Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Comment: Foreign And Domestic

I blinked, was there a summit??? 
 
Well, we had been warned this one was unlike any other summit...no advance agreement on a closing statement, little prep time, two leaders who had never met each other, etc. (and $20M of Singapore’s cash for such short security.)  5 handshakes, one long lunch, much time lost in translation, 2 offers for a visit and more info in tweets than in the official document.
 
PBS’s summary: “lofty goals, with few details on how to reach them.”
 
That said, and I agree, it still was needed, for it gave the world new hope for peace (always remembering what a short time ago it was that the world was braced for missiles and war.)
 
Peace was the winner, and that is truly important. Human rights was the loser.  (North Korea’s record is one of the worst) and that is truly tragic.
 
(BTW, one Lexington TV station, six hours after the summit ended, was running headlines calling attention to the meeting about to be held, at the bottom of the screen during its newscast.)
 
Turning to domestic items:  American Democracy suffered setbacks.  The Supreme Court, 5-4, said Ohio, which has the strictest voter purging laws in the nation, could throw people off the rolls if they failed to vote for 6 years, and failed to respond to a letter.  “Not our place to set these laws for local races” the court indicated  in leaving this matter up to the states.
 
(I wonder how much Ohio has spent on purging voters, and bringing the case to the courts..and how much good might have been done trying to find ways to up voter turnout?)
 
Meanwhile, Indiana, also next door, took the opposite tack. A federal judge there blocked the state from purging voters because they might also be voting in another state!  (This makes no sense to me. Ohio’s might well be too strict, but voting twice is a crime—except of course in some parts of Kentucky and my home state of West Virginia.)
 
The Ohio decision may make the Indiana ruling "moot," but what we need to be doing, with great urgency, is to find ways to get many more people to vote, legally.
 
That serious challenge needs to be taken up by the next Kentucky General Assembly.
 
I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pastor Paul & Senator Mitch (and other news notes)

Pastor Paul Prather in Sunday’s Herald Leader called the NFL’s ruling against players’ kneeling during the national anthem “unpatriotic.” And so it is. As Prather writes the players have said many times they are not disrespecting the flag or anthem, but rather calling attention to systemic racism in America and especially police violence against black people. (And so that is, too.)
 
I don’t know what Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks about all this, but have we forgotten when, many years ago, he upheld the burning of the flag as a legit means of dissent? Didn’t like it he said; he would never do it...BUT..it was a legal form of protest.
 
Burning our flag seems a much worse matter, to me, than kneeling for our (largely unsingable) national anthem.
 
Some people never learn Dept:   “Israel plans 2500 new West Bank settler homes”  (accompanied by more protests, more deaths, more bad feelings between the 2 peoples who MUST end up sharing their land.) This headline could just as easily read “Hamas calls upon its followers to sacrifice themselves needlessly at nearest border.”
 
Some people never learn Dept. Part 2: The Catholic archdiocese of St (!) Paul in Minneapolis will pay $210 million to settle over 400 cases of sexual abuse by priests. Second largest US verdict in these disgraceful cases.
 
US involved in a new war, once again no declaration as Constitution requires:
 
This time it’s Yemen, where US troops have suddenly shown up...and prompting the GOP-controlled House to call for a probe of reports that US servicemen or intelligence officials have tortured Yemeni detainees. (Well that was fast...took many months during the Iraq war.)  Last time the House got exercised was when it finally learned (thru news reports) US service people were in Niger---and 4 of them had been killed while on a “safe” mission.
 
And to be fair:
 
President Trump has signed into law a bill allowing terminally ill people to apply for (and maybe even get quicker) experimental drugs that might, might just save their lives. Congress took its good sweet time in finally doing this, it  was long overdue, but at least this bi-partisan, non-partisan idea passed. For signing it, also a good idea, Thank You, Mr. President.
 
Have a good Memorial Day?
 
36 people in Chicago didn’t; they were shot over that “holy-day”, 7 dying.
 
I'm just sayin'...