Archive for the ‘History’ Category
We are living in extraordinary times. There isn’t anyone I know who does not feel the profound upheaval and changes we are experiencing both globally and personally. One of the awakenings taking place is the realization that we are free to see, and therefore create, a world of our choosing. We need not be enslaved any longer to someone else’s reality or to the perspective fed us daily by a variety of media outlets and politicians.
Which leads me to write about “compassionate war.” I realize the phrase itself seems like an oxymoron. How can you have something as violent and destructive as war and see it in terms of compassion? The answer lies in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
My focus is not the politics of the conflict nor is it the terrorist designation of Hamas. It’s about Israel and the manner in which it has chosen to prepare for and proceed with this inevitable clash.
In two weeks of fighting, Israel has agreed unilaterally to 4 separate halts in the armed fighting. Two of those were humanitarian requests, one by Hamas itself, which Israel honored and Hamas did not. Israel literally built a hospital at one of the border-crossing check-points to treat any wounded Palestinians who would need treatment. No one has showed up. Israel offered and readied millions of shekels, (Israeli currency is 3.5 :1 as against the US dollar) so at least one million dollars, of medical supplies and equipment to deliver to Gaza but the Palestinian Authority rejected the offer.
Israel has spent millions of dollars building bomb shelters throughout Israel and in these past two weeks, 75% of its population has had to use them. In Gaza, tens of thousands of tons of cement and building supplies intended for schools, office buildings and homes were diverted by Hamas over the past five years to burrow and build elaborate tunnels underground from Gaza to Israel to be used in a mass terror attack scheduled for this coming September 25th, the first night of the Jewish New Year.
Perhaps most astonishingly, Israel has done what no other nation in the history of the world has done. It gives advance warning to Gaza’s citizens where and when they will strike. By way of leaflets dropped by the Israeli Air Force, cell phone text messages and twitter postings, Israel gives the Palestinians every opportunity to flee a known missile launch site before striking. Hamas has deliberately positioned those sites in homes, schools, graveyards, and mosques while ordering Palestinian men, women and children to remain where they are despite certainty of injury or death.
Just today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any lasting truce will require 1) the “demilitarization of Gaza and social and economic relief for the Palestinian people there.” Even in the midst of war, the Israeli’s are looking out for the well-being of their adversary.
All civilized people who revere life want a world without war. However, as long as there remain uncivilized people who glorify violence and death there will be a need for defensive action.
In the Torah, the Old Testament, it talks about the nation of Israel being a “light unto the Nations.” I think it is fair to say that in a defensive war thrust upon it, Israel has and continues to act in ways that exemplify how even in the darkest of times, honorable men and women can shine a light upon their humanity and reflect for the world our connectedness to one another.
The American spirit at its best is unfettered optimism. Our belief in the ability to accomplish a goal despite all odds is why so many people from around the globe want to be Americans. But optimism, in excess, can also be a detriment. Absent any basis in reality or fact, optimism deteriorates into mindlessness.
In 2008, the nation was captivated by the emergence of a well-educated articulate, seemingly bright, charismatic, civic-minded African-American candidate for President. Our national optimism propelled a majority of us to rally behind his candidacy as he represented the culmination of decades of optimism that we would one day rise above the superficiality of race and see a person based upon the content of his or her character.
We erred by allowing our optimism to negate our discernment. We raced past logical review and analysis of the candidate’s background, achievements, and philosophical underpinnings to embrace his bumper sticker. We were content with a promise because we are, after all, Americans and doesn’t every American want what is best for the country? Apparently not.
The Presidential election of 2016 portends a similar fate unless we temper our wishes with our intellect. Hillary Clinton remains the Democrat front-runner should she make a formal announcement to enter the race. Hillary has likely been promised that position should she desire it. While I don’t yet know her slogan, we need to see past the prospect of the “first female President” and face the truth of Hillary’s career and her condition.
Hillary Clinton failed at passing socialized medicine but got it anyway to what we now know to be the Nation’s harm. She worked for the Children’s Defense Fund advocating children’s rights but represented an admitted child rapist and bragged at her success in getting him off “for time served” due to an evidentiary error…not to mention her laughing at the rapist having “beaten” a lie detector test. Hillary disparaged the women her husband sexually harassed, fondled, or had sex with rather than condemn his behavior. She failed to adequately protect and defend our Embassy in Benghazi and it now seems she knew the President was lying when he blamed a video for the attack then stood by that lie as she had stood by her husband’s immorality.
And Hillary is not healthy. She has fallen, had blood clots, arrhythmia, and who knows what else. Lately, she has made statements about she and her husband’s financial status that draw into question either her version of reality or her values system.
How does that saying go? “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Let us not be so eager to follow the first black President with the first female President that we once again throw caution to the wind and see not what is in front of us but rather what’s being sold to us.
The next time Secretary of State John Kerry chooses to describe Israel as heading towards an apartheid state he would do well to closely examine the reaction of world Jewry to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s bigoted remarks about African Americans. There is probably no other People on earth, living in or out of Israel, more sensitive to bigotry, bias, religious persecution and hate speech than Jews.
Sadly, the Secretary’s comment was founded in either 1) ignorance of historical fact or 2) his own apparent bias about Israel, its people and its government. I hope it is the former, although in a position of such gravitas requiring heightened diplomatic skills neither is acceptable nor excusable.
Arab Israeli’s make up approximately 20% of the population. Historically, Arabs living within Israel since 1949 have enjoyed more freedoms than Arabs living in any Arab speaking country. Since 1949, Israel has seen 70 Arab Israeli’s elected to the Knesset (with 13 serving currently). Arabs serve in the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli police, as emergency medical service providers, doctors, businessmen, entertainers, television personalities and in a multitude of positions within every aspect of civil society. In 2004, Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered that every public company have at least one Arab Israeli on its Board of Directors.
Does this seriously lead anyone other than Secretary Kerry (or Arab extremists seeking the annihilation of the State of Israel) to conclude that an apartheid Israeli nation is a foregone conclusion? I think not.
Personally, I stand with former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, who today said that “children are running our foreign policy” and with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who yesterday called for the resignation of Secretary Kerry.
Ignorance is only bliss when it does no harm.
The “greenest” faction of the Nazi war machine was the SS. Heinrich Himmler who headed the unit was an animal lover, a vegetarian and organic farming enthusiast. In fact, at Treblinka, the SS had beautiful picnic grounds and a zoo, while the last sight the Jews saw before entering the gas chambers was an exquisite flower garden. The SS advocated an ideology of “blood and soil” that rolled into one policy evolutionary racism, peasant agrarianism and environmentalism.
So, it is possible to be politically correct while simultaneously being inhumanely insane. Which brings me to Cliven Bundy and the Obama Administration.
Mr. Bundy is a fourth generation rancher in Nevada. He has been grazing his 500 cattle on Clark County, Nevada public lands as did his father and grandfather before him. He has paid his grazing fees to the County and the State. He has not, however, paid fees demanded by the federal government as it is his position, supported by the Governor of Nevada, that the U.S. Government and Bureau of Land Management have no authority to collect them.
The response to his refusal to pay those fees is now the theft of his private property by the Federal Government (200 cattle thus far captured and removed), armed marshals surrounding the remainder as well as he and his family, his son tasered and a dangerously escalating situation. Memories of Waco and the Branch Davidian Sect standoff come to mind. The prospects for this ending poorly increase exponentially by the day.
The regulation and legal basis by which the Federal Government is asserting its authority and claim was enacted 20 years ago protecting the desert tortoise of the region from extinction.
As an animal lover I would never want to see any animal harmed, let alone extinct. But when we reach the point where the survival of the tortoise is grounds for abrogating the U.S. Constitution and basic human rights, we are dangerously close to…if not over…the same line the SS crossed. That story ended poorly as well.
We need to understand our connectedness to one another,to all living things, and to the environment within a well-thought through balanced approach. No one aspect of that triad should prevail at the expense of the others. Every American should be appalled and vocal about what is taking place in Nevada. As German Lutheran Pastor and vocal Nazi opponent Erik Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Not to speak is to speak. Not to stand is to stand.”
I’m not often compelled to write a post that leaves my readers feeling anything but optimistic or at least hopeful. Its not that I shy away from difficult stories. Its just that my style is to always seek the high ground, and so, when writing about the most negative or fear-based events I seek, and generally find, the inspirational take-away.
We have a President who has serially lied to the Nation and who disregards the rule of law. He’s lied so many times that I am astonished at his hubris, given the existence of video recording. His repeated contradictions and outright untruths are both stunning and deeply disturbing to anyone with an understanding of how the U.S. Constitution has kept this great experiment in governance from going the way of so many failed efforts that came before it that tried to create a free society.
The President has gone so far in overstepping the Constitutional bounds of his office, and done so without any opposition from Congress or clamor for accountability by the populace, that he now feels safe in saying such things as “I’ve got a pen and a phone…and I can use that pen to sign Executive Orders (referring to Congress’ reluctance to support his agenda) and “The good thing about being President is that I can do whatever I want” (while touring, of all places, Jefferson’s Monticello).
I have witten before on this blog about the imperial nature of this First Couple and I am not alone. Others have expressed similar observations…just not enough others. So now I feel compelled to say that if you, reading this post, stand by while this bastion of liberty is highjacked by an arrogant, self-annointed, dictatorial President who YOU elected, then there will be nowhere to go and no one to see when all of his actions converge to reach critical mass and result in the economic and societal collapse of this Nation. Its show time, folks. Use your voice or lose your voice for a very, long, dark period of time to come.
Yet it pains me to end on other than hope. So here it is.
If you refuse to be silent or complicit or in denial any longer, and there are enough of you, then you will yet be able to tell your grandchildren that in a critical hour of American history, when much of what this country was founded upon to abolish was in jeopardy of being destroyed. you found your voice… and stood… to speak truth to power.
I like to play with words…and words within words. So here’s my latest effort. It concerns the choice each of us has as we go through uncharted territory of profound change. The word I worked with is “revolution.” The words I found within it are as follows: vile; revolt; to; lure; into; evil; lie; rile; rule; toil; into; the; root; to; true; love.
1. Revolution can manifest as a vile revolt whose few proponents will lie and purposefully rile others in order to lure them to an evil end resulting in oppressive and manipulative rule over the subjugated majority.
2. Revolution can be a person or group willing to toil ceaselessly and diligently to unearth fundamental truths by getting to the root of existence…which is light energy emanating as true love.
I think we’re in a revolution of the second kind. At least that’s the revolution I’ve signed up for and, since we’re a complex adaptive system, the actions of each of us matter. How we think and behave during the revolution matters because each of us is an Agent of Change and how we choose to use our energy will determine the outcome.
Which revolution are you down for?
Time magazine has named Pope Francis “Person of the Year” for 2013. The Pope’s face graces the December edition of Time. So it begs the question, “What criteria determine their pick?” As far as I can ascertain, its “the person who most influences or impacts the world” in the prior year.
It’s not about position or popularity, or political agenda. In fact, I recall when Time named the Ayatollah Khomeini “Person of the Year.” I remember because it angered me. Yet, under Time’s stated criteria, it made sense. It was 1979 and the plight of American hostages imprisoned in a takeover of the American Embassy there by Islamic extremists relentlessly gripped the world’s attention until they were released.
This year’s pick of Pope Francis angers me also, albeit for different reasons. I am angered now as I was when Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. Angered because these men did nothing to warrant their awards prior to receiving them. In the case of Pope Francis, he hasn’t been Pope long enough, or done enough in the office, to have influenced much of anything.
Yes, he embraced a few disfigured people and he initially shunned fancy digs for more modest ones. But he also dished, just days ago, Capitalism. You know, the economic system that provides 60% of all contributions to the Catholic Church thereby allowing it to be the largest landholder in Manhattan, and the United States generally.
Really, what else has he done?
So, the award couldn’t have been given based upon the stated criteria, just as the Nobel Peace Prize couldn’t have been given Barack Obama for creating peace. In both instances, the choice of those men was, and remains, an affront to every thinking person. Whatever the rationale behind Time’s choice, it wasn’t about the person who most influenced or impacted the world in 2013 because that simply does not apply to Pope Francis.
The selection committee of Time Magazine has an agenda. I don’t profess to know what it is. What I do know for certain is that each day that passes by trust in the media withers away. Instead of maintaining the honorable position of “The Fourth Estate” they have been corrupted becoming deceitful and manipulative.
This reality is just the latest reason why, in a world of rapid change and power struggles, thinking for yourself is the surest guarantee that you will remain your own Person of The Year rather than become enslaved to someone else’s agenda.
Whether you are pro-gun ownership or pro-gun control, there is no doubt that an airsoft gun is not a firearm. This simple fact makes the suspension from school of Khalid Caraballo, age 12, and his friend, Aidan for “possession, handling and use of a firearm” the latest example of politically motivated efforts to redefine reality and subjugate our children’s behavior to the directives of government control.
Did I mention that the boys were playing in their own front yard awaiting the arrival of a school bus at the time of the alleged behavior? Yet, the misdirected punishment is…suspension from school?
How do reactions such as this by administrative bodies and government entities continue to have legs? Well, when the President of the United States uses a memorial service, as President Obama just did, to shamelessly put forth a political agenda and seize the moment to actually encourage “transformation” and “obsession” it’s no wonder.
This isn’t about the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Nor is it about the propriety or impropriety of children playing with guns of any ilk. Those are topics for another day. This is about common sense and the relentless redefinition of what is right, wrong and politically correct by the powers that be.
The President (and all Progressives) commonly refer to the United States simply as a democracy. As a former Professor of Constitutional Law myself (as was the President) I find this to be incomplete and misleading. A “democracy” is one person/one vote. It is ultimately mob rule. The Constitutional Republic established by the Framers was a deliberate and carefully crafted effort to avoid creation of yet another failed democracy. Historically, that model of government had never worked. A fact that remains true as of this writing.
We are not governed by mob rule and the Administration’s and media’s efforts to incite “transformation” and “obsession” to achieve their goal of gun control leads not to an end that is in the highest interest of all, but rather to incidents such as the one where a 12-year-old child is punished for…well…being a 12-year-old child.
If Khalid Caraballo’s mother and father have an issue concerning their child playing with a toy gun, if their particular morals and values prohibit it, they will act accordingly in directing and educating their child. Absent that, the powers that be, in this case school Administrators, need to mind their own damned business.
If you aren’t incensed by this latest and blatant display of arrogance and overreaching power, it’s because enslavement is a slippery slope and you’ve past the point of recovery.
History repeats itself. Unfortunately this axiom is true when humanity fails to learn the error of its ways. A demoralized populace in the Weimar Republic was hungry for food, self-respect and leadership. Enter Adolph Hitler who had all the right buzz words and charisma to lead sheep to slaughter. By sheep, I refer not just to the Jews but also to “the good people of Germany” who followed their Pied Piper all the way to devastation by the Allied forces.
We, here in the United States, have been on a slippery slope for decades. Never mind the sociological and economic reasons why. Suffice it to say it is truth. Now, having experienced staggering unemployment, an over-extended and weakened military, a dollar of diminishing value, and dangerously incompetent leadership, Vladimir Putin enters stage left via a New York Times op-ed piece.
Putin has the hubris to lecture Americans on just behavior as he arrives cloaked in language that belies his own history of repression and thuggery not to mention religious and human rights oppression. Yet, in the absence of real leadership, the forcefulness of his conviction as devious as it may be makes this one-eyed monster appear as a King in the Land of the Blind.
We, here in the United States, have become the Land of the Blind. We turned not only a blind eye but also a deaf ear to the lies and manipulations of those to whom we entrusted power even as we knew in our hearts they were abusing it and us.
We have arrived at the door to our own demise.
Do not touch the handle. Do not think there is any way back from what is on the other side. Turn now. Run as far and as fast as you can in the other direction. Leave Putin and Obama behind. Become your own leader until such time as you come upon one who is genuine and does not seek the position. There you will have found meritorious leadership.
In the meantime, act swiftly and keep an eye out for John Galt. Let’s also pray that neither he nor Galt’s Gulch are fiction.
I am a Jew. As such, I have heard the refrain “Never Forget” my entire life in relation to the Holocaust. Like other Jews, I always took it as a caution to be aware that under the right conditions, it could happen again. To the Jews. But as I hear and see what is happening to Christians in the Middle East and particularly in Egypt, I fully understand that the admonition goes far beyond we Jews. It is a mantra that every compassionate human being must recite because we, as a species, remain capable of horrific persecution and devastating destruction.
In the moment that perverse banner is being carried by the Muslim Brotherhood as they seek to exploit the political unrest in Egypt by scapegoating Christians, burning their churches, looting their places of business, raping their women and executing them simply because they are seen carrying a bible.
There is not a Jew alive whose stomach should not turn and whose body should not feel a chill at the familiarity of these events. Been there. Done that.
So what is the issue? The issue is, “Do we as Jews have the courage to stand in solidarity with Christians of the Middle East?” “Do we as Americans retain yet enough of what has made us a beacon of light throughout our history to now shine that light on the atrocities being inflicted upon Christians?” “Are we as humans still able feel the pain of others who, though outwardly different from us, are inwardly the essence of who we truly are?”
There is only One of Us. Today, we are all Coptic Christians.
I have never understood how so much of the world sat silently by and turned a blind eye while Hitler and the disease called National Socialism embarked upon its campaign of annihilation. I am sad to say that I have begun to understand it. Today, the silence of our media and paralysis of our Administration are eerie portents of what may follow.
We are each responsible not for the carnage being inflicted upon Christians in Egypt, but for our silence in the face of it. God help the Muslim Brotherhood extremists who are looting, burning raping and murdering.
But who will help the silent?