identified with the right, roughly from when I started blogging in 2003 (although it was actually several years earlier in private), I have personally witnessed not a single incident of racism from anyone who could be considered a right winger and heard only one racial slur — and that was from a Frenchman. In the seven years I was CEO of PJ Media, I came to know or meet literally dozens of people who identified with the Tea Party. I did not hear one word of anything close to racism from any of them even once. Not one, ever. This despite their being accused of racism constantly.

…we live in [a] culture where there is considerably more black racism than white racism. Someone like Al Sharpton, clearly the equivalent of David Duke, is far more powerful than Duke ever was. No one pays attention to the execrable Duke, as they shouldn’t. But they shouldn’t pay attention to Sharpton either.

But he’s only a part of the problem. There’s also the mayor of the city of New York, Bill de Blasio, the prototype of the leftwing fellow-traveler racist who assumes someone is more moral or better because he or she is “of color.” Of course this is condescending — and therefore racist — to the people he thinks are so pure. No one is. The whole theory of “white skin privilege” is racist and totalitarian to the core: actually it was invented by totalitarians. And while I’m ranting here, all racial identity organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus are inherently racist and dangerous, just as the White Citizens’ Council was and would be.

That’s been obvious to me for decades. All their accusations of racism are just one more aspect of their psychological projection. And so overplayed has the race card become, by race baiters like Sharpton (and Holder, and Obama), that I now take being called a racist by them as a badge of pride.

[Update a while later]

seems related:

Now and then, I think back to why I rejected the Left, many years ago — when I was in college. One of the reasons was, they always kept the racial pot boiling. They would never let the pot cool off. It seemed to me they did not want racial harmony. They preferred strife, regarding it as more “authentic” or something. Harmony was for Toms.


Religion Of Peace Update

I know it’s become a sad joke, but when I heard last night about the execution of the two cops in New York, I thought “When will we find out that the perp was a Muslim”? With the last name “Brinsley,” I figured that we’d finally found a random murderous criminal act that wasn’t Jihad related — it was just from rage whipped up by the hateful race baiters like Sharpton (and de Blasio).

Well, it turns out that my relief came too soon:

In my previous posts on assassin Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who murdered two New York Police Department officers on Saturday, I noted that he had posted on Facebook a page of the Quran with a notorious verse calling on Muslims to “strike terror into the [hearts of] the enemies of Allah,” and another post about a fight he recently engaged in with an Atlanta panhandler when he discovered the panhandler was a “Muslim too.”

But an Instagram message posted by Brinsley during Ramadan five months ago may indicate that he visited one of America’s most terror-tied mosques.



A dangerous holiday:

For those liberals who believe that Jewish identity should be limited to donating to help Haiti, agitating for illegal aliens and promoting the environment; Chanukah is a threatening holiday. They have secularized it, dressed it up with teddy bears and toys, trimmed it with the ecology and civil rights of their new faith. Occasionally a Jewish liberal learns the history of it and writes an outraged essay about nationalism and militarism, but mostly they are content to bury it in the same dark cellar that they store the rest of the history of their people and the culture that they left behind.

Holidays aren’t mere parties, they are messages. Knots of time that we tie around the fingers of our lives so that we remember what our ancestors meant us to never forget. That they lived and died for a reason. The party is a celebration, but if we forget what it celebrates, then it becomes a celebration of celebration. A hollow and soulless festival of the self. The Maccabees fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.

History is a wheel and as it turns, we see the old continents of time rising again, events revisiting themselves as the patterns of the past become new again. Ancient battles become new wars. And old struggles have to be re-fought again until we finally get them right.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.