Category Archives: Obama

The UN and Israel

We have for years watched passively as Israel continued to build settlements in areas designated for Palestinian statehood since the Oslo accords. The US representative has vetoed many actions by the Security Council to sanction Israel for the illegal settlements, so it came as a surprise when Samantha Power finally abstained from the most recent resolution. It may have been too little and too late. With Donald Trump looming on the horizon, AIPAC and its allies can breathe freely again in the knowledge that it won’t happen again.

Lindsay Graham has called for the defunding of the UN and the new Democratic leader in the Senate has roundly chastised the Obama administration for allowing the resolution to stand. There is precious little reporting in this country of the violence and destruction being caused by Israeli “settlers” and their Israeli army protectors in the furtherance of the annihilation of hopes for a two state solution in the land holy to three major religions.

When Israeli “settlers” (I would prefer to call them terrorists or vigilantes) called a one-and-a-half year old child a terrorist after firebombing the house in which he lived with his parents and older brother, they showed how utterly lacking in humanity and reason they were in their actions. The crime of this family?  Living too close to an illegal Israeli settlement. The cost of the firebomb? The parents and baby dead, the older brother burned over 70% of his body. Two out of eleven Israelis involved in the action were charged, neither being held pending trial, and only one of them charged with murder.

Donald Trump doesn’t have any problem with the so-called settler movement. This should surprise no one. But people of good will may well wonder that our government has been so facile in refusing to chastise Israel for its support of the movement. Abby Mann, whom I have spoken of before, has two reports on the incident above and the history and current state of the settler movement. They can be found here and here. I will not repeat the statistics she has reported, but suffice it to say that the number of deaths, some of which she has videos of at the hands of the “settlers” and their military supporters, will shock and appall you.

It is not surprising that the Security Council at the UN has been trying to sanction Israel for years for the illegal settlement program. The program has displaced or killed thousands of Palestinians, destroyed their farms and their livelihoods, and left them in an apartheid-like state the likes of which have not been seen since South Africa. For it to be created by the victims of the holocaust would be ironic if it were not so outrageous. Now it can only be said that the United States for once did the right thing on this issue.

Standing Rock and the Powers That Be

NBC news in its nightly report tonight finally did a piece on Standing Rock and the brave Native Americans fighting there for clean water. This has been going on for months and the MSM is finally taking notice. What changed? You should have seen the cops and National Guard that came in today, fully decked out in war gear, ready to take out the most peaceful protesters in the world. They maced and pepper-sprayed, they arrested and they hurt people, all in the name of the holy pipeline that must be built.

Hillary Clinton issued the most pusillanimous statement I’ve ever read from a politician today, saying that the protesters were peaceful but the workers had a right to go to their jobs. Not a single word about the dangers of pipelines going under rivers, the number of fuel spills that have happened in the last year from pipelines, the fact that the Missouri River supplies fresh water to about 18 million people, and the damn DAPL aims to go under the Missouri in three different places.

Our president two years ago said this pipeline would never be built. He’s AWOL from his job right now because he’s working so hard to get Clinton elected. But people are getting hurt and arrested at the pipeline he swore would not be built. He was asked about this pipeline during the summer when he was in Southeast Asia and said he would have to look into it when he returned. His one action was over a month ago when he asked everybody to calm down and let the federal agencies work on the issue. Other than that, big silence. It took hundreds of thousands of people to get him to trash the Keystone pipeline, and we have to rise up again.

Bernie was right about one thing. If we stand together and believe, we will succeed. STOP DAPL. Save the Missouri and the sacred sites that still remain for the Native Americans who have suffered so many abuses at the hands of our government. For once, do the right thing.

End game

It is interesting to watch the Main Stream Media try to get its head around the undercurrents running through America and the Democratic Party since the IG of the State Department released his findings last week. Certain factions that are definitely pro-Hillary have castigated her for the flaws found in the IG’s report, and they seem a little conflicted about what their posture should be to this unluckiest of candidates.

I commend doing a Google search for some combination of “FBI” and “Hillary.” You will find that local or regional newspapers and magazines are much more interested in publishing what is going on than the big members of the MSM. According to several of these offerings, the White House is on alert for the next shoe to drop, making inquiries of its supporters about possible endgames to this troubling saga. The most suggested outcome is a convention naming Joe Biden as the nominee with Elizabeth Warren as his veep.

Many speculate on what Obama will do, and most come down on the side of allowing the investigation to take its course, including indictments if they are warranted. Nobody wants the Democratic nominee to be facing indictments during the race, although Fox News has contributed a poll that suggests that 71% of Democrats surveyed would have no problem with voting for Hillary if she’s indicted. This has caused great consternation among the commentators, although Bernie supporters have seen the irrational devotion of many of Hillary’s supporters over the past several months.

Only one brave soul has suggested that the Democratic Party somehow owes it to Bernie to allow him to be the nominee. This doesn’t surprise me. The general antipathy of the Third Way Democrats toward Bernie and his supporters is that which one would expect of a dying regime. Imagine Marie Antoinette on the guillotine. Bernie represents such a break with the status quo that he looks positively alien to the corporatists in charge of the party now. Those who have claimed that the separation between Bernie and Hillary is greater than that between Hillary and Trump are quite close to the truth. Neither Hillary nor Trump is interested in any reins on unbridled capitalism. Unfortunately, the American people seem to be with Bernie on this one.

We are living through remarkable times. Winds of change may well blow gale force if an indictment is issued. Who the nominee is who arises from these ashes will tell us how violent the revolution will have to be.

What’s Obama doing in the arctic?

I voted for Barack Obama twice, and I’ve generally been supportive of his attempts to create health care for all and his efforts at improving the lives of Dreamers. He talks a good game on other issues but I’m not so sure. First is today’s decision to allow Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic. He has spent some political capital in chivvying climate deniers, and yet he approves prospective drilling that won’t come online for years.By the time Shell has done its bit to destroy a fracile ecology, the need for oil should be substantially reduced.

What else has he done wrong? Can you say drones? We seem to have made the choice that preserves a few American lives at the expense of thousands of nonAmerican lives. Now I can’t blame only Obama for this. It’s a practice that was fully developed by the insane war in Iraq following 9/11. We lost a lot of people there, measured in the thousands, while Iraq lost people in the hundred thousands. We’ve just changed the orders of magnitude of the deaths. But when we kill wedding parties and little children, and say “Oops!” it’s not acceptable.

Finally there’s TPP. What on earth is Obama thinking? After the economic woes in this country after Clinton started this treaty idiocy, why would Obama go to bat for a corporate driven, employee trashing, trade balance busting, environment destroying, treaty negotiated predominately by corporate shills? This is not the man who promised us hope and change. This is a man who is showing that he is as bought and paid for as any politician in Washington.

I have to applaud one thing he has done recently. The Iran nuclear agreement is the only hope for lasting freedom from nuclear war in the middle east. It is, moreover, evidence that diplomacy can work. Gasp! We treated with other nations without banging the drums of war or acting like spoiled children who don’t get their way. We got something measurable in exchange. As the right wing moans that we didn’t get everything, I have one cautionary response.Grow up! We do not rule the world, nor should we. Iran is what it is today in large measure because of our ignorant support for many years of the Shah. We should get out of the business of telling other countries how they should rule themselves. We should certainly get out of the business of supporting autocratic rulers who hold their people down. But we should maintain a dialogue with everyone we can, because humanity’s best nature is compassion. We can understand if we try. And we can stop a headlong rush to nuclear bombs by Iran by talking.