Category Archives: Christianity

Too Many Guns Coming In!

I will be 84 years of age next week and thus was born in America at a different time and place. I was born in the slums of the south Bronx in New York City, and, yes, we did have gangs, and there was violence. However, I was born at a time when even criminals understood that use of guns was the last resort, not the first. We had the Sullivan Act which made possession of a gun a potential criminal act. No one, even gang leaders, argued they had 2nd Amendment rights to blast away in streets, bars, or in churches as do so many of our gun nuts today. Even in a slum, we avoided people who waved a gun in public, too dangerous. Most fights were with fists although some resorted to a knife, but if this was done, the person was considered to be a coward. I only recall one person of my age who actually has a gun, we called him, “Crazy Elkin.” So, reading stories about the 4th of July weekend in Chicago leaves me with a sense of bewilderment. There were 84 shootings over the weekend and 14 people are dead. Two of the dead are teenagers, 16 and 14 who were shot by the police.

I am NOT blaming police for these deaths. Children today hear non-stop shouts about “my gun rights.” Being able to obtain a weapon is relatively easy in the United States of America. Police chief Gary McCarthy of Chicago summed up the problem: “It comes down to this. Too many guns coming in, and too little punishment going out.” The real murderers in Chicago are those who lead the National Rifle Association or their supporters. Anyone who desires to be a policeman in this moment of madness in America must either be mad or in desperate need of work.

Growing Up In 2014 America

I was having a cup of coffee the other day when my mind wandered onto the question as to what would it be like growing up in 2014 America? Next month marks my 84th birthday since I was grew up in Depression America. But, what would it be like being age 18 in the current world of America?

1. In my childhood, Republicans and Democratic congressmen clashed, but for some strange reason they also ate lunch together and even played a softball game with one another in the summer. Think of it, opposing political opponents who joke, played cards at night over a beer, and still were friends!

2. The president was Franklin D. Roosevelt, cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican. Imagine two cousins who were on opposite sides of the political spectrum? Heck Franklin even married Teddy’s niece, Eleanor. Today, people within families vote and think together, a thought that would fill me with dread. I was raised to think, to think and decide, based on what I thought, not what neighbors or relatives wanted me to think.

3. Imagine growing up with two presidents who lacked any sense of global policy. Both stumble from one disaster to another. Quite a difference with Franklin Roosevelt who had a comprehensive policy to rebuild America from ground zero, and a policy to halt terrorism in the world. It must be confusing to young Americans growing up with presidents lacking policies, let alone being able to explain them to the American people.

4. I spent my childhood in the Depression,and then was a teenager during WWII. How do I explain that even during the Depression, I had hope the future would be better. I wonder how it would be to grow up in 2014 America in which one worries that there will be no future?

5. I wonder what it would be like growing up with machines in my hand that were the focus of my life, rather than people?

6. I spent my growing up time playing ball with friends or wandering the streets of New York City without the company of parents, I was free to wander and wonder. I wonder what it would be like to always have a parent driving me to play or not allowing me to be me?

7. Frankly, I prefer a world in which I was working at age 8, but a world in which I was an independent person filled with the wonder of youth, and enjoying the freedom to dream the impossible dreams of life.

The Fire This Time Leaves Aftermath–Always!

On September 11, 2001 a group of nineteen men initiated horrible events that resulted in the death of nearly three thousand innocent Americans. These men worked for an organization–al-Qaeda–that numbered, at best, about two thousand members. Today, the process initiated back in 2001 has resulted in al-Qaeda now having over 20,000 members, and, instead of being confined to Afghanistan, is now in Syria, Iraq, Algeria and dozens of other places of war. Our then President Bush insisted that his response to 9/11 would result in destruction of al-Qaeda and killing of Osama bin Laden. Yes, Osama is dead, killed by orders of a different president, but al-Qaeda remains a force of death and destruction. Today in Israel, the sounds of war, of revenge are powerful, and demand death and destruction. No one knows who were the cowardly murderers who selected three innocent young boys for their revenge. Three children died because of hate created by their elders- Israelis, Palestinians, and you name them. As always, the innocent die and the guilty live on to murder and murder the innocent.

Thousands of Israel troops are now on the border of Gaza.Israeli planes are pounding the Gaza Strip even as rockets are fired from it into Israel territory. The IDF has announced the beginning of “OPeration Protective Eagle.” There is a strong likelihood that thousands of Israel soldiers will blast their way into Gaza. There is a strong likelihood that innocent Arab children will die. Again, the innocent die because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The IDF told the world: “We are entering into a long operation. We are preparing further steps and a gradual expansion of our order of battle.”

Sorry, this statement is very similar to that made by President Bush preceding the invasion of Iraq. Colin Powell, US Secretary of State in 2001, but a former general, warned President Bush that if you go into the pottery shop and break china pieces, you are responsible for the damage. He was attempting to warn the president there are consequences when one initiates war. Invade Gaza, round up hundreds, put them in jail. Then what??

I can guarantee there will be dozens, perhaps, hundreds of missiles coming from Hamas centers in Lebanon and headed for Israel cities. What then? Invade Lebanon? Send Israel soldiers into Syria? When does it end??

Getting Ridiculous Over Hillary

The seemingly endless attacks on the personhood of Hillary Clinton go on and on and on. Latest assault on her dignity as a human takes us back to 1975. At that point in life, Hillary Clinton was a defense attorney. She was young, she was attempting to become a better lawyer, and thus when one is at the bottom of the pile, a beginning lawyer takes what the court orders her to do. The court appointed her to represent one Thomas Alfred Taylor, who was accused of raping a 12year old girl. Believe it or not, my Republican friends, but a court appointed lawyer MUST take on responsibilities when so ordered. “I asked to be relieved of that responsibility, but I was not, and I had a professional responsibility to represent my client to the best of my ability.” In how many movies we saw in our youth did a lawyer appear who assumed the role of representing a client who was not a popular person?

Do we remember, “To Kill A Mockingbird?” Republicans and Fox News simply will not let go of finding something in the Hillary Clinton closet that can be taken out to prove she is an evil person who hates America, and hates 12 year old girls. The drums of anger will not be stilled. How about:

1. At age seven, while her best friend, Sally was not looking, Hillary stole her doll!

2. At age fourteen, she looked at the test paper of Bob while the teacher had turned his head!

Will this silliness never end??

Voice Of Putin Muted

Vladimir Putin is –or shall we say, was– a great hero to those in eastern areas of Ukraine who did not wish to become part of the new nation if it was to be led by those seeking closer ties with the west. A separatist groups emerged in eastern Ukraine which proclaimed its independence, welcomed members of the Russian military–dressed in civilian clothes, that is, and warned the Ukraine government not to step foot in their beloved land. During the past few months, there have been numerous clashes, many won by rebels who were armed by the Russian government, but despite the rhetoric of independence, it is now clear that most eastern Ukrainians prefer taking their destiny with the west rather than the east. Ukraine troops finally battered their way into rebel strongholds and have now gained control of Slaviansk and Kramaforisk. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko announced: “The state flag of Ukraine is proudly waving over the city which militants thought was their impregnable fortress.”

A rebel leader, Denis Pushlin, expressed the feelings of many eastern militants. “What to say, nice words of Putin, about protecting Russians.” Rebels never understood that for Putin, the interests of his wealthy allies in Russia who were businessmen was always tops on his agenda. Sanctions hurt the wealthy, and when money is the subject, the hell with militants!!In the coming months separatists will soon learn that Putin wants to separate himself from them because to do so, hurts pocket books of wealthy Russians!

Sins Of Our Fathers Fall On The Innocent

There is scant doubt that Pope Francis inherited a mess that each day grows in size and complexity. Upon becoming Pope, he had to confront the issue of sexual abuse upon the part of priests. It was never his mess, but unless the new Pope reacted with firmness and fairness he risked alienating millions of Catholics who had never recovered from the continual non-stop reports of crimes against young people by priests. In, most probably, his strongest confrontation with the problem, Pope Francis was blunt, was honest, and promised action against those who had abused children as well as against those who knew, but pretended to be ignorant. The Pope stated in blunt terms: “before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and crimes of clerical abuse committed against you.” He went on to promise that the Church must “make reparation” to those who were abused.

Not only did Pope Francis take on priests who were guilty of abusing children, he also confronted members of the church hierarchy who remained silent. According to Pope Francis, “sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members as well as by abuse victims” must now be dealt if these horrible crimes are to be resolved. From now on, those who assume leadership positions must understand that failing to act makes one as guilty as those who acted without regard to human decency.

Open Letter To John McCain

Dear Senator John McCain:

You are the son of admirals who served their nation in battles. You are the son of brave men who risked life in order to protect the freedom of this nation. You are a brave man who fought for his country,and, in so doing, were placed in a position of being tortured and abused. Today, you are a member of a political party that has lost all sense of decency and patriotism because its only goal is -power. It is bereft of ideas to improve the lives of Americans, it lacks goals to improve our nation. You are a member of a political party which engages in non-stop tirades and investigations into the death of four Americans in Benghazi, but refuses to examine the deaths of 5,000 Americans and wounding of 40,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You are a decent person who loves America. You are also a decent person trapped in a political party that has lost its way. You love America and have proven this love by risk of life. Men like Ted Cruz and John Boehner have never fought in the cause of American freedom. You know the men who landed on D-Day were Democrats and Republicans, but, more important, they were Americans who wanted to end the evil of Nazism. It is time for you to rise in the US Senate and send a message to fellow Republicans that the time to end this endless hatred must conclude.

You understand the destructive power of weapons of war. It is time to rise and speak out agains the NRA and their refusal to support reasonable laws that would protect our law enforcement agents and fellow citizens. It is time for you to be the American who risked his life. It is time to risk your political life and speak out for human decency and respect for fellow members of the government.

It is time for you to become John McCain, the son of admirals!

On Reparations To African Americans

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine has raised the issue as to whether the American government should pay monetary compensation to those who fall into the category of African Americans due to the horror of slavery, and the subsequent years of segregation, prejudice and denial of basic rights such as access to home loans or jobs. After World War II, the German government paid, and still pays, compensation to Jews for the horror of the Holocaust. In the 1980s, the American government paid compensation to Japanese Americans for violation of their rights by being sent to internment camps during World War II. In other words, the concept of “reparations” has been recognized by nations throughout the world.

There remain several issues related to the concept of reparations.

1. The definition of who is an “African American” is not clear. Examine a basketball game and note the wide discrepancy in skin color among players.
2. In 1948 my sociology professors insisted that each year at least 50,000 “black skinned Americans” crossed over and became “white.” Their figure may not be accurate,but there is no doubt that thousands did so. In other words, untold thousands of “white people” derive from these crossovers.
3. Certainly, American Indians(or Native Americans) also suffered from discrimination and at least half died because of prejudice. It there are reparations, they must be included.
4. Yes, there was difficulty for Negroes to live in certain neighborhoods, or to gain access to home loans. This was also a common problem for American Jews and Italians.
5. Prejudice in jobs, access to college, loans were issues confronting many immigrant groups. Let me emphasize their problems never matched in severity those encountered by Negroes,but they were normal aspects of their lives in America.

My argument is that POOR PEOPLE, regardless of skin color be given free college, a guaranteed minimum wage, and free health insurance.

Hate Leads To Death-Always!

I was never a supporter of President George Bush, but must admit his shinning moment was in the days following 9/11. He refused to give in to voices of anger and hate toward those of the Muslim faith. Bush urged calm and endeavored to tone down cries for vengeance. In the moments following the horrible kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu behaved in the exact opposite manner as did Bush. Netanyahu promised revenge, he promised those who committed the act would be dealt with in strong ways. At no point did he differentiate between those who murdered and the 99.9% of Arabs who did not murder anyone. Netanyahu unleashed the dogs of war and hate. Crowds of Israel Jews crowded the streets shouting death to Arabs. Innocent Arabs were beaten, their cars set afire, and homes were vandalized by mobs set free to take revenge on ALL Muslims. Once hate is set free to roam the streets it was simply a matter of time before some Israelis became so excited and filled with hate that they found an opportunity to exact it upon an innocent Palestinian. A group of Israelis seized teenage Mohammed Abu Khdeir as he walked to prayers. We do not know what was said, but we now know what was done. The assaulted the boy, hit him with stones, and then set afire his body.

Mohammed is dead. So are three Israeli Jewish boys. Why? To his credit, President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority urged calmness and peace. It was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who inflamed minds with his demands for revenge. There is no question those who kill must be brought to justice. But, lynch mobs are never the answer,all they do is to further anger. Lynch mobs consist of cowards who fear allowing justice to proceed. Benjamin Netanyahu has never recognized that he is prime minister of the state of Israel which contains over a million people who are Muslim or Christian. He is also THEIR PRIME MINISTER.

Walk For Freedom In Nigeria

The people of Nigeria live under the fear violence, but it is still unclear if the source of that threat comes from crazy Boko Haram militants or from their own government. These days in many parts of Nigeria, thousands are sleeping in the bush because to remain in their villages might result being killed or captured by fanatic Muslim fighters. In theory, and I do mean, theory, rescue efforts to recover those kidnapped is the responsibility of the so-called Nigerian army. Among the dozens of women and teen girls about 63 decided to leave their captors when left alone. They walked about 31 miles to freedom before authorities realized those kidnapped were now not kidnapped. It is quite clear the Nigerian army, as presently constituted, is simply not capable of fighting any group that is in possession of weapons. In theory, when soldiers hear the sound of guns, they run toward the guns. Nigerian soldiers have a different perspective on living and dying, when they hear shots being fired, they run away from those sounds.

Reality, Nigeria is a wide open kleptomania in which a small group steal the nation blind. They also steal money from salaries due soldiers which makes certain they are not risking their lives for a government that robs them blind. When a nation has a president whose name is Goodluck Jonathan, it is clear the best good luck they can get is to find someone with the name of Badluck Ben. Then again, perhaps the National Rifle Association might wish to provide its members an opportunity to blast away against a living creature who also has possession of guns.