24 March 2010

Britain Ousts Israeli Diplomat Over Dubai Forgeries -- News from Antiwar.com

Britain Ousts Israeli Diplomat Over Dubai Forgeries -- News from Antiwar.com The United States government needs to quit dealing with or supporting Israel. No more $9 billion a year, no more weapons, no more friendly status. The difference between Jews and Arabs? The Jews are aggressively trying to sabotage world peace.

23 March 2010

from Newsweek: Will Israel lead US into a Muslim World War?

A Third Muslim-World War?

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would do anything to protect Israel—as long as he doesn't have to believe in peace.
By Christopher Dickey | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Mar 18, 2010

Back when Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu was elected Israel's prime minister for the first time, in 1996, a Jordanian political scientist with a grim sense of humor said the only way to describe him was like a villain out of an old Western: "He's a lyin', cheatin', deceitin' son of a bitch!"

The Obama administration, without using quite such colorful language, might be inclined to agree. As Aluf Benn, the respected diplomatic correspondent for Israel's Haaretz newspaper wrote in these columns recently, when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel last week, he "had come to offer not just friendship, but support (and protection) against Iran—Israel's greatest bogeyman—in exchange for a few concessions from Netanyahu. Instead, he got a finger in the eye."

The announcement of government-approved plans to build 1,600 new Israeli homes in largely Arab East Jerusalem was a direct challenge to Biden's efforts to move peace talks forward. The Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of their state, accuse the Israelis of using such projects to create "facts on the ground" that vastly complicate future negotiations—and, indeed, that is precisely the intent of many Israelis who support the building program.

But the problem as Benn presented it was more complex than that: a combination of brinkmanship and blackmail in which Netanyahu's government makes veiled threats to attack Iran, or not, depending on how much pressure it feels on the Palestinian issue.

U.S. military planners have little doubt that an Israeli air campaign against Iranian nuclear facilities would provoke Iranian retaliation against Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers allied with the United States. American efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border Iran, would come under threat. And there would be no way that any U.S. administration, after so many decades pledging undying support for Israel, could make a convincing claim in Muslim eyes that it was not complicit in the attack.

One of the cardinal rules of realism in international politics—and Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both pride themselves on their realism—is "never allow a weak ally to make decisions for you." Political scientist Hans J. Morgenthau wrote in his classic Politics Among Nationsthat great powers "lose their freedom of action by identifying their own national interests completely with those of a weak ally." And for all its bluster, Israel is, at the end of the day, a tiny country with a population smaller than that of New York City. "Secure in the support of its powerful friend, the weak ally can choose the objectives and methods of its foreign policy to suit itself," Morgenthau warned. "The powerful nation then finds it must support interests not its own and that it is unable to compromise on issues that are vital not to itself, but only to its ally."

Netanyahu wants to make sure that his priorities are America's priorities on many issues. So he and his supporters argue that if they're forced to make concessions that would create an independent, viable, contiguous Palestinian state, Israel would feel so insecure that it would have to attack Iran to protect itself—no matter what the implications for Americans and their men and women in the field.

"On both sides they are talking in terms of life and death," Benn wrote in Haaretz a couple of days ago. "Netanyahu's backers charge [President Barack] Obama with sentencing Israel to death via the Iranian nuclear program and 'Auschwitz borders' from which rockets would be fired [by Palestinians] onto Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion International Airport. For their part, the Americans warn that Israel's desire for settlements is endangering their soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Actually, the American warning is a little more pointed even than that, and it's not just from the politicians in the Obama administration, it's from the military. As reported by Mark Perry at Foreign Policy, back in January a briefing prepared for the American Joint Chiefs of Staff by senior officers at the U.S. Central Command under Gen. David Petraeus reported "a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel," that the leaders of the many Arab governments in CentCom's area of responsibility were "losing faith in American promises," and that "Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region."

Humiliation, weakness, and vulnerability go hand in hand, and Netanyahu seems intent on dishing up all three to the Obama administration lest he himself be made to look like "a sucker," according to Benn.

This sort of attitude isn't new. Netanyahu summed up his core thinking in his 1993 book, A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World, when he said it was naive for Israelis to believe that "Arabs loathed war as much as they themselves." He derided Israelis who thought of peace as "a kind of blissful castle in the clouds, a Jewish never-never land in which the Jews will be able finally to find a respite from struggle and strife."

In Bibi's view, the fight will go on and on. "True, continuing struggle does not necessarily mean perpetual war, but it does mean an ongoing national exertion and the possibility of periodic bouts of international confrontation ... You cannot end the struggle for survival without ending life itself." So to protect itself, in Netanyahu's view, Israel has to be aggressive on all fronts, controlling the land, the sea, the sky, and above all the message—never giving an inch. To paraphrase the late Erich Segal, being Bibi means never having to say you're sorry.

So it is difficult, to say the least, to be Netanyahu's friend, and nobody knows that better than the Jordanians, who tried to build a solid peace with Israel during his last term as prime minister in the 1990s. "Today everything is déjà vu," says Randa Habib, author of the forthcoming Hussein and Abdullah: Inside the Jordanian Royal Family.

Jordan had signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 only to see the architect of that accord, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, gunned down by an Israeli terrorist in 1995. When Netanyahu won the elections that followed, Jordan's late King Hussein had hopes he could work with Bibi. Hussein tried to build confidence by receiving the Israeli prime minister in Amman in August 1996, only to have the Israelis begin digging a tunnel under Muslim holy places in Jerusalem a few days later. In February 1997, Hussein invited Netanyahu to Amman again, hoping to improve the atmosphere, but the next day the Israelis announced approval of a whole new Jewish neighborhood, Har Homa, to be built in East Jerusalem. In both cases the timing seemed planned not only to embarrass King Hussein, but to implicate and weaken him.

Finally, King Hussein wrote bluntly to Netanyahu: "You are destroying peace. I have no trust in you." In his response to the king, Netanyahu professed to be "amazed by your personal attack."

A few months later, Israeli agents tried to kill Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who was then in Amman, by spraying an exotic poison in his ear. Unlike the killers of another Hamas official in Dubai in January this year, the ones in Jordan were caught. Hussein demanded the antidote from Netanyahu, as well as the release of another Hamas leader, and did not turn over the captured Mossad agents until he got them. The Canadian government protested the use of its passports by the assassins, another harbinger of the Dubai case. But in the end, like today, nothing happened. "The Israelis will get away with all this; they always get away with it," says Habib.

I am not so sure. Even a dozen years ago, the American public was largely passive about Middle East issues. Congressmen proclaimed undying support for Israel, and their constituents asked few questions. Now, with America involved in two wars in the Muslim world, that's not the case. The 1,000-plus comments on Aluf Benn's NEWSWEEK column make that clear. But the decisive voices may belong to America's generals. Are they ready to have Bibi Netanyahu's vision of war-without-end dictate endless wars for American troops? The answer, almost certainly, is no.

© 2010

20 March 2010

another day in paradise

So I barely have the sleep out of my eyes when I stumble across an article that declared the police had made an arrest in the racial comment incident at a New Jersey Wal-Mart. A "bias incident" the piggies are calling it. No details were given about the culprit so either s/he was a minor or it doesn't matter who they are so long as Wal-Mart can make nice with the entire black population of America with which the mega-chain has a sketchy past to say the least.
The "incident" was a prank. Someone (a customer? employee? stupid teenagers? We are never told who) got on the store PA system and said, "Attention, Wal-Mart customers: All black people, leave the store now."
Stupid? To be sure. Arrest worthy? Hell no!
Whether any of us like it or not, racism is part of the human condition. Biologically, we're engineered for it. Doesn't make racism right, that's just how our DNA rolls. We are glorified monkeys barely out of the forests after all and these built in discriminators help our feeble ape brains to identify other members of our "tribe". It's a pack mentality a la wolves. Blacks are prejudiced, whites are, Asiatiques are etc. Enlightened men and women all over the world strive to work past all this with varying degrees of success.
So arrest our anonymous, possibly bigoted prankster or learn to accept an uncomfortable truth about mankind as a whole? All I know is if I was in the store when this happened and heard it, I'd have probably given my girlfriend Renee a shocked look and laughed it off. Haha! Man's inhumanity to man again!

19 March 2010

and now a Jewish perspective

Time for independence

Our conduct vis-à-vis US reminiscent of submissive behavior of slaves

Hagai Segal
Published: 03.19.10, 13:36 / Israel Opinion

The Ramat Shlomo affair constitutes a grave crisis in Israel’s ties with America, and an even graver crisis in Israel’s ties with itself. We no longer believe in our ability to quarrel with the gentiles when necessary. Obama’s US is pushing us to the borders of June 4, 1967 yet we push ourselves to the mental state that prevailed here on May 14, 1948. Broad sections of the public around here doubt Israel’s ability to exist as an independent state with its own wishes.

The American Administration in May 1948 leaned towards regretting its UN vote in favor of the establishment of a Jewish State. Heavy pressure from Washington was exerted on David Ben-Gurion to postpone the declaration of independence ceremony to a “more appropriate time.” His best advisors recommend that he cave in to the pressure. They were so scared that they too showed regret.

Chain of Events
Anatomy of a crisis / Daniel Laufer
Daniel Laufer explains how east Jerusalem construction decision snowballed into crisis
Full story

Not much was needed for Ben-Gurion to accept their advice, as the situation was indeed unbearable. The IDF had just been created, we still did possess a nuclear reactor or with spy satellites, and the public coffers were empty. Nonetheless, the old man took a deep breath and declared our independence. He knew that it was now or never.

Dozens of years have passed since then, yet there is still a large public here that has not yet gotten used to a life of independence. Its frightened conduct during the current crisis is yet another proof that it’s easier to bring the Jews out of the Diaspora than to bring the Diaspora out of the Jews. For many years now we had not seen such political and media display of lowliness.

The first reports about the construction plan in Ramat Shlomo were reminiscent of reports on a mega-terror attack. Our political correspondents and team of commentators responded like Jewish community leaders in the Middle Ages after finding a Christian body by the entrance to the Jewish ghetto: Oy vey, the gentiles will be coming in a moment and pulverizing us.

Inferiority complex
And then the gentiles indeed pulverized us. The responses issued by Obama, Biden, and Clinton were an operation that progressed in direct proportion to the extent of Hebrew apologies. At first they were ready to make do with a diplomatic delay of 90 minutes in arriving for dinner with Netanyahu, yet the applause in Tel Aviv University convinced them that they need to continue.

During the 234 years of American independence, never before had a vice president traveled abroad, openly declared that the host state’s capital needs to be divided, and received laud applause. This was the submissive behavior of slaves, not of a sovereign nation.

Indeed, Israel has traditionally leaned on America’s broad shoulder, yet Israel is also providing the US with an important shoulder. This is not a banana republic, but rather, Obama’s strategic outpost in a blatantly anti-American environment. We’ll have a tough time without him, but he will also have a tough time without us.

The time has come to free ourselves of the inferiority completes that prompts us to automatically bow our heads every time he’s a little angry. We cannot enter bomb shelters after every Tom Friedman article. We are big and strong enough to sometimes say “no.”

In a month, our state will be 62 years old. The time has come to declare our independence.

18 March 2010

silly me

I often think back to the start of the 2009-2010 NHL season. I had wanted to write about the season authoritatively like I was a real sports journalist or Monday morning quarterback. Armed with the NHL Center Ice package, the internet and my own observations of the game I was ready.
Then the season started...

It really sucks to discover that love for a game doesn't always translate into ability to write about it. I always thought I had talent enough to be a writer but sadly I find that to be a dream. Sure I write stuff here, but that's mainly for me, a personal choice when needing to vent my frustration with the world and myself; none of this takes any talent at all, just the universal desire to express oneself.

Anyway the NHL season is drawing to a close and there may very well be a new Stanley Cup champ but I'm not ready to bet on it yet. The reining champion Pittsburgh Penguins is still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference but it's gonna be a tough row to hoe. Their only real competition is the Washington Capitals and that should be an explosive Conference championship series when these two juggernauts battle it out there.
The Western Conference is slightly harder to call. The Phoenix Coyotes of all teams can still win the Western conference. My beloved Red Wings won't make the finals this year but they'll be a thorn in the side of whoever gets them first and might even make it to the 2nd round. San Jose, Chicago, Vancouver and Phoenix look to step up to face the winner of the Caps/Pens series for the Stanley Cup. The problem with calling a winner here is sentimentality. I really like the young, up and coming Blackhawks but they have a lot of mettle to prove before I go calling them Stanley Cup victors. Vancouver has the magnificent Sudin twins, Mason Raymond, Pavel Dmitra etc. etc. The Canucks are playing a far more balanced game and I'm really starting to think this is their year. And poor San Jose! You almost wish they'd get into the Cup finals just because they have become like the Charlie Browns of professional hockey. Play great all year and in the playoffs fold like a pair of undies. So I'll go with Chicago and Vancouver for the conference finals.
For the cup I'd like to say it would be Washington vs. San Jose, but it's looking more and more like it'll be Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver for the cup, with Vancouver winning in six after the wear and tear of the deep playoff runs take hold of the champs and Fleury shows he's a backup goalie for sure. Ouch! Why does Marc-Andre's superstar status bug me so? He's no Luongo for sure.
Hopefully the wings trade Zetterberg for someone like Ryan Getzlaf or Zack Parise during the off season. That would make me so happy.

12 March 2010

the sad state of Texas, longing to be an independant state

Texas has a lot of history behind her, so far as states go. Her icons like Texas rangers, the Alamo and oil lust are known about throughout the world. We Americans have set the world on fire because Texas oil men wanted to invade Iraq.

Texas is an odd state. Full of natural beauty and the romance of the Old West, led by a crazy Christian cult that cares more for the rights of the rich than life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the poor costarring horses and bovines. I really enjoyed the place when I was in El Paso and San Antonio and still miss to this day watching storms roll across the desert mountains off in the distance as the desert sun beat down upon me.
Texans see themselves as independent from the rest of the United States, they dwell in a frontier state between Mexico and the US in their collective imagination. A romantic idea to be sure; a respite from the modern world.

The Texas board of education made the headlines today for embracing Christian philosophy while playing down science and set back schooling standards intellectually by about 100 years. Kinda like Kansas did but with more manure.
It always gives me pause and makes me wonder why Christians need to try so hard to push their teachings down everyone's throat through social programing. If their message had true meaning and power in the first place then they wouldn't need to strive so hard to make everyone believe it too. Is their faith so small? Or does this lack of real meaning and virtue reflect their true inner state?
Who's to say?
I do not pretend to know the answer as to why some folk prefer the darkness to the light.

11 March 2010

What Israel needs

I do not like how much influence Israel has over American politics or that millions of loyal American fundamentalist Christians would blindly sacrifice their entire being to "defend Israel" just because it is written in the book of Jeremiah the prophet (ordained of the ape god circa even Jesus wasn't born yet) that the people who bless and support Yahweh's chosen nation of Israel will receive the exact same wealth, prosperity and treasure Yahweh Himself promised the ancient Israelites.
There are Israelis who exploit both these groups of people and if it happens that the believer becomes a politician, so much the better. Get enough believing politicians in a room and before you know it, you are making American policy with a Jewish angle. These are the facts. Over the last 5 years, there has been a marked rise in Israel spying against America and obtaining classified information. On more than one occasion, the information was provided by "good Americans" just looking to help our closest ally.
The exploitation of the religious impulse by one group to lord it over another group is always wrong. I just hope my fellow apes figure this out toot sweet before Israel drags us all into a war we can't win.
Dammit George Bush you have doomed us all! You are a lingering presence, like foot odor.
We are in for a penny, in for a dollar now.

So what Israel needs is a 9/11 moment. That same shocking event but on their soil. Then it would be shown that Iran was the attacker and it's "let slip the dogs of war". The Israelis can do it alright and are pragmatic enough to take the risk of setting the world on fire if they think it will work out in their favor. That's what our country did with Iraq so we know the process can work (sort of).
We'll have to wait and see what the next several months bring. Springtime is coming and man turns his attention to warring against the other tribes.

06 March 2010

Saturday thoughts

So it's a fantastic day outside. A balmy 42 degrees (47 tomorrow!), the sun is shining down it's rejuvenating brilliance and I couldn't be more pleased about it. It's nice to just stand in the sunlight, close your eyes and tilt your head back a little. It feels like I imagine a hug from god would feel.
Still, I can't stay outside all day; the dishes won't do themselves after all. There are chores to be done and fantasy hockey teams to prep once again now that the Olympics are done.
I can't help but to look at the news before going to my fantasy teams because I still feel it important to know what is going down on my planet even though the tao teaches mindlessness over mindfulness. Or as the ape savior Jesus teaches: do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Good stuff.
But I do worry. Not so much about me but about all the rest of you humans out there. Can't help it. Every human alive should have the same right to be left alone that I used to have back when America was still a free country. But around the world disasters strike, American troops are shooting the hell out of some Afghanis and China is playing a game of chess with the entire planet. Checkmate will come when our nation yields world supremacy to them. Well, unless we Americans nuke the crap out of the planet. Then it's Kobayashi Maru.
I get mad about this because it didn't have to be this way, but greedy men with dreams of riches and lust for power brought have brought this nation to it. Both sides are to blame but since 1968 American policy has almost been entirely driven by the Republican party.
Nowadays those failed policies still haunt and reverberate through the highest levels. The current President still follows them. Bill Clinton followed them for the most part. Jimmy Carter never had an option but to follow them.
Money is evil yet American Christian fundamentalists embrace it fully. They are deceived by the smooth salesmanship of Republicans because Republicans help them to focus their hatred on an unseen Other that's trying to destroy the White, Christian Way of Life. Republicans have specialized in fear mongering for decades and fundamentalist Christians are always angry because they are always afraid. It's the snake eating its own tail in perpetuity.
Democrats are no better as they keep repeating the same mistakes. Ugh! America needs 3 more powerful, viable, equal political parties.
Ah! Thank goodness the Dallas Stars - Pittsburgh Penguins game is on and I wish the announcer would stop saying Stall puts it in the 5 hole. It just sounds gross and you stay out of my 5 hole. Eww! Point is, I can now go back to being mindless. I was gonna root for the Pens but they're wearing the gay blue jersey. Go Stars! I don't really like the Stars.
May the Love of the entire Universe fill you with hopey changey stuff.
And eff Sarah Palin. Without hope man is dead inside, cut off from the chi of the Universe. Mocking hope or the deep seated need of the American people to change their broken government into something that actually works and serves the fundamental mandate of the American people as proscribed by the Constitution of the United States as presented to us, the honorable heirs of freedom, by our Founding Fathers isn't just disrespectful, it smacks of talk of someone looking to maintain the status quo.
So there!

01 March 2010

on war

So when it comes to war, I'm not sure how to define my stance. Overall, I'm a pacifist and think war is always wrong. New rule: Mankind never gets to say it is divinely created, enlightened or intelligent while blowing the shit of another country.
I know fighting can be inevitable. Even the Tao Te Ching refers to defending oneself and, let me tell you, I embrace this philosophy as wholeheartedly as I do my pacifism. You take a swing at me buster, you best prepare for some knuckle sammies. Not very Christ-like I suppose but a) I'm not a Christian and b) modern Christians rarely follow this admonition anyway.

Now, some will argue that war and defending oneself is much the same thing. They see war as a good thing, a thing to be practiced often. Peace is not an option; only killing and bloodshed. They revel in this power. These sorts of humans brag of "military might" and having "the best trained, finest Army in the world" just as Napoleon did or Caesar before him. They lust for fighting and dominance, dominance over the whole Earth. Does it truly make a difference if these mad men are Americans and not Germans? Since when is killing and destruction a virtue to anyone but the fabled denizens of Hell itself? War is a poisonous goo filling their hearts and thoughts with taking a hill or planning bombing raids never mind the collateral damage.
That's what I just don't get or put my head around. How can one delight in the slaughter of war? But it is so. I see it daily. There are millions of my fellow Americans who see war as glorious and divinely sanctioned and are proud to send our soldiers into death, cheering along like a Roman cheering gladiators into the colloseum arena.
War is not sport but it has been transformed into one in these modern times where we can watch the participants play on Youtube or CNN. It's like a live action video game except when our soldiers die they don't get to hit the reset button and try the level again.
Like any good sport, war has it's owners and sponsors. The owners, the federal government, makes sure their warriors are paid for while paying these "treasured" soldiers the least amount of money possible. The sponsors pay for the right to get their ads shown. Like Lockheed-Martin, Haliburton or the makers of those Bible quoting gun scopes. Yes, war is profitable for everyone but those actually doing the fighting and dying in them.

I can hear some folk now. Hey, we didn't want this war, it was forced upon us when we were attacked! We need this war to preserve our way of life!
Really? And just how was your way of life threatened? By 9/11? Don't be obtuse. Further, the American people don't really know what happened on 9/11 except for the doctored Bush/Cheney description of events. Were we truly attacked by foreign nationals angry with American troops on Muslim soil or did the greed of the twisted and illegitimate Bush administration allow a Pearl Harbor to occur just so they could get us to go along with invading Iraq? No one knows with 100% certainty because the truth was denied the American people by the Bush cover up and anyone who claims to know the true version of events that day is a liar.
I know, these twisted fuckers thought that invading Iraq would be easy and we'd be greeted with flowers and chocolates, hailed as liberators but no people likes to be invaded and robbed of their natural resources by an aggressive occupier so it became a "hard slog". Oops.

In the next 10 years or so, China is going to start flexing her muscles. Already the fastest growing economy in the world, the Chin look to expand and do business their way. They also outnumber us something like 4 to 1. Already they have attacked us through cyberspace and stolen this country's most sensitive military and classified secrets. They already possess the ability to knock our satellites out of the sky. Can you imagine? The armed forces of the United States can't communicate, all our smart technology useless, our guidance systems inoperable. They also have upgraded nuclear capabilities.
Had the Bushies done the right thing on their watch, 9/11 wouldn't have happened, period. It did though and rather then fight terrorism with the law, the Bushies decided to go to war. Sure, if their scheme had worked they would be heroes right now and the whole Middle East would be our exclusive gas pump to the planet but it didn't work. Instead our forces are mired down in never ending warfare.
How do you suppose we will fend of the Chinese?