Appropriate invective

There is a reason I have taken to labeling Israel ‘the Nazi Germany of the Near East.’ This is my choice, mind you, not that of the author I shall cite and quote. In this, his latest blog post, Sami Kishawi enumerates several ways that Israel demonstrates the exterminationist goals of Zionism upon the highly concentrated, captive population of Gaza. I call your attention to number 6:

6. Israel contends that Hamas forcibly puts Palestinian civilians in the line of fire, specifically by keeping them in buildings from which Hamas fighters operate. Although this has never once been supported with conclusive evidence, the Israeli government touts it as the primary reason for the high civilian death toll. But Palestinians rarely have any place to flee, especially when more than a third of the Gaza Strip falls under a military buffer that Israel strikes regularly and without warning. United Nations shelters are at maximum capacity and Israel has no qualms about attacking these buildings either, which is what happened on Thursday, July 24, killing at least 16 and injuring more than 200 in a United Nations school in Beit Hanoun. Palestinians who refuse to leave their homes or surrounding areas do not automatically become legitimate targets. As Mohammed Suliman said under intense shelling in Gaza City, “I look forward to surviving. If I don’t, remember that I wasn’t Hamas or a militant, nor was I used as a human shield. I was at home.”

Israel is very good at crafting its self-image of a moral state besieged by savages, a state which must take unfortunately harsh measures in order to defend itself against the ceaseless existential threat that surrounds it. Israel also benefits from the near-unanimous complicity of Western governments and their imperialistic corporate media organs. It’s a little depressing– or it would be depressing if not so expected– that a majority of Western citizens seems to have no problem buying this bullshit, perhaps because they are okay with the murderous status quo.

UPDATE: Go now and read Chris Floyd’s latest, where he properly excoriates our Liar-in-Chief for his bloodthirsty complicity in Israel’s continuing atrocities:

The narrative that dominates the Washington media and political discourse — “plucky Israel attacked without motive by demonic foes” — is, again, an obvious lie. But that has not stopped it from being repeated endlessly, all across the political spectrum and in every form of media, day after day after day.

It is impossible that Barack Obama does not know these undisputed facts. Standing at the apex of history’s most all-pervasive intelligence system — and receiving daily digests of news reports on volatile areas like the Middle East — he of all people knows that the Hamas rocket fire was a response to an Israeli military action, an Israeli violation of a long ceasefire.

It’s a narrowing road, but I prefer it.

I haven’t much to say these days, because it seems it’s all been said and it’s all being largely ignored. That’s one of the reasons I abandoned Facebook, because of the feeling that the voices I’d come to value were, like me, throwing their pearls of intellectual and moral persistence to willfully ignorant swine. We were preaching to our own self-selected choir, and I found a good moment of comfort and solidarity in sharing the different perspectives of these honest and credible voices, but it was time to retreat from the medium and put energy into other things.

I briefly stuck my toe into another situation last week, when I commented on a Raw Story article about MSNBC hack Rachel Maddow’s propagandist report passive-aggressively blaming Russia and ‘pro-Russian’ separatists for the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine last week. The liberals commenting on the article, with few shining exceptions, were all on board the imperial propaganda bandwagon. Despite the dearth of proof coming out of the Western media and the U.S. government, there was no reason to assume that the separatists had downed the plane; there was certainly no logical reason for Vladimir Putin and Russia to instigate such an atrocity. (For a good ‘cui bono’ approach to analyzing this situation, I defer to the always dependable Dmitry Orlov.) It doesn’t seem to occur to these people that the same voracious imperial war machine that brought us Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya (among many other situations) would have no qualms about instigating a civil war in Ukraine for the primary purpose of antagonizing and weakening Russia. They don’t seem to see a problem with taking on faith that the same corporate media which sold the previous wars and entanglements isn’t lying to them now. Does the presence of the Nobel Prize-winning warmonger-in-chief at the figurehead somehow blind them, or were their morals and logic always lacking integrity?

I briefly engaged the smug, pedantic, and logic-averse arguments of the liberals there, and I soon realized I was falling into the trap described by Mark Twain: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

So I left that alone, too. Still, it’s good to know that the voices that are almost always correct about these matters, morally if not in minute, precise detail, are still out there preaching the gospel. I leave you with a link to one of them, Chris Floyd:

This Wheel’s On Fire: The Terror War’s Disastrous Course

Zionism: it’s the most lethal genocidal self-parody out there

First watch the video below:

http://news.yahoo.com/video/palestinian-israeli-air-strikes-continue-150153203.html

Even with meticulous editorial wizardry, what the Yahoo!News report shows and what it says look like two almost completely different stories. The narrative describes a continuing offensive by Hamas against Israel, with Israel being forced to defend itself despite Hamas intransigence (they rejected a peace deal!). What makes this almost hilarious is that even though the droll narrator and the careful video footage choice omit reference (never mind footage) to the massive death and injury being inflicted upon Gaza with virtual impunity, one can see from the brief and very narrow footage of ‘rocket damage’ in Israeli territory– footage that is so brief and so narrow that one can scarcely identify any damage that might involve military firepower– that the ‘two sides’ are not equal players in this event. Calling it a conflict is beyond inaccurate; it is patently dishonest.

U.S. and Western corporate media, like their counterparts in Western governments (such as the vile John Kerry), seem to eat, breathe, and shit Zionism. The way this plays out in official public discourse would be hilarious, if it weren’t for all those dead and formerly defenseless men, women, and children in Gaza.

Time for reading, thinking, and writing

I just quit Facebook, perhaps for a little while, perhaps for good. I learned an awful lot there from some very smart people, but I’ve reached the point where the reactive nature of the medium has taken too precious a toll. I’m far behind even the most forgiving schedule on a couple of writing projects, largely because I’ve been regularly pouring energy and time into responding and reacting to current events and other issues that were popping up on my page. It’s time to apply discipline and focus to that energy and pour it into my own projects for a while, if only to pursue something resembling personal excellence or competence as our species puts the pedal to the metal as it nears the end of the Anthropocene. If some event or issue piques my interest enough to warrant a bit of written contemplation, I’ll most likely write it on this blog.

Below I give you an example of the stuff to which I strive and aspire. It’s an excerpt from the novel “The Farthest Shore,” written by Ursula K. LeGuin and first published in 1972.

“Do you think we will find what we seek in Hort Town?”

Sparrowhawk shook his head, perhaps meaning no, perhaps meaning that he did not know.

“Can it be a kind of pestilence, a plague, that drifts from land to land, blighting the crops and the flocks and men’s spirits?”

“A pestilence is a motion of the great Balance, of the Equilibrium itself; this is different. There is the stink of evil in it. We may suffer for it when the balance of things rights itself, but we do not lose hope and forego art and forget the words of the Making. Nature is not unnatural. This is not a righting of the Balance, but an upsetting of it. There is only one creature who can do that.”

“A man?” Arren said, tentative.

“We men.”

“How?”

“By an unmeasured desire for life.”

“For life? But it isn’t wrong to want to live?”

“No. But when we crave power over life– endless wealth, unassailable safety, immortality– then desire becomes greed. And if knowledge allies itself to that greed, then comes evil. Then the balance of the world is swayed, and ruin weighs heavy in the scale.”

Just a thought.

“Most heterosexual men who attack lesbians and gay men do so not because of moral or religious conviction but because they feel threatened and uneasy over the mere existence of people whose sexual orientation and relation to women raise questions about their own.”
– Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference, p. 62

It’s well past the time we all got comfortable with the questions.

“I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

This morning I was reading further into a biography of Frances Perkins*.  For those who’ve never heard of her (like me before someone recommended the biography), Perkins was FDR’s Secretary of Labor.  She was the heart, soul, and brains behind most of what came to be called the New Deal.  For all her uncredited accomplishments, and for all the obstacles she had to overcome and sacrifices she chose to make, I was struck by two things.  First, that the New Deal wasn’t some attempt at creating a left-wing, working-class utopia.  It was a very sober campaign of creating institutionalized safety nets and long overdue regulatory regimes, and it was only made possible by the catastrophic global failures of the capitalist systems that had been allowed to run more or less rampant through the first quarter of the 20th Century.  In other words, Frances Perkins wasn’t some wild-eyed progressive visionary; she was a pious, very conventional middle-class Protestant with an almost apolitical sense of fairness and justice.  In a sense, only she had the intellect, and the appropriately liberal sensibilities and somewhat conservative social orientation, to gather in the compromises necessary to make the reforms of the New Deal possible; this was why FDR leaned so heavily on her and gave her so much authority.

The second thing that struck me was the part I got to this morning, wherein Frances Perkins became instrumental in setting up some of the bureaucratic mechanisms that eventually blossomed into the McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts.  Kirsten Downey makes clear that Perkins found the whole process distasteful and ripe for abuse (even before McCarthy and his ilk got deeply involved), but her own anti-communist sensibilities possibly outranked her sense of fairness.

I’m left thinking about Chris Hedges’s indictment of what he labels “the liberal class.”  The McCarthy witch hunts were neither the first nor the last campaigns of organized political purges of leftist activism in the U.S.  According to Hedges, over time the liberal class– academics, theologians, and even some politicians– sold out the communists, socialists, anarchists, and other political and philosophical radicals who’d been the most energetic and creative opponents of the capitalist excesses that had kept the majority of U.S. citizens struggling to stay out of poverty and degradation.

If even one of the most effective liberal policy makers in our country’s history– Frances Perkins– couldn’t leave off or take a solid stand against the commie-bashing that was a flimsy cover for gutting the left of its heart, soul, and spine, then perhaps the liberal class’s fate was inevitable.  Perhaps this was never really a progressive liberal nation, at least not in the way ostensibly envisioned by the sort of liberals who have supported the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.  Perhaps all the liberal hand-wringing over ‘Republican obstructionism’ and ‘holding Obama’s/the Democrats’ feet to the fire’ is irrelevant.  This not a progressive country; it’s a reactionary liberal one, at best.  The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can strategize how to move beyond it, if such a move is possible.

 

*(I suggest you find a copy of Downey’s book and read it.  Her apparently centrist liberal viewpoint was a little annoying to me at first, but the information she very capably lays down is invaluable.)

Fetid, toxic grapes

I’ve had a little trouble articulating my post-election mood, such as it pertained to the election.  Perhaps I’ve had trouble because of the nature of the feeling.  It was in such an odd place, somewhere near the intersection of cynicism, apathy, disgust, and amusement.

The feeling was recently bathed in a defining light, however, by the recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza, or, more accurately, by the collective yawn from the liberal blogosphere (and the occasional liberal pro-Zionist apologias I’d been seeing on Facebook) about the same.

Chris Floyd articulates my feelings about that specific issue here.  Arthur Silber hits them even harder here.

After watching dedicated volunteers work hard to put a solid Green presidential candidate on the ballot Illinois, and after helping an excellent Green get on the ballot in my U.S. congressional district, and seeing both those candidates fail to make more than a tiny dent in the vote totals, and then seeing a huge swath of the country celebrate the reinstallation of a shameless mass murderer as president, I suppose I could best describe my feeling as similar to how Lot must have felt just before he fled Sodom and Gomorrah.

‘You know what, Lord?  I did the best I could to convince these assholes.  They’re incorrigible.  Burn away, Lord.’