Archive for August 4th, 2014

by lizard

While Israel was doing this:

The UN has been dragged unwillingly into the war between Israel and Hamas after six of its schools were hit in two weeks and weapons caches found in three, violating the organisation’s neutrality.

The attacks on UN schools sheltering people fleeing bombardment have reverberated around the world, with unusually strong condemnation from Washington, and UN demands for an international inquiry into “gross violations of international law”. The most recent attack, on Sunday, was described by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, as “a moral outrage and a criminal act”.

James Conner was writing this:

America’s anti-Semites and loathers of Israel — and there are many, far, far too many — must have turned cartwheels of joy Friday when the New York Times reported that the fighting in Gaza is generating a serious outbreak of antisemitism in Europe.

So, too, turning cartwheels of joy must be the leaders of Hamas, for inciting fresh antisemitism in Europe and America is why Hamas — officially designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State on 8 September 1997 — provoked another deadly Israeli incursion in Gaza, hoping for massive civilian casualties that the world would blame on Israel.

Conner is desperately trying to redirect focus from Israeli actions to Hamas’ rhetoric, taking on the direct language of Hamas’ founding covenant. Read his whole post for context.

I’d say the first two paragraphs, though, make anything that comes after worthless. By leading with the anti-semite card, James Conner has signaled he is not capable of doing anything other than denigrate those with serious claims regarding a nation (that won’t define its borders) he apparently believes is not accountable because of the toddler-like narrative he offers: BUT HAMAS MADE ME DO IT!!! WAAAAA, I’M THE VICTIM!!

I came across an interesting article from April of this year in the Christian Monitor, titled Why Israel may need to rethink its assumptions on Palestinian unity. I’m going to highlight a lengthy section for context:

Seven years after the two main Palestinian political factions violently divorced, their leaders announced today a reconciliation deal that they say will pave the way for a new unity government and the first election in eight years.

Similar deals between Fatah and Hamas in 2011 and 2012 foundered over how the rivals would share power. But some say that this pact may represent more a serious commitment because both factions have been backed into a corner by popular discontent and outside pressures.

Israel certainly appears to be taking the deal seriously. Government officials criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, casting his decision as a rejection of peace with Israel as the two sides try to extend talks beyond next week’s deadline.

“[Abbas] must decide if he wants to make peace, and if so, with whom. It is impossible to make peace with Israel as well as with Hamas, a terrorist organization advocating for Israel’s destruction,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. “Signing an agreement of a Fatah-Hamas unity government is tantamount to [calling off] negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

Israel’s approach rests on two assumptions: that Mr. Abbas, who is also leader of Fatah, could enforce a peace deal without reconciling with Hamas; and that Hamas would never give up its stated intention to destroy Israel. Both may need rethinking.

Abbas, elected eight years ago, has consistently marketed himself as a committed peacemaker who will show Palestinians it is better to negotiate than resort to violence. But two rounds of negotiations later, the Israeli settler population in the West Bank has grown by more than 60,000 or 22 percent, and talks with Israel have failed to deliver a single meaningful benefit to Abbas’s constituency.

Israel wants to take more land, and has been aggressively doing so, despite the obvious dampening effect on the joke that’s been the peace process. I guess this is how Israel defines peace: we will take what we want, and you better be at peace with it!

Well, surprise surprise. Palestinians aren’t at peace with that, so votes were cast, Hamas’ role evolved, and now a full-blown massacre is ensuing after Netanyahu exploited the murder of three Israeli teenagers to turn the incremental genocide into a vigorous campaign of terror targeting anything that breathes in Gaza.

And if the intent of the siege isn’t clear, there are embassy cables released by wikileaks that spells it out very clearly. From Juan Cole:

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenpost has released a March, 2008, US embassy cable describing the Israeli blockade and siege of Occupied Gaza as an attempt to reduce the society to the lowest possible level of functioning without provoking a “humanitarian crisis” (presumably mass starvation).

“Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

And, with regard to taking money out of circulation in Gaza, a deflationary policy used as a tool of oppression:

“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge”

It seems to me the Israeli right-wingers missed their mark, since 55% of Palestinians in Gaza are food-insecure and 10% of children show signs of stunting from malnutrition. I’d call that a humanitarian crisis. What the despicable Israeli officials meant by their phrase, of course, is that a mass die-off should be avoided that would bring to bear world pressure to abandon this criminal policy. The Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal in international law and violates explicit United Nations Security Council resolutions. (Wasn’t defying UNSC resolutions given as a reason by the American Right for invading and overthrowing the Iraqi government?)

Not satisfied with the policy of strangulation, Israel has absolutely pummeled Gaza into a hell that will persist long after the bombs stop falling. At some point Israel will stop the hot part of this war, and then the real crisis will start unfolding. Critical infrastructure has been destroyed. Clean water and electricity will be difficult to provide.

And a generation of traumatized children will try to cope with the horrors they experienced.

How anyone can justify the actions of Israel is beyond me. Maybe it’s a product of age. Because regarding Israel, Millennials aren’t buying it like their parents have:

The latest Pew Research Center poll, which was published yesterday, shows that Americans aged 18 to 29 are pretty divided. When asked about “Israel’s response to the conflict with Hamas,” 31 percent said it’s been “about right.” Nearly as many, 29 percent, said that it’s “gone too far.” Tellingly, only 7 percent of young Americans believe it has “not gone far enough.”

By contrast, in the older age demographics (50-64 and 64+) 16 and 18 percent, respectively, believe that Israel’s use of force hasn’t gone far enough. Generation Xers are a bit closer to millennials’ views in some respects; 34 percent say Israel’s response has been about right, while 30 percent say it’s over the top. But again, 16 percent believe Israel’s military action should be more aggressive.

While there are multiple factors involved in this generational shift in public opinion, the most significant has to be the technological break-up of the information monopoly once held by the establishment. The information landscape is very different from the one Baby Boomers grew up in.

But don’t tell that to James Conner, who prefaced his cultural response to the Stafford poem I directed at him with this:

A wonderful song, wonderfully sung, in wonderful black-and-white, offered as a tribute to the bubble-wrapped, Hamasphilic, mainstreamphobic, half-wacked bloggers and conspiracy cultists who turned a once great progressive blog into a laughingstock of the internet. But let’s not give up on those birds just yet. Perhaps they can escape their twilight zones and return to daylight. With grace, amazing things can happen.

Without further comment, ladies and gentlemen, here are The Seekers singing A World of our Own (1968):

Hunting David Burgert

by lizard

Thanks to my parents snagging a camp spot at Apgar, I got to spend a wonderful Saturday afternoon with the extended family, swimming in Lake McDonald and listening to the drunk bikers who roared into loop D at 10:30pm get rained out by an impressive thunderstorm in the middle of the night as we lay dry and safe in our tent.

Sunday we drove back after taking a quick half-hike to Avalanche Lake. After unpacking I caught the last few minutes of David Burgert appearing on John Walsh’s show (not the doomed plagiarist Senatorial candidate) “The Hunt”. Here is a report from a local news station that a national program is once again featuring this infamous and still at large member of the Montana militia scene.

Relatively recent stories like this one from the Missoulian and now this national attention appears to be a strategy of trolling designed to illicit a reaction, if he’s not dead. For some background, this Indy piece by Jamie Rodgers is really good.

This case, for me, hits close. I had an unnerving interaction with David Burgert months before he disappeared. At the time I had no idea who he was. But I will always remember seeing his picture pop up on my twitter feed and slowly realizing who I had been in proximity to.

I communicated this to the necessary authorities at the time, but got no follow up.

What put law enforcement into contact with David Burgert on that fateful day was a 911 call from a concerned citizen reporting that someone had been sleeping in their car at a location just outside Lolo. It’s sad that simply sleeping in one’s car is considered by many as suspicious behavior. There are dozens of people that are engaging in this suspicious use of an automobile as a home because they have no other choice.

With the kind of criminal background Burgert had earned himself after spending several years in prison from gun charges, there wasn’t going to be much of a chance that Burgert, upon release, would be able to reintegrate back into society.

None of this is a justification for what Burgert did. He is obviously a mentally unstable, dangerous person unfit to mingle with us law-abiding citizens. The Hungry Horse News referred to him as the “missing Flathead terrorist” and maybe that’s what he is.

Does that mean if found law enforcement can dispense with due process and just execute him where he stands?

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