Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I sent this to Glen Greenwald from Salon.com. He is a brilliant political commentator and one with whom I agree most of the time. This time, though, I did not agree with parts of what he said. I related that to him and posted it on my blog appending the link to his site below.

Mr. Greenwald: I Saw you on CNN’s Dylan Ratigan and read your post on Salon.com. Your commentary, as always, is excellent. Still, you, the political left and I diverge on Israel. I am NOT anti-Israeli. I think Israel faces threats no one can understand without living there. You are correct Iran has not bombed anyone BUT it has been involved in arming regimes which are hostile to Israel and which support the spread of world wide Islamic fundamentalism. IF they could I firmly believe Iran, along with other forces, would eradicate the Jewish state.

I am a generation very closely related to the years of the Holocaust. I missed it – thankfully -- by a very little. I was born in the year Israel was founded. I believe most who are Jews cannot be unmindful of our history no matter how removed from the Holocaust one gets. Benign reticence for the Jewish people spelled our near doom. We are unlike, I believe, now any other people on earth. Israel and Jews will do what Israel and Jews must do to reinforce our existence as Malcolm X said about HIS people "by any means necessary." We have paid a high price -- TOO high a price -- to let our destiny depend on the wishy washy sentiments of others all over the globe. It cannot be so ever again.

Furthermore, I do believe there is a cultural difference between much of the Arab world and the Jewish state. As the US Supreme Court said about another matter “I know it when I see it.” Likewise, I know an advanced, free civilization when I see it. Israel is such a country.

Iran, despite doing nothing to hurt anyone YET, will, I believe, when and IF it can, eradicate the Jewish state as it has promised to do many many times. You may say words are merely words but, I believe, words mean something. They did in Hitlerian Germany just before the Holocaust and, I believe, they do now. I agree with you, however, there must never be a George W. Bush preemptive war based on nothing again. That does not mean that nothing should ever be done. Something must be done with respect to Iran's attempt at securing a nuclear arsenal in that dangerous part of the world and I thought the President’s call on that was quite correct.

I am assuming you are Jewish and wonder if it ever gives you pause to laud a religious tyrannical state which you know would destroy Israel and our people if it could or support one who even SAYS it would. If you are a Jew, I submit, you will be a Jew to them no matter how understanding your thoughts may be. You will be, I believe, a Jew first, last and always whether you want to admit it or not.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Awesome Days: On the Jewish calendar at this time of year are marked serious moments called the Days of Awe. It is between the New Year, usually in September, of Rosh Hashanah, and, a week later, during the holiest day of the year for Jews, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, in which the individual can evaluate his or her life and repent its wrongs. It marks a plea, nay a plaintive wail, which asks forgiveness so that one may be able to make right those wrongs which have been committed. All vows between creation and oneself become null and void so that we can try to begin again, wipe the slate clean and start anew. It is, in its solemnity, a beautiful time, whether one is religious or not, to look closely at one’s self and ask, with the utmost sincerity, have I been the best that I can be as a human being and, if not, can I do better.

I think most of the major faiths provide that avenue to a much flawed humanity. It is important, I think, for all people who know that the egregious behavior they may have committed or hurtful things they may have said during the year can be rethought, reevaluated, ultimately changed and forgiven by something bigger than ourselves. It enables us to get a fresh start and begin again to improve on, in this year, what we think, say and do. It is hoped, too, because of our earnest commitment we will, as the Jewish prayers ask, be sealed in the book of life to enjoy yet one more year and see the magical universe yet one more time.

A Happy New Year to all my Jewish brethren, a happy and healthy year to those who are not, and most certainly a fervent hope for our country to remain secure and free.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dowd Does it Again: Yet again, Maureen Dowd, New York Times editorialist, brings her brilliant mind and translates her thoughts into creative writing often showing her mastery of literary masterpieces to create one of her own. I wholeheartedly agree with her editorial -- link below. The intellect and wit of Steve Allen, cerebral raconteur of the 1950's and 60's, wrote a book called "Vulgarians at the Gate" which illuminated the coarse crudity to which American culture had sunk. That fact is reflected in every arena, whether sport, music, radio, online blogs and now in the halls of Congress by Congressman Wilson, confederate flag waiver supreme as he rudely called the president a liar in a joint session of Congress, an act which had never occurred in a joint session before.

I believe in evolution but I also believe in devolution as a culture and a country reverse the the evolutionary assent toward perfection to a descent into verbal anarchy and cultural chaos. Mr. Wilson should be more than rebuked. He should be sent home by the voters of South Carolina.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

STUMPED: The posting is what is appearing on the Huffington post blogs. I will admit to having some misgivings about our president. I always have BUT publicly I do not write about them. This is, I think, the first blog I wax critical because I am dismayed and perplexed. I STILL do not know who Barack Obama is.

I cut and pasted if ANYONE cares or anyone reads these things. I think this is SERIOUS stuff. I am SO dismayed I think my head is spinning the speed of light. I have NO idea what is going on with him and what he is about. Either he doesn't care and just is in there for a laugh or it is just impossible to get anything done. I suspect he still thinks he's at Harvard Law Review and wants to make nice with the opposition OR he think or wants to be like Jesus and pull everyone together. There is time for Jesus but Washington is not IT. With the House, the Senate and the White House in Dem. control it staggers my mind to read these.

1. You are being very kind and polite to call the president naive, since, c'mon, you know that the man just isn't that naive; if he were really trying for reform, his proposal would have some sharp regulatory teeth which it doesn't. The speech is for show just like last week's health speech; they make it look like he cares and that he's trying, but we won't have even a public option and we won't have WS reform. I think he knows exactly what he's doing.

2. Then do you think that this president is UTTERLY duplicitous and that everything he told us is a sham that he said things simply to get elected and says things now he knows his base wants to hear but he has NO intention of forcing the issue?

My reply: Then what is this guy we put into office? What the hell is he? My whole family LOVED him and I osmotically believed what they were saying. I thought they say this guy is brilliant and more than that he is ethical beyond belief. So am I in Alice in Wonderland where up is down and down is up? I feel like I am going totally crazy with this guy? Who is he? What does he REALLY think? Does he care at all?

So far he is simply NOT what I thought he would be. Sometimes talks a good game but behind the scenes it is NOT what he has been about. He is IMPOTENT and ineffective and his adversaries he is trying to pull along and they kick him. I want to say Mr. President you are NOT Jesus Christ. You need to kick some posteriors. What is up with him? Your post makes me shake my head. Who is right you or my family? I just do NOT know. STUMPED!!

3. Obama has betrayed us on healthcare and Wall Street reform. He will not be getting my vote when reelection time comes, and I will not vote to reelcet my democratic representative. I will vote third party or sit at home. If it cost the Deomcrats the election, perhaps they will finally learn that they have to keep their promises.

4. I think it WILL cost the Democrats the forthcoming elections, both 2010 and 2012. For a while I've felt deep down that BO is a one-termer. Wonder what he'll do after that? I see he's been lunching with Bill Clinton. Maybe he's getting a few pointers on life after the presidency? In any case, no change to health, no change to Wall Street, no c hange to war. An impotent president isolated and pushed into irrelevance by his opponents. Quite a sad thing to watch.

5. I'm afraid Obama, while well-intentioned, just doesn't have the backbone to fix or even instigate the numerous fixes we need, be they in health care or on Wall Street.
We elected a guy who wants to be class president. Alas, the times call for far something different. The first ominous clues were in the choosing of his economic team. Maybe, like his hero Lincoln, Obama will evolve and grow. But frankly, the challenges can't wait.
We need a genuine progressiv­e/populist third party. Perhaps our system won't allow for something like that. Or maybe, things will get so bad, society--the voters--will demand nothing less.
One can hope.

7. This has been our problem since Bill Clinton's term ended- no real leadership. Mr. Gore is showing his real colors, global warming is critical but he totally sold out for the money. John Kerry is well, John Kerry. Obama was pushed into the limelight far to early because no one else is stepping up. Hillary, my vote went to her, would have been a much better choice. I'm afraid, like with Carter, we're going to suffer for a long time when his one term is up. The speeches are fantastic it's the follow-up that's very weak.Heard an economist today say that all Obama's financial "reforms" will do is white wash the cracks. He gives good rhetoric but can't deliver on transformational change which means he will be merely a transitional President. The question is a transitional President to what? Given the ignorance of large swaths of the public, a corrupt and complicit 4th Estate and a political class motivated by their own self-interest and cynicism the most likely outcome is that of total corporate fascism. 200 + years in the experiment of self-governance would seem to be drawing to a close.

I have sent a sample of these blogs to the White House. They NEED to wake up before it is too late!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This letter to the Globe is in response to a letter to the editor by a Gifford Weber in the September 12, 2009 issue of the Boston Globe. The respondent criticized Kennedy most for his "public flaying" of Supreme Court rejected nominee Robert Bork and thought that took a back seat to even the Chappaquiddick episode. I thought otherwise.

It is inconceivable to me how Gifford A. Weber (letter to the editor September 12, 2009) thinks that the main reason one should not forgive Senator Kennedy is because he zealously tried to block the admission of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Logically, if Mr. Weber is to be believed, one should criticize the late senator for the barring of Justice Bork from a place on the Supreme Court more than, he says, Senator Kenndy's lapses at Chappaquiddick where a young woman died. I have made peace with the Senator's private life missteps. He more than atoned for them.

The barring of Justice Bork from the Supreme Court, in my opinion, was one of Senator Kennedy's best efforts. Robert Bork was a right wing extremist and would have rewritten settled law. He would have been an activist right wing judge something conservatives supposedly loath except when its decided in their direction. In my opinion, Justice Souter was a solid justice. He was a happy surprise to those of us who care about human rights and progressive causes and see the Constitution as a flexible not static document subject to interpretation. One can hardly blame Justice Souter for, as Mr. Weber puts it, the "poisonous atmosphere" in Washington. I suggest Mr. Weber look to his own right wing for that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I wrote this in response to Washington Post editorialist Colbert I King. His article "A Dangerous Kind of Hate" concentrates on worrisome hate filled attacks actually calling for not only Obama's failure but chillingly his death. His article appears at the link below and my response is below that.


A Paliative Remedy for Hate: Mr. King, I read your article "A Dangerous Kind of Hate" and had chills running down my spine. I worry about our president every single day. It may be a few on the lunatic fringe who are the most vociferously poisonous but I worry about the Republican mainstream climbing in bed with the white nationalist cause.

I never like to compare histories because truly history is different depending on the perspective and the times but the echo of 1930's Germany keeps clanging in my brain. Race hatred and economic catastrophes are the toxic brew out of which weak democratic governments fail and sometimes implode.

I worry about our president and wish so sincerely that he take a more strength infused path, bypassing those who will hate him no matter how many hands he extends, and concentrate on the party and people who elected him and those who love him.

As a Jew I have learned the lesson that if one cowers in fear or continually HOPES one's enemies will extend their hand that hope is often dashed as all hands pull away and backs are turned. Intelligence coupled with STRENGTH is the only palliative remedy to stop these race-bating haters from gaining power. Our president needs more than prayers, he needs to present STRONG leadership and he needs our verbal offense which provides him a STRONG DEfense! Our power crazed opponents do NOT want to compromise with him. They not only want him to fail, but, indeed, some, horrifically unthinkable, want him dead. We live in dangerous times.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NO WE CANNOT: A case which is being revisited by the Supreme Court and which will, if decided for the corporation, have a huge influence on our lives and not, in my opinion, for the better. As Bill Moyers on his site says: "The case, Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission has grown from a limited question about [the showing of] a political documentary [funded by an anti Hillary Clinton corporation] to a broad challenge to the government's right to restrict corporations from spending money to support or oppose political candidates." This is about putting the free speech of a corporation on par with the First Amendment free speech of a person.

The person in this country, historically, has had to suffer at the hands of the omnipotent corporations because, as individuals, a singular person does NOT have the resources available to him with which to fund opposition. The issue of corporate person-hood has waxed and waned over time. Today we know our representatives in Washington are smothered by corporation PAC money in every sphere from health care to oil. Corporations have undue influence on our bodies and, often, our lives. Now they want to usurp one of a person’s few remaining reserved elements of political power – the free speech of the First Amendment-- as a rationale and excuse to control the whole Washington enchilada.

Mr. Abrams and the ACLU (an entity I usually adore), are arguing before the Supreme Court the corporate side of the equation that this is a free speech First Amendment issue and that the corporation’s free speech should be equal to that of a person. It is, I submit, NOT a person and should NOT be subject to the same free speech rights. Elena Kagan, the Solicitor General of the United States is arguing that point.

What ordinary human being can compete with the money that the corporation has at its disposal? The corporation behind the film against the candidacy of Hillary Clinton took Mr. Abrams and the ACLU for all they were worth to find yet another way to legally insinuate itself into Washington politics. A decision for the corporation will free up the corporation to do and say anything it pleases with as much cash as it can muster.

I believe, this is NOT what our Founders meant by free speech. They meant that right to be reserved for real, live, breathing people to espouse anything anywhere no matter how odious. They did not mean for the corporation with its billions of loot to have the right to do the same and easily override the individual’s impact on policy.

The corporation should NOT be considered a human being. It has no feelings, it has no sense of fair play, it cannot get sick and it cannot die BUT we can. The corporation if the Supreme Court decides in its favor will have unlimited capital to advance its agenda.

This important case is about FAIRNESS. It is not fair to make MY opinion any less valuable than another’s. By endowing the CORPORATION with person-hood with respect to the free speech issue, the Supreme Court will put it on the same footing as everyone else. The corporation is NOT like everyone else. This case is about nothing less than the undue influence of MONEY in politics which is what the corporation has at its disposal to influence who occupies the seats of federal power. How can an individual compete with that? If the Supreme Court rules FOR the corporation in this case, the president's new mantra may as well become NO WE CANNOT no matter WHAT we do!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This opinion was prompted by an email I received from the Wiesenthal Center about an article which they saw in alJezeera Magazine entitled "Jane Fonda Joins Boycott of Toronto Film Festival over Homage to Israel" See link below.

Jane Fonda and the Left's Error -- Its Case Against Israel: An article appeared in alJezeera Magazine entitled Jane Fonda Joins Boycott of Toronto Film Festival over Homage to Israel. The article states in pertinent part “… a letter [sent by Fonda and other artists] aimed at festival officials claims that Tel Aviv was built on violence, ignoring the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants.” Fonda, therefore, joined a growing list of artists boycotting the festival.

Of course, no one mentions that the Jewish State emerged out of the 1948 UN mandate made because of Europe’s problem of left over suffering Jewish refugees of the Holocaust with its attendant wholesale slaughter of the six million. Nor does it mention that Jews had, for millennia, been a part of that land. Jane Fonda has gone back to being a jerk, as she joins this bleating segment of the herd without, yet again, thinking through her actions. Further, the Jewish artists who come out against Israel are shooting themselves in their own foot.

Some on the left and I part ways when it comes to Israel. I cannot, hard as I may try, understand how they would want to defend those who want to destroy the tiny state by force or by a ONE-state solution which also threatens the Jewish state AND by extension the Jewish people period. It is unacceptable.

A comparison of cultures makes crystal clear that the tyranny existing in the Arab world is staggering. Women are whipped, beaten and sometimes killed for the most minor "offenses." They are flogged because they wear pants, threatened or tortured if they go to school. They are stoned, sometimes to death, if God forbid they sleep with someone before marriage or with another other than their husband or even if they deny their husband sex. Homosexuals are killed or tortured in many of those lands in the most bestial ways. The atrocities abound as they do in Gaza itself and even between their own people. Women are treated horrifically in nearly every Arab country and Persian one as well. I cannot be blind to what my eyes see. Israel for all of its faults (and it is not without them) is an infinitely freer state. It fights to survive every single day as Jews have done throughout centuries.

Moreover, I hear nary a sound from segments of the left against the plethora of attacks committed by Islamic fundamentalists collectively against hundreds of thousands of innocents. We must bring REALITY back to planet earth and state what really IS as your eyes see it while not abandoning the many other humane and principled issues about which the left is concerned.

Israel is more advanced, freer and more democratic than any state in that mentally unhinged neck of the woods! I am not afraid to criticize Israel at times when it is not perfect but I do not know of a perfect place on earth. Do you?

See link below sent by the Wiesenthal Center: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/articles/34/Jane_Fonda_Joins_Boycott_of_Toronto_Film_Festival_.html

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The genius of genius Glen Greenwald of Salon.com is my idea of a GREAT GREAT intelligent journalist and man. Read this column (link below) it is EXACTLY how I feel. Wonderful right on the money piece about why we MUST change our policy. Our tax dollar now is conducting war after war after war since after WWII and it won't work and we have killed THOUSANDS and paid TRILLIONS for nothing. Quagmires abound. We have become a belligerent state and the politics of our country shows. It is ANYTHING but it surely is NOT humanitarian. Just watch the recent town meeting where teabag nutjobs screamed at a woman in a wheelchair who needs health care.

There are some mean, hurtful, crazies out there and people who love to kill. Yes, they love war. Of course they love it as long as some OTHER guy's kid fights it. They love the flags, the marching bands and the macho hoopla but fight the war? Not so much. The policy makers don't fight and most others do not either. Only a small percentage wage our technologically crushing wars on a LOT of innocent civilians. Our public is deaf and blind to the havoc it plays. And then they wonder just why so many are down on the US. It's frightening. I thought our country was better than that! Click on or cut and paste into your browser the link below. Glen Greenwald gives a daily opinion on Salon.com.