Longtime readers of this column will recall my Bizarro World theory: the idea that the 9/11 terrorist attacks ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and pushed us into another dimension, one known – to all us fans of Superman comics – as Bizarro World. This is a place where the rules not only don’t apply – they’re exactly reversed. Water flows uphill; Stephen Hawkings is a dunce; Donald Trump is President of La Raza Unida, and Sean Hannity is a rational person.
What I call the Bizarro Effect seems to wax and wane, governed by some unknown Law of Periodic Irrationality. These days it seems particularly intense, and so I thought I’d share with you some of my diary entries, chronicling the latest tides of unreason as they hit the shore…
General Wesley Clark is doubling down on his bright idea of identifying “the people who are most likely to be radicalized” and throwing them in concentration camps. As I reported in my last column, in the wake of the Chattanooga shootings Clark told MSNBC:
“We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning. …In World War II if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war. So, if these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict. And I think we’re going to have to increasingly get tough on this.”
To be clear: what Gen. Clark is advocating is preventive detention. Based on what we believe someone thinks, Clark wants to arrest and detain anyone the authorities identify as being insufficiently loyal to the State – because, as Andrew Sullivan used to put it back when he was a neocon: Don’t you know there’s a war on?
Confronted by his clueless liberal fan club over at Talking Points Memo, Clark has this to say:
"Whoa, aim before you shoot, friends. It’s a sad choice, but if people choose ISIS, they should be treated as spies or enemy combatants – or both. I’m frustrated with the argument that sedition is free speech because there is a role for government to step in to prevent a dissenter from becoming an active shooter, or worse.
"Any implication that I support racial profiling or interning people based on their ethnicity or heritage is dead wrong. I’m for separating people who have made dangerous decisions from the rest of society.
"The US has the obligation to protect our own population from terrorists. And if the domestic terrorist threat grows due to ISIS, we must act responsibly and promptly."
Of course Clark doesn’t support “racial profiling” or a racist campaign to round up targeted ethnic groups and throw them in the slammer – his principle of preventive detention would be applied indiscriminately to suspected ISIS supporters and “right-wing extremists” in the Midwest. No one is safe in WesleyWorld.
But of course WesleyWorld is just one of many continents on Bizarro World, where up is down, black is white, and things have a maddening tendency to turn into their exact opposites. In Clark’s case, yesterday’s “liberal” is suddenly transmuted into today’s authoritarian and it happens in the blink of an eye. Here’s yet another instance….
Remember when Israel and Saudi Arabia were bitter enemies?
Back in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration agreed to sell the Saudis AWACs, then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin expressed his “profound regret and unreserved opposition,” and Israel’s amen corner went bananas. AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, lined up its congressional phalanx and Israel’s friends in the media made so much noise that the administration was forced to go on the offensive. Yes, those were the good old days when someone like Alexander Haig could say the President of the United States must conduct US foreign policy “free of overriding external vetoes” and get away with it. And, speaking of the President, Reagan delivered the knockout blow: “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy”!
As a popular song of the distant past put it: “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.”
Of course, no President would even think of saying such a thing today. But that’s not all that’s changed: today we regularly ship the Saudis all kinds of military equipment without hearing a peep out of the Israelis. Even as Riyadh bombs defenseless women and children in Yemen, we send them the means to carry out their program of mass murder and those noted humanitarians in Tel Aviv are not merely mum, they’re delirious with joy.
And as for the Israeli lobby – well, just look at what Abe Foxman, departing head of the Anti-Defamation League, has to say about our dear friends the Saudis being so very upset over the Iran deal. In a statement issued on his last day as ADL chief, Foxman averred that a rejection of the deal by Congress “would demonstrate support for two key U.S. allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of whom are deeply distressed by the agreement.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia – the two worst human rights offenders in the region – together at last!
Speaking of the Israel lobby, they sure do look out for their own. Senator
Robert Menendez (D-
Bribery New Jersey) has been indicted
on eight charges of bribery, the first such case brought against a sitting
US Senator in over half a century. Menendez faces fifteen years in prison for
each of the bribery accounts, but his friends in the Israel lobby aren’t
about to let him go under without throwing him a life preserver or three.
Menendez has been one of the Amen Corner‘s most reliable congressional sock puppets through the years, and never more so than now, becoming their top Democratic party point man – a key position if they’re going to block, or at least credibly obstruct, the Iran deal in Congress. His reward: millions for his defense fund from pro-Israel donors. As the Washington Post reports:
“He is backed by a legal defense fund that has raised $3 million, largely from wealthy pro-Israel advocates who see the hawkish former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman as a key ally in opposing a nuclear deal with Iran.”
The Menendez defense fund is taking in cash hand over fist: Bribery Bob toted up $1.5 million in the first few months of its existence. The biggest donors: Mighty Morphin Rangers mogul Haim Saban, whose Saban Center at the Brookings Institution is a reliable generator of pro-Israel propaganda; Mortimer Zuckerman, proprietor of USA Today and a real estate mogul in his own right; Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, the go-to Sugar Daddy and Mommy for all causes pro-Israel; and something called the “National Action Committee,” described herein as being “pro-Israel.”
Don’t let anyone ever tell you crime doesn’t pay. It does if you’re a politician in the Israel lobby’s corner.
Of course, if you or I were hit with charges similar to those Menendez is facing, they’d lock us up and throw away the key. But that’s “justice” in Bizarro America – where criminals are rewarded with boatloads of cash, and the innocent are put behind bars for years without charges.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.