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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Trump bars two U.S. Congresswomen from Israel

As I have often said, when you think that tRUMP can't go any lower, he exceeds your expectation. His limbo trick is now subterranean. tRUMP encouraged Israel to bar two U.S. Congresswomen from visiting Israel. When his partner in crime Netenyahu announced the ban, tRUMP tweeted with glee. The decision by Netanyahu and tRUMP's support are disgraceful. tRUMP tweeted that if Israel allowed the two congresswomen to visit it would be a sign of great weakness. Needless to say the exact opposite is true.
I am a former member of AIPAC. I gave up my membership for a fundamental reason. AIPAC's raison d'etre is to support the State Of Israel whether or not its policies are, in my opinion, wrong. I don't support my own country right or wrong. Therefore I will not support Israel right or wrong. On the other hand, I totally agree with AIPAC's mission to support the State Of Israel and to strengthen Israel's ties with the United States. Israel remains the sole democratic country in a sea of undemocracy.
I am a member of J Street. J Street's mission also is to support the State Of Israel. But if Israel has a policy which J Street feels is wrong, J Street will criticize Israel. I have witnessed first hand some bitter disputes between AIPAC and J Street. But their fundamental disagreements do not detract from their core missions of support for Israel.
I have been a member and then an observer of AIPAC for more than 30 years. AIPAC has issued an eloquent denunciation of Netanyahu's decision. In my memory, this is the first time that AIPAC has criticized a policy of Israel. My hat is off to AIPAC. J Street has issued a similar denunciation. It is a joy to see these sometimes bitter rivals agree on an important issue. To a large extent, this coming together is an unintended consequence of tRUMP's ignorance.
Make no mistake, I do not like either Tlaib or Omar. They both support BDS. I believe that at its core BDS is antisemitic. The BDS manifesto says that it is opposed to the "occupation". BDS is not referring to the West Bank alone. It considers all of Israel to be an occupier of Arab lands. This means that BDS wants to see Israel eliminated. I don't blame the Israeli government for denouncing supporters of BDS. But Israel is a democracy. Anyone who has been to Israel knows that there are robust disagreements, to say the least, among many factions in Israel. But Israel is a strong nation. It can well handle dissent. It is simply unforgivable that Israel is barring two duly elected United States Congresswomen.
Last week Congressman Steny Hoyer led a large delegation of congressmen to Israel. He has led many similar delegations in the past. You cannot find a stronger supporter of Israel than Steny Hoyer. In last week's trip, Congressman Hoyer met with Rashida Tlaib's grandmother in the West Bank. This is how democracy in Israel works. Hoyer has denounced Netenyahu's decision.
I remember well Saudi Arabia barring U.S. Senators who happened to be Jewish from entering its country. It may still be the policy in some Arab countries that they will not allow people into their country if there is an Israeli stamp on their passport. This policy by Netenyahu bears a striking resemblance to those abhorrent policies. Israel is a small country in size, but a big country in democratic ideals. Its Palestinian Arab citizens vote in Israeli elections and have representatives in the Israeli Parliament.. I hope that Netenyahu and his crew will return to Israel's idealistic roots. That's my view. Take care all.
Richard Lenter

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Jews and Trump

I am the son of a child refugee from Nazi Germany who was thrown out of his school as a Jewish student while my grandfather’s shoe store was boycotted in the mid 1930s by the Nazis. I am horrified that today over 85 years since the Nazis came to power in Germany the same hateful tropes are being used to take away people’s dignity and accuse them of being rapists and deny them access to their children.
My family were fortunate that the UK took them in, while the US refused to accept many of those Jews who later died in the death camps, including Anne Frank and her family. My grandfather also initially tried to immigrate to the US, but was refused entry.
The death camps came at the end of a long process of dehumanization and the normalization of discrimination and hatred. I am not suggesting Trump has mass murder in mind, but tearing mothers from their infant children was also a method Hitler used and it leads people to see those parents and children as not fully human or deserving of the same rights “we" deserve for our own children.
The duelling demonstrations in Detroit last night at the Holocaust Museum were very informative. The Republicans stood shoulder to shoulder with the Proud Boys (no friends of the Jews) and claimed they would never allow an anti-semite to stay in their party. Have they never heard of Steve King the republican representative from Iowa who is a proud white supremacist?
Whatever your view of the current fault lines in America there can be no doubt that my grandparents would find the behaviour of the racists and white supremacists chanting “The jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville very familiar especially given the proud Nazis marching with swastikas and torches in a replay of the terror they inflected on Jews in Germany prior to the Holocaust.
If my father was alive today he would be appalled at the situation we find ourselves in. I fully expect that the great majority of American Jews will help vote Mr Trump out of office next year. Most Jews are just not that dumb as to vote for a would-be dictator and vapid racist
Robert Oppenheimer, Canada

Fox News

By now you know that I am the eternal optimist. Kathryn hates my optimism. She much prefers being surprised by a victory rather than surprised by a defeat. We were all shell shocked by the totally unexpected loss by Hillary. So I was wrong about Hillary. But I was right about Barack when he trailed Hillary in the polls in 2008. So here is another dose of my optimism.
I wrote a long time ago that if Fox News abandons Despicable Don, then he's a goner. There is much evidence that he is losing Fox.
There are millions of Americans whose political reality is shaped solely by Fox News. We all know that this administration is the most corrupt in U.S. history. We all know that tRUMP is a pathological liar . We all know that tRUMP has done incalculable damage to our country. Viewers to Fox News know none of these things. I have seen interviews with tRUMP supporters who honestly believe that he is the best president in U.S. history. How is this possible? It is possible if your only source of information is Fox. Just imagine what would happen if Fox News turned on him. There are plenty of signs this is happening.
It appears that Fox is now run by Rupert Murdoch's son, Lachlan. The son is not a sycophant for tRUMP. There are several tRUMP critics on Fox. Donna Brazile has been hired by Fox. So has been Juan Williams. Fox polling shows that tRUMP trails at least four Democratic candidates by huge margins. I believe that tRUMP was universally criticized on Fox for his disgraceful appearance in El Paso
You don't have to believe me about the changes happening at Fox. Listen to what tRUMP says, "Fox has changed. The worst polls have always been from Fox. Something is going on at Fox I'll tell you right now. And I don't like it." God willing, he's right for once. What if the decision makers at Fox look at their own polls and decide to abandon the losing side?
At the moment lots of Democratic voters are disheartened by the lack of a transcendent candidate like Obama. They may not be transcendent but they are very good, all of them. I am optimistic even without Fox turning on tRUMP. But if it does, he's toast. Take my optimism for what it's worth. Take care all.
Richard Lenter

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates

My son Jed wrote this plea to the Democratic presidential candidates not gaining traction. I sent it on to my senators and ask that you do the same. They have a vested interest in seeing Massacre Mitch and his Republican henchman ousted.
Dear Beto O'Rourke, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar and Stacey Abrams,
We need you to be patriots. We need you to drop out of the democratic presidential primary and run home to your states and fight for democratic ideals and winnable seats. And, Stacey Abrams, we need you to enter the race - the senate race in Georgia.
We need you all to hold your seats or seek new office to take back the Senate, expand governorships and hold valuable ground we can't seed to a lost party that has been hijacked by white nationalism, Russian oligarchs, corporate wealth and lobbyists that fight against the welfare of our citizens.
Beto and Julian - Go back to Texas - Julian should run for Senate and Beto should build his case to become governor in 2022 by helping Julian win. If one of you runs for Senate, you might get Texas close to turning blue in the presidential race. You'll at least get the GOP spending money out of fear.
Delaney - Go back to Maryland and make the case to become governor in 2022. Flip that seat.
Bullock - go win the 2nd Senate seat in Montana. It's winnable in 2020.
Hickenlooper - Go win another Senate seat in Colorado. It's likely one of the most winnable GOP seats in 2020.
Inslee - Stay the course in Washington and keep making the case for climate change. Become our climate czar when we take back the White House.
Ryan - Keep building your profile and fighting for middle America. Hold your seat.
Klobuchar - Keep raising your voice and represent mid-western citizens and hold onto that seat.
Abrams - join the fight. Keep up your effort in Georgia to end voter suppression, but use that platform to build a case to win a Georgia senate seat. If you run, you might just get Georgia close to turning blue in the presidential race. You'll certainly get the GOP's attention and spending.
We need you all now more than ever in other places than the presidential primary. Beating Trump is a high priority, but it won't mean nearly as much if we don't flip critical Senate seats and governorships.
A Concerned American

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How do we talk to friends who support Trump?

How do we talk to our friends who support Trump? We want to believe that our friends support Trump despite, not because of, his racism and anti-Semitism. Otherwise, we could not be friends with them. We should test that belief by asking them to think about the damage Trump is doing to the soul of this country and about the violence and hatred that his rhetoric has unleashed.
Trump has given us nothing on gun safety. Nothing on climate change. Nothing on access to affordable, quality health care. No strategy on Iran. Nothing for the middle class and those aspiring to the middle class. Nothing but tax breaks for those who least need or deserve it, separating families, caging detainees in inhumane conditions, abdicating American leadership abroad, palling around with dictators, and making America safe again for racism and bigotry.
If your friends are not racists, ask them what on the other side of the ledger outweighs Trump's racism and bigotry. Their own tax cuts and maybe less threat of regulatory red tape for their businesses? Our country doesn't always live up to its ideals, but Trump is undermining the ideals that are the raison d'etre of America, and that should be more important than any policy disagreement with a Democrat. They might not want Medicare for All, but it's not immoral or racist. Ideals can't always be counted in dollars, but we lose our humanity when ideals lose their value.
Trump's moving the embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights did nothing to make Israel safer or more secure and probably made Israel less safe by making a two-state solution harder, but if your friends can appreciate the symbolism of these gestures, ask them to think of the symbolism of Trump's racist rhetoric. The difference is that while his rhetoric on Israel has yielded no tangible benefit, his racist rhetoric has cost American lives, including Jewish lives in Pittsburgh and Poway. Jews feel less safe and secure under Trump, and so should all Americans.
Steve Shelley, Pro-Israel Chicagoland Blog

Friday, August 2, 2019

Traitor Trump

The resignation of Dan Coats and the nomination of Ratcliffe has caused me to reread my e mail about naming Traitor Trump. Hard to believe, but I was too easy on him.
It is not enough for me to have said that Traitor Trump embraced Russia. He did more than that. Our approximately 17 intelligence agency unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in our election. None of us have been privy to the information gathered by the intelligence agencies. But we are privy to the findings of the Mueller report. He gave numerous specific examples of Russian interference. He found that Russia had a widespread and systematic operation designed to interfere in our elections. He identified and indicted specific Russian agents. In other words in an investigation separate and apart from the intelligence agencies investigations, Mueller had proof positive of Russian interference.
At Helsinki, Trump took the word of Putin who said that Russia did not interfere. He took the word of Putin over his own intelligence agencies. Dan Coats almost immediately publicly disagreed with Traitor Trump. tRUMP did more than "embrace" Russia He actively supporting Russia over the United States. Russia is a hostile country. Except for people in the tRUMP cult, anyone would call this treason.
There was ample evidence in the years before tRUMP entered the race that Wikileaks had a close relationship with Russia. Since tRump knows nothing, it is entirely possible that he did not know about that relationship. But it is impossible that his advisers did not know. So when tRUMP publicly asked wikileaks to disclose stolen e mails and when he said wikileaks would be richly rewarded, he was speaking to a Russian controlled organization. Again, tRUMP did not passively sit by and embrace Russian interference, he proactively encouraged it.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage. The trial judge called them treasonous. Whom did they sell atomic secrets to? What a coincidence, Russia. It goes without saying that selling atomic secrets to Russia is a horrible thing. But so is encouraging Russia to interfere in one of our most precious freedoms, the right to vote in a fair and free election. tRUMP and his puppy dog McConnell will not allow voter protection laws to come up for a vote, even though they have bipartisan support. They are giving free reign to Russia interfering in 2020. How can this not be treason?
Traitor Trump has committed numerous high crimes and misdemeanors. I assume that if there are articles of impeachment, treason will not be included, but it should be.
As I think about it, so should bribery. We have heard a lot about the Emolument Clause. Traitor Trump has no doubt violated that clause. Emoluments are nothing more than bribery. It is interesting that the drafters of the Constitution put bribery in the impeachment clause. The president is particularly vulnerable to bribery. If there are articles of impeachment, bribery should be included.
Several weeks ago I supported a restrained approach as advocated by Nancy Pelosi. As you know, I have the highest regard for Pelosi. As I started writing this piece, I was leaning more and more toward the House beginning an impeachment hearing. By the time I finished the draft, Senator Stabenow, another person I hold in the highest esteem, publicly came out in favor of an impeachment hearing. As you know, Senator Stabenow is a very reasonable person, always willing to listen to all sides of an argument. If Senator Stabenow favors an impeachment hearing, that's good enough for me.
I well know the argument that such a hearing may cost votes in the 2020 election. On the other hand, maybe it will cost tRUMP votes. His high crimes and misdemeanors will be on full display On balance it is time to put principle before politics. A crook and a traitor should be in the Big House, not the White House.
We cannot be exhausted by this fight. We must win back our government, if not by impeachment than by winning 2020 elections. So let's do what we can for the next 16 months to get it done. As always, thanks for listening.
Richard Lenter