Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anti-Choice Hypocrisy: In Jeff Jacoby's July 26, 2009 Op ed "Abortion and the echo of eugenics," he ridiculously compares various respected progressives who have been at the forefront of the right to privacy, birth control and choice issues by equating them with racist Hitlerian types in various historical eugenics movements.

Conservatives become morally outraged at the abortion of the “unborn” because the mother may not want her child born into a life of grinding poverty or because the child, if taken to term, might be relegated to life-long grave mental or physical disability. When asked for the state or nation to provide full term human beings with social benefits they care not so much as they rant and rave against liberal social policies which try to ensure programs are adequately funded to help full term human beings who may have those very same problems. Conservatives have no problem vociferously and arduously working against social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or single payer health care which have created or could create programs for the elderly, sick, poor and handicapped but are morally incensed at those who may consider for health, economic and other serious reasons the termination of a fetus to be necessary.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miracle in Metro West: A columnist (Rick Holmes) in my local newspaper had a most interesting editorial about the bell which stood atop where John Brown’s insurrection against slavery began at Harpers Ferry. I never knew the Herculean efforts it took to get it to a place in the north near where I reside. It stands there today. There has been an effort launched to try to get the bell taken back to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia under the auspices of the federal government. I worry about that and said so. The link to HIS story is below my response to it.

Thanks, Rick, for a GREAT story! I must admit to my ignorance about the location of the bell. I had no idea it sat in Marlborough, MA. I will visit that site soon. Rick, you make good points and I usually agree with you on most everything. I keep asking myself why I am reticent about returning the bell. I reflect on that.

I suppose if it will truly be under the supervision of the federal National Park Service what harm would come to it. I fear, though, an extremist secessionist or someone of that ilk doing something destructive to the bell. The blood that was shed surrounding the issue of slavery is staggering. Remnants of the entrenched racism are surely alive nearly 150 years later, despite a part African American president, as the country is divided, to a large degree, on race and cultural lines which run deep. The effort it took to transport the bell here is astounding and it preserves in minds the moral crusade of John Brown against the so called 'peculiar institution' which he paid for with his life. The bell is a symbol of initiation of that struggle.

John Brown was a religious zealot and yet so rabidly anti-slavery. Isn't it amazing how times have changed? One questions, or at least I do, whether the religious fundamentalist ideologues of our time would take the issue of slavery as their own if it existed. It’s a hypothetical I know but personally I doubt it. The Republican party loves to say they are the party of Lincoln but their constituency bears, I fear, LITTLE resemblance to it. I still maximally fear right wing extremism and I believe it has an angry violence to it that would simply love and easily could destroy that bell most especially in the south.

I like the fact that the north helped defeat the so called 'peculiar institution' although not all northerners certainly took the moral high ground and Lincoln's effort was not so much against slavery itself, although he did not like it, as it was keeping the union together.

I see your point though, Rick. I am sure if it is under supervision of the federal government no harm would come to it. I hate, though, to see the torturous efforts of those who thought enough about that bell to get it here and I am thrilled it resides, at least for now, in Metro West!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Glen Greewald of is, in my opinion, a master journalist and critic. He discussed today the death of Walter Cronkite whom I think he believes really was a great journalist because he reported truth to power. Greenwald says Cronkite was unlike the "journalists" of our time, including the late Tim Russert, whom he believes are bought, sold and owned by the corporation. A point to ponder and to which I concur Greenwald quotes Lewis Lapham long time Harpers editor:

"What we now know as the “news media” serve at the pleasure of the corporate sponsor, their purpose is not to tell truth to the powerful but to transmit lies to the powerless."

If you want to read more of his essay click on:

Friday, July 17, 2009

What you can do about war crimes: What a horrendous injustice to make the lower worker bees pay for the most immoral, illegal and disgusting policies of the high command under Bush. That would be like making only the average German who did what he was told by Nazi policy pay for the price of Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Goering, Hess, Mengele, Eichmann, and the rest of the hierarchy and of concentration camp officials and ministers who ORDERED the policy and letting those who MADE the policy go free. There were HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of those in the Nazi hierarchy. Many got off as we know but they did, through Nuremberg, make many of the highest pay with their lives and through prison sentences for even judges who presided over sham courts.

President Obama's policy is such a horrible policy and NO justice will ever prevail if he continues with it. I KNOW it MUST go against his instincts but he is NOT strong enough to resist the military and those who owed their allegiance to Bush. He kept TOO many from team Bush and tried this bi partisan attempt which does NOT work. Lindy England and her boyfriend can you imagine are the ONLY ones to be in prison so far for torture in an ILLEGAL war based on lies, torture and EVEN, as we know now, policies meant to assassinate leaders in other countries without informing Congress. Either we believe in our Constitution even when it is the most difficult for us or we do not.

The following are war criminals and should be tried as such: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Yoo, Bybee, Rove, Libby (the ONLY one convicted of anything but he should be in jail), even Atty. Gen. Mukasey who let the criminals continue without prosecution, even Webb who continues to employ Bush policy under Obama as Secretary of Defense. And there are many others who worked on the torture memos, ordered and employed torture or directed their underlings to do so. There are the generals like Hayden, Odierno who some have said has sadistic impulses and who President Obama still employees, General Stanley McChrystal military’s top specialist in “dirty war” tactics and others who are in the Obama admin, sanctioned and/or implemented torture.

ALL those at the top in Nuremberg fashion should be held accountable and IF the president does not order the US out of Iraq totally then HE becomes an accomplice and is NOT what we signed up for. The Iraq War was sold to us and we were dupes as so many believed what Bush, et al said including me. They lied. NEVER again will I ever believe what the American war machine tells us. They lie and have since WWII as ALL the wars after that time have been a SICK joke except not to those families whose soldiers and civilians abroad are lying in caskets for absolutely nothing.

Not ONLY are Cheney and his henchmen guilty of war crimes I believe as numbers of others do and have for MONTHS that the anthrax attacks were ordered by Cheney and that it was a secret CIA operation to sell the Iraq war now including most recently the revelation that they were employing assassination squads without informing Congress. It is why the anthrax attacks were swept under the rug so quickly and the so called sole implementer of that probably either was killed or committed suicide because of it. As Ron Suskind's book says the Bush Administration pushed ABC News and others to link the anthrax attacks to Saddam Hussein. At the VERY LEAST an investigation by Atty. Gen. Holder into this should ensue. I DON'T FORGET these things. This is why I want ESPECIALLY Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Rumsfeld and others including George Tenet to face trial and punishment (but Tenet gets not punishment but gets a medal of honor!). HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of American, Iraqi and others have been killed, more maimed for life and a Middle East with nuclear weaponry is in shambles because of this reckless policy! NOT to mention the fact that that administration was WARNED about the 9/11 attack and did NOTHING! They put OUR lives at risk.

These things are TOO important to be let off the hook. This can and MUST NEVER happen again!

See what you can do:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Inextricable Link: PBS Frontline asked me to take a survey on a particular episode. In doing that, as I perused the Frontline web site, I came across an old episode shown in 1985 called "Memory of the Camps" narrated by Trevor Howard. Yes, I have seen this or parts of it before but I decided to watch it again. Every single time I view it I see WHY Jews are so obsessed with the Holocaust and WHY we hold it SO imperative that it never happen to us again.

Committing horrors upon others is no answer either but as some understand the Palestinian plight I see the Jewish plight because I have a connection to it. Not only do I have a connection to it but it has also formed my politics since day one. If you cut and paste into your browser or click on the link below, if you can bear it, you again will refresh memory of the greatest perpetration of slaughter in the thousands of years of human history. Nothing so horrifically and so completely like it has been done to an entire group of innocent people. Yes, I know, the Holocaust decimated other groups as well. STILL, there is NO getting away from the fact of its deliberate attempt to eliminate, in particular, the Jew. It nearly succeeded no matter how many, because of their ignorance or their antisemitism, choose to deny it. It happened, it happened to most ESPECIALLY the Jewish people and it happened in relatively recent history.

When I hear those demonstrating against Israel and for the Palestinian cause and chanting "Jews, you belong in the camps" or "Jews, go to the ovens" or "Hitler didn't do enough" I understand why the Jewish heart is so rabidly attached to the Jewish state as again and again ALL over the world there are calls to exterminate us to finish the Hitlerian job. Israel and the Holocaust are inextricably linked most probably for all time UNLESS or UNTIL a force stronger than Israel, perish the thought, decides otherwise.
Intelligent Design?: The Boston Globe July 15, 2009 op-ed article by Stephen Meyer "Jefferson support for intelligent design" offers the earth's complexity as proof of an "intelligent design" creator behind it and uses Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers, as supporting that argument. This is meaningless as to the truth of "intelligent design" itself.

Attaching a Founding Father's opinion to an "intelligent design" concept is usually code for placing the truth of a god-created universe at the center of science. Jefferson may have been a wise and prescient man who created one of our most breathtaking and enduring democratic documents but he was man of the 18th century and his understanding of science was limited to the age in which he lived. A belief in an undefined intelligent design creator of the universe by Jefferson or anyone else, for that matter, does not prove that there is one. The only thing science knows is what it knows and can prove. Science can prove the existence of a universe, the existence of DNA, the atom, the existence of bacteria etc. and man can rejoice in their awesomeness and discovery but what so called intelligent entity began or is behind it all is for now and maybe forever unknowable.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Letter to Howard Zinn: I wrote this email to Howard Zinn, a very prominent left wing former professor of history at Boston University. I met him at Boston University when I went there in the late 1960's. He and a few other professors overtook my political soul. He was the most influential professor I had and honed my beliefs for a lifetime. I had a chance encounter at a local restaurant when I was with my cousin eating lunch. I said the following:

Dear Professor Zinn. I could not believe when you walked past me and my cousin facing you said you won't believe who that was. Since I had my back toward you I did not see your face but could tell from your stature and the back EXACTLY who it was. I must say that I was thrilled to finally see you in person after so many years since BU. Since I have a disability it is not always possible for me to go to where you might be speaking so finally meeting you was delightful and made MY day!

At the risk of redundancy and hoping you do not get tired of hearing how important you were to students and in my life, you along with some historical events have shaped my philosophy and many political views. I have wavered now and then but not so very much. Some have criticized me for thinking TOO much about politics. I once had a friend say to me "politics, politics that's all you think about is politics!" I had to admit she was correct as I try, even to this day, to figure out what the truth really is. I still cannot quite do it. Certain things, though, I do know. So many unnecessary wars and horrendous killing have been this nation's policies for far too long pouring lives and treasure like water through a sieve.

Wars which did NOT need to be fought and so many people killed all over the world who did not need to die have been part of our nation's recent legacy. A very good friend of mine from my home town who also went to BU was killed in Vietnam shot down in a helicopter. Who remembers him now? Few. I do, though. I don't forget. He had joined ROTC at BU to get money for college and if he had not enlisted in ROTC he may have avoided the draft lottery and been alive today with children and even grandchildren. His fiance married another. With him the family line died out as his sister (my best friend) died early of cancer. They were a wonderful family whom I loved. I never forgot that day when we received the news of Donny's death. I visited the family, of course, and his mother sported a gold star. I thought a gold star -- a gold star THAT'S what they give you for a son? Insanity as former Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara, the Vietnam policy advocate and one who admitted the folly and lies of Vietnam, lived well into his 90's. Where is the justice?

After that and after hearing so many anti-war speeches by you and others of that era my political foundation was set. So I owe you all these years for imbuing me with a sense of questioning government policy always and not buying into all the claptrap of national propaganda which is very strong and very intoxicating. I do that for both wings of the spectrum but most especially, of course, for the rancid right as I call it.

You gave me so much and I appreciate it so much. After seeing you, I left with a general sense of love which cost me so little. It certainly cost less than the tuition of BU -- at that time -- which was $3,000 bucks including the cost of residence. I got a bargain!

I wish you well, thank you, and will continue to watch and listen to your speeches, often via UTUBE, whenever I can.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I sent the opinion below to the Department of Justice and urge you who feel the same to do so at the email address below. Former Vice President Richard Cheney and former President Bush have committed war crimes. They have committed crimes against humanity as well as illegalities in most especially failing to advise Congress of probably the most egregious CIA torture and other policies ever conducted in the name of we the people of the United States. This must not go unaddressed. Future administrations, Democrat and Republican alike must know that the policies and behaviors they enact WILL be scrutinized and that they are not the last word on power. The Constitution and we the people are.

Bush/Cheney et al are NOT above the law and the latest scandal is most probably the tip of a very deep and very illegal iceberg of policies which took a people to war based on lies, killed and maimed hundreds of thousands and sent others into permanent exile, tortured innocent people and denied many the ability to achieve justice through the suspension of habeas corpus and other 4th Amendment rights due to ANY human being not JUST US citizens and most especially in war.

They played with war in an area of the world which is a tinderbox of nations some of which harbor nuclear weapons or soon will. They failed to bring the REAL perpetrators of 9/11 to justice and they failed to protect the nation as witnessed by 9/11 occurring on THEIR watch after they were warned.

Middle Eastern memories are long and our safety as a nation is at risk. Mr. Holder needs to hold everyone who committed probably the most horrendous crimes of a democratic nation accountable. Write your senator, congressman/woman, the president and the Department of Justice for Mr. Holder to appoint a special prosecutor who will investigate, prosecute and if guilty, ultimately make those who perpetrated such heinous crimes pay the penalty for the worst and the most corrupt administration in US history.

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Sun, Jul 12, 2009 7:53 pm

An opinion for Attorney General Holder:

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 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 you do not think that is the case and that the former Bush administration officials must face the music they made and answer for illegalities and horrific policies they perpetrated which meant the taking of human life on a mass scale illegally and without cause.

Bush/Cheney, et al really spit in the face of Congress rendering it powerless. That is not QUITE what I think our founders had in mind. The Bush/Cheney conduct with respect to the conduct of the war in Iraq and deliberately keeping CIA procedures from Congress not only is unethical it is ILLEGAL and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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.

Please read the accompanying opinion by Glen Greenwald from

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I was sent the link below which is an editorial which appeared in the NYT. It does not have the vituperative quality of a Maureen Dowd but it does a good job on this latest Senator Ensign affair and "C" Street aka "Prayer House" and its band of merry men in the naturally Republican party and their influence and the revenge of Ensign's number's husband Hampton.

Excuse MY off the cuff writing. Not my usual thoughtful prose but it's early and I need to start my day and get somewhere so consequently ....

Click on Rachel Maddow show last night too. ; "Washington's Secret Religious Power Sect".

She did a WHOLE thing on this "C" Street INSANITY. These loathsome religious wacko idiots who use that tax free apartment they call in tax evasion style "Prayer House" in Washington and live together, paying lower rates, INCLUDING the rancid senator from Nevada, Ensign. This fascist NUT BAG organization is clearly the worst of the worst I have ever heard of in American politics with the exception of PERHAPS the Klan in the 20's. It is THAT bad because they are worms in positions of power and influence in the US senate and Congress and tie religion to state. It is outrageous and I can ONLY hope this uber jerk Ensign who can't keep his organ in his pants as neither can Sanford, justifies doing it and Ensign makes payoffs to his little number because he was persuaded by this group that they are "chosen by God" to be a member of the wealthy elite so whatever they do is okay.

It makes your head explode as it surely does mine since I loath religion in politics so entirely. These nut jobs think Hitler and even Mao were leaders because they were chosen and unquestioned by the populous who owed them undying allegiance except these jerks put a particularly American Christian empire spin on it and apply it to themselves as long as they have the big bucks and of course because they do they are chosen by god to do whatever they want. They simply pay everyone off whom they take advantage of and criminally pay off everyone to keep their mouths shut and who knows what else. They also have bases outside the US to spread their version of Christianity which makes it a rather international crime and one could argue even treasonous. This involves a NUMBER of US senators and those affiliated with them. it is, in my opinion, sick. The Ensign affair gets curiouser and curiouser and more rancid by the minute.

They persuaded Ensign to have Ensign's parents pay 96 thousand bucks to the girl he shtoooped. (as Rachel said and used that word to explain the dynamics) oh yes because they felt SOOO sorry for her...SURE. I call it payoff and hush money big time. Rachel Maddow did a FANTASTIC job and had on the author of a book written by a guy who lived with these morons. The book is called "Family" because these guys thought of themselves as a kind of mafia family in their power holding. we have mafia families living in the Senate! Great. Just what we need.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

This was written in response to an opinion by a local writer. The subject: Was the Iraq War worth it? He was, I thought, quite correct by saying no and stating why. I responded with a blog entry.

I could NOT have said it better. Lloyd Kaye is 150% correct. The presidency of George W. Bush, the worst in US history, did more to SIGNIFICANTLY hurt this country after 9/11 than any other president has perpetrated at any other time in our history. One wonders when our disastrous foreign adventures will ever stop. No, Lippy, the non-questioner supreme, it was NOT all about oil but it was PARTLY about oil. The other parts of the insane policy are endemic to US foreign policy which simply does not know when to quit, does not calculate risk, does not care about innocent lives -- OURS OR THEIRS, does not, with all the supposed prestigious institutions of learning, know how to read history and understand the culture of the nations it invades and give thought to policies which kill, maim and destroy. It does so using modern day blitzkrieg notions and overwhelming force. Why? Because it can.

Another part of the equation was, of course, George Bush's puerile mentality as he sat through too many western movies (when he wasn't drunk) which made him swagger and think if America or the president does it it must be right and HE, after all, was the president. He sure showed his daddy and Jeb what a man he truly was better than at any other time in his sorry life. He was going to seek revenge for 9/11, wage preemptive war on a people who did nothing to us and was STUPID enough to be convinced by NeoCons and Dick Cheney that he would remake the Middle East into a Jeffersonian democracy. They told him he would be remembered as liberator supreme. Instead he got a shoe thrown at him. We have paid the HEFTIEST price in blood and treasure. Worse, Arab memory is not short.

Our policies often take advantage of our geographical good fortune and run amok dropping bombs, napalm, and yes, even some gas on anyone who gets in the way of its manifest destiny, shining city on the hill and empire. Well, those bombs, bullets, defoliation, torture, displacement and other disastrous consequences of war like the killing of innocents may NOT be etched in our memory but they are etched in those we hit.

I HOPE the president is correct and the arc of history bends toward justice. So far I have seen little. I await a punishment visited upon those who perpetrated this horrendous folly, gargantuan mistake, lies and evil. The lives lost, the countries ruined, the export of Al Qaeda, the displacement of refugees, the civil war STILL being waged, Pakistani restiveness with its nuclear threat and the infusion of Iran with power it did not have before are simply SOME of the astounding consequences. The balance of power has been shaken. The crimes Bush/Cheney regime have perpetrated are crimes against humanity as grave and serious as any which have ever occurred. The path of history should be made right, the arc should bend toward justice and the guilty should be held accountable.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Reality of Israel: In response to Mr. Scott Wolfe's July 6, 2009 Providence Journal letter to the editor "Time to break ties with Israeli oppressors," as a rather liberal Jew, I am continually staggered by the left's undying love for the Palestinian cause and its near universal crushing criticism of the State of Israel. Mr. Wolfe waxed effusive about our July 4th freedom from tyranny ridiculously comparing the Palestinian issue to that. Does Mr. Wolfe REALLY think that the Palestinian state would be free from its own tyranny? Does Mr. Wolfe really think that IF a Palestinian state becomes reality one will live in a blissful civil libertarian Eden? I think not. Presently, Mr. Wolfe should try protesting Hamas in Gaza. Israel is the only remotely democratic state in the Middle East. It is equipped with civil liberties, balances of power, an active protest movement, a large homosexual contingent and a medical system that is one of the most advanced and inclusive on planet earth. It medically treats all people equally including those who would seek to destroy the tiny Jewish state. Moreover, even though Israel is a Jewish state it is secular in nature. Any group in the US has the right to lobby. That Jews do so with groups like AIPAC and others is treated by some as unduly influential. It's not. It's normal. In my opinion, often, those accusations smack of anti-Semitism.

Israel every single day, against great odds, fights for its life. How perfect would this country be under those circumstances? Is Israel perfect? Of course not. I would like Mr. Wolfe to describe a Middle East country, or any country for that matter, which is.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

To Tell the Truth: The July 5, 2009 Boston Sunday Globe op editorials "Trustworthy community" by Michael Felsen and "Leaders are extremist" by Dennis Hale and Charles Jacobs presented two opposing viewpoints about the opening of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury. The first editorial praises its opening claiming its all inclusive acceptance of many different religions, cultures and belief. The latter article is suspicious of its opening, claiming the center waves a "false flag of moderation" but in reality is associated with a variety of leaders it lists who have links to terrorism and the most extreme, non-inclusive, hate-filled often Wahhabi forms of Islam with viewpoints levied against Jews, Christians and special vituperative hostility reserved for homosexuals.

I am a suspicious Jew because the history of the Jewish people compels me to be so. However, I also am in favor of kumbaya moments of tolerance when people of all faiths and ethnicity join hands and accept each other. If Mr. Felsen is to be believed and the Islamic Society of Boston is the all inclusive welcoming institution it claims to be then the veracity of the statements indicting the Islamic Center made by Mr. Jacobs should be addressed specifically one by one, denied, rejected and refuted unequivocally. Then and only then can I know who is telling the truth.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

This was posted on the Metro West Newspaper blog in response to a conscientious objector who was speaking in the area. He was a former Iraq War vet who is going around the country advocating for peace. He incurs the wrath of some. I responded.

It's the Foreign Policy Stupid: The issue, as I see it, is the substance of American foreign policy. There are problems in this arena and have been, in my opinion, since World War II perhaps originating even before that. There is no other industrialized first-world nation on earth which has accumulated the humongous military and industrial liaison which had gone unchecked as has the US. It is responsible for the involvement in ad infitum wars of quagmire as well as the propping up of unworthy regimes all over the world. Our geographical good fortune has allowed us the ability to simply drop bombs and not suffer retaliatory consequences as most of the nations we attack are too poor, too remote and do not have the ability to do that. While at times just wars are fought too many unjust ones have been waged. US foreign policy has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands if not millions, has ruined infrastructure in countries like Vietnam, Iraq and many others and has cost TRILLIONS. We do not realize, I believe, as Americans the damage we inflict and the cost of our wars in OUR blood, other's blood, OUR treasure not to mention the bad will it has encountered worldwide.

I believe we have, since World War II, been yearning for the adulation (QUITE RIGHTFULLY we deserved) it engendered but somewhere along way, probably due to the perceived threat of Communism and its ideal of overthrowing our economic system, we have been on the side of despots and interfered often unjustly in the internal affairs of nations in which we do not belong. Our policy has been one of self interest, yes, but more recently it has been to our detriment as other nations must sweep up from our onslaughts, are often angered, alienated and desire revenge.

I believe the kinds of war in which we engage do NOT work anymore and MUST be rethought. I believe they are devastating in their consequences at worst and at best are immoral. We are not dropping chocolate we are dropping bombs and we have absolutely NO understanding of just what that means as we sip our morning coffee in quiet geographical removal. It is NOT World War II, and I think the stakes are now much higher. It is not simply conventional war we must fear but it is nuclear annihilation as it eventually becomes IMPOSSIBLE to contain the threat of nuclear weapons accumulation by third world nations. Most of the American people have NO idea of the risk and the cost of that kind of confrontation. I submit if you asked most in the street what Nagasaki was or what it meant they would not know.

I believe our MOST recent engagements especially Iraq but many others too have had the the gravest consequences, have produced the most profound immorality, have shaken up a hornets nest of protest, have threatened the stability of the Middle East and have been a grave threat to our own country. Because of its consequences we cannot afford the devastated infrastructure repair, the health care of our people and the necessary educational needs necessary to keep this nation competitive in a global economic world. Our lives, I believe, are at stake because of the absolutely inept prosecution of bankrupt foreign adventures for decades which are NOT in our or anyone's best interest.

We need to RETHINK what it means to wage war, the price that is paid in blood, treasure and the morality it engenders . We need to be ever so careful, ever so prescient as to where we land American boots. Empires come and go. With over 700 bases all over the world, wars fought on so many lands we are, I believe, indeed an empire and empires must know that it is NOT only about their lives it is about the lives of those they encounter. The stakes are high and significant changes MUST be made or we face, I think, as a nation our greatest threat.

Postscript: I heard Josh speak this morning and instead of keeping the money he received from the government as a soldier in Iraq he gave it to organizations he deemed worthy of his cause. He, as I gather, did NOT keep it.

As I said today at his speech, my viewpoint lies somewhere in the middle of WWII and modern times. I am a realist and I know not all men are saints. It is necessary to one's survival to have a defense. That does NOT mean, however, that one does not question the policy of government. If all men were like CO, Josh, what a better world it would be. The problem is they are not and it is the Solomon-like wisdom we need to determine when to use force and when not while knowing the immense pitfalls we encounter when we do.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Defiant Dilemma: I have probably seen every Holocaust film known to man and last night I saw yet another by recommendation entitled "Defiance." Based on a true story, it is about a group of Jews in Beylorus who actually lived in the forest in 1941 for 2 years trying to evade capture by the Nazis and the Nazis often Polish and other helpers. It is thrilling, captivating, gut wrenching and the truth of it makes it all the more so. It has a bit of a positive end although you would NOT think so leading up to it, of course. Along with the "Boy in the Stripped Pajamas", and a taped History Channel entitled "The Nazi Scrapbook" (a documentary about a photo book found in a drawer and sent to the Holocaust Museum") are three of the most excellent films/documentary specifically about this subject I have seen.

The Holocaust is MY yardstick for all that I believe and it is the heart of my feeling about the Jewish people. It is MORE much more than about religious belief of which I have little but it is its moral, survival, ethical, political essence that grabs me. It pierces my heart like nothing else can. It is why I used to hold Israel to a higher standard because we are a people whose history has been saturated with sadness and onslaught. We have been plagued, hunted, tortured, crushed and slaughtered during the past 2000 years and ultimately the object of the greatest mass murder humanity has ever seen bar none. It has EVERYTHING to teach and yet it has NOTHING to teach as man does what he does again and again and again all over the world.

Every time I see another film about the Holocaust I wax staggered by the ENORMITY of it. My eyes do not want to believe what I see and I go to bed feeling guilty that I sleep warm, am fed well and have survived in comfort. I am chilled by the fact that had all my grandparents stayed where they were they could have been among those Jews who ran through the forest in spring, summer, winter and fall just to survive and IF they did not they would have been killed in concentration camps. It is a testament to man's yearning to survive and be free and it extends to all people everywhere. It is again when I dissect the politics that is Israel I can see WHY the Jewish heart is so brutal in determination never to let that happen again AND YET I cannot understand HOW in VIEW of what happened some can run roughshod over those sometimes innocent next door. THAT is my cerebral conundrum with which I cannot come to terms.

We all look at life through our own lens but the Jewish life is, in my opinion, like no other. Suffering is NOT limited to the Jew, certainly, but a Jewish life throughout the centuries could never find a home and could simply never just be. The Holocaust MUST be a ruler -- a moral prism -- by which everyone measures his capacity for good and evil and what behavior is permissible and what is not. It is MY eternal dilemma of conscience. I recommend this film if you haven't seen it because it gives life to the meaning of the ultimate catastrophe in ways which no other film I can remember has. It should have universal meaning for us all.