Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Erickson Report, Page 5: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

The Erickson Report, Page 5: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

And now we go to the Outrages and we're a bit short of time so there will only be two of them.

First, some outfit called has announced its Anti-Semite of the Year. And with the evidence of an upsurge in antisemitism to be found in any day's news - and the group offers plenty of examples - it should be easy to find someone truly deserving of the title of biggest anti-Semite of 2019.

But who did they come up with? Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, the "evidence" for this, if I can stretch the word that far, consisting mostly of a list of dredged-up and long-settled bull about statements she made last spring, statements which did reveal an embarrassing lack of knowledge about the history of anti-Semitism on her part but revealed no actual anti-Semitism, especially considering she apologized for that lack of knowledge and in fact thanked people for pointing it out to her.

One claim reprised here which I always thought was nonsensical was that it was anti-Semitic of her to suggest that Jewish groups try to buy political influence with money. Of course they do! Just like any other interest group! Do you think that when the health insurance industry gives big bucks to Pete Buttigieg they are not trying to buy influence with his campaign? Do you think that when the big telecoms spread cash around to various candidates they are not trying to buy influence with those campaigns and subsequently with what bills those candidates do and do not support? If I point that obvious truth out, does that mean I am anti-health care or anti-telecommunications? Don't be stupid.

Instead, let's be truthful: Ultimately, this is not about a handful of unrevealing tweets. This is all about her support of the BDS movement and Palestinian rights. That's the point of this smear, that's the purpose of this smear, that's why she is being labeled a huge anti-Semite. It's about equating the BDS movement and Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism.

Ilhan Omar
That isn't attacking anti-Semitism, that's weaponizing anti-Semitism for political purposes and that is a  outrage. What's revealed here is nothing about Ilhan Omar but rather that, which says it is part of a non-profit foundation but doesn't say what one and which itself engages in the anti-Semitic trope of "the self-hating Jew," is part of that reactionary right-wing core that wants to establish the idea that any criticism of Israel or Israeli government policy is by definition antisemitism.

Which doubtless makes me an anti-Semite in their minds, because I do support Palestinian rights and I do support the BDS movement (without feeling, I note, obliged to support all of its leaders). And when 2019 saw a 45-percent increase in demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian homes in the West Bank over 2018, I find a lot about Israel and Israeli policy to criticize.

Footnote: On January 6, citing the group's report, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, directly meddled in US domestic politics, encouraging "action" against Omar. Oddly enough, one of the things Omar was accused of was making an accusation of "dual loyalty" because she objected to the notion that intense support of Israel is effectively a political requirement for gaining and holding office in the US. Apparently that kind of support is exactly what Ambassador Danon expects.

One more for the road: On January 3, the New York Times reported that the Tweetie-pie White House is about to expand its open war on environmental protection by going after its bedrock law, the law that has been called the Magna Carta of environmental legislation.

It is the National Environmental Policy Act and it is 50 years old, having been signed into law on January 1, 1970. This landmark law charges the federal government and its agencies with a responsibility to promote environmental protection, preservation, and restoration, and notes the responsibility each generation has to act as trustee of the environment for the generations to follow.

For fifty years it has provided the legal basis for environmental review of, and public input on, projects that impact the environment.

And now Tweetie-pie is planning to wreck it by redefining what the law does and does not do by:
- narrowing the definition of what type of project requires an environmental review,
- expanding the number of project categories that can be excluded from review,
- allowing companies or developers to conduct their own environmental assessments, and
- dropping entirely any requirement to consider cumulative, rather than just immediate, impacts - meaning not only that you could, for example, build a road without considering the effect of traffic or a pipeline without addressing the risk of a spill, but that any effect on climate change would be clearly beyond the law's reach.

Outrageous and nauseating.

And by the way, Australia is still on fire.

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