In Defense of Helen Thomas

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

Helen, say it isn’t so.

If you were like most Americans and you spent the weekend racking up credit card debt that you will never pay to purchase petroleum based products to use at the family cookout where you were forced to listen to unemployed uncle Eddie bitch about the BP crime scene, you may have missed the major hubbub cause by the octogenarian journalist formerly know as the dean of the white house press corps, Ms. Helen Thomas.

What, exactly did she say?

In a video taken in late May that only surfaced on Friday, Helen said the following:
Tell them to get the get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [the Palestinians] are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” She was asked where they should go and she answered, “They should go home, to Poland, Germany and America”
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‘Israel is a Lunatic State’ – Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack

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FLOTILLA ATTACKED. U.S. Response: “FREE Israel. F*&K PALESTINE”

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- by Davis Fleetwood

In the 36 hours since Israel committed the war crime of murdering an unknown number of civilians on a ship they invaded in international waters, CNN and other major media outlets have turned their airwaves over to the Israeli propaganda machine to wage a one-way debate: a Goliath pummeling an absentee David.  This is a conflict where Biblical allusions take on extra significance, where the old testament is waved about like a real estate deed and where the U.S. stands hip to hip, check by jowl and arm over should with Israel against the rest of the world brutally enforcing a military and media policy that can be summed up with the phrase FREE ISREAL, FUCK PALESTINE.

As an occupier, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza strip, 65% of whom are under 18. That is not some bleeding heart liberal moral code talking, that is international law. Instead, for four years running, Israel has put the residents of Gaza on a diet intent on achieving the fashionable “Nazi Death Camp look”.

Over the weekend, a boat filled with life saving supplies and 600-peace activists intent on reaching Gaza was raided and attacked by the Israeli military. The result- at least 10 dead and 30 injured.
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No One Cares

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Originally posted on TruthDig. Written by Chris Hedges

We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares.

The roots of mass apathy are found in the profound divide between liberals, who are mostly white and well educated, and our disenfranchised working class, whose sons and daughters, because they cannot get decent jobs with benefits, have few options besides the military. Liberals, whose children are more often to be found in elite colleges than the Marine Corps, did not fight the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and the dismantling of our manufacturing base. They did nothing when the Democrats gutted welfare two years later and stood by as our banks were turned over to Wall Street speculators. They signed on, by supporting the Clinton and Obama Democrats, for the corporate rape carried out in the name of globalization and endless war, and they ignored the plight of the poor. And for this reason the poor have little interest in the moral protestations of liberals. We have lost all credibility. We are justly hated for our tacit complicity in the corporate assault on workers and their families.
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Chomsky: Obama’s No Human Rights Crusader — Just Look at How He Aids Israel’s Atrocities

This article originally appeared on Tom Dispatch. Written by Noam Chomsky.

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Chomsky exposes how the U.S. and Israel have been acting in tandem to extend and deepen the occupation of Palestine.

A Palestinian family after an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 2008

The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange.  For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement.  In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders — with “minor and mutual modifications,” to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

The basic principles have been accepted by virtually the entire world, including the Arab states (who go on to call for full normalization of relations), the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran), and relevant non-state actors (including Hamas).  A settlement along these lines was first proposed at the U.N. Security Council in January 1976 by the major Arab states.  Israel refused to attend the session.  The U.S. vetoed the resolution, and did so again in 1980.  The record at the General Assembly since is similar.

There was one important and revealing break in U.S.-Israeli rejectionism.  After the failed Camp David agreements in 2000, President Clinton recognized that the terms he and Israel had proposed were unacceptable to any Palestinians.  That December, he proposed his “parameters”: imprecise, but more forthcoming.  He then stated that both sides had accepted the parameters, while expressing reservations.

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Joe Biden, Israel, Jerusalem, and Manifest Destiny

Joe Biden, Israel, Jerusalem, and Manifest Destiny
by Davis Fleetwood

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When US Vice President Joe Biden went to the Middle East last week, he was wearing thin the same path walked by many administrations in the past, engaging in a meaningless puppet show to demonstrate publicly the US support to get Israel and the Palestinians to the peace talks table. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, pounced on this opportunity to publicly act on the private agreement between the US and Israeli governments, which can be summed up in the catchphrase Free Israel, Fuck Palestine.

How big of an impact does the U.S. support for Israel’s’ illegal and immoral occupation have on our foreign policy?

Consider that even uber regressive Lee Hamilton, cherry picked by George Bush himself to co-chair the 9/11 Commission says that US support for Israel was a significant root cause for Al Qaeda’s hatred of the United States and the attacks on September 11, 2001.

So, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is significant to United States foreign policy—about as significant as the phrase “in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth” is to those people afflicted with the virus that causes them to subscribe to the farcical notion of creationism.

The Unites States currently spends more on our military that Europe, China, Russia, and Iran combined. We have 700 military bases around the world. We do this, in large part, to protect our citizens and our real estate from radical Islamist terror cells.

If this is true, and our support for Israel is a root cause for homicidally and suicidal inflamed Islamist, would it not be in our best interests to channel most of our pornographically obscene military budget to ensure Israel’s compliance with a peaceful two state solution?

Forget for a moment, arguments about right and wrong. All such arguments boil down to playing tug of war over a real estate document located in the Old Testament. And right and wrong, as has been demonstrated again and again in several hundred years history of the United States of America, have no place in our foreign policy decisions.

As the densely populated pieces of land currently known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank teeter on the brink of becoming densely populated graveyards, the only logical conclusion to draw from our unwavering support of Israel is that we want a destabilized middle east. We want radical Islamist terror cells preparing to attack US soil. This justifies and endless state of preemptive war, allowing the military to clear out last years models just in time for the military industrial complex to sell us newer, shinier, more efficient implements of destruction.

It allows the United States to continue the expansion she has been pursuing since the early days of Manifest Destiny, when the colonists were so bloated with hubris as to believe the were superior race, and thus morally justified in killing and raping Indians and Mexicans and replacing those nouns with Vietnamese, Communists, Iraqi’s, name your flavor of the month.

In this context it is easy to understand why the unofficial US foreign policy stance towards the middle east can be summed up in the phrase Free Israel, Fuck Palestine.

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Ralph Nader Was Right About Barack Obama

by Chris Hedges (this originally appeared on TruthDig) acronym ♦ march 2010


We owe Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney an apology. They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives.

Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised us that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), however, admitted last week that banks have reduced lending at the sharpest pace since 1942. As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the FISA Reform Act that retroactively made legal the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of the loathsome legislation. He told us he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the detention facility at Guantánamo, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus and create new jobs. None of this has happened.

He is shoving a health care bill down our throats that would give hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form of subsidies, and force millions of uninsured Americans to buy insurers’ defective products. These policies would come with ever-rising co-pays, deductibles and premiums and see most of the seriously ill left bankrupt and unable to afford medical care. Obama did nothing to halt the collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference, after promising meaningful environmental reform, and has left us at the mercy of corporations such as ExxonMobil. He empowers Israel’s brutal apartheid state. He has expanded the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where hundreds of civilians, including entire families, have been slaughtered by sophisticated weapons systems such as the Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of victims’ lungs. And he is delivering war and death to Yemen, Somalia and perhaps Iran.

The illegal wars and occupations, the largest transference of wealth upward in American history and the egregious assault on civil liberties, all begun under George W. Bush, raise only a flicker of tepid protest from liberals when propagated by the Democrats. Liberals, unlike the right wing, are emotionally disabled. They appear not to feel. The tea-party protesters, the myopic supporters of Sarah Palin, the veterans signing up for Oath Keepers and the myriad of armed patriot groups have swept into their ranks legions of disenfranchised workers, angry libertarians, John Birchers and many who, until now, were never politically active. They articulate a legitimate rage. Yet liberals continue to speak in the bloodless language of issues and policies, and leave emotion and anger to the protofascists. Take a look at the 3,000-word suicide note left by Joe Stack, who flew his Piper Cherokee last month into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, murdering an IRS worker and injuring dozens. He was not alone in his rage.

“Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?” Stack wrote. “Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political ‘representatives’ (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the ‘terrible health care problem’. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.”

The timidity of the left exposes its cowardice, lack of a moral compass and mounting political impotence. The left stands for nothing. The damage Obama and the Democrats have done is immense. But the damage liberals do the longer they beg Obama and the Democrats for a few scraps is worse. It is time to walk out on the Democrats. It is time to back alternative third-party candidates and grass-roots movements, no matter how marginal such support may be. If we do not take a stand soon we must prepare for the rise of a frightening protofascist movement, one that is already gaining huge ground among the permanently unemployed, a frightened middle class and frustrated low-wage workers. We are, even more than Glenn Beck or tea-party protesters, responsible for the gusts fanning the flames of right-wing revolt because we have failed to articulate a credible alternative.

A shift to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader, along with genuine grass-roots movements, will not be a quick fix. It will require years in the wilderness. We will again be told by the Democrats that the least-worse candidate they select for office is better than the Republican troll trotted out as an alternative. We will be bombarded with slick commercials about hope and change and spoken to in a cloying feel-your-pain language. We will be made afraid. But if we again acquiesce we will be reduced to sad and pathetic footnotes in our accelerating transformation from a democracy to a totalitarian corporate state. Isolation and ridicule—ask Nader or McKinney—is the cost of defying power, speaking truth and building movements. Anger at injustice, as Martin Luther King wrote, is the political expression of love. And it is vital that this anger become our own. We have historical precedents to fall back upon.

“Here in the United States, at the beginning of the twentieth century, before there was a Soviet Union to spoil it, you see, socialism had a good name,” the late historian and activist Howard Zinn said in a lecture a year ago at Binghamton University. “Millions of people in the United States read socialist newspapers. They elected socialist members of Congress and socialist members of state legislatures. You know, there were like fourteen socialist chapters in Oklahoma. Really. I mean, you know, socialism—who stood for socialism? Eugene Debs, Helen Keller, Emma Goldman, Clarence Darrow, Jack London, Upton Sinclair. Yeah, socialism had a good name. It needs to be restored.”

Social change does not come through voting. It is delivered through activism, organizing and mobilization that empower groups to confront the hegemony of the corporate state and the power elite. The longer socialism is identified with the corporatist policies of the Democratic Party, the longer we allow the right wing to tag Obama as a socialist, the more absurd and ineffectual we become. The right-wing mantra of “Obama the socialist,” repeated a few days ago to a room full of Georgia Republicans, by Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. speaker of the House, is discrediting socialism itself. Gingrich, who looks set to run for president, called Obama the “most radical president” the country had seen in decades. “By any standard of government control of the economy, he is a socialist,” Gingrich said. If only the critique were true.

The hypocrisy and ineptitude of the Democrats become, in the eyes of the wider public, the hypocrisy and ineptitude of the liberal class. We can continue to tie our own hands and bind our own feet or we can break free, endure the inevitable opprobrium, and fight back. This means refusing to support the Democrats. It means undertaking the laborious work of building a viable socialist movement. It is the only alternative left to save our embattled open society. We can begin by sending a message to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader. Let them know they are no longer alone.