Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

You’ll have to forgive me Mr. President. I’m a Jew and I’ve been hurt before

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I know as a Jew and a Zionist I am supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy today.  After all the President of the United States did greet the Israeli Prime Minister with great respect and they expressed their long lasting friendship.  To make it even better, President Trump went as far as saying that he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  That’s never been said before. Oh wait. It has been said before. By just about everyone else to run or step into the office since at least the mid 90s.  So although I appreciate the nice words, right now they are nothing more than that, and as a Jew I am yet to be convinced.

For example, outgoing President Barack Obama, a disappointment to so much of the Jewish community started off by making the following comments.

“Let me be clear,“Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. … Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders.”

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.”

Go back to recently defeated candidate Hillary Clinton who wrote the following in a letter, dated July 2, 1999 to Dr. Mandell Ganchrow of the Orthodox Union in New York.

“If I am chosen by New Yorkers to be their senator, or in whatever position I find myself in the years to come, you can be sure that I will be an active, committed advocate for a strong and secure Israel, able to live in peace with its neighbors, with the United States Embassy located in its capital, Jerusalem.”

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton declared in February 1992, at the height of the Democratic primaries, that he supported recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that would alter U.S. policy, but never signed the 1995 congressional mandate to move the embassy.

Senator John McCain pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel “right away” from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as did Senator Robert Dole and George W. Bush who actually did become president.  Candidate Bush made the pledge to move the embassy on his first day in office. Once in office he said he went from doing it on the first day to saying he would begin the process on his first day.  Instead he signed a waiver every 6 months delaying the same 1995 congressional mandate and in the end never did it.

Enter President Donald J. Trump.  Yes he has said some very nice things. He too promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem.  But now he is looking into it. He promised to rip of the Iran deal on his first day.  We must have missed it. And he publicly stated the following at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

Donald Trump may end up being the best friend Israel ever had in the Oval Office.  I certainly hope so.  But forgive me if I’m not ready to throw a party yet. I’ve heard this song before.

 

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Establishment or Dissent. Which one is it?

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I’m struck by the hypocrisy coming out of the Trump camp.  In fairness, the “camp” I am referring to is not so much Donald himself but those who support him and seemingly gravitate to the term of surrogate.  Having spent an entire year hearing how Trump is anti-establishment, and following his success among voters sick and tired of the usual ways of Washington, I wonder by what right do Trump’s people insist that all Republicans should back their candidate?

I’m not questioning the legitimacy of his candidacy, solely based on the fact that he got to where he is through a Democratic process, but to aggressively demand that the likes of Romney, Ryan and the Bush’s have some sort of obligation to support him now that he is the presumptive nominee is opportunistic hypocrisy at its worst.  It’s almost like Trump’s surrogates are saying, “we won, now fall in line whether you like it or not”.

This issue does a lot to crystallize the major issues people have with the specter of a President Trump.  As one who is not convinced he is actually a racist demagogue but still potentially very dangerous, I see this issue as a very clear indication of what we might be looking at should he ascend to the position of leader of the Free World.  A presidential candidate’s benefits and dangers are not merely based on their words or actions but very much based on the impact those words and actions have on their supporters.  Trump’s responses to those who choose to not support him are very much what they’ve been throughout his campaign, mocking ridicule and name calling.  As non-presidential as that might be it’s not dangerous per se.  But his surrogates grab the torch from him and then take a different approach.  They go on the attack against those who choose not to support him, taking the approach of almost bullying them into changing their positions. It’s just a matter of time till the names of those Republicans not supporting him will be spoken of by Trump’s surrogates with the same venom they have when speaking of the Clintons or President Obama.  But what is the deal here?  If they are so anti-establishment, how does it make any sense for these surrogates to claim wrongdoing on the part of the establishment types unwilling to support their candidate?  If you are anti-establishment how can you demand the establishment concede? It’s one or the other, make your pick.

I know it’s a free country, for now at least, and that no laws are being broken when Trump’s followers go on the attack against his opponents, but the climate being created is a volatile one at best, and just like in international conflicts that are deemed powder kegs, the slightest misstep or out of the ordinary event could cause a disaster.  Trump might really love Hispanics, not just Tacos, but the danger in his candidacy remains, not just because of him but because of those who follow him.

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Why are America’s Major Political Parties so Surprised? They are Reaping what they Sowed

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With Donald Trump all over the media and the crisis facing the Republican Party taking center stage, it’s easy for people to overlook the issues the Democrats are dealing with almost simultaneously.  On the surface the two  most significant differences are the number of candidates remaining, and more importantly, the fact that the front runner for the Republicans is the candidate making the most noise and getting the most attention.  This does not necessarily mean he is the most controversial.  Objectively speaking, that distinction could at least as easily be given to the Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.  What both parties do have in common is that neither have any right to be surprised about where they are today.  In essence, both parties are reaping what they sowed.

It’s far easier to see this when looking at the Republican primaries.  Ultra conservatives and the Republican establishment have been attacking everything Democrat at least since the days of Bill Clinton.  Even before he got started Barack Obama’s opponents were attacking him from day one.  Whether you believe he’s been a great president or a failing president, his opponents assumed, almost immediately that he would be wrong on every policy move he ever made.  However, in reality it’s always been at least as much about his party as it was about his policies.

In fairness, the Republicans had just finished facing the same thing with George W. Bush.  After 9/11, and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, there was a short period of time, maybe the only time in decades  that the nation actually stood together as one. But as soon as things got a little better, the unity fell apart.  Nothing represented it more than the war in Iraq.   Very few people reading this will likely take an objective stance on that issue.  There are stances that Republicans and Democrats have taken that are clearly the party line.  Democrats generally say they opposed the war in Iraq. Ironically, even many of the ones that voted in favor of it now prefer to say they made a mistake than breaking away from the party rhetoric.  Republicans say the war was the correct move but it turned into a disaster once the Obama administration came into power.  I challenge people reading this to come up with an original thought on this issue possibly even in breaking with their party affiliation.  Why?  Because when you don’t look at things objectively and avoid telling people the truth, guess what you get? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

America is facing something far more complicated than a country divided.  This is actually a country with its two main parties divided before we even get to the growing division between Conservatives and Liberals, Democrats and Republicans.  The big question is, why is anyone surprised?  After years of vitriolic criticism from both sides, the 2 men that represent the subsequent backlash on both sides are a Socialist touting a political revolution and a Reality TV star and businessman with such extreme views he is garnishing support of the country’s worst racists and bigots. But what did people expect?  If you spend enough time telling people how evil everyone on the other side of the political aisle is, do you expect a happy populous?  Do you expect tranquil political discussion?  Or do you stop and realize that what’s been created is  an environment fertile to the growth of far left or far right extremism.

Sadly it never ends.  Even with the issue of Donald Trump’s rallies, supporters of Trump say one thing, detractors say the other.  People don’t seem to realize that this is part of what people are fed up with.  Not every “expert” on TV has to always sound like a paid representative of one side or the other.  Most people do some things wrong and some things right.  But when you listen to the pundits, their side does everything right, and the other side does everything wrong.  For once I would like to hear someone say something that both sides would disagree with.  At least then we would know they were being honest.

In an era when politics looks like wrestling, and I mean the fake kind, not the Olympic kind, and political nastiness and controversy is blown out of proportion for TV ratings-case in point the constant replay of the same punches from this past Friday night-we can hardly be surprised by what we are seeing in both parties.  After all, when true leadership is lacking, people are often left with strong expressions of anger and frustration.  What would really be surprising would be if it wasn’t happening.

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My Evolution to Radical

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The title is somewhat tongue in cheek because I really don’t see myself as being a radical, but in order to keep the interest of those on the far left who may see me that way, I chose to acknowledge what is very possibly going to be their claim.  The purpose of this piece is to explain how I, David Groen got from Liberal Clinton Democrat who voted for Obama twice, to writing articles and letters that seem to align me far more with the Republican right.  By the time you finish reading, whether you a Conservative or a Liberal I suspect I will surprise you, and very possibly disappoint you.

If it sounds like I am confused let me be clear.  I am more certain of where I stand on most issues than I have been my entire life.  I have not changed my views on some of the most polarizing issues of the day.  As soon as I state my stances on abortion and gay marriage I am certain to get some ire from a large portion of the Conservatives reading this. When I state my views on Israel and Foreign Affairs I am certain to get the same from many of the Liberals.  If this article seems like it is designed to make everyone angry at me, rest assured it is not.  I’m merely someone comfortable expressing his political views and since I try not to be a hypocrite, I see no reason to hide my politics.  In the end it is up to the reader to decide if he or she cares about my views, not me.

Most of the issues I intend to glance over quickly, while those dealing with Israel and Foreign Affairs in particular I will go into more detail. Here are some of the main issues that tend to define today’s Liberal and Conservative, not necessarily in the order stated. My order is based on how much I intend to say about the subject in this particular piece.

 

1-Abortion      2-Gay Marriage       3-Gun Control  

4-Foreign Affairs   5-Israel; (specifically for Jews, but often for non-Jews as well).

 

1-Abortion: I am pro-choice. I believe a woman has the right to decide what to do with her own body.

2-Gay Marriage: I really don’t care who people sleep with and since I believe one of the reasons America is a great country is the separation of Church and State, and since the only reason to ban this is a religious one, I believe it’s not the government’s business.  If a religious institution chooses not to marry gay people they have every right to make that choice.

3-Gun Control: I used to be so anti-gun that I would say that Americans had lost the right to bare arms based on our overall behavior with guns.  I believe strict and enforced regulations are important, but in today’s worldwide political climate I see how the need exists for individuals to carry a gun, and since that may even mean me, it would be hypocritical of me to hold the same views I once held.

Before I go on I will take a moment to explain my voting history back to the first Clinton presidency.  Actually the first part is easy.   For right or for wrong back then I didn’t feel the need to analyze it too deeply. I voted for who I liked the most.  I can say I voted Democrat across the board, and that would be true in local elections, but I also voted for Ronald Reagan(at least I think I did. I may have missed an election).

I liked Bill Clinton. The Monica Lewinsky issue aside, I still do. When Al Gore was running I found myself truly getting excited about politics.  I thought he was going to be a tremendous president. Whether or not I was right or wrong we will never know because Florida and hanging chads happened and George W. Bush became president instead.  With the devastation I felt when Gore did not become president and my 3 straight presidential elections voting Democrat, no one would ever have thought I would ever vote for W. That however, is exactly what happened in the next election. Since I greatly approved of his reaction and handling of 9/11, I voted for him when he ran for a second term.  Besides, I wasn’t particularly impressed with John Kerry anyway.  At least that is something that hasn’t changed.

When Barack Obama first hit the scene I was not a supporter.  But not so much because I had a problem with him, but because I was big time for Hilary.  When he defeated her in the primaries I was uncertain of my vote.  I liked John McCain’s toughness and patriotism but I put a lot of stock in who a candidate chooses for Vice President. So when McCain picked Sara Palin it became a much easier decision for me.  I voted for Obama.  When Obama came up for reelection I once again looked at the opponent.  I didn’t like Mitt Romney at all.  I didn’t believe a word he said.  Not because I believed he was necessarily so much less honest than everyone else, but because it always seemed that whatever he said was only designed to win the election.  I never felt like he was true to anything.  I also held out hope and wanted to believe that Obama did actually like Israel and that the things that looked bad were just part of his strategy to bring peace in the Middle East.  His actions still may be designed with that purpose in mind, but since it looks more and more like he is selling Israel out in whatever this process of his is, I’m subsequently not too happy about that vote.

I can’t tell this history without admitting that in retrospect I made some mistakes, but everyone’s truth is what it is, and this is mine. Who knows?  Maybe this piece will make some people admit votes they otherwise would have kept private.  With that said I go back to my list.

4-Foreign Affairs: On no issue have I “radicalized” more.  We all know the phrase history repeats itself.  I believe that history is not as likely to repeat itself as it is to mimic itself.  The difference may seem subtle but it is extremely significant and very important. As a son of Holocaust survivors, the history of the Jews in Europe has always been doubly personal.  Both as a Jew and as the son of Dutch Jews.  The Nazis rose to power under the unsuspecting noses of a hopeful Europe and somewhat detached America.  By the time it was too late, Hitler had put together a juggernaut of evil and terror that ran over the continent and caused a war that saw the death of tens of millions of people, including 6 millions Jews killed in genocidal manner.  The enemy was devastatingly powerful and ruthless.  The tactics of the Nazis were as evil as anything the world has ever seen. They were organized, cohesive and powerful.  But the allies had one advantage in attacking them. They were based in one country.  Yes there was a 5th column, the “ordinary people” placed in other countries to do a form of reconnaissance, but for the most part Nazi Germany was based out of Germany.  Although today’s evil uses some tactics very similar to the Nazis, and similarly their 2 main enemies are Americans and Jews, Muslim extremists are spread out in so many parts of the world, able to attack in so many different locations at any time, that the rising threat may have similarities to 1930s Europe, but nothing is a better example of history mimicking itself instead of repeating itself as the threats we face today.

That being said, the similarities are significant enough that I have formed the belief that negotiation and trust are just not a reasonable option. It hurts me to say that this is a fight I believe can only be won by force, but what do we see to tell us otherwise?  If we are only looking for history to repeat itself, we can make the argument that this is nothing like 1930s Europe and the rise of Nazism. But the language is similar, the lack of morality which justifies killing is similar, and the growth is even faster.  I don’t want to see innocent people get hurt, but innocent people needed to get hurt in Germany to stop the Nazis, and had that not happened millions of more innocent people would ultimately have gotten slaughtered.  To me and to all civilized people that is something that should be unacceptable.

5-Israel: I have made a very clear statement that I have no intention of wavering from. My next vote for president will be for whichever candidate I believe is most pro-Israel and toughest in foreign affairs.  I have been very vocal in my support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The other day I decided to listen to a J Street video regarding the need for a two-state Solution.  I think J Street is divisive and disingenuous, but in many ways I don’t believe a desire for a two-state solution is a bad thing necessarily.  Much of the statements in the video carried a lot of merit. The status quo will not be good for Israel.  It does create an even more dangerous future.  The prices that have been paid by so many are very high, and yes, it is a lot easier to speak this way from the United States than it is from Israel.  All that being said, it is not that I am opposed to a two-state solution per se, it is that under the current conditions a two-state solution is not a road to peace, it is a road to another Final Solution, not that different from the one attempted, and carried out to a large extent in devastating fashion by the Nazis against the Jews. 

To make peace you either need more than one willing party or for one party to be significantly stronger.  Those who criticize Israel the loudest do so because Israel, at the moment at least is stuck with the second choice.  Being a more powerful nation Israel is still able to win their wars.  With the lack of a willing peace partner Israel has 2 choices.  Keep the enemy down or die.  Forgive us “radicals” if we find the 2nd choice unacceptable.  No reasonable caring person is blind to the price Israel has to pay.  I can say with utmost confidence that the overwhelming majority of Israelis and Jews worldwide would gladly accept a two-state solution if it was with a party that truly wanted peace with the Jewish people.  If I felt Jewish lives would be saved I would support it.  But I believe, as do many like me, that more Jewish lives would be lost as a result of a two-state solution under the current conditions.  And it’s just plain anti-Israel cynicism to believe it falls solely on Israel to change these conditions.  

I can not and will not be moderate if I feel that a moderate viewpoint puts my people in danger.  

People who truly know Israelis and truly know the Jewish people as a whole, know that we are a people who desire to live in peace.  My lack of moderation is not based on some irrational hatred of Arabs and Muslims, my lack of moderation is based on those in power who talk about wanting to annihilate Israel and murder Jews while declaring a desire for peace for political or public relations expediency.  It’s baffling to me that anyone would believe the intentions of those calling for the murder of innocents were good at all, and to be quite honest it baffles me that the view opposing Israel somehow became one more often affiliated with a liberal status.   Maybe these people need to listen a little more to Alan Dershowitz.

So there you have my evolution to “radical”.  Make no mistake though.  This is one radical that hopes and prays that one day people will wake up and no longer allow their leaders to be preachers of death and destruction.  When that happens I suspect  I will no longer be seen as a radical, for I will be excited and supportive of what would then be a genuine peace process.

 

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Open Letter to Eric Roberts

RobertsMicDear Eric,

A friend of mine recently brought it to my attention that actors and musicians on the downside of their careers tend to be the ones with the biggest and most critical mouths.  I want to start by thanking you for adding credibility to his statement.

A little background about me first.  If anything, I’m a Democrat.  I say it like that because I’ve always leaned somewhat on the left on some issues, very on the left on others, and with the exception of foreign affairs never on the right-wing side of issues.  Subsequently I am not the guy you would expect to hear from on this matter.  However, I am so disturbed by this tactic used by you and others to push a political agenda at all costs, that I felt a burning need to speak up.

For you or anyone else to say that George W. Bush killed James Foley is nothing short of despicable.  Just like those who chose to blame him for 9/11 or those who blamed Bill Clinton for 9/11, to assign blame to an American president on that level is divisive, disgraceful, and a misguided use of a platform you really shouldn’t even have.  Since you clearly don’t get it, allow me to explain it to you.

I am not getting into, nor am I willing to break down the efforts or decisions of American presidents to you in regard to their foreign affairs policies, because the point you clearly do no get is that it is irrelevant in this discussion.  What is relevant is the use of language and the accusation you so emphatically disseminated.  For those who used partisan politics to pick a president to blame for 9/11 let me start there.  Al-Qaeda and Osama bin-Laden are responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people on 9/11, not Clinton or W. And you, the great political mind that you are, need to understand that it was not George W. Bush who killed James Foley and many others including Steven Sotloff, it was the terrorist group known as ISIS.

There’s a trend today among people like yourself, people who all of a sudden have a lot to say about the events taking place in the world.  They tend to reveal their fears of the real evil by going after someone else.  I understand you don’t want to piss off the real bad guys because then you might get hurt, but as an American I prefer you didn’t attack a former president in a manner that actually helps the bad guys.

As far as your last comment stating that Barack Obama stands for compassion, whether or not I agree with you or not isn’t the issue either.  What is the issue is that ending the statement as you did proves that your damaging indictment of George W. Bush is nothing other than an irresponsible and very partisan statement at a time when we need non-partisan actions and behaviors.

And here’s a twist that might really shut you up, although I doubt it.  My last 3 votes for president went to Obama twice and George W. Bush once.  So I clearly am not taking sides based on party politics.  I just don’t like what you did.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Blood on his hands

“Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, read history.  They elected Hitler”-Rudy Giuliani responding to the statement that the people of Gaza elected Hamas.

ap_jimmy_carter_110425_wg-e1335377335955You can be a humanitarian or a bigot if you so choose, but you can’t be both.  When you’ve fooled people into believing you are a humanitarian you better understand that is a term that applies to all human beings, not just the ones you like.  If you’re an ex-President of the United States of America you better understand that your words hold some weight and therefore can impact future events.

We may be able to argue that Jimmy Carter is and always was inept, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is also dangerous.  It is people like him, anti-Semites who enable terrorists, that have till now and still do, lay the groundwork for the deaths of countless innocent civilians.  I have heard Democrats blame George W. Bush for the 9/11 attacks and Republicans blame Bill Clinton, but I always maintained the only one to blame is Osama bin-Laden. However, if you really want to give some of the fault to an American president you can blame Jimmy Carter.  It goes much deeper than the debacle of leadership he showed during the Iranian revolution.  Jimmy Carter’s support and friendship with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat was the most high-profile acceptance of a terrorist by any American president in the nation’s history.  In doing this Jimmy Carter strengthened the PLO, legitimized terrorism, and set the groundwork for the growth of future terrorist organizations.

So Mr. Carter, you are not a humanitarian at all.  What you are is a hypocrite. You have used the guise of humanitarianism to push your agenda, an agenda that has always been anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.  Your relationship with Hamas is an easy one to understand.  They hide behind children to attack Israel, you hide behind humanitarianism.  You speak words that fraudulently portray you as a decent man, when in reality there is a lot of blood on your hands.  In opening your mouth again you clearly are hoping for more, and I have no doubt the blood you prefer is Jewish blood.

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These things happened….

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These things happened,

The publishing of Ulysses by James Joyce;  The first swimmer crossed the English Channel; Calvin Coolidge became president; the first Winter Olympics took place; Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic Ocean; Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse; Herbert Hoover became president; the Stock Market crashed;Penicillin was discovered; the planet Pluto was discovered; Empire State Building was completed; Amelia Earhart crossed the Atlantic; Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Party became ruling party in Germany; Social security was established; Golden Gate Bridge was opened; Japan invaded China; Germany annexed Austria; World War II;  Japan attacked Pearl Harbor; Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; 60 million people killed in World War II;  6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust; Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier; the State of Israel was founded; United Nations was formed;  NATO was formed; Korean War; Elvis Presley; Polio vaccine created;  Disneyland Opened; JFK became President; I was born; Cuban Missile Crisis; JFK assassinated; The Beatles; Vietnam War; Star Trek series; first Super Bowl; Apollo 11 landed on the moon; Terrorists Killed Israeli Athletes at Munich Olympics; Watergate scandal forced President Richard Nixon’s resignation; the movie Star Wars; John Paul II became Pope; Iranian Muslim revolution; CNN was formed; AIDS discovered; Personal Computers were invented; Soviet Union collapsed; Apartheid ended; Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa; 2 different Bush’s became Presidents; Bill Clinton became president; the Euro currency was formed; 3,000 killed in 9/11 attack in New York; Iraq War; the Internet was created; Holland lost 3 World cup finals; Justin and Kim got married.

These things happened, in the 92 years between the birth of these 2 people, my mother Sipora Groen and my youngest family member and great-niece Jara.

If this doesn’t give you hope nothing does.