If Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren sign on to this, there is really no hope. All right, maybe it's just a Resolution, but still it sends the message that the U.S. will always side with Israel.
Be sure to read the enlightening tweets.
I just got my absentee ballot. A small gesture, perhaps, but I will vote for Hanabusa, because Schatz signed on to this resolution.
More: A small ray of hope, perhaps.
Signs of shifting US opinion in Gallup poll on Israel's Gaza offensive, Americans under 29 say "unjustified" by 51-25
Terry and I parted company in Honolulu: He's in Phoenix now and I'm in Seattle. He will be coming up here on Friday.
My seatmate was a construction company owner who was in Honolulu who had been working on some compliance matters regarding a project. Since I'm reading Bird on Fire, the story of the worst case scenario city in the U.S. ,we had a lot to talk about. Phoenix is a great example of how not to do things.
My very personal conclusion is that the most destructive urban planners are big thinkers who believe details are for the little people. Right now I'm reading about the heavily polluted plume of groundwater under parts of Phoenix and Scottsdale. You would be crazy to drink that stuff.
A long time ago in one of my Reed College classes I studied a work which I can't remember the title of about urban planning in Paris and Barcelona. There the problem has been that they are always behind, and so by the time projects are done they are obsolete and/ or insufficient.
Phoenix is a victim of that old Wild West mentality: Use it up and move on. But that era is over. What to do about the mess left behind by the big polluters?
Going to stop quarreling with my friends on Facebook for a while and take the cat to board. We are on our way again tomorrow. It is brutally humid here, but I am all packed!
More: Below I mentioned a Palestinian I knew who came to the U.S. to study and stayed here instead of going back. Talking over things at lunch with Terry, I asked him if he remembered one of his high school classmates, an Israeli who was in a high school study abroad program. He had lost touch with him. He was quite the guy--fun, adventurous, had a great motorcycle--wondering what might have happened to him, I looked up his name, an unusual one, and to my surprise found that he now lived in Berkeley. I remember him saying he did not want to go back to Israel and did not want to be in the military.
They did not use white phosphorus this time, but they are using some kind of horrific bomb that spews shrapnel that cuts people to pieces.
What is so infuriating to me is that you could turn the clock back to the 80's and realize that, belying all the feel-good rhetoric, we have regressed everywhere when it comes to social justice. A lot of us had great hopes with Clinton. Then we had great hopes with Obama. But the trend is so clearly downward that I don't see how the greatest optimist in the world could imagine ever seeing the kind of improvements that would make a difference to ordinary people. We've run out of money. It's disappeared. We threw it away and not just the rich, either, but all of us. There is no longer the capital to repair our infrastructure, educate everyone and provide good health services.
And now another round of the Cold War! Just what we need!
As a couple of old people who will be pretty well shot in a few years, we have decided to at least get a look at the things we want to see before it's too late. It would be egomania to think we can make much of a difference in this sorry world.
The latest "authorized version" of Israel-Palestine is being put into place. Luckily, we have Democracy Now, "the exception to the rulers," to provide the kind of in-depth on the ground reporting and excellent analysis that is rare in journalism.
He points out that the current Israeli invasion of Gaza was the result of a "green light" given by our State Department, to go and "clean out" the tunnels in Gaza. Kerry's sarcastic aside, caught on Fox News, that this was "some pinpoint operation," Blumenthal considers to be a deliberate and not at all accidental way for him to refuse to take responsibility for his blunder in expecting Netanyahu to act in a measured way. Netanyahu is a fascist, and Israel is becoming a fascist state. Leftists are being bullied and attacked on the street and encouraged to leave the country. Arabs are targets of racist attacks. This is not a country that should be given the kind of loyalty and money that the U.S. lavishes on it.
I heard Hanan Ashwari speak years ago in Portland, sometime in the mid-late 80's. She is the kind of person you don't forget. She described what the Palestinians were going through then, which was living in an outdoor prison, as she put it.Would she have believed that the torture was still going on in 2014? Her belief was that knowing the injustice would mobilize opinion against the occupation and bring freedom to Palestine. I guess we were all naive in those days.
Around that time, too, I got to know a Palestinian man pretty well from taking the bus with him from school. We were both in the Portland State University ESL teaching certificate program, and later we taught at the same campus for a term. He was a very serious and "correct"person and did not joke around, in classes or elsewhere. He told me that he had asked his father whether to stay permanently in the U.S. or to come home. His father said, "Stay where you are. There is nothing for you here." His father knew what would happen, that there was no hope.
Here in Hilo I know a woman who left sometime in the 60's and has returned to Lebanon from time to time to visit family there. She is very anti-Semitic and says the Holocaust was a hoax. I have tried to argue the point with her but without success. Her family was driven from their ancestral home, and that has made her very angry and anguished and half mad.
One thought occurs to me pretty often. Why are the Palestinians being bombed when it was the Germans, not the Palestinians, who destroyed the European Jews? Why are the Palestinians the chosen enemy? What is the advantage of having a population of people who have been persecuted to the point where they are driven to hate the Jews, or at least the occupying Israelis? And why do so many Israelis say that everyone hates the Jews and wants to wipe the Jews out, which is not true at all, probably not even among Palestinians? I think almost anyone can tell the difference between a rabid Israeli nationalist and a normal Jewish person. I'm at a loss to figure out what good the current awful situation does for anyone. It's pure evil.
More: In the current climate, this qualifies as light entertainment.
Well, I watched Pootie Tang and it was not sufficiently entertaining to excuse how awful it was. So I'm off BET for a while. Wanda Sykes was great, as usual, but for the rest of it, it was just junk food for the eyes. I sure miss the 70's, where movie making is concerned. But I guess, too, I'd have to be the different person I was in the 70's to get that thrill again. Today I think I'm more sophisticated but also cruder. Could be lots of people are like that, these days. The mass media are to blame!
The mynahs have been terrorizing Fred the cat, divebombing him from the deck. The deck is on the flightpath between the nest they have made in the palm tree and the breadfruit tree where they hang out. So he lies in the doorway, keeping an eye out for those raucous birds.
Yesterday I held a guinea pig while over at the neighbor's. These guinea pigs are on vacation from a school class. I realized that Fred is a genius compared to a guinea pig. If they did not eat and poop it would be hard to distinguish them from stuffed toys.
Our neighbor has created a farmlet next door. Her kids love it. I think it's fun, too. I try to visit over there once a day.
We are going to be gone during the Democratic Primary, and the early voting starts too late for us, so we have to pick up absentee ballots. Having just remembered after watching Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue's documentary, Body of War (available on Netflix) that Abercrombie voted against the authorization of force in Iraq, I am going to vote for him. The unlikely hero who emerges from this film was Robert Byrd.
Clearly his major concern was preventing an unbalancing of the three branches of government. He said that Congress had the power to declare war, not the President. So he was thinking in institutional terms, but he did the right thing in this case. But he was also incensed about the Vietnam War where 50,000 Americans died and untold numbers of Vietnamese. And thinking it over, I don't want to vote for anyone who authorized that war. What a disgrace.
I was working up at the prison, and except for Mary and me, everyone, staff and inmates, was just go go and pumped up about the war,which looked like an easy kill and patriotic shot in the arm for America. The media were pumping out the propaganda by the bilgeload and almost everyone fell for it. The fact that some of us had figured out the truth proves that there were ways of knowing what was happening.
And now with social media and other kinds of online publishing, it is possible to get a fair idea of the current assaults and their motives for anyone who really wants to know.
At the same time, theory is important. Why are the Israelis bashing the Palestinians again? Why is the Ukrainian government destroying cities in the east of the country causing thousands to flee into Russia? Why are Honduran children being sent back to a country where they will be killed or turned into soldiers or prostitutes for the drug lords? What are the commonalities of fascism now on display in Israel, Ukraine, Honduras and the U.S?
This is hardly one thing happening after another but something systematic going on. The goal is not to exterminate; it is to subordinate and humiliate or drive away whole peoples through terror. I don't even think it's about money and resources at this point. All these assaults on civilians are only destructive of property and lives. What kind of activism is effective against such a juggernaut of evil?
Somehow I guess I'm supposed to feel lucky because nobody is persecuting me personally, but we all pay for living in the times we live in.
Applying Foucault here, I'd say that these groups do perform a valuable service. We value them as the lesser beings against whom we measure our relative good fortune. They are the ones whose bodies may be starved, confined, banished, even murdered, all in good conscience and with every legal means.
I had a card for a while. Being at one time a part of the disciplinarian industry, or prison industrial complex, it is enlightening for me to be reading Foucault's Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. He understands the theory behind the penal system and explains things in a lucid way. The translation is very good. The link has a lot of excellent reviews of the book. I read it four or five pages at a time and just sit and think about what he's saying. It's like little lightbulbs of enlightenment going off in my brain. Terry says watch out for the big ones, or I could get a stroke.
I collect cards. Here are a few I like: You can enlarge the image for a better look.
That's my generation, born in the 20s and 30s. Say from post WW I to the end of WW II. We were just people who did not represent much of anything but ourselves. Some of my Meh friends are conformist to the point of ridiculousness, and a lot of us, like Terry and me, are recluses at heart, no matter how much we have had to be in the world. My childhood was quiet and mostly uneventful and not something I worried about, one way or the other. Nobody saw anything special about me or tried to burnish my talents. My parents, in common with many others of their generation, had a very tough time of it and parenting was stressful for them.
So mostly I got left alone with my own thoughts, which has given me a lot of freedom in old age. This is also true of Terry. Only now do we appreciate what a gift from our parents that was to let us have our own thoughts. So we don't have to keep with the program as it's laid out for elders but can just go our own way, as we did when we were children.
Sometimes we were called the "silent generation," but I think that was because we had to be called something, I guess. Strangely enough, many of the Boomer idols are actually pre-Boomers, though mostly on the younger side of the demographic. The same is true of important civil rights activists. By the 70's, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll had taken over, and horrified adults fled into enclaves everywhere unless they decided to join the party (I'll never forget my father in law throwing a tantrum at the sight of a long-haired kid walking down the street. And his attitude toward blacks was shameful, too.)
By contrast to us (as a group, only, you understand), Boomers are poor and unsystematic thinkers, due to the drugs, I guess, and all that running around they do. Their great strength, though, is that they will try just about anything! That attribute of theirs really did free things up in so many ways! The stolid conventionality that some elders still cling to was the norm until the 70's. I am kind of conventional in that style sometimes, but I can be very free, too. What I won't do is cross the line into risky behavior, because that always has consequences I'm not willing to suffer.
Well I meant to do this and that, catching up on the many things that did not get taken care of while I was sick , but instead I wrote this piece of self indulgence. Back to work!
Tonight I will reward myself by watching Pootie Tang. If you watch sports, don't criticize my taste!