Thursday, March 24, 2011

Events in Japan and at Itamar - lightning rods for the world


In the Jewish calendar the Month of Adar is considered one of Mazel or Luck. We are enjoined to have court cases or apply for jobs in this month as it is meant to be an auspicious time. In the English calendar I always remember the 11th of March as a rather terrible day but a day with a blessing for my beloved father died on the morning of the 11th of March 2002. He had cancer. The blessing was that by dying so suddenly he would not suffer the indignities that terminal cancer brings over the weeks and months that it takes some to die. Everything is from G-D and a blessing. To have his suffering lessened was a blessing in disguise although I did not see as such at the time.

I look at the events of this past month and I am ashamed to say that I, at first failed to see the blessings in the terrible tragedies that have beset the world. First we have the dreadful calamity of the Japanese earthquake where thousands are killed and hundreds of thousands are homeless or homes in a shattered or inhabitable state. If that was not enough, then there was the tsunami that came in and swept away people, houses, possessions and whole towns already reeling from the shock of a 9.0 scale earthquake. Then the resulting nuclear problems at the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were added to the Japanese woes. I thought to myself, when viewing the disaster, ‘Oy, G-D haven’t you given them enough tzuros (sorrows).’

But the Japanese have risen to the occasion like no other nation could. A woman buying bottled tap water for her pregnant daughter in law buys only four bottles and debates whether to send her son and daughter in law further south. She buys only four because she wants to ‘leave some for others.’ That is a quality that is sometimes hard to find in our selfish consumer society. It is such acts of selflessness that makes one aware of how great is the human soul and the ability to rise to the occasion. They are still suffering earthquake aftershocks but they are bonding together as a nation and helping each other in a time of great tragedy. In the midst of great sorrow and loss, there is strength and compassion and people moving on.

In a small town in Israel, on Friday night, a family of eight people, six children and two parents, were ripped apart by an insane act of violence and terror. The parents were sleeping on their bed with their three months old daughter Hadassa between them. Yoav, an eleven year old was reading in his bed, Elad , the four year old was sleeping. The insane murderers came in and butchered the boys in their beds, then entered the room and killed the parents and decapitated the three months old baby girl Hadassa. It was twelve year old Tamar coming home from a youth group function who found them. She had gone to a neighbour to get in as the terrorists had locked the door as they left. Her two brothers, Ro’i eight and Yishai two had been sleeping in another room and were missed by the terrorists on their murderous rampage. When Tamar entered the house, Yishai was found near his parents bodies pulling at them trying to get them to ‘wake up’.

Tamar Fogel, her brothers and both sets of grandparents and the uncles and aunts sat shiva two weeks ago. Something we wish on no children of their tender years or for that matter, any child of any age, to find their parents and siblings in such a condition. Something we wish for no parents or for any siblings to have to do under such circumstances. How will they cope in future years with the horror of that night? Tamar is her parents’ daughter and has shown remarkable strength and fortitude over the weeks and has been literally amazingly strong for one so young. She is a testimonial light unto the nations.

At first the Palestinians had this to say “The Al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, argued that the murder of Israeli settlers was permitted by international law.”

Then they they changed their tune in the face of a growing storm of condemnation

“A day later it changed its tune, insisted that "harming children is not part of Hamas's policy," and suggested instead that the massacre might have been committed by Jews. The Palestinian "foreign minister," Riyad al-Malki, also voiced doubt that the killers could have been Palestinian. "The slaughter of people like this by Palestinians," he claimed, "is unprecedented." Actually, the precedents abound.”

The following article details some of the previous incidences of violence against Israelis which many who support the Palestinians in their ‘claims on Jewish Israel’ are quite happy to ignore or pretend did not happen.

In conclusion, what can we learn from the terrible events that occurred on March 11th 2011, this year? We learn that the capacity for the human spirit to absorb tragedy and move on despite it all, is endless and with G-D’s help we do move on to clean up and rebuild as they are doing in Japan.

What do we learn from Itamar? We see a family and a community that has been subjected to the most atrocious of all crimes, which incidentally was celebrated in the Arab villages surrounding and in Aza by dancing, firing gunshots into the air and handing out of sweets. We see the families of the community drawn together and building and doing positive acts despite the crimes that were committed against them and a family in their midst. A home invasion, the slaughter of five members of a family and finally the way it was treated by some in the world media and indeed to have the Palestinians saying that ‘it was deserved and that international law condones the killing of Israeli citizens.’

Frankly if International Law was to condone any such thing, then the world has indeed gone quite crazy. Laws are to preserve peace and allow people to prosper legally. Laws should not be used to oppress and restrict people going about their business legally and peacefully. People should be allowed to live in peace. People should be allowed to make a living and do business so long as they are not cheating or endangering others. Courts of law are to set rules for ethical society and to ensure that society operates efficiently and peacefully. Courts of law and International Law do not condone slaughter or murder of individuals or whole races or nations of people. The world needs to wake up and examine very closely what is happening nationally and internationally. The Palestinians have a strong lobby in the United Nations and among the world of academia. I wonder just how much of it is due to funding from many oil rich nations, who may not have the Palestinian interests particularly at heart, but are building a solid power base for themselves for the future through infiltration of the education systems from the top to the bottom. I see a lot of sporting events and other events sponsored by Emirates and other such organizations and have began to wonder about it. Some of the ideas and support for causes coming out of the universities these days are highly illogical. I wonder why. You have the climate change lobby and you have the Palestinian lobby and others. Think about it. Maybe the inherent blessings in these events is that G-D is attempting to show us truths not yet apparent.

Monday, March 21, 2011

If I were African American and you were a member of the Klu Klux Klan...


If I were an African American who lived in a predominately African American Neighbourhood with people who were Hispanic, Asian and other assorted nationalities of immigrant extraction, and you were a member of an active KKK charter that is not sympathetic to any persons of mixed race or Asian or African or Indian for argument’s sake, origins, that wanted to set up a club house in the middle of my relatively diverse peaceful neighbourhood, what should my reaction to your plans be?

Should I say, ok, that’s fine, but you will have to change your charter that makes you essentially the Klu Klux Klan and allow entry to your club house of all nationalities in our suburb? Should I say, ok, you can live along side us so long as you do it peacefully and keep your hate literature to yourself? Or, ok it is fine to have racist views and to air them in private, so long as they are not made public and do not call for harm to others who are different or despised in your opinion?

Where do we draw lines and maintain the status quo of a relatively multicultural society? How do we define what is racist and what is bigoted, when often the people who use such terms to label others do not even understand the connotations or inferences behind the words in the first place?

A lot of people have been called racists by those who do not even understand that a racist is. A person who is intolerant of another race or races and their creed usually embodies a belief that their particular genetic heritage is superior to others and finally that aggressive or abusive behaviour towards others is justified. Fairly simple in theory, but an oft misused term.

The term bigot is a lot more complex and there are people who are labelled racists who could more honestly be called bigots and they are not necessarily religious hypocrites. They do adhere to a particular ideology however to the exclusion of others or even to understand other ideologies and their basic beliefs. Let’s look at the word ‘bigot’ which was a term first used by the French to refer to the Normans of Southern Gaul and was said to mean By God and was used to refer to people of a particular creed who refused to look at alternative ideas.

There is a saying ‘you can tell a bigot, but you can’t tell him much.’ It refers in essence to people who refuse to add new knowledge or information to their lexicon that may change the way they perceive something or a situation. People who adhere strictly to their viewpoint and fail to consider other viewpoints or perspectives, are bigots. They will fail to allow commonsense to reign and to competently assess both sides of a situation and form an opinion from all information available. They see only their point of view.

In the case of the Alma Road Community House having a religious prayer group meeting once a week for a few hours, of any religion does not concern me. My question is simply why do they want that particular Community House when they have two mosques in Prahran minutes away and a prayer meeting room at Caulfield Monash where all these three places are outfitted for Muslim prayers and have adequate washing facilities for them? Why are they all men? Why aren’t their women and families taking part in the prayer services and having some sort of function at the same time? If the Port Phillip council is going to be inclusive, they will need to change the facilities at the house to accommodate them. Is it worthwhile and are there the numbers to justify such, considering it is only two hours a week and for forty or so taxi drivers, when there are facilities used daily two or three minutes away?

If there were plans afoot to open a Chabad house in Preston not far from the main mosque for the benefit of around forty Jewish taxi drivers who just wanted to have a minyan there once a week on say a Thursday or a Sunday, I would ask them the same questions that I ask of this group? Why that particular place when there are few if any Jewish families in the area? Don’t you think that is quite a provocative action, knowing how Muslims feel about us, to plonk a Chabad house next to the Preston Mosque? It is not likely to happen, but hypothetically it is the same principle. Think about it.

In conclusion, I am all for diversity and peaceful co-existence, but by the same token, I have a problem with groups who have a charter for violence against others or intolerance of others not like them. Can such a group exist peacefully within our midst? That is the real question. What are we opening ourselves up to and are we being very cleverly manipulated?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bruce Springsteen: THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

What is wrong with Barak Obama?


We all have moments of clarity and doubt about the fitness of world leaders to hold office. Today more than ever before they have enormous power and resources at their finger tips and the ability to abuse for personal gain or use for altruistic purposes.

I was sent one piece by a fairly sa’avy NYer friend who writes and runs a radio show. The other I found myself. It sets up some interesting thoughts about either the subject or the person psychoanalysing . What was freaky was that I had been watching a clip of Mr President of the USA in Sderot in Israel in 2008 and thinking how ‘disassociated and dispassionate he seemed in his talk’ while behind him stood a former Israeli PM and former Army General Ehud Barak whose expressions were far more readable than Barak Obama’s. Something sinister and strange about the man is all I can say.

Here are the links with a few extracts.

So what is the matter with Obama?

Conservatives have been asking this question for some time. I've written a number of articles trying to solve the mystery.

Even some liberals are starting to wonder. James Carville railed about Obama's blasé attitude after the catastrophic oil spill. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd revamped Obama's "Yes We Can" motto into "Will We Ever?"

The liberal women of the TV show "The View" have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama's living with a man so out of touch. Peggy Noonan, hardly a vehement Obama foe, recently pronounced him disconnected.

Obama's odd mannerisms intrigue a psychotherapist like me. He also presents a serious diagnostic challenge.

For one, Obama's teleprompter and the men behind the Blackberry keep him well-scripted. We know so little about the facts of his life.

But it's more than just a lack of information. Obama himself is a strange bird. He doesn't fit easily into any diagnostic category.

Many people attribute Obama's oddness to his narcissism. True, Obama has a gargantuan ego, and he is notoriously thin-skinned.

Yet a personality disorder like narcissism does not explain Obama's strangeness: his giggling while being asked about the economy; his continuing a shout-out rather than announcing the Ft. Hood shootings; or his vacations, golfing, partying and fundraising during the calamitous oil spill.

Take also Obama's declaring on the "Today Show" that he wants to know whose ass to kick. Consummate narcissists would never stoop to this vulgar display of adolescent machismo.

Obama is flat when passion is needed; he's aggressive when savvy is required. What's most worrisome is that Obama doesn't even realize that his behavior is inappropriate.

So if it's not just simple narcissism, what is wrong with Obama? Since I've never evaluated him, I can't say for sure. But I can hazard some educated guesses.

If I saw a client as disconnected as him, the first thing I would wonder: Is something wrong with his brain? And I'd consider the following theoretical diagnostic possibilities.

--Physical problems: There are a multitude of physiological conditions that can cause people to act strangely. For instance: head injuries, endocrine disturbances, epilepsy, and toxic chemical exposure.

It makes me wonder: Did Obama ever have a head injury? His stepfather in Indonesia was purportedly an alcoholic abuser. Was Obama subject to any physical abuse?

-- Drugs and alcohol: Damage to the brain from drugs and alcohol can also cause significant cognitive impairments. Obama once said that there were 57 states -- and didn't correct himself. Memory problems can be caused by both illicit and prescription drug use.

Obama admits to a history of drug use in his youth. Did his usage cause some damage? Does Obama still use?

--Asperger's Syndrome: Also known as high-functioning autism, Asperger's causes deficits in social skills. A person with Asperger's can't read social cues. Consequently, he can be insensitive and hurtful without even knowing it.

And the article that I found to top it off.

June 30, 2010

Barack Obama's Attention Deficit Disorder

By Selwyn Duke

While I'm no fan of the Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis, I think it may be applicable to Barack Obama. After all, the man seems to suffer from a case of it that mainlining Ritalin wouldn't remedy.

Just consider Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright. Despite calling the prejudiced preacher a friend, mentor, and uncle; despite sitting in Wrong's church for twenty years; despite being married and having his daughters baptized by him, Obama says he was completely unaware of the bigot's anti-American, anti-white, anti-Jewish, anti-Western, and anti-Christian views. And, just so we can appreciate the severity of Obama's affliction, Wrong has quite conveniently provided a reminder of what those unforgettable views are. The scene was a five-day seminar at the Chicago Theological Seminary, where, for a mere $1,000 if taken for college credit and $300 if not, you could be enlightened by Wrong on matters of race, brotherhood, and Zionism and kibitz with him during lunch breaks. Reporting on the wisdom he imparted, the New York Post wrote: "You are not now, nor have you ever been, nor will you ever be a brother to white folk," he [Wrong] said. "And if you do not realize that, you are in serious trouble."

Wrong cited the writings of Bill Jones -- author of the book Is God a White Racist? -- as proof that white people cannot be trusted. "Bill said, 'They just killed four of their own at Kent State. They'll step on you like a cockroach and keep on movin', cause you not a brother to them.'"

Wright referred to Italians as "Mamma Luigi" and "pizzeria." He said the educational system in America is designed by whites to miseducate blacks, "not by benign neglect[,] but by malignant intent."

Wrong also said, "We probably have more African-Americans who've been brainwashed than we have South Africans who've been brainwashed" and "All your commentaries are written by oppressors."

As for Wrong's oppression, whatever its nature, it's quite a pleasant one. A few months ago he relocated to a new, opulent, million-dollar home that boasts its own cul-de-sac and proximity to a golf course.

And then there is the oppression of mental deficiencies. What I mean is that since Wrong doesn't seem like a shy, retiring type who hides deeply held views from his inner circle, I can only conclude that Obama's ADD kicked in again. Obama never assimilated the aforementioned wisdom from his longtime pastor. He never heard Wrong bellow "The US of KKK-A!" or "G** d**n America!" Instead, Obama said about his friend, "Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms." "Heard?" Or is it more like "in one ear and out the other"? Whatever. Perhaps, when Wrong's lips were moving, Obama was thinking about golf or basketball or singing "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round" in his mind while bobbing his head from side to side.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A “AAA Gay Bastard” – Mikeybear of Aleph who represents the disenfranchised gay youth, or does he?

Several months back I entered a discussion about gay marriage rites and rights. I voiced my opinion which in one sentence is as follows. I have no problem with gay or lesbian people having some sort of rite that blesses and enriches their sense of togetherness, but I believe that legalised marriage should be between a man and a woman. I made that statement secure in the knowledge that most alternative partnerships are recognised by law anyway and the alternative partners are not disadvantaged in a court of law or Centrelink. I gave reasons why I did not support legal marriage for gay people and with all due respect to the many wonderful and creative gay people who have made great contributions to society both in this century and the last few centuries or millennium, I stated why I thought it was inappropriate for same sex partners. I did not at any time call for discrimination against gay people nor did I advocate any form of harassment or harm or bullying of gay people. I simply and honestly stated an opinion. I had no intention of having that give offense or wanting to harm anyone.

Instead of giving a rational and structured argument against my contention, I came under vitriolic and malice driven attack by Mikeybear aka Michael Barnett founder of Aleph, where he defamed me and my reputation both as a person and a professional. He also spread slanderous lies, among which he stated that my son who is now seven was born out of wedlock. I was at the time very married. It left me wondering just what this adult rather deranged male of dubious intellect had against my seven year old boy who certainly had not harmed or intended harm to him in any way. However psychiatry is not my field and I will keep my reservations about the sanity of this man to myself.

He also stated that I personally was responsible for the deaths of young gay men both in Australia and America. These were people I had never met and nor am I likely to meet as we mix in vastly different circles.

Yes there is a high rate of suicide among young gay people. I would say that would have something to do with the lifestyle choices they have made at some stage in their lives and they have not be adequately counselled or they have been counselled by the wrong people or they cannot cope with certain aspects of their life. They are, by the way, not the only people who commit suicide. There are many unusually highly intelligent and highly sensitive artistic individuals who have somehow lost their way and cannot accept themselves or their situation in life at any given time, who sadly take that ultimate step. There are many of us who in youth, searching for our way in this world, have sunken into depression which could lead to suicide if the circumstances permit. Many stand on the brink and for some reasons known only to G-D or not, depending on what you believe, turn around and fight on to establish themselves. It is about honouring yourself, who ever you are and what ever your background is. One should never let others impressions of you, colour who you are or who you want to be. Dreams are what spices our life with hope and forms and shapes our characters and lives and relationships with others. Take away a person's dreams and you damage their soul. I would never want to do that to anyone. Sometimes we have to compromise our dreams and understand our role in life. I might dream to do something that is wonderful for me, but because I have other responsibilities I have to modify my dreams. Mature people realise that all things in life come with responsibilities and that we have to change and modify lifestyles to suit employment needs and financial considerations as well as to be honest and forthright with ourselves and others. On the question of suicide though I do not wish anyone to commit suicide with the exception of people like say Hitler (may his name be erased) and his ilk.

I would however prefer to save my sympathy for the young indigenous population who has a far higher rate of suicide and they are discriminated against because of colour and race. They can’t help being born black, poor or without some of the opportunities that many of us take for granted. I am far more concerned about the discrimination these indigenous kids face and the sense of hopelessness and despair that is often rife in the urban aboriginal communities and the resulting substance abuse and what that is doing to a whole generation or two of Kooris, Murris and other groups in Australia.I would rather feel some sense of responsibility towards these people and young Koori kids because I am part of a race that did destroy their lifestyle and communities.

I would also rather save my sympathy for the children of Israel who have to put up with their homes and playgrounds being bombarded with rockets from the ‘peaceful Palistinians’ and the depression that those kids must suffer is far worse than that of a spoilt misogynist gay activist. I save my sympathy for the people of Israel and their families who are facing these times of uncertainty with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and all that entails in the countries that surround Israel.

I save my sympathy for people like Peter Spencer and farmers who are losing the right to manage their own properties and to make a livelihood from them.

The suicide rate of farmers has also risen in the last few years.

So gay people are not the only people with a worrying trend of suicide and part of it may have to do with the well meaning advice of teachers and the like or concerned adults. Let’s look at the example set out in this paper for ‘Chris’ who is fictitious but I became quite angry at reading the advice given out. For example, Chris is advised to change schools which is pretty poor on the part of Chris’s school and all that teaches the people bullying him is that they have successfully chased away another student because he is in some way different. Why should Chris have to change schools and all that entails? What if he is in a country area and can’t change schools?

I would say, ‘No, Chris why should you have to run away from those people? Stay and fight back. They have to accept you for who you are and that cannot happen until you accept who you are and are comfortable with yourself. You do not need to be dependent on society’s image to value yourself as a good and contributing member of the human race.’ Value yourself and I would ask him to write a list of at least 10 to 20 good qualities that he has and give him some to start with and then ask him to write down five things he would like to change about himself or herself and discuss whether it is realistic or not to expect such of him or herself.

People like Mikeybear do more damage than good for the gay community. People like Mikeybear will find themselves in big trouble if they continue to carry on like he did about me. I am an out of work, impoverished single parent. I do not have the money or inclination to take him to court for defamation and spreading slanderous lies, but let’s say I did, he could end up in prison. He is from his writings, weird and without morals of any kind. I would say, he is extremely dangerous. I have studied, worked and even flatted in another life with gay individuals of both sexes. On the whole, with few exceptions, they do have morals, dreams and hopes for the future and are very positive people. Mikeybear is a destructive personality bent on hurting others from what I can see and I wonder how much damage he has done to others. I fear for anyone who falls into his clutches.