John Wayne Comments on “Today”

In May 1971, Playboy magazine published an interview with John Wayne, where he responded to questions about socialism and welfare recipients among a gaggle of other subjects relative to 2020:

“I know all about that.  In the late Twenties, when I was a sophomore at USC, I was a socialist myself—but not when I left.  The average college kid idealistically wishes everybody could have ice cream and cake for every meal. But as he gets older and gives more thought to his and his fellow man’s responsibilities, he finds that it can’t work out that way—that some people just won’t carry their load.

“I believe in welfare—a welfare work program.  I don’t think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare.  I’d like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living.  I’d like to know why they make excuses for cowards who spit in the faces of the police and then run behind the judicial sob sisters.  I can’t understand these people who carry placards to save the life of some criminal, yet have no thought for the innocent victim.

See https://tinyurl.com/kl9x6jy for a transcript of the full interview, as appropriate today as it was in 1971, and in 1871 for that matter.

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The Horse and the Hunter

The Horse and the Hunter

Preamble: When I read of university faculty allowing students to establish curricula and rules of conduct, I shudder for our future.  When I read of city mayors ordering police to stand down, and that the precinct be evacuated “to avoid hand-to-hand combat” with rioters who later stormed the building and set it on fire, I marvel at such weakness.  When I read of CEOs who dictate cessation of longstanding tradition because of one complaint, I shake my head. When I learn that a university engineering department eliminates the GRE as a requirement of graduate school because it “is biased against women and minorities,” I weep for my profession.  When I hear looters justify their theft because “people should be allowed to loot stores because they’re already insured,” I stand amazed at the irrationality and immorality that has gripped this nation.  When I observe thugs, officials, and CEOs refusing to take the slightest responsibility for their actions, I wonder where we are headed.  The current pandemic of emasculation is life threatening.

An Aesop Fable

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag over grazing rights in a pasture, so the Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the Stag. The Hunter agreed, but with the caveat: “If you desire me to help you defeat the Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins.  The Horse agreed.  The Hunter added, “You must allow this saddle to be placed upon your back so that I may keep steady upon you as we run through the forest,” to which the Horse also nodded.

The Horse agreed to the conditions, and the Hunter soon saddled and bridled him.  Then with the aid of the Hunter the Horse soon overcame the Stag, and said to the Hunter: “Now, get off, and remove those things from my mouth and get that thing off my back.

“Not so fast, friend,” said the Hunter.  “I now have you under bit and spur, and prefer to keep you at my command.

The Lesson

This event has played out in our country today.  The Hunter — the anarchists, home grown terrorists, seditionists of today — has bit and spur on The Horse — our government officials and CEOs whose gonads have withered to impotency, though they remain in authority over the heroes who serve, the deplorables who work, the thinkers who lead.  The Hunter fails to appreciate the Horse for having built this country, for being who he is, for how he has carried his load and accomplished much. The Hunter thinks only of himself without rationality.  The question is when and how will the Horse throw the Hunter off his back into the mire?

Jerry R Lambert
jlambert@maxxbilt.com
31 August 2020
Posted in Culture, Government, Life | Leave a comment

Fear of Speech is Replacing Freedom of Speech

“I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire

By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe

“FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” the famous Norman Rockwell painting that depicts a young man addressing a local gathering, was inspired by a real event. One evening in 1942, Rockwell attended the town meeting in Arlington, Vt., where he lived for many years. On the agenda was the construction of a new school. It was a popular proposal, supported by everyone in attendance — except for one resident, who got up to express his dissenting view. He was evidently a blue-collar worker, whose battered jacket and stained fingernails set him apart from the other men in the audience, all dressed in white shirts and ties. In Rockwell’s scene, the man speaks his mind, unafraid to express a minority opinion and not intimidated by the status of those he’s challenging. He has no reason not to speak plainly: His words are being attended to with respectful attention. His neighbors may disagree with him, but they’re willing to hear what he has to say.

What brings Rockwell’s painting to mind is a new national poll by the Cato Institute. The survey found that self-censorship has become extremely widespread in American society, with 62 percent of adults saying that, given the current political climate, they are afraid to honestly express their views.

“These fears cross partisan lines,” writes Emily Ekins, Cato’s director of polling. “Majorities of Democrats (52 percent), independents (59 percent), and Republicans (77 percent) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.” The survey’s 2,000 respondents sorted themselves ideologically as “very liberal,” “liberal,” “moderate,” “conservative,” or “very conservative.” In every category except “very liberal,” a majority of respondents feel pressured to keep their views to themselves. Roughly one-third of American adults — 32 percent — fear they could be fired or otherwise penalized at work if their political beliefs became known.

Freedom of speech has often been threatened in America, but the suppression of “wrong” opinions in the past has tended to come from the top down. It was the government that arrested editors for criticizing Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy, made it a crime to burn the flag, turned the dogs on civil rights marchers, and jailed communists under the Smith Act. Today, by contrast, dissent is rarely prosecuted. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence, freedom of expression has never been more strongly protected — legally.

But culturally, the freedom to express unpopular views has never been more endangered.

On college campuses, in workplaces, in the media, there are ever-widening no-go zones of viewpoints and arguments that cannot be safely expressed. Voice an opinion that self-anointed social-justice warriors regard as heretical, and the consequences can be career-destroying. The dean of the nursing school at UMass-Lowell lost her job after writing in an email that “everyone’s life matters.” An art curator was accused of being a racist and forced to quit for saying that his museum would “continue to collect white artists.” The director of communications for Boeing apologized and resigned after an employee complained that 33 years ago he was opposed to women serving in combat.

Virtually everyone would agree that some views are indisputably beyond the pale. If there are supporters of slavery or advocates of genocide who feel inhibited from sharing their beliefs, no one much cares. But the range of opinions deemed unsayable by today’s progressive thought police extends well into the mainstream. And in many cases, the most enthusiastic suppressors of debate are students, journalists, artists, intellectuals — those who in former times were the greatest champions of uninhibited speech and the greatest foes of ideological conformity.

It isn’t only on the left that this totalitarian impulse to silence dissent exists. President Trump, always infuriated by criticism, has called for columnists who disparage him to be fired, hecklers at his rallies to be beaten up, and TV stations to lose their licenses if they run ads vilifying his handling of the pandemic — calls routinely amplified on social media by tens of thousands of his followers. When a Babson College professor joked that Iran ought to bomb “sites of beloved American cultural heritage” like the Mall of America and the Kardashian residence, a right-wing website launched a campaign that got him fired.

The new Cato survey found that more than one in five Americans (22 percent) would support firing a business executive who donated money to Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, while 31 percent would be OK with firing someone who gave money to Trump’s re-election campaign. The urge to ostracize or penalize unwelcome views isn’t restricted to just one end of the spectrum.

Americans’ right to free speech is shielded by the Constitution to a degree unmatched anywhere else. But our First Amendment guarantees will prove impotent if the habit of free speech is lost. For generations, Americans were raised to see debate as legitimate, desirable, and essential to democratic health. They quoted Voltaire’s (apocryphal) aphorism: “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Editors, publishers, satirists, and civil libertarians took to heart the dictum of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who wrote that “the principle of free thought” is meant to enshrine “not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

But that principle has been turned on its head. The “thought that we hate” is not tolerated but stifled. It is reviled as taboo, forbidden to be uttered. Anyone expressing it may be accused not just of giving offense, but of literally endangering those who disagree. And even if only some people lose their careers or reputations for saying something “wrong,” countless others get the chilling message.

“And so dread settles in,” writes journalist Emily Yoffe. “Challenging books go untaught. Deep conversations are not had. Friendships are not formed. Classmates and colleagues eye each other with suspicion.”

And 62 percent of Americans fear to express what they think.

The speaker in Norman Rockwell’s painting may have had something unpopular to say, but neither he nor his neighbors had any doubt that it was appropriate for him to say it. Now, such doubt is everywhere, and freedom of speech has never been more threatened.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe)

Posted in Anti-Semitism, Culture, Government, Life | 2 Comments

Let’s Roll This Sovereignty Train!

Arutz Sheva, Israel National News, 29 January 2020

Jerry R Lambert

Let’s Roll This Train!
לעם ישראל

Once upon a time was a people called out.
Unique this one, let there be no doubt.

The goyim wondered, why the Jew?
It’s plain to see, He anointed you.

Led by a traveler from Ur of the Chaldeans,
No longer a polytheist, not this Aramean.

Sleep, dream, awake.  To you I bestow.
He was here and I did not know.

Look far and wide; this land is your land.
Live here forever.  Your seed will be grand.

From Dan to Beer Sheva, this land I give you,
But you must take it, as I have commanded you.

Cross the river, walk all over the land.
None will defeat you; leave them lie in the sand.

Live here forever.  I give you My word.
Deliver My message, throughout the whole world.

I am the Lord G-d Who brought you out.
No longer slaves; now you have clout.

Take these words as the master key,
To teach the goyim wherever they be.

Al tira!  Al tiri!  Al tiru!
Never fear.  I’ll be with you.

G-d of all gods, King of all kings,
Throughout the world, may His praises ring.

יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת מִי־כָמוֹךָ
חֲסִין יָהּ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ סְבִיבוֹתֶיךָ:

O Lord G-d Almighty, who is like You?
You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds You.

Forget Me? In Bavel, in galut shall you roam.
A lacuna.  A Talmud.  Now come back home.

A Shoah, a Shoah.  How can it be?
The world?  ‘Tis plain to see.

I love you, I love you.  The goyim not.
Don’t be surprised if they treat you like snot.

Remember My words, I promised you.
This land is yours, now stay here like glue.

I created ha’aretz; it’s Mine to give.
Sans strings attached, so there you may live.

From Dan to Beer Sheva, this land I give you.
But you must take it, as I have commanded you.

Why do you tremble?  Why hesitate?
My way is straight, so that you may skate.

The future is yours.  Al tira! Al tiru!
Mark My words.  So very true.

Believe them or not; I give you free will.
Fail the test, and you’ll be going downhill.

This land is your land, ‘tis so plain to see,
From the Jordan River clear to the sea.

Take it.  It’s yours.  Pursue the attack.
As I have told you, I have your back.

When I created you, I gave you a brain.
Now use it, please.  Let’s roll this Ribonut train!


Notes:
לעם ישראל > To the people of Israel
Al tira! Al tiri! Al tiru! > Do not fear! Masculine, feminine and plural. After Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, et al.
Bavel > Babylon
galut > exile
goyim > nations
ha’aretz > land, earth
Ribonut > Sovereignty
Shoah > Holocaust
Hebrew verse is Psalm 89:9

Posted in Culture, Israel, Life, Sovereignty, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Common Sense from our President

and from Paul Batura

Trump revives Mount Rushmore’s July 4 celebration — and the use of common sense
Paul J. Batura | Fox News

“President Trump’s announcement that the annual Independence Day fireworks show over Mount Rushmore will be reinstated after more than a 10-year hiatus was delivered with something of a wry twist.

“The popular event was canceled in 2009 over “environmental concerns,” including the risk of forest fires.

“In announcing the return of the patriotic pyrotechnics, the president brushed aside any ongoing fear of the holiday show starting a fiery blaze.

“What can burn?” he said bluntly. “It’s stone.”

“Thank you, Mr. President.

“Of course, the nation’s chief executive is well aware there are trees surrounding the famed granite sculpture. But rather than catastrophizing the situation, the president balanced the minuscule risk with the magnificent reward of a crowd-pleasing, picturesque celebration.

“Instead of finding an excuse, he found a solution. [JRL: emphasis mine]

“I think Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt would approve.

“In Colorado, where I live, numerous fireworks displays have been canceled over so-called environmental fears also, including a longtime New Year’s Eve show in the quaint ski town of Breckenridge.

“Haley Littleton, the village spokeswoman, said they decided to cancel the winter show to “provide consistency” with their July 4 cancellation and in order to “not disturb our wildlife.”

“Sometimes I think liberals are just allergic to fun. [JRL: emphasis mine]

“One of Trump’s draws during the 2016 election was his penchant for speaking bluntly. It enabled him, despite his massive wealth, to connect with everyday people. Behind the candor, though, was often common sense – something that’s historically been in short supply in bureaucratic Washington.

“Whether he was talking about hysterics surrounding the environment or the need for the nation to dream again, his populist appeal was framed in shirt-sleeve English. In fact, he ran as a “common-sense conservative.”

“I grew up on the south shore of Long Island, just about 12 miles from Trump’s childhood home. Over the course of the 25 years I lived there, I knew plenty of people who spoke in a similar straight-forward vein.

“Although I don’t appreciate crass language, which Trump has been known to employ, I find it refreshing when people say what they mean – and mean what they say.

“At the March for Life rally, where Trump became the first president to address the enthusiastic throng in person, the 73-year-old reiterated his strong opposition to abortion. Since running for president, he’s been criticized for speaking so bluntly about the horrors of the practice – but the killing of 3,000 innocent babies every single day is horrific to the extreme.

“In Donald Trump’s world – and in the minds of millions of others of us who feel likewise – it’s common sense to give life a chance. And with a million abortions a year and a million couples waiting to adopt, the solution seems quite obvious if still not common practice.

“My math teacher in seventh and eighth grade, Sister Maria Martin, often lamented, “The most uncommon thing is common sense.” Over 35 years later, my wise mentor just turned 90, and yet the problem has only gotten worse.

“It’s common sense that when you disincentivize anything, you’re going to see less of it, whether it’s marriage, large families, work, retirement accounts, charitable giving or entrepreneurial start-ups. You have to inspect what you expect and give people a reason to want to reach beyond their grasp.

“Yet, liberal politicians want to increase taxes on the very people who pay the vast majority of them, all while expanding entitlements, forgiving student loans and championing the lie that “free” equals “freedom.”

“From my perspective, true and ultimate freedom is independence from government and dependence upon the Maker of heaven and earth.

“When Thomas Paine wrote his famous pamphlet, “Common Sense,” on the eve of the American Revolution, he wisely observed that “a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right – and raise[s] at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

“Sometimes I wonder if that’s why the reaction to conservative, common-sense policies is so loud. So many have grown so accustomed and comfortable to liberal ways that an alternative path looks strange.

“But don’t fret, wrote Paine, “The tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”

“President Trump has promised to try and attend the July 4 extravaganza in South Dakota’s Black Hills. No stranger to stagecraft and a producer of pomp and pageantry, the real-estate magnate knows a good party when he sees it.

“I think he’ll be most pleased to be standing in the shadow of four of our nation’s strongest purveyors of prudent wisdom, especially his fellow straight-talking former New Yorker, who was also known to speak his mind regardless of the consequences.

“There are many qualities which we need in order to gain success,” wrote Teddy Roosevelt, “but the three above all — for the lack of which no brilliancy and no genius can atone—are Courage, Honesty and Common Sense.”

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Where to Our Civilization?

Within the last few days I’ve come across a few modern patriots of both the United States of America and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who warn us “to get up off the mat, and to start consciously and actively fighting the forces of militant secularism that are bent on destroying us and our civilization with them.Wilfred M McClay These three annotated links are to related, recommended reading.

As Eric Cohen puts it, “The founding proposition of the American experiment was that biblical morality [emphasis mine]—our nation’s bedrock Judeo-Christian inheritance—could form and sustain a citizenry suited for modern liberty and self-government.  …  But no longer.  Today, the Judeo-Christian moral system has not so much dribbled away as it has been actively attacked and severely weakened through a deliberate campaign of delegitimization by myriad enemies of religious morality. “Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’” as [Attorney General William P] Barr put it,

have marshaled all the forces of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

“…  today, for all the reasons expounded by Barr, the current moral challenge seems particularly difficult and dramatic. Anti-biblical civilization is now on the offensive, with its leaders well-entrenched in the commanding heights of modern culture: the universities, the media, the schools, and now even the corporations. And these progressive prophets, in their secular temples, are armed with some very seductive arguments: that modern science has embarrassed the truth-claims of biblical religion, and that religious morality is oppressive, judgmental, and unnecessarily prohibitive.

“For Western civilization to flourish, Judeo-Christian moral disarmament, or moral surrender, must come to an end. Traditional Jews and Christians must forcefully reassert that the Hebraic way of life—with its vision of sanctified normalcy, governed by the Hebrew Bible’s moral code, and courageously defended—is good and true. They—we—should never be embarrassed by traditional Judaism or Christianity, and should never give up on our sacred moral heritage. [emphasis mine]

U S Attorney General Barr spoke at Notre  Dame 11 October 2019 that, “… How does religion promote the moral discipline and virtue needed to support free government?

“First, it gives us the right rules to live by. The Founding generation were Christians. They believed that the Judeo-Christian moral system corresponds to the true nature of man. Those moral precepts start with the two great commandments – to Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind; and to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.

“I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

“Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

“We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion. [emphasis mine]

“Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of Homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.

“In the past, societies – like the human body – seem to have a self-healing mechanism – a self-correcting mechanism that gets things back on course if things go too far.

“The consequences of moral chaos become too pressing. The opinion of decent people rebels. They coalesce and rally against obvious excess. Periods of moral entrenchment follow periods of excess.

“This is the idea of the pendulum. We have all thought that after a while the “pendulum will swing back.”

“But today we face something different that may mean that we cannot count on the pendulum swinging back.

“First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

“There is another modern phenomenon that suppresses society’s self-corrective mechanisms – that makes it harder for society to restore itself.

“In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path that it is on.

“But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad consequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

“A third phenomenon which makes it difficult for the pendulum to swing back is the way law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy.

==========================

Jerry: I encourage you to read AG Barr’s speech in its entirety, or listen if you can find it.  Notre Dame pulled down the video on their site because of some copyright restrictions.

I also suggest a related book by McClay, “Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story.”

Posted in Culture, Government, Israel, Life | 1 Comment

It was time for an administration to break foreign-policy ‘rules’

“What follows next is unclear, but by killing Iranian arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani, Trump has broken the wheel of appeasement that enabled Tehran’s ongoing aggression.

By Jonathan S Tobin  jns.org

(January 3, 2020 / JNS) For 20 years, he had sowed terror and confusion throughout the Middle East with impunity. As head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Soleimani was the mastermind of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, as well as the second most powerful person within that oppressive Islamist theocracy. No matter how much mayhem he spread, he believed that he was untouchable. And three American administrations run by both Democrats and Republicans validated that belief, forgoing opportunities to kill the man who had the blood of many Americans and countless Syrians, Lebanese, Israelis and others on his hands.

But following the orchestration of attacks on American forces in Iraq and the staging of an assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Soleimani’s get-out-of-jail free card that he had been given by the international community and successive American presidents expired.

When an American drone killed him along with the leader of Iran’s Iraqi terrorist auxiliaries, what happened was more than a settling of scores. It proclaimed to the world that the old rules by which Iran had been able to do its worst against the United States, Israel and the West—never to face any consequences—were no longer valid.

Much like his moves to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there, Trump’s authorization of the attack on Soleimani proclaims that he has thrown out the foreign-policy rulebook that had restrained America in the past—rules that wound up shielding bad actors like Soleimani.

There’s no way of knowing how far the Iranian regime will go in order to retaliate for the major blow they have received. American citizens and assets are now at risk. Yet it is also possible that, as was the case with Trump’s pro-Israel policies, predictions of the world blowing up over this will be exaggerated.

What we do know is that this is likely to prove a crucial moment in the history of the modern Middle East. For 40 years since the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran, the regime has been able to go on pursuing its agenda of regional hegemony via terror and subversion with the West acting as if it could not or would not try to do much about it.

Indeed, the guiding principle of the Obama administration’s foreign policy was an effort to appease and accommodate the Iranians, no matter what they did. While President Barack Obama said he hoped that the nuclear deal he negotiated with Tehran in 2015 would enable the regime to “get right with the world.” But the ayatollahs didn’t want that opportunity. What it wanted was the West’s seal of approval for their nuclear program and access to foreign markets to sell the oil that would finance their pet terrorists like the IRGC. It bluffed Obama into conceding point after point in the negotiations to where the pact actually guaranteed that Iran would eventually get a nuclear weapon, while at the same time enriching and empowering the regime. And after that, it doubled down on its adventurism laying waste to Syria while consolidating control in Lebanon and attempting to do the same in Iraq.

The premise of much of the criticism of Trump’s decision on Soleimani rests on a false assumption. Those who lament the president’s trashing of conventional wisdom act as if he has upset a tradition that safeguarded American interests and lives. But it did nothing of the kind.

What happened in Syria as Iran and its ally, President Bashar Assad, lay waste to that country was the direct consequence of American appeasement. The same is true of Iran’s ability to essentially take over Lebanon through its Hezbollah henchmen. And in recent weeks, Tehran’s efforts to do the same in Iraq involved direct attacks on Americans, culminating in the assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad ringing up troubling memories of both the 2012 Benghazi debacle and the seizure of American hostages during the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.

The argument against Trump’s foreign policy is that his actions are ill-considered, disregarding the advice of both experts and allies, and endangering the peace of the region and the world. Obama administration alumni, in particular, are saying that Trump is squandering chances for peace that the nuclear pact created.

No matter; the opposite is true. Killing Soleimani won’t start a war; Iran has been waging a hot war against America and its allies for years. Like Trump’s much-needed action in pulling out of a dangerous nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran—and even adding some new ones—the Soleimani operation makes it clear to Iran’s leaders, perhaps for the first time, that the costs of their provocations are now going to be borne by them, and not only their foes or the helpless population that groans under their despotic rule.

Playing by the rules—rules that served the interests of a rogue regime—is what endangered American lives and interests by making Iran stronger and feeling less constrained about employing its brutal and bloody tactics.

It is to be hoped that Iran’s remaining leaders are chastened, as well as angered by what has happened to their indispensable man of terror. Perhaps they will comprehend that the tables are turned, and it’s now time for them to start backing down, lest they find themselves embroiled in a conflict in which they will have far more to lose than the United States.

Whether or not happens, it’s also time for the chattering classes to stop pretending that Trump is the problem. It was high time that someone had the nerve to break the wheel that perpetuated Iran’s power and violence. Whatever happens next, a world in which the world’s leading state sponsor of terror is afraid of the United States can’t be much worse than one in which the ayatollahs have nothing but contempt for the Washington’s resolve to defend American interests.

Posted in Culture, Government, Islam, Israel | Leave a comment

The Secrets of Jewish Genius

It’s about thinking different.

By Bret Stephens The New York Times

An eminent Lithuanian rabbi is annoyed that his yeshiva students devote their lunch breaks to playing soccer instead of discussing Torah. The students, intent on convincing their rav of the game’s beauty, invite him to watch a professional match. At halftime, they ask what he thinks.

“I have solved your problem,” the rabbi says.

“How?”

“Give one ball to each side, and they will have nothing to fight over.”

I have this (apocryphal) anecdote from Norman Lebrecht’s new book, “Genius & Anxiety,” an erudite and delightful study of the intellectual achievements and nerve-wracked lives of Jewish thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs between 1847 and 1947. Sarah Bernhardt and Franz Kafka; Albert Einstein and Rosalind Franklin; Benjamin Disraeli and (sigh) Karl Marx — how is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of 1 percent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?

The common answer is that Jews are, or tend to be, smart. But the “Jews are smart” explanation obscures more than it illuminates. Aside from perennial nature-or-nurture questions, there is the more difficult question of why that intelligence was so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose. One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.

But as the story of the Lithuanian rabbi suggests, Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Where Jews’ advantage more often lies is in thinking different.

Where do these habits of mind come from?

There is a religious tradition that, unlike some others, asks the believer not only to observe and obey but also to discuss and disagree. There is the never-quite-comfortable status of Jews in places where they are the minority — intimately familiar with the customs of the country while maintaining a critical distance from them. There is a moral belief, “incarnate in the Jewish people” according to Einstein, that “the life of the individual only has value [insofar] as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”

And there is the understanding, born of repeated exile, that everything that seems solid and valuable is ultimately perishable, while everything that is intangible — knowledge most of all — is potentially everlasting.

“We had been well off, but that was all we got out,” the late financier Felix Rohatyn recalled of his narrow escape, with a few hidden gold coins, from the Nazis as a child in World War II. “Ever since, I’ve had the feeling that the only permanent wealth is what you carry around in your head.” If the greatest Jewish minds seem to have no walls, it may be because, for Jews, the walls have so often come tumbling down.

These explanations for Jewish brilliance aren’t necessarily definitive. Nor are they exclusive to the Jews.

At its best, the American university can still be a place of relentless intellectual challenge rather than ideological conformity and social groupthink. At its best, the United States can still be the country that respects, and sometimes rewards, all manner of heresies that outrage polite society and contradict established belief. At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.

The West, however, is not at its best. It’s no surprise that Jew hatred has made a comeback, albeit under new guises. Anti-Zionism has taken the place of anti-Semitism as a political program directed against Jews. Globalists have taken the place of rootless cosmopolitans as the shadowy agents of economic iniquity. Jews have been murdered by white nationalists and black “Hebrews.” Hate crimes against Orthodox Jews have become an almost daily fact of life in New York City.

Jews of the late 19th century would have been familiar with the hatreds. Jews of the early 21st century should recognize where they could lead. What’s not secret about Jewish genius is that it’s a terribly fragile flower.

[Jerry: I disagree “that it’s a terribly fragile flower.”  Look at the centuries it has withstood, the persecutions it has endured, the dispersion in which it has triumphed, the droughts it has suffered, the heights it has reached, the accomplishments it has provided, … ]

[Jerry: Now, how can I improve my walk on this earth by thinking differently?]

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Danny Lewin: The very first victim of Flight 11

Danny Lewin, veteran of the IDF’s elite commando team, outstanding graduate of Israel’s Technion and MIT PhD student at MIT will be forever remembered for his attempt to prevent the hijacking of Flight 11, becoming the very first victim of 9/11.

Written by: Ron Jager, 09/09/19 08:40 | updated: 12:50 Israel National News

“Danny Lewin first walked into Samson’s Gym in Jerusalem in 1985 accompanied by his best friend, Aviad, the son of Peace Now pioneer activist Janet Aviad. Despite Danny not yet being 15, he came armed with a series of questions about Jerusalem’s legendary fitness facility, the first of its kind in Israel, and the much-talked-about new attraction in Israel’s capital. After asking about the equipment, the rates, the hours, and the type of workout program that he had hoped to get from one of the muscular instructors who seemed to epitomize the gym’s name, Danny asked a question that would seem haunting a decade and a half later. “Why are there no Arabs here and what are you afraid of?” His question seemed more a comment that stood to support the argument that would soon follow when his close friend brazenly challenged the gym’s unspoken policy.

The gym owner’s responded in his typically blunt manner: “Because we don’t want any trouble—”; yet, before he could further clarify, Danny Lewin boldly asked again: “What about the good Arabs?!”

Less than a month into their initial three-month membership, Aviad dropped out. The sport was simply too demanding. Danny, on the other hand, became more and more committed, visiting Samson’s Gym even on the days he didn’t train. He saw it as his home away from home, convinced that it would serve as the vehicle by which he would transform his life, helping to develop a fine-tuned body that would complement his noticeably gifted mind. His friends marveled, and the mirror reflected evidence of the rapid development of a determined, motivated, and aspiring muscle man.

There was something special about Danny; he radiated a sense of independence more fitting of someone twice his age. Only weeks into his membership, he asked if he could get a job at the gym and join the small team of instructors who were already well recognized as they walked the streets of Jerusalem wearing the coveted Samson’s Gym trainer tee shirt. Not taking no for an answer, he asked again a few weeks later. And yet again, a few weeks later, offering to “do anything” to become part of the team. Anything! And so it was. Still new to the iron game, 15-year-old Danny Lewin rushed to Samson’s Gym from school every day—to sweep the floors, mop the showers, and, yes, to clean the toilets. He could finally call himself part of the Samson’s team. A year and a half later, the now-muscular Lewin was ready to be an instructor—training a cadre of Jews, young and old, to believe in themselves and the inner strength that they possess.

After breezing through high school and matriculation exams, Danny volunteered and served in Sayeret Matkal, the IDF’s most elite commando unit. He married at 21 and raised two young boys with his wife. He received his B.S. from the Technion, working long hours as a teaching assistant there and as a researcher for IBM in Haifa.

In 1996, Danny accepted a scholarship to study computer science and mathematics at MIT. Two years later, while working on his Ph.D., he founded Akamai Technologies which offered a new and revolutionary way to deliver content over the Internet. By 2001, Danny was widely recognized as one of the most influential technologists of his generation. One well-known trade publication ranked him as the seventh most important technologist in the world. His impact on people was so strong that, even today, battle-hardened CEOs and IDF sharpshooters get choked up when talking about him, in part, because his rise was so quick, so spectacular, and so tragically short.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Danny Lewin boarded American Airlines Flight No. 11 in Boston, expecting to reach Los Angeles. Instead, the flight was hijacked and commandeered by Arab terrorists, crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On that fateful flight, Danny Lewin became the very first victim of the largest terrorist attack in history in which almost 3,000 Americans died. An internal memorandum of the Federal Aviation Administration says “that in the course of a struggle that took place between Lewin, a graduate of Israel’s elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, and the four hijackers who were assaulting that cockpit, Lewin was murdered by Satam Al Suqami, a 25-year-old Saudi.”

Sometime after the attack, the Lewin family in Jerusalem received a telephone call from the FBI offices in New York. On the line was the agent responsible for the investigation of the attack on Flight 11. He told Danny’s parents that there is a high degree of certainty that Danny tried to prevent the hijacking. The FBI relied, among other things, on the testimony of the stewardess Amy Sweeney.

Sweeney succeeded in clandestinely getting a call out during the flight to a flight services supervisor in Boston, from the rear of the plane: “A hijacker slit the throat of a passenger in business class and the passenger appears to me to be dead.” To this day the American investigators are not convinced that Danny Lewin was murdered on the spot. An additional stewardess, Betty Ong, who succeeded in calling from a telephone by one of the passenger seats, said that the passenger who was attacked from business class seat 10B was seriously wounded. It turned out that 10B was the seat of Danny Lewin.

The Lewin family, Danny’s parents and brothers, have no doubt that Danny battled the hijackers. And it is for them a tremendous consolation. “I wasn’t surprised to hear from the FBI that Danny fought. I was sure that this is what he would do,” Yonatan, his younger brother, said. “Danny didn’t sit quietly. From what we heard from the Americans, the hijackers attacked one of the stewardesses and Danny rose to protect her and prevent them from entering the cockpit. It is a consolation to us that Danny fought. We see it as an act of heroism that a person sacrifices his life in order to save others. That battle in the business section ended quickly. Lewin was overcome and bled to death on the floor. Two additional flight attendants were knifed and the captain was murdered. The hijackers were already inside the cockpit. They announced to the passengers to remain quiet in their seats.

As we fathom the tragic details of the incredible life journey of Danny Lewin, Hy’d, from mopping up the locker rooms of Samson’s Gym in Jerusalem to the pinnacle of the high tech industry in America, I am reminded of Danny’s question back in 1985, “What about the good Arabs?” Indeed, as we grasp the dimensions of 9/11 from a 10-year perspective, where were these “good Arabs” who rejected this compulsive need to murder one’s way to Islamic glory? Where are they today?

Danny Lewin H’yd –father, son and husband, a veteran of the Israel Defense Force’s elite commando team, the outstanding graduate of Israel’s Technion Institute, an accomplished PhD student at MIT and co-founder of the Internet giant Akamai Technologies will be forever remembered for his heroic attempt to prevent the hijacking of Flight 11 becoming the very first victim of 9/11.

*this article was prepared with the assistance of Mr. Meir Jolovitz. the legendary founder of Samson’s Gym in Jerusalem

**this article was cited as a footnote in Wikipedia for being the first source ever to name by name the very first victim of 9/11

The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F Medical Corp., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Community Resilience programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Is a former strategic advisor on Public Diplomacy for the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact: medconf@gmail.com

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Ilhan Omar, the Benjamins and Purim Today

To paraphrase the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984),

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a communist.

“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the deplorables, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a deplorable. [JRL]

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Anti-Semitism is intensifying in Europe, in Asia, and in the United States, adding to the historical anti-Jew attitude of many Arabs wherever they may live.

Lately (early 2019) anti-Semitism in this country has morphed into anti-WASP, anti-deplorable, anti-anything white, anti-anything patriotic, anti-anything sane.  For examples, see here, and here, and here, or add your favorites.

The Jewish festival of Purim is coming up next week, 21 March 2019.  Referring to the biblical Amalek,  “The Purim story’s warning of enemies who seek our destruction assumes such powerful relevance today,” as Rabbi Benjamin Blech wrote yesterday, taking off on  Ilhan Omar’s anti-semitic tweet that “It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby.”

Read his fascinating combination of three Benjamins: author Benjamin Blech as rabbi, Benjamin as  the head of the Jewish tribe, and Benjamin Franklin the father of our nation who graces our $100 bills.  What lessons we can learn!  Please “enjoy” the analogies.  Jerry

Ilhan Omar, the Benjamins and Purim Today

“George Elliott is credited with saying, “History repeats itself.” Mark Twain sharply improved on it with his observation that “history doesn’t repeat itself – but it does rhyme.” No matter how much things may change, one constant always remains: the Hamans of the world, the Jew haters who seek “to destroy, to murder and to bring to an end all Jews, from young to old”, are somehow forever with us.

“It was foretold in the Torah. In the first battle against Amalek, prototype of the anti-Semite throughout the ages, we are informed that although the Jews won the fight, Joshua only “weakened” our enemy. Amalek survived. He continues to plague us in many disguises – masks which have become part of Purim ritual to remind us that people often conceal their true intentions under the guise of noble goals even as they plot the genocide of our people.

“What happened in Shushan is the story of our people throughout the ages. It isn’t just ancient Persia, the persecutions and the pogroms of the Middle Ages or even the Holocaust of the 20 th century. Tragically it is the story once again of our own times. Not only Persia/Iran but sophisticated France, cultured England, educated Europe and the rest of the “civilized world” are again proving the truth of Elie Wiesel’s insight that “the only thing we have learned from history is that we do not learn anything from history.”

“As we recall the Purim story once again, its warning of enemies who seek our destruction assumes such powerful relevance even here in the United States today.

“Let me remind you a little bit about the Jews in Persia of old. When King Achashverosh celebrated his ascent to the throne he threw a huge party to which all were invited. Jews were welcome guests. The drinking was in accord with people’s different faiths. In retrospect, a bill decrying hatred against any and all minority groups would almost certainly have passed in the Persian Congress. Yet it only took a short while for Haman to turn his strategy of genocide into national policy.

“What was the key to Haman’s success? His speech is recorded in the Megillah:

“And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separate among the peoples throughout all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws differ from [those of] every people, and they do not keep the king’s laws; it is [therefore] of no use for the king to let them be (Book of Esther 3:8).

“The Jews have dual loyalty!

“That is their crime. Ilhan Omar didn’t invent the brilliant lie. It’s always been Amalek’s secret weapon. Hitler knew it. Stalin knew it. Read the Torah on the way in which Pharaoh was able to turn the Egyptians against the Hebrews – the same Egyptians who had been saved by the wisdom of Joseph – and you will find the similar strategy:

“He said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we are. Get ready, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they increase, and a war befall us, and they join our enemies and wage war against us and depart from the land’” (Exodus 2:9 – 10).

“Winston Churchill famously said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.” The lie of Jewish dual loyalty is perpetuated by the Hamans of history even as Jews wherever they reside prove the truth of the promise given by God to Abraham that “I will bless those who bless you.”

“Purim, happily, is not merely the story of anti-Semitism; it is the biblical record of a major victory over a nefarious anti-Semite. And perhaps the most ironic part of the story is a truth made famous these past few weeks by a contemporary Jew hater.

“Ilhan Omar is right; “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

“For Omar “the Benjamins” – a reference to American hundred- dollar bills – was her despicable insinuation that Jews, as the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion long ago put it, control the world behind the scenes with their money.

“For the Book of Esther, “the Benjamin” was revealing to us at the outset that Mordechai was “Ish Yemini”, from the tribe of Benjamin. And why was that so significant? The rabbis explain that was the reason Mordechai was able to counter Haman’s libel and to demonstrate to us throughout the ages how best to overcome our enemies.

“While others bowed down to Haman, Mordechai refused. It was a trait he inherited genetically. The rabbis tell us that when Jacob met with his brother Esau he bowed down to him. According to some commentaries, it was a sin for which he would be held accountable. And 11 of Jacob’s sons bowed down as well. Only Benjamin, who was not yet born, did not bow. And so Mordechai, a direct descendent of Benjamin, maintained the tradition of his ancestor.

“The man who would not bow down to an enemy in humble submission is the one who encouraged Esther to similarly stand proudly and firmly, without embarrassment or fear, and speak up on behalf of our people. “Who knows,” he told her, “if not for a time such as this have you been placed in this position of rulership.”

“Mordechai and Esther are the heroes of the Purim story because they refused to cower before those who sought to destroy our people. They spoke out against their Haman with all of their strength. It’s all about the Benjamins and those who refuse to remain silent when enemies again plot “the final solution” for Israel and for our people.

“Maybe it isn’t a coincidence that all this is happening at the very time Jews around the world are celebrating Purim. History records not only the recurring story of anti-Semites and anti-Semitism. It also confirms the Divine intervention that has invariably assured our survival. And this miracle – in the one biblical book in which God’s name isn’t mentioned even once – is a miracle we desperately need today: The miracle of Jews, aware of the threat to their survival, who put aside their differences, united in the face of a common enemy, and collectively recognize that it must’ve been for “a time such as this” that we are given the opportunity to partner with God.

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