Why This Republican Jew is Fighting to Defend American Muslims

What is happening here as reported in this blog sickens me. When will we as a people learn this fundamental lesson: Unless we learn to treat one another with compassion and respect, this kind of abusive thinking and behavior will end in destroying us. Thank you Valerie Tarico, and you Mikey Weinstein, for doing what you do.


Mikey WeinsteinBecause of Daesh. Because of the American Constitution.  Because of my great aunt, who survived the Holocaust.

Mikey Weinstein directs the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a pit-bull watchdog defending separation of church and state in America’s armed forces. Most of the time when MRFF engages, it is because a service member has reported some type of violation and asked for assistance. Over 95 percent of MRFF’s clients are practicing Christians, who nonetheless reject being forced to participate in a superior officer’s Bible study or prayers, or who believe their vow to defend the Constitution bans state-sanctioned, state-funded religion, period.

Weinstein fights like a Republican and a soldier, deploying whatever force of language and law he can bring to bear with little regard for the rules of polite society. He uses words like “putrid” and “wretched“ when describing military displays of Christian triumphalism. His detractors react with

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The perfect antidote to Donald Trump. Not all Americans are certifiable apparently.

I couldn’t resist this bit of ironic humor. 🙂

Well, This Is What I Think

Well done, Mr McClure, whoever and wherever you are. Well done, that man.

Well done, Mr McClure, whoever you are. Well done, that man.

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When Dr Who gets very very real.

Unforgettable. Please do watch the videos.

Well, This Is What I Think

We are spending a lot more time than usual thinking about Dr Who in the Wellthisiswhatithink household.

Robert Lloyd and a Tardis made entirely of Lego. It's a long story. Robert Lloyd and a Tardis made entirely of Lego. It’s a long story.

This is primarily because we have become friendly with a great guy who is deeply obsessed with the series and its history – Robert Lloyd.

And not least because he bears an uncanny resemblance to the tenth doctor, David Tennant, which allows the clever chap to make at least a partial living attending fan conferences as a lookalike host, not to mention producing his own very touching and funny Dr Who shows in Australia and overseas.

“Wait … what?”

Indeed, we are thinking of tracking down the real Mr Tennant simply so we can go up to him and ask “Aren’t you Robert Lloyd?”, because that’s the sort of silly joke that appeals to your indefatigable correspondent when the painkillers for our sore…

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Remembering the dead of two world wars, and all the other wars.

Thank you so much for this Yolly. I’m remembering a story my mother’s eldest brother Martin told her about his experience in France during WW1. He drove ammunition trucks to the front lines as a 19 year old, one of the nicest, sweetest guys my mother knew. He returned home at 21 an emotional basket case and a nearly life long alcoholic. He had never shared his story with anyone until, at age 66 he finally quit drinking and told my mother what he’d gone through. Telling me the story brought tears to her eyes, and brings them to mine as i type this. Will we learn? I hope so Yolly, before we destroy ourselves with our stupidity and arrogance.

Well, This Is What I Think


Hating war – arguing for a pacifist position, even one that is not utterly purely pacifist – does not mean we cannot weep for and celebrate those who fight wars on our behalf.

With the tragically costly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Remembrance Sunday – just like Anzac Day in Australia and Memorial Day in the USA – has assumed a new significance, and a new enthusiasm from the young.

From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918, From left to right: Distinguished Service Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-18, Victory Medal 1914-18, Medal for Military Valour, Mercantile Marine War Medal 1914-1918,

For ourselves, remembering a father who died at 46 worn out by terrifying six years of naval service, a cousin who endured tropical diseases for his entire life after incarceration in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, a Grandfather who served in the trenches in World War 1 and another Grandfather who received the DSC for trawling…

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Rise of the ultra-right in the Jewish State of Israel

What is happening in Israel and the Occupied Territories today is the natural outcome of Israel’s ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people. Ultimately the persecuted will rise up in anger and throw themselves at the enemy, knowing full well that many of them will be killed. For Israel and its leaders, they are fast approaching the end of the Zionist dream, a dream that really has no other future. Israel will either change, or Israel will die.

Musings by George Polley


From the top, Knesset member Moshe Feiglin, Israeli students, Gaza, Knesset member Ayalet Shaked. Photos, in the same order: Wikipedia, Press TV. The Independent (UK). The Independent (UK).

* * *

Reading the news that pours in from Gaza and Israel, I am struck by one glaring fact: more and more, Israel has come to resemble Germany during Hitler’s mad days. In its attacks on Gaza and the West Bank, Israel is clearly engaging in a plan of ethnic cleansing. Within Israel itself, attacks against Palestinian citizens have increased, as have attacks on peace advocates, with violent gangs of Right-wing haters attacking as the police stand by and do nothing. I remember these same ugly images and the same ugly words from the Civil Rights days of the 1950s and 60s. Though this is nothing new in Israel, its open, focused hatred is now spouted by people in positions of…

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On the Uprisings in Jerusalem: Let Israel Renounce Violence

Shalom Rav

Photo: ynet.com Photo: ynet.com

During the course of the tragic violence coming out of Jerusalem in the past week, I’ve been reading with familiar frustration the American Jewish establishment’s predictable accusations of “Palestinian incitement.” But I must confess I’m finding the reactions of some liberal Jewish leaders to be even more infuriating.

One prominent rabbi, for instance, who I know personally and would surely describe herself as on the progressive side of the Israeli peace camp, recently wrote this on her Facebook page:

Punching back with violence as a response to violence is the easy reaction. Each side has much to point to on the other side — each claims the mantel of victim, each claims the justice of their violent response. It takes courage to commit to non violence and lasting justice for all.

This is, indeed, the liberal Jewish meme when it comes to these outbreaks of violence in Israel/Palestine: “the level playing…

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Can it ever be right to sentence a child to “life without parole”?

Well, This Is What I Think

Christie Cheramie - rehabilitated, but never to be released. Christie Cheramie – rehabilitated, but never to be released.

More than three and a half years ago, we wrote about the disgraceful case of Christi Cheramie, a 16 year old sentenced to life without parole for a murder she did not commit. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to find out whether Christi has since been released. (And we would value knowing.)

Now a bi-partisan group of U.S. senators have announced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, new criminal justice reform legislation that would end extreme sentences for youth, including life without parole, in the federal justice system at least.

This bill has been in the works for quite some time, and we are thrilled that senators included this provision: we appreciate Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their leadership of this effort on both sides of the aisle. Thanks also to Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin…

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Bible vs Quran—Test Your Knowledge of Who Deserves Death in Which Religion

Since neuroscientist and author Sam Harris has again raised this issue in a recent blog of his own, and in a conference at Harvard, I’m reblogging this excellent article by Valeria Tarico, which she published a year ago.


quran vs bible 2The world has watched in horror while members of ISIS justify the next mass murder or icy execution with words from the Quran, followed by shouts of Allahu Akbar—God is the greatest! If beliefs have any power whatsoever to drive behavior—and as a psychologist I think they do—there can be little doubt that the Quran’s many endorsements of violence play a role in how exactly ISIS has chosen to pursue religious and political dominion.

At the same time, it should be equally clear a sacred text filled with violence is insufficient to trigger mass brutality unless other conditions are present as well. Culture, empathy, education and empowerment—and other factors that scholars understand only in part—appear to have a protective influence, safeguarding even most fundamentalists against the worst teachings of their own tradition. We know this in part because the Bible contains commandments and stories that are as horrific as…

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“The City Has Many Faces,” free on Amazon from September 14th through the 18th

city has many faces front cover only

This post is different from most of what I write on my Musings blog. This  post is about my most recent book, “The City has Many Faces, a love story about Mexico City,” which I’m offering free to my readers from September 14th through the 18th, on all Amazon sites. Drop by and pick up a copy, then sit down and read about the city that captured my heart back in 1973. Here’s the link:   http://authl.it/2o2

When you’re finished, let me know what you think, and do tell your friends about your recent visit to Mexico City.


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How one wet night and a little social media changed the world for 12,000 people.

People pressure DOES work when we stand together and face down those who block compassionate action.

Well, This Is What I Think

The ruling Coalition in Australia has agreed to provide 12,000 Syrian refugees with permanent safety in Australia.1 It’s a complete turnaround on Tony Abbott’s decision last week not to increase refugee intake – and a victory demonstrating the power people created when we stand together in hope and compassion.

Less than a week ago, we all awoke to the harrowing photo of little Aylan Kurdi, drowned. We read the story of a family torn apart by a tragedy marked by global indifference. And we saw our government’s attempt to shut down compassion with their usual mindless, endlessly-repeated slogan, ‘Stop the Boats’.

The pressure group Get Updecided to take action in response to our government’s indifference. To shinea light in the dark – with thousands of us organising and attending vigils all over the Australia, vigils that hit front pages, headlines, and news bulletins all over the country.

Together, GetUp…

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