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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Observations About Israel
Start with the fact that I am Jewish. However, before you discount my comments as just another biased expression of unqualified support for Israel, you might find that my experience as a largely secular American Jew may provide some insight into the issues involved in the continuing struggle between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah.
 
First, some background. Personal, that is: I was born in 1928, of an American Jewish couple, whose own parents came to this country in the 1800s, from Russia. My parents did not practice Judaism, they both had only a sixth-grade education, and moved from New York to California in the 1920s, where I was born and raised. I have (had) two siblings: a brother (deceased), who was 4-1/2 years my senior, and a sister (also deceased), who was seven years older than I. We grew up in somewhat limited circumstances during the Depression, and in typical middle class conditions after WWII, and we are (were) all college grads, with professional educations in teaching, engineering, and accounting respectively.
 
Religion was not a part of our upbringing. Both my parents spoke Yiddish, and my mother spoke a little Russian, but there was no formal religious training. Our family settled in Los Angeles, which had a large Jewish population. I can’t say that I experienced a great deal of overtly hostile prejudice as I was growing up, although I certainly did encounter my share in my business life.
 
I graduated high school in 1946, at the time the world was in the midst of trying to resolve the situation with the Jews in the Middle East, who were attempting to create a homeland for their people. I can remember many heated discussions among the Jewish students at the time about partitioning what was then part of the British Protectorate in the Middle East, to carve out the nation of Israel in the desert. But, my involvement was largely peripheral. I didn’t pay a lot of attention and wasn’t particularly interested, and I hardly noticed when the nation of Israel was finally created by the UN in 1948.
 
Fast forward 64 years: Today, I am a staunch supporter of Israel.
 
So what happened?
 
On the way to arriving at my current perspective about the Jews and Israel, as I gained experience and learned more, I was influenced by some of the basic realities about the world we live in:
 
The fact that a Jew is largely secular and does not practice Judaism does not change the reality that the world in general considers almost everyone with Jewish ancestry to be a Jew, no matter how “Jewish” or secular they may be. Hitler and the Holocaust demonstrated that quite vividly. People may be only “half” or “one-quarter” or “one-eighth” Jewish, but when push comes to shove, they are invariably “Jewish”.
 
The Jews are convenient scapegoats for the transgressions or ambitions of others. How many times have you heard the claim that Jewish bankers control the world, that all Jews are rich, that they always take advantage of others, in business or otherwise (“I Jewed him down” is a common expression), that they are “Christ Killers,” that they kill Muslim children and use their blood to bake bread, that they secretly plot to control various countries, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Whatever it takes for various leaders to demagogue the Jews and divert the attention of others from their own despicable behavior. All that’s necessary is a mix of an uninformed population, poverty and religious fanaticism to create a foundation for the endless stream of lies and distortions that are employed to make the Jews the scapegoats for everything that’s wrong with the world and the oppression of others, especially the Palestinians.
 
Many, probably most, Jews are not religious in the formal sense, particularly in America. However, although they may not practice Judaism and may have intermarried, many, perhaps most, still consider themselves Jewish. I am in that category. Dennis Prager has written an excellent series of articles, “Explaining Jews” (Townhall.com), which I highly recommend, for those who would like to learn more about the subject.
 
When I was in high school in the 1940s, and even years later, at the time I was practicing public accounting in the late ‘60s, Jews were still not allowed to stay in many American hotels or resorts, they were not accepted for membership in most country clubs, many companies would not hire them, including major accounting and law firms, they were not accepted by many of the most prestigious universities, and they could not buy homes in many “restricted” neighborhoods, along with suffering a host of other indignities in American society at large. In many respects, it was not much different from the prejudice against African-Americans that has plagued our society for generations, and continues to this day.
 
The response of American Jews was to form their own businesses, law and accounting firms, open their own country clubs, establish their own university (Brandeis), etc., thereby in some ways further defining their separation from American Society in many respects.
 
As the years passed, I learned something about the history of the Jews and the repression and persecution they have suffered since Biblical times, how they always managed to adapt and survive, how their many accomplishments have improved the world.
 
I learned that they face seemingly insurmountable odds, that there are only about five million Jews in Israel, along with about one million Arabs, and that there are a total of only about 13 million Jews in the world today (including Israel) vs 250 million Arabs in 22 states who want to exterminate them.
 
I learned how the Jews have taken the desolate, barren desert land they were given and turned it into a modern, productive, democratic state, with the highest standard of living in the Middle East.
 
I also learned that prejudice and bigotry take many forms, often hiding behind a façade of seemingly being unbiased, but that the potential is always present with some people, sometimes without their even realizing it themselves. I can remember sitting in business meetings and having certain clients openly brag to their associates how shrewd they were to have hired a “smart Jew,” without ever considering how insulting that might sound. Obviously, they thought it was a compliment. They were proud of their own good sense and judgment to have me on retainer, and I always let it pass.
 
In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter who’s right in the Israel-Palestine-Hamas-Hezbollah situation, because neither side will ever convince the other. The parties to the conflict make similar claims about themselves and one another:
 
They were on the land first, therefore it belongs to them.
The other side are “occupiers” or “squatters.”
 
The other side is guilty of extreme tactics, killing women and children indiscriminately, and much worse.
 
The other side is responsible for the repression and extreme poverty of the Palestinian and other Arab societies. The Arabs blame the Jews and the Jews blame Arab leaders for keeping their own people poverty stricken so they could continue to divert attention from themselves by fanning the flames of hatred against the Jews.
 
Unfortunately, in my mind, one fact overrides all others: The Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all unambiguously avow that Israel must be wiped off the map and the Jews driven into the sea. And, they are aided and abetted by most other Arab-Muslim states to a greater or lesser degree: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, etc., often speaking one way to the world in English while saying the opposite in Arabic to their own people. No matter how much they try to cover up or talk around their openly declared goal of destroying Israel and the Jews, their real intent never changes.
 
It has been going on this way for 64 years, and I expect it will continue thus until long after I am gone.
 
Finally, it is an article of Muslim faith that the Jews and all people of other religious beliefs must be converted to Islam or exterminated, a reality that neither the Jews nor the Christians throughout the world dare ignore.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Banning Profits
Following the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, a HUMAN EVENTS headline urged “Lets Ban Corporate Profits.”
 
What an amazing statement!
 
Have we finally reached the point where the idea of making a “profit” is no longer acceptable to a large segment of the American population? Especially young people, many of whom have little or no work experience and simply don’t understand the concept.
 
An article by David Harsanyi in September 2012 made the following observations about profit: “At the Democratic National Convention, where one speaker after the next swears they love free enterprise, delegates and attendees (maybe some media, who knows?) were asked by Peter Schiff, posing as an anti-corporate activist, if they would support capping or banning corporate profit…Well, there seems to be plenty of enthusiasm for the idea in Charlotte this week — and not from the fringe. ‘We deliberately avoided speaking with the occupy protestors camping outside in tents to get a more ‘mainstream’ Democratic perspective.’”
 
Merriam-Webster’s Definition of “Profit”:
1: a valuable return: gain
2: the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions; especially the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
3: net income usually for a given period of time
4: the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales
5: the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent
 
Examples of PROFIT
The company made a profit this year.
Profits are up from last year.
There was a rise in profits this year.
The profits from CD sales were donated to charity.
The organization is not run for profit.
The film made $1,000,000 in profit.
The book can be read with profit by anyone who wants to understand how the system works.
 
 
The generally accepted definition of “profit” as “the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction of series of transactions” seems like a pretty simple concept to me, yet an increasing percentage of Americans, especially the young, appear to have no idea what it means.
 
We have witnessed young people demonstrating to eliminate “corporate profits,” without having the slightest idea what that means.
 
How is it possible to “ban profits” without eliminating the enterprise itself? Somehow that concept seems to escape the understanding of those who are against “profit.”
 
They seem to think that the government can give them anything they want without knowing how and where the money comes from, simply by waving the “magic wand” of wanting something. You want it, ergo you got it, appears to be their motto.
 
What they don’t understand is that without the incentive of earning a profit, no one would be willing to risk their capital or invest their time in establishing and operating any sort of business enterprise.
 
Without doubt, there are many young people who understand the need to work, but far too many of them appear to be completely clueless about why it’s necessary to work and somehow think it’s possible to simply have the goodies they want handed to them by a benevolent society.
 
I’m not sure who to blame for this sad state of affairs. Like most of the elderly, I have worked all of my adult life, starting around the age of 13. I chose a career that required long hours, often 60 hours a week or more. And, I worked for profit, mine and that of those around me, without ever giving it a thought. I “retired” around almost 20 years ago, at the age of 65, but have continued to work part-time as a consultant and advisor and expect to continue as long as I am able.
 
My conclusion is that the attitude of those young people who expect something for nothing is due to a combination of the failure of our education system and parents who don’t see the need to make their children work for their “goodies.”
 
In short, I guess you can color me old fashioned.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 13:44 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Friday, November 16, 2012
Communist Pilgrims and Thanksgiving in the Ghetto?
It is Thanksgiving.  Our traditions do not speak about giving thanks to government.  Our forefathers created a unique national tradition whereby we give thanks to God and we remember kindly the Native Americans who saved them from starvation.  Now for a little history lesson and modern day reality check.
 
Most people are not aware that the early pilgrims were socialists!  They crafted their community on the basis of share and share alike!  Well, as is the case in our modern day socialist experiments, the system failed.  It was hard to motivate the less inclined to work if they had a reasonable expectation to share in the bounty regardless of their contribution to the planting and harvest.  Likewise, the most industrious among them became naturally disinclined to work harder than the rest if there was no reward in doing so.  The community as a whole was starving to death as a result.
 
The solution was to carve up the lands and let each family fend for themselves.  The most industrious prospered and others became dependents of the community.  So, what has changed in 400 years?  Not much!
 
I find it incredulous that in ghettos across America, Barack Obama gained nearly 100% of the vote.  It is hard to believe for two reasons.  First, it is hard to believe these neighborhoods are completely devoid of any semblance of political diversity, and second, it is hard to believe these people think Barack Obama and the progressive elite are going to make a difference in their dismal lives.  Democrat President Johnson started the modern welfare program in the 1960's and the only thing that has been accomplished, despite spending trillions of dollars, is the destruction of the family unit, public education and job opportunities in the inner cities of America.
 
We can’t keep doing the same things year after year and expect different results, as that is the very definition of insanity.  It is no secret that the democrats actually work against the best interest of the inner city poor by the policies they promote and the wars they won’t fight with various special interest groups.
 
Democrats will not help inner city kids escape the failed public school system because they are beholden to teacher unions.  Private schools are more successful, cheaper, safer and staffed with better teachers than the average inner city public school.  The right to a good education is a basic civil right!
 
Democrats will not encourage abstention programs, as young girls having babies is the leading poverty indicator, preferring instead to promote abortions and welfare checks.  The cycle of kids being raised without a father must be broken.  It is one of the reasons gangs flourish in the inner city.
 
Democrats will not allow industrial jobs to be created in the inner cities due to their being beholden to environmental groups who are more concerned with overwrought air quality standards as this is more important to them than raising the living standards.  It is impossible to break the poverty cycle without jobs, and high tech jobs are the wrong fit in a community of dysfunctional illiterates where 60% of the kids don’t finish high school and can barely read or write.
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB, the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440 and AM1290 and a guest opinion columnist for the Santa Barbara News Press three times per week.  For more information, visit www.colabsbc.org
Posted at 08:41 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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