General Boykin and Christian Dominionism

Former General William “Jerry” Boykin is busy promoting Christian dominionism, targeting Islam, and promoting “Christian warriors.” This is one wierd world. George Bernard Shaw was right when he said that “earth is the insane asylum of the universe.” I guess General Boykin and his allies are not very familiar with cultures and traditions other than his own. Just living in his own little isolation chamber, I guess
http://coloradoindependent.com/85808/palin-to-honor-troops-in-colorado-with-christian-military-crusader-boykin

Share

Immigrants are the Core of Who We are in the US

I could not agree more with Reverend Wallis.  As the recent dismissal of  Chipotle employees (in Washington, D.C.) demonstrates (because the company was afraid of their legal status), our immigration system is broken. Reverend Wallis is right when he notes that our country would grind to a halt without Latino/a immigrant workers. We would simply not function as a country without them. These are hard-working people with the kind of drive and energy that is at the core of the prosperity and dynamism of the U.S. The xenophobia and fear that characterizes so much of our national discourse on this topic is not only economically and morally harmful to us, but it diverts us from the real problems we face.

Except for Native americans, we are all immigrants, including my grandparents who came to this country from Russia and Poland. The Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) is one of our greatest symbols, representing the most deeply held values of our people. Let us not react to our anxieties and hatred, but let us live out our dreams and hopes. That is the meaning of every great moral and spiritual tradition.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/19/chipotle-firings-one-story-of-a-broken-immigration-system/#disqus_thread

Share

Secret Mercenary Force Set Up by Blackwater Founder for UAE

Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater (now XE) is now working on building a mercenary force of mostly Latin American soldiers that will work on behalf of the UAE in order to put down internal revolts, defend pipelines, and combat terrorism. No Muslims need apply, because the leadership and Prince is convinced that Muslim soldiers will not shoot other Muslims.  Prince is also associated with Christian dominionism. Meanwhile, is this legal? Can an American citizen hire out a mercenary force on behalf of a foreign nation without permission of the U.S. government? At the least, this will not make the United States look very good to the Arab/Muslim world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Share

Afghanistan and Reverend Jim Wallis

I respect Reverend Wallis, and I understand his point of view on Afghanistan. War is always awful and tragic, and hideous things have certainly happened in Afghanistan, including American military kill teams and our support for corrupt and misogynist Afghani political leaders, among others.

Yet, the nature of war and violence does not necessarily make it wrong in every case. The American Civil War and World War II are two wars that were ethically defensible and, in fact, morally required. Sometimes war is the best option among a set of worse options. That does not justify the crimes and horrors inevitably committed in violent contexts that degrade our consciences and moral compasses, but it does justify the use of violence in certain instances.

We did not go to war in to Afghanistan simply to kill Osama Bin Laden, but also to destroy the Taliban and to assist in creating a Afghan society that is stable and free, able to resist corruption, terrorism, and tyranny. We made that promise when we decided, in a bipartisan fashion that crossed political lines, to bring our troops into Afghanistan. This was not supposed to be dependent on how simple or swift the task was or to be a quick jaunt that we could end when the going got muddy and rough. We gave our implicit word that we would stay the course until we transformed a divided, undeveloped society into a nation that could function healthily and proudly on its own.

This was never going to be easy or quick. From the beginning, anyone who knew something about Afghan society understood that this was a long-term task that would realistically last no less than ten years and could take 20-40 years. If we aren’t ready to embark on such ventures, then we shouldn’t make the commitment to others. If we don’t hold to our commitments, no one will take us seriously on anything.  Other countries will view as fair-weather friends.

The majority of Afghans have experienced violence for centuries and understand that our military will screw up and do bad things (it’s in the nature of war and human weakness).  Most also realize that screwing up does not mean that we should give up. That’s an adult view of the world.

I support continued involvement in Afghanistan, but with a lower military footprint and a stronger non-military, society-building presence. Many Afghans don’t currently trust us for good reason–not because of kill teams and incompetence, but because they believe that we will leave sooner rather than later.   Let’s prove them wrong. Let’s show that we stand by our commitments and don’t abandon those who put faith in us.

http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/12/afghanistan-no-more-excuses/#disqus_thread

Share

European Corporations Treat U.S. Homeowners and Workers Like Slumlords

In Europe, corporations treat workers with some respect, but in the good, old USA, those very same corporations act as slumlords and bully workers. This shows how important government actually is in protecting our standard of living.  Who else will protect working people?

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-meyerson-europeans-20110515,0,3990894.story

Share

More on Arab Protesters at Israel’s Borders

Who knows. Maybe this will help divert enough attention from Assad and others to keep the old regimes in power for a little while. Protesting Israel is one way to distract Middle Eastern populations from their internal problems. Blaming Jews (here Israel) is one of the oldest, tried-and-true techniques for keeping attention off of those in power.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/world/middleeast/16mideast.html?pagewanted=all

Share

Protesters Descend on Israel’s Borders

This is one way to distract everyone from their internal problems in the Arab world:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110515/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Share

Kidnapped Reporter Calls to Say Good-Bye

Here is the harrowing, deeply moving story of Melissa Fung’s kidnapping in Afghanistan:
http://www.thestar.com/printarticle/986850

Share

Youth Blocked in Japan

In Japan, there is a enormous economic generation gap, where youth cannot advance because of a conservative culture and the economic control of older people. With the earthquake and tsunami, will society grow even more rigid or open up?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/world/asia/28generation.html?hp

Share

Nuclear Plant Building Cancelled in Japan

Is the cancellation of nuclear plant building in Japan a taste of events to come or an anomaly?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/world/asia/11japan.html?_r=1&nl=afternoonupdate&emc=aua2

Share

Healing Severe Battlefield Injuries

A moving description of military trauma medicine in the setting of the Naval Medical Center of San Diego.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0507-marine-injury-20110507,0,2209855,full.story

Share

Chris Hondros’ Photo that Screamed Pain

A sad story about the trauma of war and the power of photographs: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/world/middleeast/07photo.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

Share

U.S. Ready for Fight with Pakistanis in Bin Laden Raid

Hmm…It’s possible, but unlikely given the deal between the two countries. Still one has to plan for every contingency:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/world/asia/10intel.html

http://mysticscholar.org/2011/05/09/secret-deal-between-pakistan-and-u-s-on-bin-laden/

Share

Rumsfeld Denies Waterboarding Helped Kill Bin Laden

Even Donald Rumsfeld agrees that water-boarding was not important in the intelligence that identified the location of Osama Bin Laden:
http://foknewschannel.com/rumsfeld-disproves-conservatives-tortured-argument/

Share

Bin Laden Photos are not Trophies

I agree with Obama’s decision not to release the gruesome photos.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-photo-20110506,0,7106745.story

Share

Pakistan Leaks CIA Officer Name

This an indication of at least some tension between the U.S. and Pakistan. Then there is “On the other hand”: Maybe this was part of the agreement concluded ten years ago.  You know, it’s the Kabuki thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/world/asia/10pakistan.html?_r=1

Share

Secret Deal between Pakistan and U.S. on Bin Laden

The U.S. and Pakistan agreed ten years ago that Pakistan would allow a U.S. attack on Bin Laden on its territory and that Pakistan would respond by lambasting the U.S. Ah, the ways of diplomacy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/09/osama-bin-laden-us-pakistan-deal

Share

Christian-Muslim Clashes in Egypt

Clashes leave twelve dead and two churches in flames in Cairo: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/world/middleeast/09egypt.html

Share

Israel and the U.S. Are Ultimate Allies

This is an excellent analysis and survey by U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Michael Oren: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/25/the_ultimate_ally?page=full

Share

U.S. Resists China Investment

Share

German Civil Society Movement

A grassroots movement called Wutburger is roiling German politics:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/europe/02germany.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Share

Israel Taking Holocaust Restitution Into Own Hands

Share

Majority of East Jerusalem Residents Prefer to Stay Part of Israel

This says it all.  When push comes to shove, under whose authority do the Arab residents of East Jerusalem want to live? Surpise. It’s Israel
http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=218722

Share

Hamas Condemns Killing of Bin Laden

This is a window into some segments of Palestinian politics and its animosity toward the West and toward Israel:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8488479/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Hamas-condemns-killing-of-bin-Laden.html

Share

The Moral Ambiguity of Spanish Jewish Heritage

Is the Spanish government’s  emphasis on Jewish tourism a legitimate enterprise? http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/04/3086707/spain-building-monuments-to-its-jewish-past-critics-question-motives

Share

Massacre in Syria

A disturbing audio report from Cal Perry of a massacre in Syria:
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/04/24/no-humanity-left-syria-0

Share

The Rise of Al-Jazeera

The importance of Al-Jazeera continues to grow
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53339.html

Share

Art as Protest

Art is one of the most potent means of protesting authoritarianism and affirming freedom, but artists face threats in many nations, including China.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/opinion/20Rushdie.html

Share

Anti-Dolphin Killing Campaigns in the Solomon Islands and Indonesia

Share

IDF Adapts to Goldstone Report

The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) has learned from the Goldstone Report in spite of the report’s failings. The IDF emphasizes the participation of legal advisors in military operations, media relations, and cooperation with legitimate human rights groups.
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/04/11/3086821/pushed-by-goldstone-idf-embraces-new-smart-warfare

Share

Sweden and the USA

This article by David Michael Green argues that Sweden is a much better county in which to live than the USA.

Of course, Sweden, that paragon of freedom, democracy, and equality, is now riven with conflict between Swedes and immigrant Muslims, turning antisemitic (I don’t think it’s the place for people like me with its distaste for MOTs),  and busy trying to extradite Julian Assange so that it can protect governments from that wicked scourge of (gasp)–transparency. Diversity is not exactly one of Sweden’s hallmarks.

Worshipping Sweden reminds me of a Euro-version of Edward Said’s “Orientalism”: the left romanticizing modern Norsemen in their quest for a homogenous Valhalla that doesn’t really exist.

Everything looks greener when you don’t live there.

Sweden, I’m sure, has wonderful attributes, but it’s not nirvana. I’ve always said that you don’t really belong to any group until you see its underside and still love it. That’s a grown-up way to view the world. The other is for children.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/06-2

Share

Egypt Sentences Blogger

Share

In South Africa Freedom is Limited by Multinational Economics

Naomi Klein is wrong on Israel (with her advocacy of boycotts) and often shaped by ideological arguments (without consideration for complexity and abstracted from life on the ground), but there are other times that she has profound things to say.

Below she writes a fascinating article, demonstrating the tremendous power of billionaires, corporations, and Neo-Liberal economic thought.  It makes me realize how hemmed-in Obama and any national leader is.  Trying to do anything that runs up against economic orthodoxy, now matter how reasonable or moderate, is virtually impossible, given the threat of stock market declines, currency and commodity collapses, and threats of investment withdrawals.  Governments do not control their societies or their national resources; corporations and powerful interests do.

http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2011/02/democracy-born-chains

Share

Labor Rights Threatened Worldwide

Attempts to quash labor and worker rights are occurring globally:
www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/04/workers-rights-collective-bargaining

Share

The Last Geisha

A moving story of of an ancient Japanese tradition and the impact of the earthquake and tsunami.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/world/asia/05geisha.html?_r=1&ref=global-home (via Dianne Bazell)

Share

Richard Goldstone’s Sort-Of Apology

“Richard Goldstone’s Sort-Of Apology”
by Laurence H. Kant
Published in Shalom (Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass), May, 2011: p. 5

Pathetic. That is the only word I can use to describe Richard Goldstone’s stunning sort-of-apology in the Washington Post.

As many of you may remember, South African judge Richard Goldstone (who is Jewish) issued a report that generally downplayed the war crimes of Hamas in Israel’s 2006 Gaza incursion and lashed out at Israel for its disproportionate attacks on Gaza, its targeting of civilians, its use of Palestinians as human shields, and its destruction of civilian infrastructure. The Goldstone Report was issued under the auspices of the U.N. Human Rights Council, that embodiment of fairness toward Israel whose visionary leadership has included such democratic, gentle, peace-loving nations as Bahrain, China, Libya, Pakistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Saudi Arabia.

In his recent op-ed, Goldstone essentially admits that Israel followed proper procedures in the investigation of its soldiers in the Gaza incursion and that Hamas did not. He all but acknowledges that Israel’s military operated at a high moral level, while the military of Hamas did not.

His excuses ring hollow: He hoped that Hamas would respond to the commission’s requests–give us a break.  On what planet is he living? He thought that perhaps the U.N. Human Rights Council would start treating Israel more evenhandedly. This explanation is implausible and bears all the earmarks of after-the-fact rationalization:  Uh-oh, I’d better come up with something good. I can hear the wheels spinning. He wishes that Israel had responded to his requests. Gee, I wonder why Israel thought he and the commission would be biased and declined to cooperate. I’m shocked.

Goldstone and his commission harmed Israel and the Jewish people. And now he tries to justify the supposedly positive aspects of the Goldstone Commission and cannot even admit that he screwed up, even though he basically says he did.

The damage Goldstone has caused, some of it in the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians, is incalculable. The PR benefits of his essay are miniscule compared to the PR damage of his commission’s report. True apologies require a straightforward admission of error and a commitment to act differently in the future. Richard Goldstone has not even begun to do that.

Perhaps his many awards, the numerous parties in his honor, and friendships with VIPs mean more to him than offending others, especially on the anti-Israel left.  Apparently Jews don’t count on the international chichi lists of official victimhood. His excuses make things even worse.

I find it particularly sad that a person so associated with international justice in South Africa, the Balkans, and Rwanda would shut his eyes to the injustice he committed against his own people.

Legitimate debate about Israeli policies is beneficial and desirable, but the Goldstone Report made a mockery of fact-finding and objective analysis.

What is it that leads some Jews to hate themselves so much that they are willing to propagate lies and half-truths about Israel rather than grapple with complexity? What a waste.

———————-

Here are links to the story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=214866

Share

Syria and Israel Relations

Share

Afghanistan Kill Teams

Given the inherently dehumanizing character of war, especially in the long-term and without a clear sense of impending victory, this is not surprising. Because we are in this war in part to promote freedom, however, the US needs to constantly monitor the behavior of its soldiers. We failed here, and that is a deep disappointment.  Even worse the military tried to suppress the story, which only made the resultant perceptions even more negative. We need to redouble our efforts and focus on ethics and morality as a fundamental part of military training and leadership.

http://www.rollingstone.com/kill-team

Share

Corporations Own Us–Lock, Stock and Barrel–But We are Ultimately More Powerful

The American Petroleum Institute plans to contribute directly to political candidates.  Ah, a new way to buy our political system.  I guess American no longer own our own country anymore.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/24/api-direct/

And here’s Paul Krugman’s take on corporatizing of both Iraq and Wisconsin

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html

In the meantime, we talk a lot about bullies in schools, but what about these bullies from the Chamber of Commerce who hack activist computers?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/17/chamberleaks-malware-hacking/

Through all this, we need to remember that we have the choice to accept this or not. The corporate interests seem all-powerful, but that’s only because we the people allow them to do what they do. We could change that tomorrow if we so chose. We have the capacity to through peaceful means to stop the madness in its tracks.  How? By voting, by contacting our elected representatives regularly, by speaking out publicly, by refusing to shop (where reasonably possible) with companies that engage in autocratic and harmful behavior, by frequenting local establishments that are friendly to the environment and workers, by protesting on the street or on the web, and (most of all) by living according to our own beliefs and our own souls–not according to the manipulations of corporate media machine’s. Often we (including me) are rats in a maze running around following the expectations of a consumption-driven economy, but we can choose to follow our own paths and live our own lives however we want. There is nothing that we cannot change collectively if we follow our authentic selves and share that with others. It seems simple and polyannish, but it also happens to be true. Instead of succumbing to anxiety and fear (which corporate interests feed off of), we simply need to tap into courage and step into genuine freedom.

Share

Drug Smuggling and Usage Increase Signficantly in Costa Rica and Honduras

This is a significant development in Central America, particularly Costa Rica and Honduras.  When we do something in one place (here Columbia and Mexico), it affects others.  Gee, does this remind me of the interconnected web in which we all live.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/americas/24drugs.html?pagewanted=all

Share

« Previous Entries Next Entries »

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.

Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address