Tuesday - July 21 2009
Hour One: “What is the nature of the debate about peace in the Middle East through the eyes of Israel” Thom with David Horovitz, Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post www.jpost.com
Hour Two: What if your child is stuck in a fundamentalist church by your ex and you think it's wrong? Thom talks to Danny Postel, new Humanist. www.alternet.org
Hour Three: "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" Thom speaks with author/columnist Chris Hedges of The Nation about his new book www.thenation.com
On “Coast to Coast” last week host George Noory received a call from a woman in Arizona who wanted to report a strange phenomenon in the sky. Clearly terrified, she reported that the moon appeared to be bright orange, and that it seemed to have been projected skyward from some mysterious location on earth, like the Batman signal. Not only that, but she had observed on certain days that parts of the moon seemed to be hidden, and even disappeared altogether. Could George explain these strange occurrences? Noory, apparently not wanting to create a precedent by suggesting that some of his listeners might be less than completely sane, dryly suggested that the reason why she did not see the moon in Arizona was because Los Angeles “has it.” The caller must have found the gumption to make this report after the previous caller informed Noory that repeating that “I command thee” line from “The Exorcist” was one-hundred percent guaranteed to make a demon leave your presence; when Noory asked him if it would work on Lucifer, the caller confessed that he would have the shakes if he was in the same room with Mr. Big, but was confident that the line would work on him, too.
I just mention this because even though Noory surely knew these people probably should be on medication, and in at least the case of the woman did not even attempt to educate her or equally baffled listeners on basic planetary and lunar science; it was more important to maintain the illusion of the paranormal than lose this particular audience by debunking crazy talk by alleged adults. So to in the case of right-wing talk radio do we hear we hear strange phenomenon passing for fact. I heard on Andrew “The Judge” Napolitano’s on his radio show stating that we should not do anything to fix the health care system, because it would require raising taxes, and we can’t do that (because he says so). When the token caller of obvious reason and intelligence tried to explain to him why he thought reform was needed as well as additional taxes, “the judge” talked over him, cut him off, and without allowing him to make any statement that would contradict his version of the case, “the judge” dismissed the witness who was still trying to talk. It was too dangerous to allow his core audience to be infected with the disease of intelligent discussion on the issues.
Taxes continue to be an issue where little intelligence or common sense is to be found on the right. The only people who actually pay all of their taxes are the ones on the lower-end of the wage scale, because they are the least likely to itemize their tax returns, rather relying solely on the standard deduction. Corporations and higher income “earners” pay much less on average than the official tax rate. The fact is we wouldn’t need to raise taxes if we closed the loopholes and the off-shore tax havens; the effect of raising the rate to even 50 percent for corporations and the wealthiest Americans (without closing the loopholes) would do little more than oblige these recalcitrants to pay what they are supposed to be paying to begin with. One of these recalcitrants, Boeing, was given billions in tax breaks to keep a few thousand assembly jobs for the 787 in Washington state; it has shown its “appreciation” for the state’s fiscal generosity by cutting thousands more jobs since then.
Firedoglake is closely monitoring the House of Representatives on a daily basis to make sure our reps only vote for plans with a public option--- at the very least. You can check out which congressmen are leaning toward "yes", but aren't there yet, so you'll know who to call. They call it the public "whip tool" :-) Watch out congressmen. Our whips are raised and ready!
Thanks for the link to Firedoglake. If we have any chance of coming out of ths mess intact it will take action like this.
I think "Coast to Coast" is fun to listen to, too. Here's another source of fascinating info. for your thirsty mind. (I'm really having fun listening to/watching the different talks.)
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.
Health insurance reform isn't Obama's Waterloo.
BLOCKING healthcare is the GOPs Katrina.
Every month conservatives block health care = 1,500 dead Americans.
To put this in perspective: approximately 1,300 people died in New Orleans from Katrin while 18,000 Americans die EVERY YEAR from lack of health insurance. 1,500 a month: http://tinyurl.com/47evf
I am NOT surprised that the Governor Schwarzenegger and the California State Legislature have chosen to disassemble all that made California great rather than ask the minority party to do what is righteous. The girlie-man Governor refuses to reel-in the Party that he nominally heads.
So rather than looking towards any solution that works . . . Such as a progressive tax system . . . We are cutting services while shielding passive income, inflicting tax burden on to folk working for a living and forcing local governments to tax consuming to support basic functions.
AND look we won't be providing healthcare for kids anymore.
MN tried to keep NW Airlines' corporate offices and many union jobs in MN years ago by lending them money. The additional union jobs the state "paid for" never materialized.
Now that NWA and Delta merged (last year), the airline's future in MN is even harder to predict. Meanwhile, taxpayers once again end up holding the bag.
RE: "Health insurance reform isn’t Obama’s Waterloo.
BLOCKING healthcare is the GOPs Katrina."
WOW! That is a powerful message! With your permission, I am going to use that comparison whenever I can!
Do you think Schwarzenegger has the political clout to reel in the California Republicans?
His lack of a clear and steady political vision has made him distrusted by BOTH parties, maybe his own even more than the Dems.
BTW, that number 1,300 is in New Orleans only. (The total of all states was something like 1,800.)
Also, Every two months of conservative healh care == one 911.
When you mentioned Murray Gell-Mann yesterday, your comment reminded me that I think I pronounced "quark" the way I have because I think about Lewis Carroll's piece, "The Hunting of the SNARK --- An Agony in Eight Fits":
Instead, I should have been thinking of a gallon holding 4 QUARTS!
Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction
By Naomi Klein - January 8th, 2009
It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.
In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions—BDS for short—was born.
Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.… This international backing must stop."
Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.
1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement." It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures—quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non–Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.*
It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed.
2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes of South African apartheid in the occupied territories: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was "infinitely worse than apartheid." That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.
3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.
4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.
Coming up with our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn't it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.
Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom specializing in voice-over-internet services, sent an email to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company."
Ramsey says that his decision wasn't political; he just didn't want to lose customers. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients," he explains, "so it was purely commercially defensive."
It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.
Thanks! I just started by sending it to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and "Morning Meeting." Lots of other places to send it --- including congresspeople!
Sorry for my single-issue posts but I have to get ready for a workshop and must focus on healthcare for my posts.
According to Healthcare NOW, the single-payer vote has been moved to Wed. Please, Please call congress. Take action for yourself, your kids, your parents, your grandkids, your neighbors, and our unhealthy planet .
Please Please make this call.
Henry Waxman at 202-225-3976.
Find your rep here: 202-225-3976.
Please repost this to your Facebook wall and send to everyone you know. Only our joined voices will have more power than $$$$$ from insurance industry. We can do this together!
Thanks for the link to the Barry Schwartz talk. It's nice to hear some sense every once in a while. (Right now I'm hearing Thom talk to David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post and I'm not hearing that.)
The talk had the additional benefit of letting me know that I'm not the only one who didn't know Mike's Hard Lemonade has alcohol.
Before you explained why you chose Quark as a screen name, I thought your inspiration might have been the Ferengi bar owner from Deep Space Nine.
@ L Grace:
Schwarzenegger is a minor master of the media. My premise is that the Governor is getting exactly what he wants while pretending to look good.
The real issue is the battered-wife syndrome driven Democrats that are popping sparkling wine corks and dancing naked in the aisles because they only gave away 2/3’s of the farm.
I love those stats too Quark. We should add those to the messages we send to our friends and social networking. They are so pointed and descriptive.
"Also, Every two months of conservative healh care == one 911."
“Health insurance reform isn’t Obama’s Waterloo.
BLOCKING healthcare is the GOPs Katrina.”
I have _personally_ done development work in the northern areas of Pakistan now held by the Taliban.
So, you'd think I would totally agree with Thom about development but I'm not so sure.
For starters, Germany and Japan were industrialized countries so America was suited to do appropriate development work there.
Virtually every development project I saw in Pakistani tribal areas done by western NGO's where failures.
(I concede that maybe I saw a success but I can't think of any right now.)
In every place, the presence of western or western-financed NGOs created bitter reactions and cynicism in much of the local population. Worse, development efforts also tended to get corrupt, very fast.
I do have some suggestions for effective development but they are too complex for a blog like this.
Funny that you should mention the Ferengi bar owner as the inspiration for my name (chuckle.) When I was in college, I spent a summer working at Wisconsin Dells (a so-called family "amusement" center in WI.) I was a bar tender. The "weekend warriors" used to come down from Camp McCoy and dance with the chairs. The families used to go on the boat rides. It was quite an eye-opener in human behavior (and I always thought it should be a requirement for any psyche major!)
Thanks guys for your positive comments.
I need to get off-line.
I will say, I would like to hear a pro palestinian to rebutt some of J Street. We had a local palestinian call into a local station and say some of the things Israel has done has never made American news including how Israel went into Palestine and destroyed the olive trees and the agriculture and hence the soil. This was in response to my observation that Israel had re fertilized its soil and was growing its own food.
The Food Fascist ,
I agree with you. I'd like to hear more from pro-Palestinians, too. 'Seems like we get lots of arguments from mainly one side.
ABOU BEN ADHEM
James Henry Leigh Hunt
(Born October 19, 1784; died August 28, 1859)
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?" The Vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."
The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adem's name led all the rest!
The same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing.
The following link has the poem that follows and many, many comments that are well worth skimming.
may i ask something without people getting upset. i truly want to know, isn't this all a form of racism? i don't follow this too much, i get confused about this. but to me it sounds like racism. any thoughts?
lol RE ex's raising your children. One of my best friends from college became a Fox News watching right wing nut red neck. Well, many of us made this known to him that we no longer really liked him. In trying to rekindle our friendship...(he now watches MSNBC) he informed me his ex forbade him from seeing his daughter because he had gotten so scary Christian Fundamental Redneck. I told his that his ex certainly did the same thing and that I would have done the same.
Lore- beautiful poem! Renazantz- yes, you bring a new dimension to the table here, could it be racism against and between both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Marshall Rosenberg's peaceful communication could be the key!
Check it out here - http://www.cnvc.org/
The folk calling themselves ‘Palestinians’ are more correctly akin to marketing campaign than a folk at this time. Between their ‘leadership’ and the Arabic neighbors, the folk have zero access to becoming a people or generating a real government. Israel is forced to carrying the financial and security burden largely by itself. The Palestinians remain a tool to bludgeon Israel from the face of the planet AND the Israelis are marching straight into that future.
1947 U.N. General Assembly Resolution: United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine remains a viably workable solution. Israel needs to consider unilaterally assuming the multi-state solution. The Gaza and the West Banks should be allowed to sink or swim. Separately open trade between folk living on both hunks of land. Israel needs pull up the ‘Settlements’ and return their zealots to their dirt.
testing- where is my avatar, some days it comes on and other times it does not- voss es loss?
Thetism is the strange brew. There is no god for dogs . . .
RE: "Thetism is the strange brew. There is no god for dogs . . ."
Yes, it IS strange. It is too cult-like for me. I was brought up a Christian but have done a lot of thinking about it. I've also done alot of thinking and reading about other religions and philosophies.
The only "Christian" thing that is meaningful to me spiritually is Christ's "sermon on the mount." To me, the "truths" mentioned there are universal. (Some even say Christ travelled to India, where he came into contact with those ideas.)
Thom, Did I hear you correctly in stating that Thomas Paine was an atheist?
Please read Mr. Paine's book "The Age of Reason". Thomas Paine was NOT an Atheist. Mr. Paine was a Deist!
RE: "testing- where is my avatar, some days it comes on and other times it does not- voss es loss?"
Maybe you could get some answers at the 'creation" website:
its tied to email address used
I sat stunned listening to you representing the Israelis
as victims in this conflict, while presenting the illusion
of fairness. Why are Hamas sending rockets into Israeli towns?
Why suicide bombers? Why not admit the root cause? When the
Jews got their homeland instead of being minimally grateful for at last
having a homeland, instead with their new found power they drove out the Palestinians.
Could that, perchance, be the original cause? Though cause and effect get lost once this rolling ball of action and response keeps spinning, there's still the original crime.
Margaret Thatcher, condemning IRA violence, said "A crime is a crime is a
crime", to which the IRA responded with a quote from one of the original
Irish freedom fighters back in the 1920's: " The original partition of Ireland
was a crime.
Maybe if the Israelis had taken your sage advice on Ghandi's non-violence, would we have this conflict? The Palestinians didn't start it.
I think the Jewish people should have been given the state of Texas :)
(But then again, the US government wanted a "presence" in the middle east)
Food Fascist and Quark,
I guess it's not impossible, but from past history seems unlikely that Thom would provide a truly balanced approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. While Thom has sympathy, even empathy for the Palestinians, he has love for Israel.
Today, he came as close to a balanced approach and i've heard. Yet even with the understanding he expressed toward the Palestinians and the false equivalency he tried to imply between the two sides, he betrays his bias.
This is a case where he can't handle the truth, so he uses his considerable intellect to obscure it.
By the way, congratulations to Rasta for posting a reasonable post, even if he had to just copy and paste a letter from Naomi Klein. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to maintain his cool when he called in. Rasta is actually Weldon. The first posts I saw from him here were under the name Weldon, then he became Tim and now he is Rasta.
I love Lionel's (The Lionel Show on Air America) take on atheism.
He said, "If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."
I assume 'thetism' is a reference to Scientology?
Just say no to the military industrial complex
Good riddance! And glad Chris Dodd did not win today. Funding for 22 fighters was not approved and was Dodd angry. Forget you, Dodd- traitor. War monger. We can use that money for health care and real peace. War is not peace.
Pitney Bowes, purveyor to the aphilatelic community.
You congratulated Tim(?) from Texas(?) for his points about the African origins of monotheism and the origin of humans.
You finished by telling him that he obviously studied comparative religion. I think you're wrong (What's new pussycat?). I'd bet that he's possibly read and almost definitely has heard a number of Afrocentric "scholars".
You don't miss a thing!
In the book of Numbers, god unleahes two she bears that rip apart 42 children for calling the prophet Elisha a bald head. This might make your children a little fearful of the genocidal maniac that so many people worship.
Also in Numbers, Korah and his followers get sucked into the ground.
I read about Akenaton, etc. and his one-god religion 40+ years ago (I went through most of the ancient history book section in the adult section of our local library when I was a kid. I told friends and family I thought that was where "one god" in later Christianity came from.
De Tokeville.... that's where we used to get high!
Where to get high in Wisconsin:
2 Kings 2:23-24 is the correct verse, not Numbers. I apologize to to all who have a belief in a belief.
It always amazes me when right-wingers talk about “facts,” because to them “facts” are nothing more than a predetermined set value that conforms to a rather narrow worldview, which views “change” as anathema to order along “natural” lines. “Nature,” of course, doesn’t always conform with order; as we have seen recently, Republicans can’t seem to find “order” for something as presumably sacred as marital vows.
With that in mind, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters “grasp” of the “facts” can at least be said to be rather less than Thom’s. I wish Thom had not let him get away with accusing him of not knowing the “facts,” or least not giving sufficient answer to that accusation. It is the Pentagon itself that reported that 40,000 members of military were listed as “deserters” since 2000, half in the Army. Although most deserted while still in the States, we can fairly presume why they did it. And although it is true that in the past military suicide rates were less than comparable civilian rates, the military suicide rate has risen dramatically in the past five years; this past January, the Army reported a record number of suicides in 2008, at a rate of 20.2 per 100,000—equal to the civilian rate. Army life has a certain amount of stability that civilian existence lacks, but the instability caused by repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a terrible toll.
Obviously, Peters, a Cold War novelist as well as a “commentator,” has fiction on the brain. Typical for a man who never engaged in actual combat (he served in military intelligence), he seems particularly thirsty for the blood of foreign and American soldiers alike. In an article ten years ago, he opined that “The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.” Although Peters now has grown sour on Bush’s adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan, he still cannot curb his lust for war as a matter of principle, recently insisting that “if you can’t win it (a war) clean, win it dirty.”