The Joe Blow Report 2

Everything Is About Something Different

Even Brownshirts Step In It, Once In Awhile

leave a comment »

Tuluwa ROT

083014_TE_protect-and-serveIT’S TIME FOR EUREKA CITIZENS TO HAVE A ROLE POLICING THE POLICE

This is a timely issue that all Eurekans and residents of Humboldt County need to address. It’s interesting that the people at this blog were able to see this problem in this community and write about it, but cannot see just how big a pile of shit they stepped in themselves. They can condemn the Eureka Police Department, the Chief of Police and the City Council for gross “crimes against humanity,” BUT what they cannot see is what they ARE themselves – that, in their own way, they do and commit the same kinds of crimes. They need a Review Board to check and censure their own “criminal” conduct.

Sadly, their hypocrisy totally negates any credibility they might have. If you want proof of this observation just follow the comments.

Until people can learn to take responsibility for their own lives and what they do, Review Boards are nothing more than an empty panacea. If you want accountability, then you first must learn to actually STOP at all stop signs.  Problem is, I don’t expect anyone over at that blog to understand that…

–Joe

Eric Kirk’s Brilliant Act of Justification

leave a comment »

[UPDATE :: Sickness Incarnate]

 
 Below are a couple of following comments to the posting below – I just had to indulge. You just can’t get anymore disconnected than Eric Kirk is here. The pure outpouring of malevolent hatred for anyone that doesn’t submit to him, his right to judge, is astounding. This state of mind is where physical violence starts.

Yeh, well all I am trying to say is that at some point…we have to acknowledge that God (any and all of them) is not going to rescue us from ourselves.

Do we want to take responsibility at some point? If people really want to emulate this ‘godness’, with humility, peace and fairness – whats stopping them?

Could it be the endless character assassination, ridicule and bullying?

NAN – I should apologize. You’re mentally ill. You can’t help yourself. Get help!

And I get that you’re an expert because you took a Jewish studies survey course as a sophomore in college. And you watched Fiddler on the Roof. I get it. [Emphasis mine]


 
These kinds of Elitist Demigods are a threat to everyone. Something these mocker might take to heart:

Elisha Mocked
“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.” -2 Kings 2:23-25.


Dead Right and Still Alive – That’s my motto!

Don’t you just love it when you’re proven RIGHT?

In past blog comments I’ve had considerable to say about the Brownshirt movement that is strong and assertive at particular local blogs. These racist, bigoted hypocrites took great exception to me and my right to make observations on their blogs. When they got personal, I took exception. These people, for the most part, live in this community, work and play, where I live. If you can terrorize and commit blog murder, a form of censorship, lie, slander and commit further acts of hate, you are a threat to this community. Some of these blogs are nothing more than gossip-mongering hen houses, just spreading the hate and filthy lying accusations. It may seem like harmless opinionating, but cut across a lie or try defending your own personal integrity against and you suddenly are confronted with a pack of rabid dogs trying to rip out your throat. What these Brownshirt thugs don’t realize, and I’m primarily talking about those running blogs, is that what they dish out is what they receive as their reward.

That is why when I read Eric Kirk’s latest act of hysteria, I just had to point it out for everyone. When I objected to Kirk’s personal attack like this on me, he censored me from his blog. Here he is in his own filthy words:

August 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Eric Kirk

NAN, you are either deliberately dense or so fucking stupid it’s pathetic. No way am I going to waste any effort responding to that bullshit. It’s the most pathetic and vindictive crap you’ve written to date, and that’s really saying something.

The one that is “dense and so fucking stupid” is Eric Kirk. He is a classic example of the Elitist demi-gods in our society telling everyone else how to think, believe and act. Yet, they are totally clueless, as I’ve pointed out and substantiated many time in the past. So, for your enlightenment you can draw your own conclusions. Here is the comment he was referring to:

August 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Not A Native

Eric first asserts the following:
I do not endeavor to “characterize” Israeli society.

And then he proceeds to establish his relevance and bonafides precisely by characterizing in very narrow terms the few people with Jewish ancestry he’s encountered

“….having been immersed in socialist left wing politics all of my life which is very heavily Jewish influenced

my in-law Jewish family on the subject, including my wife’s communist grandmother,”

Though Israeli may be a very diverse lot, the Jews Eric whole expereince is with certainly aren’t but it supports the stereotype Eric wants to promulgate and reinforce, Jews are left wing. Eric is sickening because he truly believes the form of antisemitism that falsely characterizes Jews as being anarchists and revolutionaries.

But that’s not enough for Eric. The most damning form of antisemtism he’s yet divulged is to come:

But they[Israelis] are brought together by the fact that they are broadly hated in the west as “Zionists,” “Christ killers,” and in recent decades “infidels.”

And Eric can’t understand why a Jewish homeland in Germany was rejected

While Nazi antisemitism denied Jews humanity, Eric’s is more insidious. He denies Jews their religion. and declares them to be defined as the objects of others’ hatred. In that way, Eric promotes a recasting of Toynbeeism.

What truly unites Jews is devotion to their holy scripture. For the sake of that alone, many Jews have chosen death. The willingness to sacrifice for that, if absolutely necessary, is what perpetuates the Jewish nation. And other Jews have forsaken it, choosing to assimilate and pass on only shadows of a former heritage.

The disaffected, alienated, or disgruntled Jews are among the ones Eric encountered and has extrapolated onto all Jews and Israeli society. His ideas about Jews in general and Israelis in particular are just stereotypes from the political camp he takes in as whole cloth and denies Jews their Jewishness.

Just a few Israeli self reflections:

http://blogs.jpost.com/content/why-i-am-not-orthodox-or-secular

http://blogs.jpost.com/content/zionism-or-toynbeeism

http://www.think-israel.org/rosenberg.herzogtoynbeedebate.html

And to further demonstrate my “rightness” – my total justification for standing against these parasites:

August 29, 2014 at 6:36 am

Mitch

I’m standard-issue secular American Jew. The Jewish people I grew up with very definitely considered themselves “to be defined as the objects of others’ hatred.” Nearly to a one, we had no interest in scripture. We defined ourselves by our maintenance of various traditions associated with the religion, but nobody believed God was involved in the events the traditions celebrated. Matzoh is not belief.

August 29, 2014 at 7:12 am

Not A Native

Eric, an old layers expression: ‘When the facts are with you, pound the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the table’.

Your only response is table pounding. and cursing. Gee, how much critical thinking and deep understanding does that display? [Emphasis mine]

Mitch, your response exactly matches my points. “Standard secular American Jews”(its an absurd notion that a secular Jew is ‘standard’) aren’t a continuing line or predecessors for a future Jewish nation or Jewish State. You’re Toynbee’s poster child of why Jews shouldn’t exist today.

So, there you are. If you go to this comment (click on the date) and follow along, since writing this observation Eric has apologized with his usual hypocritical sarcasm and ridicule. An apology is not worth the words when you continue to justify your right to do what you did in the first place – keep right on attacking and terrorizing.

Kirk and his apologists totally delegitimized themselves.

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

August 29, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Fred’s Little Piece of Paradise

leave a comment »

082814_Paradise-RedwoodsWhen I read Fred’s latest – Fred and Marcy Sittin’ In a Tree… – and I thought about why I commented on his previous article (Why Repair Brick Chimneys?), it occurred to me why we are where we are in our Democracy. It would be nice to live in a utopian world, especially here on the North Coast. Good, decent, efficient, uncorrupt elected government representatives, just courts, police that protect and serve EVERYONE, an unpolluted bay and rivers, no homeless, no drugs and no bad effects of the decades-long criminal marijuana business. But, then that might be too boring for Paradise.

Thinking about how it is today in Eureka – Humboldt County actually – reminded me of how it was for my parents right after the war. My father was logging in Southern Humboldt, decided to buy a 40 acre piece of land that bordered a county road and build a home. So, he opened up a road to a place with a great view and began. No issues with connecting to the county road. Not long afterwards a PG&E truck pulled up, the driver wanted to know if my father wanted them to run a line to the house, a house he hadn’t even started building yet. Wouldn’t cost him a dime, all he had to do was set a pole for a meter box. Over a period of time my father, with some family and friends help built a beautiful home. He installed his own sewer system, water system and built a two car garage. Not one time that I can remember was he ever hassled by a county building inspector. He paid taxes on the home and property, so they must of signed off on the home at sometime. I don’t remember periodic inspections either. I know he often talked about making sure everything met building codes. Today that would be unthinkable. When I read Fred’s naivete I know why. The Planning Commission has become and institution unto itself.

The problem is that the more laws everyone is subject, not to mention the self-imposed laws the police subject everyone to, the more lawless everyone becomes. Then there are the so-called “good citizens,” like Fred setting standards for everyone with their brilliant opinions. They got their noses in everyone’s business. If they can’t tell you what to do they’ll tell you how to think and what to believe. No one ever grows up. And, so goes Paradise.

In my lifetime, paradise was for my mother’s and father’s generation. Growing up in those years, I can tell you, and you too Fred, IT WAS NOT BORING!

–Joe

Why I Love Living In Eureka

leave a comment »

082714_FreddieBoy

[Latest UPDATE] [UPDATE II - In his own words]

Why I love living in Eureka, CA.

Eureka is just full of these kinds of people – don’t you just love them? Given the opportunity they’ll tell you what brand of toilet paper you should use, if any. Read this and weep folks.


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2014

Why Repair Brick Chimneys?

This article in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat got me to thinking about something again. The article is about a kid in Napa that had a chimney fall on him during their earthquake of a few days ago. It nearly killed him. I had to wonder if his parents are going to rebuild that chimney?

Many people do. I’ve seen it here in Eureka many times. When an earthquake damaged our chimney back in the early ’90s, I tore it down. The part sticking above the roof, anyway. But I can think of two very large chimneys almost within sight of my house that were damaged and repaired. Now they have the potential to be damaged again or even collapse.

Make that three or more chimneys if you count the Arkley’s. Theirs were damaged back in the 2010(?) quake and they seemed to go to some effort and expense to rebuild them. I had to ask Cherie Arkley why they went through all that effort when they could have simply replaced the damaged sections above the roof with stovepipe. She just shook her head and almost glared at me. Some folks just like brick chimneys.

With that in mind, why are we still using traditional bricks for chimneys? I would think it wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a simulated brick made out of something akin to what they used for space shuttle tiles: super light, fireproof but durable. Make bricks out of something like that and I would think the hazards of earthquake vs. brick chimneys would pretty much be eliminated, yet you’d still have the brick appearance some insist upon.

I’m wouldn’t expect people to rush out and replace their brick chimneys with the phony ones, but on new construction and repairing earthquake damaged ones, seems a lightweight alternative would make perfect sense.

All right, entrepreneurs, let’s develop those artificial bricks.

Addendum: A fellow replying to my comment in the Press- Democrat advises me such artificial bricks are already being used, although I’m not sure they’re exactly what I was proposing.

 posted by Fred Mangels


[Update Wednesday, August 27, 2014]

Fred’s Comment Section produces some brilliant Fred-style homespun wit. (Or should I say, “worthless opinions”?):

Anonymous Anonymous said…

You, a non-1%er, dare question an Arkley? The nerve.

9:37 AM

 

Blogger Fred Mangels said…

Oh, stop it.

I just asked why they were going through all that hassle for a chimney that might well get damaged again. I think her glaring at me was just she felt stove pipe would be tacky. I don’t think so, but it’s their money to waste.

9:48 AM

[UPDATE II - In his own words :: Better Fred than me.]

Blogger Fred Mangels said…

I’m not sure what they used. I drove by there today to see if I could refresh my memory but couldn’t tell if it was real brick or that veneer stuff. Maybe someone hip to construction could tell?

I do know I mentioned to Cheri it seemed foolish to put up another brick chimney when it might just get damaged again. She replied that the way they were doing it, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Whatever. I still don’t think it would have looked any worse if they just replaced the chimneys with stove pipes, but maybe that’s because I’m a low class kind of guy. [Emphasis mine]

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

August 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Cornel West slams ‘counterfeit’ Obama’s presidency

leave a comment »

Re-printed from RT.

082614_Cornel-West

Published time: August 25, 2014 16:45

Cornel West, activist and professor at Union Theological Seminary, ripped Barack Obama’s “Wall Street presidency,” calling him another neoliberal “counterfeit” after posing as a progressive in his initial campaign for the White House in 2008.

“We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency,” West told Salon.com’s Thomas Frank.

“The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.”

Public intellectual West lamented Obama’s failure – or refusal – to attempt a revival of democratic principles at a time of “an empire in decline.”

“Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.”

West said at a time of deep need for solutions, for a change of culture in the gilded halls of Washington, Obama was another “opportunist.”

“It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”

Looking back, West said he believes Obama’s “motus operandi” has always consisted of seeking to placate the powers-that-be and to occupy the “middle ground,” even though he acted the part of a transcendent figure during his campaign 2008, the year that saw the beginning of the Great Recession.

“And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.”

West also chided US Attorney General Eric Holder for his cozy relationship with Wall Street.

“Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all.”

Looking back, West said he believes Obama’s “motus operandi” has always consisted of seeking to placate the powers-that-be and to occupy the “middle ground,” even though he acted the part of a transcendent figure during his campaign 2008, the year that saw the beginning of the Great Recession.

“And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.”

West also chided US Attorney General Eric Holder for his cozy relationship with Wall Street.

“Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all.”

West said Holder will likely step down by the end of the year, as he is “concerned about his legacy as if he’s somehow been swinging for black folk ever since he’s been in there. That’s a lie. He’s been silent, too. He’s been relatively silent. He’s made a couple of gestures in regards to the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex, but that’s just lately, on his way out. He was there for six years and didn’t do nothing.”

The post-Obama era will be “an America in post-traumatic depression,” West said, and the likely successor in the White House, “neo-liberal opportunist par excellence” Hillary Clinton, will be “much worse.”

“Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.”

Does Hamas Hate Peace?

leave a comment »

counterpunch02

 

 

[CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names » Does Hamas Hate Peace? ]

Does Hamas Hate Peace?

Ignore Them at Your Peril

by RON SMITH

Certainly, the consistent message of Western Media seems to suggest that this is the case. HAMAS represents the most popular wing of that Western bogeyman, Political Islam, in Palestine. It has been labeled by Western governments as a terrorist group, and is seen as an organization bent on the destruction of Israel. It is also a pragmatic organization that has captured a small majority of Palestinian support for its public refusal to accept the most heinous proposals offered by the Israeli occupation in the interminable peace process. There are no small numbers of Palestinians who bitterly oppose HAMAS’s policy domestically, but in this bloody summer of 2014, proffer their full support for HAMAS’s acts of resistance against the occupation and the siege in Gaza. Here, I hope to provide a critical analysis of the false pretense reproduced as Western media repeats phrases such as “HAMAS rejects Egypt’s cease fire proposal” and HAMAS “opposes terms for ceasefire”, and to explore the importance of HAMAS in the current political landscape.

I have made the siege of Gaza the focus of my research for the last 5 years, and have had the privilege of entering Gaza multiple times to see, first-hand, the effects of Israeli policy on the civilian population. What I have encountered could be considered nothing other than collective punishment, itself a crime against humanity. The strength of the resolve of HAMAS is that it draws upon the deep frustration Gazans have with Western-oriented FATAH leaders who excuse and accept the continued human rights catastrophe that is the Israeli siege.

It is easy to forget that HAMAS won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, largely the result of a protest vote against FATAH leadership who seemed disposed to negotiate Palestine into oblivion. FATAH insisted on using the terms of the 1993 Oslo interim agreement as a starting point with any negotiation with Israel, while Israel regularly violates the terms of these accords. The FATAH Palestinian Authority leadership is ossified, seen by many Gazans as trading the crumbs of VIP checkpoint passes for the politicians in the West Bank and access to international donors’ funds for any possible future peace with justice for the wrongs of the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. The terms of Oslo were themselves an absurd step backwards for Palestinian liberation, splitting the West Bank into 3 zones (Areas A, B, and C) and fragmenting potential areas of a future Palestinian state into isolated Bantustans. Gaza itself was completely isolated by Israel, and though the Oslo accords treat Gaza and the West Bank as inseparable, Israel has done all in its power to subvert this collective identity. In effect, the very notion of “facts on the ground” was reified by the FATAH leadership, further empowering Israeli intransigence and an unwillingness to negotiate in good faith.  The extent of this enabling was documented in the Palestine Papers, published by Al Jazeera, wherein PA negotiators allegedly went so far as to ask Israel to reoccupy the Philadelphi corridor along Gaza’s southern border in order to help topple HAMAS.

In contrast, HAMAS, once it came into power in the Gaza Strip followed another tack: HAMAS insisted that Israel honor UN resolution 242 that demands Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 boundaries, Israel must follow the norms of international law, and in return HAMAS would enforce a 99-year truce with Israel. The idea of this proposal is that while the parties to any current agreement are themselves the victims of countless atrocities, if a 99 year truce can be maintained, the progeny of the signatories would have no personal grudges, no personal experience of the pain of occupation, and would be willing to create a permanent solution. HAMAS has made this proposal numerous times, though these proposals are unsurprisingly missing from US media portrayals of the Islamist group.

To begin with the Oslo accords, and to accept further expansion of settlements and the ever greater limitation of Palestinian political aspirations was more than most Palestinians could accept. In the intervening years, Gazans suffered under the brutal regime of the Israeli siege, and many suffered from problematic policies put into place by the HAMAS government itself, which become more professionalized, bureaucratized, and seemed to be unable to settle on a coherent policy of resistance, the very reason they were voted into power in the first place. When I was most recently in Gaza, earlier this summer, I saw a population that was growing tired of HAMAS refusing to support popular positions, and one that spent the majority of its time quashing resistance and democratic movements among the youth and non-affiliated sectors of the population. This was a HAMAS that prevented groups from firing rockets into Israel and enforced the terms of ceasefire agreements with Israel, a far cry from the bastions of armed resistance that had made HAMAS a popular option in the elections. The HAMAS that signed on to the unity government was not in a position of strength, and as the West Bank PA leadership played games with the terms of the agreement, HAMAS struck back by closing the banks across Gaza, a move sure to further alienate it from a people already suffering from the artificial humanitarian crisis of the siege.

Once the Israeli attacks on Gaza began, it became clear that HAMAS was now in a struggle for its own existence, in addition to being the voice of the armed resistance in Gaza. Their popularity has skyrocketed since the invasion began, and they are seen once again as an alternative to the avarice and cowardice of Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership in the West Bank. All of this is in the context of the failure of Arab leaders across the Middle East to take meaningful stands against the occupation. Egypt, after the fall of Morsi, continues to actively aid the Israeli and international community’s enforcement of the siege, and to spread propaganda about the threat Gaza poses to the Egyptian homeland.

Israel has emphatically denied the targeting of civilians, and insists on the humanitarian nature of its operation. This claim, however, comes from the same military and civil organizations that for 2 years denied Gazans access to chickpeas for hummus, bath sponges, and unfertilized chicken eggs (GISHA). Instead, Israel has repeatedly targeted civilians and fundamental civilian infrastructure. This same infrastructure has been made all the more vulnerable by repeated Israeli invasions since 2000 and punitive siege measures that prevent the entry of materials that would allow vital repairs to keep the water flowing and the electricity running.

Many observers fail to understand the importance of this infrastructure. Gaza, as many have pointed out, includes refugee camps which are the most densely populated areas on earth. A lack of electricity is not an inconvenience, it is a calamity. All aspects of clean water provision require uninterrupted electric service, throughout the water chain. This includes the pumps at the wells, the reverse osmosis filters in the desalination plants, the distribution pumps, and even the small electrical pumps in the multistory apartment buildings in the camps, where water and electricity must be present at the same time in order to fill the rooftop tanks. The electricity supplies the refrigerators and the fans in the overcrowded rooms in the camps, often housing 15 people in two 3 by 3 meter rooms, in an area of high humidity and summer temperatures of up to 100 degrees. This same electric supply is all that keeps the lights and incubators on at the hospitals.

This is to say nothing of the sewage systems, again repeatedly targeted in this and all other Israeli bombing campaigns, which create sewage tsunamis, floods, and destruction of the marine ecosystem. This ecosystem sustains the few brave fishermen that return to the seas to face the violence of .50 caliber guns on the Israeli navy ships that patrol the ever decreasing fishing boundaries to augment the protein intake of Gazans and to promote the rich fish-based culinary culture.

Gazans are a resourceful group, by necessity. In the face of the international siege, Gazans moved underground, and created a tunnel economy that by some accounts included as many as 3000 tunnels. These tunnels were regulated by HAMAS, and the goods from the tunnels populated the markets, the convenience stores, and the home goods stores for the entire strip. These tunnels were dug by hand in the sandy soil along the Southern border, using hand-drawn maps. They represented a challenge to the international boundary, and were built in open defiance of the siege. Along with the products smuggled through the tunnels came the expected distortions of Gazan and Egyptian economies. Tunnel owners became relatively wealthy, while the workers were paid less and less as the tunnels became more common. Soon electrical goods flooded the market, from televisions to refrigerators to air conditioners, but what good were these items with no electricity to run them? In the end, this warren of tunnels under the border were ended by the US-supported Sisi regime, and flooded with sewage. The tunnels, for the most part, came to an end, and the largest source of employment disappeared. The economic impacts of the destruction of the tunnels were significant, as more and more Gazans became dependent on international food aid, reaching 80 percent of the population. Population densities in the camps actually increased, as young Gazan families were unable to afford rents on apartments, and moved back in with their extended families. This contributed to an increase in diseases such as scabies and lice, and a resurgence of mumps in the confined spaces of the camps.

Why is HAMAS so reluctant to accept a ceasefire? Because life before the invasion was intolerable. With the ascendence of Sisi to power in Egypt, Gazans are completely dependent on Israel, a hostile occupier, for all goods entering the strip, for electricity, for water, for safe passage. All the while, Israel denies its responsibilities under international law to maintain the wellbeing of the occupied population, and engages in wholesale transfer of populations, another violation of human rights. All the while, the world turns a blind eye to these violations, and Israel becomes ever more blatant in its disregard for common human decency. This is a scenario no country would accept.

It is important to ask at this time, why would HAMAS increase in popularity so dramatically, if, as Israeli and numerous US media pundits would have us believe, that they themselves are to blame for the massive civilian deaths throughout the Gaza Strip since the beginning of Operation “Protective Edge”? Herein lies the contradiction of collective punishment. Gaza’s siege has created unbearable hardship for Gazans throughout the strip, and across class, politics and geography. Gazans that I have met have been harsh critics of the HAMAS regime. Those critiques, by and large, have largely been focused on domestic policy, perceived local mismanagement and the lack of progress in bringing the siege to an end and softening the occupation. HAMAS’s support before the current invasion was far greater in the West Bank, where Palestinians suffer under Israeli colonialism and FATAH collaboration with the Israelis. In the end, this is the explanation for the significant expansion of public support for HAMAS in Gaza. They have come to represent resistance. Resistance in the context of the siege, of periodic invasions, the day to day humiliations and injustices, the lack of clean water, electricity, housing, and medical care, the constant firing on fishermen, farmers and rubble gatherers, is the embodiment for many of sumoud, the spirit of steadfastness that permeates popular Palestinian society. As one Gazan blogger recently posted, “People find it hard to understand, the youth, we hate Gaza, we only want to leave, but we love it and will fight for it. We will not be refugees again, it is our home.”

It is Israel that drops 1-ton bombs into overcrowded housing. It is Israel that attacks UN schools that it acknowledges are shelters. It is Israel that shuts off power and water supplies, and limits the entry of food through the Karm Abu Salem terminal. It is Israel that has killed 1900 Gazans, the overwhelming majority civilians. To blame Gazans or even HAMAS for this is unconscionable, and nonsensical. This was a war of choice, based on false premises. Ostensibly the original justification was the abduction of three teenagers on the West Bank, which all, even Israel, now acknowledges, was not the act of HAMAS. Israel has created and taken advantage of an opportunity to attempt to destroy HAMAS and to try to crush Palestinian resistance through bombs, bullets, and missiles. It will fail, but at an unacceptable human cost. With each Gazan child killed, the pain of international culpability in the siege and the invasion is further exacerbated.

HAMAS’s rocket fire and tunnel strategy, as impotent as it may very well appear, may be the only thing preventing a shift to genuine terrorism. The repeated calls in the US congress to denounce HAMAS activities as human rights violations are intolerable hypocrisy in the face of one of the most advanced militaries on the planet deliberately targeting civilians, their homes, and their infrastructure. Israel does this knowing that unless its siege is lifted, it will be almost impossible to rebuild. HAMAS is not the ideal, neither for Gazans, the West or for Israel. They are, however, a group which carries the support of large sectors of the population, and the democratically-elected leaders of Palestine. This is something Israelis, and the West need to fully comprehend: HAMAS is your partner for peace and for negotiations. Ignore them, or attempt to destroy them at your own peril. It is the very violations of international humanitarian law, the wanton destruction of civilians and UN hospitals, clinics, and schools, and the unwillingness of the world powers to condemn these actions, that makes violent armed resistance, including that aimed at civilian targets, an attractive option to a population that has been deserted by the world. Peace is not a ceasefire. For these reasons, alternatives to violence must be pursued. The most promising of these non-violent forms of resistance is the global grassroots solidarity movement encapsulated in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.  BDS is not only practicable, it is also gaining more and more traction in light of the intransigence and complicity of the West in the violations of decency, humanity, and human rights law.

Ron Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Bucknell University.

This article originally appeared in Logos.


–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

August 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm

The American Way

leave a comment »

Another Murderous Milestone: 60 Years of Carnage

WRITTEN BY CHRIS FLOYD
SATURDAY, 28 JUNE 2014 16:15

 

This month, the world has marked significant historical milestones: the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing (and unmarked, except in Russia, the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s Operation Bagration, the largest battle in world history, in which the Soviets broke the back of the Nazi army); and the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the spark that led to the First World War.

But this week saw the anniversary of another major turning point in modern history, a campaign that became — and remains — the enduring template of foreign policy for the world’s most powerful nation. We speak, of course, of the 60th anniversary of Washington’s “regime change” operation in Guatemala, overthrowing a democratically elected government.

It was not the first such American “intervention,” of course (and was preceded in the previous year by a more indirect role in overthrowing democracy in Iran), but it set in train more than six decades of violent attacks on democracy by the “leader of the free world.” (A fine tradition carried on by Barack Obama in Honduras.) In fact, a hatred of democracy — a genuine, visceral revulsion at the idea of people choosing their own leaders and their own form of society — has been a driving force in American foreign policy for generations. Democracy and freedom are only allowed if they lead to outcomes that advance whatever the agenda of the American elite happens to be at any given time. They hate democracy abroad; they hate it at home; they hate it everywhere, all the time. The historical record is remarkably consistent on this point.

The Guatemala regime change was noted at the London Review of Books, however, in a piece by John Perry. Below are some excerpts:

Over ten days in June 1954, a decade after the D-Day landings, the CIA sent twelve planes to drop bombs and propaganda on towns in Guatemala in support of a coup against the elected government of Jácobo Arbenz …. …

In the last raid on 27 June, the SS Springfjord, a British merchant ship that had survived capture by the Nazis in 1940, was attacked in the port of San Jose. It was alleged to be unloading arms. After a warning pass – the ship’s captain gave the pilot a friendly wave – a 500lb bomb was dropped down its chimney. It turned out to be loading coffee and cotton.

Guatemala was one of the first countries in the region to emerge from military dictatorship. Arbenz was the second democratic president, elected in 1951 with 65 per cent of the vote. A strongly nationalist military officer, he was convinced that the central problem in a mainly agricultural country was land: 70 per cent of it in the hands of only 2 per cent of the population, of which only a quarter was being cultivated. In 1953 he decreed the takeover of more than 200,000 acres of unused land belonging to the United Fruit Company. The company responded with a propaganda campaign to convince Eisenhower not to be ‘soft on communism’.

It worked. Arbenz, realising that a coup was being plotted, bought a secret shipment of arms from Czechoslovakia. Uncovered by the CIA, this enabled Eisenhower to warn of a possible ‘communist dictatorship’ and support Arbenz’s rival, Carlos Castillo Armas. His insurgents invaded on 18 June, but failed to take control of the towns they targeted. The coup could easily have been a flop. But the CIA raids that culminated in the bombing of the Springfjord unnerved the Guatemalan army command, who withdrew their support from Arbenz. By the evening of 27 June he’d resigned.

Within a month, military dictatorship had resumed under Castillo Armas, with a new government recognised by Eisenhower. After a visit in 1955, Vice-President Nixon said that Guatemala was the ‘first instance in history where a communist government has been replaced by a free one’. US-backed military regimes ruled until 1996. By then some 200,000 people had died in civil war, most at the hands of government forces.

Our 21st century intervention in Iraq has killed far more people much more quickly, of course. But as we gear up for yet another round of slaughter in the country we have recently demolished, it’s good to be reminded that none of this is new or unusual; it is, very simply — and quite horribly — the way the bipartisan American elite do business. Violence is their profession, their religion, their guiding light. They use violence to advance their agenda, then use more violence to deal with the inevitable horrific consequences spawned by their violence, on and on in an endless cycle.


–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

June 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 58 other followers

%d bloggers like this: