Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lee Harvey Oswald?

Yesterday, on the radio while driving to work a man, a teacher in Nashville TN, told the story of how, after picking up his 10 year old daughter from school was driving home when a right-wing fanatic rear ended his automobile because he had an Obama bumper sticker on the back of his car. The victim, I dislike that word - let's use survivor, the survivor of the incident recounted the horrible tale of how, after pulling over and exiting his vehicle to speak to the driver, this wingnut continued smashing his SUV into the back of his sedan to the accompaniment of his daughter's screams as she was still strapped into the back seat! If this wasn't enough, AT THAT VERY MOMENT as I was listening to what's become an all too familiar tale of right wing violence these days, a man drives by in a red pickup outfitted like a contractor's vehicle sporting a bumper sticker on the back that read "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we really need him?"

Silence... pause... what? Let me look at that again...

"Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we really need him?"

It doesn’t take but a nanosecond to understand what this man advocates. I was incensed as
any American should be. I drove by Mr. Bumper Sticker to see what sort of person would put such a hateful message on his truck for all to see and saw a man furiously biting his nails but otherwise appearing as normal as can be; middle-aged Caucasian, thin, fit and tan, with longish salt and pepper hair.

After writing his license plate number on my hand I drove right on by and immediately upon arriving in my office called the Los Angeles field office of the Secret Service and reported what I saw. As we know, the agent said they take all threats against the president no matter how casual or veiled seriously, which in this case is a public statement that one wishes an infamous assassin would do to the current president what he was alleged to have done to a former president. As a card-carrying member of the ACLU I'm all for expressing one's views no matter how repugnant but advocating this in public is well over the line in my opinion especially in the current political milieu.

Where does this hate get us? Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist and columnist of The New York Times says it well when he writes "In the short run, Republican extremism may be good for Democrats, to the extent that it prompts a voter backlash. But in the long run, it’s a very bad thing for America. We need to have two reasonable, rational parties in this country. And right now we don’t." I would argue we need more than two but that’s a different post. See the link to his most recent column in the title of this post.

How did the Nashville story end? Well the teacher obtained the license plate of the offender, called 911 and the man was arrested. Apparently he was drunk, which obviously is no excuse.

Me thinks a goodly portion of the right wing is drunk too - drunk on hate whipped up by the likes of Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Fox News et. al. and incredibly some Republican elected officials like John Boehner. Disagreeing with a policy or legislation is as American as one can get but the bill passed by majority vote. Last time I checked in a democracy the majority carries the day.

Please, my fellow American citizens that happen to be Republicans - the bill passed and is the law of the land. Get used to it. Get used to it like many Americans who happened to be Democrats had to get used to the fact that conservative Supreme Court justices appointed George W. Bush to be president. Its how the system works. We have rules that we need to follow or else we end up like the Balkans or Somalia.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And we are surprised?

I've been saying essentially the same thing for years now - chickens (as they always do) come home to roost.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

These neanderthals wouldn't know totalitarianism or socialism if it bit them on the fanny

(news flash to the sign holder at left and St. Ronnie - willful ignorance is the problem)

What part of majority rule don't these people get? Totalitarian tactics? Socialism? Given the chance they would and have done the same thing. Hypocrites.

This is one of my beefs with America. Ever since St. Ronald we've been pulled so far to the right that the center begins to look like "socialism." And I'd hazard a guess that 90% of America doesn't even know what these terms actually mean. Socialism is when the state owns the means of production or to put it simply; all private business.

No serious national figure, least of all Barack Obama or even Dennis Kucinich and Barney Sanders advocates that. Socialized medicine is when the hospitals are owned by the government and all staff including doctors are government employees. Kind of like the Veterans Administration and the US Military. Kinda makes you go hmmm. If its good enough for the militarily and the Vets who the "support our troops" crowd worship why isn't just the modicum of reform that the bill represents good enough for the rest of the country?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Rearranging the deck chairs

Prof. Walt's discussion (click above link) is over the Obama administration's recent pronouncements on the settlements. We essentially agree but he's more polite and erudite about it than I.

In my view this is a lot of heat without much light. Big wow! The US is finally getting tough on the Israelis - woo hoo! What amounts to a simple reiteration of long standing US policy vis a vis the illegal Israel colonies (sorry, can't call them settlements - too dignified - lets call a spade an effing shovel) in the West Bank to generate this kind of twittering (not the electronic kind - the old fashioned OMG did you hear what he said cocktail party kind) just shows how low the bar has sunk. This is pitiful. The notion that the Obama administration is getting all steely eyed is nonsense. Look, the Israeli power structure of Labor/Kadima/Likud are no more interested in peace than Phillip Morris is interested in getting out of the tobacco business. The status quo is too profitable and besides making tons of money at US taxpayer expense the goal is to completely cleanse Eretz Israel of non-Jews leaving a democracy for one religious group. Tell me how that is so much different than Iran?

It started in '48 with the official stated policy of Ben-Gurion and the Zionists to cleanse the land of Palestinians (mainly Muslim and Christians while enlisting the Druze for inside assistance) and everything that has occurred since has been in the furtherance of that goal. Witness the current cleansing of East Jerusalem and the presence of 300,000 rabid fundamentalists in the West Bank. I'll believe that the administration is finally getting tough on these right wing war criminals when we withhold a couple billion dollars of the several billion we ship over there each year. Now that would make front page news.

And while he's at it he should get tough on our own right wing war criminals.

Still its better than Bush - which is about the same thing as saying its better than nothing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's wrong with a Bi-National State?

Two questions for Mr. Walt regarding his latest blog post - today at

1) What's wrong with a bi-national democracy? Many believe its the only solution that's likely to last. True it would require that Israel not be a "Jewish" state, which on the face of it is as racist as making the US or any other democracy a "insert name of religion here" state. If you want to be a theocratic parliamentary republic, fine, you will engender much opposition - but don't call yourselves a democracy and claim to share American values.

2) As the goal of the Israeli power structure and its allies such as AIPAC in the US and elsewhere is to continue the ethnic cleansing it began in 1948 what could conceivably entice Israel to make peace w/the Palestinians?

The Israeli power structure has ever been interested in peace w/the Palestinians. Yes, they made peace w/Egypt & Jordan and would like a treaty w/Syria and Lebanon because these are existing nations with armies and land from which to launch attacks. But the goal has always been to drive the Palestinians out of Eretz Israel. Read Ilann Pappe's "Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." Plan Dalet was conceived to force as many Palestinians out of Palestine as possible. There is an article in this month's National Geographic describing the Arab Christian exodus from the Middle East and specifically the West Bank because Israel makes life intolerable spurring emigration. Its working!

Bibi will bide his time waiting for Obama's popularity to wane (which it will) and then launch a new attack on the Palestinians either in Gaza or the West Bank or both. He may even bomb the Iranians. Obama will be hobbled and unable to do anything. New settlements will be built, the wall will be longer and higher and generally magnify the defacto apartheid system in Gaza and the WB eventually passing on to the next government an Israel with fewer Palestinians than when he took over. This is the goal. Gradual depopulation leaving lebensraum for the Jews.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Newt Gingrich: neo-neo-conservative vs. Stephen Walt: of the realist school of foreign policy.

In these two articles, (links below) one reporting on a speech Newt Gingrich gave to AIPAC just yesterday and the other from Stephen Walt (at left), a well known Harvard professor of international relations, both Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama are accused of endangering Israel. Just who are we supposed to believe?

Gingrich accuses Obama of endangering the security of Israel and says the Obama adminstration is "weak" like the Carter administration. No mention of course that Carter actually brokered peace with Egypt, Israel's most credible external foe, which is galaxies beyond what any Republican administration has accomplshed in the arena. In the latter Walt posits that Netanyahu endangers the security of Israel by being too intransigent and if this stubbornness continues will lead to a much less favorable outcome for the Israelis.

If we look a little deeper, supposedly Newt is positioning himself for a run at the presidency in 2012 and one could be forgiven for thinking he's buttering some bread here and pledging fealty to AIPAC. Given the fact that the USA resoundingly rejected an intellectually and morally bankrupt not to mention failed right wing philosophy last November shouldn't that give us some kind of clue as to the validity of this particular argument? Walt, well known as one of the dynamic duo that penned "The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy" with John Mearsheimer, examines the case from an academicians perch with the freedom that his position allows.

Newt labels Obama's policy of constructive engagement with Iran a "fantasy" and "very dangerous" for Israel. Newt goes on and likens "... negotiations with the current Iranian regime to negotiating with Adolf Hitler, and called for "enforcing the disruption of gasoline supplies until the Iranian economy broke, the ayatollahs were ousted and a new regime was in place without a single shot fired." That earned thunderous applause." Well of course given the audience. Shades of Cheney's "we don't want the smoking gun to be in the form of a mushroom cloud" Newt is just as dangerous, maybe even more so because he's really quite intelligent and well spoken.

On the other hand Walt says that... "The prime minister [Netanyahu] and his allies keep harping about an "existential" threat from Iran, but this bogeyman is mostly nonsense. Iran has zero -- repeat, zero -- nuclear weapons today, and even if it were to acquire a few at some point in the future, it could not use them against nuclear-armed Israel without committing national suicide. Let me say that again: national suicide." Not to mention the fact that Iran hasn't invaded any countries lately unlike the good 'ol USA and its "coalition of the willing."

Who in their right mind actually believes Israel faces an existential threat from anyone let alone from Iran? As Walt says... "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said some remarkably foolish things about the Holocaust and repeatedly questioned Israel's legitimacy (as in his oft-mistranslated statement about Israel "vanishing from the page of time"), but he's never threatened to murder millions of Israelis (and Palestinians) with nuclear weapons. Just last weekend, he even told ABC's George Stephanopolous that if the Palestinians reached an agreement with Israel, then Iran would support it. Moreover, as Roger Cohen has noted, there is no evidence that Ahmadinejad has any particular animus toward Iran's own Jewish community. Despite his many offensive statements, in short, Ahmadinejad is not Adolf Hitler and we are not living in the 1930s." Contrast that with what Newt said yesterday at AIPAC where he "called for a military strike to destroy missiles in Iran and North Korea." How many innocents does he think he will kill doing that and what unintened consequences will ensue? Just who are the aggressors here?

According to the US government and the IAEA Israel "possesses between 75 and 400" nuclear warheads and chemical and bilogical wepaons capability as well.


The myth of an Israel facing destruction from 40 million Arabs every day is just that. Who would attack it? Egypt is at peace with Israel and Jordan, brokered by the Clinton administration, made peace in 1994. Lebanon is powerless and Syria is not a credible military threat. The USA guarantees Israel's security and Iraq conveniently neutralized. The occupation is a cancer that eats at the soul of Israel.

So what does Obama really want? I don't think anyone could find anything that suggests anything other than he (and the rest of the international community) wants is for Israel, as the far more powerful actor in this drama, to be a mensch and honor its many commitments and implement the central platform of the seemingly dozens of peace plans it has signed up for in the last 40+ years, which of course, is the oft mentioned two-state solution. As for Netanyahu his disdain for the plan is well known and in order to prevent an open split with the USA he prevaricates and obfuscates imposing new conditions on the Palestinians.

Me thinks Mr. Gingrich & Mr. Netanyahu engage in some garden variety right wing prestidigitation in an attempt to distract our attention from the real issues.
Here's the Jerusalem Post article on Newt:

Here is Walt's post on the Foreign Policy magazine website:

Read them both and let me know (if you wish and can take a few minutes) which is the more logical argument of the two.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Reason for Torture - looking for justification to invade Iraq

Wonder why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month? What could he have possibly told us on the 180th time that he didn't on the 100th time? (BTW - that works out to over 6x a day for a month). Turns out the administration; Bush, Cheney, Rice, Tenet etc. were looking for reasons to invade Iraq and hoped waterboarding KSM would force him to say al-Qaeda and Iraq were in cahoots. After 183 times in one month he didn't. This despite the well known proclivity for persons under torture to spill whatever beans they think the torturers want to hear just to stop the pain. 183 times!

So after looking for 6 years and going through millions of Iraqi documents no evidence has ever been found that indicates there was operational cooperation beteen Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Not to mention the massive efforts to find the proverbial WMD. But that didn't stop the Bushites from the messianic, illegal and immoral crusade to find non-existent evidence and when none was to be found to simply manufacture it.

From a McClatchy story on the Senate report released just yesterday. "A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq. "While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

Why "pressure to produce ties?"The Downing Street Memo states "the intelligence and facts were being fixed" around the policy.

The news here is that, finally, US Government documents are coming to light that prove the Bush Administration deliberately and with malice aforethought fabricated evidence to support its rationale for invading Iraq; thereby killing 4000+ (and counting) Americans (more than the 9/11 attacks) and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, displacing 2m+ of them in the process. If this is proved and I predict it will be beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is the crime of this young century and in my opinion ranks with the 9/11 attacks.

We have no choice but to follow all the evidence wherever it leads. If not we encourage more of this behavior by Democrats and Republicans, it doesn't matter which party, what matters is the abuse of power, privilege, position and the breaking of laws. This is not about retribution or revenge, its to reaffirm the Constitutional principle that no person is above the law. We have a chance to redeem our republic. If we don't we take several more steps down the slippery slope to despotism. "When the president does it its not illegal." That's a dictator (or a crook) speaking, not a president.