Union Steward’s Guide Is Survival Manual for Labor’s Front Line

November 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

AFL-CIO Unionshop

Being a union steward is one of the toughest jobs there is. The Union Steward’s Complete Guide 2nd Edition book has become invaluable for tens of thousands of union stewards and members across North America. First published in 1997 and updated and expanded in 2006, the 404-page, fully indexed guide is a survival manual for the labor movement’s front-line troops.

Edited by David Prosten, editor and publisher of “Steward Update newsletter,” the guide offers procedures for handling a grievance on potential drug abuse to help in dealing with an out-of-control supervisor.

The Union Steward’s Complete Guide is published by Union Communication Services (UCS), based in Annapolis, Md. UCS has just released a catalog of its wide array of union-building tools and publications. Check out the new catalog here.

Noting that effective stewards are key to the growth and success of unions, David Bonior, chairman of the advocacy group American Rights at Work, says “there is no more valuable a tool than:

The Union Steward’s Complete Guide to help these front-line activists in labor’s struggle for workplace justice and dignity.

UCS’s newest publication for union members and leaders is the pamphlet, “Welcome to the Union,” a long-needed resource to help union officers and stewards explain to new members what being in a union really means. It helps answer some of the most frequently asked questions of new members, including how your union works, your rights and responsibilities and what to do if you have a problem on the job.

To order The Union Steward’s Guide, “Welcome to the Union” or any other UCS publications, click here.


Amazon pulls pedophilia manual after protest

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


Amazon has apparently conducted an about-face over its sales of a book that allegedly promotes pedophilia after a national outcry over its policy. ABC News reports now that the book, while still listed at Amazon, no longer can be purchased through the website after its controversial position was widely criticized by its customers. ABC earlier [...]

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Marilyn Monroe: A User’s Manual

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

“Why,” she asked me in 1955, “do they print things about me that aren’t true?”

Marilyn Monroe was only a superstar then, not yet a legend who, almost half a century after death, is now on the cover of Vanity Fair. Three films about her are in the works, and a journalist just came from France to interview me about the week I spent reporting on her in New York.

Back then, I answered Marilyn’s question: “Because pictures of you sell papers and magazines, and when there’s no excuse for running them, they’ll print rumors, gossip, anything they can get.” Something pushed me to go further. “They’re not trying to hurt you, just use you.”

Marilyn looked at me with a flinching smile that said she knew all about being used, and I recalled a story about her as a starlet: When a studio executive had sent for her to show a magazine publisher her breasts and lifted her sweater, she had never stopped smiling.

Now, in the era of Lindsay Lohan et al, Marilyn is still being used to sell books, magazines and movies, but the use was always mutual.

“She was smart enough,” Maureen Dowd writes, “to become the most famous Dumb Blonde in history. Photographers loved to get her to pose in tight shorts, a silk robe or a swimsuit with a come-hither look and a weighty book…Men who were nervous about her erotic intensity could feel superior by making fun of her intellectually.”

That week in 1955, she was at the Actors Studio to study for parts like Grushenka in “The Brothers Karamazov.” The papers dug out cliches about comedians who want to play Hamlet, underlining their ridicule with photos from “The Seven Year Itch,” Marilyn on a subway grate, an updraft billowing a white dress over her hips.

When she married Arthur Miller, a headline read “Egghead Weds Hourglass,” but a few years later, after he had publicly described her as an “Earth Mother,” she was devastated to discover a diary entry by Miller complaining she embarrassed him in front of his friends.

Miller used her more than anyone else.


The Moderate Voice

Michigan State University’s School of Journalism publishes manual for journalists to help them whitewash Islamic jihad

October 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Pamela Geller has noted the same tendency to whitewash the way in which Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism on the part of the Society of Professional Journalists, here.

The problem with these guidelines are many. One main problem with them is that while they urge journalists not to use “jihad” in connection with Islamic jihad terrorism, what if the jihad terrorists themselves do so? As we have seen here at Jihad Watch many times, it is common practice for journalists to report on Islamic jihad activity without ever mentioning Islam, jihad, Muslims, etc. They are responsible for the public’s abysmal state of ignorance regarding the nature and magnitude of jihad activity.

“Guide for Western journalists covering Islam,” by Dana Lacey at the Canadian Journalism Project, October 1 (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):

Do you know what Jihad means? The difference between “Muslim” and “Arab”? Michigan State University’s School of Journalism has published a manual of best practices for journalists reporting on Islam.

The manual includes sections on ethics, knowledge, objectivity and sources. It was developed by Michigan State j-students.

Under knowledge, the manual says:

Learn Connotations of Terms:

“Do not make assumptions based on the connotation of words. As a reporter, you should research, investigate and understand the true meaning of words not used frequently in your native language to make sure the words are being used properly.

“Avoid using terms that the audience has no knowledge of or with which a misplaced knowledge has developed. In the event that they can’t be avoided, clarify. For example, the word “jihad” is commonly mistranslated as “holy war” and believed to be something that is inherently wrong, dangerous, sinister, etc. While some militant groups use the term in that way, the concept has a much different meaning for mainstream Muslims.

“Likewise, the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is the Greatest,” is both extremely important to and commonly used by Muslims. It is a repeated feature of Islamic prayer and also is used in place of applause and as a general cheer. However, the media often present the phrase as a battle cry. This has the potential of casting all uses of the phrase as suspicious or to be feared, which would then serve to demonize entire Muslim populations.”

That language — “demonize entire Muslim populations” — is so strongly redolent of OIC propaganda that it is likely that Michigan State University’s School of Journalism was getting advice from Islamic advocacy groups in drawing up these guidelines.

Jihad Watch

How To Kill Goyim And Influence People: Leading Israeli Rabbis Defend Manual for For Killing Non-Jews

August 31, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

When I went into the Jewish religious book emporium, Pomeranz, in central Jerusalem to inquire about the availability of a book called Torat Ha’Melech, or the King’s Torah, a commotion immediately ensued. “Are you sure you want it?” the owner, M. Pomeranz, asked me half-jokingly. “The Shabak [Israel's internal security service] is going to want a word with you if you do.” As customers stopped browsing and began to stare in my direction, Pomeranz pointed to a security camera affixed to a wall. “See that?” he told me. “It goes straight to the Shabak!”

As soon as it was published late last year,Torat Ha’Melech sparked a national uproar. The controversy began when an Israeli tabloid panned the book’s contents as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.” According to the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, “Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder,” Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

In January, Shapira was briefly detained by the Israeli police, while two leading rabbis who endorsed the book, Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, were summoned to interrogations by the Shabak. However, the rabbis refused to appear at the interrogations, essentially thumbing their noses at the state and its laws. And the government did nothing. The episode raised grave questions about the willingness of the Israeli government to confront the ferociously racist swathe of the country’s rabbinate. “Something like this has never happened before, even though it seems as if everything possible has already happened,” Israeli commentator Yossi Sarid remarked with astonishment. “Two rabbis [were] summoned to a police investigation, and announc[ed] that they will not go. Even settlers are kind enough to turn up.”

In response to the rabbis’ public rebuke of the state’s legal system, the Israeli Attorney General and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept silent. Indeed, since the publication of Torat Ha’Melech, Netanyahu has strenuously avoided criticizing its contents or the author’s leading supporters. Like so many prime ministers before him, he has been cowed into submission by Israel’s religious nationalist community. But Netanyahu appears to be particularly impotent. His weakness stems from the fact that the religious nationalist right figures prominently in his governing coalition and comprises a substantial portion of his political base. For Netanyahu, a confrontation with the rabid rabbis could amount to political suicide, or could force him into an alliance with centrist forces who do not share his commitment to the settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

On August 18, a pantheon of Israel’s top fundamentalist rabbis flaunted their political power during an ad hoc congress they convened at Jerusalem’s Ramada Renaissance hotel. Before an audience of 250 supporters including the far-right Israeli Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari, the rabbis declared in the name of the Holy Torah that would not submit to any attempt by the government to regulate their political activities — even and especially if those activities included inciting terrorist attacks against non-Jews. As one wizened rabbi after another rose up to inveigh against the government’s investigation of Torat Ha’Melech until his voice grew hoarse, the gathering degenerated into calls for murdering not just non-Jews, but secular Jews as well.

“The obligation to sacrifice your life is above all others when fighting those who wish to destroy the authority of the Torah,” bellowed Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, head of the yeshiva in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. “It is not only true against non-Jews who are trying to destroy it but against Jewish people from any side.”

The government-funded terror academy

The disturbing philosophy expressed in Torat Ha’Melech emerged from the fevered atmosphere of a settlement called Yitzhar located in the northern West Bank near the Palestinian city of Nablus. Shapira leads the settlement’s Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, holding sway over a small army of fanatics who are eager to lash out at the Palestinians tending to their crops and livestock in the valleys below them. One of Shapira’s followers, an American immigrant named Jack Teitel, has confessed to murdering two innocent Palestinians and attempting to the kill the liberal Israeli historian Ze’ev Sternhell with a mail bomb. Teitel is suspected of many more murders, including an attack on a Tel Aviv gay community center.

Despite its apparent role as a terror training institute, Od Yosef Chai has raked in nearly fifty thousand dollars from the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs since 2007, while the Ministry of Education has pumped over 250 thousand dollars into the yeshiva’s coffers between 2006 and 2007. The yeshiva has also benefited handsomely from donations from a tax-exempt American non-profit called the Central Fund of Israel. Located inside the Marcus Brothers Textiles store in midtown Manhattan, the Central Fund transferred at least thirty thousand to Od Yosef Chai between 2007 and 2008.

Though he does not name “the enemy” in the pages of his book, Shapira’s longstanding connection to terrorist attacks against Palestinian civilians exposes the true identity of his targets. In 2006, Shapira was briefly held by Israeli police for urging his supporters to murder all Palestinians over the age of 13. Two years later, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, he signed a rabbinical letter in support of Israeli Jews who had brutally assaulted two Arab youths on the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. That same year, Shapira was arrested under suspicion that he helped orchestrate a rocket attack against a Palestinian village near Nablus. Though he was released, Shapira’s name arose in connection with another act of terror, when in January, the Israeli police raided his settlement seeking the vandals who set fire to a nearby mosque. After arresting ten settlers, the Shabak held five of Shapira’s confederates under suspicion of arson.

Friends in high places

Despite his longstanding involvement in terrorism, or perhaps because of it, Shapira counts Israel’s leading fundamentalist rabbis among his supporters. His most well-known backer is Dov Lior the leader of the Shavei-Hevron yeshiva at Kiryat Arba, a radical Jewish settlement near the occupied Palestinian city of Hebron and a hotbed of Jewish terrorism. Lior has vigorously endorsed Torat Ha’Melech, calling it “very relevant, especially in this time.”

Lior’s enthusiasm for Shapira’s tract stems from his own eliminationist attitude toward non-Jews. For example, while Lior served as the IDF’s top rabbi, he instructed soldiers: “There is no such thing as civilians in wartime… A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail!” Indeed, there are only a few non-Jews whose lives Lior would demand to be spared. They are captured Palestinian militants who, as he once suggested, could be used as subjects for live human medical experiments.

Otherwise, Lior appears content to watch Palestinians perish as they did at the muzzle of Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s machine gun in 1994. Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians and wounded 150 in a shooting spree while they prayed in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs mosque, was a compatriot and neighbor of Lior in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At Goldstein’s funeral, Lior celebrated the massacre as an act carried out “to sanctify the holy name of God.” He then extolled Goldstein as “a righteous man.” Thanks to Lior’s efforts, a shrine to Goldstein was constructed in center of Kiryat Arba so that locals could celebrate the killer’s deeds and pass his legacy down to future generations.

Though Lior’s inflammatory statements resulted in his being barred from running for election to the Supreme Rabbinical Council, according to journalist Daniel Estrin, the rabbi remains “a respected figure among many mainstream ZIonists.” By extension, he maintains considerable influence among religious elements in the IDF. In 2008, when the IDF’s chief rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Ronski, brought a group of military intelligence officers to Hebron for a special tour, he concluded the day with a private meeting with Lior, who was allowed to revel the officers with his views on modern warfare — “no such thing as civilians in wartime.”

Besides Lior, Torat Ha’Melech has earned support from another nationally prominent fundamentalist rabbi: Yaakov Yosef. Yosef is the leader of the Hazon Yaakov Yeshiva in Jerusalem and a former member of Knesset. Perhaps more significantly, he is the son of Ovadiah Yosef, the former chief rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas Party that forms a key segment of Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

Yaakov Yosef has brought his influence to bear in defense of Torat Ha’Melech, insisting at the August 18 convention in Jerusalem that the book was no different than the Hagadah that all Jews read from on the holiday of Passover. The Hagadah contains passages about killing non-Jews and so does the Bible, Yosef reminded his audience. “Does anyone want to change the Bible?” he asked.

Bibi buckles

Only days before direct negotiations in Washington between Israel and the Palestinian Authority planned for early September, Yaakov Yosef’s 89-year-old father, Ovadiah delivered his weekly sermon. With characteristic vitriol, he  declared: “All these evil people should perish from this world… God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”

The remarks have sparked an international furor and earned a stern rebuke from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “While the PLO is ready to resume negotiations in seriousness and good faith,” Erekat remarked, “a member of the Israeli government is calling for our destruction.”

Palestinian Israeli member of Knesset Jamal Zehalka subsequently demanded that the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein put Yosef on trial for incitement. “If, heaven forbid, a Muslim spiritual leader were to make anti-Jewish comments of this sort,” Zehalka said, “he would be arrested immediately.”

Here was a perfect opportunity for Netanyahu to demonstrate sincerity about negotiations by  shedding an extremist ally in the name of securing peace. All he had to do was forcefully reject Yosef’s genocidal comments — a feat made all the easier by the White House’s condemnation of the rabbi. But the Israeli Prime Minister ducked for political cover instead, issuing a canned statement through his office. “Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s remarks do not reflect Netanyahu’s views,” the statement read, “nor do they reflect the position of the Israeli government.”

Thus on the eve of peace negotiations, Bibi chose political expediency over condemning the murderous oath of a coalition partner.


Max Blumenthal

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