In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential…
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ProPublica/IRS Leak: There's No Underlying "There" There

In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there's nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s 'blockbuster' story showing that the wealthy 'pay income taxes that are only…[more]

June 18, 2021 • 04:40 PM

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Bob Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully” – an Underappreciated, Timely Pro-Israel Masterpiece Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 20 2021
Bob Dylan’s anthem captures that nature of Israel’s existence, and it deserves greater popular currency than it currently possesses.

I’m just old enough to remember Ronald Reagan’s election, and the earliest days of his administration.  

Among those early memories, which returned to the fore this week amid renewed conflict between Israel and Hamas, is Israel’s daring June 7, 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor using American-made F-15s and F-16s.  

Following that attack, I also recall my perplexity when some within the Reagan Administration objected to the attack.  Why, I wondered, would they oppose our ally disabling a Soviet client state like Iraq?  Thankfully, I subsequently found comfort and amusement when Reagan himself responded with a prototypically cheerful, “Well, boys will be boys!”  

This week, that recollection also brought to mind one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, which somehow remains comparatively obscure.  

The 1983 song is entitled “Neighborhood Bully,”* and it merits far greater popularity.  Indeed, it offers a prototypically biting, yet brilliantly instructive, primer on the nature of Israel’s existence and ongoing battles against enemies futilely obsessed with destroying it.  

Dylan’s opening stanza appropriately introduces us to Israel’s historical isolation and false status as occupier:  

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.  
They’ve got him outnumbered about a million to one, 
He’s got no place to escape to, no place to run, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Dylan then caustically highlights how Israelis forever seem condemned for simply existing:  

The neighborhood bully, he just lives to survive, 
He’s criticized and condemned, just for being alive, 
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin, 
He’s supposed to lay down and die, when his door is kicked in, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Next, Dylan highlights the bizarre way in which Jews have historically been driven from lands they inhabit, only to then be slurred as “nomadic”:  

The neighborhood bully, driven out of every land, 
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man, 
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn, 
He’s always on trial for just being born, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

And then, we reach his reference to the 1981 Israeli bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor that inexplicably triggered outrage even among some within the Reagan Administration, not to mention the broader world:  

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized, 
Old women condemned him, said he could apologize, 
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad, 
The bombs were meant for him, he was supposed to feel bad, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Upon gaining independence in 1948, Israel stunned the world by defeating an alliance of multiple and far more numerous aggressors, which Dylan notes was nothing new:  

Well, the chances are against it, and the odds are slim, 
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him, 
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck, and a gun at his back, 
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Thankfully, Dylan’s next stanza rings inaccurate, at least for the time being, as Israel repels missile attacks from Hamas using cutting-edge missile defense technology and other weaponry developed and provided in part by the U.S. and other allies:  

Well, he got no allies to really speak of, 
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love, 
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied, 
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

And then Dylan highlights how some who claim to seek peace hold Israel to a higher standard than its homicidal enemies, and either deliberately or recklessly admonish it to stand down:  

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace, 
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed might cease, 
Now they wouldn’t hurt a fly, to hurt one they would weep, 
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Brilliantly, Dylan notes in the next two stanzas how history has disfavored those nations who persecute the Jewish people, and how Israel has prospered in a resource-poor desert as opposed to its resource-rich surrounding neighbors:  

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone, 
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon, 
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand, 
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  
 
Now his holiest books have been trampled upon, 
No contract that he signed was worth that what it was written on, 
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth, 
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

In a stanza that could easily refer to “Squad” Congressional antagonists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D – New York) and Rashida Tlaib (D – Michigan), Dylan laments that Israel is slurred as an aggressor:  

What’s anybody indebted to him for?  
Nothing, they say, he just likes to cause war, 
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed, 
They wait for this bully like a dog wants to feed, 
He’s the neighborhood bully…  

Finally, despite it all, Israel still stands:  

What has he done to wear so many scars?  
Does he change the course of rivers, does he pollute the moon and stars?  
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill, 
Running out the clock, time standing still, 
Neighborhood bully…  

Two truisms perfectly capture the seemingly eternal conflict between Israel and its enemies.  

The first, repeated by Senator Tom Cotton (R – Arkansas) this week, correctly observes that, “If Israel’s enemies dropped their weapons, there would be no more war; if Israel dropped its weapons, there would be no more Israel.”  

The second is that with its advanced weaponry, Israel could destroy its enemies but does not.  In contrast, Israel’s enemies would destroy Israel if they could, but they cannot.  

Bob Dylan’s anthem captures that nature of Israel’s existence, and it deserves greater popular currency than it currently possesses.  Hopefully that changes soon.  

 

*(Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music)

Quiz Question   
What was the highest year-over-year inflation rate since the consumer price index has been used to calculate it?
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Notable Quote   
 
"For the past year, liberals unleashed on the nation an avalanche of ideological nonsense, coupled with brutal pressure to conform. Those who bucked the party line found themselves canceled and unpersoned and had their opinions subjected to mockery and claims of delusion and 'anti-science' prejudices.Until now. Because the tide is turning. And sometimes the break from the party line comes from surprising…[more]
 
 
—Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
— Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
 
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