Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
Friday, November 17, 2023
Morning Jolt: Elon Musk Screws Up
He may be a smart guy, but his nodding in agreement with the notion that Jewish communities 'push ha
On the menu today: Elon Musk concurs with a Twitter/X user who contends, "Jewish communties [sic] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them." Meanwhile, dismantling the cynical defense that attempts to excuse George Santos; the folks at TikTok reach out, insisting that the number of videos that promoted Osama bin Laden is "small"; and a final tally of how close Virginia Republicans came to a good year.
Jewish communties [sic] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I'm deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest sh** now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don't exactly like them too much.
And then Elon Musk responded, "You have said the actual truth."
Does that assertion strike you as the "actual truth"? Does promoting that perspective right now strike you as helpful? Even if you love Musk for his other work, his other stances, or his warm friendship with Xi Jinping . . . is Musk making the world a better or a worse place by declaring that this perspective is the "actual truth"?
Do Jewish communities "push hatred against whites"? Does that strike you as a fair and accurate characterization of the viewpoint of "Jewish communities"? I'm sure if you look hard enough, you could find some Jews here or there whose viewpoint could be characterized that way. But there are an estimated 8 million Jews in the United States, and not only are they not a monolith, you may have heard the old joke that if you get two Jews together, you'll get three opinions.
If you run around shouting that Jews push hatred against whites, what do you think is going to happen?
Is it the right response to what we're seeing right now — antisemitic attacks up about 400 percent since the Israeli war against Hamas began? There's a fire burning out there. Is what we're seeing from Musk pouring water or gasoline on it?
When you see the rising attacks against Jewish Americans in cities, at protests, and on college campuses, do you feel "deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest sh** about it"?
Don't you think that, considering the potential consequences, we ought to care a lot? History does not lack for instances when rabid antisemitism led to catastrophic outcomes, including mass murder.
The X user's original argument is akin to asserting, "Well, I disagree with some liberal Jews who support open borders or other immigration policies I find far too lenient, and now that I see violence targeting Jews, I think Jews had it coming." And that's a horrible perspective. We're supposed to hope that our fellow human beings are not victimized by violence, regardless of their perspectives on immigration policy. There was this guy who lived about 2,000 years ago who said that loving our neighbor was a really big deal.
News flash: Nobody deserves to have their head bashed in for expressing an opinion you oppose.
Musk went on to elaborate, "The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat. It is not right and needs to stop."
Is it accurate to say the Anti-Defamation League attacks "the majority of the West"? Musk believes he's been unfairly called antisemitic by the ADL. This stems from an ongoing fight between the ADL and Musk over whether Twitter has done enough to flag and remove antisemitic content. It is not surprising that Musk, who sees himself as a champion of free speech, would have a different threshold for intervention than the ADL, which would prefer that any expression of antisemitism be shut down as quickly as possible. Not everybody who wants to minimize censorship on social media is rooting for the Nazis, and not everybody who wants to shut down hate speech is eager to realize Orwell's 1984. The lines aren't always so bright and clear, and good and smart people can disagree.
You can't begrudge Musk for being angry when he feels that he's being falsely accused of antisemitism. But if he runs around arguing that "Jewish communities push hatred of white people," . . . well, when you do that, you start to sound antisemitic!
Musk may be a smart guy, but when you see him nodding in agreement with statements like the one above, he is not being wise.
No, George Santos Is Not Like Everyone Else in Washington
I notice you rarely see any straightforward defenses of George Santos. What you do see is the cynical assertion, "Everybody does it," or "What exactly makes Santos different than most people in Washington?"
First, familiarize yourself with the allegations against Santos: He's not being indicted or denounced by the House Ethics Committee just for making up stories about his past or exaggerating his accomplishments. Santos faces . . . (deep breath) "one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud, in addition to the seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the United States House of Representatives."
Santos is charged with stealing people's identities and making charges on his donors' credit cards without their authorization. He once allegedly collected much more money than his donors ever intended to give and used it "to pay down personal credit card bills and other debt; make a $4,127.80 purchase at Hermes; and for smaller purchases at OnlyFans; Sephora; and for meals and for parking."
The House Ethics Committee also found:
Several other expenditures related to spa services and/or cosmetic procedures could not be verified as having a campaign nexus. For example, during the 2020 campaign, a $1,500 purchase on the campaign debit card was made at Mirza Aesthetics; this expense was not reported to the FEC and was noted as "Botox" in expense spreadsheets produced to the ISC by Ms. Marks.114 Similarly, the $1,400 charge at Virtual Skin Spa was a campaign debit card purchase that was also described as "Botox" in the spreadsheets produced by Ms. Marks.115 The ISC also identified an unreported PayPal payment of $1,029.30 to an esthetician associated with a spa in Rhinebeck, New York.
So no, not every politician in Washington uses their donors' credit-card numbers to steal money and spend it on OnlyFans and botox.
As I tried to emphasize yesterday, one of the consequences of being a pathological liar is that if you are accused of financial fraud, no one will say, "Oh, he would never do such a thing." Good character pays dividends, even if they are not always immediately visible.
There are Republicans who convince themselves that law enforcement always goes after their guys but never after elected Democrats. You would probably get a vehement disagreement with that assertion from Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, former congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida, former congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, and former congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania.
Of the 17 federal cases against current or former members of Congress, nine are targeting Republicans and eight are targeting Democrats. We've seen convictions of two former Democratic governors, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Don Siegelman of Alabama, as well as Republicans George Ryan of Illinois and Bob McDonnell of Virginia. (McDonnell's conviction was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
You can track investigations of misconduct by elected officials here.
TikTok, You've Got a Curious Way of Defining 'Small'
Michael Hughes of TikTok wrote in response to yesterday's newsletter, asking that I share this statement from the company:
Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism. We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform. The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media.
"Small" is in the eye of the beholder, so I asked, "If the numbers and other media reports are inaccurate, what are the accurate numbers?" As of this morning, I have not received a reply.
However, an article in this morning's Washington Post offers some perspective:
The letter didn't rank among TikTok's top trends. Videos with the #lettertoamerica hashtag had been seen about 2 million times — a relatively low count on a wildly popular app with 150 million accounts in the United States alone.
Then that evening, the journalist Yashar Ali shared a compilation he'd made of the TikTok videos in a post on X, formerly Twitter. That post has been viewed more than 28 million times. By Thursday afternoon, when TikTok announced it had banned the hashtag and dozens of similar variations, TikTok videos tagged #lettertoamerica had gained more than 15 million views. . . .
A search for the letter Thursday morning by a Washington Post reporter revealed around 700 TikTok videos, only a few of which got more than 1 million views.
First, I think it's safe to say that we would like the number of TikTok users who declare or concur that Osama bin Laden made some compelling points to be as close to zero as possible. And around 700 videos getting 2 million views is . . . well, surely less than the amount of attention paid to other mainstream topics on the platform, but I don't think that meets most people's definition of "small."
ADDENDUM: Ramesh writes that Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin's strategy on abortion in the 2023 state legislative elections "sort of worked" and that "if Republicans nationally could advance as deep into Biden territory as Virginia Republicans just did, they would win the 2024 elections comfortably."
A quick reminder: The Virginia State senate now has a Democratic majority of 21 seats to 19 Republican seats. In Virginia's 30th senate district, if 2,260 more people had voted for Republican Bill Woolf against Democrat Danica Roem, the chamber would be tied, with GOP lieutenant governor Winsome Sears breaking the tie. If that had occurred and in Virginia's 31st senate district 5,067 more people had voted for the GOP's Juan Pablo Segura against Democrat Russet Perry, Republicans would have a one-seat majority in the state senate.
In the Virginia house, Democrats currently appear to have a 51–49 majority. (One race, in which the Republican appears to have won by 78 votes, is going to a recount.) If in the 97th house district 1,180 more people had voted for Republican Karen Greenhalgh against Democrat Michael Feggans, the chamber would be tied. If, in addition, in Virginia's 65th house district 1,751 more people had voted for Republican Lee Peters against Democrat Joshua Cole, Republicans would have a majority.
Dive into this vivid account of a little-known episode in American history. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade brings to life the story of Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington's unlikely alliance in the fight for racial equality. Makes a great gift!