Category Archives: Judaism

“Keeping the Faith” and Keeping the Faith

There is a good bit of questioning about antisemitism in America and about the Jewish identity and experience in America if one is attuned to such discussions. The totality of the discussion would include a variety of relatively disinterested observers, Jews and also thoroughgoing antisemites.   However, this post is not primarily a post on antisemitism. Like a lot of posts on this blog it sort of meanders along –but it meanders more into being a discussion of Jews in America than being a discussion of antisemitism. However, for those interested in a more thorough discussion of antisemitism in America in recent years this article on the Huffington Post is a place to start.  But while there are no simple answers to the question, it is possible in a meandering way to ask “who are American Jews?” With all respect to Wrangler and Lee, it has always seemed to me that the most American garment is a great pair of blue jeans and the most American of the great blue jeans is also Jewish. The Levi Strauss company founded by a German Jewish family before Germany became known for the Holocaust and when Mendelssohn’s wedding  march filled both synagogues and Christian churches and was likely to be what one thought of in terms of the relationship of Jewishness and German identity. But this article is not mostly about Mendelssohn but mostly about another music maker — Billy Joel. (Still alive and more than welcome to comment on my little blog).

I like Billy Joel music and songs — in fact Piano Man is probably my favorite Billy Joel song, although this post is much more about Keeping the Faith. But in this post I want to discuss a particular aspect of my appreciation of his music. That aspect is how his music added, and still adds a certain something to American life and culture. Something which is Jewish, which is American and which is more profound than it seems.

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The story of American life and the story of American Judaism is a complicated pair of stories that relate very definitely to one another. Some names that come to mind when thinking of the Jewish qualities and tones that are part of American life and the American qualities and tones that are part of some Jewish life are Billy Joel, Eli Wiesel, Albert Einstein,  J. Robert Oppenheimer, Gloria Steinem,  Adam Sandler, Gilda Radner, Billy Chrystal and Yasmine Bleeth among others. But in the matrilineal tradition of many parts of modern Judaism and Hebraica neither Bleeth nor Steinem or necessarily Jewish –only their fathers really are for sure. Some people like Jean Chatzky are not so open about it in all aspects of their life but they are still willing to reveal their Jewish identity in the right format. The connection of all Jewish life to the events of the Holocaust is a real and vital set of connections. That doesn’t mean that the terms “Hitler” and “Nazi” have not often enough been bastardized to mean whatever anyone might want them to mean. Nonetheless, the Third Reich was real enough. The nation of Israel has shown Jews fighting for their own people and doing so effectively. There were few such successes in direct Jewish resistance to the Third Reich. But a Jew from Germany ‘s First Reich (named J. Robert Oppenheimer) with the support of a Jew who refused to return to the Germany during the Third Reich (named Albert Einstein) designed and developed the atomic weapons that would have defeated the Third Reich if we had not already beaten them a bit earlier. These same Jewish based technologies secured America’s place in the post-war world. As much as these varied people have contributed to American life and greatness I still am drawn to think about Billy Joel.

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I am where I am in my own journey through life. There is not much I have to write that does not matter in some significant way to me but I am aware of the limits of its import to the larger world. But as I begin this post I have a particular song on my mind — Keeping the Faith, by Billy Joel. The video features his real life wife playing a character in the song. Christie Brinkley is the only woman to bear him a child that I or the general public know about for sure — Alexa Ray. Although he would be married several other time and Christie Brinkley would have other children not with him and most romantic of all, she and Joel didn’t make it all the way to the grave together they were a couple who made an impression. I have spent a good bit of time in the last few months talking about my own past, in some ways I find something to relate to in Billy Joel’s song. But it is hard to know how well America relates to this nostalgia for an American youth.

Billy Joel is a man who in real life has known something about the love affairs and American living that he heard about first and later wrote intelligently about in  the songs of American popular music. The story is that of a man with his fair share of woes to say the least but also the story of a great American pop artist. The lyrics of “Keeping the Faith” tell some of his story.

 

“Keeping The Faith”

If it seems like I’ve been lost
In let’s remember
If you think I’m feeling older
And missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known me much better
‘Cause my past is something that never
Got in my way
Oh no
The truth is that when one looks back on the past and sees only the glory days or only the sorrows one does not really look back on the past.  But we have a hard time not looking back on the past with all the many colors of nostalgia at one time or another. Billy Joel has allegedly attempted suicide a number of times and had struggles with alcohol abuse. What I am sure of is that he wrote and performed songs which people have related to fairly intensely over the years. Judaism contributed to the founding of Islam and Christianity each more than any other single source in objective historical terms — and therefore it is older. Nostalgia has a particular place in Jewish identity in the West.

Still I would not be here now
If I never had the hunger
And I’m not ashamed to say
The wild boys were my friends
Oh
‘Cause I never felt the desire
‘Til their music set me on fire
And then I was saved, yeah
That’s why I’m keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

There was a  whole lot more going on in the  urban neighborhood of Joel’s song besides just music and faith. One thing he seems to believe in as he tells the story in song is the junction of youth, community and the  commerce based on  local  shared consumption. One can imagine a largely or susbstantially Jewish neighborhood in a great American city in the song. the song is sometimes shocking but a Catholic who is honest about Mardi Gras or Carnival as a Catholic liturgical season that is not a liturgical season should have no trouble making room for some kind of insight.

We wore old matador boots
Only Flagg Brothers had them with a Cuban heel
Iridescent socks with the same color shirt
And a tight pair of chinos
Oh
I put on my shark skin jacket
You know the kind with the velvet collar
And ditty-bop shades
Oh yeah
I took a fresh pack of Luckies
And a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man’s Trojans
And his Old Spice after shave
Oh
Combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the rest of the Romeos wore
A permanent wave, Yeah
We were keeping the faith

The boys with the condoms and  and the knowledge of which local merchants had the right clothes who smoked and got their hair done were making the boundaries of their community real enough. One wonders about the connections between the Catholic situation in America and the Jewish one at various times and in various places. the Jewish belief in the rituals that consecrate sex, life, the seasons of the year and the sense of being a people are modified in different ways as they come into Christianity. The secular Jewish experience is another modified view of those ancient streams.

Catholics have different reactions to the Trump administration singling out Mexico for his principal target of isolation. Isolation can be targeted. So the reactions over time will be interesting…. the targeting of Sanctuary cities may well be a cause of conflict with Catholics in many cases.  But the Catholic identity is that of Mike Pence, VP as well as of the undocumented worker. In addition Mexico and Central America are much less Roman Catholic than they used to be — much less. One wonders about the kind of Catholicism that Donald John Trump expects to confront. In the paper below from the American bishops, the right of the country to protect itself is balanced with the rights of those who might suffer. But there is a cultural sympathy that is not to be missed. One sees in trump a man who is very much an American secular Protestant who surrounds himself in close relationships with Catholics and Jews as well as others. I still have not pegged Trump at the personal level, his real policy goals I feel I understand well enough to discuss them but the man — not so much. Pence seems a likeable Catholic and his job is important and official. Mnuchin seems an unusually unlikeable American Jew and may not get confirmed. While Ivanka and Jared seem to be trotted around a great deal neither seems to have an official position. If not all Catholics will trust Trump is devoid of Anti-Catholic bias one wonders what varied Jews might be thinking.

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I am told that the President of Mexico has cancelled a meeting with President Trump. I like Trump being strong and energetic and I favor a vigorous and strong America. I also favor a healthy Mexico. I am a Catholic and an American. I look at the people who are trying to see where Trump plays out with Jews and there seems to be a hint that some people are wondering if only Israel is the Jewish place to be. Some see this perhaps in Trump’s chief strategist. I myself am on the far right (in my own opinion). I am able to oppose too much driving of Christianity from the Public square. But I also see a value in secular space and zones of governance. I also appreciate the Jewish American experience I even think there are things all of us can learn from their journey — even my WASP friends.

Getting back to Billy Joel, I too can remember that my own ethnic and specific heritage as a particular kind of American was not perfect either. You  (or one) can see a criticism of both a blind progressivism and a cultural conservatism that is unquestioning for any American in his  next few lines. Take them as autobiography, politics, romantic memoir or any  number of other forms and one can find some truth in them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith
You can get just so much
From a good thing
You can linger too long
In your dreams
Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies
‘Cause the good ole days weren’t
Always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

But Billy Joel and I do indeed have different pasts and he is quite a bit older than me. Getting a bit off text again we witnessed different parts of the fire he sang about. We had different parts of the song going through our heads. But only the differences of versions and arrangements of the greater metaphorical song — I relate to his song We Didn’t Start the Fire , just fine. But like a lot his songs it is not of a single simple meaning. For now, let’s get through the song for which this post is named.

Learned stickball as a formal education
Lost a lot of fights
But it taught me how to lose O.K.
Oh, I heard about sex
But not enough
I found you could dance
And still look tough anyway
Oh yes I did
I found out a man ain’t just being macho
Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food
Drank a lot of take home pay
I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl
In the Chevrolet. Oh yeah
We were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

A while back on Facebook I received a compliment from a red-haired beauty from my own ethnic community in Acadiana and reminded her of a long ago date in Chevy Impala and was gratified by a smoochy emoji in response. While Billy Joel’s lyrical boasts do not apply to the date she and I were commemorating online much is similar, thus remembered by me or in song  it is a deeply American experience.  So I look at the role of Jews as a religious minority and I contrast them to the Jihadi Muslim communities. The other Muslims may or may not listen to Billy Joel but the smartest among them realize that American Jews have worked hard to create a workable secular American culture because it is one that they can participate in. It is sometimes good and sometimes bad but I respect the effort. Muslims, Christians and Jews can all wear Levis, listen at least to Piano Man if not this post’s theme song  and enjoy some discrimination-free public space. I have a  Jewish friend, a woman whose initials are JY and like some of the great American Jews she has done humanitarian and secular and patriotic things. She is spiritually adventurous and like so many she is vastly more liberal and more leftist than I am (two separate measures) but I think she has come to respect me and my views a little. I have mentioned her here but will not go further than this in this particular post. The relationships between Acadians and Jews are very complex and very enduring. there is plenty that is of Hebrew origin in the mix of French, Greek, Latin, Spanish and MiqMaq ingredients an Anglo scholar can find in the Cajun culture. I have reminded miss JY of her heritage more often than not — although I do not know really how closely she relates to it. But whatever her struggle is with majority culture it does not involved blowing up people in their homes and at markets. Europe’s murdered millions of Jews filled a niche that others from the same region of the world now fill- a good number of those people are committed to destroying the Europe both Goethe and Mendelssohn built together.   Where Hitler complained of the occasional Jewish Caftan there is now the burka.

You know the good ole days weren’t always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

I told you my reasons
For the whole revival
Now I’m going outside to have
An ice cold beer in the shade
Oh, I’m going to listen to my 45’s
Ain’t it wonderful to be alive
When the rock ‘n’ roll plays, yeah
When the memory stays, yeah
I’m keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith
I’m keeping the faith,
Yes I am

So what about America and Billy Joel? What about the world of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel? I am not sure that America will be great again or OK or anything else. But I will be here fighting my corner until I can’t anymore.  I am glad there are friends of Israel in the new administration. But along with some York, some Cornwall, some Languedoc, some Extremadura and some Shetlands — besides some Sicily and some Chihuahua — I like a little Galilee, Judea and Israel in my America as well.

 

 

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President Trump Sounds the Dawn Reveille

Donald John Trump has been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The Ceremony and the preliminary ceremonies as of this posting were it seemed to me decorous and worthwhile. His speech set a clear tone and although almost seventy Congressional Democrats were not in attendance the crowd seemed sizable enough given the gloomy weather and other factors.  We have a forty-fifth President. If somehow I were a slightly different version of myself living in a slightly different version of America, his speech would promise a time of opportunity for me personally as America sought to deal with China, Mexico and outer space in challenging new ways. Those are three places that have long been very important to me. But I will leave that as my personal note for now. I do not see President Trump as asking for my help or any real chance to be effective emerging here for me. This is a brief post centered on his speech. I think his speech is neither without merit nor without promise. But parts of it do concern me as well.

The new President Trump spoke succinctly enough greeting those present with propriety:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

 

His acknowledgement of all that is involved in legitimacy and continuity was in contrast to the way that many have received his own ascent to power. I thought that was to his credit. He did strike a populist tone and make clear that the American Forgotten Man, already credited with his electoral victory was at the center of his launching of the new product line that is the Trump administration.   He addressed the people in a kind of idictment of the dignitaries he had just greeted moments before, saying:

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

Whether Trump can continue to connect with important millions across this vast land remains to be seen but he seemed sincere enough in the attempt.

 

 

As President Trump reminded us all our woes and sense of alienation he seemed confident he could make a difference in our experience of life in this country. He laid that out as well:

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans do want someone to listen and Trump surely is chief among those they hope will hear them. The reaction over recent weeks has included the Congressional Boycott, The Arly Protests and the protests outside the electoral college voting. But it has included a wide variety of responses across the political spectrum. Those include, The Hill and many other outlets in the media who have reported that President Donald Trump came into today’s ceremonies with very low approval ratings for a new President of the United States. I will be looking to see how his ratings fare after today’s ceremonies. But merely saying there is discord has not been the totality of the conversation so far.

A lot of clever people from across the country have been weighing in on the Inauguration Day festivities for quite some time and most of all on the man and the office that together make up 45th POTUS, Donald John Trump. One article from South Carolina  reminded readers in advance that there was indeed a good bit at stake in this election.  As the nation prepares to mark a new course and follow it on immigration some have pointed to Melania Trump’s own journey to citizenship. While Trump did secure a sizable minority of votes among American Jews by his staunch support for Israel there have been actions in the Liberal majority of American Jewry that have been reported in the press and online of those lamenting his election. Trump did not emphasize abortion, Israel, or Obamacare in his speech. He focused on certain key parts of his platform. Note the issues mentioned:

 

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

Trump was concerned about secure borders, trade, crime and economic development.  Those were the first themes he hit upon. While he did not malign China or Mexico they were clearly the most threatened by him as in all past speeches about the overall geopolitcal situation. He promised a new era, of Trumpist protectionism and fine infrastructure:

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

Beyond that he was hawkish only toward radical Islamic terrorism. He was able to use the term and able to promise to unite the world against these foes. See the next phrases:

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Next,He laid out the vision of a technologically progressive and economically powerful America that would lead the world to the future. See the rest:

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

 

 

So Obama is gone and our civilization appears to be going on. The worst of the fears projected in this space have not been realized. The future is of course uncertain. The truth of the transition and all that will come of it is about to emerge more clearly.

Emanuel, Son of David Chapters 41 to 50 in Blog Post

I am going to try to do some  more to prepare for the next batch of chapters I put into this blog but for the current post this level of preparation will be enough. These links should continue to be viable when I edit the text in the next draft assuming that such a thing happens. Such as this fallen branch in the lawn and garden that I attempt to tend.

A branch from one of the oaks in the lawn where I live recently fell.

There are all kinds of difficulties along the way which may prevent any given thing happening. However, this will remain the plan for the time being. I will mention that I have 151 chapters currently in the condition of these chapters more or less but today I am able to do something and not everything.

View of  a relative named Bubba's funeral from near the church entrance looking at the altar. The Christian faith centered around Jesus remains vital to our society.

View of a relative named Bubba’s funeral from near the church entrance looking at the altar. The Christian faith centered around Jesus remains vital to our society.

So let us take up with chapters forty-one, forty-two, forty three, forty-four, forty-five, forty-six, and forty seven here in this sentence.  Then in this next sentence we can link to chapters forty-eight, forty-nine and fifty.  This brings us into that early period of Jesus’s ministry which is sort of the public ministry and sort of the preparatory portion characterized by baptism, fasting, calling certain key people forth and certain signs.

Christmas Story: The first chapters of a working draft of my New Novel of Jesus’s life

An image showing the basis of all this Christmas celebration.

An image showing the basis of all this Christmas celebration.

This has to be read in linked portions or it might crash this site. Here is the first chapter.  Then the second  chapter, the third chapter  and the fourth chapter as well as the fifth chapter are here in links. This is as you can see a bit of Christmas longer than this little passage. If you are still reading then continue with the sixth chapter, the seventh chapter, the eighth chapter, the ninth chapter, the tenth chapter and the eleventh chapter. You will becoming in for a long home stretch now with chapter twelve, chapter thirteen, chapter fourteen, chapter fifteen, chapter sixteen and chapter seventeen. Merry Christmas and Happy Feast of the Epiphany.

My niece's early Christmas can be remembered but not recaptured.

My niece’s early Christmas can be remembered but not recaptured.

An Election in the Days of Advent and Christmas 2014

Happy Advent! Christmas is approaching and today as the final election between Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu takes place both politics and liturgical seasons are on my mind.  There is a lot of Christmas and Advent in this post and also some politics.  This post is mostly written and prepared before the final results are in and I predict Cassidy will win. Landrieu beat him in the primary and I voted for her, I voted for Cassidy in this election and sent him some money after first explaining in a post in a campaign site some of my concerns.  I did not want Cassidy to win in the Primary but I do want him to win now. He should do so because Maness was mostly to his right and Maness voters will vote far more for him than Landrieu. The wonder of Christmas and Advent’s time leading up to it have a place in my thinking about everything including today’s election.  I live my life in the context of these seasons of the Church, life and culture. Notwithstanding the nature of this blog, it might serve me well to devote this post solely to  the election. We all know that we elect people into office in a certain time and place but maybe we do not think religious seasons have much to do with it. Advent and its target — Christmas remind us of the importance of parts of life that do not vary as much as electoral politics. Goals like peace on Earth, Goodwill to mankind, Glory to God, Justice and truth in human affairs and charity to the needy.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

There is so much to cover in current events today. It is not a slow news day. Today, Luke Somers whose name sounds like mine and who like me has sometimes made his living with words and photographs was killed. Long in captivity with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula he was killed during a failed rescue attempt. That story deserves attention and you can learn some facts here. This happened after his family pleaded publicly for his life in a stirring video message.  NASA has returned to real heavy lift rocketry and that is very important in this blog.  The landfall of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines affects a country with importance to me, my family and the United States of America.  Beyond all that there is the race itself between Cassidy and Landrieu.  This race may well deserve a book and certainly the overall election cycle could use a lot of analysis. Knowing who voted for whom and why can shape our future.  Racial demographics alone could demand several good blog posts.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

 

With all of that to do I should probably either ignore the current events of the day or pick a few of them or certainly leave out comments on Advent. But this is another . There are riots and protests sweeping the nation over Brown, Garner and police relations with the Black community. I have dealt with the issues of this election cycle  in previous posts found here, here and here. So here I can maybe afford to take a bit of a different view.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Last night I was at a large gathering made up of mostly voters and the election was never discussed. Advent was discussed, the Philippines, China, India and many other places. But not electoral politics. It was the Family Missions Company 18th Annual Members and Donors Dinner. I took some pictures and had one taken of me in front of the venue.  I know some people in the group are active in their parties.  But last night dealt with the issues that we all must face in different terms and in a different way. It was more the spiritual than the temporal side of our lives.

Me in a shoy by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

Me in a shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner at Magdalene Place.

In the coming days there will be  more to blog about in the political world. But one notable fact about this election of the next United States Senator from Louisiana is that the election is  being held on December 6. The sixth of December fall square into Advent.  Lord Hylton my sometimes correspondent, wrote a post on Advent in the House of Lords blog and my comments on it can be found here. Lord Hylton serves in the upper house of the British legislature which is Parliament. Our election is for the upper house of our legislature which is Congress. Where is America to find the answers to the struggles it faces? I am fairly sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a big part of the foundation for a useful discussion in this country even if not in every country.  But this idea is increasingly out of sync with our laws and procedures as a society. The Senate ought not be a Church but neither should it be a faith-free institution.

America faces many challenges in this its own country and in the world. It faces huge challenges over time. How will those challenges be met. In the observance of Advent we remember in abbreviated symbols each of the challenges  of the Old Covenant before the coming of Christ. We ought then to be prepared to face our own challenges better and to better celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. One of the things that emerges in my comment on Lord Hylton’s post is the shift of power and wealth from the Eastern Mediterranean to the West. These issues and facts across history continue to affect us in many ways beyond Advent or even religion. An example of some of those issues can be seen here for those who wish to think about the issues.

But of course most of our lives are sufficiently challenged with current problems we need not look through much of a historical lens to feel that we can understand. we confront these issues in charitable ventures, private enterprises, family and in politics.  It is the same world where all these things are working and aspects of our lives connect. So it is Advent as we elect this Senator. Part of my experience this Advent was attending the Family Missions Company Donors Dinner on the evening of the fifth of December. I have discussed this briefly and could say more.

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

Today Family Missions had a Swamp Games Celebration. I got a few pics of that but did not participate directly. Like a lot of other things this event is a celebration which may evolve into something more in future years. It has a bouncy castle for children this year and a course laid out with available objects inspired by The experience of my brother Joseph, my brother-in-law Kevin and others in participating in the Warrior Dash this year. It seemed  like a pretty cool event. There are also barbecues and Advent prayers going on.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The home team of my brother, brother -in- law and nephew among others seem to have defended their honor and turf fairly well against all comers in this friendly competition among various parts of the company. We call an election a race and there are similarities between the two things.  How hostile should an election be?  What is the line between political conflict and civil war? This is a big shift in Congress. America’s future is not so clear in various respects. Cassidy will probably win. But whoever wins the Senator will have to face the Lame Duck  Congress in their old job and then a whole new set of challenges in the time after this Christmas.  I hope all my readers who can vote will. But I also hope we will remember that there is more to this time of the year than our politics.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

We all have struggles ahead of us to keep a good Christmas. They vary from person to person.  But these lifelong concerns matter just as much as the political events of this time and this set of issues. O come Emmanuel! May you all soon have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! But for now may you find life a bit more reflective and worth waiting for than usual. I hope the values of patience and reflection fins some good place in our Senate as well.

 

 

Remembering Usama bin Laden

From Facebook
“Remembering Osama bin Laden
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 7:12am
Your note has been created.
Osama bin Laden has been killed by a group of American Navy Seals and others who perhaps will not have their names revealed because of the widespread and fairly random nature of the violence in this global war. He was killed in a modest palace in Pakistan in a military area. Clearly he was living as an honored Sheikh and secret warrior and he was killed as he should have been killed by our own black ops elite. He was killed as he should have been killed by forces that came into the country without the full protection of convention and law and did their duty. He was killed as he should have been killed with some civilian deaths of those near and dear to him. He was man who whatever he wished to be was an outlaw and and an unconventional warrior.

I watched a wide range of news sources yesterday and noticed that MSNBC especially kept saying that he had been killed after an almost ten year manhunt. That is part of the great American tradition of lying about Osama bin Laden. Osama was being hunted aggrssively by this country before 9/11. He was retailiating after we had flagged him for destruction. H e deserved to be flagged for destruction we simply failed as a nation to anticipate what he could do on his side of the war.

I remember, less clearly than I might once have remebered watching our country plan operations against the Saudi millionaire. At the time Bin Laden was supporting and financing militants in the Middle East and Africa.There is no doubt that as early as 1998 there was a team of American intelligence experts working full time on bin Laden and no doubt that as early as 1996 there were people giving him considerable attention here in these United States. But our relationship with bin Laden is much older than that he was our ally in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union portrayed in the movie Charlie Wilsons’s war. Osama or Usama fought with distinction in that conflict and all of us who cheered for the Mujahideen were cheering for him among other people. Life is complicated. I cannot really see that the US could have gotten happy about the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. I cannot really see that we ever could have lived in peace with Usama bin Laden. I am grateful the Seal Team Six or whoever it was killed the man and I am glad to have him out of contention to the degree that he is out.

President Willam Jefferson Clinton had been victorious in his heroic invasions of the women and children at Waco and Ruby Ridge was able to marshal enough forces to pressure bin Laden and he was forcred to recreate himself in the Afghan context which joined the Taliban and al Qaeda. In 1997’s later months- he had moved his base completely from Sudan to Afghanistan, and began a worldwide anti-American campaign. His cries for Muslims to organize against us were more effective than our CIA and DOD efforts at the same time to form an expert unit which had formulated plans for Afghan tribesmen to capture him before handing him over to the US. After evaluatingf the mood in Afhanistan, the director of the CIA decided canceled the program, according to a later report issued by the 9/11 Commission’s report.

Bin Laden showed his capacity for mayhem soon thereafter in August 1998 when well over 200 people were killed when bomb-filled trucks and vans drove into the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The hot war with the new Central Asian Usama bin Laden began when US President Bill Clinton ordered the launch of missile strikes against militant camps in Afghanistan, including Bin Laden’s compound. The missile strikes did not kill any al-Qaeda leaders but modified al Qaeda doctrine thereafter and Osama’s habits thereafter. The Saudi rich man who would later offer Kazakhstan millions for a a nuke could afford a series of homes and got them. Bin Laden also devloped mobile camps and a guard and logistics unit that could move quicklyand began changing locations frequently and unpredictably. The absence of this large guard is one of the features of his death they had apparenly been replaced by the protection of the Pakistani governement. He also got the courier system going which changed his method of communication and put the kinds of things the NSA looks for further from home. Nevertheless, despite his history as a hero against the USSR we found many who disliked him in Central Asia and tribal sources were still able to provide regular updates on where he was.

In 1998 and 1999 numerous opportunities to attack and kill him were passed up during his meetings with Afghan officials in areas full of civilians. However, I think it is absurd to say that we surely would have killed him when we attacked. He was more slippery in those days than he has been in recent years. Yet he was quite secret as Special Hero of the Pakistan Military as well.

On the 11th of September in the year 2001 his attacks on the US government at the Pentagon, his slaughter of airliner passengers, the destruction of the World Trade Center and other things made him the man we all know well. This long story has ended with the bravery of the special forces who stormed his compound and killed him. I like George H. W. Bush because he has two beautiful daughters he loves, he likes baseball, he honors his dad, he cares about people and he is pugnacious for America. He is a better man than Usama or Osama or whatever ever was but he also lied about ‘sama bin Laden. He called him a coward. The man was no coward he was one of the bravest and toughest warriors that has lived in my lifetime. As a kill trophy the Seals can claim on of the greatest prizes of our time. Maybe the greatest.

This leader was also trapped by destiny. He was the 17th of 52 children of his polygamous father and could certainly not love a West which singles out polygamists uniquely for hatred and abuse. He believed in Jihad and followed his convictions. But I am not like the Rodney King of the Los Angeles riots. I do not believe that we can all just get along.
People like Jesus and Jesus himself worked very hard at very hard models of peacemaking and they deserved to be taken seriously but not all crackpot ideas of peace deserve such support.

I hated bin Laden’s support of the Taliban that kept girls out of schools, created more dependence on heroin alone and pushed Afghanistan on a path I call evil.

I hated Usama bin Laden’s destruction of embassies where peace is the primary work and the innocent the primary victims.

I hated Osama bin Laden’s involvement in killing Christians and bombing churches in lands I think should be theirs more or instead of Islam’s and were theirs first. I hated his causes more often than I did not hate them.

I hated bin Laden’s antisemitism and cheap hatreds.

Of course I was deeply affected by 9/11. I do not think it was a uniqule morally repugnant act but it was unconventional and murderous and deserves our maximum reasonable vengeance. I had put Osama bin Laden on the list of one hundred people to watch in the second post 9/11 decade which does not begin until September 12, 2011. I did write in that seires on my blog that some might die before the kickoff. He still deserves to be on the list his influence through history will be large and in near years more so then later. But killing him was an important first step. He was seven years older than I am and I will have to wait seven years to see if I have any temptation to gloat over outliving him. In many ways he was a man of great passions and powerful iconography who lived out his goals at a very grand level and after a long hunt we have killed him. I rejoice in the chance to move forward but I find no reason to minimize him. I believe a team of skilled troops can do very important work and in this case they did. As long as he was alive he would have continued to redesign terrorism.

In Time for the Holidays

The Feast of Christ the King came today  in our parish church’s celebration and it is a marker of many things on the calendar.  It means that Advent is coming up in short order on the Catholic calendar. That is a time of prayer and certain rituals that precedes the Christmas Season in the  Catholic Christian Church which runs from Christmas Eve to the Epiphany on January 6. The Official Church then reverts to ordinary time but the Catholic cultures of the world mostly celebrate carnival season from the Epiphany or Feast of the Wizard Kings to Mardi Gras which is the Tuesday before the fasting and penance of Lent. So it is a kind of New Year today that starts a series of seasons continuous all the way through lent to Easter.

It also signals the coming of Thanksgiving Day and the coming of the American Christmas Season which lasts from Thanksgiving until what used to be New Years but is now often a day or two after Christmas Day.  Football really cranks up this time of year as do some other things in the culture. Chanukah gets noticed as well and the new US Congress gears up to take office.

I am sure I will blog more about the holidays throughout this season if I can. However, the season really starts today for me. The sense that whatever one may actually mean “the holidays” are upon us…  

M

Columbus Day Musings

Today is Columbus Day. Banks and Post Offices are closed here in the United States. We are in the Major League Baseball pennant race, Football Season and all sorts of hunting seasons. However, today we observe a holiday that commemorates the man who in 1492 sailed the ocean blue.

The memory of this man and his ideals is not a hard thing for me to honor. He did help to bring about the end of many worlds but he also represented powers less destructive, corrupt an evil than some on the stage. In addition the man’s sense of adventure, exploration, faith and courage are admirable.

There is a great deal that happened in the years leading up to and following hard upon 1492. First of all there was the recovery of the Classical and other Greek Culture from the Muslim States in Spain which led to the Renaissance. Today we use Arabic numerals and there certainly is much that Arabic and Islamic culture can claim to have contributed. However the destruction of Hellenic Christian culture in Egypt and all of North Africa, in what is now Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Armenia and farther afield mostly was a transfer of a far superior civilization to the inferior and backwards Arab Muslim culture. The West was triply backward. Rome had never equalled the sophistication of the Alexandria, Jerusalem and Athens in their different ways. It surpassed them in some things but not overall socio-technical development. Then the relatively narrow and militaristic Romans were conquered by the more narrow and militaristic German Barbarians. The Greek influence from the East had helped to lead towards a new civilization untill the Muslims cut off those well springs as they destroyed what was a left of the great Greek civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire based in Byzantium. The conquest of the Muslims in Spain brought this scholarship back to the shriveled remnant of Christendom we would come to call Christendom. Many Jews converted because those who would not convert were required to leave Spain. There was a Spanish Christian King with a Jewish mistress who opposed forced conversions and was known as Pedro the Cruel and he was defeated at about this time by another Spanish Christian King. The good of this forcing of a single Spanish identity in formal religion that these Jews did refresh Christianity in the West from its Hebrew roots. The tragedy is the suffering of the nonconverting Sephardic Jews. The experience of Spanish Moslems mirrored that of Spanish Jews to some degree. The possibly Italo-Spanish Columbus of mixed Jewish and Latin descent came from all this to bring forth a new world off opportunity. The modern world is probably much better than it would have been had he not succeeded. Had he not succeeded then a much more violent, paranoid and desperate Muslim or Christian civilization would have succeeded decades later. Latin America remains a mix of Aboriginal American cultures and Latin Cultures as well as a genetic mix. Without Columbus and his ideals there would have been a more destructive approach in a few years I feel certain. I am not uncritical of his legacy but I still believe in civilization and he was a man committed to civilization. Never was mere selfishness, cowardice nor greed enough to shape his life. He was an imperfect man struggling to do good in an imperfect world. He sometimes struggled to do things less clearly good. However, he never fell away from seeking after true greatness.

We need people of the caliber of Columbus today. We need quests pursued to spectacular results. However, we have to have the Isabellas who will relive the legacy of the Spanish Queen who supported him…

Monetary Policy for a Transformed America.

I am advocating many forms of radical change in America. One of those radical changes will be to remake the money of the Union. I do not pretend this will be easy now but it will just get harder to do while it becomes more necessary. We have a far better chance of success if we undertake these radical changes now. This is one of those blog posts where a personal factor will be extremely important.  I have some problems including arthritis that sometimes act up before a storm. There are storms on the way and I am an agonizing cripple as I go through this project. 

I am not a money man! It must be among these very distinct circles of money men that  my ideas would be considered. In many ways as they examined my background they would find that I have a certain distrust for money compared to almost all  those who propound major monetary policies. Distrusting money more than most does not mean that one has necessarily got the worst monetary policy. One of the societies most famous for distrusting money was the society of ancient Sparta. In my glossary in this blog I say only a tiny bit about Sparta:  

“Sparta: Spartans were the most fierce, warlike and disciplined Greek culture. Their constitution was developed by Lycurgus from their status as a subgroup of the Arcadian hegemony. They became a diarchical mixed government military empire in which citizens were all soldiers supported by their women and the Helots whom they enslaved. Leonidas was a king who embodied their ideal when he opposed a vast Persian invasion at Thermopylae with his bodyguard of 300 picked troops effectively for a while and fighting to the last man. Arius  was a King of Sparta who signed a Treaty of Kinship with the Hebrews under the Maccabees.” 

However, there is certainly more to be said about that society. While I do not endorse everything this site says and it equates the polices with all of Greece and does not allow for the state of tribes and kingly tribal federations I am still willing to acknowledge the site as worth seeing:  

“What was more: Spartan women could inherit and so transfer wealth.  Athenian women, by contrast, were never heiresses; all property passed to the next male kinsman, who might at most be required to marry the heiress in order to claim the inheritance – an arrangement that often led men to discard their previous wife, although she was blameless, just to get their hands on the inheritance of a kinsman.  Economic power has always had the concomitant effect of increasing status.  This is clearly evidenced by contemporary descriptions of Spartan women.  They were “notorious” for having opinions (“even on political matters”!) and – what was clearly worse from the perspective of other Greek men – “their husbands listened to them”!  Aristotle claimed that Spartan men were “ruled by their wives” – and cited the freedom of Spartan women as one of two reasons why the Spartan constitution was reprehensible.  (For a comparison of women’s legal status in Sparta to that in other city-states, see Raphael Sealey, Woman and Law in Classical Greece (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1990), or Sue Blundell, Women in Ancient Greece (British Museum Press, London, 1995).)” The link itself is:  http://elysiumgates.com/~helena/Women.html 

That same Spartan society that distrusted money was an economic success as pointed out in this same site: 

” Sparta was the capital of the city-state of Lacedaemon.  The land area of Lacedaemon was larger than that of most Greek city-states, covering the bulk of the southern Peloponnese.  It was an extremely rich territory with considerable natural resources, including copper and tin mines, quarries, forests, and good ports giving access to the Aegean and Ionian Seas.  The fertile valleys of the Eurotas (Laconia itself) and Pamisos (Messenia) were suitable for the production of all essential foodstuffs of the ancient world, from olives to wine, as well as providing good pasture land for cattle, sheep, and goats.  It was known for the variety of its garden vegetables, including cucumbers and lettuce, which were considered distinctly Laconian.  It was famed for its horses and its Castorian hounds, both of which were valuable exports, while the horses frequently brought Sparta victories at the Olympic Games.  More important, however, unlike Athens and Corinth, Lacedaemon was self-sufficient in grain rather than being dependent on imports of this vital commodity – a critical political advantage.  In short, Sparta’s power did not rest on its military might alone, but was a function of its economic independence as well.” 

Because of the distrust of money the subjugate peoples were able to get rich and the Spartan money used by Spartans themselves was often iron, large and cumbersome. But their monetary policy worked. America will need some Spartan austerity to reach an Arcadian state of well-being from where we are now.  

Familiar Greenbacks

America is used to paper money

 I quote from an earlier post  in this same blog that discussed how America was on the brink of a truly huge crisis. 

” Much of what is reported as wealth and success in this country is actually simply waste. Almost all our systems of accounting reward and honor some kind of waste and hide its nature as waste. Yet in spite of greatly diminishing the amount of waste that we report from the real ocean of waste produced, we still know that we produce more waste per capita than anyone in history. That is seen as horribly offensive to every responsible person in the world. It is storing up horrors for the future, straining our environment  and literally killing innocent productive people in all kinds of ways that are not reported. It is a massive national crisis in and of itself.” 

In order to address its vast national problems effectively the country must secure the value of the money it will use to manage its business. It must secure this money from the very piratical and chaotic milieu which this country itself has helped to create. To do so we will need an entirely new monetary policy. 

Advantages of paper money

Paper legal tender will still be around.

 I will quote myself again from a post on this blog titled “America and the Next Big Thing”. Here I outline our basic monetary policy in the desired coming regime: 

” However, as this process goes forward we will be moving towards a society where most ego needs and heart’s desire needs are not met by a limitless desire for more expensive individual standards of living. Sharing in family and community will be incentivized. During this period of growth and liquidation we will also transition to a floating quatrimetalism as our monetary policy. The new money will tighten credit and secure our credit to some real degree always. Basically coins will make up a fixed percentage of all issued money value and count. All coins will be required to have a steel inner and outer ring. The coins will  be stringable like old Chinese coins. The four metals used will be Gold, Silver, Copper and Platinum. There will be mixed metal and pure metal coins and issues will vary with the markets by formulas designed to maximize stability. All banks will be forced to hold one percent of their assets in these value metal coins after a transition period, The Imperial House and Household Bank and the Federal Reserve as well as the  Senior Invited Guilds and the Imperial Association of Nobility and Aristocracy will form a very limited Bank of the Federal American Empire of the United States largely focusing on Specie issues.” 

I would have two steel rings on all these coins which would change their nominal value from their metal value and make them easier to use. Within that context I would call forth a formula which would allow the treasury to respond to fluctuations in the market by producing more or less of one kind of coin or another.  I would adopt the following coin types (not forgetting the unmentioned rings): 

1. platinum     5. platinum/gold  

2. gold              6. gold/ silver 

3. silver         7. silver/ copper 

4. Copper  

 We are used to metal as well 

There will be some inconvenience if this is done.  But money flows too conveniently now. Let us look at the opposite Spartan extreme for a reference:   

“One reason why wealth was less desirable lay in the fact that Sparta’s authorities refused to adopt the system of making silver into coins in the manner of other Greek cities. Instead she continued to use unwieldy iron bars for money. The historian Xenophon commented that ‘ a thousand drachmas’ worth would fill a wagon’.Spartans were also forbidden to travel abroad , except on state instructions, and foreigners were not admitted to Sparta without supplying a very good reason for doing so . This was to prevent the citizens from being corrupted by foreign ideas and morality. ”
I am not advocating any of that behavior but it was a society with a monetary policy that worked while many have failed with a failed policy. The link to this site is: http://www.laconia.org/sparti_h_1.htm 

I do not advocate the Spartan approach or the very different return to the gold standard. However, some do advocate it today. “There is no reason, technically or economically, why the world today, even with its countless wide-ranging and complex commercial transactions, could not return to the gold standard and operate with gold money. The major obstacle is ideological.” See the link: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/how-to-return-to-the-gold-standard/

metal works as well. 

So — yes — I dare to call for floating quatrimetalism as the new monetary policy for America. I hope America will push the world in a different direction by adopting this.

Peace, War and the Future in Israel & Elsewhere

I am writing this blog post about the peace process in Israel and the larger issues related to it in so many ways. That topic will be challenging and my little blog post is not likely to be so very influential either. We face many challenges  in the world and I am weary and sometimes weak in the face of the many challenges we face considering the  time that has passed since I have known. I am going to lay out a  plan for Peace in Israel that I do not believe can be implemented right now. All I can really do is say that I will not call something else acceptable right now my self.

I first want to quote from an earlier blog post which in turn reproduced a Facebook Note from my Facebook profile. To see the blog post itself see this link:  https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/novus-ordo-seclorum/  The most pertinent passage appears below.

” I. I suggest that reparations be paid for the Holocaust by many parties which benefitted or inherited from beneficiaries. I suggest that a large part of these funds be paid to purchase the Sinai from Egypt and then a separate portion be set up as a development fund. This fund would also include a fund for concessions to be paid for in which those paying in to the fund would be preferred. This Sinai would be a State of a greater Federal Great Israel. The other States would be the Principal State of the Republic of Israel, the Capital Sate of Jerusalem, and the State of Palestine. The Republic would receive slightly more land than it yielded to form the Capital State of Jerusalem in the from of five state military reservations in the Sinai. Palestine would receive a concession the size of Gaza which would be one of three districts in that federal state. The remainder of Sinai would be composed of several federalized districts and it would form the fourth and last state.”

In time I will return to pursuing this argument  a bit further and explaining and clarifying it a bit. Life is indeed a constant source of interruptions to our hobbies, hopes and avocations. I am going to write a bit about my life and how my life gets in the way of reshaping the world. This will be one of my more rambling and indirect posts I think.

I think Israel is too small even with the occupied territories. My plan does not call for enslaving, deporting or exterminating the Palestinians. However, it is clear to me that I must support the expansion of the State of Israel above all considerations that can be used to distract from it. Further, I must demand reparations for the Holocaust. I do not demand a truly adequate compensation but a very significant gesture. I was thinking in the neighborhood of forty-five billion dollars.

The Holocaust Reparation Fund

I. Amount Collected and Release of Claims

 I would propose collecting a total of forty-five billion dollars for this fund. So that it is a cohesive fund from all sources and that Israel would sign a release saying that all claims of the Hebrew Nation which can be discharges with money related to the Holocaust would be discharged with this payment.

  II. Structure Of Expenditures and Disbursement of Funds

1. Thirteen Billion Dollars would be paid to Egypt  for full and total cession of all lands on the Sinai Peninsula to which it has any claim which are more that fifteen kilometers from the banks of the Suez Canal and are not an effective part of the existing city of Al Qantarah. This would be a permanent and complete cession to the new Federal Great Israel brokered by  a treaty bound current State and Republic of Israel.

2. The Zone along the Canal in Sinai would become a permanent Canal Condominium Territory governed by the Suez Corporate Territorial Government. Egypt would retain twenty of a hundred seats in the upper house of the legislature which would also be  the corporate board and would receive one billion dollars from the Holocaust Reparation Fund for which the new Israeli State of Sinai would receive fifteen of these same hundred states. Egypt would also receive one billion and formal release of all claims resulting from seizure of its rights from GDF Suez which in return would receive twenty seats of these same hundred and the Royal Pretender to throne of Egypt would pay nothing except formal release of all other family claims to the canal but would receive five seats of these same one hundred seats.  Israel would pay one billion dollars to Egypt and would receive for  the New First State of the Republic of Israel  twenty seats and for the Federal Great Israel’s national government twenty seats. Thus 20+ 15+20+5+20+20 = 100. Egypt would retain a share of these assets and gain three billion dollars in cash and release of all competing claims. The lower house of the legislature of the Canal Condominium Territory would be democratic and represent inhabitants of the zone.  The Holocaust Reparation Fund will only be reduced by a billion dollars.

3. One billion would be paid to a fund for Egyptians living in the Sinai to either resettle in Egypt or else accommodate to the new situation taking an oath and signing papers of loyalty to Israel.

5. Five Billion Dollars would be paid to an endowed trust to use only in resettling descendants of the Holocaust within the boundaries of the new Israeli State of Sinai.     

6. Three Billion Dollars would be paid to the Israel general Treasury to develop the basic infrastructure of its new  five military bases in Sinai.

7. Three Billion dollars would be set up as the initial treasury of the new Israeli Capital State of Jerusalem.

8. Three billion would be given to a jointly administered fund for the Palestinian Authority and Israel to develop the third of the three federal districts in the Israeli State of Palestine which will be located in the new lands in the Sinai.

9. One Billion Dollars would be paid to the Palestinian Authority to  develope the initial treasury of the Israeli Federated State of Palestine. Its state legislature will have an upper house with seats by the three great district and a lower house with seats elected in electoral district by population.

10. These initial  thirty  billions will be the unrecoverable portion of the payment. 13+1+1+5+3+3+3+1= 30 billion.

11. The remaining fifteen billion dollars will be kept in an internationally administered trust until exhausted. Its sole use will be to buy goods and services for the development of the Israeli State of Sinai from the donors to the Holocaust Reparation Fund. Only Austrian and German companies and any other not of those countries that contributed to the fund will be eligible vendors.  However, the international board will assure that market prices are charged and that orders are relatively widely distributed among the pool of donors.

III. Skewing the Collection of Reparations

West German Lander should pay a somewhat discounted portion of the totality of the reparations because they have paid early and in a structure as part of the West German government. However they would still pay but Swiss banks, Austrian and Czech governments, the Eastern Lander governments, major corporations and estates of rich individuals would pay. In return for their contributions and disclosure to a Truth and Reconciliation Committee they would also be entitled to a  UN authorized agreement releasing them from criminal and civil claims for genocide and crimes against humanity. Individuals could still complain for murder and other ordinary crimes but all ethnic, racial and war crimes would be settled. Confessions made along with payments would be sealed for a period of twenty years except for a vague sort of eummary which would be published as a book. Payments made by others would vary by degree of guilt off-set by other factors.   It would also be true that individuals claiming benefits under the fund would agree that in the future thay would allow those who paid in to be held free of punitve damages for  holding stolen property and would allow some portion less than a third of recovered property value to go to a structure to compensate partially even parties with guilty title but not direct thieves who have collected stolen assets. In a ddition it would be clear that those clearly not part of the paying pool who paid nothing and were later found implicated directly in harm whether coroporations or governments would never receive any of these benefits. On the other hand even criminal cartels should they come into the structure should still qualify for these specific protections even if they do not receive recognition by the law in any other good way. Despite saying Germany and Austria if by some miracle some Norse governments were to admit principal and activist guilt they could pay into the structure and make the deal as well. If organized crime in Western China were to come forward and admit its active role in the policy then it too would qualify. Forty-Five billion is a minimal amount. In my view Germany ought to be made to feel that they are the guarantor help collect or pay it all despite previous agreements. However, somehow pressure must be exerted to make them work to deliver other guilty parties to pay instead of shielding them. Clearly however Italy, Poland, Vichy France, Spain, Turkey and many other countries cannot be held responsible the moral lines are too unclear in dealing with the Nazi monstrosity. I would be a better broker and proponent of this deal if I was a big bad guy all these scary people feared. However, I am a fairly weak player not likely to live to be an old man whether they do anything or not. But if rage and contempt count for anything then I am a factor to be reckoned with anyway. I can fight a little but I am no anti-Hitler to throw my weight around.

II. Constitution of  the Israeli Federated State of Sinai

1. The Federated State of Sinai should have one of the most complex constitutions of any new polity in the world’s history. People have grown unused to civilization but civilized solutions are often complicated. The Upper House of the State Legislature should itself be federal by Seven Districts and the lower house elected by population.  The Districts themselves will have relatively strong  local near state governments and some of them will also be federal. 

 2. There will be a reservation of five percent of the lands as an Egyptian Ethnarchy of which the Royal Pretender to the Throne of Egypt will be the Head of State and appoint several members of the District Upper House and will have his own Ward of which he is Head of State and populated by Egyptian royalists who wish to live there including up to one-third of the population coming in new from Egypt and the others from  the current population of Sinai and Palestine. The second ward will be the Constitutional Patriarchate of Alexandria and will recognize the Christian Coptic Patriarch of Alexander as Ward Head of State under a Sinai and Israel Constitution . Up to two-thirds of the population can be Christian refugees from Muslim countries so long as one half of them  are from Egypt and the other third must be currently residents from within Israel, Palestine and Sinai. The last ward will be the Sinai Republican Ward made up of old residents of the peninsula and Palestinian and Israeli Arabs wishing to start such a polity.

3.The Second District will consist of ten percent of all lands and be an North  American Jewish Ethnarchy for Hebrews practicing  some form of Judaism and seeking to maintain dual citizenship culture for families who participate in the USA, Mexico and Canada as well as Israel.

4. The Third District will the District of Federated Israeli Military Hinterland Communities and consist of five civilian settlement belts for residents of the Republic of Israel which measure four kilometer wide bands around the five military bases that will be part of the Israeli First State of the Republic of Israel.

5. The Fourth District will be a one hundred Kilometer State Capital District.

6. The Fifth District will be made up of fifty percent of all the lands in the Israeli Federal State of Sinai and will be made be  dedicated to the Right of Return and permanent priority will be given to the resettlement of direct descendants of Holocaust victims currently in Israel and returning from other places.

7. The Sixth and Seventh districts will be equal in size. Together they will occupy all remaining lands which will be substantially less than thirty-five percent but I will not work out the exact numbers.  The Sixth District will be the Federated Christian District  of which the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem will be head of State, appoint members to the District Upper House and be head of State of a Ward under an Israeli and Sinai Constitution.  This District will have another ward of equal size under the Ward Head of State who will be the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Each of these district should receive as part of Sinai state territory and as part of their respective ward’s rule a land concession of one square mile each divided between Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.  The Third Ward will be a Ward for Sinai and Israeli Christians.  The Fourth  Ward will be a Ward for ethnic Palestinian Christians who want to resettle there. The Seventh District should be the Hebrew Royalist District  of the State of Sinai. Here there will be a Ward which is the Barony of Rothschild and two other Baronies. Since I am fantasizing anyway I may as well say that I think the largest ward should be a Duchy and I would name my nominee for founding Duke or Duchess if this ever came close to reality and it was necessary to do so.