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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘AIDS’

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Thousands Of Radicals Poised To Fight Assad

At least 5,000 global jihadists are positioned near Syria’s borders with Turkey and Lebanon attempting to infiltrate Syria to aid the opposition fighting Bashar Assad’s regime, a senior Syrian government official told to this column.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Syrian military hopes to entirely quell the opposition by the start of Ramadan on July 19. Russian advisers in Syria seem to have a more realistic timeline of September to beat back the opposition, the official noted.

The Syrian plan is for Assad to remain in power and to hold an international conference with participation from Iran aimed at rebuilding Syria, the official said.

While Russia continues to arm Syria, countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been arming and financing the opposition, with the U.S. saying it is providing “non-lethal” aid, including communications assistance. Reports have claimed the U.S. is coordinating arms shipments to the rebel forces.

The claim of global jihadists attempting to infiltrate Syria is just the latest report of al Qaeda-linked groups fighting alongside the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army.

It Wasn’t AIDS, Says Chief PA Official

Despite claims to the contrary, a confidential medical report released to the Palestinian Authority from the French hospital at which Yasir Arafat died did not list AIDS in the late PLO leader’s bloodstream, according to the PA’s chief negotiator.

“I’ve seen the French report. And it excluded AIDS. I can confirm that to you,” said the PA’s Saeb Erekat on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio. “I think people in this region jump to conclusions. The reasons [of death] are unknown to us,” he said.

The PA last week agreed to exhume Arafat’s body amid new allegations he was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium-210.

Asked whether the French report listed any radioactive material associated with Arafat’s death, Erekat stated, “I reviewed the report of the French hospital at that time and it said that we had investigated everything possible. It wasn’t on it.”

Erekat said Arafat’s body could be unearthed within days. “President Arafat’s body can be exhumed the minute we declare the religious and the family procedures, which we are doing. Could be in the next few days.”

He went on to call for an “international investigation, a credible committee that could take the matter from A to Z. That’s very, very essential.”

Asked whether it’s possible Arafat’s close circle was involved in any alleged assassination, Erekat replied: “I think we need to know who gave the orders, who provided drugs, who were the elements to carry out the assassination if it’s an assassination.”

Landing On… Asteroids

What does President Obama have in common with former presidential candidate Ross Perot, director James Cameron, Google’s Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt?

All personalities are involved in attempts to land on asteroids in highly costly efforts that have experts conflicted about the possibilities of success and whether the ultimate benefits outweigh the expenses.

Cameron, Page, Schmidt and Perot are behind a private company, Planetary Resources, that is planning to not only land on an asteroid but mine it for resources. The company seeks to launch the first in a series of space telescopes into low-Earth orbit in an attempt to find asteroids to potentially mine for profit.

Their dreamy plan may be aided by Obama’s new directives to NASA. The president has reorganized the country’s space agency with the goal of landing on an asteroid.

His new directives were immediately slammed by famed astronauts Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, who both told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that Obama’s space plans would harm NASA.

One of Obama’s key advisers on the asteroid scheme was White House science adviser John Holdren. Landing on an asteroid, Holdren argued, and giving it a well-timed nudge “would demonstrate once and for all that we’re smarter than the dinosaurs and can avoid what they didn’t.”

FrontPageMag.com noted that Holdren has endorsed “surrender of sovereignty” to “a comprehensive Planetary Regime” that would control all the world’s resources, direct global redistribution of wealth, oversee the “de-development” of the West, control a World Army and taxation regime, and enforce world population limits.

Rabbi Rotter, 59, Owner and Editor of Rotter.net

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Rabbi Yeshayahu Rotter, owner and chief editor of the scoops and news site Rotter.Net, died Tuesday tonight in his home in Haifa. Rotter suffered from heart and other severe health issues.

Medical personnel who were called to his home called his death after a lengthy effort to resuscitate.

Rabbi Dr. Yeshayahu Rotter was born to a Haredi family in 1953 and grew up in Haifa. He studied in Ponevez and Chevron yeshivas in Jerusalem. Was ordained by the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. Served as an officer in an IDF armored unit. Completed his doctorate in Jewish philosophy at Boston University and earned a BA and an MBA from Yozmot College.

Rotter.net is perhaps the most popular news sites in Israel. It was founded in 1997 by Noam Rotter, the late rabbi’s son, when he was only 12 years old. The site’s scoops section is fed by its many users, with an edited version as home page.

Rabbi Rotter set the gold standard for fearless journalism that, nevertheless, did not cross the lines of good taste. Over the years Rotter ignored censorship requirements, using only his own sound judgment regarding what to publish and what to block.

A community of citizen journalist developed around the site, serving both as news gatherers and as harsh critics of dishonest or self-serving items. The site has maintained its good reputation and its popularity because of its unabashedly democratic spirit.

Maariv offered a long selection of his statements over the years, as a kind of interview with the late rabbi on his adventures in news-gathering:

The Internet: Just as you can’t do without your eyes, but must guard your eyes at all times, so must you relate to the Internet. It is indispensable, but you must protect your eyes.

Scoops: A scoop by nature is a “preliminary report.” On the one hand, it has a huge impact, but on the other hand there’s a risk that the report is partially or completely false. Anyone who reads a scoop on the Internet, knows it can be inaccurate or even not correct at all, and yet they all relate to scoop as news until it is refuted. The Rotter scoop forum moderators have developed a sixth sense to tell what are the chances that an item is correct and when it is better to delete it immediately.

Hits: The site ranges from 50 thousand to more than 100 thousand visitors a day. This number varies depending on the news. During the Second Lebanon War, a quarter million people from all over the world visited Rotter.net every day.

Credit: A few years ago I wanted to check the level of originality of Rotter.net stories. I was noticing that news which appeared first on Rotter appeared shortly thereafter in other papers without attribution. Even more annoying was to see how journalists, having seen a report on Rotter.net, calling the story subject and then running the story as if it had been theirs from the start.

Well, I issued a devastating piece of false information about an incident that occurred at Megiddo Junction. I wrote that the terrorist who was shot by the IDF and taken to hospital at that junction had AIDS. It was a complete lie, and I waited to see what would happen to the story. The very next day, Alex Fishman ran it in “Yedioth Ahronoth,” complete with detailed information.

As a result, the soldiers involved in the incident had to undergo testing for AIDS, and I was embarrassed by how much information coming out of Rotter.net immediately become near-official stories of major newspapers. So I realized the danger and significance of such information. It never happened again. This is my first time sharing it publicly.

Israel Prepares Africa For Mass Circumcision

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

A delegation of Israeli mohels (ritual circumcisors) returned from a two week trip to Africa last week, where they prepared a UN medical team for a mass African circumcision.

 

Over the next five years, an estimated 20 million African men will be circumcised by UNAIDS, the UN organization dedicated to reducing the spread of the AIDS virus, which is contagious through sexual and blood-to-blood contact.

 

Since 2007, Israeli volunteer physicians and nurses have been performing circumcisions in Swaziland and South Africa, as part of Operation Abraham. Operation Abraham is a program of the Jerusalem AIDS Project, operating in coordination with the Hadassah Medical Organization, which promotes conducting circumcisions in Africa as a way of curtailing the spread of disease.

 

On Monday night, the UN and the Obama administration announced the program, with the support of Operation Abraham.

 

A team of 40 Israeli surgeons and nurses is providing professional guidance on setting up clinics and performing adult and teenage circumcisions safely and effectively.

 

The program about to get underway in Africa is expected to prevent 3.4 million people from being infected by HIV, and save $16.5 billion in related funds.  Studies from 2006 proved that circumcision reduces the risk of male infection by HIV by 60 percent.

 

The State of Israel has experience with mass circumcision, having performed large numbers of youth and adult ritual circumcisions for waves of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.  Jewish ritual circumcision typically takes place on the eight day after the birth of a boy, but was either prevented or not practiced by many Jews from those countries.  Men of all backgrounds who convert to Judaism must also undergo circumcision.

The Media Never Loved Reagan

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Is it not amazing that it’s taken the news media this long to discover that Ronald Reagan was a role model? While he lived and even after he died, they shot every arrow and dropped every bomb they could on this man and his reputation.

Now that we’ve been marking his 100th birthday and America is celebrating, they find him useful. They’re trying to rub Reagan’s magic all over a floundering Obama.

After Obama’s latest State of the Union speech – a dreary, boring spectacle for a normally riveting speaker – all three networks praised Obama as “Reaganesque,” as if he were one of the sunniest American exceptionalists. The cover of Time promised to explain “Why Obama [Hearts] Reagan,” and the story inside the magazine was titled “The Role Model,” oozing that Obama “realized long ago that Ronald Reagan was a transformational president.”

This is all a grand deception.

The multitude of Americans who were very young or yet unborn in the Reagan years might be misled from one enormous reality: in his prime, Reagan was deeply dispised by the the same media that now honor him. He was stupid, he was uncaring, he was evil, he was senile, and he was going to ruin America, if not destroy the world in a nuclear war.

The Media Research Center has assembled a Special Report to recount some of the most pernicious and false attacks on Reagan. Let’s consider just a few examples, among hundreds.

Take the class war. The “news” people were always waging it. ABC’s Richard Threlkeld went to a Miami riot scene in 1989 and announced: “There is an Overtown in every big city in America. Pockets of misery made even meaner and more desperate the past eight years.” NBC’s Bryant Gumbel proclaimed in 1989: “Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II.”

NBC reporter Keith Morrison took the cake in 1992: “Did we wear blinders? Did we think the ’80s just left behind the homeless? The fact is that almost nine in ten Americans actually saw their lifestyle decline.” Morrison completely ignored reality: Census Bureau data shows median family income increased in all income classes from 1981 to 1989.

The meanest attack was that Reagan’s lack of caring led to a pile of AIDS deaths. NBC’s Maria Shriver asked activist Elizabeth Glaser at the 1992 Democratic convention: “You place the responsibility for the death of your daughter squarely on the feet of the Reagan administration. Do you believe they’re responsible for that?”

A 1998 PBS program on Reagan claimed: “AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 50,000 died. Reagan largely ignored it.” CBS “Sunday Morning” TV critic John Leonard sneered that Reagan “took this plague less seriously than Gerald Ford had taken swine flu. After all, he didn’t need the ghettos and he didn’t want the gays.” He added, as Reagan’s legacy: “by 1992, 194,364 American men, women, and children were dead.”

(In reality, AIDS funding skyrocketed in the 1980s, almost doubling each year from 1983 – when the media started blaring headlines – from $44 million to $103 million, $205 million, $508 million, $922 million, and then $1.6 billion in 1988. This is what CBS calls “largely ignoring it.”)

But defense spending was, by contrast, an enormous waste. Take it from ABC’s Jim Wooten in 1990: “The dreaded federal deficit, created, for the most part, by the most massive peacetime military buildup in America’s history.” (But in 1990, defense spending was a fourth of the budget and had decreased 16 percent in the previous five years, while entitlements were half the budget and grew sharply.)

The reality of the Reagan years was a historic economic recovery, a strong defense posture that led to the demise of the Soviet empire, and an America that once more burst with pride. But media liberals were so obstinate in denying reality that CBS’s Morley Safer huffed just days after Reagan passed away: “When it gets down to the real substance, I don’t think history has any reason to be kind to him.”

All Reagan received was mudballs like this one from NBC’s Tom Brokaw at the end of 1989: “Reagan, as commander-in-chief, was the military’s best friend. He gave the Pentagon almost everything it wanted. That spending, combined with a broad tax cut, contributed to a trillion-dollar deficit…. Social programs? They suffered under Reagan. But he refused to see the cause and effect.”

Thanksgiving In Zimbabwe

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Seldom do I use the term “life transforming” because very few things in life are. Change is something that requires diligence, effort and even monotonous repetition. It doesn’t come cheaply.
 
But what I did this past Thanksgiving forever changed my perception of the world. As a volunteer with my good friend Glen Megill’s organization, Rock of Africa, a Christian relief effort, I traveled to Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries on earth to one of its poorest villages.
 
Joining me was my daughter Chana; my friend, the writer and radio host Dennis Prager; Dennis’s son Aaron; Glen Megill; and several Christian volunteers. We staged an outreach program preparing a Thanksgiving feast for 500 villagers. Most important, we gave them seed that can produce shima, the corn-flower mixture that is the staple diet for most of Africa and which, for $25 a year, can literally keep a family alive. The feast consisted of ten slaughtered goats and giant pots of cooked cabbage and shima.
 
It would be difficult to convey the appreciation of the villagers for one good, hot, meaty meal. The people we met were gentle, beautiful – and utterly poor. The village consisted of nothing but mud huts, the chief’s homestead included. These people have next virtually nothing. They live in tiny pen-sized huts; one we visited housed a hospitable but infirm man in his late eighties who lives with and takes care of his twelve-year-old-grandson whose parents died of AIDS.
 
Of the hundreds who came to our feast only a few were young mothers and fathers. We saw scores of young children strapped to their grandmothers’ backs in the African way. So many on this continent have already been lost to AIDS – an entire generation wiped out by a killer disease.
 
Despite these serious challenges, the people smile and exhibit unbelievable warmth. Are they happier than we in the West? I cannot say. I have never believed in the ennobling quality of poverty and I will not glamorize a life with so little. But what is undeniable is that they seemed far more satisfied, more grateful, and more content.
 
We in the West who are fortunate to be able to translate so much of our potential into something professionally and personally fulfilling are frequently plagued by an insatiable material hunger, making it challenging for us to ever find the inner peace these villagers seemed to possess.
 
As we Rock of Africa volunteers cooked and served the food, I noticed that among the villagers there was not a single finicky eater. They ate every part of the goat served them – the stomach, the intestines, the vertebrae. Food was not a luxury. It was survival itself.
 
The men and women sat apart. When the women, my daughter included, served them, they curtsied, as women do by tradition before men. If a woman does not curtsy, the man will not accept the food.
 
Most memorable were the children, who were wondrous in every way. Gorgeous, extremely polite, and exceptionally well behaved. They exhibited none of wildness common among Western kids. Hundreds of them sat in perfect rows on the floor, grateful to have a warm, hot meal. They too sang and danced for us and we danced with them.
 
The most moving part of the day was when we distributed the corn seed for the families. The chief called out the names and as they came forward for the seed they were glowing. Many of them kissed the bags as they collected them.
 
It should be mandatory to take Western kids to Africa for at least one humanitarian mission. It would help wean them from the corrosive materialism that has overtaken us and it would lead them to appreciate their blessings and share more of it with others.
 
All this was made possible because of two angels. The first is Glen Megill, the American businessman who created Rock of Africa and is one of the most righteous men I know.
 
The second is a young woman whose courage and heroism left me incredulous. Her name is Regina Jones. She’s thirty years old and from Detroit. She moved to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, four years ago after a teen life where she owned more than two hundred pairs of shoes.
 
She now lives on her own and runs the organization. She saves orphaned street children from dying of AIDS. She teaches villagers how to become self-sustaining. For our feast she went at midnight to a neighboring village, negotiated the price of the goats, rented a trailer in the morning and picked them up so the villagers could eat meat. I personally watched her lovingly lecture a man with a white beard to help out his wife more with their tiny farm.
 

No, she is not a household name and she will never be as famous as Britney Spears. But to me she was a small reminder that the suffocating selfishness of Western material culture can indeed be transcended.

 

 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of This World: The Values Network and the author most recently of “The Blessing of Enough.” Donations to Rock of Africa can be made via the organization’s website, www.rockofafrica.org.

The Return Of Al Gore?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

It was a far-fetched scenario as recently as a year ago, but Al Gore is quietly making something of a political comeback. Moderate Democrats who despair that the early frontrunner for their party’s 2008 presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is likely unelectable, can’t help remembering that Gore won half a million more votes than George W. Bush in 2000. Meanwhile, the party’s base voters, appreciably more to the left than the country at large and angry at what they perceive to be Clinton’s drift to the center, are looking for someone other than her to carry the anti-Bush, antiwar banner.

Enter Gore. “Democrats, writes Ezra Klein in the April issue of the liberal American Prospect, are “taking a fresh look at a man they thought they knew” – a man, Klein adds, who seems to be trying “to reinvent himself.”

Gore is, of course, a master at the art of reinvention, having morphed over the years from a generally conservative, hawkish, anti-abortion congressman (whose wife led the fight to label records for the content of their lyrics) into a Howard Dean clone – someone who appears most comfortable when shouting anti-Republican invective in front of crowds of left-wing activists whose worldview is small enough to fit on a placard. (“Bush lied. People died.”)

While it’s true that successful politicians learn to adapt to changing times and expectations, the best of them manage to do so while retaining a set of core beliefs and at least a modicum of principle. With Gore, however, there’s such an obvious transparency to his ideological shifts that he might as well have the word “phony” tattooed onto his forehead.

Gore, wrote Reason magazine editor Nick Gillespie back in 1996, “may even be more contemptible than most [politicians] since he has proven himself willing to exploit personal tragedy for public gain.” Gillespie, referring to Gore’s shockingly disingenuous stand on tobacco, continued:

Remember his emotional, apparently heartfelt comments at the Democratic National Convention about his sister’s tobacco-related death? After choking up during the speech, Gore rode a tidal wave of new-found sympathy and respect…. But Gore was hardly being open or honest about his relationship to tobacco, and a fuller accounting of the matter makes it impossible to escape the conclusion that the vice president is little more than a shameless hypocrite who will stop at nothing to pull votes his way.

In his speech, Gore recounted how his sister Nancy had started smoking as a teenager and eventually died from lung cancer at age 45 in 1984. “Three thousand young people in America will start smoking tomorrow,” said Gore, who lauded President Clinton’s limits on cigarette advertising. “One thousand of them will die a death not unlike my sister’s. And that is why until I draw my last breath, I will pour my heart and soul into the cause of protecting our children from the dangers of smoking.”

Oddly, though, it took quite a while for this political fire to catch in Gore’s belly. While he helped sponsor 1983 legislation that led to new warning labels on tobacco products, until very recently he usually boasted of his tobacco connections. When he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 – four years after his sister’s death – Gore bragged to a North Carolina audience, “Throughout most of my life, I raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I’ve sprayed it, I’ve chopped it, I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it, and sold it.”

That same year, Gore, then a senator from tobacco-rich Tennessee, wrote a letter to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette stating, “I do not believe the answer to curbing our nation’s tobacco use lies in banning tobacco advertising or in prohibiting tobacco use” – two policies he now backs vociferously.

There’s more: The day after his speech at [the 1996] Democratic convention, he admitted to receiving campaign donations from tobacco companies through 1990…. He also acknowledged that his family continued to grow tobacco on their farm and that he got paid for leasing additional property for tobacco production for years after his sister’s death.

And then there’s this breathtaking account of political exploitation from veteran columnist Roger Simon, who in his book on the 1988 presidential campaign, Road Show, described a visit by candidate Gore right before the New York Democratic primary to the neonatal intensive care unit of Interfaith Medical Center in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn:

We look around and see these babies, incredibly small, doll size, almost doll-like, until you see their little hearts beating against their chests or catch the wave of a tiny arm. All sorts of tubes and lines run out of them. Some are in little plastic boxes called Isolettes. Others are in specially warmed beds, hooked to respirators with tubes that snake into their mouths and down their throats….

The Theology Of Political Correctness In 52 Easy Steps

Friday, March 14th, 2003

Interested in practicing the theology of political correctness? The very same practiced by
the PC Cult religion? Well, the theology of political correctness is based largely on going into
denial. So we have assembled a list of points in the PC Denial catechism that you will need to
practice if you truly wish to convert to being a PC progressive. Here is a list of the most
important principles of PC theology. Try to remember them all so that you can be caring and
open-hearted faster than you can say “race, gender, class” (the PC Trinity):

1. Affirmative action is not about lowering standards.

2. Affirmative action never has anything to do with quotas.

3. The transformation of Cuba from Latin America's wealthiest country into its poorest
does not mean that socialism does not work.

4. The transformation of Russia from the world's largest food exporter before
communism to the world's largest food importer during communism does not show that
socialism does not work.

5. Comparing East Germany (before unification) with West Germany, or Red China with
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, or North Korea with South Korea, one cannot conclude that
capitalism works

6. The fact that Marx was wrong about every empirically-testable hypothesis does not
mean that Marxism is wrong.

7. The fact that Marxism caused a conservatively-estimated 100 million deaths in the 20th
century does not mean that Marxism is bad or a failure.

8. Marxists care about people.

9. Conservatives hate all people and small animals.

10. The fact that socialized medicine does not work anywhere does not mean that it
would not work in America.

11. The fact that the green lobby was screaming just a few years back about global
cooling (and sometimes still does) is no reason why its warnings about global warming should be
regarded with skepticism.

12. The fact that black Americans live better on average than white people in Europe or
Japanese people in Japan does not disprove the charge that black Americans are the most
oppressed and impoverished people in the world.

13. If one country is rich and another poor, it must be because the rich one stole all the
wealth away from the poor one.

14. Women are just as capable of combat roles as men.

15. Most Arabs are interested in peace.

16. Homosexuality is genetically determined.

17. Native Americans and Eskimos have always spent their days worrying about the
environment.

18. National Public Radio is objective.

19. The New York Times is not liberal

20. All Christians are racists.

21. All Jews are racists.

22. Moslems can never be racists.

23. Blacks can never be racists.

24. The bombing of Hiroshima did not save any lives and was done because Americans
are racists.

25. Mowing your lawn and using insecticides is murder; partial-birth abortion is not.

26. Israeli settlements are the cause of the Middle East conflict.

27. The Ozone hole was caused by deodorants.

28. Recycling saves resources.

29. Poverty is caused by low self-esteem.

30. Poor school performance is caused by low self-esteem.

31. The fact that Asian Americans make more money and are better educated than
American whites does not disprove the claim that America is a racist country in which only
whites can succeed.

32. Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and their friends are thinkers and idealists.

33. Michael Lerner is a rabbi.

34. If one tribe in Africa oppresses another tribe, it is all the fault of white people.

35. The United States does not need any army at all, other than as a laboratory for social
engineering involving women and gays.

36. Liberalism is based on compassion and caring.

37. Capital punishment does not deter crime.

38. If there are proportionately more blacks in prison than whites, it is because the courts
and police are racist.

39. The CIA is run by far-Right fanatics.

40. Organic produce is good for you.

41. Throw-away diapers cause the environment to be destroyed.

42. Hollywood actors are more sensitive and caring than the rest of us.

43. Investments by multinational corporations are bad for the economies of developing
countries.

44. Labor unions are good for the economy.

45. Workers in poor countries would be better off if all the overseas

corporations were kicked out.

46. Slavery was always practiced exclusively by white people.

47. Raising the minimum wage does not increase unemployment.

48. Rent controls do not create housing shortages.

49. Mentally ill people are better off on the streets than in mental institutions.

50. The media are not dominated by leftists.

51. Marching against AIDS helps prevent AIDS.

52. Palestinians are oppressed.

So you see, practicing the theology of political correctness is easy ? just repeat three or
four of the above assertions every day before breakfast and you too will soon be a caring,
compassionate, progressive human person! ◙

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-theology-of-political-correctness-in-52-easy-steps/2003/03/14/

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