Words Are Not Enough

I recently got wind of news that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to find the killers of Palestinian-born infant Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh, calling his killing a terror attack, “a reprehensible act of terrorism in every respect,” in the wake of an arson attack in the West Bank that killed Ali and wounded three of his family members, two of whom–his brother and mother–Prime Minister Netanyahu allegedly visited at Sheba Hospital, where they’re being treated for serious injuries.

I must admit it sounds nice to hear these words from Prime Minister Netanyahu, and to hear them essentially echoed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, but, given the history of the Israeli government’s attitude towards, and treatment of, Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Arab citizens of Israel, and given the impunity the international community has allowed Israel over the years, everyone in the Israeli government–Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin included– and beyond will have to forgive me for withholding judgment and keeping an eye on the situation, and waiting to see if Prime Minister Netanyahu acts upon what he says.

The article I printed off the Internet recently and read claims Prime Minister Netanyahu has already taken some action, having spoken with representatives of the defense establishment, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, and “ordered them to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith.” I’ll admit, after reading this and the rest of the article, I want to believe that the Israeli and Palestinian governments can come to an understanding and take steps to end the hostilities between them–even if it took the death of an infant to get them to think about it in the first place. But it’s going to take more than words to bring about this end. The Israeli and Palestinian governments will have to actually work together to end the hostilities, and bring peace between them. They can begin by taking all the religious clerics (rabbis, imams, mullahs, ayatollahs, etc,) and religiously-inspired groups such asĀ Hamas out of the equation.

As for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his promises to bring Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh’s killers to justice, and to fight terrorism from the Israeli Jewish end of the spectrum: I’m still skeptical he actually means it. But time will tell. But, as far as I’m concerned, actions speak louder than words, and I hope Prime Minister Netanyahu and the rest of the Israeli government keeps this in mind.

The Duggars: It’s Not Over Yet

Within the last week, I’ve gotten wind of news that Josh Duggar, eldest son to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and a father himself, sexually abused a number of girls in his early teens–some of them his own sisters–and that Jim Bob and Michelle covered it up for years and bent over backwards to prevent him from being prosecuted for it, even going so far as to convince the courts to compound Josh’s crimes.

I must admit, I’m not surprised to hear this news. I knew something like this would come out of the Duggar camp–it’s always been a question of when.

What Jim Bob and Michelle apparently don’t realize is that they’ve done much more damage to their own, and their family’s, image and reputation by covering up Josh’s crimes than they would have if they had let him go through the system. The interesting thing about this situation is that, mere months ago, Michelle made a robocall to the citizens of Fayetteville, Arkansas in an attempt to convince them to vote to allow members of the LGBT community to be overtly discriminated against–and she and Jim Bob actively campaigned, and donated a generous amount of money (over $100, 000) to the campaign, to deny the LGBT community basic human rights–claiming concern about women and girls being traumatized by men, yet a few of their own daughters were traumatized by their eldest son, and they’ve covered that up, while ensuring the law never dealt with the son. Talk about double standards. The act, and cover-up, are one hell of a way to pay back the girls Josh attacked for their trust.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m scared for Josh’s kids, given what those of us with functioning mental faculties know about how sex offenders operate (hint: they rarely reform). Ergo, any statements about Jim Bob’s claims that Josh was ‘disciplined’ for abusing his sisters and some other girls, claims the sisters ‘forgave’ Josh (as if they had any choice), and Josh’s statement, “I acted inexcusably,”are worthless–the simple fact is that Josh Duggar is an unindicted criminal. The comments Josh and his parents have made on this subject translate to: “We’re sorry we got caught and now the world knows about this.” The truth is, if Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar actually cared about their children’s well-being, they wouldn’t raise them the way they are, and they would never have placed their family in the public eye in the first place.

But the worst is yet to come. Apparently, despite calls to do so, The Learning Channel, which airs the Duggars’ show, 19 Kids and Counting, has no plans to cancel the show or even take the Duggars off the air, but, if Freethought Blogs is to be believed, may make a show featuring the ‘newlywed and newly-mom girls.’ I understand the Duggars, and 19 Kids, have proven to be a real cash cow for TLC, and TLC clearly want to milk it for all it’s worth, even at the expense of the kids. But when the cash cow becomes a public-relations disaster, that’s when it’s time to cut ties. A fair number of advertisers have withdrawn commercial support from 19 Kids, but obviously not enough for TLC to get the message. I hold out hope that some in TLC’s upper echelons have something resembling common human decency (or, at least, some understanding of public relations and business ethics) and will–oh, I don’t know…do the right thing and cut ties with the Duggars for good? There’s more to being in business than just making money, and as for the fans…well, if TLC does cancel 19 Kids and end any and all business relationships with the Duggar family, they’ll just have to suck it up and move on–the world, after all, does not revolve around them, just like the Duggars don’t deserve special consideration or preferential treatment.

This is the last time I want to deal with this low-hanging fruit, but, as an adult, I realize I can’t always get what I want. After all, as Lenny Kravitz once sang, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Jim Prentice Vs. The Future

I picked up today’s issue of Metro newspaper during my first break at work today, and discovered an article in which Alberta’s current premier, Jim Prentice, claimed ‘Canada’s future hangs in the balance’ if proposed pipeline projects–in particular, the Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain, XL Keystone, and Energy East–aren’t approved for construction.

Surprisingly, seeing as I’m saying something about this, I disagree–especially given the risks involved in burst pipelines and oil spills, and the overall environmental ruin the pipelines will cause if constructed. The fact is, industrialized countries have developed an over-dependency on oil and various types of gas for energy needs, and the oil and gas industry–Alberta’s included–have a vested interest in keeping us overly dependent on oil and gas as forms of energy, instead of investing in developing other forms of energy for our needs. What Premier Prentice–like his predecessor, Alison Redford–fail to realize, in her, and now his, zeal to push the pipeline projects onto the Canadian public, is that the generations after us will pay through the nose for the self-interest and short-term personal gain of, among others, the provincial government of Alberta and its corporate sponsors, most of them in the oil-and-gas industry.

Prentice claims that Canadians will ‘feel the pain (of having no more pipelines) as and when this begins to happen.’ However, we, and, more importantly, our descendents, will feel even more pain and devastation if this generation doesn’t discover other ways to generate energy which don’t impact the planet as much as oil and gas do, and if the oil-and-gas industry doesn’t release the choke-hold it shares with the coal industry on the energy-production corner of the economy.