Kurt-Eichenwald

My opening illustration for the story “The $500 Million Cyber-Heist”, by Kurt Eichenwald on this week's Newsweek magazine.

New York, March 14, 2014.

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thefederalist.com
Gun Control: The Killer's Best Friend
Here's the absurdity of gun control laws: we constrain conscientious Americans but offer free rein to killers.

“Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez is suspected of murdering four unarmed Marines in Chattanooga and wounding others. As I write this, we still don’t know how Abdulazeez obtained his gun or what his motivations were—though, we can take an educated guess on the latter. What we do know is that Abdulazeez shot his victims in a “gun-free zone,” which is a useful illustration of the absurdity of gun-control laws: we constrain conscientious Americans but offer free rein to killers. In this case, even our best trained warriors were helpless.“

It is obscene that our society thinks it has the right to dictate whether consenting adults can lawfully marry. The question should not be how the Supreme Court will rule on whether gays have the right to wed; the true issue, the true measure of our hard-heartedness and hypocrisy, is that this has been placed before a court at all. Politicians, judges, voters, you, me—none of us has the moral right to decide which adult should love whom when there is no true societal interest. Most living Americans—including me—owe a collective apology that it took us decades to recognize the indecency of blithely ignoring the desire of loving gay couples to marry and our continuing belief that we should have any input into this.
—  Kurt Eichenwald
In terms of journalism, this is terrible. That the Times article never discloses this is about an after-the-fact review of Clinton’s emails conducted long after she left the State Department is simply inexcusable. That this all comes from a concern about the accidental release of classified information—a fact that goes unmentioned—is even worse. In other words, the Times has twisted and turned in a way that makes this story seem like something it most decidedly is not. This is no Clinton scandal. It is no scandal at all. It is about current bureaucratic processes, probably the biggest snooze-fest in all of journalism.

Reading Challenge 2015

A book based on a true story/A book at the bottom of your to-read list

The Informant, Kurt Eichenwald

“Shepard seethed. ‘This isn’t right!’ he shouted.

‘Brian, don’t worry,’ Herndon said. ‘It’s crap. It’s just Whitacre. Nobody will believe it.’

Shepard wasn’t persuaded. ‘I told you!’ he said bitterly. ‘I told you something like this would happen.’

He breathed in heavily. ‘I knew we never should have indicted him for price-fixing,’ he said. ‘I knew it.’”

Gay marriage opponents must argue that being gay is a choice … because otherwise they have to confront this: Either God is a monster, condemning people to eternal torture for being what he made them, or the Bible – with its endless contradictions, its magicians turning sticks into snakes, its celebration of slavery and genocide – was not handed down by a deity.
—  Kurt Eichenwald, “Blaming People for Being Gay is Like Blaming Them for Being Left-Handed.” Newsweek.
When politicians are stupid or conniving or cowardly enough to leave large parts of the populace quaking in fear over ideas that make the United States a global laughingstock, they have surrendered any right to be treated with respect.
— 

KURT EICHENWALD

Obama’s Invasion of Texas: When Partisanship Becomes an Extreme Sport

I cannot believe so many people actually believe that the United States military is going to invade a state that it is already in, so that martial law is declared. In fact it is beyond crazy, it is a paranoid fear of the current president that I will never understand. This paranoia is similar to when people say that 9/11 was an inside job, the Crips and Bloods are going to be deputized, or AIDS was created in a laboratory. If you believe in any of this so be it, you are entitled to your belief.

However the fact that politicians are trying to profit over this is disgusting. These fear vultures wait for a fear to exploit for their narcissistic pride. 

The Gospel Coalition's Justin Taylor Rips Newsweek’s Piece on the Bible

The Gospel Coalition’s Justin Taylor Rips Newsweek’s Piece on the Bible

It is a tradition in American journalism as predictable as Easter and Christmas itself: a cover story purporting to reveal the true story behind the Bible we thought we knew. Newsweek — now in its digital-only form — offers the latest entry in this genre with “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” written by Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald.

(more…)

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Liberal Vanity Fair writer stumbles into a rational economic position

Liberal Vanity Fair writer stumbles into a rational economic position

http://twitter.com/#!/MelissaTweets/status/456641702799745025

This is how bad it’s gotten: the only way liberals can clamber their way out of their echo chamber is to sarcastically stumble into a reasonable position about economic policy. Check out this tongue-in-cheek suggestion from Kurt Eichenwald, a liberal writer for Vanity Fair and Newsweek:

http://twitter.com/#!/kurteichenwald/status/45664…

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newsweek.com
The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin

They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.

This is no longer a matter of personal or private faith. With politicians, social leaders and even some clergy invoking a book they seem to have never read and whose phrases they don’t understand, America is being besieged by Biblical illiteracy. Climate change is said to be impossible because of promises God made to Noah; Mosaic law from the Old Testament directs American government; creationism should be taught in schools; helping Syrians resist chemical weapons attacks is a sign of the end times—all of these arguments have been advanced by modern evangelical politicians and their brethren, yet none of them are supported in the Scriptures as they were originally written.

The Bible is not the book many American fundamentalists and political opportunists think it is, or more precisely, what they want it to be. Their lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established. A Pew Research poll in 2010 found that evangelicals ranked only a smidgen higher than atheists in familiarity with the New Testament and Jesus’s teachings. “Americans revere the Bible—but, by and large, they don’t read it,’’ wrote George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli, pollsters and researchers whose work focused on religion in the United States. The Barna Group, a Christian polling firm, found in 2012 that evangelicals accepted the attitudes and beliefs of the Pharisees—religious leaders depicted throughout the New Testament as opposing Christ and his message—more than they accepted the teachings of Jesus.

Newsweek’s exploration here of the Bible’s history and meaning is not intended to advance a particular theology or debate the existence of God. Rather, it is designed to shine a light on a book that has been abused by people who claim to revere it but don’t read it, in the process creating misery for others. When the illiteracy of self-proclaimed Biblical literalists leads parents to banish children from their homes, when it sets neighbor against neighbor, when it engenders hate and condemnation, when it impedes science and undermines intellectual advancement, the topic has become too important for Americans to ignore, whether they are deeply devout or tepidly faithful, believers or atheists.

This examination—based in large part on the works of scores of theologians and scholars, some of which dates back centuries—is a review of the Bible’s history and a recounting of its words. It is only through accepting where the Bible comes from— and who put it together—that anyone can comprehend what history’s most important book says and, just as important, what it does not say.

“They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.

This is no longer a matter of personal or private faith. With politicians, social leaders and even some clergy invoking a book they seem to have never read and whose phrases they don’t understand, America is being besieged by Biblical illiteracy.”

The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin 

vanityfair.com
Zimmerman, Abortion, and Obamacare: 25 Contemplations on Current Events

Wealthy folk need to stop whining about “class warfare.” Rich people having their heads impaled on pikes and marched through the town square is class warfare; paying three cents more in taxes on every dollar earned over $250,000 a year is not.

Twenty-five random thoughts:

1. Given the messages we’ve learned from the Zimmerman case, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and the N.R.A., all young black men should arm themselves and shoot anyone whom they believe threatens them. Because freedom.

2. It makes no sense to argue that you support Stand Your Ground and then condemn Trayvon Martin for confronting a guy who was following him. You can’t pick and choose who gets to stand their ground based on a perception of threat. Which is why that law is so obscene.

3. People don’t have a constitutional right to leave loaded guns lying around. And if they choose to do so—and a kid gets shot and killed because of it—it’s not an accident. It’s negligent homicide.

4. If your company defrauded Medicare of billions of dollars (you listening, Florida Governor Rick Scott?), you can’t present yourself as a conservative protector of taxpayer money. And if people are dumb enough to vote for you, they deserve what they get.

5. All anti-abortion protesters should be presented, on the spot, with an application to sign up as foster parents. They should also be given the names of children in their area in need of adoptive parents. And if they won’t sign or volunteer, they should shut up.

6. If abortions could be performed with a gun, would some pro-gun, anti-abortion heads explode from conflicted thoughts, like a computer might when faced with the question “Could Jesus cook a burrito so hot that he himself couldn’t eat it?”

7. Whenever someone says zygotes are babies, I reply: “Imagine a thousand zygotes in test tubes in one room, and three toddlers in another. A fire breaks out, and you only have time to get to one room. Which would you save from burning, the zygotes or the children?” It’s so much fun to watch the forced-birthers try to wriggle out of the conundrum created by their bumper-sticker slogans.

8. Anyone who says that women don’t get pregnant from rape, or that rape kits performed by law enforcement prevent pregnancy, or that fetuses masturbate, has to return to eighth grade. Of course, only in a state with a good sex-education program.

9. Why is it some conservatives think inserting inspectors into dangerous factories is government intrusion, but inserting devices for sonograms into women’s vaginas isn’t?

10. When “Christians” condemn gays, liberals, or anyone else they don’t like, they should explain how this matches up with Jesus’s words: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

11. When “Christians” cite the Bible as the basis for secular policies, they must explain why they believe Muslims in the Middle East are evil for doing the same with the Koran. (“We’re right and they’re wrong” doesn’t count.)

12. Isn’t it amazing that almost every religious bigot was born into the only true religion?

13. If senators believe that the filibuster is necessary to preserve democracy, why do they scream about the idea of being forced to stand up to give one? When the Czechs, Russians, Chinese, Filipinos, and so on fought for democracy, they didn’t do it while sitting down.

14. If Obama is a socialist, as so many conservatives say, why is the stock market hitting record highs while corporate profits zoom? Are business folk too stupid to recognize that capitalism has been destroyed?

15. If Obamacare is so awful, why do conservatives have to lie so much about what it really does? (See death panels, government takeover of health care, preventing folks from choosing their own doctors, and pretty much anything any Republican has said about the program over the last few years.)

16. If you’re in Congress, receive millions in farm subsidies, and vote to cut food stamps, you’re going to hell.

17. Wealthy folk need to stop whining about “class warfare.” Rich people having their heads impaled on pikes and marched through the town square is class warfare; paying three cents more in taxes on every dollar earned over $250,000 a year is not.

18. If your salary in constant dollars is lower than it was 45 years ago, you’re being paid too little. And that is the reality of those who receive minimum wage.

19. If you believe that saying “Happy Holidays” during the time of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s constitutes a war on anything, you’re quite a self-centered little jerk, aren’t you?

20. Since deficits always grow astronomically when G.O.P. tax cuts take effect, conservatives have to stop arguing that they pay for themselves. Or that modern conservatives are fiscal conservatives.

21. Tea Partiers really must stop moaning about losing their freedoms until, you know, they actually start losing their freedoms. (Hint on how to tell when that happens: if the government no longer allows you to say that you are losing your freedoms, then you have started losing your freedoms.)

22. Sarah Palin must … ahh, who cares.

23. Fox News must stop pretending that its high cable viewership means that its broadcasts are truthful. Just because a billion flies like it, doesn’t mean that manure is tasty.

24. If you believe that Ted Nugent is a great statesman and a good candidate for president, then you almost certainly are not reading this column. Or books. Or gum wrappers.

25. The fact that some folks learned something in school does not make them elitist. It makes them educated.

The Bible: So Misunderstood. It's a Sin

二○一四年十二月的《新聞週刊》,作者庫 爾特.艾肯沃爾德(Kurt Eichenwald)以「誤解、 濫用聖經為一罪行」(The Bible: So Misunderstood. It’s a Sin)1 為題,以直接尖銳的手筆,引用具體 的實例,諷刺性地直斥政客濫用《聖經》,以求 達到競選的目的,得取民心。這些在北美社會普 遍市民都能認同的例子,成為艾肯沃爾德以「誤解、濫用聖經為一罪行」這論點一個強而有力的 「序」。全文並引用多個在《聖經》詮釋上,學 術界誤解《聖經》的例子,帶進作者指出只傳講 「一半真理」(half-truth)這普遍現象之嚴重 性。這專文於主流《新聞週刊》雜誌刊登,亦 引證一個雙重的事實:一.《聖經》的地位與權 威,仍是一個社會所關注的課題;二.在當今社 會中,再思《聖經》「權威」的引用,是一個較 敏感的探討, 亦是聖徒群體當作的反思。

Liberal Vanity Fair writer stumbles into a rational economic position

Liberal Vanity Fair writer stumbles into a rational economic position

.@kurteichenwald If you actually thought through your sarcastic proposition, you might see the wisdom of it.

— Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) April 17, 2014

This is how bad it’s gotten: the only way liberals can clamber their way out of their echo chamber is to sarcastically stumble into a reasonable position about economic policy. Check out this tongue-in-cheek suggestion from Kurt…

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newsweek.com/2014/10/03/textbook-case-bad-textbooking-texas-272351.html
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/03/textbook-case-bad-textbooking-texas-272351.html

But somehow America has reached a stage where real estate brokers, dental hygienists, restaurant franchise owners, college dropouts turned radio talk-show hosts, journalists, politicians and assorted other flibbertigibbets believe they know more about history, the natural sciences and other forms of scholarship than do those who spent decades earning advanced degrees, conducting original research and consulting with fellow experts on those topics.

Easter reading:

“The declaration in 1 Timothy—as recounted in the Living Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version Bible and others—could not be more clear: Those who ‘practice homosexuality’ will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the translation there is odd, in part because the word homosexual didn’t even exist until more than 1,800 years after when 1 Timothy was supposed to have been written. So how did it get into the New Testament? Simple: The editors of these modern Bibles just made it up. Like so many translators and scribes before them, they had a religious conviction, something they wanted to say that wasn’t stated clearly enough in the original for their tastes. And so they manipulated sentences to reinforce their convictions.

The original Bible verse in Koiné used ἀρσενοκοῖται for what has been translated as ‘homosexual.’ For the Latin Bible, it was as masculorum concubitores. The King James Version translated that as ‘them that defile themselves with mankind.’ Perhaps that means men who engage in sex with other men, perhaps not.”