Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stunningly Superficial

I know this is old news, and I only just now watched this video to get the pleasure of seeing Joe Scarborough put in his fluffy, airhead, GOP-talking-point-parrot place by Zbigniew Brzezinski. But when I finally watched it, I learned something about the problems between Israel and Palestine from Brzezinski, so I thought I'd post this for anyone who hasn't had a chance to watch it yet.

(If you are receiving this post via email, please click through to my blog to watch the video.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I joined iPeace...

So can you!

How To Love Israel, But Not Support Violence Against Palestinians

My friend Arthur forwarded an email from JStreet, an organization that I joined a few months ago, because they are Jewish people who offer a sane viewpoint and non-violent, non-aggressive solutions for peace between Israel and Palestine. But in the midst of my hilariously stuffed and unread inbox, I missed JStreet's email. So, in case you don't know anything about JStreet, or missed their email too, I want to post the entire email, plus this link where you can sign a petition to show your support for immediate and strong US intervention to renegotiate a meaningful ceasefire in Gaza.

Please sign the petition, even though BushCo is still pretending to be in charge and doing nothing. By doing nothing about this dire situation, they are doing great damage. The message still needs to be sent though, and your state representatives are still in office and still want to be re-elected. So it's important that you send them the message that the Israel/Palestine issue is not black and white, good versus bad, it's a nuanced situation that needs careful consideration and peace brokering.
Here is the email JStreet sent, in full (any emphasis is mine):

Gaza: Stop the violence

Twenty-four hours ago, Israeli Defense Forces struck the Gaza Strip, leaving hundreds dead and wounded - pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence.

At this moment of extreme crisis, J Street wants to demonstrate that, among those who care about Israel and its security, there is a constituency for sanity and moderation.  There are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide and who know that closing it requires strong American engagement and leadership.

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing "right" in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing "right" in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.
And there is nothing to be gained from debating which injustice is greater or came first.   What's needed now is immediate action to stop the violence before it spirals out of control.

The United States, the Quartet, and the world community must not wait - as they did in the Israel-Lebanon crisis of 2006 - for weeks to pass and hundreds or thousands more to die before intervening.  There needs to be an urgent end to the new hostilities that brings a complete end to military operations, including an end to the rocket fire out of Gaza, and that allows food, fuel and other civilian necessities into Gaza.

The need for diplomatic engagement goes beyond a short-term ceasefire.  Eight years of the Bush Administration's neglect and ineffective diplomacy have led us directly to a moment when the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hang in the balance and with them the prospects for Israel's long-term survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

Following a renegotiated ceasefire, we urge the incoming Obama administration to lead an early and serious effort to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts.

This is a fundamental American interest.  We too stand to suffer as the situation spirals, rage in the region is directed at the United States, and our regional allies are further undermined.  Our goals must be a Middle East that moves beyond bloody conflicts, an Israel that is secure and accepted in the region, and an America secured by reducing extremism and enhancing stability.  None of these goals are achieved by further escalation.

Even in the heat of battle, as friends and supporters of Israel, we need to remember that only diplomacy and negotiations can end the rockets and terror and bring Israel long-term security and peace.  American politicians are already hearing from those who see only one side.  Help us give voice to the large number of Americans who recognizes that justice will only be served when the rights and grievances of both sides are recognized and a peaceful two-state solution to this long-running conflict is put in place.

We know that many policy makers agree with us privately, but hesitate to express their views publicly because they hear only from the partisan extremes.  This is our moment to show that there is real political support for shedding a narrow us-versus-them approach to the Middle East.

The situation in Gaza could not be more urgent. Who knows how many more lives will be lost before this round of violence is over?  When it ends, will we look back and say if only we had spoken out sooner, more lives could have been saved, more damage avoided?

Thank you so much for joining our efforts at this difficult time. Together, we can achieve an end to this round of violence, a resumption of the ceasefire, and a serious move toward peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israeli Attacks On Palestinians In Gaza

The foreign minister of Israel just said on Al Jazeera English TV that "there was a coup in Gaza and Hamas took over." Isn't that a big fat lie that she told bald faced right on TV? Am I mistaken in the fact that there was a Democratic, free election and Hamas won its rightful place in the government, legally and by the people's choice?

Coup, my ass.

She also said that before Israel attacks anywhere, they send a message to civilians, ahead of the attack, to leave the area. Am I mistaken, or is there nowhere for Gaza citizens to go? The borders are blocked by Israel and nothing or nobody can get out, or in. No medical supplies, no fuel, no food, and no innocent civilians. Egypt has refused to open its borders to civilians caught innocently in the attacks.

So, where the hell do they go?

And George Fucking Bush is vacationing at his ranch and has no statement to make. While Gaza burns, while children suffer and die. Some flunkie sub-sub-sub White House press flack stood up and stuttered at the podium and said that it was Hamas' fault that they're getting slaughtered by Israel.

No. We, the United States of America, have a financial interest in helping Israel start this war. We sold them the jets. We sold them the cluster bombs. We want them to use all that shit up, so we can sell them some more. We won't protest against this crime by Israel. We'll stand by and read a book about a pet goat.

Robert Fisk trashed a nameless neocon on Al Jazeera a few moments ago. (Where and why do they dig these guys up for a counterpoint? I mean, really.) When Al Jazeera asked the neocon this question - there were 8 rockets launched by Hamas into Israel. Israel has responded with a full-out war - planes, bombs, guns, tanks. More than 300 people are dead and 1500 wounded in Gaza. Isn't this completely out of balance? - the Neocon replied. NUMBERS ARE MEANINGLESS.

Yeah, as long as those "numbers" aren't your fat kids safe at home in Uh-mer-i-cuh. As Robert Fisk said in response, "Palestinians are meaningless to you."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The World According To Ronald Reagan

From the lovely blogger YouGrowGirl , who took this picture in San Francisco back in April at the University of San Francisco. (I wasn't able to drag and drop the image so go to YouGrowGirl's Flickr page to see it.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Put Your Arms Around This

Via Matthew Good (I haven't researched these figures - just putting them out there for your consideration):

In the end, running guns is lucrative and a powerful political tool. It’s a win – win. Therefore, it probably should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the crowned champ of gun running is the United States, who in 2008 made $32 billion dollars in foreign sales alone – up from $23 billion in 2007. Research the Canadian defense budget in its entirety to place that figure into context.

US arms and military training and assistance were fundamental elements in twenty of the planet’s twenty-seven major conflicts in 2007. The United States has also signed over twice the number of transfer agreements in the last eight years than its closest competitor, Russia. While it might come as a shock to some, America’s most lucrative customer is currently Pakistan, which has purchased more arms from the US of late than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and even the Iraqi Armed Forces.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Almost Don't Want To Know

I realized recently that I've been avoiding political news. I watch the headlines, but I'm not clicking through. There might be two reasons for this...

One: I know that the economy is heading for the shitter. Bailout. No bailout. It doesn't matter. There's a ripple effect in place. A breaking news banner on CNN online right now says 533,000 jobs were lost in the US in November -- the most in 34 years. That means there are more than half a million people who will no longer be paying taxes, who are curtailing their spending, who may be extending their revolving credit (living on credit cards), who aren't buying houses or will lose their house because they can't pay their mortgage. In turn, their local grocery stores, gas stations, dry cleaners, hairdressers aren't going to see the same amount of cash coming in, and may go under, or at least lay off some of their workers too.

Two: Obama is either a genius, or a fool. There can be no in between. The problem is, he has proven to be nobody's fool. Over and over again. So, does that mean he's a genius? Or maybe we are the fools for having voted for him. But the alternative? If "that woman" had clickety-clacked her Manolos in the direction of the VP's office, I think I would have renounced my citizenship on the spot. The fundie fox would be licking her lips right inside the hen house. All non-fundie hens (Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, YouNameists) and their chicks would have been fox meat by now, while the cocks would have been fighting over her poisoned feed just to see if they could gain the fox's favor. I watch announcements about Obama's cabinet picks and groan. When Karl Rove is happy with Obama's picks, I get sick to my stomach. When a murderer like Kissinger praises Obama, I mutter curse words to myself.

I hold out on the slim hope that Obama has a mind of his own. I'm praying to The-God-I-Don't-Believe-In that corporate America doesn't already own his ass; that he won't listen to the war mongers' beating drums. Is he really, seriously, honest to Buddha surrounding himself with his foes because he believes in not surrounding himself with yes men? Could this even be possible?

Then I read an article about his meeting with US governors and how he asked for their opinions, and listened to everyone...very carefully. And everyone, from Republicans to Democrats, felt heard. It was the first time any president had done such a thing. This is the kind of leader I always wanted to follow. It's the kind of leader I want to be in my personal and professional life.

I can't stand the suspense. And if I don't start breathing soon, I might be out of my misery sooner than later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who Wouldn't Vote For Al Franken?

I first heard about Al Franken when I read his book Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. I read the book way before I started paying attention to politics, so I'm not sure how or why I picked up this book. I was probably in an airport on some corporate jaunt, and needed a book to read. I had heard Limbaugh a couple of times because my family just loved (and probably still do love) him. My sister once had a conniption fit because her VCR failed to record Rush's show. I was fascinated by her reaction, but remained silent, as usual.

I remember reading the book in front of the rough rock fireplace in my "hovel" (my brother's term for my rented desert shack) in Cave Creek, Arizona in the late 90s. I was alone in that hovel, with pack rats scurrying around in the ceiling above me, chewing the wires to bits, as I surreptitiously giggled about Rush being a cheetos-eating couch-potato welfare recipient. Delicious!

The part of the book I remember best was in the introduction, where Al got the go-ahead from the publisher for the book and then realized that in order to write it, he actually had to listen to Limbaugh. Horrors! So, he pawned off the listening to an intern. I completely understand. I always criticized my parents for only reading right-wing books, but here I am, only reading left-wing blogs. It's because I can't stomach the loony right. There are some sane voices, but not many.

Anyway, my question is, who wouldn't vote for Al Franken after seeing his amazing rendition of Mick Jagger? Hat tip for this video to my friend, and new Skype buddy, Arthur.

Enjoy! (If you are reading this post from an email, please click through to my blog to view the video.)

Obama Bites The Poisoned Apple

Via Truthdig:

Barack Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq—he promises only to withdraw combat brigades—is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush’s “war on terror.” And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it.

I voted for Barack Obama, knowing that he was still a misdirected hawk. I cry when I watch him have direct eye contact and hold the tiny hands of little black kids in Chicago on Thanksgiving day. And then I cry again, when he vows to continue an illegal and immoral occupation in Iraq, and start anew a war in Afghanistan. How can he do one kind, local deed, and not the same in a far away land? Because he does not bother stooping down to his knees and holding the tiny hands of dead or dieing Iraqi and Afghanistan children, or look their grieving mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, directly in the eye.

Go there, Barack Obama, and witness the devastation we, the American people, have wrought. Go there, and touch the bodies and souls of our destruction. Then see how cavalier you can be, within your golden not-yet-white-house walls.

Exposed: NBC's Brian Williams & General McCaffrey's Secret Affair

Sorry about the headline. I'm just very pissed off that these two putzes are in bed together, with McCaffrey gaining huge financial benefit from his military investments while he talks up BushCo's wars on American TeeVee. Americans watch this medal-clad retired military guy and give him undue respect, and believe everything he says. Meanwhile, Williams and NBC, swimming in a slavering, war-mongering, General Electric-owned carnal bliss, have absolutely not one iota of shame.

Will anyone else?

Meanwhile, as soon as, or probably before, it became evident that the terrorists in Mumbai might be from Pakistan, the US media started the war drums at a fevered pitch. On CNN's front page there was the headline "Tensions High Between India, Pakistan" and a poll question: "Are you worried that the Mumbai attacks could lead to a new conflict between India and Palistan?"

At that very same moment, I'm watching the Indian news channel NDTV 24x7 (live feed), and they were interviewing Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The interviewer was tough, asking pointed questions about why the Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) (who may have trained the Mumbai terrorists) are allowed by the Pakistani government to operate openly in Pakistan. But Qureshi was willing to answer the questions of a journalist, and impress upon him that Pakistan will do everything it can to assist India in the investigation. They were already sharing intelligence, and both sides, while saying tough things, were separating the fact that although the terrorists may have come from and were trained in Pakistan, that it was not the Pakistani government who specifically sent them to terrorize Mumbai. There was a dialogue in place, at the highest levels, and openly in the press. What a concept.

Pakistan is responsible for controlling terrorist groups who launch attacks from their country. No doubt about it. But until it is proven that the Pakistani government personally ordered those attacks, no discussions of India attacking Pakistan should be entertained.

Unless you are the US media, who lusts for war, and profits from it.