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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2008 / 20 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Quantum of Nonsense

By Mona Charen


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Absurdity, cartoonish violence, sexism, campiness — these are no bars to enjoying a matinee with my teenaged boys. So off we went to see Daniel Craig as James Bond do his suave star turn in "Quantum of Solace" over the weekend.


We ought to have known, from the impenetrable title, that this was not going to be satisfying entertainment. "Quantum" means — roughly — amount, and "solace" of course means comfort. Since this is a story about revenge, we are asked to believe that Bond achieves a measure of comfort from dispatching any number of bad guys unfortunate enough to cross his path. The Bond girl, too, is acting out her own revenge fantasy. Unfortunately, there was hardly a quantum of coherence to the story.


Bond is seeking revenge for the murder of his love Vesper (introduced in "Casino Royale"). Except that Vesper betrayed him. Or has he forgiven her? We aren't sure how he feels because the dialogue is extremely sketchy. Craig's Bond is not the winking, debonair skirt chaser of earlier iterations. He is all taut energy and grim determination. That's fine. The nudge-nudge naughtiness of the earlier Bonds was cloying. But "Quantum's" plot line is so neglected (nearly all of the focus is on chase scenes and hand-to-hand fighting) that we don't get any clear idea of why this particularly menacing Bond is killing people without so much as a backward glance.


The vast conspiracy in this film concerns a fiend who uses an environmental firm as a cover to corner the market on the world's most precious resource — water. A little harder to swallow than Goldfinger's plan to corner the market on gold perhaps. OK, whatever. But the film's writers and producers could not resist making the CIA a heavy. The CIA, we are told, has no objections to propping up corrupt and murderous thugs in Latin America so long as a few individuals get a cut of the action. Explaining his plan to his CIA contact, (I quote from memory) the villain notes that the U.S. surely does not want another Marxist "giving away wealth" to the people of Latin America. (The British are portrayed as having rogue elements, a high-ranking minister and a few secret agents on the take, but not the entire security service.)


Here we go again. As it happens, I hold no brief for the CIA. As far as I'm concerned, it's a dysfunctional agency that has been wrong about most of the important threats of our lifetimes. In 1981, noting the careerism, caution, and lack of elan he saw, Robert Gates said the CIA had "a case of advanced bureaucratic arteriosclerosis CIA is slowly turning into the Department of Agriculture." But the idea — and it is a hoary one — that the CIA is in the business of creating evil, right-wing dictatorships in Latin America is just laughable. Besides, the CIA in the film is clearly meant to stand for the U.S.


Yes, the U.S. had a role in propping up dictators in the 1950s and '60s. And yes, it would have been ideal if those countries had moderate democrats we could support. But they usually didn't. It was often a choice between a Soviet-backed thug like Fidel Castro or a right-wing regime.


But in the 1980s and since, the United States did everything possible to find the moderate forces in places like El Salvador and Nicaragua. We enjoyed great success in spreading democracy and free markets in Latin America. Don't look to Hollywood for instruction, but today that progress is profoundly threatened — not by right-wing nut jobs as the movies would have it — but by genuine left-wing dictators and would-be dictators. Do the names Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega not ring a bell? Last week, Castro acolyte Chavez threatened to send tanks into states that refused to vote for his slate of candidates in local elections. Morales, the left-wing leader of Bolivia, had stopped cooperating with U.S. anti-drug efforts in his country and has arrested domestic opponents. Ortega, returned to power in Nicaragua by a 38 percent plurality vote, is repeating the tactics that made him so unpopular in the 1980s — stifling dissent, fixing elections, and employing street thugs to intimidate the opposition.


Hollywood types were delighted with the election of Barack Obama, some hoping that the choice would improve America's image abroad. It's a little ironic, because Hollywood's portrayal of the U.S., in a thousand films like this one, goes a long way toward creating that anti-American sentiment in the first place.

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