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Friday, June 24, 2011

Interesting Option Regarding Israel Land Swap

In the following post, Victor Sharpe writes about Israel's missed opportunity by not annexing Judea and Samaria after the 1967 war. However, the one point that he makes in the latter parts of the article is one that I have never thought about.

When you get into a negotiation with someone you always want to propose something "out of the box" so that the discussion will move to the inconsequential and away from the major issues.  It focuses the other person on the "throw away".  It works and it works well.

In the case of Israel, the discussion has always been what land the country will give up to get peace. Mr. Sharpe proposes an alternative of creating land from not only lands under Israeli control but also part of land now controlled by Jordan.  If the discussion can move to what lands the Hashimite Kingdom will give up for a Palestinian state, I think we might have an opportunity to change the conversation.

What do you think?

Israel's Missed Opportunity

Victor Sharpe - Arutz-7, June 21st, 2011

Why have the last 44 years since June 1967 been wasted and Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people’s biblical and ancestral heartland, not been annexed to the reborn Jewish state?
I received this simple but profound question from a reader.
“You wrote that for 19 long years from 1948 to 1967, Jordan had occupied Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the eastern half of Jerusalem. Then why didn’t Israel Annex the West Bank after 1967 and why doesn’t it annex it now?”
Indeed, why have the last 44 years since June 1967 been wasted and Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people’s biblical and ancestral heartland, not been annexed to the reborn Jewish state?
Unfortunately, many Israeli leaders at the time were socialists, leftists and some even atheists. They were not well grounded in the religious history of the Jewish people and its attachments to its holy places. Despite pleas from religious and conservative Jews, these leftists refused to fully appreciate the precious nature of those lands to the Jewish state: A tragic, missed opportunity.
The leftwing leaders also undertook a repeated policy of appeasement towards the hostile Arabs, and didn’t seize the opportunity for annexation that arose in 1967 after the Six Day War. Israel’s left leaning government at the time thought that by not annexing the territory it would lead to goodwill negotiations where everything would be on the table. This, and the failed policy of appeasement was a historic mistake.
The most extreme example of this appeasement was the immediate turnover of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (the site of the two Jewish Temples) to the Arab Waqf by Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Defense Minister in the then leftwing Israeli government. Now the Waqf is deliberately destroying ancient Jewish and Christian antiquities, which Israeli authorities are unable to monitor. This is a crime against history and civilization.
Later—and still continuing the failed appeasement policy – subsequent prime ministers under the rubric of “land for peace” caused the woeful surrender of Jericho, of Hebron, (King David’s first capital city) of Shechem (Nablus), and so much of Judea and Samaria to illegal Arab development.
Even conservative Prime Ministers like Menachem Begin and Binyamin Netanyahu fell into the trap of believing that the Muslim world would finally accept a Jewish state in return for endless concessions. Begin gave away all of the Sinai peninsula and Netanyahu in his first term as Prime Minister gave away Hebron—one of Judaism’s four holy cities.
Again, this was a fatal mistake for the empirical fact is that Islam will never accept a non-Muslim state in lands once conquered in the name of Allah. This simple and enduring truth is nigh impossible for secular westerners—be they Israelis or Americans—to understand and yet without this realization, all talk of true and enduring peace is a grand delusion.
As time went by, fatal euphemisms began to be employed such as “the peace process, land for peace, and the two- state-solution.” All these baseless phrases led not to peace but to more Muslim Arab demands, war and terrorism against Israel. Yet still the Left remained deaf and blind.
The “Two State Solution,” has now been embraced by politicians and journalists alike, repeated endlessly, and touted as the panacea for a just, equitable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It has assumed the repetitious role of a muezzin’s call to Islamic prayer. But it is based on erroneous geography and history; on a mixture of wishful thinking, naiveté and a brilliant Arab propaganda campaign of disinformation and falsehood.
The Holocaust denying leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israel’s supposed peace partner—a man who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing—has publicly rejected any willingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state; a sure indication of the falsity of any Arab claim to live in full and lasting peace with Israel, especially now Abbas has embraced within his government the malignancy known as Hamas.
The creation of yet another Arab state—this will be number 23—based upon the two-state-solution and carved out of Judea and Samaria within the mere 40 miles separating the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, is a recipe for war and for the piecemeal destruction of the Jewish state.
Israel is being pressured to shrink to a mere 9 miles wide as it was prior to the defensive war Israel was forced to fight in June, 1967. These lines were called the Auschwitz lines because of the impossibility of defending them against Arab genocidal hostility.
Any new Arab state will more than likely fall under the control of the Islamist Hamas movement, itself a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the annihilation of Israel and a worldwide Islamic Caliphate. Gaza, and what it has become, is living proof of Palestinian Arab genocidal intentions towards Israel

If Israel foolishly gives away parts of Judea and Samaria, there will be no part of Israel or Jerusalem safe from Palestinian Arab missile attacks. When President Bush was still Governor of Texas he flew over Israel’s tiny width and remarked, “why, in my state we have driveways longer than that.”
That nightmare for Israel is the most likely outcome of the current proposed Two State Solution west of the Jordan River, which the Obama Administration is pushing with the flawed zeal of a misguided zealot. Indeed, Barack Hussein Obama is practically demanding Israel be pressured to return to the pre-June 1967 armistice lines; essentially calling for Israel’s national suicide. This may well reach a crescendo in September.
But to truly create a just and equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there must be a Two-State Solution, not within the territory west of the River Jordan, but on both sides of the river.
The present day Kingdom of Jordan occupies four-fifths of geographical Palestine and, as the population is three fourths Palestinian Arab, it follows that the solution to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state should be within the present day Kingdom of Jordan and east of the River Jordan.
Let us also be reminded that the Jewish birthrate in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) is increasing and the Arab birthrate decreasing. The fear of an Arab demographic bomb is receding according to statistics.
If there is a desire within the international community to truly arrive at a “just and equitable” solution, then this would be it. Of course, if this was a perfect world, it would satisfy historical, geographical, religious and ethnic considerations. But, alas, it is anything but a perfect world and the fanatical desire by so many Arab and Muslim nations to wipe out all vestiges of a Jewish state is a depressing reality.
In the 44 long years since Israel liberated the territories from Arab occupation it has missed opportunities to annex Judea and Samaria. History might have been so different if the leaders of the Jewish state had not been ignorant of their biblical and post-biblical history or of their essential Jewish faith; so inextricably intertwined with the Land of Israel and its 3,000 year old Jewish capital: Jerusalem.
So many of the early Israeli politicians were from the Left and were not moved by faith to redeem the hills and valleys of biblical Judea and Samaria—the very heartland of the Jewish people and their history.
And still today, the Israeli Left is blinded by a veritable veil of deception. Peace Now, for example, despite every manifestation of Jew hatred by the Muslim and Arab world, does all it can to drive fellow Jews out of their ancestral lands. And a dominating Leftwing bias among Israeli tenured professors and a left-leaning Israeli Supreme Court often jeopardizes Israeli security.
The corollary to this is that the Jewish state must not succumb to the enemy within—the Left—and the enemy without—the Arab and Muslim world—or give away any more of its native, ancestral, biblical, spiritual and physical homeland to a people whose Islamic religion demands of them no true peace with Israel, no true negotiations with Israel, and no true recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
There is no time for anymore missed opportunities

More on Delta and "No Jews"

I just received the following email from a friend. I think he makes a great point.
Here is his email--

This is a true story. First the President wants Israel to pull back to the un defendable borders of 1967 and now an American company refuses to fly Jews or Israelis to Saudi Arabia. Certainly it must be because the Saudi Kingdom is a better Ally then the Israeli democracy. Shame on anyone who believes in freedom of religion and human rights for using Delta Airlines in any way to go anywhere. See the article at: .

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Iraq Opinions in 2007

I wrote the attached article in 2007. In light of President Obama's speech last night on the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, I thought a reprise of my views would be appropriate. I do not believe that my views have not changed much. 
Tell me what you think.

The Way to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

By: Conservative Tom

September 15, 2007

The question of the day seems to be “what will happen in Iraq?” If you listen to certain politicians and pundits they say we need to get out now. Others say we must stay the course. My answer is that it does not matter.

Since World War II the United States has been on a track that has brought us to point in time. We were the major power on the “good side” and those who opposed us were on the “wrong side.”  

We had good intentions to help the South Vietnamese when we put “advisors” into the country in the late 50’s. We wanted them to have their freedom and to have South Vietnam to be a democratic country to stop the spread of the evil of Communism. When we left, the North overran the South and unleashed a human disaster, which spread to the killing fields of Cambodia. Did our good intentions help there?

We are now faced with a similar situation in Iraq. Our initial good intentions to remove Saddam and to set up a democratic country in the Middle East sounds eerily similar to our Vietnam experience. My concern is that when we leave, and WE WILL, a bloodbath of unbelievable dimensions will be released. However, instead of the bloodbath being localized to one or two countries as it was in Southeast Asia, it will be worldwide.

The major difference between Southeast Asia and Iraq is the North Vietnamese wanted only to control the South. They did not have regional or worldwide aspirations. That is not the case in Iraq. There, our good intentions have come into conflict with a movement, which has global aspirations. The extreme Muslims want the world to be Muslim. To be rid of any non-Muslim country or religion.

When the United States pulls out of Iraq, the extreme elements of the Shia, Sunni, Kurd, al Qaeda and other troublemakers will go on a murderous rampage that will make any previous atrocity look like a Sunday School outing. They will not discriminate. They will kill anyone who “might” disagree with them.

Once Iraq has been satisfactorily cleansed, the movement will expand to the region. Expect Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan to be the next on the radical’s hit list. We then can expect to see entire cities (worldwide) destroyed by chemical, biological or nuclear agents. No place on earth will be safe.

The relative distance that has kept the United States safe in previous conflicts will not this time. Our lack of control of our borders has and will continue to allow foreign “agents of fear” to come and go without any concern of capture or punishment. We have only to look back six years to September 11, 2001 to see how easy it is to come and stay in the US and to hide in clear sight.

The result will be that millions in the United States, not thousands as in 9/11 will be killed, maimed and deformed by the attacks. Worldwide, the numbers will be in the 100’s of millions.

At this point, you are probably saying to yourself—“this guy is crazy.” My hope and my prayer, is that I am totally wrong.

From World War II, the United States has become less sure of itself and has become very politically correct. For example, we cannot control our borders as it might be seen as negative toward a certain voting block. So what do we do, we do not enforce our laws. We allow millions to come to the country ILLEGALLY and our politicians do NOTHING. We talk about walls, but don’t fund them. We talk about setting up a citizenship track but we cannot track students to our country that overstays their visas.

Today, we face an enemy that is more determined than any one in history. Additionally they have a major advantage. They will control the Mideast Oil fields. After we pull out of Iraq and the human disaster spreads, the radical Muslims will take over country after country until the entire Mid East (except Israel) is under their thumb. At that point they will pull out the ultimate weapon—Oil.

By that time the moderate Saudis and others in OPEC will be replaced by radical Muslims who will demand the oil importing countries of the world comply with their wishes or no oil will be exported to them. Also, the cost of the exported oil will be raised to multiples of the current record prices. Under this pressure, our “leaders” will be “forced” into doing anything to get the oil flowing again.

Our good intentions have brought us to this historical point in time. Will Americans face reality and take the appropriate actions or will we hide our heads in the sand until we have to fight for our way of life as we did in World War II?

Americans must come to understand the enemy with whom we are dealing. That the conflict will not last a year or two or ten but rather it could last 100. The decision is yours America.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sarah Palin--Could She Be President?

In our current poll, we are asking who you think will be the Republican Presidential Candidate.  One person has voted for Sarah Palin and I was wondering if that person would comment on their rationale. Please make your comment after this posting.You can be anonymous or you can post your name.  I just want to know if you would vote for her or hoping she will be so that President Obama can become re-elected. We are waiting to hear from you.

 Now, let me say that I love how she seems to get under the skins of the Press and Democrats.  Her ability to have the press follow her where ever she goes and to listen to her anytime she talks is unrivaled by any competitor. I believe she has made some mistakes in some of her publicity but anytime someone is doing things, there will be errors.

One can only imagine the disappointment the press had when they went through all the  emails from her years as Alaska's Governor and found nothing. Obviously, it was all about the business of Alaska and nothing out of order.  What a disappointment!

I also love her ability to relate to the common man. Yes, its folksy. Yes,  its not what you normally see. But when she talks the average man or woman on the street understands what she is talking about. No twenty dollar words, but plain speaking. 

Opponents think that she is dumb and that how can we elect someone who only went to normal colleges and did not a graduate of the Ivy League.  It seems that in the past thirty or so years, we have elected a couple really smart people like Jimmy Carter (supposedly a nuclear engineer) and Bill Clinton (a Rhodes Scholar). Neither of these gentlemen will be viewed by history as great Presidents. While Ronald Reagan who was an "actor" and did not graduate from a great college will be one of the best Presidents.  Harry Truman, arguably a great president, also did not graduate from a prestigious school.

My point is that education does not necessarily make a wise man.  Common sense and knowing what you stand for does.  Those elements were part of the nature of both Truman and Reagan.  I think it is also shared by Sarah Palin.  She is not flowery, but she knows what she stands for.

Has she made mistakes in speaking? Sure but do not all of those who are running for the White House? Didn't Obama say there were 57 states?  So let's give Sarah a fair hearing and then decide if she has the mettle to be President.

That's just my opinion, I would like to hear yours.

Delta Airlines Say No "Jews" Fly

Tonight a  posting on World Net Daily made me think of Nazi Germany.   Delta Airlines has decided that any Jew or someone who had been to Israel will not be allowed to travel to Jedda, Saudi Arabia.  Additionally, on the Delta flights, there will be limitations on books (No Bibles) and jewelry (no Crosses). What is the world coming to?  After Delta charged returning troops over $2500, this is another black eye.

This decision is based upon Saudi  Arabian Airlines (owned  by the Saudi Royal Family)  wanting to join Deltas airline partnering program. The argument is that Delta must go along with a host nation's requirements.  I think corporate greed to get Saudi travellers is overriding their humanity. I find this disgusting and I think that until Delta changes their decision, the airline should be boycotted by all Americans. Additionally, we all should write letters to Delta protesting their disgusting actions.

If we do not protest these actions, when will other actions become "normalized."  The Nazi Regime did not start with concentration camps, they started with other actions such as no Jews in schools and boycotting of Jewish businesses.  Speak out now, we must stop this immediately!!

Read the posting and let us know what  you think.  The link is:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weiner's Mother In Law and The Muslim Brotherhood

In the June 19, 2011 issue of American Thinker, Eileen Toplansky explodes a bomb that I have not seen anywhere in the media therefore I do not know if it is accurate. However, if it is correct, it will be devastating.  If Weiner's mother-in-law is indeed directly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, it tells me that the paranoia some Americans have about Islam and its adherents, is well founded.  Please read the article and do your own research and report back.

Here is the article:
June 19, 2011
The Muslim Brotherhood and Weiner
By Eileen F. Toplansky

Far more disturbing than the salacious details of Weiner's dalliances is the fact that apparently his mother-in-law is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, Huma Abedin's brother, Hassan, "is listed as a fellow and partner with a number of Muslim Brotherhood members." Hassan works at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) at Oxford University. The Egyptian Al-Azhar University, well-known for a curriculum that encourages extremism and terrorism, is active in establishing links with OCIS.
How is it that the Western media, with its hourly analyses of Weiner, missed this salient point, yet Arab news sources revealed this connection? Walid Shoebat, formerly with the PLO, explains that Saleha Mahmoud Abedin, a professor in Saudi Arabia "belongs to the Sunni movement's women's division known as the Muslim Sisterhood." During the recent uprising in Egypt, which resulted in Mubarak's removal, "a special women's unit within the Muslim Brotherhood served as 'mules' to deliver messages and acted as messengers for the terrorist group."
The Muslim Sisterhood is also known as the International Women's Organization (IWO) and members are located "across 16 different countries." Its goal is to "work at all levels in accordance with the message of the Brotherhood." The Muslim Brotherhood's goal is Islamic world domination and "[i]t is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the [Muslim Brotherhood] or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution."
This chart on page four of the Domestic Intelligence Briefing by Mark Hass shows the FBI - Identified Terror Networks connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in North America.
Which should now raise even greater concerns since Huma Abedin-Weiner is the deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, the United States Secretary of State. Did any vetting occur by Clinton's people concerning Huma Abedin, her brother Hassan, or her mother Saleha Mahmoud Abedin, and any connections with known Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood?
But then again, would it have troubled Mrs. Clinton? After all, during her husband's time as President, she warmly embraced Suha Arafat the wife of Yasser Arafat, arch-terrorist, right after a speech during which Suha Arafat falsely accused Israel of poisoning the Palestinian water supply.

Huma's brother has "worked with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on a program of "spreading Islam to the west." More intriguing is the fact that the Abedin family left Michigan for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, around 1977, which is the same year that the Muslim Sisterhood was formed.
Couple this with the Clinton family playing a key role in promoting Fethullah Gulen who has worked assiduously to overthrow Turkey's secular government. Gulen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania, has told his followers that in order for "worldwide Islamic domination to succeed, every method and path is acceptable, including lying to people."
In March of this year, the FBI was investigating the more than 120 charter schools in the United States that are linked to Gulen's movement. These schools, funded with millions of taxpayer dollars, promote Gulen's worldview that is both anti-Israel and anti-America. In fact, in 2010 it was reported that Bill Gates had given almost 11 million dollars to the Cosmos Foundation, which is a Gulen enterprise.
Moreover, one needs to question why Huma Abedin, a member of a family of devout Muslims, would ever marry a Jewish Congressman -- in a ceremony officiated by Bill Clinton. Sharia law clearly forbids Muslims from marrying non-believers, so what does this portend?
Furthermore, when Huma Abedin accompanied Hillary Clinton to the Dar El-Hekma women's college in Saudi Arabia, where Huma's mother is co-founder and vice dean, it was reported that "Hillary explained that Huma holds an important and sensitive position in her office." Where was the scrutiny?
Why are so many at the highest levels of American government ignoring the methodology of Islamists like Gulen, who has declared that the best way to seize power is to lie in wait "with the patience of a spider" in order to "wait for people to get caught in the web"? Is Clinton so naïve?
Thus, Huma Abedin's position with Clinton in the State Department, as well as her marriage to Representative Weiner, has given her enormous exposure "to state secrets and access to the inner workings of Congress."
This would be unsettling enough if it were not also for Obama's latest appointee. The 44th president has just appointed Azizah al-Hibri to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Al-Hibri believes that sharia law is superior to American law. Yet, al-Hibri is only one of the pro-sharia adherents that Obama has placed in influential positions since he became president. Dalia Mogahed was one of the earliest appointees and as Nonie Darwish has written, "[t]he empowerment of Radical Islam under the Obama administration" is extremely disturbing.
Obama's record concerning Islamic terror was alarming from the beginning of his term and it has only become more entrenched. Congressman Keith Ellison aka Keith Hakim, who converted to Islam, is already in place in Congress. His connections to CAIR are troubling.
Is the Weiner scandal really covering up a far more disturbing scenario whereby jihadists continue to infiltrate and influence American universities, military installations, homeland security, even local police forces, all while the press ignores the steady encroachment of these radicals who seek to overturn and destroy America?
The disgraceful indifference by the general press to Weiner's in-laws and their connections to the Muslim Brotherhood keeps eroding America's ability to rout those who wish to see her destroyed.
Fethullah Gulen has exhorted his followers to "move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing [their] existence until [they] reach all the power centers...until the conditions are ripe..." Can America continue to close its eyes to this deliberate hibernation strategy of our enemies?
Eileen can be reached at

Don't Know History-Join the Crowd

 No wonder we keep making the same mistakes over and over, we, Americans, don't know our history. A recent Department of Education report indicated very poor results for sixth, eighth and high school seniors.  I do love history and took the 12th grade test and got an 80% even though it has been a year or two since I had classes.  Of course, I did not have the privilege of internet, computers and ipods but did have a great history teacher who made us learn more than just dates and events. We learned the connections and reasons for things occurring and how different people interacted with each other. In other words, I had a great background.

This brings me back to the education report.  Where have we gone wrong? Is this just another example of the dumbing down of American children? In my opinion, education in the 20th century was not about teaching but entertaining. Making the class exciting, a place where children wanted to be. Now that might be a noble goal, however, to many teachers it meant that they could not really demand hard work from their students but rather had to make it fun. Fun meant that hard work was out and easy was in.

I experienced the difference between  college  and later in my MBA program.  In college, we were expected to know everything that was covered either in class or in the books and reading material. The professors would not tell us what would be on the test.  A short five years later in my graduate school, the kids would ask the teachers what would be covered on the test. I was amazed that we were given the material to be covered.

Another difference was one of my college classes, a history class, where the professor would not accept misspelled words even if they were right. For example, if the answer was Lincoln and you wrote Lencoln, it was an incorrect answer. In graduate school, any word, even misspelled was right if it was close.

Not knowing history only leads us to repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot learn from what others have done. I believe it is as important as knowing math, English, science and foreign languages.  However, most teachers dwell on dates and people and do not bring it alive to relate current events with the past.  This must be done if we are going to turn around this trend.

Are we going to do it or will we continue to not educate our children in the beauty, in the importance of history. I hope it is the latter.

A story by Jeff Jacoby in is below. 

What are your opinions?

Who cares about American history?by: Jeff Jacoby

WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION last week released the results of the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress -- "the Nation's Report Card" -- the bottom line was depressingly predictable: Not even a quarter of American students is proficient in US history, and the percentage declines as students grow older. Only 20 percent of 6th graders, 17 percent of 8th graders, and 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrate a solid grasp on their nation's history. In fact, American kids are weaker in history than in any of the other subjects tested by the NAEP -- math, reading, science, writing, civics, geography, and economics.

How weak are they? The test for 4th-graders asked why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure in US history and a majority of the students didn't know. Among 8th-graders, not even one-third could correctly identify an advantage that American patriots had over the British during the Revolutionary War. And when asked which of four countries -- the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and Vietnam -- was North Korea's ally in fighting US troops during the Korean War, nearly 80 percent of 12th-graders selected the wrong answer.

Historically illiterate American kids typically grow up to be historically illiterate American adults. And Americans' ignorance of history is a familiar tale.

When it administered the official US citizenship test to 1,000 Americans earlier this year, Newsweek discovered that 33 percent of respondents didn't know when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, 65 percent couldn't say what happened at the Constitutional Convention, and 80 percent had no idea who was president during World War I. In a survey of 14,000 college students in 2006, more than half couldn't identify the century when the first American colony was founded at Jamestown, the reason NATO was organized, or the document that says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Numerous other surveys and studies confirm the gloomy truth: Americans don't know much about history.

Somewhere in heaven, it must all make Harry Truman weep.

He never attended college and had no formal intellectual credentials, but Truman was an avid, lifelong student of history. As a boy he had devoured Plutarch's Lives and Charles Horne's four-volume Great Men and Famous Women, developing an intimacy with history that would later become one of his greatest strengths. "When Truman talked of presidents past -- Jackson, Polk, Lincoln -- it was as if he had known them personally," the historian David McCullough wrote in his landmark biography of the 33rd president.

Truman may have been exaggerating in 1947 when he told Clark Clifford and other White House aides that he would rather have been a history teacher than president. Yet imagine how different the NAEP history scores would be if more teachers and schools in America today routinely imparted to their students a Trumanesque love and enthusiasm for learning about the past.

Alas, when it comes to history, as Massachusetts educator Will Fitzhugh observes, the American educational system imparts a very different message.

Fitzhugh is the publisher of The Concord Review, a journal he began in 1987 to showcase the writing of just such exceptional student scholars. The review has printed 924 high-caliber research papers by teenagers from 44 states and 39 nations, The New York Times reported in January, winning a few "influential admirers" along the way.

But this celebration of what Fitzhugh calls "varsity academics" amounts to just drops of excellence in the vast sea of mediocrity that is American history education. Another kind of excellence is represented by the National History Club that Fitzhugh launched in 2002 in order to encourage middle and high school students to "read, write, discuss, and enjoy history" outside the classroom. Beginning with a single chapter in Memphis, the club has grown into an independent national organization, with chapters in 43 states and more than 12,000 student members involved in a rich array of history-related activities.

"Our goal," says Robert Nasson, the club's young executive director, "is to create kids who are life-long students of history." He and Fitzhugh have exactly the right idea. But as the latest NAEP results make dismally clear, they are swimming against the tide.

- Original Article:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Debt Ceiling--Is The Sky Falling?

I am amazed, our country has not fallen into default since we did not approve an increased debt ceiling.  Isn't that Secretary Tim Geithner said would happen?  Or do we have to wait until August to have the calamity befall us?

Remember in 2008, when then Secretary Paulson said that if we did not approve the 787 billion going into the banks that we would surely have another depression. Many agree that was the right message, but just for a second, lets consider might have occurred?  Housing sales would have dried up, mortgage foreclosures would have increased, unemployment would increase and the banks would have collapsed.  Pretty scary, huh?

Well, in retrospect the only thing that did not happen was that the banks did not collapse and now we are getting the same scare tactics from the present Treasury Secretary.  I am getting a "scare me once shame on you, scare me twice, shame on me" feeling.  Why should I believe these Henny Penny warnings?  

I understand that the national debt payment is half of what tax revenues are collected.  We will not default on our payments on the debt (at present, however if the debt limit is increased, that will not be true in the future.) Other payments will not be so lucky. Of course, the first ones that this Administration will cut will be the pay for the members of the Armed Forces. Why? It will bring a cry from the public much the same as does cutting police and fire when a city needs to cut its spending. 

For some reason  government cuts always start with those services that they are supposed to provide. They never look at the unnecessary ones. It is easier to cut where it hurts, other ones might take some work. Give me the power of the pen and I am sure we can round up some really juicy programs that could be cut.  I have written about the training programs that have never been audited and that have questionable results.  Or the seven layers of government that effect one salmon.  Or the Energy Department whose original goal was to make us energy independent, that really has worked well!

If I were in Congress, I would not approve an increased debt ceiling until government is put on a major diet in areas  that do not effect defense, interstate commerce, foreign trade and other areas the states cannot handle. How about eliminating drinking training for the Chinese prostitutes that I wrote about last week?  I am sure there are many other programs that could be cut, reduced or combined with similar programs that could save billions if not trillions of dollars.

Our poll last week asked if the debt limit should be lifted and a vast majority of respondents said it would.  I would hope that it will be raised only after major spending cuts were taken. If not, we are putting off the inevitable collapse of our economy and the resulting riots not unlike those occurring in Greece right now. Do we want to be like them. I hope not but we do not have much time.

Israel Support Strong In US

The attached link is to a survey conducted in early June about the support of Israel, Hamas, Palestinians and the peace process.  Although there is strong support for Israel across all demographic and political categories, I have long term concerns that Israel can count on the support remaining strong for two reasons, money and nukes.

First of all, will  the press which is owned and operated by the likes of George Soros combine with other anti-Israel  groups and start spending money to influence the peace talks in a negative way when it comes to Israel. Money buys influence and influence can affect the coverage given to the real issues that are involved in any settlement.  We have seen the biased coverage of the City of David excavations done by Lesley Stahl on CBS's Sixty Minutes which implied that Palestinians were being forced out of their homes when the truth was that the homes had been sold voluntarily by the former owners.  How many of these stories will it take to change future surveys?

The greater concern I have is the possibility of the United States being blackmailed by a nuclear  Iran or Syria into not  protecting Israel in the event of an attack (conventional or otherwise.) Would our leadership cave into such demands or would they still support our ally?  If they would ignore the warnings, what would the public's reaction be, if a nuclear attack on the United States was threatened?  Would Americans say, "hey, that's not our fight!" or would we stand up to the threat? 

I would hope that Americans are smart enough to see through the stories, however, when their families are threatened, will they have the same gumption as their fathers and grandfathers did during WWII or are they cut from a different cloth? What do you think?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Anthony Weiner and The National Adultery Ritual

I was talking to a friend this weekend about the Anthony Weiner situation and she suggested that I read the attached article which appeared in Commentary Magazine.  It was written by her sister-in-law Kay S. Hymowitz.  I think that she makes some valid points regarding the recent streak of politicians who are having affairs.  I suggest that you read it.

On the other hand, I also heard a contrary point to the discussion. That point was that if women did not respond to the emails, pictures and approaches of these men, there would not be an affairs.  If Monica had not come onto Bill, there would not have been impeachment hearings; if the prostitutes did not answer the calls from Spitzer or Vitter, there would have not been a scandal; if Governor Sandford had not gone to Argentina, he still would  have had his family; and if the six women did not respond to Weiner, he still would be showing himself to other men at the Congressional gym. 

Of course that does not let off the men but to say that they are entirely to blame misses the point.  As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango.  So lets, place blame where it should be on  both parties and not entirely on men.

Ok, I have put out the raw meat--what are your opinions?

Here is Kay's article:

Anthony Weiner and the National Adultery Ritual

If the headlines seem to tell us one thing about our culture, it is that we are living in the Age of Adultery. A steady line of prominent men have taken the walk of shame across our television screens and through our magazine and newspaper pages over the past decade or so; Bill Clinton (he says it wasn’t sex, but would even he deny it was adultery?), Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, the three Johns (Edwards, Ensign, and Gosselin), Jim McGreevey, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Anthony Weiner. These are just the 30-minutes-of-fame-ers. There are plenty of other minor-league cads who got their more commonly apportioned 15 minutes—San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin (said to have fathered the child of Casey Greenfield, daughter of pundit eminence Jeff Greenfield), eight-term Indiana congressman Mark Souder; no doubt by the time these words reach print, there will be others. Add them all together, and culture and politics seem like they’re all adultery, all the time.
To many observers, the problem is not so much the lapses of the men in question as the public obsession with them. Why, they ask, are the media and its consumers so preoccupied with these matters when we have so many important things to be pondering?
Why are we chattering about sex tapes and cigars when there are loose nukes and economic mayhem out there? These objections frequently come with accusations against a corporate media interested only in profit and indifferent to the public welfare. At any rate, sexual relationships are private, aren’t they?
Actually, no. In this bloggy, YouTube, and memoir-flooded era, people describe grazing the sexual buffet with little shame or embarrassment; oral, anal, threesomes, hookups, handcuffs, whips, or whatever else floats your boat. Adultery is one exception to this open-mindedness, especially when it involves powerful men in the public eye. If they cheat on their wives, those men will be facing the pursed lips and wagging fingers of Americans, and particularly women, in high moral dudgeon.
Of course, though it is a flashpoint, adultery is hardly taboo. Dating websites for cheaters appear on the Internet and no one is trying to shut them down. In fact, the most famous of them,, cheekily urges, “Life is short. Have an affair.” As for cheating celebrities, we tend to go easy on them, probably because they exist in a different realm than the rest of us; they are more like bickering Olympian gods and goddesses than ordinary bottom-dwellers like ourselves.
But male—they are almost always male for reasons that will become clear—politicians and role models? They’re going to suffer for their adulterous ways. In fact, they will be put through what might be called the National Adultery Ritual. A politician, or in Woods’s case, a role model and a valuable corporate brand, is discovered to have betrayed his wife with another woman, or, as it frequently happens, other women. The press circles and the shame fest begins. The sinner is subjected to a veritable waterboarding of late-night TV jokes, derisive cartoons, tabloid headlines, embarrassing interviews with the mistress and other former girlfriends, analyses by psychologists on the inner demons that drove the man to such behavior, rampant speculation on the future of the bleeding marriage. Then there are the car and helicopter chases, flashing cameras, the gawkers, the plague of paparazzi locusts and microphones, and countless replaying of all of this on YouTube. A sane person might prefer a scarlet letter.
Consider the public judgment rendered on Mark Sanford, cheating husband of Jenny Sanford, father of four Sanford sons, and officially censured governor of South Carolina. The term “laughingstock” comes from the medieval tradition of clamping a malefactor in wooden leg and arm restraints in the town square where passersby could jeer and throw things at his helpless form. Sanford was the 21st-century man in the stocks.
Television hosts mocked him mercilessly. David Letterman (at the time an undisclosed adulterer, although as an entertainer more easily forgiven) tried this: “Governor Mark Sanford disappeared . . . and it turned out he was in South America. And then it turned out he was down there because he was sleeping with a woman from Argentina. Once again, foreigners taking jobs that Americans won’t do.” Keith Olbermann
Professional comics and pundits are not the only ones to enjoy debasing the sinner. When given the chance, the public eagerly joins in. After Tiger Woods’s wrongdoing came to light, amateur preachers took to YouTube. “Tiger ’n’ Whores” was one musical contribution to the golfer’s punishment; “They’re both pros at what they do,” goes one of the lines. Another preacher mocking the golfer’s dubious taste in mistresses called his video: “Tiger Woods: You Are a Man Whore!” CNN’s story about the Sanford divorce was followed by angry verbal rock-throwing from commenters: “scumbag,” “dweeb,” “dirtbag,” they scrawled. “Go crawl under a rock. Oh and keep your mouth shut because everything that comes out of it is a LIE!!!”
If details of the affair in question come to light, the public uses them to further humiliate the adulterer. Details strip the sinner of any remaining dignity by undermining his intact selfhood and effectively giving the public the ammunition to say: “We own you now!” The most dangerous moment for Bill Clinton was always the cigar and the blue dress, and not just because the latter provided legal evidence. They fleshed out our mental picture of the president during moments no one should have known about, giving each of us power over a man who knows us not at all.
The case of Sanford’s fellow “love-guv,” former New York chief executive Eliot Spitzer, who was caught consorting with prostitutes, yielded a mother lode of prurient detail with which to ridicule the malefactor: he liked rough sex, with his socks on and condom off; he was Client 9 at the Emperor’s Club; he was a “difficult customer.” New York magazine put his picture on its cover; its caption read “brain” with an arrow pointing toward his misbehaving privates. It was a nasty barb, but a pinprick compared to a cringe-inducing Vanity Fair cartoon portraying a naked female receiving money from a leering Spitzer, also naked—except for his long black socks.
This torrent of mockery is bad enough, but the adulterer must still undergo the press conference, the ritual’s climactic moment. During this weird event, the cornered sinner must confess, and he must do so in a very particular fashion. Resignation from office is optional, but grim-faced apology is not. By now everyone knows the liturgy by heart: I have disappointed those I care most deeply about, I have no one to blame but myself, I ask that you please respect the privacy of my family, etc. Sanford was ruined once he went off script; instead of asking for forgiveness from his family and his constituents, he rambled on about his soulmate.
Despite its formulaic nature, the press conference has an important purpose: specifically to convince the public of the sinner’s sincerity, and more generally to probe his character. The truth is, people are willing to forgive. They know sex can make a fool of just about anyone under the right circumstances, and they suspect that powerful men confront many temptations. But to gain public forgiveness the sinner must be really truly sorry, not just to have been caught, but to have had sex with other women. He must show he is capable of genuine remorse, something that the unalloyed villain is not. During the unfolding of the Edwards scandal, People ran an article entitled “Marriage Betrayal: When Apologies Don’t Cut It” with quotes from the press conferences of Edwards, Bill Clinton, and an assortment of cheating celebrities. The article included a poll asking readers to vote: “Who sounds most sincere?” But the editors were not simply asking for an evaluation of a performance. They were asking, “Who can be trusted?”
Spitzer’s signs of remorse were heartfelt enough that within nine months of his press conference, the ex-governor was poking his head out of his private bunker, writing a biweekly column for the online magazine Slate, and appearing on television news shows. He eventually scored his own show on CNN. How did he do it? Spitzer moved quickly to meet with the media, and he was brief and to the point. He had “begun to atone for his private failings,” he said, but he recognized his betrayal of the public. He resigned from office, giving the impression he was ready to put his ambition on hold and engage in the necessary inner struggle. His wife’s demeanor, described by the press as “ashen-faced” and “stricken,” provided a shocking display of genuine emotion in the midst of the predictable ceremony. The first sightings of the penitent ex-governor after his resignation also helped: he was spotted taking his dog for a walk, waving good-bye to his eldest daughter as she set out to school, getting in the minivan with his wife, two younger kids, and two dogs for a family weekend. His classy wife’s apparent forgiveness added to his rehabilitation. Spitzer’s case was unusual, however, because of a lucky (for him) financial crisis. Not only did this former “Sheriff of Wall Street” look prescient, but the industry’s sleaze took our attention off his.
John Edwards was the opposite of the genuine repentant. He not only refused to come clean, but also lied about the extent of his affair and his paternity of his mistress’s baby. Clinging to his ambitions, he tried a preposterous cover-up—having an aide claim to be the father—thereby figuratively doing to his staff and supporters what he had literally done to his mistress. Worse, his previously admired wife joined in the sham. According to political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, in their best-selling book Game Change, during his career people often reacted to Edwards as “a pretty boy phony”—until they saw Elizabeth, plump and four years his senior. Before the scandal, Elizabeth had lent John depth and authenticity; a handsome, successful man like the senator from North Carolina could have any beauty queen he wanted, but he had chosen a weight-struggling everywoman. But her Lady Macbeth ambition destroyed her image. “[B]ecause of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage,” Elizabeth fibbed in August 2008 on the popular liberal blog the Daily Kos, “our private matter could no longer be wholly private.” Not only was Edwards a “dirtbag,” he turned everyone around him into one as well.
Now, despite its prominence in the cultural scene, many people other than Elizabeth Edwards claim to want nothing to do with the National Adultery Ritual. These folks frequently insist that our fascination with adultery is a sign of America’s lingering Puritanism. Americans, they say, remain neurotic when it comes to matters of sex. They can’t accept it as a natural part of the human experience or recognize that sexual behavior has nothing to do with a politician’s—or golfer’s—competence at his chosen profession. Here’s the London Observer’s Johann Hari in a searing example of the genre after the publication of Elizabeth Edwards’s 2009 memoir:
And so America has finally stumbled on a political issue of real significance. No, not the trifling matters of economic collapse, global warming, or two wars. No—the issue of the day is John Edwards’ dick. Since Elizabeth Edwards published a book about the supremely trivial fact that her husband had an affair, the cable shows have been endlessly debating the “issue” once again.
Memo to America: Grow. Up.
Have you forgotten the lesson of Lewinsky so soon?
While al-Qa’ida plotted a murderous attack on the US, the twice-elected president was busy being impeached over a few bouts of consensual oral sex. It meant nothing. It was nothing. But it skewed your politics for years.
(Huffington Post, May 14, 2009)
Inevitably, Hari goes on to compare America with the “mature model” found in Europe “where politicians’ affairs are considered irrelevant,” and where no one is interested in their leaders’ “meaningless ejaculation[s]. . . . The idea a French president would be debarred from office for sleeping with somebody other than his wife is preposterous.”
Hari and his like-minded critics are right about one thing: the National Adultery Ritual is a uniquely American bourgeois exercise. But the origins of our obsession cannot be chalked up to immaturity or sexual hang-ups. No, the ritual is a tribute not to chastity but to fidelity, specifically male fidelity. Hari—a male, in case you hadn’t realized—doesn’t like it. Many men don’t. The truth is the adultery ritual is for women’s sake.
Let me explain. For reasons that neurologists and evolutionary psychologists suggest are embedded in the Y chromosome, male promiscuity and infidelity have been a stark fact of human society since, well, since the first man said, “I do.” To be sure, women have cheated on their husbands. But throughout time men have always been the less fair sex as, by all surveys, they remain today. Polygamy has been widespread, far more so than monogamy in fact, while polyandry, women with more than one husband, has been exceedingly rare. In ancient Athens married men had their way with female slaves, as did men in the antebellum South. Extracurricular sex by men was widespread enough to create the market for the world’s oldest, and probably most universal, profession. Many cultures have accepted the male predilection for prostitutes as inevitable and even as a safety valve for what Thomas Aquinas called men’s “careless lusts.” In urban ports all over the world sailors looked for domestic outsourcing for unavailable or reluctant wives. So did men about town like Samuel Pepys or 19th-century gentlemen in New York, where “working women” could be found not just in brothels, but also in the many venues where gentlemen hung out—restaurants, clubs, and theaters.
And what did Mrs. Pepys and her wifely comrades make of all of this? Funny, we never heard much about that. The humiliation of cuckolded men launched a thousand Shakespearean jokes, but the two-timed women? In most cultures, the wives of polygamous or cheating men were supposed to accept Big Love without jealousy or complaint, to treat it as so much “meaningless ejaculation.” The European approach that Hari approves of is no different really. Mark D. White, a psychologist writing on the Psychology Today website, unwittingly evokes the indifference toward wives implicit in the model; “François Mitterrand, who was president of the republic for 12 years toward the end of the 20th century, had a mistress and a love child whom everybody knew about; in fact they both marched in his funeral procession, behind his official wife. Nobody gave a merde. The centrist presidential candidate in the last presidential election openly consorts with his longtime honey, while his Catholic wife stays home with the kids. It’s the arrangement they have.” It was the arrangement they had, see?
What is unusual in the human record is not men stepping out on their wives. What is unusual is the model of faithful monogamy, a model that takes for granted the importance of women’s experience, not just men’s. Before the 18th century and outside of Western Europe, marriage was a social and economic as well as sexual arrangement; it had little to do with love and companionship, and no one much cared about whether women were fulfilled or not. But with the emergence of what sociologists and historians refer to as companionate marriage, intimacy became the marital ideal. Instead of arranged unions, the young made their own choice of mate based on shared interests and deep affection rather than on social requirements. Fidelity followed naturally, or so it was hoped, and it meant that, yes, people gave a merde.
Companionate marriage was a remarkable moral advance in social history, particularly for women. The American founders understood this. Rejecting the cynical, paternalistic arrangements of the ancien régime, they saw in the intimate, quasi-egalitarian relations between husbands and wives a reflection of democratic ideals. The model found its perfect expression in the relationship between John and Abigail Adams portrayed in the PBS series a while back. We don’t see John cavorting with prostitutes in his many months in Philadelphia away from his wife, his dear friend, though surely his fidelity was something unusual.
To be sure, the model was often little more than a nodding tribute from vice to virtue. Even in the mid-20th century, and especially outside the middle class, men strayed and women knew it. JFK’s Camelot, for instance, was a land of male sexual privilege, as Jackie Kennedy well understood. So did the reporters and aides who kept her husband’s affairs—and those of his brother, FDR, Eisenhower, and Martin Luther King Jr. among others—under wraps. It wasn’t until 1987, in response to a growing feminist sensibility as well as to an increasing female presence in the press corps, that the media headlined presidential candidate Gary Hart’s relationship with a young woman named Donna Rice and adultery became legitimate news. The rest is Clintonian history.
Far from a vestige of American prudery, then, the National Adultery Ritual is best understood as a modern protest in behalf of women against the persistence of male infidelity in an age of equality. In the early 1960s JFK could get away with it; in the 1990s WJC would not. Though he remained in office, Clinton paid a heavy price for his roguish ways. He became the second president in the nation’s history to be impeached and stayed stuck in the laughing stocks for years. His chief offense was not oral sex; it was the humiliation of his wife and daughter. People—women especially—cringed at Hillary’s embarrassment, as they would at all of what Tina Brown called the “downtrodden political wives called to genuflect before their husbands’ outsize egos.” More recently, commentators have hovered protectively over Huma Abedin, the unfortunate wife of Anthony Weiner. Abedin, it was universally agreed, was “glamorous,” “dignified,” and “intensely private,” even though the man she chose to spend her life with was combative, grandstanding, and intensely preoccupied with college coeds, dirty-talking Vegas blackjack dealers, and porn stars.
In fact, the National Adultery Ritual is an indictment of male lust for younger women. The “other” woman is almost always dewier, sexier, and a deeply bitter reminder to the middle-aged wife and her peers of their declining allure. No matter how impressive her achievements, depth, or wisdom, the wife is an aging female, the least enviable of human beings. Monica Lewinsky vs. Hillary Clinton. Rielle Hunter vs. Elizabeth Edwards. In a just world, would there be any contest? The bottle-blonde Rielle commenced her seduction by whispering to the candidate, “You’re hot”; she passed out business cards inscribed with the words—in caps, of course—“being is free. truth seeker”; she came on to every man she met; and she appeared in a photo shoot lolling on a bed revealing a naked midsection once full with Edwards’s child, now bikini-ready. That’s what men prefer? Then they must be shamed for it.
The ritual’s pro-wife rationale is the reason why debate swirls around the question of whether women should appear at press conferences with their husbands. Until recently, they generally did, probably because handlers wanted to dramatize the forgiveness they hoped the public would extend to their bosses. The pathos of Silda Spitzer may have been the final straw. The Los Angeles Times ran an article, on the front page no less, disputing the wisdom of Silda’s appearance. Is a man’s ambition more important than a woman’s dignity? the paper wondered. Ridley Scott, the honcho Hollywood producer, even designed a successful, and remarkably nuanced, television series around the dilemma aptly entitled The Good Wife. Jenny Sanford, though, may have transformed the ritual forever. Sitting tight with her girlfriends at her beach house, she left her husband to twist in the wind of media attention all by his rambling, lonesome self, and so earned the title “The Savviest Spurned Wife in History” from Time. “The cheated-upon spouses of the world have a new hero and her name is Jenny Sanford,” announced the magazine in praise of her choice. She has since filed for divorce.
A few male writers have begun to suspect the real meaning of the National Adultery Ritual. Mulling over the aftermath of the Spitzer scandal in New York, Philip Weiss waxed sympathetic about “married men tormented by their sexual needs”—a compassion he described trying, unsuccessfully, to convince Mrs. Weiss to share. Vanity Fair critic Michael Wolff speculated that the country’s interest in the topic reflects “revulsion towards middle-aged white men. . . . To the degree that, for 50 years, boomers have been expressive about their sexuality, we now have this population of middle-aged showboats helplessly dramatizing theirs.” Both men are a lot closer to understanding the moral drama behind the ritual than those who view it as the reproach of busy-body virtuecrats.
So, for all its tawdriness, our adultery obsession has its purpose. Alas, it’s unlikely to do much to stem the nation’s sorry trends in marriage. As divorce filings from wives—said to outnumber those from husbands—suggest, it’s not just men who struggle with long-term monogamy. Nor can infidelity by itself explain the fragile condition of the institution in the United States today. Still, for now and to their credit, Americans continue to believe that there is meaning in those extramarital activities.

About the Author

Kay S. Hymowitz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys (Basic Books). This essay appears in slightly different form in Acculturated: 23 Savvy Writers Find Hidden Virtue in Reality TV, Chic Lit, Video Games, and Other Pillars of Pop Culture (Templeton Press), edited by Naomi Schaefer Riley and Christine Rosen.