Apartheid by any Name

If I get it correctly, it goes like this:
Jews have, throughout civilization, been oppressed, murdered and at a minimum been forced to suffer under the coarseness of perennial anti-Semitism.

Consequently the homeland of Israel provided the last and best protection against any future pogroms or holocausts . Palestinians are intent on reclaiming what they consider “theirs,” termed “ the right of return”. This, roughly translated, means returning to their pre -1947 borders and villages

Therefore, all measures necessary to prevent that occurrence are merited by Israel ,as they see that return coupled with a democratic process embracing Palestinian rights tantamount to the demise of Israel as a Jewish State.

The plans as evidenced by the actions of the present government are simple:

incrementally annex all of the West Bank without affording the rights of citizenship to the Palestinian residents of the acquired territories .

In the process Israel would bestow upon itself the inunction of being an apartheid state. This calumniated moniker is loathed by many Israelies and by many Jews, yet there is no better name for it.

I will leave the issue and its resolution to better minds than mine, but ultimately the future and nature of what has been termed Zionism is at stake.

This NYT article portrays a group of young American Jews in the face-to-face experience with the occupation.


Apartheid by Any Name , Thy Name is..

For those interested in Mid East politics, this is a very strong and potentially prescient article.

Sooner or later Israel will be faced with either apartheid or dissolution as a Jewish State . I doubt that Israelies and world Jewry would allow the latter.

The argument will then come forward: How do you grant full citizenship to those who want to destroy the “Jewish State’, even if they are “sort-of citizens?” There might be a sliver of logic in the reality of opportunity. If Palestinians are given fruitful fulfilling lives under a Jewish State, they may forget about intifada and bombings. They may attend schools, mosque and good jobs as willing citizens of Israel. This will, of course, require the Right wing of Israeli politics to abdicate power  Given the mess that Netanyahu and son seem to find themselves in, I that might be sooner than later.

Quo Vadis, America ?

Confused Uncle Sam7

Prior to the end of WW II, we did not have a Defense Dept. We had both a War Dept and a Dept of the Navy. The War Dept could assemble ( and disassemble an Army in times of perceived national peril) and the Navy would carry them around the world as needed on their floating and protected transports. Truman disdained the Marines, never considered naming them  an independent service,  and called them “The Navy’s police force”

The Cold  War changed  everything and hence spawned a Dept of Defense headed initially by James Forrestal, but we were still for the most part    governed by Center – Right administrations ( Truman,  Ike,   JFK, Nixon, and Reagan ) who accommodated right wing strong men in order to hedge against Soviet and Chinese communist imperialism  It was the left ( LBJ)  that led us into Vietnam and then  serving  as wet- nurse  to a radical- left, pulled a volte-face, by siding with the world’s revolutionaries(  the likes of Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, and Daniel Ortega)

Donald Trump has shown himself to be a prickly neophyte, stumbling his way through an early presidency. His blunders will become legend. Yet we should be careful to “not throw the baby out with the bathwater” He has a rudimentary if crudely correct idea that the “American imperium ” ( to quote Pat Buchanan) can not last forever. A question he initially raised was ” Why should we still retain the self-image of the world’s policeman”. As Sec of State under Truman, Dean Acheson said of England, “Great Britain has lost an Empire and not yet found a role “

What precisely is our role in the world?

Reflections of a Septuagenarian Daycare Provider

Modern girls respect their elders

Much the same as we did ours

screaming rages ,poopy diapers

Throwing up in our new cars  

Modern girls refuse all labels

Runway babes, dressed to kill

Spandex “onesies”

Vuitton “blinkies”

Martha Stewart Infamil

Empathy, not in abundance

 avarice and greed prevail

So you wack your own twin sister  

Jousting for the sandbox pail

Still within this jaded culture 

with all the tumult of each day,

 a sisters love is always precious,

even with a price  to pay


Immigration- The Official Version

On a hot, unappealing day in San Antonio Texas, we stumbled into the US Citizenship and Immigration Center . We were taking a tour and happened upon the ceremony of naturalization for over two hundred newly coined American Citizens. Familys and relatives of the naturalized were spread out around the center and I asked this one family if I could take their picture. They all proudly said : “Of course !” The relative receiving his American citizenship was the husband/father /uncle of the group ( formerly a Mexican, now an American)

Demurely, one of the girls( not in the picture) smiled at me with her large Spainish eyes aglow and asked me a question: ” How many senators and represenrtaives are there in both houses of the U.S Congress…. ? ” She then gigled.. I stumbled for a moment and replied 535 … 100 senators and 435 representatives” She laughed and said ” Congratulations, you now qualify to become an American citizen” !!

I can remember a few instances when my pride in being part of this country was as great as it was onthat day, watching the raised hands and hearing the honeyed toned acccented allegiances being sworn to. Maybe watching the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soilder, as a thnunderstorm approached, came as close.

If you ever get a chance to watch the naturalization ceremony dont miss it, but bring a handerchief.

“The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan ( Man Booker Prize Winner)

Narrow Road

The Narrow Road into the Deep North , through shifting time frames and perspectives, develops a story of war, squarely unmatched in recent literature. Ultimately it artfully produces that series of repeated emotional “wacks” which is demanded of any piece of competent literature . If a work of fiction is meant “to do something to you”, this one fulfills its mission.

Only witnessed in the “fiction-only” representations of Tolstoy , Remarque or Mailer. have we been able to get the fully horrific nature of war …….Straight history fails miserably in conveying its totality. Both the War (Pacific WWII) and its aftermath are equally horrific, as portrayed in Flanagan’s detailed  work of historical fiction. It is an equally  startling book to read and then assimilate in the wake of its reading.

The work details in gruesome horror the WWII experiences during the construction of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway (415 km from Thanbyuayat in Burma to Nong Pladuk, Thaland). That construction in the early 40’s is seen through the lens of the Australian troops and their Tasmanian officer, Dr. Dorrigo Evans as he executes his daily danse macabre in dealing with the Japanese Officers and guards who are  maniacally  intent upon building a railroad through the jungles of Thaland and Burma. Ultimately, it would take a near 200,000 men to propel this feat, attempted with  no construction  machinery and in the process killing 16,000  prisoners. The book’s Pacific  focus  zooms in upon Evan’s command of approximately  700 prisoners at a POW encampment in Thailand and draws you through the war, its conclusion and its unavoidably   pathological harvest.

Aside from an incredible depiction of the historical events, we see, the complex , unresolvable post- war lives of Evans and the many actors ( both Australian and Japanese ) in the novel .

I have often thought  of the resilience required of humans  to  simply proceed with  daily life  in the aftermath  of such paroxysms .Without committing to “spoilers”, this dark novel sadly answers some of those questions. As the novel concludes, we are left with not only the sad afflictions of the war itself, but also its emotional and inevitably   mutated  after crop…..We see clearly   that   unvarnished  enormity  of war indelibly spewn over all.

A little bit of Laura Hillenbrand ‘s Unbroken mixed with a more fully and direfully exploded version of Pierre Boulle’s ( Thank you Lee Paquette for your editor’s correction of his name) The Bridge Over the River Kwai.

This is a strong read.

Here is a good link to the actual railway:


Review of “The Sports Gene” by David Epstein

The Sports Gene

In his well- researched and informative narrative “The Sports Gene”, David Epstein gives us insight into the long waged dispute between nature and nurture as it relates to athletics. In his work, we begin   with  the premise of writer  Malcolm Gladwell  and his “10,000 hr theory” ( Outliers)- all things are possible (athletic and otherwise)with 10, 000 hrs of meaningful practice and experience. We are then provided examples of talented people who have achieved great athletic prowess and achievement without much practice at all.

We learn that the reaction time of a major league baseball player is not much better than the average person, while demonstrably possessing exceptional visual acuity ( many in the 20/8 range)

Perhaps the most interesting sections deal with   racial differences  between African ( both West and East Africa) and the rest of the planet and how these differences may explain certain superiorities in the running sports. He explores the concentration of talent within Trewaly Parrish, Jamaica ( Home of  Osain Bolt , Victoria Campbell- Brown and other top sprinters) He develops the theory of researchers in  the relationship between malaria immunity, hemoglobin paucity and fast twitch muscle development, In a fascinating thread on how these factors interact within a West African population where malaria was and is a constant threat.

Epstein then moves on to East African distance running where scientific muscle study (fast vs slow twitch)seems to have less impact on performance than does body type ( narrow hips and thin lower extremities), combined with the economics of the entire region ( the necessity of long -term movement in a mountainous , cattle raising region and society)

This is an interesting,  well -written book  which will  certainly serve the curiosity of all those who  have ever wondered about athletic talent.