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Netanyahu at it again.

4 May, 2014

Benjamin Netanyahu wants to redefine Israel as “the nation-state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people” Here. What an interesting notion: anyone living in Israel who is not Jewish would be considered a minority. Netanyahu mentioned Arabs in this reassurance, but his new law would affect many other non-Israelis living there as well.

Imagine becoming an official minority because you did not share the religion of founders. The U.S. might follow Israel’s example and declare itself a nation-state of Christians only, but promising to protect the rights of its minority citizens who are not Christian. Suddenly one’s neighbor might become a “minority citizen” by law.

The idea of minority citizen is one which the U.S. has striven and still strives to rid itself of. It is repulsive to me, because as a child I raised by parents born of two immigrants and though they had work here and though my father became an educated man and did well , we lived as children as outsiders. My parents grew up in tenements: their parents world was circumscribed by non-acceptance. Those barriers took three generations to fall, but in the U.S. there are still minorities whose rights are supposedly protected but who suffer simply because they are minorities.

I hope that the final vote will deny Netanyahu this bizarre notion that Democracy and citizenship can be separated in the modern world. Tzipi Livni said she could only support legislation where “Jewish and democratic would have the same weight, not more Jewish than democratic, nor more democratic than Jewish” HERE. Let’s hope that her point of view prevails in an already troubled Middle East.

U. S. Senate and Feinstein’s Committee protect Clapper again.

28 April, 2014

A provision passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in November of 2014 and included in a bill about to be brought to the Senate Floor so offended Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, that he asked Diane Feinstein to remove it. The provision would have required the President of the U.S. to issue a yearly report to the public about the deaths of “combatants” and “non-combatants” as a result of drone attacks. Evidently Clapper thought the President did not have the means to appropriately disclose information to the public without interfering with Clapper’s needs. He suggested to Feinstein that

“To be meaningful to the public, any report including the information described above would require context and be drafted carefully so as to protect against the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods or other classified information. … We are confident we can find a reporting structure that provides the American people additional information to inform their understanding of important government operations to protect our nation, while preserving the ability to continue those operations,” HERE

Pardon me for thinking that the President’s staff could prepare a report to the people of the U.S. that had context, was carefully drafted, and did not in any way interfere with or reveal information vital to the security of the country. (I say this despite the fact that I am not overly fond of President Obama’s record so far.)

Perhaps James Clapper is so worried about what the citizens of this country might learn that he has to continually dissemble and manipulate the information we are given about what is being done in our names. Perhaps he is simply so full of his own authority that he can not concede that he lives in a democracy or at least the remnants of one. Fortunately for him he has Diane Feinstein to cater to his need to protect his secrets
whatever they may be.

Obomba opened his mouth once too often.

21 April, 2014

When our resident Bomber-in-chief told us that he ordered the drone strike that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, he opened a unexpected constitutional door, something I’m sure he never intended.

Despite the government’s claim that the papers relating to the strike could not be released, and despite the fact that a circuit court judge had upheld that argument, government officials talked about the strike (including our “I’m really good at killing people” president my post HERE).

Luckily for us, a panel of judges ruled that after government officials had talked about the strike, there could no longer be any objection about releasing information requested by the ACLU and 2 reporters for the New York Times.

Whatever documents pertain to the decision for the drone strike must now be released. Citizens of the U.S. will now have a chance to understand what drives the choice to kill another U.S. citizen without trial in open court. Whether this will simply be a precedent for democracy or a lesson for the government to keep its secrets secret remains to be seen.

full story HERE at the New York Times

CIA joins NSA in hot seat. Obama to protect them.

11 April, 2014

A leak of a list of findings by the Senate Intelligence Committee HERE indicates that the CIA lied, denied its use of brutality during interrogations, misled the press, the public and the government, and spied on the the Committee’s members who were assessing the program itself , in addition to brutalizing many more detainees than it has admitted to.

Dianne Feinstein has asked the White House to release the report to the public so that we may know what has been done in “our name.” but the White House seems to be balking. In fact:

the White House announced last week that the CIA will lead the executive-branch panel that will recommend how much of the Senate report’s executive summary, findings and recommendations to make public, a decision blasted by human-rights groups and intelligence scholars as a conflict of interest. HERE [EMPHASIS MINE]

A lawyer who would appoint the suspect to investigate himself becomes suspect by his actions, but evidently Obama feels no need to justify himself nor to protect the Constitution. I wonder where his true allegiance lies.

One thing is certain: things have certainly changed in the U.S.

Oregon family blames cat for its own behaviour

12 March, 2014

The story of a 22 pound Himalyan which trapped its owners and their seven month old baby in their bedroom HERE was brought to my attention by my daughter last night Today, I listened to the recording of the husband’s emergency call and discovered that he had misrepresented the facts. According to the original story, the baby had pulled the cat’s tail and the cat had responded (as most cats will) by slashing at her attacker. According to the father, the boy had only one or two tiny scratches on his forehead.

However, the father reacted in a rather violent manner himself by kicking the cat hard and the cat became enraged thereafter going after the parents.

I have throughout my lifetime owned cats and dogs and know that they can sometimes inflect slight wounds when threatened, but I also know that cats can be gently distracted when threatened. Nowhere did I find a reference indicating that the animal handler who answered the emergency call was attacked.

In this instance, the owners of the cat indicated that the animal had a history of violence. So I wonder why they kept the violent cat, allowed it to have access to a seven-month child. Would they have kicked an older child if it had scratched the baby in retaliation?

I have in my life lived with cats and dogs and for many years with children present as well. Right now, I have a five year old grandchild, a dog, a 3 cats. The child respects the animals and they respect her. Occasionally, the animals inflict a minor scratch on us but none of us has ever responded by kicking the animal. They know by a simple “no” or a
word of pain, “ouch,” that they have done wrong. It’s about training and patience and if you don’t have any, don’t live with animal.

At present the owners are trying to decide what to do with the cat. The only real options are to “to put it down” or to put it up for adoption. Please, please someone step forward and offer this cat a home where it can live out it’s life. Some kindness and training might reveal another sweeter side of its character.

Anyone else agree?

President Obomba

10 March, 2014

While reading a story about the UN special rapporteur on human rights calling on states to assume greater responsibility for the death of civilians during drone strikes, I found this paragraph:

“At the time of writing, there have been no reported drone strikes during 2014, the longest pause since President Obama took office,” Emmerson said. HERE

Of course, it was no surprise, since we all know that our President has admitted to being very good at killing people, HERE

The report is part of a Human Rights Commission attempt to require inquiries whenever civilians have been endangered, injured, or killed as a result of a drone attack. Most of the attacks cited in the story were carried out by U.S. drones, but Israel was also cited for its attacks in Gaza.

Pakistan asked the U.S. to stop its drone attacks because the government felt that civilian deaths were creating a backlash of anger and that the attacks were doing more harm than good. According to Emmerson, when the attacks in Pakistan stopped there was an increase in the number of attacks in Afghanistan.

Guess the U.S. can’t have those drones going unused; the President’s kill rate might to down.