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Who is America and the Ethics of Going Undercover

Sep14

by: Larry Atkins on September 14th, 2018 | 3 Comments »

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen (image courtesy of Joella Marano)

As a liberal, I’m glad to see Sacha Baron Cohen expose the corruption, hatred, craziness, and racism of many conservative NRA loving politicians and people. For example, Cohen enticed a Republican Georgia state representative, Jason Spencer, to yell the full N-word and pull down his pants to expose his naked butt to try to repel a hypothetical Muslim terrorist. Spencer eventually resigned due to the incident.

At first, I was really excited about the show and urged my fellow liberal friends to watch Cohen’s Showtime program “Who is America?” I thought it was really funny and it showed how dumb, gullible, and scary these conservatives were.

While Cohen’s exposing these true feelings are valuable, his undercover and deceptive techniques are disturbing. Basically, he is engaging in entrapping people to participate in idiotic made up situations and conversations that make them look bad. This is nothing new for Cohen, who has used his various characters, including Borat, Bruno, and Ali G to embarrass and expose people. In his current show, he has duped, among others, Dick Cheney, who gleefully signed a waterboarding kit, several Republican politicians who were duped into talking positively about a made up proposal to arm kindergartners with guns to defend against school shootings, Roy Moore, who tested positive to Cohen’s fake pedophile detector, and several dozen citizens at a town meeting in Kingman, Arizona, who responded to a fake proposed giant mosque in town with angry bigoted responses. While Cohen does target all types of people, his main focus has been on Republicans and conservatives.

There is a long history of using undercover techniques in entertainment, journalism, and advocacy. Past television shows using these techniques include Candid Camera, Undercover Boss, To Catch a Predator, Mystery Diners, Celebrity Undercover, Cheaters, Impractical Jokers, Punk’d, The Real Wedding Crashers, and What Would You Do?

Undercover journalism has a long history. Nellie Bly exposed the horrors of mental hospital institutions in the late 19th century by posing as an insane inmate in an asylum. Many local televisions stations use undercover reporters to expose corruption by government officials and others. This technique can be used as a tool to expose societal ills, but it should be used rarely and carefully. For instance, there was a chilling effect on this type of journalism after the Food Lion v. ABC case, which found ABC liable for trespass and breach of loyalty for having its producers lie on job applications to expose unhealthy practices.

Conservatives have used this technique as well. The most famous incident was when two conservative activists, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and a prostitute to entice ACORN employees to give them illegal tax advice for their made up business of smuggling young women into the United States to work as prostitutes. Their work was published by Breitbart and they became conservative icons to their supporters for exposing a liberal organization, but to their detractors, they brought down an important and valuable organization that engaged in community organizing and voter registration. In subsequent years, O’Keefe tried to engage in sting operations against the Washington Post, a George Soros backed group, CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau, and U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.

A few years ago, two pro-life activists, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, released undercover videos accusing Planned Parenthood doctors of selling aborted fetal tissue. The heavily edited videos caused national outrage and led to threats against abortion providers. They filmed 14 people without their consent at meetings with women’s healthcare providers in four cities and published the videos on the website for the Center for Medical Progress. In 2017, they were charged with 15 felonies by California prosecutors.

These undercover sting videos are often cleverly edited in a deceptive manner and don’t show the entire context of what took place.

My own hunch is that people like to see undercover journalism, entertainment, and activism if it confirms their own beliefs and values and exposes others that they dislike or disagree with. They don’t like it and label it as “Gotcha” techniques if it exposes and embarrasses people and organizations that they like. One group’s muckraker or hero can be seen by others as a hack and a charlatan.

Liberals like me were critical of the ACORN sting and other similar deceptive incidents that attacked liberal institutions. While it’s tempting to revel in Sacha Baron Cohen’s exposure of the dark side of conservatives, we shouldn’t encourage the deceptive techniques that he used to get his information, results, and behavior. What goes around comes around. In the future, we’re likely to see more conservative citizen journalists/advocates/provocateurs like James O’Keefe who will set out to entrap and embarrass liberal democrats and organizations through deceptive measures. Will we embrace these undercover efforts as much as we do Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who is America? Probably not.

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Larry Atkins is the author of Skewed: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias (Prometheus Books). He teaches Journalism at Temple University and Arcadia University. Twitter: @larryatkins4

The Politicization of Murder in the U.S. and U.K.

Sep12

by: Frankie Wallace on September 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

Image courtesy of Will H. Mcmahan.

For decades, politicians around the world have used the brutal murders of others as political bait, reeling in audiences over their heartbreaking stories of senseless killings. But political figures have primarily used this tactic to push their anti-immigrant views. No matter which side you take on this issue, is it really right in the first place to politicize someone’s murder for political gain? Politicians have been accused of doing so on both sides of the aisle, from any political party. Often they don’t take into account how this affects the families of the victims and how immigrants feel to be generalized in such a negative way.

Donald Trump and the Right
President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is nothing new. From the day he announced his intention to run for president, he painted a violent image of undocumented immigrants and made immigration reform a key topic of discussion during the campaign. Yet in recent weeks, his anti-immigrant sentiment came back into the fold, again presenting illegal immigrants as sick and evil individuals. This came with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student from the University of Iowa. Christian Rivera, an undocumented immigrant, confessed to killing Tibbetts and led police to her dead body.


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What is Soul? The Artistry of Aretha Franklin

Aug26

by: on August 26th, 2018 | No Comments »

In 1970, the P-Funk music group Funkadelic asked the question: What is soul? There answer was “I don’t know.” Then they made some suggestions: ham hocks in corn flakes, bathtub ring, a joint rolled in toilet paper; rusty ankles and ashy kneecaps, chitlins foo yung, woman, and funk.
What is soul?
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, defined it: “Soul to me is a feeling a lot of depth and being able to bring to the surface that which is happening inside, to make the picture clear. Many people can have soul. It’s just the emotion and the way it affects people.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/aretha-franklin-musics-queen-of-soul-dies-at-76/2018/08/16/c35de4b8-9e9f-11e8-83d2-70203b8d7b44_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ee707280b8c8)
What is soul?
I say that soul is a holistic spirituality that “understands that our spiritual person is at once connected with divine transcendence, with the Source, with Divine Love, and it is connected with our fellow human beings, animals, the natural world and all of creation. The spirit also takes us deeper into ourselves. It is the wellspring of emotion. It is the source of our intuitive insights. It celebrates and it mourns. It is within and beyond reason, mind and body. The spiritual self longs to understand itself within the context of ultimate reality and ultimate meaning” (“Just Peace Theory Book One” xxxii). Soul is body, mind and spirit moving through the world in harmony and cohesion.
What is soul?
Soul is, in the words of Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon “Thinking with our hearts; feeling with our brains.” (https://vimeo.com/239890586)
Dr. Cannon taught her students that it is more than a mistake to do our work as if the head and the heart were separate parts of our being. To try to separate thinking and feeling is a violation of our humanity. Soul makes no such violation. Head and heart come together to understand the logic of our emotions and to think with feeling, joy, passion, inspiration, and sensitivity.
Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul because she made our feelings sensible and our thinking passionate. Her voice was a divine force that brought Holy Spirit into our sacred and secular lives if such distinctions even make sense within a holistic conception of self. For those who have ears to hear, we can hear echoes of the field hollers in Aretha Franklin’s singing and we can hear the Holy Ghost shouts that come when the sweet sweet Spirit of God enters into a worship service.
When Aretha sang, she was not present to the music to serve the notes and the words of a particular song. The words and music of the song were there to serve her task of communication and demonstration of the human emotion that the song could convey. She became a conduit of Holy Spirit. Her singing provided a moment of transcendence, and this is why her music made multiple levels of meaning available to us. For example: she took the song “Respect” written by Otis Redding about a man coming home to a wife and asking for “just a little respect” in return for handing over his paycheck and turned it into a feminist and civil rights anthem. The truth that came from her rendition emerged from the depths of her being, from her thinking feeling heart/mind, from her humanity to say that respect is something that every human beings not only wants, but deserves. The song is at once sexual and political. It is a cry for recognition and a demand.
For the fiftieth anniversary of the song, “Respect”, Essence Magazine published a commemorative edition that it has now reissued. In the commemoration, African-American women write about the song’s significance. In her essay – “The Song” – Diane McKinney-Whetstone writes: “With her sister Carolyn and Erma singing, ‘Sock it to me’ in the background and Aretha herself going to church on the piano, she offered up a voice that is both of this world and holy. It has astounding range and an ability to engage, head, heart and soul in a transcendent swirl” (10).
In her essay – “The Icon” – Farrah Jasmine Griffin writes about how Aretha Franklin’s music was the music of black people: “Steeped in the black church but also fluent in the jazz idiom, Aretha put Black genius on full display. And she didn’t do it in the rarified confines of classical music. She did it in R&B and soul, the music of the people. The song echoed from windows and cars, in clubs and on basketball courts. When it was released, she was only 25 years old, but her voice carried and extended an entire tradition of Black singing: the field holler and the spiritual, the blues moans, gospel shouts and jazz improvisations. Bessie, Mahalia and Dinah as well as Sara and Ella. Aretha is their heir” (34).
Aretha Franklin’s music made an impact on individual people’s lives. Writing -”The Impact” – Ylonda Gault says: “Mama taught me many things: God don’t like ugly. Be your own best friend. And never -ever – let anybody play you close. Today that sounds trite, a no brainer. But in the late 1960′s – as a newfound spirit of Black militancy began to emerge from the ashes of Martin, Malcom and Medgar – in many ways, a sister’s outspoken indignation was a revolutionary act in itself. In 1967 Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” simply set Mama’s smoldering vexation – with her husband, with her assembly-line foreman, with her life – to music” (68).
Similarly, when Aretha recorded “Natural Woman” in 1967, a song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, it became a hit and one her iconic songs. The song makes no sense to me since I consider myself an existential feminist/womanist who is suspicious of the notion of a singular natural woman. I say and say again that I agree with Simone de Beauvoir that women are made and not born. There are so many different ways to be an authentic woman in this world or to be a female who wants to move beyond such thinking altogether. We live in a time when gender nonconformity is acceptable.
Further, in the event that I have defined for myself what kind of “natural” woman I want to be, I would certainly not put the power of me feeling like the natural woman that I am to be in human hands. Such would give far too much power to another person. However, the logic of the emotion with which Aretha Franklin sings the song, transcends a human relationship. I am the “natural” woman that God, Divine Love, the Source created me to be and it is that Love that makes me feel like a natural woman.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season Two: Can Fear Motivate Love?

Aug14

by: Robin Kopf on August 14th, 2018 | No Comments »

The first season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale seemed like it couldn’t come at a more topical time. It fell within the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, when there were so many startling headlines that season one felt like a not-so-distant future. Season two, which started streaming on Hulu in late April of this year, came at a time with just as many startling headlines, but a growing numbness to the political turmoil that seems to keep worsening. By comparison to the first season, the following season is darker, scarier and more unbelievably twisted, as it moves past the universe building and plot points that make up Margaret Atwood’s book (from which the show came), continuing the character and plot development past its conclusion.

The first season’s addictive qualities come from the horror of seeing this universe play out on screen, but also from flashbacks to the period before Gilead (the extremist and patriarchal republic that replaces the United States) that look all too familiar. Season two’s fear factor is in the expansion of this universe, but also in the use of images in the linear time of the show that continue to exist in our history books, in the news, and in real life. We see June being guided in her passage to Canada. We see handmaids and others (spoiler ahead) with missing hands, fingers, and eyes. These familiar and fearful images that are used to speculate a world that oppresses most of the population, especially women, make it clear that the goal of The Handmaid’s Tale as a whole, but particularly the second season, is to beg its viewers to not let this world become a reality. Still, there are glimmers of hope within acts of true selflessness and kindness from citizens of the dystopia that tell viewers that the show’s characters are based on reality; not everyone is inherently evil and if there is a way into this hellish reality, there is a way out.

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For Katie Geneva Cannon Let Them See Your Tears

Aug10

by: on August 10th, 2018 | 4 Comments »

When a human being dedicates her life to the sustenance and joy of humankind, when she works with a will for justice and for the moral evolution of humankind, when she dies, it is fitting to pay tribute. This is nothing new for me, I think that works of mourning, acts of mourning keep us grounded and connected to a reality that life on this earth, in this delicate human flesh is fragile and fleeting and over far too soon. We all live moment by moment. We cannot take tomorrow for granted, and a life well lived is a work of art.

The Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary, the first African-American woman ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the first African-American woman to chair the dissertation committee of another African-American woman in religious studies, a pioneer of womanist thought, a towering figure in theological ethics, my own teacher, mentor, sister and friend has died. (https://www.upsem.edu/newsroom/professor-katie-cannon-first-black-woman-ordained-in-pcusa-dies-at-68/)

This for me is personal.

There is much that I could write about her scholarship and her pedagogies that have influenced a generation of scholars, teachers and preachers. We will be writing essays about her thought in the areas of ethics, homiletics, teaching and learning for years to come. There will be much to say about her concepts of unctuousness and her thinking regarding “ethosfacts” in her application of archaeological methods in the field of social ethics. We will be dancing the dance of redemption that she adopted and adapted from her teacher Beverly Wildung Harrison, made her own, and passed on to us for our own adoption and adaptation. We will make her thinking regarding the work of sociologist Oliver Cox part of a womanist peace theory. And we will, through her spirit, continue to “debunk seamless histories; . . .unmask the deadly onslaught of stultifying intellectual mystification; . . . and disentangle the ordinary absence of women of color in whole bodies of literature.” (Katie G. Cannon “Structured Academic Amnesia” in “Deeper Shades of Purple: Womanism in Religion and Society.”)

This, however, is personal.

There is an old saying that when the student in ready, the teacher will appear. That was the case with Dr. Cannon and me. I first met her at a Society of Christian Ethics meeting in Washington, DC in the early 1990s. She was already a star. I was just starting work on my PhD in Religion at Temple University, not exactly sure whether the academy and I would make a good fit, especially when it came to academic writing. I was trained in journalism and had worked in both print and radio. I was trained to write in a clear, concise and if possible entertaining style. Academic writing was abstruse and turgid. Why use a simple word or sentence when a complex paragraph will do?

Much of the discourse I heard at the conference was over my head, and I was not certain whether people really knew what they were talking about or if the difficult language was an obfuscation to cover up intellectual uncertainties and insecurities. I remember that she and I had a short conversation in the lobby of the hotel near the end of the conference. I do not remember how the conversation started. I probably saw her and walked up to her and started the conversation. As a journalist, I am not shy about approaching total strangers, introducing myself and starting a conversation. I do not remember much of what we said, but I do remember that she asked me what I was interested in studying and that she listen very carefully. She gave me her complete attention. After I had answered her question, she encouraged me to continue my studies. She thought that my intellectual project was worthwhile. I never questioned whether or not I ought to work toward the PhD after that conversation.

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Love, Gilda Gives Gilda Radner a Voice in 2018

Aug1

by: Robin Kopf on August 1st, 2018 | No Comments »

Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner

I’m in a warm room, mid-afternoon sun streaming in through poorly obscured windows. The brown couch is ratty and well loved, but comfortable in a way that fits the room. I’m flipping through photo albums and watching grainy home movies on an old, dusty TV. Sitting on the couch next to me is Gilda Radner, pointing to her favorite photos, laughing at how silly she looked in her Roseanne Roseannadanna costume, and sharing stories about the people that joined her in the photos. Lisa D’Apolito’s documentary Love, Gilda transported me to times, places, and feelings that I never would have experienced, but it nevertheless made me feel as close to Radner as if she were my cousin or aunt: close and nostalgic, but with a sense of mystery that there are things you can’t ever fully understand about a person.

Love, Gilda, a documentary about the funny, sad, and ultimately love-filled life of original Saturday Night Live cast member, Gilda Radner, opened this year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The documentary tells the story of Radner’s early life, the beginnings of her comedy career, her rising stardom on SNL, her adult life and other projects after SNL, and her decline and untimely death from ovarian cancer at 43.


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Some Spiritual Lessons from the Rescue of the Soccer Boys from the Thai Cave

Jul16

by: Matthew Fox on July 16th, 2018 | Comments Off

U.S. Airmen advising the Thai military in the operation to save the trapped Thai soccer team. Photo courtesy of US Department of Defense.

The world breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing that the first four—and weakest—of the Thai boys were rescued from the cave where they have been trapped for 14 days. Today four more boys have been rescued; tomorrow the rescue is slated for the last four and their coach who, we are told, is himself very weak having shared his meager rations with the kids before himself.

There are deep and perhaps even archetypal lessons in this powerful story which has captured the attention of so many people around the world and brought many people together in the midst of so much chaos and disturbance in the world. Amidst the disunity, unity. I wish to offer a few reflections on these lessons in this essay.

The power of the feminine.
A cave is an archetype of the womb of the Earth (Francis of Assisi loved to pray in caves). A cave is alluring and fascinating—but also dangerous and even deadly. Mother Earth’s beauty is intoxicating but it can also be dangerous; she has her own laws and must be respected—consider Pele now asserting herself in the wild volcanoes exploding in Hawaii, and the monsoons and floods faced by the boys and their coach.


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Trump, the Tragic Flaw of Prevailing Morality, and an Alternative

Jul16

by: John McFadden on July 16th, 2018 | 4 Comments »

Presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a magazine cover featuring himself while at a campaign stop at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dec 2015

Then presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a magazine cover featuring himself while at a campaign stop at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dec 2015. Image courtesy of Matt Johnson.

After the Access Hollywood tape exposed Trump as a sexually assaultive man, Bernie Sanders championed the cause of prevailing morality. He said, “We have a president who acknowledged on tape that he assaulted women. I would hope that he pays attention to what’s going on and think about resigning.” And for the most part the world yawned.

Many Americans already knew that prominent psychology professionals had diagnosed Trump as sociopathic. These professionals had much evidence that he fit the diagnosis “malignant narcissist” to a “T.” Reflecting this professional opinion, most Americans felt that Trump was far too immoral to be President. Talk show hosts like Bill Maher persistently attack Trump. Recently, Maher played forward the diagnostic label, “malignant narcissist.” Moral outrage against Trump fills the air. And now more than ever, the world yawns, as if to say, “So what—nobody can do anything about it.” Maybe, just maybe, Mueller will have an effect. And there’s the 2020 election. But discouragement abounds, and the gloom spreading throughout the land is palpable.

This state of affairs points to a difficult realization. Prevailing morality, the system of understandings and practices that underlie our justice system and all personal and social attempts to control bad behavior is tragically flawed. It’s not that well-meaning, intelligent and powerful people are inadequate. Their moralistic understanding of Trump and what to do about him is inadequate.

Prevailing morality teaches that people are more and less bad. Psychiatrists, dating back to what’s sometimes called “early Freud,” capture this view. Freud’s mind was, like practically everyone else, dominated by the moralistic view. Accordingly, he wrote that people are born with destructive impulses that must be tamed by a rational, moral conscience. That’s straight from prevailing morality. This explanation of destructive behavior and what to do about it is standard morality’s tragic flaw. How so?

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Faith in the Face of Bad Faith

Jul4

by: on July 4th, 2018 | Comments Off

Shortly after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, very shortly after, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided that the Senate would not consider a replacement nominated by President Barack Obama, he not only demonstrated bad faith, but he also showed that he does not function out of a duty to the Constitution of the United States. Worse, to cover up his naked disregard for the Constitution and his disregard for good faith understood as fair play, he used words from a speech given by Joe Biden when he was in the senate taken out of context to craft a fig-leaf, some non-existent something called the Biden Rule.

According to McConnell’s lie, the Biden Rule says that the Senate ought not to consider a Supreme Court nominee in an election year. McConnell said “the people” ought to decide who would make the next pick. Clearly McConnell and his invertebrate GOP minions in the Senate who lied then and continue to lie now, who are participants in a theft of a Supreme Court seat, have forgotten that we live in the age of fact checking, that there is video tape that allows us to see what Biden actually said.

First, according to PolitiFacts, the context of Biden’s remarks was very different. When Biden spoke about this in 1992, there was no vacancy on the Court. Biden made his remarks thinking of the toxic political climate at the time and suggested that if a vacancy were to occur, that the process ought to wait until after the election. Second, there was no recommendation that President Bush the elder not fill the vacancy. Biden spoke about compromise in the event that Bill Clinton won the election. (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/mar/17/context-biden-rule-supreme-court-nominations/)

Beyond the lies that McConnell told about the so-called Biden Rule, some people want to say that McConnell’s move to end the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominations is the next logical step from the action taken by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2013 to end the filibuster for nominations to the federal judiciary below the Supreme Court. This again is an analysis that does not consider the context.

Some of us do not live in the United States of Amnesia. We remember 2013 and before that. We remember the 2009 inauguration night conspiracy where Republican leaders of Congress met at dinner to conspire to obstruct EVERYTHING President Obama would propose. This while President and Mrs. Obama were dancing at the various inauguration balls. This while the nation was facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, while fighting two wars.

Mitch McConnell did not attend this dinner, but he announced that his primary goal was to make President Obama a one-term president, and the Republicans in the Senate did all they could to not only stop President Obama’s legislative efforts, but to stop his nominations for cabinet positions and for judgships. The unprecedented obstruction continued after President Obama won a second term. This is why Reid and the Democrats who were in the majority changed the rule.

When the Republicans won the majority in 2014, they had the numbers to take obstruction to its ultimate by refusing to allow President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court the respect of a hearing and a vote. During the 2016 election, more than one Republican senator spoke of refusing to give a hearing or a vote to anyone who Hillary Clinton would nominate if she were to win. For McConnell and the Republicans to talk about the nonexistent Biden Rule or to blame their obstruction on Harry Reid is disingenuous in the extreme. The refusal of the majority of one body to do its job was probably unthinkable to the founders.

So, McConnell is a liar and a thief. He and his colleagues failed to honor the Constitution that they are sworn to defend. Here is the oath of office for United States senators:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” (https://www.cop.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Oath_Office.htm)

Regarding nominations to the Court, the Constitution says in Article II Section 2 describing presidential powers:

“. . . and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.” (https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript)

There is nothing here about an exception for an election year. The people voiced their preference during the previous election, and the president’s term is four years.

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The Siamese Twins

Jun15

by: Uri Avnery on June 15th, 2018 | 1 Comment »

Image of President Gerald R. Ford and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meeting in the Oval Office

President Gerald R. Ford and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meeting in the Oval Office. Image courtesy of Crethi Plethi.

After commenting on most of the episodes on the first Israeli Prime Ministers in Raviv Drucker’s TV series “The Captains”, I must come back to the one whose episode I have not yet covered: Yitzhak Rabin.

Let me state right from the beginning: I liked the man.

He was a man after my own heart: honest, logical, straightforward, to the point.

No nonsense, no small talk. You entered his room, he poured you a straight whisky (seemed to me he detested water), got you seated, and asked a question that compelled you to come straight to the point.

How refreshing, compared to other politicians. But Rabin was no real politician. He was a military man through and through. He was also the man who could have changed the history of Israel.

That is why he was murdered.

The salient fact of his life was that, at the age of 70, he completely changed his basic outlook.

He was not born a man of peace. Far from it.

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