October 2012


Dear friends,

As a matter of long-standing tradition, we leave politics out of our dinner conversations, and understanding the gap between our political positions, this has generally been a good policy.

I am, as the majority of my fellow Americans of Cuban descent or origin tend to be, a staunch Republican, and you are, as the overwhelming majority of American Jews tend to be, staunch Democrats, so this understanding and mutual respect for our rights to each hold our independent opinions has allowed for good conversations over good food, centered around updates on our children’s activities, news about family and mutual friends, and all those other topics that make good times spent with good friends, something to look forward to and cherish for years, and the unspoken decision to avoid those things that would divide us a good thing.

I am sorry, but I am going to have to broach our forbidden subject; I need to speak to you about the upcoming election.

Before you stop reading this, please take a second to reconsider. We have known one another for quite some time, and you know me for who and what I am…not a fanatical, obsessive demagogue, a political extremist, or even a one-issue ideologue. I am your friend before this conversation, just as I will remain your friend in its aftermath, a friend who holds some political positions considered too liberal to conservatives, and others that are, in the opinion of liberals, far too conservative in nature.

I am a guy with opinions, just like you. The fact that we can both hold our opinions, support the political Party and candidates of our choice, and still be able to share meals as friends is a testament to this country’s greatness.

The fact that you, a Democrat, and I, a Republican, have shared meals, laughter and even a tear or two along the way paints a picture that’s more real than the divided, partisan America that we see in the news so often these days.

America is great because her people are great.

This year however, things are happening that should raise an alarm in both our minds. Things of such disturbing connotations that should bring us together over a cup of coffee, and a taboo.

This year we need to discuss politics, you and I, face to face, and here is why:

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – Barack Obama, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, September 25, 2012

That is a disturbing statement for an American President to make, because it is either naive and ignorant, or calculated and dangerous. The problem is that even if it’s only a naive and ignorant statement made by a well-meaning politician, that statement puts people like you, my Jewish friends and family, in mortal danger, and by extent, it puts me and mine in equal danger.

How can this President, a man who received a staggering 78% of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election, not understand that your very existence, and the existence of the State of Israel, slander the “prophet of Islam”?

Or in understanding that, how can he then publicly announce that people like you and I, Jews and Christians whose adherence to a religion other than Islam constitutes a de facto slander of Islam and its prophet, must not have title to a future?

Perhaps the callous contempt toward Israel exhibited by this President doesn’t bother you; as Americans, we should all expect, no…demand that our elected public officials act with America first and foremost in their minds. But while we all would be correct in thinking that Israel needs America, it is not untrue that through military intelligence, it is Israel that often protects America, so as Americans, we must wonder why our President would chose to stand with people who would see us destroyed, over those with whom we share such long-standing ties with.

As Ruth R. Wisse, the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University recently wrote for The Wall Street Journal:

“No citizens would seem to need a strong America more than the Jews, who are once again targeted by aggressors seeking to destroy what they cannot attain. Iran develops the bomb and threatens to annihilate the Jewish state. Fundamentalist-controlled Egypt threatens to abrogate the treaty that cost Israel the Sinai Peninsula. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza vie over which is Israel’s more effective enemy, with the latter firing more than 400 rockets into southern Israel so far this year.”

As Americans, we all need to be concerned by the growing threat of a nuclear fundamentalist Islamist State like Iran, and as Americans we all need to realize that the security of the State of Israel is vital to the security of the people of the United States.

So, I am asking you, as a concerned friend, to think just a bit before casting your vote in this election. I am asking you, as another human being whose existence slanders Islam and its prophet by the mere act of not accepting him as a prophet of our mutual God, to reconsider your support for Barack Obama.

I am asking you to question the validity of the future not belonging to someone based on someone else’s opinions of how the future should discharge itself…ask yourself if there is a disquieting familiarity to the idea that perceived offense based on merely existing, is a justifiable reason for one group of people to take from another group any title to the future.

In that, I am not asking you to remember, I am merely asking you to not forget.

Israel is all of us, and we are all Jews in the eyes of the world’s radical Islamists.

I am not asking you to vote for any particular candidate…I don’t expect that from anyone, but I am asking you to stop, and wonder why President Obama sees the future as something that doesn’t belong to you, and I for that matter.

I am asking that for the sake of all our future generations, that this year you consider casting your vote as an American who stands by our friends in Israel, just as they have stood by us for so long.

I am asking that you consider voting for anyone other than Barack Obama.

We have six days to stand up for Israel and for our mutual future, and we all know that six days is more than enough time to beat anyone threatening our future.

Whatever happens, no matter what happens, I will be your friend, and I’ll stand with and by you.

I hope and pray that you choose to stand by me as I stand by Israel

One of the most memorable movies scenes of all time (for Star Trek geeks like myself that is) was Spock’s “dying” scene in “The Wrath of Khan”:

That idea is the basis for most liberal logic, but liberal logic, must remove human values from the equation in order to work, as witnessed in Detroit, when a first responder acted on basic human instinct, and engaged in a primary human reponse.

Fox 2 News Headlines

A Detroit paramedic is being punished, and the reason behind it may surprise you — it was, he claims, for giving a cold man a blanket.

The paramedic punished is Jeff Gaglio, and he says that he has to answer officially via departmental channels for the crime of wanting a man to not freeze in the cold. Gaglio has spoken out to local press about the incident, and is just as incredulous as you or I might be if the allegations he’s making turn out to be accurate.

The paramedic said of being punished:

“I’m being punished. I’m being punished for giving a man a blanket, something that would seem like a common, every day courtesy. Something that any man or woman would do in the City of Detroit, give a freezing man a blanket. I’m being punished for it.”

MyFoxDetroit asked who punished the paramedic, and Gaglio said:

“The chief of EMS Jerald James.”

James gave a statement on the paramedic punished for the blanket transgression, and the station explains that the blanket given to the man was not even purchased by the department — it was a donation for victims of house fires.

James explains why the paramedic is being punished:

“We can’t have an employee who feels that they have a right to give away state property, be it donated, be it a blanket, be it a tire off a vehicle, without getting prior approval from somebody or notifying the proper authority. This is what he did.”

So it would appear the paramedic was indeed punished for giving a blanket to a cold man, and that his story checks out as per EMS brass in Detroit.

You are a paramedic, you arrive at the scene of a house fire and see a cold, nearly nude, crippled old man shivering outside wearing nothing but his underwear, and you give him a blanket. A blanket donated to the department for use under such circumstances…blankets given freely to be used to comfort people just like this old, crippled man.

So, Jeff Gaglio, the paramedic in question, is being brought up on EMS departmental charges for giving away a blanket to a citizen without obtaining proper permission, and two quotes come to mind:

“[Euthanasia] is what any State medical service has sooner or later got to face. If you are going to be kept alive in institutions run by and paid for by the State, you must accept the State’s right to economize when necessary …” The Ministry of Fear by Graham Green (New York: Penguin Books [1943] 2005, p. 165).

If this is the State’s reaction to the misappropriation of a blanket, what should we expect from the State when it sees a hospital bed as being something that should be reserved to satisfy Karl Marx’s “common good”?

How can anyone not see that this is the real cliff in our path ahead?

Or perhaps, Flannery O’Conor’s great quote is more appropriate here:

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber.”

With “tenderness” of course, being a word that today could perhaps be substituted by “compassion”, or even “fairness”, within the liberal interpretation of either word, and include unspoken, politically incorrect adjectives such as “forced” or “artificial” (which precede nearly any liberal concept known to man), and used in a way that embraces Spock’s “the need of the many” quote.

But Spock was only half human, and where that human half was ready to willingly engage in the ultimate act of selflessness for his friend, his Vulcan half, controlled by “logic” and untarnished by emotion, failed to understand that in human beings, faith, not logic, defines compassion and shapes tenderness.

Logic dictates that a gifted blanket must be used to satisfy the greater needs of the many, even if that means that the few must suffer while what constitutes that “greater needs” is being calculated.

Compassion and tenderness, driven by faith and humanity, will always have us give the blanket to the nearly naked, crippled, shivering old man sitting outside his burning home. Even when we know that our action may have severe consequences.

We are after all, human, and when the State attempts to substitute artificial “tenderness” and “fairness” for humanity, well, “that way lie the tumbrels and the guillotine.”

Obama is back out on the campaign trail.

He is attacking Governor Romney, and the rest of the DNC rat pack is echoing the talking points. Even Rolling Stone Magazine is chiming in on the subject:

The First Debate: Mitt Romney’s Five Biggest Lies – The truth behind that $5 trillion tax cut, pre-existing conditions and more
By Tim Dickinson
October 4, 2012 9:32 AM ET

Mitt Romney turned in a polished performance in last night’s presidential debate – and revealed himself to be an accomplished and unapologetic liar. In an evening where he sought to slice and dice the president with statistics, Romney baldly misrepresented his own policy prescriptions, made up numbers to fit his attacks and buried clear contrasts with the president under a heaping pile of horseshit.

Here are mendacious Mitt’s five most outrageous statements:

1. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.” Romney flatly lied about the cost of his proposal to cut income-tax rates across the board by another 20 percent (undercutting even the low rates of the Bush tax cuts). Independent economists at the Tax Policy Center have shown that the price tag for those cuts is $360 billion in the first year, a cost that extrapolates to $5 trillion over a decade.

The biggest problem that your run-of-the-mill voter in the US has, is a failing attention span which causes them to slip into a “flight or flee syndrome” stance the moment that any knowledable individual starts getting into the minutiae of Romney’s plan. So, it’s easy for Obama to come up with a catch phrase and a round figure that just sounds..”right”.

From the Denver debate:

OBAMA: Well, for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is, “Never mind.”

And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you described, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s — it’s math. It’s arithmetic.

Perhaps, Governor Romney should have pointed out that the fact that President Obama was unable to understand how the plan would work, did not actually mean that it couldn’t.

On the campaign trail, Obama continues his “$5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy” story line, going as far as calling Governor Romney a liar:

(CNN) — A day after losing the first presidential debate, President Barack Obama and his campaign accused his Republican challenger Mitt Romney of being dishonest about tax policy and other issues.

“If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth,” Obama said at a campaign rally Thursday in Denver. “So here’s the truth: Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. That’s the math.”

In my book, if you say that someone is not telling the truth, you are calling that person a liar.

Yet, the only liar here (surprise!) seems to be President Obama…I know you’re shocked.

The details behind Romney’s plan, the flaws in the TPC report that Obama continues to use in his stump speeches, and the obvious lie continually repeated by the President and his MSM enablers is exposed when one examines the details of the story.

The best explanation that I’ve found on the subject calls that, getting into the “weeds” of the plan:

Obama claims the Romney tax plan is a $5 trillion tax cut. However, according to the TPC study (which he endorses and utilizes as the foundation of his claim), the annual cost of Romney’s 20 percent across-the-board marginal tax cuts is $360 billion. Now, if you multiply that by 10 years (as Obama does), then you get a total 10-year tax cut cost of $3.6 trillion – not the $5 trillion claimed by Obama. So, Obama is misleading the folks from the start…and this is based on absolutely NO tax expenditure reductions or any of those factors ignored by the TPC assumptions.

Now, the TPC study states that tax expenditure reductions (e.g., tax credits, breaks and loopholes) under the Romney tax plan could potentially amount to $551 billion in increased tax revenues annually. Thus, technically, Romney’s plan is not only revenue neutral…it’s revenue positive!”

The “weeds” of the flaw lies in a number of assumptions and omissions in the report:

“…under certain assumptions, any revenue-neutral plan along the lines Governor Romney has outlined would reduce taxes for high-income households, thus requiring higher taxes on other, even if the plan’s financing is as progressive as possible, given the available tax expenditures.

The key phrases in that sentence are “under certain assumptions”, and “absent any base broadening” as the Return to Common Sense blog points out.

The assumptions made by the Tax Policy Center in their analysis of the Romney tax plan are:

      * No spending cuts would be used to off-set reduced tax revenue.
      * Marginal tax rate reductions would result in minimal, if any, microeconomic revenue growth.
      * No macroeconomic growth would be considered.
      * Two key tax expenditures worth a combined $45 billion were “off the table.”
      * The Romney tax plan must pay for repealing Obamacare’s tax hikes.

You may recall this little tidbit from President Obama during the debate last week:

“I’ve put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. It’s on a website. You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise.”

Well, that bastion of right-wing conservatism, ABC News has this to say about Obama’s claim:

Does President Obama have a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion?

No.

The “$4 trillion plan” he is referring to includes about $1 trillion Congress has already agreed to and $1 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are already ending.
This would be Mostly Fiction.

Greg Krieg has the facts:

The $4 trillion figure achieved a certain status in Washington when the much-disputed, ultimately ignored, Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission pegged it as the cuts their proposals would have yielded over ten years.

So does Obama manage to get there on his own?

The first $1 trillion in cuts are already on the books. As he noted in his speech, the president negotiated them with Congress last summer. More cuts are banked by letting the Bush tax cuts expire (the top marginal rate would return to 39.5 percent from 35 percent) and closing a number of arcane loopholes, all of which, in theory, would have a multiplier effect as the resulting interest payments on the national debt would be lessened.

Then there’s the issue of military spending. The Congressional Budget Office has already worked nearly a trillion dollars of war expenses into its long-term deficit projections. President Obama, by ending the war in Iraq and winding combat operations in Afghanistan (by 2014), is subtracting that as-yet-unspent money from the future debt load.

In fact, and as the Return to Common Sense article points out:

” (Obama)…proudly boasted at the Colorado debate that he had a $4 trillion deficit-reducing program. “It’s on a website,” he stated, “and you can see the numbers.” Now, that plan is completely bogus; however, just for the sake of the argument, let’s assume that it is entirely legit. His plan is over a ten-year period, meaning it would reduce spending by $400 billion a year – more than the entire annual cost of the Romney tax plan. Obama defeats his own argument.

Just with the spending cuts proposed by a radically-liberal President alone, the Romney plan would be entirely revenue neutral (without a single tax expenditure reduction) and the economy would roar back to life.”

Your run-of-the-mill voter, would have fallen asleep about one quarter of the way down this blog entry, choosing instead to believe the sound bytes and slogans they hear on TV, or see on a billboard.

Sadly, these people will never get beyond the ads and the headline, and they will never put in the necessary effort to gain an understanding of the basis facts of this complex issue.

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