Thursday, June 01, 2006

Secy. of State Rice expresses concern over Chinese military build up

Item: The United States is concerned about China's military build-up and Beijing should make its intentions clear, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said.

Very interesting - Condi says the US govt. is concerned that China; a nation with a population of 1.3 billion people is increasing its military spending by double digits each year to - horrors - $35 billion dollars! Oh my God! Let's see that's $35 billion divided by 1.3 billion or $26.92 a year per capita. That's twenty-six dollars and ninety-two cents (Source - CIA World Fact Book)

This from the highest diplomatic representative of a country with around 300 million people with a FY 2007 defense budget of $439.3 billion or $1,464.33 per capita. $173 million of that is for NEW nuclear weapons - bridge funding of $50 billion for 2 wars etc. The White House is actually bragging that the war budget has gone up by 48% since 2001 (Source White House OMB)

If we followed the Chinese formula of - let's call it $27 dollars per capita we'd have a military budget of $8.1 billion. WOW! We'd save $430 billion dollars (just think of what we could do with that) - but then we couldn't have invaded Iraq or Afghanistan (oh nooo) we would only be able to protect our own territory. Interesting thought that - then maybe we wouldn't be seen as such a threat to millions of people around the world? Then maybe we wouldn't be such a target and 9/11 might not have happened? Nah - impossible. Just the deranged ramblings of some old hippie liberal dude.

So anyway - who's worried about who? When's the last time the Chinese invaded a country under a false pretext? Yes, we suppose they could invade Taiwan. It is a possibility, one we've planned for over many years. And as my Dad says - "we'll blow that bridge up when we get to it." But the fact of the matter is it's not the Chinese who rampage all over the world abducting innocent civilians and putting them away for years without trial, torturing them in secret prisons, invading countries, threatening military action against Iran. Ok, OK, they do torture innocent civilians – whose copying who? Are they just like us or are we just like them?

But we're "concerned" about the Chinese? What does that mean Condi? Concerned enough to do what? Talk? "Concerned" has got to mean something. The Secretary of State doesn't just speak without meaning something. Doesn't have to be the truth - just look at Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq War. Does it mean we're going to face them down? Put in sanctions? Forget that; too many rich Americans make too much money exporting jobs to China. What does it mean? We've already invaded two counties, we're thinking about a third - how about paint ball?

I'm not saying that the Chinese aren't something to be concerned about but this remark of hers just made my blood boil especially when she brought up the size of their military budget. Criminy! $35 billion? Chicken feed. We spend that in one month in Iraq. Wake up America! Don't they think we are listening? This administration are not even real Republicans. They are just incompetent robber barons. And with all due respect to my family in Wyoming, among whom are some real Republicans, 'ol "Buckshot" Cheney is the worst of the bunch.

Message to the Democrats - PLEASE DONT IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH - IF WE DO WE'LL END UP WITH CHENEY!! And if we impeach Cheney we'll get Denny Hastert... fuggedaboudit. It's really not worth it. Actually we should impeach the whole lot and then not convict. Maybe that will teach them a lesson but I doubt it. Here's an interesting scenario - Bush is impeached and Cheney takes over. Who does he appoint as his VP? Bill Frist? Think about it. Then the appointed Veep runs for President in '08 as a semi-incumbent. Hmmm... or would Cheney run? Aaah - get me out of this nightmare!

One more thing and I'll shut up.

I know I'm not the only one who's noticed GWB hasn't vetoed a single piece of legislation in 5+ years. And the only vetoes he's even threatened were: a) against McCain's bill to prohibit torture which he eventually was shamed into signing but with a little "signing statement" on the side saying in effect he could ignore the law if he wanted to. Just like FISA - which he's not just ignoring but breaking the law and thumbing his nose at the American people, Congress and the Judiciary and all the while just daring someone to do something about it. As Gloria Steinem said the other day "he invaded the wrong country - what makes you think he's spying on the right people?" Woo hoo - good one G! And b) the other threatened veto was against the bill Congress was planning to introduce banning the Dubai Ports World deal. Not that I was against that. Tells a story doesn't it? Or does it, I dunno ask Bill O’Reilly. He’ll tell you a story or two.

Bush won't veto all the profligate deficit spending he shoves down our throats. He won't veto massive cuts to the most unfortunate in our society - oh yeah - those are his cuts why veto your own proposals?? But he would veto to protect his right to be like the Chinese and torture innocent civilians and for a bunch more of the super rich to make even more money? Something wrong with this picture?

Sheesh - it's enough to make you want to turn on "Desperate Housewives" scarf down another beer and a burger and forget the whole mess. Unfortunately too many of us Americans do just that and trust this gang who can't shoot straight (literally... duck, here comes Buckshot Cheney!) with our precious democracy. 49% of the eligible voters in this country didn't even bother to vote in 2004. It's so sad that after all millions of people around the world risk their lives to vote (yes the Iraqis & Afghanis too and couldn't have unless we invaded) and we won't get off our fat asses and spend 20 minutes at our local polling place.

I propose that next time there is an election we do the real American thing: watch TV! No, I mean make sure we are registered - make sure all our friends and family are registered and then when election day rolls around drag the SOBs down to the polling place with us. If we could reduce the non-voters by half at least we'd have a large majority of eligible voters voting on the questions of the day and we Americans could look each other in the eye and say we had a real election. Not one where the winner was appointed/anointed or where the winner was elected by a minority of eligible voters. A real election for a real democracy; not some Faux News version of an ersatz democracy. Then would I shut up? Probably not - there is always some injustice, some outrage, it's the nature of the world. Doesn't mean we have to take it lying down. I mean come on... $26.92 and she's worried???

Further to "The Israeli Lobby"

This is a follow up post that addresses various issues raised by a commentator on the blog I posted my original piece on. I was advised to research my subject more thoroughly.


To Juanita - research is all I've been doing for 30 years and my head sometimes feels like exploding with facts. But I'm willing to be proven wrong.

I purposely mentioned the Israeli-Arabs in my previous comments. You missed that.

Why is Israel described as a “Jewish State” if that does not mean it is of the Jews, for the Jews and by the Jews? It is akin to the US officially describing itself, as a “Christian State.”

In another twist to this Twilight Zone of a country… “It would not occur to the average English peaking observer to object to translating [the Hebrew word] ezrahut as "nationality" because "citizenship" and "nationality" are interchangeable terms in the United States, as well as in most democratic societies. In Israel, however, they are two separate and very different statuses. Citizenship (ezrahut) may be held by Arabs as well as Jews while nationality (le'um), which bestows significantly greater rights than citizenship, may be claimed by Jews alone.”

“No [one version of] Israeli nationality applies to all citizens, as does a US nationality in the United States or French nationality in France, for example. In Israel, there is only a Jewish nationality. That non-Jews cannot qualify for nationality rights in the state of Israel was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1972 in a statement that there is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people.”


These are Israeli values - not American values. The American taxpayer subsidizes these un-American values (to the tune of $105 billion since 1948) and the Israel lobby is dedicated to making sure that Joe Six Pack US taxpayer doesn’t figure it out.

The Law of Return applies only to Jews, no other faith. If there is any other way to become an Israeli besides being Jewish and moving to Israel or being an indigenous person (and their descendents) caught up in the founding of the state that happened to stay in ’48 please let me know. Show me chapter and verse the language in Israeli law that unambiguously allows a Christian or a Hindu or any other faith to move to Israel and lawfully become a citizen without converting to Judaism or marrying a Jew and I will concede the point.

Regarding Israeli-Arab members of parliament; that cannot be forbidden because these MP’s were/are Israeli citizens. Israeli as described above but Israeli. That’s the surrealistic mélange of Israel.

As far as Mr. Hodges remark that England’s state religion is Anglicanism and Denmark’s Lutheran he is exactly correct but you don’t have to be a member of that religion to be a citizen of those countries. The two situations are not analogous except on the surface. They would be analogous to medieval Europe yes, but not the Europe of today. Why be medieval?

Regarding citizenship in Palestine the following clauses from the draft Constitution of Palestine. Illustrate my point. “Article (5) Arabic is the official language and Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions are accorded sanctity and respect. The constitution guarantees equality in rights and duties to all citizens irrespective of their religious creed.” and “Article (19) All Palestinians are equal before the law. They enjoy civil and political rights and bear public duties without difference or discrimination, regardless of race, gender, color, religion, political opinion, or disability.”

Even though the draft says that Islam is the official religion it goes out of its way to state “equality in rights” are guaranteed to all irrespective of creed. This is far from the two-class system in Israel. As stated earlier Denmark, England, France, Norway and many other countries have a “state” religion. Granted Israel is no Saudi Arabia in denying religious freedom but nevertheless discriminates against the non-Jewish. As stated above this is not an American value.

Case closed?

The Israeli Lobby - AIPAC

This is a piece I wrote regarding a paper written by well known two academics regarding the Israeli Lobby. They are John J. Mearsheimer; Department of Political Science, University of Chicago & Stephen M. Walt; John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Not exactly a couple of unknowns. There has been a fair amount of controversy over the paper they wrote. Predictably, in my opinion, the very phenomenon that the paper describes is happening to the authors. This is a piece I put up as comments on a couple of blogs and I adapt for use here.


Its high time Americans began a dialogue over the long nightmare of human rights violations and abuse committed in our name. It doesn’t take a genius to discern that unqualified US support of Israel is undoubtedly one of the leading causes of anti-American sentiment around the world and one of the main reasons why America is targeted by the Islamic Jihadists. 9/11, to paraphrase Malcom X, was “the proverbial chickens coming home to roost.” Notwithstanding the hundreds of billions of dollars in no-strings attached aid to the Israelis this is the “net” loss in the relationship that Mearsheimer & Walt so eloquently describe. One must be a fool, willfully ignorant, completely uneducated or just hopelessly biased about this issue not to at least question the premise and accept a free exchange of ideas on the subject. What’s wrong with that? Discussion is the key. We are sentient beings with the gift of communication. Surely to stifle discussion is counter to reasons for our existence.

The publication of the paper by the two very well respected academics John J. Mearsheimer & Stephen M. Walt resulted in a predictable backlash by the pro-Israeli lobby in the American and world press. Sure as the sunrise, charges of anti-Semitism are leveled when anyone deigns to criticize the Israeli government. American Jews, while usually quite progressive, are for the most part committed to social justice except when it comes to the repression perpetrated by the Israeli government on the Palestinian people. Although I know progressive Jews who don't agree with the Zionist line, those that espouse the Zionist case - purposefully or not - are definitly in the majority. Apologists for the Israeli lobby such as Max Boot, Alan Dershowitz, Jonah Goldberg and the lobby itself smugly refute facts in the paper by pointing to organizations like CAMERA who attempt to debunk the paper; as if CAMERA had no axe to grind and is an objective source of information.

My tax accountant is Jewish – and a wonderful and a committed progressive - but when it comes to the Palestinians he understands they are oppressed, but as he stated to my face while in discussion over the subject, “I don’t care.” His position is; that after what the Nazis did to the Jews anything is justified, including oppressing an entire people. So be it. "So it is written and so it shall be done."

Next time you are checked and groped before boarding a commercial airliner think about the line of causality that extends from being a target of terrorism to the repression of a people. No - I mean really think about it. Don't just dismiss it as "propaganda." Violence is not justified in any form (except in extreme self defense) but one can understand a people, systematically repressed over half a century and without hope, resorting to violence against their oppressors and those who support the oppressor. It’s human nature. The policies of the Israeli government and the USA’s support of them are *the* root cause of the suffering of the Palestinian people. To paraphrase again “It’s the occupation stupid!” The facts of the matter are not really in dispute. Any position to the contrary is just blaming the victim just as it would be blaming a woman for being raped, the slave for being enslaved or the death camp survivor for being incarcerated. The US has almost without exception supported Israeli-Zionist interests ever since we recognized the government of Israel in 1948. The list of atrocities and complete disrespect for human rights by the Israeli government is far too long to write about here.

We say we support Israel because it shares our values? Obviously we share some values but wake up America! Israel is not a democracy any more than the USA would be if we expelled all non-Christians and declared that (except for a tiny minority who refused to leave) no one could be a citizen with full rights unless they were Christian. Unbalanced support for this quasi-theocracy is leading us down a path where we will forever spend our national treasure and blood defending that which is indefensible and justifying behavior which is unjustifiable. Please look at the history and the facts. The myth of the noble kibbutzim greening an empty desert and bringing truth, justice and freedom to a bunch of backward Arabs is just that – a myth. The Israeli government and its predessessors; among whom were terrorist organizations like the Stern Gang and the Irgun, has systematically engaged in ethnic cleansing even before 1948 and the gullible American taxpayer has unthinkingly supported the policy with blood and treasure.

Witness the lopsided UN Security Council votes and the wholesale gifting of arms. I could go on and on but this is not the forum. There are plenty of sources for this information. If you think my views extreme look to the debate raging in Israeli society now. The Israelis are more open on this subject than we Americans. Few dispute the Arabs are also guilty of human rights abuses and atrocities (principally against their own) as are the Israelis but the American government has not been an honest broker. The closest we got was under Bill Clinton but the petty impeachment and the end of his term came about before he was able to finish what he'd started.

This conflict, waged by two sides who base their beliefs and philosophy largely on “an eye for an eye” will not end until this cycle of violence is broken by pushing the parties to “turn the other cheek” or we will forever doomed to war, oppression and it’s consequences. Idealistic? Yes – but we have to start somewhere and an honest dialogue about and acknowledgment of America's addiction to its unbalanced support for Israel is the first step to recovery… and peace.