Archive for Aunt Agatha

How Many Of You Endured Political Discussions Yesterday?

Can you imagine sitting down to turkey with Karl Rove or Reince Priebus?

The Republican establishment is nearing full-blown panic about Donald Trump.

The demise of Trump’s candidacy has been predicted by centrist Republicans and the media alike virtually since the day it began. But there is no empirical evidence at all to suggest it is happening.

Last month, the liberal ThinkProgress collated more than 30 predictions of the business mogul’s imminent demise. One typical example was The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, who discerned “the beginning of the end of Trump” in mid-July, soon after the mogul criticized the Vietnam War record of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

“He has a real shot at this. He is the clear front-runner,” said Ron Bonjean, a consultant and former aide to GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.

Adding that “months ago, we all discounted Trump as a candidate,” Bonjean now acknowledged that it seems “safe to assume that he is going to continue with this strong momentum right into Iowa.”

“The media has twisted and turned through a number of different positions where they tried to explain that it was just a fad — the summer of Trump,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa. “Well, it’s lasted all fall. There is a realization that you are not going to wake up tomorrow and he’s going to vanish.”

Robinson, who is not affiliated with any candidate, was scathing toward those GOP centrists who assert that Trump will be unable to translate his polling support into votes because of a weak ground game.

“That is the wishful thinking of the establishment,” he said. “That is what they tell themselves so they can sleep at night. The truth is, Trump has one of the better ground operations in Iowa. Will he turn out every single person who shows up at his rallies? No. But if he turns out a fraction, he will roll over the field.”

Trump’s critics within the GOP are now coming to believe that an air war — that is, negative TV advertising — is more likely to deliver results than anything else. They note that a $1 million campaign in Iowa by the conservative Club for Growth appeared to put some dent in Trump’s numbers. (It also drew the threat of legal action from the candidate.)

As for 2012, while it is true that former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) was leading the RCP average at the equivalent point to now, that was to be a relatively short-lived phenomenon, just as earlier boomlets for candidates such as then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and businessman Herman Cain had proved to be.

In fact, the consistency of Trump’s polling performance this cycle has more in common with the steady showing of eventual 2012 nominee Mitt Romney than anyone else.

Other anti-Trump forces within the GOP hold out hope that as the field winnows, the whole dynamic of the race will shift, with primary voters coalescing around a different option.

But none of that is guaranteed. Trump remains as bullishly confident as ever. And Republican insiders know the hour is getting late.

“If Trump is not your cup of tea, it’s time to bring your own coffee pot out and start brewing something,” said Robinson.

Well, I heard some railing against Trump yesterday, but from the lips of people who would rather die that vote for any Republican. My big concern about him is that he will turn out to be the Republican Eugene McCarthy. What if there simply are not enough of them to pull Trump across the finish line? The other, smaller, fear is that he truly is a nut-job. I doubt the second though. I think he just understands the depth of anger and despair among the working class.

– Aggie


Life In France Has Been Terrifying For Jews For 15 Years

According to the French government

For several years within the contentious field of antisemitism, we have seen a routine emerge of obscene words, selective outrage and blatant antisemitic assaults. But this violence forms part of a more general pattern, starting from the time of the second Intifada (2000) when anti-Jewish violence swept almost simultaneously across France and throughout all Western democracies. Since then, other attacks have shaken the Jewish community, precisely, regularly, and with lasting effect, making places of worship and schools, worshippers, officials and members of the community equally targets.

Antisemitism from 2000-2015

Indeed, since October 1, 2000, more than 8,000 antisemitic acts have been perpetrated in France, including 744 in 2000; 219 in 2001; 936 in 2002; 601 in 2003; 974 in 2004; 508 in 2005; 571 in 2006; 402 in 2007; 397 in 2008; 832 in 2009; 466 in 2010; 389 in 2011; 614 in 2012 and 423 in 2013, according to the Jewish Community Security Service (SPCJ) and the Ministry of the Interior. Throughout 2014 antisemitic acts occurred nearly without interruption. As the SPCJ explains, the tensions resulting from a climate of antisemitic hate and its legacy, and the accumulation of varied antisemitic acts have grown as the months progressed. As a result, the number of antisemitic acts identified in France doubled: 851 acts (compared to 423 in 2013), an increase of 101%. From January to May 2015, antisemitic acts increased further by 84% compared to 2014, and 161% compared to 2013. In other words, 508 antisemitic acts compared to 276 in 2014 and 195 in 2013 over the same period. However, despite the ‘surge’ at the beginning of this year, antisemitic acts were down 1.5% over the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, according to the Minister of the Interior (CRIF National Convention, November 1, 2015) . Nevertheless, this decrease should “still be considered with caution and that is why the State must, under no circumstances, cease in its efforts”. “No antisemitic action must remain unpunished,” said the Minister, “because I know that this threat continues to be a legitimate concern and causes deep unease in the heart of the [Jewish] community”. He recalled the measures taken since the beginning of the year, notably those taken after the attack in January 2015 against the Hypercacher in Porte de Vincennes in Paris (AFP, November 1, 2015).

It is just tough to find empathy for “the French” in their time of need. The Jewish population will all end up living elsewhere and the Christians, Muslims, and Secularists will fight with bombs and knifes and guns. Because that is what they have chosen.

– Aggie


UN Tells Israel To “Show Restraint”

Perhaps they should tell it to France, Belgium

…..Despite several statements made by Israeli representatives, including Prime Minister Netanyahu and Danon, Eliasson [Number 2 at UN, after Ban Ki-Moon – Aggie] continued to stress the need to preserve the status quo on Temple Mount.

He said Netanyahu’s promise to do so “needs to be accompanied by actions to defuse the situation and to restore confidence.”

While he said he recognizes the security problems which Israel faces, the deputy secretary-general nonetheless wished to “remind Israeli authorities that the use of excessive force feeds anger and frustration” and urged Israeli security services to “exercise maximum restraint.”

Danon said the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People is “a shameful day for the United Nations” which is used “as a platform to attack Israel.

“Palestinians venerate terror instead of the value of life, it is time to end the ongoing Palestinian terror against Israel,” he said.

According to him, “the international community needs to tear the web of lies Palestinians.”

I wonder if there is anything that would cause the world to understand that Israelis, and in fact all Jews, are human beings?

– Aggie


Yoga Culturally Insensitive, Does Not Belong On Campus

University of Ottawa cancels yoga classes due to “cultural insensitivity”

I read this on my phone and it made no sense at all, but if you look at the photograph that ran with the piece, I think you can figure it out:


A yoga instructor who says her free class at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because of concerns over cultural appropriation believes the student union’s issues are misplaced.

Jen Scharf said she’s been teaching a free yoga class for the university’s Centre for Students with Disabilities, which is run by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, for the last seven years.

When she checked back in with the centre in September, she said she was told by them the class wouldn’t be happening because some students and volunteers were uncomfortable with the “cultural issues” involved.

“I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India,” she said on Sunday. “I told them, ‘Why don’t we just change the name of the course?’ It’s simple enough, just call it mindful stretching.… We’re not going through the finer points of scripture. We’re talking about basic physical awareness and how to stretch so that you feel good.

“That went back and forth… The higher-ups at the student federation got involved, finally we got an email routed through the student federation basically saying they couldn’t get a French name and nobody wants to do it, so we’re going to cancel it for now.”

Cultural appropriation is when a culture that’s seen as an oppressor borrows or steals elements of a culture they’re oppressing. Scharf said there is also concern over yoga instructors who claim to be experts in the more spiritual aspects of yoga, but aren’t.

Ok, I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, but I can assure you that lots of people love yoga. This could be the issue that finally brings down the PC police.

– Aggie


Avis Car Rental Bars Israeli Executive From Renting

Berserk Jew hatred in NY

On Saturday evening, Dov Bergwerk arrived at the Avis branch on West 76th Street and Broadway. Accompanied by his wife Ruth, the Bergwerks were planning to join friends for dinner in Westchester. Mr. Bergwerk, a senior vice president and general corporate counsel at the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, got out his driver’s license, reservation number and “Wizard” loyalty card – he’s rented from Avis dozens of times before – and anticipated the usual smooth transition into a nondescript mid-sized sedan.

That’s when the trouble started.

A reservation agent named Angelline declined to honor Mr. Bergwerk’s reservation, saying that it was company policy not to recognize Israeli documents. Stunned, Mr. Bergwerk explained that he had rented from Avis many times, including a car from that very same office on Thursday, November 19 – only two days earlier.

Mr. Bergwerk asked Angelline to access the profile attached to his Wizard card, which shows that he is an executive at a giant multinational company who has no regulatory issues and has rented from Avis, including at that very branch, many times without incident. She refused. They argued.

Eventually, a manager was called. Shamoura took the side of her reservation agent, also refusing to honor Mr. Bergwerk’s reservation or recognize his documents. Stunned and stranded on a Saturday night in New York, Mr. Bergwerk called the Avis main number and got through to customer service. The representative confirmed to him that the Israeli license was an acceptable form of ID and also mentioned that he could show his passport to ameliorate any ID concerns the on-site employees had. Mr. Bergwerk put the customer service representative on the phone with Shamoura, the branch manager, and at this point the story evolved. She now claimed that she was declining to rent the Bergwerks a car not because of the insufficient documents but because Mr. Bergwerk had “argued about the way I was being treated in front of other customers,” according to Mr. Bergwerk.

The Observer asked Mr. Bergwerk if he felt that, in the heart of Manhattan’s progressive activist community, he was being singled out for being an Israeli.

“While no direct reference was made to being anti Israel, that was my impression almost from the initial moment I presented my license and credit card as I have done over 15 years of business and leisure travel without ever being challenged. The agent stated that the Israeli license did not have the required info in English. I tried to demonstrate that the license had all the required info but she and the manager had no interest. Similarly, the fact that I have had many rentals at Avis and at this location was dismissed as having been ‘done by new employees.’”

New Jersey based Avis, owned by the Avis Budget Group (which also owns Budget Rent a Car and Zipcar), is one of the largest car rental companies in the world, with almost 5500 locations in 165 countries. The company has yet to respond to the Observer’s request for comment; this story will be updated to include an Avis response should it be forthcoming.

Ruth Bergwerk confirmed her husband’s version of events, telling the Observer, “Of course it was embarrassing. They wouldn’t even open our reservation and see that we have an Avis wizard number or that we had rented a car from the same location 2 days before. There was no way they would rent a car with that license. There was no way to reason with them.” According to both Mr. and Ms. Bergwerk, Angelline and Shamoura would not even provide their last names or employee ID numbers. Observer reporting confirmed that the manager is Shamoura Welch-Robinson, who has worked for Avis since April 2014, according to her LinkedIn page.

Mr. Bergwerk said, “I felt that something very ugly was going on. Discriminated against. When you deny someone a service and they present the ability to pay for that service and they dismiss you like your money isn’t good here, It’s very demeaning.”

The Israeli government provides a list of countries that recognize an Israel Driving License; as a close ally, the US has among the most generous policies and even Turkey and Singapore do so. Meanwhile, the Bergwerks never made it to Westchester last night. In something short of a tragedy—but with ominous overtones for those carrying Israeli documents—according to Ms. Bergwerk, “Our plans for the evening were ruined.”

It wasn’t just dinner. According to Mr. Bergwerk, “I was also planning a very personal visit this morning out of New York to a cemetery but [now] will not go.”

Avis, Budget and Zipcar need to be boycotted. It is easy to avoid both Avis and Budget; people who use Zipcar can just as easily use Uber. I will personally avoid all three companies everywhere I travel. I will also write to Avis, letting them know that antisemitism will cost them business.

– Aggie

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Actor James Woods Describes The 9/11 Test Run

He was in a first class compartment in August of 2001 with four of the hijackers. I think that his observations are fascinating:

– Aggie


Devaluing Jewish Life. Three Examples From America Today.

Example 1: The media describes a terror attack in which an American Jewish teenager was killed in Israel

What do the following three examples have in common? Each is an example of Jewish people being treated differently that any other group. The lives of Jews are not important, and it is so stated by the media, academia, and government.

This is from CNN. See if you can find the reference to terrorism here:

Like a handful of other American Jews in their late teens, Ezra Schwartz went to Israel after high school graduation.

Schwartz had been accepted to college in the United States but decided to spend a gap year in Israel at a yeshiva, a Jewish educational institution where students study religious texts.

The 18-year-old was volunteering in the West Bank on Thursday, delivering food to Israeli soldiers, when he was killed.

“That was just the kind of kid he was — making sure the people around him were taken care of,” his longtime camp counselor, DJ Niedober, told CNN.

At a crowded intersection in Gush Etzion, an unidentified gunman fired shots from his vehicle and rammed pedestrians at a busy intersection in, killing three people, including Schwartz.

Nope? I couldn’t either. In fact, the language of this article pulls back from the suggestion of terrorism that was present in the initial article, in which there was some emphasis on “attack,” although never partnered with the T word.

Example 2: Academia embraces Jew-hatred

Here we have the American Anthropology Society, the umbrella organization that speaks for all professors and grad students in the field of anthropology, explaining why they voted, more than 7-1 (1040-136) to boycott Israeli academics.

In a historic vote Friday night, the American Anthropological Association at its annual business meeting resoundingly approved a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions by a vote of 1040-136. The resolution will now be forwarded to the full membership for a final vote by electronic ballot in the coming months.

The resolution enjoins the Association not to enter into any formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions. Individual Israeli scholars may continue to participate in AAA conferences and publications. Moreover, individual AAA members will remain free to determine for themselves whether and how to apply the boycott in their own professional practice.

As heirs to a long tradition of scholarship on colonialism, anthropologists affirm, through this resolution, that the core problem is Israel’s maintenance of a settler colonial regime based on Jewish supremacy and Palestinian dispossession. By supporting the boycott, anthropologists are taking a stand for justice through action in solidarity with Palestinians.

The entire sickening statement can be read at the link. They have a belief in “colonialism” apart from terrorism, and this belief does not admit for Jews as the original inhabitants, the natives, of Israel. Furthermore, they blame the terrorism, which they do not name as such, as caused by the victims, the Jews of Israel. It is a victim-blaming document and could have been written by very slick academics in Germany or Austria in 1940. It is important to note that the decision still must go before the entire academic Anthropology community, so if you have friends working in the field, please try to talk to them about the importance of this vote.
And if you have a college or colleges begging you for money, please write to them and explain that you cannot support antisemitic institutions and that as a part of the academic world, they have put themselves into that category by their own actions.

Example 3 is the treatment of Jonathan Pollard. I linked to some of it yesterday. I’ll just point out that he had entered into a plea agreement which involved a ten year sentence. The judge decided not to follow the agreement and sentenced him to life. The government refused all pleas for clemency over the years, and did not allow him to attend his father’s funeral. My understanding is that under the terms of the original sentence, if he didn’t break rules in prison, parole must follow in 30 years. The government took exactly 30 years, to the day.

Now he is denied the opportunity to reside in Israel for at least five years, and must wear an ankle bracelet, typically used for pedophiles. He is also barred from talking to the press or using the internet. His information is 30 years old, completely useless to anyone, so this is more vindictiveness. My hope is that someday the United States will allow him to move to Israel, someday soon, because he is a severe diabetic and in overall poor health. As Moses said to Pharaoh: Let My People Go.

– Aggie


Jonathan Pollard Is Finally Free, Sorta

He’s out of jail

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was released Friday after 30 years behind bars from the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, after serving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit espionage without intent to harm the United States.

His wife Esther greeted him at the prison and drove with him to New York, where they will be spending Shabbat together. The couple released a statement saying that they were grateful to everyone who worked for his release.

There are very moving, sad photos at the link. And the full text is interesting. I’m just too disgusted to write about it.

– Aggie


Is ClimateFearMongering™ Nonsense?

Some scientists say: Yes

Prominent Scientists Declare Climate Claims Ahead of UN Summit ‘Irrational’ – ‘Based On Nonsense’ – ‘Leading us down a false path’
MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen: ‘Demonization of CO2 is irrational at best and even modest warming is mostly beneficial.’ – ‘When someone says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period.’
Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer: ‘Policies to slow CO2 emissions are really based on nonsense. We are being led down a false path. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is really Orwellian. You are calling something a pollutant that we all produce. Where does that lead us eventually?’
Greenpeace Co-Founder Dr. Patrick Moore: ‘We are dealing with pure political propaganda that has nothing to do with science.’

These are brave men. I’m surprised that they are still alive.

Lindzen singled out Secretary of State John Kerry for his ‘ignorance’ on science.
“John Kerry stands alone,” Lindzen said. “Kerry expresses his ignorance of what science is,” he added.
Lindzen also criticized EPA Chief Gina McCarthy’s education: “I don’t want to be snobbish, but U Mass Boston is not a very good school,” he said to laughter.

OK, one more:

Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer, who has authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers, called policies to reduce CO2 “based on nonsense.”
“Policies to slow CO2 emissions are really based on nonsense. They are all based on computer models that do not work. We are being led down a false path.
“Our breath is not that different from a power plant,” he continued.
“To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is really Orwellian. You are calling something a pollutant that we all produce. Where does that lead us eventually?” he asked.
“Coal, formed from ancient CO2, is a benefit to the world. Coal is CO2 from ancient atmospheres. We are simply returning CO2 to the atmosphere from which it came when you burn coal. And it’s a good thing since it is at very low levels in the atmosphere. We are in a CO2 famine. It is very, very low,” Happer explained.
Happer continued: “CO2 will be beneficial and crop yields will increase.” “More CO2 will be a very significant benefit to agriculture,” he added.

If I may digress a bit, the biggest problem facing mankind is the fascism of the Left. It isn’t even Islamic terrorism, because if we didn’t have left wing fascism, we could take care of it together – sensibly. And since the Left is large and somewhat diverse – some want to push us back to the Dark Ages by denying us the use of fossil fuels, some want to kill all the Jews in Israel by pretending that Palestinians are good folk who only want a fair shake, some want to destroy the economy via repressive policy approaches aimed at stealing all the money from the “1%”, and others are happy just to jump on whichever bandwagon is passing by at the moment, as long as those that disagree with them are punished – we can never organize around serious problems that call for adult decisions. Instead we jump from “crisis” to “crisis”. And each time the Left grabs more power, usually via executive orders, we become more disorganized and angrier with one another.

– Aggie

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CNN Doesn’t Think That The American Teenager Killed By Palestinian Terrorist Was Killed In A Terror Attack

Because when Jews are killed, it isn’t terror.

An American yeshiva student was among three people killed in the West Bank when an attacker fired shots from a vehicle and then rammed pedestrians with the car, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The attack happened at a busy intersection in Gush Etzion, the IDF said.

An unidentified gunman opened fire at vehicles stopped in traffic before ramming his vehicle into pedestrians, according to the IDF.

The suspected assailant was arrested.

Among those killed was 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz of Sharon, Massachusetts.

Tori Bentkover, director of communications for the Consulate General of Israel to New England, says Schwartz graduated from Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts, earlier this year and was studying in Israel at the time of his death.

A Palestinian man also was killed, emergency services told CNN.

A number of Americans were injured in the attack, according to Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the chairman of ZAKA, an emergency response organization.

Etc. It was “an attack” but not a “terror attack”. However, when the exact same thing happens in Paris, as long as the victims are not Jewish, it becomes a “terror attack”. When terrorists go after children and teachers at a Jewish school, they are merely attackers and it is just an attack.

And people wonder why I am so furious…

– Aggie


State Department Warns Americans To Stay Away From The Vatican

The West is done

The United States Embassy in Italy has issued a security alert to all Americans abroad, warning them to avoid locations that have been identified as potential targets for terrorist attacks.

At the top of the short list is “St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Rome).”

The November 18 notice is billed as a “Security Message for U.S. Citizens” regarding a potential for terrorist attacks, and arrived punctually into the email boxes of all Americans registered with the embassy, including that of Breitbart News.

Along with the Vatican, the State Department singles out the Duomo (cathedral) and La Scala opera house in Milan. It goes on to note that general venues “such as churches, synagogues, restaurants, theatres, and hotels” in both Rome and Milan are possible targets as well.

Here’s a thought: Why don’t we let them know that if anything happens to the Vatican, Mecca is toast? I know, it’s beyond the Pale, but we simply cannot have people threatening the basis of our way of life. It is just nutso to tell Americans to avoid the Vatican, when many of them are vacationing in Italy precisely because that’s where they want to be. Will we ever, ever learn?

– Aggie

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ObamaCare: How Did Thee Fail Me?

Let me count the ways

Well, I’m not up for counting the ways this morning; there are just too many. But this is an interesting example, from a larger piece in the Wall Street Journal:

Kimann England, a 48-year-old rancher’s wife who runs a religious nonprofit in South Texas, said her family has been willing to absorb rising premiums and deductibles so far. Their health plan’s decision to withdraw its “preferred provider organization” product this year tipped her over the edge.

She said she now has only a narrow provider-network option that doesn’t include her local doctors, and doesn’t see it being worth the $1,640 a month it will cost in 2016 to cover herself, her husband and four children at home. Instead, she decided to enroll in a Christian health-care sharing ministry, in which members agree to pay each other’s health bills.

Mrs. England said she knows it isn’t insurance, but it is a lot cheaper at $429 a month and exempts her from the health law’s tax penalty for going uninsured. But since the ministry won’t pay for an expensive specialty shot her husband needs four times a year they are thinking of buying a health plan just to cover him.

The move by the England family would mean that five people with relatively low medical costs exit the insurance risk pool, and one person with large expenses remains—bad news for the insurance industry.

Isn’t that brilliant! The only sick member of the family will be on ObamaCare. The other five members of the family will be covered for four hundred bucks a month in a makeshift group plan. Sounds good to me. And I don’t blame them at all, not at all. I blame the democrats for being so damn dumb.

Here’s another one. Can you feel his pain?

Eric Elmquist, 37, of Franklin, Tenn., felt he was paying too much in 2014 for his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan at $878 a month for two adults and three children, with an annual deductible of $5,000. A year later, he had a plan with a premium of $1,089 and deductible of $7,000. Now, he is eyeing a premium of more than $1,416 to keep that plan.

“We’re getting blasted,” said Mr. Elmquist, a biotechnology entrepreneur, who makes too much to qualify for a subsidy. “We try to treat things at home now, at least for the first week. We don’t take the kids to the health clinic as often. I’m getting frustrated because the cost takes a personal toll.”

Notice that it is productive, working “folks” who are getting hammered here.

I’ll end with a brilliant comment on the WSJ site:

At least they should remove the word “Affordable” from the title of this act.

– Aggie


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