Israel: The Haredi establishment’s threat to constitutional democracy and equal rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

The Haredi establishment’s threat to constitutional democracy and equal rights: No marginal issue

The sex discrimination against women in public spaces is just the beginning of the havoc the ultra-Orthodox are wreaking on Israeli society

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Veteran political analyst Anshel Pfeffer has published an incisive analysis of the dynamics now playing out on the right and far-right of the Israeli political spectrum, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu losing those who used to be his natural political partners: Liberman, Bennett, Shaked, Smotrich (“Netanyahu is Running Out of Natural Partners,” Haaretz, August 13, 2019). The Haredi establishment, he notes, is taking up that slack, however much it has been a reliable partner of his until now.

Pfeffer’s otherwise incisive analysis contains an appalling throwaway line about the Haredi establishment, one that expresses an all too common perception: “[Netanyahu] granted them total hegemony in the narrow areas of public policy and communal autonomy they care about.”

Narrow areas?

The ongoing dismissal, in particular on the left, of the threat to constitutional democracy posed by the religious establishment is a serious danger in its own right. Ben Gurion can be excused for not realizing the danger in giving blanket draft exemption to yeshiva students —  65 years ago. There is no excuse for such blindness now.

The Haredi establishment uses institutions of government, like the courts, and certainly, coalition politics, to further its own narrow, sectoral interests, while having no fundamental loyalty to these institutions. Deputy Minister of Health Litzman, who does not take a “deputy” salary, but a full one, and who has used his office richly (pun intended), for Haredi interests, as he defines them (the victims of the Haredi rapists he has protected, according to a pending indictment, are also Haredi), is “Deputy,” rather than full Minister, because his boss, the Gerer rebbe, and he, do not recognize the State of Israel. The State’s payouts, however, they very much recognize.

The threat to public space — in the news just this week, in the ruling of a court against sex discrimination in a public space in Afula — is huge and ongoing. As the Israel Women’s Network and other groups have noted, this is a war of attrition. Newly minted Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich said this himself when, after a flurry of outrage about his call for a theocracy here, he acknowledged that such is not possible now — but that piecemeal steps can be and will be taken. This is why it is so important for Smotrich and his ilk not just to be members of Knesset but ministers, who have  broad discretion, staff, and budgets at their disposal. As with the abortion struggle in the US, piecemeal steps are the means to a larger goal.

If it is acceptable to discriminate against women in public space, we are back to demands for sex discrimination in buses, sidewalks, etc. We already struggle against demands for sex discrimination in universities and in the army, refighting the conclusion long ago reached on the basis of too much sorry experience, that there is no such thing as “separate but equal”; any such demands necessarily and inevitably entail discrimination. The Haredi establishment makes an argument for privilege: its religious “needs” and sexual objectification of women take precedence over equal civil rights. Marginal issue?

The Haredi establishment fully supports immunity legislation for Netanyahu, not only as a quid pro quo for his favors but because Minister of Interior Arye Deri, is under police investigation for serious financial crimes and Deputy Minister of Health Yaacov Litzman is too, with the police investigative unit recommending indictment.

The Haredi establishment backs legislation to gut the authority of the Supreme Court by giving the Knesset the power through simple majority vote to override any Supreme Court ruling. This would end the separation of powers and the very meaning of a Supreme Court as the arbiter of constitutionality.

The Haredi establishment runs a vast patronage system in the yeshivas and in the Chief Rabbinate. Keeping Haredi males illiterate and financially dependent on it is the base of that establishment’s power: perpetuation of this system is its call on the public purse. Its right to continue depriving that population of basic secular education — math, English, civics, history — is therefore, its prime demand, which government after government, yes, Labor-led, too — grants, with the rest of us paying for it with our taxes not once, in ever escalating subsidies, but perpetually, to support a growing, impoverished population. Why do yeshiva students get automatic exemption from army or alternative service and university students do not? Equal rights?

Study after study has shown the inflation of prices we pay for food in order to support the patronage system which is the kashrut kingdom of the Chief Rabbinate.

To dismiss all this as some marginal issue is beyond comprehension and effectively, collusion with the abuse the Haredi establishment hopes to keep perpetuating.

While Netanyahu, increasingly cornered by various dynamics, may be further sidling up to the Haredi establishment, his opposition in the Blue and White party is hardly showing awareness of, or determination about, the threat to constitutional democracy, equal rights, or rational government, posed by the Haredi establishment.

All this is anything but a marginal issue and, whereever we are on the political spectrum, we minimize it at our peril.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shulamit S. Magnus is a professor of Jewish history and an award-winning author of books on Jewish modernity and on Jewish women’s history.
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About BDS and Congressional and Other Manipulations

So many resolutions in Congress about BDS; ostensibly, these are about being for and against boycotts and the right to boycott though it is clear that, without mentioning BDS or Israel, specifically, that is what all this is about.

For some, it’s hard to follow the moves till now but the various motions and anti-motions are just beginning. All this has become a political live-wire between the Republican and Democratic parties, with the Republicans sensing a juicy opportunity to exploit Democratic division and paint that party as anti-Israel, or even ant-Jewish, facts be damned. When Jews and Israel, the Jewish state, become stand-ins for dividing lines between major parties and segments of popular opinion, it is not good news for the Jews. Some have felt that a choice between Jewish and constitutional, democratic commitments is what is called for in this moment. That is not true, at all.

There is no contradiction between upholding the Constitution and the constitutional right to free speech, including speech with which one disagrees, and supporting the right of individuals, or states, or the Federal government, not to give their private business, or government business, to entities that boycott Israel. Either boycotts are ok or they aren’t. And they are.

The question is selective use of them, and in particular, in this case, the language used in supporting them, and disgusting analogies that are employed, that are intended to serve, and that serve, to demonize Israel. Not to oppose specific policies but to continue an obscene discourse, promoted about no other state or people on earth, about a “right to exist.”

BDS, of course, is marketed as boycotting only Israeli products from over the Green Line but anyone with an honest interest in all this needs also to be aware of the founding history and continued purpose of BDS, which has nothing to do with selective boycott or specific Israeli policies, but with deliberately misleading people about the founding history and continued purpose of BDS. Anyone who wants to dissociate from settlements or products from over the Green Line cannot credibly dissociate from the larger context in which organized efforts to this end are being waged. Which does not mean that individuals can’t follow their consciences about this but that they need to be aware of their bedfellows, whose “conscience” may be running on an entirely different agenda.

Google, “BDS,” if you never have, and see what comes up; try to get the BDS founding charter. See the language used by the organization itself to define its goals; the dishonesty. Here is cut-and-paste, with interpolation by me, in caps:

“Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. (DOES THIS INCLUDE SELF-GOVERNING JEWS?).

“Israel is occupying and colonising (SIC) Palestinian land, (NOTE THE FAILURE TO DESIGNATE WHAT PALESTINIAN LAND IS INTENDED. THAT EXCLUSION IS QUITE DELIBERATE, SINCE THE FOUNDERS OF BDS CONSIDER ALL OF ISRAEL, PRE-1967, TOO, “PALESTINIAN LAND,” AND EQUATE ZIONISM WITH “SETTLER COLONIALISM” OF, E.G., THE BOERS IN SOUTH AFRICA. THE ISSUE IS NOT THE WEST BANK , OR 1967, AS IT IS FOR SO MANY WHO SEEK TWO STATES FOR TWO PEOPLES, THAT IS, A NEGOTIATED END TO THE NATIONALITY/ LAND CONFLICT HERE, BUT ISRAEL ITSELF. WHY DON’T BDS’ FRAMERS JUST COME OUT AND SAY THIS, THAT THE GOAL IS THE END OF ISRAEL? BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A HARDER SELL TO NICE, LIBERAL PEOPLE, WHILE MISLEADING PEOPLE IS SO MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE), discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. (OK, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT OR DID NOT WANT TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT IN THE ABOVE COMMENT, HERE IT IS, THE RIGHT OF RETURN AND THE END OF ISRAEL. THIS, WHILE NO SIMILAR CLAIM HAS BEEN OR IS BEING PRESSED IN OTHER NATIONALITY CONFLICTS AND ABOUT OTHER STATES, NOT LEAST, ARAB STATES, CREATED SINCE THE END OF WORLD WARS ONE AND TWO. PALESTINIAN ADVOCATES, TO BE SURE, ARE ENTITLED TO MAKE AN EXCEPTIONAL CASE FOR THEIR CAUSE BUT THE REST OF US SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THAT IS WHAT THIS IS). Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law. (NICE! COMPARE ISRAEL, WITH ARAB MKS, MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT, THE MEDICAL AND UNIVERSITY AND BANKING  ESTABLISHMENTS, ON THE BEACHES AND IN THE SWIMMING POOLS, IN THE BUSES, TRAINS, STREETS, CAFES, THEATERS– WITH APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA– OR NAZI GERMANY. BY ALL MEANS, DON’T CONFINE THE DISCUSSION TO THE OCCUPATION REGIME ON THE WEST BANK; MAKE IT ABOUT ISRAEL ITSELF. NEEDLESS TO SAY, DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE CORRUPT, REPRESSIVE, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (PA), NEVER MIND, HAMAS; OR ABOUT SEVERAL PEACE DEALS THAT THE PA REJECTED, UNDER WHICH THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A PALESTINIAN STATE, WITH A CAPITAL IN JERUSALEM, SEVERAL TIMES OVER, LONG AGO.)

“BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Thirteen years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.” NOTE THE SLEIGHT OF HAND IN THE FINAL WORDS HERE, WHICH CHARACTERIZE ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE AS INHERENTLY ILLEGITIMATE.

Me again, straight up:

It’s a free country and people are free to support, or oppose, boycotts, or other political and economic activities, as they wish. Many liberals are pushing to boycott US states that have recently passed legislation banning abortion. That is their right. And individuals and governments can choose where they give their business: either boycotts are ok or they aren’t; it can’t be had both ways. Telling people they can’t support boycotts, punishing them via employment or other measures, is clearly unconstitutional. It is also politically, stupid.

It is stupid for people who support Israel to align that support with anti-constitutional , anti-democratic, anti-liberal measures. It may be more than just stupid; it offends the Jewish principles of many. But at the least, it is does not serve Israel’s interests, indeed, is very counter-productive to those interests. And to those of Diaspora Jews. This tactic is a set-up  for charges of that old, Jew-hating canard of Jewish “dual loyalty; or for accusations of “self-hatred” and “assimilation.” All this is lose-lose for Jews and we should not allow ourselves to be played like this.

We CAN, and indeed, must walk and chew gum at the same time . This may be, indeed, is, challenging, but not in fact, that complicated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shulamit S. Magnus is a professor of Jewish history and an award-winning author of books on Jewish modernity and on Jewish women’s history.
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Baltimore: Trump tweets ‘no human being would want to live there’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I FIND HYPOCRITICAL ABOUT OUR COWARD IN CHIEF IS WHEN HE TALKS TRASH ABOUT BALTIMORE IS THE VERY WELL KNOWN FACT THAT FOR MANY DECADES NOW THE CITY OF NEW YORK THAT HE SEEMS TO LOVE SO MUCH HAS MANY MORE RATS THAN IT DOES HUMAN BEINGS. THIS IS WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE TWO LEGGED RAT PACK ALSO KNOWN AS THE TRUMP FAMILY TREE WHICH IS ROTTED THROUGH ITS ROOTS.)oped: oldpoet56)

 

Baltimore stands up for its city after Trump tweets ‘no human being would want to live there’

(CNN)Baltimore did not take President Donald Trump’s recent attack of the city lying down. Instead, Charm City was quick to stand up and fight back.

Trump lashed out at another prominent African American lawmaker on Saturday, tweeting that his Baltimore district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
The President’s tirade was directed at House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, who represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the House and recently lambasted conditions at the border. Trump’s attack against Cummings was the latest verbal assault against a minority member of Congress who is a frequent critic of the President.
The President suggested that conditions in Cummings’ district, which is majority black and includes parts of Baltimore, are “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than those at the US-Mexico border and called it a “very dangerous & filthy place.”
Cummings, the city’s leaders and residents were quick to defend Baltimore. The Twitter hashtag #wearebaltimore was trending Saturday night, with users posting pictures and comments expressing their pride in the city.
“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” Cummings wrote on Twitter Saturday in response. “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
Baltimore’s Mayor Jack Young also took the attack to heart, criticizing Trump for disparaging a “vibrant American City.”
“It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero,” Young tweeted.
The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board published a response, highlighting aspects of the city they felt the president left out: the beauty of Inner Harbor, the history of Fort McHenry, the prominence of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the national dependency on the Social Security Administration, which is housed in the city.
“And it surely wasn’t about the economic standing of a district where the median income is actually above the national average,” the board wrote.
“Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.”
Other Democrats came to Baltimore’s defense on Saturday, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose national 2020 presidential campaign headquarters is located there.
“Baltimore has become home to my team and it’s disgraceful the president has chosen to start his morning disparaging this great American city,” Harris wrote on Twitter.

‘City of good Americans’

Others called out the city’s character: “There’s a block party today on my southside street. This is a city of good Americans who deserve more than a grifting, hollow and self-absorbed failure of a man as their president,” tweeted author David Simon.
And while they defended their city, some had criticisms for Trump.
“It should be beneath the dignity of the President of the United States, the person who is supposed to be the leader of the free world, to disparage and personally attack a great American city and another great American leader,” Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott told reporters Saturday. “Instead of up upholding his oath of office to put the greater good of all American citizens, no matter where they live and who they voted for above all else, that he decided to do the opposite.”
Many of the elected officials who spoke out praised Cummings, who grew up in Baltimore, for his help in the recent developments the district has undertaken, though they acknowledge there is still more work to do.
“We stand ready and willing to work with the President, if he is willing to go beyond tweets, to help us solve some of the problems that are deep enrooting in Baltimore’s history,” Scott said.

Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

 

If you have been paying any attention at all lately to the U.S. news then you have heard a lot about ‘race’ or racism in the conversations within the news programs. First I would like to talk with you about Senator Kamala Harris who is now considered to be one of the front runners (top 5) in the Democratic Presidential debates. Ms. Harris up until the first debate was nothing much more than a ‘also ran’ but it was this debate that has propelled her upward on the ladder. Mainly there was just one question, one moment that did this for her. She was able to slam the front runner Joe Biden on his record about bussing fifty years ago. I am not a fan of Mr. Biden but when a person has been in politics for the past 50 years there are going to be plenty of areas to be critical of a person’s record, it’s just reality, in 50 years a person is going to change their opinions on different issues sometimes. Ms. Harris is a first term Senator from the state of California, her political record is much shorter.

 

This one question was a trap for Mr. Biden for someone to use as being a race issue whether race had anything to do do with his vote back then or not. Ms. Harris was able to use this as a race issue and the media, correct or not, jumped onto the side of Ms. Harris. I had heard of Ms. Harris ever since she became a member of the U.S Senate, but, basically everything that I had heard from or about her has had to do with race. It seems to me via the things that I had heard from Ms. Harris is that she is like a one trick pony and that the pony she is riding is race. I consider myself a moderate, sort of like an old southern conservative Democrat mixed with a liberal Republican. In other words I don’t like either political party at all, this is why I have been a registered independent for decades now. I had always taken Ms. Harris to be a Black person, just a lightly skinned person but evidently I was wrong on this issue. I can’t stand the Trump family but Don Jr. posted a tweet about her race so I started to check out her linage a little bit. Turns out her Mom is from India and her Dad is from Jamaica, so, if this is the truth, she isn’t Back at all. Yet she does seem to cater to the base of the Black voters. Yes she is a ‘person of color’ as is every human on the planet, even White is a color you know. But I do understand where that term came from as racists Whites used to call Black folks ‘colored’. Stupid of them then and now as is reversing the term. Personally I do not care what paint job a person has on their bones, I only care about what is between their ears and if any racism is there, I do not want them to hold any political position, especially not the Presidency. To me, I believe that Ms. Harris is a blatant racists so I would never vote for her.

 

Now I am going to gripe abit about the Bronx’s new Congresswoman Ms. Cortez or ‘AOC’ for short. She and a few of her Freshmen Congress ladies ‘of color’ have been playing the race issue to the hilt it seems, especially Ms. Cortez. She is in a running feud with the Democratic head of the Congress Ms. Pelosi who happens to be a White lady. I very much do not like Ms. Pelosi either but by all accounts I have ever heard including from other Congressmen and women of color, Ms. Pelosi is not a racist person. Yet as soon as AOC started getting shut down on some of her ideas she then went straight to calling Ms. Pelosi a racists because she wasn’t jumping on AOC’s ‘progressive’ bandwagon. To me, this is like the folks who talk about how much they hate haters, in other words, if you don’t agree with me, then you are a hater. Or, if you don’t follow me and my ideas, then you are a racists. Ms. AOC to me seems to be one of these people. To me, it appears that Ms. Harris and Ms. AOC have no other ideas or agenda accept race which to me is the bottom of the basement of human ignorance. Have you noticed during your life that the people who scream the loudest about racism are almost always extremely racist themselves?

 

Now, concerning our “racists, cowardly President”, Mr. Trump. First, I do believe that he is nothing more than a piece of trash as a person. I do believe that he is blatantly racists as well as a cereal rapists and a habitual liar and about as wise as a dead dog in the street. He always plays to the very lowest IQs he can find, it seems that they flock to this cowardly habitual liar. That the so called ‘Christian’ right support him or ‘Tea Party’ support him I find quite disgusting as he is anything but Christian. I call him a coward because of his Daddy getting him six deferrals from military service during the Vietnam war. He could have gone into a reserve unit like George W. Bush did, at least George W. didn’t seem to be ashamed to put on our Nations Uniform. Mr. Trump appears to not only have used his daddy’s money and influence to keep out of combat he didn’t even have enough guts to join the Reserve and with his College credits he could have gone in as an Officer like George W. did. Or is it possible that he simply loathed the U.S. military, or maybe it was just that the Uniform wasn’t “his color”?

 

Now in case you are wondering why I used the title that I did here are the reasons. One I guess was to get your attention, whether for or against my thoughts. Two, I do believe that all three of these people are blatant racists that everyone should totally discard as being credible. Three, from a Christian moral standpoint I believe that anyone who is racist has lowered themselves to the level of dead rabid dog. Also you may be wondering why I used the term ‘bitches’ for these three people is simple, in our U.S. slang it is common to call a hate filled woman a bitch, not meaning that they are actually a dog. Then why did I call Mr. Trump a bitch? That is simple also, in our U.S. slang it is also common to call a man who is considered to be a total coward a Pus-y, and that is exactly what I believe Mr. Trump is, a loud mouthed, racist, coward. Like it or hate it, this is my comment letter to you today. I know that some will hate what I wrote, some because they think I am to critical and some because they think I am not being critical enough. Either way, when I write these letters to you what I am mainly trying to get you to do is to think about the issues listed within the letter.

Kamala Harris proposes $100 billion plan for black homeownership

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)
(OPED: Senator Harris wants to talk about anti-discrimination yet at the same time wants totally discrimination type laws for the purpose of helping out only one race of people. She is a total hypocrite in her propaganda. Besides she isn’t even a black person even though the keps portraying herself to be so. Her parents are from India and Jamaica, all of the folks that I have ever come across from Jamaica very much get upset if they are referred to as being Blacks. I hope and pray that this 2020 election cycle does not end up being a race issue election.)(Harris also pledged to work to expand HUD’s fair housing program, strengthen anti-discrimination laws.)(I agree with helping poor Black families out but only if all poor families are helped out, not to pick and choose by the color of skin.)(oldpoet56)(The far left Democrats like to talk about reverse discrimination and reverse racism, there is no such thing folks, all racism is racism, all discrimination is discrimination!)

2020 ELECTIONS

Kamala Harris proposes $100 billion plan for black homeownership

Updated 

Kamala Harris, calling on the nation to “deal with the racial wealth gap,” on Saturday proposed a $100 billion federal program to help black people buy homes.

The California senator said the plan, which would provide down payment and closing cost assistance of up to $25,000 to people renting or living in historically red-lined communities, would help some 4 million home-buyers.

The plan’s release comes as Harris surges in Democratic presidential primary polls following a debate last week in which she chastised former Vice President Joe Biden for his past opposition to busing and former associations with segregationist senators. The controversy has continued in recent days, with Biden defending his record.

Black voters are a critical constituency in the Democratic primary, especially in the South.

Harris, speaking at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, said her program would “put homeownership within the reach” of millions of families.

“A typical black family has just $10 of wealth for every $100 held by a white family,” she said. “So we must right that wrong and, after generations of discrimination, give black families a real shot at homeownership — historically one of the most powerful drivers of wealth in our country.”

Harris’ housing program would come in the form of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants limited to families with incomes up to $100,000, or $125,000 in high-cost areas.

Democrats concerned about income and racial inequality in the United States have long pointed to the lasting effects of red-lining — and persistent gaps in the rates of black and white homeownership, a traditional means of building wealth.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a fellow 2020 contender, previously proposed providing down payment grants to first-time homebuyers in formerly red-lined, segregated and lower-income areas.

On Saturday, Harris also pledged to work to expand HUD’s fair housing program, strengthen anti-discrimination lending laws and amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require that credit scores include rent, phone and utility payments.

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

Muhlaysia Booker spoke at a rally in Dallas last month after she was attacked in a parking lot. On Saturday, she was found dead. Credit Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News

Last month’s attack took place on April 12, shortly after Ms. Booker was involved in an automobile accident in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

video of the episode showed a man the authorities identified as Mr. Thomas repeatedly punching a woman on the ground as she struggled. Other men in the crowd kicked her before a group of women helped her get away. The police said that people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs during the beating, and that Ms. Booker was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.

Attacks on transgender people have been rising, according to advocacy groups. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States last year, most of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The group has listed three transgender people who were killed in 2019 — not including Ms. Booker — and all were black women who were fatally shot.

Those numbers may understate the problem because local officials are not required to report such killings to any central database, and because the police sometimes release incorrect names or genders, making it difficult to know that a homicide victim was transgender.

At a news conference after she was attacked last month, Ms. Booker stood on a podium and faced a group of supporters, several of whom carried signs in support of transgender people.

“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas,” Ms. Booker said.

“This time, I can stand before you,” she added. “Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence.
By Tim Stelloh

A sixth-grader in Florida was arrested after his refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into a confrontation with police and school officials, authorities said.

The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

A local news outlet, Bay News 9, reported that the confrontation began after the student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, near Tampa, called the flag racist and described the national anthem as offensive.

Citing a statement provided to the Polk School District by the boy’s substitute teacher, the station reported that the teacher asked him, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”

“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.

After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” she called the school’s office “because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the station reported.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a school spokesman told the Ledger, a local newspaper, that students are not required to participate in the pledge.

The spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, told the newspaper that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy and would no longer work with the district.

The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school’s claims, telling NBC News that her son “is not a disrespectful kid.”

“What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasonings,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist.”

After the confrontation began, the school’s dean of students tried unsuccessfully to calm the student down, asking him to leave the class 20 times, police said.

“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”

The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom.”

Talbot denied that her son made any threats and said the school “didn’t handle it the way they should have handled it.”

She told NBC News her son was overwhelmed with the situation, and she transferred him to another school.

“I want my son to know, I don’t care what any other parent say or any other parents do, that I’m going to stand up for him,” Talbot said.

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018 – 10:15
Lebanese President Aoun meets with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, and his accompanying delegation at Baabda. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday emphasized the need for Syrian refugees to return to safe areas in their country.

Aoun was speaking during a meeting at the Baabda palace with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, in the presence of his accompanying parliamentary delegation.

The president said linking the Syrian refugees’ return to their homeland to reaching a political solution in Syria “raises doubts regarding their stay in their host countries,” citing the example of the Palestinian refugees.

“Seventy years have passed and the solution of the Palestinian issue has not yet been reached,” he noted.

Aoun informed Bracke that Lebanon has asked the international community and the international organizations affiliated to the United Nations to provide assistance to the displaced Syrians after their return, because they are contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

In response to a question, Aoun expressed his surprise at “international positions that ignore the need for the return of Syria refugees.”

He stressed that Lebanon was witnessing an economic crisis due to accumulating challenges, the impact of the international economic situation and the influx of displaced Syrians.

Bracke, for his part, said his country would become a member of the Security Council as of next January, and would contribute to supporting Lebanon’s causes at international platforms.

Also on Monday, Speaker Nabih Berri and Bracke signed a three-year extension to 2021 of a partnership protocol between the two countries’ councils, which provides for parliamentary cooperation in sharing expertise in legislation and supervision.

Poem: The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

 

Do You remember Berlin Germany and the Russian Wall

Mr. Reagan went there and called Mr. Gorbachev Out

The wall that had to come down if freedom was to ring

Machine Guns and bricks do not a good neighbor make

 

Old Man Bush, on his watch the Wall finally did fall

People rushed out, killed their captor, freed themselves

The West welcomed the downtrodden from the East

There could be no EU until that Devils wall did fall

 

Different place and time, some now want a Wall built

Christians backing a man who joys in starving the poor

Hate begets hate until there is in fact, an unholy war

Trump, You, Your Minions and Your Wall will burn in Hell

Republicans Are Only For White Males: Democrats For Everyone Except White Males?

Republicans Are Only For White Males: Democrats For Everyone Except White Males?

 

For those who are reading this article and are unaware of it, I am a 62-year-old white man who lives in the state of Kentucky, I also am a registered Independent when it comes to politics. So, this article to you today is simply my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. A person comes to their opinions mostly through life’s experiences and I am simply giving you mine at this time. In my life I have voted for several Republicans and for several Democrats as well as for people from various Independent movements. I like some of the things that each of the two main Parties stand for, at least on paper, and I am against several things that each of those Parties stand behind.

 

During my years I have come across racism from several people. I have been hated on sight because I am a white man and I absolutely have no doubt about that statement, yet I have also had people of many races stand up for me and against people of their own race because of me. Being one skin color of another should have nothing to do with how you act or are viewed, yet often, it does. I have to admit that I have been a bit surprised by the amount of racism some White folks who have shown since the Electoral College elected Donald Trump as our President, and it does sadden me. I try to be a devout Christian everyday of my life (though I fail often) but I am sure that G-d The Father and G-d The Son are not racists. I am 100% sure that if a person hates another because of their skin color, they are not a Christian, they are nothing but “luke warm water,” at best.

 

When former President Obama was the President from 2009-2017 I used to often hear about the “angry White Males.” Honestly I did not know just how many and how deep this hatred is and it greatly saddens me as a person and as a Christian.  Often I heard this philosophy and when I did it always seemed to generate from GOP affiliated mouth pieces. I know that there is racism all over the world it is not something that is exclusive to North America Americans, nor only to some Republicans. Obviously about 50% of white folks are women and it is my belief that many White Women who voted for Mr. Trump will either not vote in the midterm election next Tuesday, or they will vote against the GOP because they have seen the hate coming out of the mouth of Mr. Trump and many other GOP Politicians since they took total power in January of 2017.

 

Unfortunately it appears that many people and Politicians who are Democrats and Democratic mouth pieces have seemed to be hating the White Males for many years. Too me, it has seemed that the leadership of the Democratic Party has for many years been working hard at becoming the party of ‘only’ the minorities. Too me, it has felt that the Democratic Leadership has worked hard to be inclusive to all people, except White People, especially the men. Our Nation, or any Nation, cannot survive if its core is poisoned and all racism is poison. I have heard this quote several times during my years and it is true that “great Nations are not usually conquered from the outside, they are conquered from the inside” and I do believe that is true of America also.

 

There are two main reasons that I have ever voted for a Republican and against a Democrat and neither have anything to do with race, nationality, or someone’s religion. These two issues are Abortion and Gun laws, as a Christian I cannot and will not condone what I believe to be blatant murder of babies. Regarding guns, I am for a 3-5 day waiting period when purchasing a firearm and I do believe that the loophole of Gun Shows needs to be closed. But I do believe in everyone has the right to defend themselves and their families by any means necessary. Here in Kentucky almost all people can open carry without a special permit and folks like myself who have taken weapons classes can conceal carry. When I do go into a business with a weapon in a gun belt no one has ever freaked out, not other customers or the workers, not even the workers at the cash registers. I know that these people look at this issue the same as I do, if anything, I am extra free security for the business I am in. Folks something that the Democratic Party does not seem to understand or even care about is why almost all people should be allowed to have firearms if they so choose and that is defense, not offense. People need to notice that gunmen go to places to shoot people where they know there will be no guns to shoot back at them, these people are cowards. When was the last time you saw a Police Station or a Donut Shop shot up? Folks, the times are coming where the people have to be able to defend themselves from crooked government officials and crooked policing agencies. The time is coming where the people need to be able to defend themselves from invasions from other Nations and the time is very close where we all need to be able to defend ourselves from terrorists, homegrown and otherwise. Well, that is all for now friends, I hope that you are able to enjoy your weekend, stay warm, stay safe, G-d’s blessings I wish to all of you.

Saudi woman facing the death penalty for peaceful protest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Israa Al-Ghomgham, a Saudi woman facing the death penalty for peaceful protest

Human rights advocate Israa Al-Ghomgham is facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, for her non-violent human rights related activities.

Al-Ghomgham was arrested in 2015 along with her husband, activist Mousa Al-Hashim, over their roles in anti-government protests in Al-Qatif back in 2011, when pro-democracy protests spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

A #FreeIsraa campaign photo, circulated on Twitter.

Al-Qatif is located in the Eastern Province, where most of the country’s Shiite minority — who make up 10 to 15 percent of the population live. Shiite Muslims in the Sunni-dominated kingdom face ”pervasive discrimination”, including unfair treatment under the justice system, government interference with their religious practices, exclusion from public sector jobs, in addition to stigma and sectarian speech, according to Human Rights Watch.

Alongside many other Saudi Shiites, Al-Ghomgham and her husband were protesting these injustices and demanding that the Saudi government uphold their human rights.

Al-Ghomgham faces eight charges including “preparing, sending and storing material that would harm the public order” under Article 6 of the Cybercrime Act of 2007. She also stands accused of “inciting rallies and young people against the state and security forces on social networking sites”, and posting photos and video of these protests online. State prosecutors for her case are seeking the death penalty.

She was put on trial in early August 2018 before the counter-terrorism court, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC). A second hearing took place on October 28, but neither her nor the other defendants in the case were brought to court, the Gulf Center for Human Rights reported. The next hearing is scheduled for November 21.

#IsraaAlGhomgham #إسراء_الغمغام@IsraaAlGhomgham

Today second court hearing did take place, but neither Israa nor the other activists being trialled alongside her were present.

It is unknown why the Saudi authorities failed to transport them to the courtroom

Third court hearing will be Wednesday 21st November

In addition to Al-Ghomgham, five more individuals are standing trial before the SCC this week for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, according to Amnesty International. The human rights organisation documented eight cases where activists are facing the death penalty:

The Public Prosecution’s recurring calls to resort to the death penalty in the past three months for at least eight individuals raises the alarm about the fate of dozens of activists who are currently detained without charge or trial and for those currently on trial before the SCC.

Among those who stood trial this week was religious cleric Salman al-Awda. State security officials arrested him in September 2017 and charged him with a litany of offenses, including calling for reforms and regime change in the Arab region. He also faces the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general Saud al-Mujib arrived in Turkey on Monday to join an investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Al-Mujib has often been sent after political rivals of the monarchy, and those who challenge the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Leaders around the world have pointed at Bin Salman, accusing him of playing a role in the journalist’s murder.

Many are wondering how Bin Salman can endeavor to bring justice to Jamal while at the same time seeking the death penalty against those practicing their rights to freedom of expression.

د. عبدالله العودة

@aalodah

The same Saudi Attorney General who sought death penalty against my father @salman_alodah and others because of their peaceful activism, is going to Turkey to discuss the death of who was killed because of his peaceful activism!
🤔

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