Archive for August, 2014

He stoops to pander

New York governor Andrew Cuomo, accompanied by assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, state senate co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and several well-heeled hangers-on, left today on a “unity trip” to Israel. Even under normal circumstances this would be a questionable state incursion into foreign affairs, but these are not normal circumstances: Israel is in the midst of a war with Hamas in the Israeli-occupied Gaza strip. While Hamas certainly has been a bad actor, the brutality of the Israeli incursion is completely disproportionate. Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians. Only three Israel civilians have lost their lives and they were actually working with the military. Cuomo’s trip is, basically, an endorsement of these atrocities. Furthermore, he and his delegation pointedly declined an invitation to meet with representatives of the people of Gaza. The trip is funded, it is claimed, by Cuomo’s reelection campaign. However, the fact that these worthies are flying El Al and not a US airline suggests that the real sponsor is the Israeli government.

I have no doubt that I will be accused of anti-Semitism for objecting to this blatant display of pandering to wealthy downstate Jewish campaign contributors, some of whom are almost certainly laundering illegal Israeli government money. But it must be said that the governor of New York should be tending to the affairs of the State of New York, not involving himself in international relations. The one-sided nature of this trip will only serve to further inflame the situation in Gaza. Mr. Cuomo will be returning from this entirely inappropriate junket with the blood of Palestinian children on his hands—and, of course, thirty pieces of silver in his pocket.

Shameless self-promotion

Besides this blog I also write one about food and cooking. Over the past four years I have posted more than 350 recipes and commentary about food of all sorts. I invite those of you who read this blog to have a look at Dinner at Leo’s.

Jurisprudence vs. Vendetta

In primitive societies, humans dealt with disputes in a direct way: one family or clan would attack and sometimes kill some or all of the family or clan they believed had wronged them. Not surprisingly, this system led to all manner of abuses from innocent people being killed to the development of feuds lasting generations. In the middle ages, feudal lords sought to bring this system under control by extending their personal protection to those in their realms and taking it upon themselves to mete out justice when necessary. To this day, criminal prosecutions in British Commonwealth countries are in the name of Crown, i.e. the queen or king. In the United States, the role of the Crown was assumed by the People as represented by their government. So a criminal trial in New York, for example, is a proceeding of the People of the State of New York vs. the defendant. This is different from a civil case, or tort, where the different sides in a dispute present their arguments to a court who decides who is right under the law. In a criminal case, the victim(s) of the crime or the family of the victim(s) have no legal standing. They are merely observers as the People seek justice. Some feel that this is unfair. Perhaps it is, but it is our law. We live in a country where jurisprudence, not vendetta, obtains.

Terms of Use: a reminder

It seems that I need to remind my readers of the nature of a personal blog like this one: it is a vehicle through which I express my opinions on topics that interest me and by which I invite discussion of those issues. Anyone is free to read what I post here and to comment within the guidelines I have established. Anyone who does not like what I say is free not to read it.

Thus far I have allowed anyone to comment so long as what they say is not overtly abusive, i.e. racist, insulting, or gratuitously vulgar. I will not tolerate personal attacks upon myself or anyone else. Nor will I countenance threats of any kind. I will delete any comments I deem objectionable and will block any users who violate my terms. Furthermore, I will report to appropriate authorities any continued threats of any kind.