Harsh Realities

Arlene from Israel

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

Among the harshest of realities is the cold blooded murder of young children. And so I begin tonight by offering my heartfelt condolences to America, and most especially the Americans of Newtown CT affected by the school massacre there yesterday. There are no adequate words for such happenings.


In truth, as I look about me, I see a whole array of harsh realities. There is no choice but to address them.

In my last posting, I alluded to President Obama’s announcement that he would be recognizing the Syrian Opposition Coalition, because it was “now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population, that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime.”

At that point I commented that: the coalition Obama will recognize may be “inclusive,” but that means it includes radical rebel forces, who will do all in their power to fight their way into positions of control.

But now I have to offer a correction, for my assessment, while on the right track, was a bit of an understatement. Radical forces are not simply “included” in the coalition. And they will not have to “fight their way to control.”

The leader of the Coalition is Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib, former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and a close associate of the Damascus branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Coalition, formed in Qatar, is the civilian arm of the rebel movement of Syria. Associated with it is a new military council. According to a Reuters report, “the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies account for about two thirds of the 263 men who met in Antalya [Turkey] and formed the new body.”


The above information is from Jonathan Spyer — senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center.

We might wonder precisely what is going on — although we should not be enormously surprised given Obama’s promotion of the Brotherhood in Egypt. Explains Spyer (emphasis added):

“All of these moves indicate that a coherent US and western policy toward the rebel side in the Syrian civil war is now emerging. This policy is in line with the Obama Administration’s broader regional orientation, and meets with the approval of key EU governments. It is also the preferred direction of Turkey and Qatar, the two countries who led the international response to the Syrian rebellion during the long period that the west preferred not to get directly involved.

“The intention is to align with and strengthen Muslim Brotherhood-associated elements, while painting Salafi forces as the sole real Islamist danger. At the same time, secular forces are ignored or brushed aside.”

“…So the emergence of the Syrian National Coalition and the associated Joint Military Council means that the West and its regional Sunni allies are now backing a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated coalition as the preferred replacement for the Assad regime.

“The al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra organization, now designated a terror organization by the US, is a powerful jihadi force on the ground.

“The Western desire to declare this group off limits is entirely understandable. But the attempt to build it up as a kind of bogeyman to be contrasted with so-call ‘moderate’ Islamist groups has little basis in reality. The difference between the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups is one of degree, not of kind.

“Exemplifying this, the US designation has led to a furious response across the board among the Syrian rebels. Twenty-nine rebel groups have now issued a statement saying ‘we are all Jabhat al-Nusra.’

“The focus on Jabhat al-Nusra should not obscure the fact that the better-organized, non-Salafi, home-grown Muslim Brotherhood elements that the US is backing are no less anti-Western and no less anti-Jewish.

“…The result is that the force now facing the retreating Assed regime is split between differing brands of Sunni Arab Islamism…all holding fast to fundamentally anti-Western ideologies.

“Given the level of life that has been lost in Syria, and the presence of chemical and biological warfare programs now in the vicinity of Islamist terror groups, it does not seem hyperbolic to recall a stanza from Percy Shelley’s famous poem, ‘The Revolt of Islam: Their complicating lines did steep the orient sun in shadow…and all around, darkness more dread than night was poured upon the ground…‘”



According to Friday’s JPost, a senior military source has said that Syrian rebels have achieved “relative control” over the border with Israel.

“This doesn’t change our plans. We’ve been ready for this development for a long time,” the source said.

Elaborated the Post:

“The IDF is closely monitoring events across Syria…

“The risk of Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups coming into possession of strategic weapons in Syria appears to be equal to that of Hezbollah attempting to seize them.

“Military intelligence is concerned not just by chemical weapons, but by the risk of long-range missiles and other powerful weapons passing into rebels hands…

IDF Northern Command policy is to permit no spill over into the Golan Heights from the fighting in Syria.


Hevron has been a hot spot for a while now, with a growing number of violent Arab incidents. Now a group that is calling itself the “National Union Battalions” — which it claims is to be jointly headed by members of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front or the Liberation of Palestine — has released a video that declares: “This is the beginning of a third Palestinian intifada, which is erupting from the heart of Hevron and will spread to all of Palestine.”

Their talk is tough, their demands many. As they say they want to “recover Palestine from the river to the sea,” their demand that Israel withdraw from all “Palestinian lands” sounds like a demand that we be gone completely. I have no idea who this group actually represents, or how great their influence is or is likely to become. But this does seem a bit of handwriting on the wall in terms of what we have to contend with.


But enough of harsh realities on this, the last night of Chanukah. The lessons of the holiday offer another sort of reality. And in spite of all that I’ve written above, I still bask in the glow of having lit my candles with grandchildren tonight. All that light. All that singing.

Credit: jpg.magazine

And so let me end this post with a favorite Chanukah video of mine — the flashmob from Nefesh B’Nefesh, filmed three years ago on Ben Yehuda Street in the heart of Jerusalem.


And then a video of the Chanukah song Maoz Tzur that I’ve just found. I rather like the formatted effect and the candle light in this one. (Scroll down past the ads.)


Or you may prefer this medley of traditional and not so traditional Chanukah songs — done acapella with harmonies by the Yeshiva University Macabeats.



Grieve for the children. Pray for the Nation.

By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative


The horrific tragedy that unfolded yesterday in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has left the nation in a state of shock. A lone gunman breaks into a school and shoots and kills 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school. Everyone is asking, who in their right mind murders little children. Some are wondering if we will ever learn the whole truth. Every other newscast seems to have conflicting information, but at least we now know a little bit about what happened or at least we think we do. The killer committed suicide before the police arrived. He has been identified as Adam Lanza, the son of a substitute teacher who worked at the school. Adam Lanza, 24-years old, lived at home with his mother Nancy Lanza who Fox News identified as the owner of the guns used at the school. Adam Lanza, who is either 20 or 24-years old depending on various accounts, lived at home with his mother Nancy Lanza who Fox News identified as the owner of the guns used at the school. Three guns were found inside the school – a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, and a .223-caliber assault rifle was found in the back of a car that also belonged to Adam Lanza’s mother. All of the weapons were legally registered to Nancy Lanza, sources told Fox News. Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at their home before he drove her car to the school. Initially it was reported that someone at the school recognized Adam Lanza and allowed him to enter the building, but today it was reported that he forced his way in. It is interesting to note that unlike many liberal academics who vocally oppose guns in society, Lanza’s mother, a teacher, was fond enough of guns to own them. Also worthy of noting is that with heightened security on airliners today, some pilots have volunteered to be trained to carry handguns in the cockpits of their airplanes for protection against terrorists, but almost every school in America has a zero tolerance policy against them. An absurd policy so strict that students have been suspended for even drawing a picture of a gun. Had anyone at the school been trained to use a weapon for a last resort defense, such a tragedy like this may have been lessened or prevented.

And Newsmax reported this morning:

The National Rifle Association and most groups were keeping silent on the day that 28 people, including 20 young children, were shot dead.

“Until the facts are thoroughly known, NRA will not have any comment,” the group, based in Fairfax, Va., said in a statement reported by the Atlantic.

But some organizations spoke out, including Gun Owners of America, which has about 300,000 members and headquartered in Springfield, Va.

“Gun-control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands,” Larry Pratt, the group’s executive director, said. “Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered.

“This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones,” he added. “The only thing accomplished by gun-free zones is to ensure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.”

One day after the tragedy. little else appears to be known about the shooter in spite of the instantly obtainable data available today on social media. No Twitter accounts or Facebook postings from Adam Lanza have been revealed. Other than the report that Adam Lanza was a loner who adopted a goth appearance, nothing is available or has been revealed to suggest a motive for his homicidal actions. Nothing about his Internet activities, his likes or dislikes, or his associations have been brought out so far.


The one fact that an assault rifle was found in the car the killer drove to the school, a weapon he did not bring into the school to use, has some politicians uttering thoughts about renewing the ban on assault type weapons and other types of guns. Barack Hussein Obama, undoubtedly anticipating the arrival of the United Nations Small Arms Treaty before the United States Senate, made an emotional comment at the end of his press conference yesterday hinting at possible legislation, pledged “meaningful action” to prevent more killings in the future in spite of politics. Obama has previously taken a neutral position on gun control just as Pontius Pilate washed his hands at the trial of Jesus Christ and let the mob of Roman agitators voice the call for the Crucifixion. Now other Democrats have immediately jumped on the bandwagon to proclaim support for more anti-gun legislation. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., was quoted as saying: “Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence,” and Democratic New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler added, “Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children. We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”

One thing is certain in this event, just as in past events, and that is that the leftist news media will be pulling at the emotions of every American to agree with them that all guns are evil and not just those in the hands of criminals. We are witnessing the beginning of a media blitz attack on the Second Amendment that will carry on well past the Christmas Holidays at a time when our hearts are filled with good will. We are living in a society today that consists of instant public opinion, unending news polls always based upon one-sided news stories with minute to minutes faxing of petitions to our lawmakers with no thought or comments on the consequences of the national significance. We are only reminded of the deaths and the bloodshed incurred with firearms and never about the lives saved through self-defense. The one primary wish of every would-be tyrant is to remove the threat that would exist against him if the citizens were armed and able to resist. That threat alone is the basis behind the Second Amendment. We must become ever vigilant against anyone who vows to “fundamentally transform America” and follows a policy to: “Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” at any cost.

Quoting from a press release issued last April from Newt Gingrich,

“The Constitution does not give us the right to bear arms. It says the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. We already have the right, because it doesn’t come from government–it comes from God.”

“Our founders understood this right is essential to the defense of liberty. It was a lesson they learned firsthand at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, 237 years ago this week. As David Hackett Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride recounts, in order to quench the beginnings of the American Revolution, British soldiers marched to confiscate gunpowder and other militia supplies, an act that they hoped would incapacitate the colonial rebels. Thus, it was in defense of the right to bear arms as a means of securing the other liberties that the first battle of the American Revolution was fought.”

Then we come to the true purpose of the Second Amendment to our Constitution, The Right to Bear Arms, that gives every would-be dictator second thoughts about taking over our country. Our Founding Fathers were not concerned with protecting the rights of hunters, they were creating a Militia force of armed Americans able to repel tyranny and placed that force in the hands of the citizens. And every godless Democrat in America wants to capitalize on every event that involves guns, never allowing a crisis to go to waste, to disarm America and render us incapable of protecting our Republic.

My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.


Update: According to Fox News this morning, Nancy Lanza did not work at the school and we still do not know the shooter’s connection to the school.


Great and Terrible Day

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Yesterday was a miniature version of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord mentioned in the scriptures. Often times I’ve read the coupling of words, great and terrible, and contemplated their curious juxtaposition; yesterday I was given another bit of information as to how these words are supposed to work.

“And it came to pass that on the morrow they did go again to battle, and great and terrible was that day; nevertheless, they conquered not, and when the night came again they did rend the air with their cries, and their howlings, and their mournings, for the loss of the slain of their people.” Ether 15:17

The scripture referenced had to do with an ongoing war, combatants on the field of battle, a war which seemed to never end. Losses on both sides mounted to a degree and scope hard for the mind and heart to comprehend and yet the sun would rise each day and only those warriors with a resolve to come out on top would survive the next round.

Isn’t that a fairly good definition of life in general, having enough resolve to come out on top and survive the next round?

We attended my daughter’s graduation from Texas A&M University yesterday. Earning her degree with honors in Mechanical Engineering marked an important step in achieving her goals. Proud parents sitting in attendance, we listened as the governing body of professors and administrators shared thoughts on the moment.

One in particular began with an odd comment, “Let us have a moment of silence for this morning’s tragedy.” He said nothing else and everyone bowed in reverence to his suggestion, many to include myself, had no idea what had been referenced.

I quietly joked, “So Obama woke up this morning.” The lady in front of me muffled her laugh before too many could hear it. Clearly something had happened, but we were attending a graduation ceremony and what ever had happened would wait.

We later learned of a mass murder which included 20 kindergarten children, a senseless act of violence carried out by a sad excuse of a human being. I won’t go into details, suffice to say it was horrific; the pain and suffering will last long after the headlines have changed to a different topic.

Following these all too frequent acts of random violence there are always two discussions to hit the public square. If you think about it, they fall into the same areas we’ve been counseled to avoid, politics and religion; interesting how many dinner tables must remain silent, just an observation.

Progressives (those who hate the Constitution) among us use the opportunity to call for limiting the availability of guns of any type to individuals. They start by calling for a ban on all semi-automatic pistols and assault weapons. They won’t be happy until all weapons are confiscated and we live in a perfect Utopian state of peace; never mind that such a state of being is reserved for mankind only after this phase we call mortality.

The other discussions involve the basic question, “How can God permit such evil?” If God really cared He wouldn’t let crazy people go about killing and hurting innocent folks; but to murder little children is more than we can fathom. A few come to the conclusion that God is either dead, no longer cares since mankind has gone to hell in a hand basket or He never was to begin with; none of which are true, if you’re looking for an answer.

For what it’s worth; God didn’t permit or cause any of these acts of violence and the world is going to continue being a dangerous place. Those who disregard eternal laws (*) will continue to disregard these laws, laws created before the world was made,

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated —

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21

(*Substitute punishment for blessing to fit any scenario; the results are the same.)

When you consider mortality as a temporary state which permits individuals to learn about God’s laws, desires and His relationship with His children, then the hardships and heartaches caused by random acts of violence are a little more bearable. Family members will consider how fragile life is, how important the bonds we form with one another are, and if we are paying attention, how unimportant our petty differences are in the grand scheme of things. In other words, let’s all learn how to appreciate each other as we go about our daily lives.

We can’t, by outlawing evil, eliminate those who choose to do evil. We can; however, discipline our minds and hearts in such a way as to be better individuals. We’ll still get our hearts broken and at times our dreams will lie smashed upon the rocks just short of our goals; but we can and must get up, continue moving in the direction our Father in Heaven intended, toward that eternal being He wants us to become.

Maybe now you’ll have a better grasp how great and terrible work in unison. May we resolve to be better individuals and do things the Lord’s way is my prayer; in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”