Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Better Than Mutual Annhiliation

First published in DelawareLiberal on 7/29/2014 by ProgressivePopulist


Ok, here’s a framework proposal for Israel/Palestine  that at least to me makes sense, though crude and not fleshed out with detail. Let the experts do that.

First, the major premises:
. Israel will never agree to disarm unilaterally
. Thus, two co-equal states can’t fly
. Neither party will make peace voluntarily due to their dysfunction and pathology
. Most of their respective previous demands must be met
. The international community made this mess, it has to fix it
. World peace and security is jeopardized with the current state of conflict

So, here goes:
. An international intervention, first offered voluntarily and if denied, forced on the two parties…probably with the UN as a peacekeeping force but with major trusted groups from both sides providing the reorganization: ie: the Arab League, UN and maybe NATO.

. Create a single, unitary Israeli/Palestinian State.

. The New national  government has co-equal Jewish/Arab legislative, judicial and executive representation. The President and Prime Minister alternative between Israeli and Palestinian (Arab and Jew) each election cycle; equal seats in Knesset and courts, irrespective of ultimate ethnic mix irrespective of population growths in each category.

. The right of  Palestinian return honored, using international funding and housing starting with relocation of refugees and settlers and reuse of settlements for the Palestinian refugees.

. Temporarily demilitarize Israel and disarm Palestinians.

. The single state is given a new constitution protecting all the citizenship and religious rights of both Palestinians, Israelis, Jews and Muslims, likely within ’67 borders.

. Restore a national single state military after stabilization and withdrawl of occupying peacekeepers for future defense against outside attack or internal insurrection.

. Similar co-equal  governance of Jerusalem, but to include Christian representation.

. Equal protection of all religious/ethnic groups.

. Those on either side unwilling to abide by such a construct are offered immunity and relocation elsewhere in the world.

. The international community provides military and economic security until the country and economy is restarted.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Taking Sides on Israel/Palestine Is Stupid

 Posted on DelawareLiberal on July 25, 2014 by ProgressivePopulist


I've been struggling with commentary on the current Gaza apocalypse and finally discovered my truth about it.  Taking sides is dumb and totally misses both history and possible solutions.
This endless terrifying conflict is no one's fault and everyone's fault.  No one in the sense that blame cannot be placed with one party.  That would really simplify solutions if that singular blame could be found.  It belongs to all of us: Palestinians, Israelis and the international community.

I find the latest round of rallies for one side or another,including right here in Delaware,  utterly pointless and unproductive.   Front page of the DL on 07/25.  They just exacerbate the tragedy and rage.

In the blame sphere, let's start with the international community.  The 1947 partitioning, taking the region out of the hands of colonial Britain and putting it in the hands of the neophyte U.N. was stupid.  Stupidity driven by international guilt for permitting the holocaust and abandoning European Jews.  The U.N. then was simply unprepared to properly consult with the existing Palestinian people in preparing for the Partitioning, if it was to make sense at all.  Unprepared to support the relocation and settlement of the European and Middle Eastern Jews relocating to the region, and protect the existing residents from destabilization of their communities and provide appropriate international funding to help create a peaceful transformation of the area.  The result?  Jews had to fight their way in and in doing so displaced 700,000 Arabs relegated to refugee camps still existing today and housing 7 million Arabs in not so hospitable neighboring Arab countries.

Now for blame within the Palestinian and Arab communities.  The remaining residents simply failed to secure or provide the resources necessary to build a viable economy to sustain its people to provide a hopeful future and create a government which could provide adequate services.  This led to generations of frustrated and angry Palestinians who spent their energies building hostility and ultimately many rounds of armed conflict with an emerging, supported and prospering Israel.  Their main  focus became destroying Israel rather than building a sustainable society.  Palestinian support for right wing, theocratic war makers making their policy undermined their society building needs.  And failing to recognize that their hostility only energized the worldwide Jewish community to "never again" endure the apocalypse brought upon them by Fascists and the Catholic Church.

As for blame for Israel?  Plenty too.  a 47 year occupation, initially justified  right after the war of 1967, just was totally counterproductive.  It bred antagonism, hatred and distrust, not security from attack.  It created attack after endless attack.  To add insult to injury, the Zionist settlements, populated by people thinking they had some kind of divine right to be squatters in Palestine.  And these squatters bred more generations of haters whose abuse and resulting dysfunction created a continuing security threat, not a peaceful neighbor.  Israelis forgot their own history of abuse at the hands of Europeans and their need to escape.  They had a place to which to escape at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians; the Palestinians had no escape routes.   These are really smart people.  Why didn't they get that?

So, how then can we expect two highly dysfunctional societies to solve their own problem and make peace?  One a huge,  prosperous, fear filled bully.  The other a smaller, raging victim with no leverage or options.  I think the answer may be that this is an impossible expectation.  The solution lies in some form of international peace making intervention.

Maybe the U.N. is not up to the task.  Perhaps some kind of task force of diplomats from the Arab League and NATO, with U.N. Peacekeepers on the ground.  What are your ideas?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Scalia Gets A Pass For a Typo, But Obama Doesn't?

First Published in DelawareLiberal on 7/23/2014 by ProgressivePopulist

So this is the so called U.S. justice system?  Scalia gets forgiven and excused for his (Clerks) typos in his dissent on the monumental ObamaCare decision?  But our President and the Pelosi congress (clerks)  don't?   And 7 million people pay the price for a roundly acknowledged typo in an opinion?
You constitutional scholars, show me the justice here?  Thanks, America for again showing dishonesty and dysfunction.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

So, Corporations Think They're People?

First Published in DelawareLiberal on 7/13/2014 by ProgressivePopulist

The Hobby Lobby case gave us yet another reminder that corporations are pushing for full recognition as people; in this case a person with a particular religious belief.  The Supremes seem totally hell bent on  actualizing this fiction which historically started with a very mistaken decision based on an event decades ago in a area where I went to college, Santa Clara, California.
So mistaken, some describe the legend that the court clerk actually misconstrued or misrepresented the finding in Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific R.R. in writing the judges opinion.

In typical U.S.A. fashion, rather than correcting the mistake, as a nation we just keep doing it over and over.  And given that the current Supremes, at least the felonious five,  are a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, the fallacy just keeps getting more intrenched.
So, let's compare the personhood of natural born people and corporate people clones.

Taxes- Natural people get caught cheating on them or not paying and pay fines, get their incomes garnished or sometimes go to the pen.  Only 1 in 4 corporate people pay any taxes at all, some avoiding by relocating their small headquarters to less taxing foreign countries.  They also get huge breaks from municipal/local taxes, especially if they relocated from elsewhere that natural person property owners never get.

Cheating-If natural people get caught, such as cheating in school, they are expelled.   Or, if they cheat family members or others, they are often prosecuted by local law enforcement and courts and sent to jail.  Corporate people usually don't get caught and go on cheating like overcharging or not honoring things like refunds or rebates and go on forever until real people wise up and start using another company.  If they are caught, like bankers, they are fined maybe but can often go back to the same old cheating ways.

Harming Neighbors-Real people harming neighbors, like throwing garbage in their gutter or flooding the neighborhood with the garden hose, can be sued, stopped by health authorities or given restraining orders.  Corporate people go on for years polluting neighbors with toxins and it requires a monumental, expensive legal effort to stop or restrain them.  Often they are excused because they "give people jobs".

Abuse Family Members-Real people, if caught, can be tried, convicted and jailed for child or parental abuse.  Corporate people rarely are caught, again because they "give people jobs" and therefore, any abuse of them is overlooked.  Abuse like underpaying, overworking, harassing and exploiting.  The abused generally just quit and go elsewhere.  If they can find a job.  And of course, they can never tell their new employer about the abuse because if they do, they won't be hired.

Neglecting Family-Real people who neglect children or parents can be charged with crimes of neglect and pay with jail terms or loss of guardianship/custody.  Corporate people can go on for whole careers neglecting employees with no training, or ignoring their good performance, failure to reward with raises or cut their benefits until the neglected employee just leaves and is replaced by another person willing to endure such treatment until giving up in disgust.

Endanger Safety-Real people can be charged with things like reckless endangerment, convicted and imprisoned or lose custody; or can be sued by those endangered.  Corporate people, rarely caught endangering with dangerous products, work places  or facilities, might be caused to pay a small fine or forced to fix the broken/defective thing causing the endangerment.  In the U.S.A., there is hardly any enforcement of such safety violations and it takes huge, expensive lawsuits to correct and compensate.

Powerful Citizens-Real people are losing power as citizens with respect to their voting rights and many have just given up participating in that realm.  Corporate people are as enthusiastic about electoral citizenship as are new immigrant real people citizens.  Corporations dominate elections with cash and legislation with cash and lobbyists at a scale far exceeding real people.  They even build and own the machines we use to vote.

Be Liable-Real people can be sued by other real people or corporate people, forced to hire expensive lawyers and go to court to defend themselves against civil complaints.  Real people who work for corporations who actually commit acts harming or damaging others are shielded from personal liability and the corporation for whom they work, if they lose the case, the corporation pays the legal costs for them; and because they were doing the corporation policy, rarely lose their employment or salary and benefits.

Influential Corporate Lawyers-Real people generally don't have large, well connected law firms at their disposal when in need of representation.  They generally resort to the storefront lawyer or if they can't afford that, court appointed lawyers without country club memberships.  Corporate people have access to so called corporate lawyers, often in the largest, oldest and most connected (with judges) firms with multiple names and partners.  This is a whole class of law and lawyers who populate the prestige social clubs in town.  Not so much for ordinary real people consumers.  So you can pretty well guess how these cases turn out.

So, the moral of this story is that corporations are not only people, they are highly privileged persons with far more rights,  protections, exemptions  and personal discretion than natural people.  That's why they are permitted much more influence with our government than  natural people as we have seen recently both with our courts and legislative bodies.

Get used to it.  No change in sight anytime soon.  Remember the push back in the 70's and 80's for good "Corporate Citizenship" ?  Maybe it is time to revive that concept with our regulatory bodies, given that then corporations were avoiding being judged for good citizenship.  Now they are fully embracing the concept of citizenship, be it good or bad.  They claim their only responsibility as people and citizens is to make money for the bottom line.  Nothing else.

Looks like the question is pretty thoroughly answered.  Corporations surely are persons; very powerful citizens.  Overpowering.

Any other examples out there of corporate persons vs. natural persons?  I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sy/Raq: Creepy Mission Or Mission Creep?

First published in DelawareLiberal by ProgressivePopulist on 7/1/2014
300 more to Iraq, for a total of 800.  But we're told, no boots on the ground.  Just security forces for the 500 already there, mostly in the Taj Majal U.S. Embassy, just a few in foward positions as "advisors".  Sound familiar?  It does for those of us who survived the 60's and 70's.

So, if these brave souls are not boots on the ground, are they disarmed?  Are they all boots but no arms?  give me a break.  Hopefully, for their own good they're armed to the teeth.  Because ISIS, reportedly about 10,000 strong scattered between Syria and Iraq, is armed to the hilt.  By whom you ask?  Reportedly by our petro-allies the Saudi's and the families that run their neighboring oil soaked petro-nations.  You know, the good folks we still depend on to  power our carbon-saturated nation.

Now for the creepy part.  This hand full of advisors are going to fix in a few weeks or months what thousands of our uniformed people didn't get right or didn't get done in several years before we hauled out of there, evicted as it were by those we brung to the table?  At this scale, looks like just a few loose ends to tie up.  But on closer examination, there's a load more to fix than a few loose ends with the Iraqi military and policing forces.  Too many blanks to fill in here to make me feel comfortable that this is just a non-war making advisory mission.

Rumors too about drones, not to mention carriers and warships bobbing on the waves nearby, loaded with missiles and bomb tonnage.   And megabucks being allocated for "moderate" anti-government forces in Syria.  So this is just psychological warfare?  Give me a break.  This is lock and load time for both Syria and Iraq.

And tell me again how we can with any confidence identify the moderates from the fanatics in Syria?  The right wing blogsphere is loaded with stories about our having trained Syrian opposition fighters in Jordon with a couple of other allies, only to have some of them defect to ISIS.  Similar unsubstantiated reports have emerged in TruthDig and RT.com.  Juan Cole, a respected Michigan middle east scholar similarly reports such training by our CIA starting in 2012, citing Jordan government sources.

But  even if these reports are not true, what guarantees against the defection of the Syrian moderates we fund to the ISIS crazies?  How good is our historical track record in that sophisticated  understanding of middle eastern culture and political dynamics?  Remember how we funded Al Qaeda as our proxies vs. the Soviets in Afghanistan?  Ok, enough of the creepy part.

Now the mission part.  What exactly are we to achieve?  In Syria, a new regime as reliable as the one we crafted in Iraq?   Really?  In Iraq, a restoration of a unity government as strong as the totalitarian regime it took, under tyrant Sadaam to hold things together?  Wasn't there a lesson  in there somewhere ?

Would someone please articulate for me a mission worth creeping toward?