Progressive Calendar 01.14.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 01:53:01 -0800 (PST)
          P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.14.09

1. Green jobs action 1.14 12noon 3:30pm 4:15pm 1pm 12:30pm
2. Heffel finger     1.14 3:30pm
3. U district plans  1.14 7pm
4. Women's rights    1.14 7pm
5. AI St Paul        1.14 7:30pm

6. Stop dirty coal   1.15 9:30am
7. Protest MN cuts   1.15 11:30am
8. Eagan peace vigil 1.15 4:30pm
9. Northtown vigil   1.15 5pm
10. AntiWarMN        1.15 7pm
11. Justice for Bush 1.15 7pm

12. Uri Avnery      - The blood-stained monster enters Gaza
13. Mike Whitney    - Israel's moral and political insanity
14. Gilles d'Aymery - Walking away from Israel made easier
15. Dave Lindorff   - The march of atrocities from Vietnam to Gaza
16. ed              - Theocide?  (poem)

--------1 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Green jobs action 1.14 12noon 3:30pm 4:15pm 1pm 12:30pm

WED.JAN.14, NOON: Economic Recovery Congressional Actions at
MINNESOTA's CONGRESS-MEMBERS' MN OFFICES

Economic Recovery Congressional Action

Wall Street greed has plunged us into an economic crisis, and we urgently
need to invest in creating new jobs to get our economy going again. If we
make smart, targeted investments to switch our economy to clean energy
sources - a "green recovery plan" - then it would boost our economy in the
long run, too.

In his first major initiative, President-elect Obama is calling on
Congress to pass an economic recovery package - and he's calling for an
unprecedented investment in green jobs.

It's shaping up to be a big fight, and we need to get his back - so on
January 14, we're going to deliver petitions to local congressional
offices, calling on Congress to pass Obama's economic plan.

Economic Recovery Congressional Actions at MINNESOTA CONGRESS-MEMBERS' MN
OFFICES: Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009, 12:00 PM Economic Recovery Congressional
Action <http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=88706&id=>
- 3 miles away Rep. Keith Ellison's Office *38* registered participant(s)
(50 maximum) 2100 Plymouth Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411

Directions: From Highway 394 (just west of downtown Mpls, take Penn Ave.
exit and go north on Penn to Plymouth Ave. N. 2100 is on the corner of
Penn Ave. and Plymouth Ave. N.

Organized by Jane & Geza Simon

Description We'll deliver a petition to Congress to move quickly to pass
the Economic Recovery Stimulus Package that the President-elect has
proposed. Even though our representative is progressive, we must give him
ammunition to persuade his more reluctant congressional colleagues to join
with him in passing this legislation.

-2-

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009, 3:30 PM Deliver petitions to McCollum's Office
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=90547&id=> - 7
miles away Selby and Western St. Paul

165 Western Ave. North Suite 17 (Blair Arcade)
St. Paul, MN 55102

Directions: St. Paul Cathedral hill neighborhood. Exit 94 west of Downtown
St. Paul at Dale. Go South on Dale. 2nd Traffic Light on Dale should be
Selby. Left on Selby. First 4 Way Stop is Western. McCollum's Office is in
the building on the SW Corner.

Organized by Charles Stander

Description The purpose of this meeting is to tell Betty McCollum to act
boldly and to act now to pass the stimulus package. For every day that we
now wait or point the fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose
their jobs. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some
point,we will not be able to reverse the damage done by the neocons.

-3-

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009, 4:15 PM Petitioning Paulson
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=90936&id=> - 11
miles away new Congressman's office in Eden Prairie

250 Prairie Center Dr Lobby (then #230)
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Directions: I-494 to Prairie Center Drive, SW to bank building at NE
corner of Eden Prairie Shopping Center. Gather in building entrance
lobby around MoveOn sign by 4:15 pm and enter #230 together.

Organized by Comsnr. Bill Weir

Description Help deliver our MoveOn petitions (420+) to John Paul (JP)
Yates, in the district office of our new Congressman, Eric H. Paulson. His
receptionist Laurie (at 952-405-8510) tells me the conference room
currently has chairs for ten. Others will stand or sit on the floor.

-4-

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009, 1:00 PM Congressional Action Petition Delivery
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=89170&id=> - 13
miles away

Representative John Kline's Burnsville Office
101 W Burnsville Pkwy #201
Burnsville, MN 55337

Organized by Jennifer Piehl

Description We will present a petition to Rep. Kline's staff requesting
that he support and approve an economic recovery package that President
Obama can sign as soon as he is inaugurated. This event focuses on the
residents of the 2nd Congressional District and their concerns about the
future of our economy.

Check out my website for more info:
http://www.geocities.com/jenpiehl/RedWingForObama/rwforobama_intro.html
or if you just want to stay in touch you can email me at
redwingforobama [at] yahoo.com

-5-

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009, 12:30 PM Stimulus Shot
<http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=89198&id=> -
parking lot of Congresswoman Bachmann's Woodbury office

6043 Hudson Rd, Suite 330
Woodbury, MN 55125

Organized by Michelle Deziel

Description Will Congresswoman Michele Bachmann deny the stimulus shot
Minnesotans need? Congresswoman Bachmann, it's not time to be clueless
about a sick economy. Don't stand in the way of an economic recovery for
Minnesotans. It's time to cure this malady!


--------2 of 16--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: Heffel finger 1.14 3:30pm

[Give this report the Heffelfinger. -ed]

RELEASE OF HEFFELFINGER/LUGER REPORT ON RNC POLICING
St. Paul City Council Meeting
Wednesday, January 14
3:30 p.m.
St. Paul City Hall, 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 300, St. Paul

On Wednesday, the city of St. Paul will release the Heffelfinger/Luger
report on RNC policing during the St. Paul City Council meeting. We'll be
there! This report has been a hollow attempt at tricking the public into
thinking the city is interested in addressing the problems we saw and
experienced during the RNC. But it doesn't include any review of police
misconduct or brutality, so all it serves to do is tell the cops what a
great job they did. Obviously, we disagree.

Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS) will have t-shirts
available and is organizing the community's response.  Of note--despite
widespread interest in this report, the St. Paul city council will not
take comment from the public at this meeting.  At least that's what they
say... [One more reason to REPLACE the 6 antidemocratic CC members;  alas
we have to wait 3 long years (Nov 2011) to do so. Till then we can show
and tell them what we think of them. -ed]


--------3 of 16--------

From: "Gordon, Cam A." <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com>
Subject: U district plans 1.14 7pm

Planning for University District. There will be a meeting on Wednesday
January 14th at 7:00 at Van Cleve Park.

Sponsored by the University District Partnership Alliance to discuss
individual and general hopes the University area neighborhoods have for
the District. The District includes Cedar Riverside, Prospect Park East
River Road and Southeast Como. The goal is to develop a vision and set of
graphics that can be shared among the existing partners and that can be
communicated to potential partners including the state legislature.


--------4 of 16--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Women's rights 1.14 7pm

January 14: Women's Human Rights Program, Advocates for Human Rights and
the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. Film Series: "Sasa!" 7 PM at
the Rice Street Branch Library, 1011 Rice Street, St. Paul.


--------5 of 16--------

From: AaronTovo <aaron [at] tovo.net>
Subject: AI St Paul 1.14 7:30pm

The St Paul chapter of Amnesty International will have its monthly meeting
at the Mad Hatter Tea House on W 7th St.  This will be the 1st meeting
with Jeremiah Schimp as the new Coordinator.  In addition to the usual
letter writing and current events discussion we'll make plans for using
the arts to bring human rights education to the St Paul public high
schools.

Wednesday, Jan 14th, 7:30-9:00 PM
We'll make plans for using the arts to bring human rights education to the
St Paul public high schools.
Our meetings are held at the Mad Hatter Tea House, located at 943 West
Seventh Street in St. Paul, MN 55102-3501


--------6 of 16--------

From: Cesia Kearns  <cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org>
Subject: Stop dirty coal 1.15 9:30am

Last Chance to Stop Dirty Coal in MN - Pull the Plug on Big Stone II!

We know there's no hope of solving global warming if we build new
coal-fired power plants.  After three years of delay due to our organizing
and our allies' efforts, Minnesota decision-makers will determine the
future - or finality- of Big Stone II, a dirty coal-fired power plant
proposed near the South Dakota border.  This week the Minnesota Public
Utilities Commission (PUC) will vote on the certificate of need for Big
Stone II, and it's critical to have a strong public presence.

Can you join us for one of these important meetings to show the PUC that
Minnesotans want to pull the plug on Big Stone II - once and for all?

January 15th at 9:30am - deliberations and decision - the Commissioners
will discuss the project and then vote.  A strong public presence is
important Thursday morning, as this is when the commissioners will
actually vote. Stay as long as you can - the entire time, or a half hour.

WHERE: The Public Utilities Commission, downtown Saint Paul at 121 7th
Place East, 3rd floor of the Metro Square Building on the corner of
Jackson and 7th Streets.  It will be in the large hearing room.  For
directions to the PUC visit
http://www.puc.state.mn.us/PUC/aboutus/contactus/index.html

CONTACT: To RSVP, for questions, or to volunteer, contact Cesia at
612-659-9124 ext. 310 or email cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org Visit
www.northstar.sierraclub.org


--------7 of 16--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Protest MN cuts 1.15 11:30am

Pawlenty will give the State of the State address inside the house
chambers at the State Capitol.
This Thursday at 12 noon (gathering at 11:30 am)
State Capitol inside the House Chambers.
located on the Second Floor of the State Capitol

The MN Coalition for a People's Bailout along with the Welfare Rights
Committee, other groups and supports will be there as a presence. Pawlenty
will be proposing CUTS instead of talking about a real fix like taxing the
wealthiest in the state and taxing the bailout that corporations are
getting. We know our families can't and won't take any more cuts. We need
the bailout not the corporations and the rich.

This is another time to get your voice heard. Join us at 11:30 am in front
of the House Chambers. That way we can have our signs front and center.
Every member of every branch of government will be there. Before they are
called into the Chambers, they have to stand in the lobby where they will
see us and hear us included Gov Pawlenty.


--------8 of 16--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 1.15 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.


--------9 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.15 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------10 of 16--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: AntiWarMN 1.15 7pm

ORGANIZE WITH THE A.W.C.: The Anti-War Committee always need help
organizing protests and educational events. Join us at our weekly meetings
(Thursdays at 7pm, 1313 5th St SE #112C, Minneapolis).


--------11 of 16--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Justice for Bush 1.15 7pm

THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM
Free and open to the public.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in
church lot.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 7:00 - 9:00 P.M.
BRINGING BUSH & CO. TO JUSTICE: HOW BEST TO PROCEED?

Peace and justice activists have been enormously frustrated by the failure
to impeach and remove Bush and Cheney from office. After January 19, what
actions under U.S. and international law can be taken against them, along
with other culpable members of their administration and their cohorts in
the private sector? Who could those persons be? Under what codes and in
what courts could they be charged? What support would be needed from the
Obama administration, Congress and the public?

Presenters: FORMER FBI COUNSEL COLEEN ROWLEY and PROFESSOR BARBARA FREY

Ms. Rowley received a B.A. in French from Wartburg College, graduated with
honors from the University of Iowa College of Law, and passed the Iowa Bar
Exam. She became an FBI Special Agent in 1981 and worked on organized drug
crime in New York, Italy, France and Canada. In 1990 she became the Chief
Division Counsel in Minneapolis, "blew the whistle" on pre-9/11 "lapses,"
and was named a "Time Magazine Person of the Year." She left the FBI in
2004 and is now a dynamic advocate for the rule of law.

Professor Frey directs the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal
Arts at the U. of Minnesota. She is a well known international human
rights teacher, advocate and scholar and has won numerous awards for her
work. She served as Executive Director of Minnesota Advocates for Human
rights (1985-96), as an alternate member of the UN Commission on the
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (2000-03) and as the
Sub-commission's Special Rapporteur to study human rights abuses with
small arms (2000-06)


--------12 of 16---------

How Many Divisions?
The Blood-Stained Monster Enters Gaza
By URI AVNERY
January 12, 2009
CounterPunch

Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was
committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang
of extremists called "the Red Army" held the millions of the town's
inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht
from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to
bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused
the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The
Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions
of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their
Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the
Blitz.

This is the description that would now appear in the history books - if
the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being
repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as
"hostages" and exploit the women and children as "human shields", they
leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which,
to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are
killed and injured.

* * *

IN THIS WAR, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The
disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its
airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few
thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one
to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider.
But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.

Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli
propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the
story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp.
The rationale of the Israeli government ("The state must defend its
citizens against the Qassam rockets") has been accepted as the whole
truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation
for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the
Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.

Only when the horrible scenes from Gaza started to appear on Western TV
screens, did world public opinion gradually begin to change.

True, Western and Israeli TV channels showed only a tiny fraction of the
dreadful events that appear 24 hours every day on Aljazeera's Arabic
channel, but one picture of a dead baby in the arms of its terrified
father is more powerful than a thousand elegantly constructed sentences
from the Israeli army spokesman. And that is what is decisive, in the end.

War - every war - is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or
psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one's
country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a
traitor.

The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist
himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and
falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions.

An example of this process surrounds the most shocking atrocity of this
war so far: the shelling of the UN Fakhura school in Jabaliya refugee
camp.

Immediately after the incident became known throughout the world, the army
"revealed" that Hamas fighters had been firing mortars from near the
school entrance. As proof they released an aerial photo which indeed
showed the school and the mortar. But within a short time the official
army liar had to admit that the photo was more than a year old. In brief:
a falsification.

Later the official liar claimed that "our soldiers were shot at from
inside the school." Barely a day passed before the army had to admit to UN
personnel that that was a lie, too. Nobody had shot from inside the
school, no Hamas fighters were inside the school, which was full of
terrified refugees.

But the admission made hardly any difference anymore. By that time, the
Israeli public was completely convinced that "they shot from inside the
school", and TV announcers stated this as a simple fact.

So it went with the other atrocities. Every baby metamorphosed, in the act
of dying, into a Hamas terrorist. Every bombed mosque instantly became a
Hamas base, every apartment building an arms cache, every school a terror
command post, every civilian government building a "symbol of Hamas rule".
Thus the Israeli army retained its purity as the "most moral army in the
world".

* * *

THE TRUTH is that the atrocities are a direct result of the war plan. This
reflects the personality of Ehud Barak - a man whose way of thinking and
actions are clear evidence of what is called "moral insanity", a
sociopathic disorder.

The real aim (apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to
terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the
planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign
country. The reality is, of course, entirely different.

The Hamas movement won the majority of the votes in the eminently
democratic elections that took place in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and
the Gaza Strip. It won because the Palestinians had come to the conclusion
that Fatah's peaceful approach had gained precisely nothing from Israel -
neither a freeze of the settlements, nor release of the prisoners, nor any
significant steps toward ending the occupation and creating the
Palestinian state. Hamas is deeply rooted in the population - not only as
a resistance movement fighting the foreign occupier, like the Irgun and
the Stern Group in the past - but also as a political and religious body
that provides social, educational and medical services.

>From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a
foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other
Palestinian regions. They do not "hide behind the population", the
population views them as their only defenders.

Therefore, the whole operation is based on erroneous assumptions. Turning
life into living hell does not cause the population to rise up against
Hamas, but on the contrary, it unites behind Hamas and reinforces its
determination not to surrender. The population of Leningrad did not rise
up against Stalin, any more than the Londoners rose up against Churchill.

He who gives the order for such a war with such methods in a densely
populated area knows that it will cause dreadful slaughter of civilians.
Apparently that did not touch him. Or he believed that "they will change
their ways" and "it will sear their consciousness", so that in future they
will not dare to resist Israel.

A top priority for the planners was the need to minimize casualties among
the soldiers, knowing that the mood of a large part of the pro-war public
would change if reports of such casualties came in. That is what happened
in Lebanon Wars I and II.

This consideration played an especially important role because the entire
war is a part of the election campaign. Ehud Barak, who gained in the
polls in the first days of the war, knew that his ratings would collapse
if pictures of dead soldiers filled the TV screens.

Therefore, a new doctrine was applied: to avoid losses among our soldiers
by the total destruction of everything in their path. The planners were
not only ready to kill 80 Palestinians to save one Israeli soldier, as has
happened, but also 800. The avoidance of casualties on our side is the
overriding commandment, which is causing record numbers of civilian
casualties on the other side.

That means the conscious choice of an especially cruel kind of warfare -
and that has been its Achilles heel.

A person without imagination, like Barak (his election slogan: "Not a Nice
Guy, but a Leader") cannot imagine how decent people around the world
react to actions like the killing of whole extended families, the
destruction of houses over the heads of their inhabitants, the rows of
boys and girls in white shrouds ready for burial, the reports about people
bleeding to death over days because ambulances are not allowed to reach
them, the killing of doctors and medics on their way to save lives, the
killing of UN drivers bringing in food. The pictures of the hospitals,
with the dead, the dying and the injured lying together on the floor for
lack of space, have shocked the world. No argument has any force next to
an image of a wounded little girl lying on the floor, twisting with pain
and crying out: "Mama! Mama!"

The planners thought that they could stop the world from seeing these
images by forcibly preventing press coverage. The Israeli journalists, to
their shame, agreed to be satisfied with the reports and photos provided
by the Army Spokesman, as if they were authentic news, while they
themselves remained miles away from the events. Foreign journalists were
not allowed in either, until they protested and were taken for quick tours
in selected and supervised groups. But in a modern war, such a sterile
manufactured view cannot completely exclude all others - the cameras are
inside the strip, in the middle of the hell, and cannot be controlled.
Aljazeera broadcasts the pictures around the clock and reaches every home.

* * *

THE BATTLE for the TV screen is one of the decisive battles of the war.

Hundreds of millions of Arabs from Mauritania to Iraq, more than a billion
Muslims from Nigeria to Indonesia see the pictures and are horrified. This
has a strong impact on the war. Many of the viewers see the rulers of
Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as collaborators with Israel
in carrying out these atrocities against their Palestinian brothers.

The security services of the Arab regimes are registering a dangerous
ferment among the peoples. Hosny Mubarak, the most exposed Arab leader
because of his closing of the Rafah crossing in the face of terrified
refugees, started to pressure the decision-makers in Washington, who until
that time had blocked all calls for a cease-fire. These began to
understand the menace to vital American interests in the Arab world and
suddenly changed their attitude - causing consternation among the
complacent Israeli diplomats.

People with moral insanity cannot really understand the motives of normal
people and must guess their reactions. "How many divisions has the Pope?"
Stalin sneered. "How many divisions have people of conscience?" Ehud Barak
may well be asking.

As it turns out, they do have some. Not numerous. Not very quick to react.
Not very strong and organized. But at a certain moment, when the
atrocities overflow and masses of protesters come together, that can
decide a war.

* * *

THE FAILURE to grasp the nature of Hamas has caused a failure to grasp the
predictable results. Not only is Israel unable to win the war, Hamas
cannot lose it.

Even if the Israeli army were to succeed in killing every Hamas fighter to
the last man, even then Hamas would win. The Hamas fighters would be seen
as the paragons of the Arab nation, the heroes of the Palestinian people,
models for emulation by every youngster in the Arab world. The West Bank
would fall into the hands of Hamas like a ripe fruit, Fatah would drown in
a sea of contempt, the Arab regimes would be threatened with collapse.

If the war ends with Hamas still standing, bloodied but unvanquished, in
face of the mighty Israeli military machine, it will look like a fantastic
victory, a victory of mind over matter.

What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image
of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war
crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have
severe consequences for our long-term future, our standing in the world,
our chance of achieving peace and quiet.

In the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the
State of Israel.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is
a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.


--------13 of 16--------

"Has God Changed His Mind?"
Israel's Moral and Political Insanity
By MIKE WHITNEY
January 12, 2009
CounterPunch

Apart from the slaughter of 900 Palestinians and the vast destruction from
14 days of aerial bombardment, the Israeli invasion of Gaza has failed to
achieve any of its strategic objectives. The Palestinian resistance is
still intact, the rocket-fire has continued, and Hamas is stronger than
ever. So, what has been gained? Hamas has withstood the ferocious Israeli
assault without knuckling under or making any concessions. They've proved
that they are the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and
the standard bearers of the national liberation movement. Their place at
the head of the government is now assured thanks to Israel's criminal
blunder. In contrast, Mahmoud Abbas and the PA have ended up looking like
cowards and quislings kowtowing to Tel Aviv.

For Israel, the military campaign has been a public relations disaster.
Photos on the internet of bloodied and dismembered children rushed off to
make-shift hospitals or wrapped in their funereal shrouds has generated
unprecedented sympathy for the plight of Palestinians. Israel has come
across as a bully. The establishment press has also suffered yet another
blow to its credibility. This could be a tipping point for the corporate
media. Arab news channels have come of age while more and more westerners
are turning to independent media for their news.

Presently, Israel is looking for a way to wind down its rampage and
withdraw its troops, but Hamas is not making that easy. On Saturday, Hamas
chief Khalid Meshaal rejected UN Resolution 1860 which calls for a
ceasefire and issued this statement:

"We want the immediate and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza
and the lifting of the unjust siege on Gaza that has led to the current
situation. Our other request is the opening of all border crossings
including the Rafah border crossing. We, with an open mind, will deal with
any initiatives and decisions based on these three requests. Therefore, we
will not accept any negotiations for a truce in the light of and under the
pressure of a military campaign and siege.

"Let the military campaign stop, let the Israelis withdraw, and let the
rights of our people be admitted to, let them recognize our rights to live
without a siege and closed border crossings, just like other humans, then
we are ready to discuss a truce, just like we did before. We will not
accept a permanent truce, because it will take the right of resistance
from the Palestinian people. The resistance is against occupation and
military campaigns and therefore as long as occupation exists, resistance
will too... We will also not accept the interference of international
forces because international forces will come only to protect Israel's
security and any international force imposed will be considered as
occupiers.

"We will not accept any talks about strengthening the 'choke hold' on the
resistance concerning its weapons. Some are speaking about the tunnels as
if Gaza is a super power with advanced weapons, while we are people with
very limited capabilities to defend our territories and ourselves. No body
has the right to take our legitimate right for defense and resistance. The
US, as if the whole of the Israeli arsenal does not exists, sends hundreds
of tons of explosives and artillery shells to Israel.

"Some express fear that after all the sacrifices, the leadership of the
resistance may collapse or make a settlement for example. On the contrary,
the blood of our women and children and people will increase our cohesion
and determination to achieve our aims. It is unjust that after all these
massacres to just go and say lets make a truce. On the contrary, the price
of this bloodshed is freedom and to decide our own destiny and to end the
occupation and siege."  (Meshaal: Resistance is all we have in Gaza, Press
TV).

Meshaal knows that Israel doesn't want to reoccupy Gaza. He also knows
that Defence Minister Ehud Barak doesn't want to be bogged down when
elections roll around in 4 weeks. Israel was hoping to rout Hamas quickly
and install Abbas's PA security guards at the Rafah crossing. But now
they've hit a glitch and the battle is starting to look like a quagmire.
As long as Hamas stands firm and refuses to cave in, it will be hard for
Barak to withdraw.

The Olmert administration seems to have huddled with French President
Nicholas Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to work out an exit
strategy so Israel could get out of Gaza before the January 20 deadline.
That's when Barak Obama is inaugurated as president. Sarkozy and Mubarak
have been working the diplomatic channels for support for UN Resolution
1860. The Bush administration rejected the ceasefire twice, to give Israel
more time to kill more Palestinians, but eventually relented and allowed
the resolution to pass. No one anticipated that Meshaal would throw a
spanner in Israel's plans. Now Olmert and Co. will either have to invent a
pretext for leaving or declare "victory" and simply pull out. Either way,
critics are likely to judge Olmert's decision harshly.

Already, Israel has begun to rattle off excuses so it can save face when
it slinks back over the border. Yaakov Katz, military analyst for the
Jerusalem Post, said in an interview with al Jazeera that, "Israel made
very clear from the beginning of this operation that they may not be able
to put an end to the rocket fire. I don't think we can measure the success
of the operation from the number of rockets that are fired into Israel."

This is a lie. In fact, Israeli officials repeatedly said that the mission
would continue until the rocket fire was ended. In fact, the stated
purpose of the invasion was to stop the rocketfire. Israel is just moving
the goalposts once again.

On a similar note, Ehud Olmert said on Sunday that Israel was "approaching
the goals it set for itself" in Gaza. This is another lie. The rocketfire
has not stopped and Israel has shown that it is incapable of stopping it.
By their own standards, the mission was a failure.

Barak is finding that it's difficult to control events once the war-genie
is out of the bottle. What better reminder of America's failed Middle East
policy than to have the fighting in Gaza overshadow the festivities in
Washington on Jan 20. It might have a positive effect though, by shedding
some light on the minuscule difference between Bush and Obama. As stated
on ABC News on Sunday:

"Comparing his approach to the Middle East to that of previous
administrations, Obama suggested that he will not be making a clean break
from the Bush policy. "I think that if you look not just at the Bush
administration, but also what happened under the Clinton administration,
you are seeing the general outlines of an approach."...When asked if he
would say the same in Israel today, Obama said, "I think that's a basic
principle of any country is that they've got to protect their citizens."
(Obama: Gitmo Likely Won't Close in First 100 Days ABC News)

Indeed; Israel must "protect their citizens". Will Obama rubber stamp the
brutal siege of the world's most densely populated area, giving a green
light to the bombing of ambulances, cultural centers, mosques, apartments,
medical clinics and hundreds of civilians? We'll see. Over 1,400 targets
have been destroyed in Gaza already; none of them with any military value.
There are no military bases in Gaza despite the claims of the New York
Times. These were all civilian buildings, which posed no threat to Israeli
security. Let Obama state his position when he is sworn in so his
supporters know where he stands from Day 1.

A report in the International Herald Tribune says that the people who are
most likely to play significant roles on the Middle East in the Obama
administration are "Dennis Ross (the veteran Clinton administration
Mideast peace envoy who may now extend his brief to Iran); Jim Steinberg
(as deputy secretary of state); Dan Kurtzer (the former U.S. ambassador to
Israel); Dan Shapiro (a longtime aide to Obama); and Martin Indyk (another
former ambassador to Israel who is close to the incoming secretary of
state, Hillary Clinton.)  (Roger Cohen, International Herald tribune,
"Mideast Dream Team? Not quite")

The only difference between this gaggle of pro-Israel hawks and the Bush
claque is that they are more adept at creating the illusion of a "peace
process" to conceal the theft of Palestinian land. Other than that, the
differences are negligible. These are hardline Zionists whose aims are the
same as the Haganah in 1948 whose task it was "to uproot the villagers,
expel them and destroy the villages themselves." The basic job description
hasn't changed in 60 years.

Israel has been sharply criticized for its disproportionate use of force
in Gaza. But there are some Israeli fanatics who believe that Israel
should use even greater force--widespread lethal force. The Jerusalem Post
reports on that Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written a
letter to Prime Minsiter Ehud Olmert informing him that "all civilians
living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on
Sderot....Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition
against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive
military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings."

"No moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians"

Isn't this the definition of terrorism?

One Israeli settler leader recently argued during a conversation with a
visiting American peace activist that 'if it was right to commit genocide
during Biblical time, why can't it be right to commit genocide now. Has
God changed his mind?' the settler wondered sarcastically.

Israeli peace activist and author Uri Avnery has an expression for this
type of thinking. He calls it "moral insanity", a sociopathic disorder.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and can be reached at
fergiewhitey [at] msn.com


--------14 of 16--------

Walking Away From Israel Made Easier
by Gilles d'Aymery

(Swans - January 12, 2009)  When even Roger Cohen of The New York Times
cannot stomach the Israeli rampage in Gaza - "I have never previously
felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing
of any peace that might terminate the dominion of the dead in favor of
opportunity for the living." ("The Dominion of the Dead," NYT Op-Ed,
January 8, 2009) - you sense that the gatekeepers' efforts to keep the
official narrative going - Israelis (Jewish Israelis), light of
civilization; IDF, ethical, doesn't shoot at civilians; "there is no
humanitarian crisis;" Palestinians (Arabs, Muslims), barbarians; Israeli
Arabs, Fifth Column, Hamas, terrorists) - are being increasingly
frustrated by a worldwide outcry. Officialdom may still be fossilized in
the old paradigm, but public opinion has moved on thanks mainly to the
Internet, generational change, and with the help of the repeated ferocity
and strategic blunders of a country, Israel, that is no longer admired and
cherished, but viewed as the little Sparta that it has become.

People are walking away from the old narrative in droves - people of all
congregational backgrounds. And people are less and less afraid to let
their voices be heard. I am actually stupefied by the huge increase in the
number of people that just "have had it." Here are a few names in the U.S.
- all writers with a constituency and a following: Robert Scheer, Chris
Hedges, Gary Kamiya, Glenn Greenwald, Juan Cole, Gary Leupp, Jimmy Carter,
Wallace Shawn, Jeff Huber, Helen Thomas, Andrew J. Bacevich, Amy Goodman,
Max Blumenthal, Naomi Klein, Robert Dreyfuss...and that's just a small
sampler. The flood has broken the gates.

Walking away can be a long and painful emotional process, like fleeing
from a violent and abusive father, but once done, there is no turning
back. It may subject you to the usual accusations of being an anti-Semite
or a self-hating Jew, but you no longer care. You've become immune to the
slandering epithets. You have broken the shackles of the narrative and the
myths, once and for all. To me, it happened over a twenty-year period,
upon which I may, or may not, reflect in the future. It actually took
place in 2006 (see the archives). I've not been looking back ever since. I
do not care whether Israel becomes a pariah nation that may well take the
entire world down with its psychopathic paranoia. There is little I can do
about this tragedy. I simply walked away - and I do my best not to buy
anything that has a tag that reads, "Made in Israel." Like I do my best
not to buy books online because of my attachment to local bookstores, I
also do my best not to buy anything from a country that has lost my
support because of its lack of ethics, morality, and simple humanness.

Enough said. Instead of going on with my thoughts, let me pass on a series
of articles and analyses that will help you make up your mind and,
hopefully, convince (and comfort) you in the absolute necessity to walk
away from that folly. You won't be alone.

.   How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
By Avi Shlaim - The Guardian, 07 January 2009
("Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the
Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its
merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions." Shlaim:
"The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through
understanding the historical context." An excellent, must-read analysis.)

.   Understanding Gaza
By Tony Karon - Rootless Cosmopolitan, December 31, 2008
(Tony Karon takes on the demagoguery of Benny Morris in Morris's NYT Op-Ed
of December 30, 2008, "Why Israel Feels Threatened," and the cynical
politics behind the failed US-Israeli strategy vis-a-vis the
Palestinians.)

.   Party to Murder
By Chris Hedges - Truthdig, December 29, 2008
(Hedges "covered the Mideast for The New York Times for seven years."
Hedges: "The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and
Afghanistan, are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and
Islamic radicals.")

.   Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony
By Robert Fisk - The Independent, 30 December 2008
(What the MSM won't tell you, "that the original, legal owners of the
Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.")

.   The Mutual Suicide Pact of Israelis and Palestinians
By William Pfaff - williampfaff.com, December 12, 2008
("The goal of the settler movement - there is no secret about it - is the
annexation of Palestine, logically requiring expulsion of the Palestinians
from the entire country, or their reduction to a permanent condition of
subordination, in which they would be deprived of elementary political
rights.")

.   An Unnecessary War
Jimmy Carter, The Washington Post, January 8, 2009
("I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza
by Israel could easily have been avoided." Which party really broke the
cease-fire?)

.   The Necessary Destruction of Hamas
By William Pfaff - williampfaff.com, December 31, 2008
("Whether reasonable or not, it was probably inevitable that the men and
women who created Israel would turn it into a modern equivalent of Sparta.
. . . . Israel was humiliated by Hizbollah in Lebanon two years ago. It
must reestablish its position of total military domination of the Middle
East. Destroying Hamas is the way to do it.")

.   Enough. It's time for a boycott
By Naomi Klein - The Guardian, 10 January 2009
(Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: the author advocates the imposition of
"broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel
similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era."

.   Gaza: the logic of colonial power
By Nir Rosen - The Guardian, 29 December 2008
("As so often, the term 'terrorism' has proved a rhetorical smokescreen
under cover of which the strong crush the weak."

.   Israel in Gaza: Irrationality
Wallace Shawn - The Nation, December 29, 2008
("Actions based on irrational premises inevitably fail in their
purposes--they fail, and if the premises don't change, then the actions
are inevitably repeated, in forms which are more and more grotesque.")

.   Israel struggles with youth wing of the Diaspora
Jeet Heer - The National Post, January 9, 2009
("Wars can be won on the battlefield while being lost in the realm of
public opinion. . . . . As it did in earlier wars where Israel killed
large numbers of civilians, global public opinion is cooling toward the
Jewish state, which runs the risk of becoming an international pariah.
This shift in public opinion is most striking when we look at young Jews
in North America, who are much more critical of Israel than their parents
and grandparents. Given the fact that Israel has always relied heavily on
support, both financial and moral, from the Diaspora, the loss of loyalty
of young Jews is a dangerous trend.")

.   The War Isn't Over, But Israel Has Lost
By Tony Karon - Rootless Cosmopolitan, January 9, 2009
("Repeating behaviors that have produced catastrophic failures and
expecting a different result is insane; and when a person's psychotic
behavior puts himself and those around him in immediate physical danger,
the responsibility of those who claim to be his friends is to restrain
him.")

.   Holocaust Denied: The lying silence of those who know
By John Pilger - The New Statesman, January 8, 2009
(John Pilger "calls on 40 years of reporting the Middle East to describe
the 'why' of Israel's bloody onslaught on the besieged people of Gaza - an
attack that has little to do with Hamas or Israel's right to exist.")

.   A Gaza Bible Story
By Gary Leupp - Counterpunch.org, January 9-11, 2009
(A chilling story of the pathology at play: "... Israel as Samson. Wild,
irrational, thuggish, untamed, covetous, given to religious
obsessions...")

.   Marty Peretz and the American political consensus on Israel
By Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com, December 28, 2009
("...how unusual are Peretz's views, revolting as they are, in the
American political mainstream? He certainly expresses anti-Arab hatred and
bigotry more bluntly than most, but this reflexive support for anything
and everything Israel does is anything but unique in our political
debates.")

.   Orwell, blinding tribalism, selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza
By Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com, January 4, 2009
(On the debasement of some right-wing pundits such as Martin Peretz ("do
not fuck with the Jews"), Michael Goldfarb ("it's not clear that they are
rational, at least not like us"), or Glenn Reynolds ("'Cycles of violence'
continue until one side wins decisively. Personally, I'd rather that were
the Israelis, since they're civilized people and not barbarians."))

.   Gaza 2008: Micro-Wars and Macro-Wars
Juan Cole - Informed Comment, January 4, 2009
(Historical trends: "It may still be 10 or 20 years in the future. But
because of Israel's economic and demographic vulnerabilities, for it to
lose the war of global public opinion may ultimately be more consequential
than either macro-war or micro-war.")

.   When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? by Shlomo Sand, professor
of European history at Tel Aviv University
Reviewed by Jonathan Cook - The National, October 06, 2008
("Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation - whose need for a safe
haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel -
is a myth invented little more than a century ago.")

.   "The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes"
by Avraham Burg - The New York Times, December 20, 2008
("[Mr. Burg] said that Israel should not be a Jewish state, that its law
of return granting citizenship to any Jew should be radically altered,
that Israeli Arabs were like German Jews during the Second Reich and that
the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of
Hitler." Reviewed by NYT's Ethan Bronner.)

.   Study: US Jews distance themselves from Israel
Reuters, September 6, 2007
("Feelings of attachment to Israel declining among non-Orthodox American
Jews, and are replaced by indifference and even alienation, study finds. .
. . . Young non-Orthodox US Jews are becoming increasingly lukewarm if not
alienated in their support for Israel in a trend that is not likely to be
reversed.")


--------15 of 16--------

The March of Atrocities
>From Vietnam to Gaza
By DAVE LINDORFF
January 12, 2009
CounterPunch

As we hear the horrifying and sickening reports of the atrocities in Gaza
by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and as ardent Israel backers
predictably justify each one or contest the facts it's worth reading a new
book ("The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about US War
Crimes"), by a former Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington bureau
investigative reporter of the LA Times named Deborah Nelson.

Nelson with the help of war historian Nick Turse, got hold of a 9000-page
secret report by the Pentagon's own people, stored in the National Archive
and dating to the Nixon era. Compiled in the wake of a flood of charges
from returning GIs and Marines about US atrocities which began appearing
following the expose of the My Lai massacre, it sought to investigate and
repudiate those claims.

Nixon's people, following the My Lai scandal, had made an enormous effort
to discredit those returned soldiers, like John Kerry of Vietnam Veterans
Against the War, who came forward to report that the war was a massive
series of atrocities against civilians.  What this remarkable and
well-documented book shows is that the Pentagon's exhaustive investigation
actually ended up concluding that most of the reports - which were often
of massacres on the same scale as My Lai - were true. As a result it was
labeled top secret and buried for thirty-plus years.

Nelson and Turse took this study, released following a Freedom of
Information Act request, and proceeded to track down the actual soldiers
who had filed the reports. They brought the complete investigative records
to these guys and had them go over their own old stories in view of what
evidence the investigators had found. The vets in question, now in their
50s and 60s, had had no idea that their protests had been secretly taken
seriously or investigated, or that they had been found to be telling the
truth. Many, at the time they came forward, had been spied on, called out
as liars, and intimidated into silence.

The conclusion can only be that these atrocities - things like just
herding 20 women and small children into a ditch and machine gunning them,
and then calling them all VC "killed in action" - were really just the tip
of the iceberg, and that many many more such incidents were simply never
reported by anyone. In Vietnam, atrocities and massacres of civilians by
American forces were not aberrations, they were part of the battle plan.

This should come as no surprise. My father, who was a marine in WWII,
tells of how at boot camp at Camp LeJeune, he and his comrades were
trained systematically to consider the "Japs" to be subhuman, and to be
ready to kill at a moment's notice and without mercy. The same was done to
the draftees being sent to Vietnam, and it is true of the troops trained
to "liberate" Iraq in the 2003 invasion of that country.

The point is, Israel's IDF is no better or worse than America's military.
Given the level of mutual hatred between Israeli and Palestinian, I have
no doubt that while there may well be humanists among IDF draftees, who
manage to maintain their humanity despite their situation, many in the IDF
are as ready to blow away women and children in Gaza without a moment's
remorse as Hamas rocketeers are happy to hit a kindergarten in Israel.
That is what soldiers get conditioned to do. It is not even their fault.
It is the fault of a leadership that wants this to happen.

Of course there are atrocities being committed in Gaza by the IDF. That is
the point of the invasion, which is to terrorize the 1.5-million people of
Gaza into turning against Hamas. It is the same policy as the American
"pacification" program in Vietnam. It didn't work there, and it won't work
in Gaza, but in the process, many, many innocent civilians, including
little children, will die horrible deaths.

As of today, nearly 900 people are known to have been killed by Israeli
forces. At least half of these are reported to be civilians, but since in
fact only children and women are "known" to be civilians, what this really
means is that the IDF has killed nearly 500 women and children.
Undoubtedly, many of the other dead, who are adult males, are also
civilians. And the actual number of dead is certainly much higher, because
many bodies have not been recovered from the rubble. They cannot be
because the IDF is shooting at anyone who attempts a rescue.

In all this, it is important for us in the US to remember that Israel is
the number-one recipient of US foreign aid and military aid. Without US
support - military, financial and diplomatic - this war would not be
happening. It is, in the final analysis, as much America's fault as
Israel's.

The irony is that even as Israel pounds Gaza and slaughters the
inhabitants of this modern-day Warsaw-like ghetto, it is gaining nothing.
Year by year, Israel's security situation worsens.

In 1967 it fought a brilliant and decisive war against multiple attackers
and triumphed. It won decisively again in 1973.  Since then, however, it
has had a harder and harder time winning its battles and in the last
instance, against Hezbollah, the IDF arguably lost.

Now it is in a fight against a really pitiful opponent in Gaza - a bunch
of poorly trained guys with guns and RPGs vs. one of the most modern and
heavily equipped military forces in the world - and yet there are many who
say the IDF will fail, and will end up leaving Gaza in ruins but with
Hamas still not only in control but more popular than ever for having
"stood up" to the IDF.

Now the thing Israel and its backers need to bear in mind that the US
itself is a power in the midst of a historic decline. The US military is
weaker than at any time since the Vietnam era: over-extended, its
equipment wrecked and top heavy with bureaucracy. And with the US economy
in ruins after two decades of de-industrialization, and deliberate
creation of economic bubbles designed to hide the general decline in
Americans' incomes and keep the consumer spending frenzy going
artificially, it is not coming back.

The "Ebay economy" of virtual wealth we Americans thought we had in our
homes and our 401(k) funds will not bounce back in coming years, because
it was all a fake. When this recession finally ends, we Americans will
find that recovery will mean a much lower standard of living than we have
become used to. (Just one example of the problem: The Fed has printed $2
trillion of new dollars over the last two months. When you do that, you
inevitably debase the currency. We are doomed to see the dollar plummet in
value over the next few years, and because the US doesn't make anything
anymore, all the goods we need, including even the bulk of the things that
go into making our cars, are imported and will soar in price. It will be
even worse if, as is likely, oil producers stop pricing oil in dollars.)

It all points to a major pull-back, probably sooner rather than later, in
America's role in the world.

There can be no restoration of the American economy, even marginally,
without an end to this country's decades-long obsession with militarism.
The US spends more on its military - a trillion dollars a year counting
veterans benefits and interest on the borrowed money) than the rest of the
world combined. That situation cannot continue, for objective reasons even
aside from the moral ones.

When the public finally realizes this, the politicians will have to
respond, and we will see a dramatic shrinking of the military budget and
of America's militarism abroad.

At that point, Israel will have to face the music, and either settle with
the Palestinians, or try to soldier on on its own (and good luck to that).

It would make much more sense for Israel, which still has solid, if
shrinking, public US support, to work out a permanent solution through the
creation of a genuinely viable Palestinian state, right now, than to wait
until such a solution is forced on it when it is in a much weaker
bargaining position.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is .The Case for Impeachment. (St. Martin.s Press, 2006, available
now in paperback edition). His work is available at
www.thiscantbehappening.net


--------16 of 16--------

 Can a god commit
 suicide? Yahweh's cut wrists.
 God bod. Loud crows feast.

 Once but not future
 god ebbs away like sand like
 sand like sand like sand

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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