The Collapse of Europe, at WVRC on August 16th
SALLY BRANT led the Pledge. LENNY took us through God Bless America, and there may be hope for our vocalizing. PP JIM COLLINS gave the Invocation, a collection of sayings gathered at the Collins manse over time. “The happiest people I know are those who have discovered the joys of giving of themselves”. “You are a success when you have made friends with your past, are focused on the present, and optimistic about the future”. "It’s good to have money and things money can buy, but it’s good to check up every once in a while to make sure you have the things that money can’t buy”. “The Lord gave us two ends one to sit on and the other to think with success depends on which one you use most”. “Dear Lord, we thank you for this beautiful day, we ask your blessing on the Westwood Village Rotary Club the members and guests today. Lord, we are thankful for our family and friends bless this food to our use today and us to thy service”. Good reminders well done, JIM.
ANN SAMSON had a Special Guest, J.R. Dzubak, who has been with us before. Sunny was again with LENNY, and David Hawkins returned as my guest. WARREN DODSON brought his brother-in-law, Dick Whitemore. Our Speaker, Avi Davis, had as his guest Esther Renzer, President of the Stand With Us Foundation. ED GAULD reminded us about the need for WVRC to host as many Rotarians as we can during the International Convention in LA next June 16th. These guests will gather by bus at the UCLA Faculty Center for cocktails, and then scatter to the various host homes, returning to the Faculty Center and then back downtown, again by bus. Those who have expressed an interest in hosting include PEGGY BLOOMFIELD, CATHY and ED GAULD, ROZ and DON NELSON, DEBBIE and STEVE SCHERER, JUDY and BOB WESSLING, SALLY and HOMER NEWMAN, LEO TSENG, SHIRLEY and PETER MORE, SALLY BRANT, and JOY and ERNIE WOLFE. More hosts are welcome, but please step forward right away, since the District needs to know before the end of September ED is the contact person.
MARK ROGO and I attended the recent District Literacy Breakfast at Lawry's. This is a major focus of Rotary for this year, and when you realize that 70% of 4th graders are not reading at their 10 year-old level, you can see why help is needed. The Rotary Goal is to collect 250,000 books at this coming Convention, based on a minimum of one thousand books from each club in District 5280. Perhaps you already have these books at home, and if not, we have special deals where an individual can buy FIFTY books for just $75.00, for instance. And to use my favorite money comparison, most of us spill more than that! The LA Times has set “Functional Literacy” as a major goal of their foundation, and they donate over 500,000 books to the program each year. Since high school graduation rates can be determined by 3rd grade reading levels, this project really delivers where the need is greatest. Thus books should be for 9 year-olds or younger, and both Spanish and English texts are needed. I was asked when to bring the books we’ll keep you advised, but for now, please start collecting, OK?
A personal moment, if I may:
Several years ago I was involved with helping low income families receive donated furniture, in South Central LA. I was in more than one home where the only constant was two things the TV was on all the time, AND there were NO reading materials in the house magazines, newspapers, books NOTHING. We can make a difference here. Not only start collecting, but volunteer to read at an elementary school. Stay tuned we’ll keep reminding you on this.
CEO CHRIS showed us another side of his many-faceted personality. Someone provided a lovely color poster, dated 1945, showing Westwood at that time. He began auctioning the poster, starting at $10 and this is where his “another side” kicked in. By the time he was done, with bidders including PP JIM COLLINS, Special Guest J.R. DUZBAK, PP STEVE SCHERER , and PP MIKE NEWMAN, the final price was $75! PP JIM was the winner and lo and behold, it’s just another talent of Mr. Bradford.
This led to the Induction of three new members. PP STEVE SCHERER brought up PP MIKE NEWMAN, who performed in the tradition of long-time-ago PP JIM EDWARDS in bringing these new members aboard. PP MIKE first called forward the new inductees plus their sponsors: CURT SMITH w/MIKE YOUSEM, KEVIN BADKOUBEHI w/PP MIKE GINTZ, and JOHN WOODALL w/ PEGGY BLOOMFIELD. JIM EDWARDS’s theme was, What is Rotary? Rotary is a Service Organization of conscientious men and women, united worldwide in an effort to help their fellow man and to encourage high ethical standards, to work towards world understanding and peace. Each of us does this differently some give time, some give effort, some give money and some give all three. The key to Rotary is your own participation. Attendance is important especially when you travel away from home. We can and do set an example of Service Above Self.
CURT SMITH came forward “We will call him Curt, his Classification is Insurance State Farm, and he is a recent member of the Century City Rotary Club. He is married to Gail, and they have three children. He likes computers, fishing, flying, investing, photography and sailing. KEVIN BADKOUBEHI is an attorney, specializing in Real Estate, and we will call him Kevin. His birthplace is Tehran, Iran, and his hobbies are cooking, hiking, and soccer. JOHN WOODALL, and we will call him John. His category is Minister-Christian, and he is the Leader of the Westwood Methodist Mafia. Linda is his wife, and they have three children, Mark, plus twins Elizabeth and Peter. JOHN’S interests are Food and Wine, movies, music, theatre and traveling. All three new members were then given a rousing standing ovation!
CEO CHRIS introduced our Speaker, Avi Davis. Mr. Davis is a graduate of the David Derham School of Law at Monash University in Australia, and he is also active as a journalist, commentator and documentarian. He provides commentary on the Middle East and Israel, and reports for CNN and Fox News. One of his courses at the University of Judaism in Brentwood is on the Arab-Israeli conflict, plus he teaches a course in journalism at UCLA. He is currently the Senior fellow of the American Freedom Alliance, an organization formed to promote freedom of expression, inquiry and conscience among the practitioners of the world’s religions. He was recommended as a speaker by Laura Vispala, the talk show host who spoke to us several months ago.
The American Freedom Alliance has just completed a major Conference at Pepperdine University to discuss the question, Is Europe Collapsing? He feels the major challenge in the world today is between security and privacy how do you resolve the two? The first aspect of the challenge is the loss of historical memory. The main subject in Germany today is Pacifism, which allows a certain kind of moral conceit “look what WE are discussing”. This goes on in an internal struggle with immigrants who want to abolish the whole system. The journalist Frank Wells took a tour group to the site of the Battle of the Bulge, at the Bridge over the Rhine, which was the subject of the book, “A Bridge Too Far”. Their 17-year-old guide pointed out that at this bridge, 1600 American soldiers died and further commented, “Well, isn’t that ridiculous to die just for a bridge?” Wells commented that he wanted to smack the guide they just didn’t die for the bridge, but to save him and his country from German militarism. All over Europe today you find the concept that liberty is something that comes naturally.
The second aspect of the challenge is the ascendancy of multiculturalism. In 2001, in Norway, there was a dramatic increase in rapes, largely caused by immigrants. One reporter wanted to blame the Norwegian women themselves, since they dressed so provocatively that the immigrants couldn’t help themselves…European intellectuals today are saying that all cultures are the same thus, how can you say that one culture is better than another? Multiculturalism has been elevated almost to a religion in this country we call it diversity. Yet, without subscribing to a rigorous value system to which the society is anchored, how can you evaluate whether an action is good or bad, right or wrong?
The third aspect is the clash between major religious groups. Whereas fundamentalists have strong opinions on what is acceptable behavior, the Church of England is busy promoting the rights of homosexuals, multiculturalism, and Islamic rights. A recent article reported that a cleric in England has called on his church to refer to God as Allah, as a means of reaching out to those of that faith. This illustrates the differences between religious beliefs and they are wide. Churches in Europe today are virtually empty. Yet the mosques are thriving not just with Muslims, but with converts as well.
The fourth aspect is economic stagnation. The creation of the 35-hour workweek, which in some cases has now been reduced to 30 hours, the rise of socialized medicine, the welfare state these factors will mean that Europe will be unable to compete with China and India, where they are working much longer hours. The neo-fascists and the radical left will be the winners in Europe, before the real decline takes place.
The fifth aspect is the rise of Humanitarian Law. This places international humanitarian law above common law, which in turn creates a conflict between the two sets of laws. An example is the rise of the international criminal court, which, for example, makes it impossible for Israeli generals to travel to England. They fear being sued for defending Israel from Hezbolah or Hamas. Thus humanitarian law supplants common law in England, and the rules and allowances, are much different.
Another factor contributing to the decline is the large reduction in population, both now and soon foreseeable. Every country in Europe, save Albania, has more deaths than births, and thus the population is aging bad news for the smaller percentage of active workers who must support the ever-larger number of retired pensioners. The only part of the population that is growing is the immigrant group they continue to have many children. By 2050, about 21% of the population will be Muslim, compared to about 7% now. This disaffected group burns FOUR HUNDRED cars in France every night! And yet, contrary to popular belief, most of this terrorist activity comes from the middle-income group, not the poorest portion. The initial reaction to the now-famous cartoons which appeared in Denmark was quite muted three months later an Egyptian cleric reissued them adding three quite defamatory new cartoons and THIS is what sparked the worldwide uproar.
Q&A PP STEVE SCHERER. Is it true that Muslim integration into European society is almost non-existent? Yes, while the Europeans sometimes pay Muslims to come in, once there, they stick entirely to themselves. Once Muslim youth drop out of Muslim society, they cannot come back, which greatly discourages moving away. PDG BILL GOODWYN, Do you have a plan to alert the American public to these disturbing trends and facts? Yes, I’m confident that these warning will gain more and more traction the LA Times, surprisingly, is now printing our material on their Op Ed pages. The Fellows of the American Freedom Alliance are actively seeking ways to continue to expand our outreach. Admittedly, it is a difficult issue to attack anyone’s religion but the facts have to get out. ED GAULD, Who speaks for Islam they seem so fragmented in their statements. Yes, remember that Islam is heterogeneous, not homogenous it is composed of many separate factions. There is no core leadership to present just one demand or message. We are facing a real crises to our very civilization. TONY MARRONE, what is your opinion of the actions taken in your homeland of Australia to stand up to Islamic demands? John Howard, the Prime Minister, has told the Immans there that they can either obey Australian law and its court system, or they can leave. Australia will not tolerate their interest in bringing in Sharia law, period. They are the only political leadership in the world, so far, to direct such instructions to Muslim immigrants. ELLIOTT TURNER, How many children do Muslims have? A large number, but they don’t want to discuss this when you bring up immigration. PDG ANDY ANDERSON, France is obviously in trouble. Would taxes on immigrants help? Probably not remember, they invite immigrants in, to do the jobs the native population doesn’t want.
Avi Davis, we thank you for your alarming message. He can be reached, by the way, at (310) 444-3085, at 11500 W. Olympic Blvd, LA 90064.
Thought for the Day, from Chris:
You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.