Monday, February 29, 2016

So how did we get to the point that it was possible for Obama to be elected and for Trump to be a serious contender for the presidency?

Trump making fun of a disabled New York Times reporter in November 2015

How Did We Get Obama and Trump?

Many Americans shook their heads in 2008 wondering how in the world President Obama was elected when he had told us plainly that he wanted to “fundamentally transform” our country. Then, the perplexity increased when he was reelected in 2012 long after his radical policies and disdain for the Constitution were abundantly evident. 

Unbelievably, after suffering through the effrontery of the Obama Administration’s arrogance and his flaunting of executive actions instead of bipartisanship, the nation is now enthralled with Donald Trump’s bombastic, flamboyant, but empty promises – based solely on his ability to capitalize on the public’s anger and to manipulate people’s fears, rather than specific policy proposals or potential for effective constitutional governance -- to come in and liberate us from the overweening government bureaucrats with their endless thirst for control and restore America’s greatness. The Washington Post summarized the situation by claiming that Donald Trump is giving the establishment (on both Capitol Hill and K Street) the “middle finger” and “his supporters love it.” One analyst likened Trump to a parasite eating up the host; another called him America’s “Fatal Attraction.”

Clearly, Donald Trump is a brash, arrogant bully with a “yuuge” ego who sees things in black and white, winners and losers. Trump offends sensibilities with unpresidential behavior, crudities and bad manners, along with insults and accusations of lying against other candidates. Still, the more obnoxious he has become, the better his ratings. He has tapped into middle-America’s need for a “straight-up guy” who’ll “tell things like they are” without any consideration for how he offends the PC crowd. The public has had enough of politicians who talk out of “both sides of their mouths” to say one thing to the voters during election campaigns while planning to do another. At this point, the public doesn’t believe any politician; they want an outsider. They’ll take the crudity because it least it’s an authentic expression of their frustration and anger.

So how did we get to the point that it was possible for Obama to be elected and for Trump to be a serious contender for the presidency? 

Obviously, things are complicated, but generally root causes are fairly simple and foundational. I can think of three things that are fundamental problems that are endemic in our society.

Nebulous Faith: Despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It was founded to allow freedom of religion (as the saying goes, it was not founded to be free from religion). A significant majority of Americans identify as Christian; at the same time, church attendance is not keeping up with population increases. Established churches where orthodox beliefs are captured in doctrinal statements and taught in classes are being replaced by non-denominational churches that focus more on “worship” than on “doctrine.” The late author Henri Nouwen, who wrote Show Me the Way, noted that the church is increasingly seen as an “obstacle” rather than the “way”. The movie “Unbroken” chronicled an inspiring example of a shattered life that was restored ; at the societal level, however, gut reaction has shed the necessity for moral fidelity as well as the necessity for intellectual and rational conduct.

In this postmodern age of moral relativism, with truth, has come to be defined however anyone wants to define it, rather than determined by a life  through devoted consistency in living out moral principles. Sadly, today’s candidates can throw in a few buzz words and be acceptable to faithful believers without being bound by character and integrity, and supporting those who lived out immorality in action. Polling data indicates that almost 70 percent of voters, and almost 90 percent of Evangelicals, expect a presidential candidate to be “strongly religious.” Yet, in 2012, 42 percent of the Protestant Christian vote went for Obama as did 21% of the self-identified, white, born-again, evangelical Christian voters. Now, Evangelicals figure prominently among Trump supporters and high profile Evangelical leaders have endorsed Trump in spite of the lack of consistency between his actions and their principles and moral values.

PC Education: It is commonly recognized that there are major problems with public education in America and consequently the numbers of homeschooled students is up by nearly 62 percent in the last ten years. More and more people are questioning the value of a college education when students spend more time in drunken stupors, participating in demonstrations, and partying than in studying. Moreover, parents are alarmed that colleges and universities are being converted into centers of growing intolerance for differing points of view -- especially for conservative ideas. Ironically, civility and respectful debate are rare while diversity and inclusion are emphasized. Emotions and feelings are important and hard thinking is rarely taught or experienced. Politically Correct language is the norm; nothing can be allowed that offends the proliferating collection of victims on the Left.

No wonder the electorate responds emotionally and doesn’t bother to ask hard questions or probe into the ramifications of policy positions. No wonder voters choose which candidate to support based on likeability or personality regardless of whether they agree with the person’s positions on the issues.

Cultural Disintegration: There is no way to overstate the influence of the media and entertainment industries in shaping attitudes and values. In many respects both Obama and Trump are products of the media. President and Mrs. Obama have been media darlings since their earliest days on the national scene. With his ability to play to the crowd, Trump is always good for headlines. Neither man sees a distinction between politics and entertainment. Trump, in particular, knows how to “read” a situation and play it for maximum personal benefit. He accurately assessed the public anger and desire to shove the establishment aside; he is cold and calculating enough to push that all the way to the White House. The public wants something to talk about and they totally reject anything dull, boring, or routine. Their attitude is: Don’t bother me with facts; my mind is already made up.

Cynics tell us that we get the leaders we deserve. The phrase has become a cliché because so much experience seems to confirm it.


Echter yid said...

We would like to wish a warm mazel tov to the ( heroes ) the parents of the victim of dascalowitz the parents who weren't afraid from their own Jewish Hasidic community and right away ,8,years ago took off from the streets one of the biggest dangerous pedophiles on the world, we would like to wish them a warm mazel tov for the( engagement) of their,beloved daughter,, hashem should help that this simcha, should bring them a little bit closer and happiness for all this suffering what they suffered all this years because of this terrible story,and all this suffering in the hands of their own Jewish community ,so hashem should help that this simcha should bring them ,happiness ,simcha venachas luroiv, and all good hashpuos tovos , umein,

jack marnlstein said...


You did a great job breaking the Kolko story.

But you did a terrible avlah with Horav Belsky Zatzal. What a giant - in torah and chochmah - A quality someone like you should respect and an ishe emes like your grandfather. A masmid. His talmidim loved him. A baal chesed. cared about all people. Lived a simple life. A baki in Bavli Yerushalmi, a man with photographic memory, much secular knowledge, not afraid to make difficult decisions...yet you despised him and villified him!

He may have made a mistake by supporting Kolko but what you did to him is a terrible bizayon and one for which you will have to answer for. Instead of understanding him as a great man who made a mistake, you waged a war where you smeared him terribly. At once, I believed all that, thinking that R Belsky must be the devil. But after reflecting upon it and now listening to the hespeidim and speaking to talmidim and thinking with my mind not my heart, I realize that I was wrong. You smeared him basically saying that R Elyashiv thought he was crazy. It turns out R ELyashiv stood up for him! Yes, R Elyashiv overruled him in the case where he ruled mekach taos, but as anyone who knows that case will tell you if ever there was a case that qualified as mekach taos it was that one. R ELyahsiv still didnt hold of it and R Belsky retracted out of deference to R Elyashiv not because R Elyashiv thought R Belsky C"V was unqualified.

In your youth, you obviously formed opinions about people and it appears that you never revisited those opinions as a mature adult.

When will you issue a retraction?

Paul Mendlowitz said...

"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

"A nation's greatness and its people are measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

"Any society, any individual, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest."

Common Sense said...

Marnlstein, you are either being dishonest or are so grossly ignorant about so many facts surrounding Belsky that I don't even know where to start.

Belsky was involved in many cases creating mamzerus or the potential for it. Rav Elyashev ztl knew & said all Belsky's gittin are worthless. Belsky only backed down that one time because it became very public & caused a huge backlash from every corner. See Rav Shlomo Miller's teshuva that pulls the rug out from under Belsky's pack of lies to score the $250,000 for the "mekach taus".

Rav Elyashev also said Belsky's psakim in kashrus are bogus.

And Belsky sided with the menuvol in every case that arose.

Genack is no angel himself but if you knew how much he hated Belsky you would vomit over his phony hespid instead of getting teary eyed.

And are you really that clueless about Belsky not getting along with Rav Pam ztl & a segment of the YTV board?

jack marnlstein said...

I guess that I am clueless. I would like to believe in the good of people especially a walking encyclopedia of torah who literally knew it all. Not an abstract thinker, but someone who analyzed every topic by actually understanding the science and metzius...exactly like it should be. In line with the many gemaras that talk about the amoraim learning the practical aspects of cases before paskening...and sadly not something we see today. A person who really cared about his talmidim and tried to reach those who were not on the highest level...certainly not an aloof genius rather a real baal midos.

His talmidim speak about him not only as a genius, but as a very caring person, someone who gave out money to the poor, let people come to his home at all hours, gave up all his time for the tzibur. It is hard to believe that the very same person is the awful person you describe.

He had semicha from the big giants at YTV not to mention R Moshe. R Yaakov spoke of him in the highest terms.

Yes, his defense of the Kolko's was very disurbing but lets not paint everything in black and white. No one does not have a flaw...so why this hatred and need to tear down R Belsky. I really do not understand.

If R Elyashiv really said that, why would Rav Scheiner say that R Elyashiv stood up for him? Do you think Rav Scheiner just pulled that out of the hat?

I do not know about the board...not that disagreeing with the board is such an issue and I never heard about R Pam

How do you know about Genack and why should I trust what you say is his real opinion over what he expressed in public as a maspid?

In terms of R Elyashiv disagreeing about R Belsky's pesakim about bugs, It appears that R Belsky believed in the Koach Dhetaira - someone possessing his knowledge certainly has a right to be matir.again something that I think members of this blog would find positive - someone not throwing around chumras all the time He was trying to help the downcast and the klal through hetairim. As to R Elyashiv disagreeing, as great as R Elyashiv, are you saying that no one is ever allowed to disagree with R Elyashiv? THat is not the torah way. SOmeone of R Belsky's stature and more importantly the fact that he took the time to learn the metzius of the bugs in the water and other cases give him a right to issue a psak.

Common Sense said...

Marnlstein, what do you mean a baal middos? To R' Moishe & R' Yaakov you could apply baal middos. Belsky had a terrible temper & acted like an animal to many, especially the most vulnerable like little kids in Camp Agudah who were terrorized. And you are not aware of the gangster money shakedowns Belsky participated in with Mendel Epstein? The FBI ripped Belsky's house apart not long ago. Ask the people on the block.

Yes Belsky knew a lot & had tremendous potential. So did Eisav.

Either Rav Elyashev had a leg cramp or that must have been before Rav Elyashev knew the extent of Belsky making a churban of halacha. In fact, Belsky was weaseling out of meetings with Rav Elyashev for years by imposing chutzpadik conditions to meet. Rav Elyashev would have preferred not to meet at all but was willing for the sake of the Klal since most American hashgochos implement Belsky manufactured heterim from the OU. Belsky was poretz geder in many areas that either is not allowed after Mar bar Rav Ashi or never was done in history.

Two examples of ridiculously wild heterim that make no sense whatsoever according to 100s if not 1000s of rabbonim, except that they are contrived for the OU's financial gain. Mattiring milk from cows where Belsky himself admits the cows are treif. Claiming that "Darna" parasites in fish permitted by the Gemara means any kind of insect to ever be in or on any part of a fish's body when this is clearly not the intention of the Gemara and goes against every Rishon & Acharon.

With copepods Belsky smugly claimed R' Moishe told him something in private with no one else present. The son R' Dovid says lahadam. He signed against Belsky on this in writing.

jack marnlstein said...

I have not heard anything that you are saying. I definitely did not hear that he terrorized little kids. L'Hepach, all the talmidim say how he gave of his time generously and kindly.

Where is your proof? How do you know? Give examples of his terrible temper. acting like an animal to many?

How do you know that R Belsky was weaseling out of meetings with R Elyashiv?

Regarding Epstein, R Belsky was not an active participant. He sent people to Epstein, that is true. Clearly he felt that this type of thing was allowed even though we do not have batai dinim today. Personally, I think it is crazy for various reasons, but that was R Belsky's shitah. Epstein was corrupt and took big bucks. but does that mean that R Belsky is wrong for believing that it is halachically permitted to do this (in cases where the husband is a certified nut and it is a true agunah case - I am not talking about the Tamar Epstein type of cases). Again, he seemed to want to be able to be matir - what is wrong with that approach? With the cows and parasites, you say it was for money, but perhaps it was because his vast knowledge allowed him to go places where other poskim would rather stay away from and simply declare ASSUR. Is that better?

What did he stand to gain by enriching the OU?

Why is it so hard to believe that R Moshe told him something in private?

All your complaints against him are in fact either not proven or are events that can just as easily be interpreted positively. It all depends on your starting point.

It appears that your starting point is that R Belsky is corrupt, A poretz geder, etc. therefore, anything he has done is viewed in a negative light.

I am beginning with a blank slate and hearing all the wonderful things said about him, etc. made me wonder if everything I had read on this blog is a pack of lies.

Curious what UOJ has to say about this. Why are you quiet?

jack marnlstein said...

UOJ on R Belsky

He grew up in a totally dysfunctional family. His father never earned a living and was "slow." Look at Mendy Belsky and you see "retard." His mother, a Wilhelm, well you saw what Old Williamsburg Boy said...all true!

Wasn't his father a Slabodka talmid?

YTT Misnaged said...


Rebbi in Torah Temimah files bankruptcy to get out of paying all his credit cards, his landlord Zell, and even YOB tuition to Shlomo Mandel.

Common Sense said...


Ask the former Agudah campers who were more terrified of Belsky's threatening screams than the little boys who were slapped in the face by Margulies.

You have no idea what you are talking about. Belsky was an active participant in some of the fixed dinei "Torah" where he acted like an ogre to intimidate.

Ask Rav Elyashev's gatekeeper grandson.

You are "not" talking about Tamar Epstein? Belsky railroaded Friedman for her & almost got him killed.

"he seemed to want to be able to be matir". Thank you for reinforcing the point that the gedolim made that Belsky was ALWAYS looking to be mattir where inappropriate.

Do you know how much money is involved with big stakes questions for the OU? Obviously not.

Why is it so hard for you to believe R' Dovid Feinstein that his father would never say such a thing to Belsky?

You sound like the Bungalow P*** Neuhoff after he's had a few cups of chamomile tea.

Monsey said...

I think I know where UOJ is going with these wise words from the umos, and it is most appropriate during Adar.

There was recently a very shmutzik mayseh committed by a corrupt Monsey yeshiva administrator against a victim in a precarious situation. A pikayich summed it up "vayezanev becho kol hanechesholim acharecha"

Dr. Bungalow Putz Neuhoff said...

Shoyn laaaaaaaang that anyone has criticized me here. This calls for a survey!

And as always ...

I am against molestation of any kind.

I agree that Marnlstein missed the boat but only because UOJ is using Kolko as an "excuse" because he hates my former employer Margulies.

Aless abee mattir zein said...

If UOJ will remind us of the eruption Belsky had when he called to tell him he was going to distribute on the internet against him the kuntress of all the anti-Belsky michtevei gedolim, that will immediately put to rest: "Give examples of his terrible temper"

Paul Mendlowitz said...




Bulvan and friends said...


There was a goyish thug in the 1500s named Bogdan Belsky who was bodyguard of the madman czar Ivan the Terrible.

Gilligans Island said...


25 FEBRUARY 2016


More baloney from Gil Student who sometimes sounds like he doesn't even know what the heck he is saying. But as one blogger puts it, Gil is a "snake". He is not as dumb as he looks.

If I understand this correctly, Gil says "we need" a radical Left Wing in Orthodoxy as long as it's not YCT. He seems to place YCT on one side and on the other side he is placing Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, etc..

No Gil, they are the same kind of kofrim & nuts as YCT.

For those of you who haven't figured out Gil Student yet, he is a warped BT who loves pushing the envelope while, oddly, pretending he is also part of the Charedi-Lite community. Gil was doing backflips when his old buddy Michael Broyde was exposed. But that was all an act. Gil knew exactly that Broyde was a hashkafic fraud. Gil only had to feign disbelief because Broyde was caught with his pants down with several other fraudulent behaviors.

And speaking of Neuhoff, he is another fraud who is counted among Gil Student's friends.

jack marnlstein said...

I saw your R Belsky letter. If authentic, very disturbing.

As a newcomer, how do you reconcile these 2 conflicting personas that R Belsky seemed to possess?

A great man according to thousands, yet a totally different person according to many others.

Quite honestly, it is very befuddling to me.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Jack Marmelstein: I was fighting and am fighting people and groups of them that create their own perverted parallel universe. Did Belsky do some good things? I'm sure he did. But if you read his own letter in his own words, you see pure unadulterated evil at his core. By definition, that is sociopathic behavior.

jack marnlstein said...

Common Sense:

Ask the former Agudah campers who were more terrified of Belsky's threatening screams than the little boys who were slapped in the face by Margulies.

Examples please

You are "not" talking about Tamar Epstein? Belsky railroaded Friedman for her & almost got him killed.

I did not realize that R Belsky was involved. How was Friedman almost killed?

I am still waiting to hear about R Pam and R Belsky.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

What's the point Jack? Belsky is dead, and people will believe anything they choose to believe about him. One thing is certain, he can't hurt innocent kids and their families anymore. Leave it alone!

jack marnlstein said...

No point other than it is one of those things that is difficult to digest

ORA min haTorah assur said...

Get a clue, Jack.

Belsky had meetings with the ORA feminists & joined Tamar's "cause".

When Aharon came to the Epstein's home on Tisha B'Av to pick up his daughter, Tamar's mother had told the granddaughter to give a siman, at which point marauding thugs jumped out of a van & started beating Aharon senseless. That is considered child abuse under Federal law and charges are being mulled against the grandmother & Belsky's co-conspirators. We know all these details because the Justice Dept gave immunity to the Chabad scumbag lawyer Goldfein who is rov of a shul in Philly and a good friend of Tamar's late father. He testified against everyone else in open court so that he could get out of going to jail himself for laundering the $60,000 that Tamar's mother paid to Mendel Epstein.

jack marnlstein said...

Belsky had meetings with the ORA feminists & joined Tamar's "cause".

SAYS who? You can say anything you want anonymously on a blog. Proof please.

Where can I find the case online?

Common Sense said...

I suggest that people stop responding to Jack Marmarosher or whatever his name is. It is so easy to learn the very public items that he pretends to be in the dark in, that he is obviously just a troll to defend Belsky.

It is well known that Belsky was huddling with Jeremy Stern. Stern even bragged about it to the media.


2011 “seruv,” a document issued by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis accusing Aharon Friedman, a party in a hotly contested divorce, of being in contempt of court for not giving his wife a get.

Wolmark is one of six signatories, alongside Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, a halachic authority of the Orthodox Union; Rabbi Herschel Schachter of Yeshiva University, the OU’s other halachic authority; Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a member of Agudath Israel’s Council of Torah Sages; Rabbi Gavriel Stern; and Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, former chief rabbi of Amsterdam and head kashrut coordinator of the Triangle K kashrut supervision organization.

“Any person who has the ability or opportunity to influence him to free Tamar Epstein [his wife] from the chains of her agunah status is obligated to do so and doing so will indeed be the fulfillment of a great mitzvah,” the seruve declared. “Tamar Epstein is hereby granted permission to take whatever appropriate steps are necessary to extricate herself from the chains of this agunah situation.”