Archive for July, 2009

David Haivri–Defending His Homeland of Israel

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

At the Luxe Hotel in Brentwood in Los Angeles, I had the good fortune of attending a brilliant presentation by David Haivri.

David Haivri is a Jew from New York who made Aliyah to Israel. He lives in areas of land that enemies of Israel and other well intentioned but ill informed individuals refer to as “occupied territories.” Those with knowledge of history refer to these areas by their proper name: Israel.

Mr. Haivri is married with eight children, and he lectures around the world, determined to educate people as to the true nature of the land of Israel.

This particular event was put on by the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Los Angeles, which is run by Doris Wise Montrose.

While I recommend that the entire world hear Mr. Haivri’s presentation, even the Luxe Hotel does not have rooms that big. So for those that could not attend in person, I present the vitally important remarks of David Haivri.

“‘Never Again’ must remain more than a mere slogan.”

“Stanley Fischer of the Israeli National Bank was asked in one word to describe his feelings on the situation in Israel. In one word, he said, ‘Tov.’ ‘Good.’ Yet when he was asked to describe the situation in Israel in two words, he replied, ‘Not good.'”

“The situation in Israel is greater than it was 100, 200, 500 years ago. Israel has its own country, and its own army. We can go to the supermarket and pay with shekels. That is good.” When I see a Jewish air force jet flying over, that is an incredible feeling.”

“Yet a lot of things in between are not so good.”

“There are Yemeni Jews, Polish Jews, Russian Jews, Peruvian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and American Jews in my Synagogue. That is good.”

“What is not so good is that we have not reached an understanding of our independence that we reached.”

“We are frustrated by the Chutzpah of Obama and other world leaders to intervene and tell Israel what to do.”

(“Chutzpah” means audacity. This fits President Obama perfectly. Apparently his “Audacity of Hope” was his wish to bully Israel, which his current policies reflect.)

“The only country in the world where the international leaders can legitimately suggest ethnic cleansing is Israel. Anywhere else there would be an outcry.”

“I have eight children. I have two boys and six girls, ages one to twenty. I made Aliyah (pilgrimage) as a child. A grandmother has 40 grandchildren living in our community.”

“Many families in our community grew up in our community. These communities were liberated by the Israeli Defense Forces in 1967.”

“Judea and Samaria are wrongly called ‘settlements.’ Yet the West Bank is actually the West Bank of the Jordan River. All of Israel is the West Bank. Both sides of the Jordan River belong to the Jewish people. That was the British Mandate. The British reneged and created TransJordan east of the river.”

“In 1948 the United Nations suggested the establishment of two states west of the river, one for Jews and one for Arabs. The Arabs said no. They attacked.”

“TransJordan means ‘East of Jordan.'”

“Jordan occupied the West Bank for 19 years, from 1948 to 1967. There never was a Palestinian state, a Palestinian nation, a Palestinian Prince, or a Palestinian King.”

“One of the Palestinian founders of the Palestinian National Movement was a Nazi. Even then, it was all about killing all Jews, and wiping them from the face of the Earth.”

“In 1948, Jordan occupied the West Bank. Egypt occupied Gaza. Palestinians did not ask for independence.”

“Peace movements and leftist movements that say that Israel is practicing Apartheid are engaging in outright lies.”

“There is Apartheid going on. It is being practiced by Arabs against Jews. There are areas in Israel where Jews cannot even enter, and roads that Jews cannot drive on. In North Jerusalem, there is a big red sign. It says, ‘No entrance to Israelis.’ By Israelis they mean Jews.”

“There are no areas that are banned to Arabs. Those that claim that there are “Jewish only” roads…that is a lie.”

“The Shomorn area represents 40 communities. The Shomorn Regional Council is the largest council in all of Israel. It represents 11% of Israel.”

“In 2005, Israel decided on a policy of ‘disengagement.’ This should be known by what it actually was…ethnic cleansing.”

“Gush Katif is land that was bought and owned by Jews before the State of Israel was ever created. Yet Jews were forcibly removed from their homes.”

“In 2009, the Obama administration has adopted a policy of banning natural growth. There is no expanding of the family allowed, simply for being Jewish. In Los Angeles, picture not being allowed to live here for being black, or Asian, or Mexican, or Jewish.”

“Let’s say a new couple gets married, and wants to live near their family. Obama says no.”

“Imagine that all Arabs in Israel were put on buses and sent to Saudi Arabia. Yet those who advocated that policy would be considered racist. With Jews, there is a double standard.

(My position on this idea is well known. I would drive the bus myself. I sleep perfectly well feeling this way.)

“How can there be rights of Palestinians? Who are they? They don’t even know where they came from.”

“Before ‘peace’ broke out, Jews could go everywhere in Israel.”

“Picture watching a movie in reverse. The peace process was run like a movie in reverse. It started with rockets being fired on our cities, and ended with a handshake on the White House Lawn.”

“Picture the land of Masada. Walk 350 meters up the snake pit to the top. It is the equivalent of a 120 story building. 960 Jews committed suicide there to die free, not as Roman slaves. Yet the end of the story is not the suicide. It is the state of Israel.”

“President Obama said in Cairo that ‘We must acknowledge Israel.’ Thank you so much for that.”

“He then said that we deserve a state because of what was done to us during the Holocaust.”

“We deserve a state because we were murdered by Nazis? Israelis are offended by this. If that is the case, then why Israel? Why not Uganda or Texas? Why place us there?”

“On this issue, we are to blame. We are to blame because VIPs and tourists are taken to Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial), and given a Yarmulke. They are then taken to the Wall, and they stick a note in the Wall. Then these VIPs go to the Knesset, announce that they visited the Memorial and stuck a note in the Wall, and express sorrow. It is not shocking that they link the Holocaust and statehood.”

“The Holocaust was a wakeup call to get us to return to our land that we were removed from since the defeat to the Romans in 73 A.D. There was no independent nation there since then. The only legal claim to the land is from the Jews.”

“That is the Message of Masada. The survivors of the Holocaust came in 70 A.D. They didn’t leave due to financial difficulties or to check out America.”

“The message to children and VIPs is the message of Masada as our history, and that our right to the land starts there, not at the Holocaust.”

“If we don’t have rights to the West Bank, then we have no right to Israel.”

“The peace plan is a piece by piece plan.” The goal is to drive all of the Jews into the Sea.”

“Since 1948, and 1967, the problem is that they are smarter now and we are dumber now. They are smart enough to know that we believe that we want peace, and we are dumb enough to believe them.”

“Joseph’s Tomb, which is 10 minutes north of my home, was destroyed due to the peace process.”

“The tomb was attacked by Palestinians during the Second Intifada. Palestinians promised to protect it. The moment the IDF left, it was attacked, vandalized, and burned by Palestinians.”

“As part of the peace process, Jews were to have access to holy sites. They now get one visit per month to Joseph’s tomb, only at night, in limited numbers, only for a few hours.”

“The New York Times and LA Times say that Judea and Samaria are the problem. The notion that they are obstacles to peace is propaganda.”

“Religious and non-religious people live there, the area represents overall Israeli society.”

Passions ran high, and the people in the audience asking questions challenged Mr. Haivri. He was more than up to the challenge. One questioner wanted to know why Israel doesn’t just build the Third Holy Temple right now.

(There are several views on this in the Jewish community. Some believe that it would start World War III, since Muslims claim it as their own. Naturally, I remain unconcerned about this. Others say that since the Messiah and world peace will come, and only then can the Temple be built, I say start grabbing hammers and nails and bring world peace already. We have waited long enough. If that does not work, the hammers and nails can be used on the foreheads of our enemies, and perhaps to drill common sense into leftist Jewish peaceniks.)

“Build the Third Temple? I actually wrote an entire book on that. My book on that very subject is entitled ‘Reclaiming the Temple Mount.'”

I then asked my question that focused on another problem Israel has.

“Mr Haivri, your presentation was fabulous. We need many more of you. My concern is about public relations. When the Palestinians end Noura Erakat to UCLA, she is attractive, polite, and speaks perfect English. Yet we have, and forgive me, Shimon Peres talking about the ‘P*ss Process.’

(The crowd laughed)

What are we doing to get more people like you and Benjamin Netanyahu on television? Americans don’t want to hear fractured ‘Heblish.’ Fairly or not, they want crisp, perfect English. What is being done in Israel to make the case in a clear manner? The product is fabulous, but our public relations are terrible. What is being done?”

(Mr. Haivri gave a lengthy answer to my question that was every bit as brilliant as his entire presentation.  I stopped writing so that I could pay close attention. I offer only bullet points, but I am now assured that this situation is absolutely being dealt with.)

“Read about Yuli Edelstein of Hasbara. He is working on this. Also, the Dale Carnegie School is training an entire group of Israeli leaders in communications in English.”

Mr. Haivri offered some final thoughts on the entire situation in Israel.

“Moti Gur was a secular general, but he was the one who said, ‘The Temple Mount is our land.’ That phrase is like the Pledge of Allegiance to us.”

“Our argument is that God gave us the land.”

“David Ben Gurion refused to send soldiers to pick oranges. He said that they were ‘soldiers, not slaves.’ Soldiers should not be used to remove Jews from their land.”

“Throughout the West Bank, there are plenty of illegal Arab buildings not being dealt with. Police are not sending letters to Arab municipalities. There is a double standard on the issue.”

All I can say is that I thank almighty Hashem for men like David Haivri.

He is not a settler. He is a man living on his land. The land will one day belong to his children, and his children’s children. The world will not stand up to protect him. The world will not help him defend the land of Israel.

We must.

Never again.

Hineni. Here I am. Jewish and proud, forever.


Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin–Heroism turns 40

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Yes, today is a day for celebration.

No, this is not about my blog reaching 300,000 hits today, although I am proud of what I have accomplished in the last 2 years, 4 months, and 9 days.

This is about an event even more important than that, which occurred three years before I even entered this world.

On July 20, 1969, 40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Moments later Buzz Aldrin joined him.

Those two men will be heroes long after all of us have departed from this Earth.

I beam with pride in thinking of their accomplishment, but I cannot begin to imagine how proud people were the day it happened.

My generation, sadly enough, appears to be defined by 9/11. The World War II generation knew depression and hardship.

Yet despite the political assassinations, Vietnam war, and breakdown of the American social fabric, the decade ended on a sky high note. Forget sky high. This was moon high.

Yet while so many people agree that this landing on the moon mattered so much, so many questions arise as to why.

When all is said and done, space exploration is another validation of the unique greatness that is the United States of America.

Yes, there are those that put the USA and the U.S.S.R. on the same moral plane, but people in Eastern Europe will be the first to admit with little provocation that freedom and liberty are better things to experience than tyranny and emotional enslavement.

Two ways of life were struggling for world dominance. The Russians had Sputnik, but it did not succeed. We had Apollo.

There are many parallels between the American landing on the moon, and the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. It was not just a hockey game or a walk on the moon. It was about beating the Russians.

Americans have had dominance, but we have also had tough times. Nations, like human beings, have had pangs of self-doubt.

America was being ripped asunder in the 1960s. We were losing something intangible.This was on top of the tangible tragedies.

One President had been murdered, another presidential candidate had been murdered, and an inspiring voice who preached healing had been murdered.

We needed a win. We needed something, anything positive.

The fallen President once said that “We choose to go to the moon, not because these things are easy, but because they are hard.”

The truth is we did not choose to go to the moon. We had to. We were slipping. We needed a triumph.

When Neil Armstrong spoke about a giant leap for mankind, he meant American-kind. It was not a global or United Nations flag that he and Buzz Aldrin planted. It was the Stars and Stripes.

America is a powerful nation, but it is also a kind nation. Never has a nation been so muscular, yet used that might for goodness. We feed, clothe, protect, and defend the world.

We invented the internet that has allowed for global communication.That was after over two centuries of greatness.

We invented the airplane, thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright.

We also have men of steel such as Sully Sullenberger, who help keep those planes on the safe side of life. Danger is always lurking just beyond the safe zone.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted that flag, they let the world know that America would go anywhere and do anything to keep its edge.

Yet like Sully Sullenberger all those years later, what Armstrong and Aldrin represented most was hope.

America does so many good things, but the world has so many bad events. Hurricanes, floods, fires, Earthquakes, and other natural disasters destroy environments and human lives. Diseases and pestilences kill many more, and that is before starvation and dehydration kill others. That is before factors such as world wide terrorism even begin to rear an ugly head.

Even good people can lose hope. They can lose heart. They can throw in the towel.

Even powerful empires are run by people that need reassurance of their abilities.

The landing on the moon did not just lift soldiers into space. It lifted an entire nation on the shoulders of two astronauts.

Americans are people that can do things. We roll up our sleeves, try our best, and eventually succeed. On top of that, the entire world benefits from this.

Maybe next we will find life on Mars. Maybe there will be life forms similar to what we have on Earth. Maybe those life forms will teach us how to cure cancer and heart disease.

Farfetched? Only as farfetched as landing men on the moon.

Times are tough in America, but we have a resilient spirit. Forty years after we walked on the moon, we look forward to our next great achievement.

Congratulations to the heroes of Neil Arm strong and Buzz Aldrin.

Only in America could they have reached their level of greatness.


My Un-retirement from sports

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

When I entered the blogosphere on March 11, 2007, one of my very first columns dealt with my retirement from sports.

Like Bill Murray in Space Jam, I wanted one good play before I could go out on top.

Yet it is tough to walk away, or in my case, hobble away. I decided to un-retire from sports.

While you may have missed the press conference, I rejoined a kickball league and a touch football league.

Three weeks ago I injured myself playing kickball. Actually the correct term is “hurt,” not injured. I can still play. Yes, people actually get injured playing kickball. At least I do. The ball was kicked to me at second base, and I caught it before trotting to first base to complete a double play. My reward was a jammed ring finger. Usually something like that goes away in a couple of hours if not a couple of days. Yet three weeks later the doctor decided I should have a splint. It is not broken, but it is slightly bent at the tip.

Yet if kickball was a mild danger, football is just brutal. The team I am on is called “Slamathon.” This is a very good team. It reminds me of the 1999 Rams. This team is the Greatest Show on Grass. We won today 60-8. I caught five receptions, and had plenty of yards after the catch. Yet since I continue to wear sneakers that should have been given a Viking funeral years ago, I was done in when I came down and landed awkwardly.

I was down for the count, and have been hobbling all day. All I wanted to do was get through one game without incident. No such luck.

So why do I play?

Because I love football.

I have recently reread Jon Gruden’s Book. The title, “Do you love football!?!” came from former Oakland Raiders Linebackers Coach Dave Adolph.

When times would get tough, Adolph, and then Gruden, would remind the players why they did what they did. A simple question would be asked.

“Do you love football!?! Of course you do! You love it! You know you do! You love football!”

Jon Gruden will be joining the cast of Monday Night Football this September. As for me, I am just not ready to walk away.

Look, at 37, I am two years younger than Brett Favre. It drives me crazy when people suggest he should stay retired. Who the heck is a complete outsider to tell somebody else to just accept their gold watch, and take up fishing or golf?

I keep hearing that people should not hang on too long, when their skills are diminished, and they can no longer succeed. This simply does not apply to Brett Favre. It is not that he is a legend. It is that he is still good.

In 2005, the season started with a video of # 4 coming out with the song “Forever Man” by Eric Clapton playing in the background. Yet that year, despite never having a losing season, 4-ever man went 4-12. He refused to walk away from the team. In 2006 the Packers started 4-8, before Favre rallied them to four wins and an 8-8 record. Make no mistake about it, he willed that team to 8-8.

In 2007, he went 13-3. For this, he was kicked out of town for having the nerve to want time to decide on playing. Without him, the team dropped from 13-3 and the NFC Title Game to 6-10.

In 2008 he took over the helm of the hapless New York Jets. The Jets had a glorious 1968 season and four decades of futility since. With Favre, the team began 8-3, including a shocker over the previously 10-0 Titans in Tennessee. Yet when the Jets collapsed, going 1-4 down the stretch to finish 9-7, Favre took the blame. Apparently Jets fans forgot that the team was 4-12 the year before he got there.

Now Favre is considering playing for the Vikings. I hope he does, and I hope the Vikings make the playoffs by thrashing the Packers.

(Steve at the blog “No Runny Eggs” will not be pleased with that comment)

I want Favre to play as long as he continues to play well. He loves football. I understand this.

This is why I lift all those weights in the offseason.

(Ok, so I don’t lift anything besides the remote control and my beverage of choice.)

This is why I attend training camp.

(Ok, I have never actually done that, but I would.)

This is why I want to retire on my own terms. No, I do not want to be carried off the field, unless I am doused in Gatorade on the sidelines after winning a championship.

(I did drink Gatorade on the sidelines today. I believe it was Ice Punch flavor.)

Yet as long as I can still play well enough to make positive contributions in a coed intramural league, I want to play.

Yes, I know at 37 that the other kids are younger and faster. Yet I have experience from years in the trenches.

(My couches are the trenches. I armchair quarterback with the best of them.)

So lord willing my body will heal. If Roy Jones Jr. can play pickup basketball on the same day as a boxing match at night, I can play touch football on Saturday and kickball on Sunday.

All I need is a Gatorade and a pinch runner.

If I can’t go at game time, I will grab pom poms and cheer my team on. Taking a cortisone shot is not an option, not this late in my career.

(I would never let some quack with a needle go near me, unless it was my annual physical and I was given a toy for bravery afterward.)

I may have to go on injured reserve, but I know this.

I am not retired.

I love football. Give me the ability to relearn basic skills such as walking and breathing, and I will be back on that field.


Breaking Sports Update:

If Jack Youngblood can play in the Super Bowl on a broken leg, I can play kickball with a dysfunctional non-kicking leg. I played second base, caught the ball that was kicked to me, and managed to get walked in my first at bat. Thank Heavens for pinch runners. My second at bat was an out.

My team, the Sugarcoated Ballerz, won 4-2. It is one thing to stagger on to a kickball field. I most likely will not be playing football next week. I have nothing left to prove.

Who am I kidding? We always have something to prove. I’ll play.


More Saturday Link Love

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Walter Cronkite has left us. While I had my issues with him, I cannot deny his commitment to the news.

So as flags at news stations fly at half staff, I will reserve today for events and link love. For better or worse, Walter Cronkite lived long enough to see the flow of information become rapid, global, and constant.

Here are some links and events.

Tuesday, July 21–I will be speaking to the Ventura County chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, headed by Mitch Silberman. I will be doing a book signing.

Sunday, July 26–I will be a live guest on the Elise Richmond radio program at 9am. She is based out of San Bernardino.

Monday, July 27—Joel Pollak, the student that took on Congressman Barney Frank, will be speaking in Beverly Hills. This guy is worth listening to. The Republican Jewish Coalition is putting on this event. He will also be speaking August 3 in San Diego.

Thursday, July 30—I will be speaking to the Bakersfield Congress of Republicans. The luncheon begins at 11:30am at the Petroleum Club in Bakersfield.

Saturday, August 1—For Texans living in Los Angeles, the annual Salt Lick Barbecue takes place in Redondo Beach.

Friday, August 7–Sean Hannity has his Freedom Concert in San Diego.

Saturday, August 8–Sean Hannity has his Freedom Concert in Las Vegas.

Saturday, August 8–I will be speaking to the Southern California Republican Men and Women. This will take place at the Saddleback Ranch in Burbank. Rick Montaine has the details. This will be during the day at a luncheon, so there is still time to get from and to both Hannity concerts.

Saturday, August 8—In the evening, Sarah Palin will be speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The Simi Valley Women’s Republican Federated is putting on the event.

Wednesday, August 12—Jennifer Rubin of Commentary Magazine at Beverly Hills Public Library.

Thursday, August 13—I will be Emceeing the kickoff event for the San Diego Chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.

August 14-16—California State Young Republican Convention in Simi Valley.

Wednesday, September 9—I am speaking to the Westside Republican Club at Jerry’s Deli in Westwood in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 10—It is tentative, but I might be speaking to the Tri-Valley Peninsula Women’s Republican Federated Chapter in Oakland. Details to follow if this firms up.

Wednesday, September 16–I will be speaking to the Long Beach Republican Women’s Federated at their monthly luncheon. Please contact Helene Belisle for details.

Attached are some podcasts of radio shows I recently did. I am in the process of attaining the remaining ones. Enjoy!

June 16—Robby Kendal 1540 AM WTXY–Carolina

June 24—Rick Emerson 101 FM KUFO—Portland, Oregon

July 1—Pete Kaliner 1110 AM WBT—North Carolina;jsessionid=2a303cfeb8738b9ec5ba586ca6e8f1f63694?startrow=6&page=2&section=audio&category=0

July 14–Bob Dutko  103.5 FM WMUZ—Detroit, Michigan

July 14—Rick Amato 1170 AM KCBQ—San Diego

Now on to some other fun events.

Rick Amato has the Cruise for America.

Jeff Gurman and the Los Angeles Jewish Chamber of Commerce have another mixer coming up.

Karen Allen has formed the Republican version of eBay.

Josh Mandel is running for Treasurer of Ohio. Support him.

Moshe Phillips writes about the Israeli version of Sarah Palin.

Jerrol LeBaron wants politicians to carry themselves with integrity.

Terry West does fabulous work in New Orleans. Some have moved on. He still helps.

Daniel Franks is worth getting to know. He is an up and comer.

Ok, today is my touch football league and tomorrow is my kickball league.

Off to be an alpha male. Happy Saturday all.


YRs in Indianapolis–Ari Fleischer

Friday, July 17th, 2009

At the 2009 Biennial Young Republican Convention in Indianapolis, I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. After he left the White House, he wrote the book “Taking Heat.”

Before he spoke, a video of him sparring with Chris Matthews had the crowd ready for combat.

I have met him before, and always enjoy his remarks. This evening was no exception. I normally hear him speak to the Republican Jewish Coalition, where his speech deals with Israel, Iran, and other pressing concerns. Yet his speech to the YR group offered different but equally enjoyable subject matter.

With that, I present the wit and wisdom of Ari Fleischer.

“I spent many days aurrounded by the White House Press Corps. So believe me when I say it is a pleasure to be with you.”

“I am surprised anyone would have Chris Matthews as an appetizer. I enjoyed feasting on him.”

“When times are tough, the people we count on most need to have spines of steel. Mike Pence always knows where his heart is.”

(He then pointed out that it was his wife Beck’s birthday. The room sang to her.)

“My parents are horrified I became a Republican. My mom said ‘I hope it’s a faze. He’ll grow out of it.’ My dad said, ‘Better a Republican than a drug dealer, but not by much.'”

“No mom, It’s not a faze. I enjoy being a Republican.”

“I entered college a liberal Democrat. Jimmy Carter turned me into a conservative Democrat. Ronald Reagan made me a Republican.”

“When I got to Austin, President Bush asked about my name. He asked ‘Ari? Is that R.E.?’ Since we were in Texas, I soon became ‘Ari-Bob.'”

“Until the 2000 recount was decided, I averted my gaze whenever I passed thw White House. I could not even look at that building. So many decisions have been made there. Only when Governor Bush called me after it was decided and he was President, when I went to work there, did I allow myself to look at the building.”

“Being Press Secretary was the most difficult and wonderful job for a man I still deeply believe in. When everything is said, President George W. Bush kept us safe.”

“I have the only original notes of every action taken by President Bush on 9/11.”

“Individual responsibility is the core of what lets us rise above everyone else.”

“No government is wise enough to rearrange the United States capitalist system into a wealth redistribution system run by government that is done well.”

“If you like General Motors, you’ll love Democrats on health care, breaking the engines of growth.”

“With Barack Obama, every child will give $36,000 dollars to Uncle Sam. That is their debt share.”

“If Obama’s plans pass, the debt will become 82% of GDP. If you make $50,000 per year and owe $41,000 on your Visa card, you can’t pay it off.”

“The first stimulus package didn’t work right, so they want to do it again with your money.”

“The Democrats allocated 18 million dollars of the Stimulus bill to redesign the website. I bet some people in this room could do that for a lot less.”

“Those making more than $67,000 per year earn 55% of Ameruican income, but pay 85% of the income taxes. 40% of American currently pay zero income taxes. Obama wants 49% of Americans to pay zero income taxes.”

“I am a Republican because our ideas do the most to pick people up and instill the values of duty, honor, and country.”

“I am a Republican because I believe the government should be a safety net, not a permanent trap.”

“I am a Republican because I believe faith, family, and country are our values.”

“I am a Republican because I believe in peace through strength.”

“Many on the other side believe that if only the United STates acted differently, the terrorists would take up knitting.”

“Don’t let Democrats spend you into bankruptcy or mortgage your future.”

“Become a grassroots power that brings your party back into power.”

I spoke to Ari afterwards, and he remembered me from the RJC events. I asked him as always how the President was doing. Unlike last time, this time he said he had not seen him in a bit, and would not be seeing him soon. However, he did say that he was doing well the last time he saw him.

I asked Ari the best way to get President Bush a copy of my book, and he told me the best way to do it. I just wanted him to know how much I appreciate the President, and am glad to hear that he still feels the same way.

As for the Young Republicans, it was a thrill to have Ari Fleischer address the crowd. He is a great speaker. After all, when you have to find the right words after the most devastating attack on the American Mainland, you had beter be.

Life and America is about facing and overcoming tough challenges. Ari Fleischer has met the toughest challenge in our lifetimes with rhetorical and literal flourish.


YRs in Indianapolis–Congressman Mike Pence

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

At the 2009 Biennial Young Republicans Convention in Indianapolis, a phenomenal keynote address was delivered by Indiana Congressman Mike Pence.

Although I had very little knowledge about Congressman Pence, I loved what I saw.

When I met him before the event began, I told him that I wanted to hear so much red meat that I would think that I was in a butcher shop. He laughed, and let me know that this would not be a problem. Yet I did not know he would be serving this red meat up literally as well as figuratively.

When it came time for the guests at this black tie gala dinner to line up and eat, Congressman Pence was the one handing out plates. Given that he was dressed the same as the servers, many people in the room thought he was the waiter. While some ascribed this to smart politics, to me it genuinely appeared to be a guy with a sense of humor having fun with his audience. As he pointed us to the prime rib and the potatoes, some in the room truly thought he was one of the waiters. This provided amusement as some of the attendees began to realize that the waiter was actually the keynote speaker.

At that point, the metaphorical red meat was ready to be devoured. Congressman Pence delivered it right off the bone. A video of him with plenty of boxing metaphors had the crowd on overload. Congressman Pence then entered the ring, and delivered blow after blow.

“Young Republicans are not the future of the Republican Party. You are the Republican Party.”

“I noticed that the New York delegation positioned themselves perfectly tonight. They are sitting right near the exit, and right near the bar.”

“We can either continue to be a beacon to the world, or we can slip into the abyss that is Europe, drowning of socialism.”

“I believe we are on the brink of a great awakening, led by Young Republicans.”

(He then did a hilarious impersonation of George W. Bush. He had the mannerisms and accent down perfectly.)

“Some of you said you were surprised to see a Congressman handing out a plate. Well, it was empty.”

“Richard Murdock went to the Indiana Supreme Court to protect Indiana taxpayers.”

“The real scandal in DC was runaway spending. We didn’t just lose elections. We lost our way.”

“We have  weak and apologetic leadership and neverending bureaucracy under Democrats.”

“The President is like an infomercial. I am waiting for him to say, ‘There’s more.'”

“The American people have been drinking out of the firehose with liberalism in DC. Have you had enough?”

“Government competes with the private sector like an alligator competes with a duck. It consumes it.”

“Republicans need to fight for free markets, a strong defense, and traditional moral values.”

“President Obama is on a world wide apology tour. Countries in the Pacific Rim are feeling left out. Surely the administration can come up with something to apologize for to China and Japan.”

“Imagine if Ronald Reagan had gone to the Brandenburg Gate and said, ‘That wall is none of our business.'”

“We need to let the world know that free people of the United States stand up for the free people of Iran.”

“Every Republican voted against the phony baloney stimulus bill that only stimulated the government.”

“Freedom to succeed includes the freedom to fail.”

“People who paid their mortgages shouldn’t pay higher taxes for those who couldn’t figure out how to get that done.”

“Pelosi says that everyone is asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ They are the Congressmen. No Ms. Pelosi, people are asking ‘What’s in it for America?'”

“I didn’t come to DC to nationalize every bad mortgage in America. Thankfully every Republican voted no.”

Congressman Pence then told a heartwarming story of a man who lost his job, yet still wanted the stimulus bill defeated. The man was more concerned with the big picture then his own dire situation. Congressman Pence grew very serious when he repeated the man’s words.

“Congressman, I can get another job. I can’t get another country.”

Congressman Pence kept firing.

“It is wrong to take money from pro-lifers to promote abortions. We must end funding for overseas abortion.”

“Our crises are moral. We need to get back to integrity, responsibility, and an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”

“If the foundations of integrity crumble, how can a free society endure?”

“I open staff meetings in prayer. The media investigated this. Only in DC is private prayer news.”

“We even sometimes pray for the press. Our founders believed in prayer. An Indiana farm boy named Lincoln pray. Yes, he went to Illinois, but initially he was ours.”

“Lincoln fell to his knees during the Gettysburg battle and prayed. Like millions of Americans, I am on my knees lately. By his grace, things will be alright.”

“We must fight for freedom with everything we’ve got until we take back America for American ideals.”

After a thunderous ovation, Congressman Pence made his way through a pumped up crowd. When he saw me, I told him, “Now that is what I call red meat.” Congressman Pence shook my hand vigorously with both hands, and then pumped his fist.

It reminded me a football game, or to better accurately describe Congressman Pence, a boxing match, with the lead fighter pointing to the Democrats, and saying “it’s on.”

The Democrats had momentum, but Republicans have Mike Pence. Because of this, we will win the fight for America. With so many Young Republicans, and a battle ready leader in Indiana pointing the way, the good times for conservatives are well within reach.


YRs in Indianapolis–Congressman Aaron Schock

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

At the Young Republican biennial convention in Indianapolis, I had the pleasure of listening to remarks by Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock.

Congressman Schock is the youngest member of Congress, at only 28 years old.

I actually did not meet the Congressman, which is something I almost always do. Nevertheless, his remarks were indicative of a man that possessed wisdom well beyond his years.

With that, I present remarks from Congressman Aaron Schock.

“I got elected to the school board at age 19. At age 23 I became school board President. Now I am elected as the youngest member of Congress at age 28.”

“It is good to be with Republicans that are closer to my age than my parents.”

“I brought the average age in Congress down to 57. After all, we needed diversity in Congress.”

“President Obama  aggressively pushed the stimulus bill on Congress. I was invited to go for a ride on Air Force One to go to Caterpillar. I accepted the offer. It was an interesting discussion. Now Caterpillar is a United Auto Workers factory. President Obama told the entire audience that I ‘would do the right thing.’ He told everybody in the room ‘call him up.'”

“When the meeting was over, I was surprised that not one of the 300 UAW people asked me to support the bill. Some of them told me that even though they were union workers, they knew that this was a bad bill that would hurt their company. One of them told me ‘Stick to your guns. Vote your conscience.'”

“The stimulus bill was brought up on February 12th, Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. President Obama refers to Lincoln often. Lincoln reached out to people. Obama talks about reaching out, but this bill was brought up at 11pm at night.”

“Bipartisanship is not the same thing as Nancy Pelosi writes the bill and we vote on it.”

“There was a melding of the minds. The only thing bipartisan was opposition to it.”

“On the house floor I quoted Abraham Lincoln. ‘What kill a skunk is the publicity it brings it.'”

“Had we given this bill five days of sun, it would not have passed. We can smell the stench of the bill now.”

“Only 8%, or 29 billion of the 787 billion, went to construction.”

“Reagan communicated in a positive way. We have to do that.”

“We have to communicate to everybody. Most 50 to 60 year old black Americans respect us asking for their vote. We have to fight for every demographic.”

“In 1994, we spoke about what we were for, not just what we were against. We should take on Obama, but we also have to say what we stand for.”

“We can get goals achieved on energy without putting people out of business. We can lead on wind energy without putting coal and oil industries out of business.”

“Obama is not done. He is just getting started.”

“In 1994 we won 52 seats. In 2010, we need to win 40 seats to take control. We can win 40 seats.”

“On foreign policy, Obama has done so much for having done so little.”

I would like to thank Aaron Schock for showing young people that with hard work, grit, and determination, young people can change America and the world. Unlike our current leader, Congressman Schock would actually change it for the better.


YRs in Indianapolis–Congressman Thaddeus McCotter

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

At the 2009 Biannual Young Republican Convention in Indianapolis, I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

Thaddeus McCotter is a unique individual in politics for one reason that goes beyond politics. The man is simply hilarious. He could easily do stand-up comedy if called on to do so.

While most Congressmen are going on the Sunday morning talk shows, Congressman McCotter appears on “Redeye.” He even has a rock band, the “Second Amendments.” The guy is just funny.

He is very serious about his positions on issues. He was staunchly in favor of the Iraq war, and equally vocal against the stimulus bill. Yet he is able to communicate in an easy and lighthearted manner that went over well with the Young Republicans.

I would like to say that I heard every word of his speech, but the previous night’s carousing with other Young Republicans left me unable to write fast enough or process information accurately enough. Besides, who starts meetings at 9am on a Saturday anyway?

Ironically enough, Congressman McCotter addressed this very topic during his remarks. With that, I present some remarks from Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

“Good morning. Some of you Young Republicans had a long night last night. I read about it in the newspaper.”

“Congressman Aaron Schock and Mike Pence are here this weekend. If they ask, tell them I said nice things about them.”

“The cap and tax bill is all about money. The proponents want to tax you, control your job, and regulate the weather.”

“In the 1970s it was global cooling. I was told every waking minute that I would freeze to death in the next ice age. Now it is global warming. My kids are being told that they will roast alive.”

“I told my dad that I was going to freeze to death in the coming ice age. He said, ‘Do what you want.’ We had a close relationship.”

“To prepare for the coming ice age, I tried to ride in the Iditarod. Unfortunately, my dog was too small.”

“I put a lot of miles on the tires when I was in Young Republicans.”

“Rights don’t come from government. These are not my revolutionary insights.”

“The alternative to God given rights is tyranny and anarchy.”

While the crowd was loving every minute of it, much of the day would be spent on procedural battles, parliamentary maneuvering, and political duels. Congressman McCotter recognized this. Politics is politics wherever one goes.

“I will take one more question and then I will let you get to your intercine warfare.”

A question was asked about the role of labor and business, given that Michigan has a strong union presence and a collapsing economy.

“Labor and business need an arbiter. I am not anti-labor. If you take away the unions, where will these people go? They will become disaffected, and be recruited by National Workers Parties and other left wing movements.”

After a standing ovation, I had the chance to meet Congressman McCotter. I asked if he was open to being interviewed by email, and he stated that he was. I met with his legislative aide, and look to present that interview in the coming weeks.

I did ask him one question, and he was, as always, quick with a quip. I wanted to know if he was open to having the detainees at Guantanamo Bay relocated to Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district. His response was great.

“That would be cruel and unusual punishment, even for terrorists.”

I would like to thank Congressman McCotter for being able to deal with serious issues without losing his sense of humor. While there was only one Great Communicator, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter is a very good one.


Young Republicans Party–Indianapolis 2009

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I will not be covering the Sonia Sotomayor hearings unless something notable happens. I would rather live my life than focus on pro wrestling, or as they call it on C-Span, Congressional hearings.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining the Young Republicans for their national biennial convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

While I had done many events with other Republican organizations, this was my first YR conference. The YRs are not the same as the CRs, that being the College Republicans, although there is some crossover. The YRs contain many working professionals with some students in attendance.

I would like to personally thank Chicago YR President Kyle Stone for letting me know about this conference. He attended a speech of mine in Chicago, and his friendship allowed me to have another great weekend in a new place.

The experience can be divided into three parts. There were the committee meetings, where new officers were chosen and various amendments from many delegations were chosen. This had its ups and downs, with a range of situations that ran the gamut from colossal boredom to riveting political intrigue.

The second part of the conference involved a bevy of fabulous speakers, whose remarks deserve and will be covered in the coming days. Illinois Congresman Aaron Schock, the youngest Congressional member at age 28, spoke passionately about the stimulus bill. Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter provided humor and political insights on various topics.

At a gala dinner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer spoke of his experiences of working in government during times of crisis. Indiana Congressman Mike Pence served up red meat to the crowd literally and figuratively. Before speaking he actually handed us our plates for dinner, trying to convince many out of towners that he was the waiter and not the guest speaker.

On the final day of the conference, Ohio State Senator Josh Mandel spoke of his past experiences, and his current run for Ohio State Treasurer. I have heard him speak several times, and it never gets boring.

The third part of the weekend put the party in Republican Party. For those who think that YRs are a bunch of elitist, wealthy, generic individuals sporting matching blue blazers, think again. They are Republicans, but they are young, and they know how to party.

I should not say “they.” A more appropriate word would be “we.”

Downtown Indianapolis had several bars within walking distance of the  Hyatt Regency Hotel, which I highly recommend. The hotel is connected to a mall, and has more food options than most places. After long days of politicking, nights at O’Reilly’s (not owned by Bill or anyone else at the Factor), Rock Bottom, the Beaver, and Howl at the Moon went well into the wee hours of the morning.
Let’s just say YRs are from uptight. One memory seared into me was YRs dancing to an x-rated gangster rap song. The title of the song involved a word used to either describe a kitty cat, or an aspect of a woman that has gotten guys into trouble since the beginning of time. “If you want to control the (kitty cat–redacted), then you’ve got to have (kitty cat–redacted) control…Yyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhhh, (kitty cat—redacted) control…Yyyyeeeeeaaaahhhhhh, (kitty cat—redacted) control…”

Look, it does anger me when married, adult politicians act like overgrown adolescents and destroy the brand name of the party because of their inability (or unwillingness) to control themselves and stop chasing (kitty cat—redacted). However, Young people letting loose and blowing off steam is healthy. I think it actually keeps them from bad behavior as older adults. Suppressing fun was not on the agenda this weekend.

Veering back to hard core politics, the purpose of this weekend was to select new officers, and to carve out an agenda for the entire YR organization. Some of this was not useful to me from a participant standpoint because I was not a delegate. I was only an attendee. I could not vote. However, from a learning standpoint, it was great seeing so many young people passionate about politics not just as television watchers, but as future leaders advocating passionately for their causes and teams.

Intercine battles involving parliamentary procedure and allegations of dirty tricks led to tempers flaring on several occasions. Yet like the 1787 Constitutional Convention, this infighting was not a threat to democracy that weakened the organization. I believe it was democracy working. Team Renewal fought Team Next Level for the right to lead the YRs. Team Renewal came out on top, although Team Next Level had great parties on both nights. More importantly, members of both sides shook hands and hugged after the battle was over.

Yet one cloud hung over the convention, and if it does not get resolved in the coming days and weeks, the entire YRs could have a big problem. A racial scandal over comments left on a Facebook page led to charges and countercharges of racism. The crowd at this convention was very diverse. Some GOP events with older crowds have one or two minorities. Young people are less reflexively liberal, and this crowd truly was diverse. The minorities were not tokens. They were a large segment of the attendees. Yet the Facebook issue had several of the black attendees upset.

I am neutral in this fight not out of cowardice but out of ignorance. I want to get all of the facts together before telling that story in the coming weeks. Since the issue has already gone public, I will not be exposing anyone. Anything currently private will stay private.

The main argument appears to be that when white conservatives say, do, tacitly approve, or are slow to condemn racism, it makes it much harder for these passionate black Republicans to sway their liberal friends. As a Jewish Republican, I am constantly battling with my own community, and sometimes my own party that I deeply believe in hampers my efforts.

I see the YRs as absolutely obsessed with broadening the party. I pray that they succeed, because everybody wins that way.

The scandal involves the new YR chairwoman. She has intense supporters and detractors. I have never met her, but I hope that when the dust settles, the YRs are united.

Despite this unfortunate issue, the YRs are a family, and I expect the internal disagreements to be hashed out, with a strong family structure in place for a long time to come.

One other disappointment came not from the YRs, but from my home city of Los Angeles. If people in liberal cities want to fight back, they need to start coming to these types of conferences. The Texas delegation was large. Ten gallon hats and belt buckles dominated. Yet despite a large California delegation, I was the only attendee to my knowledge from the heart of Los Angeles. Bakersfield, a GOP stronghold a couple of hours north of Los Angeles, sent about twenty people. Los Angeles sent nobody. I found out about it by accident. Los Angeles doe not even have an established YR chapter. This is pathetic. Young Republicans in Los Angeles must step it up.   Forget no taxation without representation. This is no representation without participation.

As for me personally, I wish I had become active with YRs years ago. As a Jewish person, I just did not meet enough Republicans growing up. I never joined CRs because my school did not have them. The Republican Jewish Coalition is successfully reaching out to young people, but the median age is older. I am barely young enough at 37 to participate with the YRs.

The 2011 YR Convention will not be in Indianapolis, Indiana, but I suspect if I attend with the Sacramento Queen, we will somehow find a way to have fun. It is being held in Puerto Rico, which actually had delegates at this convention. I will still be barely under 40. In the mean time, several positive things happened to me personally at this convention.

I sold a bunch of copies of my book, “Ideological Bigotry,” and hope that the YRs that bought it enjoy it. Many of the attendees are connected to speaking organizations, and it looks like I will be lining up many more speeches and book signings. In the coming days I will be linking to many of their sites to promote their good works, from their business ventures to their political aspirations in 2010.

Most importantly, I made friends that I will have for life. After all, advancing ideas is important, but in the end it is all about people. The 2009 YR Convention in Indianapolis will be remembered for an overwhelming number of good, decent human beings all packed into one hotel.

It was a pleasure to get to know them, and become one of them just in time.


Steve McNair–Death of a Titan

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

In a senseless act of violence, former Tennessee Titans Quarterback Steve “Air” McNair has been murdered.

Reaction has ranged from poignant tributes of loved ones…

to the businesslike matter of explanation from the Associated Press.

While I personally do not want to go anywhere near the seedier aspects of this story, Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star had no reservations about this. Whitlock is one of the best and most hard hitting sports journalists in the country. His column made me uncomfortable, but great writing and analysis does that from time to time.

While I do not believe in sugarcoating the truth, it is imperative for people to understand that the trouble that Steve McNair got into that cost him his life were not crimes against man. They were crimes against God, and only God can judge him for that.

His sins were sins against his family, and they want to be left alone. I for one will honor that.

What I cannot deny is that my burning passion is the National Football League. Steve McNair never did anything to dishonor the game of football. He did more than play hurt. He played injured. He was a warrior and a leader who put his teammates on his back and carried them one yard short of a Super Bowl Championship.

With Jeff Fisher running a 46 Defense in the mold of Buddy Ryan, and Eddie George running hard tough yards, Steve McNair only needed to be good. Yet he was great, and back to back 13-3 seasons in 1999 and 2000 delivered Nashville everything but a world championship. In fact, the 2000 Titans took a 7-0 lead over the Baltimore Ravens in their bitter playoff game. Steve McNair took a late hit straight to the chest, which allowed the Ravens to clamp down. A 10-10 tie was broken late when a blocked field goal return and an interception return gave the Ravens the 24-10 win. Yet the win may have been sealed once McNair got leveled. He played through the agony, but was a sitting duck.

Yet the season that really stuck with me was 2002. As a fan of the Oakland Raiders, the only team that scared me was the Titans. When Tennessee started the season 1-4, I kept thinking “keep this team down.” The teams played in Oakland, where the Raiders raced to a 38-7 lead. Out of nowhere, the Titans pulled to within 38-25. The Raiders did win 52-25, yet beneath the apparent blowout were signs of resilience.

Several weeks later the Titans had scratched to a 6-5 record. The Raiders were one game ahead of them. What many people do not know is that Steve McNair played the last five games completely injured. He could not practice all week. All he did in those games was win all five of them. The Raiders and Titans both finished 11-5, with the Raiders getting the top seed due to the regular season win.

The Titans had to go to overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tennessee prevailed 34-31, setting them up on a collision course with Oakland. The Raiders had home field advantage. They had a healthy team that was ready to reach the Super Bowl. The Titans were injury wracked. Yet they had Steve McNair.

The Titans led 17-14 late in the half when a pair of turnovers allowed the Raiders to take a 24-17 lead into the locker room. The Titans closed to within 27-24, but the Raiders salted the game away with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to win 41-24. The normally aggressive Tennessee Defense struggled against the ridiculous Oakland scoring machine, led by Rich Gannon. Yet when I look back on that game, I think that an entire team faced off against one person, and Steve McNair still nearly won that game. I mean no disrespect to Eddie George, but McNair was the one on that day that nearly pulled off the upset.

McNair still was not done. The next year, he shared the 2003 MVP award with Peyton Manning. The two rivals shared the stage, but even Manning would admit that the first several years of his career were frustrated by an inability to beat Tennessee. In 1999, the Titans went into Indianapolis and downed the Colts 19-16.

After over a decade with the Titans, McNair was traded to the archrival Ravens. The Ravens had long beena  team with a Super Bowl defense and pathetic offense. Steve McNair was meant to be the last piece of the puzzle. Although they fell short in a playoff loss to Manning and the Colts, McNair did guide them to a 13-3 record.

His strong 2006 campaign was followed by an injury wracked 2007 season. Without him, the Ravens went back to being half a team. Their offense collapsed and so did the team. McNair was a warrior, but his body finally gave out.

Some have speculated that McNair does not belong in the Hall of Fame, that he should be in the “Hall of Very Good.” I disagree. His career was worthy of Hall of Fame status. He has better statistics than other quarterbacks in the Hall, and the man won games.

Steve McNair was a winner in many ways off the field. He kept his home in Nashville, and became a pillar of the community. He raised plenty of money for disadvantaged youths. Yes, it now appears that his family life was far from clean, but that does not invalidate his good deeds.

So what happens after Steve McNair is laid to rest?

We love him for his goodness, and let the rest just go.

We live in a 24 hour news cycle where every life of ever celebrity is dissected. People may not have been morally superior decades ago. They were just allowed privacy.

Steve McNair was a victim of a senseless and tragic crime. He did not deserve to die. His girlfriend committed a murder-suicide that was every bit as horrifying as the Phil Hartman tragedy over a decade ago. In both cases, a man with a great smile who made people happy was taken from us by another person who let rage consume them until everything burned.

No, we should let the McNair family just be. Let the final days of Steve McNair be a footnote. Let’s create an artificial zone of privacy.

When I think of privacy, I think of the end of the Super Bowl between the Titans and the Rams. The Titans fell behind 16-0 in the third quarter. Steve McNair brought them back to a 16-16 tie with two minutes remaining. The Rams needed one play for Kurt Warner and the Greatest Show on Turf to back up top 23-16 with a perfectly executed bomb.

Steve McNair kept fighting. He took the Titans over 80 yards in less than 2 minutes, reaching several yards from a tie game and overtime with five seconds left. With one play left, McNair found Kevin Dyson. Dyson was so close to the goal line when Mike Jones made what will forever be known as “the tackle.”

The Titans had lost 23-16, and while confetti came down, Warner and Coach Dick Vermeil celebrated, and Jones and Dyson lay sprawled on the grass. Yet far away from most of the cameras, Steve McNair fell to one knee. Coach Jeff Fisher came up to him, whispered some things in his ears, and hugged him. Like a father consoling his son, Fisher comforted McNair.

What made the moment so poignant was that the media later asked Fisher what he told McNair. Always a class act, Fisher replied that it was a private moment between a coach and player, and that it would stay private.

Most likely, Fisher told McNair that he loved him. Yet even in a world where everything is public, and important moment stayed private.

We never knew the real Steve McNair because he did his best to keep his transgressions private.

Therefore I will go with what was meant to be public.

Steve McNair treated the game of football with respect. He treated many people on and off the field with kindness. He made a bad mistake more than once, and it cost him his life.

He left us way too soon.

The Tennessee Titans should retire his number not because of how he died, but for what he accomplished on the field while he lived.

Farewell, Steve McNair. Like a pass sailing toward the end zone, you are now at the goal posts in the sky. You are now in the “Air.”