Sunday, March 30, 2014
Democrats tagged the Republicans with a War on Corruption in 2006. Congressmen Bob Ney of Ohio and Randy “Duke” Cunningham of San Diego, House Majority Leader Tom Delay and Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska were under criminal prosecution or had pled guilty while Congressman Mark Foley of Florida was sending illicit emails to minor boys. Corruption though is a non-partisan, bipartisan activity. Adultery, corruption, and other defalcations in office are equal opportunity scandals, except that corruption is more common with majority parties since they possess power. As Lord Acton said: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” California is a one party state, so blue that the Democrats controlled a supermajority in both houses of the legislature until a few weeks ago. Senator Leland Yee (D. San Francisco/San Mateo) was arrested and indicted in a FBI sting last Wednesday on 7 counts of seeking political favors and a gun trafficking scheme. His arrest was a surprise and shock. He was an avid gun control legislator and preached transparency in government. Senator Yee unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011. His unsuccessful campaign is still $70,000 in debt, which he is trying to work off. One of the allegations associates him with a Chinatown gangster, Raymond "Baby Shrimp" Chow. Senator Yee is one an FBI tape saying: "I'm just trying to run for Secretary of State. I hope I don't get indicted." He is no longer running for SEcretary of State. I left San Francisco in 1970 and am now shocked to read that San Francisco is one of the cities known for “pay to play,” which is better associated with some cities and states elsewhere in the country and state. Senator Ron Calderon’s (D Montebello) indictment on February 21 was not a total surprise. The FBI raided his offices last June. He is from a long established political family in a section of Los Angeles not known for political integrity. One of the charges was interesting. Instead of directly taking a bribe for himself, the bribe was shunted to his brother Tom, a former Assemblyman and a political consultant, in exchange for the Senator running political favors. The Senator was hit with 24 counts of bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. The FBI has him on tape. Senator Roderick Wright (D. Inglewood) was convicted on January 28 on eight counts of perjury and voter fraud in lying about his legal residence. He claimed to be a resident of the Inglewood district he represented, but his actual residence was outside the district in Baldwin Hills. The 40 member state Senate voted 28-1 on Friday to suspend the three Senators. The last Senate expulsion was 1905. The one no vote was from Republican Joel Anderson of Alpine, who wanted them expelled. Apparently under the California Constitution the Senators will continue to receive their annual salary of $95,291 until they leave office. The current makeup of the California Senate is 28 Democrats and 11 Republicans with one vacancy. The Democrats now lack the 2/3 supermajority needed to pass tax increases or a constitutional amendment. California Democrats swept the 2012 elections, riding President Obama’s coattails. They gained four Congressional seats, won all eight statewide positions, and reaped a supermajority in both the State assembly and Senate. California became a one party state at the state level. Sadly, the three state Senate scandals, which may not be the last, probably will not revive the sinking California Republican Party. The changing demographics in the state, coupled with the 2010 Gerrymandering, pose too large an obstacle for Republicans in California.
Friday, March 28, 2014
The Copenhagen Zoo bred, named, raised and killed Marius, a two year old giraffe, last month. The zoo then publicly dissected Marius and fed the pieces to the lions and tigers at the zoo as an educational lesson for Denmark’s youth. The zoo slaughtered a family of lions, the parents and their two healthy cubs, last Monday. These lions had feasted on Marius. We don’t know who fed on the four lion carcasses. The zoo killed the four lions to make room for a three year old male lion, a 1:4 tradeoff. The zoo explained the two parents were elderly, the King of the Jungle was 16 and his consort 14 – too old to breed. In zoo view they had outlived their purpose and hence were expendable. They had to make way for a genetic superior, a new Lion King. We would call this act “elder abuse” if it were humans. Stefan Straede, the zoo director, described the new male: “He is a beautiful young male and I am certain he will be an impressive ambassador for his species,” as if the euthanized male was not. The zoo claimed the two cubs were killed because they could not survive on the own. If they did, the new male would have killed them at the first opportunity. Their dad died because the zoo was scared he would mate with his cubs. The zoo is opposed to incest, but practices eugenics. European zoos believe in “humanely” culling a species. American zoos believe in contraception. A public outcry responded to the killing of Marius. Zoo staffers received death threats. Denmark became known as the country that killed giraffes. PETA placed an anti-zoo billboard outside the zoo's entrance. The zoo’s officers are proud of their actions. They are oblivious to the protests.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Vladimir Putin is easy to understand. He don't need a gypsy fortune teller to foretell his future. He has the DNA of the five centuries of tzars and commissars who preceded him. They all possessed the common goals of land expansion and a warm water port. They have all been patient. President Putin is accused of acting like in a 19th Century way. Look at the 19th Century Russian Empire. Putin’s goal is not, as often commented, the resurrection of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is rather the rebirth of the Russian Empire built by the tzars and destroyed by World War I and the Bolsheviks. It was the third largest empire by land in history, exceeded only by the British Empire and the Mongol Empire. Here’s what that list includes: Crimea Eastern Ukraine The Ukraine Georgia (what’s left of Georgia after Russia seized Abkhazia and Ossetia in 2008) Poland Finland The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania Azerbaijan Armenia Mongolia Belarus Moldova President Putin may want to reacquire the “stans,” Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, but only if he wishes more conflict as in Chechnya. He may have eyes on parts of Turkey (Kars, Ardahan, and Igdir), previously part of Armenia. The tzars and Stalin wanted control of the Turkish Straits (The Dardanelles and Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara), but never succeeded on securing the access from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and their naval bases in Sevastopol and the Crimea.. Finally, one more piece of the Russian Empire exists: Alaska, which is already a red state in President Obama's eyes.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Sweater Vest, aka Jim Tressel, has thrown his sweater into the University of Akron presidential search. Coach Tressel does not possess the normal qualifications for a university presidency. He lacks a doctorate, hasn’t published scholarship or delved into research on the cutting edge. His expertise lies within the Horseshoe. He has little administrative experience, currently serving at Akron as Executive Vice President for Student Success. Forget a high paid search committee, Sweater Vest self-nominated himself. His teaching experience at Akron is co-teaching a course “Principles of Coaching,” at which he failed three years earlier at The Ohio State University. He is also the only candidate, of 19 so far, under a five year NCAA “show cause” order in effect into 2016. The man knows no shame. He doesn’t need the traditional qualifications. This is Ohio. Paul Janssen is a brilliant professor of physiology cell biology and cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State. He has published scores of scientific papers, but his claim to fame is spending over 1,000 hours over two years in building in his basement a 8'X6' 1,000,000 LEGO piece replica of Ohio Stadium (The Horseshoe Stadium)with 6,000 seats. That is Ohio. The defrocked football coach’s qualifications are an 8-1 winning record against Michigan and a national championship in 2002. He is beloved in Ohio. The most important skill of a university president is fundraising. Tressel can raise his weight in Buckeye leaves and tattoos in Ohio. He might also be able to wrestle additional funding for Akron from the state legislature. However, beating Michigan is child’s play compared to fighting the public employee unions for public funds. A college president has to be a conciliatory peacemaker getting warring factions to work together. Jim Tressel’s experience as a head football coach, is as a dictator, the opposite of a university president. Faculty politics are vicious, the subtleties of which are alien to football coaches. I respect Jim Tressel as a great football coach just as I respected John Wooden as a great basketball coach eventhough they consistently beat my alma maters in football and basketball respectively. I also respected John Wooden as a person. He had plain, simple Midwest values. I’m not so sure about Tressel the man. He had a history at Youngstown State and Ohio State of willfully blinding himself to major player infractions. He also failed at Ohio State to report transgressions to the administration. Integrity is not his forte. I have served under five university presidents and 10 law school deans in 42 years of teaching. The first President, Samuel L. Meyer of Ohio Northern, and Jim Doti here at Chapman excel. Another aging retired president is still alive, so I will not publicly identify the disingenuous Janus by name. Academicians, politicians, businessmen have become presidents of colleges, but not a football coach. Jim Tressel is not William Oxley Thompson. Think of the reactions of the disappointed candidates if Sweater Vest is appointed President: “I lost to that,” as Akron and Ohio become the butt of national derision.
Monday, March 24, 2014
The Mysteries of Malaysia 370 The Malaysia Government declared Flight 370 lost in the South Indian Ocean with all 239 souls on board lost. That solves one mystery – the fate of 370, but opens new mysteries. How did the plane fly so far off course? Theories: Pilot suicide A hijacking gone bad A complete mechanical failure An external hacking of the plane’s computer system A cargo fire Four planes are believed to have crashed because of pilot suicide, but that doesn’t explain how the plane managed to fly 7 hours, presumably on autopilot until it ran out of fuel. A suicidal pilot could simply have dived the plane into the ocean from a high altitude. A hijacking could have resulted in a fight with the plane supposedly soaring to 45,000’ and then plunging down until stabilized at a lower altitude. All on board could have died under those circumstances. A complete mechanical failure is a possibility, but what is the cause? Perhaps a computer takeover by a hacker. This scenario has become a common theme in Hollywood. The pilots would be unable to control the plane and external communications blocked. A fire in the cargo hold could have knocked out the transponders and other communications before the pilots became away of what was happening. Their subsequent turning back at a lower altitude may have been an attempt to safely land the plane. We now know the cargo contained a shipment of lithium ion batteries, which have been involved in about 140 aircraft fires over the past 25 years according to Business Insider reports. A UPS cargo pane crashed in Dubai in 2010. Lithium-ion batteries were responsible for a fire, which filled the cockpit with smoke and interfered with communications and controls. Lithium-ion batteries, widely used in smart phones and laptop computers, have a risk of overheating, spontaneously exploding and catching on fire. Over 10 million laptops have been recalled over the past decade by Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba. Nokia recalled 46 million cellphone batteries. One final question: What has been the role of the United States, the military, NSA, and CIA, and satellites in the investigation of the missing airline? Does the United States government know more than it is publicizing? The mystery can be solved when the black boxes are recovered, a substantial piece of the fuselage is retrieved, and some bodies, especially those of the pilot or co-pilot are autopsied. The fuselage will tell us if a fire or explosion occurred. The autopsies can determine of the flyers were dead before the crash. The black boxes tell us the flight dynamics and the cockpit conversations. Of course, if all this is wrong, we are back to the underlying conspiracy theory: the plane was hijacked and is somewhere in Pakistan.
President Obama (He signed up for the cheapest D.C exchange plan, but he won’t use it) Michelle Obama (She won’t use ObamaCare) Kathleen Sibelius (She doesn’t even know what’s in the Act) Lady Gaga (Certainly not a reason to do anything) Pajama Boy (Rumors are he’s engaged to Julia) Roy Williams (Worry about March Madness) Gino Aurieimma (He will get the best of UConn medical care without ObamaCare)) Zach Galifianakis (Has ObamaCare become a farce?)) LeBron James (He will get the best of NBA Care) Richard Simmons (Whoever in Covered California thought he would appeal to the young????) Will Farrell (Always the comedian) Olivia Wilde Amy Poehler Connie Britton Ryan Secrest Pearl Jam Rosario Dawson Nsync Most Hollywood A List supporters of President Obama are avoiding ObamaCare like the plague AARP (ObamaCare exempts AATP’s MediGap policies) The late Andy Griffith (He has no need for it) Michael Hiltzik (The quasi-socialist business reporter for the Los Angeles Times) Never underestimate a community organizer!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
It’s a Small World is a wonderful Disney Ride. It epitomizes the creativity and genius of Walt Disney. The 15 minute Disneyland ride through a veritable United Nations of 437 audioanimatronic children is a pleasant respite after Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, the Matterhorn and The Hollywood Tower of Terror. But the song! “It’s a Small, Small, Small, Small, Small, Small, Small, Small World, After All” is sheer torture. Forget waterboarding. The CIA should have used it at Gitmo on a continuous loop. Even the most zealot Al Qaeda would have broken down. Ask anyone who’s been on the ride what they think. They love it, but that song just sticks in their brains like a bad migraine. I love the ride. I've ridden it many times,but not for the music. The Walt Disney Company is celebrating on April 10, 2014 the 50th anniversary of “It’s a Small World” at all its worldwide theme parks by having guests and cast members sing the song together - a singalong, guaranteed to drive non-singing guests out of the parks. April 10 is not the actual 50th Anniversary. The ride premiered on April 22, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, where it became an instant hit. It was Walt Disney’s salute to UNICEF, a salute sung by the tiny children in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish to the same tune. It’s a small world, after all. The lyrics are idealistic: “It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears It’s a world of hopes and a world of fear There’s so much that we share that’s it’s time We’re aware It’s a small world after all It’s a small world after all It’s a small world after all It’s a small world after all It’s a small, small world” And on and on and on and on! All most listeners remember is “It’s a small, small, small world, after all” on a continuous loop. The diagnosis is post traumatic song syndrome (PTSS) for which total abstinence is the cure. It can be prevented by using the same earplugs available at monster truck rallies, or by viewing It's a Small World on YouTube with the volume muted. Universality is a wonderful ideal, but not the song. It cannot bring peace and quiet to the world. Disney breaks the loop during the Holidays by adding Christmas carols to the singing. That’s when you should take the ride. The New York ride was 10 minutes. Disneyland increased it to 15 minutes, a 50% increase that stretched the limits of tolerance. Disney is not concerned about the specifics of 50th Anniversaries. The 50th Anniversary of Disneyland lasted 18 months. Do the celebration, but please, hold off the singalong.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Pontiac, Michigan was established in 1818. GM created the Pontiac automobile in 1926. The Pontiac Superdome opened in 1975. All three have seen better times. The car died in 2010. The city received an Emergency Financial Manager in 2009. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the “Doctor of Death” was born and educated in Pontiac. He survived the Emergency Financial Manager by two years. The Superdome entered death throes when the Detroit Lions abandoned the Superdome for Detroit in 2002. The Detroit Pistons left for Auburn Hills in 1988. The City is in better shape in Oakland County than its neighbor Detroit in Wayne County. Pontiac, the City, will survive. Pontiac, the Superdome is doomed. The city sold it at auction in 2009 to the Triple Investment Group for $583,000, or roughly 1% of its original construction cost of $55.7 million. Rumors are that the gas has been cut off for non-payment of the bill. Old arenas and stadiums get recycled today. The Silverdome witnessed epic moments and record crowds: The Papal Mass in 1987, Super Bowl XVI, 1987 WrestleMania, the 1994 Fifa World Cup, and the 1994 Michael Jackson Victory Tour. The days after the Lions left were not as good. The Jehovah Witnesses were meeting at the Silverdome for a few years, but they too moved on. An occasional Monster Truck Mash doesn’t pay the bills. Once upon a time old stadia were demolished or imploded with the rubble hauled away. Now though value is perceived in their furnishings. Sears were sold from the old Shea Stadium and the Astrodome. The Red So and Yankees annually sell seats. Sentimentality reigns. Fans want to seat in the arena and stadium seats from which they watched their heroes. The owners of the Silverdome want to restore it into a valuable venue. Maybe! The odds are against it. Even if they demolish the stadium, such as blowing it up on the 4th of July, the 127 acres will not be prime real estate in the greater Detroit market. In the meantime the owners have announced that they will be auctioning off anything movable in the stadium: the old turf, water faucets, lighting fixtures, seats, concession stands, scoreboards, end zone logos, the training room fiberglass pool, game clocks, any fixture, anything movable. The stadium had 80,300 seats, many weathered during a roof collapse. The auctioneer, RJM Auctions of Plymouth, Michigan, is seeking at least $100/chair, plastic chairs at that, plus another $30 for a certificate of authenticity. 80,300X$130 would yield over $10 million. Won’t happen. The long-suffering Lions fans are loyal. They have to be. The hapless Lions have a half-century record of futility. They are one of only 4 NFL teams not to be in the Super Bowl. Games are often blacked out. The Detroit went a perfect 0 – 16 in 2008. They lost their first regular season game in the Silverdome on October 6, 1975 to the Dallas Cowboys, 36-10, a harbinger of the future. They won the last game 15-10 on January 6, 2002 to the Cowboys, but that was an historical anomaly. There’s not much sentimental value in a Matt Millen Toilet or Wayne Fontes Urinal, certified or not.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The story came out a few days ago. A father in Spring, Texas discovered a man in his 16 year old daughter’s bedroom, and then killed him. The immediate reaction was “This is just Texas; the dad will not be prosecuted,” or “You can get away with murder in gun happy Texas.” (I actually made up these quotes as a composite of the comments of some of the sentiment on blogs). A Texas statute allowed a husband to shoot his wife’s lover: “Homicide is justifiable when committed by the husband upon one taken in the act of adultery with the wife, provided the killing take place before the parties to the act have separated.” The in flagrante delicto statute was repealed in 1974. The Texas statute did not allow the cockold husband to shoot his wife. Nor did it allow a wife to kill her cheating husband or his mistress. Thus, the instance of a wife driving her Mercedes over her cheating husband three times resulted in a criminal prosecution. This video was on the evening news one night; a similar video is on YouTube. Texas is the state where Joe Horn in Pasadena, Texas on November 14, 2007 shot in the back two burglars who had broken into his neighbor’s house. Here are the facts as we know them today. The four year old son saw two sets of legs in his 16 year old sister’s bed at 2:20 am. He woke up his father, who went upstairs to investigate. He found the man in bed with his daughter. He confronted the two. The daughter said she did not know who the guy was. The father can now reasonably believe the young man was an intruder – a trespasser in fact. The common law would allow the use of deadly force, if necessary, against the trespasser. The father could also reasonably the intruder was raping his daughter. He could also use deadly force to protect his daughter. The father pointed his gun at the intruder, who then made a sudden move in the dark. The father could now reasonably believe the father’s life and that of his daughter were at risk. Self-defense would further allow the father to use deadly force in self defense. No charges were filed against the father. The prosecutor will take the case to the grand jury, which will undoubtedly not indict the father. It was a justifiable shooting. The facts now showed the daughter lied. She snuck her 17 year old boyfriend into her bedroom. He wasn’t an intruder, but an invited lover. No matter, the father had every reason to believe a criminal invaded his house and daughter The young couple was doing what young couples with raging hormones have been doing since time immemorial. So was the dad. Young men should be careful about shacking up with a daughter living in her parents home. Some initial commentators claimed the case was another example of a white getting away with shooting a young black. All parties involved are Africa American. Let’s wait for some facts in the future before jumping to conclusions.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Crimea held a plebiscite yesterday on joining the Russian Federation. Crimea announced a 89% turnout with 96.77% voting for annexation by the Russian Federation. The numbers don’t add up. 12% (243,400 under the latest Ukraine census) of the Crimea’s 2 million population are Crimean Tatars, the historic inhabitants of the Crimea Peninsula. The Tatars are Muslims of Turkish ethnicity. About ½ of the Crimea Tatar population was executed or deported between 1917 and 1933. Stalin and Beria deported the remaining Crimea Tatars on May 18, 1944 to the Uzbek Republic and other areas. The Tatars did not return to their homeland until 1991 with Perestroika and Ukrainian independence. The Crimea Tatars would not vote for Crimea annexation by Mother Russia. They dread, are in living fear of, the Russian takeover of the Crimea. If they abstained from voting, the turnout would have been less than 89%. If they voted, the yes vote would have been substantially below 96.77%. The exit polls showed a 97% affirmative vote, which corresponds to the final tally. Either shows exit polls in Crimea are more accurate than in the United States or the vote was rigged. The exit polls were taken under the watchful eyes of Russian soldiers. These are not objective exit polls. The non-Russian Ukrainians also would not have voted to leave the Ukraine. Nor would have the Crimean Catholics, whose religion is not recognized in the Russian Federation. The plebiscite was a farce. The Crimean farce is equaled by the Obama Administration response. The interim Ukrainian Prime Minister visited President Obama at the White House last week. He asked for arms for the weakened Ukrainian army. The Obama Administration offered MRE’s, the military’s ready to eat meals. The Administration was worried that supplying arms to Ukraine would be viewed as a provocative act by the Russians. The Obama Administration was worried about provoking a bully. Therefore it would practice appeasement. Then came the Administration’s response to the plebiscite: sanctions. There’s a saying: don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Don't bring MRE's to a gunfight. Bringing paper sanctions is even less advisable. The sanctions announced by the Administration consisted by freezing the American assets of seven of President Putin’s associates and denying United States visas to them. The response to these essentially meaningless sanctions was expressed by one of the seven: “Comrade Obama, and what will you do with those who have neither assets nor property abroad? Or didn’t you think of that?” President Johnson is reputed to have said: "Grab them by their balls, and the hearts and minds will follow." President Obama apparently believes that if he grab's President Putin's cronies (cronies - not cojones), Putin will follow. Not even their businesses, just their non-existant personas in the United States. An increasingly weakened President Obama promises stronger sanctions if Russia seizes more of the Ukraine. President Putin is hardly shaking in his boots. Russia will seize more. The Crimea’s gas, electricity and water come from Ukraine. Russia will not allow Ukraine to cut these off. Territory versus meaningless sanctions: What will President Putin do next?
Thank you all. We broke a thousand hits Saturday, indeed 1,109 for a record. I used to joke about no one reading the blog with but 10-15 hits a day – maybe! I’m amazed at which blogs go viral, and which fade into cyber oblivion. It’s no longer my most viewed blog, but the March 27, 2010 humorous comparison of the Spartacus Versus Rome TV series is still fourth with 5,156 views. My all time favorite is an early one, the August 24, 2008 Rule Against Perpetuities posting, a must read for every wannabe attorney studying for the Bar Exam. I am also amazed at the geographic diversity of you readers. we are truly getting out on the world wide web. My blog is idiosyncratic – whatever I want to write about, whenever. I don’t want to duplicate what everyone else is doing. Nor will I be as timely. The goal is a daily blog, but it usually doesn’t happen. I still have my day job. The blog is also inconsistent during times of travel. There will therefore be silence for periods this April and May. Sometimes nothing catches my attention, or, as with the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it’s too tragic. We can only begin to imagine the grief of the families. Remember, most of the Chinese parents of the passengers and crews only had one child. They lost their future. I’m often drawn by the humorous side of life. For example, I’m intrigued by the recent story of the homeless man, his wife, and their dog waking up inside a garbage truck. They had fallen asleep inside a dumpster. This report also reminded me of seeing a family in a van sleeping in the van in a hotel garage in San Diego. The hotel rates were $200 - $500/night, but overnight parking was only $25. My politics are apparent, but I keep them out of class. Academic freedom and tenure would probably protect me, but it would be unprofessional. If I say to the students that a statute is stupid, it’s to point out why the legislature failed abysmally in addressing the problem. It’s easy to make fun of Congress, the state legislature, city councils and other elected and appointed public officials. Many are intelligent, hard working, honest public servants. Others are often less than a dim bulb. I often think of H. L. Mencken and Peter Finley Dunne in listening to Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. What would those social commentators be thinking of today’s political leaders? Would George Orwell feel vindicated by the Newspeak and Double Think of these politicians? (Cf. January 2, 2010 blog, George Orwell Is Getting a Museum). I have held back blogging about the pressures facing legal education. It’s too personal, but many of us believe that many existing law schools will be gone in 5 or 10 years. I hope to still be teaching at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University forever. The $55 million testamentary gift from the Fowlers to Chapman is a lifesaver. The blog sometimes contain my past, but certainly not all of it. Thanks to the internet, including Wikipedia, for enabling the factual basis of many postings. Finally, please forgive the typos in the blogs. Again, a tale from the past. I signed up for a summer school course in typing at A.P. Giannini Junior High in San Francisco. There we were pecking away. A tap on my shoulder. The Vice Principal, whatever his title was, asked if he could speak to me outside the class. We went out to the hall. He said, I remember the words 5½ decades later: “Typing is for girls only. I’m dropping you from the class.” It’s been hunt and peck typing ever since.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
The Implications of Senator Feinstein Versus the CIA Senator Diane Feinstein delivered a 40 minute harangue against the CIA Tuesday on the Senate Floor. Senator Feinstein is Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a long time public supporter of the CIA and the NSA. The Senator’s speech came without warning and preempted a scheduled presentation later that day by CIA Director John Brennan before the Council on Foreign Relations. Senator Feinstein exclaimed “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution, including the Speech and Debate Clause.” She added the CIA may have violated the 4th Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Executive Order12333. She asked for an apology and recognition by the CIA that the search of Committee files was inappropriate. She, that is the Senate, has not yet received an apology, but instead a blistering denial by the Director of the CIA. If these statements are coming from a staunch supporter of the CIA, then imagine what its opponents, especially in Congress, are thinking. Whatever good will for the CIA came from last year’s movies, ARGO and Zero Dark Thirty, are gone. The underlying facts are somewhat confusing. The Senate Intelligence Committee has been exercising its oversight responsibilities for years trying to get to the bottom of the CIA’s counter-terrorism activities after 9/11. The Bush Administration disclosed in 2005 the generalities of the program. The CIA responded to inquiries about waterboarding by destroying several interrogation tapes. The CIA program included aggressive interrogation techniques, secret renditions, and extensive confinements. The CIA provided the Senate Committee access to a facility in Northern Virginia, and apparently provided the computers. It dumped about 6.2 million documents without an index or summary on the Committee. The CIA did provide though a search engine to access the documents. Somehow the Committee obtained a 6,300 page internal draft report to then CIA Director Leon Panetta. The report may, or may not, conclude the CIA’s techniques were unsuccessful. The Committee claims it obtained the report, not intended for disclosure, through the search engine. Whether it was available through the negligence of a CIA employee or from a whistle blower is uncertain. The CIA believes the Senate Committee illegally obtained it. We have at this point a disputed question of fact, which could have been privately resolved, by the President if necessary. However, the Acting General Counsel of the CIA, Robert Eatinger, referred the matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation. In addition, Committee staffers found documents missing from their downloads: 870 by February 2010 and an additional 50 by mid-May 2010. CIA Director Brennan said in January that the Agency had searched the Committee’s files looking for unauthorized information. He has since denied the CIA hacked into the Senate Committee’s files: “As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers – nothing could be farther from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. I mean that’s, that’s, that’s just beyond the scope of reason.” No it’s not. He added that he was “deeply dismayed” that some members of the Senate “made spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts.” The technicality is that the CIA probably did not believe it is hacking to search one’s own computers, even if loaned to another branch of the government. One of the conditions in the original agreement between the Senate Committee and CIA was that no documents would leave the facility. The Committee has now made some hardcopies, perhaps parts of the 6,300 word report, and stored then in a secure location. Our vacillating President has refused to take sides in the dispute – a dispute that goes to the heart of our democracy. The President is stuck on the horns of a dilemma, between Scylla and Charybdis. Who does he follow? The Senate or the CIA, led by his appointee John Brennan. Congress, no matter how deep the political divide, will stand as one when the institution is betrayed. A few Republicans are sticking with the CIA and a few wish the dispute was kept private, but most understand the need for Congressional solidarity. The CIA allegations are not a political dispute, but one of legitimacy. Our Constitution is premised on civilian control of the military, which today will include the intelligence agencies. The military, CIA and NSA answering to the civilians, which includes Congress, is essential to the survival of our democracy. President Obama is not overly concerned by the mandates of the Constitution, but we should be. Disputes between the Executive and Legislative branches over the disclosure of documents are common, such as the current House lawsuit to obtain the Fast and Furious documents. The disputes are usually resolved with the President often bending somewhat on Executive Privilege. This dispute is of a different magnitude. Senator Feinstein is alleging the CIA hacked into the files of the Senate. The CIA is spying on its civilian overseers. If true, the CIA’s actions are a direct attack upon the United States Senate and our democracy. They may be worse than the NSA’s spying on Americans, which also have been unproductive. To the best of our knowledge the CIA did not eavesdrop on members of Congress or opposition political leaders. They are as suspect as the IRS’s continuing attacks on political opponents of the current Administration. The irony with the CIA and NSA is that they are charged with protecting our safety, our rights. They are breaching our fundamental rights in the name of securing them. President Lincoln told us "We are a government of the people, by the people, for the people." We are not a government of the government, by the government, for the government.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Joe Sax, Dave Sive, and Pete Seeger, all founders of the Age of the Environment, recently passed from the scene. Joe Sax, the law professor, Dave Sive, the lawyer, and Pete Seeger, the singer, were all environmentalists before the environment became a cause. I was originally going to write about Joe Sax, who died last Sunday, but then Dave Sive followed a few days later. The two were often a pair working together, one the academic theorist and the other the legal advocate. Professor Sax taught at Colorado from 1962-1966, Michigan from 1966-1986, and then at Berkeley. I was fortunate to learn from Professor Sax at Michigan. I always viewed Joe as a mentor, but so do hundreds of other law professors and lawyers. That was his greatness as a teacher. He was a true teacher; Joe Sax gave not only his knowledge, but of himself to his students over a span of five decades. He supported his former students, who were no longer students but colleagues. Indeed, he treated his students as colleagues and not as students. That was also his greatness as a person. Joe Sax was not just a pioneer of Environmental Law, but he was also the most formative in its creation. Professor Sax and Professor Bill Rodgers of the University of Washington transformed from the traditional Natural Resources Law into the new Environmental Law. They were by no means the only Environmental Law pioneers in the legal academy, but they brought the most to the field. Another star was the late Dean David Getches of the University of Colorado School of Law, who died unexpectedly a few years ago, and a friend on mine, Professor Bob Beck of Southern Illinois, a water law specialist who also died a few months ago. Joe Sax was the visionary, the legal theorist who crafted new theories for the Environmental Age. His 1970 Michigan Law Review article, "The Public Trust in Natural Resource Law: Effective Judicial Intervention," is probably the most influential article in Environmental Law. He traced the public trust doctrine back to ancient Roman Law roots, and posited it as a modern source of protecting our water resources. I’ve heard him say: “Only that which should be on water should be on water.” The California Supreme Court a quarter century later adopted his thesis to radically reform California Water Law and preserve Mono Lake. It was exhilarating to take three courses from him four decades ago at the onset of the Environmental Age. We were pioneers, but Joe Sax was the lead. He didn’t teach dry law, but comprehensively presented the broad socio-ecological problems, and then applied the existing law, followed by proposed changes in the law. You saw the full picture. He campaigned against DDT, an early environmental battle. DDT is still banned in the United States. Joe believed in citizen participation in judicial suits to protect the environment. We call it “standing,” which is taken for granted today, but Professor Sax paved the way. He explained the problems with the Colorado River allocation, which problems are well understood today, but which few could see in 1971. He explained Con Ed’s desire for the Storm King Mountain pumped storage facility, the Northeast Blackout of 1965, and the utility’s travails with “Big Allis.” He painted pictures in his class with his incredible breath of knowledge. We are fortunate in the Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law fields that we have few braggarts or prima donnas. Joe Sax was definitely not one. He gave freely of his time and knowledge to colleagues. Dave Sive is credited with coining the phrase “Environmental Law.” He pioneered the field, starting with famous cases to preserve the Hudson River. He blocked the Storm King pumped storage station and the Hudson River Expressway, and played a role in blocking the Westside Freeway. He litigated the merits and “standing.” He argued that “aesthetics” could provide standing in environmental cases as a legally protected value, a position accepted by the Supreme Court. His early “Scenic Hudson Preservation Council” cases are still taught to law students. He used New York’s Forever Wild Clause to protect the Adirondacks and Catskills. Dave was more than a litigator and advocate. He was a founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Friends of the Earth as well as the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), of which he was a director from 1970-1992 and then Chair of the ELI Board of Directors from 1972-1976. He also served as a director of the Sierra Club. Dave Sive also taught Environmental Law at a number of law schools, but especially at Pace. He published numerous articles in the field. Pete Seeger, best known as one of America’s greatest folk singers, was also a pioneering environmentalist. He was disgusted in the early 1960’s by the murky, polluted, fish killing Hudson River. His inspiration was to launch the sloop Clearwater in 1969 to educate the public. The campaign was a success. The stripped bass have returned to the Hudson. Malvina Reynolds wrote in 1962 a song “Little Boxes,” about the “ticky tacky little boxes” of Daly City, outside San Francisco. Pete Seeger had a hit in 1963 with the song. Turn Turn, Turn, Joseph Sax, David Sive, Pete Seeger.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The Senate Democrats finally acted Monday Night. They filibustered themselves when there was nothing to filibuster. The majority filibustered the majority for nothing. The Harry Reid Senate Democrats could not, would not, pass a budget in four years, but they bloviated against climate change, otherwise know as global warming, They spewed out carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, with every breath they exhaled. The world’s greatest deliberative society became a generator of hot air. The Harry Reid Do-Nothing Senate proved yet again they could do nothing. America has seen classic filibusters. This one was a snoozer. It escaped much of the media. No great rhetoric; no quotable oratory; no memorable statements, no uplifting exhortations; no spellbinding, silver tongue orator; no Demosthenes; not many YouTube moments; just a snoozer. It took 30 Democrats to mount a 15 hour filibuster. Only one Republican, Ted Cruz, was needed to filibuster 24 hours, proving again that the Democrats are the party of excess. 30 Democratic Senators proved they had nothing better to do on a Monday night than generate hot air. 15 hours to say absolutely nothing. The Reid Democrats proved once again that talk is cheaper then action. All the Senate Majority Leader has to do is to bring a climate change bill to the floor of the Senate. He won’t because many Democrats oppose carbon restrictions. 13 Democrats joined 45 Republicans last year in rejecting a fee on carbon emissions. The Senate Climate Action Task Force, also known as The Climate Caucus, had a goal of raising public awareness of the urgency of climate change. Had they left the cocoon of the Senate in recent months, they would have noticed that Washington was freezing, as was Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, the Midwest, and much of the South. We used to call it global warning, but traditional, cold winters returned. Thus the rubric became climate change. The New York Times editorial on Tuesday, March 11 “The Democrats Stand Up to the Kochs.” Actually the Democrats kowtowed to Tom Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund billionaire, who promised $100 million in campaign contributions to Democrats fighting for global warming legislation. Talk is cheap with a $100 million payout. Democratic Senators in difficult reelection campaigns boycotted the filibuster. The War Against Coal, part of the Obama Administration War Against Fossil Fuels, is an albatross around the campaigns of Southern and energy state Democrats. The earth’s climate has always been changing, ranging from ice age to burning inferno, from burning inferno to ice age. Politicians remain the same.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Who would win the spelling bee? President Obama who can’t spell “Respect” or Vice President Quayle who supposedly misspelt “potato?” President Obama introduced Aretha Franklin with the Women of Soul at the White House three days ago. He said “when Aretha Franklin first told us what R S P E C T meant to her.” The media treated it as a “laughable moment.” We don’t know if the President audibled, misread TOTUS, or TOTUS had it wrong. The President made a mistake. Vice President Quayle was on a 1992 photo op, conducting a spelling bee in a sixth grade class at Munoz Rivera Elementary School in Trenton, New Jersey. The Vice President was handed a flash card prepared by a teacher. It spelt potato with an “e”, “potatoe.” William Figueroa, the student, spelt potato without the “e.” The Vice President glanced at the flash card and corrected William’s spelling. The media treated it as a defining moment, echoing for months what the young Mr. Figueroa said: “It shows the rumors about the Vice President are true – that’s he an idiot.” The mainstream media slimed the Vice President as a dunce, eventhough potatoe is an accepted spelling of the word. Indeed, the New York Times is reported to have used potatoe as recently as 1988. Mr. Figueroa delivered the Pledge of Allegiance at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. The media followed up in 2000 with depicting Governor Sarah Palin as a dolt. If only they treated the current Vice President, Joe Biden, with the same elitist disdain. The number of Biden quaffs is seemingly infinite, but for our purposes all we need to know is that he said J O B S is a three letter word. We all make mistakes. Spelling can be a challenge. Mispronunciations are common. Such as President Obama’s “corpesmen.” Misstatements occur in the heat of a long campaign. My blogs are replete with typos and misspelts because of limited tying ability. President Obama would win the National Spelling Bee before it began, whether his opponent were Vice President Quayle, either President Bush, or either Clinton because the mainstream media would have anointed him the winner in advance. Therein lies the national disgrace – the blatant double standard by the media. If Dan Quayle said he had been in all 57 states with one or two left, or praise the Ohio State Buckeyes while campaigning in Michigan, the media would have crucified him. My prediction is that the former Vice President would handily defeat the President in a real spelling bee in only a few rounds.
President Obama is on a vacation with his family in the Florida Keys. Two 18 hole golf courses are at the private resort they are staying at in Key Largo. Vice President Biden is on vacation in the Virgin Islands. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is traveling in the Mideast. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling elsewhere in the Mideast. Ukraine is in eastern Europe.
Friday, March 7, 2014
What if you died in Pontiac, Michigan and Nobody Knew? What if they gave a war and no one came? What if you died in Pontiac, Michigan six years ago, and nobody knew? What if you died six years ago in Pontiac, Michigan and your neighbors didn’t know? The mummified body of Pia Farrenkopf was found in the back seat of her green 2003 Jeep Liberty in her closed garage. The key was in the ignition, but in the off position with gas in the engine so it probably wasn’t a suicide. She was dressed in a winter jacket and jeans so she probably did not freeze to death. Pia just laid in the Jeep for ever. Not a neighbor asked a question. This is Pontiac, Michigan. Pontiac is not Southern California where you don’t necessarily know your neighbors. Pontiac is not New York City where people don’t want to get involved. Pontiac is not Detroit, where the police cannot respond to every crime. Pontiac is the home of abandoned GM factories, the dying Silverdome, and an emergency manager. Pontiac though has a stable middle class. Pontiac still has pride. Pia came and went, often for weeks and months. Some neighbors thought she might be away. Residents abandoned homes in the Greater Detroit area when the economy collapsed six years ago, as did the real estate market. Some neighbors thought her house might be one of them. Yet the lawn was mowed and mail didn’t pile up. Therein lies a mystery worthy of CSI. A neighbor tended the lawn to maintain the appearance of the neighborhood. The residents have pride. Where was the mail? An employer never asked because Pia was self-employed. She was terminated as a contractor with Chrysler’s Financing Department in September 2008, prior to its termination. Another mystery: The electricity was still on in the house although the walls had black mold. She had over $54,000 in the bank when she died. Her bills, mortgage, utilities, and personal finances, were on autopay until the money ran out in March 2013. The bank commenced foreclosure proceedings. But why did the electricity remain on? An employee for a real estate management firm on behalf of the mortgage company went to the premises a few days ago to fix a hole in the garage roof when he discovered her body. Pia’s auto license expired in 2008. She received a ticker in October 2008 for failure to show proof of insurance. She missed the January 2009 court date. The time of death is estimated therefore to be late 2008. How did her death go unnoticed for over five years? Here’s my problem: How to write about Pia’s demise? I thought of being humorous, but this story is too sad. I thought of castigating the citizens of Pontiac, Michigan, but they have greater problems. I penned a little of each so this blog is disjointed. And now the answer came. Ariel Sanchez kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004 and held them captive in a Cleveland house until they were rescued on May 6, 2013. Pontiac is not to blame. It happens. But where was her family? I tell my students that family and health always come first. Where was Pia Farrenkopf’s family since October 2008? What if you did anywhere at any time and your family doesn't care?
World War I started a century ago. It ended in 1918 with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian empires. The Hapsburgs (Austria-Hungary), Hohenzollerns (Germany), Ottomans (Turkey), and Romanovs (Russia) were sent packing or executed. New countries were created and boundaries shifted out of their collapse. The newly created countries often had ethnicities and religions thrown together, which could not co-exist in the long run. Germany, Austria, and Hungary lost lands, such as Transylvania being transferred to Romania from Hungary. France regained Alsace-Lorraine from Germany. Some of the Russian and Ottoman spinoffs, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, would not be independent for long, being reabsorbed into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Yugoslavia, a merger of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Christians and Muslims was destined to explode. Czechoslovakia peacefully separated. Finland, Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania escaped the Russian Bear. Countries spun out of the Ottoman Empire include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. A critical mistake in the Arab boundaries was not recognizing an independent Kurdish State. The Kurds were spread though Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey with tragic consequences continuing today. Iraq was a new amalgam of Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds in a highly combustible mixture. The Ottoman Empire, Balkan nations, and the Black Sea countries, such as Ukraine, pose a special ethnicity problem. The Sultans were tolerant of the myriad of ethnicities and religions in their vast empire. Thus the emerging nations were often a melting pot, albeit to a lesser extent than the United States, and high;y combustible. Sometimes the divisions were resolved tragically, such as by the Greek and Turkish immigrations after World War I and the Armenian Genocide. Another example is the Bloody Partition in India during independence from Great Britain. Countries may not have split during World War II, but peoples in countries such as Yugoslavia committed mass atrocities against their fellow citizens. The memories exist to this day. Ethnic and religious cleansing continues through this day in parts of the Mideast. A second problem is that fixed political boundaries are an anomaly in the history of western Europe, eastern Europe, and the Mideast. Boundaries continued to be adjusted after World War II. For example, Germany and Russia in their 1938 Nonaggression Pact split Poland in half. Russia won and Germany lost the War. Eastern Poland was deeded to the USSR, with much of East Prussia going to Poland. The one country with well-defined borders and independence over the past nine decades is Turkey. The victorious allies in World War I attempted to dismember Turkey. The British, French, Italians, and especially the Greeks eyed large segments of the country. Ataturk’s goals in the Turkish War of Independence were not only preserving Turkey’s independence, but also regaining the traditional boundaries of the Turkish people, including Thrace, Istanbul, and the heartland of Anatolia. He succeeded, but also proclaimed that the new Republic of Turkey no longer had a desire to conquer neighboring lands. Two millennia of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empire building and almost constant warfare were over. Thus, Turkey was one of the few European and Asian countries to stay out of World War II. Its boundaries were not changed by the War. Ukraine’s history is the opposite. It has been fought over by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Russians, Poles, Mongols, Vikings, Cossacks, Tatars, Huns, and Goths, as well as other migratory tribes. The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russia in 1783. The Ukraine came under Russian control in 1653. The Russian Federation just regained control of the Crimea.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
President Obama’s National Security met Saturday on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We know that because President Obama told us so and the Administration released a photo of the NSC. We have no idea what decisions or recommendations they reached, if any, but let’s look at the NSC membership. First, we have Susan Rice, the President’s National Security Advisor. She still can’t figure out Benghazi. The Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, was a political speechwriter for the President. He penned President Obama’s 2009 Cairo Speech, “A New Beginning.” How did that work out? He advised President Obama to withdraw the United States support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. How did that work out? The Secretary of State is Senator John Kerry is outraged: “It is not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun, dictate what you are trying to achieve.” He emphasized “That is not 21st-Century, G-8 major nation behavior.” The Secretary of State is right. It’s real world. The President said President Putin “is on the wrong side of history.” Only history will tell. The President asserted President Putin violated international law. So? The Director of National Security is Senator James Clapper, who couldn’t get his story straight on the NSA before Congress. He would seemingly have little to add to the conversation since apparently the CIA, DIA, and the NSA all missed calling the Russian invasion of the Crimea. The Secretary of Defense is Senator Chuck Hagel, whose fellow Republicans opposed his confirmation. They viewed him as a dim bulb. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is General James Dempsey, who has aptly proven himself to be a political general. Let us not forget Vice President Joe Biden, whose advice is usually wrong. The Director of Homeland Security is Jeh Charles Johnson, who between stints in private practice, served as General Counsel to the Air Force and General Counsel to the Department of Defense. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is James O. Brennan, who served 25 years in the CIA and is a terrorism expert. With a few exceptions, this is an unexceptional National Security Council with little expertise. So far, out national response is to cancel the delegation to the Paralympic Games in Sochi this Friday, but the 80 athletes will still compete. President Obama “wishes them great success.” The NSC met on Saturday. President Obama is not in the photo. Saturday’s meeting was so insignificant that President Obama missed it, AWOL so far as we know. Susan Rice provided updates to the President. Oh? President Putin is hardly shaking in his boots.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Dear Mr. President: “How’s That Russian Reset Doing?” You know, you reset our relations with Russia because it was just President George Bush’s obstinacy and Cold War mentality that was cooling relations with Russia. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember Air Force General Philip Breedlove? You should, you nominated General Breedlove last year to be NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe. He said to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters last Thursday that neither NATO nor the United States had drawn up contingency plans if Russia intervened in the Crimea, thereby giving President Vladimir Putin the green light to seize the Crimea. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember the red line in the sand you drew with Syria. You recall, of course, that President Putin talked you out of taking military action when Syria’s President Assad crossed the line. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember Benghazi and the four dead Americans? Of course not, it was politically inconvenient. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember proposing substantial cuts in the United States military just before Russia seized the Crimea? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember Governor Sarah Palin’s warnings six years ago on Russia and the Ukraine? You do remember Governor Palin. She’s the one your acolytes trashed as poorly educated and stupid. She said after Russia invaded Georgia: “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalency, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.” How could the University of Idaho graduate see it coming, but not the President of the Harvard Law Review? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember President Reagan's famous "Bear in the Woods" ad of 1964? "There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don't see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it is vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear." Dear Mr. President, Do you remember canceling the missile defense agreements in 2009 with the Czech Republic and Poland in 2009 as a sign of goodwill to Putin? How has that worked out, and what did we get in return? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurance? The United States, United Kingdom, and Russia guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine in exchange for the Ukraine giving up and destroying its nuclear arms. How has that worked out? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember your 2012 statement to Russian Premier Medvedev: “This is my last election. After my reelection, I have more flexibility.” Dear Mr. President, Do you remember in your 2 1/2 hours of telephone calls with President Putin the fundamental premise of Russian negotiations? What's mine is mine; what's yours we negotiate. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember Edward Snowden? Did the Russians ever give him or his stolen information back? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember Neda and the Iranian people, who you failed to support after the stolen 2009 election? Do you remember why you want the Mullahs to obtain the Bomb? Dear Mr. President, Do you remember the Arab Spring? How has that worked out? Dear Mr. President, do you remember the Churchill Bust? One of your first acts as President of the United States was to send it back to the British Embassy, signifying the end to the special relationship between Great Britain the United States. Of course you don’t remember. Your staff said it never happened. Dear Mr. President: Do you remember your Nobel Peace Prize? Peace should never be confused with appeasement or weakness. Dear Mr. President, Do you remember President Theodore Roosevelt's sage advice: "Speak softly, but carry a big stick?" Dear Mr. President, Do you understand that predators sense weakness? Dear President Obama, Do you remember Israel?