Monday, October 5, 2015

Why Didn't Crew of Ship Heading into Hurricane Mutiny?

Yes, accidents happen. We humans have far less control over our fates than we would ever admit aloud. But now that we are left to mourn the sinking of the container ship, El Faro, I have only one question to ask. Why didn't the more sensible members of the crew mutiny? One of the last known communications from the doomed ship was an email sent by a crew member to her mother:  "There's a hurricane out there and we're heading straight into it."

No crew members have yet been found. Maybe someone in the maritime profession could explain how an accident of this magnitude could happen with the sophisticated weather forecasting that we have today. Why didn't that crew lock the confused captain in the brig and head out of harm's way?  Of course, we'll never know the answer. 

How Would Sheriff in Oregon Shooting Feel If Public Listened to Those Claiming it Never Happened?

Oregon Sheriff John Hanlin
There are 2 lessons we should be grappling with in the wake of this last shooting. which left 10 dead including the shooter who committed suicide. The first, of course, is that the easy availability of a military arsenal will always lead to the most unstable among us murdering  innocent people en masse. But unlike previous mass shootings, the tragedy that occurred on the Umpqua College campus in Roseburg, Oregon has an additional, heartrending lesson for the rest of us. Sheriff John Hanlin  had himself gone on the Internet and posted a conspiracy video, claiming the Sandy Hook shooting never happened. According to the Sheriff''s interpretation of those events, the parents of the dead children were making up this tragedy to impose gun control on the American public. Imagine an even deeper pain that town must endure from knowing that their grief was dismissed as the work of paid actors.

Even though Sheriff Hanlin is in the midst of grieving a loss, he owes the town of Sandy Hook and all of us who were hurt by the callousness of that  conspiracy mongering, a personal apology. Actually, he also needs to do something more. That is, he must publicly expose that kind of twisted conspiratorial thinking or step down from his job.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The NRA and ISIS: Partners in Crime

Don't be deceived by the outer wrappings.  The National Rifle Association and the Islamic group, ISIS, are allies.  It's true, one group articulates its ideology in English and the other in Arabic,  but they are both in the business of bull horning social pathology.  Of course, one can say that NRA president, Wayne LaPierre, and other officials in his organization don't run around killing innocent kids. But then again, the leaders of ISIS don't run around beheading people.  In both cases, the leaders define the value system and culture and their emotionally unstable minions do the dirty work.

The only real difference I can note between the two groups other than language and mode of dress, is
motive.  ISIS believes, however misguided, that it can create an Islamic state out of murder and mayhem. The NRA on the other hand, feels no sense of civic responsibility to anybody.  It just pushes its violent ideology to sell more guns.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Does Dr. Ben Carson Have a Secret Life?

Dr. Ben Carson
I'm surprised that more people haven't speculated on what really drives GOP presidential candidate,  Dr. Ben Carson. He has given us enough hints when he refers to Islamic "taqiyya" in his speeches.  Dr. Carson explained in a September 20, 2015 interview with The Hill:

“Taqiyya is a component of Sharia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.”
At this moment in history, when anti-Muslim sentiment is running so high in the United States, what might "taqiyya" look like?  That is, how could a presidential candidate bent on imposing "Sharia Law" actually win the race to the White House?
Arab Crown Prince of Kuwait

The obvious answer would be to launch what appeared to be an anti-Muslim campaign, denouncing all aspects of the Islamic religion, while dogwhistling that he is engaged in "taqiyya".  In studying a photo of Ben Carson, he does seem to have the facial feature that some folks might refer to as an "Arab nose." 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

GOP Extremists Are Suicide-Bombing Congress In Bid to Get Their Way

Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz are pumping up the Dixiecrat and Nihilist remnants of the Republican Party with delusions of grandeur. The forced resignation of House Speaker Boehner is being met with glee. But this latest turn of events does not negate the fact  that GOP tactics to get rid of America's first black president have failed and Obamacare remains the law of the land. My question is, what will these  uncompromising extremists do next?

 I'm glad to see what was once the dignified party of Abraham Lincoln, now face oblivion after devolving into an irrational mob. But I'm also scared of what they're going to attempt for a grand finale. They've already strapped a suicide bomb to Congress. These rabble-rousers have tried and failed to wreck the nation's economy and credit rating.  They will not be able to defund Planned Parenthood, whether or not they succeed in shutting down the government again. Many of these people are NRA members, who have  been  stockpiling heavy artillery, while claiming that Muslim terrorists have secret training camps in Texas. They also insist that our twice elected president is a Kenyan Muslim fraud, who is ineligible to sit in the White House.

I hope and pray that the FBI is watching as their ISIS-like disdain for the democratic process winds and twists itself  into uncontrollable rage and paranoia.


Friday, September 25, 2015

While Christians Criticize Muslims for not Denouncing Extremists, Pastors are Deathly Silent over Bigotry of GOP Candidates

The visit of Pope Francis has raised the bar on the expression of American spirituality.  But why should the foreign religious leader of a denomination that encompasses less than a fifth of all Americans be the only voice we hear preaching compassion for our fellow men and women? One of the most consistent gripes I've heard for years from conservative Christians is the fact that presumably "decent" Muslims do not raise their voices loudly enough to denounce the extremism of their co-religionists engaged in terrorism.

Maybe I'm going deaf. But I'll be darned if I've heard nary a peep from "decent" Christians regarding the fact that their religion and faith is being contorted in such cruel and ugly ways by GOP presidential candidates like Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.   Since this bigotry against Muslims, lies about the legitimacy of the president of the United States, and despicable stereotypes painting all Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists is being presented in a Christian context, why the public silence?  

In short, why should the lunatic fringe of Christianity be the only voices in the public square?  Is the separation of church and state just another excuse for moral cowardice?  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Anti-Muslim Ben Carson Snubbed by Christian Pastors for being Seventh Day Adventist

Anti-Muslim Ben Carson Snubbed by Christian Pastors for being Adventist
While he was insisting that he would never support a Muslim for President, Dr. Ben Carson was being snubbed by Southern Baptists, who considered the former neurosurgeon's beliefs as a Seventh Day Adventist to be, well. . .  "cultish". An article in TPM DC explained:

The snub was ironic in hindsight, as Carson is now under fire for saying over the weekend that he didn't believe a Muslim should be President of the United States because his or her religious beliefs would be in conflict with the Constitution.

Willy Rice, the pastor of Florida-based Calvary Baptist Church, invited the retired neurosurgeon to speak at the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference earlier this year. . . However, several organizations and individuals within the Southern Baptist community publicly expressed their displeasure with having Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, address the conference.

Who knows. Maybe Ben Carson contracted a brain tumor, from getting slammed upside the head by his buddies in the Tea Party, when they mistook him for a Muslim. Afterall, I almost mistook Ben Carson for a black man, when in fact, this soul-less figure in the expensive suit is nobody at all, unless, of course, he turns out to be a zombie.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Is Trump Broadcasting on Africa's "Radio Rwanda"?

In July of 1994, the African news station, "Radio Rwanda" began broadcasting bogus reports that the Tutsis (an ethnic minority in Rwanda) had secret training camps, where they were preparing attacks on the Hutu majority population.  The rest of course is history, in which the genocidal slaughter of a million unarmed women and children is forever etched in blood and shame.

So now we in America have Donald Trump telling us that the President of the United States is a Muslim imposter,    The GOP presidential contender stokes fears among his supporters that the Muslims have secret training camps, and (you guessed it), they're coming to get us.  As one diarist on the has noted:

"Donald Trump Said Much The Same Thing That Dylann Storm Roof Said Before He Pulled The Trigger (on 9 people at the Charleston church, since this is what happens when you stoke the fires of racism, bigotry, stupidity, hatred and fear.)

“I have to do it.  You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Dylann Storm Roof

I don't blame a sleazy businessman like Donald Trump for seeing an opportunity and making use of it.   White nationalists, no longer have the Ku Klux Klan.  So Trump will have to do.  But in 1994, why didn't anyone have the courage to pull the plug on "Radio Rwanda"?  It is probably for some of the same reasons that the American corporate media has refused to pull the plug on Trump.    

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cops' Political Convictions Drive Police Brutality against Blacks

We Americans believe in a secret ballot, so who's to say what political party the policemen in your town support?  Well actually, the political convictions of many cops are not the least bit secret.  How they see America and who should be running it becomes a neon-framed billboard every time we search for motives in police brutality cases against blacks. Cops who abuse minorities can not be weeded out, using psychological tests of mental stability. They're not psycho. They see themselves as fulfilling the unwritten clause in their job description.

Should policemen who support Donald Trump's candidacy for president, even be allowed within fifty feet of a black or Latino?  And how about those who, like Trump, believe that the. black man in the White House is an imposter with a Kenyan birth certificate and a Muslim to boot?  Can they be trusted to uphold the rule of law for everyone?

My point is that America has created a two-tiered society with a two-tiered criminal justice system.  The rule of law defines how the police will treat middle and upper class whites, while rhetorical speeches by the likes of Donald Trump provide the guidance cops use in their interaction with minorities.

The only way to halt police brutality  is to stop filling the police academies with the kind of uneducated rednecks, who see the president of the United States as just another "thug".   A college degree must become a prerequisite for police work.   I don't mean that a college education will transform bigotry into democratic principles.  Rather, I'm identifying the same "demographic" that helped put Barack Obama in office. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kim Davis and Cliven Bundy: Why are GOP Folk Heroes Such Creepy Human Beings

Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee
We all need heroes. But what is it with the folks who go from celebrating one trashy character to the next, plopping them atop a pedestal until its base crumbles into just another pile of manure.  Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to gays, claiming that it is forbidden by her religion.  But this "pious" woman has had such a busy social life, including premarital sex, a child out of wedlock, and the procession of husbands and divorces (at last count, three),  that she may have singlehandedly coined a new (albeit politically-incorrect) term in the English lexicon  -- "Christian slut".    But that hasn't stopped Reverend Mike Huckabee, GOP presidential candidate, from genuflecting at Kim Davis'  pedicured toes.  The County Clerk's supporters have even gone so far as to proclaim her to be the living embodiment of Civil Rights legend, Rosa Parks.  How dare they sully the name and reputation of a genuine hero, by comparing such a low-life as Davis to Mrs. Parks.  

Last year, the same FOX news crowd, conservatives and GOP hopefuls were celebrating Cliven Bundy as a latter day reincarnation of either Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Revere or Dr. Martin Luther King. Take your pick. Well that was until the free-loading rancher, who refused to pay fees for grazing his cattle on government land,  declared that "'the Negroes'  would be better if they were still

Let's not forget Josh Duggar, the former lobbyist for the conservative, anti-gay marriage Family Research Council.  This paragon of family values molested his sisters as a teen, got married, had four kids, and was caught prowling around the Ashley Madison site in search of new sex partners.  

Rogue Rancher Cliven Bundy
And yes, these are the same people who insist on calling twice elected President Barack Obama, a "thug".    

Monday, September 7, 2015

Is Modern Art the Infantilizing of Western Creativity (Or to Be more Blunt --Is it a Con?)

I'm not sure who originated the following quip:  "I can do that (in response to viewing a work of modern art)" for which the proper repartee would be "Yeah, but you didn't". I just finished reading a provocative article in   entitled: "Here's Why You Should Stop Saying 'I Could Do That' About Art".  Not only was I not persuaded by the author's points, but the whole subject kind of got me mad.

It is indeed true that some forms of human creativity require a prerequisite knowledge in order to enjoy the craftsmanship of what's being listened to or observed. After all, what value would Shakespeare or Toni Morrison have to someone who had never left the isolated island he grew up on and had thus never even heard of such a tool as "reading"?

Several weeks ago, my sister and I spent a quiet afternoon viewing the works of art in a modern museum, which will remain nameless.  We were alone in the galleries, while everyone else in this  architecturally stunning museum either sat in the cafe, chatting with friends and associates over well-brewed coffee and finger sandwiches or browsed in the gift shop.  I was transfixed by several works. But I would have to admit that overall the critics of the art critics are right.

Maybe not a toddler, but certainly a middle schooler, could conceive and execute much of the art exhibited on the walls of this museum. As for why they don't, the reason isn't that it's harder than it looks.  It is rather that in Western culture, the creative impulse is stomped out of children after kindergarten. The making of a disciplined work force becomes the top priority of formal education.  The creative talents of an entire society are suppressed, while only a trickle of students  have the stubbornness and fortitude to defy everyone's expectations.  Yes, stubbornness and fortitude should be rewarded. But here's the thing.  Most members of this outlier group will also be shoved aside in time, as a different type of winnowing process occurs at the level of art critics and galleries. Those either with connections, or sheer "trump'smanship" will be embraced by the critics who give value to art.

I'm not saying that everyone could produce a Picasso. But what I am saying is this.  Rather than costing $50 million, it would probably sell for $1500, to distinguish this man's artist genius from what the rest of us might create and at least in our youth have had our beloved mothers tape to the refrigerator door.  If our educational system nurtured the creativity in all students rather than trampling on it like ridding itself of an annoying insect, then the rest of us wouldn't grow up to be so cut off from the art that flows through every human's soul.  It is that loss, that suppurating  wound that propels us to project our own creative yearnings on to those identified by the art critics as the appropriate recipients. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Christians Opposing Gay Marriage Found Sneaking Around on Ashley Madison

I'm sure the psychiatrists have a sophisticated term for this type of behavior. But for convenience sake let's just call it "scapegoating".   I'm flummoxed by the growing list of names belonging to the kinds of gay-marriage bashing Christians, who are now turning up on the Ashley Madison list.  I believe that marriage is sacred and I'm also beginning to know for certain that these hypocrites are the ones destroying that institution, while blaming gays. Such heartless cruelty makes me physically ill.  

One of the first such names to turn up on the hacked list of Ashley Madison clients was anti-gay activist, Josh Duggar. He has now admitted that he made yet another "mistake" and while he was trawling for hot mamas, he somehow became addicted to porn.  Duggar lost his job as executive director of the lobbying arm of the anti-gay marriage Family Research Council, when the fact that he had molested his sisters came to light.  And now this.  Poor Anna Duggar is now stuck with no education, four kids and a child-molesting, unemployed husband, adulterer and porn addict. 

Sam Rader is a popular Christian vlogger, whose Youtube went viral  in a clip where he tried to convince his five year old daughter that gay marriage was a bad thing. He has now admitted that he too had a paid Madison Ashley account, but insists that he never used it.    

Perhaps hoping to blunt the impact of more such revelations from anti-Gay marriage Christians, a columnist for Christian Today has now denounced the leakage of the Ashley Madison list, declaring the sneaky behavior of the hackers, downright unChristian. 

Maybe we can find a morality tale in all of this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reflecting on Ashley Madison's Leaked Names

Ashley Madison Leaks
I believe in privacy, so forth and so on. . . But I also believe in the sanctity of marriage, whether you're straight or gay.  We do not live in a religious society that mandates certain forms of moral behavior, for whom transgressors get their heads chopped off.  And our own home-grown Puritans are long in their graves.    But that does not mean that we should not choose our behaviors wisely.  Cheating destroys families.  Divorce does rip to pieces the vulnerable hearts of kids caught up in custody fights. If two people can't get along, each must ask what they're demanding of the other that they lack the maturity to provide for themselves.  I except of course cases of physical abuse, where the hateful behaviors are so deeply entrenched in the brain cells of perpetrators, that nothing will fix them.

Marriage is a spiritual journey, not a phony religious ritual for which pretense is the operative term.  When two people come together in marriage, regardless of what their physical age may be, it begins a process of growing into adulthood and healing the wounds locked up in their mutual child-like neediness.    Easier said than done, admittedly.  But romantic love does evolve into something more enduring as we fight our way through our mistakes, learning to forgive in the sure knowledge that two partners in a marriage don't grow together.  The trick is to give our partner a safe space to heal from a crisis, and they will do the same for us when our turn rolls around.  But how do I know that this will happen? It is because that is the way the human heart works. And this is also how the delicious narcissism of romantic love evolves into something unconditional and enduring.

These lessons I've learned from 28 years of marriage to a partner as imperfect as I. It has been the process of overcoming crises that has opened my eyes and heart to the fact that we do not find our soul mate. We sculpt them with the chisel hardened by acknowledging the pain our mistakes have caused others.      

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Yes, There Really is a Simple, Low-Cost and Humanitarian Solution to the European Immigration Crisis

The European Immigration Crisis
The headlines from Europe are becoming ever more dire.  African and Middle East immigrants are drowning by the hundreds in the Mediterranean.  Smugglers are murdering the men and selling women into sex slavery.  Yes, this is a humanitarian crisis.  But it has escalated to its current state because  Westerners see immigrants not as fully-formed humans like themselves, but rather as sheep.

 Changing the European mindset is not as easy as it may seem because paternalism is so deeply embedded in the consciousness of Westerners.  These migrants may be poor and desperate for a better life, but they're neither suicidal nor stupid.  When bombs are falling on a Syrian town and the invading army is shooting everything in sight, civilians flee -- all of them.  This becomes a genuine refugee crisis. Anything short of certain death is a decision.  Some people choose to leave their homelands in order to follow dreams that have been concocted from rumors they have heard or drawn from imported movies and television sit-coms, which paint Europe as the promised land.  But most people stay put. In short, when hundreds of thousands of Africans and Middle Easterners pay their life-savings to smugglers from countries that are not at war, it is because they're following a dream.

These immigrants are not paying smugglers to take them to Japan or China because these countries have not woven a post-colonialist fantasy about their countries being nirvana with porous borders. 
The problem Europe has with immigrants is the same one America faces.  And that is dishonesty. If large numbers of migrants weren't being hired for their cheap labor, they wouldn't come.  The real problem is that cheap labor in the developed world is as addictive as crack cocaine.  But as with drug addiction, everyone is in denial. 

If Westerners don't want the cultural and economic strains caused by boat-loads of foreign migrants, then hire some local advertising agencies, probably the same ones that market Coca Cola and Marlboro cigarettes in these countries, because they're good at what they do. Broadcast news reports in the local languages of the regions that people are emigrating from.   Shatter that dream.  Announce that jobs will not await them.  Their wives and children might be sold into slavery, or there's a good chance they'll drown. If this is indeed the situation and not just media hype, then show them. Remember,  you're dealing with human beings not sheep.  If bombs are not falling on their village, eventhough life isn't quite what they would like for it to be at home, they'll shelve their European fantasies and create other, safer options for their lives.  But if Europeans get a silent thrill from wanting the developing world to believe that they really are Papa, then the European Union must shoulder that costly burden and stop grumbling about it.

RELATED POST:  America's Addiction to Cheap Labor: What Both Sides of the Immigration Debate Overlook

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Why ISIS is a Creation of America Rather than the Muslim World

Kayla Mueller Murdered by ISIS

This is a painful post for me to write. But my discomfort is nothing in comparison to the horror and anguish the family of Kayla Mueller are feeling with the knowledge that their daughter was not only murdered by ISIS (also known as ISIL), but held as a sex slave by its leader for months before she was executed.  According to the headline article in USA Today:
Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who died in February while being held by the Islamic State, was repeatedly raped during captivity by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terror group's top leader, according to counter-terrorism officials and Mueller's family.

ISIS is the monster and we, yes we good citizens of the United States are its Dr. Frankenstein. In 2002, the Arab League pleaded with the Bush Administration not to invade Iraq. They warned that the unintended consequences would, and I quote: "open the gates of Hell".  According to a CNN report on September 5, 2002:  
- A U.S. war against Iraq would "open the gates of hell" in the Middle East, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said on Thursday.

These Muslim leaders were not just blabbering to hear themselves talk. Rather, despite their cultural pride,  they were begging George Bush and his neo-conservative cronies to reconsider and understand  the chaos such an invasion would unleashed.  

But in the end, the Muslim heads of state were slapped down by America, the mighty superpower, who doesn't have to listen to anyone.  We forgot the lesson our favorite superhero taught: "with great power comes great responsibility".   Of course self-knowledge can be a bummer.  The alternative is the growing number of American gun stores and shooting ranges calling themselves "Muslim-free zones".

While we may or may not be able to contain the Islamic State, we can begin the process of trying George Bush and his Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes.

RELATED POST:    America Needs War Crimes Tribunal: ISIS Beheadings Just Another Consequence of U.S. Invasion of Iraq

Friday, August 14, 2015

Are "Black Thugs" Target Practice for Anti-Abortionists

GOP Presidential candidate Ben Carson declared that the main cause of death for blacks was abortion.   While the Black Republican may have intended for his statement to generate sympathy for anti-abortionists, it merely got me to thinking.

The same GOP that is campaigning to close down Planned Parenthood and end all abortions, is composed of those folks, who insist on referring to unarmed blacks killed by cops as "thugs".  (Some of them even go so far as to call our Black commander-in-chief a "thug" but at least they don't do it in public.)

And that brings me to the point of this post.  If all blacks killed by the police for any reason are "thugs" in the minds of these white conservatives, why would they want to bring more of these people into the world?  Target practice comes to mind.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Did the Mathematicians Kill Theoretical Astrophysics?

Did Mathematics Destroy Astrophysics?
Ever since I read Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" (four times) in sixth grade I had wanted to be an astronomer.  I yearned to understand life, nature, how we got here, by exploring the infinite cosmos. But life had other plans for me.  The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King during the spring of my sophomore year knocked that goal off course.  As a black student at Harvard and a product of the Civil Rights Movement, astronomy seemed too effete, too irrelevant to the needs of my community in distress.  I became a historian instead, seeking answers to life's existential questions in the narrative of human behavior.

To be honest, there were times when I regretted that decision.  But those feelings of nostalgia dissolved over the years as I watched astronomers and theoretical astrophysicists enter a realm of fantasy no less detached from the real world than religious belief.    String, superstring theory, the multiverse hypotheses were mathematical formulations that answered fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. But they were theologies, disguised as science.  Advanced mathematics was their "ecclesiastical Latin,"  used to keep their congregants in awe of, but unable to penetrate their foundational theories.  

It was in picking up a copy of Professor Lee Smolin's book, The Problem with Physics, (a book I read five times), that expression was given to my unease regarding the direction astrophysics had taken in recent decades.  Prof. Smolin, who founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada has since expanded on these ideas with two new books, Time Reborn and The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time, written in collaboration with philosopher of Science, Roberto Mangabeira Unger , who teachs at Harvard Law School.  

These books are readable, but also depressing, in suggesting that for the past several decades, so little progress has been made in the search for a "theory of everything", which would unify quantum mechanics and the macro-world in which we live, because some of the best scientific minds have been hijacked by theories that, like religion, are unprovable by scientific experimentation. These theories, though glamorous, gained a powerful hold over university physics' departments, leading the most promising students to either sign on to them or risk having no future at all in the field.

If you want to know what's wrong with theories of multiverses, infinite universes, and the multiplicity of superstring theories that declare the world is made up of any number of hidden dimensions, please read Prof. Smolin for the details.  The basic issues are not, however, hard to grasp. Scientists had been stuck for decades in their search for a principle that unified the laws governing the world we see, with those of subatomic particles.  The behavior of atoms was determined by quantum mechanics, laws that seemed nonsensical in the observable world. How could light be both a wave and a particle?  How was it possible for an atomic particle to be at two places at one time, a process known as quantum entanglement.  These weirdnesses could not be dismissed, however preposterous they might seem, because the actual functioning of modern technology from radios to cellphones were based on them.

The mathematicians entered the confusion and began propounding numerical theories.  But the problem as Smolin points out in his work is the fact that the human brain can devise an infinite number of mathematical abstractions. Just because mathematical formulas can be constructed to explain natural phenomena, does not mean that these solutions are applicable to what happens in the real world.   As a consequence, mathematics gave us an infinite number of so-called real worlds. It is a beautiful notion that caught the public's imagination.  Who wouldn't want to believe so soothing a theology as that every bad decision we made in life was reversed in a different universe?


The Death of "Anti-Semitism" as a Meaningful Term to Describe Hatred of Jews

The label "Anti-Semitism" has officially lost its moral imperative. Sadly, there are still people who hate Jews out of an ugliness of heart and scapegoating cowardice in facing their own demons. But Israeli Prime Minister. Benjamin Netanyahu has seen to it that the word no longer describes such folks. It is rather tossed about as a political label for whomever disagrees with his policy pronouncements.

Members of Congress who disagreed with the Iraq invasion were labeled "Anti-Semitic."  The fact that Democrats supported the worse foreign policy blunder in U.S. history was in large measure caused by fear that they would be labeled with that loathsome term. Since that time, anyone supporting Palestinian statehood, or denouncing extremist Jews building  settlements in the Palestinian territories, or supporting America's diplomatic victory in devising a peace agreement with Iran has been smeared with that epithet.

The term "Anti-Semitism" has become so misused that it is even being applied to progressive American Jews who support the Obama Administration's refusal to go to war with Iran.  I am not a lexicographer. But, without a meaningful label to identify people who really wish the Jews harm, the Netanyahu regime has become its own worst enemy.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Yellowstone Will Euthanize Bear Tired of Feeding Cubs from Stolen Picnic Baskets

Grizzly bear with cubs
 Actually Yellowstone officials will probably put down both cubs along with their overprotective mother after a tragic incident in which a hiker was killed. I'm a suburban mom, not a wilderness expert. So I do sympathize with the argument of park officials regarding their concern for the safety of 3 million visitors a year. Their argument is that having fed off the hiker's corpse, the mama bear will teach her cubs to see all humans as fast food (click here).

I feel dreadful about this man's death. And yet the decision to euthanize the bears both breaks my heart and raises troubling questions.

 I apologize for not putting my queries more delicately. But aren't wild bears scrounging up food for their young supposed to eat mammals luckless enough to cross their path alone and without bear spray or any other defensive device? Does the "bear management program" at Yellowstone secretly tame the bears so they grow up believing that swatting trout from streams and stealing picnic baskets are their main food sources? In short, are our national parks just glorified zoos? Rather than keep the grizzlies in cages, are they instead cognitively conditioned in some artificial or even objectionable way?  Would it be through some kind of electroshock or aversion therapy by animal psychologists working at Yellowstone? Park officials could be  training these bears to feed their cubs on  leftover cupcakes tossed in the trash but not the walking steak dinners that threw them away? 

If such is the case, why not insist that all tourists to the park be given a 15 minute survival course and pepper or bear spray?  At least that way, the cubs could grow up to be bears rather than facsimiles of a Yogi the bear cartoon character for whom the consolation prize for those failing to make the cut would be death.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trump and Megyn Kelly Don't Get Along Because They're Too Much Alike

Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump
Yes, Donald Trump's sexist quip to Megyn Kelly, accusing her of posing hard questions at the Republican debate because "she had blood wherever," was crude and unconscionable.  But let's be frank about this Donald Trump-Megyn Kelly rift.  Trump treats Ms. Kelly like just another high-paid stripper at one of his nightclubs, because, well. . . maybe that's the way he sees her.  The woman is not a journalist. She is a television personality, whose high-paid job has, for the past six years, been to fan white male rage at the Obama Administration, wrapped in pink lace.  A recent article in Media Matters laid out Megyn Kelly's long history of making offensive remarks about minorities.

Trump believes, whether or not it is true, that he knows Kelly, that he understands what motivates her. The billionaire businessman turned presidential candidate probably also thinks that he could buy her loyalty and respect if he were willing to pay the right price.   And whose fault is that?

For years, Megyn Kelly pulled on a short skirt, high heels, blond hair extension clips and traipsed down to the FOX News studio in order to sell her soul for money.   The target audience are the kinds of men  who would take a shotgun to the tv screen if the female newscaster looked and dressed like former first lady Barbara Bush.  So, maybe Trump and Megyn Kelly are just too much alike.

RELATED POST:  Fox News Pays Ambitious Young Women for Talking Dirty