Tag Archives: United States

Did you know that Antony Blinken often cites his family’s Holocaust history? The Russia-Ukraine war has him stuck between the personal and the political.

When Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited his family’s Holocaust-era history in explaining a matter of U.S. foreign policy on Monday, it was far from the first time he has done so.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2022. (Kevin LaMarque/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“One of my responsibilities as Secretary is determining, on behalf of the United States, whether atrocities have been committed,” Blinken, who is Jewish, said Monday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he announced that the Biden administration had determined that the Burmese military had committed genocide against the Rohingya. “It’s an immense responsibility that I take very seriously, particularly given my family’s history.”

That family history involves his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, the Holocaust survivor who became a renowned legal scholar and philosopher. Blinken has often described the late Pisar’s recounting of his rescue by American soldiers, saying it shaped his own idea of what the United States symbolizes worldwide.

“That’s the story that I grew up with, about what our country is and what it represents, and what it means when the United States is engaged and leading,” Blinken said.

Now America’s top diplomat contends with a conflict that puts these values to the test: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has involved mass killings of civilians.

He is also dealing with appeals from Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky — who similarly cites the Holocaust as shaping his outlook — to do more to stop Russia’s attacks.

Zelensky has additionally made direct comparisons between the Russian onslaught and the Holocaust, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated his goal is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Talking to American Jewish leaders, Zelensky called Putin’s actions “pure Nazism;” talking to Israelis, he likened Russian tactics to the “final solution”; and in his address to the U.S. Congress, he called the Russian invasion “the worst war since World War II.”

The Biden administration has imposed crippling sanctions on Russia. In addition, it is funneling billions of dollars in defense and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and deploying U.S. troops to NATO allies adjacent to Ukraine. But President Joe Biden will not accede to Zelensky’s top demands — including creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine to protect it — saying they could provoke a world war.’

On Wednesday, however, Blinken formally declared that the United States’ position is that Russian forces have committed war crimes.

“Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians,” he said. “This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report. It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with ‘дeти’ — Russian for ‘children’ — in huge letters visible from the sky.”

Does Blinken feel the pressures of family history as he contemplates Ukraine? The State Department did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. But his speech at the Holocaust museum on Monday showed that it was on his mind.

“One of the unsettling truths of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is that there’s never a time I visit here when its lessons do not feel deeply resonant,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I can recall a few times when that history felt so urgent or the responsibility it imparts on us so pressing. As we meet, the Russian Government continues to wage its unprovoked, brutal war on Ukraine. Each day brings more brutal attacks, more innocent men, women, and children killed.”

The war’s risk to Holocaust survivors in Ukraine was especially poignant in Blinken’s telling.

“Ukraine is home to nearly 10,000 Holocaust survivors, including an 88-year-old woman, Natalia Berezhnaya of Odesa,” he said. “Here’s what she said in a recent interview, and I quote: ‘It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that in 1941, I had to hide in the basement of this building, and that I’m going to have to do that again now.'”

Blinken stopped short of accusing Putin of genocide as he did the Burmese military. Instead, he cast Russia’s predations as part of a welter of human rights disasters now proliferating.

“Even as we are working to increase international pressure on the Kremlin to end this unjustified war, we know there are many other places where horrific atrocities are being committed,” Blinken said. “Over recent weeks, as I’ve spoken with diplomats worldwide about Ukraine, I’ve also heard a constant refrain. Many of them say, ‘Yes, we stand with the people of Ukraine. But we must also stand with the people suffering atrocities in other places.'”

On Wednesday, the move to accuse Russia of war crimes is notable; noted Jewish foreign policy experts had been frustrated with Blinken’s language.

Josh Rogin, an influential foreign policy opinion columnist for The Washington Post, wrote that the hesitancy in Ukraine is reflective of a West that has allowed atrocities to be committed in China, Syria, and Burma. “The Ukraine example shows that ignoring atrocities anywhere is morally and strategically bankrupt,” he said this week before Blinken announced his war crimes designation.

Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East peace negotiator and a scion of one of Cleveland’s most prominent Jewish families, sounded a despairing note on Twitter.

“Never Again is Ever Ever Again,” he said. “The International Community has failed to even try to prevent any of the planet’s genocides/mass killings over past 100 years; Armenians; Holocaust; Cambodia; Rwanda; Congo; Sudan; Darfur; Myanmar; Uighurs; Syria….. Ever ask yourself why.”

Asked to expand on the tweet on CNN, Miller, now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, a foreign policy think tank, admitted that he understood Blinken’s predicament.

“A president of the United States weighing the consequences of humanitarian intervention in the case of Ukraine has more than just moral factors to take into account and the consequences of an intervention or not an intervention at least for American interests, that could affect millions of humans in the United States and in Ukraine, so it’s it’s a moral hazard,” Miller said. “It’s a complicated problem. And frankly, I think Ukraine will be another example of confirmation of the rule.”

Abe Foxman, the retired national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, argued that Blinken’s approach made sense: One’s views on the Holocaust may shape policy but should not necessarily determine what the procedure is.

He was pleased to see Blinken knows, understands, is informed and instructed by his family history, by his Jewish experience, Foxman said in an interview. It does make a difference, but it cannot be determinative of action. This is a war. It’s not a holocaust or genocide. And it’s very, very important that if you know your history, you see the difference.

Reference

Antony Blinken often cites his family’s Holocaust history. The Russia-Ukraine war has him stuck between the personal and the political. https://www.jta.org/2022/03/24/politics/antony-blinken-often-cites-his-familys-holocaust-history-the-russia-ukraine-war-has-him-stuck-between-the-personal-and-the-political?fbclid=IwAR0vj-Q7Oys1vWBpQYcJm7Y0kjH_8dp7HgXidygq51dBq-SV2-rFeN_-4mw

Why did Mike Braun clarify his assertion that states should decide the legality of interracial marriage?

Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, told reporters in his state on Tuesday that states should determine whether interracial marriage is allowed before claiming he misunderstood the questions and condemning “racism in any form.”

Mike Braun is interviewed in Bekah’s Westside Cafe in Lebanon, Ind., in April 2018.


Inquired as to whether or not he thought “interracial marriage should be left to the states, Braun said, “Yes, I believe that’s something — if you don’t want the Supreme Court to weigh in on matters like that, you’re not going to be able to have both your cake and eat it.” But, honestly, I don’t believe that’s right.” In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, allowing interracial marriage in the United States.
Afterward, Braun was quizzed on his thoughts on the 1965 case Griswold v. Connecticut, which established a constitutional right to sexual privacy and made the use of contraception for married couples permissible under federal law. The states, according to Braun, should be the ones to decide.
It’s possible to mention a wide range of difficulties, Braun said. But, as far as what they’re going to be, I’m going to suggest that they aren’t going to be all going to make you happy in a particular state but that we’re better off letting forms express their points of view rather than homogenizing it throughout the nation, as Roe v. Wade did.”

“Initially limiting” Braun’s contention that the Supreme Court had seized states’ powers in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports. However, he maintained his position when asked about other decisions, such as the Loving v. Virginia case.
Braun afterward issued a statement indicating that he had “misunderstood” the questions asked.
“I misread a line of inquiry earlier at a virtual news conference that turned out to be about interracial marriage. To be quite clear, the Constitution forbids all forms of discrimination based on race. So the issue of racism isn’t even up for question, and I firmly oppose it at every level, from the state to the person. It was Braun’s opinion.
In a short interview on Wednesday, Braun told CNN that he doesn’t think states should decide on interracial marriage.
That’s not the case, Braun said. Even though one may be forgivable, he exposed his true identity. We learn a lot about him through his reaction. When a racist is apprehended, they immediately attempt to paint themselves as victims of their own ignorance since it would be so handy.

Reference

Mike Braun clarifies his assertion that states should decide the legality of interracial marriage. https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/23/politics/mike-braun-interracial-marriage-comments/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0jpCRaI0ml0-B9YMxOUafjGrKhdb8fxcqJcMgqxLw7BywL4207X-0bq-s

Did you know that Jackson pushes back at GOP critics, defends judicial record?

Brown, Ketanji Jackson vehemently defended her record as a judge Tuesday, rebutting Republican charges that she was soft on crime and stating that if confirmed as the first black woman on the Supreme Court, she would rule as an “independent jurist.”

Republicans aggressively questioned Jackson during a marathon hearing that lasted into the night about the sentences she handed down to sex offenders during her nine years as a federal judge, her advocacy on behalf of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, her views on critical race theory, and even her religious beliefs. In February, President Joe Biden appointed Jackson to the Supreme Court, completing a campaign commitment to nominate a black woman to the court for the first time in American history. Cruz pressed Jackson on her sentencing for child pornographers, bringing up a giant poster board and marking passages he believed were heinous. 

The White House has rejected the criticism as “toxic and weakly presented misinformation.” And sentencing expert Douglas Berman, an Ohio State law professor, noted on his blog that although Jackson’s record indicates she is suspicious of the range of prison sentences proposed in child pornography cases, “so were prosecutors in the majority of her cases and district judges nationally.” Jackson said that the notion does not arise in her job as a judge and “would not be anything I would depend on” if approved. Jackson’s answers bypassed a key point: the court weighs whether to overrule those cases that affirm a nationwide right to abortion.

Reference

Jackson pushes back at GOP critics, defends judicial record. https://apnews.com/article/ketanji-brown-jackson-hearing-day-2-live-updates-219ce62acd87ca205163781f5b6623a0?fbclid=IwAR3L5e1TdHHui49NkKb_LwHfhgscFcptsRgqGb9DmXc9Jqr7FA-BPYh1DkQ

Did you know that a mysterious superyacht docked in Italy has a crew that may include Putin’s bodyguards, according to activists working with Putin opponent Alexei Navalny?

According to activists working with imprisoned Putin opponent Alexei Navalny, a mystery superyacht whose owner has not been publicly identified is manned by numerous personnel of a Russian state agency entrusted with defending Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Scheherazade, one of the world’s biggest boats of its type, is a private superyacht, according to The New York Times. According to a personnel roster received by Pevchikh and Alburov in December 2020, all permanent crew members are Russian except for the ship’s commander. The United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union have imposed economic sanctions on Russia and confiscated several Russian billionaires’ luxury assets, including superyachts, in response to Russia’s continuing military attack on Ukraine. Navalny’s team is pleading with Italian authorities to confiscate the yacht if they discover that Putin owns it. Guy Bennett-Pearce, the superyacht’s skipper, told The Times that Italian investigators boarded the vessel early this month as part of an investigation launched by the Italian financial police. As a result, he was “forced” to turn over paperwork disclosing the owner’s name. Bennett-Pearce, a British native and the ship’s only non-Russian employee, would not rule out the possibility that the superyacht’s owner is Russian but could not comment more owing to a “watertight nondisclosure agreement” and said that the superyacht’s owner is not on any sanctions list.

Reference
Superyacht docked in Italy was outfitted by Putin’s …. https://soggros.com/index.php/2022/03/22/superyacht-docked-in-italy-was-outfitted-by-putins-protection-agency-activists-say/.

The Avalon Project: The Moscow Conference, October 1943. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/moscow.asp

Why have some of the officials of the Orthodox Church expressed opposition to Russia’s invasion?

Several officials of the Orthodox Church have expressed their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With the noteworthy exception of the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, the military intervention has been rejected by the majority of people.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, shown leading a service with at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul on March 6, has said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a ‘violation of human rights.’ (photo: YASIN AKGUL / AFP via Getty Images)

The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin for an “early cessation of the fratricidal conflict.” According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the greatest conventional military operation in Europe since World War II. With staunch defiance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has resisted Russian military intervention in his nation since 2014. As a result, the death toll has risen to tens of thousands, with 2.5 million people fleeing to neighboring nations like Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania.

Theodore II, the Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa, has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “drunk on power” and “the emperor of our times.” Patriarch Daniel of Romania, the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, has called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine. On February 24, Georgian Patriarch Illia II issued a dire warning about a “global calamity” and remembered Russia’s invasion of his nation in 2008. In early March, more than 275 Russian Orthodox priests and deacons from all across the globe signed an open letter. The Russian Orthodox Church has produced a series of remarks in which it expresses implicit support for the Ukrainian invasion while refraining from condemning the Russian government in any manner.

After giving an anti-war sermon in Moscow, Father Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was detained. He appealed for the restoration of peace and unity with Metropolitan Onufry in a sermon delivered on February 27. He did not mention the separatist Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which he described as “a schism.” Many of Putin’s justifications for invading Ukraine, particularly those related to NATO expansion, received backing from the Russian patriarch. According to reliable sources, Orthodox clergy and faithful in Ukraine have voiced their displeasure of Patriarch Kirill’s stance on the issue. Father Stefano Caprio said that the Ukrainian conflict generates a “deep divide” in the Orthodox Church in the United States.

Patriarch Kirill cannot break away from Putin because “he would bring the whole palace crashing down,” as he puts it. Some other autocephalous Orthodox churches, particularly those politically and ecclesiastically aligned with the patriarch, support the patriarch.

Reference
Kyiv Patriarch Rejects Property Seizures, Saying They’ll …. https://www.rferl.org/a/kyiv-patriarch-rejects-property-seizures-saying-they-ll-give-kremlin-pretext-for-incursions/29580539.html

Widespread Orthodox Church Backlash Unleashed Against Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine. https://www.ncregister.com/news/widespread-orthodox-church-backlash-unleashed-against-russia-s-aggression-in-ukraine?fbclid=IwAR3GpA1ftGo9LyZOllnPLt6aJ62Gez0LR6jeWNSo_nbmuSUq7vHmkcJNMMA

Are you familiar with NATO’s Article 5 and its application to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

US authorities have made it plain that American soldiers would avoid confrontation with Russian forces, and NATO countries have resisted requests to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying that it might result in a “full-fledged war in Europe.”

Photo by Katie Godowski on Pexels.com

If Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine crossed into a NATO member state, the situation could quickly deteriorate, triggering a response following NATO’s Article 5 policy. What is Article 5, and how does it pertain to Ukraine’s continuing conflict? What you need to know is as follows: What is the purpose of Article 5? Article 5 states that an assault on one NATO member constitutes an attack on all NATO members. The idea serves as a deterrent to prospective enemies targeting NATO countries.


Given that the US is NATO’s most prominent and most powerful member, every state inside the alliance is essentially protected by the US. Article 5: How does Russia’s aggression on Ukraine apply? Because Ukraine is not a NATO member, the US is not obligated to defend it in the same manner that it would if a NATO member nation were attacked. However, many of Ukraine’s neighbors are NATO members, and if a Russian invasion extends into one of them, Article 5 may spark direct US and NATO member intervention. What is the definition of an attack against a NATO member state? Article 5 wording stipulates that collective action is triggered by an “armed assault” against a member country. NATO members choose what constitutes an “armed assault,” and Russia’s hostile stance has already raised concerns about the country’s propensity to provoke a NATO reaction. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, recently warned The Washington Post that a Russian assault on Ukraine might have ramifications that extend beyond the intended “geographical limits” and threaten NATO nations. While local officials have said that “no change in radiation levels” has occurred in the region, what if there had been a radioactive leak that spread to a NATO member nation? “That is a decision for the alliance to make,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby previously told CNN.

Reference

Here’s what NATO’s Article 5 is and how it applies to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/07/politics/what-is-nato-article-5/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2CUknKMmHVQETQBp7MYQq4R9J35wrqITe7ucIGEziOCL3HJARqZx_VI88
CNN – Breaking News, Latest News and Videos. https://lite.cnn.com/en/article/h_a8182a2f063abf4ce60b6d5f03b8a897

Why are Trump stoking ‘birther’ conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris?

President Donald Trump claims he has “overheard” Democratic candidate Kamala Harris “does not meet the requirements” to serve as US vice-president, enlarging a fringe legal theory pundits decry as racist.

She was born in the US to a Jamaican father and Indian mother in Oakland, California, on 20 October 1964.

As such, she is qualified to function as president or vice-president.

For a long time, Mr Trump presented a untrue “birther” theory that ex-President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Ms Harris, a California senator, was named on Tuesday as the first woman of color to work as running partner on a principal-party US presidential ticket.

Reference:

Trump stokes ‘birther’ conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53774289

Genealogy Connection

Genealogy is the investigation of family members, family history, and the looking up with their lineages. Genealogists use standard interviews, historical documents, genetic analysis, and other records to acquire information about a family and to show kinship and pedigrees of its members. The answers are often displayed in graphs or written as narratives. Though generally used alternately, the traditional definition of “genealogy” starts with a person who is usually departed and traces his or her ancestor back in time, whereas “family background” begins with an individual who is generally living and records his or her ancestors and forefathers.

Here is a resource to put in your library or it may be helpful to you in your search for ancestors. You can find this book on Amazon.

Genealogical research is just a complicated procedure that makes use of historical records and often genetic analysis to show kinship. Reliable conclusions depend on the product quality of sources, ideally original documents, the information within those resources, ideally primary or firsthand knowledge, therefore the evidence that will end up being drawn, directly or from that information. In many instances, I have skillfully assembled indirect or circumstantial evidence to build a situation for identity and kinship — all proof, conclusions, and documentation that supports the research. The information was put together to produce a cohesive genealogy or family history, as well as how the president of the United States is a definite part of my family.

William McKinley the 25th U.S. President, 12th cousin 7x removed

President William McKinley is my 12th cousin 7x removed. The ancestor who connects us together is Princess Mary Stewart (1380 – 1382), my 18th great grandmother.

William McKinley Jr. (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th president regarding the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination half a year into his second term. During his presidency, McKinley led the nation to victory within the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to market American industry and kept the world from the gold standard in a rejection of free silver (effectively, expansionary monetary policy).

My genealogical chart shows how President William McKinley and I share a common ancestor:

President William McKinley (1843 – 1901)
12th cousin 7x removed

Nancy Campbell Allison (1809 – 1897)
Mother of President William McKinley

Ann CAMPBELL (1774 – 1846)
Mother of Nancy Campbell Allison

Obadiah CAMPBELL (1743 – 1822)
Father of Ann CAMPBELL

Samuel CAMPBELL (1695 – 1780)
Father of Obadiah CAMPBELL

William CAMPBELL (1635 – 1718)
Father of Samuel CAMPBELL

Duncan CAMPBELL (1605 – 1645)
Father of William CAMPBELL

Mary ERSKINE ERSKINE (1575 – 1613)
Mother of Duncan CAMPBELL

Alexander ERSKINE , Sir (1521 – 1591)
Father of Mary ERSKINE ERSKINE

John ERSKINE , Lord Erskine (1500 – 1555)
Father of Alexander ERSKINE , Sir

Isabella Elizabeth CAMPBELL (1468 – 1518)
Mother of John ERSKINE , Lord Erskine

Agnes Kennedy (1450 – )
Mother of Isabella Elizabeth CAMPBELL

Gilbert Kennedy (1406 – )
Father of Agnes Kennedy

Princess Mary Stewart (1380 – 1382)
Mother of Gilbert Kennedy

Zachary Taylor the 12th President of the United States,10th cousin 3x removed

President Zachary Taylor is my 10th cousin 3x removed. The ancestor on my genealogical chart who connects us together is Edward NEVILLE, Baron Bergavenny (1412 – 1476), my 12th great grandfather.

Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784 and died on July 9, 1850. He was the 12th president associated with the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor previously was a lifetime career officer in the United States Army, rose to your rank of major general and became a national hero due to his victories when you look at the Mexican–American War. As a result, he won election towards the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, prior to making any progress regarding the status of slavery, which was in fact inflaming tensions in Congress.

My genealogical chart reveals that ancestor we both share:

President Zachary Taylor (1784 – 1850)
10th cousin 3x removed

Sarah Dabney Strother
Mother of President Zachary Taylor

William Strother
Father of Sarah Dabney Strother

Francis Thornton Strother (1700 – 1751)
Father of William Strother

William B. Strother III (1665 – 1726)
Father of Francis Thornton Strother

Eleanor Conyers (1570 – 1611)
Mother of William B. Strother III

Sir John Conyers (1550 – 1610)
Father of Eleanor Conyers

Anne Dawney (1515 – )
Mother of Sir John Conyers

Dorothy Neville (1496 – 1532)
Mother of Anne Dawney

Richard Neville (1468 – 1530)
Father of Dorothy Neville

Henry Neville, Sir (1437 – 1469)
Father of Richard Neville

Edward NEVILLE, Baron Bergavenny (1412 – 1476)
Father of Henry Neville, Sir