In the Time We Have Left | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
In the Time We Have Left
by

Tuesday
This cannot be happening. Just can’t be. I am in my condo at the Shoreham Towers getting my toenails cut by my manicurist, Mickey, a beautiful but not young woman. I am too old and my eyesight is too poor to really see my toenails well enough to clip them.

I switched on my TV, to Fox News. There are two people talking about the most gruesome genocidal massacres I have ever heard of or at least in a long, long time.

ISIS, the wildly insanely cruel, fanatical radical Islamist group that has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, is apparently killing as many Assyrian Christians and Chaldean Christians as it can get its hands on. It is killing young boys by cutting their heads off slowly with a pen knife. It is raping young women, then selling them into slavery.

There were representatives of the Chaldean and Assyrian Christians on TV, on Fox, speaking with extreme emotion. They were asking where President Obama is. The host, Hannity, told the truth. Mr. Obama is playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, while the Christians of the Middle East are getting tortured to death, the President is playing golf, admittedly a difficult game.

The woman speaking for the Assyrian Christians said boldly, “We have an Army. We have Marines. We have the Navy. What are they for if not to prevent horrors like this?” (I am paraphrasing.)

This horror show, worse than a horror movie, gets more gruesome. After the young boys are killed, their heads are put on wires and displayed outside what were Christian homes, marked with an “N” for “Nazarene.”

Good God, we are all busy with our work, with our golf, with our investments, with our kids. But please dear God, move the heart of Mr. Obama to save these children. To save their mothers and fathers and sisters.

Can this kind of barbarity really be happening in this world? It can be and it is and Mr. Obama is playing golf. On Martha’s Vineyard.

And that dear woman is totally right. What do we have our military for if not to prevent a genocide like this or anywhere else?

Meanwhile, I am going to shock you right now. RIGHT NOW.

I am proud of HRC. She gave a speech recently and took questions. What she said was like a flash of God’s truth. She was asked if the riots and demonstrations in Europe about Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip had its roots in anti-Semitism. Basically, paraphrasing again, she said, “Look, the demonstrations about Israel, which is just trying to protect its life, have been exponentially larger and more ugly than any demonstrations at all about the shoot down of the Malaysian Airlines jet with the loss of 300 innocent people by the pro-Russian separatists of Ukraine, armed by Russia. Of course it’s Arab anti-Jewish feelings—and Arabs are a large part of Europe now—combined with ultra-right parties in Europe. So, of course it’s anti-Semitism.”

WHY THE HECK COULDN’T OBAMA HAVE SAID SOMETHING THAT HONEST AND HARD HITTING? Why can’t our Republicans? I guess Senator Graham, my hero, does, and so does the greatest guy in the Senate, John McCain. But what is Rand Paul going to say about it? He scares me.

Meanwhile, the only nation in the Middle East that guarantees full religious rights to every minority—Yazidi, Chaldean Christian, Assyrians, Catholics, the Presbyterians, Muslims—is Israel. And yet Mr. Obama sees moral equivalence between Israel and the Islamists. Amazing.

(Meanwhile again, my Word Perfect does not know the word “Nazarene”!!!!)

So, I keep thinking back to my old boss at the Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartley. I was a lowly scrivener on the edit page, writing mostly about popular culture. Bob was editor of the editorial page. By total chance, he lived very near me in Brooklyn Heights. Once in a great while, we would take the subway to work together.

One day, when some crisis between Gerald Ford and Israel about arms for Israel was brewing, and Ford was being led into bad behavior by some anti-Israel people around him, I asked Bob what he thought about it.

Once again paraphrasing, what Bob Bartley said was this. “The United States has to help the Jews in Israel. Yes, there are a lot more Arabs than Jews. Yes, they have a lot of oil. Yes, none of our European ‘allies’ are with us on this.

“But we still have to help Israel because it tells the world and it tells us what kind of people we are. Are we going to help the most persecuted people in history, who are also our friends, or are we going to just go by the numbers at the UN? We stand with Israel because it’s a moral matter.”

I can still recall walking out of the subway stop under the World Trade Center with Bob, my head reeling at the great man’s great moral sense. I miss him keenly every day. But the edit page at the Journal still consistently takes the moral high road and God bless them.

Anyway, it is incredible that someone with as little moral sense as Obama is president. Hannity also showed him campaigning on taking the last U.S. troops out of Iraq—and then just recently blaming George W. Bush for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq.

How long, I wonder, until Mr. Obama becomes a big enough man to admit his mistakes and stop blaming George Bush for everything that happens?

By the way, I miss Mr. Bush. He was not especially eloquent, but he had a strong moral sense. And as my pal Renae Garcia says, it’s wrong to blame him for Iraq when everyone in the country wanted to go to war with someone over 9/11. Yes, he made a huge mistake. But war fever was running high so it’s not really entirely his fault. Presidents can catch war fever, too.

Thursday
This has been an amazing day. Yesterday, I had a so-called PET scan from a machine made by GE. This was because an earlier test by a CAT scan machine had detected something in my lungs that was abnormal. The PET scan was to determine if that abnormality was something life threatening.

I can tell you I was scared. There is way too much cancer in my family and I have already had some experience with a very mild form of it. “Three score and ten are the days of a man’s life.…” That’s what kept going through my brain. I am almost there. I have a lot of filing to do before I die. I don’t want to leave my wife with all of this filing.

So, as I say, I was scared. I did my usual Fox News show this morning with the incredibly witty Neil Cavuto as host and the perennial witty crew. But I was nervous throughout. On my way home, I called my doctor.

“How are you, Bill?” I asked.

“I’m good,” he said, “and so are you. Nothing lit up so there is no cancer in your lungs.”

I think that might have been the happiest minute of my life.

I like my life a lot. I have the world’s greatest wife. A genuine angel of God. The sweetest, most beautiful dog on the planet, Julie Good Girl. My challenging but adorable son. My stone gorgeous daughter-in-law and our granddaughter, the adorable Coco. Plus I live in America and I have interesting work and a swimming pool and a Cobalt boat. Plus I have the world’s greatest sister. And I have Phil DeMuth. Plus, I have my 12-step program that I love beyond words. And Wlady and Bob and John and Aram and Becki and Jerry and Nancy and Mike and Tim and Penny and Barron and Steve.

So, I’m a happy guy.

I had lunch with Phil at a humble car wash burger joint. Then I was part of a group that interviewed young people about their financial plans and how they plan to provide for retirement. I am doing this on my own. No one has paid me to do it. But I am fascinated with the ultra-importance of savings. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to spread the good gospel of prudence in retirement planning.

The best advice I ever got about it was from Ray Lucia—diversification plus a lot of liquidity. Makes total sense. Maybe even better advice from Mr. Buffett: an idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan.

Hmmm. What the heck is my plan?

For today, to be on my knees with gratitude. Thank you, GE, for that machine that took such a weight off my mind. THANK YOU, GOD.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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