Mitch, where were you when “we” needed you?


mcconnellA duh moment if there ever was one.

President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both ’06 and ’08,” McConnell told reporters Friday. “We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some.”

Partisan politics if there ever was any; McConnell misspoke.  Bush was a millstone around the necks of the entire country and probably a few foreign countries as well.  When those of us were saying the same thing during the height of the “terror campaign” waged by the same Republican party of which McConnell is a part our citizenship was threatened and our motives questioned.  We were called traitors and the largest rights grab of the federal government was done in our names.  Is it any wonder more and more people have mistrust for elected officials.

Israel attacks Sudan and blames Hamas?


sudan_gazaIsrael  launched an attack on Sudanese territory to supposedly interdict an arms convoy supplied by Iran headed to Gaza….and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.  No doubt an attack took place, or that’s according to US authorities and it was launched by Israel, but the reasons for the attack hardly have anything to do with weapons.  Hamas makes a good point when they say

“Should it turn out that there were raids and a high number of people killed, this would mean Israel is seeking to use the opportunity to blame Hamas and hit Sudan,” he said.

The fact that the Gaza Strip is not a neighbour of Sudan, with Egypt in between, “shows these are false claims,” he added.

Israel has pounded Gaza and Egypt in attempts to destroy the tunnel system they say exists to smuggle things into Gaza; however, now they think it’s justified to bomb a regional neighbor that has never hosted, fomented, incited or carried out any attacks against Israel.  Sudan is a political foe of Israel; it is a predominantly Muslim country which has repudiated Israel’s expansionist policies in the West Bank and Gaza.  I would hope that the predominantly Christian country of America would repudiate Israeli policy in Palestine… UN resolutions demand at least that.  Should the US expect an attack of the magnitude of the Sudanese intrusion?  Have we already had such an attack?  Israel makes it clear they think they can go anywhere and attack anyone they think has a terrorist infrastructure.  Of course only Israel can single-handedly define what constitutes a “terrorist infrastructure” whether in a contiguous neighbor or one far removed, like Sudan, Cyprus, or even western Europe and or North America.  What’s even more unfortunate about all this is the US would rather be impotent in its response to Israeli aggression than to take a stand against it.  In doing so, America has signed on to Israeli aggression against all its “foes” and the possibility of a world war the likes of the previous two.  It seems humanity gets this once a century itch to literally fight itself to the death, when it’s not necessary nor prudent; but it’s become our destiny and America has become the prime enabler in movement towards that end.  Instability of the region that allows for Israeli hegemony has always been the goal of Israeli policy, that and the usurpation of its neighbors natural resources.  In order to accomplish this they cannot have opposition; acquiescence is essential and the slightest objection vocal or otherwise is considered an existential threat to those  goals.  That said, one should only expect more death and destruction.

Bad policing-X2


The first story is truly an example of a bad policeman doing his job very, very poorly. I won’t get into the debate whether he should be fired……..hell yes……but should Robert Powell, Dallas police officer have  restrained someone, in this case, Ryan Moats and his wife,  in the parking lot of a hospital to insist they show him proof of insurance on a vehicle Powell knew belonged to Moats while they are trying to see a dying relative?  This is what Powell’s boss had to say

His (Powell)  behavior in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit.” Kunkle also praised Moats and his family, saying that “They exercised extraordinary patience, restraint, dealing with the behavior of our officer. At no time did Mr. Moats identify himself as an NFL football player or expect any kind of special consideration. He handled himself very, very well.

This is bad policing at its worse.  If Powell wants to be in law enforcement, perhaps he should be a prison guard, where he can get away with bullying  hardened convicts. This other example however is not bad policing as much as bad and dangerous citizenship.  There was a “shoot-out” in Miami between a robber and an armed citizen who was carrying his firearm concealed and legally.  The good news is that the law abiding citizen was legally carrying his firearm.  The bad news is he discharged it in what I consider an irresponsible manner, killing an armed robber and in the process  being severely wounded himself.  John Landers, the legally armed citizen allegedly confronted the armed robber in the Miami Burger King and told him to drop his weapon.  Respectfully, that is NOT Mr. Landers’ job.  His responsibility in carrying his weapon is to defend himself with it and others who may be in imminent danger or serious bodily harm.  It would have been more prudent for Mr. Landers to take cover while concealing himself, assess the situation with his weapon drawn and fire on the robber only if the villain fired at anyone in the store.  An armed citizen engaging in a gun fight inside a busy restaurant with an armed robber who hasn’t yet shot anyone is dangerous, and issues of liability become REAL should innocent bystanders get hit.  As it is, Mr. Landers was hurt and the robber killed.  I have no problem with that outcome; although I would have preferred Mr. Landers not be injured, chest wounds are pretty serious.  Let’s wish him a complete recovery of his wounds and more importantly recovery of common sense for the judicious exercise of his right to keep and bear arms.

Oh what a tangled web we weave-they got the wrong man


America needs to gahmadet rid of the group of people least inclined towards peace and friendly relations with their neighbors.  The FBI is being led by the nose by the likes of con artists like Craig Monteilh who has left such a trial of deceipt and lies he should be the one in prison, not Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, on the left.  Craig is the guy the FBI placed their bets on to disrupt California masajid, or places of worship for Muslims, with his slow but steadily increasing incendiary terrorist rhetoric.  Of course it was all a show to get people to sign on to the game so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies could disrupt a so called terrorist cell brewing on the homeland.  What the feds didn’t count on was that the masajid targetted by them would be so upset with Monteilh’s terrorist rhetoric they would actually turn him into the FBI instead of joining him.  That didn’t go over to well so retribution was taken against the law abiding Muslim citizens for not going along with the program and poor Ahmadullah Sais Niazi was arrested and charged with a variety of “immigration charges” the likes of which are used whenever the government needs an arrest to justify the enormous amounts of money spent going nowhere; and nowhere is what they got with Monteilh, a con artist who has people, not just Muslims, writing about how bad a con artist and lover he really is.  What’s troubling about this case is the people the FBI wanted to entrap were perfectly willing to work with law enforcement and provided the feds with a terrorist…..the feds’ own terrorist, but that simply wasn’t good enough and someone ELSE had to pay for Monteilh’s deception.  Why the FBI didn’t do a better job of seeing what kind of history their informant had, who he had abused in the past that might blow this guy’s cover, (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned), and what a liability he could potentially be to their case, they could have saved themselves this set back with a group of citizens who wanted to do the right thing and in fact did.  As a result of such a lousy informant, the Muslim community has decided for now to withdraw their offer to help the government and the FBI too has retreated from its community outreach.  That is not good for either group, but there are some within government who are probably quite happy about that.  Craig Monteilh no doubt is one of them.

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RIP-John Hope Franklin


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Pioneering historian John Hope Franklin dies at 94

His book was required reading for me as a freshman in college so many years ago.  Years later as an old man myself,  I ran across him in the aisle of the local supermarket in Durham, NC and was impressed by his quick and friendly smile.  I hope humanity can find a suitable replacement for him to live among us.

The Redemptive Side of Gitmo


There are only three things that came out of the Guantanamo Bay experience that are worth noting.  First the hard work and determination of the group of lawyers who wanted the US to hold up its end of the bargain called the Constitution; without some of their efforts America would have lapsed into a dictatorship hell bent on imprisoning everyone who did not genuflect to  its will; the scores of prisoners who were bought and paid for by US taxpayer money in order to showcase US might at the expense of the rule of law, and finally those people whose humanity was restored or enhanced because of their exposure to some of the inmates there.  ‘Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come-’ the United States of America would do well to remember that.

The Rising Tide of Fascism in North America


galloway1We should all be used to the notion that differences of opinion, no matter how sanely and legally expressed ramadanand/or carried out are becoming less and less acceptable.  We should be used to or accustomed to that because of the previous eight years where political differences were couched in terms that produced an either for us or against us culture.  The extension of that was the “us” in the flippant and casually tossed dismissal of dissent used their power to silence expressions different from the mainstream.  I must admit there are plenty of voices of dissent and many avenues available for them  to express themselves; I must also admit there is the distinct possibility those venues most likely are being searched for to be shut down at a later date.  For now, the squashing of dissent has a very distinct flavor of fascism about it that fits the political definition of fascism to the letter.

Canada led the way in the lead up to the fascist abyss with its  announcement it would not allow George Galloway to visit that country because it claimed he gave “material support” to Hamas when he led a supply to that besieged strip of land after the Israeli invasion earlier this year.

“Specifically, we have information that indicates you organized a convoy worth over £1 million in aid and vehicles to Hamas, and personally donated vehicles and financing to (former) Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Your material support for this organization makes you inadmissible to Canada,”

The intended outcome of this decision is to stifle any expression of support materially or politically for the Palestinian people, not Hamas.  The Israelis have been able to tie all support for Palestinians with support for Hamas and therefore because of its undeserved terrorism designation, ostracize those who support the people of Gaza and inevitably Palestinians as a whole.  The Israelis  set up Hamas as a political straw dog on which many people rest their fate for the next so many years, while Israeli theft of Palestinian land continues until the next straw dog is set up to oppose Hamas and so on and so on.  This is not only foolhardy but dangerous, but it allows the Israeli government time  to establish some very definite “facts” on the ground while it tries to change the demographics of the region for future considerations.  Galloway’s problem is one of being too high profile a dissenter, one who might be able to influence many fence-sitters, politically as a member of British government or personally through the types of lectures he was scheduled to give in Canada.  Therefore his exposure to the world community must be limited.

The Canadians have taken a page from the US playbook where Tariq Ramadan is still being refused entry into the US because of a similar accusation.  The administration of “change”, Obama, has gone on record to argue Ramadan should not be allowed to visit America.  This after Obama himself claimed he wanted to reach out to Muslims all over the world.  The Obama administration’s support of Bush’s  denial of entry goes to show there’s not much difference between the two governments as it relates to foreign policy.

The visa ban — apparently based on Ramadan’s donations to a group linked to the Palestinian militants Hamas labeled a terrorist organization by Washington — was instituted under former president George W. Bush’s administration….the visa denial  (was)  pinned to Ramadan having donated 1,300 dollars to a Swiss charity, Association de Secours Palestinien (ASP).

The charity allegedly funded Hamas, the ruling Palestinian group in Gaza, which Washington designates as a terrorist organization.

What’s troubling about this accusation beyond it being “alleged” and not proven  is that Ramadan made known to everyone he had donated to the group at a time  before Hamas was designated as a terrorism group by the US government.   When that label was attached to Hamas, Ramadan ceased giving to the group.  In effect he is being held accountable for doing something when at the time he did it it wasn’t illegal.  But that’s not his only sin, besides those of his father and his grandfather.  Ramadan’s is a passionate voice for moderation and coexistence between a feared Islam and a reluctant West and nothing gets in the way of “fascism” like peace, so like Galloway, Ramadan’s exposure to the West must be confined to a much smaller universe like the halls of Oxford University.

It’s interesting to see the turf war going on between those who are for and against the intermingling of intellectual and political thought all over the world.  Obviously North America is still considered home for those who believe  in perpetual conflict, have an aggressive warrior mentality and believe in conquering, dominating, and eventually eliminating people deemed undesirable or unwanted.  It fit the previous administration like a hand in glove and seems to be the destiny of the Obama administration as well.  It  also fits the definition of fascism.

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“This is an action that sowed massive destruction among civilians. It is not certain that it was possible do have done it differently, but ultimately we have emerged from this operation and are not facing real paralysis from the Qassams. It is very possible that we will repeat such an operation on a larger scale in the years to come, because the problem in the Gaza Strip is not simple and it is not at all certain that it has been solved. What we want this evening is to hear from the fighters.”

Aviv: “I am squad commander of a company that is still in training, from the Givati Brigade. We went into a neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City. Altogether, this is a special experience. In the course of the training, you wait for the day you will go into Gaza, and in the end it isn’t really like they say it is. It’s more like, you come, you take over a house, you kick the tenants out and you move in. We stayed in a house for something like a week.

“Toward the end of the operation there was a plan to go into a very densely populated area inside Gaza City itself. In the briefings they started to talk to us about orders for opening fire inside the city, because as you know they used a huge amount of firepower and killed a huge number of people along the way, so that we wouldn’t get hurt and they wouldn’t fire on us.

“At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?

“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit. I tried to exert some influence, insofar as is possible from within my subordinate position, to change this. In the end the specification involved going into a house, operating megaphones and telling [the tenants]: ‘Come on, everyone get out, you have five minutes, leave the house, anyone who doesn’t get out gets killed.’

“I went to our soldiers and said, ‘The order has changed. We go into the house, they have five minutes to escape, we check each person who goes out individually to see that he has no weapons, and then we start going into the house floor by floor to clean it out … This means going into the house, opening fire at everything that moves , throwing a grenade, all those things. And then there was a very annoying moment. One of my soldiers came to me and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘What isn’t clear? We don’t want to kill innocent civilians.’ He goes, ‘Yeah? Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact.’ I said, ‘Do you think the people there will really run away? No one will run away.’ He says, ‘That’s clear,’ and then his buddies join in: ‘We need to murder any person who’s in there. Yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist,’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media.

“And then I try to explain to the guy that not everyone who is in there is a terrorist, and that after he kills, say, three children and four mothers, we’ll go upstairs and kill another 20 or so people. And in the end it turns out that [there are] eight floors times five apartments on a floor – something like a minimum of 40 or 50 families that you murder. I tried to explain why we had to let them leave, and only then go into the houses. It didn’t really help. This is really frustrating, to see that they understand that inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want, to break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool.

“You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing in understanding how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”

“One of our officers, a company commander, saw someone coming on some road, a woman, an old woman. She was walking along pretty far away, but close enough so you could take out someone you saw there. If she were suspicious, not suspicious – I don’t know. In the end, he sent people up to the roof, to take her out with their weapons. From the description of this story, I simply felt it was murder in cold blood.”

Zamir: “I don’t understand. Why did he shoot her?”

Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”

Zvi: “Aviv’s descriptions are accurate, but it’s possible to understand where this is coming from. And that woman, you don’t know whether she’s … She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right. It’s known that they have lookouts and that sort of thing.”

Gilad: “Even before we went in, the battalion commander made it clear to everyone that a very important lesson from the Second Lebanon War was the way the IDF goes in – with a lot of fire. The intention was to protect soldiers’ lives by means of firepower. In the operation the IDF’s losses really were light and the price was that a lot of Palestinians got killed.”

Ram: “I serve in an operations company in the Givati Brigade. After we’d gone into the first houses, there was a house with a family inside. Entry was relatively calm. We didn’t open fire, we just yelled at everyone to come down. We put them in a room and then left the house and entered it from a different lot. A few days after we went in, there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sharpshooters’ position on the roof. The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go, and it was was okay and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.”

Question from the audience: “At what range was this?”

Ram: “Between 100 and 200 meters, something like that. They had also came out of the house that he was on the roof of, they had advanced a bit and suddenly he saw then, people moving around in an area where they were forbidden to move around. I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it …. The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Yuval Friedman (chief instructor at the Rabin program): “Wasn’t there a standing order to request permission to open fire?”

Ram: “No. It exists, beyond a certain line. The idea is that you are afraid that they are going to escape from you. If a terrorist is approaching and he is too close, he could blow up the house or something like that.”

Zamir: “After a killing like that, by mistake, do they do some sort of investigation in the IDF? Do they look into how they could have corrected it?”

Ram: “They haven’t come from the Military Police’s investigative unit yet. There hasn’t been any … For all incidents, there are individual investigations and general examinations, of all of the conduct of the war. But they haven’t focused on this specifically.”

Moshe: “The attitude is very simple: It isn’t pleasant to say so, but no one cares at all. We aren’t investigating this. This is what happens during fighting and this is what happens during routine security.”

Ram: “What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of almost a religious mission. My sergeant is a student at a hesder yeshiva [a program that combines religious study and military service]. Before we went in, he assembled the whole platoon and led the prayer for those going into battle. A brigade rabbi was there, who afterward came into Gaza and went around patting us on the shoulder and encouraging us, and praying with people. And also when we were inside they sent in those booklets, full of Psalms, a ton of Psalms. I think that at least in the house I was in for a week, we could have filled a room with the Psalms they sent us, and other booklets like that.

“There was a huge gap between what the Education Corps sent out and what the IDF rabbinate sent out. The Education Corps published a pamphlet for commanders – something about the history of Israel’s fighting in Gaza from 1948 to the present. The rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles, and … their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war. From my position as a commander and ‘explainer,’ I attempted to talk about the politics – the streams in Palestinian society, about how not everyone who is in Gaza is Hamas, and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us. I wanted to explain to the soldiers that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Qassams.”

Hat tip.

It just keeps getting worse


News from Israel that genocide was the intent of the Gazan intrusion and nothing less grows stronger everyday with the release of soldier testimony to that effect. A word on the cartoon posted below; it clearly shows a dementia that has nothing at all to do with terrorism, the use of deadly force or American interests, nor Israeli interests for that matter.  With the exception of one drawing, no one who appears in the cartoons is even remotely connected to the “terrorism” the Israelis claim they are fighting.  One of the cartoon’s panels shows a blatant act of homosexuality as an act of war which speaks to the mindset of today’s modern armies.  What it does show is a hatred for Arabs and a willingness to kill women and infants, something we’ve seen in the latest “war” in Gaza and something which is underscored with this latest news

“Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounde.d and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.

It is significant to remember that those who lay bleeding to death easily within reach of rescue personnel who perhaps could have been saved were the likes of women and children.


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idg_cartoon

What do you do when you’re not wanted? BEG!


Dignity means not begging for inclusion.  CAIR and other Muslim organizations had done a somewhat decent job of not begging when it came to the federal government and it’s law enforcement arm, the FBI; that was until the FBI decided to end the love fest with CAIR and stop doing community outreach programs with them.  The FBI has been infested with Islamophobes the likes of Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes whose hatred of anything Islamic is as rabid, demented and misguided as anyone from your local insane asylum.  As long as the federal government is under the sway of folks like the two above there’s very little CAIR can do to get the feds to change their mind.  I was a little upset therefore to read this “plea” from CAIR for the FBI to justify their breaking of relations.  I think it’s more dignified for CAIR to continue with its program of uncovering abuse directed towards Muslim Americans and working with those institutions that are willing to work with them to stop such abuse, but if anyone wants to give in to the rhetoric and racism of Islamophobes there’s nothing you can do to change that, and begging them to like you certainly won’t work.

And speaking of CAIR did you read where they have changed leadership and gone more “local” as it were.  The former head of the organization, a Palestinian-American was just the lightening rod the likes of Pipes and Emerson needed  to make and then make stick the accusation that CAIR was somehow affiliated with home grown Islamic terrorism.  Yes, we all know no such thing exists, but that didn’t stop Pipes, et.al  from slinging the mud.  Larry Shaw a North Carolina state representative is now taking over the reigns of CAIR and showing another dimension to Islam in America.

Shaw, who has served in the senate for seven terms, has a reputation for honesty and fair dealing. A champion of interfaith understanding, he has gained support in the Jewish community, too.

“I’m very much impressed with his fine personality,” says Rabbi Yosef Levanon of Congregation Beth Israel in Fayetteville. “I think he has good intentions, and I’m praying he will avoid the pitfalls that have plagued this organization.”

Indeed, some have suggested that Shaw was chosen to lead CAIR precisely because he can soften its sometimes combative image.

Khalilah Sabra, a Raleigh activist who directs the local chapter of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation and consults with Shaw on a weekly basis, says Shaw brings a uniquely American political vision to CAIR.

I don’t know what all happened to make Mr. Shaw’s leadership at CAIR possible but I think it has something to do with the group’s tarnished image, a la Mr. Pipe and Emerson.  Perhaps Shaw can transform that image and focus the vision of the group to pursuits that will make it more necessary to the American fabric.

A ‘we told you so’ moment


First off let me give props to the blogger(s) who deserves it and Mondoweiss has been the leader in exposing this story to the English reading blogspere.  One can’t say what the outcome of the news that Isreali soldiers purposefully shot and killed innocent civilians will be, but it’s now been said by those who did just that and it’s something that if not apparent by how the Gazan conflict was conducted was certainly pointed out by many people in the blogsphere.

Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered.

The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader’s soldiers complained that “we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist.”

The squad leader said: “You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”

There is no rhymn nor reason for this murder spree committed in the name of “fighting terrorism” which has also been glossed over with “fear” and the threat, as Rupert Murdoch said just the other night that the fate of the entire western world hinges on the existence of Israel. Of course, nothing could be further than the truth; the world existed before the state of Israel, and did rather well it might be argued, just as it will exist well after Israel has become an historic relic just as it once was, but the intent of the leaders of Israel to tie their fate with that of their western sponsors has been a constant thread allowing for the West’s acquiescence towards Israeli atrocities. It is interesting to note, already spin is being generated to calm the furor about the published (read that “leaked“) accounts.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that he believed such incidents to be exceptions, adding, “The Israeli Army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I’m talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq.”

Like most other Israeli analogies the Yugoslavia one is a faulty one.  That conflict which plagued Europe went on for several years, whereas the Gaza invasion was a month long intrusion.  Nevertheless the reality that civilians were targetted has been made clear.  Note the word “lead” in the reference above; this was not something that was to be made known to the public, but rather kept secret in the halls of Israeli government.  I wonder whether it was to be used to build upon or improve what was accomplished/committed in Gaza, the policy of the Israeli government has become just that dastard.  I salute those within Israeli society who exposed this story to the international public; no doubt at great risk to their position in that society.  I wish American politicians were equally courageous, because it will take that kind of courage to stop the madness known as the Israeli government from its murderous rampages.

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killarab1

The Mixed messages of the Obama White House


Dick Cheney deserves to be in jail.  He is perhaps one of the biggest war criminals the US has produced in recent memory, ranking right up there with Henry Kissinger and Lyndo Johnson.  So why did he go and put his foot in his mouth about Obama endangering the American public because of his reversal of some of Cheney/Bush’s illegal adventures the last 8 years?  I guess to Dick the fact that the US has invaded two countries that were otherwise not hostile or a threat to US interests doesn’t matter a hill of beans to how people think of this country or how angry and unstable they must feel about American intervention.  All of the displaced Iraqis leaving in countries other than their own must be really happy about Bush’s decision to invade their country while extremely upset with Obama’s decision to close down Guantanamo Bay or stop torture and rendition of people we suspect of terrorism.  Go figure, and did you catch Cheney’s really flippant remark about the role his administration played in the economic downturn?!  Stuff happens.  Wow.  Cheney doesn’t have a clue or doesn’t give a damn.  His deflection of his responsibility for what he took this country through is sad, pathetic and embarrassing for us as a nation.  This was the best we could do?  Brilliant  Someone lock him up and throw away the key, please!

So after this really lame appearance on CNN, the Obama administration reacted to Cheney’s remarks with an equally flippant and faux indignation only politicans can muster.  The longer Obama stays in office the easier it is to see how the saying, the more things “change” the more they remain the same, should have been his campaign slogan, for while he has tossed us the platitudes of closing Guantanamo Bay, he has also repeated a Bush administration policy of citing “state secrets” to prevent the release of evidence concerning extraordinary renditions as well as argued that all cases being brought against the Bush administration for torture related offenses should be dismissed! What Cheney’s remarks were meant to do were to get Obama to continue to toe the line by making the new government appear to be soft on terrorism, when it really isn’t, and in order to project the tough guy image, do even more along the lines of draconian measures instituted by Bush/Cheney to prove it.  Meanwhile the two sides appear to be at odds with one another when they really aren’t.  Obama’s chief concern must be the economy, while issues of foreign policy will be largely seen as a battle ground between the two parties but left as they were under Bush.  The drama continues.

Simple pleasures are the best


There’s nothing simple or pleasurable about giving birth.  Under the best of circumstances it’s arduous and stressful for all concerned, but especially for the mother.  In free societies all attempt is made to allow the expecting mother to have as safe and carefree delivery as possible.   That is not possible for Palestinian mothers who are regularly forced by Israeli policy to give birth at Israeli checkpoints.  The Israelis are ratching up their genocide of Palestinians by making it almost insanely possible for Palestinian mothers to carry their babies to term.  Stories abound where pregnant women denied access to healthcare facilities beyond Israeli checkpoints had to give birth in cars and then tragically watch their babies die.  In 2002,  more than half the babies born at checkpoints died and the year before just a little over half died under similar circumstances.  These statistics are normal and have piled up while the world has turned a blind eye toward the health hazards being carried out daily in the occupied territories.  The Israeli policy is no doubt fostered by their mistaken belief that this type of abortion, or murder of the unborn is one way to influence the demographics of the region, reduce the numbers of their foes.

During the time Israel was feeling victorious and happy counting 1,300 massacred Palestinians in cold blood, Palestinian women retaliated by giving birth to 3,570 babies. The Palestinian woman is considered a demographic bomb, a highly fertile creature as fertile as the soil of Palestine. The more Israel sends Palestinian on a one way trip to the womb of the land, the more Palestinian women’s wombs show generosity, giving birth to more heroes.

At a time the average fertility in Israel is 2.6 babies per woman, Gaza is considered one of the most fertile in the whole wide world with an average of 6 babies per woman. Israel suffers a high percentage of senior citizens while Gaza has an abundance of youngsters and according to UNICEF’s report on the 3rd of March 2009 the total number of children in Gaza is approximately 793,520, or 56 per cent of the population (PCBS). This was one of the main reasons that forced Israel to stop its military incursions, for there are 4,170 humans per every square Kilometre in Gaza, to imagine how densely populated Gaza is, one should know that Lebanon is 29 times the area of Gaza.

This brings us back to Israel’s devious methods of trying to kill women who are considered as factories of men, without being blamed directly for that by its policies of blockades, and checkpoints where sick women or women about to give birth suffer for not being able to reach hospitals, by denying them the right to travel or import foods and medicines, by bombing their infrastructure leaving them with no water to drink or use for hygiene, by depriving them of fuel leading to total arrest of the sewage system refineries, by spraying them with chemicals from above and burning them with white phosphorus, and by killing them indirectly out of sorrow and deep grief after losing their family members especially their young ones, but as Yasser Arafat once said we Palestinians are an undefeatable nation we are ‘Shaab Aljabbare.

Whatever the motivation or reason behind such barbarity, the idea that women in labor should be denied access to medical care is one more feather in the cap of Israeli genocide directed towards its Palestinian citizens as well as neighbors.  It should be roundly condemned by its major sponsor and ally the U.S.  Nothing short of that is acceptable.

Zionism is the problem


The political movement which asserts the supremacy of Israeli Jews over all others will lead the world into another world war, so it is that the editorial below which appeared in the Los Angeles Times is a particularly good one beckoning the world to take heed of this problem and solve it.  Several bloggers have mentioned the editorial below but it wasn’t until I read it in its entirety that I felt it was worth mentioning here at Miscellany101.  It is rather long, so I’ll excerpt it but strongly encourage everyone who reads this post to go to the link and read it.

Israeli policies have rendered the once apparently inevitable two-state solution less and less feasible. Years of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have methodically diminished the viability of a Palestinian state. Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has even refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state, which suggests an immediate future of more of the same: more settlements, more punitive assaults.

All of this has led to a revival of the Brit Shalom idea of a single, secular binational state in which Jews and Arabs have equal political rights. The obstacles are, of course, enormous. They include not just a powerful Israeli attachment to the idea of an exclusively Jewish state, but its Palestinian analogue: Hamas’ ideal of Islamic rule. Both sides would have to find assurance that their security was guaranteed. What precise shape such a state would take — a strict, vote-by-vote democracy or a more complex federalist system — would involve years of painful negotiation, wiser leaders than now exist and an uncompromising commitment from the rest of the world, particularly from the United States.

Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an “epidemic” more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel’s apologists have been forced. Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can’t be said.

It’s not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, “turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground.”

Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah.

In Israel American life is cheap


tristanThe Israelis are in such a hurry to kill people who are not Israeli that they even break their own laws to do so.  The latest victim is Tristan Anderson, an American from California who joined in solidarity with Palestinians in the village of Ni’lin and was  shot in the head, for his trouble,  with a nasty piece of  munition  at quite some distance.  I don’t know what made Mr. Anderson think that Israelis live by the same laws as America, where peaceful assembly is NOT met with fatal fire from the authorities.  A brief history of the village where he was would have convinced him that Ni’lin is a target practice area for the IDF; upwards of 20 people have already been shot there.  Of course we’re hearing the same lame excuses for his near death, if he isn’t dead already of his  injuries, from Israeli apologists: ‘he shouldn’t have been there’, ‘he got what he deserved’, ‘that’s what you get for taking up the Palestinian cause’, etc.,  and I would sort of agree with the first one above.  He shouldn’t have been there, and neither should the billions of dollars of aid we have given to our rather petulant ally who thanks us by shooting in cold blood American citizens who want to see for themselves how their tax  money is being spent.  Americans should steer as clear from Israel as humanly possible, and convince their lawmakers, under threat of expulsion from the seat of government,  to do the same with our federal largess.  Anything else dishonors the memory of those brave souls who were sacrificed at the altar of Israeli appeasement by cowardly American congressmen and women.

Toilet paper as a political weapon


I never knew just how incendiary toilet paper could be.  First it was given a heightened status for the military personnel at Guantanamo Bay who were told how the maniacally trained terrorists could fashion knives from toilet paper and kill all the guards there and then swim to mainland USA and continue their killing rampage with other improvised weapons equally deadly.  Of course it’s hilarious, but there were some misguided souls who believed it.  Now comes word toilet paper is too dangerous to allow the citizens of Gaza to have and so all aide shipments that include toilet paper cannot be allowed. In the light of that explanation, I can understand why hummus is not allowed in either, seeing as how hummus creates the condition that calls for the use of toilet paper. Next we’ll be told how feminine products such as pads and tampons aren’t allowed for adult women.

Two seperate realities, or a difference between night and day


The first video below is what the Israeli government wants you to see, and the second one is what they don’t want you to see.  When I looked at them I thought it should be the opposite.  In other words the government of Israel should NOT want you to see how carefree and safe the people of Israel are because the myth perpetuated is that they live under constant fear of death and extermination. The entire world is asked to sacrifice everything they can to prevent the elimination of the Israeli people at the hands of the Palestinian hordes. On the other hand the spinmeisters want you, a casual observer, to associate death and destruction with everything about Palestinian life, the implication being the Palestinians are the cause of that fate and not anything the Israelis have done to them.  But with most things surrounding the conflict on the soil of the Holy Land, reality is far different.

Israel sees no harm in showing a picture of its society which encourages tourism, because Israelis and those who visit it are indeed safe, and the death and destruction visited upon Palestinians is rampant, random, discriminatory (i.e.targeted towards civilians) intimidating and if the Israeli government had anything to do with it, out of sight of the everyday international citizen.  For us, American citizens, we are responsible for both images, both videos, and there’s no way of getting around our complicity especially in the visions of the latter.

FUN AND HAPPINESS IN ISRAEL

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN GAZA

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