Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lessons to be Learned From Mumbai

On December 7, 1941, America received a rude awakening that it was poorly prepared for any sort of military challenge. Quickly we rose to the task, overcoming the cutoff of strategic raw materials.

India has received a bloody wakeup call, as has Great Britain, seven of whose citizens were involved in the attack. For India, the bitter news was that its police were insufficiently prepared, at times showing what could most tactfully be called shocking incompetence.

Sebatian d’Souza, a photographer for the Mumbai Mirror spoke with a reporter for the Belfast Telegraph. He was in the train station in Mumbai, amd photographed the gunman in their The BelfastTelegraph reported as follows.

“The gunmen were terrifyingly professional, making sure at least one of them was able to fire their rifle while the other reloaded. By the time he managed to capture the killer on camera, Mr D’Souza had already seen two gunmen calmly stroll across the station concourse shooting both civilians and policemen, many of whom, he said, were armed but did not fire back. “I first saw the gunmen outside the station,” Mr D’Souza said. “With their rucksacks and Western clothes they looked like backpackers, not terrorists, but they were very heavily armed and clearly knew how to use their rifles.”

In contrast to the gunman who killed with chilling skill and icy determination, the police seemed paralysed by indecision. The Beldast Telegraph continues with its report.

But what angered Mr D’Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,” he said. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

India is capable of decisive action. In response to piracy off the coast of Somalia, India has taken an approach of cutting through the gordian knot of legal niceties and defended their ships with no holds barred. Within India is administrative chaos that we can not imagine in America or Europe. Truck drivers passing from one state in India to another must fill out customs documents at each state border. The Hindu Nationalist Party Bharatiya Janata complains bitterly of concessions to India’s Muslim minority. Muslims in turn complain of prejudice and discrimination by the Hindu majority. Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan, with Hindus complaining of being pushed out of what is for them also a homeland. India’s founding father, Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu Nationalist who felt Gandhi was compromising “Hindutva” in India. Prime Minister Indira gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by Sikh extremists. During partition in 1947 tens of thousands of Hindus and Muslims were killed in sectarian violence. Even India’s tiny Christian minority is not immune to violence from Hindus who do not countenance any escape from India’s caste system. With its multiple languages, alphabets and faith communities India resembles Jugoslavia in the seeming intractability of its problems.

India has incorporated the entire calendar of Islamic holidays into its schedule of national holidays. It has already given considerable legal weight to Islamic law within Muslim communities in the country. In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks it is hard to imagine Muslim complaints of discrimination eliciting anything but indignant scorn.

Pearl Harbor was an act of war in a simpler age, when attacks were carried out under a national flag. Today, acts of war are no longer committed under a flag. “A day that will live in infamy” was Roosevelt’s term used to describe the Pearl Harbor attack. Today unarmed innocents are not only killed but actively sought out in a manner that would defy the boundaries of Roosevelt’s eloquence.

India has to overcome poor training and disorganisation. It must also confront the security problems posed by its own minorities within the government. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards, whose Sikh identity was worth more to them than guarding her life or even their own lives. Many young Muslim Indians have come to a crossroads, where their loyalty to Islam and its vision for India trumps civic loyalty. How do you focus ruthless brutal force on the violent and lawless without involving the innocent? At such a critical juncture in India’s history, secret police, surveillance and identifying suspects would be a good alternative to brutal and random crackdowns.

The United Kingdom has a special relationship with India. Many Indians and Pakistanis have emigrated to the UK. A significant minority have incubated the virus of a virulent extremism on British soil, using it as a launching pad and a fund raising source for attacks on India and also Pakistan. Great Britain needs to examine its own guilt in coddling Muslim extremists , permitting them to raise funds, organise and recruit on British soil.

So craven is British appeasement of its Muslim minority that they are recognising polygamous marriages contracted in Islamic countries. When this is combined with a birth rate among Europeans that is below replacement level, you have a prescription for national suicide. Appeasement breeds contempt. Historically, political movements both legitimate and degenerate develop away from the countries in which they are rooted. Ho Chi Minh and Jose Marti both spent time in New York City. Gandhi developed his sense of Indian identity while living in South Africa. Lenin spent time in Switzerland and throughout Europe. National identity is often developed abroad by the intelligentsia who take refuge in foreign lands.

India does not need foreign troops. It has however formidable problems that it must face if it wants to survive as a nation. What America, the UK and the European Union must do is to stop incubating the destructive ideologies that are being launched from its soil. The west must close its safe haven to India’s enemies. There is no other way. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Am a Democrat Because …….

I found this list of “reasons to be a Democrat” in the comment section of a large website. I did not write it I wish I could give credit to the authour. If anyone wants to clue me in about the identity of the authour, please e-mail or leave a note in the comments to this post. This is one of those posts I wish I could claim but cannot.

After asking a democrat why in the world he would do such a thing to our country, I received this response:

I’m voting Democrat because English has no place being the official language in America .

I’m voting Democrat because I’d rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America .

I’m voting Democrat because I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could.

I’m voting Democrat because when we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq , I know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us because they’ll think we’re a good and decent country.

I’m voting Democrat because I believe people who can’t tell us if it will rain in two or three days can now tell us the polar ice caps will disappear in ten years if I don’t start riding a bicycle, build a windmill or inflate my tires to proper levels.

I’m voting Democrat because it’s all right to kill millions of babies as long as we keep violent, convicted murderers on death row alive.

I’m voting Democrat because I believe businesses in America should not be allowed to make profits. Businesses should just break even and give the rest to the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute the money the way they think it should be redistributed.

I’m voting Democrat because I believe guns, and not the people misusing them, are the cause of crimes and killings.

I’m voting Democrat because when someone with a weapon threatens my family or me, I know the government can respond faster through a call to 911 than I can with a gun in my hand.

I’m voting Democrat because oil companies’ 5% profit on a gallon of gas are obscene, but government taxes of 18% on the same gallon of gas are just fine.

I’m voting Democrat because I believe three or four elitist liberals should rewrite the Constitution every few months to suit some fringe element that could never get their agenda past voters.

I’m voting Democrat because illegal aliens are not criminals, are not sucking up resources through government aid, hospital services, education, or social services, but are just people trying to make a better life by coming to America illegally. We can’t blame them for that, can we?

I’m voting Democrat because now I can now marry whatever I want, so I’ve decided to marry my horse.

It makes you wonder why anyone would ever vote Republican, doesn’t it?

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Stampede in Long Island: Walmart Worker Killed

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It is a day of frenzied shopping for millions across America. At a Walmart in Valley Stream, Long Island , the day has been seared into the hearts of the family of a temporary worker at Walmart as a day of mourning. The 34 year old worker, who was not identified was trampled in the moments after the store opened at 5:00 AM.

The Daily News described the stampede as follows:. “A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.”

The article continues to describe a stampede that hindered rescue efforts and caused injury to other shoppers, including a pregnant woman. The closing of the store underscored the gravity of the situation as frenzied shoppers raced the rising sun and other shoppers to snap up bargains.

The scene in Walmart was described in frightening tones by a coworker of the deceased as follows in the Daily News article. “He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”

It is a good idea to study tragedies such as this to avoid injury and to avoid causing injury and loss of life. I have found it helpful to wait five to ten minutes before joining a crowd that is exiting a theatre. I once found a crowd in front of a store to have a frightening life of its own. My response was to extricate myself and to walk away. It would be glib to blame stores like Walmart for the behavior of their crowds. But retail consultants study everything from the colour of store decorations and their effect on shoppers to what is best placed next to the cash registers. The lethal throng at Walmart seems to suggest a need for crowd control both as a discipline and focus of store design.

This tragedy should be reflected on in order that it not be repeated. A season that is focused on the joy of giving should not be a time of bereavement for anyone. My heart goes out to the family of this man who lost his life in such a terrifying way. How do we behave in crowds. Do we add to the anger or do we exert a calming influence on those around us? What is it like to be a part of a densely packed throng?

I avoid crowds. They make me nervous. There is almost a month of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Come back later. It’s better for your peace of mind. Sphere: Related Content

My Battle Against Spammer-Scammers Continues

In my continuing battle to spread annoyance to internet scammers, I replied to one who was supposedly looking for love. Here is her(?) letter and my reply. After my reply is an announcement from my other site which pertains to this one. Here is the link.
My announcement to readers (posted on magdeburgerjoe.com but also pertaining to this site)

Hello
My name is cynthia i was very happy when i saw your profile today in www.l------------.com and it really attract me alot i believe that you are the man i have been looking for to share my love good interest with ; How is your health? i hope all is well with you. I believe that we can move from here by knowing each other well ; but remember that distance;age and color dose not matter what matters is the true love and understanding; in my next e-mail i shall include my photo; i will be waiting for your reply e-mail me with my e-mail address([email protected]) for further introduction. Bye my love
miss cynthia please remember to write me here([email protected])

Dear Cynthia,
I was so happy when my psychiatric social worker finally delivered my mail and your promising letter with it. Ever since being transferred to the minimum security wing, I have been able to get mail. They still restrict my access to sharp objects, including even staples in magazines. Boy the CIA still has it in for me.
Some of my friends who are not serving life sentences are being approved for conjugal visits. A lot of them met their wives through mail call. And they seem so happy.
It seems only fair that you should know about me before we continue our correspondence. I am into fitness. I lost 150 pounds, which still leaves my weight at 420 pounds. At a height of 4:11, this means I have more weight to lose It's still a challenge bathing myself, since most of the shower stalls here at the state hospital will not fit me. Fortunately, there is a garage where they wash the trucks into which I fit quite nicely.
My hobbies are reading poetry, listening to Marilyn Manson and taxidermy. The last hobby got me into trouble when it turned out that one of my trophies was human.(They didn't believe me when I said he was dead anyhow). But that's minor. The truth is, I'm being persecuted for my religion. Just when the Buddhists, the Muslims and the Christians can all agree that I am The messiah, the last imam ant the last incarnation of the Buddha, I get locked up before can save humanity.They keep trying to kill my gift of prophecy with drugs, but I won't stop until I can ride my donkey across a bed of palm fronds in the streets of Jerusalem.
I am looking for a special woman who can be my Mary Magdalene, my Fatima and my Squeaky Fromm all rolled up into one. Once I find this special woman, we can ascend into heaven together and fulfill my latest prophetic revelation.( Prophecy of Bilaam to the Meteories and the Transvestites 12:11).
I hope that you will reply to my letter. Perhaps you are woman who can usher in the new age with me. As a test of your pure intentions, I need you to put 500 dollars on your window sill by the light of the full moon and to mail it to me with cakes of fine flour baked with olive oil. The money should be baked into the cakes.
Please hasten to reply to me, so I can be anointed as the last Buddha, the Twelfth Imam and the Messiah.

I eagerly await your reply

Cosmically Yours

Muhammed Ali Buddha David ben Yeshua





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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Community Response From Crown Heights to Events in Mumbai

video

The eyes of the world are upon Mumbai, financial centre of India, a nation of over a billion people. Hotels have been set ablaze and train stations raked with gunfire. India is a patchwork of religions, languages and castes. It has 150 million Muslims, more than Pakistan or Bangla Desh. Its peace and unity rest upon its many nationalities and faith communities respecting the laws that enable them to live in peace in one country.

Reports indicate that the terrorists come from outside India. With no investment in the peace that makes work , worship and leisure possible in India, they have abrogated all laws of human decency to press their case. The "heaven" into which they wish to force the entire human race would be hell for the rest of us. They have shown us what is sacred to them by the lawlessness with which they press their case. They have betrayed the G-d to whom they pay false lip service by committing violence against innocents in His name.
Many in Brooklyn are from India. The Jewish Community of Crown Heights is tied to Mumbai by the presence of the Chabad House that was taken over in that city. The feeling is prevalent that this attack was an attack against our families and the Jewish nation.

Tomorrow, Friday November 27 at 11:00 AM, there will be a press conference and public gathering at Kingston Avenue and Eastern Parkway. It has been called by State Senator Eric Adams, who is also founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement. It will be an occasion to express sorrow and outrage as well as to pray for peace, healing and revenge upon the perpetrators of this outrage against India and humanity.



video Sphere: Related Content

Thanksgiving Greetings to My Readers

The concept of gratitude is critical to mental and spiritual health. Those who focus on the kindnesses, miracles and times of deliverance that have carried them to the present day do not give central focus to the obstacles of circumstance and on human meanness and cruelty. One of the Breslov books that I am fond of reading states that one can not think two thoughts at once. This is a powerful realisation. When I realise that I am feeding on my own anger with negative thoughts, I try to find a focus that will put me in a more constructive mood.

One of my children once asked me why I seemed to be in such a bad mood.

I shot back "I'm so nasty, I stopped talking to myself." My child laughed and I laughed with her. The mixture of self caricature and self acceptance had a curative effect for me.

I have found that most of the time, even dealing with the holocaust I am able to keep gratitude as a central focus. When a story of rescue or of a saving miracle is told, man's inhumanity to man becomes a supporting background for a ray of light. The proper historical and religious understanding of traumatic events should focus on our ability to overcome and to transform concealment into light. What is ultimately important is that we continue to strive to make the world a better place.

There are holidays that remind me of the overlapping values of Jews living in America with the majority population Thanksgiving is among these shared holidays. Memorial Day is also a sort of Thanksgiving during which we remind ourselves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America.

Although Jewish holidays overshadow secular observance on my calendar, the quiet reflection upon the central message is to me the central point. To reflect upon the core values of the nation and meditate upon them at regular intervals is a good way to maintain balance and focus. I do not agree with the faux profundity of complaining that thankfullness should not be confined to a single day of periodic notation. Birthdays and holidays offer a calendric anchor that keeps values and individuals who are dear to us from being cast adrift in our thoughts.

In this spirit, I wish a happy Thanksgiving to my readers. Sphere: Related Content

Colombians Rebuke Hugo Chavez at the Polls. What the FARC?

Columbia’s President, Fidel Castro wannabe Hugo Chavez has been spanked at the polls by his own people in local elections across Venezuela. According to the Wall Street Journal,

“Mr. Chávez suffered an electoral setback Sunday. Chávez opponents won control of five states and the Caracas district, up from two states in previous elections, putting more than half the population under opposition rule”

It is easy to look at a colourful figure like Hugo Chavez and forget that he has a country no run with a multitude of problems. Seeing Hugo Chavez face a domestic electorate and viewing him through their eyes is critical in gaining an understanding his behavior on the international stage

In looking at the world stage, I assign labels to “good guys” and “bad guys”. People abroad don’t always see things my way. I once took a taxi ride with a man from Soviet Georgia who was Jewish. He had gone straight from Georgia to the US. He had glowing things to say about Stalin, how good he was for the economy and how great he made the USSR. I was in shock to hear his take on Stalin until I found out that Stalin treated his native Republic and its Jews completely differently from how he treated people from other Republics in the USSR. I later found out that my taxi driver was not an oddity at all.

My next shock was being jolted from my case of Gorbophilia (uncritical admiration of Mikhail Gorbatchev) by Soviet emigres who blasted him for destroying the Soviet Union. When I heard how people’s savings and pensions were rendered worthless by inflation and how ethnic and social unrest was fracturing Soviet society, In viewing the economic fallout of communism’s fall, it became far easier to understand the opinions of Gorbatchev’s critics.

I find that my understanding of countries that I read about is immeasurably deepened by moments when I am caught between hotly held and diametrically opposed opinions. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal provided me with such a moment by showing me a side of Hugo Chavez with which I was unfamiliar.

I had always thought that Chavez aspired to make Venezuela a regional superpower with himself as its demagogic centerpiece. It seemed like he wanted to fill the shoes of Fidel Castro without turning his country into the vassal state that Cuba became.

The Wall Street Journal article describes Hugo Chavez as not only admiring and assisting FARC rebels in neighbouring Columbia but actually surrendering Venezuelan soveriegnty to the neighbouring guerilla group.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “This sweltering market town on Venezuela’s southwestern frontier has its own mayor, council and police force. It also has a parallel government of sorts — a group of Communist guerrillas from the neighboring country of Colombia.

Earlier this year, a squad from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, took over the Doña Pancha bar in this town 70 miles from the border with Colombia. The uniformed guerrillas cut the music and told customers they were in the area to support the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and settle local disputes, according to a local priest.

Now, the priest says, the foreign fighters have been seen setting up impromptu road checks, meting out justice to petty thieves and extorting businessmen.”

It is clear that ‘proletarian internationalism has taken on a totally new meaning in the conceptual universe of Hugo Chavez who has repeatedly met and corresponded with FARC rebels from neighbouring Colombia. This has been proven in numerous e-mails captured from a high ranking FARC rebel Raul Reyes, who was killed by Columbian troops in a raid on his rebel camp in Ecuador.. The Wall Street Journal

summarises some of the intercepted e- mails as follows.

In the Jan. 18 email, a FARC secretariat member writes to the full body and mentions some of the issues to be taken up at a proposed meeting with President Chavez. Among the issues: an alliance against the U.S., keeping FARC units in Venezuela, such as the 10th and 45th fronts, which are kidnapping and extorting ranchers in Venezuela under control, and pushing Mr. Chavez for a $250 million loan.

In the Nov. 12 email, Ivan Marquez, the FARC’s representative in Venezuela reports to the late Manuel Marulanda, the FARC’s legendary chief, on a meeting with President Chavez. Among the points he mentions is that Mr. Chavez has approved a loan for what Colombian officials believe is $300 million “without blinking.” Mr. Chavez has named then Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin to act as liason with the guerrillas. Among the first orders of business is to set up a meeting with two Australian arms dealers. Mr. Chavez also gives the orders to set up medical and rest facilities for the FARC along the Venezuelan border.

In any indictment for treason, e-mails such as these would be critical evidence. It is not hard to understand the disgust of many Venezuelans with Hugo Chavez.

Most Americans would be furious if Mexican or Canadian troops moved into their town and declared their mission to be one of support for America’s president and his party. This is precisely what has happened in Venezuela. To maintain his personal control, Hugo Chavez has in effect surrendered increments of Venezuelan sovereignty.

Sharply voiced anti Americanism is a staple of Latin American politics. A desire to have a political and cultural identity that is independent of America has been a staple of Latin American politics for decades. This does not and has not precluded strategic collaboration on matters of mutual benefit.

Hugo Chavez is outspoken in his admiration of Fidel Castro. Castro is most noted not only for the ruthlessness of his dictatorship but also for making Cuba a supplicant client state of the former Soviet Union, defying geographic obstacles in doing so. Chavez has attempted valiantly to emulate his role model in constructing a totalitarian state. Recent setbacks in local elections across Venezuela show that he has not yet succeeded at this.

With the possible exception of China, there is no viable superpower for Chavez to turn to in contending with the US. His only alternative has been the pitiful piecemeal sale of Venezuelan sovereignty to armed dope dealers who have incorporated communist insignias into the marketing of their drug shipments. Chavez has not entered into an alliance not with international communism to the contrary, he has sold out to the most aggressive and lawless outpost of laissez faire capitalism, Colombia’s narco terrorists. From one hand, he facilitates the selling of cheap heating oil in America to poor families. From the other hand he helps push drugs that are killing children from the same poor families. Meanwhile, the condition of the Venezuelan poor continues to worsen under his unwieldy and self serving state run enterprises.

Hugo Chavez has failed to persuade the people of Venezuela that he is their champion. The same old tired ideas spill like rolls of fat from beneath his flashy verbiage. He is one more paper tiger set ablaze by the light of public understanding. The Venezuelan people get it. Do we? Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Riots In Iceland: Icelanders Not Chilling

Iceland is a country with a temperate climate that belies its forbidding name. Its population of little more that 300,000 is about one seventh of the population of Brooklyn. There is a sense of fraternity in such a small population that can only be imagined by citizens of larger countries. Years ago I read an article about capital punishment that described an Icelander who was convicted of murder and dined with the judge at his home upon his release. This is not a country given to gratuitous strife. It has enjoyed a high standard of living built upon the hard work of its citizens in a supportive legislative environment.

But now the people of Iceland are furious. They have taken to the streets of Reykjavik, the capitol citly with revolutionarly language that could well resonate past its modest borders in the North Atlanic . According to France24.com,

Thousands of Icelanders demonstrated in Reykjavik on Saturday demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Geir Haarde and Central Bank Governor David Oddsson for failing to stop a financial meltdown in the country.
It was the latest in a series of protests in the capital since the financial meltdown that crippled the island’s economy.
Hordur Torfason, a well-known troubadour in Iceland and the main organiser of the protests, said the protests would continue until the government stepped down.
“They don’t have our trust and they are no longer legitimate,” Torfason said as the crowds gathered in the drizzle before the Althing, the Icelandic parliament.

This is a country with the oldest parliament in the world. The protests are being led by a folk singer who hardly sounds like a revolutionary firebrand. The anger is that of people who deposited their savings in a spirit of fiscal prudence. The money they had entrusted to bankers was invested in enterprises that have either collapsed or fallen on hard times.

On a smaller scale, Iceland has secured the kind of relief that the American Congress is rushing through on a fast track to passage into law. The France24.com continues as follows.

“Iceland’s three biggest banks — Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir — collapsed under the weight of billions of dollars of debts accumulated in an aggressive overseas expansion, shattering the currency and forcing Iceland to seek aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This week, the North Atlantic island nation of 320,000 secured a package of more than $10 billion in loans from the IMF and several European countries to help it rebuild its shattered financial system.”

What remains sketchy is the answers that came from an analysis of the bank failures. Like America, Icelanders seems to have coloured their analysis of the crisis with a layer of political considerations that limits their usefulness. America’s national soul searching was undoubtedly hampered by the presidential elections, with each party looking to the electorate with their fingers pointed at the other guy.

Iceland, unlike America has a parliamentary system in which a no confidence motion can bring a government down and trigger new elections. The solid majority now in charge is unlikely to step down without a lot of arm twisting. This is what demonstrators hope to accomplish.

The world economy is not made up of discreet components. There is interconnection between countries. A collapse in Iceland or anyplace elsewhere can have a domino effect. This is why concern for our allies is not simply charity but a sound business premise.

What concerns me in looking at the strategies now being debated is the approach of drawing upon taxpayers at a time when the tax base has shrunk tremendously. A cornerstone of any recovery strategy is the continued confidence of investors. What would be far more efficient a way to finance fecovery in Iceland, America or anyplace else would be a legislative package to facilitate investment in troubled sectors of the economy. There are some things like humanitarian relief that can not plausibly be funded by private investment. An increase in private sector solutions would free up the now limited tax base for a greater focus on blunting the human impact of the current crisis.

An article with proposals for economic recovery

The anger of the masses is a wake up call. It is instructive but not specific. The collective desire for vengeance can easily be redirected towards a constructive analysis of the current difficulties. It needs to be restated that printing money is not the same as creating wealth. The best long term solution is for the government to facilitate the economy’s healing of itself.

Iceland is a country with a long and solid tradition of social stability. Pepper spray in its atmosphere should clear the eyes of observers elsewhere. America has a far longer history of social instability. We should be looking at solutions that will not only see us through the day but insure a stable foundation for the future.

Cached article has video content
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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Perils of Isolationism: Al Qaeda Greets Obama

As the reality of a recession sets in, the proponents of isolationism will argue that we need to keep our money at home. “Bread not bombs” and appeals not to put money into foreign economies will resonate with millions. Such appeals should be approached with great skepticism by the public. It is not only nature [...]

As the reality of a recession sets in, the proponents of isolationism will argue that we need to keep our money at home. “Bread not bombs” and appeals not to put money into foreign economies will resonate with millions. Such appeals should be approached with great skepticism by the public. It is not only nature that abhors a vacuum but the world stage. If America were to retreat to its borders and pull all of its soldiers home from overseas, the world would not turn into a family of peaceful small nations. Others wait in the wings to take our place as the next superpower, empire or caliphate.

Al Qaeda has already weighted in with their opinion of Barack Obama, attempting to shame him with the epithet of “house negro” and attempting lo use footage of Malcolm X to improve their standing among radical whites and African American followers of Malcolm X. The tape has the demanding tone of a high school delinquent putting a double dare to the new kid in school. What the demagogues of Al Qaeda gloss over is Malcolm X’s evolution towards a greater level of racial tolerance shortly before his death in 1965. Their silence is even more glaring about the Arab role in the slave trade that persists until the present day. Islamist propaganda is more significant in its omissions than in what it chooses to stress.

I mention Al Qaeda’s hypocrisy to underscore the fact that those who would replace us as a world power do not offer a step up in moral evolution. Plenty of campus radicals that helped Obama early on are now coming to claim what they believe is their due for supporting him early on. Forgetting his early friendships might be a case of putting loyalty to country ahead of loyalty to old friends. It might also be a pragmatic assessment of America’s mood.

The “honest broker” argument will likely be employed in the Middle East, particularly concerning Israel. According to this argument, America should be “evenhanded” and not favour Israel over its adversaries. There is a world of difference between adversaries with a border dispute and an opponent who wants to erase their adversary from the map. Additionally, finding moral equivalency between those who accidentally kill in conventional warfare and those who send a suicide bomber into a pizza shop is a fundamental corruption of morality.

Some of Obama’s old buddies probably nod in agreement when they watch the Al Qaeda tape. Some of them probably rationalise suicide bombers as desperate freedom fighters. Jimmy Carter is in close agreement with such people. How much weight will Carter’s opinions have in the Obama White House?

In good part because of the environmentalist lobby, America is economically dependent upon foreign energy. Iran was among America’s strongest allies in the Middle East of the 1970’s. With Jimmy Carter’s facilitation, the Shah was overthrown and replaced with Ayatollah Khomeini, who paid him back with the Iranian hostage crisis. If Obama is expecting to placate radicals and then call in a debt of gratitude, then he is in for a rude awakening.

Saudi Arabia is a volatile region. It has a restive Shiite minority and radicals who believe that its leadership is unfaithful to Islam. Protection money that it pays to domestic radicals subsidises unrest elsewhere in the world.

Al Qaeda’s latest video is a fitting wakeup call to America that our enemies are not celebrating Obama’s victory. They are looking for an open champion of their cause. Short of that, they will settle for a “useful idiot” who can be bullied, coaxed or conned into doing their bidding.

There are countries that can afford to tread softly in the world. A small country like Costa Rica or Mauritius has no global responsibilities. America can not be such a country, and it would be devastating to many small nations for us to even try.

America is ready to give Obama a chance. That is what in American politics is called a “honeymoon.” Obama’s honeymoon in the Middle East ended on November fifth.

Sometimes people get married who were “players” or “party animals” in their single days. Those who adapt best to married life are the ones that shut their wild buddies out of their married life. Obama had Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright as close friends. America chose to forgive that. If he takes them on his “honeymoon” or even calls them up to talk about old times, it will show in his eyes. America will know something is up. The choice is up to him

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Economic Crisis: Proposals For National Recovery

The spectre of an auto industry bailout is a daunting one for the country. It is at the hub of a number of industries. Its total collapse would be catastrophic. On the one hand is the argument that a bailout is a humanitarian necessity. Taken to its uncritical extreme, this extends life support to faulty product lines, obscene corporate bonuses and inefficient labour practices that have left the auto industry in a condition resembling a sumo wrestler running in the Boston Marathon.

The other extreme is the advocates of “market correction uber alles” who believe that a collapse will force a restructuring of the market that will ultimately prove beneficial. The months and years that such a correction can last can span the length of an entire childhood. I feel impelled to advocate a synthesis of the two opposing viewpoints.

I have stood at the threshold of diabetic collapse with a blood sugar level of 657. medical students peered into my cubicle with manifest astonishment that I was able to converse with them. Insulin, diet and exercise were all prescribed as a remedy. I quickly discovered that more insulin could atone for a multitude of dietary transgressions. I also discovered that this could jack up my weight and lead to other problems.

Diet and exercise are the part of this metaphor that corresponds to fiscal prudence. Upping insulin corresponds to pumping cash into an ailing enterprise. The strategy of my treatment team was to come in with insulin and a drug that stimulated the pancreas as an adjunct to treating root causes. I am now drug free and managing my sugar with diet and and admittedly far too little exercise. This corresponds metaphorically to an approach of initial crisis intervention and phasing in an adaptation to prevailing market forces.

The “market uber alles” approach reminds me a bit of Marxist purists I used to listen to back in my Trotskyist days. “Charity is petty bourgeois reformism.” they thundered. It only postpones the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system.” As I nodded my dutiful assent, the subversive thought took root in my mind that my comrades cared more about Marxism Leninism than human beings. I have since developed a belief in capitalism that is rooted in its place in the Talmud and in Scripture. But I am left after my exit from the communist camp with a lingering distrust of sacrificing human life on the altar of ideology.

At this critical juncture, I believe that the cure for capitalism is more capitalism. What is really needed is to adapt its market mechanisms to the new challenges of our time.

The auto industry has for years promised fuel efficiency and small yet safe cars. It has promised using alternative energy sources. Its behavior resembles that of a recalcitrant tippler, promising to give up drinking as soon as he empties out the liquor cabinet. We are still waiting for a mass market line of cars with decent gas mileage.

The unions continue to negotiate contracts that prohibit flexibility in deploying workers. Instead of multitasking, workers are confined to single tasks that bloat the payroll. This is far more costly than paying high salaries.

We learned a valuable lesson during the last spike in gas prices. Companies started moving production back to the US from China and elsewhere. Transportation costs actually cancelled out some of the gains from paying Chinese low wages instead of American pay scales. This is an important lesson about the role of worker’s wages in market competition. We should not be smashing unions, we should bring them back to their intended role of representing an interested party as a partner and not an adversary. The most nobly conceived institutions can be corrupted by human malevolence. Congress and labour unions provide vivid illustration of this.

There is a time to square off in ideological camps. Slavery, abortion and prayer in schools are issues where such an approach comes to mind. Saving our economy is an area where creative transcendence is far preferable. A broad consensus could easily evolve around the twin goals of vibrant capitalism and a living wage. The icon of such a movement could show a cross section of attire from working class and managerial . Its slogan would be “Partners in Prosperity”. It could offer the opportunity for ideological partisans to showcase their civility as an advertisement for their faction while working together with opponents for a common cause.

There are billions of dollars in circulation right now that could be a healing force in our economy. They could be put in service of national recovery if the direction were provided. Most investment money is drawn to investing in a product or a commodity. The strategy or economic philosophy is usually not pitched as a selling point to investors. The time has come to fill this void in the market.

A mutual fund is a financial instrument in which savvy investors invest for people who buy a share in their investment portfolio. They are regulated by law and have records which can be examined by interested parties.

A “National Recovery Mutual Fund” would be a new incarnation of this type of financial instrument. It would invest in troubled industries that are willing to employ the right mix of fiscal prudence, creativity and flexibility demanded in our troubled times. They could employ great minds of economics and articulate spokespeople to present a recovery program to concerned parties. It would be money with “strings attached”. In ideal circumstances, it could acquire a controlling interest in a company and push through needed reforms without fanfare.

Such a fund should be funded entirely with private money but regulated by the government to control abuses. It should be clearly labeled as a high risk investment rather than something that is insulated from failure.

An incentive that the government could offer would be the opportunity to write off losses from investing in this fund. Allowing carryover from year to year could make such an investment more appealing to investors.

The internet offers opportunities to buy stocks on line. “National Recovery Mutual Funds ” could be offered in attractive denominations of $10.00 and $25.00 with waiver of brokerage fees or a payment of a minimal service fee . If they were offered by various online brokerage houses, they could be a gateway to more conventional investments. Purchases could be made as easily as people now order books, clothing and auto parts on line.

Under certain circumstances, floating a bond issue might also be a possibility for those who wish to invest in recovery but at a lower risk. Refitting production lines for more profitable product lines might be desirable but financially unfeasible. National Recovery Bonds could also be a useful tool in voluntary financing of economic revitalisation.

These NRMF’s could be a magnet for talent. With proper promotion, an NRMF spokesperson could have strong persuasive powers. Policies of fiscal prudence, energy efficiency and other ideas that meet with resistance could be championed by investors who were not only promoting commodities and services but a socio economic agenda as well.

A big part of the financial burden in Detroit and elsewhere is that of burdensome pension plans. There is an alternative to shaking off these burdens with a declaration of bankruptcy. A national lottery could be used to finance services to those affected adversely by the current recession. If it catches on, it could even provide relief to corporations from pension payments that might otherwise drive them into bankruptcy.

These are all sources of voluntary financing that do not involve bloating the federal budget. They are admittedly high risk investments that are rendered more attractive by a sense of altruism. Keeping America solvent and protecting our strategic independence have an importance that needs little clarification.

Except for avowed Marxists, these ideas have an appeal that should cut across party lines. A creative reinvention of capitalism should have an appeal across the political spectrum. It strengthens capitalism and solidifies the tax base for any mission the government might undertake. People who differ passionately on hot issues like abortion,gay rights and the war in Iraq might find themselves working side by side on an issue that puts them on common ground. It could provide an abundance of “odd couple” moments as people of disparate backgrounds learn how they can “agree to disagree” while they work on a shared agenda.

The care for suffering workers that makes it appealing to the left is self evident in a “National Recovery” package. Its voluntary private funding makes it equally appealing to fiscal conservatives.

I sincerely believe that implementation of this program could lead to an economic upturn for which the Democrats could claim credit in 2010. This may well make a Republican resurgence that much more difficult. As an American, I am far more concerned about healing our economic ills and preventing suffering. There is a spiritual hunger that will always gnaw at the American psyche even when our bellies are full. As it says in Amos 8:11“Behold, the days come, saith the L-rd GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of HaShem.”

As a religiously based conservative, I see it as my duty to strive for the alleviation of material suffering in order that people may face their spiritual selves.

Abraham Maslow, the renowned American psychologist postulated a hierarchy of needs. In his view, when man’s most basic physical needs


Click here to read my complete article on The American Sentinel
The spectre of an auto industry bailout is a daunting one for the country. It is at the hub of a number of industries. Its total collapse would be catastrophic. On the one hand is the argument that a bailout is a humanitarian necessity. Taken to its uncritical extreme, this extends life support to faulty product lines, obscene corporate bonuses and inefficient labour practices that have left the auto industry in a condition resembling a sumo wrestler running in the Boston Marathon.

The other extreme is the advocates of “market correction uber alles” who believe that a collapse will force a restructuring of the market that will ultimately prove beneficial. The months and years that such a correction can last can span the length of an entire childhood. I feel impelled to advocate a synthesis of the two opposing viewpoints.

I have stood at the threshold of diabetic collapse with a blood sugar level of 657. medical students peered into my cubicle with manifest astonishment that I was able to converse with them. Insulin, diet and exercise were all prescribed as a remedy. I quickly discovered that more insulin could atone for a multitude of dietary transgressions. I also discovered that this could jack up my weight and lead to other problems.

Diet and exercise are the part of this metaphor that corresponds to fiscal prudence. Upping insulin corresponds to pumping cash into an ailing enterprise. The strategy of my treatment team was to come in with insulin and a drug that stimulated the pancreas as an adjunct to treating root causes. I am now drug free and managing my sugar with diet and and admittedly far too little exercise. This corresponds metaphorically to an approach of initial crisis intervention and phasing in an adaptation to prevailing market forces.

The “market uber alles” approach reminds me a bit of Marxist purists I used to listen to back in my Trotskyist days. “Charity is petty bourgeois reformism.” they thundered. It only postpones the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system.” As I nodded my dutiful assent, the subversive thought took root in my mind that my comrades cared more about Marxism Leninism than human beings. I have since developed a belief in capitalism that is rooted in its place in the Talmud and in Scripture. But I am left after my exit from the communist camp with a lingering distrust of sacrificing human life on the altar of ideology.

At this critical juncture, I believe that the cure for capitalism is more capitalism. What is really needed is to adapt its market mechanisms to the new challenges of our time.

The auto industry has for years promised fuel efficiency and small yet safe cars. It has promised using alternative energy sources. Its behavior resembles that of a recalcitrant tippler, promising to give up drinking as soon as he empties out the liquor cabinet. We are still waiting for a mass market line of cars with decent gas mileage.

The unions continue to negotiate contracts that prohibit flexibility in deploying workers. Instead of multitasking, workers are confined to single tasks that bloat the payroll. This is far more costly than paying high salaries.

We learned a valuable lesson during the last spike in gas prices. Companies started moving production back to the US from China and elsewhere. Transportation costs actually cancelled out some of the gains from paying Chinese low wages instead of American pay scales. This is an important lesson about the role of worker’s wages in market competition. We should not be smashing unions, we should bring them back to their intended role of representing an interested party as a partner and not an adversary. The most nobly conceived institutions can be corrupted by human malevolence. Congress and labour unions provide vivid illustration of this.

There is a time to square off in ideological camps. Slavery, abortion and prayer in schools are issues where such an approach comes to mind. Saving our economy is an area where creative transcendence is far preferable. A broad consensus could easily evolve around the twin goals of vibrant capitalism and a living wage. The icon of such a movement could show a cross section of attire from working class and managerial . Its slogan would be “Partners in Prosperity”. It could offer the opportunity for ideological partisans to showcase their civility as an advertisement for their faction while working together with opponents for a common cause.

There are billions of dollars in circulation right now that could be a healing force in our economy. They could be put in service of national recovery if the direction were provided. Most investment money is drawn to investing in a product or a commodity. The strategy or economic philosophy is usually not pitched as a selling point to investors. The time has come to fill this void in the market.

A mutual fund is a financial instrument in which savvy investors invest for people who buy a share in their investment portfolio. They are regulated by law and have records which can be examined by interested parties.

A “National Recovery Mutual Fund” would be a new incarnation of this type of financial instrument. It would invest in troubled industries that are willing to employ the right mix of fiscal prudence, creativity and flexibility demanded in our troubled times. They could employ great minds of economics and articulate spokespeople to present a recovery program to concerned parties. It would be money with “strings attached”. In ideal circumstances, it could acquire a controlling interest in a company and push through needed reforms without fanfare.

Such a fund should be funded entirely with private money but regulated by the government to control abuses. It should be clearly labeled as a high risk investment rather than something that is insulated from failure.

An incentive that the government could offer would be the opportunity to write off losses from investing in this fund. Allowing carryover from year to year could make such an investment more appealing to investors.

The internet offers opportunities to buy stocks on line. “National Recovery Mutual Funds ” could be offered in attractive denominations of $10.00 and $25.00 with waiver of brokerage fees or a payment of a minimal service fee . If they were offered by various online brokerage houses, they could be a gateway to more conventional investments. Purchases could be made as easily as people now order books, clothing and auto parts on line.

Under certain circumstances, floating a bond issue might also be a possibility for those who wish to invest in recovery but at a lower risk. Refitting production lines for more profitable product lines might be desirable but financially unfeasible. National Recovery Bonds could also be a useful tool in voluntary financing of economic revitalisation.

These NRMF’s could be a magnet for talent. With proper promotion, an NRMF spokesperson could have strong persuasive powers. Policies of fiscal prudence, energy efficiency and other ideas that meet with resistance could be championed by investors who were not only promoting commodities and services but a socio economic agenda as well.

A big part of the financial burden in Detroit and elsewhere is that of burdensome pension plans. There is an alternative to shaking off these burdens with a declaration of bankruptcy. A national lottery could be used to finance services to those affected adversely by the current recession. If it catches on, it could even provide relief to corporations from pension payments that might otherwise drive them into bankruptcy.

These are all sources of voluntary financing that do not involve bloating the federal budget. They are admittedly high risk investments that are rendered more attractive by a sense of altruism. Keeping America solvent and protecting our strategic independence have an importance that needs little clarification.

Except for avowed Marxists, these ideas have an appeal that should cut across party lines. A creative reinvention of capitalism should have an appeal across the political spectrum. It strengthens capitalism and solidifies the tax base for any mission the government might undertake. People who differ passionately on hot issues like abortion,gay rights and the war in Iraq might find themselves working side by side on an issue that puts them on common ground. It could provide an abundance of “odd couple” moments as people of disparate backgrounds learn how they can “agree to disagree” while they work on a shared agenda.

The care for suffering workers that makes it appealing to the left is self evident in a “National Recovery” package. Its voluntary private funding makes it equally appealing to fiscal conservatives.

I sincerely believe that implementation of this program could lead to an economic upturn for which the Democrats could claim credit in 2010. This may well make a Republican resurgence that much more difficult. As an American, I am far more concerned about healing our economic ills and preventing suffering. There is a spiritual hunger that will always gnaw at the American psyche even when our bellies are full. As it says in Amos 8:11“Behold, the days come, saith the L-rd GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of HaShem.”

As a religiously based conservative, I see it as my duty to strive for the alleviation of material suffering in order that people may face their spiritual selves.

Abraham Maslow, the renowned American psychologist postulated a hierarchy of needs. In his view, when man’s most basic physical needs are satisfied, then emotional needs claim a person’s attention. At the top of Maslow’s conceptual pyramid is the hunger of the spirit.

Most missionaries who go to Africa, Latin America and America’s impoverished inner cities bring physical sustenance and healing. A logo in the office or a well placed inspirational tract is a nod to the religious motivation of the person providing a helping hand. Christians, Muslims and Jews have all offered this sort of aid as a way to bring credit to their respective faiths.

Our current fiscal crisis is the task of the hour. It does not mean abandoning all other causes, but it is of critical importance. The compassion Americans have shown the world is sustained by our continued prosperity. Its resolution is not therefore a morally neutral issue.

I realise that my readership is predominantly conservative. I hope my ideas will resonate with liberal readers who might stumble across this article. If one of them reshapes the concepts and reaches a wider readership , then I would be overjoyed. Because I realise that the solutions to America’s problems involve reaching past my ideological boundaries.

When Ronald Reagan proposed “star wars’ technology to end the arms race, he offered to give it away to the Russians. Although it did not materialise exactly as he had envisioned it, it nevertheless marked major improvements in missile interdiction technology.

The ideas I am proposing may need to be reworked by those with the insight and education I lack. But I believe that the underlying concept is a sound one, that the American people posess vast economic power that is not being directed in a constructive manner, or indeed any manner at all.

I am personally inspired by Ronald Reagan, who offered to give away a scientific concept to an opponent. I am putting my ideas up on the internet for public consumption. If liberals bring them to fruition, that is fine with me. I am concerned about the contents and not the label on the package.

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I care very strongly about the ideas in this article. I hope readers will comment, pass this article on or even incorporate some of its ideas into their own writing. I would like to reach out to legislators who could do their part in bringing some form of thes ideas to fruition. The issue is too important to to see ourselves as spectators Sphere: Related Content

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our Economic Crisis in Detroit: Some Heretical Proposals

The issue of a bailout of the big three Motor companies continues to cast its long shadow over the stock market. Already in my neighbourhood, private charities whose compassion was fueled by prosperity are finding their wells running dry. The shrapnel of the financial crisis are already hitting the working poor.

I can not see the wisdom of “letting the economy run its course.” The economy is us. It is millions of people every day putting their money where they think it will do good. There are conservatives who are speaking up for laissez faire capitalism. Please…. Unregulated capitalism has not existed for decades.

There are two critical issues at stake in the argument over a congressional bailout. One is the fact that millions of workers depend on the auto industry. Parts suppliers, dealers, repair shops and banks all constitute a part of the auto industry. I do not want to see any of these people standing in bread lines. Our economy exists for our people. Morally, I care more about who my vehicular choice supports than whether it is the best design.

The second issue is strategic independence. We live in a nasty world, full of people who want to push us into the gutter. I do not want to face them with an industrial base that we have let fall into ruin.

I have written about abortion as a steadfast opponent on religious grounds. It would be the height of hypocrisy to oppose abortion and support economic policies that take bread from the hands of children. Sanctity of life extends from conception to the last breath of the elderly infirm. Being “pro-life is a comprehensive commitment to revering every moment of the human life cycle. It does not only mean charity, but also giving dignified ownership of one’s daily bread to workers through offering work.

I feel an urgency to “cut to the chase” about this critical problem. Working people are lining up for food in my neighbourhood at food pantries run by religious groups. These are real people they are G-d’s children. I care about facing their Creator. My bottom line is that I don’t give a damn about any economic ideology, just making our money work for the people in a way that benefits all.

I feel Congress should immediately declare its intent to stand behind our “big three” auto companies as a social and a strategic necessity. Creditors should be urged in the strongest way possible to take no steps that would endanger the solvency of the auto companies. It should be made clear that all interested parties are being called to the table for proposals and sacrifices.The money invested by government should be “smart money”.

I once worked for a company that took a long slide into bankruptcy. We had meetings, both group and private. Everyone had the same idea. It you have to cut back 10%, then cut hours, not individuals. It is better for the many to lose pay than the few to lose their jobs. We ultimately got a few more months of employment and the self respect that comes with knowing that we did not sell each other out. It was not by any means the best job, but the fight we put up to survive was one that was waged with honour. I would like to see that same spirit in negotiations to save the big three and ultimately the industries that depend on them.

There is another possible solution that reminds me of the “stone soup” fable. In it, someone asked the inhabitants of a village for ingredients to cook a communal stew. No one had anything to offer. The woman said “OK no problem. I will make stone soup. She threw a stone into a pot of boiling water, and suggested various ingredients that could make the soup[ better. One by one, the villagers stepped forward with a carrot here, an onion there. Eventually the smell from the pot spoke with even greater eloquence than the woman herself. At the end of the story, every bowl of the woman’s stew that was shared by the villagers had chunks of good meat and potatoes. The stone lay at the bottom of the pot. although forgotten, it was the most important ingredient.

I have a recipe for “stone soup” that could be relevant in the current crisis. I feel that there should be, under supervision, “National Recovery Mutual Funds”. These would be mutual funds that would target troubled industries that are receiving government aid or protection. Different funds could focus on different sectors of the economy. With proper backing and promotion, economic experts with a reputation that inspires confidence could be brought on board. The government could even sweeten the pot by making such “National Recovery Mutual Funds” tax exempt.

The board of the NRMFs would have as their mission the advocacy of fiscal growth and prudence. As representatives of stock holders they would have a right to speak at shareholder meetings. In addressing other shareholders, they would have the weight of their role as an advocate on behalf of the American people. This role would give the National Recovery Mutual Funds a persuasive power beyond their numbers If these NRMF’s were adequately promoted, they could bring millions of individuals who have no stake in the stock market into play. Those who are investing out of patriotism might “graduate” to other investments. There is vast economic power ought there that could be marshalled towards a sensible economic rescue. We need not be spectators. Americans want to do their part in coming to our country’s rescue.

It is shocking how emotional the stock market is. Calming voices from Congress and the Oval office, if backed by concrete commitment and sensible remedies could bring about the collective temperament in which recovery can proceed.

I hope that Congress and our President elect project the confidence and commitment called for at this critical juncture. Marshaling the economic power of America’s workers as a force for recovery is a plausible and obvious solution to our pressing problems. Concern and compassion for all classes of society are what drives this proposal. Working together with G-d’s help we can overcome our economic difficulties. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, November 20, 2008

E Harmony Forced to Make Homosexual Matches

E Harmony, a nationally famous dating service has agreed to start offering its match making services to homosexual clientele according to a story from Associated Press carried in today’s New York Post.

According to the story, E Harmony”will begin providing same-sex matches as part of a settlement with New Jersey’s Civil Rights Division. “New Jersey resident Eric McKinley filed a legal complaint against the E Harmony with the New Jersey authorities in 2005.

E Harmony once successfully defended itself against a suit which faulted them for refusing a client whose divorce had not been finalised in the courts. Understandably, the matchmaking magnate did not want facilitate adultery through the assistance they offered to clients. That legal suit was described at the time as follows on siliconvalley.com.

“John Claassen wants a date so badly he’s suing for one.He’s taking eHarmony.com to court, because the popular online matchmaker refused to find him the perfect mate.Why? Because he is married.Technically, Claassen says, he is legally separated. But that’s not good enough for eHarmony, which says it is in the business of matching singles.”

Public opinion was strongly aligned with e-Harmony in that dispute. The courts agreed. E Harmony was not forced to accept business from applicants who are according to legal definitions committing adultery. Apparently those cheating on their spouses have not yet organised themselves as a sexual constituency. Homosexuals however are recognised under our libidocratic form of government as a protected constituency.

E Harmony probably had a stronger case against a married plaintiff because of marriage being a contract. A person who is having an extramarital relationship is violating terms of exclusivity and full disclosure inherent in most reasonable understandings of the marriage contract. Additionally, in some jurisdictions adultery remains a criminal offense . In any case, it puts a person in the midst of a divorce at a legal disadvantage. E Harmony was thus able to defend itself without reference to the seventh commandment, a subversive text banning adultery that is banned from display in secular courts of law in the United States.

The capitulation of E Harmony is regrettable on two levels. The acceptance of homosexuality as being normal is a departure from Judaeo Christian tradition. In our country, no one faith can enforce its tenets upon those of other persuasions. Thus the case for campaigning against homosexual behavior must rest upon assistance and persuasion rather than legal compulsion.

In commerce, a person is not compelled to sell a particular commodity. In my neighbourhood, pork products are not sold in Jewish stores. A few Muslim stores also observe this prohibition. Vegetarian restaurants are likewise not compelled to offer meat. News stands are in a different legal predicament. Sometimes they are given a list of magazines by a supplier. Sometimes, the supplier says that the list is a package deal and coerces them into carrying pornography. I know of several news dealers who refused to carry pornographic material, who stood their ground with the news dealers. Though motivated by moral considerations, they were able to argue that their clientele would boycott their store if they carried objectionable material. I know of some groceries that will only carry newspapers that reflect their political persuasion.

Pork,porn and party politics are all factors that are considered by Brooklyn storekeepers. These are still considered to be the personal prerogative of the store owner who is stocking his shelves. There is an overtly religious dimension to many of these commercial choices.

If a homosexual were refused service in a restaurant or grocery , most people would object to the intrusion on privacy. It would also be illegal.

A person who is facilitating a marriage is according to most religious traditions facilitating the performance of a commandment. A Jew, a Muslim or any faith community with dietary laws views food preparation and consumption as an act governed by religious law. Those who refuse to sell food forbidden according to their faith do not want to facilitate what they believe is a sin. Forcing a person to facilitate homosexual marriages is like forcing them to sell food that violates their religion. It is no different than forcing a Mormon to sell beverages with caffeine or compelling a Muslim to sell alcohol.

Those who wish to facilitate gay matches and marriages are free to study existing businesses and produce a working model for their market niche. Nothing stops them from starting a homosexual dating service.

Religious teachings address every aspect of private and societal conduct. America has been a magnet for religious diversity. There are missionaries and there are people who are annoyed by missionaries. If such an individual comes to your door, you can order him to leave. But you can not enter his house of worship and tell him what to preach. You may not tell his congregation what rituals or sacraments they must perform. This needs to be spelled out. Will clergy be required to officiate at gay marriages? The Human Rights Commission ruling concerning E Harmony seems to mark the top of a slippery slope. Christians, Jews and other faith communities do not only depend upon their houses of worship for their way of life. They also depend upon commercial enterprises. The kosher or halal meat store, the religious book store or even the clothing store that caters to Muslim or Jewish modesty codes are all taxable businesses. Although they may not discriminate against customers, they have a right to sell merchandise and offer services that are consistent with their beliefs. The Human Rights Commission deprives millions of Americans of a critical array of civil liberties through their poorly thought out decision.

The liberties that have made America a light to the world are under attack and in serious danger of erosion and elimination. Even if you personally favour homosexual marriage, this latest legal move should trouble you.

America is a land of raucous diversity. Christians and Jews, Hindus and Muslims manage to find peace where elsewhere they might be at war. Hedonists and ascetics vegetarians and meat eaters all manage to live together. I used to shop at a store run by a Hindu and a Muslim. Each ofthem covered for the other on their respective holidays and during their daily prayer times despite their mutually exclusive theologies.

The intolerance of a minority can be as stifling and oppressive as majoritarian tyranny. E Harmony compromised by opening a clearly delineated homosexual dating service. Perhaps they thought that a fight based on principle would be too costly. It is a pity, because this was a battle that needed to be fought. This case was started in 2005. Even if another suit is filed today, it will be a good while before liberty has its day in court. And that is a pity. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Forced Abortion and Organ Harvesting In China: We Can Not Plead Ignorance!!


Americans live with the happy illusion that China is evolving towards democracy, or at least a semblance of the freedoms we enjoy in America. Cheap electronics, shoes and clothing with tags saying “Made in China” are almost like bribes to consumers not to ask too many questions. There is a stock market in China. People own businesses and drive cars. The consumerism there seems to mark a total departure from the spartan totalitarianism and androgynous uniformity of Chairman Mao’s time.

It can not be denied that there has been a revolution in China. But it is equally true that it is a tightly managed revolution. The free enterprise that has developed in China is not accompanied by political or religious freedom. To the contrary, dissent is harshly repressed. Religion is tolerated only within state churches such as the “Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.” Catholic clergy who remain loyal to Rome as well as Protestant clergy in underground “house churches” risk arrest and imprisonment.

It would be a mistake to think that the Chinese Communists simply distrust the west and its religious traditions. The Falun Gong, an indigenous Chinese religious group suffered a harsh crackdown in the mid 1990’s when the Chinese government grew fearful of their mass following. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong languish in prisons and labour camps. It is clear that the concept of an independent church or faith community without government controls is very threatening to the Chinese Communist Party. Investigations have revealed the complete utter ruthlessness of the Chinese in keeping matters of faith under tight government control.

Forced Abortion has long been public knowledge, ever since Steven W. Mosher traveled to China in 1979 to work as a social scientist. What he discovered there shocked him and imbued him with a sense of mission that changed the course of his life. Since having encountered forced abortions in that country, he has made it his life’s mission to combat it.

The capitalism that has revived in China is welcomed in the west as a sign of western political values winning over bankrupt communist ideology. In truth, Chinese free enterprise has mutated horribly. Not only is every type of clothing and electronics for sale in China. human organs are for sale in China as well. They are most often taken from prisoners, whose executions are timed to optimise their value to transplant surgeons. The prisons and medical facilities have a close working relationship. The deaths of prisoners are orchestrated not for the needs of justice but to avoid destroying organs that can be sold.

It should be noted that many capital crimes in China are perfectly legal here. Falun Gong practitioners are deemed to be criminals according to the laws of China, as are Catholics loyal to the Pope. Falun Gong members have been targeted for China’s organ transplant industry. The reports have been recurring. They have come from sources independent of each other. These claims have been investigated by human rights organisations in the West that have assembled voluminous collaboration of the allegations.

The Laogai Research Foundation, named after the Laogai, China’s answer to the gulag also provides information about human rights violations within China. Search terms such as “forced abortions in China ” and “organ harvesting in China” yield a mountain of evidence of China’s dismal human rights record that can be cross checked and evaluated. You Tube also has a wealth of such materials.

We can not in the age of the internet claim ignorance of the suffering in China . We can not plead ignorance to the dark underside of transplant tourism.

There is the larger question of whether a consumer wants to economically support a regime that turns murder into an industry for profit, and whether we want to subsidise the forced abortions so prevalent in China.

Since 1949, the Communist government has sought to create the “new socialist man”. Millions who did not fit the mold were murdered over the years of communist rule. In almost sixty years, the secular humanist religion of communism has not replaced Christianity, Islam or Chinese indigenous forms of spirituality. Even some of the descendants of Chinese Jews in the city of Kaifeng are seeking to return to their ancestral faith.

The Chinese government responds to the faith yearnings of its people like the old man in Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Telltale Heart.” by Edgar Allan Poe

In the story, an man who has murdered someone and buried him beneath the floor of his house. As the story progresses, the man descends into madness, hearing the heart of his victim beating beneath the floor boards. It seems a fitting metaphor for the paranoia of a dictatorial regime that has tried to extinguish the opposition and the faith of its citizens. The critical point of departure for this metaphor is that the heart of faith and spiritual yearning still beats in the chests of China’s people. it is not the delusional nightmare of Poe’s story but an unstoppable truth. As the Chinese government murders innocent infants and people of faith, the grief and anger of their bereaved survivors stands as an accusation against the regime that enslaves its people. It becomes an powerful force that will one day topple the regime, showing it to be yet another paper tiger from Chairman Mao’s book of quotations.

The Chinese Communist regime cannot silence the beating hearts of murdered innocents. They can not extinguish sadness and yearning with material prosperity either. Amos 8:11 in the Jewish scriptures bears an eerie resemblance to prosperous modern China’s predicament today.

Behold, the days come, saith the L-rd GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of HaShem.

That is a famine that sweeps not only China but America as well. We who are free should struggle not only for our own redemption but for the freedom of those like the Chinese who must suffer in silence. We must not stand idly by their blood.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Look At The Bailout From Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights

When the news of the financial crisis rocked America, Congress declared an emergency session to save the country. It was passed in a mad rush amid drum beats of panic and hysteria. News is now trickling in of obscene bonuses neing paid out on the taxpayer’s dime. Reports of celebrating executives dining in opulent splendour were simply frosting on the cake of public indignation.

What does a scam look like? TIME IS RUNNING OUT!! ACT NOW BEFORE IT”S TOO LATE!! The usual bait is the prospect of fabulous wealth. This time the incentive was the spectre of looming catastrophe. Voters who were living from paycheck to paycheck ignored their misgivings and muted their criticisms. No one wants to be show up on the six o’clock news being interviewed as they stand in a bread line. For millions of voters, the anxiety was not about their million dollar Christmas bonus but about their jobs.

Now we are finding out that the accounting on the emergency bailout is far from transparent. No one knows how much overtime is being paid at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. How much of the wealth being expended by Congress is being printed rather than created?

How are citizens reacting? I live in an electoral district that voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Now that he is elected, many are expressing private misgivings about how a “stimulus package” would be paid for. Everyone understands the concept of a family budget and living within one’s means. My part of Brooklyn is solid working class. There are no corporate mansions here. Every dollar is hard come by.

I only wish that the corporate lobbyists who are jetting to Washington to cry for their corporate welfare checks could hear the talk in working class areas of Bedford Stuyvesant and East New York. These are people who know how to stretch a buck. These are people who can huff and puff up four flights of a walk up tenement and show you who really needs a break.

These are the people who scrimp and save to keep their kids off the street, either in church run private schools or sunday youth programs. These are the people who pray that the next cluster of memorial candles at the scene of a drive by shooting will not be for their child.

America’s corporate supplicants are not worthy to shine the shoes ofsuch hard working individuals. When someone is unemployed and getting thrown out of their apartment for nonpayment, these are the kind of people who double up with relatives. Did your hours get cut? Switch from Nescafe to Pathmark brand coffee. Change to no name cigarettes. Better still, quit entirely.

Maybe some of these poor corporations need to double up their offices and share receptionists. Maybe if they paid their workers better and stopped shipping their jobs overseas the workers would buy a new car or computer a little more often. Financial decisions like that on a mass level are what spell the difference between prosperity and poverty, between a bear market and a bull market.

My mother had a saying. “Money is like manure. If you want it to do any good, you have to spread it around.” I wish corporate America would heed that wisdom. When I look at a painting in a wealthy man’s living room, I count the number of people making a living from it. There is the painter. There is the gallery owner and the art supply store owner along with all of the workers who are employed along the chain of sale. Corporate America seems to care but little about the impact their financial decisions have on the country.

Sometimes when you drive past a corporate headquarters you see two flagpoles in front of the building. One has the American flag and the other has an actual corporate flag. The behavior of some large corporations suggests a mentality in which loyalty to the corporation actually trumps national allegiance. The most obscene example of this is that of credit card companies whose “relationship specialists” live in third world countries earning a hundred dollars a month discussing usurious debts with irate American consumers.

There is so much good that can be done with money that is in private hands. Sensible spending and employing American workers feeds an economic cycle that lifts up the entire country. Should Americans invest overseas? Absolutely!! But it should be calculated to enlarge the circle of prosperity and of consumerism. It should be with the aim of complementing existing markets.

There is a phrase that is tossed around with little reflection. “Smart money.” It is really a very profound concept. Money is like a power tool. It is only as good as the craftsman who is using it. Our bad economic choices have caught up with us. Are we getting to the root of the problem and restructuring? How “smart” is the money we are throwing at our problems? Only as smart as we are.

The workers of America are partners in prosperity. Economic decisions that hurt the working class more than other suffering sectors of the population are not only immoral. They are economically unsound. The money that circulates in America’s communities sustains everyone, no matter where it is deposited or spent. Writing off a class or community is like an amputation. It will hurt the larger society, and it will do so quickly.

Merging Judaeo Christian ethics with the world of faith would have an electrifying effect on the economy and on our society. There is a sublime beauty in showing that Judaeo Christian compassion and virtue is rewarding and not costly in a secular context. Paying workers fairly puts money into the economy and creates more jobs. Being fruitful and multiplying rather than aborting strenthens Social Security. Employing the elderly puts their wisdom to use and creates more wealth, even creating jobs for younger workers. We have an opportunity in this crisis to bring timeless moral truths to worlds that are widely regarded with cynicism, the worlds of business and politics. The Jewish mystical term for this is “Bringing light to the lower worlds.” It’s a beautiful thing. We have the possibility with G-d’s help of getting through this crisis stronger than before through fraternal regard for one another by through turning to our spiritual legacy. It is up to us.

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Another Letter Back To An Internet Scammer

Subject : Calling_For_Help,
Date : Thu, 6 Nov 2008 17:53:12 +0100
From : "pam>(deleted
To : "pam

Calling For Help,

Hope this mail meets you well, please permit me to introduce my self to you, my name is Pamela J I am 20 years old, the only child of Late Mr. Kenneth J who was a famous cocoa merchant based here in Abidjan , the Economic capital of Ivory Coast ( Cote D'ivoire). I am seeking for your assistance to help me transfer the sum of (10,500,000.00) Ten Million Five hundred Thousand United State of American Dollars that I inherited from my late father to your bank account.
I am willing to offer you 15% of the total fund as a mode of compensation after the transfer for your time and effort. All the necessary documents concerning this fund is intact. Please get back to me ASAP through my private email address ( more details concerning this fund and I will equally send you my photos so that you will see and know whom I am.

If you agree on this proposal and ready to assist me please indicate by furnishing me with your phone and fax numbers including your full address to enable easy communication between me and you.
Yours Faithfully,
Pamela J .




And then my reply



Dear Pamela !!! Greetings and Salutations!! Heavenly Blessings !!! May the blessings rain upon you from heaven beneath the wings of ravens who have feasted in prune orchards. May their heavenly droppings never cease to pepper your weary brow as you look heavenward!!!

Today is your lucky day!!! My sanity hearing is coming up. The low life slime bucket who voted against me last time finally croaked. I think it was the curse from the voodoo priest on my locked ward. That cost me about fifteen cigarettes, but it was worth it. I am actually Mao tse tung's illegitimate son from his Irish-Hatian mistress so money is no problem . All I want you to do is to knit me a scarf and pack it up in crumpled hundred dollar bills that have sat in the light of a full moon on a slightly rainy night on damp ground. They have to be packed very tightly around the scarf, so the spirits can talk to me during my sanity hearing. Other than that , I don't need any money. I am a very spiritual man.

Please e mail me back and let me Know if you can help.

Sincerely,

Osbourne Toussaint Tse tung

P.S. My wise Irish grandfather, the late Pogue Mahone used to say "May your face be annointed with morning dew.( I think he meant doo.)


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Monday, November 17, 2008

Schnappi The Crocodile


video

The video with this posting is "Schnappi , das Kleine Krokodil." (Schnappi the Little Crocodile) It is one of those children's videos that actually built up a strong following, not only in Germany where it originated in 2004 but in much of Europe. the lyrics are as follows in German and in English.

Ich bin Schnappi das kleine Krokodil,

komm aus Ägypten das liegt direkt am Nil
zuerst lag ich in einem Ei,

dann
schni schna schnappte ich mich frei.

Refrain

Schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp

schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp

Ich bin Schnappi das kleine Krokodil,
hab scharfe Zähne und davon ganz schön viel

ich schnapp mir was ich schnappen kan

ja schnapp zu weil ich das so gut kann.

Refrain


Schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp


schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp


Ich bin Schnappi das kleine Krokodil,


ich schnappe gern das ist mein Lieblingsspiel


ich schleich mich an die Mama ran


und zeig ihr wie ich schnappen kann!

Refrain


Schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp


schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp


ich bin Schnappi das kleine Krokodil


und vom Schnappen da krieg ich nicht zuviel,


ich beiss den Papi kurz ins Bein


und dann dann schlafe ich einfach ein.

Refrain

Schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp (ja! )


schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp (schnapp!)


Schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp (ja! )


schni
schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnapp

The English translation is as follows

I am Schnappi the small crocodile I come from Egypt right by the Nile.
First I lay in an egg, then schni schna snatched myself I freely.

schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch

I am Schnappi the small crocodile I have sharp teeth and a lot of them
I snap at whatever I can, and do it because I because I can.

schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch

I are Schnappi the small crocodile, I snap gladly that is my favourite way to play.
I creep to the mummy ran, and show it as I to snatch can!

schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch

I are Schnappi the small crocodile, and from snatching there war I not too much.
I bite the Papi in the leg, and then, then I just fall asleep.

schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch
schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch schni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi snatch

I got the original lyrics and a very rough English translation which I was able to smooth out a bit.


When I set out to write this article , I was collecting a couple of East German children's songs which captured the spirit of childhood in East Germany. By accident, I found this video. Some of the best children's videos appeal to adults on one level and to children on another. I have no insight into why this video works for me. It just does.

There is a Wikipedia article with a lot of source material on Schnappi the Crocodile. I am including it below.

I will present the East German material that I have collected. But Schnappi was too good to pass up.

What is the point of all of this? Sometimes good things happen when you're trying to do something else. And sometimes you have to just let those good things happen, and return to your original objective later. Schnappi puts a very cute face on this idea. Thank you Schnappi.







Wikipedia article on Schnappi the crocodile
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