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RonLauder.JPGAt a forum, on Monday, addressing the ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, spoke on the matter — describing it as one of the great crisis of our time, and the fact that no one knows about it, saying the “silence was deafening.”

He compared the “indifference” among world leaders today with that of leaders following Kristallnacht, 75 years ago in Germany, adding that “never again are meaningless words” given the catastrophe that has befallen Christian communities that go back two millennia. Mr. Lauder noted the irony that “it’s taken someone Jewish to speak up for the Christians.”

The conference included Ret. General Raymond Odierno, former U.S. Army Chief-of-Staff, Judith Miller and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, among others.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

moma-christmascardsmoma-maciver1949“Teach their souls to fly”
William Blake

Once upon a time the Museum of Modern Art had a Christmas card program that invited artists, some well known, to submit compositions that would be made into cards. Participants included Robert Indiana, whose 1965 “LOVE” card went on to become one of the iconic images of the 20th century.

Lotus Editions is offering its historic collection of 265 unique MoMA Christmas cards from 1949-1999. Interested parties should contact: stephen@lotuseditions.com

Cards: (bottom row) Hannah Wilke, Loren MacIver, Joel Meyerowitz; (middle row) Robert Indiana, Jules Olitski, Florence Bezrutczyk, Jack Youngerman; (back row) Bruno Munari, Ben Shahn, Xanti Schawinsky

Pence.JPGAs Trump/Pence prepare to take office, their backers believe a more truthful US government will emerge — and yet their unwillingness to provide safe-haven for Syrian refugees, made homeless by American intervention in that country, is a troubling sign.

consulate-bonhoefferThe Consulate General of Germany in New York hosted an evening of music 10/11 to commemorate the life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, killed by the Nazis in the last days of WWII for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler. The Kleine Choir of Burgdorf, Germany, led by Ilsabe Bartels-Kohl, performed music by Mattias Nagel, with a Dieter Stork libretto based on texts by Bonhoeffer.

“Has the Church merely to gather up those whom the wheel has crushed or has she to prevent the wheel from crushing them?” Bonhoeffer, Ethics (SCM Press, 1955)

“Only in action is freedom.” Bonhoeffer, Ethics

Bonhoeffer also noted in Ethics: “It is the essence of Greek tragedy that a man’s downfall is brought about by the conflict of incompatible laws.” Isn’t that the case today in the US? For Bonhoeffer, the resolution lay in “the unity of God and the reconciliation of the world with God in Jesus Christ; it is not the inescapability of guilt, but the simplicity of life which follows from the reconciliation; it is not fate, but the gospel as the ultimate reality of life; it is not the cruel triumph of the gods over falling man, but it is the election of man to be man as the child of God in the world which is reconciled through grace.”

ObamaUN.JPG“Truth exists when what is, is said to be, and when what is not is said not to be. Falsity will consist in the excess, when what is not is said to be; or in defect, when what is, is said not to be.” Thomas Aquinas

Addressing the UN this week, President Obama said “I draw strength from young Americans…who are remaking our nation once again, who are unconstrained by old habits and old conventions and unencumbered by what is, but are instead ready to seize what ought to be.”

One probably wouldn’t want to fly in an airplane with a pilot who had such a view of reality. And yet the man who sees himself as the most important person in the world, and is acting on it, has such a view — while the wreckage piles up, from the burning of Charlotte to the burning of Syria.

President Obama’s legacy will be a nation and world more divided and self-destructing than when he came into office, with his untruthfulness a key factor.

ivorycoastAlassane Ouattara (center), President of Ivory Coast, in New York for the opening session of the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Ouattare, a Sunni, came to power in 2011 after a disputed election. The Ivory Coast parliament had determined that Mr. Ouattara was not born in Ivory Coast and therefore not eligible to be its president. And yet Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, used her influence to get him in and force his predecessor out. His predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, a Catholic, is in the Hague (ICC) on charges related to trying to remain as president.

steubenparade2016psteubenparade2016isteubenparade2016noktoberfest2016jsteubenparade2016doktoberfest2016hoktoberfest2016foktoberfest2016lThis year’s grand marshals were Ambassador Peter Witig and Olympic Gold Medal skater Katarina Witt. Baron von Steuben was an Honored Guest (top photo-right). As is custom the parade was followed by Oktoberfest in Central Park.

While watching the parade march up Fifth Avenue, past the World War I monument, one couldn’t help but recall the events of 100 years ago and how they continue to resonate.

In 1916 Germany tried to end the war, but Britain wouldn’t hear of it — wanting to destroy Germany and knowing the U.S. would enter the war on their side after the 1916 election (even though Wilson had run on the promise of keeping the U.S. out of the war). Wilson’s aid Colonel House made it known in England that he planned to get in. Wilson also made the Russian revolution a precondition for U.S. involvement, not wanting to support the Czar. So by playing interventionist, on behalf of prominent Zionists (Brandeis), who got Palestine out of the deal, the U.S. laid the groundwork for Hitler, the Holocaust and the Soviet Union.

Today U.S. intervention and support for regime change in Libya and Syria has created a new holocaust and a refugee crisis that undermines peace and stability everywhere. Good of Germany to support the refugees (even with a few bad eggs). By doing so they express a goodness that others would do well to emulate.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

 

samesky2016asamesky2016bFrancine LeFrak, Founder of Same Sky, is joined by Deshauna Barber (Miss USA) and Pia Wurtzbach (Miss Universe) at a Same Sky ethical shopping event Thursday in New York.

Same Sky is working to empower women and change lives, around the world, by employing them to make superbly crafted jewelry.

Lincoln+RussiansThe recent outcry over possible Russian involvement in the outing the e-mails, exposing DNC treachery toward Bernie Sanders, seems absurd. Americans should be thankful for whoever helps to expose the darkness of their deceiving leaders, and attempts to enlighten the people, in the hope of preventing further American destruction abroad.

It’s worth noting that if it wasn’t for Russia, under the Czar, the US probably wouldn’t exist today.

During the Civil War (1863), the Russians sent war ships to New York Harbor to prevent France and England from getting involved on the side of the South, which, had they done so, would have meant sure defeat for Lincoln and the Union.

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