Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thought for Today

"A professional is a person who can do his best at a time when he doesn't particularly feel like it."

~~~~~ Alistaire Cooke

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thought for Today

"I know I am not only the bad conscience of the Nazis. I am also the bad conscience of the Jews. Because what I have taken up as my duty was everybody's duty."

~~~~~ Simon Wiesenthal

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thought for Today

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

~~~~~ John Wooden

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thought for Today

"For the American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity."

~~~~~ Will Rogers

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thought for Today

"President Barack Obama doesn't deserve the reputation he's had for his style and temperament and for being gracious, civil, bipartisan and post-racial. He is often ungracious, uncivil, hyper-partisan, race-oriented and vindictive. He mocks and ridicules almost for sport. More than any president in my memory, he often does not comport himself presidentially. Why does this matter? Well – if I even have to answer that – he is the face of America. ... He came into office with a reputation for being sophisticated, gentlemanly, above the political fray and open-minded. But it was a facade, facilitated by good looks, a seemingly pleasant demeanor and an extraordinarily fawning – and forgiving – media. He has been getting a pass on his unseemly conduct for way too long, which partially explains the disconnect between his personal likability and the unpopularity of his socialist agenda. ... [H]e is exactly the opposite of who he billed himself to be: 'I will bring a new type of politics to Washington.' As a committed liberal ideologue, he is neither a uniter nor one willing to consider both sides of an issue. But it's not just his extremist views that are divisive. He is also often personally divisive, petty and mean-spirited."

~~~~~ David Limbaugh

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thought for Today

"Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety."

~~~~~ Ben Hecht

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thought for Today

"If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are."

~~~~~ Charles de Montesquieu

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thought for Today

"Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it."

~~~~~ Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thought for Today

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."

~~~~~ George Washington Carver

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thought for Today

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate."

~~~~~ Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thought for Today

"That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false."

~~~~~ Paul Valery

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Open Letter to Carol Burger

On Wednesday, June 9, 2010, The Lebanon Democrat published a strongly anti-Israel column, the fifth since May, 2008, by Carol Burger. I submitted a rebuttal, which the Managing Editor was gracious enough to run in yesterday's paper.

The original column is not available online, so if you'd like to read it, I have scanned it (PDF) for your convenience. Here is my rebuttal:

Dear Ms. Burger:

While you are certainly entitled to express your opinions as an editorial columnist, your recent piece on the Gaza Flotilla ("Time for Israel to stand alone for their actions") goes a step further by inventing your own facts, too. Oddly enough, your facts are identical to Hamas talking points. Indeed, it seems that you believe that regardless of all evidence to the contrary, Hamas invariably speaks the truth, while Israel always lies.

Let's consider what actually happened.

In 2005, in response to international pressure, Israel, along with all Jewish residents, evacuated the Gaza strip. Governing responsibility was turned over to the Palestinian Authority (PA). At that time, there was no blockade. Indeed, thousands of Gazans commuted back and forth to jobs in Israel, bringing home badly needed wages with which to support their families.

However, the PA government was so inefficient and corrupt that in 2007, it was voted out of office and replaced with a Hamas-led government. Hamas is, of course, a radical Islamist group which is uncompromisingly dedicated to the eradication of the State of Israel and the extermination of all the Jews. Accordingly, as soon as it took power, Hamas began to fire thousands of Qassam rockets – actually, a total of over 10,000 – into populated areas of Israel, primarily the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon.

Such a situation was obviously intolerable. Every country has a duty to protect the safety of its citizens, and Israel is no exception. So, after repeated warnings were ignored, it set up a blockade, then finally had to launch Operation Cast Lead in order to stop the attacks.

Under international law, codified in the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea of 12 June 1994, such a blockade against an adversary is perfectly legal. Thus, any claim that Israel was acting illegally in enforcing its blockade is demonstrably false.

It is important to note that Israel's blockade is targeted only against weapons, explosives, and building materials which could be used to construct bunkers. Shipments of such items as food, medical supplies, and consumer goods pass freely into Gaza after inspection to insure that they do not include contraband.

For example, were you aware that according to the report of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, a total of 7,233 truckloads of Humanitarian aid from the international community passed from Israel to Gaza in 2009, amounting to some 15,000 tons per week? Did you know that during 2009, Israel accepted 10,544 patients, along with their companions, for medical treatment in Israel? Or that through UNRWA, summer camps were supplied with swimming pools, ice cream machines, musical instruments, and sports equipment?

No, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The purpose of the Gaza Flotilla was not to supply Gaza with expired medicines and broken-down old wheelchairs, but to break the blockade. You see, its sponsors were fully aware, even if you were not, that the same international law which makes blockades legal also requires that they be enforced effectively and impartially. If Israel had failed to stop the flotilla, or had even consented to allow it to proceed to Gaza without inspection, the blockade would have automatically been null and void.

With one conspicuous exception, all of the flotilla's vessels were boarded and diverted peaceably to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where their cargoes were offloaded, inspected, and transported overland to the Gaza border crossing – where they still sit because Hamas refused to accept this "sorely needed humanitarian aid."

The exception was the Mavi Marmara, which was carrying a gang of about 30 violent jihadists along with its peace activist passengers. These jihadists' intentions were anything but peaceful. Wearing bulletproof vests, they met the Israeli boarding party armed with iron pipes, steel bars, chains, and knives, then tried their best to lynch the Israeli commandos, who were unfortunately dropped unawares into this well-prepared trap armed with paintball guns.

Once the commandos determined that their lives were in danger, they defended themselves quite effectively, killing nine of their attackers. Six of the Israeli commandos were very seriously injured, including one who somehow managed to escape the clutches of the jihadis by jumping into the Mediterranean and swimming to a nearby Israeli ship while his intestines were hanging out through a gaping abdominal wound and trailing in the water behind him.

Once the Mavi Marmara was finally inspected, it was found to be carrying no humanitarian aid whatsoever -- only peace activists and jihadis.

Natan Sharansky has proposed that we can differentiate anti-Semitism from legitimate criticism of Israel by the "3 Ds" – demonization, double standards, and delegitimization. In other words, if an article demonizes Israel with over-the-top rhetoric such as comparing Israelis with Nazis or Gaza with Auschwitz; if it applies impossibly strict standards to Israel, but to no other countries in the world; if it denies Israel's legitimate claim to its homeland, falsely insisting that Israel is occupying Palestinian land and must be eradicated – then that article represents anti-Semitism. Ms. Burger, I must reluctantly conclude that your article qualifies under all three criteria.

"Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism" (PDF), a 2008 report issued by the U.S. State Department, states it well:

"May every conscience remember that anti-Semitism is always wrong and is always dangerous, may every voice speak out against anti-Semitism, and may all of us have the civic courage to take action against anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance whenever and wherever they arise."
Do you disagree, Ms. Burger?

Morton A. Goldberg, DVM

If you wish to comment to The Lebanon Democrat about Ms. Burger's column or my rebuttal, please contact Managing Editor Amelia Morrison Hipps at ameliahipps AT or at 615-444-3952 ext. 13.

Thought for Today

"Bear in mind, if you are going to amount to anything, that your success does not depend upon the brilliancy and the impetuosity with which you take hold, but upon the ever lasting and sanctified bulldoggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold."

~~~~~ Dr. A. B. Meldrum

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thought for Today

"Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations."

~~~~~ Oliver Goldsmith

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thought for Today

"It is passing strange for federal officials, including the president, to accuse Arizona of irresponsibility while the federal government is refusing to fulfill its responsibility to control the nation's borders. Such control is an essential attribute of national sovereignty. America is the only developed nation that has a 2,000-mile border with a developing nation, and the government's refusal to control that border is why there are an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona and why the nation, sensibly insisting on first things first, resists 'comprehensive' immigration reform."

~~~~~ George Will

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thought for Today

"We need more of the Office Desk and less of the Show Window in politics. Let men in office substitute the midnight oil for the limelight."

~~~~~ Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thought for Today

"As surgeons keep their instruments and knives always at hand for cases requiring immediate treatment, so shouldst thou have thy thoughts ready to understand things divine and human, remembering in thy every act, even the smallest, how close is the bond that unites the two."

~~~~~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thought for Today

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

~~~~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thought for Today

"Truth lies within a little and certain compass, but error is immense."

~~~~~ Viscount Bolingbroke

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thought for Today

"Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top."

~~~~~ Ed Abbey

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thought for Today

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."

~~~~~ John Ruskin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thought for Today

"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment."

~~~~~ George Washington

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thought for Today

"The wonderful arrangement and harmony of the cosmos would only originate in the plan of an Almighty omniscient being. This is and remains my greatest comprehension."

~~~~~ Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thought for Today

"The developing world has been told that it's necessary to give up freedom in order to achieve progress. Nothing could be further from the truth. Freedom and economic advance go hand in hand; they are two sides of the same coin. The mainspring of human progress is found not in controlling and harnessing human energy but in setting it free. The most valuable resource is not oil or precious metals or even territory; it's the infinite richness of human potential. The creative genius and diligence unleashed when people are free and working to improve their lot and that of their families is the greatest force for good on this planet."

~~~~~ Ronald Reagan

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thought for Today

"Whoever kindles the flames of intolerance in America is lighting a fire underneath his own home."

~~~~~ Harold E. Stassen

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thought for Today

"Barack Obama isn't leading. Instead, events are leading the president – and I don't mean stage-managed summits, puppet press conferences or White House dinners, but the international events that matter, the ones paid for in blood. Iran and North Korea are immediate cases where rogue regimes seeking nuclear weapons follow calculated strategies that harm American interests and allies. ... From its inception, the Obama administration has talked and talked a great deal about the way it wants the world to be. Rhetorical theatrics, to include sermons promoting visions, and emotionally charged media spectaculars hold pre-eminent and almost holy positions among administration elites. This is understandable, for these are the tools of domestic politics in a free, secure nation of laws – the terrain where American community organizers operate. Obama believes that if he can chitchat long enough and with sufficient eloquence, the world will align with his words -- his rhetorical 'oughtta be' becomes the way it is. It worked in Chicago. But talk does not stop mass-murdering dictatorships. Events – especially unexpected, game-changing events – demand action."

~~~~~ Austin Bay

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thought for Today

"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

~~~~~ James Madison

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thought for Today

"Liberals who like [Justice] Stevens' rulings insist he understands the plight of the downtrodden, despite the fact that the nearly 90-year-old justice was born rich and has served on the court for almost 35 years, becoming more liberal as he has become more distant from life as lived by the little guys. Meanwhile, Clarence Thomas was born dirt poor and black in rural Georgia and spends his vacations exploring America in an RV. But those same liberals insist he doesn't understand poverty and race the way Stevens does. How do they know? Because they don't like his rulings."

~~~~~ Jonah Goldberg

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thought for Today

"What is a Communist?
One who hath yearnings
For equal division of unequal earnings.
Idler or bungler, or both, he is willing
To fork out his copper and pocket a shilling."

~~~~~ Ebenezer Elliott

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thought for Today

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

~~~~~ Henry Brooks Adams

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thought for Today

"To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs."

~~~~~ Euripides