Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Deplored, Not Deplorable

The raid was carried out by soldiers in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, upon a suspected Hamas terrorist cell which the IDF reportedly expected "to carry out a terror attack in the immediate period." 

There are thousands of tweets from Hasan and others condemning the Israeli Defense Forces for air strikes which kill many civilians- indiscriminately, in the warped mind of many- in Israel's fight against Hamas. Obviously, an air strike would have been ridiculous in this situation and a targeted operation was the only viable alternative- yet, even this is denounced.

It also should bring to mind a celebrated occasion in recent American history.  Exactly four years after the assassination on May 1, 2011 of Osama bin Laden by Seal Team 6, Robert O'Neill reminisced at the 9/11 Memorial Museum:

A foot and a half in front of me was Osama bin Laden. And I shot him twice, and then once more. And it didn’t really sink in; the wife sort of came at me and there was like, two-year-old kid there. So I pulled her over to the bed and grabbed the kid. And I remember thinking to grab the kid because he had nothing to do with this. I don’t want him to be afraid. So I picked him up, put him with the wife. I turned around, other SEALs were coming in the room, and I kind of stopped there and looked at them

. … [One of the SEALs] was looking at me, and said ‘Are you OK?’ I said ‘What do we do now?’ And he laughed and put his hand on my shoulder, and he said, ‘Now we go find the computers.

And I shot him twice, and then once more. It wasn't as humane as taking him prisoner, just as killing those three suspected Hamas terrorists wasn't the most humane approach by the Israeli soldiers. Seal Team 6 was so popular, respected, and unquestioned that a movie celebrating the liquidation of Osama bin Laden was made. And no one flinched.

This is not Red Coats vs. Patriots in the American Revolutionary War, trench warfare of World War I, nor a World War II of Normandy and other invasions of one nation by another. In the Middle East, an attack can come from anywhere at anytime against anyone, civilian or combatant. Israel did not make the rules, does not like the rules, but must play by the rules.   This is a very dangerous neighborhood, and Israel did not make up the rules. That is what it did at the hospital in Jenin and at times, it has no choice. 



Monday, January 29, 2024

Common Error

In the wake of the execution by nitrogen hypoxia of Kenneth Smith, convicted of the premeditated murder in 1988 of Elizabeth Sennett in Alabama, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch pens a thoughtful column but bad tweet.

This is not a good example of decrepit morality:


Bunch notes that the USA executed more individuals in 2022 than all but four nations, "trailing only a rogues' gallery of (mainland) China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt" (parentheses mine but you already knew that). Nonetheless, if the use of the death penalty is a pretty good barometer of a nation's morality, the USA is a very moral nation, indeed. 

The super-woke ("Latinx," anyone?) Death Penalty Information Center reported that twenty-nine states have either abolished capital punishment or paused executions and that in 2023, only five states executed a person(s) and only seven states sentenced anyone to death. It's the ninth consecutive year in which fewer than thirty people have been executed and fewer than fifty individuals sentenced to die. Moreover, of the twenty-one in the latter category, four (4) were black- so good luck to all those who argue that imposition of the penalty is racially biased.

Only nine (9) states in 2023 either executed an individual and/or sentenced someone to death in 2023. For those keeping track at home (obviously not including Bunch), that means that 41 states and the District of Columbia, with or without legalized capital punishment, avoided putting to death anyone who intentionally murdered another living, breathing human being. For anyone opposed to capital punishment, that does not qualify as astonishing immorality.

It's hardly surprising, though, that one would mistake what he consider a nation immoral in part because of a very occasional action of the government in less than 20% of its jurisdictions. That's what occurred in the summer and autumn of 2020 after the brutal murder of a black man by a white police officer in one city in one state prompted the mobilization of millions of Americans to protest the perception of constant oppression by law enforcement of blacks across the country.

That perception, borne of a failure to differentiate among cities, among states, and among regions disturbingly went almost completely unchallenged by media and political figures, the vast majority of whom knew better. Almost four years later, we have not learned from that major error and an execution considered unfair and inhumane in one state is attributed equally to every place; in Bunch's phraseology, a "nation's use of the death penalty."


Saturday, January 27, 2024

Carrying Water for Donald Trump

In October, Reuters reported that Donald Trump- who wisely avoided invoking the word "Muslim"- vowed 

that if elected president again he will bar immigrants who support Hamas from entering the U.S. and send officers to pro-Hamas protests to arrest and deport immigrants who publicly support the Palestinian militant group.

On a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump was responding to the Hamas killing of at least 1,300 Israelis that triggered a war in which Palestinian health officials say Israel has killed more than 2,800 Palestinians in Gaza.

Trump, president from 2017-2021, said that if elected to a second White House term he will ban entry to the U.S. of anybody who does not believe in Israel's right to exist, and revoke the visas of foreign students who are "antisemitic."

He also vowed to step up travel bans from "terror-plagued countries." He did not explain how he would enforce his demands, including the one requiring immigrants to support Israel's right to exist under what he called "strong ideological screening,

The once and possibly future President of the USA maintained also that he "would ban immigrants from Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen 'or anywhere else that threatens our security' and "also read a poem that he used to liken immigrants to deadly snakes."

If you think that sounds brutal, bigoted, and illegal, you apparently are not in agreement with leading members of the Arab-American community in the city with the largest Arab-American community in the USA, in one of the swingiest states in the country. Evidently, they are on board with the idea of 4+ years of a Trump presidency. As noted by The Detroit News

The organizer of a planned meeting between President Joe Biden's campaign manager and a group of Arab and Muslim American leaders in Dearborn said it was canceled Friday after some in the wider community objected to the gathering amid fury over Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

Some Arab American political leaders from Metro Detroit who are Democrats flatly rejected any overtures from the Biden campaign until the president advocates for Israel to cease its military assault on Gaza.

Assad Turfe, who was coordinating the sit-down of Arab leaders and officials with Biden's campaign in Dearborn, said he made the decision to cancel Friday afternoon's group meeting "in the best interest of the community."

"As the community got to learn about the meeting, there was definitely a lot of outrage and, ultimately, the decision was made to cancel the meeting," said Turfe, the deputy county executive of Wayne County whose family is from Lebanon.

The meeting was to be between Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez and 10-15 Arab American elected officials, office holders and representatives from the larger community organizations, Turfe said.

The Biden campaign did not comment on the cancelation of Friday's group meeting. Other meetings between Rodriguez and individual leaders of the Arab community in Michigan went forward Friday, according to two sources.

The group meeting was among several that Rodriguez was convening with leaders from Michigan, including local elected officials and leaders from the Arab and Palestinian-American, Hispanic and Black communities.

At the time the meeting was to have been held, a prayer gathering featuring members of an "Abandon Biden" activists movement was held. Afterward, activist Imam Omar Suleiman told the Associated Press that Biden "has lost the Muslim and Arab vote. Every poll indicates that. And if you were to speak to any person in this mosque, you would hear the exact same thing."

Not everyone in that demographic is eager to get Donald J. Trump back into the White House. Earlier in the day, Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, met with Rodriguez at the paper's headquarters and stated that the latter "was very attentive and she was listening. We looked each other in the eye and I told her exactly what's going on. And she said she would take it to the President." But she complained also "This dialogue should have been three months ago. No way in hell that we can support him."  Translation: "You should have bended the knee before Israel retaliated for having its citizens butchered by assassins we're fine with."

Notwithstanding the importance of every voter in Michigan, President Biden should not be intimidated into changing policy because of the entitled attitude of leaders of a particular ethnic or religious community. There is no better political strategy than doing what is right, the President's approach thus far in the Middle East. 

If Biden fails to defeat Donald Trump in Michigan and loses the election in November, the Muslim community in the USA will find out how fortunate they, and we, were before we had a President who believed Arab-Americans are poisoning the blood of the country.


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Biden, Absolutely

If there were a category for "white privilege from black guy," this tweeter would win hands-down.  

 It's easy to be easy to be in favor of anything when there is no downside to support of a organization, cause, or movement. Not so with Joe Biden being the most pro-labor President since Lyndon Johnson or possibly beyond.  In October, Peter Nicholas and Peter Alexander of NBC News wrote 

Joe Biden’s tight alliance with organized labor has unnerved some of his business supporters, who worry that his rhetoric and administration's actions make it tough to rally corporate leaders and CEOs and win their energetic backing of his 2024 presidential candidacy.

Advisers have directly urged Biden to state bluntly that he wants to help business succeed — a message that tends to get lost as he courts working-class voters and embraces their cause for better pay and working conditions, said a top political ally who requested anonymity to speak frankly about internal discussions.

 “You deserve what you’ve earned, and you’ve earned a hell of a lot more than you’re getting paid now," Biden said last month during a first-of-its-kind appearance with striking workers at a picket line in Michigan. Talking through a bullhorn, he stood alongside United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain who, when it was his turn to speak, said that CEOs "sit in their offices, they sit in meetings, and they make decisions. But we make the product."

The video to which the tweet links is a portion of the message delivered by United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain on January 22 at the union's annual National Community Action Program Conference.. Fain referred briefly to the war in the Mideast but

also criticized the wealthy for using issues like gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and nationality to divide the working class, and it was in this context that he criticized the scapegoating of immigrants. He also emphasized the UAW's history of backing civil rights and environmental justice.

That highlights a stark divide between Democrats and Republicans, which can be missed only by an individual with a serious sense of privilege. Biden is not only pro-labor but with a perspective radically different than that of his immediate predecessor. And so 

The criticism Biden faces may be driven in part by the pendular shift since the Trump administration, when business flourished under tax cuts and deregulatory measures. Most of the tax cuts that Donald Trump signed into law in 2017 wound up benefiting corporations and higher-income individuals, a Congressional Research Service report showed.

Today, business leaders point to a Biden appointee, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, along with heads of agencies that oversee labor and consumer relations as impediments to competition and survival in the marketplace.

“Biden at his core is a blue-collar guy from Scranton. He’s never worked in business and he doesn’t have any particular interest in those issues and I don’t criticize him for that,” said Steven Rattner, a longtime Democratic donor who headed the auto industry task force in the Obama administration. “Rightly or wrongly, there’s a perception that there’s a fair amount of hostility toward business, and that makes the business community nervous.”

One Democratic fundraiser, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely, said: “As a general matter, the business community has felt very much ignored by Biden. In our part of the business community, where we raise money, Lina Khan’s name — both of them — are four-letter words." Khan has rankled business by targeting large companies, such as Amazon and Microsoft, and stoking uncertainty about future mergers.

Upon announcing his union's endorsement, Fain asserted "instead of talking trash about our union, Joe Biden stood with us. Donald Trump stands against everything we stand for as a union, as a society."  Radical or not, it is an inescapable observation.



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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

In the Formerly United States of America

Things are spinning out of control in the Disunited States of America.

The governing Board of Regents of the ten-campus University of California system expects to discuss on Thursday a proposal which

would challenge a 1986 federal law prohibiting people without immigration status from legally working. The UC seeks to create an exception for people who were largely brought to the U.S. by their parents as children and would previously have been allowed to work under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Students without legal immigration status already attend the University of California while paying in-state tuition.

DHS officials, concerned about a breach of federal law, warned the university that the Biden administration might be forced to sue or take administrative action blocking the effort if the proposal was approved — teeing up an awkward confrontation at a time when the president is already under fire over immigration....

The proposal would challenge a 1986 federal law prohibiting people without immigration status from legally working. The UC seeks to create an exception for people who were largely brought to the U.S. by their parents as children and would previously have been allowed to work under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Students without legal immigration status already attend the University of California while paying in-state tuition.....

The beneficiaries would include people who would have been allowed to work under DACA. The government stopped allowing people to enroll in the program in 2021 in response to a court order stemming from conservative legal challenges.

Prominent legal scholars within the UC, Ivy League and elsewhere have argued the university can legally hire the students, contending the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act — which includes a ban on unauthorized employment — doesn’t apply to states.

Doesn't apply to states. East and a little south is Austin, in which

The attorney general of Texas on Wednesday defied federal officials who demanded state authorities abandon a public park along the U.S.-Mexico border that state National Guard soldiers seized last week, setting up a legal showdown with the Biden administration over the country's immigration policies.

Over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security called on Texas officials to stop blocking federal Border Patrol from entering Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, an area next to the Rio Grande that the agency had been using to hold and inspect migrants. The department said Texas' move to commandeer the park was obstructing Border Patrol's obligations to apprehend and process migrants.

The top lawyer at DHS, Jonathan Meyer, warned Texas Attorney General Paxton over the weekend that the department would refer the matter to the Justice Department for potential legal action if the state did not relent.

In a scathing response to Meyer on Wednesday, Paxton indicated that Texas would not back down, rejecting the Biden administration's accusation that state's actions were "clearly unconstitutional."


One supporter of the proposal to bend over backward for (illegal) immigrants, University of California Regent Jose Hernandez, has remarked "it's about making sure that all students have the same type of experiential learning opportunities at our UC campuses." He might be disturbed to know that he has much in common with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as that state's governor, Greg Abbott, who want to determine immigration policy for the nation. 

They're both wrong. And their supporters have little regard for the United States of America, which are now states increasingly anything but united.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Haley Dissembling

Suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Donald Trump on January 21, Florida governor Ron DeSantis stated "We can't go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.

Of course, a second Trump Administration would be warmed-over corporatism, yet with a large dose of authoritarianism mixed in.  On the heels of praise for the ex-President from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, James Downie notes a President Trump "would deliver these millionaires and billionaires more massive tax cuts. He would reverse the Biden administration's moves for stronger bank regulations. And he'd end President Joe Biden's efforts to rein in monopolies, help organized labor and safeguard workers' rights."

Nevertheless, DeSantis is right about Haley. Moments after DeSantis bowed out, CNN's Dana Bash asked (at :23 of the video below) Haley

O.K., when he dropped out, part of what he said was he reminded everybody that he "signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee. I'll honor that pledge. "He," meaning Donald Trump, has my endorsement because we can't go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear or repackaged form of warmed- up corporatism that Nikki Haley represents. That's tough stuff on his way out the door.

The former U.N. ambassador responded

You know and it's interesting because there's no proof of that. These fellas say this because they wat people to believe it. But what's amazing to me is they think they can lie to the American people and the American people are going to believe it.

Prove it. Prove the fact that Donald Trump says I want to cut Social Security or raise the age. I've never said that... Prove the fact that Ron DeSantis says I'm a corporate whatever he says I am.

 I've never done that.

That corporate whatever" would be "repackaged form of warmed up-corporatism." The candidate bet that few in the pro-Haley center and left media would go to the videotape and for the most part, she seems to have won that bet. However, the tape does in fact exist. At the recent debate held prior to the Iowa caucus, Haley promised (beginning at :25 of the video below)

And the way we fix it is that no one has to worry that you're going to lose what you paid in or what you gave. America should always keep her promises and we have to live by that. But what we will do is make changes to those like my kids in their '20s, those coming into the system. We will change their retirement ae to reflect life expectancy. We Will change, rather than doing cost-of-living increase, we'll do increases based on inflation. We will limit the benefit on the wealthy and we'll expand Medicare Advantage plans that seniors love that create competition.

Some elderly people opt for Medicare Advantage because Medicare benefits are inadequate. Haley proposes to expand Medicare Advantage, which primarily advantages profit-seeking private companies, in the obvious hope that public support for the Medicare program dissipates.

And that's her plan for Social Security. After raising the age at which benefits can be received- which she explicitly told Bash she had not proposed- Haley would apply a less generous formula for calculating benefits. Thereafter- if not before- she would eliminate benefits for the wealthy, thereby converting the program into a welfare program, which gradually would erode support for its continuation.

Haley's stated plan was not merely impulsive, a debate faux pas. A few months earlier (:29 of the video below), the South Carolinian had asserted

So the way we deal with it is we don't touch anyone's retirement or anyone who's been promised in. But we go to people like my kids in their '20s when they're coming in to the system and we say the rules have changed. We change retirement age to reflect life expectancy. Instead of cost-of-living increases, we do it based on inflation. We limit the benefits on the wealthy and we expand Medicare Advantage plans.


It wasn't for nothing, as the saying goes, that Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the Koch Foundation, last November heartily endorsed Haley of President. She has been both consistently wrong about earned benefits and brazenly dishonest in claiming that she hasn't advocated raising the retirement age or cutting benefits.

Ron DeSantis' prescription, election of Donald Trump to the presidency, is ridiculous, as we are inadvertently reminded by Jamie Dimon.  However, the moderate image of Nikki Haley does not capture the reality of an extremely conservative political figure.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Friend, Not Enemy

"It is a moment tailor made for Nikki Haley to distinguish herself from the former President ," Alex Wagner (video below) with the fitting backdrop of "With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends?"

The answer would be "no one." Though Haley claims that as President she would not pre-emptively pardon Donald Trump as did President Ford for Richard Nixon., HuffPost reports

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley said it would be bad for America to see Donald Trump “sitting in a jail cell” should he be convicted in any of the multitude of legal cases against him, but added she would not preemptively pardon him. 

 “For me, the last thing we need is an 80-year-old president sitting in jail because that’s just going to further divide our country,” Haley said during a town hall event with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “This is no longer about whether he’s innocent or guilty. This is about the fact: How do we bring the country back together?”

 Trump currently faces 91 criminal charges in four separate indictments and has been forced to see-saw from the campaign trail to the courtroom as the Republican presidential primary heats up. He handily won the Iowa caucuses this week and currently leads in the New Hampshire primary, according to recent polls. But he has amped up his attacks against Haley as she sits firmly in second place in the state before next Tuesday’s presidential selection process.

Haley, who possesses a degree in finance and accounting, has no law or criminal justice degree. Nevertheless, having served as a governor, she should realize that Trump would not be sentenced to jail were he found guilty of any or all of these indictable charges, but to prison

 More substantively, the issue is not whether a convicted Trump should be forced to sit in a "jail cell." The ex-President would not be placed in leg irons or handcuffs and hauled off to a prison cell. Far more likely, he'd be ordered to undergo some sort of supervised, presumably electronic, monitoring. He would be approximately 80 years old and an ex-President. Probably more significantly, the Secret Service would never put up with this ex-President being placed in a cell. It simply wouldn't happen, both because of the burden it would place on the agency and because, well, it's their guy, Donald Trump.

Worst, obviously, is that Nikki Haley disagrees with Theodore Roosevelt, who in his Third Annual Message to Congress in 1903 maintained

Every man must be guaranteed his liberty and his right to do as he likes with his property or his labor, so long as he does not infringe the rights of others. No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.

We went down the Haley road in 1974 when President Gerald Ford pre-emptively pardoned former President Richard M. Nixon. It should have been evident to thoughtful Americans at that time that this was not only a mistake in principle but that it would come back to haunt us because a future President would expect a pardon for criminality. Presidents in the ensuing decades have assumed increasing amounts of power, and now we have an ex- and possibly future President who has asserted that the "Massive Fraud" of the 2020 election "allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution."

 If former governor and ambassador Haley is nominated for, then elected to, the presidency, she probably would pardon Donald Trump, were he convicted. Proudly and with no sense of decency, she would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Convict in Chief. With enemies like Nikki Haley, Trump needs no friends.


Friday, January 19, 2024


Today is a day to assess Patriots, and not the kind all too rare in a Republican Party itching for an election of Donald Trump to be coronated King Donald. Rather, they are in Foxboro, Massachusetts, in which USA Today columnist Mike Freeman remarks

New England coach Jerod Mayo did something, well, brave during his first press conference as Patriots head coach. He talked about race.

The most interesting part of his meeting with the media on Wednesday was when the conversation veered into race, specifically, when Mayo was asked about being the first Black head coach in Patriots history. Owner Robert Kraft was asked about that.

A reporter had asked

Robert, Jerod said that being the first Black coach was important to him. Curious, what does it mean to you? And Jerod, have you reached out to any folks like Tony, Tom, just to get their sense of what it means to them?

Freeman writes

"I'm really colorblind, in terms of, I know what I feel like on Sunday when we lose," Kraft said. He added that he hired Mayo because the coach was the best person for the job and it's simply coincidental that Mayo is Black. "He happens to be a man of color," Kraft said, "but I chose him because I believe he's best to do the job."

That is the standard answer good people give to the complicated issue of race. I don't see color. I see performance. That is an intensely naive view but it's a view many people possess.

 No. "He happens to be a man of color" is not "the standard answer good people give to the complicated issue of race. It's a simplistic answer given by people justifiably so anxious about their view of race that they refer to a black man as "a man of color."

Give me a break. This is not Major League Baseball, now almost dominated by men, especially Latinos, from outside of the USA. This is the National Football League, where Eric Bieniemy is still looking for a head coaching job and issues of fairness for black men still persist.

It should not be professionally dangerous, and is not divisive, to say "he happens to be black" rather than "h happens to be a man of color." However, extremely successful, conservative Republicans such as Kraft are so careful with their words that they are duplicitous.  Freeman continues

Mayo wasn't having any of it. And here comes the brave part. Mayo politely, but firmly, contradicted the man who just hired him, and someone who is one of the most powerful people in all of sports. It was a remarkable moment.

"I do see color," Mayo said. "Because I believe if you don't see color, you can't see racism."


Similarly, in 1998 a former member of the Philadelphia City Council told teachers across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ "if you're color-blind and you don't see color and you don't see race, you'll miss the problems that may arise and your teaching won't be as effective as it can be."

Certainly, there is a danger, evident in our politics and society nearly every day, of exaggerating the importance of race. The remedy, though, lies not in ignoring race, nor the importance it plays in one's life, whether the individual is white, black, or of a different race.

The counter is to be honest and accurate. Mayo stated "Being the first Black coach here in New England means a lot to me," and no doubt it does.  By contrast, if one insists that he or she is "colorblind"- as Kraft does- or  "doesn't see race" that individual is being dishonest.

Alternatively, in need of a decent optometrist.



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A Very Clear Vision

It's as if, asked for her opinion about Senator Bernard Sanders, Nikki Haley had said "he just doesn't care about minimum wage workers."

Campaigning in mid-January in Iowa, the leading challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination stated

The majority disapprove of both of them. Trump and Biden are both about 80 years old. Trump and Biden both put our country deeper in debt and our kids will never forgive them for it. Both Trump and Biden lack a vision for our country's future because both are consumed by the past. 

A person begin at noon to list all the dangers Donald Trump poses and still be going strong at midnight. Each would be valid. And Nikki Haley's criticism is that he lacks a vision and is consumed by the past.

Of all the attributes and policies to condemn Trump for, the ex-governor/U.N. ambassador chooses one not inconsequential but demonstrably and radically invalid. On November 10, 2023 Mark Esper, who became Secretary of Defense after Jim Mattis resigned and later was fired by President Trump, remarked

I think if something like [the invocation of the Insurrection Act] were to happen right after an inauguration in January 2025, I guess there would not be a civilian chain of command in place at that point in time, first of all, to push back, So there would probably be an acting secretary, he or she would then have to decide whether or not to implement that order. Otherwise, the military chain of command would be intact. There's another option too. Most often, people go to the active duty, but there's nothing that prevents the president from asking a governor, a friendly governor, to mobilize his national guard to assist as well.

Evidently, as Esper noted, a President may legally invoke the Insurrection Act, which usually has been upon recommendation of the Attorney General, who on January 21, 2025, probably would be an acting attorney general. 

A few days earlier, on November 6, The Washington Post had explained

In public, Trump has vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” President Biden and his family. The former president has frequently made corruption accusations against them that are not supported by available evidence.

To facilitate Trump’s ability to direct Justice Department actions, his associates have been drafting plans to dispense with 50 years of policy and practice intended to shield criminal prosecutions from political considerations. Critics have called such ideas dangerous and unconstitutional....

Much of the planning for a second term has been unofficially outsourced to a partnership of right-wing think tanks in Washington. Dubbed “Project 2025,” the group is developing a plan, to include draft executive orders, that would deploy the military domestically under the Insurrection Act, according to a person involved in those conversations and internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post. The law, last updated in 1871, authorizes the president to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement.

The proposal was identified in internal discussions as an immediate priority, the communications showed. In the final year of his presidency, some of Trump’s supporters urged him to invoke the Insurrection Act to put down unrest after the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, but he never did it. Trump has publicly expressed regret about not deploying more federal force and said he would not hesitate to do so in the future.

As if to validate the Post's reporting, in December the once and possibly future President told Sean Hannity that he would not be a dictator- "except for day one."  

Trump claimed that he was referring to expanding oil drilling and closing the southern border with Mexico, which may be two of his policy objectives. However, on January 20 or January 21, he likely would sign an order invoking the Insurrection Act to employ the military domestically, shutting down dissent and facilitating persecution and prosecution of his political enemies.

In response to Trump's promise, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez issued a statement noting "Donald Trump has been telling us exactly what he will do if he's reelected and tonight he said he will be a dictator on day one. Americans should believe him."  No vision at all, Nikki Haley would say.



Tuesday, January 16, 2024

If Not Slavery, What?

Evidently, not everyone who graduates from Orangeburg Preparatory School in Orangeburg, South Carolina remember Article I, Section 2 of a fairly important document.:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the favorite Republican presidential candidate of cable news of the center or left:

Haley states to Fox News host Kilmeade "We're not a racist country, Brian. We've never been a racist country." As to whether the USA currently is a racist country, your mileage may vary. As to whether the USA ever has been a racist country, there can be little doubt when the most important of our founding documents reinforced slavery as an institution and defined its victims as three-fifths of a person. "Blacks are by nature inferior to whites" would have been a little more explicit, but not by much.

She's running a con. Haley adds "I know. I faced racism when I was growing up..."  However, she was, albeit perhaps through no fault of her own, an intimate part of a bigoted system when she was growing up. In 1989 Haley graduated from Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, an "independent, college-preparatory , coeducational day school enrolling students in preschool through twelfth grade," which was formed from the merger of Wade Hampton and Willington Academy. 

The academy was founded in 1964 for parents to circumvent the integration of public schools which had begun in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Or as "a group of Orangeburg parents" stated, "separate private school facilities must be provided...)to) avoid the pernicious 'experiment' being foisted upon the people of this state and nation."

And so in 1971, all 1500 students were white. In 1989, the year one of its graduates was the future presidential candidate, only one of its students was black, and he then moved out-of-state. In 2007, 90% of the town's public school students were black while 95% of Orangeburg's students were white.

Haley may have faced racism as a young person. We know for certain, however, that she studied at a segregated academy existing so white students wouldn't have to attend school with black students.

This "I personally have endured racism but this is not a racist country" game has been played before. Delivering the GOP rebuttal to President Biden's State of the Union address in 2021, Senator Tim Scott claimed

I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I’m shopping. I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would open the newspaper and read it — I thought....

I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called “Uncle Tom” and the n-word by progressives, by liberals.

Then with no apparent sense of self-awareness, Scott declared "America is not a racist country."

The message is "America is exceptional- but I've always been a victim."  And so it is with former UN ambassador Haley, who not only contends "I faced racism while growing up" but that the USA never has "never been a racist country." Never.

Maybe it's something in the water in South Carolina, which Haley previously served as governor and Scott still serves as a United States Senator. Or perhaps it is prompted by the difficulty of being a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, a race Scott withdrew from in November.

More likely, it is "of color" individuals trying to have it both ways. Republican voters don't want to acknowledge flaws in American psyche or in the narrow narrative of America the Greatest which has been predominant in our national culture and, until recently, our educational system. At the same time, they want to remind primary voters that they can nominate someone who would allow them to deny being racist or being part of a racist party, a "some of my best friends are colored" candidate. And, of course: victim.

In a generous interpretation, Nikki Haley has a complicated relationship with the Civil War. However, it could be less complicated than simple hypocrisy. and it may be difficult to discern definitively her motive. However, the left-wing media, itching for a Republican nominee and President who is not a white male, should ask this one how she would describe considering people 40% inferior because of their race.

Monday, January 15, 2024

He Went to a Fight, and Texas Broke Out

I can't see the future, although I believe in Iowa tonight Donald Trump will crush Ron DeSantis and Ron DeSantis will crush Nikki Haley (momentum be damned).   But it doesn't take much to foresee mob violence in our future. An ardent Zionist, usually correct (and always right) about Israel, would not be appalled at this thought:

It had to happen somewhere, and it did when

A brawl broke out during a campaign speech by Texas Governor Greg Abbott after a protester disrupted the event.

The Texas governor was giving a speech in Collins County when an alleged pro-Palestinian heckler interrupted him. While what the protestor said to Abbott is not clear, it was met with immediate boos as a group of attendees swiftly attempted to remove him from the event, which was held in support of Texas Rep. Candy Noble.

The demonstrator yelled "don't f***ing touch me!" as a group of attendees, some in cowboy hats, shoved and pulled him toward the door. One can be seen grabbing the demonstrator's jacket and pulling him before others join in. CBS Texas has reported there were two demonstrators at the event on Saturday, but Newsweek has not been able to confirm this.

The video, which has been posted on social media by numerous accounts, has divided opinion. Responding to a post with the video by political commentator and Donald Trump supporter Anthony Hughes on X, formerly Twitter, user Dianna Dull wrote: "Don't mess with Texas!!!"

This is exactly how it's not supposed to be done- not in a society which values open expression, tolerance- and yes, enforcement of the law. The brawl in Texas represents not only mob violence but also the failure of police to enforce the law. If police sit idly by as they neglect to perform their duty, there will be serious outbreaks of violence which will lead to injuries and, eventually, death.

This guy is wrong on two counts:

Not only turned on the attack on the protestor, he is unaware that "Don't Message with Texas" has nothing to do with beating up people one disagrees with, the state's prolific use of the death penalty, or being a macho, macho man. Rather, it's a slogan promoting a campaign by the state's Department of Transportation urging residents to reduce littering on Texas roads.

Hostility paired with ignorance is not a prescription for a more perfect union or domestic tranquility, and will become increasingly common in the decade ahead.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

It's Almost As If Germany Understands Genocide

As bombs continue to rain down upon Amman, the capital city of a nation including approximately three million Palestinians, South Africa has leveled a charge of genocide against the State of Israel at The Hague in the Netherlands. Both sides have presented their case and a decision will be handed down at a later date.

Of course, Israel has not attacked Jordan, a reality seemingly lost on South Africa, which accuses Jerusalem of being "intent on destroying the Palestinians as a group in Gaza" while trying to "bring about the destruction of its Palestinian population." (CNN)

Were Gaza populated by Slavs, that group would be the innocent victims of Israeli bombs welcomed by Hamas. . If it were populated by Scandinavians, that group would be the victim. They are Palestinians, so they are the victims, and not because of some racist plot. Were Israel trying to annihilate Palestinians as a group, there would be aerial assaults elsewhere- including in Amman- in the region.

South Africa is trying to rope all Palestinians in with the Gazans. Among its charges is “The acts and omissions by Israel complained of by South Africa are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.” Not Gazans, but Palestinians- which the charging party is unable to identify as a distinct national, racial, or ethnic group. Nonetheless, "genocide."

Germany is one of the countries the past several decades most appalled by, and wary of, genocide, Fortunately, the western European nation now has weighed in, as a third party, on the side of the victim and against the perpetrator while a representative of the German federal government explains

My personal and political opinion is that one can criticize the Israeli military for using harsh measures in the Gaza Strip. However, that does not constitute genocide. Those who would commit genocide, or desire to do so if given the opportunity, are Hamas. The annihilation of the State of Israel is on their agenda. So we can understand the slogan "from the river to the sea" as not meaning that Jews should leave Israel by boat but as an extinction fantasy. Accusing Israel of genocide is a complete distortion of victims and perpetrators in my view and is just wrong.

The South African action needs to be put into context. When a senior Hamas delegation visited South Africa, in early December, the Jewish News Syndicate noted

South Africa is one of few countries that is not only sympathetic to the Palestinian cause despite officially advocating for a two-state solution, but recognizes Hamas as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

 Last week, the National Assembly, South Africa’s parliament, voted 248–91 to close the Israel embassy and suspend diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. While the resolution is nonbinding, it has sent a chilling message to South African Jews.

While Berlin is obviously aware of the rise of anti-Semitism in many nations in the east and west, its understanding of the stakes involved in the charge of genocide may go far beyond. The JNS continues

Howard Sackstein, founder of the Jewish Anti-Apartheid movement and chairperson of the South African Jewish Report, told JNS: “South Africa’s foreign policy is stuck in the 1960s Cold War with deep ideological revolutionary attachments to the oppressive regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and Palestine. Although claiming to support a two-state solution, for the South African government, Israel is a colonial manifestation of Western imperialism.”

This is the observable reality of the current Mideast conflict, one that Germany is well positioned to understand while unable for strategic purposes to put forward.  Call it a dirty little secret- for many nations, the issue is not Hamas vs. Israel, Gaza vs. Israel, or Palestine (Palestinians) vs. Israel. Were it so, there would be an active and effectual effort in the Middle East to create a Palestinian state or to welcome Palestinians into their own country. 

As Sackstein reaIizes, Israel is perceived in some quarters in the East as "a colonial manifestation of Western imperialism". And so it is that South Africa now has notified Washington that it is suing the USA because of the latter's support of Israel in its war against Hamas. 

Israel's fight is not only Israel's fight as the current conflict in the Middle East morphs into a struggle of East vs. West. Disturbingly, if Germany has an inkling of this, it may be the only country in the West which is even starting to figure it out. 


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Target: Israel

This is accurate, although a little misleading.

AP News reported in early December that

Hamas officials joined members of Nelson Mandela’s family in laying wreaths at a statue of the statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner in South Africa on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.

Former Hamas government minister Basem Naim is in South Africa as part of a delegation and joined Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, and others at the ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of the South African government.

South Africa has been vocal in its support of the Palestinian cause for years and has strongly criticized Israel over its response to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas. South Africa has previously compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to its own past apartheid system of racial oppression.

And condemn Israel President Cyril Ramaphosa has done, claiming a "deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water" as "tantamount to genocide." However, he also has condemned Hamas for its attack of October 7, 2023.

The problem lies less with South Africa than it does with the United Nations as a body.  Twenty days after the brutal terrorist attack upon Jews because they were Jews, when the event still was fresh in everyone's mind, the General Assembly

demanded the unhindered provision of essential aid to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, as the body continued its emergency session on the situation in the Middle East. The Assembly also failed to unequivocally reject and condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 7 October.

The United Nations did not even see fit to condemn definitively a crime against humanity more than twice as great per capita as any terrorist attack in history. Yet

In 2023, EU member states voted for one resolution each on the human rights situations in Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Crimea, the U.S. for its embargo on Cuba, and Russia for its war in Ukraine. See second table at bottom, showing resolution texts and votes. By contrast, EU states often voted in favor of nearly all 14 resolutions singling out Israel.

These same EU states have failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution this year on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries.

Tweeter Bachram accurately notes that South Africa has little moral high ground to denounce Israel, thanks to the public support given Hamas by Nelson Mandela's grandson (who is no Nelson Mandela)  and the government's claim that Israel is conducting actions "tantamount to genocide" bespeaks an ignorance of genocide. However... oh, there is no however.

But the larger problem is the United Nations. This is not your grandfather's United Nations, rather an organization made up of member nations which wish the one democratic state in the Mideast would go away, perhaps as victim of the genocide it accuses Israel itself of.  Ultimately, world peace and justice would benefit if the organization would move to the middle of this country, such as to South Dakota, Nebraska, or Kansas, which might provide a great environment to raise a family but would be of no interest to the men and women from abroad who come to New York City, New York to promote a more dangerous world.

One of Our Own, Or So He Says

So do your thing ,Charles! Stephen A. Smith on Fox News on Wednesday night commented I got to tell you something. As much as people may ha...