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Why Do You Hate the Jews? Who Will Take The Test? September 8, 2015

Posted by voolavex in Anti-Semitism.
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Before I post this blog (or post this blog) I want to acknowledge and thank Bart D. Ehrman, historian, Bible scholar and Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  I have been enlightened by and borrowed  liberally from his book: ‘How Jesus Became God’.  If I had footnoted this post the op cit would  have been Professor Ehrman and this title.  His book is footnoted extensively and there is a Scripture Index.  My best advice would be to obtain a copy and read it more than once. Some of his material has been paraphrased and others quoted.  I must also thank Alon Contino for “his shattering book “A World Without Jews”. Indescribable and researched intensely as well.  It sheds light on more recent acts of Jew hatred.  

 

I shall be quite surprised if anyone accepts the challenge, but it is a revealing test and it could yield revealing answers.  As people (some people) Support BDS – I have to ask why in a broader sense.  But I can see that Jew hating today in other, newer ways, is still alive and well.   Rosh Hashonah – 5776,  sees hating Jews and Israel become a global issue and people have taken sides and I am not sure they even know why.

Why do so many hate the Jews?  Is there a reasonable answer?  It cannot be that you have had a bad experience or that you had loud Jewish neighbors or you can’t stand gefilte fish.  People hate Jews.  Really hate them. Some say they don’t, but in secret they do.  No one wants to simply say “I am an anti-Semite”.  Slay them, smite them, slaughter them, set fire to them, gas them, starve them and I still have no idea why?  Why do so many people HATE the Jews?  I dislike some Jews as individuals, but this goes for any religious or ethnic group. And it is personal.   Not everyone likes everyone.  Admittedly there are some people who don’t – the people of India have no issue with them – it is my opinion that when India’s Jews left for Israel, the Indians were not delighted to see them go.  Surprisingly Albania had no problem with Jews. And this in the 20th century.  Many individuals do not.  History will show us that for brief uneasy moments Jews were not hated and shunned but by and large – people seem to have enjoyed and actively cultivated Jew hatred.  Habitually.  Why?

The Romans  in the Middle East didn’t hate the Jews anymore than they hated their other subjugated subjects who didn’t fall into line during their era.  But the business in Jerusalem on that fateful Pesach weekend was not really about “the Jews” – it was about a Jewish rabble-rouser and the disruption of the daily life of the Roman occupation religion (it was trending subject in those times).  It wasn’t Easter weekend.  There was no Good Friday and believe it or not Crucifixion was the approved execution method of the Roman times (before they decided to toss Christians in with large cats) for criminals. The Romans were what we now call “pagans” and had their own worship they hoisted from the Greeks.  The Romans named their province “Palestine” – not the Jews or anyone else.  There were no Muslims because it was long before Islam.  The land had been occupied and the Jews angered most of the conquerors by not knuckling under to their prevailing religions or gods – but I suspect it had to do with faith and not just singling out the Jews for this dislike.  Anyone who didn’t fall into the party line was not considered a really good subject. If you want a subsequent history of the Jews and their treatment by Christians it’s out there in many incarnations.  I will not revisit it nor will I revise it.

For me it is that the early Jews who began their deification of Jesus had a small problem in the light of scriptural writing. The business of the Messiah.  Remember there was no “new” testament while Jesus lived; nor was there electronic media.   Jews were and continue to be believers in the concept or idea of a messiah or savior.  He is called “Moshiach” and he is the anointed one from the line of David who will come to overwhelm the enemy and set up God’s kingdom. There is no “Second Coming”.  No Jew until Christianity was ever considered to be the messiah.  Despite claims to the contrary the Hebrew bible does not once mention the word “messiah”.  There is no mention in Jewish scripture of dying and rising from the dead as a messianic indicator. It was not a condition or factor. It is perhaps a good idea to understand that Jesus was proclaimed messiah by his apostles during his lifetime, although he never called himself that and nothing about his death or “resurrection” would have all of a sudden indicated that this alone made him the messiah.  The Messiah had to conform to conditions set down ages before and none of them included death and rebirth.  And the Jewish people were not buying it.  Consider too that the Romans were running the show and the Roman Emperor was worshipped as a god. So either worship the pagan gods or keep your own heathenism quiet.  The Jews did not worship Roman emperors; why would they worship a poor schlub from Galilee who was crucified as a traitor and enemy of the state?  And why in future would they worship Jesus who did not fulfill the requirements set down in antiquity for the presence of true Messiah.  Remember that Jesus and his friends were all Jews and knew the  Torah and the drill.

The anti-Semitism that has evolved probably started about at the end of the second century in the city of Sardis in Asia Minor in  a sermon delivered by a bishop named Melito.  In it he places the blame for the crucifixion on the Jews.  Period.  And because Jesus had attained the status of God – the Jews had killed their own God; their own Messiah.  He concludes by saying that ‘God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the Right Hand of Israel (that would be Jesus who was sittething on the right hand of God”).  To a small group of believers this would be wild rhetoric, but the Church had already become a majority and Constantine, born again in 312 CE (or so) and created the Holy Roman Empire.  Constantine started with a gusto by railing against the Jews as enemies of “GOD” and laws were passed to constrain Jews in their activities.  Jews had done a bad, bad thing and they were going to suffer for it.  Christianity spread.  So did anti-Semitism.  Jews suffered. And so we come back around to the question:  “Why Do YOU Hate the Jews”.  Now, right now?  An invalid choice is “Because They Killed Our Lord”.  My purpose is to find actual reasons that might sound realistic but are incorrect in the light of explanation and  proven facts.  No one has to soften it.  No one has to sugar coat.  I am interested in honest answers.   And I will be interested to see who will take the test.

This post is dedicated to a person with whom I share a birthday and who is a Muslim and whom I consider my brother.  It is for a sweeter, kinder New Year – the one my tribe celebrates and for every other human who would rather talk than shoot.  Shalom.

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Their Cure. Your Liver. $84,000? April 23, 2014

Posted by voolavex in Egypt, Health, hippies, Medical, Social Issues, solutions.
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I grew up in the age of “wonder” drugs.  New discoveries for diseases that needed eradication.  Dedicated researchers who  had devoted decades to finding cures.  Period.  In the words of Jonas Salk, when asked about patents for his polio vaccine, he replied, “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun” and with those words the Salk vaccine eliminated – for the most part, polio.  Albert Sabin developed the Sabin vaccine with the help of the Russians and it too was given freely – I received both while in grade school.  I have never had polio.  There was time when kids could not go swimming for fear of polio; couldn’t play with others for fear of polio and  people whose lives were lived in a contraption called an “iron lung” that breathed for them.  It was not a good thing.  The moral compass and integrity of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin pointed in a different direction and they found a cure that was made available to everyone.  Polio is largely gone from the planet and with the efforts of the Gates Foundation may soon be simply extinct.

Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath which includes the words “First do no harm”.  I don’t think it includes the words – do not treat those with no money.  I could be wrong.  I am not certain what Big Pharma swears to do – but one thing it knows how to do is make money.  In my very skewed way of thinking if you are in the business of finding treatments and cures for deadly diseases, your motives should include making sure as many of those afflicted get them.  My first hint of the slippery, slimy slope Big Pharma had chosen were the TV and  print ads for prescription drugs – to the public.  I couldn’t figure out whyBig Pharma  was appealing directly to consumers for medications that had been the sole domain of the prescribing physician.  And the laundry list of side effects – read by a serious voice – was a legal requirement.  And scary.  In print it required pages.  Humans are gullible.  We want quick fixes.  Better, quicker fixes; an app for a cure.  Sneeze?  Wheeze, scratch, fidget, get the runs – watch and listen – an ad will tell you which med to “ask your doctor about”. (One appears to come with two free bathtubs but I am not sure). I have a suspicion doctors do not like to asked about these things. But Pharma spends a lot on consumer ads. Does this expand profit or eat into it.  Someone should ask.

It used to be that Baby Boomers, who were usually old Hippies, had the PDR or the US Pharmacopeia stored away in their heads somewhere.  I did.  In the 60’s we knew who made what and the side effects, the contraindications and the uses to which these meds were put. Words like “sulfate, hydrochloride, spansules, tartrate and indole rings” flowed poetically from many of us who chose an alternative lifestyle. And FYI – the “meth” we spoke of was not the meth cooked in kitchen and garages.  Ours came straight from drug companies; as my son used to say: “Back when drugs were good for you”.  He was not far wrong.  Such was our mindset.  Bad drugs were cocaine and heroin.  For me they still are.

Which takes us to 2014 and BIG Pharma – the profit stream that can mean life or death – your very own.

Recently a small “pharm” created a “cure” for Hepatitis C (for certain genotypes. and not a 100% cure – more like 95%).  It made it through clinical trials, appeared and appears to be very beneficial and was approved for use by the FDA.  Millions of us have this virus which didn’t even have a name before the 90’s.  Millions didn’t know they had it. Millions still don’t.  It is global. It is a slow progressor and can be asymptomatic for some and the virus is only interested in the liver.  Unlike HIV – it does not wreak the same havoc with the immune system but many with HIV also have HCV and this is a horrid situation.  Adding insult to injury.  Unlike HIV (in its early days) HCV is possible to acquire by anyone who might be exposed through blood transfer.  Unlike certain cancers it can afflict males or females equally.  So,unlike many more publicized viral infections it can get lost in the shuffle.  But if you have it – you could be facing cirrhosis, liver cancer or chronic fatigue and for many,  a liver transplant.  It is more complicated than this but that is a nutshell.

Voila!!! Someone finds a really effective oral treatment that can nail and rid many a body of it without the hideous side effects of previous treatments (interferon and ribaviran are two). A ORAL medication that is shown to be extremely effective, short regimen and now what?  Oh, now here’s the price tag for this: $84,000 for an 84 day course.  ACA, Medicare and insurance companies are not happy campers.  I am not a happy camper.  I have the right genotype and I have Medicare – but I am short about $84,000. Which brings me back to Big and small Pharma and their duty of care to cure if they can ,incurable diseases that will hugely reduce organ transplants, hospital care, rejection drug costs and generally better this country, both financially and medically .   Do they even have a duty of care or do they first shun no profit.  A drug company will tell us the costs for developing effective and important new drugs is astronomical – but who ever asks to see a breakdown of those costs?  Seriously.  The company I have in mind is publicly traded so showing investors a HUGE profit is, I suspect, far more important that cleaning up some sick livers.  The Pharm contrasts the $84K spent to the cost of liver transplants but if this drug can reduce dramatically the need for this procedure, it makes more sense to dispense it to more people.  And on the subject of liver transplants:  donor organs are just that – donated.  You cannot go to the doc and say – “okay let’s get me a new liver – when shall I come back” because you may never get one.  So a liver transplant v. a high percentage cure is not a bet I would take to my turf accountant.  I find it a specious argument.

 

But it gets better.  Oh yes it does. It is perfectly legal for Pharma to sell pricey drugs to foreign countries at very discounted prices.  Let’s say Egypt has a large load of cases of – let’s say – HCV – a pharm with a good product that can achieve maximum results can be had at a 90+% discount. Feeling edgy right about now?  There’s more. Individual state Departments of Corrections can choose to give their felons and bad folks, let’s say, a certain high result drug for about a $3750 per inmate pop.  So let’s say a slammer treats everyone – it could cost up to $315,000,000 to cover them all.  Which takes us back to the duty to heal.  The duty to cure.  The duty to care?  And my question is simply this: when does the humanitarian good exceed the addiction to profit.  For me, right about now.  It gets my goat.

No Health Insurance. The 47,000,000 Left Behind November 1, 2008

Posted by voolavex in Uncategorized.
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I have no health insurance.  Period.  I have an untreatable disease that ideally should be monitored about twice a year and biopsied about every five years.  My last biopsy – in 2003 was under insurance and cost $10,000.  It came out better than hoped for and so I dodged a bullet.  I should have another one but I don’t have the money.  Even if I did, I have the “pre-existing condition” that no one even looked for 16 years ago.  I could (not will , but I might ) cost some insurance company a lot of money in the future and they are not in the business of healthcare they are in the business of mismanaging funds and saying “no”. I am a bad risk. 
 
I am fortunate to live in a city where a serious, full time Free Clinic,  treats anyone – not anything – but enough to get you through the year. It is supported by endowments, donations (large and small) and the time and energy of real doctors who do at least a rotation there. Philanthropists and humanitarians.  I get blood work once a year to let me know if I am about to need major surgery or if I have developed a worse condition known as cancer.  So far I have been lucky.  Waiting in the clinic is not a hardship nor is being assembly lined through.  The fact is that the care is more personal and considerate than the average doctor visit.  I am going for this year’s blood test next week.  My feeling is that it will be okay.  If not, it doesn’t matter because I can’t afford to treat it or try to fix it or do anything but have it become worse.  So  maybe I am a tiny bit concerned.
 
This is not a cry for sympathy – it is what 47 million Americans, including myself) face every day.  It is a result of managed care which should be in the hands of doctors not number crunchers.  I should get the same care as a Senator who technically is my employee. One should not have to work to get the benefit of insurance.  I wonder – is it really your employer’s job to care for your health? I am not informed enough to say.  I can’t fathom who is greedier, Blue Cross (and its ilk) or Doctor Somebody and his malpractice insurance payments or the government who things it is pinko to have healthy citizens.  I do know that $5000 a year tax credit is a dirty joke coming from a man with millions.  The older you get the more you need care.  Starting at about fifty. The ludicrousness of shopping for insurance is insulting.  The only person you should be concerned with choosing is your doctor.  Insurance companies decide who gets what treatment and they don’t use common sense or kindness to do it.  We are the only developed country that does not insure their citizen’s health.  This makes us underdeveloped in a very basic way.  Does a nation of healthy people make us socialists? Okay – call me names.   I still would rather be a healthy American than dead at an early age because of nomenclature and labels.