A Real Speaker - Larry Greenfield, on March 1st, 2007We had lots of guests. Our Visiting Rotarian was Holmes Osborne III, from the Malibu Club, who spoke to us recently about the investment business, and he brought along Pat Parins, who is with State Farm in Westwood. BRIAN BUMPAS was with Patricia, and CHRIS BRADFORD brought Sharon. HENRY TSENG was with Annie.
SLOS VIAU brought his son, Skip, and LEE DUNAYER came with Elsa Goldberg, who is a recent arrival in LA. PP STEVE SCHERER reminded us that we had a Celebrity with us, asking KEVIN KOMATSU to stand up. It developed that the real Celebrity was Irine Sims, KEVIN’S wife, since she recently made a TV commercial in Bangkok. This accolade cost KEVIN a hundred clams, but it must be nice to have a famous wife! Rotaract President SEEMA PATEL brought five other Rotaractors with her, including Katia Vaisberg, Alysia Whitwell, Kellie Miner, Leah Hartwig and Stephen Gardner.
BRIAN BUMPAS led off with the Pledge. LENNY and PP JIM took us through Home On The Range, and JIM once again brought his keyboard. SALLY BRANT had some questions during her Invocation“Is anybody happier because you passed this way, Does anyone remember…Is there anyone to utter now…Can you say tonight…that you helped a single person, Is a single heart rejoicing …Does the one who hopes were fading… (SO) Did you waste the day or use it? Did you leave a trail of kindness… As you close your eyes in slumber…You have earned one more tomorrow by what you did today.” Well done, SALLY.
There were a couple of announcements. First, PP JOHN SINGLETON had double knee surgery earlier this week, and he is getting along OK at home in Carlsbad cards are welcome, of course. ED GAULD reminded us of the soon-upcoming Building project in Tijuana. This will be an early morning late night affair, all accomplished on Saturday the 24th of March. Twenty Rotarians and Rotaractors will drive down to Tijuana, and build the house on an already-poured slab, driving back that same evening. It’s a very worthwhile project, and ED has a few spots yet available. Please call him.
Westwood Village Auxiliary Meeting All Rotarians and their spouses are invited to the Auxiliary meeting on Tuesday March 13 arrive at 11:30 am to visit and start lunch at 12 noon. In the home of Kathy and Ed Gauld, 862 Malcolm Ave in Westwood. Marketing supervisor John deFelice from Whole Foods Markets will speak on your food how markets keep foods fresh, where the foods come from, what niches different markets serve, some trends in new foods especially popular with Westwood families. Get answers from an expert. Eloise Siskel is luncheon chair and please make your reservations a few days early so we know how many guests to expect. Margie Downie, (310) 394-4827 will take reservations, collecting $5 to help defray lunch expenses. And finally, BRUCE HARRIS 90TH Birthday in on the 5th of March. Cards, please!
Paul Harris Fellowship
PP STEVE DAY came forward to present a new Paul Harris Fellowship. As he noted, this is accomplished by donating $1,000 to the R.I. Foundation, which funds our many good works. Methinks Sharon Bradford was a bit surprised by the gift from CHRIS, but it is always nice to see someone receive this thoughtful honor.
Our SpeakerLarry began by thanking us for being Rotarians, for our Service Above Self, “and good afternoon to the one Cal Bear” who acknowledged his presence there. (Before I go further, I must tell you this man is a SPEAKER you don’t have to agree with everything he espouses, but he gets his message across!) He proceeded to tell a story about a blind date he had. Arriving a bit early, he was watching the news on TV related to North Korea, nuclear proliferation that kind of thing. A young lady walked in, they greeted each other, and she asked how his day had gone. He mentioned something he had just seen on the news, and she quickly interrupted to say, “Oh, whatever we do, let’s not talk about religion or politics!” When she asked what he did, he told her he was the Director of the Jewish Republican Coalition it was, indeed, a short date.
SHANE WAARBROEK introduced our Speaker, Larry Greenfield. Larry is the Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a frequent commentator on American politics. He was in naval intelligence during his service time. Before he joined the RJC he worked professionally in the equity markets and as an attorney and business executive. He is a local grew up in Encino, graduated from Birmingham High School, and has a BA in Political Science from Cal Berkeley (which drew a single applauder). His law degreed is from Georgetown, and he has traveled to 75 countries and eight war zones, documenting human rights violations. He was involved in the rescue of distressed Jewish communities from Ethiopia and Yemen, and his subject today is The Defense of Western Civilization.
The JRC is statewide, with ten chapters, some in areas more Republican than others. Noting the recent birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, he reminded us that Washington lost many battles before the tide turned on the Delaware River and Lincoln fired seven generals before settling on Grant. He almost lost his renomination in 1864, but he won, and preserved the Union. Lincoln is the historic Founder of the Republican Party, and as Larry quoted from the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural, we are reminded that his words, then and now, are a stirring call to what is right, and what we must do.
Ronald Reagan began his political career in 1935 as a radio broadcaster. As Governor of California in the 60’s he saluted our veterans and MIA’s, and as President he inspired our admiration for “the Greatest Generation”. We were reminded that the only plots of land we ever grabbed in our wars of liberation were plots for American war dead who helped rescue and save Europe. Before he could stand down the Soviet Union, set the clock for the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, he was challenged in the early 1980’s by Kadaffi of Libya. Kadaffi announced the extension of his territorial claims in the Mediterranean from two to twelve miles offshore. The carrier force Reagan dispatched was challenged by the Libyian Air Force our jets dodged their missiles and downed both attacking aircraft. The armed forces of the U.S., which had slumbered through the 1970’s, were back!
Now we have another wartime President, who remained steadfast as we fight jihadists, and Islamic fundamentalism, assaulting the West once again. This is the continuation of a fourteen hundred year struggle by radical Islam, which in 1683 was turned back on the outskirts of Vienna the date was September 11th. Now, in 1998, Osama Bin Laden called for Jihad against the Crusaders and the Jews (which includes just about everyone in his audience today), continuing an ancient holy war against Western Civilization. And what is it that is so irritating to our enemies? The Judeo-Christian notion of ethical monotheism, that there is one God, one standard for Morality, and since there is one God, your God and my God are not in competition. That lays the foundation for us to be equal human beings, deserving of equal humanity and equal dignity.
Lets not forget what is going on with our sister human beings under radical Islam. When Khoumeni took control of Iran in 1979, his first law decreed was to lower the marriage age to nine years old. Why did he do that? Because the Prophet, Mohammed, took a nine-year old bride! Women are half the status of men in the Muslim world. The property is worth half, their testimony is worth half. So Larry is seeking help wherever he can among Democrats, among Liberals, among modern Muslims, to recognize the human rights abuse under radical Islam. He seeks awareness of what Modernity means the rule of law, a civil society, religious freedom, a free press. Certainly we can debate these things but not at the point of a gun. The third pillar of western society is democratic capitalism, which enables us to compete, to collaborate, and to create.
How are we doing? We have a fourteen trillion dollar economy, a two hundred twenty trillion dollar national wealth China has a one or two trillion dollar economy, and even growing at 10% a year, they have a ways to go. There are serious concerns 65% of our budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the national debt. The President has suggested that he won’t touch Social Security for those over 50 but for those who are younger, he says the 15% that comes out of their paychecks should go into a personal account in their name, so they can see it grow at 5 to 10% compounded annually. This certainly appeals to his younger audience.
Larry has concerns. We are not succeeding with our War on Poverty what is the exit strategy? Our educational system is not functioning well. An example in California, our annual budget is 120 billion dollars of that, we spend 55 billion on education! Are we getting our money’s worth? We have an internal problem immigration. Not legal immigration after all, we admit more immigrants to this country each year than the rest of the world brings in, combined. Former Governor Dick Lamb, of Colorado, says we CAN destroy America by turning it into a bilingual or bicultural country. For an individual, being bilingual is a blessing for a society, it is a curse. We were reminded of our National Motto - “Out of Many, One” Other cultures deserve respect, but we need to gather around one language, one code of ethics, one flag and one sense of unity. Making the fastest growing demographic groups the least educated, adding a second underclass, unassimilated, uneducated and antagonistic to the rest of the population is a recipe for serious trouble.
An external problem, jihad, and an internal problem, illegal immigration. Since 9/11, terrorists are sent to Guatemala, where they learn Spanish. Then if they are caught crossing the border, they are returned to Mexico or Guatemala, rather than their country of origin. The Canadian border has also become a problem they have become very hospitable to Muslim societies and communities, and they seem to have a lax tradition of border security. He feels that Europe is no longer the ally of America. For one thing, twenty million Muslims have moved into Europe, causing a complete change in their foreign policy.
The Muslims are kept segregated but there are at least fifty cars a day being torched in France. The French police have said, “We are at war”, and they dare not go into many areas of Paris and its suburbs today. The Europeans no longer believe in Christianity very few go to church. Few Europeans believe in marriage. Their unified currency has helped to create a Pan-Europe mindset. So who are the two big Nation States today? Ideologically, the United States and Israel - two countries which still believe in Judaism and Christianity. They still believe in the purpose and the mission of being a unified people, in the cause of liberty and the dignity of the individual. The track record of the U.S. is not a bad one over the last dozen years, every war we have had has been in behalf of Muslims. In the Balkans, in Kuwait, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. Yet the thanks we got isn’t much. He has concerns about our culture, our borders, some of our alliances, and Jihad. We are still strong, we still believe, and we are a country that unifies when challenged. We don’t behead each other over cartoons. Yet Americans are in for the fight of our lives we succeeded against Nazism, against Japanese Imperialism, against Communism. I’m sorry to report we have one more great battle left.
Tribute to Janice and George Dea
The meeting concluded with a lovely tribute to JANICE and GEORGE DEA. Among those who spoke were LEO TSENG, who reminded us all of the many contributions both JANICE and GEORGE made to Rotary and our wonderful Auxiliary. There were six Rotaractors there, and they came forward in a group to add their voices to the beautiful farewell for the DEA'S.
Prexy MIKE had an excellent summation, and then GEORGE spoke briefly, with JANICE reciting a poem that made us all feel better about losing these two wonderful friends. Here's their new contact - 1465 65th Street, Apt 312, Emeryville, CA 94608, (510) 595-1322. We'll miss you!