Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Obama Needs To Say No-Bama to Michael Moore's Endorsement

Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2008) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today called on Sen. Barack Obama to reject the endorsement of filmmaker Michael Moore.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Moore endorsed Sen. Obama in a 1,100-word posting on his Web site. Moore wrote, "Can you do me a favor? Will you please cast my vote - and yours - on Tuesday for Senator Barack Obama?"

"Michael Moore has consistently expressed views that are radically anti-American and anti-Israel. Michael Moore has placed a disproportionate blame on Israel for the Palestinian's use of terror and violence and calls Americans an 'ignorant people,' said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks. "Senator Obama must reject Moore's endorsement. We call on Barack Obama to reject his endorsement to show Michael Moore that this kind of hateful rhetoric will not be tolerated."

Anti-American and Anti-Israel Statements by Michael Moore

"Hey, here's a way to stop suicide bombings - give the Palestinians a bunch of missile-firing Apache helicopters and let them and the Israelis go at each other head to head. Four billion dollars a year to Israel - four billion dollars a year to the Palestinians - they can just blow each other up and leave the rest of us the hell alone." -- Michael Moore

Moore dedicated his book, "Dude Where's My Country?" to Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement volunteer who was killed when she climbed in front of a Caterpillar bulldozer that was destroying tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to illegally smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza.

In 1990, speaking before the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Moore announced that he would refuse to attend a screening of his movie, "Roger and Me," which was being held in Jerusalem. He was quoted as saying that he would not attend until Israel ceased to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. (Arab American News, 1990). Moore tried to prevent Fahrenheit 9/11 from being shown in Israel (New Yorker Magazine, February 16, 2004).

In an open letter to the German people in Die Zeit, Moore asked, "Should such an ignorant people [as the United States] lead the world? Don't go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way." (David Brooks in the New York Times, June 30, 2004)

To read more about Michael Moore and his views on Israel, click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cell Phones: The Enemy of Self Development

It was nobody's fault. I was standing in a parking lot and noticed a person I hadn't seen for awhile. He was wearing a BlueTooth headset with the spacey blue light blinking over his left ear. Like a lot of business types in Los Angeles, he was in the receiving mode.

We exchanged an awkward greeting for a few moments: "Hello! How are you? What are you doing these days?" Then he stopped dead in his tracks. A call was coming in . . . he had to take it. Business or pleasure, I'm not sure.

It did not matter. I was on my way to pick up a Soy Chai at Starbucks so when he picked up his call, we parted with a smile.

A little guilt inducing voice inside of me that sounded a lot like Larry David said, "You were glad his cell phone rang. You have too much to do and you were uncomfortable talking to him. What would you do without cell phones and those doggone Bluetooth head sets? You'd have to talk to him."

Of course, you wouldn't catch me wearing a BlueTooth headset. It's got "nerd" written all over it. I purchased one once and used it for two days. I felt like a a Star Trek dweeb in any store I beamed into. It actually felt Orwellian as the blue light blinked incessantly telling everyone I am one "plugged-in dude." I got rid of it.

But hold on. I still carry the Motorola Razor in my back pocket . . . on vibrate mode, of course. It's good for a brief rear end massage when a call comes in. Besides, if it is true (and it very may well be accurate) that the electomagnetic micro waves from our beloved cell phones will eventually afflict us with cancer, I figure I can handle butt cheek cancer as opposed to major brain cancer that will fall like the apocalypse on the wearers of the Blue Tooth headset.

Back to the conversation interruptus that that occurred this morning. It's getting harder and harder to complete a conversation these days. Perhaps the scene in Clueless depicting high school girls walking through the halls together speaking to one another on the cell phones is not that far off. We've placed a priority on receiving and making cell phone calls more than speaking to a live person.

In fact, according to a Psychology Today article "Mood Tools: High-Tech Tethers," flipping open the phone as soon as a bad mood strikes or a question comes to mind is "making you less independent, and unable to tap your inner resources and experience life's contrasts more fully."

Hans Geser of the University of Zurich calls cell phones "pacifiers for adults." At the tiniest glint of loneliness or insecurity, we whip out the cell and plop that digital binky up to our ear and "suck away."

We are removing all sense of longing and homesickness. While serving in Vietnam, I lived for the mail call. I would long to receive a letter from someone back home . . . my parents, my brother or step sister . . . even a "Dear John" letter was better than nothing. Today we have email and text messaging. Who can be homesick anymore? We'll go on iChat or Skype and talk or teleconference and sidestep any delayed gratification.

I really don't need to say "goodbye" to anybody anymore. I don't need to miss anyone. After I leave their presence, I can text them or call them from the road. Gone are the days when I would pull off the freeway to frantically look for a pay phone to check up on somebody and experience some anxious insecurity. Life is "less dramatic because we can always keep in touch ."

A lover waiting for his beloved at the train station is not the same as Hollywood once depicted such reunions in vintage films. The longing . . . the uncertainty . . . the anxiety that takes place when the two lovers finally embrace after not seeing each other for weeks or months is now diluted. Why should they miss one another? They've already been speaking to each other on their cell during the entire train ride and exchanged myriads of photos of each other using the camera on their cells.

Sure, I enjoy the convenience of having a cell phone. However, it is truly a high-tech tether that carries the potential to rob us of facing the frailty of being a creature made out of dust . . . a human who needs to experience his or her own inner resources in order to become more human. Face it, you and I are not made of binary numbers ("ones" and "zeros") but we've been put on this analog planet to remain as close to the dust as possible. It's the realization that we are dust here for a flash of time that drives us to seek an Eternal Creator who will never take another call while listening to us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama Refuses to Ask Carter to Cancel Hamas Meeting

Washington, D.C. (April 16, 2008) -- Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks released the following statement today:

"We commend the decision of House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Howard Berman and Committee Member Rep. Gary Ackerman to take a principled stance and ask former President Carter to cancel his planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks. "Now more than ever, Senator Barack Obama must explain why he will not join the growing chorus of U.S. lawmakers demanding that President Carter stop undermining the Middle East peace process. Senator Obama's silence speaks volumes about his weak support of Israel."