Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama & The Task Ahead , Pete Seeger Moment of Triumph & Olbermann On Bush's Legacy

UPDATE: Jan.19,2009 at 11:54 AM

Obama's Pre-Inauguration concert & Speech at the Lincoln Memorial

Hamas and Israel agree on a ceasefire
Israeli spokesperson promises perpetual war against Gaza & the Palestinians
More calls for investigations into Israeli War Crimes
America's reputation gets battered over the Gaza conflict

Anyway so Obama will become President on Tuesday and it seems auspicious that this is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.

And here's a little music to begin the week . This is Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen etc, Singing Woody Guthrie's Anthem " This Land Is Your Land" at the Lincoln Memorial. This is a wonderful moment for Pete Seeger who had been vilified and had been blacklisted for decades accused of being UnAmerican for daring to speak his mind. Let us hope that Obama and his administration does take the word of this song to heart so that America is no longer just a place for the privileged few who believe all of America's wealth belongs only to them. The video may not be the best but it gives one a chance to share in the emotions of those who were there.

For more on Pete Seeger see:

Pete Seeger Fan Page

and here's Woody Guthrie singing " This Land is Your Land "

see website:Woody Guthrie
& Arlo Guthrie My Space

"A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it or it could be
who's hungry and where their mouth is or
who's out of work and where the job is or
who's broke and where the money is or
who's carrying a gun and where the peace is.”

Republicans and Conservative Americans claim to believe in Freedom of Speech but not if that speech does not support their view of America. This is the point over which many would disagree with Obama's feel good attitude of bringing together all Americans whatever their political party. Well the Neoconservatives and the Radical Religious Right and the racists such as the White Supremacists are not going to be open to any sort of compromise with Obama and who believe that Obama is not a " Real American " or is seen as UnAmerican and Anti-American. Let us remember that those on the Right in America have a different vision of America than that of Obama and his supporters. Their vision of America is that of the privileged few or of those who hold particular religious views or who are of one particular race. They include those who believe that Fox News represents Real Americans and who believe that Obama and those who believe as he does are not Real Americans. The anti-Obama crowd includes those who spew venom and encourage hate and divisiveness and who believe that any who disagree with them are ignorant, stupid or down right evil.

Barack Obama speech at Lincoln Memorial 1/18/09

Given Bush's disastrous legacy Obama is left with an Unholy mess to try to clean up from the environment to the economic meltdown to to perpetual war and the juggernaut of the Military Industrial Complex where to begin !!!

Countdown with Keith Olbermann | George Bush: 8 Years in 8 Minutes

"Now I Understand Why They Hate Us"

By David Hilfiker, AlterNet. Jan. 12, 2009.

How a middle-class white guy came to accept the evil embedded in American political and military might.

Although it now shocks me how long it has taken me, how much evidence I previously hid from, only recently have I become conscious of the pervasiveness of American militarism, how it defines who we are and how we are perceived. What do I mean by "militarism?" I mean a general belief within a country that an overpowering military is necessary for national security and a general willingness to spend virtually unlimited funds for that purpose. Militarism means a national conviction that the country must be prepared to use its military power aggressively to maintain its interests. In practical terms, it means that the nation is prepared to turn very quickly toward military solutions to international problems without allowing other measures a real chance to work. The threat of military response becomes ever-present in international conflict and so becomes, at least as far as other countries are concerned, our first response to conflict.

Consider a few examples over the last years: It is militarism that breaks off reasonably successful diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, labeling the country among the "axis of evil" and making take-it-or-leave-it demands not so subtly backed up by our military. It is militarism when the nation refuses to consider internationally coordinated police and intelligence action as a response to al-Qaida's attack on 9/11, but instead insists on invading Afghanistan. It is militarism to refuse to allow the United Nations inspections team to finish its work in Iraq (no weapons of mass destruction had been found) in order to invade in 2003. It is militarism that rebuffs a direct high-level appeal to the Bush administration from Iran (in 2003) to enter into negotiations (in which Iran had suggested trading its nuclear aspirations for a guaranteed non-aggression pact), instead labeling Iran among the "axis of evil" and then leaking repeated threats to invade or bomb military targets.

Since 1941, the United States has been continuously engaged in, or mobilized for, war. That that fact does not seriously disturb or even surprise most of us is a powerful sign of how inured we have become to our nation's militarization. After conflicts prior to World War II, the United States disbanded or sharply reduced its combat forces and military budget when the fighting was over. But instead of reining in our military after World War II, we entered immediately into the Cold War. Even after the demise of the Soviet Union, when there was literally no military threat, our military spending barely hiccuped as we continued our mobilization for war. In addition to the massive expenditures in the Cold War, between the end of World War II and 9/11, the United States conducted approximately 200 overseas military operations in which our forces attacked first. In no case did a democratic government come about as a direct result, although we installed and protected numerous dictators, including the Shah of Iran, Suharto in Indonesia, Batista in Cuba, Somoza in Nicaragua, Pinochet in Chile and Mobutu in Congo/Zaire, not to mention the series of American-backed militarists in South Vietnam and Cambodia. For decades we also ran what can only be called terrorist operations against Cuba and, for a shorter time, in Nicaragua.

...As a writer, I struggle to find the words to express my shock, anger and shame at discovering that my country has been among "the bad guys," responsible for the deaths of millions of innocents in the last half-century, and in the view of most of the world's citizens (according to numerous polls of people in other countries) the greatest threat to world peace. It seems, I suppose, a bit dramatic -- an expression of the hyperpartisan posturing that has characterized politics for the last 15 years -- to express shock, anger and shame at something that has been going on my entire life, right under my nose. But, like the legendary frog that does not notice the water temperature rising in the pot until it is too late, I have been aware of many of the particulars but have not until recently pulled them together into a coherent picture that so massively condemns what we have become.

and on Bush's excesses:

...President Bush has declared a "War on Terror." Since the Constitution allows only Congress to declare war, the War on Terror is not a constitutionally legal war, yet the president continues to claim extraordinary powers as commander in chief in "wartime." But how does one know when the War on Terror is over? When there are literally no more terrorists? A president who can define war however he chooses and remain at war as long has he chooses has indefinite dictatorial powers. The militarization of our nation puts us into a state of perpetual war (declared or undeclared), which creates a perpetual transfer of power to the president that makes a mockery of the constitutional balance of powers between the president, Congress and the courts.

And so Israel has agreed to a ceasefire but this does not end Israel's responsibility for committing War Crimes during this conflict nor does it free Israel from its culpability in its Crimes against Humanity committed against the civilian population of Gaza since Israel first began its inhumane siege on Gaza over the last year or more.

The Guardian calls the Israeli war on Gaza to have been at the least a Public Relations disaster and as a failure to achieve any real objectives. The Guardian also states that Israel's actions in Gaza necessitate an investigation by an independent party for War Crimes .

About 1300 people in Gaza were killed in this conflict and 13 Israelis which is a hundred to one ratio. Given what Israel has done and promises to continue to do will the Obama administration take steps to re-evaluate America's cozy relationship with Israel. Surely Israel should be accountable for its actions like any other nation state or will they continue to get a Free Ride by the US . If the US does not condemn Israel for the atrocities it has taken part in in Gaza then the US will be perceived as condoning such atrocities against the Palestinian people .

A Pointless War Has Led to a Moral Defeat for Israel

Editorial/ "The Guardian" January 18, 2009

That fact alone explains why the operation represents a defeat for Israel, as was always likely to be the outcome. The notion that the country's security problems can be resolved by the unilateral use of extreme force is a persistent delusion among Israeli politicians. In this case, the problem was perceived to be Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel; the solution was judged to be a war against Hamas. That analysis did not allow for the vital, humane recognition that, in densely populated Gaza, an all-out war against Hamas is, by necessity, an attack on the civilian population.

Even on its own terms, the campaign has failed. Israeli authorities will insist that they have limited the ability of Hamas to launch rocket attacks. But the ostensible war aim was destroying that capability completely.

also see:

Olmert’s Poodle By Patrick J. Buchanan "American Conservative"Jan. 18, 2009


"Palestinians find 95 bodies in rubble of battle-torn Gaza"
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service Jan. 19, 2009

In the video below an Israeli spokesperson talks about perpetual war against Gaza and Hamas. She repeats over and over again the Israeli Spin and Talking Points which amount to Lies and Propaganda which the world they believe should accept at face value. As she appears to point out is that the conflict may stop for a short period of time but eventually Israel will have to attack Gaza again and again til Hamas has been obliterated along with much of the Gaza civilian population. She sees no reason for Israel to apologize for its actions. In the name of Israeli security she believes that Israel is permitted to use whatever means necessary to achieve its goals . She also assumes as did George Bush that if these actions are determined to be legal under Israeli law that this supersedes the code of conduct as set down in the Geneva Conventions.

Israel like the US proclaims itself a law unto itself and that the Geneva Conventions and other International Laws have no jurisdiction over Israeli actions.

Israeli spokesperson talks about perpetual war against Gaza and Hamas

and so it goes,

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