Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – RT (Russian Television)… life after the zombie apocalypse?

We get RT through our cable package. Every now and then it’s fun to watch. You get a totally – and I mean totally – different slant on the news. Coverage of Europe seems a bit better than the major American and Canadian networks. But what really struck me last night was the coverage of the US.

With an almost obsessive focus on the States, RT showed clips of a seemingly harmless group of anarchist protesters being clubbed by American police in LA. In this case, I don’t think the video was lying. But I’m not sure if it was the 1992 riot or something more recent.

Members of the Toronto Police Force

Members of the Toronto Police Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scenes reminded me of a time, a few years back, when people questioned whether Toronto police were too heavy-handed during a G20 protest.

If a news network were to repeat a few choice clips of that Toronto event, it could make Canada look like, well, the Russian front!

But the point is, on the whole our cops are pretty decent people who do a good job, and a very difficult and dangerous job to boot. And I suspect it’s the same in the US.

Sadly, the veneer of civilization is pretty thin. This was painfully evident during a Toronto blackout a few years ago.

Before long people began to vandalize and rob. I began to feel scared. Would the downtown mobs reach my North Toronto neighborhood? A nearby bus shelter was trashed, shattered glass everywhere. They got close.

English: Plainclothes Officers -- circa 1919

Plainclothes Officers — circa 1919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in our enlightened age, it seems that life without cops would quickly revert to jungle life.

But I digress.

To return to RT, except for a story about apparently innocent athletes tested for drugs, I also noticed a dearth of news about Russia, itself. Always this obsessive attention to other countries. And the anchors, forgive me for saying, look like they are slightly doped. Say the wrong thing and God knows what happens to them. Even Larry King, whom I used to admire, has a show on RT. I’m not sure what’s worse. That, or his cheesy paid for TV interview/ads.

Speaking of ads, I didn’t see any on RT. Just lots of filler between news stories. Promos for RT.

By way of contrast, CNN’s Carol Costello seems so alive this morning and certainly NOT drugged. A real personality. I wonder what it is about Russians and their history that has lead to these dull, controlled mouthpieces we see on their news? Whatever happened to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky? Clearly not all Russians seem like they’re auditioning for a zombie flick.

Why don’t the people stand up?


Leave a comment

A Modern Miracle of Hanukah Dedication?

By Rabbi Allen Maller

This is the true story of retired Army Major Mike Neulander, from Newport News, Virginia, and who is now a Judaic silversmith.

In the fall of 1990, I received notice that I would be transferred to the First Cavalry Division, which was headed for Saudi Arabia. Then as now, Jews were forbidden to enter the country. But our Secretary of Defense told the king of Saudi Arabia, “We have Jews in our military. They’ve trained with their units and they’re going. Blink and look the other way.”With Kuwait occupied and the Iraqis at his border, King Fahd did the practical thing. We shipped out.

But there was a problem. Normally the dog tags of Jewish servicemen are imprinted “Jewish.” But the army, fearing that this would put Jewish soldiers at great risk should they be captured, substituted “Protestant B” on the tags. I didn’t like the whole idea of classifying Jews as Protestant-anything, and so I decided to leave my dog tag alone. I figured if I were captured, it was in God’s hands. Changing my tags was tantamount to denying my religion, and I couldn’t swallow that.

In September 1990 I went off to defend a country that I was prohibited from entering. The “Jewish” on my dog tag remained as clear and unmistakable as the American star on the hood of every Army truck.

A few days after my arrival, the Baptist chaplain told me. “I just got a secret message through channels,” he said. “There’s going to be a Jewish holiday. You want to go? It’s at 1800 hours at Dhahran Airbase.”

The holiday turned out to be Simhat Torah, a holiday that I hadn’t celebrated since I was a kid. Services were held in absolute secrecy in a windowless room. We couldn’t risk singing or dancing. We were strangers to one another in a land stranger than any of us had ever experienced, but for that brief hour, we felt at home.

The next time I was able to do anything remotely Jewish was Chanukah. As Rabbi Romer talked about the theme of Chanukah and the ragtag bunch of Maccabee soldiers fighting Israel’s oppressors thousands of years ago, it wasn’t hard to make the connection to what lay ahead of us. There, in the middle of the desert, inside an green tent, we felt like we were Maccabees.

We blessed the candles, praising God for the miracles He performed, in those days and now. And we sang the special blessing, the Shehecheyanu, thanking God for keeping us in life and for enabling us to reach this season. The feeling of unity was as pervasive as our apprehension. I felt more Jewish there on that lonely Saudi plain, our tanks and guns at the ready, than I had ever felt back home in a synagogue.

That Chanukah in the desert gave me the urge to reconnect with Judaism. I felt religion welling up inside me. I know that part of my feelings were tied to the looming war and my desire to get with God before the unknown descended on us.

The soldier sitting beside me stared ahead at nothing in particular, absentmindedly fingering his dog tag. “How’d you classify?” I asked, nodding to my tag. Silently, he withdrew the metal rectangle from beneath his shirt and held it out for me to read. Like mine, his read, “Jewish.”

During the remaining months before we returned home I never met a Jewish soldier whose dog tag was “Protestant B.” Maybe I had experienced a modern miracle of Hanukah dedication

Thanks to rabbimaller.com


Leave a comment

The “Triumvirate”

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – Are some people projecting their own shadow onto Russia and Trump?

One of the buildings of the Moscow Serbsky Ins...

One of the buildings of the Moscow Serbsky Institute. The institution garnered negative publicity because many Soviet dissidents were examined there and then sent to psychiatric hospitals (Wikipedia).

To me, today’s top tweet is ironic because the Russians are notorious for deposing political opponents through psychiatry. And yet we see the great American ‘champions of democracy’ threatening to do the same to Trump.

Hypocrisy? Scary?

I think so. And it’s so very Russian, just like that great behemoth that the Democrats have been demonizing.

So I ask, are some people projecting their own psychological shadow onto Russia and Trump?

Smooth, duplicitous criminals and hostile spies often slip through the psychiatric filter unnoticed. But Trump, who for all intents and purposes seems to be doing what he said he would do, is now being challenged by psychiatry professors.

Nyet Nyet Soviet?


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweets – Think for yourself and you’re a DENYER?

John Keogh - The Future

John Keogh – The Future via Flickr

I don’t know if anyone remembers a tweet a few weeks back about C. S. Lewis and Scientism. Before I say any more, let me refresh you. Using the term scientism is not anti-science. Scientism is about phony or shoddy science.

Scienitism as phony science appears in TV ads where paid actors wear white lab coats to legitimize the alleged benefits of the latest tooth paste, painkiller or allergy pill.

Scientism as shoddy science happens whenever a scientist’s interpretation of results exceeds the limits of the experimental design and data.

For me, scientists claiming they are certain about all the causes and future effects of climate change are leaning toward scientism.

To make matters worse, figures like Richard Branson (on MSNBC this morning) call anyone a DENYER who simply wants to think and discuss the issue. This is not only insulting to anyone who can imagine beyond the herd mentality. It’s a tactic I’d expect from a dystopian character in Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World.

I find the easy and widespread use of the term “denyer” far scarier than the prospect of climate change. Muzzling human beings’ right to speak though insults and implicit marginalization is never a good idea.


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – The Herd Mentality

Remember Y2K? How about those Mayan prophecies about the end of the world? Some people made a lot of money out of all that hype. Today I’m wondering if some – certainly not all – of the media pundits realize just how good Trump is for their own particular business.

Human beings tend to see themselves as smarter than animals. At least, a lot of us do. But when huge groups of people react emotionally instead of rationally, getting all whipped up into a frenzy, I really have to wonder sometimes.

God gave us reason for a reason. Let’s use it.


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – I’m no dark web wizard but…

I’m no dark web wizard but if the CIA’s claims are definitively true, why don’t they just post their data on the web for all to see? Surely there are enough independent and capable tech wiz’s to assess whatever traces, links etc. they have unearthed.

By way of analogy, if a surveillance camera captures footage of a criminal, the police usually have no hesitation releasing this info to the media. So what’s going on with the Russia allegations?