Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Like it or not, Helen Thomas was right

June 10, 2010
Photo by Rachael Voorhees

Photo by Rachael Voorhees

It may not have been a pretty exit, as President Obama himself called it “offensive”.  But the fact remains that by saying Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” Helen Thomas amplified the stifled voices of native peoples all over the world.

Much of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and yes, America, was occupied through violence, oppression, and murder.  Israel’s bloody chapter of history has been no different.

The fact that Jews left Europe to occupy Palestine because of their own plight does not make it right.  If anything it reflects the cycle of abuse we see on an individual basis.  The abused child grows up to become the abuser.  Being the victims of a Holocaust does not give Israelis the right to inflict one on the Palestinians, one that has lasted 60 years.

Helen Thomas was right.  They should leave, but they probably will not.  Their children have grown up in Israel, unaware of the crimes of their fathers.  Those children are innocent, just as the children of American slave owners are, but they still reap the benefits of the suffering inflicted on others.  For that, there must be some resolution.

When Mandela opposed Apartheid and spent the better part of his life in jail, much of the western world turned a blind eye.  Voices like Helen Thomas were ignored or even shunned.  Today, they will ignore her, shun her, and maybe even hate her, but she is right.  History will record just how right she was.

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Obama Caves to the Israeli Lobby

March 12, 2009

From AntiWar.com:

“The outrageous agitation…will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues…[It casts] doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government…

“The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views…and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those it [the Lobby] favors.”

Read the rest here.

We need to hold President Obama accountable for his promises.  If he truly wants peace in the Middle East, it will never come when America is eating out of Israel’s hand.

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Hampshire College becomes first to divest from Israel

February 12, 2009

Good news from Democracy Now:

The Board of Trustees at Hampshire College has agreed to divest from six companies because of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Hampshire is believed to be the first U.S. college or university to divest from companies tied to the Israeli military. The companies are Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex. The Board agreed to the divestment following a two-year campaign by the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine. 32 years ago Hampshire College became the first school to divest from apartheid South Africa.

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The Obama Administration

November 20, 2008

All hail his majesty, the Sultan Barack Hussein Obama II.  :)Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  His name just sounds like a 12th century Muslim African sultan. 

In all seriousness, I believe it to be a monumental achievement for a man of color to reach the White House.  He climbed up the backs of many African Americans (and others as well) who have struggled for equal rights for all people in this country.  It is inspirational to so many youth who have been told that they can’t reach their dreams.  Well, my children, rest assured, you can.

Now, however, the business begins.  Like any president, Obama has to put his words into action.  He is a fallible man who will make plenty of mistakes, but my hope is that, unlike Bush, he will learn from them, listen to the people he serves, and make himself and the country better.

I’ve always believed in the power of people to make a difference.  Bush did not drag the American people into two wars.  We let him do it.  He did not care about opinion poles or protesters, and we, the American people, allowed him to continue in his deviance.

My hope, to use Obama’s own favorite word, is that he is someone who will listen to the people, who will not beat the drums of war when the people prefer the melody of peace.  That is my hope for change.  It is up to you, President-Elect Obama, to make the dreams of Americans a reality.

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My voting experience

November 4, 2008

I woke up at five, hurriedly made my lunch and gathered my things.  I did most of my preparation the night before so that I’d be ready to go by 5:30.  The polls opened at 6, and I figured I’d need to get there early in order to vote on time and still make it to work by 8:30.

Sure enough, when I arrived, in the cold, in complete darkness, there was already a line formed outside of about 60 people.  I stepped up behind a friendly couple and waited.  Everyone there was excited and upbeat.  No one complained about the cold or the wait.  It was as if everyone had a purpose, a mission to make something positive happen.

As we gradually moved into the building when the doors opened at 6, it was clear that the line would move pretty quickly.  They had 6 booths set up in the gymnasium of our community center.  I live in a predominantly African American area, and to see so many faces of color exercising their right to self govern this country was sight to behold.

At one point, we all paused at the sound of the vote-counting machine giving a loud beep, kind of like a microwave.  A woman stuck her ballot into the machine again, and it beeped a second time.  More people who had finished voting formed a line behind her, and a volunteer quickly got on his mobile phone to ask someone, apparently an expert on the machines, what to do.  After a few minutes, the situation was resolved and voting resumed.

By 7:00 I was finished and extremely tired.  I prayed salatul-Fajr and headed to work.  There was no point in returning home.  I stopped at a store to pick up some donuts and orange juice, and even the cashier and other customers were so upbeat and enthusiastic about voting.

The overall experience made feel like I was a part of something important.  I only pray that the votes are counted without hassle and that history is made.  More than anything, I’m hoping my first voting experience is not my last.

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Biased Media's Love of Obama

October 29, 2008

I never watch or read ABC News, but somehow, and for reasons I still do not fully understand, I happened upon an article by Michael S. Malone called “Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline.”  I have no idea who Michael S. Malone is, but from the way he spends the first half of the article listing his media credentials, he sounds “important.”

His argument, an overly dramatic one I might add, is that the mainstream media is flushing itself down the toilet because of its open bias towards Senator Barack Obama.  The evidence of this, according to Malone, is the sheer sparsity of negative coverage of the Obama campaign.  There have been so many negative stories about McCain and Palin, he argues.

Before I continue my critique of Malone’s McCain ad (ahem) I mean article, I should make two things clear:  1.  I have experience as a journalist but am not employed in the mainstream media and 2. I have decided to vote for Obama in this election.

Malone, on the other hand, does belong to the mainstream media, and the bias which he laments is partially his own.  And I must say that, at least on the surface, I agree with him.  There has undoubtedly been more negative coverage of McCain, his running mate, and his family.  On this issue, Malone and I are in complete agreement. 

Where I believe Malone falters, however, is in assuming it is because the media is biased in favor of Obama.  We’re talking about the same media, Malone’s own ABC in particular, that has bent over backwards for the past eight years while George W. Bush covered up his prior knowledge of 9/11, committed war crimes, authorized the torture of prisoners (some of them innocent people), spied on his own people, illegally detained some of his own citizens, exposed an undercover CIA operative, and dissolved the fat US economy into leftover grease.

Any one of W’s offenses could have been impeachable (some of them are even treason), yet the mainstream media, while reporting it, has essentially condoned it.  When they could have relentlessly exposed and reported the president’s crimes, they did little more than mention them.  Whenever a protest occurred and police invariably beat and arrested protesters, the mainstream media cameras were absent.  You would think that the country was still relatively pleased with Bush because very few anti-Bush or anti-War coverage was ever given.

Therein lies the problem, Mr. Malone.  The mainstream media rarely cracks the surface.  They’ll report the story but very rarely will they go beneath the surface on important controversial issues.  McCain has plenty of surface faults, and they have done their job to report them.  Obama simply does not have as many.  Am I saying this because I like Obama better or think he’s a better man?  No.  I’m saying it because McCain is older, a lot older.

McCain has been in office for decades and goes out of his way very often to remind us of that.  He is never going to let us forget about Ronald Regan (even though many of us would like to forget him).  So of course there is going to be more negative material to cover on McCain.  He has simply done more negative things.  He has done a lifetime of negative things.  You could write volumes on his deeds (as one day someone will).

This is where Malone’s argument falls flat, and the example he uses proves to be his own tragic flaw.  In speaking about the “war” in Lebanon three summers ago, Malone writes:

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story…

Thank you Mr. Malone.  You proved my point very nicely without even realizing it.  When Israel attacked Lebanon, the death tolls were enormous.  1,191 Lebonese civilians lost their lives.  There was indiscriminate bombing of homes, villages, and even relief aid vehicles. Less than 250 Hezbollah fighters were killed.  Hezbollah, which launched missiles day and night into Israel, killed 121 soldiers and only 44 civilians. 

Again it is a simple matter of numbers.  How can you give equal coverage to a “war” that is not equal.  When people are literally dying left and right of you, how can you leave that to report what, by comparison, is only a handful of deaths?  What is surprising is that the media actually did report them and never failed to mention Israeli deaths to the point where people until this day believe that the “war” was an equal and just one, that Israel was justified in the atrocities they committed, and that Hezbollah are the terrorists.

Mr. Malone, it is a simple problem of logic.  Yours is flawed.  Media coverage is quantitative.  It can be measured.  Your mainstream media, Mr. Malone, has long argued that the independent candidates (such as Ralph Nader) or even alternative candidates (such as Dennis Kucinich [D] or Ron Paul [R]) do not deserve as much media coverage because they are not as popular (which is a circular argument).  Well, Mr. Malone, like it or not, Senator Obama is popluar, extremely popular, despite the McCain campaign’s relentless attempts to smear him with negative ads, many of which are outright lies.

I can think of plenty of criticisms of Obama, so do not think that I am in love with the man.  His show (and I emphasize this word) of unbiased support for Israel during his campaign and his rather muffled show of what can best be described as “blackness” are both disturbing yet not upsetting.  I can understand why he felt he needed to behave that way in a predominantly white America that is still electrically charged with racist particles, and his previous record indicates that he is not so black and white (no pun intended).  But the McCain campaign’s criticisms have been paltry at best, and Mr. Malone’s last ditched attempt to rescue John McCain is simply too pathetic and too late.

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The Rich Are Staging a Coup

September 29, 2008

I just received this letter from Michael Moore.  The only problem with it is that it assumes the rich weren’t already controlling everything and needed to stage a “coup.”  All they’re really doing is re-solidifying their stranglehold over the American people and the rest of the world.

The majority of us have been experiencing a “financial crisis” since Bush stepped into office, but we’re only now hearing about it in the media when the fat cats need to be bailed out to save their billions from flushing down the toilet.  The rich stay rich, and according to Michael’s analysis, they might even get richer after this bailout.