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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Were All Trumped


I am, quite honestly, in shock. This was my nightmare last week and I was so glad it was only a dream. Now it's reality.

I honestly had more faith in the American people. I didn't think they would elect a man who has consistently berated "others" -- disabled people, immigrants, gays, poor people, women. I can't believe that people find Hilary Clinton, a woman who has fought to uplift people, who has already spent 8 years in the White House, 8 years in the Senate and 4 years as Secretary of State, as unqualified to be President. She has weathered the storm of controversy, but the controversy she has had to weather is largely overblown and exaggerated because of her gender, particularly when she was running against a misogynist.

What disheartens me the most is that, despite all his disparaging remarks against women, his groping and excusing it, so many women voted for him. I can't believe the damage his remarks will do, if not to adult women, to the youngest females among us (and the youngest males, who will believe this is the way to behave with women).

I hope my crystal ball is no more accurate than a magic 8 ball, but I see dismantling of programs for young women, dismantling of legal abortion, dismantling of social security and medicare, dismantling of gay marriage, dismantling of the Affordable care act, not to mention Freedom of the Press.

I've been fighting a sexist world since I was in Kindergarten. In all that time, I have lived through Presidents that tried to dismantle women's programs. But Trump is a true sociopath and as President there is no end the disasters he can cause. And that worries me.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Land of the Free and the Home of the Knave


An open letter Colin Kaepernick:

The US was founded on the principles of freedom, liberty and equal opportunity for all. Unfortunately, at the time of the founding, the "all" of that statement referred to Landed, White, Anglo-Saxon, mostly Christian Men.

While I hardly support slavery, it's hard to totally blame the founding fathers for it. Many of them (like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, for example) were staunchly against slavery, while others (like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) were born into the system and didn't quite see a way out of it.

In the 19th Century, when civil rights (even if that's not what they called it) were being sought, women, who weren't in the "all" group either, fought more for abolition of slavery. It was only after slavery was abolished that women actually began fighting for rights for themselves.

Nowadays, here in the 21st Century, things have changed for the better. Educational opportunities are available (and becoming more available) to descendants of former slaves and former suffragettes. While things are by no means equal (rich people of any stripe often have an upper hand in all things), things have improved and continue to improve.

This country, while, hardly perfect, is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to equality of opportunity for all ethnicities, all religions, both genders, and all sexual orientations. We're not perfect. No one is. But if you go to many countries in Africa, Asia and even Europe, you may find that equality of opportunity is non-existent. Women, Gays, Jews, Christians, and often Blacks, are treated at best as second class citizens, at worst, evil beings who deserve death.

I've always thought that the US would do better from a philosophical perspective if our national anthem were either "G-d Bless America" (though this might be an issue for Atheists) or "America the Beautiful" (I lean more toward the latter). I'm not happy that our National Anthem is war-centered. But now, with an enemy that respects strength, I'm having second thoughts about that.

You, Mr. Kaepernick, are what is best in this nation. As a biracial American, you can unite all Americans behind not only "The Star Spangled Banner" but "Lift Every Voice and Sing", popularly knows as the Black National Anthem. It's a beautiful piece, Mr. Kaepernick. It's not a divisive song, rather it is a uniting song. Just the title is unifying -- Lift EVERY Voice.
  • Lift every voice and sing
  • 'Til earth and heaven ring,
  • Ring with the harmonies of Liberty See all the lyrics here
The Harmonies of Liberty are for all. And if you were to use your influence to get "Lift Every Voice and Sing" along with "The Star Spangled Banner", it would encourage everyone to stand for both as we Jews stand for both "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Hatikvah" (the Hope, the National Anthem of Israel and, to some degree, the Anthem of all Jews in the post-Israeli-Statehood years).

If you're going to focus on the negative, Mr. Kaepernick, if you're going to concentrate on the inequalities that haven't yet been corrected, rather than how far our country has come and how much better it is to live in the US than so many other countries, that is divisive. It's sort of hard to take you terribly seriously (about how the US is oppressing Blacks) when you are making more money in a year than I have made in my entire life. It's hard to take you terribly seriously when you get paid for playing a game. Perhaps you feel guilty that you are making so much money for playing a game when there are so many children in our country who only get school lunches for food each day and live in slums where drive-by shootings are de rigueur. If so, why not put your money where your tush (that tush that's sitting during the national anthem) is? By sitting, you are not just dissing the US, you are dissing your teammates. You are dissing every American who has worked hard to get where (s)he is in life. You are also dissing every person who really is oppressed, every little girl who gets her genitals cut off or gets married off to a 50 year old pediphile. You are dissing every Black African sold into slavery in the Muslim world. You are dissing every young woman kidnapped by Boko Haram and sold into marriage to an older man and every Afghani boy who is molested by an older man (who was molested by an older man when he was a boy).

Think about it. If you want to make the world a better place, take out your checkbook, mentor a poor American child, petition legislators to play both anthems and change laws. Use your influence to improve the world, not to be divisive. And I, for one, would stand with you.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Is Freedom of Speech Dead?

 I am starting to get the feeling that "freedom of speech" is eroding. What words are we allowed to use, according to the gods of "political correctness"? Can I say "I'm bidding 2 spades" if I'm playing bridge? Can I use the word "boy" when referring to my great-nephew, who is almost 7? Can I use the word "thug" when referring to petty criminals and felons? 

I looked up the word "thug", just to check for myself if there is any reason anyone should feel that the word itself is racist. It isn't, at least not against African Americans (Indians may have an issue with it, but I digress). This is the definition I found online:

THəɡ/noun1.a violent person, especially a criminal.

2.historicala member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.

So why was a weatherman from Dallas, who was just expressing his feelings (with which I happen to agree, to some extent) forced to resign? I'm still trying to figure that one out myself.

I know there is a difference between Free Speech and Hate Speech. There is nothing in the comment, "The DNC parading the mothers of slain thugs on their stage has made me furious" that points to the race or ethnicity of the people on stage or to their late progeny. To be honest, I have an issue with the DNC "parading the mothers of slain" whatever "on their stage". I also have an issue with people putting so much energy into complaining that criminals who were resisting arrest or trying to kill police officers were shot. I know there are some times that police officers shoot people for the wrong reason. But too many people are jumping every time an African American is shot by a police officer (of whatever ethnicity). I have yet to hear a "hue and cry" over non-African Americans shot by police or police officers shot by suspects (of whatever ethnicity). Why is that? Is a shooting always a "bad" shooting if a police office shoots an African-American but not a "bad" shooting when the police officer shoots a non-African-American? Are all African-Americans non-criminals and all non-African-Americans criminals? 

When a person (of any ethnicity) commits a crime, that person knows (s)he doesn't want to be caught. That person also knows that (s)he might be shot or otherwise physically restrained by a police officer if they run or attack the police or resist arrest. That is as it should be, in my humble opinion. 

Why, also, do these shootings or other perpetrator deaths make the headlines but the police who risk their lives to save others get buried on page 27 of the newspaper? 

This is not to say that I think police officers are saints. It just means that I believe that police officers cannot properly protect us, themselves and their partners if every time they are dealing with a perpetrator they have to think about what the headlines and the "PC Police" will say. 

This brings us back to "Freedom of Speech". Is it eroding? Why is the "PC Police" so quick to accuse others of racism but just as quick to call Israel apartheid, to call Zionism (the desire of Jews to have our homeland) racism, to call Jews horrible names, condemn terrorism against Gentiles in Europe but condone (and, often applaud) terrorism in Israel or against Jews in Europe? Why do Jewish students on the campuses of American universities get yelled down or threatened just for being Jews and even more so if they express their support of Israel? Why was Phyllis Chesler, a feminist who I've been following since my Mom was in college (in her late 30s) and I was in my teens, forced to hide her feelings about Israel from "friends" and colleagues?  It's Israel's fault, the lovers of "Political Correctness" claim. It's all the fault of the one country in the region where Freedom of Speech is law, the one country where gays and women and non-Muslims are respected, not "honor" killed. Before you start condemning a weatherman in Dallas, check your own prejudices. Clean up your own "house" before you criticize (nay, excoriate) others. And let Freedom and the Bill of Rights guide you. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"With a Father Like That..."


Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, tells a story (in his book Awaken the Giant Within) about a criminal, a drug addict, crook and murderer, who had two sons. One was just like "dear old dad", a criminal spending a large chunk of his life in prison. The other was a family man, pillar of his community, never touched drugs or alcohol, loved his job and found it very rewarding. Unbeknownst to each other, they were both asked how they turned out that way they did and both gave the same answer, "What else could I have become, having grown up with a father like that."

We all know people who blame all their "transgressions" on others. It's never their fault; it's always something outside of their control that led to their downfall. King Saul of Biblical fame was like that -- it wasn't his fault that he hired a witch to contact Samuel after he died, it wasn't his fault that he didn't wait for Samuel to start fighting the Philistines.

I'm hearing the same sort of talk coming out of Europe these days. They are blaming Israel (and, by extension, Jews) for the terrorist attacks happening all over Europe. Excuse me, but this makes no sense whatsoever. European politicians left and right (well, ok, mostly left) have been blaming Israel for the recent ISIS attack on France.

It makes no sense to blame the victims for these attacks. How can Israel, where Arabs have more rights and live better lives than in any other country in the Middle East. Those Arabs who live in Israel have all the rights that every other resident of the country has.

People who do not take control of their own lives find a way to blame others for their failures. The violence erupting across Europe is a sign of the failure of the European Union and the Nations thereof to protect the citizens of Europe from the infiltration of members of the Hydra-Headed Terror Machine bent on the destruction of the civilized world. And, since the European leaders failed, and continue to fail, so miserably, it clearly can't be their fault. So it has to be someone else's fault and that someone else has to be Israel. After all, this is just the new generation's way of being Antisemitic in sheep's clothing. The whole "oh, I don't hate Jews, I'm just against Israel's suppression of "Palestinian" rights" just won't fly anymore. Take off the angel costume and admit that you're just a bunch of Antisemites.

This is not just a problem of hatred, by the way. The European Leaders are slitting their own throats. By blaming Israel for their problems, they avoid taking responsibility for fighting terrorism. By blaming Israel for their problems, they avoid protecting their people from violent Islamist attacks. By blaming Israel for their problems, they avoid taking the steps that might actually get the attacks to stop. And they deflect the blame from their own inadequacies.

Europe's current legacy is the same legacy that Neville Chamberlain tried to leave 80+ years ago. You can't placate terrorists, whether the terrorists are Nazi Germans or Islamist extremists. Unless Europe can turn their actions around, can begin to realize that the only way to fight demagoguery and terror is by actually fighting it.  Unless Europe's leaders fight the fight and stops blaming Israel for its problems Europe will become a satellite of the Islamist world. The Europe of the Magna Carta and the French Revolution, of Peter the Great and Napoleon, of Berlioz and Mozart will cease to exist.

Israel and Europe have the same "father". Both have dealt with terror attacks. But Israel doesn't blame others for her terror problems. Israel realizes her responsibility to protect her citizens and guests. Israel fights her enemies. Europe invites its enemies into the house to have tea and then says it's Israel's fault the enemies attack. Europe needs to wake up and stop coddling murderers or the only legacy they will leave their children is honor killings and suppression.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hallel Nirtzah(a)


I have family in Israel. And, while I do believe that they are safer in Israel than here in the US, I do worry about them. I worry every time I hear about another terror attack.

The night before she was murdered, Hallel was dancing in a recital, just like so many American and Israeli teens. Her name means "Praise to G-d" but her light has been snuffed out. 

Why was this sweet young girl murdered? Because the "Palestinian" leadership would rather keep their people in squalor, would rather line their own pockets with foreign aid, would rather have their people believe that all the ills of the lives, and all the ills of the world, will be solved if only they murder their neighbors, children and adults, men and women, singles and families. And, if they get killed themselves while murdering Jews, all the better -- they go to heaven and their family gets money, money that is kept from them by their leaders.

OK, so I understand why the "Palestinians" (or "the ethnically, linguistically, religiously identical people who could be living in any one of 21 other countries who don't want them, but Israel gives a home to despite their treasonous behavior"), who are nursed at the teet of hatred by mothers who were raised to hate in schools run by the United Nations and teach hatred and murder, hate Israel and scream for her destruction but why do the supposedly "civilized" western countries, while condemning terrorism in their own countries, condone and sometimes even support (verbally, emotionally and often even financially) these murderers when they murder Jews and Israelis? Why do they people in these countries, who have seen the difference between the Jews and Islamists in their own countries, see how Jews contribute to the vitality and economy of their country, while Islamists only take and destroy, only turn their countries into an image of the set of the most distopic movie you can imagine, why do they feel that Israel should be destroyed and the "Palestinians" should be lauded and lionized? 

Until the world stops supporting Mr. Abbas (aka Arafat in a suit) and his calls for genocidal murder, until the world stands up and stops financially supporting the "Palestinian Authority" and stops allowing the Islamists to commandeer the United Nations and use it as a pawn for their worldwide Jihad, until that day we will continue to lose wonderful people to the evil of hatred.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Election 2016


It's funny how the presidential election pre-"game" seems to start earlier and earlier. But the problem is that, like the "March Madness" in college Basketball, the march to the World Series and the Super Bowl, it all comes down to two candidates.

I live in a state that has a pretty decent size population, but our primaries are late. So I rarely get to express my preferences in the polls (it's all a fait-accompli by the time I get to vote). But lately I have the same issues every election. I have to decide between "my ideals when it comes to women's rights, gay rights, governmental support of the poor, animal rights, the environment, all those high-minded liberal causes that I care so much about" AND "Israel and its right to survive and my rights to support Israel as a Jew". 

I listen to all the "stuff" about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I really love what they both stand for domestically. I support all the same issues they both support when it comes to women's rights and gay marriage and social and economic programs and tax breaks for the poor while the rich help, and job programs and free (or low cost) education and job training etc etc etc. BUT (and this is a HUGE but) Hillary Clinton, in her guise as the Secretary of State for the Obama-nation, has time and time again thrown Israel "under the bus" -- time and time again, she blamed Israel for the "situation" in the Middle East, blamed Israel for the failed peace talks, came down on Netanyahu while giving Abbas (Arafat in a suit) and Hamas a "hall pass", never asking them for concessions. And as bad as Hillary Clinton is, Bernie Sanders is even worse. Bernie dissed AIPAC (American Israel Public Action Committee) -- none of the other candidates, EVEN Hillary, did that. Bernie buddies up to "J Street" and organizations that are funded by the world-wide hydra-headed terror monster.

But then I hear Cruz and, on occasion, Trump, talk about Israel and how Israel is our ally and Israel deserves our support (as I've heard Rubio say over the past several years). But I also hear how they think rape is a woman's fault and transexuals can't use public bathrooms of the gender they identify with and how it makes sense to give tax breaks to people who are already obscenely rich and how global warming is a myth and pesticides are a necessity (even when they are killing bees which support us by pollinating our fruits and vegetables). 

So what can I do? Either I condemn the world to a Sharia nightmare by supporting the Democrats or I condemn the US to a trip down the reactionary rabbit hole where women are blamed for sexual harassment they receive, where gays are denied simple marriage rights, where the poor are looked down on and blamed for their "laziness", where mental illness is ignored or blamed on the victim. I don't like either picture but unfortunately, as bad as the latter is, the former, the world Bernie and Hillary would give to us, is far worse.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Political Roulette


One of my friends had a link on her Facebook this morning of a link to an article called 75 Blog Post Ideas for Lifestyle Bloggers 

Now, I'm not exactly a lifestyle blogger (though, perhaps, my Debbie The Fashionita blog, which I have only a handful of posts on, might fall into that category), but one of her ideas was "Who you're voting for for President" and I thought that might make a good post for this blog.

I'm not the most politically savvy person in the US. But I do have a few politicos that I keep my eye on. Among the current front-runners, I favor Marco Rubio -- for better or worse, even though domestically I'm a "dyed in the wool" Liberal, even though I support women's rights, a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, separation of "church" and state (being an Orthodox Jew), ecological imperatives, etc., I'm more concerned these days with who supports Israel and who, I believe, will be the most תקיף (Tah-keef -- forceful) in his/her fight against the worldwide hydra-headed terrorist organization. And, in my eyes, that candidate is Marco Rubio.

I've been following him for years, since before the previous Presidential Election. I heard a story (which I did see on the internet, but I'm now having some difficulty finding it) that someone asked him what he thought about Israel "giving back" (like it ever belonged to them in the first place) the "West Bank" to the "Palestinians". Rubio (who, BTW, uses the Israeli/Jewish way of referring to the area, calling it "Judea and Samaria" meaning he accepts Israel's sovereignty over the region) asked the questioner if he thought the US should give Texas and New Mexico back to Mexico. That, mind you, is something I've been saying for years, but Rubio was the first politician I ever heard elucidate this idea.

I don't quite know what I'll do if, G-d forbid, Marco Rubio isn't still available to vote for by June, when my state has its primary or for the general election. There really aren't any other candidates I feel comfortable with.