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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century, Eureka

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I had to reprint this article from Firedoglake:


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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century

By: masaccio Sunday November 30, 2014 10:57 am

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113014_Damned-to-Hell-Demons Please don’t murder us in the streets. We work hard so we should be paid a living wage. Bankers should be treated as equal before the law. Please stop spying on us. We’ve lived here all our lives, don’t deport us to a foreign country. Please stop killing people everywhere in the world. We are entitled to be treated like other people. Please stop poisoning the dirt that grows our food and the water we drink and the air we breathe. The minimal nature of the demands of millions of protesters measures the decrepit state of our nation. It also tells us that the rich people who run this country loathe and despise us.

We killed your kids with impunity. Take that tiny paycheck, and supplement it with government benefits, and punch out before you clean up your work station. Bankers are the engines of prosperity and if they get a bit greedy, it can’t be prevented without destroying capitalism. We spy on you to protect you from immigrants with Ebola and sharp swords. Get back into that closet. You’ll eat and breathe oil and you’ll love it. OK, you noisy group can get married. Now aren’t you happy? Remember, we have the guns, the tanks, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the kettles, the rifles, the humvees, the assault rifles, the MRAPs, and the drones, and we have your data and your phones and your computers and your emails and your facebook pages and your tweets, and we know who you are. And just ignore those thugs on the roofs, those plain-clothes men with AR-15s, they’re either our regular troops or our irregulars, our vigilantes, just out to protect our private property.

As bad as this is, the worst part is that there are millions of people who aren’t elites, who aren’t rich enough to financially survive a lost job or a divorce or a sick kid, but who think this is just fine. Those people vote for the system not just in elections, but by their hatred for their neighbors. Who could have predicted so many citizens would enjoy watching their neighbors thrown out of their houses rather than figure out some way to help? Who would have thought so many citizens would be thrilled to see families broken up and deported? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to drink oil instead of water for any reason? Who would have thought that so many citizens would prefer not just to let corporations pay so little to their neighbors, but also to support cutting off all government benefits to those workers? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to have some government agent collecting their phones and email and internet search histories?

The optimists among us point to a bunch of liberal issues on which a plurality of citizens agree according to pollsters. That’s great, and it may even be true. But the fact is that our Constitution is set up to prevent government action against the will of a small minority. It gives tiny Red States plenty of 19th Century Senators who under Senate rules can block any action they don’t like. The House is thoroughly gerrymandered, so that the will of the majority isn’t even represented. Presidential candidates must win the money primary, insuring that they will support the interests of the richest and most retrograde among the top .01% who own 11% of the total wealth of the nation. The Supreme Court has always protected property at the expense of every other interest or value, so even if a decent piece of legislation passed, the five conservative hacks on the Court will strike it down.

It seems to me that this nation is infected by a nameless, faceless dread, a fear of something awful just beyond our ability to grasp. The media, right-wing politicians and demagogues, acting on behalf of their filthy rich patrons, actively exploit that fear to get what they want: a divided nation at war with itself. You don’t have to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh or worse to get this; you can feel it in the air, and get all the examples you need from The Daily Show or Colbert or Oliver. Where does this come from? This is a country rich in resources, armed to the teeth, with a powerful technological infrastructure that should allow a lot of material progress and solutions to any real problems. And yet there’s this:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

How do you explain technological marvels sitting alongside this kind of pre-Enlightenment fright? One explanation comes from @Billmon1, a great Twitter follow. He says that a large part of the US missed the Enlightenment altogether. That part, largely the Red states, but all over the country, is embedded in the 16th/17th centuries:

To be more specific: rooted in 16th/17th century British isles — Scotland, English border lands & Ireland, to be precise. “Celtic fringe.”

About as backwoods, parochial, & religiously bigoted part of W. Europe as you could have found in that era — an era of religious bigotry.

We have a great recent example of this culture in Northern Ireland. After a century of war with itself and its Catholic neighbors, Northern Ireland has turned from religious bigotry to racial bigotry. There are plenty of problems in Ireland, many of which are the result of unbridled capitalism like the short-sighted decisions of the leaders to pay off all depositor loses caused by Irish banks and the outrageous tax schemes that enable the likes of Apple to screw the US out of needed tax revenues. But really, a few immigrants are the problem?

It’s a mirror image of the US. The “Other” is the problem. It isn’t the unjust distribution of wealth, it isn’t the exploitation of the worker by the filthy rich, it isn’t unequal schools, it isn’t poverty or any other structural condition. It’s witches. It’s demons. It’s unholiness. It’s impurity. It’s smoke.

It isn’t fixable. The most you can hope for is bottling up that rage and fear in fewer and fewer people. Instead the media stokes those fires. Self-ordained ministers tell people that it’s sin that cause fires and floods and earthquakes and eclipses. Rage freaks like O’Reilly and Limbaugh and the incomparably stupid Hannity tell their listeners that the end times are coming. Politicians like Lindsey Graham shriek that terrorists are coming to kill them while they sleep. These pre-moderns are now in control of both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court.

I’m thinking about being a bit fearful myself.

Photo by Georges Jansoone under Creative Commons license


–Joe

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Noam Chomsky, The Fate of the Gaza Ceasefire

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[Mirrored from Tom Dispatch, specially for that know-it-all Eric Kirk and his Brownshirt apologists who are so adroit in their polemic sophistry.]

 –Joe

TomDispatch

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Fate of the Gaza Ceasefire

By Noam Chomsky
Posted on September 9, 2014, Printed on September 9, 2014
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175892/

Is there nowhere on the face of the Earth where opinion polls aren’t taken? In the wake of the 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza, parts of that tiny strip of land now look, according to photographs, like a moonscape of destruction. At least 10,000 homes were obliterated and thousands more damaged; at least 175 major factories were pummeled into the dust. Its only power plant was destroyed, damaging electricity, water, and sewage systems. Large apartment houses, as well as the ministry of education, schools, and other sites, were hit and sometimes reduced to so much rubble. It was all part of a massive Israeli assault on Hamas, several of whose senior leaders were assassinated, but also on the Palestinian population, involving what looked like collective punishment for its support of that organization or simply living in proximity to it. And indeed, with almost no hope of rebuilding much of their world any time soon, you might think that Palestinians would hold the Hamas leadership at least somewhat responsible for the destruction that has rained down, as assumedly the Israelis wanted them to. But a recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), begun in the last day before the ceasefire took hold, and carried out, in part, amid the rubble that is now Gaza, suggests otherwise.

It finds that Palestinian opinion couldn’t be clearer.  Support hasn’t been this high for Hamas since 2006, when it won a fair and square democratic election. If a presidential vote were held today, the pollsters of PSR discovered, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas hands down. Here are just a few of the findings: “79% [of Palestinians] believe that Hamas has won the Gaza War; 3% believe Israel came out the winner; and 17% believe the two sides were losers… If new presidential elections are held today and only two [candidates] were nominated, Haniyeh, for the first time since we have started asking about his popularity about eight years ago, would receive a majority of 61% and Abbas would receive 32%. [The] vote for Haniyeh stands at 53% in the Gaza Strip and 66% in the West Bank. Abbas receives 43% in the Gaza Strip and 25% in the West Bank… A majority of 53% believe that armed confrontation is the most effective means to establish a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. Only 22% believe negotiation is the best means to establish a Palestinian state and 20% believe that popular non-violent resistance is the most effective route to statehood.”

As historically has often been the case, massive bombings and other assaults do not destroy the support of populations for movements or governments, but tend to solidify it. In other words, Israeli policy is reducing civilized life for Palestinians in a major way and yet increasing the urge both to fight on and the desire for revenge. It’s an ugly pattern and, as TomDispatch regular Noam Chomsky (whose latest book, Masters of Mankind, is due out this week) indicates today, it’s been going on in this same fashion for a remarkably long time, as Israel continues to gobble up Palestinian lands on the West Bank, while working to hem Palestinians in yet further in the Gaza Strip. Tom

Ceasefires in Which Violations Never Cease
What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Gaza?
By Noam Chomsky

On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel’s periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza. Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same.  The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it — as Israel has officially recognized — until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance. The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior U.S. military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described “most moral army in the world.”

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Written by Joe Blow

September 9, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Regards to the Opinionator Assassinator

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This is a post by Digby posted here in it’s entirety. In view of the latest “As It Stands” Times-Standard opinionated article on this subject we wanted to add Digby’s thoughts to the discussion.

The Suggestibility Of Bradley Manning

by digby

I haven’t written much about Bradley Manning’s treatment in his military brig, since Greenwald has done a great job along with many others who are following the story carefully. There seems to be a lot of controversy over whether or not he is being tortured. In my opinion, locking up someone who has not presented any kind of threat to other prisoners and who has not been convicted of a crime for months on end in solitary confinement under tight restrictions is torture. It’s horrible enough to do it someone who has been convicted, but using these techniques on someone you are trying to get to testify against someone else cannot be seen in any other light.

As we well know by now, the line between interrogation and torture has become indistinguishable among far too many people and many of these more suspect interrogation techniques are likely to produce the same kind of false information you get from torture. So one aspect of the Manning story stuck out at me as being pretty damning evidence and that’s the fact that he’s being awakened every five minutes during the day and if the guards “need” to assure themselves that he’s ok, they wake him up at night. Keep in mind that this is a guy who’s completely isolated and has no access to anything unauthorized, not even a real blanket and pillow. (Apparently, he’s got some strange device that makes him miserable.)

Sleep deprivation is well known to enhance “suggestibility” and is commonly used in interrogations:

A person’s suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject’s suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental.

There’s no evidence that they are using white noise or the drugs mentioned, but it sure sounds as if they employing moderate sleep deprivation to increase “suggestibility.” And we know what they are suggesting, don’t we?

Months and months of sleep deprivation and isolation cannot be justified for security reasons. This fellow isn’t a commando. He isn’t a professional spy. He’s just some grunt who uploaded some electronic files. The only reasonable explanation for his treatment is that they are trying to get him to implicate someone else in his alleged a crime. And that’s the oldest reason for torture in the books. In the old days, they wanted their subjects to implicate Satan. Today it’s Julian Assange.

What is going on here is truly an assault on this nations’ manhood and womanhood.

–Joe

Republicans – The Tea Party

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A sobering look at Republican issues and the Tea Party’s assault on their elitist aspirations to continue to fulfill their mandate as God’s Ordained People. Glenn Greenwald seems to think this movement has legs. If so, then there is ample evidence of what we can expect in American’s future. Maybe another French Revolution American style.

Glenn Greenwald

The misguided reaction to Tea Party candidates

By Glenn Greenwald

  • Thursday, Sep 16, 2010 08:17 ET

The “tea party” movement is, in my view, a mirror image of the Republican Party generally.  There are some diverse, heterodox factions which compose a small, inconsequential minority of it (various libertarian, independent, and Reagan Democrat types), but it is dominated — in terms of leadership, ideology, and the vast majority of adherents — by the same set of beliefs which have long shaped the American Right:  Reagan-era domestic policies, blinding American exceptionalism and natavism, fetishizing American wars, total disregard for civil liberties, social and religious conservatism, hatred of the minority-Enemy du Jour (currently: Muslims), allegiance to self-interested demagogic leaders, hidden exploitation by corporatist masters, and divisive cultural tribalism.  Other than the fact that (1) it is driven (at least in part) by genuine citizen passion and engagement, and (2) represents a justifiable rebellion against the Washington and GOP establishments, I see little good in it and much potential for bad.  To me, it’s little more than the extremely discredited faction which drove the country into the ground for the last decade, merely re-branded under a new name.

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Dark Age Barbarism

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… and Freedom of Religion.

What freedom of religion means to most Americans is the right to judge their neighbor. Did you ever think about what the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses are really saying to you when they come, uninvited to your door offering to reeducate you about the Bible, Jesus Christ and Almighty God so you can worship God in truth like they do? What about the other Missionary Ministries that tell you to be accepted as a Christian you first must be saved of your sins. To do that you must to be redeemed by Jesus Christ.  This Gospel of Jesus Christ has been spread to every nation on this Earth by these two religious peoples. They join an illustrious group of Evangelicals and other missionary minded religions that believe they are doing Christ’s work. Christian people have expanded great energies in their fervent beliefs that these words of Jesus are their mandate: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” -KJV

Why do they think you need their information? What do they expect you to do when you get it? What makes any of them think that what Jesus’ preached is the Gospel they preach? Why would one Christian religion enforce their freedom to try to convert another Christian religion? Is this presumed freedom not the root cause of intolerance in direct defiance of Jesus explicit teachings?

Unfortunately, the record for religious tolerance for all people to practice their religious beliefs throughout the history of America is exceedingly abysmal. The Christian Post September 13, 2010 article: Koran Burning: How Dare the Muslim World Lecture America on Religious Tolerance is a good example of the attitude that drives this intolerance. What motivates these people to foist their beliefs upon their fellow neighbors is exactly why they discriminate against all other non-Christian religions and religious peoples. As a “saved” people, recognized by the Hand of God through Jesus Christ these Christians take on the mantle of an exceptional people directly blessed and protected by God. Enclaves of Christians throughout the World take on the trappings of what America does to other religions and religious peoples. The common belief is that“Islamic Terrorists” are the spawn of an Islamic aberration therefore Islam and all that are Islamic are responsible for the war. For decades in Iraq, the Shiite religious majority people were able to live together with their ruling minority Sunni brothers. No thanks to America’s intervention to save all the people from despotic rule and enforced majority governance, as soon as the Shiites got control they cleansed the country of the Sunni. What you never hear much about is that they also cleared out almost all the Christians too.

These are the consequences of what happens where Christians are a minority. This is a real concern among Christian religions throughout the world when the Muslim (Islam) minority are attacked in America. The Wall Street Journal had an article back in January of this years: “Islamic Christianophobia” – The world ignores the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. On Friday, September 10, 2010, The Independent had Patrick Cockburn: The fires of religious fury are easily lit but hard to put out – Christian communities in the Muslim world that date back 2,000 years are finally being extinguished. Then there is: NYC Mosque Rhetoric May Harm Persecuted Christians in The Christian Post September 2, 2010. They point out that there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and “hateful rhetoric being used by opponents of the proposed mosque near ground zero can result in violence against Christians living in Muslim-dominated countries.”

It would seem that this war on Islamic Terrorist has boxed these warmongering heretics into a corner. Perhaps Michael Moore has the solution: If the ‘Mosque’ Isn’t Built, This Is No Longer America – It’s time to move on beyond all the bigotry, lies and emotional claptrap of hurt feelings and sensitivity and deal with what’s really in jeopardy.
[Source]

–Joe

Fixation or Obsession?

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Fixated and Obsessed is defined as:

Medical Dictionary 

c : stereotyped behavior (as in response to frustration)
d : an obsessive or unhealthy preoccupation or attachment 

Dave Stancliff’s most recent comment posted below starts out by saying: 

Do you know what Google Alerts are Joe?
Everytime [sic] you say something about me I get one. Good, bad, or indifferent.
I get numerous Google alerts every day. 

Do you know what “Google Alerts” are? “Google Alerts – Monitor the Web for interesting new content.” 

You set them up right and Google will follow you around the Internet like a crotch-sniffing hound dog on the make.  Continue reading Stancliff’s comment(s) and you’ll begin to see evidence of paranoia showing it ugly head. Remember, this guy writes for and is published in the local Times-Standard newspaper. If questioning the rational for some of his convoluted, opinionated conjecture, on occasion, is a problem for him, maybe he should take up another hobby. Or, does he already have one, stalking me? 

His ad hominem attacks, threats and constant tirade of filthy, unproven accusations constantly made against this writer are designed for only one purpose: obfuscate and confuse the issue so people have a hard time seeing the truth of Dave Stancliff’s legitimacy as an individual in this community and credibility of his “As It Stands” newspaper column. 

Following this commentary is Dave Stancliff’s latest contribution to the Joe Blow Report, apparently written in response to the Report’s, “Living With Dignity.” It’s worth highlighting when you compare it to what he’s had published in the Times-Standard newspaper for last several weeks. In fact, three and a half weeks ago he said the following: “I’ve learned not to get upset at negative feedback and not to pat myself on the back too hard when someone likes what I’ve written.” You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions, but I’d say he’s REAL upset, to the point of obsession, at this writer. That’s what happens when you make assumptions and take what other people say personally. 

This country, including Eureka and Humboldt County are facing some serious problems that are sure to adversely affect us all. Let’s quantify the area a little closer to home by saying, all the area serviced by the Times-Standard newspaper. That’s who publishes Dave Stancliff’s “As It Stands” opinion in every Sunday paper. No one, including this knee-jerk reactionary knows what to do. All anyone suggests is to keep trying to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again – to no avail. They keep voting in (mostly) new faces, but the same old politician – same old failed ideas and solutions based, mostly on unsubstantiated worthless opinions, ideologies and beliefs. Why do they do that? Apparently, because they’ve bought into the lie that they need the Thought Police telling them what to do and how to believe. Then if the masters of lies, deception, propaganda, innuendo, and plain old unadulterated “bullshit” aren’t enough you have the non-thinking believers running interference. 

For instance, the Earth is starting to burn up and all anyone can say is, “What’s the point of talking about “that” and getting all upset? There’s nothing we can do about “that” anyway. Don’t you know it’s all in God’s Hands? Then they go off and carry on like there’s no tomorrow without a care in the world. 

One of the purposes of the Joe Blow Report is to stimulate thinking. We firmly believe that people that live in glass houses one should never throws stones. In other words, hypocrites should keep their mouths shut! Stancliff concluded historical review three and a half weeks ago by saying: “As It Stands, I’m grateful for this opportunity to communicate, and I hope you stop by again next week.” Do you think he was making that offer to everyone, but little ol’ me? 

The definition for “communicate” is: 

1) to impart knowledge of; make known: to communicate information; to communicate one’s happiness.
2) to give to another; impart; transmit: to communicate a disease. 

 Unfortunately, the “communicators” we end up getting are people like Dave Stancliff whose version of what it means to “communicate” is to tell everyone how to think and what to believe. Kind of like President Obama’s presidency; “say one thing and do another” and then wonder why some people are unhappy. Then question their sanity and blame the “unhappy people” for questioning him about his facts. But then, that’s just “politics,” or is it worthless opinionated conjecture? What does that have to do with personal integrity, good reputation, honesty, decency, moral commitment, self-worth or dignity and honor? 

Everyone wants to do what they want, say what they want, think and believe whatever they want irregardless of who or how it hurts everyone around them. But, Lord forbid anyone that questions them on anything they say or do. They bring the wrath of God down on your head. Ask anyone to backup what they say or justify what they are doing and you get the Dave Stancliff’s of this world going at you like a pack of wild animals. Rather than discuss the merits of the subject-motivator or relevant issue in dispute, they take everything personal; an assault on their legitimate standing as a human being with the God-given right to judge everybody and everything. The first thing they do is lie about you. They say, for instance, that you “hate” – actually, “you have only demonstrated hate towards me.” They lie because they produce NO proof or evidence that justifies their accusation. Then they act on that lie and use that act as their proof. This is what makes them “false gods.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 9–12. 

First, it’s important to remember, Mr. Stancliff came on this blog and with his very first comments directed personally at me, changed the rules. I was discussing my observations regarding the issues he raised in his newspaper article. In that instance I was NOT talking about him and as it turns out, with damned good reason. He made the issue about himself, about his credibility and legitimacy as a person with some standing in this community, not me. He changed the rules. Now he accuses me of “hypocrisy” and, “call me every name in the book, make malicious accusations, libel me.” Not one time does he show the reader or me what he’s talking about – “malicious accusations,” “libel” etc. Where’s his proof? Not one time in any of his comments this past year has he demonstrated the “malicious accusations” or “libel” or any other of his filthy accusations I’m supposed to be guilty of committing. He not only expects, but demands without any respect or consideration for the reader that you accept or take him at his word that what he accuses is a true and a valid fact. Is that not having “the nerve to appoint” himself “as The All-Knowing One” who, in fact “pontificates”? Now read his Sunday, August 1, 2010: ‘I know I’m right’ syndrome or being stupid and proud of it.  Now tell me if he not defining himself here, over and over again? 

I heard this on the TV the other day, something President Harry Truman supposedly said and I thought it quite appropriate to the Joe Blow Report: “I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.” 

The truth is Dave Stancliff does not write for the benefit of the reader. If he did, he would NEVER take anything someone says that disagrees with or questions his so-call opinionated “facts.” He writes only for his own personal gratification and self-aggrandizement. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t enforce the hypocrisy – say one thing and do another. The only one ratted out here is Dave Stancliff. That’s why I continue to let him vent his bile on this website. Nobody put a gun to anyone’s head and forced them to come to my blogs and read what’s here, let alone make some comment. Stancliff’s not the least bit interested in “communicating.” He’s only interested in trying to muddy the waters in the hopes that no one will see the true Dave Stancliff for who and what he, in truth, actually is. It’s tempting to tell you what that “truth” is, but we’ll leave it in Dave Stancliff’s capable hands. He does a better job of that than I ever could and that’s why he’s had comment access on this blog. 

Finally, no one forced Dave Stancliff to come to my blog and say what he said. Nor did we ask him to demonstrate how you first falsely accuse someone, then act on that lie as if was the God’s-gospel truth – only to expose and judge yourself as the liar and the hypocrite. All we’re forced to do is treat him exactly for what he is. He’s had a year or so to change that. It was and is his choice, his responsibility to expose himself or not. 

Fixated and Obsessed? – Not much doubt.
[Picture

–Joe 


 

Dave Stancliff’s comment: Read the rest of this entry »

Promised Land – Some Truth

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Promised Land

Some truth from Israel.

Flotilla | A probe that would get Netanyahu’s government off the hook

Commentary from an objective Israeli perspective is always interesting. Their ‘objective’ in the very beginning has never changed. Only how they hoped to achieve that objective. The Jews and for that matter their American benefactors will never recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian people and their thousands of years claim to all of that land. Anyone that knows anything about Christianity should realize Jesus Christ revoked God’s promise to Abraham’s seed over two thousand years ago. The quality, character and value of the Jew as manifest by their nation-state Israel, is solid, lawful proof of that truth and reality.

Conclusion: A two-state solution is someone’s wild dream.
source]

–Joe

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