Blog Archives

Packing for the hospital…

I have to get to my daughter’s house before 10 AM with all my clothes and meds packed to get down to Georgetown to the hotel by the hospital. I’ll bring my laptop and hopefully I can review the news or arts events and have another post for my friends later.

My thoughts are all tied up with this brain surgery and I’m not even exploring the Susan Rice SOS nomination… something I would ordinarily be dwelling on. Or Netanyahu‘s new attack on Gaza which is likely to bring us even farther into Middle East hostilities. You’ll have to trot around to the sites I regularly quote to keep up with everything.

Soooo…Have a nice day and occasionally think of me.    -Bill

 

It looks like the Obama/Netanyahu relationship is not the one the Republicans tried to establish…

Here is Israel‘s Prime minister with the US Ambassador, congratulating Obama and reinforcing the two countries’ “rock solid” relationship:

 

 

Foreign Policy is the debate subject tonight. What will be discussed?

Andrew Sullivan posted this earlier today – tonight’s moderator of the debate, Bob Schieffer‘s list of questions he wants to see covered:

* America’s role in the world
* Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
* Red Lines – Israel and Iran
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World…

The one that will probably bring out a major Romney/Obama conflict is the Red Lines question since it deals with holding off nuclear weapons and brings the US into a war-support position with Israel. Since it works against Obama’s State Department‘s policy of negotiations over military imposition, I expect this will be Romney’s major moment. He has spent the last couple of months trying to describe Obama as being unfriendly with Benjamin Netanyahu and opposed to Israel’s rights – a major lie by the Republican, btw – and will most likely make this his position.

Since we haven’t really heard a foreign policy plan outlined by Romney, I expect Obama will keep bringing this lack of knowledge up to see if Romney crosses himself up.

Andrew Sullivan also listed the Foreign Policy subjects that most likely won’t be brought up:

1) The eurozone crisis

2) Latin America

3) Russia

4) Africa

5) Foreign economic policy

6) India

7) North Korea

From my point of you, the fact that Romney has publicly stated that Russia was our major enemy, I will be  surprised if Obama doesn’t use this to show Romney’s total lack of foreign policy knowledge.

What is it about Republicans and their need to create wars?

Here’s where to look for a World News Daily article by Jamal Abdi: New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli “Preventive” War on Iran.

Before reading it, here’s the first couple of sentences:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

If this gets you at all nervous about creating a new major mideast war at the behest of Israel (and Lindsay Graham), then get ready to write your senator.

 

I’m watching the VP Debate…

If you listen to Ryan, if we are going to deal with Iran‘s coming nuclear capacity (the capacity of which both the candidates disagree on) we are going to have to insert troops. This means a new war – probably in partnership with Israel.

Biden brings up the fact that Iran has been weakened during the Obama administration – primarily in cutting back their oil sales by 20% or so. They don’t yet have a completed delivery mode, either.

Ryan is also going after Russia as an enemy… especially if we go to war in the middle east. In his opinion, Russia is the leasing supporter of the Arab countries. Biden, of course, gets back to the fact that Russia is currently our ally.

I’m curious as to how many of the current questions of the Romney / Ryan campaign get answered. I hand it to Biden that he has already put up the 47% as an issue related to taxes. Ryan seems to ignore it.

This is going to be an entertaining night.

 

An article you must read: Romney and Ryan – The Haters in Chief

 

This article by Hrafnkell Haraldsson is in PoliticusUSA today. I’m giving you the first couple of paragraphs, but this is a long, well-thought out piece which continues the thinking I started earlier about religion and politics. In fact I was startled to discover a quote from Jefferson from the same document!

As you read it you discover that in a Romney America, “my god is bigger than your god. And your god doesn’t get any First Amendment protections because, well, it really isn’t a religion in the first place, is it? It’s a cult. Cults aren’t protected.” That certainly puts Islam in the gut bucket.

Anyway – here’s the start:

Can you imagine a United States where the president and vice president hate the world’s second largest religion and invite into White House councils those who advocate military action against whoever we feel might be a threat, including, particularly, Iran.

That’s the scenario being faced, incredibly enough, by the people of the United States. President Obama’s pragmatic, sober approach to diplomacy has restored the reputation of the United States and we are on the verge of escaping both long wars embarked upon by the Bush administration.

But Mitt Romney wants to abrogate control of America’s foreign policy – to Israel – which wants to attack Iran. He may have noticed we just got done with a nearly-ten-year-long-war in Iran’s neighbor, Iraq. He may have noticed that we are still engaged in Afghanistan, a place even Alexander the Great could not entirely subdue, a place that was a graveyard and charnel house for the mighty Soviet Union.

And now he wants to involve us in an attack on Iran.

OK… read the rest of it HERE. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Quote of the Week – Gaining International Fame…

 

Thanks to the Extreme Liberal Blog for showing off this one:

For his next stop, Romney went to Israel and gave a speech comparing the Palestinian culture unfavorably to Israeli culture. When everybody got mad, he said “I never said anything about culture.” He did, you can see it in the transcript provided by his campaign. Then after saying it, and then denying he said it, he wrote an op-ed and said it again. Now, in the Olympics they name a difficult move after the first person to do it in international competition. So from now on, the “Triple Self Contradiction with Vaguely Racist Backflip” will be known as the “Triple Romney”

Peter Sagal on his NPR show Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me…

 

Getting Ready for the End of the Earth in 2012…

So the year 2012 starts on Sunday and we have a few possibilities (improbable as they may be) which can stagnate our minds in a thick depression if we let them.

The Mayan calendar, say. Sometime next December, the ancient Mayan calendar ends and with it, some disturbed thinkers claim, the world. So what will do it? What will make the world crumble and the pieces drift into the universe? Maybe some of the actions we might take along the way.

For instance, we might elect Newt Gingrich as President. This would make our military grow and perhaps bring us into a new and destructive war while wiping out all the aspects of government that deal with education, poverty and civilian participation. Then again, we might elect Ron Paul who wants to turn off recognition of Israel, turn on recognition of Palestine and acknowledge, but not indicate any changes, in remarks stated in racist newsletters in the 90s. These factors would certainly end MY world, and I’m not sure that they wouldn’t lead to ongoing destruction across the planet. What fun.

Or we might continue to ignore Global Warming (like the majority of Tea Partiers) or air pollution, or ongoing poisoning of our water, or the Monsanto chemicalization of our food. Then we might all be gone and who cares what happens to the planet.

So let’s celebrate the coming of 2012 and begin the campaign to educate and change the world (even though both Paul and Gingrich would end the Department of Education) and do what we can before it’s too late. As to the Mayans, they didn’t stick around long enough to update their predictions… but, hey, that’s how it goes.

Quote of the Week – Another Voting Block To Alienate..

Rick Perry joins the Ranks of the Inverted

“Tens, even hundreds, of thousands of Jewish people in the last decades have come to their Messiah. And so Lord, we pray for the revival around the world, and for Israel to come to their own Messiah.”

Texas Governor (R) Rick Perry at his Prayer Rally last weekend.

Apparently people of all religions were invited to Perry’s Rally… as long as they were willing to convert to his religion in the process.

Can’t we get religion out of politics (and government) once and for all?

This seems to be more than just Hopeful…

Steve Israel

Steve Israel

Nothing would make me happier than Republicans, and by that I mean The Tea Party (or the Koch Brothers Front) losing control of the House next year.

Steve Israel (see below) is right on the money here, and if those uncompromising righties don’t sign along with the rest of us to restore taxes on the Top 1%, then they will guarantee the loss of control.

Picked this up at Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

clipped from politicalwire.com

Top Democrat Says Vote Will Cost GOP House Control

DCCC chair Steve Israel (D-NY) predicted to Greg Sargent that today’s vote to pass Rep. Paul Ryan‘s (R-WI) budget blueprint would ultimately cost Republicans control of the House
Said Israel: “When we win back the majority, people will look back at this vote as a defining one that secured the majority for Democrats.”
“Israel said that Dems plan to use the Medicare vote today to go on the offensive against Republicans from now all the way until Election Day 2012. Crucially, Israel said it would be used in every district, even ones that are marginal or conservative — suggesting that on Medicare at least, Dems are hoping to maintain a united national front, rather than letting the messsage be watered down in conservative districts that may be more receptive to GOP messages about fiscal conservatism.”
blog it

Rabin’s son presents his Israeli Peace Initiative – from Haaretz.com

Yuval Rabin and businessman Koby Huberman propose a response to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative: A Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem ‘the home of two capitals’.

By Akiva Eldar

Yuval Rabin

Yuval Rabin, the son of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, has joined forces with businessman and social activist Koby Huberman in order to advocate for the Israeli Peace Initiative, or IPI, a response to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

In an article published in the Web site bitterlemons.org, Rabin and Huberman propose that instead of responding to the APA, the Israeli government should say “yes” by presenting a parallel proposal to end the conflict – the IPI.

The two have spent several months promoting the IPI among political figures, academics, and businessmen in Israel and at the same time tested the reaction of Palestinian and Arab figures to the principles of the initiative in an unofficial manner.

The detailed IPI proposal will be soon published in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, and the principles outlined are the following:

1. A viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and one-on-one land swaps
2. Jerusalem as the home of two capitals and special arrangements in the holy basin
3. An agreed solution for the refugees inside the Palestinian state (with symbolic exceptions)
4. Mutual recognition of the genuine national identities of the two states as the outcome of negotiations and not as a prerequisite
5. Reiteration of the principles underlying Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence regarding civic equality for its Arab citizens
6. Long-term security arrangements with international components.

In regards to the Syrian channel, the IPI suggests that the end-of-conflict scenario include “phased withdrawals from the Golan Heights to finally reach the 1967 borders with one-on-one land swaps, coupled with tight security arrangements to curb terrorists and paramilitary organizations.”

“Regarding Lebanon,” Rabin and Huberman write, “the scenario articulates mainly security arrangements, as international borders have already been established. The other three IPI components present regional security mechanisms addressing common regional threats, a vision for regional economic development, and parallel evolution toward regional recognition and normal ties.”

Concluding the article, Rabin and Huberman say that they “hope the IPI creates an intensified dialogue and some rethinking both in Israeli circles and the region.”

“More importantly, 15 years after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, we hope to see brave regional and international leaders translate the API and IPI visions into practical and synchronized progress.”

Before the previous elections, Yuval Rabin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that he didn’t rule out voting for him for prime minister, and also supported Netanyahu’s intentions of establishing a unity government.

Rabin’s initiative may indicate his disappointment with Netanyahu’s current policies.

As one who is also disappointed (to say the least) with Netanyahu’s policies, I find this suggestion by Rabin’s son worth looking into. Haven’t we all had enough war…everywhere?

International Quote of the Day

“Settlers and settlements are not something that entertain me, and I don’t want to entertain them.”

– Israeli actor Yousef Swaid commenting on theatre artists’ boycott of new theatre in the occupied West Bank. The signatories have asked theatre managers to restrict their activity to stages within the internationally accepted 1967 borders.

More at ArtThreat.net. Thanks also to Thomas Cott at You’ve Cott Mail.

Quote for the Day, After 2 years – renewed talks between Israel and Palestine

“There have been difficulties in the past, there will be difficulties ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles. The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks. But I ask the parties to persevere, to keep moving forward even through difficult times, and to continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.”

– Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

They’re giving themselves one year to accomplish something.

On Sept. 2, Clinton will bring Abbas and Netanyahu together for the first formal round of direct talks since they broke down in December 2008. At that point the parties will decide where and when to hold later rounds as well as lay out the parameters for the talks. U.S. officials have said later rounds are likely to be held in Egypt.

To kick it off, President Barack Obama will hold separate discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sept. 1 and then host a dinner for the pair.

Isn’t that a dinner you’d like to sit in on?

Here’s a clip from Juan Cole…

Go on in and read the whole thing before you have to deal with a Republican-instigated War on Iran.

And if you are against the idea, sign the petition.

clipped from www.juancole.com

Repubs Plot Israel-Iran Apocalypse and the Collapse of the US Economy

The National Iranian American Council has a petition you can sign calling on minority leader John Boehner to repudiate this measure.
The move is reminiscent of the 1998 letter the Project for a New American Century signatories sent to President Clinton, putting pressure on him to initiate war on Iraq. They did maneuver him into pulling out UN weapons inspectors and bombing Iraq.
Iraq’s opaqueness as a result of the Clinton actions allowed the Bill Kristol crowd and the rest of the Israel, war industry and oil lobbies to propagandize America into the fruitless and ruinous Iraq War.
Think about how weird it is. Nearly half of Republicans in the House are from the South, which has relatively few Jewish Americans. So this resolution is likely emanating from the Christian Zionists like John Hagee (who once said that God sent Hitler to punish the Jews for being outside Israel).
blog it

“Jew Baiters”

It’s been a long time since I quoted Andrew Sullivan on a post, but this one stands out. It sums up my opinion of Netanyahu, too…
clipped from andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com
The Tablet calls several writers who have criticized Israel’s assault on Gaza and refusal to freeze the settlements on the West Bank “Jew-baiters.” I, Glenn Greenwald, Stephen Walt, and Philip Weiss are operating an “open sewer of hate,” for arguing that US interests lie in getting a two-state solution sooner rather than later, and in our outrage at the way in which the Israeli government has shown contempt for the US president in the last couple of years, egged on by many neocons.

There are no substantive arguments in the piece, and there are no quotes in the piece from any of the bloggers and writers concerned that could even faintly be called anti-Semitic. There is just cherry-picking of vileness that often shows up on comments sections (which this blog does not even have). I mean: seriously. To argue from a bunch of selected comments on other sites that I have made a “career as a Jew-baiter” is so disgusting and transparent a smear it refutes itself.

Meanwhile, the current Israeli prime minister has just been caught on tape saying in 2001 that he openly deceived president Clinton and has this view of how to deal with the Palestinians:

“beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly,
until it’s unbearable.”

Why is Netanyahu not an “open sewer of hate”? None of the writers the Tablet cites has ever written anything even faintly as disgusting or as racist as that.
blog it

If you want a clearer view of Netanyahu when he made the quote above, check out this article, Tricky BiBi, in an Israeli publication HAARETZ.

Helen Thomas Retiring… effective immediately.

A lot of us are sorry this incident happened at all. We have followed Helen’s career for years as she didn’t let administrations get the best of her.

Why she made the comments on Israel, I don’t know. I do NOT believe that she is an anti-semite. I do believe she made a terrible mistake.

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old veteran White House correspondent, will retire effective immediately in the wake of her offensive comments on Israel.

“Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately,” a Hearst Newspapers statement said. “Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet.”

Thomas, who transitioned from reporter to columnist in 2000 but kept her front-row seat at White House briefings, had come under fire for her statement that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and that Jews in Israeli should return to Germany, Poland, or the US.

Helen’s apology:

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

blog it

Israeli Conservatives strike back with a satirical video:

Note from Bill:

This is taken from an article in Salon this morning.

Alex Pareene is the reporter who states:

Hebrew-language “satire” website Latma produced a funny web video about the deadly raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla headed for Gaza in which 9 activists, including an American citizen, were killed. The video is a laugh riot, especially if you love Israeli Jews dressing up as dead Palestinians and Muslims (and British and American activists) and singing funny songs:

If this upsets you (when I read Pareene’s article and analyze the source of all this, I am more or less disgusted with the Israeli right wing) then take some time and think about what may be done to end this crap. You can write to the organizations involved, or to President Obama, and suggest that we, as Americans, support someone other than Netanyahu to lead Israel.

Let’s listen to Glenn Greenwald…

I’d like to make something clear… I don’t think Israel’s action against the flotilla of Turkish ships bringing aid to the Gaza Strip was justified or remotely legal.

However, if I protest this it is much too easy to label me as an “anti-semite” (which I am not as my long history of Jewish friends, my Jewish wife and my 1/2 Jewish son will, I hope, attest to). So I was happy to see my thoughts on the matter repeated by Glenn Greenwald, who was being interviewed on MSNBC by Elliot Spitzer.

Take a look at the complete interview here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/37455133#37455133.

Of course, now the USA is saying Israel should be allowed to self examine the situation and make what corrections are necessary… this to the opposition of the UN and most of the world.

Who are we kidding? Greenwald passes on this Twitter comment from Scott Larson:

“Self-regulation has worked so well for BP that surely it will be just as shiny for Israel.”

US Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged

This was an interesting, long article at Truthout.com… Certainly worth reading before we send troops to Iran in the future (and who knows?, we’ll probably add Yemen, too if Joe Lieberman gets his way).

Read the clips then go over to Truthout and read the whole thing. Then wonder why we get involved in this crap!

clipped from www.truthout.org

U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a “neutron initiator” for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.
Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say that the United States had nothing to do with forging the document, and that Israel is the primary suspect. The sources do not rule out a British role in the fabrication, however.
The Times of London story published Dec. 14 did not identify the source of the document.
Giraldi’s intelligence sources did not reveal all the reasons that led analysts to conclude that the purported Iran document had been fabricated by a foreign intelligence agency. But their suspicions of fraud were prompted in part by the source of the story, according to Giraldi.
blog it
The article ends:
This is not the first time that Giraldi has been tipped off by his intelligence sources on forged documents. Giraldi identified the individual or office responsible for creating the two most notorious forged documents in recent U.S. intelligence history.In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the National Security Council and the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter purporting to show Iraqi interest in purchasing uranium from Niger. That letter was used by the George W. Bush administration to bolster its false case that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons programme.

Giraldi also identified officials in the “Office of Special Plans” who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as having forged a letter purportedly written by Hussein’s intelligence director, Tahir Jalail Habbush al-Tikriti, to Hussein himself referring to an Iraqi intelligence operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger.

Obama just landed in Saudi Arabia…

The trip that Obama is on right now may be the only chance he gets to firm up a Middle East policy that could actually create a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The Oval Office has never reached out to the Arab nations before in our history the way Obama is reaching out now.

There is also the fact that Obama will be touring the Arab world but NOT stopping in Israel. It will be interesting to see where his course takes hum.