Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Elvis is in the house but not the House of Israel

Shut up and sing!  Not for British rocker Elvis Costello who cancelled two scheduled performances in Israel this summer.  His concerts were scheduled for June 30th and July 1st.

From a statement by Costello on his cancellation, the rock singer explained:

"One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament. Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent."

I didn't know that performing in a city, state or country meant you endorse all their politics.  How in the world can Costello perform anywhere in the world unless he feels supportive of the local or national political situation? Why do rock performers feel their musical presence at a specific venue endorses local politics?

Would Costello perform in the Gaza?  According to him, wouldn't he be interpreted as supporting the terrorist regime of Hamas or Hizobolah?

Come on!  Rock stars and celebrities take themselves too seriously and should just shut up about their political views and just perform.  They can do whatever they want in their personal lives politically.  However, to start using their concerts as a political platform is another story.

Costello went on in his statement on the concert cancellation:

I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.  

Isn't that the problem of the audience and not that of the performer?  Are we to take the view that the Lakers are supportive of Arizona's stand against illegal immigration just because the NBA team is playing the Phoenix Suns in Arizona? If so, they should not play in Arizona since the city they represent (Los Angeles) declared a boycott against the state.

To be fair to Costello, he did mention the Palestinians are responsible for "many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation (italics mine)."  In the name of liberation?  Or is it in the name of the destruction of Israel which is a more accurate reflection of the beliefs of Hamas?  Costello may sound erudite in his statements, but he knows very little about the history of the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

Elvis, you take your job as a rock singer much too seriously.  Not many people attend your concerts because of your political views. They want to hear you sing!

An article in the Jewish Journal mention other rock groups like Santana and Gil-Scott Heron who have followed suit and cancelled their summer concerts in protest and due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups.

 If Carlos Santana cancels a concert due to pro-Palestinian pressure, doesn't that mean he sympathizes with their perspective and animosity towards Israel?  Why doesn't he stand up to these pro-Palestinian terrorist forces and tell them, he's come to Israel to sing "Black Magic Woman," and not to cave into Palestinian "black magic" propaganda against Israel.

Speaking of women, why doesn't Carlos, a peace-loving man, refuse to play at venues in the Middle East where women are treated like dogs?  Perhaps if Carlos saw a film like The Stoning of Soraya M he'd understand how women are denigrated in the Middle East mainly in the Islamic culture.

So what do we do in response?  I am not an Elvis Costello fan. If you are, and you are supportive of Israel, I would encourage you to return his protest against Israel with one of your own-don't attend his concerts or buy his CDs.  I am an avid Santana fan, but I will not attend their concerts or buy their products since they took a stance against Israel by submitting to Palestinian pressure.

Somebody needs to get to Costello, Carlos and Gil Scott-Heron and tell them to stick to the music.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why does Johnny still need meds?

I've been around a lot of children who have allegedly been diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I say "allegedly" because I am not convinced such psychiatric diagnoses are even valid.

I'm not alone when I speak for parents who are scratching their heads when they're told by a neurological pediatrician that their child needs medication to help manage their hyperactive behavior.

Most of the time, the final diagnosis is based on a series of questions that, if answered affirmatively,  demonstrates the child has a disorder that must be treated.  Otherwise, the child will not "fit" into social settings.  As you know, questionnaires can be skewed to arrive at a desired conclusion.

Is there something wrong with kids today that they need to be medicated with such drugs as Ritalin, Strattera and Adderall?  It's almost as if, according to Dr. Michael Gerson, associate psychology professor at California Lutheran University, kids today are beng "redefined as physically and mentally defective creatures" who need to be medicinally managed. Many parents buy into these scare tactics in which a medically untrained teacher or a pediatrician will guilt trip them into putting their child on medications some of which are narcotics.

When I was in the second grade, I couldn't sit still. I was bouncing off the walls. Math,  spelling and social studies was boring. I'd rather draw cartoons while the teacher lectured the class.  I  remained the same way until high school.  Did I need to be medicated?  Some health care professionals would've advised my unsuspecting parents to put me on drugs.  However, my teachers dealt with my childhood jitters by making me sit out in the hall for an hour and not disturb the class, or be assigned an of detention after school.

I never matured to care enough about my education until I entered college.  Then I buckled down and earned a B.A. and two master degrees . . . all without taking stimulants to help me concentrate.

The solution for today's' fidgeting generation may just be the need to mature.  And teachers and parents are going to have to exercise tough discipline until that maturation occurs.  Am I advocating that parents delay their gratification with their precious child receiving educational honors?  Yes, and some parents may never get to put a bumper sticker on their car that reads, "My child is an honor student at Stratera Elementary School."

In the meantime parents are going to have to be tougher on their kids regarding rewards and punishment when it comes to their kid's behavior in school.

I empathize with teachers who have to discipline out-of-control children in their classrooms. The job really belongs to parents.

There have been countless times when I've witnessed children ages 3-6 running around a restaurant, climbing over empty booths or playing with condiments on the table.  The parents ignore their offspring's foolishness and other patrons are forced to suffer.  The children learn little discipline, have no consequences for their behavior and cannot handle the word "no."  Then these kids enter school and they can't sit down.  They've been trained by their parents that they don't have to sit still.

The teachers don't want to deal with a jumpy bunch of kids, so they recommend medication. It's Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

As a parent I advocate that drugs are not the answer. Treating our children today as if they have some mental disorder - ADD. ADHD - has gotten out of hand.  An American Psychologist article estimated that as many as 20% of U.S. youths meet the criteria for mental disorder.  I wonder how many of those psychologists conducting the tests meet the same criteria for mental disorders.

Dr. Gerson advocates rather than describing children with some sort of deficiency, perhaps they are merely spirited, rude and obnoxious kids. They need to learn how to behave in a social setting, respect the rights of others to speak without being interrupted and to sit still when an adult is speaking. Instead, we have bought into a pharmaceutical solution that everything can be fixed with a pill.

Another issue that links to hyperactive behavior is diet. How hard is it for parents to not give their kids sugar loaded cereals for breakfast and send them off to school bouncing off the walls?  If you feed your child a high intake of sugar - soda, candy, sugar coated cereal - they will become hyperactive.

When the sugar rush drops off, the child experiences low blood sugar levels, becomes sleepy and cannot concentrate.  For parents today, it's too hard to keep their kids from sugar, so they've opted for 20 mgs of amphetamines or Adderall.

Other blogs suggest alternative ways to deal with hyperactivity.

The worst by-product of the over-stimulated generation is telling them that they're "victims" of their disorder.  "I can't help or stop the way I behave.  It's my ADHD. I have a chemical imbalance."

The child is taught they no longer need to take responsibility for themselves. What is the answer to the child who is taught he or she is a victim of a disorder?  Mommy and Daddy will fix them with pills, and put more money into the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these medications.

Before you put your ten-year-old on stimulants or the controversial drug Ritalin, consider your little one is only a child.  A nine or ten year old finds it hard to sit still. They are restless, not hyperactive.

Because your child cannot concentrate does not prove he or she has a disorder.  Right now I'm drinking a cup of coffee containing a fair amount of caffeine. Why?  Because at this time of the day, I need a pick up to help me concentrate.  Do I have a disorder?  Should I go on amphetamine pills just because the caffeine pokes me awake for the next few hours?

Parents, don't be led as lambs to the slaughter when your MD prescribes a drug that can potentially harm your child.  Beware your pediatrician will assure you that kids who have bad side-effects from these drugs are in the minority.

Don't believe them. Adderall suppresses a child's appetite and your kid will eat less affecting both his nutritional intake and growth patterns. To fix this problem, your pediatrician may prescribe Human Growth Hormones to fix a medical condition they created.

Also, kids who take Adderall are using what is commonly called on the streets, "speed" or "uppers."  So your child is already being introduced to the world of drugs . . . thanks to your pediatrician. You are taking a chance that your kid may be getting high off the amphetamines you dose out to him each morning at breakfast!  He may soon graduate to pot or a stronger stimulant, cocaine.  Consider that Adderall and other stimulants/narcotics meant to correct ADD and ADHD may be your child's gateway into the dark world of drug abuse.

Doctors will argue against what I am saying, and quote all kinds of clinical studies.  But there is only one study that matters and that is the behavior of your child.  That's hard evidence your MD cannot refute.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Who was the Times Square car bomber?

The question must be asked, "Who was the person who tried to set off a car bomb in the heavily populated area of Times Square this past weekend?" I have to pose this question because once again the true enemy of the United States has been exposed.

While the mainstream media and even the President of the United States have recently concerned themselves with the Tea Party movement and conservative pundits, America let their guard down and terrorism struck again.  Obama and his supporters falsely led America to believe we have something to fear in the growing Tea Party movement. While liberal and leftists cowering before Sarah Palin, the true enemies of the U.S. were planning another attack. 

As a listener to conservative radio talk show hosts, Fox News and a participant in several Tea Party rallies, I've witnessed nothing but support and love for this country from these people.

The constant theme at Tea Party meetings I've attended is patriotism, supporting  the U.S. Constitution and criticism of our present government's policies on taxes.  It is not un-American to disagree with the policies of the present administration.  It was not too long ago when liberals were defending their patriotism because of their criticism of the President Bush's war on terrorism in Iraq. 

The problem with the Left ever since Obama took office is a minimizing of Islamic terrorism.  Terrorists like the Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab are seen as criminals and not part of a terrorist network. 
In fact, according to an Associated Press article about the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shazad's Cooperation is 'Ongoing. investigators are focusing their questioning of Shazad on the possibility of other imminent terrorist attacks on the U.S. In other words, the Obama administration is starting to wake up to the fact terrorists do not act alone.  They are not, according to NY Mayor Bloomberg in describing the NY Times Square bomber, a deranged person who acted on his own.  

Once we start labeling terrorists as individuals who are mentally ill and acting alone, we are playing into the hands of the terrorists who do not want us to see the larger picture of terrorist networks that operate both inside and outside the U.S. 

The media needs to take their focus off Fox News personalities and 50 year old white guys waving their American flags at Tea Party rallies as the ones creating an atmosphere of violence in America.  Ironically, the members of the Tea Party movement stand for everything our enemies oppose - freedom of speech, freedom to practice one's religious faith, the right to pursue personal happiness without government intervention, and especially women's rights.

Thank God the evil intentions of the Christmas bomber and the Times Square car bomber failed.  The stupidity of these Islamic evildoers have foiled their attempts to kill Americans.  The time will come when they will be successful.  Americans will die. But not by the hands of politically conservative Americans or members of the Tea Party movement.  U.S. citizens will die as on 9/11 by the hands of Islamic terrorists who hate this country and rejoice when its citizens face tragedy.

Let us never forget that on 9/11 Palestinians were rejoicing at the news of the fall of the World Trade Center towers and the people who lost their lives in that tragic collapse. Those are our enemies - Palestinian terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic jihadists, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Islamic cells that are operating in the U.S. right now plotting their next attempt to destroy Americans. 



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Illegal immigration on the forefront

In light of Arizona's decision to crack down on illegal immigrants, cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other locales are filled with angry Hispanics and their supporters.  Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo and I'm sure the protests against Arizona Governor Brewer will get louder and perhaps more volatile.  

Personally, I applaud the efforts of the state of Arizona to enforce the federal laws prohibiting individuals of any descent from entering this country illegally. 

Several year ago I attended a lecture by Heather Mac Donald, a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a prolific writer of articles about illegal immigration.  

In a blog dating back to February 2008 I discussed some of McDonald's key points from that lecture.  She emphasized the necessity of Americans to look at the potential dangers of unbridled illegal immigration.  Rather than having this piece being lost in a blog roll, I decided to post the major points of McDonald's thesis once more. 

Not much has changed in two years.  In fact, from the reaction to Arizona's decision to crack down on illegal immigration in their state, the issue is even hotter.  News reports have featured protesting crowds with signs that equate Arizona with Nazi Germany.  These protesters are so far from the truth and fail to see their own culpability in breaking the law by not becoming naturalized citizens of the United States and expecting the same benefits given to a U.S. citizen. Illegals are a people with a lot of gall and a total lack of understanding of American laws on naturalization. 

Finally, we have a state in our union brave enough to take on this issue. In fact, I encourage my readers to send Governor Jan Brewer a note of thanks for her courage to take an unpopular stand on an issue the past several U.S. presidents have steered away from. 

McDonald's premise is that if you listen hard enough to the public voice of the American people, you'll hear their frustration over the illegal immigration issue. Politicians need to listen to the voice of their constituents or be knocked out of the loop.

Why is illegal immigration so important? Because the demographic of the United States is changing. In the past three years, the number of illegal immigrants in America has reached 12 million. From a 2005 article from the Washington Post we read:

Based on Census Bureau and other government data, the Pew Hispanic Center, a private research group in Washington, estimated the number of undocumented immigrants at 10.3 million as of last March, an increase of 23 percent from the 8.4 million estimate in 2000. More than 50 percent of that growth was attributable to Mexican nationals living illegally in the United States, the report said.

To figure out the number of illegals in this country today, the same article provides us the math:

Pew Hispanic Center Director Roberto Suro said that the number of illegal immigrants continues to grow at the same rate as in the 1990s -- approximately 485,000 a year -- "despite significant efforts by the government to try to restrain the flow . . . at the border."

if we use the figure of 485,000 a year growth rate of illegal migrants, that would bring us two years later at 12 million illegals here in this country.

Who are these illegals? Once more the Washington Post piece provides the answer:

Mexicans remain the largest group of illegal migrants, at 5.9 million or about 57 percent of the March 2004 estimate, the report said. An additional 24 percent or 2.5 million undocumented immigrants are from other Latin American countries. Assuming the flow into the country has not changed since a year ago, the population of undocumented immigrants could number nearly 11 million today, the report said.

Here's another way to look at this according to Heather MacDonald. One in eight U.S. residents is foreign born. That's not a problem. That's 38 million foreign born people in this country. Here's the kicker: one in three of foreign born individuals is here in this country illegally. One in three of the foreign born residents in our country is here illegally. That's serious. If these illegals do not pay taxes, then they are enjoying the benefits of this country without having to pay for it. Who pays for their use of our services such as free medical exams, subsidized prescription drugs or subsidized schools for their children? The taxpayers do.

One young Iraq veteran remarked illegals work hard and should enjoy benefits like everyone else. However, is it fair that this young soldier goes overseas with the intent to protect America and create a secure nation while 12 million residents of the U.S. do not contribute to the defense budget of the U.S. that pays his salary and pays for the weapons that may save his life by their not paying federal income tax. Something is wrong with that kind of thinking.

A major reason why the issue of immigration is so important is that it is a massive assault on the rule of law. By not compelling illegals to become citizens, we're transferring the sovereignty of our country to people, according to MacDonald, who are from outside our borders. The legislature is no longer sovereign. Look at the Hispanic rallies in Spring 2006. Should a politician listen to people who are here illegally when it comes to enforcing the rule of law of the U.S? I don't think so.

Illegals are to be confronted with the rule of this land rather than the rule of this land have to yield to the large number of protesters in the streets of our cities. The self rule of law for illegals is simple: because I am here in the U.S. I have a right to be here." In other words, "we make our own laws. We do not live by the rule of law of the United States of America." No wonder they don't become citizens of the U.S; they do not respect the laws of America. The public is infuriated by this disregard for the rule of law. No matter what laws Congress passes to control our borders, illegals feel they have the right to flaunt their disobedience and indifference to the law.

Heather McDonald refers to an 2004 Los Angeles Times piece demonstrating this flaunting of the law: "After Border Patrol agents arrested a few hundred illegal aliens in southern California cities in 20045, the LA Times ran . . . stories bemoaning the resultant fear among illegal aliens and quoting advocates and politicians blasting the Border Patrol's outrageous behavior." So the behavior of illegals coming into this country illegally is not an issue. The fact they were caught and deported is a bigger issue. Perhaps I should go out and rob a bank and if I get caught, I can get the LA Times to garner sympathy for me. After all, I robbed the bank because I needed the money and that justifies my ignoring the law against bank robbery!

The rule of law is simple: if you come here illegally, you will face deportation. We should not be ashamed of this law nor should we be afraid to enforce it. The illegal needs to know that deportation is real. But if every time an illegal is arrested and faces deportation, there are cries of protest from the media, then the illegal knows we are not serious about our laws. There is no need of mass deportations, according to MacDonald. We merely need consistent enforcement of deportation laws. If so, illegals would calculate how wise it is to come to the U.S. through illegal channels, knowing they might be forced to leave.
Many illegals would decide to return home on their own and many fewer would decide to cross our borders. So the answer is not merely more border patrol personnel. Rather, we need enforcement of the laws regarding illegal entrance into our country. The threat of enforcement of the law on this issue must be credible. Right now it isn't.

If Macdonald is right and some polls are correct stating that Americans want to far stricter stance towards illegals than the press does and the politicians, much of our illegal immigration policy would be on its way towards a concrete solution.