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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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FISK: What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?

Robert Fisk points out two layers of irony in the US government reaction to Israel's attack on Gaza, but there's another one:

Washington just made a big stink about satellite photos that MIGHT show Russia firing rockets into Ukraine, whereas Israel's attack, over what was originally a murder investigation that the Israelis themselves now say was not done by Hamas, is quite a bit easier to detect.

Our politicians are lucky the Israelis don't teach their detective methods to the DC police for those occasions when they can't catch the pol responsible for the death of an intern or rentboy.

And there’s something very odd, isn’t there, about our reactions to these two outrageous death tolls. In Gaza, we plead for a ceasefire but let them bury their dead in the sweltering slums of Gaza and cannot even open a humanitarian route for the wounded. For the passengers on MH17, we demand – immediately – proper burial and care for the relatives of the dead. We curse those who left bodies lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine – as many bodies have been lying, for a shorter time, perhaps, but under an equally oven-like sky, in Gaza.

Because – and this has been creeping up on me for years – we don’t care so much about the Palestinians, do we? We care neither about Israeli culpability, which is far greater because of the larger number of civilians the Israeli army has killed. Nor, for that matter, Hamas’s capability. Of course, God forbid that the figures should have been the other way round. If 800 Israelis had died and only 35 Palestinians, I think I know our reaction.

We would call it – rightly – a slaughter, an atrocity, a crime for which the killers must be made accountable. Yes, Hamas should be made accountable, too. But why is it that the only criminals we are searching for today are the men who fired one – perhaps two – missiles at an airliner over Ukraine?


From the massacre of Arab villagers by Israel’s new army in 1948, as it is set down by Israeli historians, to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, when Lebanese Christian allies of Israel murdered up to 1,700 people in 1982 while Israeli troops watched; from the Qana massacre of Lebanese Arabs at the UN base – yes, the UN again – in 1996, to another, smaller terrible killing at Qana (again) 10 years later. And so to the mass killing of civilians in the 2008-9 Gaza war. And after Sabra and Shatila, there were inquiries, and after Qana there was an inquiry and after Gaza in 2008-9, there was an inquiry...


Just a couple more paragraphs after that, but well worth the read.

One graphic could shut up GOP "impeach Obama" talk

As far as I know, only one poll about impeaching Bush got national attention in the mainstream media (the Wall Street Journal), asking about it in relation to Iraq War lies.

Needless to say, at the time there was near ZERO discussion of this in the mainstream media, but impeaching Bush was almost TWICE as popular as impeaching Bill Clinton, whose impeachment was getting 24/7 coverage at its peak.

Bush's numbers were within spitting distance of Nixon's when he resigned.

Imagine what Bush's impeachment numbers would have been like if the press and Democrats in Congress took the same approach to 9/11 that the GOP has to Benghazi instead of letting Bushies stampede them into "now is not the time to place blame."

NY TIMES: Israel bombs building where it urged Palestinians to take shelter

On Monday night, a strike hit an eight-story apartment building in downtown Gaza City — an area where Israeli officials had urged Gazans to take shelter. The building collapsed as rescue crews were inside, killing more people. The death toll, at least 13, was still being tallied.

Speaking in general, a senior Israeli military official said in a recent interview that not all civilian casualties come from strikes going astray; some take place when civilians are in places the military aims to hit.

“Not all the casualties are due to mistakes,” he said. “If Hamas are holding people inside the apartments while shooting from there, that’s one of the tragedies they are making.”

That did not appear to be the situation at the Abu Jameh home, where, survivors said, the family was gathered to break its daily Ramadan fast, a ceremonial meal, a time when Israeli military officials would have known that people were likely to be home.


BBC Arabic reporter attacked on air outside Gaza & shots fired into Al Jazeera office

I can't get details of the Al Jazeera part in and meet the four par. limit.

This sounds a lot like the Bush approach to media in Iraq: if you can't control them, it's open season.

Reporter Feras Khatib, who was wearing a protective vest that indicated he was a member of the press, was shoved midway through his report, apparently by an Israeli, according to BBC Arabic. The attacker was quickly shoved away from Khatib by an unidentified man in a "PRESS" vest.

In an e-mail, a BBC Arabic spokesman said the attack took place during a live report in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Khatib "was manhandled by an angry Israeli," the statement said, adding: "Feras was unharmed and will continue reporting as normal." The spokesman said the attacker "left immediately after the incident."


The incident came a day after Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said he wants to ban Al Jazeera from reporting in Israel, according to Haaretz. Lieberman on Monday called the network a "branch of a terrorist organization."

In a statement, Al Jazeera said: "The foreign minister's comments were a direct threat against us and appear to have been taken as a green light for the targeting of our journalists in Gaza. We hold the Israeli authorities fully responsible. They have put the lives of journalists in danger."


How Democrats could shut out Republicans in 2014 election

Democrats have let this charade of Republican obstruction go on long enough--the public gets it.

To underline the point, Democrats in the Senate could do away with the filibuster, pass some big legislation that would be popular across the political spectrum, and then Obama could say, "Give me the House of Representatives, and I'll sign these bills when they get to my desk."

Democrats have done a good job of letting Republicans prove they're batshit crazy, but now they have to prove they will actually go to bat for the American, and not just incrementally lick around the edges.

One thing I admired about the Bushies is they went to the mat for their bad policies, right up to and often past what they could do constitutionally to get their agenda through.

And they did that for shitty, destructive ideas.

Democrats in Congress will suggest something good, and as soon as Republicans furrow their brow or start to clear their throat, the Dems say, "Nevermind!" and run away.

Republican obstruction might cost the GOP votes, but it won't get people to the polls to vote for Democrats.

That has to be earned.

Us & Them in Israel & Palestine

Americans seem to have an affinity for Israel because so many of them used to Americans and frankly because World War II and the Holocaust made most of us embarrassed about our own anti-Semitism and rightly embrace the Jews among us as us.

Arabs and Muslims seem a little more foreign--our religious and cultural traditions are not as obviously shaped by them as they are by Jews and Judaism, and we haven't had a Holocaust-like collective realization that we have wrongly scapegoated and excluded them, but some of us have met enough of them to feel like they are part of us and no longer a "them." Some people with better imaginations than me might have felt that all along.

When I look at the stuff going on in Gaza and the West Bank, I don't see my brother defending himself from the monstrous other.

I see my brother killing my other brother to take the little he has left after previously taking most of his stuff.

Our government should be dealing with Israel and Palestine on that basis, but seeing both not as brothers but as sons, especially since the one doing the killing couldn't do it without his allowance and gifts from us.

Should the downing of this airliner have any long term effect on our relationship with Russia?

I can't see any advantage for Russia or the Ukrainian rebels (or for Ukraine for that matter) in intentionally downing that airliner.

Russia in particular knows that the NATO and the US are already in high dudgeon and waiting for an excuse to isolate them further, and I refuse to believe that Putin is a retarded action movie villain, who is on a suicide mission to earn an invasion or assassination by the West as the right convinced us Saddam Hussein was.

Like the case for the Iraq War, I fear that the right questions aren't being asked and the deck is being stacked toward escalation.

Should this incident be a cause for escalating hostility toward Russia as the right wingers and neocons seem to want?

This poll is NOT necessarily a criticism of Obama's handling of this since he has shown some restraint and discretion so far.

CONGRESSMAN: public needs to see classified pages of 9/11 report before we do more in Middle East


REPUBLICAN: public needs to see classified pages of 9/11 report before we do more in Middle East

Two Republicans and a Democratic representative in Congress got to see the classified section of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 report. I remember reading an earlier article on this, and the Republican said he was "shaken" by what he saw.

I emphasize the Republican involvement in this because you would expect them to be rah-rah for war and knee-jerk support whatever Bush did, especially in the "War on Terror."

It's hard to disagree with what this guy says: Americans need to know this crucial missing piece of what happened on 9/11 or we can't give informed consent to our government's foreign policy in the Middle East or anywhere else.

In March Benswann.com reported that Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), along with families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, urged the president to declassify 28 pages from the 9/11 congressional investigation report, providing more information to the general public.

“Before we involve ourselves in #Iraq, Congressmen and their constituents need to know more about the events leading up to 9/11. Understanding what enabled this tragedy to occur is fundamental to drafting a strategy for the Middle East.

That’s why I joined families of 9/11 victims and Congressman Walter Jones and Congressman Stephen Lynch at a press conference to promote the release of 28 classified pages from an official 9/11 report. Based on my reading of the documents, I am confident that making these 28 pages public would not damage our national security.”

During a press conference Rep Massie said, “As I read it, and we all had our own experience, I had to stop every couple of pages and just sort of try to absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to re-think everything. I think the whole country needs to go through that.”


Letter to Think Progress on Education Reform

I appreciate your website's coverage of many progressive issues though I'm curious why you leave out the on-going corporate take over of public education, which has a handful of foundations, hedge fund managers, and for-profit corporations dictating our nation's education policy in a way that increases their profit and often hurts kids (like the mass school closings in Chicago, spending scarce funds on schoolwide iPads required for new standardized testing, or giving taxpayer money to charter schools that are less accountable than regular public schools).

Shouldn't education policy be determined by teachers, education academics, and parents whose kids actually go to public schools rather than wealthy people looking to divert our tax dollars into their pockets?

A lot of people care about this topic, and it would certainly bring more readers to your site.

I look forward to your response.
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