Posted by: coastcontact | March 30, 2015

Iran Doubts

Can the United States and its partners rely on Iran to keep its word on not developing a nuclear weapon?  This summary in the latest edition of The Week magazine should be enough to doubt that Iran is an honest player.

Doubts over Iran Part One

Doubts over Iran Part Two

Posted by: coastcontact | March 23, 2015

American Madness – Right Wing Style

Following is PBS listing of the top 10 positions of Senator Ted Cruz who announced his candidacy for president today.

The Budget and debt: Mandate a balanced budget.

Cruz supports a Constitutional amendment mandating that Congress pass a balanced budget. He argues that this is the best way to cut down deficits and the debt.

Corporations: Slash corporate tax rates to 15 percent. End some programs like the Export-Import bank and federal subsidies for renewable fuels.

Common Core: End it.

Immigration: Block any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S.

The Internet: Do not tax access to the Internet and block “net neutrality.”

Obamacare: Repeal it.

Social Issues: States should be allowed to define “marriage” and set strict abortion limits.

Taxes and the IRS: Move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS.

Iran: Increase and toughen sanctions. End current nuclear talks until Congress approves the outlines of a deal.

Islamic State: Don’t send U.S. ground troops, yet.

Meanwhile there is an initiative proposal being circulated for signature in California that calls for the state to secede from the United States.  it will take just 365,880 signatures for an initiative to be placed on the ballet in 2016.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 20, 2015

An American Education

Common Core standards were created during the George W. Bush administration. It was, in my opinion, the wisest decision made during his presidency. We now have a list of expectations for every grade level throughout the United States. Those that denounce the setting of standards are supporting mediocrity in our schools.

On December 3, 2013, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced yet again that American students were doing terribly when tested, in comparison to students in sixty-one other countries and a few cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Duncan presided over the release of the latest international assessment of student performance in reading, science, and mathematics (called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA), and Shanghai led the nations of the world in all three categories. Of the 61 nations the United States came in as “average” or 31st place.

I know that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have written about America’s educational system. Here is my take.

The average American family faces a daunting task sending their children to college. Those children in poorer families where neither parent has a college education has a very poor chance of going to college and if they do, they have no support to reach completion. The problem isn’t just student ability there is a challenge of cost. Rather than provide everyone with an opportunity to obtain a college education we refuse to tax ourselves sufficiently to offer even a free community college education.

The cost of state run universities is high with a cost reaching $3,300 at the University of Oregon per semester to the University of California Los Angeles $6,800 per semester. Obviously private universities cost significantly more.

Is it any wonder that we have a poorly educated society? Those that want the education, whose families lack the money, will simple obtain student loans that will take decades to repay.

Where does this leave America?  The U.S.A. is the giant that no longer wants to make the sacrifices to lead the world.  The consequences will become apparent in the next few decades.

Posted by: davidbancroft | March 18, 2015

Obama versus Netanyahu

Obama versus Netanyahu

“If there is one lesson American Jews will learn from Israel’s election, it’s this:  they’re not us.

Israel is not New York. Or LA. Or Chicago or Boston or Miami or Philadelphia. It is a Jewish “community” unlike any in America.”

Those are the opening words by Rob Eshman in today’s Jewish Journal.

We just don’t appreciate the perceptions of Israelis. They live under the constant threat of war with their neighbors. They live in fear of their lives. No one in the United States lives with those kinds of fears. Many American Zionists will evolve in their view of Israel. The reason is that Americans favor the idea of a two state solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem.

I suspect that the ongoing enmity between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu is the result of the prime minister’s refusal to negotiate a two state solution. In other words Netanyahu told Obama his one state position years ago. He only just told the world two days ago.

Netanyahu and his American supporters may still change the course of the Iran nuclear negotiations. Those Americans who favor supporting Israel in all situations no matter what that country does will work their will through Congress. There is no doubt that Israel’s path will be unpleasant over the next two years.

Israelis are a resourceful people. They will find a way to have their way.

David Bancroft

Posted by: coastcontact | March 12, 2015

The Wealthy Paint a Rosy Picture

Who can we believe?

( Bloomberg) — March 12, 2015 / Household wealth in the U.S. increased from October through December by the most in a year as stock prices advanced to an all-time high at the end of 2014. Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter 1.9 percent from the previous three months, to $82.9 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday from Washington in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey.

A report like that would make you believe that Americans are all richer and feeling quite confident about the future. The rest of that Bloomberg article was just as upbeat. It proves how numbers can give a distorted view of the world. Those numbers were provided by the Federal Reserve.

Wait this really isn’t what it appears to be. USA Today offered this additional piece of information: But the wealth gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Broad stock market averages have jumped more than 150% from their trough in the spring of 2009. But roughly 10% of households own about 80% of stocks.

The reality is that millions of families live paycheck to paycheck. The majority do not have significant savings for their retirement. The Median Value of Assets for Households in 2011 was $68,828.00. Married couples over 65 years had the highest wealth at a Median Value of $284,790.00. Take away the value of their home and you realize that many senior citizens are primarily relying on their Social Security income. The source for this data is the U.S. Census Bureau.

This data says two things to me. 1) You cannot rely on the reporting from just one publication for complete information. 2) There is a great economic divide in this nation.

Posted by: davidbancroft | March 11, 2015

Some People Do Fight Hate in America

Some weeks ago the Los Angeles Times reported that someone in Sacramento, California had put up swastikas and other anti-semetic posters on their home.  Of course free speech gives that home owner the right to put up what ever he wants.  It’s guaranteed by the constitution.

swastikas-sacramento california-5 month display

On Monday night, that display was torn to shreds by a city resident who told Fox40 he was just doing the right thing.  Robert Dixon, who is not Jewish, told a local television station he had done the right thing.  He fully expected to be arrested.  But the police never came to his home.   A Sacramento police representative said there were no calls to the Moddison Avenue address Monday night.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 10, 2015

America’s Racist Society

(CNN)One of the two University of Oklahoma students expelled for their role in leading a racist chant has issued an apology, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night. It was wrong and reckless. I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same,” Parker Rice said in a statement printed by the newspaper.

Did you see the video of the students singing on the bus? It was nothing but disgusting.

*

He is “deeply sorry” – sorry that he was caught leading the singing. If that video did not exist no one would have known. Parker Rice has not changed. He is a racist.

The problem is that many White Americans hold the views of those students. They won’t admit it of course but consider the insults the president has experienced. The list of those insults is unbelievable. Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not an American, is a monkey, does not love America, a socialist, a communist, hates America, etc.

We can pass all kinds of laws but we can’t change what is in the hearts of the people. White Christian Americans believe they are superior to everyone else on this planet. They teach their children that this is fact and that they have every right to hate. It is passed on to each generation.

My hate is that Americans cannot see their own failings.

Posted by: coastcontact | March 5, 2015

Mountain Lions Just Outside of Los Angeles

mountain-lions-santa-monica-mountains-006

Female Mountain Lion looking into a camera

New photographs of a mountain lion and her offspring are giving park rangers a closer and more intimate look at how the animals are surviving in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The report in the Los Angeles Times does not detail the location of the camera that caught these pictures.  The Santa Monica Mountains start just north of Hollywood and extend west and north bisecting the city and ending in Ventura County.  The famous Mulholland Drive and Highway starts near the Hollywood Bowl traverses the ridge of the mountain range.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mountain-lion-photos-20150305-story.html

Posted by: coastcontact | March 3, 2015

Benjamin Netenyahu Speaks to the United States Congress

My theory is that Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Benjamin Netenyahu to speak to Congress is an effort on the part of the GOP to prove to Jewish voters that the Republican Party is the party that supports Israel.  It’s not that their votes will change an election.  The GOP would like to attract more Jewish donors.

I believe Benjamin Netenyahu really does fear for the existence of Israel.  His intention is to go where ever he must to obtain the support for what he believes are Israel’s needs.

Leonard Nimoy - Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy was from another world in Star Trek and in real life. His captain (William Shatner) on Star Trek is also from that other world/society. You see both are Jewish.  Nimoy’s famous salute was a gesture he saw given at an orthodox synagogue when he was a boy. 

In the story Mr. Spoke was a half human and half Vulcan. His pointed ears immediately differentiated him from every human. I have heard that there are places in this world where people believe that Jews also have pointed ears and are bred from the devil. The parable couldn’t be more obvious to me.

First understand that the total number of Jews in the entire world is about 13 million people. By any measure that would define us as a group that might soon no longer exist in another hundred years. Six million were killed by the Nazis before and during World War 2.

Jews are different from the rest of the world’s peoples. Perhaps that is the reason they are hated almost everywhere. Why are they hated? They, as a group, are smarter and more creative than any group you can define.

Of course you are asking for proof. Here it is.

- Bob Simon of 60 Minutes was a Jew. He died in a car crash just two weeks ago. He was a Fulbright scholar.

- Alan Greenspan, the much respected former Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006.

- Three current members of the United States Supreme Court are Jews.

- Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon’s famous Secretary of State.

- Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed the first successful inactivated polio vaccine.

- Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895–1960) were one of the most prolific teams that brought numerous musicals to Broadway and the world. Carousel – ‎South Pacific – ‎Flower Drum Song – Oklahoma were all part of their creativity.

Elsewhere in this blog is a more thorough list of famous Jews posted by David Bancroft. The article contends that it is all about education. I am sure you get the point. So is there a Jew gene? Genetic studies of Jewish origins is a topic in Wikipedia.

I personally am a marginal Jew. Both of my parents were brilliant in school and received scholarships and honors. I flunked Algebra 1 and barely passed Spanish 1. So you see there are no guarantees in life even for Jews.

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