The Jewish religion is not a faith that prizes blind obedience or collective adherence to dogma. Our tradition is cerebral. We debate. We argue. The question is always holier than the answer.The primal Jewish issue is justice. Judaism is a religion of the law, and the seminal concept of the law is that the minority must be protected. In the Jewish faith, you study. You wrestle with issues. You are a scholar. You deliberate, you dispute. A Jew asks over and over, “What is fair? What is just? Who is a good man, and why?”I spent only one winter in the yeshiva. What I learned, more than Torah, was to love the teachers, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook and “the saintly Nazir,” Rabbi David Cohen, who embodied these pursuits with such honor and integrity. I learned not so much from them as through them, by watching their actions, hearing their speech, and observing the way they conducted themselves. I learned the history of the Jewish people, the incredible suffering endured by millions over so many centuries, and of Jerusalem, the centrality of this place in the soul of the people, their neshama, and why our return to this site means so much.The Kotel. The Western Wall, as it is called in English. How did so much hope and passion come to be attached to a wall? Not even the wall of a temple, which the Kotel is not, but even humbler, a retaining wall for the mount upon which the razed temple had once stood. A ruin. How could this mean so much to me? How could it mean so much to our paratroopers who had never studied, who knew nothing of Torah, who did not even know how to pray?A wall is unlike any other holy site. A wall is a foundation. It is what remains when all that had once risen above it has been swept away. A wall evokes primal emotion, particularly when it is built into the land, when the far side is not open space but the fundament of the earth itself. When one stands with worshipful purpose before the expanse of a wall, particularly one that dwarfs his person, that rises above him and extends on both sides, an emotion arises from the heart that is unlike the feeling evoked by any other religious experience. How different, compared to, say, worshipping in a cathedral or within a great hall or at the foot of some monumental tower.One approaches the Western Wall as an individual. No rabbi stands beside you. Set your palms against the stones. Is God present? Will the stone conduct your prayers to Him? Around you stand others of your faith; you feel their presence and the intention of their coming, but you remain yourself alone.Are you bereft? Is your spirit impoverished? Set your brow against the stone. Feel its surface with your fingertips. Myself, I cannot come within thirty paces of the Wall without tears.The ancient Greeks considered Delphi the epicenter of the world. This is the Wall to me. All superfluity has been stripped from this site and from ourselves. Here the enemies of my people have devastated all that they could. What remains? This fundament alone, which they failed to raze only because it was beneath their notice. The armored legions of our enemies have passed on, leaving only this wall. In the twenty centuries since, those who hate us have defiled it and piled trash before it and even relieved themselves against it. They have neglected it, permitted slums to be built up around it. This only makes it more precious to us.That morning of June 7, I can’t remember exactly when this happened—maybe on the way down to the Wall with Moshe Stempel and the others. At some point we were climbing the stairs—Yair Levanon, Dov Gruner, Moshe Milo, and I—when we noticed a scrawl, freshly scratched into the stone, in Hebrew:IF I FORGET THEE, O JERUSALEM, MAY MY RIGHT HAND FORGET ITS CUNNING.This is a verse from Psalm 137, which also contains the line “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back an Obama-era policy that gave states leeway to allow marijuana for recreational purposes.
Two sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed to The Hill that Sessions will rescind the so-called Cole memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases.
Thanks Mr. Sessions. Good to know that you didn’t have more important things to do, like reform the Justice Department or indict Hillary Clinton. No, you had to go after Marijuana users….who harm virtually no one, to satisfy your “war on drugs” fetish….presumably gloating in your victory while you enjoy a portion of a near-endless supply of alcohol.
Fucking hypocrite……Conservative my ass.
From a Anti-Constituion Leftist:
What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.I’ll give you an example. I was down one day on Varick Street, somewhere close to Canal, and there was a big sign out front of a new condo saying, “Units start at $2 million.” And that just drives people stark raving mad in this city, because that kind of development is clearly not for everyday people. It’s almost like it’s being flaunted. Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.
What those who call themselves Conservatives who think of a Democrat POTUS saying ANYTHING resembling the following: “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department”.
I’m still wondering, since the current Republican POTUS uttered those words…and we have crickets from the Right. Nothing. Nada.
This is why I’ve always maintained that there’s a wide chasm between Republicans and Conservatives. And most people who think they’re Conservatives…………..aren’t.
Postscript: After saying he was “getting back to work”……..Trump spent 4 consecutive days …..golfing. I wonder what the simpering sycophants on the right wold have said, had Obama pulled the same stunt.
Piece of shit hypocrites.
Every. One. Of. Them.
Much like the Festivus “Airing of Grievances”, each December should also host the “Airing of Facts”.
“Christ’s Mass” is not the only religious holiday in December….not even the only Judeo-Christian holiday.
Private enterprise should be honored for charting their own path when it regards holiday seasons….is it not celebrated in other cases? Baking of cakes, arranging of flowers, etc…?
Saying “Happy Holidays” is not anti-Christmas.
Those who get their granny panties in a bunch upon hearing “Happy Holidays” are butt hurt that their personal faith is not being elevated and institutionalized at every level, both public and private.
Not hearing “Merry Christmas” from a complete stranger, whose job it is to compel you to spend money in a crass, commercial bastardization of your Holy Day….says more about your emotional insecurities and the depth of your faith, than you realize.
Obama said “Merry Christmas” more than you can admit to yourself.
The institutionalism of your personal faith is also “political correctness”.
Nobody has ever stopped you from saying “Merry Christmas”….but that isn’t stopping the sycophantic group “America First Policies” from airing a television ad “thanking President Trump” for in part, “letting us say Merry Christmas again”. I couldn’t finish typing that sentence without laughing.
– And for extra credit, you are free to pray in school anytime you desire…claims to the contrary, also being “politically correct”.
Michael Slager will spend 20 years in prison for killing Walter Scott, but only because there was video that put lie to any acceptable rationale for the shooting. There was video of Daniel Shaver getting murdered as well, but the officer was able to spin an acceptable reason. It’s a really damn thin reason, I mean REALLY damn thin, but hey, in the end, some people are just more equal than others. And I know this because twelve people in Mesa, AZ just decided this was so.
I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the recent past, I stopped arguing against gun control as some high ideal about defending against the tyranny of government. Not because lightly armed citizens have no chance against a modern military, but because it’s a moot point. If it came to a civil war, or a military invasion, there are ways to get your hands on the weapons you need to fight on an equal footing with a modern military. No, I stopped because it’s obvious to me that the very people who rail about fighting tyranny are, far too often, the very same people who eagerly acquit and excuse agents of the state for killing their fellow citizens on the thinnest of pretexts.
The people who demand the right to resist the government with force in one breath, celebrate the use of that force in the next.
We live under the tyranny our peers have voted for, twelve votes at a time.
I like to think I still have common cause with brothers in blue……but with the increased militarization of civilian law enforcement – and the attitude/demeanor that seems to accompany it, no-knock warrants, and senseless shooting of family pets……I have to re-evaluate…..
I’m strangely thankful that another deployment to a combat theater has isolated me from the hypocritical, political theater that consumes so many peoples lives. I’ve decided to largely give up on participating in the online community. And I’m the happier for it.
Who gets the credit for this? Those who describe themselves as “Conservatives”. I never expect much from Leftists….but always hoped those who proclaimed that they were supportive of reason and individual liberty would compel me to continued activism. They have failed. They have failed by their rank hypocrisy, and their emotion-driven tirades.
“America” is a lost cause. There are so few advocates of individual, religious and civil [and most importantly – Constitutional] liberty remaining…that there is literally no hope.
This is why I prepare.
And this is why I shun the online feinting couches of both acts of the political drama that consumes the American public. May your blanket of self-righteous smugness keep you warm as the flame of Liberty flickers and dies.
Anyone who isn’t terrified of a POTUS…any POTUS, saying this……
“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me, I’m the only one that matters because when it comes to it that’s what the policy is going to be.”
“But you know the saddest thing, because I’m the President of the United States I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kinds of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.”
…isn’t an American Patriot.
One would think that Journalists either haven’t been introduced to the concept of Google, or are willfully and maliciously proffering lies in the service of an agenda. People’s exhibit A, MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt:
On Friday night, the panel on HBO’s Real Time discussed gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt told Bill Maher that the Founding Fathers “could no more conceive the idea of an AK-47” when writing the Second Amendment than they “could’ve conceived a spaceship.”
“These weapons were not conceived of, were not understood, were not imagined in the context of the time when the amendment was authored,” Schmidt elaborated, “and we ought to have a real debate in this country about whether we want military weapons… weapons of war in the hand of every Joe who wants to go in and buy 30 of them.”
He then declared that it is “harder to buy cough medicine than it is to buy an AK-47 or 50 of them.”
Well now…it doesn’t take much to conclude that Schmidt has no idea what he’s talking about. Leaving aside the multi-shot projectile weaponry of the early Chinese and Italians [to just name the heavies], and focusing on rifles or man-portable ‘rapid fire’ firearms…we have some distinct examples of Schmidt’s perfidy:
“could no more conceive the idea of an AK-47”
The ribauldequin was the earliest attempt at a volley gun. Also known as an “infernal machine” or an “organ gun” (because its barrels resembled the pipes of a church organ), ribauldequins were made up of many small caliber cannons laid side by side on a flat platform. When the gun was fired, it would spread a volley of cannon shot across the battlefield, chewing up everything in its path. The ribauldequin made its battlefield debut with the armies of Edward the III of England during the Hundred Years War. This first model, which appeared in 1339, featured 12 barrels. In subsequent decades, other versions of the ribauldequin with more barrels were used by medieval armies in Italy as well as in the War of the Roses.
The Puckle Gun
The Puckle gun was invented by a London based lawyer named James Puckle, who had an interest in firearm design. He received a patent for his design in 1718. This was a flintlock firearm fitted with a multishot cylinder, much like a revolver. The cylinders were designed to hold 11 shots at a time. Unlike revolvers, there was a manual crank attached to the back to bring each chamber of the cylinder to the firing position. It was mounted on a tripod and the barrel was about 3 feet (0.91 meters) long. The caliber of this weapon was 1.25 inches (32 mm.). Typical of the era, the firearm came with bullet molds to cast bullets for it.
The Girandoni Air Rifle
The Girardoni air rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815. The advantages of a high rate of fire, no smoke from propellants, and low muzzle report granted it initial acceptance, but it was eventually removed from service for several reasons. While the detachable air reservoir was capable of around 30 shots it took nearly 1,500 strokes of a hand pump to fill those reservoirs. Later, a wagon-mounted pump was provided. The reservoirs, made from hammered sheet iron held together with rivets and sealed by brazing, proved very difficult to manufacture using the techniques of the period and were always in short supply.
In addition, the weapon was very delicate and a small break in the reservoir could make it inoperable. Finally, it was very different from any other weapon of the time and any soldier using it needed to be highly trained.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition used the rifle in the demonstrations that they performed for nearly every Native American tribe they encountered on the expedition.
The Ferguson Rifle
The Ferguson rifle was one of the first breech-loading rifles to be put into service by the British military. It fired a standard British carbine ball of .615″ calibre and was used by the British Army in the American War of Independence at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, and possibly at the Siege of Charleston in 1780.
Its superior firepower was unappreciated at the time because it was too expensive and took longer to produce – the four gunsmiths making Ferguson’s Ordnance Rifle could not make 100 in 6 months at four times the cost per arm of a musket.
While more of a volley weapon than a machine gun, Britain’s Royal Navy hoped the multi-barreled Nock gun would be a serious force multiplier in ship-to-ship boarding actions. The weapon featured seven rifled barrels, each with a tiny vent that led to the priming pan. The barrels would be loaded with standard paper musket cartridges. When the main charge was ignited, sparks would shoot through the vents and set off each of the cartridges at almost the same instant. Developers imagined the Nock would be particularly deadly when used against groups of tightly packed enemy sailors on the deck of a warship.
The Founding Fathers were nothing if not intellectually curious and well-read in regards to philosophy, religion, politic, agriculture, animal husbandry, military affairs…….and scientific inventions. The Founders knew well of the weaponry illustrated above.
Now that his first canard has disabused, let’s move on to the next:
“weapons of war in the hand of every Joe who wants to go in and buy 30 of them.”
Well now…..”weapons of war” Sounds scary doesn’t it kids? Let’s use some intellect and consider what type of weaponry was not designed, intended or and utilized as a “weapon of war”? Grandpappies bolt action rifle? Yep…“weapon of war”. The shotgun over the fireplace mantle? Yep….“weapon of war”. The pistol or revolver you’ve been eyeing at the local gun counter? Good guess!.…“weapon of war”. Do we really need to go on?
“harder to buy cough medicine than it is to buy an AK-47 or 50 of them.”
It must either be blissful or maddening to live with this level of stupid. I’ve purchased Sudafed recently, and was required to hand over my driver’s license while the Pharmacist ran my name and address against a database. Done. Walked out pills in hand. To purchase a firearm, one must fill out an ATF Form 4473.
For the uninitiated:
A Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, is a form promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the United States Department of Justice that is filled out when a person purchases a firearm from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder (such as a gun shop).
The Form 4473 contains name, address, date of birth, government-issued photo ID, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check transaction number, and a short affidavit stating that the purchaser is eligible to purchase firearms under federal law. It contains make, model, or serial number on page three of the six page form. Lying on this form is a felony and can be punished by up to five years in prison in addition to fines, even if the transaction is simply denied by the NICS. Prosecutions are rare in the absence of another felony committed with the gun purchased. Of 556,496 denied transactions between FY 2008 and FY 2015, federal prosecutors prosecuted an average of under 32 cases per year, including 24 in FY 2013, 15 in FY 2014 and 20 in FY 2015.
The dealer also records all information from the Form 4473 into a required “bound-book” called an “Acquisition and Disposition Log. A dealer must keep this on file at least 20 years, and is required to surrender the log to the ATF upon retirement from the firearms business. The ATF is allowed to inspect, as well as request a copy of, the Form 4473 from the dealer during the course of a criminal investigation. In addition, the sale of two or more handguns to a person in a five-day period must be reported to ATF on Form 3310.4. – Wiki
Of course, we who own and purchases firearms, know well that the “instant” in National Instant Criminal Background Check System is anything but. And sadly, his kindergarten commentary avoids the salient question in his last lie…..why do we allow the State to burden the Citizen in buying Sudafed?
In 2005, Congress passed the deceptively named Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act or PLCAA to provide unique immunity to gun sellers and manufacturers. Unlike virtually every other manufacturer of consumer products, this law means the gun industry cannot be sued by consumers who are harmed by their products. – Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT
*Apologies for the weird line spacing. Not sure what’s causing it.
Something to chew on…..
Three thoughts I never imagined I’d ponder on a Monday in September:
1. The NFL and it’s players are under attack, not by worried mothers, not by CTE or brain damage and not by a league-wide plague of herpes….but from our own President of the United States.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
2. According to near-sighted people, kneeling is the most disrespectful act a person can demonstrate towards the American flag.
“The flag should never be used as wearing…
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