Posts Tagged ‘israel’

WAR and PEACE reprise

August 6, 2010

Older Letters to elected Officials and speculations on and about the subjects of war and recession, with links to today’s realities.  Not much has changed, except for some of the faces of the players.  Some issues are career opportunities for foot-dragging, do-nothing profiteers and cowardly politicians.  It is plain that the People must lead. 

ARAB-ISRAELI LOVE-FEST:

Ltr to Ron Wyden, Senator, OR. – January 8, 2009

The ancient Arab-Israeli confrontation is not worthy of support on either side.  Only some radical change of policy will break this savage inhumane cycle.  The Senate‘s recent unequivocal support of Israel is disgraceful.  Why do we support violence from anybody toward anybody?  Why not give peace a chance?  It has never been done, and we seem instead incapable of overcoming our religious, ethnic, and other generational prejudices.  We support people who coach their children to kill their enemies’ children.  This is madness.  It is insupportable.  The morass of the middle east does not reveal a champion for the United States to support, and Israel cannot claim the Holocaust as refuge or excuse for a holocaust of its own making that it refuses to stop.  Hamas‘ despicable actions are not an excuse for Israelis to murder, and the dead children they describe as collateral damage are not an acceptable cost for their security.

Murder and violence are what they are, not the stuff of virtue, right, or decent national policy – Israel’s, Palestine‘s, or the United States’. I urge you to re-think this issue outside of its historic insanity – and the personal blindness of culture and peer pressure.  Help devise an alternative approach to international murder and mayhem.  Help, too, to take the United States off its century-long war status.

Yours in sorrow and regret.   j

EXIT STRATEGY:

I am a veteran and senior citizen.

Ltr to Representative Earl Blumenauer, OR –  July 26, 2005   10:32 AM 

Subject: Please support House Joint Resolution 55, toward ending the Iraq occupation.

The war in Iraq has been a personal project for George Bush using American lives and treasure.  I believe he is ruining the world’s finest military.  For what?  He fights like the boneheaded English general Kitchener at Gallipoli, who observing the troops running uphill against Turkish guns said, “Stout fellows these Englishmen, they always run for the thickest part of the fence.”

Added to which, Bush’s war toys don’t work?  They do if they’re just designed to fill the pockets of his war-profiteering cronies; that’s what they accomplish.

I was glad to see that Rep. Jones is leading a bipartisan effort to press President Bush to create an exit strategy and timetable for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.  Being an occupying force with no end in sight only fuels insurgency there.

I ask you to join the thirty other members of Congress already cosponsoring the resolution, and to support it by voting for it.  Thank you for your consideration.

IRAQ DEBATE:

Personal historical view – February 14, 2007; 3-1-08 rev.

Colin Powell said, “Don’t get into war unless it’s absolutely necessary, and when we do, go to win, no half measures,” but it doesn’t apply very much in real life.

As a Vietnam veteran, I know Johnson‘s phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident fished us into war (I was drafted).  He bought into the radical right’s communist containment scare.  The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars wrote:

“In part, the process of deception has also been unintentional.  Much of the rhetoric and many of the actions that have accompanied our… involvement have been ad hoc responses to situations of stress: a cumulative series of reflex moves and lunges produced by deepening executive anxiety, defensiveness, alarm, desperation, and even a sensed state of siege.  Similarly in rhetoric, our ‘national honor,’ ‘[enemies] with nuclear weapons,’ and the goal of ‘peace with honor’ – all have misled the public.  At the root of executive deception is a vast amount of executive self-deception – or, .to put it bluntly, stupidity.”

America blithely ignores offers of friendship and makes enemies as fast as we can throw the first sucker punch.  This is not military sense; it’s a bad case of ideology and invention over reason and fact.  But, Americans don’t run out when the fight’s tough – see: Khe San.  We stood nearly twenty years (dating from Eisenhower putting the first American boots on the ground in the Fifties when the French got tossed out) while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the Bush leadership miasma.

We are now fighting a war for the health and life of the republic. Look at how the radical right Republicans and Tea Party and War Democrats have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor. The self-destructive insanity of the radical right way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.

These are politically motivated wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s current pursuit of it.  End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys.

We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

COST OF DOING WAR WITH YOU: – 3/21/08

Ltr to Rep Blumenauer; Recession and the War

The recession will force states to cut back their budgets.  Most likely, the cuts are going to affect the services that working families need to survive.

The Iraq war costs Americans more than $338 million a day.  We borrow $343 million every day to finance it.  Gas prices are close to double what they were before the war.  Oil hovers around $100 barrel [sic].

That money could help people who are hurting.  For less than we spend on the war, we could pay for affordable housing, healthcare, or education scholarships for hundreds of thousands.

Our skyrocketing debt is a growing drag on the economy, slowing recovery and robbing generations of a secure future.  Iraq sucks up the resources we need to make our economy work again.  MoveOn writes, “The tradeoffs are stark: bombs or unemployment insurance, billions for Halliburton and Blackwater, or help for people on the verge of losing their homes because of the sub prime meltdown?”

Economic forecasts will be grim as long as we continue to dump billions into a reckless war that has no end in sight.  The excessive and increasing degradation of our domestic economy is an attack on the nation.  Thank you for continuing to oppose this excessive, costly and ultimately criminal war.

LAST WORDS:

A secret reformation helped to create the United States of America; it eradicated many of the weeds of prejudice; a spirit of freedom and moderation was diffused.  The liberty of conscience was declared a common benefit, an inalienable right; the free government introduced the practice of toleration; and the narrow allowance of the laws was enlarged by the prudence and humanity of the times.  In the exercise, the mind understood the limits of its powers, and the words and shadows that might amuse the child can no longer satisfy adult reason. – Paraphrase – Gibbon, p1937.

Maybe human civilization has progressed; it depends upon what you’re measuring.  Human progress and perfectibility are two man-made ideals without much moral evidence to support them.

“One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name.” – Travis at the Alamo quoting Thomas Osbert Mordaunt, Verses Written During  the War, 1756-63.

“Sin sangre, y sin lagrimas, hay no es gloria.” – Santa Ana (“without blood, and without tears, there is no glory”).

“The urgent consideration of the public safety may undoubtedly authorize the violation of every positive law.  How far that or any other consideration may operate to dissolve the natural obligations of humanity and justice is terrible to contemplate.” – Gibbon, p830.

Politician 1:  “Why do politicians treat everyone else like idiots?”  Politician 2:  “Probably, because they voted for us in the first place.”  — Poirot, “The Incredible Theft,” BBC, David Suchet.

INTERESTING LINKS:
An American Hell: Don’t Turn the Page on History.  Facing the American world We Created, by Tom Engelhardt, www.TomDispatch.com. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/24

San Francisco Dems Tell Pelosi to Support McGovern ‘Afghan Exit’ Bill, by Tom Gallager, www.commondreams.orghttp://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/24-3

Can America Prevail on Afghanistan/Pakistan Front? No! It’s Obama’s war now, and a Vietnam-like quagmire is dead ahead.  by Helen Thomas, www.Minneapolis/St.PaulStarTribune  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/23-13

Blackwater Seeks Gag Order, by Jeremy Scahill.  www.thenation  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/23-2

Biden: Afghan War is ‘Worth the Effort’.  www.bbcnews  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/23-0

RADICAL and NOT RIGHT:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/23-2  Christian Right Aims to Change History Lessons in Texas Schools.  State’s education board to consider adding Christianity’s role in American history to curriculum [and dump all reference to labor unions among other exclusions; the larger issue is that Texas textbook decisions affect every state in the union; textbook monopoly ONLY consults Texas education board!], by Chris McGreal in Washington, The Guardian/UK
End of the World!
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NOTHING HOLY in HOLY LAND

June 9, 2010

Last Sun

Living By the Sword

Helen Thomas

Amidst all the outrage about veteran journalist Helen Thomas intemperately saying what so many on the left, including many Jews, feel but more politely say – “The Jews should get the hell out of Palestine” – some are defending her for what she likely meant, adding meaningful context to the trap of sound bites. Three activist Jews speak out here, and Al Jazeera offers thoughtful analysis here on the sea change in public opinion that Thomas represents.

–Abby Zimet
Discuss…http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/09-1

NOTHING IS HOLY IN THE “HOLY” LAND:

Any claim to “holiness” in ownership of the “Holy” Land, by any constituent of any side, is preposterous.  People of every persuasion have been killing each other over this crap hunk of real estate for thousands of years, to no apparent resolution, pretty much to malign purpose, and to the point of certifiable mental disease.

Their feuds are mindlessly generational, and they routinely dishonor their prophets and messiahsPeace is an illusion, reason is a poor orphan; “right” is confused with “rite;” and “hope” is just a word.

The people of the “Holy” Land are primarily useful to International Capitalists as trade route and pipeline handlers – since ancient times.  Their demographic division is a matter of greed supported by superstition.  Their migratory waves have pushed each other back and forth from Baghdad to Cairo for six thousand years.  Don’t let ‘em kid you, the protagonists have been a blood thirsty bunch for a mighty long time – no foolin’.  The “Holy” Land has always been incredibly harsh and savage; and its peoples have never been any different.  This is a piece of earth that people kill and die over repeatedly.

In practice, “god” – whatever Her, His, or Its name is – is a “get out of jail free” card for murder, and a justification for crimes against humanity and the planet.  Most cultures condone and/or pardon violence done to the “Alien Other.”  Fathers teach sons, who teach sons, who teach sons how to hate.  In that sense, the peoples of the “Holy” Land are not unique – just amazingly obsessive about that little crap hunk of real estate.

Who’d be so damned stupid as to stick his big old idiot foot into that “holy muck?”  Perhaps, a megalomaniac, a psychopathsectarian nut, or an oilman.  In the “holy” land, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed sang about morality, peace and love in mind-numbing chorus.  In the Sixties, the Beatles sang, “Give peace a chance.”  In the Seventies, John Lennon added, “All you need is love.”  Of course, nobody listened to any of those do-gooders, and we now sing, “Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the Big Fool says to Push On!”

It’s very hard to believe that any respectable or self-respecting god might have any interest and/or want to claim any responsibility for the disastrous generational holocaust in the so-called “Holy” Land.  Self-deception is, indeed, the fundamental core value of the human race.  It enables us to do so many terrible ungodly things that a conscience and compassion might prevent.

“The Israel of the Bible was established altogether by the sword,” Thomas Paine American founding father wrote, “and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.”  What are they doing differently today?

Related article:  MY STORY BEGINS  Religion is Bunk.

What George W. Bush and Ramses the Great Have in Common.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  Therefore, fifty percent of the monuments in the Nile Valley are his!  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt with his tail between his legs (or maybe it was just his kilt).  He nearly got himself killed at Kadesh and almost lost the whole Egyptian army due to his egotistical rash decisions and actions as an inexperienced military leader (he was the Decider), but he declared near defeat as victory, and covered up the fact that he almost lost the farm – not just for himself, but for the entire kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

Related article:  ALICE and YUYA  Moses the Egyptian.

WAR and RUMORS of WAR

Not since Watergate and Nixon has so much been said about the bald lies and active criminality of our rulers.  There’s no hero or other path to save us.  We were already in a twilight phase of our greatness when befuddled Ronald Reagan declared “morning in America.”  Twenty years later, the “boy emperor” George W. Bush, took us fully into the Dark Ages, pursuing shortsighted goals accelerating our decline.  We see signs of the West after Rome’s fall: religion triumphant over reason; education and critical thinking decayed; religion, state, and the apparatus of torture integrated – the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment; and our culture politically and economically marginalized.  It’s a process no society can undergo and still remain free.  Yet the capitalists, Republicans, and neoconservative fundamentalist Christian American population are aggressively proud of it.

Bush believed he was on a mission from god, and faith trumps fact.  Yet, if a nation can’t see reality correctly and persists in acting upon faith-based delusions, its ability to hold its own in the world is pretty much foreclosed.  We survey a cultural death valley: secondary schools with teachers afraid to teach evolution to un-evolved students; pervasive hostility toward science from benighted legislators; religion used to explain terror as a cosmic conflict between good and evil rather than in terms of political process.  In a New York Times poll, 59% of Americans believe that the faithful will be taken up into heaven in the ‘Rapture’ (perhaps, in blue jackets and tennis shoes?  I propose straitjackets).

Fundamentalism and democracy are foes.  The opposite of Enlightenment is tribalism, groupthink, and blind obedience.  Detention without trial, denial of attorneys, years of interrogation in isolation are now standard American practice, and many Americans don’t care.  The Bush administration discussed canceling the 2004 presidential election citing possible terrorist attack!  Since it wasn’t done, it was obviously safer and easier (for them) to rig electronic voting (see John Conyers’ D-Ohio report).  In the 2003 University of Connecticut “State of the First Amendment Survey,” 34% of Americans said the amendment went “too far;” 46% thought there was too much press freedom; 28% felt newspapers shouldn’t publish without government approval; 31% wanted public protest of war outlawed during war; and 50% thought government should infringe the freedom of “certain religious groups” in the name of the war on terror.

Advertisers and politicians assure us we’re the richest, most envied people on earth and that’s why rag-tag bombers want to blow us up.  We’re not actually people in the eyes of national ownership; we’re unreliable consumers comprising an overworked, underpaid work force not in the best of health (we’re 37th behind Saudi Arabia, the former Texas Whitehouse’s Best Friend).  Despite Halliburton’s boom profits, Bush’s wars of aggression made us broke.  We borrow $4 billion per day to keep afloat.  Who finally pays this massive debt?

How eager we are to be slaves.  Bush said he was a “wartime president,” but there’s no war, despite all his murder and destruction, “terror” is an abstract noun like “liar”.  Bush’s illegal unilateral ravaging of Iraq isn’t moral or legal because he appeared to be elected twice.  He’s done things we’d impeach him for under the old republic, but corrupt Republicans at all levels of government, including the judiciary, protect him by not doing their duty to impeach him, let’s say, for his incompetence in Louisiana.  “Nice job, Brownie,” my ass.

Our founders thought two-year terms for congress was as much democracy as we’d need, so they didn’t provide recall legislation in the event a president wasn’t up to the job and lost the people’s confidence between elections.  Thus, since “all things come to pass,” as Ecclesiastes has it, we had to wait until most of our citizens were hurt before he left office to go hide in his second Eden in Crawford.  We’re paying interest on his awful debts, and the troops not killed or maimed have to settle for just being alive and in one piece.  Or, would, if Obama wasn’t now abusing them.

Related article:  WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS  Waging War from a Burning House.

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

“Inflammatory oratory and a radical catchall program, important as they were for a fledgling party out to attract attention and recruit mass support, were not enough, and Hitler turned his attention to providing more…  What the masses needed, he thought, were not only ideas – a few simple ideas, that is, that he could ceaselessly hammer through their skulls – but symbols that would win their faith, pageantry and color that would arouse them, and acts of violence and terror, which if successful, would attract adherents (were not most Germans drawn to the strong?) and give them a sense of power over the weak.

“In Vienna, …he was intrigued by what he called the ‘infamous spiritual and physical terror’ which he thought was employed by the Social Democrats against their opponents.  Now he turned it to good purpose in his own anti-Socialist party,  …Hitler organized a bunch of roughneck war veterans into ‘strong-arm’ squads…These uniformed rowdies… soon took to breaking up [meetings] of other parties.  Hitler boasted to police, ‘We got what we wanted.  Ballerstedt did not speak.’  As Hitler told an audience some months before, ‘The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen.’”

– William L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Related article:  REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

Last Words:

“I have no friends in the diamond trade.”  – bumpersticker.

Buddha Swirl

BUDDHA at JLegry’s Gallery

AVAAZ – “VOICES”

July 16, 2009

This is a very interesting group.  They’re doing a lot of good and significant things for the right reasons, using positive methods. 

ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva.

Dear friends,

Here’s a quick report back on recent campaigning at Avaaz. Our community has grown like wildfire and is becoming really extraordinary — the pace and impact of our advocacy is intense. In just the last 8 weeks, we’ve run 9 major national and global campaigns on issues ranging from climate change to Iran to Guantanamo. Much more remains to be done on all these issues — but together we’re contributing in powerful ways. Here are some highlights from the last 8 weeks:

Brazilian rainforest – Brazilian Avaaz members made 14000 phone calls and sent 30,000 online messages to President Lula’s office in two days(!) and in the 11th hour successfully reversed a law that would hand over much of the Amazon rainforest to agrobusiness for exploitation – this was a major victory on climate change since the Amazon consumes enormous amounts of the greenhouse gasses that are warming the earth.

G8 Summit – last week 130,000 Avaaz members signed a petition in 48 hours calling for the G8 industrial countries to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius – focusing on shaming 3 countries who were blocking progress. The petition was delivered at the summit to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (see image at right), along with giant personalized postcards.

Outside the summit, Avaaz members stripped down to green underwear in a humorous theatrical delivery of the campaign’s message that generated substantial media coverage (pictured at right). As Avaaz and partners built pressure in Italy and around the world, the blocking countries relented, and the G8 leaders agreed to the 2 degree goal! However, they failed to agree on specific actions to make the goal a reality — our challenge now is to make sure leaders live up to their rhetorical commitments with a binding global treaty at the UN summit in Copenhagen this December.

Iran Protests – our community rapidly responded to the election crisis in Iran with an opinion poll to gauge the views of ordinary Iranians, a petition to world leaders to withhold recognition of the new President until the crackdown on protests ceased, and a fundraiser to support technology that would allow Iranians to freely access the internet. The rapidly deteriorating security situation has made it difficult to conduct the poll (final word on that coming this week), but the technology fundraiser has raised over a hundred thousand dollars to support the best tools for Iranians to access the internet and communicate freely. The situation in Iran remains uncertain, and we will continue to both support freedom of expression and oppose those who would exploit this crisis to justify military action against Iran.

Japan climate targets – In Japan, we raised the alarm as the Prime Minister Taro Aso was about to choose a damagingly weak climate targets. Funded by small online donations, Avaaz ran a national opinion poll that showed that 63% of Japanese people wanted strong targets, publicized it in the press, in a full page ad in the country’s largest business newspaper, and one in the Aso’s favourite comic book (see right). Internationally, Avaaz ran a front page ad in the Financial Times, and Avaaz members demonstrated and met with Japanese climate negotiators at summits in Paris and Bonn.

At last, the Prime Minister announced a target stronger than polluting industries had urged — but far from strong enough to stop catastrophic climate change. So we redoubled the pressure with a widely-covered international press conference dubbing the Japanese leader “George W. Aso” — comparing him to Bush for holding back progress on climate change.


Free Burma’s political prisoners
– Over 400,000 of us signed a major petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon asking him to make the release of Nobel prize winning political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners his top priority. The petition was delivered in an extended meeting with Moon’s office and in a press conference at the UN in New York. The UN chief issued a strong statement backing the release of Suu Kyi and traveled to Burma to attempt to meet with her, but was rebuffed by Burma’s military junta. International pressure did cause the junta to delay a new show trial to extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison sentence, but it will take much more pressure to secure her release.

United States and Torture – A global fundraiser and petition on stopping torture and closing Guantanamo prison allowed Avaaz to secure a giant, 9 story billboard just blocks from the White House in the heart of Washington DC to deliver our message — but at the last minute the company selling the ad space refused, despite members of the US congress offering to help unveil the billboard in a press conference. Avaaz has now secured an alternative option for delivering our edgy message that will have Washington DC buzzing with our call for justice.

UN Climate Summit – At a major summit on climate change in Bonn, Avaaz recruited among members in Germany to help our partners organize a massive 500 person aerial photo spelling out ‘Yes You Can’ as a message to leaders discussing climate targets (see right). It helped raise the profile and urgency of these faltering but urgent talks. Avaaz also sent a 16-person lobbying/activist team to the summit negotiations and members in 10 key countries joined “negotiator tracking teams” that are following and responding to urgent needs to press individual country negotiators at these summits.

Peru – Avaaz arranged with local indigenous and top political allies to deliver a global petition against new laws that would cause massive devastation to the Peruvian rainforest and its people, taking out an ad in the national newspaper (at right). The ad and campaign generated much attention, and the domestic and international pressure worked, for now — the Peruvian congress has revoked the controversial laws!

Israel – As Prime Minister Netanyahu prepared to make a speech responding to Obama’s historic Cairo address and demand that Israel stop illegal settlements of Palestinian land, Avaaz took out a front page ad in a major newspaper – Haaretz – delivering a joint petition from global and Israeli Avaaz members edgily asking Netanyahu to ‘be more like Obama’ and stop the settlements. Netanyahu has so far refused, but we’re helping to build an unprecedented wave of Israeli and global pressure and attention on this issue.

The petitions, fundraisers, rallies, and lobbying campaigns our community is doing are having an incredible impact. Avaaz has grown by 50,000 people a week and is now almost 3.6 million engaged citizens in every country of the world — and we’re truly global – operating in 14 languages our community has 25,000 members in Singapore, 35,000 in South Africa, 130,000 in Italy, 50,000 in Mexico… There hasn’t really been a community like ours before, able to rapidly and effectively mobilize people power all over the world to the greatest needs and concerns of all human beings — it’s a reason for hope.

It’s also an exciting journey — looking forward to taking on the next 8 weeks, and 8 months, and 8 years together!

With hope,
Ricken, Alice, Pascal, Ben, Veronique, Paul, Graziela, Brett, Raluca, Luis, Raj, Milena, Paula, Iain, Taren, Margaret and the whole Avaaz team.

PS – To see some of the highlights of Avaaz campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and leave a comment, click here:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2/

And to check out other recent Avaaz campaigning highlights like our climate victory in Germany, our messages to Obama wall in DC, the delivery of our Swine Flu petition to the WHO, our Green Recovery march at G20 Summit in London, or our support to Tibetan organizations to break the blackout on their communications — visit the Avaaz blog: http://www.avaaz.org/blog/en/.

Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!