ISRAEL’s KNESSET SLAPS DEMOCRACY IN FACE, plus … SJC CHIEF JUSTICE THROWS FLY IN ‘NO SHOW’s’ OINTMENT, and MITT ROMNEY COMES UP BIG IN IOWA BY TELLING NEOCON CHRISTIANS TO BUG OFF
ISRAEL’S KNESSET PASSES ‘DISGRACEFUL NEW LAW’
By LARA FRIEDMAN
Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(EDITOR’s NOTE): THE PLANET, which values the larger view as much as we do putting the local yokels under the pin and tweezers, presents this guest contribution from Lara Friedman, director of policy and government relations for American for Peace Now, an advocacy group working toward a just solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., THURSDAY JULY 14, 2011) — Monday (July 11, 2011) will go down in history as the day that the Israeli Knesset voted to suspend democracy in Israel. Monday was the day when the Knesset effectively outlawed peaceful protest against Israeli government policies, including settlements.
The passage of this law is a travesty of democracy.
I am proud that our Israeli friends and colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement are leading a national effort in Israel to challenge this disgraceful new law. As proud Israelis, they know what this law means for their country and their futures. They know that it is not just their own ability to fight for peace, but also the very soul of Israel, that it is at stake.
Let’s be very clear here: fundamentally this is not about boycotts or even, really, about settlements. It is about trying to stifle dissent, smother activism, and suppress freedom of expression in Israel. And this flagrant attack on the basic democratic value of freedom of expression is not an isolated case.
The boycott law is just the latest in a series of anti-democratic initiatives in the Knesset – some of them already enacted – that seek to suffocate the Israeli civil society organizations that are most critical to preserving Israel’s democracy – groups working to promote peace, human rights, and civil rights within Israel.
All of us who love Israel – who love the people of Israel and who are deeply committed to ensuring a future for them in the Jewish and democratic state of Israel – cannot stay silent. We will not stay silent. We will not be intimated. We will not back down. Israel and the Israeli people are worth fighting for.
THE PLANET thanks Lara Friedman for her letter.
Chief Justice Ireland Asks Gov. Patrick to Put Up or Shut Up
On Judicial Appointments, including His Corrupt Corpulence, Lord No Show
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY JULY 14, 2011) — As if we didn’t need yet another reason to prevent Chris “No Show” Speranzo from “serving” as the next clerk magistrate of Central Berkshire District Court, we have the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) supplying one.
In a highly unusual and perhaps unprecedented move, SJC chief Roderick Ireland has asked Gov. Deval Patrick to bring an immediate halt to all pending judicial appointments. That, of course, would include the Lard of the Flies, His Corrupt Corpulence, Lord No Show (EDITOR’s NOTE: The writer’s reference to Mr. Speranzo’s weight are meant to be figurative not literal). His Lardness would then be deprived of sitting on his ample duff as a do-nothing no-show in an office that operated efficiently for two years without the mag’s job being filled.
It won’t happen, of course. Yesterday, the governor appeared to reject the request out of hand. His chief legal counsel, Mark Reilly, called Ireland’s request “confusing at best.” He saw Ireland’s request “as an attempt to restrain the governor’s constitutional authority,” adding that Patrick “will continue to exercise the powers granted to him by the Constitution of this Commonwealth.” While not an outright rejection of Ireland, Reilly’s statement implies that the appointments will go through.
The Background: $24 million in Cuts
As part of the FY2012 budget, Gov. Patrick ordered the courts to take a $24 million budget cut. That prompted Ireland’s decision to fire the ball back on the governor’s hands. Ireland is in effect saying, “Fine, if you’re serious about the cuts, then stop the appointments.”
Ireland heads a court system that employs 6,500 people in 101 courthouses presided over by 379 judges. Who says crime doesn’t pay? If the appointments go through, the rank-and-file employees in the court system will feel the pain in furloughs, layoffs, and other reductions. They will, in effect, be dying for No Show’s political sins.
Ireland says the courts are “committed to continuing the many cost-saving measures implemented over the past three years.” Again, it appears that Patrick will not entertain the chief justice’s request. The governor would rather play politics. On the one hand, he orders the $24M in cuts to look good with taxpayers. On the other hand, he approves a slew of lifetime appointments to the courts, including No Show.
Ireland’s unusual move in effect passes the ball back to the governor. THE PLANET recommends that Patrick side with common sense and help the courts meets your challenge without punishing the wrong people. We ask him, in this case, not to side with the Big Shots and Vested Interests, who have calculated and engineered these plum lifetime court appointments.
If you want to put this question directly to the governor, meet him tomorrow in Lilac Park, Lenox, at 5 p.m. He’ll be there to informally meet with residents. THE PLANET intends to bring this matter up at dinner tomorrow night, when we sup with Deval and James Taylor at Blantyre.
ROMNEY TELLS TO ‘FAMILY VALUES’
NEOCONS IN IOWA WHERE TO GO
BY DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
THE PLANET isn’t ready to endorse anyone for President yet, but of the Republicans, our former Gov. Mitt Romney is looking nomination worthy. Mr. Mitt not only differentiated himself from rabid right neocons Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, he did so while being the other kind of “right,” the one that refers to what is good, sensible, and morally sustainable.
Romney refused to sign the phony “family values” group’s 14-point pledge to pin-headedness put as a loyalty oath by an obscure Iowa Christian group. Sure, Romney’s move is political, but what’s not in a presidential campaign? In this rejection, Romney takes the stance of a leader.
Here’s the top of a longer AP piece:
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign said Tuesday that he will not sign a conservative Iowa Christian group’s far-reaching pledge opposing gay marriage, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to reject it.
Two of Romney’s rivals for the Republican nomination, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, have signed the The Family Leader’s 14-point pledge, which calls on the candidates to denounce same-sex marriage rights, pornography, same-sex military accommodations and forms of Islamic law.
When it was first circulated last week, the introduction to the pledge stated that African American children were more likely to be raised in two-parent households when they were born into slavery than they are today. The group struck that language and apologized after black ministers complained, but it said it stands by the rest of the document.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, told The Associated Press in a written statement Tuesday that Romney “strongly supports traditional marriage,” but that the oath “contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign.”
Bachmann and Santorum have been campaigning hard to court the influential social conservatives in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucuses. Romney’s rejection of the pledge reflects his diminished focus on winning Iowa, where he spent $10 million during his 2008 presidential campaign only to finish second.
THE PLANET LEAVES YOU FOR THE MOMENT. IN THE HOPPER, WHAT’s GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES AT PITTSFIELD’s TROUBLED “STOREFRONT ARTISTS’ PROJECT.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.