Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ category



I actually watched the flotilla situation unfold as it happened… from a distance thru my twitter alerts (on my phone! It was set to alert me when one came in…) It was pretty amazing… people carrying on about bringing aid to Gaza. All of a sudden the activity really picked up (and I couldn’t just couldn’t watch with one eye anymore! now I have an understanding of what cellphone addicts go thru!) as the gunfire started and the Israeli’s borded the ships… anyway, here’s the link to the feed on “flotilla activity” (if you are familiar with Twitter it’ll make sense to you!)

And here’s another wrinkle. Really hard to tell what’s real anymore! Actually, seems that it’s always been this way…

And one of the reasons that it’s so hard to tell what’s real, is because so many interests have gotten so good (professional if you will) at manipulating the media to report their side of the story… which this article from this morning’s NYTs shows…
From The New York Times:

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR: An Assault, Cloaked in Peace
Many (though not all! Many or some? Who’s got the head count, anyway…) who were aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla had one goal — it was to
aid terrorists, not to help civilians.

So, for me, the bottom line is that you have to be really careful about taking anything you read or hear at face-value! From the media to personal emails depicting pics from trips they’ve taken…nearly everything is packaged to provide a certain perspective that supports someone’s bias, for good or for bad! If you understand someone’s long-standing bias, you can more readily understand the perspective behind the message or image they are delivering.

I’ve spent most of my adult life working through this… I have had some good experiences that have really opened my eyes to a lot of this as it happened… Living in Nicaragua during and after the revolution there was one of the best! Watching the revolution crumble through the “low-intensity” and prolonged “secret” war run out of Reagan’s WH basement (remember the Iran-Contra “Affair”? Today it would be called a secret war!) and the media selling of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (largely a US led, and funded, media effort in Nicaragua) and the gradual take-back of the country by Daniel Ortega was like bearing personal witness to an international (mostly US vs. any other country in the world!) experiment in manipulating the populations of the world by the media. Today it’s being practiced right here at home!

From there to Brazil and the rest of South America that recently went though transitions back to democracies after suffering through US installed military dictatorships since the 60s… and we wonder why there’s so much distrust of the US (and it’s staunchest allies). Cuba is another example that comes to mind… my trips there were so carefully choreographed so as to contrast my own experiences (and photos!) with the messages about Cuba coming out of the US since 1959… and mostly so that I wouldn’t notice it! Interesting to talk with my friend, Pat, who’d also gone there and basically the same take on her visit there…

That is not to say that the claim that terrorists were involved in the flotilla has no merit. As the article in the NYTs (above) says there is mounting evidence that there were terrorists embedded among the activists (just like we embed “journalists” among the “soldiers” today?) . But the people killed during the raid were more-than-likely of both varieties, making the claims against the Israelis even more concerning.

Add to this that the flotilla was in international waters when the raid occurred, and that the ferry that was raided was sailing under a Turkish flag (NATO member, which affords them certain rights, too! You know, “If you attack any NATO member, you’re attacking us all!” for starters!)

So I will be watching this as it further develops… and hopefully we can avoid more war! That ultimately is only good for the Military-Industrial Complex and the Corporations that have already all but taken over our own democracy!

Just one more point in this already too long diatribe… I don’t want to take sides on this because I’ve always looked favorably on Israel and have good Jewish friends that have very pro-Israel stances, and also have good friends who have very pro-Palestinian stances… Friends son, Josh, went to Israel last year (on some Israeli funds’ dime), and my friend, Dave, went to the West Bank numerous times (on some Palestinian fund’s dime)… Boy, talk about opinions!

I’m always reminded that Israel was established by the US after WWII on land that was inhabited primarily by Arab Bedouins who were pushed aside to make room for the new State (that just celebrated its 60 anniversary!). Why there? No country at the time would cede the Jews land to create their own country and, not inconsequently, the Old Testament laid out Jerusalem as the center of the Jewish universe. What was little understood (and otherwise ignored until recently by the West) is that the Quran also established Jerusalem as the center of the Muslim universe!

There has been mounting pressure on Arabs and Israelis alike for each of Israel and Palestine to create 2 contiguous states in which they each can live in peace. So far they have been unable and unwilling to do that. The current situation with the Palestinians living in two areas of Israel (the West Bank and Gaza) with a strip of Israel between them, which prevents the free travel, commerce and religious life between them is untenable and unsustainable, at best!

Unfortunately, there’s much more to come from this area of the world… We’d better get ready for it, starting with Americans realizing they have had a role in all of this all along! We helped make the bed and all!

My thoughts so far! Twitter’s a twittern’ again!


The other side of PEPFAR…


This is the information I’ve been looking for… I had heard much of this awhile ago, but couldn’t find it again with all the upside news about PEPFAR. I finally found it again, with links to a new report published on January 13, 2010 by the Center for American Progress (
Time for science to regain its rightful place in our nation and its policies, foreign and domestic.

Something else for President Obama to think about…

How Ideology Trumped Science

Why PEPFAR Has Failed to Meet its Potential

SOURCE: Avert/Rob Noble

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has saved many lives, but the program has proved deficient in many respects. The Obama administration has a historic opportunity to reframe PEPFAR as a program that champions the rights of all people, helps effectively stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, and humanely and competently treats those who already have it.

By Scott H. Evertz | January 13, 2010

When President George W. Bush signed into law the United States Leadership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003, also known as the Global AIDS Act, he created “the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history.” This legislation authorized PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the U.S. government has committed more than $25 billion to the fight against global AIDS through this program since 2003. (more…)

Haiti earthquake: How to help


Devastation in Haiti. . . Rachel Maddow had a very good segment on the history of Haiti and it’s relationship to the US on her show last night…   Helped me recall that we are indirectly indebted to Haiti for France’s decision to sell the US  what we know know as the Louisiana Purchase, which effectively doubled the national territory.  Here’s how you can help relief efforts after the earthquake ! I took this
list from It was updated by them last night, Wed., Jan. 13, 2010 (more…)

My 2 cents for today!


An important background article in light of all the noise being made today… Does a nice job of filling in the blanks.

This is the same message I got from Obama’s “surge” speech… Increase the troops by 30,000 as quickly as possible and start withdrawing them by July 2011… Now, whether or not I agree with him is another story, but I’m so side of the Obama naysayers lying out loud about what he said and is doing.

My 2¢ for today!

How Obama Came to Plan for ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan