Category Archives: Europe

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.

Horror Of Abandoned Irish Women

I am old enough to recall a time when teenage girls who became pregnant were treated as though the had come into possession of the plague. They were shunned and treated as though possessed with a virus that if allowed to emerge into the air would infect thousands. In my Bronx neighborhood, we referred to a pregnant girl as “going to Chicago” which meant, simply, going to get an abortion. In Ireland, the construction of some new houses has resulted in discovery of murder grounds. Between the 1920s and 1940s the Bon Tecours nuns ran a home for unmarried women who had become pregnant. They delivered the baby in the village of Tuam, then left the baby with the nuns. Villagers recall emaciated young children who were here today and gone tomorrow. Unfortunately, being “gone” did not mean being adopted. They were gone, forever.

House builders uncovered a huge septic tank that contains at least 800 bodies of young children. One elderly villager recalled they called these “illegitimate” children by the name of “Home Babies.” The “Home Baby” was shunned by other children and beaten by nuns. We now know, they were starved or beat to death.

The horror is how could nuns behave in this manner? I am baffled. Perhaps, Pope Francis will visit this site and pray for the souls of these unfortunate children. There are simply no words to describe such behavior to children.

A New Guerrilla War In Ukraine

I understand the frustration and fatigue of the American people who have endured over a decade of war in foreign places where people fight and die, and Americans are engaged in un-explicable events. A war is beginning in eastern Ukraine between the government and “separatists.” It would be one thing if these “separatists” actually represented the people of areas such as Luhansk, but it increasingly is clear those fighting are Russians who have been armed by the Russian government. Only a fool would believe that “separatists” could possess modern weapons and have military training that enables them to launch attacks.

It is time for the US and NATO to dispatch arms and ammunition. It is time to dispatch military advisors, not to fight, but to train and equip a Ukraine army that can put amend to separatists. There is NO need for American forces to engage in military action, but they can engage in training and offer modern equipment and helicopters for the fighting that must occur if Ukraine is to gain peace.

Erdogan Grows Dictatorial!

Turkey is a divided nation in which one part stands firmly in the 21st century while the more rural section lives in the past. This division is similar to America which contains large numbers who inhabit a world which actually never existed –God ruled, there was no Government, etc.. Last year, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan attempted to tear down a park in order to build a commercial section. The Gezi Park episode resulted in massive protests by young people and those who fit into the secular world. He ordered police to beat up people, use water cannon and send hundreds to prison. His actions also resulted in death for some protesters.

On the anniversary of the Gezi protests thousands were back in the street. CNN reporter Ivan Watson was attacked by the police. Prime Minister Erdogan blasted protesters claiming they were secret agents of Israel or organized by his opponents. Why are people upset at his ideas, “they seek to bring trouble to my country.” It is all part of a “coup” to take over the government. The prime minister is resorting to anti-semitism and hatred in order to build a MALL! He simply seeks power and the semblance of any contrary view to those he possesses represents counter revolution against his regime.