Esteemed journalist and broadcaster, Dan Rather, speaks out on the rise of the Alt-Right and neo-Nazi salutes throughout the States.

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© Dan Rather

Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted.

HIstory will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful experiment in a pluralistic democracy ruled by law.

When I see neo-Nazis raise their hands in terrifying solute, in public, in our nation’s capital, I shudder in horror. When I see that action mildly rebuked by a boilerplate statement from the President-elect whom these bigots have praised, the anger in me grows. And when I see some in a pliant press turn that mild statement into what they call a denunciation I cannot hold back any longer.

Our Declaration of Independence bequeaths us our cherished foundational principle: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These truths may be self-evident but they are not self-replicating. Each generation has to renew these vows. This nation was founded as an opposite pole to the capriciousness of an authoritarian monarch. We set up institutions like a free press and an independent court system to protect our fragile rights. We have survived through bloody spasms of a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement to extend more of these rights to more of our citizens. But the direction of our ship of state has not always been one of progress. We interned Japanese Americans, Red Baited during the McCarthy era, and more. I feel the rip tide of regression once again swelling under my feet. But I intend to remain standing.

In normal times of a transition in our presidency between an incoming and outgoing administration of differing political parties, there is a certain amount of fretting on one side and gloating on the other. And the press usually takes a stance that the new administration at least deserves to have a chance to get started – a honeymoon period. But these are not normal times. This is not about tax policy, health care, or education – even though all those and more are so important. This is about racism, bigotry, intimidation and the spectre of corruption.

But as I stand I do not despair, because I believe the vast majority of Americans stand with me. To all those in Congress of both political parties, to all those in the press, to religious and civic leaders around the country. your voices must be heard. I hope that the President-elect can learn to rise above this and see the dangers that are brewing. If he does and speaks forcibly, and with action, we should be ready to welcome his voice. But of course I am deeply worried that his selections of advisors and cabinet posts suggests otherwise.

To all of you I say, stay vigilant. The great Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that even as a minority, there was strength in numbers in fighting tyranny. Holding hands and marching forward, raising your voice above the din of complacency, can move mountains. And in this case, I believe there is a vast majority who wants to see this nation continue in tolerance and freedom. But it will require speaking. Engage in your civic government. Flood newsrooms or TV networks with your calls if you feel they are slipping into the normalization of extremism. Donate your time and money to causes that will fight to protect our liberties.

We are a great nation. We have survived deep challenges in our past. We can and will do so again. But we cannot be afraid to speak and act to ensure the future we want for our children and grandchildren.

This is what passes for news now on CNN: “…are Jews people?” by Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

I was sickened to see this headline on CNN.  Giving time to the Alt-Right legitimizes their existence, hatred, bigotry.  CNN is no longer a news outlet…it is sensationalism for the purpose of boosting ratings.  Gone are the days of Bernard Shaw reporting on the news, not talking heads screaming at each other.  Where is the reporting on what is going on in North Dakota?  It would seem that CNN would rather fan the flames of a Nazi revival.  I have not turned on CNN since Election Night, I will find other sources for “new facts” which are occurring around the world.

I WILL NOT SIT IDLY BY AND WATCH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ALT RIGHT IS GIVEN LEGITIMACY AND JEWS ARE DENIGRATED AND MADE THE SCAPE GOAT.  IF THIS BLOG NEEDS TO BECOME A DAILY REMINDER OF WHAT IS HAPPENING, THEN THAT IS WHAT IT WILL BECOME.  

 I am proud to be Jewish; this video speaks to me and I will stand up for the 6 million who can’t speak.

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This is what occurred in a Washington DC restaurant just two nights; a white supremacist group saluting their leader Donald Trump

CNN: this is what is happening in North Dakota, in case you were too busy giving  life to a Nazi party.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/21/politics/alt-right-gathering-donald-trump/index.html

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RIP Leonard Cohen; “So Long Marianne”…Leonard’s letter to his muse, his love, Marianne…in which he acknowledges the end is near for both.

© Chuck Duboff:    Just months before passing, Leonard’s life long muse and love, Marianne, was on her deathbed.  He wrote a letter to her in which he expressed his timeless love for her and that he would soon be joining her on the next journey.

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Leonard and Marianne in the 1960’s

Leonard’s Letter to Marianne:

‘Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.

“Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”‘

So Long Marianne
Come over to the window, my little darling,
I’d like to try to read your palm.
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
before I let you take me home.
Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.
Well you know that I love to live with you,
but you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.
Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …
We met when we were almost young
deep in the green lilac park.
You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
as we went kneeling through the dark.
Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …
Your letters they all say that you’re beside me now.
Then why do I feel alone?
I’m standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.
Now so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …
For now I need your hidden love.
I’m cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.
Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …
Oh, you are really such a pretty one.
I see you’ve gone and changed your name again.
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside,
to wash my eyelids in the rain!
Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began …

RIP Leonard Cohen; “I’m Your Man”…Jewish Blues at its finest; an explanation of “Shivah” follows…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff: in our Jewish faith, there is a seven day mourning period called Shivah, when someone passes away.  During this time, family and friends gather to celebrate the life of the person who has moved on…Leonard Cohen was a devout Jew; he passed away last Monday, but family and friends kept it quiet.  His body was flown from Los Angeles to his home of Montreal and last Thursday the funeral was held at the synagogue which Leonard regularly attended.  As much as his music was spiritual in nature, his devotion to his culture and religion brought him great solace in life.

As a tribute to Leonard, I will post his wonderful music for seven days; this is my way of sitting Shivah for a man who deeply inspired me, whose insight into life, whose understanding and expression brought some clarity to this complex journey we are all on.  I was humbled by a former student the other day who sent me a message saying that she remembered how I used Cohen’s music and lyrics in class and that every time she hears or reads something about Leonard, she thinks of me”,

I’m Your Man
If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I’ll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner, take my hand, or
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I’m your man
If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I’ll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver, climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I’m your man
Ah, the moon’s too bright
The chain’s too tight
The beast won’t go to sleep
I’ve been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah, but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I’d crawl to you baby and I’d fall at your feet
And I’d howl at your beauty like a dog in heat
And I’d claw at your heart, and I’d tear at your sheet
I’d say please (please)
I’m your man
And if you’ve got to sleep a moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I’ll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while across the sand
I’m your man

A letter to Donald Trump, from Bill Howell; pretty much sums up how I feel about the Republican nominee for President of the U.S.A

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These five presidents are not supporting Donald Trump.

 

A gentleman named Bill Howell wrote this letter:
Dear Mr. Trump:
It’s taken me a while to realize this and to admit it, but I’m grateful to you.
For the past few months I’ve spent a good deal of time lamenting your campaign and the poison it has so effortlessly generated. I’ve watched our country imploding, our public discourse become polluted, our political climate grows ever more corrosive, and wrongly assumed you were to blame.
It’s only lately I’ve come to understand that you haven’t manufactured our current national ugliness—you’ve simply revealed it.
By saying the irresponsible, mean-spirited, ignorant things you say so freely and so frequently, you’ve given other like-minded people license to do the same. You’ve opened up the floodgates for our corporate sewage to flow fully. People no longer conceal their vile mess, they now revel in it, they broadcast it and retweet it.
You’ve made bigotry and racism socially acceptable again and that has been a kind of twisted gift because it’s allowed me to really see people; not as they pretend to be on the surface—but in the very depths of their wounded, weaponized hearts.
Over and over as your campaign has persisted, your supporters would tell me that they like you because you “speak your mind”. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve realized that you speak their minds. You’ve given credence to their prejudices and made those prejudices go mainstream.
Thanks to the terrible ground you’ve broken, politicians, pastors, friends, and strangers, both in person and on social media now regularly out themselves as hateful, intolerant, and malicious—and they remind me just how close they are to me, just how deep the sickness in us runs, and just how far we have to go together.
You’ve emboldened people to be open about things they used to conceal for the sake of decorum, and though it turns my stomach, I know that this is the only way we can move forward; to have that cancerous stuff exposed fully so that it can be dealt with. Our progress as a nation is predicated on authentic dialogue, no matter how brutal and disheartening that dialogue is.
In other words, you’ve let us know what we’re really dealing with here and while it’s been rightly disturbing, it’s also been revelatory. That’s the thing about that kind of harsh light: you’re forced to see everything. Beauty and monstrosity equally illuminated.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think you’re the least qualified, least knowledgeable Presidential candidate we may ever have had participate this far into the process, and if you somehow were elected I’d fear gravely for the world my children would inherit—should it survive your Presidency at all. I believe you’re reckless, bitter, and completely reprehensible; the very worst kind of bully.
But whether you win or lose, you’ve already allowed me the blessing of Truth; about me, about you, about other candidates, about our nation.
And in the process you’ve also shown me that I am not alone in resisting you and this ugly thing you’ve revealed about us.
You’ve generated an equally loud, equally passionate response to it and this is where I find my hope these days.
I find it in those for whom equality isn’t just a cheap buzzword, it’s the most precious of hills to die on.
I find it in those people who refuse to be silent in the face of our impending shared regression.
I find it in those willing to be bolder in defending the inherent value of all people.
I find it in the growing army of those who will not tolerate hatred as a core American value.
I find it in those who reject violence as our default response to dissension.
I find it in the ever rising voice of people who will not let malice and bitterness represent them in the world.
Today I find my hope in those who, like me, will not be complicit in allowing bigotry and intolerance to become a source of national pride, because we’ve seen where that leads.
Yes, Mr Trump, you’ve unearthed our hidden sickness and you’ve allowed it to go viral.
You brought every awful thing about us out into the open.
You will NEVER Get My Vote!

First They Came…by Pastor Martin Niemoller

© Chuck Duboff:      I am asked why I keep talking, writing about issues like racism, tolerance, human rights…when racism ends, when human rights for all is not questioned, when tolerance is our way of life…then I will stop…until then…ask yourself why, in 2016, racism still permeates society.

Chuck's Eclectic Blog.

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First They Came

Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left To speak out for me.

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Tolerance: the foundation of a healthy society…by Chuck Duboff

 

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© Chuck Duboff

Tolerance is defined  as:  a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. … a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs, and practices that differ from one’s own.

Some thoughts and questions to ponder:

A society which encourages tolerance of those who differ in their beliefs, opinions, religious teachings and cultural behaviours…is a society which will function peacefully,  respectfully and in harmony.

A lack of tolerance for others…resisting change, fighting back against new cultural norms, denigrating the religious beliefs of others…leads to a society filled with chaos, tension and disunity.

Ask yourself: are you able to tolerate new cultures within your community?

Do you value, respect and listen to the opinions of others?

Are you set in your ways and not able to have an open mind to change, to accept that society is always evolving?

We often imagine that things were greater in the past…ask yourself honestly, were things really great “back then” or have you sugar coated the past?

Tolerance…without it, societies fall apart; there is lack of mutual respect, people live in fear and anger towards others is the overriding emotion…which fuels a society on the brink of anarchy.

Christopher Hitchens:

I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar sums up ISIS & Donald Trump brilliantly; by Chuck Duboff

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

 

“ISIS is to Islam, what Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.”

 

“Donald Trump, like ISIS, is really a symbol of this irrationality.  They both appeal to those who feel powerless and inferior, because they refuse to look at facts, weigh evidence, use logic.”

http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/06/16/kareem-abdul-jabbar-isis-is-to-islam-what-westboro-baptist-church-is-to-christianity-video/


Muslim Jew

Was it God or new found wisdom? by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

I am not, nor have I ever been, a religious person.  I am very proud to be Jewish; I embrace the culture and stand up for Judaism.  However, the religious aspect of being Jewish never has captured me.  I believe that having had it forced upon myself, without any understanding or explanation provided, left me resistant to religious teachings.  I get my back up against the wall when I am told what to think and how to act.  My beliefs would best be described as spiritual, embracing the wisdom and teachings from all cultures.  I have never believed that any one culture has a monopoly on “the right way” to worship, to believe, to act.

In the Dire Straits’ song, Industrial Disease, there is a line:

“Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.”

On Thursday, June 2nd, I was visited by God or I was it that I just want to believe that that is what happened.

I have had many challenging times throughout my life, times which forced me to look within, to try and understand what was happening.  Rather than embracing any lessons which were meant to be learned, I instead continued to force a square peg into a round hole.  Life didn’t seem to be working; yet I continued to be resistant to any religious teaching.  The battles grew larger and larger and my resistance to making changes in my life grew greater.  I held onto all the battles, trying to make some sense of what was going on.

lessonThe lessons were always there to be had.  Initially they were singular in nature and I paid no attention.  A few years ago,  I had two very traumatic events happen within a three week period, one being the suicide of a very dear friend.  The pain was overwhelming, the confusion beyond any understanding.  I held onto this pain, held on, tried to make sense of it all…yet it never came.  Restless nights ensued, confusion without clarity persisted and headaches and dizzy spells became the norm.

Thursday morning, June 2nd, I had a mini-stroke.  I lost all memory of what happened that day.  Events supposedly occurred on that day which I have no recollection of.  By late in the day I was back to myself, tired, exhausted and bewildered.  I slept for almost two days straight…thoroughly beaten down.

I have shared with many that I am proud of the fact that at my age of 62 I still exercise 6 days a week; aside from the occasional treat, I eat very healthy food.  I have never smoked, I drink a minimal amount of alcohol and any drug use was ages ago.  However, my one major flaw is my holding onto things for far too long.  When I experienced those two traumatic events within a three week period, in hindsight, I now believe that was God trying to teach me a lesson.  “Chuck, you must learn to let go; these two experiences were meant to teach you to look at life differently!!”  I held on to both of them….and it would seem that I failed in my lesson.
As I have stated, I have never turned to a religion to try and understand life, however, I do believe that it was God who came to me on Thursday morning, June 2nd.  God decided it was time to bring the hammer down and give me the wakeup call that I needed.  It wasn’t lack of exercise, it wasn’t unhealthy eating, it wasn’t smoking, drinking or drugs, it was my inability to let go of things which brought about the stress which caused the mini-stroke.  This was God at work, this was God telling me that unless I learned to Let Go of things, to Let Go of the past, I would soon be, as Hamlet stated, food for worms.

This was God bringing me a lesson or was it?  Perhaps 62 years of fighting, resisting and denying led me to some new wisdom which had nothing to do with God…

God?  New wisdom?  The result is the same: I must let go, not hold on to the past and not worry about the future.  I must live in the present and appreciate the life I have.  It is that simple….I MUST LET GO or become FOOD FOR WORMS.

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