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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Between Orwell and a hard place

Yesterday Lebanon introduced a draft resolution into the U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlement expansion on the West Bank. The New York Times' Neil MacFarquhar reported the event in a brief story, in which he made the following unattributed statement:

No vote is expected soon because the United States criticized the resolution, arguing that the Council should not be the forum for addressing knotty Arab-Israeli issues.


Of course, Israeli settlements on the West Bank are not a "knotty Arab-Israeli issue," but a clear violation of international law. Indeed, even the United States regards the settlements that way, as MacFarquhar implies himself in the next sentence of his story:


A veto would be awkward because the language used in the resolution, which attracted some 120 co-sponsors, echoes previous statements that Washington has endorsed condemning settlements, diplomats said.


I've now actually quoted two of the story's three sentences, which I still think falls within copyright fair use. But wouldn't it be nice if the Times would do some stories about the contradictions between U.S. acknowledgement that Israel's actions are illegal--thus making them very appropriate subjects for Security Council resolutions--and its continuing protection and financial support for those same illegal actions? Just because our government engages in double-speak doesn't mean our news media have to follow suit.

Update: An illustrious group of commentators, policymakers and former government officials are calling upon the U.S. to support the Security Council resolution. This is important reading.

Is Israel an apartheid state? A South African group issues a report saying yes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peter King's proposed bill would ban guns near lawmakers

According to this article in Politico, the bill would make it illegal to carry guns within 1000 feet of many officials. The Republican Congressman from New York is quoted as saying this would make constituents feel safer when they meet with their representatives.

Seems like a great idea. And while we're at it, how about making it illegal to carry weapons within 1000 feet of children, pregnant women, veterans who have already been shot at least once, eligible voters, and other vulnerable categories of people.

Other news reports indicate that gun sales are skyrocketing in Arizona after the shootings of Gabrielle Giffords and others. Perhaps the entire state should be put under quarantine until the fever dies down.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sarah Palin et al. responsible for shooting of Gabrielle Giffords

This image was still on Palin's Facebook page as of Saturday. These are the kind of people that President Barack Obama wants to be bipartisan with. Perhaps it's time to start treating them like the enemies they really are.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Only in Israel...

... is it permitted to criticize Israel.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just a little justice for homeowners

So Massachusetts' highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, has voided two foreclosures because the banks involved (U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo) didn't have the proper documentation to show that they they had the right to throw the owners out of their homes. The New York Times, whose report I link to above, says this ruling could have ramifications across the country.

Let's hope so. Basically, the same banks that drove the U.S. economy into recession through their greed and irresponsibility now want to snatch up the property of their victims. But it will take more than a few court decisions to put things right. How about an entire new social and economic system based on justice and equality?