June 3, 2010

My front-row seat: Barbra Streisand tells all at the NYC Book Expo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 6:43 pm

At the 2010 Book Expo in New York City recently, the keynote speaker was Barbra Streisand. “No videos, no photographs and no taping during the event please,” they told us beforehand – so I just took notes like crazy. If I didn’t get Streisand’s words exactly right or get all of the words down, it’s my fault. But I really tried. I even sat in the very front row.

“How many people do you think are at this talk?” I asked a woman sitting next to me, but she didn’t know. So I started counting all the people myself. I was up to 75 when an usher asked me what the freak I was doing. “Counting the house.”

“2,700 people.” Oh.

Streisand was here at the Expo in order to plug her new book, “My Passion for Design,” all about her experiences in building her dream house. And on the cover of the book, there’s a photo of her and her little white dog. Then, just before the lights went down, a man came out of the wings, carrying that very same little white dog. How totally cool! I just saw Streisand’s dog in the audience!

Then someone introduced Streisand. “She has spent the last ten years obsessing about getting her home just the way she wanted it,” said the person doing the introduction. “We went to her home recently and were supposed to only interview her for half an hour but we ended up staying for four and a half hours, fascinated with the craftsmanship and attention to detail that she put into her home. And all the care that she has put into her house, she has also put into her book.”

Then Gayle King came out on stage. She’s an editor and collaborator for Oprah Winfrey and was going to conduct the interview. Then Streisand walked out and got a 2,700-person standing ovation.

“Everybody knows that Barbra doesn’t like orange,” said King, “so I changed the color of my toenail polish color just for this event.” And if King is gonna call her Barbra, then so am I. “You seem to be a very private person, so why did you decide to let everyone into your home?”

“When I was directing ‘Prince of Tides,’ the script called for an old southern mansion and I needed to design that house – so I did. I did everything, including the closets. We live in our closets, don’t we? I visualized a two-story closet even, but never got to actually build that house. And then I wanted to do a movie, ‘The Normal Heart,’ and this project fell apart too. So instead of making the movie, I built a house.

“I have kept journals over the years and wanted to write an autobiography but that was hard so I wrote a book about design instead. It was easier.”

One subject that keeps coming up in the book, apparently, is the play between opposing forces. “The tension of opposites intrigues me – such as masculine wood combined with feminine roses. And also the soft complimenting the hard.”

“You had a hard childhood growing up?”

“We never had a couch. For me, couches were special. We sat on the dining room chairs. A1940s reproduction of European furniture. My brother slept on a roll-away cot. Then my mother remarried and we moved to a housing project and we finally got a couch. It was an ugly couch but I loved it.”

“So. What’s the matter with orange?” And Gayle also gently needled Barbra about not liking yellow either.

“I don’t know why I don’t like it.” Barbra doesn’t even have orange fish. They are mostly black and white. “Other people like orange. That’s fine with me. I personally just don’t like orange. It must be psychological, left over from our childhoods. When I was young, I went to a health camp because I was anemic. And we all had to dress the same – except that I had a burgundy sweater that the woman who watched me during the day knit for me. A burgundy sweater. With wooden buttons.”

Barbra really cares about detail. “I feel that the exterior of a house should match its interior.“ Good grief. She even matches the flowers in her garden with her couch.

“There’s a chapter the book called ‘The Elegant Barn’.” Then a photo of the elegant barn flashed onto a big screen on the stage. And the barn really was elegant. It had a waterwheel and everything. No, wait, that was the Mill House that had the waterwheel. There are four or five structures on the property. Streisand’s place is huge. It has a whole bunch of buildings, not just the house.

“I like photography and I also like the process of building. I took most of the photos in the book myself.”

And Barbra herself apparently had collected a lot of the furnishings found inside her home. “What is people’s reaction when you show up when you’re antiquing?”

“I don’t even notice. I’m too tied up in the search.”

Then Gayle changed the subject to Barbra’s recordings and movies. “You don’t like to look at your records or movies after you’ve done them?”

“Because there is so much work going into them. I’m so sick of a record by the time I’m through with it that I never want to hear it again!”

“If you had to pick a favorite song…”

“That’s a terrible question. Don’t ask me that. I don’t want to offend any of my songs!”

Then they got back to talking about the house. “Here’s a photo of the Mill House. The beams inside are 200 years old. It’s both a curse and a blessing to see things the way I do.” Streisand tends to be a perfectionist and to want things to be perfect – which has its good and bad aspects. “I see symmetry and that’s sometimes a curse because you can always see what is wrong. Like in that photo of the mirror – it’s 3/8 of an inch off. There are things that you have to compromise on and accept what the universe is presenting — so you have to accept what is here. But sometimes I don’t like to take no for an answer.” But she is also aware that sometimes you have to.

“One time a stone mason ripped out a little hill and replaced it with concrete blocks. But I had just returned from the north of England where there were no concrete blocks — so I had to say no.”

“She let another contractor go,” said Gayle, “because he made a storm cellar too large because he thought he was bound by the building code.”

“I have two men who work for me and if I need something done, then they do it. They have no patience with waiting. I’ve worked with these men for years. But professionals promise everything and don’t deliver.”

She is also sometimes taken advantage of. “There is that factor; it’s a reality. They will charge me more because I am Barbara Streisand.”

“But you like what you create.”

“When I was growing up, I had a hot water bottle instead of a doll and my caregiver knit her a little pink sweater. But it made me use my imagination. And I don’t regret it. It added to my success.”

And Barbra, who was raised in Brooklyn, has a fondness for the architecture of the northeast. “Architects in the western United States use Douglas fir because they work in the west. I was disappointed with western architects because they don’t know about eastern architecture.” I think she was talking about the use of mortar and bricks.

“Does your home remind you of your childhood house?”

“No. My childhood home was a $40-a-month apartment.”

Barbra also had something to say about the color red. “I do appreciate a good red — I’m not that crazy — but I prefer red in a lipstick.”

While Barbra doesn’t miss or regret anything that she has given away, she hates it when she loses things. “There was this pin that you wanted,” said Gayle, “and you tracked it down and paid four times too much for it — but don’t wear it.”

“It’s the hunt that I like. I never had a father. You can’t get a person back — but you can always get an object back.”

“Do your regret being called a perfectionist?”

“I search for excellence. And I also understand that nothing is perfect.” I thought that the interviewer was being a bit hard on poor Barbra and had a sort of pushy tone of voice, but Barbra didn’t seem to mind and talked openly and candidly about whatever subject the interviewer brought up. Listening to Barbra talking onstage before 2,700 people was less like listening to a performance and more like eavesdropping on two people conversing in private.

“When I worked with one contractor, he had his vision and I had mine. People called me difficult because a contractor said to me, ‘Can’t you just leave the plans with me and leave?’”

She had a draftsman or two on site most of the time. “Who is going to notice if a beam is off? I will. And if it’s off, it’s off. They say that men are commanding but women are demanding. I make no apologies. They say that a man is a perfectionist, while a woman is just a pain in the ass.”

She also thought that a king-sized bed is too big for two people and that a queen-sized bed is too small. “So I built a bed that was in between. And I used king-sized sheets and pulled them tighter with a string.”

“But wouldn’t that be tacky?”

“Hey, sometimes I can be tacky.”

“You? Not you!”

Then Barbra and Gayle talked about cars. “I never drive. My husband drives. I found myself going up a down-ramp on a freeway one day and realized that my mind was too occupied with other things to drive.”

“Does your husband accept that you do everything at the house?”

“But I don’t. He designed his part of the house, and I like that about him. He has a life of his own.”

“Where does your fascination with details come from?”

“Perhaps from my dad. He died when he was 35 and I was 15 months old. But he was a scholar. He taught English at a reform school. His thesis was about Shakespeare and Ibsen. So what is the DNA? I didn’t find that out until I was doing Yentl, when I discovered some of his old books.” And it surprised her that she too loves Shakespeare and Ibsen.

“I don’t like TV. My husband has a TV on his damn wall, but I hide them. And for a while I hid my awards too, thought it was too egotistical.”

And during the time that she worked on her house, for five of those years she was hoarse from shouting above the whine of power equipment. “And the house took so long to do that I just recently had to redo the den — based on a room that I saw 20 years ago. And it was a challenge to do that in just three weeks.”

“Do you have a junk drawer in your house?”

“I have several.”

Then as the interview ended and Barbra left the stage, she laughingly asked Gayle, “Can I take the flowers home?”

Since no one was allowed to take photographs, I didn’t. But almost EVERYONE in the room was snapping away surreptitiously. You could hear the cameras click and whir everywhere. So I figured I’d at least video part of the interview. My bad. So here’s my YouTube URL: But only the sound part came out. I hope that I don’t get sued.

PS: As you may or may not remember, I had a choice of going to NYC to see Barbra or going on that ill-fated humanitarian aid flotilla to break the illegal siege of Gaza. And, due to financial constraints, I chose going to New York. But boy did I miss a hecka good story in the Mediterranean! The boat I would have sailed on got hijacked! You can’t get a better story than that.

According to an article in Global Research entitled “Terror on Aid Ship: Plan Was to Kill Activists and Deter Future Convoys,” all hell broke loose when the Israeli navy illegally seized the flotilla ships.

“An Arab member of the Israeli parliament who was on board the international flotilla that was attacked on Monday as it tried to take humanitarian aid to Gaza accused Israel yesterday of intending to kill peace activists as a way to deter future convoys. Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.”

Global Research’s article also stated that, “Terrified passengers had been forced off the deck when water was sprayed at them. She said she was not aware of any provocation or resistance by the passengers, who were all unarmed. [The Knesset member also] added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions. Two other passengers slowly bled to death in the room after Israeli soldiers ignored messages in Hebrew she had held up at the window calling for medical help to save them. She said she saw seven other passengers seriously wounded.”

One of the dead was a United States citizen.

The article then quotes the Knesset member further: “’Israel had days to plan this military operation,’ she told a press conference in Nazareth. ‘They wanted many deaths to terrorize us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.’”

So. I missed getting terrorized and executed? Wow.

Wonder what happened to the eight ships and the 10,000 tons of humanitarian cargo? It went on to Gaza? Yeah right. I’ll bet you anything that somebody somewhere scored a big bunch of booty on that one!

PPS: I just got the following e-mail from my friend Paul Larudee, who is currently receiving medical treatment in Greece after having been beaten within an inch of his life by Israeli commandos:

“I and my colleagues are practitioners of nonviolent resistance, in the tradition of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. I have not struck anyone in decades, and refuse to do so. However, I also refuse to comply with illegal procedures and activities. Unfortunately, this fact was apparently lost on our captors. Their operating principle seems to be that if pain and misery fail to achieve compliance, apply more pain and misery. There’s hardly a joint in my body that was not twisted, or a bare patch of exposed skin that is not now multicolored.”

And, yes, the Israeli hijacking really WAS illegal — under the Geneva Convention (a document that American legislators signed on to originally but now pretty much chose to ignore).


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May 25, 2010

I (heart) New York!: The 2010 Book Expo, Lower East Side & Gaza

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:35 pm

New York is absolutely throbbing with energy and excitement! When I get back to Berkeley, I’m gonna have to hide under the bed for WEEKS just to recover from this trip. The very first thing that you do after landing at JFK is to get lost on the subway at least twice. Then I stayed at the Gershwin Hotel’s conveniently-priced youth hostel — with three Swedish girls and an Argentine science major. None of them snored. And just TRY to get hooked up to the free wi-fi at McDonalds. Not happening. No.

I really wanted to get an internet connection so I could find out what’s happening to my friends who are sailing to Gaza with hundreds of tons of humanitarian relief stuffed into a bunch of cargo ships. They were supposed to sail on Saturday. And then Tuesday. What is happening? Have they sailed yet? Or not.

Finally, around 10 pm last night, I located an internet cafe. Nope, they haven’t sailed yet. But they had better do it soon if they plan to get there any time soon. The Israeli navy has already promised to give them a Warm Reception — and it might be impolite of them to miss that. Joe Meadors, a survivor of the USS Liberty disaster, is also on board the same ship as my friends. Perhaps he is hoping to do one of those veterans’ reminiscence thingies and relive another Israeli attack? Let us sincerely hope that THAT doesn’t happen!

Anyway, bright and early this morning I ran, er, hurried up to the Jacob Javits center to get my Barbra Streisand ticket. Score! And there’s a photo of her on the ticket, all in blue velvet and sitting on a blue velvet couch next to a fluffy little white dog. Her new book is called, “My Passion for Design”. I hope they give out free copies. My apartment could really use a face-lift.

Here’s a quote from Barbra’s editor at Viking: “She devoted as much time to this project as to anything else she’s done in her life. You can really hear Streisand’s voice when reading it. It’s as much fun to read as it is to look at.”

I’ll report back to you later, after I’ve seen her speech. No photographs are allowed, however. Rats.

Now for the fun stuff. After registering and checking in at the Book Expo, I jumped on the crosstown bus and transferred to the Second Avenue bus down to the Lower East Side. I used to live on the Lower East Side! Back in 1965. B&H Dairy is still there, still selling rice pudding.

Then I went to see my old neighbor, Ben Treuhaft. He has a piano repair shop down on Ridge Street, down past Orchard Street. And, boy, has Orchard Street changed too. Insead of all those old funky stalls and pushcarts, it is now officially New York’s “Bargain District”. And Alphabet City, which used to be a notorious junkie heaven where you took your life in your hands just to walk down the street past 8 pm, is now all co-op apartments, Yuppie daycare centers and designer boutiques.

I was almost raped on the corner of Houston and Second, back in the day. My, times have changed.

Anyway, it’s just no longer “Second-hand Rose, from Second Avenue….”

Ben, my ex-neighbor, caught me up to speed fast. “I’ve married and had two children since I saw you last….” That long ago?

“What about your Piana to Havana program?” Ben used to collect hundreds of used American pianos and ship them off to Cuba so that school children could take lessons on them.

“I’m not so involved in that any more. And besides, I’m leaving for Japan in four days.” His wife Olga, a biologist, will be working on a brain-study program over there for a few years.

“Wow! That’s exciting!” Then I volunteered to let his wife study MY brain too — free of charge. Anything to have an excuse to go visit Japan.

Then I asked Ben if he knew anything about how the huge oil spill disaster was effecting Cuba, but he didn’t know. However, he did say that Cubans are highly innovative in matters like that and could probably have the equipment and know-how to plug the leak ASAP. But we all know that asking Cuba for help just isn’t going to happen — just like what happened in Haiti, all that cutting-off-one’s-nose kind of stuff.

Then I jumped onto the Chambers subway line at Essex Street and scooted back up to the Javits Center again, to see if they were handing out any more free books. No luck so far but the Book Expo doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow.

I just love New York


To see photos of Ben and my Barbra ticket, click here:

May 21, 2010

Greek general strike: Is the Gaza flotilla caught in the middle?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:03 am

Several friends of mine just left for Greece in order to join an eight-ship flotilla that plans to sail from Athens to Gaza at the end of May. The eight ships will be carrying humanitarian supplies designed to help break a four-year siege of the Gaza strip — or at least that was the plan. But when my friends got to Greece, they suddenly found themselves right in the middle of a huge Greek general strike!

“The area where we are staying is right next to strike headquarters,” one friend e-mailed me today. Oh crap! I could have been there, reporting my little heart out on one of the hottest stories in the world with the exception of the BP oil spill — and instead I chose to go off to New York to hear Barbra Streisand. And now I’m missing all this freaking hot news! How disheartening.

Actually my bank account made my choice for me. Due to limited funds, I figured that going to see Barbra Streisand taut her new book, “A Passion for Design,” at the 2010 Book Expo on May 25 and me staying at the Gershwin Hotel’s youth hostel would be more in keeping with my budgetary requirements. Had I but known that such hot news was gonna be afoot in the land of Socrates, I would have run right out and got a freaking travel loan! Or hitchhiked to Athens.

“Jane,” wrote another friend, “Greece is up in arms about the austerity measures the government is wanting to impose so that they can be bailed out by the EU. Recently a good left-wing government was elected but they have little choice, having inherited a disaster of an economy. How long the strike will last? It’s anybody’s best guess.”

“Yes but,” replied another flotilla-bound friend now in Greece, “does the Greek government really need 2,000 additional police, typically with ten or twenty of them stationed at main intersections, all throughout Athens? Seeing this up close, I can really appreciate how chilling an effect this has on the people.”

Then another correspondent from Greece added her two cents. “If I could gently weigh in here, might I suggest that it’s not just Greece that is feeling the pain. It’s most of the other EU countries, too — Italy, Portugal and Spain to name the more crucial ones. But the others are also coming to the entry gate — bigtime. Thus, I think, in order to save its American-dominated economic structure based on military adventurism and profit at any cost, Greece has no alternative but to resort to 2,000 additional police. After all, the Greek people are really angry right now. And it doesn’t matter if their elected government is Left or Right — both are based on the same American-model economic structure, and they both fundamentally base their existence on production for profit, not people. They both will thus do whatever it takes to protect that economic base. And if we in the U.S. ever get ‘Greek Fever’ too and start protesting too loudly, the same thing will happen in America as well — only probably worse. And those 20-30 cops at each intersection will all be in place in America too, just in case we also get out of order.”

But let’s get back to the Shipping News. How is the Greek general strike going to effect the flotilla to Gaza? Hmmm. Here’s a report from another flotilla member: “We are now in an apartment here and anxiously awaiting word on what to do next. Meanwhile, we can’t get euros, since all the banks seem to be closed, and we can’t contact anyone — except through the internet which, thank God, we have in the apartment now — since we can’t get out to buy any cell phones! We have 10 euros, which is just enough to cover food for the next few hours. Otherwise, we are trapped.”

I coulda been there! I coulda been trapped too! That could have been ME running out of food in Athens! Rats.

Not only that, but the Book Expo people in New York have just sent me an e-mailed stating that there are only a limited number of Barbra Streisand tickets available and they now are being handed out on a first-come-first-served basis. What? Now I’m going to miss the Greek general strike, a huge international flotilla going to Gaza that may or may not be blown to bits by the Israeli navy, AND I’m also going to miss Barbra Streisand as well?

That just sucks eggs.

May 8, 2010

Gaza or bust: Hey, that’s my Promised Land too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:32 pm

Author’s note: For years and years now, it’s been really hard for me to write anything in favor of Palestinians because there are always so many repercussions. Sure, I don’t receive death threats any more like I used to but there are still all those nasty e-mails to deal with. Bummer. Why bother? Why should I stick my cyber-neck out again and again for people who are living way over on the other side of the world? There are too many injustices here at home for me to object to. Why bother looking for them elsewhere?

And who wants to be unpopular? Who wants to buck the tide? Who wants to alienate the majority (once again)? Not me!

But now I’ve just learned that Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a former Associate Professor of Genetics, director of Clinical Cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine and a professor at Bethlehem University (and also a Palestinian Christian), was just arrested by Israeli occupation forces for peacefully protesting land seizures and home demolitions in the West Bank near Bethlehem.

Here’s Dr. Qumsiyeh’s account of the incident:

And you can just bet that if someone who has been a professor at the prestigious Yale School of Medicine can get arrested for standing up for justice, then who can guarantee that anyone else is safe from arrest — either in the occupied West Bank or even here in America, the country that basically pays for the West Bank’s occupation.

So I decided to go ahead and post my latest blog essay on Palestine anyway. Screw the weirdos who send me threatening e-mails. A person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do. Justice is on my side!

Gaza or bust: Hey, that’s my Promised Land too!

I’m all scheduled to go see Barbara Streisand and John Gresham at the 2010 Book Expo in New York City on May 25. This is a terrible thing. Rats!

“And why, exactly, are you complaining about that?” you might ask. “Seriously, Jane. There are a whole bunch of people out there who would give their right eye-tooth to be able to see Barbara Streisand live and in person!” And I might even be one of them — but my big problem is that now I’ve just developed a disasterous scheduling conflict.

“Guess what, Jane?” e-mailed my friend Janet. “An extra place has just opened up on the European boat flotilla that’s sailing from Greece to Gaza soon, and I think they can fit you in. You’d be leaving for Greece on May 19. Can you do it?” Rats and double-rats! This means that I’m going to have to chose between Barbra Streisand and taking a boat trip from Greece to Gaza, where people are trapped and dying. Gaza today is like how things used to be during World War II. Everyone there is either busy reenacting the results of Nazis’ siege of the Warsaw Ghetto or else the Nazis’ siege of Dunkirk — only without all those little English sailboats to the rescue, except, hopefully, for this new European Flotilla.

Plus this flotilla will set sail on the 70th anniversary of the relief of the siege of Dunkirk. How historic is that!

Who could possibly make a choice between Barbra Streisand and and the relief of Gaza? Not me!

So. What should I do??? Should I be getting my freak on with Barbra? Or is it time to go off to Gaza, fight against injustice, get a hot scoop for my blog — and get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to regenerate my Muslim roots as well?

One of my pet peeves in life these days is when people keep sanctimoniously telling me what I can and cannot do. “Jane, you need to start going along with the crowd more,” they say. That’s not gonna happen. I’m too old for that.

I hate it when people tell me that I can’t write about the Kennedy assassination or all those holes in the official 9-11 story. But even more than that, I really hate it when people keep telling me that I can’t even MENTION stuff about injustice in Palestine and/or that individual Muslims all over the world are being demonized collectively.

Heck, I’m even afraid to even hint gently that perhaps — just perhaps — I might be a Muslim too. Why? Because whenever I do mention that fact, then people start pouring out of the freaking WOODWORK in order to call me a baby-killer or a communist or a terrorist or Lord-knows-what other kind of social or political leper. Well. Despite all this pressure to conform, every once in a while I become contrary enough to want to flaunt my Muslim-ish-ness — if for no other reason than to remind myself that I’m not just one more mindless Teabagger sheep.

So get over it. I’m a Muslim. Burn a cross on my lawn if you must. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I even wrote a book about Islam. “Mecca & the Hajj: Lessons From the Islamic School of Hard Knocks”. Order it here: You can’t get much more Muslim than that. Humph.

Not only that, but the various fundie wingnuts who now run the Israeli government with an iron hand are always ranting and raving on about wanting to seize what small bits of land that are now left to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem — and how these small bits and pieces now lived on by Palestinians need to be absorbed into the Israeli wingnuts’ Promised Land too.

I hate to burst your bubble, guys, but, as a Muslim, that area you are trying to grab up is actually MY Promised Land. That’s MY property you’re talking about. Your claim to that particular patch of real estate has been invalidated by a more recent deed to the property. Doesn’t anybody around here ever read the Talmud, the Bible or the Quran?

As a Muslim, my deed to the Promised Land is newer than the Israeli wingnuts’ deed. My deed was written later. And any real estate broker will tell you that a newer deed always holds precedence. And that means that my deed to all this section of the Promised Land trumps theirs. Get over it.

Not only that but Old Jerusalem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site — MY world heritage site. As a member of the United Nations, I get possession of Old Jerusalem too. You think not? Read the fine print.

So. Should I go over to Gaza and set everyone over there straight — or should I just go see Barbra Streisand instead? I’m completely torn. What would YOU do?

PS: Someone from the Free Palestine Movement recently suggested the perfect solution to my dilemma. “All you have to do is just ask Barbra Streisand to come on the boat flotilla to Gaza with you.” Works for me.

PPS: And while we’re on the subject of Teabaggers and wingnuts, the wingnuts in Arizona all have a lot in common with Israel’s wingnuts. First of all, both are in control of governments that have enacted laws that clearly support violence, intimidation and racism over democracy and the right of all human beings to be free.

Second, Palestinians owned the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem before the Israelis arrived — and Mexicans owned Arizona before the Americans arrived. Both Americans and Israelis then seized possession of “disputed” territories by force. And now both American and Israeli wingnuts are all complaining and whining because the people that they originally seized all this land from still want it back.

Third, both the Israeli wingnuts and the Arizona wingnuts use false rhetoric to bolster their claims. If you disagree with Teabagger wingnuts, they won’t argue the facts with you but rather will simply call you names — claim that you are un-American or, shudder, socialist or whatever.

And if you disagree with the Israeli wingnuts, they will simply call you antisemitic. End of discussion. Well, here’s what I’ve got to say about that. “If the wingnuts, fundies and Mossad agents who currently run the Israeli government want to stop whining about the rise of antisemitism, then they had better stop acting in ways that endanger their reputations and actually encourage antisemitism. They had better stop acting like murderers and liars. Nobody likes a murderer or a liar, no matter what religion they profess — be they Jews, Christians or Muslims. And lying and murdering with impunity in the Holy Land is giving Judaism a very bad name.”

I would hate to see Jews worldwide become shunned and avoided solely because of the tricks that Netanyahu’s wingnuts are up to. Plus don’t you just hate it when hypocrites whine?

It’s like when Sarah Palin advocates hunting wolves from helicopters and then whines about being slurred by environmentalists. Or when Palin goes to Arizona, stirs up a shipload of racism and then whines that she is being misunderstood by the press.

It’s like when Bush and Cheney claimed to be goody-goody Christians and then set off a firestorm that eventually killed over a million people in the Middle East — and then Bush and Cheney started whining that we Americans who advocated for peace were acting anti-Christian.

It’s like when the Taliban burned down all those girls’ schools in Afghanistan and then whined about Americans all being anti-Muslim when we objected.

You can’t have it both ways, guys. Either you always take the moral high ground no matter what the cost — or you don’t. You can’t just PRETEND to take the moral high ground. People have a way of eventually finding out the truth. Plus being able to master the art of being fair, moral and just, even if it kills you, is what separates human being from animals. And it is also the goal of ALL of our religions.

PPPS: And, no, I’m still not done venting about religious hypocrisy. Here are even more ventilations from me:

Just because some idiot Saudis may or may not have blown up the World Trade Center, I’m supposed to hate all Muslims? That doesn’t make sense.

Just because some idiots in Israel blew up Jenin, Nablus, Lebanon (twice), Gaza and parts of Bethlehem, I’m supposed to hate all Jews? That doesn’t make sense.

And just because some idiots in Washington who claim to listen to Jesus blew up Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m supposed to hate all Christians? That doesn’t make sense either.

PPPPS: And while I’m still in tell-all mode, I might as well confess that I am even more of a pariah than just being a good Muslim in a time when all too many Americans consider Muslims to be terrorists. I am also a good Jew, a good Christian, a good Buddhist and probably even a good Hindu — I take yoga one a week!

But what aggravates me most about Americans today is that, even after our great country has flourished and bloomed for the past 200 years under democracy and religious freedom, when the going starts to get tough for this generation all too many of us ignore both democracy and religion completely — and turn to fascism.


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