Netanyahu Returns

In June 2021, just 18 months ago, I wrote

“Israel’s Prime Minister for the past 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu, is officially out of power.  In his place is Naftali Bennett who was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59.

What this will mean remains to be seen.  Over the past 12 years, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics. He’s not only successfully implemented a series of right-wing policies, such as entrenching Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but also consolidated a dangerous amount of power in his own hands. He is currently on trial for corruption charges stemming from, among other things, his attempt to buy off media outlets.”

Given the amount of turmoil and political chaos here in the U.S. over the past several years, it’s no surprise that I have not kept up as much as I would like with events ‘round the globe, so imagine my shock when I read last month that Netanyahu will be returning to power.  According to an article on November 3rd in Al Jazeera …

A coalition led by the right-wing former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a majority of seats in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, allowing the controversial figure to return to power.

Final election results announced on Thursday show that Netanyahu and his ultranationalist allies – many of whom were considered beyond the pale in Israeli politics only a few years ago – won 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, with 32 of those seats going to Netanyahu’s party, Likud.

As prime minister-delegate, Netanyahu is in the process of forming Israel’s most extreme right-wing government to date.  Two groups of people stand to lose the most in the immediate future:  Palestinians and the LGBTQ community.  A moving article by a Palestinian lawyer, Diana Buttu, helps us understand some of the trepidation by Palestinians living in the West Bank, saying that, “The atmosphere of racism is so acute that I hesitate to speak or read Arabic on public transportation. Palestinian rights have been pushed to the back burner.”

I find it amazing that a nation populated by the descendants of the most persecuted people ever in history can be so bigoted against another group of people.  Did the Jewish people learn nothing from the fact that another racist, Adolf Hitler, was directly responsible for murdering some six million of their grandparent’s generation, for trying to eradicate their entire populace?  I’ve said before that Netanyahu is a bigot, and that so many were willing to vote his party back into power, knowing he would be once again elevated to Prime Minister, makes me wonder what the people of Israel are thinking … or are they even thinking?  Are they like some portion of people in this country who don’t think about who would be the best leader, but rather who puts on the best show?

Already Netanyahu’s new coalition allies are pondering laws against the LGBTQ community.  Netanyahu is set to form the most ultranationalist and religious government in Israel’s history between his Likud movement and several openly anti-LGBTQ parties. This has raised fears among Israel’s LGBTQ community that the new government, expected to take office in the coming week, will roll back gains made for LGBTQ rights in Israel in recent years.  Netanyahu insists that there will be no harm to LGBTQ rights in his upcoming government, but already several of his coalition partners are planning to curtail the rights of the LGBTQ community.

One member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has posited that hospitals should be allowed to refuse to serve LGBTQ people.  Another said that private business owners, such as hotel operators, should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ “if it harms their religious feelings.”  Harms their religious feelings???  WTF???

Again, I shake my head at the bigotry coming out of a country peopled by those who suffered the most from the same sort of bigotry 70 years ago.  I see no good to come out of Netanyahu’s return to power and I find it highly puzzling.  Netanyahu is set to be sworn in on Thursday, although I understand there are still some hurdles to be scaled before that can happen.  On an international level, I see this as yet one more right-wing authoritarian regime being added and I find it deeply concerning.

Post-Weekend Snarky Snippets

Jill is the name, snark is the game!

Shoot the monkeys into space!

Hey folks … do you happen to have an extra $28 million lying around somewhere?  If so, guess what … you could be shot into space with none other than the world’s wealthiest man, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos!  Oops … never mind … scratch that, for someone has already paid da price for this … er … opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s right … apparently there was an auction on Saturday hosted by Bezos’ Blue Origin company, and an anonymous bidder topped the bidding at $28 million for the “opportunity” to join Bezos in space.  The fool’s bidder’s name is to be announced soon, according to Blue Origin.  I will only say that … I see this entire thing as a huge waste of time and money.  Mr. Bezos and this ‘anonymous bidder’ could give every dime spent on this useless venture to starving children around the globe and I would have far more respect for them than I have under present circumstances.  Happy space travels and I don’t really care if you return or not.

C’mon man … ride da bike

Now, I’ll grant you that UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks as if he could really use two things:  a haircut and some exercise.  But I had to laugh when I read that President Biden gifted Boris with a bicycle during the G7 summit this past weekend.

And he even threw in a helmet …

And in return, Boris gave President Biden a framed picture of a mural showing the US anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass.

And here we were afraid the two wouldn’t get along!

Bye-Bye Bibi!

Israel’s Prime Minister for the past 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu, is officially out of power.  In his place is Naftali Bennett who was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59.

What this will mean remains to be seen.  Over the past 12 years, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics. He’s not only successfully implemented a series of right-wing policies, such as entrenching Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but also consolidated a dangerous amount of power in his own hands. He is currently on trial for corruption charges stemming from, among other things, his attempt to buy off media outlets.

The new government is a coalition of eight parties coming from right, left and center, with the only thing bringing them together being to oust Netanyahu.  I see bumpy roads ahead!

Bennett, of the far-right Yamina Party, will serve as prime minister — a job he’ll keep for two years while Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid Party, serves as foreign minister. After two years, they will rotate, with Lapid taking the top position and Bennett in the cabinet. During the whole period, both of them will have veto power over policy — so even while Bennett is nominally Lapid’s boss, the latter will be able to block the former’s moves at will.  If you think the U.S. Senate is a stalemate, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

Perhaps the single most important … nay, crucial issue at the moment is the conflict with the Palestinians.  On this issue, Bennett supports annexing much of the West Bank and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, while Lapid supports a two-state solution negotiated with the Palestinian leadership.  All of which leads me to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue for at least the next two years, likely much longer.  More lives, mostly Palestinian, will be lost, more tension will rise in the Middle East, and very little will have changed.  I could be wrong.  I hope I am.

Gonna be a long, hot summer

The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been on edge since the brutal murder of George Floyd by a police officer, Derek Chauvin.  Chauvin was tried and convicted on numerous charges and now awaits sentencing. Then on June 3rd, Minneapolis police shot and killed yet another Black man, Winston Smith.  Last night just after 11:30 p.m., a group of peaceful protestors were holding a vigil against police brutality in Minneapolis when suddenly a man drove a car into the group, killing one woman and injuring three other people.

Recently, the state of Oklahoma passed a bill into law that effectively allows drivers to hit people with a car under certain very vague circumstances.  Florida recently passed a similar bill.  Fortunately, at this time Minnesota does not have one … the driver of the car has been arrested and will likely be charged with, at the very least, vehicular manslaughter.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks, not only in Minneapolis, but across the nation.  The very last thing we need in this country are states telling people that it’s okay to run over people with a car, that there won’t be any repercussions, no price to pay.  Welcome to the new United States, a country where right is wrong, up is down, and the law is only on your side if you’re white, Christian, straight, and a male.

When Waves Crash — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob Llewellyn

I have been struggling to write a post on the current (ongoing) hostilities between Israel and Palestine, but to no avail. Roger, ever the historian and a savvy one at that, came to my rescue with a post that traces the conflict as we are seeing it today … how did they get here, and where might it go from here? Thank you so much, dear Roger!

When Waves Crash Not Even Rocks Endure

I do not make apologies for the length of this post. No more than anyone would about the time spent sorting out a departed relative’s house full of years’ accumulations. History is filled with objects all cluttered up by careless storage. Unless you are prepared to tidy it you will never gain perspective. You will see references here, please feel free to research them, I will not choose the sites; that will be up to you.

There is this portion of land which can be identified in simplistic terms as Israel and Palestine. This statement is purely for swift identification on a current map of the world. Any other definitions are mired in politics, history and social opinions. It was one of the earliest places of civilisation. The Canaanites being the first identifiable grouping about 3,000 BC. The area in common with most of the civilised habitable world was then fought over by varying groups. Its geography and resources being the cause. They came, they went, they rose, they fell. There was communal violence. When the Ottoman Empire finally collapsed, we arrive at the ‘modern age’. And when this series of Hard Truths from previous centuries’ profligacy came calling. And it is no use anyone complaining about having to recognise History’s part in today’s events, History always plays a part.

Three unavoidable factors are to be taken into account:

  • Firstly, the geopolitical situation of the 19th In the Middle East: sensing the weakness of the Ottoman Empire three European Empires were set on having ‘Interests’. The gallic mix of Secular and Religious. France was ‘claiming’ care of the Catholic populations; Russia, the eternal enigma the Orthodox peoples, which left the then ‘Triumphant’ British without lever. This was solved by ‘discovering’ the Jewish Zionist movement which had been growing after centuries of Anti-Semitic atrocities and lesser prejudices and thus would lead to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which in turn would be at odds with The Macmahon-Hussein Correspondence and the equally contentious Sykes-Picot agreement; the former being someone’s promise to Arabs, the second France and Britain drawing straight lines without thought for the populations.

  • The Second Factor would be ignoring the aspirations of the local populations as European aspirations were being realised and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved. As stated above the empires saw fit to draw lines and assume their wishes were paramount while the natives would have to put up with it and seeing that Europeans in general had a very low opinion of ‘natives’ of any sort that did not bode well. It would only be natural that the peoples would turn to their religion as their own foundation; the later experiment with the secularist option failing.

  • The Third Factor is a repeat. One thousand years of persecution or discrimination of the Jews by Europeans and their colonists wherever they settled. Add to this the recent attempt to exterminate the entire race and it should not be beyond the bounds of perception to realise that Europeans created a problem. In fact, if Israel were an individual with a background of being bullied and brutalised a good defence lawyer could cite a case for leniency at any trial. I could start off a firestorm by asking why some other peoples’ violent excesses are given a free pass in liberal or socialist circles but that would detract.

In the turbulences of the later 19th Century and the whole of the 20th Century which saw old orders demolished, there came the rise of Nationalism and its attendant flaws and there was the Communist Experiment which had its day. And there was war waged on a global and industrial scale, only the pitch and intensity differing. The USA and the USSR invented a system whereby they could be reasonably safe and use other nations. This was The Cold War unless you lived or fought in those nations. By chance and some choice, The USSR sided with The Arab nations and The USA sided with Israel and would grant first political then military largess. Naturally both sides used these with enthusiasm. At first because of a combination of the mindsets of the Cold War and the Guilt of World War II The West sided with Israel, viewing the Arab nations as Communist or proto-communist threats. This ‘generosity’ of spirit continued into the mid-1970s. At this stage in the wake of the Vietnam wars the USA’s reputation was fashionably sullied (but not the USSR’s) and so was anyone associated with them. Thus, the Palestinians became the Good Guys and Israel the Villains, this was not helped by the rise of its own fundamentalist Right which wrote the playbook for its fellow travellers in the USA; ironically, Fundamentalist Christians, normally the first to turn on Jews.

By now The Arab nations in groups or singularly buoyed up by the Oil Weapon had begun to learn how the play The Big Game, and the Palestinian groupings had calculated how to garner world opinion and use alleged radical western politicians and activists. Israel was seen as part of the American Agenda, both nations locked into symbiosis. For a brief interlude there was The Camp David Accord, ever fragile and prey to opportunities and the aftershocks of events in Iran, Lebanon and of course The Cold War.

The die was cast. Trouble was they were loaded.


Battle lines are drawn, folk tales are merged with historical facts and religious works are poured over for selectively picked passages. It’s all old story which only halts when one side suffers a monumental catastrophe, and for the other side, the victory does not seem to give the Golden Promise, just a price to pay. Then in a while there will be another conflict between the victors.

Since the start of the conflict the casualty ledger has been by far greater for the Palestinians, mostly by Israel but with some assistance by Syria, Lebanese militias and Jordan. Israel is demonstrating the classic and ineffective strategy of massive force; it may claim it is being selective, but it does not seem that way. It has an efficient, well-oiled and motivated military. It has a population who in the majority are quite willing to see this as a fight for survival. Quite frankly the more the fashionable wings of the Liberal and Socialist groupings in Europe beat their chests and thump tables in self-righteous knee-jerk indignation, the more the Israeli Government and point to this and say to its population ‘See. It’s the old game again. Blame The Jews,’. As with the Right in its own blind venom against Islam, they are the best recruiting sergeants ever. If anyone in The West, really, genuinely cared they would be contacting those groups within Israel who work against the conflict and the Reactionary Right-wing regime, ask how they can help and make known those groups known in The West. But, oh no ‘Let’s Blame The Jews’; it’s easier (but don’t suggest they are saying ‘Jews’; they get very touchy about that). By the way the same folk were quiet while the Syrian government slaughtered its own folk. They didn’t say a lot when Russia ‘solved’ the problem in Chechnya. Uyghurs? Well, that’s for the Chinese to sort out, and anyway they shouldn’t be religious in a secular state (I’ve seen that argument). Myanmar? Where’s that…Oh Burma…Yeah shame ‘bout that. Selective much?

The Palestinians lost lands they had held for centuries. In the pre-World War II era they protested and there was communal violence. Because they did not have the good fortune to be allowed by all the World Community to have formalised official state with all the acceptable infrastructures, they started out with a disadvantage. Thus whereas Israel has an army and Intelligence Service which carry out ‘surgical’ operations, Palestine has ‘terrorist groups’ and ‘militias’ and patchy recognition. Palestine and Palestinians are proving as resilient, resourceful and dogged as many a people down the centuries. You would have thought the Israelis would have recognised that and decided to look at the long view. Actually, Palestine is playing the long game and Israel is crisis managing. Maybe a different political game, but in geo-military terms the recent lessons are there in Vietnam and Afghanistan for all to see, just a longer and bloodier process.

Thus both sides are locked in. Unless Folk in The West and the Islamic world support those minority or nascent grouping within Israel who are against this war and nurture them, it is set to continue in the short term. History plays that Long Game. There is always a Long Game. And consequences.


Unless folk just work to separate the two and not cheer on their chosen side, or squabble amongst themselves using this war as an excuse, the outlook is bleak.

Israel relies on a rock bed support from the USA now mired in its own politics. If that politics continues to fracture the USA, then it is conceivable the USA as it is now will not be there for Israel.

Though the Fashionable Folk in the West would not like to admit it, there are soft, murky and tacit understandings between Russia and Israel. These currently suit Russia’s purpose. Religiously based forces at odds with Russia’s policies and on her borders on spheres of influence are not to be countenanced. Israel knows Russia’s rules. Those rules could change, Russia does as Russia is. If open hostility to Israel suits, so be it.

The Israel- Palestine war is second in area and recently body count to that between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran. As long as this continues Israel has another layer of security. However as cited above politics shift. Shi’ite Iran was quite content to send ‘volunteers’ to aid President al-Assad from an Alawite family who are by Shi’ite doctrine heretics- so Realpolitik is alive and well. If the tides change Israel would face the two largest, well-armed, trained and battle experienced armies in the region who would be able to call on larger numbers of volunteers. Then in Israel’s last roll of those die will come the nuclear option; tactical of course, which in turn would give rise to a fearsome Jihad, at which stage no one is secure anymore. Then for the ‘good’ of the World Israel as a state becomes disposable; a replay of the Siege of Jerusalem AD70 with another diaspora for the survivors; all of whom irrespective of age or circumstance will be blamed.

And all because we in the rest of The World chose sides, or stood aside, and did not try and work with those would wish for a peace and reconciliation.

You may call it a Regional Conflict; Israeli Brutality; A Biblical Prophecy Coming To Be Seen; A Fight of Palestinian Independence; A Jihad; Something Else.

I call in Another Chapter in Human Folly.

Be offended if you like. In the Court of History I can produce at least 4,000 years’ worth of evidence.

We all have that Blood on our Hands.

Filosofa Stomps Her Feet

STAY BACK!!!!  Filosofa is in a horrid mood … approach at risk of life and limb!!!! 

I am in a horrid mood tonight.  I have expressed hatred toward my body, the country in which I live, and a number of politicos here.  Let me share just a few of the red-hot thoughts rambling through my mind tonight as I wish I were anywhere else but here …

Israeli arrogance

My father was a Jew.  My paternal grandparents narrowly escaped Hitler’s reach, and my great aunt Margaret and great uncle Rip (Rinehart) spent more than two years in Hitler’s death camps.  This was the legacy with which I grew up in a few short years after the Holocaust.  That said, I am not a fan of the Israeli land grab nor of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cruel brand of leadership.  After all this time, I am more empathetic to the Palestinians for what has been done to them than to the Israelis.  The Holocaust ended 76 years ago.  The Jews can only expect to play on the sympathies of the world for so long, and today they have become the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

Yes, both sides share fault, but Israel is greedy and arrogant and … the Palestinians are being/have been driven from their homeland.  Netanyahu deserves a life behind bars while other, less greedy, more functional minds attempt to sort this out.

Male/evangelical arrogance

I am a woman.  As such, there are some things that I consider to be nobody’s business but my own.  One of those things is my body.  If I were pregnant (never mind that, at age 70, it would be something for the record books) and could not afford in one way or another to raise a child, it is MY business, not Ted Cruz’ or Franklin Graham’s or anybody else’s!  If I decide to have an abortion, it is entirely MY business.  Unless, of course, you plan to take my child, raise it as your own, provide for its every need, including a college education?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  It’s a funny thing that those who call themselves “Pro-life” actually don’t give a royal fig about a child’s life once it is born, once their will is forced upon a woman.  At that point, when asked to contribute to that child’s welfare, the blonde airhead “pro-lifer” backs up a few steps, holding her hands out, saying, “Oh no … no no no … this isn’t my problem!”

Evangelicals and the rest can take their ‘right to life’ platform and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!  The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the case of a Mississippi law that, going against the ruling of Roe v Wade, seeks to ban most all abortions.  I realize that the people of Mississippi are not highly educated nor sophisticated, but damn them … they are NOT going to dictate to every woman in this nation!  None of the Justices on the Supreme Court have any idea what it is like to be a single working mom, struggling to raise your children with no damn help!  Listen to Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” sometime … think about those lyrics, so very real for so many of us!

Facebook ‘standards’

A few days ago, Facebook ‘chastised’ me for a comment I left on a post about the ignoble former guy.  They removed my comment several hours after I had posted it and after it had received a number of ‘likes’.  Facebook sent me no less than two messages explaining that my comment violated their ‘community standards’ and after a number of people had given a thumbs-up to my comment.  Frankly, I don’t give a royal shit, for I’ve been considering dumping Facebook for some time now.  But, I admit it galls me a bit that I am chastised for something that is far more mellow than other comments that have been allowed.

Then yesterday, I came across the daily Claytoonz cartoon/editorial, and noticed a note at the end of his post that said …

“I am appealing, but this cartoon has already been removed by Facebook and my account has been suspended for 24 hours. I’ll update if there is a change to that.”

This is the ‘toon that got him suspended …

Being a bit of a mischief maker, and not giving a royal fig if Facebook bans me for life, I copied the ‘toon to my own Facebook page to see how long it would take them to either chastise, or worse yet, ban me.  Twelve hours later, the ‘toon is still on my FB page and I’ve not yet received one of their nasty little notes.  Hmmmm … maybe I’ll have to try harder?

Nite nite …

I am going to bed now, hoping to sleep off this horrible mood that has taken over my psyche, that has made me want to yell at everyone, including my own self.  Buenas noches, amigos.

Did Trump Have A Hand In This? Probably.

One of the things President-elect Biden said he planned to do early in his term was to re-establish the U.S. role in the Iran nuclear agreement that was negotiated and signed under President Obama, but then along came Trump and pulled out of it, leaving our allies scrambling trying to pick up the pieces and salvage the deal.  Yesterday, Biden’s hope for re-joining the agreement may have been shattered.

FakhrizadehOn Friday morning, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was shot and killed in an ambush as he was traveling in a vehicle in northern Iran.  Gunmen waited along the road and attacked Mr. Fakhrizadeh as his car was driving through the countryside town of Absard, in the Damavand region. Mr. Fakhrizadeh was gravely wounded in the attack, and that doctors tried to save him in the hospital but could not.

It is believed by most that Israel was behind the attack, but also that Donald Trump was aware of it beforehand.  Frankly, I have no trouble at all believing it, for a few reasons.  Earlier this month, Trump asked military aides for a plan for a possible strike on Iran but was advised against the idea.  And we cannot forget that it was Trump who, without conscience or understanding what he was doing, ordered a U.S. drone strike in January in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander.

Fakhrizadeh-carRobert Malley, who served as Iran adviser to Obama and has informally advised Biden’s team, said Fakhrizadeh’s killing was among a series of moves that have occurred during Trump’s final weeks that appear to be aimed at making it harder for Biden to re-engage with Iran.

Donald Trump’s niece, Mary, is quoted as saying that if Donald Trump feels “like he’s going down he will bring everyone down with him…He’s going to tear us apart as much as he can on the way out the door.”  And Former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res made a similar statement …

“It’s a matter of wrestling this loss, as it were, from the victory of Biden, and he’ll do anything. And if all else fails, he will burn down the house.”

After the January drone strike that killed Soleimani, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at a U.S. base in Iraq, the closest the U.S. and Iran have come to war in decades.  After yesterday’s killing of Fakhrizadeh, Iran vowed to “strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate’s Middle East subcommittee, said on Twitter that “this assassination does not make America, Israel or the world safer.”

Israel is widely agreed to be the most likely perpetrator. Mossad is reported to have been behind a string of assassinations of other Iranian nuclear scientists – reports Israeli officials have occasionally hinted were true.  If Mossad was indeed behind the assassination, Israel had a closing window of opportunity in which to carry it out with a green light from an American president, and there seems little doubt that Trump, seeking to play a spoiler role in his last weeks in office, would have given approval, perhaps even active assistance.

Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at the Century Foundation, said …

“I think they would have had to get a green light from Washington. I don’t think they would do it without.  In terms of motive, I think it’s just pushing Iran to do something stupid to ensure that the Biden administration’s hands are tied when they come in to pursue negotiations and de-escalation.


The problem is if you keep pushing their buttons, eventually it’s going to work. I don’t know if this is going to be the occasion, but certainly the calls for proper action in Tehran are going to increase across the political spectrum. The hardliners have already started. So it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Iranians to act with restraint.”

Most people who have any understanding of the dynamics in the Middle East were pleased when the Iran nuclear deal was forged in 2015, and horrified when Trump withdrew from the agreement two years later.  For one thing, it was a slap in the face to our allies, but for another it was feared the deal would fall apart and open a door for Iran to move full speed ahead in the development of their nuclear program, to the detriment of the world.  I had high hopes that President-elect Biden would be able to salvage our role in the agreement, but the events of yesterday will no doubt make it harder, if not impossible.

Former CIA director John O. Brennan tweeted that the attack was …

“… a criminal act & highly reckless.  It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits.”

This all could all have been prevented back in February when the United States Senate had the option … nay, the obligation, to convict Donald Trump of the crime of obstruction of justice and could have removed him from office.  Instead, they gave him carte blanche, and now he may well have brought the world to the edge of war.

S-S-Snarky S-S-Snippets!

Folks … the time has come … for … SNARKY SNIPPETS!  Yes, I’ve not done any for at least a day now, and I have several tabs hanging open that I thought would be perfect for a snippet here and there, so … here we go … !!!

Scott-WarrenYou may remember a post I wrote back in May about a man, Scott Warren, who was about to go on trial because he had committed a terrible crime … he had provided food, water and shelter to a pair of immigrants who were crossing the Arizona desert.   Warren was part of a group called No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes that provided immigrants struggling across the desert with food, water, clothing, and a bed for a night.  Humanitarian aid, not anything criminal or seedy … the barest essentials required to sustain life.

His trial that started last May ended in a hung jury, but this time, his second trial, the jury unanimously agreed that he should be found not guilty of harboring undocumented immigrants.  Score one for common sense and decency!!!  Says Warren …


Scott Warren (center) of Ajo, Ariz., celebrates with his attorneys Amy Knight and Greg Kuykendall outside court in Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday.

“The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.”

Back in the early days of Trump’s tenure in office, I did a little thing that brought me a bit of a sense of being a rebel, a part of the resistance.  Every time I was at a bookstore, most often Barnes & Noble, I would turn any Trump books I saw backward on the shelves. I rather saw it as a public service, keeping people from having to look at the face of ugly.  I got caught once or twice, but the staff there all know me and only gave me a wink and a nod for my ‘crime’.  I’ve since stopped doing it, for now there are at least 30 different books on the shelves with Trump’s ugly mug on the front, and I have better things to do with my precious bookstore time than to spend it all turning books around, just making more work for the staff.

Well, it turns out that at the library in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, someone has been hiding books!  Not, mind you, books about Trump or that are favourable to Trump, but rather books that criticize Trump. They wind up misfiled in out-of-the-way corners where readers will be sure not to find them.

Library Director Bette Ammon received a note from the prankster …

“I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.”

anti-Trump-books.jpgWhile none of the books in the latest incidents appear to have been stolen, some have been hidden in ways that made it nearly impossible to find them when patrons wanted to check them out. They have been discovered inexplicably filed in the wrong sections, hidden behind a row of Stuart Woods novels, or shelved with the spine facing inward.

After a local television station did a story about the missing books, one person called Ms. Ammon to praise whomever had hidden them, complaining that the library only carries books that represent a liberal point of view.Idaho-libraryThis isn’t the first time the Coeur d’Alene library has gone through this situation.  Back in the 1970s, Richard G. Butler, a former engineer at Lockheed Martin in California, bought land north of Coeur d’Alene to build a compound for a white supremacist group known as the Aryan Nations.  Long story short, city leaders successfully led efforts to combat the racists, and in 1986 the city was awarded a Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award for its role in combating the hate group and used funds from that prize to establish a collection of human rights literature in the library.

It included books about the Holocaust, the persecution of African-Americans and the history of various religions. Then the books started disappearing.  The library ultimately decided that the best way to protect the books was to put a lock on the floor-to-ceiling glass cabinet where they were kept. They stayed there until Ms. Ammon took over the job in 2005 and decided they should be integrated into the rest of the library’s collection.

The latest wave of book disappearances started in 2018.  Over the months, they found books moved from prominent displays to the wrong stacks, or hidden behind rows of books against a back wall, near a pillar labeled “TEEN ZONE.”  Some dealt with social issues, such as “The Women’s Suffrage Movement.” One book, “Guns Down,” detailed a political strategy for defeating the National Rifle Association.

Hmmmm … I’m getting ideas here … and we will likely be at Barnes & Noble sometime this weekend …

Yesterday, it was announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, making him the first Israeli premier to be indicted while in office.  (Are you listening, Bill Barr?)

The cases against Netanyahu centers on allegations that the prime minister and his wife, Sara, accepted more than $260,000 worth of luxury goods in exchange for political favors and that Netanyahu interceded with regulators and lawmakers on behalf of two media companies in exchange for positive news stories.  Interestingly, during the three years this investigation has been ongoing, Netanyahu has frequently referred to it as a “witch hunt”.  I think Donnie & Benjamin must have gone to the same school to learn how to distract and obfuscate, for they seem to speak a common language!

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, William Barr’s counterpart, made this statement that I think Mr. Barr should read carefully …

“I made this decision with a heavy heart but with a whole heart and a sense of commitment to the rule of law. Law enforcement is not a discretionary matter. It is an obligation that is imposed on us. It is my duty to the citizens of Israel to ensure that they live in a country where no one is above the law and that suspicions of corruption are thoroughly investigated.”

Key phrases here:

  • Rule of law
  • No one is above the law

Rather than hindering the investigation into Trump, William Barr should be taking the role that Mandelblit took and be leading the investigation.  We have the same rights the Israeli people have, to live in a country where corruption is thoroughly investigated and where no one is above the law.

Netanyahu has, predictably, acted in much the same manner as Trump, demanding that an independent body review the prosecution, or “investigate the investigators”.  In a combative address Thursday night, Netanyahu called the indictment “a coup attempt” driven by a corrupt set of prosecutors.  Sound familiar?

Surprisingly, I’ve not seen any response by Trump to Netanyahu’s indictment … perhaps his tweety-machine is broke?  We can only hope.

Just a brief note that today marks 56 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.Kennedy

Well, folks, that’s all the snippets I have time for today, but you know I’ll be back with more before much time passes.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Israeli’s PM Netanyahu Is Siding With Trump And His GOP Cronies Racist Rhetoric/ Policies

Today, the world finds out that Donnie Trump and Benji Netanyahu are brothers in bigotry, in hatred of “other”. The first thing I saw when I woke this morning was that Trump was urging Netanyahu to bar two Congresswomen from traveling to Israel. 15 minutes later, my phone dinged with the “breaking news” that Netanyah had acceded to Trump’s wishes. This, my friends, is the epitome of racial hatred, of white supremacy, or religious exclusion. Our government is now complicit in religious terrorism. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu deserve the positions they hold, and I deem them both evil, greedy, arrogant beings. I will applaud when they are ousted from their positions, hopefully in leg irons and handcuffs. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin


I’m shocked at Israel’s officials decision to bar two Muslim US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel based on an August 15, 2019 demand from the republican President Donald Trump. Until August 15, 2019,  the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had said US Reps. Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

On a personal level, I had literally started planning a trip to Israel, a trip that’s number one on my bucket list. I’m crushed because I can’t visit a country that’s trumpeting/ amplifying the president’s Trumpian Republican Party’s racist rhetoric/ propaganda that GOP officials have chosen to implement as their 2020 campaign strategy. What kind of country does Israel want to become?

If Israelis want an explanation as to why hate crimes in USA have risen dramatically…

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Evangelicals Have Out-Size Influence In President’s Crafting Of US Foreign Policy

When I read this post by Gronda earlier today, I was most disturbed … as I told Gronda in my comment, this was likely the most disturbing thing I have read in years, and that says a lot! Frankly, while I try never to criticize another’s religion, I have to say that what is described here is not religion — it is insanity! Thank you, Gronda, for the thought-provoking post … and for the nightmares I will surely have tonight!

Gronda Morin

Image result for PHOTOS OF Robert Jeffress

For the rapture end times Evangelical Christian true believers, their thinking regarding the Middle East is flawed. They are very versed in discussing their thinking/ version of biblical end times, including the rapture doctrine.

The two members of the republican President Trump’s administration who are steeped in these faith based dogmas are his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

I’ve no problem with Evangelicals practicing their beliefs even though I genuinely do worry that they are being led astray, but when this thinking seeps into the formation of US foreign policies, then I have a problem.

That the Evangelical community have been exerting an out-sized level of influence on current US policies  is exactly what I believe has been happening. What’s worse is that President Trump is very dependent on their support to keep his hold on power. Evangelicals comprise about 35% of his base…

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The Donnie & Bibi Show …

Apparently, the new trend in politics world wide is for leaders of nations to interfere with the results of the elections in other nations.  It has already been proven that Russia played a role in both Brexit and in the U.S. election of Donald Trump.  And now, perhaps Trump feels a need to “pay it forward” by interfering in Israel’s upcoming election.  Or, was Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu part of the scheme by Russia to elect Trump and he’s now repaying the favour?  Either way … he is blindly delving into a situation that he does not understand and where he has overstepped his bounds.

Briefly, Israel seized the Golan Heights area from Syria back in 1967 during the Arab-Israeli War.  Israel annexed the area in 1981 and has claimed it as their own ever since.  However, Israel’s right to the land has been in dispute and the United Nations does not recognize Israel’s claim, as it is contrary to U.N. resolutions that reject the seizure of land by force.  Washington has recognized the Golan Heights as Syrian territory under Israeli occupation since the 1970s, subject to a negotiated settlement between the two nations still technically at war.

Donald Trump, however, signed a “proclamation” recognizing Israel’s authority over the Golan Heights.  Just to be clear, he can recognize or not, and it makes little or no difference.  Well, it makes no difference in any real sense.  What it does do, however, is makes Netanyahu look good to his people, and that is helpful to a man who is under criminal investigation, especially when there is an election coming up.  And, it gained Trump some high praise from Netanyahu …

“Mr. President, over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the Oval Office, but Israel has never had a better friend than you.”

He went on to compare Trump to Cyrus the Great, Lord Balfour and Harry S. Truman, and called him a “very special ‘man’”.  Oh please.

This isn’t the first favour Trump has done for Netanyahu, either.  He pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, which had long been a thorn in Netanyahu’s side, and more recently relocated the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that increased tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and put Palestinians at greater risk.  Experts in Middle-Eastern policy fear Trump’s proclamation may heighten the already existing tensions in the Golan Heights.

Like Trump, Netanyahu has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak, and is not only under investigation in his own country, but has been indicted on a host of charges, including bribery and corruption.  Additionally, he is locked in a tight race against Benny Gantz, a former army chief of staff. The latest polls have Gantz’s Blue and White party leading Netanyahu’s Likud.

“While the entire democratic world sees Trump as an unfortunate historic accident, a harmful, childish imp, for Netanyahu, the U.S. president is … his own private Santa Claus, all year long.” – Yossi Verter, Haaretz

The Middle-East is difficult to understand, and it is a volatile area where one seemingly small thing can lead to violence.  Donald Trump does not understand the situation, has not bothered to try to understand it, and did not even consult, apparently, with his advisors who might have given him better advice.  No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump’s decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.  Trump panders to Netanyahu in much the same way he panders to Russia’s Putin.  One has to ask the question:  Why?  Trump does nothing unless there is something in it for him.  Think about it.

Two Peas In A Pod: Ben & Don

Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a few things in common.  Both are quite wealthy, though neither is in the top 30 wealthiest people in their nation.  Donald Trump is 259th in the U.S., according to Forbes.  They both seem to be attracted to more autocratic leaders, and they have been friends with each other for many years.  They both had an immense dislike of President Barack Obama.  They are both bigots, both despise Iran and want to end or severely limit immigration in their respective countries.  Both have a mainly right-wing following. They also have one other thing in common:  they are both under investigation by their own government.  Mr. Netanyahu is about to be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, whereas Mr. Trump is under investigation for a number of as-yet unspecified charges likely to include corruption, bribery, influencing an election, and obstruction of justice.

Yesterday, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his plans to indict Netanyahu.  Conversely, it is highly unlikely that Trump will be indicted any time soon. While there is absolutely nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits indicting a sitting president, past justice department guidance has held that a sitting president may not be indicted for a crime, and that precedent is likely to either continue or set off legal battles that will last long past the end of Trump’s reign of terror.

Netanyahu is just 40 days from the election that will decide if he sees a 4th consecutive term as Prime Minister.  The charges against him stem in part from trading lucrative official favors for gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars including cigars, Champagne and jewelry, and for flattering news coverage whose value was incalculable.

The news coverage of the investigation into Netanyahu’s corruption and abuse of power have had little effect on his approval ratings, just as the mounting evidence of Trump’s alleged crimes have had little effect on his own approval ratings.  I don’t understand this, for always in the past, a president or Prime Minister was expected to behave in the most circumspect of manners, and if they failed to do so, they were held accountable.  Did it suddenly become ‘okay’ to be a crook, an abuser of women, a liar and a cheat?  I guess I didn’t get that memo.

I’m not sure which of the two coined the phrase first, but just as Trump calls the Robert Mueller investigation a “witch hunt”, so has Netanyahu referred to the investigation into his affairs as a “witch hunt”.  One of them is a copycat.  As Netanyahu’s indictment began to look more and more like a certainty, as the evidence began to pile up, he became more strident and divisive, even alienating some of his own supporters.  Sound familiar?

There’s another Trump/Netanyahu connection.  In one of the charges, Netanyahu stands accused of discussing with the publisher of Yediot Ahronot, one of Israel’s biggest newspapers, the possibility of a deal for favorable coverage: He would press a competing newspaper, Israel Hayom, to curtail its free circulation, and in return Yediot Ahronot would treat Mr. Netanyahu kindlier. Israel Hayom is owned by Sheldon Adelson, the American billionaire casino owner who is a devoted supporter of Mr. Netanyahu’s. Mr. Adelson was also a mega-donor to the Trump campaign in 2016, and as a reward, his wife Miriam was awarded (without qualifications or justification) the Presidential Medal of Freedom last November.  Wow … these rich dudes are thicker than thieves, aren’t they?  Oh wait … they are thieves!


Sheldon & Miriam Adelson  (I guess she could afford the facelifts, huh?)

In another of the charges, Netanyahu is accused of pushing regulatory actions through the Communications Ministry, which he controlled at the time, that were enormously lucrative to Shaul Elovitch, the principal owner of the Bezeq telecommunications giant. In return, Mr. Elovitch arranged for fawning coverage of Mr. Netanyahu and his family in Walla News, a popular website owned by Bezeq.  Trump has Fox News, Netanyahu has Walla News.

If the indictment is handed down, as AG Mandelblit intends, it will be the first time a sitting prime minister has been indicted in Israel, just as it would be the first time a sitting president was indicted in the U.S. if Attorney General Barr were to suddenly find the cojones to do so.  The point in all of this?  Both men are already independently wealthy, yet it wasn’t enough.  They broke laws, abused the power of their office, and breached the trust of the very people who put them in office.  In addition, each have the distinction of having made the world a little less safe and a lot less sane.  Thanks guys.