Random Thoughts and Links on Current Events

They’re not always clueless over at OpenLeft. In fact, they get it really right about 15% of the time, but then they get push back from A-listers and inevitably reverse what was otherwise the proper stance. Here’s an excellent piece promoted by Paul Rosesberg, written by Diane Mason of Lawrence of Cyberia. If you’re pro-Israeli in the current action (not a lot of those this time, except for ideologues who are helping drive the conflict anyway), you’ll definitely want to skip this one, and the next.

Warning! This post at Cannonfire contains graphic evidence of Israel’s actions. And it’s gruesome, but it needs to be seen. Americans are, as they have been for decades now, protected from this information by a media that is complicit in the atrocities. You will not see this in the New York Times, or the WaPo, or even the LA Times. There you will see stock photos (from who knows when and where) of unidentifiable Arab men lobbing Molotov Cocktails. At Cannonfire, I saw the half-exploded body of a young Palestinian being pulled out of wreckage as a group of people stood around. His or her body (sex was indeterminate) was probably exploded by weaponry of this caliber. Where talking shrapnel shedding cluster bombs and white phosphorus lobbed into residential areas. I’m sorry, but I am always on the side of the oppressed. Palestine, you have my condolences and apologies, not that they’re much help….

In that article, he also quotes Glenn Greenwald, who slips in a little factoid I did not know:

No thought is given to what it is like, what emotions it generates, what horrible acts start to appear justifiable, when you have a hostile foreign army control your borders and airspace and internal affairs for 40 years, one which builds walls around you, imposes the most intensely humiliating conditions on your daily life, blockades your land so that you’re barred from exiting and prevented from accessing basic nutrition and medical needs for your children to the point where a substantial portion of the underage population suffers from stunted growth.

Bolding mine. Come on people. We’re talking apartheid with, apparently, a current  attempt at genocide. I mean, this is how is started for Jewish people in Nazi Germany, no? Also in Joseph Cannon’s article is the perfect transitional quote for the next link (see below, Dissenting Justice link):

Too many Jews learned the wrong lesson from World War II. The victims of persecution came to equate strength with a willingness to persecute others. Like many other peoples in many other times and places, a large number of Jews were seduced into the false belief that the hardest heart beats longest.

I really couldn’t agree more. That is the nature of corruption; it corrupts absolutely. This is the lesson I failed to take from the 1990s. I could so clearly see the framework of what was happening in the moment in the 1990s, and every political prediction I made came true because of that clarity. I knew who was up to what and why. But I didn’t see how allowing it could change the system forever. It took another eight years for me to learn that lesson. In 2000, after the election was called by the Supreme Court, I said this:

Fine! Let them have it four years. Let them have it for eight. They will fuck it up so bad because they are so corrupt that we won’t elect another Republican presidential for 8-16 years. We’ll at least be rid of them for a while.

And boy howdy, are we ever through with them for a while. Unfortunately, my team switched sides, and began playing the corruption game. I mean, why not? It worked so well for the Republicans. That’s what the Obama Machine was all about–calculatingly shrewd power grabs using the other side’s tactics. Talk about Shock Doctrine. I could still kick myself in the ass for not realizing it would be Biden. Of course. He fits the Bush-Cheney model. Older guy, lots of experience in a corrupt industry (Biden is practically single-handedly responsible for idiot credit card system we have, and protected that industry mightily in the deplorable bankruptcy bill ). The only difference is the veneer. Biden is supposedly charming, while Cheney is at least a snake at every layer. They both twist arms and make a select group of people a lot of money, enriching themselves in the process.

Anyway, I’ve digressed here a bit, but I guess I needed to get that out. You’ve probably already forgotten about that quote. It had to do with the lessons people learn when they are baked in ideological ovens, literal or analogous. I suppose another way to look at it is Auden’s view, from his poem September 1, 1939:

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

The link I’m referring to is here, at Dissenting Justice, from Professor Darren Hutchinson. It’s about the Burris “scandal” that Democrats are creating (and typically, backing down from already. Oh noes! The thunder of the inauguration! Must. Not. Fuck. Up). He rightfully points out that what is happening now is exactly what I missed in the 1990s–the consequences of unchecked corruption. Hutchinson says:

Democrats Are to Blagojevich as Republicans Were to Bill Clinton
Ironically, many Democrats are making arguments today with respect to Blagojevich that they rejected during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Republicans demanded that Clinton resign, and Special Prosecutor Ken Starr leaked information to the media in an effort to shame him out of office.

While Republicans claimed that the controversy surrounding Clinton made it impossible for him to govern effectively, Democrats argued that the partisan impeachment disrupted the country instead and that Clinton should remain in office. Today, however, many Democrats — particularly Senate Democrats who oppose the seating of Roland Burris — believe Blagojevich should resign; their arguments mirror the assertions of Republicans who pressured Clinton to leave office.

Bolding his. And here we have it. The slow crawl of immorality creeping up on Democrats to make them hypocrites once again. I’m sure they’ve internalized it so slowly that they’re scarcely aware it’s happened, but that doesn’t excuse it. Self-reflection is required for the job, or ought to be. Most of these guys (I refuse to say guys and gals until it actually applies statistically) have been in the job for years. A simple list of comparisons and contrasts would reveal to any thinking person the differences between Washington as it was and as it is. Technological advances and changing social norms do not account for all of it either. The city is now teeming with opportunists who are given keys to the Treasury, and political intimidation is common place on both sides now. Just like Zionists (Both Jewish and Christian), the lesson the Democrats learned over 28 years of Republican dominance is how to play the game, not how to stop it.

Do read Hutchinson’s whole piece, though, because he zeroes in on Harry Reid, who needed some zeroing in on.

Just like I discussed in Why We Fight, there are unintended consequences whenever we acquiesce to banality by tuning it out. We did not fight hard enough. We were yoked to spineless cowards, many of whom who had grown fat and far too cautious after their own nearly 30 years of dominance in the 50s, 60s and 70s. And after all of that, I cannot believe how many people still don’t get it. It’s no good cycling the worst in us from one side to the other. Both parties must stop fighting for dominence and learn how to share power ethically. I’m not talking about drawing issues out of a hat to compromise on; I’m talking about smart leadership that models ethical choices, so that that those are the lessons learned.

Edited to add: h/t Murphy in comments at Pumapac, this article coming out of Boston says it all about the transformation happening in the Democratic Party over the last few years. The problem with Burris, as far as Reid was concerned was that he’s “never met the man.” Turns out he’s now enlightened by the “obviously very engaging, a very nice man. ” So let’s review the themes of the last eight years, and the next eight years for that matter, shall we?

Greedy?     Immoral?    Corrupt? ``Reactionary?

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9 comments on “Random Thoughts and Links on Current Events

  1. Ali says:

    Thanks for the Israel articles. It was a good lesson for me, in patience. Do you realize how many haiku I had to write last night to stop myself from leaving an angry post last night? LOL. Honestly, it helped.

    I love all your feminist writing so I was a little sad to see you link to an article that did the same old same old oversimplification and compared Jews to Nazis and demanded the end of Israel. Oy.

  2. Anna Belle says:

    I don’t think I linked to an article that called for the end of Israel, Ali. I’m pretty sure the OpenLeft link doesn’t, but maybe Joseph Cannon did. I’ll look again. I certainly apologize if I did. It was merely laziness on my part, and is not something I support.

    I don’t espouse the end of Israel at all. I am frustrated by the dominance of their marketed narrative and the victimhood of the Palestinians, but I support a two-state solution. And of course, I want to raise awareness of the suppression of information by our own complicit media.

    What has gone down in that area for decades now is deplorable, and could not happen anywhere else. Nowhere else could you not have a constitution and still call it a democracy. The solution as I see it begins with a universal demand for an official Israeli Constitution that lays our universal rights that are enjoyed equally by Israeli’s and Palestinians, or whoever is a citizen of Israel. It won’t end the violence, but it will create official channels to petition for change, and finally subjects the Israeli government to the will of the rest of the world. A country out of compliance with it’s own Constitution will not enjoy favor at the United Nations, and countries that currently support its current actions will have a much harder time doing so.

    Anyway, I hope that clears up where I’m at with this issue. Sorry about the Haiku thing. I hope you got some good stuff! Sometimes we have to disagree, but now that you understand better my POV, maybe we can still be friends? I’d hate to lose you as a reader over this. I’m looking forward to working with you to bring women’s history to the school children of America.

  3. Anna Belle says:

    One more thing, A few more things. I didn’t make a direct comparison between Zionists and Nazi’s, I pointed out that what they where doing to Palestinians in Gaza viz a viz starvation and denial of medical care is how the Nazis started with German Jews. Though Zionists started their push for Israel before WWII, the official founding of Israel was predicated on the argument that Jews had to have a place for themselves, otherwise, look at what they risked being subject to. I don’t think it’s intellectually inconsistent to expect a people who have so recently pursued this argument to not do the same thing to the Palestinians.

    But, as I intended the post to speak to (and obviously failed), those aren’t the lessons they learned from WWII. The lesson they learned, like the lesson the Democratic Party learned from Republicans, is how to play the same game, to perpetuate the same pattern of abuse. I hate to reduce it all to pop psychology, but it really is that simple. There has to be some way to break the cycle.

    Now, the great thing about this conversation is that you’ve inadvertently pointed out a bit of unintended irony on my part. When I use images like the ones post to Cannonfire, am I doing the same thing Israelis and Democrats have done? Does my harsh language communicate a philosophical inflexibility? Am I learning to play the game? I posted them because of the shock value, because that’s what the media uses, and I was frustrated enough to try to fight fire with fire. Your reaction was quite unexpected, and it taught me to have a greater consideration for my audience and their POV. I don’t think eliciting that reaction is helpful or solves any problems, rather, it creates more and engenders distrust and high emotions. What I think is better is a rational presentation, and I admit, I’ve gotten away from that in some areas in recent weeks. I’ve been allowing myself to vent, but it’s time to refocus. P&L isn’t my personal diary–it’s intended to be an agent of real unity and change. Thanks for the reminder to recenter.

  4. Ali says:

    Hi Anna Belle,

    Yeah, it was the Canonfire. That’s really the only one I read and then I got upset. But I’m totally still a fan of yours. I think you’re awesome. This is why I wrote haiku instead of writing something that I would later feel embarrassed about;) Still trying to work out the kinks of the haiku but it gave me a great topic – anger! And how fleeting it is.

    In regard to Israel/ Palestine I’m not a wonk. But I think they have both shown themselves to be oppressors in extraordinary ways. You mention how Israeli’s have learned to oppress via the experiences of WWII. I will simply add that so have the Palestinians. One little example, since I am an education wonk/ nerd – are educational materials that are being used by Palestinians. Palestinian textbooks paint Israelis to be worse than animals and they do so through very anti-semitic imagery that evoke the propaganda of Nazi Germany.

    I think the conflict between these two cultures/ people is very complicated and I happen to be very cynical when anyone paints one side as “angel” and the other side side as “demon”.

    Well, time for me to refocus, too. After my haiku I’ll work on those publishing companies. BTW, I’ve recently gotten in touch with my friends with the Native American themed publishing company. It started out tiny and has taken off! I’m so impressed. Oh how I’d love to see something similar with our visions of women’s history….

  5. Hi, Anna Belle. Thanks for the citation – and great job with that “random” article. The hypocrisy was very thick.

  6. Pumpkinlove says:

    I’m not sure I can read this site if you honestly believe this:

    “A few more things. I didn’t make a direct comparison between Zionists and Nazi’s, I pointed out that what they where doing to Palestinians in Gaza viz a viz starvation and denial of medical care is how the Nazis started with German Jews.”

    The Germans put Jews in camps, starved them, forced them to labor and exterminated them.

    Israel did none of that.

    When Israel declared it’s Independence in 1948, it was attacked by Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. It was Egypt and Jordan who aborted Palestine, not Israel. It was Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria who put Palestinians in camps, not Israel. It was Israel who returned occupied territory after 1956 only to have it used again as a base of terror. It was Israel who won a defensive war in 1967 once again offered to exchange land for peace only to be given the 3 Nos. Egypt & Jordan washed their hands of the Palestinians who preferred to kill the yehud (Jews, not Israelis but Jews) to having a state. Nothing has changed.

    Hamas attacked the border crossings again and again and again until Israel HAD to close them except to let basics in.

    Hamas has killed all opposition within Gaza.

    Hamas has stolen 1 out of 9 aid trucks for themselves.

    Hamas hides rockets, men and ammunition in schools, mosques, homes and hospitals.

    Hamas ended a cease fire they had never kept.

    Israel wasn’t occupying Gaza. Israel has been providing fuel, food and electricity for years despite the rockets. What Hamas has been doing is inexcusable and it would have been inexcusable for Israel to allow it to continue.
    Where were all these protesters when Israel restrained itself against the rockets? Where was the UN?

    Where were all these protesters for all the other instances of Muslims being killed when they were killed by Muslims? Hundreds of thousands have died in Africa and where were the angry mobs?

    Silent.

    Why such an outrage over a response to an act of war after so much silence?

    Finally, keep this in mind, these same folks are crying “Death to JEWS”, “Jews to the ovens” and “Hitler didn’t do a good job” around the world. Jews are being attacked for being Jews in France, London, Denmark and the U.S. by Muslims with little protection from the police. In Germany, an Israeli flag was removed from an apartment by force by the POLICE out of fear that it would incite Muslims protesters to violence but the police didn’t stop the Muslims from expressing virulent anti-Semitism. The mosque in my town doesn’t need security. Our JCC has had an armed security guard on the premises for several years now.

  7. Anna Belle says:

    Pumkinlove, are you sure you understand the history of the the Nazi machine? If you did you would know that well before camps where ever built the Germans treated the Jews very much like the Jews now treat the Palestinians. Hitler was elected in 1933, and that machine took a while to build. What’s more, the German citizenry did not just say one day, “Okay, you can burn a few million Jews, we’re okay with that.” The Nazi party invested heavily in de-humanizing them first, exactly by restricting them to ghettos, where they could restrict their food supply and access to medicine, as well as the outer world, thereby reducing their ability fight, and isolating them from people who might see them as human. They basically isolated and weakened them before they went in for the kill. I never suggested that ovens would be involved. Let’s not exaggerate.

    I understand well the blood on the hands of everyone involved, and you never saw me apply the term “innocent” to the Palestinians. If you can’t handle a political difference in point of view, perhaps you oughtn’t read this blog. That’s kinda the point of P&L; that we don’t have to agree.

  8. Pumpkinlove says:

    Who is dehumanizing who?

    Hamas teaches its children that Jews are the sons of apes and pigs, that Allah wants the Jews dead and that killing Jews is glorious. You will NEVER find an Israeli TV program for children with songs about killing Palestinians.

    Who is dehumanizing who?

    Hamas targets civilians. They aren’t fighting the IDF; they are still launching rockets at civilians. Israel’s targeting Hamas which unfortunately includes the civilian infrastructure Hamas uses to fire from and store weapons.

    Who is dehumanizing who?

    Hamas wants an end to Israel and the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the land. Read their charter. Israel wants the terrorism to stop. You do remember when Israel left Gaza in 2005 that was to be the first step and they were planning on leaving parts of the West Bank within 2 years. What happened? Rockets, rockets and rockets.

    Who is dehumanizing who?

    You equate Israel with Nazi Germany but I don’t recall the Jews of Germany ever calling for the death of all Christians, singing songs about killing Germans or committing violence against Germany.

    You equate Israel with Nazi Germany but I don’t recall Jews of Germany having land that they claimed was their own and then calling it a ghetto. Hamas claims Gaza to be its land.. how then is Israel holding them in a ghetto?

    You equate Israel with Nazi Germany because the Palestinians are hungry and need aid. Only Israel has been allowing in lots of aid.. so much that the warehouses of many organizations are full.,.. so much that the media hasn’t been reporting the fact that Hamas has been stealing aid trucks and selling the goods on the black market to fund their war.

    You equate israel with Nazi Germany because Israel has reduced the Palestinians ability to fight. The Palestinians aren’t fighting.. they are assaulting civilians. And yes, every government has the obligation to protect their civilians.

    You accuse Israel of weakening the Palestinians before going in ‘for the kill’. Israel stood by during this so called truce despite hundreds of rockets fired at civilians. Israel stood quiet while Hamas ended the ‘truce’ early and increased the rockets to 80+ a day. Hamas initiated this conflict and you accuse Israel of moving in for the kill.

    YOU are dehumanizing Israel with your bullshit equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. Do you honestly think that this will lead to the building of ovens with Palestinians burning? Do you honestly believe that if the Palestinians gave up terror that Israel would keep killing them? Do you honestly believe that if Israel stopped protecting its civilians and opened its border that terrorism would stop? Even after 2005?

    Different political opinions are one thing… but the vile attempt to equate the extermination of 6 million Jews with a war started by Hamas is too much. Your attempt to delegitimize Israel by the use of the disgusting use of Holocaust language is too much.

    Good luck with the blog. i’ve removed it from my bookmarks.

  9. Anna Belle says:

    That’s because I’m not analogizing the entire fucking war, PumpkinLove, just this one specific aspect of it. Good grief, I thought I made that pretty clear.

    But, oh, I read far enough to see you’ve now written me off. You are obviously hysterical over something you won’t even make an attempt to understand, and have politicized yourself so much over the issue that you can’t even see reality. “I’ve removed [your blog] from my bookmarks,” indeed. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. I’ve been out of middle school for 25 years.

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