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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Palestinian flag to fly at the UN- progress?

I went in the edit my post and my wonderful computer due to an annoying quirk has caused me to delete it. So here we go again. I'll try and reconstruct.

The UN voted to fly the Palestinian flag with 119 out of 193 votes, 45 abstentions and 8 very predictable no votes. Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu, United States- looks a little like the coalition of the willing in the Iraq debacle. I think it's a step in the right direction whether it's symbolic or meaningless or whatever you want to call it. To be clear, the motion was for the permanent observer states to fly their flags alongside member states with the only other being the Holy See, who didn't really want to be involved, though it does recognize the Palestinian state.

There were many opinions, harsh and a little contradictory coming from the US and Israel, mostly positive elsewhere.

Some Palestinians are not encouraged by the resolution and given the history of these resolutions calling on Israel to follow international law and such, I can see why. Also, I can see the argument that the flag flying won't bring peace or rights right away. But I think it could do something to keep the issue in the consciousness of the international community and possibly help guide them to Tamimi's last point there in the quote.

Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian British academic and author, told Al Jazeera that the gesture was "meaningless"."What the Palestinians need from the UN is an acknowledgement of its historic role in dispossessing the Palestinians," Tamimi said. -- Aljazeera

Of course I agree with this being a historic vote, if nothing else, and also a sign of support for the Palestinian people that the UN has been powerless to protect against Israeli aggression. It is always good to see expressions of support on the world stage for human rights and equality. There was a very good rebuttal to this being "just symbolic" : 

Bolivia’s speaker said that although the vote was symbolic, symbols were important and the Palestinian flag would be a reminder of occupation and injustice.

 The US reaction was pretty standard and unemotional, unlike the Israeli one we'll see in a minute.

US state department spokesman Mark Toner called it a "counterproductive" attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement. --Aljazeera

Well that one was right out of the Israeli script, but standard, nothing new.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said raising the Palestinian flag will not bring Israelis and Palestinians any closer together.
This one is kind of funny, making this kind of statement about a flag, a symbol for the struggle for freedom and justice of an entire people. Meanwhile, the people you are coming out in support of are occupying the land meant for this state everyone is allegedly committed to, committing crimes against humanity, starving and imprisoning the population, imposing curfews, closures, incusions, making life impossible so that they'll "transfer" themselves or die. Does THAT bring the two sides together?? Does she find these things preferable to a flag? It sure sounds that way.

The Israeli envoy, Ron Prosor had a lot of irrational and insulting things to say. He went after the UN for alleged duplicity and hypocrisy. He went after the resolution calling it an empty gesture, a photo op, a charade. He also included the overused and untrue refrain that Palestinians aren't taking the necessary steps for peace. Israel is continuing to build and enlarge settlements (illegal under international law) on land that is to be the Palestinian state, but you know, Palestinians just aren't taking necessary steps. Israel has only one image of a Palestinian state- demilitarized (right to self defense nullified), Jewish state recognized (denial of rights to Palestinians living there), and settlements stay (no fixed borders)- essentially occupation enshrined in law- but you know, Palestinians just won't come to the table to negotiate (which means accept what Israel demands) this. 

And displaying the kind of tired perpetual victimhood rhetoric we were waiting for (drum roll please):

Ron Proser, Israel’s UN ambassador, criticised the assembly for adopting the resolution, saying “the assembly would vote to declare the Earth is flat if the Palestinians proposed it” -- The Guardian

Boo hoo.
And interestingly, even though the vote was put down as insignificant, it was significant enough to move the Israeli Foreign Ministry to go on an international campaign to get the entire EU to abstain, as reported by Haaretz. But that failed. Some countries were brave and used their own good sense. 

Alongside France, EU members Sweden, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Malta and Poland voted yes.

Oh this guy was on a roll. He also said:

". . . rather than flying the Palestinian flag, it might as well just wave a “white flag” and surrender its principles."


Friday, August 21, 2015

Jared and porn, more celebrity worship

Jared's in possession of child porn. Or something of that nature.

(Note: I don't want to seem flippant about sex crimes and crimes against children, but my rant might appear that way, so just a warning - this rant is about celebrities and the undeserved love and adoration they receive from us, the public, who  should know better and channel  it into something more useful than complaining about their hair or their butt or whatever crime or indiscretion they are now involved with. I am not downplaying the nature of the crime, only highlighting how silly we should feel for idolizing these people at all, regardless of what they do or do not do.)

 There is a shocking amount of outrage- people can't believe he did that, he seemed so wholesome and achieved his goal or why didn't Subway vet him better, who is responsible? Uhhh. I was at a loss for words about the reaction to this. I mean who cares?? Who is he really? Was he such a big role model anyway? We know pedophilia exists, so that's not a shock. Priests were involved and they were at least bound by a moral code you can look up. Should we be shocked about Jared, a guy you don't know? Not to dismiss this crime at at all, it  is horrific, but why are we seemingly more bent out of shape about it than when it happens to ordinary people? Is everyone who loses weight and signs on with an ad campaign of such a stellar moral character that we can't expect such a thing from them? Do we honestly revere him or Subway to such an extent that we believed such a “fall” impossible? This kind of crime is always unacceptable, but to be so disappointed as though you knew the guy seems a bit much for me. 

The bigger question is why do people hold up these sports figures, reality TV stars, commercial stars (whatever he was) in the first place? I don't understand the rat race, the never ending quest to get rich and famous, always wanting a bigger house, luxury car, fleet of luxury cars. I want a car that works, shelter that's low maintenance and books. I read that this was because I'm an introvert and we don't care about that stuff. Or maybe I'm trying to minimize disappointment. But I've always been that way. In 5th grade we had to write about a role model. I struggled with who to pick because I didn't have any. Parents are the obvious choice, but didn't fit the image I had when I thought role model. I don't want to be exactly like anyone. I picked Jim Davis because I loved Garfield and he can draw and make people laugh and I thought those were nice skills to have. But even then I felt disingenuous calling him a role model. I didn't want to be him or model my life after him, I wanted to be me. 

Famous people are just people. Not exceptional, not more moral, not superhuman, not born with more talent, just stinking "lucky" (a good word only if you want to be famous) most of the time. So they were in the right place at the right time or they had connections. Is that deserving of our praise and fawning? So they can do something better than you and you admire that work ethic that got them there- why not work on your skills instead of sending them fan mail, falling in love with them and never missing an event they are involved with- how will that improve your game?? People you put up on a pedestal will always disappoint you anyway. You couldn't change them if you wanted to make them conform to your standard for hero anyway. You do, however, have control over yourself, so I'd recommend putting our energy there. Why don't we put all this money and energy that we put into idolizing famous people into bettering ourselves and helping others? We could reverse this upside down or backwards culture of ours and focus  on making education and health care accessible to all instead of buying self help books that tell us how to be successful, buying into the latest absurd celebrity trend whether it be eating placenta, keeping the colon completely empty, wearing transparent dresses or necklines that plunge to the pelvis. We could reorder things so that teachers would make more than professional athletes. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fight to defund Planned Parenthood a la ACORN hoax

There is a new development in the abortion fight. If you remember the ACORN video during Obama's presidential campaign, you might feel a sense of deja vu.

Before we get into the controversy, let me say that this war on Planned Parenthood (as you know, this is not the first attempt to defund or shut it down) makes no sense to me. Besides the whole problem I have with others being involved in your choices affecting your family, sexuality, and body and NO ONE ELSE'S, there are other absurdities. Planned Parenthood offers many services to low income people as well as sex education, birth control, and treatment and aid when women are raped. Why would you want to block other people's access to these, in some cases, life saving services?? Sure, you may have a great health care plan and insurance, low co-pay, first rate doctors you can call as soon as you get the sniffles, but many people don't. Supporting movements to block access to that is heartless and hypocritical, especially since many who support this are SUPPOSED TO BE CHRISTIANS and should want to 'do unto others' and love their neighbors, love the adults as much as the fetuses.

The sources on the right, predictably led by Fox News, have cast this as 'OMG Planned Parenthood is selling babies!!!' But of course the truth is quite a bit less sensational. They want us to believe Planned Parenthood is either pressuring women to have abortions or pressuring women to sell fetal tissue so either they or the organization can make money. So instead of examining the sketchy video and submitting the rookie sting to any kind of scrutiny, Republicans want Planned Parenthood shut down (big shocker, as they have been trying to do this for ages) and a massive investigation be conducted. Makes sense, right? No.

Here is Planned Parenthood's statement:

So if you want to see the slant and the videos, you can probably find some here:

There were highly edited clips released (making the employee sound cavalier, making it sound as though something illegal might be going on) then the full versions were released, where it was made clear there is no trafficking in fetal tissue and in which some jokes in bad taste were made. Probably not the best way to talk about it, but not illegal. Also, when you are talking about something difficult, you sometimes make jokes, so this could have been the case. Doctors and professionals who deal with these things on a daily basis have a much greater ease in talking about them than the general public and this could be interpreted as callousness to the uninitiated. And not to mention, if we broke down every medical procedure to this level, we can make any of it sound extremely gruesome.

So of course what follows is that there is a rally in a few days in support of defunding Planned Parenthood, a long fight, not specific to this new video hoax or all new.

Now here are some sources that can shed some light on the situation, or tell the other side of the story, if you want to look at it like that. Apparently, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed for travel and transport of the tissue donations and this was cast as "illegal sale" and trafficking, which would be quite the scandal. If it had any basis in fact.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The racist disclaimer, decoded

I've seen a lot of good things about equality through the discussions of shooting of unarmed black men, the Charleston massacre and the confederate flag fuss*. And I've also seen some bad. So here's another rant.

I don't like talking about race. I'm a much better listener anyway. I don't have the experience to talk fluently about discrimination, but even I can see some of it and it's disgusting. I mean sure, people assume things about me because I'm quiet, we all have these types of struggles, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about real discrimination based on something arbitrary and seen immediately (like skin color, duh).

One meme making the rounds of social media says white people are not responsible for things their ancestors did.

 Hmm. Ok. . . That may be true on the surface. You don't own slaves, good on you. But sometimes you need to look a little deeper and break the code. (Side rant, excuse this- Like when you are told to be a Christian in and out of the voting booth. Are they telling you to be a Christian or are they telling you to vote Republican- or I'm sorry- not Republican, how dare I assume!, but rather the candidate, whatever party (see how open minded I am!), who opposes abortion and gay marriage and is for making the Bible our civil law) This kind of thinking not only exonerates them from crimes of their ancestors (they assume), but kind of (they hope) gives them a blanket amnesty from any racist thought or action on their part today. They are trying to disengage and wash their hands of this matter, racism, as though it doesn't exist or doesn't matter. They don't experience it, so why bother. They won't be pulled over for being black or searched in a normal traffic stop or be considered suspicious for walking home with too many people, so we are post-racial.

Black people are dealing with the consequences of slavery (even though they are not slaves currently) still and yet white people bear NO responsibility because they don't currently own slaves?? There is something seriously wrong with that thinking. Racism is learned and passed down. Racism is alive and well unfortunately. I certainly WANT to be fair and impartial, but am I consistent in that? I have no idea. Probably not. But I'm trying. That's an important difference. Your parents and grandparents may have had racist ideas, but you can break out of the bubble and decide you want to contribute to making the world better. Doing nothing encourages the status quo, the broken system.

You can't wash your hands of this and say I'm not responsible for your misfortune. We need to be asking instead how we all can succeed. We need to be striving for equality and justice FOR ALL. And to do that we might need to ask what it's like to be driving while black or what it's like to explain to your kids the injustice that exists that is part of life, that they will have to work doubly hard to succeed or be doubly "non-threatening" (using this as I have heard it used, hoping I can get the point across and not be offensive) to be heard, the things they have to be aware of so as not to be shot- not by criminals- but by the police.

[7/26/15 edit- In recent events, at the Netroots Nation conference, it was said black lives matter, all lives matter, which is kind of the same - though more of an attempt at solidarity - as the 'I don't own slaves meme.' Of course all lives matter, but the issue we are having very obvious problems understanding in actions if not ideology is that black lives in particular matter as much as everyone else's and that is the reason for the hashtag and movement. If that was an attempt at solidarity, we need to try something else.]

Also included in this self righteous racism are the political games, like the anti affirmative action argument- we just want real equality, why do black people get all the breaks? What do you even say to that kind of ignorance??

And then there are black comics like Bill Cosby (I guess he's lost some credibility, but there are probably dozens who fit the mold) who tell boys to pull up their pants and tell white people they should be able to say the "n word" too and any number of more offensive actions. See? He's black! It's ok to be racist- or- it's not racist because I'm quoting a black guy!! Wrong.

I know you don't own slaves, but you still have to think for yourself and take responsibility for your own garbage TODAY.

Silence is complicity. I don't know who said that.

*fuss= 7/26/15 edit= looking back, this seems not a serious enough word. I only meant that it is a no brainer to me that if something is as offensive as a flag under which slavery was fought for, we should take it down immediately, why was it flying anyway, especially since it doesn't represent the US or the unity we seek even aside from slavery and especially considering it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Israeli politics and a soapbox

The Trouble With Israel

I don't know that I want to quote everything behind the pay wall; I don't know the rules there. I will put in a plug for supporting the forms of media, radio and print that are as intelligent and delve into the issues you care about, like Harpers is for me. Free is great, but supporting the musicians and media doing good things is also pretty sweet.

This article may help you if you are as confused as I am how Netanyahu got elected AGAIN, even though he seems to be bad for the times and his people.

He also nailed an assessment of US Republicans and made a fun observation of Netanyahu:

"They know that they cannot say they are for keeping things as they are, which would make them advocates for plutocracy and inequality, for which there is no majority. So instead they say that they are only against “government,” and act in ways to resist or sabotage the workings of the state apparatus. Ordinary people start saying that Washington is broken, journalists flock to valorize the voice of the frustrated citizen — and Republicans win. It’s the perfect con."

"He may fancy himself a new Churchill given another chance to preempt Hitler in 1938. But he sounds more like Curtis LeMay, the Air Force general who headed the Strategic Air Command and said in 1965 that China would have the capacity to deliver bombs as soon as twenty-five years in the future, and that therefore the United States should entertain the “destruction of the Chinese military potential before the situation grows worse.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What is propaganda?

Haaretz: Close encounters: A glimpse of Palestinian reality few American Jews ever see

This explains the problem with educating people on the conflict!  

"I think the instinct to talk to Palestinians is important, but I find the propaganda spin artificial to the point where you can't know anything like the real story because what they are saying is clearly not the whole story."  

When Americans hear the Israeli side, we sympathize, think about their struggle, accept it as fact and value it as a person's experience. When Americans hear the Palestinian perspective, they moan about balance, why are we only getting one perspective, why don't you write about other human rights issues (I used to get that one a lot), they consider it propaganda, and immediately explain away Israel's role in Palestinian hardships.

The answer given in the article was perfect and one I have given, too, in a way, when asked about my "one-sided" blog or writing. I always tell them you already have access to the Israeli Jewish perspective whether you are Jewish and visit there or just listen to the news here, so I have read a lot about this and know a Palestinian and this is the other side of the story. Not to mention, why should a program designed to educate about the Palestinian perspective be "equal"?? - and you can take equal to mean pro-Israel. If you didn't actually want to know the Palestinian perspective, you should have stayed in your little bubble and and not signed up for such a trip that doesn't promise you pro-Israel bias and apologetics sold as equality and justice!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Christians, separation of church and state is like your veggies- hard to swallow, but GOOD for you!

I noticed and collected a lot of memes with emotional posts on Facebook after the historic SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. The funny thing is, they are posted in proud defiance or opposition, when everyone already knows and agrees that the SCOTUS isn't the supreme being and it can't change God's laws.

 (Like screaming WATER IS WET!! And we're all waiting for the punchline, the point of difference, the reason for the outrage, while crickets chirp.)

That is PRECISELY the beauty of the separation of church and state. BOTH institutions are protected this way. When/ if we have a Christian president who rules strictly from the Bible and not for the general public well being and freedom, that is when Christianity is threatened MOST (unless we install him as supreme leader/dictator, ditch democracy and go totalitarian, only THEN can rule stay in the hands of Christians. ...well if Christians can muscle through coups, constant civil war and instability...) because with every election you could get a brand of Christianity you think is evil, or Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, or Muslim and all the laws would change.

As long as we value separation of church and state, our right to worship- or not- the way we want is protected, no matter who the top guy is.

It is often said the church is not a democracy- so, if you want to live in a democracy, why do you want to have a Christian president making laws as though he were ruling the church, making church and state one? It might be convenient and simpler for you (if you are Christian) to live in a land ruled by the Bible and have all sins be legislated against, to jail liars and murderers alike, give the death penalty to gossips and homosexuals alike, but that land is not, and I hope will never be, the United States of America.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederate flag fight

I've been seeing a lot of posts on this confederate flag business, cheering for the flag, disparaging the flag. So. . .

First I'm going to say I personally don't put any stock in any flag. Pledging allegiance to any thing, especially a flag, is ridiculous to me. *takes cover* Taking pride in your particular neighborhood, state, country, etc to the extreme that you are ready to fight if someone states an opinion or looks at you funny- this over an accident of your birth in a particular place? Why?? An arbitrary border is more important than people starving, people being mistreated by other people, trashing the environment we ALL depend on to live?

On one hand, it's just a flag and it's your right to fly anything you want. Fine. And it's in the past and who cares about flags anyway. They're meaningless. Not to mention, taking down a flag isn't going to get rid of racism, racial profiling, police brutality, poverty and the rest of the inequalities slavery helped entrench. . .

On the other hand,
Why are we up in arms over our "right" to fly this flag that represents division of this country that I'm guessing a lot of people upset over the contentious flag coming down will say they will fight and die for, are so proud to be citizens of, are ready to kick people out of if they aren't sufficiently loyal to ( remember 'love it or leave it'?). It represents to so many the allowing of people to hold others captive and say they are property by law and fighting for this "right".. Like drawing Muhammad, sure, you have the right and it's no big deal to you, but do you really want to be the lout who finds the one thing most hateful and throws it in someone's face simply because you have the right to do it? Your "freedom" to do this trivial thing trumps another human being's right to live in peace? It reminds me of kids all trying to be the first through the double doors in college when we're all going to the same place and have plenty of time to walk several feet to a seat- or adults tailgating and cutting people off on the road- you'll get there, don't be a baby, your time is no more or less important than anyone else's. Your rights and "rights" are no less important than anyone else's. You are not special. I am not special. With all this claiming of trivial rights we are becoming a nation of people to take offense too easily. And I say "becoming" like this is new. . . but that's another soapbox. A nation of babies. We are children. I mean, you can blame Muslims for getting offended at cartoons and black folks for being offended by cloth, but you don't see it's equally stupid or more so to claim your rights are being violated when you can't put cloth anywhere you want or make everyone (not to say all confederate flag supporters are religious, just an example) abide by your religious law (abortion, gay marriage opposition) or say and do hateful things simply because YOU have the right. I know what the response will be. I agree, you can go too far bending over backwards for people, making allowances for all the quirks, but lets have some balance and common courtesy and respect and introspection. And grow the heck up.

7/26/15 edit- I heard a great comparison in the last few weeks on possibly the BBC's World Have Your Say, but maybe Democracy Now or the Diane Rehm Show because I've been listening to all of them and they're mixed up in my head. Some folks want to say the Civil War was more about states' rights than slavery, though this represents a shift from the actual event. Or they want to say that individual soldier's reasons were protection of home, family, farms, their state and not necessarily slavery. A guest on the show pointed out that the same was true for the Iraq invasion. We used 9/11, WMD and terrorism to go to war, those were the reasons (never mind that they turned out to be wrong!). Individual soldiers' reasons for going can be very different- freedom, protection of family or country, responding to a stated need, or because it's their job. It would be false to use those reasons as the reason we attacked Iraq. Ignoring the bigger picture is not accurate or helpful in understanding that time period as in the case of the Civil War.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dual citizenship debacle- or mountain out of a molehill

There was a big stink about Diane Rehm's interview with Bernie Sanders. Maybe because she so rarely makes mistakes and is so far above other people doing this job. Maybe because she's part of the "liberal media" people love to hate. Maybe people love Bernie Sanders that much??? Well, I kind of hope it's the latter.

She did state rather than ask at around 24:20 on her show, you're a dual Israeli citizen, or something to that effect, but I was under the impression she was floating that out there with a pause for him to respond, refute, agree, disagree, etc. I would hardly call it bungling the interview, a massive oops or an accusation, as so many headlines read.

She was just moments before that "accusation" tossing him questions from Facebook, so I wasn't clear as to whether this may have been part of that or not. I also read that an intern may have grabbed the list he is said to be on of dual citizens from a comment on Facebook, so the list has spurious origins/source. True, you shouldn't take these things as fact. But, if there is a rumor that you are a dual citizen, you need to clearly state whether you are or are not and shouldn't be offended unless you have already publicly addressed it, as with the Obama birth certificate issue. If it is legal to be a dual citizen and president, then it will still beg some questions and possibly conflicts of interest. I don't think it is anti-Semitic to ask questions to clarify how this would affect his foreign policy and other positions. Another good reason why I don't think it should be offensive to ask about a dual citizenship rumor given the office he wants to run for and he is in a period of public vetting is that it is so hard to get this information from other sources (also why Diane Rehm should have been skeptical. . .). See this Counterpunch article from a guy who tried.

But now we know it is irrelevant.

So all this for nothing really.

A non issue.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Riots and racism

I don't even know what or how to talk about what's been going on with the brutality/execution by police and recent riot in Baltimore after the funeral of a man there after being chased and apprehended by police, having his spine severed and dying as a result while in custody. 

I hear people say don't run from the police, and in general  that's good advice. If you're white. White people and black people have entirely different experiences and perceptions of even the simplest interactions with police. White folks have a very Sesame Street or muppet version of these interactions where they call them up if there's an intruder in their house or they have an accident or if they're a lost kid, find a policeman and they'll help him or her find the way home. Black folks, who are often assumed to be guilty unless they can prove innocence and routinely racially profiled have good reason to want to keep a safe distance from police to avoid unreasonable searches. I'm sure some white people will say well no, they've had plenty of complications and run ins with police, and while that may be true, I don't think this is helpful in understanding what is really going on. Segregation may have been struck down and we now promote equal rights outwardly, but there are historic wrongs and racism is institutionalized. I don't know how to fix it, but it certainly won't be by ignoring those facts and saying well I'm white and have suffered but I'm not angry like you. That's just self-righteousness and frankly, inexcusable ignorance.

There is a lot of condemnation of the riots for various reasons and I can see that on one level.  We want there to be a correlation. If I'm angry at news coverage, throw things at news bureaus. If I'm angry with large corporations, protest or loot those. 

A kind of funny response I heard was why can't people peacefully protest? Here's one reason. When I first heard about the riot in Balitmore, I heard nothing about the peaceful protests. The media showed up and only bothered to cover it when the violence erupted. Peaceful protests are ignored. And when it doesn't work (have we not seen peaceful protests about racism EVER??) and people who are supposed to be protecting you are killing you, THEN WHAT? Is rioting the answer, I don't know, I would say it's more of a result than a planned activity or solution. In the same way, the police killing these individuals recently isn't a planned policy, it's the result of the atmosphere, the profiling that isn't policy, but happens anyway, the broken system. 

And this is kind of what I just said but better. I heard it the day after I wrote this post:
When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." --The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Yes we want to say that violence is never the answer. We want to believe there's always a peaceful way. (What would Iraq war supporters say about that. . . ? Never mind.)


"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

Before cameras were on almost all phones, white people were able to explain away police brutality, say it was rare, that racism was over. There is understandable anger, now that there is visual proof that police statements of innocence on the killings are patently false after all this time of having these things easily swept under the rug for so many years.

There is another line of reasoning saying there were peaceful protests and thugs turned it into something very different. That may be true to some extent, but it doesn't mean we can or should ignore or explain away the cause or the riot. There is systemic injustice and racism and that needs to be addressed.  (old- Ferguson)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Volunteer cops?!?!

Another detail came out about the killing of Walter Scott (or details). Something called a reserve police officer in his 70's mistook his gun for his taser, going for the wrong hip to draw. And on top of it, the department falsified his training records so he'd be eligible. 

There are so many questions that need to be answered.

How does one become a volunteer- is it a large donation, is there an interview or application process, something that qualifies one besides desire to shoot people?

What are their duties- crowd control or making arrests and being issued a service weapon?

What SHOULD their duties be? Minimal I'd say! Be there for that old fashioned idea of asking directions, helping people with groceries or to cross the street. Maybe crowd control at festivals or road races or something. They should NOT be armed.

If you want to play cop, there should be a CrossFit for police where you can do physical tests, obstacle courses, shoot inanimate dummies, do self defense, but I guess that doesn't quite satisfy those who want to hunt down and arrest people whether they need it or not.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Walter Scott murder in SC

Since overall very little action is really taken (yeah, a point of contention) when police officers kill, one Congressman entered a list of recent victims for the record:

Hank Johnson: ‘It feels like open season on black men in America’

In one of the recent murders, a man who was late on child support was shot in the back 8 times. Police originally released a version of the story that included a struggle, the victim grabbing the taser and putting the officer in danger.

In other cases, this police version of a life or death struggle and the fact that the victim had committed an offense (late child support, shoplifting, smoking pot, holding a toy gun, or the very general "troubled"  in other cases) in the distant or recent past eclipses the main fact of a man being executed without trial for a crime (and there's not always a crime!) that doesn't carry the death penalty. 

A good interview  What if There Was No Video

This time, there was a continuous video and the police had to recant that story:

A handy guide to your rights in filming police officers publicly:

Republicans succeed in getting Obama to capitulate to Israel on Iran

This is late, but I've been wanting to say something about it for awhile.

The whole ridiculous letter to Iran from Senate Republicans is here:

Letter From Senate Republicans to the Leaders of Iran

It's condescending, ostentatious, threatening, egotistical and pretty much a pack of lies. But Obama folded anyway. The Republicans intended to conduct diplomacy on behalf of a foreign power (ISRAEL, in case you missed it) with Iran outside of diplomatic and official and presidential channels, but they ended up crippling the president more directly (and helping their bedfellow, Israel). Why do liberals have to be so darned reasonable?? I don't expect a stunt like this from Democrats when the Republicans gain control of the White House. And not only because they'll go to war at the drop of a hat and before trying any kind of diplomacy!

Here is the best rundown on all the lies and implications of the Republican letter to Iran:

Also, 10 Frightening Facts About Tom Cotton, the architect of the stunt.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Netanyahu's win and other antics

Interview with Netanyahu

He's one of those people I generally don't want to listen to because I know I'll be pretty upset by the end. Bush 43 was one, but at least there was a good chance he'd say something unintentionally funny as well.

Netanyahu can win an election by saying he will not accept a two state solution, let him stroll on over to our Congress to conduct diplomacy right under our noses outside of proper diplomatic channels, slap the leader of the free world in the face* and still be considered a partner for peace. Palestinians want equal rights and compensation for past wrongs and fair dealings and they are considered not a partner for peace, terrorists absent from the negotiating table while Israel is allegedly sitting patiently, eternally, faithfully with many a generous offer.

*Why was that stunt even necessary? Obama still panders to them and our stances toward Israel haven't changed one bit. Link added 3/23/15. They are still violating human rights with the same reckless abandon as during Republican administrations. I guess they'd rather not get that occasional verbal slap ion the wrist- Uh. excuse me kind sirs, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't deprive people of food and build illegal settlements. You're being unhelpful. 

So the two state solution is off the table for him. What now? One state where he has to concede and give not just human rights, but equal rights to Palestinians as Jewish Israelis have. Good. Now we're closer to the actual definition of apartheid and we have a precedent for dismantling that and making reparations. Can it be that easy?

Oh he claims to still be in favor of a two state solution of sorts, only that it is unachievable. What a relief! How generous! He dictated the terms of his two state solution in a 2009 speech to Bar-Ilan University. Your partner for peace dictated the terms and if he doesn't get his way, he'll pack up and go home and claim you left first. You want equality and human rights, he wants to ethnically cleanse "his" land of all of you and for you to recognize this as his God given right. And oh by the way- you also cannot have any armies or weapons to defend yourselves. Because he cannot have that, you are the problem and obviously not fit to be at the table. Come back when you are ready to unconditionally accept this subjugation we started with the occupation of your land.

That is exactly what he wants- the status quo, occupation. He says in the interview that he doesn't want a one state solution or a no state solution and he's put such unreasonable terms on his two state solution that no sane person will accept it, so he wants to continually subjugate an entire population with all the human rights and international law violations, settlements, mass arrests, closures, checkpoints, embargo, illegal settlements, wall, denying of medical care and education, visa complications, family separations and generally making life as miserable as possible.

His apparently urged Jews to vote because he heard Arabs were voting in droves. He claimed this was an attempt to topple his government, then corrected himself saying it was foreign money he was concerned about. This from the guy who has AIPAC and the Republican party pouring money and propagating whatever propaganda and lies he wants them to!! Israel was built on foreign money and is sustained on foreign money and support. Imagine- well don't. Remember. Remember 50 years ago or yesterday, white people being urged to vote because black people are voting in droves. You can smell the stench now, can't you?

His reaction to the charge of Israel's growing isolation was predictable and totally without substance. The one thing he did say is an out and out lie. He's done a lot for peace and frozen settlements. Here's a little on the latter. The former would take up too much space and I've probably already covered it elsewhere on the blog anyway.

The graph in this link shows how "frozen" settlements managed to spike in population and records numerous announcements of settlement building, calling into question the meaning of frozen. Maybe halting new construction on them for a month or two qualifies in his book. The legal requirement is for all settlements to be dismantled and settlers to go back home to Israel or Europe or wherever they came from (Israel has been known to recruit specifically for settlements and even convert people to Judaism for that purpose.) or feel free to stay and suffer the consequences of squatting illegally on someone's olive groves or farm land or back yard.

After that, the interview kind of devolves, with Inskeep trying to catch Netanyahu in his double speak, or at least clarify his position, which is impossible and Netanyahu insulting him after dodging the question of course.

"I'm saying I don't think that's the obstacle for a peace deal. I don't think it ever was. In effect, if you followed this election, which you may have if you were here."

He alternately speaks of not removing settlements and freezing them, being a partner for peace and removing some and instead moving borders to accommodate settlements and that didn't really clear anything up.

Asked again point blank if he's a two stater, Netanyahu again says he doesn't want one state as an answer to this. Erekat has recognized Israel and the media is actually noticing and not letting Israel say Palestinians want to throw them into the sea so why should we sit down at a table with them. Now they actually have to answer some questions. (Or not.) He repeats his demand that the Palestinian state is to be demilitarized, now,  not just recognize Israel, if it is to exist. Funny how recognition used to be the sticking point. Now that it is common knowledge that Palestinians and Arabs recognize Israel, up crops another condition. Demilitarization. The right of a sovereign nation, but not for you. You can't defend yourselves. Can you accept that? Didn't think so. We'll wait here being generous at the table and you greedy Arabs can come back when you're ready to be a sucker-- uh-- partner, I mean partner.

And they end with a discussion of "actual" recognition versus what Netanyahu thinks Erekat is doing in recognizing Israel. Actual recognition apparently means Palestinians are to drop the right of return demand which is their right and part of any just solution. If we accept that Jews get the right of return after 2000 years in a more philosophical or religious concession, Palestinians absolutely deserve the right of return to houses and lands they and their fathers remember. 

And of course our friend Bibi ends with:

"We want to see an end to the conflict and that's something they are never willing to say."

By end to the conflict, Netanyahu means, accept our terms for your "state" and stay outside of the borders we choose for ours, drop all claims and grievances in exchange for. . . what did you think,  freedom, autonomy, sovereignty? Nooo, a kinder, gentler occupation provided you stay under our thumb properly.

I just love how he caps off the lies and question dodging with the ever popular dis-proven childish refrain--  we want peace and they don't (so there).