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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Plan for Gaza, Ferguson, Human Shrinkage, a Serious Poem,Opinionated Headlines and the Modern Day "Shores of Tripoli"

Only in New York

There's an excellent restaurant specializing in pork products located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, a mostly Hasidic neighborhood.  It is called "Traif" (Yiddish for something non-kosher) and here's a picture to prove it.



Ferguson, Missouri

It’s no surprise to read about individual police officers sometimes acting with unnecessary and often fatal force, particularly in minority areas, and resulting in the residents there showing their anger by protesting and demonstrating.  Sadly, it happens, and too often.  Sometimes, fringe elements use this as an excuse to riot and to loot, to which law enforcement can decide to respond in a “military,” rather than in a “police” manner, further elevating the level of tension which feeds upon other minority community problems such as unemployment which have nothing to do with police behavior.

This is what happened in Ferguson, Missouri where apparently the people and the police are too young to remember Watts, Detroit and Newark. As important as this situation is, the extensive coverage given to it by the media has caused some to perhaps forget about events in the Ukraine, Iraq and Israel, which in the long run are far more important than whatever old lessons we are forced to relearn from Ferguson.

Coverage in Ferguson compared with coverage of ISIS

Jack Lippman


Opinionated Headlines

Last Tuesday, why did AOL News’ headline mention Israel’s response first, in reporting the renewed rocket fire from Gaza that day?  The New York Times and the Washington Post both mentioned the rocket attack first, and Israel’s response afterwards, which is the way it actually happened.  Where you get your news from is important.  Such subtleties in the way the same news is presented from different sources can reveal a prejudiced viewpoint, and can be very misleading to the many people who just glance at the headlines and not bother to read the story.   

Check out the headlines these three sources used for reporting the same story.  (Highlighting is mine, green for Hamas and Blue for Israel.)

Taken from AOL – web site

News AOL

The Israeli military said it carried out a series of airstrikes Tuesday across the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rocket fire.

Taken from the New York Times- web site

Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire

Three rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, breaking a cease-fire, drawing Israeli retaliation and prompting Israel to recall its delegation from talks aimed at ending the latest conflict.

Taken from the Washington Post – web site

William Booth and Orly Halpern 3:41 PM ET
The resumption of hostilities threatens to derail talks aimed at securing a permanent truce.

Same facts!  Different emphasis!



A Solution for Gaza that Will Never Happen

Here is how to end the continuing exchange of Hamas rockets aimed at Israel and the destructive response from Israeli air power which they cause, as well as the “bad press” Israel gets because of the deaths of innocent women and children in their response to the rocket attacks.
The Israeli government should offer to observe an extendable two-week truce, during which all women, children and elderly can be evacuated from Gaza.  Israel will provide bus transportation for them from the crossings into Israel to a variety of cities on the West Bank, where they may be taken in by relatives and friends, or offered temporary housing for a few weeks in camps until they can find something more permanent.  Similarly, boat transportation can be provided to ferry refugees a few miles up the coast to Ashdod, from where they also can be bused to the West Bank.  Once there, the Israeli government will provide temporary financial assistance to those being resettled on the West Bank through the Palestinian Administration there.

(photo taken of children in bus at Rafah Crossing from Gaza into Egypt)

Such a step would be seen as a humanitarian gesture, would remove the onus of “killing innocent civilians” from Israel, and would take away the Hamas tactic of using those civilians as shields for their weaponry.  Hamas’ refusal to go along with this plan would make it clear to the world that such use of civilians is indeed part of their strategy.

If there are no further rocket attacks from Gaza for a six month period, and a permanent cease fire agreed upon, the refugees will be permitted to return to Gaza, if they wish.  If, however, there are any rocket attacks whatsoever from Gaza during that period, the Israel Air Force will level every single building and structure remaining there, without any regard for the loss of life incurred among the remaining male residents, rendering Gaza uninhabitable for a long, long time.


A Poem and a Question 

In the following piece, the author raises an important question concerning personal responsibilities in the face of tragedy.


What’s a Ewe to do?

Harvey Sage

The mama of the house did what she had to do
Saturday was shopping day for this family so off to the Market she flew
As a mother sheep cared for her flock with a love deep and true
So Evelyn did her mission, she was known as Evelyn the Ewe.

She parked her car in a nearby space ignoring the auto nearby
It had three people in it who were arguing in loud raucous cries
Evelyn sauntered into the Market carrying her list of goods
And she began shopping one row at a time moving as fast as she could.

Dairy products first- cheese, milk and eggs, and some canned fruit made her halt

Ewe read labels as canned soup was loaded in the cart, the Ewe avoided salt
Pasta, sauce, parmesan cheese came from the aisle nearby
Paper products, soaps, toiletries- my the Ewe could fly

The final group of purchases was deli meats and fish
Then she bought a specialty, a potato knish
Evelyn went up to the front to pay her bill
She saw how much money she spent and felt a little chill

Undaunted, the stalwart shopper took the cart and went outside
She headed for her car to pack it up and take her treasures for a ride
Approaching her vehicle she saw something that caused her to stop, mouth agape
There were police and EMS people, and her car was engulfed in yellow crime scene tape.

What’s happening here Evelyn wondered as she took in the view
Then she saw a Market worker whom she was friendly with and whom she knew
She approached him to find out what was the story
What he told her was gruesome and quite gory

In the car where Ewe had seen the three people arguing a man had been shot dead
A woman had rolled out after also being shot and bled
The shooter fled from the rear seat to his car
And drove over the prostrate woman three times before driving off afar.

Standing there with her food laden cart Ewe was at a loss what she should do
She couldn’t go to and load up her car, the police wouldn’t let her through
Should she tell the police she had heard them arguing, was that a smart action to take
What about the food that would soon spoil, to get involved could be a big mistake

What would you do if you were Ewe? Send your thoughts to
harvo1@ Comcast.net.   (and not to the blog)


"To the Shores of Tripoli" in Today's World

The Barbary Pirates were Muslims seafarers who attacked and captured ships from the tenth century until as recently as the early nineteenth century, seizing cargo and enslaving the crews.  Their "corsairs" also attacked towns along the Mediterranean coast of Europe for the specific purpose of capturing and enslaving Christians for sale in the slave markets of the Middle East.  They insisted on payments to allow commerce to sail in that area, and also sometimes demanded ransom payments for those they captured. 

Although their bases in the area now known as Algeria, Tunisia and Libya were part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, they basically governed themselves with no national allegiance, but with an economy based on "plunder."   Europe put up with this for centuries but the new nation across the Atlantic, the United States, would not.  Presidents Jefferson and Madison sent naval vessels to bombard their ports and ultimately, they agreed not to bother United States vessels.  The United States Marine Corps was involved in these actions, as the words from their hymn, “to the shores of Tripoli” attest.  Ultimately, the French occupied Algiers in 1830, effectively putting an end to the Muslim Berbers' criminal activities.

The Shores of Tripoli - 1805

These people do not change.  Note the similar behavior on the part of Muslim terrorists in Nigeria, Syria and Iraq.  They demand ransoms, they rob banks, they sell antiquities, they enslave victims and they are not reluctant to execute those who oppose them.  Because the agenda of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant specifically includes attacking the United States, and since at least one American has been executed by them because of the support we are giving their opponents in Iraq, we really have no alternative but to go in and wipe them out.  Depending on more moderate Muslim governments to do this will not work. Our dependence on the inept Iraqi government and its disloyal military forces was what permitted this threat to our country to reach its present dimensions.  Similarly, Saudi leadership is more interested in banning bibles, banning alcohol, keeping women "in their place," going to the bank and vacationing on the Riviera than going after their Sunni brethren, so at crunch time, count them out.

In using air power to attack them, we must be ready to send hundreds of bombers over their territory every day for several months, using carpet bombing techniques, decimating their troops and destroying their resources, including oil wells and refineries.  We did it in the Second World War and we can do it now.  Only then, when just a few of them remain alive within the rubble, should we send in troops to mop them up.  And if our military actions involve attacking them in neighboring countries such as Syria, we should not hesitate to do soThere will be civilian deaths, as there have been in Gaza, and as there always are in wars, but that will be unavoidable.

Right now, we have the power to do this without a large number of casualties.  If we wait, that might not be the case.  This solution is in line with the words of William Shakespeare, as quoted in this blog's previous posting, where it is suggested that we might:  “take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them.”

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-q1SzdvT1Hjs/UsxumH1a9JI/AAAAAAAAJKU/6oM9tkN9jeY/s1600/middle+east+g+-+capitals+++countries.png Regional ethnic and religious divisions make Syrian and Iraqi "nationhood" difficult to justify, opening the door to the present terrorist "Islamic State."
Afterwards, if an effective government cannot be established there, the area known as Iraq should take on the status of a demilitarized United Nations trusteeship until they are ready for peaceful self-governance.  As for Syria, where the seeds of this group were sown, unless a democratic government can be established there as well, that country should also revert to trusteeship status.  Nations just cannot be planted somewhere when there is no natural basis for their being there, as was done at the end of the First World War.  

As offensive as the idea of an all-encompassing Islamic "caliphate" is, the border-less nature of Arab populations in the Middle East might make that a more logical basis for a nation-state than straight lines drawn in the sand. 

Some Arabs strongly feel this way and really do not accept what was done to the Middle East after the First World War, and refuse to accept the legitimacy of the British Mandate in Palestine, the French Mandate in Syria, the establishment of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan as nations as well as the United Nations partition of Palestine in 1947.  Unfortunately, the worldwide aims of a militant and theocratic caliphate make such an arrangement unacceptable to the rest of the world, so trusteeships might be a better approach, once Western civilization restores peace to the Middle East. (They cannot do it themselves.) 

Certainly,  independence and democracy don't seem to work in the Arab Middle East.  But if ever (?) separate democratic Arab nations are to survive  there, two steps must be taken: (1) an acceptance of the need to recognize and cooperate with the State of Israel and (2) a strengthening of the Arab League into an overall economic union, similar to the European Economic Community.  We are very far from that point.

Human Shrinkage Continued

In the previous posting, I touched upon the fact that older Florida retirees often find that they have lost an inch or more of their height in the normal process of aging.   

Has anyone considered the possibility that the cause of such shrinking might be something more than that and perhaps is a result of the warm and humid South Florida climate?  If that can be shown, it is conceivable that folks other than older people also might be susceptible to height-loss here!!   


Perhaps this was the reason why six-foot eight LeBron James chose to forsake the Miami Heat, where he could have played for the remainder of his basketball career, and return to chilly Cleveland where possible non-age-related height-loss due to Florida's climate might not be a factor.  Who knows?


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Jack Lippman