We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, December 1. 2016
Carrier leaves 1000 jobs in Indiana, Europe beefs up its defense spending to avoid Trump's ire, Obama admin announces it will not in its last days force its weakening of Israel, Trump is ahead of other incoming admins in naming Cabinet, our Defense Dept will be headed by a wise warrior and not wooses pushing social programs at the cost of battle readiness, and the wins keep coming. President-elect Trump isn't even inaugurated yet and the wins keep coming.
In this spiritual month, the dream of life.
Thursday, November 10. 2016
Throughout the campaign, the media was quick to emphasize and denounce Trump et al for everything done by anyone in any way supportive of him, regardless of whether it was true or actually hateful, regardless of whether the Trump campaign had anything to do with it. And, the actually hateful and violent behavior of Trump opponents was passed over or played down, including those actually hired by the Clinton campaign as was revealed by Wikileaks.
This continues today as the same media fails to denounce the unlawful behaviors of anti-Trumpers, the violence and threats of violence and hate language spewed forth by those demonstrating in the streets and blocking access to highways, schools, and places of business. It's all well and good that President Obama and Hillary Clinton have made pleasant soundbites about cooperating with Mr Trump, but where are they now to speak out against the hate they in fact created themselves by speaking and drumming up such hate speech and actions during the campaign.
Wednesday, November 9. 2016
The Democrats are united under their latest echo-chamber theme: President Trump should be "the President of all Americans." Then they list their litany that they endlessly repeated during the campaign of how Trump's positions are the devil's. Some may quickly say they misjudged the electorate but then return to their rants. By "all Americans" they do not mean all Americans but, instead, the Democrat constituencies of those privileged by their government giveaways and crony deals. The hell with the rest of us.
Unless President Trump manages to stay firm and persuade the runaway Republicans in Congress to cooperate, it will get worse and this will be America's last chance to survive as a pillar among a world of berserkers and thugs, while what will prevail longer term is the demographics of illegal and other immigrants importing socialism or selling our welcome for a bowl of porridge and the leftist indoctrination shamelessly imposed on our students.
The people have spoken, but do not expect the Democrats and their media surrogates to listen any more than they have in the past. Expect more of their derangement and vile hateful attacks and lies. Be prepared to defend and fight back. Do not forget that is they who have been and will continue to be vile, and call them on it.
Saturday, October 29. 2016
NEW YORK POST:
DICKILEAKS-FBI REOPENS E-MAIL CASE
STROKING GUN- WEINER SEXT PROBE FOUND HILL EVIDENCE
Thursday, October 27. 2016
Clinton headlined fundraiser for campaign group which gave $500,000 to wife of FBI boss who investigated her emails - and it's closely linked to Hillary's bid for power
Forget an EU Army. When close allies can’t even buy equipment together, closer defense cooperation is a pipe dream.
Leaked Memo Exposes Shady Dealings Between Clinton Foundation Donors And Bill's "For-Profit" Activities
Wednesday, October 26. 2016
Tuesday, October 25. 2016
Sunday, October 23. 2016
Last Saturday night a jump up and feel Revival was held at Hilltop Center in Fallsbrook, CA. Actually, that was the theme of a variety music hall fest produced by Ken Rexrode. Ken is an extraordinary music production impresario whose sell-out shows at one of southern California's premier show rooms, Belly Up in Solana Beach, are unique.
The father and leader of one of those wonderful groups of musicians -- Daring Greatly, he and his sons moving here from Canada last year and staying because of the special energy of kindred musicians, adorned the guise of Reverend Dail to start things off. His words are supposed to come from as if a Revival in 1876, but they ring true and needed today. He let me steal his notes from the lectern.
Good evening. What a beautiful congregation, and what an incredible night we will have.
It's 1876 and lots is happening. There's a contentious election, with suspected cheating and corruption. -- I wonder how much better, how far we will have come in the next 140 years.
Its 1876, and the US signed a treaty with American Indians, then soon after, discovers gold on their land, and even with the treaty, the US removes the natives from their land. (Sounds like North Dakota?)
It's 1876, Serbia and Montenegro declare war on Turkey -- multiple others...Race riots in South Carolina heat up....
I wonder, how will we measure how far we have come over the next 140 years? GDP, technology, average income per family, number of TVs per household...
OR, our ability to love, our levels of compassion, everyone having clean food, water, and air, are we happier, more connected?
I wonder how far we will have come...how much will our lives be better...how much will we have learned...how much happier...
Well...it's up to us now, isn't it!
In my line of work, I meet many people who are lost, sad, lonely, unfulfilled...and they ask me, How do "I" get out of this rut, this funk?...How do "I" feel better?
Do you know what I tell them? Do you know what I say to these people?
I say...you start by not using the word "I" so much. Stop making this whole life and world about you! It starts with you but doesn't mean more selfish, self-centered, misunderstood. It's about happinesss.
We are all one energy..,.in this together...then you realize...every time...pick somebody up...smile, hug...help...give of your time...you are really raising the vibrational energy of the entire planet.
When we bring others down, we bring ourselves down...and it works the other way, too!
If you want to feel better, make someone else feel better. It's amazing, it's addicting...it's perpetual...
So, the next time you feel sad, or lonely, or lost, or disconnected...put your beautiful and unique genius to great use...everyone has one or more of these...EVERYONE...
When we give a little...when we pick someone up...when we make a difference in someone's life...when we inspire someone to do something they were afraid to do...when we are a model or a mentor for someone...if each one of us takes on this universal truth and responsibility...there is NO way...no possible way...a major shift does not happen...it would be impossible for our lives not to get better.
There is some incredible vibrational energy increases that comes from participating in music. From the pounding drums, to the deep bass that rattles your heart, to the complementary sounds of the piano and guitars, to the beautiful melodies and harmonies.
Music is the perfect reminder constantly, that we can always get higher!
Tonight in true Rivival fashion, we have some beautiful people who are going to share their "genius" with you. They will be pouring their hearts out for you...they will be sharing their creations in the most sincere, human, vulnerable way possible with you.
A moment ago I said "participating". Music is not complete until there is an exchange and connection between the artist and the audience. When the artist is vulnerable and so is the audience, that's when MAGIC happens.
When an artist is emotional, vulnerable, sincere, the audience will feel that, and the artist will feel the audience right back.
So, open up your hearts tonight, to the music, to the artists, and to each other, and feel the music and the deep connections that it inspires. Fill your heart with as much love as you can possibly handle.
Let's celebrate together...right here and right now! The best way we know how...through LOVE...and MUSIC.
Thursday, October 20. 2016
WIKILEAKS: Bill Clinton Receives ‘Expensive Gifts,’ Is Personally Paid By Clinton Foundation Sponsors
Francois Hollande admitted there are ‘too many immigrants’ in France and suggested Barack Obama was to blame for the rise of ISIS, claims new book
Sunday, October 9. 2016
One of my Vietnam veteran buddies in North Carolina just sent me this email. It's worth sharing, to help recall what is important, and who. The charity which is linked is very well worth your attention, please.
"Once a year the charity for the crippled old ARVN vets still suffering in Viet Nam holds a dinner concert and fundraiser. (www.thevhf.org ) It was scheduled for this past Saturday evening and the MC and singers flew in from California on Friday for it. But then came the hurricane, which was supposed to mostly miss Raleigh..... but that forecast was just a bit off, and we got 9 inches of rain, very high winds, all kinds of flooding, trees down across roads, power outages all over. Including the rental hall for the party. And the official recommendations from the authorities were for people to stay home until it blew over.
"As I got ready to go in the early evening, my wife asked me why I would go, when it should be cancelled and there was no power at the hall. I told her that 1- the organizers had gotten a 10KW generator to run power as needed, and 2- these are people who went to sea in small leaky boats at great risk, or walked across Cambodia to get to camps in Thailand, or survived "re-education", and spent years in refugee camps to get here with nothing to start all over again in a strange new country. There was no way that rain and slick roads would mean anything worth stopping for to them!
"And sure enough, we had 90% attendance, even with people who had to drive long distances to get there. They had bought dozens of candles to light every table, the caterer (also Vietnamese) had brought sterno warming pans for all the hot food, ice for the drinks, etc. The power wasn't level enough in voltage for the sound equipment, but they brought in a piano and someone to play it for music, and the singers worked through all that.
"Starting first, with the star male singer, a superb baritone, singing the Star Spangled Banner a cappella. And there was NO ONE in this crowd sitting down, everyone was standing, hand over heart, and many sang along. In the flickering candlelight of the tables with the wind and rain drumming outside, it was something special. And OK, call me a sentimental, silly, old American.... but my eyes..... my eyes let me down, they spilled water down my cheeks as I tried to sing along through a throat tightened with emotion. And then they sang the old national anthem of South Viet Nam, and the whole crowd sang with strength and clarity. It was all something to experience.
"After which the show went on and everyone had a great, great time. I was very happy and proud to be there."
Posted by Bruce Kesler in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:08 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 2. 2016
Letter To My Son (on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 1831):
In the Talmud is written: "In the place where repentant sinners stand perfect saints cannot stand." The estate of the repentant sinner is even higher than that of the perfect saint. The repentant sinner had to struggle more fiercely to subdue their evil inclination.
Bird Dog alerted me to this delightful video. Among all the seriousness, we still find ways to have fun. Fun often transmits messages just as well.
A note about understanding "Shana Tovah", the traditional Jewish New Year's greeting: Literally, it means a good new year. Many, however, offer it as a happy new year. But, happiness is not an accurate measure of goodness. Further, "shana" as a verb can mean change. What we work for is to change for the better.
Continue reading "Rosh Hashanah Repost: Letter To My Son: High Holy Days"
Friday, September 16. 2016
Friday, August 19. 2016
Tuesday, July 5. 2016
”When in the course of human events…” Well, we’ve reached that course.
Hillary Clinton is corrupt and corrupting of everyone she touches. President Obama has engaged in outrageous executive conduct so often as to be numbing. Those in powerful positions throughout this administration behave like lawless thugs and keep getting away with it. The courts have been packed with judges who find excuses to not enforce the laws or who create ones out of ideology contrary to intent. The major media shamelessly look away or cover up for the lawless and abusers, and seek every opportunity – or blow out of proportion every trivial thing – to damn opponents of the regime. Much of the Republicans in office lack the guts or integrity to fight back, outside of mewing noises.
Where does that leave us now?
The Tea Party movement occurred at a point in time between elections, and succeeded in electing many who promised to be better. Some have been. Many have been useless or become tools. Now, it is election time, and the demonstration we require is at the ballot box.
Donald Trump is far from the perfect leader. But, then it takes someone with gumption and determination who will not be intimidated to take on the rot that permeates our government and self-appointed ruling class. And, Trump is the only revolution we have available.
Anyone deserves the end of our once-renowned Republic who stays home or turns coat or otherwise fails to stand up for recovering an America with basic laws and justice, an America which is not beholden to those who would exploit the government for self-aggrandizement or profits, an America with justice for all which does not favor the wealthy or powerful sycophants of state power.
Get out and work for local candidates and for Trump. Otherwise, be part of the ruination. It's that simple and brutal a truth.
Sunday, June 19. 2016
My heart beamed Friday night as my sons welcomed the Sabbath with perfectly sung prayers. My heart broke Saturday night as my sons fought while I grilled a perfect wild-caught salmon, and I got indigestion instead of the meal I thought I deserved.
I'm reminded of the saying, "A Man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season." And, the growing goes both ways as we fathers grow, have to grow -- into the men we want to be under our children's careful observation, into the men that they need.
We yearn to please but, most important, to pass on life's lessons.
Father's Day is full of platitudes and real feelings, of missed and appreciated opportunities. And, of how much we care by just being there. I'm reminded of
There's a wisecrack, "If God is so perfect, how do you explain us." As fathers, we're not perfect, but we try to find and know the ways to be better, and most of us find it. We continue to strive, and so may our children, with a higher hand to reach for and give us the strength to be better and have hope.
It's not easy being the father or the child.
Tuesday, May 10. 2016
I am from the school of loyalty belonging in God, family, country, in that order. When it comes to voting, my loyalty does not belong to any individual or political party. My vote belongs to me. And, I have an obligation to behave responsibly and sensibly with my vote.
In that vein, whether I am a lifelong Republican or conservative is important, but only in so far as my deeply held beliefs are furthered or protected. Many Republicans or conservatives are disaffected or in pique by the apparent triumph of Donald Trump. However, for me, Trump does not get my vote because I am a Republican or conservative but because the alternatives are far worse in a continuation of the Democrats' ongoing literal destruction of our ethics, our economy, and our national security, while in actuality doing relatively less to upraise the unfortunate than to tie them into being lackeys of the central government instead of their own initiative, compounded by our citizen poor being undercut by uncontrolled inflows of foreign competitors for jobs and public funds. To not vote is to vote for the continuation of the past 8-years of the outright assault on the very fiber of the United States.
I cannot accept with any respect any Republicans or conservatives who will now support Hillary Clinton. They do not deserve it. They exhibit themselves as rent-seekers, to profit from her probable election to the presidency due to the lock that Democrats have on a near majority of the electoral college. Or, they exhibit their overriding loyalty to their liberal social circle in New York or Washington. They do not exhibit the judgment to choose the lesser of evils, and they increase the probability of loss of Republican control of the Senate and House, which only increases the damages from a leftist administration.
Friday, April 22. 2016
This column confronts the anti-Israel agenda of trying to disassociate Jews from our thousands of years of roots and attachment in favor of relative newcomers, many indeed only since Israel brought relative prosperity to the formerly barren desert. Most recently, UNESCO ignored the Jewish temples on the Mount in Jerusalem -- our holiest place-- instead just referring to the site by later Arab names.
Here's the column, well worth the read, about Jews as a people and a religion, with Passover and its narrative being highlighted for its a central portion of our daily prayers, our ethic, and our unending attachment to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount-- regardless of diaspora and persecutions.
Passover, with the first Seder, begins tonight.
Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, a member of the Institute's iEngage Project, and a contributing editor to The New Republic. His latest book, Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, was named the 2013 National Jewish Book Council Book of the Year. His autobiography, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, has just been released in paperback by HarperCollins.
Continue reading "Passover Answers Whether Jews Are A People Or Just A Religion"
Thursday, January 21. 2016
I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but I am declaring myself for Ted Cruz, because I have always leaned toward the moderate wing of the Republican Party and have always been first and foremost a foreign affairs conservative. But, the Republican Party is too far away from even minimal effectiveness, even with Congressional majorities, the issues being so aligned closer to conservative values, and the sheer incompetence and thuggishness of the Obama administration so evident and scary. And, Republicans in leadership have been as willing as Democrats to allow the hollowing of our military and degradation of its spirit. The situations in the MidEast and with Russia and China are among the most fearsome that our country has faced and we have frittered away our abilities to counter these threats. At the same time, our domestic strengths have been so weakened and spent into moral and financial near bankruptcy that unless we rebuild domestically we can forget about having a future in dealing with foreign gangsters not to mention the class of gangsters -- the politicians arm-in-arm with Wall Street and megacorporations --who are looting our pockets and self-esteem.
Ted Cruz is not a foreign affairs candidate. If anything, I would expect him to be restrained, both out of traditional conservative restraint and due to concentrating on setting us upright at home. He may be too restrained for my taste but there is something more important right now at stake, the very survival of the United States as the strong beacon of values that light up the world. Meanwhile, I feel confident that Ted Cruz will help rebuild our military strength and combativeness, weakened by social experiments that disregard fighting effectiveness, and will not stand idly by as foreign slime spit at us.
Ted Cruz is a principled Constitutionalist and conservative of the stripe that used to be so common. That's why the hypocrites and sell-outs in the Senate despise him, because compared to his legislative bravery they are revealed as pygmies of pusillanimity. I remember when Barry Goldwater ran for the nomination, how castigated he was by the Republican establishment, who deserted him. He lost by a landslide, but set a standard that Americans could gather around and retake the Republican Party for conservative principle and patriotism that didn't just conveniently wave the flag but who were willing to bleed for it and for what it stands for. That is Ted Cruz. Every generation, we must reassert our standard of principles, or see them bought for a pocket of lucre and allowed to be weakened for the passing comforts of laziness.
Ted Cruz may very well go down to defeat. It is tough to buck the stacked big city states in the electoral college and the sheer wall of hatred spewed by the mainstream media against any Republican -- and most Americans still get their news and views from the mainstream media. So may any other Republican go down to defeat. None of them are inspiring. I am willing to see that happen IF, IF, the Republican candidate sets out a clear standard of conservatism and articulate, knowledgeable defense of the Constitution and decency of values. Of all the candidates, only Ted Cruz has done that and can do that and be counted on to govern that way if elected.
At National Review some of the leading principled conservatives, none of them sycophants of big government-big business, set out their reasoned opposition to Donald Trump. In doing so they actually set out the case for a real, principled, knowledgeable, brave conservative. The only one on the field who lives up to that standard is Ted Cruz.
Monday, December 7. 2015
This year’s calendar offers a way to think about two important dates in Judaism, the birth of today’s Israel and Chanukah. The two dates represent the importance of struggle to accomplish a Jewish state as well as the struggle to deserve a Jewish state.
Four days after I was born, the modern state of Israel was ratified by the United Nations partition vote on November 29, 1947. Here’s a video recollection.
In the video, a commenter says that with the UN resolution Jews were no longer the object of history, acted upon by others, but the subject, taking control over their own fate. Divine intervention may have helped but it was the struggles of man that fulfilled the two-millennia of prayers.
A humorous take is that at the beginning of a year G-d tells a pious man he will be rewarded by winning the lottery before year end. Months pass and come late December the pious man asks of G-d why he hasn’t won yet. The response: “Meet me halfway, buy a ticket.”
The creation of modern Israel is when Jews got the message. Similarly, the two books of Macabbees on the origin of Chanukah offer contrasts between struggles of man and divine intervention. The first book is a fairly straight-forward reputable history. The second book contains more of the divine. (Here’s an analysis of the books of Maccabees, and theories of why they are not included in the Jewish bible.)
Maccabees (left); Hasmonean Kingdom 140-37 BC (right)
The most accepted theory of why the books of Maccabees are not included in the Jewish bible is that the Maccabee Hasmonean dynasty was not of the house of David and that it was itself later corrupted by Hellenism, due to its failure to live up to its nationalistic founding, and because the Jewish bible’s canonizers avoided provoking the Romans after their destruction of Israel, murder of as many Jews as they could and the dispersal of Jews to relative refuge elsewhere.
With the creation of modern Israel, as well as Jews promoting Chanukah as a counter to the lures upon their young of Christmas festivities, Chanukah has risen from a minor to a major Jewish holiday and the books of Maccabees are read more often.
The same tensions exist for modern Israel as for the Hasmonean and succeeding Herodian and diaspora era Jews.
To what extent is the influence or antipathy of other powerful states to be accommodated or resisted? To what extent can the core nature of the Jewish state be compromised? To what extent are the survival of the state of Israel and the fate of Jews in their own hands?History and current events are why the original Maccabees are today’s models. Those, within or outside, who counsel surrender of vital interests or defeatism would bring upon Israel and Jews another diaspora, at best, and another likely slaughter.
Friday, December 4. 2015
At this time of year, we either join with our families or yearn for our families. That's one kind of home. But, there's another home that is always there, available and welcoming. "Lift yourself up higher and you'll find your way back home." The song is multi-denominational, open for all.
Thursday, December 3. 2015
Below is the letter I received today from my good friend, fellow USMC Vietnam veteran, Del Vecchio. The contribution can be made at the website of the Vietnam Healing Foundation (www.thevhf.org ) :
Well, here it is, December again, Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas coming up fast. This is the time I send out my end of year appeal for support for the charity that brings badly needed help to the crippled old South Vietnamese veterans still eking out their lives in Viet Nam.
We are now supporting directly 100 vets and their families, and also providing partial support to 30 others who have come to us with desperate requests for some help. Our work has become more difficult because of the police taking an ever worse view of us. In February on my last visit, I was "busted" in Hue for the crime of giving money to people the top cop of that region doesn't like, and told to leave and never come back. So my days of visiting the old vets to give them some real recognition from a former comrade and raise their spirits have come to an end. This is a bitter thing for me, it was such an important thing to them to have someone come from the US to see them, and I was so deeply honored to be able to give that service.
But our work goes on, the men get older and sicker and need more medicines, and now every month or so another one passes on. But we have a long list of those waiting for help, so we go on running events to raise some funds, and of course depending heavily on donations from others who understand the plight of these men and wish to help. Please consider if you can contribute anything this year. Our overhead remains under 5%, so you know the money you give will end up right in the hands of those who need it. You can send checks or use PayPal, and all contributions are tax deductible. (If there are others you know who might have any interest in this cause, please feel free to pass this on.)
Wednesday, December 2. 2015
Jewish humor is well known for poking fun of the pompous. Even when it's us. Readers know how opposed I am to so-called recreational drug use. But, this video will be enjoyed by recreational drug users as well as those of us not too pompous.
Monday, October 5. 2015
To read the "other words", see the Washington Post.
Sunday, September 13. 2015
The Jewish High Holy Days, the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance as they are often called, begins tonight with Rosh Hashanah and ends in ten days with Yom Kippur. Compared to other Jewish holidays full of joy and laughs, these are somber days during which our deeds are weighed and our fate sealed for the coming year. G-d weighs our measure in fulfilling our responsibilities to G-d. Others weigh our measure in how we behave to them, and for those we have harmed will our confessions to them, our entreaties for forgiveness, and demonstrations of living better be considered real. Words alone are far from enough. Our actions are necessary in how we live.
We draw inspiration from G-d, and we draw upon our decency and learning to behave in a just way.
There are many prayers of public confession and begging for forgiveness from G-d and from our fellow beings. Most are ancient and carry special meanings and messages. Some are more recent, or annotated, to help deliver relevant meaning to the reader or listener. There are personal prayers for our own improvement. Most come down to the basic asking G-d to help us find the strength within to do what's right. It is our responsibility to reach down deep and live up to our better self. That is my daily prayer, and it works.
Whether Jewish or other, may the coming year be one of living better.
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