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Monday, September 27, 2010

The High-Fructose Corn Syrup Debate


I'll probably get more hate mail for this than the Middle East posts. :)


I hope I don't get sued by the corn industry. I could be perceived to be quite anti-corn. Remember Oprah with the beef disparagement?


Having taken a nutrition class and more than a few science classes, I have a huge problem with myths surrounding food and weight loss.


The pet peeve:


People incessantly trying to make the point that HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) is no worse than sugar; they’re chemically practically the same!



Yahoo’s on HFCS’s side. The link that started this post:

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/6-biggest-lies-about-food-busted-2391419



While this is technically true, there are so many reasons that HFCS deserves to be demonized. This myth is definitely one best left alone- at least until we can talk about all of the facts and not just stop at – HFCS is exactly like sugar. I'm totally fine with people thinking it's the devil. Though, not technically correct, it's infinitely less annoying than people who are virtually fans of the stuff.



To be fair, though, some of the anti-HFCS articles and blogs go a bit far and pin all our problems on this one substance. I’m not going along with all of that, but to say that it’s the same as sugar makes me snicker and want to say something sarcastic.



Along with the campaign to defend HFCS, there is a name change campaign. It won’t sound nearly as processed. And it will now have “sugar” in the name. The article mentions it will join the ranks of Phillip Morris/Altria and Blackwater/Xe and that is such a great analogy, really. They’re all trying to sell the same old poison by just changing the name. It will probably work. We love being lied to.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/9453



Speaking of snickering...The corn industry’s ad campaign:

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/video/tv-watch-new-high-fructose-corn-syrup-ads-063040



What can you say? Sugar-coating the truth. Sickeningly sweet.



Both sides do have some valid points, but I’m definitely for kicking the HFCS habit.


It is said to be sweeter than sugar. If this is true, then it would make it worse since we definitely don’t eat less of it, we actually eat and drink more of it according to statistics.


You might call me a liar, but I can attest to the different taste. Mexican Coke rocks.


Of course HFCS isn't the only thing that is driving the obesity numbers up, but I'd have to say it's a big factor. It makes convenience food more convenient and cheaper.

Maybe part of what bothers me is that the government is part the problem. You'd think they'd want to promote healthy eating for their constituents well being and for lower heath care costs, etc, but they're more concerned with economics.


I realize that it is our choice to eat junk or not, but I don’t think it’s fair to let the corn industry get away with marketing this as just as good as sugar. Just like Vitamin Water and various unnecessary supplements sold at sports nutrition stores shouldn't be allowed to claim health benefits (if you're not regulated by the FDA, like most of thse supplements, you can say basically whatever you want on those packages). Britain has better rules for this and has, I think, succeeded somewhat with Vitamin Water at least in banning some misleading ads.



And then there’s the political aspect. Sugar vs corn industry. US vs the world- in this case- Central America. I write a lot about the actions of the US in the Middle East. In comparison to the Israel-Palestine issue, what we have done in (mostly to) Central America will make you physically ill. Think School of the Americas where we helped out the death squads. Think banana plantations. Gringo. Literally- “green go”. Americans go home. That’s where the not-so-endearing term for us Yankees came from. I don’t think it is unfair of them to think ill of us. We very much deserve it.



A few sites/blogs that explain the political aspect a little:


http://www.fff.org/freedom/0498d.asp


http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/index.php/2006/01/24/tariffs_and_subsidies_the_literal_cost_o



A few more links:


Common sense advice from the Mayo Clinic. They admit the conflicting data sets on how unhealthy it is. One interesting note was that some studies that “prove” it isn’t less healthy than sugar or a cause of obesity are sponsored by the beverage industry. You always have to look at the funding for this-- and drug studies.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588



Corn subsidies make unhealthy food choices the rational ones

http://www.grist.org/article/food-2010-09-21-op-ed-corn-subsidies-make-unhealthy-food-choices/



http://childhoodobesitynews.com/2010/06/10/high-fructose-corn-syrup-bad-news/



Halfway down, Goodman asks him why he’s ‘going after HFCS’ :

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/14/omnivores_dilemma_author_michael_pollans_new

Friday, September 24, 2010

Agree or Delete

Not the most American concept, but how many times have you seen it (it was especially funny on the Obama is a dictator one)? But we've heard it before. If you disagree with the Iraq invasion (or don't love the job Bush did or fill in the blank), you can pack up and move elsewhere.

You see this in your inbox a few hundred times a year. Maybe you've even sent one in your lifetime. They are a challenge in more ways than one, at least for me.

I think it is a little much to ask and maybe unfair- agree or delete. You get to give me a (second hand) dissertation on some political topic or problem with our society and I have to delete it if I don't like it or don't agree? I agree that this is probably wise, since me saying anything, as enlightening as it may be, is just going to get under your skin and cause a problem between us (supposedly I know you and this matters if I am on your mailing list). This may be going out on a limb, but you should care what I think if I am on your mailing list; I care what you think. I may not agree, but I care.

You did send it right to my inbox, so some thought does go into that- or it should. I don't think you should email something to someone you wouldn't say to their face. If we said agree or shut up a the end of any talk or comments we gave in real life, I suspect we'd have an epidemic of broken noses or worse in the country. :) I don't think I'd ever have the guts to say it to anyone- not just because I don't believe in the concept.

The fact that it comes to my inbox from someone I see in the real world is to me like you sent me a personal note or did say it to my face. I probably shouldn't take a mass email that way, but that's the measure by which I send or forward email, so I expect others to think the way I do. I know I shouldn't. That's bad form on my part, a generalization.

Maybe if "agree or delete" didn't appear, I wouldn't feel so compelled to reply... No, if it's an urban legend or just so wrong I'm probably going to want to reply to set the record straight. I should reply, after all. It was addressed to me. Isn't silence complicity or agreement? Isn't that the point of agree or delete? To eliminate opposition and lay claim on" right" even in the face of the facts?

Every time I get one, I struggle between the wisdom of deleting and the meaning behind deleting it. Maybe I can reply, but keep it short and as free of snark as I can. Maybe that's not wise, either. But is having people going around thinking you agree with all of this nonsense floating in cyberspace wise? It borders on a lie. That's not who I am.

Or perhaps this is more of an email ettiquette problem- saying (aggressive) things online that you wouldn't say in person, etc- rather than one of silencing dissent or lack of civility in our culture or whatever else...

I give up for now. Problem not solved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Netanyahu wants Pollard in exchange for settlement freeze??

What?

I'll say it again. WHAT???

Settlements were a topic in the peace talks. They were considered a precondition at one point. Now, Netanyahu wants to free a spy who was jailed by the US for spying on us on a grand scale before he will halt illegal settlement building. For a few more months. Then who knows what he'll demand.

In a universe where truth and justice were important, the deal would be: Israel, stop building settlements (and other illegal activity) and remove all Israelis from Occupied Territory or lose all financial benefits from us. In the Middle East, it's Israel's game, not one involving truth or justice- quite the opposite. They make the rules. They are above the rules and laws.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/20/israel-spy-release-settlement-freeze


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/middleeast/21israel.html?_r=1


Guess he doesn't care about Shalit anymore. Crazy. Sometimes I don't know whether an authoritarian regime like Iran is talking or Netanyahu when I hear some of the things he comes up with. This has got to be one of the most absurd stall tactics I've seen yet.

I mean, why does Netanyahu need a concession from us?? I thought we were the mediators of peace between Israel and Palestinians. They should be giving us stuff. Isn't that the way a bribe works? And what in the world does Jonathan Pollard have to do with Middle East peace?? That guy should be walking on eggshells with all the violations of international law and human rights Israel has committed, not making outrageous demands! I guess it shows us how certain that 2 or 4 billion dollars per year to Israel is. If they actually succeed in getting absolutely anywhere- concession, acknowledgment, anything but a big fat NO WAY- on this Pollard thing, we might as well pack up and go home. We will have proven totally ineffective and detrimental to the process.

The infamous quote might just be true if Israel can make such wild demands of the mediator, be in violation of law with no consequences, and still be guaranteed loads of money:


"every time we do something you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it."





Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sabra and Shatila/ Mossad posing as US intelligence

Two ADC reports, one about the atrocity 28 years ago and one more about crazy, rampant, ignored Israeli spying:




28 Years Later, Sabra and Shatila Remembered

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | September 16, 2010 — Today, Sept. 16, marks the 28th anniversary of one of the bloodiest and most brutal massacres of our time. On Sept. 16, 1982, shortly after Israeli troops seized control of west Beirut, the right-wing Lebanese militia forces operating under the direction of Israeli forces massacred over one thousand defenseless men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps.

During the massacre, Israeli troops were in full control of the area in which the Sabra and Shatila camps are located. They allowed the militias into the camps, prevented refugees from fleeing for their lives, and lit the night sky with a continuous series of flares as the killing raged for almost 3 days. The Israeli government‘s own commission of inquiry into the affair, the Kahan Commission, found that Israel was responsible for the massacre. Senior Israeli officials who were found responsible for the massacre continued to hold high governmental and political posts in Israel. Ariel Sharon, who directed the 1982 Israeli attack on Lebanon, was forced to resign after the Commission concluded that he bore personal responsibility for the massacre, and should never hold public office again; in 2001 Ariel Sharon became a prime minister. General Amos Yaron, commander of the Israeli occupying forces in the Lebanese capital of Beirut during the massacre, became a director-general of the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Palestinians who survived are still haunted by the memories of the massacre. The untreated wounds are still open, and questions of why no one has been punished are still unanswered.

Sara Najjar-Wilson, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said “The Sabra and Shatila massacre demonstrates the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees, who have been dispossessed from their homeland for over 62 years. This tragedy is an example of the need for a just settlement of the refugee issue based on the Right of Return, which is enshrined for all refugees in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees, as specifically addressed in UN Resolution 194, should be implemented.”

See Related Article:
28 Years After the Massacre at Sabra-Shatila by Dr. Franklin Lamb




****************************************************************************



Grave Concern Regarding Israeli Intelligence in the U.S.

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | September 7, 2010 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expresses grave concern over allegations that Israeli Intelligence agents are targeting Arab and Muslim Americans, posing as U.S. Federal Agents. The activity was recently reported in a Washington Post Article by Jeff Stein. Such activity will have a negative impact on the trust between Arab and Muslim Americans with the U.S. Federal Government. ADC calls on the Department of Justice, Department of State, and other appropriate Federal agencies to thoroughly investigate any instances of individuals, including foreign nationals, falsely identifying themselves as a U.S. government official.

ADC reminds community members, citizens and non-citizens, that you are entitled to have an attorney present in the event someone who identifies himself or herself as a government official and approaches you for questioning. You do not have to answer any question, and your refusal to answer cannot be used against you. You do not have to allow agents to enter your home without a warrant. If the agent claims to have a warrant please demand to see it. Further, please ask to see the credentials of the government official, ask the agent’s name and a business card, and call the FBI Field Office and ask for verification.

ADC will continue to monitor these reports. If you or someone you know has been approached by anyone identifying himself or herself as a government official, but you suspect or question the identity of such official, please feel free to contact the ADC Legal Department at 202-244-2990, or legal@adc.org.

ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI) | www.adc.org
1732 Wisconsin Ave., NW | Washington, DC | 20007
Tel: 202-244-2990 | Fax: 202-333-3980 | E-mail: media@adc.org




Religious Intolerance

The Park 51, or more famously, 'Ground Zero Mosque' has brought to light American Christian- Muslim relations. I really thought things should be better, not worse than just after 9/11. Obama's election brought the first hints, but recent events really sealed it.


Religious Intolerance in the US
http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-09-09/religious-intolerance-us


http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-09-09/religious-intolerance-us/transcript


Today's show (Sept 16, 2010), is supposed to have religious leaders talking about Islam in America. I want to check that out as well.

Some interesting points were made about what people said and believed about Catholicism around the time of JFK's election.

From Norman Vincent Peale about Kennedy:

"Faced with the election of a Catholic, our culture is at stake."


"It is inconceivable that a Roman Catholic president would not be under extreme pressure by the hierarchy of his church to accede to its policies with respect to foreign interest, and that the election of a Catholic might even end free speech in America."


People say the same about Muslims today, but in less polite language and in more sweeping and dramatic tones. The end of free speech is pretty dramatic, though. I'll give him that.

Also on the Diane Rehm Show they talked about Catholics being prevented from holding office. I have read elsewhere about colonial times and various denominations would discriminate against the other in this way. On the show, they talked about in Nebraska in the '20s they shut down Lutheran schools because they read the Bible in German and apparently in Philidelphia there was a fight about which part of the Bible you read.

***



When I initially heard about this, I was horrified that it was 9/11 or Park 51 backlash. Then I thought, this sounds a bit like post traumatic stress. It did say he was embedded with US troops in Afghanistan, but he was a film student, not a soldier. Not that he can't get PTSD. Some details don't really fit with PTSD as far as I know.

He's got to "bring Abdallah through the checkpoint." That sounds like PTSD. "Consider this a checkpoint" sounds like he knows what he's doing, though, not like he thinks he's in Afghanistan. And afterwards, he claimed he was trying to rob the taxi driver, so that doesn't sound like PTSD. I'm no expert, though. I'm definitely not saying he shouldn't have to pay for seriously wounding the taxi driver either way. He definitely should serve time and get help if needed. I just half wonder if there isn't a PTSD issue or if you could tell if he was faking it.

***


Guy wants to burn Qurans. Guy links it to the Park 51 mosque. Is this terrorism? Hate speech? Is it yelling fire in a crowded theater? Protected speech? Is it right or wise or obligatory for a Christian to do?

This verse was mentioned in support of burning Qurans:

"Act 19:18-20 Many also of them that had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds. And not a few of them that practised magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed."

My answer:

I don't think this is an example that we should burn every writing that is against God. That's going beyond what is written. An equivalent situation in my mind was if we had a mission in this country or another and converted a whole slew of Muslims to Christianity and they decided they would bring their Qurans, which represents something they once believe true but they now know is false, and burn them. That would have significance to them and perhaps signal to others that they have made a change. Maybe it would give them confidence. Who knows. My point is that the "pastor" in our current situation is in a very different position than the Acts 19 situation. He's burning something he never believed in to make some political point or provoke others or make money for his Dove Institution.

While burning books is certainly legal, I'm not a fan of that type of protest (burning books and flags) for myself. I personally know I could say more on a sign (I have). I seriously doubt his intentions. I don't think it helps the cause of Christ unless former Muslims do this without prompting as something they feel they need/want to do. All this aside from what Obama and Patraeus have said about the potential to harm troops. People have urged the press to censor itself about all types of news in order to not harm the troops or don't criticize the war or Bush or whoever because it will embolden terrorists. Why can't the "pastor" do this as well?

I mentioned reaching out to Muslims and teaching them, but the "pastor" also needs the truth. That's through what lens I want to look at things. Politics and human behavior are endlessly interesting, but we need to be about the business of teaching.

---
Another one I posted elsewhere:

The Quran burning stunt was pretty much either political or due to his problem with Muslims/Arabs.

Scheduling it for 9/11 says he thinks all Muslims are terrorists. It's political.

If it was false teaching he was worried about, he'd be burning the Book of Mormon, writings of John Calvin, other false Christian books and teachings. He'd be burning porn, books and movies that glorify breaking the law and homosexuality including mafia flicks, vampire stuff and such. There is a lot to burn if that were his purpose, but he chose the Quran to single out. Hmmm. I mean, most Christians know and speak it loudly that the Quran is false teaching. Seems like if you want to make a real statement instead of just make Muslims afraid and mad, you'd burn something that Christians accept, but that can cause our ruin. Lottery tickets. Money. iphones. Whatever. A popular one has been books that contain cuss words or sex scenes that kids are required to read in school. Make your congregation wear plain clothes or uniforms to make a point about materialism. There is a ton you could do if you wanted without provoking people and "making a point" that people already know well.

On Friday or Saturday it was said said he called it off and it was linked to Park 51 changing it's location.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/10/pastor-terry-jones-quran-burning

I don't know whether this was an afterthought for Mr. Jones or if this was the original purpose; I found out about it late in the controversy. And we're back. The Great Mosque Debate. He thinks all Muslims are terrorists. It's political. It's not just about calling attention to false teaching. Burning is an act that could go terribly wrong. It seems less in line with the Christian teachings of preaching the gospel to all the world and living peaceably with all men as much as depends on us.

---
Living with Muslims would be refreshing, especially in America. Why can we not appreciate that? They share our value of modesty. More so. They don't drink. There are more Christians who do. Homosexuality and premarital sex would be looked down upon as in the days our parents and grandparents remember fondly. They fast for a whole month and Christians are supposed to fast. The fast helps them think about the less fortunate and they are supposed to give to the poor as well during this time. This is familiar Christian territory as well. Their culture and religion values hospitality highly and they practice it often and enthusiastically. This is something Christians, and Americans for sure, can be lacking. Instead of our hospitality, we're known for being loud mouthed and culturally tone deaf. Christians and Muslims share close to the same belief in women being equal before God yet having different roles than men in worship. Culture in America has largely gotten rid of the value placed on men taking care of women and cherishing them, but this is alive and well in the Arab world.

I'm just saying that they have more in common with us than we Christians are willing to admit. People who have less in common, some denominations, pro- choice people, people into "sexual freedom", people who get drunk every weekend, people caught up in various sins in our community we make peace with (they're Americans, we have to work with them, hate the sin not the sinner, etc) and live with and may even be friends with- we don't go around burning things and provoking them and making fun of them or demanding that it is incumbent on them to make it clear that they mean us no harm and won't indoctrinate our kids, and if they don't it's ok for us to assume this and other horrible things about them.

Christians tend to be pretty hostile to Muslims and that bothers me. I'm not saying we should bend Biblical doctrine or convert to Islam. Absolutely not. But the hostility I just don't understand. Especially if you haven't asked them what they believe and what their opinions on things are. And even then why not disagree and leave it at that like you would your coworker who is of a different Christian denomination or different political party with whom you completely disagree?



The Thumb in the Chili of Middle East Peace Talks

Or the fly in the ointment. Or the fly in the chili.

The terrorist the US wants to embrace. If there was an Avigdor Lieberman on the Palestinian side, there would be no talks, the US would cut them off an demand they get rid of him, they would allow and facilitate attacks on his life even! Since he's a Jew, we'll "embrace" him.

I'm talking about Avigdor Lieberman.


"I do not believe that a comprehensive agreement with the Palestinians is possible within a year, nor even during the next generation,"

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/09/20109654947618925.html


***

And if this isn't a self fulfilling prophecy, I don't know what is!

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has promised to veto any extension of the building freeze, and said that not only is peace with the Palestinians unachievable, but that it an unattainable goal that would not be reached within a year, or even within a generation.

http://www.linktv.org/scripts/episode_transcript.php?episode=mosaic20100907



He doesn't think peace is possible in his generation because he's working for the opposite.

We can't say that Israel doesn't want peace, but when faced with leaders like this, what other conclusion can one draw? Combine that with the good standard of living, freedom (for Jews) of Israelis vs Palestinians and you have a good recipe for the status quo. Can we say no partner for peace? No. That would be a non-starter. I'm a pessimist and trying to shut down discussion. And besides we're talking about Israel, not Palestinians. There are certain things you can and have to say when talking about one or the other.

This speaks to his lack of leadership skills. On top of being a terrorist, that is. And by terrorist, I mean a more recent variety than the run of the mill Jewish terrorist turned Israeli statesman of the Irgun/Stern Gang/etc type. If leaders can't inspire hope and say peace is possible now, the public certainly will follow suit.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book: Ambivalence



He may be ambivalent about his faith and he may have been ambivalent about his girlfriend before he got dumped, but about Israel I'm not so sure. He's definitely proud of himself for making a Palestinian friend and for eventually asking and answering questions most Jews manage to suppress and ignore- even the ones living in Israel. He finds out his view of history learned at his Canadian Zionist school was a lie (propaganda, indoctrination, IMO). He's haunted continually by this composite character representing the school like a true victim of serious semi-successful brainwashing. He's got several composite characters and dead people or those not in the country speaking to him. It was creative and kind of fun, but in a memoir, I'm not sure I liked it.

He does have some breakthroughs. There were in fact people on the land (Israel) before them (Israeli Jews) and Palestinians didn't leave of their own free will and did in fact want to come back. Also, he learns that not everyone hates Jews and there is such thing as Palestinians and the map of Israel he had burned in his brain as a child was wrong. I think he still holds onto the lie that it was the Jews who made the desert bloom, though. What is shocking is how I hear people constantly bemoan the fact that Palestinians are being indoctrinated to hate Jews in textbooks and schools, while there is nothing about this propaganda Jews learn in school, not just in Israel, but all over the world (and the fact that for Palestinians it is illegal to learn about their own history or literature, etc).

Interestingly, at Jonathan's home synagogue, the men and women are separate and the women can't touch the Torah and men and women can't touch each other. I found it kind of funny given the fact that there has been so much press lately about mosques and how people believe Islam is the problem, after all, look how they treat women- separate to pray. Callers to radio shows justify their ill feelings for the mosque in NY due to this separation which doubtless many Jews in NY (and all over the world) also practice!

When he talks to other Jews about his questioning of what he's been taught, he seems to oppose them, but does so as though he tossed a coin and he doesn't know why he's saying what he's saying. When he talks about his orthodox friends, he longs for the faith they have and admires them greatly, which is not so bad. What they say about Palestinians bothers him (also good), but not in the way Rana's acceptance of suicide bombing does- he's ready to end that friendship.

The fact that his friend, Rana, supports suicide bombing as a general concept shocks him. Funny when you think of his heroes in Israeli history who were responsible for some pretty horrible things, but such is the contradiction that is Israel. When he finds out about this, he wonders why he can question his faith and position, but she can't. He also says at some point that they both have had to question their Israeli educations and she found it almost as hard as he did to criticize and question her education and (for her) Israeliness. I wonder if he thinks the Jews could have won their state with non-violence. Does he regret that they used violence so that he can freely (and cheaply if he'd taken one of Israel's many offers to Jews) travel at the expense of so many lives long gone and so many under occupation?

He visits a community, Oasis of Peace, where Israelis and Palestinians live together equally, but he calls this fabricated peace rather than a choice or an alternative, as they consider it. He goes with an activist whose group is intent on posting signs telling of the state's real history, or at least a sanitized version letting people know of the Palestinian villages that Israel tried to erase. He's not terribly critical of them, but it is clear that while he seems glad he knows the truth, he doesn't really want to get involved in educating others and seems on the fence about the whole thing- he may not be as happy to know the truth as I thought.

The real peace, is the one in the Shimon-Abu Dalo residence, he thinks. I disagree. They hate each other, but they don't kill each other. It's the reason for his trip to Israel. He wants to write a play about it and goes to do research and to find out about the nagging questions relating to what he learned in school. He inexplicably goes to see Divine Intervention at the Toronto Film Festival, meets Rana who tells him about this house. I hope he made a great play because I don't think his trip was too enlightening for him otherwise. When Palestinians would talk history with him, he wouldn't be able to concentrate either because the IDF was shooting or low blood sugar or whatever. He did seem to conclude that his Zionist education was a bit biased and maybe not factually correct. But he wants it to be. He wants the faith of those people and to not ask questions. He admires his "War of Independence" heroes (maybe just remembering as a child?) and how kibbutzim were instrumental in the war. He can't let go of the Jewish state idea, which precludes equality and democracy, even though he kind of understands that implication.

He does less analysis and more general reporting of Israeli attitudes than some memoirs. One such experience that sticks out is how in his visit to the kibbutz, I and apparently he, expected pretty liberal attitudes about Palestinians and was surprised. He asked them if they would let Palestinians live in the kibbutz, given their values and claims of interacting with Palestinians. They weren't forthcoming. When they bragged about going to the West Bank, it was not really in a Palestinian village as they had said and it was owned by Palestinians serving Jewish patrons.

I've been able to get my hands on far more Jewish memoirs than Palestinian ones. This one was pretty good. It didn't make me nearly as mad as Prisoners by Jeffery Goldberg; I was mildly disappointed. He was able to reverse some Zionist brainwashing and begin thinking for himself. He was ashamed of himself for doing this, though, and seemed to want to want the faith of people who thought Palestinians were dogs. He made some Palestinian friends and asked some questions, but he still seems to think they are guilty or responsible for the mess they are in. He does seem to be for cooperation and peace and not so obsessed with the Holocaust (like American Jews) and manufactured victimhood that it causes moral blindness.

Maybe we'll have to wait for Israel to allow Palestinians freedom of movement and to study their history and write about it without it being illegal for Palestinian memoirs to become more widely available.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New peace talks

I wrote this last week before the talks were supposed to start. I took a little news vacation. I am thankful to have that luxury. Now, I'm curious to know what happened. I kind of don't want to know, because at this moment I'm hoping there's a breakthrough and that's a good feeling. I think I know the result, but I don't want to confirm it.


New peace talks are starting. No one's that optimistic. Why should they be? We know Netanyahu's position. He's been against the two state solution for quite some time, only recently forcing himself to utter the words. Everyone's talking about those hard choices and compromise. Let me translate.


Palestinians must:

*Recognize Israel as Jewish, meaning if they choose to live there, they cannot reasonably expect equal rights.

*Agree that their state will be a permanent military occupation. Israel will have control of borders, air, sea, trade, etc.

*Modify or limit their right of return while of course continuing to allow unlimited Jewish immigration to the area (their "right of return" after some 2000 years and unclear link to Israelites who were promised and banished from the land by God).

*Set a strict (short) time limit on compensation for injustices since 1948 because Jews of all people should know how long one can draw out such claims for such extensive injustices given recent Holocaust compensation. One would think, though, that given the world's great effort and desire to give back land, belongings, and whatever else to Holocaust victims and their families that Israel would try and return the favor to the people it tried to destroy.

These things are expected of Palestinians. I mean, imagine if we, instead of passing a Civil Rights Act, cemented racial inequality and/ or separation for all time and called it progress in race relations? Who would accept that? Should we?

Israel will have to do nothing. It should, but it won't. I happen to think that you should have to answer for a "democracy" if people of one religion are treated better than others and if the very idea of the identity of a people is anti-Semitic to you. Israel will not have to explain how it can reasonably be called a democracy when Jews have more rights with respect to where and when they can build, what land they buy, it isn't illegal to study their history and literature, etc. It will not have to justify Jews' right to be on the land and have a nation, unlike Palestinians. Palestinians are constantly denied this luxury and it is concluded they "aren't ready," they don't deserve it because of the suicide bombing, etc. No one will ask why it was ok for Jews to kill Palestinians and drive them out, but unacceptable for Palestinians to resist in anything but a non-violent fashion (and even this provokes lethal force from Israel). It will not have to explain why it was ok for Palestinians to pay the price of the Nazi Holocaust, then required that they thank these immigrant aggressors for not slaughtering them all and for giving them a slim chance for a sliver of their own land.


I do not agree with violence committed by terrorist groups (like the 4 settlers killed before the recent talks), but when settlers get killed, it's kind of the equivalent of when Palestinian militants get killed in action. Should they be mourned? Yes and no. Not that Americans are willing to see it that way any time soon. Palestinians killed are most likely guilty and don't deserve so much as a pause; Jews that get killed are absolutely innocent- haven't they suffered enough already- let's erect a monument and send money to Israel.

Settlers aren't innocent.
They are in general a more extreme group bent on claiming land for Israel and terrorizing Palestinian farmers. They are protected by the army as though they are on Israeli soil when they should be left to be cleaned out by Palestinian security forces, who don't have the personnel or facilities to protect it's own people let alone worry about land- due to the targeting of both by the Israeli army.

Beck's "Restoring Honor"- Just Another Tea Party Rally

Many say it wasn't overtly political. Kind of funny when you see Palin's speaking. That makes it political right there. Beck's got this 9/12 project that is a Tea Party offshoot. That's political. There were very broad and general topics thrown about like honor and patriotism and Christianity, but I didn't hear enough thoughtful Bible study to remotely consider it a religious event in any way, shape or form. And when you consider who the "we" is that was used at the event, you see it means Tea Party or conservative, not Christians.

I was expecting typical Glenn Beck myself. We didn't really see that. But to say it wasn't political isn't honest. It's been criticized (and I agree) as offensive- a bunch of white people gathering on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech to restore honor or take America back or something of that nature. As though Obama was the one who caused us to lose honor. Which would fit with the Glenn Beck model. And who lost America so they have to take it back. Obviously they aren't including Democrats in their all-inclusive apolitical "Christian" honor fest.


On Anderson Cooper, there was a Tea Party blogger and a guy from the left. I forget who he was. He belittled Christians and that didn't sit well with me. He was one who voiced the criticism above and she jumped on him saying sure he'd been to other events, but was he there to verify that every person was white. She seemed to imply that this was a Tea Party event. Hmmm. The Tea Party is very sensitive about stepping up and saying who they are and claiming events. You know- no single person's responsible for the event, everyone just comes out because they care about America and values; they aren't any particular party (even though they probably are conservative)- just Americans. Unity is great, but when you don't in fact all believe the same things, it's a lie or dishonest or just not descriptive. The group that gathered with Beck was probably all unified, but do all Americans believe that way? No way.

The message. Our rights come from a higher power. I agree. The coded message, however, was that to get back to our roots and values we have to elect Tea Party people. Here, I begin to disagree and get suspicious. The typical themes of supporting troops and fighting wars equals patriotism and freedom and values were addressed. The theme was supposedly to turn back to God and the values on which the country was founded. On the surface, a noble thing, but when you consider the source and audience, due diligence is needed. More decoding. Conservatives are (re)claiming the founding fathers and God as their own. I disagree. You must get a law/amendment/court decision banning abortion and gay marriage to be a good Christian and America- forget the other stuff the Bible says. The rub seems to be more of a political one rather than a religious one - do you think government shouldn't or shouldn't help people, gaining political power by singling out a few sins, etc. I don't know that I'll go into that since I have written quite a few posts on this issue.

Much was made of how many people were there. Beck seemed quite proud of himself as he strutted around delivering his "message." I tend to think if this wasn't intended as a political stunt or movement (Tea Party) then it was another publicity stunt because he can't get enough of himself, as if being infamous and having your own show isn't enough.

Maybe, though, the guy is turning over a new leaf. Maybe he will think about God as he yells at people and calls Obama racist and all the other offensive things. If he's trying to clean up the image (Restore Honor to himself?) by putting on this event, then goes back to his old show antics, then the rally really was a joke. Or maybe, he will actually tone himself down and be respectful and start to have meaningful discussions on his show.

Palin, another speaker at the event, certainly seemed to be trying to redeem herself - "Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet and you can't take that away from me." Isn't that stealing honor? Saying a bunch of bigoted, offensive things then borrow you son's honor? That doesn't seem fair.


Some links:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/30/glenn.beck.rally.monday/index.html


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/27/AR2010082704860.html

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/28/thousands-expected-glenn-beck-rally-civil-rights-leaders-protest-event/


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Pictures:

The rally-goers were told not to bring signs. If it was religious and not political, I wonder why this had to be emphasized? Hmmm. They may not have brought signs on sticks, but, boy, did they wear them.

One of them is a Tea Party shirt about “Reclaiming America.” This, I believe, ties to the “Restoring Honor.” Who stole it, praytell? You guessed it! The liberals, socialists, and all those people who won’t forward those emails about how Obama wasn’t born here, Muslims can’t make good Americans, Obama’s a Muslim, Obama’s Hitler, etc. What’s the difference, anyway? Obama's a closet Muslim and Democrats are socialists, which makes Obama a virtual axis of evil, doesn't it?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/30/glenn-becks-restoring-hon_2_n_698834.html#s132392


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The same weekend as the rally, he says he shouldn’t have called Obama a racist. He doesn’t want to retract, but amend… Obama's not a racist, but a Christian who believes in liberation theology (Another attempt to say he's not really Christian).

"He is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology -- which is
oppressor and victim."


I think perhaps we need a few more leaders who understand the victim's point of view, myself (but not morally crippled by it like Israel).

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100829/pl_yblog_upshot/glenn-beck-regrets-calling-obama-a-racist


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Beck smears Obama’s daughter- May 28, 2010

This came probably as Beck was preparing his “return to God” rally. I realize no one’s perfect, but the amount of sludge that spews forth from this guy’s mouth is astounding, which makes the return to God theme more than a little suspect.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201005280025

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He deliberately people misleads about Obama’s faith. When Obama used the phrase “submitted to His will” Beck attacked and translated that as Islam. What Christian hasn't submitted to the will of God?? Are we all Muslims, then? That’s a complete lie that he’s continuing to propagate and disseminate, showing no regard for truth or accuracy. That’s what Beck’s show is about. Will this change after the rally? Will he apologize for the tone of his show since America is turning back to God on 8/28? Maybe this excludes him.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,600150,00.html

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Glen Beck attacked Obama for so-called “collective salvation” remarks as evidence that he’s not Christian. And that sets him up nicely to be "slammed" as a Muslim- and I say it like that because we in this country have recently shown that we don’t think much of Muslims (Park 51 and the infamous survey done just before that about how many think Obama’s a Muslim). And the right has an even bigger problem with them, the survey shows.

http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/200/43036/


Some articles called this "collective salvation" a perversion of Christianity. Interesting criticism coming from Beck, a Mormon, a religion with a whole entire book of these such doctrines. Which brings me to another interesting thing. Beck is Mormon, and talks about his faith (in general) a lot and held a rally to show people how Christian he is. Obama doesn't talk about it much in the way Bush and Beck did/do, but talks about community service and getting health care to more people and appears quick to listen and slow to anger, among other things. Given how much and what Beck does say, I wonder why people would think Beck is a Christian and not be sure of Obama.

Now, I took the collective salvation comments to mean that as a Christian, my salvation depends on helping people in need. This is true. My help could be their physical salvation, in a way. Or if you aren’t a Christian (Obama was appealing to a larger, more general audience?), helping others still makes you feel good and so it could work that way as well. I don’t think Obama was arguing for a religious doctrine of collective salvation. Actually, some on the right talk more about this. I have heard some say that if we don’t ban abortion and gay marriage God won’t look favorably on our nation. Sounds like collective salvation to me. Why these two sins and not others? I give up.

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Beck on Obama and Hitler: He’s not comparing them, but…

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200908120017

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Aha! That Obama-Hitler email I blasted not long ago. It came from a Beck follower. Should have guessed! Same phrase is used- “banana republic dictator.”

Beck suggests what Obama is doing is not "American," likens him to a "wannabe Third World banana republic dictator"

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201008200016

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Beck makes a big deal about Obama not taking the oath of office on a Bible, pretended to verify that all other presidents had, and was sorely mistaken as Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and John Quincy Adams didn't use Bibles, either. As the Bible says let your yes be yes and no be no, I (and many Christians) may have to take a pass as well. Or "affirm" rather than swear if that is an option. I mean, what's Beck saying here? That Obama's not Christian? That he's not American? That his oath didn't count? The implication is that he's not Christian or doesn't like the Bible.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/122063/not_only_is_fox%27s_glenn_beck_a_bigot,_he%27s_also_a_lunatic/


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The rally either was in fact political, or we should see a real change in Beck's show and attitude after this "change point" as Palin not-so-eloquently put it at the rally.


I know that many of us today, we are worried about what we face. Sometimes, our challenges, they just seem insurmountable. But here together, at the crossroads of our history, may this day, may this day be the change point. Look around you. You are not alone. You are Americans!

--Sarah Palin


Not political? In her comments are absolutely political, here. Religious revival? Hardly. She is talking about the economic situation and possibly the fact that Republicans "lost control of the White House" and now feel unrepresented (as I did for 8 long years with W). The message that this Tea Party contingent are the "real America" is 100% a political theme - a negative and false one at that.