Archive for the ‘Truth, Rights, Justice’ Category
Sometimes we are blessed with a glimmer of real hope by the presence of real human beings, sometimes young and sometimes old. Who talks about “A Commitment to Truth” today in this world of liars? In fact, who commits to truth even if they have the wherewithal to seek it?
“A Commitment to Truth Requires a Commitment to Social Justice”
John Legend: “From the war in Iraq to credit-default swaps to the internet bubble to the real estate bubble, too often we got caught up in the hype and fail to see the real truth…Too often, we become apathetic. We see the lies, we see the obfuscation, the deception. And we fail to point it out. We’re afraid to rain on the parade, afraid to rock the boat, afraid to pursue the truth.”
Here he is speaking to graduating university students:
[You Tube Link to hear him live]
JOHN LEGEND: When I walked onto this campus, I felt like I had traveled to another world, a world that was bigger, busier and, yes, more challenging than the one I was leaving behind.
Before coming to Penn, like they said, I grew up in Springfield, Ohio, and much of my education had come from my parents, my Christian elementary school and the Pentecostal Church we attended on a regular basis.
With my grandmother by my side, I learned to play gospel piano, and I absolutely loved singing in the church choir. So, as you might imagine, I heard a lot of sermons. A lot of sermons. Some of them were rousing and inspiring. Some were the perfect cure for insomnia. And almost all of them were very, very long. I’m going to try not to do that today. Sometimes I just wanted them to wake me up when it was time for me to sing.
But it gave me a sense—it gave me a strong sense of morality, a belief that there was a right and there was a wrong. It gave me a sense that there were two sides to this journey we call life. Good versus evil. Dark versus light. Heaven versus Hell. You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists. Clear choices. Perfect opposites.
Like many people, I found comfort in that clarity. There’s a certain confidence that comes with being sure about the way the world works. It’s all written in an infallible book, and there’s nothing left to discuss. Mission accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re interested in an objective observation on Israel and the United States’ true objectives for the Middle East, read NOAM CHOMSKY’s latest on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and what he sees coming up.
Well, Benjamin Netanyahu is on the—you can’t say on the far right anymore, because the country has moved so far to the right that he’s almost centrist. To the far right is his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who has made his first pronouncement yesterday. He said that Israel has no responsibilities for any previous commitments, not the Annapolis commitment to eventually form some sort of Palestinian state, unclear what, only to the road map. Now, that’s what was reported yesterday in the press.
Now, what’s Israel’s commitment to the road map? He knows very well. The road map is the famous decision of the Quartet—US, Europe, Russia and the United Nations. A couple years ago, it sort of laid out vague plans for what ought to be done. It’s worth looking at them. But put that aside, because really it doesn’t matter, because as soon as the road map came out, Israel formally accepted it and instantly added fourteen reservations, which completely eviscerated it. One of the contributions of Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel-Palestine was that he was the first, I think, to give public attention to the Israeli reservations. They’re in an appendix to his book, bitterly condemned book, but nobody ever mentioned the one major contribution.
In effect, Israel said, “We’ll sign the road map, but we’re not going to observe it, because here’s the conditions.” So, for example, the condition—one condition is that nothing can happen until the Palestinians end, of course, all violence, but also all incitement, so anything critical of Israel. On the other hand, it added, nothing can stop Israel from carrying out violence and incitement. It was explicit, approximately those words. And so it continues. There can be no discussion of the existence of settlements, in fact, no discussion of anything that matters. That’s the road map. Now, the US supported that. That means both the US and Israel reject the road map. And Lieberman’s statement yesterday is, well, that’s our only commitment. You know, if we had a functioning media, those would be the headlines.
And there’s much more to this. You know, President Obama appointed a Middle East emissary, George Mitchell, who’s a reasonable choice if he’s allowed to do anything. So far, he’s only allowed to listen to almost everyone, not everyone. For example, he’s not allowed to listen to the elected government in Palestine, the Hamas-led government. Well, it would be hard to listen to them, because half of them are in Israeli prisons, but nevertheless, you know, they have voices. For example, they’ve supported the call for a two-state settlement that the United States and Israel have rejected. So they’ve joined the world on that.
But why are we not allowed to listen to Hamas? Well, because they don’t meet three conditions that were established. One is, they have to accept the road map, which we and Israel reject, but they have to accept it, otherwise we can’t allow them into the civilized world. The other is, they have to renounce violence. Well, we don’t have to discuss the question whether the United States and Israel renounce violence, so we can put that aside. Third, they have to recognize Israel, but, of course, we don’t have to recognize Palestine, nor does Israel. So they have to meet three conditions that we don’t meet and that Israel doesn’t meet. But again, that passes without comment.
Regarding President Obama role right now:
He should join the world. There has been an overwhelming international consensus for over thirty years. It was made explicit in January 1976, when the Arab states brought a resolution to the Security Council calling for the establishment of two states on the international border, which indeed the international border, up until then, was recognized by the United States. It means the pre-June ’67 border. And official US terminology, when it was still part of the world in the late ’60s, was “with minor and mutual modifications,” so maybe straighten out some curves. Almost the entire world agrees with this. It has been blocked by the United States. The United States vetoed that resolution. It vetoed a similar one in 1980. I won’t run through the record, but it’s essentially the same up ’til now.
So what President Obama should do is, in fact, what President Clinton did in the last few weeks of his administration. It’s important to recognize what happened then. There were negotiations in Camp David in the summer of 2000, which collapsed. Clinton blamed Arafat, the head of the Palestinian delegation, for the breakdown, but he backed off of that pretty quickly. By December, he formerly recognized that the US-Israeli proposals at Camp David could not be accepted by any Palestinian, and he presented what he called his parameters, somewhat vague but more forthcoming. He then made a speech, an important speech, in which he said both sides have accepted the parameters, both sides have expressed reservations. Well, they met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001, both sides, to iron out the reservations, and they came very close to an agreement, which was very close to the international consensus.
What he thinks about the “two-state” solution:
Nobody supports—I mean, you can talk about a one-state solution, if you want. I think a better solution is a no-state solution. But this is pie in the sky. If you’re really in favor of a one-state solution, which in fact I’ve been all my life—accept a bi-national state, not one state—you have to give a path to get from here to there. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Now, the only path anyone has ever proposed —— is through two states as the first stage.
So, there you have it. There’s no peace in the Middle East because Israel and the United States refuse to recognize the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to exist.
The Story – The New Yorker
Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects?
by Jane Mayer – February 23, 2009
Her comment on Democracy Now about President Obama’s reluctance to prosecute and uphold the law. Read the whole interview with her and Glenn Greenwald.
This whole setup during the Bush years was a criminal situation, where you’ve got our government working with other governments doing things that were war crimes and violations of all kinds of rights. And the question for the Obama administration is whether they’re going to treat these things as criminal, or are they going to—they’re on the spot—are they going to cover them up? Right now, they’re trying to move forward and not get bogged down in what they see as something that’s divisive, politically poisonous, you know, a political problem for them.
I think it’s going to turn out to be a mistake for them to do this. I think they’ve—because these questions are going to keep popping up again and again.
War Crimes and American Exceptionalism
by Glenn Greenwald in Salon written February 19, 2009
It cannot be emphasized enough that those who are arguing against criminal investigations for Bush officials are — whether consciously or implicitly — arguing that the U.S., alone in the world, is exempt from the laws and principles which we’ve been advocating and imposing on other countries for decades. There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we’ve long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.
It’s just as simple as that: one must embrace both of those premises in order to argue for a bar against criminal investigations. And that’s particularly true for those who argue that Bush officials should not be held liable for what they did either because (a) DOJ lawyers said it was legal and/or (b) Congress provided retroactive immunity to the torturers. As documented below, those are two of the most common and most universally discredited excuses in Western justice.
That fact may not lead anyone to change their minds about investigations and prosecutions, but those who are arguing for immunity for Bush officials ought to at least be honest and admit that they don’t care about our treaty obligations and the principles we spent decades advocating for others because those rules — for whatever reasons (e.g., we’re special; we have too many other important things to do; we’re the strongest and so nobody can make us do anything) — don’t apply to us. Those who oppose criminal investigations and prosecutions should acknowledge that this is what they believe (or at least are willing implicitly to embrace). Why pretend otherwise?
You can read why the arguments for no prosecutions are really just more poison for America. It’s rather compelling. The Democrat’s (and other collaborators’) gutless worrying about their political appearance are on the brink of doing exactly what the so-called terrorist’s want. A Constitutional America ceases to exist when the “government” can imprison someone – anyone without charge indefinitely on a mere unsubstantiated accusation. The so-called terrorist did not need to attack America, the had George Bush and all his gutless Democrats doing it for him.
If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.
As Israel blocks aid ships from reaching Gaza, dock workers in South Africa are refusing to unload Israeli goods at their ports. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union says it will no longer unload Israeli ships in solidarity with Palestinians. Last year, South African dock workers refused to unload a Zimbabwe weapons shipment in protest of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
At the State Department Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated the Obama administration commitment to follow the Bush administration policy of boycotting Hamas.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “I would only add that our conditions respecting Hamas are very clear. We will not, in any way, negotiate with or recognize Hamas until they renounce violence, recognize Israel and agree to abide by, as the Foreign Minister said, the prior agreements entered into by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.”
The US position has been criticized in part because it refuses to impose the same conditions on Israel. Israel refuses to renounce violence, recognize a Palestinian state and abide by agreements, including a pledge to freeze settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. [Source]
If you really want peace, then you do the works of peace. You practice what you preach.
If you are a war-mongering criminal, not to mention a liar and a hypocrite, then so be it. If you enable and support such people, then you share their crimes. If you are one of these aberations and my neighbor, expect my boycott.
I was greeted by an above-the-fold Saturday, January 31, 2009 Times-Standard picture of some guy grinning like a Cheshire cat that just ate the canary, under the headline: “Fighting for Hearts and Minds.”
The question I ask is: Whose “hearts and minds?”
Underneath that picture it says, The fight for Baghdad, and Deputy District Attorney Allen Dollison’s role in it.” The T/S reporter Thadeus Greenson makes it sound like this guy’s a rather important “know-it-all” authority. Read the article and that is exactly what he is made to sound like. He rolls out the propaganda like any brain-washed good soldier should. He makes all the “good” excuses ala George W. Bush et al. justifying why no one is at fault for anything, certainly not any of our good and virtuous fighting men and women. Listening to him you’d think we won the war, justified the rape and everything is just peachy in the world. We can rape and butcher another country on lies and at will and it isn’t going to cost us a thing. Well, the few thousand killed and injured compared to the tens of thousands of Iraqi people is a small price to pay just to make a point. Oh, yeah the point, “If you’re not with us, you’re agin us.”
…and this guy is a DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY?
President’s first interview since taking office
Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Q: President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, “war on terror,” and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people — Islamic fascism. You’ve always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators. And is this one way of —
THE PRESIDENT: I think that you’re making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations — whether Muslim or any other faith in the past — that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.
And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in
distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda — that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it — and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.
But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship.
These are President Barack Obama’s words recorded in his interview with Al Arabbiya News Channel.
Obama warned Hamas fighters, who seized control of Gaza in 2007, that they must halt rocket fire on southern Israel and that Washington would continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.
“For years Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people,” Obama said.
“To be a genuine party to peace … Hamas must meet clear conditions, recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and abide by past agreements.”
“To be a genuine party to peace …”or the prerequisite conditions laid down by the aggressor requires the victim to “recognize the legitimate right to exist, renounce violence and abide by past agreements.”
Failure to meet these standards or prerequisites by either side would mean that side is NOT a “genuine party to peace.” Barack Obama says he “cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.”
Who is killing innocent civilians, mostly children? Anyone see the rank hypocrisy here? The Zionist Jews for 60 years refuse to recognize the Palestinian peoples legitimate right to exist, to renounce violence against the civilian population or keep any agreement. Yet that is what Barack Obama demands. That isn’t making peace. That is forced SURRENDER AND RAPE!
It should be noted that what Israel did to the Palestinians in this latest assault shoves Gaza right up America’s derriere.
Addendum :: Wednesday, Jan. 28 2009
The United States and Israel conspire with their Palestine collaborators to justify more assaults on Gaza. Reuters’ latest, Israel strikes in Gaza as Obama envoy holds talks says in part:
Moments earlier, a militant group with links to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement claimed responsibility for firing a rocket at southern Israel late on Wednesday.
Israel has said it will hold Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for all attacks launched from the coastal territory, and had warned of a stronger response to the killing of a soldier on Tuesday in an explosion by a Gaza border fence.
Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday and will meet Abbas on Thursday.
Western diplomats said Mitchell would not meet Hamas, a group shunned by the U.S. and Europe for it refusal to recognize Israel.
Refusing to recognize the duly and legally elected Hamas government is a refusal to recognize the Palestinian people. Obama is no peace partner.
This is what it all leads to and why: Breaking News: SE Asia Groups Claim to Plan Retaliation for Gaza Killings. Said to Target Israeli Government, Intel in Bangkok, Manila, Singapore. By Allan Nairn
The sources for this report, themselves religious Muslims, say they condemn the groups’ tactics but share their anger at Israeli forces’ repeated killings of civilians.
It is not clear if the planning talk is just bravado, or if it’s true they’ll just target combatants, since — like their Israeli and US counterparts — these groups have repeatedly shown their willingness to kill many civilians to make a point. (Islamist terror leaders like Bin Laden and Abu Bakar Baasyir frequently state this openly; for a rare, frank statement of near-identical Western pro-terror thinking see Thomas L. Friedman, who writes approvingly that in Gaza, Israel was “trying to ‘educate’ Hamas” by attacking not just Hamas combatants but also by “inflicting” “heavy pain on the Gaza population,” just as in Israel’s attack on Lebanon ‘06 “the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians…” Thomas L. Friedman, “Israel’s Goals in Gaza?,” New York Times, January 13, 2009. Also see News and Comment posting of Nov. 28, 2007, “Thomas L. Friedman and the Bali Bombers. Cold-Blooded Celebrity”).
Those that moralize the justification for “inflicting” “heavy pain on the Gaza population Friedman says regarding Lebanon’s Hezbolla:
Israel’s counter strategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.
need to be taken out and stood against a wall. It is as simple as that.
Back when I first entered the business world, nearly 45 years ago Joe Blow was full of “white” hope and a storehouse of expectations. My father, a “Gypo” logger in those days, bought property, built a modern home, raised his family, had a good reputation within the community, and was moderately properous. When he offered me the opportunity to become his equal partner I jumped at the chance. Some of my goals for the business were to make family and social (community and enviornment) interests as a priority objective. Financially, the goal was to operate from a sound base, never needing to operate or make payments or living from one paycheck to the next. It was obvious to me that the old ways were failing and a fundamentally new approach was required if we were to survive long term. My Father, however, had bought into this idea of “phantom money” as sound wealth. The rest of the story, of course, is history. 50 or more years of dark age thinking based upon the deceptive lies of medieval beliefs has taken America and the World to the point of no return.
Mr. Korton, however, still seems to think that there is a chance for America. Even though he plainly says its very “clear that we have a failed economic system”. Hand in hand with that reality also proven during the past 50 years is that we also have a failed political system. Both systems are an illusion. Hope in hope. Faith in faith. Belief in hope. Belief in faith. Belief in opinion. All are as illusory as smoke. They are the object of themselves, without substance or any basis. Nothing more than superstitious beliefs in the Hoper. It’s obvious Mr. Obama, even at this early stage, do not have the pedigree necessary to fix the failed systems even if he wanted to do so.
Real hope is defined by men like Mr. David Korten. Read what he has to say and why then compare that to Mr. Barack Obama, what he said and what he is currently doing and you just might come to understand the difference.
We encourage you to consider what David Korten offers as a better way, a way we could start or improve on right here in Humboldt County.
David Korten, co-founder of Positive Futures Network and publisher of the magazine YES!. He is also a former professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business and the author of several books, including When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. His newest book is just out, called Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. In it, David Korten argues the nation faces a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in Congress. He writes that now is an opportune moment to move forward an agenda to replace the failed money-serving institutions of our present economy with the institutions of a new economy dedicated to serving life.
DAVID KORTEN: Well, it really starts with being clear that we have a failed economic system. And we’ve seen very dramatically the consequences of the financial failure. But what we’re not talking about is the connection to the environmental failure, the destruction of earth’s living systems, and the social failure of an economic system that by its very design, particularly as manifest on Wall Street, is designed to increase inequality. You know, having worked in international development for many years, I’m very familiar with the argument that the way to deal with poverty is, through economic growth, to bring up the bottom. But, of course, what we see—and we’ve seen this for decades—is that, in fact, economic growth tends to raise the top and depress the bottom.
Now, part of it’s coming to terms with the fact that we live on a finite planet. We’ve got finite resources. And the question is, what are our economic priorities? How do we allocate those resources? And it requires a fundamentally different approach to the economy: evaluating economic performance by the things that we really want, in terms of human and natural well-being, rather than a system that is purely designed to increase financial returns to the already very wealthy.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Your book’s subtitle, From a Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth—what is phantom wealth?
DAVID KORTEN: Yeah. This is part of understanding the current Wall Street system, which is built around an illusion, the illusion that money is wealth, which then translates into the idea that people who are creating—or who are making money are in fact creating wealth. And what Wall Street has become extremely expert at is creating money out of nothing through financial bubbles, through pyramiding lending to create fictitious assets that become collateral for more bank lending, and then combining that with the predatory aspects of usurious lending and deceptive lending and the use of credit cards as a substitute for a living wage—all the games that Wall Street is playing. And it’s actually based on a philosophy that says we don’t need to produce anything as a country, if we can—you know, if we can do all this financial innovation that allows us to create financial assets without producing anything of real value. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And yet, it is the—it’s been the foundation of our economic policy in this country for decades now.
AMY GOODMAN: You have spent your life focusing on issues of sustainability. You talk about excess consumption. What is the model that you could see right now? What is the model that we have right now? And what is the one you want to see built?
DAVID KORTEN: Yeah, well, the amazing thing is that our system is built on driving increased consumption, but particularly it is driving the most destructive and wasteful forms of consumption, of course, starting with war, moving on to automobile dependence, and which is not just about the energy issue, but it’s about the fragmentation of society, as we move out into the suburbs. It’s about the breakdown of the family, as we put more and more stress on the family. So you have to have two or more people in the household working more than one job each just to keep the household together, which means the children are without caretakers and so forth.
You begin to put this all together, you say, well, if we began to really organize our economic activities around the things that really matter, we’d be looking at things—well, how do we organize our economy so that it actually builds human relationships, so it supports families, so it creates an environment in which our children can grow up both physically and psychologically healthy? And we begin to say, well, first of all, it would be a good idea to end war. And, of course, most of our wars are about competition for resources to maintain our wasteful lifestyle. So let’s really get serious about world peace. Then we’ve got to start reducing our dependence on automobiles and recognize that rather than reemploying autoworkers in making automobiles, we should be employing them in building bicycles, building public transportation and so forth, all the things we need. Instead of investing massively in advertising, you know, redirect those creative communications resources to education. You begin to see, in almost every aspect of our economy, the opportunity to redirect resources in ways that actually increase our well-being—they’re not about sacrifice, ultimately—and bringing ourselves into balance with one another and with earth.