Friday, August 04, 2006

...they're only Arabs, after all, right?

The conclusion of Riverbend's most recent post at Baghdad Burning...
And the world wonders how ‘terrorists’ are created! A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing… Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks she’s going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then he’s delusional.

Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it’s a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then it’s terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If it’s the Israeli, American or British army, then it’s a pre-emptive strike, or a ‘war on terror’. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- they’re only Arabs, after all, right?


[photo image: (AP) The Decatur Daily]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where's the Outrage?

(Yeah, I know I said I was taking a dandelion break ... I'm working on it.)

Mel Gibson's completely outrageous behaviour during his arrest for drunk driving has captured a lot of attention, especially the anti-semitic commentary, which I am not going to dwell on.

What I want to know is where are all the feminists? Is this not enough to raise our ire even just a little?
A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

franken-bill or do-nothing-congress? ...a dilemma that epitomizes American political life for average citizens

I don't always catch Harold Meyerson's columns, but when I do they never disappoint...

Yesterday, he autopsied, more elegantly than they deserve, the GOP's craven attempt to join a bill to increase the minimum wage to another-- yes, another! --estate tax cut.

I hope you will read the entire column, but just in case you don't, here's a paragraph and a bit more in which Meyerson characterizes the [current] GOP's entire approach to partisan politics:

[....] The whole point of the exercise was to come up with a bill that might force some Democrats to vote for an estate tax cut they would otherwise oppose, and enable Republicans to claim they weren't really the Dickensian grotesques that many of them in fact are.

Which may be why the Republicans' midnight orations in favor of raising the wage bore minimal resemblance to, say, the Sermon on the Mount. Their tone was best captured by Tennessee Rep. Zach Wamp, a Mayberry Machiavelli if ever there was one, who could not restrain himself from telling House Democrats, "You have seen us really outfox you on this issue tonight." [emphasis added]

However, rather than paint too negative a picture, lest we forget how to get up in the mornings... Meyerson is careful to mention some hopeful markers to hearten us:

So the solutions for national problems get kicked downstairs. To date 23 states have passed minimum-wage standards higher than the feds' -- and none of them in statutes designed to subvert themselves or play gotcha with the opposition party. States have begun to enact universal health insurance plans, while cities are passing living-wage ordinances. And just this Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair signed an agreement between the sovereign state of California and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to curb greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean fuels and fight global warming. "California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming," said Schwarzenegger, who understands that for a Republican to win election in Democratic California, he has to be a down-the-line environmentalist.

Why is the story of this particular bill an important story here at Lyssa Strada?

One, because, as we've written before, the minimum wage bill is a bill that will significantly affect single and divorced mothers and their children.

Two, because the passing of even one more unneeded estate tax cut will benefit very few, and many of them have already significantly benefitted financially from the global war on terror, for which they are contributing far less in the way of resources-- whether funding or bodies in the field-- than they are receiving, since the war is being purchased on credit. Long term credit.

UPDATE: The GOP-controlled senate failed to pass this misbegotten bill, despite their best efforts at arm-twisting. Kudos to Harry Reid for his leadership in keeping the bill from coming to a vote before the full senate, where a simple majority might have passed it.

This story is not over, though, because the Democratic minority (for now) is still dedicated to passing a minimum wage bill without any strings attached. Even waiting for a turnover in congress might not delay it much longer than the GOP's three-step phase in would have. Assuming, that is, that the Democrats take over at least one chamber of congress.

Now, if we could just get the politicians to start thinking in terms of $10 per hour as a more reasonable minimum wage...

[photo of Rep. Zach Wamp from here]

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dandelion Break Anyone?

I feel like my heart is going to explode into a million tiny pieces, because of stories like these:

Robert Fisk on Qana
When I arrived there, there were a number of, maybe 20, 30 children, the corpses of children, lined up outside the government hospital, hair matted, still in their night clothes. The bomb that killed them was dropped at 1:00 in the morning.

But the odd thing is the idea that for the Israeli military that somehow it’s okay to kill all these children; if a missile is launched 30, 90 feet from their house, that's okay then. ... I’m sitting here, for example, in my house tonight in darkness -- there’s no electricity -- next to a car park. What if someone launches a missile from the car park? Am I supposed to die for that? Is that a death sentence for me? Is that how Israel wages war? If I have children in the basement, are they to die for that? And then I’m told it’s my fault or it’s Hezbollah's fault? You know, these are serious moral questions.
WalMart in Chicago
This is absolutely a very popular ordinance, and it’s popular because people realize that the federal government is not going to do anything, at least in the near future, to raise the minimum wage, and it’s absolutely appalling that it's as low as it is. [emphasis added]
(This is not to miss the point of the story which is that workers got a victory in Chicago with this ordinance requiring big box retailers to pay a living wage if they intend on doing business within the city limits of Chicago.)

Haitian Prisoner So Anne
So Anne’s case is even more scandalous than that of Yvon Neptune, because Neptune was arrested on an arrest warrant, you know, as flawed as it was, whereas So Anne was arrested in the dead of night by U.S. Marines, you know, which had no legal mandate to operate such an arrest, and she's been in jail for even longer than Mr. Neptune.

And the charges are preposterous. They’ve ranged from, as you know, squashing a baby in a mortar and pestle, which was so ridiculous that, of course, nobody could consider that ...
(See also The Violent arrest of Sò Anne by U.S. Marines)

No Blood for Oil 12
The No Blood for Oil 12 - who oppose the war in Iraq - were convicted of obstruction and third-degree trespassing for protesting outside an armed forces recruiting office in Lakewood [CO] in November.
Not to mention the ongoing bombing in what Jon Stewart calls "Israfghyianonanaq", the US' stance on not pressing for any type of cease fire ... well, read the headlines anywhere, turn on the radio or television, talk to people during your break ... simply live and breathe on this tumultuous planet. There seems to be no escaping it.

I'm declaring a brief dandelion break for myself.

Monday, July 31, 2006