Friday, August 29, 2014

All morality is individual

Moral autonomy is having the freedom, and possessing the courage and the will, to make moral decisions on one's own, individually.  It's standing on one's own two feet; and sometimes that requires sacrifice.

Moral autonomy is at the root of what is termed "character."  Character is always individual.  You don't display character by joining a group.  Moral autonomy is the ability to choose the right course of action, by oneself, without any outside pressure or influence.
Look at the lives and example of the men who signed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776.   These were men who were making a moral choice; not because they believed it would profit themselves personally; indeed, the likelihood was that it would cost them everything; two of the signers had British forces camped right next to their estates.  Those two men knew that they stood to lose those estates as soon as they signed the Declaration.  They signed anyway.

All those who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that they were committing an act of high treason; punishable by death. They weren't doing what they knew to be legal; what they were told was their patriotic duty; which was to remain steadfastly loyal to God and to King.  They knew that if they did not win their war of rebellion – and the likelihood of their winning that war was considered remote – they would all be hung as traitors.  They committed their act of treason knowing that to survive they would have to defeat the most powerful army in the world (they did not even yet have an army of their own!), and for years they would stand alone because no other government in the world gave them a chance of succeeding. They signed their Declaration anyway. They endured five years of almost constant defeats, each year looking more hopeless than the last. They fought on anyway.

Character is not based on what is legal, what is condoned by the state, by the law, by the church, or by the society at large.  It is always individual.  It is never coerced. Character cannot develop in an environment in which ethical decisions are forced upon the individual. Character is a product of judgment, discretion, and choice – born from a person's free agency. A decision that is coerced cannot be a moral decision, and thus cannot be a decision of character. Compliance with the law does not, in itself, constitute character.

Character has been defined as the ability to make ethical decisions always on behalf of the common good combined with the discipline and the strength to carry through with those decisions.   Character is the application of moral principles, ethics, in the way we live and act.  Character doesn't change with popular opinion, the political climate, or with a tide of nationalism or emotion. Character is consistent.

Character is having the courage to accept moral responsibility and accountability for one's own actions. 

The core of all character lies in individuality. Character is a moral fact: and, until life is individual, it is not moral. And by individual we mean something single, separate, and alone, that cannot be accounted for from outside, cannot be grouped under any general laws, cannot be extracted out of outside conditions. Its actions must spring from out of itself.  It is this seal of individuality which it sets on everything that comes out from it, which makes it a character. Sometimes it stamps it weakly, and then we say a person has little or no character; or sometimes it stamps it forcibly, and then we say, "That is a man of character."

– Henry Scott Holland, Creed and Character, 1887

Never base a moral choice on its popularity. Always do what you know is right; even if that decision draws hostility from others.   Even if you see no possibility of personal profit from it.  Even if you are forced to stand alone against everyone else you know; do it anyway.

Especially if you must stand alone; that is exactly when you must.  It takes no courage to join a lynch mob.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ferguson: It's about America's militarized police forces

The story is not about the slaying of Michael Brown, or the protests in the community of Ferguson Missouri ... for that matter, the story is not about the actions of a single cop, or the irresponsibility of those who defended his act of cowardice.

It's about the massive military response to unarmed citizens demonstrating police brutality in their community.  Armored vehicles, helicopters, grenade launchers, assault rifles, bulletproof vests, night vision equipment, and various other sorts of battle gear. With the continuing protests in Ferguson, the militarization of police has become so obvious that even the mainstream media are catching on.

And without Ferguson, and the street protests, we'd never have known about what happened to Michael Brown.  Far too many people simply don't care; and won't, of course, until the cops are in the streets of their community killing their own.  But a growing number of people are beginning to question the police state and, as emotions subside, more and people are beginning to realize that it's not nearly as simple as one white cop killing one unarmed black youth; it's about a massively over-militarized police state that will stand firm on its right to kill anyone it chooses; they'll be the judge of who deserves to die.

The increasing up-armoring of local police with military equipment and, more importantly, its acceptance by a timid frightened public, is a symptom of growing authoritarianism.

Ferguson is a symptom of a seriously authoritarian society.  The military and the police force do not exist to protect individual liberty, or American constitutional rights to privacy, free speech and assembly.  The military and the police exist to protect the State.  And, on a larger scale, national sovereignty.

The first allegiance of the military and the police is always to the State. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What happened to Seal Team Six ... do you know?

So, what do you think really happened to the 17 members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 who carried out the capture/execution of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan?  Are they around to give testimony about what happened during that mission? 

August 6, 2011, a US Navy CH-47D Chinook helicopter was allegedly shot down by a Taliban fighter armed with an RPG.  The crash took the lives of all 17 SEALs and five crew members on board, in the worst one-day loss in the history of U.S. naval special operations.  [source]

Just like the high-resolution video from the night-vision helmet cams, and the body of Osama bin Laden; they're all gone; forever. All we have now are the Pentagon files from the raid; its planning and execution .... oops, my bad ... it was a little more than one year ago that US Navy Admiral William McRaven, the naval officer who oversaw the Navy SEAL raid admitted that he ordered all US files on that raid to be purged from Department of Defense computers to the control of the CIA in a move that effectively kept that information secret from the public.  In the hands of the CIA, the files are legally exempted from the Freedom of Information Act and are effectively shielded from ever being made public.

Which explained why, two and a half years ago, the Defense Department was totally unable to produce any of that information in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Associated Press.

The Defense Department told the AP in March 2012 it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier from which he was buried at sea. The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the Carl Vinson.

In other words, that information essentially went into the proverbial memory hole. No proof of anything, just the official account of what happened. There is no evidence to back up the official story, or to prove that Osama bin Laden was alive at the time of the raid; and that he was killed in the raid.  Remember, the alleged corpse of bin Laden was allegedly flown to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for identification, and immediately put on a helicopter which was flown out over the Indian Ocean where the body was dumped into the see because "no country would accept his remains."

French Emperor Bonaparte was right, "History is written by the winners."  The truth, however, isn't susceptible to convenient interpretation.  We know only the history that is being written; we don't know the truth, and we never will.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two demonstrations of cowardice, contrasted

I hate to comment on any item that's currently in the US news, largely because everything in the US is so politicized, and so emotionalized; there's really little point in trying to refute emotion with logic.

Now that emotions are subsiding somewhat; it is good to see journalists start to comment correctly about the beheading of the American journalist by Sunni militants. When I heard of it, my immediate thoughts were that the executioner did it with his own hands; and that he took full and individual responsibility for his actions.  Barbaric, perhaps, hard to watch, but that's only because it was more "up close and personal" than a missile strike; but effectively no different.
Contrast that beheading with the indiscriminate killing of women and children in Pakistan using robots ... which is far more barbaric.  The use of machinery in no way glorifies or sanctifies those murders.  They are every bit as condemnable as the ISIS beheading.  Every bit. And, in the number of innocents killed, far worse.

As Eric Margolis (who has, himself, been a war journalist) said, "We westerners have a charming and quaint  belief that killing people from the air by using bombs, rockets, shells, napalm and cluster munitions – or even nuclear weapons – is somehow not really as bad as ramming a bayonet into an enemy, blowing him to pieces with heavy artillery, or slashing his throat the way sheep are killed Air warfare is clean. Air warfare is the American way of war."
Murder isn't sanctified by the use of technology.  It is sick to even think that way.

Eric also pointed out that at the very same time James Foley is alleged to have been being executed, Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the US, announced it had executed 19 people in public beheadings for various crimes. [source]  One of the victims was beheaded for witchcraft. There was no outcry at all in the US mainstream media over that medieval horror.

Send those young American soldiers back into Iraq, President Obama ... c'mon, I double-dog dare ya! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

200 years ago: August 24, 1814

On August 24, 1814, after soundly defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg Maryland, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross (pursuing American militia who actually fled in panic through the streets of Washington D.C.) occupied the capital city and set fire to many public buildings. The facilities of the U.S. government, including the White House and U.S. Capitol, were largely destroyed, and there was absolutely no effective American resistance. The British commander gave orders to burn only public buildings and the strict discipline among the British troops ensured that his orders were followed; as a result, the city's private buildings were preserved.

The War of 1812 was a humiliating defeat for the Americans; and that humiliation was felt for years ... but with the passage of time, Americans have claimed the war as a victory.  It wasn't, although it wasn't truly a British victory either, since American aspirations of forcing the British off the continent had already been destroyed ... but for Canadians, it was a huge success; affirming Canadian solidity and sovereignty.  

The real losers, of course, were the American Indians of the upper Mississippi and the Ohio territory; that's another story.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why the Iraqi people aren't friends of the US

I believe the United States is trying (unsuccessfully) to convince the people who live in Iraq that the US is their savior.  But Iraqis know better.

Before the UN economic sanctions against Iraq that were imposed by the UN Security Council on August 6, 1990, and pushed through almost solely by the US and one of its two remaining allies of consequence (Great Britain and Israel), life for the average Iraqi was far better than it is now. Prior to the sanctions, there was abundant cheap gasoline in the country. There was free health care for all citizens, and there was a modern educational system.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself ... please convince me that I'm wrong. 

And you may actually be able to do so; I'd love to be wrong about this, but I don't think you will ever convince the Iraqi populace. Who is responsible for the miserable state of affairs in their country? The US government blamed it almost solely on Saddam Hussein, the Iraqis only know that the economic sanctions of the last decade brought them hunger, disease, ignorance and, eventually ... another war.

Just keep in mind that it doesn't matter if you believe that the Hussein regime is directly responsible for the UN economic sanctions ... it only matters what the Iraqi people believe at this point ... and after the poverty, bloodshed and homelessness left behind by US armed forces, they still haven't been convinced that they're better off for having lost their strongman leader. 

Has "democracy" ever been brought to a nation at the point of a gun?  Does it ever work that way?


UNICEF and other International relief and human rights agencies blame the sanctions (not the Hussein regime) for the decline of education in Iraq:

BAGHDAD - Ten years ago, Iraq had one of the best health care systems in the Middle East. Now, that system is in ruin because of UN sanctions:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Russia is a threat, alright – to US imperial aspirations

I've been more than a little surprised at the rehashed Cold War propaganda that's been circulated in the mainstream media ... and totally shocked at some of the people I know who've bought into that "Putin is the new Stalin" bullshit.

As though the Crimea re-annexation represents anything like a threat to Europe or, even more ridiculous, to the United States.  For what it's worth, Crimea became part of the Russian Empire in 1783, well before the US used force to annex territories that belonged to Mexico and attempted to do the same in Canada (what do you think was meant by Fifty-four Forty or Fight! ?)

After World War II, the government of Canada (under Prime Minister Mackenzie King) viewed Stalin's government of Russia as a very unpleasant regime; but not directly dangerous to anyone else; particularly not to Canada.  Canadian diplomats argued that Stalin's primary interest was the preservation of Communist rule in Russia and the reconstruction of a shattered economy and a society devastated by war.  Russia lost twenty million people in World War II, a death toll far higher than any other country, allied or axis.

Russia wasn't focused on expanding ... but the West needed a new enemy; a new monster to slay; and the commies were it.

The Russian Empire was greatly expanded during World War II, not by conquest, but when Soviet control of Eastern Europe was signed, sealed, and delivered into Moscow’s hands by Franklin Roosevelt at Yalta.  The fact is, a broken Russia did not exit World War II with plans for increasing its territorial control; Russia's focus was on trying to rebuild its economy (and, of course, to demonstrate the superiority of communism over western-style capitalism). That is why, in our lifetimes, since their great victory over German military aggression in World War II, the Soviets have been quite conservative in their military policy. That policy has been predominately defensive. Russia's only use of military power has been to defend their territory in the Communist bloc, or to defend their allies against foreign invaders; not to extend their territory.

Contrast that with the military policy of the United States.  How many sovereign countries have been attacked by the US since 1945?  Hell, I would count the number just since 2001 as seven: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Uganda.  That is four more countries, under President Obama, I believe, than under his predecessor ... so the number effectively doubled after Americans elected a "peace president."

Pay attention. The threat isn't an expansionist Russia ... it's a Russia that blocks American expansionism.  Vladimir Putin is the enemy because he's the only world leader with the gonads to speak against a US foreign policy of aggression, invasion, and conquest. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

It wasn't stolen from Americans; they gave it away

America's problems don't have political solutions, and certainly not military solutions.  Americans lost their moral bearings.  America lost its soul.

What I see breaking down in American society is the belief that the United States of America represents that most essential ingredient of Western thought:  that unshakeable faith in human progress (the belief that the direction of the world is always toward a better future; more prosperous, more secure, less stressful and hazardous).  It is that belief that a better world is not only possible, that it is inevitable.  The United States was going to take the lead among nations in building that brave new world.

Most of us know, now, that isn't true.  American society took a huge step backward when it resorted to these four things:  1) an unprovoked attack on a tiny impoverished nation that was unable to defend itself; a cowardly act of bullying of the very worst sort, 2) holding prisoners without charges, without legal recourse, without regard to their guilt and giving them absolutely no hope of release, 3) torture of helpless prisoners, not just in violation of international law (which it is), but in violation of American principles of justice and civilized behavior and, finally I believe, 4) the use of unmanned remotely-piloted aerial drone, the use of robotics in warfare, to kill indiscriminately, women and children whose lives were flippantly dismissed as "collateral damage."

When a society lets expediency outweigh morality, there is really no limit to what that society can and will do without the onerous burden of moral responsibility.

The mood of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair that is gripping Americans today is by no means unjustified, and it is not due to any external force.

What Americans possessed, uniquely, they gave away ... essentially, for empty promises.  A handful of magic beans.  Because they were afraid.  Boo hoo.

To their shame.

To their eternal shame.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

45 years ago, today

"It's so groovy to see all you people living in tents ... a cloth house is all you need if you got love."
John Sebastian, Woodstock, August 16, 1969

John Sebastian turned 70 this year.  He still performs. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Russian food embargo already hurting the EU

The Associated Press reports:

EU Farmers To Lose $16 Billion as Russians Support Food Embargo
Russia Responds to Western Sanctions
Associated Press

MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – According to the Associated Press, the EU agricultural export to Russia reached $15.8 billion in 2013. Thus, the estimated loss for the European economy could be about $16 billion, experts claim. Moreover, Russian sanctions may draw Europe into a market crisis, the French National Federation of Unions of Agricultural Operators warns.

Russia's independent Levada Center pollster admits that about 72 percent of Russians approve of the imposed sanctions. Vladimir Putin's approval ratings in Russia remain at their highest point as well.

I believe the United States made yet another huge blunder in forcing its European Union allies to impose economic sanctions on Russia.  Europe depends, primarily, on hydrocarbon imports from Russia; an embargo on Russian gas and oil imports can hurt Russia only if Russia cannot find an alternative consumer of the natural gas that it pipes to the European Union through tiny Ukraine. The embargo on Russian natural gas had the immediate effect of bring Russia and China closer together.  After 20 years of talks between Russia and China, in May of this year Vladimir Putin signed a huge 30-year deal to pipe 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China; worth about US$400 billion at the time of the deal.  In return, China will invest US$20 billion in Russian's gas fields and pipeline system. And there's a military component. China will buy Russian military exports. 

And that was the most significant outcome of Obama's threats of both military and economic sanctions on Russia ... it drove Russia and China right into signing an agreement in which they'll protect themselves against American-led NATO aggression.

The United States made damned sure that Americans wouldn't feel the effect of those trade sanctions before they imposed them.  America's allies need to realize that ... they were thrown under a bus.

The perception of most Canadians I've talked to about this is that the US and the sycophantic government of Stephen Harper threw Canadian farmers under that bus ... Canada is a major exporter of agricultural products to Russia; the most important, I believe, is pork.

Canadians, by and large, do not believe Canada should be supporting the US in its proxy war with Russia.  The US is proving itself to be a very bad ally.
The political ineptitude of America's government is truly shocking. Fast-forward to this week. The false claims made by the US-backed government in Kiev (claims I'm sure were made with the full approval of the Obama Administration) that the 270 aid trucks sent from Russian to Ukraine were "Trojan horses" containing Russian military hardware.  Those bullshit claims more than doubled the effectiveness of Putin's power play.

The whole purpose of Russia's "humanitarian relief mission" was to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the US using "humanitarian relief" as a pretext for involving itself militarily in Iraq.  So what do those Russian trucks contain? I'm sure you'll find blankets, medical supplies, baby formula.

Score another one for Vladimir Putin.

And, by the way, American – keep pounding your chest if you want, but forcing your astronauts to beg rides home from the International Space Station in Russian vehicles does nothing at all for your image abroad.

The Emperor is, indeed, naked.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do what's right; always, not just what's "safe"

Why are the events of 12 years ago still relevant?  Because Americans seem bound and determined to repeat the mistakes of the recent past.  It's as though they have learned nothing; and have acquired no wisdom at all. 

Why go back 12 years and remind Americans of how they acted then?  Quite simply; because many are acting exactly the same way now.  Have you noticed?
What happened in the runup to the Iraq invasion is important. And absolutely and completely relevant.

Friend, do not try to convince me that your support for the invasion of Iraq – which was a tiny, impoverished, unarmed and defenseless country when it was attacked in March 2003 – was morally justified, or was justified by the facts at hand.  We both know better.

Let me tell you why most Americans went along with that invasion; an unprovoked aggression against a weaker people, totally out of keeping with the espoused values of the American nation:  because it was convenient to do do.  To have spoken out, in that highly-charged atmosphere of hatred, was to stand alone; was to incur the disdain of – and hostility from friends, family, and your community.  I know.

Most Americans, now as then, will gauge the collective conventional wisdom, and they will not depart from that, not an iota; they will do what they feel is safe; not what they know is right.

And that's what I condemn; not error; but the deliberate choice of the safest course, the one which requires no courage, with a total disregard for what one knows is right.

I am not talking about politics right now; or even world events; I'm talking about principle, character.   And the politics of it aside, I will tell you this; my character will not permit me to make that same choice.

And that has set me apart from the crowd.  Forever.  I'm glad of it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ten Years Ago: August 11, 2004

Friday, August 8, 2014

Morality isn't subject to situational interpretation

There is absolutely no moral equivalence between 1,500 dead civilians, 30% of who are believed to be children, in 4 weeks, and 28 dead Israelis from wildly inaccurate and very ineffective rocket attacks over a thirteen-year period. [source].  None.

Those who claim Israel acted appropriately by attacking civilians in Gaza, are practicing the same moral relativism that allowed Americans to say, 10 years ago, "Americans do not torture ... well ... except when ..."

True moral principles are not applied selectively; only when it's convenient; only when it meets the approval of the public; they are individual, non-negotiable, and immutable.  They are not influenced by propaganda or politics.

And they are not determined by the State or by the Church or by the Republican Party or the U.S. Army or Marine Corps or the Boy Scouts of America.

Friends, when you let someone else – or worse, an institution – decide morality for you; you are acting immorally. All morality – my morality; yours – is individual; it isn't determined by any institution.

We do not excuse our own actions by pointing to the actions of others. Others are not responsible for how we behave; we can never blame our own behavior on others; that is a basic principle of honor, and a long-standing principle of manhood.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A free society requires a free internet

On the one hand, you had non-stop propaganda claiming Israel's military was "defending" Israel from rockets fired from Gaza, while the social media portrayed a different reality, in which Israeli's killed some 1600 civilians, indiscriminately, hundreds of them children, while those Hamas rocket attacks have killed, on average, fewer than 3 people in each of the past ten years. [ source ]  "Disproportionate response" doesn't adequately describe what happened in Gaza.  It was an obscenity, and a crime against humanity.

But take a look at who believed the propaganda machine (people my age generally), and those who looked beyond the lies and judged the facts from reporters on the scene, and victims and witness to the attacks, reporting directly through the social media; confirming others' accounts, with images and video that obviously gave the lie to mainstream media reports.  In polls, it is young Americans, those aged 18-29, who rejected the narrative of Israeli "defense."  And that bodes well for the future; if only those young people can avoid becoming what my own generation became.

It was thoroughly gratifying to watch, not just to see Israel exposed for what it is, but to see the social media eclipse the mainstream media in this conflict.  Because, after all, that's our last lifeline to the truth, isn't it?

Turn off that tv and start clearing away the cobwebs of deception.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No one knew how things would turn out (and that's exactly the point)

Since I first opposed, publicly, the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, based on what turned out to be completely false claims, I have been told many times that, "Well, you turned out to be right about that, Charles, ... but, at the time, no one knew how things would turn out.  Those WMDs could have been there.  At the time, you didn't know you were right – you couldn't have known."

Yes, and that is exactly why I think it was important to base my personal choices, not on what the White House was selling or what the media outlets were screaming, but on what my own gut told me, and even more important, on my personally held principles. Logically, I knew that the immediacy of the invasion was only justified by the fact that the case for the war was coming unraveled, and quickly.  But more than that; I felt that it was a violation of my principles – long-standing American principles – for the United States to attack another country, especially a tiny, defenseless country, that had done nothing to justify that attack.  It was wrong.  And I didn't have to possess indisputable evidence of anything at all to know that it was wrong.

It was dismaying to watch so many others totally abandon their own principles, out of fear ... easily; without the slightest reluctance or doubt.

Friends, when your "deeply held principles" can be easily manipulated by propagandists; and are subject to situational interpretation, then they aren't principles at all, are they?

So, in the absence of sound knowledge on which to base our decisions; should we trust the US government and the US media to tell us what to do?  I think we've learned how unwise that is.

Or do we trust our own gut instincts and fall back on our own personally held principles?

I'll argue for the latter – it has always worked for me.

Trust your gut.  No act, based on principle, regardless of the outcome, is meaningless.

Winston would have liked to continue talking about his mother. He did not suppose, from what he could remember of her, that she had been an unusual woman, still less an intelligent one; and yet she had possessed a kind of nobility, a kind of purity, simply because the standards that she obeyed were private ones. Her feelings were her own, and could not be altered from outside. It would not have occurred to her that an action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless.

– from George Orwell's 1984

Monday, August 4, 2014

Your silence is your assent

When your friends, or family members, or co-workers launch into that familiar diatribe of hatred, it is very often in complete confidence that they won't be interrupted or contradicted. It doesn't take an ounce of courage to be part of a lynch mob; and it takes no courage to be a loud cheerleader for these new wars in which someone else is going to fight and die.  Can you name a neocon who fought in Vietnam?  They're all about the right age.  What about the two most famous, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney [five deferments] and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz [student deferments also kept him safely at home]?

It takes courage to stand up to these cowards who talk so big, but in reality, can't back up their words by demonstrating real character.  What they like to think of as "patriotic" is, more often than not, simply a vicarious "hero-worship" that's more appropriate to a teenage mentality.   Stand up to them.  You don't have to offer an elaborate or eloquent argument (trust me, you won't get one in return). You don't have to be louder or more "in their face".  You only have to stop them with a "I'm not so certain that's true ..."

When you speak up to haters, no matter how quietly; when you offer an opposing position, no matter how tentatively ... you have done your part; you have sowed that seed, because you have shown others that there is another side, equally as strongly felt, and usually better grounded in reason.

Your silence, however, will almost always be interpreted as tacit agreement.

Nothing that has happened in this nation in the past 12 years years has frightened me as much as the passive complacency and silent assent exhibited by my countrymen and countrywomen who I believe knew perfectly well that they were giving their consent to actions that were morally and ethically wrong.

Show a backbone.  It only takes a few spoken (or written) words ... but most of it takes the courage to be seen and to be heard.

I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.  We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

– Elie Weisel, Auschwitz survivor

A dozen years ago, Americans gave their silent assent to actions that have since proven wrong and immoral; Americans should have deep regrets for their weakness.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A reminder: Warsaw, 1939

The Gaza strip, essentially a modern-day "Warsaw ghetto", is packed with Palestinians who were evicted from their homes and villages in the West Bank, and is one of the most densely populated areas on earth [source]. 
It's bad enough already, but Israel is currently in the process of shrinking Gaza by 44 percent.  The map below shows the area Israel is seizing (a three-kilometer "buffer zone") which, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, contains about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.

The death toll in Gaza is now more than 1,400, 8,200 people had been wounded.  Up to 80% of the Palestinian casualties were civilians.   That means that 1,100 Palestinian civilians have been killed as opposed to three civilians in Israel.  There is no moral equivalency.

And while the White House condemns the deliberate targeting of refugees in UN schools (which is just empty rhetoric), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, yes, a Democrat, is preparing to introduce a new "emergency" funding bill help finance more of the slaughter. [source]