Time's Up: Israel's Wiggle Room Just Ran Out. Showdown Ahead.

There is no diplomatic solution, no grand agreement, no way for Israel to coexist peacefully with its neighbors while occupying Palestinian territory and deliberately subjecting them to sub-third world existence. Turkey and the Palestinians have strong arguments supporting their recent actions, and whether right or wrong, they will be heard: the present situation has gone on long enough. It has to change.

Anyone interested in Middle East politics should be aware of two, no, make that three … four very big recent developments involving Israel:

    1. Turkey, Israel’s strongest ally in the region, is now openly hostile to the Jewish state, kicking out its diplomatic staff, withdrawing its own, and promising military protection to any vessel carrying supplies to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade. In other words, Turkey just said fuck you, bring it on.

    2. The Palestinians are seeking an elevation of status in the U.N. to full statehood, allowing them access to resources reserved for nation-states. In other words, Israel’s occupation is about to be challenged in the international arena when the U.N. meets for annual general assembly later this month.

    3. The U.N. Secretary General, in response to pressure to stop the Palestinians from moving forward with plans they announced months ago, said, basically, that 20 years of talks have gotten nowhere and the Palestinians therefore have a right to seek statehood.

    4. Clashes along the Israel-Egypt border ever since the fall of Mubarek are straining relations to the point that Egyptian protestors are calling for the cancellation of their peace treaty with Israel. Israel can no longer assume that its southern border is safe, a cornerstone of Middle East peace for the past 30+ years.

There is no diplomatic solution, no grand agreement, no way for Israel to coexist peacefully with its neighbors while occupying Palestinian territory and deliberately subjecting them to sub-third world existence. Turkey and the Palestinians have strong arguments supporting their recent actions, and whether right or wrong, they will be heard: the present situation has gone on long enough. It has to change.

To the casual American observer these actions appear hostile toward Israel, but, since the current situation can no longer stand, it’s the next logical step. The current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Binny Netanyahu has been stalling peace talks while moving forward with colonizing Palestinian territory, bragging to his supporters that he has America wrapped around his finger and can do whatever he damn well wants. The casual observer would not know this, but the Palestinians do, and so do all those world leaders meeting at the U.N. — there’s video on Youtube from Binny’s own mouth.

The reversal of relations with Turkey is the bigger blow for Israel. Turkey, with its economy booming, had close military and diplomatic ties with Israel, and was the one Muslim nation that played the game the way Israel prefers. Black Sea resorts in Turkey are favored by vacationing Israelis. The countries’ military forces conducted war games together and traded technology. Not anymore.

Israel’s refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish nationals last year inflamed Turkish anger and led to the meltdown in relations. Prime Minister Erdogan in Turkey has purged the military and taken thorough control of the country under a moderate Islamist government, so he has latitude and he’s using it. Like many Muslim leaders, he’s sick of the way the Palestinians are being treated by their Israeli occupiers. For Westerners, imagine a Christian nation taken over by Muslim invaders and occupied for 60 years, subjected to constant warfare, sea and land routes blockaded, people living desperately in a society on the brink of collapse, basic utilities like power and sewage controlled by the occupiers. And when they rise up against these conditions, the occupiers use brutal, overwhelming firepower and thuggish security tactics. That’s modern day Israel in the eyes of the Muslim world.

So, you see, time’s up. A major showdown is brewing that will reshape Middle East politics.

Southern Justice: Gulf Oil Disaster as Payback

The absolute tragedy that the deep South is experiencing is so loaded with sad irony, it can only be an act of God.

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When a disaster happens in a “liberal” state or city, former Republican candidate for President Pat Robertson likes to blame “sinners” and claim they’re being punished by God for being gay, progressive, and/or Democrat.

Nonsense, Pat. However, in a way he’s right: Gulf states are getting exactly what they asked for when they helped elect two oil men to the White House.

As black death wraps around Florida and heads up the coast and the ocean turns toxic, my heart goes out to all of the dying, dead, or ill-affected creatures who didn’t vote for the BP oil disaster. I feel for the fifty percent of Florida who didn’t vote for Bush/Cheney, and even for the poor suckers who thought they were helping to elect people other than what they got. Everyone in the “Red” states along the Gulf ask yourselves, would you trade eight years of Big Oil running the country in return for your Gulf back?

Back in 2000 and 2004, voters faced a clear choice, and because enough of them didn’t foresee the consequences of the policies pushed by Bush, the oil industry shed those pesky regulations and pretended like a disaster would never happen. And if God forbid it did, like BP said, the ocean is big and a few hundred billion gallons of oil is a drop in the bucket.

Bush campaigned on being an opponent of regulations like the type that prevent ecological catastrophes, and sold the general public on his supposed innate goodness (compassionate conservative) to settle fears about the potential consequences of allowing corporate America to run amok. Basically, the mantra was “trust George, he’s a good God-fearin’ Texan and wouldn’t screw you over, America.”

Fairy tales. The Bush campaign sold us lies and fairy tales from the beginning. Now the Gulf is paying the price.

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Which brings me back to my point: It’s sure ironic that Deep South states are sodden in BP oil, because the voters there essentially elected the people who caused the problem. Disagree? Then do you think that better fail-safe devices would have been required on oil rigs if Al Gore had had eight years to make America green? It’s a proven fact that the Cheney energy task force killed the requirement for fail-safe devices, to save their oil industry buddies $500,000 a pop. Spend hundreds of millions building and running a rig like the Horizon, then make billions from extracting oil, but no, we’ll assume that disasters never happen. No need for extra protection.

So Louisiana and oil-lovin’ Governor Bobby Jindal, when you look out over your sickly brown waters, remember that this is exactly what you asked for; don’t pretend otherwise. The so-called liberals screamed for years about Cheney’s secret deals with the oil industry and the need for renewable energy, but your ears were deaf.

Florida, when Jeb greased the wheels to elect his brother to the White House and Republican operatives stormed the election recount, you played along. I’m sorry that you really voted for Al and want your white beaches back, but look at it this way: At least it’s not 2004, when four hurricanes crossed your state. So devastated by November, you can’t be blamed for being suckered again.

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Alabama, same goes for your state. Mississippi too: You had some really beautiful coastline, really did, and it’s a shame to see it destroyed. A shame to see your fishing industry wrecked and tourism plummet and oil raining from the sky. And it’s a shame that you voted for the men who are the most responsible – and continue to elect brown-nosers like Haley Barbour. What has he ever really done for you other than cause grief, suffering and shame?

The absolute tragedy that the deep South is experiencing is so loaded with sad irony, it can only be an act of God.

Now if the oil reaches South Carolina and can somehow leap out of the ocean to tar Tennessee, Arkansas, and maybe Virginia Beach, where Pat Robertson is headquartered….

I feel sorry for you and for the sea creatures, despite my sarcasm. Next election, take heed of the obvious, please.

International condemnation will only grow over Isreali flotilla massacre

One of the conditions expected by Christians before Armageddon is for the world to turn against Israel. At this rate it could happen any day. In the novel Something Coming, it happens when Israel rejects a world peace accord. Just look at the comments below the article from this Israeli news source; they’re all like “good job killing those unarmed civilians in cold blood!” Sick sick sick.

The End of the Roman Cath. Church as We Know It

Figures that it will be something so shamefully despicable that’ll bring down the Church. But in the end it’s their own hubris, the intellectual masturbation that justified keeping molesters in the ranks. A culture allowed to fester, even aiding in moving pedophiles through a revolving door of parishes.

Vatican's downcast eyes
For every Roman Catholic bishop or cardinal or priest who resigns in disgrace – happening across Europe with the spreading sexual abuse scandal – another nail is pounded in the Church’s coffin. These could be the last days of the Roman Catholic Church as a worldwide power.

Consider:

1. Reports in Europe shows members leaving the Church in high numbers.

2. Abuse scandals have rocked the Church from Australia to Zimbabwe.

3. Relentless negative pressure – largely deserved after tone-deaf public comments from Vatican officials – is keeping the Church in a publicity death spiral.

4. Prophecy says so.

Seems a saint-type person (St. Malachy) had one “hell” of a vision foreseeing all of the Popes to the end. We’re down to the last two, Benedict and whoever is next (if our saint was correct), and every day that prophecy is looking more inevitable. Consider:

The bills that the Church pays and what their balance sheet must look like! The Church has already paid billions in U.S.-based settlements after years of sex abuse scandals, and is looking at another wave of lawsuits and investigations across Europe. Latin America has some scandals brewing, too. The Pope’s lawyers are going to stay real busy for years to come.

Consider the overhead of maintaining buildings and staff around the globe, a staff with full retirement benefits paid by the company. Look around the average city and you’ll find Catholic retirement and care facilities all over. How is the Church going to pay for those commitments when parishioners are either leaving en mass or slowly dying off? The mystique that the Vatican peddled for centuries is road kill, and its churches are mostly huge, beautiful, empty mausoleums.

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Consider the loss of prestige and respect. People want to give their money to a religious organization that lives up to its own moral code. Molesting children is the lowest of acts, so much so that even hardened prison convicts know what to do when a convicted molester shuffles through the doors. That image can never be erased from the Church’s reputation. The Boy Scouts are making a run at the title of chief organization for pedophiles, but altar boy jokes will forever rule late-night.

Figures that it will be something so shamefully despicable that’ll bring down the Church. But in the end it’s their own hubris, the intellectual masturbation that justified keeping molesters in the ranks. A culture allowed to fester, even aiding in moving pedophiles through a revolving door of parishes. No less than Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratizinger, played a large role in the cover-up, and that spells doom for the whole operation. Prophecy or not.

To find out more about the end days and prophecies of the Second Coming, read the supernatural fiction thriller Something Coming.

Government Experts Say: America, You Face Imminent Catastrophe

Comparisons of America to Rome — especially in the last few years — pop up in the news like bystanders at a crime scene. But never has someone shouting from the sidelines possessed such believability as the comptroller general of the U.S., David Walker, otherwise known as the head of the GAO, which is the research and investigation arm of Congress. Usually the GAO waits for direction from Congress on what to study, like say how Katrina rebuilding funds are being used. But Walker and the big brains at GAO decided on their own to simulate America’s future under the current circumstances. What they see in their crystal balls and flow charts is chilling: Dramatic raising of taxes, slashing of services and dumping of Dollars held by foreign investors.

(When China threatens to sell off their U.S. currency holding, estimated at nearly a trillion greenbacks, it’s not a little garden hose their threatening with; it’s a freakin’ cannon).

The GAO found many similarities between Rome’s circumstances just before it fell and America’s right now. It’s not a hypothetical. America won’t be sacked by marauders anytime soon (unless you’re one of the “patriots” guarding our borders from people who want to pick our fruit and beautify our landscapes, in which case you believe that America is already being overrun), but the conditions are ripe for an awfully hard fall.

China is determined to be the dominant world power of this century and they’re just waiting until America teeters at the edge — perhaps after the next 9/11-topping terrorist attack — to provide the nudge that sends her into a spiral.

Prevent Terrorism by Staying Away

Originally published Dec 30, 2001

Enough. This is enough madness. If the future is filled with latex and decontaminates and Anthrax, I say enough — no more. Let’s get back to normal, by any means necessary.

But how? With The Red Death knocking at our door, canáwe ever haveá”normal” again? Maybe. The U.S. will have to restrain its collective lust for revenge after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and walk the narrowest of paths. To do what? Nothing less than give the terrorists what they want.

They want to die, and America should oblige if they conspire to attack us. I’m talking about something else they want, something a lot of Muslims want: the U.S.ágone fromáthe Middle East. Good idea. Uproot bin Laden and his network and get out, so fewer weeds pop up on American soil for the next wave of attacks. Prevent the attacks altogether — for good.

How long has the U.S. been fighting Iraq? Come on, we all know where this war is leading and how long it is going to take, and how different the world — America in particular — is going to be afterwards — assuming an after. Whether American involvement around the world is right or wrong, justified or not, is not relevant now. We’ve got an entirely new set of questions to ask ourselves as a culture to prevent a horrible future vision from becoming reality.

The overriding issue is that America is reaping heavier and heavier consequences for its interventions around the world. And the future is pointing toward still heavier consequences: more terror, more security, more brutality and insecurity. A police state in America. Possibly. Or something worse.

Unless America wants terrorism to become a fact of everyday life — like in many other places around the world — we have to try a different approach, something radical, even earthshaking: mind its own business. Why does the U.S. military have to be so spread around the world? What good is it doing — or better yet, what harm? Why invite trouble when we’ve already got enough at home?

By pulling back we aren’t turning the other cheek or giving in; rather reordering our priorities. Besides, turning the other cheek doesn’t always mean non-retaliation. It used to mean I’ve got two cheeks and the other is going to be a lot harder to hit. But a fight is sometimes won by avoiding it, said the famous Chinese war tactician, Sun-tzu, and America can avoid more terror by giving the enemy less of a target, less reason, less motivation. We don’t bother you, you don’t bother us.

Take care of bin Laden and other terrorists who threaten American soil, then get out. Get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Balkans. Turn our sites inward and think more within our own borders. Get this so-called war over with and get back home, to normal, to a place where the violence was relatively predictable.

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It’s sometimes difficult for Americans to understand why anyone would hate us so badly to die striking at us collectively, but there are reasons that stretch way back. Arabs in particular have long memories, and the story of their last thousand years is popularly seen by them as the fall of a great, cultured, peaceful empire to stinky, violent, greedy, ignorantáEuropean Crusaders. Arab subjugation is complete with their freedom from colonial rule at the price of dependency on the West for oil money and foreign aid. What they want — what might prevent their extremists from lashing out — is to rule their own land without outside intervention, and they deserve the chance. Let them fight their own battles and make their own peace. They don’t need America for either.

Instead, let the U.S. help achieve peace through the U.N. Security Council, flexing other muscles than military to create security. This is a tremendous opportunity to fundamentally change America’s relationship with the world. If we’re cunningálike Sun-tzu and other wise warriors, we can make this war — what President Bush says is the “first” war of the new century — the last war we invite to our soil. Otherwise, prepare for a scary future of Anthrax cultures and security sweeps, rubber gloves and mail scares, suicide bombings and antibiotic runs, news alerts and gas masks….

The Dogs of War Are Howling – Woe to Us

áOriginally published September 15, 2001

War: a word most of us don’t really understand, but suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of one. The first war of the 21st century says president Bush. Just a year and change into the new Millennium and already a war. A big one. World War III some are saying.

The images of the World Trade Center’s last moments sure looked like war, not the Pearl Harbor or Persian Gulf kind, but war nonetheless. Except what happened September 11, 2001 is not at all comparable to a Pearl Harbor or the start of any other war, and we have to be very careful about how we label these recent terrible events and make sure our reaction does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The day after Pearl Harbor, Congress declared war on Japan, then soon after Germany on the U.S., then the U.S. on Germany. On September 12, 2001, America was still trying to figure out the enemy. No telltale Japanese fighters this time. These kamikazes suicided in jet airliners.

A few days after this “act of war” there are prime suspects and an alleged mastermind. There is a country that harbors that mastermind. There is a network of terrorists around the world. But who exactly are we warring with? Throwing this word “war” around is dangerous. Some people know all-to-well what war is, but Americans around for Pearl Harbor are mostly gone now. Back then it was really obvious what had to be done and who had to be fought. Today, more Americans are alive who were born after Vietnam than before it.

This time the enemy is a multinational terrorist network and countries that support them. Osama bin Laden’s network is reported to have cells in 38 countries, and an organizational structure designed to survive the loss of almost all senior leadership. No kidding this is a “new kind of war.” I have never heard of a war where the enemy is everywhere and nowhere at once. We must be careful that this war does not spread across the globe or get beyond our ability to contain it, because the flames of rhetoric can start all sorts of unexpected fires.

Governments around the world can use state security as a reason to go after anyone they want. Once hunting season opens on terrorists, Pandora’s Box has more unpleasant surprises. Loud and clear the U.S. sent a message:áif you’re not with us, you’re against us. Cooperate or else. That sounds ominous, only it’s not just leaders in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iran who should be listening carefully, it’s everyone. It’s people inside America and out. It’s terrorists or anyone that looks like one. It’s Colombian rebels and Chechnyan paramilitaries and Palestinian street fighters. It’s Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, and ethnic minorities around the world who are at odds with the powers that be. Lots of innocent people could get caught in the crossfire. Manyácountries will not cooperate as the U.S. wants them to, either because they won’t or they can’t, and according to the evolving U.S. strategy, those countries are going to get whacked. This is a dangerous road, one that will end with everyone fighting everyone.

There are some realities to consider here before breaking out the whup-ass. Iran’s reformers have the popular support of their people, but extremists who support terrorists have effective control of the country. They’re not handing anyone over. Syria and Jordan have new leaders that are barely in control of their countries. Egypt and Saudi Arabia only pretend to dance to America’s tune. Those countries and many others across the Middle East and Africa are facing the prospect of war with America and its allies, or war with the Islamic adherents within their countries. That might seem like a no-brainer, but what are America and its allies going to do, bomb into oblivion? If they take out the governments, what’s going to replace them? All the West will accomplish is creating more breeding grounds for terrorists.

Israel’s hard-line government that has been itching for the chance to take out Yasser Arafat and the rest of the Palestinian government; America’s talk of war sounds like a go-ahead. That will definitely start a war –áa big, big war.

It’s understandable yet surprising that the Bush administration with its high-flying and much praised security team would flagrantly fan the flames. Obviously a strong response is needed to prevent future terrorism –áin America or any other cooperative country. But is a “war” necessary? Isn’t anyone in the White House suggesting other options? Could it be that with a former general as secretary of state, and a former secretary of defense as vice president, and many other hard-liners around him, President Bush is hearing a lot of one-sided advice?

Another question. Maybe this is beside the point, but maybe it is the point: Why is the coming storm being called “the first” war of the 21st Century? Sounds to me like someone thinks this situation is the start of something much bigger. Step back from the brink and consider what we’re really talking about here, and how we should go about making the world safer. First of all we have to acknowledge that the U.S. government creates its Frankensteins like bin Laden and Hussein and Noriega. The government used them in a global game of chess with the Russians, and when pawns rise against their kings, we get wars. CIA spooks taught bin Laden his tactics so he could fight the Russians in Afghanistan, and now he is using what he learned with horrific effect against the people who basically got him started. Obviously, terrorism against America is not what anyone in the CIA had in mind when training bin Laden, but if we want to really learn from what has happened to avoid future tragedies, we have to realize how misguided policies create these monstrous enemies.

Second, we should be really asking why the Russians and Chinese are so eager to see America go down this path. Could it be that they see easy cover to take care of their own problems? Like chess, multiple reasons are behind every move, so while the Russians and Chinese say crackdown on terrorism, they have their own ideas. Russia is still waging a grueling conflict in Chechnya, and China is systematically eliminating Falun Gong followers and other “dissidents.” In fact, the country is awash in its own blood right now, with more executions in the last year than the rest of the world combined. America’s rhetoric sounds like a green light not just for Russia and China, but for Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and other countries dealing with security issues, to push back the boundaries of civil and legal rights. There has to be a clear, and limited, enemy. There has to be due process. And the U.S. has to be careful about what kind of signals it sends to anyone who follows along on this crusade.

Third, anyone targeted as a terrorist has to be convicted in a court. America can not run around being judge, jury and executioner. Fourth, a united effort on many fronts — legal, economic, political — should be made before missiles are launched or bombs are dropped. Fifth, the freedoms and liberties cherished in America have to be upheld as much as possible while effectively dealing with terrorism, at home and abroad.

And finally, we should ask if the war rhetoric and comparisons to other wars are doing more harm than good.War? If we’re not careful we might just find out what war really means.