Awar from The Thinking Lebanese posted this haunting note to his Lebanese leadership:
We have watched you steal out of the corner of our eyes, and at times, in front of our faces. We were reduced to hiding behind coffee cups and argelehs while kvetching about your thefts, apathy and impotence. Now our voices our loud and demand to be heard. It is plain to see how Hezballah won the hearts and minds of so many in the south and other areas. It is easy to understand why one would feel loyalty and love for those who provided them with schools and hospitals while you were busy driving around lavish cars, lounging in giant homes and only helping those close to you. Hezballah had filled the void that you were so happy to ignore, and have shown us the price of their popularity.This site is worth a look.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Awar from The Thinking Lebanese posted this haunting note to his Lebanese leadership:
For those who think Iraq has descended into civil war, consider this:
United States = 290 million
Iraq = 26 million
United States - 1,367,009 violent crimes that include 854,911 aggravated assaults, 16,137 murders, 94,635 forcible rape, 401,326 robberies, or…
The Iraqi population is about nine percent that of the United States. If we extrapolate the US and Iraqi populations, we could expect about 350 violent crimes each day in Iraq. News reports suggest a much smaller number.
Either Iraq is doing much better than news reports and taking heads suggest, or the United States has descended into civil war.
One more thing…
When OUR Civil War ended in 1865, Republican troops spent twelve years occupying the South to bring racial equality to ALL Americans. After 12 years of Reconstruction, Republicans abandoned the South – which allowed the KKK, Jim Crow, segregation, lynching and the other sins of the South to take hold and keep blacks back for another century.
Stabilizing Iraq will take a long time. America should not cut and run from Iraq the way we fled the Southern States and South Vietnam.
But if we do abandon Iraq prematurely, I’m not sure US cops will have a reason to patrol streets here in America. After all, if Cindy Sheehan’s son shouldn’t risk his life in Iraq, why should cops from Santa Clarita risk their lives in South Central?
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 5:00 PM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Public school advocate, teacher, author and friend Ari Kaufman published this opinion piece today about the shortcomings of California’s teacher credentialing programs.
Like many young teachers, Ari left LAUSD after only a few years in the classroom because of the systemic failures of our state’s most destructive criminal enterprise.
In his column he writes:
… teacher credentialing programs have now fused into this list of revisionist, multicultural historical-social instruction. We all can reasonably speculate what a graduate-level class in journalism, political science or sociology would deduce about modern political events; however, the most fast-moving and fervent anti-establishment indoctrination is coming from the instructors at the teacher credential programs…As if Ari’s assessment wasn’t disturbing enough, another teacher’s private response to him did the job:
August 22, 2006These words appeared below her name:
Hello Mr. Kaufman,
Your article in the OC Register really hit home. Teaching is an art and it takes certain sorts of personalities to do it. I am a teacher, but I’m not working because of a different set of circumstances. You’re correct; the credentialing process is irrelevant to the actual challenge of teaching children. The classes you discussed are for the most part useless to an aspiring teacher, but very relevant if one wants bureaucratic membership. The real problem for me was not jumping the hoops to become a teacher. My problems began when I began to speak out in the hopes that I could effect change for the better. I was naïve and believed that moral conscience could win.
You obviously realize the problems with our failure in public education are multifaceted. You touched on it in your article when you said that teachers, administrators, and the union have despised your efforts for reform. I went against the administration and almost lost my credential, the very document which I valued because of the enormous work I had to go through in order to prove myself worthy to teach. I had been teaching for over twelve years when this occurred. It’s a rather interesting story and in a small way depicts what has gone wrong in what I thought was a great field for a career. One of my beliefs from my experiences is that the public education establishments don’t want intelligent and creative people to apply. They only want follower types so that they will teach children to be followers as well. Hence, a rigorous and lengthy credentialing process.
I worked in Los Angeles County, at (...) one of smallest districts in California. I had an association with that district all my life because my father was a principal and employee there for over thirty years. When I graduated from (college) and moved back to California that was the place I wanted to work because I wanted to give back to a community that helped my dad support our family. The people (there) were like a family. To make a long story short, I got fed up with the BS. One day I decided to respond to an article in the OC Register and was asked if I would give permission to let my letter become a guest column. I agreed and it ran on Sunday, March 20, 2005. Four days later, in the middle of parent conferences, I was put on administrative leave pending an investigation into misconduct.
Currently, I am rethinking whether I ever want to be a classroom teacher again. I always wanted to be a teacher or an artist. Maybe I will find a way to teach again. Your article inspired me today. I must admit I really got knocked down by my experiences with the “establishment” and often forget the really wonderful things that I did with my students. I felt like I was just getting started on a range of possibilities. I admire your ability to change careers, yet remain an educator. There does need to be a stronger reform movement that offers real solutions and exposes the real conditions in our schools. I’m very interested in the charter school movement, privatization, and exposing the truth about the teachers unions. I’m very interested in reading your book.
I just wanted to let you know that you sparked a bit of energy in me this morning and I thank you for your article.
(signed) Never to old to learn…
In a completely rational society, the best of us would become teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else. Lee IacoccaUntil Americans re-think the positions enforced by our public education godfathers and their union capos, our children and grandchildren will be the ones to settle for something else.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 7:39 PM
After posting yesterday’s voucher argument, a high school principal asked:
Please tell me how an extremist religious (read Islamic) school wouldn’t get the vouchers.
This question is often asked RHETORICALLY by the NEA and other opponents.
First of all, pubic schools haven’t always prevented such disasters themselves. As we recently saw from this unaccredited school, public schools haven’t done very well either. And this school still operates today!
But think of it this way: Do hepatitis outbreaks make an argument for local and state officials to cnvert all sushi restaurants into tax-supported government cafeterias? Absolutely not. Among the top reasons:
- The local health department does an excellent job investigating complaints and enforcing laws that prevent outbreaks,
- The public is immediately notified, and, if necessary, unhealthful restaurants are immediately closed, and
- Consumers can decide for themselves whether to return or go elsewhere.
If a patron firebombed a sushi restaurant because he hates Buddhists, law enforcement would investigate and prosecute. But after this teacher’s classroom was torched after repeated racial threats and epithets, LAUSD blamed the teacher and, eventually, forced him out of LAUSD. These stories are not isolated, but widely corroborated by parents and teachers at risk of retaliation.
Another parent wrote yesterday:
This problem does not exist at private schools.Two years ago, my then 8th grade daughter was put into a science class with a science teacher (who barely speaks English). I had my daughter removed from her class after the teacher assaulted my daughter in front of me during open house. This teacher failed the whole class both semesters, and many children missed their graduation ceremony!My daughter was put into the Science Magnet and was given a "F" because she was not up-to-speed with the rest of the class, but then received a C the next semester and graduated.My 8th grade son was given the same teacher today, and I want to switch teachers but I’m... (afraid of retaliation). What should I do? Debbie G.
When my wife and I visited our favorite Chinese restaurant last week, she spotted the big blue B-Grade in the window, turned around and we (she) decided to eat elsewhere. Working-class parents do not enjoy that kind of empowerment in public schools.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t advocate the end of all public education or the end of checks and balances. But competition has a positive impact wherever it exists, and public school monopolies like LAUSD are, more often than not, abusive, substandard, and incompetent criminal enterprises.
Today, only affluent parents enjoy educational choice. When public schools fail, we can place our children in secure private locations. Middle and low-income parents don’t have that choice. Taxpayers spend $18,400/year per child to attend LAUSD, but only a fraction of those funds end up in the classroom.
Vouchers allow affluent AND working-class parents can choose public, private, charter, or parochial schools as they wish and, when there is a problem, they can resolve it.
And IF Osama opens the “Death to America Charter Academy,” a review of test scores, curriculum, and spot checks could close it faster than you could say, “What’s that Katyusha rocket doing under Timothy’s desk?”
Clearly, vouchers offer accountability in ways that public school monopolies never will.
Most voucher questions are answered within the links here and here. If not, please write to me at VOUCHERS-AT-NYM-DOT-HUSH-DOT-COM.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 12:44 PM
Sunday, August 20, 2006
As Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) continues to build steam, I’ve participated in an ongoing dialogue with parents and teachers who are still undecided.
Although the media pits Villaraigosa’s pro-accountability insurgency against LAUSD’s anti-accountability forces, the battle is really about whether LAUSD’s unionistas can retain control over their ongoing multi-billion dollar fraud scheme, or lose to LA’s newest godfather-in-waiting. The LA Times favors Villaraigosa because he’s left of Hezbollah, and the City Council smells blood and unanimously fears losing access to LAUSD’s political booty. Like a mutant termite, Villaraigosa has reduced the Governator to sawdust, and he’s likely to devour LAUSD as well.
With almost three times the operating budget of Los Angeles, the LAUSD has misspent, embezzled, extorted, and wasted billions of tax dollars since the 1970s, leaving millions of school children and their progeny far behind. Like Tammany Hall, LAUSD finances Democrats who control the legislature that would have otherwise broken up LAUSD decades ago. If Villaraigosa succeeds in taking over LAUSD’s $13.4 billion budget, he will have unprecedented control over the Democrat Party’s unapologetic political engine. And if he gets his way, he will appoint an inspector general who will report directly to him – with as much integrity as prosecutors who report to the Russian mob. Either way, LA Unified children and taxpayers may be screwed for another thirty years.
I’ve posted a number of essays about vouchers (1, 2, 3, 4) but was recently asked about California’s last voucher initiative, which was defeated by more than a 70 percent vote in 2000. One of my school advocate friends sent Cathy Duffy's argument against Prop 38. Because Ms. Duffy is as critical of teacher unions as she is supportive of private schools, my friend wasn’t sure why she opposed vouchers. But Duffy's opposition was not about vouchers, but Prop 38 and the poison pills nested inside the plan’s details. Ideas like Prop 38 fail because voucher opponents complicate the idea with irrelevant, irrational, and unnecessarily punitive bureaucracies meant to kill the idea.
In a nutshell, LAUSD’s per-student budget is over $18,000 a year. Only a fraction of that (10% to 50%) actually reaches classrooms, while the rest disappears into the hallucinogenic chaos of union contracts, union dues, lemon teachers, 80,000 employees, and political activism. In 2005, the California Teacher’s Association (CTA) alone spent an estimated $50 million to defeat Prop 75.
If fully-funded vouchers ($18,000/year) were made available to parents to enroll children in private schools and charters, schools would pop up throughout Los Angeles like mushrooms. By redistributing LAUSD’s per-student budget, parents could decide whether to place their children in public, private, or charter schools as easily as shopping for a car. Private schools that decide to participate should be accredited at or above state standards to receive funding. The idea is simple, intuitive, and elegant.
Because I have found arguments against vouchers sophomoric at best, I’ve decided to help voucher opponents by writing a definitive argument for unions, politicians, and liberals to use whenever and wherever the voucher idea rears its ugly head.
The Argument Against School Vouchers
Dear Constituents, Parents, Friends & Union Workers:I hope this helps - no thanks are necessary.
I oppose school vouchers and charters because I want our private schools to remain private.
My children attend private school with the well-mannered children of union officials, politicians, celebrities, and business leaders. We prefer private schools because, when there's a problem, we can deal with it immediately.
Because people like me care about working-class children, my children deserve a safe campus, far from the unruly children that public schools attract. Can you imagine Senator Feinstein or Steven Spielberg appealing to a public school board because a gang member threatened their children? Outrageous! Politicians, union leaders, and affluent people like me don't deserve to have our private schools infested with ordinary children, nor should we expect competition when our children apply for private universities like Princeton or Harvard. As long as you help us keep our educational aristocracy intact, we will protect public education from Republicans who would otherwise destroy it with dangerous charter and voucher schemes.
It's not that I harbor ill will toward working-class parents or their offspring. As long as they remain loyal union workers and vote for the correct political candidates, we’ll make sure that their working-class children will have trade schools and community colleges to attend. We want them to succeed - we only ask that they know their place.
Low- and middle-class parents should not presume that their children are equal to ours, nor can we expect them to understand the complicated social intricacies involved in educating their children. I don't expect middle- and low-class parents to understand what Mayor Villaraigosa, the School Board, and our benevolent leadership knows. Ordinary people should trust us to protect them from our local and state political enemies, and we’re happy to spend another two or three decades overseeing the education of their children, as long as they permit ours to succeed in schools far from third-world schoolyard infestations. We need to keep public schoolchildren well-nourished (fat) and feeling good about themselves (ignorant) because smart children are harder to control when they grow up, find success, and start voting.
We cared for our slaves, but Republicans forced us to let them go. We outlawed Negro education, but Republicans forced us to teach them. We built Negro schools, but Republicans forced us to desegregate. We’ve made so many compromises already that no one should expect our children to mix with unruly illegal aliens, white trash, and ill-tempered Negro children. It’s just not natural.
So, the next time you hear about vouchers, make sure to vote against them. As long as LAUSD stays strong, we promise to protect public education and your union jobs.
And remember, Live Better – Work Union!
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 8:01 PM
Friday, August 18, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
A few years ago, my wife and I drove around Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho looking for a place to retire. Despite the beauty, land, and low prices, she was uncomfortable because of the hate groups there.
I knew her concerns were unfounded, but some of her aunts and uncles had died in the holocaust. Even the FBI’s top hate-group expert in the region could not ally her fears. We stayed in Hollywood.
San Francisco and Zombietime show us where these hate groups live. (related link H/T Herb)
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 5:25 PM
Sunday, August 13, 2006
On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked and destroyed and thousands of people were killed by:
a) Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd
b) The Supreme Court of Florida
c) Mr. Bean
d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
The humor of this parody-quiz comes not from answer d, but from the realization that some Americans aren’t sure.
It’s not that those people are stupid. After all, if I pressed Gore-Lieberman bumper-stickers to their foreheads they would probably know who did it. Their stupidity is not a consequence of prenatal trauma or genetic mutation, but of a deliberate refusal to accept the obvious out of fear of appearing judgmental or racist (yikes!).
It is bad enough when white cops ignore brown gang members to avoid false racial complaints, but when America’s elected leaders and institutions implement costly and unnecessary procedures to avoid offending a few Muslims, the great majority of cooperative Americans suffer civil rights violations far more unreasonable and intrusive than the handful of false complaints that TSA hopes to avoid.
Think of it this way: If LAPD Chief William Bratton ordered cops to conduct thousands of random vehicle searches (red-car Monday, green-car Tuesday, etc.) in the hopes of finding a cache of drugs or weapons, Uday and Qusay Hussein would leap from their graves to decry Bratton’s reckless trampling of human rights.
As absurd as this scenario is, this is precisely what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has done since 9/11. To avoid offending a mouthy minority of indignant Muslim passengers, the TSA randomly gropes and fondles millions of grandparents and children at a cost of billions of dollars each year.
I’m not advocating the loss of common sense either. But when air marshals detained Army Lt. Col. Bob Rajcoomar, their mistreatment of him identified TSA’s inferior training and supervision, rather than some form of racial profiling.
To understand what racial profiling is, one must first understand probable cause.
As it pertains to stopping and searching individuals, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that 1) a crime is or has occurred, and 2) that an individual is connected to it. Unless these two elements exist, police officers have no right to detain someone.
To explain further, let’s say that several tall, blond women have robbed Korean tourists in Korea Town ATMs in the past two weeks. As I patrol the area, I spot a tall blond woman standing behind a line of Koreans waiting to use the ATM. When I detain her, she admits that she does not have a bank account and is “waiting for a friend.” She appears nervous. I search her purse and discover a handgun, credit cards, and ID of a Korean man who was recently robbed.
Had I been forced to ignore the woman’s hair, gender, and complexion, I would not have the probable cause to approach her. But because I considered her race and complexion, profiling allowed me to ignore the dozen Koreans standing in line who weren’t suspected, so I could focus on the blond who was. But if TSA was in on the arrest, they would have searched the Korean women to make it look fair.
If I’m looking for three blonds, racial profiling lets me ignore millions of brunettes. If I’m screening for Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 40, I can exclude millions of soldiers, grandparents, and red-haired girls named Chelsea – at least until al Qaeda operatives start changing their names. And when they do, let’s pray that TSA will properly train screeners and air marshals to question Osama look-alikes named Chelsea.
And until Michael Moore and Hillary Clinton embrace Jihad and threaten to blow themselves up on airplanes, there’s no reason to confiscate their creams and lubricants.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 6:30 PM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Here’s a neat business model:
RKL insures your car. RKL steals your car and resells it. RKL replaces your car and raises your premiums because 1) you’re a theft risk and 2) to fund other anti-theft campaigns with RKL client companies and advertising.
After an exhaustive review, the RKL ethics panel finds no wrongdoing. But because they mean well, they’ve created a new rule that prohibits “the appearance of misconduct.”
This is pretty much describes the ongoing relationship between Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and their lobbyists. And Tony Soprano thinks there’s money in waste management?
Anyway, four years after Sacramento lobbying firm Rose Kindel (RK) used classroom funds to promote a $3.3 billion bond measure in 2002 that helped RK’s other clients, the Daily News reports that they’re still doing the same thing. And because corruption is so rampant in Los Angeles and throughout the LAUSD, it’s hard for some of us to care anymore.
Lobbyists like Cristina Rose and Maureen Kindel donate thousands of dollars to prominent Democrats who've never shown much concern about where the money comes from. After all, they have rules against unethical conduct.
You can visit your LAUSD tax dollars when you pass by Cristina and Maureen's Hollywood and Palisades homes.
Speaking of municipal corruption, the Los Angeles Times continues to carry water for Mayor Villaraigosa and his ambitious LAUSD takeover bid. (I’ve illustrated LAUSD’s problem, and Villaraigosa’s solution.)
Villaraigosa’s objective is to take over Democrat control of LAUSD’s ongoing criminal enterprise. The entire Los Angeles City budget is only about $5 billion, so you can imagine what he could skim from LAUSD’s $13.4 billion budget. Democrats used $100 million of classroom funding last year to oppose Prop 75, so does anyone wonder why LAUSD and Villaraigosa are fighting so hard for control?
Villaraigosa’s pubic relations firm, the LA Times, recently endorsed the Mayor’s plan (again) and cited the mayoral takeover of Boston Public Schools as an example of success. The Times reported that under Mayor Thomas Menino’s direction, Boston’s high school math requirements are creeping closer to those of India’s second graders, while classroom spending is up to “$10,000 per classroom from the 1996 level of $6,350 per child.”
How did Menino do it? To find out, I reviewed his 2007 school budget report.
Despite an enrollment drop of 2.1% from 2006, Boston’s public school budget is up 3.1 percent to $734,500,000. This means that Boston’s per child budget is about $12,900 per child ($734,500.000 ÷ 56,806 students). But Boston also reports that 78 percent of their budget goes to employee salary and benefits. Given these numbers, a classroom of 30 children would generate $300,000. Does the teacher earn $100,000/year salary and deliver $100,000 in supplies in a classroom that costs $100,000/year to maintain, or do 78 percent of all active and retired school employees live and work inside each classroom?
The lady at Boston’s Communications Office didn't know and asked me to email my question to her office.
I did. They received it.
I’m still waiting for an answer.
I’m not holding my breath.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 1:32 PM
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I recently overheard someone protest that "not all Muslims are terrorists."
While it is true that ALL Muslims are NOT terrorists, ALL Muslims are responsible for the terror that they allow THEIR peers to spread in the name of Islam. The minority of radical Islamist leaders could not exist without the deliberate acquiescence of the majority of so-called moderates.
My love for America supersedes my foreign roots. Without America, my children and I would be struggling in another third-world country. If I were Muslim, I would join the FBI, CIA, or military to root out the indoctrinated termites who hurt my faith and country. Those who refuse to serve or turn a blind eye might not pull the triggers, but they facilitate those who do - which makes them as much an accessory as a getaway driver or bomb maker. All accessories of terrorism ARE terrorists.
Regardless of where they live, "moderate Muslims" have within themselves the power to rid their virulent strain. And if they do not, they are as guilty as the terrorists they pretend to distance themselves from. No God-fearing individual allows evil to take place. And when they do, they become part of the evil that exists. The millions of Lebanese who refused to extinguish the 3000 Hezbollah fighters are as guilty as those who launch missiles against Israel.
I also understand that individuals and families of Muslims who ARE fighting against terrorism must do so in secret and cannot defend unfair questions about their patriotism. This alone makes generalizations unfair to Muslims who have volunteered to fight in uniform or in secret for our country. I have met a handful of these brave and honorable people and hope to one day recognize others in a more public and less-dangerous setting.
Let us hope that "moderate Muslims" will make this possible.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 12:51 PM
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
As some of you know, my friend Jeff is a former Jew, a former lawyer, and present-day Marin County atheist who thinks that Michael Savage’s recent characterization of his ilk as curly-haired devils is anti-Semitic and sick. My question is why someone who dismisses God’s existence and his rich cultural history would care, but that’s for another Q & A.
Anyway, the following is my most recent dialogue with Jeff:
Jeff: I'd like to think that I am an intellectual.
exLib: What qualifies you as an intellectual on political science and international relations?
Jeff: I do not consider myself a liberal or a conservative.
exLib: I consider myself conservative to differentiate myself from the dim-witted bleeding-heart that I once was. I have evolved and I don’t fear labels the way many liberals do. I’m not embarrassed by my experience, thoughts, or ideas. I have practiced them as well.
Jeff: I try to call them as I see them. For example, I applauded Clinton's impeachment, but I also believe that Bush is underqualified for the job.
exLib: What specifically do you think makes Bush underqualified? My wife was a mediocre high school graduate, and yet she built a travel company from nothing into a $200 million/year industry powerhouse. She didn’t do it by herself. As president, she hired top people and collaborated in much the same way that Bush does. I’m not the greatest tactician on the planet, but by surrounding myself with highly qualified Marines and cops, I was able to develop, lead, and execute complicated operations that resulted in lengthy prison sentences of career criminals. I have about 30 college units, a commercial pilot’s license, a scuba divemaster license, and 26 years of public service. Chomsky would not call me an intellectual – nor would I feel good if he did.
Jeff: I am very familiar with the controversy surrounding Finkelstein and Chomsky. I am not a name-caller. I do not refer to a human as an "animal" as you do.
exLib: This is probably because you’ve never met anyone who threatened to kill you and your family. You don’t perceive dangers where they are because your parents, like many of our era, knew evil and did everything they could to dispel notions of evil to their children. Through no fault of their own, they wanted to protect you. As a result, you’ve been conditioned to think that people like Hassan Nasrallah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only seek fairness. You have never been directly confronted by evil and, therefore, you refuse to believe it exists. And because you doubt its existence, your spirituality is limited to notions of self (e.g., I consider myself an intellectual). This is why real heroes will never call themselves heroes (John McCain), and posers (John Kerry) do. I’ve known and worked with real heroes while you barely know who you are. And because of your profound lack of real-world experience, you consider yourself an intellectual much the same way that adolescent boys consider themselves astonishingly talented when they’ve mastered Nintendo.
Jeff: It is despicable for a Jew- no less- to engage in dehumanizing rhetoric since we have been its victims. Finkelstein says some harsh things. His rhetoric is over the top, but he does make some points worth making. Jews are humans after all and thus fall prey to all human failings. And it takes someone brave to say politically incorrect things, e.g., Jews are not beyond reproach when it comes to exploiting the tragedy of the Holocaust. No doubt, there has been some illegitimate exploitation.
exLib: This is an example of your faux intellectual sense. You may recall or have forgotten that the Neanderthals disappeared from Europe probably because our ancestors killed them off. The Aztecs were wiped out (to the horror of today’s MECHA/Aztlan whackos) by a tiny band of Conquistadors and surrounding villages and peoples who had grown weary of being attacked, pillaged, and enslaved by the Aztecs. Humanity has a long history of mistreating others, which makes today’s he hit me Daddy – well, she hit me first relativism childish and moot. So instead of pursuing past indiscretions, Humanity should examine which nations and people are making the best contributions toward the progress and freedom of humanity. Despite our brief history, no other country has done more to deliver freedom than the United States. Among the countries and people of the world, Jews are among those who have helped the world progress and gain freedom. The United States and Israel are good neighbors. If Iran wants to destroy Israel, the United States must decide which country has done more to deliver happiness (read Adam’s Thoughts on Government) than Iran. Iran, like most Islamic countries, hates Jews and Christians because 1) freedom interferes with their primitive need to control their populace, and 2) we remind Muslims of how primitive and controlled they really are. We threaten Imams and their male-dominated power. If we weigh the benefits of our Judeo-Christian neighbors and sympathizers against our Islamic fundamentalist neighbors and sympathizers, the answer is clear to honest people. There’s a reason you prefer to live where you live and not in Iran. The only thing that prevents you from reaching this conclusion is your 1) dishonesty and 2) fear of looking like a conservative among your dishonest and intellectually weak friends. I know this because, as much as I love my wife, she’s also afraid of alienating her left-wing dope-smoking ex-hippie friends. It takes as much courage to be conservative as it take laziness to be a liberal. Visualizing World Peace is far easier than fighting for the freedoms that guarantee it.
Jeff: Even a Holocaust denier may be able to put certain facts things into proper perspective even if 99% of the things he says are wrong. I serve the truth more than I serve my country or Israel. Only the truth will set you free! Consequently, I am bound to consider both sides of an issue.
exLib: You have barely considered your own, and you have not yet challenged any other.
Jeff: As much as I resent Michael Savage's rhetoric, I do not seek to have him censored. Rather, I want him ignored by responsible broadcasters. Let Savage rant on his website if he likes.
exLib: As much as you’ve expressed your disdain for Savage, you still haven’t explained ONE lie or misrepresentation. In this way, you remind me of a conversation I had with my mom. She’s 81 and recently told me she doesn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh because she cannot stand him. When I pressed her for a reason, she said that she once heard Limbaugh say he was God. When I explained the multiple reasons he says, “Talent on loan from God,” she felt much better and has begun to listen to him again – admitting (like millions of Americans) that he makes a lot of sense. This is what betrays your self-delusion as an intellectual – you abhor Savage’s rants and what he calls you and other Jewish betrayers of Israel, Judaism, and the United States, but you failed to describe why Savage’s curly-haired devil moniker doesn’t suit you. From what I gather, you dislike his delivery – which is exactly why I don’t listen to him. He makes sense, but his mother dresses him funny.
Jeff: Finkelstein and Chomsky are not demagogues like Savage.
exLib: Again, you illustrate my point. You think their Mister Rogers persona makes them more thoughtful than Savage. They don’t frighten you as much. And from my studies of human communication, I know this isn’t really your fault. About two-thirds of all people are wired this way. It takes work and discipline to overcome Savage’s delivery and Chomsky’s seduction.
Jeff: There are serious intellectuals however much you disagree with their opinions. Chomsky applies moral principles equally against all parties.
ExLib: If I punch you in the nose every day for one week and you finally retaliate a week later in a way that catches Chomsky’s attention, I doubt you will appreciate his moral relativism – regardless of his delivery: Now now, Jeffrey, hitting back isn’t good. What did you do that provoked Clark into punching you repeatedly this week? In what way can you modify your behavior so he won’t want to hit you again? Why don’t you try to be his friend? Maybe you can give him your cupcake since he doesn’t have one… You’ll quickly see that Chomsky poses more of a threat to you than I do, for while I’m the guy who punches you, Chomsky’s the guy who compels you to let me do it. If you consider him more human than vermin after a month of that, you’re dishonesty will be consistent – which makes you as dangerous as Chomsky and his ilk. Calling you or Chomsky vermin would be an insult to lice.
Jeff: He does not allow the U.S to claim that it is "exceptional" because it is a Superpower.
ExLib: The US is exceptional not because it’s a superpower, but because of the freedoms and history that resulted in a country and people that willingly defends good people from regimes led by people like Hitler, Hirohito, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hussein. We’re exceptional because after a war like WWII, we assisted our imperialistic enemies like Germany and Japan in rebuilding themselves into free societies. And yes, we were once friends with Hussein, but did so because Iran posed a greater threat at the time. Like any childhood schoolyard, you gain allies when necessary and reform marginal friends when possible.
Jeff: Every country must abide by the same laws.
ExLib: Um, what US Constitution laws do you think the US should suspend in favor of other countries? And since the United States makes the tastiest cake, shouldn’t we use the US Constitution as a model?
Jeff: When one does so, some US. policies are morally questionable.
exLib: Which ones? Be specific or does your intellectual laziness prevent this?
Jeff: It is difficult to be so dispassionate in applying the rules to one's own country when we have such a prejudice in our own favor. But we must do so if we are to be intellectually honest.
exLib: I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in another country, but my Mom is from Brazil and my wife was from India. I lived and worked in the Far East, Asia, India, and Central America. I’ve traveled to every continent except Antarctica. Having seen how governments treat their citizens around the world and the parallels between despotic regimes, aristocracies, corrupt governments and liberalism, I cannot help but conclude that the United States represents a superior way of life than all other countries around the world. And since the US is the #1 destination for immigrants, I’d imagine that this is the general consensus of more than the billions who want to live here. Yes, I like the United States more than India and Zimbabwe. I have enough money to live anywhere on the planet and I choose to live here. My preference to the United States is not prejudicial, for I arrived at this conclusion AFTER living and working in other countries. For those like you who have not, you demonstrate your prejudice and ignorance based upon unproven assumptions that you probably read about or learned in college. If you lived in India or Mexico for a few years and sought work, property, and freedom, you would arrive at other conclusions not based on your current prejudices. There is hope for you, for all conservatives are former liberals. Conservatives do not regress into liberalism unless they develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol or develop some geriatric neurological disorder.
exLib: I’m not saying that the US or all Americans are perfect. I’ve endured terrible injustice after confronting municipal corruption, but I survived and learned from it. By the way the third world injustice I endured stemmed from left-wing liberals who didn’t like being exposed for the public fraud they committed.
Jeff: I would never say that the U.S. is like Hezbollah, but let's face it, the US and any country with nuclear weapons engages in a bit of terrorism. After all, a nuclear bomb is the ULTIMATE terror weapon. And threatening an entire civilian population with the risk of annihilation in the event of a nuclear attack by a rogue regime is a bit terrifying. To that extent at least, it could rightly be said that America, China, France, etc engage in terrorism.
exLib: George Orwell addressed your argument in 1942 when he wrote:
Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other… ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailorsYou can study his complete letter here.
have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and
… A German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”. That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U… (P)acifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.
What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-Fascist, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-fascist as anyone, but… ‘Those who fight against Fascism go Fascist themselves.’
Jeff: My only point in initially contacting you was to make you fully apprised of Savage's tactics in playing to his Christian audience. Savage is not above employing anti-Semitic rhetoric in order to pander to a latent anti-Semitism among his fans.
exLib: Your paranoid arguments are as silly as my 81-year-old mother’s. The difference is that once she understood that she misunderstood, she opened her mind to the content of Limbaugh’s arguments. She’s not stuck on stupid.
Jeff: I know that you are of the opinion that evangelical Christians are Israel's best friends. But it does not follow that they cannot still hold anti-Semitic attitudes such as "Jews control the media, Hollywood, banking, etc." If a leftist Jew can be accused of being anti-Semitic, surely a pro-Israel Christian can be regarded as such too. The "bad Jews" have made good scapegoats for a millennia; Savage knows this and exploits it.
exLib: There’s your best argument – requiring others to prove the negative: Just because evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends doesn’t mean they cannot hold anti-Semitic attitudes. You should have outgrown that logic in the tenth grade. And based upon your comments, I cannot state this with more force – There are good people and bad people. There are good countries and bad countries. The US and Israel are good countries. Iran and North Korea are bad countries. Some Americans and Israelis are good, and some are bad. Good countries don’t make bad wars against good countries. When bad countries attack good countries, it is the duty of all good countries to come to the aid of their good neighbor, lest the bad country win and continue its attack on other good countries. And when good countries acquiesce to the misconduct of bad countries, they themselves lose their goodness. The good news is that countries that make mistakes ALWAYS have the opportunity to do the right thing. These are fundamental truths that will likely require courage and months of study among open-minded lefties.
ExLib: When someone like Mike Savage calls some people vermin, it is because of his clearly articulated analysis of their behavioral traits and not their ethnicity. I abhor Muslims not because of my hegemony, but because Muslims continuously demonstrate their primitive intolerance of other beliefs and people AND because so-called “good Muslims” haven’t the courage or character to reform themselves and their Islamic neighbors. If the Lebanese people want to rid themselves of the 3000 Hezbollah fighters who threaten their sovereignty, they should ally themselves with Israeli forces to delouse themselves of this vermin. But because they choose to run or passively acquiesce to Hezbollah, they become the enemy – just as acquiescent German civilians were the enemy of Humanity sixty years ago.
exLib: Your relativism is simplistic, childish, and ignorant. And these are not simply words or names, but a careful analysis of your arguments. And as Orwell described, you have the character of a fascist.
Jeff: I am an atheist. As a result, I really am not a Jew. I told you that I live very near Savage who lives in Marin County, not LA. But I do not believe in Chakras and spiritual energy, etc. Perhaps, you do given your faith in invisible beings. I refuse to vote. I am contemptuous of the political process. It is an insult to the thinking man. I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils…
…I used to be a lawyer, but I fear any debate with you would be fruitless. It is very tiresome to have my arguments mischaracterized.
exLib: Your words speak for themselves. Could it be that my unresponsiveness has something to with your vague/ambiguous comments/questions? I agree that being liberal coherence is as unlikely as drunken coherence. Travel and Internet cafés aside, I’m certain that your return home will also return your wits.
Jeff: It is not intellectually honest to do so. It is terribly uncivil to presume that your opponent is making an absurd argument that you can easily rebut.
exLib: If your arguments were less absurd they would be harder to rebut. I’m an investigator and you’re a lawyer. I hoped that characterizing your absurd arguments as absurd would promote clarification rather than hurt feelings.
Jeff: It insults my intelligence. It is more likely that you have misinterpreted the argument.
exLib: Objection – foundation – vague/ambiguous – facts not in evidence.
Jeff: You should give your ideological opponent the benefit of the doubt. In so doing, you will encourage a healthy debate instead of dissuading me to engage you.
exLib: The benefit of WHAT doubt? I’ve done nothing except press you for coherence. I will assume that your present distractions have hobbled you.
I hope you respond when you return home to peace and quiet. If you choose not to I will assume that your incoherence has more to do with you than your present distractions.
Have a safe trip! I look forward to hearing from you again.
Posted by ex-Hollywood Liberal at 4:01 PM