Friday, January 30, 2009

The Middlesex News carried a story today about the funding disaster of Framingham High. It is simply a sad story and a reflection of our times so I wrote to the News:

Framingham High -- a Time to Weep: I am a 1966 graduate of Framingham South High School. My heart aches to see such negative news about it. It is trying to plod its way through the quicksand of inadequate funding, a catastrophic layoff of teachers and, because of that, students are now sitting in study halls since there are not enough teachers to provide more classes for them. It is tragic. I am staggered by the extraordinary rise in taxes over the years which were supposed to go to fund educational facilities. Where did that money go?

It was a brand new school in 1962 when I first entered and I was awestruck. It was the best and we considered ourselves so lucky to have had the first “language lab.” I remember nearly all of my teachers. I still use Latin phrases, and words I memorized in Miss Vancavage's Latin class. I loved that school and my town. My heart breaks and I believe it is nearly criminal that it is so desperate for adequate funding. It saddens me when the quality of what I knew seems utterly diminished. The difficult times in which live and many other things engender such a story.

I went back to see the Framingham South building, which is no longer the high school, over a decade ago and found lockers defaced, bathrooms destroyed, doors gouged with graffiti and a general atmosphere that reflected disrespect for the wonder of a school and a community that would offer a person such a unique opportunity to learn for free. The desecration of that building was nearly a blasphemous experience for me and I was angered.

I cannot say one bad thing about a school that gave me a first rate education for free. I proceeded on to college. A family member went on to Harvard and Harvard Medical through the avenues of the Framingham school system. What I learned there I still carry with me. It was a time when students cared, when few brazenly spoke back to teachers, when there was no such thing as graffiti on lockers or bathroom doors and it was a time when no one heard of a lack of funding for classes. It was a time of respect for our school and the teachers in it.

What happened to that wonderful time when we did not know the ways of a depressing the world? For some, I know, it was not an idyllic era but for me, educationally, it was. I mourn that time's passing. I mourn Framingham High, all the other schools in Massachusetts and our nation that have suffered such a fate. I weep for schools that are a maze of mess where lockers are defaced, the rooms filthy, and the bathrooms overflowing. It is a reflection that few care and, I believe, not many do.

This story is larger than Framingham High, of course. It represents, I think, the vulgarization of our culture and it represents parenting at its worst. Add to that cacophony a lack of funding because of, most importantly, the Wall Street disaster and the brew is toxic. Where has our culture, our state and our country gone wrong? No one has cared and our country reflects just that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My letter to Newsweek about the Bush White House stonewalling Congressional subpoena claiming executive privilege extends to the president even AFTER he has left office and therefore no one he deems exempt because of it need appear before Congress when he or she is subpoenaed by it.

A Government of One? Thoughts about the Rove Subpoena:

Either the Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution with separation of powers or they did not. If they did, which I think they did, and that document no longer applies, as Cheney is to have said "F" the Constitution, then it would be nice for the people to know the mechanics of their government has changed and the executive branch is an entity in and of itself responsible to, in essence, no one. I suspect President Obama does not think that is the case or at least I HOPE he does not and ultimately Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Josh Bolton and others will be forced to testify before Congress through its subpoena or face contempt charges which will be enforced.

If everything in the Bush White House was done so legally why are they going through hoops trying their darnedest NOT to have to testify? Bush is really spitting in the face of Congress rendering it powerless over the Executive branch. That is not QUITE what I think our founders had in mind. Perhaps, President Obama, too, is thinking long and hard about this as who knows if, after he leaves office, someone will want to take him to task for something or other. That is NOT the way this republic, at least I THOUGHT it was a republic, is supposed to work. The executive above all entities in government must be able to have its singular power checked. The legislative branch is a body of many with built in checks and the judiciary likewise but the executive stands alone with awesome power invested in one man or woman. Either we are a government of the people and our representatives, including and most especially the executive, are responsible to us or we are not. I wish someone would let the people know.
Vatican Verity:It is infuriating, to say the least, that Pope Benedict has reinstated previously excommunicated bishop Williamson in light of this bishop's loathsome Holocaust denial comment. A price, in my opinion, needs to be paid. I read today that the rabbinate in Israel has severed its relationship with the Vatican and has canceled a meeting for next month with it. I laud those actions and would go even further.

I believe the State of Israel itself should send a profound message of opposition to Pope Benedict's actions and should concur with the rabbis in its dismay. I believe the State of Israel, too, should threaten to sever, in view of this egregious act by the Vatican, its relationship with it. The Jewish people and the State of Israel can never again allow such a preposterous slight to go unpunished especially by a Catholic Church whose behavior historically towards the Jews was more than reprehensible -- it was criminal.

Other popes, most especially John Paul, made inroads to greatly repair the damage which reflected a two thousand year church legacy of deplorable actions against the Jews. Benedict, a former Hitler youth, apparently has not forgotten and, indeed, I suspect is still influenced by those roots as he throws cold water on the Jewish people through the advocacy of a number of incendiary policies which knowingly inflame. He utters those thoughts and perpetrates those actions just the same. Pope Benedict slowly but surely is undoing much of what John Paul tried to accomplish by his uncaring comments and spiteful actions which serve not to unite but to divide, not to build up but to destroy, and not to encourage but to discourage decades of hard work by people of good faith. The reinstatement of Bishop Williamson is one insulting policy among others he has advocated. The Pope can make all the audibly pulchritudinous comments he wants but his actions tell a different story.

The State of Israel itself, in no uncertain terms, should STRONGLY condemn and threaten to sever its relationship with the Vatican as well IF it does not demand an immediate apology from and reversal of Bishop Williamson's beliefs. In lieu of that the Vatican should impose Bishop Williamson's excommunication once again.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Truth and Nothing but--a response to the Palestinian segment of CBS Sixty Minutes: I thought your segment on the Palestinian conflict was incomplete. While there is no doubt the Palestinians who were in your piece were not a fabrication, there is much more to the story then what you presented. If Arabs had not invaded in 1967 that land would not have been appropriated. In some ways it has been Israel's curse. It has been the experience of Israelis when they give back land they get rockets to kill them for a thank you. Gaza is a prime example. No doubt Israeli policy toward Palestinians in many instances should be reviewed and humanely changed. A man should somehow be allowed to return to the city of his birth and soldiers should in no way be allowed to be quartered in a man's house, his children detained all without his permission. This is basic Constitutional Bill of Rights law. BUT there is no doubt, too, that many if not most Palestinians are from a very young age imbued with fanatical beliefs to eradicate the Jewish state and all Jews with it. Jews have historically had bad experiences everywhere they went and Arab lands were no exception to the rule. Jews were kicked out, killed and life made unbearable. Some still remain Jewish in Arab lands at their peril. Let's be fair. The Jewish state is an advanced western style country which treats even homosexuals with dignity. Where in any Arab land can you find THAT? Both sides have their axe to grind but Sixty Minutes showed only one. Maybe next week you will show the other!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Long Goodbye II to a local paper: I have heard some decry the derisive goodbye chant sung with its accompanying booing as Ex-President Bush left Washington. Some have said it not only disrespects Bush but defiles the office of president itself. I could not disagree more. The entire presidency and honor of our nation has been desecrated by the policies of George W. Bush. Ex-president Bush is responsible for being asleep at the switch before the 9/11 attacks occurred failing to heed and, indeed, cavalierly ignoring warnings of it. He is guilty of invading and lying about the justification for the invasion of a country which did nothing to us thereby implementing the so called Bush Doctrine of preemptive war never before implemented by a democratic state. This has resulted in the killing of over 4200 Americans. The death count will go up, of course, as long as American forces remain on Iraqi soil and, moreover, as long as they are on that soil the threats from Al Qaeda, heretofore no threat from Iraq at all, will exponentially grow. The extrication from that quagmire will take the Wisdom of Solomon to perfect. The Decider, George W. Bush, slaughtered, ashamedly, in our name, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and displaced over a million more. Worse still, he has fractured a Middle East tinderbox. The list of his murderous policies besmirching, soiling and, indeed, blaspheming the sacred Constitution itself goes on and on and on.

George Bush deserves a lot more than simply a few boos and a derisive chant. All those in his entire administration who were complicit in these horrific war crimes deserve investigation and accountability for the crimes they have committed. George W. Bush is lucky if all he receives is boos and a derisive chant. What he really deserves is a cold bed in a cell. If The Hague does its job that may be, if he decides to travel anywhere outside of the US, what he so deservedly could get!
The Long Goodbye: To John F. Malloy in his Letter to the Editor in the January 24, 2099 Globe which says that the uttering of a derisive rock song goodbye chant as Ex-President Bush left Washington and its accompanying booing "marks a new low that not only disrespects Bush but defiles the office of president itself" is in error. I say the entire presidency and nation itself has been desecrated by the policies of George W. Bush. Ex-president Bush is responsible for being asleep at the switch before the 9/11 attacks occurred failing to heed and, indeed, cavalierly ignoring warnings of it. He is guilty of invading and lying about the justification for the invasion of a country which did nothing to us resulting in the killing of over 4200 Americans. The extrication from that quagmire will take the Wisdom of Solomon to perfect. He slaughtered, ashamedly, in our name, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and displaced over a million more. Worse still, he has fractured a Middle East tinderbox. The list of his murderous policies goes on and on and on.

George Bush deserves a lot more than simply a few boos and a derisive chant. All those in his entire administration who were complicit in these horrific war crimes deserve investigation and accountability for the crimes they have committed. George W. Bush is lucky if all he receives is boos and a derisive chant. What he really deserves is a cold bed in a cell. If The Hague does its job that may be, if he decides to travel anywhere outside of the US, what he so deservedly could get!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, we did it and we are witness to it: I am not a praying person but I prayed last night and today that our president stays safe, and that he undoes the damage that was most especially the past eight years. We cannot underestimate the difficulty of what needs to be done. I pray for our new president’s greatness and I pray for all of us to be safe to enjoy this history. We will never, I suspect, see this type of historical moment again.

I have been watching people congregate on the Washington Mall since 6:30 a.m. The media is saying the crowd has been building up since 5:00 a.m. I will be watching through late evening when my eyes will simply not stay open any more. Celebrate my lovely, beloved family and friends (even if some of you do not support our choice.) Celebrate that we are free. It is the greatest gift of all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More religious debate:

To answer Dennis's questions with I HOPE brevity. I believe science has answered some of the questions (ONLY SOME) of physical truths that early man did not know and the bible therefore got completely wrong. Therefore the bible in most instances cannot be treated as fact because it gets all manner of scientific truth phenomenally wrong. Early man did not know the sun was the center of our galaxy. The church fought that fact tooth and nail because is made man and his earth not the center and maybe not so important and went against biblical thought. Early man did not know that bacteria/virues caused infection and disease. I believe early man had NO idea regarding human sexuality. Early man did not know evolution is FACT and that our earth is BILLIONS of years old. Early man did not know dinosaurs roamed the earth before they. The list of the mistakes of early man and biblical mistakes is infinite. There are too many errors to enumerate here.

As for moral law, I beleive every culture even if polytheistic ones has to have moral rules. Even Communist cultures while we know they are worthy of critique had a moral law. Our own culture which is Judeo/Christian bastardized and still does morality by the slaughter in history of innocents but it does have a code of moral law. Every culture transgresses their moral law. George Bush the touter of biblical morality supreme crushed moral law.

I think people can obey certain strictures without god. A society functions much better if it does not cheat, steal, kill, bear false witness i.e. lie or do the nasty with everyone a human being meets. They can remain faithful to their spouse without god as many many if not most atheists or agnostics do. We see the most religious in our culture fool around infinitely. I believe the respressive nature of the Judeo Christian tradition makes for a crazy culture that does not know what to do with its sexual appetites. Just look at the Catholic church. My goodness just look at it over the centuries. There were many cultures before ours which had a moral law. Whether they obeyed it or not is up for discussion. To err has ALWAYS been human.

I do not say god is anything because I do not believe a sky god exists. Am I awed by the universe YES completely. Do I know what created it all -- as BIll Maher says in his EXCELLENT film Religulous -- I do NOT know. Religionists THINK they know. They don't.

I believe man is an evolved being. I believe life evolved from one celled organisms over BILLIONS actually TRILLIONS of years. Evolution needs one important ingredient: TIME and the right set of circumstances. To say anything else is sheer nonsense and science proves it so over and over and over again. Evolution is at work constantly. If religion had as much proof as science does they would be screaming it from the rafters. They don't and I think most except the supremely dumb realize it but try like hell to prove otherwise. They cannot.
Another in a series of dialogues I had with an individuals on a local newspaper site:

Religion and Truth -- I sympathize with your comments although I am not Catholic I sprang from a people whose influence on the New Testament was profound. The beliefs about Jesus are that which the human mind says they are. The New Testament Gospels are a compilation of different writers. It was written in Greek long after the so called death of Jesus. Even Jesus himself may be a compilation of many stories and ideas of the area at that time and significantly before that time. There is NO evidence that meets historical scrutiny that he even existed. There is nothing on Roman coins or artifacts depicting him or in writings which site him, with the exception of the Gospels, which have an agenda (and Josephus doesn't count either because it too had an agenda), whose historicity is accurate and believable indicating that someone so profound to the populous and such a threat to the Roman state ever existed. No consequential EVIDENCE exists. One would think a man of that impact would be mentioned historically, as other historical events surely are, in ancient Roman writings, artifacts or even on Jewish artifacts or coins. There isn't any. The ONLY things of historical identification which jet propelled this religion are human beings' cerebral synaptic connections which included the dream of an emperor Constantine before a battle and his wife's influence of him in 300 or so AD.

Likewise, the Hebrew Bible, too, was written by a number of different people. An excellent and scholarly book with NO agenda was written and entitled 'Who Wrote the Bible' by Richard Friedman. Some of the proofs, among several, that the Old Testament -- the Christian appellation. It is called the Hebrew Bible by Jews -- is written by multiple men are that (a) the writing styles of the Old Testament are significantly different (b) contain different accounts of the same event and (c) in the Five Books of Moses -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy -- Moses, the attributable author of those books, is writing after his own death; highly unlikely. The Bible emerges out of an assortment of pagan and oral mythological lore from a variety of cultures at that time and by those who preceded them. Some biblical stories are nearly identical to other pagan stories which preceded biblical text.

If someone tells me and then writes that my leg is paralyzed because of bad humors or because of a witch's spell or because a man named Mephistopheles came down and infused it with green slime, or because a supreme being hated me, I can believe that sure ... if I want ... but is it TRUE? When science became sophisticated enough it could unequivocally determine that a viral entity called poliomyelitis unequivocally caused that paralysis and it was not caused because someone hated me, or because I planted my crops in error, made a god mad by doing some trivial thing like eating a shrimp or by a witch's spell. I believe that simile is a good one.

Religion takes natural, physiological and psychological phenomenon and attributes it to some mystical, mysterious and inexplicable super power which defies the laws of science. That's ALL religion is ... ALL monotheistic religion everywhere -- is a compilation of men's (I emphasize men) BELIEFS, superstitions and mythological creeds which morphed into some cohesive (sort of) entity to explain the complexities and inexplicabilities of life. That does NOT mean that any of it is factually true. It is a shock to my system in the age of technological and scientific advancement that human beings capable of intelligent and rational thought still persist and rely on documents written between 5000 and 2000 years ago to justify just about ANYTHING they want to believe. It simply means human beings are capable of diverse and illogical thought because men fear illness, hard times, ultimately death and need to explain catastrophes which they do not understand to get through this life with significantly less anxiety. That does not, as my atheist friend says, make it true as much as most of us (including me) would LOVE to make it so. If one wants to take religion as allegory or metaphor that is acceptable but to pass it off as unequivocal truth is simply unequivocally wrong.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More responses to blogs others wrote to try to convice me of the veracity of belief.

You cannot prove a negative. I have read the New Testament and find it utterly ridiculous as a factual document. As metaphor ... maybe it's a nice story which can have meaning. Worse, however, the New Testament provides the rationale for Antisemitism and is saturated with it especially in the later gospels as decide is its accusation NOT against Rome but against the Jews for Christ's alleged death. It was the necessary precondition for all antisemitism which followed it up to and including most especially the Holocaust even until contemporary times in Europe today and without question in the Middle East. It has wielded MUCH negative for the Jews.

Each entity of the Gospels was written by different people in Greek and well after Jesus' alleged death. I do not believe in defying the laws of nature and physics and therefore I do NOT most especially believe in most anything which exists biblically. If you do then fine. By all means do. A person cannot walk on water unless there is a flotation device or a walkway, cannot rise after being dead for three days as the body decays and rots. Since Jesus is alleged to have been at least part human he would succumb to the laws of nature as he supposedly did when he was allegedly crucified. Certainly all those surrounding him would be subject to those laws as well. Moreover, even the fact that a man named Jesus existed is subject to distinct question. There is no evidence, absolutely nothing, nil, nada, no way nothing in Roman coin or artifact or literature which talks about a man whose death was mandatory because he posed a significant threat to Rome. There is NOTHING. Do NOT say Josephus because his historicity is not a credible.

New Testament and Hebrew Bible stories too are not new and grew out of much that was believed in that place at that time and well before in time. Much can be shown in Egyptian, Greek, Roman mythological lore, pagan beliefs which comes close or mirrors the stories of the New Testament virgin births, walks on water, healing the sick and rising from the dead is STREWN throughout ancient history among mythologies of various peoples.

CS Lews proves NOTHING and Chuck Colson, Nixon aficionado and ex-con, proves even less. These people have had life experiences, as most of us have had, which are difficult. I would say a jail sentence gives one much time to think there must be a reason for my suffering. Yes, there is. He broke the law. Try NOT breaking it and stay out of jail. All these books prove nothing. The only rationale for what you believe is that you believe it. It is NOT provable or scientifically verifiable and bears no resemblance to fact.

I am NOT capable of belief which has no capacity for scientific veracity period end.
WBUR broadcast a discussion of belief. I added my two cents.

Doubt: I have waged war with religion and on religion my entire life. Richard Dawkins's book "The God Delusion" was excellent as was Christopher Hitchens's book "God is Not Great." They sold me. I did not, however, need much convincing. At 60 years of age I suppose I define myself as agnostic but throughout the years I have religiously been all over the map. I was born Jewish, had a flirtation with Christianity in my early 20's, wavered like a ping pong ball for decades even returning to some semblance of Jewish ritual trying to maintain some tradition. The ball is at rest now. I am an agnostic. I do not believe there is a sky god but truly do not know if there is some other initiator of world being. I simply do not know. I envy, somewhat, those whose faith in God is solid as, I think, perhaps their fear of death is not as profound as mine.

I cannot believe there will be a time when I do not have cognizance of how history plays out. While I know I have not always been here it seems as if I have. So, death is not only frightening it is unacceptable to me.

Just because, though, I want something more to be true does not, my atheist friend always tells me, make it so. As Richard Dawkins once said it's too bad we cannot appreciate the grandeur of life as it is and not wish for something more than what is. Well, being placed in the ground, six feet under, my body decaying and my bones remaining is NOT my idea of a good time. So what else can I do? I live with those facts and merely hope I can experience many more presidential elections to come!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another editorialist Jeff Jacoby reply

Food Fables: I follow Jeff Jacby's pearls of wisdom. I BELIEVE I heard him on NPR. He was talking against the latest Massachusetts Governor's initiative which would have calories posted at restaurants. So called conservatives are so loath to have government control anything except maybe bombs or sexuality and oh yes, they LOVE to overhear our salacious conversations. Somehow in the conservative mind the government is so bad EXCEPT when they think it isn't. The truth is when conservatives so please they are MORE than happy to have government intervene and when they don't all of a sudden government is the pariah and their laissez faire credo screams for attention. If it has to do with sex or snooping sure conservatives are chaffing at the bit to use government to control it but guns, tobacco or food no way.

If conservatives have to put "compassionate" as an adjective to conservative then conservatives REALLY are NOT compassionate. IF it were up to conservatives I have no doubt there would be NO warning labels on cigarette packages, no tax on cigarettes, the government would have halted efforts to show how poisonous tobacco is and they would simply aver the tobacco companies are just selling a product and the individual has his right to make that choice for himself. Tobacco is so perfect an example. Putting heavy restrictions, labels and taxes in addition to HUGE civil actions against it has kept that poisonous leaf from killing even more than it kills today. Recent statistics suggest simply limiting smoking even outdoors is making the death from lung cancer drop. Outlawing a parent smoking in a car with their children will save lives .. kids lives...maybe even YOUR kid's lives. Many in my family of prior generations at a young age have a grave somewhere due to the effects of smoking. Thank God the government took the action it did. The Surgeon General's report on the effects of smoking in the 1960's began this hard fought campaign to educate about a product which the glorious tobacco corporation and ALL the political hacks associated with it were perfectly happy to sell and LOATHE to regulate. Government worked. Smoking rates have gone down throughout the years and deaths have gone down with it. I would still be smoking today and maybe even dead if I were not bombarded by the 1980's with medical government sponsored studies which made the realities of that disgusting product hit home.

Likewise, labeling of food products has been the best thing for me since (if you'll pardon the pun) sliced bread. The swill that the lovely corporations try to sell us in the guise of food is legion. From high fructose corn syrup to artery clogging hydrogenated oils, they take the BEST like whole grain out of food and give us the worst. Why? It is easy, tasty, has a longer shelf life and is cheaper to make. The public be damned. When my cholesterol in 1988 hit a high of 285 the understanding of nutrition was in its infancy and my eating habits started to change because of it. I read EVERY single label now and want to know the contents and calories of everything I put into my hallowed body. Think of how much money I'm saving the insurance companies and the state the longer I stay out of the emergency ward. They don't have to pay for my hospitalizations due to stroke, heart attack, a host of cancers and God knows what else. At least at 60 I am trying to avoid that. So far so good and I have the labeling and the government to thank for its monitoring of food (with the exception of course of that thing who was in the White House for the past eight years). Government CAN work for the good of the individual and yes, often to the cost of corporations. Tough. So the CEO in some corporation makes 50 million a year instead of 100 million. Makes my heart break.

In addition, I like places in which I decide to spend my scarce money to give me an option to look at ingredients and calories. Not everyone is computer savvy or has one to look up restaurant menus and calorie counts. It can't hurt and it just may help AND if they don't want to look DON'T cover the menu up or turn your head away.

I think you are dead (pardon the pun again) wrong the individual OFTEN is not savvy enough, does not have enough time and is too besieged by other things in their life to know what is quality to eat and what isn't. We are getting fatter by the second. My family has a significant history of obesity and diabetes. My mother, most of my aunts uncles and many other of my close relatives were and are obese. Numbers had heart attacks, strokes and othercardio issues. One cousin died several years ago of obesity related diabetes and I KNOW others will follow. So far I am 110 lbs because I am the healthiest eater in my family. I have the numbers to prove it. If an enumeration is not on the menu when I eat out I ask. Since I had polio it is a damn good thing I keep my weight off as I have had three fractures of my polio affected leg so the older more disabled a person is the more he/she MUST keep weight in control and how nice it is that we will be able to monitor the calories of that which we eat. So many who have Chinese food, for example, have NO idea the sauce is LOADED with sugar and often coconut saturated fat oils. They don't ask and the restaurant surely does not tell. Now they won't have to ask they will be able to see. I say GREAT!

Too bad it's costing companies money. Let them absorb it. There IS a place for government. In the long run I predict it will be well worth it for everyone. Health care will save money AND the individual might just be helped, a life saved and a quality of life maintained in the process. So what's so wrong with a little government intervention and TRUE compassion. I'll forgo THAT freedom if government gives up tapping phones and denying habeus corpus. Now that is TRUE government intervention. Truth is some humane government intervention WORKS often for all of us and may will even work for you and your family too!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In the Dark: Mr. Bennett's article "Dark Green" about the Medea Hypothesis of Peter Ward in the January 11, 2009 Sunday Globe was phenomenally interesting . I love it when new theories arise which tug on the reins of credulity and say wait a minute not so fast. Things may not be as one thinks they are. I had heard of the Gaia Hypothesis which seems to be the prevailing thought that the earth's contents (minus man) work in some earthly harmony to produce life until evil man ruins everything. It seems so rational. Yet, when one thinks about it the earth has experienced upheavals threatening its existence long before man appeared on earth. Moreover, one sees the destructive nature of our planet's power in times when man's influence was not so dramatic.

My own totally unscientific thought is that our planet is influenced by both things humans do and things humans do not do. I suspect it is neither all one nor all the other but both. How interesting it would be to live to see what happens. One wonders if man will control his own harmful influence on the planet, which I believe does exist, and, perhaps, even right the wrongs the planet perpetrates on itself. It is simply fascinating science theory. No matter what one believes it proves one thing; life is, indeed, precarious.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Eternal Dilemma:This opinion below – with some edits – was one I left on the Metrowest News blog. I often have exchanges (sometimes heated but not always) on controversial issues with regular bloggers on that site. One blogger said and I quote what he said in pertinent part:

“ … except that I said in a previous post, Palestinians
should assassinate Zionist leaders, and I still think
that is a good tactic …”

Throughout the exchange I tried to entertain a balanced view. As I have said on my blog and in discussion, Gaza is an anathema to the human heart. It hurts me to watch the news of it. I understand the Palestinian side and I understand the quagmire that has been Israeli fate.

In the final analysis, though, I tried to think about my most basic view which was that I could never oppose the existence of the State of Israel, acquiesce to the assassination of so called “Zionists” (in my opinion an anti–Semitic cover word), and I cannot separate most Islamic states from their fundamentalist religious fasteners. I will be free, as all are in Israel to criticize Israel’s POLICIES but I will not countenance its demise. So I said the following to the blogger whom I believed, decidedly, did not take into account the position of the Jewish state. Clearly, my own blogging posts are mixed on this issue. When I gave it even more thought and irritated by the other blogger’s call to assassinate all "Zionist" leaders I iterated my basic view by posting the following

I said:

The Zionists, as you insultingly call them, either show strength or the State of Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. It is that simple. When explosives are placed among families and children, when children are armed with guns and explosives, when an army is fired upon by its enemy, when a culture instructing young children to take up arms and wear exploding belts then the Jewish people, as I call them, have the right to defend themselves and the right to fire back. If one is shot at by a 10 year old he will be just as dead as if he were shot at by a 28 year old. We KNOW Hamas does unspeakable things to their own people and to their own children by placing incendiary devices among them. I too as you consistently say and as I said before, had an Iranian friend whom I thought was absolutely lovely. I have a Pakistani friend with whom I have shared meals. They are wonderful people. When we keep our conversation light things are fun but if we chat about Israel things get tense. So I stay away from that subject when I am with them. I know other Palestinian people who are kind, wonderful and would not hurt anyone. I love them. However, that does not mean I am not aware that as a political entity the states from which those people originate would eliminate my people in an instant. This cannot happen. This WILL NOT happen.

The world must know, and Israel's enemies respect nothing else, that the Jew will no longer cower in fear, act like a sitting duck and roll over because either a 2000 year old document moronically indicts it for deicide OR a Muslim picks up that baton and says Israel will be destroyed and the Jews thrown into the sea. It is, I know, sometimes a shock, to those who for centuries have not been used to Jews fighting back but since 1948 a hard lesson was learned. The lesson is IF Jews do not protect themselves then they will cease to exist and the world will care nothing. The lesson is simple. The Holocaust is the lesson for the Jew. It is immutable, ever present and all consuming to the Jewish mind. It is the rationale behind everything. No, Arabs did not create the Holocaust but most Arab states especially radical Islamic ones would be perfectly willing to pick up where it left off. Jews cannot and WILL not allow that!

Does it pain me to see anyone suffer? OF COURSE it does. Gaza is heart wrenching. But, truth be told again, I love my people, I love the state of Israel because it is the freest state in the entire Middle East, it is a secular state and it is a state which governs by respecting the religious separation concept. The Jewish people MUST have their homeland and they MUST have it with no threat of annihilation. That is an uncompromising existential fact. If it were not for, as you call them Zionists, then the Jewish state would not be. Fighting back is all Hamas, Hezbollah and the like understand. If this is all they understand this is what they get. When push comes to shove I am in love with the Jewish people and I will NEVER be unmindful of that. The Jewish people cannot falter again and they must not fail.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No Exit -- The Existential Nightmare to Nowhere I agree with Jeff Jacoby's January 7, 2009 op editorial. I am always astounded at the pervasiveness of the two thousand year old viral infection that is antisemitism . The Jewish people cannot seem to shake its onslaught or find the antibody to it. I also cannot believe how those who would take the Holocaust's name in vain and perpetrate the same Nazi-like venom still overwhelm me with ire. They get to me. That is exactly, I think, what they want to do.

When I finished watching the news last evening, though, I thought it was a particularly difficult broadcast to watch. I worry that Israel, as much as I support it, is losing the public relations war. Gaza is so horrific that I simply do not know how it can continue like this despite what each side says the rationales for it are. It reminded me, staggeringly and ironically, of the Warsaw Ghetto where a huge number of Jews were jammed into a small area with no food, no medical supplies no electricity, and no sanitation existentially trying to live in an unlivable situation. As a Jew the Holocaust is burned into my psyche. It is with me every day I live because I think about it every day I live.

I fear, though, at this moment the Jewish people morally are losing the Holocaust high ground. The slaughter of innocents in Gaza, although surely brought about, in part, by the intractability of Hamas, is a moral disaster and cannot, I think, continue. The invasion of Gaza has become so disgusting that I cannot even watch it on the news. It is a moral conundrum to me because my entire left leaning political philosophical bent was molded in opposition to the Nazi era and the Holocaust. I truly now do not know what the answer is.

My cousin living in Jerusalem emailed that Hamas is hiding in UN houses with children and puts explosives underneath as they know Israelis will bomb them and fuel a public relations nightmare. I know that. Your editorial was excellent as antisemitism and its direct relationship to criticism of the Jewish state has veracity understood even by Martin Luther King. I know that too. I know people want to kill Jews and eliminate the Jewish state. Where does that leave us? What does never again mean? Is it only in relation to Jews or is it the broader implication that there are some human behaviors even in war that are so abominable they cannot be tolerated and must be rejected by the civilized world entire?

The three hour cease fire just ended and the dreadful killing continues. More bodies, many of women and children, will be stacked up. So now what? Where are we in this struggle? Will Jews be better off for this? I do not think so. Grimly, I think we are nowhere and there is, existentially, at least for now, no way out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gagging on Gaza: I just finished watching the news. It was a PARTICULARLY difficult broadcast to watch. I am thinking that Israel, as much as I support it, is losing the PR war. Gaza is SO bad and SO horrific that I simply do not know how it can continue like this. I'll tell you what it reminded me of -- it reminded me of the Warsaw Ghetto where a HUGE number of people were jammed into a small area with no food, no medical supplies, no electricity NOTHING. the Holocaust is burned into my psyche. It is with me every day I live because I think about it every day I live.

I am thinking at this second in time that the Jewish people are losing the moral high ground. This disaster cannot continue irrespective of what I know Hamas would do to Israel if it could. It has become so bad and so disgusting that I cannot even watch the news. I simply cannot. I do not know what the answer is but this can not go on. That's what I am feeling at this moment even though I KNOW this is bigger than Gaza. These people cannot be used this way it's simply horrific. I can't stand to watch it. I just can't. Now if I can't stand to watch it and I almost NEVER criticize Israel then you can imagine what the rest of the world is thinking.

There were assaults on Jews in various countries in Europe today...antisemitism rears its head again. I am beginning to think Gaza is a cancer around the Jewish neck.
To Cut or NOT: Okay, what do I know about economics but this is how I feel and sent the below on to Obama who has a web page for ideas. I cannot help but feel these tax cuts are RIDICULOUS and he is pandering to Republicans. I KNOW some will disagree. Fine no problem. This is not eloquent but just stream of conscious and obviously just my opinion. It springs from a feeling I have which I find funny because I hate economics but sometimes I get it right odly enough. AND on I think it was PBS someone else who knew what she was talking about said the same thing about tax cuts after I had thought about it awhile ago.

So I said.

Personally, I have a feeling that tax cuts will do NOTHING. The Bush tax cuts did NOTHING. In this type of systemic downturn people will NOT spend the few extra bucks they have from a tax cut except to pay a bill or two. When things are THIS precarious tax cuts are NOT the remedy. I am against tax cuts really for anyone but MOST especially am against tax cuts for the very wealthy. How many times do we have to get burned to realize this so called "trickle down" effect did NOT work. It trickled down alright and not to the average person or to the middle guy. Truth is trickle down means trickle down into the already wealthy's pockets to buy the wealthy's toys like a new boat or a new or two BMW'S or three or 17 houses. It does NOT necessarily go for more jobs.

The tax cuts are not enough to do anything. We need rather (1) STRICT regulation of financial markets (2) stop unnecessary wars (3) curb spending for new weapons and war which is hugely costly (4) pay down the deficit and not create more and (5) use government money to yes create infrastructure, repair roads, bridges etc and work on global warming, alternative energy and stem cell research, and MOST importantly health care.. THAT will create jobs. Tax cuts do nothing.

If anything we need a tax increases. THAT would do the trick in paying down the deficit, get more money for infrastructure, alternative energy. reduce need to borrow from foreign countries and reduce our need to print more money increasing scary inflation of the 1929 German Weimar Republic type.

How to sell it is the problem. People need to know we are in deep trouble and that we cannot just keep raising our debt. We must pay for our government's immoral decisions over the last eight years and even more. We simply have to if people want to enjoy the things that government can give us like infrastructure, medical advances, health care and alternative energy, stemming of global warming.

I believe the American people IF YOU TALK TO THEM can understand the WHY of things. Try a fireside chat. It helped Roosevelt it just may help us!