Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Right to Survive: My comment appears on the Newsweek blog (with a couple of typos). I dashed it off the top of my head so it is not perfect. Some may not like what I have to say. I do not care. It is what I believe.

My mother had a saying. You lie with dogs and you get up with well you know. It astounds me that the violence plagued Arab world sits mainly silent when time after time after time after time atrocities and the most bestial of acts are committed by Islamic fanatics. Think about it for a second. IF the Arab world had let Israel be, just let it be in 1948 and more than that just think if it took the opportunity to work together and to use Israeli brilliance and western advancement just think they just might be living and working together in a good place for humans to be; in a place that everyone would want to visit. Their families might just be thriving.

Instead, no way, they just could NOT let the Jews be. And to this day the world especially the left wing (of which I consider myself a part) stays silent about the brutality the Arab world visits not ONLY on Israel but on their own people! If there were NO Jewish Israel do you think Israel would be at peace? NO WAY. Hamas would be splitting Fatah's head, or some other fanatical group's head who think they have the truth.

Where were the crowds in the street with fury about Mumbai, or Spain or suicide bombings EVERYWHERE? The silence is deafening. But holy cow when Israel tries to say no more and defend itself wanting simply to be left alone the world suddenly is screaming what they think is their righteous indignation.

The Jewish people will NEVER NEVER again submit to the world's onslaught. NEVER! You will reap what you sew. Believe it. The game has changed and the Jewish people changed it for themselves.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beyond Our Differences: I was absorbed yet again by Bill Moyers Journal. Beyond Our Differences presented a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak religious scene. Just when I thought there was some hope I checked the news in the morning, as I always do, only to see that Gaza was in flames again. This time Israel struck in significant fashion. So far nearly 200 Palestinians are dead and 400 wounded. There are Israeli dead too. Hamas has been striking Israel consistently breaking the cease fire time after time after time. They must know the Israelis will not sit back and take an onslaught. So the beat goes on. Tit for tat again and again and again people’s bodies are dismembered and death reigns supreme. Nothing gets resolved except the willingness of each side to inflict more death and more destruction on each other ad infinitum until, I suppose, the end of time if necessary.

The hopeful aura of Bill Moyers Journal of “Beyond our Differences” showing the commonality of the religions of man to me this morning was rescinded as reality spoke otherwise. I know the voices of peace are out there. I know it because I am one and am no less a Jew than many who are more militant. Our voices though soften with the reality of the tears we shed, and by the incredulity and powerlessness we feel. How many more, for what and for whom? Is a life worth land, dirt, stone, pebbles, a 5000 year old text or a less than 2000 year old text? What is a life worth and who says so? Who wrote these edicts? Did a sky god come down from on high? Each group claims that He did and claims He did for that particular group and no other.

The criticism I have of this episode of The Journal is that for every sentence of peace in the Torah, the New Testament or the Koran one can find an equal and opposite sentence of violence. Those sentences of violence serve as justification for the never-ending mayhem inflicted by religionists. The Journal in its effort to seek common ground fails to state the very elements of those texts which are NOT non-violent and from which fundamentalism gets its fuel.
One of the statements on this part of the Journal said that 95% of humans on this planet believe in a Creator of our universe. 95% is very high. I must be among the five lonely percent who does not believe in a Creator who personifies himself and takes one side of man over the other. I am sure in the Middle Ages one could say 95% of all men thought the earth was the center of the galaxy and the sun revolved around it. They were consummately wrong. So what does 95% mean? As an agnostic I labor about the question of the first cause and as Bill Maher says in his wonderful film “Religulous” I don’t know. I just don’t know what the first cause for the creation of the universe was.

What I do know is one can pray until infinity and no god is going to answer your particular prayer. Why would He answer your prayer and not the other fellow’s? Why would he save one five year old from Israel and not another from Gaza? Could there have been some all powerful something that began our universe? I suppose there could have been but is that all powerful something going to reserve particular plots of land for certain people and not for others? Most emphatically NO He, She or It will not. That, man will have to do either by taking the land or blowing someone’s head apart for it and he does that very well, indeed, on his very own.
No Doubt about “Doubt” I saw the newly released film “Doubt” yesterday and loved it. This serious multi-faceted enigmatic film starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams was, in my opinion, extraordinarily thought provocative and perfectly cast. The film was excellent.

The movie takes place in a private Catholic school – perhaps in Boston -- shortly after the death of President Kennedy. It involves Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), the strict, sour, humorless nun and principal of the elementary school, who makes accusation against a humane and likable parish priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman). She accuses him of committing an immoral act and mortal sin with the lonely and lone African American student and, perhaps, somewhat effeminate, church altar boy whom Father Flynn has befriended.

It is thought that by the younger, sweeter, more innocent Sister James (Amy Adams) on Sister Aloysius’s order to “keep an eye on Father Flynn” because of his sermon on the subject of doubt. Sister James believes, on circumstantial evidence, that Father Flynn may have committed an immoral act with the boy. She has, though, no concrete proof of its occurrence. Sister Aloysius is happy to do the obligatory assault on Father Flynn’s character when Sister James provides her with this salacious ammunition however flimsy it may be.

As I watched this, other excellent films came to mind. I thought about Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour,” a film about a child’s lie and the suicidal consequences of that lie as well as that lie’s element of truth. I thought about Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and its false accusation of immorality when people see things even when they don’t see them and what they will confess to seeing even when it is not there. I thought about how easy it is to bear false witness, to think we see what we do not and to believe false witness testimony, holding the fate of others (perhaps innocent others) in our hands. I finally thought of the Christian element of this film. It is about the possible accusation against a humane and potentially innocent man. It is about the surety of his accuser (Rome) and the torment of the accessory to the punishment (Pilot) because he knows he is condemning an innocent man.

This film, though, is not about certainty it is about doubt. Sister Aloysius is, perhaps, the most interesting character. What made her the Dickensian menacing character she was? It is hard to tell but we are told she had a married past -- a nun with a married past? That’s all we are told. Sister Aloysius is hard pressed to show an ounce of humanity and in true Dickensian fashion derives glee from whatever gossip she can acquire.

She, however, shows us another side. She shows us doubt. What does she, though, have doubts about? I do not know. That is one of the enigmas of the film and that is what the viewer must weigh. Does she doubt her own possibly false consequential accusations against Father Flynn or does she have her OWN personal doubts about her faith, the church and the existence of God. When she puts up "any old pope" on the blackboard despite the fact that it is not the right one she says oh who cares you just want to use it as a reflective mirror to watch the kids and "make them think you have eyes on the back of your head." This is not exactly what one would expect from one who is supposed to love the church and its hierarchy. She is really quite cynical about church hierarchy and knows how the power game is played. She is shrewd and smart as she lies to Father Flynn about her knowledge of his allegedly sordid past in other parishes. She has none but she told him she did. He never questions it. Why would an innocent man not question that? More room for doubt this time of Father Flynn’s innocence. We never really do know if he is truly innocent even though I rooted for him to be so.

The once innocent Sister James says she now never sleeps. I have no doubt that she does not. Sister Aloysius cries with doubt at the end. Why? I do not know. I have my own doubts. This film is about good and about evil, truth and lies and shades of gray. It is above all, I think, about doubt of all that we are and all that we know. There is no doubt in MY mind that “Doubt” is a film not to be missed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This is an exchange between people in the Metro West Blog. It refers to an editorial in which the person chastised those who voted for Obama. We exchanged heated opinions....well theirs was heated .... and I responded again.

Yes, Iona you are right...the problem is there are so many who believe as I do such as you but they do not usually write responses so I get the ones whose ire I provoke and I DO provoke it. It's futile of course. No matter it's fun to see the fervor. That's why I write it. I KNOW what it's going to provoke and I find it enjoyable. Of course, I know we were ALL fetuses. Guess what I don't seem to recall that in utero experience do they?

They are right all those horrendous tyrants were atheists but for all those I can relate hundreds of thousands who were believers who were the most barbaric tyrants and did and DO the most despicable things. In fact, Hitlerian Germany while it was a perverted paganism, grew out of two thousand years of Christian Anti-Semitic brutality. Christian behavior brutal and extreme was a NECESSARY precondition for the Holocaust. It cannot be denied in any way as the Gospels especially the latter ones place decide at the feet of the Jews. There is no getting around it I do not care how much it is twisted. Six million full term human beings, men, women and ONE MILLION children went to their deaths because early Christianity fostered a poisonous creed. Without the illustrious history of Christian inhuman behavior toward the Jew the Holocaust would never have happened.

In addition, preeminent scientists who were and are atheists have brought the most advanced discoveries so religionists see what they want to see. MOST I say MOST scientists are agnostics and do not subscribe to a sky god or Biblical myth. We all need to feel good and we all fear illness, old age and death. As my atheist social worker humanitarian supreme friend said just because you want it to be so does not make it so. It's hard to be an agnostic or an atheist absolutely but I am a TRUTH person and I am a science person. I will ONLY believe what can be shown to work and be true. Other than that it's faith and I'm not good at nor do I buy that.

They ask ME why I am afraid of god believers I am NOT afraid of the god believers except if they try to destroy my rights which they have for decades. The question, I think, is why THEY are afraid of people who doubt or who have no belief or question belief through logic. It obviously threatens their entire system. If somehow god flew down from on high, showed his existence and eliminated immense human and other suffering THEN I would be happy -- MORE than happy -- to reverse course. Until then I am a confirmed doubter.

To my good buddy Jennie: Our country, while those who set foot on its shores in 1620 were of a self flagellating grim Calvinist Christian witchcraft believing variety, thank fate by the time our Founders arrived most were emphatic in church state separation for the very reason that exists in our exchanges. Religion spells anger and historically often war. They knew it as evident in Europe's religiously violent past. Sure religionists do some good, no doubt about it. So do Hindus, Buddists and oh yes so do atheists. It is in the human DNA to do good. It is better for the advancement of one's DNA to ensure the species survives. I will agree with you on one thing Christopher Hitchens would do well to eschew his profanity. It does, however, NOT make him wrong it simply makes him profane. Well, violence among religionists IS profane but of a different variety.

And by the way, Sheila, please do NOT waste your time praying for my sister or me for that matter. The answer your question is a RESOUNDING NO if the situation were reversed, I believe, I would have NO idea NONE, NIL, NADA, NOTHING about what occurred less than 10 days after birth. My very first memory of self is at age 3. Praying, I believe, does nothing. As Dawkins said in his email to me one day, it is too bad one cannot find joy and ecstasy in the universe as it is. Gloomy is NOT a word he uses to describe the awesome nature of its existence. However enjoyable, this, happily I am sure for some, is the final installment of the debate. I rest my case.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This was written on the Middlesex News editorial page by someone whose beloved cat, Mittens, was killed by a car recently at Christmas time just as the family was sitting down to enjoy the beauty of the decorations and tree. Her story is at this link: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/x758547324/Berry-Prayers-of-thanks-for-a-good-cat-and-more.

It prompted my response which I placed on the Metro West News blog:

The Mortality of Mittens: THAT editorial is a profoundly beautiful, ever-so-sad and touching story which has my tears staining the keyboard as I type. We have two cats one (Sugar) who is 17 and the other (Sky) who is 5. Since we have no children, the cats are the two joys of our lives and foci of our attention. We see in them their intrinsic beauty and gentleness every day. They are a source of continual comfort and humor in an often humorless world which has seen fit to visit some tough times on us. It is a world which shows us its razors edge all too often and because of which I am all too often prone to gnash my teeth. The cats seem to obviate that.

We know the reality, as you do now, that death will soon pay an unwelcome visit to our 17 year old Sugar, a loyal, loving and beautiful friend with us for nearly all that time. My hands hesitate to even type those words.

How, though, can we experience the beauty of life if we do not accept its opposite? To me it is the conundrum of existence with which I always will, I know, grapple. Although I am a very secular person, I believe certain Biblical texts have profundity. The one I always love which many rabbis read at funerals is Psalm 90 verse 10: "The days of our lives are three score and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away".

This is true for all living things on earth no matter their biological life span. We all fly away. It seems to be the natural order of things. With life there is risk and uncertainty. The labor and sorrow is a fact, I think, we must endure to be able to experience the beauty and joy life has to offer as well. A lifespan is, we so often know too, not equal to all. It varies with time and circumstance. I hope, though, your grief is tempered by how much joy the animal you knew and loved brought to you. Perhaps, when you are ready, you can experience the love of yet another furry friend again who needs your love and attention in return. My thoughts and hope are with you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

This was written in response to an article written by a Doris Cadigen in the Metro West News where a great deal of my writing has either been printed or appears on the blog. Ms. Cadigen was quite critical of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and both Mr. Rosenberg and I took issue with that.

Yes, Mr. Rosenberg, I saw the Doris Cadigen letter and I wrote an opposition to it. I simply cannot understand why so many who claim humanitarian viewpoints are not equal opportunity employers . They do not and will not condemn the utter mind boggling atrocities committed by so many in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, America and against the State of Israel. If Israel were guilty of what Islamic political violence has done, the world would be at its throat. It already is no matter what the nuance of Israeli policy is.

I part company with much of the left when they wax critical about the brutality of the State of Israel and saccharine about the plight of Palestinians. I feel for many of the innocent Palestinians who suffer horribly. I am for a two state solution. Somehow, though, the left does not see the cacophony, brutality, and barbarity that exists in so much of the Islamic world. If the State of Israel never existed do you think there would be peace in Jerusalem? I suspect not. This does NOT for one second mean that I am blinded to the inhumanities of democratic states. I am not. I condemn that as well. Truly, though, I hear little outcry for the Mumbai attacks, the attacks in Madrid, the London bombings or the continual bombs flying over the wall Israel has erected to protect its people. What state would not do the same to ensure its security?

Hamas despite having been elected still represents an EXISTENTIAL threat to the Jewish state. There is NO disputing the fact that most of those who comprise the power arm of Hamas want to eradicate the Jew from the land, throw him into the Mediterranean Sea and have said so countless times. I, curiously, believe them. It would be suicide for the Jewish people to think they are empty threats. As I recall they thought that once before about a tyranny which nearly eradicated them.

What would have been wrong with one humanity seeing that another part of humanity during the years of the Jewish catastrophe needed help and make room for those who tried to survive its onslaught? Why is humanitarian policy observed by some on the left but when it comes to Jews and Israel well not so much.

I can never forget the fate of the six million during those brutal years. It is not for one day out of my memory. Could the Arab population have helped the Jewish people at that time instead of playing up to Mr. Hitler? A RESOUNDING YES. Sadly, no one was interested. To the contrary they picked up the Nazi baton, ran with it and still do even to this day. Funny, I thought a humanitarian philosophy was supposed to work all ways! Among Arabs and the Axis powers of that era and many on the left in THIS era it does not. Jewish destiny once again must be mainly in Jewish hands or at some point the Jewish people could see that existential threat come true.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is an email I exchanged with a professor friend of mine who was raised in the Mormon church but considers herself a feminist and a gay rights supporter. Her article which appeared in the Globe is linked at:


My answer to her is as follows:

I felt the disappointment I thought you feel by the Mormon church's behavior having been raised in a culture which gave you great support. Being a Jew I surely can relate to that. I suspect that your viewpoint now and those who criticize the church now are probably in a distinct minority as are orthodox Jews some of whom actually are trying to debate some form of accommodation with and rationalization of innate sexual orientation. Probably most will have no debate on it but at least some are trying and the other sects of Judaism especially reform perform homosexual marriages. Judaism lends itself to debate which, I believe, is one of its pluses. Some say it's woven into the Jewish DNA.

Religious orthodoxy no matter which genre is, in my opinion, uncompromising and extreme. Change represents a threat to not only the veracity of what they believe (which is usually based on gargantuan myth) but a threat to losing the huge money from the corporate entities they are and oh yes a threat to male control. Bill Maher's "Religulous" said it all. The money making scheme of religion -- all religion -- is really well nothing short of brilliant. They make BILLIONS! Between the Catholic Church, the Fundamentalist Church, the Mormon Church and other orthodoxies together they could probably pay down the national debt or certainly bail out the big three auto companies and save some jobs.

In my opinion religion -- ALL religion -- is utterly phantasmagoric. There is not usually one ounce of truth or very very little, perhaps, historical truth but mostly it relies on faith for its oxygen. What angers me, though, is it puts across that FAITH as truth. Ridiculous. It prays (pardon the pun) on the weaknesses we all feel about the why of things, sickness, old age and ultimately death. Who among us does not fear sickness, old age and death? But fearing it and saying one has the truth about it are, indeed, two different things. I had and still do have an atheist friend who said to me during a time I had my own war with religion, just because you want it to be so does not make it so. She is absolutely right. I also communicated at one time via email with Richard Dawkins who wrote "The God Delusion" -- an astounding and great work by an astounding and great evolutionary biologist and steadfast atheist. I said in my email that I completely accepted what he had to say in the book but that I envied religionists who bathed in great comfort against the vicissitudes of life. He said to me that it was too bad I could not look at the grandiosity of the universe in all its forms and have that be enough.

I saw what he meant. However, when I was in mortal pain after my three femur fractures the last thing I was thinking about was the grandeur of the universe. I was thinking god get me out of this situation. Of course, while I was in the hospital I had so many "praying for me" and, naturally, I said sure why not, okay, pray. Did it do anything .... NOPE. It took as long as it was going take to heal (a year for each fracture) as biology dictated. No god, no supreme being did one thing to ease my pain, my psychic pain or my anger. Hell if it did I would have wondered why didn't it save me from my fate in the first place. Time, biology and I had to do it all. Anything that denies truth, denies science which really DOES tell us the truth. Denying science stifles the beauty of the human brain and its ability to improve and explain man's condition which makes me see red ... well maybe purple. Man's mind to me is the absolute essence of what separates us from everything else. It is the ONLY thing that can look at the universe and seek the answers to why and, indeed, postpone the onslaught of illness and the eventuality of death. Beyond that we are at the mercy of our telomeric DNA and that's the truth.
An Insult: I am angry at President-Elect Obama today. The Democratic Party takes the gay community for granted. When WILL Democrats understand that they will NEVER NEVER NEVER capture that Christian Fundamentalist Republican vote NOR should they. Why should I give $120 bucks of my cash that I have to be so careful with to President Elect Obama who has millions IF he is going to insult gay people by having a non-gay-friendly pastor give the benediction. I resent it. Rick Warren is, I will admit, a bit different than Pat Robertson, et al. He has a small amount more humanity and does not condemn gays to hell but, still, many in the gay community are FURIOUS with the President-Elect that he did this and so am I. SURELY there was a neutral minister who could give the benediction who is perhaps a Unitarian or a Congregationalist like the President-Elect is. Barack Obama is supposed to be about everyone.

I do NOT want him to repeat George Bush's presidential inauguration where Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son but worse) the right wing fundamentalist fanatic gave the benediction. It was EXACTLY representative of what George Bush's corrupt and inhumane administration was about. Barack Obama was elected for CHANGE. I want to see some!!! I wondered WHO he was going to get for the benediction at the inaugural because it says something about what his administration will be like. Now I know what he is saying. His inaugural may be about some Americans but it's not about everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Madness of Madoff: See Steven Pearlstein -- Madoff's Lesson for the Market -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/16/AR2008121602875.html?hpid=topnews
This is an EXCELLENT article to which I wrote a response:

Mr. Pearlstein I surely could not have written a better editorial myself. Your article is, pardon the pun, right on the money. It is so well written. After hearing about the Madoff scandal I remembered my mother's echoes "Sha (quiet), do not talk about the Rosenbergs." I wonder, a generation later because I am a Jew, why did I want to run and hide after reading about the Madoff disreputable and illegal behaviors. After all it had nothing to do with me as, unfortunately, I am NOT one of those stereotypical Jews who anti Semites say is bathing in bucks. Still, I felt mud splattered on my face by his egregious behavior simply because I am a Jew even though I didn't even make (or lose) a cent from it.

When one truly reflects on its substance, I submit, this simply is a reflection of who we are as a nation. When history is written of this sad time, long after I am gone, it will be said that not only the financial markets were corrupt but EVERYTHING was corrupt. America, probably for much of our history,could be bought. Whether it was slavery, trust busting, Boss Tweed, Tameny Hall, the Keating Savings and Loan, Enron, Iraq, Blackwater, crony no bid contracts, multiple Congressional scandals, Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, Stevens, Wall Street credit default swaps, Standard & Poors and Moody conflict of interest rating systems, no strings attached 700 billion dollar loans floating in the breeze, Blagovich and now Madoff (the list goes on), simply put NO ONE but NO ONE ran the store or cared as long as people made money. The proverbial foxes in our political and financial sectors guard the chicken coops while the taxpayers go like lambs to their slaughter.

I believe it is intrinsic in the very nature of our country. People are slightly envious when other people make big bucks even IF they make it in dubious ways. Perhaps, most especially when they beat the system. I think there are some who secretly wish they could have gotten away with it too. They continually elect the all powerful to advance that system. Mayor Curley one of the most corrupt mayors in Boston history ruled from his jail cell and people to this day have a spark of admiration for him. Even Al Capone shares a mythic grandeur. George Bush is exemplar supreme but surely he is not the only one.

Will this ever become a better country? Maybe Barack Obama is the answer. I hope so. I surely do know it is not the fault of the Jews. Unfortunately, I believe it is in the country's soul. Americans have a very very short memory. Unless this hits home in their pocketbooks for generational time -- and it just may -- then I submit, it will be forgotten when the Dow reaches 11,000 once again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The two rights but one egregious wrong: The following is an exchange I had with a blogger on the Metro West site in response to a pro Hamas anti Israel opinion. The link to the opinion of a person named Cardigain prompting the disagreement is: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/letters/x281387996/Cadigan-Blockade-of-Gaza-a-disgrace

One man wrote:

Cutting off food and supplies to 1.5 million people is barbaric -period. There is no justification on Earth to cut off water, food, and medical supplies, unless you want to ignite a new round of war. The genocide of Jews was not carried out by Arabs...but by Europeans. Jews and Arabs have NOT been fighting for 2000 years....but Jews and Europeans have. Since the Romans invaded it just has not been a very pleasant experience for most Jews and Europeans to mix. In England thousands of Jews were expelled from the kingdom long before the 1492 inquisition. I don't consider Hamas any better or worse than the right wing Jews who supported the assassination of Rabin at the hands of another Jew. More than 80% of all Jews and Palestinians want peace and a peaceful solution to the ongoing blood bath. There are over 1.5 million Israelite Arabs...who live every day within the state of Israel. It is not Arabs that is our enemy. The enemy is ongoing justification of warmongering -demonetization- ignorance of history, and the thinking that any one side can live without the other..They can not. A successful Middle east--political and economic and social-will exist when all groups decide enough people have been murdered. In Europe the price has been high for a fragile peace of today. During the past 100 years 50 million or more Europeans have died in brainless war. Accomplishing little but to invest in new weapons more destructive than the last. I reject the violence and I reject the hatred. More than ever I reject the notion Jews and Arabs are enemies. The day the British and French thought they could determine peoples lives without consulting them has lead the world down a path justifying empire and colonialism instead of what America stands for. Palestinians deserve to be free and safe as well as a Jewish State has its right to be free and safe. There is no other path for either side..the respect and dignity the Israelis want -they should receive but-can never stop being shown toward the Palestinian people as well.
Jewish, American, and hungry--time to get some chips.

I responded

Believe it or not LK I agree with some of what you say. There is no question inhumanity on both sides is an egregious fact. However, where I part company with much of the left is that Hamas, despite having been elected, still represents and EXISTENTIAL threat to the Jewish state. That is simply a fact irrespective of the rationale of the Holocaust for the state of Israel. No, Arabs were not to blame for that BUT I really must take issue with what you say a bit. Arabs in the body of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem were squarely on the Axis side and moreover Muslim troops in the Baltic countries volunteered for the Nazi Wafen SS during WWII. Why? Perhaps they could agree with their policy of the 'Jewish question.' Little is known about that.

Jews have ALWAYS been in Israel as Arabs have as well but it was not until the UN partition of it , because no one wanted Jewish refugees in THEIR countries, that the State of Israel was born. It was not only then given to Jews in 1948 but it made provisions for Arabs too. But that wasn't enough for the Arab population. Before that, Jews bought land from Arabs who gladly sold it to them. After the UN mandate all of a sudden they wanted it back and the 1948 war ultimately broke out. Peace has been elusive ever since.

There is NO disputing the fact that most of those who comprise the power arm of Hamas want to eradicate the Jew from the land and have said so countless times. I, curiously, believe them. Perhaps the majority of Palestinians want a two state solution but the public policy of Hamas does NOT. It would be suicide for the Jewish people , yet again, to not make damn well sure they will NOT face another annihilation attempt.

In addition, what is wrong with humanity seeing that another part of humanity -- THE SIX MILLION -- could be a rationale to have made room for those who survived. Why is humanitarian policy so observed by some on the left but when it comes to Jews, well, no one cares. Oh sure it's not an Arab problem. Well, it became everyone's problem ... sorry. That cannot be denied and Arabs at that moment in history were perfectly okay with a Hitlerian alignment before World War II's end.

You will forgive me if I am sick of five thousand years of getting bounced around in nearly every corner of the globe including the Middle East after the rise of Islam in the 8th century. Arabs in many lands at various times unpredictably were not accepting of Jews either. Sure, maybe they were not exactly responsible for the Holocaust but who of them would have shed a tear if it was entirely successful which it almost was.

I once read the phrase years ago "Jewish destiny is in Jewish hands." I still believe it to this day. That does not mean I countenance cruelty but when Hamas is willing to agree to a two-state solution recognizing the safety and security of State of Israel then I will be more discerningly critical.

I can never forget, I always remember every day, every minute the beyond belief destruction of the Jewish people -- the Shoah -- during those fateful years. It is NEVER out of my mind for even a day. It is the rationale for all that I am. Should Europeans feel bad for what they have done? A resounding YES -- for as long as man resides on this planet. Could the Arab population have helped at that time? A RESOUNDING YES, as well. Humanitarian behavior works both ways.
Shoe Heard Round the World: I Polished up my viewpoint by making some small changes and sent it on to the Globe and Metro West News.

Some have said that the shoe thrower should have voiced his opposition to US policy by verbally registering his anger instead of throwing a shoe. Do those who would suggest that really think that the Iraqi journalist who opposes an occupier and an invader under false pretenses has any hope of vociferously uttering disagreement of US policy? How would we feel if we were god forbid invaded by a foreign country with massive weaponry equipped with shock and awe deployment and then that foreign power stayed unwanted in our country for an undetermined amount of time?

That journalist was making an insulting statement loud and clear by Arab standards NOT American standards, the only way he could and be observed and heard by the entire world. Bush was right he wanted attention and attention he got. He wanted attention to shout that he hated the US violent invasion and occupation of his country. He hated an invasion which was directly responsible for the sectarian violence and killing that followed. He hated the ruination of what stability that country had, and he hated most probably the elevation of Iran and the entrance of Al Qaeda into his country where it never existed before. Without US interference, for better or worse, Sadam, who knew how to control that country, would probably still be in power today. It, indeed, may not have been heaven but may have been a hell of a lot better then what ensued after his fall. Better is a relative term. The hubris of the unnecessary preemptive US invasion promulgated through lies might make one just a little bit irritated. How effective would a verbal or written objection by that journalist be? Let's face it it would have meant nothing. One might say this was the shoe throw that was heard round the world.

So which is worse to that journalist, Sadam's hammer-like but relatively stable rule or the US invasion which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, sent millions into exile, decimated and tortured families creating what is now really a failed state? Some said what the journalist did is a joke to the American people. I don't think so and I do not think it is a joke in the Arab world. It is far too serious and the symbolism too great to be a joke and certainly that is no joke to me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is a response to Chris Matthews's interview of an Arab female journalist about the shoe throwing of an Iraqi journalist directed at George Bush. He called it a joke and asked why don't they verbally state their opposition instead of reacting violently like they do.

Chris, I love your show and watch it faithfully. I must take issue with you about the shoe throwing episode of the Iraqi journalist at George Bush. Do you really think that the Iraqi people who oppose an occupier and an invader under false pretenses have any hope of vociferously uttering disagreement of US policy? How would we feel if we were god forbid invaded by a foreign country with massive weaponry equipped with shock and awe policies and then stay uninvited in our country for who knows how long?

That journalist was making an insulting statement loud and clear by Arab standards NOT American standards, the only way he could and be observed and heard by the entire world. Bush was right he wanted attention and attention he got. He wanted attention to shout that he hated the US violent invasion and occupation of his country. He hated an invasion which was DIRECTLY responsible for the sectarian violence that followed. He hated the ruination of what stability that country had, and he hated most probably the elevation of Iran. Without US interference, for better or worse, Sadam, who knew how to control that country, would probably still be in power. It, indeed, may not have been heaven but may have been a hell of a lot better then what ensued after his fall. Better is a relative term.

So which is worse to that journalist, Sadam's hammer-like rule or the US invasion which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, sent millions into exile, decimated and tortured families creating what is now really a failed state? You said what the journalist did is a joke to the American people? I don't think so and I do not think it is a joke in the Arab world. It is far too serious to be a joke and certainly it is NO joke to me!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

If you do nothing else today read Frank Rich's New York Times article (link below) and then forward that on to everyone you know. It states better than anyone has ever described the nature of the cultural corruption and rancid milieu in which we all have lived. His article is -- pardon the pun -- RIGHT ON THE MONEY. I submit you will never read a better analysis of the quagmiric sewer of corruption in which may sink us all.

Then after that read http://yomamaforobama.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/no-more-carte-blanche/#comment-227 another blog I frequent dealing with thoughts on the same issue. It is entitled "No More Carte Blanche." Never have I read a more precise analysis of the disgusting politics which could bring down a nation and what we can all do about it.

Frank Rich's article is entitled:
Two Cheers for Rod Blagojevich


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Washing Machine Clean: I simply hope, as appears so far, that President-Elect Obama is as he says he is, an agent for change and that he did not play in this pay-for-play corruption scheme of Illinois Governor Blagojevich. His record appears clean. The fact that I woke up, though, and the first thing on my mind was I hope there are no negative Obama headlines about the Blagovevich mess, is dismaying and distracting to the amelioration of the country's serious issues which Barack Obama was elected to solve. President-Elect Obama, indeed, was instrumental in pushing for Illinois ethics legislation which, by overriding a Blagojevich veto, passed. Blagojevich was trying feverishly to shake down as much cash, jobs, and goodies as he could before this legislation was due to go into effect after January 1, 2009.

No matter what career one chooses one has to interact with a variety of human beings. Behaviors and character on the human spectrum are diverse. This is especially true in things political, a career which, by its very nature, is defined as the accumulation and distribution of power. One, in that endeavor, will often be in the mix with some less than savory characters. It cannot be avoided.

However, a society whereby merely associating with someone at some time in one's life or career becomes cause for indictment is a hallmark of tyranny. We cannot let that happen. Obama was unfortunate enough to pick Chicago -- the South Side -- as his base to sprint to the presidency. Illinois politics is a small world and corruption is part of its tapestry. Guilt by association, though, should be no yardstick with which to judge anyone. They must be judged by the evidence of what they do or say not with whom they share a political milieu. My advice to the President-Elect is tell the truth and do so quickly. In this age of technology, wiretaps, cell phone records and cameras photographing every move one can be sure it all will come out in the wash anyway!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Case for Impeachment: A response to a Metro West News blogger. His link below

Greenwoodtea, I could not agree with you more. People who do not see what you have said, to use a phrase used on me often, have their head in the sand or elsewhere. There is NO question on planet earth that this president has committed the most EGREGIOUS acts probably since the tyrannies of World War II. He has killed, plundered, and bludgeoned hundreds of thousands of innocent people by his phony, trumped up war. He and his cronies have bankrupted this country. He says he received "faulty" information. Isn't HE the one who is supposed to make SURE information is correct? Sure, blame everything on George Tenet and then give him a medal of honor to shut him up. What a joke.

We all know unequivocally and have evidence to prove that he got the correct information that Sadam had no WMD and was NOT responsible for 9/11 as Bush has finally admitted. He chose to cherry pick the faux evidence he wanted. People have died and continue to do so en masse because of his lunacy.

If that travesty were not enough he destabilized the Middle East. There are bombings EVERY single day in Baghdad, Mosul and many other areas of Iraq. Hundreds of people are still dying and MILLIONS are displaced. Two more of our soldiers died yesterday. Iraq is STILL not a safe place. In fact, it is a mess. He created a civil war because he had NO idea how Iraq functioned, who comprised it and what their blood feuds for centuries were. He did not know a Shia, Sunni or Kurd from apples, oranges or grapefruit. Moreover, he wiped out the Sunnis, left the Shia and handed Shia Iran the hegemony in that part of the world. His crony contractors like Blackwater are alleged to have committed cold blooded murder. Some are currently being tried for that as well. War does that to people. It makes them killers.

Perhaps even worse than the death, life long injuries, displacement of humanity, return to heinous treatment of women in Iraq that the Iraq war promoted is that other entities such as Pakistan and Indian have decided this might be a very good time to confront each other. They both have nuclear weapons and nuke infused Pakistan is on the brink of collapse. Mumbai is a direct result of the explosive atmosphere that Iraq created. The Taliban in Afghanistan reemerge to work their bestial magic. They enslave the Afghanis people and crush women. Bin Laden, the REAL perpetrator of 9/11 runs free. How sickening. Terrorism has a loud voice and legions of terrorists it is said are now signing up to vent their anger at US policy.This serves NO ONE's advantage. It hurts democracies and open societies everywhere including the US, Israel, Europe and elsewhere. The correct and prescient response to 9/11 to ensure it does not happen again would have been to, as President Elect Obama so presciently said, concentrate on where the perpetrators REALLY are. Our efforts were squandered by George W. Bush. Our army is weakened and not only a few know that. Bush kept us safe? Really? By whose standards? 9/11 happened on HIS watch even though he was warned, the economy tanked on HIS watch, unnecessary deaths from Katrina happened on HIS watch, collapses of US infrastructure happened on HIS watch the world stands at the brink of chaos on HIS watch. Anyone in this country whether they are guilty or not can be grabbed off the street, tortured and imprisoned on HIS watch. Abu Graib happened on HIS watch. Guantanamo happened on HIS watch. So some ignorants feel safe? I wonder how they manage to do it.

Bush's whacked out policy was nothing short of disaster, was based on complete lies and the ignorance of a so called "Decider" so he could kick someone's posterior to prove something -- anything -- to someone. Why not land on Iraq. It was an easy target and "Shock and Awe" looks so very good like the Fourth of July. He could show his daddy what a big man the he really is and how much more of a man George is than he. This folly put our country not at less risk but more and those who do not see this are either insipid, in denial or just plain barbaric. Bush, etals 's abridgments of civil liberties and advocacy of torture are well known. A solid case to impeach and trial for war crimes exists. If what he and his administration have done is not worthy of that then NOTHING is and Nuremberg means not a thing. Impeachment and trial of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and others, if you will forgive George Tenet's fateful phrase, is a slam dunk!!

See: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/letters/x1303763055/Hathaway-Bush-must-be-prosecuted

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In response to a Joan Vennochi Boston Globe opinion article of December 4, 2008 entitled "A bitter brew for Kerry" I said:

I give you high points for your editorial assessments of President-Elect Obama's failure to choose Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State Yes, he was a supporter of Obama from the very beginning. It is a difficult yet enviable thing when the Democratic Party's problem is that it has too many candidates of excellence from which to choose for positions of the utmost strategic and national security importance. Truly, I have always loved both Hillary Clinton AND John Kerry. What DOES one do with so much talent?

I believe, so far, the President-Elect has chosen wisely. While it is true Senator Kerry supported President-Elect Obama from the very beginning it is also true that, at this time, I think, Hillary Clinton is the better choice for Secretary of State. She carries to the international scene a well-honed international recognition. Although Senator Kerry has served his country with great distinction in both war and peace and has foreign policy credentials to boot, Hillary Clinton presents a razor-like sharpness of intellect and piercing aura that, I believe, Senator Kerry does not have. I believe her image and intellect will serve our country well. It is clear, so far, to me that President-Elect Barack Obama knows exactly what he is doing. While some choices may appear political and perhaps they somewhat are, they are also very practical. I think Hillary Clinton reflects not only phenomenal sharpness and toughness but also has, even at the beginning, garnered the necessary international respect someone occupying that office so importantly needs. I believe Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State is exactly the right choice at exactly the right time.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Face of Competence: What a joy it is to see the face of competence. The teams of advisers President-Elect Obama has formed have been, I think, extraordinary. Their composition proves this fact. Clearly he is changing the tone of the national music and so far I love the sounds.

The introduction of his National Security team is a line up of quality. His chosen advisers are pragmatic, thoughtful and inclusive. Some such as Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State were even his adversaries. This is both prudent and wise as the President-Elect seeks both affirmation of what he believes and challenges to those beliefs. He wants this time to get US policy right. Clearly though, it will be he who is doing the synthesizing of the sound.

In an always dangerous world the US needs a strong national defense. His team reflects that view. When that defense is used, though, to surreptitiously and aggressively change regimes in other countries, as US policy has done many times, problems arise. It gives our enemies the very excuse they need to vociferously and sometimes violently oppose us. Secretary of Defense Webb has talked about a strong diplomatic effort as a necessity for a strong defense so war does not become the first most expensive option. It becomes the last option. The so-called “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive strikes should be the rarity and not the rule. We cannot police or mold the world for our own aggrandizement any longer. The US does not have the manpower, the economic ability or the popular inclination to do that.

I think and hope President-Elect Obama will change the nature of US foreign policy. He knows our actions have consequences especially in this threatening era of nuclear capability. The risk is too great. He knows, too, we need security. There is so much to do and undo. So far, though, I am greatly impressed by the team he has selected to make the attempt!