Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Meditation on Peacemaking

By John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 8/15/14

Americans Need to Break the Cycle of War

All we are saying is give peace a chance
-John Lennon

As George W. Bush paints images of his toes in the bathtub and portraits of his beloved dog Barney, it’s hard not to humanize the man. Who’d a thunk he had an artist somewhere inside him. The work is, well, a bit primitive, but it’s nice to look at. He doesn’t show up in public much, but the other day he was photographed in the audience with a bunch of delighted African women while his wife Laura and Michelle Obama spoke about the empowerment of women. Unlike his vice president from the dark side, he seems determined to avoid commenting on war issues.

Meanwhile, Iraq (here, we should pronounce it I-Rack) has become a charnel house once again. Iraq was the sovereign plaything Mr. Bush and his cronies used to turn him from an aimless deer in the headlights into a bully war president. W’s plaything is now being overrun in the west and north by a band of psychopathic religious killers. In the corridors of Washington power and in many editorial rooms the war drums are beating again and, as is always the case, truth is going down for the count.

ISIS extremists have overwhelmed the tough Kurdish Pesh Merga troops, and we’re bombing people again in Iraq…

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

ISIS killing.preview
from the above post:

Police at War in Ferguson.preview
from Dave Lindorff, “Police Need to Be Demilitarized and Remade as ‘Peace Officers,’” 08/14/2014, also at This Can’t Be Happening:

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Filed under Iraq, John Grant, Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

2010 advice to the President and structural problems

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 8/21/14

In my files I came across a piece of writing from January 2010 that I don’t seem to have ever posted. I’m going to paste it farther below, because it just shows how slowly things change in our country.

Actually, we’re still trying to sort out some of the issues bequeathed to us by our esteemed Founders: large states vs. small states, executive vs. legislative vs. judicial branches, liberty vs. equality, security vs. freedom from unreasonable searches, the aftermath of slavery, economic injustice, access to education, who controls the military, and much more.

I did post, on 3/27/10, a different set of ideas in “My advice to Obama, 11/30/08,” which you can read here.

Do we still remember those days in early 2010 when the current administration was just a year old, it still wasn’t clear whether or when the country would recover from the great crash of 2008, the Tea Party was just taking shape, the Affordable Care Act was not yet signed into law (3/23/10), the disastrous (for Democrats and in some ways mainstream Republicans and the country) 2010 election had not yet occurred, and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (1/10) was just about to lead to the huge influx of political money into Super PACs and “social welfare” organizations?

Despite all that, I still think things move slowly around here.

The piece I just found, dated 1/29/10, shows that structurally nothing much has changed. Even Obamacare, if it stays with us, does not change the basic system of people purchasing insurance health care from private profit-making organizations (except for special groups like veterans and seniors). And that “hands-off dance the administration and Congress have been doing for the last year” has now stretched on to almost 6 years, with no end in sight….

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Filed under Nathaniel Smith, National govt & politics, US President

Isis

excerpt from Doug Muder, “Unwarranted,” The Weekly Sift, 8/25/14

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria beheaded American journalist James Foley — and posted the video on YouTube — after the U.S. government refused a 100 million Euro ransom demand and a rescue attempt failed. This sparked a lot of discussion about widening the U.S. involvement in Iraq beyond the current air strikes.

I don’t doubt that a lot of people in ISIS are bad guys. But it gets old watching the pro-war spin machine work. Once again, we face a group of insane, unstoppable monsters far worse than the last group of insane, unstoppable monsters we were warned about. Rick Perry thinks they’re coming over the Mexican border, and a former CIA deputy director warns us that they could get an AK-47 and shoot up a mall — not because either man has any evidence that such things are in the process of happening, but because we have a new name for the Boogie Man.

The problem with the panic-mongering is that it just raises the pressure to do something. It doesn’t increase the effectiveness of any of the somethings we might do. Couldn’t we someday have a rational discussion of what our options really are, and what good or bad things are likely to result from the various things we might do?

[n.b.”Every war, when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.” — George Orwell]

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Filed under Iraq, Mid East other / S Asia

The Liberal Zionist Dilemma – An Analysis

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 8/18/14

Part I – The Liberal Ideal

Liberalism, framed as a socio-political ideal, argues that human beings are good and social progress achievable. It is a “glass half-full” outlook. Within this paradigm all individuals, not just members of a specific religion, race or nationality, should have political and civil rights. Here also neither the state nor the law is an end in itself. They are instruments for the creation and maintaining of a environment meant to promote freedom while minimizing social inequalities. Holding this ideal does not preclude identifying with a particular ethnic or religious group. It does, however, preclude any claim of exclusive rights for such groups to the detriment of others.

Within the Western environment many Jews held to this liberal ideal. They saw it as in their interest to work toward an environment of universally applied political and civil rights while minimizing social inequality. For instance, by the mid-twentieth century in the United States, many Jewish organizations were allied with African Americans in their struggle for civil rights and equality. However, this proved to be a complex alliance and it ultimately broke down. Its demise marked a waning of organized American Jewish liberal activism. What had happened?…

keep reading at To the Point Analyses

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Filed under Lawrence Davidson, Palestine & Israel, Rights, Justice, Law