If Tom Wolfe were writing The Bonfire of the Vanities today, he’d need a scene in the Grand Havana Room in New York City. It’s an Olympian den fit for what Wolfe called the “Masters of the Universe” — the super-rich gods of finance who today go by the name “the 1 percent.” Taking up the penthouse floor of 666 Fifth Avenue, the Grand Havana Room is a private, invitation-only cigar club and four-star restaurant. Through its windows, you can see the toiling salary men 39 floors below as they scurry about like ants, some furtively smoking in doorways, ever fearful of Nanny Bloomberg’s All-Seeing Eye.

Named by Business Insider as one of the “11 exclusive clubs Wall Streeters are dying to get into,” the Grand Havana Room is where power brokers and celebrities hobnob with captains of industry in one of the last places where it’s still legal to smoke in the Big Apple.
Immune as I am to the seductions of class resentment and Jacobin envy, I will admit it: I love the place. If invited, and if I could afford it, I’d join.

The one question I have is: Who’s paying for Al Sharpton’s membership?

“The Rev” is an omnipresent member of the club. After his MSNBC show, he’ll swing by for dinner and cigars amid the other Masters of the Universe. I couldn’t confirm that he repaired there after he broadcast his radio show, Keeping It Real, from Zuccotti Park to show his solidarity with the 99-percenters.

The reason I ask who’s paying for his membership is that Sharpton’s relationship with money has always been complicated. When he claimed he didn’t have the resources to pay damages in a defamation suit he lost, Sharpton was asked in a deposition how he could afford his suits. He didn’t own them, he replied, someone else did. He was merely granted “access” to the garments as needed. The same went for his TV, silverware, etc.

There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. In our overly therapeutic culture, we talk a lot about “enabling” pathologies, self-destructive behavior, etc. Well, Sharpton is a pathology enabled by the very system he loathes.

In a healthy society, Sharpton might be on parole now — not the must-get guest for Meet the Press and Today on issues of racial justice. He was a ringleader in perpetuating the evil Tawana Brawley hoax, in which he and two corrupt lawyers (now disbarred) falsely accused assistant district attorney Steven Pagones and others of gang-raping a 15-year-old girl in a racist attack (Brawley claimed that she’d been smeared with feces and had had racist epithets written on her body). No person of any ideological stripe could doubt it was a fraud — except, that is, for the unrepentant Sharpton, who recently insisted “something happened.”


One of the distinct advantages the political left enjoys over the conservative movement is the affective property that Muslims call asabiyeh: unity, togetherness, group feeling. Of course, there are differences of opinion, degrees of dissension as to theory and practice, ideological ruptures here and there regarding tactics and strategy, but on the whole the left is comparatively of a piece.

Conservatives, on the contrary, are far more divided among themselves. As I pointed out a while back, in an article for PJ Media titled Fractures on the Right [1], the conservative predisposition is fissured with disagreements respecting the definition of the “enemy” and how most effectively to deal with him. These breaches and discontinuities run deep, especially when it comes to the putative relation between Islam and “Islamism,” radical and moderate Muslims, history and the present. Slack-thewed conservatives insist that Islam has been hijacked by the Islamists and that so-called “moderate Muslims” must be “friended” in order not to drive them into the camp of the jihadists. Insightful conservative thinkers understand that Islam, rooted in a vast theological, political, jurisprudential and philosophical literature, and boasting a 1400 year history of rapine and conquest, is consistently represented by these same extremists who are said to have hijacked the faith.

It seems me that the fault in the conservative orientation resides not so much in the intellect per se as in the will, a volitional exhaustion, a weakening of purpose expressed as a gradual turn toward the liberal perspective. Intellect is then mobilized to justify the backsliding tendencies of the will, as if in a rerun of the historical debate between two great Medieval theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Aquinas argued that intellect determines truth and the will carries out the appropriate actions. Scotus held otherwise; the will bloweth where it listeth, and the intellect assembles the arguments to support its appetitive pursuits.

Sebelius tells NAACP Obamacare Opponents Like White Racists Who Opposed Civil Rights Rick Moran

Plumbing the depths of racial metaphor

Well, sure. I can see the connection, can’t you? Opposing civil rights legislation was racist (it sometimes wasn’t but why stop her, she’s on a roll?). Opposing a black president’s singular achievement is…well, gotta be some explanation for opposing a law that’s ruining the economy, wreaking havoc with health care, is ruinously expensive, and could possibly blow up the insurance industry.

Gotta be racism. Gotta be.


Addressing the annual NAACP convention in Orlando, Fla., Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that opponents of Obamacare are the same kind of people who opposed civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

Her comments on Tuesday came one day before the Republican-led House votes to delay key provisions of the law.

“The Affordable Care Act is the most powerful law for reducing health disparities since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, the same year the Voting Rights Act was also enacted,” Sebelius said. “That significance hits especially close to home. My father was a congressman from Cincinnati who voted for each of those critical civil rights laws, and who represented a district near where the late Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth lived and preached.

“The same arguments against change, the same fear and misinformation that opponents used then are the same ones opponents are spreading now. ‘This won’t work,’ ‘Slow down,’ ‘Let’s wait,’ they say.

“But history shows that upholding our founding principles demands continuous work toward a more perfect union…And it requires the kind of work that the NAACP has done for more than a century to move us forward.

“You showed it in the fight against lynching and the fight for desegregation. You showed it by ensuring inalienable rights are secured in the courtroom and at the ballot box. And you showed it by supporting a health law 100 years in the making.

An Immigrant’s View of Racism in America By Nonie Darwish

Many neighborhoods in Los Angeles are neither majority black nor whites, but mostly Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, with both blacks and whites are becoming less and less visible. Many mainstream supermarkets are going out of business only to be replaced by ethnic supermarkets with Arabic or Hispanic music blasting while one shops, catering to the growing immigrant population. But in the mind of the US media, America is still racially divided between whites and blacks and is stuck on racial issues that were prevalent decades ago.

A large number of first generation immigrants in America don’t view themselves as black or white, and even those who do cannot help but be puzzled with how deep the issue of race is ingrained in the psyche of America. Because of the importance of race politics in the US, immigrants quickly learn to either ignore the issue altogether and concentrate on achieving the success they came here for, or join one camp or another if they are emotionally or financially benefiting from racial issues. Many Arab Americans have tried to claim that they are a minority in order to get an advantage in hiring or college acceptance, without success, but demonstrating how the politics of race corrupt.

New immigrant families who did the impossible to come to America, are told soon after arriving that they are oppressed and should demand privileges and compensation for past injustice (which we have only experienced in the countries we fled from). But why not take the free stuff when offered? Immigrants would be stupid to reject the advantages proffered.

As a first generation immigrant, I perceive that constant racial consciousness and tension are extremely destructive to blacks, whites and others. I personally feel embarrassed and sad when I see grown men and women constantly complain about race and make a living promoting racial divide and anger. Many blacks and whites in America seem to be stuck on a phase in American history that they cannot seem to outgrow, preventing them from seeing the reality of change in American demographics.


The lessons of the 1973 Yom Kippur War are relevant to today’s threats.

If finally compelled to do so, Israel is able to destroy the Iranian nuclear-weapons program, even if at breathtaking risk. Whether or not Israel succeeds on that front, it faces yet another existential military problem, less immediate and on a different register, in regard to which it has made the wrong choice.

Though history may never repeat itself exactly, it does have affection for certain themes. One of these is that of a nation suicidally disarming because it rests upon the laurels of the past, or believes in the satisfying delusion that by intellectual formulation it can safely predict the future intentions and capabilities of rivals and enemies.

Prior to the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel was so intoxicated by its brilliant victories in 1967 that (substituting excessive confidence for military prudence) it was very nearly destroyed. After shattering Israel’s defenses, the Egyptian army halted only because of Israel’s nuclear deterrent, after which the tide of war turned only because of an extraordinary American resupply effort authorized by President Nixon, something that would hardly have been a certainty with a President Obama.

Because Israel is understandably tired of war and wants to tend its vineyards, and because its military, like America’s, has come down with a potentially fatal case of think-tankitis, the government believes that, as recently expressed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, “Wars of military versus military—in the format we last met 40 years ago in the Yom Kippur War—are becoming less and less relevant.” Accordingly, Israel plans to cut its already diminished defense budget by more than one dollar in 20; release a large proportion of career officers; and reduce further the numbers of its planes, tanks and warships. The military will be shaped to fight Hamas, Hezbollah, and intifadas rather than the armies of Egypt, Syria, and whoever might join them.


Free Alexei Navalny
The Putin machine puts the charismatic Russian opposition leader in jail.

The conviction and five-year prison sentence given on Thursday to Alexei Navalny makes Russia’s opposition leader a political prisoner and dissident. As any number of history’s disgraced dictators could tell Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, jailing your opponents can bring unforeseen consequences. Think Mandela, Walesa, Havel and, at a not-so-distant time in Russia, Andrei Sakharov and Natan Sharansky.

As the Putin regime bears down on the democracy movement, such comparisons might seem fanciful. Mr. Navalny, who came to prominence as an anti-corruption activist, had no chance against the Russian state. He offended President Putin by labeling his ruling clique “the party of crooks and thieves,” a nickname that stuck, and by leading large protests starting in late 2011.

The Kremlin then revived a local investigation into the alleged theft in 2009 of about $500,000 in timber from the Kirov district, which had been dismissed for lack of evidence. Mr. Navalny briefly worked in the northeastern city as an adviser to a then reform-minded local governor. During the trial, the defense wasn’t allowed to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses or call its own. Nearly all cases in Russia end in convictions, certainly all political cases.


Race-Hustling After the Zimmerman Verdict — on The Glazov Gang
Ying Ma, Tiffany Gabbay and Ann-Marie Murrell shed disturbing light into the Left’s heart of darkness.


March of this year, a 24-year-old Norwegian woman, Marte Deborah Dalelv, was raped [1] during a Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) business trip, and reported the assault to the local police. Shortly after filing the report, UAE police summarily rejected [1] the young woman’s complaint, and confiscated her passport. She was then incarcerated for days, before being allowed to use a telephone. As her father, who has visited his daughter several times since the arrest, recounted [2],

She called after four days in jail and told me that she had been raped and was in jail. I was totally shocked. In my view, this is completely absurd. It’s a natural reaction to go to the police when you have been raped. You don’t expect to be sent to jail yourself.

Assisted by family members, and the Norwegian consulate, the unfortunate young woman was able to negotiate a release, and she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Sailor’s Church pending a “legal” decision on her case.

This Wednesday, July 17, 2013, the 24-year-old Norwegian


European countries have a knack for judging and moving Jews. They’re actually quite experienced at banning Jews from schools and universities, depriving Jews of scholarships, and restricting Jews to specific pales of settlement.

You gotta love that European Union.

Always at the forefront of the drive for Mideast peace. So concerned about the sources of malevolence and violence in the region. Malevolent threats like Jewish families and businesses in Judea and Samaria.

At the moment, women are being raped left, right and center in Egypt and Syria, and Christians are being driven out or slaughtered with abandon in both these locations.

But don’t worry, Christian Europe is right on top of things. It is tackling those dangerous Israeli settlers raising their children and developing their businesses in Judea and Samaria.

Hezbollah is fighting side by side with Bashar Assad’s forces of butchery, and is about to get its hands on sophisticated Russian missiles along with Assad’s bio-chem weapons.

But don’t worry, the European Union is sure that Hezbollah is not a terrorist group.



With the 2013 baseball season hitting the mid-way point, the Ledger takes its annual look at how the Jewish boys of summer are faring on the field this year. Pictured on the cover is Ike Davis of the New York Mets.

Ryan Joseph Braun

Born: Nov. 17, 1983

Birthplace: Mission Hills, CA

Team Milwaukee Brewers

Position: Left Field
Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun