Monday, June 21, 2010

Where I've Been

I've been writing in a journal all of the things I'm thinking and caring about that I don't want on the Internet. It isn't that I'm afraid of flak - I just don't need it.

But this is something that I've been trying to post to Facebook for days and for some reason they feel the content is abusive - now that's abusive!

Here's what I've been trying to post:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Real Lesson from Massachusetts

So, President Obama lost his 60th seat in the Senate -- well, I think it might have been a good thing. He got a heads' up. Bill Clinton never got that heads' up when he was entering the second year of his first term before the 1994 Republican take over. Sure there was pandering by the Republicans (remember the Contract with [or on] America.

But we Democrats are afraid that the President will continue to listen to those that got him in this fix, rather than those who got him into the White House.

We'll see...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Musing on Palestine

I was just watching Witness on Al Jazeera English (we have a satellite dish and I find English-language news preferable to Greek TV since my Greek is so execrable). This week's story was about the old Jerusalem airport which has been turned into a giant check point since the 1967 war. It was told from the point of view of (among others) a woman whose family, prior to the 1967 war, had the only house overlooking the airport. She has a Jerusalem ID and her sister, who lives in Ramallah only five minutes a way, has a West Bank ID so the one from Jerusalem must visit the other because her sister must get one of the few permits allowed at specific times (in this case, Orthodox Easter - I could tell because of the egg boiling and boiled egg fight which is the same here in this mostly Orthodox country).

But what caught my eye were the old pictures from the 1950s and 1960s of the passengers and air staff - not a hijab or khimar (Muslim headscarf) in sight. It seems to me that we (the West) have never considered our actions against Muslims as part of the reason many have retreated into their religion, some more than others.

So, it seems that we have been sowing the seeds of terrorism and our own destruction for some time. This is not a new phenomenon. And it seems that each time we meddle, we make it just a little worse.

We armed the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets - that didn't turn out so well. We disbanded the army in Iraq only to try to recreate that army after our action caused the sectarian violence that has racked that country. I was reading about how the US occupied Japan after WWII. The US sent in 350,000 military personnel, kept the Japanese army and the police (just disarmed them) and ensured that the Japanese populace had enough food. That was a model that worked. Could have been used in Iraq and feeding the population in Afghanistan would have helped as well.

This was followed by a story of Viva Palestina finally making its way into Gaza and delivering the aid to the people. Many ambulances, wheel chairs, food - a drop in the bucket to be sure, but at least someone is starting to recognize the bucket is empty and needs filling.

If the EU and the US would stop aiding Israel in its policy of collective punishment, a lot would be gained. It is hard to understand what is gained by preaching free and open elections and then punishing those who vote "the wrong way." How do you convince people without a history of electoral democracy that this is the way to go and then punish them when they do what you said? Makes no sense.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Coincidence or Conspiracy?

Is there any doubt, was there ever any doubt among thinking Americans, that the Bush Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) was so thoroughly politicized that basic American laws were broken in the questioning of the Blackwater Five? I heard a former attorney in the Bush DOJ say that perhaps the State Department officials hadn't heard of the Miranda warnings and were unaware that you couldn't promise immunity and then use those statements - coerced, no less - against these accused.

I really thought that was a stretch; I don't remember reading any intimations that the Blackwater Five were waterboarded!

I'm writing now about the release and dismissal of all charges against the five Blackwater employees who killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in September 2007. How did it come to be that the State Department (?!!) was the organization that interrogated these men? Why wasn't this done by the FBI or another federal law enforcement agency? Since when did the State Department add criminal jurisprudence to their mandate?

This is the same Justice Department that was so lax with the rules in the case of former Senator Ted Stevens that his charges were also dropped. Unfortunately, getting rid of these folks hasn't yet occurred in the Obama DOJ - and we're going to pay for it.

But the dropped charges only happened for Republicans or Republican donors. And the Obama Justice Department doesn't see any wrongdoing in the political lynching of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman? I sure do.