10 August 2017

The Massacres of 1929 and 2001

Where were you August 9th, 2001? Most don't remember. Myself, I was attempting to return a rental cellphone because I was flying back to the United States from Israel that night. I couldn't return the phone because it was a little store five minutes walk away from Jaffa street where the pizza store, Sbarros, had just been bombed. The area had been closed off. Ultimately, a friend returned it for me the next day.

I didn't know the extent of the devastation until I returned to the States. Thankfully I hadn't thought to have a slice of pizza before I returned the phone. To look at these faces, the names, the ages. An entire family wiped out. These innocent people in the "wrong place" enjoying their food. These men, women and children - all people the murderer saw clearly with his own eyes - and then went ahead and murdered them anyway. Their young lives cut short because of a monster. Not a monster of a horror flick, but something much worse.

72 years ago, also this month, there was another massacre. 67 Jews murdered in Hebron in 1929. King David's first capital city before moving it to Jerusalem. Again, Jewish men, women and children murdered - by their neighbors. People they lived among, whom they trusted.

1929. Before the 1967 Israeli "occupation" of the Jewish land of Judea and Samaria. Before 1948, the establishment of the Jewish State on ancient Jewish lands. A time when both Jew and Arab were called "Palestinians" because they lived in British Mandated "Palestine", which included both what is now the countries of Israel and Jordan.

What's the difference between the two massacres years apart? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Innocent Jewish souls living their lives. The Hebron massacre wipes away all pretense. Jews are murdered simply because they are Jews. Not because of "nationalism" or some other hollow excuse for murder.

Call these murderers "monsters". Real-life monsters. That's what they are. Celebrating in the streets every time another Jew is wiped out. Handing out candy and dancing. Rewarded with cash... every Jew has a price on his head. Teaching their children to hate and murder. Happier to destroy than to build a future.

How do you make peace with monsters who celebrate your demise?

You can't and you don't.

26 April 2017

President Trump and the North Korean "Crisis"

North Korea is a disaster and an embarrassment to the world community. The fact that such a terrible, dictatorial regime is still in place after so many years - where millions live without dignity, or at the least, basic human rights - should leave everyone at the United Nations, (where they pretend to care about human rights), hiding their collective heads in shame.

Now, all of a sudden, there's a crisis. President Trump has decided to call their bluff. Instead of ignoring the long-range missile tests, he's decided to send a nuclear submarine to South Korea to give a strong show of support for our ally. A show of support that we and the world haven't seen for years.

News stations talk of a "crisis". Our generation's "Cuban missile crisis" - who will blink first? But what's the true crisis here? That we will have World War 3 on our hands? No. Rather, the crisis should center on the lack of action on behalf of the North Korean people. A people enslaved and slaughtered on the capricious whims of the government - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - the name itself is a cruel joke on those who live there.

This week we spent time memorializing the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, both exterminations of millions of people - the mass murders that happened while the World watched and sat on their hands. Instead of gnashing our teeth and wringing our hands over what will happen next on the Korean peninsula - while the situation is certainly different, we must wonder how things might have turned out better for the Jews and Armenians if the world powers at the time would have shown some backbone and perhaps a show of force on their behalf. And perhaps, we will learn from history this time...

14 October 2016

Trump's Women and Where to go from Here

...And here we go.

Women have started coming out of the woodwork accusing Trump of assaulting them. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Are these women being truthful? Are they there simply to destroy Trump as per a Democratic playbook? The answer is that it does not matter. After the audio going public of Donald Trump bragging about what he can do to women (and denying that he actually did it), it really doesn't matter if these women are for real or not. All that matters now is that it is plausible that they were assaulted. Plausibility matters.

The question is what Vice President Mike Pence is going to do now. He seems like a decent guy. What does he want to do? If he drops out, what happens? Does that take down the whole ticket? I really don't know. What would be good would be for Trump to step aside (Hillary should too) and for Pence to replace him at the top of the ticket and make a woman his vice presidential pick. I would like to see Joni Ernst, senator from Iowa after having served in the military for 23 years. I would also be happy to see Susana Martinez, very successful governor of New Mexico in the VP slot.

We have about a month to go. Trump looks like he plans on spending these last few days defending himself from these charges - which means he will lose. Trump may lose anyway even if he doesn't spend the time defending himself. The GOP may still have a chance to turn this whole election on its head - if - they can get rid of Trump and get themselves a respectable ticket. Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate, and anyone other than Trump would have an easy time beating her. It may be time to consider other options.

11 October 2016

Good-bye Political Facebook

I posted this rant on Facebook tonight. I will (try to) limit my political postings to my blog here. Facebook has become as insane as this election is - the abusiveness and the lack of civility has grown exponentially.
I've had it. Vote for who you wish. I have never attacked anyone for their choice, even if I disagree with it. It's a free country. You may have noticed that I'm voting Trump. I don't like his character, and would be plenty happy if he were replaced. I do not defend him. I also don't appreciate having my motivations questioned or being called names. I also don't like Hillary Clinton, and there is no chance of voting for her. She is a liar, has 'private and public positions', I believe her to be corrupt, unethical, with no care for anyone but herself. She is an enabler to her husband who has a long history of assaulting women. I do not have to defend Trump any more than anyone has to defend Clinton. They are both pigs. We can thank Bill Clinton who in 1998, claimed his power imbalanced "relationship" with Lewinsky was a private affair and no ones business but his own. "Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life." If we are keeping to Bill Clinton's standard, then Trump gets a pass, just like Clinton got a pass. He's still the godfather of the Democratic Party. Self-identified feminists didn't seem to care about his abusive womanizing record even before he sullied the Oval Office. But Donald Trump, the pig he is, saying horrible things, can't be measured by the same yardstick that Bill Clinton brought to the Presidency because he has a "R" next to his name instead of a "D". All is forgiven for the all powerful "D". Realize Democrats that your candidate is as flawed as the Republicans. The GOP tried to get rid of Trump and continues to try to find ways to replace him. He was never their first choice or even their 17th. The Democratic Party pushed Hillary Clinton on the American liberal, paving her way to the nomination, steamrolling Bernie Sanders, because it was "her turn". The Democratic Party thinks so little of the American People that Hillary was the only choice for them. Pathetic. I will be trying to avoid posting political stuff as best I can from here on. My rant is over. I wish everyone a Shana Tova, a happy sweet new year with only good things for everyone.

05 October 2016

VP Debate 2016

Watching the debate last night, the thought that kept running through my mind was... why aren't we running Mike Pence at the top of the ticket? Seriously - calm, cool, collected... smart, knows how to communicate, knows when to attack, when to defend...

Truthfully, I think the debate was a draw. Tim Kaine didn't do himself any favors. For someone who we know nothing about, his debut was a disaster.  He interrupted Pence 70+ times, which I found incredibly annoying and not professional.

Pence was articulate in explaining and defending the conservative vision for the United States. I wish the Republican Party would do this regularly, not allowing the media and the liberals/Democrats to take that vision and skew it for the public. I've said for a long time, that the GOP needs to buy commercial television time and explain what they stand for - otherwise, they let the Democrats define them.

The moderator seemed overwhelmed. Tim Kaine wouldn't shut up. She needed to shut him down and let them each have their two minutes then let them go at it without interruption. It's a tough job she had, but I don't think she was prepared for the sparring and arguments.

Pence was brave to bring up the abortion issue. I think though that the GOP needs to sort out their abortion position. Kaine made a good point about - don't you trust women to make their own medical decisions? Except that wasn't the point that Pence was making. Pence was talking about partial-birth abortions, basically infanticide.

A majority of Americans are pro-choice about abortion for the first trimester. After that, second and third term abortions don't have that support. The GOP needs to understand and focus on consolidating support against 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions, rather that attacking all abortions. Adoption needs to be a viable alternative as well as support for women who would like to keep their babies but are unable to for financial reasons.

It's all nice and good that Democrats frame the abortion issue as a "feminist" issue. Really, this is the only real "feminist" issue out there that Democrats really care about. My body, my choice. That's garbage. It may be your body, but you made a choice and got pregnant. It then becomes an issue of rights. The woman's right and the baby's right. At some point, that pregnancy becomes a real person. At only 5 weeks, there is a heartbeat. That's not life?

A Canadian journalist Barbara Kay, made an excellent point a few months ago in an article I came across. She said that since doctors are able to save babies earlier and earlier in a pregnancy, (the earliest I've found was a baby born at 21 wks. 5 days), Kay asks, when medically they are able to save babies earlier in a pregnancy - and you're still allowed to legally abort them - when are we going to realize that there's a problem? It's obviously not just a bunch of cells that don't matter anymore - it never was... but science and medicine have come a long way since Roe v. Wade in 1973. It's foolish of us to hang onto science that has long been disproven just because it fits a "feminist" ideology that is tied to it. Liberals poke fun at conservatives for not believing in science - I think it would be quite fair to call the kettle black and make the point that science no longer supports Roe v. Wade.

Putting abortion aside, it's too bad Pence didn't bring up Kaine's Islamists connections.

I guess we will see what Round 2 of Trump v. Clinton brings us Sunday night.

**To be clear, there will always be extenuating circumstances regarding abortion. I would never say that a woman could never have an abortion. Life of the mother is paramount and I'm sure we could find other circumstances to have agreement on as well.

19 September 2016

Those Damn Amish Are At It Again!

These "apparent terrorist" attacks have been so entertaining! I just knew it was a matter of time before we could blame the Amish for these so-called attacks. They're just blowing stuff up all the time these days. Attacks in France, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Lebanon, United Kingdom... and now New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Utah! Those Amish sure get around. I'm so glad after mistakenly giving 868 US citizenships to uh, 'problematic people'... we're importing thousands more that we aren't 100% sure that we can vet properly. I'm feeling good today!
The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released Monday.
Whoops. Well, you know, whatever... 

14 September 2016

Maybe I'll Actually Vote *For* Trump


I caught the last 15 minutes of Donald Trump's Child Care announcement last night. I'm not a huge fan of Trump (at all), but I dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton even more. Finally last night, Trump may have me on board, actually voting for him rather than against Hillary. He outlined a proposal for helping women and their families with their child care expenses. Including... giving tax child care tax breaks for stay at home mothers - finally recognizing their financial worth. I also like the tax free "dependent accounts" that can be used toward school choice - another important issue that could make a real difference in our poor urban areas.

I'm excited (finally). I've started looking over the proposal, I haven't finished, but it makes sense.

If Trump can stay on message, he may have a chance.

The Trump Plan Will Help Working Mothers 

'We'll start with that child!': Trump works squealing BABY into speech on erasing crippling childcare and providing six weeks of paid leave to new moms - as toddler (and Ivanka) steal the show 

Trump/Pence website

12 September 2016

Is there something wrong with Hillary?

Is there something medically wrong with Hillary Clinton? We don't know... and we won't know until she collapses... oh, wait - she did that already. Surprise, her campaign has announced that she was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday. Were they going to mention it to anyone?

The problem with Hillary is that you never actually know when she's telling the truth. Maybe it is pneumonia, maybe it isn't. There's no chance she's going to be transparent about her health.

CNN made a documentary about Hillary titled "Unfinished Business". I didn't watch it. I don't have the time in my life to spend thinking deeply about her. However, the title bothered me. It assumed that she has a right to the presidency. Her life is not complete without becoming the President of the United States. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer in her own right (also being fired for being unethical). She's been the 1st Lady. She's also been a US Senator and Secretary of State.  These are all respectable roles for anyone to have and be perfectly happy walking away feeling accomplished (whether or not they *actually* were accomplished is something else). But not Hillary Clinton, she has "unfinished business".

Truthfully, I'd like to see both candidates examined by an independent 3rd party doctor who has no skin in the game. Good luck with that. So instead, we'll wait and see what is served to us next by the Clinton campaign.

11 September 2016

Proud to be an American

The iconic question for my generation, where were you the morning of 9/11?

It was a regular sort of morning. I was home, preparing for teaching my afternoon social studies classes of 7th and 8th graders, when I got a phone call from an acquaintance of my sister. He asked if I'd seen the news, the Pentagon and the Twin Towers had been attacked. We hung up the phone and I turned on the television.

It was shocking. Both of the Twin Towers had been hit and we were watching the smoke billow out of them. Reporters were talking about the firemen who had run into the buildings to save those inside. Then all of a sudden the Towers came tumbling down. The terrible question in my head - were the first responders still inside? Oh my G-d, they were. It was a horrible scene to watch - but I dragged myself away around noon... I still had classes to teach.

What was amazing was that Americans banded together. Congress even got together and sang God Bless America on national television. Being from Michigan, we used to make fun of New Yorkers - but that morning changed everything. We were all New Yorkers, we were all Americans... no matter where you were from. Life had changed. We, all Americans, were under attack that morning.

E Pluribus Unum - from many, one. The phrase printed on our Great Seal of the USA and on much of our money. The focus is not on where we come from - but who we become. There's so much talk about multiculturalism, the color of our skin, being from different working classes... but this is not what the United States is about. Certainly we can respect each other and our differences, but we are all Americans. Americans, period. Without qualifying adjectives added or needed.

The Islamic terrorists who attacked America's financial center, military center and attempted to attack our democracy at the core - who were stopped by the Flight 93 martyrs, bless them and their families - were attacking all of us. They did not care who we were as individuals, what color our skin was, what countries our families immigrated from... these terrorists cared about bringing death and destruction to Americans.

On September 11th, we were reminded that we are all Americans. We, as a whole, were and still are, under attack. America is a special place, and American exceptionalism is still a very real concept. We must not forget who we are. While other countries, thankfully, have followed our lead - the United States was the first to be founded on the concepts of religious freedom, the freedom of the individual to follow their dreams, the right of the individual to be greater than the class that they were born into, and so many G-d given rights that we take for granted each and every day - even the basic right to self defense... we must be thankful every day to be an American.

G-d Bless America. May G-d bless those who lost their lives and their families that terrible day 15 years ago in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. G-d bless those first responders who ran bravely into the Towers not knowing if they would be coming out again. G-d bless those first responders who have since passed away and those who are sick because of their bravery that day. We honor your service to us all.

15 May 2016

The Future of Attawapiskat

The disaster of Attawapiskat has been going on for years. The people are suffering, but it does not appear that the proposed solutions, which include sending in more social workers, will truly help them. It is time to think outside the box.

No one doubts that the First Nations have been historically mistreated on many levels (a major understatement), but we have to look forward in order to save the people living there. It has been acknowledged by some that the population of Attawapiskat cannot reasonably continue living there. There are no jobs and no jobs forthcoming. The people of Attawapiskat are understandably attached to the land they live on - especially since they have been forcibly relocated by governments over the last 200 years. But where do we go from here?

As a religious Jew, I am reminded of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the focal point of Judaism. Pilgrimage was made to this holy place three times a year by Jews from across the ancient land of Judea. They travelled to Jerusalem to partake and celebrate in communal activities. In 70 CE (AD), that Temple was destroyed by the Romans. The Jewish People had to come up with an alternative system to that of the pilgrimage. The synagogue is a reflection of that alternative system. While it is debated when the synagogue came into common use, there is no doubt that the local synagogue really came into its own after the destruction of the Temple.

The synagogue, with Jews praying in a quorum three times daily, helped recreate and re-enforce the communal closeness that the pilgrimage to Jerusalem had once established. This sense of community as well as religious laws helped keep the Jewish identity alive for more than 3000 years, even as we were scattered across the known world.

How can we relate Jewish history to the tragedy of Attawapiskat? Attawapiskat and other native populations are in the midst of self-destruction through abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, and alcoholism -a situation that is continually getting worse. A creative solution is the only key.

When the Second Temple was destroyed, Jews had to find a new way to live outside of the Land of Israel, the holy land given to us by G-d. They created a "diaspora" with the heart of the religion still focused in Jerusalem. First Nations need to create a "diaspora" as well, with their heart still in their ancestral homelands. The leaders of these First Nations need to realize that their proud heritage can be used as an anchor while living productive lives in other locations.

The terrible issues of abuse, sexual abuse, suicide and alcoholism cannot be properly dealt with when those affected have no job, no sense of self worth and see no point in living. A "diaspora" must be created. Community centres teaching Native education along with vocational skills and a good general education can create a tight knit community. This will create opportunity for those who are interested to move onto higher education and bring the best of Canada back to their Native communities. In addition to creating these community centres, government monies can be used to establish a mental health framework where people can have a real chance for rehabilitation. Attawapiskat does not have to fade into the woodwork, rather it can be made a pilgrimage site, where the tribe can assemble once or twice a year to strengthen their relationships with one another.

The next generation is already being destroyed. How much longer are those in government and those leading the Native communities going to let this go on? There are solutions, but none of them will be easy. It will take creativity and courage, especially by Native leaders, to reshape the future of their people. I hope they can take the first step.

12 May 2016

Happy 68th Birthday Israel!

There's a great collection of videos to be seen related to Israel's 68th Birthday. Go take a look!

Happy Birthday Israel!

10 May 2016

Fun with Hillary

I found these on Facebook, I can't claim responsibility.

This one is fun, I haven't seen it before:

Or this one?

Let's all vote for Hillary Clinton (and her husband).