THE HATRED TOWARDS JEWS

When a friend informed the late comedian Alan King, that he had converted to Judaism, King characteristically replied-“Congratulations. You’re now entitled to 2000 years of retroactive persecution.” This was illustrated just last week by a little reported incident that occurred at the recently concluded Olympics. A weight lifting competition in the first round pitted an Israeli athlete against an Egyptian. The Israeli won, and extended his arm to shake the Egyptian’s hand, as is customary in all Olympic competitions, but the Egyptian refused to shake the hand of a Jew. Even though Israel has diplomatic relations with Egypt, and even though the professed Olympics goal is to promote peace, harmony,  goodwill and friendship among all participating nations through sports competition. It further illustrates how an all-consuming hatred toward Jews among all Arab counties and citizens in the Mid-East is virtually universal, and largely accounts for the reason that almost all Arab countries are such a basket case upon the world stage. As I’ve stated before, hate hollows out the container it’s kept in, from the inside out.

Hatred in the Mid-East, not only toward Israel, but also toward fellow Arabs through sectarian rivalries is as common as sand in Saudi Arabia. All Arab nations (with the possible exception of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia) are total economic and social disaster areas. A place where Islamic Jihadist terror groups thrive like weeds in an unkempt garden. Where economic living conditions are barely sustainable, and yet, are on an unstoppable downhill slide. Where ideological obsessions trump all standards of decency and rationality. For not only is there an all-consuming hatred toward Jews, but a similar type of bigotry exists between the Shia and Sunni factions of Islam, even though there are only minor ideological differences between the two sects. And, of course, you have Iran, a non-Arab but fanatical Moslem state whose ayatollahs routinely threaten to wipe Israel off the map. Which is a distinct possibility since Iran has supposedly armed Hezbollah, a devoutly terrorist organization located in Lebanon, with as many as 100 thousand missiles, all aimed at Israel.

And then, of course, there is the Palestinian problem. The Palestinians want their own nation consisting of the West Bank and Gaza. The problem is how to exist side-by-side with a people seeking your total destruction. The Gaza Strip is now all Palestinian, but is ruled by the terrorist organization known as Hamas. There have been at least 3 wars between Israel and Hamas, who is quite willing to sacrifice the lives of their people by the thousands, if it leads to resultant Israeli deaths. And a fourth war seems to be on the horizon. In the supposedly more moderate West Bank, Arab “martyrs” are given special places of honor in Palestinian society. “Martyrs” who have stabbed to death unarmed Israeli civilians peacefully going about their business. Who have murdered babies in their cribs, and recently stabbed to death a 13 year old Israeli girl sleeping in her bed. Whose very charter calls for the total destruction of the nation of Israel. Yes, Israeli settlements on the West Bank have dramatically complicated the task of those seeking a two state solution. My feeling is, however, that you cannot have a two-state solution when there is such huge enmity on both sides of the fence. Only a one state solution is possible, but that won’t happen until the level of hatred among both Jews and Moslems subsides. It will probably take another couple of hundred years or so through the evolutionary process for all this hate to run its course.

When Israel was first formed shortly after WWII, surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war and sought destruction of the Jewish state, but Israel prevailed. In the years after, while Israel began to thrive, while most surrounding Arab nations saw their economies and cultures go steadily downhill. In the past 70 years, the Arab world rid itself of over 900,000 of its Jewish citizens, but still held onto its hatred of them. Over that period this hatred has proved fatal to Arab society. A combination of lost human capital, ruinously expensive wars, and mis-directed ideological obsessions have taken a huge toll on most Arab nations in the Mid-East. And yet the beat goes on, unabated, with no end in sight.

Of course, the entire spectacle of anti-semitism began in Europe, shortly after the death of Jesus, when the Roman Empire drove most Jews out of their homeland, with many migrating to various European countries. It wasn’t long after, that the Catholic Church in Rome began labeling Jews as “Christ killers” thereby setting off a wave of pogroms and bigotry against a small minority of each country’s inhabitants. Never mind the irony of the fact that Jesus was a Hebrew Rabbi, and that all his disciples were Jews, and that Christianity didn’t exist when Jesus strode this planet. And it wasn’t just Catholic bigotry. Martin Luther, who launched the Protestant movement in the 15th century, was rabidly anti-semitic, and posted many writings on church doors, expressing his virulent hatred toward Jews. And, of course, the hit parade of violence against Jews would not be complete without mention of the Spanish Inquisition, during which Jews were burned at the stake in  order to purify their souls for entrance into Heaven. One could even make a cogent argument that the Holocaust could never have taken place if Europeans had not been injected with the anti-semitic virus over nearly 2000 years. After all, it took hundreds of thousands of European bureaucrats to provide the logistics, trains and bodies that enabled Nazi death camps to function so efficiently.

After WWII, anti-semitism in Europe was pretty much forced to retreat into the shadows but never really disappeared. Today, Jew haters in Europe now feel free to come out into the open, and express their enmity toward “Zionists” as if that was any different than anti-semitism. The United States is probably the only friend Israel has left in the world today. One can only wonder how long that will likely last.

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FOREIGN POLICY DISARRAY

George Washington, the first president of the United States, was also the last president to preside over a fairly unified country. Washington ruled for two complete terms during an era of general goodwill, but when he left office fierce bickering and character assassinations began occurring among the rest of our founding fathers, such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and others. The attacks on John Adams, our second president, became so virulent that Adams pushed through Congress a series of anti-sedition laws that were in direct violation of the freedom of speech and press provisions of the Bill of Rights. These laws made criticism of the presidency an act of treason with severe penalties attached. Thomas Jefferson, our third president,  who co-wrote the Declaration of Independence with Adams, became a fierce critic of Adams and his anti-sedition laws, and to Jefferson’s credit, he managed to have them repealed during his term in the White house. He accomplished little else after that, however. But amid all the back-biting going on among our leaders in those early days of the Republic, there was one concept that they apparently all agreed upon. And that was George Washington’s admonition that the U.S. should not become entangled in the affairs of foreign nations. In other words the U.S. should follow a policy of isolationism.

Protected by huge oceans to our east and west, and mostly friendly countries to our north and south, the U.S. with a few exceptions during the 19th and early 20th centuries adhered fairly strictly to to the Washingtonian concept of non-interference with other nations internal affairs. After all, it wasn’t as if foreign countries could launch bomber or missile attacks on U.S. soil. This policy of isolationism received a severe setback however, as the U.S. became militarily involved in WWI shortly after the election of 1916. With U.S. allies including Britain, France and Russia bogged down in a trench warfare stalemate with Germany that neither side seemed capable of breaking, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson deemed that it was necessary for U.S. intervention to break that stand-off. As a side note, more soldiers on both sides died from disease caused by the filthy, disgusting conditions of the trenches they occupied, than from the opposing side’s bullets. In any event, U.S. involvement quickly broke the stalemate, and, of course, the Allies went on to defeat Germany and end the war. To help change the American mindset from isolationism to intervention, composers such as George M. Cohan wrote patriotic songs in support of the war effort. You can still hear theses tunes, such as “Over There” on YouTube.

With WWI, “the war to end all wars” concluded, the U.S. populace believed it was safe, once again, to retreat back into a comfy, cozy state of isolationism. But the 20 year respite between the conclusion of WWI and the outbreak of WWII showed otherwise. The U.S. was so militarily unprepared for war in 1941 because of isolationist policies, that if Japan could had invaded our West Coast right after bombing Pearl Harbor, the Roosevelt Administration was prepared to cede all U.S. land west of Chicago before attempting to take a military stand. With the unbelievable horrors, atrocities and just pure evil emanating from WWII, and with new threats to world peace on the horizon from Communist Russia and China, a policy of non-intervention in world affairs seemed unthinkable to the American public. Isolationism appeared to be dead as a doornail, (as Ebenezer Scrooge might have put it.) Of course, a subsequent policy of global interventionism has not turned out to be all that terrific either.

It led to the Korean War in which we only able to save half of the Korean peninsula from tyrannical despotism, and then to that fiasco known as Viet-Nam where nearly 60 thousand American lives perished as well as hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, in a jungle war we eventually lost anyhow. And then on to the first Gulf War which let tyrant dictator Saddam Hussein remain in power, and then to the second gulf war which removed him from power at considerable cost in lives and treasure, and which also left chaos in its place. Also along the way during the 50 years after WWII, an anti-communist, “better dead than red” mentality sprung up in the U.S which cost us needless trillions of dollars that were spent beefing up our military-industrial complex in preparation for war against the old USSR which then collapsed under the weight of its own despotism.

Hence when Barack Obama moved into the Oval office in January 2009, people were generally fed up with globalism and ready to return back to a more isolationist policy. Obama appeared to comply with these sentiments by proclaiming that “America will lead from behind” when it came to military initiatives on the world stage. In other words, the U.S. would considerably lower its profile in world events. But there were serious consequences to that position. The U.S. is apparently the one indispensable nation in world affairs, and when it retreats, evil despotism seems to move into the vacuum. And so it has, as Islamic-Jihadist barbarianism has taken hold in the Mid-East countries of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, as well as launching terror attacks in Europe, and even in the U.S. The token bombing raids that we’ve launched against these terrorists have hardly seemed to make a dent in their operations. And let us not forget the despotic tyrant of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who has launched unprovoked military action against the Ukraine, which has led to the deaths of thousands, while we’ve stood by and again did nothing. As far as foreign policy goes, “leading from behind” seems to be pretty much failure.

To top it all off, neither of our two presidential candidates, one of which will be in the Oval Office next January, seems to be offering up any new initiatives to offset Obama’s mostly failed foreign policy. Maybe the U.S. is just too worn out, too burdened by debt and fatigue, to launch any new meaningful action on the world stage. As I’ve written many times before, perhaps it’s the inevitable destiny of powerful empires like Rome before us, to reach the zenith of its strength, and then watch that strength slowly dissipate  into dust.

 

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WHITE PRIVILEGE

When Richard Nixon ran for presidency for the second time, 1968 had already become one of the most turbulent periods in American history. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had brutally inflamed both white and minority citizens across the country. Although the walls of Jim Crow segregation had finally began to crumble, blacks and other minorities, for the most part, still found themselves confined to the rat infested ghettoes of the inner cities that were riddled with crime, drugs prostitution and other horrors. During protests over the MLK killing, these slums in most cities were set afire in protest over the horrible living conditions that blacks still had to endure after 250 years of slavery in America, followed by another 100 years of of Jim Crow semi-slavery. There were also massive marches and protests over the growing unpopularity of the Viet-Nam war which had already claimed tens of thousands of American lives in addition to the hundreds of thousands Viet-Nam dead. To say that for most Americans, the world had been turned upside down would be an understatement. But for Richard Nixon, a golden opportunity had presented itself.

During the election that year, Nixon developed two strategies that would propel him to the White House. The first was his Southern Strategy. Ever since Republican Abe Lincoln had set the slaves free during the Civil War, the South had voted solidly Democratic in election after election. Even though Southern Democrats were usually highly conservative and generally racist, especially compared to their more liberal Northern counterparts, Southerners kept pulling the levers for for the Democratic Party through Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and into the 1940s. That began to change in 1948 when a young Democratic Senator named Hubert Humphrey induced his party to begin championing the civil rights of blacks and other minorities. (Humphrey would eventually become his Party’s nominee in 1968 and lose to Nixon.) While the black population in most southern states was significant, and would generally vote Democratic, they were no match for the white majority in these states that began to vote as a bloc for Republicans. This would give Nixon and his party an assured 200 or so electoral college votes in all future presidential elections, in a system where it takes 270 to win. Today, in the 2016 election, Nixon’s Southern Strategy is still in full blossom.

Nixon’s second strategy was to appeal to the nation’s “Silent Majority” which was primarily comprised of older white people that had become fed-up with massive anti-war demonstrations and the arson being committed in most inner city slums. Sound familiar? Today at almost all the GOP rallies, you’ll see people holding signs saying “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump.” As the song goes- “everything old is new again.” And, of course, this so-called silent majority is almost exclusively white. And why shouldn’t the majority of whites favor the GOP. It’s not whites, for the most part, that have to inhabit inner-city ghettoes. It isn’t whites that still face residual racism and discrimination in housing, employment, wages, social mobility and other areas. Hence, it’s primarily older whites that are propelling the Trump candidacy and placing a highly deranged, vulgar, obnoxious snake oil salesman peddling a neo-fascist and xenophobic elixir, within hailing distance of the Oval Office. The GOP is betting that the white majority in this country is still large enough to get The Donald the 270 electoral college votes he needs to be the next president. Even with hardly any support from minorities or younger white people. And since the Democrats have such a damaged candidate in Hillary Clinton, the Republicans are probably right.

As for Richard Nixon, he won 2 landslide elections and had many accomplishments; but his volatile and narcissistic personality, similar to Trumps, eventually did him in. He did end the Viet-Nam war to a great sigh of relief from the American public. He initiated diplomatic relations with China, which was a huge foreign policy initiative. Probably one of the top five foreign policy achievements of the 20th century. He significantly raised spending levels for health, education, and welfare. He even tried to legislate for universal health care; but, ironically, it was the Democrats that foiled him in that attempt. It didn’t go far enough, they said. But like Trump, Nixon had a fragile personality disorder. He kept an “enemies list” of people he thought were out to get him or do him in. If you were on Nixon’s enemies list, you were likely to receive a visit from an IRS agent seeking to audit your tax returns. He got involved and sought to cover up a break-in by some GOP low-level thugs of of Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in D.C. Nixon was re-elected in 1972 in a massive landslide, winning 49 out of 50 states. However, the Watergate scandal, as it came to be known, seemed to mushroom from petty larceny by some Republican hacks to presidential felony cover-up.

Two reporters from the Washington Post, Woodward and Bernstein, gained huge reputations for themselves by uncovering the sleazy details of the Watergate cover-up, and Nixon’s involvement. The air was steadily seeping out of the Nixon presidential balloon until, one day, Congressional members of his own party came to the White House and told him he had to resign the presidency or face impeachment. Nixon thus became the first president to resign from the Oval Office and lived out the remainder of his days in disgrace and humiliation.

Today, thanks to a majority of white voters, we’re on the verge of putting into the White House, a man that has an almost exact replica of Nixon’s personality disorder. As Yogi Berra might have put it, it’s like deja vu all over again.

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THE LAST STAND OF HUMAN DECENCY

How many of you believe that Fox News host Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her whatever,” when she grilled Donald Trump during an early Republican debate. Do you further “like people that weren’t captured,” in reference to John McCain’s hellish 6 years as a POW in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” during the Viet-Nam war. Do you believe that Rafael Cruz (Sen. Ted Cruz’s father) was complicit with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Speaking of Ted Cruz, do you believe that calling him “Lyin’ Ted” is appropriate or that maliciously maligning his wife on Twitter was the decent thing to do. Do you agree that we should torture captured terrorists “just for the fun of it.” Do you further believe that an American born Judge will be biased against Trump because of the Judge’s Spanish heritage, when ruling on the law suit against that swindle known as Trump University, which is now defunct. As defunct as Trump’s four casino fiascos in Atlantic City that also went belly up, leaving all the investors except Trump, holding the financial bag, as the case wended its way through bankruptcy court. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

If any of you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you’re definitely a Trump supporter. There are millions of you out there. Welcome to 2016 America, where common human decency has taken a leave of absence among the American electorate. In another time, when at least some vestiges of human decorum were still evident in the American psyche, any one of the above statements would have been a disqualifier when seeking the office of the presidency. But not this year. Instead the media has been lapping up each of Trump’s brutish pronouncements, like a thirsty puppy lapping up it’s water. Trump’s candidacy only took hold because of the tons and tons of free media exposure of his uncivil bloviating comments. And it will likely play out this way right up until election day. If this wasn’t troubling enough, lets take a look of some of the characters jumping on the Trump bandwagon.

David Duke may not be a household name, but he does have a distinct claim to fame. He used to be the Grand Master of the Ku Klux Klan, before he resigned some years ago to run for the Senate on the Republican ticket in Louisiana. He came within an eyelash of winning that election; and upon his loss he went into “talk radio.” From that vantage point, he has had the freedom of speech to not only daily castigate blacks and Jews, but all people considered as “foreigners.” Last week he announced that he would once again run for the Senate in Louisiana as a Republican. He stated that Trump’s candidacy gave him the inspiration to take this course of action. He was lavish in his praise of Trump’s run for the White House. Earlier in the campaign when Duke was out and about praising Trump, The Donald was asked by the media if he would dis-avow David Duke’s support. It took Trump two days of hemming and hawing before he finally choked out an “Okay, I dis-avow.” But that hasn’t stopped the current leadership of the KKK from formally endorsing Trump as “their kind of guy.” Also coming to Cleveland last week to protect Trump from any possible harm was an outfit called Bikers of America, which is basically a collection of motorcycle gang thugs, who also consider Trump to be their kind of guy.

Trump supporters will tell you that while The Donald may have numerous and serious flaws, it’s still better having him in the Oval Office instead of Hilary Clinton. And there is no question that Hilary has run up voluminous political baggage over the last 30 years or so. The worst being sending and receiving classified government e-mails on an unprotected server in her own home. This type of action was especially reckless in that she had presidential aspirations when the servers were set up. One could call it felony stupidity. But on the other hand, if stupidity was a felony, they couldn’t build jails fast enough to house all the inmates. My sense is that she will have to publicly deal with both the e-mail and the Benghazi fiascos if she has any hope of winning the election. She needs to point out that none of the e-mails on her server compromised U.S. security, and that the lax response to the Benghazi crises was more the result of the CIA station chief’s failure to request immediate help and support. If she can’t do that she’s finished politically.

So there you have it. The two most unpopular and disgraced people in public life have somehow made off with their party’s nomination for the presidency. One of them will be entering the Oval Office come next January. It’s somewhat understandable when one watches the mindless chanting and banner waving at the two political conventions. As if nirvana will prevail if their candidate wins the election. As if, everyday, when we get up in the morning, the sun will shine, the birds will chirp, and we’ll all go tip-toeing through the tulips in carefree abandonment, with bliss and joy in our hearts.

Dream on America. Because the reality is that 2016 may be the year that human decency in America finally expires, and what’s left in its place is a swampy wasteland.

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THE SUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT

When Shakespeare wrote the “Winter of Our Discontent” in 1594, he was talking about the travails of Richard III, and the royal family’s various crises at that time. Pretty small potatoes compared to to the world’s summer of discontent here in 2016 because of recent events.  Events that have shook the planet to its very foundation, and have made it appear that civilization as we know it is unraveling at a rapid rate. The latest episode being the killing of three Louisiana cops by a deranged former Marine seeking revenge for the police shooting of a non-threatening black man at a traffic stop in Baton Rouge for no good apparent reason. Preceded by the assassination of five Dallas cops and the wounding of six more, by another unhinged lone wolf. This time, in apparent retribution for another cop killing of another apparently non-threatening black man at another traffic stop, this time in Minnesota. All this while an Islamic Jihadist went berserk on the French Riviera and murdered at least 84 people and injured dozens more that were watching a fireworks display in Nice celebrating Bastille Day. Further preceded by another Jihadist nut-job that killed 50 patrons of a gay bar in Florida, all in praise of Allah. Another tragedy flying just below the radar further took place this past weekend when the military tried to overthrow Turkey’s dictator, Recep Erdogan, who is slowly turning Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic state, not unlike the way the Ayatollahs transformed Iran after the Shah was overthrown. The coup attempt failed because Erdogan pleaded for an outpouring of religious fundamentalists into the streets of Istanbul, in protest. It worked and now there is wholesale retribution against those that attempted this coup. Just what the world needed. And all this before the hottest month of summer, August, has yet too begin.

Lets start with the police killings of what appear to be innocent black men. I wrote previously that these, apparently unjustified cop shootings of black men, are more likely the result of poor training at police academies rather than racist bigotry on the part of individual police officers. A mindset of shoot first and ask questions afterward. Knowing what a tinder box race relations are in this country at the present, I think its incumbent that a re-training program for all police be instituted across the land. Training that would focus on alternative solutions when dealing with non-leathal situations, other than blowing an individuals brains out. While police shootings of any individual, black or white, is indeed an unspeakable tragedy, especially when the situation that involves the police is non-life threatening, the fact remains that far more black men die at the hands of black criminals, rather than from any police action. If black lives truly matter, then a full court press against black gangs, drug dealers and other assorted low-life criminals should be a top priority. As well as establishing “enterprise zones” in black ghettos, that would offer decent paying jobs to unemployed young black people, affording them an opportunity to escape rat-infested slums once and for all. A concept originally put forth in the 1980s by Jack Kemp, a Republican who was also known as a “bleeding heart conservative.”

The fight against Islamic Jihadism also needs an all-court press to once and for all destroy all remnants of this terrorism wherever it may exist. A fight that unfortunately neither the United States nor Western Europe seems prepared to engage in. Whether it’s ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, the Taliban, or any other cut-throat terrorist organization, the ultimate goal of the Western world should be their total annihilation. But as I’ve pointed out before, just as the mighty Roman Empire, when at the zenith of their power, grew fat and lazy, and no longer had the will to fight the barbarians at their gates, so has the western world today become complacent regarding today’s barbarians. The Roman Empire over a period of centuries, eventually fell to the terrorists of those days, and Europe entered a long era known as the dark ages. Today’s barbarians, the Islamic Jihadists, know that if they stay the course, the same fate awaits western civilization. Just as the barbarians in the Roman’s time, today’s Jihadists play the long game. They’ve got all the time in the world to establish their “caliphate.” They know that the West won’t be brought to its knees overnight; it may, in fact, take hundreds of years. No problem, as long as they keep chipping away at Western resolve through prolific murder and sabotage.

When the evil of Nazism threatened the civilized world the the 20th century, the U.S. and Briton went into full war mode. Enormous sacrifices war made in blood and treasure. The U.S. sustained a great loss of lives on European battlefields and in the Pacific. On the home front, there were basic rationing and chronic shortages of food staples such as bread, flour, sugar, and dairy products. Fruits and vegetables were virtually non-existent in American food stores. Consumer products such as kitchen appliances or car tires were off the market as every factory was retooled for the war effort. (This at a time when tires barely lasted for 5000 miles.) While the American public was not happy about this state of affairs, they understood it was necessary to totally defeat the twin evils of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Think today’s westerners would be willing to endure similar sacrifices to totally destroy Islamic-Jihadists all over the globe. What a laugh. They wouldn’t even be willing to sacrifice acquiring the latest version of the I-Phone when it hits the markets. Meanwhile the terrorists keep playing the long game.

If you find all this troubling, plenty of diversion for your entertainment is coming this week in the form of the freak show known as the Republican Convention. Featuring maestro Donald Trump and his merry band of clowns. Soon to be followed by the Democratic Convention circus featuring Snow White, or, as she’s better known, Hillary Clinton, and her band of sycophants.

 

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UNIVERSAL IMPERATIVES

Toward the end of 1963, more than 50 years ago, I was a civilian working for the U.S.Army and assigned to perform an audit of the U.S.Army Material Command located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. I had just returned from a 3 year stint working overseas in Europe, also with the Army, (which I’ve previously written about) so coming to Huntsville, after I had lived in Paris for three years, was quite a shock. But Huntsville was considered quite progressive for the Deep South at the time. Besides the Army having a major presence, NASA’s Marshall Space Center was also located at Redstone Arsenal, which seemed like a small city unto itself. At least a couple of thousand personal worked at the Arsenal, many of whom were engineers or other technicians that were employed by both NASA and the Army. Many of these people had relocated from the North, which supposedly gave Huntsville its more progressive tinge.

Nevertheless,  Jim Crow segregation and racist laws were strictly enforced throughout Huntsville, which, after all, was still part of Alabama. I remember having what seemed endless arguments and discussions with local people employed by the Army in the same offices that I performed my work duties. I tried, repeatedly, to point out the sheer folly and stupidity of racism and segregation but it seemed as if I could never make a dent in their way of thinking. Their argument always came down to the same point of view. They didn’t need some Northern Yankee coming into their state and telling them how they should live their lives. It was all a matter of “states rights.” The moral injustice of Jim Crow seemed to never enter their psyches. At the time, Huntsville had one movie theater with an orchestra and balcony sections conveniently segregated. The orchestra was for whites only while blacks were confined to the balcony. I remember going to the movies one night, and to my surprise, two daring young black men came in and sat down in the orchestra, in the row in front of me. Next to them were seated two elderly white women who became shocked and chatted endlessly about this effrontery to Southern customs. Finally they quieted down and we all watched the movie in silence. This may have been the first act of willful desegregation throughout Alabama, if not the entire South.

It wasn’t long after that race riots erupted throughout most major U.S. cities, with entire city sections being set on fire and burnt to the ground. The huge turmoil and protest movements of the 1960s did have the effect of causing the Jim Crow walls of segregation to come tumbling to the ground, as well as enfranchising may blacks with the right to vote for the first time. But after all the protests, all the marches, and all the burnings, blacks for the most part, still remained confined to inner-city ghettos, where many still live today. Ghettos that are infested with crime, drugs, prostitution and gangs that are in a perpetual war with rival gangs. Not the most hospitable environment for promoting peace and tranquility. The 1960s were also a time of universal tragedy with the loss to America of  three of its most promising leaders. I remember discussing with friends about how the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were a blow that no civilized society could hope to recover from. Given the nature of the leadership the U.S. has endured since then, I believe I was right on the money.

So here we are 50 years later with a large potion of the black population, along with the growing Latino populace, still confined to those same inner-city slums. With an almost steady procession of white police shootings of what appears to be unarmed and non-threatening young black men for no good reason. While race is undoubtably a factor in these shootings, I believe poor police training is the primary cause. Too many cops are too trigger happy, with an attitude of shoot first and ask questions later. This comes from a lack of decent training from when these shooters were learning to become cops in their police academies. It certainly seems to be at play in the deaths of two non-threatening black men these past weeks. Which was culminated by an attack by a black assassin that gunned down 11 Dallas policemen, 5 of whom died, that were protecting peaceful protests of the previous shootings of black men. Followed by more protests by the Black Lives Matter group, of white police gunning down black men. But if black lives matter, as they do, how about addressing black on black crime in the inner cities that takes many more black lives than cops do. Does it appear that life in the U.S. at this juncture, seems to be coming apart at the seams, at least regarding race relations.

But perhaps I’ve been looking at this all wrong. Perhaps it’s a universal imperative that civilizations are meant to rise and then fall, in order to keep the universe in a certain balance. Scientists postulate that there was an abundance of water on Mars some 3.6 billion years ago. They further postulate that where there was water, there also had to be life. So perhaps Mars, at some point, some hundreds of millions or billions of years ago, had a thriving civilization, and eventually did themselves in through their own folly. Now, all that is left is dust. Perhaps the killings of the Kennedy brothers and MLK in the 1960’s was the universe’s way of telling us that civilization on Planet Earth is also on the way out.

As I’ve repeated many times before, Pogo may have been the greatest philosopher of all time when he said-“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 

Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Redstone Arsenal, NASA, Black Lives Matter, Recent Cop Killings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BREXIT AND OTHER HUMAN FOLLIES

The British vote to exit the European Union this past week, only goes to show that the United States has yet to corner the market on sheer, unadulterated stupidity. By a narrow vote, the normally staid and rational British decision to leave an organization designed to enhance free trade, facilitate easier travel throughout Europe, create a single currency, and grow the economies of all member states had deep-seated ramifications for the entire planet. Alan Greenspan who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve in this country for about 20 years called the Brexit vote the greatest financial disaster in his lifetime. J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter authorship fame stated that it was a victory for all the racists and bigots in the U.K. Indeed, the backlash among many Europeans to the migration of tens of thousands of Moslems into their midst because of all the horrors of war, terrorism and killings in the Mid-East, did provide  a strong motivation among the British against continued membership in the EU.

On Friday, financial markets around the globe took a nose dive because of the Brexit vote and lost $2 trillion. Over $2 trillion of the world’s wealth evaporated like the morning mist.The Dow-Jones in this country dropped over 600 points and the bloodletting seems to be continuing as the Dow is down another 300 points today even as I write this piece. British Prime Minister David Cameron, as decent a politician and leader as exists in today’s world, was forced to submit his resignation (effective in October) because he strongly opposed the United Kingdom’s exiting the EU. Scotland, on of the 4 member states comprising the UK, (along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland) voted in favor of remaining in the EU and is now talking about leaving the UK so it can stay in the EU. Scotland had previously voted on whether to free itself from British rule, and that measure lost by a narrow margin. Now it wants another such vote which would likely succeed this time around. The British themselves are now having buyer’s remorse with over 2 million signing a petition to have a do-over vote. They’re asking for a mulligan, if you will.

As with the Trump fantasy in this country, education and economic status played a huge role in the vote’s outcome. Over 70% of those with a college education or higher voted to remain in the EU, while a similar number with only a high-school or lower education desired an exit. Similar percentages existed with those in higher income brackets favoring remain, versus lower income classes voting for exit. In the U.S., Trump’s demagogic and xenophobic candidacy and following also has its primary support  from the lower economic and poorly educated masses. So what accounts for this type of division that now seems to becoming a world-wide phenomena. The answer may lie in the opening lines of Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” written in the 19th century, which goes-“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Dickens was describing conditions in London and Paris during that period, but a similar description can be written of the economic landscape in the U.S and Europe in today’s world.

Those British favoring exit kept dwelling on the EU’s fault-lines. Yes, the EU had a cumbersome bureaucracy which added unnecessarily to the cost of membership. Yes, it appeared that the cost burden to the UK of being a member exceeded the financial benefits being derived. Yes, there were a lot of seemingly unnecessary rules and regulations emanating from EU headquarters that people became fed up with. But those on the exit side failed to acknowledge that a ton of trade and tariff barriers among the EU states had been removed and that goods and services throughout Europe now flowed more freely, to everyone’s economic benefit. Now, Britain will have to renegotiate dozens if not hundreds of new trade agreements with its European counterparts, which could take many years. For those British that were doing well financially, it has indeed, been the best of times. But those struggling in the lower income brackets, who are also generally poorly educated, seem trapped financially with nothing but poverty to look forward to. For them it appears to be the worst of times. Or an opportunity for opportunistic politicians to move in and blame all their economic ills on that bumbling bureaucracy known as the  EU.

And so it goes in the U.S. as well. America has, by far, the most advanced economy the world has ever seen. For many Americans it’s the best of times with new innovations, new markets, new electronic gadgetry, and better living conditions seemingly advancing on a daily basis. But those on the lower end of the economic totem pole, usually lacking meaningful job skills, feel trapped by their lack of economic opportunity. Seeing how so many of their fellow citizens are living so well, while they’re engulfed in a financial quagmire, makes it, painfully, seem like the worst of times. Another opportunity for a power hungry demagogue such as Donald Trump to fill the vacuum. It’s not their fault that they’re living so poorly he tells the masses. Blame the Mexicans, the Chinese, our NATO partners in Europe, all Moslems, etc. for your economic difficulties. Peddled as skillfully as snake oil salesmen of the 19th century peddled their worthless elixirs, Trump’s neo-fascist demagogic skills now put him within hailing distance of becoming the most powerful man in the world.

So the 2 most prosperous English speaking nations in the world, have put themselves on a path toward economic and political ruin through mind-numbing irrationality. Kind of seems to me like, potentially, the worst of times.

Categories: Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IN MY LIFETIME….

Although this planet is billions of years old, and life on this planet is measured in at least hundreds of millions of years, what is considered the beginnings of civilized society goes back a mere 10-12 thousand years. Barely a thimble of water in oceans of time. Therefore, the way I figure it, we’re still pretty far down on the evolutionary totem pole. Which explains why those 12 thousand years of of recorded society have been replete with bad behavior, mass killings, barbaric practices, evil despots and tyrants ruling over kingdoms built by using slavery, and, of course, ever-ongoing brutal, savage war-mongering. Although there were undoubtedly armed conflicts during the entire history of man on this planet, the first recorded war occurred just under 5000 years ago. It took place in Mesopotamia, (today’s Iraq, Syria and Kuwait), and the carnage has being going strong ever since.

So, just to pass the time of day, I was thinking about all that has transpired just in my lifetime. I was just a tot when a supremely gifted demagogue used his immense powers of preaching hatred to the populace to rise to power in Germany and eventually launch what came to be known as World War II. Which was really just a continuation of WWI with a couple of decades of respite. Before that confrontation was over, 60 million people would lose their lives throughout Europe, including millions of Americans. Several million more would die in the Pacific at the hands of Imperial Japan, Germany’s ally. Also, for the first time, the mass extermination of an entire ethnic group was just about successfully accomplished through the use of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps. About 6 million Jews, and other opponents of Hitler’s Nazi empire, lost their lives in what came to be known as the Holocaust. In a history replete with evil savagery and barbarity, the Holocaust was probably the single most evil act of all time. And it wasn’t just Hitler and the Nazi’s that made the Holocaust work. It took hundreds of thousands of European bureaucrats  to establish the network of railroads bringing prisoners to the death camps, and to provide the immense amount of logistics it took to make the camps functional. Hitler’s willing accomplices as one writer called it.

Toward the end of WWII, the Nazis had supposedly developed rockets that were capable of hitting the U.S. East Coast. As a child growing up in New York, I remember being subject to air raid alarms and warnings which required everyone to turn off all lighting. During these air raid drills my parents would bring chairs into my bedroom as we sat there silently in the dark until the all clear sign was given. Most people aren’t aware that Hitler was just days or weeks away at the most before he fell, from developing atomic bomb capabilities that could be employed on rockets that could reach U.S. soil. Or that if Japan had invaded our West Coast immediately after Pearl Harbor, it could have gobbled up at least two-thirds of the U.S. before the Roosevelt Administration was prepared to take a military stand around Chicago. Such was the precarious nature of the freedoms we take for granted today.

After the war, the U.S. quickly demobilized as it appeared that peace would be on the horizon for decades. In the meantime, the most advanced electronics in everyone’s home was a radio and a land-line telephone. When television started coming on the market shortly after the war, it was like the 8th wonder of the world. Our first black-and-white TV had an immense 13 inch screen, and only 3 stations which broadcast only during certain parts of the day and night. But to actually view what one could only hear on the radio, was considered beyond the pale. Also some kind of contraptions they started calling “computers” entered the American vocabulary. But as people learned, they were about as big as a Sherman tank and could be used only for business purposes. The thought of having this contraption in one’s home was considered ridiculous. Until suddenly, something called the “internet” became a hot topic of conversation and they figured out how to downsize computers so they fit comfortably in people’s residences. But telephones always had to be hooked up to a cord, didn’t they? Until they further figured out a way to get rid of the cord and turn the phone into a mini-computer. And thus, on-and -on marches the electronics revolution. All in my lifetime.

In the meantime, the peace-in-our-lifetime dreams that Americans had with the conclusion of WWII evaporated as quickly as the morning mist. With the rise of Communist Russia and China, Americans became highly fearful of the “Red Menace.” When both countries acquired nuclear bomb capabilities deep fears and anxieties spread throughout the land. After a mere 5 or 6 years since the end of WWII, the U.S. was back on war-footing; this time fighting Communists on the Korean peninsula. More death and destruction. Meanwhile a Senator from Wisconsin named Joe McCarthy saw a huge opportunity to demagogue the “soft-on-communism” issue. He was sort of like the Donald Trump of his day. He claimed that the U.S. government, as well as Hollywood and other institutions were riddled with Communist spies working for Russia. To be labeled a Communist by the McCarthy committee was equivalent to seeing ones life turned to ashes. McCarthy eventually went down in flames but not before he had destroyed countless lives.

The Communist scare, known as the better-dead-than-red mentality, eventually led from the stalemate in Korea to the huge loss of life in the Viet-Nam fiasco. Almost 60,000 Americans died in the hell-hole jungles of Viet-Nam before we lost the war and called it quits. To say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese that died during that fracas. And it wasn’t all that much later, that a new barbarism had come upon the landscape in the form of Islamic-Jihadism. Which has us militarily bogged down once more, this time in the Mid-East. It seems as if evil is like wild-fires. You douse one, and two more crop up somewhere else. In the meantime, in mid-2016, it’s as if the re-incarnation of Joe McCarthy has rose to power and he is now one step away from the White House. All of this, in my lifetime.

To say that I’ve lived through a fascinating panorama of events during my life would be a considerable understatement. But I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

TRICKLE-DOWN HATRED

The latest massacre in Orlando, with about 50 dead and the same number wounded, is just the latest in what has become an ever-growing list of atrocities being committed with greater frequency in the United States. It follows the recent slaughter of innocents in San Bernardino by lone-wolf Islamic Jihadists; the butchering of 20 innocent children in Connecticut by a young man who just couldn’t cope with life; the killing of black church-goers in South Carolina by another deranged individual seeking vengeance for the South’s loss of the Civil War 150 years ago; the murder of about 30 people at Fort Hood, Louisiana by another Jihadist lunatic; the murder of movie-goers in Colorado by another mentally-ill delusionist; and ultimately back to 9/11/01 where almost 3000 lives were lost thanks to fanatical Jihadism; and finally all the way back to Columbine where modern day mass murder in the U.S. seemed to originate. Whether committed by religious fanatics or loners seemingly rejected by society, all these events had the same thing in common. Namely, a deep-seated hatred by the perpetrators toward their victims.

Lets start with the Islamic-Jihad brand of murder, as seems to be the case now in the Orlando slayings. There are about 1.3 billion Moslems currently living on this planet. The vast, overwhelming majority are peaceful human beings, going about their business every day of trying to earn a living, raising a family, taking care of the bills, etc. The problem is, however, that a small minority of Islamic fanatics would like to turn the clock back to the seventh century, when, (in their minds) Islam was untarnished by Western values and modern culture. Fanatical Imams preach a violent interpretation of the Quran which translates into a non-stop hatred toward anything Western, and urge young Moslems to martyr themselves by killing infidels and blowing-up Western society. While most Moslems reject this spewing hatred, there are always those lost souls looking for meaning in their worthless lives, and hence, only to eager to follow the dictates of Islamic-Jihadism. There are no easy answers toward resolving this condition, since there seems to be an endless supply of down-and-out, usually poverty-stricken, mostly young men who feel that sacrificing their lives for a cause, no matter how deranged, is preferable to the way they currently live. It would take world leadership in the Moslem community, as well as high-ranking Imams to denounce this spewing hatred of anything Western. This might, perhaps begin to turn the tide of Islamic-Jihadist vitriol. Thus far, however, this type of moderate leadership is not showing up on the horizon.

Of course, speaking of spewing hatred, the U.S. has its own long, rich history of violent hate-mongering. From its earliest days as a series of colonies in the 1600s, Americans believed what a neat idea it would be to enslave an entire race of people based on their skin color. Slavery lasted in the U.S. for about 250 years before it took a costly and deadly Civil War to end this barbaric practice. When the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution gave black people the same rights as everyone else-it proved to be a bridge too far for most whites in this country, especially in the South. A series of Jim Crow segregation laws were quickly enacted through the entire South which forced black people back into a state of semi-slavery. To make matters worse, whites in the South, after the Civil War, formed an organization that came to be known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, to deal with those blacks they felt had become “uppity.” Those that had actually sought to exercise their full rights as a U.S. citizen. The Klan dressed themselves in white hoods and costumes and rode through and intimidated black communities. They engaged in cross-burnings, whippings or lynching of blacks based on the perceived severity of their transgressions. Even as late as the 1920s, the KKK had a huge following in the tens or hundreds of thousands, throughout the entire country. The murderous lynchings of blacks in the South continued as late as the 1970s.

Today, despite the belief by many Americans that the Klan has just about disappeared, the KKK is indeed still active throughout most of the U.S. They may not wear white hoods anymore, but they still spew forth a message of deep hatred for blacks and Jews, or for that matter, anyone whose skin-color isn’t pinkish beige. The former Grand Dragon of the KKK, a fellow named David Duke, has come out and publicly stated that any white person that doesn’t support Donald Trump for president is a traitor to his race. The current KKK leadership has formally endorsed Trump’s candidacy, stating that the Donald is their kind of guy. And, as for David Duke, he currently has a radio program based in Louisiana, where he gets to spew his racial, religious, and ethnic hatreds to a large audience, 5 days a week.

When Trump was recently attacking by racial bias, the judge who had the temerity to release the papers involved in the law-suit against that crooked, sham enterprise known as Trump University, he was finally called out by many that had previously stood on the political sidelines throughout Trump’s prior bigoted tirades. Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, stated that Trump’s attack against the judge because of his Mexican heritage, was “a classic case of trickle-down racial bigotry.” Nevertheless, Speaker Ryan stated that he would continue to support Trump for president because they were of the same party. Sort of like selling one’s soul to the company store. Aren’t politics wonderful? Meanwhile, because of all this hatred, more atrocities will likely be coming our way and at a faster pace.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

VICTIMOLOGY

There appears to be a near universal psychology that impels most people to play the role of victimhood. The desire to be a victim is like bathing in a shower of self-absolution. As I’ve written before, when events take a wrong turn in a person’s life, it can’t possibly be their fault. External forces or other people are to blame for the misfortunes of their personal existences. Living a crappy lifestyle, stuck in a dead end job that pays very little, having nothing but grief in your relationships with the opposite sex or even with so-called friends? It can all be blamed on other people, on devious, selfish individuals, on dishonest commercial enterprises, on the universe, or best of all on foreigners. The theme of foreign exploitation as the cause of personal victimhood has been propelled with great success by many tyrants seeking dictatorial power throughout the 20th century, and is now in full throttle in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

To say that Donald Trump’s entire campaign has been based on a narrative of victimology would be a considerable understatement. According to Trump, the U.S. has become a victim of unscrupulous entrepreneurs that have moved their businesses to Mexico or China in order to take advantage of cheaper labor rates and hence, reduced manufacturing costs. It has nothing to do with the fact that these businesses are merely following the rules of basic capitalism, which, by the way, has made Trump a billionaire. The U.S. has become a victim of our neighbor to the south, because those dastardly Mexicans have not only deceitfully lured U.S. businesses to its country, but they have also dumped about 11 million illegal aliens into the U.S., many of whom are”rapists and murderers.” It’s a miracle that we’ve been able to survive, thus far, from this onslaught of illegals, who comprise a terrifying 3% of the U.S. population. And we’re a victim of China’s currency manipulations which results in significantly more imports that we receive from China, than we export to that country. Imports, I might add, that considerably benefit lower income citizens through cheaper prices on clothing and other consumer goods.

Even our supposed allies are causing us to be victims. It’s NATO countries such as Britain, France and Germany that are failing to contribute their fair share of military forces to this joint enterprise, causing the U.S. to make up the difference in additional military expenditures. Left unsaid, of course, is the fact that European countries are allowing U.S. military bases to occupy their lands, thus making it far easier for the U.S. to engage in military forays in the many Mid-East countries that we’re currently involved with. It’s a lot easier and less expensive to carry out bombing raids against ISIS and other Jihadists using planes stationed in Europe, than if our planes had to take off from bases in the U.S. So, is there any country left in the world that isn’t causing us to be victims within our own borders? Perhaps Belize or Trinidad, although even that’s questionable.

This narrative of the U.S. being a victim of dishonest foreigners took a curious turn last week when Trump stated that it was time to “put America first.” Whether he realized it or not, the term “America First” has an unsavory fascist history. It was used by supposedly isolationist politicians to advocate that the U.S not become involved in WWII. Stay neutral and don’t become entangled, was their imperative. However behind this veneer of isolationism, many of those advocating “America First” were actually Nazi sympathizers rooting for Hitler and his fascism to win the war. Charles Lindberg, the famous aviator, was one of the most prominent America Firsters. Their main argument was that because the U.S. was surrounded by 2 large bodies of water to the East and West, and by 2 friendly countries to the North and South, there was no need to join a fracas that involved nothing but foreigners killing each other. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, of course, proved how absurd that line of reasoning was. It was later discovered that Lindberg and other prominent America Firsters were actually Nazi sympathizers.

Trump, with his message of American victimhood, is now just one step away from the presidency. He has the Republican nomination all but locked up, and just has to get by a weak and damaged Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Thus far, Trump’s victimhood snake oil elixir seems to be selling with great success among the American populace. He has talk radio and Fox News shilling for him to a greater extent than they have for any previous GOP candidate. Clinton, with about 30 years of previous scandals, to say nothing of her current e-mail fiasco, has a very difficult road to travel in her quest for the White House. While current polls show her in the lead, Trump is unquestionably the better snake-oil salesman.

To get an idea of what a Trump presidency would mean for America, and for the rest of the world, go back and read some of my more recent entries. Add to them the fact that a President Trump will get to put at least two, and probably more, justices on the Supreme Court, that will be strongly anti-abortion.  Roe V. Wade will become history, as will legalized abortion throughout almost all of the U.S. Then, many women in America, seeking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, will be able to legitimately claim that they ARE being made victims of our political system.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Economics, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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