Friday, August 22, 2014

Legal Ethics Forum: Kentucky Supremes strike down pleas with waivers of IAC claims

The U.S. Department of Justice sometimes conditions plea bargains on waiver by the defendant of any later claim that he/she did not have effective counsel.  An Ethics Opinion in Kentucky found that created an intolerable conflict of interest between attorney and client.  The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed.  We await the U.S. next move. - gwc
Legal Ethics Forum: Kentucky Supremes strike down pleas with waivers of IAC claims:


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Full text of the last email the Islamic State sent to the Foley family | GlobalPost

Full text of the last email the Islamic State sent to the Foley family | GlobalPost: "HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD? A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens: We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so! As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE EATEN! You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted, We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in. You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language of force, a language you were given in “Arabic translation” when you attempted to occupy the land of Iraq! Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial attacks and “proxy armies”, all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation! Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD. You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours! You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings! The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley! He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Israeli Novelist's Cry for Peace. A Rabbi's Reply – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com

David Grossman at peace rally
An Israeli Novelist's Cry for Peace. A Rabbi's Reply – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com:
David Grossman mustered his usual eloquence at a Peace Now rally in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv on Sunday, just before the latest round of now-failed negotiations. J.J. Goldberg translates, followed by remarks by liberal Orthodox Rabbi Yuval Sherlow's open letter reply.   Goldberg says Sherlow "concedes many of Grossman’s sharpest critiques, but insists that Grossman fails to acknowledge “the other sides of the coin” — the still-vital humanity within the Israeli public, the implacability often facing Israel from its enemies — and so alienates a large audience that Sherlow wishes the novelist could reach."  Frankly I think Sherlow is blowing smoke.  The courage that is needed is by Zionists to reject the ideology that justifies continuing to take Palestinian land without compensation, and the courage to see Palestinian oppression and to make a political settlement with their enemies. - GWC
Rabbi Yuval Sherlow
David Grossman (excerpt)
 "But what must change this time, after this war, is the spirit of things. To my mind this is one of the main reasons we’ve come and gathered here this evening. To remind those who negotiate in our name with the Palestinians in Cairo that even if the people of Gaza are enemies today, they will always be our neighbors, and that is the spirit of things. We will always live beside one another, and this fact has meaning, because my neighbor’s downfall is not necessarily my victory, and my neighbor’s welfare is in the end my welfare. But above all we have gathered here this evening to voice a demand that the central provision in the agreement they are trying to draft in Cairo will say the following: that after the cease-fire is stabilized, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as represented by the Palestinian unity government, will open direct talks whose goal is to bring peace between the two peoples. That’s how it has to be, without hesitation, without stammering, without grieving, perhaps without clear, sharp declarations of intention by the two sides. Because if after a war like this, after its terrors, after its results, Israel does not initiate such a step, there will be only one explanation: that Israel prefers the certainty of repeated wars over the risks involved in the compromises that bring peace. And we will know that Israel’s current leader is not prepared, does not dare to go down the path of peace because he is afraid to pay the price, especially the price of withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating the settlements. Friends, this moment of decision might come tomorrow, or perhaps the day after, or perhaps in a month, but it could be that we will suddenly discover that it is very near and it will be a sort of acid test that will tell us in the clearest fashion whether or not Israel is trying with all its might to reach peace or whether it chooses another war."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In which Clinton slams Obama by articulating his "organizing principle" | xpostfactoid

In which Clinton slams Obama by articulating his "organizing principle" | xpostfactoid
by Andrew Sprung
"A typical account of Hillary Clinton's assessment of Obama's foreign policy in the Goldberg interview ran like this one in the New York Times:
"Her blunt public criticism of the president’s foreign policy in The Atlantic this week touched off frustration among Mr. Obama’s advisers and supporters, especially her suggestion that under Mr. Obama, the United States lacked an “organizing principle” in its approach to international relations. “ ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Mrs. Clinton said."
 Three things to note about this takeaway:
 1. Clinton didn't say that "don't do stupid stuff" is Obama's organizing principle, or that he lacks one. In fact she said the opposite.
 2.  The "organizing principle" that Clinton articulated, when pressed, is indistinguishable from Obama's, and, just like Obama's, incorporates "don't do stupid shit" but doesn't end there  (though the particulars of her favored policies on specific issues may quite different, in disturbing ways -- more on this at bottom).
 3. Obama has articulated that principle continually since his first year in office.

Point 1: Here is the full text of what Clinton said with respect to the "don't do stupid stuff" mantra:.... "

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What Happens in Israel Doesn’t Stay in Israel – Forward.com

What Happens in Israel Doesn’t Stay in Israel – Forward.com:
by J.J. Goldberg - Jewish Daily Forward

"The lesson, as we’ll see, was that there’s a difference between what’s traditionally known as anti-Semitism and the recent wave of hostility toward Jews on various continents. The old anti-Semitism was a hatred of Jews because of myths and fantasies disconnected from reality like drinking Christians’ blood or killing God. The new anti-Semitism includes some of that, but it starts with something else: an anger at Jews over something that actually happened. Israel was created on land that Muslims, like it or not, considered part of their sacred waqf, the indivisible House of Islam. Many Muslims haven’t gotten over it. Hey, Osama bin Laden wanted Spain back. Moreover, thousands of Palestinians were displaced, which generates its own anger. And many more Muslims get angry when they see large numbers of fellow Muslims getting killed, as happens periodically. There may be good reasons why those deaths happened, but not everyone is open to reason. Some hotheads will look for a target to vent their anger. Some thugs might blow up a bus in Haifa. Others might attack Israel’s best friends in, say, Paris. This doesn’t excuse, it explains. Explaining is the first step toward solving. Rage at Israel can lead to actions that are thuggish, sometimes criminal, occasionally murderous. But it’s not necessarily the same as the world’s oldest hatred. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. If someone hates you because of a delusion, there’s nothing you can do. If a person is angry with you because of something that actually happened, you have choices."

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

‘Ending the siege is not a Hamas demand – it is a Palestinian one’ | +972 Magazine

There is a debate among international law experts about whether Israel is an occupying power in Gaza.  If not, then it has no obligation to supply water and electricity. If yes then it has affirmative duties toward the population.  The central fact to me is that Israel's restrictions on Gaza, and perhaps Egypt's! are acts of war which justify resistance by force.  The Palestinian dilemma is that neither non-violent nor violent intifada seems to work. - gwc
‘Ending the siege is not a Hamas demand – it is a Palestinian one’ | +972 Magazine:

Ending the siege is not a “Hamas demand.” It is the people’s demand. Gaza is still under occupation—it is an open jail. Israel always says, “We withdrew, we gave them land to control…” I am always shocked when I hear this line repeated by someone on CNN. The borders are completely controlled by Israel, the sea is completely controlled by Israel. The airspace is completely controlled by Israel. The crossings are completely controlled by Israel, aside from one crossing, controlled by Egypt—and this is now closed as well.
Taghreed al-Khodary, formerly the Gaza correspondent for the New York Times and currently an editor at fanack.com

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The foolish gamble behind the Perry indictments | GOPLifer

The foolish gamble behind the Perry indictments | GOPLifer:
by Chris Ladd
"By trying to take Perry down on the tenuous grounds of “abuse of power,” the Travis County DA is unintentionally obscuring a far more important investigation.  Her reasoning, probably, was that this was the only way to rescue the Public Integrity Unit’s inquiry into the Governor’s other activities. Unfortunately, Lehmberg is up against two miserable problems.
The first problem is that she is utterly compromised. The only lasting images likely to emerge from this complex mess are the pictures of her making an ass of herself during her arrest. The larger problem is that prosecuting public corruption in Texas is nearly impossible because of the shape of the legal and political landscape.
By playing this desperate gambit, Lehmberg is not only likely to lose. Her actions may finish off Travis County’s public integrity unit, effectively snuffing out what little light of scrutiny still shines on the art of Texas political corruption. Trying to take down Rick Perry on a such a trivial, clearly political matter is an embarrassment. This is a guy who let a major campaign donor, Bob Perry, write his own regulatory scheme to regulate his own industry. The Governor then appointed Bob Perry to head the “watchdog” agency that the legislation created.
Perry appointed the head of one of Texas’ most powerful payday lenders to head the agency that regulates payday lending. He presides over a half-billion dollar “investment fund” fueled by state money which he hands out to well connected friends with no oversight.
And the best that the Travis County DA’s Office can do is indict him for hounding a prosecutor with a criminal record? Ultimately, why is Perry being charged with something so seemingly trivial? Just as in the DeLay case, it is very difficult to find a form of public corruption in Texas that actually breaks a law. The core of the problem is that virtually nothing that passes for public corruption elsewhere in the western world is illegal in Texas. Under Perry’s influence and with little legislation or oversight to stand in the way, Texas has become America’s champion of blatant, unapologetic, and remarkably uncreative public corruption. No one ever goes to prison for it, not even Tom DeLay. Perry is unlikely to be an exception.
Texas has an unpaid Legislature. Think that over for a minute. Just as every new prisoner supposedly must fight for his life or become someone’s bitch, each new Legislator has to immediately decide which collection of donors and lobbyists is going to pay his rent in Austin. How do you prosecute public corruption in a system built on those rules? The Travis County courts can do whatever they will. It doesn’t matter. Just as in the DeLay case, Perry would appeal any conviction into a system of Appellate Judges he constructed. Many of them he hand-picked across his record 15 years in office. The rest of them owe their livelihood to the Texas Republican machine.
The charges against Perry might be a minor factor in his Presidential ambitions, but no one was going to take him seriously at that level anyway. It will cost Perry some of the money which has been donated by the people he takes care of. It is unlikely to force him to dip into the millions in wealth God has granted him over the course of his public service career. You can bet that appearances at a few prayer breakfasts will shake loose whatever cash he needs to earn vindication. This indictment is little more than a frustrated prosecutor spitting defiantly in the wind. She should have passed on this. By doubling down on a compromised investigation she is gambling the future of Texas’ only major institution for public integrity on a very bad hand."

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Cairo Truce Hopes Fading As Sides Stiffen Terms – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com



Cairo Truce Hopes Fading As Sides Stiffen Terms – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com: "Indications are mounting that the indirect Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire talks in Cairo could be heading for failure, possibly resulting in renewed fighting when the current 5-day truce expires Monday night. Early reports were that the two sides were close to agreement on an Egyptian compromise proposal for a long-term cease-fire. On Friday and Saturday, however, declarations on both sides indicated that positions were hardening as fierce internal divisions emerged, pulling the leaderships on both sides away from the center.
The Palestinian side appears to be stymied by the refusal of the organization’s Qatar-based political secretary, Khaled Meshaal, and the head of its military wing, Mohammed Deif, to go along with the compromise proposals laid out by the Egyptians and mostly accepted by both delegations.
On the Israeli side, meanwhile, chaos appears to be reigning. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who rode a wave of popularity during the military operation, has been facing a tsunami of criticism over the past week from the left, the right, the residents of Gaza-adjacent communities and his top coalition ministers. Two of his senior coalition partners, foreign minister Avigdor Liberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and economics minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, have repeatedly attacked the prime minister’s management of the Gaza conflict from the right, demanding a continuing assault until Gaza has been taken over and Hamas disarmed or dismantled. Broad circles on the right accuse him of giving away the store (i.e. lifting the blockade) in return for “nothing” (i.e. Hamas-Jihad agreement not to shoot, bombard or tunnel).
 The other coalition partners, justice minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnuah and finance minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, have been pressing Netanyahu from the left, demanding that he seek to end the fighting by convening an international Middle East peace conference in cooperation with the Arab League. The goal of the conference would be to negotiate an agreement for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu hasn’t said no to either minister, by some accounts because he’ll need their votes in the cabinet for the limited cease-fire he’s aiming to obtain in Cairo"

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

`Hands Up, Don't shoot"Police Riot - Ferguson, Missouri - the iconic image


Armed police confront a protester in Ferguson, Missouri
`Hands Up, Don't shoot' - Ferguson. Missouri   Scott Olson//Getty Images

Baghdadi Denial Syndrome

An image made available on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin on June 11, 2014 shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) posing with the trademark Jihadists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin. Jihadists are pushing toward Baghdad on June 12, 2014 (AFP Photo/HO/Welayat Salahuddin)
Militants of ISIL, formerly known as al Qaeda in Mesopotamia
Baghdadi Denial Syndrome
by Hussein Ibish
"One of the most alarming features of Arab responses to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq is a persistent pattern of neurotic denial in the form of conspiracy theories and other escapist fantasies. But running away from the truth will only complicate the ability of Arab states and societies to comprehend where the IS came from, how it has unexpectedly managed to surge into so much power so quickly, and how it can be effectively countered.
 One of the most persistent and widespread delusions is that the IS did not, in fact, emerge from Sunni Muslim communities in Iraq and Syria over the course of the wars there in the past decade. Instead, it is increasingly asserted, the IS is a creature of, and was established by, intelligence services such as the CIA or the Israeli Mossad. An extraordinarily large number of Arabs, Muslims and others appear to have taken refuge in these conspiracy theories. Call it Baghdadi Denial Syndrome. The most outlandish version circulating online holds that IS leader and "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is, in fact, a Jewish actor named Elliot Shimon, or some such plausibly-Jewish name. Shimon, it's laughably alleged, was trained for a year by the Mossad in various skills, including theology and rhetoric."

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The Bridgegate Dodge from the Port Authority


Jim Dwyer, the outstanding New York Times reporter, has been trying for months to get information from the Port Authority about Bridgegate.  HERE is his open letter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Religious Freedom Clashes with Access to Care — NEJM

When Religious Freedom Clashes with Access to Care — NEJM
I. Glenn Cohen, J.D., Holly Fernandez Lynch, J.D., M.Bioethics, and Gregory D. Curfman, M.D.
N Engl J Med 2014; 371:596-599August 14, 2014DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1407965

Audio interview with Prof. George Annas, Harvard Medical School

At the tail end of this year's Supreme Court term, religious freedom came into sharp conflict with the government's interest in providing affordable access to health care. In a consolidated opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell (collectively known as Hobby Lobby) delivered on June 30, the Court sided with religious freedom, highlighting the limitations of our employment-based health insurance system.***

BUFFER ZONES, BUBBLE ZONES, AND ABORTION CLINICS — ANOTHER WOMEN'S HEALTH CASE

In 2000, concerned about clashes between antiabortion protesters and women seeking abortions, the Massachusetts legislature established an 18-ft radius around the entrances and driveways of facilities providing abortions and specified that within that area, no person could, without consent, approach within 6 ft of another person (a so-called “bubble zone”) for the purpose of protesting, leafleting, counseling, or education. In 2007, the legislature concluded that law was not effective enough and increased its stringency, imposing a 35-ft fixed buffer zone with few exceptions. The law was challenged on free-speech grounds in a case called McCullen v. Coakley, and on June 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck it down as unconstitutional.
The lead opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by four other justices, noted that sidewalks and public ways hold a “special position in terms of First Amendment protection because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate.” Although it was abortion that had motivated the statute, the Court held that the law was content- and viewpoint-neutral: it did not focus on what was said but on where it was said, and it burdened all speech, not merely disfavored speech. On this point, the four remaining justices disagreed. Nevertheless, the Court held that the statute failed the second part of the relevant constitutional test because it was not “narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest.” In particular, though the Court recognized that the buffer zones furthered the state's interests in “ensuring public safety” on streets and sidewalks and in “preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities,” it determined that the law problematically criminalized not only protests, but also sidewalk counseling, which could not be done at a distance of 35 ft. It also found that the buffer zones burdened “substantially more speech than necessary to achieve” the state's interest and suggested a plethora of less intrusive means the state could have used instead, some of which are used in other states.
Although the decision deals another blow to abortion rights, that blow is not as substantial as some had feared: the finding that the law was content- and viewpoint-neutral allows for the possibility that Massachusetts and other states could pass similar but narrower laws. Moreover, the Court left open the future of the floating “bubble zone” around women approaching clinics for abortions — the strategy that Massachusetts had used from 2000 to 2007 and one that the Court upheld in a Colorado case in 2000. Several justices, however, indicated a willingness to revisit that decision in future litigation.

New Jersey State Bar to Christie, Legislators: Fill Judicial Vacancies



New Jersey's judiciary - roiled by years of conflict as Governor Chris Christie tried to reverse longstanding affordable housing and school equity precedents - is shorthanded.  The 420 member Superior Court bench has over 50 vacancies and another dozen looming.  Meanwhile the Supreme Court must decide whether the mandatory retirement age of seventy bars the forty year legislatively sanctioned practice of recalling senior retired judges.  They have been the finger in the dike but a dissent in the Appellate Division forces them to decide if the state constitution bars the remedial measure.

Paris Eliades the State Bar President has issued a distress call.  But neither the recall issue nor the proposal to fix the constitution, perhaps by extending the retirement age to seventy five, is mentioned.  - GWC

Dear Governor Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Minority Leader Kean:
New Jersey's judiciary is facing a crisis.
With 52 vacancies and another 12 looming, our judges are stretched beyond reason. They are struggling to meet the justifiable needs of the citizens of this state who have every right to look to their courts to settle their grievances in the manner contemplated by the constitution and our democracy.
As a result of these unprecedented numbers, judges are carrying staggering caseloads and court officials are turning to desperate measures, leading to delays and hardships for people seeking divorces, the resolution of business disputes and many other cases.
In recent years, these measures have forced Assignment Judges in Essex and Union county to halt the consideration of certain cases and just last week Bergen County imposed limitations on family and civil trials. The staggering number of vacancies means that such measures are likely to increase if immediate relief is not provided.
As Bergen County Assignment Judge Peter E. Doyne said last week in published reports: "I have asked everyone to work harder, but there is only so much to be done."
The solution lies in your capable hands.***

Paris P. Eliades, President
New Jersey State Bar Association
August 13, 2014 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Ways of Looking at the Hillary Clinton Interview - The Atlantic

Two Ways of Looking at the Hillary Clinton Interview - Fallows - The Atlantic:
by James Fallows

"I hope she's just rusty. Because if she intended this, my heart sinks. 
It sinks for her, that she thought this would make her sound tough or wise; it sinks for the Democratic party, that this is the future foreign policy choice it’s getting; and it sinks for the country, if this is the way we’re going to be talked-to about our options in dealings with the world."

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Hedges, lies and pablum: Clinton to Goldberg | xpostfactoid

Hillary Clinton's Atlantic interview is big news.  It's Hillary being Bibi, or something appallingly close to that, Sprung explains. Click through for the full analysis. -gwc
Hedges, lies and pablum: Clinton to Goldberg | xpostfactoid
by Andrew Sprung
"In a prior post, I may have overemphasized the hedge element in Hillary Clinton's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, published Sunday. Hedging her criticisms of current policy and her interventionist impulses was definitely a part of the performance. But that performance was equal parts hedges, bald-faced lies and pablum in support of an implied general propensity toward more aggressive action that itself may prove illusory.

For the lies, see Peter Beinart. Everything Clinton said about Netanyahu and his dealings with the Palestinians in his two spells as prime minister was untrue. He didn't "move toward a Palestinian state" in the mid-nineties, he didn't agree to a meaningful settlement freeze in 2009, he didn't engage with Assad in 2009-2010, he didn't offer the Palestinians "Barak-like options"--or any concrete proposals -- in the last round of negotiations that collapsed this spring, and he either never relinquished or has recently reaffirmed a determination never to give up security control of the West Bank. As for the assault on Gaza, Clinton simply parroted IDF talking points. "

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Iron Dome is not working | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Figure 1. An Iron Dome interceptor engages a rocket in the proper orientation. The blue dashed line emanating from the forward section of the interceptor depicts the line-of-sight of its laser fuse.
Air raid shelters work.  Early warning works.  The Iron Dome? Not so much.  good for Raytheon, etc. And the placebo effect is good for Netanyahu. - gwc
The evidence that shows Iron Dome is not working | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"In the early weeks of July, the conflict between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel flared up again, resulting in a new round of large-scale rocket attacks, launched by Hamas, operating from Gaza, against Israeli population centers. The last such large-scale rocket attacks occurred in November 2012.  Initially, the Israeli military responded to the rocket attacks with air strikes in Gaza, and with protective measures that include deployment of the Iron Dome rocket-defense system and a civil defense effort that includes an efficient system for early warning and sheltering of citizens. As of this writing, only one Israeli had died from Hamas fire, apparently from a mortar round (although that number increased with the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip begun late last week).
 IRON DOME SLIDE SHOW 
During the November 2012 conflict, a detailed review of a large number of photographs of Iron Dome interceptor contrails revealed that the rocket-defense system's success rate was very low—as low as 5 percent or, perhaps, even less. A variety of media outlets have attributed the low casualty number to the supposed effectiveness of the Iron Dome system, quoting Israeli officials as saying it has destroyed 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it targeted. But close study of photographic and video imagery of Iron Dome engagements with Hamas rockets—both in the current conflict and in the 2012 hostilities—shows that the low casualties in Israel from artillery rocket attacks can be ascribed to Israeli civil defense efforts, rather than the performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The collection of data for Iron Dome's performance in July 2014 is still in progress. The data we have collected so far, however, indicates the performance of Iron Dome has not markedly improved."

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Lawyer can cite judges' praise in advertising

Andrew Dwyer v. Cappell, 3rd Circuit, August 11, 2014
“The inescapable conclusion is . . . that
plaintiffs achieved a spectacular result when the
file was in the hands of Mr. Dwyer. . . . Mr.
Dwyer was a fierce, if sometimes not
disinterested advocate for his clients, and
through an offensive and defensive motion
practice and through other discovery methods
molded the case to the point where it could be
successfully resolved.”
---Hon. William L. Wertheimer, J.S.C.
Andrew Dwyer, a plaintiffs' employment discrimination lawyer in Newark, New Jersey has a strong litigation record.  New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination permits awards of counsel fees to be paid to victorious claimants.  To gain that remedy a judge must make a finding of fact regarding the value of the prevailing counsel's work.  Judge William L'E Wertheimer made such a finding - one he complained about when he learned that Dwyer had featured it on his firm's website.

The New Jersey Supreme Court's Committee on Attorney Advertising - a disciplinary body - agreed and ordered he cease.  The Court approved a prohibitory Guideline saying that such use was misleading - because a finding of fact is not an endorsement and represents only an assessment of an award on a particular occasion.
Dwyer challenged the Guideline in federal court and lost at the District level.  The Third Circuit reversed.  Although a disclosure might meet constitutional muster 
 "Because Guideline 3 effectively precludes advertising with accurate excerpts from judicial opinions on Dwyer’s website, it is unduly burdensome.
Guideline 3 as applied to Dwyer’s accurate quotes from judicial opinions thus violates his First Amendment right to advertise his commercial services. Requiring Dwyer to reprint in full on his firm’s website the opinions noted above is not reasonably related to preventing consumer deception. To the extent the excerpts of these opinions could possibly mislead the public, that potential deception is not clarified by Guideline 3. In any event, what is required by the Guideline overly burdens Dwyer’s right to advertise. "

Israel, Hamas Near Long-term Deal on These Terms – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com

Sabri Baker, 53, a fisherman and father of 16 children, walks towards his destroyed boat in Gaza harbor, July 15, 2014. In 2012 his previous boat was confiscated by the Israeli army and was never returned. The boat was destroyed during an Israeli attack on July 11, 2014  (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
Israel's naval blockade of Gaza - a key issue in peace talks
Israel, Hamas Near Long-term Deal on These Terms – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com: 

"Israel and the Palestinians are said to be near agreement on the terms for a long-term cease-fire for Gaza, following a day of talks in Cairo under Egyptian mediation. The Israeli team was reported by Yediot Ahronot’s Ynet news site to be heading back to Israel this evening to present the tentative agreements to Israel’s security cabinet. The 11-member Palestinian delegation includes five representatives of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, including Azzam al-Ahmed, the delegation head, and delegation spokesman Qais Abd el-Karim of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine; four representatives of Hamas, including deputy political secretary Moussa Abu Marzouk; and two representatives of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli delegation includes Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen; Defense Ministry political-diplomatic director Amos Gilad; coordinator of government activities in the territories Maj. Gen. Yoav “Pauly” Mordechai; director of the IDF planning directorate Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer; and Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal lawyer."

Following are the terms of the emerging agreement, as reported on Israel’s Mako-Channel 2 News by veteran Arab affairs commentator Ehud Yaari and reporter Udi Segal:

Demanded by Israel:

*A complete halt to firing and hostile action from Gaza.
* Israeli control of border crossings to be opened between Gaza and Israel in the framework of the agreement.
* Payment of money and any other cash transfers to public workers in Gaza will be carried out only via the Palestinian Authority.

Demanded by Palestinian negotiators:
* Expansion of the coastal waters permitted by Israel to Gaza fishermen. The new limit to be determined by Israel according to its security needs.
* Reopening by Egypt of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai. Egypt conditions this on the placement of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority security forces on the Gaza side. Egypt is reportedly demanding 1,000 troops, a number that might be beyond the authority’s capacity.

* Significant expansion of the range and quantity of goods imported from Israel to Gaza. Ynet reports that the number of trucks entering Gaza daily will be roughly doubled to 600.

Mako reports that there’s no agreement on the Palestinian demand to permit free passage of Gaza residents to the West Bank and specifically to Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. Ynet reports, however, that Israel appears ready to increase the number of entry permits issued to Gaza residents for work in Israel and to broaden the criteria for admission of Gaza residents to the West Bank.


Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/203954/israel-hamas-near-long-term-deal-on-these-terms/?#ixzz3ACY02Dhw


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Roberts vs. Greenhouse - Is the Supreme Court Partisan?

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John Roberts, C.J.


BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking at the American Bar Association's annual meeting Monday, said lawyers should play a key role in mitigating the "sharp partisan divides" that have shaken public faith in government.

"Lawyers fulfill their professional calling to its fullest extent when they rise above particular partisan debates and participate as problem solvers," he said in a rare public speaking event before the ABA that focused on the historical significance of the Magna Carta, an English charter that turns 800 next year. (end of AP dispatch)


A few weeks ago Linda Greenhouse - the New York Times Supreme Court commentator - said “the court’s majority is driving it into dangerous territory. The problem is not only that the court is too often divided but that it’s too often simply wrong; wrong in the battles it picks, wrong in the setting an agenda that mimics a Republican Party platform, wrong in refusing to give the political system breathing room to make fundamental choices of self-governance.”

So is the Supreme Court majority a tool of the Republican Party? If so we have much to fear because that means a court whose members do not make up their own minds. We discussed the issues recently on the Editorial Board of the New Jersey Law Journal. We concluded that Chief Justice John Roberts bland affirmations are inadequate, and that Greenhouse, to whose views we are generally close, did not hit the nail on the head. We wrote that 
"we believe the partisan polarization of Congress and much of our political system should not be attributed to the justices of the Supreme Court. The selection of judges has always been a partisan process (think of FDR’s plan to increase the size of the Supreme Court). The current divisions on the court reflect the ideological realignment of the political parties which generally choose judges based on political philosophy.

But we do not see the divisions on the court as partisan in any narrow sense. Justices come to the court with ideological preferences and policy values. In their work they express those values while working conscientiously to make the law as a whole coherent, and to accord with the judges’ values and understanding of what the law requires."

That is not a conclusion that predicts results with which we will be happy, but it is an expression of confidence that the Court's ideological divides are examples of good faith argument about what the law is and what the law should be. - GWC

An Israeli Progressive on His Country’s Moral Culpability - The Atlantic






Most of my friends have rallied to support with little if any criticism the Israeli assault on Gaza.  As I have written I see the Gaza blockade as an act of war, and so see resistance to it as justifiable.  And I see nearly random rocket fire as an unjustifiable targeting of civilians.  It obviously is only a pin prick given the Hamas weapons weaknesses.  But it is intended to and does terrify (and occasionally wound or kill) them.  Israel's military response is therefore justifiable.  But, that said, what should we make of that response, since the IDF now acknowledges that most of those killed are civilians. - gwc
An Israeli Progressive on His Country’s Moral Culpability - The Atlantic:
by Hillel Ben Sasson // Molad - Center for Renewal of Israeli Democracy

Before addressing the actual question of whether or not the IDF's actions in Gaza were permissible and therefore justifiable, it's important that we differentiate between the responsibilities and potential blame of the military and government, and the judgements we pass on the Israeli society with its almost consensual support of the soldiers. Let us begin with the latter group.

In my view, it is not only permissible but indeed commendable that a society whose sons and daughters are sent to fight in its name and who are paying with their lives to enable this society to continue and thrive, responds in an overwhelming wave of support and solidarity. Israelis sending anything from candy to underwear down to those on the front are a sign of social health and collective decency. (A friend of mine who was fighting in Gaza told me that as he was manning a post in Gaza, an armored tank stopped by them, dropped a pack of MacDonalds burgers sent from the "back", and continued on to its mission).

The military and it's commanders in government, however, we ought to judge by a different standard, and this standard is the rules of war.

These rules are not moral ornamentals; they are the globally agreed upon laws that govern exchanges of violence between nations. They stem out of the understanding that unchecked violence is bad for everyone - today for you, tomorrow for me - and that immense power comes with considerable responsibilities for the ways of exerting it. Abiding by the rules of just war has nothing to do with anti-patriotism or pacifistic convictions. It is what prevents wars from deteriorating to complete mutual annihilation. From this elementary understanding, I draw several conclusions:

1. I can think of no military objective in the world that would justify a 50 percent non-combatant casualty rate (These are IDF numbers).* We must ask, what exactly were the specific objectives that resulted in such a horrific toll? I doubt that there's an answer which is both true and acceptable. And we must remember, it was Netanyahu and Yaalon who called the shots,

2. I have no doubt that the IDF is true to its word - there was no intentional targeting of civilians. This however, is not enough. Yes, Hamas launches rockets from densely populated urban areas; Hamas might also use Innocent Gazans as human shields. Yet the hand that pulls the trigger is the one that bears responsibility. It might be justified in pulling it, but it cannot escape scrutiny altogether.

3. A troubling issue for me is that there's no debate on the facts - IDF officials admit that innocent civilians were killed in the recent bombing of the UNRWA school in Rafah. We had witnessed in the past military operations that took a severe toll in civilian lives on the other side, but we have never seen such a resignation to accept so high of a body count simply because it serves a tactical military objective. This is worrisome to me.

Finally, I would like to remind readers in the USA that for us, Israeli progressives, this is not an abstract moral debate. It is our responsibility to address our own society with these questions, it is our role to confront our leadership with pressing and hard issues. It lies on our shoulders to bridge between the two realms, channeling the enormous forces of social solidarity into national self correction.

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Listening to the President || Andrew Sullivan

Listening to the President - Andrew Sullivan // The Dish

Amid the impending flurry of opinions, ideas, regrets, conclusions and arguments that you will greet today, it’s well worth eight minutes of our time simply to listen to what president Obama said last night about the US intervention in Kurdistan yesterday. Here’s what he obviously wants in descending order of importance: security for US personnel in Erbil; no genocide of the Yazidis; and a functional, multi-sectarian coalition government in Baghdad. The first two are achievable in the short term; the last is subject to the profound vicissitudes of the broken state of “Iraq”. Which is to say: we can see no long term clearly right now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Netanyahu Confronts Minefields After Gaza War – J.J. Goldberg -Forward.com

Benjamin Netanyahu Confronts Minefields After Gaza War – Forward.com:
by J.J. Goldberg
***

There are only two practical ways to prevent Hamas from rearming. One is full Israeli control of Gaza. Hamas would resist. The IDF calculates it would take months of fighting and cost hundreds if not thousands of soldiers’ lives. Some Jewish Home politicians favor the option, but it wouldn’t pass the cabinet, the government or the Knesset.

The other option, backed by Netanyahu, most of the government and the opposition, is an international truce supervisory force. Not the sort that patrols south Lebanon with Fijian and Irish troops, but a U.S.-NATO force. That will be the focus of talks in Cairo in the coming days.

It will get sticky. Israel lost a lot of ground in Europe because of the Gaza death toll. Governments mostly backed Israel, but public opinion erupted. On the first weekend in August the collapse began: Britain announced it was reevaluating arms sales to Israel, Spain canceled them altogether and France called for an imposed two-state solution. Netanyahu has signaled that the extent of rebuilding that Israel will allow will depend on the extent of verified demilitarization. Europe is signaling back that the extent of demilitarization will depend on the extent of progress toward a two-state agreement.

Does that sound like a naïve pipe dream? It’s not so clear. Israeli science minister Yaakov Perry of Yesh Atid, a former Shin Bet director who’s been a non-voting ninth member of the security cabinet throughout the crisis, told an interviewer August 5, the morning the cease-fire began, that Israel now needs to convene an international peace conference, with Saudi Arabia and the Arab League, to begin negotiating the Arab Peace Initiative. Staffers at liberal Israeli think tanks appear to be preparing some of the groundwork.

There are plenty of problems with a scenario like that, not least of which is that Netanyahu’s government would collapse. The next few months will require some deft maneuvering if he’s to keep his job.


Read more: http://forward.com/articles/203633/benjamin-netanyahu-confronts-minefields-after-gaza/?p=all#ixzz39rN98gWC

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Cameron Todd Willingham: Wrongfully Convicted and Executed in Texas //The Innocence Project -

The Innocence Project - Cameron Todd Willingham: Wrongfully Convicted and Executed in Texas

"Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three young daughters 13 years earlier. He always claimed his innocence, and the arson investigation used to convict him was questioned by leading experts before Willingham was executed. Since 2004, further evidence in the case has led to the inescapable conclusion that Willingham did not set the fire for which he was executed. The Texas Forensic Science Commission issued its report on the convictions of Cameron Todd Willingham and Ernest Willis on April 15, 2011 recommending more education and training for fire investigators and implementing procedures to review old cases (the commission issued an addendum to the report on October 28, 2011. TAKE ACTION: Ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to investigate the wrongful execution of Cameron Todd Willingham! Read more on the case at the link above, along with news coverage and key documents."

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Israeli Law Prof Censured for Expressing Concern for Gaza War Victims – Forward.com

The Professor: Hanoch Sheinman and his daughter.
Hanoch Sheinman with his daughter

Israel Professor Gets in Big Trouble for Showing Concern for Gaza War Victims – Forward.com
by Steven Zipperstein // Stanford University
"Hanoch Sheinman is a slightly built, gently self-abnegating man, a specialist in the intersection of ethics and law in his second year of teaching at Bar-Ilan University ; he previously taught at Rice. Speaking with him and his daughter, I was left with the unsettling impression of a deer caught in the glare of headlights.
The dilemma in which he now finds himself, one that could well cost him dearly, was born of no more than Sheinman’s basic decency, his acknowledgement — anodyne in other times, potentially lethal in ours — that the suffering of all hurt by the Gaza conflict was worthy of mention. Three or four days earlier he had sent an email to his students, many of whom were now in uniform. The email contained instructions about the rescheduling of exams. He opened the email with the wish that it “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded and whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during or as a direct result of the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.”
 Almost immediately, his dean, Shachar Lifshits, responded with a collective email in the name of the law school faculty, insisting that Sheinman’s note was “hurtful,” especially to those students involved in battle and to their family members. He added: “Both the content and the style of the letter contravene the values of the university and the law faculty…. This constitutes the inappropriate use of the power given to a lecturer to exploit the platform given to him as a law teacher… that… seriously offended the students and their families.” There is no reason to doubt that Lifshits is telling the truth when he says that Sheinman’s email offended. And that’s the problem. That he then goes on to say that the sentiments expressed in it conflict with the values of his university, an institution inspired by religious convictions, chills one’s bones. And this from an institution, indeed a law school, that ought to be keenly attuned to what an inability to empathize with basic humanity can result in: Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, was a law student in November 1995 at the time he murdered the prime minister. Never before in an Israeli military conflict has the mere expression of empathy for Arab civilian dead and wounded been seen, beyond the political fringe, as akin to betrayal. There is more and more evidence that this is the situation we face now with the Sheinman episode — a strikingly benign affair that is all the more illustrative because of that: It is one of those rare moments in life of stark, utter clarity, an uncluttered story of decency thwarted by indecency. Sheinman’s comments were not political; they were humane. If anything. he suffers from a more than mild dose of healthy naiveté, not malice. Many are now suffering, including not only his own students but also thousands of others, and it was this, only this, that Sheinman meant to acknowledge. Sheinman’s dean has asked him to apologize. But it’s Lifshits who ought to offer an apology, and not only to Sheinman. Wars are revoltingly indecent moments, even when they’re tragically necessary, and in their midst, when someone reminds us of the basic humanity of those caught up in them, and especially when this is someone hired by his law school to help its students wrestle with ethical issues, it’s best to thank him, not punish him. Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, is the author of “Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism” (University of California Press, 1993)."

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Palestinians returning home find Israeli troops left faeces and venomous graffiti | World news | The Guardian

Returning soldiers are heroes.  If they detest the enemy it is understandable, but respect for the enemy is generally wiser.  Although martial virtues are not ones I much celebrate, it is necessary to be honest - the Hamas Palestinian fighters were brave and skillful.  They cannot be dismissed as "terrorists" or practitioners of child sacrifice and worshipers of death as Eli Wiesel did.   To fire a mortar from a spot near a school does not compel the enemy to accept the provocation and shell the school. - gwc
Palestinians returning home find Israeli troops left faeces and venomous graffiti | World news | The Guardian:

by
When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench.

He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine.

If that was not clear enough, the words "Fuck Hamas" had been carved into a concrete wall in the staircase. "Burn Gaza down" and "Good Arab = dead Arab" were engraved on a coffee table. The star of David was drawn in blue in a bedroom.

"I have scrubbed the floors three times today and three times yesterday," said Owedat, 52, as he surveyed the damage, which included four televisions, a fridge, a clock and several computers tossed out of windows, shredded curtains and slashed soft furnishings.
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"We don't want you here" //Parents Circle - Family Forum

This video was produced by the The Parents Circle – Family Forum to protest the ongoing escalation. The PCFF is a joint Palestinian Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict. 

The organization is trying to advance the idea that the process of reconciliation between nations is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable peace.

Learn more: The Parents Circle Forum.

Benjamin Netanyahu Confronts Minefields After Gaza War – Forward.com

rebuilding Gaza requires Israeli cooperation
Benjamin Netanyahu Confronts Minefields After Gaza War – Forward.com
by J.J. Goldberg"Netanyahu isn’t impressed. He’ll insist that Abbas’s border guards stay at the border. He might win that argument. But his problem is bigger. He needs someone in the heart of Gaza to oversee reconstruction and prevent Hamas from arming. More than 10,000 homes were destroyed last month, by U.N. figures, leaving 485,000 people homeless. Rebuilding will require lots of cement. The last time Israel allowed cement into Gaza, it lined tunnel walls. Israel won’t allow that again. There are only two practical ways to prevent Hamas from rearming. One is full Israeli control of Gaza. Hamas would resist. The IDF calculates it would take months of fighting and cost hundreds if not thousands of soldiers’ lives. Some Jewish Home politicians favor the option, but it wouldn’t pass the cabinet, the government or the Knesset.
The other option, backed by Netanyahu, most of the government and the opposition, is an international truce supervisory force. Not the sort that patrols south Lebanon with Fijian and Irish troops, but a U.S.-NATO force. That will be the focus of talks in Cairo in the coming days. It will get sticky. Israel lost a lot of ground in Europe because of the Gaza death toll. Governments mostly backed Israel, but public opinion erupted. On the first weekend in August the collapse began: Britain announced it was reevaluating arms sales to Israel, Spain canceled them altogether and France called for an imposed two-state solution.
Netanyahu has signaled that the extent of rebuilding that Israel will allow will depend on the extent of verified demilitarization. Europe is signaling back that the extent of demilitarization will depend on the extent of progress toward a two-state agreement. Does that sound like a naïve pipe dream? It’s not so clear. Israeli science minister Yaakov Perry of Yesh Atid, a former Shin Bet director who’s been a non-voting ninth member of the security cabinet throughout the crisis, told an interviewer August 5, the morning the cease-fire began, that Israel now needs to convene an international peace conference, with Saudi Arabia and the Arab League, to begin negotiating the Arab Peace Initiative. Staffers at liberal Israeli think tanks appear to be preparing some of the groundwork. There are plenty of problems with a scenario like that, not least of which is that Netanyahu’s government would collapse. The next few months will require some deft maneuvering if he’s to keep his job."

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Liberal Zionism After Gaza by Jonathan Freedland | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Liberal Zionism After Gaza by Jonathan Freedland | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
by Jonathan Freedland
(Freedland is executive editor for Oinion at The Guardian)
"Never do liberal Zionists feel more torn than when Israel is at war. Days after I’d filed my essay for The New York Review on Ari Shavit and his fellow liberal Zionists, the perennial tension between Israel and the Palestinians had flared into violent confrontation and, eventually, a war in Gaza—the third such military clash in five years. For liberal Zionists these are times when the dual nature of their position is tested, some would say to destruction. What the Israel Defense Forces called Operation Protective Edge—a large-scale mobilization that by the time a twelve-hour “humanitarian truce” was agreed on July 26 had reached its nineteenth day—was no different.
 Even during the grim chain of events that led to this episode, liberal Zionists found themselves facing both ways, switching direction day-by-day, even hour-by-hour. Of course, they, like everyone else, condemned the brutal June kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on the West Bank, an act immediately blamed on the Hamas leadership (falsely so, it later turned out: the kidnapping was, in fact, the work of a local “lone cell,” acting without authorization). But some felt queasy during the subsequent two-week Israeli operation to root out Hamas militants there, referred to as “mowing the lawn,” not least because several Palestinian civilians were killed in the process. Still, it was hard to criticize too loudly, because that effort was conducted under the cover of a search for the three missing teens and, by then, the three were the object of a campaign that encompassed the global Jewish diaspora: #BringBackOurBoys."

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dispatch from Gaza: Disaster zone | +972 Magazine

Yesterday, I went to Sha'af, a Palestinian neighborhood along Gaza's border with Israel. While walking through the ruins left by Israeli tanks, I realized that I was standing where the Wafa Hospital used to be. You can read more about the hospital and its struggle to protect its patients here.(photo: Samer Badawi)
ruins of the el-Wafa Hospital, Gaza
Dispatch from Gaza: Disaster zone | +972 Magazine:
by Samer Badawi

Today, I went to Sha’af, a community that sits just west of an Israeli tank unit — the same one, presumably, that flattened it to the ground. Six-story buildings stood my height. Corrugated tin hung mangled from phone cables. And everywhere the faces – anguished, ashen faces – looked for signs of what was.

Just then I found one — at the foot of an elevator shaft, a concrete hull angled against a wall. It was a teal wall, the color of something I had seen once. As I struggled to mine the memory, I found a paper beneath a rock, a half-shredded document that read “El Wafa.”

And there it was: the place where Dr. Basman Alashi, executive director of the El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, had written about life in a hospital under siege. When I interviewed him at the beginning of this war – this war of one army – he told me about 14 elderly patients, “all dependent on round-the-clock professional care to survive.”

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Indian TV Crew Shows Rare Video of Rocket Launch From Gaza - NYTimes.com

This video of a Hamas unit setting up a rocket launcher and then launching it in an urban neighborhood near a hotel and apartment buildings is celebrated by the IDF/  It proves that Hamas disregards the safety of civilians because they know it inevitably will lead to Israeli retaliation.  That, in the Israeli view makes not Israel but Hamas morally culpable for any deaths.
I draw the conclusion that proportionality enters at this point.  The lethality of the Hamas attack, and the likelihood of civilian casualties should inform the Israeli decision.  On the Hamas side, assuming that this is a a just war of national liberation, they should consider the likelihood of retaliation, and the military importance of the rocket launch.  - gwc
Indian TV Crew Shows Rare Video of Rocket Launch From Gaza - NYTimes.com:
<iframe width="540" height="304" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A_fP6mlNSK8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Nathan Thrall · Hamas’s Chances · LRB 21 August 2014

A very sober, and factual assessment. - gwc
Nathan Thrall · Hamas’s Chances · LRB 21 August 2014:

Hamas’s Chances

Nathan Thrall  August 1, 2014

The current war in Gaza was not one Israel or Hamas sought. But both had no doubt that a new confrontation would come. The 21 November 2012 ceasefire that ended an eight-day-long exchange of Gazan rocket fire and Israeli aerial bombardment was never implemented. It stipulated that all Palestinian factions in Gaza would stop hostilities against Israel, that Israel would end attacks against Gaza by land, sea and air – including the ‘targeting of individuals’ (assassinations, typically by drone-fired missile) – and that the closure of Gaza would essentially end as a result of Israel’s ‘opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas’. An additional clause noted that ‘other matters as may be requested shall be addressed,’ a reference to private commitments by Egypt and the US to help thwart weapons smuggling into Gaza, though Hamas has denied this interpretation of the clause.
During the three months that followed the ceasefire, Shin Bet recorded only a single attack: two mortar shells fired from Gaza in December 2012. Israeli officials were impressed. But they convinced themselves that the quiet on Gaza’s border was primarily the result of Israeli deterrence and Palestinian self-interest. Israel therefore saw little incentive in upholding its end of the deal. In the three months following the ceasefire, its forces made regular incursions into Gaza, strafed Palestinian farmers and those collecting scrap and rubble across the border, and fired at boats, preventing fishermen from accessing the majority of Gaza’s waters.
The end of the closure never came. Crossings were repeatedly shut. So-called buffer zones – agricultural lands that Gazan farmers couldn’t enter without being fired on – were reinstated. Imports declined, exports were blocked, and fewer Gazans were given exit permits to Israel and the West Bank.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

An IDF Reservist on Life at the (Protective) Edge – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com

J.J. Goldberg translated a long post by Niv Shtendel, an Israeli blogger, journalist, middle-age reservist called up by the IDF for service.  It is an interesting post but I gagged when I read this. I am not persuaded that Hamas uses "human shields".  It fights urban warfare and people live in the city they govern.  It certainly attacks civilians intentionally and I oppose that.  But there is a lot of grey area.  See the Hussein Ibish post below.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, followed by Nagasaki.  Was that a war crime?  I think so.  Did it make the American people "human beasts"?  - gwc
An IDF Reservist on Life at the (Protective) Edge – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com:
'21.) No matter how left-wing you are, you must remember that you’re fighting against an army of human beasts. You’re fighting against people who use civilians as human shields, who drag the bodies of dead collaborators through the city streets, who exploit the instinct of human compassion to do wrong. These are human beasts. But you don’t have to descend to their level. You just need to match the power in your fist to the extreme, evil cruelty that faces you.

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/203431/an-idf-reservist-on-life-at-the-protective-edge/?#ixzz39Tx2xPXw
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Where does Hamas stand? ?? APN

Americans for Peace Now:
Yossi Alpher of Americans for Peace Now describes Hamas in a more layered way than the usual U.S. approach - to label it Islamist and terrorist. - gwc
Q. Is Hamas part of the regional and global militant Islamist movement currently led by ISIS/Islamic State and the likes of Boko Haram as Netanyahu argues, or is it a faction of the Palestinian national liberation movement?
A. I would say it is both. As an Islamist movement, it refuses to recognize Israel and repeatedly calls for its destruction. But it does not crucify people or dictate female genital mutilation like ISIS. Nor does it wage its war against Israel outside of Mandatory Palestine, like, say, Hezbollah with its global terrorism. And while it will not talk directly with Israel, it is prepared to enter into mediated agreements (though its record at maintaining them is spotty). It may be thought of as existing on the "moderate" end of the militant Islamist spectrum.
But it is also an authentic Palestinian nationalist movement and, lately, a member once again of a Palestinian Authority unity government. That unity government is now recognized even by many right-wing Israeli coalition members as a potentially useful vehicle for disarming Hamas, opening up Gaza and channeling development aid to the Strip.

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