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Republicans are not running a campaign aimed at gaining control of the government and managing it based upon more conservative principles. That would be acceptable. They are running a campaign based on destroying representative democracy in the United States, permanently! And for the time being, they have the unrepresentative majority on the Supreme Court on their side.
Republicans accuse the Democrats of ‘weaponizing’ the justice system against them. No such thing is happening. The Department of Justice is just doing the job it was intended to do. But such ‘weaponizing’ is exactly what Republicans would do if given the chance once they gained control of the DOJ. Listen to the words their indicted and leading candidate for the presidency speaks, including his insults to the court in his civil litigation! He makes no bones about his authoritarian posture.
But there are always exceptions like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have long since been read out of the Republican Party. Those with open minds that remain are insultingly denigrated as Republicans in name only – RINOs.
On Monday former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is among the competitors with Donald John Trump for the 2024 G.O.P. presidential nomination, after being booed by a pro-Trump audience, smiled and responded by telling them ‘Your anger against the truth is reprehensible.’ (Christie made the error of using a five-syllable word in addressing Trump supporters, something far above the ability of most of them to process.)
All the groups mentioned in the first paragraph of this article believe that a democracy entitles those who live in one to use its freedoms to bring it down.
They are about to nominate someone under indictment for numerous serious federal and State crimes to run for president, believing those indictments are to his credit!
They have no respect for government institutions that occasionally attempt to regulate things for the public good, suspecting that to have the aroma of socialism.
That’s in addition to their having hog-tied the function of what was supposed to be ‘the peoples House,’ and have there just installed a new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Johnson, who denied the results of the 2020 presidential election and honestly believes, despite having a law degree, that the document our government is based upon is the Bible and not the Constitution!
Speaker Johnson advocates a ‘biblical worldview,’ just like the ayatollahs who run Iran do, only he substitutes the Bible for the Koran. He has remarked that his profession as a lawyer is actually a ‘legal ministry.’ A graduate of LSU’s law school, he had been named as dean of a ‘Christian’ law school in Louisiana that never opened. He is a disgrace to the House of Representatives, the Republican Party, and the nation! Only religious extremists or people who ignore history would vote for such a party’s candidates.
C'mon. Within the limits of our laws, it is time to stop being polite in dealing with such people. Racism and bigotry, and promoting seditious ideas, are not lessened by the wearing of a lapel pin identifying a member of Congress or wielding the Speaker's gavel.
Some of them even believe that the country is in such dire straits that it has reached a point where democracy is a luxury we can no longer afford! This is historically the argument of those who would be dictators, and has given birth to Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and numerous rulers of countries that started out as democracies.
It is up to us to disprove this quotation from William Butler Yeats’ poem, ‘The Second Coming” - - - ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst / are full of passionate intensity.’
Yesterday’s mid-term voting was a good start in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. The protection of abortion rights was the issue that provided the conviction and intensity necessary to win elections. We must keep it up. Remember that polls do not decide elections. Voters do!
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About Israel and Palestine
First, a few words of clarification: ‘Palestine’ is a geographic location and all those living there up until partition in 1947 were considered as Palestinians, regardless of their ethnic or religious identity, just as all of those living in Texas, for example, are considered to be Texans. Another example: Most of the musicians in the 'Palestine' Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1935, were Jewish before it changed its name to the Israel Philharmonic in 1948. It is a geographic term and not an ethnic one, although it is now commonly used to exclusively describe those of Muslim or Arab descent living there, as this posting does.
Many will disagree with the following, believing it to favor the Palestinians at the expense of Israel. That is because it involves gradually getting rid of the 'settlements,' which I think is a necessary step, the only way to reach a two-state solution, something I see as the only pathway to peace there.
As for a ’ceasefire,’ as is being demanded by many for humanitarian reasons, that would leave Hamas in existence to claim victory and able to prepare for additional attacks and is therefore out of the question. Israel is correct in insisting on first getting the hostages back and destroying Hamas military ability, regardless of how long that takes.
Hamas does not care about the 10,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza that their October 7 attack on Israel brought about. In fact, it enables them to paint Israel as the cause of the current war which they started on October 7 and a ceasefire would be to their advantage, enabling them to rearm and reorganize.
Here is what I think will happen in the Israeli-Hamas War starting over the next few weeks and thereafter, including a suggested plan to achieve a two-state solution, proceeding incrementally, once the Gaza Strip is peacefully integrated into a Palestinian state.
- Israel will eventually announce that it has destroyed Hamas as a threat, even though that might not necessarily be true because of the possible of a continued token presence of some armed Hamas fighters still within the Gaza Strip, but without heavy weapons or missile capabilities. Most of the surviving hostages will be returned and humanitarian aid will flow into the Gaza Strip unimpeded. This may occur sooner than most observers suspect.
- Once Israel is certain that Hamas or similar groups dedicated to its destruction have been eliminated from the Gaza Strip, they will withdraw its troops and turn it over to the United Nations, which will monitor its demilitarization, until it is becomes part of a Palestinian state, ideally under the governance of the Palestinian Authority. This will take a long time. Years, perhaps. Remember that in 2007, the Gazans threw the Palestinian Authority out militarily, preferring Hamas, after Israel pulled its troops and residents out of Gaza, hoping peace would ensue there. Israel will not repeat that mistake, and should recognize the issues that gave rise to Hamas, and address them.
- The cost of rebuilding Gaza will be shared by neighboring Arab states, and most likely, the United States as well.
- A demilitarized Palestinian state will be established including the West Bank and the eastern part of Jerusalem, as anticipated by the 1947 partition plan, ultimately to include the Gaza Strip as well.
Except for a divided Jerusalem, this is pretty much
what a two-state solution would look like.
- There will be no limitation on Muslim access to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, in an international zone, continuing to be maintained by Jordan but policed by Israel. That location also is ‘holy’ to Jews. The rights of both religions there must be protected.
- Israel will immediately stop establishing ‘settlements’ in the areas that would comprise the Palestinian state. Palestinians will immediately stop claiming all of Palestine, including the State of Israel, as belonging to them.
- Existing Israeli settlements in the areas that will become the Palestinian state will be turned over to that state over a twenty-year period commencing no sooner than the peaceful integration of the Gaza Strip into the new Palestinian state, with the Israeli government financing their residents’ resettlement in Israel. Initially, perhaps over the first two or three years of this period, this would apply only to ‘outpost’ settlements and other settlements that are not extensively built up and not bordering on the State of Israel.
- Other settlements in these areas that are adjacent to the State of Israel, or are more extensively built up, will be gradually turned over to the Palestinian state over the next twenty years, after Gaza is integrated into the Palestinian state, as Israel’s resources become available for resettling their residents. (Check out the previous posting for photographs of two settlements. Many are quite substantial.)
- As settlements are turned over to the new Palestinian State, Palestinians who had fled the area when the State of Israel was established, or after the 1967 War, might have the opportunity to return to them as Israelis leave them.
- The demilitarized nature of the Palestinian state would be monitored by the United Nations. Any violations of it, in the Gaza Strip or elsewhere, including cooperation with aggression against Israel by neighboring Muslim states, including Iran and those groups it controls, would result in Israel immediately postponing or cancelling its removal of settlements.
Noteworthy is the apparent reluctance of Iran to become more involved in the Israel-Hamas War. This is probably the result of its recognizing that doing so would activate the naval support for Israel that the United States has stationed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and elevate the level of the conflict, something they want to avoid.
As for the multi-step scenario described above, Israel will be giving up a lot in abandoning the security based on its settlements. Similarly, a new Palestinian state would be giving up having any armed forces while Israel’s military strength would not be diminished.
But it would give the Palestinians a state of their own, provide an avenue for Arabs who fled Israel to return, and remove their continuing resentment of Israel presented by its occupying territory primarily not inhabited by Jews. These steps, I believe, will contribute to peace for Israel and a Palestinian state.
I believe that the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas or his successors would go along with this, despite opposition by Palestinian extremists, significantly weakened by the demise of Hamas.
As for Israel, there would have to be a significant change in their government for Israel to buy into it. Right now, I believe they would not accept it, but Netanyahu’s days as Prime Minister are numbered and I do not believe the majority of Israelis will continue to support the extreme right wing religious parties that have kept him in power.
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