Thursday, January 29, 2009

Booza Bozo

I’m in a crappy mood in a crappy country in a crappy world and the U.S. is seemingly going off the deep end. The economy is sinking further into a depression with jobs evaporating along with everything else. Here in sunny California the state is broke and will be sending tax returns in the form of IOUs. If it wasn’t so pathetic it might be funny but it isn’t.

Rock star Obama seems to be like the second coming of Jesus Christ as he spreads fairy dust over a broke and busted nation while plotting his insane plans for extending the Bush wars. Nobody seems to know why Obama is doing this and I doubt if Obama even knows why he is doing this but it remains that he is doing this. On top of this we still send billions of dollars to Israel to prop up their slaughter house in Gaza as they keep gobbling Palestinian land in one end while excreting human corpses out the other end. If Obama keeps it up the well will soon dry up, turn to dust, and blow away and then we can all sing a rousing rendition of “The Answer my Friend, is Blowing in the Wind.”

The gigantic cosmic vacuum cleaner employed by the super wealthy has sucked almost all the money from the masses leaving behind a dehydrated corpse, shriveled and emaciated. But fear not fellow travelers for we will be well protected from the terrorists who probably now need do nothing to avenge the death of millions as the U.S. self destructs like a demented tottering destructo robot that just ran out of oil for its creaking joints and is ready to fall to the earth in a steaming mound of rusted junk metal. Soon the grass will be growing up through the pieces as field mice scurry through the hulking rust bucket building nests.

Above it all the face of Obama floats like some new modern day Wizard of Oz as he beams and smiles over the wasteland of carnage that planet Earth has become. I don’t know why people think this guy is smart, he sounds like a real dope to me. “Duh, Israel has the missiles to uh, well, duh, ya know, like if my family, …pause…., ya know well if my family had a missile then uh, uh, uh, like ya know, my favorite, by the way, my favorite movie is Casablanca, and Casablancan families have the right to uh, ya know, like protect themselves from ya know, well if I was a Casablancan I would want to protect it. …From like other missiles and their families.”

Meanwhile Americans wax nostalgic over the 1950’s and dream of Leave it to Beaver while Ward slugs down another bottle of booze. By the way, the word booze is of Egyptian origin, actually derived from the word “booza” the Egyptian word for beer. Come to think of it the crowning glory of civilization is that it has created a world of alcoholics stumbling about in a daze mumbling about this and that. But with world leaders like Obama who can blame them?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Joe Bageant, Obama, and the days and years ahead

I hadn't visited Joe Bageant's digs in a while, and I was curious to see if he had any thoughts about the Obama inauguration. Joe's new essay is here:
"North Toward Home: from here in Central America, you can't see America's "shining city on the hill," but you can smell the dead in Gaza."

Also, I chanced upon an earlier, really exceptional, essay I hadn't seen before, from April of 2008, "The Audacity of Depression." Written in the midst of the HRC-Obama scrap, in which Joe makes it pretty clear that he sees Obama's appeals to hope for what they are, without therefore suggesting Hillary is a better alternative. I've saved it to my account under "the fall", which is the name I give for this category of writings, not quite a genre, which I see more and more of, discussing forebodings of US decline. From the 2008 essay:

Lately though, I don't hear so much outrage. In fact, the readers seem to be suffering from what someone aptly called "rage fatigue." Which is another way of saying the bastards have simply worn us out. And it's true.

I am not kidding when I say rage fatigue victims have fallen into an ongoing mid-level depression. (Looks to me like the whole country has, but then I'm no mental health expert.) The less depressed victims can be found lurking near the edges of the Obama cult, consoling themselves that a soothing and/or charismatic orator is better than nothing.
like whoever else wins the presidency, Obama can never acknowledge any significant truth, such as that the nation is waaaaay beyond being just broke, and is even a net debtor nation to Mexico, or that the greatest touch-me-not in the U.S. political flower garden, the "American lifestyle," is toast. But then, we really do not expect political truth, but rather entertainment in a system where, as Frank Zappa said, politics is merely "the entertainment branch of industry."

Still, millions of Americans do grasp at The Audacity of Hope, a meaningless marketing slogan of the publishing industry if ever there was one. At least it has the word Audacity in it, something millions of folks are having trouble conjuring up the least shred of these days. And there is good old fashioned "Hope" of course -- that murky, undefined belief that some unknown force or magical unseen power will reverse the national condition -- will deliver us from what every bit of evidence indicates is irreversible, if not politically, then economically and ecologically: Collapse.

cross-posted at Hugo Zoom.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An End to Torture?

Things are seldom as they seem to be on the surface. While some people are upset with Obama on a whole range of issues from his appointments of warhawks to his support of the Israeli assault on Gaza and his continuance of state violence despite his shallow claims for representing change there is a whole other level of misrepresentation just below the sleek and shiny surface that Obama presents us with.

Dennis Perrin links to an essay by Allan Nairn, an award winning investigative reporter, on the topic of torture and how what Obama has done has not really stopped the practice of torture by the United States but has only removed it further from public view. Again this is the danger of “charismatic” leaders like Obama. At least with Bush we knew who the enemy was while with sneaky weasels like Obama one is never quite sure what is really happening.

According to Nairn…

What the Obama dictum ostensibly knocks off is that small percentage of torture now done by Americans while retaining the overwhelming bulk of the system's torture, which is done by foreigners under US patronage.

But do go read all of what Nairn has to say, it certainly takes some of the sheen off our shiny new prez.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Red Rain: The Ascendancy and Downfall of Barack Obama

Last Tuesday Americans were in Obama heaven celebrating the inauguration of another president happy with the exit of a very unpopular George W. Bush. A few days later missiles were slamming into the homes of people in Pakistan killing as many as twenty people three or four of them being but mere children. I have seen absolutely nothing about this in the more popular liberal blogs. There are the usual comments about what Rush Limbaugh said and how liberals are always misrepresented and misunderstood by the right. The Rush Limbaughs of the world are always a favorite distraction for the faithful and provides a convenient way to ignore the more murderous aspects of the people that they shill for and help put in office. It isn’t so much that it is within our power to actually elect someone who could affect change but to shill for the wind-up mannequins who have the ruling class stamp of approval is enough to make you want to vomit.

That Obama couldn’t wait to exercise the murderous power as leader of a powerful nation has once and for all ripped the smiling mask from Obama’s face revealing the lizard-like cold and unfeeling monster beneath, at least for those who care to notice. The hammer blows of imperialism continue to rain down on our victims many of them living in poverty and therefore helpless in the face of this relentless and endless onslaught by American military power. The recent hammering of Gaza by Israel is an echo of our own agenda for keeping the peons in their place in a world where the strength of arms means everything and the weak and powerless go to the wall in an ever tightening grip of state terror and violence.

So what is the difference between Bush and Obama other than a few minor points? Obama is taking off some of the rougher edges but is just as eager to slaughter and is just as arrogant or more arrogant than Bush.


PAKISTAN received an early warning of what the era of “smart power” under President Barack Obama will look like after two remote-controlled US airstrikes killed 22 people at suspected terrorist hideouts in the border area of Waziristan.

There will be no let-up in the military pressure on terrorist groups, US officials warned, as Obama prepares to launch a surge of 30,000 troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. It is part of a “tough love” policy combining a military crack-down with diplomatic initiatives.

The Pakistani government, which received a visit from General David Petraeus, the chief of US Central Command, on the day of Obama’s inauguration, has been warned that it must step up its efforts against militants if it is to continue to receive substantial military aid from America.

The airstrikes were authorised under a covert programme approved by Obama, according to a senior US official. It was a dramatic signal in the president’s first week of office that there will be no respite in the hunt for Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

The Pakistani government has been warned indeed. Shape up or ship out. And so Obama begins his illustrious career with the same kind of bullying tactics that were the hallmark of the Bush years.

Obama said…

“There is no answer in Afghanistan that does not confront the Al-Qaeda and Taliban bases along the border,” he said, “and there will be no lasting peace unless we expand spheres of opportunity for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Once again we are regaled by the nation building so dear to the hearts of the Democrats now in power who are at once arrogant and condescending. It worked so well in Iraq as did the so-called surge that once again we are embarking on the same fool’s errand in Afghanistan except this time it is likely to be worse, much, much worse. And once again it is as open ended as the Iraq War that was to be accomplished in a few months time while seven years later… And now we hear from Obama’s crony in crime Bob Gates the realist that both the Bush and Obama administrations have much in common.

Robert Gates, who has retained his job as defence secretary, said last week: “One of the points where I suspect both administrations come to the same conclusion is that the goals we did have for Afghanistan are too broad and too far into the future.”

Gates said America needed to set more “concrete goals” for Afghanistan that could “be achieved realistically within three to five years”.

He described these goals as reestablishing Afghan government control in the south and east of the country, and delivering better services to its people.

Gates believes that our “goals” can be reached in three to five years. Translation: we shall be waging war in Afghanistan forever and a day and beyond. The key word in his statement is control because that is what this is about no matter what laughable claims are made for bringing the heathens up to American standards. And is that what this is about? Delivering better services to the people of Afghanistan? Not even a ten year old would believe such unmitigated drivel. So, just like with Bush, we are hearing nothing but lies and more lies piled on top of more lies. And the bodies will pile up -- bodies piled on top of more bodies on top of more bodies.

As I write this I can hear the rain falling outside and in my imagination it could be a rain of blood falling from the skies, the blood of America’s victims soaking into the damp earth and covering everything painting it red a red rain of death.

One of the problems all along with this war on terror is that has been creating more enemies radicalizing more people against the United States due to the heavy hand of Bush and his administration. Well over one million innocent people in Iraq have been murdered either directly by U.S. armed forces or by the strife intentionally created by the U.S. invasion. And now, with President Hope, that same heavy handed approach is being used once again without skipping a beat.

There are conflicting reports about just who was killed in the attack with the villagers in Pakistan claiming only civilians were killed while other reports say that some members of al Qaida were killed. But what is clear is that even if a few al Qaida members were killed innocent bystanders were also killed by the missiles. Obama is remaining silent on the topic with no comment. This seems to be becoming a habit with Obama, ever careful to cover his own ass, but when it comes to the lives of other people there seems to be considerably less care involved. Sometimes the fact of silence itself can speak volumes. Obama, though he wasn’t shy about speaking up on any number of other topics, hid behind the lame pass the buck position of there can be only one prez at a time during the attack on Gaza by Israeli military forces. And when he finally decided that he was ready to comment all he did was reiterate the same misleading propaganda that it was the fault of Gaza for electing Hamas and the use of homemade rockets against Israel that he mouthed earlier. The attack on the trapped and helpless Palestinians in Gaza had nothing at all to do with Hamas or the rockets fired into Israel but had everything to do with Israeli expansion. And in fact, as we now know, that particular attack was planned six months before it was carried out. However Obama’s rhetoric on numerous topics has been, to put it mildly, less than honest. Obama is no honest Abe.

On one side Obama is demanding that the Pakistan government is not doing enough to root out the so-called terrorists supposedly holed up along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani government is asking Obama to stop the missile attacks because it is making it more difficult to deal with the “terrorists.”


Pakistan urged President Barack Obama to halt U.S. missile strikes on al-Qaida strongholds near the Afghan border, saying Saturday that civilians were killed the previous day in the first attacks since Obama's inauguration.

Pakistani security officials said eight suspected foreign militants, including an Egyptian al-Qaida operative, were among 22 people killed in Friday's twin strikes in the Waziristan region.

But the Foreign Ministry said that the attacks by unmanned aircraft also killed an unspecified number of civilians and that it had informed U.S. officials of its "great concern."

"With the advent of the new U.S. administration, it is Pakistan's sincere hope that the United States will review its policy and adopt a more holistic and integrated approach toward dealing with the issue of terrorism and extremism," a ministry statement said.

"We maintain that these attacks are counterproductive and should be discontinued," it said.

Pakistani leaders complain that stepped-up missile strikes — there have been more than 30 since August — fan anti-American sentiment and undermine the government's own efforts to counter Islamist militants.

But their protests have had few practical consequences, fueling speculation that Islamabad's cash-strapped, pro-U.S. government has given tacit approval in return for political and financial support from Washington.

Obama has not commented on the missile strike policy.

It is sad that the Pakistan entreaties to Obama for halting the missile attacks seem to be falling on deaf ears. Though Obama will surely pad his bullying statements and intersperse a few words of false caring about the people of Pakistan the only interests Obama has are those of his masters in the ruling class and the defense industry. And the idea that now Obama is prez and that we can hold his feet to the fire is no more substantial than a whisper in the wind. By all the road signs which include Obama’s intimate embrace of neonuts like John McCain and the intrepid warhawks that make up his administration Obama will not be listening. Why should he? He really doesn’t need his base at least not until the next election rolls along.

Though according to polls that show a majority of Americans supported the Israeli onslaught against Gaza they are also sick and tired of nation building and U.S. involvement with imperialism and rightly so. In fact it was Obama’s supposed promise to end the Iraq war which helped electrify his supporters who worked hard to put Obama in office because of said promise. Of course that promise is fading like an early morning ground mist as the time table of an actual withdrawal fades into the distance. I do believe that Obama was quite clear on that account always careful to qualify any statement regarding withdrawal from Iraq by stating there would be residual forces and used the term “combat troops only” which if people had been really paying attention would have known that combat troops consist of roughly only half the troops now stationed there. Regardless I do believe that Obama counted on his own soaring rhetoric and Bush’s unpopularity to gloss over these all-important details for it remains that this is why he won the election. Obama also was quite clear about his plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan though this was dismissed as merely campaign rhetoric that was both pragmatic and realistic in order to gain the presidency. Clearly this was a false assumption and a disastrous one at that.

While Obama’s immense popularity with liberals may well weather Obama’s disastrous foreign policies for a while it seems to me that his eventual downfall will be the American economy which is cracking under the strain of years of mismanagement. And though it is questionable that any president really has that much control over an economy Americans aren’t particularly forgiving or understanding on that account. Right now Obama has time on his side and his future is a blank slate waiting to be written on. Yet time is relentless, time flows in one direction only and the graveyard is full of indispensible people. There will come a time when Obama’s rash and thoughtless decision to enter into an endless war in Afghanistan, which has been notorious for ending the imperial dreams of more than one foolish leader (just ask the Russians), will only aggravate the faltering economy and will mark an end to Obama’s popularity. As far as I am concerned it cannot happen too soon for it is clear to me that Obama is a cynical user and opportunist whose callous disregard for the rights and lives of human beings at home and abroad is as sickening and revolting as that of Bush’s. Unfortunately Obama is anything but unique in this respect. Obama is a product of our culture which like a cookie cutter mass produces more Obamas in an endless supply and they shall be waiting for their turn even as Obama’s rising star becomes a falling star willing and ready to pick up where he left off.

I don’t write of these things to discourage people for cultures change. The change may occur slowly and imperceptibly but they do change. And this is where the change must happen. Not in the seats of power residing in government and the puppet masters behind them pulling the strings but in the world views of the common people who struggle against the forces that enslave them. For in the scheme of things humanity is a relative newcomer and civilization, such as it is, is even more recent. I do not believe that people are inherently bad rather that the opposite is true and this is where our best hopes and dreams are to be found. Since culture is the mold of humanity let’s change the mold, reshape it in our imagination, and then make it real.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama Joins the Ranks of Murderer's Row


From Times OnlineJanuary 23, 2009

President Obama 'orders Pakistan drone attacks'
(US Air Force/EPA)
A Predator drone

Tim Reid in Washington
Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven "foreigners" - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said that three children lost their lives.

Well that didn’t take long. Just a few days in office and already the blood of three children are already dripping from Obama’s fingers. Way to go Obama you fucking prick, I hope you rot in the lowest rungs of hell.

And it isn’t that Obama didn’t have blood dripping from his hands already for when he was a Senator did he do anything to stop the bloodshed in Iraq? Did ever do anything of significance? The bar was incredibly low with Bush’s ratings among the lowest in history, the Republicans were already doomed chained to their sinking ship but Obama was a fucking genius with his brilliant campaign of hope and change. Where is the hope and change for the three dead children? Didn’t they have hopes and dreams as well? They will never be realized now. It’s too late for them. And how will Obama’s liberals react to this? We shall see. We shall see.

Here is what O-Bomb-A said about Russia…

“Russia’s government must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and other independent states. Its refusal to do so calls into question its commitment to the responsibilities of membership to organizations such as the OCSE and the Russia-NATO Council, its application to join the WTO and the OECD, and makes it impossible for Congress to enact the civil nuclear agreement. If Russia’s government continues to violate the norms and practices of the international community, the United States and our allies must review all aspects of relations with Russia.”

So where is this all-important respect for territorial integrity now? Where? Let me see now, I’ll look in the closet maybe its there, or perhaps it is under the bed, nope, not there either, gee I can’t seem to find it. Hey I know, maybe I left in my wallet, whoops, not there either.

I’ve been writing about this SOB for over a year now. The first time I read one of his speeches I knew what he was, just another power hungry hypocrite, another con artist on the make. He’s been telling us himself with his hawkish stance on the Middle East from day one. He contradicted himself with his hope and change rhetoric and his war hawk rhetoric and then let people pick which one they liked the best. The neocons liked his tough talk while the liberals latched onto hope and change.

There are dark days ahead with more war and bloodshed on the horizon and the people he has picked to “fix” the economy are the same people who created the problems in the first place. Someone once said when you see everyone going in one direction you should run as fast as you can in the opposite direction for those are the sheep going to the slaughter. If I wanted to write a book about Obama it would consist of three words only.

So long suckers.

I can’t write anymore, I feel sick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Hammer of God

I’m glad Obama has decided to close Gimo and that he also wants to end the CIA’s practice of torture so we must give credit where credit is due. The bad news is that while I am grateful for ending torture this is still part of the idea of making imperialism easier to swallow. For now that we will end torture we are once again among the righteous, the hammer of God, and all that is good and clean in the world as we continue to smite those dirty brown heathens who we deem as abominations.

Unfortunately Obama’s rhetoric continues to be much the same regarding the global war on terror as it was during his campaign. According to Obama Iran is still a threat though we never hear exactly why it is a threat other than a theoretical guess that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. But we must keep in mind that it is not all that important whether our intelligence agencies got right or wrong in their NIE report which stated that Iran was likely not pursuing nuclear weapons because intelligence that is gathered by our agencies is not what our foreign policies are based on rather our agencies merely feed our leaders information that our leaders want to hear whether or not it has anything to do with reality or indeed if even these agencies know that it is false.

On Iraq and military withdrawal the timetable for an actual withdrawal keeps receding to an ever more distant horizon as Obama changes his rhetoric padding it with words like “responsible” as he listens to the gathering of war hawks he has surrounded himself with. For myself I never ever believed that we would withdraw and Obama himself, even from the beginning, always said that some troops would remain. And here lies the rub for words are important as well as their definitions and meanings for “some” troops could mean anything from 30,000 to 50,000 or even more. I would hardly define that as withdrawal.

This now brings us to what shall likely be Obama’s greatest mistake which is his plan for escalating our war against terror in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. Afghanistan is not Iraq which was an easy target due to its terrain, years of destructive sanctions further weakened by being the favorite bombing site for our macho presidents from H.W. Bush to Clinton. To make matters worse the U.S. has never really had what you would call great generals despite what Hollywood would have you believe. During WWII European generals, for the most part, never thought much of American generals. What really gave America an advantage was the power of our industry which could manufacture vast amounts of weapons in a very short time period. However this will avail Obama very little in what would most certainly be a protracted war of attrition where conventional warfare would be of little value. And to what end? What is to be gained? This of course is where the ideology of the sainted “humanitarian” interventions comes into play which is so beloved by our Democratic leadership. In order to commit atrocities even the venal must justify to themselves their greed and avarice by describing imperialism as humanitarian interventions, a thin veil for the profit of the military-industrial-scientific complex that has overthrown our republic -- another byproduct of that great and good war WWII.

While being the hammer of God may give liberals their chance to prove once and for all that they are true patriots aglow in their own conceit of bringing the world, a world that they understand little, up to their own glorious standards the hammer that they wield with such enthusiasm is more liable to fall on their own foot and then we shall all feel their pain.

Dennis Perrin sums this up rather nicely with the following excerpt from his recent essay.


States aren't moral agents. They don't have personalities or pet peeves. States represent the interests of those who rule them. And it's in the interest of our present rulers to reboot the American brand. Words like "morality" and "ideals" are smokescreens, blown in the faces of the public. Bush used the same words, but fewer and fewer people believed him. It was his own damn fault. A cheap failure in so many ways, Bush's recklessness made Obama's ascent not only possible, but inevitable. His actions weren't out of the mainstream of imperial thought, just riskier, crazier, more destructive. Bush's tactics were questioned, but not his crusade, which remains with us. His violence didn't seriously bother Democrats, as they continually helped finance it. So all this "new day" blather is utter bullshit. What's new is that we have a better, smoother bullshitter in office.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Strange Nation

Americans are a weird bunch, no doubt about it. Half of them spend half their time living in a past that never really existed except in their fevered brains. The other half never thinks about it, the key being never thinks. What passes for thinking seems to consist mostly of violent emotions related to whatever Through the Looking Glass world they inhabit, mostly places I would never want to go.

The apologists for Israel and the peace party Demolition-crats just seem to get shriller by the hour. Even after the astonishingly brutal attack on Gaza by Israel the apologists cling to their fantasy world blaming the Palestinians for their own fate of being stomped into the dirt by Israel. As the Israeli munch their ground Palestinian burgers, blood spattering on their shirts like ketchup, the apologists continue to live in their Salvador Dali landscapes replete with the grotesque and fantastic.

The sad truth of it is that though some people will and have come around to the awful reality of what Israel is others simply won’t and no amount of argument or fact pointing will make the slightest dent in their armor. I guess people just aren’t wired the same way. I make no claims for owning the monopoly on truth so all I can do is call it as I see it. Every time I get suckered into an argument with an apologist I just want to kick myself for being such a dumb-ass for it is generally a waste of time. Better to just write my little screeds which I find has a therapeutic effect to counter the insanity I am immersed in having the good or bad luck of being born an American and surrounded by them with their buzz cuts, large trucks, and arrogant demeanor. This is nothing new, it’s not like Americans just became what they are. Indeed, Mark Twain often wrote about it in his short stories and books especially when he was in his darker moods.

Part of the American “we are the good guys” fantasy was our role in the so-called good war, WWII where America supposedly saved the world. I question that WWII was good. It was actually the worst war. The entire world went mad where the destruction of human life reached unheard of levels. Out of this madness many Americans have woven a false history where we saved the Jews from the Nazis. Saving the Jews from the Nazis had absolutely nothing to do with why we entered WWII it was merely an unintentional byproduct. In fact America would have been just as happy to sit by as the holocaust occurred as indeed which is what most of the world did just as they have done as Israel murders Palestinians this last attack being merely the latest atrocity by Israel. Most of the time the crucial role of Russia in defeating Nazi Germany is ignored completely and it is as if the U.S. single handedly won the war. But so goes the national narrative.

The other fantasy that Americans cling to is that we are “reasonable” people. I am quickly reaching the point where “reasonable” people are driving me nuts. It’s always reasonable to support the Democrats because they are more reasonable than the Republicans. It’s always “reasonable” to blindly support Israel because they are like us in so many ways while the Arabs are, well you know, those crazy religious fanatics who are so unreasonable. It is so American to view the Arab world as a monolithic block who through some mysterious way all share the same beliefs and world views unlike us “free thinking” gringos. The basic theory for most Americans is that Arabs are these cruel crazies while we are the kindly enlightened westerners. Never mind that a good chunk of the American public believes in UFOs, the devil, heaven, angels and other such drivel. Never mind that some Americans go to churches where during the service they begin to tremble, shake, and roll on the floor and speak in tongues. We aren’t crazy though. Yeah, right.

It is so god damned reasonable to prattle on about how great we are to have finally elected a black man as president while people are being blown into body fragments their brains, guts, and blood splattering the ground. It’s so “reasonable” to congratulate ourselves for doing things that ought to have been done over one hundred years ago, indeed things other nations have already been doing. It’s so bloody reasonable to blather about how the Obamas will rearrange the White House during their “historic” stay there even as IDF soldiers put bullets into the skulls of young Palestinian children murdering them execution style. If this is being reasonable then I don’t want to have anything to do with it. You can keep it.

There are actually a few reasonable Americans who for some reason were able to shake off American culture to see the world in a more realistic fashion and one of these is Noam Chomsky. The first time I became aware of Chomsky was on the TV program Frontline who was doing a story on how the main stream news media was influenced by corporate America. Chomsky was defending the right of an author who claimed that the holocaust never happened to publish his book. All the “reasonable” people couldn’t understand a very simple idea which was that though the author was a ding-bat he had every right to publish his book. It is part and parcel with freedom of speech that “reasonable” people love to babble about. They accused Chomsky of being all manner of vile and evil things with their eyes bugging out and their double chins quivering. It really opened my eyes to the hypocrisy and fantasy of American culture. Sickening really. But that is how powerful the national narrative is in regards to our relationship with Israel and how much we identify with it. For to question Israel is to question the goodness of America and perhaps at the root of this lies the unavoidable correlation of the holocaust with the very American holocaust against the Native Americans. Oh God, I know, every time I bring that topic up I can hear the same voices – but that was so long ago, that’s in the past, it’s got nothing to do with us today, what should we do, give it back to the Indians? Actually that might not be a bad idea but the main point is that Americans don’t want to be bothered with such thoughts, it after all isn’t really reasonable.

It has taken years for me to really understand what Chomsky is all about and where he is coming from and even then I needed a little help along the way. That, of course, is the power of culture which is a power that truly needs to be reckoned with in order to understand the force of its impact on our views. Culture is the ultimate dictator that tells us how we should act, dress, what to eat, how to interact, indeed it defines our entire world view and is not easily shrugged off but it is always a worthwhile effort to make though all too few ever do.

At any rate Noam Chomsky has recently written about Israel and Gaza and is well worth reading. Here is the link and an excerpt.


On Saturday December 27, the latest US-Israeli attack on helpless Palestinians was launched. The attack had been meticulously planned, for over 6 months according to the Israeli press. The planning had two components: military and propaganda. It was based on the lessons of Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon, which was considered to be poorly planned and badly advertised. We may, therefore, be fairly confident that most of what has been done and said was pre-planned and intended.
That surely includes the timing of the assault: shortly before noon, when children were returning from school and crowds were milling in the streets of densely populated Gaza City. It took only a few minutes to kill over 225 people and wound 700, an auspicious opening to the mass slaughter of defenseless civilians trapped in a tiny cage with nowhere to flee.

In his retrospective "Parsing Gains of Gaza War," New York Times correspondent Ethan Bronner cited this achievement as one of the most significant of the gains. Israel calculated that it would be advantageous to appear to "go crazy," causing vastly disproportionate terror, a doctrine that traces back to the 1950s. "The Palestinians in Gaza got the message on the first day," Bronner wrote, "when Israeli warplanes struck numerous targets simultaneously in the middle of a Saturday morning. Some 200 were killed instantly, shocking Hamas and indeed all of Gaza." The tactic of "going crazy" appears to have been successful, Bronner concluded: there are "limited indications that the people of Gaza felt such pain from this war that they will seek to rein in Hamas," the elected government. That is another long-standing doctrine of state terror. I don't, incidentally, recall the Times retrospective "Parsing Gains of Chechnya War," though the gains were great.

The meticulous planning also presumably included the termination of the assault, carefully timed to be just before the inauguration, so as to minimize the (remote) threat that Obama might have to say some words critical of these vicious US-supported crimes.

Two weeks after the Sabbath opening of the assault, with much of Gaza already pounded to rubble and the death toll approaching 1000, the UN Agency UNRWA, on which most Gazans depend for survival, announced that the Israeli military refused to allow aid shipments to Gaza, saying that the crossings were closed for the Sabbath. To honor the holy day, Palestinians at the edge of survival must be denied food and medicine, while hundreds can be slaughtered by US jet bombers and helicopters.

The rigorous observance of the Sabbath in this dual fashion attracted little if any notice. That makes sense. In the annals of US-Israeli criminality, such cruelty and cynicism scarcely merit more than a footnote. They are too familiar. To cite one relevant parallel, in June 1982 the US-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon opened with the bombing of the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, later to become famous as the site of terrible massacres supervised by the IDF (Israeli "Defense" Forces). The bombing hit the local hospital -- the Gaza hospital -- and killed over 200 people, according to the eyewitness account of an American Middle East academic specialist. The massacre was the opening act in an invasion that slaughtered some 15-20,000 people and destroyed much of southern Lebanon and Beirut, proceeding with crucial US military and diplomatic support. That included vetoes of Security Council resolutions seeking to halt the criminal aggression that was undertaken, as scarcely concealed, to defend Israel from the threat of peaceful political settlement, contrary to many convenient fabrications about Israelis suffering under intense rocketing, a fantasy of apologists.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cunning of History, Now

There was a very interesting little book, published around the time of the Nixon Administration's fall, called The Cunning of History, by Richard L. Rubenstein. It was about the Holocaust during World War II. It talked about the responsibility for the mass extermination of Jews, but not just from the efficiency of the Nazi killing machine. The book expanded the blame beyond Hitler and the prison guards.

If Rubenstein had written the book today he'd have a lot more data at hand to draw from. His chapter "Mass Death and Contemporary Civilization" would have had so many more recent parallels to compare, from Cambodia to the AIDS epidemic, for example. In 1975 there wasn't common knowledge of, say, IBM's complicity and how the Nazis used IBM punchcards in order to keep track of the Jews in Germany. His chapter "The Modernization of Slavery" after examining how the Nazis worked people to death could have compared that process to the global sweat shops under "free trade". And while he pointed to the collaboration of British and American figures of state in allowing the Holocaust to run its course while justifying their failure to intervene, Rubenstein had no clue in 1975 that America's most prominent political family in the second half of the Twentieth Century, the Bushes, had the foundation of its modern fortune built handling Nazi investments on Wall Street. Nor was it common knowledge then how graciously fascist and Nazi residua had been welcomed into Western intelligence services after WWII.

An article by Robert Fisk, who's been reporting in the Middle East for years, reminded me of a chapter towards the end of Rubenstein's book, "The Victim's Response: Bureaucratic Self-Destruction". Rubenstein wrote:

Regrettably, those who avoid objective reflection on the Jewish response add to the confusion concerning what took place. Every assault requires at least two actors. Even the most innocent victim is part of the process of his own undoing by virtue of the fact that he did not or could not take protective measures. The very helplessness or ignorance of the victim is an indispensable part of what takes place.

In reality, we know that the leaders of one of Europe's most numerous Jewish communities, the Hungarian, had accurate knowledge of what was taking place, yet they were as little capable of resistance as any of the other Jewish communities. From 1942 to 1944, while most of Europe's Jews were being killed, the Hungarian government, one of Germany's wartime allies, resisted German attempts to take charge of Jews who were Hungarian citizens. The Hungarian government was willing to hand over to the Germans Jews settled in non-Hungarian regions under its control. It was not willing to permit the extermination of its own citizens, although it did subject them to harsh, anti-Semitic measures.

The situation of Hungary's Jews changed radically when the Germans occupied Hungary in March 1944 and began making their own arrangements for the "deportation" of the Jews. According to Dr. Rudolf Kastner, a controversial wartime leader of Hungary's Zionist organization:

In Budapest we had a unique opportunity to follow the fate of European Jewry. We had seen how they had been disappearing one after the other from the map of Europe. At the moment of the occupation of Hungary, the number of dead Jews amounted to over five million.... We knew more than was necessary about Auschwitz.... We had, as early as 1942, a complete picture of what had happened in the East with the Jews deported to Auschwitz and the other concentration camps.

Yet, in spite of what was known, Adolf Eichmann was able to convince the community's leaders in a single session that they had nothing to fear as long as they cooperated fully with the SS. The cooperation involved Jewish supervision of enforced ghettoization, confiscation of real and personal property, and finally deportation for "labor service" in Poland. Although these were the same measures used by the Germans everywhere to ensure the smooth functioning of the extermination program, Hungarian Jews permitted themselves to accept Eichmann's word that this time the process would stop short of the final step. Apparently, the horror that awaited them was so great that they chose to grasp at the most pathetic delusion rather than face it. That the delusion was self-imposed can be seen in one of the most extraordinary letters ever written by leaders of a community in modern times. On May 3, 1944, at the height of the savage deportation process, The Central Jewish Council of Hungary wrote a letter seeking an audience with Andor Janosz, the puppet minister of the interior who had been hand-picked by the Germans to facilitate the deportation of almost 1,000,000 Jews.

"We emphatically declare that we do not seek the audience to lodge complaints about the merit of the measures adopted, but merely to ask that they be carried out in a humane spirit." There was to be no protest about mass extermination, only discussion of how to make the deaths easier for the victims. It was actually easier for the Germans to exterminate the Hungarian Jews than it had been for them to kill those who had previously been exterminated.

It reminded me of Flannery O'Connor's short story, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find". If you've read it, you'll understand the reference.

More Rubenstein:

During the Holocaust, there was some sporadic resistance to the Germans, the most spectacular instance of resistance being the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Jews did not resist. They had been conditioned by their religious culture to submit and endure... Such submission was the last chapter in the history of a cultural and psychological transformation begun by the rabbis and Pharisees almost two thousand years before.

I could go further and suggest that all religions, at their core, demand a submission of the self to the higher being and that the nature of being religious puts the individual at risk to the whims of the powerful who always insinuate their business plan into God's will. Religions become 12-step programs where the individual must admit his failures, foibles and powerlessness and then do what is supposed to be God's will, which usually gives the powerful more power and wealth at the individual's peril. Religions eventually tend to shake out as hierarchies. And states justify themselves as a part of His Will, thus the State assumes the cloak of God, even states that claim a separation of church and state.

The first century philosopher Seneca wrote: "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." While you chew on that one, take a look at the Mideast again.

It was this Robert Fisk article to which I previously referred:

There was a day when we worried about the "Arab masses" – the millions of "ordinary" Arabs on the streets of Cairo, Kuwait, Amman, Beirut – and their reaction to the constant bloodbaths in the Middle East. Could Anwar Sadat restrain the anger of his people? And now – after three decades of Hosni Mubarak – can Mubarak (or "La Vache Qui Rit", as he is still called in Cairo) restrain the anger of his people? The answer, of course, is that Egyptians and Kuwaitis and Jordanians will be allowed to shout in the streets of their capitals – but then they will be shut down, with the help of the tens of thousands of secret policemen and government militiamen who serve the princes and kings and elderly rulers of the Arab world.

Egyptians demand that Mubarak open the Rafah crossing-point into Gaza, break off diplomatic relations with Israel, even send weapons to Hamas. And there is a kind of perverse beauty in listening to the response of the Egyptian government: why not complain about the three gates which the Israelis refuse to open? And anyway, the Rafah crossing-point is politically controlled by the four powers that produced the "road map" for peace, including Britain and the US. Why blame Mubarak?

To admit that Egypt can't even open its sovereign border without permission from Washington tells you all you need to know about the powerlessness of the satraps that run the Middle East for us.

Open the Rafah gate – or break off relations with Israel – and Egypt's economic foundations crumble. Any Arab leader who took that kind of step will find that the West's economic and military support is withdrawn. Without subventions, Egypt is bankrupt. Of course, it works both ways. Individual Arab leaders are no longer going to make emotional gestures for anyone. When Sadat flew to Jerusalem – "I am tired of the dwarves," he said of his fellow Arab leaders – he paid the price with his own blood at the Cairo reviewing-stand where one of his own soldiers called him a "Pharaoh" before shooting him dead.

The true disgrace of Egypt, however, is not in its response to the slaughter in Gaza. It is the corruption that has become embedded in an Egyptian society where the idea of service – health, education, genuine security for ordinary people – has simply ceased to exist. It's a land where the first duty of the police is to protect the regime, where protesters are beaten up by the security police, where young women objecting to Mubarak's endless regime – likely to be passed on caliph-like to his son Gamal, whatever we may be told – are sexually molested by plain-clothes agents, where prisoners in the Tora-Tora complex are forced to rape each other by their guards. Imagine how clearly what is happening in Gaza, and in Israel, Egypt and the capitols of Islam, and in Washington, DC (or in Mumbai or Lhasa) would be if motives weren't concealed under the mantle of religion?

Imagine if every Israeli incursion weren't dipped in its religious "right to exist" over other's property rights (God as The Great Real Estate Agent In The Sky), or if every Qassam weren't launched in a vain holy fervor?

I think most people who find their way to Dead Horse have an appreciation of the immorality of Israel bombing the infrastructure of Gaza into smithereens while taking out civilians along the way. And Dead Horse readers can understand that creating mass starvation is, well, evil. But can anyone honestly say that lobbing rockets into Israel has benefited the Gazans one iota? Although Palestinian rocketry hasn't killed many Israelis, it's the thought that counts. If it's a symbol of resistance, then it is a symbol that gives Israel the figleaf to do what it has done and will do again. It would make more sense for unarmed Palestinian men, women and children to march on the gates of Israel, shout out, "You are starving us," and let the Israeli machine guns mow them down. That would remove the ambiguity that Qassam rockets provide. Either Israel's worst ambitions would finally be exposed to even the strongest supporter of Israel or it would end the Gazans' suffering and we could move on to other things about which to wring our hands. Instead we have this continuous bloodbath that never resolves meted out over the years.

Hamas wraps itself in the cloak of its own true religion. It uses its own true religion to motivate its population. While intellectuals in the West discuss the moral issues of this carnage Hamas justifies itself as the agent of Allah's good intentions. To that end it is no better or worse than Israel, except that Israel has bigger and better weapons and so Hamas knows it goes into every military engagement with the likelihood of producing many more martyrs than Israel can ever hope to have. But that's good for Hamas because they have a bigger reserve of unemployed and martyrs are a fine way to earn points for going to Heaven. And it strengthens the religious bonds in which the people of Gaza are held. Because religion answers the age-old question: What is the reason for all this shit?

And, of course, if we zoom out we can see that Hamas gets enough aid from corrupt Middle Eastern allies to continue the deadly dance. And the U.S. helps to keep its dancer, Israel, on the dance floor. It's enough to continue this without pushing it to the endgame where Israel becomes so endangered that it unleashes its nuclear arsenal and makes Islam glow from Tangiers to Jakarta.

If Hamas intends for its population to be martyrs, then line them up and let the killing begin. But I suspect that the continuation of Hamas the political organization requires martyrs to be doled out over time. In that way they are an improvement over the Jewish leaders in WWII Hungary who had no long-term goals, just a need to keep the process dignified. Any admission by Palestinian leadership of Israel's inevitability will end up in their replacement by others who are willing to continue the fantasy of Jews drowning in the Mediterranean at some point in the hazy future.

The most discouraging point of all this was that after the Israelis withdrew from Gaza Hamas held rallies proclaiming that they had "won" the war. How about that? That is a guarantee that the promise of martyrdom and the hope of an imaginary victory over Israel has a stronger pull on the population than the grim reality that sags around them. As you read this there is undoubtedly a sixteen year-old in Gaza City mulling the irony of using a piece of sheet metal from the wreckage of Israel's invasion to make a rocket to shoot back over the border.

At some point the drunk in the bar who gets punched out by the bully and then gets back up to be punched in the face again owns his broken nose. The followers of Hamas are drunk, on religion.

Set me up, bartender.

Racist America Racist Israel

The Nose Job

Obama will make a few changes here and there most of them designed to put a pretty face on imperialism such as his recent request to halt the trials at Gitmo for 120 days. Gitmo is perhaps the most obvious wart on America’s nose so it is perhaps logical if one is going to put a pretty face on imperialism to give it a nose job. Keep in mind that Gitmo is just the tip of the iceberg for kidnapping innocent people and sending them to other nations where torture and death soon follow. I wouldn’t expect that to change nor even hear any mention of it from our new prince. After all torture is a traditional American value whose roots go back to the invasion of the Philippines over one hundred years ago. And once precedents are set, like extraordinary rendition, they usually become a permanent fixture. And if there is one Gitmo there are bound to be many more just like it. So the real beauty of this is that if and when Obama does close Gitmo the others will be free to operate all the more unfettered because, after all, we closed Gitmo didn’t we? Mission accomplished.

It is not that I am unaware or immune to the fact that a black man could finally become president yet I find this of little significance considering what being president actually entails. What it entails is the continuance of projecting violence, interfering in other nation’s governments, regime change, assassination, and extraordinary rendition (think kidnapping) and an unquestioning belief that the ends justify the means. For if one is to seek such power as the American presidency it is required that one should fully believe in America’s right to rule the world as it sees fit which seems to justify just about any atrocity.

Furthermore before I go gaga for Obama as some kind of symbol that racism is now a thing of the past in America it will take much more than Obama’s claim that blacks are ninety percent on their way to being equal to eradicate racism in America. To believe such a statement borders on the moronic. If anything such beliefs may make it more difficult for blacks to achieve the same social and economic status as white males. The same thing holds true for our imperial wars. Making war prettier and more palatable for the public hardly changes the sickening stench of such things and only makes it more difficult to halt. These are the hazards of putting your trust in charismatic leaders which Obama seems to be for many. I don’t find him so charismatic myself but perhaps after eight years of an ugly smirking chimp even Obama can appear to be charismatic to the desperate.

Frankly I find the changing of the guard with the coming of Obama to be of little importance at all. What is important is that the mean machine of arrogant American military aggression will continue unabated if not downright accelerated which is more likely than not considering Obama’s repeated claims for America leading the world. It is quite likely that we are in the twilight of our imperial endeavors as the focus of our imperial wars changes to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. For one thing there is the fact that we cannot sustain paying the gargantuan and ruinous costs of invading and occupying foreign nations. Secondly, the military is already stretched beyond what they can actually accomplish which is likely the true fount for Obama’s enthusiasm for making nice with other nations in that he will need not only their cooperation but the warm bodies of their troops. Be that as it may the twilight of American aggression can continue on for many a year especially if it gets infusions of fresh blood from other nations.

The Only Good Palestinian is a Dead Palestinian

Though Americans shiver in their boots at the mere mention of that all-encompassing term “terrorist” (anyone who is a victim of or objects to being a victim of U.S. terrorism) the true terrorists are the U.S. government and the Israel government. For sixty odd years Israel has been terrorizing the Palestinians while gobbling up their land. And they have been doing so with the full approval of and support of the U.S. government. State Terror has become the main export of the U.S. and it is little wonder that Obama has remained silent on the massacre we have all just witnessed. To think, to even imagine, that we are the true terrorists is completely beyond the comprehension of the completely indoctrinated Obama whose only real objection to the Iraq War was that it was the wrong war though that did not stop him for waxing orgasmic over the “success” of the recent so-called surge in Iraq.

Civilians have always been the purposeful targets of military operations by both the U.S. and the Israeli. It was true in Vietnam and Iraq and it is true in Gaza. How else could one possibly describe the intentional bombing of schools, hospitals, ambulances, universities and what have you? The intention of such tactics of course is the idea that if you make the civilians suffer greatly enough they will then cease to support Hamas. But it is far more likely that the exact opposite is true. No, there is nothing quite like state terror and compared to the U.S. and Israel bin Laden is small potatoes. In fact it is a disservice to actually refer to what is occurring in Gaza as an actual war for nothing could be further from the truth. It is actually nothing but pure murder with a modern well equipped and well funded army on one side and helpless victims of state terror on the other. The predominant philosophy of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force, as if it was ever used for defense or anything but aggression) is if it moves, shoot it.

Recently I have been reading that the idea Hamas was democratically elected is a myth. Really? Really and truly? This is a remarkable interpretation of history though as we know history is often rewritten to suit the conscience of people who do not want the truth to be known. Why even the Washington Post has said that Hamas was democratically elected and the WaPo is hardly known for being anything but the mouthpiece of the ruling class and cheerleaders for war here in the States.


RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 26 -- The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians' relations with Israel and the rest of the world.

In Wednesday's voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.

Fatah, which has dominated the legislature since the previous elections a decade ago and the Palestinian cause for far longer, won 43 seats. A collection of nationalist, leftist and independent parties claimed the rest.

Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, another Fatah leader, resigned his post along with his cabinet early Thursday, as reports of Hamas's victory began to circulate. Although the cabinet would have been required to step aside even if Fatah had retained its majority, Qureia acknowledged in submitting his resignation that Hamas had earned the right to form the next cabinet.

"This is the choice of the people," Qureia, a member of the party's discredited old guard who did not run for reelection, told reporters here. "It should be respected."

That seems clear to me, Hamas was elected by the Palestinians in a democratic election. But this was clearly too much for Israel and the U.S. for in our convictions of our own sainthood as the moral leaders of the world we cannot and have not tolerated anyone or any nation to defy us (unless they could fight back). By the way this is the true reason for our aggressive posture towards Iran for Iran is defying the incomparable and almighty U.S. and how dare they? Iran was never a threat to the U.S., and their supposed pursuit of nuclear weapons is not the reason for causing U.S. ire against them. It is the fact that they dare defy us and it is highly likely that they will be made an example of just as Israel is making an example of Gaza as a reminder to those who forget who the real masters are.

For Gaza though there is much more than just teaching the Palestinians a lesson. It is that the Israeli wish to ensure that the Palestinians remain without any influence on Israeli policy, a policy that includes the eventual complete eradication of Palestinians or crushing them so completely that they will never achieve any kind of statehood that those dirty brown animals might use to cause Israel to make any concessions at all. For in the end the essence of this slaughter is out and out racism and just as white America did their best to keep the darkies from voting and impregnating their white women so the Israeli are afraid that the darkies might someday dictate to the mighty whites of Israel who after all are mostly white European immigrants.

Surely the irony of Obama being the panacea for racism while supporting the slaughter of Palestinians cannot be lost on you liberals out there, or perhaps it is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here Comes the New Boss

Stelios Varias,Reuters

A friend who knows my political views asked me: "you're not looking forward to tomorrow, are you?" Referring of course to the ascent of Obama to the presidential throne. Now to be honest, I don't know how I feel about Obama, expressed on a simple level of positive/negative, good/bad, what have you. Unlike Rob Payne, I'm willing to acknowledge that between Obama and McCain, Obama might be marginally preferable, notwithstanding the embarrassment evoked by the contingent who insist on treating him like he can part the sea and persuade the sun to shine.

That's not the same as saying I think he was a desirable choice for president per se, or even for the democratic nomination-- but I'll get to that. This April Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will turn 89, later this year Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be 76, and in fact the youngest of the liberal members of the court, Stephen Breyer, will turn 70 in 2009. I would have preferred somebody like Dennis Kucinich or even John Edwards had been the president to appoint Stevens's and Ginsberg's replacements, but that was not to be. I note this because it's pretty likely they will retire soon, and with a certain unease I'll nevertheless assert that I prefer Obama rather than McCain(or Palin) be the person to appoint their replacements.

In spite of what I see as the broader reality of Obama's nature as a corporatist quisling, I imagine some modest benefits will emerge from Obama being president rather than McCain. Federal policy on stem-cell research may become sane again, and (possibly) his environmental policies will be better than McCain's would have been. But as far as foreign and economic policy go, I doubt we'll see anything that represents "hope" or "change", with or without ironic quotation marks.

I suppose the thing I find so maddening about the ascendancy of Obama is it comes along at precisely the moment that the broader public was probably readier than they have been in decades for a real liberal reformer in the white house, what with the many missteps of the second George Bush and his cronies. And instead we get Barack Obama, who seems intent on repackaging soak-the-poor and destroy-the-welfare-state politics as the new, new liberalism, the variety you didn't know you wanted until he came along and cleared things up. It seems so abundantly clear to me that he's a fraud, a speaker of pretty words that flatter the ill-informed, and that his bipartisan, "post-ideological" ethos is really just craven opportunism, the positioning of a product-- which in this case is also a person-- in the marketplace of politics so it looks its best in the available light.

And yet, on one side of our screwy political culture we have the Obamazoids who want to flash a victory sign and cheer their new messiah so they can stop thinking and just groove on a warm feeling, and on the other the talk-radio cretins who insist that he's a socialist(?!), possibly because he doesn't want to bomb Ahmedinejad without talking to him first, or because he's never hunted moose from an airplane. Or because he's black.

About that. Although the historical significance of our first black president has been over-sold, I think even people understandably leery of the hype and the cult of Obama need to allow that his election is a sign of social progress, even if you have to qualify it by also recognizing how strenuously Obama bent over backwards to reassure middle America that he was the nice, non-threatening type of black guy, the one that Hollywood leads us to believe will absolve us of our sins in the great shopping mall in the sky.

Another friend tells me to "give him a chance," as if my attitude makes the least bit of difference. While I don't think my attitude towards Obama is remotely relevant, I'm guessing my attitude towards his flock does matter. It's probably vanity to hope to personally change the political landscape for the better, at least in terms of measurable individual effort. But collective effort is the sum of the individuals who try to achieve.....thing x, whatever that thing is, whether it's through the march of a million people or the raising of a hundred million dollars for a cause.

When I saw a news story in October about the Obama organization raising 150 million dollars in 30 days, roughly concurrent with the demise of Cursor, I couldn't help but think about that, about how the flesh is willing, the collective progressive impulse is there, but the collective mind is weak, misdirected by personality-oriented politics. The people at Cursor said all they need is about 75 grand to run for a year,a sum Obama could raise in less than half an hour. And Cursor did more to wake people up to the issues of the day than a hundred celebrity-penned Huffington Post op-eds. Not in terms of audience size, unfortunately, but in terms of the quality and relevance of the content.

But-- also unfortunately-- that clearly isn't enough. I thought about that ironic disconnect again today, when I saw the images of over one million-- and possibly close to two million-- people converging at the mall in D.C. to see Obama become president-- of how the collective progressive impulse is there, but that, functionally, Obama is an agent of (the co-option of) change.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people," or so the old saying goes. It may well be true, but making fun of those millions who believe in Obama the savior of America rather than reaching out to them is willful and vain and stupid. Large numbers of them, black and white and otherwise, will experience a letdown when Obama emerges as just another politician, and to borrow from Barack himself, that will be a "teachable moment."

Remind yourself of 2003, and how unlikely George Bush's days with lower ratings than Nixon seemed when he was prancing around on that aircraft carrier. Obama undoubtedly has more sense than Bush Junior, at least as far as permitting himself such an unrestrained display of hubris, but even he has to realize that you can't get an 80 percent approval rating just for being the president-elect without an inevitable falling action being in store. And how much of his current approval is mere approval for his not-George-Bush quality? Even you and I and the cashier at Quiznos possess that same quality, and as far as I know nobody voted for us.

I could say, "naturally I hope I'm wrong about Obama...." largely out of a desire to seem like a reasonable person. Well sure, I do hope I'm wrong, but I think such a hope is insufficient, and the afore-mentioned letdown is coming. And I repeat: simply making fun of the millions who believe in him is unwise, insofar as large numbers of them WILL decide he isn't what they hoped he would be. And then what? Some of them are-- will be-- reachable.

(If anything, I'd guess that a lot of the newly politicized Obamazoids are among the more reachable, because their brains aren't as full of the accomodationist bullshit that so many regular rank-and-file democrats have crammed their craniums with, the kind of folks that Dennis Perrin regularly warns us about.)

In the meantime, liberalism is bleeding in the gutter where it was left by Reagan, and the Clintons, and Fox news, and by the democratic party leadership, and the faux-liberal putative left who eagerly swallow one "third way" capitulation after another, and by the rest of the news networks... and Obama.

cross-posted at Hugo Zoom.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Mr. Oreo Comes to Washington

I have a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach on this glorious inauguration eve. When I was growing up blacks had a saying about guys like Obama, he’s an Oreo cookie, black on the outside and white on the inside. If I drank I would need a drink as the clock ticks closer to our “historic” moment.

Millions of dollars spent, 11,000 troops, and millions of milling multitudes of suckers will all be fainting and sighing over Abraham Obama who will be doing everything but wearing Lincoln’s hat for this auspicious farce, a tribute to the adamant stupidity of idiot America.

During the election people were supporting Obama as an alternative to Hillary Clinton and John McCain both of whom Obama has brought into the fold. Three for the price of one should have been Obama’s campaign slogan.

Obama brings us the promise of expanding the war on terror in numerous arenas from the Middle East to Russia. Obama has promised to keep Gitmo operating for at least another year. Obama has promised to slash Medicare, Medicaid, and social security even as millions of people find themselves unemployed while the price of basics like food skyrockets. Obama has brought the worst of the worst into his administration including “realist” Bob Gates who boiled cats as a youth. Obama wants corporate America and the military to take the place of public schools.

I always thought Lincoln looked like an undertaker so perhaps it is fitting that Obama seeks to emulate Lincoln. For if nothing else Obama is the grand undertaker ready to pound the nails into America’s coffin and deep six it for all time. That will be Obama’s job as the next imperial manager, to slaughter more and more people while he strangles the last breath of our miniscule remaining freedoms. This is truly an historic moment.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Goes There?

Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

--Macbeth by William Shakespeare

And who will call Israel to account? Israel does what Israel wants as the only thing opposing them is tiny Gaza with its homemade rockets. And though it has been said that the U.S. is the only nation that can halt the genocide and murder of Palestinians at the bloody hands of Israel perhaps this is no longer true.

Though the only nation that is solidly behind the Israeli assault on Gaza, the great American public, as well as our Israel fawning Congress is it possible that Americans cannot tell their friends from their enemies?


In the face of worldwide criticism — apart from the United States, where the public squarely backs Israel, according to a recent McClatchy/Ipsos poll — Israelis are defiant. The independent newspaper Haaretz reported Thursday that 82 percent of Israelis surveyed said the country's military hadn't "gone too far" in its use of force in Gaza.

Of course Americans have a short memory and mostly have only the vaguest idea why they support the murderous slaughter barfing out malformed thoughts such as “well Israel is of the west” and other such half baked ideas soaked in ignorance so perhaps it is a good time to recall the incident of the USS Liberty that was attacked by the IDF killing 37 U.S. sailors and wounding 174 many of them seriously. As is often the case in such matters where the needs of the government are at odds with the needs of the many that they rule the tale of the USS Liberty is a tale twice told and as is said in mystery novels murder will out. I do not bring this up to demonize the people of Israel some of whom do not support the Gaza assault for it is a tale that illustrates how little the lives of any nation’s people mean to their government and how quickly people forget the past. It is also a tale that reveals that war crimes are nothing new to the Israeli government.

Jeffery St. Claire revisits the incident of the USS Liberty describing how it was covered up by the U.S. government who value their own positions of power more than the value your life.


In early June of 1967, at the onset of the Six Day War, the Pentagon sent the USS Liberty from Spain into international waters off the coast of Gaza to monitor the progress of Israel's attack on the Arab states. The Liberty was a lightly armed surveillance ship.

Only hours after the Liberty arrived it was spotted by the Israeli military. The IDF sent out reconnaissance planes to identify the ship. They made eight trips over a period of three hours. The Liberty was flying a large US flag and was easily recognizable as an American vessel.

A few hours later more planes came. These were Israeli Mirage III fighters, armed with rockets and machine guns. As off-duty officers sunbathed on the deck, the fighters opened fire on the defenseless ship with rockets and machine guns.

A few minutes later a second wave of planes streaked overhead, French-built Mystere jets, which not only pelted the ship with gunfire but also with napalm bomblets, coating the deck with the flaming jelly. By now, the Liberty was on fire and dozens were wounded and killed, excluding several of the ship's top officers.

The Liberty's radio team tried to issue a distress call, but discovered the frequencies had been jammed by the Israeli planes with what one communications specialist called "a buzzsaw sound." Finally, an open channel was found and the Liberty got out a message it was under attack to the USS America, the Sixth Fleet's large aircraft carrier.

Two F-4s left the carrier to come to the Liberty's aid. Apparently, the jets were armed only with nuclear weapons. When word reached the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara became irate and ordered the jets to return. "Tell the Sixth Fleet to get those aircraft back immediately," he barked. McNamara's injunction was reiterated in saltier terms by Admiral David L. McDonald, the chief of Naval Operations: "You get those fucking airplanes back on deck, and you get them back down." The planes turned around. And the attack on the Liberty continued.

After the Israeli fighter jets had emptied their arsenal of rockets, three Israeli attack boats approached the Liberty. Two torpedoes were launched at the crippled ship, one tore a 40-foot wide hole in the hull, flooding the lower compartments, and killing more than a dozen American sailors.

As the Liberty listed in the choppy seas, its deck aflame, crew members dropped life rafts into the water and prepared to scuttle the ship. Given the number of wounded, this was going to be a dangerous operation. But it soon proved impossible, as the Israeli attack boats strafed the rafts with machine gun fire. No body was going to get out alive that way.

After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. An officer asked in English over a bullhorn: "Do you need any help?"

The wounded commander of the Liberty, Lt. William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: "Fuck you."

The Israeli boat turned and left.

Our national leaders are ever so fond of laving their heartfelt love on those who they so easily and arbitrarily send to their deaths while they sit at home getting their palms greased by the so-called “defense” industry but when it comes to saving their own asses brother it is every man for himself for there is much more to this tale than the attack itself which is the manner in which the whole episode was covered up by our vaunted heroes in the government who we are told are serving their nation out of an unswerving patriotism.

The Pentagon lied to the public about the attack on the Liberty from the very beginning. In a decision personally approved by the loathsome McNamara, the Pentagon denied to the press that the Liberty was an intelligence ship, referring to it instead as a Technical Research ship, as if it were little more than a military version of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso.

The military press corps on the USS America, where most of the wounded sailors had been taken, were placed under extreme restrictions. All of the stories filed from the carrier were first routed through the Pentagon for security clearance, objectionable material was removed with barely a bleat of protest from the reporters or their publications.

Predictably, Israel's first response was to blame the victim, a tactic that has served them so well in the Palestinian situation. First, the IDF alleged that it had asked the State Department and the Pentagon to identify any US ships in the area and was told that there were none. Then the Israeli government charged that the Liberty failed to fly its flag and didn't respond to calls for it to identify itself. The Israelis contended that they assumed the Liberty was an Egyptian supply ship called El Quseir, which, even though it was a rusting transport ship then docked in Alexandria, the IDF said it suspected of shelling Israeli troops from the sea. Under these circumstances, the Israeli's said they were justified in opening fire on the Liberty. The Israelis said that they halted the attack almost immediately, when they realized their mistake.

"The Liberty contributed decisively toward its identification as an enemy ship," the IDF report concluded. This was a blatant falsehood, since the Israelis had identified the Liberty at least six hours prior to the attack on the ship.

Even though the Pentagon knew better, it gave credence to the Israeli account by saying that perhaps the Liberty's flag had lain limp on the flagpole in a windless sea. The Pentagon also suggested that the attack might have lasted less than 20 minutes.

Yes, certainly, Israel blamed the victims, the crew of the USS liberty, a ploy that they still use today by blaming the Palestinians for the bloody attack on Gaza where the victims more often than not are civilians -- men, women, and children. And today just as in 1967 our own government concurs with all their might. Some things never seem to change. For what is first and foremost for any national leader is retaining their seats of power which almost always takes precedent over the well being of the citizenry. But wave your flags boys and girls, be proud, be patriotic, be a sucker till they toss the dirt over your grave.

How tightly does the Israeli lobby control the Hill? For the first time in history, an attack on an America ship was not subjected to a public investigation by Congress. In 1980, Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater planned to open a senate hearing into the Liberty affair. Then Jimmy Carter intervened by brokering a deal with Menachem Begin, where Israel agreed to pony up $6 million to pay for damages to the ship. A State Department press release announced the payment said, "The book is now closed on the USS Liberty."

It certainly was the last chapter for Adlai Stevenson. He ran for governor of Illinois the following year, where his less than perfect record on Israel, and his unsettling questions about the Liberty affair, became an issue in the campaign. Big money flowed into the coffers of his Republican opponent, Big Jim Thompson, and Stevenson went down to a narrow defeat.

But the book wasn't closed for the sailors either, of course. After a Newsweek story exposed the gist of what really happened on that day in the Mediterranean, an enraged Admiral McCain placed all the sailors under a gag order. When one sailor told an officer that he was having problems living with the cover-up, he was told: "Forget about it, that's an order."

The Navy went to bizarre lengths to keep the crew of the Liberty from telling what they knew. When gag orders didn't work, they threatened sanctions. Ennes tells of the confinement and interrogation of two Liberty sailors that sounds like something right out of the CIA's MK-Ultra program.

"In an incredible abuse of authority, military officers held two young Liberty sailors against their will in a locked and heavily guarded psychiatric ward of the base hospital," Ennes writes. "For days these men were drugged and questioned about their recollections of the attack by a 'therapist' who admitted to being untrained in either psychiatry or psychology. At one point, they avoided electroshock only by bolting from the room and demanding to see the commanding officer."

Since coming home, the veterans who have tried to tell of their ordeal have been harassed relentlessly. They've been branded as drunks, bigots, liars and frauds. Often, it turns out, these slurs have been leaked by the Pentagon. And, oh yeah, they've also been painted as anti-Semites.

Well thank you Jimmy Carter. But what the hell, building houses excuses everything I suppose. And here we see the reward for those who serve in the armed forces and the thanks they receive by being branded as drunks, bigots, liars and frauds even though these terms would be most appropriately applied to our glorious leaders. When will we ever learn?

There's another factor. The Liberty was positioned just off the coast from the town of El Arish. In fact, Ennes and others had used town's mosque tower to fix the location of the ship along the otherwise featureless desert shoreline. The IDF had seized El Arish and had used the airport there as a prisoner of war camp. On the very day the Liberty was attacked, the IDF was in the process of executing as many as 1,000 Palestinian and Egyptian POWs, a war crime that they surely wanted to conceal from prying eyes. According to Gabriel Bron, now an Israeli reporter, who witnessed part of the massacre as a soldier: "The Egyptian prisoners of war were ordered to dig pits and then army police shot them to death."

The bigger question is why the US government would participate so enthusiastically in the cover-up of a war crime against its own sailors. Well, the Pentagon has never been slow to hide its own incompetence. And there's plenty of that in the Liberty affair: bungled communications, refusal to provide an escort, situating the defenseless Liberty too close to a raging battle, the inability to intervene in the attack and the inexcusably long time it took to reach the battered ship and its wounded.

That's but par for the course. But something else was going on that would only come to light later. Through most of the 1960s, the US congress had imposed a ban on the sale of arms to both Israel and Jordan. But at the time of the Liberty attack, the Pentagon (and its allies in the White House and on the Hill) was seeking to have this proscription overturned. The top brass certainly knew that any evidence of a deliberate attack on a US Navy ship by the IDF would scuttle their plans. So they hushed it up.

The relationship between Israel and the United States can best be described as a marriage made in hell. It has been devastatingly destructive to both the U.S and Israel in more ways than one. For the U.S. our relationship with Israel has cost us billions of dollars each year and through the influence of the Israel lobby Americans have been subjected to the worst of the worst as far as leadership goes. All those who wish to assume the mantle of power must first bow and scrape before the Israel lobby pledging their undying fealty to Israel which has helped to embroil us in endless war and even blowback which came in the form of 9/11. For Israel, by allowing them to have their way, they have created more enemies where there were few before. Just for example people don’t lob missiles at other people just out of a whim. There is generally a reason for it and for Israel it has been their ruthless and bloody colonialism and expansion where there is never enough. Indeed the U.S. has helped create a Frankenstein monster with an insatiable appetite for more and more land.

Lastly I call your attention to the execution of 1,000 Palestinian and Egyptian POWs which is clearly a war crime as is their present day murders of the hapless Palestinians, prisoners of Gaza.

But who is the real enemy? As always our worst enemy is our own government which is just as true for the people of Israel as it is for us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I have always considered myself to be a liberal and for years as a liberal I had always thought that the Democratic Party represented my interests as a liberal. However as the George W. Bush years progressed I was forced to reassess what the Democratic Party was, what it stood for, and what it means to be a liberal. I find it repugnant to resort to labels as labels are often misleading yet it is the most expedient way to express my thoughts on how my own world view has changed.

I hate to admit it but my loyalty to the Democratic Party was based on assumptions and worse still, on lazy thinking or worse yet, not thinking at all. This is in no way an endorsement of the Republican Party who I personally consider to be disgusting. In fact for the most part I despise the Republican Party who I feel panders to the most ridiculous people who exist in, and are the product of, U.S. culture. And for that matter I find U.S. culture to be almost entirely disgusting. To be sure there are no doubt cultures that are worse but at the same time there are cultures that are, from my own view, better but that is not germane to my journey of what I like and hope to believe is an improved awareness of political realities.

The one factor that led to my disillusionment with the Democrats was their failure to oppose George W. Bush who represented to me the quintessential Republican. I found Bush to be coarse, a braggart, cocky, childish, moronic, a bully, arrogant, macho, and a con artist. All the things that are so predominant in U.S. popular culture that I find abhorrent. Perhaps I could take it one step further and call Bush the quintessential American for these are the qualities that are enshrined in U.S. culture. These qualities are reflected in and throughout the entire history of the United States. These are the qualities that we are trained from the moment of birth and on into adulthood (if such a thing exists in this nation) to admire and aspire too whether we are aware of it or not or if we wish to admit it having been made aware of it. Never-the-less I for years, and still do, identify this less than complimentary opinion of U.S. culture with the Republican Party with all its paraphernalia of tribalism which manifests in an artificially exaggerated display of flag waving patriotism. Unfortunately the Democrats are no better the differences being mainly those of style rather than substance and now I also attribute the same negative aspects of the Republican Party with the Democratic Party.

Even after it should have been quite clear that the Democrats were horrendous I was still firmly entrenched in my belief that the Democrats were somehow different from the Republicans. There were signs all around yet I steadfastly refused to see them. There was the blank check given to Bush to invade Iraq but even though this should have been the clearest of road signs I blew it off with the same excuses I hear today. It was pragmatic, it was due to political realities, it was this, that, and the other but still these are only excuses and delusional as well. Yet once I fully realized how bad the Democrats actually are it soon turned into an avalanche of realizations. Who entered the United States into WWI? A Democrat. Who entered the United States into WWII? A Democrat. Who was responsible for the Korean War? A Democrat. Who was responsible for the Vietnam War? Two Democrats. These are only a few examples yet from my view are entirely damning in their scope for what is more evil than war? And more recently it has been the Democrats that have gone along with Bush to the point of actually aiding Bush to reduce our freedoms with the forming of the Homeland Security, the domestic wire-tapping, the destruction of habeas corpus as well as the Democrat support of an unjustified war that was not only based on lies but was illegal by every definition of international law. None of this can be disputed for it has been in the news (albeit in a very twisted form) and therefore well documented no matter how people try to justify and excuse it. These are facts. And the most recent was the disgusting and sickening display put on by Congress when they voted their support for the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. This is unforgivable, utterly unforgivable and every Congress-oid who supported this unholy approval of inexcusable violence should hang their head in shame for it is a far more despicable thing than any whore has ever enacted.

One part of my re-thinking or perhaps more accurately the beginning of my thinking was delving into U.S. history where I concentrated on the role of the Democratic Party down through the years. Some of it I already knew and much that I did not know yet even for the history I was already aware of I now saw in a much different light. Another part was the writings of different individuals. One of those individuals was Arthur Silber who has consistently presented some of the best writings on the realities of politics in the United States I have ever come across. For example you could and should read his recent essay Those Who Enable the Triumph of Evil, and the Choice Before Us which goes into much greater detail and provides much better insights than I am capable of producing. Here is a brief excerpt.


So which is worse? Those who support evil, but insist they believe it is good? Or those who support evil while claiming, at least some of the time, that they actually know it is evil? I didn't write [an intended] post in the form I originally planned for only one reason: given the nature of the evil involved -- the complete destruction of liberty domestically and an unending series of murderous, ungraspably destructive wars abroad -- I consider distinctions of this kind ultimately to be morally insignificant to the point of invisibility. The only fact that matters is that Republicans and Democrats -- two or three honorable exceptions aside -- all act to destroy liberty and to further criminal war abroad. But in a psychological sense, I probably would have to say the Democrats (and certain of their apologists) are worse: to say you recognize evil to any extent at all, yet to fail to oppose it or, which is still more reprehensible, to act for its furtherance, consigns one to the lowest rung of Hell.

But do go read the whole essay and be sure to click on the links for you will seldom come across a more educational and insightful material anywhere.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

UPI: grappling with gitmo

I'm impressed that UPI (apparently) didn't encounter any "let 'em rot" types in their informal polling seen here, although I guess people might censor themselves when they're on camera out on a public street in a way they might not in a more anonymous venue. I'm also guessing the nice young lady who commented about the oddness of the concept of "outsourcing" prisoners to foreign countries is unaware of the practice of extraordinary rendition, or that Bill Clinton authorized the CIA to do it after Oklahoma City in '95.

cross-posted at Hugo Zoom.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Sometimes you get so fed up with the bull that we are constantly bombarded with by the bombastic hocus pocus Bush administration and congress not to mention the news media that you just want to bang your head into a bloody pulp and pull your hair out by the roots. Then there is the great teeming public most of whom have no desire to know the reality of what we as a nation do which is the same thing as the reality of what our national leaders actually are which doesn’t nor cannot stand the light of day.

Let’s start with the teeming masses, ignorant, stupid beyond compare, violent inarticulate fools and racists whose interests lie somewhere between having a big truck with an extra loud muffler and stuffing their faces with cheese burgers. Most of them couldn’t find the United States on a map.

Here is a video with Max Blumenthal interviewing America’s finest on Gaza and it is very disheartening to say the least
via Dennis Perrin who say’s… and I quote…

Kudos to Max Blumenthal for weathering this madness. What a bunch of assholes. And I love how Charles Schumer touts Israel texting Gazans, warning them of impending missile strikes. How humane. I bet Gazans appreciate the head's up before their homes are blown to smithereens. I know I would.

But all is not lost for America has produced intelligent beings somehow, some way, apparently beating the odds of natural selection and a culture based on military glory. Norman Finkelstein has written a short but comprehensive piece over at Counterpunch – an excellent web site to get an alternative view on reality from that of the MSM – regarding Gaza, Israel, and our “special relationship.”


The problem all along has been that Israel doesn’t want Gaza to develop, and Israel doesn’t want to resolve diplomatically the conflict, both the leadership in Damascus and the leadership in the Gaza have repeatedly made statements they’re willing to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border. The record is fairly clear. In fact, it’s unambiguously clear.

This is an extremely important point that Israel doesn’t wish to resolve the conflict in a diplomatic manner. Israel wishes to dominate the region in a militaristic manner. Israel doesn’t wish to see a two-state solution because Israel still believes it can expand its territory though at this point it may be unlikely that they will be able to do so. Despite the video above, many Americans have been able to see through the propaganda, a result of pictures of young Palestinian children whose mutilated bodies are being pulled from the rubble left by the brutal air war waged by Israel which has the international community in an uproar. Israel has only made Hamas stronger, lost the PR battle despite its all-out efforts at propaganda and now appears to much of the world as what they actually are, a bunch of thuggish murderers. I am speaking mainly of the Israeli government because it is important to note that not all Israeli citizens have supported this massacre in Gaza. Thinking of an entire group of people as a monolithic block is always a mistake but then America has its share of blockheads.

In order to counter our news media a few important points must be kept in mind. One is that it was Israel who broke the ceasefire. Another point is that Hamas was elected in a democratic election.

As was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim.

This the incident that the news media always uses to present Hamas as taking control of Gaza through a violent uprising, NO, HAMAS WAS ELECTED AND THEN THE U.S., ISRAL, AND THE PA TRIED TO OUST THEM!!!! OKAY? I do ever so hope that this is clear now.

The United States and Israel would like everyone to believe that Hamas is not a legitimate part of the Palestinian government and have been doing everything possible to convince us that this is so. No, Hamas is not perfect, no, I don’t support Hamas sending missiles into Israel, or suicide bombings nor killing Israelis in general but what must remain intact in our febrile minds concerning this slaughter is that the Palestinians have as much right to live their lives in peace and self-governance themselves as much as we do. It might even be argued that the Palestinians have a government that is much closer to a true democracy then that of our own.

Some important points to remember are:

1. Israel broke the ceasefire not Palestine.

2. Hamas are a legitimate part of the Palestinian government.

3. The Israeli invasion has nothing to do with Hamas, their rockets, or the ceasefire and everything to do with expanding territory.

4. In order for Israel to expand they must keep Palestine from becoming a state.

5. The Palestinians have been willing to make many concessions to create a peaceful solution, Israel has not.

6. The Palestinians have made numerous peace offers and Israel has rejected them all out of hand.

7. The problem is not Palestine but Israel and the United States.

But go read all of Norman Finkelstein’s essay which covers all of this and more.