Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who needs black politicians?

The Washington Post informs us that black political candidates around the country, running for statewide offices, are "struggling" to survive. According to the Post, there might be no black Governors or Senators by next year.

It seems that the presence of the ultimate Identity candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, has not ushered in an era of blind support for colored politicians – at least, not among those faithful white Obama devotees. Of course, as a black, I'm expected to vote for the Black Ticket, no matter who is on it. Although a New Yorker, I'm even supposed to care about a candidate in far off Alabama, if it means another "first." As in the First Black Governor of Alabama. Just why Alabama or any other state is in need of a black Governor is never clarified.

The paternalistic tone of the Post article, makes it clear that this is an urgent matter for Americans to worry over – that is, the necessity to keep increasing the numbers of black politicians throughout the land. The candidates themselves will tell you how they are needed to deal with unique "black issues." After all, haven't we seen how effective these figureheads are in reducing crime among blacks, in re-establishing black families, and in setting education as a priority among youth?

Black publications and websites rejoice every time another of their black favorites wins a national, state or municipal election. There is no end to the bean counting they employ when examining every state legislature and city council. Look at this city, there are 20 council members, but only four of them are black. Something is wrong here. And look at this state, there are 120 assemblymen and only eight of them are black. Obviously, some serious racism is at work here.

The fervent promotion of black for the sake of blackness reminds me of my conversation in the 1980s with that good, white libertarian lady in New York, who bemoaned the fact that the city, up to that time, had never had a black Mayor as had so many other cities, and this was a good reason to elect David Dinkins.

Putting aside the value, if any, to the country at large of these elected worthies, let's take a look at the benefits that blacks derive from the existence of these politicians. We could look at any number of the familiar social issues, but let's concentrate on immigration.

By now, most people are acquainted to some degree with the statistics that show the industries that have removed U.S.-born Americans from the workforce in favor of underpaid aliens. In plants around the country, from the furniture industry to meatpacking to the hotel industry, 20 years have taken their toll as companies have reorganized around the use of immigrant rather than native labor.

The Center for Immigration Studies describes how a company like IBP, the nation's leading meatpacking company, actually recruits workers from Mexico and directly along the border. Not too long ago, in Los Angeles, semi-skilled blacks could count on employment as janitors for $12 an hour, with benefits, but no longer. When companies discovered they could subcontract such labor for $3.35 an hour with "undocumented" immigrants, within two years the Americans were displaced. CIS reports that in the hotel industry, especially, immigrant workers "displaced native black workers en masse."

In California, black men also had been prominent as roofers, framers, drywallers and truck drivers. Prior to the immigration deluge, native-born minorities were able to sustain families on the salaries earned from such jobs.

As to youth employment, CIS calls the summer of 2009 "the worst summer ever experienced by U.S.-born teenagers." The jobs that teenagers once normally counted on during the summer season now went to mostly illegal immigrant laborers. As CIS suggests, reducing legal immigration and enforcing the law to reduce illegal immigration is no cure-all for the problems that afflict young black men, who are chronically unemployed, but such enforcement might re-open doors that have been shut.

Are any black politicians known to throw their efforts behind those reformers who are working to alleviate the economic effects of mass immigration? Not a one. Because they have been getting heat from some angry constituents, in March, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (which includes all black members of Congress) trekked to the White House to share with Obama their "concerns" about the black unemployment rate. As reported by Frank Morris in the Washington Times, the 43 members of the CBC, who represent primarily black constituencies, bear a large share of responsibility for neglect of this issue. These black legislators, writes Morris, have "consistently opposed tough enforcement of laws against employing illegal aliens."

As they have ever done, this claque of black politicians march in lockstep with all those who promote and protect illegal immigration. Not only are they in agreement with Obama's policies that have stopped immigration enforcement in the workplace, they have been "front and center in the effort to enact amnesty for millions of illegals." As Morris says, an amnesty bill "would provide nothing for black Americans except more competition for jobs, educational opportunities and increasingly scarce government resources." Remember, every time the overflow of immigrants forces a hospital to close its facilities, the poorest Americans are most negatively affected.

In 2006, in Immigration: Betrayal By Black Elites, I described the obnoxiously indifferent attitude of several black politicians who were called upon for help by displaced, unemployed blacks. It was clear then, as it is now, that notables such as Sheila Jackson-Lee, Maxine Waters and John Conyers seek only to expand their constituent base. As racial demographics change in their districts, they scramble only to court and win the confidence of the new foreigners. These deceivers cleverly make alliances with the elites of the incoming ethnic groups, disregarding the needs of those whom they perceive as their diminishing black base. However much they might bleat when it comes time to win the votes of fellow blacks, the typical black politician has never had an interest in anything except the protection of his/her career and political turf.

After all, when your district is filling up with Guatemalans, Ecuadoreans and Mexicans, you can't be expected to worry yourself about jobs these invaders are taking from the American citizens who initially put you in office.

Black politicians' message to the folks: Has the salary you relied on for years been cut in half and then in half again? Don't complain. That's how the market works. Just come down off your high horse of demanding that $12 an hour that the market once paid, and settle for $3.35, like a good alien, and the problem will be solved.

Unfortunately, there is no recourse to be had from that other political party, the one to which members of the Congressional Black Caucus do not belong. These Republicans have been among the most determined to keep the country's borders wide open for immigrants of all kinds, as their candidates for office spend most of the time flip-flopping on the subject.

Leaders of both the Democrats and Republicans would rather the matter not be brought up at all. On the immigration front, both of these political parties share the same need for ongoing importation of foreigners, that is, cheap labor for the constituencies of the Republicans and lots of brown and black prospective voters for the Democrats.

The Democrats' pitch to blacks, that works successfully, goes something like this: Since you owe us for your "liberation" and "civil rights," you should stick with us and our candidates, who will continue to devise laws, that will form policies, that will create programs to be engineered in your favor. If you don't continue your alliance with us, you might very well slip back into slavery, and fail to benefit from our spurious "job training" projects. After all, you can't trust those other folks to take care of you.

As revolting as this might sound, a look at the Republican offering might very well turn your stomach even more. For this is the War Party, and the employment they offer blacks, or any other unemployed, is grounded in a counterfeit "patriotism." Not just full employment, but all good things come through warmaking.

The Republicans would have all the idle apply for work in Uncle Sam's Army. A report issued last year by these advocates for the "greatest military in the world" laments the fact that so many thousands of American youth are "ineligible" to serve those whom Andrew Bacevich calls the "knaves and fools" who run the military.

It seems that most American youth lack the type of education required to handle today's magnificent military machine. They have enough education, mind you, to die as cannon fodder, but anybody can fill that bill. Our illustrious military leaders, however, want to maim and kill the better educated, those who can decipher all that intelligent technological weaponry, along with the grunts from Mississippi and Georgia, who cannot. You should have at least a high school diploma before you lose an eye or leg, have your brains scrambled, or die.

Another factor that makes so many of the young ineligible, the good Republicans tell us, is early involvement in criminal activities. The Generals would prefer such youth, before embarking on their private criminal careers, to wait until given the appropriate official weaponry and pointed in the direction of Arabia, instead of striking out on their own.

This political party also acts as the country's religious guide. Only its members understand the mind of their peculiar, inscrutable God. We're supposed to take seriously their "pro-life" admonitions, as they eagerly send their warrior sons off to kill the in utero babies of Arab women.

In their determination to "reach out" and to demonstrate their desire to uplift the unfortunates out of the depths of unemployment, members of this Republican party make a fuss about "free enterprise," but do not support such a system with their policies. They are not admirers of entrepreneurial talent, as such, but are worshippers of ruthless profiteering. Not only do they grant sainthood to the grossest corporate pirates, some of them have even been known to apologize to said pirates, when any are taken to task for criminal negligence and outright incompetence.

To these Republicans, there is no such thing as unethical corporate behavior. And anyone who says otherwise is a degenerate Commie. The market, you see, "channels" behavior and thereby keeps it honest. To profit, the businessman must follow the rules of the magic "market," which automatically will keep him on the straight and narrow, thus maintaining his integrity. Human nature or the temptations of the flesh do not come into play in the magic market. At least not in Republican la-la-land. In this land, there is no such thing as an inept corporate executive. And certainly no such thing as a malevolent money-grubbing one, no matter what the Bernie Madoff case might imply.

Just suggest to one of these Republicans that there's something obscene about the escalating sizes of executive pay packages, given the ratio to an average worker's salary, and then stand back for the tidal wave of epithets that will ensue, ranging from you being a denizen of "class envy," to being a brainwashed leftoid redistributionist. For it's not innate human greed, you see, but government interference, via Regulations, that makes business people turn bad. Our recent financial troubles do not stem from the revocation of the Glass-Steagall Act, as we are led to believe, but from exactly that kind of legal meddling with the marketplace.

Let's return to that initial grievance about black candidates now running for political office, and the dire news that many, if not most of them, will not attain their goals. All of these cynical descendants of slaves will be running as members of one of the two corrupt political parties. So, when assessing the overall welfare of the unemployed, would it make a dime's worth of difference whether or not any of these scurrilous flim-flam artists are elected? Let's see what happens to the nation if no blacks end up as winners in elections this year.
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Arizona's war

"Think about it," writes Roger Hedgecock, "a part of America is off limits to U.S. citizens because it is now controlled by an army of foreigners." And where is that part of America he speaks of? In Arizona, where citizens are fighting to restore control of the state's borders. He then goes on to tell a hair-raising story about how law has degenerated, as the federal administration in Washington, DC, is set to raise hell with Arizona's elected government. Hedgecock writes:

• • •

In a pre
ss conference ignored by the American national media, [Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County] described how his deputies were outmanned and outgunned by the cartel smugglers who increasingly operate using military tactics and weapons. The result, said Sheriff Babeu, was that a wide corridor of Arizona from the border North to the outskirts of Phoenix is effectively controlled by the cartels. "We do not have control of this area," the sheriff said.

At the same time as the sheriff's ignored press conference, the national media did cover assurances from the Obama Administration that crime was down at the border. ... The new reign of terror on the border in Arizona was airbrushed out of the picture. ...

Warning signs were posted this past month by the federal government 80 miles North of the border on the South side of I-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend urging U.S. citizens not to camp or hike in the "Active Drug and Human Smuggling Area" because "Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals." ...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife staffers report that the 3,500 acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in this area is closed to U.S. citizens as well and is "adversely affected" by cartel operations. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. According to DEA sources, nearly half of all the cocaine and illegal aliens are smuggled into the U.S. over the 365 mile long Arizona border with Mexico. There's a war going on in Arizona which puts into perspective that state's new immigration law. ...

The only reason the cartels have not taken over all of Mexico is that they frequently fight each other in bloody, largely unreported battles for control of valuable drug trafficking routes. Beheading of rival gang members and Mexican police are now routine. ...

Frequent cross border incursions into the U.S. by cartel soldiers in Mexican Army uniforms driving American-made Humvees and toting automatic weapons support an increasingly sophisticated web of smuggling routes. Patrolling sheriff deputies or lone Border Patrol officers are no match for this firepower and are ordered to fall back when confronted with the cartels' military might.

Read the rest of Hedgecock's account here.
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War as the permanent American condition could keep the Democrats in power forever

Glenn Greenwald astutely ponders just how little attention all our various wars receive. Where is the debate that should be going on concerning these military engagements? He observes that one would hardly know this country is engaged in war at all, and writes: "Given the types of wars the U.S. chooses to wage, most Americans who express their support for them bear absolutely no perceived cost whatsoever. Worse, many who cheer for our wars enjoy that most intoxicating and distorting reward: cost-free benefits, in the form of vicarious feelings of strength, purpose, nobility and the like, all from a safe distance."

Because Americans do not feel directly affected by these conflicts, the failing economy receives so much attention and the wars do not. How can there be so little debate over something as serious as war? What happened to the partisan division over these invasions, Greenwald asks, that was apparent during George W. Bush's tenure?

He explains: "During the Bush presidency, war debates raged because those wars -- especially the Iraq war -- were a GOP liability and a Democratic Party asset." Genuine anger over the Iraq invasion drove the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 and Obama's win in 2008.

But now, observes Greenwald, "America's wars are no longer Republican wars; they're Democratic wars as well. Both parties are thus vested in their defense, which guts any real debate or opposition." Which Republicans will now speak ill of wars that were started by their party, and which Democrats are going to malign wars that their President continues to wage?

The real reason why debate over the wars has disappeared, says Greenwald, is because it serves neither party to engage in them. Yet a major factor in understanding the lack of debate is the fact that war itself has become the permanent American condition. "We're essentially a war fighting state. We have been at 'war' the entire last decade (as well as largely non-stop for the decades which preceded it), and continue now to be at 'war' with no end in sight. ... The decree that we are 'at war' has been repeated over and over for a full decade, drummed into our heads from all directions without pause, sanctified as one of those Bipartisan Orthodoxies that nobody can dispute upon pain of having one's Seriousness credentials immediately and irrevocably revoked. With war this normalized, is it really surprising that nobody debates it any longer? It'd be like debating the color of the sky."

So, in keeping the country at war, Obama has put himself in a perfect position to maintain the support of the so-called Republican opposition, which favors war without question. Throw into that camp the Tea Party war-loving darlings, and the Democrats just might find themselves in power indefinitely.

Read the rest of Greenwald's insightful remarks here.
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Chasing ships at sea

Richard Silverstein, writing at Tikun Olam, describes a speech delivered by the Israeli novelist and journalist, Nir Baram, at a rally in Israel attended by 10,000 people, to protest the military actions against the flotilla to Gaza. Silverstein writes:

• • •

10,000 Israelis
protested the failed Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara and the Gaza siege a few days ago. What struck me especially about the rally was this electrifying speech by Israeli novelist and journalist, Nir Baram, decrying the blockheadedness of the Israeli leadership and the insularity of the Israeli public regarding the suffering it inflicts on the Palestinians. The conclusion of his speech was especially poignant to me as it presented a glorious vision of what the State of Israel could be – someday:

For the past eight years we have on our table a real peace proposal from the Arab League, a dramatic, unprecedented proposal for a final, lasting peace between Israel and the entire Arab world, which at long last would enable Israel to integrate into the region. But instead of making this initiative a priority on the public agenda, we opt for chasing ships out at sea…

We shut ourselves behind walls telling ourselves we have no other choice. We put one and a half million people under siege in Gaza, convincing ourselves that they want for nothing, and if there’s a bit of a water shortage they should drink from the sea. We intensify and reinforce the Occupation claiming there is no partner. We slight every peace proposal whether advanced by the Arab League, Syria or Abu Mazen, and all the while teach our children our fondest hope is for peace.

We are here to tell Jerusalem’s government of worthless incompetents and racists that we are bound to this place wholeheartedly, and prepared to do whatever it takes to turn Israel into a true, free, and fearless democracy, a home for all of us.

In days past, when there was some hope that the Israeli political system actually worked, such a speech would have marked him for a possible seat in the Knesset. So many in Israel would place such high hopes on Baram’s shoulders. Now, why would any half-way intelligent person want to sit in such a house of fools? Nevertheless, the fact that a Nir Baram exists and has the courage to express these words and that thousands cheer him on – this is enough to make me persevere in my own efforts. We must support the Nir Barams of Israel. They are the last, best hope that there is some humanity that lingers there.

Read the rest of article here.
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Enticing young men with lies

In "Things the Marine Corps Forgot to Mention," Laurence Vance tells of his experience, as a father, with Marine Corps recruiters. He writes about the freebies offered to young men like his son:

The Marine Corps recruiting literature sent to high school students is a little different each time. The first time I saw it the theme was preserving the American way of life. The student who sent in the reply card was entitled to receive dog tags, a duffle bag or a skullcap. I wrote about this in "The Few, the Proud, the High School Students." The theme the second time I saw it was defense. Offered this time was a choice between folding speakers, a T-shirt, or a wristband. I wrote about this in "The Marines Are Looking for a Few Good High School Students." Although it has been said that the third time’s the charm, I’m afraid the Marine Corps has failed once again to ensnare my son.

The recruiting literature that arrived in the mail this time, thanks yet again to the No Child Left Behind Act, consisted of an envelope with a short note and two reply cards – all of which have pictures of the free Marine Corps gear being offered this time: a duffle bag, sunglasses, or a watch. The note says that in order to become a Marine you have to want certain things.

Among those wanted things are Pushing your mind and body to its limits; Protecting freedom, democracy and every state in the nation; Being willing to work hard; and, of course, Wanting to be a Marine.

Except for the second item, which is a lie, Vance insists, i.e., "protection of freedom and democracy" (since Marines are doing nothing of the kind), the rest of the items are true. However, Vance has a problem with what the Marine Corps "forgot to mention," and elucidates:

What is not mentioned is that in order to become a Marine you also have to want certain other things:

• You have to want to intervene in the affairs of other countries.
• You have to want to do anything but actually defend the United States.
• You have to want to obey without reservation the orders of your superiors.
• You have to want to perpetuate the lie that the military defends our freedoms.
• You have to want to invade other countries that have not attacked the United States.
• You have to want to occupy other countries that resist being invaded.
• You have to want to kill foreigners that resist being invaded and occupied.
• You have to want to maintain the U.S. global empire of troops and bases.

If a high school student doesn’t want to do any of these things, then he has no business joining the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is not preserving the American way of life, defending anyone’s freedoms, or protecting every state in the nation.

Vance concludes with quotes from the indomitable Major General Smedley Butler's little treatise, War Is a Racket. Nobody was better positioned to make such an observation about America's past time than this Congressional Medal of Honor winner, who spent 33 years in the military. Among his pithier remarks:

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

Read the full Vance article here.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gaza and the lessons learned

How many times must we explain this to you? We can do as we please, because we're the Chosen People. Look, your very own Christian loonies confirm this truism. You remember the mantra of these good evangelical folk: "We're all Israelis now."

You know that anything we do, we're going to be protected, by your very own. First of all, by that Congress of yours, of which we control all 531 members. They'd better toe the line, since each and every one of them knows that it's curtains to another term in office, if they make an attempt to cross us. Each of your Presidents, needless to say, has always understood his place. This goes ditto for those worthless members of Europe's many Parliaments.

Our major protector, of course, is your media, not only most of which we control, but almost all of which our ethnic compatriots own. The few who are not in our camp might as well be, since they're smart enough to know that they had better go along, if they want to get along.

Look, remember how we explained it to those miserable Palestinians, who we've worn down to a frazzle? Why don't you leave, already? We've warned them over and over again, that if they insist on building and maintaining their homes and replanting those olive trees, we're never going to stop bombing their behinds, bulldozing their homes, and burning their fields and orchards. But they keep ignoring us. And then, inevitably, one of their sons bursts a gasket and retaliates in venomous anger. Nothing delights us more than these "terrorist" incidents, since we, with out trusty media apologists, get to tell the story of what happened through the lens of our propaganda machine -- in each and every incident.

Whether we're bulldozing their homes and land or preventing them from making use of their natural shoreline to engage in trade or receive shipping, we get to determine when these Palestinians can breathe and when they cannot. And when we choose to board those "flotillas" that you help them arrange, you along with them will always be accused of responsibility for whatever conflict ensues, and we will laugh and laugh as you attempt to get your side of the story out. Out to whom? Even with all this expanded Internet media, do you notice how we prevail anyway?

Don't you know by now there's not a thing you can do, because your feckless "leaders," who do possess some iota of power, are too deceitful, too greedy, and much too chicken to oppose us. They are too stricken with fear of our power to even consider taking an opposing stance. As one of our illustrious Prime Ministers put it, back in the 1990s, you gentile fools are in his back pocket. You're in all of our back pockets.

Oh, yes, we allow some faux display of anger on the part of a few stray opponents, who pretend toughness by engaging in a wee bit of finger-pointing at the naughty, naughty Israelis. But then they remember who we are, and they soon suck it up. And in no time at all, the current episode blows over and everything returns to normal. In case you hadn't noticed, Normal is our total control of everything we consider in our best interests.

We must not allow these Palestinians to acquire supplies of any kind, for if we do, they will have the means to live on and on and on. That's not going to happen on our watch. For 60 years we've spent too much of our energy and resources (and yours, too, of course) to guarantee their ultimate demise. And their demise will come.

Remember, back in the late 1990s, when all those cameras were rolling, and that frightened father and young son were cringing against that wall, and our soldiers first shot the father -- and the cameras kept rolling? And, while the father was leaning over in an attempt to protect his son, our illustrious military heroes then shot the boy -- and the cameras kept rolling. Remember that?

What we learned from that incident, and others like it (remember Sabra and Shatila?), is that "world opinion" doesn't mean a damn thing. If we got away with that very public event, we were assured that the atrocities we pull off on a daily basis, away from rolling cameras, would never be challenged. All we have to say about any conflict that makes the news is, "The Palestinians started it first. We were simply defending ourselves." Then our propaganda machine goes into overdrive and sees to it that most of the world will hear only our side of the story.

We are the Chosen People.
• • •

Before the Journey to Gaza

From American Chronicle:

On to Gaza

5/8/10 -- A "Freedom Flotilla" is planning to sail for Gaza by the end of the month. It will be the ninth expedition to try to reach Gaza by sea. According to the Free Gaza movement, this time it will be bigger and better than ever. This time, there will be Turkish involvement.

The Free Gaza movement is calling it "the biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli´s ongoing occupation, aggression and violence against the Palestinian people." The organizers apparently believe that, even if they don't succeed in reaching their destination in Gaza, the publicity value alone, highlighting the blockade of Gaza, sufficiently justifies this attempt.

The last attempt to reach Gaza by sea was in June 2009 -- then, Free Gaza ships were intercepted by the Israeli Navy off Gaza, and forced to proceed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, where the cargo was impounded. ... According to the organizers' plans, the Freedom Flotilla will include as many as nine boats, including several cargo ships, and perhaps five passenger ships with up to 600 high-profile international personalities, activists, and journalists aboard.

Some of the ships will reportedly be flying the Turkish flag. This means that any Israeli attack on those ships would be considered tantamount to an attack upon Turkey.

Another one of the cargo ships, refurbished and outfitted in Ireland, has been re-named the MV Rachel Corrie, after the American solidarity activist who died, crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer (the IDF said the driver could not see her) while she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in southern Gaza.

From Israel Shamir:

Gaza Ahoy! Godspeed to Gaza.

5/29/10 -- The Turks did it! The world as we know it has changed with the new-found independence of Turkey. Within one month, this erstwhile American semi-colony under the charismatic leadership of Recep Erdogan has made two strong moves that have brought it to the forefront of policy-making:

Together with Brazil, Turkey has arranged and signed the Tehran Declaration of a nuclear fuel swap deal with beleaguered Iran. This declaration derails the Israeli plans of sanctioning Iran to death prior to bombing it. ... However, world policy-making has changed, and decisions are not made exclusively in Washington, London or Moscow any more. Mid-size countries – regional powers – are back in vogue, and it is much better for all of us. ...

After derailing the sanctions against Iran, the indomitable Turk sent his vessels to relieve the siege of Gaza. A whole flotilla of small and medium boats is on its way to Gaza now, and among them, a large boat from Turkey, accompanied by a boat bought and equipped by another great friend of Palestine, Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia. ...

This is the first time that the steering of this freedom regatta has passed from the hands of nice European volunteers to the locals, to the peoples of the region. This is a vast change, and a change that means a lot. While the Palestinian cause was only the cause celebré of Europeans with conscience, it was containable. Now, when it has become the concern of the local region, the countdown for the freak Zionist mini-Empire has begun.

From Nadia Kevorkova:

Freedom flotilla ready to break through blockade

5/30/10 -- The parliamentarians made up of Ireland’s Chris Andrews from ruling party Fianna Fail, Aengus Snodaigh from Sinn Fein, and senator Mark Daly; Swiss PM Mehmet Kaplan; former Italian senator Fernando Rossi; Hedy Epstein, an 86-year old US citizen whose parents were killed in the Holocaust; Kiriyak Tsonev, a former Bulgarian envoy to all Arabic countries; Oslo city council member Erling Folkvord; as well as Swedish journalists and writers from Sweden and France – all these people had spent 18 hours trying to board ships in Cypriot harbors to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was waiting for them.

The flotilla, made up of nine ships, is to bring 10,000 tons of humanitarian cargo into Gaza, including medicines and notebooks, along with about 700 people: MPs from Israel and Germany, writers, scientists, two Al-Jazeera camera crews, newswire writers and TV journalists from Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria and France. ...

[Greta] Berlin believes that, regardless of whether the last group of campaigners will manage to join the rest of the flotilla, Israel’s blockade of Gaza will be breached. The world community’s attention is focused on the flotilla’s actions and plenty of resources have been gathered that are to go to the Palestinians.

The public isn’t quiet at all, however. One of the flotilla’s ships has been furbished by the European Union. European Union MPs and diplomats are present on board some of the ships. ...

Hedy Epstein, 86, who lost her parents in the Holocaust, is trying to enter Gaza for the fourth time. Yesterday, in Port Alaminos around 19:00 the group was blocked by four police cars, motor boats and a helicopter. The group had been urged to arrive in Port Alaminos by the Cyprus negotiators from the local government, who promised that from that point they would be able to send people to the flotilla.

After the Attack on the Freedom Flotilla

From Glenn Greenwald:

Israel attacks aid ship

5/31/10 -- Late last night, Israel attacked a flotilla of ships in international waters carrying food, medicine and other aid to Gaza, killing at least 10 civilians on board and injuring at least 30 more. ... The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and European legislators. ...

At the end of 2009, a U.N. report found that "insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory," and also "blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings."

It hardly seemed possible for Israel -- after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade -- to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes. But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that. If Israel's goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt for it as possible, it's hard to imagine how it could be doing a better job. ...

Israeli actions are a direct reflection on, and by-product of, the U.S. Government, because it is the U.S. which enables and protects the behavior. The one silver lining from these incidents is that the real face of Israel becomes increasingly revealed and undeniable. Not even the most intense propaganda systems can prettify a lethal military attack on ships carrying civilians and humanitarian aid to people living in some of the most wretched and tragic conditions anywhere in the world. ...

As Americans suffer extreme cuts in education for their own children and a further deterioration in basic economic security (including Social Security), will they continue to acquiesce to the transfer of billions of dollars every year to the Israelis, who -- unlike Americans -- enjoy full, universal health care coverage? ... How much longer will Americans be willing to pay the extreme prices for its endlessly entangled "alliance" with its prime Middle Eastern client state, whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless?

What does Israel fear from media coverage?

6/1/10 -- The New York Times reports: "A day after Israeli commandoes raided an aid flotilla seeking to breach the blockade of Gaza, Reuters reported that Israel was holding hundreds of activists incommunicado in and around the port city of Ashdod, refusing to permit journalists access to witnesses who might contradict Israel's version of events." ...

Isn't it strange how Plucky, Democratic Israel goes to such extreme lengths to prevent any media coverage of what they do, any journalistic interference with their propaganda machine, in light of the fact that -- as always -- They Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong? Is physically blocking the media from covering what happens the act of a government that is in the right? ...

Israel is now not only detaining the victims of its aggression, but also threatening to prosecute and imprison them. Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said yesterday: "All those who lifted a hand against a soldier will be punished to the full extent of the law." So when Israel seizes ships in international waters and kills anyone who resists (and others standing near them), that is an act of noble, plucky self-defense. But those who fail to submit completely to this lawless and barbarous act of aggression are the Real Criminals who will be prosecuted and imprisoned "to the fullest extent of the law." ...

But doesn't the victim of a crime usually want media coverage of what the criminal did? How odd for the victim in this case to take such extreme steps to ensure that the world cannot hear from the witnesses. ... "There won’t be any daylight between the US and Israel in the aftermath of the incident on the flotilla yesterday, which resulted in the deaths of 10 activists," ABC News reported today, in case that wasn't already obvious. ...

Finally, Newsweek's Ben Adler explains why the U.S. will never criticize Israel no matter what Israel does: because huge numbers of Republican and Democratic politicians are vehemently devoted to that foreign country, and the ones who aren't are petrified, especially in an election year. That, too, is some rare candor on the subject.

From Stephen Walt:

Israel's latest brutal blunder

5/31/10 -- By now you'll all have heard about the IDF's unwarranted attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of six civilian vessels that was attempting to bring humanitarian aid (i.e., medicines, food, and building materials) to Gaza. The population of Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2006. Israel imposed the blockade after Gaza's voters had the temerity to prefer Hamas in a free election held at the insistence of the Bush administration, which then refused to recognize the new government because it didn't like the results. ...

My first question when I heard the news was: "What could Israel's leaders have been thinking?" How could they possibly believe that a deadly assault against a humanitarian mission in international waters would play to their advantage? Israel's government and its hard-line supporters frequently complain about alleged efforts to "delegitimize" the country, but actions like this are the real reason Israel's standing around the world has plummeted to such low levels. ...

My second question is: "Will the Obama administration show some backbone on this issue, and go beyond the usual mealy-mouthed statements that U.S. presidents usually make when Israel acts foolishly and dangerously?" ... Attacking a humanitarian aid mission certainly isn't consistent with American values -- even when that aid mission is engaged in the provocative act of challenging a blockade -- and doing so in international waters is a direct violation of international law. Of course, it would be politically difficult for the administration to take a principled stand with midterm elections looming, but our values and commitment to the rule of law aren't worth much if a president will sacrifice them just to win votes. ...

Because the United States provides Israel with so much material aid and diplomatic protection, and because American politicians from the president on down repeatedly refer to the "unbreakable bonds" between the United States and Israel, people all over the world naturally associate us with most, if not all, of Israel's actions. Thus, Israel doesn't just tarnish its own image when it does something outlandish like this; it makes the United States look bad, too. ...

It will also cost us some moral standing with other friends around the world, especially if we downplay it. This is just more evidence, as if we needed any, that the special relationship with Israel has become a net liability. In short, unless the Obama administration demonstrates just how angry and appalled it is by this foolish act, and unless the U.S. reaction has some real teeth in it, other states will rightly see Washington as irretrievably weak and hypocritical.

From Gabriel Winant:

Why Israel will get away with it

6/1/10 -- The violence on the flotilla headed for Gaza would seem to be unambiguously bad news for Israel. In boarding a civilian ship carrying humanitarian aid supplies, and involving themselves in an incident that led to at least ten civilian deaths, it seems clear that the Israeli Defense Forces have incurred a political cost for Israel that far exceeds whatever national interest they thought they were protecting. Europe is outraged, Turkey is cutting off ties, and an explosion in the occupied territories looks possible. ...

The hard consensus at the elite level in favor of tolerating whatever Israel wants to do rests on a soft consensus in American public opinion. Both are likely to survive this in some slightly diminished form, as they've survived the two Lebanon wars (complete with thoroughly unprovoked massacres), the small Gaza war and the formation of an Israeli government including a quasi-fascist foreign minister.

Plus, even though Israeli commandos Israel boarded the ships as part of a broad, explicit, and indefensible effort to keep basic supplies out of a desperately needy Gaza, Israel's supporters are aggressively pushing a blame-the-victims counternarrative. ...

American conservatives are already doubling down on their attacks on the ship passengers. Writing at Commentary, Noah Pollak actually calls them "terrorist blockade runners." Apparently, you can be a terrorist even on the receiving end of the gunfire. At the National Review Online, Daniel Pipes writes, "Israel’s enemies… turned to other means -- weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and (most recently) political delegitimization. ...

Seeing conservatives rally to Israel's defense and liberals agonize and waffle, Americans who are paying even moderate attention will probably just figure that this is more of the usual. While the Obama administration has been trying to apply pressure to the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we've yet to see any willingness to expend significant political capital on the effort. This latest might give President Obama more leverage, and lend weight to his warnings that Israel is undermining its own long-term political standing. But it seems equally likely that it won't have any significant short-term consequences, and Israeli conservatives will figure that everything turned out for the best. ...

But if the killings at sea do spark a new uprising or a wave of terrorism, Israel is likely only to entrench further, and the American and Israeli right wings will both once again blame the Palestinians for obstructing peace. ... Obviously, the situation is open. Prediction is something of a mug's game. But this mug, at least, thinks that Israel is going to get away with it. ...

At the moment, for [Netanyahu] and his allies on the right, the basic model of governance is to borrow against Israel's future position, in exchange for short-term gains of security or territory. In other words, in the long term, getting away with it is bad news for Israel. But, for the time being, that isn't especially important to the Israeli government.
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On Rand Paul, blacks and capitalism

See my article, The Civil Rights Myth: Integration and the End of Black Self-Reliance at Alternative Right


White liberals were so intent on forced integration of white businesses because it never occurred to them to put the onus on blacks themselves, and to ask, Why should whites, or any other group, be compelled to go against their preferences to satisfy yours? Why aren't you taking care of these matters and fulfilling your own needs? ...

How is it possible to win the respect of others, if you produce nothing? This question was already being asked back in 1852 by the black Abolitionist Martin Delany, who denounced middle-class blacks that long ago for desiring only to ride on the coattails of whites ...

Why didn't whites support those blacks who, back in the 1950s and 1960s, challenged the strategies of the proliferating numbers of civil-rights leaders, and who insisted that blacks must not be taken down the road of dependency? One reason is that ever since the days of Abolition, whites had grown used to having this mass of people to pity. These black victims of the "bad" whites made the "good" whites feel expansive and noble, as they still do. The graphic depictions of past sufferings relentlessly offered up by the NAACP suited these whites just fine. ...

The [black] elites were not dumb. They surmised that the strategy of "civil rights" would lead more quickly to greater power than they could acquire at a slower economic pace. This is the key to why so much terrible stuff befell blacks and ultimately befell the country. The elites who ran such organizations as the NAACP cared nothing about the overall health or long-term welfare of the group, but only about how they might take short cuts to power via the beneficence of whites. With the help of their white compatriots they managed to turn what was essentially an economic problem to be solved into a moral crusade. And the typical white ate it up. After all, economic solutions would not have led to all that Freedom-Riding and marching and anthem singing. Oh, how those white folks loved all that melodrama! And still do. ...

The total acceptance of King by whites, confirmed when this preacher was granted a federal holiday, fixed for all time the notion that the path on which he took blacks was the only correct one.

Read complete article here.
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