This Week, A Focus On:
U.S. Protection Against Terrorism Should Have Priority
GOP Wrong To Reject Obama Negotiations With Iran
Chambers Lacks Votes To End Capital Punishment
There Is Some Good News, Too; Let’s Talk About It

Protection Against Terrorism Should Focus First On U.S.

Israel’s Prime Minister virtually demands that United States foreign policy give priority to addressing Israel’s concern that Iran’s nuclear capability threatens Israel’s existence.

In Afghanistan, American military advisors suggest that the planned withdrawal of American troops would leave the country and its recently-elected president vulnerable to continuing or expanded domestic chaos, including threats posed by Muslim fanatic Taliban terrorists.

In Syria and northern Iraq, the United States is committed to continued one-arm-behind-the-back efforts to neutralize or wipe out the Islamic State (or ISIS) or face the continued presence, and potential for growth, of Muslim State terrorists whose tactics include burning prisoners alive.

Kurds Have Will, Not The Arms

The United States is attempting to check or roll back Islam State terrorists by missile attacks while Kurds—who hate the Muslim State terrorists—are denied effective weaponry because Turkey fears the establishment of an independent Kurdish nation on Turkey’s southern border.

“Boots On The Ground” Required?

As I see it, American boots on the ground may ultimately be required in an effort to address the obvious threats posed by the Islamic State terrorists.

Incidentally but importantly America’s National Guard units are being asked—and responding effectively—to assume overseas fighting roles that were simply not perceived as part of the National Guard’s mission when the Guard was created.

To their credit, the Guard units have responded with courage and commitment, in many cases leaving a wife and children behind during their overseas service.

Can’t Expect Guard To Serve Indefinitely

But it is simply unreasonable and unfair to expect National Guard to continue to fill roles that are properly the mission of American military forces.

In the midst of this mid-Eastern mess United States government and citizenry should not, must not, overlook what should be of primary concern to the United States:  the threat poised by Muslim terrorists for whom the United States is a primary target.

As I see it, we hear entirely too little of measures which this country may be taking to protect itself from what seems to me to be a continuing but growing threat from Muslim killers.

Remember September 11, 2001

Do we need reminders that on September 11, 2001 four explosive-loaded jetliners (some of whose pilots had actually taken flight training in the United States!) deployed so as to crash into a 110-story New York City skyscraper (killing more than 3,000 people), the Pentagon and another still unidentified eastern target.

One target was protected as the result of the courage of the American passengers who rushed the terrorist crew.

Is the United States government taking every step possible to protect the country and its citizens from the continuing, and apparently growing threat of Islamic terrorists?  We should not, of course, expect to know the details of whatever security measures are in place.

The public be given assurance that we are doing all that is reasonably possible to make sure that the pressures in the Mideast are not diverting attention from our government’s primary mission—protecting the United States of America.

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Obama Iran Treaty Negotiations Are Important

Further look at the powder-keg Israel/Iran situation:

Several potential candidates for the Republican nomination for president have warned that Republicans will not honor any commitments which the Obama administration may make in terms of a 10-year treaty with Iran, a treaty designed to safeguard Israel from any threat that Iranians will not use their nuclear capability against Israel.

I think the Republicans are wrong.  I see no reason why Obama would, in effect, sell out Israel.

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Netanyahu Backs Away From Outrageous Statement

An additional perspective on the Israeli/Iran/Palestinian Powder Keg:

New York Times headline reads:  “Israeli leader backs off stand on two-state options”

The Times story:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Thursday tried to backtrack from his pre-election declaration that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch, but his new assertions appear to do nothing to assuage an infuriated Obama administration.

“In a series of interviews with American broadcasters, Mr. Netanyahu also said he had not been trying to suppress the votes of Arab citizens with an election-day video in remarks that had also caused outrage at the White House and around the world.”

Netanyahu Says He Really Didn’t Mean It

With Election Day video declaring that no Palestinian state would be created on his watch—a statement that, The Times said, “caused outrage at the White House and around the world.”

Following his election, The Times reported:

“Mr. Netanyahu said he had not intended to reverse his endorsement, in a 2009 speech of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but only to say that it was impossible right now.”

* * *

Enough For Now Of Somber News
Let’s Turn To Some Good News

Turning to matters of lesser concern but still worthy of comment, as I see it:

A good news example:  A bill which would give the Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society forgiveness from a threatened $800,000 property tax increase on its Omaha headquarters.

The Woodmen has been a splendid Omaha corporate citizen for 125 years.  Among its contributions to our city is the 30 story Woodmen Tower, one of the early landmarks of what became a restoration of the vitality of downtown Omaha.

Also on the praiseworthy side of the news:

Also praiseworthy was The Omaha World-Herald’s strong opposition to any relaxation of the state’s motorcycle helmet law, a law which very sensibly requires that motorcyclists must wear helmets.

Some Good News For Benson High

One of the perennial efforts to repeal or weaken the law went into the legislative hopper this year—a proposal that riders younger than 21 must still wear head protection on a motorcycle or moped.

Good news also in the creation of a “career academy” program at Benson High School.

Benson High appears to be definitely on the rebound after a number of years of decline.  Now a new focus on job training and opportunities for college credit.

The possibility of a slight increase in taxes does not, as I see it, remove from the “good news” category a proposal for a new early childhood learning program will be launched in the Douglas and Sarpy County areas included in the Learning Community’s jurisdiction.

* * *

Death Penalty Repeal Effort Seems Doomed.
Chambers Lucky He Runs In N. Omaha District

One columnist’s opinion:  State Senator Ernie Chambers’ latest effort to repeal the death penalty was dead on arrival when it reached the Legislative floor.

Somewhat surprisingly, a repeal bill came out of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on an 8-0 vote.  (There is no assurance, of course, that all of those eight state senators will support the bill on the Legislature floor.)

On the Legislature floor, a bill can be enacted into law by a simple majority of 25 votes in a 49 member Legislature.  But the chances of Chambers’ bill ever coming to a final floor vote on passage appear to be somewhere between none and none.

Under legislative rules, 33 votes, a 67% majority of the Legislature, can delay a bill as it proceeds along the potential trail to passage—a barrier high enough to derail a controversial bill.

And there appears to be a number of legislators who will stage many mini filibusters to prevent the controversial bill from ever getting that 33-vote support to move it toward passage.

Chambers, of course, didn’t help his cause any by one of his typical insult-loaded arguments he advances when he is attempting to win legislative majority support.

His latest outburst of insults and vituperation included the charge that comparing Omaha police officers to members of the Islam State or Isis Islamic terrorists whose tactics include burning prisoners alive.

This outburst earned Chambers national news coverage and strong criticism by the legislators whose support Chambers needs for his death-penalty-repeal bill.

Bottom line, another defeat acid-tongued legislator who has generated miniscule support in his venture to try for office other than in a safe seat in his North Omaha legislative district.  (In 1994 he got four-tenths of one percent in his bid for the governorship—hardly an indication of a widespread political following.)

Chambers quite obviously is very fortunate to represent a legislative district which is a safe haven for black legislator.

* * *

Husker Baseball Team’s 3-0 Sweep Of Texas
Provides Upbeat Note For Ending My Column

Easy for this Nebraska Cornhusker athletic fan to choose a topic for an upbeat ending to this week’s column.

I’m thinking of the Husker baseball team’s three-game sweep of the 16th-ranked Texas Longhorns coached by the legendary Augie Garrido.

(Garrido’s record includes coaching six College World Series championships and five other College World Series appearances.  In comments after the Huskers 3-0 sweep of his Longhorns, Garrido had high praise for the Huskers.  “A ‘championship-type’ effort all weekend long, Garrido said.  No doubt about it.”)

Of interest also, in these days of nationwide college team recruiting, Husker baseball team is built around 12 recruits from Nebraska and nine from surrounding states.

(The Huskers followed up the 3-0 sweep of the Longhorns with a 5-1 victory over the in-state rival Creighton Bluejays.)

A pleasure to end this week’s column with praise for a splendid performance by the Nebraska Cornhusker baseball team.

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