Category Archives: Europe

Pope Takes On Godfather!

I am a child of the Bronx, New York City, a place in which all children were taught that on no condition should they get members of the Mafia angry with them because it would result in bad things happening. My pop paid the Mafia for their willingness to pick up his garbage at our butcher shop, and always threw in a few steaks to please the guys. Well, I guess this Pope Francis never got the message about not angering the Godfather. He came out with some nasty remarks about the Mafia. “Those who in their lives follow the path of evil, as mafioso do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated.” Wait a second. How is it possible that the Godfather is not in communication with God. Heck, I am certain that God checks with the Godfather before doing anything. Why else do we have a Godfather?

According to this Pope guy, “The evil must be fought against, it must be punished and we must say no to it.” Not where I come from in the Bronx! OK, so they have an “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.” But, then again, if we excommunicate the Mafia what do we do about the Koch brothers and their campaign of evil? I would be real impressed in the Pope excommunicated the entire Republican party leadership in Congress for their evil and contempt for the common good of Americans!

The Price Of “Christianity”

There is no doubt that during the 19th century European nations invaded and conquered huge areas of Africa. They claimed to be bringing the benefits of “civilization” to the benighted people of Africa. Along with the guns came prayer books and Christianity. Europeans wanted to make certain that Africans wore proper clothes, and thought in proper ways about God and their daily lives. Along with European ministers of faith, came American priests and ministers who wanted to make certain that an African thought just like the American next door to you. American ministers of God were particularly concerned about homosexuality and imposed on the African a fear, no, a hatred of those who were homosexuals. During the past thirty years American ministers have been providing money and hatred to Africans in in order to ensure that homosexuals do not get the right to even live.

Uganda has passed laws that make a homosexual act to be a crime. This “crime” can result in five to ten years in jail, but also can lead to a death sentence. It is now common in Uganda for newspapers to print the names of those deemed to be “homosexuals” in order to encourage vigilante attacks upon these men and women. The United States government has now made clear to Uganda leaders that such laws violate human rights. Military exercises with the Uganda armed forces have been cancelled, money for police training has been ended, funds for health clinics have been diverted to other nations, and Uganda leaders are now denied visas to the United States.

It would help human rights in Uganda if American religious leaders ceased their efforts to spread hatred of gays and lesbians.

Wall In Or Wall Out?

We inhabit a time in history when leaders want to build walls. In Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu wants an ever higher, better wall to keep out terrorists. In America, the Republican party is committed to the proposition that a wall will prevent illegal Hispanics from entering our fair land, and building our roads or picking strawberries so that God fearing American people will be denied the right to be a migrant worker. Of course, that is the dream of every American youth, pick peaches since there are no jobs in the corporate world. So, why be surprised when a leader in Ukraine wants to build a wall to keep out Russians whose desire is to once again rule Ukraine.

Billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoisky is proposing the construction of a 1,200 six foot high wall along the border with Russia. Naturally, the wall will also allow for electronic fields, mines and an assortment of weapons of destruction in order to make certain that separatists keep to themselves in dear Mother Russia. Ihor holds the title of “governor” so why not allow him to spend his own money on this wall of separation?

Now, if only someone could build a wall that keeps Vladimir Putin holed up in the Kremlin without any access to the world….

Where Are Religious Leaders?

Hardly a day goes by without some example of human brutality or damage to planet Earth. Children are kidnapped in Nigeria or kidnapped in Israel, thousands just got shot in Iraq, millions go without health care or enough food to eat, but it is rare for any member of any religion to speak out. The so-called “religious right” in America are concerned about two males marrying, but have absolutely no concern that over thirty million Americans lack access to health insurance. Hundreds of thousands of young people in this country struggle to pay off debts while Wall Street billionaires get free handouts from the government to pay off their debts Heard any comment from religious leaders about this inequity? Thousands of Hispanic “illegal immigrants” are stranded, but how many churches have opened their doors to care for children?

The silence of imams in the Middle East and Africa is bewildering to me. I, a Jew, speak out more often and with more violence in defense of Muslim rights than most Muslim clerics. Boko Haram is a group of crazy Muslims, but how many Muslim clerics denounce the murder of thousands of Muslims by these nut cases? Let me make clear, it is not only Muslim clerics, but Jewish and Christian and Buddhist who remain silent in the face of atrocities. Heck,in Myanmar the assault upon Muslims is being led by Buddhist monks!

Oh, a word about planet Earth which needs some assistance to remain as planet Earth. I assume if there is a God up there in the sky, He must be pissed off as to what is being done to HIS planet! Just remember, those of the clergy, you guys had a chance to speak out for this planet and blew it. I sure as heck hope the Earth God is not into revenge!!

Will Putin Punt Or Pass?

Each day another confusing episode arises in the nation of UKraine. Ukrainian soldiers just forced their way into control of Lugansk airport that had been held by pro-Russian forces who dream of becoming part of a new nation. A plane load of 40 Ukraine paratroopers was blasted out of the sky by hand held missiles fired by the pro-Russian group that so desires to become leaders of the new nation of Lugansk. UKraine President Porosheko demanded that President Putin quit sending weapons and soldiers into his country. At least three Russian tanks crossed the border and entered Ukraine territory.

President Putin has to make a decision. He can continue playing these silly games which allow a handful of thugs to pretend they actually can run a government or Putin can pass on this opportunity for cooperation with European nations. The end result of gamesmanship is sanctionship. The end result is a blow to the Russian stock market, a blow to the Russian economy. We believe it is time to punt and allow the other side to take the offensive.

Bully Pulpit Never Graced By Obama

My ongoing complaint about President Barack Obama is his failure to grasp the importance of the Bully Pulpit of power that every president can use. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president who spoke constantly with the American people in order to make clear his goals and who he regarded as the enemy. Although born to wealth, he took on industrial leaders and demanded they pay an income tax and provide good wages and working conditions to workers. He created the national parks to protect our environment. But, just about every day he interacted with journalists in order to get out the message.

His cousin,Franklin D. Roosevelt held press conferences at least twice a week and was blunt in his criticism of the wealthy. He challenged those with economic power to take him on and got a 90% tax rate on the wealthy during WWII. Each month he had a “Fireside Chat” with the American people in which he discussed foreign policy. Barack Obama has never used the Bully Pulpit to ensure that Americans know what he is doing. For example, he never sent each and every American a clear explanation of the Affordable Care Act. Millions continue lacking any knowledge how the law impacts their lives. A president is the Chief Educator of the nation.

To lead a people requires that people understand what are the issues. This lack of leadership is the greatest failure on the part of Barack Obama.

Putin Becoming Peaceful Vladimir?

According to Fox News Vladimir Putin is a model leader who enforces his views upon others with the threat of armed force. Members of the Republican party have joined in acclaim for Putin who, in their view, is a “real man” unlike the coward in the White House. At this point the Republican message becomes a bit more confusing. Ted Cruz and Tea Party folk do not want the USA to become involved in world conflicts while at the same time blaming President Obama for not “standing up to Putin.” Of course, Senator John McCain wants soldiers on the ground–someplace. John wants tough talking to Vladimir, bare chest or not. There is one thing Republicans agree upon–Barack Obama lacks guts and is not a “real American” because he does not want to send troops –someplace.

Two months ago, Russia seized the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise which was protesting oil rigs and imprisoned thirty people. They, eventually were released. John McCain is angry because President Obama did not do something. As of this date, no one knows what McCain wanted done. Anyway, yesterday the Russian government released the ship, and all those seized are back home. And, believe it or not! Not a single American soldier got killed!!

Never Forget D-Day

The speeches have been made. The dignitaries have gotten their pictures taken as though any of them had anything to do with the June 6, 1944 landings in Normandy. Hand over heart in remembrance is now compulsory for anyone who wants to pose as a “leader.” Unfortunately, not a single one of world “leaders” who was in Normandy a few days ago has the intelligence, the mental toughness, and the desire to work with other nations to ensure peace in the world. June 6, 1944 was a different time, a different place, and it certainly had different leaders. Imagine the United States of America, the Soviet Union, England, and French exiles working together for a common purpose–the end of tyranny in the world? Heck, President Obama can’t even gain cooperation of Republicans in Congress whose only dream is more money for the wealthy. In 1944, the top tax rate was 90%! And, thousands of wealthy businessmen came to Washington to work as “Dollar a Year” men whose love of nation far surpassed their love of money.

Sorry, Congressman Boehner, but the 90% WWII tax rate never got below 70% until the 1980s and WE HAD PROSPERITY! Believe it or not, but the wealthy paid and paid, but the jobs kept on getting created. D-Day was another time and place when we were ALL AMERICANS. Just remember, those who fought received the G.I.Bill of Rights which guaranteed free education plus money to live on. And, PROSPERITY grew!

Ukraine For Ukrainians!

My father was born near the city of Kiev in a small village over a hundred years ago, so I am, by heritage, a Ukrainian. The history of Ukraine is complicated, confused, and it has changed decade to decade from being independent, part of Russia, and even being part of Poland. After the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, Ukraine became an independent nation. However, eastern areas of the country retain a high percent of people who miss the old days of being part of Mother Russia while those in western Ukraine are happy never again to have anything to do with Russia, which never was a Mother to those people. Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire, just got elected president of Ukraine. As far as he is concerned, Ukraine also includes the Crimea.

“Citizens of Ukraine will never enjoy the beauty of peace unless we settle our differences with Russia. Russia occupied Crimea which was, is, and will be Ukrainian.”
Ok, great sentiment. President Poroshenko is in the same boat as is President Obama with nutty Republicans. They will not change anymore than Russia will give up the Crimea. So, get on with your life and accept reality.

D-Day Anniversary-America Once Great

It is the 70th anniversary of the day when British, Canadian, French, American troops landed on the beaches of France as part of the plan by which the Soviet Union and its allies would end the regime of Adolf Hitler. In the morning as dawn broke, German soldiers awoke to see 5,000 ships staring at them while cannons boomed and troops headed for the beaches of Normandy. It was an Allied effort, actually Americans constituted only 45% of those who landed. The British and Americans devised an incredibly complex plan which worked out, and within a day 150,000 men were on the beaches fighting for their lives. About 20,000 American and British paratroopers landed behind the lines and engaged German troops. So, what was unique about this day?

1. American leaders actually had a war plan that worked.
2. American leaders actually worked in a cooperative manner with allies.
3. The plan required pin point military decisions that actually worked.
4. American troops knew why there were landing on a distant beach, and who was the enemy.
5. There was close cooperation between the air force and ground troops.
6. The entire American nation was behind the effort.
7. Believe it or not but the top tax rate was 90% on the wealthy.
8. Wealthy people were willing to give their riches for the country’s need.
9. Believe it or not but high tax rates only led to more job creation.
10. We all were proud to be Americans.

That was then, today is now.