Tag Archives: CNN

The Trump Siddur(Jewish Prayer Book)

sachAs I have been doing on a regular basis for the past 3 months, I went to my local synagogue this past Shabbat( Saturday) morning. As I walked in I grabbed a Siddur, Jewish Prayer book, and a Chumash, the 5 Books of Moses.  When you open the Art Scroll Siddur, my personal Siddur of choice, on the right mostly everything is in Hebrew, and on the left mostly everything is English.  That is, usually it is. As I sat down to pray this particular prayer book had no English in it at all.  Where I usually read the English it was now replaced entirely with Russian.

After I made a double and triple take to make sure this was actually Russian and I wasn’t having a stroke, I decided to call this particular Siddur the Trump Siddur.  I then opened the inside cover and in my imagination at least, saw the words, Dedicated to Jared Kushner. Well not really, but I imagined it to be so.  I also imagined the second I put it back on the shelf a lacky from CNN was going to come collect it to see to it that it would be displayed as evidence on the next episode of Anderson Cooper 360.

Just before I stopped trying to be funny and got back to the business at hand of praying, I came to one conclusion.  Art Scrolls is clearly guilty of collusion.  That being said, until I hear evidence they influenced the election at all, I have every intention of keeping them as my Siddur of choice.

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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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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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Bernie’s Double Down on Israel is About Fear, Not Courage

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After watching the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, some commentators went on the record as saying they felt Senator Sanders showed courage in his continuing insistence that Israel’s military action in the most recent Gaza War was a “disproportionate response”.  Their analysis was that a Jewish politician coming to New York and taking this unpopular stance in, of all places Brooklyn, took bravery and character, regardless of whether you agree with his viewpoint or not.  The reality is, despite how it looks on the surface, nothing could be further from the truth.

I don’t blame the commentators for feeling this way.  I do recognize that when Van Jones, a journalist for CNN and an African-American showed a degree of admiration for Sanders for not backing down, he was very clear about the fact that it was whether you agree with him or not.  His admiration for his character was not an endorsement of the viewpoint.  Nevertheless, just as I can intellectually understand but not comprehend what it means to be black in America, so too Van does not understand what it is like to be the son of Holocaust survivors. Incidentally, neither does Bernie Sanders.

Even when discussing his Jewish background and experience with Israel, Senator Sanders comes across more as he is talking about them than us.  I hardly ever use the term self-hating Jews anymore, not because I don’t believe that some Jews fall into that category, but because I believe it to be inappropriate to declare what someone hates or loves unless they come right out and say it.  However, I do know that the perspective of a cultural Jew whose parents immigrated from Poland with little money is very different than a proud Jew whose parents lived through Nazi-occupation first hand. But more importantly I recognize that those who take the side of the enemy hardly ever do so because of a courage of convictions, rather they do so out of a fear so deep-rooted, they either don’t know it exists or they deny it to the world.

The enemies of the free world are dangerous and frightening people.  Most of these enemies hate America and its way of life with a passion.  To an Islamic Extremist, there is almost nothing worse than an American with American values.  Almost. The one thing worse is a Jewish American.  That’s not to be taken lightly in today’s world. After all if history proves nothing else, it proves that hatred for Jews is easily converted into violence against Jews.  Throughout time, but most notably during the time of Adolph Hitler, there were always Jews who took the side of the enemy because they felt it would save them.  The harsh reality is, that it not only ended up in the loss of their lives, it ended up in the destruction of their soul.

I have absolutely no problem with a presidential candidate speaking of the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity.  I have also gone on the record many times as being someone completely willing to blame Israel when they deserve to be blamed.  That being said, a sovereign nation defending its very right to exist and retaliating against missile attacks on its population centers by a terrorist organization is not the guilty party.  Furthermore, being a Jewish politician in America and taking the side of the terrorist organization not only does not make you an individual of courage and character, it ultimately does nothing to make you immune from those who hate the Jewish people.  All it does do is make you another typical politician pandering to a certain demographic, albeit not the demographic of those born into the same religion as you.  It also makes you a coward more than it makes you a hero.  Taking on Israel is not the same as taking on Wall Street.  Taking on Israel is easy.  In the world in which we live today, it might even help a politician get more funding, and generally speaking, and I say this with pride,pro-Israel Jews don’t commit acts of violence against those who oppose their views.  I have little doubt Bernie Sanders knows that as well.

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Why it’s Too Late to Stop Terror

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It’s somewhat encouraging to see the victories taking place against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Taking out their second in command and capturing the town of Palmyra are both significant accomplishments in the war on the territorial front. That part of the war can be won in somewhat conventional fashion.  The only question is what the best course of action is to win it.  Even the lesser military minds can see an end game.  The main questions are what strategy to use and how long it will take?  With the ongoing terrorist attacks in the west, operations have increased and have so far proven to be relatively successful.  The second war, the terror war being brought to Europe and as of yet on a lesser scale to North America is not a war that can be won any time soon, if at all.  The sad news is, it’s just too late.

It’s a harsh reality, one that may or may not ever impact people directly, but it’s a reality nonetheless.   Even if somehow ISIS would be wiped out in its various bases of operations, the exported terrorists, sitting and waiting for the best opportunities to strike are so spread out and in such large number, even if we were to just wait it out, be vigilant, and stop numerous attacks, there will are still likely to be numerous attacks that will be successful and wreak maximum havoc and suffering.  Just look at Israel, a nation dealing with terror for decades and arguably the most prepared and most adept at dealing with terrorism.  Yet despite the expertise there are still numerous terrorist attacks resulting in the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

There might have been an opportunity a few years back to stop the growth of ISIS, but the sad fact is that until terror hits home, or close to home, western nations are far more accomplished in rationalization than in positive results.  Terrorist activities against Israeli citizens have been rationalized as a fight for liberation.  Attacks against Israelis, Iraqis, Libyans, Pakistanis, just to name a few, are not viewed by the west with the same anger and horror as attacks against the French, Belgian or American. Even today, after 63 people, most of them women and children were killed in a terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, CNN and FOX are providing minimal coverage and discussion.  In fact, a half day later, the terror attack isn’t even the top story.  That’s been changed to a story of how Donald Trump claims to be better for women than anyone and is accompanied by a picture of him kissing his wife Melania. Incidentally, the victims in Pakistan were Christians attacked by a splinter group of the Taliban and purposely done on Easter Sunday.  Iran, a nation with far greater experience and success in the development and exportation of terrorists is allowed to make a deal for nuclear energy and is somehow rewarded with the release of billions of dollars.  Even if somehow we do outlast what we say are hundreds but are more likely thousands of ISIS operatives ready to strike, if the entire approach towards terror doesn’t change, if we do defeat ISIS, we are likely to be left with another group, or even worse, country to fight.  For people who take the view that they can’t be worried about what happens to the “people over there”, they need to understand that it is the sons and brothers of those people the terrorists are radicalizing and mobilizing  against the west.

As is the case with many of my fellow Jews and many pro-Israel citizens in the west, I have argued for years that there is not enough value put on Jewish life.  I still maintain that, but the difference now is that I believe there is not enough value put on any life lost east of Germany.  I am not making a bleeding heart plea for sympathy, rather a legitimate call to arms against global terrorism, not just the flavor of the moment.  ISIS is by far the most active and dangerous organization in the world, but it is joined by so many other groups ready to take over prominence if they get defeated that without a long term global strategy against terror, we are doomed to live with it for the rest of our lives and very likely see it continue for further generations.

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Super Tuesday notes: Including why the KKK thing does matter

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So let me get this out of the way first.  Who else out there thought Chris Christie standing behind Donald Trump during the press conference looked like someone stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge?  Either that or he was thinking, “Donald told me I have to stand here for a little while and then we’ll go for Ice Cream”.   As far as the overall results on Super Tuesday, I agree it established a clear path for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, but as far as the Republicans are concerned, am I missing something?  Was this not supposed to be a trouncing by Trump?  It looks like Sara Palin is so relevant she couldn’t even help him win Alaska. Are his 4 losses and other close races not a reflection of a tightening race?   Apparently not according to the pundits. Or is there something more devious behind all of this?

Although I am sure the more conservative of you will disagree on this, I believe with a few exceptions CNN is usually the most balanced of the major cable news networks. FOX leans to the right and MSNBC is too one-sided to the left to even be seen as a viable news source.  CNN does the best job at covering of at least feigning neutrality. However, it would appear that there may be something slightly more devious coming from within the CNN ranks.

Take today’s headlines on the websites of CNN and FOX for example.

CNN: Establishment reluctantly realizes a Trump nomination is near

FOX: BIG WINS, BIG QUESTIONS

So the case can be made that CNN leans to the left, and that promoting Trump’s victory with extra vigor helps Hillary Clinton’s chances.  After all, if you look at the polls, the only Republican candidate that loses to her head to head is Donald Trump.  Then again, in the name of equitable cynicism, maybe for FOX it is all about selling a debate that takes place tomorrow.  After all, a fait accompli would not be particularly good for ratings.

One thing is certain.  Super Tuesday was not nearly as super for Donald Trump as originally expected.  He lost 4 states  when previously he was touted as having a chance to win them all, and it was very close in states like Vermont, Arkansas, and maybe most notably Virginia, where Marco Rubio might have won if the primary had taken place a few days later.  Clearly the attacks on Trump have taken their toll.  The question is whether or not they came in time to stop him winning the nomination.  It’s too soon to tell, but the one issue that needs to be taken seriously is Trump’s handling of the interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper over the David Duke endorsement.  Donald Trump has been around a long time.  He’s been called a big mouth, a showman, an opportunist, and someone who only cares about himself. One thing he has not been called with any frequency is a racist.  I believe that is for one very obvious and simple reason.  He isn’t one.  However, in his straight-talking, populous, brash, appeal to the masses way, he generates enthusiasm from the angry, the scared, and yes, the bigots. Why?  Bigots are always looking for someone else to blame for their miserable lot in life.  Trump may not be one of those people, but the words he says and how he says them excites and entices the angriest and most hateful.  I believe the reason Trump was so hesitant in the interview was because the only word his “faulty earpiece” allowed him to hear, was the word endorsement.  I’m not saying an endorsement from David Duke is more important to him than right and wrong, merely that for Trump, the desire to win is so great he finds it hard to turn away anyone who likes him.Even if we are to give him his due and say it’s not his fault that these people support and like him, the fact that they do like him makes him dangerous.  Not because he will do anything to placate them, but anything that gives them enthusiasm and excitement is a dangerous thing. 

So what’s the bottom line on Hangover Wednesday?  Yesterday’s big winner was Hillary Clinton.  Not just because of what happened on the Democratic side but because of what happened on the Republican side.  For the Undecideds who may or may not like or trust her, when all is said and done her advantage may come down to the age old saying, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. And those Undecideds may just make the difference.

I can’t wait till March 15th.

 

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Open Letter to CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield regarding her reference to Jewish terror attacks

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Dear Ashleigh,

It is shocking to me that I need to write a letter like this to someone who is supposed to be an intelligent journalist.  The reason I am even bothering is twofold.  First of all you are quite well known and subsequently with your relatively significant exposure people might actually listen to you.  Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, your comments are so indicative of a larger problem that I feel it necessary to use what you said as a tool to help inform the ignorant.

In what can only be described as so ridiculous it is borderline satirical, you compared Islamic Terrorism of today to Jewish terror attacks of the 1980s.  I could ask you just one question and my point might already be made.  How many Americans were taken by what you call Jewish terrorism?   If my research is correct, the JDL (Jewish Defense League) is responsible for the death of 7 people on U.S. soil between 1968 and 1985.  These 7 people were connected primarily to Soviet and Arab targets.  How many of these victims were American?  The answer is one.  Ironically the one American death was a Jewish woman named Iris Kones and her death contributed to turning many Jews against the JDL.   The rest were mostly citizens of the Soviet Union and Arab nations working in the various locations targeted in the attacks.  Since 1985 the JDL has not killed one person on American soil.  It is now considered a former terrorist organization, and offshoots of the group are banned in the State of Israel.  If you notice Ashleigh, nowhere in this letter am I making excuses for the violent actions of the JDL.  The right or wrong in what they have done is honestly irrelevant in this discussion and not something I wish to get into with you, but the cold hard facts alone show why your comparison is so unwarranted.

The other thing I know is that twice as many people were killed by 2 Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino in one day than were killed in 17 years by the JDL.  These 14 were killed for being American.  They were killed by people looking to change our entire way of life, and they were killed by people working to fulfill the desires of a terrorist organization already responsible for the murder of ten of thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of people.  Although founded by an Orthodox Rabbi and based partially in the belief of Israel’s biblical borders, the JDL never was an organization, even at its most violent, that looked to change the religion of others.  It never targeted people for worshiping in different ways, and its justification for violent attacks was preserving safety for Jews around the world and to free Jews from oppression, particularly in the Soviet Union, a nation at odds with the United States at the very same time.  Finally what might be most important to acknowledge is that the JDL never sought the destruction of the United States and other civilized countries.  It never pursued global domination and it never once threatened the overall population of any country.  It just wanted Jews to live in safety and freedom and used violence to further its cause.  I am not endorsing the violence, but to compare it to today’s Islamic extremism and the terrorist threat existing in America is dangerously ignorant.

I do not endorse Donald Trump’s plan to ban all Muslims from entering the country and understand that you said what you did in an attempt to underscore your criticism of his statement, but here is why it was so wrong.  In comparing the actions of a handful of Jews over 30 years ago to today’s Islamic terrorists, you actually dilute the seriousness of the threat the world is faced with today.  The actions of individuals targeting a specific group for a specific purpose, regardless of how right or wrong they might be, is not on par with a worldwide threat targeting innocent people all over the globe for the purpose of changing them over to their way of thinking. To make the comparison is not just unwise, it is irresponsible.  And indirectly guess what else it does?  The very same thing you were trying not to do. It helps Donald Trump.  It leads people to  believe that some in the media don’t understand the danger that exists and as a result Trump has the only real solutions to the problem.

Tell it like it truly is Ashleigh and maybe instead of hurting the overall situation you will actually help it.  Unfortunately all this did was potentially embolden the wrong people, and do what you as a reporter should never want to do.  It made you the story.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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