Great Moments in False Equivalency

17 Sep

1862: “You like slavery, I think it should be abolished. It’s really a matter of opinion.”

1941: “We’re going to have to agree to disagree about those gas chambers.”

1962: “You’re marching for civil rights, I’m brandishing a ‘No Colored People Allowed’ sign. We have different points of view.”

2016: “They’re both liars.”

Friends who like Trump

18 Aug

I’m not comparing anybody to Hitler, but please hear me out: Before the gas chambers, sometimes secular Jews sitting in cafes in Munich would see their German neighbors walk in wearing brown shirts and armbands. The Jews were filled with a mixture of indignation and sadness. They knew their friends had fallen for a con man promising jobs and a return to greatness – and blaming Germany’s problems on immigrants and foreigners. Indignation and sadness. If you are my friend and you like Donald Trump, please know, that’s how I’m looking at you.

Donald Trump Wants to Close You

22 Jul

Donald Trump will restore law and order. He will make things great. He will make you rich. He will take you to dinner and a movie. He will hold your hand when you are at the dentist’s. He will eliminate homicide, nurse your baby, rotate your tires, change the battery in your smoke detector, spit shine your shoes and give your crazy uncle the rim job he always dreamed of. Donald Trump will darn your socks, dam your rivers, drown your sorrows and dull your fears. He’ll cure cancer, put a man on Jupiter, win two marathons in one day and still have time to help an old LGBTQ lady cross the street.

Important message to any friends I have who support Donald Trump

20 Mar

Friends, I don’t want to talk to you about politics. Today I have come to talk to you about water. And not just any water, my friends. I’m talking clear, cool, running water from my tap. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about a big discovery that Catherine and I made at 8:43 this morning – a discovery so important that it has permanently altered our lives.

Turns out, the water flowing freely from our tap here in the great city of Philadelphia, P.A. cured my gout. Yes, indeed, friends, is there a man, woman, girl or boy among you who doesn’t suffer from an ache or pain? An itch, a scab, a bunion or a floater?

Friends, my tap water will cure what ails you. It’s PROVEN. It works. It’s a miracle. I’m talking about your ailments, your arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, tonsillitis, sore feet, wrenched back, deflated lungs, pinched nerve. Do you suffer from daytime constipation? Nighttime urination? Dandruff, scabies, ringworm or impetigo? Drink my water, friends! It will cure you. It will make you great again. So great you won’t even believe it. You’ll be like, “This is too great!” And you will be right, my friends.

Dr. Greenstein’s miracle water treats head lice, toenail fungus, stiff neck, tennis elbow and whatever it is that causes cankles.

Friends… Because you are my friends, I am making you this one time offer. For the low, low price of $500 (plus shipping and handling, taxes may apply) I will send you by U.S. Mail a one-month supply of my Miracle Water. Just drink one glass and you’ll be saying, “H2 Oh My I feel better now!”

Send your check or money order! Call before midnight tonight!




Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Fees

3 Mar

If you’re a Democrat who doesn’t know the difference between the lobbying industry, patronage jobs, campaign finance and the professional speakers market, and you’re angry at Hillary Clinton for her big speaking fees, you may have been influenced by rhetoric from the same people who brought us “baby parts,” “death panels,” “welfare queens,” “Obama’s [non existent] apology tour,” “Benghazi,” “Willie Horton,” “IRS” and a host of other fake scandals.

Do yourself a favor: Before deciding that Hillary Clinton would risk her legacy for a $200,000 speaking fee, learn about the difference between patronage jobs, lobbying and speaking. The conflict of interest you think is there is not there.

If this “conflict of interest” keeps you home from the polls in November, or it prompts you to vote for a third party candidate for president, you’ll be voting Republican.

While I plan to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Pennsylvania Primary, I would gladly vote for Hillary in the general election if she’s the Democratic nominee. I like Sanders’s proposals, and Clinton is too hawkish for me. But she’ll make a better president than any Republican.

Democrats: Don’t fall for the right-wing hype!

Bill Cosby is Guilty

20 Jul

In 1979, when I was living in Boulder, Colorado, I met a woman in a bar. She was 26 years old – blond, stylish, gorgeous, smart and interesting. I was 22 – sloppily clad in faded jeans, sneakers and a grungy tee-shirt. I tried to pick her up. She was out of my league, but she must have found me amusing. She made it clear that I had no chance of going home with her that night or any other night in the foreseeable future, but she’d have a drink with me. So we did that. And we talked for a while. After that night we got together once or twice again, for drinks and conversation.

When I told the woman – whose name I have forgotten – that I was from Philadelphia, she had a visceral response: Her shoulders tightened; she frowned and composed herself with a deep breath. Then she told me that Bill Cosby had drugged and molested her in an Atlantic City hotel room.

At the time, I couldn’t process what she told me. After all, he was the Cos. I-Spy. Fat Albert. He was funny; he was accomplished. He was an educator and a role model. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the woman. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around her story.

Not long after that, I met Catherine, the woman I would eventually marry. A few years later we left Boulder. As I mentioned, I can’t recall the name of the woman in the bar. And I didn’t think about her much for 30 or so years. Until recently, when the reports about Bill Cosby began to surface. The stories I’m reading in the news are exactly the story the woman told to me. Drugged and molested. She did not say he raped her. “Molested” was the word she used. This morning I read that Cosby has said he often did not engage in sexual intercourse, lest the women were to fall in love with him. He molested them while they were unconscious or in a stupor from the drugs he’d given them.

Back in 1979, the woman in the bar in Boulder was the only woman I had ever heard of who accused Bill Cosby of being a sexual predator. Now they’re coming out of the woodwork. It’s inconceivable to me that the woman in the bar was fabricating her story. How could she have? What are the odds?

Bill Cosby has never been arrested or indicted. But I know he is guilty.

Help Me With a Thought Experiment

20 Jun

Dear Friends,

I could use some help. And I mean it. This is not a snarky come-on, and I’m not intending to throw any rhetorical punches. I’m not trying to persuade you of anything. I’m trying to figure something out.

Let’s begin with a thought experiment and end with a challenge to you.

First, the thought experiment: Let’s suppose I decide to relocate to Israel next week. As a freelance writer and editor with clients all over the world, I can work from anywhere, and it would be relatively simple for me to move my home office from Philadelphia to, say, Jerusalem. Piece of cake.

Legally, of course, there would be no barriers. I’m Jewish, so according to Israel’s law of return, I’m entitled to move to Israel – make “Aliya” – any time I want, even though I have never been to Israel. The qualifier is that my mother was Jewish. That’s reasonable, and not without precedent, right? Had I been born in Canada, for example, and my mother were an American citizen, then I’d be an American citizen too. Thing is, my mother never lived in Israel, nor did she ever visit it. My father was never in the Jewish state either. But their mothers – neither of whom ever lived in Israel or visited it – were Jewish. This entitles me, a secular Jew, to be an Israeli citizen with the same civil rights as any other Israeli.

And now, the challenge: How would you go about persuading a Palestinian that my relocation to Israel is fair and just? Let’s say this Palestinian carries in his pocket the key to the house from which his family was expelled in 1948.

Please tell me how to have that conversation. What are a few talking points I should keep in mind? Which historic precedents should I cite? Thanks in advance. Let’s try to keep it civil.