Sunday, October 13, 2019

No Honor In America

It's getting close to sundown and I have a lot to do before I'm ready for shul and Sukkot adventures with Little Miss over the next two days. This is kinda a family tradition that started when I was a kid. On yontiff we went to shul in the morning and then had an interesting afternoon, usually at home or with friends who were also out of school. With my kids, we had shul in the morning, followed by lunch in the sukkah and adventures with moms and friends. My favorite was always when I arranged for a trail ride at the gone but not forgotten Diamond T Ranch where I worked mucking stables, handling horses, and leading trail. Ah, those were the days! (No money ever changed hands!)

Little Miss and I have specific things we like to do after lunch in the sukkah. We go to Como Park. It's free. This year, we're hoping it's warm enough to walk the Japanese Garden and the Zoo. Then dinner in the sukkah at Sean and Katherine's. Tuesday will bring another lunch in the sukkah followed by a visit to Uncle Misha's friend Ben at the Science Museum. I'm a member; it's free. We will go "backstage" to see wondrous things regular folks don't get to see. 

And as much as I will love doing all these things with her, I will not be unaware. 

Memorial commemorating the murder
of the Jews in Golovanevsk, Ukraine
On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Holocaust Memorial in Westchester County, dedicated to the murder of 900 Jews in the Ukraine, was defaced. On Yom Kippur day, a gunman tried, but failed, to enter a synagogue in Halle, Germany. Feckless Leader turned his back on one of our long standing alliances and is forcing millions of Kurds to flee their homes...again...leaving them to be slaughtered by the Turks.

Now for the part I don't get:  Turks are Muslims. Kurds are Muslims, most are the Palestinian Muslims. There are about 2,000,000 Kurds in Syria. Currently they are being slaughtered by the Turks. We see videos. We hear eyewitness reports. And in America we hear silence.

Where is Ilhan Omar? Where is Rashida Tlaib? Don't those Sunni Muslims matter at all? Where are the demonstrations and the protests? Where is the outcry?

Dozens of IDF reservists have called on Israel to provide military and humanitarian support to the Kurds in Syria following Turkey’s attack in the north of the war-torn country.
“We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by when we see another nation abandoned by its allies and left defenseless,” read an online petition started by Maj. (res.) Yair Fink. “We remember very well the blood of our people, what happens when the nations of the world abandon the fate of a people.”  
The petition, signed by dozens of reservists with the ranks ranging from captain to lieutenant colonel, was addressed to Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. 
The letter was sent shortly before the prime minister himself announced intentions to offer support to the Kurds. 
The petition called on Israel to provide food, clothing, medicine, intelligence and military assistance to the Kurds in northern Syria. 
“Israel is a country that has the means to help the Kurdish people, and now is the time to do so,” it read, adding that while “we know that there are broad strategic implications here, and of course we are not fully aware of the overall picture, we, who have been educated on the values of personal examples and the sanctity of life, cannot help but feel it at this time and would be happy to assist in any action.”

These are important voices in Israel and they are being heard. Israel is reportedly sending emergency aid to the Kurds. That's because Israelis are a racist, apartheid nation that cares for no one but itself. Really? What is the US doing besides removing all the troops from Syria?

From the Times of Israel:
Dozens of Israelis joined thousands of others across Europe Saturday protesting against the Turkish assault on Kurds in northern Syria.
Holding signs reading “never again,” and warning against a genocide of the Kurdish people, some 100 people gathered at Jerusalem’s Paris Square outside the Prime Minister’s Residence to demonstrate against the Turkish offensive and show solidarity with the Kurds. 

“As a Jew, I cannot watch what is happening and remain silent,” organizer Roni Lesser said, according to the Ynet news website. “My daughter just returned from a trip to Poland and we are speaking about ‘never again’.”
It's a beginning. This will take root. Israelis know all too well that what happens to the Kurds can happen to them when the world turns its back.

Where are the demonstrations here? Why are Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez silent? Maybe they like Kurds as much as they like Jews. There are Kurds living in this country. Ask them how they feel right now. 

I don't know if a happy chag is possible this year, knowing people are being erased from the earth because our President unilaterally decided to abandoned them.

You tell me. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Hug your kids and your grandkids. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

What We Can and Cannot Do

Well, once again, it's the night before Kol Nidre, the eve of Yom Kippur. Instead of being at work today, I slept. Pretty much the third day in a row, felled by a lousy cold. Thankfully, I had already scheduled tomorrow, and of course, Wednesday off, but now I will need tomorrow to get my act together for atoning. 

I pretty much know who I pissed off this year, and I've tried to be more consistent with dealing with issues in a timely manner. There were some apologies accepted, others not so much. I worked to own my own behavior, good and bad, and face the unpleasant parts in short order. I dislike having things hanging over my head. I also know there is one apology, made with as much contrition as humanly possible, that will never be accepted. I won't go into the details; suffice it to say, I was wrong, I recognized I was wrong almost immediately, and I apologized at once. It wasn't enough.

We all own what comes out of our mouths and keyboards. If we said it or typed it, we own it. There is no spell-check defense for being an asshole verbally or in print. And the unrelenting instant response makes it way too easy to be just that kind of media is a breeding ground, as we all know. The problem with tweeting-while-pooping is that the excreting of bodily waste seems to give us some sort of cosmic permission to excrete verbal waste at the same time. There should not be a correlation here, but.....

Today, the United States turned its back on a long standing alliance and threw an entire ethnic group under the tanks, not simply the bus. The abandonment of the Kurds says a lot to the rest of the world, none of it very nice. We, the People, have vacated our traditional place as staunch ally who can be trusted. That is no longer a given. We really are not who we once aspired to be. If we ever really were. Hard to say these days.

As individuals, there is little we can do to change the course of this country until the 2020 elections....if they happen. I'm not so sure. The deeper into the international maelstrom we sink, the more I fear for suspension of government. Feckless Leader intimates he will not leave office if he is not re-elected. Even as a joke, this scares me. He's coming to Minneapolis this week for a "rally." that scares me, too.

As I turn inward for the next two days, I will examine and re-examine the past year. I will look to see what I can do better. The forgiveness I will seek will be between me and the Holy One; the KBH (Kodesh Boruch He...or Hu..aka the Holy One) cannot forgive for things I've done to others. 

G'mar chatima tova: may you all be inscribed for a good, kind, and peaceful year. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Fix what you can. Own what you can't. 
Find a way to make peace with yourself as well as others. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

L'shana Tova 5780

Hey, folks, no into...i mean blog......this week.

Preparation for Rosh ha'Shana has eaten my brain and I just plain ran outta time to toss something over the wall before sundown.

Therefore, I will take this opportunity to wish all my readers....regardless of any distinguishing ethnic/social/gender distinction...a happy and sweet new year!

Let's welcome 5780 with a grin and a hug and a hope of less strife. 

L'shana tovah to all!

The WP Tip o'the Week
Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot fix,
then work on what you can control.

Monday, September 23, 2019

It's Easier Being Sheep

I thought I was going to write about the elections in Israel, but they have been upstaged by events in the oval office. Which got me to thinking about Richard Nixon. 

Nixon leaving the White House the day after
his resignation. Really
A little more than 47 years ago, on July 23, 1972, a tape recording was made in the White House. That tape came to be known as "the smoking gun." You can read the transcript for yourself. It's not very long, but it's important because it created an opening to view the depths of the deception taking place in the office of the President of the United States. 

The decision to bring articles of impeachment against Nixon was short-circuited by the recent appointment of Gerald Ford to replace Spiro Agnew as vice president. Nixon understood the Constitution provided a way for the new president to pardon him, but there was a problem: Article II section 2 of the Constitution gave a president the power to pardon, except in Cases of Impeachment. Here's the actual text:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
There's more, but it doesn't have much to do with the subject at hand.  

The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Justice Warren Burger (a conservative and Minnesotan to boot) stated:

To read the Article II powers of the president as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of 'a workable government' and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III."                                          Wikipedia on Executive Privilege

Justice Burger also asserted "Those cases were crucial... because they endorsed the necessity of maintaining the rule of law in our system of government, even when this collided with the ambitions of a single president."

The court, however, was not finished. In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the court held that no person was above the law, not even a sitting president. (Supreme Court v. Richard Nixon.)

Because Nixon only held out for general confidentiality, SCOTUS further clarified:

Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive's Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive's claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These 'occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches' are likely to be avoided whenever possible.     
United States v. Nixon
This stuff is from long before Feckless Leader and his full frontal attack on the Constitution. And it's important to note this is not the first time a sitting president has tried to end-run the constraints of this office. Justice Burger cited two specific cases as rational for the Court's decision: the trial of Aaron Burr, and the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Justice Burger had argued both cases in moot court during law school, and both cases had a profound impact on his thinking. In an interview several years before his death, he stated, "both cases were vitally important because they suggested that presidential power sometimes had to yield to the good of the system of government and the nation." 

Okay, that's the line that pays: yield to the good of the system of government and the nation.

The calls for impeachment of the current president are picking up steam and not without cause. The conversation with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky cannot be dismissed as blowhard bullshit. This is beyond unethical; it sets a dangerous precedent and intimates this president's influence can be bought.

Had President Obama been exposed as strong-arming a foreign leader, Moscow Mitch and his cabal would've been erecting gallows on the lawn of the White House. 

As much as I understand and, to a certain degree, agree with Pelosi's reluctance to instigate the process. The time has come to seriously consider the options.

But wait! That would make Mike Pence the new president. 

If you thought we were barreling toward Gilead before, Pence is the conductor on the bullet train. 

He really does have little hands.
This past week has been full of news of the weird, beginning with the revelations about Ukraine. People are carrying on about vaping, demanding bans but when compared to the number of children who have died at the hands of lunatics with semi-automatic weapons, you gotta wonder where our priorities are. And then Mike Pence drove in a motorcade on Mackinac Island. Really? Is nothing sacred?

No. Nothing is sacred. Not the lives of our children. Not the lives of our citizens. Certainly not the lives of refugee children and immigrants. Not the environment. Not the oceans or the skies. Once upon a time, We, the People of the United States led the way in the struggle to repair our planet. We were the innovators and the driving force pushing for making it better. Not so much these days. 

I'm not all that convinced we have the stomach for it anymore. It's much easier being sheep.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Rosh ha'Shana, the Jewish New Year, begins next Sunday night.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a sweet, healthy, and happy 5780.