fascism

How America Executes People

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 | 0 comments

From The Huffington Post:

Spencer Lawton, the district attorney who secured Davis’ conviction in 1991, said he was embarrassed for the judicial system – not because of the execution, but because it took so long to carry out. 

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Anthony Weiner and the Rise of the Twitter Mob

Posted by on Jul 12, 2011 | 0 comments

“Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t know that the evening news was funded primarily by Big Pharma. You would actually believe the stuff that they’re saying. You might even think those are the stories that matter. ” – Douglas Rushkoff (Source)

Once upon a time, political observers fretted that the free press, the government and the democratic process itself were under threat of being overwhelmed

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Glenn Beck to Tea Party: Leave Your Racist Signs at Home!

Posted by on Aug 28, 2010 | 0 comments

Glenn Beck is one cynical and desperate dude. The upcoming “Restoring Honor” rally at Lincoln Memorial is meant to re-brand the sullied and racist image of the Tea Party into the rainbow coalition just in time for the fall election. But, Beck’s decision to blatantly ride on the coat tails of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement is nothing except a badly orchestrated and cynical effort to co-opt the gravitas of MLK and the rights movement in order to replace the glaring lack of it in the Tea Party movement. They are that desperate.

It gets even better though. From the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:

On the air, Beck has asked attendees not to bring signs or come in anger, but to come in a peaceful spirit akin to the one espoused by King. “Don’t bring your signs,” he said on TV. “Bring your hearts … bring your open minds.”

Not bring signs? It’s a rally! Of course you bring signs! But, Beck is obviously concerned. It’s an admission that something went astray last time. He’s worried the same thing may occur this time. The Tea Party 9/12 rally last year was a smörgåsbord of racism and allusions to racist themes. Some examples for historical context:








The Tea Bag Party faithful brushed the documented claims of racism off as untrue, even in the face of the photographic and video evidence. Perhaps they simply can not see the racism. Perhaps they don’t want to see it. But, America knows what it saw.

To be clear, I’m not saying all Tea Baggers are racist. Yet, it can’t be denied that there is a strong racist element within the Tea Party ranks, and that a great deal of the motivation behind the entire platform (such as is is) is of a nativist, racist, hateful and eliminationist nature. Historically, fear, hate and racism have been great allies. And, they continue to be such. The Tea Party is the current day Nativist party, a modern version of the Know-Nothings. The platforms and ideas espoused are practically identical. No one disuptes that the Know-Nothings were a racist and eliminationist movement. The question remains who will claim the mantle of leadership of the Tea Party. Who will speak out against the racism?

The signs above tell the story. Will it happen again? Time will tell.

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The Victim Syndrome

Posted by on Jul 28, 2010 | 0 comments

Kill the Media

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Be Careful With That Axe, Jim Hoft

Posted by on Mar 4, 2010 | 0 comments

Jim Hoft, the last great American Patriot in America gets all litigious on Al Gore:

A seven-month old baby girl survived a shot to the chest after her parents shot themselves and their two-year-old in a global warming murder-suicide pact. […] Someone should sue Al Gore. He played on their fears and now a whole family is dead.

We’ll let it slide that if the seven-month old baby survived it would technically mean that the “whole family” was not actually dead, since it’s obvious that Jim is blinded by his grief. So, just as I was considering the warped logic of suing Al Gore for the motive and actions of two obviously mentally deranged persons, when the following came over the AP:

The leader of a household described as a religious cult was convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday along with two of her followers for starving a 1-year-old boy to death because he did not say “Amen” during a mealtime prayer.

The logic of Hoft’s thinking is laid out in all it’s bare nekkid silliness. Given that Jim believes Al Gore should be sued because he “played on their fears and now a whole family is dead” because of global warming, doesn’t it make sense that someone should be sued for the death of the little boy because he wouldn’t say “Amen”? Who inspired this cult to murder? Let’s start with Jesus Christ and end with every Christian church on the planet.

You can see where this is going.

It’s ridiculous of course, but Hoft has never been known for his intellect or integrity nor his consistency. He’s a propagandist, and a good one.
So, anything to taint Al Gore in the eyes of the true believers, even the patently ridiculous, is fair game.

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Dick Cheney’s personal war and fighting terror with democracy not more terror…

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 | 0 comments

Monday link dump…

  • Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
  • Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
  • Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
  • A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
  • Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
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conservative logic loop

Posted by on Oct 2, 2009 | 0 comments

Right-wing terrorist Eric Rudolph on the deadly attack he wrought on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: (via HunterDK)

…the purpose of the [Olympics] attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.

President George W. Bush in January 2008 on bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago:

They say that the Olympics will come to Chicago if we’re fortunate enough to be selected, but really it’s coming to America, and I can’t think of a better city to represent the United States than Chicago… This country supports your bid, strongly.

Conservative blogger Erik Erickson on the failed bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago which President Obama (like Bush) supported and lobbied heavily for: (via Washington Monthly)

Hahahahaha. I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone. I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen. Apparently not.

So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him. So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.

Karl Rove today via Twitter:

Instead of serving as pitchman for Chicago, Obama should focus on crafting a winning strategy in Afghanistan.

(One can safely assume that Rove is referring to creating a winning strategy in Afghanistan to replace the losing one he and the Bush Admin created.)

And, last but not least… upon news that the 2016 Olympics was not coming to Chicago, they cheered in the offices of the Weekly Standard and then felt the need to delete that fact from the official record.

Conservative Charles Johnson – who has of late seen that extremist lunatics run the conservative movement – has this to say:

This is where the rhetoric of “FAIL” leads — they’re openly celebrating when America loses, just because Barack Obama is President. And even though this Olympic bid was also promoted by George W. Bush.

This completely puts the lie to the excuse that those who say they want Obama to fail really mean they want his policies to fail.

No, they want Obama himself to fail, and if that means America fails too, they’re just fine with that.

In other words, conservatives, like Eric Rudolph, want to “confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.”

Interesting….

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talkin’ john birch paranoid blues

Posted by on Sep 6, 2009 | 0 comments

YouTube vid of Bob Dylan’s banned satirical song about paranoid right wing racists written in 1963 as a response to the popularity of the John Birch Society. It was dropped from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan due to political concerns and remained unreleased until the Bootleg disc in the mid 90’s.

Could have been written today. Scary.


Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Communists they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace. . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!

Now we all agree with Hitlers’ views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria.

Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds.
I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked under my bed,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ’em . . .

I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .

Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain.
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones.

Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betty Ross . . .

Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me.

Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy,
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus.

Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!

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The Birther Movement is Racism

Posted by on Jul 23, 2009 | 2 comments

The “birther” movement is an extreme right wing disinformation campaign that proffers the idea that President Obama is not a US citizen, and was born abroad in Kenya. Here’s the rub: there are no actual facts to support this claim, rather the disinfo subsists on a form of cognitive dissonance – denial – and is propped up by a series of logical fallacies, from burden of proof to sweeping generalizations to just plain old bullshit.

It’s eliminationism in its purest form: marginalize your opponent to the point that they are a non-citizen,  illegitimate, then cut off the discussion by dismissing any introduced facts as untrue. (Or made up, imagined, crazy, over sensitive, etc.)

For example, when the State of Hawaii confirmed that Obana’s birth certificate was indeed real and official, the birther movement simply denied it to be true and then went one better and denied that the birth certificate has yet to be provided as proof! Brilliant in a way. But, also, the very definition of a lie. Here’s the simple true logic: denying a fact (or its existence) does not create a new fact. (IE: Denying Obama’s birth papers are real does not mean he is not a real citizen.) That’s just crazy.

As an emerging issue it’s a double edge sword and difficult to discuss since it’s clearly a disinformation campaign with one aim: to stoke the racial hatred and undermine Obama’s legitimacy as President. And, its proponents love nothing more than to keep the hate fires burning.

Yet, in reality, Obama’s citizenship is a non-issue, it’s been proven beyond a doubt according to standards that have been suitable for every US President who has been elected prior. (But of course, to the racist, those standards are not good enough for a black person, let alone a black person named Barack Hussein Obama.)

FactCheck does a superb analysis of the “scandal” and analysis of the original certificate. The allegations are so  completely incorrect and fabricated that it deserves nothing more than ridicule. The problem is that it’s wrapped in hate and irrationality, thus, there’s simply no middle ground from which to establish a coherent debate. Any introduction of fact is dismissed outright. That’s why hate based tactics are so difficult to fight against. Those who wage this type of tactic, (and those who believe it) simply deny the facts, deny the existence of the hate and the racism. It’s a figment of the imagination. Those looney Liberals!

There will always be those who want to believe what they believe, damn the facts. And, that is how “conspiracies” live and breath. That is how hatred and racism gain a foothold. If they don’t really exist, then why are they a problem? Neat, right?

In the past few days the birther movement has slithered into new territory. It is now being disseminated by traditional outlets on TV and radio – Lou Dobbs of CNN and Rush Limbaugh have both lent their “support” – and that means it should be dealt with properly. No longer simply a  fringe issue spun in dark dank dive bars, afluent suburb BBQ’s and hidden corners of the internet by nut job conspiracy theorists, it’s now being lent “credibility”. While it’s true that neither Dobbs nor Limbuagh are known for their objectivity or adherence to the facts, and they both clearly suffer from a deeply rooted hate based approach in their worldview and broadcasts, the fact remains that their broadcasts are swallowed whole as the gospel truth by millions. Sad, but true.

Interestingly, the birther movement can be traced back to the Obama campaign itself during the 2008 election. It’s a public relations effort gone bad. Apparently, a decision was made, in the spirit of transparency to release Obama’s birth certificate. Historically, presidential candidates have not released such information. Rather, it was presented during qualification of the candidate, but not made public. So, by releasing the birth certificate the Obama campaign opened a Pandora’s Box. Once it was made public, it meant it was open to intense scrutiny – most of it incorrect – that would be passed around the internet as fact and eventually make it’s way to less discerning minds, like Dobbs and Limbuagh, and those who listen to them.

At it’s root the birther movement is racism. It’s meant to create the impression that Obama is illegitimate, lower than a US citizen, not one of us. It’s meant to stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred towards immigrants and people of color. It’s not unlike the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Same thing.

So, next time someone says to you that Obama’s opponents are not racist, cite the birther movement. Cite the Obama is a Muslim meme. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, show them this picture. (scroll down)

If they still don’t get it, call it as you see it.

The only way we will defeat racism is to make it unacceptable. And, those who make excuses for it are just as unacceptable as those who are openly racist.

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hate has a song

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

What is it about evil people not having an orginal creative bone in their bodies? And, couldn’t they have ripped off a better song?

Via the good folks at Sadly, No! comes this oily gem from the racist homophobic evil trolls at Fred Phelps church. Please note the Richard Ramirez effect around the eyes, the deep black circles and blood red soaked  look that people who live and breath hate get, as we see in this picture. Roll the video:

Now go take a nice long hot cleansing shower.

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Life Inc. The Movie is out!

Posted by on May 11, 2009 | 0 comments

Over the past several months, I’ve helped shoot a short film that does an excellent job of introducing the important ideas in Douglas Rushkoff’s new book Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back.  The first chapter of the book is over at Boing Boing, where Doug is guest blogging. Watch the movie!

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Rush Limbaugh: Pied Piper of the GOP

Posted by on Jan 30, 2009 | 0 comments

The Conservative media icon is leading his brethren to their demise.

Last week on Campbell Brown’s show on CNN, Republican Strategist Ed Rollins was asked about Rush Limbaugh and the perception by the public that the GOP is a “bunch of white guys”, and that Obama won, according to Limbaugh, because he was black, and Rollins  replied:

“The reality is Rush is an entertainer. “

It’s a point that is overlooked and needs to be brought to the fore, most especially  since Limbaugh (by the weight of his ego and because a huge power vacuum exists in the Conservative movement at the moment), is the de facto leader of the GOP. But, he’s only a media visage. Not a policy maker.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, a clown, an angry white guy with an axe to grind. There is no delicate way to put it. And, like Sarah Palin, he is only a partisan media image, an anti-intellectual icon created in order to stir anger and hatred amongst the GOP base. Limbaugh is not interested in actually solving problems or offering any workable solutions. He is a propagandist, and a symbol of a power structure and media tactic that is on the decline and inherently detrimental to the work of restoring public confidence.

Take for example Limbaugh’s recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. His importance to the current debate on the economic crisis is non-existent and ill-informed. Limbaugh’s “economic proposal” is nothing of the sort,  it is only more of the same policies that have already failed.  As neo-con pundit David Frum presciently noted  last fall when assessing the reaction that most Conservatives would embark upon after an Obama election victory:

One thing that will certainly happen is a fundamentalist response…”‘If only we had been more consistently conservative, none of this would have happened; there’s still a conservative voting majority out there, and Bush alienated them with his too-centrist policies and various deviations from conservative orthodoxy; McCain was obviously unacceptable and if the voters turned down ham and eggs, it’s because they wanted double ham and double eggs.(emphasis added)

Rush Limbaugh has shown Frum’s prediction to be true. And, one has to ask: given Limbaugh’s obvious hatred for all things Liberal, and his public statement that since Obama’s policies are “socialist” he wants Obama to fail, if Limbaugh’s Op-Ed is even on the up and up.  Is Limbuagh to be believed? Who is to say his ultimate goal isn’t to sacrifice economic recovery for an Obama slide in popularity and the return of GOP dominance once again? His partisan goals have to be considered. He is obviously more interested in his ideological pals getting back into power than seeing the country regain it’s economic footing. The question for Limbaugh is: If economic recovery meant implementing policies you did not agree with, could you see beyond your ideological blinders? Because as it stands, not even Nobel Laureate’s in Economics have any clear answers as to how to solve the economic crisis. And, it’s hard to believe that Rush Limbaugh is the one who figured it all out.

Beyond this, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of an entertainer like Limbaugh hoisting himself into the economic debate and the political process. Via Skippy, John Cole over at Balloon Juice puts it quite succinctly:

to put this into perspective, imagine the reaction if rhandi rhodes was penning editorials in the ny times dictating the course of policy for the democrats, and the democrats were embracing her pearls of wisdom. i can’t believe the republicans are going to gamble their future like this, but then again, nothing they do surprises me. and, in fairness, considering i voted for bush twice, i am not really in any position to say the country won’t be stupid enough to fall for this. i am living breathing proof that yes, we are that dumb.

And, I have to think it’s more than that. Is political sabotage in the works? Digby writes it seems more than plausible, and I have to agree. A quote from Limbaugh that shows his inner thoughts on Democrats:

I mean, if there is a party that’s soulless, it’s the Democratic Party. If there are people by definition who are soulless, it is liberals — by definition. You know, souls come from God. You know? No. No. You can’t go there.

Continues Digby:

That sure sounds like your garden variety unhinged terrorist to me.Sirota reminds us why it’s not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists, especially one with little power. It tends to do the opposite of what you want it to do.

And, the zeal to see Obama fail apparently extends to GOP House members. From the David Sirota post that Digby refers to:

How do you know House Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith and are acting as legislative terrorists? Because their rantings are verifiably crazy (h/t Steve Benen):

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush’s signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation’s problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.

Again, only legislative terrorists desperate to sabotage the economy would make such deliberately insane statements. Only legislative terrorists would insist that the economy was Teh Awesome under George W. Bush. Only legislative terrorists would ignore the basic facts that most Americans innately know, and that were perfectly summarized by Washington Post.

As I’ve said previously: extremists (or legislative terrorists)  need to be marginalized and kicked to the curb with cogent policy and intellectual integrity. Non-partisan exchanging of ideas is democracy. Holding the process of government hostage and working for failure of policy that could work when you have no alternatives goes by another name.

Go sign the petition and let Rush Limbaugh know that his voice is heard but if he chooses to place ideology before the real debate and the process of implementation of policy that could work (while offering no viable alternatives) then he will be met with ridicule and contempt.

Entertainers and charlatans have a role, but when they become obstructionalists purely to ensure that their ideological power structure (that has been proven to be devoid of any further role) remains in power, then they’ve crossed a line. How we deal with it properly within the rule of law and our democracy will be the test of our mettle.

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the israel and gaza show

Posted by on Jan 12, 2009 | 0 comments

itchy and scratchy

(Updated below)

One hundred years from now the great lesson of the past 60 years of violence between Palestinian’s and Israeli’s will be brutally simple: violence begets violence. For when that simple truth is forgotten (or ignored), violence becomes the only language that is understood. Violence becomes the dialogue and thus the reason for fighting at all. The original reason for the conflict fades away, seemingly unimportant. History is fraught with similar examples. Chris Hedges refers to it as “the language of death“.

It has reached the point where the hypocrisy of both sides claiming the moral high ground while also killing each other at the drop of a hat has become both glaringly obvious and appalling. It’s also obvious after 60 years that war is not going to bring about peace in the region.

Sadly, it’s very hard to not look at Israel as the more powerful aggressor and the Palestinian’s and Hamas as the underdog and oppressed, simply by virtue of the circumstances. Israel holds most of the face cards. (Please bare in mind that I”m in no way stating that the actions of Hamas are justified, but rather, that the line between the two sides has become blurred and, history will show, moot at this juncture.) As Glenn Greenwald points out responding to Israel’s comments that the military campaign in Gaza may be escalated and the dropping of leaflets “warning” the Gazan population of impending military actions:

It’s hard to imagine, short of full-on indiscriminate civilian bombing, how this attack can be “escalated.” Is there any limit at all to the number of civilian deaths that Israel is willing to cause? And, given that Palestinians are not allowed to leave Gaza and have no safe haven within the Gaza Strip, what is the point of dropping leaflets warning the civilian population of “escalation” other than, as Moyers put it, to sow further terror?

They can’t leave, even if they wanted to leave. And, there is a higher and much more historically unkind reality at work here: children are dying. Trapped like fish in a barrel. There’s no other atrocity that is higher on the historical scale than the murder of innocent children. Alas, it’s an atrocity that due to it’s horrific nature, for some reason often goes undiscussed and unnoticed until years later. It’s as if the horror is too difficult to deal with at the moment of it’s occurrence. Often our moral clarity on these matters is shrouded in apathy and economic and political hubris. As Mark at motormanmark.com notes:

On the eve of World War II, perhaps what we consider to be our most virtuous endeavor, when Nazi values first reached our shores, they were celebrated by many of our citizens. It wasn’t the moral crisis of German anti-Semitism that brought us into the war, but the threat that our power would be eclipsed.

As we participated in more wars, the killing of civilians became more and more acceptable, taking a larger and larger share of the civilian-to-soldier-deaths ratio.

Revisit the calm resolve with which we carpet-bombed Vietnamese civilians.Four million civilians died during that 12-year war, our attempt to pre-empt the feared (but still as yet unfound) domino affect of communism.

After the Mai-Lai massacres, President Nixon can be heard on his Oval Office tapes discussing the matter with Kissinger. The deed they are referring to is Mai-Lai. The person they are referring to is Maj. Wm. Calley, murderer of 109 civilians:

Kissinger: That’s right. What they (the anti-war protesters) wanted (as a reaction from the public to the Mai-Lai revelations) was a feeling of revulsion against the deed. In fact, the deed itself didn’t bother anybody.

President Nixon: No, they, matter of fact, the people said, “Sure, he was guilty, but by God, why not?” (Both laugh.)

Kissinger: Exactly.

We don’t know what Bush said in private about the US slaughter of civilians at Haditha, but we do know he and his military did not find the lives of the children killed by their invasion of Iraq worthy of even being counted.

When Israel bombed Lebanon pre-emptively during the summer of 2006 (purposely targeting civilian areas) with US-made cluster bombs–sort of a mini-Iraq invasion—which they excused as a response to the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers–UNICEF counted the children who died in the murderous hail. The number was 357.

How obvious has it become that real atrocities are underway in Gaza? The conservative Wall Street Journal feels strongly enough about it to publish an Op-Ed with the very unambiguous title: Israel Is Committing War Crimes … Hamas’s violations are no justification for Israel’s actions. Not very subtle.

News of the deaths of children in Gaza is slow to emerge, so public outrage and awareness is at a low level. Full censorship is being enforced in Gaza by the IDF, as is intimidation of the few journalists who are there. And, the United Nations is looking into alleged war crimes in regard to pecific incidents in Gaza.

The moral ground is very shaky here for Israel, if it exists at all any more. They have become that which they fought against. Has Israel come full circle in it’s zeal and passion to defend itself from all those who would do them harm? How far can a society go in fighting terror until it becomes a terrorist itself?

Over at Truth Dig, in an article titled “Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?”, Robert Sheer writes:

The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.

The basic argument is that Palestinian terrorists represented by Hamas are given to an irrational hatred of Jews so profound that it invalidates their movement, even when they win elections. That was not the view of the Israeli security service when it earlier supported Hamas as the alternative to the then dreaded PLO. Also, history is replete with examples of terrorists becoming statesmen, even within the early ranks of Jews fighting to establish the state of Israel.

One of those was Menachem Begin, who went on to be an elected leader of the new state. But before Begin attained that respectability, back in 1948 when he visited the United States, a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook and Hannah Arendt wrote a letter to The New York Times warning that Begin was a former leader of the “Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” The letter urged Jews to shun Begin, arguing, “It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.”

Begin’s new party was then participating in the Israeli election, and Einstein and his colleagues, many of whom like the physicist had been victims of German fascism, stated, “Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character.”

Those actions were then detailed in the letter. They included the systematic terrorizing of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in an effort to force them to flee the territory that Begin’s party claimed for the new state of Israel.

Clearly Begin and his political heirs, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, the most likely victor in the next Israeli election, evolved in their behavior. But I bring it up now to highlight the one-sided reporting of the current phase of this interminable conflict and to wonder: Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality of Einstein’s generation of Jewish intellectuals willing to acknowledge fault and humanity on both sides of the political equation?

Unfortunately, those voices and the discussion have been threatened into silence by the great fallacious tactic: If you criticize Israel for it’s policy, you are antisemitic. It’s rubbish of course, but it works quite well to deflect any and all criticism of Israeli policy. It also chokes off all too needed discussion and basic diplomatic process. And, the unlimited power of hatred should never be underestimated. It allows for an entire spectrum of rationalization of inhumane ideas and practices that one would not wish upon themselves.

In many ways, it was inevitable. When Israel headed down the path of military dominance, the only end result of such a paradigm is alienation, condemnation and eventually destruction. In the history of the entire world there has never been a military power that has not collapsed, either from within by its own weight, or from outside by defeat. This isn’t to say that Israel should not defend itself. But the manner in which they do so needs to change.

Hard and strident diplomacy and economic reform needs to be put into place. The military solution simply isn’t going to produce a peaceful result. That money would be better spent on social needs in Gaza. Why is Hamas left to be the only one building schools and roads and water supply in Gaza and elsewhere? (This applies to Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.) As steadfastly committed as the Israeli’s are to their safety, liberty and right to exist, (rightfully so) the Palestinian’s are equally steadfast in their desire for the same, as well as to obtain what the Israeli’s fought for and already have: a free state. A homeland.

The Palestinian’s are not going to give up, ever, just as the Israeli’s are not going to give up. And, the idea of one side destroying the other is ridiculous and obscene, of course.

The era of arrogant posturing and bully pulpit politics has been proven to be a rousing failure. It only enables others in the Middle East to step in and take control. And, one has to ask: Is it in any one of the major players financial interests to end such a lucrative military standoff? Unlikely.

A new way has to be forged.

Update:

Via Think Progress, Spencer Ackerman takes note of the position of the  Haaretz editorial staff:

“This war needs to move immediately to the diplomatic track and agreements that will end the fantasies and delusions of both sides.”

Let’s hope sanity prevails.

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beating back the cult of anti-intellectualism

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

Via Sadly No!

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webuzz: obama, eco news and more….

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 1 comment

  • Obama is going to announce his VP choice soon, if you believe what you read. My guess is it’s going to be someone not on the “short list” we’ve been hearing so much about from the media. But, everyone’s buzzing like bees to honey. The gossip quotiant is stifling.
  • Ever heard of triclosan? Well, it’s in a ton of things that may be in your body or in your home or both. And, it’s a toxin. Go read about it over at Eco-Chick.
  • Obama stepped in the eliminationalist trap.
  • The decay of the free thinking press in the land of the free.
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