Open Letter to Colin Kaepernick

1Kaepernick

Dear Colin,

Before I get into exactly what I think of you, I want to make something very clear not only to you, but to those reading this who do not know me.  I care about all Americans.  I care about justice and inequality for people of color.  I care about the staggering rate of murders within the black community, and although I am someone unapologetically supportive of the police as a whole, I also will acknowledge the existence of bad cops who need to face justice.  No clearheaded black man or woman I have ever known has ever accused me of being a racist of any kind.  So before you continue reading this you should know that I won’t get in cars with racists, won’t have drinks with them, and if I am unfortunate enough to be forced to encounter them, I avoid them as much as possible.  Now that you know this about me I will continue by saying that your recent behavior not only doesn’t help solve any problems, it indicates how you as a well-known individual is an integral part of many of those problems.

People generally speak up about issues for one of two reasons.  Either they care so much they can’t keep quiet, case in point my motivation for writing this letter, or a desperate need for attention, as appears to be the case with you.  I guess when you sign a $116 million contract and do nothing for it, you want to find some way to become relevant.  This is a free country.  Everyone has a right to protest.  I don’t think you should be fired or face legal action for refusing to stand during the national anthem.  As an American, in this free American society you seem to be so thoroughly disgusted with, you have every right to stand or sit as you wish, and I as an American, and incidentally a football fan, have every right to criticize you for it.  Kind of ironic that you used the words “paid leave” to describe those you find responsible when you are in the midst of a massive contract and can’t even perform on a level good enough to start for your team.  I am by no means equating a football player’s responsibility to that of a government official or law enforcement professional, but I do believe your criticism of someone not being on the job as you think they should be a degree of projection on your part, and possibly a way for you to appease your conscience of the fact that you now get paid millions of dollars for doing nothing.

As someone who loves this country I find your actions to be deplorable, illogical, and worst of all, unhelpful.  Is this the example you wish to set for those fans who still see  you as a sports hero to some degree?  So many great heroes have died defending this country and everything the national anthem stands for.  I’m the first to admit this country is not only not perfect, it’s in trouble.  But you see Colin, maybe the difference between you and I is that since I love this country I won’t stab it in the back when it’s down.  If anything I will support it more.  I am not a soldier or law enforcement officer, so all I can do is show appreciation for all that they do to protect us.  If you don’t see how disrespecting the national anthem is doing just the opposite, then you are as ignorant as you are disrespectful.

I do not question you or anyone else’s rights to speak their mind, protest, or criticize anything they see taking place in this country.  I may not always agree, but if done so peacefully and with some modicum of integrity, I will likely read or listen to it and leave it alone.  When Jesse Williams gave a very passionate speech in protest I did not say a word, because what he did was speak loudly about what he thought was right, and in doing so made comments much harsher than the one’s that you made.  What he did not do was attack the core of the very essence of the greatness of this country.

I know your intention is to continue to sit during the national anthem.  It is my belief that you do nothing to further the cause of any person in color by doing so.  All you do is show yourself to be someone with seriously poor judgment and character, and someone who has made a choice to do something insulting during the song that honors the country that has given you so much.  I don’t know you and I certainly don’t know the details of your life, but I know you live a life of privilege, regardless of what you may or may not have done to earn it. Now you have chosen to express thanks not by standing in honor, but by sitting in disgrace.  I guess it’s fitting for a player who  collects a big paycheck and has now sunk to a level only good enough to do the same thing for his team that he chooses to do during his countries national anthem.  Sit on the bench.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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And my Vote goes to…

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MY CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT IS…

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, we know one thing for sure. November will be historic.  The citizens of America will either elect a businessman from New York, a man with no formal experience in politics or, for the first time in the nation’s history, a woman as President of the United States.  There have been times in the past when the candidates of one of the parties was somewhat more obscure, or at the very least less high-profile, but this year without question, name recognition is not an issue. Everyone knows who Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are?  Or do they?

I don’t want to use this forum as a means of showing my support for one candidate by trashing the other, but in this election the majority of voters are at least somewhat impacted by that which they do not like about the other.  It’s very much about spin.  Take the most extreme supporter on either side and there is nothing the opposing candidate can do that will be seen as OK.  However, there is one glaring difference in my estimation. We can at least claim to know the worst there is to know about Hillary.  But what about Trump?  Somehow people have come to believe that a millionaire businessman, the owner of hotels, private jets and helicopters, is somehow a regular guy, a man of the people. They look at me with a straight face and say they won’t vote for Hillary because she is a liar or corrupt.They actually allow themselves to believe that Donald Trump has gotten to where he is out of sheer brilliance and hard work.  I won’t sit here and prosecute the case against him, but really?  If you believe that I have a great university you should attend. It will make you rich.

I know the criticisms against Hillary and I will openly admit that I don’t like everything about her, but do I have a far greater amount of confidence in her ability to lead this country in the right direction than Donald Trump?  Without question I do.  Was Benghazi a tragedy?  Of course it was.  Could things have been handled better? Maybe, probably, I don’t know. But I do know that under George W. Bush 13 embassies were attacked and 60 people were killed.  We’re America. We are hated by those who want to take what we have or change who we are.  We are targets and will remain targets as long as there is evil in the world.

I don’t like the Iran deal.  Never have, likely never will.  But even if I am to see it as a total attack on Israel, which I don’t necessarily do, I see it as President Obama’s deal not Hillary Clinton’s.  To say a Secretary of State is wrong for working towards the goals of her boss doesn’t make him or her complicit in the outcome of the goal, good or bad.  It makes them a loyal servant to the Commander in Chief.  I am also comfortable to go on record and say that in areas I disagree with the president, I believe him to be more someone trying to save the world, sometimes naively, rather than someone trying to bring anyone, including Israel, destruction.

Emails? Sorry. I am not even going to make a case as to why this is not enough reason for me to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary.

People say that Donald Trump is preying on the fears of the people.  That is partially true. Sadly I believe he is also exposing the stupidity of many.  I would never say that all people voting for Trump are stupid, many are highly intelligent, but I do believe he is counting on the vote of those that are stupid. If Hollywood made a movie, and the day after the Democratic National Convention started the Republican nominee’s best response to what he saw was calling the Democratic nominee Hillary “ROTTEN” Clinton, people would have assumed we were watching a Mel Brooks satire.  But no, this really happened, and it happened from someone people still take seriously.  Someone who made fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, likened Ben Carson to a child molester, called his opponents names like Little Marco and Lyin Ted, mocked a handicapped person, called Mexicans rapists, called for a ban of an entire religion, said John Mccain wasn’t a war  hero because he got caught, and yes, even spoke about the size of his penis. This man is somehow considered to be more qualified than Hillary Clinton?  Really?

As a Jewish man and a Zionist I say this.  Many reading this see history and see Roosevelt and Churchill as great men.  I won’t sit here and necessarily challenge that.  Had they not led the world to victory against Adolph Hitler it is possible that western civilization as we know it would not exist and all we know as Jews would be gone.  But before we judge people on a standard of perfection, or even good or bad, ask yourself how many Jews might have been saved had they destroyed the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  If FOX News were around then, FDR might have been held accountable to the point of prosecution, Thomas Dewey might have been elected, and Harry Truman would never have become president.  Who knows how World War II would have ended?  I am not saying FDR and Churchill were perfect or the biggest fans of the Jewish people, but their jobs were to be leaders of the US and Great Britain, and that they were, in exceptional manners.  We have every right to demand our leaders don’t hurt our cause, but we also must realize we are electing a President of the United States, not a president of the Jewish people, and we must therefore expect that president to do what they deem best for the country.  Furthermore, before Jewish supporters get all excited about a Trump presidency merely because his daughter converted and he speaks harshly about Muslims, keep these 2 things in mind.  When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric Trump punished him by cancelling his trip to Israel.  Also keep in mind how Trump plans to reconsider aide to our allies, including Israel.

The point is, no matter who you are or where you come from, whatever good you believe you are hearing about Donald Trump, he’s only telling you to get your vote.  Yes, you can say that about all politicians, but don’t tell me how different Donald Trump is from the establishment.  He funded the establishment, including the Clintons, for decades.

I don’t buy into the fact that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be 4 more years of an Obama presidency.  If anything I believe it is more likely to be closer to being 4 more years of a Bill Clinton presidency, and that would be just fine by me.  I honestly don’t know how good of a president Hillary would be, but I feel that her demeanor, her experience and her intellect is enough to make me very comfortable in giving her my vote.  I think her choice of Tim Kaine already shows she is making choices based on her agenda as opposed to the demands of others.  I think she is ready to be president today, as opposed to her candidate who will never be ready to be president.  Besides the fact that I’ve always been offended by the implication that America isn’t great, merely for the benefit of a slogan, I also know that Donald Trump couldn’t even make Atlantic City great again.

I know that many reading this find it hard to believe that I, someone who has always been so outspoken about the security of Israel could support Clinton over Trump, but guess what?  I find it hard to believe that you don’t.  You might be able to legitimately raise questions about her, but to me that doesn’t mean voting for Trump, someone who repeatedly shows signs of being a global menace.  I’ve seen and heard enough bad from Trump to not vote for him while seeing enough good to vote for Hillary, and that is what I intend to do.  What good you ask?  In this political climate don’t count on answer, because most people asking won’t accept my answer anyway.  You vote your conscience and I’ll vote mine and I’ll accept you for your choice whether you return the favor or not.  After all, that’s the American way.

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Proud of my Brother

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I don’t care if you love Hillary or hate Hillary, this is my brother  Marcel Groen, Chairman of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania and I am very proud of him.  Listen to the interview of him on CNN and see how he gives a shout out to our 94 year old mother who is a Holocaust survivor as well.  Great job Marcel.  Truly appropriate for Holland’s Heroes.CLICK THE LINK TO SEE THE INTERVIEW

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/07/23/clinton-in-the-battleground-states.cnn

 

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Meet the new King of the Republican Establishment

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Let’s be honest. Most people wouldn’t even look at someone if they attacked their parent or spouse in the way Trump did to Cruz’s wife and father. Calling an American judge of Mexican descent unqualified because of his heritage, Trump saying he would force the military to take actions deemed as war crimes and accusing Cruz’s father of being involved in the Kennedy assassination are all examples of comments made by the Republican nominee after the pledge taken by his opponents to support whoever wins the primaries. But let’s be tell it like it is. What people are really showing is that they are backing their new ESTABLISHMENT candidate Donald Trump, who not only didn’t fight the establishment, he manipulated it to his benefit. So congratulations on your candidate who I may very well win, and continue to vilify Ted Cruz who actually is anti-establishment, one of the reasons he is hated. Personally, and this is coming from a social liberal, I found Ted Cruz to be refreshing and commend him to have the strength of character that typical politicians like Rubio, Walker and Ryan didn’t have.

What Ted Cruz magnified last night, at least for people willing to see it, is the difference between pandering to people’s fears and paranoia and actually bucking the establishment. My socially liberal views always held me back from being an all out Cruz supporter, but I will say, as someone who always has appreciated him for his unapologetic support for Israel that today I have more respect for him than I’ve ever had.  I know that’s an unpopular view, particularly with Trump supporters, I’m not one anyway, but what other Republican politician has presented himself in a more dignified way in opposition of Donald Trump? John Kasich has stood strong but done so in a passive-aggressive manner that has made his defiance somewhat irrelevant.  But what Ted Cruz did in standing firm on what he believes in, exercising his right to free speech and not caving to the pressure from the establishment, shows that there is a genuine side to him.

What Ted Cruz proved last night was that once again the establishment has won.  About a year and a half ago I predicted the election would be Clinton against Bush.  When the primaries began and Trump started making waves, I insisted the establishment wouldn’t let  him win.  But I was wrong.  Why? Because the Republican establishment outsmarted all the Republican voters looking for an anti-establishment candidate.  Rather than forcing in their establishment candidate, once they knew there was no stopping what was happening, they made the candidate the establishment and blended with him.  Since Trump is really only about winning and gaining power, he bought right into it.  Now enter Ted Cruz who comes along and shows that he still isn’t the establishment and he is verbally destroyed by what else, the new Donald J. Trump Republican establishment. Excuse my vulgarity, but outsider my ass.  Trump presented himself as an outsider, gained popularity and wiggled his way from the outside to the inside and changed the Republican Party forever.  Whether the Republicans want to admit it or not, Donald Trump is the new King of their establishment, not the destroyer. At least for now. I hope Trump does a great job should he get elected, but besides hoping he doesn’t get elected, should he fall on his face before or after the election, years from now now there will be Republicans who will admit their party got hijacked and Republicans who will deny it.  But love him or hate him, no one can ever say Ted Cruz didn’t tell you so.  And now the Republican establishment, led by one Donald J. Trump hates him for it.

There is one other possibility, and that is that every “controversy” of the convention has been orchestrated.  As the old saying goes, “made you look”.

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When Veterans Kill Good Guys.

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I’ve often said that my one major regret in life is that I did not do any type of military service.  To be more specific, when I was 19 and living in Israel I was once at a crossroads to which one direction would have led me to Israel’s Armed Forces.  I chose the other direction. I regret that.  That being said, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the soldier of any free nation, specifically Israel and the United States.  Here in America, whenever I meet a veteran I thank him or her for their service, full aware of the fact that my good fortune to live in freedom is given to me by their service and sacrifice.  So what has struck me the most, and what appears to be the 300lb. elephant in the room is the fact that the last 2 attacks on police officers, attacks that have left 8 of them gunned down in cold blood, were perpetrated by veterans.  The question we must ask is why?

The first part of the question is why is no one talking about that?  FOX Opinion Channel-they primarily share Opinions nowadays, not News-a channel that blames the administration for everything wrong in the world, does not seem to address this with any significant emphasis.  I’ve heard nothing from CNN either regarding this, leading me to believe that both stations have chosen to focus on the issues that are most politically expedient, rather than such an important factor in what’s happening to our society. Whether you support the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq or not, as an American or a citizen of any free country in the world for that matter, you must support the troops.  We may all say that we do, but at the end of the day I can’t help but wonder what kind of support they are getting from our government and society as a whole upon their return stateside.  I dare say that if proper structures were in place, structures addressing the practical and emotional needs of our soldiers, it’s entirely possible that both Micah Johnson and Gavin Long would not have committed these horrible actions against law enforcement.  Instead, Johnson killed 5 officers in Dallas and Long killed 3 in Baton Rouge.

Is it possible that neither side wants to address this because it does not meet their political agenda, or is not being looked at as an important issue.  Either way that’s a major problem.  It’s one thing when inner-city children become criminals, growing up with no fathers, no guidance, no concept of right and wrong, but a soldier?  Isn’t part of military service designed to teach and mold an individual to do the honorable and correct thing? Sure there will always be those that can’t be helped and turn dark, but when the last 2 major attacks on law enforcement in the United States were committed by veterans, shouldn’t we ask ourselves why?  Shouldn’t we as citizens be increasingly concerned knowing that people who were trained to kill bad guys are coming home and being so neglected that they turn on the good guys as well?

I am sure there is enough blame to go around for everyone on both sides of the political aisle, a fact that is most likely the reason neither sides makes it an emphasis in the discussion.  However, as an American who hopes this country will maintain its status as the greatest and freest country in the world, I believe it’s incumbent on us to focus on how we treat are veterans, otherwise there is a good chance more of them will go down this very dark path, a path that threatens us all.

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When Emotion overpowers Self- preservation

 

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I have a confession to make.   Last night I needed a drink. Not because of anything to do with my job or family or personal relationships, but for an entirely different reason.  Last night I needed a drink because I found it impossible to come to terms with the atrocities other human beings have become capable of performing.

I ride a bike.  Much of it on sidewalks.  I get extra cautious near driveways, partially for my own safety but even  more out of concern that someone will walk out and I might hit them and injure them.  I am as careful as I can possibly be because the thought of even bumping someone with my bike is unacceptable to me.  So when I hear on the news that a deranged Islamic terrorists mows down over 80 men, women and children out of what he has somehow concluded is a righteous cause, I can’t wrap my head around it.  I know that most if not all of the people reading this feel the same way as I do, but last night for me, at least personally it reached a bit of a boiling point.

I try desperately to get some sense of what can make someone do something so unspeakable, and all I can come up with is the following conclusion.  They fear nothing. They do not fear consequences, they do not fear death, and they certainly do not fear God. They may justify it by claiming they are performing an act that is needed to restore God’s honor, but in every scripture in every religion, God is patient, merciful and loving. Yes the innocent suffer, but the theological and philosophical question of why does not translate into some sort of perverse divine endorsement of murder.

To be opposed to the taking of any life under any circumstances, even punishment, is a more rational philosophy than to believe one is doing God’s will in murdering the innocent.  These terrorists, brainwashed by their ideology and empowered by the desperation of their lives, are doing nothing short of playing God.  This is Ayatollah Khomeini’s great Muslim revolution.  This is not all Muslims by any means, but this is a result of millions of people allowing the idea of a religious revolution to propagate. Thank Iran for this, thank the PLO and Yasser Arafat, for these are the people and places where modern day terrorism was born.  If these people that are committing these horrific acts saw different consequences it would eventually stop. But as of now they are taught that they are helping the growth of Islam and that not only will they not be punished, they will be rewarded in the afterlife.  Rather than thinking they will burn in hell and destroy the world, they believe they will save the world and be heroes in the afterlife.

Desensitization is often what makes us get through the day.  How many people still think of Istanbul, Brussels or Orlando or San Bernadino, not to mention the constant onslaught on the population of Israel over the years.  We all think of these things and of course we think of 9/11 as the mother of all terrorist attacks, until the one that takes more lives than the 3,000 taken back in 2001.  But even when we think about it we move on with our lives, enjoy our days whenever possible, eat, drink, laugh and love and smile.  No one is wrong for doing so.  It’s self-preservation.  But last night I reached the point when I could not smile, when m emotion overpowered my self-preservation, because I could not understand how a human being could reach such depth of anger and hatred that they could kill with no conscience.  In some ways maybe I am lucky to still feel enough to reach that point, but there is no celebrating that fact.  I would prefer to never test it at all.

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Let’s be honest

President Obama Delivers state of the union

Over the past few year I have been far from thrilled with President Obama.  However, I pride myself in being truly objective and was struck by the following.  In a week that exhibited the worst problems facing America, in a week in which we saw a black man get shot by police when 3 of them already had him pinned down, a week in which we saw what appeared to be a decent law-abiding black male get killed in front of his girlfriend and 4 year old daughter because of a policeman with poor training and zero composure merely because what seemed to be him reaching for his drivers licence, and what can only be described as the brutal execution of 5 police officers in Dallas who ironically were making sure Black Lives Matter protesters remained safe during a peaceful protest, the president spoke. In a speech lasting almost 4 minutes, for at least 3 of those minutes President Obama spoke of how despicable the attack was, the tremendous and difficult job facing the police, how nothing could justify the attack on them and how we need to stand in support of law enforcement. He spent about 10 seconds talking about people being armed with caliber weapons, about 5 seconds referring to his previous comments about America’s racial issues and he’s being attacked from the right for making this political. Let’s be honest here. Who’s really making this political?

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