Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Autocracy is on the Horizon

We have elected an authoritarian, a liar, a womanizer, a tax evader, a sly manipulator, a con artist and a dishonest business man who obviously would like to be rid of the Press.

We live in a dangerous world full of eager and power-hungry leaders. We all know about Putin, of course, and his encroachment into Ukraine, but look at Assad of Syria, a butcher of his own people and publicly supported by Putin. Erdogan of Turkey, who promised to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East is now cracking-down on the media, the intelligentsia, and throwing dissidents into jail, helter-skelter.

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is craftily leading the Israeli people into an apartheid, by boldly allowing settlements to continue; recently he gave his blessing to allow 2500 new “outposts” in the West Bank and 566 settlements in East Jerusalem. All this activity is in response to a Trump presidency and perhaps to deflect attention from a series of recent interrogations by the police into allegations of bribery and graft. Will the settlements begin before he is asked to resign?

Conflicts of interest abound, accusations that he and his wife received expensive gifts and travel from businessmen whose purpose was to influence his decision making.  And, Sara, apparently likes pink Champagne – a lot.   

The cases against Netanyahu are numerous:  one of the charges of bribery results from two recorded phone conversations between him and the editor of one of the most respected newspaper in Israel – the Yediot Ahronot .  

According to an article by Ruth Margalit in The New Yorker, January 13, Mr. Mozes is  heard saying:    
          “I will do everything I can to keep you around for as long as you want.”

Apparently a deal was never agreed upon however, and Mozes continued hitting Netanyahu hard all during the campaign leading up to the election.  And as recently as last month, a headline in the Yediot Ahronot read, “Netanyahu Leads to Disaster.”

Nevertheless, it is obvious Netanyahu attempted to illegally entrap a rival and threaten him: According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Netanyahu was heard saying, 

“If you rake me over the coals before the election, I’ll deal with you.”   This is the prime minister of Israel threatening a representative of the free media in Israel. 

President Trump has only been in office for four days.  Already, he is excoriating our media from his podium and instructing his press secretary to mindlessly do the same.   If he is criticized, he will attack. If his ego is threatened, he will whine as he did in front of the CIA’s wall of honor. He is a disgrace to our country.   

And today: a media blackout was imposed upon the EPA and other federal agencies.  
The VOA (Voice of America) formerly broadcast to citizens outside the U.S. and an unbiased source of news, is now being managed by Trump’s pick for a CEO.  

As Israel Hayom is the voice of the Prime Minister of Israel, so are Breitbart News and Sean Hannity of FOX news, the voices of Trump’s nascent autocracy.

Dark clouds have already begun to obscure the sunshine.   

Monday, January 2, 2017

Don't Cancel Pure Genius!

I loved this show.

I am so sick of the blood letting, the car chases, lovers flopping into bed after banging against walls and tearing their clothes off -- ugh -- the utter disdain for originality AND the constant use of the F-Bomb! This little show is something different with fresh ideas and fresh faces.  It is hopeful and inspiring. The writing could improve, but the over-all concept is hope.  Whether the fictionalized cures could be realistic some day or not, I wouldn't know. Some say yes and some say no.

Nevertheless, we need more shows on Broadcast TV that our children can watch. And this is one with a theme of goodness, generosity and beneficence, rather than greed, arrogance and utter lack of morality,

Israel's Apartheid

I am an American woman and U.S. citizen – a staunch supporter of Israel. 

I’ve admired the Israeli people for years -- long after I got over my teenage infatuation with Ari ben Canaan (Exodus, 1958).  I fervently believed in the courage and fearlessness of the Haganah (now, the IDF), the inherent romantic ideal of the Sabra and the immensely sensible structure of the Kibbutzim.  

The Israeli people brought forth a veritable garden from the dry and rocky Negev Desert. They elected the miraculously astute Golda Meir as their Prime Minister long before most countries would take their women seriously as political leaders. And, they allowed their women to fight!  This is a country to be proud of, I remember thinking – they were resourceful, brainy and courageous.

But then, they elected Benjamin Netanyahu as their Prime Minister and I began to doubt. Netanyahu appears to have no desire for the peace process.  I believe he descends from an innate hatred of the Arabs and thinks the only thing they understand is force; to wit, the long-standing wars and the continued illegal settlements or “outposts” on Palestinian land.  

He is taking the two state solution down the tubes and his answer to Kerry’s reasoned speech on December 28, expressing sentiments that most of us agree with, is to have a temper tantrum and behave like a child.

Of whom does he remind me?   

With doubts about the myriad financial conflicts with our own president elect, we now hear that Prime Minister Netanyahu may himself have been involved in inappropriate financial dealings – graft – which is currently being reported in Israeli newspapers.

He is not satisfied with the newly published newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson blaring support for him and given away for free seven days a week; he is said to have been recorded in an attempt to “negotiate” with the editor of Adelson’s major competitor to be less critical of his administration.  

It is a sad thing to see this brave and exceptional country with a history of brainy and gutsy leaders, languish in the devious grasp of this pompous prima donna.  I have come to despise his muscle-flexing and his interminable fear-mongering over Iran, his lack of respect for our current president Obama and his underhanded attempts to influence our president-elect.

Bradley Burston, an English language journalist for Ha’aretz says of Netanyahu, “. . . he has poisoned his country. Israel is broken and battered and weak with fear . . . His legacy is decay."
Not only that, but in 2015, this same respected newsman wrote that the Israeli policy now amounts to apartheid, stating: "I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. . .Not anymore . . . Our Israel is what it has become: Apartheid."

Apartheid!  And blatant apartheid supported by the Likud government and many readers of Adelson’s free Israel Hayom.  

We Americans will never be far from our greatest ally – Israel.  However, Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing government are a plague to our long-standing positive relationship. I sincerely hope that he is forced to resign as it would not only be a blessing for Israel, but for the U. S. as well.    

May God bless both countries today, the second day of this new year and beyond. May we remain watchful that our Democracies do not descend into autocracies, led by spoiled and pampered demagogues, whose own self-interest is their number one goal.