Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I know They're Lying!!! Their Lips Are Moving!!!!

Let's get this straight. Bill Clinton smoked weed, but he didn't inhale. So now Barack Obama says that even though he sat in Reverend Wright's pews for twenty years, he never heard anything inflammatory. I sat through his sermons, but I didn't listen...
The biggest difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Husein Obama is that Clinton got in trouble after church. Obama gets in trouble in church.

Thomas Jefferson and Others on the Right to Bear Arms

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." ~ Thomas Jefferson, (Quoting Cesare Beccari's "On Crimes and Punishment")
George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the
people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than
99% of them [guns] by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very
atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference [crime]. When firearms go, all goes,
we need them every hour." (Address to 1st session of Congress)
George Washington: "A free people ought to be armed." (Jan 14 1790, Boston Independent Chronicle.)
James Madison: "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of
other countries, whose people are afraid to trust them with arms." (Federalist Paper #46)
Adolf Hitler: "This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead."
(Chancelor's Speech, 1935)
Charles Shumer: (US Congress, has sworn an oath to defend the US Constitution) "All we ask for
is registration, just like we do for cars." (Press conference, 1993, exact date being sought)

Adolf Hitler: "The most foolish mistake we could make would be to allow the subject peoples to
possess arms. So let's not have any talk about native militias." (Hitler's Secret Conversations,
1941-44, Farrar, Strauss and Young, 1953)

Mao Tse Tung: "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must
command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party." (Problems of
War and Strategy, Nov 6 1938, published in "Selected Works of Mao Zedong," 1965)

Diane Feinstein: "US Senator, If I could have banned them all- 'Mr. and Mrs. America turn in
your guns' -I would have!" (Statement on TV program 69 Minutes, Feb 5 1995)

Mahatma Gandhi: "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the
act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." ("Gandhi, an Autobiography," M.K. Gandhi,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reverend Wright and Barack Obama
Attending the same house of worship for twenty years says a lot about a person. It indicates loyalty and stability. If you look at the pastor, imam or rabbi, it is assumed that a lot of what was said from the pulpit might have influenced that person's thinking.
Barack Obama attended Reverend Wright's church for twenty years. He is only now denouncing Reverend Wright's statements about America and non African Americans. Either Obama is being disloyal to his spiritual mentor for political gain or he has sat for twenty years through bigoted and anti-American tirades without uttering a word of protest. It is entirely fitting that an aspirant to our nation's highest office should be subject to rigourous scrutiny. A person's bookshelves, his friends and his mentors offer deep insights into their outlook and way of thinking.
Barack Husein Obama has just denounced Reverend Wright after twenty years of loyalty. He is doing it for your vote. It's a disgrace. We need a person who will lead America according to beliefs of which he need not be ashamed. Obama is not that man.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Iranian Official Cites Barbie Doll Threat

A top Iranian official has warned of the dangers posed to the moral fabric of Iranian society posed by Barbie dolls, according to a dispatch from Associated Press. Although trade embargoes have slowed the flow of toys from the west, smugglers and black marketeers have provided a steady flow of liquor, pop music from the west and bootleg American DVD's.
The Iranian government wants to satisfy the appetite of Iranians for toys sold in America without undermining the values being promoted by the Ahmadinejad government. To further this end , it is rumoured that they have studied the success of GI Joe and come up with an Iranian spinoff. There will be no skimpy outfits or uncovered hair in Iranian toy stores. After Iran's Holocaust Denial Conference , toy designers in Iran reportedly unveiled the Iranian Barbie doll. The doll's first name is Klaus, he wears a Revolutionary Guard uniform and his last name is Barbie. Market research results are not yet in, but it is the doll is expected to enjoy brisk sales. A complete line of accessories including suicide vests is likely to come out soon for use with the Klaus Barbie doll. Aspiring young militants will have the option of blowing up their Klaus Barbie dolls, stimulating the market for replacements.
In response to the original request for an Iranian alternative to dolls from the west, it is rumoured that toy stores are selling rolling pins with eyes painted on them that can be swaddled in black cloth. Iranian government officials would not answer repeated requests from for comment

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Overseas Servicemen Face Obstacles in Casting Votes

According to, only thirteen states currently allow overseas troops to vote in presidential elections with the aid of e-mail, along with some districts in seven other states. This leaves tens of thousands of troops who must rely on conventional mail for voting. In far flung outposts that are poorly linked by road and air service, delivering ballots on time to our military personnel overseas and getting them back before local deadlines in the U.S. has often proved to be a daunting task. According to Newsmax, e-voting could help reverse recent trends in which "thousands of military members asked for ballots but either didn't vote or had their ballots rejected for flaws."
The issue of military ballots is seldom dealt with in the liberal press. According to the Newsmax article, George W. Bush's razor thin majority of 537 votes that won him his first term in office occurred in the context of several thousand military votes that arrived late. In some districts they were counted and in other districts they were excluded. A civilian who is late in returning his or her absentee ballot can be faulted for tardiness. Military personnel who are facing danger in defense of the country deserve every benefit of leniency in forgiving tardiness.
In many states, ballots are only ready thirty to forty five days before the election. Mail to some troops has a two week delivery time each way. Many soldiers miss their chance to vote with such a narrow window of opportunity. Cyber voting would extend the franchise to thousands currently in danger of exclusion. As a matter of common decency, all fifty states should streamline voting for members of our armed forces now and not after November elections.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Kosher and Joyous Passover (Chag Kosher v'Someach)

Due to observance of the final two days of Pesach, will not post again until late Sunday night,April 27. I wish all of my readers a joyous and peaceful holiday.

Magdeburger Joe of and

North Carolina GOP Ad

Magdeburger Joe is running the much discussed North Carolina anti Obama ad as a public service and a show of support for the North Carolina Republican philosophy and electoral strategy. An office as important as the Presidency of the United States should be fought for with passion and the full array facts needed to make an informed decision. The North Carolina Republicans should be applauded for waging the battle with passion and enthusiasm.
I had to go directly to the Republican Party site, because dirty tricksters had planted at least one obscene forgery of the real ad on You Tube. That forgery does not fit within the parameters of's policy concerning obscenity. It speaks volumes about the opponents of the Republican Party. Please click on the video above to view the North Carolina ad. I am also including a link to the North Carolina GOP below

Obama's 58 Lies (Reprinted From Irate


1.) Selma Got Me Born - LIAR, your parents felt safe enough to have
you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in
2.) Father Was A Goat Herder - LIAR, he was a privileged, well
educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.
3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter - LIAR, he was part of one of
the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had
4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - LIAR, your cousin
Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a
legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya. It is the first widespread
violence in decades.
5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - LIAR, she does her
daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. Not to
mention, Christianity wouldn’t allow her to have been one of 14
wives to 1 man.
6.) My Name is African Swahili - LIAR, your name is Arabic and
‘Baraka’ (from which Barack came) means ‘blessed’ in that
language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama.
7.) I Never Practiced Islam - LIAR, you practiced it daily at school,
where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31
years,until your wife made you change, so you could run for office.
8.) My School In Indonesia Was Christian - LIAR, you were registered
as Muslim there and got in trouble in Koranic Studies for making
faces (check your own book).
9.) I Was Fluent In Indonesian - LIAR, not one teacher says you could
speak the language.
10.) Because I Lived In Indonesia, I Have More Foreign Experience -
LIAR, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn’t even
speak the language. What did you learn, how to study the Koran and
watch cartoons.
11.) I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs - LIAR, except for Africa
(surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been
anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our
closest allies.
12.) I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - LIAR, you were
quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya
and no mention of struggle to identify - your classmates said you
were just fine.
13.) An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - LIAR, Ebony has yet
to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn’t, and never
did, exist.
14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - LIAR, Life
has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn’t,
and never did, exist.
15.) I Won’t Run On A National Ticket In ‘08 - LIAR, here you
are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough
experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.
16.) Present Votes Are Common In Illinois - LIAR, they are common for
YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.
17.) Oops, I Misvoted - LIAR, only when caught by church groups and
democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.
18.) I Was A Professor Of Law - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer ON
19.) I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - LIAR, you were a senior lecturer
20.) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - LIAR, you didn’t
write it,introduce it, change it, or create it.
21.) The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - LIAR, it took just 14 days
from start to finish.
22.) I Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - LIAR, your bill was rejected by
your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation - mainly
because of your Nuclear Donor, Exelon, from which David Axelrod came.
23.) I Have Released My State Records - LIAR, as of March, 2008,
state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released,
exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.
24.) I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - LIAR, you were
part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens. You
failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in your books.
25.) My Economics Bill Will Help America - LIAR, your 111 economic
policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even
YOU voted against your own bill.
26.) I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - LIAR, even your own
supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.
27.) I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year - LIAR, they were not
YOUR bills, but rather handed to you, after their creation by a
fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.
28.) No One Contacted Canada About NAFTA - LIAR, the Candian
Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your
campaign had with them.
29.) I Am Tough On Terrorism - LIAR, you missed the Iran Resolution
vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the
destruction of Israel.
30.) I Am Not Acting As President Yet - LIAR, after the NAFTA Memo, a
dead terrorist in the FARC, in Colombia, was found with a letter
stating how you and he were working together on getting FARC
recognized officially.
31.) I Didn’t Run Ads In Florida - LIAR, you allowed national ads
to run 8-12 times per day for two weeks - and you still lost.
32.) I Won Michigan - LIAR, no you didn’t.
33.) I won Nevada - LIAR, no you did not.
34.) I Want All Votes To Count - LIAR, you said let the delegates
35.) I Want Americans To Decide - LIAR, you prefer caucuses that
limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only
operate during small windows of time.
36.) I passed 900 Bills in the State Senate - LIAR, you passed 26,
most of which you didn’t write yourself.
37.) My Campaign Was Extorted By A Friend - LIAR, that friend is
threatening to sue if you do not stop saying this. Obama has stopped
saying this.
38.) I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics - LIAR, you used tactics to
eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.
39.) I Don’t Take PAC Money - LIAR, you take loads of it.
40.) I don’t Have Lobbysists - LIAR, you have over 47 lobbyists,
and counting.
41.) My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - LIAR, your own
campaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.
42.) My Campaign Never Took Over MySpace - LIAR, Tom, who started
MySpace issued a warning about this advertising to MySpace clients.
43.) I Inspire People With My Words - LIAR, you inspire people with
other people’s words.
44.) I Have Passed Bills In The U.S. Senate - LIAR, you have passed A
BILL in the U.S. Senate - for Africa, which shows YOUR priorities.
45.) I Have Always Been Against Iraq - LIAR, you weren’t in office
to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time,
unlike Kucinich, who seems to be out gutting you Obama. You also seem
to be stepping back from your departure date - AGAIN.
46.) I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - LIAR, your plan
leaves us all to pay the 15,000,000 who don’t have to buy it.
47.) I Only Found Out About My Investment Conflicts Via Mail - LIAR,
both companies you site as having sent you letters about this
conflict have no record of any such letter ever being created or
48.) I Am As Patriotic As Anyone - LIAR, you won’t wear a flag pin
and you don’t put your hand over your heart during the Anthem.
49.) My Wife Didn’t Mean What She Said About Pride In Country -
LIAR, your wife’s words follow lock-step in the vain of Wright and
Farrahkan, in relation to their contempt and hatred of America.
50.) Wal-Mart Is A Company I Wouldn’t Support - LIAR, your wife has
received nearly a quater of a million dollars through Treehouse,
which is connected to Wal-Mart.
51.) Treehouse Is A Small Company - LIAR, the CEO of Treehouse last
year, made more than the CEO of Wal-Mart, according to public
52.) University Of Chicago Hospital Pay Is Fair - LIAR, your wife’s
pay raise was nearly 150% her already bloated rate and the hospital
is a Non-Profit Hospital, which made $100,000,000 in the last 3 years.
They overcharge blacks VS whites for services, and overcharge
everyone in general by 538%!
53.) I Barely Know Rezko - Only 5 Billed Hours - LIAR, you have known
him for 17 years, and decided to do a real estate deal with him
during a time when he was proven to be under investigation. Despite
this, you divided your property and had them take off $300K before
the mortgage problems started. Then Rezko’s wife buys the lot
beside it that you can’t afford, saving you $625,000.
54.) My Donations Have Been Checked Thoroughly - LIAR, you only gave
back Hsu ($72K) and Rezko ($150K) their money when publically called
on their involvement in your campaigns.
55.) My Church Is Like Any Other Christian Church - LIAR, your church
is so extreme, the pastor who married you, Rev. Wright, just got done
blaming the US for 9/11 and named LOUIS FARRAHKAN their person of the
56.) I Disagree With My Church All The Time - LIAR, you still have
yet to repudiate Wright, who married you and your wife, and you still
donate large sums of money to assist the church in furthering its
message - HATE & REVENGE. You donated in 2006 alone, $22,500 to the
church that you so terribly disagree with. That is nearly $500 PER
WEEK - that sure is disagreement, Senator Obama.
57.) I Have Clean Connections Despite Rezko - LIAR, you are not only
connected to Exelon and Rezko, you are also connected to Hillary PAC
supporter Mr. Hsu, AND an Iraqi Billionaire of ill repute, Nadhmi
Auchi, who ripped off people in the Food For Oil, Iraqi deal. Seems
Mr. Auchi may have helped Obama buy his million dollar property long
before Obama had millions of dollars. Wonder what favors Mr. Auchi
expects, when Obama leaves Iraq free to be taken over by special
interests such as him.
58.) I never heard sermons like Rev. Wright’s, that have been in
videos all day, You Tube - LIAR! 3 days later during your Mea Culpa
BS speech you said “Did I hear controversial statements while I sat
in that church? Yes I did.”

P.S From Magdeburger Joe. This is a pretty long list of lies for someone who hasn't even been nominated. Let's see if the list gets any longer. By the way, you should visit Irate-nation. I'm providing the link below and adding it to my blogroll

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thank You Finland

During World War Two, Finland was an oasis of security for its approximately 1600 Jews. Strangely enough, Finland was also an important ally of Nazi Germany. There are many oddities about Finland, not the least of which is its language, which is totally unrelated to the other languages spoken in Scandinavia.
Until 1917, Finland was a part of the Russian Empire. The February and November revolutions gave critical mass to the Finnish movement for independence. On November 15, ten days after Finland's Parliament declared itself to be "the possessor of supreme State power" in Finland, the Bolshevik government, in one of the few acts for which it can be praised, recognised Finland as an independent nation with a right to self determination.
America had rightly labeled the bombing of Pearl Harbour as "a day that would live in infamy". 1939 and 1940 were a time of perfidy in which the U.S.S.R. waged its infamous war of aggression against Finland. It succeeded in wresting a chunk of Finnish territory but was thwarted in its aim to reabsorb the entire Finnish Republic.
The Finns, who had run their country as a well functioning democracy between the world wars, made the difficult decision to ally itself with Nazi Germany to preserve some semblance of independence. The magnitude of the threat posed by the U.S.S.R. makes such a decision totally understandable. If anyone can fault the Finns, it is not the U.S.S.R. , considering their own treaty of Friendship with Nazi Germany, that lasted from 1939 to 1941.
During the war with the U.S.S.R., the Jews of Finland had complete civic equality. They served in the Finnish army and even had a field synagogue that was known to the Germans. The Finns made it entirely clear that they would permit no discrimination against any Finn based upon their religious allegiance. Jewish soldiers were completely loyal to Finland and its treaty obligations to Germany. Some maintained their integrity by refusing German military decorations.
There was some effort by the Germans to interest Finland in a" final solution". There are various accounts of intrigue in connection with this. It can be said that the decency of the Finnish people and Finland's strategic importance were a winning combination for the Jews of Finland. Refugees and prisoners of war were not as fortunate. Some were handed over to Germany or its other allies not as Jews but as aliens with indifference to their fate in German hands. Finland actually tried a military officer of the Finnish army after the war who had handed over eight Jewish prisoners to the notorious Estonians, who murdered most of their Jewish population.
Finland did an amazing job of maintaining their allegiance to rigourous standards of civic equality for all its citizens. In looking at Finland I see that there is a difference between World War Two and the war against the Jews. When I contrast Finland's record with that of Poland, Belarus, Croatia, Latvia Lithuania and Estonia, the Finnish Republic and its citizens earn my unflagging gratitude. Just as it is central to my identity to celebrate the exodus from Egypt, it is a matter of Jewish honour to remain forever thankful to those who stood by us in our darkest hour . To the people of Finland I say Todah Rabbah, Paljon kiitoksia, and thank you.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe(with thanks to Wikipedia and the web page linked below)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's Swiftboat Until November !!!!!!

There are two strategies in campaigning for office. One is to prove that you are qualified. The second is to prove that the other guy is unqualified. When John Kerry invoked his Vietnam service record, the Republican opposition found people to contest Kerry's version of the facts. The Democrats then introduced the word "swiftboat" into the political lexicon. Is there something wrong with examining a candidate's record? It seems that whenever a Republican hits dirt, the Democrats whine about "negative campaigning".
The Republicans in 1988 ran an ad about Willie Horton, a convict let out on work release who went on a terrifying crime spree They were showing the impact of leniency to violent criminals under then Governor Dukakis. I say they were putting a human face on issues too often reduced to abstractions.
When the Israelis staged air raids on villages that had been launching rocket attacks on Israeli towns, they were criticised for causing civilian casualties. Then the Israelis identified guilty individuals and assassinated them, sometimes using high tech means. The immediate response of the knee jerk Israel bashers was to condemn "targeted assassinations".
The Democrats will make up new rules as they go along to hamstring their opponents. My advice is to go over the records of your rivals with an electron microscope. If they yell, it means you're on to something and you should crank up the heat.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Texas Mormon Polygamists, A Miscarriage of Justice

(Mormons in the 19th century incarcerated for polygamy)

They may be strange. They may look like they tumbled out of a time machine. And some may even be guilty of something. The anonymous phone call that led to over four hundred children being taken from their families. To most people, this is a punishment worse than incarceration. Texas child protective services seems to have waged war on the encampment in their state of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints.
There have been disturbing reports from ex members of that church of forced marriages to underage girls. There have been boys kicked out in a pattern that hinted at skewing the sex ratio in the church to favour older men. Some of these boys who were thrown out of the church and their homes could have made plausible neglect cases in civil and criminal courts. Some girls and women have left that church and availed themselves of judicial remedies to their complaints.
Child protective services in Texas seems to be waging a rambling inquiry that defies any known judicial norms. The trauma of families being torn apart is a form of abuse by itself. There are far less destructive ways of mounting an abuse investigation than the way it was done in Texas.
There are homes that are never investigated where both parents marry and divorce repeatedly. In many other homes they get together and break up with no legal arrangements at all. The rate of abuse in homes with step parents is very high, but there are no preemptive attacks by Child Protective Services on such homes. The newest alternative life style is same sex marriages. Children in many states can get abortions and birth control without parental consent, before the age of consent. Anything goes now. It seems that the Mormon polygamists have finally tested society's limits. So now we can prove to ourselves that there is something that we won't tolerate. We pat ourselves on the back for "protecting" these children and take no stock of the strain modern society places on its children.
There are most likely children who have been abused in the FLDS church. But far larger denominations in society's mainstream have been taken to judicial task for child molestation and other crimes in a manner that did not shred the societal fabric.
Perhaps the Texas FLDS church compound should be investigated. But the abuse of their children and parents should cease immediately. The children should be reunited with their parents and enjoy the same right of due process as enjoyed by believers in the religious mainstream.
The inquisitorial nature of the debacle in Texas should frighten us all. And it should never happen again.

Graffiti Up In New York City

Reflecting the observations of many New Yorkers, the New York Post reports that graffiti is back in New York City streets with a vengeance. Part of the "broken window" strategy of the Giuliani administration involved cracking down on "quality of life" crimes. Instead of previous conventional wisdom that deprioritised these violations of the law, the police under Giuliani treated tackling them as a chance to send a signal to serious criminals that they did not own the streets. The strategy was a success and New York's crime drop vastly outstripped that of the rest of the country.
Ordinary New Yorkers in the outer boroughs report a feeling that some of the lawlessness of the Koch and Dinkins years is slowly creeping back. In many neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens for instance, it can not be assumed that the public is patient enough to make sure that crimes are assigned a case number and correctly recorded by the police bureaucracy. Anecdotal evidence that seems common when speaking to locals in Crown Heights seems to point to lost crime reports and official indifference to crimes that would be taken seriously elsewhere.
My fear is that the minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics who benefited most from the drop in crime could be the first to suffer if crime starts going up.
Living in Crown Heights, I see both Blacks and Jews both with strong historical reasons to fear prejudice. Recent incidents in which a Black son of a police officer was allegedly attacked in a case of mistaken identity and Jewish children in a Crown Heights park were robbed by local thugs have heightened tensions between Blacks and Jews . Additionally, reports that police refused to take reports about the robberies in Lincoln Terrace Park at the edge of Crown Heights have heightened distrust of the police by Jews as well.
Hearing the anger of Jewish parents whose children were robbed, I wonder how many Black and Hispanic children were also victimised as well. A united crime watch or parents patrol of the parks might lessen distrust in all corners of the community and make parks safer.
One thing all sections of the Crown Heights Community have in common is the problem of at risk children. There are children in trouble at home and school and possibly flirting with drug substance abuse as well among Jews, Blacks and Hispanics. An idle child of any race is more likely to find trouble than a child who is kept busy in a learning or recreational activity. All of us in Crown Heights need to be honest with ourselves about the need to watch all of our children.
Despite the troubled economic times afflicting our city and country, it would be penny wise and pound foolish to cut back on programs for our youth. Although prejudice has a very real role in aggravating tensions, idleness plays a role as well.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Kosher and Joyous Passover To All

Because of the holiday of Passover, the next posting on this site will be Monday night , April 21. Magdeburger Joe wishes peace to all and THIS year in Jerusalem!!

Censorship and Creativity

The condition of artists under authoritarian regimes has alway fascinated me. Ismail Kadare of Albania managed to maintain his integrity with a minimum of compromise, thereby earning great respect when communism finally fell in his country. Sometimes he employed the device of writing about the past while implicitly commenting about the present.
Iran has a film industry nowhere nearly as big as Bollywood, yet widely respected abroad. Films such as A White Balloon and The Cyclist have achieved a following abroad, as has the genre of modern Iranian films.
It is clear that film directors in Iran are subject to Islamic dictates of modesty. Far from the crudely yielded scissors of Stalinist censors, the restraints in Persian cinema bring home the point that rules, conventions and restrictions are as much a part of the creative process as freedom. The twin pillars of freedom and restrictions remind me of the range of expression facilitated by grammar, which prescribes and proscribes forms of linguistic usage.
One of the most beautiful love scenes I ever saw in a movie was at the end of the 2001 movie "Baran" in which the girl who was the star of the movie was taking leave of a boy who was very fond of her As she was walking, her shoe got stuck in the mud. The boy pulled it out of the mud and motioned for her to let him slip it on her foot. Her face softened for a moment as she put her foot forward. Then her expression hardened and she motioned for the boy to put the shoe down, which he did. Pulling her shod foot away, she left the indentation from her shoe to the mercy of gathering rain drops as she departed with a van taking her away. I will always remember the sadness on his face as he watched her footprint dissolve in the rain. Orthodox Jews who watch that movie would readily appreciate that scene in the film, which evokes the intensity of longing far more adeptly than any film to come out of the west.
Some Iranian singers have also remained in Iran. While I can not present an entire film on this web site, I am happy to present a music video which shows a modesty that bears little resemblance to the caricatures of Iranian life in the western press. On the dark side of artistic restraint are some of the social problems in Iran such as drug addiction, prostitution and poverty that do not benefit from the corrective light of a free press. My fondest wish would be for Western countries to combine restraint with the frankness of the free press found in democratic countries. That would make for some amazing films
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe on the commentary only Please click on the video above , which is by the group Arian and taken from You Tube

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Does the End Justify THESE Means?

The "justness" of the cause of a Palestinian state has been intoned with such mind numbing regularity that it is accepted without question around the world. Even countries with their own restive minorities such as France with their Corsicans and Spain with its Basques and Catalonians fail to ask why the few thousand deaths in Israel and the Palestine Authority over a decade constitute a more pressing claim on the time of the United Nations than a million plus famine deaths in North Korea or close to a million deaths over mere hundred days in Rwanda.
Part of the way to press a claim for statehood is to conduct one's struggle in a manner worthy of respect. The Palestine Authority has done its best to aid , abet and reward attacks on innocent civilians in a neighboring jurisdiction. It permits attacks to be launched from its territory. The cumbersome security precautions necessitated by its belligerent conduct have blighted the lives of its own people. Its corruption has been rampant bleeding away money given by Europe and the U.S.A. to attack poverty and finance development.
While complaining bitterly about the treatment of Arabs by the State of Israel, the Christian population of the Palestine Authority has steadily shrunk due to violence against it and discrimination that is both tolerated and practiced by the government.
Israel apologises and investigates when its armed forces accidentally kill Arab civilians. Willful murders of Israeli civilians are celebrated in the streets of the Palestine Authority.
Israel is asked to take as partners for peace those whose record would be trusted no place else. Those such as Jimmy Carter who advocate such trust are knowing and willing accomplices in the murder of Israelis and the continued opression of Arabs by their own governments.
Does the end justify the means? We can see in the unfolding of events in the Middle East that the means used to achieve statehood shape the ends. We see that the blood lust cultivated as a means of achieving a Palestinian state continues to thrive and consume those who cultivated it.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe
Please click on the above video about terrorism inIsrael

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Fourteenth Article of Faith?

American pollsters have uniformly placed the Jewish vote in the Democratic column. I have lost track of the number of times that the "holy" name of Franklin D. Roosevelt is invoked as a reason for voting Democratic. It is taken as an additional article of faith that FDR was a great friend of the Jewish people.
Anyone who lives in or near Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods knows that the Republicans get a much fairer hearing in Orthodox Jewish precincts than among their suburban fellow Jews. Hasidim, for instance care about government support for private schools. In a heretical departure from political "tradition", we vote based on current issues, for Jews and for the country.
It is ironic that the Orthodox community is often criticised for keeping "archaic" and outdated commandments by those who vote Democratic because of "tradition". It is worth noting that a lot of the information about FDR shows him as far less sympathetic to Jews than was believed when he was alive. Conversely, Herbert Hoover, who is often wrongly blamed for the Great Depression, is remembered by Jews from the former Soviet Union for his famine relief efforts during the USSR Civil War between 1918 and 1921. Lubavitcher chassidim recount with gratitude the role of Herbert Hoover in lobbying for the release of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe from exile and a death sentence.
The only note of caution that I like to sound about a political philosophy is the danger that it can become a religion. I have spoken with Germans of my grandparents generation. They all remembered and sometimes spoke about how they voted in the 1932 elections that brought Hitler to power. Those of that generation remembered how their city voted in that election that changed the world. We should always regard elections as a collective act of free will that can change the world. And in deciding how to cast our votes, we should refer to the past, consider the present and look to the future.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Children choose prison over misery by Sonia Verma in Nablus from the Times of London

This article was forwarded to me. Considering the terrible reputation of the British press for bias against Israel, the candour of this report is remarkable. It details how resourceful and desperate Arabs have found a creative way to shelter their children from the stupidity of the Hamas leadership that they elected.
The article details how some Arab families are actually encouraging their children to get arrested to shelter them from poverty, violence and unemployment. The prospect of a stipend from the Palestine Authority is an added incentive. One can be fairly certain that an Arab enemy would not be nearly so kind to an adversary that was sending them suicide bombers. I have included the link. If you are interested in the tone of the British press, you should click on the link above this article. After reading the article, explore other stories in the paper. There is also a link for sending a letter to the editor.

As families struggle with spiralling violence and crippling poverty in the West Bank and Gaza, a growing number are using a new tactic to feed and shelter their children: sending them to an Israeli jail. Hundreds of parents are encouraging their offspring to get arrested for petty crimes, such as carrying a knife or verbal harassment, because life in jail is seen as better than life at home.

Children go willingly into Israeli custody because prison provides them a temporary escape from the endless boredom and harsh violence of life in the occupied territories.

Their parents, in turn, receive financial compensation for their hardship from the Palestinian Authority, money that often amounts to their only income. “They come to the checkpoints with weapons that aren’t really dangerous, just to get arrested,” said Fouad Halhal, the head of Israel’s civil administration office in Nablus.

He estimates that more than two hundred Palestinian children have got themselves arrested in the past two years. “It’s a known phenomenon among the Palestinian youth. It’s something they want to do.”

Last spring Muhammad Kharaz, a scruffy 17-year-old student, was looking to escape the inertia of life in Nablus, a city surrounded by military checkpoints and cut off from the rest of the West Bank.

He had heard about jail from friends at school who had already done time. There was digital television, organised sports, access to books and regular meals, they told him.

It sounded like a dream compared with his cramped existence at home, where he slept on the floor with three siblings in a two-roomed house and his mother struggled to feed them on a teacher’s salary.

So last spring he slipped a kitchen knife under his shirt and made his way to Hawara, an Israeli military checkpoint on the city’s south side. “I was feeling desperate, so I thought I will try my luck getting into jail. I thought prison would be comfortable,” he said.

At the checkpoint he flashed his knife and was taken into custody. After several days of interrogation he landed in al-Naqab, an Israeli military jail in the Negev. Life in prison exceeded his expectations. “I played table tennis and basketball every day. Three of my best friends were there from Nablus. We ate eggs for breakfast. At night we would stay up late and read. I miss it,” he said.

He was delighted at his trial when a judge handed him a seven-month sentence. His parents were less than pleased. They borrowed £100 to post bail, freeing him after a dozen days behind bars. “I still dream of going back,” he said.

Other parents admit to complicity in orchestrating the arrest of their children. Their motivation is mostly financial. The Palestinian Authority pays a monthly benefit of about £85 to any family whose son is held in an Israeli jail.

After a year of debilitating sanctions against the Hamas-led Government, unemployment in the occupied territories has reached an all-time high. A prisoner’s stipend exceeds the salary of many Palestinians.

Obama sends Signal on His Foreign Policy

In the clearest signal about his foreign policy positions, Barack Hussein Obama stands alone among the three leading presidential contenders in his refusal to condemn James Earl (Jimmy) Carter's trip to Syria. In a gentle attempt to remind the elderly Jimmy Carter that he is no longer President, the Israeli government has treated Carter's visit as that of a private citizen.
Barack Obama remains silent about Carter's expressions of support for his campaign. Some have speculated that silence on Carter's part might be a greater help in founding an Obama Nation than a vocal endorsement.

Copyright 2008 By Magdeburger Joe (Carter picture from

Monday, April 14, 2008

Iran Calls on Israel To Stop Threatening Iran

Ahmadinejad and a friend in a jolly mood

According to a dispatch from Associated Press,Iran urged the U.N. Security Council to yet again condemn Israel and demand that it stop threatening to use military force against Iran, according to a letter obtained Friday.
Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazee quoted in a letter to the U.N. Security Council a statement byIsrael's Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who warned Iran on April 7 that any attack on the Jewish state would result in the "destruction of the Iranian nation."
The letter, which was not a belated April Fools day joke as had been previously suspected stated that Israel had "has continued with its insolent, outrageous and unprovoked threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran" which it classified as a violation of the U.N. charter.
Despite calls for Israel's obliteration and fighting a proxy war through its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon, the Iranian ambassador is able to claim with a straight face that the statement of Israel's Infrastructure Minister was "unprovoked".
Additionally, Ambassador Khazee claimed that U.N. inaction had emboldened Israel in its threats against the Islamic Republic.
Intelligence reports coming from Iran have fueled suspicion that Iran intends military uses for its nuclear program. It is odd that it has chosen to combine a suspicious looking nuclear program with military adventurism throughout the Middle East and inflamatory rhetoric. Iran imports all of its gasoline from abroad, despite being a leading oil producer. It could accomplish amazing things for its people and chooses instead to raise legitimate concerns in Israel about its intentions and offensive military capacity.
Iran's Ambassador to the U.N. deserves an Academy Award for delivering his complaint about U.N. inaction with a straight face. The Islamic Republic of Iran is fortunate to be spared the wrath of countries that it has threatened with regularity. It is even more fortunate to have eluded the wrath of its own citizens.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thoughts about the Burqa Sect Abuse Case
It has been in pained silence that I have read the horrifying details of the "chareidi" child abuse case unfolding in Jerusalem. Two children, a four year old and a three year old were hospitalised in the wake of the abuse. The three year old remains in a coma with slim prospects of recovery.
It was was not a single individual perpetrating this abuse, but the head of a sect of women who had adopted a variant of the burqa worn by some Muslim women. This burqa spinoff was so restrictive that the women wearing it needed assistance in crossing busy streets. The abuse allegedly meted out to the children was prescribed by a so called "rabbi" who said that the children needed "correction"
If convicted, the couple who perpetrated this horrific abuse should be held responsible. Their soul searching and that of those among whom they lived should be separate processes. It is unfortunate that such offenses are not subject in Israel to the death penalty.
How could a group form in which such bizarre and injurious practices were the norm? There is a tendency that can develop in religious groups of trying to come up with the strictest interpretations of religious law. What starts out as a framework for approaching G-d becomes a bizarre spinoff on "keeping up with the Joneses". Lost in the shuffle is the idea that we show our love for G-d by being kind to each other. Dietary laws and dress codes can create social cohesion. They can also cause social fragmentation when people try to outdo each other.
The Burqa ladies of Beit Shemesh are a warning to us all of what can happen when we scorn each other and forget about G-d. It is a good idea to look for the good in someone who doesn't run with your crowd. Someone of another faith or level of religious observance can model compassion, kindness or any number of virtues that they might have learned or acquired.
Independent thinking does not negate reflecting on the wisdom of the majority. The community among whom the burqa ladies lives already adhere to demanding standards of modesty. Can pride in strictness resemble the pride some have in flashy clothes or sport cars?
I have learned one thing from driving a car. When you are driving down the street and all the traffic lights are facing the wrong way, then you are probably going the wrong way. It seems that the burqa ladies failed to heed this lesson with catastrophic results.
Millions of people go to see violent movies with no visibly lasting ill effects. A tiny minority watching such films are spurred to commit horrible crimes. It is proper to therefore be critical of violence in cinema.
It is likewise proper to be critical of religious behavior that is taken by a tiny minority to sick extremes. Those of us in the various shades of religious orthodoxy should not dismiss this wake up call by smugly comparing ourselves to society at large. This psycho-spiritual malady of piety without G-d has already put many adolescents at risk of leaving Judaism. Now we see that even toddlers in homes afflicted with this sickness are in danger not only of their spiritual lives but their physical well being too. This most virulent mutation of this psychospiritual plague leaves a toddler in Jerusalem clinging to life.
Those who belonged to that bizarre and abusive sect will have to live with this incident for the rest of their lives. We can redeem this horrible occurrence in Beit Shemesh by learning from it the proper lessons in correcting ourselves as a community and caring for instead of scorning each other.
Copyright 2008 By Magdeburger Joe
Please clicl on links at the top and bottom of this post for background stories to this post

Friday, April 11, 2008

Young Voters Reportedly Anxious About McCain's Age

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean stated in a press conference that he would not bring up voter concerns about John McCain's age during the presidential campaign, making an exception for the Thursday press conference at which he commented at length on McCain's age and "old fashioned views".
McCain's views on birth control and abstinence education were cited as a cause for concern among focus groups.
I have always chuckled at the label of being "old fashioned". The wild parties in the waning days of the Roman empire rivaled any of the parties in private clubs and bath houses today. Should one assume that an opium den of the mid nineteenth century is "old fashioned because it existed a hundred fifty years ago?
Those who support a scripturally based family have differed with advocates of "alternative lifestyles for centuries. Both McCain and his opponents differ on these issues in same manner as have scores of preceding generations. An embargo on dismissive labels such as "liberal" and "old fashioned would elevate considerably the quality of political discourse.
I think that age is an asset. An older person has memories of history that were the headlines and current events of his youth. The way events and political figures are viewed in posterity often differs with how they are perceived in their time. In Judaism as well as in Chinese tradition, the white hair of old age is looked at as a badge of authority. It is in this light that I view John McCain.
Opposition to abstinence education, support for abortion and prohibitions against government support for private schools and prayer in public schools are all part of the secular canon that is fiercely defended by those who control the Democratic party. Looking at the tone of McCain's views, I feel that the parameters of public discussion would get a welcome revision under a McCain administration. I view the prospect of a McCain appointment to the Supreme Court with far less apprehension than a Clinton or Obama nominee.
It is true that the Democratic Party has produced a far more youthful crop of nominees than has the Republican Party. I believe that this is because the wisdom of old age is far more favourably disposed to the Republican philosophy than is the agenda of the Democrats. Howard Dean has done a good job of calling to public attention John McCain's assets in seeking public office. For this I thank him.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ehud Olmert Refuses To Meet With Jimmy Carter

According to Israel National News, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is refusing to meet with former American President Jimmy Carter when he goes to the Middle East next week. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has also found enough pressing business during Carter's visit to preclude any chance of meeting with him.
Former prime minister Shimon Peres and defense minister Ehud Barak as well as Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman have, however scheduled meetings with the former U.S. President.
Mr. Carter has been criticised for his public attacks on the foreign policy of presidents who have served since Carter completed his single term of office in 1981. The U.S. State Department has made public its request to Carter that he not follow through with his plan to meet Hamas leaders in Syria.
It is unfortunate that President Carter has used the prestige his former position commanded to undermine the diplomatic efforts of those who followed him in occupying the Oval office.
Carter's energetic efforts on behalf of Habitat for Humanity have aided that organisation in its creative solutions to the housing problems of the poor. His work in eradicating the Guinea worm and other tropical diseases in Africa has been of great benefit.
More debatable has been the success of his election monitoring efforts in strife torn regions. His private diplomatic efforts in North Korea and the Middle East likewise refresh the American public's memory of his ineptitude in office.
Since Carter has yet again thrust himself into the public spotlight, perhaps we should examine the failures and errors of the Carter presidency. If this historical reckoning guides us in choosing our next President and serves as a negative example to President Bush's successor, then perhaps it will diminish the waste that was the Carter presidency.
President Carter is an intelligent and educated man. Had he chosen his causes more wisely instead of conducting a Presidency out of office, he might have accomplished much more in his areas of strength. It is a pity that he is so thoroughly tarnishing his already modest legacy in the twilight of his years.
Copyright 2008 By Magdeburger Joe

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Educational Choice

An Islamic charter school has been operating in Minnesota under Islamic auspices. According to an article by columnist Katharine Kersten(linked above), the school has violated federal law for the unpardonable sin of school sponsored prayer.
Because of the somewhat insular character of the population served by the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), the state of Minnesota has never been able to prove charges that the wall of separation between church and state (sacred to many) had been destroyed by a group of Muslim fundamentalists.
According to Ms. Kersten, the Islamic Identity of the school is thinly disguised.It is located in the headquarters of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose stated mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota".
The secrecy surrounding the forbidden practice of prayer on the public dime was exposed by a substitute teacher who according to the article assisted in escorting small groups of students to the bathroom for the ritual hand washing that preceeds Islamic prayers. She noted that the public assembly which followed was completely compulsory, as were the prayer that took place according to Islamic custom.
She observed Koranic verses being integrated into the list of homework that also covered secular subjects as well.
The school day ended with an additional prayer service.
The state of Minnesota inspects schools not only for their physical and educational fitness but also for their adherence to church-state separation. Since no one complained about the apparent violation, the state of Minnesota made no special effort to catch children praying.
America has freely acknowledged the folly of Prohibition, in which alcohol consumption and importation was constitutionally banned from 1917 to 1933. Speakeasies flourished, as did the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages, fueling the rise of crime syndicates all across America.
The students of TIZA Academy were not adults secretly imbibing alcohol. They were children praying.If they were indeed violating the law, it was a foolish law with a checkered history.
The Blaine Amendment was passed in the House of Representatives in 1875 but fell four votes short of a two thirds majority in the Senate, which was needed for it to be presented to the state legislatures as an amendment to the constitution.
The amendment states as follows: "No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations."
All but eleven states passed their own Blaine Amendments, forming a cornerstone in the wall of church state separation as we know it.
The latter half of the nineteenth century was a time of massive immigration. More established immigrants from primarily Protestant northern Europe joined many born in America in their fear of and distaste for Irish and Southern European immigrants who were predominantly Roman Catholic. The social strictures against public expressions of bigotry were far more weak in the 1800's than today. It was overt bigotry that often fueled public support for the Blaine amendment, which was intended by many to be aimed at Catholic schools established for the children of Irish immigrants. This ill conceived law has come to haunt the descendants of those who advocate it as Christian schools all across America are barred from receiving public monies in support of their operation.
It is time for America to admit its mistake in passing the Blaine Amendment in one state after another. There are not only Muslims but Jews and Christians as well who struggle to pay for private school tuition so their children can be taught according to the principles of their respective homes. It is time for America to repudiate this amendment, written in a mood of xenophobia and bigotry. It is time to repeal this amendment, which is nothing more than a punitive tariff upon the transmission of religious belief.
There were immigrant criminal syndicates that fueled public prejudice throughout America's history. The victims of these criminal gangs were most often of the same nationality as the gangs themselves. We must not let our fear of terrorists who use the name of Islam to besmirch the good name of Muslims who only want to pray according to their tradition.
My father and his family, although Jewish were subject to restrictions on their liberty by the U.S. government because they were German immigrants. My father, who was loyal and grateful to this country, could not own a short wave because of security regulations in place at the time. Italian immigrants suffered similar limitations. The actual internment of the Japanese is well known. I fully understand the need for the U.S. government to have placed some restrictions on my family. His experiences with being an immigrant from a country at war with America give me a context within which I can empathise with Muslim immigrants today.
Our need to monitor immigrant communities for law enforcement and security purposes should be understood. But this should of course be separate from our discussion of Islamic schools.
I hope that the TIZA Academy is allowed to continue to function as it has until now. I hope it fuels a debate about the establishment clause and its proper interpretation. If Muslims want to fight the bigoted Blaine amendment, then there are of Christians and Jews across America who are already trying to redress this historic injustice.
Here is one Jew who supports the parents and students of the TIZA school.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rising Fuel Prices, A Wakeup Call

Burning oil fields in Kuwait

Some people watch the stock market, but everyone watches gasoline prices. It's not only the price of the next tank of gas, it is also a component of one's other living costs. Everything that one do not catch or grow must be transported, and transportation takes gasoline.
For years, automobiles have been produced with lower gas mileage. The amount of metal used has also been in some cases needlessly high. It should be considered not only environmentally friendly but patriotic to drive cars that make efficient use of natural resources. A favourable tax climate should be created for those who invest in and drive energy efficient cars.
There is a lot of fossil fuel within America's borders and off our coasts that can and should be extracted. Iran was once a staunch ally of the U.S. and supplied a part of our oil needs with no political strings attached. Since the Islamic revolution, they have been America's enemy. The lesson is obvious. If you look at where the world's crude oil comes from, it comes from politically unstable regions. Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela all have histories of political instability. This means that contingency plans need to be devised. America found a good percentage of its raw materials behind enemy lines after Pearl Harbour.
The former Soviet Union contains vast petroleum resources. It has spun off into different ethnic blocs. The Azeris are related ethnically to Turks. Bukharians speak a language related to Farsi There are also Mongolians. Then there are the Slavic republics such as Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The Russian Republic has separatist movements within its borders Additionally, Islamic fundamentalism (both Shiite and Sunni) is making inroads in the former U.S.S.R.
The world is in an unstable state. It is reckless optimism to assume that the flow of crude petroleum from abroad will be uninterrupted.
Solar power could supply a percentage of home heating and electricity. Wind is also a source of power. Local governments can structure taxes and zoning to favour energy sources that lessen America's dependence on foreign oil.
America's agricultural waste is a vast renewable resource. From ethanol to methane, a lot can be done with agricultural waste to produce heat, electricity and motor fuel.
It is always wise to chart the future. One should not to be forced to make decisions in the wake of a catastrophe. The poor health of the U.S. dollar is in part due to our dependence on foreign oil. The health of our currency is certainly a pressing reason to develop diverse and indigenous sources of energy.
An English statesman from the first half of the nineteenth century, Lord Palmerston once said “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”
In looking at America's current allies, this saying has no less resonance today than one hundred and fifty years ago. It is a truth we may ignore at our own peril
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Monday, April 7, 2008

Congestion Pricing Defeated

Even those New Yorkers who do not own cars are feeling a sense of relief that Mayor Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Plan was stopped in Albany. Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver has indicated that his chamber has chosen not to vote on the measure.
Although there was a lot of talk of arm twisting by the Bloomberg administration, legitimate concerns such as the impact on commercial traffic and retail prices were never addressed. The quality of debate and discussion about this measure has been sadly lacking. There seems to be a certain level of professional courtesy evident in the kid glove treatment that mayor Bloomberg has received from the press as the momentum of reform that began under the Giuliani administration slows to a crawl.
There were hopes when Bloomberg became mayor that he might encourage housing construction and rehabilitation on a sufficient enough level to widen the circle of home ownership to increasing numbers of working class and lower middle class home owners. Sadly , the creative thinking that has fueled the rise of the Bloomberg business empire has not penetrated Gracie Mansion.
Mushrooming parking fines with euphemistic "surcharges" strike fear in the hearts of New Yorkers circling crowded blocks in search of dwindling parking spaces. City politics have stagnated for want of serious philosophical and practical debate about New York's direction and governance.
There have been times in the history of our city when the rest of the state seemed insensitive to our concerns. There was even talk on New York City becoming the 51st state.
Our political choices within New York City have dwindled to the point that we are reaching in despair beyond the five boroughs in search of a voice for our concerns. Particularly in the outer boroughs, there is a sense that the parking police come out of nowhere, that tickets are mailed on time, but that crime reports of shaken and fearful citizens are misfiled and forgotten.
Another dreaded tax has been defeated. The strong arm tactics of the Bloomberg administration have met a fitting defeat in Albany. So now can we talk?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Absolut Treason

Absolut Vodka has run an advertisement in Mexico showing the U.S.A. and Mexico with their pre 1848 borders, which included almost the entire western United States in a "greater Mexico". Many members of Mexican nationalist groups such as Aztlan advocate such a border adjustment. According to an article which ran in today's L.A. Times, the advertisement was meant to run in and appeal to Mexican consumers. In a global market, however it is difficult for a trans national company to conceal its activities in different markets. In direct contrast to the warmth with which the ad campaign has been received in Mexico is the chilly reception it has gotten in the United States, especially in parts of the Southwest with large numbers of illegal immigrants. To this day, resentments linger among many Mexicans over the loss of "their" territories which were but thinly populated with Spaniards. The reaction of Indians, who suffer pervasive discrimination in Mexico to this day was not reported. It should be noted that on neither side of the Mexican American border did indigenous peoples enjoy statutory equality.
In the middle east, of course, dueling with maps has been a popular past time. Israel, which was likewise a comparative wasteland in the early part of the last century is now coveted by its neighbours. Many of the countries that meet regularly in the United Nations have citizens within their borders who do not colour the map of their native land as do other citizens.
France has a restive Corsicans, bombing an occasional post office with a restraint that is praised by some in our bloodthirsty times. Great Britain has been tormented with the questions of both Northern Ireland and Scottish nationalism. Russia has been afflicted with a secession war in Chechenya which they are afraid will create a precedent which will unstitch the ethnic patchwork quilt of the Russian Republic. China has not only Tibet but also independence minded Turkic Muslims within its borders. I have only mentioned in passing the dissatisfaction of ethnic groups within the borders of the five permanent member states of the U.N. security council. The cause of brevity would not be served by broadening my scope to the entire membership of the United Nations.
It is hard to ignore the indifference to national interests that is manifest in the behavior of international corporations. Although far more benign than Ford Motor Company's activities during World war Two, Absolut's campaign is a clear reminder that international corporations owe their primary allegiance to themselves alone.
Since Israel's neighbours frown upon the consumption of alcohol, they are unlikely to become embroiled in Absolut's cartographic pandering. Despite the official shunning of vodka by Islamic fundamentalists, if an Absolut Israel , expanded to its full biblical borders were to be featured in an Absolut campaign, it is certain that a crushing consumer boycott of Absolut vodka would sweep the Islamic world.
What is to be learned from Absolut's difficulties with its American market? In our global age , it is hard to keep an ad campaign local. It is also hard to keep double standards in the field of international law. In the age of cyberspace, every "liberation" movement that wants to redraw maps and rewrite history has its own website.
If Israel is faced with the pressing demands of Russia, France or the United States to redraw its borders how should Israel answer them? It should read to them from the pages of their own respective histories to bring Absolut(e) clarity to the discussion

Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe Article about Absolut ad

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Concerning The Assyrian Genocide

One of the seldom told stories in Iraq and in the Arab middle east in general is the ethnic cleansing of Arab and Assyrian Christians. Some of the earliest converts to Christianity were Assyrians in Iraq , Syria and Lebanon. Some of them still speak Assyrian, (which is also known as Aramaic) in their daily lives. Since the war in Iraq began in 2003 , the numeric decline of the Christian population in Iraq accelerated even further.It is estimated that the current population of Christians in Iraq has diminished to less than a third of its prewar total of about one and a half million.
The murder of 40 year-old Father Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest in Baghdad , is the latest attack on the besieged Assyrian community. To invoke Islamic tradition to justify his murder is an insult to Islam as well as an attack on a peaceful minority. Islamic law recognises Christianity and Judaism as monotheistic faiths that are to be tolerated by an Islamic government.
The climate of fear that pervades non Islamic communities in Iraq is due to a mutation of Islam that clads itself in the garb and rhetoric of Islamic piety. It is far more likely that envy of material wealth in non Muslim communities is the driving force of this so called religious zealotry.
Religious Muslims in Iraq have a duty to speak up and extend to the Assyrian community the protections that Islamic law offers them. This latest attack is part of a long series of attacks against religious minorities in Iraq. Christians and others in America who care about human rights should speak out on this pressing issue. Aside from universal considerations of common decency , it should be noted that the Assyrians in the middle east are a living link to the climate in which America's leading faith was born. As a last resort, Assyrians who wish to come to America deserve top priority. Hopefully, their wish to live undisturbed in their homeland will be respected.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

Assyrian Orthodox Priest Murdered In Iraq

Los Angeles (AINA) -- The latest victim of the Assyrian Genocide unfolding in Iraq is 40 year-old Father Youssef Adel, the parish priest at Saint Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in central Baghdad. According to report.....Click here for full story

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hamas Fires on Israeli Cabinet Minister Visiting Kibbutz

According to reports from Agence France Press, Hamas has claimed credit for a Friday attack on an Israeli kibbutz. In the attack, an aide to a visiting cabinet minister was wounded
Our fighters targeted the Israeli minister Avi Dichter in a joint operation with the Protectors of Al-Aqsa," said Abu Obeidah, spokesman of Hamas's military wing. "We severely injured his assistant."
The Israelis were accompanying a delegation of Americans and Canadians that was showing its solidarity with Jews in Israel who are enduring rocket attacks from Gaza.
It should be remembered that Hamas is the governing party in the Palestine Authority. They are announcing with pride an attack on a neighboring state. In most of the world,this is an act of war. To America's State department, it is part of the "cycle of violence."
It is clear what the rewards have been for Israel's taking "risks for peace'. Anyone who advocates further such risks is an accomplice to those perpetrating the Attack

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Congestion Pricing , Keeping Up With London, Leaving New York Behind

Mayor Bloomberg's latest cause is congestion pricing. To cut down on traffic, he has strong armed the City Council into approving an eight dollar a day fee for bringing a motor vehicle into Manhattan. It has not been accompanied by price relief and increased service on public transit. Multiple passengers in a car do not get a break. What the impact will be on restaurants, shopping and entertainment has not been determined. A controversial program was pushed through the City Council with a kinder, gentler but still Spitzerian steam roller
Far more insidious is the illusion that New York has solved its most serious problems. Violent crime in the outer boroughs is creeping up. The word on the street in places such as Crown Heights and Brownsville is that crime statistics are inaccurate. Trying to get crime accurately tabulated and getting a complaint taken seriously brings back memories of the fearful days of Mayor Lindsay.
People are losing their houses at a frightening rate. Renters and homeowners alike struggle to pay skyrocketing rents that are a byproduct of overpriced dwellings. The stress on homeowners who are slaves to housing expenses is a pervasive feature of urban living.
Punitive taxes been levied on cigarettes. Trans fats are now being legislated out of restaurants. Predatory swarms of parking cops squeeze inflated fines out of minor parking violations.
Government can not deliver the solution to a city's woes. But government does control many factors of the economic climate. Housing needs to be built and maintained. Infrastructure must be kept in working condition. Parts of the water system are over a hundred and fifty years old.
Viewed through Mayor Bloomberg's green coloured glasses, New York has solved so many basic problems that it now has the luxury to police our health choices.
The lies our government here in New York tells us are blighting and shortening our lives. Real New Yorkers are more afraid of smoke from the barrel of a gun than from the end of a cigarette.
Voters need education , not legislation. If you want to cut down on traffic to Manhattan, build up business in the outer boroughs. Promote it and facilitate shopping and entertainment in Brooklyn,The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Don't slap an inflated parking violation on top of the highest sales tax in the nation. America clothes its citizens. It is a well fed country. There is no reason that a reasonably priced home should remain but a dream for millions. The middle class is faced with skyrocketing health insurance expenses. Government controls some of the factors in which private enterprise functions. Finding solutions to our city's problems requires an honest assessment. Painting over New York's problems with green rhetoric has accomplished nothing. Bloomberg is half way into his second term. Real New Yorkers are waiting for real solutions.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ted Turner Comedy Hour

Ted Turner, founder of CNN has warned that global warming will make cannibals of us all if it is not taken seriously. In his rambling interview with Charlie Rose he defended Iraqi insurgents as "freedom fighters" defending their country. I compare Turner's pitiful pronouncements with the constructive and united patriotism of World War Two and feel ashamed of my generation.
The only way I can sleep at night after exposure to Ted Turner is to regard him as a comedian. His blind faith in the good will of China and North Korea stands in stunning contrast to his distrust of our government.
To enjoy a good laugh I recommend clicking on the link at the top of this page to read the comedic utterances of Ted Turner.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Would Be Stabber Foiled in Israel

From Israel National News came the news of an Arab who attempted to stab Jews at a bus stop in Israel. A school principal who was armed and trained in fire arm use put a quick end to the attack, killing the would be attacker in self defense. Predictably, Arabs in areas under PA control hailed him as a martyr and condemned his killing. Equally predictably, Israel will be called upon to take additional risks for peace.
The high school principal who saved lives with his decisive action has also shown Americans the value of legal firearms in the hands of trained and competent individuals.

Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe
Please click on the link at the top of this post to view the video in which this story was reported. Be patient with the announcements preceding the broadcast.

William F Buckley Quotations

A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'

Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich.

I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.

I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.

It had all the earmarks of a CIA operation; the bomb killed everybody in the room except the intended target!

It is not a sign of arrogance for the king to rule. That is what he is there for.

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.

The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.