Wednesday, December 31, 2008

War has a place in a nations survival

The casual reader of this blog,particularly if they are not familiar with my backgound, might assume that I take war lightly.Usually we say war is where old men send young boys out to fight and die.
In fact, I abhor war except where it is needed for national survival.I came face to face with combat and the injuries and deaths associated with it.For one year at the height of the Vietnam War,I served as a combat surgeon at two very active hospitals,the 45th Surgical Hospital and the 24th Evac. I operated on probably 1-2 thousand young American troops,civilians injured and POW's.I observed not only their wounds but the mental damage that would scar them perhaps forever.
From the day I left Vietnam, I have kept a few shell casings and RPG fragments on my desk which I removed from patients,as a reminder of the damages that bombs can do to humans. Every day as I walkd to the surgical wards in the hospital,I tried to avoid the neurosurgical unit.It was there that the head and spinal cord trauma was treated,and tears would always come to my eyes as I traversed that area.
However, the Talmud tells us when your life is threatened strike before your assailant does.

This brings me to yesterdays comments on confusion in the ranks of the leadership.We now read of a battle between Barak and Olmert,Livni,Shin Bet etc.This mornings JP has an op-ed by David Horovitz its editor,as does Haaretz on the farcical nature of this battle at this juncture.It is clear once again that the Israeli system of governance,with different parties making up a cabinet does not work,especially in an emergency situation that precedes an election.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Within hours, you hear that the invasion so far is phase I. Next it is "all-out war".
A high source says the shin Bet reccommended a 48 hour respite,which MK Herzog talked about in reference to a French proposal . No says the Shin Bet they never said any such thing.
Our goal is to force Hamas back to the cease-fire but on our terms is to paraphrase the govt. Oh NO! Our goal is to have a change of govt. says another high official.

I had hoped that after Lebanon and the official report that the Israeli military/civilian leadership would act with a more united and organized manner. I assume the reservists are being trained,and not being sent into battle inadequately prepared.Yet,every day the world sees air strikes,without moving to the next phase,is a mark against Israel.This is not like Afghanistan or Iraq, where massive bombings could soften the enemy.The Air Force will shortly run out of targets,and victory (REMEMBER THAT ANCIENT TERM) can only come with ground troops.Anything short of victory, will be a Hamas/Iran victory, and a defeat for Israel.
This whole battle ,if not won will make it impossible to at any time go after the Iranian nuclear facilities.Israel is a small country, and it cannot maintain its economy with soldiers mobilized without a clear plan for action,and strategy for concluding hostilities.
Failing to win,will allow Hezbollah and Hamas backed by Iran and Syria to understand that Israel at the end of the day does not have the stomach to see a battle through to the end.


You have to "love" Illinois Gov. B.If you were writing a political novel,you could not match his machinations, Appointing former A-G Roland Burris to the Obama seat,makes the Dems in the Legislature look like idiots.He will go to Court and force certification,and because he is the sitting Gov.,I assume will win that case.After all he has been only accused of crimes.,and not convicted.
Remember,Nixon and Clinton were accused of illegalities,but continued to function and make appointments and sign legislation.Nixon until the day he resigned,and Clinton until he was found not guilty. TERRIFIC DRAMA! NEXT ITS UP TO HARRY REID

Monday, December 29, 2008

Public Opinion

Those of us who understand the need for Israel to go into Gaza, often believe that how could any fair minded person disagree?
Well let's start with J Street,the way- left leaning lobby-PAC, Americans for Peace Now, Brit Zedek V'shalom.and Israel Policy Forum all of whom call themselves "pro-Israel",while saying Israel has a right of self-defense, attacked the Israelis because defending themselves will not advance the cause of peace.(PEACE AT ANY COST-ARAB REFUGEES,DIVIDE JERUSALEM AND SO ON)Of interest is that Jeremy Ben-Ami the Exec. VP of K Street,will be a guest speaker at the JCPA Convention.I HAVE PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN ABOUT THIS LEFT-LEANING DEBATING SOCIETY, OF WHICH THE OU IS THE ONLY ORTHODOX MEMBER. I have long felt that the OU should not be a part of the group.However, if they are there then they should protest Ben-Ami's role.
With friends like these who needs enemies!?
On the Arab side, C-Span had a session with Muslim groups that are preparing petitions,post cards and rallies attacking Israel from throughout America.
Our side should start mobilizing public opinion,as the going gets tough and bloody.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


It is painful to read that Turkey has called the Gaza operation a "Crime against humanity".When they invade Iraq to Kill Kurds that is " self-defense".Jews don't have that right.
The hypocrisy of the world knows no boundaries.Britain TV inviting Ahmedenajad to bring x-mas greetins to Englanders is such an example.How come they never invited Hitler to address the nation in the 30's?
We in the US were attacked on 9/11. Our response has been a global one against the perpertrators.Thus our troops are in Afghanistan, where the plot was hatched.The Bush administratiion and Speaker Pelosi are to be praised for understanding the root cause of the Israeli action.
By what sense of fairness or justice can the world call for a cease-fire after 1 or 2 days of response,against an enemy that continues to bombard your cities,threatens to destroy you,and refuses to acknowledge the validity of your existance?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gaza / Charities / The Bail-out

It is quite amazing that when Israel gets hit by Kassams daily,the world attacks the shooters, even as it pronounces support for Israel's right to defend itself
One hour after some hard hitting much delayed Israeli raids,suddenly the same voices call for an end to all violence,or an attack on disproportionate responses.
The Jew is not allowed to defend himself and defeat the enemy that fires rockets at schools civilians and industry.
Whatever Israel intends to accomplish,they should do it quickly, before the world via the UN and the State Dept. place undue pressure on them.

As the Madoff issue percolates, and we examine the use of charity funds for the Clinton Foundation,a sense of sadness and even dispair envelops me as to how we can trust charities again?
There was a time when charities were mostly volunteer groups.When we were kids we rode the subways with the blue and white JNF pushkes.Lucette Lagnado ,who I recall from her days writing for the Forward,has an interesting op-ed in the WSJ on how Jewish charities have changed.
The small donors have been replaced with the Foundations and the mega-wealthy.The volunteers in the offices, to a great extent have been replaced by professionals.This is because women now work to a greater extent,and volunteerism is down.When you hire a professional,he or she tries to impress the Board with new ideas for fund-raising-telemarketing,golf outings, new dinners,trips for wealthy potential donors to exotic places which have nothing to do with the mission of the organization.The goal is often to get these wealthy people to join the Board.The cost of these projects add up, to the extent that often very little is left for the charity.
We the public have little knowledge when we get a solicitation from for example,Heart or Diabetes or the Blind etc.Where is the money going?such as research? TV ads? building a huge nest egg? what are the expenses for fund raising?
Does the organization have a conflict of interest policy to protect its receipts?Truth be told, the organizations don't really care about the small donor.Their donation are welcome but unless there are huge numbers of such donors,it is the wealthy that they wish to attract.

Which brings me to the financial mess we are in,and the huge bail-out being talked about.There appears little talk of accountability,nor is there based upon such programs in the 1930's a guarantee of success.Where is the oversight of what has been spent and that proposed? It cannot be done by individuals who have other full-time jobs We are talking of trillions of dollars of projects.Will the UAW be forced to make changes?
The Obama team is saying No-pork! but some of the projects mentioned are the worst kind of political machinations.
In short I have little confidence that the economic part of the Obama team ,is anything but liberal spend-tax-spend.
The foreign policy-national security division is really Bush II,because this arena does not interest Obama per se.But like Bush with Pakistan-India, Iran, and the bomb,Israel and Hamas as well as Putin's return to the good old days,like it or not that is where he will spend a great deal of time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The plans to hold a mega-orgy in Tel Aviv to support world peace has been cancelled due to popular opposition. Truly all that is missing in this election season in Israel, is a bunch of crazies having an open sexual extravaganza.
Perhaps the mega-orgy team can put up a slate of candidates and if successful, would make Knesset meetings more interesting.

It is unbelievable to observe the Kennedy campaign for the Hillary seat.Govs have been appointing interim Senators for generations. But it is unheard of for someone to start campaigning as though the seat belongs to her,yet refuse to open her financial records or to directly answer questions. Gov. Patterson can show real independence and sagacity by choosing a more qualified and dignified choice.

It is really unusual and even rare for a Pres. to rescind a pardon.That happened today, when the Pres. was informed that the applicants father had for the 1st time contributed $28,500 to the Republican Party just prior to the application for pardon.
Compare that to the Marc Rich pardon where he wife gave mega dollars to the Clinton Museum and whalla her fugitive husband is free! Eric Holder has a lot of questions to answer in this regard as well as his role in the Puerto Rican pardons to help Hillary in her Senate race.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Iraq-friend or ? /Nintendo

I supported Pres. Bush on his decision to topple Saddam. I believed then and now that he had WMD, which at the last moment he shipped to be buried in the Bekka Valley.(US intelligence did note convoys of trucks rumored to be WMD or gold heading there just before the war).
We know from the 1st Gulf War, that nuclear material was found,and all the intelligence agencies of Europe and Israel concurred in that conclusion(Saddam had or was close to having WMD).
With the war primarily over,we should not fool ourselves however, that we have created a permanent democracy or even a permanent friend,
As long as we are there,we will have influence.We should not confuse that with true friendship.
How long after we leave will it take Iraq to vote against us in the UN?How long will it take before Iraq joins as a vocal part of anti-Israel bloc of the Arab League? They are not a military threat to Israel, but the proximity to Iran and the Shia influence,is a threat to Iraqi independence. The fact that Parliament adjourned without approving the stationing of non-U.S. military long term in the country speaks to the problem.The recent outpouring of support for the shoe-thrower tells us a great deal.
It is time for Iraq to use its oil money,and invest it in its own reconstruction.The U.S. has done enough financially, and the Iraqis should stand on their own 2 feet where possible.


There are increasing reports of severe long and short term medical problems attributable to the overuse of computer games ,Nentendo and Wii.These include arthritis, tendinitis,kneecap displacement and hospitalizations for variations of the above.
Obviously I am not from the computer game age.However in observing children my grandchildren's age and other young people,these games become more than a sport.They are almost a full time passion and obsession that does not allow for interruption to say hello to humans, or to carry on a conversation .Parents are happy,because the kids stay out of trouble,and are adept at computer tactics that their elders can only marvel at.
However parents should be aware of the potential medical damage. Similarly, while not proven is the recurring suggestion of increased brain tumors occurring in those who use cell phones on a constant basis by placing the receiver against the ear.
It is perhaps time to go back to encouraging READING as an activity for children!

Monday, December 22, 2008




You have to love the chutzpah of the advocates of that new religion "GLOBAL WARMING".

When asked to explain the frigid weather,not only in this country but Europe their answer is -"You see that proves there is global warming,because the weather is erratic" HUH?

So if its warm,cold,wet, etc we have an explanation-sounds good, no?


I never thought I would applaud the Arabs and disagree with the stand of Israel.Well there is a first,as the Arabs attracked a UN resolution on Gay rights,while Israel supported it.


A few days ago, I wrote that there should be consideration by Jewish organizations to merge,including the Reform-Conservative movements .Thus it was interesting to see Reform head Eric Yoffie make such a call because of the financial pressures we are witnessing.


On Fri Dec 12 there was an op-ed in the WSJ by Erica Schwartz entitled " Who will end the abuse?"
I have been meaning to comment on the problems she discusses,namely sexual abuse in the Orthodox community.
It is the story of Assemblyman Dov Hikind who has exposed a raw nerve regarding sexual abuse of children in the ultra-orhodox community.He has collected he says hundreds of testimonies spanning decades involving rabbis and teachers.
The problem is that he promised to keep the name of those who have come to him from the police and public.He has now been subpeoned in a civil suit.
Hikind set up a lay commission to try to handle the allegations and look for solutions.The chairman Rabbi B Twerski resigned for fear of tarnishing his reputation or put another way lack of political courage.I had the exact same event take place when I appointed a prominent Monsey Rav-Psychologist to the Lanner Commission, who dropped out for similar reasons.
At the end of the day,despite the best efforts of Hikind,and those Orthodox leaders with political will,these issues have to be handled by the police,prosecuting attorneys and the courts.
Those efforts that are confined within a closed community while they should be applauded,are doomed to failure.
The success of the Lanner Commission was because it was limited to one organization and a small group who may have known about inappropriate conduct, but failed to act.Here we are dealing to social pressures in a closed society whose population exposure is in the tens of thousands.
Dina Dmalchusa Dina-the laws of society require that we protect our young, and not allow the perps to hide behind a veil of Torah clauses.
In the end if the Torah community cooperates with the authorities-yes we may have some embarressment,but we will protect perhaps generations of young people.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich /Rubashkin /OU convention

The ongoing scandal in Illinois,will make a great novel/movie.However much as I think that Gov. B. and the Dem. and Rep. political machines are corrupt,what has happened and is unfolding is a kangaroo Court.
First the US Attorney once again violated Federal statutes by editorializing the complaints.He was followed by the top FBI investigator,who likewise editorialized the disgust of his seasoned agents upon hearing the tapes. Thus the atmosphere is poisoned over and above what it is already.
Then we have Rahm Emanuel with multiple conversations with the Gov or his Chief of Staff(who is also arrested) however contrary to the tranparency promised there is silence.Cong Jackson and the other cast of characters plus the Unions are all in the mix, awaiting the release of the tapes and further investigation,
The Legislature then starts impeachment hearings in the hope of getting Gov. B off the headlines.Forget about his rights to examine the evidence,or be indicted ,or be found guilty or to have the rights of any accused person. So Gov. B hires a tough lawyer, who not only points it out, but questions the impartiality of the panels.
In the meantime, after Obama and Durbin called for a special Senate election, the Dems fearing a loss claim poverty and time as a reason to hope the Lt. Gov. will be able to do that. The Senate Dems already announcing they will not accept a Gov. B designee.Any attempt to legislate that the Lt-Gov be given this power (to appoint a Sen.) would be vetoed by B.
Thus 2 results:
1-the scandal will continue to dominate the headlines
2-There may be no new Senator for quite a while, perhaps a year or more.Nixon resigned after 1 year of attacks and calls for impeachment.Sen. Harry Reid may need that vote.
As I often say-stay tuned !


The Rubashkin scandal is off the headlines, because we have Madoff,Dreir and Gov. B.There are serious charges involved.Yet,unlike most defendants,he is denied bail.
Because he is a Jew,and Israeli law grants automatic citizenship to every Jew under the Law of Return.Thus says the Govt if released he " would easily be able to immigrate to Israel,.... and (be entitled to) dual citizenship.") and not be extradited.
If allowed to stand this would apply to every Jew, even if their descendents came over on the Mayflower.
I have no problem asking people so accused to hand over their passports,including Israeli ones if they have one, however the logic of the US Attorney is definitely anti-semitic.
If someone is a flight risk,then they should be denied bail.Being a Jew is not evidence of such a risk
Where are all the National Jewish groups making a fuss?

I never criticize the OU publicly and will not start now.Rather I would like to talk in positive terms regarding a story in this weeks Long Island Long Island Jewish Star.
The story entitled" Unorthodox tactics at OU convention" raises the question of votes taken at the recent Israel convention (Nov. 26-30) in which there were only about 60 persons there ,and there is an accusation of one person bringing in 10 staffers and 6 NCSY kids to vote in a bloc according to the wishes of that individual.On one controversial vote ,they swung the decision.
Let me start from the beginning.
In 1994 the OU had its biannual convention at a major US hotel As always a thousand people (give or take a hundred)attended .I was elected that year,and one of the highlites was a debate between Ariel Sharon and Yossi Beilin.I suggested that on alternate years, we should have a convention in Israel.And so for the next 2 years we had a regular convention and an Israeli one. These were REAL National Conventions,where the Prime Minister addressed our dinner,and it was televised live on Israeli TV.
The problem was the OU lost a great deal of money on these conventions.
Skip forward and today we have no US convention depriving hundreds of synagogues and individuals of an opportunity to get involved.Except for a small cadre of lay workers,the Israeli portion is used by individuals who while not heavily involved with the OU, have children in Israeli Yeshivoth and hope to get a relatively cheap package to visit with them.It is rumored, that American Olim have been subsidized to attend the "convention"
How much ( if any) money was lost on this convention is of interest. The article thus raises some interesting and allied issues.
The OU should address the many questions raised including How do we run a REAL(U.S.) NATIONAL CONVENTION?how do we get more people involved ? How can we improve on the issue of WRITING and voting on resolutions so that they represent the synagogue body?Shouldn't there be term limits on OU representation on a body such as the JCPA- since we are the only orthodox organization represented in this body ,and their left-wing decisions affect all of us? (I suggest it is never healthy for one person to have almost a lifetime appointment to a commission ,especially as its head.This allows others to become lazy and leave the decisions to that person)
Should staff be allowed to vote? Who chooses NCSY delegates to a convention?Should the OU have a Southern convention, similar to the one held in Calif annually.
The issues raised by the Jewish Star article, should serve as a primer for Rabbi Weil who takes over as Exec. V.P. this June.
As always transparency is always the best antidote when issues arise!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hadassah Hospital /House of Lords/ EZ Pass /Gaza

Having visited Hadassah Hospital a number of times.including scrubbing in for an operation years ago and more recently a tour of the Cardiology Dept, with the members of my shiur,I was saddened to learn that they lost 90 million dollars in the Madoff scheme.
Especially since they recieve no government funding,understanding how this could occur will perhaps prevent future occurrences.The conflict 0f interest clause which Yeshiva University did not yet have at the time of their loss, might have helped.
I recall at the OU, funding was not allowed to be invested with the firms of Board members(not that we ever had such funds as we are currently witnessing)The hundreds of thousands of Hadassah Women,sad as they are will have to work harder,hopefully in a safer financial environment.Of course this applies to every charity so affected.

=====================================================================================We We obtained our freedom from England and did away with the House of Lords, and the wealthy aristocracy-or did we?
What a joke that Caroline Schlossberg is probably going to get the nod for yhe US Senate seat in NY.
That Bloomberg and Harry Reid endorsed her is part of the fix.
The only difference between Madoff peddling illegal investments to the wealthy and well placed social crowd,and these characters pushing a member of the in-team is that the latter is reprehensible but not illegal.Same crowd and same sense of entitlement.This echoes what I wrote about the end of term limits in NYC.


When you drive from the Washington Bridge or on the Turnpike or I-95 each toll booth has EZ-Pass that electronically recognizes your membership number.No toll gates,and no full stops.
On the Tri-boro (JFK)and other NYC tunnels even as the Authority seeks to raise tolls, they have these silly outdated barriers that go up and down with each car.To keep watch,they have multiple (overweight) policeman with their legs apart studying the gates, and from time to time advising an out of towner who went in the wrong lane.
It seems to me we could speed traffic,cut down on the number of personell and save gas in the idling cars by coming into the 21st century.


I suggest a brief review of past Israeli Govt. warning to Hamas have zero meaning as the rockets continue. G-d forbid a rocket should hit a school or apartment complex with multiple deaths which would cause a proper response.
I understand that the IDF does not wish to re-occupy Gaza.However these are the people that withdrew from Gaza,and they must assume the proper responsibility in cleaning up the mess
The Govt. applauds Annapolis and the current UN resolution-what positive results ensued? NOTHING

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Three quick addendums;
1 I should have included Bnai Brith in the list of orgs to merge.
2 The A-G's should publicize the salaries of the Chief Operating Officers, and the Director of Development.
3 The A-G should force orgs to clarify how much funds they have in endownment funds.

Time for a new look at charities

Sometimes I realize that I am niave ,especially when it comes to Jewish organizational life.The Madoff affair has caused me to wake up and smell the coffee.
I have been to Israel countless times.One of the charities that I visited, and from time to time have given a small donation to, is Yad Sarah.My impression has always been of a small volunteer type chesed organization dedicated to helping poor, needy and ill Israelis.
Reading the brochures in the past, I had the vision of a struggling group who everyday had to come to grips with the difficult economic realities in Israel.
Thus I was more than shocked to read ( the allegation)that they purportedly invested 1.5 million dollars in the Ascot fund .We do not know yet if they lost their money
Question-What kind of office expenses,professional and fund raising expenses in America do they have? How much additional funds are invested elsewhere ?
I propose that annually the NY State,(as well as NJ and Conn) Attorney Generals publish not only such a list of expenses compared to fund raising ,but a list of all monies invested in trusts and foundations etc.
When the consumer gets a fund raising call or letter indicating that if they do not contribute, then people will starve tomorrow,it would be nice to know if their expense/collection ratio is 18% or 60%,and whether they have millions invested.A number of years ago I saw such a list and quite suprised by the numbers.
Final thought-Why is Madoff free on bail?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bernard Madoff

There is very little that I could add to the headlines and analyses of the Ponzi scheme run by Madoff.It isn't the enormity of the crime that shocks me alone,nor is it the fact that the most sophisticated investors,banks and foundations are involved.

Rather it is a two-fold disgust.

One is the theme of a "Jewish" element that is present .It is fodder for the anti-semites who think the Jews control the banks and all wealth.What greater "chilul Hashem"(desecration of G-d's name) could there be,when besides the Merkins,Spielberg,Zuckerman and Lautenberg etc. are the Jewish institutions who placed their faith in one individual without proper investigation.It is not just greed, but the ego experience of being able to show your colleagues how brilliant and connected you are, that you can beat the market, and bring to the table greater returns than anyone else.Thus you immediately gain respect and before you know it you are asked to serve on the Board.Before long you are on the investment committee and diverting investments to your buddies, never asking the proper questions.
The WSJ story today highlites the schemes effect on Jewish philanthropy.
Of course how could a human being steal the dreams and aspirations of friends and charities,and look at himself in the mirror?
One question that comes to mind is why should Elie Weisel,who has made his life post-holocaust preaching and writing as well as raising huge amounts of funds for his foundation be sitting on millions and millions of dollars in a Foundation which has as its goal tolerance, when that money could be used today for Jewish education?The holocaust wiped out generations of our people.Tolerance is nice ,but pie in the sky.Let the Gentiles teach tolerance for it is they who destroyed its concept over the ages. Jewish education and avoidance of assimilation is our sole key to survival.
Similarly as the economy sours and Jewish poverty rises, and parents find it difficult to pay for day-school and yeshiva education,do organizations need billions invested in Foundations,when the current need is so great?
Perhaps G-d is sending a message?
The second point that comes to mind,is the importance of one common denominator when we look at our communal structure-MONEY
The Boards, Machers,dinner guests and the committees, for the most part point out that many of the names we see would not be there absent their wealth.
ETHICS,intellect, vision play a minor role.SADLY ETHICAL HISTORY IS LOW ON THE TOTEM POLE!
Of course as one who led a major organization I was as guilty as anyone.
There has to be a new approach to support charities.
One way which I have advocated for years is the merger of similar oriented organizations.How many dinners and professional costs would we save if the OU and Young Israel would merge?The RZA as a questionably viable organization could likewise benefit by becoming an affiliate.
How much money and fund raising would be saved in office space,office help etc. if Emunah Women and Amit would merge in the US?
Why do we need the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress,the Anti-Defamation League , the American section of the World Jewish Congress and the Weisenthal Center all "fighting" anti-semitism ?
Within the other religious streams,there is much room for consolidation.
Times are bad,and non-profits have to step up to the plate and think about the future and the true priorities of our people.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Man bites dog / Chicago! / UAW

The headlines reveal the "ass-backwards" approach of Jimmy Carter.
"Jimmy Carter regrets snub by Hezbollah" indicating they refused to meet with him.He would have "been delighted" to meet with top Hezbollah officials said the former Pres.
In a world of morality,they should have been begging to see him,and he should have refused on the basis of their terrorism.However JC's view of Israel and the world leaves much to be desired.


The attacks by the UAW on Rep. Senators is to be expected.
a) it is the price that unions will pay for putting all their campaign eggs into the Dem. coffers .
b)it is a defensive move, since they (UAW)realize they were at fault for the breakdown of talks.Thererfore blame those who they cannot control.Yet not one Democratic leader spoke up for the Corker Plan
c) Although they (UAW)think that time is on their side, since Bush blinked and the Dems are only days away from power,they misjudge the American public.We do not look at the southern transplants as being anything other than a place that offers employment opportunities to our citizens.We feel no difference in loyalty if we buy a Buick from Detroit,or a Toyota from Tennessee.When the big 3 will go into bankruptcy,as they will regardless of the initial bailout, the unions will have to face reality.Nor is there a guarantee that any futre TARP approval will get 60 votes in the new Senate.Americans are not going to agree to bailout after bailout.
The Corker plan was their best hope for viability.The WSJ editorial headline was right on target-it was Mitch McConnell's finest hour.Sadly the Pres. once again failed to consult with Congressional Republicans during the negotiations.This is exactly why the Republican Party lost its direction with a President who failed to realize he was also party leader.

The Chicago scandel is only beginning to perk.The Chicago Tribune reports that Emanurl Rahm had conversationS wth the Gov over acceptable choices for the Senate seat.At present no one is accusing Obama of anything except a lack of transparency.He should learn from Clinton and Watergate that it is best to get everything out with one swoop and with candor. As I wrote in my autobiography in regard to the Lanner case,as a student of public scandels, the Tylenol case was the perfect example of how to correctly deal with the (grateful) public.
Rezko is singing,and it probably won't be long before the arrested Chief of Staff Harris,will likewise sing for a reduced sentence.Then perhaps the US Attorney will threaten to indict the Gov's wife in the hope that the Gov. will likewise sing to save her.The whole house of cards could come falling down,including the Rezko-Obama land deal for the Obama home.We may learn about the down payment source for the home.
In any event,all of this takes the headlines away from the Obama plan to socialize medicine, create card-check to pay back unions, and other left wing agendas.As a matter of fact the involvement of the Union in the Jesse Jackson affair, and the feelings toward the UAW are diluting the potential political power of unions in the current period.
The Dems in Illinois who initially called for a new election for the Obama Senate seat, are now nervous that Cong. Kirk a clean Rep. House member would win the seat.Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nuclear Guarantee / Modern Medicine

The reported Obama promise to give Israel a guarantee of a nuclear umbrella is a step in the wrong direction.It would in effect tell Iran that a massive attack on Israel would bring about a US nuclear attack.
1-It would allow Iran to complete its nuclear program for weapons
2-Nothing would prevent them from giving small nuclear weapons to terrorists,Hamas or Hizbollah,yet denying it.
3-When we dealt with the Soviets on the basis of MAD mutual assured destruction,we were dealing with rational,yet evil people who did not want their cities destroyed.There was no religious or fanatatical elements involved.In Iran you are dealing with a sect that believes even if Iran would be destroyed,Islam would survive without an Israel. IT IS SO ORDAINED BY THE PROPHET.
4-By the time the US would respond,Israel could be ashes and smoke
5-Despite Obamas word, there might be a political upheaval in this country against the US nuking another country -especially if Iran would either deny the attack or claim that Israel attacked them first( or delivered by a missile from a ship in the Mediteranean)
6-The long held principle that Israel must defend itself, and not depend upon any other entity except the almighty is the correct approach.
7-This would be a major defeat for the US and NATO in the war againt terrorism.Iran is the financier and supplier of terrorist groups in the world.It would encourage N. Korea and Sria .
8-Other Arab countries who fear Iran such as Egypt and Saudia Arabia would undertake military nuclear programs.

I am so happy that I retired from Medicine when I did,and avoided the crass commercialism we now see.Yesterday's Palm Beach Post had at least 2 full page ads by Plastic Surgeons offering"Holiday Specials".

Botox 1 area-$255
2 areas- $485
`Fillers-with names I never heard of depending upon how many syringes from $535 to 1800 dollars.If you bring the ad with you (which features a young woman in a bra )they will allow the prices to stay until 2009.
The other ad with rebates include breast augmentation (all inclusive) for $3900
also 0% financing available.
I have nothing further to say on such behavior.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming / Auto bailout / First scandal ?

I have always been skeptical of the Al Gore religion-"Global Warming" .These carbon-trades are totally ridiculous and make no sense.Posted today on is a US Senate Comm report excerpt,which shows that a growing majority of International scientists, believe the whole thing is a bunch of bunk.You can go to Marc Morano @ EPW.Senate.Gov for the full report.

The drama being played out in the Senate will be interesting, since 2 Democratic Senators are out of the country. It would seem that the Congress is determined to have auto makers build cars that we the public do not want.When it becomes clear that that move will fail,then the Dems will try to tax carbon fuels and cars that we do want ,to such an extent that perhaps we will be forced to go that path.However,voters and taxpayers do not have to sit idly by and allow these clowns to dictate our way of transportation ,in a democracy.
By the way,since Chrysler is a private investment, why won't its parent bail it out?
In the meantime, bankruptcy with a reorganization of union contracts. suppliers, debtors, stockholders, banks and dealers makes the most sense.

I have the feeling that we are witnessing the first Obama -related scandal.Did he or any one of his aides speak to the Illinois Gov. about the Senate seat? Why will he refuse to answer regarding Rahm Emanuel's possible communication with the Gov.To be continued!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois- business as usual / Olmert-Abbas /Hold the Line

There has always been something about the air in Illinois that reeks of official corruption.Presidential ballots found floating down the river which if counted might have spelled a different conclusion in Nixon's first run.
I recall when I was a medical student in Chicago,I was stopped by a traffic cop.I was in my whites, going from one hospital to another.The cop after telling me how wonderful doctors were to the men in blue,calmly asked me for $10 to forget the matter.When I informed him I only had $7 in my pocket,he settled on $5.-case closed.
If there is a special election,and there is a Democratic primary including some who may have had a hand in trying to bribe the Gov.,then there is a possibility of a Rep. pickup.
By the way, the Rangel wrangle gets more twisted each day. How Pelosi won't step up to the plate is beyond imagination..


The report by Tony Blair that Olmert and Abbas have an oral deal is beyond belief.The election cannot happen soon enough!


The threat of a fillibuster on the auto-bailout is real,and more attention should be paid to some sort of pre-arranged bankruptcy.
The Republicans in the Senate will have to be prepared for steam-roller tactics over spending, health-care and card-check.If anyone can hold the line, it is Mitch McConnell

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hybrid cars /Holiday religious symbols / The bail-out

Recently I brought my car in for service,and the Toyota people gave me a hybrid as a loaner.I was not impressed,and felt that it totally lacked power.As someone who has liked the feel of the get-up and go of the Hyuandai,my current Toyota Avalon and my previous Infinitis and Lexus, this was a turn-off.
I would never consider such an auto ,especially with gas at 1-2 dollars.

The holiday season always brings to the fore the problems of religious scenes on public property.This year it is complicated by the controversy over an athiest sign in a State Capitol in Washington. I have always been a strict believer in the seperation of church-state.I do not nelieve creches or the lighting of menorahs should be allowed on government owned property.There are ample opportunities in churchyards and synagogue aras,as well as privately owned property for this to take place.The athiest signs are inflammatory,and a danger to the public peace.
Stretching the seperation of church-state, is a slippery slope that ultimately harms Jews.
The Eruv controversy in the Hamptons is an example of self-hating Jewish anti-semitism.The eruv wire allows no person to practice his or her religion.It is basically an invisible item, that merely creates a sense of community. The terms of the opposition reflect a hatred of Orthodoxy.However, this country has long past the point where a person with a turban,a Catholic with an ash spot during lent or a Jew with a skull cap need feel that they are a second class citizen.No one forces anyone to sell their homes to an orthodox Jew,nor forces them to patronize a vendor who closes on shabbat. If their arguments about not wanting "those people" into the community were about blacks and not orthodox Jews,there would be mass picketing.
I warn the people of the Town,that at the end of the day, if they fight this through the courts, not only will they lose, but wind up with a large legal bill that will impact on their taxes-a-la Tenafly.


The talk of an Auto bailout has no mention of a change in Union leadership.These poeople bear a share of the blame along with the auto companies.They have driven up the cost of labor to $70 an hour compared to $40 in the South.Until we have real Union takebacks along with a change of leadership at GM,as well as realizing Americans are not interested in the cars they are being forced to build, all the money we put into a bailout is wasted.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

GOP victors /Rabbi Rackman -OBM

The victory by two Republicans in special Louisiania Congressional races is significant.Coming on the heels of the Georgia Senate race,it indicates tht the GOP is far from dead.The defeat of Cong. Jefferson who was indicted on a variety of corruption issues, should allow him time to count the money in the freezer if it is defrosted.
In Florida, the news that Jeb Bush will probably run for the 1010 Senate seat of Mel Martinez, has been met with excitemnt. Since he has not held office these last 2 years,and left on a high note, (together with the popularity of Gov. Crist,)means that " Bush fatigue" is not being felt here in Florida.Jed speaks Spanish,and was considered a great Gov.
What the GOP needs are exciting candidates in the NE, to rebuild the party. A Guliani Senate run in NY would be exciting.
Obviously it is a long way off from 2010,and we still await the Minn. results.
If Coleman wins, and the Dems try to steal the victory in the Senate,then the Reps should block votes on every single Cabinet nominee,and shut down the Chamber until Coleman is seated.


It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Rabbi Emanuel Rackman of blessed memory at the age of 98.Aside from all his pastoral and Rabbinic achievements, I have a special place for him in my heart.
When I was in Vietnam,I one day received a warm and moving letter from Rabbi Rackman.We did not know each other at that time,and my in-laws (obm) though living in Far Rockaway were members of the White Schul.Rabbi Rackman,then the Rav of Shaare Tfillah, heard that an orthodox young man was in Vietnam,and he took the trouble to send me this uplifting letter.
This Hakorat Hatov, has stayed with me all of my life.A small act of kindness can sometimes impact on a person forever.
Rabbi Rackman was an individual who performed such acts on a regular basis.
May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Disney,/ Susan Rice / Hebron

We just returnd from 3 days in Disney.Yes there is an economic problem in this country.However you would never know it from the size of the lines and the crowds.What appeared less crowded ,were the stores where they sell merchandise.The prices keep going up,but the family crowds keep coming.I did notice that a real high percentage of women were wearing marriage bands, indicative of the clean family oriented nature of the attraction.
We were stopped by one individual taking a poll for Disney,not about the park, but about how we were treated in the stores.'Having been there before with other grandchildren,I did percieve a small diminution in personel such as "characters" in the streets, as well as a smaller afternoon parade,probably for financial reasons.


The appointment of Susan Rice at the UN, is potential cause for concern.This is primarily because of her less than warmth toward the US-Israel relationship.The question will come up with the necessity to veto Sec. Council anti-Israel resolutions.With Hillary at the helm, it should be ok,however with Rice elevated to Cabinet rank,this could spell some problems.But Hillary is tough,and no fan of Rice's going back to the campaign.In addition,Hillary has been promised her own team-sounds interesting. The role of Biden will be subdued,but on Israel related issues, his voice will be probably helpful.


The extreme force used in Hebron, is another sad chapter in the saga of secular Israeli leaders,having no feeling for their heritage.
Jacob cries when meeting Rachel,for he is aware she will not be buried in Maarot Hamachpela,in the Hebron area, upon her eventual demise.(this weeks Torah reading)
Israeli political leaders don't have the depth of spiritual committment to our heritage to realize that the Temple Mount and Jerusalem,Hebron,Rachel's Tomb,Joseph's Tomb and other physical sites are what constitutes the centrum of holiness of Eretz Yisrael.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Terrorism- Part II

Elliot Ganchrow writes:

As a follow-up to my father's earlier blog, last week's terrorist attack in India is a reminder of the ease in which terrorists can attack and wreak havoc at 'soft' targets. The Chabad House in Mumbai was likely similar to numerous other Jewish schools, shuls and organizational organizations (with a few exceptions) across the world which are left unguarded or are provided minimal security. When I visited my brother-in-law two years ago for Shabbos in Efrat, I was struck by the extraordinary level of security that was both outside and inside the shul. A young man stood outside the shul with an automatic weapon and was at all times attentive to possible threats, while inside the shul numerous people were armed with guns. In other shuls in Israel, it is not uncommon to find soldiers or civilians armed and ready in case of emergency. When I was in Yeshiva in Israel, an emergency situation in a nearby town broke out. Within seconds, dozens of Israeli students were armed and ready to defend the Yeshiva. But what is the situation in our country? My in-laws daven at the Young Israel of Woodmere, which is the largest Orthodox shul in this country. When we visit for Rosh Hashana and daven with them, I am always taken aback by their disregard for security. They post one unarmed man in the front of the building and another on the other side of the building. Their is also an auxillary police car in the parking lot which I am sure puts fear in the hearts of would-be attackers. However, this a familiar scene in most shuls (and schools) in this country- Security is either non-existent or is provided by one unarmed individual or an auxillary policeman (although I was happy to see a fully armed policeman at the Roemer shul in Teaneck this past Shabbos). If we learn anything from the terrible tragedy of this past week, it is that each shul or school is a potential soft target and therefore should develop real plans to defend itself in case of an emergency. If the Chabad House in Mumbai can be attacked, so can shuls, schools and Jewish Centers in this country.