Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesdays Stink (and other miscellaneous thoughts)

Really, they do.  You don't have the "glow" of the just-completed weekend anymore, and the next weekend is still far off in the future (or so it feels, anyway).  I have always hated them and I still do.  I remember that as a kid, I used to routinely "get sick" and end up in the nurse's office on Tuesdays, to the point where it was a running joke at my elementary school, and my late mother threatened me that unless I was near death, I was NOT going to be allowed to come home early from school, and even then, she wanted to speak to a doctor first.

I'm still a sports fan, but as I've gotten older, my interest in it has really dropped off.  Growing up, and even into my twenties and early thirties, I would often plan my life around sporting events (when my favourite teams were on tv, etc.).  Now, I often don't even bother to watch when those teams are on tv.  Is that typical?  Don't get me wrong, I still have teams for which I cheer, and those against whom I cheer just as strongly, but the outcomes don't really affect me the way they did in the past.  I remember in 1988, when I was still in my early twenties, the Montreal Canadiens lost a playoff series to the Boston Bruins, and it was the first time in 45 years that that had happened.  I was devastated for weeks, and it was just as bad the next year when Montreal lost to Calgary in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Now, when the Habs lose, it bothers me, but my attitude is more of a "Oh, well", a shrug of the shoulders, and life goes on.

One of the "joys" of getting older is seeing the people with whom you have interacted vanish from your life. In the past few weeks, four people (one judge, three lawyers) with whom I had dealt regularly all passed away.  It really is depressing.  Three of them were older, so their passing wasn't entirely unexpected, but one of them wasn't much older than me.  It really makes you think.  Good Lord, I'm turning into Billy Crystal's character at the beginning of the first City Slickers movie...................

I get that people aren't happy with the way President Obama has responded to the Ukraine crisis, and one thing that hasn't changed in the four years that passed during my blogging hiatus is that I continue to be a critic of his foreign policy.  However, what exactly SHOULD he be doing?  Do people want us to intervene militarily in the Ukraine, and if that's what they want, are they prepared for the consequences of such an intervention?  We would almost certainly lose, given that Russia is right next door and we have no large numbers of military forces nearby.  The world economy would tank.  Oil prices would double (or worse). The Europeans will not help us, given that they are completely dependent on Russian gas to heat their houses. And, then there's that little matter of all of those Russian nukes, which a despot like Vladimir Putin might be willing to use.  So, again I ask, what exactly should President Obama do?  Don't give me talking points; I want specifics.

I've been asked fairly often over the years why I am such a strong supporter of Israel.  Well, there are "macro" and "micro" reasons.  Dealing with the "micro" reasons first, I have friends and (distant) family there. The "macro" reasons are a bit more complex.  There is a total of around 14,000,000 Jews on the planet, at least as of 2012, the last year for which I could find a statistic.  Over 82% of them live in Israel or the United States.  Especially after the Holocaust, I view it is one of my responsibilities as a Jew to ensure that my fellow Jews will always have somewhere to go in the event of war, discrimination or intolerance. Fortunately, here in the U.S., it seems as though "our place in society" has largely been accepted.  In Israel, the only Jewish-majority country on the planet, that "place in society" is under attack, both militarily and socially. No, there are no large-scale military invasions of Israel under way, nor do any appear to be imminent (the fantasies of Iran's mad mullahs notwithstanding), because the Arab world has come to realize that more insidious forms of non-military warfare such as attacking Israel in international organizations (such as the odious United Nations) and the "BDS" (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement, which has successfully turned the image of Israel into that of a modern-day South Africa--even though that is simply a lie--are far more effective. Hatred of Israel is at an all-time high, and hatred of Jews in general is following suit.  What does it say that the sole country in the world which is the target of such a movement is the world's only Jewish-majority state?  Not China, which has oppressed Tibet and the Uighurs for closing in on 70 years. Not Russia, which has already violently taken over part of Georgia and is now occupying part of the Ukraine.  Not Morocco, which has engaged in a virtual war of extermination against the native inhabitants of the Western Sahara, to the point where the natives of that region are now a minority in their own land.  Not Saudi Arabia or Iran, which practice gender apartheid and still stone people to death for adultery or "religious blasphemy", and which ban other religions (in the case of Saudi Arabia).  I could go on and on. Nope, only Israel is worthy of world opprobrium--and then people wonder why I am convinced that the BDS movement is by and large anti-Semitic?

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