Monday, May 31, 2010
The best military U.S. money (also known as "security assistance") can buy went well beyond what any sane person would deem appropriate in its response to the approaching Gaza Freedom Flotilla early this morning. Under cover of darkness Israeli military commandos boarded the largest of the Flotilla's ships using Black hawk helicopters and small craft (we're talking "shock and awe" here folks) while the ship was still in international waters. At this point at least nine activists have been confirmed killed and dozens more were wounded. The Israelis seized all six boats and everyone on board (including human rights workers, diplomats, journalists and academics).
The State of Israel has, through this brazen and illegal action, demonstrated its complete and total disregard for international and humanitarian law; of course it has been doing this for years, but this morning's act was its most brazen action to date. Why could they have not pulled alongside during daylight hours and asked to come aboard for tea with the ship's captain to discuss the options for delivering the tons of humanitarian aid supplies weighing down the ships???
Speaking as a Jew I have had enough of this (I'm sure God had enough of this madness long ago) and must speak out against the atrocities that my people perpetrate against others. How little we have learned through centuries of oppression and atrocities against our own. The powerful pro-Israel lobbies (such as AIPAC) keep U.S. aid flowing in the form of money and weapons systems (President Obama has requested $3 billion in "security assistance" to Israel for fiscal year 2011). And to make matters worse the Christian Zionist cheering section fans the flames even higher (What's up with that? First they blame the Jews for that crucifixion incident ages ago, and now they're in love with Israel. Motive???).
The U.S.-Israel alliance is stronger than ever, and the Israelis know they can continue to get away with murder (quite literally; remember the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967!!). As everyone screams for sanctions against Iran, we continue to look the other way regarding Israel's nuclear program (as we have since the 1950s).
It is time to rise up and take to the streets and call on our government to hold Israel accountable for its actions. No more blank checks. It is time to call on our members of Congress to stop accepting blood money from pro-Israel lobbying groups and start being accountable to the American people (instead of the Israeli government).
Today many of us took to the streets around the United States; here in Seattle we stood (and marched) in solidarity with the Palestinian people and the people of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The actions will continue, and we will continue to try to help people see this madness and understand why we all must work to stop it. Watch for actions in your area. If you are in the Seattle area come out tomorrow (Tuesday): 4:30 PM, meet at Westlake Plaza (4th Avenue and Pine Street). 5:00 PM, walk together to Federal Building (2nd and Marion).
Here is a brief slide show of today's protest rally in Seattle.
Raise your voices for our common humanity!
Call for an end to the blockade!
Call The White House at (202) 456-1414 or click here to send President Obama an email.
Call or email your members of Congress. Find their contact information by clicking here.
Or lodge a protest with the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-4000.
And if you are in the writing mood, write a letter to the editor!
Read the latest editorial (and find more) at The Electronic Intifada.
Find out more about the Freedom Flotilla at WitnessGAZA.com.
Get news at ALJAZEERA.
Learn more at Voices of Palestine.
Updates since this post:
Read Dennis Kucinich's June 2nd Letter to President Obama regarding the incident.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Well, move over Tea Partyers! You've been dumping stuff off the wrong boat. You want to talk about taxation without representation??? Perhaps I should qualify that; defense contractors are definitely well (and overly) represented. For those of us who believe that this kind of military spending is unsustainable (besides making the world a far less stable place) it's like some guy just rode into town on a white horse. I'm rubbing my eyes, wondering if I'm dreaming folks.
Florida Congressman Alan Grayson has had enough of allocating tens of billions of dollars in endless defense spending without so much as a "Hey, can we talk about this???" in Congress. He has introduced legislation to change this sorry state of affairs. The War Is Making You Poor Act (HR 5353). Although he voted for the 2009-2010 Defense Appropriations, Grayson is now trying to make an important statement and begin a long-needed discussion about how we fund our global military machine and endless wars. Check out the video below where Congressman Grayson introduces HR 5353:
I find it hard to argue with Grayson's straightforward, simple math. Grayson's bill "demands that the Pentagon live within its budgeted means, cancels next year’s $159 billion budget allocation for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and gives everyone a $35,000 income tax credit (couples get $70,000)."
For those of us who want to bring the discussion and debate about military spending out into the open, here is our opportunity. If you agree, please support Grayson's bill. Click here to join the more than 29,000 people who have signed the petition supporting The War Is Making You Poor Act! Then share this with 10 more people; it's time to initiate a public debate. And don't forget to tell your Representative to support Grayson's bill.
War is bankrupting our nation! It is time to fund Peace (for real, sustainable returns).
Note: Read more about HR 5353 (and take action) at Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
- At the turn of the 20th century, 5% of war casualties were civilians
- In World War I, 15% were civilians
- In World War II, the figure leapt to a 65% civilian death toll, as whole cities were bombed
- By the mid-nineties, 75% of war deaths were civilians
- Today, 90% of the human war toll are civilians-the majority women and children
Sunday, May 16, 2010
There is a Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland, just down from the castle. It’s a bit off the street on a pedestrian walkway, with a bit of a courtyard out front. In the courtyard are set some paving stones inscribed with writings of some Scots writers. One caught my attention, and I took a picture of it… The inscription: "Weird hou men maun aye be makin war insteid o things they need." -- Tom Scott (1918-1995) (Scots dialect: hou = how; maun = must)