Why Unconditional Support??

Something that has always been unfathomable to me is the U.S. unconditional support of the state of Israel. Why do we continue to throw billions of dollars of our borrowed resources into that country year after year when in reality they almost never heed any of our advice. A two  State solution with the Palestinians is the most obvious workable solution to this decades going Middle East stuff and that seems to be something that Israel, or at least their current leader is adamantly against.  Here are some words about that from my friends at the New York Times:

2017-01-07_18-20-19.pngSecretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration’s harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Mr. Kerry’s pressure on Israel, even as they praised the effort to promote Middle East peace.

In Europe, however, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted warmly, with officials calling it a courageous and thoughtful effort to salvage the idea of a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. Still, across the Arab world, his harsh words for Israel were met with a collective shrug, coming at the end of eight years of Obama administration policies that left many in the Middle East frustrated….

In France, Britain and Germany, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted with more full-throated support. Senator Nathalie Goulet, vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the French Senate, said Mr. Kerry “is right, he is absolutely right.”

“The more there are settlements,” she said, “the less it is likely there will be a two-state solution. But nobody ever dares condemn Israel. There is a double standard that nourishes the propaganda of the terrorists.”

Source: New York Times

Because of our billions of dollars of annual support Israel is by far the superpower in the Middle East so I guess they think they can bully their way into whatever they want.  I know there is a strong biblical connection between Israel and Christians; is that the primary reason we don’t chastise them for anything they do and we will not allow others in the U.N. to do it either?  I also know that the Jewish lobby in this country is much more powerful than the 1% of the population they represent; is that why we give them unconditional support?

I also know Jerusalem is at the center for all three major religions in this present world  and wars have been started throughout history for control of it.  Maybe it is time to make it an international city open to all. If only the United Nations were able to accomplish that.  Another much more radical solution is to just let Israel and Iran go at it!  If they use nuclear weapons that would make that entire portion of the world uninhabitable for the next 100 years.  That is kind of the King Solomon solution isn’t it.

I just don’t know why we don’t tell them that our support has conditions. It makes no sense to me. They are not our children, they don’t need or deserve our unconditional support…

Pleasant Hill — Revisited (again_

Just outside of Lexington Kentucky is my favorite historical village called “Pleasant Hill Shaker Village”.  I simply can’t get enough of that place. Whenever I start feeling tension for whatever reason I think of escaping there for a few days. I think I have been there about a half a dozen times now but have really lost count. Staying in the actual rooms where Shakers lived is a fantastic feeling. I almost sense their presence there.

Shaker Hill brings out my creative juices. I have probably taken 500 pictures there but every time I go I find another undiscovered place that inspires me.  The last time I was there was in 2011 and took these pictures. I will have to go again some time soon.

Click on any of the pictures above to see a larger slideshow view…

 

The New GOP…

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QE BannerFor those of you who haven’t visited here much I will state up front that while I am very much a social progressive but I am also a fiscal conservative. I too think as indicated in this editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman “where did the Republican party go?” They once were the party of small government and keeping expenses under control.  During those days I voted Republican about as often as I voted Democrat. But those days now seem to be a distant memory.

  • The new GOP seems to be made up of screamers who want infinite military budgets so that can go after the “bad guys” wherever they can find them.
  • They ignore thousands of needless deaths in order to justify their unlimited quest for the next gun.
  • They say they are pro-life but don’t want to provide easy access to contraceptives to prevent unwanted births.
  • Instead of providing mental health facilities and other social services they also seem to want to imprison everyone who might frighten them.
  • They have mountainous fear and very little empathy or trust.

It saddens me to see the party taken over by what was once its radical fringe. I pray that those who are on the drum beat to another war give peace chance with the Iran situation.

Question everything….

Wanting a Gun….

2014-10-16_07-36-09“They want Peace, but they want a Gun to help get it with.” – Will Rogers, 9 February 1930

Yeah Will, nothing has changed much in this area since your day.  About the only thing different is that we have MUCH bigger guns now. It goes back to the old quote “If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail”. I love this country but I simply can’t begin to understand its obsession with guns…..

One Minute For Peace…..

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It has been a while since I have visited this site (click on the picture to go there). Of course if you have spent any time on this blog you know that I frequently say that we just spend too much money on our military. Forty times more than any other country on earth and more than the rest of the world combined!  That comes to a whopping $1,200,000.00 per minute 24/7.

My friends at AFSC are being very meager in their wishes of only one minute for peace. If we really are serious about deficit reduction, and I think we should be, then this is the place to make the first cuts.

Stifling Possible Peace Talks…

Waving flag of IsraelIsrael on Wednesday announced new construction in east Jerusalem – an area the Palestinians demand for their future state – just hours after it freed a group of Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to set peace talks in motion.

The building is seen as an attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make up for the prisoner release, for which he has been sharply criticized at home. The prisoners were jailed for deadly attacks on Israelis.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Lital Apter said Wednesday that four projects are being promoted, including 1,500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo in east Jerusalem.

SOURCE:  Israeli announces plans for settlement in contested area – CBS News.

I know I am going to get myself in trouble here for even hinting of criticizing Israel but the fool that I am I will do it anyway.

I must admit that I don’t really follow all the Israel news on a daily or even monthly basis.  To me nothing seems to change in that part of the world. There have been possible peace talks going on there for fifty years and every time Israel somehow manages to do something stifle them. Usually it is by the current action of building more settlements in disputed areas.  It seems to me that they don’t really want peace; maybe not enough people have been killed yet to make it reachable?

Yes, I know there is an extreme amount of hatred in that part of the world. So much so to keep animosities flared for centuries to come. I just don’t understand how they can keep that hatred going for so long a  time. It must be very tiring to do that? My main hope in this regard is thinking of Ireland.  That country too was plagued with religious upheaval for decades. For them it was within only the Christian side of religion whereas Israel’s is cross religions.  But somehow  that conflict has finally come to an end.  At least the official version of it. I’m sure that there is still some deep-seated feeling still there among the older generations. That is one nice thing about long time conflicts that future generations don’t put the importance on them as the generation who started the original conflict.

Will Israel ever find peace with the neighbors? Probably not in my lifetime but you never know. One thing that seems to keep the flames going in that area is our funding of the Israeli military establishment. They are the totally dominant military faction in that part of the world. We continue to pump billions of our tax dollars into providing the latest weapons for them. Is that insuring their continued existence or is it just stoking the flames of hatred in the Middle East.  I don’t know enough about that to really have much of an opinion.  But I do know that something needs to change in that part of the world. Maybe when we, and the rest of the world, finally rid ourselves of our dependence on their oil something might change….

Peace Talks…

Peace Talks

What would happen if we spent as much money on seeking peace as we did going to war?  I suspect the cartoon would be much different. It would be a fleet of Maseratis on the Autobahn instead of what you see above. I don’t know if peace would actually happen even with this reversal but wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?

Maybe we could say “if you don’t kill any of your neighbors outside your borders this year we will give you $80 billion” Even with that we would come out ahead…..

The War To End All Wars….

Peace III“[War] won’t stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war.” – Will Rogers, 1 June 1929

Of course these words were spoken not long after World War I which was inaptly titled the “war to end all wars”. Of course it didn’t accomplish that noble task. President Wilson tried his best to put together the United Nations to insure no more world wars but like these times there was just too much Republican bravado going on to prevent that from happening.

I wonder what the world would be like today if he had managed to assemble a world organization with some teeth to collectively deal with rogue nations such as North Korea or Iran. If that had happened maybe we would have some money to spend on how to aid peace. Sadly we will never know as that was like so many other things a missed opportunity.

War and Peace….

‎[War] won’t stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war. – May 31, 1928  Will Rogers

Here we are one world war and dozens of other wars later and still we can’t understand what Will was saying almost one hundred years ago.  Except for a brief period during the Clinton years we have been in constant wars throughout my sixty-some years on this earth. Our soldiers are getting way beyond weary as evidenced by the recent massacre in Afghanistan by a four tour American soldier. Our national debt is increasing beyond imaginations to pay to keep all our wars going. And now we seem to be adding insanity on top of insanity by wanted to go to war with yet another country in the Middle East!

Most of our reasons for these most recent wars stems from our needs for oil. Why can’t we move beyond the one hundred plus year old gasoline engine to something that doesn’t require our young people’s lives to maintain it.

This greatly saddens me.  I need to lighten up some so this dark world doesn’t drag me down. Enough said…