Lowkey – Terrorist?

I’m pretty sure Lowkey would be OK with me sharing this:

There is No Bad Experience for a Writer: The Reality of the Times

I must credit the title of this short essay to a friend of mine whose health I am currently deeply concerned about. In fact, he is a man who is not unlike a mentor to me. I should also explain clearly that he cannot be accused of implanting any of the thoughts beyond the title in my grey matter. This is me just grabbing a ball that was thrown my way and running with it; or perhaps it is more akin to sauntering vaguely Westward like an owl with a broken wing and a dead mouse in one claw. Perhaps I should be skipping happily Eastward instead, merely being happy to be alive. But that could be explored in the future, assuming my mortal coil and the remains of the dead rodent I bear retain enough nutrients and calories to repair my broken wing. Yeah, the wing will likely heal.

As you may have guessed by now, the meat of the subject at hand is politics, economics, life, death, pain, suffering, and finally hope. It is surely the job of a gifted wordsmith to describe their understanding of their perceptions of the times as well as they are able for the posterity of history and progression of human thought and action; or at the very least to assess the current health of society at large. Unfortunately, I could not find a gifted wordsmith, so I feel compelled to write this rather trivial piece of literature myself instead.

We are currently living in an illusory global financial emergency and an actual, yet not fully acknowledged global environmental melt-down. Even first world countries are currently being cannibalized by regional and world powers through finance or war. There is general material instability among the vast majority of the world’s populace and total lawlessness in some places; Somalia is a good example of this. Then there is also the ever-present vexation of actual starvation for far too many.

Probably more importantly, there is a proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons; which may actually make our species susceptible to near catastrophic global annihilation. The threat of nearly global nuclear destruction has surely been perceived to be more likely in the past. Yet this threat remains, and has become a part of everyday life that is nearly a joke for the simple reason that there is nothing anyone thinks they can do about it. A wise man once said to me: “Sometimes [Impartial Juror], you’ve got the choice of either laughing or crying.” He always laughed after repeating this anti-platitude. So perhaps it is healthy that we can laugh about it; but it doesn’t mean we should merely brush off the danger as if it doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, I will always be grateful for this wisdom that was passed on to me, and laughing.

Americans live in a society where a nearly half of the population simply lives from one paycheck to another, and a third are near bankrupt. Under such circumstances there is surely going to be some inordinately common and serious social turmoil in essentially all of our lives. Only the most well-to-do are able to avert such serious situations as possible evictions, divorces, addictions, physical illness, mental illness, or even actual starvation.

It is during these times of turmoil that many of our elected officials find the audacity, excuses, and audience that will support their policies of regressive tax policies and cuts in social welfare programs despite the clear evidence that such policies are actually counterproductive. How do they do it? The short answer is that they divide and conquer through manipulation using fear and intimidation. The long answer is a different article entirely.

Should it be any surprise that it seems like everyone knows somebody who is absolutely in complete crisis? Somebody  who has had or is having part if not all of their world shaken so violently that the magma at the center of their planet is in danger of exploding out of the globe and destroying an overwhelming amount of their health, security, and happiness? And who is benefiting from all this misery? Is the answer not most assuredly that the global elite are the only ones profiting from this suffering?

With that in mind, I admit that I too am a part of this shared, sustained, national trauma.  It has become an accepted part of life in our society that, not out of callousness, but out of sheer necessity, nearly everyone is jumping from crisis to crisis trying to manage situations that are often inevitably unmanageable, forcing us to leave some behind.

This sort of lifestyle takes a toll on people. The effects have become evident in every community in this nation. We must bring this to an end. We have to make this rock bottom and rise again. If we don’t take action soon, I fear we will not have the resources or freedom to act at all. In fact, we need to take action yesterday ladies and gentlemen. I have some ideas, and they will be forthcoming in future posts.

All that said, I must admit that it’s good to have something to write about. There is no bad experience for a writer, just material. I think my pal is right about that. Though I wish the material at hand was more positive.

So, let’s inject some positivity into this post in the form of a song about a woman, a single brave woman who made a difference. Let us not forget that we all can. Furthermore, alone we can make waves, and together we can move oceans.

This woman had the determination we have lacked, the passion we should be adhering to, and the kind of courage we need, Mary Harris Jones, Mother Jones. Her story always gives me strength and resolve, and Ani Difranco has paired up with Utah Phillips to write an inspiring song about her. It encourages me and gives me a sense of hope for humanity whenever I listen to it. It reminds me that if she alone could make so much of a difference, together, we can make all the difference in the world. So, without further ado, let’s listen to a song about the most dangerous woman in the world! May Day is coming!

Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault Debate on ‘Human Nature and the Ideal Society’ (with English subtitles)

This debate is required viewing for anyone who appreciates the work of either of these two great minds.  It takes place in 1971 as the war in Vietnam rages on.  They discuss their respective specialties, human nature, the direction of society, society’s institutions, class warfare, capitalism, Marxism, anarcho-syndicalism, and much more.

This article from Roar Magazine (which claims a share of the credit for translation) about the debate adds some interesting background information and contains a full transcript of the discussion.

There is also another complete version that doesn’t appear to omit anything except the additional commentary; though most would probably benefit from the clarifications of the commentator included in the first video.

Patriotism

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“Every national border in Europe,” El Eswad added ironically, “marks the place where two gangs of bandits got too exhausted to kill each other anymore and signed a treaty. Patriotism is the delusion that one of these gangs of bandits is better than all the others.”
-Robert Anton Wilson

Bernie Sanders takes corporate tax rates, “revenue neutral tax reform,” Republicans, Democrats, and President Obama on.

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Bernie stands up for the people.

I know some of you liberals are probably disappointed in me

I recognize that many would think that if I was truly a bleeding heart liberal I would be more supportive of our President and Democratic congressmen (and women!).

Sadly, if you haven’t noticed, President Barack Obama and his herd are just the other side of the coin called the corporate party.  Of course, I had no love for President George W. Bush or his herd either.  Hell, I actually voted for Obama the first time, but as Dubya so eloquently put it “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me.. can’t get fooled again.”

My problems with our liberal leadership are many and varied.  A true liberal doesn’t allow tanks to roll through the streets inside of their own country.  A true liberal doesn’t offer to cut Social Security as an opening move in budget negotiations (what would the equivalent be in chess – perhaps playing without any pawns).  A true liberal doesn’t allow torture.  A true liberal doesn’t circumvent due process and the rule of law to catch the bad guys.  A true liberal doesn’t give up the liberty of his people, no matter what the cost, ever.

If the citizens that considered themselves Democrats or Republicans had any spine they would stand up for what they supposedly believe in, protest, make their representatives act on their beliefs, and never vote for either party again.  Instead it is apparent that the majority of people who consider themselves either a Democrat or a Republican merely support “their man” without question (let’s take that literally too – we have never had a woman president – Pakistan has).

I wish members of both political parties could have the courage to admit that both of “their guys” screwed up our economy, infringed upon our civil liberties, violated the Geneva Conventions, and engaged in thinly veiled resource wars in the name of “democracy” and “terrorism.”  Of course, that would mean admitting that we were wrong when we supported one side or the other.  It would mean admitting that all those arguments we had with people of the other party were really just us being the unwitting patsies of the plutocracy.  It would mean that we would have to actually do something other than repeat the canned phrases that we hear on MSNBC and FOX news.  It would mean we would have to admit that the two-party system is fatally flawed.  I can see why most Americans can’t bear to do that.  It takes some real courage to admit when you have been wrong and it has hurt just about everyone you know.

I will admit it to you now.  I was wrong for at least 80% of my life.  I thought the Democrats had my back.  They didn’t.  Anybody else?

I may sound radical but let’s think about our current situation critically.  Tanks are rolling around in our streets and DEMOCRATS are JUST FINE with it.  If that doesn’t qualify the United States as a military state and an authoritarian regime I don’t know what does.  Can you imagine what Democrats would be saying if George W. Bush had allowed tanks to roll around in our streets?  This is what is called a cult of personality, you know, like the Dear Leader in North Korea has.  Patriotism is all well and good but this rally around the flag mentality has gotten completely out of hand.  Stop being motivated by fear.  Start standing up for your rights and the rights of others.  The men and women in uniform that have died for us over the last 237 years deserve that we honor them by at least not being utterly ignorant and craven cowards.

It is with these things in mind that I have decided to refer to our current President as “Dear Leader” in honor of his cult of personality and his authoritarian regime.  I will also pray to our Dear Leader, never take his name in vain, and when Passover comes I will put the blood of a member of the opposing party (whichever party that is at the time) above my door to make sure that “my guy” knows I’m with him so he doesn’t kill my firstborn son.  That said, to use our Dear Leader’s favorite cliché, “Make no mistake,” I am as disappointed in the American people as I am with our leadership.  Now, get back to the herd and go back to sheep.. er.. I mean sleep.

My fellow Americans: we live in an authoritarian regime and effectively have no rights any longer.

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This is what you call an unlawful search according to the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution which “applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (quote from the Wikipedia page).  To my fellow Americans and the citizens of the world.  Recognize this and do what you can.  I do not endorse acts of terrorism or killing.  I am a pacifist and I fear for the lives of my countrymen.  I love everyone.  I must be careful what I say and do or become a target of the state as well.  We all must.  Where can America’s drones not reach?  Does anybody really know?

Read the comments in the original youtube video for further information.  I hope to be here tomorrow to keep writing.  If I am not here tomorrow you will know why.  Should that occur I encourage people to figure out who I actually am as I have carefully hidden myself from only the most casual search for my actual identity.  Perhaps I am being paranoid.  I hope that is the case.

The emails between Guantanamo Bay prisoners and their defense lawyers have been “lost” and their meeting rooms have been wiretapped

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15 more of the 166 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have been held since 2002, mostly without any charge due to a lack of any substantive evidence, have joined the hunger strike that has been going on since February of this year.  It is not enough that these prisoners’ human rights have been violated by being tortured against the statutes of the Geneva Conventions.  It is not enough that the Obama Administration has not managed to close down Guantanamo Bay prison facility, as has been repeatedly promised, and as lefties maintain President Obama has every intention of doing.  We now have evidence of new violations of American law.

I dispute the idea that the Obama Administration ever really intended to close down the facility.  It was just another empty campaign promise.  My assertion is supported by the fact that it is well known that congress does not have the political will to close down the facility. This is further reinforced by the news of bugs found in the rooms where attorneys meet with their clients, emails and data that have been “lost” on government servers, and emails and data that have been removed from private servers, clearly by government hackers.  Really, who else has the resources to find out where all these private servers are and has the means and motive to do it?  This is all far to convenient to be an accident.  Cenk Unger of TYT explains the most recent injustices quite well.

US Isn’t Going to Sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty and I Can’t Imagine Why

Selling Tanks!  Photo credit:  Ben Job/REUTERS

Selling Tanks! Photo credit: Ben Job/REUTERS

The U.S. will join the likes of North Korea, Iran, and Syria by not ratifying the new arms trade treaty passed at the UN General Assembly.  President Obama committed to signing it, but it is an empty promise because the US Senate will not ratify it and he knows it. The Republicans won’t allow it.  That makes it safe for him to say the opposite of what he knows ‘we need to allow’ and keep his base happy (go team Repulicrat/Demican).  You know the military-industrial complex would be not be happy if America actually stopped being the world’s largest arms supplier.  That said, does anyone actually think less arms are going to be traded after this treaty?  Who will regulate the arms trade?  Oh that’s right, nobody – the UN has no enforcement ability.

An interesting side-note: China has now replaced Britain as the world’s 5th largest arms supplier.

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

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This is a broad reaching 3 part BBC documentary about inequality, class, privilege, game theory, human nature, freedom, democracy, authoritarianism, and terrorism, in Britain and the United States.  The documentary examines economic theories, the psychiatric community, the financial industry, the revolution of statistical analysis as a means of increasing efficiency, and even capitalism itself.  I can’t tell you how much this documentary made me think.  No matter which lens you look through our world at, you’ll have a greater understanding of our societies after watching this.  It’s well worth the time.

NSFW (a few f words)

A run on the Federal Reserve.

Some countries and even Texas appear to be loosing faith in the 1/10 fractional fiat currency regime.  They are taking their gold out of the Federal Reserve.  I don’t think this bodes well for the United States.

Comparing the Elite to a Mafia Boss

To illustrate the power the economic thugs in control wield over us I’ve written (perhaps traced) a comparison of the power dynamics in the leadership of a fictional "Tony Soprano"mafia boss (Tony Soprano) in his community with the leadership of the elite, the bankers (banksters), the capitalists, and/or the old rich in the international community.

I used this page as my template.  You may want to read it first or after.  It is a description of the role of a “Crime Boss” in the TV show “The Sopranos” on the sopranos.wikia.com page.  My changes are in bold.

The Elite Capitalists

The elite capitalists are at the top position in the pyramidal organization of the central banks, world corporations, states, and citizens. They are occasionally referred to as the elite, the bourgeoisie, the old rich, or the elite families. The elite capitalists have the job of keeping their banks and corporations running at maximum profitability for the elite. The extremely complex duties of elite capitalists include influencing elections within states, settling disputes by rigging elections and buying off or pressuring politicians, dealing with outside interests (adding unsubdued states into the their financial free trade, privatization, foreign ownership, and banking paradigm), initiating new business ventures (increasing elite wealth via bank, state, and corporate wealth mechanisms such as the recent reckless banking behaviors resulting in bailouts from citizens of various states, which socialized debt onto citizens), and developing schemes via the media to avoid interference from the public. It is also the elite capitalists’ job to sanction executions of regressive tax systems and other wealth generating mechanisms at the cost of the citizens of aligned states and perform hits on other unaligned states (killing anyone anti-regime after denouncing them as terrorists or dominating unaligned states diplomatically, economically, or militarily). For their troubles, the elite are rewarded with a percentage of the earnings of every state and company under them. To quote Tony Soprano, “Money flows uphill, shit flows downhill.”

Maintaining a banking neocolonialism can be tricky: the submission of states and citizens is ideally maintained through propaganda and economic warfare between the lower and middle classes among the competing states, even through war if necessary, by using the state(s) with the most powerThe elite always include a sponsor state (empire).  The United States moved into the top position when the old empire (The United Kingdom) retired (lost hegemony).

Ideal situations, are frequent and there is almost always an amount of disharmony allowing the elite to continue making money following the manufactured or natural disasters in a state or of a corporation. In the case of the current ruling elite families’, Great Britain lost its hegemony and shortly arrangements were set in stone for a succession (the United States), resulting in a 45 year struggle for power between the United States and the USSR (very profitable). The rest of the states assumed the roles of pawns as the elite made/make money through wars, labor cost imbalances, and resource (actual value) extraction.  In the end the elite support the United Sates in its hegemony, albeit mostly to provide them with a “lightning rod” to take the major hits from the people while states and corporations make most of the day-to-day business decisions. The plan has worked brilliantly, as the United States has become a thriving plutocracy and military state (to say the least) allowing the elite to continue to run things as they see fit even if the citizens United States do not benefit.

Let the banks die. “Cyprus Head Tries to Rally Support” (WSG)

More fear-mongering from the wall-street journal:
“Cyprus is in a very difficult position right now, both the government and the financial sector,” said John Dimakis, at STR, a political consultancy in Athens. “I can’t even imagine the consequences if parliament doesn’t back the bailout.”

The politicians want a bailout of the banks.  Big surprise.  From 6-10 % of the money each person (foreigners too) holds in any bank in Cyprus will be taxed to prevent their banks from going insolvent.  Furthermore, they are considering deals with the IMF in the near term.  Great, more debt and more austerity measures for the people and the bankers get away scott free or with golden parachutes.

I recommend courses similar to those taken by Iceland and Argentina.  They are doing significantly better than most (if not all) of the countries that accepted IMF loans, World Bank loans, forced privatization, free trade requirements, and austerity measures that came with the loans.  Heck, maybe Cyprus could start a new national banking system that is based on a 1 to 5 ratio of fiat currency instead of a 1 to 10 ratio.  Nah, we don’t want to introduce any added stability to the “business cycle.”  The boom and bust (and the size thereof) are what makes the real money, not for the people, but for the elite; and we all know who really matters here.

Good luck to the resistors.

Immortal Technique – The Martyr – Not Safe For Work

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This is Immortal Technique’s latest album.  He sells his own CD’s so he can have full creative control.  He uses this freedom to say things that the establishment would rather you not hear.  This album is also free.  The man really wants to open minds and affect positive change.
“You can only get ’em off your back when you stand up!” -Immortal Technique

Noam Chomsky: “The Emerging World Order: its roots, our legacy”

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Noam explains how the global elite, the “Plutonomy,” (modern world plutocrats) have taken advantage of the “Precariot,” (those precariously employed) by taking control of financial sectors in the US and Europe that eat out the modern market economy from the inside out, just as the larvae of a spider-wasp eats out its host.

Something is wrong with our country when it fights for our “freedom” and the “freedom” of others by continually restricting the freedom of its own citizens and bombing citizens of other countries.

In Saner Thought

 The Drones

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What have liberals done for us, where are they now, and who is speaking for them?

I ran across this clip from “The West Wing” the other day.  It really made me think (and convinced me that I have to watch this show).  How could it be stated more succinctly?  This is what liberals have done for us:

This make me wonder: where are the liberals now?  Why aren’t they stopping the constant attacks on our social safety net?  Ostensibly they are in the Democratic Party; but the Democratic Party is not the liberal party anymore.  There is no party for the liberals.  Don’t feed me that bull about the Libertarian Party being the party of liberals either.  Most Libertarians would like nothing more than to completely remove the social safety net in lieu of what can only be called social Darwinism.  If anything the Libertarian Party is the party of yes small government and austerity (you know what the Republicans claim to be).  But I digress, there is no place for liberals in any political party today.  There is just a huge ugly mess to clean up after the two ‘parties’ just trashed the house; and there are no parents to come back and scold them for the damage they have done.  Well, not unless the American people can start acting like responsible parents instead of spoiled selfish brats.

Why can’t you call the Democratic Party liberal?  Often the reason is subtle, like their perceived inability to act.  The main problem though is that you can’t call the Democratic Party liberal just simply because it opposes a slightly more conservative party.  We need to face the fact that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved steadily to the right for the last twenty to thirty years.  Sadly, liberals, by in large, have not noticed that the Democrats no longer represent their interests; instead they represent banks, lawyers, and the corporatocracy, not in word, but in deed.

Let me illustrate how far to the right the Democratic Party has slid by reviewing some of what the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party have done or allowed to be done since President Obama took Office:

I could go on but you get the point.

So who is speaking for the liberals now?  With the exception of Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison I honestly have no idea.  We lost Denis Kucinich.  We lost Barnie Frank.  We lost Anthony Weiner .  Who else is left (pun intended)?

We could try for a new liberal political party.  One problem with this approach is that the Supreme Court has sanctioned the two-party system by allowing laws in various states that make third parties more difficult to form (I will address this in the future).  Another problem is splitting the ‘liberal vote’ which could mean a series of Republican wins and majorities for a long time to come.

So I guess it’s up to us guys.  We have to protest.  We have to push our politicians to represent our interests.  We have to make calls and write letters to our congressmen.  We have to get the money out of politics (or legalized bribery as I like to call it).  We have to push for run-off voting.  We have to push for an end to the two-party system.  We have to elect officials that will stand up for our rights.  If they don’t represent our interests we need to promptly attempt recall elections when possible, or at least vote them out after their term is done.  I wish I had better suggestions.  I welcome your ideas.  Seriously, help.

That’s gangster

That’s gangster.
Jeff Nguyen is a whirlwind of truth artfully demolishing the lies that hold the elite in power.  Check out this article of his at the very least.

Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials

“Of course the people don’t want war.  But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.  Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

Edit:  Essentially accurate.  Some ellipses should have been included.
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.asp

Banging the War Drums Again

Douglas Murray sure seems to have an axe to grind.

In his most recent article for the Wall Street Journal he disgorged his typical rhetoric about how most if not all of the blame for the violence in the Middle East lies at the feet of Islamic terrorists such as Hamas and Hezbollah aided by the state of Iran.  I do not in any way dispute that Iran has aided and will continue to aid these groups; nor do I dispute the venomous language that is often veritably dripping from the tongues of Iranian officials in regards to the very existence of the state of Israel.  I would counter that the United States is arming and aiding the state of Israel.  I assert that Israel is terrorist regime, and one bent on the near eradication of the Palestinian people.

I dispute the way Mr. Murray tries to frame the conflict.  He is all too happy to place the blame for the continued violence between Israel and Palestine squarely upon the Palestinians and the Iranians.  He selectively uses the political buzzword of the twenty-first century, terrorism, only to refer to activities that are perpetrated by Islamic fighters.  He also, laughably I would say, attempts to pinpoint direct causality in terms of retribution for this or that specific strike by one side or the other.  The oppression of the Palestinians is constant, and thus is a constant cause for retribution.

First let’s explore the word terrorism.  Merriam Webster defines terrorism as the “systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.”  By this definition Israel and the United States are the leading terrorist countries in the world.  The U.S. and Israel drop bombs on people all the time.  They target ‘terrorists,’ ‘militants,’ ‘extremists,’ ‘radical Islamists,’ and even political leaders.  There is often collateral damage, meaning unintended civilian casualties.  These bombings are done with a political purpose in mind, destroying the morale through fear and destroying the leadership capabilities of ‘the enemy.’  The fact that Mr. Murray insists on portraying only the ‘other side’ as terrorists or employing terrorism exemplifies his bias.

Now let’s explore why Iranians are so angry with Israel.  To do so let’s review a bit of pertinent history.  This Israel-Palestinian conflict goes back to the partitioning of Palestine in 1947.  The Jewish State was carved out of the land of Palestine after the atrocities of World War II.  This was a mistake, it was immoral, and it created more 1947UNPartitionproblems than it solved.  As Mr. Ahmadinejad has asked, “why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with? The Palestinian people didn’t commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time.”  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Furthermore, what claim did the Jewish people have on that land beyond their religious claim?  This claim is substantiated only by a book that is literally taken as the word of God by most of the Western world.  israel_1949_armistace How did that claim triumph the religious claim of the Muslims and their own religious book?  Since when has religious belief legitimately determined political lines?

OK, let’s put that aside.  What happened next?  The newly created Jewish proto-state proceeded to take much of the land that was not explicitly given to them in the UN Partition by force in the Israeli War of Independence.  This war ended in 1949 with Israel occupying one third more land than was given to them in the 1947 UN Partition.  Israel annexed the northern portion of the UN Partition.  The Gaza Strip was left under the protection of Egypt, and the West Bank was left under the protection of Jordan.

Next came the 1967 war.  A war initiated ‘preemptively’ according to Israel, though there is Six_Day_War_Territories.svgno way to prove this, nor little evidence that Egyptian forces were about to attack Israel.  The Egyptians were then joined by the Syrians and the Jordanians.   In six days Israel took control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula.  Except for the Sinai peninsula the rest of this land is still being occupied by Israel.  Yet again, this was a war in which Israel was the aggressor and it took land by force. Shortly afterwards the UN issued Resolution 242 in which it stated that the acquisition of land by force is inadmissible by international law and ordered Israel to withdraw from the territories occupied in the war.  Israel eventually returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt (under a U.S. brokered deal), but has yet to withdraw from the rest of the territories it occupied in 1967 in defiance of UN resolutions and international law.

After the 1967 war the Israeli state steadily encroached upon the land they had left to the settlers_custom-fcd0dfe0bcb83adc3c546c70d891afe86b965038-s6-c10Palestinians by building settlements that crisscross the Western Bank.  This is part of a policy most eloquently described by Israel’s Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 1973 when he said: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement in between the Palestinians and another strip of Jewish settlement right across the West Bank so that in 25 years’ time neither the U.N. nor the U.S., nobody will be able to tear it apart.”  And his plan has succeeded, at least insofar as the U.S. has any influence, and it does.

So, back to the original question, why are the Iranians so irate about the Israeli-Palestinian issue?  Because of the continued injustices perpetrated by the Israeli’s against the Palestinian people.  Why is it that Iran is such a bellicose spokesman for these people?  Because they, unlike almost every other Middle Eastern country, are not under the thumb of the United States.  Iran has already been repeatedly sanctioned by the international community for its nuclear ambitions, and is finding ways to circumvent these sanctions.  So at this point they have little to lose internationally by pushing for a resolution to these continued atrocities and much to gain domestically.

Mr. Murray’s writing implies that he expects Iran to nuke Israel ASAP.  If you think about it critically though, this is not realistic.  The United States has guaranteed the security of Israel since the Kennedy Administration.  Iran is surrounded by U.S. military allies.  The U.S. has military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and a CENTCOM forward base in Qatar.  The U.S. would surely invade Iran after such an attack.  The international community would willingly line up behind Israel and the U.S. if an Iranian nuclear attack were ever to occur.  The idea that Iran could go toe to toe with the United States (and its allies) after nuking Israel is ridiculous.  Israel itself may even simply unilaterally blow Iran off the map with its own nukes.

A nuclear attack against Israel would be suicidal for the Iranian regime and the ensuing war would surely cost the Iranians at least ten lives for every one it took from Israel much less the U.S.  Admittedly, for the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to say that his job “is to set Israel on fire” is extreme (and beyond reason – since when is the primary job of any country’s leader to destroy another country?); but unless he is truly a madman, the statement still translates into little more than extremely inflammatory, even genocidal, but ultimately toothless rhetoric.

Mr. Murray’s assertion that the International Community seems unwilling to pressure Iran on its nuclear ambitions is completely contrary to the facts.  The EU and the US have both sanctioned Iran’s oil exports.  The IAEA is constantly poking into the Iranian nuclear program.  The UN sanctioned Iran in 2006 and again in 2010.  Enough said there I hope.

Let’s call Mr. Murray’s article what it is.  It’s another call to arms.  It’s another attempt to rile public sentiment against Iran for being anti-Semitic with the effect (intended or not) of giving Israel some cover to continue its policies.  Instead of trying to shame Iran, sanction them, or attack them why don’t we try something different.

Let’s (the U.S.) act as truly neutral mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Let’s (the U.S.) allow the UN security council to start sanctioning Israel for their continued land grabs, terrorist attacks, and human rights violations against the Palestinians.  The actions of Israel against the Palestinians are a corollary to the actions of the United States against the Native Americans.  Both countries actions are tantamount to genocide.  I guess when put into that framework it is understandable that the U.S. would be hesitant to recognize the Israeli occupation for what it is.  Acknowledging and acting to stop the continued oppression of the Palestinians will take away any legitimacy the Iranians have when they say the Palestinians aren’t being treated fairly.  This will hopefully erode the regime’s support both internally and abroad as it might actually have to talk about domestic issues instead of being able to focus on the legitimate concerns in Palestine and banging the war drums against Israel and the United States.

I think it is obvious that everyone would be better off without the current Iranian regime.  I don’t want to capitulate to Iranian demands.  I’m not trying to be an apologist or an appeaser.  I want to see rogue regimes that oppress people everywhere eradicated.  Both Israel and Iran are on this list.  Anyone who says otherwise is clearly biased.

Furthermore, isn’t it logical for Iran to pursue nuclear capabilities if for no other reason than defensive purposes?  The United States has executed a successful coup against the Iran in the past, has encircled the country with military bases in the present, and the publicly left open the option of a war in the future.  In fact, both Israel and the U.S. have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.  Once a country has nuclear weapons the deterrent to war against them becomes great.  That is not to say that I advocate nuclear proliferation.  What I am advocating is objectivity, reason, adherence to International Law, and human rights for all.  Is that really revolutionary?  What do you think?

The War in Mali

As of January 11th, the French are leading a campaign to liberate the people of Mali from an oppressive rebel regime in the north of the country.  The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have joined in, mostly in support roles.  The common enemy is an Islamic rebel group of ethnic Tuaregs that has been imposing Sharia law and attacking anything and anyone that offends their sensibilities (monuments, manuscripts, businesses, people, etc). The group was making progress further south until the last month when France intervened.

I do not doubt or disagree that the atrocities being perpetrated by the Islamic Tuareg rebels in the north are heinous and should be stopped.  I do wonder if this is another example of western governments capitalizing on Islamophobia and the fear of Al-Qaeda, which supposedly has had its back broken, but seems to crop up wherever resources do.  I wonder what kind of government will eventually replace the rebel government of the north.  Will the current government of Mali, which was installed by a military coup overthrowing a democratically elected president in early 2012, be reinstalled.  Will the Western powers hand the reigns back to this military leadership; or will they attempt to reinstall the democratic government that existed before the coup?  Both the United States and France publicly condemned the military coup that installed the current Mali government in early 2012, but maybe it will prove to be more useful than a democratically elected government.

Some say that the French and even the Canadians are involved in the conflict merely to take control of the strategically important reserves of gold, uranium, and oil in the country.  The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Russia Today are good examples that are clearly not connected by similar goals.  Considering that about 78% of France’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants, it is a definite possibility.  It stands to reason that humanitarian intervention is at least a goal and a pretext, if not merely a pretext.  This situation reminds me of the U.S. military policy elucidated by Bill Clinton (I’d love to find a source on this if anyone can provide me with one) that stated future wars would be fought when there is a convergence of human suffering that should be eradicated and the strategic interests of the U.S. (I am paraphrasing for lack of a source).  It seems obvious to me that this is exactly what the French are doing.

It would be easier to dismiss the possibility that this is a resource grab if France had not “launched 37 major military operations in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa” between 1960 and 2006.  It would also be easier to endorse this war if the French president Francois Hollande had not said “The military operations will last ‘as long as necessary,” and then the French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian had not promptly asserted that French troops would soon withdraw.

A consideration that should be on the minds of U.S. foreign policy makers is the influence the war in Libya had on this conflict.  The successes of the rebel forces have been largely due to an influx of arms that were smuggled into the north from Tuareg warriors who fled after the conflict in Libya.  In other words, America is not exempt from blame for the current conflict.

What would happen if I had my way?  I would see the international community, sanctioned by the Mali government (as at least France has been), take their leave after stabilizing the country.  What I instead foresee is the Western powers, especially France and Canada, sticking around and making sure that their companies have first dibs on any resources in the country.  My inclination is to say that a military dictatorship or a democratic puppet government would be much more pliable when it comes to granting foreign powers access to Mali’s resources (and the profits thereof) instead of a democratically elected government that actually represented the interests of the people of Mali.

Noam Chomsky Discusses the Drift to the Right, Obama, Unions, and More

Video

Noam explains how Barack Obama would be considered a moderate Republican twenty to thirty years ago.  He discusses the extrajudicial killings of American citizens abroad.  Cenk and Noam examine the decline of unions in America.  Noam provides ideas and possible strategies to reverse these trends and much more.

It would be accurate to say that Mr. Chomsky is one of my heroes.  I hope that one day my voice can have even a fraction of the influence his does.  I am already mourning the day we lose him.  Without high-profile dissidents like Noam Chomsky around who will take up the people’s torch?  Well, let’s be honest, he didn’t ever achieve the high-profile in the United States media that he should have. That said, my statement stands.  If there is a political speaker who can liberate your mind from the programming and platitudes of politics in America it is him.

Additionally, I would like applaud the Young Turks for being open-minded enough to have speakers as “extreme” as both Noam Chomsky and Alex Jones on their show.  Please give them a listen.  Even if you don’t agree with their opinions they will get your mental juices flowing.

Foreign Aid Ignorance

Foreign_AidI am sick of seeing these sentiments on Facebook and hearing similar statements coming out of people’s mouths. If we want to save some tax dollars why don’t we try cutting, oh I don’t know, DEFENSE SPENDING!  Read any or all of these articles. Also, note that I am 100% in favor of cutting foreign aid to Israel and tying it to halting new settlements in Palestinian territory. Furthermore, in many cases I could easily agree with anyone who says we should cut foreign military aid, but let’s be reasonable about it. It depends on who the aid is going to and what they are doing with it.

The best reason to give foreign aid (for example food aid) is because all humans have the same value and we have compassion for each other. Who was that guy that advocated compassion for your fellow man? Oh yeah, it was Jesus (whether you believe he existed or not). Really people, basically all religions, belief systems, and worldviews hold compassion for each other as the foundation of a moral life. Get with the program. Stop letting nationalism triumph over compassion and reason.

FederalSpending_piechart5 Myths About Foreign Aid

5 More Myths About International Aid

Foreign Assistance & the U.S. Budget

Understanding the Data