On Flags, Knees, and Patriots

“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well”

-Shakespeare, King Lear

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

-Bill Clinton

The flag, the anthem, the Constitution and founding documents…together they form the foundation of a sort of American civil religion. We don’t have a state religion, after all. We are not a nation based on common ethnicity, race, tribe, or collective continuous consciousness stretching back a thousand years. But therein the magic. America is based on a set of ideas, and thus a derived commonality of values that stem from them, that you, an individual, need not be born into, but may merely accept and buy into. American magic. It exists nowhere else in so pure a form.

Love of flag and country is not innate. It must be taught, it must be demonstrated, and it must be passed down. What good is a love unshown? Is a secret love of country of any use? Does it teach? Does it being us together in a commonality of purpose and idea? No. So how do we demonstrate it? Well, now and again, at various events where the public gathers, we stand at respectful attention (In the West, we do not kneel, bow, or prostrate ourselves to show respect, we stand.), we raise up the flag and sing the anthem.

Many people take the ceremony quite seriously. As human beings, after all, we naturally yearn for community. Many have literally died protecting that “piece of cloth,” many’s the parent who’s seen it draped over a child’s coffin, many’s the widow who’s had it handed to her at the conclusion of a funeral.

And one thing I can guarantee you, if you want to make sure that those people who love their country and their flag – the vast majority of Americans – if you want to make sure they shut themselves off completely from any point you are trying to make, that they cease hearing or caring about anything else you have to say, just let them get the slightest scent of a whiff of what may be disrespect toward that symbol. That will end it. You immediately “other” yourself, no matter what your intentions were, for love or hate, noble or ignoble, patriot or no, if you are perceived as disrespecting that flag, it’s game over for you. You will never have the opportunity to explain yourself to the vast majority. And that’s that.

The flag as symbol and what it represents are above all. As the Clinton quote above expresses, as long as the foundations are sound, as long as we keep buying in – and one of the ways we keep buying in is by demonstrating respect – then we will always have the tools to fix and make better. America, like all nations a place built by man and therefore eternally flawed, may always be improved, so long as in improving, we keep our foundations sound.

Presidents come and go, but the Prime Symbols remain. You vastly overshoot the mark if you register complaint against Donald Trump by firing far over his head and striking the flag that all Americans love.

Rather than the quotes I gave above, the political left in this country seems to far prefer Burke: “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.”

They’re not comfortable with patriotism and flags, they want to stand out from the herd, but most of all they want to feel and seem smart and deep. But far from deep, they simply make the perfect the enemy of the good. The nation, conceived and set into motion by flawed humans will never be perfect. There will always, by definition, be somewhere to someone something unlovely here. It is neither clever nor wise to find flaw, and it is neither clever nor wise to make change in the branches by assaulting the roots of the tree.

To say that our country is founded on White Privilege or racism or some other basic flaw so in vogue on today’s left is an assault directly on our foundation, our roots as a nation, the symbols and documents and principles upon which the whole structure stands – the very things that enable us to speak, and fix, and make positive constructive change. Look around the world today and know how uniquely American those enabling principles are and cherish them. Even more, show you cherish them so that others will understand and learn.

To do otherwise is nihilism, and it is purely destructive.

And we won’t stand for that.

Posted in Protests | Tagged , , , , | 2 Responses

Trump and the MSM’s Recruiting Drive for the Alt-Right

So it goes like this. The left and their MSM allies decided long ago that their narrative was that all conservatives, and Donald Trump in particular, were racists, sexists, homophobes, antisemites, etc., etc., ad nauseam…you get it…

It’s very difficult to get off an idea once you’ve been riding it for so long, even when it’s becoming more and more clear that the narrative is wrong and even self-destructive. People just don’t give up treasured ideas so easily, and when you’ve held them so long they become part of your own identity. And your own identity is something that none of us changes easily.

So the election is over… (It’s over people! You goof-balls are not going to overturn it through an online petition! Talk about social media rotting peoples’ brains…but I digress…) So the election is over but the Democrats and the MSM, as they always do, remain in campaign mode and continue to ride “the narrative.”

So what do we get? Endless stories about how various forms of White Nationalists and modern Nazis are happy Donald Trump won the election. Why? To tie Trump and anyone who supports him to these low-lifes. Isn’t that obvious? And isn’t it just as obvious that just because Nazis like someone, that doesn’t make them a Nazi? I am not responsible for the beliefs of everyone who reads this blog and Donald Trump is not responsible for every joker who voted for him.

The bottom dwellers seek to pull themselves out of the muck of obscurity and social unacceptability and so they seize the opportunity of a Trump victory. They know the MSM will be only too happy to give them the attention they so desperately seek, and help them ride the coattails of a man who’d scrape them off in a second if he could. “Just praise Trump and we’ll get attention!” they say.

Read More »

Posted in Media Criticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Bigot Toilets

So here’s something that’s changed during the years since I stopped blogging. Apparently if you think that boys should use the boys’ room, and girls should use the girls’ room you are now a bigoted “homophobe.” No, seriously.

What we’ve got is a societal situation whereby some people, having determined that gender is purely socially designated (true to an extent, but overstated), have decided that all they need to do to change genders, and have their choice accepted without question by everyone else, is look in the mirror and say, for instance, “Today, my name is no longer Sam. It is Sally.” Bingo. Now everyone needs to accept it and treat you in kind.

You know what? That’s fine. No problem. It’s a free country. (Remember that old expression?) When it comes to yourself, you have full autonomy. And if my friend said to me, “Hey, I’m no longer Sam, I’m Sally and I’m a chick…” I’d go with it. No need to be rude, and no one should be mean to anyone else. It’s just considerate not to want to cause other human beings discomfort. Whatever they’re going through, they don’t need it made worse by me, and whoever they were before, they still are. I would hope they were getting the professional help they needed for the difficulties they’ve gone through and the difficulties they will face. Because they will face difficulties, no matter how “open and welcoming” they environment they inhabit is, they will face them.

Considerate. Consideration. Let’s think about that for a minute. We live in an age where an awful lot of people think the world revolves around them. They think the world should rearrange itself for their convenience. They even think that if they decide one day they’re a different gender, that everyone else has to not only accept it and treat them decent socially, but we should pretend we don’t know what we know, even to the point of convincing ourselves to join them in their newly constructed reality.

Read More »

Posted in Culture | Tagged , , , | 4 Responses


Hey! How are you? Long time no see.

So have you heard about this new musical Hamilton? It’s the Hip hop story of one of the super-geniuses of the Revolution.

After hearing about it for awhile I decided to drop the cash on the soundtrack and wow…am I glad I did. Addicted ever since. It’s been playing “non-stop” (haha, song reference there) in our house. My daughter says she wishes she had had it when they were studying that period in History class. It would have made it a lot more interesting. Usually I have trouble getting her to listen to me about any serious subject, but finally I can stop the music and ask her if she understands what they’re talking about and she actually listens to my explanation.

So at one point the Jefferson character says, “Sally, be a lamb darling…” and I ask her if she knows who Sally is and I explain that that’s Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s slaves with whom it is known that Jefferson sired at least one child and probably more, [etc]… “So he raped her?!” “Well…by today’s standards, technically yes…though we can’t really know the true nature of their personal interactions…”

“Wow, they don’t teach you THAT in school.”

Ha! No, I guess not.

While I admit I was a bit worried about the “alternative casting” (most roles are played by Black or Hispanic actors), I needn’t have. This is straight up history done right (with a number of mostly forgivable adjustments for art’s sake).

And that’s what’s great. This thing is opening up what many young people look at as stale history to a whole new young audience which is completely engaged. They’re taking minority kids, many of whom have been told that all they need to know about the founders was that they were a bunch of slave-owning old White men – nothing but an excuse not study them – and making them relevant and interesting and relatable.

We don’t revere the founders because some of them were slave holders, we revere them in spite of their faults. Their philosophies and life stories are available and potentially inspiring to all. (Their various views toward slavery and their intended gift of its eventual disintegration is a subject worthy of its own posting.) All you have to do is look and listen.

As a Jew, should I deprive myself of Shakespeare because of the Merchant of Venice? Who suffers for that? Only myself. Mr. Shakespeare is long dust and beyond my censure. Likewise, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Orwell, Belloc…the list could go on for some time. History is full of people who at one time or another said or thought nasty things about the Jews. Are they not for me? Tough, I take them anyway.

When you tell a kid that his nation’s history is not for him, that he’s not in it as other than a door mat, that its deck is stacked against him…you are murdering his future. Hamilton puts this same kid back in the picture, back in the program. As Sissy reminded me recently when I mentioned this to her, politics is downstream from culture (as Andrew Breitbart used to say), and that’s just what’s happening here. A show can do more than all the blog posts and 700 page biographies put together.

It would be nice to actually see the show – another thing my daughter wants that just isn’t going to happen. I did manage to watch it on YouTube before it got taken down, though. Great.

Posted in American History | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Hi all. As of now, I’m sorry to say that Solomonia is on an indefinite hiatus.

After over eight years of fairly consistent, almost always daily blogging, I’ve decided to sample what it would be like to just exist without reading and looking at everything with an eye to posting. It’s time to take back some of the time I spend here and see what else I can do with it.

There are a number of other reasons, but I’m not in the mood to philosophize about the whole thing at the moment. I wanted to put this post up rather than continue to only sort of update the site properly. I like to do things right or stay home, so here it is.

Thank you to the many, many people who have made this site a regular and even daily stop. Thank you to the many people who have donated or used my Amazon links. (BTW, if you gave recently and feel shorted, let me know and I will be happy to refund your donation.) Thank you to everyone whose acquaintance I have made, either in person or electronically and who has made this site worth running all this time.

I would suggest keeping yourself subscribed in a reader or by email, since I may decide in a short while that this should just become an Emily Litella moment. Some habits are hard to break. (Besides, I already know I filmed an appearance by Andy McCarthy last night in Stoughton, and will be posting the video as soon as I process it.)

I am not dropping off the grid, merely doing a strategic repositioning as it were. See you around. ttfn

Posted in Blogging | 37 Responses

Thoughts on Burning Stuff

After a week of listening to and reading too many responses to Terry Jones’s burning of the Koran and the murderous rampages in Afghanistan that used it as an excuse, I have a few thoughts of my own on the subject, and they don’t happen to mesh with too much else that I’ve read or heard.

I’ll start by getting this out of the way. Although I continue to believe that Terry Jones is a certified nutcase (for any number of reasons), I simply do not find myself outraged, sickened, disgusted or even dismayed by his burning of a copy of the Koran. I’m frankly tired of everyone prefacing their comments on the event by declaring that they are. But, of course, it’s their right to be, and to say so. It’s just that you have to wonder exactly why. Read More »

Posted in Islam | Tagged , | 14 Responses

Hamas Looks for Trouble

School bus struck by laser-guided antitank rocket fired across Gaza border

When I heard that Hamas had fired an antitank missile across the border directly at an Israeli school bus, wounding the driver and critically injuring a child — only the fact that the bus was otherwise empty prevented an even more horrendous outcome — I thought: they want a war. The fact that the attack was accompanied by a barrage of at least 50 rockets and mortars fired at Israeli towns and cities reinforced that assumption.

You can easily imagine their thinking: if a bus full of Jewish children goes up in flames, Israel will have to take the bait. But the last war was painful for Hamas. Why would they want another go-around? Read More »

Posted in Gaza | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

Hamas Admits to a War Crime

According to the New York Times, a 16-year-old boy was critically injured while riding on a school bus, which was hit by laser-guided missile launched by Hamas. The Times reports that in addition to claiming responsibility for the attack, Hamas said it intentionally chose the its target in revenge for an Israeli attack that left three “holy fighters” dead.

By calling its dead “holy fighters,” Hamas obliquely acknowledges that the Israeli attack was on a legitimate military target. And by stating that that it intentionally attacked a school bus, which is clearly a civilian target, Hamas has admitted to committing a war crime.

It doesn’t get any clearer than this.

Posted in Gaza | Tagged , | 1 Response

MJ Rosenberg and Goldstone

I have a longer article about MJ Rosenberg and Judge Goldstone coming up on Sunday, but I couldn’t wait that long to share this picture I made with you. As always, click to zoom in if necessary.

Posted in Media Criticism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rebels Claim ‘Ancient Synagogue Destroyed’ in Libya

Hebrew inscriptions on the ceiling of the Yefren synagogue

With thanks: Avril

A 2,000-year old synagogue in the Libyan town of Yefren is said to have been destroyed in the fighting now raging between President Gaddafi’s forces and Nato-supported rebels.

This BBC report yesterday quotes a rebel fighter named Aydress. Aydress claims that Colonel Gaddafi’s forces used rockets, missiles and anti-tank weapons to bombard the town of Yefren. They destroyed a mosque and a ‘Jewish place of worship’, 2,000 years old, he says. Read More »

Posted in Libya | Tagged , | 1 Response

Terror Strikes on Children

Terrorism today is not what it was a century ago—or ever. Its patterns changed—from assassinations aimed to punish specific targets to what perpetrators called “motiveless terror” against civilians. Presently, unnoticed by most, they focus on the creation of “fear zones.” They do so by intentionally targeting children.

In a cross-border raid from Lebanon on May 15, 1974 gunmen from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), affiliated with the PLO, took 102 students and their teachers hostage in the northern Israeli town of Ma’alot, which the children from Safed visited during a school trip. Some managed to escape by jumping out the windows, but when the IDF special unit assaulted the building, the terrorists detonated hand grenades and sprayed the 14-16-year olds with machine-gun fire, killing 21 and wounding 66. On June 1, 2001 an Arab suicide bomber blasted himself and yet another 21 Israeli teenagers in the “Delphinarium” disco in Tel Aviv. In 2002 the Chechen terrorists have chosen the Moscow Dubrovka theater as their site during the “Nord-Ost” musical based on the novel The Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin, a favorite travel adventure story for the young audience.

On September 1, 2004, amid the “Day of Knowledge” festivities, at least 32 heavily-armed, masked terrorists held hostage 1,200 children, their relatives, and their teachers inside School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, in the former USSR. This terrorist act yielded at least 334 dead, among them 186 children; over 700 were wounded. Violence against children soared to a new level. Read More »

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Middle East Score So Far This Year: Iran and Brotherhood, 8; Hamas, 6, U.S., -11

Events in the Middle East have moved so quickly that one almost needs a daily scorecard to keep up. This article will try to give a basic picture of what has, and hasn’t, changed.

Have Iran and revolutionary Islamists gained in recent months? Yes, since Islamism is advancing at the expense of declining Arab nationalism as well as other reasons.

From the Muslim Brotherhood’s perspective gains have been made for its branches and allies in Egypt (which also helps their ally Hamas), Jordan, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia.

That doesn’t mean they will take power now but these groups are all stronger than they were at the end of last year.

Iran has benefited by gains made in Bahrain (though Saudi intervention blocked its clients from taking power), Lebanon, and Yemen along with indirectly in all of the other places except Syria. Moreover, Tehran can take satisfaction in the removal of Egypt, its most important Arab foe, from the anti-Iran and pro-U.S. category to, at best, a neutralist stance. Read More »

Posted in Middle East, Middle East Policy | Leave a comment

Azerbaijan Government Funds New Synagogue

A new state-funded synagogue in Baku has just opened to much fanfare. The opening in the presence of the Israeli ambassador and distinguished state officials, is indeed cause for celebration – where Jews in other Muslim republics are dwindling fast, the Jews of Azerbaijan are thriving:

BAKU, Azerbaijan — The opening of the new synagogue building for Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan, built with government funding in less than six months, took place on April 5. The crowd of attendees was so large at the opening ceremony in central Baku that the police had to block traffic.

Before the ceremony, the chairman of the Mountain Jews community in Azerbaijan, Semyon Ikhiilov, welcomed the distinguished guests. He gave a brief tour of the building, which was built in the historic Jewish district of Baku. Everyone was awed by the sanctuary, with its high ceilings and windows, an ornate ceiling, a luminous chandelier, comfortable seating, and an impressive Aron Kodesh (Torah ark).

Read article in full

Posted in Judaism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Spain: The “Most Anti-Semitic Country in Europe”

Spain: The “Most Anti-Semitic Country in Europe” – ‘Spain emerged as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the European Union in 2010, and the Spanish government has done nothing about it, according to the authors of an annual report that tracks anti-Semitic violence on the Iberian Peninsula. The “dangerous” and “extraordinary” rise in anti-Semitism comes at a time when Spain is mired in the worst economic recession in its modern history, and the authors of the report conclude that Jews are increasingly becoming a scapegoat for the economic and social problems facing Spain…’

Posted in Antisemitism, Quicklinks, Spain | Permalink |1 Response

Russian Billionaire to Found ‘Jewish Al-Jazeera’

Russian Billionaire to Found ‘Jewish Al-Jazeera’ – ‘Alexander Mashevich says planned pro-Israel news channel will “represent Israel on an international level, with real information.”…’

Posted in Israel, Quicklinks | Tagged , | Permalink |Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch (and Amnesty International) on Goldstone Retraction

Human Rights Watch (and Amnesty International) on Goldstone Retraction – ‘…Amnesty issued a press release claiming that “Amnesty International has not argued that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted Palestinian civilians ‘as a matter of policy’, but rather that IDF rules of engagement and actions during the conflict failed to take sufficient precautions to minimize civilian casualties.” Forgive me if I find the accusations of launching indiscriminate attacks against civilian targets and killing civilians with precision weapons to be rather more serious than “failing to take sufficient precautions to minimize civilian casualties.” Indeed, it’s hard to read the earlier accusations as anything but a claim of deliberate policy…’

Posted in NGO Truth, Quicklinks, United Nations | Tagged , , , , , | Permalink |Leave a comment

IDF Spokesperson: Palestinian Terrorists Intentionally Fired at School Bus

I just got off the phone with an IDF Spokesperson who confirmed, via a special briefing for bloggers, that the bus which was hit by an anti-tank missile less than two hours ago in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region was clearly marked as a civilian vehicle (a school bus), and there was no way the Palestinian terrorists who fired the rocket could have mistaken it for a military vehicle.

The Spokesperson noted that this represented a severe escalation of terror emanating from the Hamas controlled territory.

We also now know that a teen severely injured in the attack was 13 years old, not 16 as we previously reported.

Ynet reported:

“Hanania Reich, a paramedic who arrived on the scene, recounted the horror. “We were first to arrive together with soldiers. On the road lay a young victim, unconscious and bleeding. We began to resuscitate him and eventually MDA came and evacuated him by helicopter,” he said.

An hour later the fire from Gaza continued, with 15 mortar shells launched at Israel. One of the shells exploded inside a town in Eshkol Regional Council.

Posted in Gaza, Israel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

‘Israeli Peace Initiative’ Not Israeli, Wouldn’t Bring Peace

There’s a new peace initiative in town. It is similar to the Clinton-Barak proposals of 2000, with the Golan Heights thrown in. It is framed as an Israeli response to the Arab (or Saudi) Peace Initiative. My feeling is that although it was officially created by a group of Israelis, including former security officials and relatives of former PM Itzhak Rabin, it is in essence the Obama Plan. And it is much worse than the Clinton-Barak proposals because of the influence of the Arab initiative.

Some things I noticed:

It begins thus:

Reaffirming that Israel’s strategic objective is to reach a historic compromise and permanent status agreements that shall determine the finality of all claims and the end of the Israeli Arab conflict

This principle will not be a part of any permanent agreement signed with any Palestinian Arab faction, because it contradicts their national goals as set out in their founding documents — the assertion of Arab (and in the case of Hamas, Muslim) control over the entire area from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Read More »

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Strategy for Settlements, Part II: Settlement Interests

In A Strategy for Settlements, Part I, we articulated the need for an intellectual, factual and interest-driven approach to developing a medium to long term strategy for Jewish communities in Shomron and Yehudah. The second in this continuing series focuses on the core priorities of the settlements themselves, and those of their residents.

When speaking about the interest of the settlement movement, we must make a number of necessary distinctions. First, we are not discussing ideology, theology, or the various other motivators which give the movement its inertia. Whether settlement residents moved to the West Bank out of a desire to fulfill a perceived divine commandment to settle the Biblical Land of Israel, a need to obtain affordable housing, or even if they were born in the territory, the personal beliefs and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people matter less than their general intent and commitment to stay and grow their communities, along with their practical ability to do so. Read More »

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , | 11 Responses

Jewish Graves Desecrated in Iran

A sorry sight: desecrated and smashed-up gravestones in Jewish cemeteries in Iran. Arutz sheva has the story:

A video uploaded to YouTube on Friday shows the broken tombstones and desecrated graves. The Jewish cemeteries that were desecrated are located in the Damavand region of Iran. There are two Jewish cemeteries in the area, one in the village of Maranak and the other in the village of Giliard. Read More »

Posted in Iran | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
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