Monday, May 2, 2016

The Wall Street Journal Duped!

Am I the only one who noticed this thing? I was away on vacation and unable to post when this came to my attention. Please help me to embarrass the WSJ- Send this out and post it anywhere you can!

The cover of last Friday’s Wall Street Journal had this ridiculous example of Islamic Fauxtographic Journalism:
This is another classic example of Islamic “fauxtography”. The picture is so obviously staged that I feel embarrassed for the photo editor who selected it. To imagine that a toddler could be pulled out of the wreckage alive is fanciful enough but, okay, miracles do happen. But look again. How could the grimy “rescue worker” possibly have dug the baby out of the rubble. The kid doesn’t have a spot on his clean white tee shirt and socks. And don’t tell me that the dust on the rescue worker is light colored and wouldn’t show, I’ve raised six kids and I know that a white tee shirt shows everything! That kid’s mother must have known he would be starring in the latest promo shots for the Jihad and put him in a brand new outfit. Anyway, the child’s pants are dark blue and nothing shows there either. That’s without even asking, "how could he have escaped being trapped by all that falling masonry with nary a nick or cut on his big, round, pink head?

The truth is, there is a well documented and very sad history of this kind of “journalism” albeit most has been directed at vilifying Israel and the US. Pallywood and fauxtography have a long history. I’ve written about it before by PBS here .  Perhaps the most infamous example was the filming of the non-death of Mohammed al Durah that was exploited to touch off the emotional reaction that fed into the first intefada. It includes some of the most pathetic ruses ever swallowed by a media hungry for images and emotions. My favorite (I wrote about it here) was the Iraqi woman who was photographed during the battle for Sadr City holding up two bullets that she claimed an American soldier fired at her home. Unfortunately for her, and the media stooges who reprinted the picture, the bullets she brandished were live rounds, still shiny and unfired in there brass cartridges. So what did he do, lady, throw them at you?

The whole thing would be funny were it not so dangerous. Western media pipeline this stuff all the time - right from the cesspools of Jihadi propaganda to the living rooms of The West- no filter at all. Until stuff like this gets identified and ridiculed, it will keep on twisting the public debate and anesthetizing the survival instincts of our culture.

If you had no other clue to the falsity of the picture of the "rescue", all you had to do was look at its provenance. Agence France, by way of a Jihadi photographer- Just like much of the propaganda from the middle east (including the al Durah affair by Charles Enderlin), funneled through French media by Arab/Islamic photographerss on the ground... Oh, by the way, the bullet lady came by way of Agence France too. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Beyond Sadness!

How easy it is to be sad! How easy and yet how debilitating. I attended the funeral today of Ezra Schwartz, the American boy who was murdered in Israel last Thursday, with my two sons. My boys both attend Maimonides School with him and knew Ezra. As I stood there and listened to the family's beautiful and heart-rending eulogies I was overtaken not so much with sadness but a combination of rage and fear. My boys will graduate from Maimonides next year and go to Israel as Ezra did and I already fear for their safety. As I experience this fear, the rage follows on its heels. 

I understand that the immediate family and close friends need to plumb the depths of their personal devastation. I would never deprive them of that important catharsis but I really think the rest of us need to have a more positive and proactive response.

I am furious that a boy like Ezra can be raised to be such a beautiful human being only to be extinguished by another boy who was raised in a society that feeds its children on a steady diet of Jew-hatred and blood-lust. I am incensed that deaths like Ezra’s are often “rationalized” as an “understandable” result of Arab anger at Israeli policy. My fury is lifted almost beyond my ability to express it to know that even with the evidence of thousands of terror deaths -it is not just since the last intifada, not since 9/11, not since the 1948 war of independence but since the beheading of 900 Jews in Quireiza more than a thousand years ago- that the pathetic likes of Obama can still live in denial of what is causing (and what can remedy) this horror. 

And then, there is the white house statement, issued as only after spokesman Kirby was asked about it during a news conference and after an unseemly delay,  Kirby said, ”We were deeply saddened…,”. Oh yes, there is the sadness again! They referred to Ezra’s murder as one among other "...tragic incidents…" implying that there are what they would call “tragedies” on both sides. 

The name Obama was never associated with this travesty of political correctness, signifying his separating himself from it. The statement never mentions in what name it was committed. It also calls it “tragic”, no less. This is NOT a tragedy. To call it tragic relegates it to an act of fate or God- something about which we can all share saddness.  No, It is an atrocity! 

Until we can name the monstrous ideology that inspired Ezra’s killer and until we can stop ONLY being sad, these atrocities will occur continue again and again. The problem  is that Israel’s restraint and fear of “world opinion” combined with the bootless refusal to recognize the Islamic nature of the terror and the morally bankrupt lack of leadership provided by President Obama have allowed the Palestinians to dream that it their desire to “push the Jews into the Sea” might someday be rewarded with success. They have been encouraged thereby to continue to train their children to hate and murder.

Its right to be sad, but understand that if you are only sad, you will be sadder still in times to come.

Taken together with his cowardice in the face of Putin and his pandering to Islamic radicalism world wide, his treatment of Israel and his handing Nuclear Club membership to Iran, Obama has, as no other human being in history, loosed disorder and violence from the bonds that once constrained them. His memory will be accursed down the ages.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wanted: A Modern Jabotinsky

This past Saturday, The Wall Street Journal had a shocker of an article by Saeb Erekat on the Editorial Pages. I read it, feeling more and more outraged at every word. So, why, after a few days of reflection, am I glad they printed it? Because, even in its hideous distortion of the truth,  it reveals for us a glimpse into the deeply flawed and dangerously self-delusional misapprehension that fuels the Middle Eastern Conflict. The title of this article alone is enough to warn the reader of the inversion of reality that follows. 

"Where is Israel's de Klerk?"  it asked.

The title itself is a combination of fraud, libel and the venerable rhetorical trick known as “the loaded question fallacy”. It implies by its very asking that:
  1. the people of Israel are not, themselves interested in peace
  2. That Israel is an apartheid state and 
  3. There has never been an Israeli leader who could or would make peace.
All three implications are nonsense and lies. Israel has historically been an entire population of "de Klerks", only wanting to live in peace. Far from an apartheid state Arabs in Israel have more rights and are treated better than the ordinary Arab citizen in any Arab country in the world. What’s more, every Israeli leader, even the reviled “ultra hard liners" Begin and Sharon have proven that they were willing to give concessions and actual land up for the promise of peace “talks”. Not to say that they have ever been close to getting peace in return, mind you, just “talks” the mere charade of peace-making from the likes of Arafat and Abbas. Those two terrorist supporters have never relinquished their publicly declared goal of destruction of the Jewish state even while "talking". 

Where is Israel's de Klerk? is not the right question, there have been too many already. To have a successful “de Klerk” there would have to be a Mandela on the other side. 

No need, then, to read the rest of that article. Erekat marches out the familiar, tired parade of the painted up, whored-out canards, scabrous libels and blind pigs of inverted logic- the entire aim of which is to camouflage his group’s desire (to annihilate Israel) beneath the aggrieved fiction of Israeli “occupation” and. He brazenly bludgeons Israel for the results of every civilized instinct and compassionate gesture she has ever offered.

Is there anyone (Aside, of course, from the “see no evil” trio of Obama, Kerry, Clinton and their sycophants) who cannot connect the dots from this deception with its labyrinth of hidden agendas to the desire of all of the Islamic States (ISIS, Iran et al) to annihilate all of us in the west?  

President Obama, for all the violence and hatred he has fostered in his attempts to “transform” reality, has done us a similar service to the one rendered by The Wall Street Journal and Saeb Erakat. His spectacular failures have proven to anyone who is paying attention that his political theories have blinded him to present realities and that the future he imagines is not possible. The price of not understanding reality is failure, violence and hatred. 

Many Jews both inside Israel and around the world have allowed themselves the same kind of luxurious self-delusion. They want to live in a world where good intentions are all that are needed and all conflicts can be resolved by negotiation and “give and take”. You can want that all you want but reality is not so easily fooled as you are. The Two State Solution would only work if both sides were equally compelled to see it as the only alternative. In 1948 Jews, not for the first time in history, had no where to go. The holocaust was still smoldering in eastern Europe and Jews who tried to return from the camps and hiding places to their pre-war homes were often killed or driven off. Immigration to the US and other western countries was much harder then than now. Arab lands were actively expelling centuries old Jewish communities. Israel had to exist.

The polite, diplomatic and self-deprecating approach has not worked with the Islamic World. They were not interested in allowing Israel to exist then and they have never been convinced that Israel is permanent and unavoidable. So you have one side pretending that all we have to do is talk sincerely enough and the peace will come and the other side believing that they only have to resist long enough and Israel will either be thrown into the sea or fall of her own weight. The Islamic world is coming at Israel with knives, guns, tanks, rockets and soon, thanks to Kerry and Obama, nuclear weapons and still the fantasy of “talks” is alive and, even now, the Two State Solution is seen as the best alternative for Israeli-American policy. There cannot be two states because they would not exist in the same reality.

Israel does not need anymore “de Klerks”! She needs to bring back the intellectual honesty of a Jabotinsky. Vladimir Jabotinsky understood that the Arabs would always reject Israel's right to exist. It is time to stop pretending that everyone can be happy and to face the reality that there will never be peace until the Arabs and their Iranian godfather are defeated decisively. Here is Jabotinsky writing, not just before the re creation of the Jewish state, before The Holocaust:

"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was not misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement.”
Vladimir Jabotinsky

The entire world is responsible for the current mess. The Islamic world is most to blame. The rejection of the 1948 partition and the attempt to “Throw the Jews into the sea” with their military attack has been followed by two major wars and incessant murder, bombardment and prevarication. 

The UN and the security council powers are next in line for allowing the Arabs who obeyed the Mufti and the Arab despots call to leave their homes so the Arab armies could annihilate the Jews unencumbered to attain the status of permanent “refugees” and become an industry of their own. Never before in history has “refugee” status passed down for four generations. It is a corruption of the concept and redefinition of the word. 

Israel, too, must take blame, but only because she never supplied the Arabs with the “iron wall”  needed to bring them to that realization. All the talks and all the concessions of her would-be de Klerks have done nothing but allow the Arabs and the Islamic world to think that there is an alternative to having Jews as neighbors. That belief has to be disproven conclusively or the pretensions, killing, and suffering will continue until Israel is sacrificed on the alter of her own good intentions. By starting every conversation with a plea for peace and only making war incompletely and when it was unavoidable, Israel has gotten the opposite of peace. Only when she wholeheartedly embraces the need for the definitive conflict, will she be in a position to avert it. I only pray that we find our new Jabotinsky soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Obama's (Pathetic) Black Knight Strategy

"Only a Setback" or "Only a Flesh Wound"?
As city after city falls to ISIS in Iraq, the Obama administration's strategy looks more and more like the Black Knight's in this classic Python scene. As the Obama approach gets "dis-armed"and "de-feeted" and prepares to be beheaded, administration spokespeople continue to minimize the losses that everyone else including the craven congressional Democrats recognize as dire blows as "setbacks".

It would be funny if it were not for the mockery it makes of the spilled blood. bereft parents, orphaned children, widowers, widows and insulted bravery of the American soldiers who secured all those cities during the American victories in Iraq.

I suppose when the black flag goes up over Baghdad they'll just say, "Alright, we'll call it a draw, then."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Here He is, America, This is What a Grown-up Looks Like

And now comes Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a nation whose people have only in the last 70 years staggered back from the brink of genocide. In those seventy years that people have not had any significant period of peace or safety for which they have not had to suffer, fight and sacrifice. They live under the constant threat of terror. Rockets drop from the sky randomly tearing apart innocent children who one moment are running in terror for a shelter and the next are peppered with shrapnel of steel ballbearings screws and nails. Suicide bombers murder entire busses full of people on their way to or from work and school leaving city streets filled with dismembered body parts and storm drains coursing with blood. Islamic fanatics who style themselves as warriors of Allah sneak through secret tunnels under the border between Gaza and Israel to murder families in their homes. With this as background, Netanyahu, a veteran of an Israeli special forces unit, twice wounded in combat against the unrelenting genocidal Islamic vendetta, comes to talk to the American people through our Congress.

It is little wonder that Obama and his followers experience an hysterical fear at such a man coming to congress to speak on behalf of his people. 

The Dems managed to make quite a spectacle of themselves. If it weren’t horrifying to realize that these people cast votes that bear on our lives and fututres everyday it would be pure comedy. Nancy Pelosi who squirmed through the speech and fled the room right after it. Threw herself into a dudgeon, Boo Hooing about Bibi insulting her and her president’s intelligence. Her claim boils down to “we already knew all that stuff!”. The yapping dog, John Yarmuth who had absented himself from the room but must have been listening at the keyhole. So quick was he to make his idiotic knee-jerk references to Dick Cheney and his putative playbook (Democrat party’s version of calling someone a “doody-head”) I assume he didn’t have much chance to collect his thoughts (did I say thoughts? - ok, rants) because his response was right out of the spoiled,manipulative child playbook- no facts no coherent argument just “He’s a fear-mongering doody-head!”. The only thing that would have completed the farce would have been if when Nancy bristled up the aisle and stomped out, the doorknob hit the yappy dog in the eye.

Oh, and then there is our President himself. I’ve raised six children and I recognized his response immediately. He, sulked elsewhere during the speech but lost little time in responding that Netanyahu said “nothing new.” How many times have I stopped one of my kids from doing something horrible in the nick of time… “Don’t pick that up! It’s (choose one or more…)red hot, poisonous, covered in excrement, or so sharp it will cut you on contact! Only to have that kid turn back to me and say, “I knew that!”. Yes, Mr. President, nothing new. But Mr Netanyahu is the one who visits children in the hospital when they have shards of metal embedded so close to their heart that they cannot safely be removed. He is the one who reviews the torn remains of  busses that one instant held Israeli workers and school children and were, in a flash explosion transformed into fountains of blood and body parts in the streets of his country. But then, maybe you should entertain the thought that the seriousness of his tone, his knowledge of the consequences of your ignorance and his concern for the future not just of his country but of ours as well is something novel and new to you. Or, if you don’t like that one, how about: if you are feeling humiliated, maybe its because you deserve to be.

Here is the nub of it: the liberal progressives, community organizers and others of the ilk do alright when they are the only ones in the room. They even manage just fine when they are able to manipulate the situation with political correctness and emotional blackmail. When a grown-up like Bibi walks in, however, they are in a terrible bind. They are constantly being humiliated when their ideas are tested against facts and reality. They are caught in the headlights- think of a sixteen-year-old who is trying to convince his parents that he is mature enough to be trusted with the family car and gets caught doing something- oh, say, like staying out past curfew and lying about not having been at that party where “other people” had pot. When a real grown-up man like Prime Minister Netanyahu (or Dick Cheney, for that matter)  walks into the room, they do not really have many alternatives to save their face(s) from the humiliation of being caught at their silly charades while there are real, deadly games afoot.

Chris Matthews’ reaction was very revealing. He accidentally got very close to hitting the nail on the head. He said, “…what country in the world would let a foreign leader come in and attempt to wrest from the president control of the U.S. foreign policy?” The real question is, “…what country in the world is, at this critical moment, so poorly led that a visitor from a much smaller and less powerful country could look as though we were the one in charge? - Or at least should be.

Thank God there is a real grown-up exploring his run for the Presidency now- Run Ben Run!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Pitiless Crowbar of Events

Some years ago I heard John Madden (the former coach turned broadcaster) on the radio. He was talking about Bill Belichick. As I recall it was during one of those dominant runs when The Patriots were reeling off long strings of victories. After a good but slightly ragged win Coach Belichik had found plenty on his team to criticize- and he took corrective action in the form of punishing workouts for the team.

The reaction, mostly from outside the professional football world, ranged from outrage and derision to amusement, and even condescension. But Madden, himself a former very successful coach, defended it. He explained it this way: 

“Whatever you let go when you’re winning, you will have to live with when you are losing.”
(Note: Yes, I used this example for a different reason in a post a number of years ago. I bring it back now because it is even more important that we insist on it now.)

This is the reason that practicing “the fundamentals” and learning from the mistakes that you make even when you are dominant is the key to sustaining a winning record in any sport and it is also the analogue of staying true to the founding fundamentals of a culture even when there is no immediate threat. 

It has become a habit for us in the West to assume that we will be winning forever. We have, after all, dominated the civilized world for several centuries. We are tempted to sooth ourselves with the lazy, guilty fictions of power. We are tempted to think things like: “Everyone in the world wants the same thing, they would be just like us if they could…” or  “If some other people hate us, we must have done something wrong to them…” or “If all other cultures just had the opportunity, they would choose to live with our liberal ethos and our material richness…” or, even, “We are the richest, most powerful nation on earth, surely we can afford to…”

These are perfect examples of the kinds of things that, if you let (them) go when you’re winning, you will have to live with when you are losing. Just look at Greece, Italy and Spain, countries that spend lavishly on un-productive social programs that incentivized many people to become unproductive themselves and now that they are up against hard times, they cannot seem to find their way to solvency. Or recall the victorious allies of World War I who failed to foster and support good government in Germany and then appeased Hitler (believing him to be, “reasonable”, “humane” and “pragmatic" despite his own words to the contrary) until more than 60 millions of people perished and civilization itself hung in the balance.

Nobody in the west can see this as clearly as someone from the outside. 
Alexander Solzhenitsyn saw it. In his 1978 commencement speech at Harvard he delivered a very clear and ominous notice to the western world about this blindness. He said:

“But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that the vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems, which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented (by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity and incomprehension) from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction.”

Solzhenitsyn, our friendly outsider, says that we do not comprehend the danger we face because we think that there will be a point of convergence where all other cultures (he calls them worlds) will overcome their backwardness and corruption and begin to think and act like us… 

He said, “…It is a soothing theory which overlooks the fact that these worlds are not at all developing into similarity. Neither one can be transformed into the other without the use of violence.”

Having our way so habitually has even made us a little shame-faced about it. We try very hard not to rub it in- not to appear to be “running up the score” on the opposition. In fact, we invented multiculturalism so that we could pretend that there really is no competition- that we are all just the same as everyone else and that there is no reason why any other culture should feel anymore threatened by us than we do of them. 

And that is why it seems so important to our president that we not speak of Islamic Terrorism. He is pretending that there are no valid reasons for the behavior of that “other world” that is compelled by its world view to convert or kill us. He insists that the fact that many peaceful “good” (read westernized or at least accommodationist muslims) exist means that those Jihadis, totalitarians, caliphate-ists and Muslim supremacists are an aberration, as though they might be coopted with good jobs, economic incentives, fancy duds from Banana Republic and day passes to Disney World.

John Kerry tries to soothe us by telling us that even if it seems “counter-intuitive”, we are safer now than we have ever been.

Has our perspective has become so warped that we are not afraid of the bestial cruelty of beheadings and burning living, sentient men in cages? Have we been on such a long winning streak that the wholesale slaughter, torture, rape and enslavement of untold hundreds of thousands in the Islamic State have no power to move us? They do assuredly hate us for our success and power- and how much more must they despise our smarmy, condescending, refusal to acknowledge the Islamic origin of their rage?

That Islamic world embodied in the Islamic State (calling it ISI or ISIL is a fool’s game! It is what it is.) does not share our values and our scruples. We cannot seem to believe it, but they have no interest in becoming like us. We are so busy trying to console them for being so backward that we cannot comprehend that they don’t see it that way. So our journalists and well-meaning, naive young women go there and are engulfed in the ocean of blood that is beyond their imagination.

Solzhenitsyn had been a sort of odd hero up until that speech. He was, after all a political refuge from the Soviet “world” who took refuge here by choice. He quickly became viewed as a crank after it. I remember the polite but troubled way in which most reviewers of that speech backed away from his ideas. They did not engage his observations because they had voluntarily foresworn the use of the words that would have been necessary to do so. They fancied themselves inhabitants of a world that had outgrown that kind of history and those words. They no longer had the words for it in their own vocabularies. And back then the vocabulary was so much broader and unconstrained than it is today. The Correctness Mafia has been picking off words and ideas progressively and spreading the debilitating blankness of omerta wider and wider.

We actually have become so polite about it that we feel that discussing those things that make Western Civilization better than (or preferable to) other cultures (let alone the measures that might be necessary to defend the west) in public constitute some kind of “bad form”. We even have whole sets of words and ideas that we refuse to use because they sound too harsh, too male dominated, too power oriented, too insensitive or judgmental. 

A special target of the politically correct is that greatest of cultural blueprints, The Constitution of The United States of America. According to them, The Constitution does not merit protection and reverence so much as it does “interpretation” and, even, “updating”. Arguments that twist equality of opportunity into equality of outcome. The expansion of the god-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to include three square meals, cash payments, free health care and a nice warm place to live at the expense of others is something that we could support for a limited time when times were fat but it has proved even worse for those that we granted those new rights (entitlements) to than it has for the country. We broke them and now, they tell us, we own them. Or maybe they own us.

In order to sooth ourselves that we are so nice that we will forgo the things that made our parents’ and grandparents’ generations great, we are literally throwing down our defenses. Political Correctness is Unilateral Cultural Disarmament.

Solzhenitsyn put it in the starkest of turns:

 “There is, for instance, a self-deluding interpretation of the contemporary world situation. It works as a sort of a petrified armor around people's minds. Human voices from 17 countries (Note: Of course, he was only speaking of the communist “world” add to those 17 countries the Islamic State and large portions of the other 49 Islamic nations of the world) of Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia cannot pierce it. It will only be broken by the pitiless crowbar of events.”

If we could put a good coach in charge, a geopolitical Belichik or an American Solzhenitsyn, he would put a stop to it before another game went by. Right now, we own the biggest, baddest crowbar why should we wait until a bigger one comes along? We should not be “putting up” now with that which could destroy us in future, less happy times.  

But then we are not likely to get a football coach to run for President of the United States so what are our alternatives? There are a number of good solid administrators and executives in the Republican ring who might serve well but my favorite is the surgeon. 

Dr Ben Carson is another type of man (like a great coach) who by training and nature would never fail to notice and correct sloppiness or error no matter how inconsequential. He knows that when a patient’s life is in the balance he needs to pay attention to every detail, every ounce of blood every brain cell and every suture. He has become our most outspoken critic of political correctness for that very reason. 

That only inspires the “Correctiods" to try to pervert what he says and to deride how he says it.

At last year’s CPAC, for instance he gave a speech in which he compared and contrasted our present politically correct leaders, the Islamic State and the founding fathers of our country. In doing so he found that the founders were similar to the Islamic State in that they had the dedication and courage of their convictions to the extent that they would dare everything - even life itself for what they believed. This comparison seemed to bring out the livid rage in much of the liberal press. They produced headlines that implied that Dr. Carson thought that there was some moral equivalence there. What he was really saying was that our leaders today lack even the courage to understand what threatens us let alone defend us properly against it.

Here is the money quote from Dr. Carson in that CPAC speech, and the reason I believe he is the important voice we need. After comparing the dedication of the Islamists and out founders he clearly called out the difference:

"They've got the wrong philosophy, but, they're willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that.”

The only way to change it is to stop doing it- just stop. I will plead guilty to being an emotional, even passionate writer (some might even say overwrought). As such I am in no way capable of conveying the simple, confident and clear vision that Dr Carson possesses. So I want to give you two quotes from a pair of his articles that I hope serve to sum up, not only his ability to put his finger on exactly the right course of action but his ability to do it in an amiable, if direct and open way. On the drift of Political correctness he responded to being called an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, he told Bill O’Reilly:

“We need to be in a place where people feel free to express themselves and not to be intimidated by political correctness It’s destroying our nation, And there is a reason that our founders, (made) one of the very first amendments freedom of speech, freedom of expression.”

On the threat we face from the Jihadis he states what should be obvious to anyone who will open his eyes to the true situation:

“This is a critical time in the history of the world, and we must clear our heads and think logically about the consequences of underestimating the threat posed by a host of Islamic terrorist groups. It is very clear that they have a plan that they believe will yield a victory in their quest for world domination. Some in our country are arrogant enough to believe that such a goal is preposterous. Others believe that our time has come and gone and that resistance is useless.

Both of these beliefs are absolutely wrong and do not take into account the strength and resolve inherent in the American character. The battle we are entering will be difficult and will be fraught with surprises, but as Winston Churchill said, “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terrors. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.”

That is true and honest leadership, and honesty is the biggest crowbar of all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Jew Who Says Merry Christmas

This is the fourth time around for the kernel of this essay. I have changed it each time to match the tenor of the year in which it will go to post. Since I have just returned to blogging after having been away for four years, the change is of a wider range. It includes a new direction for this blog and my writing life in general. Read on and you will see…

I am a Jew. For most of my life if you had tried to force me to say “Merry Christmas” you would have had a fight on your hands. Yet now, I find that after many years of conflicted feelings, I have come full circle on being wished (and wishing others) “Merry Christmas”. No, I am not loosing my Jewish identity; on the contrary, I am very sure that it is stronger than ever.

I grew up in an observant Jewish home ( I am observant still) in which we greeted Christmas with a mixture of fascination, respect and a little irritation. At some point I became fond of expressing my ambivalence by quoting Jackie Mason, who once said:

“I don’t understand something about Christians; maybe you can explain this to me? Why is it that this time of year you bring the trees inside and put the lights outside?”

That line, for many years summed up the bemusement that I affected about the whole public Christmas celebration.

My feelings were mixed for a variety of reasons. My Dad had a retail store so the weeks leading up to Christmas were always a time of tension and brutally long hours of work. The traffic on the roads, crowds in the stores, and the saturation of television (especially in those pre- cable times) and radio airwaves with Christmas programs and music were overwhelming. I found the frenzy mentally punishing, the free-floating goodwill unsettling and the talk about Jesus (in whose divinity I was not supposed to believe) uncomfortable.

It left me very glad to have it over on December 26th.

And I was always more than a little unsure of how to respond when some well-meaning person would wish me a Merry Christmas. I was often caught between wanting to thank him noncommittally, try to summon a convincing Merry Christmas in return or to say,” Thanks Very much but I don’t celebrate Christmas and then have to deal with the uncomfortable silence or explanations and apologies.

I am ashamed to admit it today but I was, at first, pleased when I saw, over the years, the ACLU and Multi-culti types pushing “Merry Christmas” out of the vocabulary of cultural discourse in favor of the more generic “Happy Holidays”.

I’ve grownup, though, and I’ve grown into a new perspective on this whole question and, today, when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I have a new response. It’s really simple-

I stop what I am doing
I don’t have any hesitation or second thoughts.
I wish them a great big “Merry Christmas” in return.

I would like to encourage all my fellow Jews to join me in this. 

Here’s why:

I have come to see quite clearly that even if there are politically correct, multi-cultural, morally relativistic, post modern progressive busybodies who would like us to believe that our Christian friends’ and Neighbors’ spontaneous Christmas wishes are somehow injurious to us and our culture, they are nothing of the kind. A sincere “Merry Christmas is more American and better for the republic and her people than the blandest, most guarded “Happy Holidays”

You see, the U.S. was founded by Christians. Not just any Christians. The early colonists were both devout and independent. They were fervent Protestants whose purpose in coming here was to leave the Kings, Priests, state religions and archaic laws of the Old World behind. Even if some of them were supersessionists and dogmatic, they were also egalitarian and self-reliant. They came here to build a country where every man could read scripture for himself and be his own priest- where he could be free to elect political leadership that he could follow gladly.

By the time of the founders, a century and a half later, much of that initial fundamentalist fervor had evolved into a more complex mix of Mainline Protestantism, Masonic brotherhood and Deist spirituality. Hardened on the forge of a yeoman’s life, annealed by the day-to-day and season-by-season struggle to wrest a living from this still untamed land where God’s will could be imagined alive in the caprices of the weather, soil and the forests they learned self-reliance and independence by daily practice. Above all, they came to know that it is not enough to expect, that to survive and thrive you must always study, be openminded and learn.

It was those fiercely independent Protestants who set the tone for the nation in which we now live. Their adamant spiritual presumption of the liberty of the human soul is, still today, the great central mast that lifts the canopy of democracy and holds it above us as a sanctuary from the extremes of despotism and effete decay that afflict most of the rest of the world.

The devotion of deeply religious people and spiritually awakened souls like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams are what have made the this country the true standard bearer of self rule and freedom in the history of the human race. They codified it and crystallized it in the constitution that they wrote for us.

At over two hundred years old, that constitution and the government that flows from it is still the one in the entire world that best honors the individual and guarantees most rights to any individual who accepts the constitutional responsibilities of a citizen.

Among all their other unique achievements the fact that they decided that there could be no Official Religion in a country that aimed not just at physical or intellectual freedom shows that they understood that full human freedom means spiritual freedom too- Freedom of Religion.

To honor their genius fully we have to understand that Freedom of Religion must never be allowed to be a mandate for Freedom from Religion. As a Jew, I am exquisitely aware that freedom to practice my form of religion exists in this country because of those Christians and their vision of what a Christian country should stand for.

This uniquely Christian openness is why America has become the destination of choice for any one wishing to escape repression or lack of opportunity elsewhere in the world. That's why Jews (and everybody else) have gravitated here for two hundred years. But we all (Christians, Jews, Muslims and Atheists) are in danger of forgetting how this all works and I think this whole “anti-Merry Christmas” thing is a symptom of that amnesia.

My grandfather told me stories about life in turn-of-the(last)–century Eastern Europe so I have some idea of what he escaped by coming here in 1915. And its not just that, thirty years after he left for America, he was not trapped with many of his Aunts, uncles, and cousins in Zhitomir, his Ukrainian home town, when the Waffen SS slaughtered thirty six thousand Jews there in one day! That is a gift indeed, but it is in and of the past. No, it is the gift of equality and the opportunity to prosper that still lives on. It is that continuing gift that sustains the American dream and should call upon our constant love and loyalty.

The United States of America, as conceived by her Protestant founders, has been a miracle and a blessing to the entire human race. It has been especially important to the Jewish people.

We Jews are barely over one percent of the population here. We (a lot of us anyway) take pride in our contribution to America’s dynamism. We point with satisfaction to the fact that the founding fathers of this country were inspired and informed by our holy book which they called The Old Testament. Thomas Jefferson (among others) others used to read from it every day in the original Hebrew, something few of us “modern” Jews can do.

But why do I need to explain this? Why don’t we all understand the centrality of the Protestant ethic to the goodness of America? Partly, it’s because of a lack in the educational program. But it’s also because our media, whose responsibility it should be to make us aware of the important ideas, events and issues has other agendas. Our “Mainstream” media is often found to be doing just the opposite.

In the media, America is assailed daily for her imperfections; and if not assailed, then damned by the faintest of praise. The media emphasizes the imperfections instead of the achievements- the discords not the harmony.

Historical revisionism has been used by the joyless progressives, secular humanists and multiculturalists to sap the joy, goodwill and meaning out of all religious practice including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It has even come to pass that our President goes abroad and cannot seem to visit another country without some pathetic apology for America’s past- as if there is any country on earth whose history is so pristine that they are in a position to judge.

I am only one Jew- not a Rabbi and not a spokesman for a community organization, just a simple Jew. Nevertheless, I would like to call on all Jews, indeed, all Christians, Muslims and whoever else will standup with me and celebrate the blessing that The United States of America is to us and to the human family. Let us bow our heads together this Thanksgiving and resolve that instead of fretting about how saying “Merry Christmas” might make us an overly Christian country, we will thank our own, private God that we live in this country where “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Merry Christmas” mean what they mean here.

We need to loosen up and get a perspective on this “Merry Christmas” thing. It is not the people who say “Merry Christmas” and mean it that we need to be discouraging in America at this time. It is the people who find something wrong and suspect in the energy, enthusiasm and good-will that animates that “Merry Christmas” that we need to discourage.

We must side with our fellow Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom are warm-hearted friends with morals and ethics or we will have become unwitting dupes to heartless enemies with no moral compass who think they can rationalize almost anything and undermine our great civilization with reasonable sounding, non-judgmental sophistry. Do you need a moment to think about that?

By saying “Merry Christmas” in public we are not necessarily agreeing that Jesus was the son of God, we are just acknowledging that some very good people believe it. When we say it, that does not constitute accepting Jesus as our personal savior; it does show his followers that we see them as fellow countrymen, friends and brothers-in-arms in the defense of the highest ideals of our civil society and Judeo-Christian culture. What is the problem with that, exactly?

And that brings me to a question that some of my Jewish friends have asked me about. How do I feel about supporting Dr Carson when he talks so sincerely about his faith and seems to be so firm in expressing his ideas that it makes them uncomfortable. 

His faith does not bother me at all. It inspires me. The way he talks about it reminds me of the way that our founders talked about their faith. In the same way as their belief in The Individual, Enterprise, Study, work and Liberty formed the culture of the greatest country the world has yet seen, Benjamin Carson’s life, and especially the story of his remarkable mother and his escape from poverty echo the birth drama of The United States of America.

In the end it is all about Culture. He was born an outsider, a poor black kid. He became a great man because he was raised by a great mother. Dr Carson’s single mother worked menial jobs all her life and yet she raised two sons to distinguished lives. One became a U.S. Naval Officer and the other, Ben Carson, a world famous neurosurgeon. Her genius was that instead of giving in to the despair and decay around them she raised her family up. She did it by observing the strong and prosperous around her and creating a “micro-culture” of pride, study and achievement in her family that mirrored the success she saw.

His mother lived and breathed the whole philosophy of self-reliance, trust in providence and independence that the founders interlaced into the U.S. Constitution. That must be why he is so passionate about this country and its constitution. He is a man who lives it gratefully. He recognizes it for the matchless inheritance that it is; indeed he is a man built in its image. No “constitutional scholar” could ever have such an intimate appreciation of it. So even if there should be a constitutional scholar or any other sort of intellectual humbug who would object, I’ll gladly say “Merry Christmas”! And although I’ve never gotten one before, I’d love to have Dr Carson announce his candidacy for president of the United States as my first Christmas present…

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Burn This Bitch Down? No Thanks.

The hurt in the streets is palpable. It is not what it seems to be, however. This is a pivotal moment in the racial history of this country. It is at once a terrible danger and a unique opportunity. I have not yet heard anyone put their finger on what is really happening. Here is a hint: A failing prophet is more dangerous than a wounded tiger.

What is truly going on in Ferguson and New York and echoing across the land? The first thing to acknowledge is that it is not what it appears to be. It has more to do with the last election than with the death of a young man who has already been shown to be a strong-arm thief , someone who tried to take the weapon away from a policeman, in Missouri. It is not even about the more sympathy-inspiring case of a hapless, overweight, asthmatic petty criminal who resisted arrest in New York. 

Caught off guard (again!) the bewildered conservative media and blogosphere are obsessed with arguing the facts of the individual cases and cannot quite understand why they cannot get anyone to engage them on that level. They will come to see that it is not about the facts. 

Here is what it is really about: The progressive alliance of Mass Media elitists, Wall Street manipulators, entitlement boosters, racial “equality” careerists, community organizers and socialist agitators that constitute the political hard-core of the Democratic party that brought Barak Obama to power is falling to pieces. All the boldfaced lies, prevarications, demagoguery, and failures (both foreign and domestic) of the past six years have finally become unsupportable and a great disappointment has settled in amongst the believers. The American people have finally noticed and voted to reverse all of it.  

The Political Black Messiah has failed his minions. All those other failures aside, the one thing they knew he could do, ease the “race problem” is the single worst failure of his administration. This closest analog to this that I can think of is the way all false prophets of the past have met with the ultimate failures of their prophecies. The world didn’t end last night at midnight? Take credit for the reprieve that you won for the human race from heaven and go on a membership drive. Your whole theology is shown to be a transparent fabric of lies? Look your followers in the eye and ask them “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?” They have thought it all out and their ideas are correct and compassionate - Why can’t everyone just do as they prescribe?

In years to come, the progressive movement will undoubtably turn on Obama and their afro-american vassals who perpetuate the myths of racist hatred will support them as they cast him out, blaming him for not being competent or wise enough to implement the ideas that they believe will transform the US and humanity. They will find a way to allege that he betrayed his movement and followers. All failed leftists (and there have never been any successful ones…) have suffered them same ultimate fate. 

Question: Why did communism fail in Russia? 
Answer:    Why, Stalin and Lenin did not implement it properly.

Question: Why was German National Socialism such a human disaster? 
Answer:    Oh, that Hitler was an evil man. 

Question: Why, before Reagan, was America floundering in the world with hostages in
                   Iran and economic “malaise” at home? 
Answer:    You know, that Jimmy Carter, he was just ineffectual.” 

But for now Obama is still in office and such a “counter betrayal” would add immensely to the already staggering cognitive dissonance they are feeling.

As with all failed prophets in the past, they are falling back on the one thing that they think will still work. The “legacy of slavery” and its analogs:  the “racial divide”, the “genocide” of young black men- false premises and self-fulfilling prophecies all. They will either blithely change the facts of the individual cases, as they do with the “Hands up - Don’t shoot” calumny against the police or they flatly say that the facts don’t really matter because the killing is not the result of the facts on the ground but the outcome of “centuries” of bigotry. They never let a crisis go to waste at any time and they need this lie more than ever because without it they are powerless to slow down the disintegration of their world view. Never mind that their allegations damage the careers and reputations of good people whose only intention is to serve the very people that they claim to protest on behalf of. They shout empty slogans accusing the authorities of not valuing  “black lives” equally and all the while they countenance the destruction of black-owned businesses, foster distrust of the police and, ultimately, sacrifice the safety and vitality of the primarily black neighborhood where the “injustice” took place. They don’t care about the people there they have no remorse- it is just part of the plan to discredit and tear down the existing order.

Just think of Al Sharpton’s (80+ visits to the Obama White House!) decades of depredations. He pioneered new lows in race baiting starting with the pathetic frauds Tawana Brawley, and Crystal Magnum. He stoked the riots in the Crown Heights pogrom. And do not forget his role in the Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown and Eric Garner agitations. He has sown a trail of lies, fraud, hate, rioting and destruction for decades and in this time of defeat and demoralization he is the one who is called in by the White House and the Mayor of New York City to create still more hatred and chaos. As it always does, this chaos and crisis cements the resolve of the progressive constituency, and demotivates and cows those who would analyze, moderate and find constructive ways to move forward. This is what he does and this is why he is lionized by the press and in the halls of power.

They do not care what damage they do because if they do not keep the false accusation of endemic racist oppression alive, the cracks in their world view show up in stark relief. They are desperate now because they know the vote in the mid-term election shows that their incompetence has been exposed and without the fog and chaos their agenda is doomed. That is why encouraging lawless thugs and thieves to riot is a win-win tactic for them. Fostering fear of the police, making people in black neighborhoods far more vulnerable, is vital to their cause. They feed on fear, victims and pain.

Race and its abusers is one of the most dire threats we face as a nation. The hatred, helplessness  and division that flows from this cripples further the black population and dispirits anyone who wants the nation to move beyond it.  That is why I believe Dr. Ben Carson can and will play a pivotal role in the regeneration of American purpose and moral vigor. I would like to see him as our next president but whether he runs or not, having him in the national conversation is a saving grace. Just listen to what he says about the situation:

The man was born to lead. He is gifted with the touch of a healer- in the operating room or in the political arena. Most of all he looks at reality with the clear eye of a man who has made his living solving problems and leading teams. His moral leadership could be more important that his political leadership but how great would it be to have both?