Thursday, September 04, 2008

To Obama, and the Future Glory of His Changed America!

I think it's obvious, isn't it? Barack Obama is the New Savior not only of America, but all Mankind. Even for those who don't believe in God, he is the Messiah, resurrected. His record stands on its own: Not quite four years into his freshman Senate term, he already has a personality cult whose growth, tenacity and spirit rivals the cults which once surrounded Stalin and Hitler. Obama has, as we know, overcome great odds to defeat a favored Democrat rival and become his Party's official nominee for the job of President of the United States of America. And his rise to power, coming as the George W. Bush era comes to a close, is as providential a sign as there can be that Obama's meant to be President, or to even prepare the ground for a "President for Life"...a position to be occupied only by Democrats for the duration of the American Republic.


And who are Democrats, to deny that such is their goal - permanent power? Permanent power, devoid of dissent, or at least as devoid of dissent as is possible in the United States at this time? Such permanent power is - can it be disputed? - the best, most assured way of putting one's political plans into action. The Nazis and Soviets, the late Saddam Hussein regime and the current Islamic Republic of Iran, the House of Sa'ud in Arabia and Putin in Russia all demonstrate this truth clearly. For his part, Senator Obama has already shrewdly given his tacit blessing to his supporters to silence the opinions of those who oppose his/their views, and since he changes those views so often, he makes it very difficult for people to oppose him in the first place. This is hardly worrying; be encouraged! One-Party Rule depends on such leaders!


Obama has already showed us what the New Seal of the President of the United States will look like. He has already rallied millions upon millions of naive, young college students, mostly freshmen just like him (but of a different sort), and a few older students, who know only what their parents have taught them, what their professors have taught them, or what the mainstream media has taught them. Get 'em while they're young, as the saying goes, while they still have yet to really learn how to think independently. This is something to celebrate, the easy indoctrination of the leftist, liberal mantra (Republicans are bad, conservatives bad, Americans are bad, Democrats good, liberals good, power good, the Party is more important than the individual, the Government is more important than the individual, etc.) of willing acolytes.


Just imagine everything which will be possible once Democrats have retaken the White House and further entrenched their majority in Congress, securing their indefinitely extended power: We'll have a socialist-style universal medical system, just like in Cuba. And just like in Cuba, dissent against the Government will slowly but surely be quashed in the New Revolution (bye, conservative talk radio!), and only the elite in the Party or foreigners with money - who'll become, as they are now in Cuba, a different kind of elite - will be able to take advantage of all the medical advances (shorter wait times, for example) in our Great Republic. Can't you just see it? It will be a glorious time in America, a New Golden Age. I wonder who "our" Che Guevara will be. I really do. Will he murder as many people as the real one did? For the New Revolution?


The planet Earth, of course, will also be saved alongside America after Obama wins the Presidency and Democrats begin what will hopefully be a permanent period of residency in the White House. Because only Democrats, or rather, liberals, are capable of and willing to fight Global Warming to the bitter end. Yes, only left-wing liberals are willing to take on both humanity and Mother Nature herself. They'll not be content with simply ending humanity's contribution to Climate Change...they'll also take measures to ensure that the natural processes of the Earth - which led to past Climate Change and ended the last Ice Age (and which enabled humanity, civilization, to grow to such numbers and advancement as it has) - adhere to left-wing, Democratic liberalism's theoretical physical laws, not today's proven laws of Physics.


Barack Obama's inauguration will be a cause for further celebration abroad, beyond that which will follow Climate Change's inevitable, permanent defeat once the Earth stops rotating on its axis. Europeans, especially, will have reason to feel comfortable in the event the Democrats win the presidential election of 2008 and every such election thereafter, since Europeans, we cannot forget, know a thing or two about the potential power of a Government which intends to rule over the People rather than serve them. We have so much to learn from Europeans, for they are receptive to such systems of Government, and Europeans are obviously so much wiser and more worldly than Americans are. How could they not be, when they've learned so much from their fratricidal conflicts, and they've taught us how to industrialize mass genocide?


Yes, the world will Change for the better when the Democrats have power once more. Especially in the Middle East. Israel will be forced to partition Jerusalem, a la Berlin, with the Arabs despite there having been a Jewish majority in the modern city for over 140 years, and despite repeated Palestinian demonstrations of hatred, disrespect and irresponsibility toward Jews and their beliefs (demonstrated especially well during the period of Jordanian rule in East Jerusalem, when Jews, Christians and Muslims from Israel were prevented from worshiping at their Holy Sites). Governments the world over will flock to Jerusalem to establish and open their embassies to Palestine, while most embassies to Israel will likely remain in Tel Aviv, despite the mantra of those who say that Jerusalem will be a capital of two states, not one. Ah, a just peace!


Back in the U.S. Homeland, there will no longer be such a thing as illegal immigration. Not because our sovereign borders will have been secured by the Federal Government, but because said sovereign borders will have been opened in accordance with the demands of sovereign Mexico. We musn't forget, it is far easier for the Mexican Government to sanction illegal immigration, to print official fliers explaining how to sneak into America, than it is for them to work to grow their indigenous economy. But once full amnesty has been granted to all previous "illegal" immigrants, and the borders are forcibly opened - to the everlasting chagrin of the formerly semi-autonomous States - the Mexican Government will be able to spend its money on other things, like a campaign to make Spanish the official language of the U.S. Viva la reconquista!


As for African-Americans, an Obama victory would mean that finally, all their hopes and dreams have been (or can be) realized. It will signal the end of all the trials and tribulations afflicting "Blacks". An Obama victory in November '08 would be the ultimate vindication of the Civil Rights struggle, and all who fought for an America that lives up to its founding creed would have cause for immense pride. For how else might African-Americans have helped to realize Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, of an America whose citizens are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, than by voting en masse for a candidate based primarily on color? It makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Doesn't it?


As Election Day nears, this much is certain:

Change, either domestically or internationally, is only possible with an Obama victory in the presidential race and a further Democratic victory in Congress and throughout the States of the American Union. Even though a change in the administration of Executive power is mandated by the Constitution and its amendments (meaning that no matter who wins in 2008, we'll have a new president in 2009), True Change, the kind that will restore dignity and honor to America, can only be implemented once ultra-liberal Democrats control our Government. Change, after all, never even existed before the advent of Barack Hussein Obama. Before Obama, there was just change. Regular, old, lawful "change". That will change, though, once Obama wins and Change comes to America. Can we so Change America...not just change it? Yes we can!

To facetious fascism!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

God, Government and Us

"God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners." - William Wilberforce

"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature."
- Ben Franklin

Reading an article in The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, in which it was reported that Senator John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, had before a church group called the Iraq war 'a task that is from God', I immediately began to wonder how this would be used by Democrats to tarnish the Republican candidates' reputation (just as similar thoughts expressed by President Bush have been used to ridicule him). The thought dismayed me, because I am a man who cares deeply about his country and its history, well aware of how alien such criticism would have sounded to those who established the United States of America. If anything, in late 18th century/early 19th century America, to be accused of being an atheist was as bad as being accused of overt political ambition.

Today, sadly, the opposite is true.

Most of those who today criticize the use of God or the inclusion of the Almighty in a political context - say, in describing a certain national task as God-given - don't believe in God to begin with, or profess not to. They are of those who think it's chic to be an atheist, who claim a disdain for "the God delusion". They are not simply expressing doubt that God is on our side; they are expressing doubt over God's existence, period. They don't believe that God has granted us our liberty (effectively negating the value of the Declaration of know, the whole "endowed by their Creator" bit) or helps us defend it. And yet, they'll sympathize with the aims of those who claim God is on their side - in, for example, their expressing support for Hizballah or Hamas rather than Israel - when the goal is the destruction of liberty.


It's good to be a skeptic, at times. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem, nearly 2,000 years ago, the Holy City's zealous defenders believed fanatically that God was on their side. Josephus, a Jewish soldier captured by the Romans who later changed sides and wrote an account of the Jewish War (Great Revolt), is said to have appealed to the spiritual sentiments of the Zealots of Jerusalem by attempting to convince the Jews that at that particular juncture of history, God was clearly siding with Rome. In vain did Josephus undertake this appeal, which he had only done at the request of the general (later Caesar) Titus in order that the City and its Temple might be spared the ravages of warfare and famine.

Jerusalem, and its Temple, were later destroyed as the Roman legions overwhelmed Zion's defenders, force having been seen by Titus as his only choice.

But then again, it's also important for Americans to remember that at the time of their country's founding, those who were daily risking their lives in publicly standing up to the might of the British Crown believed that God Almighty was supportive of their task. Of course, I am not just speaking of the Declaration of Independence's recognition of self-evident truths, such as "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I'm also calling attention to the Founding Generation's belief that they were assuming "among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them."

And I feel that I need to point out that the signers of the Declaration of Independence, in support of that Declaration, mutually pledged to each other their "Lives", their "Fortunes" and their "sacred Honor", and did so "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence".

Do modern, self-proclaimed "liberals" or "progressives" really feel themselves so much wiser than the Founders of our Republic, when they express doubt over the existence of God or attempt to make ordinary Americans feel shameful about believing that God is on our side in any particular task or struggle? (There aren't, to my knowledge, many atheist conservatives out there). Is it really so abhorrent to us, to read or see our politicians profess their faith in the Almighty? Are we supposed to be offended by a politician's opinion that God exists and that He (or She - your opinion) cares about what we do? Pardon me, but I was under the impression that in America, one's religious convictions do not qualify or disqualify him or her for/from political office.

There are actually laws that spell this out, aren't there?

Why yes, there are!

Now, I do not support merely paying lip-service to God, as in someone saying "God told me to do this" when whatever "this" is, is whatever they're doing this week. Nor can I take kooks, who murder innocent people and say "God told me to kill them!", at face value. And I am not one who will publicly proclaim that I believe God means for us to undertake such and such a task, unless I absolutely, truly believe that God would entrust such a task to us instead of another people. I reserve the right to agree or disagree with another's opinion on the matter, for, after all, I am entitled to my own opinion just as much as he (or she) is.

But as far as the concept goes, the notion that God might work His will through us at one time or another, well...I must admit, I believe it's not only possible, but probable, that this happens from time to time. I have faith that this is so. I'm not ashamed of this faith. It gives me hope. This faith instills in me more hope, and confidence, in the future than any politician ever could. I trust God to get things right, far more than I trust any particular Government or Bureaucracy to get things right.

Some people, I guess, are just plain afraid to believe in God, though. They're afraid to cede even partial responsibility for the events of their lives to Someone or Something else, even if the way they're living their lives shows they've already ceded that responsibility in decidedly irresponsible, dangerous, and unhealthy ways. Such people don't want to entrust their destiny to God's care or direction; they are unable to reconcile themselves to a reality in which their destiny is always so entrusted, whether they like it or not.

"I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor." - James Monroe

"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.
- George Washington

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How London Can Surpass Beijing

Already the prejudgment is being bandied about that there is no way that the Summer Olympics in London, in 2012, will be able to compete with the majesty and spectacle that were the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. However, the commonsensical among us know that peoples' memories of the Beijing Olympics will forever be tainted by the smoke and mirrors placed before them, both at the location itself and on television screens around the world. What was gained in Beijing in 2008 was not an accurate picture of what the People's Republic of China is, but a picture of what the Communist rulers of that country want foreigners to think China is. They knew as well as any tourist-targeting con artist that "the West" is fascinated by "the East", and so they showed the world a more palatable, more fantastical China than actually exists. And gullible as we are, the ruse mostly worked.

Needless to say, the defeatist commentaries about the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games are quite premature. The mainstream media hasn't helped matters much; that more and more people are inclined to think that China's Olympics will be the standard by which all others will in the future be judged is not because Beijing's Games deserve such praise, but rather because over the past few years, more and more people have been taken in by the mainstream media's mantra that "China is the future, and you - we - are the past." But underneath the celebration of thousands of years of Chinese culture present at these most recent Games was an unspoken celebration, held by the Chinese Communist rulers, of their authoritarian power. Beijing's 2008 hosting of the Summer Olympics was a victory not for the Chinese people, but their unelected, unrepresentative government.

Unlike those already predicting mediocrity - juxtaposed with Beijing's majesty - for London's moment in 2012, my attitude is different. Though I am an American, and furthermore, an American who has yet to visit London, I've seen enough of the world and read enough of its works to know Western (Westernized) countries don't need a pseudo-fascist spectacle on a Chinese scale to demonstrate the worth or wealth of their cultural, historic contributions to humanity. If, of course, London and the United Kingdom together wish to try to outdo the Chinese in covering up failures and, in general, sugar-coating the reality of life for most Britons, then they probably will fail: The British Government isn't nearly as ruthless as the Chinese Government is, and besides, such deception would be much harder in an English free society than in a Chinese fear society, given the presence of a free press.

Depending on the length of visitors' memories and their attachment to - or detachment from - reality, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics will be a study in contrasts that, in the end, will surely favor London over Beijing in posterity. How can I say this? I do so with the confidence of one who was raised in a free country, and who appreciates the gift of personal liberty he was born with. Whereas a successful Beijing Olympics is a triumph for a Government that owes no allegiance to and feels no responsibility toward the people living under it, the London Olympics will be a triumph of a free people who voluntarily volunteer - as opposed to the Chinese practice of "coercive volunteerism" - to make those Games be as enjoyable and exciting as possible, giving visitors a small taste of what makes Great Britain...great.

What's more, if something goes wrong at the 2012 London Olympics - say, things fall behind schedule, or fireworks don't go off as planned, or if hooligans disrupt events - it would result in a Games which reflected an unpredictable, often chaotic human reality far more than Beijing's controlled, precise, order. Yes, a part of me hopes that London 2012 won't go as smoothly as Beijing 2008, because then free peoples might realize what an anomaly - what a sham - were the Communists' "perfect" Games. And despite the tendency to attempt to separate politics from sport each Olympics, protests - say, against China's continued attempts at ridding Tibet of Tibetan heritage, culture and religion - won't likely be violently (or worse, silently) put down by police who serve their government more than their citizenry (as was - is - the case in China).

Though we are four years away from seeing what will become of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, I'm already optimistic about their success. I predict the 2012 London Games will give a free multicultural society - indeed, all such societies - reason to celebrate, and that the 2008 Games hosted by Communist, monocultural China will be fondly remembered, but as something of a cautionary tale. And I can't really worry my mind with whether China will in London once again win more gold medals than the U.S.A., since I know that America's success in 2012 won't be judged - at least by me - by how well the Government trains athletes, but rather by the individual accomplishments of athletes from all over the Union (and let's not forget, in 2008 the U.S. did have 110 total medals to China's total of 100).

Thankfully, our "power" - cultural, political, economic...athletic - isn't as centralized (read: as weak) as China's.

2008's Olympic Games truly sparked the imagination, but they were a triumph of fascism and conformity - cleverly packaged as Communist, with Chinese symbols - over individuality, liberty and self-expression. Except by those who were willfully duped by the Chinese, this can't be denied. Sure, the 2012 Summer Games in London - heck, even the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - might be "boring" compared to Beijing, but at least they will not likely be as nationalistically self-congratulatory as Communist China's 2008 Summer Olympics. That, I think, will come as no small relief to a lot of people. And in 2012, people will be able to be themselves (i.e., freely speak their minds, without fear of imprisonment by the authorities for doing so) in the host country.

By that my mind...London already has surpassed Beijing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Pity and the Shame

I'm even less inclined to watch, listen or read the news from "traditional" sources than I was before the Olympic Games in Beijing. How hypocritical is it, for a network or newspaper to heap praise on a authoritarian nation, while at the very same time heaping scorn upon a democratically-elected politician for not criticizing the very same autocracy the media outlet couldn't portray flatteringly enough? It should make any reasonable fellow or fellette nauseous, or at least, feel shameful. And a failure to acknowledge and condemn this contemptible hypocrisy is just as bad as the President of the United States traveling to China and making barely a peep about Beijing's human rights violations.

How noble, the mainstream media is attempting to seem in the wake of the Games. How blind, how dumb, they hope their viewers and their readers are. Praise and wonder give way to cynicism and criticism, and we're to forget the past. During the Olympic Games, only a few brave commentators - compared with the total number - dared mention the plethora of broken promises of the so-called "People's" Republic's Communist masters. Now, these media hypocrites have donned their white hats and portray themselves as arbiters of justice, Protectors of the Human Way. A pity, though, that their timing wasn't better. A shame, it is, that they sacrificed their morals - or professed values - for continued accreditation.

By and large, China got away with pretending to be one thing in the eyes of the world while actually being something quite different. Sure, as those brave souls whose moral compass never wavered have pointed out, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is largely to blame. President Bush, too, deserved to be called out for not speaking out when he could - when he should - have. But as I myself pointed out in a recent letter to the editor in the International Herald Tribune, and as I reiterate here, the mainstream media, the networks and newspapers, the journalists we turn to for our daily recommended intake of (mostly) bad news, deserve just as much - if not more - of the blame.

Now, Americans are being told to watch out - China's economy is soon to pass ours. We're informed that the era of Olympic dominance by the United States was brought to an end by China's unprecedented gold medal performance, and that this, along with all the other signs, indicates that America's decline is continuing at a steady pace. For years now, magazines the world over, not just in North America, have declared that the future lies with China (even though the vast majority of the country's population lives in some semblance of poverty). A sort of romantic aura now surrounds the People's Republic of China, an undeserving modern heir credited with an ancient civilizations' many accomplishments.

While the media is largely to blame, we the people are also fairly responsible. We choose our news sources based on our individual or familial ideologies, and generally stick with them through thick and thin. We rarely question the mainstream media, as we rely on it much too much to direct the lives we live (usually, by way of our accepting their fear - "info" about "Global Warming" or "Terrorism" or "Big Oil"). We fail to remember that when the New York Times shares with us "All the News That's Fit to Print" for a daily edition's price, it is not we who decide What Is Fit to Print, but unelected editorial staffers and journalists, who are accountable only to their shareholders (if even), and not the public at large.

Only the Chinese people themselves will ever be able to claim credit for future democratic evolution of personal and political liberty in their land now, especially since the media of the West, and the democratically-elected leaders of the Free World, failed not only those in the People's Republic they had a chance to immeasurably help before and during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but their own citizens. As for China's performance in the Games, well...the Chinese people can be proud of their fellow citizens, but their country's victory in the gold medal standings - and 2nd place in amount of total medals won, behind the U.S.A. - belongs not to the Chinese people at large, but their unelected government.

A pity, isn't it, that the mainstream media - domestic and international - doesn't point that out as much as it could?

A shame, isn't it, that we don't care enough that this is the case?

Monday, August 11, 2008

If Not Now, When?

Perhaps the President of Georgia miscalculated in his decision to launch an assault on breakaway regions at the time and in the manner he did. But President Saakashvili has just as much a right to attempt to - by military action - reclaim for Georgia the regions of South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) as past Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin possessed to reclaim rebellious Chechnya, by force, for the Russian Federation. Russia, however, has no similar rights in South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the situation was different. Nowadays, when Russia meddles in the Caucasus, it does so as a foreign entity.

In granting to some residents of Georgia's separatist regions citizenship and/or de facto recognition, Russia violated the sovereignty of the republic of Georgia, and should Moscow continue its military campaign against the Georgians - who, again, have every right to exert their governmental authority over the lands in question - this would represent a further unacceptable violation of Georgian sovereignty.

Have we even begun to contemplate the consequences of the West doing nothing? The United States, amongst other countries and organizations - including NATO - have declared their support for the territorial integrity of Georgia. Will such proclamations, in time, be shown to have been nothing more than a retread of similar statements prior to the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s? No, I am not saying that Russia today is as evil as Nazi Germany once was. I am, however, noting that despite the differences between the two polities, one modern, the other extinct, they share a trait in that their vision of the world stands in stark contrast to the vision of those who wish for democratic order and peaceful relationships between nations.

Nazi Germany once was, and the Russian Federation today appears to be, an agent of controlled chaos.

Shall Russia's aggression remain unchecked? It should be obvious to us, now, that tiny Georgia cannot hold off the Bear on its own. And, we should keep things in a moral perspective: However mistaken President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia might have been in trying to fulfill one of his campaign promises (imagine that, a politician trying to keep promises to the electorate!) - the reconquest of rebel regions - it has not been Georgian planes bombing the Russian capital...but Russian planes have bombed Tblisi, the Georgian capital. And to what end? For what purpose? Georgia wasn't trying to reclaim Russian soil for Georgia. Georgia was trying to reclaim Georgian soil for Georgia.

What would it say to our allies, if we, the United States, did nothing more for Georgia than help fly Georgian troops home from Iraq, so they might participate in the defense of their homeland?

Whatever might be done by the West, what nevertheless should be done is that the Russians should be reminded that the Free World, armed and ready, views with intense dismay any attempts to forcibly reunite former Soviet republics once more under the iron fist of Moscow, either by swallowing them up whole or simply by toppling their governments and installing friendly puppet ones. Let us not forget, Russia's envoy at the United Nations in New York City, regarding the situation in the Caucasus, stated that there are occasions when popularly, democratically elected leaders (in reference to Georgia's Saakashvili) "become an obstacle".

Forgive me for taking offense, for becoming alarmed, at such a statement, as in my view, such words are hardly conducive to international stability, or constructive of positive ends.

Like it or not, believe it or not, there are still governments in existence on the face of this planet committed to sowing disorder and reaping the benefits, at the expense of the personal liberties and national sovereignty of free peoples. While I don't mean to sound alarmist, Russia's blatant disrespect for Georgian sovereignty represents a threat to American sovereignty; indeed, it represents a threat to the very principle and idea of sovereignty and the right of a democratic government to exercise it over the lands the vast majority of the international community recognizes as being under that government's domain.

Should Moscow have its way militarily in Georgia, of all times during an Olympic Games being held in an authoritarian country, we stand to lose much more than just face amongst our friends. We'll lose it against our foes, those agents of controlled chaos. And we'll pay a high price. Maybe not now. But mark my words, we will. The dominoes are stacked up again. If Georgia falls, Ukraine could be next. Are we really willing to wait to sit around and watch that happen? I hope not.

God, I hope not.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight, Part II

Reading the New York Times' glowing review of The Dark Knight, written by a critic - Manohla Dargis - who in my view quite too often comes off as divisively elitist, I came across this observation about The Joker, as portrayed by Heath Ledger:

"He isn't fighting for anything or anyone. He isn't a terrorist, just terrifying."

This statement immediately got me to wondering, why is Manohla Dargis reluctant to refer to Heath Ledger's Joker as a terrorist? (We are, mind you, talking about the New York Times, so Dargis's reticence to call a spade a spade isn't that much of a surprise).

The filmmakers leave no doubt as to the opinion of Gothamites, that that is what The Joker is - a terrorist (he is referred as such more than once). Why the hesitation, on the part of the critic? His creed is chaos, his targets generally civilians (the Joker - in a televised message which eerily brings to mind those occasional al-Qaeda video updates on al-Jazeera - threatens to continue killing civilians until and unless Batman unmasks himself). What the Joker finds humorous terrifies the citizens of Gotham into a panic. In "The Dark Knight," the Joker is very much a domestic terrorist who hopes the fear felt by citizens will send them over the edge, and make them abandon what we conceive of as our "humanity".

An inability to call a terrorist a terrorist leads to our coddling those who walk the walk and talk the talk; just because a terrorist might not refer to himself as such, doesn't make him any less of one. The Joker, at least in The Dark Knight, seems insane. But he is methodically, undeniably brutal in carrying out his exacting plans of death and mayhem, while claiming that he bucks the trend - that unlike others, he's kind of just winging it...hoping and waiting to see what happens next, with a firm notion about what SHOULD happen next. And when things don't go as planned, disappointment is easily - if only momentarily - read upon the face of this anti-plan master planner brought to memorable life by Heath Ledger.

"...that a spectacle like this even glances in that direction (9/11) confirms that American movies have entered a new era of ambivalence when it comes to their heroes..." - Manohla Dargis, "Showdown in Gotham Town"

Manohla Dargis can take a none-too-subtle pleasure in the ambivalence of a hero, or anti-hero, such as Batman in The Dark Knight. Even so, The Dark Knight is an allegory, representing not some new, profound truth in whatever "post-(insert phenomenon, idea or event here)" era, but rather one which points to an eternal truth. Despite the reluctance of many in America and around the world to recognize evil, and that it has its opposite, The Dark Knight boldly proclaims that evil exists, that there is a dichotomy separating it from good, and that it is a very fine line all too easily crossed by choice, even by those who might have at heart the best of intentions.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Can mere words adequately describe The Dark Knight? Or the late (and now, I'm finally convinced, much to be missed for his talent) Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker? The Dark Knight is a sucker-punch to the emotions, an assault on the senses...and the heart. Yes, ostensibly it's a movie about a guy dressing up in a Batsuit, fighting crime in Gotham City. We don't usually expect much from such a premise, but while I've seen my fair share of Batman movies, The Dark Knight was more like the best of The Godfather movies on steroids.

Heath Ledger, as the Joker, was...amazing. A supernal performance. I had underestimated him as an actor while he was alive. His tour de force in The Dark Knight has forced me to revalue, or rather, reconsider, that view. I can't say I've ever seen a better Batman movie. And, I have to admit, I can't say that I've seen a better movie this year (and folks, I've seen a lot of movies this year). Maybe, upon further viewings, I'll expand that assessment. Yes, expand it.

Because this is one of those films that can haunt you after you depart the theatre. It was everything I wanted it to be, and then some. The hype surrounding it, in my judgment, didn't - couldn't - do it justice. I'm not just speaking as a Batman fan. Don't for a second let my well-known feelings about the Dark Knight cause you to think I'm only recommending The Dark Knight due to a decades-old attachment to the eponymous character. Watch it for yourself. Watch what Heath Ledger did as the Joker.

While I am, yes, still processing what I saw shortly after Thursday, July 17, 2008 became Friday, July 18, 2008, what you'll see when you go to The Dark Knight should convince you in ways I can't, should show you that I'm not just feeding you a knee-jerk reaction. If you liked Batman Begins, then I'm pretty sure you'll love The Dark Knight. But if you loved Batman Begins, then...well...The Dark Knight...well...

I'm truly at a loss for words.

And my friends, you know me. You read my blogs.

How often am I ever at a loss for...words?!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Government and Gay Marriage

Senator John Quincy Adams, in a letter from Washington, DC, wrote to his father John, formerly the second president of the United States, "This is now in general the great art of legislation at this place...To do a thing by assuming the appearance of preventing it. To prevent a thing by assuming that of doing it." (He was trying to stop the spread of slavery into Louisiana Purchase territory). I share the preceding quote only because it recently came to my attention that Arizonans are once again being asked to vote on an amendment to our State constitution addressing gay marriage.

Alas, how far we have allowed Government to stray from its Purpose, and how ignorant today of that Purpose our Society is!

What does gay marriage have to do with law and order? Do we really presume, is it fair to assume, that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic, wary as they were of overbearing interference of any sort on the part of centralized Government - local or national - in the private affairs of the People, intended the State or National Governments to over-regulate Nuptials along with Commerce? And as far as issues go, should homosexual unions concern us, one way or the other, more than the dismal state of public education in the Grand Canyon State? Tell me true, just how much Government do we want in our lives? How much is too much for our own good?

Mind you, Arizona law already defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. An amendment reminding Arizonans of this fact would be redundant, though I to some degree sympathize with - or rather, understand - the paranoia of those supportive of it. For here is the predicament we face, not only in Arizona, but throughout our Union:

Were there an amendment, or a court ruling, which effectively legalized homosexual marriage in Arizona, my native State, my first home, it is likely that earnest defenders of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) "rights" would be as supportive of such an act - of such government intrusion in the private lives of Arizonans - as they are now opposed to the particular measure being discussed presently, which would explicitly prohibit gay marriage here. And though LGBT activists fancy themselves guardians of Liberty and Human Rights, they are hypocrites, unless they are as opposed to a Government blessing gay marriage as they are to a Government proscribing it.

Given past developments in California, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, LGBT hypocrisy is self-evident. Or as Thomas Paine wrote in his second "American Crisis" paper addressed to Lord Howe in January 1777, regarding the Quakers in Philadelphia who took pains to reassure his lordship of their allegiance to George III: "These men are continually harping on the great sin of our bearing arms, but the king of Britain may lay waste the world in blood and famine, and they, poor fallen souls, have nothing to say."


Should it be approved, gay marriage would not contribute to national progress. Nor would it hinder such progress, if not recognized. But this should not be either the State or Federal Governments' concern. It is not an existential issue; it would be as erroneous to say the Revolutionary War was fought so that gays might marry each other, as it would be to say that Lincoln fought the Civil War to end slavery. Nor is this about "civil rights"; the very idea that anyone should have - or be denied - political rights based on the type of relationship, or sex, they have is absurd, but the last time I checked, homosexuals have the right to vote and hold political office.

The chief end of Government - it's raison d'etre, according to the philosophy of those who established The United States of America and blessed the Union with long standing instruments, such as the federal Constitution - is the preservation of individual Liberty, and contrary to conventional wisdom, this does not mean one can do whatever he wishes, irrespective of the effects on others. It does mean, at some level, treating others as you wish to be treated. It does not mean everyone should have their way; just as Government must be restrained, so must we guard against unbridled majorities or tyrannical minorities.

Just as Government should have no say in what religious beliefs you have, or deny, and should not punish you for adhering to certain spiritual beliefs or for lacking them, it is also the case that Government should not possess the unmitigated right to tell you whom you can or cannot wed. Love, we should remember, is rarely respectful of legal boundaries. However, at the same time, I do not feel that a Government selected by a majority should be manipulated to suit the demands of a minority, a minority which is offended that the majority disagrees with it (leading the former to adopt elitist sentiments).

In other words, though I am against Government banning gay marriage, I am as equally - or more - against Government sanctioning it. If I had to choose between one measure or the other, let there be no mystery as to which would have my greatest support. I am entitled to my own opinion, am I not? I surely am, even if, to quote Buckley, those who "claim to want to give a hearing to other views...are shocked and offended to learn that there are other views."

Henry David Thoreau said, in his 1849 tract on Civil Disobedience, "To speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." Arbitrary laws, such as those seeking to ban flag burning, or unnecessary amendments prohibiting gay marriage (in a State with laws already on the books effectively banning it), do nothing to make our Government better. At the same time, those who via so-called "activist courts" seek to subvert the will and decisiveness of a reasonable majority of the electorate in favor of gay marriage would do us, our State constitution, and our democratic system no favors.

"That government is best which governs the least," said Thomas Paine. How little Common Sense we have today, failing to recognize the truth of such an aphorism!


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Curious Predicament of the Anti-Zionist

Think much I do on the situation of the Jewish people, on the State of Israel, and the world at large. All are intertwined, after all. It occurs to me that if those who stand opposed to Israel would just be honest with themselves, and with those who either support Israel, are Jewish, or Israeli, they would be able to bring themselves to admit what many of us others who stand against them already know. And what do we know about them, about these anti-Semites, these anti-Zionists? Quite a bit, for to be acquainted with human nature and not deny its faults gives one insight of a sort those blind to or dismissive of their own faults manage to avoid, often purposely.

These anti-Zionists, indeed, all anti-Semites, are deeply disturbed by the idea of Jews having the means and the ability to defend themselves. See, after thousands of years of Jewish statelessness, the world got pretty used to being able to pick on Jews, without much in the way of retaliation deterring them from murdering, expelling, or otherwise oppressing Jews on a whim. But now, over sixty years after the establishment of the State of Israel, anti-Semites and ordinary individuals still have yet to come to terms with the idea of Jews not only having a country, but warplanes, tanks, soldiers and nuclear weapons with which they can defend it vigorously.

Yes, long since gone are the days when anti-Semitism rarely had the potential for serious repercussions. Jews now have the ability, and the will, to strike back at those who would do them harm or have already done them harm, even if the guilty parties hide thousands of miles away. The world blusters and protests, embargoes and boycotts, vilifies and scapegoats, all because the established order - of thousands of years - has been turned upside down, because the Jews are no longer shy about holding accountable those who attack them. How the anti-Zionist yearns for yesteryear, when a Jew could be assaulted, persecuted, without fear of retaliation!

The truth is, the building up and establishment of the State of Israel did not create a "new Jew", as the proponents of early Zionism thought it would. No, what the re-founding of a Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel did was return the Jew to his and her former station.

Jews in the time of King David, and for some period before and long afterward, were able warriors. Thousands of years after David made Jerusalem his capital and that of all the people Israel, it was the Jews who rose up against the might of the Roman Empire and held it off successfully for several years. The destruction of the Second Temple, and later the great expulsion following the Bar-Kochba revolt (which resulted in Rome renaming Judea-Israel as "Syria Palaestina") was as significant to the disarming of the Jews as the rebuilding of Jewish statehood was to their rearmament. And it is their rearmament which is most disturbing to the anti-Zionist.

Modern Israel is not, of course, above criticism, nor should it be. However, Israel's existence as a liberal democracy - whose citizens both Jewish and Arab, Muslim and Christian, enjoy rights and privileges not shared by the residents of neighboring lands - cannot be the reason for the amount of disproportionate criticism heaped upon it. Nor, unfortunately, does Israel's existence as a liberal democracy prevent it from being counted amongst those nations inimical to world peace, along with such dictatorial stand-outs as North Korea, Iran, Burma, Cuba or even quasi-dictatorial regimes such as Venezuela and, to a lesser degree, Russia.

So what else but the existence of Jewish military power, and the absence of a reluctance by Jews in Israel to use that power in a just cause, can be the reason for Israel being viewed and treated by many as a pariah?

Loath though many outspoken opponents of Israel may be to admit it (they'll spout platitudes to human rights they deny to the Jew, but want for everyone else), nevertheless it is the case that they prefer the meek Jew to the assertive Jew; they would rather the Jew be the prey, not the hunter. The idea of aggressive Jews, able and willing to stand up for defend themselves when threatened, is anathema to such people, even in this day and age, long after the Nazis were discredited and defeated. Furthermore, for a Jew to claim she has just as much a right to defend herself as an Arab has to defend himself, the anti-Zionist, what an absurdity this is!

It is as if the decrees of Heaven itself have been overturned by the Devil!

To the anti-Zionist, Israel's greatest crime is not that it kills Arabs in self-defense or captured land from Arabs in wars the Arabs were - and are - responsible for instigating. No, to the anti-Zionist/anti-Semite (the labels are interchangeable), Israel's greatest crime is simply...that Israel exists. To those of this view, the non-existence of Israel would bring peace of mind, to say nothing of peace on Earth. For a millennium or two, the world - in particular, anti-Semites - were able to deal with the Jew as the stronger party. Now, anti-Semites must contend with Jews who can make a strong claim to being an equal, and in some aspects even the stronger, party.

2,000 years of disenfranchisement, pogroms, exclusions, Inquisitions, Crusades, expulsions, genocides and like and such as against the Jews didn't prepare the anti-Zionist, the anti-Semite, for this, a world in which Jews are capable and cunning commandos, generals, spies, fighter pilots and artillerymen. Anti-Zionists would rather they didn't have to deal with this reality at all; the criminal is usually vexed when the victim fights back. But deal with this reality the anti-Semite must, and in so doing, resentment breeds. Resentment breeds, and Israel is the focus.

Israel is the focus, and Jews are the targets.

Jews are the targets...but now, they fight back.

What a predicament!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Change I Already Believe In

How can people get all worked up over the false hope being propagated by Senator Barack Obama? His claim to be an agent of change is disingenuous, because the agent of change is not Senator Obama, but the American System. The agent of change is the Constitution of the United States, especially the Twenty-Second Amendment, which instituted presidential term limits. "Change we can believe in" is coming whether or not Sen. Obama wins the 2008 election, and notwithstanding the wholly, obviously false charges that a President McCain would simply continue the policies of George W. Bush (after all, media history shows how often the latter two were at odds, doesn't it?). Change is our destiny.

That a great many Americans are willing to go along with Barack Obama's claims, or not question them, demonstrates to me the lowly stature of our Constitution in this day and age. Such is that compact's plight that the American Civil Liberties Union is able to get away with claiming the Bush Administration is trampling on our rights at the same time the ACLU itself is committed to trampling on Americans' right to bear arms, which despite uber-liberal spin, is not limited to those in service of State militias (that right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, was inspired by British oppressions and by the Founders was seen as a fundamental protection of personal liberty). Freedom, eh? According to your POV.

Yes, politicians can be and often are agents of change. But in an election year - especially a general election year in which the Office of the President is up for grabs after a Chief Executive's maximum two terms and the incumbent Vice President isn't in the running - "change" relies not on the election of one candidate or another, but in a faithful adherence to the literal and legal provisions of the federal covenant which binds together this Union. We are, as the Founders wished, a Nation ruled by firm laws, not fickle men. In fact, by upholding those laws, especially the Supreme Law of the Land, we the People each and every election year are also agents of change, in concert with our Constitution.

Unlike those whose bumper stickers celebrate the approach of President Bush's last day in office, I look forward to next year's inauguration with hope...not in anticipation of an Obama victory, or even a McCain win, but because on Inauguration Day, a great thing happens. Prior to the birth of the United States and the adoption of the Constitution, peaceful transference of government - republican or monarchic - was a rare occurrence. When after serving two terms, George Washington stood in the same room as John Adams and watched the latter take the presidential Oath of Office, the press of the time gushed, "Thus ended a scene the parallel of which was never before witnessed in any country."

Election years are, more or less, always fun for me. Whereas others are enamored of "the theory of natural selection," and advocate constantly in favor of it, I am myself far more fascinated by - and protective of - the process of democratic selection. Disagree though I may with the stances of one or both of the candidates standing for a particular office, there are few things more intellectually satisfying to me than waiting in anticipation of the results of a vote. When someone I didn't wish to be elected wins, I take comfort from the fact that so long as "We the People" fulfill our duties and responsibilities under both the Federal and our State Constitutions, change we can believe in will always be possible.

I take comfort because Change, as you can see, is not the purview solely of Barack Obama or his campaign. Change needn't be an overt "campaign promise" of Senator John McCain, either. Change is coming, no thanks to either of the candidates, save for the fact that they are competing for the position George W. Bush currently holds. And who is to say that when Inauguration Day 2009 comes around, the following won't apply to "Bush 43" (as the next President of the United States is sworn in, and as about his predecessor another President once mused upon taking office over two centuries ago): "Me thought I heard him think, 'Ay, I am fairly out and you are fairly in! See which of us will be the happiest!'"

That, my fellow Americans, is Change of the sort I not only can believe in, but that I already do believe in.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Irrational Terror Requires Rational Response

Compare the lives of Israel's Arabs with the lives of Arabs in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, and what you will find may startle you: Israeli Arabs, an uncomfortable, distrusted and admittedly unofficially discriminated-against minority living amongst a Jewish majority, are still far better off in Israel than their brethren in neighboring countries. Israel's Arabs, as an Arab minority amongst a Jewish majority, are freer - religiously, physically, culturally and politically - than Arabs living in Arab-majority states.

In the wake of the latest terrorist atrocity perpetrated in Jerusalem by an Arab holding Israeli residency, there are once again calls to expel Arabs from Israel en masse . While it is undeniably the case that such a position is born of justifiable anger, it is completely and utterly without reason that such an opinion - such a suggestion - is ever seriously propagated. No liberal democracy worthy of being called such should countenance any form of ethnic cleansing.

Wednesday's attack was wholly unpredictable, at least with regards to its timing. Anyone who assumes that the Arabs of Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods - brought under Israeli sovereignty in June 1967 both against the will of Israel and by the fault of an intransigent, adventurous but later wise King of Jordan - are in love with their position in the region deludes themselves.

Still, when one compares the situation of Arabs in Israel with Arabs in Arab-majority states, one would be forgiven for thinking resident Arabs slightly less of a threat than foreign Arabs.


Looking around at the world today, there are relatively few "ethnically pure" states. Notably, the members of the Arab League by and large conspicuously hold to policies restricting or prohibiting immigration by non-Arabs. Saudi Arabia, amongst other countries, is intolerant of the practice of any religion within the kingdom's boundaries but Islam.

Given the threat Israel faces, several minds hold to the notion that an expulsion of Arabs from the Jewish state would solve the tiny country's problems.

How they can believe such a thing, cognizant as they must be of all of the problems/accusations beleaguering Israel still today thanks to the departure of hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Israel's territory in the War of Independence - because of fighting as well as exhortations and reassurances victory from Arab leaders - is vexing. Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, has enough existentially-significant image problems already.

Besides, why would Israelis wish to emulate their Arab foes, who expelled (or persecuted-until-they-left) from their lands about as many - 800,000 - Jews as Arabs who departed what was once the Palestine Mandate following the establishment of the State of Israel? There is no moral precedent for even the mildest form of ethnic cleansing, that which merely consists of mass deportation.

Thus, it is for these reasons that I cannot seriously entertain the idea of ridding the Jewish state of its sometimes all-too-willing potential Fifth Column citizens and residents of Arab and Muslim ethnicity.

Me? I feel that preemptive strikes, police raids, human intelligence, and yes, home demolitions and even the freezing of bank accounts/assets of Israeli Arabs or Arab families supporting or carrying out terrorist activities should suffice. And going a step further, I would dare to suggest that calling on Israel's Arabs to be better citizens in their democracy, and calling out their hypocrisy whenever necessary, is a far more preferable alternative to expulsion.


Writing to a New England synagogue in the 1790s, the first President of the United States, George Washington, said, "For happily the government of the United States which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."

Since Arabs in Israel - whatever their trials and disadvantages as a minority - receive more protection and support from the Israeli government than they would under any sort of Arab/Muslim government now existing, is it too much to ask that they who live under a Jewish government's protection, "should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support"?

No, it is not too much to ask.


In fact, I think such a "requirement", such a demand on Israel's Arabs, is quite reasonable given the circumstances, since they who seek respect, recognition and protection from the State should be willing to give respect, recognition and protection to the State in return. Banal hypocrisy in this regard, on the part of the Israeli Arab community, sows bitter seeds and reaps bitter fruit. As it has in the past, it does in the present; as it does in the present, it will in the future.

See, within Israel's declaration of independence of 1948 is contained an extraordinary passage: WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

It is not too much, of course, to ask that Israel's Arab population respect the State's Jewish underpinnings, majority culture, and institutions, in exchange for guarantees of their "full and equal" rights of Israeli citizenship. In return, Arabs can vote for who they wish, maintain their own free press, speak their mind and travel throughout the country - along with their fellow Jewish citizens.

Sure, the family of the perpetrator of Wednesday's horrific bulldozer rampage through central Jerusalem was brought under Israeli rule against their will. But given Israel's request to King Hussein of Jordan not to enter the fighting in 1967, Israel is less at fault than the Arab states. And while Israel could easily do more to accommodate and care for Jerusalem's Arab residents, their lot is far more to their benefit than it would be under any sort of Palestinian rule.

Wednesday's senseless attack once again brought into the spotlight the contentious history and position of Jerusalem. But simply expelling Arabs en masse from the State of Israel will never be the answer. Such a "solution" is akin to sweeping dust under the rug, and then believing it to be forever gone.

No...the most proper solution I can see at present is time and again calling on Israel's Arabs to acknowledge and appreciate their lot - all the while, fulfilling our end of responsibilities to them, whilst holding the door wide open for them if they feel they might be happier elsewhere. If out of stubborn, idiotic pride born of ethnicity they wish to live as a majority under Arab dictators rather than Jewish (and Arab) democrats as a minority, in countries where their lives and opinions belong more to the government than to themselves, let them.


"After all, life inside Israel is much better than the West Bank." - Ibrahim Barakat, businessman from Beit Hanina


The Significance of July 2, 1776

"Resolved...That these United Colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." - Richard Henry Lee, delegate of Virginia, submitting a resolution before the Continental Congress on June 7, 1776


We take for granted far more than we are willing to admit to, and when it comes to our history, this is no exception. Such might be the case with all peoples and all free nations, but in America in particular, we're so content with the generalities of our history that the facts are often forgotten or ignored, ignored because they are forgotten. Ignored because, most likely, they are not taught. Like the story of Washington with the cherry tree, we celebrate myth as much as fact. This is not so bad, in our case; but the truth is not just what sets us free - it made us free.

After all, it is one thing, is it not, to say that Lincoln freed the slaves in the Civil War, and then quite another to acknowledge that with the Emancipation Proclamation, he only freed the slaves in the South? I think so. And if you think the North was always so anti-slavery, read up on the vast numbers of slaves who entered America through Rhode Island. But I digress...

I'm not writing, here, about the Civil War. At least, not at much length. At the moment, I'm writing of an event - or rather, a series of events - without which the War Between the States in the 1860s might merely have been the product of an imagination rather than a consequence of intransigence and pride. It being the first week of July, 2008, I'm writing about - what else? - American Independence.

Take a look at this piece of correspondence, now just about 232 years old:

"The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

Why was the future ambassador to the Netherlands and England, and lest we forget future Vice President and President of the United States, John Adams, so enthusiastic about July 2, 1776? So much so that he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, with his feelings on the day that message's subject? (He wrote nothing of July 4.) Well, July 2 that year was a day of great significance.

"This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States..." - Charles Wilson Peale, an artist in Philadelphia, in his journal...July 2, 1776

Yes, at issue that day - July 2, 1776 - in the Continental Congress was whether the Thirteen Colonies would finally, officially break with Britain and go their own separate ways from George III and Parliament. Without that vote (twelve Colonies voted in favor, while New York abstained), there would have been little point to Congress then commencing debate over the final wording of the Declaration of Independence which had been submitted to them by John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin.

Incidentally, on July 4, 1776, only the President of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, and the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, actually signed the final draft of the Declaration approved that day. It would be another month before a different copy was signed by all the delegates at Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson was out buying ladies' gloves for his wife, and a thermometer, on July 4, 1776. That thermometer cost 3 pounds, 15 shillings, by the way.

Now, I'm willing to bet that a great majority of the Americans (and others) reading this had little notion of what happened on July 2, 1776 in Philadelphia. They probably have never cared, though ardent patriots they may consider themselves. In fact, to them, July 2 has probably always been just another day on the road to America's Independence celebrations. But, just as we must be conceived by sexual intercourse before our actual birth can be celebrated, America was created - by a wholly different type of intercourse - before it was actually born.

So if you love Freedom, raise a bottle or mug of Samuel Adams lager - if you have one - in a salute to the momentous vote which took place in Philadelphia 232 years ago today (you can of course toast using the beer of your choice; I merely stated my own preference). Do this in remembrance that but for the significance of July 2, 1776, the Fourth of July would be for us what it is for the rest of the world...just another day, to be foolishly taken for granted.


"The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than had prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America." - John Adams writing to Patrick Henry, May 27, 1776, on hearing of Virginia's decision to support independence

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barack Obama: Change To Be Wary Of

"They're going to try to make you afraid of me - 'He's young and inexperienced, and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'" - Senator Barack Obama, at recent fundraising event in Florida


I would like to correct a gross misconception about the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama. Were he to win the White House, he would not become the first Black president of these States united by the Constitution. It is disingenuous to claim this is so. The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama, aside from being an inexperienced, untested, mysterious (in a bad way) and charismatic "Illiberal (only-my-opinion-matters-not-yours) Liberal" with an outspoken, arguably unpatriotic wife, is mulatto....not "Black".

His having a black parent and a white parent of course does not un-qualify Monsieur Obama for the Oval Office. His politics do that, in my eyes. But, you already knew this. Allow me to go further.

Yes, I object to this portrayal of Barack Obama as being that which he isn't - Black, and an Agent of Change, and for good reason. For why would a self-proclaimed agent of change, whose politics are supposedly politics of a different sort (despite his voting record in the Senate saying something different about him) so arrogantly appropriate a symbol of the Presidency - in a remarkably fascistic way - while the election is decidedly undecided?

Months, in fact, before it is held?

Personality cult, much? Look at the Obama seal above. On it we see "Vero Possumus," a.k.a. "Si, se puede" or "Yes we can". His campaign slogan. I guess "E Pluribus Unum," is on its way out the door? Along with "In God We Trust," the United States' other motto?

Obama's campaign seal might as well say...well, not say, but scream... "Sieg Heil!" It's a wonder his most ardent supporters aren't doing so already, the zealots....

Think I'm exagerrating? He's appropriating the symbols of the State, attempting to get the people at large to associate them with himself. He's got plenty of willing "executioners" going along with him, blind supporters eager to make his the only accepted vision of the country's future.

Roman emperors did that sort of thing. Monarchs do that sort of thing. Dictators do that sort of thing. Hitler did that sort of thing. Obama and the Democrats are doing that sort of thing. Pardon me for being wary of such practices, for America's sake...for humanity's sake!


And despite any efforts to make this race be about something else other than race, Obamaniacs find it easier to portray the Illinois senator as 100% Black. Though they claimed a desire to not make race a part of this campaign, there is an almost unspoken-of tendency by his campaign to inject little racial jibes and provocations into the discouse every now and then, leading opponents like me to question whether they will be labeled - and vilified - as racists due to their justifiable criticisms of Barack Obama.

If I don't vote for Obama in November, and someone finds out about it, will I be labeled "racist"? The late William F. Buckley once said, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to learn that there are other views." If I don't vote for Obama in November, will I be sent by Democrats to a re-education camp, for political undesirables?

Are Americans so ignorant of history that they are dooming themselves to repeat the history of other nations? I hope to God this is not so. I really hope not. Between you and me, Obamaniacs could give "Brownshirts" a whole new meaning...get what I'm saying?


Cold, hard facts aren't important to Senator Obama, or his supporters. Running a campaign based on conjecture, charisma and "good feelings", the substance of which is...a lack of substance, beyond the ambiguous...

Obamaniacs buy into his appropriation of "Hope" and "Change" just as blindly as Bush supporters eagerly bought into the 43rd President's appropriation of "Freedom" and "Patriot"-ism after 9/11. Whether they admit it or not, Barack Obama's proponents think the world of him, but don't think much about him. They think change relies on the election of Barack Obama, and not on their own deeds.

But we don't need Barack Obama to become a country true to its creed. We're not perfect, but we're working on it. That's been the way, our way - imperfect, yet constantly improving - since 1776. And the fact is, we already are a Nation which, for the most part, judges people based not on the color of their skin but instead on the content of their character. Bobby Jindhal, a Republican of Indian descent, is the Governor of Louisiana. New York State's governor is a legally-blind African-American.

We have come a long way, on our own, since Independence. Barack Obama, and his outspoken wife, - as well as his campaign - should recognize, honor and celebrate this. They don't. In fact, they act as if America has changed only because of them, and can (will) only change with them. That scares me, no small amount it does. Come this November, I hope to God we don't take a good many steps back after going so many forward.

Friday, June 06, 2008

More Reasons to Distrust Barack Obama

Every week, it seems, free-thinking, independently-minded Americans (a.k.a. "those of us not caught up in the hype and spin") such as myself get more material from Barack Obama and his campaign, material which we - in this glorious political-cultural societal system of ours - have every right to advertise to the rest of the world as examples of why Senator Barack Obama is not qualified to be the next President of The United States of America.

Case in point:


"Obama clarifies united J'lem comment"


Just as it became apparent that Barack Obama was going to be the official Democrat nominee for President, at an American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference he declared that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." A day or so later, an Obama adviser clarified the Senator's statement by saying, "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties."

The whole idea of Barack Obama saying one thing at a conference mostly attended by none-too-few members of that American demographic most likely to vote Democrat in the next election - Jews - and then his campaign saying another thing, later, which effectively changes the meaning of the prior declaration, smells fishy to me, and is enough to send chills down my spine.

For a candidate who is supposedly the standard-bearer of "change" in American politics, this unfortunate incident once again earns Obama a reputation as a shameless opportunist.


Nathan Diament, public policy director of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, reacted this way: "If Senator Obama intended his remarks at AIPAC to be understood in this way, he said nothing that would reasonably lead to such a different interpretation."

And as Morton Klein of the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) has pointed out, "It means he used the term inappropriately, possibly to mislead strong supporters of Israel that he supports something he doesn't really believe."

Is this the kind of President self-proclaimed liberals want in the White House? When I think of all the times President George W. Bush has been labeled a liar, a war-monger, or several other less-than-complimentary terms, and then look at what Obama and his lackeys are feeding us, I'm inclined to fling many of those same insults right back at the Illinois Senator.

And for all the Left-led mockery of Bush which shamelessly portrays the man as a buffoon, I'm not seeing much of a difference between their caricatures of a sitting President and their presumptive presidential candidate's campaign.

When one takes into account these same peoples' expressed convictions that Bush is an evil genius (at the same time they deride him as an idiot), he might even begin to think the "organized mental confusion" embodied by the Obama camp is a deliberate ruse designed to make their candidate seem like an ordinary, flawed "everyman"...which, by the way, worked out pretty well for George Walker Bush.

In any case, I'm more than a little insulted by Barack Obama's opportunistic employment of obfuscation and revisionism in order to ingratiate himself with "American Israel". As if his disingenuous stance this week regarding Jerusalem - a city I in many ways consider myself an expatriate from - wasn't bad enough, last week he claimed an uncle helped liberate Auschwitz.


Why or how, exactly, I am supposed to be impressed that a great uncle of Barack Obama participated in the liberation of Buchenwald (not Auschwitz) I have no idea; perhaps it is the case that on the heels of numerous examples of "guilt by association" (Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Michael Pfleger, et al) plaguing their man, Obama's campaign was trying to inject some "virtue by association" to inoculate him against future outbreaks.

Be that as it may, Barack Hussein Obama is still in many ways an unknown, untested entity, and the more that is learned about him, the more reasons we commonsensical - maybe cynical, but absolutely attentive - members of the American electorate have to distrust him. But hey, skepticism is healthy when it comes to American politics. Our motto is "In God We Trust", not "In Politicians We Trust", after all.

The least so-called "liberals" (those I not-so-playfully call "Illiberals") could do is be straightforward with the rest of us in the U.S., if it is their goal to have "Obama the Disingenuous" succeed "Bush the Liar" in the Oval Office. But wait, be honest with us? They can't do that: Their candidate is the Great Obfuscator, remember?







"Obama's Revisionist History"
by Karl Rove

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Make a Choice: It is Obama, or MLK, Jr. ?

"Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi."

- John McCain in 1982, addressing a voter who accused him of being a carpetbagger


Since many people are justifying Senator Barack Hussein Obama's run for the Oval Office - and sometimes insinuating that the job of President of the United States is his (or should be his) by default - whilst quoting or alluding to the words of a certain, revered, celebrated civil rights leader who had a dream that "one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'", I believe that honoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. is exactly what we should be doing in this "historic" 2008 presidential race, now that an African-American has the majority of the Democrats' approval to be the Jackass Party's general election presidential nominee.

Thus, I believe it is the case that anyone who votes for Barack Hussein Obama - and I am, undoubtedly, specifically addressing African-Americans here, but "Caucasians" too - based on the Senator's skin color (with an attitude of "It's about time" or some nonsense like that) is effectively abandoning the memory of the late, great Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in favor of political expediency. After all, was it not during the celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, that MLK, Jr. shared his dream that "my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character"?

How, I ask you, would voting for Barack Hussein Obama because he is African-American - regardless of considerations as to whether or not his policies would be good for America (which should be our concern) - be anything but a slap in the face to MLK, Jr.'s legacy, especially taking into consideration that above quote? Such an act would effectively, at the very least symbolically, negate all that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for, worked for, prayed for and died for.

Is it right to hold a man - truly, a knight of liberty - in such high esteem and at the same time willfully act in total contradiction to the values he espoused, the hopes he shared, the dreams he dreamed? No.

I think it's demeaning. Irresponsible. Hypocritical.


Look, I am cognizant of the fact that a great number of Democrats out there, and some Republicans too, support Senator Barack Hussein Obama of Illinois due to the man's ideological stance.

But I am also aware that in their zeal for change, many well-intentioned Americans see Barack Hussein Obama's skin color, much more than his positions, as being just the sort of change - culturally and politically - this (to quote the late, great Winston Churchill) "Great Republic" needs at this point in our history. They're willing to overlook the many factual errors in his speeches, his irresponsible approach to foreign policy and overall, his inexperience, because gotta understand...he's got charisma, and hey, he's an African-American who has a chance of becoming President!

Of The United States of America!

However, as a free-thinking, reasonable and common sense-guided voter, I'm not willing to overlook such "faults" simply because, as did Adolf Hitler, Barack Hussein Obama has style, charisma or personal magnetism. Just because an African-American is for the first time a major political party's choice for President of America doesn't mean he must win the election or else his candidacy won't mean anything. A lot of people will tell you that such is the case, but they're wrong.

While Obama's skin color is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things, his ideological stance is not, especially at this point in our country's history when we have - both Democrats and Republicans, "conservatives" and "liberals" alike - largely abandoned the use of reason and allowed ourselves to be caressed and cajoled by leaders - both elected and self-appointed - who all too eagerly employ demagoguery in their efforts to shape America and Americans in their image.

His ideology leads Senator Obama to advocate positions and policies which would entrench and expand the welfare state rather than scale it down. When it comes to national security, I get the impression Barack Hussein Obama hasn't a clue what is really happening in Iraq (this, while one of John McCain's sons has served in the country, and while Senator McCain and - lest I forget - celebrated action star Chuck Norris have both visited Iraq many more times than Obama).

And tell me, why should I trust a guy who is, for all intents and purposes, an unknown entity? He's asking Americans to give him vast political power to make "change we can believe in" on the basis of promises presently made, not promises previously kept.

By the way, I also know Obama's supporters don't like it when critics emphasize the Hussein in Barack Hussein Obama; this I find funny, though, when few critics of George W. Bush don't have any problem with derisively calling him "Dubya" or labeling his gaffes "Bushisms" (hey, I admit, many are pretty darn funny). Why, though? It's his middle name. We can say it, emphasize it, if we want to. And, we're allowed to feel however we want about that middle name. Some people with the name Hussein are good (I count the late King Hussein of Jordan in that group), and others not so much (duh - Saddam!). What if we make the judgment based on that?

My feelings about Senator Barack Hussein Obama - hey, if you don't like me doing it too, just call me "Jeremy Sidney Slavin" from now on - have nothing to do with the man's skin color:

* Pardon me for not wanting in the White House a First Lady who was quoted as saying "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country".

* Pardon me for not wanting as my employee - let's not forget, these candidates are interviewing us for the highest executive job in the Federal Government, as they aren't entitled to anything or any position - a man who knows as much about dealing with the real world as I do about physics.

* Pardon me for not wanting to see The United States of America effectively turned into The United States of Canada (not that I have anything against "America's Hat").


Whatever else is said about him, this much can be ascertained about his character: If Barack Hussein Obama was a candidate of principle, who had the interests of the electorate at heart, he would not seek to abandon the people of Illinois - who elected him to a federal office for a specific reason, to do a specific job - and would instead at least serve out his very first term as a U.S. Senator before his ambition - which he's certainly allowed to have - compelled him to seek higher office...

...For as my Dad has attempted to teach me over the years (he's been somewhat successful), you should keep the promises you make, and finish what you start. I don't see Senator Obama doing either. Does "trust" no longer matter in 2008? That Senator Barack Hussein Obama is so darn eager not to do the job he was initially entrusted with, and cares more about power than probity, should be obvious to anyone who not only has a brain, but uses it too (the same could be said of Hillary Clinton).

Yes, it's true that Senator John McCain, if he won the Presidency, would not serve out the remainder of the current term of the federal office that the good people of the State of Arizona re-elected him to in 2004. But then, Sen. McCain has already served not one but three full U.S. Senate terms since January 1987 (and two full terms in the House of Representatives as well - from January '83 to January '87), so I'm willing to give the man a pass on his fourth if he is successful in his bid for the White House.

But then, that's me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

He's Not Doing Us Any Favors

It should be painfully obvious to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel that his attempt to shift the country's attention from his legal woes to talks with the Syrians has been, while not a complete failure, certainly an abject one. A dishonest man negotiating on behalf of a democratic country with a dishonest, dictatorial regime is not a recipe for peace, but disaster - at least, for the democracy. It is the height of selfishness to drag a country into negotiations with a country that sponsors terrorist activities against you, just because the media's been scrutinizing the legality of your associations and donors as a politician.

I'm not on principle opposed to an eventual peace accord between Jerusalem and Damascus; I simply, reasonably, commonsensically question the ability of Israel to gain an honest peace with Syria, by which I mean a peace under which the Syrians actually end their official support for Hizballah and Hamas, instead of just agreeing to do so without carrying out the terms of the agreement.

And since it is still the case that any non-diplomat attempting to enter Syria is
immediately deported if any evidence is found, on his or her person, that he or she has visited Israel, I won't believe the Syrians are earnestly pursuing peace between their Arab Republic and the Jewish state until such discriminatory policies are abandoned...which, given the close relationship between Iran and Syria, and Hizballah and Syria, and Hizballah and Iran, isn't likely to happen any time soon. Does Israel deserve peace from Syria? Absolutely. But does Syria deserve peace with Israel?

This isn't mere Diasporic bluster or frustration on my part; I feel somewhat responsible for current events. As both my conscience and my good friend Avram have frequently reminded me, it was in Israel's March 2006 elections, at my polling place in Jerusalem, that I voted for Kadima and Olmert. What the hell was I doing? Why, making a mistake, of course. (If only most Palestinians, who had voted for Hamas in their January 2006 elections, felt the same sense of democratic responsibility that I do.)

There was a word I associated with that party - change - that if left unspoken, seemed in any case in the air. After all, Kadima - formed around Ariel Sharon - had aimed to end the decades-old monopoly on power the Labor and Likud parties had more or less shared, and wished to revolutionize (in its own way) relations with the Palestinian Arabs. Change seemed about as possible then with Kadima as many deluded Americans feel it is today with Obama.

Well, I was wrong then...and they are wrong now. You hear that?

Allow me to "yell" it for you:
I was wrong then, and they are wrong now!

The only significant changes were the changing of the guard in Zion from one set of corrupt politicians to another, and a loss of confidence following a disastrous attempt to punish Hizballah and Lebanon over the former's terrorist activities, in a war Hizballah started but which Israel...which Israel did not win. Now, when the pressure is really on, Ehud Olmert - an archetypal, rather than atypical, Israeli politico - is stubbornly clinging to power amidst a crumbled mandate while negotiating with state-sponsors of terrorism.

Ehud Olmert's immediate and future actions will demonstrate whether he cares more about himself or the country. He has the option of humility, resigning in face of the fact that, if nothing else, he is immensely unpopular - to say nothing of the legal accusations against him. Or he could resign, for the benefit of his own party, since
even Labor chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak has stated he would prefer to keep the ruling coalition in the Knesset intact, rather than go to early elections he suspects are on the way.

Or, Prime Minister Olmert, who is as infatuated now with the power and prestige of political office as he was when he served as Jerusalem mayor, could continue his assault on the safety and sensibilities of Israelis until the bitter end - to their, and his own, detriment.

No, this isn't just Diasporic bluster...but even if it were, something very few Israelis in Israel - or their politicians - seem to take into account must still be remembered. As the self-proclaimed, sovereign, militarily-adept national home of the Jewish people, domestic and international political matters affecting the State of Israel tend to reflect negatively or positively (depending on the situation) on Jews around the world, and affect them the same way...whether they are Israeli or not, whether they associate themselves with Israel or not, and whether they like it or not.

This is Ehud Olmert's - and our own - reality, even if he denies it. It is not just for the benefit of Israelis that he must resign and own up to whatever deeds, legal or illegal, he has done. In addition to their political responsibilities at home, Israeli prime ministers have the added burden - acknowledged or not - of moral responsibility toward a millions-strong Jewish Diaspora that, after thousands of years of disenfranchisement, pogroms, discrimination and genocide, looks to modern Israel with a mixture of hope and fear, for themselves and for the future.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert isn't just harming the State of Israel with his selfishness and duplicity; he's injuring the People of Israel as well. This might not bother
him at all...but it bothers me, a Jewish American and an Israeli, a great deal. It is one thing when an ordinary citizen feels a sense of responsibility toward his people, and something completely different when a person entrusted by his people with a position of power and influence doesn't.