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|Sawtooth Peak -- Mineral King, California
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Place and check out my reviews of four very important books on U.S. foreign policy. These books are of major importance
to an understanding of the current national and international situation. (The titles alone are something of an education.)
Thanks again for visiting.
Friday, January 30, 2004
The Other Israel
12:36 pm pst
The Other Israel is one of a growing number of Israeli peace groups opposing the Ariel Sharon/George W. Bush in-your-face subjugation
of the Palestinian people. (In my view, the Israeli peace movement is precisely analogous to the U.S. protest against the
Vietnam War. You will surmise correctly here that I consider President Bush’s so-called Road Map For Peace to be a
charade. See my January 16 post.)
I recently received and read through the December-January newsletter issue, No 111/112. It is available on-line (go to
the URL above), and I strongly urge visitors to read it. I also strongly recommend subscribing to TOI’s e-mail update and
alert service, if only to be current on what the Israeli peace movement is doing . Send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org (Also see Gush Shalom .)
The newsletter is densely packed with powerful and informative material. It is in no way a polemic or propaganda organ.
Indeed, the statements of the Israeli refuseniks and peace workers approach the sublime. See The Pilot’s Letter,
Leibovitz & the Air Force, A state lacking justice cannot stand, Protest of ‘a loyal reservist.’
A Breaking Consensus, and Three Peace Proposals present comprehensive discussions of the different peace proposals
that have been developed by private negotiators from each side. Of these, the Geneva Accord is the most publicized
and holds out the most hope for a lasting peace — if the Bush Administration can be persuaded to support it.
Following is a transcript of A state lacking justice cannot stand, an excerpt from the article A Failed Israeli
Society Collapses While Its Leaders Remain Silent, by Israeli Knesset Member Avraham Burg:
(...) Traveling on the fast highway, it is hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must
creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied. This
cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger forever, it won't work. A structure built
on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing
like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing.
We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder that we also don't hear the
cries of the abused woman living next door, or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. And we don't
even bother to count the number of women murdered by their husbands.
Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come, swathed in
hatred, and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation,
because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because
at home they have brothers and parents who are hungry and humiliated.
We could kill a thousand ringleaders and bomb-makers every day, and it will solve nothing. These ringleaders come up from
below — from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice (...)
It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique
of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More
and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children
who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun
The time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers, and in
some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.(...)
We must remove all the settlements — all of them — and draw an internationally recognized border between the Jewish national
home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish Law of Return will apply only within our national home, and their Right
of Return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state.
The Other Israel, POB 2542, Holon 58125, Israel.
Friday, January 16, 2004
Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein on Middle East peace process
1:57 pm pst
Dianne Feinstein represents California in the United States Senate.
Dear Senator Feinstein,
I was pleased to learn, through your website, that last November 25 you had co-sponsored a resolution in support of the
Geneva Accord. I appreciated your eloquent statements in support of this creative and courageous peace effort.
That was then. Today, the construction of the Separation Fence in Israel, overtly designed to confiscate as much Palestinian
land and water as possible under the eye of a disapproving world, is taking place with the tacit approval of the Bush administration.
It is highly plausible to surmise that Ariel Sharon is deliberately provoking militant Palestinians to increase their violence
against Israel so that he can justify the eventual elimination of the entire Arab and Palestinian population from Greater
Israel. It is clear that President Bush, sharing the goals of the neocons within and outside of the administration,
has no intention of restraining Sharon.
Thus, I suggest that it is time for you to take a stronger stand. President Bush does not need to be encouraged
to support the Geneva Accord — he needs to be forced to support it. Even under the current political configuration
in the House and Senate, there must be some way to draw attention to the commitment to violence that Sharon shares with the
most extreme elements of the Palestinian resistance. It is also time to stop using past injustice against Jews as an excuse
for the neo-Fascist attitudes now dominating Israeli life. "You become what you hate," is an accurate statement of what is
in store for Israel if she is not led to a more humane, and realistic approach to ending the conflict. We are witnessing a
colossal human tragedy, carried out with barely concealed enthusiasm by a genuine human rights violator — Ariel Sharon — and
with the barely concealed approval of a President who led us into a war based on lies and a desire for revenge upon a tin-horn
I’m certain that you are aware of the efforts of the Israeli peace community, and the sacrifices being made by the growing
numbers of Israeli soldiers who are refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. They need our support, and your strong
leadership in support of the Geneva Accord will give them hope and encouragement — to say nothing of the positive effect on
America’s own peace and justice community. In truth, Senator Feinstein, America and Israel are each in the grip of a true
psychopathology. The Israeli peace movement is trying to heal Israel. I hope that you will be the person to begin that process
here at home. The stakes grow higher with each passing day.
Don Marquis and archy the cockroach
11:45 am pst
Don Marquis was a New York newspaper columnist and highly popular social
critic during the early 1900s. One morning he arrived at his desk to find a composition on the sheet of paper he had left
in his typewriter the night before. The text was an introduction of the writer, a cockroach who called himself "archy." Archy
said that he had always wanted to be a poet, and thanked Marquis for making it possible for him to live his dream. He asked
Marquis to always leave a blank sheet in the typewriter each night when he left the office. He also thanked Marquis for leaving
food scraps on the desk for him every night.
The text on the sheet was entirely in lower case, without punctuation,
the reason being that the only way archy could make the typewriter key strike the paper was to dive off the platen head- first
onto the key, whereupon the momentum of his dive forced the key down with enough pressure to make an imprint on the paper.
He did this for each letter, and by the end of the evening, he was thoroughly worn out. He couldn’t arrange a way to work
the shift key simultaneously; thus the lower case text. I forget how he managed to arrange the carriage returns for separate
lines. For more information on a great humanist, go to http://www.donmarquis.com.
From the life and times of archy & mehitabel, by Don Marquis.
Doubleday, 1950. (I will add to the archy collection in future posts.)
aesop revised by archy
a wolf met a spring
at a stream
and said to her
are the lamb
that muddied this stream
all last year
so that i could not get
a clean fresh drink
i am resolved
shall not be enacted again
i am going to kill you
just a moment
said the lamb
was not born last
year so it could not
have been I
the wolf then pulled
a number of other
arguments as to why
lamb should die
but in each case the lamb
pretty innocent that she was
well said the wolf
enough of argument
you are right and i am wrong
but i am going to eat
i am hungry
stop exclamation point
cried a human voice
and a man came over
the slope of the ravine
you shall not kill that
beautiful and innocent
lamb for i shall save her
exit the wolf
poor little lamb
continued our human hero
sweet tender little thing
it is well that i appeared
when i did
it makes my blood boil
to think of the fright
to which you have been
subjected in another
i would have been
too late come home with me
and the lamb frolicked
about her new found friend
gamboling as to
of a wordsworthian tabor
and leaping for joy
as if propelled by a stanza
from william blake
vile and bloody wolves
went on our hero
in honest indignation
they must be cleared out
of the country
must be made safe
and so jollying her along
with the usual human hokum
he led her to his home
the son of a gun
did not even blush when
they passed the mint bed
gently he cut her throat
all the while inveighing
the inhuman wolf
and tenderly he cooked her
and lovingly he sauced her
and meltingly he ate her
and piously he
said a grace
thanking his gods
for their bountiful gifts to him
and after dinner
he sat with his pipe
the fire meditating
on the brutality of wolves
and the injustice of
which allows them to harry
and wondering if he
had not better
write to the papers
for as he said
for god s sake can t
be done about it
Thursday, January 1, 2004
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM FISH RECOMMENDATIONS
3:47 pm pst
The Monterey Bay Aquarium researches the state of the world’s ocean
and freshwater fisheries, and provides a table of good, marginal, and bad fish choices.
Lobster: Spiny/Rock (U.S., Australia)
Striped Bass (farmed)
Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
Tuna: Albacore (troll/pole-caught)
Tuna: Bigeye (troll/pole-caught)
Proceed with Caution
Crab: Snow (U.S.)
Shrimp (U.S. farmed or U.S. wild-caught)
Tuna: Bigeye (longline-caught)
Tuna: Yellowfin (longline-caught)
Chilean Sea Bass/Toothfish
Flounders (Atlantic) except Summer Flounder
Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium at www.montereybayaquarium.org for more information.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Michael Moore channels George Orwell
9:32 pm pst
I enthusiastically recommend Michael Moore’s new book, Dude, Where’s My Country? Like his runaway
best-seller, Stupid White Men, it is highly entertaining and informative, but here Moore strikes a far more
serious tone beneath the wit. In fact, the book contains perhaps the most concise and accurate discussion of the psychopathology
of the American political right I have yet seen.
Given the season, I haven’t had time to do a comprehensive review of Dude, Where’s My Country?, nor do I
think such a review is really necessary. Just go out and buy the book, and then loan it out to as many people as possible.
To entice you toward that end, let me present a few quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 that Moore, brilliant social
commentator that he is, thought worthy of including in the book:
"The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility
of independent thought."
"All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make
them accept longer working hours or shorter rations."
"They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of
what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening."
"The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses,
all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could throw him into prison, or they could take his job
away and starve him to death. When any ordinary person spoke to a capitalist he had to cringe and bow to him, and take off
his cap and address him as ‘Sir.’"
It’s not rocket science to connect these few Orwellian dots with the domestic and foreign policy steps taken by the
Bush administration since 9/11. I will try to address this subject in more depth after the holidays.
For the die-hard anti-communist reader of this post, let me mention that the book Orwell wrote in satirical protest against
Soviet Communism was Animal Farm. 1984 originated entirely from his experience as a propagandist
with the British Ministry of Information during WWII.
It is worth noting that Oceania, the fictional country in 1984 Orwell creates as the fiefdom of Big
Brother, was born of the political and military union of the United States and the British Empire. In 1984,
the Soviet Union became Oceania’s enemy, Eurasia. (Reference on request.) Orwell saw quite cleary
the potential for dictatorship and repression in the democracies as well as in the totalitarian states, and it wasn't from
the likes of Hillary Clinton.
Best wishes to all for the holidays, and I look forward to hearing from you in 2004!
P.s.: Check out the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom: www.gush-shalom.org. Lots of good material on the conflict. More on that later, too.