Friday, July 28, 2006


Thought I would give a little background on US involvment in the Middle East to explain why the US acts the way it does.

Believing that US got a raw deal in its share of the spoils after World War One, the government set up a post-war planning committee out the outbreak of WWII 1939, with its essential function being to find ways to advance US interests in the aftermath of the war. The Policy Planning Staff of the State Department worked in conjucture with the Council on Foreign Relations (intellectuals and business elites) on what was called The War and Peace Studies Project.

The final report took shape when planners realized that the US would come out of the war as the most dominant country, with the rest of the industrialized world pretty much laid to waste. Being the only country with the ability to rebuild the international order, the US naturally sought to do so in a way that would preserve US economic and military dominance for as long as possible. The entire world was divided up, each region filling some specific purpose, and always under a framework where US interests would prevail. One of the most important factors in keeping the industrial world (Western Europe and Japan) in the US orbit was that they had to import all the oil that was used to run their economies/militaries; putting the US at a great advantage as it was the world's leader oil producer at the time. However the post-war planners knew US oil production would peak in about 25 years and thus did a survery around the world for alternate oil supplies. The final report stated "In all surveys of the situation the pencil came to an awed pause at one point and place--The Middle East."

Discovering the enormity of the oil in the Middle East, the State Department immediately declared it the single "greatest material prize in all of history," and if it could be controlled by the United States it could be used as a "veto power" on the rest of the industrial world, which was completely reliant that oil for its survival.

But as the 1940's became the 1950's, two big problems arose that challenged US control of the region. Soviet influence and anti-colonial Arab nationalism. The problem of Arab nationalism meant some of the Arab states (as well as Iran) had been overthrowing dictatorships installed by France and Britain and the new governments were seeking to completely expel the Western powers and regain control of their oil supplies. President Eisenhower declared that the Middle East was "strategically the most important area of the world" and therefore should be under US control, not the native population. It was hoped this could be done by propping up friendly dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Thus when the Iranian people overthrew the US supported dicator (the Shah) the CIA quickly moved to put him back in power; although in their after report the CIA noted that unpopular US policies in the Middle East could eventually cause "blowback."

However having a few friendly regimes in the area did completely solve the problem of US control. By the middle of the 1960's the US was overwhelmed with Cold War priorities, massive civil unrest at home and particular distracted by the disaterous/unending war in Vietnam which had by then become the dominant priority. Meanwhile across the Middle East, regimes not allied to the US, led by Gamal Abdu Nasser of Egypt, were rapidly building up their military capacities (aided by the Soviet Union) under the rallying cry of a Pan-Arab nationalism, free from Western dominanation.

And then suddenly, they were all gone. In less then six days, the Israeli military virtually destroyed the entire military capacity of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The entire world was shocked at the overwhelming and underestimated capacity of the Israeli military. The US immediately applauded and decided that "a logical corollary to our opposition to Arab nationalism should be to support Israel as the only pro-Western force left in the Middle East." And so US support for Israel skyrocketed and continued ever since, with Israel over the years serving its purpose and essentially becoming an offshore military base for the US.

By the early 1970's the US continued in its efforts to control the Middle East; preferring a hands off aproach where Israel, Turkey and Iran, armed with US weapons, would serve as "local cops on the beat" in Nixon's words. Egypt and Jordan were bought off as US client states and pledged not to fight with Israel in exchange for billions in annual bribes in agreement called the Camp David Peace Accords. The tiny Arab sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf were ruled by pro-US dictators. By the end of the decade, there were only a handful of states not under US control.

But suddenly the Shah of Iran was overthrown by his own people, who were quite angry with the United States, the US having 25 years earlier quite publically overthrown the elected govt of Iran and installed the Shah as a brutal but American friendly dictator. The new government of Iran pledged an Islamic revolution across the middle east, reminding the US of Nasser and everyone thinking "here we go again!"

So when the next year Iran went to war with its neighbor, Iraq, the US backed Iraq, watching with glee as 1 million died on each side. However after that war, Iraq complained that its neighbor Kuwait was exporting more oil then the OPEC quota allowed for, deflating world oil prices but also deflating a rather broke and indebted Iraqi treasury. After then accusing Kuwait of slant drilling across the border into an Iraqi oilfield, Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait.

And then for the first time the US was involved in a real war in the middle east. Watching as the Soviet Union was crumbling and realizing that there was finally no deterent to US power, the Americans decided all focus should be on the middle east and sent half a million troops to drive Iraq out of Kuwait and reinstate the Kuwaiti dicator. Ten years later, the US decided Iraq would probably never become a US client state with the current regime, and invaded and occupied that country.

As of 2006, the United States had bases/military in the region included Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt. The only ones without US military presence are Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran is currently surrounded by the US military, with the US currently occupying Iraq to the west and Afghanistan to its right, US bases in Turkey, bordering north west Iran and a growing US military presence in the Caspian Sea region to its north, and the nuclear armed US Fifth fleet floating to its south. In the wake of US threats on Iran, it began enriching uranium as a part of a nuclear energy program, although some suspect it may be trying to develop a nuclear bomb to deter US attack, following the North Korean example. Iran insists it is enriching uranium for energy purposes, but will give it up in exchange for a promise by the US not to attack. The US currently refuses that promise, though recently said if Iran gives up its nuclear program, the US will grant Iran the priveledge of direct talks.

Syria also surrounded by the US military, is currently controlled by the secular/socialist Ba'athist party, led by dicatator Bashar al-Assad. It also faces routine threats from the US military, even after initially giving aid to the US in counter-terrorism operations.

Lebanon was never really a threat to US domination as a state, because the state itself was weak and helpless amid a diverse christian/muslim population. It fell into Civil War in the 1970's, with Syria invading in 1976 to protect its interests. It was also invaded by Israel in 1978 and 1982, who were attempting to crush the Palestinian Liberation Organization (which failed.) Syria occupied part of Lebanon until 2005, and Israel occupied part of Lebanon until 2000. Iran and Syria funded Lebanese who fought the Israeli occupation, which morphed into an entity called Hizbullah. Hizbullah became part terrorist organization, part community activist (providing social services for locals) and part political party, represented in Lebanon's parliament. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, many Lebanese and Arabs throughout the world credited that to Hizbullah, and its stature rose in great pride as the only Arab force ever to successfully force an Israeli retreat; although the real reasons for the withdrawal were a bit more complicated.

Current Conflict: As of 2006, Hizbullah was one of the only forces in the region opposed to US dominance in the region that had any power. Most people in the region opposed US dominance, but they were living under US friendly dictatorships. The current US/Israeli siege on Lebanon is partially to destroy one of the last obstacles to complete US domination. I suspect the timing is related to the fact that Iraq has become a disaster with the only thing close to the government is run by pro-Iranian Shiites; which is causing a huge concern for the Sunni Arab states of the region (that hate Shiite muslims.) Thus it seemed like a good time to attack Hizbullah, which is an Iranian financed and Shiite, assuming most Arab states would support the attack, and they did (although because of the scale of destruction are now turning against it.) I also suspect the attacks serve to diminish leverage Iran has in the region, especially if the US has to have direct talks with Iran, and also to eliminate an obstacle to Israel finalizing its own borders, which according to its current PM requires stealing quite a large part of Palestinian land on the West Bank.

And thats a quick history of post-war US involvement in the Middle East!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I was going to write a blog in essay-format arguing a case for the logic of an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon. I wanted to first preface that by explaining the background issues briefly, namely the Sunni/Shiite split and the Arab/Non-Arab split. I will probably do that later today but instead wanted to post something I rediscovered while looking for a precise definition of Arab (in trying to explain, for example, Iran is Muslim but not Arab.) What I came across was a story from the Book of Genesis about Abraham. Abraham is accepted as the patriach of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and the story offers how the divisions began. Here is the story briefly.


Long ago, after God created the world but before the Land of Israel was settled, there lived a man named Abraham in the city of Harran (modern Turkey.) One day God spoke to Abraham, and directed him south to Shechem, where he promised Abraham that his son would inherit and rule the land.

Wishing to fulfil his pact with God, Abraham got busy with his wife, Sarai, but to no avail. As these were the days before fertility pills, they had very few options. Desperate to keep his end of the agreement up, Abraham came into an "agreement" with his wife, who urged him to turn to the housekeeper, Hagar (Genesis 16:2).

And thus Abraham impregnated Hagar, while still wed to Sarai, which as expected created some very tense and extremely akward situations. But soon Hagar gave birth to a son, Ishmael!

They all began to raise Ishmael together and apparently Abraham was still physically intimate with his barren wife because out of the blue she became pregnant, and soon gave birth to their son, Isaac!

Well to sum it up, things were just too tense in that house, Abraham having a child with both the his wife and the housekeeper and them all trying to live together. Being Abraham's actual wife, Sarai put her foot down and got Hagar and Ishmael to leave.

Ishmael went east and became the father of the Arab people, Isaac stayed local and became father to the Jewish people, one of of whom many years later started an offshoot of Judaism that was called Christianity.

And still today Christians, Jews and and Muslims all regard Abraham as the patriarch of their peoples, one of the most important prophets in all three religions. And as fighting in the Middle East rages today among people, Muslims Christian and Jews, who all agree that they are all descendents of the Prophet Abraham, they may want look a little past the family fighting and estrangment between Abraham's two children Ishmael and Isaac, and what happened at the end of the story of Abraham.

Although they had fought eachother as enemies and lived apart for years without ever speaking, Isaac and Ishmael came together one last time to fulfil their responsibility as brothers; and that was to bury and mourn their father, together.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Im checkin in!

Looking for more places to voice my perspective on current affairs, I've taken to calling in national radio shows. Thus far I've been on:

-The Rachel Madow Show
-The Ed Shultz Show

and today the creme-de-creme

Ring of Fire with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio !

I also might add for anyone who wants to do the same, C-SPAN has a morning program called Washington Journal in which people call in and discuss the news for one segment and another where callers can ask questions of whoever the day's guest is. This is probably the easiest one to get on because only about fifty people nationwide watch C-SPAN, and that shrinks to about 10 people at 7am EST when the show starts; therefore the lines are almost never busy. Spread the word.

Setting the record straight

Couple quick notes:

1. In radio show discussions on the situation with Israel and Lebanon I keep hearing people say the Arabs/Palestinians won't be content until Israel is destroyed and Israel just wants to make peace. Thats highly inaccurate. Of course Israel wants to make peace, but on its own terms. The main issue is the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Since the 1970's there has been a strong international consensus that the way to solve the problem is for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and allow a Palestinian state there. That particular solution is not only shared by a majority of the American public but is put to vote at the UN every year, usually 184-3 with the US, Israel and some random pacific island the US bribed voting no, and the US, of course, using its veto power. Also the Arab states have repeatedly said if Israel ends the occupation, they will make full peace with Israel and completely normalize relations with it. That passed the Arab League in 2002 and was called "The Saudi Plan" if you wish to google it.
The reason its rejected by the US in Israel is Israel wants to annex large parts of the West Bank, namely the most valuable farming land, the huge water aquifiers, East Jerusalem and parts of the Jordan River valley. If there was any question on this when the new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, came to power recently, there neednt be. He quickly announced that was his plan for Israel's "permanent borders."
And I also want to quickly correct the notion that the Palestinians were offered a fabulous peace deal in 2000. They were not. The offer only gave Palestinians 67% of their land (which they are legally entitled to under international law), it had Israel annexing the most valuable land, and it also divided the West Bank into 3 separate cantons. In fact even former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was at the Camp David 2000 talks, stated this year "Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David."

I'd be happy to extrapolate on any points and provide further citations if asked.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Weekly Wrap-Up

I've always thought I would use tough discipline on my children, but I dont want to spank them or send them to their rooms, I want something unconventional. Now I know, if my (future) children disobey me, I will force them to watch Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I can say without exaggeration this is the worst movie I've ever seen in theaters, and probably the worst movie I've watch all the way through (most bad movies I am watching on DVD/tv I turn off). I had said similar things about the movie "Family Stone" which I saw on an airplace earlier this year, but I would've given my life to watch Family Stone again if I could get away from Pirates. I'm not going to give a full review because most of the movie was so utterly boring, for me to describe it in detail would be boring to read. So I'll just highlight the very end


Suddenly it all turns into...


Yes, worst producer in the world Jerry Bruckheimer desparately wants the acclaim and myth of George Lucas. He has come close
(this version of Pirates actually broke records for biggest movie opening, EVER! a feat that is broken every few years, I believe the Harry Potter movies and both Spider Mans are in that top ten)

What I derive from the end of this movie is Bruckheimer was thinking about how he loved Star Wars and wouldnt it be cool to be George Lucas, that genius! And being lame as he is, he opted out of renting the Star Wars triliogy and got all six Star Wars (making sure to get the 'special edition' ones where they digitally Jaba the Hut back in the first one and digitally replace the Old Darth Vader's ghost at the end of "Jedi Strike Back" with a lame looking Hayden Christianson)

But I'll get to my point. Bruckheimer watched all of these and fell asleep after he watched The Empire Strikes Back! He then woke up the next day, and called a meeting with the scriptwriters (who may or may not be free college interns). Bruckheimer walks into the room, a group of about fifteen underweight 19 year olds sit around the table. Several are doing Soduko. He pounds his fist on the table, and all of them look up at him . He then orders some ideas at them that he may subconsciously have thought was his own.
"Uh, but Mr Bruckheimer,"
the nineteen year old head script writer interupts "The studio wants the final script tomorrow, we wont have time to even edit it. We would have to work for 16 hours straight, and I think we are at least entitled to a break!"

Bruckheimer, obviously agitated and still fixated on movies he has previous seen responds, "Son, we use words like honor, code, loyalty... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline"

(A few of the scriptwriters begin laughing, having gotten pretty stoned on the way to work and assuming Mr Bruckheimer is joking. He shoots them a dirty look and raises his voice.) "I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to men who rise and sleep under the BLANKET of the very freedom I provide, then question the manner in which I provide it."

(Scriptwriters look around confused and paranoid, many still drunk from the previous nights festivities in which they also got Production Assistants who were working for high school credits drunk and passed them around like cheap whores. Bruckheimer continues.) "I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a pen and start the script. Either way, I dont give a DAMN what you think you're entitled to."

Bruckheimer then dictates his ideas to the scriptwriters, and I painfully observed the results in the movie last night:

-A wise, old sage lives in a mysterious dark swamp, where the hero must go to learn ways to defeat his mortal enemy, the evil Darth Vader/Davey Jones.

-A bubling love story begins as sexual tension ensues between the hero and the only female lead. Ford-Fischer/Depp-Knightly

-A young, up and coming hero who is overshadowed by the main hero (Luke v Han Solo) must come to terms with his monster father, and discover that this monster father has some humanity after all

-At the end of the movie, Depp is handcuffed to the mast of a ship (his right hand of course, which has had a black mark of death on it the whole time; this and later events foretale him as the Christ figure.) Suddenly the huge sea monster rises up from the ocean to get Depp This is the third attempt by the sea monster to get this one ship, despite early scenes with a different ship showing all he needs to do is grab it and it smashes within seconds. That is unless main characters are aboard. [The sea monster somehow grows weaker, like me and many others probably stunned and disillusioned when realizing the actor who played amazing roles in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Blow is apparently imprisoned by contract and couldnt legally reject the script that was handed to him]

-Jack Sparrow (Depp) is desparately trying to get his right hand free from the cuff so he can flee this monster. For a moment I suspected he would draw his sword and chop of his hand (Jack Bauer wasnt around for assitance), fulfilling many predictable cliches and lining up with Luke losing his hand. But alas its Disney and thats too bloody, Depp uses lamp oil to slip his hand out, but its too late! The monster slowly and dramatically rises behind him in what looked like poor special effects (on a positive note every other CGI in this movie is up to par)

-Sparrow, in what was probably the low point of Depp's career (Colin Powell at the UN-esque) holds up his sword bravely and leans in as the gigantic CGI sea monster spits what is either mucus or seamen at Depp, and then Depp gallops into the monsters mouth.


What will happen to Luke? I mean Jack? Will the wise old sage at the dark swamp guide the sailors to a jedi-like voyage? Will Orlando Bloom come to terms with his monster-father, in his quest to show he has humanity? Will Kiera Knightly discover Orlando Blooom is his brother and fall for Jack Sparrow (its a possibility since they made clear Knightly hasnt had relations with Bloom yet)

The movie ends with Knightly, Bloom some castmates and two really annoying comic relief characters, (who are not necessary at all because the main characters themselves are used for comic relief frequently, and the movie itself is a semi-comedy, especially situational.) Anyway they are all at the swamp with the Yoda like character toasting Jack Sparrow because he dead, but the Yoda character explains there is a way to bring back Jack Sparrow. He will rise from the dead, as all Christ-figures do, like Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars, or Anakin Skywalker in the later prequels!


In conclusion, I would like to apologize to the producers, director and scriptwriters for The Family Stone (I never blamed the actors, who I mostly liked.) I previously decried this as the worst movie ever. I was being overdramatic. Comparing it to Pirates, I would love to watch this nonsensical movie....actually I dont apologize to the scriptwriters but the director and producers only. I really believe Pirates is the worst movie I've ever seen. But I havnt seen a lot of movies, Im no Dave Iaccui! So I consulted a list from for the Worst Movies Ever list. I hadnt seen the very top and stopped on the first movie that I HAVE seen all the way through:


As a child, way back when, I actually did see this movie, all the way through to the end. I would never have admitted this shame before, but I am doing so because I think its important to help others. I want to be very honest. Yes, I have seen Kazaam, and yes Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is worse, much worse, then Kazaam

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Christian Right, or the Christian WRONG? ahahha....

I forgot to add for anyone who read my last post that the statement posted was not mine. As much as I would like to take credit for it, it was a letter/statement on the current mideast hostilities issued by the signatories below,

Tariq Ali
John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Eduardo Galeano
Naomi Klein
Harold Pinter
Arundhati Roy
Jose Saramago
Giuliana Sgrena
Howard Zinn

The list includes some of my favorite authors/intellectuals; especially Noam Chomsky (my person hero) but also Tariq Ali, Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy and Howard Zinn (am reading a book by him now!) I have books/articles by all the people I just mentioned and can lend them to anyone who asks, articles can all be found online and I know that most of Chomsky's books can be read online as well ( The other intellectuals, to be honest, I am not familiar with but judging by their company I assume they are quite competent.

I have taken a personal vow of abstinence from cable/network news. Not just because their coverage of the War in Iraq and other mid-east hostilities is a joke, and not just because they rarely cover news at all, and not just because there is an overwhelmingly obvious bias reflective of the massive corporate media empires that own them (there is no 'liberal bias', nor any evidence for it aside for some bias with social stories like on abortion or homosexuality). But I am banning myself from cable/network news because I generally and concretely believe it will make me dumb. It is so twisted, biased, misinformed and ridiculous that I am afraid watching more than 5 minutes of it will begin to influence how I think. And here is why, and this is very important in understanding how news is shaped:

We must ask ourselves, when reading the New York Times or watching CNN; they are a business, but what are they selling? They make virtually no money from subscribers, paying 50 cents for the NYT and whatever package cable rate for CNN. So are they selling news? No.

They are selling an audience, us, the reader/viewer. They are selling the 'captive' audiences to businesses who want us to buy their products, and use advertisements to influence the audience they are buying. The NYT, for instance, is a little over 60% advertisements. Thats where they make their money. And therefore the news that is being provided to the audience is shaped and packaged in a way that is pleaseing to the advertisers, who are essentially funding the news. For example if there is a lot of news about how corporations are over-profiting and unions are being busted and the truth about whats going on in Latin America, where American corporations thrive, then the audience reading this news will begin to take action against these things.

Therefore, think logically. Why would a business patronize the NYT, pay for ads in a paper which is presenting news that goes against their corporate agenda? It quite simply would make zero sense, corporations serve one purpose; to increase the value of stocks so that shareholders may increase profits. Literally thats the #1 purpose of corporations. [There was actually a Supreme Court case about this in which Henry Ford was sued by shareholders (the Dodge brothers who later started Dodge) because he was making such cheap cars that shareholders werent making profit, and therefore the corporation wasnt serving its essential purpose. Hold off on sympathies for Mr Ford though; the notorious anti-semetic Nazi sympathizer didnt care about the common good, he was simply trying to force out other shareholders to consolidate his own power.]

There is actually a huge study done on this by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in a study published called Manufacturing Consent (one of the best books I have ever read), dialogue on it can be found here

So in short, I am using the internet and NPR as my main sources of news. Now it is extremely naive to think that any news site is not biased, regardless of its source of funding. Every site has its own biases, that is why I recommend using a huge array of sources.

For a small example, when learning about the conflict with Lebanon and Israel, I turn to Ha'aretz, which is an Israeli daily paper that is published online in English ( I find this to be the best Israeli paper. The Jerusalem Post is also available in English but not as good. These papers, of course, have the same bias as advertiser-funded papers of the USA but I can tell you for a fact they give much more information on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that you could ever find in the USA. In fact if you took an article from Haaretz and published it in the NYT or something people would say its too anti-Israeli.

I also go to Al-Jazeera, which is a phenomenally good source for news from the Arab point of view. Despite US propaganda to the countrary, Al-Jazeera is not some terrorist news source. It is the #1 satellite news service for the Arab world. The station operates out of Qatar with government funding but apparently no government influence (I can hardly believe thats 100% accurate, but aside from an absence of criticism of the Qatar government I find this mainly to be the truth.) Al-Jazeera does have an 'Arab bias', but why wouldnt it, its based out of the Arab world, targeting mainly Arabs. I do not believe it deliberately distorts stories, a charge I freely throw at Fox News. It is useful for finding stories on Iraq, telling the story from the side of the Iraqi people and the Arab world at large, which is almost entirely absent from American media. It also gives perspective and news from the Palestinian point of view, living under a rather brutal occupation; a perspective that is completely, I underscore completely absent from American media. Even Israeli media pays attention to this plight, but it is utterly and totally missing from American media and thus, unfortunately, a large part of the American consciousness.

So thats one example, when trying to find out things about the Middle East, assume every side is biased and thus get information from every side. The very few examples I listed, however, fall to the same biase frameworks (though to a less extreme) of American media. Thus its also important to go to independent news websites. is a great one; 90% of it is articles from various news outlets around the world, about 10% is viewpoint but its visibily established. is a great site for information from various movements, ie movements for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador or the disaffected workers movement that occupied factories in Venzeula.

It is also good to check even more openly biased news outlets, like labor journals for example. You go to it and say, yes, I know this is a news source targeted to teh labor community and will be pro-labor. Yet you find important things that you wouldnt find on CNN.

Lastly newsletters are great. I have an email account (hotmail) that is entirely devoted to listservs and newsletters. Gush Shalom is an Israeli based peace group, who's views are pretty much aligned with mine, and who send out news letters on the status of the Israeli peace movement and perspectives on things like the Lebanon War and the less talked about offenses in Gaza. Another group that I get newsletters from, Jewish Voices for Peace, sent a newsletter today talking about a pending resolution in Congress (H. Con. Res. 450) that has 23 co-sponsors and calls for an immediate cease-fire to hostilities along the Lebonese border. Unfortunately I do not get newsletters from Arab sources regarding this conflict, but in this instance it doesnt matter as much. The Israeli groups have much better resources (because of their living situation) and their views are basically identical to mine, so Im not looking to avoid any bias.

And lest you think I have no Arab newsletter sources, I found a great one that illustrates an alarming problem in Iraq that is ignored by the American media and could offer a good solution to the Iraq War. It is a national umbrella labor organization called the Iraqi Freedom Congress, I like it so much I might devote a separate blog to it completely.

The Iraqi Freedom Congress, as I said, is an amalgam of Iraqi unions. As someone who is very pro-labor and pro-union, I have a particular affinity for this. And like most labor unions, it is secular and calls for certain equalities. It ends each newsletter with this:

"The Iraq Freedom Congress is working for a democratic, secular and progressive alternative to both the U.S. occupation and political Islam in Iraq. "

The IFC has been working hard since the removal of Saddam Hussein to establish a democratic Iraq, that is, as they say, secular and progressive. They are trying to fight the consolidate of power by pro-Iranian Islamic zealots. They are trying to fight the sectarian divisions in Iraq, in their unions you can be Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd. It makes no difference.

Their only problem is, 1. They are a union and 2. They are against the occupation (though completely unaffiliated with the insurgency, to my knowledge, as they are for peace).

But I will get more into teh IFC later, they deserve a whole blog.

My underlying point; American mainstream media not only sucks, is not only biased, misinformative and influenced in a way that indisputably constitutes propaganda; but watching/reading US main stream media will make you dumb. It just will.

My recommendations

1. Turn to foreign media services and read a wide array of them, from all sides
2. Read news sources with open biases to get strong opinions/facts from both sides (even the Wall Street Journal, openly pro-business and conservative, offers more informative news then outlets trying to be neutral)
3. Read newsletters from organizations, Gush Shalom and IFC are great examples.
4. Read my blog!

Statement on Mid-East Hostilities

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis - there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources - most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defence (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land alloted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.

Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.

Tariq Ali
John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Eduardo Galeano
Naomi Klein
Harold Pinter
Arundhati Roy
Jose Saramago
Giuliana Sgrena
Howard Zinn

The truth about war

If Iran is arming Hizbollah, who is arming Israel?

WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

There you go!

I was skimming Lebaneses and Israeli blogs today and, sifting through the racial and war mongering hatred on both sides found some inspiring examples of humanity:

Yes, sometimes it is a crazy world and we live in an almost a surrealistic reality. I am an israeli woman. leaving in north of Israel. Just wand to say that i can feel and see your suffering. I don’t have any suggestion to give. I don’t even want to spread here the history of the Israeli nation or to talk about politics or justifications. We have to cope with and to face- from both sides - a very hard and complex reality that is not totaly in our control. There are so many questions and so few answers right now. I sometimes feel that there are forces that are so strong, fanatic and total in ther belifes, that they are totaly blind to human suffering all togather. I just want to offer you my human sympathy. I do not belive in hatred. I strongly belive that people can live without violence. I educete my own children according those belifes .I teach tham love and sympathy for all humankind. unfortunately , the reality dose not match this personal philosophy. I hope for you and for me and my children that this sad and ceotic situation will and as soon as possible .

Take care and God bless you.


North of Israel

Also, going back to American emergency arms shipments to Israel, I read a really informative inteview in Haaretz with a Professor who specializes in Middle Eastern affairs, im not sure if he is American or Israeli, or both, but he gave good insights.

He tied the American/Israeli offensive in Lebanon against Hizbollah to the crisis with Iran. One of the fears with the US nuclear standoff with Iran is that if the shit did hit the fan, Iran could use Hizbollah against the United States (and as most experts agree Hizbollah is 10x the force that Al Qaeda is.) ""It was a strategic miscalculation. Hezbollah didn't internalize changes in the broader strategic climate. The top regional issue today is Iran's nuclear drive, not the fate of Hamas or the Palestinian issue. If Hezbollah had understood this fully, it would have laid very low until needed by Iran in a mega-crisis with the United States. At that point, its threats against Israel would have been added to the overall deterrent capabilities of Iran, and might have caused the United States to think twice."

To sum it up, the US is still floating around contingency plans against Iran if Iran does not end up suspending uranium enrichment and the Bush Admin believes it must take military actions. One of the "cons" against military actions would be Hizbollah, and its ability to attack Israel and/or US/US interests if Iran were attacked. So now Israel can use the kidnapped soldiers to execute
this goal, a plan of attacked that "had all the spontaneity of the Schlieffen Plan," haha I read that yesterday thought it was funny.

Again I also must point out there is great tactical support by the Sunni Arab states in the region who really are not coming out strongly against this, and for 'reasons of state', they dont like Iran rising as a dominate Shiite state, they dont like Iraq rising as a Shiite state, and they dont like Shiite terrorist organizations that rival the military capabilites of most Sunni states.

Israel looks to be poising for a ground invasion now (there is a lot of speculation coming out that the IDF had thought an air war was the only thing necessary). I fear to see what happens when all the American nationals are fully evacuated from Lebanon and Israel can then totally unleash on the country.

Friday, July 21, 2006


The The Shaggy Ambassador?

United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who was never confirmed by the Senate, made some pretty obscene remarks at the United Nations the other day where he has been very busy trying to prevent a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon.

"US Ambassador John Bolton said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in Israel from 'malicious terrorist acts'."

No moral equivalence? What the hell does that mean? Apparently he is saying that we should think of Israeli civilian deaths differently from Lebanese civilian deaths. Because Israel is trying to target Hizbollah with its state-of-the-art made in the USA precision weapons it is pounding down on Lebanon, and the hundreds of civilian deaths are apparently an accident. Hizbollah, on the other hand, targets civilians in Israel and even though their Iranian made rockets are not precision, they aim them at civilian areas and see what happens. Thus we should disregard the 300 civilians Israel 'accidentally' killed while it was bombing a major metropolitan city and care more for the 29 Israeli deaths that were intentionally killed when Hizbollah's rockets were able to hit the north of Israel.

For the record International Law does hold a moral equivalance, you are responsible for civilian massacres whether it was your intention or not. I must say I am deeply disappointed in Amir Peretz, Israel's defense minister. Peretz is the leader of Israel's Labor Party and in the last election was effectively running for Prime Minister, calling for the Israeli people to focus back on the socialist roots in which Israel was founded. When Kadima (Sharon's Likud hybrid) won the election, Perez was offered the post of Defense Minister. I dont know if his support of these atrocious actions is a way for a socialist perceived as weak to show himself strong, or a dark-skinned morrocan born Israeli to prove he loves his homeland just as much as the lighter skinned ashkenazi majority; but I had high hopes for Mr Peretz as a future leader of Israel and the left-wing groups that supported him have expressed great disappointment.

Gush Shalom (Israeli peace) sent out a protest letter the other day to those on their list serv ( to get on it). It included an old protest song from the 80's that Israeli protesters were singing outside the Ministry of Defense this week:

"Red eleinu aviron!
Kach otanu leLvanon!
Nilachem bishvil Sharon!
Venachzor betoch aron".


"Come down airplane!
Take us to Lebanon!
We will fight for Sharon!
and come back in a coffin."

Im just assuming this rhymes in Hebrew. The lyrics were followed by this humorous statement: " The problem that neither 'Olmert' nor 'Peretz' could fit into the rhyme was solved easily: 'Anyway, they are both just copying Sharon' commented a participant. "

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace. Isaiah 52:7

Thursday, July 20, 2006

War? In the Middle East? Wus it all about?

From the Times of London:

"In the nine days since fighting in Lebanon began
315 Lebanese killed

31 Israelis killed

In the 25 days since first Israeli soldier kidnapped in Gaza
93 Palestinians killed

1 Israeli killed

500,000 the number of displaced people in Lebanon, Unicef says"

What is the fighting about? There is a war on two fronts. One in Gaza, one in Lebanon. They are separate from eachother. First I'll deal with Lebanon:

In the mid 70's Lebanon fell into a 15 year Civil War. Lebanon, while a French protectorate after WWI, had a heavy Christian influx. The Muslim population, especially the south, is heavily Shia; which is a sect that tends not to get along with the Sunni Muslim population (which is what most Muslims are.) Iran is a majority Shia state. Iraq is also a majority Shia state, although until recently it had always been ruled by the Sunni minority (now that the Shiite majority are in power, the Sunnis are angry and hence an underlying reason for the insurgency.) Many have suggested that in some parts of the Middle East the Sunni-Shiite hatred eclipses that of Muslim hatred of the US. Thats how bad it is.

Both Israel and Syria invaded Lebanon during the Civil War, for different reasons which are too complicated to get into now. One of Israel's reasons was to crush the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and Syria in 2005. One of the consequences of Israel's invasion, though, was a resistance group of Lebanese Shiites to fight the Israeli occupation, funded and armed by the Shiite theocracy of Iran. That group is called Hizbollah (aka Hezbollah). While being what is probably the strongest and most effective terrorist organization in the world, and in all likelihood much stronger then Al Qaeda, Hizbollah also became a political party in Lebanon.

In 2004 the United Nations passed Resolution 1559; which among other things called for the disarmament of Hizbollah. The problem, most analysts agree, is that Hizbollah is one of the strongest forces in the Middle East and the Lebanese government isnt strong enough to disarm Hizbollah; Hizbollah would in any fight.

Thus when some Israel soldiers were kidnapped and some killed in a border raid with Hizbollah last week, Israel enacted what was a blantant premeditated plan to finally disarm Hizbollah. And yet while Israel is getting the green light from the United States, it is strongly suspected there are other states who are tactically supporting Israel and the US. And those are the neighborhood Arab States.

This is the most interesting aspect of the Israeli assault. Every Arab state in the region has been on edge since the Shiites took power in Iraq. None more so then Saudi Arabia, who's oppressed Shiite minority population which is primarily concentrated in the eastern oil rich region of Saudi Arabia. There is a big fear of a rising Shiite revolution across the region, and it had to be dealt with. The strongest Shiite force outside of Iran is Hizbollah. Therefore there is a great deal of necessity to crush any 'independent' shiite force. Robin Write of the Washington Post actually wrote about this the other day, which is as far as I know the only mention of this in the mainstream media. On Democracy Now (radio/webcast) Chris Hedges and CSU professor AS’AD ABUKHALIL discussed it, with Abukhalil stating "The Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Kuwaitis, as well as the Saudis, primarily the Saudis, are participating in this campaign in order to disarm and weaken Hezbollah." I dont doubt this is most likely the truth. THe governments of each of these states must of course publically denounce Israel but behind the scenes there is likely support.

In the meantime I think the strikes are horrible because it is destroying civilian infrastructure all over Lebanon and massacring civilians left and right. I certainly agree with the Israeli's that Hizbollah should be disarmed, nobody wants an Iranian funded terrorist group at their doorstep, but I dont think this is the right way. Instead they are probably vastly strengthening Hizbollah's popular base by agitating the Shiite civilian population into further Israeli hatred. When an American made Israeli missile hits a building killing your wife and kids, you get angry. I think this is just a bad continuation of the cycle of violence.

I'll talk about Gaza later, im tired now

Now for the non-news segment:

I was watching the remake of "The Parent Trap" the other day and I suddenly realized, with the war in Iraq, the war with Lebanon and Israel, the collapse in the I-90 connecter tunnel, Bush vetoing stem cell research, North korea, somalia, THE BLOODY G-8 SUMMIT! I realized our nation is in pain, like we were in the 1960's with all the chaos then. And in a time of pain, there is only one person you can turn to:

"Where have you gone Lindsay Lohan, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you (woo woo wooo) whats that you say Mrs Robinson, Little Lindsay left and gone away, hey hey hey.....hey hey hey....."

I recently was able to interview Lindsay as we chatted

Kevin: Lindsay, welcome.

Lindsay: Thanks its in honor!

Kevin: So tell me about your latest movie

Lindsay: Um.....hahah! I like bubbles

Kevin: Me too! So what do you think of my blog

Lindsay: I mean you are just so smart and I think you are going to probably be president some day. I read your blog everyday and I tell all my Hollywood friends about it, its the cool thing to do now in Hollywood! We blow some yak and read your blog.Except that bitch Paris!

Kevin: Whats the deal with you and Paris anyway, she and her friend kept calling you firecrotch. Is it true?

Lindsay: Is what true?

Kevin: Does the carpet match the curtains...

Lindsay: Oh, haha! No, Ive been bulemic so long I've lost all my hair, this red bush on my head right now is a wig. Want to see?

Kevin: No, no thank you. Thats all, thanks Lindsay!

Lindsay: Keep on rockin America!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Who Could It Be!?

You may be the butt of a lot of jokes, Zinédine Zidane, but one of these people is having the WORST WEEK EVER!

Immigrants' Rights Activists New Spokesman: My good humored Republican friend Matt, who has long argued on behalf of whatever position is coming out of the White House, now finds himself a walking contradiction of the Bush message. Proving wrong the President's declaration that immigrants here are taking "the jobs that Americans won't do"; Matt recently became an "under the table wages" landscaper, meaning not only is he taking jobs previously reserved for undocumented workers, but as someone who is being paid under the table, he himself has become an undocumented worker! Let's hope you didnt receive a penny of student aid in your 4 years at the $40,000 a year Syracuse University Matt, because then you would also be an undocumented worker who sucks on this country's social system while not paying any taxes yourself! Good luck during this week's brutal heat wave, and here is a new phrase to use on your co-workers: ¿Podría tener yo un vidrio de agua por favor?

Speaking of hot, whatever happened to Kim Bauer? Jack's daughter had to endure not only the pain of having both parents killed in the same building (CTU-Los Angeles); but also the pain of finding out one of them was just faking dead, and although he told 4 other people, including weirdo Chloe, never bothered to tell Kim! Well after finding out about her dad's resurrection, and surviving a two-episode mini-plot involving syntox nerve gas, Kim took off with her therapist (who she is currently sleeping with.) No doubt soon after she came to terms with her father's need to lie to her, she found out he had been kidnapped by the Chinese! And with international crises all over the world, the US desparately needs China's help in containing North Korea, which means pressing them to free Jack Bauer probably isnt a high priority. Sorry Kim, you thought he died once by flying a suicide plane cargoed with nuclear weapons, and again in a shootout with secret service, why not give up on him again, besides we all know you werent offered a contract extension to season 6!

While working as an undocumented worker in the brutal summer heat despite being a legal citizen sucks; and having your father abducted by the Chinese only 12 hours after finding out he isnt as dead as you had previously thought for the last 18 months; for failing policies on areas all around the world, George W. Bush is having the WORST WEEK EVER!

- Pretending that the 2005 redemocratization of Lebanon was a result of the US invasion of Iraq and had nothing to do with the assasination of Rafiq Hairirri may have been fun; but gleefully assuming Lebanon's meek little army would be able to disarm the massively more powerful terrorist organization Hezbollah was just plain silly! Instead Hezbollah was allowed to stay in the south of Lebanon, where they took to the habit of capturing IDF soldiers and sending hundreds of rockets raining down on Israel's civilian population centers. Now Israel is bringing a can of whoop ass down on the only democratic (and pro-west) Arab state, killing scores of innocent civilians themselves in the process!

- Hoping that throwing North Korea into the "Axis of Evil" would thwart the image of an American war on Islam (given the religious affiliations of the other two axis members) may have been a good PR move; but North Korea took you seriously and quickly announced it had nuclear weapons in hopes of deterring an attack! Now they are lobbing test missiles all around, despite warnings from the USA that doing so would bring out "serious consequences". The serious consesquences are apparently a watered down UN resolution condemning the tests. UH OH!

- Freedom! You invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq under the pretext of disarmament, only to find your co-workers twisted the intelligence and the country was already disarmed! Falling back on Plan B "we invaded for democracy" has proved to suck too! Not only is Iraq now becoming more pro-Iran oriented, but yesterday the legislature finally agreed on something that brought firm unity... condemnation of Israel, the USA's favorite mid-east ally! SO much for creating a dependent client state in the center of the world's energy producing region!

For those reasons and more (gloomy predictions for the '06 elections, the GOP congress passing stem-cell research despite Presidential veto threats, an ever growing trade deficit with China) GEORGE W. BUSH IS HAVING THE WORST WEEK EVER!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Done with 24

I finally finished season 4 of 24. The above photo is of my favorite characters from this season. Edgar Stiles, Walt Cummings, Michelle Dessler, Tony Almeida and President David Palmer (center). I cant wait to see them all next season and see what happens! Here are my comments on season 4:

The love story between Michelle and Tony was a little over the top, Michelle apparently left Tony because he became a lazy alcoholic after his release from prison (from charges related to saving her life). And yet in a couple hours of working with him at CTU she falls back in love; not taking into account she is probably being affected by a recreation of the isolated environment they originally fell in love in, and certainly not taking into account he may still be an alcoholic! Perhaps even so much he overlooks people fiddling with his car, in the driveway, 18 months later...

It was also annoying that they chose to semi-recycle the plot line of the end of season 3. In that episode, Michelle is taken hostage by a terrorist who is surrounded by CTU agents and contacts Tony (director of CTU) to tell him unless he gets the CTU agents to back off, the terrorists will kill Michelle! In the season 4 finale, TONY is taken hostage by a terrorist who is surrounded by CTU agents and contacts Michelle (director of CTU) to tell her unless she gets the CTU agents to back off, Michelle...uh, I mean TONY will be killed. How could such a conicidence occur!?!?! Its explained! In the season 4 finale, the terrorist holding Tony simply googles him name and finds out what happened in season 3. Im not joking!

Other than all of that it was a pretty good season. Yes, Audrey was annoying, but she gets what she deserves. Spending the entire season fucking with two guys who love her and who she supposedly loves back, she ends up with both dead at the end! (Well Jack isnt really dead but she doesnt know.
To end, here are lines I heard incessantly repeated throughtout all episodes of 24 Ive ever watched:

"Dammit we're running out of time!"

Jack telling someone something followed by "Do you understand me?"

"We both know Im going to get the information from you, its just a matter of how much you want it to hurt!"

"Put down the gun, its over!"

Someone to Jack "But Jack [name of current CTU director] ordered you not to!"

and my favorite, most repeated line in 24

"Godammit Chloe just do it!"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Testing Missiles

Raines of Terror!

A crazed, nuclear armed state has just test fired a long range missile, successfully!

That last word indicates, of course, that I cant be talking about North Korea. India, rather, the other day test fired a long range missile. I would imagine the Bush people were ripshit about this; as the US is strenuously trying to get the Chinese to go along with a UN resolution that at a minimum condemns North Korea for testing missiles last week. And yet in the middle of this India, who fought a war with China a few decades ago, who is nuclear armed and is being used by the US as a 'strategic partner' to counterweight China, is now testing long range missiles that certainly arnt needed for Pakistan (which is right next to India thus 'long range' missiles need not apply.)

Last week I predicted the Mexican presidential election would be close, but voter fraud would lead to a slim victory for the conservative candidate. Although this came true, Lopez Obrador (the leftist candidate) isnt giving up; he has people marching in the streets demanding a recount. I say viva la recount! The courts and system itself is corrupt and wont likely give Lopez Obrador the presidency even if he did legitimately win, but its good to fight anyways and have hope.

Italy won the world cup. Frankly I dont care. I was rooting for France only to annoy all the Italian people I know; but neither watched the regular game nor the shoot-out when I found out it was happening. I would like to be in Italy now and go to some party, and tell everyone Im a backup player on the team, see how far that takes me.

Lastly, I am almost done with my marathons of 24. When I would sit down and watch, oh, 5 or 6 hours of a season, I sometimes wondered if I was devoting too much time to it. But then I said to myself; Self, they are giving 24 hours of their life to save the world, shouldnt I give 24 hours of mine to watch it? Yes, I answered, Yes I should.

And so my final comment deals with Audrey Rains. I very much liked Audrey when I first was introduced to her watching season 5 unfold on Fox this spring. Unfortunately my view points came when I went back to watch season 4 which I am currently doing. Here is why:

I can look past the fact that she only got her job because her dad is the Sec of Defense, and I can even look past her over emtionalness as a woman. But she was a friggin crazy bitch in season 4. She was hooking up ('falling in love') with Bauer and ready to disregard her current husband (separated for six months) but then her estranged husband was shot and she suddenly fell back in love and was ready to fly to a special spinal hospital in Amherst, Mass (UMass medical center?); all because he was shot! No other reason. Guilt? Probably but annoying nonetheless. What was more annoying was her running around CTU bitching at everyone. She bitched at Bill and Tony for defying "President" Logan's orders not to torture a suspect, even though it would help avert a nuclear bomb detonating in the US. She bitched at Jack constantly for various, unnecessary reasons. She also randomly bitched to other people wondering what was going on. Bitch bitch bitch. Lastly, when she was being interviewed by the Chinese consulate people, she was ordered to lie to cover it up to protect Jack and his team. Done. Well she elaborated on her cover story and forgot to tell Edgar she mentioned him, so when he was approached by the Chinese and he didnt know what she had said, they found holes in the story that implicated Jack. Good job Audrey! No wonder nobody bothered to mention to you at Jack's funeral that he was actually alive and secretly working an oil rig a couple miles south of LA.

Monday, July 03, 2006

3rd of July Thoughts

I have been watching seasons 3 and 4 of 24 and small clues enabled me in a soduko like manner to map out the political affiliations of major characters, here is how:

President David Palmer: Democrat; we know this definitely because Sherry said so in season 1.

President John Keeler: Republican; in season 3 President Palmer was in a re-election campaign and John Keeler was his opponent. Its most likely he was thus a Republican

President Charles Logan: A Republican (if Keeler was) as he was Keeler's VP and successor when Keeler became incapacitated.

Secretary of Defense James Heller: Republican, as he was appointed by President Keeler and continued under President Logan.

Audrey Rains: As James Heller's daughter, she is probably a republican too since her dad is a GOP Sec of Def and she works directly for him. Plus in the first episode of seaons four (which I just watched) Sec Heller goes to his son (Audrey's bro's) house to stop him from speaking at an anti-Lockheed Martin rally. They fight and Audrey sides with her dad. [Side note; the son here is a hilarious liberal stereotype. He is sloppy looking with Bob Marley posters everywhere, goes on an assinine rant that his dad calls "sixth grade michael moore logic", and he lights up a joint while talking to his dad. Very funny, 24 writers, but my question is if he is a dumb liberal hippy burnout, what the hell is he doing up and about at 7am?]

Jack Bauer: Definitely liberal leaning, though he may not even be party affiliated let alone a registered voter. Although Bauer had a close relationship with Palmer, he also did directly work for Sec Heller. But he has either characteristics of a liberal or life experiences that would make him be more liberal: He is a single parent, a former drug addict, worked for years in a government beauracracy on a government salary (which is usually not that good). Also, when he "died" and assumed a new life; he lived with astruggling single mother who was apparently so down and out she rents out rooms to mysterious strangers. And in this new fake life, he evidently worked at some oil field, probably for shitty wages unless it was unionized. So as someone who is sympathetic to the plight of drug addictions, who has seen first hand struggling families, who himself had to struggle with shit wages (why else would he be renting a room?) he is probably a liberal.


Whats in the news:

Mexico's presidential election (sunday) still too close to call between Lopez-Obrador and the conservative candidate. I still think the US will make sure Lopez Obrador loses. For God's sake he said he was going to renegotiate NAFTA.

The Bush Admin announced it was going to send $5 bil in weapons to Pakistan (Lockheed-Martin got the contract, prob shitting their pants). While this is a painfully obvious gesture to placate Pakistan's rage after Bush annouced a jaw-dropping nuclear deal with Pakistan's arch rival and next-door neighbor India. Although Im completely against that nuclear deal for a hole host of reasons (shows he could give a shit about nuclear proliferation) I understand the Bush Admin's desire to cement a strategic relationship with India as a counterweight to China/Russia. And I understand the need to then turn and soothe the Pakistani's since they are crucial for fighting terrorism and can play a role in the US desire to dominate central asia. But since Pakistan and India have fought three wars since '47, and it was only a couple of years ago they were literally on the brink of nuclear war, and still have not resolved their biggest issues (ie Kashmir and other stuff); then wouldnt it make sense to push a peace process between the two before you start shipping large amounts of weapons to them? Or put that as a condition? Or at least comment on it? no. Instead the Bush Administration is dealiung with two neighboring countries who are brutal enemies of eaching; helping to massively enhance one's nuclear arsenal and getting the other to shut up about it by giving them $5 b in F-16's. And is anybody at the White House considering that Pakistan is very unstable and if its secular dictator (Musharraf) falls, and he's already had many assasination attempts, he will most likely be succeeded by radical islamic fundamentalist who will have access to not only Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, but brand new F-16's? I would be very curious to find out what Israel thinks about this deal because if I were them I'd be bullshit.

Speaking of Israel; while its increasingly obvious from the Bush Admin's behavior they dont have the security of the Israeli people as a high priority when making decisions in the middle east and greater islamic world; I think its safe to say the Israeli goverment (much like the American public) doesnt have security of their own people as a high priority either. I had been trying to figure out the real reasons behind Israel's military incursions into Gaza (not even the Israeli press believes its all for "a single soldier") but I couldnt figure it out. I immediately discounted arguments this is being done to destroy the Hamas government. That is because despite public rhetoric, most analysists agree the Hamas government is probably welcomed by the Israeli government. This is because if there is a legitimate, 'acceptable' Palestinian government, Israel essentially has to accept them as a partner in the peace process and someone they have to negotiate and maybe even comprimise with. If you have a government like, say Hamas, you can say 'this is a terrorist government we refuse to deal with this' and the EU and US agree because Hamas is a terrorist organization. You then can ignore the Palestinians and dictate the terms of peace entirely according to what you want, not have to negotiate/comprimise with the other side. This is what Israel has been doing. So why go in and attack Gaza, kidnap 1/3 of their government and bomb the prime minister's office?

All of this seemed vaguely familiar and I suddenly thought back to Arafat, the PLO and Lebanon. The PLO was essentially the representation of the Palestinians in the 70's and 80's. Like Hamas, they had a terrorist wing. And while Israel was under international pressure to solve the problem of the Palestinians, they could refuse to 'negotiate with an organization that calls for Israel's destruction' (same thing they've been saying about Hamas.) Here's where it gets interesting: Israel and the US set the bar for the PLO, renounce terror and recognize Israel, only then will we deal with you. As they expected, the PLO refused...for a while. Then in the late 70's/80's the PLO began to change and was considering these demands. Scared shitless they would comply with their demands, the Israeli's launch an attack on the PLO, invading Lebanon (where the PLO was based) and massacring a lot of people. According to Israeli analyist Avner Yaniv, Israel invaded to "undermine the position of the moderates within [the PLO] ranks" and thus to block" the PLO `peace offensive'" and "to halt [the PLO's] rise to political respectability". Even government officials acknowledged this. Fmr head of Israeli military intelligence General Yehoshaphat Harabki said it shouldve been called "the war to safeguard the occupation of the West Bank" and stating it was motivated by Israeli's "fear of the momentum of the peace process."

Fast forward to 2006. Hamas takes power in the occupied territories. Israel states it will refuse to deal with them, Hamas must recognize Israel and renounce terrorism first. Hamas doesnt, Israel continues annexing the most valuable lands of the West Bank, unilaterally choosing its permanent borders. After trying to figure out why Israel was attacking Gaza this week, I suddenly remembered something. Browsing through the international papers in early June, there were a lot of stories about how Hamas was close to deciding to cave in and finally recognize Israel, basically bowing to pressure from Mahmoud Abbas and the international sanctions. And finally, on June 27th, this article appeared Canada's National Post:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The rival Hamas and Fatah movements agreed on a plan implicitly recognizing Israel, a top Palestinian official said Tuesday after weeks of acrimonious negotiations aiming to lift crippling international aid sanctions.

Moderate President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah has been trying to coax his Hamas rivals into endorsing the document, which calls for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, in effect recognizing the Jewish state. He has endorsed the plan as a way to end sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian government and pave the way to reopening peace talks with Israel.

The next day, June 28th, missiles rained down on Gaza. The IDF swooped in and kidnapped a large part of the Palestinian government, destroyed government buildings, and is still today escalating its attack (yesterday Ehud Olmert ordered an intesification.) And if anyone is left wondering if this is a deliberate collective attack on the Palestinian people and their casualties are not simply inadvertent, Olmert cleared that up too, stating for the press"I have said, and will repeat, nobody will be immune."

I would imagine the whole Hamas about to recognize Israel is being put on hold

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Weekend

Quick thoughts:

-As someone who hates every major news channel; I still flip through them in the morning out of habit, hitting up CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and yes Fox too just to see what everyone is talking about. THey are all of course, ridiculous and idiotic and I cant stand one channel for more than a minute. I had the mute button on the other day flipping through and noticed a strange pattern. The different news channels kept showing this cracked out black woman next to photos of a morbidly obese black woman. Thinking it was a story on how crack leads to weightloss, I unmuted it. I was wrong, it was Star Jones going around talking about her fight with Barbara Walters, and the "news" channels treating it as if this were actually news. Literally, the didnt even put it under the "Now turning to entertainment" section. The Today's shows top/main interview at the beginning of the show was Star Jones, interview by weatherman Al Roker because, I kid you not, she apparently felt an affinity with him he recommended doctors to her when she was fat for gastric bypass surgeory.

-Mexico is having a presidential election this summer. Im rooting for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and actually worked in contact with student organizations in Mexico two years ago that were having nationwide protests to prevent a politically motivated "desafuero" against AMLO which would bar him from running for president (my contact with this non-violent, peaceful organization is one of the many reasons I dont rule out the NSA monitors my emails. Another reason is because I get newsletters from an Iraqi labor union.)
Unfortunately the presidential election is neck-and-neck, and when its THAT close, there will be cheating because A. Mexico is corrupt (just like the USA) and B. Its a CRUCIAL election for George W. Bush, and here is why:

Ever since the Monroe Doctrine the US has considered Latin America its own sphere of influence, to be controlled and dominated by the US (which translates to Latin American raw materials going to US cheaply, US finished goods having open markets in Latin America, and every Latin AMerican country having a favorable climate to US investment). Any time a Latin American country tried to steer away from US influence, the US usually sent the marines in. Literally almost every country in the Western Hemisphere has been invaded by the US. It was done openly until after WWII when imperialism became unpopular. During the Cold War, though, it was still necessary to keep the whole hemisphere under our control. Even if one country fell out, it had to be stopped because it would be like "a virus infecting others" in Kissinger's words, or a "rotten apple" infecting every apple in the barrel, in Kennan's words. Since WWII we've intervened in Guetemala, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, the Domincan Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Nicuragua and more! THe reason this election is so important:

HUGO CHAVEZ! Yes the current democratically elected President of Venezuela is a Mr. Hugo Chavez, who took Venezuela out of US control (aided by oil wealth). As a result, the US funded and tactically supported a 2002 coup agaisnt him that ultimately failed. Ever since its been funding anti-Chavez groups, but suddenly in Bolvia.... Evo Morales! Democratically elected and is taking Bolivia out of US influence too (nationalized gas/oil, rejecting neoliberalism and FTAA). The Mexican leftist candidate, AMLO, has similar politics to these guys. No doubt the US is already funding the other candidates (most likely through the Orwellian termed National Endowment for Democracy). If AMLO had a huge lead in the polls going into the election, it would be hard to steal. If it was very close, it would be very easy to steal. Look at the US 2000 election. And besides Mexico is the US's direct neighbor and has been under US domination since 1848 (and everytime something went wrong, the US sent troops in again, like in 1859, 1866, 1870, 1890, 1913, 1917, 1918 and 1919). If AMLO wins, its disaster for US hegemony in the hemisphere, thus, I believe he will not be allowed to win. If he does, it will be interesting.