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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,804

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Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians: “It’s Mostly Punishment”

Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians“It’s Mostly Punishment” (Breaking the Silence)

“There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. He drew on this general observation in order to justify Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s most recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip. In describing the situation this way, he assumes, like many others, that Gaza is a political entity external and independent of Israel. This is not so. It is true that Israel officially disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, withdrawing its ground troops and evacuating the Israeli settlements there. But despite the absence of a permanent ground presence, Israel has maintained a crushing control over Gaza from that moment until today.

The testimonies of Israeli army veterans expose the truth of that “disengagement.” Before Operation Pillar of Defense, after all, Israel launched Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds in 2006, and Hot Winter and Cast Lead in 2008 — all involving ground invasions. In one testimony, a veteran speaks of “a battalion operation” in Gaza that lasted for five months, where the soldiers were ordered to shoot “to draw out terrorists” so they “could kill a few.”

Israeli naval blockades stop Gazans from fishing, a main source of food in the Strip. Air blockades prevent freedom of movement. Israel does not allow building materials into the area, forbids exports to the West Bank and Israel, and (other than emergency humanitarian cases) prohibits movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It controls the Palestinian economy by periodically withholding import taxes. Its restrictions have impeded the expansion and upgrading of the Strip’s woeful sewage infrastructure, which could render life in Gaza untenable within a decade. The blocking of seawater desalination has turned the water supply into a health hazard. Israel has repeatedly demolished small power plants in Gaza, ensuring that the Strip would have to continue to rely on the Israeli electricity supply. Daily power shortages have been the norm for several years now. Israel’s presence is felt everywhere, militarily and otherwise.

By relying on factual misconceptions, political leaders, deliberately or not, conceal information that is critical to our understanding of events. Among the people best qualified to correct those misconceptions are the individuals who have been charged with executing a state’s policies — in this case, Israeli soldiers themselves, an authoritative source of information about their government’s actions. I am a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and I know that our first-hand experiences refute the assumption, accepted by many, including President Obama, that Gaza is an independent political entity that exists wholly outside Israel. If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we were stationed there? If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we control it? Oded Na’aman


The subsequent stories by these IDF vets paints an unheroic view of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and confirms my view that Israel views the Palestinians the way the 19th century US Government viewed Native American -- as vermin instead of as humans. If that makes me anti-Semitic, I call all the Israel-is-always-right mob racists and Israel and apartheid nation.

These stories also prove that Gandhi was right, that Israel could not maintain itself as a democracy and a Jewish state. That combination would lead to Israel becoming an oppressor.

Manti Te'o's decision to return to play his senior year at Notre Dame proves divine

Te'o's decision proves divine
Notre Dame star returns, leads Irish to 12-0 season, BCS title game, has chance to win Heisman
...Notre Dame was in the national title game, and this splendid night was all he came back for and more. Te'o left the field in buoyant, giant gallops, at a loss for any words that didn't emerge as screams.

"If there's anything I can say, the heavenly Father answers prayers in ways you don't know," Te'o said.

"And you may not see it at the time. At the time, it may seem like the odds of something happening are crazy. I've been an example that if you pray and actually listen and have faith, he will provide a way for you to do it. I'm grateful I was smart enough to listen."

Te'o came back for this, to lead Notre Dame one more time, and his team followed to 12 wins and no losses and a No. 1 ranking and a BCS title game berth on Jan. 7. What he could not have considered as even a possibility was the Heisman Trophy decision that arrives on Dec. 8 and, possibly, renders him a legend.


Weeks ago, as the Notre Dame community rallied around him after the death of his grandmother and girlfriend, he said he knew he made the right decision to return. He didn't know how right he was.

"Notre Dame should be at the top," Te'o said. "I'm just grateful to be part of that whole process."

Juan Cole: Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity

Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity

Israeli air strikes for the past 6 days have killed over 100 Palestinians in Gaza, many of them women and children; one strike deliberately targeted a media building that Israeli government knew to house journalists. Medics announced Monday that they are running out of key medicines (Gaza is under Israeli blockade). Military strikes are also interfering in the delivery of medical and other aid by international organizations in the Strip.

This Arabic-language report says that Israeli warplanes targeted the Jordanian field hospital late on Monday. I have not been able to find confirmation for this report, but if it is true, and deliberate, it would be a war crime.


Since small homemade rockets coming out of Gaza in 2012 had killed no Israelis before the Israeli Air Force started bombing the Gaza Strip last week, there is no doubt that Israel is engaged in a disproportionate use of force and a reckless disregard for the well-being of civilian non-combatants in its own occupied territory. Israeli army spokesmen claim they are precisely targeting only Hamas paramilitary personnel and blame Hamas for hiding among non-combatants. However, it is the Occupying power’s responsibility to do due diligence in ensuring the safety of the occupied population, and if Israeli pilots don’t have a clear shot at an enemy combatant, they simply should not take it.

These hostilities are deepening a longstanding crisis in Gaza health care that has resulted from deliberate Israeli policies.

A recent World Health Organization Report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current Israeli policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable. Israel as the occupying power since 1967 is directly responsible in international law for the well-being of its occupied populations, and is in severe violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of the occupied. Moreover, since Israeli policies of Apartheid, discrimination, exile, restriction of movement and infliction of harm on Palestinians in Gaza are long-standing, deliberate and systematic, Israeli leaders are guilty in this regard of crimes against humanity.

Gandhi told the Zionists who asked for his blessing for the creation of the state of Israel that Israel could not survive being both a democracy and a Jewish state. Looks like the Likud Party is proving Gandhi's point.
It's historically ironic that Israel is doing to the Palestinians what European Christians did to their ancestors-- regulate them to ghettos, like Gaza, and institute violent pogroms against the inhabitants of those ghettos from time to time.

In this same blog post, Juan Cole says,

Some 500 Egyptian activists, from the same youth groups that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011, brought food and medical aid to Gaza on Saturday. Egypt is keeping its Rafah checkpoint with Gaza open for the transport of wounded to El Arish Hospital.

It would be interesting to see how the United States, Israel, and the world will react if these activists unite with Palestinians in a Palestinian-Arab Spring movement.

Tomorrow will Biden bring up Ted Kennedy's description of Mitt Romney...

referring to the former MA Gov as "Multiple Choice" Mitt?

After all Joe personally knew Ted Kennedy when the latter was running against Romney for the US Senate. I think Kennedy's term for Romney fit's the Mittster more now than it did then.

It will be interesting to see what Biden's game plan is for tomorrow night's debate.
I think he will start out praising the accomplishments of the Obama Admin. That's what Obama failed to do, but looking at Biden's DNC Convention speech, I think he will pick up from there and emphasize their accomplishments for women and of course remind everyone that the Obama Admin killed bin Laden and saved GM. After that he'll needle Ryan over the Romney-Ryan elusive politicies.

What else do you think Biden will or should bring up or emphasize?

Excellent new ad by Elizabeth Warren's campaign...

She needs more ads like this pounding the message that a vote for Brown is a vote for GOP obstructionism, and she needs it said by other people, specifically Mass voters, besides herself.

Did Sen. Scot Brown just cut his political throat?

Could his all or nothing approach to the Bush tax cuts be his downfall?

Scott Brown: 'Crystal Clear' No On Saving Just Middle Class Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Warren's Senate campaign is pouncing on fresh statements by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) that he's a "crystal clear" vote against the Democrats' plan to preserve the Bush-era tax cuts just on income under $250,000.

Brown voted against the Senate Democrats' bill in July.

Brown has insisted he would vote only for extending the Bush tax cuts in their entirety, including those for the 2 percent of Americans earning more than $250,000. But Boston radio host Jim Braude still brought it up on Friday on his "Jim & Margery" radio show, asking if Brown would reconsider at the last second if saving the tax breaks, which expire at the end of the year, for the other 98 percent of Americans were the only option available. Brown reaffirmed his opposition in no uncertain terms.


The timing works well for the Warren campaign, as Brown's comments came on the same day that Warren is rolling out a new television ad featuring local boxing trainer Art Ramalho accusing Brown of being for the big corporations.

Let's hope so.

Melissa Harris-Perry spanks Rightwing Grima Wormtongue about what real risk is

I'm sure glad I have Tivo so that I could catch MHP's show today. The Grima Wormtongue in this show is Monica Mehta. Haven't seen her before, but talk about someone who lives in a bubble, and she's another example of a robotic right wing mouthpiece spreading idiotic and false memes who has no or very little facts to support her claims. She definitely has no compassion for human beings.

From a DailyKos diary on this subject...

Melissa Harris-Perry, putting risk into perspective
...Her panel included Monica Mehta, the apparent conservative defender, and they were talking about how Americans generally support welfare type programs until the term 'welfare' is used, and how it has been connected specifically with a false image of lazy and undeserving black folks. That piece of Republican BS was referenced by a book studying the issue, with data going back 20 years; yeah, basically Newt Gingrich in Congress-era BS, and it hasn't been forgotten.

It was when Monica Mehta defended the risk-taking of conservatives -- the rich investors, the business owners, the 'job creators' -- that MHP really let her have it. Melissa's point was that the risks taken by the rich, who enjoy multiple layers of protection, do not even compare to the risks taken by the poor who are just trying to not get shot in a bad neighborhood, who try to find a decent school for their kids. Considering the case of Mitt Romney in particular, whose company never seemed to risk or lose anything, I can understand why Melissa got pissed. How dare this conservative twit compare things like investments, often insured and bailed out by conservative governments, to the risk of getting shot and killed or the risk of getting no good education and no future?

Monica Mehta got spanked, rhetorically, and rightly so. Her nervous giggles after the fact said it all. Yeah, you came to the wrong place to talk to the wrong lady about risk.

Video: MHP--Nothing is Riskier than being poor

The Facts Behind The Dancing Horse [Rafalca]

The Facts Behind The Dancing Horse
Though I enjoy watching equestrian events, I don’t go out of my way to find them. It was a pleasant surprise this morning to find coverage of the individual dressage event on MSNBC. It also turned into one of those mornings when I wanted to take the entire American media to the woodshed for a good whipping.


When Mrs. Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it was recommended that she try dressage as a therapy. She went to trainer Jan Ebering for that purpose. Dressage involves a great deal of muscle control on the part of the rider. Commands are conveyed to the horse through minute pressures applied through the feet, calves and thighs of the rider, as well as tiny adjustments in the reins. It is a very good way to exercise fine motor control, as opposed to the gross motor exercise of most physical fitness programs. The event commentators used the term “remission” to describe Mrs. Romney’s condition, but a more accurate version might be that she has the form of MS called “benign” – the least damaging of the four forms and the one with the longest periods of stability between bouts of deterioration.


Mrs. Romney does not train Rafalca to compete or ride her in competition. Her riding of this or any other horse that Ebering trains was for her benefit, not the horse’s. Using a competition horse for therapy poses some risks to the horse. Competition training involves teaching the horse to respond properly to very slight commands. Allowing an amateur to ride the horse risks confusing it with clumsy commands. Where race horses peak before the age of four, dressage horses aren’t ready for competition until they are usually over 10 years old. The horses at the Olympics are between 14 and 19 years old. There is a point in dressage training where the only person who mounts that horse is the person who will ride it in competition. They must work as a flawless team to reach competition level.

The facts behind Ann Romney and the horse are not what the media has portrayed. Mrs. Romney did not use the horse for therapy, she used the expertise of Jan Ebering. She does not “own” the horse, she is a shareholder in the horse. Unlike racehorses, who have a long-shot potential of making back the investment, equestrian horses are money pits. Even the Olympic honorarium of $25,000 for a gold medalist doesn’t come close to the cost of keeping up the horse. From a business perspective, a dressage horse is a tax deduction, in Rafalca’s case, a $78,000 a year tax deduction on a quarter-share. It’s a net-loss investment, what the rest of us refer to as a “tax write-off.”


Woody Guthrie's 100th Birthday Anniversary

On July 14, 2012, is the anniversary of one of America's most famous folk singers, Woody Guthrie. There will be a music festival celebrating this man and his work by Arlo Guthrie & The Guthrie Family in Central Park, NYC.

Woody Guthrie 1912-2012

Hey, maybe OWS should be there singing "This Land is Your Land".

I hope it gets televised. I loved Woody's ballads and songs.

This Land is Your Land
Original 1944 lyrics
Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Other confirmed verses of the song...

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.

Woody has a variant that I heard Arlo sing on a album I have.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

The original manuscript also has the verses below:

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

I do think that this song should be the battle hymn against "rigged [free]" trade agreements, which allow multinational corporations to sue our governments -- federal, state, and local -- because of laws on the books that protect our rights and health but cut into corporate profits. Think of the "dolphin-safe" tuna label that led a Mexican tuna company to sue the USA because they use nets, which capture and kill dolphins along with tuna. There are a bunch more examples, and I'm sure Woody would be furiously singing against this attack on our laws that are designed to protect us and other life forms.

Romney Campaign Bus Circling, Honking At Obama Supporters

ConservativeRomney Campaign Bus Circling, Honking At Obama Supporters

Romney’s campaign bus — adorned with the words “Conservative. Businessman. Leader” today repeatedly honked at and took several laps around a group of Obama supporters before a campaign speech to be given by President Obama in Cleveland today, according to a tweet by CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

Romney even moved his speech up to precede Obama’s speech. Obama is set to address the event at 1:45 p.m. ET, while Romney moved his planned 1:50 p.m. speech up to 1:30 p.m., getting a head start on the president.

This isn’t the first time the Romney team has antagonized Obama campaign events. In Massachusetts last month, Romney supporters greeted Obama senior adviser David Axelrod at a campaign event by shouting and blowing bubbles at those in attendance.


Josh Marshall's advice...
Anger Management

Today is the day of the dueling mega-speeches on the presidential campaign trail. And reporters waiting around the venue of President Obama’s event were greeted by a Romney campaign bus circling the venue and volubly honking its horn, something you’d expect a rival wrestling team to do to disrupt the other team’s pep talk. On its face it seems somewhere between juvenile and just weird. But this is actually a core part of the Romney camp’s election strategy.

... A few weeks ago the Romney camp sent staffers to disrupt a press conference that Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod held in Boston to trash Romney. And that came just after the Romney camp darkly hinted that the Obama team had been conspiring to disrupt or block the event it held in front of the shuttered doors of Solyndra.

It all sounds kind of weird and erratic. But it’s not. Or at least it’s not accidental.

The Romney camp has made a straightforward calculation that it can make up with appeals to the conservative id the ground it can’t ever make up convincing anyone that Romney is really a right-wing ideologue.

...this is simply another illustration of the “bitch slap” politics which rumbles beneath so much of presidential politics... But the animus against President Obama isn’t just tied to his positions. There’s a deeply rooted sense on the right that Obama has been protected, coddled — that no one has really taken it to him in a down and dirty way. This is what’s behind the talk that he never got ‘vetted’ back in 2008. And if you remember back in the primary debates, there was a recurring theme of which contender was the guy who could really bring the full primal scream mojo to Obama at the debates. Not so much even which guy could beat Obama but which would have the cajones ... to hit him with the full socialist-African-terrorist-lovin’-debt-meister smackdown that would somehow just leave a shattered Obama grasping blindly for his teleprompter.

The Romney folks know that pretty much nobody — not the Republican base or really anyone else — is going to be convinced that the candidate is a down-the-line conservative. But he can appeal to them by playing the bad ass card, getting in Obama’s grill, disrespecting him. Not in highly public ways and not the candidate himself — that could be damaging. But in slightly out of the way ways, the sort of stuff that really committed political types do see.

In other words, expect to see a lot more of this. And in purely practical terms, if it can be segregated from the stuff the broad middle of the electorate sees, it’s smart politics.

As I said in another thread, some Obama supporters need to make some signs like, "Democrats, cleaning up Republican messes since 1933", "Obama, 4 More Years!" and "You're needed at a Romney event. He's missing his audience!" and do a Tienanmenn Square" in front of the Romney bus or surround the Romneybots and chant "Democrats, cleaning up Republican messes since 1933", "Obama, 4 More Years!"

What do you think?
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