Friday, December 30, 2011

A break from the forward-madness?

Yes, folks.  I'm still here.  I just haven't received any right-wing email forwards from my father in awhile.

Maybe people are focused on their primaries?

Anyway, once the Republicans choose their candidate, I fully expect the viral emails to resume.  And maybe with more intensity than before.

Keep your eyes on this space.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A "Brownshirt Police Force" with Stethoscopes and Scalpels?

Here's a "Frequently Emailed theme" that my father has recently sent in the form of a video.

Essentially, this viral theme boils down to the accusation that, in the recent health care bills that have passed Congress, President Obama has somehow sneaked in provisions allowing him to have a domestic police force that will allow him to enforce the law as he sees fit.

Okay... considering that Congressional leaders actually wrote the law and sent it to the president for his signature, it seems a little unlikely that the President "secretly" did anything.  But if you want to look at my father's video, you can see it here on YouTube at

To the videographer's credit:  This is slightly less hysterical than most right-wing viral nonsense.  This vlogger acknowledges that the new health care bill doesn't actually create a new "civilian army".  He acknowledges that this is an expansion of an already existing agency - the United States Public Health Service.  And he acknowledges that this expansion is set aside for "reserve officers" that will serve in times of national emergency.

And after that... he goes into a long-winded fantasy about how these "reserve officers", under President Obama, will be used to enforce left-wing political orthodoxy.  With guns and police powers, if the need arises.

Well, let's get our facts straight here.  The United States Public Health Service was created in 1798, under our second president, John Adams.  Over 200 years ago.

And for over 200 years, no president has attempted to use this force for anything other than providing health care.  So there's no clear reason to believe that such an "expansion" of the Health Service's mission (published here) would start now.

They only recruit health care professionals, veterinarians, engineers capable of working on public health projects, and information technology specialists.  Making this service very poorly suited for the recruitment of "political police" officers.  And much less suitable for the task than any current military service, intelligence agency, or law enforcement agency.

And the idea that people would want to create a "reserve force" for "national emergencies" seems very reasonable - considering that part of their mission is to "Provide urgently needed public health and clinical expertise in response to large-scale local, regional, and national public health emergencies and disasters".  As they've recently done in recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and other man-made disasters.

So, overall, a request for a "reserve force" for such emergencies sounds very reasonable.

Okay, I suppose a skeptical reader might ask, "How do we know that the Public Health Service might be transformed into a civilian police force some time in the future?"

Okay, I suppose that the leader of this service is called the "Surgeon General", just like the Post Office used the title "Postmaster General" a few years back.  But, in order to be a police force, this service will either need to:

  • Start hiring police, intelligence, and/or military officers.
  • Start training it's cadre of physicians, nurses, scientists, and health care statisticians in law enforcement.
None of these things can happen invisibly.  People need to be hired.  Training manuals need to be written.  Training centers need to be established.

If anyone finds any evidence that any of these things are happening - I'll admit I was wrong.

Until then... there's no reason to call this "conspiracy theory" anything other than baseless hysteria.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our 2011 "Turkey of the Year"

As Americans settle down for their turkey dinners, and give thanks for the gifts they have received...  I'm going to set aside a little time... and present an award to the Viral Right-Wing "Turkey of the Year".

A special "thank you" to the foulest of the foul.  Containing the most baseless character assassinations, and the biggest lies.  Originating from the deepest pits of human corruption, evil, and hatred.

The kind of right-wing rumors that make my blog so easy to write.

The winner of our first annual "Turkey of the Year"?  A right-wing email that goes so low that it doesn't even criticize Barack Obama's policies or his management of the government.

Instead, it supposedly presents a psychologist's view that our Commander in Chief is mentally ill.

One problem:  This "psychologist" is a convicted white-collar criminal who doesn't even have a bachelor's degree in the field.  But he'll be happy to sell you his collection of ebooks for the low, low price of $79.90.

Once again:  Here it is.  Our Turkey of the Year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Obama said it... In My Imagination

Over time, viral right-wing claims are becoming more and more unbelievable.

Here's a huge whopper:

Yes, he told us in advance what he planned to do. Few were listening. 
The following is a narrative taken from a 2008 Sunday morning televised "Meet The Press'. 
From Sunday's 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, Televised "Meet the Press" THE THEN Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag.  General Bill Ginn' USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain WHY he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.  The General stated to Obama that according to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171...During rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present (except those in uniform) are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Or, at the very least, "Stand and Face It". 
'Senator' Obama replied: 
"As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides".. "There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression.." "The anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing." 
Obama continued: "The National Anthem should be 'swapped' for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing'. If that were our anthem, then, I might salute it. In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem as well as 'redesign' our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It's my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of waring people, conduct ourselves like the nations of Islam, where peace prevails - - - perhaps a state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments ....." 
When I become President, I will seek a pact of agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation, have placed upon the nations of Islam, an unfair injustice which is WHY my wife disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past". 
"Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path..My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country's First black Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America " 
WHAAAAAAAT, the H**l is that??? 
Yes, you read it right. 
I, for one, am speechless!!! 
Of course, in the years since Obama's election, we're all aware of his immediate withdrawal from all military action, and his famous proposals to redesign the American flag and to replace the National Anthem with a Pepsi slogan.

Oh, wait.  None of these things actually happened.

So, what about these supposed sources?

Well, the transcript to the September 7th 2008 "Meet the Press" is available on-line.  And neither Barack Obama nor General Ginn were on it.

Politifact went further, and discovered that no Dale Lindsborg was found on the Washington Post directory, either.

In other words - it's a fabricated quote made out of some right-wing liar's basement.  And it deserves no further attention.  Or forwarding.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Deal With Your Father's Right-Wing Emails

It seems like one of the most frequent ways that my blog is used is to email articles to others.  And some readers have written me email to thank me for providing the information necessary to help their friends and relatives in putting these viral untruths in their proper place.

That's a good thing.  Some folks respond to facts and reason.  If forwarding my research helps your family - I'm happy.

However, there are a few folks (including my father) who don't respond well to this approach.

If you confront them with the facts, they will ignore whatever you present.

Usually, they'll just continue to quote random lines from right-wing talk radio.

Occasionally, they'll challenge your source.  With lines like, "Snopes isn't always right."  Or, "You can't trust the mainstream media."

And, if your father (or anyone else) acts like mine... facts are just a distraction.  Their beliefs are set and unchangeable.  And, fortunately, unlikely to be heard except by fellow extremists.

So, what can you do?

Give Your Inbox a Break

Fortunately, most serial right-wing emailers don't spend a lot of effort in formatting their forwards.  They'll follow a pattern.

For example, my father still uses America OnLine as his email provider.  (Yes, I know what that says about him.  And you're probably right.)

Forwards from America OnLine almost always contain "FW:".  So, it's easy to set a mail filter to manage his forwards.

Simple, and worry-free.

When You're Forced to Talk About His Emails

But, when you're dealing with family, these emails will sometimes become topics of conversation.

Again, countering with facts rarely works.  And usually leads to more unpleasant conversation.

Here's what's worked best for me.

Step One:  When faced with viral untruths, simply ask:  "Where did you hear this?"

Step Two:  When he confirms someone sent him an email, laugh, and jokingly say, "Yeah, everything's true on the internet... really.  Did you really check to see if it were true?"

Usually, that will stop the conversation.  It creates a seed of doubt, and doesn't resort to shaming your friend or relative.

And that's what's worked best for me.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dr. Krauthammer Does Not Approve of This Message

Here's an that my father has repeatedly sent me over the years.

This message's viral spread has been pretty long-standing.  I'll let the opinions expressed in it stand for themselves - however, they are the opinions of a viral email author, and are not the opinions of Dr. Krauthammer.  I know this because Dr. Krauthammer said so himself.

So, in the end, this is a standard, anonymous right-wing rant.  Read it if you want.

Our future on the line?????? 
No matter your own view, this information is based on facts where we are. The future for our grandchildren...... Fast Facts About Dr. Charles Krauthammer , MD 
 Born: March 13, 1950   
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Raised in Montreal, Canada 
Attended Mc Gill University and Harvard Medical School 
1972 diving accident left him paralyzed from the neck on down. 
Directed psychiatric research for the Carter administration 
Began writing career in 1981 with The New Republic 
Helped develop the "Reagan Doctrine" in the 80's 
Appointed to Presidential Council on Bioethics in 2002                              

Dr. Krauthammer is frequently on the Fox News Channel. He is an M.D., a lawyer and is paralyzed from the neck down. A friend went to hear Charles Krauthammer . He listened with 25 others in a closed room. What he says here, is NOT 2nd-hand but 1st. The ramifications are staggering for us, our children and their children. 
Last Monday was a profound evening, Dr. Charles Krauthammer spoke to the Center for the American Experiment.. He is a brilliant intellectual, seasoned & articulate. He is forthright and careful in his analysis, and never resorts to emotions or personal insults. He is NOT a fear monger nor an extremist in his comments and views . He is a fiscal conservative, and has received a Pulitzer Prize for writing. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News and writes weekly for the   Washington Post.The entire room was held spellbound during his talk. I have summarized his comments, as we are living in uncharted waters economically and internationally.Even 2 Dems at my table agreed with everything he said!  If you feel like forwarding this to those who are open minded and have not drunk the Kool-Aid, feel free.... 

Summary of his comments:
1. Mr. Obama is a very intellectual, charming individual. He is not to be underestimated. He is a cool customer who doesn't show his emotions. It's very hard to know what's behind the mask.The taking down of the Clinton dynasty was an amazing accomplishment. The Clintons still do not understand what hit them. Obama was in the perfect place at the perfect time. 
2. Obama has political skills comparable to Reagan and Clinton . He has a way of making you think he's on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES! 
3.Obama has a ruthless quest for power. He did not come to   Washington to make something out of himself, but rather to change everything, including dismantling capitalism. He can't be straightforward on his ambitions, as the public would not go along. He has a heavy hand, and wants to level the playing field with income redistribution and punishment to the achievers of society. He would like to model the USA to Great Britain or Canada .  
4. His three main goals are to control ENERGY, PUBLIC EDUCATION, and NATIONAL HEALTHCARE by the Federal government.He doesn't care about the auto or financial services industries, but got them as an early bonus. The cap and trade will add costs to everything and stifle growth. Paying for FREE college education is his goal. Most scary is his healthcare program, because if you make it FREE and add 46,000,000 people to a Medicare-type single-payer system, the costs will go through the roof. The only way to control costs is with massive RATIONING of services, like in   Canada . God forbid! 
5.He has surrounded himself with mostly far-left academic types. No one around him has ever even run a candy store. But they are going to try and run the auto, financial, banking and other industries. This obviously can't work in the long run. Obama is not a socialist; rather he's a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution. He ran as a moderate, but will govern from the hard left. Again, watch what he does, not what he says. 
6. Obama doesn't really see himself as President of the United States , but more as a ruler over the world..He sees himself above it all, trying to orchestrate & coordinate various countries and their agendas. He sees moral equivalency in all cultures. His apology tour in Germany and England was a prime example of how he sees America , as an imperialist nation that has been arrogant, rather than a great noble nation that has at times made errors. This is the first President ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies! 
7. He is now handing out goodies. He hopes that the bill (and pain) will not come due until after he is reelected in 2012. He would like to blame all problems on Bush from the past, and hopefully his successor in the future. He has a huge ego, and Dr. Krauthammer believes he is a narcissist. 
8.. Republicans are in the wilderness for a while, but will emerge strong. Republicans are pining for another Reagan , but there will never be another like him. Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party. Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has baggage. Sarah Palin is sincere and intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she is to be a serious candidate in the future... We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and state's rights. 
9. The current level of spending is irresponsible and outrageous. We are spending trillions that we don't have.. This could lead to hyperinflation, depression or worse. No country has ever spent themselves into prosperity. The media is giving Obama, Reid and Pelosi a pass because they love their agenda. But eventually the bill will come due and people will realize the huge bailouts didn't work, nor will the stimulus package.These were trillion-dollar payoffs to Obama's allies, unions and the Congress to placate the left, so he can get support for # 4 above. 
10. The election was over in mid-September when Lehman brothers failed, fear and panic swept in, we had an unpopular President, and the war was grinding on indefinitely without a clear outcome. The people are in pain, and the mantra of change caused people to act emotionally. Any Dem would have won this election, it was surprising it was as close as it was. 
11. In 2012, if the unemployment rate is over 10%, Republicans will be swept back into power. If it's under 8%, the Dems continue to roll. If it's between 8-10%, it will be a dog fight. It will all be about the economy. I hope this gets you really thinking about what's happening in Washington and Congress. 
There is a left-wing revolution going on, according to Krauthammer, and he encourages us to keep the faith and join the loyal resistance. The work will be hard, but we're right on most issues and can reclaim our country, before it's far too late.Do yourself a long term favor, send this to all who will listen to an intelligent assessment of the big picture. All our futures and children's futures depend on our good understanding of what is really going on in DC, and our action pursuant to that understanding!! It really is up to each of us to take individual action!! Start with educating your friends and neighbors!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

From a Religion of Peace and Love

Okay.  My title can be interpreted the wrong way.

Just as I've defended the majority of Muslims who will never support violence against non-believers, I'll defend the majority of Catholics.  I'm not a Christian myself, but Christianity (as I understand it) is a faith that supports forgiveness of others' sins, leaving judgement to G-d himself, and application of the Golden Rule.  And the Catholic faith has a long tradition of insightful scholarship.

So, viral messages like this one sadden me.

I did a site-specific google search of the author's blog, and couldn't find these comments.  So I can't confirm that she wrote them.  But I think that most folks who'd skim her blog would consider her authorship plausible.

I present it as an example of the institutionalized spread of hatred via email.  Without further ado:

Ann Barnhardt is described as "a livestock and grain commodity broker and marketing consultant, American patriot, traditional Catholic, and unwitting counter-revolutionary blogger. She can be reached through her business at"  She has taken on Islam and they have noticed.    
DEATH THREAT:  Posted on her blog     
I'm going to kill you when I find you. Don't think I won't, I know where you and your parents live and all I'll need is one phone-call to kill ya'll.           
Re: Watch your back.  
Hello mufcadnan123!   You don't need to "find" me. My address is 9175 Kornbrust Circle, Lone Tree, CO 80124.    
Luckily for you, there are daily DIRECT FLIGHTS from Heathrow to Denver . Here's what you will need to do. After arriving at Denver and passing through customs, you will need to catch the shuttle to the rental car facility. Once in your rental car, take Pena Boulevard to I-225 south. Proceed on I-225 south to I-25 south. Proceed south on I-25 to Lincoln Avenue which is exit 193. Turn right (west) onto Lincoln . Proceed west to the fourth light, and turn left (south) onto Ridgegate Boulevard . Proceed south, through the roundabout to Kornbrust Drive . Turn left onto Kornbrust Drive and then take an immediate right onto Kornbrust Circle . I'm at 9175.    
Just do me one favor. PLEASE wear body armor. I have some new ammunition that I want to try out, and frankly, close-quarter body shots without armor would feel almost unsporting from my perspective. That and the fact that I'm probably carrying a good 50 I.Q. points on you makes it morally incumbent upon me to spot you a tactical advantage.    
However, being that you are a miserable, trembling coward, I realize that you probably are incapable of actually following up on any of your threats without losing control of your bowels and crapping your pants while simultaneously sobbing yourself into hyperventilation. So, how about this: why don't you contact the main mosque here in Denver and see if some of the local musloids here in town would be willing to carry out your attack for you?    
After all, this is what your "perfect man" mohamed did (pig excrement be upon him). You see, mohamed, being a miserable coward and a con artist, would send other men into battle to fight on his behalf. Mohamed would stay at the BACK of the pack and let the stupid, ignorant suckers like you that he had conned into his political cult do the actual fighting and dying. Mohamed would then fornicate with the dead men's wives and children. You should follow mohamed's example! Here is the contact info for the main mosque here in Denver:    
Masjid Abu Bakr  
Imam Karim Abu Zaid  
2071 South Parker Road Denver, CO 80231  
Phone: 303-696-9800  
I'm sure they would be delighted to hear from you. Frankly, I'm terribly disappointed that not a SINGLE musloid here in the United States has made ANY attempt to rape and behead me. But maybe I haven't made myself clear enough, so let me do that right now.    
I will NEVER, EVER, EVER submit to islam. I will fight islam with every fiber of my being for as long as I live because islam is pure satanic evil. If you are really serious about islam dominating the United States and the world, you are going to have to come through me. You are going to have to kill me. Good luck with that. And understand that if you or some of your musloid boyfriends do actually manage to kill me, The Final Crusade will officially commence five minutes later, and then, despite your genetic mental retardation, you will be made to understand with crystal clarity what the word "defeat" means. Either way, I win, so come and get it.  
Deo adjuvante non timendum (with the help of God there is nothing to be afraid of).  
Ann Barnhardt 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Biggest Filter Bubble - It's In Your Skull

And, the latest hit from my email box:
And you thought the web was an alternative to the mainstream media with its biased reporting. 
Think again. Startling video.
Actually, the video wasn't bad.  Personally, I prefer to watch it from it's original source.  However, this is one case where the collective right-wing email chain hasn't edited the original video.

But I find the viral forwarding by the right wing chain... curious.

Maybe they stopped listening once they saw Facebook "filtering" wall posts from conservative writers.

But the speaker clearly explained this - it's because he clicks on wall posts from liberal writers more often.  And, Facebook, being a social service, rather than a news agency, prioritizes the posts from the people you most often read.

And, yes, if I read more travel articles than news articles, a vague Google search for "Egypt" will prioritize travel.

Does it really change the content that's out there?  No.

If I go to The Economist, the New York Times, or the Christian Science Monitor, I'll always see the same articles that everyone else sees.

Same if I go to Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann's site.

As to what sites you choose to receive your news from - that's up to the filter bubble that's in your own head.

And if you think that the "mainstream media" is too liberally biased to listen to - maybe that's the biggest filter bubble of them all.

And if you think that viral email provides more accurate information than the people who stake their careers and reputations on the truth of what they write... that "filter bubble" is an amazing thing indeed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Read My Lips: There's No Tax Here.

Whenever a Democrat runs for political office, it seems like there's an automatic reaction:  "If you elect him, he'll raise your taxes!"

Well, here's one viral email that's told us how it already happened.  Even when it didn't.

Subject: FW: this!!!

Snopes says it is true, this!!!
On January 1st 2012, the government is requiring everyone to have direct deposit for SS checks.
WONDER WHY? - A 1% tax on all bank transactions HR 4646
Watch for this AFTER November elections; remember this BEFORE you VOTE in case you think Obama's looking out for your best interest.
Checked this on Snopes; it's true! Check out HR 4646. 
President Obama's finance team is recommending a one percent (1%) transaction fee (TAX). Obama's plan is to sneak it in after the November elections to keep it under the radar. 
This is a 1% tax on all transactions at any financial institution - banks, credit unions, savings and loans, etc. Any deposit you make, or even a transfer within your account, will have a 1% tax charged. ~If your paycheck or your social security or whatever is direct deposit, it will get a 1% tax charged for the transaction. 
~If your paycheck is $1000, then you will pay Obama $10 just for the privilege of depositing your paycheck in your bank. Even if you hand carry your paycheck or any check into your bank for a deposit, 1% tax will be charged. 
~You receive a $5,000 stock dividend from your broker, Obama takes $50 just to allow you to deposit that check in the bank. 
~If you take $1,000 cash to deposit at your bank, 1% tax will be charged.
Mind you, this is from the man who promised that, if you make under $250,000 per year, you will not see one penny of new tax. Keep your eyes and ears open, you will be amazed at what you learn about this guy's under-the-table moves to increase the number of ways you are taxed.
Oh, and by the way, if you receive a refund from the IRS next year and you have it direct deposited or you walk in to deposit that check, you guessed it. You will pay a 1% charge of that money just for putting it in your bank. Remember, any money, cash, check or whatever, no matter where it came from, you will pay a 1% fee if you put it in the bank. 
Some will say, oh well, it's just 1%. Are you kidding me? It's a 1% tax increase across the board. Remember, once the tax is there, they can also raise it at will. And if anyone protests, they will just say, "Oh, that's not really a tax, it's a user fee"! Think this is no big deal? Go back and look at the transactions you made from on year's banking statements. Then add the total of all those transactions and deduct 1%. Still think it's no big deal? 
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have." - Barry Goldwater

Okay, Snopes did say that this is a "mixture of true and false information".

Here's the list of what's true about this email:

Nor was HR4646 new legislation.  He's introduced the same bill as HR1601, HR2130, and HR1703.  And this year, he's submitted it as HR1125.

So far, he's never found a single congressman to cosponsor this bill.  And no other national politician has has  endorsed any version of this bill.  Including President Obama.  Or anyone in the Obama administration.

So, it's not a law.  And that means that you won't be hit by this proposed tax.

But even if hell froze over and HR1125 passed, this bill wouldn't be a tax increase - this tax would replace the Federal Income Tax.

Overall, the email attention that this bill has obtained seems almost comical.

That is - until you realize that people will write and call congressional staffers to overturn this law - even when it never passed.  This takes up a lot of congressional manpower, time, and energy.

Congressional staffers don't work for free.  How much do you think you're paying in order for them to respond to these silly viral emails?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If I Don't Quote It, Obama Didn't Say It?

And, today's dandy right-wing viral email:

The Difference Between
Chicken Salad and Chicken Shit
This is the difference between chicken salad:
President George W. Bush's speech after the capture of Saddam Hussein:

"The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq . The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator's footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them!"

And chicken shit!:
Obama's speech after the killing of bin Laden:

"And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network. Then, last August, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan . And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad , Pakistan ."

WOW! Obama did not once acknowledge our brave men and women who fight for our country.
Wait a minute.  George W. Bush took absolutely no personal credit for the capture of Saddam Hussein, and Barack Obama gave no credit to the soldiers who ultimately stopped Osama Bin Laden.  That seems . . . unbelievable.

And when things seem unbelievable, you need to check the facts that you're presented with.

Presidential speeches aren't hard to find.  George W. Bush's speech on the capture of Saddam Hussein can be found here, and Barack Obama's speech on the killing of Osama Bin Laden can be found here.

Clearly, this is a selective quote from Barack Obama's speech - it includes two and a half paragraphs from a 24 paragraph speech.  And that quotation ends just before Barack Obama stated, "A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body" - in other words, giving credit to the soldiers who carried the operation out.

Other sections that were conveniently missed?

"And so we went to war against Al-Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.  Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made great strides in that effort."

"The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded."

"Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice."

"We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day."

"Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores."

"And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people."

Wow.  Those quotes took more space than the spot in which our president (briefly) took credit for his role.  

But, I suppose that chickenshit email writers don't like to repeat things that go against their point of view.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A (Not So) Real American Hero

And, straight from my father's email box, here's the story of a great American hero.

Until you actually check the facts.
Dealing With Muslims  
 Two Black Americans were elected to congress this cycle, and both are Republican.   Col. West is from southern Florida.   He won in a walk.
If you call "winning 54% of the vote, compared to the other party's 46%" a walk, go ahead... but I don't think many folks would agree with you.  Especially when he lost by similar margins against the same opponent two years prior.

This new Congressman was an extremely popular commander in Iraq.  He was forced to retire because during an intense combat action a few of his men were captured.   At the same time his men captured one of the guys who were with the Iraqis who captured his men.
He was popular amongst his men.  However, this email provides a VERY different version of what happened according to an Army investigation, as reported by the New York Times.

According to this account:

Knowing that time was crucial and his interrogators were not getting anywhere with the prisoner, Col. West took matters into his own hands.  
These "interrogators" weren't professional interrogators.  They were the men under his command who brought the detainee in, stating they were inviting him to go on patrol with the unit.  They then bound him, kicked him, threw him off the Humvee, and told him that Col. West would kill him unless he provided information on the assassination attempt.

He burst into the room and demanded thru an interpreter that the prisoner tell him where his men were being taken.  The prisoner refused so Col. West took out his pistol and placed it into the prisoner's crotch and fired.   Then the Col. told the prisoner that the next shot would not miss.  
The gun was aimed at his head.  Not his crotch.

So the prisoner said he would show where the American service members were being taken.  The Americans were rescued.  Someone filed a report on incorrect handling of prisoners.  Col. West was forced to retire.  
Well, there were no "prisoners" to rescue.  Seeing as Colonel West was threatening to shoot the detainee in the head, the prisoner did what most prisoners (guilty or not) do in this situation - He provided some names, none of whom were found to be involved in any sort of planned attack.

Colonel West resigned, and no court martial was called.  Whether this was an unofficial agreement, no one will say.

With all-due respect, I can understand why Colonel West did this.  In the same situation, I might have done the same thing.  But I wouldn't call it heroism, or say that I took these actions because of my "true" understanding of Islamic threats.

Col. West was just elected in November 2010 to Congress from Florida.   During the elections he was part of a panel on how to handle or how to relate to Muslims.   You will see his answer here explaining in just over a minute the truth about Islam.  Please watch and if you agree, please forward it to your friends; if you disagree, you're an idiot.  Hit the delete button.
You can watch the video if you like, but it's lacking any sort of depth.

The title of this YouTube video reads, "Sura 9:5 says, 'Slay the idolators wherever you find them'".  As usual, I grabbed my copy of the Koran.  (Another translation of these passages can be found here.)

This section, in my translation of the Koran, is entitled, "Repentance".  It deals with how Muslims should behave when Non-Muslims violate the peace agreements they make.  It directs Muslims to give such treaty-breakers four months to repent, but allows for self-defense when other solutions aren't possible.  And it doesn't call for Muslims to kill all non-believers.

In the video, Colonel West cites a litany of battles fought between Muslim armies and others, without discussing their (very complex) causes.  And he directs people to "Read the Koran, the Sura and the Hadith" in order to understand why "the enemy" wishes to destroy all of Western Civilization.

And this might make sense - until you actually find out what the "Sura and the Hadith" are.

First of all, it makes no sense to tell people to "read the Koran and the Sura".  If you've read the Koran, you've read all the the Sura - they're just the chapters of the Koran.

The Hadith, however, are not part of the Koran.  They are collections of actions and statements attributed to Mohammed.

There are many collections of Hadith, and no agreements regarding which (if any) are authentic.  Certainly, no collection of Hadith can speak for all of Islam, and statements to the contrary only serve to illustrate the ignorance of the person saying that they do.

Perhaps, Colonel West should spend a little more time following his own advice - to study his "enemy" a little more closely.  And, maybe, spending a little more time looking at himself.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Update: Bill Cosby Didn't Write This Email.

My father tends to send me the same right-wing emails over and over... an event that usually doesn't merit an update.

However, one of his latest repeats attributes an edited version of this email to Bill Cosby.

However, as I noted in my original article, the original attribution appears to be correct.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is it Time to Repent For Your Own Sins Yet?

Well, my father, once again, sent me an anti-islamic diatribe.

Nothing really new here.  It's the usual collection of blaming all Moslems for the actions of radicals, stating that they're all complicit... yadda yadda.  I've refuted these all before.

What saddens me?  This was a sermon given during a Jewish period of repentance.

I wish the authorship was incorrect, and that this holiday of self-reflection wasn't perverted into an ill-informed attack of others.

As I've said, I've refuted this stuff before.  I'll reprint it here, if just to provide another example of institutionalized racial hate gone viral.

Sermon of the Century

This sermon, delivered by Rabbi Lewis a couple of weeks ago has been referred to as the "sermon of the century" If you haven't already seen or heard it it's well worth reading.
First Day of RoshHashanah 2010 
Sermon delivered by Rabbi Schlomo Lewis of Atlanta  
I thought long and I thought hard on whether to deliver the sermon I am about to share.  We all wish to bounce happily out of shul on the High Holidays, filled with warm fuzzies, ready to gobble up our brisket, our honey cakes and our kugel.  We want to be shaken and stirred – but not too much.  We want to be guilt-schlepped – but not too much.  We want to be provoked but not too much.  We want to be transformed but not too much.
I get it, but as a rabbi I have a compelling obligation, a responsibility to articulate what is in my heart and what I passionately believe must be said and must be heard.  And so, I am guided not by what is easy to say but by what is painful to express.  I am guided not by the frivolous but by the serious.  I am guided not by delicacy but by urgency.
We are at war.  We are at war with an enemy as savage, as voracious, as heartless as the Nazis but one wouldn’t know it from our behavior. During WWII we didn’t refer to storm troopers as freedom fighters.  We didn’t call the Gestapo, militants.   We didn’t see the attacks on our Merchant Marine as acts by rogue sailors.  We did not justify the Nazis rise to power as our fault.  We did not grovel before the Nazis, thumping our hearts and confessing to abusing and mistreating and humiliating the German people.  We did not apologize for Dresden , nor for The Battle of the Bulge, nor for El Alamein, nor for D-Day.
Evil – ultimate, irreconcilable, evil threatened us and Roosevelt and Churchill had moral clarity and an exquisite understanding of what was at stake.  It was not just the Sudetenland, not just Tubruk, not just Vienna , not just Casablanca .  It was the entire planet.  Read history and be shocked at how frighteningly close Hitler came to creating a Pax Germana on every continent. 
Not all Germans were Nazis – most were decent, most were revolted by the Third Reich, most were good citizens hoisting a beer, earning a living and tucking in their children at night.  But, too many looked away, too many cried out in lame defense – I didn’t know.”  Too many were silent. Guilt absolutely falls upon those who committed the atrocities, but responsibility and guilt falls upon those who did nothing as well.  Fault was not just with the goose steppers but with those who pulled the curtains shut, said and did nothing.
In WWII we won because we got it.  We understood who the enemy was and we knew that the end had to be unconditional and absolute.  We did not stumble around worrying about offending the Nazis.  We did not measure every word so as not to upset our foe.  We built planes and tanks and battleships and went to war to win….. to rid the world of malevolence.
We are at war… yet too many stubbornly and foolishly don’t put the pieces together and refuse to identify the evil doers.  We are circumspect and disgracefully politically correct.
Let me mince no words in saying that from Fort Hood to Bali, from Times Square to London , from Madrid to Mumbai, from 9/11 to Gaza , the murderers, the barbarians are radical Islamists. 
To camouflage their identity is sedition.  To excuse their deeds is contemptible.  To mask their intentions is unconscionable.
A few years ago I visited Lithuania on a Jewish genealogical tour.  It was a stunning journey and a very personal, spiritual pilgrimage.  When we visited Kovno we davenedMaariv at the only remaining shul in the city.  Before the war there were thirty-seven shuls for 38,000 Jews.  Now only one, a shrinking, gray congregation.  We made minyon for the handful of aged worshippers in the Choral Synagogue, a once majestic, jewel in Kovno. 
After my return home I visited Cherry Hill for Shabbos.  At the oneg an elderly family friend, Joe Magun, came over to me. 
“Shalom,” he said.  “Your abba told me you just came back from Lithuania .”
“Yes,” I replied.  “It was quite a powerful experience.”  “Did you visit the Choral Synagogue in Kovno?  The one with the big arch in the courtyard?” 
“Yes, I did.  In fact, we helped them make minyon.”  His eyes opened wide in joy at our shared memory.  For a moment he gazed into the distance and then, he returned.  “Shalom, I grew up only a few feet away from the arch.  The Choral Synagogue was where I davened as a child.” 
He paused for a moment and once again was lost in the past.  His smile faded.  Pain filled his wrinkled face.  “I remember one Shabbos in 1938 when Vladimir Jabotinsky came to the shul”  (Jabotinsky was Menachim Begin’s mentor – he was a fiery orator, an unflinching Zionist radical, whose politics were to the far right.)  Joe continued “When Jabotinsky came, he delivered the drash on Shabbos morning and I can still hear his words burning in my ears.  He climbed up to the shtender, stared at us from the bima, glared at us with eyes full of fire and cried out. ‘EHRKUMT. YIDN FARLAWSTAYERSHTETL – He’s coming.  Jews abandon your city.’ ”
We thought we were safe in Lithuania from the Nazis, from Hitler.  We had lived there, thrived for a thousand years but Jabotinsky was right -- his warning prophetic.  We got out but most did not.” 
We are not in Lithuania .  It is not the 1930s.  There is no Luftwaffe overhead.  No U-boats off the coast of long Island .  No Panzer divisions on our borders.  But make no mistake; we are under attack – our values, our tolerance, our freedom, our virtue, our land.  
Now before some folks roll their eyes and glance at their watches let me state emphatically, unmistakably – I have no pathology of hate, nor am I a manic Paul Revere, galloping through the countryside.  I am not a pessimist, nor prone to panic attacks.  I am a lover of humanity, all humanity. Whether they worship in a synagogue, a church, a mosque, a temple or don’t worship at all.  I have no bone of bigotry in my body, but what I do have is hatred for those who hate, intolerance for those who are intolerant, and a guiltless, unstoppable obsession to see evil eradicated.
Today the enemy is radical Islam but it must be said sadly and reluctantly that there are unwitting, co-conspirators who strengthen the hands of the evil doers.  Let me state that the overwhelming number of Muslims are good Muslims, fine human beings who want nothing more than a Jeep Cherokee in their driveway, a flat screen TV on their wall and a good education for their children, but these good Muslims have an obligation to destiny, to decency that thus far for the most part they have avoided.  The Kulturkampf is not only external but internal as well.  The good Muslims must sponsor rallies in Times Square, in Trafalgar Square, in the UN Plaza, on the Champs Elysee, in Mecca condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent.  Thus far, they have not.  The good Muslims must place ads in the NY Times.  They must buy time on network TV, on cable stations, in the Jerusalem Post, in Le Monde, in Al Watan, on Al Jazeena condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent – thus far, they have not.  Their silence allows the vicious to tarnish Islam and define it. 
Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil. 
I recall a conversation with my father shortly before he died that helped me understand how perilous and how broken is our world; that we are living on the narrow seam of civilization and moral oblivion.  Knowing he had little time left he shared the following – “Shal.  I am ready to leave this earth. Sure I’d like to live a little longer, see a few more sunrises, but truthfully, I’ve had it.  I’m done.  Finished.  I hope the Good Lord takes me soon because I am unable to live in this world knowing what it has become.” 
This startling admission of moral exhaustion from a man who witnessed and lived through the Depression, the Holocaust, WWII, Communist triumphalism, McCarthyism, Strontium 90 and polio.  – Yet his twilight observation was – “The worst is yet to come.” And he wanted out. 
I share my father’s angst and fear that too many do not see the authentic, existential threat we face nor confront the source of our peril.  We must wake up and smell the hookah. 
“Lighten up, Lewis.  Take a chill pill, some of you are quietly thinking. You’re sounding like Glen Beck.  It’s not that bad.  It’s not that real.” 
But I am here to tell you – “It is.”  Ask the member of our shul whose sister was vaporized in the Twin Towers and identified finally by her charred teeth, if this is real or not.  Ask the members of our shul who fled a bus in downtown Paris , fearing for their safety from a gang of Muslim thugs, if this is an exaggeration.  Ask the member of our shul whose son tracks Arab terrorist infiltrators who target – pizza parlors, nursery schools, Pesachseders, city buses and play grounds, if this is dramatic, paranoid hyperbole. 
Ask them, ask all of them – ask the American GI’s we sit next to on planes who are here for a brief respite while we fly off on our Delta vacation package.  Ask them if it’s bad.  Ask them if it’s real. 
Did anyone imagine in the 1920’s what Europe would look like in the 1940’s. 
Did anyone presume to know in the coffee houses of Berlin or in the opera halls of Vienna that genocide would soon become the celebrated culture? 
Did anyone think that a goofy-looking painter named Shickelgruber would go from the beer halls of Munich and jail, to the Reichstag as Feuhrer in less than a decade?  Did Jews pack their bags and leave Warsaw , Vilna, Athens , Paris , Bialystok , Minsk , knowing that soon their new address would be Treblinka, Sobibor, Dachau and Auschwitz ? 
The sages teach – “Aizehuchacham – haroehethanolad – Who is a wise person – he who sees into the future.”  We dare not wallow in complacency, in a misguided tolerance and naïve sense of security. 
We must be diligent students of history and not sit in ash cloth at the waters of Babylon weeping. We cannot be hypnotized by eloquent-sounding rhetoric that soothes our heart but endangers our soul.  We cannot be lulled into inaction for fear of offending the offenders.  Radical Islam is the scourge and this must be cried out from every mountain top.  From sea to shining sea, we must stand tall, prideful of our stunning decency and moral resilience.  Immediately after 9/11 how many mosques were destroyed in  America ?  None.  After 9/11, how many Muslims were killed in America ? None.  After 9/11, how many anti-Muslim rallies were held in America ? None.  And yet, we apologize.  We grovel.  We beg forgiveness. 
The mystifying litany of our foolishness continues.  Should there be a shul in Hebron on the site where Baruch Goldstein gunned down twenty-seven Arabs at noonday prayers?  Should there be a museum praising the U.S. Calvary on the site of Wounded Knee ?  Should there be a German cultural center in  Auschwitz ?  Should a church be built in the Syrian town of Ma’arra where Crusaders slaughtered over 100,000 Muslims?  Should there be a thirteen story mosque and Islamic Center only a few steps from Ground Zero? 
Despite all the rhetoric, the essence of the matter can be distilled quite easily.  The Muslim community has the absolute, constitutional right to build their building wherever they wish.  I don’t buy the argument – “When we can build a church or a synagogue in Mecca they can build a mosque here.”  America is greater than Saudi Arabia .  And New York is greater than  Mecca .  Democracy and freedom must prevail.  
Can they build?  Certainly.  May they build?  Certainly.   But should they build at that site?  No -- but that decision must come from them, not from us.  Sensitivity, compassion cannot be measured in feet or yards or in blocks.  One either feels the pain of others and cares, or does not. 
If those behind this project are good, peace-loving, sincere, tolerant Muslims, as they claim, then they should know better, rip up the zoning permits and build elsewhere.
Believe it or not, I am a dues-paying, card carrying member of the ACLU, yet from start of finish, I find this sorry episode disturbing to say the least. 
William Burroughs, the novelist and poet, in a wry moment wrote – “After one look at this planet, any visitor from outer space would say – “I want to see the manager.”
Let us understand that the radical Islamist assaults all over the globe are but skirmishes, fire fights, and vicious decoys.  Christ and the anti-Christ.  Gog U’Magog.  The Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness; the bloody collision between civilization and depravity is on the border between Lebanon and Israel .  It is on the Gaza Coast and in the Judean Hills of the  West Bank .  It is on the sandy beaches of Tel Aviv and on the cobblestoned  mall of Ben Yehuda Street .  It is in the underground schools of Sderot and on the bullet-proofed inner-city buses.  It is in every school yard, hospital, nursery, classroom, park, theater – in every place of innocence and purity.
Israel is the laboratory – the test market.  Every death, every explosion, every grisly encounter is not a random, bloody orgy.  It is a calculated, strategic probe into the heart, guts and soul of the West. 
In the Six Day War, Israel was the proxy of Western values and strategy while the Arab alliance was the proxy of Eastern, Soviet values and strategy.  Today too, it is a confrontation of proxies, but the stakes are greater than East Jerusalem and the West Bank .  Israel in her struggle represents the civilized world, while Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Iran , Islamic Jihad, represent the world of psychopathic, loathesome evil.
As Israel , imperfect as she is, resists the onslaught, many in the Western World have lost their way displaying not admiration, not sympathy, not understanding, for Israel ’s galling plight, but downright hostility and contempt.  Without moral clarity, we are doomed because Israel ’s galling plight ultimately will be ours.  Hanna Arendt in her classic Origins of Totalitarianism accurately portrays the first target of tyranny as the Jew.  We are the trial balloon.  The canary in the coal mine.  If the Jew/Israel is permitted to bleed with nary a protest from “good guys” then tyranny snickers and pushes forward with its agenda. 
Moral confusion is a deadly weakness and it has reached epic proportions in the West; from the Oval Office to the UN, from the BBC to Reuters to MSNBC, from the New York Times to Le Monde, from university campuses to British teachers unions, from the International Red Cross to Amnesty International, from Goldstone to Elvis Costello, from the Presbyterian Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
There is a message sent and consequences when our president visits Turkey and Egypt and Saudi Arabia , and not Israel . 
There is a message sent and consequences when free speech on campus is only for those championing Palestinian rights. 
There is a message sent and consequences when the media deliberately doctors and edits film clips to demonize Israel . 
There is a message sent and consequences when the UN blasts Israel relentlessly, effectively ignoring Iran , Sudan , Venezuela , North Korea , China and other noxious states.  
There is a message sent and consequences when liberal churches are motivated by Liberation Theology, not historical accuracy. 
There is a message sent and consequences when murderers and terrorists are defended by the obscenely transparent “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” 
John Milton warned, “Hypocrisy is the only evil that walks invisible.” 
A few days after the Gaza blockade incident in the spring, a congregant happened past my office, glanced in and asked in a friendly tone – “Rabbi.  How’re y’ doing?” 
I looked up, sort of smiled and replied – “I’ve had better days.”  
“What’s the matter?  Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?” he inquired. 
“Thank you for the offer but I’m just bummed out today and I showed him a newspaper article I was reading.  
“ Madrid gay pride parade bans Israeli group over Gaza Ship Raid.”  I explained to my visitor – “The Israeli gay pride contingent from Tel Aviv was not allowed to participate in the Spanish gay pride parade because the mayor of Tel Aviv did not apologize for the raid by the Israeli military.” 
The only country in the entire Middle East where gay rights exist, is  Israel .  The only country in the entire Middle East where there is a gay pride parade, is Israel .  The only country in the Middle East that has gay neighborhoods and gay bars, is Israel .
Gays in the Gaza would be strung up, executed by Hamas if they came out and yet Israel is vilified and ostracized.  Disinvited to the parade. 
Looking for logic?
Looking for reason?
Looking for sanity? 
Kafka on his darkest, gloomiest day could not keep up with this bizarre spectacle and we “useful idiots” pander and fawn over     cutthroats, sinking deeper and deeper into moral decay, as the enemy laughs all the way to the West Bank and beyond.
It is exhausting and dispiriting.  We live in an age that is redefining righteousness where those with moral clarity are an endangered, beleaguered specie. 
Isaiah warned us thousands of years ago – “OyeLehemSheh-KorimLayome, Laila v’Laila, yome – Woe to them who call the day, night and the night, day.”  We live on a planet that is both Chelm and Sodom .  It is a frightening and maddening place to be.
How do we convince the world and many of our own, that this is not just anti-Semitism, that this is not just anti-Zionism but a full throttled attack by unholy, radical Islamists on everything that is morally precious to us? 
How do we convince the world and many of our own that conciliation is not an option, that compromise is not a choice? 
Everything we are.  Everything we believe.  Everything we treasure, is at risk.
The threat is so unbelievably clear and the enemy so unbelievably ruthless how anyone in their right mind doesn’t get it is baffling.  Let’s try an analogy.  If someone contracted a life-threatening infection and we not only scolded them for using antibiotics but insisted that the bacteria had a right to infect their body and that perhaps, if we gave the invading infection an arm and a few toes, the bacteria would be satisfied and stop spreading.  
Anyone buy that medical advice?  Well, folks, that’s our approach to the radical Islamist bacteria.  It is amoral, has no conscience and will spread unless it is eradicated. – There is no negotiating.  Appeasement is death. 
I was no great fan of George Bush – didn’t vote for him.  (By the way, I’m still a registered Democrat.)  I disagreed with many of his policies but one thing he had right.  His moral clarity was flawless when it came to the War on Terror, the War on Radical Islamist Terror.  There was no middle ground – either you were friend or foe.  There was no place in Bush’s world for a Switzerland.  He knew that this competition was not Toyota against G.M., not the Iphone against the Droid, not the Braves against the Phillies, but a deadly serious war, winner take all.  Blink and you lose.  Underestimate, and you get crushed. 
I know that there are those sitting here today who have turned me off.  But I also know that many turned off their rabbis seventy five years ago in  Warsaw , Riga , Berlin , Amsterdam , Cracow , Vilna.  I get no satisfaction from that knowledge, only a bitter sense that there is nothing new under the sun. 
Enough rhetoric – how about a little “show and tell?”  A few weeks ago on the cover of Time magazine was a horrific picture with a horrific story. The photo was of an eighteen year old Afghani woman, Bibi Aisha, who fled her abusive husband and his abusive family.  Days later the Taliban found her and dragged her to a mountain clearing where she was found guilty of violating Sharia Law.  Her punishment was immediate.  She was pinned to the ground by four men while her husband sliced off her ears, and then he cut off her nose. 
That is the enemy (show enlarged copy of magazine cover.) 
If nothing else stirs us.  If nothing else convinces us, let Bibi Aisha’s mutilated face be the face of Islamic radicalism.  Let her face shake up even the most complacent and naïve among us.  In the holy crusade against this ultimate evil, pictures of Bibi Aisha’s disfigurement should be displayed on billboards, along every highway from Route 66 to the Autobahn, to the Transarabian Highway .  Her picture should be posted on every lobby wall from Tokyo to Stockholm to Rio .  On every network, at every commercial break, Bibi Aisha’s face should appear with the caption – “Radical Islamic savages did this.” And underneath – “This ad was approved by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by Taliban, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, by Islamic Jihad, by Fatah al Islam, by Magar Nodal Hassan, by Richard Reid, by Ahmanijad, by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, by Osama bin Laden, by Edward Said, by The Muslim Brotherhood, by Al Queda, by CAIR.” 
“The moral sentiment is the drop that balances the sea” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Today, my friends, the sea is woefully out of balance and we could easily drown in our moral myopia and worship of political correctness. 
We peer up into the heavens sending probes to distant galaxies. We peer down into quarks   discovering particles that would astonish Einstein.  We create computers that rival the mind, technologies that surpass science fiction. What we imagine, with astounding rapidity, becomes real.  If we dream it, it does, indeed, come.  And yet, we are at a critical point in the history of this planet that could send us back into the cave, to a culture that would make the Neanderthal blush with shame. 
Our parents and grandparents saw the swastika and recoiled, understood the threat and destroyed the Nazis.  We see the banner of Radical Islam and can do no less.
A rabbi was once asked by his students….

“Rebbi.  Why are your sermons so stern?”  Replied the rabbi, “If a house is on fire and we chose not to wake up our children, for fear of disturbing their sleep, would that be love?  Kinderlach, ‘dihoyzbrent.’  Children our house is on fire and I must arouse you from your slumber.” 
During WWII and the Holocaust was it business as usual for priests, ministers, rabbis?  Did they deliver benign homilies and lovely sermons as Europe fell, as the Pacific fell, as North Africa fell, as the Mideast and South America tottered, as England bled?  Did they ignore the demonic juggernaut and the foul breath of evil?  They did not.  There was clarity, courage, vision, determination, sacrifice, and we were victorious.  Today it must be our finest hour as well.  We dare not retreat into the banality of our routines, glance at headlines and presume that the good guys will prevail. 
Democracies don’t always win.
Tyrannies don’t always lose. 
My friends – the world is on fire and we must awake from our slumber.  “ER KUMT.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Detroit: Let's Blame the Victims

The story of Detroit has been a sad one.  Ever since the race riots of 1967, few people with money have chosen to live there.  Nor would they start, or maintain businesses within the city.  And, without money, it's hard to have a functioning city.

I don't know how Detroit can recover... but some folks prefer to blame the victims.

The trouble is... they don't even know who the victims are.

By Frosty Wooldridge
(Frosty Wooldridge (born 1947) is a US journalist, writer, environmentalist, traveler)

I can't verify authorship of this piece.  But Mr. Woolridge's has posted his resume on-line.  I'll let my audience determine his qualifications as a journalist or environmentalist.

For 15 years, from the mid 1970's to 1990, I worked in Detroit, Michigan. I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gun play, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses and school yards. Trash everywhere!
Detroiters walked through it, tossed more into it, and ignored it. Tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands today exist on federal welfare, free housing, and food stamps!
With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed eight to 10, and in one case, one woman birthed 24 children as reported by the Detroit Free Press, all on American taxpayer dollars.
Of course.  Having multiple welfare babies is something that only minorities do.  Riiight.

A new child meant a new car payment, new TV, and whatever mom wanted. I saw Lyndon Baines Johnson's 'Great Society' flourish in Detroit. If you give money for doing nothing, you will get more hands out taking money for doing nothing.
Yes... the welfare folks are living the high life in Detroit.  Much better than folks who have jobs.  Why... with how well they're doing, they've moved OUT of the city that's unable to provide their basic needs.  Right?


Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America, outside of Richard Daley in Chicago, rode Detroit down to its knees... He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence, and arrogance.
So, Chicago's more corrupt, and even more impoverished and unlivable, right?

It's not?  Oh.

As a black man, he said, "I am the MFIC." The IC meant "in charge."

Sheesh.  I wonder how he feels about Mark Zuckerberg.

You can figure out the rest... Detroit became a majority black city, with 67 percent African-Americans.As a United Van Lines truck driver for my summer job from teaching math and science, I loaded hundreds of American families into my van for a new life in another city or state.
... I suppose the African-Americans didn't use his moving van.  Because they moved away from the crime, inadequate schools, and poor infrastructure too.  If they were able.

Detroit plummeted from 1.8 million citizens to 912,000 today. At the same time, legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000.
Actually, that's 300,000 in Detroit and it's suburbs.  And most of the suburbs do not share the blight of the city itself.

Like I said, if you have money, and you value city services... you're not moving into Detroit.

Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit.
According to my sources, that's 47,167 of those 400,000.  Comprising 4.96% of Detroit's population.

Immigrants are usually drawn by economic opportunity.  Which ain't in Detroit.
As the whites moved out, the Muslims moved in.
A population trend that's present... nowhere.

As the crimes became more violent, the whites fled. Finally, unlawful Mexicans moved in at a torrid pace.  
We've already established that our world-acclaimed journalist didn't check the hispanic population of Detroit. Or, apparently, the definition of "torrid".
Detroit may be one of our best examples of multiculturalism: pure dislike, and total separation from America.Today, you hear Muslim calls to worship over the city like a ne w American Baghdad with hundreds of Islamic mosques in Michigan, paid for by Saudi Arabia oil money.
According to my Google Maps search, there are 7 mosques in Detroit.  Chruches far outnumber them.
High school flunk out rates reached 76 percent last June, according to NBC's Brian Williams. Classrooms resemble more foreign countries than America .. English? Few speak it! The city features a 50 percent illiteracy rate and growing.
An 81.5% African-American population, and few speak English... Riiight.

Unemployment hit 28.9 percent in 2009 as the auto industry vacated the city. In Time Magazine's October 4, 2009, "The Tragedy of Detroit: How a great city fell, and how it can rise agai n," I choked on the writer's description of what happened. "If Detroit had been ravaged by a hurricane, and submerged by a ravenous flood, we'd know a lot more about it," said Daniel Okrent. "If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we'd see it on the evening news every night." Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it, if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice.
But Detroit, once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country.Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision making."
As Coleman Young's corruption brought the city to its knees, no amount of federal dollars could save the incredible payoffs, kickbacks and illegality permeating his administration. I witnessed the city's death from the seat of my 18-wheeler tractor trailer because I moved people out of every sector of decaying Detroit."By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit 's treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services," Okrent said. "The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers' union to reject a philanthropist's offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high sch ools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit today, the unemployment rate is 28.9%. That's worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent.
At the end of Okrent's report, and he will write a dozen more about Detroit, he said, "That's because the story of Detroit is not simply one of a great city's collapse, it's also about the erosion of the industries that helped bu ild the country we know today. The ultimate fate of Detroit will reveal much about the character of America in the 21st century.If what was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the nation has been brought to its knees, what does that say about our recent past? And if it can't find a way to get up, what does that say about America's future?"
I don't think you'll see much disagreement with the fact that Detroit is an impoverished city.

As you rea d in my book review of Chris Steiner's book,"$20 Per Gallon," the auto industry won't come back. Immigration will keep pouring more and more uneducated third world immigrants from the Middle East into Detroit, thus creating a beachhead for Islamic hegemony in America. If 50 percent illiteracy continues, we will see more homegrown terrorists spawned out of the Muslim ghettos of Detroit. Illiteracy plus Islam equals walking human bombs.

He hasn't proven this before.  And he hasn't proven it now.

As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights, and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder.
Not unless they can rewrite the constitution... and I don't see that happening.
We will see more honor killings by upset husbands, fathers and brothers that demand subjugation by their daughters, sisters and wives. Muslims prefer beheadings of women to scare the hell out of any other members of their sect from straying. Multiculturalism: what a perfect method to kill our language, culture, country and way of life.
I'll let that incoherent racial ranting stand for itself.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Unfunny Pictures

And, again... here are some pictures that the right-wing emailers call "funny".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why do you need to Lie about the Health Care Law?

It's about time I approached some of these "viral" attacks on the recent health care legislation.

Here's one:

Obama Care Highlighted by Page Number
Hmm... Let's take a look at HB 3200...

Oh, wait.  This isn't the health care bill that passed congress.  It never even came up for a vote.  The ones that passed congress were H.R. 3590 and H.R. 3962.

Oh, details, schmetails.  Fine.  Let's look at the bill.  Even if it didn't pass congress.

Judge Kithil of  Marble Falls,  TX -  highlighted the most egregious pages of HB3200
Please read this........ especially the reference to pages 58 & 59
  JUDGE KITHIL wrote:   ** Page 50/section 152:  The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally. 
The legislation reads, "...(T)he Secretary of Health and Human Services shall . . . promulgate such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to insure that all health care and related services . . . covered by this Act are provided . . . without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services."

It seems kind of weird that our emailer interpreted it this way.  At first glance, it seemed to me to state the obvious - that administrators couldn't make health care coverage decisions based on things like race, sex, religion, political beliefs, and so forth.

It makes sense.  And it stretches the imagination to think that this language would extend health care benefits to people who are in this country illegally, and subject to deportation.

But, in case you were wondering...  If our writer bothered to read ahead to section 242, he'd see that benefits are only available to "an individual who is lawfully present in a State in the United States."  So, it looks like our viral emailer wasted a good worry.

* Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts. 
The sections included in page 58 and 58 refer to billing practices.  It ensures that, when you go to your doctor, you'll know as soon as possible if you're covered, and how much you will continue to owe the doctor after s/he's completed his or her services.  And it ensures practitioners that there will be consistent rules on how to do the billing.

As for the government having "real-time access to an individual's bank account" and having the authority "to make electronic fund transfers"?  Maybe our emailer was referring to the standard stating that these systems will "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance."

Note the word "enable".  In my mind, that means, "make something possible."  Not "make it mandatory".  Or, "allow a biller to have unlimited access to someone else's bank account".

It means that, as a patient, you may choose to pay a copayment by bank debit.  If you and the provider want to.

And doctors and hospitals, if they wish, can receive payment electronically from insurance companies.

But I don't see how this would have allowed the government to grab whatever they wanted from your bank account.

** Page 65/section 164:  The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN).
This section reads, "The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a temporary reinsurance program . . . to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees."

So, when our viral emailer says that this is a "special" entitlement for unions and community organizations (particularly ones demonized by the right), it's an out-and-out lie.  These rules apply to any employment-based plan.

** Page 203/line 14-15:  The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax.  (How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)

The language is a little bit bizarre.

This refers to some taxes levied on high-income individuals to pay for the costs of the program.  Of course, congressional debate did change the parameters of these costs, which are detailed in plain English over here.  In the end, if you're making over $200,000 as a single taxpayer, you'll have to pay an extra 0.9% in payroll taxes.

This tax can't be used to offset the alternative minimum tax.  Thus, this tax is not considered "a tax" when it comes to calculating the AMT.

Hey, no one said that tax law made much sense to non-tax-policy wonks.

** Page 241 and 253:  Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors' fees.
These pages refer to payment to doctors under Medicare.  And, for as long as I can remember, Medicare has always paid physicians according to a government-controlled payment schedule.

If a doctor feels that Medicare is paying too little, they have the right to refuse Medicare patients.  And they can continue to do so after passage of the recent health care bills.  So, in the end, nothing has changed here.

** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age.
Here's the text:  "The Secretary shall conduct a study to determine if, under the system under this subsection, costs incurred by hospitals described in section 1886(d)(1)(B)(v) with respect to ambulatory payment classification groups exceed those costs incurred by other hospitals furnishing services under this subsection (as determined appropriate by the Secreretary. Insofar as the Secretary determines under subparagraph (A) that costs incurred by hospitals described in section 1886(d)(1)(B)(v) exceed those costs incurred by other hospitals furnishing services under this subsection, the Secretary shall provide an appropriate adjustment under paragraph (2)(E) to reflect those costs incurred by other hospitals furnished."

So, how did "if we do a study and find out that cancer care costs more in certain places, we'll adjust Medicare payments to compensate" become "rationing of care due to age"?

Beats me.

** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.
This is a (very slight) expansion to current anti-kickback law.  In order for doctors and hospitals to receive Medicare funds, they've needed to comply with anti-kickback provisions for quite some time.  Because Medicare felt it was unseemly to refer patients to hospitals that they owned, and services provided at these hospitals that they are subject to profit from.

They granted some exceptions to rural hospitals.  These rules tighten the anti-kickback rules governing such exceptions.  But it doesn't prevent the vast majority of hospitals from expanding as they please.

** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations.  Those on Social Security will be required to attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every five years. (Death counseling..)** Page 429,  line 13-25:  The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.
Oh, yes.  "Death Panels".  The proud recipient of's "Lie of the Year" in 2009.

For those who haven't kept up:  This version of the health care bill ensured that physicians who discussed advanced directives and living wills with their patient could be paid for this service.  It was never mandatory.

And these "end-of-life" orders?  They're signed by the patient.  The doctor only serves as a witness.

But, no matter.  None of these provisions made it into the health care bills passed by congress.

HAD ENOUGH????  Judge Kithil then goes on to identify:"Finally, it is specifically stated that this bill will not apply to members of Congress.  
Funny how he suddenly stopped citing sections of the health care bill when he made this claim.

That's because... there's no exemption.  Members of congress are subject to the individual mandate requiring that they obtain health insurance of a minimum standard.  Fortunately for members of congress, most of the health plans that they're eligible for (as a virtue of their employment) qualify.
Members of Congress are already exempt from the Social Security system, and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a very quick 'fix' to make the plan financially sound for their future."  -    Honorable David Kithil of Marble Falls,  Texas
This lie is so prevalent, I gave it a special article.

All of the above should give you the point blank ammo you need to support your opposition to Obamacare. 
There are lots of reasons why it's reasonable to object to the recently passed healthcare legislation.

These "facts" aren't among them.