March 25, 2013

Kristallnacht in slow motion: Palestinians as the new Jews

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:16 am

Every time I write something unflattering about Israeli neo-cons, I always get a burst of anonymous phone calls for a few days. But this never happens when I write about American neo-cons. What’s with that?

Perhaps it’s because almost every progressive on the internet today writes unflattering things about American neo-cons and it would take forever to bully us all.

A FaceBook friend of mine living in Israel-Palestine just sent me a photo of a group of ordinary Jewish-Israeli citizens — beating up on a terrified Arab-Israeli woman in the street And this photo reminded me of how, back in the 1930s, “Good Germans” used to beat up ordinary Jews on the streets too.

And the next thing you knew, along came Germany’s infamous Kristallnacht.

But the difference between “Good Germans” back then and “Good Israelis” now is this: Back in Nazi Germany, racism based on religious hatred all culminated in one horrible Kristallnacht orgy of killing, looting, oppression and genocide — whereas the new Zionist oppression and genocide in Israel-Palestine seems to be happening now in slo-mo. One day at a time, one house at a time, one street at a time, one Palestinian at a time

But the results are the same.

And now, in 2013, the average individual “Good Israeli”, just like the average individual “Good German” back in the 1930s (and the average individual “Good American” today) needs to finally wake up and finally realize that what neo-cons and pseudo-religious crazies can do (and have done) unto others, they can also do unto us as well.

PS: According to journalist Roi Tov, formerly a captain in the IDF, “On March 1, 2013, the Israeli Ministry of Transport inaugurated two lines of buses to be used exclusively by Palestinians and created the opportunity for a Palestinian Rosa Parks to spark the struggle for Human Rights in the Holy Land.” How come when “neo-cons” in Alabama segregated the buses, we all thought this action was abominable — but when Israeli neo-cons do the exact same thing, we give them a pass?

Tov calls this slow-motion attack on Palestinians “A war of the turtles” — except that the Israeli neo-cons’ turtle is a million times bigger, stronger, better armed and more powerful than the Palestinian turtle. Duh.

PPS: And does all this new slow-motion holocaust in Palestine mean that, 30 or 40 years from now, the UN will also allow Palestinians to establish a new homeland in Germany — as a salve for our guilt because the world knowingly stood by, did nothing and watched silently as six million Palestinians were sent off to concentration camps and/or gassed?

PPPS: And it appears that you and I are the ones also paying for this new “Kristallnacht in slow motion” racket as well. According to a recent Congressional report, America even bought Israeli neo-cons a whole shite-load of F-35s (those stealth bombers that don’t even work) in order to reign down even more slo-mo hell onto Palestinians!

And according to Joe Biden at a recent AIPAC conference, President Obama “has directed close coordination, strategically and operationally, between our government and our Israeli partners, including our political, military and intelligence leadership.” So apparently we are also guiding Israeli neo-con “strategic and operational” policies behind the slo-mo massacre of all those women and children in Palestine too. Good to know.

Here’s a really good instruction manual to use if you’re an Israeli neo-con trying to steal homes from Palestinians in East Jerusalem. It’s even better than the manual used by American neo-cons and banksters to steal working-class Americans’ homes!

June 4, 2012

Torture in Palestine, Syria & Cleveland: Making it happen!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:36 pm

I recently attended a video presentation in Oakland given by a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre (, and while the speaker was describing various theater projects now being staged in Palestine, he also happened to mention several relatively unique types of psychological torture currently being implemented by Israeli corporatists and their enforcers in the occupied West Bank.

For instance, imagine that you are a Palestinian farmer and happily out plowing your land — when a bunch of rather nasty armed settlers come rampaging over the hill, beat you to a pulp and start building their own stuff on your property, right next to that old olive tree that has been shading your family since almost Christ’s birth. And then imagine that some harsh-looking Israeli soldiers in full battle-gear also arrive on the scene in their Humvees and, rather than arresting all those evil “settler” perps who are busting your chops, they arrest YOU instead. Okay, so it’s not fair or just or anything — but that’s life on the West Bank. Live with it.

Then they drag you off to jail, don’t charge you with anything and hold you in indefinite detention for committing the extreme crime of plowing your own land. Not exactly democratic or even nice — but you are used to it. Hey, that’s life on the West Bank.

But then the Israeli corporatistas’ land-stealing goons start in to torture you too. Well, okay. That’s par for the course. Tens of thousands of Palestinian farmers are being jailed and tortured regularly for the crimes of owning land and/or being Muslims or being Christians or being Jews — instead of just money-grubbing land-grabbers like Israel’s higher-up corporate mafia dudes. But, hey. That’s life on the West Bank. Torture is torture. Who needs all those fingernails. You’ve got ten. You can spare some.

But then Netanyahu’s corporatist goon-squad starts to carry this torture stuff a little bit too far. First they show you photos of the corpses of your dead children — which totally freaks you out like even physical pain never possibly could. Those are your dearly-loved babies lying there dead! Your heart breaks.

And then someone else comes into your cell dressed like a doctor and informs you that you now have inoperable cancer, with only a few weeks left to live. You’re stuck in this hell-hole and now you are gonna die here as well? Good grief!

But then, when they finally release you months or years later (still without having been charged), you now discover that you never actually really had any cancer — and that your family is still very much alive.

But it’s really hard for you to just shrug this off too, saying, “Hey, that’s just life on the West Bank.” Because it is not, not just “Life on the West Bank”. It is mind-gaming sadistic torture of the worst kind. And it’s not done in the name of Judaism either — because what kind of screwed-up religion would ever do something as truly ghastly as that! It is done in the name of power and money and sadism only.

And that’s going too far.

And then it won’t be hard at all for you to imagine that these corporatista goons are no longer human. But isn’t that the real purpose of good theater — like the Jenin Freedom Theatre? To stir our imaginations? And to motivate us to do better.

PS: American and NATO powers-that-be seem to have been going a bit too far recently as well. Lately, they have been paying squads of al Qaeda goons to gun down children in Houla so that the U.N. could blame these atrocities on Assad and then take over Syria

“The more photos of dead children the better!” NATO corporatistas apparently instructed their al Qaeda goons while happily in pursuit the Project for the New American Century’s wet-dream of capturing the entire Middle East — country by country. Soon only Iran, Lebanon and possibly Egypt plus a few stragglers in Bahrain and Yemen will be left standing until they too knuckle under — and then everything over there will belong to the PNAC!

Not us.

And all this slaughter of innocents is now being happily paid for by blood-money that came from depriving American children of much of the important stuff that they also need to live.

And is anybody in America starting to get pissed off yet?

Or are we just going to wait until it is too late and it will be residents of Kansas City or Cleveland also being herded into prison cells, with our land stolen, suffering infinite detention and being shown photos of OUR dead family’s corpses…

PPS: I’m currently reading David Hey’s latest book, “Travels in Consciousness,”, wherein he cites several classic academic studies at Stanford and Yale which indicate that when people are told by higher authorities to torture other people, they willingly do it. In fact, they really get into it. Moral? That many people appear to be suckers for being told what to do — no matter what it is.

PPPS: Saeed Amireh, my cyber-friend on the West Bank, just sent me a video of his attempt to go see Madonna’s big peace concert in Tel Aviv. With actual tickets in hand issued by Madonna herself, Saeed and his brother were stopped at the Wall, stopped at the checkpoints, stopped by the IDF, totally denied access. No concert for them!

Also, some of Saeed’s friends have recently been trying to turn that huge illegal ugly cement prison Wall standing between themselves and their farmland into a rock-climbing center. Why not? It’s there to stay anyway. Might as well make it recreational. Add some pylons? Why not. And maybe “The Amazing Race” might even choose it as a location for next year’s contestants to repel from. How cool would THAT be. And getting shot at by Israeli corporatistas’ faux-Jewish thugs would certainly add just that special bit of an extra zing to the show, dontcha think?

A thousand years from now, that illegal dictatorial Wall may still be standing — long after Israeli and American corporatistas have all killed off everyone else in the region — even themselves. And it will be a very Ozymandias moment. “Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.

Here are some Facebook photos of my recent trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown, in a futile search for shrimp dumplings:


July 2, 2011

The corporatists vs. you & me: Why Palestine is important

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 4:31 pm

In America today, wealthy corporatists and oligarchs currently pretty much own our government. Wealthy corporatists and oligarchs also pretty much own our media. And wealthy corporatists and oligarchs also own our justice system, our banks, our educational systems and our voting machines. “Okay, okay, Jane. We get the picture!” Do you?

Obviously not.

I was just reading Al Gore’s latest article in Rolling Stone magazine, regarding the extreme emergencies created by climate change — and how climate-change deniers have blinded most of us to these immediate dangers. By 2090, within my own granddaughter’s lifetime, both most of Europe and most of America will be deserts, hard-hit by extreme droughts. Yet wealthy corporatists and oligarchs have deliberately covered up these extreme dangers — to you and to me as well as to our children and grandchildren.

According to Gore, “They are financing pseudo-scientists whose job is to manufacture doubt about what is true and what is false; buying elected officials wholesale with bribes that the politicians themselves have made ‘legal’ and can now be made in secret; spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media; hiring four anti-climate change lobbyists for every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (Question: Would Michael Jordan have been as star if he was covered by four defensive players every step he took on the basketball court?)”

But it isn’t just climate change that the Big Boys want us to doubt. They also want us to swallow the myth that we live in a democracy. You and I may think that we do. But wealthy corporatists and oligarchs all know that we don’t.

American corporatists have carefully taught us to doubt the fact that there is voting machine fraud. We’ve learned to doubt the fact that elections are bought and paid for by Citizens United. We’ve been taught to doubt that there have been major FBI wiretaps. We are told to doubt all the facts that keep pouring out at us from WikiLeaks. We doubt the patriotism of poor Bradley Manning.

We learn to doubt that habeas corpus is becoming a thing of the past. We even doubt that corporatist media tells us exactly what to think and when to think it. We are instructed to doubt that there is union-busting. We learn to doubt that women’s rights have been eroded. We are told to doubt that Mexicans, African-Americans, Gays, Muslims and Asians are being hounded and jailed. We also come to doubt that banks are illegally foreclosing on our homes. We now doubt that torture is un-American. And we’ve already been carefully taught to doubt that wiretapping and torture and false imprisonment and lord knows what all else could ever happen here in the USA, the Land of the Free.

Until it does.

We have been systematically taught to doubt all this stuff — until, like the heat waves in New England and the devastating floods on the Mississippi and the winters-from-hell in the Midwest, the reality that our democracy and civil rights no longer exist becomes real to us personally.

In the same way that we have been carefully taught to become climate-deniers by the corporatists who make a profit from pollution, we are also being carefully taught that Democracy still exists in America and that Justice is still available to all of us at any time. Yeah right. Like the Supreme Court represents us and not them? Like the corporatists who have sold us their infamous Bush-Obama-Bush sandwich can’t yank us out of our beds and water-board us any time that they please.

We have been carefully taught to hold onto this myth, this myth of freedom. Flag-waving. The Fourth of July. And hold on to it we do — until it may be too late and all the civil-rights trashing that wealthy corporatists and oligarchs have more obviously done to lesser, more third-world countries starts to become more and more obvious here too.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Netroots Nation convention in Minneapolis, where all kinds of progressive topics were discussed — except one. The Palestinian third rail. None of the major speeches or the panels even mentioned the Palestine question, even in passing. There were approximately 120 seminars at NN 2011 and only one of them even mentioned the freaking Arab Spring.

What a shame.

“But why is Palestine so important?” you might ask. Here’s why. Today in America, a whole bunch of progressives are trying to initiate another American Spring of freedom and democracy here too. But that’s not the image of the future of America that the small band of wealthy corporatists and oligarchs who currently run this country have in mind. Their particular vision seems to run more along the lines of America’s new Palestinian Winter.

Think about it. High unemployment in America? Palestinians have up to 70% unemployment. Cheap labor? Palestine has set the bar really high here. But with a little bit of luck, corporatists can establish that high unemployment rate here too.

Intentional disintegration of the educational system? Palestine already has that too. And now American teachers are being dissed regularly. Why? Because an educated population wants democracy — while corporatists just wants the population to be servile (and dumb).

Rape of the environment? Palestine already leads the way. Corporatists in Israel already steal Palestine’s natural resources and pollute its air and its streams. And mountaintop removal is already huge in Palestine. Is West Virginia fast becoming the new West Bank? It certainly looks that way.

And what about freedom and personal rights? We’re fast becoming the new Palestine in this area too. Non-violent protesters are being shot at, beaten and jailed in Palestine. It’s basically a police state. Can America become an obvious police state like that too? I betcha anything that the corporatists certainly hope so. Just think of all that cheap prison labor! It’s already making our American oligarchs drool.

Palestinians are protesting their occupation, of course — but they are also protesting their corporatist abuse. And they are being vilified in the media for doing it. And vilification by the media of anyone who does not agree with the corporatist agenda happens here too. Wanna know what corporatists have in store for American journalists? Just go talk to a Palestinian journalist. That is, if you are even allowed into Palestine — or are given permission to go visit one in jail (or in the graveyard).

And the Israeli corporatists teach their young soldiers to become cold-blooded killers of “collateral” women and children in order to “defend” corporatist interests. Sound familiar? That’s already happening here.

Jails and torture in Palestine? They are a common part of Palestinian life. Will they become common and familiar parts of our lives too? These things are definitely on the American corporatist agenda already — as is control of American courts.

And the settlements in Palestine? You think there will never be “settlements” here in America too? Gated communities for the rich while the rest of us live in hovels and can have our houses taken away from us at any time? Settlements, gated communities and foreclosures appear to be occupying American corporatists’ wet dreams too.

Palestinians have been getting thrown out of their homes for over 63 years now. Americans are just now catching up.

This is why I fight so hard for justice in Palestine — a small place that is over on the other side of the world. Because if Israel corporatists, using American money for backing, can do all these horrible things to Palestinians and blithely get away with it, then what’s to stop American corporatists from continuing to do these things to you and me too?

The only thing that will stop corporatists is if we too, like Palestinians, fight back and say “No”. We too must also learn to say no.

On December 2, 1964, on the steps of UC Berkeley’s Sproul Hall, a brave young student leader, Mario Savio, stated that, “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

How much more relevant is Savio’s statement today, both in Palestine — and here.

PS: On the Forth of July, me and my family are going to go down to the Berkeley marina and watch the fireworks from the balcony of the Doubletree Hotel and contemplate the first American Spring — in 1776. And also barbecue hot dogs and eat olallieberry pie and celebrate my birthday (again).

March 4, 2011

Rewarding non-violence in Palestine: Send pizza to the West Bank as well as Wisconsin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:59 am

Yeah well, talking about injustice in Palestine is always a thankless task. But we still gotta do it because Palestine is still a big thorn in the foot of the Middle East and if the Middle East ain’t happy, then ain’t nobody happy — at least nobody who likes to drive cars.

If you want Middle Eastern gas in your tank without having to spend a bunch of trillions of dollars more on war toys in order to steal it at gunpoint, then you are gonna have to come to terms with ending the illegal Palestine occupation.

“But Palestinians send rockets into Israel! And they have suicide bombers! We have to support the occupation because Palestinians are violent!” you might say. But are they? Violent? Not really. Not any more. That’s just old-skool thinking.

For approximately the last ten years, more and more Palestinians have become non-violent in the tactics they have used to protest against being illegally occupied by one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world. But are Palestinians getting any kind of recognition, kudos or rewards at all for having gone all non-violent? No. Hell no. Nothing, zip, nada.

For over fifty years, Palestinians had already tried the old “Red Dawn” armed-resistance scenario and it hadn’t been working. And so in approximately the last ten years they have noticeably changed their tactics and given non-violent protests a try instead. But so far the only results that have resulted from Palestinians’ non-violent protests have been to get shot at — and shot at and shot at — by one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world.


So. If Americans truly want peace in the Middle East and cheap gas in their tanks, perhaps instead of continuing to give billions of dollars in military aid to one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world as it illegally occupies Palestine, perhaps we should try something else and actually start REWARDING Palestinians for their efforts to be non-violent — while still trying to express their deep frustration with being constantly under the thumb of a violent and illegal occupation force.

And if we truly want to reward and encourage Palestinians for trying to be the next Gandhis, then what can we do?

“Order Pizza!”

Hey, it worked in Wisconsin.

I have friends in the small Palestinian town of Ni’lin and every Friday for the last several years, they have bravely gone out and non-violently protested the seizure of their small quiet town by one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world — and these ordinary towns-people are getting gassed, shot at and killed one by one. However, non-violence, while heroic as hell and very New Testament and all that, isn’t really working for them so far because one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world clearly doesn’t give a rat’s behind about Palestinians.

So I am suggesting that you do to my friends in Ni’lin the same thing that the people of Egypt did for the people of Wisconsin. “Order Pizza.”

Is there a pizza place in Ni’lin that takes credit cards? If so, give me its e-mail address and, instead of waiting patiently for Hillary Clinton to do it, I’ll reward these non-violent protesters myself — and order them pizza.

And imagine if everyone else in the world who could afford to spare a few dollars also barraged one of the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world with pizzas as well? Problem solved. Cheap gas for all.

And then what if we also barraged Wall Street, K Street, the Federal Reserve and even the Taliban with pizzas? It’s the volume that counts.

PS: Everyone’s always talking about ending America’s huge deficit. Hey that’s easy to do. Just make major cuts in our out-of-control military spending, duh. And then let’s replace all those pricey Bradley tanks and luxurious F16s with pizzas.

Let’s build a huge wall of pizza (deep-dish Chicago-style with anchovies and olives) all around our shores and forget about the rest of America’s “empire”. And then let’s turn America back into a country that is self-sufficient in manufacturing again. And let’s start by manufacturing pizzas.

“But Jane, that’s just crazy!” Not as crazy as wasting our country’s resources and patrimony on manufacturing weapons — cold merciless steel weapons designed only to kill, maim and hurt.

PPS: In his recent article on US polices toward Israel, Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper stated that, “Israel is the number-two supplier of arms [in the world].”

And of course we all know who is the Number One supplier of arms.

So why is everyone relying on the United States and Israel to be in charge of keeping the peace — both in the Occupied Territories and in the rest of the world?

Isn’t that a bit like expecting two very hungry bears to be in charge of guarding a honey tree?

PPPS: Even Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has a few unkind words to say about Israel, believe it or not: “Israel’s previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had to resign because he was accused of illicitly taking envelopes stuffed with money from a Jewish-American backer. An Israeli court recently convicted Israel’s former president Moshe Katsav on two counts of rape, based on accusations by former employees. And just a few weeks ago, Israel, at the last second, rescinded the appointment of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as the army’s new chief of staff after Israeli environmentalists spurred a government investigation that concluded General Galant had seized public land near his home. (You can see his house on Google Maps!)”

Perhaps we should be sending the Israelis some pizza too.

PPPPS: What if all of us little people from all over the world who are sick and tired of being bossed around by military thugs, bullies and sadists for the sole reason that their, er, guns are bigger than our guns — what if we all got together and refused? Refused to be soldiers, refused to make weapons, refused to murder, refused to…just refused. Then what would happen?

Ultimately it’s all in the numbers.

For every one of the bullies, sadists and thugs that hide behind the largest and most combat-ready armies in the world, there are at least 99 more of us who are sick of all this bloodshed.

Tunisia, India, Egypt, South Africa, Jesus and the American South have all shown us that non-violent tactics really do bring about peace — if you have the numbers. In fact, Tunisia and Egypt apparently even consciously took a leaf from Ni’lin’s non-violent playbook. So. Let’s put all of the world’s largest and most combat-ready armies on notice. “Chill out now — or else risk ending up like Mubarak, Bull Connor, apartheid and the British Raj.”

We’re armed and dangerous too — we’ve got pizza!


October 28, 2010

“What’s a Kos?”: Write about Palestine & get libeled & banned

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:08 pm

“What’s a Kos?”: Write about Palestine & get libeled & banned

Last night I had been complaining bitterly to a friend because I had written a diary entry on the Daily Kos regarding injustice in Palestine and had gotten brutally libeled and then banned as a result.

“How come it’s completely acceptable to write diaries on the Kos regarding injustice in America and everywhere else in the world — but if you write about injustices happening in Palestine, you get libeled and banned.”

My friend just looked at me in confusion. “What’s a Kos?” he replied.

Well that certainly put things into perspective.

“The Daily Kos is a liberal internet website with over a million readers. It’s famous.”

“Never heard of it,” said my friend. Whew.

PS: Here’s a link to that diary entry that got me banned: Scroll down and read some of the libelous comments attached to it if you want an instructive lesson on why requesting justice in Palestine may be very detrimental to your health. I get called crazy, nutty, silly, a conspiracy theorist, antisemitic, a piece of [dookie], hateful, whacked-out, loony, unhinged, etc. And someone even accused me of having twigs in my hair. Twigs in my hair? What kind of intellectual rebuttal is that?

These are the kind of almost-scary sleazy comments about me that I get all the time from various sleazy right-wing bloggers. But I certainly didn’t expect anything like this kind of nastiness to be dumped over my head by the readers of the Daily Kos, purported to be a liberal blog with excellent progressive creds.

The Kos even has a weekly column that relates some of the libelous wingnut comments that have been sent to its editor. Perhaps the Kos might consider putting some of its own readers’ libelous comments about me in that column.

And why didn’t the Kos ban some of its more offensive commenters — instead of just banning ME?

PPS: Here’s a quote from an article from the New York Times entitled “Smothered by Settlements,” regarding injustice in Palestine. How come the Times gets to write about injustice in Palestine without getting libeled or banned — but I don’t!

“….The only way to save the two-state solution is for the Palestinians to declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and to demand that the world community recognize it and its borders — as it did in the case of Kosovo.

“That would also mean supporting the right of Palestinians to struggle nonviolently to end the occupation of their state. Any future negotiations, therefore, would not be about the right of the Palestinians to have their own sovereign independent state, but rather about how to apply and implement that right.

This would be the true test of the state-building strategy of the United States and the donor community. It would be the real instrument to finally demarcate the difference between support for free Palestinian institutions in a sovereign and viable state, or footing the bill of occupation and using E.U. and U.S. tax dollars to maintain under various guises what will never amount to anything but an apartheid system denying Palestinians their human and national rights.

“If the world community turns its back on such a declaration of independence by using the well-worn and insulting argument that every step should first be verified with the Israeli government, then the message will be clear: Peace based on two states is no longer an option.”

PPPS: Here’s what Reuters reports regarding injustice in Palestine.  Now we need to ban Reuters too?

“A senior U.N. official condemned attacks by Jewish ‘settler extremists’ on Palestinians’ olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to ‘combat violence and terror by Israelis.’ Robert Serry, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel’s settlement freeze last month.

“Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks. Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month. ‘I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians,’ Serry said.


(Photo is of one of the highly-recommended protective measures you might consider taking if you are planning to write on the Kos regarding injustice in Palestine.)

October 21, 2010

Higher standards: What if Afghanistan was like Palestine?

One of the biggest gripes that the corporatists who rule Israel (sorry — nobody uses the term “neo-con” any more) have expressed lately is that so many Americans are now siding with Palestinians instead of with them. “And also how come you never hold any other countries in this region to the same high standard that you demand from us,” they complain. “Just look at the civil rights abuses in the Arab countries in the Middle East. How come you never get on their cases too?”

Okay. Here goes. Now I’m gonna get on Afghanistan’s case.

First of all, one of the major reasons that we don’t get on Afghanistan’s case as much as we get on the case of the corporatists currently ruling Israel and Palestine is that who the freak even KNOWS anything about Afghanistan?

What if we knew as much about Afghanistan as we know about Israel and Palestine? What would we think about Afghanistan then? Would our standards for Afghanistan be as demanding as our standards for Israel? And would we require the same solutions to problems in Afghanistan that corporatist-controlled Israel now comes up with? Hmmm.

What if it was as easy to travel to Afghanistan as it is to travel to Israel (or even Palestine) right now? Would we be getting as much correct information from eye-witnesses about what is going on in, say, Helmand, as we now get regarding what is going on in the West Bank? (Gaza is a different story. No one is allowed to go there. Not many people know what is going on in Gaza.) But who the freak ever travels to Afghanistan these days?

I myself have been trying to get to Afghanistan for the past three years by embedding with the U.S. military there — but with no luck. And do you know how hard it is to even GET to Afghanistan if you go there on your own? First you gotta come up with big bucks to fly to Dubai. Then at the Dubai airport you gotta get up at the crack of dawn to get in line at the Ariana Airlines check-in counter and elbow your way through a crowd of hundreds of Afghans who are, like you, also trying to get to Kabul. There are hundreds of people in the “stand-by” line, including you. Plus they don’t call Ariana the “Inch Allah” airline for nothing. Last time I flew Ariana, we landed in Tehran instead of Dubai — by mistake.

Flying into Kabul, you can still see ragged old airplanes and broken-up tanks lining the runway from back in the day, back from the Afghanistan-USSR war. And the airport’s baggage claim area? Craziness. Yes, even getting to Afghanistan is a big pain in the [bootie]. And once you are there? It’s not like they have grand hotels and tourist information bureaus at the airport — or even in town. And then you get mobbed by determined beggar children on Chicken Street — or perhaps even blown up. The ATM machines there are fortified with barbed wire, blast walls and checkpoints. Kabul is NOT Tel Aviv!

We all know that Afghanistan was brutally occupied by the United States under Cheney and Bush back in 2001, with lots of bombings and killings of civilians in a gigantic take-over that was pretty much illegal — no matter what the occupiers claimed. But the same thing happened to Palestine approximately 63 years ago. It was the exact same thing. So. What will Afghanistan be like in 63 years? Will there still be all that military occupation going on there like in Palestine today? And will us taxpayers still be paying for this occupation 60-odd years from now the same way that we now pay (and pay) for the occupation of Palestine? Yeah? Yikes!

In this respect, Palestine and Afghanistan are already very much alike — both of them have become military money pits that American taxpayers can’t seem to climb out of.

And there are other ways that Israel-Palestine is as bad as Afghanistan. In both Afghanistan and Palestine, money is being spent on weapons instead of medical care and schools. But, in that respect, America is pretty much as bad as Afghanistan and Palestine as well. You can’t make huge profits on medical care and schools– either there or here, not like you can selling weapons!

But enough of that. Let’s get back on-topic. How else can I get on Afghanistan’s case for being worse than Israel-Palestine? Well, I gotta admit that Palestine’s resistance fighters are pretty much wimps compared to Afghanistan’s Taliban. What if Palestine had radical Taliban-style insurgents fighting its occupation like the Taliban now do in Afghanistan? The Israeli corporatists who now run the Israeli government should thank their lucky stars that Palestinians are more patient and tolerant and not that violent and mean.

However, if the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine keeps going the way it has been going for the last 60-odd years — with land theft and torture and aerial bombings of homes and unjustified civilian deaths and destruction of civil rights and huge concentration camps — Palestinians may finally get desperate enough to become like the Taliban too. And, from what I can tell, the Taliban seem to be winning in Afghanistan.

But in some ways, corporatist Israel-Palestine is actually worse than Afghanistan. What if Afghan Christians were persecuted and killed like Palestinian Christians have been persecuted and killed for the last 60-odd years?

What if Afghan refugees, like Palestinian refugees, were never allowed to return to the place where they were born, to their childhood home — never ever again?

And what if Afghanistan were to suffer a bloody and brutal occupation like Gaza’s, with tanks and bombs and guns giving children nightmares every night? Oops, too late. In that respect, Afghanistan already has.

So. When Israeli corporatists whine that we get on their case more than any other country in the region, now they won’t be able to complain about that particular issue any more — because I just got on Afghanistan’s case!

PS: This week, Israeli corporatists came up with yet another weird thing to complain about. Israeli corporatists have now started complaining about JEWS. Yep, you read that right. The Anti-Defamation League, an American organization that is highly influenced by Israeli corporatists and tends to follow their party line to the letter, has just condemned “Jewish Voice for Peace” for being antisemitic! Huh?

According to Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast, “…the ADL has also shown itself willing to smear human-rights activists when it thinks Israel’s interests demand it. It is in this context that the organization’s misguided new report on the ‘top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,’ which includes Jewish Voice for Peace…has to be understood.

“The ADL’s list also includes The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition that aims ‘to change those U.S. policies that sustain Israel’s 40-year [sic] occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.’ Among its member organizations are the American Friends Service Committee-Iowa, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA.” What? Quakers and Unitarians are now antisemitic too?

So. When is the Israeli corporatist government finally going to give up its assault on Muslim and Christian Palestinians’ civil rights and also their paranoid fear that Americans like me are all out to get them? Perhaps this will happen someday soon — but only if Israeli corporatists finally lose power in Israel, so that normal Israelis can finally stop worrying about all this corporatist intrigue and start getting on with their lives.


July 4, 2010

Islamic Terrorists: Creating a Frankenstein monster

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:51 pm

Back in approximately 1528, when the very first black man was snatched from a village in Africa and shoved onto a slave ship, somehow a ball got rolling that has consequences even down to this day. That single act of brutality began a long, slow process that eventually resulted in the proliferation of violence and crime in America’s inner cities four centuries later.

Cruelty always gets the ball rolling, gets the party started — but in a bad way.

So. What cruelties, exactly, got the Islamic terrorist ball rolling? Was it when Mohammad (PBUH) wrote the Qu’ran? And if it was, then why aren’t most American Muslims now terrorists too? And why don’t their teenagers run in violent gangs like so many Christian teenagers here do? Dearborn, in Michigan, for instance, has a very large Muslim population and the largest mosque in America. So why aren’t the Muslims of Dearborn all terrorists? Obviously it’s not their religion per se that is turning Muslims into terrorists. So it must be something else.

“But what could it be?” you might ask. I think you could get an answer to that question from any competent psychologist since Freud. Terrorists aren’t shaped by their religion. And terrorist aren’t just born that way either. Terrorists are created by their childhood experiences. Terrorists are created by cruelty.

Take Afghanistan for instance — a country that’s known for its terrorists. Those terrorists didn’t just suddenly spring full-grown from the head of Zeus. No, they were systematically created by centuries of systematic cruelty.

First the Brits brutally invaded Afghanistan. Then the Russians brutally invaded Afghanistan. Then the Americans brutally invaded Afghanistan. Brutality. Cruelty. Injustice. And now we wonder why that poor country is overrun with terrorists? Duh.

And then there’s Iraq. The Brits systematically destroyed democracy in Iraq. And Americans gave Iraq three gifts that kept on giving: Saddam Hussein, Shock and Awe and Abu Ghraib. In Iraq, Brits, Americans and their European allies created a Frankenstein monster — step by step, day by day.

And during approximately the last 90 years, Palestine has been systematically invaded by various forms of Europeans — not to mention the Crusades. Whether it was Lord Balfour, King Richard or David Ben Gurion who invaded the Holy Land, these Europeans have all worked really hard to create Frankenstein monsters in Palestine too — and America to this day still keeps footing these invaders’ bills.

Sure, a few Palestinians have hijacked some airplanes in protest — but Europeans and Americans have hijacked their entire region.

And remember how British Petroleum and the CIA worked in tandem to violently destroy democracy in Iran and to replace it with the West’s own bloody Shah, king of torture?

Face it, guys. The whole Middle East has been under the jackboots of American and European colonialism, imperialism and cruelty for a long, long, long time. And, keeping that thought in mind, you might also consider the suggestion that perhaps we are looking at Islamic terrorists from the wrong perspective. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for the calming and civilizing influences of Islam, all these Frankenstein monsters that the West has cheerfully created in the Middle East might have turned out even worse.

Consider what happened when Europe and America unleashed their cruelty on the Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. At least the Middle East didn’t turn out as badly as all that. Maybe Islam actually helped give Muslims something hopeful to cling to in the face of all that Shock and Awe.

PS: As you may have already noticed unless you’re brain-dead or watch Fox News, the military-corporatist structure that brought us Rwanda, Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib is still in the driver’s seat in Washington now and still happily doing all its usual cruel nasty stuff. Which can only make me wonder — as our democracy dies and so does our economy — what kind of Frankenstein monsters are they happily creating here at home too?

PPS: And what, exactly, is the justification for all this cruelty? Apparently the justification is greed. Geez Louise! Just how many extra yachts do you guys need? Is it true that Dick Cheney is the world’s first trillionaire? And has all this endless supply of big bucks flowing seamlessly into his coffers from faulty oil platforms and endless wars made HIM happy? Yeah right.

PPPS: I am assuming that you do know that the oil spill in the Gulf could be worse than anything even the most fiendish terrorists could ever have done to us, right?

I just read somewhere that there are billions of teeny-tiny little crustaceans in our oceans and they are using all that excess carbon dioxide in sea water (which would otherwise be harmful to us) to build their sweet little teeny-tiny shells. And if they didn’t build these shells, there would be too much carbon dioxide in the oceans, it would be released into the air and we would all die. So if the oil spill kills off all these cute little guys in the same way that it is now killing off dolphins and turtles, we will be doomed.

To quote Wilbur the talking pig, “I don’t wanna die!”

And speaking of pigs at county fairs, me and my family are going off to the Alameda County Fair next Wednesday. Joe and Ashley are going to buy me a chicken — to eat all the snails in my postage-stamp-sized yard so that I can plant a victory garden. I’ll let you know how that goes.

May 8, 2010

Gaza or bust: Hey, that’s my Promised Land too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:32 pm

Author’s note: For years and years now, it’s been really hard for me to write anything in favor of Palestinians because there are always so many repercussions. Sure, I don’t receive death threats any more like I used to but there are still all those nasty e-mails to deal with. Bummer. Why bother? Why should I stick my cyber-neck out again and again for people who are living way over on the other side of the world? There are too many injustices here at home for me to object to. Why bother looking for them elsewhere?

And who wants to be unpopular? Who wants to buck the tide? Who wants to alienate the majority (once again)? Not me!

But now I’ve just learned that Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a former Associate Professor of Genetics, director of Clinical Cytogenetic services at Yale University School of Medicine and a professor at Bethlehem University (and also a Palestinian Christian), was just arrested by Israeli occupation forces for peacefully protesting land seizures and home demolitions in the West Bank near Bethlehem.

Here’s Dr. Qumsiyeh’s account of the incident:

And you can just bet that if someone who has been a professor at the prestigious Yale School of Medicine can get arrested for standing up for justice, then who can guarantee that anyone else is safe from arrest — either in the occupied West Bank or even here in America, the country that basically pays for the West Bank’s occupation.

So I decided to go ahead and post my latest blog essay on Palestine anyway. Screw the weirdos who send me threatening e-mails. A person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do. Justice is on my side!

Gaza or bust: Hey, that’s my Promised Land too!

I’m all scheduled to go see Barbara Streisand and John Gresham at the 2010 Book Expo in New York City on May 25. This is a terrible thing. Rats!

“And why, exactly, are you complaining about that?” you might ask. “Seriously, Jane. There are a whole bunch of people out there who would give their right eye-tooth to be able to see Barbara Streisand live and in person!” And I might even be one of them — but my big problem is that now I’ve just developed a disasterous scheduling conflict.

“Guess what, Jane?” e-mailed my friend Janet. “An extra place has just opened up on the European boat flotilla that’s sailing from Greece to Gaza soon, and I think they can fit you in. You’d be leaving for Greece on May 19. Can you do it?” Rats and double-rats! This means that I’m going to have to chose between Barbra Streisand and taking a boat trip from Greece to Gaza, where people are trapped and dying. Gaza today is like how things used to be during World War II. Everyone there is either busy reenacting the results of Nazis’ siege of the Warsaw Ghetto or else the Nazis’ siege of Dunkirk — only without all those little English sailboats to the rescue, except, hopefully, for this new European Flotilla.

Plus this flotilla will set sail on the 70th anniversary of the relief of the siege of Dunkirk. How historic is that!

Who could possibly make a choice between Barbra Streisand and and the relief of Gaza? Not me!

So. What should I do??? Should I be getting my freak on with Barbra? Or is it time to go off to Gaza, fight against injustice, get a hot scoop for my blog — and get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to regenerate my Muslim roots as well?

One of my pet peeves in life these days is when people keep sanctimoniously telling me what I can and cannot do. “Jane, you need to start going along with the crowd more,” they say. That’s not gonna happen. I’m too old for that.

I hate it when people tell me that I can’t write about the Kennedy assassination or all those holes in the official 9-11 story. But even more than that, I really hate it when people keep telling me that I can’t even MENTION stuff about injustice in Palestine and/or that individual Muslims all over the world are being demonized collectively.

Heck, I’m even afraid to even hint gently that perhaps — just perhaps — I might be a Muslim too. Why? Because whenever I do mention that fact, then people start pouring out of the freaking WOODWORK in order to call me a baby-killer or a communist or a terrorist or Lord-knows-what other kind of social or political leper. Well. Despite all this pressure to conform, every once in a while I become contrary enough to want to flaunt my Muslim-ish-ness — if for no other reason than to remind myself that I’m not just one more mindless Teabagger sheep.

So get over it. I’m a Muslim. Burn a cross on my lawn if you must. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I even wrote a book about Islam. “Mecca & the Hajj: Lessons From the Islamic School of Hard Knocks”. Order it here: You can’t get much more Muslim than that. Humph.

Not only that, but the various fundie wingnuts who now run the Israeli government with an iron hand are always ranting and raving on about wanting to seize what small bits of land that are now left to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem — and how these small bits and pieces now lived on by Palestinians need to be absorbed into the Israeli wingnuts’ Promised Land too.

I hate to burst your bubble, guys, but, as a Muslim, that area you are trying to grab up is actually MY Promised Land. That’s MY property you’re talking about. Your claim to that particular patch of real estate has been invalidated by a more recent deed to the property. Doesn’t anybody around here ever read the Talmud, the Bible or the Quran?

As a Muslim, my deed to the Promised Land is newer than the Israeli wingnuts’ deed. My deed was written later. And any real estate broker will tell you that a newer deed always holds precedence. And that means that my deed to all this section of the Promised Land trumps theirs. Get over it.

Not only that but Old Jerusalem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site — MY world heritage site. As a member of the United Nations, I get possession of Old Jerusalem too. You think not? Read the fine print.

So. Should I go over to Gaza and set everyone over there straight — or should I just go see Barbra Streisand instead? I’m completely torn. What would YOU do?

PS: Someone from the Free Palestine Movement recently suggested the perfect solution to my dilemma. “All you have to do is just ask Barbra Streisand to come on the boat flotilla to Gaza with you.” Works for me.

PPS: And while we’re on the subject of Teabaggers and wingnuts, the wingnuts in Arizona all have a lot in common with Israel’s wingnuts. First of all, both are in control of governments that have enacted laws that clearly support violence, intimidation and racism over democracy and the right of all human beings to be free.

Second, Palestinians owned the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem before the Israelis arrived — and Mexicans owned Arizona before the Americans arrived. Both Americans and Israelis then seized possession of “disputed” territories by force. And now both American and Israeli wingnuts are all complaining and whining because the people that they originally seized all this land from still want it back.

Third, both the Israeli wingnuts and the Arizona wingnuts use false rhetoric to bolster their claims. If you disagree with Teabagger wingnuts, they won’t argue the facts with you but rather will simply call you names — claim that you are un-American or, shudder, socialist or whatever.

And if you disagree with the Israeli wingnuts, they will simply call you antisemitic. End of discussion. Well, here’s what I’ve got to say about that. “If the wingnuts, fundies and Mossad agents who currently run the Israeli government want to stop whining about the rise of antisemitism, then they had better stop acting in ways that endanger their reputations and actually encourage antisemitism. They had better stop acting like murderers and liars. Nobody likes a murderer or a liar, no matter what religion they profess — be they Jews, Christians or Muslims. And lying and murdering with impunity in the Holy Land is giving Judaism a very bad name.”

I would hate to see Jews worldwide become shunned and avoided solely because of the tricks that Netanyahu’s wingnuts are up to. Plus don’t you just hate it when hypocrites whine?

It’s like when Sarah Palin advocates hunting wolves from helicopters and then whines about being slurred by environmentalists. Or when Palin goes to Arizona, stirs up a shipload of racism and then whines that she is being misunderstood by the press.

It’s like when Bush and Cheney claimed to be goody-goody Christians and then set off a firestorm that eventually killed over a million people in the Middle East — and then Bush and Cheney started whining that we Americans who advocated for peace were acting anti-Christian.

It’s like when the Taliban burned down all those girls’ schools in Afghanistan and then whined about Americans all being anti-Muslim when we objected.

You can’t have it both ways, guys. Either you always take the moral high ground no matter what the cost — or you don’t. You can’t just PRETEND to take the moral high ground. People have a way of eventually finding out the truth. Plus being able to master the art of being fair, moral and just, even if it kills you, is what separates human being from animals. And it is also the goal of ALL of our religions.

PPPS: And, no, I’m still not done venting about religious hypocrisy. Here are even more ventilations from me:

Just because some idiot Saudis may or may not have blown up the World Trade Center, I’m supposed to hate all Muslims? That doesn’t make sense.

Just because some idiots in Israel blew up Jenin, Nablus, Lebanon (twice), Gaza and parts of Bethlehem, I’m supposed to hate all Jews? That doesn’t make sense.

And just because some idiots in Washington who claim to listen to Jesus blew up Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m supposed to hate all Christians? That doesn’t make sense either.

PPPPS: And while I’m still in tell-all mode, I might as well confess that I am even more of a pariah than just being a good Muslim in a time when all too many Americans consider Muslims to be terrorists. I am also a good Jew, a good Christian, a good Buddhist and probably even a good Hindu — I take yoga one a week!

But what aggravates me most about Americans today is that, even after our great country has flourished and bloomed for the past 200 years under democracy and religious freedom, when the going starts to get tough for this generation all too many of us ignore both democracy and religion completely — and turn to fascism.


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May 1, 2010

Lost in Juarez: Everything America touches turns to death?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 5:27 pm

Every day when I open my inbox, I get at least one press release from various American armed forces in Iraq, letting me know that some insurgent there has just been killed or some AQI group has just been captured. Even now, over seven years after the Iraq occupation began, our troops are still out hunting and capturing insurgents and rebel groups there — and the bombings are still going on. Does that mean that Iraq is still unstable? What else am I supposed to think? That constant stream of e-mails seals the deal.

Then we have Afghanistan, the world’s most productive narco-state by far, source of most of the heroin on the market today. Heroin is deadly. Worldwide, how many addicts have died from overdoses or AIDS or violence resulting from their use of heroin that has been supplied by American-occupied Afghanistan? One million? Two million? I can’t even begin to guess.

Palestine is another killing field that America finances. “Why are you always running off at the mouth about Palestine,” I’m always asked. Why? Because Israel and Palestine would have worked out all their problems in a manner acceptable to both sides decades ago if America hasn’t kept pouring gasoline on the fire in the form of weapons, weapons, weapons and more weapons.

And let’s not forget to mention Pakistan, America’s good ally which is now yet another killing field. And then there’s Columbia, home of Latin America’s longest-running bloody war on farmers and trade unionists, bought and paid for by America the beautiful.

“I would really like to go back and embed in Iraq,” I keep telling my son Joe and my daughter Ashley, “but, frankly, I’m just not up to it physically — the flight there is just too long for me. 20 hours in the air? Followed by days and days of jet-lag? Forget it. And I’d like to embed in Afghanistan too. And also go and report on the brutal siege of Gaza as well. I’d like to be everywhere in the world that the action is. I want to be able to see for myself — up front and personal — all of the places where America’s treasury and America’s future are all being pounded down into a bunch of bloody rat-holes.”

I want to go where the blood flows, to bear witness and to send messages back to America that all this warfare and bloodshed and killing is not necessary, is a waste of time and money, does NOT make us safer, goes against every religion we believe in — and doesn’t even make sense.

But I’m getting less and less willing to face all the hassle of interminable plane rides across the globe and wearisome jet-lag that lingers for weeks.

“Hey, no problem,” replied my friend Larry, who lives in Texas. “No need to travel to the other side of the world to see American violence and American weapon sales and American bloodshed in action. You can always just go down to Juarez.”

Ah. So now there’s also Juarez, bloody Juarez, to consider — where people die as violently on the streets of Juarez as they die on the streets of Kandahar or Baghdad.

According to one CNN report, “Tim Crockett, head of the security firm Pioneer Consulting and security adviser for CNN, described Ciudad Juarez as ‘probably more dangerous for journalists than the Middle East’.” Probably more dangerous for journalists than even the Middle East? Yikes!

Remember back in 2007 when I embedded in Iraq and the Army told me that if I left the fortified Green Zone area and walked across the 14th of July Bridge into Baghdad itself, I’d most likely be dead within five minutes? Well, according to several articles that Larry just e-mailed me, there’s almost exactly the same situation happening in Juarez right now. Juarez is a war zone. Juarez is a failed-narco-state. Juarez has insurgents, a military build-up of American weapons, American occupation advisers who run a surrogate war from DC and terrified citizens who keep turning up dead.

“But the beautiful thing about Juarez, Jane,” continued Larry, “is that Juarez is only five miles from Texas. You could hop a plane in the morning, fly to El Paso without getting jet-lag, be inside a war zone in time for lunch — and be getting your head blown off by dinnertime.” Plus it wouldn’t be too hard on my poor knees — and I wouldn’t be required to bring a flak jacket either. Sign me up!

PS: Here’s a headline from a Los Angeles Times article that Larry sent me on the subject, just in case you think I might be exaggerating: “Mexico under siege, the drug war at our doorstep.”

The Times then goes on to state that 45,000 troops have been deployed so far and that 10,031 people have been killed. “That’s more than the U.S. fatalities in the Iraq war.”

And here are some more articles from Larry:

From the Overseas Security Advisory Council: The U.S. State Department has issued a warning about Juarez. “Mexican cartels battling for control of drug trafficking routes cause widespread disruption in the city and state.”

From Current News: Gunmen murdered 19 people this weekend, including two U.S. citizens associated with the American consulate.

And here the Huffington Post seems to be hinting that America is losing the drug war in Juarez as well. Shades of Afghanistan! I wonder how many drug addicts in the U.S. have died from drugs illegally imported by the Juarez cartels?

“Sinaloa takes over Cuidad Juarez: After a two-year battle that has killed more than 5,000 people, Mexico’s most powerful kingpin now controls the coveted trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez. That conclusion by U.S. intelligence adds to evidence that Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel is winning Mexico’s drug war…. [The] Sinaloa cartel has edged out the rival Juarez gang for control over trafficking routes through Ciudad Juarez, ground zero in the drug war.


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