Friday, January 30, 2009

Short Takes on the News and Thanks to Some Interesting Bloggers

Rapist Demands Joint Custody

A non Jewish dentist in America who was never married to an employee who fled to Israel to escape him. She simply wanted to get on with her life, free of an abusive relationship. According to Vos iz Neias , "A six week long human drama opened today (Wednesday) in the family court in Ramat Gan.: The judge will have to decree if to take the child from the custody of his mother, who is represent by attorney Nechama Tzivin, and hand him over to his American father. This although according to the mother he raped her and the son was the result of the rape.

According to the mother – “I was raped by my boss who is chasing me from the U.S.A. to Israel out of revenge for me not wanting to be his spouse, and now the court in Israel might take my kid and hand him over to the rapist who brought him to the world”.

I am trying to findwhat earthly logic there is in giving this chomosomally human dentist any rights at all. He never married the woman who was frightened of and intimidated by him. I have unfortunately heard of other cases where rapist fathers have sued for parental rights. Why should a man who did not marry the mother of his child have any rights at all. This piece of human garbage who is suing this woman for visitation should face whatever criminal or civil liabilities necessary. But the courts of Israel should stop tormenting this poor woman. There are unfortunately accused sex offenders in Israel who should be deported back to America to face justice. It would be far better to to go after them instead of a woman trying to make a new life for herself and her child. The dentist who is accused of raping her should burn in hell.

The other story that has me boiling is that of Yussuf Al Khattab who went from Satmar to the Israel in search of a meal ticket. Finally he found that the freak show value of being a Muslim was good for a lot of money. For a while he was living in Israel. He had a family web page that for a while included photos of him with his two(!) wives. Then he left Israel for Morocco. He had a pitch to give speeches at universities about his conversion to Islam. Apparently he was not wildly popular. His latest stop after being vomited out by the Holy Land of Israel is in New York City where he works as a taxi driver.

He has been running articles on his website focusing attention on Lubavitch and its headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, recommending that it be taught an "Islamic lesson, and showing how "Islamic educational materials" could be smuggled in.

When the police came to call then he became very timid and explained that he really did not want to hurt anyone but was simply engaging in free speech.

This is an individual who is clearly fingering Jewish targets and advocating violence. I hope he is being watched by law enforcement. He is quick to accuse others of being spies. He applauds the killing of Daniel Pearl and notes how convenient the job of reporter is to the task of being a spy. It seems that being a taxi driver is really good cover too. Who is paying Al Khattab's bills? What is he doing for them? Who are his friends? This is a man who should be watched. He has gone beyond running his mouth and crossed over into incitement.

Khattab is not some fuzzy Jews for Jesus type who wants to convert Jews. He says himself what his goals are. There are some people who are such a danger that they should be watched at all times. Khattab is such a person


One of my pet peeves is how disproportionate some sentences are to the gravity of the offense. On the one hand you have people sentenced under the Rockefeller drug laws to decades in prison who were maybe wives or girlfriends of big players. Or you have an addict who was supplying his friends so he could satisfy his own habit without stealing. There are serious drug dealers who should do hard time. They are selling something that kills people.

But then you have Bernard Madoff, awaiting trial in his mulltimillion dollar penthouse with internet access. You can do plenty of banking on line with a computer at hand. Who is looking over his shoulder while he surfs? Who is checking his mail to see if he is not sending out checks? What little goodies is he sending out with visitors? He already mailed out a million dollars in "trinkets". He should be sitting in a cell while his family gets grilled. He has hurt a lot of people. The law is treating him far too gently. He is not helping to undo the damage that he has caused. It is time to tighten the screws.


How about the following story from the Jerusalem Post?

Members of a Gaza family whose farm was turned into a "fortress" by Hamas fighters have reported that they were helpless to stop Hamas from using them as human shields.
Palestinians search through...

They told the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper that for years Hamas had used their property and homes as military installations from which the group would launch rockets into Israel, dig tunnels and store arms. According to the victims, those who tried to object were shot in the legs by Hamas operatives.

The part of the story in Gaza that is largely untold is that of the oppression of the Arabs by their own government. Millions have been looted from the Palestine Authority by corrupt officials. Investors have beeen deterred by corruption and violence. The climate and location could have made Gaza into another Singapore. Israel can not be blamed for this.


Two really great blog postings this week were on Doc's Talk and Adam Holland.

Doc's Talk printed a translation from an article in the Israeli paper Maariv. It was an open letter from an Israeli soldier who wrote an open letter to the Gaza family whose house he occupied during the Gaza invasion. It starts as follows.


While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away.

I am that someone. I spent long hours imagining how you would react when you walked into your home. How you would feel when you understood that IDF soldiers had slept on your mattresses and used your blankets to keep warm.

I knew that it would make you angry and sad and that you would feel this violation of the most intimate areas of your life by those defined as your enemies, with stinging humiliation. I am convinced that you hate me with unbridled hatred, and you do not have even the tiniest desire to hear what I have to say. At the same time, it is important for me to say the following in the hope that there is even the minutest chance that you will hear me.

I spent many days in your home. You and your family's presence was felt in every corner. I saw your family portraits on the wall, and I thought of my family. I saw your wife's perfume bottles on the bureau, and I thought of my wife. I saw your children's toys and their English language schoolbooks. I saw your personal computer and how you set up the modem and wireless phone next to the screen, just as I do.

I wanted you to know that despite the immense disorder you found in your house that was created during a search for explosives and tunnels (which were indeed found in other homes), we did our best to treat your possessions with respect. When I moved the computer table, I disconnected the cables and lay them down neatly on the floor, as I would do with my own computer. I even covered the computer from dust with a piece of cloth. I tried to put back the clothes that fell when we moved the closet although not the same as

you would have done, but at least in such a way that nothing would get lost.

I know that the devastation, the bullet holes in your walls and the destruction of those homes near you place my descriptions in a ridiculous light. Still, I need you to understand me, us, and hope that you will channel your anger and criticism to the right places.

I decided to write you this letter specifically because I stayed in your home.

I can surmise that you are intelligent and educated and there are those in your household that are university students. Your children learn English, and you are connected to the Internet. You are not ignorant; you know what is going on around you.

Therefore, I am sure you know that Kassam rockets were launched from your neighborhood into Israeli towns and cities.

How could you see these weekly launches and not think that one day we would say "enough"?! Did you ever consider that it is perhaps wrong to launch rockets at innocent civilians trying to lead a normal life, much like you? How long did you think we would sit back without reacting?

I can hear you saying "it's not me, it's Hamas". My intuition tells me you are not their most avid supporter. If you look closely at the sad reality in which your people live, and you do not try to deceive yourself or make excuses about "occupation", you must certainly reach the conclusion that the Hamas is your real enemy.

The reality is so simple, even a seven-year-old can understand: Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, removing military bases and its citizens from Gush Katif. Nonetheless, we continued to provide you with electricity, water, and goods (and this I know very well as during my reserve duty I guarded the border crossings more than once, and witnessed hundreds of trucks full of goods entering a blockade-free Gaza every day).

Despite all this, for reasons that cannot be understood and with a lack of any rational logic, Hamas launched missiles on Israeli towns. For three years we clenched our teeth and restrained ourselves. In the end, we could not take it anymore and entered the Gaza Strip, into your neighborhood, in order to remove those who want to kill us. A reality that is painful but very easy to explain.

As soon as you agree with me that Hamas is your enemy and because of them, your people are miserable, you will also understand that the change must come from within. I am acutely aware of the fact that what I say is easier to write than to do, but I do not see any other way. You, who are connected to the world and concerned about your children's education, must lead, together with your friends, a civil uprising against Hamas.

I swear to you, that if the citizens of Gaza were busy paving roads, building schools, opening factories and cultural institutions instead of dwelling in self-pity, arms smuggling and nurturing a hatred to your Israeli neighbors, your homes would not be in ruins right now. If your leaders were not corrupt and motivated by hatred, your home would not have been harmed. If someone would have stood up and shouted that there is no point in launching missiles on innocent civilians, I would not have to stand in your kitchen as a soldier.

You don't have money, you tell me? You have more than you can imagine.

Even before Hamas took control of Gaza, during the time of Yasser Arafat, millions if not billions of dollars donated by the world community to the Palestinians was used for purchasing arms or taken directly to your leaders' bank accounts. Gulf States, the Emirates - your brothers, your flesh and blood, are some of the richest nations in the world. If there was even a small feeling of solidarity between Arab nations, if these nations had but the smallest interest in reconstructing the Palestinian people – your situation would be very different.

You must be familiar with Singapore. The land mass there is not much larger than the Gaza Strip and it is considered to be the second most populated country in the world. Yet, Singapore is a successful, prospering, and well-managed country. Why not the same for you?

Click here to read the rest of the article. I would advise you to then bookmark Doc's Talk for top quality information about Israel.

The other article is on the Adam Holland website. It provides extensive background of bishop William Richardson's history of Jew hatred. The article makes it clear that holocaust denial was a major fixation of Richardson. If Adam Holland was able to dig up this information, I am sure the Pope was able to as well. The article starts as follows.

"A great deal has already been written about Pope Benedict's decision to rehabilitate four excommunicated followers of Marcel Lefebvre's "traditionalist Catholic" Society of St. Pius X ("SSPX"). These four are called "bishops" by the SSPX although not recognized as such by the church. One of these four, "Bishop" Richard Williamson, has drawn considerable attention by stating in a Swedish television interview that he does not believe the Holocaust occurred. In that interview (viewable here), Williamson has a bit of logical trouble, vacillating between stating that six million Jews were not gassed in concentration camps and stating that no Jews were gassed at all. Suffice it to say that the confused Mr. Williamson believes that only between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis, a figure which he apparently pulled from his mitre.

Williamson has provided us with a tremendous service, however, by encapsulating in one sentence the fundamental belief of the SSPX in particular and "traditionalist Catholic" belief in general (read here):

Just as the chief priests and ancients hated Jesus unto death, but they needed an Apostle to betray him, so we may blame Jews and Freemasons and others like them for engineering the destruction of the Church, but it has taken churchmen from within to do the actual betraying and destroying.

The belief that the Vatican is under the sway of a cospiracy of Jews and Freemasons, far from being incidental to this group, is absolutely essential to "traditionalist Catholic" theology. They believe it to be part of God's plan for humanity.

Lefebvre used to say that we have little idea of all that the Freemasons and their collaborators inside the Vatican are plotting and contriving in order to deliver the Catholic Church bound hand and foot into the power of Christ's enemies, but God has obviously known every detail from all eternity.

They also believe that this the existence of this conspiracy is being concealed by an even larger conspiracy. Williamson states (here) his belief that:

in Western democracies today a politician dares to breathe a word, for instance, against welfare or against the Jews, he knows he will be shouted down and voted out at the next election. In other words, the politicians are virtually controlled by public opinion, which is fabricated by the media, which are tightly controlled by a handful of Judeo-masons (sic), the people who also control finance and the governments.

He also writes (here):

Well over a century ago Judeo-Masonry is known to have been envisaging three World Wars to achieve its unified global domination.

By lies, Judeo-Masonry brought about the first two World Wars. To get Americans to enter the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson told them that it would be the "war to end all wars." In fact, WWI established the Masonic League of Nations in Geneva and the Communist Revolution in Russia, and crushed numerous Christian monarchies, in particular the Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire. And the Masonic Treaty of Versailles ending WWI deliberately paved the way for WWII, of which President F.D. Roosevelt promised it would "make the world safe for democracy." In fact, WWII established the Masonic United Nations, hugely promoted socialism in the USA and in the Western "democracies," and crushed the Eastern "democracies" under Communism.

By lies, Judeo-Masonry is preparing for the Third World War. As the Depression of the 1930's necessitated WWII, triggered for the US by the supposed treachery of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, so we see all the conditions created for another much worse Depression in the US, with the supposed treachery of Arabs last year against the Twin Towers in New York already igniting American public opinion to go to war against Afghanistan and now Iraq. And as we now in 2002 know with certainty that our governments and media told us far from the complete truth in 1941 as to who was truly responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, so we will eventually know that those truly responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers were certainly not those primarily held up as being responsible by our governments and media.

Click here to read the rest of this well written and referenced article Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ostalgie*: Thoughts of a Country Deceased

Back in the early seventies, my father had a visitor from East Germany. I was very eager to meet him. For an East German to visit a Western country, there were two prerequisites. One was membership in the Socialist Unity Party. The second was that some members of the immediate family remain behind as collateral against defection. The only people who were allowed out of the country without meeting these conditions were senior citizens. If a retiree left East Germany, he was relieving the state of a financial burden. One less pension to pay helped the German Democratic Republic balance its books.

My father's business acquaintance was not able to visit us. The State Department's travel restrictions on him precluded his visiting the Boston suburbs. My father spoke with the man at some length on topics outside commercial concerns. He had little doubt that the man was well trained in fielding the questions of westerners. Certainly the risks of an overly candid remark were not worth the possible consequences.

One thing he did say in praise of East Germany was that it provided security for its citizens. There was no unemployment. The people were expected to contribute to the collective good with work and were provided with opportunities to do so. My father was tactful enough not to ask the man about the Berlin Wall and those shot trying to escape East Germany. The official line was that the wall was built to keep out capitalist infiltrators. saying such a thing with a straight face can be taxing.

One thing I noted when visiting East Berlin was the absence of commercial advertisements and the omnipresence of political slogans. Since it was the second of May, many displays from the May day parade were still up. The point remained that shaping the mind of the citizen was a matter of collective concern. Could democracy benefit from such an attitude? I believe it could. Can democracy survive such a world view? I don't know.

East Germany produced some extraordinarily good films through DEFA, its official film company. "The Legend of Paul and Paula", an offbeat love story set in a working class section of East Berlin. The movie actually contributed to the meteoric rise of the Puhdys on the German pop music scene.

There was another film, "Bear Ye One Another's Burdens." It was made in the 1950's and dealt with a Christian minister and a communist part leader who became room mates in a tubercular sanitarium. The film took a penetrating look at the common aspects of faith in G-d and faith in communism. The film was banned for more than thirty tears. Along with "The Murderers Among Us, it is a classic not only among East German films but also in World Cinema as well. I do not mean to slight the many good films from DEFA. These two are simply among my favourites.

Like any place else, East Germany had its wretchedly awful films. "Hot Summer" was made in 1967 in East Germany. It was about a group of women taking a summer vacation together who found that an obnoxious group of men who were their contemporaries had identical travel plans. From its plot to its acting to its photography, the film is so shockingly bad that I am drawn to it by the sheer force of total astonishment. Being subjected to such a film would have made me think of trying to escape East Germany. I wonder how many escapes were fueled by the mind numbing awfulness of this movie.

I like to take the pulse of any country that interests me by taking as many vital signs as possible. Films often offer glimpses not intended by the director. Barry Farber once told a story on his show about a 1930's Soviet propaganda film showing police carrying away striking workers from a factory in the US. The film was very quickly withdrawn. Russians who watched the newsreel could not keep their eyes off the feet of the workers. They were amazed at the high quality of American shoes and that so well shod a worker needed to go on strike.

It is in this spirit that I watch East German films. There are details that assume major significance to me that might be trivial to a native viewer. A movie gives me a chance to be far more widely traveled than I would otherwise be.

One thing that I noted in an East German commercial for consumer goods was the way it interspersed an otherwise conventional commercial with footage and talk about the nation's economic goals. It is quite different from how we view things in the west.

When one is watching or studying a country other than one's own, a multitude of small details eventually assume critical mass and broaden one's understanding. Now an entire list of communist countries no longer exists. The chronology of their rise and fall tells precious little about them. With this article, I offer my readers a small assortment of glimpses to create the atmosphere in which that time sequence progressed.

The man who visited my father almost forty years ago may still be living. If so, he is an old man predeceased by his country. Does he remember the visit with my father. When his country died, and with it his fear, what was his eulogy? When he saw the Berlin Wall come down, what new angst rose from the ashes?


From top to bottom 1) Hot Summer (Heiszer Sommer) opening dance sequence
2) 1958 East German commercial
3) Opening sequence from "The Legend of Paul and Paula

*Ostalgie is a German word meaning "nostalgia for the East" , referring to the occasionally fond memories of some of the residents of the former East Germany

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thoughts of Hungary and the Fall of Communism

1956 was an important year in the history of communism. In Moscow, Nikita Krushchev denounced the crimes of Stalin to a secret meeting of the Communist Party. In China, Chairman Mao gave the " Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom" speech in which he called for more open criticism of the government.

How far were Krushchev and Mao willing to go? The Chinese quickly capped the wellspring of dissent that gushed forth after Mao's speech. And in the fall, Hungary tested Moscow's limits with an attempt to establish democracy in Hungary. Eventually, a full fledged revolution broke out, which was crushed with 5000 Russian tanks and 200,000 troops crushed the revolt ruthlessly. A more compliant ruler, Janos Kadar was installed to ensure Hungarian compliance with the Soviet Union's wishes. As a consolation prize for the disgruntled Hungarians, limited reforms were implemented. Under "goulash communism" a safe dose of capitalism was mixed in with communist ideology. Some private enterprise was allowed even some small scale private businesses were permitted to exist. Culturally there was liberalisation as well. Lokomotiv GT Kati Kovacs and Omega were musical groups that performed rock music in Hungarian that was stylistically comparable to music in America and Western Europe. There was even some criticism of the government through the medium of film.

Omega is a Hungarian rock band that was established in 1962. It played covers of western bands and eventually started performing its own material. Lokomotiv GT was originally formed by members of Omega. Omega has had commercial success in the west, going on tour in The U.K and Europe.

I am including on this posting two videos of Omega and a you Tube video tribute to a Hungarian man jailed by the communists. The video was made by his son. The juxtaposition of the three videos gives one a sense of the sacrifices made over generations for hard won freedoms.

When I look at the aftermath of communism's fall the difficulties with resurgent nationalism, the bumpy transition to free enterprise and the social displacement, it reminds me of the biblical exodus from Egypt, which turned out to be a prelude to the struggle for inner liberation.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Blogoversary Today !!!

Today, and its twin site have been in existence for one year. During that time, the two sites have evolved towards a predominance of original posts.

Politics and music as well as commentary on Israel and Jewish affairs has been the main focus of my sites.

I have enjoyed tremendously writing for a thinly spread yet far flung audience. My affiliation with The American Sentinel has exposed me to people from different parts of the country with different viewpoints. After twenty five years of writing almost nothing, I felt a need to return to my high school past time. Blogging is the ideal medium. On the one hand, there is the solitude that one needs. On the other hand it is possible to visualise a vast audience. I have find that even those days when less than twenty people hit my site that I am grateful for the opportunity to reach out with my writing to strangers in cyberspace.

One handicap I unwittingly inflicted on myself was two blog names that are hard to spell correctly for English speakers. I found a remedy for this by establishing "The Winter Riders Group for both blogs. Each blog name is appended with the designation, "A Member of The Winter Riders Group". This has made it easier for people to google me. Indeed, if you google "The Winter Riders Group", it will bring Rudi Stettner and Magdeburger Joe to the top of the search page. This facilitates word of mouth advertising.

Life has come full circle for me in forty years. Back in 1969, I watched in dismay as Richard Nixon took the oath of office. I was fully into the political fashions of the day. I felt like I was in a political backwater. My homeroom teacher, Mrs Marchant and my Social studies teacher across the hall, Miss Mattison were unabashedly conservative from the Goldwater wingof the Republican Party. I still remember Miss Mattison talk about the idea of loyal opposition, of uniting for the good of the country yet remaining critical. Today I am far more dismayed at an Obama victory than I was at Nixon's forty years ago. Despite this, I feel that our nation's survival depends upon an understanding of this concept.

The ethnic cleansing of the Chinese living in Vietnam back in the 1970's as well as the Cambodian genocide vindicated much of what Mrs. Marchant and Miss Mattison tried to impress upon me . I still remember the political education I got that eventful year.

Despite this, my youthful infatuation with communism taught me a lot as well. Sitting in on Young Socialist Alliance Meetings taught me a lot about Marxism that I don't think is taught in school.

I hope that an abler organiser than myself will turn "labour conservatism " into a viable movement. The world suffers greatly when workers and business owners view each other as the enemy rather than needed partners. A working class that is merely subsisting can not sustain a robust economy. Today, the division of classes is transcontinental. We have fallen into the trap of using workers in developing countries to hammer down the wages of workers in the industrialised world. For the good of all the global partners in the world economy should complement each other.

Religious and political freedom are very important to me. The freedom to worship, organise and vote as one pleases is a primary concern of The Winter Riders.

I love Israel like I do my own family. I do not hide my support for it. At this stage in time, Israel looks to America as a cultural trend setter. I feel that it is important to make America into a fitting example for Israel to follow. My love for America is a part of my love for Israel. I hope this answers the question of readeras who want more coverage of Israel.

I believe that radical Islam has replaced international communism as the greatest threat to world peace. There are other types of Islam that are not now politically dominant. I believe that many in the Islamic world resent this militant minority. It is up to the silent majority in the Islamic world to assert themselves.

I say without apology that the one true religion for all humanity is Noahism, the commitment to the seven universal Noahide laws. They are listed in as follows.

1. No idolatry - Prohibits the worship of any human or any created thing. Also prohibited is the making of idols and involvement with the occult. This necessitates an understanding of the One G-d and His nature.

2. No blasphemy - Prohibits a curse directed at the Supreme Being.

3. No homicide - Prohibits murder and suicide. Causing injury is also forbidden.

4. No theft - Prohibits the wrongful taking of another's goods.

5. No illicit intercourse - Prohibits adultery, incest, homosexual intercourse and bestiality, according to Torah definitions.

6. Don't eat a limb of a living creature - Promotes the kind treatment of animal life. It also encourages an appreciation for all kinds of life and respect for nature as G-d's creation.

7. Carry out justice - An imperative to pursue and enforce social justice, and a prohibition of any miscarriage of justice.

Even those who espouse Christianity or Islam can see the above comandments as the cornerstone of a social agenda.

On a lighter note, I believe that beauty is far more fairly distributed in the world than money. I remain committed to promoting music from around the world as well as art and literature. From Albanian cartoons to Zimbabwean music I have always been committed to the road less traveled.

On the bottom of my page is a jukebox with a somewhat international selection of my favourite music. I hope to add a Jewish Jukebox on as well as other audio channels.

Blogging has been tiring but most enjoyable. It is hard to keep up with all the projects that come up. There is a lot to write about and far too little time. I thank my readers for a great year. With G-d's help there may there be many more.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nancy Pelosi: No More Babies !!!

This post rated PG 13 for some sensitive material

Chairman Nan Says "Stop Making Babies.!!"

Nancy Pelosi has some advice for America. No babies !! According to Chairman Nan, in our current economic crisis, Americans should refrain from having children until times get better. Drudge Report reported on her remarks as follows.

"Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government." Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.
"The revelation came during an exchange Sunday morning on ABC's THIS WEEK. STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus? PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government. STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that? PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy. "

It is advice like this that got our Social Security system into the pickle it's in. Like everything else, we are outsourcing population replacement to developing countries. Instead of having children who pay into the system when they get older, we just import ready made adults who only need language classes instead of a twelve year education. It's the best thing since cheap electronics and toys from China. Outsource childbirth !!! No more American babies !!! The labour costs are too high. ( No pun intended.)

Does anyone remember WIN buttons? Gerald Ford came out with them during his brief term as President .

He called a press conference on October 8,1974 to declare inflation to be public enemy number one. He urged the public to wear WIN buttons which stood for "Whip Inflation Now!!" The campaign met with immediate ridicule. Some wore the buttons up side down and said it stood for "Need Immediate money." The campaign did nothing to establish Gerald Ford as a towering intellect. After Lyndon Johnson was quoted as saying that Ford could not walk and chew gum at the same time, a risque riddle started making the rounds.
"How does Gerald Ford practice birth control?"
"He chews gum in bed."

In that light hearted spirit, I think Nancy Pelosi could offer a line of merchandise to encourage population control. Bedsheets with her picture and large portraits of Nancy Pelosi to be hung in master bedrooms all across America could galvanise the public as never before to heed her call.

We will of course be dealing with economic fallout from a drop in the birth rate. There are whole industries around the needs of children. From toys and children's furniture to amusement parks, children stimulate the economy. Education and pediatric medicine are also fields that would be affected by a reduction in the birth rate. Then of course America would experience the problems faced by Europe , which has a shrinking and aging population.

When the economic repercussions of Nancy Pelosi's foolish advice are fully felt, there will be a belated campaign to raise the national birth rate. Posters, neckties, coffee mugs will all be a part of a national campaign to rejuvenate America. President Ford's WIN buttons will enjoy a raging comeback. But instead of "Whip Inflation Now" they will stand for "Whip Infertility Now."

Outraged Democrats will scoff at the campaign to increase the birth rate. Cynics, led by Nancy Pelosi will wear the buttons up side down just as they were worn during the Ford administration in the 1970's to read "NIM". But instead of standing for "No Immediate Miracles" or "Need Immediate Money" they will stand for "Nancy Impugns Motherhood" or "National Infertility Movement".

Obama's supporters have made him out to be a great force for change, a powerful engine pulling the train of history forward. Nancy Pelosi !!! The train is boarding now. Please board immediately! And take your seat next to Gerald Ford. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Free Geert Wilders !! Free Speech in Europe Under Attack

Warning: The disturbing videos at the bottom of this posting are recommended for mature audiences only, due to highly disturbing content

NATO was founded to defend the free nations of Europe. The sinister vision of a hard won democracy being crushed under the treads of Soviet tanks was enough to unite Europe around a consensus.

The Soviet Union has disbanded. The new threat to Europe's freedom comes not from military conquest but from militant immigrants from Muslim countries. The most vocal among them have contempt for the values and people of their host countries. There has been violent crime, demonstrations calling for Islamic law to rule Europe and riots when the free wheeling western tradition of free speech touches on Islam.

The three most well known confrontations about free speech in Europe revolve around the following three topics.

1) The Danish cartoons depicting Islam's founder, Muhammad. There were riots around the world and even fatalities in the numerous violent demonstrations that ensued. Instead of a defiant rally to the defense of western values, most newspapers would not even print the cartoons, which were pretty tame. It was reported as fact in many places that Islamic law prohibits the visual depiction of Muhammad. In fact, there has been different rulings in Islamic law regarding the depiction of Muhammad. There are numerous depictions of Islam's founder in manuscripts and museums around the world.

2) Submission. This film was produced by Theo Van Gogh, the great grand son of Vincent Van Gogh's brother. This film was a social critique of the mistreatment of women in Muslim society. For his role in producing it he was murdered by an assassin on November 2, 2004 who left a five page note pinned to his nearly decapitated body. It is telling that the film criticised the actions of those purporting to be Muslims. It did not repudiate Islamic teachings. I mention to this simply to point out how stifling the restrictions upon free speech have truly been. Even most communist societies made some distinction between opposition to basic ideology and criticisms of its implementation.

3) Fitna This is a film that traces modern day acts of terrorism to the Koranic verses that are cited in their defense. It does not call for violence against Muslims. It describes negative behavior and quotes religious texts that relate to the offending behavior. It is also interspersed with video footage of Muslim leaders condoning such behavior.

The latest attack on free speech was not by crazed Muslim mobs but by the quivering courts in the Netherlands. They have charged Geert Wilders, head of the Party for Freedom with hate crimes for producing the short film Fitna, which they say offends the "religious esteem" of Muslims. The English translation of their ruling is printed below. (Spelling errors are not mine)

"Amsterdam, 21 January 2009 - On 21 January 2009 the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ordered the criminal prosecution of the member of parliament Geert Wilders for the incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about Muslims and their belief. In addition, the Court of Appeal considers criminal prosecution obvious for the insult of Islamic worshippers because of the comparisons made by Wilders of the islam with the nazism.

The Court of Appeal rendered judgment as a consequence of a number of complaints about the non-prosecution of Wilders for his statements in various media about moslims and their belief. The complainants did not agree with the decision of the public prosecution which decided not to give effect to their report against Wilders.

The public prosecution is of the view, amongst others, that part of the statements of Wilders do not relate to a group of worshippers, but consists of criticism as regards the Islamic belief, as a result of which neither the self-esteem of this group of worshippers is affected nor is this group brought into discredit. Some statements of Wilders can be regarded as offending, but since these were made (outside the Dutch Second Chamber) as a contribution to a social debate there is no longer a ground for punishableness of those statements according to the public prosecution.

The Court of Appeal does not agree with this view of the public prosecution and the considerations which form the basis of this view.

The Court of Appeal has considered that the contested views of Wilders (also as shown in his movie Fitna) constitute a criminal offence according to Dutch law as seen in connection with each other, both because of their contents and the method of presentation. This method of presentation is characterized by biased, strongly generalizing phrasings with a radical meaning, ongoing reiteration and an increasing intensity, as a result of which hate is created. According to the Court of Appeal most statements are insulting as well since these statements substantially harm the religious esteem of the Islamic worshippers. According to the Court of Appeal Wilders has indeed insulted the Islamic worshippers themselves by affecting the symbols of the Islamic belief as well.

Secondly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether a possible criminal prosecution or conviction would be admissible according to the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court based thereon, which considers the freedom of expression of paramount importance. The Court of Appeal has concluded that the initiation of a criminal prosecution and a possible conviction later on as well, provided that it is proportionate, does not necessarily conflict with the freedom of expression of Wilders, since statements which create hate and grief made by politicians, taken their special responsibility into consideration, are not permitted according to European standards either.

Thirdly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether criminal prosecution of Wilders because of his statements would be opportune in the Dutch situation (the question of opportunity). According to the Court of Appeal the instigation of hatred in a democratic society constitutes such a serious matter that a general interest is at stake in order to draw a clear boundary in the public debate.

As regards the insult of a group the Court of Appeal makes a distinction. In general the Court determines that the traditional Dutch culture of debating is based on tolerance of each others views to a large extent while Islamic immigrants may be expected to have consideration for the existing sentiments in the Netherlands as regards their belief, which is partly at odds with Dutch and European values and norms. As regards insulting statements the Court of Appeal prefers the political, public and other legal counter forces rather than the criminal law, as a result of which an active participation to the public debate, by moslims as well, is promoted.

However, the Court of Appeal makes an exception as regards insulting statements in which a connection with Nazism is made (for instance by comparing the Koran with “Mein Kampf”). The Court of Appeal considers this insulting to such a degree for a community of Islamic worshippers that a general interest is deemed to be present in order to prosecute Wilders because of this.

The Court of Appeal concludes that the way in which the public debate about controversial issues is held, such as the immigration and integration debate, does not fall within the ambit of the law in principle indeed, but the situation changes when fundamental boundaries are exceeded. Then criminal law does appear as well.

Otherwise, the Court of Appeal emphasizes that this is a provisional judgment in the sense that Wilders has not been convicted in this suit of complaint. The Court of Appeal has only judged whether there are sufficient indications – at the level of a reasonable suspicion – to start a criminal prosecution against Wilders. The penal judge who will ultimately render judgment in a public criminal trial will answer the question if there is ground for conviction, and if so, to which extent.

LJ Nummer
Bron: Gerechtshof Amsterdam Datum actualiteit: 21 januari 2009"

It is a grievous blow to free speech that the Dutch courts are even hearing this case. Since when is "offending the religious esteem" of a community a problem? What is far more likely is that the prosecution is an attempt to placate the growing bloc of Muslim voters, who can leverage their influence well beyond their numbers in extracting political concessions from the government.

Name calling and prosecutions will not suppress a groundswell of anger at unrestricted immigration or the mushrooming crime rate that is fueled by it. Attempting to criminalise free speech only creates more extreme manifestations of hatred. Although I have presented both Fitna and Submission on this posting for educational purposes as well as a link to the Danish Cartoons I saw cartoons in the aftermath of the controversy that were pornographic and gratuitously insulting. They were clearly a symptom of a grass roots anger that is only fanned

Because the European Union is a much closer political association than the Europe of yesteryear, judicial attacks on freedom of expression have a malignant quality. It remains to be seen whether the newly seated Obama administration will move close to or distance itself from European sensibilities. It is important for Americans to speak up on this issue. Relations between Muslims in America and the non Muslim majority have been mostly harmonious and mutually respectful. There are indeed tensions revolving around immigration and the changes it is bringing to American society. It is not only border controls and legislation that must be reexamined in discussing the changing nature of European society. The plummeting birth rate in Europe has contributed to a situation where immigration is needed to prop up a pension system that requires new workers paying into pension plans. Although the problem is less significant in the US, it is still a significant factor.

The Muslims who attack free speech in Europe and to a more limited extent in America have an agenda within their own communities. There are divisions within Islam not only between Shia and Sunni but competing national and political interests as well. There are liberal trends and reactionary tendencies. There are elements in Islamic communities that would be disappointed if radical elements became their default representatives in the non Islamic world. Although it remains the moral responsibility of Muslims to repudiate those who advocate violence in their name, the west must also defend itself and its values.

There was a time when the Turkish empire was a place of refuge for Jews fleeing Christian Spain. There was an era in which the pursuit of knowledge flourished in Islamic countries, when works of Greek philosophers made their way into Arabic and then into European languages via Jewish translators. Islam like Christianity has gone through liberal and reactionary phases.

There needs to be frank discussion and vocal outrage at intolerance by Muslims but it must be surgically precise, focusing on behavior and not branding all adherents of that faith as reactionaries, misogynists and xenophobes. There has been in Christian history rivers of blood shed in the history of religious purity. The Huguenots, Jews and Waldensians are but a few of many examples of those who fell victim to Christian intolerance.

I do not mention this to dismiss or excuse Islamic attacks on religious freedom but to put them into a historical perspective. The most politically dominant form of Islam is today xenophobic, warlike and intolerant. There are political factions who hope to score short term gains by forging an alliance with the radical Islamists. It is these opportunists who must now be fought.

NATO was the united front of the free world in the days when the Soviet threat loomed large. Today, the threat to Western values is internal. The trial of Geert Wilders is a battle in this important struggle. We can not walk away from it. Whether it is through protest on the internet, street demonstrations or boycotting Dutch goods, we must not be silent. As I have done today, the material that is being banned in the name of Islam should be disseminated widely to convey the clear message that suppression of free speech will only lead to its defiant proliferation. We must not be silent ! Free Geert Wilders!

Fitna Part One

Fitna Part Two

Submission Sphere: Related Content

Friday, January 23, 2009

Aussie writer jailed for insulting Thai royalty (Free Harry Nicolaides!!)

An Australian writer has been sentenced to three years in a Thai prison for insulting Thai royalty. His self published novel sold all of seven copies had several sentences that were construed as insulting Thai royalty. He could have gotten fifteen years in prison.Asia Net News reports as follows.


An Australian writer, Harry Nicolaides, was sentenced to three years' jail for insulting the Thai royalty yesterday (January 19), as possible slurs against the monarchy come under closer scrutiny here.

Nicolaides, 41, had pleaded guilty to the charge that arose from a 103-word paragraph in an obscure novel, self-published in 2005. The judge said that the accused had slandered 'the King, the Crown Prince of Thailand and the monarchy' and sentenced him to a six-year term, which he cut by half because of the writer's confession. It is still not known who filed the complaint in March last year. Before his arrest, Nicolaides was a regular visitor to Thailand and used to teach English at a university in Chiang Mai. He was detained as he tried to leave the country on a routine trip last August, unaware of the warrant against him. Yesterday morning, an emotional Nicolaides told reporters outside the courtroom: "This is an Alice-in-Wonderland experience. I really believe that I am going to wake up and all of you will be gone. "I would like to apologise. This can't be real. It feels like a bad dream." He added: "I respect the King of Thailand. I was aware there were obscure laws but I didn't think they would apply to me." Nicolaides looked gaunt as he appeared in court in prison garb and his legs in shackles. In his nearly five months in jail, he was refused bail four times."

On an abstract level, I have supported the idea of royalty as a possibly legitimate form of government. There was a monarchy in biblical times. I hope it will return again. But after reading this story, I have renewed understanding for the angry mobs that periodically through history storm royal palaces.

Thailand is a top destination of pedophile sex tourists who s prey on children, some of whom are little more than toddlers.

Thailand faces an AIDS epidemic fueled by this sex trade. It has failed to crack down on the sex trade. It lags far behind South Korea and Japan in attracting Western investment in legitimate businesses such as automotive manufacture and electronics, which could provide a safe livelihood for Thai workers without the spectre of AIDS looming over children whose lives are over before they begin.

There is a grotesque quality to a foreigner getting three years of hard time for insulting the royal family. The man was an outsider and probably tone deaf to the nuances of Thai society. How much judicial and police energy was wasted on his silly offense ? How many Thai women and children got their AIDS diagnosis on the same day as Nicolaides went off to jail? The royal family must be totally clueless to the suffering of their people to allow such an outrageous sentence?

So strict is the terms of sentencing that the 103 word paragraph that got him three years in the slammer can not be reprinted. except here. I found the offending excerpt on a web site advocating freedom for Harry Nicolaides. I am reprinting it in its entirety below.

"From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for
their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The Crown Prince had
many wives "major and minor "with a coterie of concubines for
entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire
family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed
indiscretion. He subsequently remarried with another woman and
fathered another child. It was rumoured that if the prince fell in
love with one of his minor wives and she betrayed him, she and her
family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all
vestiges of their existence expunged forever."

The King has failed to intervene in this outrageous case. This outrageous attack on free speech is grotesque in a country that so badly fails to protect its women and children. readers of this article should check out the facts for themselves and protest to the Thai government. As a protest, the passage for which Nicolaides was imprisoned should be reprinted widely.

It is likely that the Obama administration will embolden Islamic opponents of free speech, who have already claimed Daniel Pearl and Theo Van Gogh as victims in their struggle to suppress western style fee speech. The blogosphere is a good place to fight these attacks. We must remain vigilant. Freedom must be defended or it will evaporate in the heat of censorship and political correctness Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New York Guesses and Waits as Kennedy Bows Out

I am reading the New York Times article about the search for Hillary Clinton's replacement with amazement. The article looks like it was written by a North Korean Communist Party member who can not understand an open selection process. It has now come out that the successor annointed by the New York Times and Mike Bloomberg has dropped out. Some say it was in anticipation of a rejection by Governor Patterson. Talk circulated of nanny problems and personal issues that would have been an embarrassment to Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg. The New York Times reported as follows.

"ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson, after a confusing and even embarrassing two-month ordeal, said Thursday that he would announce a replacement to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat at noon on Friday.

Mr. Paterson made the announcement after a day of anonymous and often bitter sniping over Caroline Kennedy’s mystifying departure from the Senate field, which, after several twists and turns, was announced shortly after midnight on Thursday."

When the New York Times finds fault with the Governor, then there is a good chance that he must be doing something right. There is actually a possibility that Governor Patterson was conducting a genuine talent search instead of a coy charade before the inevitable Kennedy coronation. A governor in New York must balance the vastly different sensibilities of New York City's eight million residents and the twelve million New Yorkers who live out of the five boros.

The rumours now circulating centre on Kirsten Gillibrand, an up state New Yorker endorsed by the National Rifle Association. The Times reports as follows.

"But among lawmakers, Democratic operatives and even some of the governor’s advisers, the name most frequently mentioned as the likely pick was Representative Kirsten E. Gillibrand, though other candidates, including Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, were not ruled out.

But if Mr. Paterson is hoping to quiet the tumult by picking Ms. Gillibrand, there are already indications he may not get his wish. Ms. Gillibrand, a centrist Democrat from upstate who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, is controversial among some of the party’s more liberal leaders downstate."

The New York Times seems to be reeling from the slight to their sensibilities and judgment that the National Rifle Association is getting more respect than they are.

A critical piece of information has escaped the New York Times fact checkers. Not only is there life out of New York City, but also voters in the outer five Boros who think more like upstate New Yorkers. In my neighbourhood, you have to walk a few blocks to find a copy of the New York Times. It seems that the proletariat and the poor so favoured by the New York Times have cut the ritzy rag out of their budget. Although there is a lot of support for rent control and anti poverty programs, there is also a lot of people who send their children to private religious schools who don't particularly like the New York Times opposition to tuition tax credits.

But the New York Times does not seek out the man in the street for his opinion if that street is in Brooklyn or Queens. If they want to find out what the working class and the poor need, all they have to do is dial a Kennedy.

According to the New York Times, "And whomever the governor appoints, the announcement is unlikely to immediately undo the public relations damage over the collapse of Ms. Kennedy’s candidacy or put to rest criticism that the governor has lost control of the selection process. "

There is a serious control problem here that we must face head on. The New York Times has lost control of Governor Patterson. He is actually pondering a vast range of interests and concerns before making up his mind. How old fashioned.

The next person favoured by the New York Times seems to be Carolyn McCarthy, an stalwart gun control activist who took up the cause after her husband was shot to death on the Long Island railroad by a racist gunman in 1993. Despite great personal sympathy for Ms McCarthy, many New Yorkers wonder if a legally armed New Yorker riding the train could have stopped the shooting rampage before her husband was killed.

You have to give the New York Times credit for going down living according to their own principles. Instead of practicing Reaganomics and cutting their Newsstand price to fifty Cents to increase the number of readers, they are maintaining a newsstand price of $1.50 increasing the burden upon their shrinking customer base.

It is amusing to see how shocked and hurt the New York Times is that the State's first African American Governor assigns so little value to their opinion.

It would have been best for all concerned if a special election had been called. Governor Patterson, as stipulated by the laws of New York did the next thing. He conducted an honest and thorough search for a suitable candidate. He did not take bribes. He did not bow to royalty or power.

I don't know who Patterson will appoint to the Senate. He's a real good poker player. And I think he is a good governor as well. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Germany and Israel Welcoming Refugees( In Contrast to the Arab World)

My first German teacher was from the Sudetenland. The Sudetenland became famous when the Nazis with the blessing of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain annexed it in 1938.

Europe was never divided into neat ethnic divisions. In Russia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and other countries in Europe were large German minorities that had been a part of the local landscape and social order for centuries. When there was a monarchy, loyalty to the crown could transcend ethnic divisions. When republics were founded upon an ethnic basis, the German minorities across Europe found themselves in an uncomfortable position. There were indeed genuine grievances. Demonstrations of ethnic Germans were violently dispersed in Czechoslovakia before the annexation.

At the end of World War Two, about 2.5 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia. In country after country, it was decided to preempt any difficulties that a German minority might cause in the future. The expulsions were neither gentlemanly nor bloodless. There were murders, rapes and starvation en route.

What was Germany's response? Germany instituted a Law of Return according to which even someone with a single German grandparent could return to Germany and take up citizenship. Fifteen million ethnic Germans were expelled from their homes outside Germany's borders. Germany took them in when it was in the midst of post war reconstruction from Poland, the USSR, Hungary, Romania and any place in which Germans were in danger.

There are no refugee camps for expellees today. The refugees of sixty years ago may have an oral tradition passed through families but they are fully integrated into German society.

Israel has done the same thing with Jewish refugees. It is in the Arab countries that the Jews were most singularly unwelcome. In Iraq, Syria and Egypt were pogroms, expulsions and confiscations. Israel was established to make a home for Jews who had no claims on citizenship elsewhere. Like Germany, it took in its nationals from abroad. Unlike Germany, it is reviled as an outlaw state. Despite having a rainbow of languages and skin tones within its Jewish population it is condemned as racist.

We are still hearing about Arabs who fled what is now Israel sixty years ago along with their descendants. They remain in camps long after the Jews who were expelled from Arab countries have been integrated into Israeli society.

The refugee camps are sorry looking places. They should be replaced with permanent housing, just like the Germans did for their fellow Germans and the Israelis did for their fellow Jews. They should be given citizenship and homes in the Arab countries that they have lived in for three generations. It has been over sixty years that those who fled Israel have been kept apart by law from fellow Arabs among whom they reside. Enough is enough. If the Arab world wants someone to blame, they should blame themselves

Peter Maffay is a German singer born to an ethnic German family in Romania in 1949.

Alexandra is an ethnic German from Lithuania born in 1942. Her music was popular in Germany in the 1960's.

Alexandra, an ethnic German singer from Lithuania

Peter Maffay, a popular German singer born in 1949, originally of Romania

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Courts Controversy With Remarks on Religion

President Obama revisited controversy during his inaugural speech with remarks about America's religious diversity. His remarks seemed to suggest that America's solid Judaeo Christian ideological foundation is slipping into the past. World Net Daily quoted the inaugural address transcript as follows.

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers," Obama stated during his speech before a crowd estimated by security officials at about 1.8 million.

He continued: "We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

Obama made a sweeping statement in a few brief lines. America is indeed a land of vast diversity. We started off with a collection of colonies, some of which had srongly sectarian foundations such as Puritan Massachusetts and Catholic Maryland. Rhode Island, though populated by religious people recognised the need to incorporate a respect for theological diversity into its approach to government.

Along with those who adhere to religious doctrine, America has given birth to a number of new religions. Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are among the most widely known denominations that started in America. If we are a nation that feels strongly about faith, then it is to be expected that some will differ passionately enough to set up their own congregations.

We have as a nation recognised that the right to differ must be protected. Towards this end, it has long been established that the government would not enforce the primacy of any religious denomination. This has on occasion mutated into attacks on religion. In the 1870's, a wave of anti immigrant bias found expression in the Blaine Amendment, which banned any tax money from being used to support sectarian schools. This has evolved into a blatant injustice. Parents who object to premarital sex and gay marriage being condoned in public schools to which they send their children must often pay thousands of dollars to send their children elsewhere. see story This seems to any fair minded person to be a punitive tariff on the religious choice of the parents.

There is an extreme lack of common sense in discussion of tuition vouchers from private schools. We are required to insure our cars. The companies to whom we turn for insurance must meet certain government standards. Beyond that, they are private companies.

We are required to send our children to school . Why can the government not allow private schools to educate children just as they allow private insurance companies to insure cars?

And if we really are "pro choice" why does that freedom of choice extend to how we educate our children?

Religious freedom is deeply rooted in our country's traditions. There are however limits to this. When someone believes that it is praiseworthy to kill infidels then they lose their religious freedom. When someone believes that married women not of their faith are fair game, then their faith should command no respect. These are not hypothetical questions. Killing for Allah is well publicised through videos released by terrorists. I have heard more than one story from married American women who had to terminate a taxi ride with a driver who did not recognise marriage rites of other faiths.Italic

Most Americans are at least nominally Christian. The calendar of Christian holidays and body of Christian religious texts strongly influences the atmosphere in the United States. The very fact that Sunday is the day of rest for America's majority is as a result of Christian influence. This does not contradict tolerance of religious and secular minorities. There is indeed a theology of tolerance and an accommodation of those who differ from the majority. America has evolved with time towards such an approach.

When Obama said " the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve", I do not equate that with an ascent to a higher level. There are different forms of collective existence. There is the family in its nuclear and extended form. Just as there are good people and bad people there are criminal gangs and mutual aid societies. There are peaceful nations and warlike nations. If there is a clear code of right and wrong, then tribes and nations can better themselves. I am very skeptical of any blanket condemnation of tribal or national loyalty. It makes me what new collective entity is waiting in the wings to replace it.

Not all faiths are equal. Some condone oppression. Some condone slavery. We have as a nation evolved towards the very idea of racial equality that made the election of a citizen of colour possible. It is not jingoistic to take pride in the path of moral evolution that our country has followed.

I am concerned about faith that is so watered down that it will not defend itself. Some societies are more just than others, and take better care of the weak among them than others. We must have the courage to laud this as a core value of our society.

Obama's past record of extreme support for abortion makes me wonder what sort of core values he invokes to lead the nation. Already, the our nation has graduated from supporting abortion on demand to supporting so called "mercy killings." How much longer will it be before we graduate from the "right to die to the "duty to die"?

This creeping culture of death in which each life is reduced to a profit loss statement should be resisted with zeal and with vehemence. Obama's fuzzy warm speech does not leave me convinced he would lead such a struggle

As a Jew I am very interested in the tolerance of which Obama speaks. I have found this tolerance most securely rooted among "fundamentalists", most of whom are devout Christians but some of whom are Mormons, Muslims and Hindus. A person who is passionate about their own faith can often respect that passion in others.

Obama has just become the President of a nation of 300,000,000 people. I understand his desire to embrace its full range of diversity. I do not share his stated desire to dissolve the "lines of tribe". I believe that we should work on improving the goodness of each and every individual and then the tribes of whom Obama speaks will be a force for good.


This video is chilling proof that not all faith communities are equal. If we have a better way in America, we should not be shy about saying so.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, January 19, 2009

Troubling Memories on Martin Luther King Day

I was in the doctor's office this morning talking with my child about Martin Luther King, whose "I Have a Dream" speech was playing on the radio in the waiting room. In my home when I was growing up, the news was much discussed. As my parents did with me, I discuss with them my childhood memories of historical events.

I was explaining what the world was like back in 1963 with legal rather than social segregation and the violence with which King's protests were met. My daughter and I spoke in hushed tones, not wanting to talk over the speech, which I believe is one of the most masterful pieces of oratory ever recorded.

There was a woman in the doctor's office to whom I nodded when we walked in. She is one of my "op-ed" people. I have seldom agreed with her on any issue. But I never fail to walk away from a conversation with her without new information to round out my world view. She voted for Obama. The eloquence with which she defended him far outstripped that found in most news commentary. Such people fuel uplifting debate.

I noticed a look of pronounced dismay on Mrs. S's face that grew more pronounced as I spoke to my daughter. Finally she could contain herself no longer.

"After King was killed, my brothers and I were almost killed as well." she said with quiet passion.
"We went to school the morning after. The police had to escort us out. Every day after that was hell on earth going to class. My parents had to move heaven and earth to transfer us to safer schools."

Mrs. S had said nothing against King's legacy. She and her husband had a reasoned political view that left no room for bigotry. I had experienced this first hand when I ate at their table years before. But her response to Martin Luther King's name had the aura of flashback. I t clearly triggered traumatic memories.

I was living in an almost all white suburb when King was killed. I read of riots. I saw them on TV. I was able to switch the channel to more pleasant thoughts. Not all had that privilege. The S. family lived as a minority in a larger African American community. To see the hatred that filled my TV screen, all they had to do was look out their windows.

Many people lost their businesses in the Martin Luther King riots. Some lost their lives. Much violence was racially targeted. The scarred psyches of many victims of violence shaped undoubtedly shaped political views for years to come.

My view of America is strongly influenced by the ethnic passions that broke up what used to be Yugoslavia. My mother's family is from Croatia. I heard plenty of bad things about the Serbs. One of my uncles went to a school where speaking Croatian was banned. If the schoolmaster heard Croatian being spoken, he would order the offending student to stand in front of the class. He would then spit in his mouth. In my grandparent's home, to say that a child was "behaving like a Serb" was a stinging insult.

Later in life, I worked with Serbs who had horrific stories to tell of Croats who collaborated with the Nazis. I would be unfaithful to history if I did not mention that the Croats had among their numbers the most brutal of Nazi henchmen who murdered Jews, Serbs and Romany with unsurpassed sadism.

Both my Croatian relatives and my Serbian friends had a well founded sense of aggrievedness. Both Serbs and Croats have a collective memory that shapes their thoughts and actions today. How does a person behave when someone from the "other side" is on their turf and at their mercy? Are they curious? Are they civil? Or are they openly hostile? If they feel hatred, do they act upon it?

I have heard it said that African Americans can't be racist, because the anger of the oppressed can not by definition be racism.

There is a street expression "To get the drop on someone." It means to have a weapon drawn and ready to use before your adversary has his weapon out. This is power over another human being at its most elementary level. When one group lives as a tiny minority in the midst of a larger group, it can be argued that the larger group "has the drop on them."

When Mrs. S. was living with her family in an overwhelmingly African American neighbourhood, they were not "the oppressors". They were visibly different and vulnerable. Living in a non white neighbourhood, they were for their neighbours a litmus test of character. By her account many failed the test.

The words of Martin Luther King should be a rallying cry to liberate all victims of bigotry and to expunge racism from the thinking of all. When looking for racists, we must not be guilty of ethnic profiling. Because racists come in all colours.

The ethnic composition of the United States is in flux. Although nationally, whites are in the majority, there are many areas where this is not true, where Hispanics, Asians or some other group is dominant. Whatever our race, creed or national background the temptation to hate those who are different is a human temptation. If our nation is to survive, we must be creative enough to recognise all forms of prejudice.

My mother used to separate us when we were fighting with the following words.

"If you can't be kind to each other, at least be civil!"

In this great land, there are some people who will never like each other. Of such individuals, the bottom line of civility is all that can be expected.

I am deeply grateful to G-d and my grandparents that I was not raised in the former Yugoslavia. Even at a distance, its passions and hatreds draw me to it. A land in which there is peace, where there is no bloody hatreds is a gift to its citizens that should be treasured.

The values underlying Martin Luther King Day are too important to let them degenerate into bland platitudes. The experience of the S. family, that was beaten when Martin Luther King was assassinated shows how bigotry can mutate to escape detection.

It is fitting that Martin Luther King's birthday be a national holiday. Everyone should feel challenged by its message. Everyone. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Note To My Readers and Thoughts About Lion King

During the next couple of days,the quantity (but hopefully not the quality) of my output on Rudi Stettner and Magdeburger Joe will drop. I am in the midst of transferring the second half of my articles that used to be American Sentinel exclusives. Since American Sentinel is down and in the process of restructuring, it is uncertain what would happen to my articles if I took no action. If I do not care about keeping my articles on the internet, I can not expect anyone else to.

Although the work of article recovery is tedious, I am picking up bits of technical knowledge and correcting typos along the way. Unfortunately, some articles are temporarily lost. Some loss of videos and graphics was unavoidable. Restoring and improving lost material will be an ongoing project.

The mistakes I have made that are now costing me valuable time have been a learning experience. I hope to remain in touch with my American Sentinel colleagues and to continue a political and journalistic collaboration with them. It has been very helpful in creative terms to visualise the AS audience when writing some articles and to visualise my J Blog Central audience for other articles.

I am including the description " a member of the Winter Riders Group" with both and in an effort to overcome the difficulties presented by my web site names which are hard for some to spell

I am also cleaning up some of the dead wood on both web pages. Hopefully, this will make them load faster. I am impatient to make quick work of this project so I can get back to the business of writing

Rather than bore my readers with tech notes, I have decided that it would be best to include some musical entertainment. I have always found the underlying themes of Lion King to be uplifting. The idea that we are not simply separate individuals but part of something greater is artfully presented in the Lion King series.

In Lion King Two is a moving song, "We Are One" in which the Lion King addresses his lioness cub about her duties as the daughter of royalty, how she is part of a royal family with a mission. The song is a dialogue in which the lioness cub expresses a desire to live for herself. The Lion King reminds her gently that she is a part of something greater than her individual transient wishes.

I have always viewed this song as allegorical. It reminds me very much of the conviction that a family has values and a mission that are its reason for existing. It certainly reminds me of the sense of mission that is central to the existence of the Jewish people. The fact that a lion is the symbol of the tribe of Yehuda gives the song added meaning .

Because of my Croatian background and the fact that my first spoken language is English, I have included the Croatian, Hebrew and English versions of the song. The Croatian and Hebrew videos have transliterated karaoke style subtitles.

I am sure that many of my readers would like to hear this and other Lion King songs in different languages. You Tube including even a Chinese version. I hope my readers enjoy these renditions as much as I do

Croatian version of "We Are One"

Hebrew version of "We are One"

English version of "We Are One" Sphere: Related Content