HonestE-The DJ of Truth: Let's Dance, Feds!

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man." ~George Washington_____________ “Loyalty is the realization that America was born of revolt, flourished in dissent, became great through experimentation. Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present.” ~Henry Steele Commager, Historian

Name:

Ex-US Army Paratrooper and Infantryman, Veterans for Peace, Chapter 69, San Francisco, CA. Graduate: The Colorado College, May 1996. Sower of hope; Farmer of ideas; Guardian of the Republic; I live and work in San Francisco, California. Formerly, I owned a corporation building marketing-style-relational-databases. Currently, I am employed with a company in San Francisco. In 1989 I volunteered for service in the United States Army Airborne (paratroopers) where I took an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. CONSTITUTION against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC and that is exactly what I aim to do. My intent is to keep writing and publishing openly and widely waging peace in defense of my brothers-in-arms in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring them home. BRING THEM HOME NOW!!!! Politically, my inner stars shine brightly progressive yet I also bear strong libertarian stripes. I love writing, activism, working hard, music, art, reading, truth-telling with realism, speaking out for peace and speaking out for justice in defense of the highest ideals upon which our country was founded. I consider myself a principled patriot.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

WHY ARE 100,000 TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN IF ONLY 100 AL-QAEDA ARE THERE?? WHY IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT THAT STUPID??

Our common cause:
Our common cause is to save lives, ours and theirs, from dying for nothing in a useless war and occupation
--both of them.
Secondarily our common cause is to save the cause of liberty in our own country and save our country
from moral and financial ruin.

Do you know why they haven't killed or captured Osama bin Laden yet?
Because doing so would end the larger effort...........what larger effort is that, you ask? Their effort at
propping up the military-national-security-industrial-welfare-complex...........that's what the faux WOT is all about.....to give a purpose where none exists. Faux WOT for what? The reality, folks, is that one of Osama bin Laden's stated objectives was to draw the U.S. into a long-protracted war and financially bleed the United States slowly to death. And our great United States Federal Government, idiots that they are, are giving to Osama exactly what we wants by remaining in Afghanistan which is bleeding us financially and morally. Don't give the terrorists what they want.....get out of Afghanistan!!!! The Afghan war is lost. Staying in Afghanistan gives both comfort and aid to the terrorists by giving them what they most want: to financially and morally bleed America dry.  Bring the troops home now!!!!!!! Don't give the terrorists the gift of American financial ruin.

"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak."
~John Quincy Adams



"Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
~George Washington

Any person willing to risk placing the needs of their country or their world, as they see it, before their own needs can lead their fellow citizenry in a new direction. You must first believe in yourself, you must have faith in your own sense of self-empowerment and you must trust your fellow citizens to see the rationale of the principled stand you take by choosing to make up their own minds to follow your cause. So whatever cause is dear to your heart, I know you can make a difference.   So just do it.

Stop placing your faith in politicians to change things and start placing faith in yourself to change things.

My sense of duty, honor and country compel me to speak out. You can too. There is nothing to fear. You own this government, you pay for it, it is yours. You should never fear the government, however, you should participate in it----that is the way a democracy works. If you work all day, obey just laws (not all laws are just...where there is no victim, there is no crime) and participate in democracy in your evenings and weekends by speaking out, getting involved and voting actively in every election—local, state and federal, like I do, well, then I have good news for you, my fellow Americans: You are a model American citizen in a functioning democracy. Yes, you can. Yes, I can. Yes, we can.

Why is the First Amendment first? It is first because it is the most important amendment of them all.
If Free Speech was always pleasant to hear, never challenged anything and was never rude or upsetting, then it would be Limited Speech wouldn't it? Free Speech is sometimes unnerving, upsetting and difficult to listen to, difficult to absorb and sometimes rude but that is also what makes it Free Speech.

If we oppose Tyranny to be visited upon our lives at home in America, then we must also oppose Tyranny to be visited upon the lives of others abroad!! There's no such thing as bombs of benevolence. End the war!!! A principled patriot opposes war. A principled patriot extols liberty. A principled patriot thinks for himself. A principled patriot is willing to risk putting the needs of his country before his own. A principled patriot tells the truth. Try to be a principled patriot, we each have flaws, but we can try.
Build bridges, not walls and remember that every strong bridge is anchored in the rock-face of commonality...what we share in common is the key to building enduring bridges.   There is no requirement to be against the war, you can just be a patriot against the war and that is enough. Resist the extremes. Ideological rigidity is our disunity if we let it. Unite in common purpose against the war. We are all Americans together.

"Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides."
~Rita Mae Brown


Inform and Educate: 
Please do your part as a good citizen--share these websites—send them to all your friends and family.

Did you know that the American system of jurisprudence (that’s means our justice system) considers a corporation to be a full-fledged person, a citizen and a human being with full protections under the US Constitution Bill of Rights?  Did you know that?  Sound ridiculous, right?  That’s because it is ridiculous. But it is extremely dangerous too because the recent Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United, that gave corporations unfettered access to buy-off our elections was based upon their right to ‘Free Speech.’
In reality, a corporation is not a citizen, not a person, not a human being....neither is a union. What does this mean? It means that corporate entities have a right to do business by making money but they should have no Bill of Rights protections because these protections were conferred solely upon human beings at the foundation of the Republic. So despite the justice-system corrupting this principle, to be a human being, one must have a beating heart and we all know that a corporation does not have a heart.   The question we must ask of our country is are we going to be a country of, by and for the real people or of, by, and for the fake, made-up, fantasyland people that the judicial system corruptively created?

http://freespeechforpeople.com
http://www.movetoamend.org
http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/political_reform/proposed_constitutional_amendments.html
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/27-8

Artists protesting creatively and non-violently………….I LOVE IT!!!!!  FOMENT CREATIVE DISSENT!!!!!

Why are we in Afghanistan?

According to General Petreaus, we are halfway through the war since it will take another decade to complete?   Hmmm, how many Presidents will be booted out of office between now and then? 2? 3?  I mean, you do understand, that I don’t care how many seats in Congress get replaced and how many Presidents we turn-over if that means bringing the troops home and ending these stupid wars…….I don’t give a rat’s ass about building some singular-ideological movement,  I care about ending the wars and if that means the Democrats lose both houses of Congress, well that’s an acceptable loss.  (A loss only because most of the anti-war support currently resides in the Democratic Party, however, this support can be broadened over time to include the Republican Party). Ditto for the Presidency in 2012.   What I most care about is building bridges between the Left, the Right and the Center to build a mass, non-ideological anti-war movement that both parties are accountable to. Get it?
Simply being against the war should be enough for Progressives to join together with Libertarians:  Build bridges, not walls…………the Left is not evil, the Right is not evil, the Center is not evil…….because ‘good and evil’ constructs are typically bullocks anyway……..both are simply two unique, equally valid yet different political ideologies, but understand that there exists more than two political viewpoints even though our two-party system fails to reflect the reality of multiplicity.  How do we open the system to more than two parties?    Think Instant Run-Off voting.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
~James Madison

Let’s truncate that quotation, shall we.
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
~James Madison

The Russians learned it.   I learned it when I was on active duty.   The politicians should have learned it from Vietnam but they rarely learn anything.    What is it?   That despite all of the great technological advances in warfare—planes, tanks, smart-bombs, computers, orbiting satellites—no technology or great military power can effectively, over time, contend with sustained, committed guerrilla warfare.  Guerilla warfare is now and always has been the Achilles heel of great military powers and Empires alike.  It is the most potent tactical methodology by which powerless countries level-the-playing-field and overcome the forces and technologies of powerful countries.  It is nearly, virtually undefeatable.


As I said before and I will say again, anything Andrew Bacevich writes is a must read:
Kudos, bravo and hats off to you Colonel…..thank you for writing about this topic which needs attention:

‘New American Moment’, eh?   Almost sounds like ‘Project for the New American Century’…..read: NEOCONSERVATIVE.   And we all know how much credibility the neocons have…..zip, zippo, nada, zero.

There are those in the AIPAC lobby as Philip Giraldi notes below who do often seem to favor perpetual war and zero-tolerance criticism of Israeli policy……….two positions I could never adhere to………but we need not follow them because we can together create a third way, a more moderate way and as I think about that alternative way, I look to follow the lead of JStreet.   The Bipartisan Policy Center is a pro-war think tank, folks……..it is not objective, it is a feature of the War Party (which includes both Republicans and Democrats……….the tentacles of the Military-Industrial-Complex reach deep into both parties, folks). With JStreet, you can be pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-tolerance and pro-justice and that’s why I like JStreet.

On bringing peace to the Middle East:
This is a must, must, must read by Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon:
This article really explains the significance of the protest by Israeli theatrical artists refusing to perform in Ariel since Ariel is not part of Israel.   





Promote hope not skepticism:

Good job B’Tselem, bravo indeed:

Good video about Rabbi’s for Human Rights:

I really, really, really, really, really liked this article below: 
Bravo Rabbi Eric Yoffe, Bravo indeed, sir!!!!!!


Why does the war on Iraq continue?


Want to reduce Military-Industrial-Complex influence?  Then reduce the number of bases in the world:


On 9/11:

Here is an example of some really creative, non-violent action…..moving Tony Blair’s book to the ‘Crime and Horror’ section....how fitting and funny……strange thing is, I didn’t know poodles could write books.

On tolerance:

This is a must read……….thank you Adam Weinstein for a truly remarkable and well-written article:

Hoooorahhh!!!!  Bravo to the veterans speaking out in favor of the American value of tolerance:

You should be more careful, Mr. Gingrich, because all of your ‘African’ references that are designed to tap into racist hatred simply for cheap political gains in November is very dangerous.   That creates the potential for racial violence and I am surprised that Republicans are not criticizing you harshly for it.  Maybe that’s because they have resolved to become a regional, racist party.

On the First Amendment:   Bigots have a right to express themselves under the First Amendment and we have a right, and I would argue in fact, a duty, to use our Free Speech to harshly criticize bigotry and hatred.   Stand up against hate.  Advance tolerance.

A little humor goes a long way:


On Media Irresponsibility:


On torture and the recent miscarriage of justice by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

On the effects of torture on soldiers:

And on closing Guantanamo:

Why?  Need I say more?

Whatever budget cuts the Pentagon proposes, push them to cut it twice as much…..we must start to restrict reliance on the military economy because it and the notion of perpetual war…is simply too corrosive to democracy.    And our Constitutional democracy, the Republic, is the only option anyway.  Take notice that last sentence is not a question, rather it is a command, and you Feds, WILL OBEY IT.  Get it?

On challenging the whole undemocratic concept of the ‘Unitary-Executive’:
The Executive branch should be aggressively challenged because when the Office of the President begins to subvert the Constitution by declaring itself empowered to assassinate American citizens abroad, then it is clear the power of the Executive Branch is beginning to border on electable-dictatorship (FYI….the euphemism for electable-dictatorship is called the ‘Unitary-Executive’).  There must be checks and balances for the Republic to survive.  The legitimacy of government resides in the Republic and not in the Empire.  

Net neutrality is the key to keeping Free Speech free:

Those of us who understand that holding former public officials accountable by prosecuting them for past crimes such as the war on Iraq, torture, rendition…etc., helps prevent future officials from committing such crimes should also understand that in absence of such prosecutorial accountability, the alternative way to demand accountability and transparency is to use the power of Free-Speech to constantly remind people of the crimes that were committed by perpetually continuing the national conversation about  it.   Free Speech is the people’s way of enforcing some semblance of checks and balances.  Speak out to inform and make people aware of crimes committed by officials or armies.

On the war-crime of killing innocent civilians in war:

Here is one Army Colonel that needs to be prosecuted….he is out of control:  Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich:

Veterans for Peace video regarding Bradley Manning and Specialist Ethan McCord

Veterans for Peace poetry………..I so, so, so love poetry:

Killing civilians is a war crime:









Just in the interest of complete honesty and disclosure, I feel compelled to share this with you……in my last posting, I offered some references to Judaism that make sense to me.   And in fact, I do have Jewish roots in my family, however, in the interest of complete disclosure and honesty, I must tell you that I am not ‘offically’ Jewish, not yet.  That is, while I was and consider myself still am on a conversion track to Judaism, although sort of wandering in the wilderness for the time-being, that according to Israeli law, I am not officially Jewish because I have not yet cemented my conversion.    There are a number of basic tenets of Judaism that I find very appealing and I feel cosmically drawn to Judaism for reason I cannot explain (for that matter, I also find Buddhism very appealing too but I have no relatives that were Buddhists) and I do intend to cement my conversion at a time of my choosing.  That said, I come to Israel in my own way, that is, while I find a wide array of principles of Judaism very appealing, I also find some particular issues like the continuing Israeli Occupation at odds with those principles and so my speaking out against the Occupation is also my way of reconciling my admiration of Judaism with developing my personal connection to the state of Israel that is encouraged as part of my conversion.  I come to Israel in a way that makes sense to me.  I am a principled patriot in the country of my birth, the United States, and so when I come to Israel, metaphorically speaking, (since I have already been to the land of Israel twice) I come to Israel as a principled patriot and not as an uncritical, unthinking sunshine-patriot automaton.  I come to Israel in a way that makes sense to me; I come to Israel in my own way.


"To remain neutral in situations of injustice, is to be complicit in that injustice."
~Desmond Tutu


Now I’m going to say something you may or might not like, but I tell it like it is, the unvarnished truth:

In reference to the quote above, this is why I often say, that if you are not actively protesting or writing or doing something to oppose unjust, needless wars where good troops and innocent civilians are dying for nothing, then I advise you to please look down and inspect your hands because, in my view, they are soaked in blood.   If you are not protesting, then you are complicit in the countless deaths of others…..you cannot simply escape by saying the ‘government did it’ because unless you opposed the government doing it, then I think you are complicit in the act of what the government did.   The reason why this country gets so jacked sometimes is because good, middle-of-the-road, moderate citizens succumb to ambivalence and fail to get involved or at least speak out or find other ways to log their protest.  If they simply did their duty as citizens and got involved or at least voted consistently in every election as is your basic duty as a citizen, I think our country would spend a lot less time getting jacked-up by a bunch of power-hungry narcissists that seem to comprise the War Party.  Please, my fellow citizens, I implore you to vote consistently and to get involved even if just a little, in fact I beg you to please get involved and to please speak out.  Help me bring the troops home alive.   Can you place your country and your world before yourself?  I know it isn’t easy, but being a good citizen is rarely easy.

“We must do what is right, not what is easy.”
~Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York


These postings sure are all over the place, aren’t they?  Kind of like a mosaic motif or a jazz composition, all over the place yet fused into a single harmonious composition. This free-form, raw, non-editor interfering writing is like jazz to me: a cacophony/collection of ideas, reflections, thoughts and commentaries all fused into a single composition with an overarching theme.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.



"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~Margaret Meade



"We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history."
~Sonia Johnson


Little puny people like us taking on the big, Goliath, military-industrial-complex dominated, War-Party-run, U.S. Federal government….ever read the story of David and Goliath?  My oh my, such a great story.

Wage Peace!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'WHY COMPOUND THE TRAGEDY OF 9/11 WITH THE TRAGEDY OF PERPETUAL WAR??? WHY IS CORPORATE MEDIA SO SENSATIONALISTIC???


This posting is dedicated to the men and women were murdered in the crime of mass-murder that occurred on September 11, 2001 at the hands of a small band of mass-murdering criminal extremists, and to the firefighters/police officers/first responders who gave their lives to save the lives of their fellow citizens.    This posting is also dedicated to the troops who have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and to all the innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq killed as a result of our wars.    Lastly, this posting is dedicated to all the still-living/or passed activists, anti-war protestors and patriotic-citizens who continue the noble work of trying to bring the troops home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through various forms of activism, engagement, writing, protesting and doing whatever they can do to help inform and educate their fellow citizens in our common pursuit of peace, justice, tolerance, liberty transparency, accountability and participatory democracy because they understand that it is these values and liberties, not our wars or interventions, that make America a beacon of light unto the world.  

These three articles are must reads:
On why attacking Iran is a terrible idea:

On how the Pentagon uses the media to sell all these unjust, unnecessary wars of aggression:

The continuing war in Iraq:

Q:   If the Iraq war is over, then how come troops are still dying in Iraq?
A:  The Iraq war is not over


This is a must read:

As is this:

Those of us who understand that holding former public officials accountable by prosecuting them for past crimes such as the war on Iraq, torture, rendition…etc., helps prevent future officials from committing such crimes should also understand that in absence of such prosecutorial accountability, the alternative way to demand accountability and transparency is to use the power of Free-Speech to constantly remind people of the crimes that were committed by perpetually continuing the national conversation about  it.   Free Speech is our way of enforcing some semblance of checks and balances.

Why are we in Afghanistan?

Escalate, escalate, escalate……..a war without end:

This may sound corny but it means something to me ……..recently, a good friend of mine asked me, “Why don’t you write a book and make some money from your writing?”  And to my good friend I replied, “I don’t want any money for my writing………this is not about me……..I do what I do for duty, honor, G-d and country to help save the lives of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”  I am merely doing my duty to my country and my duty to the men whom I had the honor to serve alongside years ago.        Bring the troops home now!!!
http://www.wikileaks.com (the best way to disinfect is to shine light upon the filth)
http://www.bradleymanning.org/



On tolerance, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times provides an excellent view of our shared history:

On what one person can do.  

And this is a must read by Edward Curtis IV of the Washington Post:

Moderate-minded Muslims will find a home in America in time.   The unfortunate truth is that some Americans fear what they do not understand but over time their fundamental sense of fairness tends to triumph over racism and bigotry.  That is not to say that Muslims will not experience hateful words or actions since there’s always a few bigots in America, but the majority will, in time, come to accept.

Good job, CNN:

Good job, President Obama:

The Orwellian named, ‘Dove Church’ whose pastor, Terry Jones, was planning before he cancelled the event to burn Qurans…now you tell me, does that concern you like it concerns me?   That’s the kind of mindset we are up against folks and we must aggressively challenge such despicable behavior.  When I hear of book-burnings, it reminds me of the damn Nazis and their filthy, rotten book-burning festivals.   Stand up against hate…...hatred and bigotry directed against one is hatred directed against all. Advance tolerance.

This is a great website for promoting the moderate-minded, patriotic, Muslim-Americans of which there are many……….5.6 million Muslims live in the United States and most of them are patriotic and peaceful:

Bravo to religious leaders speaking out strongly against Islamophobia!!    And on giving credit where credit is due, I highly commend the Anti-Defamation League’s formation of a new Interfaith Coalition on Mosques to challenge anti-Muslim incidents across the country.

And I agree with Abe Foxman this time…I don’t like the implications of the recent Time Magazine cover…it presents a monolithic view which is anything but true…Israelis are a diverse people:

On Equality:

On the cult of vitriolic nationalism…….or shall we call it the cult of endless war and sunshine patriots:

Bravo former CIA Suzanne Spaulding, bravo indeed!!     

Why does the government seem only interested in finding new ways to continue feed the always famished, always hungry, always starving-for-more military-industrial-complex behemoth?   What’s that gigantic sucking sound?  That‘s the Pentagon sucking-off your tax dollars again to the tune of nearly $1 trillion per year in military spending.

Anything written by Andrew Bacevich is a must read:

There are so many people who do so much more than I do…..like Brian Willson who sacrificed his legs for peace, or Charlie Clements, or Paul Cox or Doug Rawlings or Michael McPherson or Medea Benjamin or Cindy Sheehan or Kathy Kelly or Woody Powell and the list goes on and on and on.     That said, I see myself as a writer and as an artist and so it is by the means of creative writing and creative teaching that I log my protest and do what I do.   I just wanted you to know that there are many others who do much more than I do.  What am I saying?   I am saying that you can do as much or as little as you wish as long as you contribute something……because by working together, each person whether doing just a little or doing a little more or doing a lot more, united together our actions (and in my view writing is an action) can sweep down the mightiest walls of war, oppression and resistance.   We are all Americans together and each of us can contribute a hand in shaping the future of our commonly-shared yet undetermined history.   So ask yourself, ‘What can I do?’, think about it, then decide, then do it and do it well.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”  ~Robert F. Kennedy

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”
~Robert F. Kennedy

“The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.”
~Mark Twain


“Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” 
~Nathaniel Hawthorne


“I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” 
~James Michener



“Writing is a struggle against silence.” 
~Carlos Fuentes



“The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson




“A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare.  For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure.” 
~Henry David Thoreau




“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector.  This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.” 
~Ernest Hemingway



On challenging the many affronts to liberty that the U.S. government now presents:

The concept of the ‘Unitary Executive’ is totally antithetical to any notion of effective Checks and Balances and amounts to little more than an electable-dictatorship.   The powers of the Executive-Branch definitely need to be curtailed and limited and this is done by shifting power to the Legislature and to the Judiciary who both should boldly challenge the entire concept of the Unitary-Executive.
A new Amendment to propose…………I like it a lot………..courtesy of Philip Giraldi….former CIA officer:

The U.S. Constitution is the covenant that stands as an agreement between the American people who are governed and the government’s right to govern.  If the government refuses to honor this covenant, then frankly, such a government lacks the appropriate legitimacy and appropriate right to govern.  This is why it is crucial that the Judiciary do its job in shielding the liberty of the people from the tyranny of big-government.   The U.S. government must obey the U.S. Constitution or else the American people owe no obligation to obey the laws they pass.   The Government is the servant of the people not vice-versa.  We the people command the Government; Government does not command the people.   The theory of American governance is quite simple:   The Constitution way or the Highway or something much closer to the Constitution since there is usually at least a third way.  Get it, Feds?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [persons] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
~The Declaration of Independence

I am and have been against the war in Iraq from the beginning and Afghanistan more recently.   But I must tell you that I am not a pacifist, folks, nor am I a total anti-interventionist either.   I am moderate, not absolutist, in most of my views.  My understanding of history prevents me from being a pacifist.  Why?  Well, mostly the Holocaust.   I praise FDR’s decision to use the attack on Pearl Harbor as a reason for going to war with the Nazis.  I only wish the Allies had intervened sooner or targeted the crematoriums at concentration-camps during their bombing raids.   I know I would have volunteered to fight the Nazi’s in a New York second, no question about it.   I am not Gandhi and I am not King, I am Eric and I’m going to be Eric whether people like it or not.    From a purely moral standpoint, I place Charles De Gaulle (who was one of the leaders of the French Resistance) and I place Mordechaj Anielewicz (who was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising) on the same moral plane as I place Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.    Why?  History.  In my opinion, if Gandhi had been born in Germany at the proper time to be an adult by 1933, and had preached non-violence and passive non-violent resistance in Germany at the time of the Kristallnacht or the later Final Solution, I think it very likely that the Gestapo would have rounded him up very quickly and promptly sent him to Auschwitz or Birkenau to be subsequently murdered.    And the world would never have heard of Gandhi.   The name Gandhi would have no more historical significance that any of the 6 million names of Jews for which few people can name even one.   It is due to my understanding of history, this piece of history, that I cannot ever become a pacifist.  I believe that while peace is preferable and is the best way most of the time, I also understand that sometimes violence is a regrettable but necessary action for human survival.  We are still a Constitutional democracy and in a democracy, non-violence is the ONLY way.   

While we should boldly press for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and advance the hope that a just and more permanent peace can be achieved, we should also recognize the many great contributions to the world that emerge from state of Israel including this remarkable story below about creating a future based on renewable energy.   I believe we should also strive to think in ways that are neither binary nor Manichean—that is, we should avoid thinking in ways that depend on ‘good and evil’ constructs. Instead we should strive to think in ways that engender the multiplicities and many shades of grey that comprise our world, how we view this greater world and how we view our role in it.   To that end, I think we should strive to recognize the many great contributions to the world that the state of Israel does offer to us.  There exists pro-Israel critics of Israeli policy like me and there exists anti-Semites who criticize Israel too.  The easiest way to recognize an anti-Semite is by identifying those who, in their binary ass-backward way of thinking, proclaim that Israel is evil.  Let me state quite explicitly that Israel is not evil.  While I do not approve of the Occupation on humanistic grounds, I also recognize the incredibly valuable contribution that the state of Israel makes in the world today and I recognize that Israel demonstrates a form of democracy, though imperfect, in a part of the world seemingly hostile to democracy and that is ultimately a good thing that makes the state of Israel shine like a beacon in the dark, though considerably dimmed by the Occupation.   I just wished to publicly acknowledge this fact.

Lastly, we should also recognize that once the state of Palestine is founded, that it will require substantial economic investment from various partners in order to create the kind of society that will foster a moderate style of governance which should allow for similar Palestinian contributions to be made to the wider world.

Hope not skepticism:

The best and most-enduring agreements are typically the result of tough, skilled negotiations resulting from the ability to make difficult compromises.   In my view such compromises include:  1) Settlement building by Israel must cease.    2) The Palestinian right-of-return to borders inside Israel must be abandoned, it’s just not going to happen.  3) Gilad Schalit must be released and returned to his family.   4) Arresting and imprisoning non-violent protests by Palestinians must also stop.   5) Israel is a Jewish state and inside its official borders it affords its citizens equal rights (I made mistake a couple of weeks ago when I suggested otherwise……..I have since educated myself so I offer my sincerest apologies to the Israeli people……I make mistakes too and I find that part of being principled means one must admit their mistakes and then demonstrate the intestinal fortitude to offer a public apology….this is what being principled requires).  6) If settlement building continues, I do agree with Uri Avnery that the world should engage in a targeted boycott of products made in the Occupied territories (as opposed to all Israeli products).

Bravo to those artists making common cause with Israeli artists and academics!!!!   Really good to see Tony Kushner join with the Israeli artists…”Angels in America” is one of favorite movies.  Fabulous!!!

Despite all the skepticism, I believe peace is possible and I believe we should promote hope.  Kudos to Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom and the other groups in Israel waging peace:

Last week, I harshly condemned Hamas for killing innocent civilians and I meant it.   This week,  I condemn those who say that killing innocent civilians is ok in wartime….it is not ok….killing innocent civilians and/or non-violent-protesting-activists is nothing short of a war crime calling it a war-crime is just telling it like it is.  When Hamas murders innocent civilians—it is a war crime and when the IDF murders innocent civilians like Rachel Corrie—it is a war crime.   And when US forces engage in killing Afghans for sport and collecting their fingers as trophies—it is a war crime.  Principles are consistent.

On ending torture…torture does a great disservice to our nation because it discards our commitment to human rights.  We cannot demand from others that which we not willing to do ourselves.

Wrong:


On Media responsibility to report real news:





Have you ever really listened to jazz music?  Really listened to it??  Oh my, it is so delightful.   I enjoy so many forms, shapes, genres, flavors and textures of music but jazz is quite remarkable.   Jazz is like a mosaic motif---a cacophony of sounds, notes, tones, pitches, melodies and beats, heavy on improvisation, imbued with a rolling rhythm and bound together into a single harmonious composition.  I love jazz, I love listening to music, I love playing the music and I love dancing with THE MAN.  Fabulous! As a boy, I played the trumpet but gave it up.  Now writing is my trumpet and ‘our values’ is my song.


“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make.”  ~Truman Capote



“Writers are just people who have a whole lot on the inside that they need to get to the outside, with pen and paper as their preferred method of transport.  Same with dancers, artists, and singers - all the same urges with differing transportation.” 
~Graycie Harmon


Shanah Tovah!!   I’m not a devoutly religious person, but I do believe that writing brings me closer to G-d and the concept of G-d I embrace is more like that of a force that connects us all.  On some days I question the existence of G-d and on other days I embrace the notion of G-d as I often oscillate between agnosticism and a belief-in-a-higher-power since this is my way of ‘wrestling with G-d.’



"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear."
-Thomas Jefferson


"My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."
~Thomas Paine



Wage peace!!!!             Reflection and Atonement.