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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘offer’

Democrats: The Party of Palliation

Monday, October 15th, 2012

A month before the presidential election, we know it will be close, and it will be a choice — no mere referendum on the executive management skills of the current president.  The electorate is choosing the balance between public and private sectors, between more and less government.  But it is also choosing between the different ends to which government is directed, the different visions about what government is for, and in particular, the relationship politics has with suffering and sacrifice.

Paul Ryan offered the clearest expression of this choice, in forthrightly declaring his opposition to “the best this administration offers — a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.”  With nods to Rand, Hayek, and Tocqueville, Ryan presents an exaggerated but effective reductio ad absurdum of the policy and endpoint of the progressive welfare state.  The statement was also bold in its way, because all of us on our worst days, and too many of us every day, actually crave the security of a “system” that eases our cares and allays our fears, and we are moved at times to offer this peace to others worse off than ourselves.  To highlight this shared anxiety — the source of the eternal appeal of the Democratic Party — is to take a risk.  It becomes easy for one’s opponents to say, as they will do in myriad ways, We care about you and for you; we will relieve your suffering, and all your ups and downs will be smoothed and gentled; and, if the state hanging on your sleeve means you cannot jump very high or run very fast, well, at least you will never falter, fall, and be crushed beneath the crowd.  Here at last is a real choice for the electorate, but inevitably, many will select the less painful option.

This selection implies a dull and “adventureless” life, perhaps.  But what good, after all, are adventures?  As Bilbo Baggins of the famous novel Lord of the Rings said, they are nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things that make one late for dinner.  For Bilbo to change his mind and leave the drowsy comfort of the Shire required the intervention of a wizard, in short supply these days.  Tolkein’s ultimate answer, however, is that the chance for a fuller and nobler existence is worth the discomfort of the adventurous life, and something in that vein must also be the foundation of the Republican answer.  Therapeutic competition with Democrats is obvious folly, so Ryan was right to offer something different; the open question is whether he and Governor Romney can persuade the voters to take up the offer.

The Democratic Party presents itself as the enemy of pain — no bad thing, certainly, from an electoral perspective.  On its leftist fringes is a political theodicy attributing the existence of suffering to the malign forces of some hidden power: the one-percenters, the fat-cat bankers, the rich, the greedy, the privileged, the vampire capitalists.  You suffer and lack because They take too much; you hurt because They allow it through their cruelty and indifference.  More broadly, though, the Democratic Party as a whole seems committed to the proposition that one’s suffering is contingent and corrigible, that if only the nation got the policy right pain would disappear.  At the least, it is deemed our collective duty as good utilitarians to redress pain wherever it is found.

Some voters choose Democrats to seek a palliative for their own problems, but many liberals are simply motivated by a strong emotional reaction to human suffering.  To the exclusion of other goals — honor, tradition, excellence — research has shown the psychology of the Left is singularly focused on an ethic of caring and on the consequent “sacralization of victims” and their suffering.  Progressives have prioritized pain as the world’s central evil and dedicated themselves to its alleviation.  As a corollary, they prize in leaders the supposed Clintonian capacity to “feel the pain” of anonymous masses, and the anesthetic expertise to relieve it.

No mainstream parties are friends to pain, nor should they be, for needless suffering is a great wrong.  Still, the Republican Party’s view is more complex because achievement, liberty, responsibility, and many other qualities are within its calculus, to be weighed against discomfort.  Nor does conservatism have the luxury of believing in government’s power to wholly take away the pain of human existence — its view of the limited malleability of human nature is not utopian, but instead richer, more tragic.  When Republicans centered their first day’s convention theme on the claim that individuals (rather than government) “built that,” it was not solely as a rebuttal of an awkward quote from the president; rather, it went to the larger point that suffering is endured for a purpose — that through it, through long hours, through anxiety and uncertainty, through the work of the hands and lives, something is created.  The pride and joy of creation, ennobled by the suffering that made it possible, was certainly an undertone of the Republican message.

Charles N.W. Keckler

How Do You Answer Evil? Ten Years After the Bali Terror Bombing

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Today marks ten years since jihadist terrorists carried out a ghastly bombing attack on night club spots on the Indonesian island of Bali. The Kuta Beach massacre was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia: 202 people were killed that night. 164 were foreign nationals, 38 were Indonesian citizens. 209 people were injured.

Almost immediately after it happened on 12th October 2002, the then editorial team at the Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun newspaper contacted Arnold Roth. This was only a year after the death of the Roths’ daughter Malki. Arnold and Malki had both been born in Melbourne. The Herald-Sun requested a first-person response, an open letter to the families of the Indonesian attack victims.

Malki‘s death, like those of the Bali massacre victims, came at the hands of terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Arnold felt he had something to say and set everything else aside to quickly write an op-ed [background here].

He sent it off to the Herald-Sun. Then… silence. For reasons that have never been explained, his article never appeared in the pages of the Melbourne newspaper. The paper’s editor at that time never responded to several emails asking for an explanation.

Eventually, the Jerusalem Post picked it up and published it in the paper’s December 9, 2002 edition. Here are excerpts:

A letter to the families of the Kuta Beach victims 

By Arnold Roth, Jerusalem

I never felt more like a father than when taking the hand of my little daughter Malki and crossing the street with her. There is something so right and solid about being your child’s protector.

I never felt more wretched, frightened and alone than on the night the call came saying her body had been identified. My daughter was murdered by a deliberate act of explosive horror. I was not there to protect her.

If you’re asking what can be done, I want to offer this. When a young life ends, a huge empty space is left behind. How do you fill it? With hatred, thoughts of revenge, evening up the score? After our daughter’s death, we sat down as a family and asked ourselves how her life and actions should be remembered. We decided to raise money and give practical help to families raising a child with disabilities. Malki, a very practical teenager, did this herself and believed in it. It would have made her smile.

Perhaps it’s not politically correct to say this, but I believe evil does exist in the world – a great deal of it.

How do you answer evil? For us, the right response has been to do things which we hope will increase the stock of good in the world. We know this will have no impact on the barbarians who killed our children and loved ones. But we’re absolutely determined that they won’t be impacting us any more than they already have. They and their values are irrelevant to our lives.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Goebbels Writings Don’t Sell at Auction

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Love letters and other writings by Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels did not sell at a much-touted auction.

The writings were offered Sept. 27 at the Connecticut auction house Alexander Historical Auctions.

Only one offer reportedly came in by telephone for the collection of Goebbels’ early writings, well below its opening price of $200,000. The lot could go on sale again at a lower price, according to Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Historical Auctions.

The same auction house last year sold the writings of Josef Mengele.

JTA

A Muhammed Cartoon a Day

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in 1989 in his magical realist novel The Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He pronounced a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West; we don’t insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.

That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot and kill.

Khomeini’s edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals – Western and Islamist alike – to drive their countries’ policies.

On the Western side, Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing twelve Muhammad cartoons. Florida pastor Terry Jones caused panic for American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S. relations with Egypt with an amateurish video, Innocence of Muslims. By publishing vulgar pictures of Muhammad, French weekly Charlie Hebdo is causing the French government temporarily to shut down diplomatic missions in twenty countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanic to publish attacks on Muhammad have likewise caused German missions to be closed.

On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with The Satanic Verses and Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Hamid Karzai goaded Afghans to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers and Egyptian preacher Khaled Abdullah turned Innocence of Muslims into an international event.

In brief, any Westerner can buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the democratized Western / Muslim divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other and confrontations occur with increasing frequency…

Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media reached a consensus, “Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot”? What would happen if instances of Koran burning happened recurrently?

I predict the latter, that a Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, will make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Were that the case, Westerners could once again treat Islam as they do other religions – freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values.

So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: display the Muhammad cartoon daily until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.

This article originally published by FoxNews.com on September 21st, 2012.

Daniel Pipes

Samsung to Pay Apple More Than $1 Billion Dollars

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

A US Jury found Samsung guilty of patent infringement of key features of Apple’s iOS, iPhone and iPad. The jury awarded Apple over $1 Billion dollars for damages ($1,049,393,540 to be exact). While in the issue of Samsung’s claims against Apple, Samsung was awarded nothing.

The Jury deliberated for less than three days on and decided that Samsung infringed on six out Apple’s seven patent claims, while Apple had infinged on none of Samsung’s five patent claims.

Apple is now seeking an injunction against Samung, while Samsung will be appealing the ruling.

Apple and Samsung both released statements in response to the court’s decision:

Apple:

We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.

Samsung:

Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Former GSS Chief Dichter to Lead Home Front Office

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

After feverish searches by the prime minister’s office for some former senior IDF official to be appointed as Minister for the Defense of the Home Front, late Monday on night, following all-night meetings with the prime minister and the minister of defense, the appointment of MK Avi Dichter was finalized.

It appears that Dicter accepted the offer, and tomorrow will offer his resignation to Knesset Chair Reuven Rivlin. In agreeing to accept the position of government minister, Dichter de facto resigns from his Kadima party which is currently back in the opposition. He is now expected to join the Likud, and compete for a slot on the party’s list for the coming elections.

On Wednesday, the government convenes to authorize his appointment for office, and on Thursday the appointment will become official.

Dichter, formerly head of the General Security Service, better known by the acronym Shabak, and a senior member of Kadima, led the effort to depose Tzipi Livni in the last primary elections in Kadima. He supported Mofaz, but after the latter had been elected, their relationship deteriorated. Dichter opposaed Kadima’s pulling out of Netanyahu’s government, arguing that it must remain inside the coalition.

Dichter joined Zachi Negbi and Haim Ramon, who, over the last two months, have resigned from Kadima. Sources inside the party on onday night expressed their fury, and said that “Dichter is AWOL.”

The Prime Minister’s office just happened to be feverishly searching for a replacement for Matan Villny, the departing home front minister, who will assume his new post as Israel’s Ambassador to China next week. Candidates mentioned to replace Villny were former head of the northern command General Yossi Peled, and former vice chief of staff, Uzi Dayan, who today serves as head of the national lottery.

Dictor will be working alongside Defense Minister Ehud Barak, because logistically the Home Front office is part of the Ministry of Defense, and good relations between the Ministries is vital.

Jacob Edelist

Four Reasons to Consider Buying Mutual Funds

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Are you looking for a good way to invest your money? If so, you might consider mutual funds. A mutual fund is essentially a collection of stocks and/or bonds that is shared by investors. Everyone puts his money into a “basket,” and each person owns a proportional percentage of the overall mutual fund. Each mutual fund has managers that are in charge of the buy-and-sell decisions, so all the investor needs to do is put his money in and wait/hope to earn some profits.

Four reasons investors choose mutual funds are:

-It takes the work off your shoulders — why spend time going through rows of figures and researching the performance of your securities when there are professional money managers who can do this for you? In fact, not only do they save you the work, but they can possibly do it better.

-“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” or in financial terms, diversification. Diversification is a technique where you spread your investments among various companies, industries, and geographic locations, thus minimizing your risk if something fails. For example, if you were to put all of your savings into Brazilian coffee and a huge flood wiped out the entire coffee bean crop across South America, you would be left with nothing. But if you diversify, you are less likely to lose everything. Putting your money into mutual funds, which by their very nature are diverse (though some do stick to certain sectors or countries), saves you the headache of searching for the best way to spread your investments.

-Mutual funds are not only good for the big guns. If you only have a little bit of money you can still invest. Unlike some professional money managers who may have minimum account size requirements to manage your money, mutual funds offer professional management without investment minimums (other than buying one share). In this way, mutual funds may be an affordable way to get professional guidance and diversification.

-What if you suddenly need your money? Mutual funds are fairly liquid. You can redeem your shares at the current NAV —along with any fees and charges assessed on redemption — at any time.

If you think investing in mutual funds may be for you, learn more at www.LearnAboutInvestments.com, and then schedule a meeting with your financial adviser.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/four-reasons-to-consider-buying-mutual-funds/2012/08/05/

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