December 7, 2012

A return to the (Charlie) McCarthy era mentality?

Nota Bene</I>:  The following column contains irony.  Proceed with caution.

Democratic and Republican politicians, pundits both conservative and liberal, and voters from both parties want this columnist to believe that both sides in the fiscal cliff negotiations are participating in a difficult and nerve-wracking process of finding a suitable compromise that will avoid the dreaded denouement of: “what we have here is failure to communicate.”  A nagging doubt that the Republicans are negotiating in good faith continues to plague any attempt by the World’s Laziest Journalist to handicap this struggle and when we take a look at what the Republicans have been trying to do since the day the Social Security law was signed by FDR, we come up with a bleak evaluation of the prospects for any Happy New Year celebrations in the homes of the poor and middle class this year.

If the January first deadline passes without a compromise solution the 113 Congress which will be sworn in on January 3, 2013, will be busy performing necessary preliminary Parliamentary procedures and will be very pleased to let any public dissatisfaction with the results be linked to their predecessors and President Obama.

If the January first deadline passes without a compromise, how will the American Journalism community (with Fox News as point man?) react?  If Fox Television advocates a non-stop rush to hysteria as the only possible reaction to a post financial cliff crisis, will a handful of liberal radio personalities be able to stem the tide?

Haven’t the Republicans racked up a track record that indicates they might secretly want to let see President Obama take the USA over the fiscal cliff?

When St. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President, a part of his program was to start union busting with the Air Controllers Union being the first group to suffer the consequences. Didn’t Michigan just pass a “right to work” law?  Doesn’t the San Francisco radio station that carries progressive talk shows just start airing commercials from the National Right to Work ( organization?

Later in the eighties the Los Angeles Times ran one or two stories advancing not only the possibility that computers would bring time saving and unquestioned results to the task of counting election ballots but that some (publicity seeking?) science based college teachers (them again?) were making the wild baseless assertion that such an innovation in the democratic process would include an inherent risk in the form of possibilities that the final results could be subject to tampering by some unscrupulous fiends.

Such completely unrealistic prognostications were quickly dismissed as the work of demented professors who had lost touch with reality and quietly slipped into the twilight zone now known as Conspiracy Theory.

Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and when the voting counting in Florida in the Presidential election of 2000 got a tad gnarly, electronic voting machines and the laws mandating the use of that method of letting the accountants furnish the final results were conveniently written and waiting for the chance to get an “up or down” vote from previously elected Senators and Congressmen.

Liberals who don’t see how eliminating “likely” Democratic voters from the registration rolls prevents voter fraud are the same ones who don’t realize that outsourcing jobs to other countries increases the profit margin and that more profits are, by definition, the  essential ingredient in the strategy for economic recovery.

The farsighted Republicans had (in a 1996 PNAC white paper) foreseen the possibility of the country facing the challenge of “another Pearl Harbor,” and quickly implemented several variations of the “double standard” concept after 9/11 occcured.

Democrats would be held to a very strict level of accountability while any Republican (it was well understood) would get an automatic exemption from confining ideology such as the precepts of war established by the lead council for America at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, which held that any invasion was a crime against peace.

Increases in the debt ceiling were automatic when George W. Bush was in the Oval Office and the cost of the military adventures in Iran and Afghanistan were exempt from concerns about the deficit.  Now that President Obama is the commander-in-chief, the main concern of Republicans is deficit reduction.

Meanwhile, the Republicans when they were in the majority in Congress had initiated a policy for the filibuster rule which would put the Democrats in a straight jacket if and when the loyal opposition leadership cadre ever became obstreperous.

The Liberals who see a conspiracy hiding behind every Bush would have Patriotic red-blooded Americans believe that the rules change which helped one particular media mogul acquire more outlets than the law previously permitted was some kind of ominous “plot.”  Now instead of a diverse group of Republican conservative publishers owning newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations, one fellow from “down under” does.  Do they think that it makes a difference if the media is owned by one man rather than a group of like minded fellows?  (These doubters probably take the concepts in Jonathan Kwitny’s book, “The Crimes of Patriots:  A True tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA,” as “gospel.”)  These narrow minded liberals would have everyone believe that Plato was predicting Fox’s high ratings when he said:  “Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.”

The Republicans have forced the Post Office to provide pre-paid funding for employee retirement programs thus forcing that government agency to contend with almost certain bankruptcy and subsequently the need to become privatized to continue to provide their services to the public.

Can the battle pitting the Republican majority Congress against President Obama be compared to the Alamo?

In his novel “Texas,” James Michener (who is noted for the quality of the factual background for his stories) stated that when the state of Texas agreed to join the United States, it specifically had as part of the deal, an option of separating into five individual states.  Wouldn’t rambunctious Republicans be more anxious to invoke that option and get ten Senators rather than succeed from the union and have none?

The beginning of the Great Depression is pinpointed as being Black Friday in October of 1929 and exuberant Republicans, who enthusiastically make the assertion that the country could have been better served by Republican leadership during the Depression, conveniently forget that the low point of the era was reached later in President Hoover’s term in office and that the recovery began with FDR’s inauguration.

During St. Ronald Reagan’s two terms in the oval office, some extremists voiced the opinion that what America needed was another Depression with the implication being that bad times would be better with a Republican in the White House.

Obviously Liberals who believes that any Republican would seriously consider the “advantages” of a Great Depression 2.0 won’t have any need to use a laxative during the duration of the fiscal cliff stare down.

Speaking of the Thirties, why doesn’t the Jon Stewart Show feature a W. C. Fields impersonator and a replica of the Charlie McCarthy dummy (now in the Smithsonian Institute) having a modern political debate?  Didn’t Fields provide the Republican Party with their unofficial motto when he said:  “If a thing is worth having; it’s worth cheating to get it!”?

To some cynical Liberals, the fact that the implication of austerity budgets, which demand cutting many social programs as part of coping with hard times, will be a chance for Conservatives to break out the Champaign and caviar might seem to be an oxymoron but for connoisseurs of schadenfreude this year’s Christmas celebrations will ring with rich people singing about the rich getting rich being part of God’s divine plan for humanity and the cry of “please, sir, may I have some more porridge” being mimicked throughout the one particular home (out of many, of course!) where they have gone to celebrate the holiday.

Are Republicans postulating a Santa with a Jekyll and Hyde personality?  Could there be one Santa to bring joy, tax cuts, and happiness to the rich and and another one who deals out tax increase and social service cuts to the middle class and poor?  Do the Republicans believe in a two Santa world?

Some folks prone towards manufacturing new and improved conspiracy theories have asked us if Berkeley City Mayor Tom Bates deliberately postpones contentious items until well past mid-night when many concerned citizens have gone home.  To which we respond:  Not bloody well likely, mate!”

Some of Berkeley’s famous panhandlers are asserting that the new Berkeley Public Library policy of turning away visitors carrying a large back pack is part of a concerted and coordinated policy of harassing them and is a new facet of the sit-lie controversy.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed (seventy one years ago on the day this column will be posted), the Republicans quickly proposed that the newly instituted laws mandating overtime pay be revoked so that workers could not be tainted by the suspicion of being war profiteers.  There were some very lucrative contracts going to come their way but in the country’s darkest hour, they still found time to be concerned about protecting their workers from the possibility of having their reputations tarnished by allegations of war profiteering.  The FDR administration (which had been suspected of being pro socialist when the Social Security Act was signed into law) thought that everyone including workers should share in the bounty that WWII was sure to bestow.

The Democrats seem very reluctant to admit that the Republicans have been relentless in the defense of Veterans benefits and programs.

When we look at all these separate examples of Republican political philosophy in action together, we can not conceive of a sudden “Christmas Carol” moment that puts a “God bless us one and all” sentiment in the mouths of the Republicans who see their mission as making a goal line defense to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.

[Photo Editor’s note:  Statues of newspaper owners (Rupert Murdoch?) such as this one of the publisher who founded Culver City CA (where about four decades ago we learned the fundamentals of covering city council meetings) are more likely to be erected than ones to well informed voters or Fox viewers and so we used a shot of the statue of Harry Culver in downtown Culver City, CA as this week’s column illustration.]

United States Senator Joe McCarthy is quoted online as having said:  “McCarthyism is Americanism with sleeves rolled.”

The disk jockey will now (for obvious reasons) play Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five, the Beach Boys song “Heroes and Villains,” and the theme music from “Cool Hand Luke.”  Now we have to go replay our VHS tape of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” because we may soon do a reassessment review for the 50th anniversary of its release in 1963.  Have a “can you spare a peso for a fellow American” (from Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) type week.

Ye Olde Scribe Asks…

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 9:07 am


If teaching a child how to think can be liberating, isn’t teaching a child what they MUST think a form of mental rape?

Should “age of consent” apply when fundamentalists of all kinds indoctrinate their children?

If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, why do we get children drunk on the hope Jesus, or Santa, will give them their every heart’s desire if they just pray, or “be good?”

Isn’t bribing children to be good teaching them if they do something for a selfish reason good will happen?

December 6, 2012

“Fiscal cliff” debates and defense bill reveal government priorities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 10:47 am

Author’s note:
While Americans face a big debate in congress over which “entitlement” programs, the Obama administration gets everything it wants and then some for the wars and the military-industrial complex. Yet right-wingers will still call him a socialist. Unreal…

According to the White House, congress, economists and media pundits, America’s economy will fall off a “fiscal cliff” if a budget agreement between Democrats and Republicans is not reached by the end of the year. A closer look at the so-called fiscal cliff and the $631 defense bill that unanimously passed in the Senate yesterday puts the priorities of lawmakers into perspective.

Many of the seemingly apocalyptic events that would occur if a deal is not reached by the end of the year are reversible within a time frame that would not affect the economy. For example, tax increases would not be felt until 2014 and could easily be reversed with targeted legislation in 2013. Any cuts in entitlement programs could be dealt with in a similar manner.

The compromise last year was a result of the inability of congressional lawmakers from both parties to agree on how to trim the national debt. As John Stewart put it, “There’s an asteroid headed towards the Earth. We made it and fired it at ourselves, because otherwise we would never have done the hard work required to protect ourselves from asteroids.” It took a self-proclaimed comedian like Stewart to aptly describe it, because in the U.S., talk of a fiscal cliff has no connection to the actual level of consciousness of most working people at this time.

The “asteroid” took years to make and lawmakers are finally getting around to dealing with it. Yet the solutions proposed thus far by either party do not address the problems that created the massive debt that this nation has to deal with.

Part of the proposal of Democrats to avert the fiscal cliff is to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the top 2 percent of income earners, which is a step in the right direction because loss of revenue accounts for a large portion of the debt that the federal government accumulated over the past 11 years. Lower and middle class Americans cannot afford any tax increases at this time, while tax rates for the wealthy are at their lowest in recent history even though the wealthiest Americans are making more money than ever.

Obama and the Democrats also propose $1.5 trillion in cuts in discretionary spending over the next ten years, which would also produce about $250 billion in savings on interest, for a total of $1.7 trillion. Two-fifths of the $1.5 trillion come from defense, while the other three-fifths come from reductions in domestic and international programs. These reductions will shrink non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level on record as a share of GDP, with data going back to 1962, and 25 percent of that spending goes to helping low income people in America.

The Republican counter-proposal is to keep the Bush tax cuts in place for the top 2 percent income earners and force even deeper cuts in discretionary spending. The GOP plan mixes $800 billion in higher tax revenue with cuts to Medicare and a stingier cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits, including a rise in the eligibility age for Medicare and reducing the inflation adjustment for Social Security benefits.

While the GOP proposal for spending cuts get no more specific than that, Erica Eichelberger writing for Mother Jones points out that Rep. Paul “62-percent-of-my-proposed-budget-cuts-come-from-poor-people-programs” Ryan will likely be leading the charge on the other side of the aisle. “He won’t be able to chop up the safety net to his liking, but he and his fellow Republicans will do what they can.”

Here are some social programs and their cost, considered to be “bargaining chips,” that have not been taken off of the table by either party:

  • Medicaid ($258 billion)
  • Food Stamps ($78 billion in 2011)
  • Supplemental Security Income ($47 billion)
  • Unemployment benefits extension in 2013 ($40 billion)
  • Pell Grants ($36 billion)
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance ($19 billion)
  • Job Training ($18 billion in 2009)
  • Head Start ($7.9 billion)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program ($3.47 billion)
  • Community Health Centers ($3.1 billion)
  • Title 1 Education Grants ($322 million)
  • Women, Infants, and Children, (WIC) ($7.2 million in 2011)

The total cost of these programs is roughly $511.5 billion. The beneficiaries are mostly low-income Americans, the elderly, children, students and the unemployed. Several economists, including Paul Krugman and Austin Frakt, have crunched the numbers and shown that raising the eligibility age for Medicare and reducing the inflation adjustment for Social Security benefits “would inflict some serious hardship [on many Americans] for very little money.”

Yet the Senate yesterday passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $631 billion dollar defense bill that already included some cuts over previous years, with a unanimous vote of 98-0. This bill includes $88 billion for war-funding and is $17 billion more than the Obama administration requested. While the Senate bill still has to be reconciled with the House version that passed in May, the voting process was done speedily and with little debate in order to get the bill passed before the looming “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

In other words, while the Obama administration gets everything it wants and then some without a fight in congress regarding the military budget and war-spending, lawmakers are getting prepared to fight it out over the social programs that matter most to lower and middle class Americans in these trying economic times. That shows where the priorities of lawmakers in both parties lie.

The fiscal cliff is really not a cliff or an asteroid, it is more like a slippery slope to austerity for the lower and middle class that can be averted without reaching the big deal that will be hyped this month by politicians and the corporate media.

The most significant factors that increased the federal deficit over the past ten years are increased defense spending, war-spending, loss of revenue from the Bush tax cuts and the economic downturn (see slideshow). Part of the revenue loss from the economic downturn that is largely ignored by politicians and the corporate media is the loss of well-paying jobs that provide a more robust tax base. Other than letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the top two percent and some marginal cuts in defense spending, few of the real issues that caused the massive debt are being addressed in the fiscal cliff debate.

Instead of bickering over which entitlement programs to cut, perhaps lawmakers should consider thinking outside of the beltway box and consider what is truly important for Americans right now. On the short list are jobs, infrastructure, foreclosures, cost of living, health care and a secure retirement plan.

The way to pay for improvements in those areas without creating more debt are to end the wars now, adjust security (i.e. the DHS) and defense spending to current needs, cut the $3+ billion in foreign aid to Israel until it complies with UN resolutions and the IAEA, tax corporations that ship jobs overseas, provide tax incentives to corporations that keep jobs in this country, and allow the tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

Lower and middle class Americans cannot afford more austerity. The wealthiest Americans and the military-industrial complex can afford it.

Read the full article, get links and a slideshow with graphs here: Madison Independent Examiner – “Fiscal cliff” debates and defense bill reveal government priorities

December 4, 2012

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: Groundhog Day AGAIN

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 11:47 am

YOS woke up to Cher on the radio. He immediately threw it out the window, assuming it will be back in place next Groundhog’s day: tomorrow. These days only happened every year, with the same War on Christmas crap. Now they seem to happen almost every day. We just had an election, where one candidate wanted to raise rates on the rich: marginally, and only what they earned well over 200 grand. The other wanted to throw people out on street, make sure they couldn’t afford health care and would therefore DIE, not even be able to afford to go look for a job, all so those rich bitch buckaroo-laden folks didn’t have to pay a pittance more.

Election OVER!!! Yeah! And, now. we’re back to proposing a marginal rise in taxes for the uber rich, argued by the guy who WON. And those who lost, after said election, still have an erection to rape the poor so they can give to the hotsy totsy rich.

Look, up ahead, a fiscal cliff! Well, maybe it’s a speed bump? A slight dip claimed to be a “cliff” by dippy drama queens out to get everything they want by any means?

One thing’s certain. The nation’s car is being driven by a go-pher the Kochs and other mega rich fascisistas. Dems who enable the go-phur are Bill Murray. And there is a cliff up ahead we may still drive over.

It’s called compromising with bullies who refuse to compromise on anything, even though WE WON.



December 2, 2012

Ye Olde Scribe’s Compassionate Plea for da Season

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 8:00 pm


This holiday season Ye Olde wishes for you to pause and think about the down and out, the momentary homeless because they have to leave for employment elsewhere. Think about the displaced families, and more important the displaced mistresses and mister-es-seses who get replaced by new, power seeking, mistress and mister-es-esses.

It’s so sad. Scribe speaks, well types, about our poor, unfortunate Congressmen and Congresswomen who go on break: often, and come back, occasionally. Head off to Washington to serve the people MOSTLY THEMSELVES.

The “pittance” they earn, and the pittance they continue to receive for the rest of their lives, is only augmented by the single payer health care that is so bad they don’t want anyone else to have it, except them. Once again: for the rest of their lives.


Lebensraum: American & Israeli neo-cons add more WWII words to their dictionary

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:29 pm

Holy crap, I am now 70 years old — and do you know what that means? “That you’re over the hill?” Well, maybe that too. But it also means I’m probably going to be one of the last living members of the “Greatest Generation”.

My parents, after surviving the Great Depression by living on walnuts and working three jobs apiece to get themselves through UCLA, were finally able to relax financially by 1941. They’d purchased a home. My pop had a job with the Los Angeles post office helping to set up Social Security accounts. My older sister was out of diapers. “It’s all good,” said my mother. “So let’s have another kid.” And thus I was happily conceived — two months before Pearl Harbor. Oops.

And that’s the true story about how I became a WWII child.

But a few years from now, I’m most likely going to become one of the last people alive on earth today who was also alive during World War II. And thus all of those words and phrases that every single American used to say every day will soon be totally forgotten. “Loose lips sink ships” and “Yes we can!” and “victory garden” and “scrap metal drive” and… Gone the same way as sayings and phrases used in the Civil War, the Napoleonic War, the Crusades.

Well, not to worry. Many of those World War II words and phrases are not only being still preserved today but are actually becoming living breathing facts-on-the-ground — in America and Israel of all places. Even as we speak, American and Israeli neo-cons are adding word after word from WW II to their modern-day dictionary.

Some of the favorite words among America’s 1% and Israel’s ruling 16 families right now come straight out of any half-way decent WWII lexicon. Coming alive right here, right now are words like “Blitzkrieg” and “Homeland” and “Stormtroopers”. Perhaps the words themselves have been changed in some cases — but both Israeli and American neo-cons are definitely hanging on to their meaning!

Of course “Blitzkrieg” has been retired in favor of the more hip “Shock and Awe” and “Cast Lead,” but the idea is exactly the same.

“Master Race” and “Aryans” have also become disappeared WWII words but, again, not to worry. They’ve still around — just morphed into phrases like “The Chosen People” and actions like the new Jim Crow voting laws in Florida.

“National Socialism” may also be an out-of-date phrase now– but it’s been easily replaced with words like “Neo-Con” and “Corporate Welfare” and “Endless War”.

“Non-consensual medical experiments”? In the 1950s, the U.S. fed unsuspecting citizens LSD just to see how they would react — and they reacted badly. That happened to a friend of mine, a young woman. It screwed up her life for many years.

And American and Israeli neo-cons performed that famous “ringworm” radiation experiment on approximately 100,000 Sephardi Jewish school children, killing many of them and giving many others horrible cancers

Then there’s the more recent “U.S apologizes to Guatemala for infecting prisioners with syphilis” bit. Yuck!

And don’t forget all the ongoing Israeli organ trafficking scandals either. “To fill this need [for organs] former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992. …While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.”

Dr. Mengele would have been so proud.

And American and Israeli neo-cons no longer use that WW II term “Propaganda” any more. Why not? Because “Public Relations” sounds so much better. But no matter what you call it, a lie is still a lie.

World War II terms like “Sleeper Agents” and “Mole” are also popular words in America and Israel these days. Think Paul Wolfowitz, duel-citizenship, AIPAC, the CIA-Mossad connection and that truly weird “stand down” order from the Pentagon while Israeli fighter jets repeatedly bombed and strafed the USS Liberty

“Stalag”? Got that word covered too. Now we’ve got “Guantanamo” and “Gaza”.

Then there’s the phrase “Gestapho,” which clearly fits the description of Israel’s Shin Beth, apparently responsible for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin — among other things And in America, we used to have Conintelpro. But now we’ve got “Homeland Security”.

And since the creation of Cast Lead II against Gaza, even more World War II words and/or ideas have been preserved by Netanyahu and his Wolf Pack, including “Concentrations Camps” and “Lebensraum” and “Final Solution”

PS: In Palestine right now, another word is being used more and more frequently: “Nonviolence”. And nonviolent protests have become especially effective in the West Bank as Israeli neo-con forces become more and more sadistic and repulsive as “Greater Israel” reaches out for more and more “Lebensraum”.

But how can Palestine’s new and weak nonviolent forces possibly stand up to Netanyahu’s American-armed-and dangerous multi-billion-dollar Shock and Awe? There is a way. It’s called “hacking.” Or to use another WWII word, “Decoding”. A modern army such as the IDF runs not on manpower or F16s or white phosphorus or nuclear reactors or torture and other forms of breaking Geneva conventions. A modern army runs on computers. Hack them and the Big Guns are screwed.

This is also a lesson that the American and Israeli “Resistance” might need to learn too. If you truly want to defeat the neo-cons’ “Thousand-Year Reich,” don’t hoard ammunition, learn to fire assault weapons and survive in the woods. That’s too old skool. Get a degree in computer science instead. Then keep the GOP from hacking out voting machines. Join Wikileaks. Join Anonymous!

PPS: Doesn’t anybody in Israel or America ever notice that “Occupation” never works? Apparently not. It didn’t work for the Vichy government in France or for the Japanese in Nanking or Bataan — or for the Americans in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan for that matter. And “Occupation” is not working out in Palestine either. 60 years of bloody occupation later, “The Resistance” there is still going strong.

Punishment always leads to resistance. This seems to be a basic rule of human nature. And with all these harsh Thousand-Year-Reich occupations, something always seems to go wrong! Kindness toward our fellow human beings always works better. Plus here’s an added extra benefit: Kind people don’t rot in Hell when they die. Or in Gehenna.

PPPS: For years now, American neo-cons have used the “Good War” idea to justify all kinds of Lebensraum brutality all over the world. And as for the Israeli neo-cons? They have become “Holocaust” ghouls — preying on the memory of the horrible suffering of European Jews during World War II in order to justify the infliction of this very same suffering onto the poor trapped “Warsaw Ghetto” Palestinians.

December 1, 2012

Cease fire agreement in Gaza announced, but will it hold?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 8:38 am

Author’s note:
Short answer, probably not. The U.N. recently voted to give Palestine observer status and Israel’s impetuous response is to approve about 3000 more “settlements” which is another way of saying they’re going to steal more of their land.

As the conflict in Gaza approaches all-out war and civilian casualties increase daily, another cease fire agreement was announced On November 21 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The agreement was brokered between Clinton, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, Hamas leaders, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The cease fire started at 9 p.m. Cairo time (1 p.m. CST).

Since late October, this is third cease fire and/or truce agreement between Hamas and Israel, two of which have not held.

While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when and by whom the initial escalation began, there were two periods of relative calm as truces were brokered between Israel and Hamas by Egypt’s President Morsi. In both instances, Israel was the first to break that truce.

The U.S. media sticks to the story line that Israel’s attacks on Gaza are a response to rocket fire from Hamas. But the rocket attacks on Israel that Hamas supposedly started were, in fact, a response to Israeli attacks, even after similar truce agreements.

After the October 28-29 flare-up of violence, in which the BBC reported that 26 rockets were fired into Israel “hours after an Israeli air strike in Gaza,” there was a period of relative calm. An Israel-based Twitter account, QassumCount @Qassumcount, that catalogues rockets that hit Israel recorded almost no rocket fire until one shot was recorded on November 5th, the day after an unarmed, mentally unfit man was shot dead by Israeli troops as he approached a border fence.

Then on November 8th, Israeli forces made an incursion into Gaza, leveling areas of Palestinian land amidst indiscriminate shooting by troops, artillery, tanks and helicopter gunships. During that round of violence, a 13-year-old boy, Hameed Abu Daqqa, was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli military helicopter while he was playing soccer.

It appears that a major escalation of violence took place from both sides after that incident.

Shooting a child who is playing soccer from a helicopter is a brutal and inhumane act. It was clearly intended to provoke a reaction by the Palestinians, who react to the murder of their children the same way anyone would, in this case by shooting at Israeli soldiers. Israel then retaliated by shooting two more children, and even opened fire on the funeral for one of them. Yet the first news about Israel and Gaza reported to the American audience was when militants in Gaza fired some rockets into Israel and Hamas was portrayed as the unreasonable aggressor who started it all.

Despite the situation at that time, yet another truce was brokered between November 11th and 13th, coinciding with a lull in rocket attacks. Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Gaza’s Hamas government, praised the main armed factions in the enclave for agreeing to a truce. “They showed a high sense of responsibility by saying they would respect calm should the Israeli occupation also abide by it,” he said.

The next day, November 14th, Israel broke the truce with the extrajudicial assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmad al-Jabari in an air strike. The Telegraph UK quoted other Hamas leaders saying that this act has “opened the gates of hell.”

The rest is history written in the blood of dead civilians, most which were innocent Palestinians, including women and children.

The U.S. government provides Israel with over $3 billion dollars of aid per year, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. Yet Israel continually violates internationally brokered ceasefire agreements, U.N. resolutions and uses high tech weapons procured through the U.S. to shell, bomb and shoot at “militants” within a civilian population of 1.6 million, most of which are women and children, crammed into an occupied territory roughly twice the size of Washington D.C.

With homeless veterans in the streets of the U.S., many Americans struggling to make ends meet, and talk of falling off of the “fiscal cliff,” perhaps it is time for the American people to reconsider writing Israel blank checks. If in doubt, you can see your taxpayer dollars at work in the slideshow.

It will be interesting to see if this new cease fire holds, but if history repeats itself, it will not. And Americans will pay the bill.

Read more, get links, see a slideshow and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – Cease fire agreement in Gaza announced, but will it hold?

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