Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Jewish Plea for Merry Christmas -An Annual BotB Tradition

I am a Jew. I grew up in an observant Jewish home in which we greeted Christmas with a mixture of fascination, respect and irritation. At some point I became fond of expressing my ambivalence by quoting Jackie Mason, who once said:
“I don’t understand something about Christmas; maybe you can explain this to me? Why is it that this time of year you Christian people bring all of the trees inside the house and take all the lights and put then outside”
. That line captured my general feeling of bemusement about the whole public Christmas celebration. I didn’t get it.

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 programs and music left me very glad to have it over on December 26th.

As a kid, I felt excluded by the whole Christian celebration. I didn’t get it. I found the incessant Christmas music on the radio punishing, the goodwill frenzy unsettling and the talk about Jesus (in whose divinity I was not supposed to believe) uncomfortable.

As a result, I was always just a little unsure of how to respond when some well meaning person would wish me a Merry Christmas. I would feel simultaneous but diametrically opposed urges to thank the person and try to summon a convincing Merry Christmas in return or to say,” Thanks Very much but I don’t celebrate Christmas and then 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 matter 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 thank them very sincerely
I wish them a 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 better for you 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. 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. Ultimately, that enterprise gave rise to the constitution and form of government we have today. At two hundred years old it is still the one in the entire world that best honors the individual and guarantees his rights.

It was these fiercely independent Protestants who set the tone for the nation in which we now live. It is important to remember that they were deeply religious people. When Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and the rest decided that there would be no Official Religion in this country they were aiming for Freedom of Religion not Freedom from Religion. They meant the freedom to practice your religion after the dictates of your conscience .

This 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 have gravitated here for two hundred years. But we are in danger of forgetting how this all works and I think this whole Merry Christmas thing is a symptom of that amnesia.

Fortunately, though, Jews do have a collective memory of stories if we just listen to them. My grand father told me stories about life in turn-of-the(last)–century Eastern Europe so I know what he escaped by coming here (not to mention that he was not in Zhitomir, his home town, thirty years later when the Waffen SS slaughtered thirty six thousand Jews there in one day!). I also have a friend who came here from Leningrad in the Seventies. He has told me many stories. Just few months ago, I worked with a client named Miriam who told me how she grew up in newly-born Israel after her family was expelled from Morocco in 1948. Each of these stories and so many others just like them have convinced me that 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 and participation 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. Many of them read it 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 events and issues. But the 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’s emphasizes the imperfections instead of the achievements- the discords not the harmony. Hasn’t America (and her allies) banished the Taliban to isolated caves and mud huts in remotest Waziristan? Didn’t we free Afghan women to live more normal lives without the threat of torture, rape and summary execution for the crime of being female? Can’t, now, Afghans to grow beards to their own liking, listen to music, laugh in public send their daughters to school and have simple human dignity? Oh, well, yes, the press will whine, but there is still poverty, the occasional bombing and we never caught Osama bin Laden. Well then, have we also not saved thousands of Kurds, and non Baathist Muslims in Iraq from the depredations of Saddam and his two evil sons- people who raped and murdered fifteen year-old girls and put their political enemies (alive and feet-first) into industrial shredding machines just to hear them scream? Perhaps, but our press prefers to talk about a few incompetent American soldiers (who were punished for their stupidity) deriding and humiliating their Iraqi captives at Abu Ghraib and equating that with the horrors of Saddam.

I am one Jew who is all for the kind of spirit and strength of character that gets expressed at this time of year by wishing each other “Merry Christmas”. I’ll certainly take it over Allah HuAkbar. Give me Peace on Earth” and “Good Will Toward Men” over “Eternal Jihad” and “Dhimmi Status for Infidels” anytime.

If we do anything this holiday season, 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.

The secular, morally blind, multi-cultural, Progressive ignoramuses who dare to equate the fully investigated, litigated, redressed and punished mistakes of a few misguided soldiers Abu Grhaib and Haditha with the bloody reign of terror under Saddam Hussein display their ignorance twice- First, because and find no moral difference are the same moral idiots who make excuses for the thousands of rockets a day that are being intentionally fired at the civilian population of Israel, rockets loaded with explosives, ball bearings and nails so as to injure and maim indiscriminately but still insist that any attempt to hunt down and stop the terrorists responsible for these rockets is equivalent or even worse.

The choice is clear. We can side with our fellow Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom are warm-hearted friends with morals and ethics or we can 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 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. What is the problem with that?

The first four words of this essay “I am a Jew”, are exactly the words that Daniel Pearl was forced to say on camera just before he was pinned down and his head was sawn off. I'd like you to try a little thought experiment simulating a better world here- Pretend that the next sentence that I write followed that first one and I had no need for the rest of the explanation in between...
"Have a Merry Christmas"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Lessons of Mumbai- Too Long for a Bumper Sticker

The rage and frustration I feel as the full dimensions of the Mumbai attacks become clear is dangerous. I was walking through a supermarket parking lot when I saw this bumper sticker.

This was even worse than those imbecilic "coexist" stickers with all of the religious symbols. It took me a while to figure out why. There are so many levels on which this message is ignorant and dangerous that I had to sort them all out. First and most obvious is the fact that it is an obvious slap at “God Bless America”. But, no, that wasn’t the cause for the rage- I’m used to seeing that kind of fuzzy ignorance that passes for political thinking.
I live, after all, in Newton, MA- a very liberal community- so fatuous drivel like this generally just irritates but doesn’t enrage me. So why, suddenly, did I find it difficult to contain my revulsion? The tide of rage I felt was all but overwhelming.

Well, for one thing, I had just read a report on the Rediff India Abroad web site about the particularly cruel and deliberate attention with which the Mumbai terrorists tortured and disfigured the Israeli and Jewish victims of the massacre. An extended quote is instructive:

Doctors…, said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.

"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said.

Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatized. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.

Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.

The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

Now, listen, I am married to an operating room nurse. I am all too familiar with the ability of medical professionals to compartmentalize, neutralize and discuss in a cool and detached way, things that make mere writers like myself flinch and even retch. The very idea that this hardened physician could not bring himself to contemplate what he had seen struck me to my very core. I found myself, temporarily, without a way forward.
Seeing that bumper sticker put me on a knife-edge between despair and rage. I stood there and stared at the car with my heart pounding. I don’t know what I would have done had the owner of the car walked up at that point.
“No Exceptions”?

What does that mean? Does it mean they would call down God’s blessing on the stinking swine who apparently did their reconnaissance in the Chabad House by posing as travelers and accepting the food, hospitality and blessings of the Rabbi and his family while they plotted their torture and death?

Does it mean that they can see no moral or spiritual difference between the Rabbi who welcomed and served them with an open heart and the filthy, lying murderers who rewarded his kindness by killing his wife before him and letting him suffer her death, tenderly wrapping her body in his prayer shawl, before murdering him?

Don’t get me wrong; I will admit that I knew, even in my turmoil and anguish at that moment, that the owner of that car would not be in favor of any of those things and would, probably think me very unkind to associate him with them.

I know very well that most of the people who have those bumper stickers have put them there because they were moved only by an urge to get in the face of people with “God Bless America” bumper stickers. I’ll admit, too, that I am very much in the God Bless America camp myself. I believe that America is a blessed country. I count among my friends and family a number of people who gave up everything they had and the lives that they had lived for many decades in order to come here and be free.

There is the lovely seventy-year-old lady and her husband who came here ten years ago from Russia along with their daughter and her husband. They still don’t speak much English but recently she proudly showed me around her neat little apartment and paused for a long moment at the end of the tour with a wistful smile on her face, clasped her hands together, looked at me and said with a gusty sigh, “God Bless America”! Having seen the former Soviet Union in depth and first hand, I know exactly what she means.

The reason we have a political battle about immigration in the first place is that anyone in their right mind would rather be here than in any other country on earth. And what country on earth is more free and open? I don’t understand the people who live here and are so alienated, embarrassed by our power and sulky that they feel they can’t let “God Bless America” stand as a sentiment without making a public display of distancing themselves from it.

Is it just moral blindness, and spiteful disenfranchisement that moves them to miss the important point that America, while not perfect, is by far the finest, most democratic, most humane and least Imperial “greatest power in the world” that has ever existed?

America, after all, has come forward over the last one hundred years and, with the help and support of the rest of the western powers, saved civilization from two militarized totalitarian movements that threatened to immerse the world in their respective fascist nightmares.
Now, even as we engage yet another murderous totalitarian threat with our traditional allies severely compromised by infiltration and the degenerate influence of moral relativism and multiculturalism, here is a person who thinks it more important to express their petty snit with America than to consider the implications of their stance. I have to wonder how can anyone think it possible that the ideal of multiculturalism that is (even if accidentally) conveyed by this bumper sticker is not deeply immoral- and self-destructive to the point of being suicidal?

There have been a number of times when I have not even known how to start thinking and writing about the utter horror of the actual events and conditions of our world. At those times, I will turn to the blogs of those I admire most. Robert Avrech who blogs at Seraphic Secret is one of my great comforts at those times. He has a huge range of moods and subjects but, whether he is writing about horror or Hollywood, Robert brings a wisdom and sensibility that has the power to help restore strength and faith.

So after wandering home from the parking lot I fired up my computer and found Robert quoting that same article that had stopped me in my tracks. Then at the end he added this- quoting from the brilliant Melanie Phillips:
Phillips comments:
The atrocities demonstrated with crystal clarity what the Islamist war is all about — and the western commentaries didn't understand because it simply refuses to acknowledge, even now, what that war actually is. It does not arise from particular grievances. It is not rooted in "despair" over Palestine. It is not a reaction to the war in Iraq. It is a war waged in the name of Islam against America, Britain, Hindus, Jews and all who refuse to submit to Islamic conquest.
What of the terrorists' treatment of their Jewish targets? Phillips writes:
They went to some lengths in addition to single out a centre for observant Jews. Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered not because of Palestine but simply because they were Jews. That is because hatred of Jews as Jews is fundamental to the Islamists' hatred of the west — and of Israel.


Oh, how exactly!
I would like to presume to add some detail to Phillip’s “things Mumbai makes obvious”:
1. Islamist rage is not our fault. It is endemic to their culture. It has no regard for humanity, sex, age or innocence.

2. If you are not one of them it will seek you out and get you no matter how nice you are to it.

3. Even if you are one of them, once they kill all those who are not, they will find a reason that you are not quite one of them.

4. If you are not the strongest and the quickest and the most ruthless, you are eventually doomed.

The lessons we must learn and make sure we teach to the morally weak like the guy with that bumper sticker are:
1. If you have power over them today, use it now – tomorrow it may be too late.

2. Even if you kill someone who is innocent, as much as that disturbs you, you may take comfort in the certainty that they will die a less painful death than you and your family will if they get their hands on you.

3. The “hostages” of Mumbai had not absorbed the lesson of 9/11. The captives that were taken, tortured disfigured and murdered in Mumbai were no less doomed than the passengers on the airliners on 9/11. They allowed themselves to be taken and abused by captors who did not want anything from them but to use them as instruments of terror. Only the brave passengers of flight 93 understood and acted on this. Let no westerner ever rationalize ignorance of this from this day forward. If the Munich slaughter seemed to you acceptable, if flight 103 did not convince you, if you were able to harden your heart to the fates of Robert Dean Stethem and Leon Klinghoffer, and 9/11 failed to impress you and Madrid and Beslan and all of the theatrical, internet promoted, beheadings could not reach you, surely this atrocity cannot be denied.

4. We have seen in the Western Mass Media’s unwillingness to widely distribute the telling and ghastly details of the torture and murder in Mumbai, their dehumanization of Jews, Israeli, Americans and all other victims of the attack. and their studied avoidance of connecting the violence to Islam or Muslims that the blindness of our friend with the bumper sticker is reinforced by the very cultural institution that should be providing us with warnings and dependable information about the threat.
The Mainstream Media will not inform you, you cannot rely on them for full information; so you need to inform yourself. Do not allow yourself to be soothed and co-opted.

There is but this warning to add:
When (and unless we wake up and do something, it is not a question of “if”) you are attacked, you are going to have to fight as hard as you can, for as long as you can if you want to have any hope of surviving. We have seen what they do to captives so you must never leave yourself at their mercy- they have none. Remember that they are cowards. Suicide, no matter how many innocent people you take with you is a sign of weakness. They are so afraid of the impotence and ineffectuality of their culture and their pathetic individual enslavement to the honor/shame drama of that culture that they are willing to sacrifice themselves (and you!) to avoid the shame. They will murder you gladly rather than admit that they do not have the moral fiber to see how purile and ineffectual their society is. They are willing to accept their own deaths so you must assume they will gladly give you yours. The only defense is in strength and persistence. As Churchill said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never- in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

I propose a different slogan- even if it’s a little too long for a bumper sticker- “God already blessed the whole world- God gave us America- too bad so many of us make exceptions of ourselves.”

UPDATE:
I have condensed the message of this post- I might have been more direct just writing this:

The Ultimate Lesson of Mumbai- Save the Last Clip for Yourself and Your Family

The “hostages” of Mumbai had not absorbed the lesson of 9/11. The captives that were taken, tortured disfigured and murdered in Mumbai were no less doomed than the passengers on the airliners on 9/11. They allowed themselves to be taken and abused by captors who did not want anything from them but to use them as instruments of terror. Only the brave passengers of flight 93 understood and acted on this. Let no westerner ever rationalize ignorance of this from this day forward...

....When (unless we wake up and do something, it is not a question of “if”) you are attacked, you are going to have to fight as hard as you can, for as long as you can if you want to have any hope of surviving. We have seen what they do to captives so you must never leave yourself at their mercy- they have none....

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Holtzbergs- Not "Ultra" and Not Missionaries


The Mainstream Media are already in the process of demeaning and dehumanizing the Jewish victims of the Mumbai massacre.

They are routinely called “Ultra-Orthodox” and I have already read of them them being referred to as “missionaries”. Shabbat is approaching so I don’t have time to frame a complete response and as much as it is not my usual way to write in haste, I need to tell you, these are lies.

I know the Lubavitchers very well. When we went to Ukraine to adopt our two boys six years ago we spent Passover with the Chabad in the Grand Synagogue of Kiev. The soviets had used it as a marionette theater. It was virtually destroyed until it was lovingly restored by the Chabad. There was no condescending pretense that our (Conservative American) brand of Judaism was less Jewish than the full Lubavitch observance. There was only the open handed, loving hearted Chabad wish to help us be the best Jews and human beings we could be. Their hospitality ad open-mindedness are the only "Ultra" thing about them.

We also visited Zhitomir, the city where my grandfather was born. There too, a tireless and dedicated Shaliach welcomed us and treated us with respect and love. He showed us how they have restored the Shul, are reclaiming the Jewish cemetery and are, daily, sending out hot meals over hundreds of miles of decayed and neglected country roads all over the Zitomir Guberna (a political region, like a state that I think is about the size of one of our eastern states) to the elderly, isolated Jews who have survived first the Tsar, then Hitler and then The Soviets.

Since we brought our boys home, they have attended the local Chabad Jewish day school here in Boston, Shaloh House, where they have learned to excel in Mathematics, Science, English, Tanakh, Mishna and Hebrew. They have also seen, first hand, the love and gratitude the whole families of Russian immigrants whose children they study and play with, feel for America and Western Civilization- in all its diverse and chaotic glory. They are not insular and isolated, they are accepting and open.

We have attend religious services there and I can tell you, although the ritual basis is very traditional and strict, they are open and helpful for those who can't keep up.

The Rabbi at Shaloh House, Dan Rodkin is, as were the Rabbis we met in Ukraine, a luminous soul with not a missionary thought in his mind nor a derogatory word in his vocabulary. I am very sure that Rabbi Holtzberg of Mumbai was out of that same mold.

The mainstream media is ignorant (only some are intentionally so) but, in a way, you can't blame them- because so many of our fellow American "Jews" foster the "Ultra" canard about these beautiful souls who in so many way epitomize what it means to be a not just a Jew, but a “fully human being”. May Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, at least, be the beginning of an awakening.

Tell the world: “They were neither Missionaries nor ultra-Orthodox zealots they were, simple, devoted and loving people serving a very high purpose.”

They were murdered by zealots for purely political and bloody purposes. Here is a question for anyone who still denies that Caliphate Islamism is a problem: If they could do this to the Holtzbergs, if they could do this to all the other innocents people in Mumbai and Madrid and Beslan and New York and Jerusalem, how long will it be before they do it to you or someone you love? When will you stop trying to minimize and even excuse what they are doing by denigrating their victims?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Counterattack! No More Lies!

These lies are killers. Correction isn't enough!  Only Early Warning and Aggressive Prevention can:


Save Israel’s Honor.
Save Lives!
If you knew that there was a significant opportunity that a very moderate investment would save hundreds and possibly thousands of Jewish lives over the next four years would you consider taking part in such an investment? Then help us fight Pallywood, the now well-documented practice of Palestinians faking news that accuses Israel of atrocities, and the mainstream media’s notorious gullibility in circulating this “news.”

The tidal wave of bloody violence that followed the al Durah hoax, Pallywood’s single most destructive triumph, resulted not only in unbridled violence in Israel, The West Bank (left) and Gaza, but served as background or justification for a global tsunami of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and such world events as 9/11, Bali, London, Madrid and the beheading of Daniel Pearl (right).

Similarly, the premature cessation of the Lebanon War because of the Kfar Qana hoax has assured the death of the hostages, the buildup of Hizbollah forces and rocket supplies on northern Israel’s border, and strengthened Iran’s global reach. More broadly, allegations of massacres and brutality like the Jenin Hoax have at once crippled Israeli troops (who must consult lawyers before any major initiative), and incensed a Palestinian and Arab world enraged by the images of ruthless destruction. Rockets fired from civilian areas continue to rain down on Sderot and Ashkelon too, protected by Pallywood stunts like staged blackouts (right) and wanton assaults on Palestinian civilians. As a result, consumers of Western news have a radically distorted impression of the conflict. The nation with the most exceptional record of concern for enemy civilians appears as an oppressive war-monger, and the culture which targets civilians in the most depraved manner – suicide bombing – comes across as “freedom fighters.”

And Pallywood just keeps on coming. Just last week Palestinians produced a heavily edited video of an encounter that purported to show Israeli settlers attacking innocent Palestinian farmers. Closer inspection in the court showed that the settlers had only been armed with prayer shawls and that the Palestinians had instigated the assault. In the initial days, however the settlers had been arrested (by Israeli officials!) and the Palestinians had made their inflammatory allegations.

The producers of Pallywood are, you can be sure, working overtime on their next Hoax. It is only a matter of time before there is a new “Intifada,” a new blood bath. The difference is that today, we have it in our power to prevent Pallywood Hoaxes from gaining credence and producing lies and hatred with the same success as they once enjoyed.

With a new president in the White House who has been drawn to the likes of Robert Malley, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Lugar and Samantha Power, who thinks that Israel would be crazy not to accept the Saudi “Peace Plan,” and with an uncertain political situation in Israel it is more important than ever that we can produce the ultimate weapon in Israel’s hasbara arsenal -- clear, accurate undistorted and timely information.

Second Draft has, from the start, taken a leadership role and has unexcelled experience in this crucial work. Our work on al Durah, Gaza Beach and Kfar Qana has broken new ground in exposing some of its fundamental mechanisms -- both technical and psychological -- and given us an analytical framework with which to combat Pallywood on its own terms. We have come to understand that the key to a successful defense is the ability to identify the threat immediately, serve notice on the media that there is a problem before the story becomes too widespread and to inform the public completely and credibly.

An informed public and a cautious and honest media are our only guarantee that tomorrow will not bring dangers that surprise and, even, overwhelm us. Democratic culture, with its magnificent commitment to self-criticism via a free press, faces a wide range of foes in the 21st century, and cannot afford to be blinded by our own well-intentioned but manipulated and manipulative news media. The mission of Second Draft is to create an educated public, to make that public aware of the distorting effect of media bias and provide that public with the resources to resist and rebuke the mainstream news media when appropriate.

Our most critical project is to pull together our Immediate Response Team of internationally recognized forensic experts who will be on stand-by for the next “made for media atrocity” that experience has shown will accompany the inevitable confrontation between Israel and her enemies in Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria. And the Western media is still too eager by half to regurgitate them as news. If you will help us position ourselves to oppose Pallywood swiftly and effectively, you will be striking a blow against lies and manipulations and, in fact, not only saving lives, but contributing to the possibility of peace. For as long as the Palestinians can successfully pull off Pallywood and blame Israel for the violence, they have no reason to keep their commitments.

We need your donations, now. to put these important safeguards in place. We know that times are difficult for many of you and there are a lot of ways that you can help other than direct donations. Introductions to friends by way of gatherings and speaking engagements can be even more helpful than cash. If you could help us put together a small gathering or event with some other concerned people who could help us, it would be a great help to us and, I can assure you, a real benefit to Israel and all Jews. Please, help us to be ready to stop the lies before they get started this time.

Our new Web Site (pictured on the right) is ready to go. We have a world-class international team of experts ready to devote their skills to whatever “they” can throw at us. We just need your help to put it all into action! You can donate online at our current site address below, send donations by mail to the address below or contact us at this email or the phone number below for other options.

Thank you for your consideration!

Yaacov ben Moshe
Second Draft
P.O. Box 590591
Newton Centre, MA 02459
http://www.seconddraft.org
Call 508 612-1110

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Speech- Canadians Stand Up!

Free Speech is an absolute necessity for a free society. It is a right and an obligation. Like all rights Free Speech carries with it a counterweight of responsibility. The only binding responsibilities of free speech should be honesty and accuracy. Imagine a world in which physicians could not refer to sociopaths, sexual predators and serial killers as "mentally ill" or "dangerous" or even "in need of treatment" because it might hurt their feelings. That would be suicidal for a society.

In Canada, legislation that was originally well intentioned, has been used to an even more suicidal effect. Some of the fellow bloggers I admire most have been brought before the Human Rights Commission as a means of punishing them for speaking freely, accurately and honestly about real threats to the safety and integrity of their country. As an American, I want to express my solidarity with them and their cause. They are currently engaged in supporting an effort to change the flawed laws that have put the power to persecute them for their opinions and statements of undisputed fact into the hands of people with very destructive intentions.

Human Rights Commision is an ironic name for an organization that can be used to squelch an absolute and essential right like free speech in favor of a non existant right such as the "right not to be hated" or "the right not to be offended"

I urge any of my Canadian readers who are not aware of this effort (not likely, I know) to help in this effort and all you Americans, Aussies, Israelis and others who have Canadian friends and relatives to urge them to get behind it too.

Here are some interesting and relevant thoughts from Solzhenitsyn's Harvard speech in 1978- He saw a lot of this so clearly back then because he knew a lot more about the reality of Human nature, the value of freedom and the sanctity of responsibility than anyone born in America (or Canadia) ever could.

First, what he says about the balance between legal rights and values:
The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse.


Then he talks about what a "statesman" (it applies to any citizen- especially Canadian bloggers) has to put up with in order to do anything of real value:
...has to move cautiously and even timidly; there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him, parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead, he has to prove that every single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless... The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.


I believe that honesty, accuracy and the responsibility to publicly identify and speak out against threats to the system that provides the right of Free Speech are the greatest of those obligations. That is why it is important to support My Canadian friends in this effort!

Finally, here is the declaration of support for the changes that a group of bloggers released today. I am honored to post here in support of every honest, self-reliant and plain-speaking soul in Canada. God bless you all!

We strongly support those members of the Conservative Party of Canada who seek to repeal Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act are a direct attack on the freedom of expression guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The provisions of these sections allow the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to prosecute anyone alleged to have said or written something "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" whether there is a living, breathing victim or not.

Vague concepts such as speech or writing "liable to cause hatred or contempt" are the basis of expensive state-funded prosecution of individuals. The statute provides no objective legal test for "hate" or any objective means of determining what constitutes "contempt". As a result, the CHRC is used by various groups and individuals, as a risk-free taxpayer funded method to silence their critics and those they disagree with. CHRC investigators have testified that that "freedom of speech is an American concept" and therefore not valid in Canada . Such statements are contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but are standard operating procedure at the CHRC.

Commissioners of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, who are not judges and are often not even lawyers, have held that "truth" is not a defence against prosecution under Section 13. Intent or fair comment are also not defenses. In fact, there is not a single listed defence under Section 13! Because of the lack of any defenses, the Tribunal has a 100% conviction rate since 1978. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal routinely ignores the principles of fundamental justice, such as the rules of evidence, and these kangaroo courts, even allow hearsay evidence. The CHRA provides for each Tribunal to make up the rules as they go.

Every journalist, writer, Internet webmaster, publisher and private citizen in Canada can be the subject of a Human Rights complaint for expressing an opinion or telling the truth. Given the ambiguity of Section 13, it is virtually impossible for any individual to determine if they might be in violation of Section 13. Arbitrary censorship and punishment are wrong, and cannot be justified in a free society."


Kathy Shaidle has a book about it all The Tyranny of Nice
Blazing Cat Fur writes often and intelligently about it.
Also see:
Small Dead Animals
Covenant Zone
Free Canukistan
Ezra Levant
Ghost of a flea

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hail to the New Chief

God Bless our President Elect.

Well, now we get to find out whether he is a socialist ideologue who has been plotting to “change” the best most productive country in the world to something less or just a canny politician who was, as an ambitious young man, able to grab the greasy rope net of affirmative action, clamber aboard the radical socialist pirate ship, rise to prominence among the America-haters and demagogues of the welfare state and, from there swing himself onto the deck of our ship of state ready to change into the uniform of and abide by the constitution of The United States of America. Count me as one of the ones who was, and still is, skeptical. I was certainly against giving him the opportunity to prove himself in this way; but if he turns out to be the latter, I confess I will be sorely tempted to forgive him his methods and wink at his pluck.

This is a particularly bad time for us to be taking this risk but he has the presidential seal now and he is my president. I take whatever cheer I can from the hope that he is not the ideologue but the ambitious politician and will, as others have in the past, be transformed by the grandeur of the office and the vitality of the constitution, which defines its powers and responsibilities.

As an American, I honor that constitution and the office. I wish Barack Obama well in assuming it. Americans are also called upon by our system to be vigilant and vocal and I intend to fulfill that duty too.

There are some things that are unalloyed good about this. Chief among them is that we have proven once again that, without question, this is the greatest land of opportunity on earth. As much as I regret what I perceive to be the character of the man and dislike his policies and despise so many of his friends and supporters, I can’t help but have a deep pride that he has been able to become the most powerful man in the world as a black man in America.

The other really good thing is that, if he is just a canny politician, the leftist radicals he used on his way up are in a no-win situation. If he lives up to the demands of the office, they will have lost what might be their only opportunity to have their kind of “change” in this century. If he doesn’t, I have faith that our system will flush him out the way it did Jimmy Carter and it will be a very long time before the American public trusts another candidate with those kinds of friends and associates again.

I pray for his safety and for ours. I pray that he will prove to have statecraft equal to the political drive he has shown and that he will govern with humility, wisdom, strength, compassion and, most important of all, understanding of and respect for the constitution, system and people that have given him this opportunity.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Election Eve Prayer for Our Country We Are the Miracle

I have edited and updated my Yom Kippur Prayer because I am praying very hard this evening...
We are once again besieged.
Our financial markets are in turmoil.
Every one of us, rich and poor alike, fears for the future.

Oh Lord, we are on the eve of a great decision. We have been virtually sleepwalking through a world that, increasingly, is murderously hostile toward us.
Our people are taking rancorous positions in a political fight for the soul of this great land.
Please, oh Lord, hear my prayer.

Give us the grace and clarity to remember who we are. Help us to bear in mind that a handful of the most courageous and practical men of their generation designed this republic not just to survive but to get stronger in times like these.

Our enemies within are more of a danger than our enemies from without. Give us the vision to recognize and resist both the dead hand of the corporatization of our economy while, at the same time, you give us the strength to see through the bluster and emotional blackmail of those who seek to expand the government’s reach into our lives in the name of “the disadvantaged poor”. What’s good for giant corporations is only sometimes good for the country and serving the needs of the poor are a benefit of a free society, best done by maintaining a climate of growth and opportunity not through bureaucratic coercion charity which oppresses both the poor and those whose help is expropriated.

Give us the wisdom to elect a leader who recognizes that there are times that call for sacrifice- as long as the sacrifice is honorable- a leader who will defend us with confidence and vigor. Put the sword of this, the greatest military power on earth, in the hand of one who knows that power and it limits and will use it judiciously. We depend on our leader to know when talking and negotiation can lead to peace and when it is futile and leads only to the slaughter of innocents. Please, be compassionate to those under our new leader’s protection and help us select the leader who knows that peace is not a “natural” condition or a cause and must be won through strength, preparedness and intelligence.

Help us have the courage to turn back the tide of the exclusive belief in human rationalism as the ultimate wisdom and government as the divider of the wealth of the nation. If history has taught us anything it is that human reason is too easily influenced by emotion and when governments take responsibility for health and welfare of individuals, it is only a short step to taking control of what they think and believe.

Whether or not (or how) our fellow citizens believe in you is irrelevant, our great country was founded on separation of church and state for the very reason that the founders in their wisdom knew it is wrong for a nation to take upon itself God-like powers. So preserve us from those who are in the habit of setting themselves up as “organizers" and “teachers” to instruct us in how to change our country for a new order. All of the leaders in history who have assumed the mantle of “teacher” have been bad for the people they have undertaken to instruct. That includes the one who called himself by the German word for teacher – “The Fuehrer”.

We know in our hearts that we will be served best by a man who sees himself as a “servant” of the people. One who has regard for the wealth of people who have worked for it and will be enough of a maverick to help us break the stranglehold of corporate monstrosities that use people as spare parts and deny them fair recompense.
Lord, in this time of trepidation, help us to stay true to the wisdom of Jefferson, Adams and all the others who gave us this gift of republic on this blessed soil. Only by keeping her strong, free and aware will we continue to offer a sanctuary in which the needy may, by their efforts rise to prosperity and an arsenal and protector for other democracies around the world.

Help us, Lord, protect the powerful economic engine that has always redeemed the rest of the world from recessions of the past. Give us the wisdom to see that the Socialist Nations of Europe and Asia will be looking to a free, open and virile America to be the dynamo of the next recovery, not to sit with them in the waiting room of collective economies waiting for the next miracle.

We ARE THE MIRACLE! Help us to resist the temptation to throw it away!

Give us the wisdom and strength of purpose to remember the dictum of the great sage Lao Tzu: "Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it."

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Exquisitely Thin Line Between Blithe and Blithering

My Facebook friend Kathy Shaidle invited me to join a Facebook group yesterday. (BTW, for those of you who are not familiar with her, you need to go to her blog Five Feet of Fury and buy her books and frequent her blog. She writes with the clarity and power of a laser death-ray and she can be very funny too.) The theme of the group was, “Stand up for Margaret Wente”. Wente has run afoul of the political correctness crowd in Canada for speaking plainly about things that the PCers want to pretend don’t exist and many of them are clamoring for her to lose her job over it.

Kathy, many of you will know is a member of a select group of some of the best bloggers in Canada who have been subjected to inquisition and excoriation for speaking plainly so she is more than a little sensitive on this point.

I joined immediately and found that the discussion trail at the bottom of the page was full of wandering moonbats and inexplicable bloviators. Sometimes I simply can’t resist the temptation playing whack-a-whack-o but the trail at the bottom of the join the group page was just too target-rich. Embarrassing in a way and I have ADHD- just too much stimulation…

The I happened upon the “discussion board” which was much less populated. I put up a post in support of Wente and we were off to the races. There were a few satisfying encounters. There was a “Poopy-header” http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/2007/05/no-poopy-heads-allowed.html named Hollingsworth who tried the old back-door moral equivalency gambit of calling Wente’s article an “atrocity”. Then I got to take a swipe at a poor old left-over anti-colonialist leftie trying to flog the old canards of colonialism and racism. But the one with staying power was someone named Antonia Zebrisias. I didn’t know it at the time but she is a newspaper columnist in Toronto.

In a sly aside she asked, “Mr. Ben Moshe, a question. Are you really concerned with American indigenous people here, or indigenous people in general?” Anyone with a Jewish surname knows what THAT question is about. So I answered (edited to remove typos):

Ms Zerbisias,
I suspect the tone of your question is a geopolitical sneer so I will just say that “Indigenous” is a foolish, guilt-ridden concept and one which allows all manner of "I was there first!" quibbling. I address all of the questions in great detail in my two blog posts on the subject. In case you missed them above here they are again- just in case you, Mr. Hollingsworth or anyone else would like to engage some real information rather than slinging sneers and jibes...
My two basic posts on Indians can be found here:
http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/2007/04/indian-guilt-and-american-view-of-islam.html
and here:
http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/2007/04/indian-guilt-and-american-view-of-islam_19.html

I could see immediately what she was about. She had less of a position on this than she did a pose. She answered with one of those mind-numbingly indirect and unfocussed replies that you get when someone has no clue what they are talking about, doesn’t care to to do the research or thinking required to turn it into a position but won’t give up on their “pose”. Here she is baffeling us with movement and “stuff”:
“With respect, Mr. Ben Moshe, I have repeatedly tried but I cannot get past your inability to separate your apparent anti-Muslim agenda from any thoughts you might have regarding indigenous peoples.
I also am trouble by your constant blanket referral to ''Indian culture,'' as if the Incas were the Aztecs were the Mayans were the Anazasi were the Cree were the Sioux were the Iroquois were the Haida. Their language, art, architecture, even gods were dissimilar.
Furthermore, referring back to your blog post, many of these were matriarchal societies, a fact that the Christian invaders could not and would not deal with. The breakdown of that structure caused irreparable damage, as it did with the African-Americans whose families the slaveowners had no regard for.
As for definitions of savage, well, if you lived on the plain or in the high desert, you were hardly of the forest now, were you?”

It’s all very light and breezy sounding but quite subversive. Here is the outline of her argument- right out of the liberal check list of anti-western, multiculturalists’ playbook:
Phony respect
Lying about trying to understand
Back door accusation of Islamophobia- Implying that if you are Zionist –or even Jewish you are anti-Muslim
Silly, hair-splitting distinction about “culture(s)”
Name dropping pretense to real knowledge about Indians
New-age twaddle about Matriarchal societies
BAD,BAD Christians, Blame the BAD Westerners

What is even more disturbing though is the style- the tone. It is light and breezy- an attempt to disarm. La-de-da- she says, I just tried and tried but I don’t under stand… I’ll just rattle off names of Indian tribes, that’ll impress ya… Blah blah blah. It reminds me of Strunk and White’s caution in The Elements of Style, “Do not affect a breezy manner. The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that pops into his head is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.”

I was not going to let it go by:
“With equal respect Ms Zerbisias, I think you are right about some things and mistaken about other things. One thing on which you err is your accusation that I am possessed of an anti-muslim agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am only pointing out that that cohort of Muslims who insist on believing (among other preposterous things) that I and all other westerners- yourself included by the way- are nothing but pigs, dogs or monkeys and that it is their duty to murder us- me and my family and you and yours- for the greater glory of Islam, should be considered a bad influence and resisted.

Even if you were a Muslim yourself, and a nice moderate one, in the prophesied days of the Caliphate (or in many Muslim countries today) that picture of you with a bottle, classy little open necked jacket and ciggy would have the local morality police on your case in a jiffy! Women in Iran and Saudi Arabia have been beaten, beheaded, stoned and hanged for the like. No, I'm not anti-muslim but I'll defend your right not to wear a burkha with my life.

On the other hand, you are quite right in that you seem to lack something (patience, fortitude, reading comprehension?) to get past that thought and get on with some of the more difficult reasoning and evidence that I have laid out in painstaking detail and at exhaustive length both here and in those posts you mention.

Another thing you are correct on is that I wrote of "Indian culture" instead of Indian cultures for although I unintentionally implied by that that there was one culture that was less sophisticated and not as technologically advanced than the western culture, there were,in fact, a whole continent full of them. Some of them were more advanced than others but you are quite correct in reminding me that they were all, every last one of them, less advanced than the West. Thanks for that!

You'll pardon me, I hope, if I point out that all of those tribes you mention practiced bloody warfare on their neighbors. Moreover, the more complex the culture the bloodier were their religions. The Incas sacrificed children to their Gods, The Aztecs took captives from neighboring peoples and cut their still beating hearts out of their chests and held them up as offering to their Gods.

Please, look again and consider your last sentence. It seems, at first to be something of a non-sequitur but underneath that appearance is something more dangerous. You see, what you have just written is that "everything is relative." It all depends on your point of view. No culture is any better than any other. That is simply not so- If you had lived in one of those wonderful matriarchal Indian cultures, the other women would turn you and your multicultural vagueness out into the wilderness. Or- just try going to Iran or Saudi Arabia and try it out.”

I had clearly let her get to me but it made me think. I could have saved myself the trouble of this long response if I had only thought of the Elements of Style criteria first. When someone is bloviating and posing as opposed to taking a reasoned position, it makes sense that it will show in their style. I have always believed that good writing , though not a guarantee, is a good clue that there is a good mind at work. A blithe response is almost a dead giveaway of a blithering idiot at the keyboard. I am going to try to use E.B. White's and Will Strunk’s test first in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Here's Hoping Nice Guys Finish Last This Time Too!

Not that it doesn't sound interesting...

Mr Obama, I have nothing against you. In fact you seem like a pretty nice man. Maybe a little too nice. I think your intentions are good but, honestly I think you are a babe in the woods. You remind me of other goofy and untested Democrats of the past. In some ways you remind me of Mike Dukakis.


Governor Mike Dukakis’ was a soothing, cool intellectual just like you. Unlike you though, the press felt free to ask him hard questions. When he was asked about his failed proson furlough program here in Massachusetts his naïveté lead him to a fatal mistake. In reference to the poster boy for liberals allowing evil to eat the innocent, Willie Horton, he was asked how he would feel about “rehabilitating” someone who raped and murdered his wife. His cool, bloodless answer scared a lot of people, and rightly so.

I know you don’t understand it so I will make it explicit: that is what people didn’t like about your conversation with Joe the plumber. You, like all the other liberals who want to take care of the rest of us, are cool and bloodless when it comes even to those closest to you when they don’t fit in with your intellectual ideas about how the world should be run.

And let's face it, the lengths that you, your media worshipers and your campaign people went to to assasinate Joe's character was just plain ugly. Not at all what we would expect from someone who works so hard at "nice". Yes but is it a socialist, totalitarian kind of nice isn't it. Ask a hard question or stand up for your private property and nice turns nasty in a hurry...

You talk about Change.

The question is, “Change what, Mr. Obama?”

I’m not so sure that I want you “spreading the wealth” right now. You keep saying that in a country as wealthy as ours we ought to be able to just provide health care for everyone. That’s a very nice thing to say but I sure don’t feel so wealthy at the moment and most of the people I know don’t either. I was watching when you talked with “Joe the Plumber too”. See, I really think that this spreading the wealth deal is dangerous. It can’t help but weaken our economic power by taking money from entrepreneurs like Joe who earned it and will most likely make it work My question on that would be why take the money from him, crank it through a bigger and less efficient bureaucracy who will then dole it out in chunks to someone who may or may not do anything other than to buy extra lottery tickets and cigarettes with it.

That’s not the kind of change I believe in…

We should not be thinking about weakening our economy- especially right now. If we do, we will no longer be able to take our usual role of supplying much of the creative power to pull the world’s economies out of the recession. What country do you think would take our place in that role? China, where the economy is so dependant on selling goods designed and specified here into our market that even in the less drastic conditions before the current increase in the slow-down, analysts were predicting the possibility of social unrest?

Do you mean the America hating, oil-rich despots and potentates of Arabia and Persia, with whom you say you will confer without preconditions, perhaps? No, their only role in the world’s economy is to make sure to exert the maximum drag on the worlds economy by ratcheting our energy costs up whenever possible. Here’s a suggestion: Why don’t you make it a precondition that they at least stop promising to use the proceeds of their blackmail to try to bring about our downfall as a civilization? Is that too restrictive?

Or maybe you hope that the once strong economies of Europe, you know, the ones that have been stultified by socialistic policies similar to the ones you want to implement here, will do the job?

Anyway, the whole mortgage mess seems to have been caused by the kinds of socialistic “redistribution of wealth” you have specifically advocated and your friends at ACORN have directly lobbied for. You have even been one of the greatest beneficiaries personally – in the form of donations from Fannie Mae. So we need to back off on the “4 more years”warnings because, frankly, John McCain looks more to me like the guy who can clean this up than you do. For one thing, you don't seem to hang around with a very nice crowd...


No, I don’t think that you are the guy to bring the needed change any more than I think any of those socialist countries are up to the job of pulling up the worlds economic socks- and if you become president, maybe we won’t be anymore.

Look, most of the rest of the world is Socialist or worse, every society has its ups and downs but there is only one that has fueled all of the ups for the past couple of centuries. There is no good time to change that.

The Media's Last Chance to Give Us All the Coverage We Need

Amidst rumors of financial ruin and dark Intimations of racial and social unrest pending the results of the election next week, here are are some timely questions for the media...

If you found it easier for the past few months to get cabs and places at the bar in any of the big media center cities, it’s only partly because of the financial crisis. The other reason is that there has been an exodus of “journalists, reporters and correspondents” to the wild north. While the leaping, wriggling schools of big city media types were making the streets of Wasilla and Juneau looked more like crowded Alaskan Salmon spawning streams at the height of the run, Crickets must have been chirping in New York, Los Angeles and (especially) Chicago.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has published a pretty good study of press coverage up to the last presidential debate. The finding that has been most talked about (and misunderstood) is that in looking at the number of articles about each presidential candidate, the number of positive article about Obama outnumbers the positive articles about McCain by a margin of 3 to 1. This is dramatic and damning but is softened in the report by analysis that shows it is almost always the case that the frontrunner gets more coverage than the other candidate and that much of the positive content was about the lead in the polls. More interesting but still somewhat off the mark was the analytics on the “tone” of coverage. The tone issue is hard to measure but taken together, the study does find that the media has take a different tone with Obama than they have with McCain.

Far more important and much harder to measure is the importance of the things that do not get coverage. On this issue there is no discussion in this study and very little evidence that can be culled. It is important to try to look at what has not been covered, though, because the Media has a responsibility, not just to give accurate and complete coverage within a story, but to cover all stories that pertain to the action.

The journalistic spawning run in Alaska, the corresponding sound of chirping crickets in Obama’s Chicago precincts and the absence of any follow-through on his “lost” time at Columbia are aspects that are hard to quantify and even harder to evaluate for impact.

One indication that can be tracked however is the fact that The Second Presidential Debate offers a laboratory for the effect of one of the issues that the Media has missed on.

The Media has consistently minimized the importance of William Ayers as a negative factor for Obama. They stayed away from talking about the relationship and its meaning throughout the campaign. Then, in the second debate, John McCain, in utter frustration took on the job of informing the public about this association.

Much was made about the tactic backfiring on McCain because it pushed up his negatives noticeably. The media has given a big chuckle of amused vindication and gone back to saying “We were right not to report on it because it is not a factor- people are not interested.” But they are wrong. One look at the chart below shows how wrong they are. The Pew report identifies a clear effect, “…the McCain camp linked Obama with ‘60’s radical William Ayers, 45% of the stories studied about Obama were negative, while 25% were positive and another 30% were mixed. The McCain attacks worked, in other words, in changing the dialogue in the media, as well as the tone of that dialogue.”



The soaring negatives that the attacks brought to the McCain campaign were scalding and the campaign felt they had to be stopped immediately to cut the losses. The question remains, “What has the absence of coverage on key issues done to channel the course of the campaign?

Again, this can only be answered indirectly but the next chart offers a very important clue. The chart clearly shows that almost three quarter of the coverage of this campaign were on the two categories of subject matter (“The Political Horse Race” and “Advertising and Fundraising”) that have nothing to do with the Personal Character, Background, Record of Achievement or Ability to be President of the candidates.



What if the McCain camp were not forced to bring the negatives of Barak Obama to the public’s attention at a severe price in public opinion? What if the press spent more time looking at character, love for this country and leadership experience? How would that change their Horse Race Stories?

As we head into the final week of this election cycle we need to ask our media this question:
In the years to come, everyone will be looking at you and your role in this election. What will you say to them about it? Will you take responsibility?

You, the mainstream media, are not telling the American public what it needs to know. You are not giving us all the information we need.

The information is out there, you are not using it, not looking for it and sometimes even suppressing it .

We will be waiting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Obama Crash?

I never do this on my blog but I am about to put up a snip and a link to someone else's post. My friend Judith Apter Klinghoffer has just put up a very important post that I think everyone should read. It is something I have been wondering about for some time- especially because it ties in so well with the Alinsky/Cloward-Piven connections that are surfacing. Please keep in mind that Judith is a fine scholar and not at all a conspiracy theory type-

MARKETS VOTE NO CONFIDENCE IN OBAMA
An Obama Panic?
...Credit markets have started to thaw, yet stocks and the larger economy keep sliding. What's going on? Among the problems are the reality of recession and the uncertainty over Barack Obama's policies.
US News and World Report blogger muses that The Barack Obama Discount May Be Real READ IT

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Politically Correct Word for Dead Voters


Over at the League of Dead Voters, Eddie the head dead person has taken my suggestion for a new, more politically correct word for ACORN's Obamazombies- Let's call them the Necroenfranchised

Monday, October 20, 2008

Breath of the Beast #6- Asking the Right Questions

A new Beast Story is always worth the wait. Its been a while since I've had the opportunity to publish a new Breath of the Beast Story. They are far more rare than I thought they would be when I started this blog with my own. I know that many of you have read my original post and the other BotB stories that I have linked up over in the left hand column- If you have, you know that each story is different. Some of these awakenings were set off by big, shattering events and others have been inspired by subtle nuances that just happened, on a particular day, for no apparent reason, not to go unnoticed.

This is yet another unique variation. Our writer, lets call him Bill, was as close to becoming a victim on 9/11 as anyone would want to be and yet, escaped unscathed and unconverted. He was, however enlightened (in the sense that he was, at least compelled to think, seek knowledge and ask questions that prepared him, at last, for a final, subtle moment of revelation.

Bill is a professional writer so the prose is clean and terse and his ideas are clear and honest. Read and enjoy- I'll have a couple of comments at the end. Here us his story:


I felt the breath of the beast for the first time over dinner with a group of colleagues recently.

Before I tell this story, I should explain as background that I was on the last PATH train into the World Trade Center out of New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001.

We were headed into Tower One either as or just after the first plane hit. As I left the train, I smelled jet fuel. I exited the building by walking out under the gaping hole the first plane made. I was walking up Church Street when the second plane hit. I turned around just in time to see the side of Tower Two blow out.

One would think I would have felt the breath of the beast that day. I didn't. I knew Islamists had been trying to nail us for a long time and that this time they succeeded.

To me the world had not changed. It simply finally caught up with us. 9/11 did change my reading habits, though. I began to ravenously digest everything I could get my hands on about Islam, the Middle East and America's relationship with it. I tried to read material from all political perspectives, but quickly got fed up with the Norman Finkelsteins and Noam Chomsky's of this world. I really did try, though.

Over the ensuing seven years, I learned that the situation in the Middle East is not remotely as complicated as people have been telling me. For example, Egypt and other surrounding Arab countries could end the plight of the Palestinians in about 15 seconds if they wanted to. I also learned that Islam is not a religion of peace.

Moreover, I learned Palestine is a culture of death and that the Arab world routinely embraces conspiracy theories so zany they make Oliver Stone look like King Skeptic the Reasonable.

I also learned that over the centuries, Islam has periodically gained enough strength to overrun surrounding civilizations and that this might be shaping up to be one of those times.

The current birth rates of Westerners and Middle Easterners speak for themselves.

In any case, I'm a trade reporter and was in Las Vegas covering a conference recently when some colleagues and I decided to go out for dinner.

Trade reporters are generally like their consumer brethren in that they're overwhelmingly liberal.

Hence, I was the only conservative at a table of six.

This being October 2008, the presidential election was bound to come up.

My colleagues were curious as to what I felt. I think they find me a curiosity, because they know I'm reasonably bright, but yet am still a conservative.

I told them in no certain terms that I had never been so disgusted with an American election.

My vote for John McCain would be a vote against Barack Obama the socialist, I explained. I practically spit the words. I think I said: "I hate 'em all" as I was on my second martini.

Then a fellow reporter across the table said: "I think a president with roots in the Koran would be a good thing. I'm sick and tired of Christians … well maybe I should stop there."

I said: "Yes you should stop there. I'm not a Christian but I am sick and tired of liberals' kneejerk demonization of them."

Then the conversation mercifully shifted.

There it was: the breath of the beast.

First, let me be clear. Though I believe Obama poses an economic, cultural and national security threat to the U.S., I do not think the threats he poses have "roots in the Koran." Though, Louis Ferrakhan's praise of him is deeply troubling.

Still, I could not believe what I had just heard. "A president with roots in the Koran would be a good thing?"

The ignorance of that statement took my breath away. Did my colleague have any idea what Islam has in store for him?

Here sitting across the table from me was truly nice guy who witlessly embodies the evil that liberal apologism poses to Western culture. Here was a symbol of the large percentage of the American population that is so ashamed of its heritage, it no longer wants to defend itself. He had no idea what he was calling for and how it would impact him if he got his wish.

He couldn't have realized that what he was saying was akin to: "I think a president with roots in a religious/political movement that seeks to obliterate our civilization through violence and cultural jihad would be a good thing," could he?

He also couldn't have realized what he was saying was akin to: "I think a president with roots in a movement launched by a pirate and pedophile, many of whose modern-day adherents routinely beat and murder their wives and daughters over some infantile conception of 'honor' would be a good thing."

Did he think he was showing himself to be enlightened by saying this? Did he realize that as an American secular liberal, he would be part of the second group murderously persecuted in a worldwide caliphate?

I didn't feel the breath of the beast on September 11, 2001 as I escaped from a burning World Trade Center. But my brush with death that day drove me to learn as much as I could as fast as I could about those who seek to destroy me.

As a result, I was able to recognize the stench of the breath of the beast seven years later when it came from a colleague making an obscenely ignorant statement over dinner.

The beast isn't just in those who want to kill us. It's also in those who refuse to acknowledge the beast exists.

YBM-Two things I find myself moved to point out-

First, The honesty with which Bill describes looking up and seeing the second plane hitting the tower and blowing out the side of it and still being able to tell us, "One would think I would have felt the breath of the beast that day. I didn't. I knew Islamists had been trying to nail us for a long time and that this time they succeeded." is stunning to me. The world is full of people who will aggrandize themselves by making themselves out to have been more prescient and "on top" of a situation like that than they were at the time. Bill, here, gives us a more accurate kind of self-observation that enables us to understand that even at such times and occasions as 9/11 minds don't change without preparation and background.

The other observation I'd like to make involves this sentence: "I think they find me a curiosity, because they know I'm reasonably bright, but yet am still a conservative.” I found the phrasing ambiguous- its almost as if he tacitly agrees with them that “intelligent conservative” might be a bit of an oxymoron. Conscious? Unconscious? I asked Bill and he says that he was merely representing the way his friends saw the situation. I have no doubt he is right at the conscious level but I also believe that at a deeper level he still may have the unconscious habit, as Groucho did in my last post, of mirroring the prevailing blindness- even though his mirror had been effectively shattered.

For those of us who have experienced The Beast ourselves, it is essential that we recall and understand that its existence and menace is not as obvious as it seems to us now- that the persistence of the mirror is very strong. Without enough time and information, experience itself, no matter how profound, may not be enough. Without the intellectual honesty and open-minded curiosity Bill applied to the experience of 9/11, his friends' idiotic remark would have passed un-noted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Picking Up Hats- Waiting for Chico

Seventy-five years ago in 1933, The world was three years into The Great Depression. Hitler became the dictator of Germany in 1933. FDR was inaugurated as President of the U.S.. Also in 1933, in the Soviet Union, the famine created by the collectivization of farms was into its second year. The Soviet famine, actually a political atrocity of genocidal proportions, is thought to have claimed as many as five million lives. 1933 was also the year that the new president Roosevelt broke the sixteen-year long impasse and granted U.S. diplomatic recognition for the Communist regime in the USSR.

I’m going to forgo the obvious observations. Those who have eyes to see the parallels and implications for today will surely have seen them already and those who don’t will only become agitated. Anyway I have something startling to show you from 1933
Take a look at this short video clip:


Its from the Marx Brother’s movie Duck Soup. This is one of the great classic scenes in entertainment history and I believe that it is so memorable because it says something universal and scathing about mirrors, human behavior and illusion. The pas de deux between Groucho and Harpo starts out looking like an earnest attempt by Chico to imitate Groucho’s actions exactly- as if to fool him into thinking that he is really looking into a mirror instead of at a spy who is on a mission against him. Now, this scenario has been imitated by other pairs of actors and lesser comedic talents always play it straight. That is to say that the one playing the “Groucho” role will assume an attitude of ominous suspicion or innocent credulity.

Groucho here is playing it coy and amused through the whole exercise. We see in his attitude and our acceptance of it that the autonomic mirror is not just an urge to mirror but a reciprocal urge to be mirrored as well. He feigns trick after trick to trip Harpo up and ignores every slip.

As the scene progresses, the gap between Groucho’s actions and Harpo’s imitations widens. They even circle each other and briefly switch sides without breaking the spell. When Harpo drops his hat Groucho even surprises us by picking it up and handing it back to him. All the while, Groucho remains no more than bemused while he plays along. The peculiar brilliance here is that even while we wonder why he does not just pull the plug on the charade, we also feel the elemental pleasure/pain of the dissonance created by the elemental power of the autonomic mirroring urge as it interacts with the mounting accumulation of evidence. Finally the appearance of Chico in the scene- dressed identically- breaks the tension and Groucho is compelled to break the illusion of “mirror” he has so willingly preserved.

What we witnessed in the video clip is theater but it its greatness derives from a deep resonance in human nature. It incorporates the mirror (in this case a purely fictional one) as a central character.

As humans we are mirrors for each other throughout our lives. Mirroring each other is the way in which we learn about life, form opinion and conceive desires. We learn about our place in the larger world by reading, listening and viewing the media which are the larger mirror on which we depend for news and point of view. Intellectual, cultural and social life is really mirrors within mirrors.

There is a an elemental conflict in this scene, as one man sets out to convince the other that he is merely the mirror image of the other. This is an eternal human dilemma. If everything we do, say and think is a kind of mirroring how do we know know what is real and what is reflection and, if it is reflection is it distorted? If our behavior, thoughts and desires are reflections of those of other people, how do we establish authenticity in our own behavior? How can we be sure we are not being manipulated? These are very disquieting thoughts and in order to maintain confidence in our own actions and reactions we need to keep the reflecting relationship secret from ourselves- or at least under control to the degree that we do not see our self as unoriginal – as a mere façade.

Is it possible, you ask, if this allegory, this uncritical acceptance of an obviously flawed mirror image, has an analog in reality?

Yes, in fact, our media study under the banner of Second Draft has turned this kind of thing up in many unexpected places. The one being played out in the presidential elections in the US at this moment is one of the most obvious, though, and it is also one of the very most dangerous. In this instance the part of Groucho is played by the Main Stream Media and Harpo is Barack Obama and his campaign.

The action between Groucho and Harpo evolves as a kind of pantomime of the way in which the media, having begun to mirror a character or story it has begun to “carry” will go to fantastic lengths, even to the equivalent of Groucho (in the mirror that is not there) picking up the “dropped hat” and handing it back to a public figure when he drops it.

Picking up the dropped hat can take many forms, these include:
• Ignoring or refusing to investigate important stories that contradict the theme being “carried”.
• “Reframing” information and “putting it in context” to minimize its impact.
• Making up rationalizations and excuses for behavior and situations.
• Refusing to identify connections between obvious gaps in information

I believe that time will show that the media’s participation in the pandemic infatuation of millions of people all over the world with Barack Obama is a very dramatic example of this kind of active distortion of the mirroring relationship. Obama intentionally presents us with an image of ourselves in that is calculated to make us feel is a reflection of the kind of world we desperately long to see. Because of that image, many people have made the commitment to ignore any thing negative that may come up about him and threaten the coherence of the image. This, as in the strange little mirror dance of Groucho and Harpoo ceases to be gullibility and becomes credulity. Even in the face of mounting evidence that he is not a man of good character, experience or, even, good will.

The enticement of the “change” he offers, begins with the image of a black man who behaves like a white man ascending to the presidency “proving” that we are not a racist country and that we put equality before reason and self-reliance and ends with a bland and rational-sounding but nebulous approach to bringing about a socialist “change” in America. He leads many to believe that racism will just disappear from people’s heart and minds and seems to imply that his policies are less socialist than they are benevolent- that they will take away all the “inequalities” and suffering of normal life.

A world without racism, inequality and suffering is called Utopia. Utopia always sounds nice but go try to implement one- entirely unrealistic- we know that from thousands of failed attempts. We know it too because an honest look around the world will tell us that the countries in which the socialist engineers of equality and benevolence have had their way are the greatest sources of new immigrants into the United States. But that does not stop his mirroring minions from cheerfully ignoring both the evidence and the surreal assumptions behind their cult. It does not stop them because they don't necessarily have to believe it is possible- they just want that narcissistic mirror image of themselves trying to do it. When an outsider to the cult offers even the most reasoned argument and clear evidence, it is met with some combination of taunting, insolence, blind denial, disproportionate rage, obfuscation or sneering- none of which actually address the arguments and evidence.

I will, at least for this post, keep my word and not make all of the obvious observations. Allow me, though, one more chilling bit of information about the movie from which the mirror clip came:
Here is part of the plot summary offered by the New York Times for the movie Duck Soup
“In this 1933 Marx Brothers film, the mythical country of Freedonia is broke and on the verge of revolution. Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), Freedonia's principal benefactress, will lend the country 20 million dollars if the president withdraws and places the government in the hands of the "fearless, progressive" Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx). At his inauguration, Firefly shows up late, insults everyone in sight, and sings a song about how he intends to abuse his power. Naturally, the crowd cheers wildly.”


Next time you see film of an Obama rally or see video of chubby middle class children being coached in the singing of hymns to the wondrousness of The One. Like this:

Keep in mind that Soros and piles of illegal foreign money has funded him, he has lived off government grants and distributed millions to radicalized haters of our values and government. He has insulted “common” people- albeit not to their faces. His friends and associates have always intended on getting power for him so they can abuse it. Even now they are registering legions of dead people, incarcerated felons and illegal immigrants to put him in power. Every time the hat drops, the media dutifully pick it up.

They refuse to follow up on the money trails, ignore his associations, soft-peddle his connection with those who are committing the voter fraud, and draw the attention away from all of these things by virtually unfolding every crumpled piece of Kleenex in Sarah Palins trash barrels in search of manufactured scandal. And still, the crowd cheers wildly. Clearly, they will keep on doing it until the "mirror" is shattered. In the video it took the arrival of Chico.

If it seems to you that everything is backwards, well that’s probably just because that’s the way things look in a mirror. My question is "Where is Chico?"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One American Jew's Prayer for America on the Eve of Yom Kippur

We are once again besieged.
Our financial markets are in turmoil.
Every one of us, rich and poor alike, fears for the future.
As Americans and Jews we have been virtually sleepwalking through a world that, increasingly, is murderously hostile toward us.
Our people are taking rancorous positions in a political fight for the soul of this great land.

Please, oh Lord, hear my prayer.

Give us the grace and clarity to remember who we are. Help us to bear in mind that a handful of the most courageous and practical men of their generation designed this republic not just to survive but to get stronger in times like these.

Our enemies within are more of a danger than our enemies from without. Give us the vision to recognize and resist the dead hand of the corporatization of our economy while, at the same time, you give us the strength to see through the bluster and emotional blackmail of those who seek to expand the government’s reach into our lives in the name of “the disadvantaged poor”. What’s good for giant corporations is only sometimes good for the country and serving the needs of the poor are a benefit of a free society, best done by maintaining a climate of growth and opportunity not through the oppression of bureaucratic charity.

Give us the wisdom to elect a leader who recognizes that there are times for sacrifice- as long as the sacrifice is honorable- who will defend us with confidence and vigor. Put the sword of the greatest military power on earth in the hand of one who knows its power and it limits and will use it judiciously. We depend on our leader to know when talking and negotiation can lead to peace and when it is futile and leads only to the slaughter of innocents. Please, be compassionate to those under his protection and help us select the leader who knows that peace is not a natural condition and needs to be won through strength, preparedness and intelligence.

Help us have the courage to turn back the tide of belief in human rationalism as the ultimate wisdom and government as the divider of the wealth of the nation. If history has taught us anything it is that human reason is too easily influenced by emotion and when governments take responsibility for health and welfare of individuals, it is only a short step to taking control of what they think and believe.

Whether or not (or how) our fellow citizens believe in you is irrelevant, our great country was founded on separation of church and state for the very reason that the founders in their wisdom knew it is wrong for a nation to take upon itself God-like powers. So preserve us from those who want to redistribute the wealth of people who have worked for it and help us to break the strangle hold of corporate monstrosities who use people as spare parts and deny them fair recompense.

Lord, in this time of trepidation, help us to stay true to the wisdom of Jefferson, Adams and all the others who gave us this gift of republic on this blessed soil. Only by keeping her strong, free and aware will we continue to offer a sanctuary in which the needy may, by their efforts rise to prosperity and an arsenal and protector for other democracies around the world.

Give us the wisdom and strength of purpose to remember the dictum of the great sage Lao Tzu: "Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it."

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Field Guide for Fighting Evil- First Principles

As many of you already know, my second youngest son was born with Neurofibromatosis. NF is the perfect paradigm of evil. It is a tumor disorder in which the tumors grow along nerve fibers. Because nerve fibers are uniformly arrayed throughout the body, the tumors may appear anywhere and are usually so inextricably interwoven with the tissues of skin, organs and bone that removing them completely is impossible. That is how I see evil. It is inextricable in the fabric of humanity. What is truly important is how we try to deal with it.

Thoreau observed, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.” Ask anyone- they will tell you that they are opposed to evil but few understand that (as I pointed out in my post of 9/2) that evil is part of the universe and especially present in the human soul. There are three main political remedies that claim to hack away at the branches in The West, lets look at which of these might have the best shot at the root.

Progressives, Communists and Solcialists
The emotional lability of Socialism and the allied “Progressive” leftist extremism stems from their belief that it is evil for any one individual to be any better off (regardless that they may be more intelligent, or better educated or even just luckier) than anybody else- The inevitable exception, of course, being those who will run the Stalinist bureaucracy that will be required to compel everyone to accept and participate in this fantastic perversion of reality. When the revolution comes, they-or at least the ones that survive the purges and infighting that always accompanies the success of socialism- will become deities. To see the corrosive effects of the creep of this ideology into the mainstream of Western thought, simply look at the havoc created in Canada by the actions of the Human Rights Commissions. In Canada, now, if you say anything of substance about the national discourse it is considered (I borrow and paraphrase from the title of the new book by Kathy Shaidle and Peter Vere) “Not Nice” and you are fair game to be persecuted for expressing a mere thought. It is inevitable. Socialism (especially the kind that regards itself as Progressive) does not match up with the reality of human nature- so it does not stand up to reason- so the more leverage you give it the more it will attempt to stifle discussion and, ultimately, thinking. (note: for really insightful blow by blow coverage of the CHRC mess you can’t beat Blazing Catfur )

Liberals
Liberals don’t necessarily agree with socialist principals they are just slowly submitting to the emotional blackmail of the extreme left. At heart, they only want to prevent suffering and because they will not understand the nature, unavoidability and source of suffering they are drawn to the emotional appeal of socialism and its phony egalitarianism. So committed are they to this pious goal of preventing suffering, it doesn’t even occur to them that they actually end by causing much more suffering by their efforts- they are satisfied knowing that they are “doing something for change”. Few will take the trouble to deny that welfare had a great hand in destroying the African American family and that Affirmative action has cast a shadow on the reputations of two generations of black, university-educated professionals- but they support those programs and others like them out of reflex and the soft racism inherent in the inability to imagine that many black professionals could make it on their own if allowed.

Conservatives
Conservatives want only to preserve, restore and enhance the system that has proven to be the world’s most successful at espousing and enabling the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They do this out of a love of liberty first but they do it in the conviction that there will always be evil and suffering and the best yet devised on earth to ensure that there will be as little evil and suffering as possible, is to leave free people in charge of themselves and give them sufficient checks and balances so that as they govern themselves, the interference of the government will be minimized, the rule of law will be paramount and (all of) the people (through their ballots) will always be in control.

So today, it appears even worse than in Thoreau's time. There are millions whose ill-conceived notions of fairness and openness are actually feeding the roots of evil rather than striking at them.

Through dealing with David’s disease we have had to become conservatives. We know that we cannot just declare the disease “Not Nice” and make it disappear. We know that we cannot prevent him from suffering with it. We can only do the things that will give him his best shot at living and being a productive and competent person. Those things do not include not talking about the problems or letting him sink into a despairing, undisciplined lack of expectations. There is no special Sharia court system, welfare or even affirmative action here. Perhaps we are very fortunate that he has the courage and intelligence to have faith in his doctors, in us and in his future but I am inclined to think that the better you understand and confront evil the more you strike at its root.