Monday, December 28, 2009

Dave Rosner's Memories of Iraq Stand-Up Comedy Tour 2009

In March I fulfilled one of my stand-up comedy goals: a tour to entertain the troops serving in Iraq and Kuwait. Having served in the region twice before as a U. S. Marine, during this Iraq War and The Persian Gulf War, the comedy tour took on even more meaning. Being Jewish added another layer: I was a Jew in an Arab country. More importantly, I was glad to let the troops know that this New York Jew, although a transplant from New Mexico, supports them and their mission.

The comedy tour was with fellow comedians Scott Kennedy and Steve Mazan. Kennedy, a childhood friend from summer camp and military boarding high school, was on his twenty-seventh trip. And Mazan, a former U. S. Navy submariner, was on his seventh trip. Generals Petraeus and Odierno have told Kennedy that the comedy tours are actually saving lives. I agree. You need an outlet when deployed. That outlet is laughter.

When we arrived on base in Kuwait, we were issued a helmet and flack jacket. We wore these on every flight, and on the ground if the enemy threat level dictated.

We were taken on a tour of holy sites in Iraq and ended up at what is believed to have been Abraham’s house. The first and last twenty-four hours of the tour were spent in Kuwait. On the last day it was Purim. A U. S. Army Rabbi stationed there asked me to do a spot at their celebration. I did and then stuffed my face with humentashen.

For the first show, on a base in Kuwait I had been to before as a Marine, I was more nervous than usual. Should I do Jewish Marine or not? How many Mel Gibsons are out there? I went for it… Material worked. During my set, the loud speakers played the Muslim call to prayer. I incorporated it into my act. It “killed.”

The next day, we flew on a C-130 to Baghdad. The aircraft was hot and cramped. Upon arrival, we quickly dropped our bags and headed to the helicopter-landing zone from where we were flown to our first show in Iraq.

Everyday, Blackhawk helicopters flew us all over Iraq to large and small bases. From above, we saw Baghdad’s bustling traffic. Some days we did three shows, some days we did only one. A few shows were canceled due to being “dusted in” or for logistical reasons.

The crowds at our shows ranged from as little as forty to as many as five hundred. After every show we signed autographs and shook hands. I silently wished that I would never see any of them at a Wounded Warrior show. I tried to tell every one of them to “kick ass and be safe.” We must have shaken hands with over a thousand troops. After the show, we’d visit the troops in the guard towers who weren’t able to see the show.

After a show, a young army soldier told me in his thick southern accent, “You’re the funniest Jew I’ve ever met.” It meant a lot. Not as much as if this kid spoke in a New York accent and worked in the biz… But it was still nice to hear.

We arrived on a base 3km from the Iranian border. We were told that a patrol had been attacked five hours prior and they’d had to medevac a few guys out. “We could really use some comedy now,” they said. The show went well. The guys laughed. For a snap shot in time, they were able to put their worries and stresses aside, I hope.

As we flew away, I thought that whether I ended up in the region again as a Marine or as a comedian, nothing would take away from one of the most meaningful experiences of my lifetime, entertaining the troops in a combat zone.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney's "Dirty Little Secret"

Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney not only both have great hair, they're also both Mormons. I don't know if good hair and Mormonism are related, but I'm sure an industrious Mormon preacher can find a link. It is not news that Romney is a Mormon. The left-leaning media loudly beat the drum of Mormonism being at odds with Christianity during the Republican presidential primary. This was specifically aimed at the Christian Right. The left-wing happily blew any Mormon fears out of proportion in order to derail the republicans. But this smear tactic will not cause the same stumbling block for Romney in the next primary.

The anti-Mormon issue pushed by the left worked in the past. Votes that would have propelled Romney over McCain went to the hapless Mike Huckabee. Romney was a much more viable candidate than McCain against the Democrats, and Huckabee, in distant third place, could have done us all a big favor by dropping out of the race. But instead he hung on like an unwanted relative staying past the long thanksgiving weekend.

Huckabee may run, but will not get as many "scared of Mormonism" votes this time around. Publicly, he will chastise any anti-Mormon talk. Privately, he will rejoice in it. Very similar to the world condemning Israel for destroying Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981 but privately being thrilled. A scenario that will possibly be repeated if a country is courageous enough to save the world with an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. But I digress…

Beck’s popularity has the ability to quash much of the anti-Mormon feeling from both sides of the aisle. Beck will speak in his blunt no-nonsense way about the idiocy of opposing Romney for being Mormon. No one knows who Beck will support, but Beck taking those to task for fomenting religious discrimination will pay in votes. Any airing of Beck being a Mormon will help Romney. Can you imagine Beck taking on this topic? The power of the straight-shooting Glenn Beck should not be underestimated. We might soon find masses of people moving to Utah, and an increase worldwide of white shirt/black pant wearing bicycle riders to boot.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why Jews Vote Democrat? A misunderstanding of kindness.

A lot of my politically conservative non Jewish friends, especially fellow Marines, are dumbfounded as to why American Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly democrat. These conservatives know that the democrat party is increasingly anti-American, anti-Israel, and down right anti-Semitic. But the left-wing Jew keeps marching along as if heading to the gas chambers while fighting for the Nazis’ rights to murder. Tough words for a dangerous situation. As an observant Jew and political conservative, many of my acquaintances have looked to me for insight on this topic.

Let me try to explain why my fellow Jews repeatedly “shoot themselves in the foot” by voting democrat. The answer is relatively simple: A misunderstanding of kindness. The bottom line: Left-Wing Jews are flawed. They don’t understand that being truly kind means at times being strong.

We know that it is expounded in the Talmud and further elaborated in The Tanya, of “Chabad Lubavitch Philosophy,” that Jews have a genuine empathy for another person. Look at how we Jews are disproportionately represented in charities. We seem to be running, or involved in, every legitimate to asinine charity out there. Save the Whales, Jews for Matza Balls, Spotted Owl Fertility Clinic, Support the Nazi Party, Self-Hating Jewish Rights, etc… Okay some of those are jokes but you get the picture.

The reality is that, sadly, left wing groups that Jews tend to support are the very groups that are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Just look at who is protesting the Israel Day Parade. Listen to the mainstream democrats bash the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel. I have news for the wimpy left-wing American Jew. If Jews are not safe in Israel, they are not safe anywhere else either. Along with gay rights and black rights speeches you can hear Jew hating vitriol from the core of the supporters. My conservative friends, Jewish, non-Jewish, gay, and black understand this. Regrettably, die-hard left-wing Jews are blind to this hatred against them coming from the left. The misbelief that the democrats really help people and that Jews must help others has led us to this harmful dilemma of voting for a party that is of astronomical negative proportions.

The issue is our soul. A soul is made up of Chesed “kindness” and Gevurah “strength.” The challenge is when to use kindness and when to use strength. Jewish people in their nature lean towards being compassionate and must learn how to channel it. You can’t be Mr. Nice Guy all the time. A Marine drill sergeant can’t coddle his recruits. He must be tough. This gives the Marines the skills they need to be successful in battle and, most importantly, come back safe and sound. Being strong at the right moment actually is being compassionate. Are you going to let your child run around like a maniac or are you going to set limits and boundaries? The latter is the answer. This misuse of Chesed “kindness” has caused Jews to continue to vote democrat over and over again.

For centuries Jews have fled rightist regimes and it is understandable that we Jews are wary of the right. However, knowing what makes up the right and left and who they really support is key.

The republicans pre George W. Bush were certainly on the anti-Semitic side but still understood the strategic importance of supporting Israel and not trusting the Arabs due to the Arab’s lack of true intentions for peace.
On the other hand you had Bill Clinton, supposedly a friend of the Jews, thinking the Arabs really did want peace and he shamefully, driven by a desire to have a foreign policy win after lying to the country about his schmekel, offered up parts of Jerusalem as the misguided Israeli left-wing sat idly by basking on how kind they thought they were perceived.

One of my favorite topics is food. I’m Jewish, I can’t help it. So let’s look at the kashrut “kosher” laws to recap this. When a Jew keeps kosher he actually has to stop and think. Their immediate desire for any food has to be processed and evaluated. Keeping kosher is about elevating oneself by doing something holy in the physical world that has ramifications in both the physical and spiritual worlds.

What makes a kosher animal is that it has split hooves and chews its cud. The split hoof represents Chesed “kindness” and Gevurah “strength”. The chewing of the cud signifies contemplating an action or decision.

Some personalities are driven by kindness others by strength. But not all situations require us to be kind or be strong. Realizing when to be kind and when to be strong is key. Jews on the left are not taking the time to seriously look into the realities of how harmful the democrats are to this nation and the world in general. This is the flaw of the left-wing Jews, a misunderstanding of kindness.

Dave Rosner provides insight to news topics from knowledge gained through military experiences of serving in two wars and his U. S. Marine Corps specialties of intelligence, Red Team (Alternative Future Analysis), civil affair plans, public affairs, and logistics. He dispels common misconceptions and media bias. He can use humor to make facts more digestible. He uses his knowledge of Chasidic philosophy to explain motivations and ramifications of human action. Dave graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B. A. in university studies and has a certificate of Entrepreneurship from UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans. He invented, raised capital, and marketed a medical device while in college. He is involved in fundraising for film and television projects and business ventures and importing to Australia. He also runs his own production company, Nudnick Productions.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Marine's July 4th Wish: Find a Cure for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Op-Ed for week of July 4, 2009

My July 4th Wish

By Dave Rosner

This July 4th, I have a wish. My wish is that a cure for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) be found. A cure that will save over one million lives—the number currently lost to TBI each year. Many of those lives belong to our brave men and women in uniform.

We live in the most advanced country in the world, and this gift should be used to end the pain of those who are suffering. As President Lincoln stated regarding veterans, "To care for him who shall have borne the battle." We have a particular obligation to care for those injured in service to our country.

As a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, I have seen the effects of TBI first-hand. I served in the first Gulf War and Iraq, and later I returned to Iraq as a comedian to entertain our troops.

I've also done shows for wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Camp Lejeune, and veterans hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York.

These experiences have given me direct insight into how severe a problem TBI is. The numbers alone are staggering.

TBI is found in 30 percent of the injured veterans sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. One and a half million Americans suffer TBI annually, from accidents such as the one that caused the tragic death of Natasha Richardson. Nearly 40 percent die within a few days.

There are few treatments for this type of injury. Currently no drug therapy is available. For the last 15 years, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center have been developing an artificial blood that can reduce the effect of brain damage by half.

Clinical trials have shown consistent signs of successful outcomes -- there are fewer deaths among TBI patients treated with Oxycyte, for instance. But the FDA has not yet put that drug on a "fast track" toward approval, resulting in the continuing and unnecessary deaths of far too many servicemembers and civilians. "

This year, my Fourth of July wish is to celebrate the search for a cure for TBI.

I realize the FDA is burdened with countless pending cases, but accelerating the consideration process for Oxycyte could make it available in war zones within months. Equally important, emergency rooms at hospitals around the country would also have access to it. We must act to make this happen.

A grassroots movement to make this therapy more readily available is spreading through the military. This movement needs to spread to all Americans. If your loved one were suffering wouldn't you want them to be treated with the most cutting-edge medicine?

May G-d bless America, our troops, and all of the men and women who are hoping for a cure for their loved ones.


Dave Rosner is a stand-up comedian, a U. S. Marine, and political/ military TV commentator. He is a veteran of the first Gulf war and more recently, the Iraq war.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marine Iraq War Vet to return to Iraq as Comedian


Marine Iraq War Vet to return to Iraq as Comedian

New York, New York – February 20, 2009


Dave Rosner, a U. S. Marine veteran of the Iraq War, returns to Iraq next month on a stand-up comedy tour.

A lieutenant colonel in the U. S. Marine Corps reserve, Rosner has more than 20 years active and reserve service. He also served on active duty for the Marines during the Persian Gulf War.

Among his specialties as a Marine are intelligence officer and public affairs (media) officer.

As a civilian, Rosner is stand-up comedian, speaker, and political and military commentator.

Rosner claims to be "the only Marine who, when he kills, nobody dies."

His stand-up routine pokes fun at his experiences in the Marines and being a Jewish Marine, his personal shortcomings, and family life growing up in New Mexico.

Rosner says, "I caught malaria and diarrhea while I was in Iraq--those are Saddam's twin daughters." "My radio call sign is 'Mazel Tov Cocktail.'"

Currently he is writing a book about his atypical life story of being an observant Jew in the Marines.

On most nights he can be seen performing stand-up comedy in comedy clubs in New York City or speaking about his experiences in synagogues across the globe.

Rosner is performing with comedians Steve Mazan and Scott Kennedy with “Comics Ready to Entertain” This will be Kennedy’s 27th trip to Iraq.

Dave Rosner
On Facebook and My Space Comedy as Dave Rosner