Rosh Hashana

Arlene from Israel

Credit: mymorningmeditations

Tomorrow night begins the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashana, a time of repentance and renewal. I do not expect to post again until after the Shabbat following Rosh Hashana.

I extend my heartfelt wishes for health and fulfillment for each of you. And for all of Israel the blessings of peace. May our prayers reach Heaven.


I provide here a beautiful rendition by Israeli singer David D’Or of Avinu Malkheinu — a prayer traditionally recited on Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur.


Our Father, Our King, we have no King but You. Hear our voice and save us.

And that, when all is said and done, is the final truth: We can — as we are God’s partners on this earth, we must — work hard to repair the ruptures in the world. But at the end of the day, we must bow our heads and acknowledge that it is in His hands.


In a lighter spirit:

The Fountainheads: Dip Your Apple in the Honey



A sweet year…

Credit: Baltimoresun


In my last posting I inadvertently provided the wrong URL for the article on injured Syrians, including children, being treated here in Israel. With thanks to those who caught it, I provide the URL here:


The over-riding theme of this article is pride in the way we Israelis conduct ourselves. Our values truly are different — especially different from those of others in this part of the world. The world chooses not to notice, but we must notice and hold fast to who we are.


The news? It goes on, as perverse and convoluted as ever. Truth is, if I were to write postings non-stop, I still wouldn’t cover everything I’d like to touch upon.

Obama does seem to be lobbying members of Congress with a vigor that suggests he wants them to sign off on his attack on Syria. Speaking on Fox News, Secretary of State Kerry said:

The administration “has the right to act regardless of what Congress does,” though it prefers to have Congress’ backing. “We are stronger when we work together … America intends to act.”

A very foolish, rather schizoid, position: We don’t need your approval, Congress, but it would be better for all of us if you gave it, however be aware that we will act even if you don’t give it. Uh huh. Does lend the impression that those running the American government don’t quite know what they’re doing.



But perhaps this apparently schizoid position can be explain by Peter Wehner’s Commentary article, on “Barack Obama’s staggering incompetence”:

“…The president of the United States is preparing in advance to shift the blame if his strike on Syria proves to be unpopular and ineffective. He’s furious about the box he’s placed himself in, he hates the ridicule he’s (rightly) incurring, but he doesn’t see any way out.

What he does see is a political (and geopolitical) disaster in the making. And so what is emerging is what comes most naturally to Mr. Obama: Blame shifting and blame sharing. Remember: the president doesn’t believe he needs congressional authorization to act. He’s ignored it before. He wants it now. For reasons of political survival. To put it another way: He wants the fingerprints of others on the failure in Syria.

“Rarely has an American president joined so much cynicism with so much ineptitude.”


(With thanks here to Dan F. for calling this to my attention.)


What really, really irked me, however, is Obama’s using Israel as an excuse (pardon me…a “reason”), provided to members of Congress, as to why he has to hit Syria: Iran and Hezbollah will be emboldened if he doesn’t. And, an emboldened Iran and Hezbollah are bad for Israel.

All of this is true enough. But it happens that an emboldened Iran and Hezbollah are not in the best interests of the US either. He should have left it at that, especially as theoretically Obama is on a confrontational course with Iran (see below): We do not want Iran emboldened with regard to its nuclear development. Nor do we want Hezbollah, which foments terrorism world-wide, emboldened either. End of story

There are anti-Israel, anti-Jewish elements in the US and elsewhere in the world who don’t miss an opportunity to blame Israel for whatever is going on, no matter how far-fetched. Does Obama have to provide them with fuel?


But, as we all need a laugh from time to time, I’ll share this news as well:

It’s been reported that Obama called Netanyahu to provide assurances that he was determined not to let Iran go nuclear.


Obama knows full well what our prime minister is thinking…

Says David Horovitz, editor of Times of Israel:

“The Israeli political and security leadership is privately horrified by President Obama’s 11th-hour turnaround on striking Syria.”



If there is good news on all of this, it is that Assad may have to confront some unexpected backlash because of his use of chemical weapons. Reports Haaretz (emphasis added):

“[Assad…] cannot hide the shock that has hit his closest allies: Russia and Iran. Russia has decided to freeze the shipment of refurbished MiG jets, the S300 antiaircraft missiles, and the Yak training planes to Syria – based on reports in the Russian newspaper Kommersant. The official Russian explanation is that Damascus has not met its payment conditions, but it seems that the timing is no coincidence…

“Nor can declarations coming from Tehran be particularly encouraging for Assad: Iranian President Hassan Rohani denounced the use of chemical weapons – but avoided placing the responsibility on any of the sides. Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanaji justified the American attack…”


A JPost report goes even further:

“Events in Syria have reportedly prompted key Iranian figures to express their opposition to Tehran’s ongoing involvement in helping …Assad remain in power.

“Sources inside Iran claim that former president and opposition leader Hashemi Rafsanjani asked the commander of the Iranian al-Quds Brigades…to stop sending volunteers to fight in Syria, according to a report published on Sunday in the Iraqi daily Azzaman.



The nuclear-powered USS Nimitz (one huge ship!) and other ships in its strike group are being sent to the Red Sea as back up for a strike on Syria, which may lend credence to the seriousness of Obama’s intentions. (We’ll see.)

Credit: trunews

I am picking up reports of a reconnaissance ship being sent into the eastern Mediterranean by Russia, but it’s not clear if this is the same ship I had written about previously.


For those who may still wonder why it matters to Israel if the US hits Syria…

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israel’s military intelligence, writing with Avner Golov, says (emphasis added):

“The most important Israeli interest in the context of an American attack is the unequivocal clarification that there is a high price to pay for the use of nonconventional weapons. From a broader perspective, it is important for Israel that the U.S. reestablish its strategic influence in the Middle East and improve its credibility and deterrence in the region, which have eroded over the past three years. Restoring American deterrent power would strengthen the standing of U.S. allies, including Israel, in the struggle between the region’s moderates and radicals.”



We have been told that the sixth session of negotiations between Israel — represented by Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu envoy Yitzhak Molcho — and the PA — represented by negotiators Mohammad Shtayyeh and Saeb Erekat — would be held in Jerusalem today, and that US envoy Martin Indyk or another US official would be present (which has not been the case with every session).

The US is calling the talks “serious,” while Mahmoud Abbas, speaking in Ramallah said that no core issues had been touched upon — parties were still setting out preliminary positions.

For the first time, Abbas has admitted to his party that he struck an agreement not to “join any international organization,” which I assume means not to participate at the UN, during this period, in exchange for Israel’s agreement to release 104 prisoners.

A second group of those terrorist prisoners is due to be released within weeks. Ouch! I expect Abbas to drag out the negotiations until he has all 104 — regardless of all his threats of walking away because of the “settlements.”


There is a great deal more to say, about the Palestinian Arabs, and about Arabs who are Israeli citizens. But it will have to keep until after Rosh Hashana.


Press release: International campaign DOWDIVISOR30

The international campaign DOWDIVISOR30 will start shortly. This campaign is intended to convince the people responsible for the composition of the Dow Jones to restore the Dow Divisor in the formula used to calculate the Dow Jones to its original value of 30. The people responsible are a number of journalists of the Wall Street Journal, and the owner of the Dow Jones Index, the company S & P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

People over the whole world can sign a petition requesting president Obama’s government to exert pressure on the respective journalists and the company S & P Dow Jones Indices LLC to carry out this change in the Dow Jones formula.

The campaign will have an educational character. The campaign will draw attention to the following articles and paper:

– The article Market crash 1929, mystery unraveled? describes what happened to the Dow Jones behind the scenes at the time of the stock market crash in 1929.
– That graphs of stock market indexes, such as the Dow Jones, give no relevant long-term information is explained in the article Without knowledge of the past there is no future.
– In the article Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality? you can read why it is a good idea to make this change to the Dow Jones formula.
– The need to make the change to the Dow Jones formula in the near future was presented at an international symposium “THE ECONOMIC CRISIS: TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT” in Valencia: The present crisis, a pattern.

As preparation for this international campaign, the relevant articles and papers have been distributed worldwide (see appendix). After reading this information over the Dow Jones, every citizen of the world can make a considered decision to sign this petition.

The campaign is currently collecting friends who are prepared to support DOWDIVISOR30. We are looking for people in all corners of society who want to be a golden friend, silver friend or bronze friend:

• A golden friend is someone who signs the petition and draws as much attention as possible to the campaign via social media.

• A silver friend is someone who signs the petition.

• A bronze friend is a website or organisation which draws attention to the DOWDIVISOR30 campaign.

As soon as the list of friends has achieved a respectable size, the campaign will officially start.

If you are interested in becoming a “friend of the campaign” please contact me, Wim Grommen, via Twitter: #DOWDIVISOR30 via email to editor (at) munKNEE (dot) com and your offer of support will be forwarded to Wim.


Thanks in advance,



Appendix: list of sites of the abovementioned articles and paper

Paper: The present crisis, a pattern

The present crisis, a pattern paper on G-Global
The present crisis, a pattern paper on The Market Oracle
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Insightweb.it
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Econintersect.com
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Charttrader
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Globalastrologyblog.blogspot.nl
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Beforeitsnews.com
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Ictprocurement.com
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Klusterfuck
The present crisis, a pattern paper on The Bull
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Vrijdenken.net
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Controllersjournaal.nl
The present crisis, a pattern paper on Basisinkomen

Article: Market crash 1929, mystery unraveled?

Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on The Market Oracle
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Global Economic Intersection
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Gold in Mind
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Economicvoice.com
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Beforeitsnews.com
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on World-mysteries.com
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Michel Husson, economist
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Seekingalpha.com
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Thetrader.se
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Financial Market Analytics
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on The Bull
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Revere Radio Netwerk
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Forbidden News
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on Secrets of the Fed
Market crash 1929 mystery unraveled? on From The Trenches
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Historiek (Dutch)
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Alles in Perspectief
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Earthpedia
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Biflatie
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Analist.be
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Analist.nl
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on US Markets
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on ThePost.Online
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Buyen.nl
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Edelmetaal-Info
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on DewereldMorgen.be
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Beursmonster.nl
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Beurscourant.nl
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Fondsplein.nl
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Beursgazet.be
Beurskrach 1929, mysterie ontrafeld? on Sanamed

Article: Without knowledge of the past there is no future

Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Global Economic Intersection
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Insight
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: The Economic Voice
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: The Market Oracle
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Seeking Alpha
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: On Line Opinion
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: NoisyRoom.net
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Gold in Mind
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: ChartTrader
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Financial Market Analytics
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Communities of the Future
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Bullion Bulls Canada
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: From The Trenches
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: World Mysteries
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: The Post.online
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Biflatie
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Artikel7.nu
Without knowledge of the past there is no future: Rijnland-Weblog
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Liberale Media (Dutch)
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Joop.nl
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Uitpers.be
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Basisinkomen
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Eindtijd in beeld
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on MarketUpdate
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Visionair.nl
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Inspirerend leven
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Argusoog
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Vrijdenken
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Beleggen.com
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Goudportal
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Globalinfo
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Alles in Perspectief
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Aquariusage
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Star People
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Multyreadt
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Buyem
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on Pastorale Gedachten
Wie geen kennis heeft van het verleden, heeft geen toekomst? on US Markets

Article: Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality?

Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality? on The Market Oracle
Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality? on The Economic Voice
Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality? on NoisyRoom
Will Obama manipulate the Dow Divisor, from fiction to reality? on Communities of the Future
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on The Trader
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Goudportal (Dutch)
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on The Post.online
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Aquariusage
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Alles In Perspectief
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Argusoog
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Beurs-info.nl
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Star People
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Albert Werner
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on US Markets
Obama: “Truth, from fiction to reality” on Buyem


Chapter 322 – That Dog Won’t Wag

Blasted Fools

The Brits just told you “F NO!”. I’d say that calls for a face palm.

Obama is consistent. You’ve got to give it to him on that. He consistently attempts to subvert the Constitution, gets away with whatever he can and pushes the rest as far as it will go and then lies about the nature of the failed attempt. It’s tiresome at this point, but his audacity seems to have shaken a few from their slumber and lethargy. We don’t know how long we can keep them awake, so keep shaking them, get them on their feet, make them walk around, drink some coffee, cola or maybe one of those 5 hour energy deals. Anything. What awakened the sheeple to a somnambulant state? Obama’s stated intention of dragging us into a conflict in Syria, evidently.

Obama got the dog out and was all prepped and geared up to wag that pup and then the unthinkable happened. Waggus Interruptus. Terrible thing. Those damn Brits. Oh, not David Cameron – he had his dancing shoes on and in fine fettle to do the Philly Dog. Nope, it was those recalcitrants in Parliament that peed on the parade. Not only did Cameron look flaccid, but apparently such a smackdown has never occurred in modern history.

Britain has always compliantly and eagerly swung from America’s balls. Not this time. In fact, the Telegraph reports that it is the first time in 57 years that a British Government has been blocked by Parliament from executing a military deployment and highlights the deep mistrust of official intelligence in the wake of the Iraq war. Why would that be, I wonder? Couldn’t have something to do with a collective sense of having been snookered for the better part of a decade by the last P.M. as regards all things War On Terror? It might have something to do with the British people themselves waking up and smelling the Kim Chee, then giving the one handed clap to Cameron and his lame portrayal of Tonto to Obama’s Lone Ranger.

The British answered the same wake up call that we did, along with the Germans, French and Italians.

It wasn’t just the House of Commons that responded with a resounding nay to Cameron’s expressed desire to ride shotgun in Obama’s pickup. Lord Hurd, the former foreign secretary, expressed the majority sentiment in saying:

“I cannot for the life of me see how dropping some bombs or firing some missiles in the general direction of Syria, with targets probably some way removed from the actual weapons we’ve been criticising, I can’t see how that action is going to lessen the suffering of Syrian people. I think it’s likely to increase and expand the civil war in Syria, not likely to bring it to an end.”

The White House remains in a state of stunned incredulity. This is not the way things ordinarily work. What normally happens, is that the puppetmasters decide that injecting the American military into a conflict on false premises is favorable to their overall plans and profitable, to boot. They then send instructions down to the President and he jumps on them like a short order fry cook, with a lunch counter full of hungry teamsters. Next, warships are deployed, the United Nations is petitioned, our staunch ally Great Britain gets its ducks lined up and things get underway. The President may blow a kiss to Congress at some point – usually after the machinery is in motion.

The U.N. thing is symbolic, if only to demoralize the bitter clingers and signify that the matter of the Constitution is superfluous and trivial. If the U.N. gets cold feet or just decides to play the contrarian – as the Russians and Chinese do, almost reflexively, the Imperial President can still assemble a ‘coalition of the willing’ and move forward. What do you do if the other members of the Players Club won’t answer the telephone? That’s where the string pullers learn how intrepid their puppet is. They found out. Either this one can’t get it up, or possibly Chapter 322 (Skull and Bones), concluded that a recalculation in tactics was in order. The Telegraph again details the timeline of the Obama White House’s fits and starts with the Syria campaign:

Last Sunday, it issued a statement dismissing the need to wait for United Nations investigators because their evidence, the statement said, had been corrupted by the relentless shelling of the sites. By Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who had long advocated a more aggressive policy on Syria, delivered a thunderous speech that said President Bashar al-Assad was guilty of a “moral obscenity.”

By midweek, administration officials were telling reporters that the administration would not be deterred by the lack of an imprimatur from the Security Council, where Syria’s biggest backer, Russia, holds a veto. As of Thursday night, the White House was drawing up plans to act unilaterally.

On Friday, Obama, after receiving a letter signed by 140 Members of Congress, urging him to submit his plans to them first – decides to sit tight for the moment. In order to save face, the Obama White House has staged some Kabuki theatre, designed to make it appear that there was a lot of internal debate between the President and his senior advisers. This is typical damage control with the objective of providing the President’s partisan spokesholes in the legacy media with talking points portraying Obama as ‘deliberative’. But we’ve seen the act too many times.

NBC, for one, is clearly regretting even Obama’s faux posture of deference to Congress. Andrea Mitchell:

“Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there….does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?”

My answer? No. Here you have a President that initially thought he had the juice to open the ball on a missile launch against a country that has not attacked us, and Andrea Mitchell is framing him as being ‘anti-war’? Another NBC piece on ‘World News’, features this line of argument:

For the past 30 years, U.S. presidents have tried to ramp up the powers of the executive branch on national security issues. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, for example, exercised military might without a vote in Congress. Obama’s decision on Syria represents a clear reversal of that trend, observers say. And his deference to congressional lawmakers could create a political, and potentially legal, precedent that may cast a shadow over future administrations. Obama also now runs the risk of losing the vote on authorization in Congress, leaving him with his hands tied despite previous pledges to intervene if Assad used chemical weapons.

Can you see the hand wringing and the apprehension over the possibility that the established behavior of the Imperial Presidency might be severely curtailed?

Obama is now dispensing platitudes such as the following, “I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” That’s in one breath, but as is universally the case with him, he hedges it by saying he’s not obligated legally to consult Congress – he’s just doing it for appearances. In fact, some of Obama’s strategists cautioned him not on Constitutional grounds, but on the likelihood that when Obama comes back to Congress at some undefined time in the future asking it to rubber stamp an attack on Iran, that they may be difficult to manage if he shoulders them out of the way here.

We’re not out of the woods yet on this – not by a long shot. Obama is going to do a full court press in Congress. He still wants to demonstrate his manhood and redeem himself with the Übermensch at Chapter 322. Obama intends to present a draft of an authorization to initiate military force in Syria. Concerning the draft resolution that has been examined by the media and foreign policy experts:

“These details may not matter much if all the president intends is a modest shot across the bow, as he suggested a few days ago,” said George Mason University School of Law Professor Ilya Somin Sunday. “But they could be significant if U.S. military intervention goes beyond that – including if it ends up expanding farther than the president may have originally intended.”

Publicly, Obama has repeatedly said that “we would not put boots on the ground.” His proposed authorization, though, did not limit the kinds of military forces that could be used. It also does not specify the forces against which force can be used. “It would likely allow him to use force against Syrian rebels as well as the Assad regime, if it seems possible that the former have obtained chemical weapons or are likely to do so,” Somin said.

And there are Republicans beating the drum to set in motion a police action against Syria.

McCain has already imagineered a strategy:

McCain said his plan could be done very easily with “no boots on the ground” and “would not put a single life at risk”. In a matter of a couple of days using standoff weapons, we could take out their runways, take out the 40 or 50 aircraft that they’re using which is dominating the battlefields and the towns and the cities. We can supply the right kind of weapons to the rebels, establish a no-fly zone by moving Patriot missiles up to the border.”

As the great Mark Twain once mused – “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Lindsey ‘Lohan’ Graham also has assumed the position – no surprise there either. But Obama has allies among your beloved GOP leadership in the House as well. Peter King (NY) has already called out Obama for not manning up and “abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief”. And then there’s Mike Rogers – “I think at the end of the day, Congress will rise to the occasion,” Rogers of Michigan said on CNN. “This is a national security issue. This isn’t about Barack Obama versus the Congress. This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats.”

Of course it isn’t, Mike. It’s about people who respect the Constitution versus people who don’t – such as yourself. Democrats, by and large, will go along with the President, because it’s more important to their party to avoid embarrassment to their head honcho than to keep us from throwing matches in a storage shed full of dynamite sticks.

The House GOP? Well, let’s just say that you’re going to learn everything you need to know about which of them are representing you or working for the interests of those who stand to benefit from more deficit spending on military stunts. According to the Washington Post – Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), who led the push to force a congressional vote on military intervention, said “80 percent” of the skeptics in the room doubted that a limited strike would achieve any clear result and might instead lead to bad consequences. “There is more a question of,” he said, “is this the right approach?”

Here’s the pitch that all of the lawmakers are going to be hearing from the big spenders on K Street:

“Yeah, that Constitution thingy – I get it. It’s kind of a persistent nuisance, but come on – let’s do a work around on this because KBR, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin, L-3 Communications, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, Boeing and our banking friends on Wall Street are really counting on us.”

If you want an invitation to this club, Secretary of State John Kerry is the man to see.

Win the tug of war against these leeches and you’re well on your way to getting your country back.


Major change coming to Obamacare: Anyone who voted for or supported BO will receive an exemption.

By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative

Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, was written with explicit language that it was to include everyone. No exceptions. Even members of Congress and their staff were mandated to follow the same rules as every other American citizen. This was apparently done to appease the Republicans and get their support for the bill. Then just before the 2012 elections several unions who had endorsed and campaigned for Barack Hussein Obama began to receive exemptions from the mandatory requirements. Then it was disclosed that members of Congress were concerned that their highly paid staff members would be persuaded to leave their cushy jobs if they had to pay for their own health insurance, like everyone else. So our Great Leader issued a decree that made them exempt and the government would continue to provide their insurance. Now we read that 40,000 union members have quit the AFL-CIO because they don’t like the idea of having to pay for their health insurance.

40,000 Longshoreman Quit AFL-CIO Blaming ObamaCare

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the
disillusion of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the
AFL-CIO’s support of ObamaCare.

“We feel the Federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people by going along to get along,” McEllrath wrote in the letter to Trumka.

The ILWU President made it clear they are for a single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy and are upset with the AFL-CIO for going along with Obama on the confiscatory tax on their “Cadillac” healthcare plan.

What isn’t a surprise is that almost immediately after this announcement, some union leaders asked Obama to also exclude them from the mandatory coverage requirement. And it looks like they will get it. So what it all comes to is that the only people who will be forced to buy health insurance will be people who didn’t support or vote for Obama. In other words, Obamacare is really just a tax on Republicans.

In order to get Obamacare passed through Congress, then Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously remarked, “You have to pass the bill before you can see what’s in it.” But even when the bill was being written it had parts added for the expressed purpose of persuading certain groups from opposing it. Like the powerful NRA gun lobby. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted a clause in ACA that reversed a previous order to have family Physicians inquire if their patients had a gun in their house. Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Obama issued his 23 Executive Orders to formulate Gun Control and one of those orders retracted the clause in Obamacare that Harry Reid inserted and once again, family doctors will be asking their patients if they own a gun. And since all medical records will be electronically stored and accessed by the government, anyone who admits they have a gun will be easily identified.

The true nature of Barack Hussein Obama’s government is becoming clearer and clearer every day. He admits he doesn’t need Congress to pass his laws, he can issue them by Executive Order. The Constitution is just an inconvenient piece of paper to him. He ignores and changes written laws to please himself and his friends and his supporters by issuing his Royal Decrees and Exemptions. It would not be surprising to learn he has a plan to remain in office after the end of his present term. And yes, there is a word for that, its called Dictator.

My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.


Obama tosses Syrian hot potato into Republicans’ laps

By: James Simpson
American Thinker

Since first being elected, President Obama has made much of his determination to “go it alone” when he can’t get his way from Congress. This has resulted in an endless chain of unprecedented, unconstitutional and illegal actions to advance his self-serving political agenda. At every turn, Obama has sought to make Congress irrelevant. Unfortunately the gutless GOP political leadership aided and abetted him, at the very least by doing nothing, and sometimes even colluding in his efforts. Marco Rubio’s disgraceful illegal alien “reform” plan comes immediately to mind, but so do the countless “showdowns” with the President, in which Republicans have repeatedly blinked.

But either through sheer stupidity, or likely, some much more malevolent, calculated strategy, Obama has painted himself into an impossible corner by pronouncing a very specific “red line” that, if crossed by our enemies, promised military action. So now when forced by his own words to deliver the goods, what does he do? Something he has never done before: he decides to “consult” Congress.

What cheek!

Do you see what has happened here? By giving the issue to Congress, he evades sole responsibility and makes himself look “principled” for pretending to follow the Constitution by acknowledging Congress’s responsibility to “declare war” — never mind that the contemplated actions don’t rise to the level of a war declaration. Because our national media conspires with Obama on a daily basis, no matter what Congress decides, Republicans will take the blame, and you can be sure it will be used as a 2014 campaign issue against them. Finally, this whole controversy has taken the country’s mind off Obama’s many politically damaging scandals.

Obama has demonstrated repeatedly just how reckless his foreign policy is. Early on, he announced his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2014, while simultaneously dramatically tightening our military rules of engagement. Telegraphing our intentions to the Taliban while tying our war fighters’ hands had a predictable result. The Taliban dramatically increased its terrorism, use of IED’s, and “insider attacks” by Afghan soldiers, making our continued presence that much more unpalatable and demoralizing, while creating mounting pressure to abandon what has become a completely futile effort under this administration .

U.S. casualties in Afghanistan under President Obama have skyrocketed: 1,639 killed during Obama’s four-and-a-half years versus 630 in the eight years under George W. Bush. Coalition IED deaths have topped 1,068 during the Obama years compared with 310 during Bush’s term. Between 2007 and March of 2013, there were a total of 92 U.S. personnel killed in insider attacks and another 132 wounded, according to a Pentagon report. Approximately 25 percent of these attacks are estimated to be from Taliban infiltrators. Most of the insider attacks have occurred since Obama took office.

For a sitting president to telegraph his specific war plans to the enemy, as Obama did, is insane; unless of course, his goal was to hobble our efforts. In that case, he has been wildly successful. His policies have effectively neutered anything we accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan and have guaranteed our ultimate failure – all the while racking up American war casualties. As a former U.S. Army Colonel and Afghanistan war veteran recently tweeted:

It’s like we gave control of American foreign policy to a pony-tailed gender studies seminar TA.

Obama should have already faced electoral defeat, impeachment, or even an investigation into possible treason for his travesties in Afghanistan and Libya, and would have if the media did its job. But the media has long since abandoned any shred of objectivity. Indeed, were Obama exposing himself daily on the White House lawn, the media would no doubt laud his courage in “challenging” us to broaden our minds and become more accepting of “alternative” behaviors.

With typically galling arrogance, Obama pronounced that Syria must not be allowed to get away with gassing 1,400 people, and “Mad Uncle Joe” Biden chimed in that there was “no doubt” the Syrians did it. But virtually all evidence points to the rebels. This was a deliberate false-flag operation conducted by the Islamic terrorists at the heart of the rebellion. By specifying explicitly what he would not tolerate, i.e. the use of chemical weapons, Obama virtually guaranteed that someone would find a way to use that to their advantage.

In fact, everything about this conflict is suspicious. The Syrians oddly publicly threatened to use chemical weapons a year ago. What on earth did they hope to gain? Indeed, the opposition quickly called their bluff. As one analyst explained:

The [rebels] knew – as much of the world will soon realize – that the threat to use chemical weapons would not only be ineffective, but would backfire. This threat is ineffective because chemical weapons are subject to atmospheric conditions and are difficult to deliver, making them notoriously difficult to use and are therefore not particularly threatening to sophisticated militaries. The threat is also not credible since Assad risks an even worse outcome if Syria’s chemical weapons get into the hands of his numerous domestic enemies… Not only does Assad’s threat to use chemical weapons not likely deter outside intervention, but it will almost certainly incite the ire of the international community even further. The more the world believes that Assad is a monster willing to use chemical weapons, the more likely they are to push for his removal.

This civil war is a prime example of asymmetric warfare, where a smaller, poorly-armed opposition is facing a well-armed, larger conventional force. In these situations, terrorism much better serves the rebels, especially if they can pin the blame on the regime. Furthermore, we are not dealing with nice little patriots here. They are just as brutal as the regime.

So when Obama issued his bold threat a year ago, was he simply drawing a red line he was confident the regime wouldn’t cross, or was something more malevolent at work? If killing civilians justified an American response, were the Syrians not killing enough civilians with conventional weapons already? Why would Syria use such an ineffective means of eliminating their enemies when it would simply bring more condemnation from the international community?

Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons was an open invitation to the Syrian opposition. He has to be smart enough to know this. Since the administration has been covertly supporting the Syrian opposition since 2012, is it possible that he was inviting this attack as a pretext for overtly entering the fray?

Whatever the case, he now must find a sucker to own his grossly flawed foreign policy. After all, he went it alone once already in Libya, and this has not gone well for him. Furthermore, he wants to advance the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine – championed by his chief patron, George Soros, and his vitriolically anti-Semitic new UN ambassador, Samantha Powers – by legitimizing it with congressional support.

Be clear: there is no positive outcome to involvement in Syria. Obama will not allow America to “win” in any way that serves our national interest. He has already proven this in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq. How much more evidence do we need? And how much more does our exhausted military have to expend blood and treasure in pointless, demoralizing foreign misadventures that by design are destined to fail? Finally, a win for al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would directly threat our only genuine ally in the region, Israel. Is this the real endgame?

President Obama’s foreign policy – whatever his motives – has been an unmitigated, nonstop disaster, counted in squandered American lives, lost allies and societal chaos in one of the most pivotal regions in the world: the Middle East. If Republicans in Congress don’t stand up to this one-man wrecking crew and make sure America isn’t drawn into yet another foreign policy disaster, then they will indeed be just as culpable.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media, Breitbart, PJ Media, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook.


Forum: Have You Ever Personally Seen Or Experienced Racism?

The Watcher’s Council

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: Have you ever personally seen or experienced racism?

What happened? How did it affect you?

The Razor: Back in the 1990’s, I spent 5 years in Japan. I had arrived in the country after studying it intensively for 2 years in college, so thought I knew what I was prepared for. It turns out I didn’t have a clue.

Technically, what I experienced while living there was not racism. It was xenophobia. I knew that Japan had been a closed society for 300 of the past 400 years of its history, but knowing that and experiencing that as a foreigner are two different things. Since Commodore Perry’s “Black Ships” opened the country to the West in 1853, Japan has modernized, but while much has changed such as the introduction of a capitalism, a lot has not. At its heart, Japanese society remains completely closed to foreigners.

In Japan, foreigners are called “gaikokujin” – literally “outsiders.” This is usually shortened to “gaijin” – which is a slang and derogatory term in the Japanese language. You will hear the latter more than the former, and most Japanese don’t even consider gaijin a derogatory term. As a foreigner in Japan, I took the label in stride at first, but the stares and unwanted attention begins to lose their novelty after 3 months. Sometimes, the Wife and I would sit down in a restaurant and wait to be served. No one would come to our table. We would ask for service in Japanese (the Wife speaking the language fluently) and were told the kitchen was closed, or they had run out of food. For a white kid from the Midwestern suburbs, it was an “interesting” experience.

What was not so interesting was trying to find a landlord who would rent to us. A Japanese friend helped us, but after being refused by 12 landlords, she had resorted to asking them the first question: “Would you rent to a married white American couple?” Eventually, a place was found, but in a run down neighborhood where other foreigners lived, including 4th generation Koreans and the unspeakable caste of Japanese society known as the “Burakumin.” These areas tended to also have Yakuza activity since the Japanese mafia recruited heavily from the lower castes including the Koreans. Their headquarters were public knowledge and local police usually stationed a police officer in a car outside to discourage attacks from rival gangs. The idea of a police officer protecting organized crime has no modern day American counterpart unless you go back to the Prohibition Era in places like Chicago and New York.

After living in a place for several months without a shower, I had grown accustomed to the public baths. Living in a neighborhood where Yakuza hung out meant bathing with men wearing elaborate and amazing tattoos. But a “man rule” in the public bath was you could look, but don’t get caught doing it. During “AIDS” scares, foreigners were refused entry to the bathhouses for fear that they would spread HIV in the water. I had never had a problem, but I knew which bathhouses accepted foreigners and which didn’t. Some of the famed “onsen” in the Japanese interior and the coast of the Japan Sea were definite “have a Japanese friend call before you go” to avoid a wasted trip.

Yakuza were no friend of the foreigner. They recruited from the bosozoku, the biker youth gangs and these gangs had a reputation for attacking foreigners. One of the teachers who worked at another branch of my office was dating a Japanese woman. They were walking along the Kamo River in Kyoto one evening and were set upon by bosozoku who shouted “Gaijin girai!” as they beat him. He spent 3 weeks in a Japanese hospital before he returned home to Canada for further treatment.

Women looked at me suspiciously when I entered subway cars, gripping their purses a little tighter. A crime involving a foreigner would make the local papers all over the country while the crimes done by biker gangs went unreported. Children would be terrified of me, cowering behind their mother’s legs as they stared. This changed in high school where their fear became contempt and led to insults hurled in broken English.

When our child was born, I swore that I would not raise him in that environment. We left the country 5 months later.

I still dream about the place, stress dreams such as needing to buy a train ticket and opening my wallet to find dollars instead of yen, or teaching students bored out of their minds the same lesson I had taught hundreds of times, bored out of mine. I wake up relieved.

Five years is a long time to spend there; most foreigners lasted about a year, with nearly all leaving within two. A select few hang on for longer and still others like a Primatologist I know, have lived there longer than they did in their home countries. They think of themselves as Japanese, but yet they carry the same “foreign registration card” that all foreigners must carry at all times as I once did. Unless you are a famed sumo wrestler, it is almost impossible to get Japanese citizenship.

I don’t regret my Japanese experience. Quite the contrary: I would recommend it to liberals who think “all people are the same” or white supremacists who think they are special. The Japanese are completely different from us and I respect them for it. They don’t pretend to be a multicultural society or a “melting pot.” They are what they are and once you accept that you can live there for a very long time as I did, learning as much about yourself and your own people as you do the Japanese.

Liberty’s Spirit: The first time I had ever seen or experienced racism was as a 7 year-old. My father ran the local Jewish center in a Georgia town, near an army base. The base was a way station for soldiers going to Vietnam. Every Sunday, the Jewish soldiers would come for a day at the center, swimming and relaxing. One day when the soldiers came, there happened to be African-American Jewish soldiers among the group. That day only the soldiers and my family went in the pool. My parents reported that the President of the Center told the janitor to drain and clean the pool after the soldiers had left. I had never experienced racism among Jews before. The Jews we had known had always been on the side of civil rights. It changed by entire perspective towards the Jews as a “people.” I had never experienced Jews who did not adhere to Jewish concepts before. My parents say that these people were more interested in being “White southerners” than Jews. We moved from that town very soon after this incident.

Growing up in the Deep South however, I also experienced bouts of anti-Semitism. Because my sister and I were the only Jewish students in the entire school, our public school, contrary to the Supreme Court rulings, still read from the Bible every morning and put on a Christmas show. When one day the teacher read how the Jews had killed Jesus, I spoke up and said that that wasn’t true. She told me to “shut up” and I didn’t know what I was talking about. During the Christmas pageant, because my sister and I wouldn’t participate, we were segregated out from the other students and not allowed to sit with our class. The teachers put us in the back of the auditorium. The next year, we were left in our classrooms all alone and not even allowed to attend the Christmas show.

Racism also did not dissipate as I grew up. There was also the continual discussion on the school bus about how bad black people were and how they were sexual predators against white women. I specifically remember one gruesome story told over and over again. The inculcation of racial hatred starts at an early age. Funny, I simply put those stories in the back of my head and actually never thought about any of it. It seemed fantastical and unimportant to me at the time. I was only 8.

One year as I got older, a classmate (7th grade) told me how she attended meetings where they burned a cross and her parents told her that she couldn’t be friends with Jews or black people. But that she liked me and wanted to be my friend anyway. I said okay and we tended to sit together in class. Being a child, I had not understood that her family were Klan and that for her to say that to me was a big step for her to acknowledge that her family was wrong. I also know that she could not have ever invited me to her house or come to my house to play.

As I grew up, we moved back up North and many of the anti-Semitic and overt racist issues that I had seen growing up became subtler. Hubby tells the story of working in a supermarket in Boston for years. Once, one of his regular customers found out he was Jewish, whenever he was in the store, she would not enter. At another job during high school, his boss wouldn’t let him have off for Yom Kippur, so he had to quit his job instead. It was widely believed that the man was an anti-Semite. Hubby had been the only Jewish student hired by that fast food restaurant as long as that individual was the manager.

He also tells stories of working with people in the federal government. Once when they were having a discussion about the economy, a co-worker quipped, that hubby was going to be the Jew that solved the economic problem. Another co-worker told him that the USA was a Christian nation and that anyone else was a guest. Not one of those in his section challenged these ideas or statements. The interesting issue is that none of these people thought of themselves as anti-Semites.

Presently, there have been issues at our local high school, where lockers have been adorned with swastikas and Jewish students IDs have also been desecrated with Nazi symbols. However, there were also several racist incidents against African-American students over the years (though gladly these seem to have disappeared) and even an anti-Moslem incident against a student who was actually a Hindu. The students in this incident said they were joking and were friends of the student. Somehow, I wouldn’t think that perpetrating a racist incident against a “friend” to be something funny.

Even last year at my sons’ college there were reports of racism. We purposefully sent our sons to this local school because it is designated as the most diverse college on the east coast. We felt that it would get them out of their comfort zone. A true realistic vision of the world where everyone isn’t white, or Jewish. In fact, this school was highly recommended by their high school guidance counselor for this reason as well as the academics. For them, this college has been a great experience. Yet the racist incidents that occurred marred everyone on the campus. The administration held meetings and teach-ins about the type of society the school was promoting. Consequences were doled out and it was made plain to everyone that racism would not be allowed at this school.

How did these incidents affect me? Well as far as the anti-Semitism, it definitely made me angry and determined to be proud of whom I was as a Jew. Instead of making me cower and ashamed, it made me more determined to live life as I chose. But what it also took from me was my security as an American. The idea that there are those in this nation who no matter what my family or I have done for this country, they will never accept me as a citizen of the United States, is simply deplorable. Honestly, if it weren’t for meeting my future husband (who despite crossing paths with anti-Semites never felt unwanted in the USA), I had plans to move to Israel, where I felt I would be welcome.

The racism I found in life, makes me simply sad… just terribly sad. That even in areas with highly intelligent and educated people, stereotypes and such ignorance still exists. But on the other hand, I do believe that society has grown and developed since my incidents in school as a small child. And no, it’s not about electing the first African-American president; it is about the everyday intermixing of cultures, races and ethnic groups that abounds throughout the USA. Perhaps its because I live so close to NYC where the melting pot is a reality. (Of course, there are those who say that NYC has racist policies. I wont’ get into that here.) But it’s the daily interactions I see among strangers of all walks of life and how determined most people are to simply live their lives with respect and dignity that holds out hope for the future.

Simply Jews: As a kid and a youngster in the late and unlamented USSR, I was quite frequently exposed to antisemitism. But no less frequently to other kinds of racism, especially where Russian attitudes to the minorities are concerned. The Russian ability to invent derisive and degrading terms for the minorities is, most probably, second to none – although I cannot pretend to be an expert in that domain, of course.

The Independent Sentinel: When I was 4 years old, I was on a ferry in Florida while on vacation. There was a little black girl running around. I remember thinking how cute she looked with her braids tied in pink ribbons.

I ran up to the water fountain where she was drinking to initiate a conversation. She was about 6 years old. I thought she was older and prettier than me – I looked up to her.

She wouldn’t talk to me and within minutes, my mother pulled me back.

My mother said that I couldn’t drink out of the same fountain. I asked why and she said it was not allowed. She said to me, look at how angry those men are. I looked around and saw angry white men glaring at us.

She pointed to the wording on the fountains and bathrooms. They were marked white and negro she said. I went into the white bathroom and remember being angry about it.

My mother was angry at the men and made some nasty comments about them, but she felt helpless to take them on.

A decade later, Martin Luther King Jr. was scheduled to march on DC. I was just a kid, but I took off by myself and joined the blacks on a bus leaving from a Queens church.

I marched with MLK Jr. on August 28, 1963.

I did it for the little girl with the pink ribbons in her hair.

Half of my career was spent in special education, 9 years of which I spent working with minority gang kids. They were labeled handicapped, but they weren’t.

How did the bigotry affect me? I was heartbroken and felt powerless to resolve the injustice.

I was treated badly for being a Christian working in a Jewish Synagogue early in my career, but I won everyone over.

Career-wise, I was a woman in a man’s world and I didn’t care about that either. I just felt I had to work harder and be better.

That’s what I taught my handicapped and gang children. Never let anyone define you. Be the best you you can be in whatever way possible and good things will happen. It makes you stronger. It challenges you to rise above it.

JoshuaPundit: I admit to coming from an interesting place on this one. My parents were typical FDR Democrats, as were many Jews of that era. They both grew up in a part of East Brooklyn known as Brownsville back in the 1940′s. The neighborhood was Jewish back then, but it bordered Bed-Sty, so my parents went to school and mixed to a degree with blacks and Puerto Ricans on terms of relative equality. In other words, they had no baggage of racism – or white guilt – to pass on to me one way or the other. I inherited their ability to be comfortable with people of different backgrounds, although they also passed on to me a certain amount of what I’ll call tribal consciousness, the idea that we were Jews and we were therefore different.

I got an interesting sense of that difference when I went to look at my parent’s old neighborhood on my own back in the early eighties. The neighborhood is no longer Jewish (almost entirely black), it took me 3 cabdrivers to find one that would take me there, and he refused to wait more than five minutes for me to get out and take a quick look around. From what my parents told me, while it was poor, it was never anything like the combat zone it is today when they lived there.

The neighborhood I grew up in Los Angeles was predominantly blue collar, mostly Latino with a slice of Asians (mainly Japanese) and a sprinkling of blue collar whites. I don’t remember experiencing any overt bigotry except the occasional fights with Latinos to ‘prove‘ you had a right to be let alone and I don’t consider those racial but tribal. Any male had to throw down once in awhile, especially if they weren’t Hispanic. It never stopped anybody from being friends afterwards. There weren’t any blacks who lived in my neighborhood (interestingly enough, the only kids I remember using racial slurs about blacks were Hispanic kids), so I pretty much grew up without any baggage one way or the other.

The only real exposure I had to Jew hatred as a kid was a positive one, courtesy of my dad ( Z”L). Some of you may have heard this story from me before. Of course, that was when the Holocaust was a lot closer in living memory and before Jew hatred became fashionable and acceptable again. A lot of that going around these days.

The only time I experienced racism as a white person was when I applied once for a job with the City of Los Angeles. I scored in the top 3 on the exam and since there were 7 openings, I figured I probably had a decent chance of getting hired based on my background, exam score and experience. I duly received an appointment for my oral interview and went in. When I walked in the room, the three interviewers were all black, two men and a woman. The minute they saw me come through the door, they exchanged a look and a smile between them. They asked me something like three questions, something along the lines of how I’d heard about the job, where I lived, why I wanted the job, stuff like that. I was there less than five minutes before I was told I could go and someone would get back to me.

I later received a letter from the city that I had only scored a 40 on the oral interview and would not be hired. I didn’t exactly stutter in the interview. There’s no doubt in my mind that my being white was all the interviewers needed to see. Racism comes in all colors.

In this context, I perhaps should mention that I’ve had a pretty fair amount of interaction with blacks, both during my time as a musician and later as clients and employees in the real estate business, and that those interactions have mostly been very pleasant. And that not getting hired for that particular job turned out to be a real stroke of good luck in the end.

I fully agree with Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, that there are really only two races, the decent and the indecent – but I’d add that a lot of people are capable of crossing that line in both directions. In that sense, culture matters and affects where people stand, rather than race.

When the culture is toxic and when everything is seen through a prism of race and grievance, people tend to stay mired on the wrong side of that line… because they feel they’re victims and thus are entitled. Again, there’s a lot of that going around nowadays.

The Glittering Eye: Over the course of my life, I’ve had mild experiences of religious bigotry. Although the city in which I grew up, St. Louis, is a very Catholic town, it has nonetheless different social strata for Catholics and non-Catholics. So, for example, when I was a kid, there were distinct social organizations for Catholic and non-Catholic teens. Since I tend to be socially rebellious, that didn’t have much impact on me.

I witnessed religious and ethnic bigotry experienced by others. I recall once when I was, perhaps, ten years-old, seeing one of my neighbor kids tell another neighbor kid, a pretty, charming little Jewish girl, that her mother wouldn’t allow her to play with her because “she could only play with little blue-eyed girls.”

I also saw racial bigotry of a more systematic and institutional sort. On spring vacations. we frequently went South to the Gulf Coast in search of spring weather. On those trips we passed through Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, where “Whites Only” and “Colored Only” signs were prominent in public restaurants, hotels, restaurants, drinking fountains and the like. I don’t know if I can convey to you the fear and stress that they imposed on a kid, even when you weren’t the target of the bigotry. I was always terribly afraid of transgressing, or making a mistake. Blacks were clearly held in subservient roles. There really is no mistaking that kind of institutional racism.

Sadly, I still see some of that today, albeit covertly and in private.

Lest I give the impression otherwise, I find religious bigotry is alive and well, if that’s the proper expression for it, on the Internet. Hardly a day goes by without an encounter with anti-Catholic bigotry. Initially, it frequently takes the form of anti-clericalism, something with which I am not unsympathetic, but almost inevitably veers into anti-Catholic Knownothingism. Perhaps I’m overly sensitive but I find the accusation that I condone child sexual abuse hurtful and unfair.

Virginia Right!: Growing up in Virginia in the 1950′s and 1960′s, segregation was an accepted fact of life. As a kid, you really don’t start to question things beyond the scope of being allowed a treat or not. Things like race and politics were just accepted. Other than an occasional janitor which we were taught to ignore, we rarely encountered black people in the “white” world I grew up in.

And by today’s standards, it is sad to realize that my parents taught me to be a racist. All blacks were inferior. And if you hear that all your life, that is what you believe.

Now there was no hatred, unlike the racism we see today. And that statement might seem at odds with the accepted belief that all blacks were inferior. But it was out of ignorance, not hatred.

We were taught, not only by our parents, but our Grandparents, Pastors and even our teachers that blacks were simply not on the same evolutionary level as whites. They were more like animals than humans.

Looking back now on the accepted thoughts of the 50′s and 60′s it is hard to believe that we never questioned such ridiculous assertions. But since we were completely segregated, there was no interaction to help us realize that what we were being taught was simply wrong.

Imagine if you were taught from birth that the sky was green. And if everyone you interacted with each and every day told you the same thing, you would just accept it.

We were taught that blacks carried diseases. Eating, drinking or using the same restroom would result in sickness or possibly death.

Blacks were not allowed in restaurants because whites would never eat off of the same dishes or use the same utensils for fear of getting sick. I heard many times that you can never clean a dish good enough if a black person ate off of it.

I still recall the “White’s Only” signs on restaurants, water fountains and even rest rooms.

I worked at the University of Richmond back in the late 80′s and early 90′s and the old Academic Computing computer room was located in what used to be called the “Colored” bathroom. The bathroom tiles were still visible under the raised floor tiles.

When the Civil Rights Movement started, the “trouble” was mostly in the deep south. Richmond, Virginia was relatively quiet and most of us started questioning what we had been taught from birth.

Martin Luther King, Jr. not only became a Civil Rights Leader for the rights of Black People, but a beacon of truth to all of us that were raised in ignorance and lies our whole lives.

My parents and grandparents suddenly realized that what they were taught and passed down were all lies. The only difference between the races was the color of the skin. Blacks were ignorant not because of genetics, but because of a lack of access to education. A fact that is still, sadly, widespread today.

How many inventions, how much art and how many major contributions to society were quashed simply because blacks were treated like they were less than human?

When I graduated from High School, there were only a hand full of blacks that were my classmates, but I am proud to say that even though the black race was miserably underrepresented in my class, those that were there were leaders that we selected not because of the color of their skin, but because of the content of their character. That was in 1972. And after that, I served in the Navy alongside people of all races and I am happy that we have come as far as we have.

Racism is alive today, but it is born out of hatred, not ignorance, although hatred and ignorance go hand in hand. And the racism I see today is a two way street. There are whites and blacks that hate each other simply based on skin color. And I am sure we have made great strides, but the hatred variation of racism is far more virulent and violent than the ignorance based version I grew up with.

And my personal journey through the evolution of racism is one I am proud to have made. While there are still people I dislike, it is based today entirely on their character.

People can be jerks no matter what color they happen to be.

Bookworm Room: I have personally experienced racism three times in my life. Two of my experiences happened in England and one in Texas. All took place in the early- and mid-1980s.

The first time racism came my way was in England, in 1981, when I was introduced to a bovine, 18-year-old who had left his neighborhood near Sheffield for the first time ever to attend University.

When he saw the Star of David I wore, he asked “Are you Jewish?”

I replied, simply, “Yes.”

He thought a moment, and then asked a follow-up question, “That means you’re rich, right?”

I didn’t feel attacked. I felt instead that I was on the receiving end of profound ignorance. I politely explained to him that not all Jews are rich, and that was the end of it.

The second time also happened in England, in 1982, and I am still embarrassed by my response — or rather, my lack of response.

One of the young men in the circles in which I traveled during that “study abroad” year was an Arab who had been born in Lebanon, but raised in England at posh boarding schools. He was an extremely charming and likable young man. One evening, when a group of us was gathered in someone’s flat, people started telling jokes. Most of them were a little smutty since this was, after all, college. His contribution was a short, disgusting Holocaust joke. My brain simply froze. I’d never experienced anything like this, and had absolutely no idea how to handle it.

The third time I experienced racism was in 1986, in Texas. I was doing a summer clerkship at a law firm, and one of the associates there took me out to lunch. He knew I was Jewish, and spent the entire time attacking Israel and Jews because of the USS Liberty incident. I knew nothing about it, so I could only sit there as he ranted on. I do understand that there are many current and past Navy personnel who believe that it was a deliberate strike. Israel has always contended that it was an accident. All I know is that, to the extent I was a young American who had absolutely no relationship to an event that happened when I was 6, his only reason for hammering away at this subject was because he finally got the opportunity to “give it to a Jew.” (Thinking back, I do wonder whether one of his relatives was among the dead or wounded.) After lunch, I immediately spoke to another attorney at the firm, explaining I felt this associate’s conduct was inappropriate. They talked to him and he apologized to me. End of story.

Rhymes With Right: Some years ago, as an idealistic 20-something, I took a job working for a substance abuse rehab facility run by a black-owned business. I was one of two white senior staffers at the place — the rest of the upper-level staff and much of the line staff was African-American — and we were intent upon creating a top-of-the-line program In a matter of months, the whole thing came crashing down due to problems involving finances and licensing, and we all found ourselves without jobs. We were all told we would receive our paychecks via mail within one week, but when that week passed the center director and I received letters telling us that the company had no funds to pay us. The common thread? We were the only two members of the senior staff who were white.

Both the US and state labor departments found in my favor after the company’s owners failed to respond to the complaints I filed, and I was awarded the full amount of pay I claimed. However, the junior partner in the company — the head of the local NAACP — used his pull with elected officials to get both decisions overturned. A second state hearing resulted in a finding in my favor on the spot, with the hearing officer saying that he did not understand why the case was even reopened and that even the records and witnesses presented by my former employer demonstrated that we had been subject to discriminatory treatment. As we stood to leave, in the presence of the hearing officer, my former employer told me that I could take him to court if I ever wanted to get a penny from him — and pointed out that I would be doing so in the 80% black community where the company was based and that it would be two white guys faced with a parade of black witnesses before a mostly black jury. In the end, I was ultimately offered a settlement of only about 35% of what I was owed, which I took to put the whole matter behind me. The center director received something similar. We were the only employees to receive less than our full pay — because our black employers decided they could stick it to The Man by sticking it to us.

Well, there you have it.

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